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Follow Your Passion: Meet Chelsea McMillan, founder of Sunshine State apparel line

4 Aug

It’s funny how life works. You ask for signs to make sure you are headed down the right path, that you are making the right decisions in your life, and most of the time, if you’re paying attention, you’ll find those signs. A few months back, I was looking for signs around career, and my path crossed with Chelsea McMillan. I was so inspired by her story that I wanted to share it with you all as well. Chelsea’s resume reads like a fairytale … at least this writer’s career fairytale. She is a former producer for O-P-R-A-H (the one, the only, all-powerful Oprah; I hear music when I say that name out loud), and worked on various projects for Pinterest in Los Angeles, but Chelsea was still hungry for something more. She wanted to do something she was passionate about that she could make a living at as well. She pushed herself, searching for answers.

“On Pinterest, you pin what you love, and so I started looking at my pins and I saw the ocean, the beach, beautiful waves,” Chelsea, born and raised in Clearwater Beach, says. And with that, the idea of starting her own Florida-inspired clothing line was born. Let me introduce you to Sunshine State, a line of apparel and home goods with beautiful Floridian designs and fashions at affordable prices.

Chelsea herself has designed a few styles, but she also has Florida artists contribute their work to the bunch to really bring a unique quality to her line. And she takes it one step further: Her mission is to spread the sunshine philosophy while preserving what we all love most about the lucky Florida lifestyle. She supports wildlife conservation efforts in Florida and donates a part of her proceeds to the to help #KeepFloridaWild.

“I realized there was a need for a modern apparel brand that represents the way I feel about my home state,” Chelsea says. Chelsea’s line is available in several Tampa Bay shops as well as her website. I’m in love with the cork-billed hats and the wine glasses, but I’d rock literally everything on the site.

Anyway, meeting Chelsea when I did reminded me that it is okay to take a chance on a new career path, and I decided to do just that. It is okay to be happy at what you are doing for a living but still seek out more. And it’s okay to not have every little bit figured out except for your faith in the future. And that’s life in a nutshell.

Check out the full line at


My Fitness Obsession: Zumba Fun

6 Jul

So, I have a little secret. A few of my friends know about this about me, but I don’t think they know how serious it is. They mention it from time to time, but they don’t realize it has turned into an obsession. I’m addicted to Zumba.

Wow, it’s so nice to have that off my chest! I can proudly scream it from the rooftops now. I am addicted to Zumba, and I don’t care who knows it. For those of you who don’t know what Zumba is, let me explain. Zumba is an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party that’s moving millions of people toward joy and health. In real-people terms, it is like spending an hour at the best club in your life sans booze.

Now that you know what Zumba is, let’s start the countdown of my favorite things about Zumba … which will ultimately make you sign up to try it yourself!

1. As I mentioned above, your one-hour class is literally like stepping in the most happening club of your life, sans all the negative stuff like the smoky atmosphere, obnoxious men trying to hit on you and the spilled drinks that always seem to land on your perfect party heels.

Zumba at My Way Fitness in Oldsmar

2. You get to super silly! In fact, the sillier, the better. There are no bosses or professionals critique your moves. There is no judgment. There is only fun and laughter in this space. I often feel like a kid again after a few dances! When was the last time you danced like no one was watching? Now go ahead and show us the Roger Rabbit!

3. This fitness activity comes with the most amazing wardrobe. I mean, you don’t have to buy the Zumba clothes, but I highly recommend it. First, I swear I have way more swagger to my moves when I’m wearing the Zumba-approved gear. That could be just in my head, but I think I look like a backup dancer to 50 Cent. Plus, the pants dry really quickly so you don’t drive home with a wet bottom. That’s important to me!

The Zumba Gear

4. I have made the best friends in Zumba … friends that are now very dear to my heart. We call each other the Fly Girls, because us gals get in front of the whole class for at least dance per class in “In Living Color” style. We text each other, making sure we are all going to be at class each night, and we all support each other throughout the week. These girls have the best hearts, and I’m lucky that they let me crash class each week.

Some of Us Fly Girls

5. The music is amazing! While my class does a few Latin-based dances, my favorite ones are the hip-hop versions. We also do some flashback songs like “Grease: You’re the One that I Want” and “Let’s Hear it for the Boys.” You just can’t help smiling and singing along during that kind of music. It really makes the hour just fly right by.

