Sunday, June 2, 2013

The awesomeness of Muscle Fuel!! Day 100

Wow....just realized I'm on Day 100 of my 24 Day Challenge!  I should have planned a celebration!!  If you know me at all you know I love me some muscle fuel...I've been using it very sparingly since I found out its been on back order, ugh.  Today I coupled o2 Gold with muscle fuel before a run and omg.  Amaaahzing.

I have asthma, which has greatly and dramatically improved since starting with Advocare 100 days ago.  Since the 24 DC and continued weight loss and use of OmegaPlex I have gotten off my controller medication and my lung function has become close to that of a 'normal' person! But today was THE day I put it all to the test.  Today was the first day EVER I ran without using my albuterol as a pre treatment.  I took o2 Gold 60 minutes before I planned to run, ate carb/protein snack then muscle fuel 30 minutes prior.  I set out and BAM.  3.1 miles in just under 31 minutes...thats better than I had been running 6 months ago WITH using my albuterol.  This stuff really works.

I ran at a good pace and once I hit the 3.1 miles I had committed to running I still felt awesome, I really felt like I could continue on a few more miles....but alas I only had  sitter a short while and had to head back home.

Second bonus, typically once I stop running I need my albuterol again but not this time.  I was so happy I almost cried.  I have never ever been able to do this in my entire life and for the first time I feel like a 'normal' person. I seriously cannot wait to tell my asthma doc about this milestone.  I'm so pumped.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Late Spring Cleaning: Day 95

After a wonderful 4 Day break from busy bustling life out in the woods I am back and starting my Spring Body Cleaning.  Hey its late spring, but its still spring!  We had a wonderful time out in the woods.  Hiking, caving, floating, swimming.  It was a great time with great friends.

To be quite honest with you I was a little stressed being that camping usually means a weekend full of junk food and drinking.  But...this girl gone sparked really doesn't crave much of that anymore.  Its amazing.  Oh sure I had a few drinks and did partake in the S'mores festivites and some chips.  But, overall I planned ahead and did well. I brought my box of shakes, spark, catalyst, coreplex and omegaplex.  I packed healthy snacks, veggies, hummus, portabellas for burgers and nuts...don't ever go anywhere without your nuts!  (Thanks, Jeannette!)  I even went running the first morning and took every oppurtunity to walk to the 'far' bathrooms to get some extra exercise.  I did well.

So today I started a cleanse, time to change the oil.  I think I am one of the very few who likes the dreaded fiber drink, I know how good it is for me and it is cleaning out all the crap (no pun intended)  Gotta love what does a body good.

I'm set out to rock this cleanse and go straight into Lean in 13 again.  I'm really moving along my road and don't plan to stop until I get where I wan to be.

Will you join me?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tall, Dark and Delicious

There is a new love in my life, version, delicious, never disappoints me. No, friends this isn't a post about how I finally found that certain someone special. This is about my favorite jumpstart to the morning, The divine Dark Chocolate meal replacement shake.

When I heard about the Dark Chocolate Vegetarian protein shakes I just could not wait to try them. I have tried and tried and tried many a vegetarian protein and meal replacement shake and almost all of them make me gag. I know they are good for me and a good source of plant protein but omg...most of them are uh...well kinda nasty. I can't quite place my finger on what the funk comes from but its hard to gag them down. So, needless to say I didn't have that high of hopes for this version. But...I decided to give it a whirl...if nothing else I knew it would be great to make some balls with!

The first time I had the shake I shook it up in my blender bottle with some water. Although this is great for the regular MRS shakes...the Dark choc does not get justice this way. I'm a big believer that everyone and everything should get a second chance to make a first impression. So, I did not give up on the DCMRS soul!

I made some balls and they were wonderful. A few days later I decided to tackle the shake again. This time I put in the old Blentec with water and ice. Oh yum! this was the ticket. The plant protein doesn't thicken up much like whey protein and I like that. I tend to like my shakes on the thin side so this was awesome. It has a dark rich chocolate flavor that is just amazing. I was in love!

I decided to really play around with the shake and have now finished the whole box and will be opening a brand new box tomorrow. I have come up with some delectable flavor combinations, to me its just as versatile as a vanilla! Be creative, my friends.

Add in ideas (with added foods, note will add calories of course)

  • Add 1/2- 1 banana and some PB2 (this will make it thick and creamy option: freeze the banana first)
  • Add 2 cuties (or mandarins) plus the zest
  • Add 1/2 cup mixed frozen berries
  • Add 1/2 cup fresh pineapple
  • Add 2 Tbsp  unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Add 2 Tbsp PB2
  • Add 1-2 Tbsp almonds or almond butter 
Add in ideas (no added calories- perfect for 24 Day Challenge or Lean in 13)
  • Cinnamon (vietnamese cinnamon is best find it here)
  • Orange zest plus ginger
  • Cinnamon and Cayenne (heat it up and perfect aztec hot chocolate!)
  • Fresh Mint leaves or a few drops mint oil 
  • Grapefruit zest 
  • Mandarin zest
  • Mix with Berry Shake and split with a friend-Chocolate covered strawberry!  yum
The possiblities are endless and your imagination is the limit!  Go out and be delcious, my friends!!






Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lean in 13!

The AdvoCare bug bites hard and doesn't let go..no worries this is a good thing.  So its been about 2 months since the transformation has begun.  As of Day 24 of the Challenge I lost 11 pounds and 15.5 inches.  This morning, I weighed myself randomly and I have now lost 18 pounds.  WOW!  I am 2 pounds away from my halfway goal.  That is so motivating and exciting to me!

Today is Day 3 of Lean in 13!  I feel great, this program is quite different from The 24 Day Challenge, its a super challenge of will power and strength.  If you know me, you know I love my carbs.  Lean in 13 is a zig zag pattern of eating meant to really give your fat a good swift kick in the pants to get on and get going out of your body.   Days 1-3, 5-7,9-11 and 13 are protein and veggie based, As a vegetarian that means I have and will be eating a lot of eggs and tofu...thankfully I adore both of these, but non veggiesaurus types can enjoy lean meats as well!    Everyday features a meal replacement shake and muscle gain protein snack in the afternoon as well.  Days 4,8 and 12 you get to add in some carbs!  woot! I did some research and the *best* nut snack was almonds, best veggie, asparagus and best fruit to add grapefruit.  Score! I LOVE ALL OF THOSE!  I picked up some organic firm tofu to cube and bake / stir fry, some organic local eggs and yummy veggies.  I chose MNS Max E this go around for my super nutrition boost, stuck with my catalyst ( loooove catalyst)  Added in Thermoplus to burn some extra calories and nighttime recovery since I plan on doing some serious workouts.  Here is a sampling. 



Not gonna lie, I was a little worried going into this...I really love fruit so I knew Days 1-3 would be hard, but once I got into a pattern it wasn't so bad. I was also worried I wouldn't be eating enough calories so I continued track on spark people and found I was still hitting a 1200 cal minimum and staying with range for protein, carb and fat.  With the addition of MNS I knew I was getting all the nutrients I need, so that really eased my mind!  

