health and fitness, Health Coaching, Uncategorized, workouts

21 Day Lean for Halloween Challenge

What’s up everyone?? Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted here, I’ve been crazy busy with my day job, new coaching training (I’m officially a health coach with BeachBody!!), and teaching piano lessons. If you want to stay up to date on my goings-on and all kinds of new health/fitness stuff, be sure to follow me on Facebook! I’ve got a lot of exciting new stuff to share with you all, the first of which is the first challenge I’ll be running as a coach!

What you’ll get if you join my 21 Day Lean for Halloween Challenge. . .

You may have seen my post a few days ago about the first Challenge I’m running as a BeachBody coach (yay!!). It starts on October 16th and I’m looking for 5 ladies who are ready to commit to their health for 21 days.

If you are looking to drastically improve your health and get in shape for next summer, NOW is the perfect time to start. As the saying goes, summer bodies are built in the winter. But let’s be real for a sec. There are dozens of health programs out there that promise you an easy fix to get the body of your dreams. The problem is that NONE of them yield lasting results. They actually end up doing permanent damage to your body. Time and time again, science proves that the only way to build a healthy lifestyle is through clean eating and hard work. Pure and simple. Which is exactly what my October Challenge has to offer. Let me break it down for you.




When you sign up for the 21 Day Lean for Halloween Challenge (pm me for details), you get:

  • A clear list of tasks to do every day so you know exactly what to do and when
  • 30 minute effective, do-anywhere workouts to jumpstart your fitness
  • A supply of Shakeology in several delicious flavors (pm me for more info on this, it’s an amazing health drink/meal replacement/protein shake)
  • Meal plans and portion control containers to take all the guesswork out of healthy eating
  • Endless support from me (your coach) and others who are in this challenge together
  • And more!

So I guess my question is why not try it when this could be one of the best decisions you ever make? I promise, I’ve looked into a lot of health and fitness programs and this is one of the only ones that actually gives you QUALITY for your money. Actually I think it gives you a lot more quality than the price you pay for it. If you have any questions or are at all interested, feel free to pm me or email me at

healthy living, lifestyle, Uncategorized

My Blender Broke… And other sad tales from my kitchen

I received my shipment of Shakeology this morning, and have been excited all day to try it. Protein shakes and healthy smoothies are some of the best pick-me-ups my body has ever known. But alas when I got home and put my mix of berries, banana, milk, and Shakeology in my elderly KitchenAid, a part shattered and of course the blender quit working. So now I’m left with a half blended smoothie and I’m waiting for it to thaw so I can mash the fruit with a fork. I’ll just be blending my daily Shakeology with milk in my trusty Blender Bottle for the next few days until I can figure whether I can get a high power blender anytime soon.




Sad Kitchen Tale #2: (okay so these tales aren’t actually sad, they are mostly entertaining and laughable)

I’m still trying to figure out how much food I eat and write up an actual healthy eating plan instead of just making whatever healthy meal I happen to have the ingredients for that day. Shakeology will account for most of my breakfasts for the near future, and I’ve collected a bunch of good wholesome recipes I can’t wait to try. Now I’m just waiting for my paycheck on Thursday so I can make them happen! Stay tuned for many hilarious failings as I am a TERRIBLE cook. I guess absent-mindedness and following recipes don’t mix well.

Sad Kitchen Tale #3:

Ryker is now big enough to start jumping on my kitchen counters (and floor lamps, pictured below), so it’s time for him to learn which furniture he is allowed on, and which furniture should be considered lava (am I the only one who played “the floor is lava” as a kid?). I must say it’s hard to reinforce these concepts when I’m at work all day. So for now his “training” mostly consists of me coming home, Ryker climbing on the counter, me subsequently jumping off the couch spewing forth multiple verbal threats, him staring at me like I’m a crazy person, and then him jumping off the counters at the last moment before my threats become a physical force to be reckoned with. (Note: I am a very nice person to my pets. I may be exaggerating a little for entertainment purposes).




