5 Easy Ways to Invest in Yourself ~ #HERBBoxx

5 Easy Ways to Invest in Yourself ~ #HERBBoxx

Did you know that May is Women's Health Month? Today in collaboration with BabbleBoxx, I want to share with you five easy ways you can invest in yourself.

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com

As mothers, wives, sisters, aunts etc., we tend to focus more on others than we do ourselves. However, self-love or is also important. We need to take time out for ourselves to focus on what makes us feel (not just look) better. It could be as simple as sleeping more, relaxing or even enjoying a good book. These easy ways that you can invest in yourself, take very little to no time at all, and you'll feel amazing at the end of it all.

1. Work out 
Exercising or working out doesn't have to include the gym. As a matter of fact, you don't even need a gym membership to work out. A simple jog or brisk walk around the neighborhood would do. Be sure that you're wearing the correct gear and having a great pair of headphones while you walk will even be handy. I am a big girl so I need gear that offers me support, but is also moisture-wicking, quick-drying and doesn't chafe when I walk around. The Champion Absolute Sports Bra give me all that and so much more.

My headphones of choice are the AfterShokz Trekz Air Headphones. Not only are they lightweight, but they are open ear with bud-free listening components. Personally, I hate headphones that I have to stick into my ear because I can never find the perfect fit. Since these are bud-free I no longer have to worry about that problem.  I'm also a huge fan of open ear headphones, simply because I prefer the more natural sound. These AfterShokz are amazing and pretty comfortable too.

If you'd love to get a pair of your own, use code: ANNMARIE30 to receive $30 off your Trekz Air until June 30th.

2. Read an uplifting book
Reading has always been a favorite pastime of mine, and reading motivational uplifting books can change many a life. I'm currently reading Fran Hausers:- The Myth of a Nice Girl - Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate. It's all about female empowerment and realizing that you don't have to sacrifice who you are to become who you want to be and get ahead.

3. Protect your eyes
Speaking of reading, when was the last time you had your vision checked? You should have your vision checked at least once a year, this way you'll be able to know if you need a new prescription lens, or if there are any eye abnormalities. As someone who is consistently on the computer, I wear the Zenni – UV Blue Blockers. Not only does it have a clear lens that blocks HEV blue light, but it provides maximum UV protection with minimal color distortion. Blue light is damaging to your eyes so having a lens that protects your vision is key.

And if you're in need of a prescription, Zenni might be just what you need as they're the leading online retailer for prescription eyewear. I know that prescription eyewear will be in my immediate future, and they have very stylish and affordable eyewear that will help me express my individuality.

4. Eat/drink healthier
Be careful of what you put in your body because it's the only body you have. This year one of my goals was to eat and drink healthier. I've cut out most sugary foods and have started drinking more water. My focus is not on weight loss, but generally being healthier. Included in my diet are more organic products, and I try and have an organic smoothie at least once a day. In my smoothie, I incorporate Pure Synergy's Organic Beet Juice Powder which not only tastes great but is a daily health booster as well.

I've also been using the Organic Turmeric Extract after I work out. Tumeric is known for their powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties so after a vigorous workout I know that it will soothe my aching muscles. My husband especially loves it and the taste isn't so bad either.

If you'd like to give PureSynergy's products a try use code: PureSynergyPartner to save yourself 15%.

5. Simply relax
Do you know the saying "Less is more"? Sometimes you just have to take the time to enjoy that cup of coffee or smell the roses. Take some time out of your day to simply relax. Put your feet up, mediate or even soak in the tub with a relaxing candle from the Chesapeake Bay Candle company. Designed and poured right here in the USA, these soy wax blend candles infused with natural essential oils deliver a clean burn, so all you smell is the glorious fragrance with no smokey smell.  Their balance + harmony is one of my favorites with it's aromatic fragrant of tropical fruits and pears combined. It doesn't overpower and even my husband, the candle snob, loves it.

Now that I've shared how I invest in myself, something that we should all be doing, my hope is that you will go out and do the same.

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Annmarie John
 Why Ella Eats AvoDerm Natural Dog Food ~ #AvoDerm #HealthySkin #HealthyCoat #Allergies

Why Ella Eats AvoDerm Natural Dog Food ~ #AvoDerm #HealthySkin #HealthyCoat #Allergies

You may remember Ella, my cocker spaniel. Today I want to share with you why she eats AvoDerm Natural Dog Food, and why your own dog should too!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of AvoDerm Natural pet foods. All opinions are 100% mine.

I remember it just as if it was yesterday. We had recently adopted Bentley our black cocker spaniel and had him for a few months before we decided that we wanted to get him a sister or brother. Ella was the runt of her litter, but when we laid eyes on her, we couldn't picture not having her in our home. I flew to Missouri to pick her up and brought her home, and for the past 3 years, she has been a great little sister to Bentley and a great companion to the family.

When it comes to my pet food, I always make sure that it's high quality with premium ingredients that are good for them. However, Ella, I noticed lately has been itchy, and at first, I thought maybe she had fleas, but where would she get fleas? And Bentley didn't have them, so we ruled out fleas when we realized that she didn't have any. We paid a visit to the groomer since the weather has been unusually warm and had her give Ella a bath and a haircut, not just a trim, but remove all the hair, as I figured that she may be a bit too warm. If you know Cocker Spaniels, you know that they have a lot of hair.

