Hello CHARLESTON

A new home...A new chapter...A new beginning! It is hard to believe that I moved to Charleston almost three weeks ago. We have arrived. We are settled (minus a couch and some outdoor patio furniture). We are HAPPY, HEALTHY, and GRATEFUL! As you all know, I have moved a lot. I have been all over this beautiful country learning, exploring, growing, and constantly searching for that special place I can call home. I refuse to settle, especially when it comes to my happiness; my personal life; and my professional life. It was time to move away from Nantucket and from the Northeast. It was time to move down south, where the sun is shining, the cost of living is cheaper and embrace that southern charm (yes some men open your door for you here!). We are adjusting quite well. We LOVE it!

Since moving here, I have thought a lot about what is NEXT. I am excited about what is NEXT. I have an overall better attitude about life down here. I feel more energized. I feel healthier. I feel blessed and I feel like now more than ever it is time to spread my wings and live fearlessly. Over the next few weeks, I have some posts I would like to tackle. There will be a lot of the same, but there will also be new topics. I am just going to go with it and see what happens. It is kind of like my journey and it feels natural to do it that way. So here we go...

Why I moved to Charleston...Why not? Over the very dreary and gray winter I spent some time figuring out where I wanted to be. I toyed with San Diego and Florida. I even thought about NYC, but that was only for a hot minute. I then reconnected with an old friend in Charleston. He told me to come down and so unlike me, I booked a flight and was down south. It just felt right. And so I did it. Yes, it was that simple! And now I am here, in a brand new apartment...already making friends...working hard to build my brand...and excited to explore everything here!

Hello CHARLESTON
Hello CHARLESTON

The BLOG...Right now I do not plan to make any changes to the site, as I am honestly not sure what I want to name it. I want to make changes to it, to spruce up my photos, and to give it a little facelift, but at this time due to finances and my busy schedule, it is not on the top of my list. When I am ready to make the change, it will happen, and I feel comfortable with that! No need to rush the process...right? 

New collaborations...I will be working with Rise Bar and Swanson Vitamins over the next couple of months. Stay tuned for posts about these brands and why I love them, use them, and how grateful I am that they support my healthy and active lifestyle! And obviously, I will be building and growing NuttZo. Make sure you check out our recipe page, for so many delicious and nutritious recipes...They are so many good ones! 

I gained 10 pounds and so much MORE...Since I left Nantucket, yes I gained 10 pounds of necessary, healthy, beautiful pounds. I needed it. I needed to put on weight. And once I did, I gained not only my health and my body back but I gained so much more. I am excited to share my journey. 

Hello CHARLESTON

The Charleston Food Scene...Oh friends this is going to be FUN! I mean where do I even start? I of course will be sharing my eats that I cook up in my beautiful apartment here, but I have to figure out how to talk about the FOOD in this city. Food is EVERYWHERE here and it is an amazing thing! It makes me giddy just thinking about it. People love to eat, drink and have fun here and I am excited to explore it ALL with new friends! Buckle up and let us have some FUN!

Have a beautiful weekend y'all! XOXO

Guest Post with the Diehard Foodie

I know I am repeating myself, but one of my favorite things about blogging and social media are the connections and friendships that you can make, with people all over the world. Connecting with like minded people, who inspire you, support you, educate you is a beautiful thing. I have surrounded myself with women who are all of the above and I am grateful to have them in my life. So let me introduce y'all to Victoria. Victoria is a licensed dietician/nutritionist, who is passionate about intuitive eating, digestive health, and inspiring others to ditch the diets and make peace with food and their bodies. Read more about her story below...ENJOY! 

Sitting down to write this, I realize how different my life and my mind are these days. There’s consistent and overflowing happiness, gratitude for this beautiful life I get to live, and deep compassion for myself, my body and who I am as a person. Before I sat down to write this, I sipped on my version of bulletproof coffee while reading and then meditated. As I write this I am sipping on bone broth and have plans to enjoy a breakfast soon of eggs, bacon, and avocado.

