Monthly Archives: August 2014

Friday Favorites: 8/29/14

O.M.G. is anyone else ridiculously excited for the long weekend?

We decided to make it extra long by taking today off. We are headed to the MN State Fair. Fun fact – Luke has been there every year since he’s been born (and even one year in my belly!).

And then after the fair, we are headed up to the Lake for a long weekend. The only thing on the to-do list is to make fruit pizza!

Anyway, here are a few of the things that made my week awesome. . .


BP91 <– it’s here!! I haven’t had a chance to do the class yet (maybe this weekend?) but I am loving the music so far!


Early morning bodypump class. <– OK, so I really really really don’t like getting up early. My alarm going off at 4:40AM is pretty much the worst thing ever. BUT after I get to the YMCA, get the music going and start the workout.. . amazing. Watching the sunrise through the windows of the aerobics studio during the hour = perfection. And the way I feel after class – it makes getting up so early *almost* worth it. Winking smile


Grass <– since we moved in ummmmm 6 months ago, we have had a dirt pile as our front yard. After dealing with muddy paws for 6+ months, grass in our front yard is SO exciting. Oh man, I never thought I would be commenting in a blog post about how much I love grass.  . .


Family runs <– always a highlight.


Hope you had a great week – what made it awesome for you?? And plans for the long weekend??

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Spreading the link love by linking up with Heather and Claire again this week.


Filed under body pump, Friday

How I learn BODYPUMP

So, you guys know about my love for BODYPUMP, right?

And how I became an instructor about 1 1/2 years ago?

And, you may or may not know, BODYPUMP is a Les Mills class that has specific choreography and moves with it’s own music.

And they have new releases that come out every 3 months. So, every 3 months, I get an exciting package in the mail with a new BODYPUMP DVD + music.


And then, I have to learn everything on that DVD and get ready to teach my class. And so today, I wanted to share with you the steps that I do to learn new choreography every 3 months. . .

#1. Listen to the music. Like all the time. In the car, on my runs, hanging around the house.

#2. Do the DVD Master Class. ‘’


#3. Do it again.

#4. Listen to the music and review the choreography. x 10 (I love to run on the treadmill while reviewing choreography –> BP music is great to run to AND it is easy to look at the choreography while running.)


#5. Do the master class again.

#6. Prepare notes for class.


At the YMCA where I work, we are allowed to use sheets on the floor in front of us to help in case we have a mental break. I know not all clubs will allow you to do that. ..  otherwise, I would keep the notes book by my music and take a quick glance at it before each track.

#7. Practice. I teach the class (by myself) using my notes and my music. Figure out which counts I am still having a problem with.  .  . sometimes watch/do the master class DVD again to help work through those trouble spots.

#8. Final class run through.

#9. Teach.

#10. Teach again. I usually teach the new release at least a few times in a row so I really get comfortable with the music, timing and teaching.


And then, start again when the new music comes again in 3 months! Smile


Want more BODYPUMP posts? Check out my BP page!!

Linking up with Amanda today for Thinking Out Loud!!


Filed under body pump, Recap

AdvoCare Product Update

So since I am still pretty new to AdvoCare and all their products, I am trying to check out their products to see which ones I like the best and want to use. . .

So, I thought I would share with you the recent products that I have tried, and what I think. . .

SLAM in bowl game berry = YUM! I love this stuff.


I keep it in my desk drawer at work for those afternoons when I need a pick-me-up and don’t want to hit the vending machine.

Vanilla MRS (meal replacement shake)


I really don’t like artificial flavors or the protein powder taste, so the first time I made this (because I was nervous about the taste) I mixed it with bananas, milk and a spoonful of nut butter.


The verdict – the vanilla flavor was nice. Not overpowering. My shake got a bit thick – I think it was because I mixed it with so many things. . .next time, I would do just milk (or almond milk) OR water with frozen berries. perfect for a quick, balanced breakfast or lunch on the go.

Raspberry MRS


Didn’t get thick like vanilla. I mixed mine with water and frozen raspberries. I don’t love raspberry shakes – but I think that’s what this tasted like. It was good, but not my personal favorite.

SLIM – very similar to slam. . . I didn’t love the flavor (tropical swirl) as much, but it provided a good pick-me-up and is good for appetite control. . . but I think I would stick with SLAM.


Post-workout recovery mix in chocolate.


