Wednesday, August 28, 2019

What Mama Bought: August 2019 Edition

This month has been a flurry of packages arriving in the mail, much to Aaron's dismay. Ha. But I've found some really good local businesses that I'm loving and have bought some items that you might be considering yourself. Plus, I thought this might be a fun new series covering everything from clothes and shoes to household stuff. You know - mom life.

My name is Sarah and I have a big earring problem. I love earrings and I like 'em big! I also have been buying them pretty frequently as of late. I don't wear many necklaces now (toddler life) and bracelets are hard to wear with a desk job. So earrings it is! I discovered LBH Style on Etsy and then they split and became Epp and Co and Pierce and Hide. Here are a few of the earrings that I've bought and love!

Pierce and Hide Coral and Birch Split Disk 
Epp & Co Turkish Tile and Wood Circle Drop
Not going to lie, I've bought a LOT of earrings from both sites. A ridiculous amount. It's a problem, I know. But they are so cute! And reasonable!

Peloton Apparel
One of my friends used my referral code to get herself a Peloton (go girl!). That got her $100 off accessories and I got $100 to spend in the Peloton Apparel Store! Now, $100 doesn't go very far in the Peloton Apparel store, ha. And you have to use it all at once. You get free shipping if you spend $50 - that's after all the coupons and discounts. So, I ended up getting an instructor inspired bra (yay Emma!) and two tops. That was about $48 out of pocket. I was worried about sizing, as they all looked from the measurements like they ran small, but the two larges I got fit perfectly and the XL was a little big.

Peloton Outside Track Tank - XL
Photo courtesy of Peloton Apparel
This one I got in an XL based on the size chart and it's a little big on me.

Inspired by Emma Bra - L

Photo courtesy of Peloton Apparel
Emma is my girl! Lately, I've been doing her Crush Your Core series, but I also love her rides. She did an all Red Hot Chili Peppers ride and in general her rides are a good mix of pop and rock. I got this bra in a L and it fits great!

Peloton Tank

I got another tank from Peloton, but it doesn't look like it's available on the site anymore. I got this one in a large and love it! For reference, I'm a pretty solid size 14 and L in tops, XL in most bottoms.

Kitchen Stuff
August has been the month of kitchen gadgets! I bought some new Instant Pot accessories and I finally broke down and got myself an air fryer. I was contemplating it on Prime Day, but couldn't really decide if I really wanted one or not. Eventually, I decided I did want it and used my rewards and coupons to order one.

I chose the Go Wise 3.7 quart for one very important reason - it fit the space requirements.  We have a rule in the Zinn house - if you buy something, it has to have a home.  That home cannot be on a counter. Or freezer (I tried that one, too). I cleared out space under my island for the air fryer, but didn't realize they were so big! I had to measure the space and then I chose the model with the best reviews that fit my dimensions.  The handle did break when I got it out of the box, but I contacted GoWise and they are sending me a new handle! I've been cooking with the broken handle, though, and it's worked just fine.

And, of course, as soon as I ordered that, I ordered the Skinnytaste Air Fryer Cookbook to go with it.

Stitch Fix - Buy Your Items
Stitch Fix has this new service where you can go in and buy new colors of items you've already purchased. The inventory changes all the time, I'm talking like within 30 minutes sometimes, which creates a really high fear of mission out (FOMO). So far, I've bought two items through this new service.  The one bought this month was a new blazer. I've had the grey version of this for a few months and loved it so much, I vowed to myself that I would buy it in other colors if they came available. And it did! I bought the blush pink and I'm excited to wear it!

Skies Are Blue Hannah Modal Scuba Blazer - $88
I was really excited for this service, and I still stalk the page, but I don't like the amount of FOMO induced buying it can cause. Yes, we're adults and should be able to control our spending, but it just seems a little predatory? I will say that I was part of the beta testers and recommended that they add extra sizes you could purchase, not just your original size. I'm sure multiple people also made that suggestion, but I was happy to see it implemented in the full roll out.

I realized the other day that at some point, Franco Sarto became the new Nine West in my closet. Nine West used to be my go-to brand for cute, trendy work shoes that were reasonably priced. But I rarely go to the outlets anymore and I don't wear heels as much as I used to, so they slowly eased their way out of my closet. And apparently Franco Sarto stepped right in!

