Posts tagged ‘creativity’

November 27, 2013

Holistic Holiday Nourishment

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‘Tis the season to pick up an inspiring, captivating book about 100 successful, goal-oriented women who overcome hurtful, heartbreaking and, in my case, life-threatening obstacles to achieve their personal and professional goals. Aspiring toward a position of influence is the driving force behind most young ladies who compete in pageants. In chapter 45 of the new book, Real Talk, Real Women, I discuss the ups and downs of competition and how entering a stressful environment with a foundation of self-esteem and confidence is imperative. Without first defining who you are and what you stand for, competition can consume you like a hungry lion, without mercy.

ImageLearning how to properly nourish my body propelled me into a healthier level of, well… life, quicker than I could say, “super foods!” I’ve never looked back.  Now, although I’m still fine-tuning my internal domestic goddess status, I enjoy creating healthy alternatives to some recipes. With a little creativity, I think I’ve created a good mix of healthy and favorite holiday fare for my family. Here are two dishes I’ll be making this Thanksgiving, and I’d like to share them with you. Tweet me @LaceyWPruett and let me know how yours turn out. It’ll be like we’re celebrating Thanksgiving together, from a far.

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Roasted Cauliflower with Fresh Herbs and Parmesan 

Ingredients

            12 cups cauliflower florets (about 2 heads)

            1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

            1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

            2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

            2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon

            3 garlic cloves, minced

            1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

            2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

            1/2 teaspoon salt

            1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450°.

Place cauliflower in a large roasting pan or jelly-roll pan. Drizzle with oil; toss well to coat. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until tender and browned, stirring every 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, thyme, tarragon, and garlic. Bake 5 minutes. Combine cauliflower mixture, cheese, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl; toss well to combine.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples

Ingredients

            1/2 cup diced apple

            8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered

            2 tablespoons apple cider

            2 teaspoons olive oil

            1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

            1/4 teaspoon salt

            1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Combine apple and Brussels sprouts in an 11 x 7–inch baking dish. Add apple cider, olive oil, minced fresh thyme, salt, and freshly ground black pepper; toss well. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until sprouts are tender.

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On stage during swimsuit competition at the 2012 Mrs. United States Pageant in Las Vegas, NV.

It wasn’t until I ran for Mrs. Texas United States title that I felt I was a healthy pageant competitor. I guess it worked to, because I won the title on my first try, and went on to place 4th runner up at the Mrs. United States pageant. Learning to nourish my body, mind, and spirit is probably my greatest educational experience to date, as without it, I may not be alive. This was the motivation behind obtaining my certification as a holistic wellness coach. I want to continue helping other young women understand the importance of looking inward to achieve overall beauty and success. It was also my main motivation behind leaving my 12-year corporate career to pursue a full-time career as a spokesperson for health and wellness. Now, I joyfully remind people that: “Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels.” It’s not that food is the enemy, but in a world consumed by emotional eating and corrupt body image, it’s a kind reminder that no food item can fill an emotional void or need. Being mindful of this fact is one of the healthiest ways to celebrate the holiday season.

For more about my story and perspective on the healthy side of competition, check out the book at http://www.realtalkrealwomen.net/lacey-pruett/ and order your own copy this December on Amazon.com. Pre-sale opportunities and digital copies are available now at the link above.  Happy healthy holidays! Lacey

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August 26, 2013

The Fine Art of Getting Things Done

I get stuff done

Do you have trouble getting things done? I sure do! Some tasks I do just fine with, like scheduled appointments, work deadlines, and most daily minutiae. But that closet that needs to be cleaned out? Purging and reorganizing the files in my office? Cleaning out our dusty, spidery garage? Things that sound only slightly less fun than a root canal–those are the chores I put off. In fact, sometimes I put them off for so long that I become blind to their incessant, nagging existence (at least that’s what it seems like). But the psychological weight of clutter and Things To Do keeps my spirit weighed down and trapped, unable to truly enjoy the present because so much of my inner self is taken up with anxiety from these unfinished tasks.

So, when I find an opportunity to tackle these annoying stealers of joy, I usually have to get creative before I can get things done. Why I can’t just make a list and then power through it, I don’t know. I’m just wired differently. If you are list-challenged like me or if you want some new ideas on how to tackle the next big project, check out my favorite tricks:

1. What Hurts the Most? Relieve the Pressure

stress

When my to-do list is truly epic and things are so out of control that I become almost catatonic with it all, I stop and ask myself, What hurts the most? This is not physical pain I’m referring to, although if this type of pain is on the Crazy List, then of course it demands your attention. Out of the babble of chores, obligations, and distractions pulling at you, which pulls the hardest? Which must be done first out of them all? What is the most upsetting? Find THAT one, and ask yourself, What could I do about this task that would relieve the pressure? How could I breathe easier? What is one step I can take towards finishing this thing? Then do it immediately.

