Posts tagged ‘love’

August 15, 2013


fit five facebook profile


“So what’s happening with the Healthy Housewives?” I get asked repeatedly everyday. Don’t worry, I am not irritated by this question, I embrace it. To answer your question “ALOT!”  🙂

I am very grateful that you keep up with us and our updates. We work hard to inform you with our health and fitness expertise. You can keep up with us on our blogs and social media. Between the five of us, we sure do have a lot going on between career, family, fitness, and a social life, we manage to cram it all in. That is what life is all about right? 🙂

Another question I get  a lot is “Where is the next event I can meet you?” We love when our HH fans come up to us at events, take pics, and enjoy some fun conversation. You guys motivated us. So if you want to know what our calendar looks like, this is what we have on the books so far…

Sunday, Aug 25th at 7 pm: VIVA GLAM Magazine Party at the W Hotel in Dallas (we will post deets soon, we just found out.)

Saturday, Sept 14th at 7:30 am-5 pm: SHAUNTERVENTION at the Frisco Embassy Suites. Shaun T is coming too town for a HUGE fitness event. The HH will be a sponsor for this event and would love to meet you!

Healthy Housewives Ad Campaign Shoot: We will be shooting new ads for our brand soon and watch out because these will be bad ass!!!  Can’t wait for these ones!

Also, be sure to check out our individual FB pages for more updates, tips, and getting to know us!


Kathy Hamilton:

Danielle Hinson:

Brooke Berryhill:

Lacey Pruett:

Thanks for your support and love!




May 31, 2013

What Is Your Why?

 Have you ever thought about what your true motivation in life is? What is the fire that gets you up out of bed every morning? I was introduced to a preacher named Eric Thomas and I listened to one of the motivational talks he gave to a professional sports team. I have watched several of his You Tube videos and he gets me really fired up.  He really challenges people to dig deep, find their fire, and to use that fire to accomplish their goals and live a more fulfilling life.

 Why do I work hard from sun up to sundown to be my best? For me it’s two-fold. Number one, why am I driven to go to work everyday? And then secondly, why am I driven to work so hard with The Healthy Housewives. Yes, I love my job. Yes, I am passionate about health and fitness. But what REALLY drives me to wake up at 5:30 and not hit the snooze button? I am motivated to provide the best life I can for my daughter and my family. I am motivated to give her a better childhood than I had. I am also driven to motivate and empower as many people as possible to believe in themselves and live their best life. I am inspired to share my learnings in health and fitness to help people implement the right fitness plans into their life and feel their best.

A life-changing event in my life is when my parent’s got a divorce when I was eight. That was the point when I realized how stressful money burdens could be on a family. At that point, my mom was a substitute schoolteacher and was going to school at night to get her Master’s degree.  My father had just lost his job. They did their best to keep our lives “normal” and shield my brothers and I from the financial stress. However, we knew money was tight and a constant stress and I felt terrible that my activities added to that pressure.  At the time of the divorce, I was on the competitive team at gymnastics. That meant I was at the gym five days a week, which was pretty pricey. Of course gymnastics was a financial cut that my parents had to make. I was devastated at the thought. Athletics were my passion and my escape from my ever-changing family dynamics. I was fortunate enough that my coaches and gym offered to work with my parents through that difficult point. I don’t know what they worked out financially. However, I will forever be grateful to my coaches and all that were involved for caring enough about me to help my family and I through that time.  So at eight years old, I remember standing in front of the uneven bars one night at workout, asking my coach what it took to get a college scholarship. I hated feeling like I was being a financial burden on any one.  At that point, I told myself that if I wanted to go to college and follow my dreams that I was going to have to work hard and do it myself. Through hard work and some amazing people in my life, I ended up accomplishing my childhood dream of obtaining a full college scholarship and competing at a high level. I have achieved things in track and field, as well as life, that I never could have imagined.  And from that time is where I find a lot of daily my motivation. So many people have helped me through my journey. I want to give back and help people find their own strength and believe in themselves. I also am driven to provide the best life I can for my daughter and family, where finances aren’t a burden. Whether Landry wants to go to Harvard and become a doctor or if she even wants to be a professional ballerina, I want her to know that she can accomplish anything she wants. I am determined to provide the best life for her that I possibly can.