Franco Sarto Honey2 Flat
Photo courtesy of

I picked these up at a DSW clearance sale for $40. Yes, in light pink. I went up a half size to a 9 for comfort and put a heel pad in to keep the shoes on.  I also bought a pair of light green Sperry tennis shoes, but those aren't available on the site anymore.

There you have it folks! Most of what I've bought this month. Did you take the plunge on any big items this month? And let me know if you like the idea of this as a monthly series or not! Happy Wednesday!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Carter is 18 Months Old!

My son turned 18 months old this past Friday. The last update I did on my little man was the photos from his first birthday in January. And man has he changed!

I can honestly say that it's taken me 18 months to find my balance again, or what balance there is as a parent. I tried, and failed, to keep up with the blog during the past 18 months and it wasn't until recently that I really thought, "okay, I can do this again!"  So, if you're still here after all those random posts every 2-3 months, thank you! You're the best!

Now let's talk about my favorite little dude!

Name: Carter Hollon

Age: 18 Months

Favorite Food: Mandarin oranges, yogurt and bananas (and anything messy!)

Favorite Character/Show: Octonauts and Sesame Street

Favorite Toy: His green frog that he pulls around behind him and his train.

Words: Wow, ball, book, bye bye, mama, daddy, yeah, bubbles, mine (his favorite!), no and hi

Loves: Outside! He loves to run around, be curious and get into ev-er-y-thing. He loves going to see Miss Pam at school and he loves cuddles, though they are more like drive-by cuddles now. He loves to be silly and play around with you and "helping."

Dislikes: Being told no, not being able to do something himself.  He also doesn't like to be around a ton of people at once (that's my kid).

Clothing Size: 2T

Shoes: Toddler 5 (he has some tiny feet!)

Favorite Moment: My favorite time of day with Carter is bedtime. We change him into PJs, he drinks his milk and then gets a cuddly. We attempt (and usually fail) to read a book and then we have the ritual of kisses and a bedtime song. It doesn't matter how crazy my day has been, doing this every night resets all the stressful things that have happened.

We love our sweet wild man! Happy half birthday kiddo!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

What We Ate: A Crock Pot, Instant Pot and Air Fryer Adventure!

A couple weeks ago, I decided to join the air fryer craze and bought myself a GoWise 3.7 quart with my rewards from BuyBuyBaby and my trusty 20% off Bed Bath and Beyond coupon. This means that I now have an Instant Pot, a crock pot AND an air fryer.  I used them all this past week and thought I would share my recipes!

One of the biggest misconceptions about these small appliances, in my opinion, is that you must love one with all your heart and never use the others again. Or your actual stove for that matter. I love food and I love to cook. I also love gadgets that make cooking good food easier. I personally will always have a crock pot. You can't convince me that the Instant Pot replaces it, because, well, it doesn't. An Instant Pot still as time to come to pressure and then cook the actual food. In the crock pot, that happens all day while I am at work. And sometimes, I like to come home and do nothing. But, I digress. The point of this post is to show you how I used all three contraptions in one week.

Sunday - Instant Pot Dulce de Leche Cheesecake
While out trying to find an air fryer to buy (I ended up ordering one), I found some Instant Pot accessories at Kohls.  I picked up a divided steamer and a 7" spring form pan.  And with new accessories comes new recipes! I actually used the recipe card that came with the spring form pan for a dulce de leche cheesecake. It was surprisingly easy and came out oh so good. I've decided that there's a good chance I will never eat cheesecake without dulce de leche again!

First I poured the entire can of sweetened condensed milk in one of my small cake pans.  I poured in one cup of water and sat the pan with the milk on the trivet. 

Then I made the cheesecake! I lined the bottom with parchment paper, added the crust and poured in the batter. The spring form pan sat on top of the pan with the sweetened condensed milk.

I made the cheesecake Sunday night and then we ate it Monday night.

I couldn't find the exact recipe online, but here is the recipe for the dulce de leche and the cheesecake. Just stack them and you're good to go!

