Thirty-One Gifts ~ A Year Later

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Can you believe it has been over a year since I wrote this post and signed up to be a Thirty-One Gifts consultant? I want to take a few minutes to talk about my experience as a Thirty-One Gifts consultant and reflect on how my life has changed because of this amazing company.
I attended my very first Thirty-One Gifts party last June and immediately fell in love with the catalog and products.   I had been to several direct sale home parties in the past like Pampered Chef, and Tastefully Simple, however, never actually considered selling any of them. The thought never even remotely crossed my mind!!!  I was just not a sales girl and I had a secure career.   However, Thirty-One Gifts was different.   I immediately loved what Thirty-One stood for. Thirty-One Gifts is a Christian based company dedicated to encouraging, empowering and rewarding women. The name Thirty-One Gifts actually comes from the Bible verse Proverbs 31 about empowering the woman in the home. Who doesn't love that? Thirty-One Gifts was founded by Cindy Monroe, a young mother making bags and purses in the basement of her Tennessee home.  She could have easily been you or I. She is the sweetest girl who stands for everything that we do! When I see her picture in our catalog or listen to her speak on a conference call, I often feel like she and I could be BFF's!  She just has that girl-next-door quality about her.
While at the party, I read a few of the heart warming testimonies printed in the catalog about how Thirty-One has changed their lives in so many ways.  I was intrigued by these women's success stories and thumbed through the catalog to read every one. After placing my order, I decided to take the Thirty-One catalog home with me that evening instead of returning it to the consultant.  I know this sounds strange but something about Thirty-One spoke to me and I decided to talk to Jeff about the possibility of signing up to be an Independent Sales consultant.  I could see myself selling these adorable products! I told Jeff that I wanted to give it a shot and if it didn't work out, I had a bunch of cute bags to keep. If it did work out, this could possibly the answer I was looking for! A job with a flexible schedule that would allow me to stay at home with my kids. No more daycare, no more germs, no more mommy/work guilt, etc. Sure, I wouldn't make the same amount of money as my steady corporate accounting job but the earning potential was there!!   So I took the plunge and signed up. Want to hear something completely crazy? I found out I was pregnant with Nicholas a few hours later.   I honestly felt like God was guiding me through my decision.   He knew the constant internal conflict and guilt I was always feeling as a working Mom and He provided.

I am happy to say that it has been a year since I received that pink box with my start up kit.  My business did take off and I didn't end up with just a closet full of cute bags. Don't get me wrong, I still have a closet full of cute Thirty-One totes, but I also have a thriving business. I was shocked on how many of my friends, family and neighbors actually came to me first offering to host a party.   It spoke volumes on how amazing Thirty-One products really are!  These friends were not just doing me a huge favor, thet wanted to take advantage of all the free and discounted products they would earn too.  And I was more than happy to help them to earn everything they possibly could for free.   Thirty-One Gifts actually has a wonderful hostess benefits program just by hosting a party.   I never really knew how well a party hostess did at a home based party until I became a consultant myself.   If you ever thought about hosting a party for any home based direct sales company, do it! You will be highly compensated in products for your time and effort for just by having a party!
Here are a few of my accomplishments that I am most proud of:
  • 16 Home parties
  • 5 Catalog parties
  • 2 Recruits
  • Promoted to Senior Consultant in March 2012
  • Attending 2012 National Conference
I think what I love most of all is the friends that I have made and people I have met through Thirty-One.  The two girls I have recruited have been wonderful and I hopefully will be able grow my team even more this year!
I am happy to say that I am also attending the Thirty-One Gifts National Conference in Atlanta next week.   I was so disappointed when I missed the conference in Columbus, OH last year. I had just signed up to be a consultant and couldn't justify going even though it was only a two hour drive away.   I almost decided to miss this years conference too.   I felt horrible at the thought of leaving Nicholas since he is so young and still nursing, however, I am in this for the long haul and want to learn all I can to become a better consultant and grow my business.   If you follow me on Twitter, you will certainly be seeing a lot of tweets from me in the next few days preparing for National Conference and having the time of my life in Atlanta.

