Reading Recommendations 4

Since my 1st reading recommendations post, my 2nd one and 3rd one, I have read (or listened to on audiobook on my way to work) some more great books to share with you! These are the ones that I would recommend!!

The Hunt, The Pray, The Trap

Don’t Sweat.  Don’t Laugh.  Don’t draw attention to yourself.  And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them.

Gene is different from everyone else around him.  He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood.  Gene is a human, and he knows the rules.  Keep the truth a secret.  It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.

When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him.  He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?

–> another vampire book? Yup, I was a little skeptical at first too, but I really liked this series. And it’s different from the typical vampires stories. A fun read with lots of twists in the trilogy series.

Absolute Power – David Baldacci

In a heavily guarded mansion in a posh Virginia suburb, a man and a woman start to make love, trapping Luther Whitney, a career break-in artist, behind a secret wall. Then the passion turns deadly, and Luther is running into the night. Because what he has just seen is a brutal murder involving Alan Richmond, the president of the United States, the man with…Absolute Power.

–> oh man – awesome read. Great twists, turns and shockers.

After Her – Joyce Maynard

Marin County, California, summer, 1979. When young women start turning up dead on the mountain behind the home of Rachel and her devoted eleven-year-old sister, Patty, their father—a larger-than-life, irresistibly handsome (and chronically unfaithful) detective—is put in charge of finding the “Sunset Strangler.” Watching her father’s life slowly unravel as months pass and more women are killed, Rachel embarks on a dangerous game to catch the killer. Her actions will destroy her father’s career and alter forever the lives of everyone she loves. Thirty years later, believing that the wrong man was arrested for the crimes, leaving the true killer at large, Rachel constructs a new strategy to smoke out the Sunset Strangler and vindicate her father—and discovers more than she bargained for.

Loosely inspired by the Trailside Killer case, After Her is part thriller, part love story—a poignant, suspenseful, and painfully real family saga that traces a young girl’s first sexual explorations, the loss of innocence, the bond shared by sisters, and the tender but damaged relationship between a girl and her father that endures even beyond the grave.

–> a very thoughtful book. . . one that you will think about long after reading.

The One – Kiera Cass


The Selection changed America Singer’s life in ways she never could have imagined. Since she entered the competition to become the next princess of Illéa, America has struggled with her feelings for her first love, Aspen—and her growing attraction to Prince Maxon. Now she’s made her choice . . . and she’s prepared to fight for the future she wants.

Find out who America will choose in The One, the enchanting, beautifully romantic third book in the Selection series!

–> Love love love this book and this entire Selection Series. Such a chick flick but a great, quick, cute read.

Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant – Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

–> so unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve probably at least heard of this series, maybe have read the books or seen the movie..  . well, I might be the first person ever to say that I didn’t love them. Well, not exactly. . . I really enjoyed Divergent, but it went downhill after that. Insurgent was just ok and Allegiant was totally boring for me. Oh well, you can’t win them all. BUT, I am still going to see the movies. Winking smile

Read any good books lately???

Linking up with Amanda today for Thinking Out Loud!!

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Day in the life: AdvoCare max phase {details + eats}

Max phase is the last 14 days of the 24 day AdvoCare challenge. And each day is the same in terms of what you should be eating and what supplements you take.

The max phase supplement is the MNS 3 –> from the AdvoCare website:

MNS™ 3 is our most comprehensive system. Not only will you benefit from appetite control, you will also receive the best core nutrition as we have added CardioQ, Calcium Plus and an additional OmegaPlex® to this system.* MNS™ 3 offers sustained-release energy, which means energy that will last throughout the day.* And with less than half the caffeine of MNS™ E and MNS™ C, it’s a fantastic alternative for anyone looking for a lower-caffeine MNS™ system.* For energy, appetite control and overall outstanding core nutrition and wellness, MNS™ 3 is your answer.*

Basically, it is a great support of the nutrition you are putting in your body with clean eating, and helps to make sure that your body is running on all cylinders.

I love it because it helps me control my appetite, gives me a TON of energy and helps me increase my athletic performance. I notice that I don’t have that afternoon energy slump. I am not thinking about raiding the vending machine or the fridge at home. I can lift heavier weights in bodypump and have a faster pace when running. Seriously, what’s not to love, right?

Anyway, I know that the AdvoCare challenge can sound overwhelming, so I wanted to share a typical day of the max phase with you to see what it exactly entails – pills + food + snacks + workout.

Here is a typical (for me) max phase day of eats and pills ..  .



