photo of the weekend

photo of the weekend –

this love

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so strong. so pure. so innocent.

“i love you, baby william! i love you soooooo much!”

these are audrey’s words that she’s spoken since the day william was born.  as he gets bigger, harder for her to hold yet more responsive to her actions, her words remain the same. when audrey was over this weekend, she grabbed his face, told him how much she loved him, and smooched his cute little face over and over again.

i love it. i love them.

more to say about the weekend, but it’s gotten late this sunday night. so i leave you with this: be kind to those around you and love like nobody’s watching.

these wee ones have got it right.

life lessons from the littles.

linking up with katie & erin

50-40-30-20-10 Workout

Oh, hello Friday; I am welcoming you with open arms!  Today’s post is a Five Things Friday with the categories of Food, Fashion, Baby, Health, and Fitness.  There’s a little something for all of you!

Food

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I ordered a pack of Essential Coconut coconut butters and they just arrived!  Creamy cashew was the first I opened (fantastic!), and I made myself a rule that I will only open one a day.  I could honestly literally eat an entire jar of nut (or coconut) butter in one sitting.  Not healthy, I know, people.  Moderation.  The other flavors are sweet almond, honey pecan, and original. DROOL.

Fashion

I’m all about shopping online these days.  My life is busy, and running errands with the little man is hectic enough.  Trying on clothes with him while out?  Forget about it.  My favorite online boutiques with affordable prices are: Simple Addiction, Mindy Mae’s Market, and White Plum.  I bought several pieces for the winter, and am now in need of a few new ones for the spring.  Are there any other boutiques I should know about?

Baby

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My baby has his first ear infection!  Last week while in Arizona, William’s sleep was the worst it’s ever been.  It’s no secret that he’s never been a good sleeper, but last week was atrocious.  I attributed it to being in a new place, but it got worse when we returned.  Long story short, I took him to the doctor on Monday and they discovered he has his first ear infection.  I’m glad they found something which was causing his discomfort. It was so sad to see him miserable.  He’s definitely on the mend now thanks to antibiotics!

Health

As most of you know, William is a frequent vomiter.  We’re still not sure of the cause, so I thought I would try some probiotics for him.  It was good timing because probiotics restore the normal flora (bacteria) in the stomach that the antibiotic kills.  The probiotics I was recommended was Garden of Life RAW Probiotics for Kids.  They’re organic and I ordered them from iHerb (affiliate) because they have the best prices.  I’m not sure yet if they are making a difference because it’s only been a few days, but I’m glad to be giving William probiotics while he is on antibiotics and will most likely continue even when we’re finished with his medication. I mix them in with pureed baby food or yogurt, and he doesn’t even notice a difference.

Fitness

crossfit workout

This is a modified portion of the workout I did while at Camelback CrossFit in Arizona.  (Original full workout can be found HERE.)

50-40-30-20-10 Workout

  • 50 Wall Balls: This was the worst part.  BRUTAL.
  • 40 Kettlebell Swings: Be sure to maintain proper form. Don’t try to swing too heavy if your form will be compromised!
  • 30 Box Jumps: These are so much fun! Love love love!
  • 20 V-Ups: These were supposed to be “toes to bar,” but I can’t do those.
  • 10 Pull-Ups: I did banded pull-ups as a modification. The original workout called for “muscle-ups.”  Those are impressive to watch – my brother especially!

Tell me something about: food, fashion, baby, health, or fitness!

Working Out in Scottsdale

I love working out and I love being on vacation, so it only makes sense that I love working out while on vacation.  To me, vacation is all about checking out new cities and being away from “normal” life.  When I was in Arizona, I was able to get in a few workouts.  Working out in Scottsdale made my spring break trip all the more fun!

Justin took me to his CrossFit box: Camelback CrossFit.

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One word?  AWESOME!  The box was super clean which I didn’t even think was possible for a box.  It’s fairly new, so all of their equipment is in excellent condition.  Justin and I attended a midday class which meant it wasn’t very crowded.  The owners / coaches were clearly incredibly knowledgeable and safety was their top concern.  Since I’m not a CrossFit regular, they helped me make modifications and provided assistance when necessary.  Even being a newbie, I instantly got the community feel from this box.  People were supportive no matter what their fitness level was.  During the workout, the handstand push-ups were obviously my favorite.  And the wall balls sucked.  End of story.

