Monthly Archives: January 2015

AdvoCare: Day 25

Wow. Just wow.

I am loving all the messages/texts/pictures about how awesome people are doing with the latest huge group AdvoCare 24 day challenge. It is so inspiring! (Psst- want some amazing results for yourself? Check out the 24 day challenge information here or shoot me an email at!)


But the most common question I get when people are towards the end of the 24 day challenge is: “now what? what happens after day 24? how can I keep feeling amazing/keep going on my weight loss/keep this high energy?”


Here’s the thing, the 24 day challenge doesn’t have to end with day 25. You can keep going. Forever. Um, yup. You can keep feeling amazing for-ev-er.

AdvoCare has put together an amazing page to help you customize what Day 25 and beyond looks like for you, depending on your goals. Check it out here.


Interested in AdvoCare, but not sure where to start? I’m here to help! Shoot me an email. We can chat about your specific goals (weight loss, energy levels, health and nutrition, fitness and athletic performance) and how AdvoCare could help you achieve them. Smile

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Filed under advocare, Recap

Friday Favorites: South Padre Island Recap

Happy Friday!!

This week flew by. . . vacation will do that to ya, right?


My smiles this week came from our vacation to South Padre Island. We were there for 4 days and had a blast. Here’s a little recap of our vacay with my favorite highlights.

Family time. It was SO nice to just hang out with each other and not have anything we had to do or anywhere we had to go.


Play time on the beach. Luke loved the sand. One morning he dug in the sand for 2+ hours.


Bonus points for sand castle building with Dad.



Running on the beach. With my cray cray husband. #love


Margaritas. Smile


Donuts. on. the. beach. #bestideaever



The weather was perfection.


Dinner with a view.


This boy. And his new favorite toy – a stuffed Sven.


An extra big thank you to Dana at Travel Made Real for helping us set up this trip. If you are looking for someone to help you plan a trip, I cannot recommend him enough!!

Feel free to play along in the comments or link up with Friday Favorites from your blog –> what made you smile this week?

Linking up with Heather and Claire this week!

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Filed under Friday, Recap, vacation

It Starts With Food {book review}



This book has changed my life.


From the book cover. . .

It Starts With Food outlines a clear, balanced, sustainable plan to change the way you eat forever—and transform your life in profound and unexpected ways. Your success story begins with the Whole30®, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig’s powerful 30-day nutritional reset.
Since 2009, their underground Whole30 program has quietly led tens of thousands of people to weight loss, enhanced quality of life, and a healthier relationship with food—accompanied by stunning improvements in sleep, energy levels, mood, and self-esteem. More significant, many people have reported the “magical” elimination of a variety of symptoms, diseases, and conditions in just 30 days.

Now, Dallas and Melissa detail not just the “how” of the Whole30, but also the “why,” summarizing the science in a simple, accessible manner. It Starts With Food reveals how specific foods may be having negative effects on how you look, feel, and live—in ways that you’d never associate with your diet. More important, they outline their lifelong strategy for eating Good Food in one clear and detailed action plan designed to help you create a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive tract, calm systemic inflammation, and put an end to unhealthy cravings, habits, and relationships with food.

Infused with the Hartwigs’ signature wit, tough love, and common sense, It Starts With Food is based on the latest scientific research and real-life experience, and includes testimonials, a detailed shopping guide, a meal-planning template, a Meal Map with creative, delicious recipes, and much more.

The book starts with a statement, that really made me stop and think.

The food you eat either makes you more healthy or less healthy. Those are your options.

Whoa. #truth

The book goes through all food groups and how each of them affect us. Through emotions, nutrients, in our body and how they might be making us feel. They have the science to back up the information and they also share personal stories and experiences.

But, the kicker is . . .

they (Dallas and Melissa Hartwig) say – don’t take our word for it.

In this book, they give you the skills and tools to try a Whole30 for yourself and to figure out once and for all how different foods affect YOU. Because that’s all that truly matters, right?

They claim that “after implementing our program, you won’t have to wonder whether the foods you are eating are healthy for you. You’ll be able to make educated, informed food choices for the rest of your life. And you’ll know how to enjoy treats, sweets, and other “less healthy” foods in a way that is always moving you towards better health, fitness, and quality of life.”

I don’t know about you, but that sounded pretty amazing to me.


And as a doctor, I really liked reading about all the science to back up their thoughts on how specific food groups can cause inflammation that can lead to a bunch of different diseases, symptoms and feelings. The book is also nicely summarized at the end of each chapter, so if you’re not interested in the science-y stuff, you can just skip it and read the highlights.