2. Change Your Scenery

This is one of my favorite ways to jumpstart creativity or just get some fresh air into a project that’s become stale. This trick is especially helpful if your task involves pondering, brainstorming, or other mental participation. You may not be able to get rid of your task, but you can try to put a different backdrop behind it. Years ago when I worked from home, I would often move to different locations around the house to help me slog through hundreds of pages that needed editing. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I would move outside or even to my favorite coffee shop, although this was always complicated by my need for a quiet stiller than the grave in order to work.

3. Bring a Little Magic

Mary Poppins was right!

Mary Poppins was right!

Do you remember this line from the Mary Poppins song: “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down . . .”? This maxim is a wonderful addition to your mental-health arsenal. I rely heavily on it when I have boring household chores to tend to. I find something that would add some joy and brightness to the often mundane tasks of washing dishes, sorting laundry, or even cleaning out the bathroom cabinets. You can do almost anything if you bring a little magic to it. Make a ceremony of time with your loved ones, just because. Combine your bummer activity with your favorite place (e.g., do your weekly budget at Starbucks).

iced coffee

My two secret weapons for coping with these dreary duties are 1) my favorite drink, usually involving caffeine, and 2) audio books. My favorite: Agatha Christie murder mysteries! Her books on tape (and CDs) have been my companions for many years, and I will cherish them forever. Even if your task is festive and fun (say, decorating for the holidays), adding some well-loved music and something to sip on makes everything cheerier.

4. Race the Clock

race the clock

When you find yourself in the midst of a chore and your motivation is grinding to a halt, race the clock! Kids love to race—against each other, against time, really anything. So can you. A little adrenaline goes a long way. Figure out a tight time limit, one that will put the squeeze on you. Then challenge yourself to finish XYZ before time’s up. It may sound childish, but hey, who cares? You’re the only one watching, and if it works, it works. Maybe you have a pile of laundry fresh from the dryer, and you are feeling lazy. If the TV is on, make a game of finishing your folding before the next commercial break. Whatever it is, find a slightly uncomfortable boundary of time to be done by, and GO!

These are just a few tricks that help me get through my to-do’s with minimal muss and fuss. Do you have some great ways you get your rear in gear? If so, I’d love to hear about them. Have a great (and perhaps productive) rest of the day!

Cheers, Brooke

May 22, 2013

Coffee Chats and Simple Facts

Morning-Routine

Stretching is best when muscles are warm, so consider jogging or jumping in place to wake up and get blood flowing to muscles.

morning-routine1 MorningRoutineCards1You know the drill… alarm goes off, you hit the snooze. Alarm goes off again, and you realize you’re ten minutes late and start brainstorming up-dos to compliment the “casual, professional outfit” you’re now putting together in your head. You run upstairs and start doing jumping jacks before you’re even completely awake. It doesn’t matter though–jumping actually masks the pounding in your head. After a set of fifty, you stop, grab a drink of water–rather chug as much as you can, not realizing the depth of your thirst. Okay, you’re awake. After you select your “upbeat” playlist, you hit the weights for today’s workout. An hour later, you’re in the shower, trying to not get your hair any wetter than it is. You justify not shaving because you’re wearing leggings today (part of the casual professional look you’ve designed in your head.) You complete a few deep breaths and realize today’s a pretty busy day. All good–you got your workout in, you feel stronger, and you can do everything! I love that feeling post-workout shower.

