A Perfect Fall Picnic

Summer heat is giving way to crisp fall air and there is no better time to have a picnic!  


Italian salami, Mediterranean cheese, freshly baked olive loaf, grapes on the vine, honey crisp apples and sparkling water complete the spread.

We went on a picnic for one of our very first dates and it’s a memory that I will never forget. We were young and in love and always looking to find ways to spend every moment together! Here we are 7 years later, and I am still completely smitten.

“We’ll look back someday

 at this moment that we’re in 

and I’ll look at you and say, 

I thought I loved you then”

 

Chambray Top: J. Crew

Embroidered skirt: Anthropologie

Wedges: Prada


Rain Boots and Memories

Today was hard.

Clare wanted to wear Elle Kade’s rain boots. Just seeing her in them reminded me of the last time Elle Kade wore them… back when she was living with us. It was a rainy day and I took the kids outside to jump in puddles. I cherish the memory and can still hear the little squeals and giggles that ensued.

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Today was another rainy day but Elle Kade isn’t here to enjoy it with us. I get snapchats from her stepmom of her dancing in the rain in Florida and I’m so happy that she’s happy, but those 2,000 miles are too far some days. She wakes up, gets dressed, goes to school, comes home, does her homework, plays outside, eats dinner, and goes to bed… Every single day. Without me. The thought of not being there to kiss her goodnight or help her with her homework or pack her lunch breaks my heart. I told myself this would be temporary. That she would change her mind after one school year. I wasn’t prepared to let her go again.

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Some days, I feel so guilty for having a normal life- for creating a routine that doesn’t include her. My coping mechanism is to ignore. I wake up and fill my day with distractions so I forget. And then… on days like today, I remember. I remember so vividly, it’s almost unbearable.

I pray for strength. To have faith and trust that everything happens for a reason. To know that there is a plan greater than anything I can comprehend and someday this will all make sense. I pray for my daughter that she will eventually understand that despite my flaws, I tried my best.

To those of you struggling to keep up with everyday life, who face challenges great and small every single day, who pray for guidance and forgiveness for our shortcomings of today and go to bed with a renewed sense of hope for a better day tomorrow. To YOU- I want to say- You are doing your best. Don’t feel guilty for giving your kids cereal for breakfast because the dishes weren’t clean. Don’t beat yourself up because you turned the TV on so you could get the laundry done. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, because you never know what battles others are facing behind closed doors. And just remember that whatever you do will be enough because  TRYING COUNTS ❤️

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Parking Lot Workout Circuit


Here is a quick lower body circuit that you can do anywhere there are lines on the pavement! 

I started out with a quick set of ladders between the parking spaces as a warmup. Then just do each move for 30 seconds with a 30 second break and repeat 5 times.

•Square Jumps

•Fast Feet

•Single Leg Square Jumps

•Forward Lunges

•Reverse Lunges

•Squats with a Calf Raise

•Heisman 

{here’s a quick video but it doesn’t show the last 3 moves}

Back to the Beginning

This has been on my heart for a long time now, and I have been intimidated and honestly terrified to start talking about this… But I have such a strong conviction that my story is valuable and could somehow in some way help someone. I hesitate to post anything out of fear of judgment, fear that it could be used against me, fear of transparency. At this point, I just feel so strongly that I need to say something. To speak out and shed light on a situation that is so common but still so taboo.

And this is MY story to tell from my point of view in my own words. That being said, I believe that there are 3 sides of every story- mine, yours, and the truth that lies somewhere in the middle. Everyone has a different perspective and I understand that my point of view will be different than his. But I have been consistent in keeping my integrity throughout this entire situation- I have tried so hard to be completely honest for the sake of knowing that I have to live with myself when all is said and done and I take complete responsibility for my actions.

My purpose in writing this is not to make anyone else look bad, but I will not make excuses or hide any of the facts. I am going to share my story, exactly how it happened from my perspective, in hopes that someone who is going through a similar situation might find hope and inspiration.

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I was so young when I became a mother. It completely changed my life and I am so grateful for that opportunity and blessing. But when I first saw that positive pregnancy test my world turned upside down. I felt completely inadequate and so confused. I wasn’t married at the time and there were so many decisions to make.

I seriously considered adoption, the possibility of being a single mom, and trying to make things work as a family. I have to be honest and say that I still don’t think there is one right answer. Every situation is different and I know that my decision was exactly what I needed to do at the time. I believe that everything happens for a reason and because of that, I have never doubted my decision. The path of motherhood is HARD regardless of what type of situation you are in.

