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In my deep quest to find myself— or rather, to lose myself— I’ve tried pretty much everything under the sun. The first diet I ever went on was the cabbage soup diet when I was in the 8th grade.
You mean, the one that is only meant for extremely overweight people who are in need of dropping quick pounds before a medical procedure? Yep, that’s the one!
At the tender age of 13, I was already so appalled by the way I looked, that I spent 7 days eating a soup that made my stomach churn, in hopes that I would love myself at the end of it.
Instead, I felt like Bruce Bogtrotter in “Matilda”, when Miss Trunchbull forces him to eat an entire chocolate cake in front of the student body— ashamed, engorged, defeated, motivated, triumphant, proud, full. Fucking full of nonsense. And cabbage. A freckle-faced, pale skinned, baby teenager with a head full of nonsense and stomach full of cabbage. I think I lost like 8 pounds that week, but it didn’t make me happy and to this day, cabbage in soup form makes me throw up a little in my mouth.
I continued to struggle with the number on the scale and the person in the mirror for the rest of forever. Once I had my first child, however, I began to genuinely give a shit about what I put in my body and how I treated it. So I started eating right and doing P90X after I saw a friend’s results.
I ended up being one of those lucky bitches who was able to shed all of her baby weight, plus an additional 10 lbs., 5 months postpartum.
I signed up to be a Beachbody coach after that, convinced that I knew the secret to success, and began drinking shakeology as well and promoting all of the goodness that was my remarkable transformation. And really, it felt remarkable. I was helping people and keeping myself motivated in the process.
I was in the best shape of my life, but then I decided to get pregnant again. It was planned, yet still daunting. What if I became that girl again? The one who hated herself enough to eat nothing but something that made her feel physically sick for 7 days, just so she could feel beautiful.
I was determined not to become her again. But life, and pizza, had other plans for me.
I worked out through almost my entire pregnancy, went on a sugar-free cleanse, and ate clean about 70/30, but it didn’t matter. I still gained a whopping 40 lbs. just like I did in my previous pregnancy where I lived off of brownies and lasagna.
In the midst of that, we lost our son’s Godfather before he could even meet his godson— and this would become the backboard for my postpartum depression to bounce right off of.
I had sweet little B, and immediately wanted my body back. I couldn’t wait to get back into working out and eating clean even more strictly. But life with two proved to be much more difficult than I anticipated, and I couldn’t manage to get all of the weight off.
Months past, and then a year, and still my body clung to those last ten pounds like a child to their daddy’s leg before he leaves for work in the morning— begging to stay with me.
I tried a fitness challenge through my stroller strides group, clean eating, paleo, whole30, low carb, ketogenic, Kayla Istines BBG guide, Christina Carlyle’s Total Transformation Challenge, P90X3, Leanhigh (which is basically just starving yourself for three days straight), Core De Force, and Isagenix.
Each regime started with the same intensity and fizzled out with the same extinguished spark within a month.
It wasn’t until now, that I realized why.
My mindset after a few weeks would always fall back into the same patterns:
“I have no time to meal prep.”
“I don’t want to deprive myself for the rest of my life.”
“I need ice cream and pizza to get through my period.”
“I can’t worry my life away about what I eat.”
What these excuses really meant were:
“I would rather sit on the couch and watch football than chop up veggies on a Sunday.”
“I need an excuse to cheat right now. Here it is.”
“Blaming my hormones allows me to avoid taking responsibility for my actions.”
“YOLO is a cop out for being too lazy to go for what I want.”
Talk about a wake-up call.
I realized just how destructive I have been to my own success as I was listening to Jen Secerno’s audiobook “You Are A Badass” on an Isagenix cleanse day. A cleanse day, is where you give your body a reset to rid itself of toxin build-up, and well, it kind of sucks.
But I was already three weeks into the program, making this my third cleanse, and I KNEW that the day after my cleanses I always feel incredible. Still, I was hating life on this cleanse day. I began thinking of ways to get out of it. And that’s when something just clicked.
Here’s the thing— you’ll never achieve the things you want to until you’re ready to allow yourself to. I have spent the last year and a half, refusing to allow myself to be successful.
Why would someone do that? Right? I know, it sounds crazy.
But the truth is, I didn’t believe I was worthy of that success. Physically, professionally, spiritually— I had road blocked my mind so intensely with these invisible “do not cross” signs blocking my way to my goals, and I didn’t even realize it.
So on that day, I decided it was time to fight. To ninja kick those invisible roadblocks down and to ignore the warning signs my own subconscious had placed saying that I shouldn’t enter because I wasn’t worthy. I told myself that I was freaking Aladdin and turned my diamond in the rough heart around that day.