Years ago, the calorie counter in me would have been petrified at blending butter into my coffee, or not knowing a number of calories are in my homemade bone broth. And allowing myself to eat the whole egg with bacon and avocado? Get out of here.

You see, I am different. I became a nutrient-seeker, not a calorie counter. I learned to eat intuitively and instinctively, finding foods that on a daily basis make me feel beautiful, radiant and energized. Not only because these foods and lifestyle are physically nourishing my body, but they are also mentally nourishing to my mind and soul, too.

How did I get here? How did I ditch the diets, stop calorie counting and learn to live life again? I’d be happy to explain! But let’s first start from the beginning…

It was ingrained in me at a very young age to think about what I am eating in terms of how I look. Food and specifically restriction of foods were how to get skinny. I am positive I am one of many women who was taught our self-worth is based on our size and looks. The television and media, friends and family and now these days’ social media, all tell us how we should eat and what we should look like. Don’t lie to me…you know you’ve looked at some of those Insta-famous girls and obsessed over their feed trying to figure out how they eat so you can look the same way.

I can vividly remember at the age of 16 deciding it was time to lose weight. Since all I knew about losing weight was restricting calories, I started to count my calories. It started off innocently with tracking what I was eating and realizing a lot of the foods I was eating on a daily basis were full of calories (ah, not those scary calories!) But then I started having goals of eating less and less. First, it was only 1,200 calories. And then it was 800 calories a day. And while the calorie allotment I gave myself would change throughout those dieting years, it was always way less than what my body truly needed. Unfortunately, this is what my education as a dietitian taught me to do as well- so it was further ingrained in me that this must be how to get skinny and stay that way for good (spoiler alert: it’s not). 

But throughout those eight years, I would constantly lose weight and then regain weight, almost always more than where I started initially. My metabolism became badly damaged from the constant calorie restriction, and because so many foods were off limits, I constantly craved them and would overeat the moment those foods would touch my lips.

For eight years, this is how I lived my life. Constantly calculating calories, weighing myself multiple times a day, exercising because I thought I had to and in constant war with my mind and body about what I was going to eat that day.

Shortly after my husband and I got married (almost three years ago), and I had had multiple binge eating sessions from severely restricting my calorie intake the entire year of our engagement… I snapped. I realized that eating shouldn’t be so difficult. That it didn’t have to be this way. I hit a breaking point and knew the change had to happen.

From that point on, my eating began to change. It didn’t happen overnight, but slowly I stopped counting calories. I stopped tracking my eating. I stopped caring about how many macronutrients were in my meal. I threw out my scale. I read the Intuitive Eating book and went through the stages to heal my relationship with food. For months, I would challenge myself to eat foods I thought in the past I shouldn’t eat. My favorite foods like juicy cheeseburgers, ice cream, and gooey chocolate chip cookies. I was amazed that when they no longer were off limits in my mind, the joy and satisfaction I felt when eating them. I was further amazed when I was easily able to stop when I was no longer enjoying the foods, either because I was comfortably full or because they no were no longer enjoyable to eat.

Years later, my eating continues to evolve. I healed my relationship with food and made peace with my body. From there, I was able to experiment with what I was eating in terms of how it made me feel. The last couple steps in the process of healing HAVE to be last because otherwise, eating to heal your health becomes another way of dieting. Another way of controlling food. That’s why in my private practice with Meg, we have layers to do what we do. We first focus on body acceptance and self-love, practicing self-care, managing stress and getting quality sleep. Then we fix your relationship with food, making peace with all foods no matter their health benefits (or lack thereof). And once that is complete, we can begin to eat instinctively.

