Uncategorized

Enjoy the View

IMG_9685 (1)2016! What a great time to instill desired habits. Blogging, healthy eating, simplifying, wearing clothing that feels right, dancing, reading, journaling, enjoying the view, and learning to be whole as a woman and a mama.

The goal is to live authentically and inspire that in others. More then ever before, we need to choose vulnerability and love. Speak life and truth in each other. Surrounding ourselves with healthy, safe friends that fill us and limit interactions with those that leave us drained or in pain. Life is about making choices.

What choices are you making for 2016?

Beauty · Health and Wellness · Reviews

Adovia Dead Sea Mud Shampoo Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Do you like soft, healthy hair?

Then you may want to look into Adovia Dead Sea Mud Shampoo. (amazon assocMay 2014 028iates link)

I do not have issues with my hair, so I was not looking for results as far as any hair problems. What I found interesting is that just using this shampoo even without conditioner, my hair looked healthy, fuller, as well as shiny. I also liked how it styles and feels. The shampoo itself smells good but the dark color does take a bit to get used to, I just reminded myself of all the benefits that I have read of using dead sea mud. I would recommend this to my friends.

May 2014 026

Company description:

Adovia’s Dead Sea Mud Shampoo is specially formulated with natural ingredients such as Dead Sea Mud, Chamomile & Olive Oil to bring deep hydration and moisture to the scalp, relieving itching and flakiness. Dead Sea Mud has been known for centuries for it’s healing properties and people travel from all over the world to come and experience it’s effects at the Dead Sea. Dead Sea Salts and Mud have been featured on CNN, in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. Dead Sea Mud contains the highest concentration of minerals found in mud anywhere in the world. Finally the benefits of Dead Sea mud and salt are presented to you in shampoo form! These minerals are all essential for proper skin function and help to regulate moisture retention as well as hydration. You complete satisfaction is guaranteed.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Books · Health and Wellness · Lifestyle · Subscription Boxes · Uncategorized · Writing and Journaling

What I’m Into {April 2014}

 

Books:

The only book that I finished in April was A Renaissance Redneck in a Mega-Church Pulpit by Randy Elrod. {Read my short review on GoodReads by click the title link. Follow me, while you’re there!}

 TV:

I am loving Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show! If I can’t make it until 11:30 pm, I watch it on hulu.com. The following lip sync battle with Emma Stone the other night is pure awesomeness …

I am also enjoying The Mindy Project! Mindy’s one-liners are super funny. You have to be listening when she adds things like, “I zero out my fridge every night before I go to bed” at the most hilarious times.

Movies:

I saw Noah. {meh!} I clearly missed a lot of what actually happened in my Bible readings, but I have confidence that Hollywood would not make anything up! {winky face}

Music:

This is my latest favorite:

Other Things I loving…

Fat Mum Slim’s Photo a Day challenge – I have been following along since January. I upload my photo to the free Collect App on my iPhone and then add it to my Instagram (amyconcafe) feed with the tag #fmsphotoaday. Join us, it makes each day exciting!

— Instagram – amyconcafe

– Subscription boxes – Wow, this could become an obsession! Are you into this?

– Jimmy Fallon {oh really, I already mentioned him?}

-The library – I added all my future reads to my library wish list. Here is the problem, when I go in to pick up my pile of desired reads there are also other books at the library. I know! AND, all the new books are close to the check out section, so I usually have to grab a few of those too. It is a lot of reading stress!

-ALSO, the library has a little sale room where they sell donated books and magazines.The magazines run from 25 – 50 cents and some are the brand new! In other words, I will not be buying any full price anymore! Sorry, Target!

What about you? What are you into these days?

Writing and Journaling

Amy Con Café {The Restart}

March 2014 259
Learning to take a selfie!

So, my life has taken a few unexpected changes in the last six months. I went from living a missional life overseas to the normal settling in of life stateside. With that in mind, it seemed a good time to restart the blog moving to WordPress, as I have been meaning to do.

