Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Mudderella Training Program and the Final Countdown to Mudderella 2016!

Mudderella logo
Thus far, 2016 hasn't been my year in terms of making the best decisions for my health.

While I haven't taken up smoking or gone down to two hours of sleep per night, the tiny sliver of willpower that I used to have against eating every bit of chocolate in sight or snacking at all times of the day seems to have disappeared. On top of that, the modest amount of exercise that I used to get seems to have dwindled down to mowing the lawn, an occasional stroll over to my kids' school, and... well, walking in and out of the kitchen for more snacks.

However, with Mudderella 2016 less than four weeks away, I'm pleased with the way that I've been kicking myself into gear lately. If I'm going to take on this course and "Own Your Strong" for myself, then I want to be as ready as possible!

Mudderella Own Your Strong

If you didn't see my post last month, then you missed hearing that three of my amazing friends and I have decided to take on Mudderella Chicago for the second year in a row. Last year the rain and cold temperatures put a damper on the event, but this year I have been willing Mother Nature to take it easy on the Midwest on June 4th.

Instead, I can't wait to lace up an old pair of tennis shoes and hit the trails for this incredible 5- to 7-mile muddy obstacle course for the second time. We'll be running, climbing, crawling, balancing, jumping, and more through grass, over walls, and, of course, in mud. Bring it!

mudderella mud run course

But let's be real, my excitement over getting to participate in Mudderella 2016 is only going to get me so far and then I'm going to need some actual muscles and endurance in order for me to not end up passing out, right?

Fortunately, that's where the Mudderella Training Program comes in.

Mudderella training program

I love the way that this exercise guide is broken down into six different workouts that are designed to get you up and moving (while also mixing things up enough to keep it interesting). No special gear or tools needed, simply find an open spot and follow the instructions to perform a few circuits of each of the moves (which are shown in videos in case you aren't sure or don't recognize the names).

Planks, squats, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, lunges, rocket jumps, and more — I find that each of the steps are definitely challenging, but that's the point, right? If I think that my legs are burning doing step ups, I just have to remind myself that each exercise is making me just a little bit stronger for taking on the full challenge of Mudderella!

Along with their Training Program, however, I also love that the Mudderella blog has a Weekly Training Program that currently has 12 weeks worth of day by day training cards that are perfect for downloading onto your phone, printing and bringing to the gym, sharing with friends, and more.

Week-12-Mudderella-Training-Program
Much more detail is listed for each day on the blog.

While I can't claim that I have been 100% following Mudderella's Training Program each and every day, I am happy that I've made much more of an effort to get myself physically ready for event day.

Even though my inner lazy voice still wants to stay put, what better inspiration than knowing that I'm soon going to be surrounding myself with a group of my closest friends while conquering a muddy obstacle course?

Mudderella trainer

Have you signed up to spend a day overcoming personal challenges, giving your fitness goals a boost, and filling your soul with feelings of empowerment and support yet? There are six Mudderella 2016 events planned (so far), so be sure to head over to find the one nearest you:
  • Grayslake, IL - June 4, 2016
  • Englishtown, NJ - June 18, 2016
  • Epping, NH - July 30, 2016
  • Kitchener, Ontario - August 27, 2016
  • Whistler, British Columbia - September 24, 2016
  • Melbourne, Australia - December 3, 2016
For an even better reason to sign up soon, Mudderella is offering a Buy 2 Get 1 Free special right now so that you and two (or more) of your friends can save a bundle of money when you register to take part!

Mudderella sale

Visit Mudderella.com to find out much more and be sure to connect with this incredible event on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Mudderella 2016, here we come!

I have been provided with Mudderella registration codes in order to facilitate my review, but all of the information and opinions shared are 100% honest and my own.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Hosting Tips with Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods! {#TasteAndBelieve}

weight watchers logo
This post was sponsored by Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

Even though my husband might complain that I'm a bit of a homebody sometimes (can I help it if I'd rather stay comfy on the couch in my pj's instead of going out some nights?), I do have a special place in my heart for hosting. There's something just so satisfying about inviting family and friends over for food or drinks or games or celebrations or simply to hang out and chat!