PS: If you’re in Scottsdale, you should definitely check out Camelback CrossFit.  New members can take a class for free!

Dana took me to her gym for a hot yoga class.

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I always think it’s fun to take classes from various instructors, and this one was great. It was a tough workout that included lots of chaturangas and upper body work.  I told Dana to strike a pose for a photo, and she rocked a strong headstand:

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One day while William was napping, I decided to go for a quick jog.  And by quick I mean short. ;-)  I busted out one mile. At the beginning, I glanced down at my watch to check my pace.  I made it my goal to beat nine-minutes since I was just running one.

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Missed it by three seconds! Argh!  It still felt good to run though!

So those were all my formal workouts, but I did take William on a few walks and Justin and I went to the park one day to play.  And by play, I mean me and Justin.

I tried out crow…

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But Justin did it way better!

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So strong!

Handstands and cartwheels are more my style…

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Weeeeeeeeeee!

Do you like working out on vacation? What do you like doing?

Eating in Scottsdale

Since you know I like recapping each part of my vacations, I thought today I’d focus on the food.  While in Arizona for a few days, we mostly cooked and ate at home.  And by “we” I mean Justin and Dana (Well, the cooking anyway.  I definitely participated in the eating!).  Cooking and eating at home [usually] is healthier and saves money.  And it works out way better with a little one.

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We purchased that hook-on high chair for the trip, and it was perfect!

Alright, a look into my meals for today’s WIAW:

Breakfast:

breakfast

Justin was in charge of breakfast and loves eggs as much as I do!

  • Eggs and chicken sausage
  • Eggs and roasted vegetables
  • Eggs and quinoa and bacon

Mmm, everyone loves some good bacon once in a while, right? I sure do.  Justin used leftover quinoa and combined it with the eggs to make the last couple eggs go further.  Smart thinking!

Lunch:

lunch

So I clearly did a poor job of taking pictures of lunch.  This was the only one I photographed and it was turkey, cheese, hummus, horseradish, and mustard in a spinach wrap with blueberries, a pickle, and an orange fresh from their backyard.

Another day for lunch, I just grazed on snacks, and one day Justin and I stopped at D’lish which is a MUST if you’re in Scottsdale.  Along with our meal, we both ordered a “Breakfast Buzz” which includes vitamins, protein, espresso, milk, peanut butter, banana, and chocolate.  It’s amazing.  Since we were eating it in the afternoon, I ordered mine without the espresso, and when the guy delivered our drinks, he said, “Here’s the Breakfast Buzz and the Buzz Kill.”  LOL.

Snack:

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Justin and I walked to Buzz Berry and ordered a green juice and a gigantic cookie.  Hey, it’s all about balance, right?  The juice was very green.  We both agreed it could have used an apple or a hint of something sweet.  The cookie was fantastic!

Dinner:

dinner

I forgot to photograph our first dinner, but Justin made chicken, sweet potato fries, and vegetables.  The rest of our dinners were as follows:

  • Shredded pork that Dana made in the crockpot with barbecue sauce, quinoa, and roasted vegetables
  • A ton of sashimi and sushi from Sakana.  Justin sure knows how to order!  That photo was just half of what we got.  There were rolls, too.  I had a seaweed salad before this came which hit the spot; it has been awhile since I’ve gone our for sushi!  Also, did you know you can order fresh wasabi?
  • Dana picked up dinner from Flaco’s Tacos.  We got fish tacos, steak tacos, and a mushroom taco.  Beans, rice, chips, and guac were a must!  Great last dinner!

A photo of us during our night out:

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I love those two!

And my only request in regards to food for the week was to go out for ice cream.  They took me to Sweet Republic and it definitely didn’t disappoint.

sweetrepublic

One scoop salted butter caramel and one scoop brown butter pecan.  Nothing beats real ice cream.  So rich, so creamy, so good!

