Here's what I've got, babe...

111 items found

  • 3-Week Ab Challenge: Planks, Crunches & Weighted Abs

    Abs for dayssss... 21 days, to be exact. I made up this 3-week challenge to get my mom-tum summer ready, and I gotta tell ya, for just a couple minutes a day it really does the trick! I didn't want to make this so hella-long that I'd never stick to it — I knew, at most, I could carve out 5-10 minutes per day, and stay interested for a few weeks. Who doesn't have 5 minutes first thing in the AM {before you even change out of your PJs}, or last thing at night {while you binge Housewives}? Ya do. Trust me. Do I need to break out my whole "I'm a twin mom with two jobs and a firefighter husband" schpeal again? I didn't think so. Week 1 kicks off with planks to help strengthen your core all the way down. Week 2 gets into crunches, which were my gateway abs workout eonsss ago. And Week 3 closes out with weighted abs, because now that you have the strength, let's shred that core! Speaking of gateway abs... I stick to my original inspiration. Bald or not. Week 1: PLANKS I have a love-hate relationship with planks — probably because they're one of my most dreaded workout moves, but I know they work, so I know they're a must. I can do crunches all day long, but planks give me a pit in my stomach. Nonetheless, I know they're necessary because they totally proved themselves when I was postpartum and needed to restrengthen my core and get that mama-pouch to lift. Over a couple months I saw my droopy kangaroo pouch shrink up — and anytime I need to cinch it in before I start shredding it {especially when it comes to the lower pouch area}, I know I need to do the dreaded... #joinme! #itsfun! #itsnotbutitsnecessary I know what you're thinking — 2 minutes and 30 seconds holding a plank!? Pssshhhhh. Girl, bye. I know, I get it — but it's totally doable, over time. Anddd with a little help from plank distractors — aka, moves that mix up your plank and distract your mind from the fact that you're still holding a plank. Here are my go-to plank distractors: Week 2: CRUNCHES Almost 20 years ago {holyyy cow, when did I get old enough to say I did something 20 years ago... I digress...} I decided I didn't want to be miserable in my own body anymore — but I didn't know where to start, so I started small... Actually, no, I lied. I went all in and did like 1,000 bicep reps in one day so I could magically wake-up skinny and I ended up over-exhausting my muscles so badly that I had to wear slings on my arms for weeks. This is no joke — ask my mom, or my doctor who put me in slings. I was humiliated, and I realized right then and there that this would be a lifetime lifestyle change, not a quick fix. So then I started small, and I cut one bad thing from my diet and added one workout to my regimen. I cut out all soda, and added crunches {because, again, B.Spears abs}. At 16 years old I would lay on the floor every night and do my crunches. That's how it all started for me, so I will forever have a special place in my abs for crunches. I kid you not when I tell you that these were the exact moves I did every night for years. I could do them in my sleep — but I realize that they're not a "duh" for everyone, so here's a breakdown of exactly how you should be positioned: Week 3: WEIGHTED ABS After two weeks of building your core strength, it's time to SHRED those abs. You know how you do cardio to shed fat, and then you lift weights to tone your newly slim bod? This is the same concept. First you shed the fat with planks and crunches {cardio for abs}, and then you shred them with weights. I like to go heavier because your abs are stronger than you think, so I typically use 8-12lb. weights, but I may up the ante and use 12-15lbs. this time around. These moves are hard enough on their own, so any weight will make a difference — choose what works for you! You can also do a drop set, especially as we get into higher reps later in the week. Start heavier, and then alfway through drop down to something lighter. Teapot tiltssss, ya'll — now there's an ab move I could do all dang day. They kill your obliques in the best way possible. What is a teapot tilt you ask? Here's a breakdown of all of the weighted abs moves: Now, here's the real challenge: Take a picture on day 1, 7, 14, and 21. Even if you just keep it hidden away on your phone, you owe it to yourself to see your progress. Sometimes it's so hard to see in the mirror staring back at you {trust me — sometimes I still see that 183lb. girl}, but when you do a picture comparison side-by-side, you'll see the difference and it will keep pushing you. Plus, every-time you open your photos and see those pictures it will hold you accountable and keep pushing you to finish out the challenge. Want to really hold yourself accountable? Post your progress pics on Instagram, tag me @thenikkicagle, and use hashtag #SilverLiningAbs. Because, here's the thing — it may be hard work now, but the silver lining is core strength, abs, crop topsss, and feeling downright proud from the inside out. Who's with me!? #fitness #workout #abchallenge #fitmom

  • Beachwaver FAQs: ALL the Answers (Plus How-to Videos!)

