Home Gym: 5 Equipment Options for Any Size Home

Home Gym: 5 Equipment Options for Any Size Home Gym

I am a big gym goer although my consistency these last few years has been anything but impressive. As much as I love all the options and classes that the gym has to offer the truth is, sometimes I just can’t make it there in a day. When that happens I like knowing that I have some options at home to fall back on. Going through the process of downsizing, living a more minimalism style life and getting in gear with our finances has made me very aware of the importance of exercise outside of the gym. The truth is, gym memberships can be expensive and not doable for every house hold. At the same time, not every household has a spare room with ample space for a treadmill and weights. That’s why I cam up with the perfect home gym for any size house.

How to Avoid Getting Sick when Traveling

How to Avoid Getting Sick When Traveling

travel sick on vacation traveler's diarrhea not get sick on vacation all inclusive food poisoning sun poisoning bacteria in foodMy husband Tom and I recently got back from a trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. When we met neither of us had traveled out of the US. Scratch that, I went to Canada for one night when I as 18 and I was strip searched before entering the country. I guess we just looked like a bunch of punks ready to cause trouble. I never left the hotel room. Needless to say, I wasn’t in a big hurry to travel outside the US after that. Tom had barely traveled out of Minnesota when I met him. So 9 years ago when we married we had no idea how to travel let alone how to avoid getting sick when traveling. Well, after 3 all inclusive tropical resorts, we are now able to give you our two cents.

We made it through our first trip unscathed, the second and third, not so much. Tom was the first one to bite the dust during our second stay in Riviera Maya, Mexico but we both were doomed this round in Punta Cana. The not-so-hot part was that we were eating fruit for breakfast, chicken and veggies for lunch and dinner and steering clear of all fat, fried or sugar filled foods. It seemed pretty unfair that I was being punished for eating smart on vacation. Naturally, I took to the web as soon as we got home. I needed some serious answers and I found them.

So, if you are planning a trip anytime soon you may want to give these pre-cautions a quick browse. Here are all the potential reasons you may find yourself sick on vacation.

Anger Management: Embrace it or let it go?

Anger Management: Embrace it or let it go?

Anger seems to be everywhere these days. Truthfully, anger has been everywhere for as long as history books go back, including the Bible. It’s really nothing new. But where does it come from? What causes anger and what can we do to prevent it from turning into catastrophe? A big debate with anger management is whether or not to embrace it or simply let it go. Neither of those things come as easily as people hope, so more often than not people are completely giving into their anger and allowing it to turn into a state of hate. Hate is getting us into too much trouble these days. It can be really hard to determine what we as individuals can do, and the truth is, it all has to start with us. No matter how much we want to impact or change the world around us, inevitably we have got to begin with our own person.

What is anger?

anger management embrace anger let go of anger how to handle stress how to handle angerAnger is a sensation that we feel when something happens that we deem unpleasant or unfair. This could be a wide variety of things. Something as little as a person at the supermarket cutting in front of us in line or as big as finding out a loved one has cancer. Anger arises in us from a deep sense of dissatisfaction or discontentment.

We have all felt anger in some form or another. I know when I was younger, if I had a bad day, I would come home shove my face deep into a pillow and scream at the top of my lungs. I just had to find a way to get it out. Now that I’m older, I manage my anger in a whole different way. Thanks to the help and guidance of many experts on the topic, I have taken the time to truly understand my anger and how to effectively deal with it before it gets out of control. No, I haven’t keyed an ex boyfriends car or made threatening phone calls, but I have been known to passive aggressively flush all the toilets in the house when my husband was taking a shower. What can I say, I’m a work in progress. Aren’t we all, after all? So, let me share a bit about what I’ve learned about anger so far.

How to Prevent and Reverse Wrinkles

How to Prevent and Reverse Wrinkles

After my post on collagen powder, I had some follow up questions from people in regards to wrinkles. Leading up to 30 I started noticing more and more the damage that has been done to my skin over the last 3 decades. In the last year I have started getting more serious about my skin and what it takes to prevent the aging process from speeding up. So here are some of the best ways to prevent and reverse wrinkles.

Avoid too much sun

healthy skin wrinkle reducer wrinkle prevention how to prevent wrinkles wrinkle reducer how to reduce wrinklesIt’s really no secret these days that too much sun exposure can lead to premature aging. This can be super stressful with all the new research saying that sunscreen is no good or may be even increasing skin cancer. I definitely can’t say for sure whether or not sunscreen is highly beneficial or highly damaging; but there are still some things I can say for sure. Twenty minutes of sun time a day is recommended to get your daily vitamin D intake. Anything beyond that is when you start opening yourself and your skin up to damage.