As I said before when I have tried protein powder, I’ve hated it. So, I was nervous about this one too. I made a shake with milk and banana one morning for breakfast after my run. Verdict = YUM! Tasted like a chocolate milk shake with a little bit of protein powder. I could notice the protein powder, but it wasn’t overwhelming. And the chocolate flavor was nice and rich. And it is PERFECT for my new favorite pre-workout snack – 2T almond butter (drippy is best) + 4 T protein powder + 2 T unsweetened coconut flakes = pulsed in the food processor until combined. Then, roll into balls. Store in the fridge to harden.

Peaches ‘n’ cream fiber drink.


So, with my first challenge I choked down drank citrus – seriously like drinking saw dust. . . BUT I had heard that peaches n cream was much better. And O to the M to the G – it IS!! I could literally drink it every day if I had problems with my digestion. . . but I don’t, so I won’t – but I will drink it again on my next challenge (24 DC in October – get ready!)

Catalyst – ok, so this one isn’t new. . .


I used it during my first and second challenge. . . BUT if you work out – you need this one. It has a rapid toning effect due to the BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids). Bottom line – it helps show off all those hours you spend killing it at the gym.

New SPARK flavors: Recently I’ve tried green apple, cherry and the newest flavor, pomogranate!


Green apple -not my fav – too tart for me. Cherry – good, tasted like real cherries – not artificial! Pomegranate – one of my new favs. Bonus points that it comes in the single serve packets!

In summary, these are the AdvoCare products that I am going to continue to use on a regular basis:

–> Post-workout recovery – chocolate
–> Catalyst
–> SPARK – cherry + pomegranate

I am looking for more recipes to make with my chocolate protein powder – do you have a favorite recipe to share???

Also, I am linking up with Becky for Treat Yourself Tuesday! Happy Tuesday. Smile 


Filed under advocare

Weekend Update: 8/24/14

whoa. where did Monday come from? This weekend seemed long and short all at the same time.

But we packed a lot into a few days. . .

Luke and I had a great day together on Friday.





I placed my first Fabletics (<—FYI referral link)  order for the Cayman top. Love the back!!




Friday night BODYPUMP.


On Saturday morning, I headed out into the rain (one of my favorites) to run an amazing 5 miles. . . you know, one of those runs that just feels good?


Headed off to celebrate a 3 year olds birthday.


And then hit the road to a wedding celebration.

What traveling with a toddler looks like. . .


Wedding fun.


Sunday was filled with laundry, vacuuming, and relaxing.

Now, off to work!

How was your weekend?

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


Filed under body pump, Recap, Running, weekend update

Friday Favorites: 8/22/14

Happy Friday! Even though I have to work this weekend, I am still looking forward to it! We have a wedding reception, 3 year olds birthday party and after missing my long run last weekend – going for a long run this weekend!

Here are a few things that made me smile this week. ..

*Family runs.


*Teaching BODYPUMP. That’s my “I just spent the last hour shouting because the microphone wasn’t working” face. . .


heaven forbid I turn the music down – I like it LOUD! Smile

*Sending out Jamberry nail samples! Have you tried them yet? And almost 2 weeks later, I’m still rocking my stripes.


*A new to me afternoon snack. Quest chocolate chip cookie dough.


Ok, so it was good, but don’t be fooled – it does not taste like cookie dough. Winking smile


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

Spreading the link love by linking up with Heather and Claire again this week.

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Filed under body pump, Recap, Running

Reading Recommendations 3

Since my 1st reading recommendations post  and 2nd 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!!

Necessary Lies – Diane Chamberlain

“After losing her parents, fifteen-year-old Ivy Hart is left to care for her grandmother, older sister and nephew as tenants on a small tobacco farm.  As she struggles with her grandmother’s aging, her sister’s mental illness and her own epilepsy, she realizes they might need more than she can give.

When Jane Forrester takes a position as Grace County’s newest social worker, she doesn’t realize just how much her help is needed.  She quickly becomes emotionally invested in her clients’ lives, causing tension with her boss and her new husband.  But as Jane is drawn in by the Hart women, she begins to discover the secrets of the small farm—secrets much darker than she would have guessed.  Soon, she must decide whether to take drastic action to help them, or risk losing the battle against everything she believes is wrong.

Set in rural Grace County, North Carolina in a time of state-mandated sterilizations and racial tension, Necessary Lies tells the story of these two young women, seemingly worlds apart, but both haunted by tragedy.  Jane and Ivy are thrown together and must ask themselves: how can you know what you believe is right, when everyone is telling you it’s wrong??”

–> this book brings up a lot of interesting and thought provoking ideas. I really enjoyed listening to this one on audiobook. and really liked the topic.