    It still shocks me when someone says — with bewilderment in their eyes — it turns on its own!? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? Yes, the Beachwaver does, in fact, turn on its own. And yes, I am that "lazy" that I, as a stylist, would use an automatic curling iron. Besides the fact that it saves my wrists from cramping up after curling 9 bridesmaids, it's also uber fast, so hi — more heads per hour. I have no shame in my automatic-iron game. K, but it rotating at the press of the button and stopping on a dime isn't the only enticing thing about the Beachwaver {BW}. It also somehow creates the best wave, for any hair type, and holds. Like, brides have sent me pictures two days post-wedding with their style standing strong. I don't question the logic behind how the BW works such magic, I just roll with it {spin with it? curl with it? rotate with it, whatevs.} and keep my mouth shut. Apparently I've drummed up a fascinated fan-base, because ya'll have been blowing up my DMs with BW questions. And rightfully so, because this iron-meets-wand IS a must-have tool, after all. But, I get that at first glance & try it's a little different. So let me walk you through it so you fully understand my obsession and can figure out how to properly use this bad boy. FA-DMs {Frequently Asked Direct Messages} Q: What size do I get?! So, there are three sizes, and they correspond with inches, so the S.75 is 3/4 inch, the S1 is 1 inch, and the S1.25 is 1.25 inches. Rocket science, right? Not really. The size you should get reallyyy depends on the type of curl you're going for. If you have naturally curly hair and you're looking for a little something to help enhance your natural curl by taking a few rando pieces and curling them, you definitely want to go with the S.75. If you have short, medium, or long hair and you're looking for true boho beachwaves with a little spring in their step, you want to go with the S1. And if you have short, medium, or long hair and you're looking for more of a relaxed curl {or, for short hair, just a simple "bend"}, you'll want to go with the S1.25. Here's a comparison of the S1 and S1.25 so you can see the difference side-by-side. This is the long answer. The short answer is that you need them all. Seriously. Q: How do I get my curls to hold? Use the Beachwaver? Any Beachwaver? Ha, I kid. I really do think the BW has the best hold, but I've heard of newbies struggling to get the curls to hold and the number one culprit is that they're not wrapping the hair tightly enough around the iron. {The other culprit is that you're not prepping your hair with the right products, so first, start here with the right products, and then come back to learn how to curl tightly.} Making sure the hair is hugged tightly around the iron does not mean you're going to end up with uber curly hair. It just means that it'll help set the section of hair you're curling with more intention. And what is the NUMBER ONE rule about setting hair?! Don't touch the curl until it cools. Say it again with me: Don't. Touch. The. Curl. When you touch a curl that's still warm it'll instantly relax {and frizz} the curl. Allowing it to cool lets it set into place, and that way when you tousle out the curls with your hands or a brush at the end it'll just relax it, and not completely release it. Also guys, newbie suggestion: Practice. On your own, in the privacy of your own mirror, with no one staring down your neck. It takes a little coordination, but mostly it's just about getting comfortable with the iron. I will tell you that I've had clients who have no coordination, who could never maneuver a traditional iron or wand, and they mastered the BW after a couple of tries. If they can do it, anything is possible. #notnaminganynames Q: How do I avoid the clip "kink"? So, truth be told — I never really have this issue ::shrugs:: But I've heard woes from a few worried kinkers. I think my method of the "drag and smooth" to get fresh blunt ends eliminates. I also have this drag & re-curl technique that... well, that I'll never be able to put into words, so watch the video, yea? Q: How do I get the lived-in look? Ah yes, the coveted lived-in beachwave. You know the one — like what [insert Victoria Secret model name] rocks on the daily, as if she legit just emerged from the ocean #iwalkedoutoftheoceanlikethis. The key to this look is to curl away from your face, and drag the ends a bit to leave a fresh blunt look. Or, you can go back through afterwards and tap your ends with a flat iron! Q: How do I get the curls closer to my head? Curling awayyyy from your face and not towards your face will ultimately get you closer to your scalp because you won't be afraid that you're going to singe your face. But you can also do the "drag and curl" {now coined the "dragon curl"} method which helps you curl an entire piece of hair in stages. Let me walk you through it... Q: How do I get waves without looking poofy? For starters, the right prep products that will help keep your poof at bay. Then, letting the curls set and cool completely will help to minimize frizz. Lastly, using a serum to smooth the curls will help decrease "poof" while still maintaining the formation of the curl. If you have naturally curly hair or hair that's prone to poof, I would use your hands to smooth and tousle curls instead of a brush. If you have straighter/smoother hair from the start, you can definitely use a brush to soften your curls, but make sure you're using the right brush, like BW's On Set Pro Brush. Q: How do I get the curls to wave "backwards" (away from my face)? You know how Victoria Secret models look like they're always walking down a runway with a fan lightly blowing their waves back? Yea, the Beachwaver did that. (No kidding, Sarah Potempa, brains behind the BW, created those VS waves!!) The trick is to curl away from your face, especially for hair that's in front of your ear line. Q: Does it work on short, shoulder-length hair? Yes, ya'll! The BW does not discriminate. I love using the S1 or S1.25 on shorter hair. For beachier tousled curls I use the S1. For a chic "bend" I use the S1.25. And if it's already a head of curls I'll enhance with the S.75. If this helped but you are still stumped on some things and want me to do an Instagram Live to answer you're Q's in real-time and really dive deep, let me know! I would be willing to brave up if enough people requested it... and I had some wine on hand for liquid courage. #howto #hair #hairvideo #hairtutorial #hairtips #beauty #beautytips

  • Hair Prep: Fresh Out of The Shower

    Sometimes I forget that we're not all hair stylists and the simplest things like prepping your hair right out of the shower can be completely overwhelming. So, welcome to my "no duh" hair segment, where I share the things that are a "duh" to me as a stylist, but completely foreign to those who pay me good money to wash and prep your hair for you. #noshame Obvs I mean this as no offense, because I too came from a place of "I put what in my hair? Wait, start from the top..." It's all in trial and error (lots and lots of error and wasted money on products, but who's counting) — in reality, what works for me, may not work for you, but I give tips below for thick, fine, curly, and straight hair so you can tweak as you please. Okay, so, before I dive in to this regime, let me harp on this very important fact: How you prep your hair fresh out of the shower {from "birth," as I often refer to it} will completely impact how well it will style, how long it will hold that style, and how long it will last before you have to wash that dirty thang. Some people think that adding product will gunk up their hair and cause them to wash sooner and more often. Au contraire ladies — it's quite the opposite. Product helps to sop up the natural oils in your hair and creates grit and hold, opposed to grease and limp locks. Now, of course, everyone's hair is different, and it might take some training, but tune-in to how your hair reacts to products and adjust your hair care routine accordingly. I once was an every 2-3 day washer — now I last a week! #whatnow My go-to products Step 1: Tigi Bedhead Split End Mender ($12.48 on Amazon) - After towel drying my hair, I use this first thing as a leave-in conditioning lotion, which also helps to seal your split ends. Good for: Thick, coarse, long, or curly hair Skip if: You have thinner hair because this could weigh you down — start with Step 2! Step 2: Healthy Sexy Hair Tri-Wheat Leave-in Conditioner ($11.59 on Amazon) - I spritz this throughout to help break up any tease I had going on up in there, and make it so I'm not completely yanking hair out when I brush. Good for: All hair types, lengths, and styles Step 3: My Amazing Repair and Shine Secret ($9.98 on Walmart.com) - A tiny dot goes a long way! This will protect from heat and fight frizz. Good for: Thick, coarse, long, or curly hair Alter if: You have thinner hair — just use an M&M size and concentrate on mid-to-ends {avoid roots} Step 4: Kenra Root Lifting Spray 13 ($17 on Ulta.com) - This doesn't have to be applied super precise — just make "splices" in your hair and spray at the root {see video for technique}. Good for: Everyone and their mother!! One of my most suggested products. Everyoneee needs oomph at the root. Step 6 {Guess what guys, I dumb, and I don't know how to count, so I skipped a "step 5" in my video — whoops, guess who's human!!}: Kenra Strengthening Sealer Mousse ($17 on Ulta.com) - My newest obsession because it strengthens and conditions while plumping you up. It's also light-weight and goes a longgg way. Good for: Thick, coarse, long, or curly hair {a golf-ball sized dollop will do you good!} Alter if: You have thinner hair — just a tiny squeeze of the nozzle will give you a good-sized dollop, and all you need is a marble size. Step 7: Brush with Wet Brush ($6+ on Amazon — I just saw this cheetah one and now I must have... even though I currently have 3 #addstoamazoncartanyway} Tip: Can also brush after Step 3 and then continue adding more products Step 8: Rusk Shining Sheen Mist ($13.78 on Amazon) - There's just something about the way this smells — it's like perfume for your hair! Oh, yea, and it helps protect against heat, humidity, and frizz... but the smell! Good for: Thick, coarse, long, or curly hair — especially before blowdrying Alter if: You have thinner hair — you might want to consider using a more lightweight shine spray like Kenra Silkening Mist {also a great protectant spray for all hair types when your're styling with heat tools} Step 9: Kenra Blowdry Spray {$33 on Ulta.com} - If you're going to roll right into your blowdry, this is a MUST. It protects your hair from heat and humidity, and get this — cuts your blowdry time in half. Say whattt! I know, but it's so true, and I don't blowdry a single client without using it. It's probably the product my clients end up buying most after I use it on them. Now, what "no duh" segment should I do next?! #howto #blowout #hairvideo #video #Hair #hair #hairstyle #hairhowto #hairtutorial