You see, I probably differ vastly from many dietitians because, in many ways, I agree with the premise behind the Paleo diet movement. For years I would have vehemently disagreed and anything with the word diet would have sent me into a frenzy (I still hate the word diet and don’t ever use it). But then my own health became a concern. While I had IBS for years, my symptoms became unbearable. I was not able to get my period back after getting off birth control. My allergies, asthma, psoriasis, eczema and other skin issues continued to worsen. I felt fatigue all the time but was never able to get a good night sleep. I knew it was time to change, and just as I did with healing my relationship with food- I slowly, very slowly began to make changes to my diet in order to heal my health.

While the paleo movement focuses on what we would have eaten thousands and thousands of years ago (i.e. the Paleolithic era), I don’t think that’s quite necessary. Our bodies and genes evolved over the years, and I think simply looking at a time frame where cuisine began and real food was eaten is all that is necessary. We simply need to look back 50-100 years ago. Before we demonized the very foods that made us who we are today and began eating foods that were instead made in a lab. Before we began over-analyzing food for its calorie or macronutrient profile. Before we questioned our food choices, we ate instinctively. 

I was able to fix literally every health issue I experienced by simply going back to my instincts. Meg and I believe in instinctual eating, which is our tailored approach of combining intuitive eating with eating real, whole foods. Traditional foods that your great grandmother probably ate. Foods like broth made from the bones, eating pasture raised meat with the skin and bones, cooking and eating a diet higher in fat, eating fresh foods (like fruits and vegetables but also fresh foods like raw whole milk), fermenting foods like yogurt and sauerkraut and soaking and sprouting foods like grains and nuts. These are the foods we have been eating for the past 10,000 years. These are the foods that true chefs have been cooking all along. These are the foods I used to heal my health, and foods that we all can benefit from.

I believe now in seeking nutrients, not calories. While I know our ancestors were not blending butter and collagen into their coffee or roasting vegetables with coconut oil, I think we can take these basic premises to optimize our body, mind, and soul. We can take the old age wisdom and combine it with our new age technology and personal food preferences. 

I now use my own experience and education to help others do exactly that. My hope is that by working with my clients, I can help them heal their relationship with food and then heal their health. You can learn from the past ten years I have had to get here and get there much, much quicker. It takes time, but I wish all those years ago when I was struggling that I would have just reached out for help. But I know for me, I needed to go through all those struggles, trials and tribulations so that I could help others. I needed to ditch diets and heal my health on my own so that I could be there for you when you needed it.

Happy and Healthy with Nature's Recipe

*This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Nature’s Recipe®. The opinions and text are all mine*

Life is truly better with DOGS! I cannot imagine my life without them and I am so grateful that my parents raised me with them from a young age. Dogs are such simple creatures. They just want to to be loved, fed, exercised, and to sleep with a roof over their head. And dogs teach us humans that we should live simply, love more, exercise more, and be grateful for the little things. At least that is what I think my little Lucy is telling me. I hope that in my next life that I come back as one of my dogs.

Since graduating college, I have owned two wonderful dogs on my own and I cannot imagine those past and present years without my four-legged ladies by my side. They have traveled the country, eaten lots of good food, swam in oceans, lakes, rivers, hiked the mountains, run on the beaches, and have always been by my side through the good and the bad.

I make sure that Lucy stays active on a daily basis. I want her to live a long and healthy life that is filled with lots of swimming, tennis balls, rawhides, and nutritious food. Rain or shine, I always make time to GET OUTSIDE with Lucy. It is my time to disconnect and it is her time to lead the way and enjoy our “alone time” adventures. I know she appreciates this time together just as much as I do. She thanks me with lots of kisses and cuddles!

For such a long time, Nature’s Recipe was only sold at pet specialty stores, but now I can purchase at Walmart for a low and convenient price. Just like healthy foods for humans, dog food can definitely get expensive, so it is great that I can now purchase Lucy’s food at a great price, that still gives her a wholesome meal option.

 Why do I feed Lucy Nature’s Recipe?

