Four Years

Four years ago today, I woke up early and wrote this little post. I spent the morning with my closest friends and family, then put on the most beautiful dress I’ve ever worn.

Wedding Dress

My parents walked me down the aisle, and in what seemed like mere moments, I was married.

Wedding Ceremony

We celebrated with dancing, cake, and my favorite ice cream.

Carl's Ice Cream Wedding Photo

Four years have gone by. We’ve had our ups and downs, our stresses and our absolute joys. We added a beautiful little girl to our family that makes us smile every day. We learned from our lives and each other. Four years later, Chris and I are different people than we were when we got married. We’ve grown and changed from our experiences, both shared and individual.

Abigail Beer - Newborn - Web - 041

Every day, I’m thankful I get to go through life with this guy. Every day, I’m proud of the little family we are.

 

2014 Beer Family Teaser-0056

Happy Anniversary Chris. I love you and I can’t wait to see what year five brings us.

2014 Beer Family Teaser-0033

(If you want to see more about our wedding, feel free to click the wedding tab above – it’s all there!)

How to Get More Steps Every Day

As you guys probably know, I’m pretty enamored with my Fitbit. Maybe even a little bit obsessed. I’ve had it for over a year now, and it’s one of the best tools for me in making sure I stay active during the day. When I first got my Fitbit, I was averaging about 8,000 steps per day. Now? My goal is at 12,500. I up it by 500 every few months (it varies, but basically whenever I feel I can handle it), and I have no plans to stop that trend.

Now, you may think there’s no way you can hit your goal every day. For me, it can definitely be a challenge. I spend about 2 ½ hours every day commuting to and from work. I work in an office environment that requires me to sit at a computer most of the day. When I finally get home, I have to get dinner on the table, get Abbie to bed, and get prepped for the next day, and it can be exhausting. All I want to do at that point is rest, so it’s important that the majority of my steps happen long before I get in the car at the end of the workday.

Because of that, I’ve worked had to find strategies that help me do just that. These tips help me get in at least 80% of my steps before I even get in the car at the end of the day. Now, these are obviously geared toward someone working in an office environment, but you can tweak them to your own day!

 How to Get More Steps Every Day

  1. Get in a good portion of your steps before you leave your house in the morning. I usually like to have 1,000 steps in before I even leave my house. Between getting myself and Abbie ready, eating breakfast, and bringing my things to the car (and starting it, since it’s so cold), I usually get this in without a problem. I usually eat my breakfast standing up (which Chris thinks is weird), and sometimes even walk in place or around my kitchen while I’m eating. Every little bit helps!
  2. Drink a lot of water. I know what you’re thinking – that’s healthy, but what does that have to do with steps? Well, more water = more bathroom trips = more steps. You’re welcome.
  3. When you go to the bathroom, take the longest route possible. My desk is at one corner or my building, and the ladies room is in the opposite corner. I could go through the middle, but instead I go all the way around, both to and from.
  4. Take the stairs whenever you can. I sometimes have to go to the floor above mine, and I always take the stairs unless I’m escorting a client. If I’m just running an errand, I’ll also take a loop around the floor. Takes only an extra minute or so and gets me steps!
  5. Instead of calling or emailing your coworkers when you need something, go to their desk or office. It not only gets you what you need, but you get face time with them. I also find it usually gets me faster results!
  6. When you’re on a phone or conference call, pace or walk in place. You’re stuck in one place anyway, so you may as well take advantage of it!
  7. Set an alarm on your phone or computer to have you get up at an interval that works for you. I have mine set to go off every 40 minutes during the work week. Even if I just get up, walk ten steps out and walk ten steps back, that’s twenty steps with very little effort. Usually, I just take a lap around my office floor.
  8. If it’s possible, walk to any office errands. One of the things I do every day is head to the post office across the street to check the PO Box for the group I support. Instead of driving, I walk (as long as the sidewalks are clear). It’s a little break in my morning, which helps with my clarity, plus I get the steps.
  9. If you’re a competitive person, set up a competition with anyone else looking to increase their activity. The challenges on the Fitbit app are super helpful for me – I strive to be in first place, and if I’m not in a challenge, I always want to be at the top of the weekly step list. Something about that motivates me.
  10. Take advantage of your breaks. I get an hour for lunch every day. I’m also fortunate in that there’s a basic gym in my office building – that’s free for me to use. Rather than sitting on my lunch break eating, I opt to eat at my desk as I work and use my break to walk on a treadmill. I walk at a high incline for about 40 minutes to give me time to change before and after. It doesn’t get me so sweaty and gross that going back to work is uncomfortable, it adds to my steps, and it rejuvenates me for the rest of my day. It’s an all-around win for me.

What do you think? Do you have any other ideas for increasing your daily steps?