I’m not going to recap the whole book. .. but I would highly recommend reading it!

So, what is the Whole30?

Basically, it is 30 days of “a short term nutritional reset, designed to help you restore a healthy metabolism, heal your digestive track, calm systemic inflammation, and put an end to unhealthy sugar cravings, habits, and relationships with food.”

They go on to state that “certain food groups (like sugar, dairy and legumes) are probably having a negative impact on your health and fitness level without you even knowing it.”

During the 30 days:

Eat: Foods that make you healthier – meat, seafood, eggs, lots of vegetables, some fruit and plenty of healthy fats.

Don’t eat: sugar (real or artificial), alcohol, grains (not even whole grains!), legumes, dairy and white potatoes.

Fairly straightforward and simple, right? In the book, they give you lots of information about the 30 days with tips and tricks for success and meal plans/ideas.

Literally, after reading this book, I made changes to how I eat, shop and prepare meals.

I haven’t done a Whole30. well, not yet. Winking smile

But over the past few weeks, I have swapped my morning smoothie, which I thought was a pretty healthy way to start my day, but after reading this book, maybe isn’t the best for me. Fruit has a ton of natural sugar, right? Well, even that natural stuff can be hard for the brain and body to interpret. And it was not doing me any favors with dealing with my sugar cravings later in the day. So, I swapped it out for eggs with veggies. Now, I am fuller for longer in the morning and my sugar cravings seem to have calmed down a bit.


I also changed my lunch to their recommended balance of protein + veggies + high quality fat and seasonings. I don’t think I was getting enough healthy fats into my lunches, which then lead to hunger and fatigue in the afternoons. So, I made my own mayo (healthy fats!) and whipped up some chicken salads – chicken + diced carrot + grapes + mayo + pecans = delicious and filling lunch. Usually paired with an orange too. And I haven’t had that mid-afternoon slump or had to go digging in my desk drawer for a snack. Amazing. Finally, I’ve gone back to the clean eating guidelines that I’ve followed with AdvoCare (btw – this Whole30 stuff lines up perfectly with AdvoCare!) and given them the Whole30 twist – no grains or legumes and really made sure that we are getting some high quality fat in our dinners.


And you know what? We have been sleeping better. Yup – even Scott has noticed the changes!

And honestly, after just a few weeks of making some small changes, I feel SO much better. I’m happier (I was feeling a little down there because of my eating habits, low energy, and all the stress of the upcoming move), I have more energy, I am sleeping better, and even though I can’t see or feel it – I know I am healthier. And that’s awesome.

Ok, but let’s not get crazy – I am still drinking  my latte and having dessert – mostly on the weekends. Smile

Anyway, long story short. I am going to do a full Whole30 (probably in February) because I think I deserve it to myself and my body to find my perfect health.

And I love this book. Please read it. It might just change your life.

Have you read it? Any books lately that have changed your life?

Linking up with Amanda today for Thinking Out Loud!


Filed under Recap, review

Weekend Update: 1/25/15

Hello from Texas!

We are currently enjoying a little family vacation on South Padre Island.

Here’s a little weekend recap. . .

vacation nails. a very light sparkly pink.


quick stop at the library to pick up reading material. (Pearl in the Storm)


Saying good-bye to Grandpa Tom at the airport.


Trying to get a picture with a 2 year old. #reallife


boys and planes.


The beach!




The waterpark.


Running on the beach at low tide. Glorious. 4 miles.


The view from our room.


More play time at the water park = the lazy river captured Luke’s attention for about 3 hours. . .


Dinner at Burger Fi (thanks for the recommendation Emily!)


And now off to the beach. . . not warm enough for swim suits but perfect for a 2 year old to dig in the sand with his shovels. Smile

What were you up to this weekend??

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


Filed under Recap, vacation, weekend update

Friday Favorites: 1/23/15

Woo hoo for Friday.

So happy. Smile

Extra happy because we leave for Texas tomorrow! Which means that I should probably start packing. . .

Here are my smiles from this week. Feel free to play along in the comments or link up with Friday Favorites from your blog –> what made you smile this week?


My Wicked CD.


My all-time favorite musical. I just recently found this CD when I was going through some boxes from moving. . . and I’ve been listening all week. Defy Gravity and Making Good are my favs!  btw – thanks Laura for making it for me. Smile

This jar of goodness.