Do you like to eat out or stay in and cook while on vacation?

Arizona fun

As you know, William and I spent my spring break in Arizona with my little brother Justin and his wife Dana.  We are so grateful to be able to spend time with them, and had a blast, as always.  And Arizona? The weather there was amazing! Mid-seventies all week.  That’s the kind of weather I could live with forever!

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William, too.

Justin and Dana’s backyard is awesome.  They have a swimming pool, orange trees, and a putting green.  Seriously.  William loved playing with the oranges and golf balls.

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I was happy to be able to dress William in his tank tops one last time before he grows out of them.  We’ll need to get bigger ones for summer in St. Louis.

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Hello, baby arm rolls!

And that Uncle Justin sure can make baby William laugh!

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Big thanks to Justin and Dana for hosting us. We wouldn’t have wanted to spend our spring break any other way!

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We love you!

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What have you been up to lately?

Linking up with Katie and Erin!

Affordable Jeans + $50 Kmart Gift Card Giveaway {CLOSED}

This post is sponsored by Kmart. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

How and why are some pairs of jeans so darn expensive?  I know I’m not the only one to think that is absolutely ludicrous.  I don’t spend hundreds of dollars on one pair of jeans.  Partly because I’m a teacher and my salary doesn’t allow for that, but also because I think there are tons, literally tons, of other options in a more affordable price range.  Specifically, the Adam Levine Denim Collection from Kmart is one example.

findyourfit

  • The Adam Levine Premium Denim line launched Fall 2013 – exclusively in 500 select Kmart locations and on kmart.com.
  • The Premium Denim line is a great line for a sophisticated yet simple, casual man with an edge and features a wide variety of items, all made with great fabrics and great designs.
  • The Premium Denim line includes skinny, slim leg, straight leg and boot cut fits, which all give off a cool and classic vibe for everyday wear.
  • The Premium Denim line features authentic vintage denim in a wide range of colors and washes (including raw with selvage trim, dark indigo rinse, bleached indigo and many more) at an accessible price point under $40.
  • The line also consists of amazing outerwear, wovens, knits, underwear and accessories including hats, scarves, socks, belts, sunglasses, shoes and bags.
  • Prices from $14.99-$69.99 for apparel and $9.99-$16.99 for accessories.

I sent my brother Jason to Kmart to check it out and get a real guy’s opinion.

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The verdict?  He couldn’t stop talking about the prices!  Jason chose the Men’s Patriot Straight Leg Jeans in Light Wash.  A versatile essential, these jeans give a contemporary update to vintage style. This easy jean sits lower on the hips and is cut straight through the hip and thigh for a modified all-American look and feel. Proper positioning on the scuffing, whiskering and sand blasting creates the perfect worn-in, faded look.  And the best part?  They are $29.99!  Thirty bucks for a pair of jeans!

The shirt Jason is wearing is Adam Levine’s Men’s Baseball Henley Shirt.  The sleeves come in three colors: red (shown), navy, and yellow.  All classic colors that pair nicely with denim, colored or patterned pants.  The price? Eleven dollars!  The shirt is soft cotton with three-quarter sleeves and a slim, flattering cut, especially for muscular guys like Jason. ;-)

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The only thing that would make Adam Levine’s collection better is if he had options for babies or ladies.  Affordable clothes are the best for everyone!

Now, for the giveaway! One lucky Itz Linz reader will win a $50 gift card to Kmart!  All you have to do is check out the Adam Levine Collection and leave a comment on this blog post with what you’d purchase from it and for who (mandatory).  Additional optional entries include:

  • Follow Itz Linz and Kmart on Twitter, and tweet the following, “I want to win a $50 @Kmart gift card from @ItzLinz to check out the #AdamLevineCollection! –>  http://wp.me/p2WMfo-30H”
  • Follow Itz Linz and Kmart on Instagram.
  • Tag two friends on my #AdamLevineCollection Instagram post.

Be sure to leave a separate comment on this blog post for each entry. This giveaway will be open until Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 at 8:00 pm CST. A winner will be randomly selected and announced on Thursday, March 26th, 2015.  Closed!

