The Epic Double Chin Diary Holiday Gift Guide

Ah, the holidays. The smell of chestnuts roasting (really, who does that?), family fighting (now that’s more likely), and the season of sales, sales, and sales, causing us all to stress out about the perfect gift when really it doesn’t matter. However, because gifts are kind of a thing, I’ve rounded up some new favorites for your consideration for those who like relaxing, cooking, fashion, and exercise. All of these gifts were sent to me gratis in exchange for mention (but only if I really liked them – two got the axe!). This post also contains affiliate links, so if you click on something and buy it, I might make four cents (I’m rich!). Enjoy — and be sure to read carefully as you have a few chances to win some of these goodies for yourself!

1) Royal Silk Scarf by World Vision

Looking for the perfect thoughtful gift for your world conscious friend? Consider this royal silk scarf from WorldVision. Vietnam’s Ma Chau villagers weave these traditional silky smooth scarves, helping to provide them with a sustainable income. This scarf is 68″ long, and has the most incredible colors and vibrancy.  Each is unique; size and color may vary slightly. You can make a suggested donation of $95, or enter an amount that’s meaningful to you. Want to see how purchasing from WorldVision works? Click here.

Alyssa rocks the World Vision Royal Silk Scarf

Alyssa rocks the World Vision Royal Silk Scarf

You know you want one of your own… so follow the steps below for your chance to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

2) Tiger Tail Classic

TigerTailUsa

Foam rolling both terrifies me and delights me; the concept of massaging painful, tight muscles is initially scary, mildly painful, and then after it’s sweet relief. When I heard about Tiger Tail, I knew I would need one of these puppies (kitties?) for my post-walk soreness. I packed it along with me on my trip to San Diego, and this thing was passed among my teammates with more enthusiasm than a box of chocolates. The small, compact size and quality build make it perfect for bringing along on trips, or for stashing in your house. Our traditional foam roller is bulky and giant, and this removes a lot of heft but still packs a punch. Plus, look at how adorable the packaging is! I loved this thing post 3-Day, and am super psyched about using it to roll out my muscles post-hike. The Classic is priced at $34.95, is made in the USA, easy to clean, and has a 3 year warranty. The next thing I’ll try out is the Knotty Tiger — I can really see that sorting out the giant knots in my neck!

The cutest sticker on the packaging!

The cutest sticker on the packaging!

3) Creekside Farms Kitchen Herb Wreath

CreekSideFarms_Herbs_Wreaths_DoubleChinDiary

it’s too bad smellovision doesn’t exist yet on the web!

This is the type of thing that doesn’t come across my inbox too often; a gift that simultaneously makes me go “ooh, pretty” and “Ahhh, it smells good.” While I was initially struck by the photos of how stunning Creekside Farm’s Kitchen Herb Wreath is, when I received it, it was the amazingly lush smell of lavender, dill, oregano, sage, and rosemary that won me over. It looks great outside (away from direct light) and also inside, where you can see the naughty cat that isn’t supposed to be on the table. (She argues that the wreath smelled so good she just HAD to be closer to it.) This wreath would be the perfect gift for the Foodie in your life, and if you want a different style, check out my other favorite, the Sunflower wreath. Creekside Farms grows all of their own herbs, and they dry everything on site, truly making these family-created products artisanal.

CreekSideFarms_Wreath_DoubleChinDiary

Stunning Kitchen Herb Wreath Scents Up The Kitchen

Visit Creekside Farms on Facebook here, and on Twitter here. Want 15% off your order? Use code CURAN. I know that I personally will be making an order for one of these beauties!