Maze Runner, Scorch Trials, The Death Cure – James Dashner

–> another post-apocalyptic science fiction trilogy . . . if you liked the Divergent series, you would like this series too!!

American Wife – Curtis Sittenfield

“A kind, bookish only child born in the 1940s, Alice Lindgren has no idea that she will one day end up in the White House, married to the president. In her small Wisconsin hometown, she learns the virtues of politeness, but a tragic accident when she is seventeen shatters her identity and changes the trajectory of her life. More than a decade later, when the charismatic son of a powerful Republican family sweeps her off her feet, she is surprised to find herself admitted into a world of privilege. And when her husband unexpectedly becomes governor and then president, she discovers that she is married to a man she both loves and fundamentally disagrees with–and that her private beliefs increasingly run against her public persona. As her husband’s presidency enters its second term, Alice must confront contradictions years in the making and face questions nearly impossible to answer.”

–> this book is based loosely on Laura Bush, so I thought that aspect was super interesting. I really enjoyed reading about what was true and what wasn’t in the book after I was done reading it too.

Nanny Returns – Emma McLaughlin

“After living abroad for twelve years, Nan and her husband, Ryan, aka H.H., have returned to New York to get her new business off the ground and fix up their fixer-upper. To compound the mounting construction woes and marital chaos of Ryan announcing his sudden desire to start a family, sixteen-year-old Grayer X makes a drunken, late-night visit wanting to know why Nan abandoned him all those years ago. Soon she is drawn back into Mrs. X’s ever-bizarre Upper East Side conclave of power and privilege in this “eminently readable” and “surprisingly affecting” (Entertainment Weekly) tale of what happens when a community that chooses money over love finds itself with neither.”

–> A fun, quick summer read. The sequel to The Nanny Diaries.

Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

“Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.”

–> WOW. This book was SUPER dark but also SUPER good. I really enjoyed the twists and how the book kept you guessing until the very end. If you liked Gone Girl, you would like this one too.

Read any good books lately???

Linking up with Amanda today for Thinking Out Loud!!


Filed under Recap

TYT #11 – the non-running edition

So, we had a great weekend at the Lake.

But it didn’t go how I planned.

On the way up to the Lake, Scott asked me what I wanted to do that weekend.

My answer: “run 11 miles.”

Am I training for anything?

Nope, not really.

I am thinking about signing up for a fall half marathon – Des Moines again or maybe Mankato. . . but I haven’t yet.

I also usually like to do the 14 mile run around the Lake on Labor Day weekend, but do I have to? Nope.

So, when my plans for a Saturday morning run got derailed by my sister needing help moving out of her place. . . oh well. She needed help, and I was going to help her –> way more important than running.

And when we woke up on Sunday morning to cold, rainy and wind. Did I drag myself out for a miserable 11 miles?

Heck no.

I curled up in bed and read my book.

Ate brownies (more than I care to mention) to celebrate my Mom’s birthday.


Stocked up on Lukie giggles and family time.

And went for a long boat ride with Scott and Abby.



So, I treated myself by not beating myself up over not getting my long run in. . . . something that  is hard to do sometimes, right?

But, I look back on my weekend and I don’t think I would have it any other way.

And then I dragged Scott out for a 4 mile loop through the corn fields before heading home today. Smile


And yes that is my husband running with a sucker. Luke gave him one before we left the house. . .


It’s all about balance, right? Living life and not looking back.

Long run, I’ll get you next weekend. But until then, I’m not going to stress about it.

How about you? Anything you missed or skipped lately?

Linking up with Becky for Treat Yourself Tuesday.


Filed under Running

Weekend Update: 8/17/14

Another great weekend in the books. . .

well not quite. We are still up at the Lake this morning & we headed back to Mankato soon. And back to work tomorrow.

We headed up to the Lake this weekend. . .

but first, Luke and I had a day together at home.

We made almond butter (with some direction from Beautifully Nutty).


did the advocare happy dance.


and because it’s all about balance… made some chocolate chip cookies.


and I tried out the new Supplement Your Skin cleanser – the verdict = amazing. I love it.


And yes, I do deliver AdvoCare products while out for a run in my “Get Sparked” shirt. Winking smile


Early morning 5 miles before work and hitting the road to the Lake.


BLTs = summer perfection.


Running then cupcakes, right?


Sunday it was cold and rainy, so that means reading time. Loved this series by Kiera Cass!


Celebrating my Mom’s birthday. Lukie snuggles + blowing out candles leftover from my 30th birthday.


