5 Ways to Get Your Energy Back

As mothers and women we generally take on more than we can handle. As a Type-A-Go-Getter it’s in my nature to say yes to everything, even if it means added stress, anxiety and exhaustion. It’s normal to have days where you’re exhausted or sleepless nights here and there, but if you’re feeling drained all day everyday then you may need lifestyle adjustment. Over the course of the past 7 months I have slowly implemented the following changes into my life and I can 100% say that I never felt better.

Say ‘NO’ More Often – Feeling drained doesn’t have to just be purely physical. Mental exhaustion can be just as taxing. Lightening your load of commitments can make a world of difference. The past few months have brought a lot of changes to my life and I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed even by the smallest task. Usually I am a social butterfly who loves to go out and be around my friends but lately I’ve found comfort in saying NO to every social gathering. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of yourself physically.

Invest in a Proper Supplement – I will be the first one to admit that I’m awful when it comes to taking vitamins and minerals daily. Even with bottles of supplements sitting on my counter I still can never remember to take them. Maybe it’s because I like eating more, haha. Recently I started taking Bioactive Multi from Healthy Cell. It contains a broad spectrum of micronutrients including essential vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients, botanical antioxidants, and prebiotics. Delivered through Bioactive Gel™ for maximum absorption, it ensures a daily nutrient foundation for optimal health. It can be taken solo, mixed with water or a drink, blended in a smoothie or added to a meal. Bioactive Multi contains No Dairy, No Egg, No Peanuts, No Tree Nuts, No Wheat, No Shellfish and No Artificial Flavors. These little packets are perfect to keep in your gym bag, purse, car, kitchen, office drawer, etc. Now there is literally no excuse for me not to take my supplements daily because of how easy Healthy Cell has made it. Not to mention the taste is actually really, really good so you’ll want to take it daily.

Limit Alcohol & Caffeine – I’ve discussed this a lot on my blog and social channels, but I am a huge advocate of social drinking only and limiting alcohol when possible. There is also a sedative in alcohol which sucks energy from your body. In addition to cutting back on those sugary cocktails, it’s also worth mentioning that guzzling cup after cup of coffee throughout the day will not boost your energy. For some reason we are wired to think that the more caffeine we drink the more energy we will have but it’s actually the opposite. Caffeine can cause insomnia so try not to drink it after 2pm (or try taking a break all together!)

Exercise – I will be the first to admit that when I’m exhausted and mentally drained that the last thing I want to do is change into my workout clothes, drive to the gym, and do an hour of cardio. However, after exercising nearly everyday for 8 weeks I can tell you this: when I miss 1-2 days at the gym my body becomes sluggish and heavy. I actually have less energy than I do when I get that cardio in. My body has started craving daily workouts and I feel so much better when I’m active, even if only for an hour. I also sleep so much better which in turn gives me more energy for the following day.

Water, Water and More Water – Our bodies are made up of 60% water so it goes without saying that we need to have sufficient water intake to survive and be healthy. I cut out 99% of the Diet Coke and Iced Vanilla Latte’s I was drinking and replaced them with water and have felt so much better. Even though I’m still not getting my 64 ounces of water daily, I have more energy when I drink more water.

Do you have any tips you swear by to get more energy? Let me know in the comments below!

*This post is sponsored by Healthy Cell. All thoughts and opinions are my own*

Zota Beach Resort: The Ultimate Girls Getaway

Whenever I have to chance to visit Florida I always say yes. I love how easy it is to get to and the weather is typically so perfect. When the opportunity came up to visit Zota Beach Resort in Longboat Key I jumped at it. The flight to Sarasota is just over an hour from Atlanta and the drive to Longboat Key from the airport is under 30 minutes. The newly renovated Zota Beach Resort sits on the beautiful, white Longboat Key beaches which provides stunning views for sunset and sunrise. The spectacular pool is the focal point of the resort with luxurious two bedroom suites and just steps away from the beach.