No, I don’t get rich doing The Healthy Housewives, nor do I do it because I just think I’m going to be on tv. Don’t get me wrong all of that would be a cool added bonus. Yes, I love the other ladies and have fun with them and all of the exciting things we do.  But what fuels me to help grow this brand? What drives me is helping people believe in themselves and helping them have the courage to go for their dreams. Through my unique journey I have learned so much.  I now have been so blessed with an opportunity and a platform that I am so passionate about. Through my athletics and passion for health, I have seen first hand how much better I feel and function when I eat right and workout regularly.  I am inspired daily to be my best self, so I in turn I can better help and empower other people.

I have told you my motivation. That is one of the moments in my life that drives me to get up every single day and be my best self.  So what is your why? What’s your motivation to do what you do?  And where does that motivation come from?  You have to have a greater motivation than to just be rich or skinny.  Dig deep and find your own true motive. Channel your own defining moments and use them to achieve your dreams and live a fulfilled life.

I hope you have a great weekend.

Loren Silas

May 22, 2013

Coffee Chats and Simple Facts


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 20, 2013

Vegetarian Meal Planning: Compassion and Convenience

hugged veggie

Hello, and Happy Monday! It’s Brooke here. I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time now (more than 15 years), and I love that there’s a way I can still be healthy while respecting the creatures in our world. Now, I am certainly not an expert by any means, and when it comes to balancing my life with proper (sufficient) nutrition in a timely manner, I am NOT always successful. But every day I try to make my fuel a priority, and some days are better than others. But I keep aspiring to live up to my best intentions, in and out of the kitchen.

I came to this lifestyle in a meandering fashion. For years, I was the “picky” eater in the house. You may be familiar with the line from A Christmas Story, “Every family has a kid who won’t eat.” I was that kid! My sister and I had to eat three bites of everything on our plate before we could be excused from dinner. Many meals ended with my family bustling around the kitchen, putting their dishes away while I sat by myself at the table, looking at my half-finished plate, usually with meat or a few veggies remaining forlornly around the edges. Now, I didn’t single out meat purposely back then, but I just wasn’t its biggest fan. I managed to stay plenty nourished, however, and made my way to college. About this time, I started learning about the vegetarian life and what it felt like to make decisions that went against my social conditioning and what I’d always taken for granted. I grew up in Texas, after all—barbeque was always the first thing that was catered in for any kind of occasion. Definitely a challenge!

why love one

I love animals desperately, as you probably know by now. Also, one of the strongest drivers of human behavior is to live in a way that is consistent with what you believe. This is why what you tell yourself is so freakin’ important! You become what you believe or say you will be. So, your self-talk better be purposeful, supportive, and meaningful if you want that kind of life. Well, my turning point came when I realized that how I felt about animals didn’t square with my eating them. Here was another significant moment measured by a quotation, this time from Chrissie Hynde: “Animals are my friends, and I don’t eat my friends.” This changed my whole life!

cow hug

I was a freshman and living in a dorm with no kitchen when I declared to my family I would no longer eat meat, much to my mother’s consternation. This time was a blur, but I do remember eating a lot of pasta and pizza and waffles (!)—no coincidence that I put on some weight. I called my extra layer my winter padding, like a seal has—what was I thinking? The ways you justify things to yourself! Well, I managed to screw up my digestive system in the process—I felt bloated and yucky constantly, lost my appetite, was malnourished, and didn’t even realize it. So, I went back to how I ate the last time I felt good, in high school in the cafeteria—a meat, two vegetables, a roll, a small dessert, and a carton of milk. I began feeling better, all while learning more about how to eat more healthfully. Eventually, I incorporated more grains and vegetables and got rid of the meat again. I wish I could say it was all pretty, but I was a college student on a budget, and there were a LOT of peanut butter and honey sandwiches involved. One particular shining moment was the day I fixed couscous from a box with canned carrots and canned green beans. Happiness!!