As fate would have it, I had signed up for the Spartan Sprint a few months back and was feeling horribly unprepared for the whole ordeal right around this time. But once I had my come to Jesus, I made a conscious decision not to doubt myself anymore. I WAS going to finish that race. And I was going to love it.
I repeated the following affirmation the entire 1:52 min I spent on that course last weekend:
I know, know with my whole heart, that this mantra (paired with some excellent team members who had my back at every obstacle) was the key contributor to my success that day.
In the last quarter mile of the race I got a crippling calf cramp that should have ended it for me. I’m notorious for calf cramps and Derek has actually had to carry me to the car and take me to the hospital before because they get so bad. So when I felt it, with that finish line in sight, I had a moment of my old excuses popping into my head:
I can’t do this.
My leg cramp is too intense. There is no way I will be able to pull that last bag or climb that giant wall.
But then I shushed the voices and got right with the universe. I sent out a prayer.
God, help me finish this.
And as I limped my way to the next obstacle (that requires you to either pull a heavy ass sandbag all the way to the top of a giant rope and then back down or do 30 burpees) a girl randomly approached me and asked me if I wanted to do it together with her.
That gave me momentum.
I picked up the pace as I climbed over some muddy dirt piles and walked through pools of water. I swam underneath the wall of murky water and made my way to the last obstacle before the infamous fire jump: the rope climb wall.
The guys ushered me to go ahead of them, and I almost did— but something told me to have one of them go first, and so I did.
Next was my turn, and I felt a strength come over me. I climbed and climbed and made it to the top. As I went to swing my leg over the side of the wall, the leg cramp hit again— hard. If I hadn’t sent my friend up before me, he wouldn’t have been there to catch my leg and swing it over for me, and I would have fallen face first.
I limped down the wall and found that I couldn’t walk on my right leg.
The guys wanted to carry me the rest of the way, but I was hell-bent on getting my fire picture.
I came all this way! I’m getting my damn fire picture! I’m finishing this damn thing.
Sheer adrenaline took me over those flames, and I limped my way to the finish line feeling so damn strong, so damn fit, so damn able.
The moral of the story is this:
Nothing will work for you until you work for you.
It wasn’t until I was ready to take a good hard look at myself and WHY I was making the choices that I was, that I was able to do something about it.
Currently, I’m a rebel.
I drink a various array of protein shakes. I do Beachbody home workout DVDs, and the Christina Carlyle bikini guide workouts, and BBG. I also eat pizza and drink wine.
Basically, I do whatever the hell makes me feel good and alive.
And it has been the best transformation of my life.
Sure, I’ve also lost 10 lbs and 20 inches all over in 30 days, but what I have gained mentally and spiritually is so much bigger than all of that combined. I’m no longer bound to my small mind that tries to keep me in that sad little box of “I cant’s”. I’m also no longer bound to the 40 oz. of coffee I was guzzling a day (Not kidding).
So get out there and do what makes your body and mind feel good.
And it all started with me be willing to say “yes” a million times until I found the right “yes” for me.
If you think your “yes” could be Beachbody, let me know— because I have a ton of awesome coach friends that would be so pumped to help you. If you think your “yes” could be a personal trainer/nutritionist, then go for it! Whatever your yes is, you owe it to yourself to go out there and find it.
Get your mind right, and your body will follow. And if you ever, ever need someone to bounce ideas or fears or crippling subconscious beliefs off of, I’m here for you. Because I’ve been there, and I’m still on my journey— so we can walk it together.
And in the words of Spartans, AROO!
My husband isn’t much of a social media guy, which is hilarious considering the fact that I’ve made a career out of it. He pretty much only uses the internet to look at funny fail videos, read updates on the Steelers, and look at dream homes on Instagram. I once referenced an IG story I did to him, and he looked at me like I was speaking in tongues.
So he’s a pretty good sport about how open I am about our family and how many photos I make him take. Still, every single time we have a photo shoot scheduled, a little piece of him dies inside. The outfit changes, the nice clothes, the props— he loathes it all, but he does it for me anyway, because he loves me.
When I was telling him about this year’s popular theme of ultra glam in insanely gorgeous sceneries, his eye began to twitch. I knew it was at the thought of making him wear a tuxedo on a mountain top, or in the snow, or period. You see, I was smart. I lead with that, so that my real idea wouldn’t seem half as bad to him. So then I told him about my vision for an ultra cheesy, 80’s styled shoot instead and he was like, uhhhhhhh. But then I threw this out there— my kill shot, if you will:
“Let’s make a Christmas card this year that is so funny, so outrageous, that nobody wants to throw it away because it’s THAT good!”