That's not to say that hosting isn't a little daunting sometimes though, right? The house needs to be cleaned, food needs to be prepared, all of my daughters' socks need to be collected and removed from the living room, etc, etc. My house doesn't typically end up looking like this, but at least I like to know that I've vacuumed up the cat hairs and have put out a clean hand towel in the bathroom!

party decor

However, over the years I've found that a few simple tips have helped tremendously in removing the stresses of hosting everything from large, detailed birthday parties to small, intimate gatherings.

They include...

Relax! This is the one that I need to remember most, as it always seems like I'm rushing to get things done right up until the last minute. But leaving yourself an hour before the party starts to change and sit and enjoy the silence for a bit can help put you in an even more welcoming, cheerful mood. Who doesn't want that for any sort of gathering?

Plan ahead. Seems pretty obvious, right? But if you're anything like me, there's always a chance that you'll wait until the last minute and will end up pushing your husband out the door to go get the forgotten balloons, more wine or the plastic forks that have mysteriously gone missing. Staying organized and planning ahead in the weeks before your event are extremely important for just about everyone's sanity.

Cater to your guests. Again, it makes sense that a birthday party or play date will feature juice boxes and finger foods while a moms' brunch will have coffee and homemade bread, but I'm sure that I'm not the only one who has been met with confused looks when I put out a bowl of pasta salad in front of 5-year-olds or cute cut up sandwiches for adults.

For the latter, I also have a secret weapon that not only provides delicious flavor but also always ends up a talking point for anyone and everyone. I can't tell you how many friends I've surprised by introducing them to Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods and the way that it is possible for me to indulge my sweet tooth without going overboard in calories! For them, Tasting Is Believing!

tasting is believing

So, so, so good. These Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods Salted Caramel Brownie Bliss are a sweet and salty decadent treat that delivers the perfect combination of rich chocolate brownie and real caramel at only 80 calories and 4 SmartPoints®.

To be honest, the lower calories wouldn't really matter to me if these individually wrapped little brownies tasted like pretty much every other low-cal dessert that I've ever tried (which tend to leave my cravings less than satisfied). However, in this case Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods has actually done it! The Salted Caramel Brownie Bliss is really truly bliss!

However, if you don't want to take my word for it, then you still have no excuse to not try Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods right now due to their Love It Or It's Free Challenge.

weight watchers free rebate

Easy as that. Simply purchase any Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods treats until May 31st and, if you aren't in love, you'll get a full refund (complete details and full customer reactions can be found at TastingIsBelieving.com).

In my opinion, I can't imagine even a single rebate being issued after people have tried the Salted Caramel Brownie Bliss. They're just that fantastic!

In fact, at my most recent gathering (having an amazing group of ladies over for Moms Night Out), I immediately knew that Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods would be a bigger hit than if I spent time baking or buying more traditional desserts. Quite a few of my friends live fairly healthy lifestyles and I knew that they wouldn't touch calorie-laden snacks anyway!

party food
I couldn't help but just one plate of cookies!

Filling my table with mainly fresh fruits and vegetables for this informal gathering, I added in a plate of Salted Caramel Brownie Bliss and waited for my guests to arrive.

party foods

Without question, eyes lit up around the room as soon as people took a look at these little bites of perfection. And then when they bit into the Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods Salted Caramel Brownie Bliss the reactions were just as positive. I knew that they would love these!

WW Salted Caramel Brownie Bliss

Only after everyone had tried the Salted Caramel Brownie Bliss did I spill the beans that they are from the line of Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods — words that were met with complete shock and quite a few, "I never would have guessed that!" responses. How something so incredibly delicious can only contain 80 calories and 4 SmartPoints® still baffles me as well!

