Hello Love Handles

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Hi friends! How are things? I’ve been doing pretty good over here. You know how I know? I’ve got this new set of five pounds. Okay, yea it doesn’t look like it from these pictures, but these were taken a few months back. I know why they’re called “love handles”. They come from the love of good food, the love of good company, the love of vacation time, and the love of warmth and cuddling on cold rainy days. This all leads to a little extra padding on the sides.
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(Cause we all work out with our sunglasses on!) AnaB-Sept-54

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Photography by: Alumbra // Outfit: Fabletics 

Five pounds are not the biggest deal, right? Well, here’s my secret to staying “fit” in my mid-thirties after three kids and a deep love of donuts, sweets and pizza. I have a five pound zone I’m comfortable with. As long as I’m in that window, I know the jeans will fit, the energy is there, and I’m not over-indulging in the not-so-healthy foods. This is not a “weight-loss mode”, which requires a more intense approach, and I’ve written about this here when I lost the baby weight. This five pound zone is how I manage my weight. I’m definitely at the top of the five pounds after vacation and Thanksgiving. I’m not mad about it, the carrot cake (that I single-handedly ate) was totally worth it. But it’s definitely time to tackle these love handles before all the Christmas celebrations take me over the edge! Here’s a few ways I do that:

  1. Get Rid of the Goods: Time to give throw out or give away the ice cream cake in the freezer, and the cupcakes hanging out on the kitchen island.
  2. Make a Plan: Plan and purchase meals for the week. This is as simple as choosing what I’m going to cook for dinner at the beginning of the week, and making a grocery run so I don’t end up at the fast food joint mid week.
  3. Have Easy Options: Have healthy snacks and quick foods to curve mindless eating and sudden pangs of hunger. Some of my favorites are green shakes, greek yogurt, fruit, nuts, protein shakes, protein and fiber bars, and sliced peppers or veggies with hummus.
  4. Temporary Cuts: When I’m out of sorts with my eating, I will cut out restaurant food, and prep all my meals altogether for a week or two until I feel I’m in control. It’s hard not to dig into the bread basket and generous portions when I’m feeling weak. Taking a break from eating out helps me get back on track.
  5. Hit the Gym: Make a date, or two or three with your gym buddy, your playlist and the gym! I’m a sucker for classes because working out in a group gets my competitive juices flowing! I like to work out just as hard, if not harder than anyone else in the class. Recently, I’ve been doing HIIT classes, barre, and zumba. I’ve said this a million times, but an active lifestyle gets easier and more fulfilling with time. Eventually, you will crave your gym time!

I hope this helps you (AND ME!) get going on these love handles. Feel free to comment, like and share this post! I appreciate you <3.

Love,

Ana B

Mother of Boys

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My dear friend Susannah of Alumbra Photography recently came over my home and captured Diego, Levi and Mateo in all their boyish glory. If these photos had a volume button, you’d hear lots of giggles, yelling, excitement and general silliness. 58-BuitragoBoys201565-BuitragoBoys2015b60-BuitragoBoys201549-BuitragoBoys201555-BuitragoBoys201556-BuitragoBoys201505-BuitragoBoys201507-BuitragoBoys201510-BuitragoBoys201524-BuitragoBoys2015b03-BuitragoBoys2015

Being a mother to these boys is by far the most challenging job I’ve ever known. I have learned to embrace the noise and the mess of it all. I can eat a full meal in like two minutes and I’ve developed cat like reflexes to dodge a toy car to the head. Survival folks! I have cried many tears of frustration, but also have cried out of sheer joy and pride over my little ones. I am growing along with them, and I don’t always get it right. I have learned to give myself room for mistakes, and ask for forgiveness from them when I need to. The beautiful thing about kids is their amazing capacity to love so generously. Levi and Mateo greet me with a huge smile and yell “MAMAAAAAAAA” every time they see me. Even if I just went to the bathroom. Yes, its freakin’ cute.

I know they won’t be this little always. I get excited about them becoming more independent. But I also just want to cherish this moment…when I’m still their world. God knows they’re mine.

Thank you again Susannah <3.

Love,

Ana B

All Photos by: Alumbra Photography

Every Day Spring Look

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Hi Ladies!

I did this simple spring look on myself the other day. It was quite easy, so I thought I’d share how to achieve it!

1. FACE: I started with my usual moisturizer and primer. I then spread an even layer of foundation using a foundation brush. I am currently loving Makeup Forever HD foundation. For Concealer, I am using Tarte Creaseless Concealer. It’s very creamy, has great coverage and stays put!

2. BROWS: I made my brows a focal point by outlining them slightly thicker than usual (this works for me since I have sparse brows). I used an angled brush and Elf Eye Brow Kit in Medium by using the waxy portion of the kit to create a thicker shape, and the powder portion to fill in any empty or sparse areas. And did I mention the kit is only $3.00?!

