.four great amazon finds.

If Amazon Prime is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.  Honestly, what would we do without it?  I know for a fact that Christmas wouldn’t happen at our house if I didn’t have the convenience of shopping from my couch.

One area that was maybe shady in Prime’s past was fashion–I’ve heard horror stories of abysmal clothing that looks nothing like the picture and takes weeks (sometimes months, sometimes never) to arrive.  Lately though, I’ve had some major luck with several great staples that I find myself reaching for again and again.

The Best Travel Outfit: $20

IMG_8872

Love that this romper comes in so many color options and has pockets!  My hat is super old and came from Walmart!

IMG_8876

I am still loving this Cult Gaia dupe as my go-to summer bag.  I always get so many compliments on it.  The bracelets on my right hand are from Alex & Ani (mostly Disney ones) along with a Teletie (a necessity!) and an old J.Crew bracelet.  On my left hand I’m wearing three Lillian & Co bracelets and one bracelet by The Whimsy Merchant.

I struggle with being cooped up in the car.  I also struggle wearing athletic clothing in the car, especially if we have something to do upon arrival to our destination.  This little romper is the perfect answer because it feels like pajamas, but it looks so put-together.  If you’re en route to a fun vacation, you’ll feel ready to drop your bags and head out without the need to change or press any of your items stowed away in your luggage.  If you’re on your way home, it looks fantastic with a top knot and minimal makeup.  Either way, it’s a downright bargain.  Shipping took longer than Prime, but it came within two weeks.  I’m 5′ and around 95 pounds and I’m wearing a small.  I feel like it’s TTS.

The Best Summer Tank: $17

IMG_8875

My sweater is old and from Target.  My shoes are also from Target and I’ve been living in them.  My shorts are from Old Navy and the perfect pair to throw on for running errands or to cover up a bathing suit.

IMG_8873

My necklace is from Kendra Scott and I sport it most days.  My earrings are old from Betsy Pittard.

This is one I’ve found myself reaching for over and over again because it’s so easy to wear.  For such a cheap price, the quality if really great.  In the fall, I plan to pair it with a chunky-knit cardigan or sweater (and I actually did that here because it was so chilly in Georgia on the day we shot this), so I feel like it’s a pretty versatile piece.  It comes in lots of colors and looks good with shorts or jeans (I do a French tuck when I wear it, but you could easily tie the bottom together, too).  If you order this, don’t have a deadline because shipping takes a while, but they warn you of that from the get-go.  I think I’ll probably order a few more in different colors because it’s such a good, basic summer staple.  I’m 5′ and around 95 pounds and I’m wearing a small.  I feel like it’s TTS.

THE Swimsuit: $16

IMG_8682

I saw our friend Shavoyae at this pool party and he told me I looked like I belonged in the Hamptons.  It sold me on this swimsuit for forever!

IMG_8877

Evidence that your kid can climb all over you and this bathing suit doesn’t quit.  This is pretty much the only way Annabeth will get into a pool right now.  Her swimsuit is from Smock Monkey and is sold out and her hat is from The Beaufort Bonnet Company.

This swimsuit could steal the Declaration of Independence and I would still love it.  It is the most flattering, comfortable bathing suit and the price point is fantastic.  It’s ideal for moms or even grandmothers or aunts who are chasing kids around the pool or beach because it has great rear-end coverage:  seriously, nothing hangs out!  It’s lined nicely, comes in tons of colors, and ships super quickly.  I look better than I ever have in my entire life and I still get anxious about wearing a swimsuit, so this particular one is ideal for those days when I’m not feeling super confident.  The only problem is that you do end up with a funky tan line, but I usually begin a beach vacation with my skimpiest swimsuit on the first day so I can establish good tan lines 🙂  I’m 5′ and around 95 pounds and I’m wearing a small.  I feel like it’s TTS.

Hat Bands: $9

IMG_8779

My dress is by Vineyard Vines (I can’t find a link) and my shoes are by Target.  My pearl necklace is by KJP and I love that it’s a classic twist on a regular strand of pearls.  Annabeth’s bib dress is from Sugar Dumplin‘.

When Kate Middleton began sporting hat bands (seen here), I knew it was a trend that I could totally get on board with.  I have a super sensitive head/scalp, so I’ve always had a hard time wearing any type of hat or headband.  I found these hat bands on Amazon and they are so comfortable that I can literally put it on and then forget it.  It really elevates a look to a lewk and I’ve gotten so many compliments on mine!  The price is fantastic, shipping was almost instant, and they have so many color options that I can’t wait to treat myself to a few more!

Have you got any Amazon must-haves that you can recommend?  Head to my Instagram or our Facebook page and let us know what you’re loving so we can give it a try!

XOXO,

Court

PS:  Still obsessed with these Tinkle razors.  My makeup application has never been smoother or looked better.  I usually do it before an event and on Sundays and then immediately follow up with retinol+mask.

PSS:  I recently made the swap to wool dryer balls and they are amazing.  They really do cut our drying time by about 1/3!  Use this link to get a free gift set from Grove Collaborative when you order a set of your own!