With plenty of beach charm, luxurious rooms and suites, it’s simply a slice of paradise. It was the perfect getaway with my girlfriend Katie and we had the best time lounging in the cabana by the pool. They’re equipped with a television, mini fridge, waters, towels, an attendant and plenty of outlets so we could charge our devices 🙂 One of the perks of our job is that we can work from anywhere and the cabanas made it enjoyable and relaxing. In addition to Zota Beach Resort being great for couples and friends, it’s also very family friendly. If you’re looking for a romantic or quiet stay then I definitely recommend going in the off season (which is typically during the summer!)

Zota Beach Resort offers in room dining from 7am-11pm and also has a fabulous restaurant, Viento Kitchen + Bar. The overall culinary concept is inspired by Florida, Caribbean and Mediterranean cuisine. The Lobster Risotto and Filet Mignon were exceptional so be sure to try those when you go. There is also Cascades Pool Bar right on the pool deck so you can enjoy frozen drinks and lunch while you soak up the sun.

There is no shortage of amazing photo spots for all your Instagram vacation pictures. Golden hour on the beach and around the crisp white hotel was literally perfection. The infinity pool, blue ocean water, hammocks and life size chess board are just a few spots worth snapping pictures at.

Some other highlights worth mentioning: the fast valet and exceptional poolside service! We never had to wait more than a few minutes for our car and the pool staff were incredible. The resort is well maintained and exceptionally clean. The staff go above and beyond to make sure you’re taken care of. Zota also has a great complimentary coffee & tea bar as well as fruit infused water. If you never want to leave your hotel when on vacation, then Zota Beach Resort is the place for you.

A huge thank you to Zota Beach Resort for hosting us on this amazing trip!

How I Lost 25 Pounds in 8 Weeks

Turning 35 in April was a huge light bulb moment for me. Officially being in my mid-30’s I felt old and tired. So tired. Yes, I can blame that on motherhood but my kids are 7 and 4 and honestly they’re more mentally draining than physically 🙂 My initial “why” was never to lose weight or change my body type. I’ve always been confident no matter my size and believe that confidence comes from within. My goal was to become healthier for myself and my children. However, it’s inevitable that daily exercise and eating better will cause weight loss so since this lifestyle change I’ve dropped 25 pounds in 8 weeks. I feel better than I ever have and have so much mental clarity. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what I’ve been doing at the gym and I thought it would be easy to have everything in one place for reference.

What I’ve Been Eating

I’m a creature of habit and while I haven’t been following a certain diet like Keto, FWTWL, or Paleo, I have been very mindful of what I consume. I have the My Fitness Pal app on my phone and I log everything I eat, even on days where I have a drink or go out to eat. I stick to 1,200 calories a day max but really what I’m the most aware of is my carb and sugar intake. Because they are low in fiber and digested quickly, eating refined carbs can cause major swings in blood sugar levels. To avoid this I make sure to fill up on high protein foods like eggs, cheese and plenty of turkey. A few years ago I had a food sensitivity test done to see which foods were causing inflammation in my body (read more about that here) and I try to eat as little as possible from that list. My daily food intake looks something like this: Break my Intermittent Fasting at 11am and have a Premier Protein Shake and some coffee (the vanilla mixed with Starbucks cold brew is so good). 1:00pm I eat 2 scrambled eggs, cheese and a turkey hot dog with mustard. 3:00pm I have a Muscle Milk shake. 5-5:30pm I have dinner which is usually a turkey burger, cottage cheese, a vegetable and flavored sparkling water. Some days I mix it up and have a protein shake for breakfast or dinner. All in all, I generally eat the same foods unless I’m going out to dinner with friends or on vacation. I travel a lot for work and my staple foods area Caesar Salad without croutons and a cheeseburger without the bun. When we were in Florida a few weeks ago I think I ate that everyday, lol. It’s funny how in the past I would totally crave a heavy pasta or pizza but now I am totally content with eating the foods that my body reacts to well and that don’t cause inflammation in my body. These are the foods I eat almost daily:

