The Brain Drain

14 Jul

This weekend we moved.  We survived. I meant to wear my polar heart rate monitor to see how many calories we burned, but I forgot, so I plugged in eight hours of carrying boxes up stairs into My Fitness Pal.  While I typically never trust what MFP says for calories burned (it is always a lot higher than what my polar says), I’m pretty sure this is low, so, I’m going to round-up to one billion calories burned.


After two days of this we were beat last night.  I asked if I could go to sleep at 8:00 p.m. and the DOC told me that grown people don’t go to bed when it’s still light outside.  Well, that might be true, but I did fall asleep on the couch.  What?  Naps aren’t bed!

Our brains really hurt.  Ever get that?  When you’re so dehydrated and exhausted that your brain doesn’t really work?  Thinking of the answers to simple questions becomes SUPER HARD. Yesterday, loading in the kitchen I said to DOC, I can’t seem to figure out where pots and pans are supposed to go. This is too hard.  I really wanted to make a call to my most overly organized friends and show them what a mess I am and let their organization skills go to work.  I have a friend whose mom alphabetized her spice cabinet.  Yeah, I needed her to figure out the kitchen.

Therefore, today’s post is a cry for help.  I’d love to hear your best kitchen organization ideas, your kitchen hacks.  How do you organize a too small pantry?  Where do you keep your appliances (ice cream maker, food processor, electric skillet, kitchen aid mixer, crockpots, griddle) – do you keep them in the kitchen if you use them regularly and store them someplace else if you don’t (I’m looking at you ice cream maker)?   Comment your ideas below and I’ll post again next Monday about what progress I’ve made!

Sparkle on,



I would love to hear from you on FacebookTwitter and  Instagram!


Friday Five: Things I’m loving

11 Jul

This week’s Friday Five Link Up is something I’m horrible at – taking pictures of my workouts. I’ve told you all time and time again, I am the worlds worst selfie taker. I don’t take pictures of my workouts, my fitbit band broke, I always forget to take pictures of my polar. I could show you a whole bunch of old ones, but that’d be really faking. So, sorry Friday Five Girls (Mar, Courtney, Cynthia), I’m going rogue! (But you should check out their posts this week and all of the others doing the Friday Five Link-up because they are good at selfies and workout pics!)


I wanted to share with you some things I’m loving lately.


1.)  My BRAND NEW CUSTOM WORKOUT SHIRT!  WHAT?  Me, on a shirt.  Awesome.

I received an opportunity to order a custom Race Ragz shirt (thanks to the wonderful, amazing, inspirational Jenny from Jenny Hodges is Metamorfit) and offered one as a prize on my facebook page for the best idea.  Kim idea was a great one, to put “Because I’m Worth It” on my shirt, because of my National Running Day picture I created. I loved that idea, but when I went into design it, I felt a little braggy.  I mean, duh, yes, I’m worth it. But did I want that across my chest?  NAH, so I designed a little logo for myself and walla



I decided to go with the women’s v neck sleeveless top.  It looks cute.


The length is great, it is light enough that it doesn’t ride up and fits well.  You can put any design you want on the front and back. The only issue I have is that I don’t love the material.  I have other performance wear that is much softer feeling and it isn’t very breathable.  So, this top will definitely be worn a lot, to indoor workouts and cooler day runs.



Did I tell you guys I’m a soxy feet ambassador?

My Soxy Feet Ambassador Button Female


I purchased these very patriotic socks (see even my feet can’t take selfies) and this pair as well which say “My Light Shines Bright” it’s kind of exactly the same thing as SPARKLE ON, right?



Seriously, these socks are so cushiony and comfortable.  They are made with cool max (lycra and nylon) so you’re feet stay cool, dry and not stinky.  Just what every wanna be runner needs. I don’t make any commission off of you purchasing these socks or my ambassador status, my ambassadorness gets YOU rewards.  How’s that for awesome?  You can purchase as many pair as you need at Soxy Feet and use the code SOXYFRIENDS to get 10% off of your purchase.

(apparently, I also like making up words, cushiony and ambassadorness. WHATEVER spell check.)