This Summer you can find me at the community pool or splash park with my babies toting around my new Large Utility Tote monogrammed with 'I Sell 31'.  I am so pleased with my first year with Thirty-One Gifts and truly look forward to all of the success that my second year will bring! If you ever have any questions about Thirty-One products or my role as a consultant, I would be more than happy to talk with you about it.   Feel free to email me at with any questions.
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Losing the Baby Weight {Check In 2}

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hello friends!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend!  We are having such a fun Summer so far visiting all of the kid-friendly places in the Cleveland area.  Jillian is at such a fun age now where we feel like we can take her to different places and she truly understands what is going on.  There is nothing better than seeing her face light up with every new experience.  One of the best things about having children is experiencing everything from their eyes.  It simply just warms your heart!!!

This weekend we took Jillian to the Memphis Kiddie Park and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  Jillian had an absolute blast and took a HUGE nap on Sunday, the only day we stayed home.  Nicholas has been such a good sport too being carted around to all of these different activities.  He is such an easy going baby, we are so blessed!

Thank you for all of your encouraging words and support from my first Losing the Baby Weight post.  It sounds like I am not the only one interested in losing those few extra pounds packed on from our pregnancies!!!  I also want to thank you for sharing your success stories and advice! Meredith suggested that I should also take my measurements as well since she found that she lost more inches than weight in the beginning.  Great advice! I am hoping to do this sometime this week, once I track down my measuring tape!!! I also wanted to thank those of you who have joined me on the 'My Fitness Pal' iPhone App!  It's fun to see what others and doing to lose weight, hopefully I can motivate you too!  Again, if you are interested in joining me on 'My Fitness Pal', my user name is karenathome.   

I am happy to report that I lost another pound this week just by trying to watch what I eat.  Remember my last post when I kicked off my workout routine?  Yeah, that was about it for workouts for the week.  Ugh!  We decided the next day to transition Nicholas from the Rock and Play in our room to the crib in his room.  It hasn't exactly been a difficult transition, however, the one thing I learned with Jillian is that babies do not like change.  Nicholas didn't protest sleeping in his crib, he just wasn't sleeping as long between feedings like he was.   He regressed back to getting up every 2-3 hours again.  This Momma is tired!!  I finally got a big six hour stretch last night, the first since the transition, and decided to workout after his feeding.  Working out once a week is better than nothing, right?  It is certainly a start and something to build on.  My goal is eventually to workout at least 4-5 days a week.  Hopefully Nicholas will also build on his progress too in the sleep department and it's a win-win situation all around!

My workout this morning consisted of a 30 minute 'Jiggle Free Buns' DVD from The Firm.  I absolutely love The Firm series of videos and DVD's.  They are the perfect combination of aerobic and anaerobic (toning and strength training) workouts.  I have found that you have to do both in order to truly reshape your body and lose weight.  Did you know that when you perform an Anaerobic workout, your metabolism burns more fat and calories at a resting state?  Who doesn't love burning fat when you are NOT working out?  With the all the limited time I have these days, I NEED to combine aerobic and anaerobic exercises into my routine. 

Here are the top 5 benefits when including Anaerobic workouts into your routine:

1. Helps prevent health problems - Strength training helps prevent cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, low back pain, and arthritis.
2. Builds and maintains lean muscle mass - The loss of lean muscle mass can begin as early as your mid-20s, and it results in a loss of strength, a slower metabolism, and decreased functional fitness. The loss of lean muscle mass is not the normal result of aging, it's primarily the result of a sedentary lifestyle. If you don't use your muscles they waste away. Strength training is the most effective way to build and maintain lean muscle mass and stay strong and functionally fit.
3. Increases bone strength and density - Millions of people worldwide suffer from osteoporosis. Consuming dairy products and taking calcium supplements to increase bone strength and density is not enough.
4. Reduces body fat - Strength training is just as important as nutrition and aerobic exercise when it comes to losing body fat. Strength training builds and maintains lean muscle mass, and the more lean muscle mass you have the higher your metabolism will be. The higher your metabolism, the more calories your body burns to maintain itself and the more body fat you lose.
5. Reshapes the body and improves appearance - Strength training is the most effective way to reshape your body and improve your appearance. Strength training can give you a bigger, more powerful body if you're a man, or a stronger, more toned body if you're a woman.