I'm really hoping to rock out Lean in 13.  I will keep you updated.  I absolutely cannot wait to eat a grapefruit tomorrow!!  Wish me luck and Keep on Keeping on!




Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spicy Chocolate Popcorn with Quinoa

I found this to die for recipe on while trolling one of my favorite sites on facebook, Healthful Pursuit and just had to re create it!   I did a little tweaking to the recipe to remove the sugar and add some extra protein and nutrition brought to you by my favorite products!

I started by air popping a batch of popcorn, removing 6 cups and keeping the rest tucked away for some snacking later on.  I love air popped popcorn with a little sesame oil ,Chinese 5 spice and sea salt or coconut oil and cinnamon...mmm a bet a little mandarin orange spark mixed would be divine.. There are endless flavor combinations so play around with your favorite oil and spices, or the old stand by, olive oil and sea salt.  yum.


The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of sugar...but we are doing things the clean advocare way so I decided to sub a 1/4 cup of chocolate muscle gain.  I used raw mixed nuts for my nuts, and I had some pistachio walnut butter on hand from some protein balls I made recently.   


I used my handy dandy pampered chef chopper to chop up the nuts into small pieces.  I plan to make some nut butter out of this delicious combo real soon, so stay tuned. 


Next grab a small sauce pan and on low heat melt the coconut oil.  Depending on how warm your house is yours may already be liquid...My house is on the cool side so mine was solid.  Add cocoa powder, spices (to taste) and nut butter, cook on low until combined and smooth about 2 minutes.  Oh this is looking sooo good.  Makes me wish that google smell wasn't just a April fools prank and you could smell this.



Spread popcorn on parchment paperlined baking sheet, top with chopped nuts then drizzle with chocolate.  Use your hands or a spatula to cover the popcorn as best you can.  Next sprinkle the magic...err quinoa over top of the popcorn.  Bake at 300 for 30 minutes, stirring half way through.  I don't think it would be the end of the world if you didn't stir at 15 minutes though...so sit back, relax and drool for a bit.



Stick the pan in the fridge to cool for about 15-30 minutes to allow chocolate to firm up and ENJOY!  I immediate had to portion mine out into small baggies for fear of eating the entire batch.  This is not super sweet and if you need or want sweet add some splenda or stevia to the mix.  Sit back and watch a movie and chill.

Spicy Chocolate Popcorn with Quinoa ala Queen of Quinoa (adapted)

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups popped popcorn
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts of choice (I used raw mixed nuts, but this would be awesome with any kind)
  • 2 tablespoons whole quinoa (uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Hershey's cocoa powder
  • 1  scoop Chocolate Muscle Gain 
  • 2 tablespoons nut butter of choice ( I used pistachio-walnut)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (start with less and work your way up if you're not a fan of heat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees . Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add the popcorn to the baking sheet, then sprinkle with nuts making sure they're evenly dispersed.
  3. Heat the coconut oil over low heat in a small saucepan until it melts. Whisk in cocoa powder, coconut sugar, nut butter, cayenne and salt. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes until everything is fully combined and it has thickened only slightly.
  4. Drizzle the chocolate sauce over the popcorn-nut mixture and gently mix all the ingredients together.
  5. Sprinkle the quinoa over the mixture.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring the mixture once during cooking.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Put in fridge to firm up for about 15-30 minutes
  8. ENJOY!! 
Makes 12 1/2 cup servings
Nutrition:  120 calories | Fat 9.5g | Protein 4g | Carb 7.5g | Fiber 2.5g

Adapted from Queen of Quinoa/ Spicy Chocolate Popcorn with Quinoa

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Fajita Taco Salad Swap

One of my all time favorite meals is Taco Salad.  I love a good taco salad, warm veggies on a bed of lettuce topped with gooey cheese, flavorful salsa and mounds of sour cream and guac and I'm in heaven.  Until I log onto spark people to track my calories and bam that deliciousness just cost me almost my entire days worth of calories.  For a gal that loves to eat that is so not cool.  I have taken to making my own taco salads. 

First step, ditch the crunchy shell...its hundreds of empty calories.  For some extra crunch bake a corn tortilla and crumble on top, if you choose.  Next I cut up about 1 cups worth of assorted pepper strips.  I used red, yellow, orange and green.  I always keep a bag of mini peppers on hand, they are super easy to grab and go and much easier to chop up.  But use what you have.  Chopped some onion and some grape tomatoes and put them into my preheated pan with some chili infused olive oil on medium heat to get soft and delicious.



Once my veggies were nicely on their way to be perfectly soft yet still crunchy, I added a little taco seasoning.  I buy mine from a local shop, Crystal and Spice that has with no added fillers or salt and is super fresh.  Its devine! .  Add some pinto beans and mix everything together til warm.


While the goods were heating up I chopped up some lettuce.  I used a blend of red leaf and escarole, but use what you have.  I recommend a sturdy lettuce like romaine or iceberg.  We want a lettuce that can bring it to the recipe. Spinach has its place for salads, but baby its not here.


Next I diced 1/2 an avocado, shredded 1oz of cheddar cheese. (Note:Always, always buy cheese that is made without use of growth hormone, organic if possible, we don't like extra hormones in our food it messes with ourselves!)  Top with some salsa as the dressing, a little lime juice and crushed red pepper.  YUM.  I like to add a little Greek yogurt as a sub for sour cream, but I was fresh out today.  My favorite is Windcrest Dairy.  If you are local you can find it here.  Otherwise, Chobani is a great choice too.  



YUM!  To make this 24 Day Challenge friendly, ditch the cheese.  Add hormone free chicken for added protein.  Omit the cheese, use 1/3 avocado...make it your own, play around.  Enjoy and its 1/3 the calories of many popular restaurant styles.  Look at you saving calories, you'll be a slim and trim in no time! 

Fajita Taco Salad
Nutrition:   Calores: 450 | Fat 24g | Protein 19g | Carb 48g | Fiber 17g 
  • 1 cup pepper strips
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • 1 oz grape tomatoes, halved (about 3-4)
  • 1/2 cup pinto beans, rinsed
  • 2 cup lettuce, torn into strips
  • 2 Tbsp Salsa
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp taco seasoning (more or less to taste)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, plus more for garnish

  1. Heat olive oil in pan with chopped garlic and crushed red pepper
  2. Add onions, tomatoes and peppers, cook til almost soft 
  3. Add beans and taco seasoning cook til beans warm
  4. Add mixture to lettuce and top with cheese, avocado and salsa.
  5. Enjoy!





Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spinning and Balls!

Spinning and Balls.  They go together like peas and carrots.   If you know me I not only love a good spinning class but I love my protein balls.  I love to eat them, I love to create new and fun flavors, I like to talk about them.  I just love them, love them, love them.  So whats better than to have a pre-spin ball?  It would be a crime not to.