Stay tuned for many more in a series of sad tales from my kitchen 😉

crossfit, Fitness, Uncategorized, workouts

The Fatal 40/Giant Set Challenge

The “Fatal 40” was my workout for this morning, I’ll post the original Crossfit version along with my version that works with my minimal apartment equipment.


fatal forty


So yeah, the above is the crazy but awesome CrossFit version. I gotta admit that as much as I love using minimal equipment in the privacy of my own apartment, I would love to try this one with a barbell at a real box. But since I don’t have that luxury, I made it work with the modifications below. It was really a great endurance workout, perfect to jumpstart my metabolism before work. Now I can just focus on some intense strength training tonight.


My version: 

40 jump squats

40 single arm dumbbell snatches (35#)

40 pull-ups

40 dumbbell deadlifts (70# total)

40 push-ups

40 dumbbell swings (1 pood, 35#)

40 hanging tuck-ups

40 air squats


If I had more time, I would have finished by doing 40 more single arm dumbbell snatches, 40 double unders, 40 sit-ups and 40 burpees. But I slept in this morning so I ended up not having time to do those and be ready for work on time.


Below is the Giant Set Challenge workout I will do tonight, focusing on slow reps with heavy weight, not the number of reps I can get in during the allotted time. This workout should torch my upper body like crazy, can’t wait to kill it!




How are you challenging yourself this week, physically, mentally, or spiritually? What is your go-to endurance workout? How about strength – what is your favorite muscle torching workout?

blogging, Uncategorized

Versatile Blogger Award

I’m honored to have been nominated for this award by Shaylon of Thank you! I appreciate it, awards are always a fun motivator to keep blogging. I especially like this award because versatility is something I’ve been trying hard to incorporate into my blog of late. So thanks again, Shay 🙂 [Readers, if you aren’t familiar with her blog or YouTube channel please go check her out. Only takes a minute and will be worth your time, I promise. She has lots of great health and fitness stuff to offer.]

Anyway, on to the award.




The Rules: 

  • Nominees – If you’ve been nominated for this award, you’ve already won. Yay!!
  • Write and publish a blog post thanking and linking back to the person who nominated you.
  • List seven random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate up to 15 other blogs that you follow and believe deserve recognition for their hard work. Let them know you nominated them.


7 random facts about me:

  1. I’m a huge softie for homeless and abused animals.
  2. I don’t think I could live without music.
  3. I’ve recently become obsessed with creating chalk art.
  4. I work at a dementia care facility.
  5. As of this week I joined the BeachBody coaching team.
  6. I think homemade chicken alfredo is heaven on earth.
  7. I’ve never seen the ocean in person.


Bloggers I nominate:







Please take a minute to check out these amazing blogs and show support!

Fitness, health and fitness, Health Coaching, Uncategorized

I Joined BeachBody!

Here it is you guys, the announcement I’ve been hinting at for a couple of months… I’m now in training to be a BeachBody coach! If you aren’t familiar with BeachBody, that’s the company behind those infamously awesome workout plans like Insanity and P90X. They are also the people who created Shakeology – one of the most popular and highly rated protein shakes/meal replacements in the fitness industry.


Why I joined. . .

Earlier this summer, I had a BeachBody coach contact me on Facebook offering to train me as a coach. I’ve had offers like this before that I blew off as scams, and most of those offers were for companies I don’t respect and don’t want to be apart of. This time I decided to take the call from Kathy to see if it could be a legit opportunity. Honestly I fully expected it to be a scam, but as I got to talking with Kathy and she shared her experince, I became more interested. One thing led to another and now here I am in training 🙂 I’m super excited about this because BeachBody has a really good system already in place for coaches and clients, so it should be a huge jumpstart for my business.

As every entrepreneur knows, the hardest part about starting a successful business is getting your name out there and generating a client base. With BeachBody, both of those factors are already taken care of, so all I have to do is complete the training and start coaching with the team!

Sometime next week I will receive my first shipment of Shakeology (curious how I’ll like it), and for the near future I will also be completing my training with my sponsor. I’m going to be very honest about my experience with BeachBody because the last thing I want is to sound like a sales rep who thinks their product is the only best one. And I’m not a sales rep anyway. The supplements are just part of what I will offer as a coach (and thankfully they are actually quality supplements that get you fit and healthy, not a scam product). My main focus will be to help people get fit and healthy, however that works for each individual. 

