Friday Favorites: 5 things survey

Happy Friday!

I’m Looking forward to another weekend with no plans! I teach pump tomorrow morning (8:15 at the YMCA for the locals) and then nothing! Thinking about taking Luke to movie, getting some runs in and trying a few new recipes.

I saw this survey on Becky’s blog last week. .  . and you know I love a good survey! Smile 

Five Places I’m Dying to Visit


  1. All of the Saint Islands. . . we went to St. Lucia on our honeymoon and it’s on my travel to-do list to go to ALL of them! Up next I think is St. Martin or St. Thomas
  2. Disney
  3. New York City 
  4. Savannah, Georgia
  5. Seattle, Washington

Five Foods I Eat Every Day


  1. Smoothie
  2. Turkey
  3. Apple
  4. Peanut Butter
  5. Cashews

Five Talents I Wish I Had

    1. Singing  
    2. Better memory  
    3. Fashion  
    4. Flexibility  
    5. Dancing

Five Bloggers I Wish Would Cook For Me Every Day

    1. Iowa Girl Eats
    2. Pinch of Yum
    3. Making Thyme for Health
    4. Greens & Chocolate
    5. Damn Delicious

Five Songs I Listen To On Repeat


  1. John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 – Keith Urban  
  2. The latest BODYPUMP release
  3. Crash and Burn – Thomas Rhett
  4. Hey Girl – Billy Currington
  5. Whatever is on the I Heart Radio Keith Urban station. Smile 

Five Beauty Products I Use Every Day


  1. Pure hyaluronic acid serum <—my new favorite
  2. Bath and Bodyworks body lotion
  3. Chapstick
  4. Big paddle hairbrush
  5. Clarisonic Mia brush

Five Movies I Can Watch On Repeat

  1. Elf
  2. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
  3. Pretty Woman
  4. A Few Good Men
  5. Any Friends episode

Five Books On My Current Reading List


  1. I’m currently reading Reconstructing Amelia
  2. and listening to Scarlet on audiobook (part of the Lunar Chronicles)
  3. In the water they can’t see you cry – Amanda Beard
  4. All the days of my life (so far) – Alison Sweeny
  5. Talking with my mouth full – Gail Simmons

Five Random Things I Ate Yesterday


  1. Peanut butter cookie lara bar
  2. Salad with spicy pickles <—sounds strange but was super good!
  3. Leftover cornbread muffin
  4. 1/2 girl scout cookie granola bar (shared with Scott)
  5. Fiber chews

Your turn! Answer any of the questions above!

Whatcha up to this weekend??

Linking up with Friday fun with Heather!

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Filed under Friday, Recap

BODYPUMP 96 {review!}

So, as you all know, I am a Les Mills BODYPUMP instructor and I teach a few times a week at  the YMCA in Mankato!


If you aren’t familiar with BODYPUMP, check out my “what is BODYPUMP? post.” And find a class near you.

Interested in becoming an instructor? Check out my posts about that too.

Every quarter, Les Mills puts together new moves and music for the latest release.I think that it almost always takes me a few times of doing a new release before I really love it. Now, there is usually a song or two that just aren’t my favorite for whatever reason. . . but overall, I really have enjoyed all the releases so far.

I took my training on BODYPUMP 84.

Since then, I have learned the releases since then – 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95 and now 96. (Other reviews here) I also have learned 64, 80, 82 and 83, since some other instructors at the YMCA had those training DVDs.

So, after teaching it for a few weeks, here are my thoughts on the very latest release. . .


#1: Warm up – “Five More Hours”

Great warm up song. I love singing along – “we’re just getting started. . .” Nice mix of the standard moves to get the body ready for the workout. And I love when they put power presses in the warm up – great full body move to get the body going.

#2: Squats – “Blow Your Mind”

Standard squat track with 3 sets in our 3 different stances. I like the 1/2/1 combo – you can really feel the burn and then you hit it home with bottom halves!

#3: Chest – “Immortals”

*Our classes are so big at the YMCA that we don’t have enough weights for people to do the A-press, so I teach this one with the bar and it. is. killer. and. awesome. I also love when they mix pushups into the track. It really helps to break up the track and isolate the pecs for a killer chest track.