.dreaming of football season.

Even though football season is so tough, I still find myself daydreaming about it often.  As Annabeth has gotten older, she has become more and more interested in football and especially loves visiting Daddy at the field house.  The coaching staff has a really great tradition where the children of the coaches all get to eat with their Daddies on Friday afternoons prior to kick-off.  I love it because it gives Annabeth some time with Coach and she gets to play with other children.

Admittedly, one of my favorite parts of football season is football fashion.  It sounds silly, but Annabeth and I both represent the team even when we’re waiting in line to buy a hotdog at the concession stand.  I always want us to be a credit to Coach, and that means we don’t show up to games in athleisure wear or a t-shirt!  Our school colors are red and grey, so I do my best to fill my own wardrobe with those colors.  For Annabeth, I focus on scoping out finds that are a little sweeter.

Grace & James Kids is one of my newest obsessions.  Their clothing is timeless, well-priced, and super high-quality.  I also love supporting Georgia-grown businesses and one of the owners actually now lives in Athens!  They just launched a football pre-sale that is absolutely to die for and many of their pieces are customizable which is ideal for football families like ours.  Bonus:  with code GJKCONTEST109, you can score free shipping on any order!

I can’t wait for Annabeth to sport this precious little top.  Everything from the skin-tone of the cheerleaders to the color of the gingham (and even the team name which is so exciting for us coaching families!) is completely customizable.  We’re going to go with red gingham and Go Mustangs down at the bottom.  It would be really cute to pair this particular style with a corduroy skirt or bloomers if it’s hotter.  They have similar styles like this, this, and this that are equally as adorable.

Cheerleader Applique

Shop HERE and use code GJKCONTEST109 for free shipping!

I am dying over this sweater.  Again, the entire sweater is customizable from the color of the knit to the text featured on it.  Grace & James Kids actually has these hand-knit right here in the USA, so this is definitely one of those pieces that can be passed down from sibling to sibling (and one day, from generation to generation).  I personally think it would be appropriate for little boys or little girls and I think I’m going to size up for Annabeth’s sweater so we can get a few year’s of wear out of it.  I think I’d pair this particular look with cords and sweet Mary Janes.

Grace & James Kids

Shop HERE and free shipping with the code GJKCONTEST109

I have an obsession with lounge wear that just won’t quit.  Saturdays are super precious, especially during football season when it’s pretty much Coach’s only day off.  Our favorite thing to do is head to the Roystonian for breakfast and then race back home to jump back into our pajamas.  Coach watches film while Annabeth and I play and snuggle up for a good movie.  I’m completely obsessed with this football lounge wear.  I can’t wait until this fall when College Game Day is on and we can snuggle all day with Annabeth sporting these sweet duds.

First Down (1)

Shop HERE for girl lounge wear, boy lounge wear, boy onesies, and girl onesies.  Use code GJKCONTEST109 for free shipping!

There are so many other sweet looks like this adorable turtle neck that would be great for layering with a sweater or jumper and I also love these helmet monograms that would be perfect for older boys who are beginning to push back against more traditional clothing.

Are you already starting to crave Fall?  I’m so excited about our upcoming adventures to SSI, Lake Burton, and Disney World, but I’m also so ready for bonfires, boots, and apple crisp with my girl.  I also can’t wait for the electric feeling of the band striking up the fight song and congratulatory kisses on the field after Coach brings home a W and it will be all the sweeter with Annabeth supporting the team in some of these timeless fashions.

XOXO,

Court

PS:  Grace & James Kids has a fabulous sale section.  Definitely check it out!

PSS:  If you join the rewards program, you get $10 off your first order and don’t forget you get free shipping anytime with code GJKCONTEST109!

All images are courtesy of Grace & James Kids and the talented Natalie Thompson of Natalie Thompson Photography.

.recently.

I sort of fell off the map for a while after posting my May Favorites.  This was somewhat unintentional (traffic=income), but with both of us being full-time graduate students this summer, blogging had to move to the back burner for a few days so I could focus on my coursework.  Also–we travel a ton during the summer because we’re both off and my parents are retired, so my regular Sunday content plotting sometimes takes a backseat to Greek salad on the patio after a long, slow Sunday.

The end of May was packed.  Packed.  We had both already started our semesters at Georgia Southern, spring practice was happening, we were tying up the loose ends of our school years, I had graduation, we traveled to Savannah for my sister-in-law’s MFA graduation from SCAD, and we decided to book a last minute Disney trip for the end of June.  Needless to say, we were kind of pooped.

Savannah was a total blast.  Annabeth attended her first ever cocktail reception and had a fun time looking at all of the art work (and sampling the cheese). She was especially captivated by the roving robots of SCAD students who were FaceTiming into the reception (a little freaky, but still cool).  We had a morning to ourselves so we strolled around the Bonaventure Cemetery (I know that sounds creepy, but it’s really neat) and then headed to the Paris Market which was absolutely amazing!  We also grabbed coffee at Coffee Fox before heading to River Street for some lunch.

