Loving Day

12 Jun crop family

This blog started as a way for me to talk about the struggles of motherhood and share our lives and changed over the years to talk more about our families changes as I started on a wellness journey. While I’m on an Evolution to a healthier happier me, our family hasn’t changed — we’re still a biracial family living in the south. We’re still navigating the life as two working parents and trying to be the best parents we can when sometimes our world looks a little different than the families around us.

Therefore, I’m taking  a break this week from the Friday Five linkup topic and Fitness Friday to wish you a Happy Loving Day!  An interracial couple, Mildred and Richard Loving fought versus the Commonwealth of Virginia for the right to marry in 1967.  Thirty-five years later we were married and began to build our family.

From our family, Just Us Four Carters, thank you Mildred and Richard Loving for your fight that allows us to be a family.

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For more on the Lovings and the case Loving v Virginia visit

NPR from today and in 2007Loving Day and HBO.

Make it a great week.  Love one another.

Sparkle on,

Aimee

I would love to see you on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest!

Friday Five: Running Balance.

5 Jun

This week we celebrated National Running Day.  This makes me wonder, who comes up with this stuff and why do we all buy into it?  OHHHH look, today is national donut day.  That’s something I can get behind.  But I digress.

Here’s the thing about what I’m learning about myself lately.

Hello, my name is Aimee and I don’t love running. 

Hello my name is Aimee and I know running is the best thing for me. 

There you have it.  The internal fight I have with myself.  I find other fitness a whole heck of a lot of fun.

Here’s me and my bestie at Women’s Football camp last week.  I LOVE football.  I love laughing with my friends, learning new tricks and hitting things.  I mean, they are foam pads, but I still love hitting them.

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Here I am at a work out about two years ago with weighted ropes during Group Exercise. Don’t let the grimace fool you – I loved this workout!

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and getting a good sweat on during a lifting session

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You know I love running and obstacle course runs.  You see the joy I have on my face after races.  So I will run.  But I will stay more in balance with my life and my workouts.

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For the past six months I’ve been so focused on running and getting half marathon ready that I forgot about my total fitness.  I’ve lost some flexibility, some strength and added on some pounds. Yes, my body is changing, my legs are looking better and more toned, but for my happiness and overall wellness I need to get some balance.

Whether you are a runner, a weight lifter, a cyclist, a climber, love the elliptical, swing a kettle bell, do Barre, shake it at Zumba, or still use an old Jane Fonda DVD, think if you are getting balanced fitness.  I just ran/walked a half marathon. GREAT.  But then I struggled doing squats and lunges last Friday night at football – ok, I mean I DID them thinking I was a fitness badass but I couldn’t walk on Saturday afternoon after coaching soccer in the morning. I texted my friend and said “LAST NIGHT SUCKED! I can’t move!” And she politely explained that I didn’t need to go hard on every move, I could half ass some things now and again (ok, I used some editing liberties with what she told me, but you get the point). I WANT TO GO HARD on every move.  The point of all of this is that I have one life to live and I won’t live it going half ass. If I work towards total fitness I don’t have to do half squats when I’m capable of so much more.

Try something new.  Change up your workouts.  CROSS TRAIN to maintain total body wellness.  Spinning AND yoga.  Lifting AND running.  Think of it like this – you wouldn’t only workout your upper body, you need to work your lower body too.  You wouldn’t only work your biceps and ignore your triceps.  Don’t just focus on your cardio and skip the strength.

Run your life in balance.

To find out how others are celebrating National Running Day and why they love to run check out the DC Trifecta of Courtney at Eat Pray Run, DC, Cynthia of You Signed Up for What?!? and Mar from Mar on the Run, for their Friday Five series. And for more Fitness tips visit  Friday Fitness with Jill at Jill Conyers.

Happy Friday!

Sparkle on,

Aimee

I would love to see you on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest!

Tastemaker

4 Jun

As many of you know, I am a Tastemaker for a company I absolutely LOVE:  Relay Foods. I’ve had friends tell me for years – you gotta go work for them you love them so much.  And now I kind of am.

