Thursday, February 19, 2015

Keep Calm, Connected & Worry-free with Stayfree + 30 Days FREE Yoga Offer

  I was compensated to write the post below. All opinions expressed below are 100% mine and mine alone unless otherwise stated. Please do your own research on a product or service before purchase as your results may vary.



Exercise and staying fit are things that I find are a necessity in my life and when I can't fulfill those two very important needs daily, I feel kind of lost. This holds true especially when my poor health interferes and I can't exercise, or even walk without a walker for that matter, for days, weeks, or months at a time.

Case in point, It's been a year and a half since I got to enjoy my passion that is pole fitness and just as long since I was able to enjoy a nice relaxing, yet challenging, yoga practice.


March of 2013


Another obstacle that coincides with my poor health is that infamous lady's "special" time of the month. I'm sure many of you can agree that, not only is it NOT so special, but when it hits all you want to do is eat anything and everything in sight and sleep like a bear during hibernation.

No? Just me?

Well regardless, we can all agree on one thing: exercise is one of the last things on our minds during that time! Did you know, however, that exercising during our periods can actually help alleviate many of the signs and symptoms that are associated with that time of the month like cramps, bloating, mood swings, and even depression?

Thankfully Stayfree is here to help us ladies get a jump on feeling better during those dreadful days with their line of feminine products that will aid in keeping us feeling fresh and worry-free, especially if we so choose to start exercising.





To help YOU stay calm, cool, & connected while you're working on betting yourself inside and out, even during those dreadful I-don't-want-to-move days, Stayfree, My Yoga, & Gaiam TV have all partnered together to bring you a fantastic opportunity!

Between January 8th and March 12th of this years all you need to do is buy any Stayfree product online or at participating stores, scan your store receipt, and upload an image of it to http://myyoga.stayfree.com/.









Do that and you'll receive a FREE 30-day membership to My Yoga on Gaiam TV which is choked full of all kinds of informative yoga videos from beginning yoga to yoga for relaxation all the way to restorative yoga, yoga for the chakras, toning your body yoga, and so much more!

Getting free yoga for buying something we pretty much already need on a monthly basis? Yes PLEASE!






I had a chance to look through many of the videos offered and I can't choose just one favorite! There is literally something for everyone and I will definitely admit that I want to try them all for different reasons; I need to work on my flexibility since being in bed and inactive diminished most of mine. If health would permit I'd love to start working on toning certain parts of my body because I have gained 20 to 30 lbs over the past year or so. I could also stand to learn how to relax a little more so some restorative and slow flow yoga would be nice, too!





Find Stayfree products near you with the help of http://www.stayfree.com/wheretobuystayfree!





  


Have YOU tried yoga before? 
If not what's your exercise of choice? 









Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Win It Wednesday(2/18)





Win It Wednesday is a day for showcasing, browsing, entering, and linking up contests-Have a contest that needs a little extra exposure? Feel free to link it up!

NOTE:: Linking up your contests on my Win It Wednesday linky below automatically puts them on my Ongoing Contest Linky.

DOUBLE NOTE:: You only have to submit your contest link ONCE because I manage the ongoing list myself, deleting contests as they expire.


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Win a BBQ Summer Prize Package from Pig of the Month!!


Ends February 24, 2015


Enter Here







Win a Bottle of La Lune Naturals Peppermint Essential Oil!! 


Ends February 25, 2015


Enter Here








 
Win Your Choice of Fit & Fresh Go Insulated Food Carrier!!


Ends February 27, 2015


Enter Here







Sunday, February 15, 2015

Monroe & Main: Spring Fashion, Palazzo Pants, & $110 Giveaway #MMSpring

This is a Fashionista Event Opportunity and is hosted by Still Blonde after all these YEARS and Modly Chic.  I was provided product courtesy of Monroe and Main in order to facilitate this honest review on The Eclectic Element. All opinions expressed below are 100% mine and mine alone unless otherwise stated. Please do your own research on a product or service before purchase as your results may vary. Giveaway details are located at the bottom of this post. 
 