  • High - Quality Protein
  • NO corn or wheat
  • NO artificial flavors or preservatives
  • NO poultry by-product meal
  • Feeds HER life to the fullest Recipes that are crafted to bring HER best!

I am definitely particular about what I feed Lucy on a regular basis, but don’t worry she gets spoiled plenty too. Just like with humans, we all deserve to treat ourselves, but with dogs, it is a must, because they eat the same thing every day! Lucy’s treats include Mom’s homemade meatballs, fried eggs with Canadian bacon and a slice of toast, and dog biscuits that smell so good, I could probably eat them. It is all about BALANCE and making sure I keep her active too, otherwise, there could be an issue…HA!

They both licked their bowls CLEAN! I would say they both left breakfast with happy bellies! If you are looking for a new food to feed your beautiful dog, I highly recommend that you check out new Nature’s Recipe at Walmart and stock up on a healthier and affordable food option for your pet. They will love it and your wallet will too!

Do you feed your dog Nature’s Recipe?

How do you keep your dog happy and healthy?

Get a Taste of ADVENTURE

*Although this post is sponsored by Nature’s Touch™ , all opinions are my own*

 Adventure…Fun…Health…Wellness…Nourish…LOVE! These are definitely words that I try to focus on and also words that make my mind and body happy. I try to keep things simple when it comes to life, work, training, and even my food. Life gets too messy when there is too much STUFF!

I am excited to have teamed up with Nature’s Touch to talk about their frozen fruit and vegetables; share a fun recipe that is loaded with nutrients that will help you on your next adventure. I encourage you to enter their #FlavorAdventure GIVEAWAY!

As of lately, I have been doing more exploring and adventuring on the hilly trails for lots of outdoor FRESH AIR! Hiking is fun, challenging, and a great way get outside. Lucy, of course, is a big fan of it too, as she LOVES being able to run free. We pack lots of water, warm clothing, and meet up with my good friend to tackle up to 5 miles through the woods. Before our hikes, I always make sure to fuel up with a nutritious, healthy, delicious, and simple breakfast. It’s a good way for me to “Get a Taste of Adventure” before our hike.

Nature’s Touch Blueberry Overnight Oats

Recipe:

  • 1 cup Nature’s Touch Organic Blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk  
  • ½ cup plain yogurt  
  • ¼ cup oatmeal
  • Dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice
  • A heaping spoonful of nut butter - (You could also use granola, coconut flakes, or nuts)!

Directions:

  1. Mix ½ cup Nature’s Touch Organic Blueberries + chia seeds + Greek yogurt + oatmeal + unsweetened almond milk + spices in a jar;
  2. Cover and place in the fridge overnight;
  3. Top with the remaining ½ cup Nature’s Touch Organic Blueberries a spoonful of nut butter or other toppings of choice!

So why should you buy Nature’s Touch to start creating adventurous, healthy, and simple recipes?

  • Frozen fruits and vegetables are convenient, available year round, and taste great;
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked and packed at its peak and have great nutritional value;
  • They offer Pesticide-Free and Organic options!

What products does Nature’s Touch offer?

  • Organic Mangos Pesticide-Free Mangos
  • Organic Blueberries Pesticide-Free Wild Blueberries
  • Organic Broccoli
  • Organic Kale Pesticide-Free 3 Berry Mix

And where can you find Nature’s Touch? I got mine at my local ShopRite in Chatham, NJ.

And now about that GIVEAWAY

Nature’s Touch is having a FUN Instagram contest, for your chance to win a FOODIE ADVENTURE, plus other great prizes, that I know you all will love! All the details are below and make sure to click on the graphic to get more information on the contest and get other inspirational recipes. The entry dates of the contest are 3/20/17 – 5/31/17, so mark your calendars and start cooking, creating, and nourishing your body with these delicious frozen fruits and veggies! Make sure to click on the photo below to learn more about the GIVEAWAY!

