Operation Thunder Chicken: Feel the Thunder

The Engineer and I had the opportunity to hunt a gorgeous, heavily wooded piece of private farm land last weekend that belongs to family friends.  We had never been to the property before, so we went Saturday afternoon to get a feel for the lay of the land.  It was miserably hot out, the ticks were swarming, and we heard not a single cluck, gobble, or yelp.

We were feeling rather defeated about the whole situation when on the way out we spotted a turkey across a dried up creek bed.  Too far away to take a shot, especially with my backpack on and an awkward bag of decoys falling all over the place.  The difference between public land, heavily hunted turkeys and mostly left to themselves private land turkeys became very clear when instead of sounding alarms and sprinting off…..this turkey just sorta wandered into a thicker wooded area all while continuing to pick for snacks along the way.

A hot and sweaty trudge up a hillside lead us back to the farmhouse on the property.  Just as I crested the top, I turned South to look out over the view of the valley and the Missouri River in the distance.  My picturesque view was jolted back to reality when 3 turkeys went flying out of a cedar tree probably 50 yards away.  The birds were clearly in the area, we just needed a better plan and some luck!

I’m not a morning person, and 4:30 comes real early.  Small consolation is that it’s no longer freezing outside, so you can actually sit around comfortably, even when it’s dark outside.  We drove out to the farm and wandered down to the place we had seen the turkeys the afternoon before.  Mostly unbeknownst to us, we set up right in the middle of the turkeys roosting lair!  Do you know what it’s like to listen to a far off group of roosted birds gobble in the distance, and then to hear  deafeningly loud gobbles that can only mean you’re almost directly below the flock?!?!  It’s amazing!  It will send chills of excitement all down your spine, and you will finally understand why they call it “Spring Thunder”!  Imagine the video below, but with more gobbles and much closer…..up in a tree and slightly to your left about 40 yards away!

Ugh, I so wish The Engineer and I were the kind of people who filmed our hunts.  But we aren’t, and mostly we are still trying to learn how to hunt turkeys.  I just wish I even had some audio to share about how amazing the gobbling was the other morning.  Alright….back to the turkeys.

Loud flapping sounds  and rapid clucks soon signaled the descent of the birds from their nighttime roosts.  The Engineer was sitting to my left, and had a clear view of the flock as they regrouped near the top of a small hill.  I looked out the blind to my right in time to see a single bird fly down about 40 yards away from the blind.  We called and waited as two hens from the left and the single bird from the right joined up together straight out from the blind about 30 yards.  I have sat in the blind with an arrow nocked every time we’ve been out, but I’ve never had a reason to clip my release onto my string, but these birds were finally giving me a reason!  The lone bird ended up being a jake, or young male bird, and he would have been legal to shoot.  The problem was, he was so small…..even smaller than the two hens, that by the time we could 100% tell he was a jake…..I didn’t have a clear shot.

At the time we didn’t worry too much about not taking a shot at the jake……there were 4 large, puffed up tom turkeys on the crest of the hill, and we were determined to move them towards us!  No reason to shoot a young, small bird when there are bigger and better options on the hill!  We were sure that our calling and our decoys would bring the big guys down the hill.  After all, we could hear them drumming, which research has told me is a good sign.  It’s breeding time after all, and no self respecting tom is gonna let his ladies get stolen by another bird.

We didn’t budget the toms down the hill, but we did aggravate the lead hen.  Slowly, a group of at least half a dozen hens pecked and walked past the blind out at about 30 yards.  Taking up the rear end of the train was the lead hen….I think.  In any case, she was the only bird to acknowledge our decoys, and she was none to pleased about it.  She trotted on over to our hen decoy and proceeded to get all up in her face, and annoyed with our decoys general presence.  If it was fall and hens were in season…..she would have been an awesome hen to take.  8 yard easy, straight on shot.  However fall it is not.  Honestly I could have taken several hens that morning, but hens aren’t what we were after…..especially with the promise of big toms!