 
 
 
When it comes to fashion, I'm a girl that appreciates value and versatility. Even when I was younger and through my teenage years I never understood the importance of throwing down your hard earned money on a several-hundred dollar designer bag or $1,000 or more on a single pair of designer shoes. A good majority of the time they only go with a certain amount of items in a wardrobe anyway and, if you're anything like me, it would be hard to wear them out for fear of ruining them or having them snatched! 
 
Yes, I'm somewhat paranoid but that's besides the point ;)
 
Why spend that much money on a single item that you'll only be wearing every now and again when you can be more thrifty and make that hard earned money of yours last longer, all the while filing up your closet, jewelry box, and or shoe rack? 

With their newest Spring clothing and accessories hitting the shelves, Monroe and Main wants to help bring out YOUR inner fashionista while offering you some fantastic value and versatility. Take for example the pants I received-Monroe and Main's new Stargazing Palazzo Pant
 
 
 
 These gorgeous eye-catching pants are available in misses and plus size and are definitely quite elegant when you first look at them. Featuring a black background with a reoccurring petite white colored floral design, the fit of the pants can only be described as breezy with their wide flowing pant legs and lightweight silky-soft rayon material. The best part about these pants is they can be both dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion. 
 
Created to make the wearer look trim in the waste and long in the legs, these pants are the perfect addition to any fashionista's collection.
 
Plus they have pockets and you all know how much I love pockets! *squee* 
 
 
  Jean Jacket: Old Navy
Shirt: Target (clearance)
Pants: Monroe & Main
Necklace & Earrings: Thrifting
Sandals: Goodwill
Vintage Purse: Goodwill



I know when I received these pants I wanted to create several different looks to showcase the versatility of them. The ideas just flowed through my brain as I raided my closet looking for choices! It was deceptively easy to come up with them, too; with the help of my mom of course, we came up with 3 different outfits (accessories and all) in the span of 5 to 7 minutes. 

How's that for record breaking?

In look #1 I wanted to dress these pants down. At first glance and by themselves, the pants definitely take on a more sophisticated quality that scream "fancy" but being the versatile girl I am, I want to be able to wear these often regardless of whether I'm going out to the mall to shop with friends or going to a fancy dinner with my boyfriend or fellow blogging associates.




Sweater: Old Navy
Pants: Monroe & Main
Boots: JC Penny
Jewelry Set: The Eclectic Element: Handcrafted


Look #2 is another leisurely comfy outfit that can be worn anywhere, from doing errands to going out to lunch with friends. Since Spring in Illinois is still pretty cold, a nice warmer sweater paired with the pants is just perfect!

Standing at nearly 5' 6" I'm somewhat shorter in appearance so I will admit one of the drawbacks of the pants for me is they were a little bit longer on me than, say, a taller person such as my sister who stands at 5' 9". While I still love, love, LOVE them, I think a taller person would definitely reap the many benefits of this particular fashion option.

For me, this just gives me a valid excuse to buy more heels ;)

Aside from us shorter people problems, I've always wanted a pair of pants like these. The material is a little stretchy and super soft so they're extremely comfortable to wear and fit my body perfectly! Plus the black and white color scheme goes with so much it's hard to narrow your many, many choices down.



Sweater: Kohl's
Pants: Monroe & Main
Heels: Charlotte Russe
Belt: Kohl's
Necklace: Thrifting
Earrings: Burlington Coat Factory



Look #3 is my dress up outfit. Note the black heels, fancy charcoal sweater, and chunky stretch belt that all three match the pants with a splash of color from the green in my necklace and earrings. While I love look #1 for its fun and flirty flair, #3 has such a sophistication about it.

Did I mention there were pockets?!
 
Speaking of the pants, while they may be a wee bit pricey by some people's standards, in my mind you really can't put a price on quality. I'd rather pay a little bit more for one quality pair of pants that are versatile enough to go with many different things and last a long time than spend money on many poorly made pairs of pants that may go with a lot but are uncomfortable to wear and don't last that long. 
You're really saving yourself money in the long run if you think about it! 

Monroe and Main was, yet again, the biggest pleasure to work with. While I didn't place my own order my items came extremely fast, were of high quality, and perfectly as described. Not only that, the ordering process itself was a pleasure to go through; complete with very accurate measurement charts, I never had to guess the size of an item I needed to get.