Monday - Instant Pot Salmon with Sweet Potato Puree and Broccoli
This was another recipe card that came with the Instant Pot accessories. I didn't take photos of this one, but it was a really easy recipe! You simply peel and cube sweet potatoes and put them on the bottom. Then you add vegetable broth (the recipe called for a 1/2 cup, I upped it to one cup for coming to pressure) and then you put the broccoli in one portion of the steamer and then put a 4-oz cut of salmon in each of the other two portions. I seasoned the salmon and the broccoli with salt and pepper. You put the steamer on top of the potatoes and cook on high for 1 minute and quick release.

Salmon with Sweet Potato Puree and Broccoli
Aaron thought it was really good and I considered this a game changer and what really sealed my love for the IP.  I've used it a lot since I got it for Christmas, but I've mostly done soups and pastas.  I loved being able to do a simple, quick, healthy meal.

Tuesday - Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce in the Crock Pot
This is hands down one of my favorite comfort food recipes. I love making it in the crock pot. A few changes I've made to the recipe is that I use garlic and onion powder instead of chopping, simply for ease, and I don't add jalapenos.

Thursday - Chicken Cordon Bleu in the Air Fryer
As soon as I ordered my air fryer, I ordered the Skinnytaste Air Fryer cookbook. Basically, if Skinnytaste has a cookbook, I buy it. The only exception is the Fast and Slow cookbook. I didn't love that one. The One and Done Cookbook has some air fryer recipes, but not a ton. Amazon had the Air Fryer Cookbook on sale for $10, so I got it. This is my second recipe out of this book and, as usual, they've both been awesome.

Prepping the chicken.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Roll with Side Salad
I served the cordon bleu rolls with a side salad. I did have to make them in batches (batch of 3 and then a final batch of 4), so that took a little bit of time, but not bad. And clean up was still relatively easy. We both agreed that they were good and were going into the dinner rotation!

I had a fourth meal that I planned to use, but ended up having to work one night and we got takeout. Never fear, though, I made that recipe on Sunday! I've really enjoyed using my air fryer so far. And I think that, just like my crock pot and Instant Pot, it's a great tool added to my kitchen. But it doesn't replace everything. I still like to make casseroles and easy meals on the stove like Coconut Curry Shrimp.  Currently, the Instant Pot is the most useful, but my crock pot will always be #1 in my heart. You just can't beat coming home to a done dinner. Do you have any (or all) of these? Which is your favorite?!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Bryson City, NC: Vacationing with a 15 Month Old

We took our first vacation as a family of three back in June. We'd visited family with Carter, but I don't consider that a 'vacation.'  We thought of lots of cool places we could go, but they all ended up sounding so complicated and too much work. We wanted our first vacation to be easy. So we chose Bryson City, North Carolina.

We are not really a beach family. I like to lay on the beach, but I'm only good for like 2-3 hours and then I need to do something. Aaron's the same way. And we didn't want to have to haul all of the stuff down for a toddler to the beach.  So we chose the mountains. I suggested Bryson City because it's situated on three rivers, so we could still do fun water activities.

We stayed four days - Monday through Friday. I will tell you that it was the best plan. We had the weekend to pack and hang out. We drove up on Monday and back on Friday. Driving back on Friday allowed us a weekend on the back end to chill out, unpack and get everything ready for the week.  We also had a going away party for our friend Josh.

Note - there will be links in this post. I'm not an affiliate and this post isn't sponsored, the links are just for helping you out!

Foxcreek Cabins
I found the best cabin on Evolve Vacation Network. I found Evolve through the Bryson City webpage. They had vacation rentals listed and that's how we found the one we stayed in. Evolve was great because they didn't have the extra booking fee of Airbnb.

We stayed in Foxcreek Cabins in the Creekside cabin. There are three cabins total, all together, but the trees are so that you don't feel like you are right beside each other. The cabin had a big front porch, wide enough for Carter to play on while we drank coffee in the morning, that also had the hot tub. You could see and hear the creek from the front porch, too. The cabin had a full kitchen, living room, two bedrooms and a bathroom. Carter loved having the living room to play in.

Our cute cabin!

View from our front porch.
The beautiful creek right by the cabin.