{If you are pregnant and struggling with how to decide between so many options, email me and I can share my perspective with you.}

After months of prayer and consideration, I decided to get married. There were many factors that contributed to my decision and the pressure to do the right thing was overwhelming.

On my wedding day, I stood waiting to walk down the aisle with so many doubts. I turned to my best friend and said that I didn’t want to do this. But I put one foot in front of the other until it was too late and my decision was made.

The next few months passed quickly and before I knew it, I was having a baby! The moment I laid eyes on my darling daughter my mindset completely changed. 9 months ago I was a self-centered, materialistic, immature girl who became a loving, overly cautious,  first time mother. And with that realization I began focusing completely on my daughter and being the best mother possible. It didn’t really matter if I had a good relationship with her dad or not. I was comfortable and complacent.

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Make it a Habit

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If you could do one thing to create a more positive, impactful, purposeful day… Would you do it?

Studies show that waking up early is directly correlated with a successful day. According to Forbes.com early risers are more proactive, anticipate problems, are better planners, and are more optimistic! Now those are some qualities I would like to take advantage of.

My journey as an early riser began a few months ago when I decided to work from home. I didn’t want my business to impact the quality time I was spending with my children, so I created a routine that allowed me to accomplish all the necessary tasks before they woke up every morning.

And what I discovered in the process was life changing! On the days that I woke up early I was more patient, slow to anger, had MORE energy, and felt so much happier overall.

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Creating a morning routine was critical in the process of learning to wake up earlier. After reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, I adopted a few of his S.A.V.E.R.S. to incorporate into my morning ritual.

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Each morning I take the opportunity to go for a quick jog. (Disclaimer: I hate to run!) I’ve discovered that I actually love to be outside before the sun comes up and the world is still asleep so I just happen to run/jog/walk or whatever you want to call it at the same time. Sometimes in silence, sometimes with a good audiobook, and sometimes I turn up whatever music I’m in the mood for! The point is to find a way to silence your thoughts and enjoy the fresh air (the peace and quiet) before the chaos of the day begins.

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Affirmations have such a positive impact on our energy. By creating a pattern of uplifting and encouraging thoughts, we have a natural tendency to believe what we are saying. If you have self doubt or worry, make a list of affirmations to repeat every morning and before long, you will notice a difference in how you think and act!

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As soon as you wake up, drink a large glass of ice water. It will help awaken your senses and also jump start your metabolism! Fuel your body with whole foods and always start your day out with a good breakfast. It doesn’t have to be complicated… Try making overnight oats or have some hard boiled eggs and fruit ready to go so you don’t have to overthink what you’re going to eat first thing in the morning.

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I’ve always loved to read, but learning to incorporate at least 30 minutes of personal development was something that totally changed my day. Instead of diving into fiction where I could lose myself for hours (not always a good thing!) I reach for a self improvement book and take notes as I strive to implement the practices I learn from each author. Not only do I get a daily reminder of habits I’m striving to develop, but reading establishes a pattern of higher education which we should all have a goal of attaining!

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Exercise!! I mentioned going on a quick walk earlier which is a great way to start. But I’ve found that incorporating weights and high intensity interval training not only helps boost my mood, but has also helped me lose and keep off the baby weight I had gained with 3 pregnancies. I ENJOY working out from home and look forward to pressing play every morning!

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Change doesn’t just happen. You have to challenge yourself and push past your comfort zone to really see what you are capable of. And creating habits like waking up early might begin as a struggle, but someday you will see how far you’ve come. And that’s what life is all about- making progress!

 

This is the Hardest Part

This is the hardest part.

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Sitting with my sweet girl before she boards the plane and leaves for the school year- it breaks my heart. And once she walks through the gate, I have to watch and wait as she sits right there- so close- before the plane takes off.

And then she’s gone.

I walk back to the car alone, her radio station is still playing. Her water bottle from breakfast is still in my cup holder. The little traces of her linger and I don’t want to wash her clothes and put them away until next time.

I pick Carter and Clare up and we go to lunch. I feel like something is missing, and it is. She is always in the back of my mind.

Carter and Clare still ask about her, he slips up and calls me Elle Kade on accident. They don’t understand the concept of time and how long it will be until they will see her again.

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I take the kids to lunch and Carter chooses pizza. I don’t even bother ordering a salad and choose to eat my feelings instead. Is that justified? No. Do I feel better now? No.