Gorgeous Up Close Shot of the Kitchen Herb Wreath by Creekside Farms

Gorgeous Up Close Shot of the Kitchen Herb Wreath by Creekside Farms

4) Natracure Heated Booties

So what if these are technically for Arthritis – after walking a ton of miles this past weekend in the 3-Day, I couldn’t wait to slip these babies on my feet. With separate microwavable gel inserts, you heat up the pads, stick ’em in the bottom of the super fuzzy velour slippers, slip them on and oooh and ahh your way to toasty relaxation. Better yet, these booties are coated on the inside with a smart gel lining, with 7 botanicals. My feet did actually feel smoother and smelled like a foot that had been freshly scrubbed at a spa. One tip with these: don’t walk in them! Thankfully I Googled it online before I took a step and burst the gel packs, but these booties are meant to be worn 5-10 minutes at a time to heat up your tired tootsies, and they’re worn best when you’re relaxin’ in one spot. These retail for $49.99 and are great for people with foot pain and stiffness, and you can also find a pair designed just for the hands. Time for relaxation!

Cozy and comfy in Natracure's Heated Booties

Cozy and comfy in Natracure’s Heated Booties

5) Goody QuikStyle Brush

Ever since I got my hair cut and colored, I’ve been making an effort to actually style my hair rather than throwing it in a sloppy bun. Part of that means blow drying my hair, and since I’m lazy, I like to exert minimal effort. That’s where the Quikstyle comes in – an awesome, space age looking hair brush that has microfiber tufts between the bristles. I had actually seen this brush in stores and wanted to try it, so when it came through my inbox I figured this would be a fun one to review.

GoodyHairStyler_QuickDryBrush_DoubleChinDiary

The awesome Goody Quikstyle

While initially I was skeptical, it does actually dry your hair as you brush through it. And, it’s designed smart, so antimicrobial microfiber keeps the brush fresh and inhibits mold or mildew growth. Seeing is believing, so how about you enter to win one yourself by following the steps below? The Goody Quick Style Paddle Brush is six bucks on Amazon.com, a perfect stocking stuffer for the lady in your life who needs a darling ‘do on the go.

QuikStylerInUse_DoubleChinDiary

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope you’ll consider some of these goodies for the loved ones in your life this holiday season. What’s on your wishlist?

Smoothie love and progress pics.

First off, I know it has been quite a while since I last wrote here on the blog and for that I am sorry.  It is always flattering for me to hear from my sister that people ask about where I disappeared to so thank you, I feel loved.

I have been having an incredible amount of fun over the past few weeks and have been staying busy with new adventures mixed with some midterm testing for school.  However, even with my rushed lifestyle that I have been rocking for a while now, I haven’t made much progress on dropping down numbers on the scale.  I had my Weight Watchers meeting today and I was up 4.2 pounds since the last meeting I attended two weeks ago.  Oops.  I know exactly how I gained those pounds and I know exactly what I need to do to take them off.

Here is the smoothie that created much adoration.  Plus, how could one not love a drink that comes with an umbrella?

Here is the smoothie that created much adoration. Plus, how could one not love a drink that comes with an umbrella?

I have been eating rather crappily over the past week but went shopping and am ready to get a grip on my nutrition.  I’m also on day two of no artificial crap caffeine (as in Red Bull and soda).  I had a HORRIBLE headache last night so I think I need to just pop some Tylenol early on in the day to try to avoid the headaches.  I’ve been having around five headaches a week now and it is getting pretty old… I spoke with the doctor and she suggested that I start taking a bunch of vitamins/minerals to see if that helps, including magnesium, riboflavin (B2), and Co enzyme Q10.  Otherwise she recommends some daily pill which I don’t want to get on as I would rather just take a pain killer when needed, not every day.

Besides my lame headaches, I’ve been trying out new ways besides salad to get fruits and vegetables in my life.  One of the new additions to my life to help me get more produce into my life are smoothies.  I’ve always loved smoothies yet rarely have them because I’m too lazy to do the prep and clean up.  Recently I have been reintroduced to the greatness of the cold drink packed with nutrients and have shown ways to make smoothie making less tedious.  Yes, I know that they have a lot of sugar.  However, they also have a lot of potential for extra nutrients like fiber and protein if you add fun ingredients like chia seeds, yogurt, and leafy greens.  Plus, they are still way better for me than the amount of sugar I get in my Red Bull addiction.

The smoothie you see pictured has a bunch of fantastic things in it like kale, spinach, strawberries, pineapple, blackberries, almond milk, cucumber, chia seeds, ground flax seeds… A smoothie like that is a great meal replacement and my buddy has lost 65 pounds by supplementing meals for smoothies like this.