Hanging out on the front porch. 
We brought a lot of his food with us (puffs, cereal bars, squeeze packs, etc) and then bought groceries at Ingles supermarket.  My goal was to only eat out once a day to keep our costs down. The kitchen had plenty of pots and pans, a coffee maker (essential to this mama!) and dishes to use. I was really happy with the set-up.

Things to Do
As I mentioned above, it pretty much rained off and on the whole week. We planned a train ride for Wednesday, but didn't really make any other plans. What I like most about Bryson City is that you don't have to plan anything. We walked around downtown a few times. The downtown is small, but so cute with lots of fun shops. We stopped in to Bryson City Outdoors, and loved the tshirts and gear, but also the beer they have in the evenings. We also stopped by The Chocolate Shoppe and picked up some sugar free chocolates and truffles for me and candy for Aaron.

Fontana Lake and Dam
On Tuesday, we ate breakfast at Everett Street Diner. We talked about what to do because it was raining. We asked around about cool stuff to see and someone suggested the dam. So we drove about 45 minutes from Bryson City to the Fontana Dam. The dam is pretty cool because it's the highest dam east of the Rocky Mountains, but also because they flooded three towns to make it! Aaron, who's a wastewater treatment plant operator, really enjoyed figuring out the mechanics of it.

Looking down the mouth of one of spillways.

Carter climbing to the top!
Looking at the back of the dam.
The Little Tennessee River, which the dam flows into.
We were smart and packed some sandwiches for lunch and were able to eat at a picnic stop on the lake. We got lucky and made it under the shelter and had lunch right before it started to rain again. We also hit some really pretty scenic overlooks on the way to and from the dam.

The view from our picnic spot.

We met a really nice couple at the picnic shelter and we exchanged photography skills!

View from one of the scenic overlooks.

Deals Gap/Tail of the Dragon
On the way back from Fontana, Aaron realized we were near the Tail of the Dragon. It's a part of highways NC 129 and 28 and crosses the state line into Tennessee.  If you get car sick, I highly recommend not taking this drive.  It's 318 curves in 11 miles! And the curves are tight, hairpin curves. It's been made a destination by motorcyclists and other drivers looking for a good curvy road.  Aaron had ridden it twice on his motorcycle and decided he needed to also drive it in the Mazda CX-5. Carter slept through most of it!

Apparently, if you wreck on the Tail of the Dragon, you're supposed to leave a piece of your bike behind.
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Our big excursion on the trip was the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.  I'm not going to lie, I built this up in my head as the coolest thing ever and it ended up being pretty stressful. We purchased the first class tickets, meaning we had assigned seats and we got lunch. Carter was pretty cheap since he's under two. I thought he would love it, but it turns out that 15 month olds aren't that great at sitting still, which you have to do on the train. He also likes to be really loud, which is hard when you're trying not to disturb other people.

We did have fun, though. I enjoyed riding a train for the first time and the scenery.  The guide was funny, super sweet and thoughtful with us and Carter and provided some interesting information. We stopped at the Nantahala Outdoor Center for the layover. I've been rafting there before, but it's been at least a decade and holy crap, I did not remember it being that crazy! Aaron took Carter down to the river edge and then we went back to the bus. Too many people for me!

At the Nantahala Outdoor Center
This is also when we discovered Uncrustables!
I want to do the train again when Carter's older and will better understand and enjoy the aspect of being on a train. At one point, I did apologize to Aaron for the amount of money we spent on the train ride because I felt like it was more work than it was worth. But he pointed out that it was a cool experience, he enjoyed the train and it was something new. If you are going with a toddler, though, be prepared for a crazy kid that doesn't want to sit still.

We went to La Poblana that night for dinner. This did break the "eat out once a day" rule, but it's vacation. A lot of people recommended Guyabito's, but we were impressed that the parking lot was packed out every time we passed La Poblana.  We were not disappointed. Yes, it was a Mexican restaurant. And yes, it was wonderful.

Deep Creek
Our last full day was Thursday.  We really wanted to go hiking and tubing and the weather app kept saying that it was going to rain all day Thursday. But that morning, we had two surprises! We found out that Aaron passed his Grade 3 wastewater test and that we had a clear sky that morning! We got up, ate breakfast and headed out!