+ morning pills –>

Before Breakfast Color Packet
Calcium Plus – 2 caplets
ActoTherm SR – 1 caplet
ProBiotic Restore™ Ultra – 1 capsule


+ 2 catalyst 


Breakfast: smoothie with frozen bananas, vanilla almond milk and spoonful of almond butter.


+ breakfast pills.

CorePlex® – 3 caplets
CardioQ – 1 capsule
OmegaPlex® – 2 softgels


Morning snack: apple with almond butter


MNS Max 3 pills – take 30 minutes before lunch.

Before Lunch Color Packet
Calcium Plus – 2 caplets
BioTherm – 2 capsules


Lunch: Chicken salad – diced chicken, grapes, celery and avocado.


and cashews.


Afternoon snack: hummus and carrot sticks


+ 2 catalyst before teaching BP + spark while teaching… 


Dinner: Hummus chicken and sweet potato “fries”


Not too earth shattering, right? That’s what I like about it. Good, clean food that makes me feel better and top of the line supplements to help support my body.

I am on the last week of my 24 day challenge, but if you are interested in doing a challenge, we have another group challenge coming up in November.


And you guys, this one is amazing timing – you start AFTER Halloween and end BEFORE Thanksgiving. <—if you have been thinking about doing a challenge, now is the time.

You won’t regret it, I promise (AND AdvoCare has a money back guarantee), so seriously, do it. Smile 

Email me ( for details or questions.

And last AdvoCare thing. . . they just released this:


I know, right?! They will sell out, so if you want to try it, order now.

Linking up with Peas & Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday!!


Filed under advocare, Recap, Recipes

TYT #14–Mankato Marathon spectator edition

So, even though I have run 2 full marathons and a lot of half marathons, I have never spectated a race!

So, while I was bummed to not be running any of the races during Mankato Marathon’s weekend, I was excited to show my support to my fellow runners. Bonus for my BODYPUMP participants who were running too!

Our house is just down from the race course and the race has one big loop – so we were able to see everyone near the start at mile 1 and then see the marathoners again about mile 16.

I had my “BODYPUMP strong” sign ready to go!


Cheers for spark. Smile 


We brought gummy bears. . . although Luke thought they were for him. Only the red ones though. . . Winking smile 


And Scott held a Kleenex box. . .


I don’t think I’ve heard so many . . .

I love you

Great idea

Thank you

You’re the best

Awesome idea

You’re a life saver

Best. Idea. Ever.


And the look on the runners faces when I said “gummy bears” was priceless. At mile 16, a hit of sugar is just what is needed. . . I remember that from the Des Moines half marathon, when a spectator was handing them out. .. I don’t think a gummy bear has ever tasted so good!

I ran a little ways with a couple of my bodypump people. It was SO amazing to see them out on the course, running their race, and going after it.

So inspiring.

It was an amazing morning.

I can’t wait to do it again!

Have you ever spectated a race?

Linking up with Becky for TYT – this was an unexpected and awesome treat for my weekend!!


Filed under Recap, Running

Weekend Update: 10/19/14

First, I mustache you a question. . ..


How was your weekend? LOL. Luke did NOT like this moustache on his face and ripped it off two seconds after the picture was taken. #keepingitreal

Friday it was chill and WINDY. Seriously in 5 miles, I almost got blown backwards at least a dozen times and Luke complained about the wind blowing his face. . . I know, bud, Mommy’s trying. . . But we completed 5 miles together and felt better because of it.


Our first family movie night on Friday – Ratatouille! And popcorn. Smile 


Epic pancake fail on Saturday morning… Paleo coconut pancakes – NOT good. Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I had a recipe fail SO bad that we had to throw it away. #majorfail


Thankfully, the farmer’s market was a success.


After “baking” with energy balls. . . and they are already all gone. Yup, that good!


And the best run I’ve had in a long time. Beautiful weather. Fall trees. Great pace. 10k done.



And, you guys, I seriously cannot stop wearing these fabletics pants. <love>


A boy + stick + water = hours of entertainment.


Sign for Mankato Marathon (full details of spectating the race on Tuesday!!)


And pancake (well waffles) for redemption on Sunday. Thanks again for the awesome (and AdvoCare challenge friendly) mix Jennie and Ryan!!


It was SO nice out on Sunday. We were outside all afternoon. . . well after the football game of course. go Pack go. Smile 




And in honor of marathon day, I had to rock out my Winter Carnival t-shirt from the Frozen half marathon in 2005! (Remember that one, Sue?!!)


And since we ate all the energy balls, a little more baking. And these are amazing. You would never guess the “secret” ingredient!


And then typical Sunday night stuff – dinner, bath time, laundry, getting ready for the week and early bedtime!