As time has passed, I’ve gained a few more kitchen skills, I’ve learned a lot more about nutrition, and although I have spent years pulling out recipes and squirreling them away to use someday, my vision of kitchen nirvana involving both the immaculate white kitchen and the va-va-voom of Giada De Laurentiis have not materialized. But I do have a basic plan that I follow that gives me a little bit of structure as I navigate my day.


lean protein, complex carb, simple carb, healthy fat

First: multivitamin + calcium/magnesium/zinc supplement + vegetarian omega-3s THEN breakfast

(Examples: protein breakfast smoothie [banana, strawberries, whey protein, almond milk, olive oil or flaxseeds, and nuts] OR scrambled eggs/egg whites and oatmeal with coconut oil, berries, walnuts, cinnamon, and Truvia)

Morning Snack

lean protein, complex or simple carbs

(Example: protein shake with a banana or ½ cup berries OR a green smoothie with power greens blend [arugula, chard, or kale], spinach, water, celery, pear, apple, and a banana)


lean protein, complex carbs, simple carb , healthy fat

(Example: spicy black bean patty, couscous or rice, ½ avocado with lemon juice and sea salt AND a big, dark-green salad full of veggies, a bit of fruit and light shredded cheese [maybe], and nuts)

Pre-Workout Snack

lean protein, complex carbs, simple carb , healthy fat

(Example: leftover or extra scrambled eggs and oatmeal from the morning OR whole wheat English muffin, almond butter, ½ banana, few blueberries, flaxseeds, and drizzle of honey) + BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids)

Post-Workout Snack

lean protein, simple carb

BCAAs + glutamine + creatine (optional) THEN whey protein with almond milk and 1 cup grape juice or fruit


lean protein, complex carbs, healthy fat (sometimes)

(Example: beans or bean or lentil soup, couscous or rice, green vegetables or large salad, ½ avocado with lemon juice and sea salt)

Bedtime Snack (if needed, usually yes!)

lean protein, healthy fat

(Example: protein shake (casein and whey) with almond milk OR Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, berries, and nuts)

Now, you’ll notice that I try to eat a good amount of complex, starchy carbs. Currently, my training goals include adding curves and weight by building lean muscle and lifting heavy, and I need fuel (probably still more than I’m getting) to do this. But if you’re trying to tighten up, you can dial back on the complex carbs and a little of the healthy fats at lunch and later in the day. This is just a plan that works for me. Vegetarian options abound these days, and I’ll share some more recipes as I find time to try them. Wish me luck! I can’t wait to hear about what works for you. So, let me know if you have some great ideas for strong, sexy, cruelty-free curves—I’m always listening.

Have a super week!


compassion is the new sexy


May 12, 2013




What if your kid is furry and has more than 2 legs? Whether you were blessed with children or not, let’s not forget the moms who take care of our pets at home. It is still a nurturing job. From feeding, to walking, to playtime, to love, it is still a job that a pet mom still needs to be recognized for.

Rockstar and Paris

Rockstar and Paris

I personally don’t have children of my own due to major fertility issues, so I have the next best thing: dogs. My sweet little pets are treated like my children. I have 3 wonderful loving little Pomeranians named Playboy, Rockstar (Rocky for short), and Paris. I call my Pomeranian pack the Doodles. I love my doodles so much they make my heart jump for joy when I see them. I love how they always put a smile on my face.

We always dress them up for Halloween!

We always dress them up for Halloween!

These happy little creatures are so spoiled and demand a lot of attention and I am guilty to catering their every little need. I love how they communicate with me! The let me know if they need to go outside, when they are hungry, when they want to be picked up, when they are scared, and when they want to play. Believe it or not, all 3 communicate differently and I love their unique personalities.

Paris hamming it up for the camera

Paris hamming it up for the camera

We got Rockstar and Playboy first about 8 years ago. Rockstar and Playboy are from the same litter. These 2 brothers are always competing to see who is pack leader on a daily basis. So funny to see them compete against each other yet team up when they need each other. Rockstar is my little side kick. He follows me everywhere on the house. Watching my every move, he is very aware where I am at all times. Playboy could care less. All he cares about is lounging on the spiral staircase watching people walk by and when his next treat is. Playboy prefers his space. He will come to you when he needs something, otherwise, leave him alone.

The Doodles with Santa!

The Doodles with Santa!

