Thursday, January 26, 2012

Proud Mommy Moments: Grace's Bedtime Reading

Although she's technically not supposed to be reading books at bedtime, I was happy to see her reading selection on her nightstand last night.  Just another reason why I love Grace and her sweet little heart.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I Found a Few New Friends in Army Wives

Since Joel went to Iraq the first time, I always get asked whether I watch Army Wives.  Mostly, it's non-military who ask me... maybe they assume since I'm a milspouse that Army Wives has to be my #1 can't-miss show.  But since we live all fancy-like and don't have cable, I've never seen it.  But now we're living like royalty and have Netflix, so I've been able to watch all the cable shows I've heard so much about.  For some reason, though, I could never bring myself to watch Army Wives.

Last week I decided to see what all the talk was about.  And I'm now officially 100% hooked.  I've been watching a few episodes each night and have cried more over the last few nights than I have since Joel was deployed last year.  Seriously. 

I can see why so many milspouses are hooked.  Although there is a whole lot of drama in that little group of army wives, there are so many things that are completely relatable, heartwarming and heartbreaking.  Since we don't live on post/base, I don't have a lot of military friends.  Most of my friends are civilians.  And if it weren't for the milspouse blogging world, I would know only a handful of military wives and families.  So, during Joel's deployments, I've leaned on family and friends.  And I love them.  They try, hard, to empathize - but there's a lack of understanding for the military lifestyle that make them unable to sympathize with our life, our separations and our struggles.

One thing that's really moved me about the show is the sense of community amongst the group of friends.  They all truly understand each other's emotions.  They know, by just a look, why there's a distance in their friend's eyes while her husband is away.  They know what to say and not to say when their friend's marriage is struggling because of the stress of deployments.  They fill in the gaps when their friend's husband is at war.

Since we are Guard, we have very limited interactions with other military families.  Mostly because we don't live on post so we're not involved with each other on a daily basis.  But I really want that to change.  I need it to change.  At this point in our military life, I really need a community around who understand the emotions and the stresses of this lifestyle.  I've finally connected with a few families from Joel's unit and it's so refreshing to have other women who understand our husband's "shop-talk" and lifestyle.  It's taken 8 years for me to finally feel that I have a few other military wives in my life, who live in the same town, who I can talk openly with about the good and bad of this life.

I really want to make a commitment to that - to work on forming relationship with other military families.  I want my kids to know other military kids.  I want to do better to reach out to other women who may be struggling in their marriage post-deployment (just like Joel and I have) and offer some support and encouragement.  I just want to be better connected and bonded.

After sifting through all the drama, Army Wives has taught me that in order to survive and thrive in this lifestyle, we need to depend on each other.

Wednesday Weigh-In: Week 11

I'll keep this short and simple... This week I did great with my eating (except for those pesky Thin Mints), I was completely lacking motivation to get to the gym and stay at the gym, and I didn't gain or lose this week.

Here are my workouts:

Friday -
45 minutes of cardio including the ARC Trainer and Stationary bike
20 minutes of strength training

Monday -
40 minutes of cardio including the Elliptical Trainer and Stationary bike

Wednesday -
60 minutes of cardio including the Elliptical Trainer and Stationary bike

My goal for this next week is to get to the gym at least 4 times and workout out for a minimum of 60 minutes each time.  Cross your fingers!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday Weigh-In: Weeks 9 & 10

Yes, I've been a naughty blogger and skipped my post last week.  Good excuse though, on my part... the stomach flu decided to hang out with me for a few days.  I love when it does that.  There's nothing as awesome as laying on the bathroom floor in the middle of the night, wishing for death.  I did play a little game and kept the scale nearby so I could weigh myself throughout the day and see my numbers change.  That being said, I'd rather work my butt off in the gym than lose weight via the flu.

Over the last two weeks, I lost 1.5 pounds.  I'm still over my initial weight, 10 weeks ago.  But I keep reminding myself that muscle weighs more than fat.  And I've seen major changes in my body already, so I know there's truth to that.  Although, the truth still kinda stinks.

Week 9 Workouts:

Thursday -
50 minutes of cardio, including the stationary bike and elliptical machine

Friday -
40 minutes of cardio, including walking on the treadmill and the ARC trainer

Saturday -
65 minutes of cardio, including the elliptical machine and stationary bike

Sunday -
20 minutes of walking (non-gym day)

Monday -
45 minutes of cardio, including the ARC trainer and elliptical machine

Week 10 Workouts:

Friday -
25 minutes of cardio on the elliptical machine (non-gym day)

Saturday -
25 minutes of cardio on the elliptical machine (non-gym day)

Monday -
20 minutes of cardio on the elliptical machine (non-gym day)

Tuesday -
30 minutes of walking (non-gym day)

Wednesday -
35 minutes of cardio on the elliptical machine

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Top 11 Beauty Faves of 2011

For those of you who may think you're lost... you're in the right spot.  This is indeed A Troop's Girl.  But as some of you know, I am a major beauty product junkie.  I love makeup, skincare, haircare... I'm obsessed with the stuff.  So, as many of you may blog about recipes and home DIY projects, I thought it would only make sense to share some of my beauty obsessions with y'all.

Here are my top 11 beauty products of 2011...

1.  MAC Smolder Eye Liner - This is a really rich-black liner that actually stays in the water line.  It's been around forever, but I've just discovered it in 2011 and have worn it nearly every day... and there's still a tiny stub of it left!