Hope you had a great one! What were you up to??

And because it was pretty marvelous, I am linking up with Katie for Marvelous in my Monday!


Filed under advocare, Recap, Recipes, Running, weekend update

Friday Favorites: Happy 10th Birthday Abby

On Wednesday it was Abby’s 10th birthday!


I cannot believe that my baby girl is 10 years old.


And looking at her, you would have no idea! She always has a toy in her mouth. Can still run without skipping a beat. And has never lost her puppy energy!

In honor of her birthday, (and because it’s Friday!), I put together a little list of my favorite things Abby reminds me of every day.

#1. Keep begging. You never know when all your perseverance will pay off.


and how cute is this “Pup-kin” spiced latte treat cup? Laura sent it for Abby’s birthday. Adorable.

#2. Enjoy the little things. A new toy. Licking Luke’s leftovers. An extra belly scratch. Chasing wild turkeys. Laying in the sunshine.


#3. Your never too old to snuggle.


#4. There is always room on the couch for one more.


#5. Eat every meal like it’s your last.

#6. Any run where you can be off leash is a great one.


Usually that means we are on an awesome trail in the woods away from busy roads and people and those are some of the best runs.

Happy Birthday to my first baby!!


And happy Friday to you!! Any plans for the weekend?

Linking up with Heather and Claire this week!

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Fall post round-up

Just popping in today to share with you a recap of some of my favorite fall posts – recipes, crafts and running! Enjoy. . .

Pumpkin bars with salted caramel cream cheese frosting

Pumpkin Bars 003_1

Halloween Trail Mix


Mini pumpkin muffins


Halloween baby craft project <—one of my all-time-favorites


DIY Fall Craft


Why I love fall running


And with lots of fall races coming up . . . my favorite spectator tips.

What are your fall favorites??


Filed under crafts, Recap, Recipes, Running

24DC Eats {clean eating}

Looking for some new clean-eating meal ideas? Whether you are doing an AdvoCare challenge, just love clean eating or you want to eat better, here are some things I’ve been eating (or am planning on making) during my most recent AdvoCare 24 day challenge. ..

Of course, these favorites from my 10 day challenge eats. . .

plus –>

Slow cooker curried pineapple chicken

Recipes by Ryann: Slow Cooker Curried Pineapple Chicken

Chicken avocado soup

Chicken Avocado Soup

Clean eating Thai chicken stir fry

Clean Eating Thai Chicken Stir Fry

Spaghetti squash pad Thai

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai from Lexi's Clean Kitchen

Pesto chicken spaghetti squash bake

Pesto Chicken Paleo Spaghetti (5)

Mustard balsamic baked chicken with roasted vegetables

Mustard Balsamic Baked Chicken with Roasted Vegetables - using boneless skinless chicken breasts and omitting potatoes (or swapping for sweet potatoes)

Taco lettuce wraps

Taco lettuce wraps

Chia seed pudding

Chia Seed Pudding Recipe- 4 ingredients, just mix and refrigerate. So easy and HEALTHY

Vegan banana ice cream

Only 4 ingredients: almond milk, frozen bananas, vanilla, and cinnamon.

Are you drooling yet? That’s what I love about clean-eating. . . it’s delicious. Smile

Have you made any amazing recipes lately??

Linking up with Peas & Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday!!

And finally, the winner of the Rese Activewear giveaway is lucky #4 – Joyce! Congratulations!!


Filed under advocare, Recap, Recipes

TYT #13 – Lulu + Athleta + Fabletics

So, remember a few weeks ago when we went to the Mall of America and I totally teased you with these pics on instagram? And on Friday with my Fabletics package?


And now, I’ve totally been holding out on you with what I ended up getting. I’m sorry. Please forgive me?  Smile

Here’s the goods. . .

Crystal Chaturanga™ Tight –> in polka dots. adorable. And bonus – they are reversible!! I actually haven’t had a chance to wear them yet. . . the weather has been too nice! But pretty sure MN is going to change that asap with snow in the forecast! <—btw – wtf?


Colorblock Chi Tank. Love the 2 colors of this tank.

Perfect for running.


And teaching BP. . . and supervising hand washing.


Cool Raceback from Lululemon – in hyper stripe mauvelous heathered black


Another staple – I already have 2 of these tanks. Great long length, comfy, and flattering. And of course I love the slight hint of pink in the stripes.


And my most favorite thing – these lima capris from Fabletics.


Love doesn’t even begin to describe them! I wore them for a run to try them out. Perfection. Didn’t move once. I wore them to bodypump in the park the next day. Again, didn’t move at all, plus I got compliments on them in class. Score.