Paris came a couple years later after we had the boys. My husband saw her and fell in love with her and we had furry family member #3. She is such a sweet pea. Probably the biggest lover out of all 3. She has those puppy eyes that make your heart melt, therefore she gets whatever she wants whenever she wants. It’s like having a 3rd child who is the baby of the family and gets a little more special treatment than the first 2 kids. My husband and I are guilty of spoiling her a little more than the boys. Don’t ask us why. We love them all very much, but there is something about her sweet little nature that we never say no.

Paris as a young pup and her Daddy Doodle!

Paris as a young pup and her Daddy Doodle!

So to all the pet mom’s out there who treat their furry family members like kids. Happy Mother’s Day! I know that they appreciate everything that you do for them especially love them!

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!


May 10, 2013

Let’s Celebrate Mother’s Day

My mini-me

My mini-me

What a special weekend this weekend is! I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mom’s out there. And if you’re a mom, I hope you can relax this weekend and enjoy the love of your own family.  Instead of running around this weekend with crazy Mother’s Day plans, I am hoping to try and relax and celebrate the women who mean the most in my life.

I have a three year old and Mother’s Day now takes on a whole new meaning to me. I feel

Mom, myself, and Grandma

Mom, myself, and Grandma

so blessed and so much love being a mother to my little girl.  I can remember my first Mother’s Day with her when she was about three months old.  She got dedicated at church that weekend and it was such a special weekend. I can remember how proud I felt as Icarried her in front of the church that morning. She makes my heart warm and she is such the light of my life.  Yes, some days can be challenging and I can get frustrated at all of the mundane tasks motherhood entails, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  It is the small things that I appreciate on mother’s day. I am looking forward to “muffins for mom” at my daughter’s school and seeing her face as she hands me a craft project that she has made for me.  It’s these moments that I want to hold close to me forever. I am also fortunate enough to celebrate Mother’s Day with my 85-year-old grandma, mom and step-mom. They all hold such a huge place in my heart and have all sacrificed so much to make me the person I am today.  If they are reading this I want to say, thank you and I love you all so much. When I was growing up, I can remember loving making my mom breakfast in bed. She always pretended like she was so surprised and like it was the best breakfast she had ever tasted.  I have a step-mom, a mom, a grandma, and so many wonderful friends in my life who I have been blessed enough to consider like friend/moms to me.  Women take the heat a lot for beating each other up, but I feel like most women really look out for and take care of each other.  I love appreciating all of the strong women out there who are mothers in their own right. As women, we are oftentimes the glue that keeps the family together.  We dedicate so much of our lives working hard to love, nourish and take care of our family unit. I wouldn’t have it any other way and love all of the sacrifices I make to be there for my family.

A mother isn’t just a woman who has given birth to children. Mother’s can come in many different forms. I looked up the definition of a mother and here is what was listed:

My step-mom and Landry

My step-mom and Landry

A person who is pregnant with or gives birth to a child.

A woman who adopts a child.

 A woman who raises a child.

A female parent of an animal.

A female ancestor.

A woman who holds a position of authority or responsibility similar to that of a mother: a den mother.

Roman Catholic Church-  A mother superior

Whether you are a mom to a golden retriever or a grandma with 10 grandkids, Happy Mother’s Day. I hope you and your loved one’s have a fabulous day. You deserve it!

Much love-

Loren Silas

May 6, 2013

Lessons Learned by Touch

heart touch

Good morning! It’s Brooke here. This fall will mark 5 years since I learned how to throw a wrench in the predictable works of my life and how to take the road far less traveled, when I received my ticket to another life parallel to the one I had been living—my license to practice massage therapy. In the years since I traded my slacks and heels for Sketchers and a constant ponytail, I’ve learned some things about how to live an authentic life, how to love deeply despite physical perceptions, and how to honor the sacredness that surrounds us all.

grateful hands

Power of Silence: Massage therapy has taught me the power of silence, that silence is not dead and inert but palpable and alive. In my therapy room, clients can choose to chat during our sessions or be quiet. I give them the lead. For some, talking about the events of their lives or the pain they’ve been having is therapeutic. Sometimes, their words are constant; other times, the strings of conversation flow randomly. But in the spaces between the words, the silence is sweet and warm. I love the quiet. I am soothed by it, and it is one of my favorite parts of being a therapist. The silence holds a mutual contentment between my client and I—we are both there but not there, in the moment and somewhere else. I should amend that: I am there but my client is drifting. This anchoring has helped me develop a discipline of calming my mental chatter (which is constant) and being mentally present, not planning my next task. To me, massage has become a moving meditation.