We went to Deep Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We hiked to three different waterfalls! Aaron carried Carter in the carrier and he slept most of the time.  At first, we weren't sure if we wanted to do tubing or not because it was a cooler morning, but after hiking, we were all sweaty (Aaron even had a Carter-shaped sweat stain on his back!) and decided it was a go!

Aaron and Carter in front of Juney Whank Falls
Indian Creek Falls

Family selfie with a passed out Carter 
Tom Branch Falls

Carter was not a fan of tubing. We brought his life jacket, which he did not like. He rode in the tube with Aaron and I had my own. The water was frigid! But we figured that if we didn't tube, we would regret it. We ended up going down the river once. Carter cried most of the time, half mad, half freezing and it started raining at the end. The tube rentals were only $6 each, so it was well worth the $12 that we spent.

Afterwards, we went to quite possibly my favorite place in Bryson City: Nabors. It's a drive-in right on the Tuckasegee River. We had the best burgers, fries and dessert all while sitting in the car, watching the river. It just felt so right. It wasn't anything fancy, but it was good!

On our way out of town on Friday, we stopped at Mountain Perks. I wanted a fancy coffee for the road. I also got some of their quiche. The staff were so sweet, the coffee was amazing and I pretty much drooled over the quiche. It was the perfect ending to our first family vacation with Carter.

We loved Bryson City. So much so that we actually started looking at cabins for sale in the area because we like the idea of going there every summer with Carter. It's the kind of place that good summers are made of. If you get a chance to go, I highly recommend it. I know that we will be back!

Baby Gear
I thought I would finish this post up with what we brought for Carter. Our first trip with Carter was when he was 2 months old and we drove to Pennsylvania to see Aaron's grandparents. We basically took our whole house with us. In the Corolla.  It was as ridiculous as you're imagining. I've learned a lot about packing with a toddler, though, and this is the gear we brought with us. I've provided links when possible.

Pack and Play - This is what Carter slept in at the cabin.  I would link ours but it's older (and was free!)
Fisher Price Spacesaver Highchair - Carter's still small enough (and busy enough) that he needs to some help in a chair. This is our regular high chair for him and it's super easy to travel with.
Eagle Creek Pack It Cubes - I use these exclusively to pack Carter's clothes. I put the PJs and bulky items in the big cube, the tops and bottoms in the medium and his socks and shoes in the small one. I also have a cosmetic roll-up bag that I use for his toiletries and medications.
Ergo Baby Carrier - I picked this up at a consignment sale for $50 and it was perfect for hiking!
ezpz Happy Mat - This is my favorite dish/dinner item we have bought for Carter. I have a bowl and a divided plate. They are great because the plate sticks to the table. Those little mats that you can stick to a table? Yeah, he rips those off. But these he doesn't mess with until he's done. Also, the mini plate and mini bowl works great on the high chair above! We also brought a couple sippy cups, fork and spoon sets, the drying rack and kid bowls with us.

Overall, we loved our first family trip. We loved Bryson City, we loved spending time just the three of us and we loved having an easy vacation. What was your first vacation with your baby?

Friday, August 9, 2019

Poshmark: Lessons from a Posh Ambassador

CNN Money did an article a few years ago about women and side gigs. Most do a net working marketing/multi-level marketing (me too, I did Jamberry!), but sometimes you find yourself in a side gig without realizing it. For me, that was Poshmark.

First off, I hate the term side hustle. Why do you have to hustle something? The term "hustle" can have a negative connotation to it, so I don't love it. But it's also pretty accurate here. It's my side gig and I do hustle and make it work for me.

I got into Poshmark about two years ago. One of my blogger friends told me about it and I tried it (read my original post here).  I had some decent success with it, but it wasn't until I had Carter that I got really into it. Then I realized it was actually working for me and I became a Poshmark Ambassador at the end of April 2019. 

A Poshmark Ambassador just means that I've sold at least 15 times, shared 5,000 items that aren't mine, have a quick ship time and positive rating, among other things. But I've been working hard at selling my clothes for the past year or so. Really, since right before I had Carter. I took a month or two off after that, but I've been selling pretty steadily for a year and some change. I've sold 141 items and have 13,426 shares.  I've even started buying some items and reselling.

So, after all of that, here's what I've learned.