These past months have not only unfolded painful challenges and changes but poked at lifelong hurts, learning to own my journey, and realizing what authenticity really looks like and how I move forward as a whole person. I am still processing and weeding and hoping to share parts of my story as the days go on.

My blogging goal is to work out how to review items and books from this side of the world and to write about what I enjoy. I want to help women become whole in ways that include eating for health, mental clarity, spiritual disciplines, physical activity, self-care, serving others, great causes, as well as fashion and beauty. Helping each of us become whole women living real lives in authentic and healthy ways.

Presently, my life and passions include: decorating, settling into, and simplifying my condo; helping my children transition from homeschooling to traditional school; looking for meaningful employment; reading; journaling; nutrition; working out; subscription boxes (a new found obsession); jewelry; fashion; beauty products; and catching up on the changes that have occurred in the USA since we left four years ago, plus restarting this new blog.

Welcome or welcome back!

Organization

Clean Mama’s Printables {A Review}

Becky over at Clean Mama agreed to allow me to take her printables for a spin in exchange for this review. There is not much I like better then reorganizing a binder!


Not only are these printables pretty and easy on the eyes, there are so many that it is easy to find the ones that will work for you and your family. (This photo does not show all that I printed.)


It could not be easier to get started. Once you have made your purchase, you can take a look at your needs and then at the Clean Mama Printables and print out what you need. If you want a complete overhaul of your cleaning/organizing system, take a look at Becky’s How to Make a Homekeeping Binder for ideas and inspiration.

At this point, you can take your pages, personalize them and start adding your information. I have my calendar prepared for February and will soon be recording my cleaning schedule. I am also really looking forward to keeping a more accurate to-do schedule, starting our automobile maintenance log (since we just purchased a vehicle), and getting our information in one place again.

 So, was one of your 2013 goals to get reorganized or take steps in that direction?  Consider Visiting Clean Mama’s Etsy Store to see what might work or you. You can also find free printables and loads of helpful information on the blog!

The kit that I started with is The Busy Mama Kit and Becky is allowing me to give one away to one of my readers!  All you need to do is leave a comment before midnight January 31, 2013 EST. (You can also leave your email if you would like me to send you an email upon winning.)

Giveaway Details:
Open to ages 18+ to enter. Winner announced right here (on this post) on February 1, 2013. I will select the winner through random.org and will also notify by email if one is left in the message. Winner must respond within four days or the prize will be forfeited and a new winner will be selected.

I received no monetary compensation and the prize is provided by Clean Mama. The review is all my thoughts and ideas. I was not required to write a positive review.

Books · Health and Wellness · Religious · Reviews

The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast by Kristen Feola {Book Review}

 

      The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast






Description:

The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast is an inspiring resource for Christians who want to pursue a more intimate relationship with God through the 21-day commitment to prayer and fasting known as the Daniel Fast. As you deny yourself certain foods—such as sugars, processed ingredients, and solid fats—you will not only embrace healthier eating habits, you’ll also discover a greater awareness of God’s presence. Author Kristen Feola explains the Daniel Fast in easy-to-understand language, provides 21 thought-provoking devotionals for each day of the fast, and shares more than 100 tasty, easy-to-make recipes that follow fasting guidelines. In a conversational style, Feola helps you structure the fast so you can spend less time thinking about what to eat and more time focusing on God. You will also discover that “to fast” means “to feast” on the only thing that truly nourishes?God’s powerful Word. For more info, please visit www.ultimatedanielfast.com.

(from Zondervan)

My Thoughts:

Reading The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast helps learn about fasting in general and what the Daniel Fast is in detail. Kristen Feola shares how to prepare spiritually and physically as well as how to come off the fast which is also important. My favorite part of the book is the 21 day devotional to accompany one on the journey and the emphasis on God’s Word.

Enough of the book is recipes (over 120 pages), so I am considering shelving this book with my cookbooks for easier access in the kitchen. The healthy choices can be used outside the fast as well. There are also meal planning tips and helps. This really is an ultimate guide.

Have you done a Daniel Fast?