Serving Others: I’m not sure if we are all wired this way, but I adore helping people. I’ve always felt this way in all parts of my life, even before massage came along. I love being a conduit of good things for others. But please understand this does not come from me and my designs—I believe that God gave me a soft heart and that I am simply an instrument to spread love in a world that badly needs it. It gives me enormous satisfaction to set things right, to restore what was lost, or to inspire hope for better things. This is my passion, and I find it humbling and amazing that I get a chance to do it every day—for a living!!! When I was in massage school, we had an internship before we graduated, where we worked in the clinic open to the public. It was my first chance to work on people other than my classmates, whose personalities and bodies I knew well. When I worked on a stranger, my perspective changed. Boundaries were different, not in the permission to cross them, of course, but how I perceived our short relationship during those 55 minutes. Then I would make my way to their feet. Feet are not always the prettiest or most well-maintained of body parts, but oh, they make people SO happy to be worked on—I never skip them unless someone is super ticklish and requests me to move along. In massaging people’s feet, I was struck by the analogy of washing people’s feet. In ancient times, washing people’s dirty, dusty feet was done by servants, was even done by Jesus. The act of it feels like a humble service. By gently cleaning and massaging a person’s foot, I am communicating that these (we think) stinky, dirty, misshapen, abused feet—and by extension, our whole bodies—are deserving of attention and nurture. What a powerful message to give to people.

you are so loved

Move by Touch and Feel: Over the years, I’ve touched hundreds of backs, shoulders, knees, and faces, and I loved it all. I’ve run my hands over injured muscles, achy joints, rough patches, and all manner of skin, gathering clues to the situations that lie beneath. I’ve struggled with my own brittle skin and painful cracks in my fingertips during winter. You might suppose a massage therapist would have silky hands, but there’s an awful lot of hand washing that goes on! Occasionally, I’ve surprised a few people (with and without warning) with my cold hands, but in just a few moments, my hands heat right up and everything (muscles and spirits) are as they should be—soft, warm, and pliable. This is a nice way to navigate the world. Instead of holding tight and breathlessly thinking about each second, then the second after that—let go and become soft. Relax into yourself and feel around in your psyche to understand what you need right in this moment. Breathe . . . close your eyes . . . and breathe again.


Other Lessons Learned: I’ve learned to love the skin I’m in. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is beautiful and different, and I get a front-row seat to this show every day. Intimacy comes in all forms, and by abiding by professional boundaries, I’m allowed to experience this in many ways. It sometimes breaks my heart, but it can also set my spirit alight. Lastly, I am blessed by gratitude. No matter how routine or crazy a day may start out feeling, once I’m reunited with my people, I remember how our time together is a special treat, a ritual anticipated sometimes for weeks, and my outer, frazzled shell of busyness and stress is crumbled yet again, revealing the elemental truth of being humans together on the earth, our innate longing to be accepted and connected, to be healed. Our dance.

May your week be blessed,


human connection

April 29, 2013

To Tan or Not to Tan


Hi, Friends! It’s Brooke here. Do you remember those lazy days of lying out in the sun for hours on end, slowly sizzling your skin to a dusky bronze? Let me set the scene for you: Imagine a tall, pale girl living 300 miles from the nearest beach, trying to become golden brown while reading Nancy Drew and rocking out to the soundtrack of Top Gun in her backyard. This was bliss! Nothing induced a better sun coma than an occasional whiff of Coppertone SPF 4 (!), a generous spray of Sun-In all over my hair, and laying on my belly reading a book until I felt my skin literally burning or I began hallucinating from the heat or both. Then I would turn over and repeat. So young. So very, very dumb.

Thus began my early pursuit of the sun. I was not as relentless as some girls were in this pursuit. Really, I just dabbled during my free time. Nevertheless, I kind of looked forward to those inevitable sunburns—not only did they eventually turn into deep tans, but also I got to peel all that freaky dead skin! By the time I realized how bad tanning and especially sunburns were, most of the damage had been done. I wish I could go back and shake some sense into my younger self, but alas.