2.  Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation - I got super pale last winter and needed a new foundation that would work well with my skin that was extremely dry at the time.  I watched a couple YouTube reviews on it and bought it online without getting a color match.  This is a medium to full-coverage foundation that gives a luminous finish without looking too oily and keeps my dry spots from looking too flaky.  If I could only buy one foundation for the rest of my life, this would be it.

3.  Nars Deep Throat Blush - I have a lot of blushes.  But I've always been on the pursuit of the-perfect pink blush.  This is it for me!  It gives a wonderfully natural flush and lasts for most of the day on me.

(image from Temptalia)

4.  Urban Decay Naked Palette - I'm a sucker for eye shadow.  I've tried a million different brands from drugstore to upscale department stores.  I own a ton of shadows.  And most of them are neutrals.  I'm obsessed with neutrals, because you know, all browns are not created equal.  This palette has been out for a while and has been all over beauty blogs and YouTube .  I just picked it up last month (one for me and then later, one for my sister).  It is an awesome neutral palette.  The colors run on the warm side, so it may not suit you if you're more cool-toned.  But the colors have great payoff, are really finely-milled.  The only downside, is that some of the more sparkly shadows do have some fallout.  So, I usually have to clean up my under-eye area when I'm down with my eyes.  But other than that, this is an awesome neutral palette.

(image from Temptalia)

5.  MAC's 217 Eye Shadow Brush - Oh my gosh.  This is seriously the best eye shadow brush ever made.  It has a great density and the fibers are soft but maintain their shape well.  I use this for my crease and my outer-corner and use it every single day.  I own 3, so I don't have to clean it every day.  And if I could justify it, I'd have more!  If you want to invest in one good eye shadow brush, get the 217.  Heck, get 2!

6.  MAC Cultured Lipglass - As much as I've been obsessed with finding the perfect pink blush, the hunt for the perfect pink lipgloss has caused me to now own loads of lipgloss.  Literally, maybe a ton.  Anyway, for me, this is a perfect pink.  It rosy and bright, but not too pale.  You know, Kim Kardashian, pale.  This is not that.  This is really feminine and can be worn with a full-on smokey eye or just a simple neutral look.

7.  MAC Falsies Mascara - God did not give me great lashes.  I have itty-bitty ones that hardly hold a curl.  I've tried a billion mascaras in my life, and right now, this is my favorite.  MAC just came out with a really rich-black version of the original.  And it's totally awesome.

(image from Style Bakery Beauty)

8.  Paul Mitchell Skinny Serum - I have reasonably straight hair.  But I have some weird waves mixed in.  I've used this serum for a few years now and love it.  I work a few pumps in my hair before I blow dry.  It helps keep my hair straight and it also speeds up my drying time.  I'm not sure what's in this stuff.  But it's amazing, although a bit pricey.  I save up coupons from JCPenney and wait for this to go on sale in their salon.  Last time I got 2 bottles that resale for $17.99 each.  They were on sale for buy one, get one for 1 cent!!  And I had a $10 coupon.  So I got two bottles for about $8. 
9.  Peter Thomas Roth Gentle Complexion Correction Pads - Right after I had Grace, but skin went nuts.  As much fun as acne is when you're 15, it's even worse when you're in your 20s.  I use one of these pads, at night, right after I've washed my face.  It helps with whatever residue is left and has AHA and BHA's, which help dead skin cells and clogged pores.  This product smells great and leaves my skin feeling fresh, not dry, like so many toners and acne products do.

10.  Essie's Protein Base Coat - If you know me, you probably know that I always wear nail polish.  I do my nails about every 3 days.  So with that much polish and polish remover, my nails have started to peel.  This is a great base coat - it helps keep the polish from staining my nails and also helps to keep my nails healthy. 

11.  Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer - Thanks to my two wonderfully awesome girls, I have dark circles.  And thanks to my labor with Grace, I have a dark vein that is now visible underneath one of my eyes.  I found this concealer this summer and have worn it every day since.  Even if the rest of my face is makeup free, I'll still put this on. 

Let me know what you think of my beauty picks & I would love to know what you're obsessed with!  If you would like more beauty-related posts in the future, leave a comment below or send me an email.

Wednesday Weigh-In: Week 8

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Hope you are all enjoying the first few days of 2012... and keeping to your resolutions.  Personally, I don't keep resolutions.  But I guess my resolution to lose weight that I started 8 weeks ago will carry me through 2012.  So, that's my resolution - to keep on.

I've completed 8 weeks of pretty faithful workouts and decent eating habits.  I heard on the news this week, that people usually drop-off their workout-kick at about 3 months.  I can see how that would happen, especially if they are like me, and faithfully working out without really much weight loss to show for it.  This week is much of the same - no change from last week.  It still seems like my goal is far-off.  But I'm going to remain faithful with getting to the gym and try better this week to stay on a better eating routine.

New Years killed me food-wise.  Once the girls were in bed, I decided each night to treat myself with a plate full of nachos while I watched Bridezillas.  A great mix!  This week, I'm going to cut-off snacking by 8 pm and will limit snacks during the day to fruit, instead of my normal handful of Nilla Wafers or something equally as nutritious.  I'm also going to try to get the gym 5 times this week.

Onto my workouts for week 8:

Friday -
45 minutes of cardio including the elliptical machine and stationary bike

Monday -
50 minutes of cardio including the elliptical machine and stationary bike

Tuesday -
70 minutes of cardio including the elliptical machine and stationary bike