Tag Archives: #exercise

Rock the Reset: Day 19-20-21

Guysssssssssss!

I did it! I freakin did it! I finished The Ultimate Reset!

The last three days were much easier than I thought they would be….well, Saturday aka Day 20 was a little tricky. Since I was so close to being done I had a few moments where I said to myself, “Oh, I can do whatever I want today….I’ve made it this far.” Somehow something snapped in my brain every time this happened and got me back on track.

Sunday was an awesome day….I was traveling and somehow stayed on track until the evening, where I celebrated the Reset being over with a tiny piece of the homemade coconut cake I made for my mom’s birthday. I made this decision because I had completed all of my supplements so everything was technically over, and I wanted to celebrate my mom. I have no regrets.

Waking up this morning I felt wicked awesome. I snapped this picture really fast after i put my contacts in because I was incredibly anxious to compare what I saw in the mirror to the before photos I took Day 1. I was very pleased. I’ll be sharing my official photos a little later, but let me drop a few numbers with you….over the 21 days I lost 9 pounds and almost 3 inches from my waist. I also lost about 1/2 each from each of my thighs. I’m very much okay with those numbers.

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 12.17.52 AM
Yes, losing some weight and inches is cool and all, but my motive for doing this program wasn’t to have a massive transformation. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do this program…..I knew it was more mental than anything. I wanted to see if I could really live the vegetarian lifestyle….and if I could avoid my friends coffee, cheese, and doughnuts. Most importantly, I wanted the result that many people rave about after completion: a strong appreciation for food in general and how it impacted my body.

Let me share a few other takeaways from the Reset with you (other than the inches from my waistline):

My sleep improved: I think we all know I’m a night owl that survives on a strange amount of sleep. I work mostly at night and often don’t have the best night’s sleep. I now realize how much the quality of food I eat impacts the quality of my sleep. During these three weeks I slept like a baby….I woke up rested and felt terrific. On the few occasions where I slipped up (Krista’s baby shower and the doughnut incident especially), my sleep was off and I noticed a difference.

Skin clarity: I usually have pretty clear skin, which I attribute to my daily dose of Shakeology, however, with the focus I had on my water intake each day I saw even more improvement. Even during that time of the month (sorry, dudes who are reading this), I didn’t have any breakouts or issues.

No digestive issues or bloat: Well, the majority of the time. On those occasions where I messed up my stomach let me know what was up immediately. If you recall, on one of the occasions I shared a photo here on the blog where I looked pregnant because of how bloated I was (thanks, little piece of pizza). I had the same issue with the doughnut. Currently I am reading the book Wheat Belly, which discusses how gluten can impact your body. After my isolated incidents during the Reset, I can attest to the fact that my body and gluten do not get along….which I’ve always suspected. Awhile back a doctor told me I had celiac disease, which was later proven to be a false diagnosis, but I always questioned whether or not I had an intolerance. Moving forward I am going to be majorly avoiding gluten.

An appreciation for how great my body feels: I shared this image and quote awhile back, and it continues to ring true with this experience. Internally, my body felt incredible….it’s hard to describe. It just felt clean and good.

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 12.41.59 AM
But……

Since I am being honest with you guys, I did struggle with this challenge, and it wasn’t just because I was without my BFF Coffee. Don’t get me wrong….it was tough and there were moments I felt like a drug addict going through withdrawal, but I didn’t cheat one time with coffee.

The biggest struggle for me: the exercise and lack thereof. I finished the 3 Week Yoga Retreat, but I hated every minute of it. Like I said before, it just wasn’t for me, and even as a fitness professional there will be workouts that don’t gel with me. This is one of them. Sorry, yogis. You can keep your cow and downward dog poses….i’m happy to return to munchkin claps and genie tuck jumps.

Exercise is something so much more to me, and I don’t know if I can ever properly describe it. It’s therapy for me; it’s the one part of my day where I feel like a normal human being….the one part of my day where i momentarily forget about the huge hole in my heart and the grief I live with daily. It’s the time where I get out my emotions…my anger…my sadness…and my frustrations. Going three weeks without a serious sweat session did a number on me. I felt moody and depressed, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t exactly a peach to be around. So the emotional aspect of this Reset…..yeah, it was rough for me.

Today I resumed normal exercise, starting back with the 21 Day Fix since the workout calendar aligns perfectly with my upcoming trip to Punta Cana. It felt amazing to be sweating and jumping and tossing around weights. I had coffee…pretty much immediately, and it was such a lovely reunion. I introduced eggs and meat back into my diet and my body felt sluggish and uncomfortable most of the day. I knew that would happen as I reintroduced foods to my body. Overall, my mood returned to normal….I was happy to be back in my normal routine.

Would I recommend The Ultimate Reset? Yes, I would. I think everyone should do it once. You learn things about yourself….not only about what foods cause problems, but how much you appreciate other foods and what they can do for your body. You learn about willpower and getting through something incredibly challenging. You just grow as a person.

Am I upset I had a few slip ups? Not at all. In fact, I think everyone doing this program should have a few. Why? I immediately saw how that food impacted my body, and I could associate the negative feelings and effects to one particular food. When you are focused on a restricted diet it is much easier to do that. I am thankful for those “bad” moments during the Reset; I truly think I had a better appreciation for my body and the foods I ate after that because I could see the difference.

I’m glad I did it, but as glad as I am that I did it, I’m even happier that it is over.

Would I do this again? Possibly. If I was ever on bed rest or restricted from exercise, then yes. That is the only way though….I’m not giving up exercise again unless a doctor says so.