To tan or not to tan? This is a loaded question. Everyone has passionate reasons why they do or don’t tan (or always use a tanning bed or only use a spray tan, etc.). I’m definitely a mellow, live-and-let-live kind of gal. I hate arguing, and I’m not into foisting my views on to others. Really, I’m pondering what beauty means to me when it comes to the golden kiss of the sun.

On one hand, I believe that everyone is beautiful in their own skin. We are all original and lovely without artifice, and perhaps we should be satisfied with that. So, if you are born a bronze beauty (and you want to be bronze), so much the better. And if you were born with pale skin, ideally you would embrace it, call it “porcelain,” and be done for the day. This idea of creamy, light skin was highly in vogue for much of history and throughout literature. Being a literary lass of lighter hue, I’ve often comforted myself with this idea over the years. But the situation becomes concerning when swimsuit season hits, and people fall all over themselves averting their eyes from the shining white beacon that is me.


On the other hand, there’s just something magical about that sun-kissed glow. A good tan highlights the best parts of you, your muscles seem full and healthy, the little bit of pink dusted across your cheeks livens you up, and a few questionable inches seem to disappear inexplicably. Getting that glow seriously plays with your mind, whether you relax outside, lay in a tanning bed, or get sprayed. I can walk into my VersaSpa (sunless tanning booth) pale as a ghost, and 3 minutes later, I leave with a light coat that deepens into a sexy all-over golden brown by the next morning. And I absolutely feel happier, well-rested (this is an illusion, people), and like I’ve been on a tiny tropical vacation, minus the beach hair and stress relief. But at least it’s something. It’s no mystery why physique competitors endure the crazy perma-tan for their shows—their bodies look even more amazing and sculpted under all those lights with that deep bronze sheen. When you seen a well-tanned gal (before any unhealthy side effects have begun), doesn’t she just seem carefree and vibrant, like things are going well in her life? I often think that, even though we all know the harm that excessive tanning can bring.

sad sun

Excessive sun exposure causes damage that often appears only years later, which is the seducing part of all this glow-getting. At the time, you don’t see any negative effects, but they are still occurring. Sunshine emits UVA and UVB radiation, which affect your deep and superficial layers of skin, respectively. The melanocyte cells in your skin produce melanin, the dark pigment that protects your skin from more damage. But sometimes, the process goes awry and these cells mutate, increasing the risk of skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and the deadliest of the 3, melanoma. Setting these risks aside, too much sun can also cause premature aging of the skin, manifested by a leathery texture, wrinkles, sagging skin, and sunspots. UV rays can also damage the eyes, causing inflammation of the cornea, photoconjunctivitis, tumors in the eye, as well as chronic issues like cataracts. Also, if you love your tanning bed, make sure it’s disinfected properly between users. Turns out that insufficiently cleaned beds can harbor staph infections and sexually transmitted diseases—yikes! Who knew? Now we all do.

I’m a big fan of sunless tanning, and though there are a myriad number of do-it-yourself products available, I have the self-application skills of a moth. So, I eventually made my way to the Mystic Tan, and now I adore the VersaSpa (super easy, no furious toweling off before a brownie-colored streak dries down my armpit, and a (distressingly) small heater in the booth to warm the icy spray—but all in all, a win!). Also, between my visits, I touch up with their VersaTan Bronzing Spray, the absolute best home spray I’ve found, as well as a powder bronzer for my face. I don’t need to be the St. Tropez girl, I just want a little color.

VersaSpa Bronzer--this stuff is awesome!

VersaSpa Bronzer–this stuff is awesome!

Now that summer is almost here, I hope you revel (moderately) in the warm sunshine (for vitamin D synthesis and for happiness), protect yourself when enjoying those rays, and love the skin you’re in. You’re beautiful!! Have a great week! ~Brooke

April 23, 2013

The Man in the Mirror

ImageRemember that Michael Jackson song, Man in the Mirror?

I’m Starting With The Man In
The Mirror
I’m Asking Him To Change
His Ways
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
(If You Wanna Make The
World A Better Place)
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change

Gosh, more words couldn’t ring any truer. So much of what we need to make happen in our lives starts with the fact that we need to take a look at ourselves. I hear from people all the time they aren’t achieving the results they want. They say they eat right, work out hard, and yet nothing. I truly believe that physical transformation cannot even begin to take place until you are able to look at your reflection in the mirror with love. 