1. It's all negotiable, within reason.
Most people, me included, are shopping on Poshmark for a good deal.  My main focus is finding Stitch Fix items and brands at a discount. I love Stitch Fix, but their prices are higher than I like to pay. I've found that I can find a lot of my favorite brands on Poshmark and, if you know how the brands work, it's worth it to take a try and buy it. Some of my favorite brands to buy are Liverpool, Market and Spruce, 41 Hawthorn, and Athleta. I also look for Untuckit for Aaron. Most people make offers on items and don't buy at the price posted. Or, if you're like me, you wait until it's a "Closet Clearout" promotion where you can also get a break on shipping if the seller offers a deal.

As a seller, when I price items, I price them a little higher than what I think they are going to sell for simply because I know that I'm going to be making offers and sending discounts. The prices are still set to sell and, some hot items, will sell at those prices.

As a buyer, you also have to take into account the fees that Poshmark puts on sellers when sending an offer. I had a JuJuBe pump bag, retails for $125, for sale at $75. Someone offered me $25. That was rude and insulting. I didn't even respond. Another person offered me $45, which was lower than what I wanted, so I countered with $55 and they took it. When I make offers as a buyer, I try to think about what I would be willing to accept as a seller. And when looking at offers that a buyer has made, I think about what I would want to pay if I was the one selling it.

2. It's a social market.
If you're getting on Poshmark to set a price and then just let people purchase, it is the wrong market for you. Ebay is probably more your speed. On Poshmark, you want to grow your audience by following other members and sharing their items. They, in turn, share yours and they are seen by a wider audience. Sometimes, that gets you more followers. When I'm doing my Poshmark "work" of sharing items, I often share others' items MORE than I share my own. My followers have significantly increased since becoming an Ambassador because now I'm recommended as a Top Seller for others to follow.

3. Customer care is big.
I didn't worry so much about my rating until I realized that I was making decent money on Poshmark and wanted to grow my sales. But, I always took care of my customers. I keep thank you notes on hand, use some tissue paper and try to protect the items when packaging. I send the lighter items, like tops, in mailing envelopes. I personally have a fear of cutting into something when opening my own bags from shipments, so I treat my customers the same and put their items in large ziploc bags to provide extra protection. I get comments on my packaging on a regular basis in my ratings and I've had a few repeat customers, which is cool on such a large platform.

4. Know what sells - it's not tops and pants!
The things that sell the quickest for me are swim suits, specialty workout items and bras/intimates.  Things I NEVER would have thought to sell originally. I've listed 10 swim items and have sold 8 of them. Specialty workout items like spin shorts (padded) and the bra tops from Athleta and Lululemon sell within a day or two. I've sold every bra and pajama set that I've put up.  Tops and bottoms will sell, but they take some time, so be ready to sit on those. Shoes are really hard to sell, mostly because I think most people are like me and need to try them on. Your higher end brands will always do pretty well, though.

5. Keep packaging items you get from your own orders and reuse!
This goes back to customer care - you want to package well, but you also don't want to spend a fortune on it! Especially if you're trying to make a profit. You can use, and are encouraged to use, USPS Priority Mail boxes. They're free and you can get them at pretty much any USPS location. I like to use the envelopes for smaller/lighter items. But some things, like pump bags, don't fit in those boxes. So I keep any good shipping boxes I receive. I also keep the plastic sleeves that items come in and reuse those. I've also recently started keeping the cards that my earrings come on and reuse those as well. This is good for the environment, but also cuts down on having to buy packaging.

6. You can sell anything, even if it's stained, if you call out the issues.
Be honest. Be honest. Be honest. I really don't know how much I need to say that, but be honest. I've bought things that have small stains, fabric pulls, etc. I've had people buy the same from me. But your photos, comments and price need to reflect that. I take a ridiculous number of photos, but I also don't want anyone saying, "I didn't know about that!" I actually had to contact a buyer because I sold a PJ set and had it listed as a Large when the top was a Medium and the bottom a Large. They were fine with it, but I also had to be ready to cancel the order and issue a refund in case they weren't.