My diet this week has been OK, I broke down and had a few potato chips with my sandwich at lunchtime and Jeff also brought home Reece cup Blizzards one night.  Yum!!!  That was worth every calorie in my opinion.  Other than that, I have stuck to my 1800-2000 calorie regiment.  I want to share with you 'The Skinny Rules' that I found on 20 Minute Mom Blog when it comes to your eating habits.  I thought these were excellent! 

I love the one about going to bed hungry.  I have found now that every time I start to crave a late night snack, I think of her rule about going to bed hungry and it has given me that extra motivation to stay out of my pantry, at least until the next morning!! 

{Check In 2 Weigh in Stats}
Wedding Weight: 112
Pre-pregnancy Weight: 120
Weight at Nicholas's Birth: 170
Current Weight: 137
Pounds lost since last Weigh In -1
Pounds lost: 33
Weight loss Goal: 120
Pounds left to lose: 17
Are you trying to lose the baby weight or those annoying last few pounds? What lifestyle changes are you making in your life to help you meet your fitness goals? I would love to hear from you!!!

I hope you all have a good week!

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Baked Dorito Casserole

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hi Friends!

Thank you so much for all of your sweet comments and suggestions for losing the baby weight! It is still very much a work in progress and trying to find the time to work out while caring for a toddler and newborn is next to impossible.  I am trying to stay motivated and maintain a healthy lifestyle while dealing with the craziness of it all!

I do have an EASY, DELICIOUS and LOW FAT recipe to share with you to keep your diets in check without sacrificing taste!!

My sister-in-law recommended this recipe and I am so happy I listened! It was quick easy to make and quite tasty!  Jeff even gave it his approval so we will certainly be adding it to our dinner rotation this Summer.  I always love a good casserole, especially one that makes enough for leftovers.  Another evening that I don't have to cook is a major bonus for me right now! 

I hope you love it as much as I do!

1 can reduced fat crescent rolls
1/2 lb. ground turkey meat
1 can Original Rotel, drained
1 package Taco Seasoning
1 6 oz. container Fage 0% plain greek yogurt (Available at Target)
1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 bag Baked Doritos Nacho Cheese chips, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet, brown turkey meat and drain off fat.
Add in taco seasoning and Rotel. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Press crescent rolls in the bottom of a 9x13 greased pan.
Press seams to seal. Top crescent rolls with meat mixture, then spread greek yogurt over meat. Top with shredded cheese and crushed Baked Doritos.
Bake for 30 minutes.

Only 320 Calories per serving!

Participating in these Parties!Live Laugh Rowe -Live Laugh LinkyHere Comes the Sun - Fabulous Friday36th Avenue - Party Time!Tater Tots and Jello - Weekend Wrap Up PartySix Sister Stuff - Strut Your Stuff SaturdayToo Much Time on My Hands - Get Schooled SaturdayI Heart Naptime - Sundae ScoopCrafty Texas Girls - Cowgirl Up- Johnny In A Dress/Scissors and Spatulas - Pretty Little Things- Serenity Now - Weekend Reading - Clean and Scentsible - The Creative Spark - Stories from A to Z - Tips and Tutes Tuesday - Not Just a Housewife - Show Me What Ya Got - My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia - Tuesdays Treasures

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Losing the Baby Weight {Check In 1}

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hi all, I hope everyone had a great weekend!  We were really busy!!  On Saturday, we enjoyed a day out on Pymatuming Lake trying out my brother-in-law's new Pontoon boat.  It was Jillian's first boat ride and she absolutely loved it and couldn't stop giggling, while Nicholas was lulled to sleep by the rhythmic motion of the waves.  Needless to say, both loved the boat in their own way!  It was also nice for Mommy and Daddy to enjoy an afternoon out on the water with our family. 

On Sunday, we ventured out to Lake Farm Park in Kirtland, OH for their Ice Cream Social weekend.  For those of you not familiar with Lake Farmpark, it's a delightful family-oriented science and cultural center devoted to agriculture, farming, and country life.  There are several barns housing a variety of farm animals including cows, horses, pigs and sheep.  Jillian absolutely loves to pet all the animals!  It's a great place to bring the family and always has a full calendar of events going on throughout the year.  We decided this time to buy a family pass so I am really looking forward to visiting the Farmpark again!