Anyways I just wanted to give you guys that update, stay tuned for lots of reviews and updates about my BeachBody journey on my blog! 🙂

Fitness, fitness program, health and fitness, Uncategorized, workouts

My Slightly Brutal September Workout Plan – Fall Fitness Motivation

For the last couple of months I’ve just been doing whatever random workouts I find online or write for myself that look like a fun challenge. Now that it’s September I’m going to simplify things a little and alternate between the same 2 workouts for the whole month, only taking one or two rest days per week. But before I get into that, I wanted to mention that yesterday I wrote a post called, “The Ultimate Guide to Rockin’ Your Wedding Dress” about getting in shape for your big day. If you are in a wedding (yours or someone else’s) this Fall/Winter, you might want to check it out! It’s the most detailed and in depth post I’ve written in awhile, I stayed up late last night writing it so I hope you get something out of it. (It’s free and has been proven to work so what do you have to lose?) You can read the post here.


Back to what I was saying, I’ve decided to alternate only 2 workouts for a month because they are very intense and advanced (for me) workouts, and I want to push it that hard every day for awhile. Results are almost always a mirror image of the amount of effort you put into your workouts, so judging by the amount of soreness in every muscle of my body right now I should make a lot of gains by the end of the month.


Workout #1:

  • 100 single leg hip bridges
  • 100 side lunges (per leg)
  • 100 sumo squats
  • 100 donkey kicks (per leg)
  • 5 x 10 single leg deadlifts
  • 100 hanging tuck-ups


Workout #2:

  • 5×5 pull-ups
  • 100 push-ups
  • 5×15 dips
  • 5×8 bent over rows (35# per hand)
  • 5×8 shoulder press (35# per hand)
  • 100 plank shoulder taps
  • 100 tuck-ups


As you can see, the first workout is mostly leg intensive and the second targets every muscle in the upper body and core. You may have noticed that I’ve included 100 tuck-ups in both workouts. I’m probably going to regret that for the first week or two because tuck-ups are absolutely killer, but they are also the most effective ab exercise (tied with planks) I’ve come across. My core is something I’ve never really isolated in my workouts because I do so many compound workouts that it gets a lot of work indirectly. For September I’m going to isolate it more though to get even better results. Tuck-ups are also a great quad and hip flexor exercise, so that will be an added benefit as well. [If you aren’t familiar with tuck-ups, watch the short video clip below. You can do them hanging from a pull-up bar or rings.]



What is your fitness plan for September? Or better yet, what are your fitness goals for this coming winter? Summer fitness is built in the winter, so if you want to reach your fitness goals by next spring/summer, now is the perfect time to start!!



Fitness, fitness program, lifestyle, weight loss, workouts

The Ultimate Guide to Rockin’ Your Wedding Dress

‘Tis the season of Fall weddings! Whether you are getting married yourself (congrats!!), or taking part in a ceremony for someone close to you, chances are you will end up as part of a wedding at some point sooner than later. I always say that the first reason to get fit is for function – to be healthier and better equipped for everyday life. But sometimes you want to work out for more aesthetic reasons. Looking good in a wedding (or bridesmaid) dress is one of them.




Now I could be like hundreds of other blogs and give you a “simple” or “easy” path to lose all your excess weight and look like a goddess in a dress. But I’ve got news for you. There is no “easy” shortcut to get the perfect body. In fact, there is no perfect body. And you know what? That is actually a really good thing. Because once you put in the work required to get very fit and healthy, you have something to actually be proud of. To get fit in real life, you have to overcome many struggles and much difficulty. There isn’t just some “easy” recipe you can follow that “magically” gives you a “perfect” body. That being said, let me bust a few myths to drive my point home.

Myth # 1: You can work out for a week and look like a totally different person. I see this on Pinterest all the time… workouts that promise to get you “wedding dress ready” in a week. Ummm… no. Sorry but it just doesn’t work that way. For anyone. I promise.