How I’ve Been Moving

I can assure you that I haven’t embarked on some crazy fitness routine and what I have been doing at the gym almost anyone can do. I joined the closest gym to my house and pay $10 a month. I don’t need anything fancy and I certainly don’t need a gym where people are more concerned with impressing the opposite sex rather than working on themselves. When I first started going I gave myself a simple goal of working out 6 days the first week. I don’t believe in setting unrealistic goals because they can feel harder to achieve and in turn you end up feeling upset with yourself if you don’t meet them. So after I met my first goal of 6 days then I set another one for 7 days, then 21 days, then 28 days and so on. Pretty soon 3 weeks turned into 6 weeks and going to the gym really has just become second nature to me. Remember, it takes 21 days to create a habit and 90 days to create a lifestyle. I really do enjoy making time for the gym and my body craves it. What used to seem so hard has become second nature to me. I do an hour of cardio each day either on the treadmill or sit-down bike and 20 minutes of weight machines (arms and legs). I even started bringing my gym clothes and shoes on trips with me so I can get a quick workout in each day so I don’t break my cycle and routine.

One big thing that I’ve talked a lot about on Instagram in the past is my lack of drinking alcohol. I am a social drinker only who may or may not have a glass of wine or vodka/soda when I go out. I generally stick to a 2 drink maximum and definitely am not drinking wine at home every night. Nothing good comes from heavy alcohol consumption so it’s best, in my opinion, to cut it out or cut back. Regardless if you are trying to be healthier or following a fitness plan, alcohol is best consumed occasionally and in small amounts. If you’re making the effort to eat right, cutting out sugar, going to the gym … whatever your goal is; drinking alcohol at the end of each night as a reward for getting through the day or to relax is only going to cancel everything else out. I’m all for a fun birthday celebration or a vacation cocktail but remember if you YOLO too hard, it will catch up to you.

I’ve loved sharing my wellness journey with you over on Instagram so if you’re not following me already (@chanelvanreenen) I’d love to have you. It’s been really fun talking with you guys about your journeys and motivating each other. If you have any wellness or fitness tips you’d like to share with others or things you’ve found that have worked for you, please leave them in the comments so we can continue to support each other. Thanks for following along!

How To Mosquito-Proof Your Yard

Our house has the perfect backyard. Tons of tall trees, plenty of shade and almost a half-acre of land. The dogs and kids love to run around, explore and play for hours on end. That is until the Atlanta heat starts creeping in. The neighborhood that backs up to our backyard has a retention pond in it so the mosquitoes make their way over to our yard and get really bad during the summer. This year we had some plans for the backyard which included new landscaping, the removal of overgrown greenery and trees and leveling out my yard. We knew when we set this plan in motion that having a reliable pest control company mosquito-proof our yard was imperative.

Aside from mosquitoes biting and being a nuisance to humans, they also affect animals and can bite dogs, too. Here is a fun fact: Mosquitoes outlived dinosaurs. They date back as far as 400 million years ago! Luckily, with the help of Orkin Pest Control, there are steps you can take to protect your yard and family from mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes thrive in conditions with warmth and moisture, which is why summer is prime mosquito season. Since we live in Atlanta, our season can start as early as April and last through October, which is why we couldn’t wait to have Orkin Pest Control come treat our yard. Now we are able to enjoy the outdoors longer and really take advantage of the beautiful weather before it gets too hot. We’ve only received one monthly service so far out of the six we signed up for, and I can wholeheartedly say that we have not seen or felt a single mosquito in our backyard. I was skeptical at first because in the past we’ve used other pest control companies, but the mosquitoes would still be there, so in my head I was thinking “What will be different about Orkin Pest Control?” Well, there is a difference and let me tell you why. The licensed pest professionals at Orkin design a custom treatment plan that fits your yard’s needs and thoroughly explain where they are treating and why those areas. The Orkin treatments are approved and regulated by the EPA, and the technicians are specially trained to use them. When they apply a treatment, it is in focused areas of the yard to target the places where mosquitoes breed.