Now after sitting down and going over everything that happened that morning it occurs to me that the turkeys around here maybe haven’t started breeding yet.  If they had, I just can’t fathom that all those toms would have just let all those ladies walk away from them.  It had all seemed to promising.  My research had told me that it was almost always fine if you attracted the hens towards you, as the toms were almost certain to follow……not these South Dakota toms I guess!  It might have eventually come together for us, but a distant, yet all together too close for turkey comfort, shotgun blast sent the toms running up and over the hill crest away from us.  The private farm land abuts a large area of public hunting land, so I’m hoping that our morning was at least ruined by someone else’s success! The hens had already disappeared up into the thicker timber, and it would have been worthless to chase them anyway.

We sat in the blind and called, hearing gobbles off from behind the hill, but the birds never did reappear into our view.  Knowing the the shotgun had probably ruined the hope of the birds moving back out into the open for several hours, we decided to leave the blind and do a bit of walking.  We could always hear gobbles, but for every yard we closed, the toms moved away at least a yard.  In the end, we packed up our gear and headed back to town with nothing more than a few large turkey feathers and a story of our first real encounter with a flock.  I won’t soon forget the feeling of listening to birds all around me and feeling potential and hope like I’ve never felt while sitting in the blind.  It was worth all the icky ticks to watch the level of sass displayed by that hen while she was investigating our decoy.  It seems like every time The Engineer and I head out to the fields, we get a little bit closer to filling my tag.  However, the end of the season is looming, so I’m hoping all the pieces fall together for us soon!

#OperationThunderChicken: The Journey Continues

This is the second weekend that The Engineer and I have had good weather and headed out to the turkey fields for Spring Archery Season!  Now I know basically nothing about turkey hunting, and The Engineer doesn’t know a ton either, but we’ve picked up some random tips from friends and my google skills.  The general consensus is that the weather has simply been too cold for mating to begin.  They don’t work off our calendar.  It doesn’t matter to them at all that the state has decided the season starts on April 7th…..if they aren’t ready to mate they just aren’t ready.  If they aren’t ready to mate, they are less likely to respond to calls because they are just busy doing other turkey things…..whatever it is turkeys do during the day.  We have been consistently seeing some birds on some public land about half an hour South of the house.  It’s easy enough to drive down after work a couple nights a week to keep tabs on the flock.  Of course, public land means that we aren’t always the only ones driving down in an attempt to score a bird!  But, it’s our land and we are working with what we’ve got!

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I bought that male decoy….The Wimpy Jake….and I’m hoping for big things from him!

Last weekend we woke up bright and early Saturday morning to rain.  Rain might be good for covering your noise, but when it’s still only in the low 40’s and neither The Engineer nor myself have rain gear…..going to sit in a blind in the rain isn’t our idea of a good time.  We ran some errands and I organized the kitchen and bathroom cabinets while we waited for the sun to come out and the ground to dry up a little bit.  We went out and did a bit more scouting Saturday evening.  There is a larger section of public land closer to home, but we couldn’t find any signs of life there.  I walked down to one of the fields at the bottom of a valley and couldn’t even hear any chirping birds…..it was oddly creepy.  We did head down to our reliable sighting spot, and there were two males in the distance getting all puffed up and circling each other.  They were quite in the distance……binocular distance…. but it was very cool to see none the less!

Sunday morning we were in the blind to see the sunrise.  Sadly, unlike our fall experience where we heard the turkeys all morning…..we heard almost nothing!  One very, very distance hen but then nothing after that at all.  Well…..we did hear a shotgun about an after after sunrise…..which mostly ended our dreams of morning success.  Public land can be a competitive place, especially around highly populated areas.  I’m grateful for the option to go sit on land that I “own” as a tax payer, but those areas are hard to come by when 90% of the state is privately owned.  It’s not as romantic as living in one of the Western states where large swatches of the land are open to public use, and you can walk deep into wilderness without seeing or hearing another person.

What we did see Sunday morning were deer, and honestly that’s pretty exciting in and of itself.  To get a small herd of deer to wandering into a clearing 50 yards from your blind and then just stand and look at you is pretty exciting.  Over the course of the 4ish hours we were out in the field, we saw 6 deer….one group of 5 and 1 single doe.  We also had some acoustic tunes provided curtesy of a woodpecker and a mostly dead tree limb.  We’ve also seen a ton of pheasants driving to and fro on all the gravel roads in the area, and I think The Engineer has been formulating some fall pheasant hunting strategies.  Sadly, there were no turkeys to be had.