3.)  My Evolution Group

Friends, family, friends of friends and family, fellow Spice Girls, have all joined in on the Evolution Challenge Group I created on Facebook.  (Sorry if you aren’t on facebook, maybe next time we’ll do a different kind of group.  Any ideas?) These ladies are all in different stages of their wellness evolution and I couldn’t be more excited for them!  We are all focused on 21 Days of Wellness.  I’ve encouraged the group to try the 21 Day Fix alongside me, but many people are choosing their own movement and portion control programs.  (Disclosure, I am NOT a beachbody coach.  I HAVE a beachbody coach, this is her link, I’m just trying out this program to see if I like the program. Please don’t spam my group to see if you can be their coach, I’ll block you faster than the Pittsburgh Steel Curtain!)


4.)  My husband & Our kids

Ok, ok.  I know we all mostly like our significant others most days, but mine has been a trooper lately.  With this move he’s having to do a lot of lifting, sorting, junking, but most of all listening to all of my random decorating ideas.  Sorry, DOC.  Thanks for listening to all of my crazy ideas about how I want our house to look.  You’re the best.

He’s also totally pumped that my bestie from college is visiting.  Pumped. And Scared.  And happy for me because I’ve been needing her a lot lately.



And even though she broke me up the other day, I love the Girl a metric $#&* ton.  She is growing up so tall and so fast and so smart and beautiful, it’s hard to keep up with her.  She and The Boy are finally at a stage where they are each others favorite playmates.  Maybe that’s because we have smushed them together this summer what with the no camp and one babysitter, but as soon as we get home at night they immediately start playing with each other instead of going straight to their own rooms to be alone.  I love that she is finally big enough to be his playmate and I adore how well he plays with her.  The sitter even complimented them for how well they do together – AND GET THIS – how much he watches out for and cares for her.  WHOA.  I don’t always see that behavior, but it’s great to hear that when they’re out in public they aren’t being buttfaces.


5.) My job


I love being a Special Event fundraiser.  I love the mission that I work for (The National MS Society).  The events that I plan have consumed me over the past several months and frankly, I’m kind of really very thankful that right now is the calm before the next storm.  Yes, there is a ton of work to do daily, but I’m thankful for a little lull.  Not that budget time is a lull mind you – it hurts my brain way more than event season.  Budgets are taxing.  -Am I right??

One of the cool parts of my job is when people do their own fundraisers for us!  There are many fundraising events taking place over the next few weeks! Join The Movement!

Two of the events that may interest you all are a Lia Sophia Jewelry Show and an 8K Run in Winchester, Virginia on July 26  The jewelry show is a party in Charlottesville, Virginia but even if you’re not here you can order through this party and the proceeds go to the National MS Society instead of me earning hostess rewards.  Don’t worry, you’re not wasting money for me to look awesome – you’re helping people with multiple sclerosis live their best lives now.  Visit and enter the hostess name (Aimee Carter) to place your order.  The woman planning the 8K is getting a ton of prizes and giveaways donated – it looks like the event is going to be great!  If you’re in the area, it’s a pretty inexpensive run and for a great cause!


What have you been loving lately?  Happy weekend.  Happy summer!  Take some time this weekend for selfie practice, you guys!   Be sure to check out the other Friday Fivers and don’t tell them how bad I am at selfies… they probably already know!

Sparkle on,




Like what you see?  I would love to hear from you on FacebookTwitter and  Instagram!

Disclaimer: This post contains some Affiliate links.  While I earn commission or rewards if you purchase something, the links do not affect the price you pay.  Thanks for supporting Us 4 Carters!


Kids Say The Darndest Things

9 Jul

This article. The article that started it all. Mom empowerment for this summer.  Determined to enjoy kids this summer,  moms embraced this article, rightly so, and set out to enjoy summer with our kids.  Hooray for moms! You’re so right, Jessica. I will put on that suit and I will run into the splash pool with the kids and I’ll show my daughter that no matter your size it’s ok to play at the pool. I am the fun mom giving my kids all of the memories of a fun mom they deserve.

Except that she said this to me as we were getting dressed to head out into the pool,

“Mommy, I don’t like this hangy part on your legs. It doesn’t look good.”

OUCH.   Cue five second spiral of shame in a public pool shower stall.

Damn that mom power article.  Damn me for not getting the mom suit with the skirt attached.  Damn the loose skin.  Damn it all.