REAL LIFE: It takes 4 weeks of hard, consistent exercise before you start to notice a difference in how you look and feel. It takes roughly 8 weeks before you change enough for anyone else to notice. I mean think about it. If you are an average person with an average lifestyle, you have years of bad habits that have created the physique you currently have. That can’t be undone overnight. It can definitely be done, just not as fast as you and I might like. But good news! There are certain exercises and workout strategies that speed up the process significantly. I’ll share some of those below.

Myth # 2: The goal is to be skinny enough to fit into a small dress.

REAL LIFE: Please, please, please never believe this lie again after you read this post. The goal is not to lose a bunch of fat so you can fit into your dress. Your body has so much more to offer you than that. What really creates a “toned” body is not endless fat burning cardio. The most efficient type of cardio (interval training) will burn the fat that is covering up your muscles, but if they are weak and underworked, you will end up like a stick figure. Not quite the look you’re going for I assume. If, however, you have been combining strength training with interval training, you will have strong, toned (in a lean, feminine way) muscles to add shape to your body when you wear your dress. That is the goal. Strength + a healthy weight = a great look for the wedding day.

Myth # 3: You can wait until the last couple of weeks before the wedding to start working out.

REAL LIFE: I hate to break it to you but you need at least a full month, if not two (preferably 6 months) to make a significant change in the shape of your body. Don’t procrastinate.





The most efficient wedding workout plan: 

(Disclaimer: There is NOTHING wrong with being overweight for your wedding. Seriously. People aren’t going to judge as much as you think they are. Please don’t follow the below workout plan in an effort to look good so you won’t be embarrassed. We all have physical imperfections and there is absolutely nothing wrong with letting them show on your big day. The point is the marriage anyway. If you are just looking for a plan to change your body because you want to get fit and look good for the sake of being fit and looking good, then by all means, read on.)

Okay so I have gone through a lot of trial and error to develop this workout plan. And yes, I have been a bridesmaid in a wedding and will be the pianist for a wedding in a few weeks so I know this works in a “I-wanna-look-good-in-front-of-everyone” situation. Everyone is different with different needs, but these specific exercises and workout strategies have been proven time and time again to be the most efficient and effective way to change your body. The key is that you have to stick with it long enough to see and feel the results. If you give up after a week or two, you have not really tried the workout plan. Just sayin.


If you need to lose weight:

If your main concern is that you are 15+ lbs. overweight and you want to slim down, follow the “Month 1” plan (below) for as many months as you need until you get down to being 10 or less pounds overweight. (Don’t get too hung up on the number on the scale by the way. Just basically do Month 1 for as many months as you need until you feel pretty close to a size you like.) In addition to turning you into a 24/7 fat burning powerhouse (because interval training burns fat for hours after your workout is done), Months 1 and 2 will tone and strengthen all the shapely muscles, including muscles you didn’t know you had. I’m not going to lie, this workout plan will be tough. As a rule, your results reflect the effort you put in, so I’m not going to apologize for making these workouts difficult. Anyone can do them, you might have to take a lot of breaks at first and modify the exercises, but if you are really serious about changing your body, you have to be willing to put in the effort and not give up. The effort is what makes the change, now how perfect you can do each exercise. The first two weeks will be the hardest. Keep that in mind when you want to quit.

Some of the workouts I’ve written below follow the Tabata format. The idea is that you work really hard for a short burst of time, rest for an even shorter burst of time, and repeat for a given number of rounds. This constantly keeps your body guessing so it never gets the chance to plateau, and supercharges your metabolism so it continues working in your favor for hours after your workout. For a Tabata, you push yourself for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat for 8 rounds (4 minutes). So when I say to do 10 Tabatas, you are doing 10 rounds of: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, for 4 minutes. 10 Tabatas equals 40 minutes. I promise that sounds way more complicated than it is. You will feel overwhelmed at first but your body and mind will adapt fast. It will be worth the extra beginning struggles, I promise. If you need to, just look up some tabata workouts on YouTube. If you are a visual person you might get the idea faster that way.