  • How to Shop SHEIN.com For The Good Stuff

    "You shop SHEIN, right? Do you think their stuff is actually... good? And where do I even start? It's endless, like Amazon." If I had a dollar for every message like this in my DMs. Then I could shop SHEIN, like, daily {'cause I don't already do that... I don't, babe...} For those who don't know, well, buckle up, because you're about to inherit a new shopping addict site. SHEIN.com is a site that features extremely inexpensive trends for women, men, and kids, including clothing, accessories, shoes, swim, and more. It's one of those sites you go to and end up spending four hours flipping through pages; have 47 tabs open at one time to "check out"; and end up with 18 items in your cart. Like, Target for moms, but online. And that's okay! Because you'll probably still barely break the $100 mark. I've been shopping SHEIN for a couple years, and they've come a long way from previous hiccups, but there is still an art to shopping the site. Here's what to know: Chinatown: A majority, if not all of their pieces are made in and ship from China. Which means there's no "prime" shipping. It used to take weeks — up to a month — but now you can usually expect a 7-10 day turn-around. Chipper-chicken: There's a reason their pieces are so inexpensive — they are cheaply made, and cheaply sold. You get what you pay for, but there are gems hidden in there, so don't shy away. But do expect a lot of polyester, and absolutely no cashmere {do people still wear that?}. Reviews and description are key. I have never, not once, bought something on SHEIN that didn't have a review {unless it's cheapo jewelry}. Reviews will not only tell you what size to order, but most of the time they include IRL pictures {because you get points for uploading pictures with reviews and points equal store credit!}. The description tells you legit measurements of the piece, plus — and this is important — whether it has stretch or not. I typically don't buy anything on SHEIN that doesn't have stretch because it's too hard to know how it will feel/fit. Better than review pics? The style gallery. This is where they feature pictures that bloggers submitted wearing the pieces. Not only will it show you how it fits different body types, it'll also give you different ideas on how to style something! Not every piece has a style gallery - only if pictures were submitted by a blogger. Tip: You can shop only pieces with style galleries. Sales: There is always one. Always. Check the header for the deal, go to their Instagram for codes {or Google}, and do not shop without a code. Unless you thoroughly enjoy throwing away money. 80% ain't bad: For every ten pieces I buy, I probably have two duds. I have never attempted a return {to China...}, but I know it's possible. I'm just too lazy and would rather toss is in the giveaway pile because it was probably $4 anyway... Also guys: SHEIN was also one of my favvv preggers shops because they're not actual maternity clothes, but they stretch like them, and you can easily transition them to postpartum. Here's a walk down how I shop SHEIN lane: If I'm just browsing and not looking for something specific {they have a search feature for that} then I almost always search by "style" or collection. I love shopping their Boho Vibes or Let's Go Retro collections {Hover over Women-What's New-New Trends/Collections-Choose a collection}. These collections and trends change often though, which is kind of the point. You can find more random collections and style galleries {uploaded by buyers/bloggers} under "Explore". Also, guys, can we just take a second to acknowledge all of the sale options and codes screaming at you on the first page. Take note! {There's also an actual "Sale" page, because, duh. #salesonsales} If you want to easily jump to shopping a Style Gallery, just scroll to the very bottom of the homepage and choose a style to shop: Anyway, back to me, and my love affair of boho vibes. Once you're on a specific page you can sift through the whole collection {endlessly}, or choose a specific type. Typically, for a larger collection {like, say, dresses in general} I'll filter by style {long, short, striped, floral, casual, whatevs} and sometimes by price, too. That helps me see all the sales {sale prices are in red}. Here's the downfall — you can't see just by scrolling through pieces which ones have reviews and style galleries. Hence why you end up with a million-and-a-half tabs open just to check it out. If I open and there's no review — peace out. If I open and there are reviews, that's where the real work begins {I swear shopping is fun}. This piece has a good bit of reviews {and they're good}, and it has two color options {note that sometimes different colors have different pricing — which can sometimes work for you, or against you}. Oh! And another fun feature to point out is that once you create a login you can "heart" things, aka, save them in a favorites list to come back to later if you're not quite ready to purchase this time. This piece doesn't have a style gallery {boo}, but when you get to the reviews you'll see that they put all of the reviews with pictures up front. The reviews give an overview of how reviewers thought the piece fit, and then each individual review can sometimes give you tons of info, like what size they ordered, their size measurements for reference, and then their description of the piece. Good lookin' out, girl. And, just because I wanted to show you guys what a piece with a Style Gallery looks like... Don't be selfish: Buy something for the kids & hubs while you're there, too If you're like me and shop for your kids more than you do yourself... Don't forget they have kiddo clothes {and clothes for your fella}, and the same rules apply. Reviews are sweet, pay attention to sizing measurements and stretch vs. no stretch, and OH. MY. GOD. my daughter needs this {because they also have a mama-sized one!}: If you're an — ahem — experienced bargain shopper like myself, you'll notice a lot of the same "trendy" stuff from other online boutiques and shops {even Amazon}, so sometimes you just have to price it out. But for the most part, I find SHEIN to be cheapest because I almost always hit free shipping {who am I kidding — I make sure I do}, and their sale codes speak to me {Nikkiii, come shop meeee. Where's my blind-fold when I need it? #Birdbox #scarredforlife}. If you have any other questions, drop me a comment! Otherwise, ya'll know dang well I'm itching to get back to some of those pieces I came across. Byeeee! #shopping #bargainhunter #howto #pregnancy #fashion #style