After packaging yourself into a sassy, just put together, yet stylish attire and putting the last hair pin into your up-do (just as the YouTube tutorial instructs,) you check your iPhone calendar to see what’s on tap for the day. A few meetings, a few errands, and a few reports needed by dinner time, which will be spent entertaining clients, so you better eat a snack before hand, so you don’t overindulged. This is truly the snapshot of the type of morning which usually fills my work-week. I’ve heard folklore about women waking up to quiet time, a reading nook of their home, and to a ceramic coffee mug full of a fine Cinnamon roast. Who are these women? I’d love to meet one some day. Meanwhile, a congested trail of thought continues to run through my mind as my Doberman jumps onto my lap to plant a wet one on my face. I can’t be mad. Besides my step-children, my fur-babies ( a word I swore I’d never use which taught me I should never again swear) are my only children. Unconditional love runs rampant among my Doberman, Maximus, and my Dachshund, Samson.
I immediately begin talking to my pups as I rub out the paw marks on my leggings and reapply my powder, and gloss. We have several songs we sing in the morning, but I’ll spare you for now, as I have another point to make with this blog. As I serve breakfast to the pups and to myself, I jot down notes for my day and sing one of our jingles. After we complete our morning routine, it’s time for me to trade my “pup-mom” hat in for my “business-woman” driving glasses. And I’m off to my first meeting of the day. Fast-forward five hours later, I’m “meeting fatigued” and returning to my home office for some reporting, blogging, and editing before sprucing up for the evening’s dinner. Alas, I am greeted by the most-grateful and loving pups that ever lived. I’m “guilted” into playing with them outside for a bit, ignoring my phone, emails, and followup items. Once we give adequate attention to each other, I hit the keyboard to close out my day and become entertaining again. The evening goes on without a hitch. Excellent conversation, new connections, amusing stories and ideas. Driving home, I start to replay the day, what I accomplished, and what will need to be tackled tomorrow.
As my head hits the pillow, I review my agenda book and see a note that is repeated several times throughout my agenda book. “Call Grandma Lucy.” I look over at the clock and it is 10:08 p.m. Grandma Lucy is a morning person, and probably half way into her second dream by now. Darn it. Another day lost, another conversation missed. I go to sleep, disappointed because I know I missed out. Grandma has the best stories. Her perspective is a refreshing change from the world my generation created, knows, and lives. She’s pretty funny too. She thinks everyone is too busy. “Too busy to talk on the phone,” she says. “I don’t like texting and emails. Oh but I do like that Facebook thing for the photos.”
On Tuesday morning, I woke up with a “thought hangover” about Grandma Lucy and my missed call. I decided to forgo my usual routine, grab a cup of coffee (in a ceramic mug) and dial Grandma’s number. She’s a morning person, and is probably up having her second cup of coffee at this point.
I drink my morning coffee out of a real, ceramic mug. It makes all the difference.

I drink my morning coffee out of a real, ceramic mug. It makes all the difference.

But what about my morning workout? My morning appointments? My obligations? They all got done… just a little later than usual. I brushed aside thoughts of being behind and late all day long, because I know I made Grandma Lucy’s day. I learned how attached to my routine I was, and it worried me a bit. It made me think about other missed opportunities I’ve had  because I was running through my day; hurried through my routine. My challenge for this summer is to implement: Summer of Daily Simplicity. A simple phone call. A simple cup of coffee. A simple hair-do. A simple kiss for my husband. A simple (and nourishing) breakfast. A simple prayer. The concept is that we overdo ourselves with schedule, routine, obligations, and eventual stress and health risks. With creativity and flexibility, I’ll get up earlier and slow down my morning routine . “But I have obligations, Lacey!” Indeed, and you can’t ignore obligations. But you can be creative, rearrange, and be kind to yourself when you don’t get it all done one day. If you just don’t see how, let’s chat. I have some suggestions. Be kind to yourself–you’re the only YOU we have. Grandma Lucy reminded me of that!
Consider what success looks like to you. Keep it simple and make it substantial.

Consider what success looks like to you. Keep it simple and make it substantial.

May 15, 2013

Mini-Challenges and Many Cheers!

Finding time to work out has historically plagued the average American because it is thought to be  irritating, difficult, and not fun. Fitness is something many push-off until the very last-minute possible; as in, doctor’s orders, disease sets in, or the clothes simply do. not. fit. Groups of wellness warriors are stepping out and shouting from the roof tops that this is simply not true. More importantly, we’re starting to embrace the more intense, yet shorter workouts, so we can fit the activity into our busy days, saving longer workouts for another day. A fellow coach friend of mine challenged me to a daily fitness circuit for one month. Together, we would focus on three core moves and challenge ourselves to be stronger in these areas. As I moved through the month, I’ll admit that finding the extra 30 minutes in my day to complete this challenge was tough. Once time, I even found myself doing a series of push-ups, plank holds, and ab holds in a conference room during break time at an event I was attending. Now that’s being creative!

Equating fitness to failure, fatigue, and frustration is old-school thinking, and all you have to do is log onto Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest to check out the creative and clever ways busy Americans are fitting fitness and nutrition into their lifestyle. Organizations such as The Healthy Housewives hope to encourage and educate others as they continue to find their fit and healthy best. Since this means something different to everyone, I’d like to showcase and honor a few people/groups who are using what they have, during the time they can spare, to maintain a fit and fun lifestyle. The balancing act these ladies perform makes the “Crane Pose” in Yoga look easy. (I cannot seem to master the Crane Pose.)

The challenging but effective Crane pose.

The challenging but effective Crane pose.