Tonight was my first night back at spinning in a long time.  I ran into a good friend at the Y last night after swimming who twisted my arm to come spin tonight.  Since the old shoulder injury a bit over a year ago, I've shied away from anything that may remotely irritate my shoulder.  But...remember a little thing called the 24 day challenge and my super progress?? Yea!  I went for it, I spinned, I spun, I rocked it and no pain. NONE!  whaaaa??  That is huge, I still can't believe how wonderful I am feeling lately.  It was great to see friends I haven't seen in awhile, sweat up a storm and torch some calories.  After my ritual morning workout and a lunchtime walk, I'm expecting to be sore tomorrow.  Thank goodness I have some nighttime recovery to help ease my muscles tonight, these poor gams will need it!

Oh..right.  The Balls.  Gotta talk about the Balls.  Balls are a great pre-workout snack.  I knew I would be torching some calories and needed a little snack, so I made sure to pack some leftover balls I had made for a mixer....oooh baby they powered me on through.   Lucky you, 2 Bonus Ball Recipes!  

BALLS!
Vanilla Pistachio Balls
Chocolate Almond Balls
  1. Combine all ingredients in Blendtec or Food processor til combined
  2. Form Balls about 1 Tbsp.  
  3. Enjoy!

*use store bought, natural no sugar added nut butters or place nuts in Blendtec and pulse on speed 1 til combined, then pulse on speed 6 several times to reach consistency desired, you may need to add a bit of oil to reach desired consistency, consider using coconut or hemp oil for an added boost!  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Time to get Uncomfortable

I've been listening to these 8 minute calls by Bob Ferngren, nice short little pre recorded call in power packed with motivation.  Yesterday's call was 'getting uncomfortable'.  I 'signed' up with Advocare to get a discount, I figured I was plunking down some cash for my challenge and a few other things, I may as well sign up as distributor and get the 20%, right?

Then the reality of furlough came.  And it was dark and scary. I decided well...since I'm here I might as well share this product that has changed my life with a few people and hey, if I make some money cool too.  But where do you start?  I am not a pushy person, I don't like 'selling' things to people.  I don't want to lose all my friends, and I don't want to be that girl everyone runs away from.  But, I had to try.  Bob said if what you are doing is making you uncomfortable...KEEP DOING IT!  wait, what?  Isn't that the opposite of what I'm always thinking.  Why would I want to do something that makes me uncomfortable.  That's crazy talk.  The more I thought about it the more I decided, I need to step out of my comfort zone.  I need to call people and ask for help, I need to start talking about my story, to people.  in person.  Now, that is some scary stuff.  If I'm going to go anywhere and change lives with this stuff I need to get out and get uncomfortable.

So, I did.  I called a few people today and asked them to get on this call tonight, just for info.  Just to hear it out.  I called 3 people and asked them if they were interested in hearing more about my story, or trying a product.  As Beth says...its a marathon, not a sprint and I cannot compare my self to other people who hit the ground running, while I am just slowly crawling along.  Everyone is different and I matter just as much as they matter.  I made myself a little uncomfortable today and when I was asked to actually share my story on the call...I didn't completely freak out.  I shared my story and didn't panic.  Who is this girl?? The old me would have stressed myself into sickness with worry, but no...I was calm, cool and collected.

I got this...uncomfortable...I may just get comfortable with you after all.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Thundersnow and the no Soup Sunday

Woke up to rain, rain, rain.  Where was that foot of snow I was promised??  eh?  It was a  late night jamming out to a great band, Brown Bottle Fever, one super delicious  local  IPA ( my fah-vo-rite) and lots of water shots, heh. side note: a little spark before you go out rocking at concert is a wonderful thing! Needless to say It was a bit of a lazy morning.  I decided to cook a yummy breakfast this morning, lounge around the house and partake in a dear old vice.  Oh, coffee how I love and missed you!  I ground some beans, boiled some water and made a delicious batch of french press sumatra.  Heaven and made a veggie omelet and got busy lounging!

It was a busy morning of booking the annual Memorial Day camping trip, Ozark Outdoors this year and I am super excited...then it started. The Thundersnow.  I have never in my life heard thunder while it snowed and it was freaky I tell you, I felt like I was straight out of a scene in The Day After Tomorrow.  It was really quite beautiful, but spring in St. Louis and snow? Clearly someone forgot to clue dear old mother nature in that spring arrived 4 days ago...

Spring Thundersnowstorm!
A short while later I had a beautiful sight from my window:  I don't care that its March, snow is beautiful and awesome and I love it!  I love it even more when I get to stay inside and watch it fall and fall and fall.  While all the snow haters were going crazy cursing it I enjoyed some quiet time just watching and enjoying.  It wouldn't be a productive day with out a workout so I popped my trust Can You 24 Workout and worked it with some melt 1 and my pal Jenny, then for good measure on a Sunday and cause I felt the need to work off that beer from last night, threw in Core stretch for good measure.  

So as you can imagine this snow fell hard and fast, typically Sunday is Soup for the week day, but I was not about to venture out to the store on these roads if I didn't have to...so what is a girl to do but improvise?  I threw together what left over veggies I had and made a wonderfully delicious tofu veggie side dish.  I paired this with a nice salad.  Bonus...to cap off the evening, no School and Late reporting for work!  Yay for Spring Snowstorms!! 

  • 3 oz extra firm tofu, cubed and pat dry
  • 5 asparagus spears
  • 1/2 cup carrot, cut in large chunks
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped in large chunks
  • 2 oz grape tomatoes (about 6)
  • 1tsp chile infused olive oil
  • dash of garlic powder
  • fresh ground black pepper

preheat oven to 400, toss all ingredients in olive oil to coat, add spices and bake for about 20 minutes or until tofu is firm and browned.  Enjoy!!

Nutrition: Calories 182 | Fat 9g | Carb 18g | Fiber 5g | Protein 11g

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Blaze the Day!

If you've ever met me, you know I will try anything once, within reason.  So about a week ago my advoidol, Jeanette gave me a little packet of muscle fuel to try.  I heeded the warnings that this was some serious stuff,  I'm a big girl...I can handle this.  I got this.  I had been saving this little gold nugget packet for a special occasion.  Whats more special than Saturday??

I woke up...I didn't spark...I know, I know.  The Girl Gone Spark didn't spark!!  And guess what, the world didn't collapse around me.  I poured the packet into my blender ball and shook away....

FIZZ...its fizzy, I loved it, the taste was eh but the fizz was a pleasant surprise.  I had a small snack and some extra water, got my sneakers on and headed over to the YMCA for some action!  Now, the muscle fuel suggested I take 15-30 min before exercise so by the time I got to the Y, I was ready for action.  This stuff was amazing...I did 3.5 miles on the elliptical and 10 miles on the bike, felt like a took a nice leisurely stroll in the park, I could have gone another hour at least...I even talked to a fellow sparkler at the gym while pounding out the miles on the bike.  I practically skipped home, danced around the house, made 2 batches of protein balls!!  Went to a mixer and was still energizer bunnying around into the evening.  OK....sooooo its like Spark on crack and I love it! If it were up to me I would name it something more appropriate, say Blaze.  "I'm gonna Blaze and run 10 miles" People could get down with that!  But, clearly I'm not a marketing genius...lets just leave that to the professionals, shall we? 