6. I have the best Zumba instructor on the planet! And I’m not even exaggerating in the slightest. Tiffany has the warmest heart and biggest energy in the little package I have ever seen. She cares about all the girls who come to class, she gives us challenges to take our fun to the next level and she makes me want to do a GREAT job in class. Tiffany inspires me to give it my all, and she is the reason that I love Zumba as much as I do! Thank you, Tiffany.

Meet My Instructor, Tiffany!

7. Zumba is a great stress relief for me. After a long day with a million things on my mind, and another million on my plate for the next day, I can’t wait to take one hour and just let loose. It is one hour that I get to act crazy and silly, and there are days that I certainly need that.

8. Lastly, let’s talk about the results. I have certainly noticed a different in my own body, and several people from class have also noticed results. I get to dance and lose weight? Now that’s a no brainer!

And that my feet are tapping from the Zumba songs playing in my head, I can’t wait to get back to class at My Way Fitness in Oldsmar. I’ll be counting down to Tuesday, when I get to see my Fly Girls again.

And that’s life in a nutshell … working out is great for you, but Zumba is good for my heart too.



If the Shoe Fits: Finding the Perfect Running Shoe

21 Nov

I have been on a mission to find the perfect running shoe for some time. Every time I look, I can never find a shoe that I love that also fits well. So, each time I return home from a trip to Sports Authority or another athletic store, I’m always empty-handed.

And shoes are just a must at this point. Until this weekend, I was wearing tennis shoes from Walmart. A few years back, I had run into Walmart to grab tennis shoes on my way to Port Charlotte. My family and I were handing out PB&J sandwhiches to hurricane victims, and it wasn’t safe to wear sandals.

And even after all the damage from the hurricane was fixed, I’m still wearing these silly tennis shoes. They get the job done, but I really need an upgrade. Especially since PoppaNut and I own a gym now! It’s time to do some investing. Plus, my sister, my aunt, PoppaNut and some other people really want to do a 5K run soon, and I’m not wearing these old shoes for that!

So, this weekend, I ran to Dick’s Sporting Goods, and I was surprised to see so many shoe options. I literally tried on every pair they had in a 6.5, and I walked out with the most amazing Adidas pair. They are bright blue, and I know they are going to be amazing while I’m Zumba-ing around the gym.

And that’s life in a nutshell … finding the perfect pair of tennis shoes was a HUGE highlight of the weekend. My Walmart shoes might still hang out in the closet as a backup pair, but I’m excited to sport a new pair tonight at Zumba.


MLB Chic

14 Jul

So, everyone knows that PoppaNut is a HUGE Yankees fan. In fact, we have an entire room in our home dedicated to the Yankees. From autographed balls to pinstriped M&M’s, this room bleeds blue. And PoppaNut couldn’t love it more.

Since the Yankees have a huge presence in our lives (during the LONG nine-month season), we certainly go to our share of games. PoppaNut usually wears one of his million NY Yankees shirts with his Yankees flip-flops and Yankees watch. Then, there is me. I don’t have a thing to wear. I have two Yankees shirts, but I don’t really love either of them.

So, I went on a hunt. I’m not letting a Yankees game keep my fashion choice down. After some lengthy researching, I found that Victoria’s Secret has Yankees shirts. In fact, they have a ton of MLB clothing for us gals as well as college attire! Problem solved. I ordered one Yankees shirt and one IU shirt (I can’t pass up a shirt dedicated to my alma mater, now can I?). I would have loved to order it all … and since we are only half way through the season, it’s likely I’ll make another purchase soon. Which one would you chose?

And that’s life in a nutshell … see every opportunity as a chance to make your own fashion statement.


Misconceptions about Facials

14 Jun

PoppaNut recently went in for a deep-tissue massage at Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, and he signed us up for the membership package. Basically, you can get a signature facial or massage every month as part of this membership. If you forget to get your treatment during the month, you can get two treatments the next month. GLORIOUS!

My New Face Wash

I immediately made my appointment for a facial. I’m turning 30 soon, and I think I should be taking better care of my skin … and the facial expert seems to agree. Here are the five lessons I learned during my treatment.

1. There Is a Decade Effect: Whatever you did to your skin in your 20s shows up in your 30s and whatever you do to your skin in your 30s will show up in your 40s. Man, can a girl catch a break? I wasn’t thinking about my skin in my 20s! I could literally go to bed with a face full of makeup, touch it up the next morning and head out of the house. Now, I need a skin-care regime.
2. Pillowcases Are the Devil: My esthetician asked me how often I change my pillowcase, and I said once every two weeks. You would have thought I told her that I kill small children for fun by the look on her face. She was mortified! She said, “Think of all the filth that comes off your face when you are sleeping, and you wait 14 days to change the pillowcase? You have got to start changing those more frequently.” Needless to say, PoppaNut and I slept on freshly cleaned sheets that very night.


