Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sephora and Supper

It was a good Sunday! Sephora...and supper...what could be better?

I made a haul from Sephora. I got a little crazy with my standard mascara and eye base refill order. I decided to cash in a bunch of my points on some skin care and liquid lipcolor. Throw in the free samples and you get this:

Tonight we made Wildtree's Alfredo Extraordinaire! Quick, easy and delicious! I liked it because it wasn't terribly saucy or soupy. It tasted clean - not processed - and had a great garlic flavor! It was very good and we have leftovers for lunch! Next time I may add a dash of olive oil or grapeseed oil as the whole grain noodles tend to be a bit sticky.

Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Serves 4
One Serving =
Calories:  325
Carbs:  43g
Protein:  12g
Fat:  14g
Fiber: 5g

Ingredients + Approximate Prices:


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Simple Sunday Supper - TACOS!

Hello! This is me...officially working to get my nutrition back on track! Read how I'm doing that HERE. But, check out the tacos we made for dinner! Cheap, easy, healthy, fast, yummy!

Muckle Sunday Night Football Tacos!

Prep Time:  15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes

One Taco =
Calories: 212
Carbs:  14g
Protein:  11g
Fat:  13g
Fiber: 2g

Ingredients + Approximate Prices:
  • Old El Paso Stand & Stuff Shells ($2)
  • 1LB Kirkland Organic Ground Beef ($19 for 5 lbs)
  • Wildtree Organic Taco Seasoning ($8.50 for 34 servings)
  • Costco Organic Romaine Lettuce ($6 for 6 heads)
  • Kirkland Signature Parmigiano Reggiano ($11)
  • Organic Ripe Tomato (< $1)
  • Organic Yellow Onion (< $1)
  • Lindsey Sliced Olives ($2.50)
  • Daisy Sour Cream Light ($2.50)
  • Old El Paso Taco Sauce ($2.50)


It's easy! Cook the ground beef, then add 2 tablespoons taco seasoning and 1/2 cup of water. Simmer.

Clean and cut the veggies.

Bake the shells as directed. Load up your shell and enjoy!

Getting Nutrition Back On Track!

Ever since our move to Florida, we've been a bit off with our eating. We're living in a temporary space without our stuff, househunting, trying to get acclimated and having some fun, too!

But, YOU KNOW the feeling when things are getting away from you just a bit too much. There's a lot on your plate, meal planning gets to be overwhelming or stale and things start to go south. I'm thankful that I get a lot of help from my husband when it comes to meals! A friend of his mentioned Wildtree meals to him and I had a flashback!

I was using Wildtree products a few years ago and they completely dropped off my radar. I'm not sure how because I loved them! I dig that they're organic and a super added bonus for me is that they are peanut-free. I'm deathly allergic and I never have to worry about having a scary anaphylaxis incident with these foods. This is a huge relief for me!

After reacquainting myself with their website, I decided to get the starter kit. Go big or go home!! There's just so much I wanted to I did it. Woot!

And, I found my ol' favorite friend - Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil. It's so dang good! I'm excited because I've been so bored with the usual foods. Plus, what is this all about??
I don't know, but I can't wait to find out! Yum! I'm most excited to try their "bundles". Basically, Wildtree sends you recipes and ingredients to make 20 meals. All I have to do is buy the protein. This is truly what I need!
I'm not much for cooking and I really don't want to spend a lot of time on meal planning, shopping prep, etc. It's all done for me. Quick, simple,'s what I need right now! I'm so excited to have one stressor handled.
Now I just need to find a place to live!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The New Normal

Week 1 of the "new normal" is complete!

Here's what I feared:
  • Starting a new job
  • A new commute
  • Not having time to take care of my health

New Job: I haven't started at a new company since 1997. Let that sink in. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. But, it went really well. I picked up on everything quickly and I spent the majority of my time writing - LOVE! This is a welcome change from my last job that entailed much less writing and much more red tape, meetings and email. Refreshing!

Commute: We only have one small hybrid car fit for an urban environment. That will need to change soon! (Convertible, you think?!?!) By Friday I was able to make it to and from work without my GPS. And, usually the skies are clearing from afternoon storms on my way home, which makes for a magnificent drive.

Healthy Lifestyle: Keeping up my healthy habits is a priority. But, things have changed, so I have to adjust.
  • I've been walking to and from work for the past three years.
  • I've been using a standing desk at work for the past year.
  • I've had a gym membership for the last several years.
I have none of this anymore. Yikes!