Again, if you know me, you know I am not an athlete, unless yoga or shaking your booty at a concert has recently become an Olympic event, but this muscle fuel just may give me the kick to start doing more and more.  I would in the future probably save it for before a race or a long bike ride but I had so much energy and felt amazing, it is definitely a winner in my bookWho is this girl I am becoming??  I'm not sure but I sure do like her Blaze Spark!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The day after

It almost feels weird being complete with the Challenge.  What is today? Day 25? Day 1 of the rest?  Tuesday?  Yes, friends its Tuesday. Its like the end of the movie, credits rolled and out to start a  new adventure.


Now the old me would have some killer plans for pizza, wine and about half a box of those samoas I stashed in the freezer a few weeks ago...but no, not anymore.  I got up today, I sparked, I worked out, I went to work full of new energy.  I was offered junk and even though, its not 'no thank you, I'm doing a challenge' its just, no thank you...I'm not feeding myself garbage anymore.  love it.

I do have to admit it was kinda nice not having to figure out what time I'm going to eat to take my 30 min prior to lunch pack, sometimes I get so busy at work and BAM I'm hungry, Not gonna lie, that 30 min can make a girl real hangry!  Its such a change actually feeling hunger, its a good feeling not to have to give into social food and actual recognize that I'm not hungry.  I don't need to eat cake because its someone's birthday, I can just wish them Happy Birthday, duh! Why did it take me so long to realize that?

Today should be posting some before and after pictures, but I'm still not quite there yet.  In time I will come back and post them all, but I want to get quite a bit further than I am right now.  I must remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint, dear sparklers.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Challenge Complete: Day 24!!

Day 24!! Well, folks.  I did it!  24 day challenge complete.  I feel SO AWESOME!  This has truly been a wonderful month.  So many positive changes and it all started with a spark So much has happened in such a short time since this girl got sparked aka: Day 1!

I started these 24 days knowing I needed a kick in the pants, and a change and wow did I get one.  Its all been for the better, and its just going to keep getting better.  I have found new friends and new support and a new level of will power along this journey.  This has not just been a journey of losing weight and inches but a journey of gaining better health, gaining better insight into my strengths and the power of commitment and positive thinking.

The 24 Day Challenge has been a stepping stone to a better way of living to me, and I'm going to keep dancing down that path, and no one is going to stop this girl.  Cause I've been sparked, and there is no stopping a girl once she's gone sparked.

Looking back over some of my goals I set during this challenge, I've met a few, I'm still working on a few achieved some I never intending to work on, and I'm still making more.  Watch out world.


  1. Get healthy, lose weight, gain muscle and gain energy. 
    •  WOW was I surprised.  I FEEL healthier.  I'm not craving junk, I can easily pass up cookies and Cheetos and soda all day long in favor of almonds, the infamous protein balls, fresh fruit and cherry tomatoes.  
    • I have lost weight...11 pounds total!  Buh-BAM
    • I feel like I have gained muscle, I feel stronger, and I have lost 15.5 inches total...I have a waist again!! 
    • I have SO much energy. Even when I'm not drinking spark I feel great.  I truly believe the detox and added great nutrition has made such a difference in my energy level.  I love it!
  2. Do Big Girl push ups:  Well, I'm gonna be honest with you...I'm still working this one. Although I'm still stuck on knee level push ups, I can definitely do more and they are easier, so that my friends is a  huge step for me!  HUGE, I tell you.  
  3. I lost calf inches!!! ok this one is huge for me, heh, no pun intended.  I have some killer calves.  They are very muscular yet very big to and as you may remember I have never ever been able to wear high boots.  Well folks, I lost 0.5inches in each calf and while that may not seem a lot to you its a big deal to me and I am so proud.
  4. Bonus Goal: Improved mood/ Less stressed. This was one of my 'non goals'  I'm not gonna lie, people got on my last damn never all day every day.  Perhaps part of it was my low engery and fatigue but I was just constantly annoyed by everyone and kinda miss pissy pants.  I would get super stressed over every little thing.  24 days later, life sure as hell isn't any easier, but my attitude and mood are better, which make it a little easier to cope with all the day to day stressors.
  5. Bonus Goal: Minimal Pain I didn't make this a goal because, to be perfectly honest with you I never thought I would not be in pain on an almost daily basis.  I'm not exactly sure what the magic combo has been, clean eating, exercise, great nutritional supplements, omega 3s, detox, and decreased stress level,  Fabulous support system.  Whatever it is, its a winner!  I don't hurt every day.  I don't have burning shooting pains in my neck, back and arm.  I can almost do real push ups!  This is probably the most unexpected awesomeness that has happened.  I never thought I could be off my 2400mg a day Motrin habit.  It feels so awesome to not hurt everyday.
These are just a few of the wonderful things that have happened in the last month.  Wow.  Its not over folks, I am going to keep on moving forward with my goals and become the best person I can be.  I do hope you'll continue to cheer me on and join me if you feel so inclined! 

Spark, out! 


Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Paddy's Day: Day 23!

Day 23! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!  It’s a Sparkalicious Day, my friends!  Its not only St. Paddy’s Day, but its Sunday…and that means its new recipe day!  Yea!!  Sunday mornings are slow…get up…lounge a bit, hang with el kiddo.

Today I decided to combine two of my morning favorites, my spark and my meal replacement shake.  Yes yes, typically on the weekends I get all creative in the kitchen but today is cold and rainy and well, everyone deserves a lazy Sunday morning here and there.  I combined Strawberry Mango Spark and VanillaMeal Replacement…adding extra water (about 12 oz or so) and OMG…aMAHzing!  What a great taste that had…also gave me an idea for some spark balls…recipe coming real soon! 

Usually on the weekends, M will do a video with me, but she has been battling asthma flare up all week, so she has been taking it easy this weekend. She played on her tablet while I rocked out to Melt 2…I hung with the JohnnyLo the advanced workout guy for most of the exercises…with the exception of you guessed it…push ups.  Ugh.  I WILL get there one day.  Man, I was breathing hard but if felt good, I followed it by a bit of yoga which was so relaxing.  Threw together the weekly soup and off the the movies we went. 

Oz the Great and Powerful.   If you haven’t seen it, check it out, it was great.  Well except for the crying baby and birthday party of 15 chattery kids and 1 adult in the back of theatre….really.  Why bring a baby to a movie??  If you know me, you know my kryptonite is movie theatre popcorn.  I love it, with a passion, I will eat a whole big bag all by myself if given the chance…and if they offer refills I will eat some more!  Its like they put crack in it…how is it so good?!?  Must be all the artificial flavors and colors, eh?  It was Me vs. The Popcorn.

