Anything Can Happen, and Being Prepared is a Good Thing

Happy Thursday, loves!


A digital detox is sometimes what the doctor ordered, and the Raiford family has spent ample time with our fair share of doctors in the past two or three months! Since our son’s unprovoked grand mal seizure on Valentine’s weekend, it’s been necessary. We are already so busy with our kids and their schedules, our travel schedules, date nights, volunteer schedules, my business, our home, our marriage, and so much more that I needed the detox. I took a break from the blog. I turned down all the campaigns that came my way during this time, and we just focused on living our best life, which is just so easy to do when you appreciate how much good fortune and how much abundance our lives are filled with.


When I was offered a chance to work with the legal professionals at Trust & Will to create our trust, will, and appoint guardians, I couldn’t pass it up. Life is short, and you never know what can happen. We had no idea when we woke up the morning of our son’s seizure that a day of pool parties and fun with our favorites would turn into a three-day hospital stay and newfound fear that will last a lifetime. We had no idea our lives would change forever that day, and that’s the point of a trust, will, and guardianship. Life happens, and it’s rarely going to happen as planned.


We certainly don’t like to think of our mortality, but it’s inevitable. We need to make sure our sweet babies are cared for. We need to know that they will be taken care of, that our homes are taken care of, my business is managed, and that our bank accounts and life insurance policies and investments are cared for. We need to know these things, and our kids need us to be prepared in case of the worst.


Thanks to the amazing legal pros at Trust & Will, we have our newly updated will, our estate, and plan signed, sealed, and delivered right to our door. It took no time at all to complete the process. Our questions were quickly answered by legal professionals with valuable experience, and it was the most enjoyable experience (well, as enjoyable as thinking of your own mortality can be, anyway). And because I want you all to take the time to do some adulting (I know, I know…who wants to adult when the weekend is so close?), Trust & Will is offering all of my followers and readers a chance to save a little money (you can leave it to someone you love in your will) creating your own will. Just visit the site, create an account, and use promo code “ADULTING2019” at checkout for $10 off the cost of your will.


{ Dress by Lilly Pulitzer } {Necklace and Bracelet by Tiffany & Co.} {Bracelet by David Yurman }

The past few months of detoxing from certain aspects of life have been so invigorating. It’s been so much fun to focus on the kids, on our health, on our travel schedules, and we’ve learned so much in this season of fear and uncertainty. It makes me feel so grateful to know that seasons like this are short-lived, and that they are few and far between. I’m also so grateful for the lessons I learn in trials, how much my faith grows, how much my marriage grows, and how much our kids grow. It’s not always pleasant, but looking back it’s obvious that we sometimes need to slow down, shut down, and learn a few life lessons. And we did.

Our Kids Really Are Best Friends

Carter’s seizure was hard on all of us. Combined with every little thing going wrong at home in the midst of all his appointments and our hectic travel schedule this year, we were prepared to have meltdowns. We were prepared to see the kids unravel. But what happened was the exact opposite. We saw them become closer than ever. They give more hugs. They extend more “I love you’s” to one another. They spend more time together. They watch out for one another. At no point since his seizure has Carter been alone anywhere. They want to be with him. They want to watch out for him, and they realized just how important they are to one another. They bicker less. They get along more. It’s been amazing for us to see them grow so much closer.


Everyone has an opinion, and it’s best to nod, smile, and move on

Trust me. Every single person has an opinion. Some of them are valid and welcome. Some are hurtful and unkind. Some are snarky and clearly come from a place of discontent and unhappiness. Don’t worry about it. Say thanks, smile, move on. It’s simple. Anyone who wants to tell you that what terrifies you and changes your life is not that big of a deal is dealing with their own life issues. Lacking sympathy and compassion for people is an ugly trait, but you don’t need to be ugly in return. Simply extend your sincerest wishes to them and feel thankful that they’ve never held their lifeless child in their arms and wondered if they would die. Their ignorance is bliss, and they are so fortunate to have that.


I need my husband, and he needs me


This is certainly not something we’ve questioned or doubted in the past, but it’s something we are so much more aware of at this point. One thing my husband said to me when we first got engaged was that we would never be the people who sat on separate couches when we watch television or relax at night; we’d sit together. He did not want the same kind of marriage his parents had – they ultimately divorced the year before we wed – after his dad was gone most of his childhood for work, and he did not want to miss out on our future children’s childhoods (he was so sure he’d talk me into having kids…but he probably didn’t think four was our number!). That’s one of the values I love most, but I love it even more knowing that we don’t go through hard things alone. We are right there for one another, and we have one another to hold onto. It’s everything to me.