Congratulations to #86 katie! You will be emailed. Thank you to all who entered.

We’re in Arizona!

Hello from Arizona!  Yesterday was my first time flying alone with William, and to say I was nervous is a huge understatement.  Luckily, everything went fine, William was awesome, and we made it to sunny Arizona!

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I packed a million toys to keep William occupied on the plane, including several new ones.  He loved looking out the window, and since our flight wasn’t full, I was able to bring his car seat on the plane. I still held him the entire ride, but we used his car seat as a toy carrier and he was able to choose what he wanted.  A couple hours into the flight, this happened:

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Oh, sweet sleeping baby.  He slept for almost an hour, and then we touched down.  I hope our flight home goes as smoothly!

We’re more than just a little excited to spend a few days with Justin and Dana.

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Even William is saying, “Yaaaaay!” and cheering!

Not many plans are in the books, but Justin talked about taking me to his CrossFit box, and Dana wants to show me her gym.  Workout while on vacation?  Absolutely!  We’ll also spend lots of time outdoors, William may get to swim for the first time, we’ll go on plenty of walks, eat delicious food, and we will visit this lovely lady.

William has only flown twice in his life: once to Ohio when he was just twelve weeks old to see Justin and Dana get married, and now to Arizona.  Justin and Dana are pretty special and totally worth traveling for!

justin dana march15

See? How fun are they?

Have you ever been to Arizona?

Zero Carb Protein Powder

I love motivational messages.  I love thinking about how they apply to my own life.

we're all more than muscle

We’re all more than muscle.

Well, that’s true.  But what does it mean to you?  To me, it makes me think about everything that I’m made of.  Strength.  Passion.  Honesty.  Courage.

That’s the top of a new-to-me protein drink: Isopure.  There’s literally ZERO CARBS in it and 40 grams of 100% whey protein isolate. Yes, FORTY.  Crazy, I know.

isopure

Isopure protein drinks come in glass bottles which I love (I hate plastic).  They have nine flavors: Apple Melon, Blue Raspberry, Grape Frost, Icy Orange, Passion Fruit, Pineapple Orange Banana, Alpine Punch, Coconut, and Mango Peach.

How are the drinks clear? The microfiltration process used to create Isopure is so complete that it is the only completely clear milk protein when it is dissolved in water.

isopure drink

The Isopure website has a fun recipe tip: Fill a popsicle tray with your favorite Isopure Zero Carb RTD and chill it out – a few hours later, you’ll have delicious, icy-good, protein-packed popsicles, that will cool you down after the toughest of workouts.  Protein popsicle?  Amazing!  And perfect for summer!

Isopure also has zero carb whey protein isolate powder.

isopure zero

(Please note that since the powders have a vitamin/mineral premix, the powder will be cloudy when dissolved as not all the vitamins/minerals are soluble).

Lean mean carb free machines.

  • The Isopure Zero Carb powder packs 50 grams (per 2-scoop serving) of 100% pure whey protein isolate, without a carb in sight.
  • It still comes with glutamine, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to keep your muscles tough, lean and ready to rock it.
  • Isopure Zero Carb has 10,900 mg of BCAA’s and 4.6 grams of L-Glutamine.
  • Lactose and Gluten Free
  • The powerful protein powder is available in 1lb, 3lb, and 7.5lb size tubs
  • Comes in a variety of seriously delicious flavors: Creamy Vanilla, Dutch Chocolate (Low Carb), Strawberries & Cream, Cookies & Cream, Banana Cream, Mint Chocolate Chip, Toasted Coconut (Low Carb), Mango Peach, Alpine Punch, Apple Melon, and Pineapple Orange Banana

Here’s the thing, so I can keep it real with y’all: I obviously don’t eat carb-free.  However, I do enjoy learning about and testing various products.  I had never heard of Isopure before, and am amazed at how much whey protein isolate it includes (40 grams in their drinks and 50 grams in their powder!), and the fact that it has NO carbs baffles me.  The few flavors that I tried, did taste good.  Just because it doesn’t contain carbs, doesn’t mean you have to eat it carb-free. You could easily stir the protein powder into a bowl of oatmeal for a healthy dose of complex carbs.  Just my two scents.