3. Sunscreen Is Not Always Good: When asked what type of moisturizer I use, I said some generic kind with SPF, and I wear it every day. I was actually proud sharing this fact, because I thought I got this one right for sure. No one can get down on me about my skin, because I wear sunscreen religiously. I was wrong. I had failed this question too. You should never wear sunscreen at night … duh! Whatever is in the moisturizer to keep your skin healthy is basically destroyed by the SPF (I’m not a dermatologist so if you want the real meat and potatoes of this, you’ll have to seek out a professional). So, get a good night cream so you won’t embarrass yourself during your facial.

My Aveeno Moisturizer

4. Don’t Touch Your Face: I have heard this rule before, but I didn’t take it that seriously. Do people really take it to the extreme and say they can never touch their face again? Apparently, they do. My esthetician said to use a knuckle if I needed to touch my face. Oh, that looks so natural … I’m sure no one at work will give me a funny look as I dab my face with my knuckle or the back of my hand. I’m still resistant on this one, but in the interest of full disclosure, I wanted to pass the tip along. Do what you will with it.

5. It’s Time to Upgrade: I’m a sucker for a sales pitch, because as soon as I heard all the things I was doing wrong with my skin, I headed to the nearest Walgreen’s to stock up. I got new cleanser, toner and moisturizer. I’m going to get this right if it is the last thing I do. After all, what you do in your 30s catches up to your skin in your 40s, and I want to be looking good! I learned that my old Clean & Clear is full of alcohol so it was actually drying my skin out. My new products are working GREAT, and I think I can tell a difference.

And that’s life in a nutshell … learning that getting a facial is a lot like getting a cleaning at the dentist; they tell you everything you are doing wrong, but you feel good after you leave.


Crazy about Chi

1 Jun

So, I’m literally in love with a flat iron. If you ladies haven’t heard about the Chi yet, get ready to have your hair world turned upside down! But to really understand my love of a hair product, you have to understand all the pain of the past. Chi

I have weird hair. It’s wavy in the back, even less wavy in the front and never wants to do anything. I bet most of you reading this blog doesn’t even know how long my hair is because I always have it up in some kinda contraption. I’m secretly jealous of all the girls with that perfect straight hair. I know I can’t be the only one with a couple of waves in my hair, so PLEASE tell me how to get my hair straight! Thus, these girls don’t say a word.

Well, the answer comes in three little letters: CHI! It’s the most glorious thing I have ever bought. I had heard about these instruments and even seen them at the salon. I looked all over for one, but it was nearly $150. I just couldn’t justify that kind of purchase … until I started thinking about cutting my hair.

I have been thinking going a little shorter. I’ve pulled two pictures to see what you guys think. Anyway, I knew with short hair, it would be even harder to get it straight. If I was ever going to splurge on it, now was the time. I logged on to my trusty eBay account, and I snagged one for only $60. What a steal!

Hair Option #1

Hair Option #2

This morning, I ran my freshly slept-on hair through the tongs and just like that, the hair heaven opened up and bless me with a great day of hair! It was beautiful … I felt like a movie star. The texture had changed, the color even looked better. I think the Chi changed my hair DNA!

And that’s life in a nutshell … sometimes money can by happiness, especially when eBay is selling Chis!


Bridesmaid Fabric

20 May

So, anyone who knows me knows that I HATE bridesmaid fabric. If someone can explain to me why a bridesmaid dress that costs more than $300 is made of the worst fabric in the world, I would love to hear the reason why. The fabric doesn’t breathe at all! Spending $300 for a dress is a little extreme anyway … and then you top that by making it out of fabric that is not even fit for my window curtains.

Ashley and I forever ago!

And that’s just another reason why I love my cousin Ashley. We recently went shopping for bridesmaid dresses, and she totally understand my hate for that fabric. Ashley is getting married in October and she has asked me to be her maid of honor.

I’m so honored to have the honor! I have never been a maid of honor before. And while I also hate giving speeches, it means so much that she wants me to be a part of her day. So, I was prepared to have to wear the nasty fabric … but this fashionable bride also doesn’t want that fabric at her wedding. So, we did some hunting and we found a great dress. I’m so excited!