Veronica's amazing drawer of smoothie wonder

Veronica’s amazing drawer of smoothie wonder

I made myself a lower calorie version the other day with just some banana, strawberries, blueberries and yogurt. Although it was annoying to me to have to chop off the tops of each little strawberry, I endured through the task and decided to cut up ALL of  my strawberries in motivation to create a frozen drawer of goodness like one of my favorite women in my life, Veronica.  I’ve always admired Veronica’s master skills at organization and since I babysit for her twice a week, I get to experience first hand in how doing a little bit extra effort at one point can result in simplicity later on.  Veronica chops up all her fruit and sticks it in the freezer so she is always ready for her two children’s requests for smoothies.  I think it’s awesome and wanted to share with all of you how easy she makes smoothie making, check out her freezer drawer!  Plus, it’s a great thing to do if you know you’ve got excess fruit that you just don’t want to waste!

Do any of you guys make smoothies?  What do you like to throw in there?

And as promised.. here are my progress pics.  🙂

Two months of Weight Watchers from January 3rd to March 3rd (~10 pounds down)

Two months of Weight Watchers from January 3rd to March 3rd (~10 pounds down)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

Love and smoothies,

AprilSignatur

Fat n’ Jolly: What didn’t I eat this Christmas?!

Hey guys! I hope you had a very Merry Christmas, and if you don’t celebrate Christmas, a wonderful day otherwise. I’m definitely feeling pudgy and bloated and ready to get BACK ON TRACK because this Christmas, I certainly whooped it up by indulging in a little bit of almost everything. Let’s recap:

1) S’Mores Fudge that I made for Matt’s work. Thankfully 96% of this went into his work and only an empty plate came back, but I did have to test it out, of course.
2) Country Benedict, ala my chef father in law. Doesn’t this look amazing?! A country pork gravy poured over homestyle biscuits with a poached egg and sausage patty. So. Damn. Good. (It was worthy of that swear word in there.)

Country Benedict

Country Benedict

3) Angelo’s Smokehouse Christmas Ham
4) Yogurtland Apricot Tart Frozen Yogurt
5) A Chopped Salad
6) “Pot of Gold” appetizers – almost egg roll-like in taste but stuffed with spinach and cheese
7) Caramel Brownies and Czech Kolacky cookies

April and my mom made Caramel Brownies

April and my mom made Caramel Brownies

8) Eggnog Cornflake crusted French Toast (another father-in-law creation)
9) Hainan Chicken — a yummy dish from a popular San Gabriel Valley restaurant called Savoy. Chicken is poached in homemade broth all day, served with rice and a ginger salt and chili sauce. So simple, so good. YUM.

Hainan Chicken from Savoy

Hainan Chicken from Savoy

10) Huevos Diabla from the Local Peasant, one of my favorite restaurants here in Woodland Hills. The tortillas were handmade and it was covered with crumbles of queso fresco and cilantr0. Mmm. I’ve been having quite an overeasy infatuEGGtion lately. I had enchiladas with an overeasy egg on top last week, the country benedict, huevos rancheros when I was out with my awesome friend Lisa, and today, this Huevos Diabla. I didn’t know what I was missing before when I mistakenly thought ‘dippy eggs’ were no good. I have learned and now celebrate the runny egg!

HuevasDiabla_LocalPeasantWoodlandHills_DoubleChinDiary

11) Arkansas Green Beans made by my dad. These are a different take on a greenbean casserole. Just think “bacon.”
12) Prime Rib. Another father-in-law creation (Sense a trend here? These people know good eats. We even had Yorkshire Pudding!)
13) Clementine Oranges (hey, there had to be ONE healthy thing on this list.)
14) Peach Momotaro Blooming Tea from Teavana. (TWO healthy things. Had to make myself feel better.) This was a great gift from my brother who got me a Blooming Tea Set. Super cool!
15) A Chipotle Veggie Fajita Burrito Bowl. My meal of choice off the I-5 on the very long drive up. Delicious!