I decided that this is the week I am finally getting serious about losing those last few stubborn pounds of baby weight.  To be perfectly honest, I gained more weight with Nicholas than I did with Jillian. I gained 50 pounds to be exact with Nicholas as compared to 40 with Jillian!  Yikes!!!  I am still blown away that I actually let myself gain that much weight.  Thankfully, I lost all of the weight that I gained with Jillian, however, never really felt like I was back to my normal weight and pre-pregnancy size until 9 months after Jillian was born.  It's true what they say, nine months up, nine months down.  I wouldn't say I recall doing anything major to lose the weight after I had Jillian. I worked out here and there and would try to watch what I ate.  However, I really couldn't do that much anyway since she breast fed for the first ten month of her life.  When you are breast feeding, you have to maintain a diet of at least 1800-2000 calories a day to maintain your milk supply.  Luckily for me, breast feeding is a built in all day calorie burning machine and you can burn up to 500 calories a day by doing nothing more than sitting on your rump. 
After I had Nicholas, I was lucky to lose 20 pounds right out of the gate.  I am sure most of that consisted of baby, fluid, water weight and other fun stuff that we lose when you have a baby.  After that first month, the scale stopped moving and I seemed to have hit a plateau.  I was also eating as if I were still nine months pregnant and decided that the party was over and I needed to start making changes.  I did a pretty good job at removing the obviously unhealthy foods from my diet such as fried foods, potato chips, sweets, and ice cream.  In a few weeks, I lost a few pounds, however, have seem to have hit a plateau again.  I am fully aware that if I am going to get serious about losing these last few pounds, I am going to have to change my sedentary life style and start exercising again.  You can only lose so much weight on diet changes alone!

So this morning I decided to get out of bed after Nicholas's 6:30AM feeding to work out instead of turning over and going back to bed.  I dusted off 'The Firm' DVD's and popped in 'Jiggle Free Abs'.  It felt so good to be working out again!  Before Jillian, I used to workout 5-6 times a week.  I was in the best shape of my life!  I love the feeling of having sore muscles throughout the day, constantly reminding you that you actually did something good for yourself.  I am hoping to get back to where I was before my pregnancies, and if I really want to challenge myself, back to "Wedding Weight." Wedding Weight is what Jeff and I affectionately refer to as what we weighed on our Wedding Day.  I am still breast feeding Nicholas so there will be no crash diets in my immediate future, however, I am hoping by making smart choices and by adding an exercise routine to my week, will help move the numbers on the scale in the right direction again.  I also downloaded the MyFitnessPal App on my iPhone to track my calories and to keep me in that 1800-2000 calorie range.  If you are on MyFitnessPal, I would love to have a few buddies join me on my weight loss journey by having you follow me.  My user name is karenathome (I know, shocker!).  Stay tuned for weekly blog updates of my progress and also a few healthy recipes as well!

{Check In 1 Weigh in Stats}
Wedding Weight: 112
Pre-pregnancy Weight:  120
Weight at Birth: 170
Current Weight: 138
Pounds lost: 32
Weight loss Goal: 120
Are you trying to lose the baby weight or those annoying last few pounds?  What lifestyle changes are you making in your life to help you meet your fitness goals?  I would love to hear from you!!!

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Cleveland Aquarium Ticket Winner!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Congratulations Crystal from Delightfully Ordinary on winning the four tickets to the Cleveland Aquarium!  I hope you and your family have a wonderful time!!! 

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The Walgreens Way To Well Health Tour is Coming To Cleveland

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour with AARP is coming to Cleveland from July 12th - July 30th.  This community outreach program is dedicated to providing FREE prevention and early detection health services by providing free health tests, assessments, education and consulting services to communities.  The tour is dedicated to improving the everyday health of Americans by providing the prevention and early detection of  heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Heart disease and cancer are the two leading causes of death in the Unites States and diabetes is the nation’s fastest growing disease over the past 10 years.  The tests are valued at over $100 and only take about 20 minutes to complete.  Thanks to the Walgreens Way To Well Health Tour with AARP they will be absolutely FREE and available to anyone ages 18 and over.  No appointment or insurance is necessary! After the test, participants will consult with a Walgreens pharmacist or certified wellness staffer about the results.
The FREE health tests provided includes:

Blood Pressure
Body Mass Index
Body Composition
Skeletal Muscle
Resetting Metabolism
Visceral Fat
Real Body Age

All participants who attend will receive one year FREE AARP membership. Participants under the age of 50 can pass the free AARP membership on to an eligible adult, and existing members will receive a one-year extension on their current membership.