We are getting back on track with meals after our road trip. And, I worked out 4 out of 5 mornings this week. I actually went running outside one morning, which I haven't done in ages because it's been too cold in Minneapolis. I miss not having a gym right now, but I'm working with weights I have at home and doing fine with that. I also got in a pool workout after work twice this week and walked on my lunch break. Plus, I feel like I'm so much more active from a NEAT perspective, which contributes.

Prior to my week back to work, we headed to Fort Myers Beach.

Shortly after this photo was taken, Tropical Storm Colin effects rolled in and we experienced a mass exodus from the beach like I've never seen before!

Luckily, the weather cleared up this weekend. Yesterday morning we went to a community my husband found that's just a mile from us to watch dolphins and manatees playing. I could've stayed there watching all day, but it was cooking outside!
 Then, I did some househunting, a pool workout and rewarded myself by cooling off with a bit of rum while watching the hometown Minnesota Twins game at our new local tavern!

Another day at the beach and pool today, then back to the new normal tomorrow! And, I'm excited! I was worried that the grass wouldn't be greener. That the dream I hyped up in my head for so long wouldn't be as great as I thought. But, it's even better than I imagined. I found my home!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

We made it!

We made it to Fort Myers! It was a long, long drive, but we finally made it!

It was my last day at work. I was happy that it was pretty uneventful because so many people were out for the holiday weekend already. I wrapped a few things up and left peacefully :)

When I got home, we packed up the last few things into our POD and hit the road! We decided to play the Flat Stanley game with a twist! :)

Of course, it was raining, so it was a gloomy drive. We made it to Madison, WI around 5:00 and settled in for the night.

Hidden gem: La Mestiza Mexican restaurant

It was a very boring drive from Madison through Illinois. VERY boring and cloudy. But, I was happy to have an uneventful drive and get some more hours under our belt!

Hidden gem: Tuscan Hills Winery in Effingham, IL (We crashed a wedding! Congrats to Josh & Erin!)

This was easily our best day of driving! We drove from southern Illinois through Kentucky and onto Nashville. It was only a few hours long and very beautiful. We'd never been to Nashville, so I was excited to stay downtown and explore the city.

We made the best of our day visiting the Titans stadium, the Parthenon and a few local places to hear some music.

Hidden gem: The Palm

This was our most stressful day of driving! We were on the road for a good 10 hours and endured the mountains in Chattanooga, Atlanta traffic and Florida rain. I was so happy when the day was over!

Hidden gem: The Florida Border!! (Not really hidden, but it felt like it when we were driving!)

We drove a few hours from Gainsville and made it to Fort Myers on Tuesday. Since then I feel like we've had more activity than I've had all year so far in Minneapolis! We've been in the pool every day, been to the beach and unloading our POD burned quite a few calories.

It's back to work on Monday. I'm looking forward to getting back on track with our meals and figuring out my new workout plan, which will certainly include a lot of water activities and pool workouts. SO happy to be here and see my dream of living in a warm climate realized!



Saturday, May 21, 2016

A celebration of life!

The past week was an eventful, emotional celebration of life! My family through a going away party for us. While I will still see my family often, it was difficult to say so long to my fabulous grandma and these three adorable faces.

I wanted to make it to Paisley Park one last time before I left Minneapolis. I hadn't been out that way in about 20 years! The memorial was amazing. AMAZING! I'm so happy I got to take part in it.

We also celebrated Charlie's first birthday without him, which was a difficult milestone. I'm ready for the 'firsts' to be over.

On the health front, I'm feeling good! I turned another year older this week. I'm so thankful that I've been mindful of my health and wellness over the last several years. I can't imagine how terrible I'd look and feel at this age if I hadn't been so diligent about nutrition and exercise for the last decade. I was on an awful, unhealthy track and I'm so thankful that I turned it around!

Also, the weather has finally improved enough to get outside and enjoy it! I made it to Target Field one last time.

I've also been taking advantage of the weather by walking all over Minneapolis this week! I will definitely miss walks along the Mississippi, but I'm so excited to stop being STATIC. There's only one more week until we move!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Getting back on track during disruptive times

Today is a great reminder about WHY I try to take great care of myself by eating well, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly! It is so important and directly contributes to feeling well and performing at your best both mentally and physically.