I have to let go


I have learned so much lately, and this is such a good thing. If it’s not serving you, let it go. If something isn’t bring you joy or happiness, let it go. Don’t dwell on things. Let them go. Those who live in the past are so unhappy, and they are living such small lives. I can’t sit here and think “What if we’d done XYZ, would it have stopped this from happening?” Or “Why our sweet boy?” Or the many other things that aren’t helpful that are in the past, out of our control, etc. Let it go and let God. If you don’t learn to let it go, you’re going never going to live your best life…which leads me to the following.


It’s okay to live your best life


I’m a big fan of living my best life, but I found myself saying I wasn’t living my best life following our son’s seizure. I just wasn’t. That’s not who I am. Life wasn’t perfect for me, and I was suddenly not living my best life. Something terrible happened, and suddenly my best life was not easy to see even though I was still living it. When your son is totally fine and his tests are perfect and the doctors tell you he’s a perfectly healthy little love, what about that is not my best life? What about having a healthy son is not best life stuff?


My best life is my reality, and I love that about it. My best life is being with my family. My best life is date night. My best life occurs when one of my busy little ones wants to sit down and cuddle with me for even one minute. My best life is lived drinking coffee in my favorite room of my house while my husband sits next to me drinking his and the kids are way too loud. My best life is lived in a five-star resort with a beautiful view and people we love. My best life is lived on Wednesday nights when we get to enjoy our long-standing tradition with our besties. My best life is spending weekends surrounded by the people we love the most laughing and having fun with one another and our kids. My best life is lived being present with my kids. My best life is what makes me happy. It’s not an indication of perfect. It’s my definition of my best life – and I never know where my best life takes me.


It’s okay for me to live my best life even when things aren’t perfect. The truth is that no one has a perfect life. My husband irritates me sometimes. He breathes loud when he sleeps sometimes, and it drives me nuts. I have excessive road rage. I am just not a people person. I’m impatient. I’m expensive. I worry, and I have fears, and I have nightmares, and things scare me. I take my 6-year-old nephew to school and pick him up most days, and he drives me beyond crazy because he’s never in a hurry and he’s always in his own world, and I’m annoyed with him more often than no. But that’s me living my best life because I am so fortunate I can do that for my aunt so that her son can go to the school she’s chosen and she can teach at the school where she’s been for decades. Everything that’s imperfect has a good side, and that’s my best life.


Life is only as good as you make it, which is why I like to make mine a good one. So, go, create your will. Make a plan. Fix your life. Get rid of things that don’t serve you. Wear big dark glasses and get botox so people can’t see your thoughts on your face. Pray for those who seem sad and lost in their own lives. If you can’t do that, send a prayer of thanks you’re not those people. Focus on the good. Be present. Take a break and spend time doing what you love. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the things that happen to you and around you. Learn. Apply. Move on. Be a good person, always.

Hitting Reset on Your Body and Mind When You’re In A Funk

Happy Wednesday, loves!

Can you believe we are officially nine days into the year already?! It’s amazing, isn’t it? I swear to you, it was just New Year’s Eve, and I was just rounding out the last day of the year. It was such a fun way to end the year, too. We had a Gator Game party at our house on the 29th, and our friends’ daughter – our honorary fifth child – stayed after they left Saturday night for two nights. We made plans to make no plans on Sunday, so we were super lazy, but Monday was a busy day.

It was NYE, and it began with a family morning. My girlfriend called me that morning to say she was going to join our afternoon movie date and take back her daughter from us that afternoon, and she wanted to know if I wanted to go get lunch first. We had a fun lunch on the water – in the 80 degree temps – and then we took the girls to see Mary Poppins with another friend and her kids. After the movie, the girls and I ran home, rounded up the twins and Craig, and we went to our friends’ house for a very low-key NYE party. It was all kids and fireworks and fun, and we enjoyed the new year in the best possible manner ever.

And then it was January 1. And then I blinked, and now it’s the 9th already. Life is about to get hectic for us because of Addison’s competition cheer schedule and all our travel, and we are trying (and failing) to keep our schedules light for the next two weeks so we feel prepared for that.