What are you waiting for? Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods Salted Caramel Brownie Bliss are available at grocery stores now for a suggested retail price beginning at $3.29 per box. Or, if chocolate and caramel isn't your thing, other Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods products include Red Velvet Crème Cake, Peanut Butter Brownie Bliss, Mint Chocolate Brownie Bliss, Carrot Crème Cake, Oatmeal Raising Cookies, and more.

weight watchers challenge

Find out much more about all of the delicious Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods products, where to purchase them, the Love It Or It's Free Challenge, and more at TastingIsBelieving.com.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

My Favorite New Local Find: Cafe Maya {#ReviewCrew}

Review Crew Blogger Badge
There are a few locations around the city here where restaurants seem to turn over more often that I would think. There is plenty of traffic, ample parking, other stores/shopping nearby, etc, yet every time a new restaurant opens and seems promising... only a short time later it is gone.

To be perfectly honest, I tend to shrug my shoulders and not think much of it. In my opinion, the past options haven't been all that special, so when one chain replaces another, it all ends up a blur in my mind.

Recently, thanks to my continued browsing of the certificate options available at Restaurant.com, I noticed that one of the restaurants was located in one of the spots with a higher turnover. Was it possible that something more worthwhile had opened in this small shopping center? That it could provide tasty enough dishes and friendly enough service that it would last?

It was time to check out Cafe Maya for myself!

Cafe Maya Madison

After opening last October in Heritage Square shopping center in Madison, WI, Cafe Maya has been gaining momentum ever since.

With a bright, relaxed atmosphere, extremely friendly staff, free wi-fi, and a menu varying between delicious coffees, tasty sandwiches, fresh croissants, and much more, it's no wonder that customers visit once and are hooked!

Cafe Maya

In my case, I was no exception.

Although I had taken a quick look at Cafe Maya's menu online before heading over, I still marveled at the variety of different options for eating and drinking that they offer. This is far more than just a coffeehouse (although there are plenty of lattes, teas, espressos, cappuccinos, and more)!

Cafe Maya menu

Although there were multiple menu items that were making my mouth water, my friend and I decided on sandwiches and smoothies as a perfect lunchtime meal — and the awesome employee behind the counter couldn't have been friendlier in answering our questions without the slightest hint of impatience or hurry.

All that was left to do was take a seat (we chose the raised bar along the sunny window) and sit back to relax and wait for our order to arrive.

First up, smoothie time! How cute are these Mason Jar mugs?!

Cafe Maya smoothies

Even though we were happily enjoying the fruity tastiness of our mango and strawberry smoothies, it wasn't much longer before our sandwiches arrived and it was time to dig right in.

Cafe Maya sandwiches

The Pesto Feta sandwich typically includes smoked turkey, pesto, feta cheese, spinach, red onions, tomatoes, and avocados, but Cafe Maya staff were more than happy to accommodate me being a vegetarian by making mine without the turkey.

And the end result was fantastic! The sourdough bread was toasted just right (from a panini press) and the flavors from the other ingredients blended together with the pesto perfectly. Even the side of greens was lightly topped with a sweet dressing that made me want more!

I literally ate every last bite and even considered licking the plate clean to make sure that I hadn't left any morsels uneaten!

empty plate

By the time we were leaving Cafe Maya, I couldn't think of anything that could have made the visit any better and both my friend and I commented multiple times about how we would definitely be back. I adore when I make a new discovery of such a unique and delectable, locally-owned establishment and hope that this one is here to stay permanently!

As an added bonus to the delicious meal and the fact that we saved a bundle by using a Restaurant.com certificate, I even brought home two of Cafe Maya's fresh pastries to enjoy later that day and the following morning. Hello, chocolate muffin and morning bun yumminess!

Cafe Maya pastries

If you have yet to try out Restaurant.com, you're missing out on all sorts of unique dining options in your local area as well as where you might be traveling. I love using their convenient app and the Deals Near Me feature to find one-of-a-kind tasty eats like this one!

For more information about Cafe Maya, head over to their Facebook page. To find out about all of the money-saving options that Restaurant.com has to offer in your area (or in an area that you are planning to visit), head over to Restaurant.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

As a member of the Restaurant.com Review Crew, I have been provided gift cards and compensation in order to facilitate my reviews. However, all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Stock Up and Save on P&G Everyday Essentials This Month at Walmart! {#StockUpSave}

P&G Walmart logo
This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Walmart but all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.

