South Dakota Day 2

Today we took a walk and checked out the little town of Hurley. The main street has a bar, a bank, a post office and the library. The park has a really cool memorial that has been there since 1908. Looking at the homes we found several abandoned homes that you could tell were beautiful when they were lived in and loved. We looked in the windows and talked about how we would restore them. Looking out at all the open space and out at the corn fields I was struck by how peaceful and quiet it was. Walking back to my mothers in laws house I noticed how many homes had an American Flag proudly displayed. We then sat on the deck, Bbq’d dinner and I enjoyed a glass of Rose wine and watched the fireflies. It was a beautiful peaceful day and I am glad I left my phone behind to really enjoy the moments and connect with my husband. Excited for day 3, we head off to Mount Rushmore.

South Dakota Day 1

Today my husband and me took our first flight together after 22 years of marriage and many more as friends, to see his mom. After a smooth landing in Sioux Falls, shopped at HyVee, and was pleasingly surprised at the mecca of healthy food choices. Stocked up on gluten-free and vegan choices for me, and plenty of food and drink for the next week, we headed to my mother-in-laws home. Sat and talked and snacked, a little wine, a little Komucha, listening to the rain. Lovely, relaxing start to our vacation here.

Friday Favorites- TJ finds and Lipstain

This week I picked two amazing finds at Trader Joes. First was the Freeze Dried Grape Slices. Impulse buy after a long busy day and stopped for some snacks. So glad I grabbed them. I loved them so much, I had to go back for a second bag! They are literally like delicious little candies with a hint of crunch. Totally recommend for keeping on hand for lumches or a snack when out and about.

The second was Miyoko’s vegan cream cheese. I keep reading how amazing this is but at $5.50 a container I have been reluctant to pick it. I wish I had sooner. Very clean ingredients and very delicious. I used it in mashed potatoes. I did a swipe on a beyond burger, of course on a piece of toast with fresh basil. The options are endless. Highly recommended keeping this gem on hand.

My next fav came in my Ipsy bag last month. It is a lipstain and gloss by the Balm Jour. It goes on as a gloss and leaves behind a very natural looking pink stain. Perfect for wearing when I teach fitness classes and want to look pulled together and naturally fresh, not made-up.

What are your Friday favorites? I would love to hear?

Kindness Challenge and What I learned

Our 7 Day Kindness Challenge has come to an end. The last few days were a challenge. I have been home in bed with the worst stomach flu since I don’t know when. Not quite the way I planned on losing those 5 pounds for, Bikini/whatever bathing suit covers my stretch marks/Season, but here I am. When I first started this challenge, I really thought I would be out and about doing great deeds. Some days were like that. I got to do some volunteer work, ship some boxes to deployed Military, accept donations for future projects, had cash on me when I saw a homeless person in need. Other days I had to look closer to home and my circle of friends I interact with almost everyday. Instead of rolling my eyes or being annoyed at things I needed to around the house, I took it as my kindness act for the person that appreciate or benefit from it. I looked for ways to be a supportive friend or give a compliment. Then once I was stuck at home, I reached out to friends and family I have not talked to in awhile. Started a scrapbooking project for my kids that I have been putting off. Then I gave myself permission to be kind to myself for taking the needed time to get better without guilt of missed classes or letting others down. I binge watched TV shows (even though I had to hit pause every 10 min.) I didn’t shower for a couple days and just stayed in my pajamas and rested. I did fold some laundry and do a few dishes, I mean, it is me we are talking about. But, I let myself just be (the horrible stomach cramps made it hard to do much else, haha) I started to this challenge to be more mindful of ways I can make a difference in the world around me but it also made me more aware of the small opprotunties in front of me everyday. In my home, at work, and even as close as the mirror.

What did you learn in this 7 day challenge? I would live to hear from you.