It’s been a bit of a blur so far, and I know it’s so easy for us to feel a little bit lost this time of year. The holidays are over, we are all kind of holiday-hungover from all the fun and excitement, and we are working so hard to get back into our groove. It’s not like a big secret that the only thing I like about January is that it brought me the birth of the love of my life (happy almost birthday, handsome). Otherwise, I legit don’t care at all for this month. It’s a weird transitional month that doesn’t really bring much to the table.

And I always feel a little bit like I’m in a funk in January. I don’t love that feeling, so I’ve been working hard to avoid it this year by resetting not only my body, but my mind as well. If you’re also in the same weird post-holiday, pre-spring funk, here’s a few things you can do to help reset your body and your mind.


Work Out

I cannot tell you enough just how good it is to work out. I don’t like to miss a day of exercise because I love how good I feel after. Happy, free, light, airy, enjoying life more. It’s a nice feeling, and it’s not just my feeling. You always feel better when you release those endorphins. Do it.


Date Night

We have always been big on date nights – with four kids, you have to be. We make it a priority to enjoy at least two dates a month without the kids. Sometimes that’s dinner with friends. Sometimes it’s date night just the two of us. Sometimes it’s a Sunday afternoon grocery store and errand trip. Sometimes it’s a weekend away. Whatever it is, make time for more of that.

Drink Water First

I love water – aside from coffee and wine. And I cannot even tell you how good I feel drinking a big cup first thing when I wake up. I fill up my big Yeti cup at night and leave it by the coffee pot in the mornings so that I can drink it before I grab my coffee. And I feel so good when I do.

Pamper Myself

I’m a fan of a facial and a massage, but you can do it at home, too. I highly recommend investing in a great face mask to use once a week (my favorite is the Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask). Not only is this a good habit to adopt all year, it’s a great way to pep yourself up when you’re in a funk.


Change Your Routine

Okay, this is big for me. I’m not a routine-changing kind of gal. I prefer my routine and my schedule, but sometimes the best thing I do is say screw it and change it all up. Sometimes that means walking away from my desk and spending the day doing what I want. Reading, heading to my favorite local hotel for a bucket drink and a day by the water, brunch with friends, a trip to Starbucks and Nordstrom. Something, anything.

Eat Better

Here’s what I really think the issue is this time of year – I spend a few weeks not eating my normal diet. Totally my fault, I know. My body is so accustomed to a healthy diet that I get all kinds of out of whack and in need of a healthy cleanse this time of year. I love the treats around the holidays. I might not eat cinnamon rolls all year, but you better believe I’m all over them at Christmas. There’s something about holiday food that I definitely enjoy for a few weeks around Christmas. The rest of the year, I don’t really care too much for it. At Christmas, I give myself all the green lights for eating whatever.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not mad about that. I eat well all year, so I don’t mind spending  few weeks eating all the junk. But, I do feel it when it’s over. It’s like Christmas ends and I’m like “Oh, wait, I don’t actually love those things,” but I will never not eat them this time of year. My funk this time of year is quick to hit the curb when I just treat my body right again. More homecooked meals that are good for me. More fruit. More veggies. More good stuff. It helps tremendously.


Go Play

When you are in a funk, just get outside and play. My husband and I love to golf, and that always helps. We love to get outside with the kids and play baseball, run, take walks, play whatever. Ride bikes. Go Swimming. Go do something that makes you feel like a kid again. It does wonders for your soul.

Say No

  • You don’t have time
  • You’re not into it
  • It doesn’t make you happy
  • It’s not worth your time
  • It’s not adding to your peace
  • It’s not for you
  • You just don’t want to

If any of those things go through your mind when someone extends an invite or you’re asked to do something, say no. Nothing will help you get out of a funk faster than being good to yourself. No is a complete sentence, after all.

Happy 2019, friends. I hope you’re all living your best life so far.

Friday Favorite: Working Out to Feel Oh-So Good


Happy Friday, babes!

Isn’t April just gorgeous? I love this time of year in Florida when the temperature is warm during the day but cool in the mornings and evenings…the open doors and windows, the late nights outside, and the fun we have with the people we love the most. Halfway through the month and the Raiford household is in a good mood. It’s been a busy but productive month, and everyone has been in such a good mood the past few weeks.