IMG_8626

Annabeth’s sweet heirloom gown is from Sugar Dumplin’.  Shop it here.

IMG_8669

Our girl did the best job behaving so beautifully during the reception.  We celebrated with take-away pizza from Vinnie Van Go-Gos.

IMG_8625

IMG_8668

My girl–our Lilly looks are old, but you can find similar ones online!

IMG_8654

She proclaimed (loudly and multiple times) that she could see turtles in the Savannah River, but I think she was maybe just having a good imagine 🙂

Annabeth ended up getting sick on the day of Victoria’s actual graduation and that made me momentarily panicky, but she rallied pretty quickly.  We spent the next day at Tybee Island which is not my favorite beach, but I was happy to have some ocean therapy.

The next week, Coach and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary.  It still feels 100% insane that we’ve been together for eleven years and married for nine, but I honestly do believe that time flies when you’re having fun.  Thankfully, our anniversary fell on a Wednesday, so we didn’t have football workouts to compete with, but we were totally late to dinner because (of course), Coach had to drop off a pair of cleats 🙂

IMG_8727

So much has changed over the past 11 years, but it feels like we’re still just young college kids!

We enjoyed dinner at The Place in Athens.  We get in such a rut when it comes to dining (we almost always default to our perennial favorites like The Last Resort or 5 Bar) and we had a fantastic time trying out something fresh and new (to us).  The Place is essentially upscale Southern dining.  We ordered Southern Bruschetta (aka pimento and cheese toast points with bacon, tomatos, and green onions).  The menu had such a wide variety of things that all sounded delicious, but we both ended up choosing burgers because we’re just super classy like that.  I had the Shrimp Burger and it was good, but messy.  Josh got their signature burger and it was really good, but extra messy.  I’d highly recommend an evening at The Place, but get there early because even on a Wednesday evening, there was a thirty minute wait at 5:30.

IMG_8795

The Southern Bruschetta was fantastic…I was a little sad I had to share it!

IMG_8794

This is 100% proof that I do NOT have what it takes to be a style blogger, but I couldn’t help but plug my amazing jeans one more time.  I will never stray from them.  JeansTopCult Gaia Dupe-Necklace.

This past weekend, our best girl got some time with one of her favorite book characters:  Fancy Nancy!  We have an amazing public library and an equally amazing children’s librarian.  This little tea party was so fun and we were especially glad Selah and her parents were able to join us.  Molly and I have been good friends for years and it’s my hope that these girls are just as close (especially since they get to be schoolmates in a few years!).

I think that pretty well gets up caught up–in the next few weeks Annabeth and I will be away from home for a whopping 22 nights!  We have some many grand adventures planned including a trip to Disney World, football camp on SSI, and our requisite sojourn to Lake Burton with our family.  Stay tuned for trip reports, recipes, product reviews, some of my favorite organization tips and tricks for traveling, and how we adjust our rhythms and routines to reflect this magical season where we get to be with our girl every single day.

XOXO,

Court

PS:  Still totally crushing on this swimsuit.  If you’re a mom or just a human being, you need it.

PSS:  We made a quick stop by Insomnia Cookies on our anniversary and you should 100% check to see if your city has one.  Insane.

 

 

.may favorites.

Whew.  We finally made it to the end of the school year!  It always feels like the spring semester flies by until those last one to two weeks before summer vacation.  Those are the days that crawl like turtles!

I’m so excited to have a whole summer dedicated to being with my sweet family.  We have so many fun adventures on the docket including our annual trip to football camp and our requisite two weeks at Lake Burton.  We had a lot of favorites in the month of May…as always, I’m detailing our favorites in food, clothing, product, media, and Annabeth.

Food:

  • Rao’s Marinara ($7-$9):  This marinara is without a doubt the absolute best.  We like that it has a low sugar content and that it doesn’t taste too acidic.  This is the marinara that Ina Garten recommends and since she is our unofficial Queen of America, I trust her judgement.  I always keep this on hand so I can make a quick supper with zoodles and meatballs.  They also make a great pizza sauce and a truly amazing alfredo sauce.
  • Russell Stover Coconut Candies ($2-$16):  I love Mounds Bars, but they are loaded with bad stuff.  Lately, I’ve been munching on these sugar-free coconut chocolates and they are so good.  Russell Stover actually has a whole line of sugar-free treats that are all pretty delicious!

Clothing:

  • The Best Mom Bathing Suit ($15): Nobody likes putting on a swimsuit.  I’m in the best shape of my life and I still get anxiety about prancing around in basically my knickers.  I ordered this swimsuit with some of my birthday money and y’all, it is the real deal.  It’s nicely lined, it is very figure flattering and IT COVERS YOUR BUTT CHEEKS COMPLETELY.  For $15, it’s a heck of a bargain.  Don’t get me wrong–I love a good bikini, but if you’re chasing littles at the beach, this is the suit you want to do it in.  It comes in a ton of colors.
  • Cult Gaia Ark Dupe ($40):  My father-in-law knows almost nothing about girls.  He doesn’t have any sisters and he didn’t have any daughters.  Surprisingly, this makes him the literal best gift giver in the world because a man knows how to stick to a list.  I’m for real!  If something is on my Christmas list, I am getting that very exact thing under the tree.  Gotta love consistency!  Last Christmas I really wanted a Cult Gaia Ark bag, but I couldn’t justify the price tag for a bag that I’d really only use during the summer.  Enter the old FIL–this dupe is perfection without the price tag.  I get so many compliments on it each time I carry it.  It is 100% impractical, but so am I so it’s okay.