My daughter’s words stung. As proud as I am of my smaller size this summer, the loose skin on my thighs is as embarrassing as my larger size was. It’s dimpled and scary looking and right about at kids eye level.  That hangy part is hanging there over strong muscle. But kids can’t see that strong muscle, they only see the part they don’t like.  The part that doesn’t look good.  And kids, they vocalize it.  I know my sweet girl didn’t mean to hurt my feelings.  DOC always asks me why I let little kids hurt my feelings and it’s because they speak the truth.  They don’t intentionally mean to hurt you, they don’t have malice yet, they just say what comes into their heads.  Most Grown-ups have a filter that we use to stop us from saying “hey, ya packed on a few pounds there girl, haven’t ya” or “yeah, maybe you shouldn’t be going out in public in that suit”.  We say it to ourselves in the mirror, or on the scale.  We say it to ourselves when we see an unflattering picture of ourselves. However kids, speak their truth.

I explained that part of mommy is special because I workout so hard and it’s because of my muscles.  I explained that part of me is special because I workout so hard and that I’m sorry that she doesn’t love it.  She replied that she loves me and to hurry up before they blow the break whistle.  We had swimming to do.

Kids.  They are brutal.  They are hurtful.  And we’d do anything for them. Including getting into the pool with our not looking good hangy down parts and bruised egos, because it is fun.  Jessica is right, I won’t stop being a fun mom in the pool, but maybe next year I’ll buy the mom suit with the skirt attached.

pool moms


Sparkle on,



I would love to hear from you on FacebookTwitter and  Instagram!


Catching Up: July 4th

8 Jul

Happy Independence Day!

OK, OK. I’m a wee late. Give a girl a break. Things have been a wee out of whack for us in the normalcy area lately. But, then again, when are things ever normal for the Carters.

School ended. I found out that the camp I was going to register the kids for was overbooked. I got the kids an amazing summer sitter. They loved her. We had to get rid of her because she wanted a $30 a day raise. Yeah, no. I had to hire a new sitter. They roll with the punches those two, thank goodness. See, they look no worse for the wear.


We had a house. We couldn’t move into the house. We had to find a new house. We’re finally moving into a new house! DOC is clearly focused on the important parts of the move:


I went on a business trip. Business trips are great because no kids. I kid… a little. I mean, no kids means gym time which means I can get more time in at a free gym just by waking up at the time I normally do! No kids, short commute equals extra time in my day!   This trip I really went gung-ho because I wasn’t sure of when the next time I’d get into a gym. Me, my new Soxy Feet and my custom Race Ragz shirt went nuts! I love lifting and creating my own workouts and using a variety of equipment.  So much fun!


Visit use code SOXYFRIENDS for a 10% discount!


Look – I dressed up for my meetings!  After my great gym crushing,  I put on a new favorite dress from Gwynnie Bee.  I love this service most in the summer time – so many fun dresses and colors!  Try it free for your first month and earn me some extra outfits this month.


Seriously, when are you guys going to teach me take a selfie?

We listened to the USA World Cup game – man listening to soccer on the radio is challenging!  We also got stuck in traffic.  The boy got car sick in the back seat with my co-workers in the front seat.  Good times.


Here we are, rooting for the USA!  This is pre-puke.

Here we are, rooting for the USA! This is pre-puke.

Finally back home and ready for the 4th of July!  HOORAY!

We spent the holiday weekend with great friends and packing.  Eight years in one house and we are realizing maybe we could have purged before now. Yeah, those size 3T boy clothes and baby bedding sets, they aren’t doing us any good with a nine-year old boy and a five-year old girl. The kids rooms are pretty much done thanks to ME ALL ME, those kids are worthless at pitching out garbage!  Man, are our kids pack rats!  I de-hordered their rooms, got rid of much broken and missing pieced toys, got rid of all high water pants, too small shoes, and shirts that have magically become stomach baring tops over the past three months and got to work on our bedroom.   While the Carter kids are growing at a RAPID pace (seriously, the Boy’s football cleats from this past fall were a three and the shoes he bought with his birthday money in April are a five. WHAT?) , the adult Carters are having a different garbage bag needing issue.  You see, I am not the only shrinking Carter, DOC has lost two pants sizes and a shirt size in the past three months!  WAY TO GO, BABE! So, four bags FULL of fall and winter clothes went off to Goodwill courtesy of us two.