Next, I chalked it up to maybe the shampoo that the groomer used was probably drying out her skin, so it was leaving her dry and itchy. I tried moisturizing but she was still scratching. I was about to pay a visit to her vet when a friend mentioned that maybe it was her food. Remember, I only feed them high-quality food so I didn't think there could have been a connection there at all.

I have used AvoDerm Natural in the past but had switched to a different food, so when the opportunity arose to give AvoDerm another try, I jumped at it. After all, this was a brand that I was familiar with and one that my dogs loved. So we made the switch again. Luckily the transition period wasn't long and intense, because if you're not aware if you already feed your pets quality food, there is no need for long transition periods, but you still should gradually do so.

Since Ella switched over I have noticed a big change. She no longer itches and her coat just looks beautiful. So why do I feed Ella AvoDerm Natural Dog Food? Here are 4 reasons.

1. It was made right here in the USA
Most of you know that I support products made right here in the good ole USA, and when it comes to my pet food, I prefer knowing that it was manufactured here instead of overseas. I love seeing that stamp of approval, and all AvoDerm Natural's dry food is made in their company plant in California. They even make sure to test ALL their ingredients before they're accepted into their facility letting me know that they care about the health and safety of my pet. They even take it one step further by making their foods in small batches and cook them at lower temperatures to help support better digestion and health. Switch now on Amazon!

2. California Avocados are their key ingredient
I am addicted to avocados and usually substitute it in place of eggs and even mayo for my meals. I know that they're great for me but had no idea how great they are for my dogs as well. Did you know that Avocados are called the ACE of fruits? That's because they're chock full of vitamins A, C, and E, but they're also rich in omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and coat in your dog. AvoDerm Natural just doesn't use any old avocados either, they carefully select their suppliers to ensure that only the highest-quality California avocados go into each bag and can of their food, so you know that your dog is getting the best avocados there are.

3. Great for pets with skin sensitivities and allergies
I have been feeding both of my dogs, Bentley and Ella grain free diets for almost the past three years, and AvoDerm Natural contains no corn/fillers, no wheat, no soy, no artificial preservatives and no animal by-product meals. Personally, whenever I look for foods for my pets, one of the things I make sure that it DOESN'T contain is animal by-products, and AvoDerm doesn't contain any of those things. When it comes to allergies and skin issues, like my Ella, knowing that the California avocados help to promote healthy skin and fur is an added bonus.

4. Because Ella loves it!
Now all this would be moot if Ella didn't love it, wouldn't it? She's currently eating their Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Formula, but she's also had their Lamb & Rice which she also loved. AvoDerm Natural is available in a variety of recipes so finding one that your dog loves would not be a problem. Ella loves the taste and I love knowing that AvoDerm Natural is helping Ella's skin problems with their omega rich avocado. For me, that is just the icing on the cake.

Just look at this video below and see why other dog lovers love AvoDerm Natural Dog Food:

If your dog has skin sensitivities or allergies, you may want to give AvoDerm Natural a try. By now you should have associated Avo with Avocado and Derm for Skin, so you know that together they're going to take care of your pet's skin. It's also going to boost your pet's immune system as well, and we all want happy and healthy pets. So how about making the switch to AvoDerm Natural. Trust me, you can't go wrong. AvoDerm Natural also has food your cat will love! Switch now on Amazon!

Visit Sponsors Site
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Annmarie John
Helping Cats One Litter at a Time ~ #LitterForGood

Helping Cats One Litter at a Time ~ #LitterForGood

We are cat people and always have been, but if you can help a cat or two or twenty (or how about millions?) by purchasing Cat's Pride® Cat Litter, wouldn't you?

This post is sponsored by Cat's Pride but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

Meet Dusty, our new Birman kitty! Dusty was adopted into our family a few weeks ago so that our older kitty Cross could have a new friend and brother. He also belongs to my youngest child, Madison, who insisted on having him, because he was just "so cute". Today I want to share with you a few ways to choose the right cat for your household, but first I want to talk about how you can help other cats just like my Dusty living in shelters.

Being a multi-cat household, I need a litter that can do most of the work for me. Granted, it's not going to change itself, but on the occasion that the kids don't change it when they're supposed to, I would much rather my home smell like humans inhabited it, rather than cats, which essentially means I should not smell the cat litter upon entering the home.

That's why I purchase Cat's Pride® Fresh & Light Ultimate Care® cat litter. Not only does it have amazing odor control for my multi-cat household, but the strong clumping action makes clean up a breeze. If you're not a fan of all the dust that circulates when pouring out your cat litter, then you'll be happy to know that Cat's Pride is also low dust, which helps with your pet not tracking it all over your home.

Now while those are great reasons to buy Cat's Pride® if you're a cat owner, there is one even bigger reason and the reason why it's in my home. It's all about the Cat's Pride® Litter for Good™ program. Simply put, for every green jug of Fresh & Light litter that I purchase for my cats, one pound of litter is donated to animal welfare organizations across the USA.  