#4: Back – “The Thrill”

Meh. This is probably my least favorite track of this release. It gets the job done and I like the combo of the standard back track moves. It’s a back to basics back track. And that’s always a good thing.

#5: Triceps – “Hallelujah”

Love this song and love this track. The combo of extension, dips and pushups = awesome triceps isolation. And it’s such an inspiring song that you can’t help but give it your all.

#6: Biceps – “Wobble

Hands down, this is my new all time favorite song/track. I dare you not to smile while doing this one! And I have to sing along – ooh ooh baby!! Bonus points for being a good bicep workout – love the combo of bicep row + pulses.

#7:  Lunges – “Peanut Butter Jelly”

Such a naughty song, but I still love it. It has a great beat and it perfect for lunges. I really like that we pulse THEN do more lunges afterwards. My calves are feeling it when the 5 minutes are done! And that last set of squats?! – whoa burning quads!

#8: Shoulders – “Addicted to a  Memory”

At first, I was sad that there were no pushups in this track, but OMG, all of those overhead presses kill it. I’m a fan of rear deltoid raises so I love that the track starts with a nice long set of those.

#9: Core – “Want to Want Me ”

I think this is one of the more challenging core tracks we’ve had in a while. The pulse crunches are killer and great for core isolation.

#10: Cool down – “Adore”

Standard cool down/stretch. Good ending to a great release!


Overall, I thought this was a really strong release. Good music. A great mix of back to basics and BODYPUMP awesomeness. Lots of quick transitions with minimal breaks and making every rep count.

But, I am already excited about seeing what’s in store for BP97! Music is coming out this weekend!!

Have you done BP96??? What did you think?


Filed under body pump

Wednesday Things

Seriously? It’s already Wednesday? I guess that’s a good thing, right? Friday is almost here.  .. happy dance.

Life has been life over here lately. Just the usual things. . .

teaching bodypump.


playing in the snow (we got 9 inches last Tuesday!)



making carrot/apple/lemon juice. . . Luke’s favorite thing to make and drink right now!


enjoying some down time with abby puppy.


these two. . .


enjoying 40 degree weather with a family run.


gearing up for the next big AdvoCare challenge.


early morning GRIT class that kicks my bootay every time!


so that’s been life lately and I’ve been loving every minute of it. Smile 

What have you been up to??


Filed under Abby, advocare, body pump, Luke, Recap, Running

Friday Favorites: Blizzard!

Happy Friday!! Anyone else pumped that it’s almost the weekend??

Other than teaching BODYPUMP tomorrow morning, we don’t have any plans and I am loving it. Smile

On Tuesday this week we had a fun day of snow. Pretty much everything around here closed early because of the snow + wind. When I picked Luke up from school he said “Mom, there is a major blizzard out there!!”

I was able to pick him up early and we came home and he played and played and played. I couldn’t help but smile that he was playing on the beach with sand earlier this week and then he was just as happy in the snow in our front yard.





Abby had fun too.



It was the perfect afternoon with no other obligations and just having the time to play.


And then Luke went out again to “help” Dad shovel. . . aka more snow play time. Winking smile


And now off to work and then the weekend!

Have a great one! Whatcha up to??

Linking up with Friday fun with Heather!

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Filed under Abby, Friday, Luke, Recap

Key West, Florida. . . Trip Recommendations

So, as you know, we just got back from 10 days in Key West, Florida.

Key West

And I know that some of you are planning trips to Key West and so I thought I’d share what we did and recommendations for your trip!

What we did

The Beach. We went to Smathers Beach, which we really enjoyed. It never seemed too busy and it was easy to park and walk right onto the beach.


The Conch Train Tour.


We waited until the last day to do this one. . . which was silly, we learned a lot of things about the Island that we wished we would have known earlier. So, if you are thinking about doing a tour – do it in the first few days. As with any tour, it is totally dependent on the personality of the tour guide. The first guy we had for the first half was just ok. . . we ended up hopping off at one of the stops to do some shopping and lunch on Duval Street and then the second guy we had was really good.