Product:

  • Snail Masks ($20): My obsession with looking like a young thing continues.  I love a good face mask, especially right before an event or photo session because they really do plump my skin and hide fine lines and my pores.  Apparently whatever a snail secretes is really good at anti-aging (who knew?) and though I briefly considered a trip out to the farm to find a snail to keep as a pet//anti-aging servant, these snail masks were a little easier to manage.  They don’t smell (which is good because I feel like snails probably do) and feel really soothing.  I pop mine in the fridge about an hour before I use it and then smooth the product in with my jade roller after I’m finished.  Kim Kardashian literally gets blood facials which makes letting a common garden snail make me look good seem like child’s play, so there you go.
  • Tinkle Eyebrow Razors ($12 for 11):  I’d heard through the grapevine (aka from all of the influencers I follow on Insta) that the next big thing in facial care is dermaplaning.  It’s basically using a very special razor to remove dead skin cells and peach fuzz from the face.  I’ve been getting my brows and lip waxed since age 10 thanks to my swarthy German heritage, so I decided to give them a try and man, those influencers actually do know what they’re talking about.  Now I “tinkle” once a week and it has made such a difference in how my Double Wear goes on.  I’m a Tinkle convert.
    • Side note:  don’t let your nosy husband watch you tinkle your face because he will probably make fun of you.  You do you, girl.

Media:

  • Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (Netflix):  If you ever found yourself watching High School Music in any iteration and thinking, “Wow, that Zac Efron looks an awful lot like Ted Bundy,” YOU WERE NOT WRONG.  Bundy got the jolt of a lifetime right after I was born, but like any good millenial, I’d read up on the serial killer on Wikipedia.  Efron really did an excellent job of portraying Bundy and I liked that the movie was more about the women in his life that loved him (but seriously, how did they not know?) and less about him.  I don’t like scary movies and I made it through this one, so I don’t consider it to be too intense.
  • Conversations with a Killer:  The Ted Bundy Tapes (Netflix):  After we watched Zac Efron take a turn as Ted Bundy, we decided to hear from the man himself in his own words.  I was a little anxious that this would make me scared, but it really wasn’t all that bad.  There’s a possibility that I’ve seen too many episodes of SVU and I’m desensitized, but it wasn’t terribly gory.  I’ve spent a significant amount of time in psychology courses throughout my last few years in graduate school, so I found myself trying to analyze and reconcile all that he did.  The only part that really bothered either of us was the footage from the morning he was executed because people were treating it like a tailgate.  That left a bad taste in my mouth.
  • Lorena (Prime):  A documentary about Lorena Bobbitt?  Count me in.  Coach refused to watch it.

Annabeth:

  • Annie’s Gluten Free Chew Granola Bars ($5):  Annabeth loves these granola bars.  We’re grain free, but she’s not gluten free–either way, these are the ones she loves.  I feel better paying a little extra for the Annie’s products because I know that the ingredients haven’t been sprayed with glysophate.  If we’re at home, her snacks are generally cut up fruit or cheese, but these bars are great when we’re on the go.  They are a little on the sugary side for my taste, so we just allow these to be an occasional treat.
  • Leather Sandals ($16): Annabeth has an impossibly tiny foot.  She can still wear her tennis shoes from last year with no problem.  I haven’t been able to pull the trigger on SunSans because I need to try them on her feet first, and let’s be honest…it’s way more fun to buy cheaper shoes for your kids and use the money you saved on shoes for yourself because you know your own foot isn’t going to grow anymore.  These sandals are comfortable, leather, and look really nice dressed up or dressed down.  She wears them almost every single day and has trekked all over Disney World in them without a terrible amount of wear and tear.

Did you have any favorites in May?

XOXO,

Court

.bbg review.

I have been very physically active since 2016.  I considered myself to be in pretty decent shape.  I ran, I completed countless workouts, and I almost always closed my rings.  Despite this, I never built any muscle–instead, I just looked skinny.  After three years of dedication, having a flat stomach and skinny legs didn’t feel like enough…I wanted to actually build and sculpt muscle.  In January of 2019, I was looking for a way to ramp up my workout routine to build and gain more muscle and I decided to give BBG (Bikini Body Guide) by Kayla Itsines a shot.

There are two ways to access BBG:  you can download the book and follow the exercises that way or you can download the Sweat app and use the workout videos.  I decided to use the app versus the download because I don’t want to think too hard when I’m working out 😉  The app is nice because each exercise is demonstrated in a video and it includes a timer so you know when you’re finished with each round.