  • 2019 Workout Calendar: Tone It Up Style

    Every year I create a workout calendar using Vistaprint {because they have the best sales and never disappoint on quality} — typically filled with quotes that I've cobbled together from Pinterest that basically say: MOVE YOUR ASS. It helps me to see a powerful quote staring at me in my workout room — especially ones from Jillian Michaels who I will gladly climb a mountain for. #girlboss There is also something so rewarding about writing down your workout in plain old fashioned pen-to-paper. I love looking back at a month filled to the brim with workouts and a few PR's sprinkled throughout {hopefully...}, and know that I can always go back to a month when I felt great and repeat the same workout patterns. Coming off the heels of a year completely dedicated to Tone It Up {TIU}, I decided to do the next logical thing and theme my 2019 calendar all around TIU. Because I'm that obsessed.. er, psycho... let's go with: Dedicated. How to make your own 2019 TIU calendar Simply right click, copy, and save each month's photo. Create a calendar through Vistaprint {or your choice of printing company}, and voila! And, because TIU is all about community, I am doing a giveaway on my Instagram for a free TIU calendar!! The calendar I create even has some additional adorable perks, like, duh: Karena and Katrina's {& baby Bella's} birthdays. I told you: "Dedicated." January February March April May June July August September October November December I also make one fitness goal for myself every year — something at least somewhat attainable. I'm not going to set myself up for failure and resolve to workout seven days a week, or run a marathon, or do anything completely crazy, but I do make it something out of my norm — something that will challenge me. So 2019's challenge is: Do a handstand. I'll check back in 2020 and let ya'll know if I was completely off my rocker. #fitness #fitmom #workout #weightloss #health

  • Drunken Cranberries Recipe: The Best Homemade Cranberry Sauce

    Any time I can lace a dish with alcohol — especially for the holidays — well, sign me right on up. I never in my life liked cranberry sauce — there's something about eating a can-shaped jello mold that just had me like, nahhh, I'm good. That is, until I met this recipe about 10 years ago {my god, I'm old} at a work function {forever in debt to that co-worker}. I have tweaked this recipe so many times over the years, but I have finally found the sweet spot. Sure, you could make it kid-friendly, but why not just scoop a bit out before adding the goods {read: Alcohol}, and have the best of both worlds {a buzz for you — and not for the kids}? Three main things about this dish before you officially add it to your Thanksgiving line-up {which you'll want to, trust me}: The recipe calls for frozen cranberry juice concentrate — and I know what you're thinking — no problem, I'll just stroll my booty on over to the frozen fruit aisle and pick up a couple cans. Wrong, so wrong. Frozen cran concentrate is becoming extinct, ya'll. It's a tragedy, really. I haven't ventured into finding a substitute for this yet {due to pure laziness}, so I go on a wild goose chase every year to find the frozen goods. And by "me," I mean I send out an SOS to my entire family and whoever finds it first buys every can on the shelf {because it's typically good for two Thanksgiving cycles}. As far as I can tell from Welch's website, they carry it mostly at Walmart and Safeway — though the hubs also found it as Weis this year. Be a nerd: Check the Welch's or Ocean Spray website trackers before going on a hunt, giving up, and just downing the bottle of GM. Double up. Hell, maybe even triple up? Quadrupling is not frowned upon, either. This bad boy goes fast, and you'll definitely want leftovers. If you find yourself with too many leftovers — even better. Let me tell you why: It serves more purposes than just a turkey companion. Picture me this {or taste me this}: Drunken cranberries over a baked brie {dead}; drunken cranberry meatballs {heaven}; or drunken cranberries poured into ice cube trays, frozen, and then plopped into champagne at Christmas {YOU'RE WELCOME}. Like I said, the more, the merrier. I almost always double this. Freezes well! If you want to keep this completely kid-friendly, just forego the Grand Marnier. It's easy to do because it's the last ingredient added. Or, add it and simmer it out longer so it cooks out the alcohol but keeps the tangy orange flavor. I don't exactly support this option or think that we'll ever be besties, but hey, to each their own. Drunken Cranberries Serves: 8-10 Total time: 20 minutes Ingredients 2 cans frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate 2/3 cups sugar 5 Tbsp. orange marmalade 1 orange, freshly squeezed 4 Tbsp. grated orange peel {I grate 1 orange and call it a damn day} 1/2 Tsp. ground allspice 2 12-oz packages of fresh cranberries {or frozen - but I prefer the pop of fresh} 1/4 cup Grand Marnier Instructions In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the frozen cranberry juice concentrate and sugar — mix well. Cook down, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves — about 3 minutes. Stir in the orange marmalade, freshly squeezed orange, orange peel, and allspice until well-combined. Take a moment, hang your face over the steaming pot {carefully — don't call me if you burn yourself, doofus}, and breathe in the wafting smells. If you're not in the holiday spirit after this, I can't help you, Scrooge. Add in the fresh cranberries and stir occasionally while the cranberries pop and cook down — about 10-12 minutes. Turn heat to low and add Grand Marnier — mix well and let cook for another minute {or longer, if you must cook the alcohol out}. Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes — then transfer to a glass bowl {warning: Will stain plastic!}. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Tip: Make the night before serving. These are best the next day {or even two days later} once the flavors have set in and the cranberries have thickened. Bonus that you get one dish out of the way the night before the chaos of a holiday! To thaw: If you took my advice and made a quintuplet-batch to freeze, you'll just want to pull the container out of the freezer and let thaw a bit on it's own for a couple of hours {I let mine thaw in the sink}. If I'm in a crunch I'll throw it in a saucepan and help it cook down faster, and then put it back in the fridge to firm up and cool down {again}. Happy holidays!! {Or, happy July, happy Wednesday, happy girls-night-in — whatever, I'm not judging. These are good anytime — and I for sure crave them throughout the year.} #recipe #holiday