In addition to having Orkin Pest Control treat your yard, there are several other ways to prevent mosquitoes. Mosquitoes need less than an inch of water to breed, so eliminating standing water from areas around your home like gutters, buckets and toys will help immensely. Change water weekly in bird baths, fountains, potted plants and any containers that may hold standing water. If you have a pool, keep the water treated and circulating.

Being in our backyard has been so enjoyable for the first time in almost 8 years.  Our dogs aren’t constantly itching and biting themselves and we can enjoy a meal on the deck with friends and family. If you are looking to have a pest control company out to your house and choose Orkin, you can get $50 OFF your initial mosquito treatment with promo code MOS50 on Orkin.com! I can honestly say that Orkin Pest Control has already made this summer so good and we cannot wait for all the memories we’ll be creating!

How I Wake up With a Clean Kitchen

This post is sponsored by Cascade. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My kitchen is easily one of the messiest parts of the house. It’s where the kids (and dogs) eat their meals, where everyone comes in from the garage, and backpacks, groceries and mail get strewn all over the place. Needless to say, it’s a constant battle to keep it tidy. There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning with a messy kitchen all while trying to get yourself and kids ready for the day. There are a few things I do in the evening to try and make my mornings​ run smoother.

1. Clean the Microwave while you tidy – Scrubbing a microwave is the worst. It’s like a dark cave​ ​that you can’t clearly see so you’re just kind of winging it. A few years ago I read about this​ ​cleaning trick and it actually works. Take a microwavable bowl and fill half with lemon juice, half​ ​with water and then microwave for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, voila! You have a clean​ ​microwave and saved yourself 5 minutes of scrubbing.

2. Cascade pure essentials is my new secret weapon when it comes to removing tough grease and set-on food stains. I don’t have time to pre-wash all the dishes just so I can put them into the dishwasher to be washed again! I need a product that will work for me, not against me. Cascade has simplified their winning formula and developed an ActionPac that is free of​ ​phosphates and chlorine bleach. Each ActionPac is infused with biobased ingredients and produces zero waste in landfills. How amazing is that? Not only are your dishes getting clean but it has ingredients that you can feel good about using for your family. It’s a win-win! I run the dishwasher before going to bed every night so I don’t have to wake up to a sink full of dirty dishes. Cascade pure essentials are available at Kroger stores now and you can get $1 off any Cascade pure essentials item now through May 25 here.

3. Laundry baskets in our house are for more than just holding laundry. I use them for​ ​miscellaneous items that belong in places besides the kitchen. I gather things in the basket​ ​throughout the day that go upstairs or in the basement … basically any item that isn’t food or a​ ​dish goes in this basket. Then at the end of the day I carry the basket upstairs with me and​ ​separate items out where they really belong (kids rooms, bathroom, dresser, etc). I also use this​ ​trick if I have company coming over and I didn’t have time to clean. Everything goes in the laundry basket and in the garage until they leave 🙂

4. A few years ago we invested in a robotic vacuum for the hardwood floors. Between the constant crumbs from the kids and dogs, and the amount of pet hair flying around, that sucker needs to be running literally all day long. Every evening when we go upstairs for the night I set the vacuum to run over the hardwoods. Once it’s finished, it finds its home base and charges when it’s done.

5. This may seem like a no-brainer but it’s my favorite part of cleaning. Having sparkling, clean countertops are my favorite. So while the microwave is cleaning, I spend those 5 minutes wiping​ ​down all counters, the fridge, dishwasher, and sink. That’s my final step before I head up to bed.​ ​All in all, everything takes around 20 minutes of my actual time and it makes me a much happier​ ​person in the morning!

At the end of the day our ultimate goal is to be able to spend as much time as possible with family and loved ones, not worry about a messy house. What are your go-to cleaning hacks to save you time?

4 Easy Ways to Host a Summer Picnic

In the late Spring and early Summer my backyard looks the best it does all year. With lush greens, beautiful morning light, and no mosquitos, it’s the perfect place to gather friends and family. The weather was absolutely perfect last week so my friend Katie and I decided to treat ourselves to an outdoor picnic instead of our usual coffee date. Catching up over savory snacks and fresh air was so good for our souls! There are few things I love more than hosting friends and I would definitely consider myself a pro when it comes to entertaining. Today I’m sharing my 4 tips for hosting a picnic (which literally anyone can do!) They’re so easy and require zero investment, besides food and drinks, because you probably have everything you need inside your home.