 Do you purchase a lot of frozen fruit and vegetables?

What is your favorite frozen food?

 

Weekend Ramblings

On the weekends I typically try to fully disconnect, but sometimes that changes and I end diving head first into work projects. I get into a groove and just go with it. Sometimes this totally backfires on me and then come the following weekend I am totally burnt out. This weekend was one of those weekends I worked away. It was gray and dreary and I had the energy and the ideas flowing, so I tackled it all. So join me in my "Weekend Ramblings"! 

I have a Saturday routine...No joke this happens almost every Saturday. I really need to work on sleeping in more, especially since warmer days are right around the corner. I'll blame it on winter and the crappy gray weather. 

  • 6:00 AM wake up...It is way too early and I need to change this!
  • Coffee
  • Workout
  • EAT
  • Nap - which typically ends up being 1 - 1 1/2 hours
  • Disconnect + Relax + Wine + Food with family and friends!

Almost ALL of my meals seem to be eaten out of bowls... Is it weird that I really enjoy eating almost all my meals out of bowl? Here is the proof...

Weekend Ramblings
Weekend Ramblings
  • Chinese Take Out...A little bit of this and that!
Weekend Ramblings
  • Sweet Potato
  • Kale, Riced Cauliflower, and Trader Joe's Tempeh (love the extra protein and texture!)
  • Seasoned with garlic powder, red pepper flakes, black pepper
Weekend Ramblings

Costco cherry pie and vanilla ice cream (Costco has AMAZING baked goods!)

Workout GOALS...

  • Get outside more! (the weather has been a huge damper on my Vitamin D intake)
  • Variety - I have gotten into the rut of doing a lot of cardio lately and I need to switch it up and bring back the booty and strength. Yes, that booty of mine has been looking like a flat pancake and needs a little boost. I have been finding some awesome inspiration and workouts from Emily Schromm. She's one badass woman! 

What lies ahead...As the seasons change, I have noticed that I am ready for a change! It is probably the Pisces in me that always has my mind wondering, dreaming, and exploring. The past few months have been a time of healing and nourishing and happiness. But it has also been a time of uncertainty, confusion, and nervousness. When you are 38 and still single and all of your friends are married with kids and owning houses and you are here trying to figure out what the hell you are truly meant to do with your life, it can be scary. But leave it to Mom to snap you out of it and put things in perspective. I have my health. I have a loving family. I have beautiful, inspiring, and supportive friends. And when you are single, the world is your oyster and you can do what you want. So we shall see my friends...Buckle up it's going to be a fun ride!

Weekend Ramblings

I hope y'all had a beautiful weekend and cheers to a new week! xoxo

Do you have a weekend routine? 

Bowls or Plates?

Chocolate Nutiva Cauliflower Smoothie

You are putting WHAT into your smoothie? YES friends I jumped on the bandwagon and have started adding this vegetable to my post workout smoothie and I like it a lot. I am getting the extra nutrients, it adds great texture, and it is a cheap ingredient. All positives, when it comes to creating a healthy, nourishing, and delicious smoothie. I started seeing this cauliflower smoothie craze mentioned by Instagram rock star Shut The Kale Up and an article written on Mind Body Green. I eat a lot of cauliflower in general because I like that it is one of those versatile vegetables that you can pretty much pair with anything and dress it up with anything. 

Chocolate Nutiva Cauliflower Smoothie

Let us talk about this smoothie! Nutiva recently sent me some packets of their Plant Protein Superfood 30 in chocolate and vanilla to sample. It is jam packed with:

  • 20g of protein
  • 4g of fiber
  • Rich in Vitamins C and A to support your body immune function
  • Vegan - Gluten Free - Non-GMO
  • 120 calories per packet

I am picky about my protein powders as so many brands now have a lot of added junk in it, that upsets my stomach, so I make sure to always check the ingredients. My symptoms to those junky ingredients are instant bloating, which we all know is annoyingly uncomfortable. I have already made a handful of smoothies and I have experienced no bloating. I feel great. Please note that these packets are definitely not on the sweeter side, so if you like your smoothies to be sweet, I recommend adding banana, mango, dates, etc. It all depends on what your taste buds like, but for me, I am okay with not so sweet. 