I knew that my last few weeks in Minneapolis would be busy and stressful. I’m trying to pack and sell items we’re not taking with us, finish up my job, and see friends and family. Everything is hectic…and when I come home, there’s nowhere to sit and relax because I sold everything! I'm currently sitting on my friend's lawn chair because we sold our patio set on Saturday.

With this much disruption, my health is suffering a bit of disruption, too. I'm doing pretty well health-wise considering. I'm still getting in at least 10,000 steps every day and lifting weights 3-4 times every week. The weather hasn't been fantastic other than a few days here and there, but we have really been trying to grill our protein and veggies as much as possible.

That said, we ended up eating out (and drinking out) on Friday night with friends at our going away party, then again on Saturday evening for the Kentucky Derby. This is typically a big no-no for us. We ate our Saturday night leftovers last night for dinner, which I still count as "eating out" given the sodium and who knows what else the restaurant put in our delicious food.

This morning I felt bloated and lethargic. It's definitely a direct result of my nutrition (or lack thereof) over the weekend. The difference now is that I recognize how these foods affect me and I can turn it back around quickly. Before I changed my lifestyle, I would consider this type of behavior "off the diet wagon". But, now I don't act like I'm "on a diet" or "off a diet". I try to eat healthy and exercise most days. When things go a bit too far - like they did this past weekend - it's not a free pass to keep treating my body poorly. It's a wake up call to get right back on track.

Today's meals:
  • Breakfast: Green smoothie and coffee
  • Lunch: Kirkland turkey on wheat, fat-free cottage cheese
  • Dinner: Big veggie salad and veggie farfalle
  • Missed my snacks today, but I had lots and lots of water!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Happy May Day!

Happy May Day! May is always one of my favorite months. It represents new beginnings for my family.

  • It's (hopefully) the start of better weather days in Minnesota. 
  • Both my husband and I have birthdays in May. A new year of your life to make new goals is always great!
  • Our beloved dog, Charlie, also has a birthday in May. This will be our first one without him :(
  • Last May we moved out of a toxic situation into our current location, which has been an improvement to our health.
  • This May we are moving across the country!
The week approaching this lovely day was challenging. I started out the week with one of the most stressful days at work ever. Nothing went right. I've spent almost 20 years there. Now I only have 20 days to go. DEEP BREATHS!
We also sold our living room furniture, which I think will be a benefit to our health this month. With nothing comfortable to sit on, it will force us to get outside for a walk or go to the gym and move more!

Have a happy May!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Hello Goodbye

"Hello, hello...I don't know why you say goodbye I say hello..." - Lennon/McCartney

It was a week of goodbyes with the hellos trying to burst through. Yesterday morning I saw a Facebook post about someone passing at Paisley Park. First, I messaged my friend, who is also a major Prince fan, to ask her if she heard. Then, I began alerting my co-workers like a crazy person. This COULD NOT BE Prince! No no no no no! Well, you know how that all unravels. I followed the news the rest of the day, then came home and immediately started the vinyl. There was no other solace.

Even though the biggest street party in Minneapolis history was just a short walk away from my apartment, I didn't go. I followed with everyone online instead while listening to Prince tunes and the helicopters buzzing above my apartment building all night.
On my walk to work this morning, I took in the aftermath. Quiet and cloudy:


From my favorite Prince song: "I am yours now and you are mine. Together we'll love through all space and time, so don't cry..."

Moving on...

Since I decided to quit my job and move across the country, I've been trying to find a new job! I've been working at the same company for nearly 20 years. It's been good from a security standpoint, but it hasn't been good for my soul aside from the few great friends I've made along the way. But, day-to-day, it's stressful and not something that makes me feel fulfilled at the end of the day. I'm ready to say goodbye #corporatelife

While having a paycheck and benefits is an obvious concern, I'm doing my best to really try to do something different. Something more creative, enjoyable and rewarding. I have a lot of ideas about what that could be. But, in the midst of trying to move, keep up with the job I still have for a few weeks and stay on track with life, it's been tough to have a good stretch of quiet time to meditate on the ultimate questions like, what am I here for? How can I make an impact and do some good? What are my talents? How can they be used?

I spent the week interviewing for a new job, which went well. I went to a LinkedIn training class. I took knowledge from that to do some successful networking. While my immediate actions and new connections might not bring anything now, you never know what will pop up for the future. Live in the moment. Listen to others. Help people. It will come back to you.

However, for now I'm just trying to say hello to my new life. Current stop is Limbo Land. But, more is on the horizon...