Popcorn: 0 Me: 1  BAM.  I did come armed with a snack of protein balls if I felt the urge to snack, sshh don’t tell!

It was a great weekend.  Tomorrow is Day 24, holy cats it has flown by.  I leave you with a yummy evening snack.  Banana with almond butter and raisins.
  • 1 banana                                                        
  • 1.5 Tbsp Almond butter
  • 1oz raisins
  • Sprinkle of Vietnamese Cinnamon 
  1. Slice bananas in half then length wise again
  2. Spread almond butter evenly among slices
  3. Top with raisins
  4. Sprinkle with cinnamon 
I popped mine in the freezer for about 15 minutes while I unloaded the dishwasher and packed M’s lunch for tomorrow, the would be great fully frozen or just room temperature too.  Yummy little snack.

Nutrition:  Calories: 340  Carb: 55g Fiber: 6g Fat: 14g Protein: 6g

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Parades and Parties: Day 22

 Day 22! Up and at ‘em…well not too up and at ‘em.  I actually slept In a bit this Saturday…almost 8:00am.  Geez…what a lazy bones I’m becoming.  Busy day ahead, I had a slam and did my can you 24 video…I’m really trying to bump it up to level 3 when I can and weekends are usually the day I feel I can push myself.  Today was sculpt 1 followed by core stretch, what a great workout!  We lounged around a bit and got all decked out in our St. Pat’s clothes to head up to the parade.  M and I volunteered with the Humane Society to walk the dogs that are for adoption, great news for the dogs of the 25 set to walk in the parade 10 of them were adopted out in the last few days.  With that, M got to ride on the float and I got to throw bead.  Oh yea, I was a rock star…in hindsight I should have been sparking people down the parade route…if only there was a green spark…(kiwi, anyone??)

It was cold but so much fun, we ran into so many people and I felt so great. On to a bday party with pizza and cookies and icing…oh MY!  I resisted and it felt great.  I mixed icing and handed out cookies and didn’t even feel the slightest desire to lick the icing or sneak a bite of cookie.  The willpower is strong with this one.  It was a change to the normal Saturday before St. Pat’s, but it was a change for the good.   I didn’t miss green beer or whiskey shots one bit cause I’m on a mission to complete this challenge with maximum results.  I admit,  I felt a twinge of longing for a good irish coffee but, all in good time.  Who says you can only have irish coffee on St. Pat’s?? Not this girl!


Friday, March 15, 2013

TGIF: Day 21

Day 21!! Ahhh, Friday how I love Friday…my favorite part is Friday evening when I get to wind down and hang out with my gal! We have a fun packed weekend ahead of us with St. Pat’s parade, a bday party and movie plans. Now, a month ago St. Pat’s weekend would be a weekend of green junk food, green beer, staying out too late and the only exercise would be in the form of arm curls with good Irish beer. That was all before I got sparked, can’t believe that was only about a month ago…boy have things have changed.

We spend the evening in watching movies and NOT eating junk food, I with my protein balls, M with her cheese penguin crackers (ok…she will be next to get healthier!) chilled out and spent some good quality time together.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Keep Calm and Spark On: Day 20!

Day 20! Wow!! Day 20 already, only 4 more days in the challenge. It practically feels like yesterday I was up and out of bed, working out beginning this journey…and I can’t believe how far I’ve come in this journey. To think the 2nd day….how I could barely walk I was so sore form Can You 24! Now, I’m pumping out the videos like a pro. Unbelievalbe. I feel awesome and feel so motivated. I can’t wait to finish out this challenge and continue on my wonderful journey. I have got a ways to go but I feel like I’m on the right track and moving forward, synapses are firing and paths are changing. Its never too late to change your path and your life. And I’m just gonna keep calm and spark on til I get to where I want to be….and then I will keep on sparking on and go further and make new goals.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It Takes a Village: Day 19!

Day 19! The usual, spark, workout, work, home…this is becoming instilled in my routine, love it! A few days ago a friend started a fb support group for a few of us that are actively trying to better ourselves. I’m so blessed to have such awesome people that have been supportive of me, I find that any time you make a change you are going to have people who are there for you waiting to see you succeed and people who are there just waiting to see you fail. Its so awesome to be surrounded by people who want to see me do my best and succeed.

Over the past 19 days, I have been to many social functions where I would normally be partaking in junk food, drinks and crazy late nights….well two of those things I have been successful in avoiding, the junk and drinks. I so happy I have great friends who instead of pushing me to ‘just have a taste’ or ‘just have one drink’ have been uber supportive of me, oh sure there is the occasional ‘do you want a beer’ but when I say no thanks its no big deal. I don’t expect people to change their ways just because I’m changing mine, but its sure nice to have people not push me to ‘just have a little’.

People often say it takes a village to raise a child..but it also takes a village to just live and survive in this world sometimes, I’m so happy I have an awesome village of people that are cheering me on. Such a great feeling!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Missing my Sunshine: Day 17!!

Day 17! ugh...we all should know how I feel about DST by this point. I loathe it. I had a hard time going to sleep which definitely made for a hard time waking up...but I did it, I woke up at 'normal' time which of course felt like 0430. Sparked up , worked out and went on with my day.

So many temptations at every corner today. Donuts in the break room this morning, cupcakes in the break room mid morning, Brownies from a parent, Lemon Cookies from the house keeper this afternoon! Ack...but yes, I resisted with my new found will power. You lose, sweets. I win, I have spark on my side!

The day was uneventful, I headed home and later went out for a bit to meet some of my new team at a Mexican restaurant no less....more temptation, chips and salsa you are not getting me. I got lots of inspiration and a challenge to start sparking folks...so watch out. I just might get you! Don't worry, you'll love it!.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Stop messing with my time, lets make SOUP: Day 16!

Day 16!  I hatehatehate daylight savings time.  Whether we are gaining an hour or losing an hour I dont' like it, It always messes with me for a solid week or so, I just wish we could let the time be.  grr.

Last night was a wonderful, albeit, late night.  I had such a wonderful time supporting my friend Kim and her family. Kim was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer right before Christmas, she is getting treatment and in good spirits, such an amazing lady and I was so thankful to be able to support her and her family last night.  I did great with my commitment, I ate my veggies and a few other people brought veggie and fruit trays too so there was plenty to choose from.  I drank my spark and sipped on some water and had a fabulous time with great people.  Danced to the band after trivia and stayed out to midnight laughing, talking and having a fantastic time.  With the time change I woke up and it was almost 10!  ugh, compared to my newly usual 0700 wake up on weekends I felt like have my day was gone already.  Oh well, one day wont kill me.  Its a lazy rainy Sunday.  I decided to veg out and catch up on some shows and make some soup.  oh and work out of course!  Gotta get some serious relaxation in for the work week ahead!