A group of teachers in Plano, Texas are encouraging each other to do 100 push-ups a day. For each day they complete the challenge, they place a star on their display board as an honor and to encourage the other challengers. I’m sure the person with the most stars gets an award of some sort, but in my opinion, they all win simply for participating and challenging themselves. Talk about a team-building activity!

Blog SCameron

Tracking progress and celebrating mini goals keeps motivation high!

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Having an accountability partner can push you beyond your own perceived limits.

 

Another group of ladies I know agreed to share plates each time they ate out for lunch and/or dinner. No matter who it was, they had to ask to split an order. If this wasn’t possible (oh say a client meeting or hosted event…), they had to only eat half of the order and leave the rest. It worked on the honor system, but with every day, they became more aware of portion size, what was excessive, and what their body truly needed. I can imagine this made for some excellent meal conversation as well. On some occasions, they were able to donate the funds of the other plate to help feed the hungry. Awesome!

I currently have a group of seven clients detoxing with the Advocare Herbal Cleanse, and they are using the 10-day cleanse to incorporate 30 minutes of cardio activity. Walking, jogging, swimming, and dancing with their children all count. Not only does sweating help move toxins through the body, they are stimulating the detoxification herbs working hard to clean out their bodies. My hope is that after the 10-day cleanse, they will continue the 30 minutes of activity because they feel amazing.

Finally, I received an email from a lady who managed to gather five co-workers to run the stairs of their corporate building during the lunch hour three times a week for one month. They have one week to go, and though it was tempting to skip on certain days, they proudly reported consistency and improvement in their pace. As for that 3:00 p.m. slump, two of them say it’s minimal now after implementing their group activity. Plans for the next month’s challenge are already in the works.

Be creative with your motivational board/displays.

Be creative with your motivational board/displays.

There are many other mini-challenges in the works around us; however, you get the point that having shorter/smaller goals to pin-point daily with one or several accountability partners may help you get your daily activity time DONE. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want?

I still enjoy challenging myself, and trying out to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader was one of my favorite personal challenges (and bucket list item.)

I still enjoy challenging myself, and trying out to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader was one of my favorite personal challenges (and bucket list item.)

As for that blasted Crane Pose? Well, that’s today’s challenge for me, so I better hop to it.  In joyful health, Lacey

May 13, 2013

Magic Around the Edges

Life is a fairytale

Morning, Friends. It’s Brooke, here. How many of you live an inspired life? Or maybe a life with magic around the edges? And do you choose to make your world something special, or do you simply honor the glimmers that you see? Of course, you don’t have to be all “writery” about it, although that’s my personal lens. Moving through your day with brightness means you are living with joy, anticipating the best of things and trailing a hopeful spirit in your wake. And people notice this! They can see the sparkle you leave as you brush alongside them.

sunset glitter

I’ve lived my whole life nestled on the edge of reality and unreality, devouring books and ideas, feeding the furnace that is my imagination. That’s the beauty of experiencing life through the written word—you can slip into someone else’s skin, carry on in another world, fall in love many times, have your heart broken hopefully fewer times, and find yourself again at the end of everything forever changed. One of my favorite analogies comes from Stephen King, when he says that he always carries a book with him because he never knows when he’ll need an escape hatch. And I totally get it! This kind of escape makes the tedium of life bearable.

Fantasy street signs

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this existed?

However, literary highways are not the only ways to travel. I often go about my business, appearing normal and on task while my mind wanders and skips along nearby. It’s always scanning the periphery, searching for interesting tidbits or trails of glitter that might lead to an epiphany of some sort. I like to think that there’s another world tucked behind the façade of the one we navigate every day, and every now and then, I catch a glimpse of “something else.” This kind of daydreaming, usually frowned upon by highly logical people and most bosses, helps me get through the dailyness of life reasonably well. I mean, I show up to my life–I pay my bills, go to meetings, teach classes, see clients, and try my best to be responsible and plan ahead. But if you catch me between these activities, you’ll often see me gazing into the middle distance, wondering “What if . . . ?” If you examine the course of human history, you’ll see that this very question has set fire to controversy, challenged deeply held perceptions, and repeatedly altered life as we know it. And thank goodness!

I passionately believe that life is meant to be lived, that we are not just marking time. That everyone deserves to have dignity, love, respect, and meaning in their lives, regardless of circumstance. Our reality and our joy is what we make it. And we are only bound by what we imagine is true. So, why not believe anything is possible? Why can’t you blow past any goal you set for yourself? Why let others decide for you what is true and valuable? My contrarian spirit has always balked at someone telling me why I should like this or do that—I want to figure this out on my own! But to stay on the right side of polite society, I listen graciously and smile, all the while running these suggestions through my internal works and listening for the resulting “ping” of yes or no. Over the years, however, I’ve tried to learn from others’ experiences, those wiser than myself. I pray often for guidance. And I gather clues incessantly, clues left like breadcrumbs by an invisible hand. Is this little piece important? Well, it tickles my soul and makes my heart skip a beat. Yes, I’ll keep it. Then the edges of my life shimmer once again, and I know I’ve chosen wisely.