I’ve got to give a huge shoutout to all of you and those in my daily life who have been holding me accountable…..I know I have been a challenge, but you all have kept me on track and helped me so much.

Crossing The Ultimate Reset off my 2017 Vision Board and moving onto the next adventure.

Oh yeah, and about that vegetarian thing….no way in hell. I’m a carnivore, and there’s no tap dancing around it.

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 12.19.07 AM

Back with my boo coffee. 

 

Tagged , , , , , , ,

July Beauty Finds: Sparkle or Dull?

This month’s beauty finds………ahhhhhhhhhhhh! I was so excited to try both and review them! I’m not even going to mess around with some kind of introduction….let’s get right into it!

Product #1: Tarte’s Swamp Queen Palette

Me and eyeshadows go together like peas and carrots…we just belong together. In recent months I have started to use more products from Tarte (not sure why I waited so long), and was extremely excited when it was announced they were going to pair with Grav3yardgirl, a youtube sensation, to create a palette.

Who is this Grav3yardgirl? A hot ass mess, that’s what, but in a good way. Bunny reviews lots of crazy products, does tutorials, and is just ridiculous….probably why I gravitate to her channel. Her style is all over the place….much like mine. I love it!

I knew that this palette would have some awesome colors that were different from my normal palettes (I love anything brown, purple, grays, etc), and, knowing Tarte’s quality, I had a feeling they would be super rich and apply wonderfully.

I’ll be honest….for a hot second I thought I may not get my hands on this palette. Initially I saw it at an Ulta in Michigan while shopping with my cousins, but since it had been released that day I thought I would just wait and get it back home. They will have ppllleeennntttyyyyyyyy of them at my Ulta, right?

WRONG. Every Ulta near me was sold out….so was Sephora (good news, back in stock if you want one). Fortunately, a girl at Ulta told me she heard through the grapevine that Macy’s was going to be carrying them for a brief time. I took advantage of her tip, found it on Macy’s website, ordered it, and performed a serious of cartwheels and somersaults when it arrived a few days later.

Look at these colors! In the palette you get 9 eyeshadows, 1 bronzer, 1 blush, and 1 highlighter. The colors are very rich (can you see the sparkle in a few of them?)!

Here’s my honest review of the product: It is fabulous BUT…..because of how pigmented the colors are I highly recommend using a little at a time….then adding a little more…and so on. I think we all know I love a strong contour, so when I started with the Sweet Tea shade (top left), I was surprised at how INTENSE it was…..leading me to wash my makeup off and start over. Same with Gator Wings (bottom left), which is a highlighter. It has a strong glittery shine to it, so start small with a fan brush and add as needed.

As far as the eyeshadow colors go, I liked them for a more natural, subtle look. Sippy Sippy (middle row, far right) was my favorite color in the palette, but I did have a lot of fall out with the shadow than with the other colors, so be careful or apply eyeshadow before the rest of your makeup.

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE! It’s great for traveling since your blush and contouring friends are a part of the palette, and it can work on any skin tone (in my opinion).
Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 7.35.23 PM

Product #2: Stila Waterproof Eyeliner

I’ve really struggled lately with eyeliners…I don’t know why! I love a strong wing, so I prefer a liquid liner for my top eyelids and use a pencil for my lower eye. This is the summer of weddings for me, and being outside at a lot of them I noticed that my trusty eyeliner (a cheap kind by Wet N Wild that I have used for years) was running faster than Usain Bolt. No bueno. Throw in a few happiness tears…and my whole eye look was ruined.

So I did something I never ever do…..I walked into Sephora and asked one of employees for a recommendation. This is big for me! I swear I know more than the majority of people in there, so asking for a suggestion….that was like taking a bullet.

Lucky for me I got one of the few Sephora employees that seems to know what is going on in the world of makeup. (Sidenote: Why does Sephora always seem to hire idiots? That don’t know what things like highlighters or primer are? Or who Kat Von D is? And who can’t even apply makeup to their own face? I swear…the last time I was in Sephora one of the girls was rocking a foundation shade that would’ve worked if you had been sunburned in Cancun, not if you had the alabaster color skin she did. She looked ridiculous! Ok, I’ll stop). The girl recommended the Stay All Day waterproof eyeliner by Stila, which made me happy. I had done a little online trolling of my own and this one popped up numerous times. Her suggestion gave me the go ahead to purchase and try, and I am so glad I did!

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 7.44.38 PM.jpg
This product is just like a magic marker for my eye….easy to use, great for making thick wings or subtle ones…and comes in a variety of colors. Best of all, it doesn’t run when Im crying or sweating…which is a huge plus!

Final Verdict: SPARKLE!!!! Yes, yes, a million times yes. Add this to your makeup bag immediately.

For fun I made a little tutorial with the colors I love from Swamp Queen…and I used my Stila pen, too!

sparkleon

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

May Beauty Finds: Sparkle or Dull?

I feel like I was just writing a review for April’s Beauty Finds……oh wait….I was!

Happy to report that I am back on track with my blog and back to my usual posting schedule!

So let’s chat about some possible new beauty additions for your collection!

I get a lot of questions about makeup every day, and lately lipstick is the hot topic. I like to think of myself as a lipstick connoisseur, and while I tend to gravitate toward certain brands that I know to be tried and true, I am always up for trying new brands. My go to lipstick is a matte finish….I’m not a huge gloss person because I don’t really like the stickiness or the fact that my hair can get stuck in it if it’s a tad windy outside. Because of this, I haven’t encountered many liquid lipsticks/glosses that have worked for me (To date, only the Melted liquid lipsticks from Too Faced have passed my test). This month I decided to give another liquid lipstick a try!