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Last night though we had a promising, albeit gross sign, that the weather is shifting in the direction of Spring.  I had ticks crawling on my hands as we were sitting in the blind!  EWWWWW gross, gross, gross!!!!!

I know that bugs, critters, and all manner of insects are part of spending time in the outdoors, and I have grown to really like spending quiet mornings and evenings in the blind watching nature.  However, ticks don’t seem to serve much purpose other than spreading disease.  I remember running around on my Grandparent’s farm as a child, coming in the house, and feeling ticks crawling up my legs and into my ears.  It didn’t bother me anymore than having an ant crawl on me would bother me now.  I guess ignorance really is bliss.  Childhood me knew nothing about the illness and disease they carried.  I guess those days are over and gone.

We stripped off all our outer clothes in the garage, and I spend most of the rest of last night making The Engineer check for ticks on all our clothes, checking any other places they could possibly be hanging out, and feeling phantom ticks walking on me.  He keeps assuring me that there are none in the house, none that he can find in the garage, and if anything they are in his truck……. That last one is doing nothing to make me feel better about the situation, but he assures me that this is just part of the whole hunting experience.

The Engineer thought he was so funny last night….probably mostly because the ticks were leaving him alone!

Along with the gross creepy crawlies last night, came our first real up close and personal turkey interaction!  A lone hen went walking on by about 15 feet from the blind.  She didn’t even know we were sitting there!  Well…..maybe she did know, but she certainly didn’t act like she cared!  Spring season is male only so we just got to enjoy watching her walk along the creek bottom.  The other reason I’m somewhat convinced that mating hasn’t started around here yet is because she totally ignored our decoys.  Generally hens move towards toms to mate, but she just walked right on past them.  It could be that she was too busy eating to notice…..which more power to you girl!  You get those yummy tick snacks!

We had hoped to head back out this morning, however we woke up to howling winds.  Not only do arrows not fly very well in very windy conditions…..it becomes a bit challenging to keep the blind on the ground.  Last night it was gusty enough to we’d occasionally have to grab the sides of the blinds and hold it down.  Having a blind blow off the top of you really ruins the element of surprise!  I’m hoping that the winds calm down later today, and maybe we can head out to the fields and get one on his way to bed.  It’s such a beautiful day out, it’s a shame it has to be so windy.  Worse comes to worse I guess we can take Scout a Roo on a walk over to the duck pond.  It appears that our cute resident duck couple survived the blizzard and Scout really enjoys keeping tabs on all the ducks and geese on the pond!

I saw this video this morning and it gave The Engineer and I a good laugh.  This is probably as close to turkey hunting that I’m going to get today with the wind the way it is.  I guess I should maybe round up all our camo from the garage and throw it in the washing machine……drown the ticks!  Since writing I’m starting to feel more phantom bugs, so maybe I should also go give myself a good scrubbing.  Also, in case you’re curious….The Engineer and I are maybe a blend of Mr. Impatient and The Over Caller…..although not nearly as bad as the video!  It’s easier than you think to go a big hog wild on the calls.  One minute in the blind feels like 10 regular minutes!

UPGRADES!!

We are only a couple weeks into the spring turkey season, and The Engineer and I have been scouting, planning, and working for a turkey on some local public land.  It’s hard work, but we’ve seen some cool things while out and about on our adventures together.  I want to share all our fun discoveries and strategies, but I don’t want to blast you with daily upgrades, so I need to figure out a good organization for all the fun.  Fingers crossed one of these times out I get an arrow into a big ‘ol thunder chicken!

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The Engineer….can’t hear me yell from one room away….hears distance gobbles from far away counties!

In the meantime I thought I’d share some fun news!

I bought my domain!