I think it has something to do with the fact that we’ve been so active, and my husband and I have been making a major effort to work out together most days. We’ve been focused a lot on working out this month just to make some healthier changes in my husband’s life. I find the time every day to exercise, but he often finds himself deep in a project with work and doesn’t move from his desk all day long.

He’s been making an effort to go running during lunch, and I’ve been joining him even on days I go to yoga first! On days I don’t have yoga, he’s been making it a point to ask me to wait to go to the gym so he can go with and work out during his lunch break. It’s been amazing challenging one another and seeing him working so hard on his health – I like it a lot.

Because I’ve been talking about it lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions in my inbox about my workouts, our workouts, and things of that nature. I thought I’d take some time to share why I love working out, what I do, and answer some of your questions.


How often do you work out?

5-6 days a week almost every week, but never fewer than 4 days a week. I do two days a week at yoga for an hour, and the other days I spend at the gym doing a variety of things to keep my body in shape. I don’t feel good if I workout fewer than 4 days a week, and I really don’t love only getting in a four-day workout if our schedules are hectic. I love to workout daily. If I have 10 extra minutes, I will run or go to the gym and literally workout hardcore for 10 minutes – because it makes me feel better.

What do you do?

Again, two days of yoga – but it’s not regularly yoga. My instructor is hardcore, and she pushes us. Our yoga class usually involves 20-30 minutes of challenging stretches and core workouts on the floor and another 30 minutes of sun salutations made exceptionally challenging. Most of us are sweating, panting, and in LOVE with her classes. I’m challenged hardcore each and every class, and I love it.

The rest of the week I hit the gym. I use the weight machines for 10-15 minutes, and I always do a half hour on either the treadmill or the elliptical to go with it. Lately, I’ve been running with Craig. I’m not a runner, so I’m learning, but it’s been surprisingly easy. I guess I’m in shape because I don’t feel like I’m dying. Yesterday I did 2 miles in 20 minutes without stopping or slowing down. I’m slow, but I literally just started running a week ago!


How do you find the motivation?

Listen, I’m not motivated to get up and add something else to my schedule every day. Our kids have hectic schedules, I have a business to run, and my husband and I can’t always get our schedules to line up. However, I always find the motivation to feel good. I motivate myself by reminding myself how good I feel and how much I love the energy I have when I exercise. That’s my motivation. Additionally, I’m vain enough to realize that I’ve been pregnant three times and given birth to four kids and I have a great body – and I like that.

How do you make exercise more fun?

I don’t do things I don’t like. It’s pretty simple. If I try something and I don’t like it, I don’t do it. For example, I *HATE* Bodypump, so I don’t go to that class. I also find that I don’t care much for Spin – though I think I could change my mind about that one. Exercise is fun when it’s something I enjoy. Yoga, for instance, is my favorite. I also love to work out on machines that allow me to challenge myself. I always want to go further, faster, and better than I did the last time.


I find challenges make me love working out. Lately, I’ve been running with my husband. I’m not as fast as he is, but I find that I’m more willing to run longer and without stopping when he’s there. I mean, I don’t want to be the first one to stop, so I push myself to keep going when I don’t want to just so I ‘win’ because I love a good, healthy competition. We have fun together, so that makes it fun.

I also wear fun workout gear. One of my favorite things to do is find the most outrageous yoga pants possible because they make me happy. Bright colors and fun patterns certainly put me in a good mood. It’s impossible to put on a pair of bold and bright yoga pants and not feel excited about my workout. It’s simple, really.

Do you only exercise?

No. We also eat well and healthy. I’d say 90 percent of what we eat is good, but we aren’t above a great cocktail or dessert – or bacon. We just don’t eat poorly often. A typical day in our house is healthy. I, for example, eat the same thing almost every day.

Breakfast/Lunch (I cannot eat early in the morning. I’m not hungry, it gives me a stomachache, and it makes me ravenous the rest of the day if I do eat breakfast) is at 11 am: 1 orange, half cup of Greek yogurt with fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and a quarter cup Publix granola from the produce section (omg, it’s so good), 2 scrambled eggs.

Snack is at 2ish: A tablespoon of creamy peanut butter with a teaspoon of tiny chocolate chips.