So, headed back to the real world of work and babysitters yesterday, the kids and I dropped DOC off at work.  As he’s getting out of the car The Boy yells, “Have a great day, Dad, and remember to never abandon your dreams.”  I watched as my husband shook his head, said thanks bud through a stifled laugh, and proceeded to watch his shoulders shake in laughter all the way to the door.   I’ve always said that The Boy wants to be a great athlete, but he’s going to end up being a great comedian.  He may not write all of his own material but he has spectacular comedic timing.  Saturday Night Live, here he comes.

Besides being comedy genius, it was a perfect reminder about my goals for this year.



So, now we’re into July.  One week until Us 4 Carters get a new home.  Six weeks until school starts again.  Let’s finish summer off strong.  Did the holiday weekend full of brews, BBQ and too many sweets get you off track? I know I can’t be just talking to myself here.  If you’re in need of some help focusing on your goals this summer join the 21 Day Evolution Group I started on Facebook.  You can do 21 days focused on your evolution to a healthier you, RIGHT? Join our group that is focused on 30 minutes of movement a day and portion control:  Once you join the event, I’ll add you to a private group where we can share our successes, challenges and even, if you’re comfortable with it, some progress pictures!


Never Abandon Your Dreams and Sparkle On!




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Disclaimer: This post contains some Affiliate links.  While I earn commission or rewards if you purchase something, the links do not affect the price you pay.  Thanks for supporting Us 4 Carters!

A New Fix for a Continuing Problem

25 Jun
For those of you who have just started following me, this post is one of the most real, open, honest things I’ve ever written.  A post where I admitted I’m scared for my daughter to start kindergarten because I don’t want her to have the fat mom. In that post I said I was going to stop worrying about it.  But the truth is, I have not stopped worrying about it.  I know I’m awesome – but five-year-olds are pretty harsh critics.  I’ve had more than one little kid point out to me that I’m fat.  The boy has had more than one kid tell him that his mom is fat.  Besides some better parenting to the rude kids on the playground, the only person that can change that, is ME.
Yesterday, as I sent her off to a day with their summer sitter, I realized that soon I will be putting her in the arms of her kindergarten teacher.  The Boy’s kindergarten teacher nearly ruined learning for him.  He was bored with school and cried almost every morning that he didn’t want to go to school.  (Luckily, his first grade teacher was a ROCKSTAR of a teacher and got him back on path. ) I don’t want a single thing to distract our daughter from one of the best years of her life.  Kindergarten is the single most important year, a good kindergarten experience can affect a child’s whole outlook on learning, on their future occupation, their future wealth…. It is the bedrock.  I know she’s in a great school, I know she’s going to love it, but I don’t want her to have to hear the words “why’s your mom so fat” to distract her from a life of learning.
Nearly eighty pounds lighter now than when I sent The Boy to school, but I still know I am larger than the other moms.  I don’t want the kids to have to defend me.  So, there.  I’ve said it again.  I don’t want to be the fat mom anymore.
She starts kindergarten in less than 3 months.  I will not be the fittest mom.  Or the most slender.  But I will be healthier than I am now.  There is no magic bullet or fad diet in the world that will work. It will only be through portion control, healthy eating and sticking to a fitness plan.
Which brings me to today.  I met with a friend yesterday who is turning 45 on Thursday (Happy Birthday, Nica!) and is in the absolute best shape of her life.  She credits her wellness and fitness to Beachbody.  Nica has been trying for about a year to get me to join her.  I tried the Shakeology shakes last fall when I was working out at Clay Fitness.  I have no idea if they worked or not, I just didn’t enjoy the taste.  I know people who swear by them for their fitness and wellness plans, I personally just don’t like them and would rather eat my eggs and spinach for breakfast.
A Beachbody program came out a couple of months ago called “21 Day Fix” and from being involved in Fit Approach and Girls Gone Sporty as an ambassador I’ve heard a lot of really great success stories from “The Fix”.   From the 21 Day Fix website:  “21 Day Fix takes all the guesswork out of weight loss. There’s no counting, no guessing, and no wondering. Just easy-to-follow portion control and one 30-minute workout per day. That’s all.”  Huh.  This is what I’ve been saying, it just takes eating better and moving more.  Portion Control.  Getting in a workout of at least 30 minutes.  This seems like a nice supplement to my training for my first 1/2 marathon, helping me to eat right and burn more calories and feel better when I run.  I let Nica know that this seemed like the program for me and that I’d try it out for her!
Nica explained to me that you can get the “21 Day Fix Package” which is the DVDs of eight workouts, plus the portion control for $60.  OR if you want to try the shakeology portion as well you can get a 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack for $160.   Most of the success I’ve  heard from this program is from people who have added this nutrition portion to their daily diet.  If you think the shakes would work for you, this is as inexpensive that you can get shakeology – in a package.
I’m going to try the 21 Day Fix out!  If you want to join me, I’ve started a 21 Day Evolution Group on Facebook.  I changed it to Evolution, because I know 21 days is not a “fix”.  It’s a part of our journey. I don’t believe anything is a quick fix, but you can choose to fix your life today to affect  your lifestyle tomorrow.  If you don’t want to purchase the 21 Day Fix, but want to commit to doing portion control and a 30 minute workout of your choice every day – JOIN US!  I’d love to see how everyone is doing, how every one of you is committing to get a little more awesome this summer.  So that everyone who wants to purchase the program will get it in time, I’ve started the “Challenge” for July 21st.  I do think the price is going to go up on July 1st, so you might want to order yours now.  Nica is a great coach and you can find her on Facebook and her blog if you have any questions!
choose NOW