Product #1: Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick

I am a big Anastasia fan….I use their brow pomade and pencil as well as their glow and contour kits daily, but had never given their lip line a try. This month it was time for the liquid lipstick that they claimed had the matte finish that I love so much.

The color I selected (and that can be seen here as well as in my previous post which you can read here) was Electric Coral. I will be honest….I was hoping it would be a little more tangerine/orangey, but was pleasantly surprised when it had a reddish hue to it (we all know that I love my reds). I opted to try this out on a weekend where I had a lot to do….days when I am go go go I need a lip product that stays on without a lot of reapplication.

Let me share with you what I liked about this liquid lipstick: darn near everything! I applied it first thing in the morning and did not need to reapply until about 4pm…which was after I had eaten…I always reply after lunch. The color was rich and a true matte, so I was very happy. The only thing that I noticed was that it slightly dried my lips out the first time. When I wore the lipstick again, I applied a little plain chapstick before application and I was perfectly fine.

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE!!!!!

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 4.17.05 PM

Product #2: LA Girl Pro Concealer Set

Concealers are always tricky. I feel like I’ve tried about a billion of them, finding some that I like, but not love. I used to rely heavily on them when I was younger because my skin would break out and do all sorts of weird things, but thankfully I don’t have those issues anymore (Shakeology and water intake….my secrets to clear skin). Nowadays I rely on concealer to help me when I don’t get enough sleep and have pesky under eye circles.

I chose this particular concealer set to review because I have been curious about the color correcting formulas that I have seen on the market and thought it could be a great cost effective solution for someone in need of a great concealer.

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 4.48.37 PM

Three colors for me to try!

Here’s the skinny on color correction: you may think the different colors look funny in their tubes, but they actually have a purpose. Ipsy shared this graphic with their followers awhile back, and I think it is great for breaking it down.

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 4.44.14 PM

Photo courtesy of Ipsy

The LA Girl concealer set I reviewed for this piece includes orange, yellow, and green concealers, colors I felt would be best for me to try out. I specifically chose to try them out for the first time on a day when I had very little sleep and woke up looking a bit wretched, and I tried out all three colors since I had a tiny bit of redness, too.


Initial thoughts: What the heck is this???? The orange color made me look strange, and I was worried the green hue would show through any foundation. The yellow was closer to what I was used to, and I applied that after I had blended in the orange hue (Note: I used a blending sponge for this). Once blended I didn’t look as scary with the colors and applied my Kat Von D Foundation and Ben Nye Banana Powder as I usually would. You can see my before and after using the concealers below. The photo on the left: zero makeup up; the right photo features the blended concealers, foundation, and powder.


I liked this product….I really did…but I am not sure if it worked any better than the Nyx concealer I typically use. Using three concealers instead of one is a bit more maintenance, but if you are someone seriously struggles with redness, dark spots, or blue tones I truly think this product will help you. I just didn’t have enough of those issues going on to truly see a difference.

The good thing about the product: the price. I purchased all three for about $9, which is great. La Girl is also a product line relatively easy to find…you can purchase it at Walmart, Drugstore.com, even Amazon.

FINAL VERDIT: Semi-Sparkle!!!!!

Off to find some fabulous products to review for June!

sparkleon

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The firing of the Fitbit

I wanted to address something that I have been asked about a million times over the past couple of months.

Where in the world is my beloved Fitbit?

Because I am a health and wellness coach and help people every day work toward their goals, I’m not surprised why I get asked about it. So many of my clients are looking for tools and resources to help them stay on track with their goals, so it is only logical that they ask about a product that is known for assisting with this.

For 11 months I rocked a Fitbit Flex and was so obsessed with it that I had purchased a ton of extra bands so it would always match my outfit (yes, I am serious). I did not go a day without my trusty little step counter. I sang it praises for its accuracy and ability to make sure I always hit my daily step goals….I constantly would check my app and challenge myself if I was behind for the day! Of course I shared my Fitbit love on my Facebook page, so everyone knew that I was captain of #teamfitbit.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.22.03 PM
And then one day I completely got rid of it.

Please do not think that the trashing of my Fitbit had anything to do with its quality. Many of you may be on the fence with buying one, and I don’t want you to think it is a bad product. Honestly, I think it is great, and I encourage anyone who has been considering getting one to buy the version they want. I loved the app that coincided with my Fitbit, and  the accountability it provided was great for anyone, regardless of their fitness level. It was exciting to me to get a step challenge from a fellow Fitbit friend and always motivated me when I was considering skipping a workout or a run.

I miss my Fitbit, but more importantly, I miss the person who gave me the reason to stop wearing it.

My dad.

Those of you who knew my dad knew how physically fit he was. When he got a Fitbit I knew I would be in big trouble. Not only did he run daily, but he took Henry on about four walks a day….long walks. His step count was crazy! Some morning I would wake up at my typical 11am wake up time and see that he was already 15,000 steps in. I, of course, am very active, too, but I never could come close to beating his steps. Our competitive spirit had us always trash talking the other one over their step count and making it a healthy competition, one that my husband, Kyle, eventually joined in on. In fact, the last message I had received from my dad before he died was about steps on the Fitbit.

The day my dad died I knew I would never ever be able to wear that thing again. Not because I didn’t love it or its purpose, but because I couldn’t emotionally handle going into my Fitbit dashboard, looking at my friends list, and seeing my dad at zero steps when he averaged 24,000 a day. I just knew it would break my heart even more every single day.