So we go thrift shopping to distract. We spend hours wandering the stores and I only end up buying books (tons of books) for the kids and a few to mail Elle Kade. Retail Therapy.

It’s bedtime now and I’ve tucked my babies in and kissed them good night, all but one. That void is so real right now, and I just lay on her bed as I write this trying to connect with her somehow. She was here just a few hours ago. And I don’t know when I’ll see her again.

It gets easier. Some days are better than others, not every day is like today. I still get to see her beautiful face when we FaceTime and I can call her tomorrow. I am so grateful for the time that she spent with us this summer, and I am already looking forward to the next time I get to visit her. Until then, this is the hardest part.

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Chickpea Cupcakes with Superfood Frosting

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I’ll admit it… I get a sweet tooth every now and then and just crave a cupcake! So when I found this recipe for a HEALTHY delicious dessert, I knew I had to try it. They are so easy to make and ready in no time, plus they count are 21 Day Fix Approved! 🙌

 


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So when I say easy to make, I literally mean put all of the cupcake ingredients in a blender and put all of the frosting ingredients in a mixer. Bake and ta-da! Healthy cupcakes!

 

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The best part is they are totally guilt free!! Even on the strict Countdown to Competition eating plan, you can still enjoy one!!

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Here is the recipe from the BeachBody blog-

Ingredients
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed
3 large eggs
⅓ cup + ¼ cup pure maple syrup, divided use
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
¼ cup all-natural peanut butter
¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
⅔ cup Vanilla Shakeology
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Prepare 12 muffin cups by lining with muffin papers or coating with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Place chickpeas, eggs, ⅓ cup maple syrup, cocoa powder, baking soda, coconut oil, and extract in blender or food processor; cover. Blend until smooth.
Divide batter among 12 prepared muffin cups.
Top each cupcake with about four chocolate chips; push into batter.
Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool completely and enjoy!
To make frosting while cupcakes are baking, whip peanut butter in a medium bowl; beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes, or until creamy.
Add almond milk; beat until well blended.
Add Shakeology; beat until well blended, scraping bowl occasionally.
Slowly add remaining ¼ cup maple syrup while beating on medium speed. (If frosting is too stiff, add 1 to 2 Tbsp. additional almond milk.) Set aside.
Once cupcakes are cool, evenly spread with frosting.

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Full Circle

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You know when you have those moments when everything comes full circle and you start to see the bigger picture? You almost have to catch your breath and you have goosebumps because you realize that your divine potential is greater than anything you could have imagined for yourself?

As I was washing the dishes today, I had one of those moments. And when I think about everything that I had to go through, all of the challenges and struggles that placed me exactly where I stand today, I am reminded that everything happens for a reason.
If you could rewind for a minute and see what my life was like in my darkest times- during a custody battle that lasted for years, while I struggled to find peace as a new mom, all of the moments when I felt burdened with more than I could bear… All of those trials made me stronger.

And all along, that strength was always there. It needed to be refined and molded into something recognizable, but I can see it now. I know that I am capable of doing hard things. I know that I can lift others and share my story so those situations might not be so hard for someone else. I can comfort and empathize with other mamas who have heavy hearts.
And none of that would have been possible without the mental, physical, and emotional transformation that has happened since I became a coach.

Everything is so interconnected… If we are struggling with something emotional, it manifests itself physically and mentally. Finding a way to overcome one area will inevitably begin the overall healing process. Until eventually we look back and realize that everything fell into place exactly how it should.

People enter our lives, opportunities present themselves, daily reminders appear and we just have to learn to wait for them, watch for them, and act on them when the time is right.
So take a moment to reflect tonight on where you are in your journey and visualize where you want to go. Wherever you are is exactly where you are supposed to be in this moment, but you are capable of so much more than settling for limiting beliefs. You are capable of changing your life, you just have to be willing to do whatever it takes to become the person you are meant to be

Cloud Bread Recipe

 

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Cloud bread! It’s a thing… Have you heard of it?! Well if not, you have been missing out! These fluffy bread-like circles will have you enjoying sandwiches even on low carb day.  Maybe you’re sensitive to gluten, counting macros, following 21 Day Fix, or you just want to try something different! This recipe is very low carb (less than 2g) and completely grainfree! It counts as a red container on 21 Day Fix, which is actually considered a protein. Here are the nutrition facts if you’re wondering…

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(Recipe and nutrition facts found on the BeachBody blog)

 

Convinced you want to try it?! Good idea!

The process is just as important as the ingredients, so pay attention.