You see, he complains every year about me wasting money on Christmas cards that either:
A. Never even get sent out, because I’m terrible. or B. Get thrown away by people anyway, because he’s convinced that nobody actually likes to receive Christmas cards in the mail.
Boom. That’s pretty much all it took. (Let’s be real— he rocks and probably would have said yes anyway!)
One of my favorite things about my husband is that when he commits to something, he really commits. 100%. All in. Let’s go, kind of attitude.
I was literally crying when Brenda sent these photos over to me because I was laughing so hard. Reason number 5,363 why I love her: She ALWAYS sees my vision and she is always up for it! Our first photo shoot with her was for Christmas two years ago, and I consider myself so fortunate to have met her.
We decided to dress the kids in normal clothes, so as not to traumatize them later in life with terribly embarrassing photos of them in outdated attire. Instead, we chose to do the embarrassing stuff for them, and let them just be their perfect, adorable little selves.
I mean, come on.
We shot the entire thing at Derek’s grandparents house and I had this vision of getting the entire family in their jacuzzi with all of our clothes on, because I’m insane and I thought it would be hilarious.
But his grandma was sick, so we didn’t come to their house early to turn on the jacuzzi as planned, and thus the water was freezing. But when I have a vision, I have a vision— and we promised Brenda some hilarious water photos, so we had to deliver.
As you can see, Derek was thrilled. But like I said earlier, he really loves me, and he also is the master of all things, so he quickly warmed up to the freezing jacuzzi photos.
Can’t. I just can’t.
This photo shoot is probably my favorite, to date. It was just so fun and we were laughing the entire time. And I’ll probably forget to send our Christmas cards again this year, but in the event that I don’t, I hope people get a kick out of having these photos on their fridge.
Have you ever done a funny photo shoot? If not, you have got to give it a try! It’s way less stressful than a serious one, and the memories will be hilarious.
Happy holidays, friends!
While Donald Trump was being announced as the next president of the United States, I was holding a nebulizer to my son’s face in the ER— singing the words of “Songbird” softly to him as he cried and begged and pleaded in fear of this foreign device on him.
And though it was my delicate little three year old who couldn’t breathe in that moment, it felt like I was the one who was suffocating. As he cried and begged and pleaded— so unsure of what he couldn’t understand— I felt the same emotions pulsing through me. Little did he know, his time with the nebulizer would stable his heart rate and breath. If only we had both been so fortunate.
I’ve read countless articles and personal social media posts from people stating that everyone needs to “just get over it”. They’ve compared our future and our children’s future to previous elections, the Starbucks holiday cup, etc. They have encouraged people to leave our country, buck up, and/or shut the fuck up. They have assured their grieving loved ones that this is what America needs with declarations such as “TRUST ME, this is best thing for us!”—the ultimate gift of apathy. And it took reading all of these things for me to realize that we have been brushed aside like this our entire lives. That I myself, as a women in a male dominated society, have been told “trust me, I know what’s best for you”, my entire existence.
Hush little woman, don’t you cry—
Papa’s gonna feed you a little lie.
And if that lie don’t make you sing—
Papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.
And if you still can’t sing a tune—
You must be starting your period soon.
What are you mad about anyhow?—
You’re acting really crazy right now.
Hush little woman, you’re far too loud—
That’s no way to make your father proud.
Hush little woman, don’t say a word—
Nothing that you say will ever be heard.
Hush little woman, I’ve already won—
Wouldn’t want to have your mascara run.
I can’t. I can’t and I won’t just stand still, look pretty. I refuse to go quietly into the night. I will not sit on the sidelines as minorities are being attacked by their fellow Americans.
But what can we do? What impact can we make?
Here’s my plan.
Right now, those are the only answers I have.
And to my friends who are hurting, please let me know if I can support or help you in any way. I will follow you into the unknown, with eyes and heart ready for whatever may come.
This pussy ain’t for grabbin’— and I will not be hushed again.
Hola, Pura Vida!
I’m back from our nine day stay in Costa Rica, but it feels like a giant piece of me is still there. I remember feeling similarly last time we went. There was almost this state of mourning we went through for a few days upon returning, and I find myself going through those same emotions now. We considered having our kids flown out to us and just staying there forever because, well, I’ll show you!