Dinner is around 5:30 pm: Always a baked chicken, fresh salmon, or filet Friday with double veggies and no starches. We find a way to make our favorite unhealthy foods healthier, too. Craig makes a killer homemade pizza on a thin crust, we love healthy chicken piccata, and any wheat pasta with roasted veggies on top is my favorite.

I find that eating later in the morning means I’m actually hungry, and it curbs my appetite the rest of the day. I also drink like 89 cups of water a day – and black coffee all morning.

{We ran a 5k with our 9-year-old daughter last weekend. The first picture is us with her after we finished. She walked and ran the mile, we both ran the 5k. It was my first time running a 5k (I’ve walked plenty of them…) and I finished in 35 minutes. The second picture is my husband and I before the run….and right after I put my arm around him and asked him to take a photo only to realize I put my arm around a teenage boy and got awfully comfortable with him because Craig had walked away! It was hilarous, and now he’s our new friend, and he snapped this picture!}

At the end of the day…

I am not an expert or a health professional or a coach or whatever. However, I do love to work out and I do get a lot of questions, so I’m just answering them and hopefully motivating someone to get up and get moving.

My main goal is to stay healthy and look great. I love to feel great, and I want to be sure my husband is as healthy as possible so I can keep him longer. We’re celebrating 13 years of marriage next month and 17 years together this year….and I want to multiply the amazing years we’ve had already by a million. If I can’t get him healthier and I can’t stay healthy, that might be a challenge.

I love to exercise because I love how I feel. I love being in a good mood. I love being stress-free, and I love feeling more relaxed and energized. I also love that I like how I feel in my clothes, and I love never being ashamed of putting on a two-piece and going in public. I just like feeling good.


**When I don’t want to work out or stop my work-flow, I remind myself that I’m going to be furious with myself later if I don’t work out. I’m always right, and I always feel amazing after a workout. Being strong is so important. 

***One of the best things about working out with your spouse, too, is how good it feels to challenge one another. It’s good for you. 

5 Daily Self-Care Habits that Make Life So Much Sweeter


Every day is different, yet it’s remarkably the same in Raiford household. We run a tight ship with schedules and routines for ourselves and the kids. It’s helpful in keeping everyone on track (and me less crazy), and it’s taught our kids some amazing habits. They know to clean up after themselves because messes make mommy twitch. They know the bedtime routine and don’t fight it, and they know our expectations of them throughout the day.

That doesn’t stop them from bickering, telling on one another, or making us crazy in general with the constant question of, “May I have a snack, please?” and the subsequent, “Oh, that big bowl of macaroni and cheese with a side of cucumbers and salad? That wasn’t my snack. That was just food,” that follows.


They’re cute, but they’re annoying at times.

Our days are structured. It helps us run my business, it helps Craig’s job, and it helps with the kids. We call it organized chaos. But I’m sharing a smallish secret. I say smallish because anyone who knows me well knows this.

I’m a totally anal-retentive, upright, Type-A, perfectionist control freak. I can’t leave the house if there is anything out of place. I can’t handle anything being disorganized. I can’t handle any type of mess. You guys….I vacuum my SUV out the moment I pull it into the garage and get the kids out of it every single day.

The good news, it only takes me 30 seconds to keep my car spotless every day and a good 10 minutes for us to turn out home spotless at the end of the day. So, good things come from my really poor qualities.

Even with all my organization and my routines and structures, life overwhelms me sometimes. Four kids is a lot. My business takes a lot from me. Being a present wife and mom takes a lot from me. Being involved in the kid’s school lives at two different schools takes a lot out of me. I’ve learned to recognize when I’m overwhelmed and overdoing it. I start to snap at the kids and my husband without any real reason. I find myself super annoyed with everyone and everything, and I find my already very thin patience unraveling.

And I know I need to step back, chill the eff out, and regain control of my life. Since the twins were born, I’ve learned a lot about myself I didn’t know before. I’m so much more familiar with myself, my needs, my body. I know when I’m overdoing it, and I’ve learned how to rest when I need it. I’ve also learned my breakdown periods are few and far between when I practice daily self-care.

As an insane creature of habit, I’ve managed to schedule a few things into my day every single day that gives me peace, helps me stay calm, and makes me feel in control and good. I didn’t know it at first, but it’s self-care and I’m all about it. Since I get a lot of questions about how I manage to stay (and by stay, we’re talking appear, people) so calm and collected and put together with four kids, I thought I’d share what I do each day to help.