With Kindness Always

Integrity

This post has been on my heart all day. In the last few weeks, I have heard of co-workers breaking blantant rules in pursuit of class numbers. It undermines us all as fitness instructors. To me, it is not, can I get away with it, can I talk my way out. It is, the answer was no, end of story. More shocking to me is alot of this behavior is coming from people who are parents. I don’t know about you, but when I tell my kids no, I mean no. Not, don’t get caught. Not, as long as I am not looking. No means no. If you are not living life with integrety, how will your children learn integrety. As I see this behavior, I remind myself to stay in my lane, to choose the right path. I take my job to help people reach their health and fitness goals very seriously. I am not interested in being “fitness famous”. I want the people who trust me to take a class to be able to play with their grandkids, strengthen their heart, make their brain stronger, enjoy a physically fit life outside the gym. If that goal includes getting into that summer body, that is great too. But it is not about packing my class by bending rules, getting YouTube followers or putting the safety of my class at risk. Making decisions that make me popular but my class unsafe, is just not an option for me. I worked hard to get certified. I do my research all the time on how to make my classes more effective. I am honored for every person that walks into class trusting me. I feel beyond blessed to get to watch the community of love and support that happens in class, not just between the regulars, but how they embrace new people to make them feel comfortable and part of our fitness family.

I am inspired by the integrity of my co-workers that mentor and give the best of themselves every day. I am inspired by class participants that come to to lift each other up to become better. I am beyond grateful that I can choose integrity. That I live a life I am proud of and I never have to worry who is watching. I am watching.

St. Patrick’s Day Care Packages

When my daughter left for college and was too far to come home for weekends I embraced care packages. I love decorating the inside of the box and adding a few things to remind her of home. This year, not only is she at school but my son is in the Military and this is the 1st Holiday he is able to receive a care package. When the kids where little I left cut out shamrocks with clues on where to find the next one, leading them on a scavenger hunt to find the “treasure” they left. Always a box of Lucky Charms and a black pot filled with gold wrapped chocolates.

So for this years boxes I wrapped the inside with gold paper, added shamrock stickers and fun, twirly ribbon. They are filled with funny glasses, Kiss Me headbands, green bead necklaces and of course Lucky Charms and gold wrapped chocolates. Even far away I know it will be bring a smile to their face. I still have my youngest at home so I am hoping having a bowl of Lucky Charms with your mom will still be cool this year.

Let February Begin

Hello February 2019,

Like many of you, January did not live up to the hype for me and I am ready for the fresh start. To shake off all the expectations of New Year New You, Resolutions, Challenges, yada yada yada.

Here is my January in a nutshell:

  • I did not succeed at Dry January. It was more Dryish January. I did drink lots more tea and forgot how much I liked it. I went to bed earlier, read more, found out my favorite sushi joint has awesome green tea when I did not order hot sake. My favorite wine bar I sipped on French Press coffee. I did miss my lazy Sundays cooking, enjoying a glass wine and watching cheesy romantic movies while I meal prepped, so a couple cheat days happened there. Then there was a Military Mom meetup and vodka soda’s while talking about how much we miss our kids was too much to pass up. I fully enjoyed a cocktail while talking to my husband last night watching a movie. I went to bed early most of Jan and bypasssed watching TV to not be tempted to eat or drink, which was good, but I did miss spending time together. So the take-away, trading books and tea during the week for wine and TV will be a keeper. Going to bed earlier was much needed. Enjoying the occasional glass of wine with friends or cocktail with my hubby over good conversation, well that is staying as well.
  • Being injured is frustrating and annoying. I set a goal to do a pull-up before my son graduated Bootcamp. I made it to 3 chin-ups and felt good about that. Then my shoulder got injured. I have had to side line the whole thing while it heals, meaning I will lose all the progress I made. Real problem? No. I can still teach my classes. I am healthy, but I am still ……so annoyed.
  • 2018 was a big year for my family. My daughter became a mom, which means I became a grandma. My son became a Marine, which brought with it 3 months of no communication. Going from talking t your child once a day to stalking the mailman hoping for a letter was very hard. Then it ended with his graduation ,which was one of the proudest moments of my life. My baby started his Senior Year of High School. I think all the emotions caught up to me and I needed January to just kind of reset. I ate chocolate and ice cream. I was distracted and it was hard to work on new routines for my classes. My son was home on leave and I didn’t want to miss anytime with him. Finally by the last week, I found my groove again.
  • I still have a 17 year old at home. He breaks curfew. He is late to school. He talks about all the piercings and tattoos he is getting at 18. But, he is healthy, safe, not on drugs, just embracing the annoying teen thing a little too much, which is why I still need wine and chocolate.
  • I started working at 5:30 am 4 days a week instead of 2. Still not a morning person.
  • I let my gratitude journal slip which was my favorite habit I established in 2018. I did it every morning. The new work schedule maybe the reason for the change, I only wrote in it a few times at night before bed. This is a routine I want to embrace again. I have noticed the difference with out it and if I set any goals for February, this is it.