Month 1 — Wake up your metabolism and get it working overtime.

Rest Day: Sunday

Active Rest Day: Thursday, 30 minutes jump rope/running/power walking

All other days: 10 Tabatas, alternating the following exercises in the following order. Rest for 1 minute between Tabatas if you need to.

  • Burpees
  • Sumo Squats
  • High Knees
  • Jump Rope
  • Curtsy Lunges
  • Hip Bridges
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Burpees


Month 2 — Torch your muscles to add some shape and definition while burning off the last few pounds.

Rest Days: Sundays and Wednesdays

Monday and Thursday: Upper body workout (outlined below)

Tuesday and Friday: Lower body workout (outlined below)

Saturday: HIIT (outlined below)


Upper Body Workout:

10 minutes jump rope

5 sets of 5 pull-ups

5 sets of 8 bent over dumbbell rows

5 sets of 8 push-ups

5 sets of 5 bicep curls + shoulder presses

15 minutes jump rope


Lower body workout:

100 hip bridges

100 squats

100 curtsy lunges

100 donkey kicks (per leg)

100 russian twists

100 jump squats


HIIT: Tabata format, 10 tabatas, alternating the following 2 exercises

  • Squat Jumps
  • Plank


So in summary, for best results, give everything you’ve got to the Month 1 plan until you are pretty close to your ideal “wedding dress” weight, then torch your whole body with the Month 2 plan for that extra definition/shape. I know the above workouts can be intimidating. It will be very tempting to follow some of those easier, more magical sounding workouts on Pinterest, but I’m begging you not to. At least give Month 1 a try for a full month before you quit. It is extra challenging to get you results that much more effectively and efficiently. You can do it. Anyone can do it. No matter how much modifying you have to do to get through it, please give it a shot. It could make a huge difference in your body before your big day.




art, lifestyle, Uncategorized

More Chalk Art (Part 2 of many)

Happy September everyone!! I don’t know about you but I feel like it’s way too soon for the weather to be getting colder and the days shorter. But alas it is what it is, and I love fall so let’s just hope it lasts. (Speaking as a Minnesotan, the end of Fall means dreadful cold, snow, and ice. LOTS of dreadful cold, snow, and ice.)

If you remember from a recent post, I’ve discovered that making wall decor with chalk and blackboard paper is currently my favorite thing to do. I am a rather obsessive person so once I find something I love (be it a song or an animal or an activity or whatever), I geek out about it very thoroughly. You could probably call it an addiction but that’s just weird so we’ll go with obsession. Anyway, I just spent the last few hours working on some new simple chalk art wall hangings. I’m pleased with how they turned out, and I can’t wait to find some nice rustic wood boards to use as frames/backing so I can hang them. I also can’t wait to get a full set of colorful chalk and chalk markers so I can get into more detailed work. (Note to my fellow perfectionsists, I’m aware that the ones I made tonight aren’t perfect and I have a lot to improve on but hey it’s a start so let’s just be happy with it for now.)

Here’s a sampling of what I got done. I just used some song lyrics and quotes I love. It was hard to choose which ones to use because I have a lot of favorite quotes and lyrics but the nice thing about chalk is that I can erase and start over as many times as I want so my decor sayings will likely be constantly changing. I’m also looking into getting some nice big chalkboards to put up so that should be super fun, and a lot easier than the blackboard fabric I’m currently using.


Even though I’ve only made a few pieces so far, I’ve already learned a couple things I can share with anyone who wants to try making some chalk art.

  • Let go of perfectionism. If you aren’t happy with your work unless it’s perfect you will never be satisfied with it at all. Make mistakes and embrace them as learning opportunities. You’ll get better with time and in the meantime be excited about what you can do.
  • Go slowly. If you rush the letters, the letters will look rushed. Take your time, add some flourishes or put some extra effort into making each line straight, depending on the look you are going for.
  • Use Pinterest for inspiration. Seriously, there is a ton of great chalk art ideas on Pinterest, from borders to calligraphy letters, to sayings that would be amazing chalk board writings.
  • Relax and enjoy yourself. If you aren’t having fun making your art, what’s the point? Creating something beautiful should be relaxing and therapeutic, not stressful. Take your time and enjoy it.