Even though picnics are already outside and surrounded by nature, don’t let that stop you from bringing in more greenery or beautiful blooms. Adding pops of color with flowers to your setup is a relatively inexpensive way to fill the space.

You don’t need to use outdoor only blankets & pillows. If the ground is dry than bring out all the indoor blankets and textiles you need. The more the merrier, especially if you’re having several people. No one wants to sit on dirt and be uncomfortable, so think of it like you’re decorating your living room. Think outside the box. Mix colors and blend textures. Don’t be afraid of color because after all, you’re probably doing it for the ‘gram anyway.

Keep food simple. Picnic food should be finger food items like small sandwiches, cheese and crackers, mini cupcakes and a veggie platter. Having to cut food with a knife and fork on your lap sounds like an accident waiting to happen. Plus, everything mentioned can be bought pre-made at your local grocery store which saves you time and your sanity. Leave the silverware at home and bust out those beautiful cloth napkins you save for special occasions and you’re set!

Don’t forget the wine! I don’t know about you, but sitting outside on the ground for a few hours without having a drink in my hand doesn’t sound like that much fun. While I’m not a huge drinker I do enjoy having a glass or two of wine socially with my friends. I love white wine and Butter Chardonnay has become a favorite of mine recently. They just introduced a 4-pack of Chardonnay cans which are perfect for a picnic, especially if you’re having one at a local park or public beach. No glass=no mess! Having the cans means you don’t have to pack cups either, so it’s one less thing to forget.

When was the last time you threw a picnic? What is the one must-have item on your picnic list?

How to Refresh your Patio in under 30 Minutes

This post is sponsored by Tuesday Morning. All thoughts & opinions are my own. 

Our outdoor patio space has been in need of  love for a long, long time. Since we’ve had so much rain over the past several months (and frankly several years) it has gotten neglected big time. Living in Atlanta there are only a few months out of there year where it’s actually enjoyable to be outside (because sweltering heat & humidity, mosquitos and pollen. Ew.) The rain appears to have finally stopped for a while and with Spring in full bloom, it is the perfect time to update our patio!

I love shopping at places like Tuesday Morning because they offer affordable, unique items that help express my personal style. I can always count on them to have a wide variety of items I need so I’m not running all over town. It was so easy to transform our backyard patio without breaking the bank. The weather this past weekend could not have been better and it was the perfect time to host a girls night. I made sure to enlist the help of my trusty sidekick who is now a pro at arranging (and eating) oranges. When choosing serving ware, I always lean towards more neutral colors that can be used for holidays, parties, and everyday use.

In addition to the serving ware, Tuesday Morning has a ton of cost-effective outdoor items like rugs, pillows and cushions, umbrellas and patio furniture. Our patio set was relatively new but as you’ll see from the “before” pictures below, it was looking very run down. I wanted to add some pops of color and white textiles to brighten the space and make it feel inviting. With adding white flower pots, a beautiful white ceramic table, colorful pillows and a rug, I was able to create an outdoor living space that was warm and welcoming. My favorite find however was this adorable outdoor bar cart which I filled with greenery and flowers. The possibilities for this little cart are endless (dessert bar anyone??) and I cannot wait to use it in down the line. At only $79, it was steal for sure!

If you’re looking to makeover a patio or other space in your house then be sure to stop by your local Tuesday Morning for one-of-a-kind items and amazing deals! I was able to makeover our entire patio in under 30 minutes with only trips to the store (Tuesday Morning and my local grocery store) to get everything I needed to host our friends. Now that you’ve seen the “after” transformation of our deck space, here are the before ones. I told you our patio needed a lot of love!

Have you given your outdoor space a make over yet? Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a photo so I can see the transformation! Happy Spring!

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