May you have a magical and blessed week!

~Brooke

When in doubt

May 8, 2013

Picky Eater Options for a Non-Chef

Part of being a Healthy Housewife is doing one’s best to keep the entire home as healthy as possible. For me, that includes a husband, two teenagers, and two fur-babies. My step-daughter and I are surrounded by four other men in the household. I’m including both male pups along with the male humans. Ironically, both of us girls will pretty much each whatever; however, I have a sticky note with the following dietary preferences for the men:

Post Its

1. No onions, no chives, no humus, no cucumbers, no cauliflower, no mint gum

2. No mushrooms, no black olives, no spinach.

3. For both pups, separate feeding times, and peanut butter and ice cream are ideal treats. They love carrots and ice too.

Cooking is interesting and down-right frustrating on days I’m not feeling creative; however, I managed a few meals that won blue ribbons with the household, so I wanted to share:

Chicken-Nuggets-at-Home

“Organic Chicken Skinny-Nuggets”

Cut four organic chicken breasts into cubes

Mix in bowl #1: Chipotle-flavored Tabasco sauce and olive oil

Mix in bowl #2: gluten-free bread crumbs or croutons, sea salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese

You know the drill! Drop cubes of chicken into bowl #1 then bowl #2; coat evenly and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees; Flip and bake for 5-7 minutes more. Cool, and serve with dip of choice.

Mexican-Unfried-Ice-Cream

“Unfried Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • Greek vanilla frozen yogurt
  • Special K Cereal, crushed
  • ground cinnamon
  • crushed almonds
  • Hershey’s dark-chocolate syrup (optional)
  • cherries or almond for topping (optional)
  • Truwhip for topping (optional)

Mix the cereal, cinnamon, and crushed almonds in a bowl. Scoop your frozen yogurt as normal and roll (lightly) in a bowl of the crushed Special K mixture. (You can also make three smaller “balls” for a different display option.) Set in a bowl and top as desired (depending on person’s preferences.)

Pinwheels

“Pinwheels”

With such picky eaters, this is one of my favorite “go-to” items.

Ingredients:

Favorite wrap or tortilla (based on preferences, there are gluten-free, whole-wheat, regular, or vegetable options)

Spreads: I make humus, almond butter, or cream cheese pinwheels–just not altogether. 🙂

“Meats”: I use Amy’s Bean Burger crumbles or patty (crumbled up), Garden Burger, or Turkey burger; however, you can use nitrate-free turkey or chicken slices as well. I also pair the following with the almond butter: raisins, dried fruits, smashed banana, warmed organic apple horizontal slices. If I’m having a sweet tooth, or an allergy attack, I simply spread locally-grown honey the almond butter and wrap it up. Yum.

Veggies: spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, or thinly-sliced squash

Roll your preferences, and slice into inch-thick slices. Arrange on your favorite platter or baggie them up for a boat cruise or family picnic.

NOTE: Bring peanut butter and a spoon for the pups.

I’m looking forward to learning so more picky-family friendly recipes, and I enjoy referencing the following on my journey.

http://www.skinnytaste.com

http://www.yummly.com

http://www.growingupherbal.com

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In health (and for the sake of keeping the peace), Lacey

April 10, 2013

MANicures and Mistakes

french_manicure
            A small disclaimer before diving into this week’s topic: men don’t need to be cured, fixed, or polished. It is my opinion that men need to be allowed to be men. Some of my girlfriends are rolling their eyes at me as they read this. The second part of my belief is that if they are allowed to be men, they are happier, better partners in life, and that benefits us (ladies!) Whether you’re dating, married, or have male friends, I’m sure everyone agrees that it’s nice when the men in our lives are happy.

 

            I mentioned aloud that I needed to get a manicure (and pedicure) for an upcoming beach trip. To which, my husband admitted that he needed to drop some “winter weight” for the trip. When he asked what he should do, I recalled in my head the last time I tried to manage his nutrition and plan his meals. Epic fail. I pushed too hard, and I didn’t work with his personal boundaries. (e.g.; full-bodied, quality beer is a must, not light beer; eating meat isn’t a negotiable topic; and he’s not a runner, but he is a fast walker and a weight lifter.) I pushed my ideals on him and didn’t leave room for negotiation. We both were left frustrated, uninspired, and frankly… needing a stiff drink.