 Red Lentil Coconut Curried Soup;  adapted from Healthy Bitch Daily.  Love those gals!!
Red Lentil Coconut Curried Soup
  • 3 cloves garlic (c'mon by now you should know my love of garlic)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (i used chile infused for an extra kick)
  • 6 mini peppers, chopped (red, yellow, orange) or 1 red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp ginger (or 1 tsp fresh if you have it)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 c. red lentils
  • 6 c. water
  • 1 can Coconut Milk
  1. Sautee garlic, onion, carrot and peppers in olive oil unti vegetable are soft and onions are transulucent. If you have fresh garlic sautee it here
  2. Add spices continue to sautee 
  3. Add coconut milk, water bring to boil
  4. Add lentils, reduce to low and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add a pinch of salt if desired
  5. Enjoy!
Makes 5- 2c. servings
Nutrition:  Calories: 208  Fat: 5g  Carbs 28g  Fiber 3.6g Protein 11.3g

Happy Sunday!!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Spreading the Spark: Day 15!

Day 15!! Up and at em!  I woke up bright and early, sparked, shred 1, core stretch and breakfast of a delicious chocolate mocha shake with banana.  oh yum!  Today is a big day.  I am going to coach a good friend who is going to start the 10 day cleanse on Monday.  I'm so proud of her!!  I packed up my brain power and a few printouts and headed over.  We talked for over an hour and I shared all my knowledge, tips, tricks and motivation.  I love that I hopefully can help someone else start to feel better.  I really truly believe that good nutrition does so much for your mental and physical well being.  I think everyone really knows it but its hard to kick yourself in the butt and just do it!  I'm super excited for her, she starts Monday and I will be cheering her along the way.

While I was out I hit the gym and elliptical for 30, bike for 30, ran into another friend who is on her own challenge and chatted it up. Next stocked up on fruits and veggies...even found some super cheap infused olive oils, basil and chile pepper...oh yum I'm going to use these a lot!  Came home and cut up all my veggies and made  a delicious lunch of roasted asparagus and walnuts drizzled in chile pepper olive oil over red quinoa.  OH YUM!  sorry no pics, I was too hungry and it looked to yummy.

Trivia night for a dear friend tonight.  Pre-Challenge this would involve and ton of junk food, soda, beer and a very late night.  But...remember I am motivated and committed.  So I mixed up a spark (watermelon!) loaded up a veggie and hummus tray and will  head out for a fun night with friends.

Friday, March 8, 2013

stressed but coping: Day 14!

Day 14!!  Another big thing I've noticed is my stress/ annoyance levels have decreased.  I used to get way stressed out about things and worry worry, even though for the most part I could do zero to change things.  If you've been living under a rock and haven't heard about sequestration...it sucks for a lot of people.  Including myself as a Dept of Defense employee it will be devastating.  Thankfully I have savings and I am a nurse so I have options as far as finding a second job to supplement the 20% salary cut I'm facing.  Yea, I should be seriously freaking out but...what can I do about it?  Short of writing strongly worded letters to congress, big pot of nothing.

Not trying to get into a political debate but ugh...with the very real possibility of not being able to pay my bills starting next month I should be in major freak out mode.  Don't get me wrong, I'm getting pretty stressed, but I'm trying to cope effectively.  I'm applying for prn jobs, I'm cutting my own spending where I can.  For a single mom on a single income its gonna be very rough.  But, I have to keep moving on and thankfully I have the increased energy and motivation to find a second job and realize I could be a lot worse off than I am.  We aren't losing our health insurance or other full time benefits (yet).  So I will keep on sparking on and stay positive, take it as it comes and hope for the very best.

So here I am, spending a quiet Friday night in, catching up on Breaking Bad (thank you Netflix!) and chilling.  Tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Keeping on: Day 13

Day 13!  More than half way there and feeling great, things are definitely becoming more of a habit!  I'm tempted by junk food numerous times throughout the day and am happy to report that I win every time.  Victory!

I feel stronger every day during my workouts and getting up early is like second nature to me now, no more fighting with the alarm and dragging myself out of bed.  This is awesome.  I'm excited that my parents and a good friend are starting the 10 day challenge soon, I just want everyone I know and love to feel as great as I do.

Keep on Sparking on.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

They noticed: Day 12

Day 12! Half way point and  Day 2 into my Max phase and still feeling fine...not sure it was possible but I think I have even more energy than before.  How exciting.  A great thing happened at work today, 2 coworkers asked me if I've lost weight!  yea, I haven't really lost all that much but it just makes you feel awesome when other people notice. I feel stronger, I've noticed I'm able to step it up on the Can you 24 workout and I'm even getting stronger with my push ups...yes yes I'm still doing girly push ups, but I can tell my form is better and I'm able to do more.  I'll get there!! mark my word.   I also really noticed today that my pants are a bit looser as well.  Such motiviation to keep on going.

I've been making a point of taking my entire lunch break lately.  If its warm enough I walk outside, if its too cold, snowy or rainy I hit the gym downstairs.  Today I did eliptical for 30 min and bike for 20...not hard core, just a leisurely pace..didn't want to get all sweaty and smelly for the rest of the day.  I was able to relax and finish Water for Elephants, now off to decide what to read next...hmmm..

12 more days...can't wait to see final results.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

All Clean: Day 11

Day 11!!  I survived the 10 day cleanse and I feel amazing!!  All in all I lost 7lbs and 10 inches total. STILL not inches lost in those damn calves, all in due time.  I have more energy, I feel happier and I feel....cleaner.  Love it.  I'm excited for the next 2 weeks.  I feel like I can totally do this.  First day of the Max phase down, the only trouble I have is remembering to take one of the blue packets of vitamins 30 min before lunch.  Small problems, huh?  I got this!

Its been a long, long trying day so that's all I have today.  Stay tuned...

Monday, March 4, 2013

Its Cookie Time: Day 10

Day 10!!  Last day of the cleanse portion of the 24 day challenge. yea!  Next on to 2 weeks of super good nutrition.  I'm feeling pretty awesome after the cleanse.  I have more energy, I feel less stressed and my overall mood is much improved.

Today was Girl Scout Cookie pick up day.  M sold 97 boxes, and that is some major temptation to have in my house right now.  I've already unloaded 4 orders tonight and the bulk of the rest will go to work with me tomorrow so all my co workers can get their fix.  I'm not gonna lie...I reeeealllly want some do si dos right now, they are my fav...but all in good time, all in good time.

I'm excited to start the next 14 days and continue this journey. And ok, I"m a little excited to eat some girls scout cookies in about 2 weeks!  moderation...moderation...and do si dos..


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cucumbers and Cilantro oh my. Day 9

Day 9!! I survived the birthday party, no wine, no pizza, no soda, no cheetos, no cake passed these lips.  I had a nice little snacked all packed and ready to go, but left it at home.  Darnit I was in for a challenge.  Luckily I had a nice bowl of  asapragus and quinoa minestrone before leaving the house.  I sipped on water all night and although all the goodies looked amazingly good, I passed on them all.  A big shout out to my friends for not over tempting me.  yay.

I'm super excited 3 people have expressed interest in the 10 day cleanse.  My friend, Kara and my parents.  My mom asked me to order her a kit for herself and my Dad...however, I'm not quite sure he has been let in on this little secret yet.  I'm so proud of them.  I feel amazing approaching Day 10 and I hope they feel the same soon, too!