We decided to spend two days in Jaco before heading to the exact home we rented for our honeymoon five years ago, in Manuel Antonio. Derek found this incredible mansion tucked away in a residential that had been turned into a hotel boutique. I was a little apprehensive when he first booked it because the idea of sharing house space with random people was a bit of a turn off, but it was actually really cool. There were only two other families staying there with us and the only time we really saw anyone else was at breakfast when they had fresh fruit and coffee out for the guests.
See that dome on top of the house? That was part of our master suite, which was on the opposite end of the house from the other rooms. It was amazing.
Our first day consisted of 9:00 am cocktails, crocodiles, and lots of walking. We ended up falling asleep at 7:30 pm and sleeping for twelve hours— and it was glorious.
It didn’t take us long to realize that Jaco was not like the Manuel Antonio/Quepos area we had fallen in love with. The people just weren’t as friendly, and everyone— even restaurant/retail employees, seemed bothered by the presence of forgeiners.
Still, we had a nice time. The food was delicious and we went on a day trip to Tortuga island, which was beautiful. The guides totally ripped us off— again, something that just doesn’t happen in Manuel Antonio— but it was still worth it. Derek caught a fish, ate the freshest ceviche I’ve ever seen, and we sipped on “Coco Locos” (rum in fresh coconut water).
Once we got to Tulemar, my heart was in its happy place. It felt like coming home— with everything different, yet still exactly as we had left it.
We walked, and ate, and walked some more. We reminisced and marveled at all of the new sights to see. We laughed, and connected, and played crazy eights during thunderstorms. We drank fruity drinks and espressos and local beer and wine. We did whatever we wanted, even if that was to do nothing at all— and my heart (and belly) were constantly full of joy.
Yes, that is a drink collage.
And here is some dessert porn to go with those draaaanks.
You’re welcome. Moving on.
When we came for our honeymoon back in 2011, we saw almost every kind of wildlife Costa Rica has to offer on our ride in. They told us it was newlywed luck, and they were right because this time we didn’t see anything other than sloths until our third day. But once the animals finally showed up, it was unreal how up close and personal we were able to get with them.
One morning, we decided to walk to the national park (about 3 miles away). It’s an extremely steep hill but we were going down, so it wasn’t too gruesome. As we were trekking along, Derek noticed a sloth on the ground less than 10 ft away from us.
“Oh no— a dead sloth!”
I was furious with him for pointing it out to me because it made me so sad.
Then he added, “ohhhhh nooooo. It was a mama sloth. She has a baby on her chest.”
That’s when I basically lost it. I was at the point of tears telling Derek he had just ruined my entire day when he said:
“Well, it could be alive. We didn’t check.”
I told him to go check and that I would stay there because my mama heart couldn’t take it. But I ended up walking back up to him shortly anyway, and low and behold, her and her baby were alive! She was responsive, but clearly hurt so we knew we needed to do something. We went into hyper hero mode after that and frantically climbed back up that hill to try and find someone who could help. As chance would have it, a police car appeared and we flagged them down, explained the situation, and guided them to the mama and her babe. They picked her up, put her in the back of their car, and took her to the nearby sloth sanctuary to get her the help she needed.
We felt on top of the world, and were met with our first glorious rain of the trip just minutes after— which stamped in the feeling of winning. Then when we finally got to the national park, we saw a full blown monkey brawl pan out right in front of us. Our guide said he had literally never seen anything like it in all of his years working there.
Speaking of our guide— we almost didn’t get one because Derek has a pretty great eye for wildlife and we had already done the tour before, but we got suckered into it and I’m so glad we did, because our guide was the sweetest.
It was literally just Derek and I on his tour, and we laughed and joked like old friends would. He even flagged us down when he saw us walking around town a few days later, which just sums up how incredible the people in Manuel Antonio are.
The one tour we didn’t do on our honeymoon was ATVs (because we were way too hungover) so that was something I really wanted to do this time. We went with one other couple and our guide’s mom cooked us lunch afterwards. I’d like to note that Kevin’s mom’s food was our favorite meal of the entire trip. On the drive back, he played SNL clips and Drake on his phone for us— because literally everyone treats you like a long lost friend.
Another day, we got stuck on an island at 10:00 am in the rain after we had kayaked there, and a local made us drinks, sat down next to us on a log, and told us his life story.
The people, you guys— I cannot say enough good things about the people.
And the animals— those crazy animals!
We had a Capuchin (white faced monkey) one day, who demanded bananas from us and was very distraught when they were all gone.
A squirrel monkey brought all of his friends for snacks, then came back later by himself to eat more of our fruit that we had sitting out. Watch the video below, guys. It literally came right up to our table and just started hanging out with us.