Ingredients

Chocolate Nutiva Cauliflower Smoothie

Directions

Chocolate Nutiva Cauliflower Smoothie
  1. Throw all ingredients into your blender. I use this Ninja Kitchen version;
  2. Blend away until smooth;
  3. Top with whatever your heart desires! ENJOY! 
Chocolate Nutiva Cauliflower Smoothie

Would you every try adding cauliflower into your smoothie?

What is the weirdest vegetable you have added to a smoothie?

Friday Feelings

Can I have a moment to vent? Between the Full Moon, the time change, the blizzard, and the frigid temperatures, I have felt all sorts of stir crazy and lots of frustration. It has felt like a long freaking week. I have felt all sorts of emotions and I finally feel like I have it together. Now that the rant is over, why don't we dive into some "Friday Feelings", before I welcome the weekend with a BIG hug...

Friday Feelings

GRATEFUL - After my rant of really minuscule things, I am truly grateful for many things: 

  • A strong body that allows me to train it hard on a daily basis;
  • Foods that help me stay nourished, healthy, and fueled;
  • Family that supports me through all the crazy endeavors that I decide to embark on;
  • Friends who are there for me through it ALL. This community both near and far are a solid bunch!

I think it is important to take some time each day and write them down, say it out loud, or tell someone what you are grateful for. It really puts things in perspective!

Cauliflower In a Smoothie is DELISH - I know it sounds weird and it is kind of weird, but it is weirdly really good! I have seen some of my favorite recipe gurus talking about this kookie addition to their smoothies and I finally gave it a try. I eat a lot of cauliflower anyway, so why not step out of my comfort zone and try something new. It is good and I recommend you try it. I will share my recipes next week. 

Friday Feelings

There is so much BAD Television on these days - How is possible that with hundreds of television channels there is hardly anything to watch? And what about ALL the commercials? I have noticed lately that I seem to watch at the most the same 4 channels on a daily basis - Fox Business, HGTV, Bravo, and Showtime. So why am I paying a cable bill that is almost $200.00? With that being said, it is time to switch things up and get rid of the cable package. I am going to try it out and see how it goes and take advantage of my Amazon Fire Stick. Stay tuned...

Towel Workout - Make sure to check out my latest workout with Core Power! While I was snowed in earlier this week, it was the perfect time to create another at-home workout. You know that I am ALL about these types of workouts, so it was fun to put this one together. I love how these moves are truly a full body blast. They help your balance, build your overall strength, and of course ALWAYS your core! 

Potato Party - I have a potato obsession. I eat these beauties at least 4 times a week. They are easy to make. They are versatile. They are nutritious and delicious. I even picked up some regular russet potatoes the other day and they make me just as happy too. I cannot get enough spuds in my life and it is what my body is craving, so I am going to give it just that. 

Friday Feelings
Friday Feelings

It's Time for YOGA - It is definitely time to step back onto my mat for not only the physical benefits but also for the mental ones too. My workouts as of lately have been intense. There has been a lot of running and strength training. I am stiff, sore, but getting stronger. And those frigid temperatures are not helping my already tight muscles! It is time next week, to stretch it out...sweat it out...and find some balance, peace, and clarity on my mat. I am looking forward to reuniting with my favorites at Powerflow Yoga in Chatham, NJ. 

I know I sound like a broken record, but when you listen to your body and you give it what it needs, life is a lot more fun, because you are happier, healthier, energized, and that energy attracts only good things. And YES I am speaking from experience. When I ignore the signs regarding nourishing and training, I can become a not so friendly person. But when I am in tune with what my body needs and actually giving it those things, I am just a big beautiful ball of happiness...Corny much...YES, but it is the truth!

