Out & About with Kustom Klutch

This week begins a new season of life for me.  For the first time in three years, I am a stay-at-home-mom.  When I went to work three years ago it was out of sheer boredom and loneliness, as we were still relatively new in town.  With Macy’s deciding to discontinue Elizabeth Arden (which eliminated my job), Audley and I decided together it was a great opportunity for me to return to our home.  My teenagers are actually thrilled over this, as is my husband, but mostly I think I’m relieved to have turned the page on that season of life.

So, I have shed the Macy’s black and brought back a little color to my life!  For me, blue and white is the quintessential color combo of summer.  Recently for an evening out with Audley to celebrate this new freedom of mine, I chose a pair of white Miss Me jeans paired with a blue and white striped top from INC (Macys… it was good for some things), and a fabulous pair of tan wedges by Steve Madden.  To complete my look I carried a denim clutch with red pom poms and a tassel from Kustom Klutch.

on the town

I can’t help but brag that I’m down to a size 8 from a 24 just a few summers back!!  I intend to be a 6 by September… just saying.

Designed by Jordan Fish, girlfriend of NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, these cute clutches are handmade in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Once you design your clutch and place your order online (click here to check out Kustom Klutch) your custom bag arrives in just a couple of days packaged so adorably cute and included a hand-written note.

My daughters wanted to tear right into it…. Oh wait, Madeline did!!

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When you purchase your clutch, not only are you supporting a small and young business (these went live in June), you are also supporting a charity.  Ten percent of each purchase goes to a charitable organization of Jordan’s choosing each month.  When I purchased both of my clutches (couldn’t make up my mind…) in June, the charity of choice was the Denny Hamlin Foundation which is “committed to raising awareness and funds for the specific needs of children with cystic fibrosis.”  For July her charity of the month is Pit Stops for Hope.

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I was able to choose my bag and then added the tassel for a little whimsy.  The clutches are very well made and perfect for a night on the town.  You can easily fit your keys, a change purse with id and money, and of course a lipstick inside.

When your out for an adults night, leave the mom purse at home and go cute!

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As I mentioned, I did purchase two of these fun clutches; the denim and red as well as a floral print (which looks fabulous with a royal blue sundress!).  So much fun for a summer night out!

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Check out the Kustom Klutch website and find a clutch to fit your personality!

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Fit Friday: Healthy Travel

While in Hawaii for our anniversary, Audley and I made it a point to stay on a fairly healthy track.  It’s funny, but I often find it easier to stay focused while traveling than when I am a home and work.  This isn’t to say we didn’t indulge while in Hawaii (I had a couple of amazing desserts), but I did lose three pounds during the week just because we chose activities to fit our healthy lifestyle.

So how do you manage to stay fit and on target while traveling?

First, chose locations/activities that fit your lifestyle, not work against it.  I enjoy relaxing on the beach more than anyone, but why waste away 8 days of vacation laying on the beach or beside a pool?!  There is a whole world to see and enjoy…. check it out!

Which way do we go?

Which way do we go?

Second, prepare for obstacles.  We knew before going breakfast at the hotel was expensive ($40 breakfast buffet…. no thank you).

Local fresh fruit makes a fabulous choice for breakfast!

Local fresh fruit makes a fabulous choice for breakfast!

We did enjoy a large breakfast one morning, but for the most part fresh fruit and protein bars served a loyal meal for us.  I prefer Quest Bars when using protein bars in my nutrition plan.  These were convenient, easy to travel with by plane and great to have on hand for the morning as well as when we were out during the day.  We packed an insulated cooler bag (carried it over in my suitcase) that was easy to stock with apple, oranges, & natural peanut butter for snacking.

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I LOVE this fabulous insulated cooler bag that I ordered from Miss Lucy’s Monograms just for this trip! It fit perfectly in my suitcase for flying and served as a wonderful tote for healthy snacks whether we were at the pool, traveling in the car or hiking. You can order one as well from Miss Lucy’s Monograms. They have fabulous options!

Third….. HYDRATE!  I know water is expensive when you have to purchase it at a hotel or from a convenience store.  One of our first stops when we rented our car was at a grocery store.  There we purchased a bag of ice, a foam cooler and a case of water.  We were set for a couple of days and it saved a lot of money.