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Life without a weight room

About 10 years ago, I decided I wanted to learn how to lift weights. I’d recently lost about 25 pounds through diet and pilates, but I wanted to take my fitness to the next level. My husband and I joined our community center gym, so he could teach me how to use the equipment and free weights. 
When I thought about how my weightlifting lesson would go down, I pictured one of those workouts that you see in a women’s fitness magazine. You know - the ones where the women (who are actually models) look fabulous and the workout calls for two sets of 15 reps with five-pound weights. But, that’s not at all what my husband had in mind for me. He said that I could easily do a workout designed for men. We started training with Men’s Health TNT Workout, and I fell in love with heavy weightlifting. I enjoyed it so much and it’s still a workout that I go back to today.
Ever since then, I’ve worked to challenge myself in the weight room. I lift as heavy as possible and learned to do some Olympic lifts. At one point, I beat the gym’s record for bench press. Weightlifting has turned into a fabulous and healthy “hobby” for me!
Now, I can’t even remember life without having access to weights and a gym. In my current living situation, I’m lucky enough to have a gym just downstairs in my building.

But, I’ll be moving in a couple of months and for the first time in many years, I won’t have access to a gym. PANIC!

I know that while I transition to my new surroundings that I won’t be able to just NOT do strength training. So, I’ve been trying to think of some creative ways to workout without having access to a gym. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
Swimming pool workouts:  Luckily, I will have access to a pool. And, since it will be summer in Florida, I’ll probably need it to cool off! I found some amazing workouts for the pool. Thank goodness for Pinterest.
Make use of free weights/body weight: There’s something to be said for old fashioned pushups. I also have access to a set of 12-pound free weights. I am going to get creative with step-ups, pushups with weights, planks and other body weight exercises to keep up my strength.
Try a new sport: There’s shuffleboard, pickleball and tennis available at my new place, which will give me plenty of opportunities to work on my fitness (and coordination) in new ways.
What ideas do you have for me while I adjust to life without a weight room? I want to know your creative workout plans!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Promoting my health - through the biggest changes yet!

For starters, I want to thank Kristy, who has a fabulous new blog, for prompting me to write this post tonight!

Remember how we celebrated the first day of spring earlier this week? Well, we did that happy dance, and then this happened:
For those of you that have known me for some time - or even if you haven't - I will complain about winter to anyone and everyone that will listen. I've done it for years and I'm sure everyone is tired of it by now. Ha!

I've talked on and on about moving out of Minnesota for YEARS in hopes of ending my annual 6-8 months of dread, depression and reliance on my light therapy lamp. I spend SO much time with my lamp that I feel like I owe it a nice steak dinner with a fancy glass of cabernet and probably a piece of cheesecake, too.

My diligence for having a healthy diet and working out regularly is in large part due to helping ease SAD. However, I have always dreamed of the day that I could just walk outside on the regular without having to worry about which coat I should wear or having to put on these bulky winter boots. And, have a life without having to worry about winter anymore!

I've gotten to the point in my life when I'm truly starting to realize that tomorrow isn't promised and that life can change in a moment. It's out of our control. But, what is in our control is what we do with today. Do I want to look back on my life and say, "Hey, I lived in a place I really didn't want to be for XX years and worked at the same place for XX years. It was a nice, safe life. And I was afraid to leave it all for the unknown."

As of today, I've lived in Minnesota nearly 42 years minus a 5-year stint in Wisconsin (Ooohh! Daring!). I've worked for the same company for nearly 20 of those years, which pretty much everyone views as commendable. And, so do I. My life does not suck! I have a great life married to my best friend, I have a dependable job that pays the bills and then some, and live in a fabulous neighborhood in Minneapolis. However, the SAD plague takes over for extended periods of time. I enjoy doing so many outdoor activities, being near/on the water and taking advantage of eating fresh foods - all of which I can only do in Minnesota for a fourth of the year - if I'm lucky. And, it's FINALLY time to put my health first!

So, after many years of wallowing, we are finally (and appropriately) moving to the SUNSHINE STATE. There's a lot up in the air right now, especially given that I gave notice at my job!!! We'll be leaving the state where we were born and raised, and I'll be leaving the place I've worked for so many years without knowing where I'll land. But, I know it's the right thing to do. I'm already so excited to take advantage of having a new environment, learning new outdoor activities and, most of all, improving my overall health and well-being. Stay tuned for the adventures as they unravel! And, please enjoy below a photo of the beach that will be just a few short miles from me!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Three easy steps to curbing your cravings

Do you often say to yourself, “I know what I need to do. I just can’t avoid temptations that stop me from being healthy!”