So I fired my Fitbit and replaced it with my Apple Watch.

If you have been thinking about an Apple Watch, let me tell you….it is an awesome device. Of course, there are so many more features than the Fitbit Flex I had, so I use it in many ways that differ from the Flex. Fitbit now has so many models that you can find one that offers more of an Apple Watch look/feel if that is what you are after.

Grieving is a weird thing, and sometimes you just have to make small decisions that don’t set you back.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating…..that quote that says life is only 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it…..it’s so true.

Every day I make small steps to living a more positive life. Every day I work really hard to live a life that my dad would be proud of. Every day I remind myself that even though it absolutely sucks monkey balls that this happened to my family….I have the power to determine how I bounce back from it. I’m reacting to life the best way I possibly can.

Sometimes that includes getting rid of a piece of rubber that vibrates when you hit your steps.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

March Finds: Sparkle or Dull?

March was the month that I was determined to try one of the products I have been hearing about by Tony Moly, a brand I that I love and have written about before.I am constantly hearing about products that help get rid of dark eye circles, and after our cruise I was in need of something to help me with mine. Let’s be honest…I didn’t exactly sleep much and had some serious raccoon eyes going on.

Product #1: Tony Moly Panda’s Dream Eye Patch

I’ve always wondered if these kinds of products work, and to be honest, I really haven’t needed to try them in the past. Sleep is something that is very important to me, and I’ve always used an eye cream that I believe helped if I had a night where I didn’t get as much sleep (my favorite is Benefit’s It’s Potent Eye Cream). Of course I forgot my eye cream on the cruise……it was the only thing I forgot! Pair the missing eye cream with all of those late nights/early mornings on the ship…..and you get these lovely sight. Hello, bags! And these bags sure as hell aren’t designer.

2016-03-18 15.31.18

The day we got home from the cruise I decided to enjoy a bubble bath and try these panda things. One pair comes in this cute little packaging, and when I opened the package up I have to be honest….I was already not interested. The eye patches felt like slimy seaweed, and I didn’t like that I had to wear them for fifteen minutes. Without cutouts for my eyeballs these instantly made me want to fall asleep….and in a Lush bath bomb bubble bath, that is already pretty easy to do.

After fifteen minutes (I set my phone alarm to make sure I followed the directions perfectly), I ripped the panda patches off of my eyes and hopped out of the tub with the hopes to see absolutely no remnants of my sleepless cruise.

Not the case.

Below is the Before and After photos. Can you tell the difference? Yeah, I can’t either.
FINAL VERDICT: DULL

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 9.44.07 PM

Product #2: Gwen Stefani Blush Palette

We all know I love Urban Decay, so when they introduced the limited edition Gwen Stefani Blush Palette, I was pumped! I’m a HUGE Gwen fan! However, it has been my experience that product collaborations with celebrities are terrible, and I was worried that this would be the case again, thus causing a ripple effect where my obsession with Gwen would change.

Since my go to blush was already an Urban Decay product I figured that this palette was worth a shot. And then I received the email that sealed the deal: for one day only Ulta was selling the Gwen palette 50% off! Don’t you just love when they have one day deals??!?!?!? I sure do.

This palette does not disappoint one bit! Here’s what’s in it:

4 blush colors: Cherry, Angel, Hush, and Easy
1 bronzer: LoFi
1 highligher: OC

I’ve been using the color Easy (the one in the middle, top row) and LOVE it, but I have to admit…all of the colors are great. I’ve tried each on their own as well as used the highlighter and bronzer to contour with the color Easy. The colors stay put (Urban Decay is known for 8 hour+ wear with their blush colors), and they are light and sheer. Plus they are packaged into a cute little black/white/gold case that Gwen designed herself. Score!

FINAL VERDICT: SPARKLE!

2016-04-04 15.39.44

Moral of the story: Gwen rules at everything she does and Pandas should stay away from face products.

sparkleon

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sea-duced in a major way.

WHO: About 6000 Beachbody coaches and their guests

WHAT: 2016 Success Club Trip

WHEN: March 12th-17th

WHERE: Aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas

WHY: To celebrate the lives we have impacted throughout the past year

I have been WAITING for this trip for what seems like forever. We had registered back in January of 2015, and at that time this trip seemed like a lifetime away…..that’s a long time to wait! Since Kyle and I canceled our honeymoon (thanks Hurricane Joaquin), we were more than ready for some tropical fun.

I had scheduled an early Saturday morning flight so we could go right from the airport to the port in Fort Lauderdale, which meant we had to be at the airport around 3:30 Saturday morning. Most people who know me know that I am very much a nocturnal person….I usually go to bed around 4am and get up about 11am, so I wasn’t really worried about the early departure time. However, I failed to think about the lack of sleep I would have the day prior. We live very close to the Cleveland airport but had found much cheaper flights out of Pittsburgh, which is pretty close to my mother’s, so we had driven down to her house Friday so she and my aunt could drop us off. I tried to get a few hours of sleep by lying down at 9pm, but thanks to my weird schedule it was impossible, so no sleep for me!

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 7.20.01 PM.jpg

Wide awake for an early morning departure!

Day 1

We arrived in Fort Lauderdale and to the port with no issues…or so we thought. After checking in and getting our Sea Passes, we were escorted to a strange holding cell area on the second floor of the port. Being new to cruises, Kyle and I had no idea what was going on and thought this was just a temporary thing. After about an hour of waiting we found out that the hold up for boarding was actually a disgruntled crew member who was trying to commit suicide by jumping from the boat (you can read all about that here). Eventually police officials were able to get the man down safely and we were able to board…..when it was all said and done we had been waiting in the holding cell area for about three hours.