Fourth, don’t indulge every day.  I knew staying the Doubletree Hotel on Oahu meant fresh & warm chocolate chip cookies waiting on us when we arrived.  I saved a little cheat for them.  We also chose a fabulous chocolate mousse for our anniversary dessert and on another night had a lovely banana spilt.  BUT, it wasn’t everyday and knowing dessert was on our agenda I ate a healthy dinner and splurged at the end.  Also, Audley and I spilt every dessert.  Sharing allows you to enjoy a taste without completely overdoing it.  Just know, it’s perfectly alright to skip dessert.

Fifth, skip the bread basket.  I know, we all love piping hot bread spread with creamy butter, but seriously ask the waitperson not to bring it to the table.  There are far better choice that won’t affect your waistline to nosh on prior to supper.  Try ordering a shrimp cocktail, hummus and veggies, or even a crisp, green salad with vinegar & olive oil for dressing.

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A light appetizer Audley and I split before supper; he claimed the oysters, I enjoyed and fresh pacific shrimp and we shared the Limu Poke (ahi tuna and avocado)

Sixth, incorporate fit activities into your schedule.  We hiked at Volcanos National Park as well as Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park on the Big Island.

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Hiking Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park …. It was so hot this day, but the hike took us past gorgeous ocean views and seeing my first sea turtle up close.

Hiking at Volcano's National Park ....

Hiking at Volcano’s National Park …. Seeing such huge waves crash against the cliffs was unforgettable

On Oahu we did a little more sightseeing in touristy areas like the Arizona Memorial, Punchbowl cemetery and the Polynesian Cultural Center, but we walked a lot on those days and definitely ate lighter meals.

Make you own itinerary.... riding a bus all day does nothing for you whereas walking the Punchbowl you can soak it all in. Very powerful and heart wrenching, but worth your time.

Make you own itinerary…. riding a bus all day does nothing for you whereas walking the Punchbowl you can soak it all in. Very powerful and heart wrenching, but worth your time.

 We did swim a couple of times, but saved most of these laps for the evenings. The night swims in the pool were especially wonderful after supper and kept our bellies from feeling so full at bedtime.

And finally, don’t be afraid to walk!  The Hilton resort had a tram and boat for transportation around the area, but only used it when the occasion called for it (I wasn’t walking over a mile to supper in a pair of heels!).  Besides, if we had ridden the tram all week, we would have missed out on some lovely art and history lessons (and entertainment from Audley) scattered throughout the resort halls.  We averaged 6-7 miles everyday walking, not counting some of our hiking…… perfect for not gaining weight while on vacation!

Oh the things we would've missed if we had ridden the tram everywhere!

Oh the things we would’ve missed if we had ridden the tram everywhere!

Take advantage of every fit opportunity you have and make your next vacation one of the healthiest you’ve ever enjoyed!

FitFriday

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Feeling Fashionable & Fit

Having spent most of my time the last thirteen years hiding behind oversized clothes, living in gym clothes and now basic black at Macy’s a couple of days a week, having the opportunity to dress-up and go out the last several weeks has been so much fun!  Granted almost all of the occasions have been related to graduation, but it was kind of nice to put on a little confidence, step out of my comfort zone into some high heels and while wearing fashionable yet still age & occasion appropriate attire.

All of this dressing up to go out is not a new concept to me, but it is one I left behind years ago when I put on all my weight.  It’s a real struggle to not see the old me in the mirror and look at all the positive changes that have occurred in this life!

 I've come a long way..... a very long way.
The old me not so long ago. I’ve come a long way….. a very long way.

Finding the right outfit to wear is often a challenge for any of us, but accepting that challenge and stepping out of our comfort zone can be fun too! Slowly I am learning to see the new me in the mirror and trust my choices when it comes to dressing up.

You see, weight loss is more than a physical journey, it is also an emotional one. Sometimes it’s easy to reach those physical goals, but the emotional ones are a wee bit harder. I am chiseling away at those each and everyday!

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For the first time in a long time I felt completely confident in my choices and didn’t feel like I had to hide behind black or oversized clothes.

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The first event on our agenda of activities was Graduation Sunday at our church.  After a lovely service that focused on guiding our young people down the right path and creating a spiritual legacy while honoring all of the seniors, we enjoyed a fabulous BBQ luncheon.  For this special day I wore a dress by Michael Kors for Macy’s and a fun pair of strapy heels by Steve Madden.