7. Be a good buyer.
Sellers make money when the buyer accepts the item. We work hard to package it and get it out quickly. When the item comes, check it out that day/night. Accept it and rate it based on the shipping speed, the accuracy of the item. Not if the item fits you. And if you're happy, leave a note. Or if you're mad, leave a note. But don't wait two days to accept the item. Especially if you're a seller!

I love Poshmark. It's been a great way for me to clean out my closet and to replace a lot of things. Now that my baby weight is off, a lot of my work clothes from the past year are too big and, quite frankly, I want some new stuff! Poshmark is a great way to get "new" items for yourself on a budget and make some money on items you no longer use. If you're selling on Posh, drop your name below so I can follow you and share your items!  If you decide to sign up for Poshmark, use my code "ZINNLIFE" to get $10 off (I get $10 too!).  Happy poshing! 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Century Club: 100+ Rides with Peloton

Back in November, I posted about getting my new Peloton bike. You can read about that here. I originally planned to ride it for a month and then do a review. That obviously didn't happen. Then I wrote a draft post at fifty and that didn't happen either. It doesn't matter. I've hit that first big mark - 100 rides, the Century Club. And I felt like that this was a great way to come back from my blogging hiatus.

The question I always get asked the most, sometimes with apology, is if I use my Peloton. Most home gym equipment gets bought with great expectations and then becomes a clothing rod. At least that's what happened in the house I grew up in! But I do actually use my Peloton. As of today, I'm at 188 total workouts since November 2018. That includes rides, stretching, strength and a couple yoga classes.

For me, what makes Peloton different than just having a piece of equipment is the community. Is it the same as being in a class with an instructor you've known for years that calls you out when you're slacking AND when you're killing it? No. But I love that I get high fives from people that are riding at the same time as me. I usually do on demand rides because of my schedule, but I really wanted to do a live ride for my 100th ride. I wanted that call out from Alex Toussaint! I did! But it just wasn't working out for my schedule and I didn't want to get behind, so I just went and did a fun ride with Cody. And I got SO. MANY. high fives from people that were riding with me.  These people didn't know me, but they knew that I had accomplished a big goal and were proud of me. People you don't know that are supporting you is awesome. And rare.

The next big question I get is schedule. When do I ride and how. Mostly, I ride before work. My leader board name is #5AMmamarides. Cause that's when I ride, between 5 and 5:30 AM. I mostly do on demand classes so I can stick with what I like. But I've done some live classes when I have a day off or a weekend and a more flexible schedule. I'm not going to lie, though, I love my on demand classes. I choose the class and instructor I want, I have a decent idea what's coming up during the class and I know the playlist.

Once you do Peloton, I think it's pretty natural to pick your favorite instructors. I've taken most of them at least once. But there are a few that I always come back to and it's all based on the type of ride that I want. If I want a good butt kicking, Jess King is my girl. She takes no crap from you and puts together some tough rides. If I need a good mood boost, I go with Cody Rigsby. He's from North Carolina, hilarious and always says, "It ain't that deep!" Sometimes I need to hear that. My other two faves are Emma Lovewell and Alex Toussaint. I love their music and their workouts. Alex has a Club Bangers series that is my FAVE and Emma just did a full Red Hot Chili Peppers ride. Honestly, I think all of the instructors are good. I have others that I like, but those are the four that I regularly rotate through.

My favorite thing about Peloton is that this is about me. I have no issue telling people that my biggest struggle in becoming a mom was the loss of identity. Before Carter, I was so independent. And then he came and my whole world got turned upside down. I had to figure out who Sarah is now, not the Sarah I was before.  Peloton let me pick up and continue the part of me that loves to work out and feel strong. I don't have to choose between doing something for me or spending time with my kid. I get to do both. It's helped me get off my baby weight and get my A1C and my cholesterol down. I get to watch my progress by beating my personal records and beating challenges. I also love that I get to target areas I'm working on. I'm doing the Crush Your Core series and I've been adding on arm segments after my rides to work on getting my arms toned up. It's not all about the bike and I love it.  I can honestly say that this is the best thing I've done for myself since having Carter. Cause you know what? We get to be important, too!

If you have any questions about Peloton, feel free to ask them! I'm happy to share the love! And if you're thinking about buying, use my code 4X8PUM to receive $100 in accessories (I get a credit,