Within a HIIT workout, there are two groups of four exercises (a pink group and a blue group).  Each round lasts seven minutes with a one-minute break in between each round.  You do the pink group (four exercises) for seven minutes, rest one minute, the blue group (four exercises), rest one minute, pink group, rest, blue group, rest, stretch, and DONE.  Whew…I’m tired just reading it!

In the program you do three HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts each week and three to four LISS (low intensity steady state) exercises.  Add in one recovery session and you’re done!  Bonus:  with warmup, the actual HIIT session, and cool down, each workout is around 40 minutes which is not too shabby!  The actual workout portion clocks in at exactly 28 minutes.

In the app, the weekly planner shows me what I’m scheduled to complete.  Personally, I like to work from hardest to easiest, so Mondays are leg day, Wednesdays are arm day, and Fridays are abs.  On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, I walk or run for 35 minutes (either works).  On my LISS days I also try to complete some type of core workout (usually 8 Minute Abs).  Sometimes I walk on Sundays, too.  On Saturday, I follow the recovery module and stretch it out with the foam roller (and ouch, it hurts so good!).

Even though I considered myself to be fairly fit, I still started the program by completing the four “training” weeks to get ready for BBG.  I’m really glad that I did that because they definitely got me ready to find success!  BBG has by far been the hardest I have ever worked, but it’s also the best I’ve ever looked.  When I complete a really, really tough set of exercises, I feel so empowered and accomplished.  I even got Coach to join me for Arm Day a few weeks back and it managed to challenge him and he’s a weightlifter!

BBG is definitely not for everyone–the HIIT workouts are high impact, so if you’ve got touchy joints or old athletic injuries, you’d definitely want to get clearance from your PT or primary care physician before attempting them.  It’s a lot of plyometric style exercises (think jumping) and lots and lots and lots of burpees.  For me, it’s perfect because I find it to be challenging without feeling too impossible–it’s within my ZPD 😉

If you’re looking for a way to fundamentally change how your body looks and your doctor is cool with you starting a pretty intense workout regiment, I’d highly recommend BBG.  I’m almost finished with my first 12-week round (which is really 16-weeks with the four training weeks I did at the beginning) and my plan is to continue on for as long as I possibly can.  Within the SWEAT app, there are other programs that involve gym equipment, but I much prefer working out at home.  Annabeth even likes to mimic me which is really cute (and it makes me feel like I’m setting a good example).

Have you ever tried BBG or any of the other SWEAT programs?  I love following all of the trainers on Instagram because they are so motivating!

XOXO,

Court

 

.why i move.

Other than pregnancy, I’ve always been thin.  In fact, I’m 31 and I still shop in the kid’s section!  It’s embedded in my genetic code that I’m just kind of naturally skinny and petite.  If you look at many of my family members, you’ll see this same body type over and over again.  My mother is a total Betty who can still rock shorts and two-piece bathing suits and my 86-year old grandmother has legs that look better than most twenty year olds.  With all that being said, some of my shape comes from some pretty generous DNA.

In the spring of 2016, I was tired of being what I called “skinny fat.”  I was thin, but I was also terribly, terribly out of shape.  I couldn’t run a mile, I couldn’t do a push-up, and burpees?  Forget those.  The summer before I conned my friend into going to a fitness boot camp and we both ended up crying about ten minutes in.  One of us threw up.  We both left in shame before the class was even over and the instructor obviously felt sorry for us because she gave us our money back (which we used to buy Bojangles biscuits…lol).  It was so embarrassing.  I was skinny!  I should have been able to do it!  But I couldn’t.

I’ve never forgotten that shame.  Consequently, I’ve also never forgotten how awful it made me feel in elementary school that I never walked enough laps to go to the spend the night party at school.  Or how terrible it was that I never got picked for Junior Olympics.  Or how I just generally got teased because I couldn’t do the athletic things that most kids seemed to be able to do so easily.  My Daddy would always say, “We’re the Phillips Family and we win with our brains!”  While that’s really important, it also made me feel a little bit left out.  I used to make a big joke about how I was too intellectual (ha) to be athletic, but the truth is that it always bothered me that I couldn’t do the things other people could do…or rather that I wouldn’t do the things that other people could do.

All of that changed in 2016.

“Coach, I think I want to learn to work out?”

“Okay, Ace–then go do it.”

What a motivator that Coach is 🙂

I started small with the Couch to 5k app.  When I could run a mile without stopping (WHAT?!?), I started adding in simple HIIT workouts each day.  It hurt.  Badly.  My sweet Coach acted as my daily motivator//accountability partner and after about a month, something amazing happened–it got easier.  Not only did this boost my confidence, but my body looked and felt so different!  The emotional and mental high that I got from working out became something that I looked forward to and on rest days I found myself craving physical activity.  It was totally outside of anything I’d ever experienced before and I knew I’d found a lifelong practice.  It amazed me that the girl who ran away in tears (with maybe a little vomit on my tank top) from the boot camp class just a year before could drop and give you twenty without batting an eyelash.  What?!?