Got up, sparked did the shred 1 workout, put some steel cut oats on to cook and did the core stretch...fun fact steel cut oat cooking time is the same as core stretch video.  fun!  Picked M up from her sleepover and got to creating in the kitchen!

I recalled seeing a recipe somewhere for cilantro cucumber hummus.  I had almost all the ingredients I needed at home and decided to give it a whirl.  I had dried cilantro in the cupboard...I imagine this would be waaaay better with fresh herbs.  Everything is better with fresh herbs!  (new goal: grow some fresh herbs.)

I gathered all the ingredients and got to work.  I had some garbanzos on hand from earlier in the week, chopped up a cucumber, reconstituted some dried cilantro in lime juice and threw it all together with some a lot of garlic.

Now, friends if you have a heavy duty blender such as the Blendec, try this at home.  Otherwise use a food processor to pulse the mixture until just blended (level one on blendtec) Or if you are in a pinch use a potato masher to mash all the ingredients and hand mix together, I'm way too inpatient for this method, so I use the good old Blendtec.  If you use your grandma's old oster you will surely blow the motor and that's just no fun for anyone.
Cucumber Cilantro Hummus

  • 15oz garbanzo beans  
  • 1Tbsp dried cilantro 
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cucumber, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic

Combine all ingredients in Blender, blend to desired texture and enjoy.  Its that easy!  Garnish with crushed red pepper and serve with cut veggies.  Would work great as a sandwich or cabbage roll spread.  Makes 4 cups 16 0.25cup servings.

Nutrition:  0.25cup (4Tbsp)  Calories 66  Fat 3.2g  Carb 8g Fiber 1.5g Protein 2g

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Full of Spark(le) with Results: Day 8!

Day 8!!  I'm full of Spark(le) and energy.  Its official, I'm one of those people I used to glare at.  What possesses someone to wake up at 6:30 on a Saturday??  I suppose its a good rest and increased energy.  I'm loving it.  Haters gonna hate.

Today is officially one week.  M has been bugging me to try the workout videos with me, but since I get up at 5:30 on the weekdays to workout, she hasn't been able to join me. The only video she has done so far is core stretch which is basically like yoga.  This morning I decided to let her try melt 1 with me, she loved it.  She was able to follow it well and go between levels as needed for her ability.  Plus, she said it was fun!    I think this is so awesome that a 7 year old is excited to exercise and we can share a workout video...just goes to show the Can You 24 Workout, truly is for everyone.  Don't worry, folks...I did not give her a spark. This kid of mine has natural born in spark all. the. time.  I couldn't imagine her with added energy.

I measured today and also re-weighed, I chose Saturday, cause its lazy non structured nowhere to be day.  Drum roll....6 pounds and 4 inches total lost.  woohoo!  The only place I lost none was my calves.  ugh!! I will keep on keeping on. I will have those boots!!

I love making a good breakfast on the weekends.  Today I made a delicious concoction I created.  Southwestern egg and lentil scramble.  I know, it does not look terribly appetizing but OMG it was so delish.  I only had one egg left, otherwise I would have used two.  Must get to the farmer's market today to pick up more.  Hold your horses before you flip on the fat level, most of the fat comes from the avocado which is GOOD FAT!  You could use 0.25 of an avocado to reduce the fat.

Looking forward to an energy filled Saturday...wow it feels great to actually have energy to go out and do things.  Tonight will be a test of will power.  Helping with a kid's birthday party (cake, pizza, junk food!!) Then going to hang out with friends (junk food, cocktails)  I got this, I will bring a healthy snack for the party and maybe sip a spark instead of cocktails.  Thankfully I have super supportive friends that won't try to bring me to the dark side tonight!  Happy Saturday!!

Southwestern Egg and Lentil Scramble

  • 1 egg (2 if you have them, I only had one)
  • .075 cup lentils prepared (.025c dry=.075c cooked)
  • .05 Haas avocado, diced
  • 2 Tbsp Salsa (or more to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp almond milk (or other milk of your choice)
  • 2 cloves garlic (I'm afraid of vampires so I load up on the garlic...oh wait now, its just delish!!)
  • 0.5 tsp coconut oil
  • .025 tsp taco seasoning (more or less to taste)

  1. Heat pan to medium low, add coconut oil
  2. Crush and chop garlic, add to pan
  3. Combine egg, milk, taco mix in a shaker or whisk together until light and fluffy
  4. Scramble eggs on medium low to desired texture
  5. Warm up lentils
  6. Mix all together and Enjoy!

Nutrition (1 egg)  330cal  25g carb 12g fiber 21g fat  15g protein.   (2 eggs)  add 70 cal 5g fat 6g protein
(0.25 avocado)  subtract 70 cal 6.5g  fat and 3.5g carb, 3g fiber, 1g protein.  
                                                             

Friday, March 1, 2013

Scale Stare Down: Day 7

Day 7!  Today was weigh in day.  The dreaded day my partner in crime and I agreed to track our progress. I woke up before my alarm today, peeled myself out of bed and had a stare down with the scale.  Reluctantly, I braved the monster.  As I stood peeking through fingers clenched against my face I saw the numbers.  Down 3 pounds, yea!  I know logically that the numbers on the scale aren't the best to gauge things by, so the experts say.  "They" say, measure by how your clothes fit, by your energy, blah blah blah.  That is all fine and dandy but its definitely a nice motivator to see the number inch down.  Its nothing to write home about, but its a baby step.

After my little victory I did my spark and my workout.  I cannot believe I made it an entire week of getting up early and working out.  That is probably my biggest accomplishment so far, I think I may have sprained my shoulder a bit patting myself on the back...I'm sure I'll recover quickly.

The day was uneventful, snowy and cold so now walk outside today.  I did pop down to the basement and hit the bike for a big while reading a few chapters.  A nice relaxing lunch hour.

Home, made myself a nice stir fry dinner of lentils, cabbage, onion, garlic, green onion, pineapple and chinese five spice.  So, yummy!  While making dinner I also made up a big pot of lentils to have on hand, As a veggiesaurus its sometimes hard getting in as much protein as I'd like while trying to keep the carbs and fat down.  Love that a serving is 70cal 0 fat and 8gm protein.  I need to find more high protein plant based snacks, sounds like a good weekend project to tackle.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Feeling fine, oh so fine: Day 6

Day 6!  Almost a full week on the new morning routine, yea!  up, spark, workout.  Off  to work I go.  I didn't get an afternoon walk in today.  It was allergy shot day, which took up my lunch hour and  means I feel pretty punky the rest of the day.

Picked up M from grandma's and she had made a delicious soup that was completely 24 day challenge friendly.  Thank goodness because it was dance night and I packed nothing for dinner.  Usually a friend and I go out for drinks/apps while the girls are at dance.  Clearly that is so not 24 day challenge friendly and I was prepared to cope with that, I had will power on my side.  Turns out, it was watch week at Dance for M.  Sneak peak of their recital dance, these girls are just so darn cute!