I'm not just helping myself, but I'm also helping cats nationwide! I recently wrote a post about how you can help your local animal shelter, but this is by far the easiest way to help. Animal shelters need all the help and donations they can get, and if you can't help them physically by donating your time, then helping them by purchasing Cat's Pride® cat litter is the next best thing. This way they can focus on getting all those adorable kitties into loving homes. 

Here are a few tips on choosing the right cat for your family.

1. Keep your family in mind
I'm not just talking about the human family, but your pet family as well. It might be best to choose an adult cat if you have younger children or babies in your household, while kittens might be best for older kids. However, you can adopt a kitten if you teach your younger child to be gentle with him/her. Also if you have pets who don't get along with other animals, you may want to think twice about adopting another animal for your household.

2. Keep personality in mind
No two cats are alike, take for example my own pets. Stripes who belongs to my oldest daughter is a one person cat. She would only come to you if you're offering food, but besides that, she prefers not to be held and petted. Cross, on the other hand, LOVES and thrives for the attention. Cats who enjoy being held are perfect for a family with younger children, who loves holding animals.

3. Long fur or short fur? 
This is really a matter of what you and your family prefer. Short haired cats are much easier to groom since they don't require as much brushing, while longer haired cats may require more grooming in order to prevent matting. And this is where personality may also come in. A cat who enjoys being held to be groomed won't mind as much, while one who hates being held would run as soon as they see the brush coming.

4. Purebred or mutt
If you're looking to adopt a pet at your local animal shelter, which is advisable, it may be a bit more difficult finding a purebred cat there. If you do insist on getting a purebred cat, be sure to research the breed as each breed comes with their own medical health issues. It's been said that mutts are much healthier but each can live a healthy life if taken care of correctly. 

Remember you too can help cats nationwide, by purchasing Cat's Pride® Cat Litter because every litter counts! To learn more visit catspride.com/litterforgood. While on the website, be sure to sign up for the Cat’s Pride® Club to nominate a shelter to receive litter donation. The Cat’s Pride Club offers valuable coupons and incentives throughout the year, as well as updates on the program donations and shelter highlights.

This post is sponsored by Cat's Pride but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

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Annmarie John
Confidence Boosting Tips: Prepare Your Body For Summer

Confidence Boosting Tips: Prepare Your Body For Summer

Yes! The summer is just around the corner and it is the perfect time to prepare your body! Get ready for the skin-showing season with these tips that will surely boost your confidence and make you look awesome in the short summer dress.

It is a fact that when a woman feels good about herself, she shows confidence, charm, and her true personality. Don't be lazy to put a bit of effort now, because you will be more than pleased with the results and you will simply adore your summer body.

Get moving – start exercising
Unfortunately, the first thing you have to do is to get moving. There is no magic wand that will miraculously make your body look fit; you will have to work for it! Start working out in the mornings, create a healthy exercising routine just after you get up. It will boost your energy for the day and you will feel better in the summer clothes as soon as you see the first results. Don't push yourself too hard because you will hate training, instead start slowly with low-impact exercises, combine them with cycling or hiking and gradually increase intensity.

Eat healthily and drink more water
If you want to prepare your body just in time for summer you should also pay attention to what you eat and alter your eating habits. Avoid unhealthy fast food and the one that makes you feel bloated. Eat a lot of fruits and veggies – eating melons is a great way to feel full and stay hydrated, without feeling bloated. Stay hydrated throughout the day! You can do so by carrying a water bottle with you so that in all the hustle and bustle you don't forget to drink water. Add fruits and veggies to water and help your body get rid of the toxins and unwanted fat (miraculous lemon water).

Remove body hair
Double check if you've got rid of your body hair the right way. When you go out in the sun you can see all the spots that you missed and you'll end up feeling uncomfortable (we've all had this problem and it really is annoying!). Try temporary method such as waxing or semi-permanent such as the IPL treatment to ensure your skin is completely hairless and smooth. It will boost your confidence and you will proudly show off your body in the short summer clothes.

Exfoliate and moisturize
Take care of your skin and regularly exfoliate. Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells and it is very important to do it regularly, especially if you sun tan a lot. Not only your skin will be rejuvenated but it will feel smooth and spotless. Make sure you moisturize it enough and replace your cosmetic products with natural one. For example, using coconut oil (and yes the same one you have in your kitchen) is a great natural alternative for a makeup remover, body lotion and a hair oil.

Clear your skin
If you have a problematic skin or troubles with acne and redness, Sydney plastic surgeon advises that you should opt for a BBL skin treatment to clear up your body and your skin. BBL (broadband light) treatment is used to treat acne, pigmentation and diffuse redness and capillaries. There is nothing prettier than healthy, clear, tanned skin in the summer on the perfect, fit body! Forget about foundation, powders, and concealers, let your skin breathe and enjoy the sun (with proper face sunscreen of course).

Follow these simple steps to make sure your body is all set for the summer to come! Not only you will look awesome, but you will feel great as well and ready to show off what you've got. And the skin-showing clothes will look just perfect on you!

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Annmarie John
[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=https://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=https://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=https://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=https://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)