Fitbit Review

Around Black Friday last fall, Dave and I both got the Fitbit Alta. There’s tons of fitness trackers out there today and we got them I guess mainly because of their popularity and they seem to function well. I love that it’s lightweight. I wasn’t sure how well I would like wearing it all the time but I wear it basically all the time except in the shower or doing dishes. It has a sleep tracker that shows you how well you slept, how many times you woke during the night, periods of restlessness, etc. We also like this model because it sends texts alerts.

I feel like overall it does help you to move and walk more. I haven’t been running much since my achilles injury last summer but I’ll usually hit my step goal during our nightly walk.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Long lasting battery – the battery lasts 3-4 days before it needs to be charged
  • Alerts – text alerts and it can be programmed to send hourly alerts to remind you to get up and walk.
  • Easy to use – with the smartphone app, it’s very easy to set up, check your progress, and sync your Fitbit to your device.
  • Fair price
  • Durable – it’s only been a few months but we haven’t had any technically issues with our Fitbits. Their website says you can actually wear it in the shower and when it’s raining.
  • Interchangeable bands – you can buy other color bands or if yours gets gross from sweat, etc

Cons:

  • The Alta model doesn’t rack heart rate. They have a model that does and if I were to do it again I would get the Fitbit Charge which does track heart rate. It’s more expensive than the Alta which is originally why we didn’t get it.
  • Doesn’t track activity like cycling. I do a spin class twice a week and it’s technically logged and 0 steps and 0 ‘active minutes’. You can go in on the app and manually log in active minutes (ie. exercises like cycling, yoga, etc).

Bottom Line:

I would recommend the Fitbit! Even though I exercise 6 days a week it’s always nice to move around more and have goals. Like I said, they do have like 5 different types from the most basic step counter to a fully functional heart rate monitor. I would suggest finding the model that fits your needs and then looking for a good price. We got ours at a Black Friday price but I know they periodically have sales on Amazon. We’ve used Camel Camel Camel in the past which is an Amazon price tracker for whatever product you’re looking for and it’ll send you emails when a low price hits.

fitbit alta

fitbit alta

fitbit alta

Fiesta Friday: links I love and things to celebrate

things to celebrate happy weekend links

We used to go to Olive garden a ton before we had kids. I feel like their quality has not been the same in the last few years. One of my favorite items (besides the lemon cake they used to have on their dessert menu) is their Zuppa Toscana soup. I recently found this recipe and looking forward to trying it.

Love these words about being yourself.

Recently bought this vitamin C facial toner that is supposed to hydrate, brighten and reduce pore size. I bought it based on reviews it received on Amazon. I’ve been using witch hazel for years but have felt my skin becoming more ‘dull’ with age. After a week of using 1-2 times daily, I obviously haven’t seen huge results yet, but I have felt that my skin has been more hydrated and supple. The toner hasn’t had any negative effects like over drying, breaking out, etc. I’ll keep you updated on more results!

 

 

Health tip

Like most people, I make a health related goal at the beginning of every year.  How are yours coming along? I feel like most people are super motivated in January and sometimes that motivation fades as the year goes on. To help all of us achieve our health goals this year, I will post a small health tip every month to hopefully boost that motivation level. All the tips will be practical and simple. I’m not into fad diets or drastic measures that promise quick results (because they usually don’t last). My philosophy is more about consistency and challenge. Some tips won’t necessarily focus on just physical health as over wellness includes mental, social, emotional and spiritual health. Here is February’s health tip:

health tips and motivation, lose weight, be healthy

When I’m done working out, one of the first things I want to do it eat! It’s easy to eat snacks or even junk but try to fill up with good, whole foods. When you burn calories exercising, you need to replace those calories. Don’t let your body store junk food calories or it’ll take longer to progress. I’ve listed some of my favorite, easy post workout snacks and I also like these protein bites you can make before hand.