The boat Beachbody chartered for us was through Royal Caribbean and was called The Oasis of the Seas, one of the largest boats out there. I had no clue what to expect when I walked on board but quickly realized that everything I thought was wrong. There was a Michael Kors store right in front of me(yes, I did some damage there), a Starbucks in eyesight, a pizza parlor cranking out pizzas for all of the hungry people coming aboard, and a bar that actually moved up and down in the middle of the ship…..and that was only on the one floor!

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 7.51.11 PM

First stop….a Starbucks Cafe Americano!

Our room was a Superior Ocean View Stateroom with a balcony, and I have to admit….it was much more spacious than I had imagined. We had a comfortable Queen Size bed, sofa, vanity area (my makeup and I were happy), large closet, and a decent sized bathroom. My biggest concern about the room prior to arriving was that my 6’6″ husband would be very uncomfortable in it. Fortunately, he had plenty of space, especially in the shower, and had no complaints. Having a balcony was great, too….I loved being able to see the water…and I think a porthole room may have made me feel a bit claustrophobic.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 6.54.40 PM
Our boat left the port about 5pm that Saturday, but we missed the Sail Away party….we had already met up with some of our friends and were busy exploring the ship! At this point I was pretty much driving the struggle bus….I still hadn’t slept at all, so I had been up since 11am Friday morning. Thank heavens for coffee…..as usual. We didn’t stay up too late that night….I had gotten really sick from some food at the one buffet and was feeling awful. Since we were arriving in the Bahamas early the next morning I wanted to make sure that I was feeling better and well rested.

Day 2

Waking up in the Bahamas was such a beautiful sight. We had ordered room service for breakfast and enjoyed a great meal on the balcony overlooking Nassau before getting ready to explore. We had the option for some excursions but had opted out of doing any because we weren’t sure a) what we wanted to do (so many options) and b) how the whole process worked. After breakfast we showered and decided to walk around the port and the city a bit.

After some shopping we hit up the pool to catch a little sun before formal night and the glow party. Our ship had 5 pools on it and so many hot tubs I lost count, and since most of the ship was out doing an excursion or two, it wasn’t crowded.

Formal night was so much fun! I love getting dressed up, and it was fun seeing everyone else all dolled up! I got lots of messages about the dress I wore….it was an adorable find from the clearance rack at David’s Bridal and very Kate-tastic!

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 8.12.34 PM
We spent most nights having dinner with my success squad and their husbands and trying different things. I love that we could order whatever and however much we wanted, so we found ourselves ordering way more than we typically would. For a big eater like Kyle, this worked out well for us…..he eats so much!

Here’s a look at my meal for formal night:

Appetizers: Cheesy garlic scallops and Banana Rum Soup
Entrees: Manhatten Filet and Spinach Shrimp Ravioli
Dessert: Banana Angel Food Cake

Something I fell in love with over the trip: cold soup. This banana soup was Ah-Mazzzzzz-ing! I felt like I could eat it, drink it, pour it over ice cream, mix it with Shakeo, etc. I am determined to remake it here at home. In addition to the banana soup I had mango soup, peach soup, and pineapple lychee soup over the course of the trip.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 8.24.10 PM.jpg

We clean up well 🙂

After a very filling meal we all changed to head to the Glow party where we were encouraged to come wearing white. Apparently there would be glowsticks and who knows what else. After changing we found out that the party was changed to later in the trip and instead there would be a dance party at the front of the boat. Five minutes at the party, and I tapped out. It reminded me 100% of a sweaty rave that I would’ve loved during my drinking days. No thanks.

Day 3

Our next stop was Falmouth, Jamaica, so we spent Day 3 at sea. We opted for breakfast in our room once again before heading to the pool with our pals. I was stoked to get a non alcoholic pina colada in a pineapple….it was so good! We spent most of the day on the top deck catching rays before catching a nap and a run. The ship had a running track wrapped around the entire 5th floor deck which hooked me up with beautiful views and a peaceful breeze as I ran. I’m proud to say that I ran a 5k in the middle of the ocean!

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 9.18.22 PM

Later in the evening all of the Dynasty United coaches on the ship met in our leader Brittany’s suite to chat. After all, our business was the reason every one of us was on this cruise. For those of you who don’t know much about coaching, it’s all about helping people. Helping them make smarter nutrition choices, helping them find the right fitness programs to reach their goals, helping them find confidence and purpose…..it is a business that has changed my entire life, and I am so proud every day to be a part of it. Being on a cruise that Beachbody completely paid for because I did my job was great and all, but getting to spend quality time with others who believe in the same vision and goals as me: priceless.

Our team is made up of the most amazing men and women, so getting to hang with a few of them was so much fun. We laughed, we cried, and we just talked, mostly about how much this business has changed our lives and our family’s lives. It has allowed so many of us to retire from boring soul-sucking corporate jobs, it has allowed us to pay off debts, it’s given us confidence and the ability to overcome things like depression, post partum issues, and body issues, replacing those things with hope, purpose, and happiness.