What does being a Tastemaker mean?  Well, I am trying out the recipes that they share on their Meal Plan to be sure that they taste great, the recipes are easy to follow, both kids and adults will enjoy the dish, etc. Each week I’m sent a variety of menus to choose, I select one to try, I’m given a coupon code for half off the dish, I order my weekly selections from Relay including the dish I selected….and I pretend I’m a chef and whip up the dish following their instructions.

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The kids modeling for upcoming Relay Foods ads. A perk of being a Tastemaker!

I’ve told you before how Relay Foods keeps me organized with my food prep.  I can plan ahead what we’re eating, what I’m serving, and what I need to grab for the week by following my weekly schedule with Relay Foods.

I have tried other “Meal Planning” websites like Blue Apron, but they don’t work as well for our family.  With sites like these (there are a half dozen or more) they send you a prepared menu of food – there is not an opportunity for you to choose what your family likes to eat.  There are also no leftovers, no chances to substitute, etc.

FOR EXAMPLE: this week I tried the shrimp and zucchini noodles (it was delicious and we’d make it again!).  It called for the shrimp to be a bit spicy.  At the end of the recipe there are tips for how to serve the meal so that the kids will eat it.  GENIUS. (I just added half the spice to the dish for the kids and more kick at the end for us, but their version would have worked too).  It also tells you what you can do with leftovers.  THERE ARE LEFTOVER ingredients to make another meal, or more of this one if you want some for tomorrow’s lunch.

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On most dishes you can pick a variety of option including paleo, gluten free, etc. for your families needs.  You don’t get that with the out of the box, Blue Apron, Plated, etc. I pick dishes that I know will be crowd pleasers and if I pick something I know DOC and I will love, I can prepare ahead of time to serve the kids something else that night (cereal anyone? KIDDING)

The other complaint I had about the others was ALL THE CHOPPING.  With Relay Foods I can choose, in a lot of instances, to pick an already prepared option instead of one you have to chop.  I’m a lazy cook on school nights – give it to me prechopped thank you.

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When you click on a recipe all of the ingredients pop up.  Some you may already have in your pantry (chili spice and garlic pictured above) so you can unclick those ingredients to save you some money.  Sometimes you know you’re going to want to make more of something or it’s on sale (like the shrimp were this week) so you can add extras to your cart.

You see where I’m going with this?  Relay Foods just makes sense.  Its more intuitive for folks who like to cook, experiment and know what they like.  The recipes are easy to follow for those who are LESS adventurous in the kitchen.

I’d love for you to give Relay Foods meal planning a try.  Thanks to their amazing discounts ($30 off your first Relay order when you spend $50- that’s $30 in free groceries – MATH yo) and a great referral program so you can save money now and recruit friends to help pay for your future orders.  There WILL be future orders!  Just click on my link to try your first meal plan, then click on the “MEAL PLAN” box in the top right corner to start selecting your meals for the week.

Let me know, have you tried a meal planning site?  What did you like or not like about the program?

Make it a great day!  Get adventurous in YOUR kitchen!  Or you know, cereal for everyone!

Sparkle on,

Aimee

National Running Day

3 Jun nationalrunningday

Happy NATIONAL RUNNING DAY a celebration of running.


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There are so many reasons why I run.   To burn off the crazy.  To burn off the carbs. To get alone time.  To have fun with my girlfriends.  To meet new people.  To show the kids a healthy lifestyle.  For the beer.  For wine.

But mostly I run because I can and I’m worth it.  I deserve to live a happy healthy life dedicated to LIVING and not just waiting for the next exciting thing to happen.  Sure, laying on the couch and falling into a tv marathon is fun.  But it’s not a life.  A life is to be lived, moving in the great big world.

Get out.  Grab a hold of your life and run (or walk, bike, skip, lift, row, climb – whatever connects you to the world and your passion).

Celebrate National Running Day and get moving!

You’re worth it.

What do you run for?

Sparkle on,

Aimee

I would love to see you on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest!

Wordless Wednesday

27 May

Ok.  Three words.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DOC.