Monroe and Main delivers quality clothing and happiness once more!


Connect:



 
 
 
 
{The Giveaway}

 

Win a Monroe and Main Stylish Prize Package!!
ARV $110






{The Rules}


1. You MUST use the name and email you want to be contacted with in the Rafflecopter.

2. Contest will run from Monday, February 16, 2015 through to Monday, March 2, 2015.

3. Open to individuals 18 years or older.

4. Open to US residents only--Sorry everyone else!




a Rafflecopter giveaway





That's 2 mandatory entries + 82 possible extra entries which = 84 entries total!

 
Good Luck!



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Don't forget to check out the 25 other Monroe and Main bloggers and enter their giveaways-the more you enter the better your chances of winning ;)












Giveaway Disclaimer: This giveaway is open to US residents only, 18 years or older and will run from Monday, February 16, 2015 11:01pm CST until Monday, March 2, 2015 10:59 pm central standard time. The winner will be chosen through Rafflecopter.com and be contacted within 24 hours of the drawing. You'll then have 24 hours (1 day) to claim your prize and send me all applicable information-If I haven't heard from you within that time frame, I will be forced to choose another winner. The Eclectic Element and all related parties are in no way liable or responsible for unfulfilled or damaged prizes.


 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

8 Ways to Optimize Your Fitness Routine & Introducing Silk's Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative #SpoonfulOfSilk




 
 
I've been aware that fitness should ideally be a part of everyone's daily life since I was a little kid and mommy made us kids go out and play, however I didn't really realize how important until I became really involved in fitness back in 2013.

Of course with shows like The Biggest Loser, Extreme Weight Loss, and Excess Baggage, commercials and informercials for weight loss supplements, gym equipment, and kitchen appliances, as well as shows revolving around healthy eating, society continues to highlight fitness and healthy living to the point of shoving it in your face these days.

Fitness and living a healthy lifestyle don't have to be an all-or-nothing kind of deal, though. Slow and steady wins the race, especially when it comes to exercise and eating. You can seriously hurt yourself if you go all out when starting to exercise or get pretty sick if you quit eating junk food that your body is use to consuming cold turkey (learned both of those the hard way).

Here are 8 simple and easy ways to optimize your fitness goals, all of which make sure you start out slow so you can accomplish those goals of yours in no time:


1. Know your goals and stick to them. Do you want to lose weight? Tone up? Build muscle? Focus on one part of your body at a time? Know exactly what you want to do first and foremost, that way you can come up with a reasonably-timed plan to implement those goals otherwise you'll be all over the map; too many focuses at once leads to nothing getting accomplished!


2. Find something(s) you enjoy doing. If you dread going to the gym to workout everyday, don't do it! If you hate dragging yourself out of bed in the mornings to go on that 3 mile run, stay in bed! Find an area of exercise you truly and thoroughly enjoy doing and stick with that. For me, it was pole fitness. Going three times a week didn't feel like a chore I had to do, it felt like I was doing something I was truly passionate about, therefore I actually looked forward to going!


3. High protein snacks or foods before and after workouts. If you want to do things right you need the right kind of fuel to fuel your workouts. Everyone's body is different so we all require different things but high in protein foods and snacks offer us the ability to aid in muscle growth as well as help burn more calories and keep us energized. Grab a hard boiled egg if you're on the go, make yourself a protein smoothie, or grab yourself one of Silk's newest Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternatives and add some granola and chia seeds for a protein-rich snack. 


4. Find yourself a workout or accountability partner. Working out alone can feel more like a chore for some of us and let's be honest, we're more likely to skip a workout if it's just us. Having a friend who enjoys the same type of exercise you do can not only be fun, it can help both (or all if it's a group) of you be accountable towards your fitness goals! Plus having people to chat with helps the time go by much faster.