Side Note – basically my entire life is easier and more organized because my husband is 100 percent involved in everything around our house because of his own accord. Dishes, bath time, dinner time, bed time, laundry, the kids, diapers, whatever. He’s the reason my life is easy. And I appreciate the hell out of him.


I Exercise Daily

I make time every day, even when I don’t have it, to work out. Even if can’t do more than 20 minutes on the elliptical at the YMCA, I’m there doing it. Working my body, sweating it out, and getting my heart going make me feel good. I love the energy I get, and I love how I feel. My favorite is yoga. I take two yoga classes per week and sometimes a third. I love how strong I feel, how good I feel, and how it motivates me. Exercise is so good.


I Wake Up Early

5 am. That’s my everyday wake up call. I need it. I need it to shower, blow dry my hair, put on makeup, and enjoy a cup of coffee before I head into my office to start my workday. I need it before everyone is awake. I need the calm of being able to start my day quietly with my First 5 App, with some daily devotionals, and to just enjoy the morning in peace. It’s my favorite time of day.


I Practice Gratitude

This is a fairly new habit I’ve included in my daily routine, but it’s good. I’ve been using a gratitude journal. I’m impatient and easily annoyed and constantly baffled by the number of people in the world who cannot do their jobs correctly, who cannot do what they say they are going to do, and who don’t seem to value the concept of hard work and customer service. And I’m really bad about letting that kind of stuff irritate me.

So I’ve been practicing gratitude by focusing every day on three things I really am grateful for. I have a long list, but I’ve been trying to focus on writing down what really touches me at the moment. The other day, for example, I was sitting at my desk working on some deadlines at 6:45 am when Craig went upstairs to get the twins out of bed to have breakfast. They came downstairs and immediately came to my desk to give me hugs and kisses and “I yuve you, mommy’s,” before they took off for the breakfast they are hungry for the second they open their eyes (am I the only person who cannot figure out how these tiny humans are starving the second they wake up?).

I realized in that moment how insanely grateful I am that no matter what I’m doing or how I’m feeling or how they are feeling, our kids are always ready to come say good morning to me before they do anything else so they can get their love in first and foremost. So, I wrote it down. And then I thought about how sweet that is all day long, and I didn’t even lose my shit when a company made a promise to me they couldn’t keep and I wanted to shake them and ask them what the hell is their problem.

If you say you can have something done in 30 minutes when I call, and then I come in and drop my stuff off and then you tell me an hour later when I come back to pick it up that you don’t even know if you can do it in the next two days, why do you say you can do it in 30 minutes? (Maybe I took my frustration to my car, lost my shit for a minute or two, and defintely ended up the topic of conversation around the dinner table of the guy parked in front of me. “You guys won’t believe this crazy psychopath I saw today. What a piece of work!”)

recipe 5

I Eat Well

I love a donut or a cookie as much as the next girl, but I really love the way I feel when I make healthy eating choices. I like pizza and junk food, but I don’t like the lethargy I feel after I eat like that. I have more energy when I eat well, so it’s a favor I do myself.


I Start My Day with Uplifting Music 

I’m easily distracted while Craig is getting the kids ready for school in the morning, but that’s also my most productive work time. I pop my headphones in and turn my music up. Most mornings I listen to a Christian Contemporary station on Pandora, but sometimes I’m in the mood for classical or my favorite Frank Sinatra station. Whatever it is, I love listening to uplifting music in the morning. Craig once said he loves when I listen to Christian music in the am because I sing (oops) and he loves that my good mood instantly makes him feel good. Who even knew?

See? It’s not all that difficult to practice happy and healthy things during the day. These little habits make such a positive difference in my mood every day. What do you do to help you focus and stay on track during the day?

Healthy 5-Minute Edamame Recipe Perfect for Snacking or as A Side Dish


Better late than never, right? I promised this recipe post two days ago, but I’m slacking this week. Seriously, back to school is amazing, but being part of the PTA for the first time is really a learning curve for me. I didn’t realize how many man hours it takes. I’m enjoying it – I like doing things that aid in the education for my children…and I really like being near them – but I’m also learning to cope with another obligation.

So far it’s meant working earlier in the mornings, later in the evenings, and readjusting my schedule as needed, but it’s been good. And that’s why the blog is taking a back seat these days. Time, baby…it’s of the essence right now.