In essence, I began seeing myself as an athlete.  Me.  A member of the Phillips Family.  The girl who lettered in golf in high school.  That mindset changed everything.  Suddenly I imagined myself getting picked for dodge ball instead of reading a book on the sidelines.  Elementary school Court didn’t get picked for the Junior Olympics, but graduate school Courtney could totally rock a gold medal (lol).  What a confidence booster!  Now I can win with my brains or my brawn (ha!) 🙂

Everyday I aim to get in an hour of physical activity.  I have an upcoming review of exactly how I’m working out these days coming soon, but one hour seems to be my sweet spot.  One hour sounds like an insane amount of time, but realistically it’s 4% of my day.  If I can’t devote 4% of my day to making myself feel at my best, then my schedule needs some more margin.

God designed our bodies to do so many amazing things.  We have the ability to jump, run, sprint, and do burpees.  We have the ability to climb mountains, push strollers, and birth babies.  He gave us that!  If we don’t take advantage of all that He created us to do, what’s the point?  We were designed to use our bodies to glorify the Lord and I consider my daily practice of engaging in physical activities to be an act of worship.  The mental clarity that comes with taking care of my physical body means that I’m at my best for my family, for my students, and most importantly, for the Lord.

Yes, it’s nice to have a beach body.  It’s nice to wear shorts, tank tops, and bikinis.  It’s nice that I don’t fear running into people I went to high school with.  You know what’s even nicer?  Feeling good in my own skin…going for a long run to see the lightning bugs pop up in the evenings…devoting an hour to make myself better so I can be at my best for the people I love…that’s what it’s all about for me.

Really intense cardio workouts might not be the best for you and any new exercise regiment should be approved by your primary care physician.  With that being said, what’s stopping you from going for a thirty minute walk in the evenings?  Or even a fifteen minute walk?  We spend so much time glued to our televisions, our phones, and our computers–just walk away and get outside!  I’m willing to bet that you’ll quickly begin to find joy in being outside in the Lord’s creation and walking is such an amazing way to honor the Lord through exercise!  Done is better than perfect, so if you keep waiting around for the perfect time to begin exercising, it will never happen.  And if you feel like you’re short on time, I’d encourage you to evaluate what matters most in your life and make some margin.  Half an hour of walking is 2% of your entire day!

Do you find joy in exercising?  In a million years I never would have dreamed that I would, but here we are!

XOXO,

Court

PS:  Good workout clothes make a difference.  These leggings are BETTER than Lululemon, y’all and only $25!  And they have pockets!!!

.you are what you eat.

This week we’re focusing on treating our bodies like temples.  If you take that mindset to heart, what you put in your body should be pretty high up on your priority list!  I once saw a poster that said, “You are what you eat, so don’t be fast, cheap, easy, or fake.”  Y’all that is so true!  The Lord gave us an abundance of healthy foods and the freedom of choice to decide how we’re going to eat–why would you choose a chemical-filled Chicken McNugget when you can have a free-range chicken breast* grilled to perfection?

*Or, let’s be 100% honest, a Chick-fil-a nugg.

In the spring of 2016, Coach and I both finally bit the bullet and decided to fully embrace a cleaner, healthier diet and way of eating.  I almost hesitate to even use the word diet because it has such a negative connotation.  Usually when people ask if we’re on the “keto diet” or the “NSNG diet” we respond by saying we’ve made a lifestyle change.  We gave up all sugar, most grains, and focused on fueling our bodies with fresh fruits, yummy veggies, and lean proteins.  We both experienced some pretty impressive weight loss, but more importantly, we felt good.  The feeling that accompanies eating good things and trashing the bad things has had a huge impact on our skin, our sleep, and our mental clarity.

These two shots are from 2015.  The first one is from Mother’s Day and obviously, the angle was super unflattering.  My weight wasn’t an issue, but I was definitely struggling with inflammation and bloating.  These issues were directly linked to the things I was putting into my body.  The second photo is from the summer of 2015 and I remember being so frustrated because regardless of the product I used or the number of hours I slept each night, the bags under my eyes always remained dark.  This period of time was loaded with processed foods, “bad” carbs, lots and lots of grains, sodas, and sugar everything.  I felt bad on the inside and outside and it had such a major impact on everything around me.

This next photo was taken in 2016 around four months after we decided to make some systematic changes in our lifestyle.  We’d cut out nearly all grains and all sugars.  I was physically active at least an hour each day (more on that later this week).  I was drinking water like it was going out of style.  It is still so amazing to me to see what a difference our dietary choices can make, not just in our weight, but in our skin, hair, nails, and mental health//well being.  I remember looking at this picture and realizing that I had really and truly changed way more than my muscle tone.  This Courtney was much happier and in a much better place than 2015 Courtney.

IMG_8492

Fast forward to 2019 and we’re fully on the NSNG (no sugar, no grain) train and we are still reaping the benefits of this kind of lifestyle.  We both look and feel better than we ever have, even when we were young things fresh out of college!  When I look back at old photos and see the bloating (especially in my face) and how dark the bags under my eyes used to be, I’m thankful that we’ve embraced this way of life for the long haul.  I’m also super thankful for the mental clarity and sharpness that comes with doing away with sugar and grains.