 

            In response to his comment this time about losing some weight before our beach vacation, I said, “what does that look like to you?” He explained his goal in specific detail. My second question was, “How committed are you?” To which he replied, “I’m not giving up pasta, and I’ll never eat kale… I want to have two beers three times a week… and I’ll work out five times a week for at least 30 minutes.” Since we had three weeks, this will work. Plus, I was more encouraged about his interest in healthier living, not just in the weight loss, so I got to work. The 80/20 rule fit in nicely with my husband’s nutritional criteria; Advocare’s multi-vitamins and Spark drink would ensure he received the minerals and vitamins he needed daily; and I made the commitment to do exercise time with him as often as possible for motivation, but also for accountability. I pulled out the most exciting and fun workouts I had, so he enjoyed the sweat time. When I would go for a run, he fast-walked with the pups, then we’d do weights together. Working our goals into our lifestyle is the ticket!

 

            Fast forward to three weeks later, my husband met his goal and felt a difference. The plan actually stuck around after the vacation too, which was an added bonus for both of us. Some other benefits were the struggling together during a set of jump-squats or bench presses; the singing out loud to workout music; the looks our pups gave us as we growled through the workout; the post-exercise glow we had when we met friends for a night out. When you look, feel, and perform your best, you do all of life better. Also, when couples sweat together, they stay together. We celebrated little triumphs like when we managed to make broccoli and other greens taste yummy, or when we added to our reps during a workout. We didn’t beat ourselves up when we missed a beat with our diet or exercise routine. And when he looked up at me from a bowl of his favorite pasta creation and said, “It’s my 20% babe…” I just had to smile.

 

     

Working out with a spouse (or friend, or child) is fantastic mutli-tasking! Quality time and a workout!

Working out with a spouse (or friend, or child) is fantastic mutli-tasking! Quality time and a workout!

My husband and I at a messy 5k showing it doesn't always matter who wins. If you're getting healthy together--everyone wins!

My husband and I at a messy 5k showing it doesn’t always matter who wins. If you’re getting healthy together–everyone wins!

Men and women have varying goals, motivations, and commitment levels. We’re each willing to give up different things. Conversely, we have those things we refuse to give up. My toes will always be ready for flip flop season, and my husband will always have his morning cup of coffee. The key is to find ways to implement healthier habits into your life together and to always keep first things first… like family, friends, and laughter.

 

 

 

 

Some FUN Q&A from Our Home to Yours

 

“Does golfing with the guys count as my activity?” Only if you do squats before you swing at each hole.

 

“Do the beers I have on our date nights count?” Not if we are both smiling and enjoying the time together. 

 

“Is all sugar bad?” Not if it’s in a dessert I want, and we share.

 

“The kids want to order pizza and stay in with us Friday night, can we eat that?” Yes we can and with gratitude over the fact they want to stay in and eat pizza with us. (This is a 20% situation.)

 

“What do you want to bet?” Loser has to do 25 pushups (especially funny if we are out in public.)

 

Keeping healthy is a family affair... sometimes it's messy, but we are committed!

Keeping healthy is a family affair… sometimes it’s messy, but we are committed!

February 14, 2013

Make your Valentines Day Sexy and Healthy! And Fun for the kids too!

d91b04e2a0779ba693098bbb03572a7bValentine’s Day is here! For most of us, it’s the same every year! Lots of thought and time goes into planning a romantic dinner out.  Reservations must be made well in advance and most restaurants hike up their prices and serve you what they bought on special! They get to serve you a very expensive (not always healthy) 3 course dinner with wine and dessert.  It always sounds so good in theory but at the end of the evening what are you left with? I’ll tell you…a very full tummy, a wallet with a big dent and the only thoughts in your head are going to bed and I mean sleep. 

I’m not saying you can’t have a special evening but maybe you can celebrate Valentines Day in and bring the romance home.

Dinner In.

80e51716eca565b5e1976571f515f0ef

So skip the reservation, stay home and make dinner a romantic event! Turn off the TV, listen to your favorite music, have a glass of wine or make a special valentine cocktail with fresh fruit juice.  Then cook as a couple. Prepare a big healthy salad with lots of vegetables, homemade veggie pizza or even something quick and light on the grill. Don’t kill yourself on a meal with tons of preparation.  This should be fun, easy and sexy!

Dessert

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Now, the good stuff.  After a light healthy meal with great company its time for some healthy chocolate indulgence!