Friday Feelings

And that is it my friends! Thank goodness it is Friday! I need to choose a day to fully disconnect, do some spring cleaning, reconnect with old friends, and just slow down a little bit. I hope y'all have a beautiful weekend and see everyone next week. XOXO

What are you GRATEFUL for today?

Do you still have a cable package?

Banana Ice Cream 7UP Floats

*This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of 7UP®. The opinions and text are all mine*

#7WaysTo7Up

Raise your hand if as a kid you used to LOVE 7UP! I remember those hot summer NJ days at Harding School Day Camp. My Mom would pack me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich + chips + a piece of fruit + a cupcake + a cold cherry 7UP (I loved that pink can). After hours of playing “kick the can” all the campers would sit on the brick wall and eat our lunches sweaty, dirty, laughing, and refueling for the rest of a day of fun. Oh those were the good old days! No worries, except to just run around in the great outdoors with no electronic devices. It was so simple. It was so much FUN. It was pure bliss!

Banana Ice Cream 7Up Float

Those kind of memories never go away and they are such good ones! So while we are being nostalgic, I thought it would be fun to create one of my favorite childhood treats for those days when you want something sweet, bubbly, that brings back those fun childhood memories. This is a super easy recipe, with simple ingredients, and it is very versatile. I know we have all had root beer floats, but why not change it up and make a 7UP float?

Creamy, sweet, and delicious this is the perfect dessert to treat yourself I was craving bananas when I whipped up this float, but you could use any fruit and it would be just as good. And if you wanted to make it more of an “adult beverage” you could definitely add your choice of rum, vodka, and even champagne! The possibilities are endless my friends!

Recipe:

  •  ½ cup of 7UP 
  • 1 sliced banana
  • Couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream
  • Dollop of whipped cream Handful of ice
  • Extra sliced bananas on top and with sprinkles and chocolate syrup for garnish, because why not!
Banana Ice Cream 7Up Float

Directions:

  1. Dice up the banana and muddle a few of them up at the bottom of the mason jar;
  2. Add ice (if you like it extra chilled), ice cream, 7UP, and whipped cream;
  3. Garnish with some extra strawberries and ENJOY!
Banana Ice Cream 7Up Float

Easy, delicious, and the perfect treat any time of year for not only YOU but for your kids! And if you really want to get adventurous and step out of the comfort zone with your 7UP, I highly recommend that you check out the two recipes below for some 7UP Inspiration. 

Make sure to check out Savory Magazine in the “New Flavors” edition until 3/30 to save $1.00 when you buy two 7UP 2-Liter bottles. And to pick up your 7UP you can visit the stores below:

Banana Ice Cream 7Up Float

Enjoy and let me know how your 7UP creations turn out! XOXO

Did you used to drink 7UP as a child? 

What was your favorite game to play at Summer Camp?

 

It Was A Good Birthday!

38...How did that happen? Where did the year go? It disappeared is what it did and now it is time to move onto 38. 2 years away from 4-0...what the heck? I am not getting any younger. Life is flying by. And it is time to just do it. Live it. Experience it. Make it happen. Aggressive...Definitely! But I woke up on Wednesday morning feeling energized, refreshed, excited, and ready for the day and the year. I have not felt this in a while. Okay a really long time! I have felt a shift. I can sense a change. I can feel changes in me. Bring it ON! 

Birthday LOVE

Birthday Runs are NOT Always Fun - Typically I work out first thing in the morning, but I had errands to run and meetings to attend, so my birthday run was going to have to be later in the day. I was debating taking the day off, but I am stubborn and I wanted to tackle the run because it was beautiful out and I wanted to prove to my old body I could do it. Needless to say, that run kicked my butt. No watch and no music, it was a mental run with heavy legs, but I did it. And in the end, I am glad I did it, because I had to make room for that cherry pie and vanilla ice cream.