Wandering on Duval Street. We did this at least once per day. . . shopping, people watching, and food.


The Butterfly Conservatory. This is the #1 attraction on Trip Advisor, so Luke and Aunt Jenny checked it out. And per Jenny, it was a little bit of a let down. It was busy, hot and not as cool as she expected. . . and Luke only lasted about 15 minutes before wanting to be done. . .


Visited the Southermost Point. Because, when in Key West. . .


And the beginning/end of Highway 1. . . . because I’m married to a traffic engineer.


And the sunset at Mallory Square. Tip – get there about an hour before sunset to watch the performers.


Eating Key Lime Pie – that’s an activity, right? Smile We tried many different places – and I think our favorite was from the Key Lime Pie Co.


Where we ate

We ate at A LOT of places. . .some great, some good and some not very good. I’m just going to highlight the great places!

Garbo’s Grill. <—EAT HERE!


The best meal we had the whole trip and we ate here twice. It’s actually just a little food truck that serves delicious food. And make sure to double check their hours, because they aren’t always open. And they will close early if it’s raining.

Santiago’s Bodega. The best dinner we had on the Island. Tapas style dining. And do me a favor – get the burrata.


Coffee Plantation. The Almond Joy latte – hot or iced – was delicious.


Glazed Donuts. And don’t miss the Southernmost Donut Shop. Scott loved the key lime pie donut and I thought the tangerine cream was amazing.


Frita’s Cuban Burger Café. This was another fun place to eat – we got a bunch of different items from the menu and then shared everything. The overall winner though was the Cuban burger.


Key Plaza Creperie. Totally random location in a strip mall on the other side of Key West from Duval Street. While it was spendy, the crepes were delicious.


Smoothie Shuttle. We went here pretty much every day. The perfect afternoon snack while wandering around. Get the Planet B.


Where we stayed

I used VRBO and found a 3 bedroom condo that would fit my family + our extended family.


It was on Stock Island, which is the next island up from Key West and ended up being a 15 minute drive to Duval Street. That ended up working well for our family. We had a great view and enjoyed spending time at the condo.


And let’s be honest, the view from the master shower was ah-mazing. Smile 


But if you are interested in hanging out on Duval Street a lot, I would make sure and stay on Key West within walking distance of Duval, because the drive + parking can be annoying.

And now we are onto planning our next vacation. . . Smile Any recommendations?


Filed under Recap, vacation

Tuesday Update

Hey there! How’s your week going?

We got back early Sunday morning from Florida. . .


and now I am just waiting for the snow to start. We are supposed to get a lot of snow + crazy blowing wind.

Our last few days in Key West were really nice. . .

a lot of this. . .


And time with family. and coffee. Smile 


beach time.


and soaking in sunshine. . . with Scott’s parents – Way and Lee.



And then back to reality. . . running in long sleeves, gloves and bundling Luke up. . . yup, he’s sleeping in there. Winking smile 


We came back to a fridge that had turned off (what???), and so while Scott cleaned it out, I went to the grocery store to fill it back up.


and snagged some pretty flowers.


And Luke and I made carrot/apple/lemon juice. Love that combo. So good!


Looking forward to dinner tonight. . .

Beef Taco Bowls are quick and healthy - just 20 minutes from fridge to table!:

and watching the snow fall. Smile 

Hope you are having a good start to the week! Any highlights so far??

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Filed under Recap, vacation

Friday Favorites: Key West Moments

Happy Friday from Key West. . . yup, still here. Smile


Soaking in a little bit more of the Florida warmth and sunshine before heading back to MN tomorrow and back to snow and cold. . .

But here are a few of my favorite moments from this week. . .

Hot tub time. . . because even though it’s been in the 70s, the regular pool is still chilly. . . but the hot tub is perfect to hang and play.


Sleeping snuggles. Luke’s been playing SO hard during the day that by the time we get to dinner, he is done and has been falling asleep on the way to dinner. And since my busy boy almost never sits still for snuggling anymore, I have been taking full advantage.