Guiltless Warm Flourless Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

Cooking spray (make your own)

6 ounces 70% dark chocolate
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 very ripe bananas
1/4 cup roasted sweet potato
1/4 cup honey
1 whole egg
3 egg whites

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place 8 (4-ounce) ramekins or custard cups on a large baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Combine chocolate, orange zest and vanilla extract in a medium bowl over hot boiling water. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted.
  4. Puree bananas, sweet potato and honey until smooth.
  5. Remove the melted chocolate from heat and fold over banana puree and 1 whole egg. Mix well
  6. Whip the egg whites until soft peak
  7. Slowly fold egg whites into chocolate mixture.
  8. Spoon mix into ramekins, filling them almost to the top.

Bake for approximately 6 to 7 minutes, remove and serve. Warm center of the chocolate should be soft.

 Cooking Spray Ingredients

  1. 1 part olive oil (or your choice of oil)
  2. 5 parts distilled/filtered water
  3. 1 misting  spray bottle

Instructions

Mix in your spray bottle 1 part oil to 5 parts water. Shake well and store in a cool dark place.

Roses

We all love roses.  They are beautiful and I love them but during Valentines they are super expensive or very cheap and don’t last very long either way. Rather than giving or expecting roses suggest an alternative, such as a fresh herb plant that smells great and can be used in cooking or a lovely houseplant to purify the air in your home.  Here is a great suggestion that involves rose, kids and a craft. That’s a Valentine Trifecta! Every child loves crafts and parents and grandparents love items made by their little ones.  Sit down and make these rose cards together!

DSC_5451

Fun for the kids – Rose Cards craft

  1. 1 stalk celery
  2. Red and green tempera paint
  3. Blank note cards

Cut celery down to the bottom of stalk, dilute red tempera paint with a bit of water, put onto paper plate, dip celery in paint, and press onto a paper note card, leaving a rose shape!

Make sure you apply even pressure when you press down on the celery. Add glitter, green leaves and write a Valentine message such as “Be Mine” on the outside of the card. The inside is left blank for sweet love notes for friends and family from your child.

Kids Non-Candy Treats

No_Candy_Valentines

There are healthier ways to say I love you, than loading our kids up on the heart shaped boxes of candy from the grocery store.  Here are several cute alternatives I found on Pinterest.

(1) Bouncy Ball Valentine by The Crafting Chicks

(2) Free Printable Valentine’s Bookmarks by Summit Avenue Design
(3) Ruler Valentine by Thompson & Spring
(4) Silly Straw Valentines by Plucky Momo
(5) Glow Stick Bracelet by Kommuicated
(6) Love Bug Valentines by Dandee
(7) Pencil Valentines by Write with Moxie
(8) Play-Doh Valentines by Paging Supermom
(9) Race Car Valentines by Paper and Pip
(10) Magnifying Glass Valentines by Dandee
(11) Recycled Heart Crayons by The Long Thread
(12) Super Star Glasses by Plucky Momo

Whatever you do, I hope you all have a very Happy Valentines Day! Kathy, Fit Fashionista

January 11, 2013

So Many Books, So Little Space. . .

Love books part 2

Hi, there. It’s Brooke here. How many of you like to read? No, not just the latest Twitter feed or Yahoo entertainment news (don’t get me wrong—I like to know how fast Anne Hathaway’s pixie cut is growing out just as much as the next person), but really read? I’ve always adored reading, from my earliest memories of my dad reading to me at bedtime to present day, when I have at least 3 audio books in my car at all times. You know how naked you feel when you go somewhere without your purse or phone? I feel agitated and anxious unless I have reading material stashed close by, wherever I go. This would explain the many piles of books and magazines that follow in my wake. I know this book clutter is a problem, and I’m confident a psychologist would be able to dig out some juicy analysis of my inner failings from observing my daily interactions with these piles, but I do not care. Actually I do care, but that’s between the psychologist and me. Having my beloved books nearby comforts me and makes me feel secure that if the moment arrives in which an answer is needed, I can go directly to the most helpful resource and resolve the crisis—I mean, question.

Book room quote

I’ve tried to figure out why I have such trouble with accumulating and holding on to things. You may be like this too, but for me to do something uncomfortable, possibly painful, definitely not creative or fun, I have to know the reason why I should. I found this to be true even when dieting down for a fitness competition. Maybe it’s so I can Jedi mind-trick myself into accomplishing the troublesome task, but regardless, it’s how I’m wired. Several clues to why are as follows:

I crave Input, which is apparently a natural-born strength according to Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton, authors of Now, Discover Your Strengths. This is a fascinating book popular in corporate management circles and among people seeking to understand themselves and others. I highly recommend it if you’re the sort who wants to maximize your potential and understand what makes people tick (http://www.amazon.com/Discover-Your-Strengths-Marcus-Buckingham/dp/0743201140/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_y). To crave input means that you are intellectually curious and tend to collect things—not necessarily physical objects, but information such as found in books, quotes, random ideas, and lots of facts. You gather this information, stimulating your mind and storing it away, never knowing when it might be important at a later date. As you can imagine, this could swiftly lead to logistical problems for you and the people in your life if any of these “treasures” take up physical space. My husband has told me on several occasions that I have too many books and that I need to get rid of some of them. While I do consider this an offensive statement and an affront to me personally, I kinda agree. I once read an article about organizing the house—wait, I’m sure it’s around here somewhere—and it gave me the following advice: Freeing up your physical space from its clutter (books and other things) creates “psychic” space, or room for your spirit to expand and for new opportunities to come into your life. This sentence sounds just fantastical enough (and not too pragmatic, a.k.a. boring) for me to get my head around.

psychology

Also, as an INFP according to the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, I’ve learned that I am a strong “P,” which stands for “Perceiving.” In the context of the Myers-Briggs test, Judging and Perceiving are the two ways people deal with their external world. When one is a “Judging” type, one tends to be gifted at closure, organization, and planning. This also means that these folks tend to make a decision and then move forward effectively. These are skills that I’m working on improving—they don’t come as naturally to me. When you are primarily a Perceiving type, you tend to be flexible, open, and relaxed with the world. You like to observe the world rather than order it and prefer to take in lots of information. A lack of closure is easily tolerated because with new information coming in all the time, one never knows when an important piece will come along and a decision will need to be changed and improved. I can’t explain why this is, but it seems to put words to the reasoning in my head. If you want to really get under your own skin and have a few hours to spare (once you start, you’ll find it hard to stop), go online to any number of sites to take the Myers-Briggs Personality Test or assessments very similar to it. Here’s a nice little intro into the science of Typing and you’ll find some links to free testing and great info as well (http://www.developandgrow.com/lifecoach/blog/free-on-line-myers-briggs-personality-tests/).

I hope you enjoy digging into your psyche and discovering some helpful things. You may just be amazed! Wish me luck as I clear up my psychic space and continue to self-diagnose my neuroses. Have a wonderful weekend!

~Brooke

November 24, 2012

Savor the Moment

Hi there! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. My holiday was joyful, slightly stressful, kind of relaxing, mildly active, and over too quickly. This description seems to fit a lot of my days lately, and I’m not sure I like it! I try my best each day to enjoy every moment, to savor tastes and experiences, to remember the details of things, the feel of loved ones’ hands and hugs, and my soul’s ebb and flow as these gathered pieces are documented inside my memory. I never know when I’m going to need these pieces again, but I continue to gather them and store them within reach. I’m a noticer of things and a writer. Often these identities are interchangeable. However, you don’t have to be a “writer” to be a noticer. You just have to pay attention.

Life moves so quickly, and as a productive member of society, you are expected to accomplish a ton of things—make a living, feed your family, pay your bills, maintain your relationships as well as your Facebook status, get enough exercise and adequate sleep, and—oh, nurture your inner life. Sometimes I get so busy with the grind of daily life that I look back at the week and I can’t even remember what happened! The very worst part is that I’ll be trying to survive day by day, thinking that I need to check in with my friends and see how so-and-so is doing, and suddenly there’s NEWS. A close friend is suddenly pregnant . . . or getting a divorce . . . or has just lost a parent . . . or is finally getting married. And I didn’t even notice. I feel like I’ve missed an important piece of their life, and I have! I try to avoid this terrible fix by slowing down and paying attention, checking in with my peeps and scanning their horizons for situations that I should be attentive to. This always involves stepping away from my life and breathing in air less manic than my own. One of my very favorite ways to gain some perspective is to crack open my well-loved copy of Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.

I discovered this book when I was in college, and I fell immediately in love with the whole thing. First of all, it’s a pink book, for goodness sake—who wouldn’t love that? But the inside really got me. It’s organized into daily entries, each beginning with a quotation. And if you haven’t noticed yet, I love quotations. The book celebrates the sublime magic found in everyday life by encouraging the reader to notice even the smallest moments in her surroundings. It introduced me to the concept of a gratitude journal and invited me to write down five things I was grateful for each day. It gave me small doses of its message to savor the world and inspired my creativity. It’s no coincidence that this time in my life was happy, full of possibilities, with a gleam around the edges. I realized that by my noticing small wonders, time seemed to slow down and my friendships glowed.

So, when you find yourself getting super busy and start to wonder where the time has gone, be aware that you may be missing some monumental moments in your or your friends’ lives. If this bothers you, I hope you will stop and breathe deeply. Gaze around you and drink in the view. Be thankful for your blessings and the fact that you have this day to do just that.

XO, Brooke