This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Health and Wellness · Lifestyle

My First Whole30 Results {A Journey Towards Eating Whole Foods}

The

A Little Background:

After working hard two plus years ago to finally get the baby weight off, I knew that I did not want to start gaining.  So, when I noticed my clothes were not fitting well this past summer, I began the road to regain my health by eating less, a lot less. I tried to eat what I needed and nothing more. I also started doing the 8 Minute Abs workout (free on YouTube) along with a periodic 15 Minutes of T-Tapp

It was encouraging to start seeing results and I dropped the six pounds that I had gained by doing nothing more. (FYI, I did have the extra motivation of visiting family in Peru where they are not culturally shy about telling you if you’re heavier. I was trying to avoid that as it could hurt my very North American feelings.)

So, I was eating less and better, plus limited exercise for about two and a half months.

and then Whole30:

Several people in my extended family had started eating more whole foods to drop weight and be healthy. I had witnessed huge improvements in my brothers and more recently my parents. I have not seen my mom looking better, I do not think.

I decided to phone my oldest brother to talk about it as he is one of my biggest encouragers in the healthy living journey.  He shared that he and his wife were in the midst of doing a Whole30 and seeing amazing results. It was then I decided to try it.

As I read the website and also the book, It Starts with Food, they suggest starting right this minute. That is what I did. It helped avoid that last huge meal and I was already eating limited sugar and pretty healthy anyway. I was excited to see what it might do for my weight loss, but more then that I was excited to break the sugar cravings and see how it might help with stomach issues that have been bugging me in the last few years.

Day one was November 2nd  finishing on December 1st which means that I was doing Whole30 on Thanksgiving. No, I did not cheat. I was feeling too good at that time to change things.

The 30 days were not without challenges. I will admit too that because we live in Bolivia and can’t get everything mentioned on the website, I did make minor tweaks. I am hoping to have a few things brought down to help me with that as I can.

The Results (insert drum roll):

  • I am sleeping better which means falling asleep quicker, not waking up, and getting up easier. Love this!
  • My energy stays more level.
  • My bathroom habits have improved (ahem!)
  • I lost 6 pounds during this 30 days plus inches ( 1″ from waist, 1.5″ from hips, and 1.5″ from abdomen) too.
  • I had to get out some of my skinnier clothing even some that did not fit me when I weighed five pounds less then I do now.
  • Sugar has lost it’s hold at least as long as I keep it at bay. 
  • My stomach stayed pretty flat this month with no dairy or grains to puff it up!
  • Have not noticed my almost chronic sore throat bothering me at all.
  • My fingernails are stronger.
  • The rest of my family is eating better too.

And Now:

Today is actually day 60 on Whole30. I did enjoy a few things on Christmas, but that was it. I am down another five pounds making it a total of 11 pounds. I plan to keep eating this way and move into a more Paleo approach as I reach my goal weight.

The goal of it all is health for my body and energy for doing what God has called me to do!

So, if you are looking to make some changes in 2013, I would research the Whole30, T-tapp workouts, 8 Minute Abs, and join MyFitnessPal website to track it all (Check with your doctor before you start anything) and see what you think.

Books · Religious · Reviews

LIVE SECOND: Ownership

Who owns your stuff?  Even after all these years of living for Jesus, I can have a hard time remembering that it all belongs to God. It is all His!

This includes finances. As missionaries, our funds come from individuals and churches that sacrifice so we can do the work God called us to do. We are so grateful and I must keep that before me, so that I remember to listen to God for how that money should be used.

As I was looking through my review copy of Live Second, a new devotional that challenges us to do just that. I was reminded to live second in regards to my stuff.


 
Live Second is set up as a quick devotional. Each week starts by pointing you to one of the I Am Second videos online. After you watch the video, you are asked some reflections questions and then throughout the week, the topic is expounded upon with the ability to reflect and share (hashtags included).

When I finished reading the first book, I Am Second (linked to review), I was challenged to look at how I was putting Jesus first in my life. What if we start off 2013 seeking radical change as we walk with God. What about making time to read the quick, encouraging devotional, Live Second, that will help us put Jesus first!