Women’s March: my thoughts and reflections

On Saturday we participated in a service project our ward coordinated with another local Christian church. We assembled and delivered sandwich lunches for the homeless. We went to the park. We ate Mexican food. We didn’t march in LA as part of the ‘Women’s March’ but my heart was with the men, women and families who did march. Why did a million people march? Was it just women’s rights, abortion rights, anti-Trump? Maybe for some people. When I first read about plans to march a few months ago, it was advertised as a ‘March for Human Rights’. Women in the US are blessed to enjoy many more freedoms and liberties than women in many other countries. I  believe women’s rights are human rights. When one group is marginalized it can allow other minority groups to become marginalized. My 2 cents on why this ‘March for Human Rights’ was so important:

We stand in solidarity with minority groups around the world

We stand for the equality, that all genders are equal (feminism does not mean women are greater and it doesn’t mean that mean aren’t great)

We stand for the right to peacefully protest

We stand for the poor, homeless and refugees around the world

We stand for the men, women and children who are victims of domestic violence

We stand for men and women who have been silent or vocal victims of rape and other sexual assault

We stand for the people who can’t receive an education because their families are too poor

We stand for the people falsely imprisoned

We stand for the people who are forced into slavery

We stand for people who need health insurance despite pre-existing conditions

We stand for humans fleeing their homes from war

and united we stand.

playground jam tart boutique

100 rep leg blast workout

This is one of my new favorite leg workouts! I’ve been doing it twice a week for the last 2 months and have definitely felt my legs getting stronger and more defined muscles. As a runner and soccer player, I’ve always had fairly strong legs. However, when I was pregnant with Tessa (yes, like 3 years ago!) I was super sick and didn’t exercise the entire pregnancy. I still feel those effects of atrophied muscles, but the good news is that our bodies are resilient and can always get stronger! If this looks overwhelming, start with just 10 reps per exercise or add more rest after the circuit.

100 rep leg blast workout

More body weight exercises here and more easy tips to a healthier you here 

7 ways to fight a cold: winter survival tips

We’ve lived in some cold places throughout our 10 years of marriage like DC, Utah and Scotland and this winter in LA should be pleasant! Even though it’s warmer it doesn’t prevent sickness and colds from spreading. Here are some of my favorite things in the winter to fight a cold (not sponsored, just some things I loved that have worked for me!)

7-ways-to-fight-a-cold

Vitamin C –  I like to use Emergen-C drink mix that you mix into water to boost your immunity. It’s similar to drinking a glass of orange juice but convenient if you don’t have juice on hand (we usually don’t because it’s a lot of sugar and the kids will drink it all, ha, ha). Vitamin C doesn’t get rid of a cold but it can help reduce the symptoms of the illness. I’d also add hand sanitizer. I always carry a travel size bottle – it wont get rid of a cold but can help prevent catching a cold.

Vicks VapoRub – If I feel a sore throat, cold or congestion coming on, I’ll use Vick’s rub on my throat. It contains menthol and eucalyptus oil which help soothe a cough, congestion and also sore muscles.

Humidifier – increased humidity can help with a cough, cold, dry skin, etc. I like to use my humidifier at night next to my bed.

Water and hydration – I always carry my Hydro Flask with me and try to increase my water intake when a feel like I might be getting sick. Increased hydration helps with so many bodily functions!

Saline salt nose spray – If I’m congested I’ll use a non-habit forming generic nasal spray from any drugstore and find it helps a lot with dry nasal membranes.

Gargling with warm salt water – This old wives tale actually has some truth, gargling with warm salt water helps flush out a virus and sooth a sore throat. The Mayo Clinic recommends 1/2 tablespoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water.

Peppermint Oil – I get this from any drugstore and like this roller style because it’s already diluted oil (so ready to use). Peppermint oil is awesome for so many things including sore, aching muscles, clearing sinuses (by breathing, not applying in a nostril), headaches, cramps, stomach pain. I’ll usually roll on some peppermint oil before bed to relieve any sore muscles (from an impending sickness or exercise).

How to get motivated: new year, a new fit you

Every year I have a yearly fitness related resolution. We’ve done half marathons, bike races (including a century!), duathlons, etc. Last summer I injured my achilles tendon and was so bummed to not be able to accomplish my goals. I worked through 6 months of recovery and focused on strengthening my muscles and flexibility. This year I feel even stronger and extra motivated! Fitness and wellness is something I’m passionate about and wanted to share some tips to start the new year.