Start by heating your oven to 300 and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Then separate your egg yolks from the whites. Add a dash of Himalayan salt and 1/3 cup Greek Yogurt to the yolks, whisk, then set aside.

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Next you’ll add a dash of cream of tarter to the egg whites and beat on high until stiff peaks form (about 4 minutes).

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Once those steps are complete, you need to gently fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture. And then fold in the remaining egg white mixture but be careful not to over mix!

Then you’ll scoop a dollop of the mixture onto the baking sheet and spread into a 3 inch circle. Repeat with the remaining batter.

 

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Now it’s ready to go into the oven! Bake for around 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer them onto a cooling rack.

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container (if you’re lucky to have any left!) Enjoy!!

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Cloud Bread
Prep time
10 mins
Cook time
30 mins
Total time
40 mins

Cloud bread is light, fluffy, low carb, high protein (well, for bread) and is just 47 calories per slice!
Author: Beachbody
Serves: 3 servings, 2 pieces each
Ingredients
Nonstick cooking spray
3 large eggs
1 dash cream of tartar
1 dash sea salt (or Himalayan salt) (to taste, optional)
⅓ cup reduced-fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt
Instructions
Heat oven to 300° F.
Lightly coat large baking sheet with spray. Set aside.
Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Place whites in a medium bowl. Place yolks in a separate medium bowl. Set aside.
Add cream of tartar to egg whites. Beat with a mixer on high until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
Add salt and yogurt to egg yolks. Beat with a mixer on medium until blended.
Gently fold ⅓ of egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture. Fold in the remaining egg white mixture until just incorporated, being careful not to overmix.
Using a spoon, transfer a scoop of egg mixture onto prepared baking sheet, gently spreading into a thick pancake shape about 3 inches in diameter. Repeat with remaining batter.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and exterior is crispy to the touch. Immediately loosen cloud breads with a spatula; allow to cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container.

Benefits of Drinking Sole and How to Make Your Own

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Salt is essential and basic to all life – we cannot live without it. But most people just don’t realize that there are immense differences between the pure white, refined cooking-salt you find on tables in restaurants verses natural health-promoting salt. Regular table salt is stripped of minerals and bleached,  Himalayan salt is mined from mountainous sea beds far from industrialization, so it is pure and free from modern environmental toxins.

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Himalayan salt benefits include supporting weight loss, detox, and balanced hormones. You can even use it in your home improve air quality! One way to incorporate more Himalayan salt into your day is by drinking Sole.

Sole is water fully saturated with unrefined salt. When himalayan salt dissolves in water, it results in a concentrated, electrically charged matrix of the 84 trace minerals in the salt. The ionic salt and trace minerals nourish each cell in your body.

Dr. Mercola discusses the numerous health benefits:

Sole is most effective in stabilizing irregular heartbeats.
Sole is a strong natural antihistamine.
Sole can dissolve and eliminate sediments which lead to stones and various forms of rheumatism like arthritis and kidney and gall bladder stones.
Sole can balance the alkalinity/acidity [pH] of the body and normalize blood pressure.
Sole is vital for clearing up congestion of the sinuses.
Sole is essential for the prevention of muscle cramps.
Sole can help with skin diseases by cleaning from inside out.
Sole is vital for the clearance of the lungs of mucous plugs and sticky phlegm, particularly in asthma and cystic fibrosis.
It is vital for sleep regulation. It is a natural hypnotic.
It is vital to the extraction of excess acidity from the cells in the body, particularly the brain cells.
It is vital for balancing the sugar levels in the blood; a crucial element for diabetes sufferers.
It is vital for the generation of hydroelectric energy in your body’s cells.
It is vital to the nerve cells for communication and information processing.
It is vital for absorption of food particles through the intestinal tract.
Sole is absolutely vital to making the structure of bones firm. Osteoporosis, in many ways, is a result of mineral and water shortage in the body.
A little Sole on the tongue will help stop persistent dry coughs.

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How to make Salt Sole:

Fill a glass jar about 1/4 of the way with Himalayan salt.

Add filtered water until the jar is full.  shake and let sit overnight.

Close the jar with a plastic lid (not metal!), shake, and let sit overnight. Never use metal utensils with your sole!

At this point, the crystals should remain undissolved on the bottom of the jar, indicating that the solution has reached it’s saturation limit. If they are completely dissolved, add more salt. The water is now fully saturated.

Each morning upon waking, mix 1 tsp of Sole to some room temperature water and drink!

Keep refilling your jar with salt and water when it runs low. It lasts indefinitely.