  • Don't You Dare Make Me Feel Bad For Being Healthy

    Let's be clear — I don’t give a shit what you think about my healthy lifestyle. But that doesn't mean that your pestering and snide remarks aren't still hurtful {and annoying}. Living a healthy & fit lifestyle is selfish. And that’s okay — it SHOULD be selfish, because you’re not doing it for anyone other than yourself. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re being ridiculous — that you should just cave and do what’s easiest for the majority. That you shouldn’t be picky about what you eat, where you eat, or what time you eat. But that’s how it starts — excuses. Cowardliness. I did not get to where I am today by bending the rules to make others’ lives easier. Once I figured out that my life, health, and happiness should come first - I made sure it was. Nonetheless, there are five scenarios that I face time and time again. Somehow, it doesn't matter how long it's been known that "I'm healthy now," these things keep on happening, and they suck. 1. Making a mockery I first learned about nutrition when I did Weight Watchers in my 20s {she says as though she's ancient}. I went from no portion control, to literally weighing my food. I had a food scale — I was that person. But how else was I supposed to learn that you're not, in fact, supposed to eat the entire box of Rice-A-Roni {you probably shouldn't eat it at all, but ya know, #hindsight}? When I first started weighing and portioning out my food, I would always get the peanut gallery comments, "Oh, you're only eating that much? I should probably only eat that much too, huh?" No, Susan, you do you. If you're feeling guilty about what you're eating, you deal with that. Don't put your insecurities on me. I'll just be over here, weighing my salmon. 2. Salad security Sound the alarms {!!!!}, I'm ordering a salad, again. That's right people, I have turned to the salad page and I am settling in there. And somehow that ignites a rousing round of teasing. "Shocker, she's ordering a salad." This is not meant to be like, 'good for you girl, you have such restraint, turning right to the greens'. This is meant to be a bullying moment so that you can get as many people as possible to agree with you that salads are like, so dumb, and make you feel better about the triple burger with fries you just ordered. Yea well, funny thing about losing weight — your skin grows thicker and thicker in the process. My salad and I are not offended, but nice try. 3. Shocking discovery Yes people, I DO EAT. And, I eat real food. And sometimes, I even eat CARBS *gasp* I don't think the world needs a press release because I'm splurging on McDonalds {at 2am, but who's judging? #justmejudgingme}. So please hold your "Oh my god, she eats!" comments to yourself. Would you like me to call out every time you ate? 'Cause by the sounds of your seemingly ashamed comments, I don't think you do. 4. The free food complex I don't care if the food is free, that doesn't mean it's my only option. Picture me this: You're at a work event and they set out a massive buffet of BBQ, complete with the cheesiest of macs, mayo with a side of slaw, buns the size of Leia's hair, and the only green in sight is drowning in butter and bacon. But it's free, so you should just eat it, right? Let me ask you this — if someone offered you a free nose job, but you knew that it would mess up your body, would you still take it? Or, would you pay for the nose job that will make you feel amazing? Buy a salad and take some nibbles of the free buffet (if you must). Don't succumb to food pressure. 5. Odd man out "Nikki can't eat there." Look, I will find something anywhere. And if I can't then I'll eat a protein bar beforehand and have some nibbles of the good stuff without going overboard. You don't need to dis-include me because of my healthy lifestyle {NOT a diet people — healthy lifestyle. This is for life, not 30-days}. It doesn’t make me awkward - and if makes you feel awkward then that’s your problem, isn’t it? I'm not there for the food — I'm there to hang out with you. You wouldn't dis-include or make someone feel bad about where you're eating if they had religious or allergy restrictive diets, would you? If so, we're probably not having a meal together anyway. #byefelicia Chances are, if you have a problem with what I'm eating, then you really have a problem with what you're eating. Because I can tell you that my healthy friends never rag on me for ordering a salad. If you have a friend who is trying to lose weight, or someone who has devoted themselves to a healthy lifestyle — support them! You don't have to be doing the same thing, but if they're a friend, you shouldn't mock them. When we go out to eat, my hubs says, "What kind of salad are thinking?" And not in a shaming way, but because he knows that's how I roll — the same way I say to him, "What are you thinking? Buffalo chicken sandwich, or enchiladas?" {Fingers crossed for buffalo, because I could really go for just one fry.} I don’t care if you’re annoyed by the fact that I always order from the salad section of the menu. And it’s not my problem that my portion control makes you feel guilty about your lack of control. And I sure as hell am not going to hide my body because you’re self conscious about yours. I wasn’t born looking & feeling like this — I made myself like this. The only thing holding you back is yourself. Go after it — not after me. #fitmom #workout #health #fitness #weightloss