5. Know your body. The beauty about being a human being is that we're all different. While one person might enjoy running, another person might despise it and prefer yoga. One person in your yoga class might not be too flexible while the person in the back of the room is making a pretzel out of their body. You might prefer eating carbs before working out while I stick with protein. Know your body! Not only will knowing your body help you towards reaching your goals in a shorter amount of time, it'll also help you from overworking or hurting yourself.


6. Take advantage of local events/free trials/etc. Anytime Fitness offers a free two-week trial to potential members to check out your local gym. Your local branch of the YMCA offers things from swimming pools, to fully stocked gyms, to running tracks and more. Self's Workout in the Park event is held every year in several different locations and offers a full day of different classes you can participate in while entering contests and snagging a bunch of freebies for only $20. If you look hard enough, you'll find events in and around your area, free or costing a little money, that will get you out of the house and up and moving!


7. Eat right. Kind of going along with two of the earlier suggestions, know what your body needs in order to work at it's best! Whether it be protein, carbs, or something else, be aware of what you're putting into your body. Read labels, buy wholesome, organic, and/or more natural ingredients from reputable companies, make your own food at home so you know exactly what goes into it...Remember, you are what you eat so do you really want to be cheap, fast, and easy? 


8. Implement the 80/20 rule. When it comes to eating, my doctor advocates the 80/20 rule: be good to yourself 80% of the time by eating the right healthy foods, cooking for yourself, and use that extra 20% to splurge every once in awhile. Don't deprive yourself from the goodies in your life, just limit them; quantity over quality. In other words, don't opt for a candy bar or your favorite fast food joint every single day but maybe treat yourself once a week. Same rules apply to any guilty pleasure.




Speaking of healthy eating, with Silk and their new Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative, you can indulge that sweet tooth while opting for a healthier snack, especially if you follow a dairy free or vegan lifestyle! 
This delectable plant-based soy yogurt not only has 6 grams of protein in every serving, it also sports a smooth and creamy texture, is made from real fruit, and is free of dairy, cholesterol, and artificial colors or flavors. Not to mention it's gluten-free, carrageenan free, vegetarian, and low in saturated fat! 

It comes in a variety of flavors, including strawberry, blueberry, black cherry, vanilla, tropical pineapple, and peach and mango, of which I got to sample the tropical pineapple and black cherry flavors.
 
I had to wait quite a little while to try the two flavors I was sent due to some procrastination on my part, a lot of health issues, and a wee bit of creative block, so in order to preserve my coveted dairy free yogurt alternatives from Silk I had to take some drastic measures...
The sticky notes WERE broken out.
 
 
 
 
With 3 other people in the house if I don't claim things as my own (or hide them really, really good) they often disappear without a trace! 

In accordance with tip #3 above, I was craving something with protein the other day so I was finally able to grab my first cup of the dairy free yogurt and throw together a little much needed protein-packed snack for myself.




Ingredients: 

-1 container Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative (6 grams of protein)
-3/4 cup Vanilla Almond Granola* (6 grams of protein)
-1 TSP raw Chia Seeds (5 grams of protein)
 
 
*Note: any protein-packed granola will do.
 
That delicious looking quick and easy snack has a total of 17 grams of protein per serving and took me less than 5 minutes to make. Let me also tell you 3 out of the 4 people in the household got to try some of the tropical pineapple flavored dairy free yogurt and the consensus was unanimous: downright delicious and a most definite buy again! 

The flavor was sweet but not overpoweringly so, the consistency was smooth and full bodied, and I was actually somewhat sad when I ate my last spoonful. The only thing I wasn't the biggest fan of is the sugar content in each container

Good thing I still have my black cherry flavor left to try!
 
 
Make sure to follow the Silk Facebook Page to keep up-to-date with their happenings and also subscribe to the Silk eNewsletter-they have some very exciting things going on and I'd hate for you to miss out! 

To find more awesome posts revolving around Silk's yummy dairy free yogurt alternative you can also follow the Silk Yogurt Pinterest Board.
 
 
 
Have any tips to add to the one's above? 
Which flavor would YOU try first?
 
 
 
 
This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.







Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Silk's NEW Cashewmilk & My Fav Anti-Inflammatory Tea Recipe #SilkCashew



Let's talk about chronic illness for a minute. More specifically, let's talk about the chronic pain that inevitably follows the chronic illness.