So… as you can see, there was a whole lot of indulging going on. Do I feel guilty about it? Well, yes, kind of. But am I glad I stuffed my piehole with such an amazing assortment of food? Yes. If music be the food of love, play on. Being able to eat such delicious things (and knowing how to stop when I’m full!) reminds me how lucky I am to indulge in such luxury. For that, I am grateful. I am also grateful for the ability to start over, starting now. The first thing to be crossed off the list? Sugar. I don’t do well on sugar. If anything bloats me up and makes me a crank-monster, it’s sugar. Sugar is the first to go, cold-turkey style. After that? Grains. 2014 is my year – the year the Double Chin Diary turns from a wistful “hopefully soon” weight loss blog to a success story. Yep. It’s gonna happen. It has to. Enough excuses, more action.

Now — help me feel like less of a diet failure by telling me what you indulged in this holiday season. 🙂

Friday Five

Hello, hello! Since I’ve been Christmas shopping, Christmas Party-ing, and wrapping up all kinds of side projects, the poor little Double Chin Diary has had a bit of an unintentional Christmas break. However, life happens and that’s totally cool. It’s all about #wycwyc. If you see me using #WYCWYC on instagram posts, here’s what it means:

verb
  1. to do what you can when you can.
  2. to acknowledge that by doing the best you can when you can, it is enough.

In the spirit of #wycwyc (founded by two amazing FitBloggin ladies, Roni and Carla), my post for today is short n’ sweet, bullet list style. That’s all I got! 🙂

1) I’ve been soooo busy getting ready for Christmas, BUT, I refuse to drive like a nut! Have you guys noticed that in the holiday weeks, people are so grouchy, and in particular, driving like crazy people?! Be careful out there. Saving a minute on the road is not worth losing your life or endangering others. Ok, my preachy PSA is over.

2) I’m looking forward to going back to a lower-carb routine in a few days. I’ve been indulging here and there on sugary things, and while the temporary “yum!” satisfaction is nice, I feel all tired and sluggish after. It will be good to get back to eatin’ lean and mean. Check out this amazing spread that my friend Shelley made this year. HOLY YUM, right? I can’t blame her for any of my calorie overloading (I wish!) but this picture was too epic to not share. (Also – shameless plug – she makes ADORABLE cat-nip toys for kitties. Her shop is on a brief vacation, but we’re gonna do a giveaway in the new year!)

Shelley's Winter Wonderland

Shelley’s Winter Wonderland

3) You should watch this video “10 Honest Thoughts on Being Loved by a Skinny Boy“. Some powerful words, indeed.

4) I’ve now added Fish Oil in to my daily supplements, and I can happily report back that I have had NO FISH BURPS! Remember my strange fear of this awhile back? The trick seems to be spending a little more on a high quality omega-3 supp. I’m using Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Formula, 180-Count. (If you click this link and buy it, I might make like .2c. Full disclosure!)

5) For a Christmas gift for myself, I’m going to get myself the FitBit Force. I almost got a Flex, but the Force has a display on the front that will let me see steps walked, calories burned, and my sleep directly on the bracelet, without having to check my phone. Because as much as I love my phone, sometimes I want to “accidentally” forget it somewhere remote for a couple of days. Once I receive it, you’ll get the full scoop. I’m hoping this will motivate me to keep it up, activity wise, on the day to day. (Pssst. New year’s resolution? GET UP FROM MY DESK DURING WORK and WALK! Sitting is the new smoking!)

 

Are you guys getting yourself a Christmas gift? What is it?!

Five Things on Friday

Hi Everybody, it’s Friday, woot woot! With the holidays, things are rockin’ and rollin’ and my schedule has been filled with fabulous festivities like the grand opening of my dear friend’s plus size bridal salon, holiday parties, and of course, working on getting in shape! I’ve been really good this week about doing some sort of exercise every day — mostly running with my couch to 5k app and then some yoga. I’m trying hard to maintain some level of “zen” in my life during the hectic but fun holiday season. I have a bunch of random things I wanna tell you about, so here’s my “Five for Friday”.