So there you have it. Bring on February.

 

Being a MoM

The past few weeks my son has been home on leave for the 1st time as a Marine. I am guilty of several things on this list and today in the market I can add “hiding your tears in the market as you shop for Sunday dinner, because you don’t know when the next one is”. Parenthood is hard. Motherhood is hard. Being a Military Parent stretches and challenges you in ways you can’t imagine until you are there. You are filled with so much pride, yet this child you love more than anything puts themselves through brutal training and challenges to be ready to protect and defend at a moments notice. Our job as parents is raise our children to grow into confident, independent, young adults ready to conquer their dreams. Raising a child who’s dream is to defend an entire country and adopt a new family to fight side by side with, makes you realize you really rocked at your job, and you have a truly amazing kid. So hug your babies while they are home. Smaller or taller than you. Say ” I Love You”, listen to their stories, they are your heart. As they venture out into the world, no matter what path they follow, time is all you want. To hug, to listen, to love.

This Year…

The 1st weekend of the New Year. For some of you, it may feel as if your new goals are being tested and temptation is everywhere. For some, you may feel you need to say “yes” to every invite and social request. Today, stop and think about what Fierce means to you. It may mean tackling that new HiiT workout, hiking a new trail, trying a new class. It could mean spending time connecting with family or a friend that you don’t see often enough. Maybe all you need is to spend some quiet time meditating, writing in your gratitude journal or just enjoying a quiet cup of coffee. So often when asked how we are, the word “busy” is the answer. If the word “busy” means you are not enjoying your day to day commitments or you are missing out on real connections with the people you treasure, being “fierce” will continue to elude us. As I look at how I am going to elevate my life to fierce this year, I am letting go of the word busy. I will be strong, brave, kind, unstoppable and fierce. In my work, in my relationships and in my quiet life. I am embracing Fierce to reach my goal of getting to the Next Level in all I do. What does Fierce mean to you?

Dry January Challenge

What is Dry January? It is a movement that started in the UK to take the month of January off from drinking. There are several health benefits, including better sleep and blood sugar stabilization. Headaches and anxiety can subside while focus and energy increase. If you go to Happy Hour frequently, then your wallet should get fatter with money saved plus weight loss from not drinking or enjoying those temping appetizers after a few drinks. You may even pick up a new hobby or have time for one that you have been to busy to enjoy. Overall, making one healthy new change can inspire another one. So, it is a great time to use that gym membership. Meet up with friends for a walk or a hike. Maybe just some quiet time to read or meditate.

Not a drinker, here are some other great 30 day challenges to consider:

No Sugar-avoiding all refined or added sugars except for those naturally occurring in fruits and veggies.

Plank Challenge-planking each day and increasing time until can hold a 5 min plank at the end of the challenge.

Daily Meditation or keeping a Gratitude Journal.

If you want to do a full reset, eating plans like The Whole 30, Paleo, or Vegan that focus on whole food nutrition can help you kick-start your goals and transform your health.

No matter what challenge you decide to tackle or lifestyle change you make, it should be fun. Allow you to get to know yourself better. Help you recognize patterns centered around drinking or certain foods. Use the time to try new foods, create new rituals, use the nice glasses, find new joys.

Happy January and Happy New Year.

Find Your Mantra

As we roll into the Holiday season it is easy to get caught up in the perfectionism of the season. Worrying about how Insta worthy our holiday pics are. Letting judgements of our relatives get the better of us. Allowing stress take our joy. Behaving in immature ways we don’t do any other time of year. We let food and drink be our crutch to “survive the holidays” and derail goals we have worked on all year.

Most of us have Mantras we rely on daily or some we pull out just when we need that extra push or moment of patience. This morning I took an online quiz to see what mine was and it was correct, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I live by this most days but it got me thinking, what if I broke it down further. What if I was the change I wanted in my loved ones lives. That I showed more compassion, more understanding and stepped back before I took a comment personal. That I embraced all the things I wish for my family and friends everyday. Show my daughter that connecting with your family is the most important thing and not getting a perfect picture and missing the moment in the process.