Wishing you a blissful week until next time,


Fitness, lifestyle, Uncategorized

Equestrian Fitness

As some of you know, I’m a horse person. Not a competitive horse person, mind you. I just love my horse and leisurely horse riding down country roads. Last night I took Arowyn (my Quarter horse, weird name I know) out for a long ride to give both of us some exercise and fresh air. It had been a couple weeks since I took that long of a ride, and my knees and hips are really paying for it today. I think it was the posting trot that killed my joints this time. For those of you who don’t know what a “posting trot” is, it’s basically where you rhythmically alternate standing in the stirrups and sitting in the saddle, in time with the horse’s jogging motion. It’s a lot easier on the horse’s back than if you just sit there bouncing away. And when you and the horse are in good shape and can work together, it’s actually kinda fun. But when the horse is overweight from spoiledness and lack of exercise, and the human hasn’t been riding in awhile, posting becomes a workout in and of itself. Trust me. Think squatting on a bouncing 1200 pound animal for 7 miles. It hurts.

Anyways as I was limping my way through work today I got to thinking about the stretches and exercises I couldn’t wait to do when I got home because they always help my hips and knees a TON. And then I realized that chances are someone in my readership is a fellow horse rider. Which means you could probably use the same workout I’ve been needing today. [Note: Even if you aren’t a horse person, this workout is great for hip, knee, and back issues. Try it. Take it slow and be patient. It works wonders.]

The view from Arowyn’s back


The workout:

Squat sit to stand. Sit in a deep squat, weight on your heels, for 20 seconds. Press your hands flat on the floor (or just touching your feet if you aren’t that flexible) and slowly straighen up so your legs are straight and you are touching the ground. Repeat until you start to feel loosened up and warm.

Hip bridges. 5 sets of 20-30 slow hip bridges, feet hip width apart.

Donkey kicks. 5 sets of 20 donkey kicks, per leg.

Narrow hip bridges. 5 sets of 15-20 slow hip bridges, feet and knees together.

Side leg lifts. 5 sets of 20 side leg lifts, per leg. You can do these laying on your side, or standing next to a wall or countertop (for balance).

Lying scissor lifts. 3 sets of 30 reps. Video below shows how to do this exercise.


Finish by thoroughly foam roll your quads, outer and inner thighs, calves, glutes, and back. Please devote at least a few minutes to each muscle group for best results. DO NOT underestimate the importance of foam rolling at the end of this workout. It will workout any knots or tension in your muscles, as well as breaking up fascia adhesions and stimulating circulation. All of this is hugely important because muscle tightness is often the cause of painful joint problems.


lifestyle, Uncategorized

Chalk Art!

I discovered chalk art on Pinterest ages ago and since then I’ve been dying to try it. I always loved coloring with chalk on sidewalks as a kid, I don’t know why but that is more appealing to me than drawing or painting or other forms of art (which I am no good at by the way). I like how chalk feels and looks unique. Today I finally went to Joann Fabrics to get a couple yards of blackboard paper, which can be used to write on with chalk for wall hangings and decor projects. The first one I made tonight is one I will put on my fridge to add a little personality to my kitchen. The quote is one I found on Pinterest, and is a great motivational quote for fitness, healthy living, and life in general.

“You have to tell yourself, no matter how hard it is, no matter how painful it gets, I’m going to make it.”

Here’s the finished product:


I can’t wait to make more decor projects with chalk and blackboard paper in the future!! When I have the time and patience, I’ll be using colorful chalk and adding more flourishes and designs. I used to do calligraphy for awhile so I’d like to brush up on some of the beautiful lettering I used to know. Once the artwork is done I’d like to put the blackboard paper on a rustic wood frame or background and hang it as a wall hanging. One thing I love about chalk art is that it can be erased and redone with new quotes and designs whenever I want.

Stay tuned for more projects as I continue giving my apartment a decor makeover! 🙂