These last two shots are very recent.  2019 Courtney still looks and feels so much better than 2015 Courtney.  A lot of that comes from growth and maturity in life and especially in my spiritual walk, but some of that growth comes from feeling good about how I look and feel thanks to wise dietary choices.

Do we follow this lifestyle 100% of the time?  Of course not!  We love Chick-fil-A cookies just like everybody else!  And pasta?  Forget about it, we love it!  When we cheat, we try to do so for just one meal on the weekend.  Our most recent cheat has been buying a baker’s dozen of McDonald’s chocolate chip cookies (they have to bake them fresh) and smothering them in peanut butter while we watch Game of Thrones on Sunday nights.  What a treat!  But a treat isn’t a treat if it occurs daily, so we do our best to only indulge once every week or two.

I’ve written about this before:  if I’m not looking//feeling my best, I’m not at my personal best.  In my own life, this carries over to all areas including my mental and spiritual well-being.  I consider the dietary lifestyle choices I make to be an act of worship because I’m treating the temple that the Lord has so graciously gifted me well by fueling it with good foods instead of the bad stuff.  While I don’t allow myself to feel guilty over our very occasional treat, I do feel a spiritual conviction when I repeatedly eat things that I know are bad for my body because I’m disrespecting the Lord’s creation.  That’s my own personal conviction!

Coach’s transformation is pretty dramatic!

Practicing a grain free, sugar free lifestyle might not work for you–but making clean, healthy choices works for everyone!  I know it’s pricey to make healthy choices, but I’d rather pay at the grocery store and farmer’s market now than in co-pays at the doctor’s office and pharmacy later.  God has so generously given us a world full of good fuels to power our bodies–I challenge you to honor that.  Maybe give yourself two weeks or a month of making health-conscious decisions at the grocery store (aka shop the outer aisles and avoid the processed junk and sugar) and evaluate how you feel…my bet is that you’ll feel better.  Our food can fuel us and heal us or drag us down and hurt us!

Have you ever made a lifestyle change that really turned your world upside down?  I’d love to hear about it!

XOXO,

Court

PS:  Obesity in America is no laughing matter.  The number of Americans who are struggling with things like diabetes and hypertension is frightening.  Yet another reason why we honor our temples!

 

.my body is a temple.

When I was a little girl, my Grandma Emily drove me to school each morning.  Later on, this practice carried over to include my younger brother, Grayson.  Without fail, my Grandma had us memorize and practice Bible verses every single morning (and if you’re from the South and/or Baptist, you might know them by the name memory verses).  Sometimes they were short verses and other times they were whole chunks of scripture.  One in particular has always stuck with me, particularly when I consider my personal health and fitness.

My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Six-year old Courtney had little understanding of what that phrase meant.  Grandma would often say, “My body…?” and we would dutifully reply, “Is the temple of the Holy Spirit.”  It was rote.  As a child, I thought nothing of it.  As an adult, I meditate on it daily.

To me, this phrase comes down to stewardship.  Often, church folks talk about stewardship when they’re raising money.  Be a good steward, they’ll say.  To me, stewardship pertains to all of God’s creation, not just money.  Because God’s creation includes my body, I see it as a personal command to practice good stewardship over my physical being.  Though Jesus comes to us when we are at our very worst, I want him to have a good place to reside–my body is a temple for Him!

In the 24th Psalm, it says, “The Earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord.  That everything in it includes our bodies.  In Proverbs 3:9, it says, “Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest.”  To me, the greatest of my possessions is the healthy body that the Lord has so generously given me.  By practicing discipline in my diet and discipline in my exercise regiment, I am honoring the Lord.

This week I’m going to talk about how I practice stewardship through healthy eating and exercise.  If that isn’t your cup of tea, I’ll be back next week with my regular old content.  I’m going to spend one post discussing eating habits and another discussing exercise.

I made a commitment to the Lord years and years ago that I would spend my life seeking to follow and honor Him with my words, thoughts, and actions.  One way I seek to worship Him is by fueling my body with healthy foods and staying physically active.

Did you have a wonderful grandmother who helped you connect with the Bible?  I’m thankful every single day that we have Grandma Emily steering us through life!

XOXO,

Court

 

.keto fathead pizza dough.

board-bread-breakfast-349610(1)

We’re a mostly grain free home.  Annabeth still eats grains (she loves oatmeal and Annie’s Bunnies), but for the most part, Coach and I don’t partake.  They make us feel sluggish and bloated–in short, we feel better without them.  Even though we feel at our best when grains are not part of our food pyramid, we definitely miss food like pizza!  Here’s our super easy pizza crust recipe that we use on a weekly basis (this recipe makes two large pizzas or four small pizzas):

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese, cubed
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 package quick yeast

Preheat the oven to 425 and if you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven to preheat.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine both cheeses.  Microwave the cheese mixture in thirty seconds increments, stirring in between.  Continue to do so until it’s combined.  This usually takes me three rounds in the microwave.