Actually, I was hoping that it would get rid of the wordpress part of the web address, but it didn’t.  It did however get rid of the ads so now you don’t have to deal with strange ads while you’re trying to enjoy the adventures!  Overall I was really hoping that the upgrade would be more exciting, but it’s still an exciting step forward for me!  The upgrade did let me change the background color though so I swapped out the weird green/grey/baby poop color for something a big more festive!

 

Bringing on the Weather

For the first time in what seems like forever, The Engineer and I are home for the weekend.  There is a ton of stuff I was looking forward to doing this weekend, and I had big plans.  It’s Spring turkey season, so I really wanted to get some friend time in.  I have some furniture that needs to be refinished, and the loft needs to be organized into The Engineer’s man cave.  Currently up there its just a hot mess of things that need to be put away or are waiting to be unpacked after the move.

But then the blizzard came, and instead of working on furniture in the garage, we took a nap and watched Netflix.  I did briefly perk up to notice our development being plowed.  It seemed like a slightly futile effort as it was still snowing and blowing quite a bit yesterday afternoon.  Everything was supposed to end last night around 10, but I woke up to more snow and wind this morning.  Thankfully, everything has stopped now and it has gotten a bit warmer…..for now anyway.

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Ahhhhh Midwest weather…..#thebest!

If staying at home during a blizzard isn’t your thing, you can do like The Engineer and I did last night and attend the annual Ducks Unlimited Banquet with some friends.  All day long I thought for sure the event would be cancelled, everything else in the state and surrounding states was closed, cancelled, or postponed….but I guess duck people are a different breed.  I should have known when they changed the name of the Facebook event notification to “Snow Party” that there weren’t going to let Mother Nature push them around.  So, against the advice of the city, state, and everything our parents told us growing up about being out in winter storms, we threw the big scoop shovel in the back of the truck and headed out.  Now it’s only 10ish miles between our house and where the event was being held, but those weren’t 10 in town miles…..they were 10 out of town highway miles on roads that they county gave up plowing 8 hours beforehand.

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Perfect weather for a nice country drive!

The roads weren’t as bad as we had anticipated them being, and all things considered the visibility was actually very good.  We all made it to and from the event without incident.  The real tragedy of the night was that The Engineer and I came home without any new treasures.  No guns, no commemorative prints or decoys….not even at hat!  I did snag some turkey calls, but that doesn’t technically count as they weren’t my raffle win.  Our friends won them and re-gifted them to me as they don’t go out turkey hunting.  I had never been to the banquet, and I have to say it was way more involved than I imagined.  Once you’re there and see all the food, raffle prizes, people, and planning involved in the event, it makes sense why they decided to press on despite the weather.  It is all for the ducks after all!

Worse than the thought of us making a quick drive through the blizzard is the thought of the blizzards effects on livestock and wildlife.  Late Spring or early Fall blizzards are typically more deadly than just your ordinary Winter blizzard.  They usually begin with freezing rain and sleet and then progress into heavy blowing snow that sticks and builds up thanks to the base layer of moisture.  A few years ago, cattle herds in the Western part of the state were decimated by an early Winter storm.  This time of year, a storm of this quality and magnitude can be even worse.  Many farmers and ranchers are already done calving for the year, and the reality is that calves just aren’t designed to withstand this kind of weather.  If an adult herd can’t make it through a storm, the little babes don’t stand a very good chance.

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Photo by Bryce Tevelad

This is the reality that we live with in the Midwest.  Mother Nature isn’t kind and doesn’t care if you think you’ve planned out calving or planting perfectly.  Around here she can change on a dime, and it can leave farmers and ranchers scrambling to provide safety and shelter for their herds and hoping that their crops aren’t destroyed.  Beyond domestic livestock, birds who migrated back North are sometimes trapped in weather they try and avoid.  Any nests that have already been laid probably didn’t survive the cold and wet the last few nights have brought to the area.  The reality is that not every Spring baby will survive into Summer.  The farmer who took the picture above reported to the local news that though they saved the calf in the picture, they did loose one last night.  I’m sure that calf wasn’t the only babe lost to the storm, but hopefully the numbers statewide aren’t anywhere near the 100,000 that was the estimated loss during the 2013 storm.