3. EYES: I place concealer on the lids as a base. I then used my Urban Decay Naked Palette and placed Toasted (champagne shimmer) shadow all over the lid and buffed out the edges with a fluffy brush. I also like to use Half Baked (gold shimmer shadow) for the same look in a golden hue.

4. EYELINER: I used MAC Feline Pencil to tightline my eyes (meaning to line the upper and lower inner rim of the eyes). Feline is a beautiful smooth black kohl pencil. I love it!

5. LASHES: Since this eye look is simple, I used my favorite pair of natural lashes, Ardell 110, to give my eyes a boost. A great mascara such as Younique would do the trick as well!

6. BLUSH/BRONZER: For blush, I used MAC Style which is a peachy frost color, perfect for a spring look! For Bronzer, I would recommend Hoola by Benefit! It’s an oldy but a goody! :)

7. LIPS: I mixed MAC Morange (Orange) lipstick and MAC Creme Cup (Pink) to get this melon sorbet color! Gosh, I must be hungry, lol! When you want to try something new, don’t be afraid to mix colors you already own!

And there you have it! Hope you liked this simple spring look :).

Love,

Ana B

Five Fun Things to Get you Through An “East Coast” Winter

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It’s probably no secret that I love social media. Instagram is my drug of choice and I make no apologies. One of the few negative things about it though is seeing the sunny pictures of an “LA” Winter. People in LA are carrying on with their perfectly warm weather in their bathing suits and outside brunches. It’s just NOT FAIR! Since moving is out of the question, I’ve come up with a list of FIVE things you and I can do to get through an “East Coast” Winter.

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ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY: ALUMBRA PHOTOGRAPHY

1. PLAN A GIRLS WEEKEND GETAWAY. This is basically my answer to everything in life. Haha. There are few things that compare to having a weekend away with your besties. It doesn’t have to be expensive or grand. This year we are taking a trip to Pennsylvania for some much needed R&R. Hopefully, there’s a spa and a massage involved.

2. FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIES. I love the idea of planned movie nights with your honey or your family. Popcorn, hot chocolate and a great flick are a must!

3. ICE SKATING AND HOT COCOA. There are a lot of great skating rinks open this time of year (Reston and Tysons). Double up on those pants and socks, and you could have an awesome time outdoors. A little exercise is a bonus! And don’t forget the hot cocoa. After ice skating for a few hours, a warm drink is the BEST!

4. PLAN A PARTY. Sometimes we go through long periods without seeing our favorite people. This happens a lot when you have kids because, well, kids are all consuming, and we forget about our adult friends. But it’s also important to make the effort to reach out to people we like to be around. I’m having a little shindig for Mateo’s 2nd birthday this weekend. My house still doesn’t look like the Pinterest boards I’ve been pinning away at, but I just can’t let my self-consciousness get in the way of a perfectly good party. Aside from the ooohs and aahhhhs, no one really cares what your walls look like. People just want to hang out and eat good food!

5. PLAN A COFFEE DATE ONCE A WEEK. Outside brunches and picnics are out of the question, but coffee is delicious and even more so when you get to have a coffee date with a pal. Knowing you’re gonna meet up with someone mid-week is a perfect way to break up the routine of going to work everyday and then going straight home. If you’re a momma, have the hubs put the kids to bed while you meet up with a friend. You deserve a coffee date!

I’d LOVE to hear how you plan to get through the next six weeks of winter with a little fun! Leave your suggestions in the comments section :).

Love,

Ana B

OUTFIT DETAILS:

1. Dress: Forever 21 at Springfield Town Center (Option/Option)

2. Cardigan: Forever 21 at Springfield Town Center (similar)

3. Shoes (Old)/ beautiful option//wedge option

4. Hat (Old)/Option/Cute Option

5. Necklace (Gifted)

If It Makes You Happy!

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My dear husband recently bought me the book “Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul” and reading it really brings me back to my childhood. I loved these books as a teenager. They inspired me to appreciate the little things in life, but also to dream bigger and farther than my little world at the time. I always wanted to move away somewhere and experience a different life. I did get that chance when I moved to California in 2002 as a newlywed. AnaB-Jan-31 AnaB-Jan-35 AnaB-Jan-36 AnaB-Jan-28 AnaB-Jan-44 AnaB-Jan-40 AnaB-Jan-33

ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY: ALUMBRA PHOTOGRAPHY

It’s funny that the adventure I was looking for didn’t end up being in California. It’s happening right here in good old Virginia. And in my 30s. Not my 20s. Ha! But life is kinda funny that way. I’m always in awe of how things end up turning out. I do think that part of getting to where you need to go happens when you’re in tune with yourself. When you say no to the things that stifle you or make you unhappy. And say yes to the things to excite and inspire you! Even if people don’t agree or even if it doesn’t make you money at first. Believe in yourself, believe in your purpose, work really hard for what you want and find a way!