What were you up to this weekend??

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


Filed under advocare, baby, Lake, Recap, Running, summer, vacation, weekend update

Friday Favorites: 8/15/14

Hey! Happy Friday.

I am working this morning but then after lunch we are headed back up to the Lake (story of my life in the summer, right?) for a long weekend. Looking forward to a Friday night Fish Fry (WI staple), long run (11 miles) on Saturday and some time on the water. I’ll be back on Monday with the details.

But, here are the things that made me smile this week. . . because we all know that it is the little things that matter. Smile 

–> This adorable bookmark that I got from my friend Judy at Success School last weekend.


It was so thoughtful for her to bring it and so perfect for me. Smile 

–> My latest Jamberry manicure – loving the stripes.


–> Blue diamond almonds.


The latest flavors –> Honey Roasted Vanilla and Honey Roasted Chipotle almonds. Loving the new honey flavors.


And they are the perfect afternoon snack!

–> Peek <—have you guys heard of this?? It is super fun! “Get a peek into the mind of your users. See and hear a 5 minute video of a real person using your site. It’s super fast and totally free.”  



Your turn. What made you smile this week? And what are you up to this weekend??

Spreading the link love by linking up with Heather and Claire again this week.

**This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds

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Filed under Friday, product, Recap

BODYPUMP 90 review

So, as you all know, I am a Les Mills BODYPUMP instructor and I teach at least twice per week at the local Mankato YMCA. If you aren’t familiar with BODYPUMP, check out my “what is bodypump? post.” 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, and now 90. (Other reviews here) I also have learned 80, 82 and 83, since some other instructors at the YMCA had those training DVDs.


So, here are my thoughts on the very latest release. . .

#1: Warmup  –  “We Are One”

Warm up is the warm up. Hard to have a lot of innovation with this one because you need to warm up all muscle groups. They did a great job with mixing it up a bit so it doesn’t feel like the same thing. the combo move of deadlifts and upright rows gets a bit repetitive by the end, but I still like this warm up song. I also like the lyrics and think it ties in perfectly with the feeling of BP  with “We are one.”

#2: Squats. Song – “What Now”

Totally standard squat track. Good song with a great beat. Perfect for squats. A bit repetitive towards the 3rd set but still a great leg workout.

# 3: Chest – “Conquistador”  

Awesome track. Good song too. The timing with the staggered moves = really targets the chest. Reminder – keep increasing your weight from class to class as you get stronger. Continuing to challenge yourself is the key to bodypump!


#4: Back – “Promises”

Good song. Good mix of moves. The track starts out like a standard back track with deadlifts and clean and press. And then switches to squats with squat presses at the end –> lift the big @ss plate for a killer challenge.

#5: Triceps – “Walk of Shame”

My favorite song. I LOVE P!nk and this song is catchy. I love the combo of extensions to presses and then the killer dips at the end. If you go heavy on your barbell – you will really feel this one and have awesome triceps to show for it.

#6: Biceps – “Miss Jackson

You HAVE to go heavy on this one = awesome bicep burn. LOVE the mid-range pulses. Feel the burn and watch your guns get bigger . . . do you have your tickets? to the gun show! Winking smile 


#7: Lunges – “Stay The Night”

A pretty standard lunge track. Squats, lunges on one leg and then on the other leg. A tip – go a bit heavier than normal to really feel it in the legs! I do love this song – a good beat and great to lunge to. The top halves build the pressure and the bottom halves drive it home.

#8: Shoulders – “Thumbs Up (For Rock N Roll) Kill The Noise Remix”

This is a really tough track. And I didn’t hate the song but I thought it was SUPER strange, but after watching this video –> it is super cute. I am a huge fan of pushups so I love that the track starts and ends with them. Upright rows, overhead presses, and push presses using the barbell are a longer set than normal and it is awesome. Then some standard side raises and mac raises to really make the shoulders burn = awesome-ness.

#9: Core – “Something I Need”

Good song. Slightly boring track. Lots of pulse crunches. Good to really feel the burn in the core though. . .

#10: Cool down – “How You Remind Me”

Always love cool down to focus on how awesome my body feels after working every body part during the last hour. I really like taking the stretches deeper, so that you really feel stretched out at the end.


Overall I really like this release! It changes things up a bit but is still classic BODYPUMP. I think that it works each part of the body in a challenging way and it a great release from start to finish.

Looking for more BP90 reviews? Check out Annette’s or Ashley’s!

Have you done BP90? What did YOU think??

Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud!


Filed under body pump