I was given a copy of Live Second by the author and was not required to write a review.

Books · Religious · Reviews

Loving the Way Jesus Loves by Phil Ryken {Book Review}

 
 










Description:

Most people are familiar with the “Love Chapter” of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, yet Phil Ryken has something fresh to say. Drawing on the life and ministry of Jesus to illustrate what love is and isn’t, Ryken brings a unique perspective to this commonly quoted passage.

Loving the Way Jesus Loves successfully integrates biblical teaching, photography, chapter study guides, and a popular-level writing style—all of which will help you understand the profound love of Christ more deeply and, in turn, learn to love more deeply in response.

(from Crossway)

My Thoughts:

When a book starts with, “There is nothing I need more in my life than more of the love of Jesus.”, you know you are in for a reality check on your own spiritual life. Just the first paragraph alone had me on my knees asking God to change the way I love. The first chapter helping me reframe the lens in which I view 1 Corinitians 13. 

We then meandered chapter by chapter through those famous wedding verses learning that the intent was so much deeper and wider then just between man and wife. It’s a challenge to live for God by living and loving like Him. Phrase by phrase, we are reminded the intent as well as challenged to love in ways that can only be accomplished because of the cross.

Loving the Way Jesus Loves was one of my top reads for 2012. If you could you see my copy, this would be evident by the underlining. I highly recommend it!

This book was given to me by Crossway in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Books · Religious · Reviews

Illuminating the Darkness by Noel Dear {Book Review}

download

by Noel Dear

Description:

Are You Ready For A Change?

Every day there are new approaches and drugs to help people overcome the emotional pain of depression, stress, and anxiety. More people are being treated for these than ever before. So, one would presume emotional health and happiness would be at an all-time high. But you know that isn’t the case, not even close. In fact, the only thing that seems to be gaining prevalence faster than antidepressants is depression itself!

Is there a way of escape? Is there a different approach from the failed strategies most often presented in self-help books and the doctor’s office? Is there hope for me? Can I live a life of real peace and joy?

Yes. Lasting joy and peace can be yours!

This is no idle promise from some new-fangled philosophy or rediscovered ancient herb. This truth has the authority of the Bible, the simplicity of fruit on a vine, and the track-record of many generations who have discovered the real source of mental and emotional health.

This is not another strategy to try, rather it is the genuine truth about why people suffer from depression, stress, and anxiety, and how those pains can be replaced with joy, peace, and patience.

The truths presented here are…

  • Easy to understand
  • Practical in their everyday application
  • Powerfully effective in both the short and long term
  • Proven

This book is both a challenge to everything you have heard about the cause and cure of emotional distress, and a real offer of hope. Learn here what thousands of others have learned and, enjoy an enduring harvest of the fruit of real joy.
from Illuminating the Darkness site.

My Thoughts:

Reading Illuminating the Darkness is much like listening to Noel Dear preach. He shares personal anecdotes, supporting scripture, Biblical stories, and clear examples as he states his case for living free of depression, stress, and anxiety. What is set forth in this book may seem too simple to some readers, but it is worth consideration as we often look first to medication and outside helps before considering what is simply in the Word of God.

There is much wisdom in learning to abide in Christ and cast our cares upon him not only for those dealing with emotional issues, but also new Christians and others needing a fresh start.  You will find the salvation message, steps to drawing near to God, and other helpful disciplines for Christians within the pages.

There are times when Dear states his position dogmatically, be advised to read this as passion and not condescension (as one Amazon reviewer wrote).  I know the Dear family from sharing about our ministry in their church, they desire to help others know God and I know them to be passionate about seeing people grow, missions, and adoption.

This book is easy to read with many practical examples and Biblical references. I think it would be especially beneficial to new Christians, those who desire to walk closer with God, and people struggling with the issues mentioned in the title.

Connect with the author:

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write an honest review. In the interest of full disclosure, I know the Dear family, have spoken at their church, and enjoyed meals together.