1) You really should read this article, “So You’re Feeling Too Fat To Be Photographed“. As someone who suffers from chronic doublechinitis, I can relate to the “Aghh! No Pictures!” phenomenon. However, the author’s life-changing experience gives her the perfect authority to speak on such a touchy subject — visually capturing the way you look when you don’t like the way you look. Read it, shed a little tear, and then smile big for the camera.

2) We have a WINNER!!!! Congrats to Melissa for winning the week of Diet to Go meals. I used a very complicated system (paper and pen) to tally up all your entries and pick the winner. Some of you pinned like crazy – you ROCK! We’ll be doing another amazing Diet to Go giveaway soon, so keep playing for your chance to win! Feeling lucky? There’s about one more day left to win some Prosperity Cinnamon. Enter now!

3) Do you guys have any tips for falling back asleep in the morning if you wake up too early? I know — sounds weird. Our kitten Oliver is almost a year old, and he likes to start causing chaos at about 5:00 A.M., either by knocking stuff over, chewing on things, or kneading my stomach with his jabby little kitten paws. UGH! It takes me about 45 minutes to fall back asleep after that. 5:00 A.M. is just TOO early to get started for the day… not gonna happen. Any tips? Do I need to lock him out of the room? 🙁

Early Morning Noise Maker.

Early Morning Noise Maker.

4) This time of year is hard for me food-wise, because I’m surrounded by holiday treats. I’ve been doing pretty well navigating so far (my jeans are loose! WOOHOO! Official weigh in is next week), but for some reason I go kookoo for peppermint and chocolate flavored things. At Trader Joe’s, I felt like my hands were magnetic to the Peppermint Joe Joe’s — but TWO cookies is 140 calories. Um, what?! I found a great alternative though! Try the Mini Dark Chocolate Shortbread Peppermint Stars. You can have 13 for 120 calories. Much better — volume eating.

5) I had the opportunity this week to share my story about my weight loss gain loss gain whatever-it-is on my dear friend Emmie’s blog this week. Go check it out, and if you don’t read Authentically Emmie, get to it. She’s the bee’s knees – and recently wrote an article in Ladies Home Journal!

Okay, guys, that’s all I got. I hope you’re having a wonderful week. Tell me what’s going on with you! Any great food finds? Exercise progress? Random feelings? Let it all out and let’s get our weekends started!

xoxo

The Double Chin Diary Siggy

 

Fun Friday Finds

Hey Double Chinners! Happy Friday! One of my favorite ways to de-stress is to browse the interwebz for various items that make me smile. I can’t actually buy them because my husband will divorce me if I buy one more salad bowl, but, it’s basically just frivolous window shopping. In particular, I love funky kitchen wares or novelty food items. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite recent finds, shall we? (Most of these came from Fab.com – my new favorite daily deal site. If you sign up, use the link right there – I get magical unicorn points, and you get something cool too.)

Source: amazon.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

These melamine bee plates are awesome because they’re pretty much unbreakable, and they have BEES on them! You know how I feel about bees!

Source: fab.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

 

While no one in my house *needs* a nightlight, these would be super fun in a guest bedroom or colorful bathroom at night – or even for lighting up the kitchen for a midnight snack. They’re super sweet looking, and you get all the gummy goodness with no cavities!

Source: fab.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

 

Unfortunately I don’t have a dog, but if I did, I’d totally buy one of these cool hand-painted Indian dog dishes. I love the little bird on the front and how it’s enamel so it won’t chip or break.

Source: fab.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

 

I’m a sucker for anything strawberry – and this heavy duty ceramic mixing bowl looks like it could handle being in a sink full of dishes or being broiled to death. I love the cute vintage feel of it, too.

Source: squidoo.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

 

A good peeler is hard to find, but a good, cute peeler is next to impossible. However – I guess it doesn’t really matter if a peeler is cute, but this one is silly and fun and might make the horrible task of peeling mangoes slightly more bearable.

Source: fab.com via Alyssa on Pinterest

 

It’s a pickle wearing spurs. What more can I say?

Do you like to “window shop” online? What are your favorite haunts?