It was an odd irony for me last night at the Ducks Unlimted banquet.  I couldn’t help thinking and worrying about a little duck couple that have made their home on my development’s pond this Spring.  The Engineer assured me that since they are always out wandering the development as a couple that they probably haven’t laid any eggs yet, so here’s to hoping that’s the case.  Hopefully they found a warm, dryish spot in the reeds out of the wind to weather the storm.

Spring Things

It’s been a busy March around Casa Mishappenings.  I’m not much for basketball, but I feel like my March has given a whole new meaning to March Madness!

To start the month, The Engineer and I took our first real, adult vacation!!  We spent a few days in Orlando catching a couple spring training games.  We also did some regular tourist things…..beers at Coco Beach, the Kennedy Space Center, and of course….

……THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER!!!  We totally bought too many butter beers and I got an overpriced Ravenclaw sweatshirt, but I don’t even care!  Pro tip about Universal Studios….if you’re on a budget and don’t want to pay for express passes, I would seriously suggest going through the rides as single riders.  Basically you take an alternative track to the front of the lines and they use you as a space filler.  If you don’t go single rider, and don’t splurge for the express passes, you’ll spend a lot of time in lines.  We spent at least 90 minutes waiting in line at Gringott’s bank because we didn’t wait the extra 10 minutes for the single rider line to reopen….big mistake!  This won’t work out well if you’re a family with kids probably, but was fine for The Engineer and I.  We always ended up in the same car or group anyway….just maybe not sitting right next to each other.

The only major buzzkills of the trip were our flights, the hotel, and the total lack of anything not touristy to do in Orlando.  It felt like we couldn’t even find a nice place to go to dinner that wasn’t just a chain restaurant.  All I really wanted was some good fish, or even an amazeballs plate of fish tacos, and we couldn’t even find that between the Red Lobsters and the Joe’s Crab Shacks…..  I did however get a Mickey Mouse ice cream head like we got as kids when we went to Disney as a family….so all hope wasn’t lost!

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Tastes like childhood!

Our hotel, the Days Inn Kissimmee formerly known as the Copacobana Motor Inn, was less than stellar.  It was a hot deal off Hotwire.com so we didn’t know the name prior to booking.  I will say, it was clean and you could tell they are slowly trying to make improvements……but doors that close and don’t seem like a strong breeze might rip it outta the door frame would have maybe been my remold starting point.  It was about as good as you’d picture a $35 a night hotel being.  The desk had two different chairs, there were patched holes in the walls, and overall it just wasn’t great.  We debated leaving for a different hotel, but we spent such little time there it seemed like more work to try and get our money back and move.  We did however pack everything up and put it in the rental car everyday because you could never really tell if the door was going to stay locked from the outside…..it “locked” from the inside, but again lock is relative.  If someone really wanted in our room….they would have gotten in.

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Hers and His….and some surfers!

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Beach hair don’t care!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We flew Allegiant because it leaves from home and offers a direct flight to Orlando.  I’m not sure I would ever fly them again.  We paid for and booked everything up front, but with Allegiant you have to pay for specific seats.  So I paid for two seats together for both flights.  We didn’t get the seats we paid for on the way to Florida, and I had to pay extra on the way home to move The Engineer and I back into two seats together.  They also overbooked the flight down to Orlando and were trying to convince people to drive to Omaha and take a different flight…..again…..we’ve all paid for specific seats on the plane….so why is this even happening?!  We didn’t take the offer as it would have essentially burned a whole day of our vacation being at home and driving to Omaha….plus the issue of getting our car back from the Omaha airport.

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How flying makes me feel….least favorite activity!

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People watching at baggage claim….the best!

All in all I’m making the trip sound horrible, but it was actually a really good time!  It would have only been better if it had been a wee bit warmer, but then we would have come home as cripsy fried bacon probably….so it’s just as well.  It was warm enough if you were in the sun and out of the wind to feel hot.  In the shade or out in the wind on the coast it was chilly enough that we wanted long sleeves, but I refused to wear anything other than shorts!  It wasn’t too cold to drink beer outside so I’ll take that as a win.  Speaking of wins, there was no relationship feuding over the results of the baseball games.  The Phillies and Braves each won a game, so all was fair in love and baseball!