Better Reminder to Myself! With a view of Pittsburgh on my wallpaper. Eyes on the prize – Pittsburgh 1/2 Marathon

I hope you’ll join me.  We have a lot going on this summer.  DOC started a new job, the kids are busy with their sitters, we’re MOVING in July…. So, I’m going to need you all to help hold me accountable.  YES, OF COURSE, I need to hold myself accountable, but I’m hoping by starting this group and having you join me that we can all stick to the program.


Join me!



Friday Five: Happy Summer

6 Jun

Very rarely lately have I posted pictures of the family on this blog.  I’m trying to protect the kids privacy as they age.  However, big stuff happened in the Carter house yesterday.  Yes, we have a graduate. The Diva graduated from pre-k yesterday.


A round of applause for me, as I did not cry.  Nope.  The look on my face in this picture is one of annoyance.  You think either child could look at the camera just once and smile?  NOPE. Twenty pictures on my camera and this one is the best we got.  I mean really people.

Anyways.  Now that the school year is over I guess it’s time to set some summer goals.  And WOULDN’T you know it?  Today’s Friday Five theme is “This Summer I Will…”

So, here we go:


1.) Spend More Time With the Kids

For some reason I feel like this is the last summer of innocence.  The Diva enters elementary school in the fall and the Boy… oh the boy … he’s learning too much grown-up stuff a lot younger than I learned about grown-up stuff.  He’s a rising 4th grader and knows more of the words than I did heading into high school.  It terrifies me.  Even though I’m a full-time-work-outside-the-home mom, I am committed to spending as much time with them this summer in innocence as I possibly can.  We’re going to work hard and play hard this summer.

2.)  Move

Yes, our plan is to move this summer.  Fingers are crossed that everything falls together and this happens!  Just pray, ok, people?

3.) Move More

Now that I don’t have two drop offs every morning (OMG THE HAPPINESS!) I can really kick training to run a half-marathon into high gear because I can get an extra hour of sleep!  I have learned over the month of May that I really am a “I have to run in the morning or I don’t run” person.  I don’t like heat, I detest humidity, but I love being outdoors so I will run in the morning first thing.  Just an hour later than I have been! WOOT!

The kids and I also have some fitness goals for the summer.  Boy wants to be stronger.  Diva wants to do everything the Boy and I do, so we’re doing a Buns, Guns and Ab challenge now and we’re going to do a little mommy boot camp each day when I get home.

Two-A-Days, baby!  Run in the morning and boot camp at night?  Yeah, I’m going to crush some goals.