I’m excited to have two amazing guests contributors today sharing their motivation tips. Jess and Kiana are both fitness experts I admire and they are also moms!

fitness motivational tips

1.  Consistency – be consistent in eating in moderation and exercising to see results! We all fall off the boat sometimes but the most important part is to pick up and start again. Focus on how you feel rather than numbers on a scale. Hang in there and work to develop healthy habits. I promise you your hard work and dedication will pay off!

2.  It’s ok to have treats and rest days every once in a while. I love exercising but I also love good food. One treat won’t kill you and your body needs those rest days. Your body and muscles need to recover and over-training can lead to plateaus and exhaustion. Challenge yourself but don’t push yourself to the point where you can’t enjoy food or where you’re constantly out of energy.

3.  Find a form of exercise that you love! There are countless forms of exercise – yoga, running, cycling (outdoor or spin classes), zumba, boxing, weightlifting, walking, swimming, team sports, partner sports (like tennis and racquetball) – try new things until you find what is a good fit for you. When you do something you enjoy, you’re more likely to be consistent at it. That being said, mixing up your workouts can usually push you out of a rut or a plateau. I’ve done road cycling for years and a year and a half ago decided to try a spin class – turns out I love it! It’s a great work out and there’s more benefits to indoor cycling than I thought.

fitness motivational tips

Hi everybody! I am Jess! I have always had a passion for fitness. It has been important to me my entire life and I know it’s because of the way my parents raised me. We always enjoyed family bike rides, walks, playing sports and I was a competitive dancer. Just because it has always been important to me doesn’t mean that it has always been easy. I have had times in my life when I have been injured, coming back from a pregnancy or just lacking the desire! Let me share with you my 3 tips to keep a healthy lifestyle as a priority!
1: How do you want to feel at the end of your day? Accomplished? Frustrated? Healthy? Tired? Happy?
We all make decisions throughout our day that are in our control. We choose what we eat, what we wear and outside of job commitments we choose what to do with our time. Absolutely every person has 30 minutes of time in their day to get something done for themselves. If you want to feel accomplished, energized and happy then make the choice to be active even for 30 minutes! This is a choice! It’s a positive decision to better yourself. I am not saying 3 hours. I am saying only 30 minutes! Whether it’s when kids are napping, on a lunch break or even if it means setting your alarm 45 minutes earlier in order to squeeze in your fitness it’s all worth it!
2: Are you being fit for you? Or are you being fit to make someone else or people around you happy?
This world we live in can be hard. We feel pressures to look a certain way, wear certain clothing or to fit into a mold. Are you exercising to be proud of yourself and to achieve goals? Or are you exercising so that your friends will think you’re more beautiful? THIS is the time to prioritize. The second you begin to respect yourself and what you are personally capable of you will be unstoppable. When you set personal goals instead of goals to look like your friend you will blow yourself away. We are all different. We all look different. We are all good at different things and this is beautiful! Enjoy fitness because it makes YOU feel good. It makes YOU happy and it makes YOU feel accomplished. Do this for you and not because you want to look like someone else. YOU are worth it.
3:  It’s ok to be selfish. Think I am crazy? Sure. Think it! But read this first. How can you give 100% of yourself to others if you have nothing inside to give. Here is my personal example. I am a mother of 3. Finding the time to exercise is not always easy. It’s something I have to schedule and prioritize. But, the days I exercise verses the days I don’t are night and day. The days I exercise I enjoy my children more. I see more positive than negative. I am more active with my kids! I am so much happier! So, what I am getting at is that being what some may call “selfish” and taking 30 minutes to 1 hour for myself means that I actually in return have 110% of myself to give. See how that works? My kids see that I make fitness a priority. They enjoy exercise and they know that mommy likes to be strong! I am not only taking a little bit of time for myself but I am also being a positive example for my kids.
I hope these personal tips help even a little bit for your new goals this upcoming year. You can make the choice to be physically fit! Find a friend. Find a group! Find a new program and take the time for yourself! Follow me on Instagram @jesstoolson for daily workouts if you are lacking the ideas for your workouts. I hope that each of you can be strong both mentally and physically! Let’s cheer each other on! Xo, Jess
fitness motivational tips

Hi everyone! My name is Kiana from Glitter&Donuts blog. I am a mom to the sweetest one year old boy, I work full time as a second grade teacher, I have been married to my husband for almost 5 years, and we live in UTAH! I am so excited to be a guest on Jen’s blog today!