We all know that good nutrition and regular exercise is what’s good for our well-being. But, knowing what to do and actually doing it are two very different things. Things like motivation level, mood swings, schedules, temptations, and surprises among other things can easily take over your well-thought out plan of good intention.

Your consistent behavior will determine your ultimate outcome. So, if you can consistently act on things that lead you to your goals, you’ll get there. The good news is, consistency doesn’t require you to act on your goals ALL of the time. This leaves you flexibility to give into those temptations occasionally.

If you’re struggling with giving into temptations, you don’t have to quit giving in to them. But, do you think you can reduce the number times you give in to them? Remember, it’s not you that’s tempted. It’s your brain. So, it’s just a matter of re-wiring your action that’s blamed on your brain!

Let’s say your craving is soda. Each time you give into drinking a soda, your cravings get stronger and stronger. In turn, your brain’s ability to break the habit gets weaker and weaker. Soon, it will be automatic for you to drink a soda at a certain time (or times) of day because you’re used to it. So, if you want to reduce your craving, you simply have to reprogram your brain – like this!

1) Recognize – When you get your craving for a soda, just acknowledge it. You may even want to say it out loud to yourself! “There’s my brain again – telling me that I’m craving a soda.”

2)Remind – You’re in a habit of reacting to what your brain is telling you in a certain way – picking up that soda without really thinking about why. Try intentionally thinking about why you’re doing it.


a. Are you really hungry/thirsty? If your answer is yes, try to choose something healthier, yet still satisfying like carbonated water. 

b. Are you bored, tired, happy, sad, etc? If your answer is yes, do something else. Try waiting 10 minutes to see if the craving is still there – or still as bad. Go for a walk, text  a wellness buddy about your craving, work on a hobby or journal about a healthy action you took today.

It doesn’t have to work 100% of the time, but even if this works for you once a day this week, twice a day next week, and so on, you’ll start turning the tide on taking over your temptations!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer - Completed!

I did it! DONE! I just finished Phase 3 of Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer.

Here's my recap of the first half of the program:

During the second half of Phase 2, I really started noticing results. I cleaned up my diet a bit more and corrected my macros (more protein). I noticed that I leaned out a bit more and my strength capacity was increased. It was great! I probably enjoyed Phase 2 the most out of all the phases.

I started Phase 3 right along with the holidays. Thanksgiving and multiple Christmas celebrations throughout December were rough on me nutrition-wise. Also, I really didn't like the workouts in Phase 3. Instead of building on the strength that I worked on in Phase 2, I felt like I was taking a step back.

Phase 3 includes way too much static cardio - in my opinion anyway. 30-60 minutes doing static cardio multiple days per week is not the most efficient way to workout. And, instead of increasing weights, Eason increases reps and number of exercises. For instance, you'll do a workout comprised of 10-12 lifts focused only on one or two muscle groups to exhaust the muscles. For each exercise, Eason asks that you do at least 10 reps - sometimes 20 reps - for 3 sets. This means, she wants you to exhaust the muscles by endurance, not by strength.

Again, I'm not saying she's wrong. Look at her! She obviously knows what she's talking about. But, for me, I like to lift heavy doing more sets, but shorter sets. And, I like HIIT workouts rather than long cardio workouts. It's just my preference.

That said, I really liked the second half of Phase 3. Eason incorporated complexes and I really enjoyed those workouts. Again, the cardio was too long and boring for me, especially because I already walk about five miles per day and I stand most of the day at work, which is above and beyond my gym time.

Overall, I'm so happy that I challenged myself with this program. I did a lot of workouts outside of my comfort zone, built strength and endurance and saw results! I could definitely see myself doing this workout again, but I'd probably incorporate some of my own modifications so I could enjoy it a bit more.

For my next workout plan, I really wanted to incorporate complexes because I really enjoyed doing them. So, I'll be lifting six days a week again doing two upper body workouts, two lower body workouts and two complexes each week. One rest day! For cardio, I'll incorporate two-three HIIT workouts each week, continue walking at least five miles a day and getting in my NEAT. And, now that the holidays are over, I'll have a much easier time cleaning up my nutrition.

Looking forward to 2016!