  • 9 Best Amazon Shops for Babies & Toddlers

    Do you have any idea how fast a baby grows? Fast, y'all. Like, lightening speed. So, spending $22 on an outfit for a baby to drool, spit-up, and spill pureed beets on, and then grow out of before you can even get the stain out, is pointless. Truth be told, if I'm not spending that much on a shirt for myself, I sure as hell am not spending that much on a onesie for my child. As a born & raised bargain shopper, my thirst for sale signs and inexpensive shopping runs deep. So deep that I will scour the ends of Amazon until I find the best quality, for the best price, with the best shipping. Oh, and did I mention I was a shopaholic? Yea, so I've tried & tested an Amazon shop, or two (or 14...). I read reviews, look at galleries, and make notes for shops to neverrrr try again when something comes in so gawd awful. Since I send my list out to moms-aunts-and-grandmas-to-be about once a week, I figured it was time to officially spread the love. These are my favorite Amazon shops for baby & toddler apparel, shoes, bows, and more — for girl & boy littles! Oh, and - tip on sizing breakdown, because US sizing is not usually listed. First off - read the reviews and see what reviewers say about the sizing they ordered and the age/size of their little — reviews and pictures speak a thousand words. Here's the basic breakdown, but may vary: Sometimes things run small, sometimes things run big. I'm telling you - reviews, reviews, reviews. I know that's annoying because who's got time to read all the reviews - but a sampling will give you an idea. I'll try to list sizing below so you can compare, too! BiggerStore This is probably one of my most frequently shopped for boys and girls. Sizing runs pretty on par (smaller over larger, though), and everything is always exactly as pictured! Prices range from $6-14, and when not on Prime, shipping is $1.99 per piece, and takes about 1-2 weeks. Just a sampling of our favs from BiggerStore! We've been shopping them since birth, and into toddler-dom. Itaar This was my go-to bow shop from the get-go! The head wraps are adjustable, so they grow with babygirl. And, hello, matching mama & mini headbands - I mean. Some of our favorite bows from Itaar - including these massive sequin bows that were perfect for every holiday (though, note that they run big, so the pictured green one is pinned. But they'll fit her for eons!) Greenafter Hilarious and on-par graphic tees, plus cute jumpers and rompers! Range from $4-15, and tons on Prime. Otherwise, shipping is $1.98 and takes 1-2 weeks. Great shop for baby shower and birthday gifts, too! Come on with this mini kimono! This is a size 2-3 years, worn at 18 months, and will fit her for years. With shipping it was less than $7. Oh, and shoes were from Hongteya on Amazon for $13. Good little slip-ons. Gellwhu This is our go-to sock shop! Knee highs, thigh highs, characters, plain — all the damn cute socks you can imagine on chunky little thighs. Prices range from $10-18, and almost everything is on Prime. They have socks for newborns and toddlers — and tons of headwraps, including mama & mini! We've been rocking these unisex socks since they were infants, and we'll continue rocking them until they don't squeeze on anymore! ITFABS I've only ordered one piece from here, and it was honestly a little weirdly shaped — a bathing suit that was cut just a wee bit low for my toddler. But, she's also tall, so maybe it was stretched that low. Either way, that's not stopping me from ordering more, because now that I'm in their store on Amazon I'm already swooning... bonus: It's so inexpensive! Ranges from $3-15, and when it's not Prime it's $3.98 shipping. Also, you'll notice a lot of the same stuff in multiple stores - and they range in pricing. Sometimes it's best to shop around for the best deal - including shipping. Obviously had to get her a cactus suit to match his Cat & Jack suit. #duh AlwaysFun Super cute outfit sets, joggers, holiday and graphic tee sets. Prices range from $0.01 (NO JOKE) and $12. Sometimes Amazon Prime, but otherwise added shipping of $3.99 per piece. Shipping typically takes about 3 weeks, give or take (excluding Prime pieces). Bought this for a baby shower gift - sooo cozy. Xaraza This shop has kiddo & grown-up clothes, so just make sure you choose "baby" or "boy/girl" in the categories on the left to narrow. I've only gotten one thing from this shop so far, but this one purchase is totally worth it, 'cause guys LOOK. And this is just one of many jumpsuit/overall outfits they have - all around $6, plus $2.99 shipping (with about a 2-week delivery). These overalls are super soft and stretchy - like thick leggings material! Hatoys I just newly came across this shop and have only ordered a few things so far — all of which are for an upcoming vacation, so my little babe hasn't worn them yet. But, they're so stinkin' cute, true to picture, and seem soft enough. Pricing varies from $5-15, and when not on Prime it's a whopping $0.50 shipping, y'all. Got this cute little number for Mexico — how stinkin' perfect?! It was only $7.70, including shipping, and I got a size 110 - which will likely be big on her when she's two, but will also fit her next summer! #holla Weixinbuy I've only gotten one thing from here so far, because I couldn't pass up on these drop-crotch pants! The shop has an eclectic mix of things beyond baby & toddler-wear, but gear for the littles range from $6-15, with most being Prime, and others being free shipping any way! #winwin Coolest dang kid on the block in these drop-crotch pants! They're pretty long in the legs, super stretchy, and a nice thickness, too! And on that note... I have about 17 tabs open that I now need to go shop. Questions on quality, sizing, etc. - drop me a note below! #TwinMom #MomLife #fashion #style #shopping

  • Tone It Up Ab Challenge: 10 Days of 10-Minute Abs

    Ten minutes. Ten minutes {or less} out of your entire day to build some ab strength. I do this 10-day line-up every time I'm working towards something. These quickie workouts are the perfect pairing with a cardio, booty, or yoga workout, and can be done at sun-up, sun-down, on lunch break, on the sidelines of the soccer field — wherev, whenev. And hi, if you don't know what Tone It Up (TIU) is by now, well then, you must just be happening upon my page for the first time, because I obsess & gush over them on the reg. They are down-to-earth girls who just happen to be besties, just happen to love fitness so much that they made a million-dollar {I assume, by now...} biz out of their love of fitness, and just happen to have built a community of girls strong enough to kick some serious ass. OH, and did I mention that these mega-babes are also in their mid-30s? So, yea, don't shy away because you don't think you're cut out for 21-year-old abs. These are the abs of 30-somethings. #bowdown Credit: Tone It Up on Instagram The Challenge A good bit of these daily ab workouts are from Studio Tone It Up, which I highly recommend. I do a Studio TIU workout probably 5-6 days a week - but that's a whole other blog in itself! Back to abtastic talk... I challenge you to take 10 minutes {or less} every day for 10 days straight. Do it, 'gram about it, and use the hashtag #10TIUabsUnder10. I triple dog dare you. Here are the links to the exact workouts, including suggested replacements for Studio TIU workouts {if you aren't a studio babe #butyoushouldbe}: Day 1: Love your body cardio abs Day 2: Abs pyramid {Studio TIU only. Replacement: Sleek & slender abs.} Day 3: Yoga sculpt abs rock Day 4: Yoga core quickie Day 5: 5-minute core burn {Studio TIU only. Replacement: The best quick cardio core workout.} Day 6: 7-minute lower ab workout {Studio TIU only. Replacement: Best 10-minute ab workout.} Day 7: Cardio wave abs {Studio TIU only. Replacement: ABSolutely gorgeous workout.} Day 8: Toned abs with Kat {Studio TIU only. Replacement: Best summer ab routine.} Day 9: K&K Abs Burner {Studio TIU only, but, here's the printable version to follow!} Day 10: Repeat your fav from above! You've got this, girl - day 10!! #fitmom #workout #health #fitness