Love,

Ana B

Dress: TopShop at Springfield Town Center (Cute Options!)

Jacket: TopShop at Springfield Town Center

Meal Ideas for a Healthy New Year

Happy Friday! I wanted to share some healthy meals that have been heavy on rotation for me since the New Year and some new ones for you to try!

Breakfast:

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Oatmeal with berries and granola. I’ve shared this one before, but it’s definitely one of my staple breakfast options. I actually measure everything out so I know how many calories I’m consuming. It’s usually 1 cup 1-minute oatmeal, 1 cup low fat milk, 1/2 cup berries and a few bits of granola. I also sweeten with Stevia/Splenda or Agave.

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Another new option I’ve been having for breakfast is 2 Vans Simply Delicious Protein Waffles (10 grams of Protein), 1 T light syrup and a handful of berries.

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Protein shakes are always a good option for breakfast, snack or lunch. I use crushed ice, 1 cup low fat milk, 1 scoop of protein (my fav is Optimum Nutrition Extreme Milk Chocolate Whey Protein), 1/2 a banana and cinnamon. It’s cheaper to buy online on Amazon.com but you can find it at GNC or Vitamin Shoppe.

Lunch Options:
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Open face sandwich using cinnamon raisin ezekiel bread (healthy bread option), turkey slices, avocado, tomato and 1 T light mayo.

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Skinnytaste Pear and Brie grilled cheese is a delicious option for the foodie, and the recipe can be found in her new book! I found the recipe here too. More on Skinnytaste here and here.

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Almonds for healthy snacking. Just count to make sure you how many your consuming as the calories can quickly add up.

Dinner Options:

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As you can see, I love to eat well! These are mexican style steak tacos but I limited my portion to two. We also used cooking spray versus tons of oil. I believe that almost any food you love can be made in a healthier version if you make it yourself at home!

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Grilled chicken breast with a slice of melted pepper jack, 1/2 a sweet potato, 1/4 avocado and a salad.

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We try to have some type of chicken or meat marinating at home to curb the chances of getting take out. I throw these three items together (veggies, meat and marinade) in a ziploc for an hour or more if I want to keep it simple.

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And then on some nights, I take my time and make something super yummy like Skinnytaste Lomo Saltado. Soooo good!

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The finished result with crispy homemade fries. Again…yum!

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Skinnytaste Garlic Shrimp on a bed of greens.

I have started sharing more of my work outs and meals/snacks on my personal Instagram page @Love_AnaB so follow me there! I’ve also started using MyFitnessPal again to track my calories under MakeupbyAnaB in case you want to be friends!

Have an awesome weekend!

Love,

Ana B

 

 

Debt is a Fashion Don’t.

AnaB-Jan-45With a new year comes a new set of resolutions and goals. My mind has been on overdrive thinking about the things I want to accomplish this year! As a responsible thirty-something mom of three, I have been pondering the irony of two of my top goals: (1) Provide new and better content with my fashion/beauty posts on Love, Ana B and (2) Become debt free/save for our emergency fund. That got me thinking…how can I responsibly shop for new clothing/beauty items to share on my blog without breaking the bank and have some money to save for a rainy day. And secondly, is there a percentage of monthly income that financial advisers recommend for clothing purchases? The answer is YES!  A few articles later, including this one from WHO WHAT WEAR and this one from Pete the Planner, I found that 5% of your monthly net income should be allocated to your wardrobe. For example, if you take home 3,500 a month, you could be spending $175 on new fashion.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY: SUSANNAH OF ALUMBRA PHOTOGRAPHY

The percentage could vary depending on other factors, like your monthly living expenses, how many children you have and what city you live in (more on that here). Now, do I think that this 5% rule is realistic, especially as a self-proclaimed fashionista? I’m not sure yet, but it’s worth a try! One thing I do know, debt is a fashion DON’T!

Love,

Ana B

Outfit Details:

Bow Blouse (also worn here):  LC Lauren Conrad by Kohls (old) (Options 1/2/3)

Skirt: Forever 21

Clutch: South Moon Under (currently on SALE for $22.49)

Shoes: Steve Madden (old) (Options 1/ 2/ 3)

 

 

Five Ways to Reignite Your Workout Routine

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Hi friends! It’s been awhile since I did a fitness/health post. Like all people, I go through highs and lows in regards to my fitness and weight, and in the last many months I’ve been struggling to be consistent with my workout regimen. As I’ve seen my weight and energy fluctuate, I knew I had to make a change. So in the last few weeks, I’ve kicked things up again and thought I’d share a few tips that re-inspired me to get more physical!