The good news is there are other ways to stay outside and avoid the sun:

  1. Good old fashioned shade- You can still get the benefits of the sun while avoiding the not-so-good if you just manage to stick to the shade.
  2. Super cute hats- This has been my new personal way to avoid too much sun exposure on my face. I used to be totally into hats in high school, and now I actually have a reason (beyond style) to stock up on them again.
  3. Fabulous shades- Prevent damage to the skin around your eyes and prevent squinting by getting yourself some sunglasses.

Collagen

As I said earlier, I did a post all about the benefits of drinking collagen powder. Since collagen production slows down with aging, you can fight back by keeping collagen in your diet. Collagen is abundant in bone, marrow and cartilage in animals. This is a main reason why making things like bone broth are on the rise. With the rise in boneless products, people’s natural collagen consumption has gone down. So you can start ordering your wings with bones, buy or make your own bone broth, or just toss a  scoop of collagen powder into your morning smoothie. There are also a ton of collagen boosting creams on the market. Thrive Market is a great place to get both collagen supplements and bone broth. Click Here to get 25% off plus FREE shipping on your Thrive Market order.

No smoking

Yes, we have all heard how smoking can cause cancer, damage lungs, ruin your mouth, give bad breath and stinky clothes, but studies have also shown it can do immense damage to your skin. When taking identical twins with the same diet, same job and hours, the one who had a habit of smoking had significantly worse skin damage. So, just another friendly reason to avoid the stink sticks and just enjoy good ‘ol fashioned clean air.

Clean Eating

healthy skin wrinkle reducer wrinkle prevention how to prevent wrinkles wrinkle reducer how to reduce wrinklesNaturally, I couldn’t finish up a post without reminding you that a healthy diet is crucial to keeping the quality of your skin up. Making sure you are eating loads of leafy greens and veggies every day as well as getting your required amounts of water (about 15 cups a day) is the best way to keep your skin healthy and hydrated from the inside out.

Things like processed foods, excess salt, dairy and sugars are known to do the most damage to our biggest organ as well as the rest of our bodies. So, like always, finding small ways to improve your diet every day, will be highly beneficial to every part of your body including your beautiful skin.

Too Many Drinks

Water is all the rage and something you should be highly consuming. The same can’t be said for other drinks like soda pop and alcohol. Both are known to dry out your skin and speed up the aging process. If you are a big alcohol drinker, work to cutting back and try to keep drinks between 1 and 2 a week. For those of you who struggle with soda, there are a ton of great new cleaner options on the market. I’ve gotten together some of my favorites.

Exfoliate

Taking time each day to scrub away dead skin, old dirt and oil is the best way to give yourself a quick boost. There are a ton of great exfoliating face scrubs on the market, but I personally make my own. A simple combination of 1/2 coconut oil and 1/2 organic sugar is all I use to scrub away the old skin and help keep my skin silky soft at the same time.

Wrinkle Creams

I do as much as I can on my own without the help of chemicals or other expensive procedures like red light therapy. But, I’m going to level with you, I got particularly stressed out about my forehead wrinkles one day, caved and ordered a cream called Needles No More off Amazon. While I don’t recommend these quick fixes filled with chemicals, for those of you looking for a boost of help with your heavy wrinkled areas, this one definitely showed instant improvement. Within a few days I could feel a difference in the smoothness of the skin on my forehead. I used it for a month and saw huge improvements in how deep my wrinkles went on my forehead. 

Embrace it.

healthy skin wrinkle reducer wrinkle prevention how to prevent wrinkles wrinkle reducer how to reduce wrinklesAt the end of the day, you are definitely not in trouble when it comes to avoiding the aging process. You have no worries because aging is inevitable. You will age. Do what you can to embrace this and it will actually make the aging process easier on your mind and body. Holding the stress of aging in your body can cause damage to your body both inside and out. Carrying this kind of tension is absolutely pointless because at the end of the day there is nothing you can do to change the fact that you will still be a day older tomorrow. 

While I personally struggle with the wrinkles in the mirror, I would never want to turn back the clock 10 years. Let’s be honest, 10 years ago I was a crazy, unorganized selfish girl. The last 10 years have been used to learn, grow, live and mature. Why not continue on for the next 30 years? In fact science has shown that mentally people over 60 are happier than those who are younger.