Running! Even though it is “c0ld” here by Florida standards, I’ve still been sweating my face off. . . and loving it. Smile


And I cannot get enough of this view of the ocean from the master bath shower.


Beach time. #perfection


Luke having time with Grandma Mary. . .


And Grandpa Lee and Grandma Way. So wonderful that he can build some memories with them.


Off to the beach. Enjoy your Friday and the weekend! Smile

Have a great one! Whatcha up to??

Linking up with Friday fun with Heather![ And sending virtual hugs to her. XOXO. inlinkz_linkup id=602950 mode=1]


Filed under Friday, Recap, vacation

Weekending in Key West

Hello from Key West . . . well technically, Stock Island, we rented a condo right on the ocean and it is fabulous. We are down here for 9 days <—longest vacation I’ve ever taken! And my family came down for the first few days.

Started off with coffee. The almond joy latte was excellent!


And doughnuts!




It was cold (60s), rainy and windy.  . . but better than 10 degrees back in MN!




Saturday + more coffee. Usually I hate going to Starbucks when we are on vacation and there are tons of local places to check out, but this was just easier. And the barista wrote a nice message on my cup. Smile And we got to hear some locals talking and that was fun.


Running. With my favorite boy. Next to the ocean. Perfection.


Luke and Jenny went on the Conch train tour.


Scott continues to try to catch a rooster. . .


Laura and my Mom.


Mallory Square.






Amazing dinner at a little hole in the wall Cuban place.


Sunday was beach day. The sun came out and it was a beautiful day.



I had to apologize for the beach nudity . .





And then since the beach was a little over 4 miles from the condo, my sisters took Luke back and Scott and I ran back. . .


And then last night we ate at Santiago’s Bodega which I would highly recommend. . . tapas style dining. I think we got 16 dishes total and shared them all between the 5 of us.


And now my sisters and Mom just hit the road back to the airport and we are enjoying the sunrise over the ocean. We have a few days alone, before Scott’s family joins us for our last few days here. Hoping for some good runs, beach time and a few more good meals.

Hope you had a great one. . . what were you up to?

I am linking up with Katie (and Erin) for Marvelous in my Monday!


Filed under Recap, Running, vacation, weekend update

Friday Favorites: Florida

Hey! Happy Friday!!

Yesterday, we got up super early (like super super early – 2:15am)


and caught a flight to Miami


and then drove down to Key West.


We didn’t waste any time soaking in the views from our condo and hitting the pool.


Cheers (with my Mom) to vacation.


Back on Monday with some highlights. Smile

Now, off to the weekend. . .

Have a great one! Whatcha up to??

Linking up with Friday fun with Heather!


Filed under Friday, vacation

Weekending. . . surviving the cold

Hello there. Happy Monday. Smile 

I really really hope that it’s warmer there than it is in MN this morning. –11 when I headed to BODYPUMP and currently –6 as I drink my smoothie in front of the fire. . . .


This weekend was short and sweet. I had to work on Saturday and Sunday, but was able to sneak in a few treadmill runs and some fun in between.

Luke and I checked out a new juice place in town – WYSIWYG Juice Co.



OMG it was amazing. And this almond milk. the best I’ve ever had!


And I came home to this beautiful sight. . . I am super excited to start checking out some new to me performance elite products – starting with mass impact and arginine extreme. Spoiler alert – used them both this morning with pump and I definitely noticed a difference. . . full report after I’ve been using them for a few weeks.


Getting pictures at work of Scott and Luke running errands. . . seriously, who’s kid is that?!


And then rest of the weekend was spent like this. . . hot chocolate + Scandal <—newest obsession. SO good!!


And Sunday night was dinner with friends. . . no pictures, just a great time catching up, laughing and eating dessert pizza.

And that was my weekend. . .

I’m spending the day hanging out with this guy. . .


And getting ready for Florida! Thankfully, Luke packed himself and is ready to go! Winking smile 


Hope you had a great one. . . what were you up to? Please tell me it’s warmer where you are!

I am linking up with Katie (and Erin) for Marvelous in my Monday!


Filed under advocare, body pump, Recap, weekend update