Also known as Reese’s spread. I was lucky enough to be sent a jar from Influenster. Love it. I mean seriously, what’s not to love? Peanut butter + chocolate. Amazingness. I am thinking it is destined for some baking. . .maybe these or this or OMG these?

Puppy love. Really she is just begging me to play tug with her. . .




Ok, so I don’t really love the snow, but I do love the look of fresh fallen snow in the trees. So pretty!



Such a great workout. Sure, I still think the lunges are good, but boring, and those pushups in the shoulder track get me every time. But I know I am getting stronger and really killing it by how much this release pushes you. And I would not survive without my spark – thank you AdvoCare!

The Bachelor. So, Jimmy Kimmel this week – equal parts hilarious and awkwardness, right?


And with that, I am off to pack. . . I am not looking forward to packing a 2 year old. Less stuff than a baby but still needs lots of things! I don’t worry to much about forgetting something – nothing that a quick stop at Target can’t fix! Smile

See you on Monday with a weekend update from Texas! Have a good one!!

Linking up with Heather and Claire this week!

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Filed under body pump, Friday, Recap

Currently {the Luke edition}

Have you seen these surveys? I always like reading them. So, I thought I would do my own version and it’s been a while since I’ve done an update for Luke. . . so here is currently. . . a Luke edition!

Current Book: How to Train your Train. We have read it every night since he got it for Christmas.


Current TV Show: Anything Thomas the Train. Yup this kid is all trains all the time. And when it’s not trains, it’s cars or construction equipment. . .


Current Excitement: Heading to Texas in a few days! We are staying at a resort with a water park and he is going to love it!


Current Exercise: Running around everywhere. And sledding.


Current Song: Even though Christmas is over, he still wants to sing Rudolph every night.


And he asks for Hippopotamus (I want a hippopotamus for Christmas) whenever we are in the car. Close second is Daddy signing anything from Frozen – In Summer is always a hit.

Current Bane of My Existence: Time-outs or brushing teeth.


Current Food: Cinnamon Toast Crunch and M and M cookies. Those are his favorites – but he will eat most things we give him.


Current Drink: Chocolate milk – he only gets chocolate milk when we go to Grandma Mary’s. . . so he always asks to go there so he can get some chocolate milk.


Current Indulgence: anytime he gets to watch the iPad. Bonus points I guess for sitting in Abby’s toy basket. Winking smile 


Current Enjoyment: playing in the sink.


Current Photo: too cool for school . .  .


Current Outfit: PJs. He never wants to get dressed – any day he can stay in his PJs all day long = winning.


Your turn – what are you currently. . . ?

Linking up with Amanda today for Thinking Out Loud!


Filed under baby, Recap

BODYPUMP 92 {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.” And find a class near you.


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 and now 92. (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: Warm up  – “All We Need Is Love”

Standard warm up song. I think it has a good beat and sets the tone for a great class. I love doing the slow clean and presses and then speeding it up – helps to cue and work on form right from the beginning. And #truth – all we need it love. Smile

#2: Squats – “Go!”

I really like this one. It has a great beat for banging out the combos. Working from the bottom is always a good quad burner. And I really like keeping the whole focus in the mid stance. That really helps to build up the muscle tension so by the last slow ones, you are shaking!

# 3: Chest – “The Phoenix”

Ahhh back to the bar for the whole song. Love it. And same combo from the squat track with singles + holds. And again, working from the bottom = amazing results. I also love this song and unfortunately for my class, I like to sign along. Winking smile

#4: Back – “Dream and Dance” – Alternate

I sub out the alternate track for this one. I just didn’t love the song or timing of “Letting Go.” But the alternate is amazing. Tons of power presses, which really pumps up the heart rate and works the upper back.

#5: Triceps – “Problem”

This one is awesome. Make sure you go heavy on your bar to really feel the burn. I love that the timing is bit slower with the song to really feel the movements and triceps isolation. And then the kicker at the end with extensions. Love it!

#6: Biceps – “Come with me now

You can’t help but rock out along with this song. All while getting bigger guns = win win. I LOVE this one. The pulses with a hold + no breaks = awesome.

#7: Lunges – “NRG”

Ok, so this one is a bit boring. It’s a lot of the same thing over and over again. BUT I use that to my advantage teaching it. Lots of time for cueing and challenging to take it to the next level by getting lower and really aiming for that front thigh to be parallel to the floor. And it’s a fun song. Smile

#8: Shoulders – “Ping Pong”

Whoa. Pushups are killer. like seriously killer. But it makes this track totally awesome. Just make sure you do them on your toes!