We all come from different backgrounds. Some of us are in college, others are grandparents. Some have Doctorate degrees while others have GEDs. We have lots of parents who dreamed of being at home with their children and being present for all of the big moments in their lives, and we have people who just wanted a career that allowed them to work when they want and how they want. We have extreme introverts and extreme extroverts. Some of us went through major health transformations while others have always been physically fit. It doesn’t matter the background; the one thing we all have in common is simple. We just want to help as many people as possible and work to end the trend of obesity. I love that there isn’t a coaching stereotype, and I love surrounding myself with people who build each other up and share in the success instead of competing or tearing each other down. Iron sharpens Iron.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 8.37.33 PM.jpg

After our Dynasty United hangout we hit up the Disco party. Some people really took advantage of the opportunity to dress up, and part of me wished we had a little more. Truth is, I knew I would be super close to the weight limit on my luggage and felt that eliminating a wig and a huge 70’s costume was probably smart. Kyle and I went as early 70’s hippies, so we were comfortable and rocking the tie dye.

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 9.12.24 PM

This hippie chugs water #likeaboss.

Day 4

I fell head over heels in love on Day 4…..and I’m angry it took me a few days to discover the objection of my affection. Look at this french toast! I don’t know what it was made of….angel wings, cherubs, rainbows…..and I didn’t care. It was incredible. I continued this relationship the rest of the trip and am sad it came to an end.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 9.19.07 PM.jpg

It reminded me of Disney World’s Tonga Toast! So good!

After I had my date with the French, it was time for Jamaica, Mon! I absolutely could not wait to get to Jamaica, but as excited as I was, I had trepidation as well. I knew that tourists were the livelihood of Jamaica and that locals were known to approach them, sometimes getting really aggressive. Since I was with Kyle and two other couples, I felt safe enough to venture out. We hit the market and then had one of the local (who I called a Stage Five Clinger because he truthfully was) walk us to a little place in an alley right next to Usain Bolt’s church. He claimed it had the best Jamaican Jerk Chicken in the country, and he did not disappoint. It was so delicious! I was happy we trusted his recommendation.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 9.18.54 PM.jpg
After we got back on the boat the guys decided they wanted to do the zipline on the 15th floor. I really really really wanted to try it, but my fear of heights got the best of me. Everyone else did it but me, and that’s okay. Instead I gave the rock wall a try. It was super high and overlooking the Boardwalk, so again, the heights terrified me, but I tried. My goal was to get higher than three stones, which I did…..and I actually liked it!

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 9.30.05 PM

The face of a scaredy cat.

That evening was all you can eat lobster night, and our table took full advantage. Seventeen lobsters were owned by us……on top of prime rib and a whole gaggle of other foods……which led to our gang going to switch into comfier elastic waist clothing. Kyle was very happy about it….it was his second night with lobster. The night before he had gotten one and was very satisfied…I think he loved that it matched his lobster shirt. After dinner we went to a show on the boat that was great, eventually ending up with coffee on the top deck. It was a fantastic night.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 9.36.03 PM.jpg

Day 5

Our final day on the water. About 99.9% of people on the boat hit the pool, but not I. Kyle got caught up on some sleep while I enjoyed the company of friends (and coffee) and got caught up on some reading. I very much believe in the power of personal development, so being able to read on our balcony listening to the ocean ways was good for my soul. We also made the decision to book our next cruise….next year we will visit Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta, and the Cayman Islands. I guess you can say we were sea-duced?!?!?!

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 9.29.16 PM

After yet another delicious dinner with friends, I met up with a new friend who I had been waiting to see all week. My man Tony Horton. I’m starting his new program, 22 Minute Hardcorps Monday, so this was the boost of excitement I needed. It as a great way to end the trip.

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 9.29.47 PM

Day 6

Our plane left early from Fort Lauderdale, so we took advantage of the early departure to get off the boat and through customs quickly. I was impressed how easy and well organized the process was. After a few hours and a short flight we were back at my mom’s for the night, and we both were exhausted. Early to bed for us!

 


I can’t begin to express what this trip meant to me and did for me.

Did I have an absolute blast with my husband and my friends? Absolutely. I am so glad I got to spend time with them and combine business with pleasure.

Did it refuel my passion for the business? Absolutely. I want every single person I know to be able to have this lifestyle, these friendships, and this feeling of complete purpose.

But this trip did so much more for me than what I’ve mentioned. It really helped me get my mind in a better place. Prior to going on the trip I had reservations, mostly because I felt guilty. One thing I have struggled with so much since I lost my dad is finding joy in things or looking forward to things….I think it is common. It’s just hard to find happiness when you feel like you have a little rain cloud following you around reminding you that something is missing from your life.

This trip allowed me to laugh,it allowed me to feel alive again, and it helped me to surround myself my lots of people who love and support me. I had so many good talks with my friends about the situation, and it was nice to talk about how I was doing openly with them. I hadn’t seen many of them since everything happened….their hugs and kind words were very comforting. Lisa, Julie, Payton, Jess….you all especially….thank you for taking time to remind me that this business is more like a sisterhood and that you always have my back.

I’m already looking forward to our next trip to Nashville in July and Punta Cana next year. Who wouldn’t want to go on all of these fun trips with their families and closest pals???!!!! I just need to figure out a way to bring Murphy with me….

If you want to know more about this business or these trips, or if you are someone who is reading this and just needs some support and encouragement to get healthier, lose weight, or build confidence, let’s talk. I have a three day sneak peek going on next week on Facebook, and I’d love to have you be a part of it. I also have upcoming support groups for my challengers and can create a one on one support system for you if that’s more your thing. Just cruise over to The Sparkle Fitness Babe, like the page, and shoot me a message! You can also contact me through this blog!

Going to bed tonight with a very grateful heart.