To the mixture, add the eggs, coconut flour, and quick yeast.  Knead until the dough is well combined.  Using a rolling pin and two pieces of parchment paper, roll out two crusts to your desired shape and thickness.  Transfer (using the parchment paper!) to the hot pizza stone and bake for ten minutes.

At this point, you’re ready to add any toppings you like.  Sometimes we keep it simple with cheese and pepperoni and other times we make BBQ Chicken Pizza or even Hawaiian Pizza!  The choices are limitless!

Have you jumped on the keto train?  We personally love it until we cheat…then we feel awful, especially when that mental fog clouds over and our bellies bloat up 😉

XOXO,

Court

 

.life-giving.

I’m a reader.  I always have been.  You know that part in To Kill a Mockingbird where Scout says that she doesn’t necessarily like reading but that it’s just an innate part of who she is?  That’s me.  I literally cannot remember life before I could read and it seems to be a source of comfort for me when I have an issue or problem that needs solving–surely a book can answer all of life’s biggest questions?

I discovered Sally Clarkson via my friend Bess.  She’s got a lot more experience at being a mom than I do, so I usually heed her advice, especially when it comes to parenting models.  Coach and I both have always admired how well she structures her home so her kids can have a Christ-centered childhood.  When I asked her about it, she said Sally Clarkson was her go-to.  At the time, I wasn’t a mother or even thinking about becoming one, so I tucked that information away for safekeeping.

Last summer was such a crazy and scary time because I was moving into a different job and Coach had just accepted a new football position that meant a lot more commitment from the both of us.  His part of the work included the actual coaching of football while my tasks included feeding the football players.  We view our role as a football family as one of missions–we want to be the hands and feet of Jesus to boys who may not know Him, so it felt natural (but terrifying) to open up our home to the offensive lineman who spent each Friday night under the lights with Coach.  As we prepared for the 2018-2019 school year, I purchased a used copy of Sally Clarkson’s The Life-Giving HomeCreating a Place of Belonging and Becoming with the intention of reading it over the summer.

I finished it in 36 hours!

Y’all that book was so chock full of Biblical knowledge and I couldn’t get enough.  It focused heavily on creating an environment where Biblical discipleship can grow and mature for all who enter the doorway of your home.  Some of it is practical knowledge, like creating cozy nooks where people feel comfortable and at ease.  Other knowledge is a little more abstract–mostly about setting a tone that feels like home.  I ate it up and highlighted 80% of the whole book.  I especially like how one of my other favorite authors, Emily Ley, took such inspiration about establishing family rhythms and routines to make your house feel like a home.

It helped me feel prepared to accept all of those offensive lineman to my dinner table (and y’all, those boys can eat).

A few months later, I read The Life-Giving Table:  Nurturing Faith Through Feasting, One Meal at a Time and it once again caused me to re-evaluate and make changes to how life worked at #TeamCallicutt.  This particular book was all about making meal times a special family affair every night of the week.  It really caused us both to do some major soul-searching during the thick of football season when Annabeth and I ate alone and Coach ate around 8:30 every night while standing over the sink.  The coaching lifestyle isn’t necessarily conducive to parenthood or familyhood and this book pressed me to figure out how to make meal times work so we were able to provide food for our tummies and discipleship for our souls.  I loved all of the recipes included at the end of each chapter.

A few weeks ago, I finished up Sally’s latest Life-Giving book which was written with her husband, Clay.  It’s called The Life-Giving Parent:  Giving Your Child a Life Worth Living for Christ and in my opinion, it’s a powerful tool that every Christian family should have in their arsenal.  There is so much Biblical insight into how we can raise children who are courageous, obedient, hardworking, creative, imaginative, and kind.  I especially liked how they included Sally’s “momoirs” at the end of each chapter–she provided anecdotal stories about how the lesson of the chapter applied in their own home when their children were coming of age.

No manual or book can make your children behave in the manner in which you want them to behave.  As parents, our actions and words will determine how our children grow and develop.  My biggest takeaway from this trilogy is this:  we cannot sow what we do not have.  We must be purposeful and intentional with our own spiritual walk with the Lord in order to sow that into the lives of our children.  What a conviction!  Now, anytime I find myself putting off my devotion, feeling tempted to change the radio station to something less than Christ-like, or maybe fighting the urgeto sleep in a few minutes and just be late to church (guilty!!!), I feel such a conviction in my spirit to sow good seeds into Annabeth so we can reap the benefits of a Christ-centered childhood later in life.

If you’re a believer (or not!), I would highly recommend reading and meditating on the words of the Clarksons.  They aren’t perfect–none of us are, but their words ring with truth and wisdom.

Do you have a parenting philosophy or set of books that helped guide your parenting style?  I’d love to know more about them!

XOXO,

Court

PS:  I listen to Sally’s podcast religiously.  You should too!

PSS:  We love doing Our 24 Family Ways with Annabeth!