4.) Get Some Sun and Mosquito Bites

Bugs, they love me.  What do you expect?  I’m SO sweet they can’t get enough of me.  This summer, I want to not care so much.  We live in a beautiful area and now that the kids are older we really need to explore it more.  I hope on some weekends this summer that we can hike and float and wine taste and enjoy all that the area has to offer – especially because much of it isn’t really that expensive.  Get out there and explore, Carters!

5.) Eat Local

If you’ve never eaten a really fresh cantaloupe, or just picked strawberries, you are in for a treat.  Local fruit is such a treat and it’s almost time for my favorite time of year… tomato  season.  Gazpacho season.  Fresh tomatoes with zoodles – zucchini noodles.

I do, however, have a confession to make.  I do not like the Farmer’s Market. DON’T hurt me!   It is so crowded and seems to me is geared towards a see and be seen crowd.   Maybe it’s just the Saturday morning one, and there are plenty of others around, but I can never seem to make it to them in time.  I am, however, an advocate for the local food movement.

So we choose to use Relay Foods .  I’ve talked about my love for Relay before, a lot.  For busy people, it really is the best way to eat local without having to fight the Farmer’s Market crowd.  Here’s your chance to try Relay Foods:  You’ll earn $30 worth of FREE groceries.  FREE.  If you’re in the DC, Baltimore/Annapolis Maryland, in the Triangle of North Carolina, or Fredericksburg, Lynchburg, Williamsburg, Richmond, Culpeper, Harrisonburg or Charlottesville, Virginia areas and you haven’t had a chance to try Relay yet –  here’s what I would do:  Pick the “Local Bounty Share 1/2″ that is $25.00.  You’re going to get it FOR FREE if you use my link.

produce box relay

This week for example you’ll receive  Kirby Farms Local Green Cabbage, Kirby Farms Local Red Beets, Organic Curly Winterbor Kale, Asparagus, Sugar Snap Peas, Local Cilantro, Spring Mix and Collard Greens.  Each week you’ll receive something different, obviously as it gets hotter we’ll see different produce.  You can either choose a pick-up location (free) or have it delivered to your home (extra charge). 

So, whether you eat local or not, love the farmers market scene or not know you’ll get $30.00 in free produce this week.  I don’t see you getting that deal any place else!


What are your plans for this summer?  What summer vegetable are you waiting for?


Don’t forget to check out The DC Trifecta of Mar, Courtney, Cynthia and the Friday Five Link up!



Sparkle On!





What Ya Listening To?

4 Jun

This week I’m linking up with some of my Fitness Media in Motion chicks Sarah and Lynda for their #wednesdaywonderfulz link up. Join Sarah at How My World Runs and Lynda at Fitness Mom in Wine Country.


This week’s topic is music. I’ve heard a lot lately about safe running, running without music to be in tune with your body and breathing. No. Flipping. Way. NO. I’ll keep my tunes thank you very much. I need motivation and my pace cues from run keeper. Am I safe? Yes! I just run with one earbud in. Balance!

However, a couple of days ago, as you might remember, my sweet angel baby girl killed my phone. In the upgrade I got my music back but my list isn’t syncing with run keeper. (Anyone know how to fix this? ) so this morning I heard some not running pace songs, but that motivated me in different ways.

My new favorite Mom Power song? My I am doing this to be healthier for my kids and our future?

Kate Earl’s “Stronger”. Wow. The tears. I have no idea how this got on my phone. Probably a free Starbucks app download? Maybe? SO GOOD.




Then a skipped a couple of slow ones and ended up with a favorite of mine.  “This is The Stuff”  by Francesca Battistelli.  I just love this song so much that when I’m in a funk I can put it on repeat.

In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I’m blessed …
Might not be what I would choose 
But this the stuff You use

This song is always a great reminder to count my blessings and to quit stressing about the little annoyances in life.  (Yes, I’m talking to you people who come to a complete stop when making a right turn.  You are “The Stuff” the Lord puts in my way to remind me to slow down.)



And finally I ROCKED at the end of my run. 4th Quarter. You’re down. You need motivation. Pull through. Rally. If you’re a Steeler Girl, you use Styx. Renegade. So random, I know. “OH MAMA I’m in fear for my life…” Rock out and wave the towel.



So, I have to know, what random songs are on your play lists?  Do you have a song you’d be embarrassed for people to know is on your play list?



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