  • An Epic Boy-Girl Twin First Birthday Party

    You know how you get a one-year grace period on sending a wedding gift {that's still a thing, right?}, well, the same goes for finally posting pictures of your twins' first birthday party. I made that up — but I'm going with it. You know damn well I started hunting down a first birthday theme right around the time I found out I was having boy/girl twins. So, needless to say, this was an epic party in the making. The issue is that I am so not a conformist. Sure, I like trends, but I needed my own twist. So there was no way I was doing the traditional Mickey & Minnie, Thing 1 & Thing 2, or Prince & Princess bullshit. #nooffense I needed something that was them — something that embodied our journey to get them, and how perfectly they fit into our lives. And one day, it just hit me — they're the theme. Nothing goes together better than Ranger & Sawyer. But how on earth would I execute a party that had no Pinterest roadmap?! With a heck of a lot of plotting, DIY'ing, whining {and wine-ing], and no shortage of extra hands. I may have gone a little overboard {may?}, but this party was a long time coming, so I let myself go crazy. Next birthday, though — Chuck E. Cheese. The theme: You can't have one without the other The Decor: ALL the twinning pics & an ode to the perfect {prickly} pair Menu Pairings: Things that go together, like... PB&J {roll-ups}, {snap} peas & carrots veggie platter, and bacon & {deviled} eggs Pretzels & beer Wine & cheese Kids & Caprisun Milk & cookies Birthdays & cake! The birthday babes in their last outfit change {yep. shut up.} And, now that I have created this wheel, there's no sense in you doing the same, so here are all of my printables - feel free to snag! Free Printables We used these "1's" on the backs of their custom made onesies for eating cake. Again, yes, I know — I'm insane. Banners by: cREate by Reanne Leigh Milk & Cookies onesies: Zulilly Twins On the Way shop ALL the ribbon, fans, & random decor: Michaels & Target {dollar spot!} Cakes: Made by TT {my talented sister!} using the giant cupcake pan My sanity: Wine Anything else you're dying to know where I got, or how I made it - drop me a comment and I'll divulge all of the details! If you're a twin-mom, or a singleton-mom, and you're gearing up to plan an epic first birthday party, I would love to say DON'T DO IT, SCALE BACK — but I know that, if given the chance, I'd do it all over again. Just have fun with it, and try to take a minute to soak in the day — and then sob into your wine because your babies are ONE!! #insertsobbingfaceemoji #TwinMom #Motherhood #MomLife #rainbowbabies #hostessinspo