So many of us look in the mirror and see fear, doubt, disgust. We don’t look in the mirror and love ourselves for our flaws, our imperfections. But that is where it must start. You can run until your feet fall off, but you will not get the body you desire if you are filled with self-hatred. So how do you begin to love yourself enough to take a good long stare into the mirror?

1. Realize there is no such thing as perfect

2. You can only look like the best YOU possible….not someone else

3. There is no ideal way to look

4. Notice all the people around you who love you, they do so for a reason

5. Remember that you are special and unique and therefore important

I promise you this is the key to success. No amount of hours in the gym can replace the importance of self love in your journey to a fit lifestyle. 


April 8, 2013

My Sister—A Love Letter

Paige in Granbury

Happy Monday, friends! This is Brooke, and I would love to shine some light on a beautiful thing called a sister. My sister and I stole away this last weekend for a sister weekend, just she and I—no husbands, kids, or pets. And it was lovely! We had more real conversations than I can remember recently, we enjoyed having absolutely no agenda, and we blissfully watched movies in bed while devouring pizza–heavenly!! I’ve been blessed beyond measure in my life, and one of my first blessings was my sister, Paige. She came along when I was 3 years old. I still remember the great ceremony of being allowed to hold her for the first time, sitting responsible and still on the olive-green couch so beloved in the 1970’s (why beloved, I’m not sure). My mother’s long, elegant fingers settling her on my lap, the cloud of white fabric and lace that surrounded . . . my sister. First breathed with a hushed reverence, the magic of this word has never gone away.

sister in the mirror

I’m the older sister, and I quite like this, although nothing about it was of my own doing. But if you have siblings, you’ll probably understand this next part—growing up, I always felt smugly superior for having been born first. Really?!? But when you are young and powerless, you grasp at the only straws you have. The world could fall to pieces, but in the end, I would always be older. Nothing could ever change that. There is a reassuring permanence to this. I LOVE being the older sister. And I love having a little sister, someone who is mine alone. Our lives are knitted together and always have been. Our shared moments are like opposite sides of a kaleidoscope, the events are the same but their colors are refracted differently for each of us.

You know how time felt when you were young, waiting for life to pass so you can grow up and do whatever grown-ups do? It felt like forever, and we would play for what amounted to days upon days of making sure our Barbies had the most creative (imaginary) split-level houses and happy families. Every time I had a good idea for something, Paige wanted it too. Every time I did something, she had to do it too. Maddening! But this tediousness was quickly lost in the joy of having a constant playmate. Someone to tickle my back on car trips, to play card families with, to wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me about the man standing at the end of her bed (in our shared room—eeek!).

sister a little bit of childhood

Then we grew up a bit, each struggling to find our own way to who we really were. Arguments became frequent and unreasonable. I remember there was much bitterness and resentment as we each fought to always be right. We were teenagers after all. Then I left for college, and my world opened up. For me, our relationship changed after I heard a story my freshman year at college about someone’s little sister having been killed in an accident. How awful not to be able to take back all the hurtful things you’ve said. How devastating for someone you loved so much not to know just how much they meant to you. If you are at odds with a loved one, the quickest way to turn your heart is to imagine not having more time together. It feels terrible but it works, for me at least. It keeps you from saying things you’ll regret and helps your spirit stay soft and kind. Coming back from school after this realization and being the first one to forgive in an argument was hard to do. The words jagged in my throat. But after that initial step, some time passed, and we grew closer again. She softened, or maybe my thoughts of her softened, and we both grew up. We became more alike, and I recognized my truest playmate and partner in crime from long ago.

cute B and P BB

These days, my gorgeous Paige has her own beautiful family—a loving husband, 2 wonderful daughters, and lots of animals. She’s smart, strong, kind, compassionate, funny, and silly. In short, exactly who I strive to be. She’s an amazing mother, a lovely wife, a cherished friend and daughter, and a deeply beloved sister. And she’s still all mine.

May each of you be lucky enough to share your life with a sister, even if you didn’t come from the same nest.

Much love, Brooke