Living a life with less stress and more joy will actually help you ultimately live longer and that’s really what it’s all about. Just think, we’ll all get to that point where we are so covered in wrinkles that we are once again seen as absolutely adorable. May as well be happy when you get to that point too.

Heart Soul and Whole Food

Those few little helpers


Sugar Free Gluten Free Cookie Dough Recipe

A Step by Step Guide to: Loving Yourself

A Step by Step Guide to: Loving Yourself

Guest Post by: Christina Jackson, owner of lifestyle blog Choosing Charlie

choosing charlie

As I reflect back on my childhood, I always wondered how I got so chunky? I somehow went from being a fairly thin child to a heavy teenager. From middle school to high school, I was always on the heavier side and that’s something that still bothers me til this very day.

  • Step one of loving your body: Having positive mental awareness.

Learn who you are as a person. If you can appreciate the things that you hate about your body, then you’ll begin to find the things that you love as well. Just because you have big feet doesn’t mean you can’t find cute shoes, or thinking having a big booty is going to hold a mans interest. Find those positives, and appreciate them, because what you may hate about yourself someone else might love it.

I have had dreams of having three wishes, and one of them was to be “skinny”. What society doesn’t tell us is that skinny doesn’t always equate to healthy. I even thought of trading bodies with other women, just thinking about what it would feel like to be comfortable in my own skin. Tell yourself, anyone would be lucky to have you the way you are, and if they don’t tell them to kick rocks because there’s more in line to take you as you are!

If you can begin to understand that it first starts with your mind, you may proceed to step two.

  • Step two of loving your body: Don’t let society and social media form opinions on how you should look.

choosing charlieThere are women with all kinds of body shapes and sizes, and they are beautiful but it’s not always realistic.

You know the girls who fantasize about another women’s bodies, isn’t a great start to accepting your body mentally. Having big breasts, a tiny waist, and a big booty doesn’t make you more attractive than a woman with confidence in her own skin. For most, our bodies aren’t meant to be small or so curvy. There are women who paid to have that tiny waist, and big hips, so those aren’t things you should aspire to.

Although, I am at the smallest weight I’ve ever been, and even still there’s room for improvement in my mind. I’ve had to tell myself that those girls on Instagram don’t get to determine what “fitness” and “beautiful” are defined as. Aspire to appreciate your flat booty, or broad shoulders, and back rolls.

Remember: You can be sexy, and courageous, and fierce at any size!

  • Step three of loving your body: Shut up and do something about it.

If you really hate your body that much, start finding ways to improve the things you hate. Something as small as cutting out soda, and walking a mile a day can be small ways to improve your eating habits and start getting active.

Okay, so maybe you don’t want to change your body, and that’s okay too. There’s nothing wrong with staying true to yourself as long as you’re happy with who you are, and have a positive body mentality.

  • Step four of loving your body: Stand in the mirror naked and tell yourself that you are beautiful.

choosing charlieStanding in front of the mirror isn’t something that I’ve always done. As I have gotten older, I have come to a realization that the mirror is my friend. Sometimes we have arguments after I eat a meal or two, but if you can love yourself naked, you’re one step closer to finding that self love.

As swimsuit season approaches, I have been working out more and started intermittent fasting in May. Intermittent fasting has helped me lose weight and keep myself accountable of when to eat, so I’m not eating to early or too late in the day. With being in the military I get a workout every morning but sometimes that’s not enough. Something as little as doing sit-ups, and squats in your room can help build muscle and make your sweat. Also I cut out any drink that isn’t water. For additional flavor I use Crystal Light and drink Vitamin Water Zero Lemonade. I also cut out any foods that were high in sodium like frozen foods, and anything high in sugar content. Cutting out sugar, salt, and increasing water intake has made me realize how much junk I was putting into my body. I was never a horrible eater but just making theses small adjustments has aided in my weight loss. The last thing that helped my physically and financially was meal prepping. I used to meal prep in college, and gave up as my school hours got longer. Meal prepping helps me cut down on spending unnecessary money for my day-to-day meals and all you need is a microwave. The one thing that has kept me driven is seeing the proof in my pictures, and most importantly my clothes. I’m able to get into clothes I never thought I would be able to wear, and clothes that I do have fit looser in a good way. I’d be lying if I said it was easy, but when I think back to all the sacrifices I made, it was definitely worth it to continue my journey.

Make no mistake, building the courage to block all those negative thoughts about your body isn’t going to be easy. However, if you start one day at a time, before you know it, you’ll be beaming with confidence. Once you get to that place of acceptance, loving yourself, and achieving your target weight, you’ll never want to go back. If you plan for success, implement that plan, and maintain it, you’ll see progress over time.