1. Set the mood. It’s really hard to get excited about working out if it’s not part of your current routine. To help you get motivated, set the mood by changing into nice athletic clothes (I love this one by Athleta, but Target brand is also nice and affordable.) Cute tennis shoes are a must as well! I’ve had my Nike Frees for awhile and I love to see those bright colors on my feet :). Make sure to get a killer playlist going. I have a great list on Spotify called Dance Music that gets me pumped!

2. Break your habits. One of my reasons for not working out was because I was so used to going to a gym, but I no longer have a gym membership so I had to adjust to working out at home. I used to also have a lot more time to work out because I wasn’t as busy with work and the kids, so now I limit my workouts to 20-30 minutes, sometimes with kids climbing all over me, but I get it done! If you follow me on Pinterest, I have many workout routines saved that are easy to do at home without equipment.

3. Get in front of a mirror. Maybe it’s just me, but working out in front of a mirror can be motivational. It might be the sight of your muscles working, or the extra jiggle you want to get rid of, or the feeling that you’re not alone (by seeing your reflection), but it works.

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(My “gym” set up at home, it’s pretty simple! Pablo uses this space as well)

4. Set a goal. Sometimes you need something fun to look forward to or a way to treat yourself to help you get motivated. Plan a mini tropical vacation (we just went to Puerto Rico), or maybe there’s a social event like a wedding you want to look great for! Even better, book a boudoir shoot with Susannah. At first, you may be working out just because you want to look good for the occasion, but the health benefits are so worth it. After a few weeks, you’ll actually want to work out because it’s become part of your routine.

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5. Get accountable. If all else fails, you may need a workout buddy. Hit up your friends list and see who is available to meet up for workouts or scheduled runs. If that doesn’t pan out, it may be time to look into a fitness coach. When you pay for coaching, you value it more and you’ll be more likely to follow through! I would recommend FitNez who helped my hubby get into amazing shape (see progress pic). Inez (owner of FitNez) also coincidentally coached many of my brides in prep for their wedding day with great success!

Let me know your thoughts on this list, and feel free to share what motivates you!

Love,

Ana B

P.S. Pic shown at top is my hubby because he clearly hasn’t been missing his workouts like I have! Plus, he’s cute and sexyyyy <3

Crop Top and I Won’t Stop

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I’m not sure why I insist on jumping in on the crop top trend. Maybe because I didn’t wear them in my teens. Ya know…secretly wearing them at 15, wearing them unabashedly at 18. Nope, instead I am choosing to wear them at age 32 (now 33). Ha! I think it’s a confidence thing, I am just downright more confident in my 30’s than I ever was. Also, I just really like my stomach. It is one of the areas of my body that responded well to a healthy diet and exercise and is pretty close to it’s pre-baby state. Other areas? Well, that’s a different story and not one for the masses, lol. And so even though it’s not as tight as it could be at this very moment, I like my belly! And I celebrate that with a crop top :).AnaBEdit-25 AnaBEdit-26 AnaBEdit-29 AnaBEdit-28 AnaBEdit-27 AnaBEdit-24

ALL PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Susannah of Alumbra Photography

Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE a pair of white skinny jeans for the summer. I found these at Target, by the way! They are a closet essential. So even though you might not be sporting a crop top, make sure to snag a pair of white jeans. Only thing is I try not to wear them around my babies. A pair of crisp white jeans are cute, but one with smears and stains is not! ;).

P.S. Man Repeller’s recent take on showing the belly button and crop tops.

Love,

Ana B

Outfit Details:

Skinny jeans: Target 

Crop Top: Garage

Bag: Coach/Cute Option

Wedges: Steve Madden Brand at Nordstrom Rack/Option/Option

Hat: Option

Lipstick: Ravishing by MAC Cosmetics

 

Red

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I don’t wear red too often but here I am wearing red. And black too, but red. Not sure if you are aware, but a sweet family lost their little boy in a terrible accident a few days ago. I don’t know them personally, but their story has gone viral on Instagram. He had the most beautiful red curly hair. You can read about it here and here. This is just one sweet boy, and I know that people lose loved ones everyday, but this one hit home since his mom is a blogger like myself, and he reminded me so much of my Levi. So full of life, attitude and fearlessness…
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Photography by: Susannah of Alumbra Photography 

Anyways, I’m hugging my little ones a little tighter and longer these days. I am so completely thankful for each moment I get to see and make new memories with my babies. On Mother’s day, a great number of bloggers and the online community will be releasing red balloons in his memory. Such a gesture of love and support for this little family.

Rest in peace little Ryan.

Love,

Ana B

Outfit Details:

Jewelry: Francesca’s 

Black Jumpsuit: TJ Maxx/Similar

Heels: Zara 

Red Gloss: MAC Venetian