Total keepers and I probably need to get another pair!

So, I didn’t break the bank. But got 4 pieces that I know will be some of my favorite workout pieces.

And love love love that both stores have a fitness instructor discount. FTW. Smile

Have you purchased any good fitness gear lately?

Oh, and if you like to buy gear from Reebok – check out this Groupon right now –> $25 for $50 Towards All Merchandise from (Thanks to Annette for letting me know about it!

Linking up with Becky for TYT!!


Filed under Fashion, Recap

Weekend Update: 10/12/14

Hey Monday. Craziness.

We were busy this weekend. And it was a nice busy. Not with anything that HAD to be done, but things that we wanted to do. And that’s the best kind of busy.

Luke and I went to the St. Peter Co-op.


My favorite snack. Apple chunks and almond butter.


Run. In my new Fabletics capris – more details in Treat Yourself Tuesday tomorrow. ..  (spoiler alert – they are the best capris ever!)


Dinner – spaghetti squash with ground turkey, onions and spaghetti sauce.


Saturday morning = snuggles. Love that he comes in our room first thing in the morning when he wakes up with his favorite stuffed animal (Dr. Jack puppy), his blanket and pillow to snuggle.


Went to an awesome event here in town put on by Howe-To Fitness. Their launch of BODYPUMP 91 – outside! So. much. fun.


Followed by a 4 mile run with this turkey.


Sent out some Jamberry samples (<—have you tried them? If not, email me at and I’ll get you a free sample!)


And then a trip to the apple orchard. . .


And then tons of errands. . . Sam’s Club, Cub Foods, Target, Kohls. . .

and finally Chipotle. Selfies while we waited in line.


Sunday morning was a beautiful 50 degrees and sunny. Headed out for 4 miles.


And Sunday afternoon meals football + food prep.


And OMG the last 2 minutes of the Packers vs Dolphins = amazing. Go Pack Go. Smile

Apple chips!


Puppy naps.


Apple carrot juice for the family. (5 big carrot sticks, 1 apple + 1/2 lemon)


Family walk.  . . to the park.


And then typical Sunday night stuff – dinner, bath time, laundry, getting ready for the week and early bedtime! Smile

Hope you had a great one! What were you up to??

And because it was pretty marvelous, I am linking up with Katie for Marvelous in my Monday!


Filed under body pump, Running, weekend update

Friday Favorites: 10/10/14

Whew. Friday. Thank goodness. Right?

Looking forward to a weekend with a short to-do list and time to recover from the week!

Here are my favs from this week:


**Trying new recipes – Hummus crusted chicken and butternut squash soup – both delicious and super easy and challenge friendly. win. Smile


**My immersion blender.


Bonus points because it’s pink and my sister, Jenny, gave it to me (thanks Jen!). The butternut squash soup recipe called for me to put it from the crockpot into the blender. Ummm heck no, I just put my immersion blender right in the crockpot and woosh = soup. <love>

**Fun tags on Instagram. Danielle tagged me for a #widn (What I’m Doing Now) and so I snapped this picture.


Dinnertime in our house. Luke “helping”, pants optional. Winking smile

**Making protein balls. And trying a new to me protein powder from Protein Milk Shake Bar (<– how cute is that name?).


I love mixing up protein balls for a quick snack before my workouts. Usually, I use AdvoCare’s post-workout recovery (in chocolate!), but they were nice enough to send me a sample to check out and try their chocolate mousse flavor.

I just mix drippy almond butter, protein powder and unsweetened shredded coconut together.


You want them to seem a little dry, the more you mix, the softer they will become until you are able to shape them into balls.



I often use my hands to combine all the ingredients and that tends to be easier and faster. Add in a little more almond butter if you need more “liquid” and more protein powder if you need more dry ingredients.

I’ll admit that I am partial to the AdvoCare post workout recovery – their chocolate flavor is super delicious, but I liked the Protein Milk Shake Bars chocolate mousse flavor too, it was a bit more protein powder-y. . .but I really want to try their cupcake batter, that would be right up my alley!

**This package from Fabletics.


Don’t worry, I’ll share pics and my thoughts as soon as I have a chance to check them out!! Smile

With the assistance of my husband – aka the random number generator –> the winner of the Krusteaz giveaway is ..  . lucky #2 – Becky!


And don’t forget to enter my Rese Activewear giveaway for a pair of awesome capris!!

What are you up to this weekend? What made you smile this week??

Linking up with Heather and Claire this week!

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Filed under advocare, Challenge, Friday, Recap, Recipes