Having been raised by thrifty and frugal parents, it's in my genes to continually be on the lookout for a good deal. After all, why spend more money on something than you have to?

So, when it comes to saving money on the everyday products and brands that we use — Bounty, Charmin and Tide, just to name a few — I'm happy to find a way to keep a few extra dollars in my pocket.

Fortunately, this month Procter & Gamble and Walmart have partnered together to help stretch our budgets a bit further with a promotion that is not to be missed. If you have items from P&G on your shopping list, then it's time to head to Walmart for the Stock Up and Save Event!

Stock Up and Save Event

The special savings is simple! This month simply head to your local Walmart (or online to StockUpSave.com) and you'll be ready to stock up (and save!) on P&G essentials as they are offering all sorts of big savings and guaranteed low prices on items such as Tide laundry detergent, Charmin toilet paper, Pampers Swaddlers diapers, and more.

With warmer weather and sunny skies on the way, it just makes sense to head to this event now so you can plan on spending more time with your family and less time running out this spring. Plus, no one wants to find themselves reaching into the closet for personal care or home cleaning items only to discover that the shelf is empty!

Seeing as I didn't need any more convincing after hearing "big savings" it wasn't long before I was at my local Walmart to stock up.

Walmart stores

Walmart is already known for offering low prices, but there is always added value — and even more savings — when you stock up with these sorts of deals! Right now this event can provide extra value on the following great P&G products:
  • Bounty Select-A-Size 12-Pack Mega Roll
  • Tide 100 oz. Original HE Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Pampers Swaddlers Huge Box
  • Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Shampoo, 23.7 oz.
  • Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp Conditioner, 23.7 oz.
  • Febreze Air Effects Linen & Sky
  • Dawn Original 75 oz.
  • Gillette MACH3 Sensitive Disposable 3-Pack
  • Venus Sensitive Disposable 3-Pack
  • Gain 100 oz. Original Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Charmin Ultra Strong 36 Double-Roll Pack
  • Crest Pro-Health Rinse, Clean Mint, 250ml
I started my shopping by taking a look at the savings on a few of the P&G personal care products that just about everyone can use.

This great Head & Shoulders shampoo and conditioner are perfect for those that want a little extra nourishment for their dry scalp and I knew that I couldn't leave the aisle without grabbing a bottle of Crest Pro-Health Rinse and a package of Venus Sensitive disposable razors. My kids are hooked on using "swish" in their oral care routine and my legs have been hidden under long pants all winter and... well, let's just say it isn't all that pretty.

P&G personal care

Next up it was over into the home care section of the store to take a look at the essentials that work to keep my home clean in the spring and long beyond.

Febreze Air Effects are just the thing to ensure that guests are met with a fresh, clean scent when they step into our house (as opposed to the smell of our cats' litter box and Big Sister E's dirty socks that seem to be underfoot no matter where I step) and I love stocking up on a large bottle of Dawn Dishwashing Liquid so that we never run out — it's perfect for refills!

P&G home care

But when it comes to one of the top necessities around here, there is no doubt that I turn to Tide.

Between the daily outfits, pajamas, swimsuits and towels, soccer uniforms, muddy jackets, and more that my family goes through each week, sometimes it's a wonder to me that the washing machine isn't going 24 hours a day.

Forget all the pre-treating and scrubbing and soaking, I just stock up on Tide and know that this high quality liquid laundry detergent will do all the work for me!

Tide detergent

What P&G products can you not live without? Be sure to head to your nearest Walmart by the end of April to take advantage of the Stock Up and Save Event with me — not only will you be able to pick up everyday essentials for less, stocking up means you won't run out when you need something most!

Want to grab even more savings? Check out the rewards from P&G that are available by using the Ibotta app today! And, remember that if you would rather shop online, you can also take advantage of these great savings by visiting StockUpSave.com.

Find out more information about all of the great home and personal care products that are a part of this event by "attending" the April Stock Up and Save Event on Facebook, where you can also opt to receive reminders throughout this month to get your P&G shopping done at Walmart while the savings are high!