  • Must Have Summer Beauty Products

    I switch up everything in the summer, from the make-up palettes I use on the daily, to the tanning products I douse myself in, and to the wine I drink — no joke. Everything has its time, and summer is the time to stock up on these puppies. 1. Sunless Tanning Pre-tan: uber pale. Post-tan {Southern Sun Tans spray}: bronzed baby! I am pretty ashamed to say that I used to frequent tanning beds in my 20s. That warmth on your bones, those freckle-inducing "rays", and all in a mere 10 minutes. Fast forward to my 30s and those freckles are now age spots and I'm frequenting a pop-up tanning booth and a little magic bottle that contains all the tan I need. Here's what I always have stocked so I don't scare kids at the beach with my paleness: Perfect Glow Tanning Mousse - I get this from my girl with Southern Sun Tans by Allison Thomas for when I can't squeeze in a custom spray tan with her {preferred}. I use this every other week - $25 Australian Gold Instant Sunless Spray - for when I can't get to my custom girl {above}, and want to preserve my mousse because it's pricier - $9 on Amazon To help with the above, the hubs bought me a pop-up spray tent a few Christmases back - partially because he's an attentive husband, but mostly because he was tired of me covering our shower and bathroom in brown #letsbehonest. It's the same one the professionals use! - $45 on Amazon Australian Gold Gradual Sunless Tanning Lotion - I use this about once a week, right after showering, as a replacement for my usual lotion. It gives me that little bit of glow that I need when I'm in between sprays - $9 on Amazon Fake Bake Face Self-Tanning Lotion - because the other lotions and sprays may be a little harsh for your face. This is my go-to and has been for years. I swear it gives me a more uniform and cleaner complexion. This bottle is teensy, but lasts months - $15 on Amazon 2. Humidity Spray Wedding hair will not stand the test of time in the DMV without humidity spray. {Photo cred: Love and Adventure Photo} I live in the DMV, and in the heart of summer you could cut the humidity with a knife. Mostly because it's so thick, but also because you'd just like to shank it so it dies and goes away. Too violent? Nah, just payback — for all the times humidity kills your curls, or your updo, or frizzes out your sleek look. I do not do a wedding without these two products, and I pretty much carry them on a tool belt for myself. #justkidding #sortof Rusk Anti-Frizz Humidity Resistant Working Spray - basically a light-hold hairspray with a layer of humidity resistance - $18 on Amazon Rusk Freezing Spray Humidity Resistant Hairspray - super-duper hold, to be used last as your shield - $18 on Amazon 3. Sea Salt Hair Spray Because true beachy waves don't exist without it. I've tried everything from the cheaper end Not Your Mother's Sea Salt Spray (can be found at Target!), to an old fav in KMS's Hair Play Sea Salt Spray, but my number one for the past two years has been: Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Beach Spray - not too sticky, too salty, or too crunchy — just the right amount of salt and hold to enhance beach waves - $12 on Amazon 4. Dewey Make-up Palettes Dew brought to you by a combo of the two palettes below. In the fall and winter I tend to go a little more matte with my make-up looks, but there's something about a dewey, shimmery, & glowing make-up look for the summer. These are my go-to face palettes: Sephora Spice Market Blush Palette - I use the golden bronze around my perimeter, cheek bones, and outer bridge of my nose, and "contour" {as much as I know what that is... #noexpert} with white gold under my eyes, mid-forehead, and the bridge of my nose. Then I spruce up my cheeks with a splash of Orange or Copper Shimmer, depending on my look. - $28 at Sephora Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow-Kit Ultimate Glow - for when you really want to up the shimmer & shine factor. Looks amaze with a tan! - $38 on Amazon 5. Sugar Scrub So, I didn't really see the big deal about these back in the day, but now that my skin is... ahem... aging {gracefully}, I feel like it sometimes need to shed and start anew. I use a good scrub before I do any at-home spray, foam, or custom spray tan because it gives the most clean and even look. And I love using it after a vaca or after a few days in the sun when I may be a little flaky and need to rid of dead cells or skin. I'm just a regular ol' snake — and a sugar scrub convert. Hempz Herbal Sugar Body Scrubs - Some scrubs are way too harsh and I feel like I'm literally scrubbing my skin off. Others are borderline body wash, aka, weak. But Hempz is the perfect middle-ground. Plus, their scents are incredible. Currently obsessing over Fresh Coconut & Watermelon - $12 on Amazon 6. Malibu {Everything} Follow Malibu on Instagram for daily tips! My hair isn't exposed to pool {chlorine} water all that often, but so many of my clients are. Sometimes I can actually smell the chlorine lifting out of their hair while shampooing. The number one rule is to rinse your hair immediately after leaving the pool. But to take it the extra mile, you should also be using: Malibu Swimmers Shampoo and Conditioner - use after exposing hair to pool/chlorine water — at least every other wash - $50 on Amazon {can also be found at Ulta!} There is also a Swimmers after-swim solution that you could use once every other week or so. Malibu Wellness Hard Water - this is a bonus for my girls who are on well water, because nothing will ruin a freshly iced-out blonde like some hard water! Well water, no matter how well it's filtered, will wreak havoc on your freshly balayaged blonde. Beat the brass by using this shampoo and conditioner at least once a week - $8 on Amazon Malibu Anything - Malibu basically can't do wrong, so it's not a bad idea to check out their whole line. They have a line for blondes, miracle repair, and more. 7. Coconut Oil Whenever a client asks me about the best treatment for dry summer locks, I always say, "Olaplex," but I know not everyone can get to me for an Olaplex treatment, so when all else fails - go natural with coconut oil. It really is such a great drench for your hair! I buy a regular ol' jar, take a scoop with my hands, rub between my palms to get gooey, and then run through my damp strands. Sometimes I pin it up and rinse after 30 minutes, but a lot of times I put my hair in a bun and sleep with it in. Just, ya know, make sure your sleeping partner can stand the smell of coconut. You'll have to do a few washes to get it out because it's quite greasy, but I say - the greasier, the more hydrating! It's coconut oil, ya'll - you can find it at the grocery store. But, also - $10 on Amazon 8. FitVine Wine You're going to want to follow FitVine Wine on Instagram, because — giveaways. What do you mean wine isn't a beauty product? Is there anything that makes you feel prettier? #ifeelpretty #ohsopretty I consider this a beauty product because it's low cal, sugar, and carbs. Which means you can indulge without actually indulging in anything "bad." Also, low sugar means no hangover, ya'll. Double also, they recently released a rosé, making this a legit "summer" beauty product #justsayin. First found at Trader Joe's, and now popping up at other local liquor stores, so keep your eye out, or order through FitVineWine.com {psst... they often have killer case deals}. FitVine Chardonnay - My gateway FitVine Wine - $16 on FitVine FitVine Rosé - The unicorn of FitVine Wine — hard to find, but worth the search {or case order...} - $18 on FitVine I'm sure there are more — and certainly products that I use year-round {and will eventually spill about} — but I'm guessing this is enough on your budget, for now. #shopping #beautytips

  • HOW TO: KHLOE-INSPIRED HALF PONY

    We all know that Khloe is my favorite Kardashian, right? So it's no surprise that I try to perfect her styles — hair and fashion — on the weekly. She brought back a childhood fav but somehow made it look grown-up, sexy, and like a power pony. But how? Because a half-pony almost always ends up looking blahzay and limp, or on the flip-side: cheerleader-esque and perky — and most certainly not even remotely made for adulthood. After some flip-floppy trial and error half ponies, I finally found the key. Your pony needs a little "bed" to lay on. I get it — it sounds super weird, and maybe even a little creepy, but hear me out. Your pony flops all over the place, but if it had a snuggly bed to rest on, maybe it would stay put. I know I would. First things first, you're going to want to pump up your mane with some waves. You don't have to start with beachwaves, but why wouldn't you?! #beachwaverforlife If you want to go straight, that's doable, too, but you'll definitely need to add some grit and oomph. Tools >Teaser comb >Elastic hair tie Products >Kenra Hairspray 25 >Kenra Dry Texture Spray (KEY for grit) Top 3 tips: Whether you're working with a curly/wavy or straight base, make sure to build some grit with a texture spray. That will help you pump up the "bed" base and the pony! Lift a section, spray near the root, let dry for 2 seconds, and then release the section. Tip on tip: if you spray the texture spray before teasing then you'll build some instant grit and resistance, which will help you build a better base! Build the "bed" around the perimeter of the head - not just right under the pony. And don't forget to plump up the pony, too! If you feel like the pony is too tightly pulled back and your head is looking a little...large...feel free to leave some wispy pieces out, and even rock your baby hairs! We know Khlo-money would. #Hair #hairvideo #hairhowto #hairstyle #hairtutorial #beauty