In an effort to be quite transparent, I am not a good cook. My husband is a good cook. He keeps us alive, but I can do a few simple things. One thing I do really well is eat healthy. I can pick a good, healthy receipt and pin it like no one’s business for my husband to later recreate.

And I can make a really killer edamame dish.


What You Need

1 package whole edamame pods


A Ziploc bag

¼ cup plain Panko bread crumbs

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 clove garlic

Your favorite wine

I promise this is so easy it’s not even funny.

The Steps

Pour a glass of wine into the appropriate wine glass. Lift it with one hand, and sip. Repeat as needed.

Put your edamame in a Ziploc bag and add just a drop of water. Now close the bag 95% leaving 5% of the bag unsealed. Put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Remove it, and set it to the side.

Cut your garlic into small pieces. Put it in a pan, add a few drizzles of olive oil. Don’t coat the pan, but don’t be too conservative with it. Let the garlic simmer just a bit – JUST A BIT. When it burns, it’s disgusting and you’ll want to start all over.

Sip your wine.


When the garlic is simmering just a bit, add the edamame to the pan and mix it all together. Turn down the heat from medium to simmer and let it sit for a minute or two.

Transfer your edamame into a bowl, add your parmesan and your Panko, mix it together – and serve – and sip some more wine.

I told you it’s easy.


And amazing.

And you’re welcome.


Avocado Mango Salsa & Chicken Recipe: Under 5 Minutes and So Healthy

recipe 1

I am not a chef. I can’t even cook. Seriously, last night I actually wreaked havoc in the kitchen when I stuck a pre-made Publix rotisserie chicken into the oven to warm up still inside its plastic container. I didn’t even know you couldn’t do that.

In hindsight, yes, I do realize plastic and ovens aren’t a good mixture. In the moment, though, I was not so fully aware. Anyway, dinner was still good, our ovens are not ruined, and the chicken was fine. Thank goodness, because I desperately needed something healthy and delicious after spending a long weekend in North Carolina with my family.

It was airport restaurant food, the most amazing fritters that ever did exist, and it was too much Starbucks for five straight days – and my father-in-law’s amazing cooking. And I needed something green and good for me. I can drink bloody mary’s and eat pineapple fritters all day long, but my body eventually tells me it hates me and needs me to feed it properly. I’m a creature of healthy-eating habit.

But about last night.

I insta-storied a pic of our dinner. It was our daughter’s 9th birthday. She wanted to go bowling last night and have a family night. We picked her up from tumbling camp and took her and the other three to the bowling alley, where they wanted greasy chicken, fries, pretzels, and snacks. Our bodies couldn’t handle it – so we came home and had cake, bathed the kids, put them to bed, and then made a healthy dinner.

And that’s when I added a photo of me cooking to insta-stories, and my DM box filled up faster than you can say, “Dinner,” and I don’t blame anyone. I made our favorite quick, easy, healthy recipe – and it’s just as delish as it is aesthetically appealing.

And here we go.

recipe 2


  • 1 avocado
  • 1 mango (I hate cutting mango, so I buy the fresh-cut mango in the Publix Produce section)
  • 1 or 2 handfuls of cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • Half a jalapeno pepper
  • Chicken (I usually bake boneless, skinless chicken breast, but lack of time sometimes calls for a pre-made rotisserie chicken and it’s just as good)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

recipe 3

The thing about this meal is it literally takes 4 seconds to make. Cut your avocado, mango – if you don’t buy the fresh cut mango – jalapeno, and cilantro and put it in a bowl. Next, cut your lime in half and juice both halves right over your mixture in the bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, mix it all up, and put it in the fridge until your chicken is ready.

Put it over the chicken.




recipe 5

That’s seriously it – and you will not find more flavor in any dish. Nor will you find something as perfectly refreshing when you need a light lunch, a simple dinner, or even a side dish to put over your favorite white fish or inside a chicken taco.

I love tacos.

I hope you enjoy!


Vacation Recovery: Looking and Feeling Good After Too Much Indulgence

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We have too much fun, and sometimes I make poor decisions when we’re having fun. Relax, friends; my decisions aren’t that poor. I’m talking about purchasing shots for a group of 12 knowing how I feel after a shot, or ordering a quesadilla for lunch alongside a couple of bloody Mary’s and a bucket of beer. Those types of poor decisions. I know y’all won’t just because you’ve made the same poor decision a time or two.