Grateful for finding a career that combines my passion with my purpose.
Grateful for the opportunity to travel the world.
Grateful for my husband, family, and friends for being the rocks in my life.
Grateful for the guardian angel who I know is with me every second every day.
Grateful for the experiences that have helped me grow.
Grateful to be living a life that I know makes my dad proud.

I hope you are going to bed grateful, too.

sparkleon

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coming for you, Beast!

Time for a little Hammer and Chisel Update for Week two and three!

So……things haven’t gone exactly as I had hoped with this program. You probably remember me sharing in my last post that I had a little back issue that had me restart Hammer.

Well…..that bitch came back.

Before we get into that, let’s chat about Week Two!

I approached Week Two with the same Badass attitude I ended Week One with…..I mean, I was slowly gaining a new obsession for weight lifting and loving the changes I was seeing in the first week.

Here’s a look at the meal plan I rocked for Week Two! I changed up a few things this week but stuck to some of the same items, mostly because if I love a recipe I tend to make it over and over. I was a huge fan of the egg salmon sandwich I had made for breakfast the week prior, however, the store was out of smoked salmon so I opted for prosciutto as the meat on the breakfast sandwich.

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 11.26.13 PM

How does your fridge look at the beginning of the week? I pride myself in the organization of my food….I’ve found it helps me stay on track when meals are organized together in similar containers. Don’t you agree?

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 11.35.56 PM

If you haven’t given meal planning and prepping a chance by now, I strongly suggest you do. It saves time, money, and keeps you on track. I can’t stress that enough!

So let’s talk workouts. The first week I was challenged and felt like a sweaty beast each day. I loved it! I knew coming into week two that workouts were going to get a little more demanding, but I was ready. Here’s the thing about Hammer and Chisel….you don’t exactly repeat workouts in the same manner as other programs. As someone who loves variety, this is probably my favorite aspect…..I never know what to expect, I never feel bored, and I am excited for my workout every single day.

Monday: Chisel Cardio Day. Anytime I see the word “cardio” in a workout I get a little bit more excited than normal! This workout was killer, and I found a new favorite move in sword pulls.

Tuesday: Max Hammer Strength. I really enjoyed this workout. It focused on tiring yourself with one move, then going heavier with the weight for an additional 8 reps. This was a mix of all the basics…..lunges, presses, sumo squats, calf raises…..a great all over workout that left my muscles tired.

Wednesday: Chisel Agility. Agility meant one thing…..lots of jumping, planking, and high knees. For some reason, this workout and I did not jive. It consisted of two rounds, and at the end of the first one I was really struggling with finishing it. Some workouts I connect more with than others….maybe I’m just not an agility girl.

Thursday: Rest Day. Much needed. My muscles were still screaming from Hammer Strength.

Friday: Hammer Power. I was just starting this workout when my back said HELL TO THE NO to me. I had messed it up earlier in the morning and didn’t realize how serious it was until I attempted to do a clean. Immediately I felt awful spams in my lower left back and knew I had to stop.

The following two workouts, Chisel Balance and Hammer Conditioning did not happen. Instead, I focused on my nutrition and resting on the couch. I figured a couple of days rest and I would be back to the program. When it came to my nutrition, I knew that even though I couldn’t work out, it was incredibly important for me to stay on track. Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym!

2016-01-23 14.06.03
For the following couple of days I rotated the heating pad and ice method until I could get into my sports chiropractor. It didn’t hurt to walk, and I was even able to have a quick three mile run early in the week. However, when I sat down or attempted to sleep the pain was unbearable.

Thank heavens for my sports chiropractor. Having one on my speed dial is one of the most important numbers I have. If you are an athlete or you teach fitness classes, I recommend doing the same. The thing with back issues is that all too often we think we can just heal them ourselves with time or some at home remedies. If I have learned anything with this injury it is that I should’ve gone to the chiropractor a few weeks ago when I first had the issue.

During my appointment I found out that it wasn’t actually a back muscle that was the problem, but my sacroiliac joint. Yeah, I know what you are thinking…..I didn’t know what that was either until I saw a diagram. Here’s where it is located:

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 12.20.32 AM

Photo courtesy of sportsinjuryclinic.net

The good news is that after some stretching, a little stim treatment, and work with my chiropractor I felt like brand new. Best part? I was cleared to start some light exercise and could resume to normal activity within a week with a few follow up appointments with my chiropractor to make sure my joint was okay.

The rough thing about having an injured back is not just having to skip workouts, but having to cancel my live classes, too. I love teaching in front of people and helping them get into shape. Taking a few days off meant I wasn’t able to help as many people as I could’ve. Fortunately I will be able to return to my Insanity Live and CIZE live formats in the upcoming week!

Since I can’t do anything with weights until the end of the week, I will be doing a week of PIYO before diving back into Hammer and Chisel next Monday.

When life hands you lemons, find a way to turn them into chocolate cake. Find a way to make it work…think outside of the box. I hate delaying a week of H & C, but subbing in a week of PIYO will help me stay on track when it comes to exercise and endurance and allow me to ease back into the weights next week.

I’m ready for you, Beast. I may not conquer you on my original timetable, but trust me.

I will conquer you.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Brooks Was Here; So Was Katie

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” -Andy Dufresne Isn’t that an amazing quote? I cannot think of a single human being that cannot connect to that quote in some way. Ahhhhh, The Shawshank Redemption. One of my absolute all time favorite movies. I literally will watch it every single chance I get like it’s the first time, and if you have cable and TNT, you know that’s pretty often. I’m okay with it, though. It is a classic with an amazing message, and it just makes me feel great when I watch it.