ChoosingCharlie.com is a lifestyle blog that targets multiple events such as fitness, hot topics, and food in a young, educated, active duty military soldiers life. I hope that if you can’t choose yourself then atleast you can choose Charlie.

Follow Charlie on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram or on Twitter.

Mango Banana Sorbet

Must Have Blender for All Recipes

Must Have Blender for All Recipes

*The post contains affiliate links. For more information read my disclosures here

So often people see photos of the foods I make and ask me what blender I use. Whether it’s what I use to make my own flour, blending my own hummus or how I get my smoothies so smooth. Funny thing is, I get these questions. Since being married, Tom and I have gone through what feels like every blender known to man. None of them ever did everything we needed to. Even basic smoothies somehow wound up chunky. Never did I think that one of the least expensive, smallest blenders would wind up being my go to blender for all recipes. The Magic Bullet NutriBullet 12-Piece High-Speed Blender/Mixer System. This has literally become a blender, food processor and ice cream maker all in one. Which is super nice because it saves me from having to actually buy all those things! (Yup, cheap skate and de-clutter enthusiast)

What’s so great about it?

  • The Body Itself

    The main base is small and very portable which I love because I don’t have to have a big, bulky blender hanging out on my counter taking up space. After downsizing our house, this is absolutely crucial. I use my NutriBullet at least once a day; but in reality it’s usually about three times. After every use, I unplug it, and easily stash the base in the cupboard. 

  • All the Bonus Containers and Blades

The NutriBullet also comes with multiple containers to fit the size that you need. It also comes with 2 separate blades that work differently depending on what type of blending you need done. Like I said, we use ours around 3 times a day on average for multiple different things of multiple different sizes, shapes and textures. Best part? The blade is still sharp as ever, and trust me, I have put it through the ringer! When I’m cooking my hangry tends to kick in and I get impatient. Thank goodness my NutriBullet has been patient with me.

inexpensive blender best blender for all recipes blender recipes nutribullet review nutribullet blender nutribullet smoothie blender hummus blender recipe blender

What you can make.

  • Smoothies

inexpensive blender best blender for all recipes blender recipes nutribullet review nutribullet blender nutribullet smoothie blender hummus blender recipe blenderNaturally, one of the biggest things we use our NutriBullet for is making our morning smoothies. My favorite smoothie recipe is my Kale Smoothie. It doesn’t matter what I add or don’t add, it blends perfectly effortlessly. Every past blender we had would leave behind chunks of kale or clumps of ice. It’s not fun having to chew a smoothie. The most frustrating part was having to stop and stir over and over when trying to get a smooth smoothie. With our NutriBullet I can just click the container into place, wait 30 seconds and all the work has been done for me. I love it. 

  • Hummus, Dips and Sauces

    inexpensive blender best blender for all recipes blender recipes nutribullet review nutribullet blender nutribullet smoothie blender hummus blender recipe blenderOne of the easiest way to get my kiddos to eat heathier is by making healthy hummus, dips and sauces. Mostly I do garlic hummus, vegan queso, pesto and cashew cheeses. These all turn out perfect and creamy, although thicker recipes, like hummus, I do sometimes have to add a little more water to make sure everything gets blended in. The vegan quesso itself is a heavier recipe that includes potatoes, carrots and onions and I can fit it all into the larger blending cup that comes with the NutriBullet. Here are some of the best online recipes to try:

  • Flour and Coffee Grounds

inexpensive blender best blender for all recipes blender recipes nutribullet review nutribullet blender nutribullet smoothie blender hummus blender recipe blender

Being gluten free, a lot of times I am left having to create my own recipes completely from scratch. Blending my gluten free oats into oat flour literally takes a few seconds with my NutriBulletIf you are one of those people who prefers to ground your own coffee beans at home, you can do it just as easily! If you are also struggling with a gluten intolerance, check out my top viewed gluten related posts Gluten Free Shopping List.

  • Soups and Chowders

    inexpensive blender best blender for all recipes blender recipes nutribullet review nutribullet blender nutribullet smoothie blender hummus blender recipe blenderPotato chowders are one of my absolute winter favorites. It’s so easy to make a really thick base for your stew, soup or chowder by just adding your main base vegetable and letting it pulse for a few seconds. Be careful though, with something like potato chowder, you will want to leave some lumps and the NutriBullet will not leave any lumps! Just be sure to set some aside before putting the rest into the blender. Check out some of these other super yummy vegetable based soup recipes.