And on our very last day— literally just an hour before we were being picked up to go to the airport, we had 17 squirrel monkeys on our balcony with us at one time. It was unreal.
And to top it off, two macaws (which are rare to this specific area) flew right in front of us WHILE the monkeys were there, and one landed in the tree directly next to us.
Seeing macaws so up close in the wild like that, was absolutely mesmerizing and the perfect send off for us. Our house manager Kimberly, who we’ve now known for five years, told us that we felt like family and to call her if we ever needed anything or just wanted to chat. We gave long hugs and promised to come back soon.
It was the absolute best trip I’ve ever been on, and I got to share the entire experience with my favorite person on the planet.
Five years have been both good and bad to us. They have given us immeasurable amounts of pain and joy. We have lost and gained loved ones. We have laughed, cried, danced— we’ve eaten too much food, drank too much wine. We’ve fallen and we’ve soared. But we’ve done it all together and I could not imagine doing this life with anyone else.
So, cheers to five years!
It’s been a grand adventure, and I know we’re just beginning.
I was talking with a girlfriend yesterday about mommy fashion bloggers and we were baffled at how they have the time to look so put together all of the time.
Mommy Fashion Bloggers: I’m NOT dissing you. In fact, you impress me— like woah. I’m in awe of your time management skills and totally jealous of your Aphrodite-like appearance even in your “I woke up like this” posts— with your perfect pouty lip and your adorable little white dog curled up with you on your perfectly white couch (I’m looking at you, Hilary Duff).
While you coordinate your jewelry to your stunning outfit, I can probably be found doing one of three things:
I won’t say that I’m too busy or don’t have the time, because that would be a lie. I think that we have time for the things we prioritize, and the difference is that I just don’t have those things as high on my list as these women do.
The truth of the matter is, I’m just one hot mess. I grew up more of a tomboy, and I don’t know much about hair, makeup, accessorizing, etc. I actually love all of those things, but I haven’t been able to master any of them. Still, pre-mom life I always made it a point to at least make myself presentable to the world, and I’m trying to find a way back to that. I feel better about myself when my husband comes home and I don’t look like a troll.
But since I am very limited on what I can successfully do, and I’m also limited on time because— Hi, I instruct 3-4 days a week, run a blog, own a company, care for a household, and raise two children— I’ve started to master my own hot mess version of how to get a cute look in only 10 minutes.
So let’s talk hair.
My hair is the worst. It’s this frizzy, wavy, pile of weird and I cannot figure it out after almost 29 years with it. It can be really time consuming with stubborn hair, so my go-to when I’m in a crunch (read: always) is throwing part of it up. That way, I only have to style half of my head! Toss half of that hair up in a top knot and you’ve already saved yourself a good 10 minutes of work. BOOM.
Secondly, I love to use my straightener to create curls.
Remember how I said my hair is frizzy and wavy? Using the straightener allows me to smooth my hair out, while also curling it. There are a million tutorials online about how to do this, but here’s another one: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Curl-Your-Hair-with-a-Flat-Iron/
The trick is not to press too firmly, which is something I learned the hard way.
This took me 5 minutes, tops.
For the makeup portion, I’m obsessed with my Ipsy subscription and I use the samples I receive religiously. Seriously, I was telling Derek the other day that I hardly ever have to buy makeup because the stuff they send is so perfect. I’m currently obsessing over my Smashbox Cosmetics Full Exposure Mascara, Crown Brush 3-Tone Bronzer, and IT Cosmetics No-Tug Waterproof Gel Eyeliner. I only pay $10 a month for these things and the samples are such good sizes that they last for a loooong time. If you don’t have Ipsy, I highly recommend signing up— and if you do, I would love for you to use my referral link so that I can points. Points = more cool stuff!
Outside of my Ipsy goodness, I’ve got on Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation, which is my love language. It’s vegan-friendly and paraben free which is sooo important for my crazy sensitive skin. I love this stuff because it is super light weight, doesn’t cake, and gives you full coverage (aka, hides my dark undereye circles and evens out my rosacea).
For lips, I love Younique’s Stiff Upper Lip Lip Stain in Skittish. It’s smudge proof which is exactly what I need, because I give that chubby baby of mine smooches all day long.
And then I round out the look by filling in my brows with the E Essence Eyebrow Designer Pencil and call it a day!
Pair this easy look with something other than yoga pants and VOILA! You are no longer a hot mess mama. Well, just kidding. I’m still a hot mess. But at least I don’t seem like one on the outside with this quick and easy look!
What’s your favorite beauty product for when you’ve only got 10 minutes to spare? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!