#9: Core – “Love Runs Out” – alternate

I subbed in the alternate for this song too. I just wasn’t a fan of “Fancy”. But this one has the same moves – leg extensions and hovers. It isn’t the best core track ever, but it gets the job done.

#10: Cool down – “Chandelier”

I don’t love this song but by this time of the workout, I am just happy to be done and to have a chance to stretch out and check in with my class. I use this time to remind them about hydrating, taking care of their bodies, and thinking about prepping for next class and how to take BP to the next level.


Overall, I really like this release. Every time I teach it, it kicks my butt. I have been sore in some new places – thank you power presses and pushups. Smile But, like any BODYPUMP enthusiast, I am already anxiously awaiting for 93! Winking smile


Have you done BP92? What did YOU think??

Linking up with Becky for TYT!


Filed under body pump, review

Weekend Update: 1/18/15

whew. monday. I am still mourning the end of the Seahawks v Packers game last night Sad smile . . . but here is a quick look at my weekend. . .

Treadmill run.


Saturday morning BODYPUMP.




Furniture shopping.


A 2 year olds dream = checking out the vehicles at Daddy’s work.


Hearing the amazing results of people from my AdvoCare team checking in with results from the first 10 days of their 24 day challenge! Love it. It never gets old.


Sunday morning breakfast. Simple but delicious.


Sink play time.


Treadmill run.




Meal prep for this week – egg cups with Jennie-O breakfast sausage.


And oven chicken fajitas for Sunday night dinner.


And now off to work. Have a great one!!

What were you up to? Did you see that game? Craziness!!

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


Filed under body pump, Running, weekend update

Friday Favorites: 1/16/15

woo hoo for Friday. This week took for-ev-er. But we made it. Smile

We have nothing on the agenda for the weekend and I am tickled pink about it. Obviously, I have my super long to-do list like always. . .but nice to know that nothing “has” to get done! So, don’t be too suprised if you check back in on monday and find out that all we did was binge watch Orange is The New Black. Winking smile What are you up to this weekend?

On to this weeks list of favorites. . .the little things that made me smile.


I really love doing this post every week because it helps me remember that it really is the little things that make life, well, life. And because smiling is my favorite. Smile Buddy the Elf quotes are cool year round, right?

My new iPhone case. Pink Kate Spade perfection.

Clean eating. Oh man, after reading It Starts With Food, I started back on clean eating this week with a twist towards the Whole30 lifestyle.


And while it’s more 80/20 right now, I am feeling SO much better already. Thinking about doing a full Whole30 in February!!

Teaching BODYPUMP 92. Loving it. Those pushups on the shoulder track? Hurts SO good.


PJ day at Luke’s school. Not having to get a 2 year old dressed in the morning + wearing cute puppy slippers = winning.

Puppy snuggles.


Morning (before work) runs + speed work. It just feels SO good to have it done before the day even really starts. Plus the extra time in the evenings is amazing.


Alright. . . off to tackle that to do list! Have a great one!!

Linking up with Heather and Claire this week!

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Filed under Abby, body pump, Friday, Running

Clean-eating spaghetti sauce {family recipe}


If there is one recipe that will always make me think of my Mom, it’s her Texas sheet cake, but this one takes a close second. Winking smile

This is the meal my older sister would always request for her birthday dinner. It is a hearty, meaty sauce that is full of flavor. Super easy to make. You will seriously never want to buy jarred sauce again. Oh, and always make a double batch and freeze half. You won’t regret it. Unfortunately, for me, no one can make it as good as my Mom – isn’t that always the case?

Anyway, this is the perfect cold weather meal. Side salad + garlic bread = meal perfection.

And bonus points because this sauce is totally clean – no added sugar. We loved this during our most recent AdvoCare challenge over spaghetti squash with zucchini noodles (zoodles!).

Bushnell spaghetti sauce


1 large onion – diced
1 lb hambuger
1 t oregano
1 t basil
1 t thyme
1 t garlic powder
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
12 oz can tomato paste
1 can (12 oz) water

1. Brown hamburger and onion. Drain.
2. Add seasonings, tomato paste and water.
3. Simmer to blend flavors.
4. Serve over pasta, spaghetti squash or zoodles.


I am linking up with Peas & Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday this week!!


Filed under Recipes