I’m typically a healthy eater. I like good food, because it makes me feel good. Don’t get me wrong; you hand me cookie dough, and you will never see it again. My sweet tooth isn’t insane, but I do crave something sweet every so often. I never worry about indulging when I do, because I don’t do it often enough to matter in the overall scheme of things.

But sometimes life hands us situations in which I fail to stop myself from indulging a bit too much. While a weekend away usually does nothing to me in terms of bloat or weight gain that a day of good health can’t cure, three weekends away in a row has a different effect. It’s every meal at a restaurant, and I don’t do fast food. While that might sound healthy, it’s probably not. I will eat a hotel room service burger all day long if I can, or bacon, and I always order dessert. And the drinks. Bottles of wine. Mimosas. Bloody Mary’s. Mich Ultra by the pool on a hot day just hits the spot.

health 1

Three weekends now we’ve been traveling, and having the best time; but I’m not feeling or looking so good this week. I over-indulged too much, and it’s hitting me hard this week more so than the few before. It happens. Am I guilty of not being very good the past few weekends? Yes. Am I feeling guilty? No. Why? Because all I need is two or three days of good health to get me back on track looking and feeling good again.

I know many people who swear by juice cleanses, or detox drinks, or whatever. I don’t know what they’re like, because I’m just not doing them. I’m a big fan of just being healthy overall and not caving into those fad diets, so I’ve never tried them. I have no desire, but I don’t care if you do. If you’re like me, you might want to figure out a way to get good and healthy again in a few days – even if you still look good. Sometimes it’s just a matter of no longer feeling very good – and I know that feeling.

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Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

True story. When we leave for a weekend away, I take my Yeti cup filled with ice water in the car with me. I mean, I take it like that everywhere I go all the time, but I leave it in the car with valet and never look at it again when we travel. I ‘get my water on’ on the way to a hotel or airport, and then I forget to drink water again the rest of the trip (unless I wake up in the middle of the night feeling like I might die if I don’t get some water, stat).

It’s bad, bad bad. I know this. I do. But when I get home, the first thing I do is wash the Yeti, fill it up, and drink like I just left the desert after four waterless days. And I drink so much water. When I’m not longer thirsty, I keep drinking. By day two, I feel hydrated again. You can see an improvement in my skin, my body, and I feel much better.

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Bye Bye Booze

I love a glass of white wine while cooking or a glass of red after the kids go to bed, but not when we get home from a trip. I usually drank my fill of alcohol on a trip – beginning with mimosas at breakfast – and I no longer want any wine. It might take me a week or two to pour a glass of wine when we come home. I know I overdid it, and my body is done with it. If you still want booze when you get home, I’d recommend you not drink it. I know it’s hard when you want a glass of wine at the end of the day because of the crazies you call your kids, and all that life has to offer, but just skip it. Your body needs to heal, and alcohol isn’t helping. I feel so refreshed after a full day of not drinking anything but water and coffee, and it’s amazing how fast the alcohol bloat disappears.

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Double Up on the Sides

Confession: We rarely do a starch side in our house. I don’t know why, especially since I grew up with a very meat and potatoes kind of family. We always had a meat, a starch, a vegetable, and a dinner roll. In our house, we always have meat and two vegetables. That’s it. And we like to keep our meat light. We love steak, but we limit ourselves to picking something like Filet Friday or Monday or whatever so we don’t eat too much red meat. It’s chicken and fish up in the Raiford household – and none of that prepacked, frozen stuff.

When we get home, I cannot function without vegetables. I want more than ever, because I probably didn’t get much over the weekend. I’ve found that veggie-heavy meals for the first few days make me feel better, look better, and want to eat better once again. My body knows what it needs, and I listen to it.

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You don’t have to do what I do, and it might not even work for you. I just know that I don’t need to come home from a trip and go crazy on a cleanse. I just need two or three days of healthy eating to get back to normal. In fact, I usually feel much better than any other day when I’m two days into heavy water and veggie consumption. I’m more rested, I’m less cranky, and I like what I see in the mirror.

What do you do when you over-indulge? I’m not a fan of deprivation, but I also know it’s easy to overdo it when you’re not home. What’s your secret to getting back to normal following a trip?