Now this Thanksgiving I do have an advantage. I am traveling to spend time with my daughter her first year as a mother. We are staying with her and her in-laws and space will be limited. I also am unable to prepare the meal I usually would because it won’t make the 7 hour drive. So we have planned a scaled down, simplier meal to prepare. There will be favorites my kids have requested but let’s just say that I am going to accept the shortcuts this year as needed and if something is not from scratch, its okay. I am even going to do paper plates. This is the 1st year my daughter will look at this holiday through the eyes of being a mother. She will be looking to me as the example of how she now brings holidays to life for her family. Instead of nagging her to stay off her phone or question why she is not helping in the kitchen, be the example and set my phone aside. Let her enjoy a little peace as a new mom, let her relax and take notes on recipes she may want to pass down. Soon enough it will be her turn. My being calm, keeping it simple, putting the focus on spending time with each other will help her create peaceful, meaningful holidays for her and my grandbaby. When I was a new mom I stressed about everything being perfect, but as I know now, the holidays with the best memories and stories are not the perfect ones. I have had those Holidays where everything finished at the same time and looked beautiful, but more often, nope not even close. There has been family drama and broken reindeers. Even a fried turkey that never made it into the house and was eaten in the garage. Fortunately, I had a back-up turkey in the oven. Then the holidays we didn’t even get out of our jammies and watched movies and ate all day.

When things start to derail, we need to pull out that favorite mantra and remember why what we are doing is important to us. We need to focus on what we will gain. Anytime in life we focus on all that can go wrong, we miss the moment right in front of us. Sometimes a simple “thank you” repeated over and over is enough to remind us. Maybe with certain family members “I am enough” is the mantra you will need. My other favorite “You can do anything for 10 seconds” might be enough time to stop an eye roll or sarcastic comment.  Some of you shared your favorites with me as I posted this was today’s topic. “Do your best with what you have at each moment.” “Own who you are.” “Unapologetically me.” What mantra will you choose?

Find Your “Why”

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Last week I got off track. I let worry and anxiety get the better of me. I made food choices I have not made in a couple years (hello Halloween candy) and did not work on my pull-up goal. I share this because I saw several of my friends were struggling as well. this morning my SHINE text introduced me to the term “Autotelic”. From the Greek Autos (self) and Telos (goal). The definition is: having a purpose in and not apart from itself. Meaning we need to be internally driven, not external. We set goals, we post them online, then see how many likes or amount of praise we get. We set a weight loss goal and let the scale decided our success. What if we lived our lives so that we did not wait for a future benefit, but made our choices based on doing them was the reward . What if feeling better was enough, being independent and providing for our families was enough, being there for people that depend on us or making their lives easier, was enough. What if we stopped chasing happy and embraced our “why” in the work we have today. All though I talk about this all the time, I lost sight last week that I had a choice. A choice in what I read, how I let it affect me, and how I let my emotions affect others. Friday is a good example, my husband and I went out and had a great time at a festival, walking distance from our house and had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. It was an unplanned, super fun night. I came home and went online into a group page to see several parents got phone calls from their kids. All our boys are in Boot Camp together and I knew this meant my son’s Platoon did not win a challenge that they were hoping and my son had been working hard to get that phone call home. My whole mood changed and my poor husband reminded me “we had a great night”. A lot of you will say I am a mom and I deserve to be upset, but I let something I have no control over take over my “why”. I had my phone on me waiting for his call, I already knew that he was not going to call that night. I let it take my “why” of my food choices this weekend and I let it take my “why” I need to be a strong support for my son and my whole family.  When faced with a challenge, we can step back and remember we choose what affects us and how we choose how to respond. There is meaning in everything we do, everyday. What we choose is up to us. So my “whys”:  I choose to eat in a way that makes me feel strong and healthy, I choose to continue on my goals to make my body stronger to feel energized and tackle any goal I set for myself. I choose to be a positive light for my family, friends and clients in my classes because I love that I have that opportunity everyday. I do not need a scale, social media likes or pats on the back. I need to remember that every “why” I have, I choose. I am going to honor it by being the best version of myself. What is your “why”?