A WordPress Lesson

Some of you may have noticed yesterday that my blog was down (or you didn’t, unless you’re family and check it every day). Anyway, it was. What happened? I updated a plugin.

 If you’re on WordPress, you’re probably familiar with that little red notification bubble telling you one of your plugins has an update. Most of them get regular updates and improvements, and it’s never been an issue for me before. I check the box, click update, and go on with my day. Not the case yesterday.

Updates Snip

See that notification bubble on the left? That’s what I mean.

 

Basically, the developer of one of my plugins (not the one seen above) released a faulty upgrade… and it completely messed up my site. I couldn’t get into anything. When they released a fix a short time later, I was already out of luck. No more blog.

I won’t bore you with the whole process of how I got it back up (unless you want to email me and ask), but suffice it to say it was a stressful day.  Lessons learned:

  • Make sure your site is backed up regularly to a place you can get to if it goes down. Thankfully, I have backups through my hosting provider (BlueHost), so I was set on this. I was able to get to my backups even though I couldn’t get into my dashboard.
  • Utilize all your resources. I eventually got it back up with the help of a blogging facebook group I joined maybe two weeks ago. I was in a few already, but I’m so glad I recently joined this one. Between some fixes they recommended and one last check by BlueHost, I was back up.
  • Wait to update your plugins. If I hadn’t updated immediately, I probably never would have had this issue, since the developer released a fix within hours of when I updated. From now on, I’m giving any updates a few days before I hit that update button. Just in case.

What lessons have you learned from blogging on WordPress?

February Funk

It’s been kind of a weird week, and honestly, it’s put me in a little bit of a funk. Nothing major, but just things have been bugging me. You ever get like that? I’ve been kind of over everything this week and just craving some rest, but life certainly doesn’t stop just because you need a breather.

I don’t really know what it is, but it could certainly be the weather. It’s been crazy cold. Today’s high will be 18 and I believe it was around 5 when I left for work this morning. I know there are people that deal with worse, but it’s just a lot to take.

Tysons Corner Weather

Because it’s been that cold, the pipes froze in our master bathroom on Sunday. Thankfully we were able to warm the house and room up enough that it thawed and has seemed fine since, but it’s just one more thing to think of in the back of my mind. Also? The toilet is now running in the same bathroom and I had to cut the water off to it until we figure that out. I’m hoping it’s just an easy fix like replacing the flap, but it just seems like one thing after another lately. Next month’s water bill should be interesting – I’m hoping it didn’t waste too much water in the one workday it was running!

As always, I stress about money all the time. We’re doing ok, but still far from where I’d like us to be financially. Replacing the dryer last month was a bit of a hit to us, so I’m definitely going to be trying to be more careful about our spending for the next month to make up for it. I dream of the day that stuff like that doesn’t seem like a big deal. Debt sucks.

We got hit by some snow on Monday night. Not enough to keep us home for days, but Abbie and I did get a snow day on Tuesday. Thankfully they’ve gotten better about plowing lately and it was back to business as usual Wednesday. I know I should’ve enjoyed being home on Tuesday more than I did, but the truth is I was going stir crazy. Winter with a toddler is brutal. I just want to be able to let her go outside and play, and we’re still a while away from doing that. We went to a birthday party on Saturday with tons of bouncy houses, and it was so nice to just let her be a kid. I wish we could go to those all the time.

Abbie Bounce House

Speaking of Abbie, I worry some about her speech. She talks, but nowhere near the amount I see other kids her age talking. I don’t know if it’s just her nature, or if she isn’t being stimulated enough, or if something could be wrong. My gut tells me that she’s just taking her time, but it’s so frustrating. I really want to be able to understand her better, and honestly, it’s hard to see videos of other kids her age (or younger) talking when their parents post them on Facebook and stuff. I know I shouldn’t compare, but I can’t help it. Why are they talking so much and Abbie isn’t? She has been talking more and more in the last 2 months or so, so I’m hoping some big explosion of words is coming. She definitely understands us and can follow directions, so I’m not worried about her cognitive skills. It’s just hard. What’s even harder is when people try to brush off my concerns or say things like “oh, once they start, they don’t stop!” What they don’t get is that I want that – I want her to be talking that much. I’d take that any day over waiting and worrying something’s wrong.

Abbie

I wouldn’t change my decision to work, but I often wonder what our lives would be like if I didn’t have to. Would Abbie be talking more? Would she be showing an interest in potty training? Would we be on kid number two sooner? I don’t know, and it’s impossible to know. We can only make the best choices we can with the situation in front of us, right?

Finally, after weeks of being on a roll with watching what I’m eating and working out, I’ve hit a bump. I went up a pound last week, and it kind of took some of the steam out of my engine. Losing weight is HARD. It’s always going to be hard. It’s a choice you have to make over and over and over again, with every bite that goes in your mouth and every step you take. It’s been harder this week than the past few. I’m hoping it’s just a phase, that I just wore myself out some, and that some rest will get me back to it. I can’t go at 100% all the time – sometimes your body just needs a break.