I'm a little exhausted today, but that's pretty typical for shot day.  Kid off to bed, now its time for a little relax and book time, then up and at 'em again tomorrow.  Feeling fine, doing great.  I can do this!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Snow and Smoothies: Day 5

Day 5!  I think I'm getting the hang of this whole up and early, spark, workout thing!  I did it again. Melt 2 my good old bff Jodi was back for the adventure. I just can't say enough about the Can you 24 workout, I just love it.  Who would have thought that 24 minutes could make me feel like I'm getting a real workout. Although its still a bit rough actually crawling out of bed, once I'm awake and working out, I feel great.  Such a kickstart to my day.  I did get my distributor kit yesterday and decided to try a sample of Slam instead of spark this morning.  I liked it, lots of kick to it,  but to be honest I like the spark better, it makes me feel a peppiness that lasts all day long.  Maybe there really is some magic sparkle in my spark??

work work work, It was actually a pretty good day, just enough crazy to make the day go by quickly. I got super excited when it started snowing again around lunch, I ate my food and took a walk in the snow.  I only did about 25 minutes...after I set out in the beautiful white fluffy stuff, it quickly became very wet snow...me without a hat, I looked the part of a drowned rat when I got back.  I could have gone down to the basement and hit the gym like a good little girl, instead I socialized for the remainder of my time.  A girls gotta get her social on, yo.

M has been begging me for Smoothie King for a solid 2 weeks. every.single.night. I caved. I just didn't feel like cooking tonight so we swung by and had smoothies for dinner, they actually have some really healthy options if you delve deep enough into the menu, opting for the 'light' version of any smoothie (no added turbinado aka sugar)  and avoiding things like the Hulk...holy cats that has a lot of calories and fat!  I choose the high protein almond mocha, 266 calories, 9g fat and 30g protein,  oh YUM!

M has been on a workout kick lately, mind you a 7 year old's version.  I believe she is 'modeling' behaviors, yes that is psych 101 rearing its ugly head.  Anyway, she wanted to do one of my 24 videos so we did the core stretch and damn, girlfriend rocked it....she was up there most of the time with HER new bff, Sarah on level 3.  Who knows, maybe little miss will soon be my new workout buddy?

Bed, book, relax.  I did a little cooking tonight for lunch tomorrow.  no pics, sorry.  Roasted Asparagus with onion, grape tomato and herbs de provence over green lentils and garbanzos. It smelled amazing!!   mmm cannot wait for lunch tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Surprise Guest, Willpower: Day 4

The alarm put up quite the fight this morning, but in the end I was victorious.  After a middle of the night awakening with a wheezy kiddo, I didn't get the greatest nights sleep, eh , parenting what're ya gonna do?  It was a little rough getting up today, but I did it! Up, spark and core stretch workout...this was a nice little change on my still sore, but improving, muscles.

The dreary, rainy start to the day seemed to put everyone in quite the  mood.  Crabby, argumentative people loomed everywhere.  Cranky pants weren't gonna get me down, I just trucked on.  Today was also a total test of will power.  
  1. A coworker stopped by and offered to buy me a coffee. So hard to resist.  I really do miss coffee.  like, A LOT! Apparently its very acidic and should be avoided, I keep telling myself, this will not be forever.  My vice is a grande americano, black..with a pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon...excuse me while I pull myself together over here...
  2. A few coworkers later decided to order Thai food, ugh.  I LOVE Thai food, however after drooling over the menu, I stuck to my grounds and declined.  I did however accept an orphan summer roll, passing on the sauce later that day.  
  3. M just HAD to have mac n cheese for dinner.  It was everything I could do to not lick that spoon.  Its so delicious and ooey gooey cheesy.
  4. Made M's lunch for tomorrow while she was working hard on her AR book for the week (she got a 100% this week and is now super motivated, woohoo!)  while most of her lunch would be acceptable to nibble on, I did include half a nutella sandwich and welll....its just really really difficulty to not lick the knife. but haha nutella, you lose, I win.
  5. Ok, so probably not so much actual willpower involved in this one, but I was catching up on all my shows; Bones, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory.  And I'll be damned if they were all decided to enjoy a nice glass of red wine in each episode.  argh.  It looked so good...but, all in good time...
While they seem like little accomplishment these are the baby steps that keep chugging me along.  I can say no to things I really want for a short time.  I can do this!  I also was able to get to the Y for about 30 minutes tonight  due to super cooperative little girl and kicked the arc trainers butt.  All and all Day 4 was a success.  20 more to go!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Girl vs. Alarm, Winner Makes Soup aka Day 3

Day 3!!  I knew the true challenge would be the dreaded Monday morning fight between the alarm and this girl.  That alarm didn't know what hit it, I was prepared to fight and win.  The morning went a little something like this..
5:20am: Alarm screeching at me...snooze (you didn't think I could give up snooze cold turkey, did you??)
5:30am: UP!  haha alarm, you lose!  sucker.   followed by a quick fruit punch spark and sculpt 1 on the 24 day workout.  My calves are still pretty sore so I was actually quite thankful that there was quite a bit of ab work and the dreaded push ups (I will learn to love them...) 
6:00am: breakfast, wake the kid up, who must have picked up on my perky vibes and got dressed without a fight (small victory!)  off for another day.
7:30am:  water water water. work work work. I kind of miss my morning coffee routine, might have to bring some tea to work to have something nice and warm to sip on.  or warm spark perhaps?? hmmm...
I even made sure I took a walk at lunch to get out of the office and get some extra calorie burn on.
4:30pm off, pick up the kid, drop off the friend that came home with the kid, homework, dinner, hangout time with kid, book, bed.  Side note, we started a new one tonight, Matilda.  

ok, ok, I didn't get to the gym but I did my workout in the am and took a 45 minute walk at lunch.  baby steps, people!!

As an added bonus I whipped up a new recipe and I'll even share it with you, its your lucky day.  This is loosely based on my sister, Melissa's recipe.  mostly from memory swapped the pasta for quinoa and added a few extras, asparagus, spinach and a little heat.

  

Quinoa Asparagus Minestrone


  • 5 cups water                                                          
  • 1Tbsp vegetable broth seasoning                                
  • 10 oz frozen spinach
  • 6 stalks asparagus (about 1/2 bunch)
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can white kidney (cannelli) beans
  • 2 cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 med onion (yellow or red)
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (dry) 
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper


  1. Sautee garlic, onion in olive oil until golden brown
  2. Add carrots and continue to sautee until slightly caramelized
  3. Add water, and broth seasoning, bring to boil
  4. Add quinoa and reduce to simmer
  5. Add all other ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes
Makes Six 2 cup servings, these are hearty servings and you could half the serving easily  and have with a nice salad or sandwich.   

Nutrition:  Calories: 295  Fat: 3.8  Carbs: 51  Fiber 13.5  Protein 15