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My girls were giving me a hard time over the purchase of such a trendy pair of shoes, but they completed this simple outfit and added just a bit of contrasting color to my very blue dress.  A simple strand of pearls and my outfit was complete.

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Graduation was our second big event out.  I wore an orange “shirt” dress by Sandra Darren for this evening out.  I loved the dress for a couple of reasons.  First, it’s thin so the harsh southern humidity & stickiness wasn’t amplified  by my attire.  Secondly, it’s loose, so at the end of the day when the swelling from my surgery is really bad, it’s not so obvious.

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The Southern humidity was very much an issue for my hair!

You can’t see them in the picture, but I wore a pair of black wedges with the dress as graduation was originally scheduled to be on the football field and we were going to be doing a lot of walking.

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Our final event out was actually just a simple spring evening in the park.  While our teenagers were enjoying time with their cousins, Audley and I were enjoying a few moments for ourselves.  Falls Park in Greenville is an absolutely beautiful location for families as well as couples.  My sister snapped this picture for us because every picture we have lately is from the gym!

Date night in the gym....

Date night in the gym….

Up until very recently, this would have totally been an occasion in which I would have worn yoga pants and an over-sized shirt, so imagine my husbands delight when I climbed into his truck dress-up for our stroll in the park!

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This brown and black empire waisted sundress is from Soma Intimates.  They are the sister company of White House/Black Market and have a lovely and simple line of casual wear.  I wore a pair of brown sparkly flip-flops for walking through the park and accessorized with a pair of Jessica Simpson Sunglasses.

I tell you, it’s an awesome feeling stepping out of my comfort zone!

One of the best things about stepping out of that comfort zone was that I didn’t have to spend a fortune in order to look put-together for any of these events.  The Michael Kors dress was purchased at Macy’s using my employee discount, Macy money, & a really good coupon and cost about $30 (originally $140).  The Steve Madden shoes were found at DSW on the clearance rack for $15.00.  The orange shirt dress was about $25 on sale at Belk.   My Franco Sarto black wedges were a full-priced ($54.00) but worthwhile purchase as I can wear them with a multitude of outfits. My dress sundress from Soma was just $22.00 & the Jessica Simpson sunglasses were $12 from TJ Maxx.

I love the challenge of finding a good deal on my clothes, especially since I am still losing weight and hopefully won’t be wearing them long!

Dress-up or Dress-down?  Which do you prefer?

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Fit Friday: Fruit Infused Water

Ah water ….  We clean with it, cook with it, use it in our yards, wash in it & swim in it, but for some reason we seem to avoid drinking it….. at least as much as we should.

 There are many advantages to drinking water:

**The biggie is of course hydration, but drinking water regularly also helps to keep your energy levels up and the achy dragging along feeling at bay.  Fatigue is often the result of mild dehydration which can make our days feel even longer than they are.

By the way, drinking sodas, coffee (I am an addict), tea and alcohol all dehydrate your muscles, so for each cup/glass I have, I always add an extra glass of water for good measure.

**Staying hydrated helps keep you looking younger. Our skin is actually the largest organ in our body and regularly drinking water can actually improve the color and texture of your skin. Hydrated skin glows and looks supple, where being dehydrated leaves us looking older and drawn.

**Drinking water aids in curbing your appetite.  Sometimes when we think we are hungry, we are actually dehydrated and need water!  FYI, being dehydrated can actually make you gain weight as your body will begin hanging onto any and all fluids trying to keep the body functioning properly.  Water will also keep you feeling full, helping you not eat so much in a sitting.

**Drinking water can ease joint pain as it aids in keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated.  Who doesn’t want to feel less achy?

**Water flushes out waste and bacteria.  Our body need water to function properly.  If we aren’t putting it in, it can’t properly flush out the things that are bad for us.  If it is holding on to waste, we are putting ourselves in danger for problems down the road.

**Prevention of headaches.  Many headaches come on as a result of dehydration (I experienced that my first day at the Kentucky Derby last week), so drinking water can help end or ease that annoying head pain.

**It puts you in a good mood!  When your body is functioning at its best, you will feel great making your days much more productive and happy.

So, now we all know why we need to drink more water, especially as the days continue to warm-up, but how can we get in enough water to benefit us when we also know just how boring drinking water can be!