 How’s your week been?

Essential Oil Blog Hop!

Disclaimers:

*The information in this post has not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

*In addition, I received a sample oil in exchange for my participation in this blog hop and for the purpose of a testimonial. All opinions are my own. By being a part of this hop, I have the chance to receive a referral bonus.

Essential Oil Blog Hop

Welcome to the Essential Oil Blog Hop!

Each participating blog has a different post on a number of topics, from how to use essential oils in general to actual uses and testimonials for the oils themselves. We hope that you will have some fun and learn a bit as well! If you are new to essential oils, you may want to start with some of these introductory posts:

And now for some information about

Peppermint - Healthier Oil the Thyme

 

Information and Uses

  • YL peppermint is so potent and pure that ONE DROP delivers the effectiveness of 26 cups of pure peppermint tea
  • Has a strong, clean, fresh, minty aroma
  • May also restore digestive functions and soothes stomach
  • Positive effect on the liver and respiratory systems (Jean Valnet, MD)
  • Inhaling peppermint oil increased mental accuracy, sharpness, and concentration (University of Cincinnati study)
  • Triggers a sense of fullness after meals (Alan Hirsch, MD)
  • Mix a 15-ml bottle of peppermint essential oil into a 5-gallon can of paint to dispel the
  • Enhance the flavor of food and water.
  • Helps alleviate minor aches associated with daily life
  • Helps with occasional heartburn
  • Encourages proper nasal function
  • Freshens the air with a natural aroma
  • Minimizes seasonal discomforts

To Use

  • Combine with lemon and lavender (equal parts of each) and a carrier oil for seasonal discomforts. Apply behind the ears and on the back of the neck or take as a capsule.
  • For dietary supplement, dilute one drop in 4 fl oz of liquid.
  • Add a drop to herbal tea to help aid normal digestion.
  • Massage several drops on the abdomen, place a drop on wrists, or inhale to soothe the minor stomach discomfort associated with travel.
  • Rub one drop on the temples, forehead, over the sinuses (careful to avoid contact with your eyes), and on the back of the neck to relieve head pressure.
  • Place 2 drops on the tongue and rub another drop of oil under the nose to help improve concentration and alertness.
  • Apply to the back of the neck and shoulders throughout the day to keep energy up.
  • Inhale peppermint essential oil, apply topically to your temples or neck, or put a drop on your tongue or in water to jump-start your morning routine.
  • Diffuse or inhale mid-morning to curb the desire to snack.
  • Inhale or rub a drop on to your abdomen to soothe minor stomach discomfort.

Things to Consider/Warnings

  • Peppermint is a “hot” oil and can cause temporary discomfort if used topically without diluting or used close to the nose or eyes.
  • Use caution on the face and always dilute on children or use on the feet. For use on infants under the age of 1, Peppermint EO should only be used on the bottoms of the feet only and under the navel if they are under the age of 2.
  • If oils get into the eyes, do not use water which will cause the oil to spread. Instead, use a fatty oil such as olive or coconut and put a few drops into the eye. It will bring quick relief. The oils will not damage the eye, but can cause pain, so use caution in the eye area.

My Testimonial

Like so many people I know (it seems like everyone), I’ve heard a lot of hype about essential oils lately. Seriously – so many people are touting what a great product they are and how much they help them in their everyday lives. I was skeptical – really skeptical. How could a little bottle of oil do so much? When I heard about this Essential Oil hop, I signed up right away – what better way to dip my toes in and try out an oil?

I picked out peppermint oil, one of the oils I’ve heard so much about. It has a myriad of uses, but I was interested in two – helping with my headaches and my stomach. It’s pretty common for me to get a headache, and while I’ve never been afraid to take medicine for it, wouldn’t it be better to not have to? I’m also prone to a bit of heartburn during the day and occasionally some bloating at night, and I’d love to not have to deal with that. Why not, right?

When I got my sample, I made sure to pop it in my purse so I’d have it whenever I needed it… then promptly forgot about it. Then, the other day when my stomach wasn’t feeling so great (you know when you feel really full and uncomfortable, but not like you’re sick?) I remembered it and rubbed a few drops on my abdomen. It tingled right away, and while the relief wasn’t immediate, that full effect was gone within 20 minutes.

Since that worked, the next time I had a headache, I reached for my oil, rubbing it on my temples and the back of my neck. Again, within 20 minutes, my headache was significantly less painful. Pretty amazing stuff.

Please spread the love and visit some of the other posts in this Blog Hop!


If you fall in love with essential oils and are interested in purchasing the kit (more on that here), make sure to mention my blog as a referral!

We’re going to be giving away a roller bottle of Stress Away to one lucky reader! Enter below!