Madison, Ashley and Randy

I think I’m most excited about watching Ashley grow up and turn into such an amazing woman. I remember when she was born, and she slept in this beautiful bassinet. As we got older, Ashley and I always spent a lot of time together … we played Barbies, we performed in talent shows, we went swimming together and jumped on trampolines … we drew animal figures on each other’s backs … and then, I went off to college. I didn’t get to see Ashley as much, but that changed again when Ashley moved from Indiana to Florida.

I was looking for a roommate at the time, and the timing was perfect. We looked at a few places and moved into a little apartment with granite countertops (that was HUGE at the time). And we got even closer. Ashley was there when I first started dating Steve, and I was there when she started dating Randy.

Ashley, Brooke, Stephanie and I at my wedding

We often laugh that that apartment is a life-changer. You either get married, have a baby or breakup in that apartment. You move on to your next life change. And all that happened in that apartment. Steve proposed to me in the living room of that apartment. Ashley found out she was pregnant. And I think I few people when through breakups either in the apartment or in the parking lot outside!

The bridesmaid dress I'll wear for Ashley's Big Day

Ashley was a bridesmaid in my wedding, and I’m so happy we got to share that moment together. Now, it is her turn to be the beautiful bride, and I can’t wait to be there … Well, I guess I just wrote my maid of honor speech!

So, that’s life in a nutshell … staying close with your family and sharing special moments by their side … and appreciate when the bride says “NO” to bridesmaid fabric!


Oh, oh, Ocean Prime

17 May

Beep, beep, beep … this noise woke me up out of a deep sleep on Saturday afternoon. It was 3:30 p.m. and I had been taking a little afternoon snooze when my phone alarm woke me up. “How odd,” I thought. “I didn’t set my alarm for 3:30 …”

I was just about to go right back to sleep when I noticed a note, written in PoppyNut’s handwritting. As my eyes began to focus, I read: “I hope you are resting. I’m not at home. You can’t text me or call me. Get dressed to impress and be ready at 4:30. I know you will go crazy trying to decide what to wear (No, I’m not wearing jeans.) So put on your bling and get ready to head out. Go upstairs and shower, but first, go the fridge to get your drink.”

Wow, what is happening? A surprise date night? Now, PoppaNut is great at surprises, and he does a ton of sweet things all the time, so this doesn’t surprise me … but at the say time, WOW! What an amazing treat! What’s even more amazing is that PoppaNut managed to make me a drink, set my alarm, write me a note and take his clothes out to the car without me even noticing!

So, I ran to the fridge, grab my drink and headed upstairs. There, the room was filled with lit candles and a card. I’m going to keep some things private, but the card was very sweet. I took a quick shower, fixed my hair, put on my makeup and went to the closet. What do you wear when you don’t know where you are going? A LBD seemed just right, paired with heals and my Otazu Sex in the City necklace (Carrie wore this necklace in the Sex in the City 2 necklace and now its mine!).

The doorbell rang, and there was PoppaNut … dressed up with a crisp, collared shirt and fresh flowers. It was quite romantic. He took me out on date night, to Ocean Prime in Tampa. We went there on our six-month anniversary as boyfriend and girlfriend, and here we were again. We had the most delicious food … and the best drink. I had a Berries and Bubbles, pictured here. YUMMY!

We took dessert to go … and headed home to spend some quiet time together. It was amazing, and reminds me how lucky I am to have PoppaNut in my life. And that’s life in a nutshell … remembering to surprise your special someone every now and again with a truly wonderful night.


Hello world!

9 May

I’m jumping right into my very first post on Life in a Nutshell. If you want to know more about me, MommaNut, please visit the “About MommaNut” tab. So, here we go.

One of the nutshells in my life is fashion. What is a life without fashion? So, yes, I must write about it here. I found this great new website called Sole Society, a members-only shoe club. If you want a link to join, just email me … I’ll get you in the club.

Basically, you answer a series of questions about your personal style, and Sole Society fills your virtual closet with six pairs of shoes. How fantastic is that! If you see one you like, you can get them shipped directly to you for only $40.

You’ll see my current Sole Society closet. The white ones in the top-left corner are screaming my name. How perfect would those be with a great summer dress at a beachside restaurant. Ummm … where did I put my credit card again?

And that’s life in a nutshell today … the perfect summer shoes found. Find yours at


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