  • Ice Cream

    inexpensive blender best blender for all recipes blender recipes nutribullet review nutribullet blender nutribullet smoothie blender hummus blender recipe blenderMore recently I have started making my own cashew ice cream and I have to tell you, it turns out fantastically! Because you basically pre-freeze everything overnight, you are just putting frozen cubes into the NutriBullet. With no added water, milk or anything, it blends this ice cream to perfection! I recently posted my absolute favorite kind, Mint Chocolate ChipHowever, if you are looking for an even bigger variety, check out earthyandy’s websiteShe has a ton of great smoothies and vegan ice cream recipes that are amazing. You can also see a simpler ice cream recipe I have: Banana Ice Cream.

  • Waffles

gluten free gluten free cooking gluten free baking gluten free recipes cooking recipes baking recipesThese are definitely the top made item I use my NutriBullet for. Again, because of my gluten intolerance, I often make my own super easy 3 Ingredient WafflesThese ingredients fill to the very tip top of the largest blending cup in our set. Again, a simple twist and click and then my waffle batter is ready in 30 seconds and there is absolutely no mess, which I love! Tom loves his Protein Pancakes which we do completely in the NutriBullet as well.

Other great recipes I use my NutriBullet for:

Fudgy Brownies

Fig Bars

Wild Rice Burger

Seriously, I’m telling you, I use it all the time. In fact, if you browsed my Recipe Page I doubt you would find a single recipe that I don’t use my Nutribullet for.

It’s great but. . .

We have been using our same Nutri Bullet for years. Since then, they have come with an upgraded version and even though the Nutri Bullet 13 Piece NB9-1301 Pro Blender/Mixer comes with a faster motor, my main desire is the new tops. I know, superficial, but I can’t help myself. It would be so great to blend a smoothie or protein shake, twist on a top that you can sip from and head out the door. 

Either way, if you are planning on making more recipes at home, keeping up with smoothies or all around working toward a healthier way of eating, I highly recommend the Nutri BulletThere are so many expensive blenders on the market these days. This one definitely gets you the biggest blend for your buck!

If you are wanting to make bigger batches of foods that the NutriBullet doesn’t allow, take a look at some of the other top blenders I recommend below.


*The post contains affiliate links. For more information read my disclosures here

I hope this post was helpful to you! Happy blending!

Heart Soul and Whole Food


Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Collagen Powder Benefits

Collagen Powder Benefits

Considering that until a few months ago, I was following a vegan diet, you can imagine the struggle I went through when I started learning about collagen powder. Collagen powder is made from animal by-prodcucts including the skin and bones. It’s tough for me to think about, I’ll be honest. When stopping to think about it, however, if I am already consuming animal products, there really isn’t much difference.

When cooking with fruits or vegetables, I do my best to use absolutely every part of the food itself. Sometimes that means composting the peels of bananas or shells of eggs. Waste not, want not. Unfortunately, cooking has changed so much and with products like boneless wings and chicken breasts, a lot of humans aren’t getting the collagen from their meats that they normally would.

Collagen in our bodies.

collagen powder collagen benefits of collage powder collagen loss healthy skin healthy collagen production Collagen production in the human body begins to decrease after the age of 30 (I know, big shocker…the age of impending doom.) Along with collagen our bodies start slowing in the production of other proteins like elastin. The slowed down production of these two proteins means a lot for our bodies as we age. Loss of collagen structure in our bones is most commonly known as Osteoporosis. 

Not only does our skin change, but our joints weaken and muscle loss starts to happen more often. Not only this, but collagen production helps support the tissues that connect our organs. Sounds like a blast, right? The good news is is that there are so many things we can do to boost our collagen production.

What does collagen powder do?

*This post contains affiliate links. For more information see my disclosures.

The thing I like the most about collagen powder is that it is not an injection, it’s non-invasive and it has nothing to do with medication use. 

Like I said, collagen powder is made from parts of the animal besides the meat. This powder is composed of long chain proteins that our system breaks down into amino acids. Once they are broken down, those amino acids start to build our collagen back up.

Now I’m going to get totally honest with you. Collagen production can be boosted by introducing powders and collagen products into your diet, but it will never fully restore it to what it once was. It seems fair really, we can’t completely cheat aging. I don’t know about you, but I’m cool with slowing it down a bit. You can get collagen powders and supplements in certain stores, or you can always order online from Amazon or Thrive Market. Click Here to get 25% off and FREE shipping on your first Thrive Market purchase.