Moral of the story?  Isopure is LOADED with protein.

Follow Isopure on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Have you ever heard of or tried Isopure?

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Isopure.

three miles

Last weekend I ran two measly miles (though not so measly since they were my first miles I’ve run in three + years!).  This weekend I ran three miles.  3.24 to be exact.  Every little bit counts.

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My time was slightly faster than last weekend.  Not by much, but the goal, once again, was just to finish.  And finish I did!  Thanks to my sister Stephanie for pushing me through.  Several times during our run she asked, “How are you doing?  You ok?”  NO!  I huffed and puffed back.  Then I told her I was stopping at three miles exactly, so I could walk.  She told me I wasn’t since her house was just a tiny bit further.  She’s always been so bossy.

When we did arrive back to her house, we were greeted by her two kiddos and husband who were playing outside.  As if I wasn’t tired enough, we decided to take jumping pictures.  I love jumping pictures (you know that).  I never say no to jumping pictures.  It must have been the warm air, the bright sun, and the good mood everybody was in as we were totally feeling spring time.  We started jumping…

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And we didn’t stop jumping!

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Three is just the right age to start teaching wee ones how to take great jumping pictures.  We jumped, jumped, and jumped.  And when my mini-me was too tired to jump anymore, she hopped right up…

jump aud

And we jumped together!  That was actually really, really hard!

Since we weren’t quite tired enough from all the jumping pictures and running, we decided to give handstands a shot.

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Make sure you note Jacob in the background!

Earlier in the day, William and I got cleaned up to attend a lovely birthday party.

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I got lots of compliments and questions about the necklace I was wearing.  Yes, it’s a “mom’s necklace” or “nursing necklace.”  It’s from momsnecklace.com where she makes crochet jewelry for moms and babies.  William loves holding it and chewing on the beads.  She has tons of other gorgeous items on the site, as well!

William is just such a stud, I can’t help but take a million pictures a day of him!

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I just love everything about him!

The weather this weekend was so awesome.  It was perfect, and we spent as much time outdoors as possible.  Sunday included a play date at the park.  Little man looked stylish in his sunglasses (for about two seconds)!  He really did like the swing though!

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And that’s a wrap, folks!  My weekend in snapshots (well, most of them anyway – I post way more pictures on Instagram, so make sure you’re following me – @itzlinz).

What did you do this weekend? Did you spend any time outside?

Linking up with Katie for Marvelous in my Monday and Erin for Weekend Snapshots!

Spring Break Starts in Style

One of the perks of being a teacher?  Forever spring breaks!  If you know a teacher, I’m sure you’ve heard them talk about how they love breaks as much as the kiddos do!  I can attest to that!  As much as I love my students, my job, and teaching, it’s nice to be able to wake up with no agenda or time schedule.  And the fact that it’s finally starting to feel like spring around here just sweetens the deal.

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Baby in sunglasses?  Oh yes.  We’ve gone on walks every evening this week that it was warm enough, and have been absolutely loving this warm weather!  Today I’m actually sending William to his school and I’m taking a day for myself since I literally never get to do that.  Not that I mind devoting every spare second to William, but the pampering will be nice.  My plans?  Go for a run, take a long shower, get a manicure and pedicure, and get a massage.  Yeah, I’m excited to say the least!

I told a friend that I felt guilty for sending William to school when I was off, and she reminded me that I need to take care of myself in order to be the best mom for William.  I do take care of myself, but this will be an extra special treat.  My wonderful co-workers/friends at school actually gifted me a massage and mani/pedi.  I told you, I love my job!  A massage plus getting my nails done is like the ultimate pampering for me.  I love it so much, probably because it happens so infrequently.  But hey, I’ll take it!

And this little man is just kickin’ off spring break in style, as always!

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the sunglasses lasted a maximum of two seconds… just enough time for a photo!

How often do you pamper yourself?  Do you get a spring break?  Any plans?