Yes, there are Crystal Light packets that you can use to flavor your water, (they seem to leave my mouth dry) but they contain artificial sweeteners and have no nutritional value to them.  I try my best to limit artificial sweeteners or contain them to natural sweeteners or stevia just for health’s sake.

So, how do you keep water from being so boring?

Why dress it up of course!

fruit infused water

Fruit infused water is fresh, clean and a great way to flavor your water without fake anything.  It is also super easy to create fruit infused water as well as many possibilities that can incorporate seasonal flavor all spring and summer long!  These aren’t sweet waters, but with the infused subtle flavors you really won’t miss the sugar.

This is how I have managed my water intake for nearly 3 years now!  Believe me, it works.

To assemble infused water is really quite elementary.  I choose my favorite combinations of fruit; slice, dice or chunk, add to a pitcher of water and allow to steep for an hour or so.  I also use fresh herbs from time to time like lavender, lemon thyme, rosemary, mint or chocolate mint…. options are limitless depending on your taste.

Easy enough?

While you can use frozen or canned fruit (in natural juice), I prefer using fresh fruit as the flavors seem to taste so much better.  Purchasing what is in season (right now berries are a great option) helps with the budget.

There isn’t really a wrong way to assemble your fruit infused water.  You can spend money for a pitcher that is specifically made for this or just use what you already have at home.  I prefer the latter.

When assembling my waters I like to use a 2-quart or gallon pitcher.  I add my fruits and herbs the night before to water, then place in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to mesh overnight.  If you would like, you can bruise the fruit & herbs with a wooden spoon or pestle to strengthen the flavor of the water.

Releasing the fruit juice into the pitcher using a wooden pestle

Releasing the fruit juice into the pitcher using a wooden pestle

When I do this, I usually pour my water through a strainer.  The next day I just refill my glass of ice with water as needed all day long.

You can also flavor a single glass of water with just a few slivers of fruit in the bottom of a glass full of ice.  Add the water last and let sit a few minutes.

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Here are a few of my favorite combinations ….

1.  Lemon water.  This is the easiest and most common was to dress up water.  Slice a lemon, squeeze into a glass of ice-cold water and drink up.  I also do this same thing with a lime.  It’s quick and the tangy splash of  citrus really wakes me up!  Top it off with mint for added flavor.

2.  Lime, cucumber and mint.

cucumber & lime with mint

Add 6 slices of lime to a 2 qt. pitcher with half a seedless cucumber.  Add ice and press with a wooden spoon (I used a pestle) to release the juices and fill with water.  Let sit for 30-60 minutes and serve over ice.

3.  Strawberry-Kiwi.

strawberry kiwi infused water

3 or four kiwi (depends on how well you like the flavor of kiwi) thinly sliced added to 5 large strawberries, sliced.  Cover with ice, release the flavor, fill with water and allow to sit in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes.

Layering of my fruit and ice

Layering of my fruit and ice

4. Cucumber-Melon.

cucumber melon infused water

Honeydew & cantaloupe chunks mixed with several slices of cucumber keep this water light and refreshing.  I like to mix this up single serving and continue to use the glass for a little while.

5. Berry Splash

berry splash

By the glass I mix 6-8 blackberries, 8 raspberries and 10 blueberries, cover with ice and use the pestle to press on the ice and help release the juices.

6.  Raspberry-Lime

Raspberry Lime Infused Water

By the glass I use 10 raspberries, and 2 slices of lime.

cucumber melon in a sports bottle with an infuser.... my 17 year old loves to use this at school!

cucumber melon in a sports bottle with an infuser…. my 17 year old loves to use this at school!

What makes these flavored waters even better is the fact they are so pretty.  With the subtle flavors these are a perfect accompaniment to a cookout or pool party as the flavor doesn’t clash with most cook-out favorites.

So how much water do we need?  I recommend at least half your body weight in ounces.  So if you weigh 150 pounds, you need 75 ounces of water a day; a little more if you live an active lifestyle.  Me?  Because I work out five days a week I try to get in a gallon a day because I lose so much through sweat.

Try a few of these simple flavored waters and let me know what you think!

And if you have a combination you like better,  share it and let me know!  I’m always up for trying something new!

FitFriday

Have a fabulous weekend, and don’t forget to drink your water!

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