 

Another big March event was that The Engineer has now officially moved it!  As part of our new “double income household” life, The Engineer declared that next vacation we aren’t getting the cheapest hotel and skipping the express passes…..”We need those passes!”  You don’t need the passes…..just follow the pro tip it took us all day to learn and go single rider all the way….the hotel however…..will be upgraded on our next vacation!  Although, if we can survive the horrible hotel and his somewhat whiplash-y driving in the very zippy rental car for a week….we can probably survive just about anything together!

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Find Something that Works: Part 2

A couple weeks ago I wrote about my journey into Intermittent Fasting.  When I eat is just one small part of my new adventure into weight loss and jeans fitting.  Drastically more important than WHEN I eat….is WHAT I eat.  I’ve only been working on fasting since January 22nd.  I know it’s only been 2 MONTHS, but I can already see and feel a big difference.  Nothing is set in stone, and life is about living and being flexible.  Mental flexibility is something I’ve always struggled with, but learning and working through diet and nutrition has taught me a ton about being flexible with myself.

I briefly mentioned the other week that I’m trying to eat a ketogenic style of diet.  Trying would be the key word here, but let’s dive into exactly what a ketogenic diet means.  In it’s simplest terms, a ketogenic diet involves getting the majority of your daily calories from fat sources.  Typically, 70ish% of your daily calories should come from fat.  The next largest percentage is protein, with carbohydrates make up a very small percentage of a strict keto diet.  The goal of the diet is to force your body into using fat for fuel.  The lower you keep your carbohydrate intake, the more your body is forced to use fat, both consumed and stored, for an energy source.

Now, I’m just a normal girl, trying to live my best life, fit into my jeans without looking like a can of Pillsbury biscuits, and keep my booty looking good in yoga pants.  I’m not a fitness model, an Instagram influencer, or a liscensed nutritionist.  Eating well and looking good is important to me, but my life and livelihood doesn’t depend on it!!  I’ve done some research online, made myself an action plan, and I’m just trying to live my best life…..WHILE STILL LIVING MY LIFE!  As with anything, there’s a serious way and a casual way to pursue things.  Some follows of the ketogenic diet go all out, buy urine test stripes to test for ketones, and run in the opposite direction at the mere sight of bread and noodles.  I, am not one of those people.

Do I sometimes eat more carbs than I should….yuppers!  Do I usually not manage to eat a high enough percentage of fats…….mostly everyday.  Do I skimp on my protein…..rarely!  I am trying to take all my research and work out and tweak a system that works for me.  I care less about the style of dieting I’m doing and more about the results I’m seeing and achieving.  I’ll show you some average days of my eating….you’ll see that I’m far from perfect, but it’s a journey!

I have the macro settings in my app, My Fitness Pal, set up as ketogenic percentages.  Even though I almost always eat more than 20 grams of carbs…..I like leaving the settings that low.  I find it helpful because when I enter foods that are higher in carbohydrate percentages the app flags up an alert.  I rarely change what I’m going to be eating, but it helps me be mindful of things.  If I’m having something carbohydrate heavy for lunch then I will eat something fat and protein heavy for dinner and snacks.  As far as my workouts go, I feel much better and stronger if I make sure I am at or very near my protein requirements every day.

I also don’t make a ton of restrictions to what I’m eating.  If The Engineer and I make burgers at home, I just skip the bun….but I still eat all the rest of the toppings!  If we make tacos at home I will have one regular, on a tortilla, and if I’m still hungry I’ll make one salad style with just a extra bit of lettuce.  Easy peasey and low stress and effort!  I just try to not eat processed carbohydrates.  That means generally avoiding buns and noodles, but occasionally The Engineer wants raviolis…..so we have raviolis!  Life is no fun without the occasional drink and sauce covered noodle……and I like living my life!  As far as restrictions, that’s really all I do.  I don’t feel like I’ve had to change the way I eat  or adjust to a whole new style of eating.  I try not to make it too hard on myself, and I also try to not stress if things don’t always line up for a day or a weekend.  Stress can cause you to hold belly fat…..so don’t get too caught up and worried!