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Summer Bucket List

26 May

Last week I talked a bit about what we’re working on for the kids for this summer.

This weekend we tackled one of the items on that summer bucket list and I can’t wait to do more!

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This weekend we hiked up to Sugar Hollow and let the kids swim in Snake Hole.  No snakes were seen THANK GOODNESS! We actually thought we were headed to Blue Hole, but we didn’t exactly follow directions.  Now I’m thankful we have another hike in our future back up there!  It was a little crowded, so maybe we won’t pick a Saturday morning again.

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I’ll know for next time to take the snacks along with us.  I had one cranky girl on my hands by the end of the hike and swim. The kids did great, we met some friends along the path and enjoyed the most perfect late spring day with no humidity.

We didn’t hike with the kids when they were younger because I don’t want to end up carrying someone back down the path. I have enough issues keeping myself from falling, let alone keeping someone else upright.  Now, I’m reading every review I can to see which hikes are kid friendly and can get us out there more.

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Thanks to some crowd sourcing I found these hikes from my facebook friends that are on this summer’s bucket list:

Lewis Falls
White Oak Canyon
Humpback Rock
Crabtree Falls
Spy Rock
Mint Springs

Any that you’d add?  Any tips you’d share for hiking with kids and newbie hikers?

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Make it a great week!

Sparkle on,

Aimee

I would love to see you on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest!

Friday Five: Summer Eats

22 May

As always, I’m linking up with the BassAss DC Trifecta of Courtney at Eat Pray Run, DC, Cynthia of You Signed Up for What?!? and Mar from Mar on the Run, for their Friday Five series. I link-up because I get so many good ideas from the other bloggers. No.  I mostly link up because they give me a topic.  #LazyBlogger.  Seriously, love these girls for putting this link up together and I hope you go check them out!  I’m also linking up today with the Virginia Bloggers for fun activities to do around Virginia.

This week’s topic is your favorite summer fruits and vegetables but, I mean, really, didn’t I JUST write about my favorite fruits and veggies for spring?  How is it SUMMER ALREADY? I have eaten some amazing and delicious strawberries and the freshest asparagus and my fair, who am I kidding, more than my fair share of local wine but I didn’t get pizza, basil or local cider yet!

I love summer because everything is so fresh!  I know people don’t like to cook in the summer because it’s so hot, but with so many fresh fruits and vegetables there’s not much you have to do IN the kitchen, just eat your veggies nice and fresh and use the grill when you need to.

The most perfect summer food has to be the tomato.  We eat tomatoes all year and then when you bite into a fresh from the vine summer tomato you wonder what in the world you’ve been eating all year.  The summer tomato is glorious.

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Gazpacho, lemon water and a tomato basil salad.

I’ve written before about my love for gazpacho and the great recipe I use to make mine.  I also try and find the best gazpacho each summer at a local restaurant.  Cold soup is not everyone’s favorite, but I swear it is heaven in a bowl when it’s made right.  (Sticks, who is currently in the lead for Charlottesville gazpacho Aimee loves, you let me know when you’re ready.) The recipe I shared before is easy if you have a good food processor and a batch can last all week… but usually doesn’t… because it’s just that good!

Corn On The Cob, zucchini, fresh peaches (oh, here’s a little boozy peach milkshake I whipped up) and cucumbers are on our Relay Foods list almost weekly in the summer.

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Earn $30 off your order of $50 worth of groceries!

Our grill is broken and that needs to get fixed ASAP because what is summer without grilling all the meats and veggies and relaxing outside?

Cool tomato and cucumber salads with vinegar and salt.

Grilled zucchini with a little olive oil and parmesan.

FRESH picked corn on the cob.

And cool fresh peaches picked right off the tree at Carter Mountain.

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Peach pickin’ or peach eatin’ Girl?

Bring on Summer!

Now… where’s that Cider I didn’t get yet this spring?  RIGHT!  To Bold Rock we go!

Happy Memorial Day!  Enjoy this kick-off to a cool, safe, happy summer!

Sparkle on,

Aimee

I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and Instagram… and of course Pinterest!

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