If you are unable to make it to the tour and would still like to contribute to this amazing program, you can do so by purchasing any of the Walgreens brand health and wellness products.  1¢ from the purchase of every Walgreens brand health and wellness product, up to $3 million annually, will support bringing preventive wellness services to local communities. 
Please view the video below to learn even more about The Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour with AARP:

If you live in Cleveland or plan on visiting the area from July 12th – 30th, please be sure to make time to visit the The Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour with AARP and take advantage of this wonderful FREE program.  Not able to make it to Cleveland?  The health tour is comprised of a fleet of four customized vehicles that will simultaneously tour separate regions of the U.S. and Puerto Rico.   Please visit The Walgreens Way to Well Health Tour with AARP to view all of the dates at a location near you.

Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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All Things Loved in June

Monday, July 09, 2012

Hello friends! I hope y'all had a Happy 4th! We just returned from our annual vacation to Myrtle Beach. Vacations are just awesome, don't you agree? Seriously! It was nice to spend quality time with my family and reset. Just a few days away from the craziness of daily life can really put things into perspective. It also helps you to see what is most important. It was so wonderful being able to spend a week as a family of four. Two kids are a lot easier when you have constant, man-on-man coverage and Jillian loved having her some extra Daddy time!

I wanted to take a moment to say hello to all of my new readers!! Thanks for stopping by and for following along! For those of you who are new, I typically blog a little more than this,  however,  this cute face has been keeping me pretty busy!!

I also wanted to point out that I added an About Me section to my menu bar which gives more information about me and why I blog. I would love it if you would check it out!!
I haven't completed an All Things Loved post in awhile so I thought I would at least try to whip one together for June. Without further ado, here is what I was loving in June:

{MAC Fluid Line Eyeliner}

After watching Mandy's make-up tutorial, I had been wanting to try the MAC fluid line eyeliner. This eyeliner sounds amazing and it was also recommended by my favorite make up blogger, Tiffany D. Between these two ladies I was sold. I have to admit, I was skeptical at first about using an eyeliner from a tub but it certainly lived up to the hype. I bought the MAC eyeliner brush that was also recommended and loved how smooth it was to apply, especially around the lower water line. My only recommendation is to make sure you keep your make up brush clean because once it gets gunky, it no longer works very well.
{Newsify iPhone App}

Reading blogs from my iPhone has become a fun way for me to pass the time while I nurse Nicholas. Since I do spend so much time nursing and catching up on blogs, I have turned into a bit of a RSS reader snob. The new Newsify App is phenomenal! It's a fun, new way to read blogs and is now my go to reader app. I like the clean and organized look of all my blogs waiting to be read. If you spend a lot of time reading blogs from your iPhone, I highly recommend it!
{The Bachlorette}

I just got caught up on last week's episode of The Bachlorette since we returned from Myrtle Beach and all I can say is wow!! What is Emily going to do? She has three great guys and would be lucky to end up with any of them. I have officially picked a favorite and am Team Sean all the way!!  I don't think anyone could be more perfect for her!! I also came across Sean's sister's blog which is adorable.  So not only is Sean seemingly perfect, his sister blogs too??? ABC, you have out done yourself this time!

{JCrew Bubble Bib Necklace}

If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen me wearing this necklace a lot lately.   Its the JCrew Bubble Bib necklace and it really makes a statement and dresses up any outfit. It retails on JCrew's website for $150 or you can pick one up at the outlets for $88. I have received a lot of compliments on it and wanted to share a little secret with you.   Mine was only $15! Can you believe it?? I bought it on eBay!! If you go to eBay and type in JCrew Bubble necklace in their search field, you get all sorts of colors to choose from for a fraction of the retail cost. I am thinking of buying an orange or red one next.
Thanks for stopping by!!  Have a great week!

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Happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

From my two little firecrackers!!

Hope y'all are having a fabulous fourth! I will be back next week with regular blogging, until then, enjoy the holidays!!
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