As far as my daily goals, I try and keep my carbohydrate consumption to under 100 grams, and I try and keep those sources natural…..fruits, veggies, those sorts of things.  I also try to be very conscious of my sugar consumption.  The app currently allows me 60 grams a day, but typically I consume 30 or less grams.  Carbs, protein, and sugar…..that’s all I focus on and it’s easy and manageable.  I do also track calories, but that takes some researching and finding out what your body needs, so I’ll cover that in part 3.

So far all seems good in the hood!  I have been able to slightly increase my weights at the gym, all my jeans button, and I’m feeling much better overall.  There may come a time when I bump my calories up higher and try to gain more muscle.  To really gain muscle you have to eat more calories than you burn, but that process is a ways off in the future for me.  The more you google the more you realize that there’s no easy or set way to navigate any of this, but as of right now I feel pretty good on the track I’m on.  I’ll post some links below to some of the websites I’ve used to help figure out my macro percentages, what I use to track my food, and some other links that have been helpful on getting me started.

Adding in your favorite recipes and workouts is also very easy, and you can customize your macros to suit whatever your needs are….ALL FOR FREE!  There is a subscription version, but I just use the basic free one!!

 

 

Something New and Different

It has been awhile since I posted anything beauty related.  Mostly, I just use the same things over and over again so I rarely have anything fun and new to write about.  Well today we are going to change all that!  I’ve discovered a few new things that I feel like spreading the word about!!

Sunless tanners…..we’ve all tried them, we all know they stink, and mostly they tend to turn us orange.  It always seems like a good idea until you have to stand in your bathroom, mostly naked, for what seems like 4 hours waiting to dry.  Your clothes and sheets still turn brown, and you wake up looking like a zebra striped Willy Wonka extra!  And…..not to get political up in here, but I think there is probably plenty of bipartisan support for adjusting the tanning blend of our Commander in Chief.

Cheeto dust….while delicious….just isn’t a good look for anyone!

The Eternal Fake Tanning Goal

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The Perpetual Fake Tanning Results

 

What if I told you I’ve found a couple mild sunless tanners that don’t smell, don’t turn you orange, and are almost impossible to streak and mess up?!?!  You probably think I’m telling you a bold faced lie, but trust me…..I’ve got you covered!!  I have two recommendations, both easy, and both quite subtle.  I have fair skin that tans easily in the sun, however I’m pretty prone to turning orange from sunless tanners.  Over the years I’ve had plenty of samples and trial sizes of tanners, some very high end, and most have turned me a bit Cheeto.  A good test is usually wearing them around Momma MisHappenings…..she never lets a Cheeto moment go unacknowledged.  Both these recommendations have passed the Momma test…..so prepare to look sun kissed and gorgeous!!  I’ll post the links to the products down below so they are easy for you to find if you decide you’d like to try them out!

If you like your tanner with a side of moisturizer, I would recommend the St. Tropez’s In Shower Gradual Tanner.  It applies and lathers just like body wash onto your wet skin, so it’s very easy to get it all rubbed in and even.  It has a touch of moisturizer that seems to last quite long on my skin, smells delicate and fresh, and only takes 3-5 mins of time!  Easy peasy lemon squeezy!  I bought mine in the Medium strength and have used it off and on since the early fall.  It doesn’t develop into a very strong color, so if you’re looking for something very subtle this would be a good choice.  It provides just enough color to keep the ultra white wintertime skin at bay.  It looks very natural on me, and I’m not sure anyone would guess that I’ve been applying it.  It definitely will not give you tropical beach vacation skin, but it’s easy streak free color that only takes a couple minutes.  It also seemed to really extend the life of my summer tan into the fall, but I do find it to be quite moisturizing so that’s probably why.