Most of you know I've been sick for nearly 11 years and unfortunately with chronic illness comes many, many different symptoms. Aside from being diagnosed with 8 to 10 different conditions, for me, some of the things I've experienced throughout the years are brain fog, insomnia, depression, sporadic leg weakness, anxiety, mottling of the hands and feet, hot flashes, paralysis....you name it, I've probably experienced it at least once!

One of the symptoms that stays with me on a 24/7 basis is chronic pain. The level of the pain may fluctuate day to day but it's ALWAYS there in one form or another.

Not only is it always there, but certain things in daily life can set it off like the weather, medications, and certain foods such as sugar, wheat, and dairy which is why, aside from some cheese, I've limited my dairy intake considerably since it's one of the major foods that cause inflammation.

I literally cannot tell you the last time I actually even had regular cow's milk! The past several years I've stuck to mainly almond milk for my milk-related needs, which is why I was ecstatic when Silk mentioned they were coming out with a new cashew milk! 




Available in Original Cashewmilk and Unsweetened Cashewmilk, Silk's newest cashew milk tastes creamier than skim milk and also has less calories; 60 per serving, 25% fewer calories than skim milk*. Not only that but they have 50% more calcium than dairy milk.

I'm just thrilled I can actually have a plain ol' glass of milk again without worrying about being in pain afterwords!

Speaking of chronic pain, I actually found this particular recipe I'm sharing with you guys when my pain level was incredibly high and I had done everything I could think to do. I was sobbing, could barely move, and very desperate so I turned to the online world for help and I'm so thankful I found this recipe when I did.

The fact that it's pretty much organic and holistic (depending on the ingredients used of course) is also a nice benefit!

If you, yourself, know chronic pain or have someone in your life that does and could benefit from this wonderful tea, please pass this recipe along. I can promise you they'll appreciate it more than you know.


Anti-inflammatory Tumeric & Ginger Tea
(adapted from MindBodyGreen)


(Serves 1)





Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 TSP ground turmeric*
  • 1/4 TSP ground ginger*
  • Splash of Silk Cashewmilk
  • Raw honey (to taste)

*For this tea, both tumeric and ginger would probably be better fresh but pre-packaged spices can work in a pinch.






Instructions:

  • Step #1: In a small sauce pan bring your water to a boil. Once boiling add your turmeric and ginger, reduce the heat to low, and let simmer for a good 10 minutes.
  • Step #2: Once everything is pretty well simmered you can add your splash of Silk Cashewmilk.
  • Step #3: This is a very important step, especially if you used fresh ingredients! Pour your tea from the saucepan into a strainer which will catch all the chunky pieces you do NOT want to be drinking.
  • Step #4: Once strained, stir in your spoon full of raw honey to taste and enjoy!


My favorite part is actually pouring in the milk because of how the hot tea and creaminess of the milk react to each other. I tried to grab a video of it so you can see for yourself!

Please excuse the blatant milk spillage.



A video posted by Kayla Potega (@theeclecticelement) on





In the past I'd have used almond milk to tame the spiciness of this tea but since I received my Silk Cashew Milk I wanted to substitute that and see how the switch worked. The creaminess of the cashew milk paired with the tea amazingly and, quite honestly, I think it was considerably better than the previously used nut milk.

Aside from the tea, the cashew milk has also been substituted for half-and-half in my mom's morning coffee and for almond milk in a few bowls of my cereal.

The consensus?

We'd buy it and use it again in a heartbeat! Next step is holiday baking with it!

Make sure to follow the Silk Facebook Page to keep up-to-date with the happenings and also subscribe to the Silk eNewsletter-Silk has some very exciting things going on so you absolutely don't want to miss out!

If you subscribe to the newsletter you also get an instant coupon ;)

To find more awesome cashew milk recipes you can also follow the Silk Cashew Milk Pinterest Board.



Have you used Silk's new Cashew Milk yet? What would you substitute it for?







This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.






*Silk Original Cashewmilk: 60 cal/serv; skim dairy milk: 80 cal/serv. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26. Data consistent with typical skim dairy milk.


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