Take this as your instruction to watch it if you haven’t. 

Speaking of favorites, I have blogged many times about my love of running, so when I learned about an event several months back that combined running with Shawshank, I didn’t hesitate to sign up. That event, my friends, was The Shawshank Hustle, which took place last weekend in Mansfield, Ohio.

This building is just amazingly cool to look at it.

This building is just amazingly cool to look at it.

I am fortunate to live not far from the Mansfield Reformatory (it’s only about an hour from our house), and I frequently pass Mansfield as I go back and forth to Columbus….yet after all this time I have never visited. To be 100% honest, part of me has refrained from visiting because I have heard countless ghost stories about the prison, and I think we all know I am a little bit of a wuss with that stuff. My family has continually brought up doing the overnight ghost tour throughout the years, and while part of me is intrigued….the other part is terrified. I figured if I can handle the prison during the daytime, maybe I could consider the overnight thing.

Back to the Shawshank Hustle, the run itself began in front of the Reformatory and ended in front of the Reformatory with a lovely hilly 5 mile run through Mansfield in between (lies I was told….I thought it was only a 4 miler). This was the first year for the event, and being a seasoned racer, I had some trepidation knowing that often first time races are a hot mess, as there is typically a lack of organization and mass chaos. For those of you who love running, creepy places, and Shawshank, here is my review of the race.

-Running Course: I found the course to be really great. There were some crazy hills, but the run itself allowed me to see what a cute town Mansfield was. I found it challenging (the heat had a big part of it), but it was a good kind of challenge, and I loved seeing the Reformatory displayed in front of me as I ran the final half mile, known as Redemption Road (those of you on Periscope who tuned in saw me live broadcast as I ran into the finish).

Gary, Sharon, and I getting ready to start the race!

Gary, Sharon, and I getting ready to start the race!

-Water Stops: One area that could be improved next year. There were two within the same mile (mile 2), and for a hot July morning, I definitely feel like there should’ve been another and they should’ve been spaced out some.

-Race Swag: The swag was pretty cool. All runners received a Shawshank Hustle tech shirt that glows in the dark, a custom medal upon completion, and free entrance into the Carousel and the Reformatory.

We just love medals!

We just love medals!

-Post Race Food: There was a good selection of your typical race food for all runners (Nans, mixed nuts, corn thins, chips, apples, and water). The post race food also included vendors with a variety of fair like foods if you were interested in gyros or funnel cakes.

-Pre/Post Race Party: The atmosphere was awesome….the individuals pumping up the crowd did a great job, fun music, plenty of Port-a-johns, and some great vendors around with merchandise and giveaways, like Saucony, hooking people up with cool headbands and other items.

Got to run another race with one of my BFFS, Jodi!

Got to run another race with one of my BFFS, Jodi!

-Transportation to and from race: This was my biggest complaint. Nearly 3000 runners participated in the Hustle, however the Reformatory was only able to accommodate 300 cars in its parking lot. Due to this fact, all runners who did not arrive in time to park at the Reformatory had to park at the Speedway about a mile away. There were shuttles to take runners back and forth, however, there were only three school buses that were actually transporting. When Gary, Sharon, and I arrived, the line to get onto the buses was over a mile long (this is not an exaggeration), and by the time we got to the front of the line, it was definitely closer to 2 miles. The delay in transportation actually caused the race directors to push the start of the race back a half hour.

Selfie as we wait? Sure!

Selfie as we wait? Sure!

-Post race tour of the Reformatory: Due to the amount of runners, we all did self guided tours. I was a little concerned at first because I was interested in hearing some of the stories, but I figured if I enjoyed the tour I could always come back and take advantage of a guided tour in the future. We were able to check things out at our own pace, including the Warden’s office, the tunnel Andy Dufresne climbed to freedom using, the room where Red met with the parole board, and several other sites from the movie. In addition, we got to actually walk through the jail cell area, which was super creepy to me. Some may know that I have a little thing with heights, so the small catwalk I had to scale across past the cells was extremely uncomfortable for me. Not only did it feel like it took forever (the corridor is extremely long and narrow), but it gave me a chance to see the cells up close and personal. I must say, that is how a jail cell should be……very small and confined, gross, and uncomfortable.

This place is def not the Hilton.

This place is def not the Hilton.

Because you should take a selfie with Brooks......

Because you should take a selfie with Brooks……

-Creepiness Factor: Somehow I missed some of the creepiest locations in the reformatory, including the tuberculosis room, however, I still felt really strange in most parts of the building. Sharon and I experienced a weird feeling of extreme pressure on our chests as we passed by one of the strange closets, but it was gone once we were past the doorway. Honestly, some of the creepiest locations were allegedly after we got out of the jail cell area, but since I was still in half panic mode because of the heights, I missed them. Maybe that’s a good thing….

After I got home, I did some research on the Reformatory, which I wish I had done before. Even though it is creepy and I was uncomfortable, my level of intrigue greatly heightened after reading some of the tales and talking to some of my friends who have completed the overnight tour. I won’t say Im sold on doing it yet, but I am way more on board with the idea than I was a month ago. We’ll see.

Bottom line: If you are a runner, this race was absolutely worth the entry fee. The minor hiccups of the shuttle system will most likely be addressed next year, and the rest of the experience was so fantastic I would highly recommend it to others. If you aren’t a runner, but you like cool places, absolutely check it out. And if you are into ghosts and have experienced something crazy there, I would love to hear about it.

Learn more about the Reformatory by visiting http://www.mrps.org.

Tagged , , , , , ,