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If you like your sunless tanner with a bit more color oomph, and even less smell…..may I present Tarte Cosmetic’s Little Mist Sunshine.  I purchased this little beauty a couple weeks ago for vacation prep, and I can easily say it’s maybe my favorite tanning product of all time!  The Engineer and I are going to Florida in a couple weeks to watch some spring training games, and I wanted to look less like I’m coming off the frozen tundra.  This little misting bottle has really done the trick!  It’s so easy….just spray and buff.  On my skin tone, I find that application 2 days in a row provides just the right amount of bronze color.  Then I just sorta ride that color out….usually it seems to last about a week before I feel the need to reapply.  It doesn’t come of patchy or chunky, so you can use it as frequently or seldomly as you’d like.  The tanner itself is clear and sprays on just like water.  The best part is there is absolutely no smell, so you can apply it anytime you want.  I’ve worn it to work and no one even knew!  Its mild enough that even though it’s clear you don’t have to worry about missing spots or getting streaky.  The bottle comes with a nice plushy mitt, so its easy to just buff and go.  There’s no need to avoid your elbows and knees like some tanners.  As far as the hands and feet go, I just buff over them with whatever product is left on the mitt after I do each leg and arm.  It’s enough to add some color to the areas, but not enough to give you the extra orangeiness that can sometimes happen with other tanners.  Also, the formula dries very quickly once it’s buffed in, so once you’re done applying you can get dressed right away.  Goodbye awkward bathroom drying time dance!

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If you want to get a discount on either of these sunless tanners, or anything else your inner online shopping glamazon requires….you should defiantly check out Ebates!  I’m probably late to the Ebates game, but it’s really changed the way I online shop.  My Office Manager brought it to my attention before Christmas and I’ve already received checks worth about $50 just from shopping online like I normally would.

All you need is to set up an account and then you just shop like normal!  If you install the Ebates Shopping Assistant in your web browser, it will alert you every time you’re on a site that has an Ebates reward.  Otherwise, just access your website of choice through the Ebates website directly.  You’d be surprised how many online merchants you frequently shop use Ebates, and the offer percentages change all the time.  I’ll post a sign up link at the end of the blog.  It will give both you and me a little extra cash Ebates cash bump, but honestly even if you don’t want to use my link you should all go and sign up!

 

One of the better things to come into The Engineer’s life is my discovery of nail polish removing clips!  Again, I’m probably super late to the party, but better late than never I suppose!  No longer does he have to help me wrap my fingers in cotton balls and tin foil……I can do it all by myself now!

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I bought a set for my fingers and my toes, and I love both.  Plus it’s nice that they are reusable.  Wrapping your own fingers requires a bit more tin foil than when you have a helper, and it’s just nice to not produce any extra garbage if you don’t have to.  I ordered mine for super cheap off a weird…..probably foreign…..website, and they took about a month to arrive.  I can’t really recommend the website as it was weird and sketchy, but I’ll find a comparable product link and post that below too……so you too can soak off your manis and pedis with the little baby squid looking clips!

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Soaking toes are happy toes…polish change coming right up!

My final fun and new product is a double pack of sports bras from Costco.  They are the Puma Seamless Strappy Back Bras, and I’m maybe a little obsessed.  So obsessed in fact that I bought 2 packs….yes 4 bras total!  You simply can’t beat a 2 pack of bras for $15!  Plus, for the price they are pretty decent and supportive.  I’ve paid more for bras that had a whole lot less to offer in the support department.  I bought mine in a large and they fit well.  Granted, I wouldn’t go out and run a marathon in one of these, but they do get me and my girls through “light cardio” days at the gym…..aka mostly just lifting but if I have to do some intervals of mountain climbers, jumping jacks, or squat jumps I’ll probably survive.  Plus, they are just comfy for lounging around the house in.  I couldn’t find a link for anything similar on the Puma website.  They have some bras that look similar but nothing at the $7.50 price point.  I’ll toss the Costco link below, but you need to be a member….or know a member…..to order online I believe.

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Well, we’ve come to the end of any new and exciting information I have to offer you.  Honestly, don’t feel pressured to sign up, try out, or buy anything I shared today.  That isn’t the point.  These are all just new things I’ve bought in the last few weeks and months that have really impressed me and I wanted to pass some of that along.  When you find a good bra or something that makes you life easier, sometimes you just want to spread the love around!