Jen asked me to share some motivational tips for exercising today. I have a love for health and fitness and I am really excited about this topic!

Number 1: I would say that the most important thing is to schedule your workout into your day. Find a time that you can fit in a workout every day and don’t skip out on it. That time for me is in the evening after I put my son down to bed. I work full time and waking up even earlier in the morning just isn’t going to work for me. I have been doing this routine for almost a year now and it works out great! I don’t even have to think about it anymore, it just happens.

Number 2: Find an exercise or a workout program that you enjoy and don’t be afraid to change it up when you’re getting bored. If you are doing a 90 day challenge and you get tired of it half way through don’t be afraid to change things up. Don’t stick it out to the end if you are just going to dread every workout. Find something new to do! I have done quite a few different activities; cardio & weightlifting, running, I did 12 weeks of Kayla Itsiness’ Bikini Body Guide, and I am currently doing Bikini Body Mommy. Find something you like and don’t be afraid to change things up when you’re bored.

Number 3: My last piece of advice is to focus on how you feel rather than how you look. I know a lot of people workout because they want to lose weight, and if you’re doing things right then you will! For me it’s about how I feel. When I workout I just feel so much better about myself. I am more motivated in every aspect of my life. I want to eat healthier, drink less soda, have a cleaner home, and just be more productive all around! Find out what is truly motivating you. Also, follow some fitness accounts on Instagram. Those are super motivating and they give you good tips also!

What do you do for exercise? I want to know! I am almost done with my 90 day program and I am looking for something new. Stop by my Instagram @kiana.probst, follow along and introduce yourself! I’d love to meet you all!

Thanks again. And thank you Jen for having me!

Happy Wednesday!

New year, new you: smile brilliant

2016 is winding down and it’s been a crazy year -from the Cubs breaking the curse and winning the World Series to the presidential election upset! It was an exciting year for us as we moved from Utah to Texas to California, sold our first home, bought and sold our second home and feel like we’ve been packing and unpacking all year 😉 The holiday season is always a fun time to reflect on the year and anticipate the excitement that will come in the new year. With the new year, why not a new you and a new smile?! I’m excited to introduce an awesome product that will give you a brand new and confident smile!

smile brilliant at home teeth whitening trays affordable

Smile Brilliant is a teeth whitening product like no other. I’ve used a few different whitening products and whitening strips but was so impressed with the results from Smile Brilliant. The process is simple and the time you invest will pay off.

smilebrilliant smilebrilliant at home teeth whitening trays

  • The company sends trays and material to make your dental impressions.
  • Mail back your impressions in a pre-paid envelope and in about a week you will receive your custom fit trays.
  • Brush your teeth with water, squeeze (from the syringe that comes with the package) the whitening gel into the tray and leave on your teeth anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours. On average I left my trays on for an hour and 15 minutes.
  • Remove the trays and rinse them with water, brush your teeth with toothpaste.
  • Apply the desensitizing gel to the trays and leave the trays on your teeth for 10-15 minutes. After you are not supposed to eat or drink for at least 30 minutes. I always used my whitening trays before bed so it was never an issue.

smilebrilliant teeth whitening at home My teeth are naturally sensitive so I used the whitening trays every other day for the recommended times and still got awesome results. These trays are easy to use, painless, don’t taste weird and come with all the instructions in the box. If you invest the time, you will get great results too!

I loved that the trays were made to fit my teeth so the gel didn’t ooze out. With previous whitening products I’ve tried, the product slips out and is often swallowed.  I loved that I could whiten my teeth in my pajamas in my home without going to the dentist’s office and while still getting the same results!

Smile Brilliant has generously offered to giveaway a custom teeth whitening kit! Enter here.

You can also save 5% by using the code: jamtart

If you’re interested in reading more about the process, click here and here is a video showing the process. If you have any questions about the product or process please let me know or you can read these FAQs.

The giveaway ends in two weeks. This post is sponsored by Smile Brilliant.
Tooth Discoloration
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