Birthday Run

Breakfast Bowls are MUCH Better with Oats - As of lately, I have been loving adding Quaker Oats Old Fashioned Oatmeal to my smoothies and yogurt bowls for added texture and added carbs. With the temperatures "sort of" warming up and adding more outdoor running to my training and itching to sign up for half marathons, this body needs more carbs! For so long, I never used to have them early in the day, but my training is changing, my nutritional goals are changing, and honestly it's time to kick those stupid "food rules" out the door this year! 

Birthday Breakfast Bowl

Celebrating with Family Means the WOLRD to Me - Nothing beats waking up on your birthday and having Mom coming down the stairs singing "Happy Birthday"! It happens every year and she does it for all of the kids and it is the best. We had a delicious dinner out and then celebrated at home with cherry pie and vanilla ice cream. It was just what I wanted. A lot of food...A very full belly...And being surrounded by loved ones is PERFECTION! No food pictures of that feast, because sometimes you just need to leave that device at home and share those moments with real talk. I will just tell you that I was in a food coma and went to bed with a VERY VERY full belly. Totally overdid it...whatever! 

Biggest Lesson That I Learned - I spent a lot of time over the past years always asking for people's opinions, hoping that they could give me direction and help me make those difficult decisions that I could not do on my own. Something clicked over the past couple of months. I stopped asking and I started doing. Doing what I wanted to do. It was a HUGE shift. And it is something I am going to continue to do this coming year. I can feel a new energy. I can feel a change in my confidence, my body, my outlook on dating, and how I am tackling my business. Living and learning friends and when you feel a monumental shift like this, to me it means only good things are to come! AMEN! 

Thank you to everyone who reached out to me on Wednesday! It means a lot to me and I appreciate all your love, support, and kind words! Cheers to being 38 and to a new year of endless possibilities, adventures, and new beginnings! XOXO

Restaurant Doro

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Neptune Beach, Florida to visit my beautiful friend Pam! I was desperately needing warmer weather, palm trees, girl time, and some time away from the cold northeast. It was a quick trip, but it was exactly what I needed. It felt good to run in shorts, sweat, walk along the beaches, and of course, eat good food. Pam is a foodie and has the best taste in not only food but handbags and shoes. I have closet envy! 

Onto the food...This is Pam's favorite restaurant and when she suggested we go and meet up with some of her friends, I said YES and PLEASE! Restaurant Doro is absolutely DELICIOUS, gorgeous decor, impeccable service, and the chef treated us like the queens that we are!

I started with Burrata, which was creamy, delicious, and oh so fresh. It was light and the perfect size appetizer. No need to have extra bread with this dish as it had so much flavor that it would have taken away from the dish itself.

I ordered the Lamb for my entree and oh goodness this was so AMAZING! It was cooked perfectly. The snap peas added that extra crunch, but the lamb was the star. I, of course, licked my plate clean and savored every single bite. Tender, juicy, and just PERFECT!

At the end of the dinner, Chris brought us three different desserts, which were out of this world. I do not have any photos of these, as I was devouring the homemade ice cream that was topped with sesame seeds. Who would have thought to add crunchy lightly toasted sesame seeds to ice cream...GENIUS! (PS: You can tell that this was a good experience with all the upper case letters, bold print, and exclamation points...Sorry, but I'm not sorry!)

I had the pleasure of talking with Chris after our dinner as Pam is good friends with him. Chris is friendly, knowledgeable, and passionate about the restaurant and creating fresh, organic, unique flavors that will definitely make your taste buds and belly very happy. Chris opened Doro in Neptune Beach Town Center in late August last year. This is the first restaurant that he has owned and operated, but he has been working in the industry for most of his life. He started as a dishwasher when he was 16 years old and then went to attend the Culinary Institute of America. He was the personal chef for Matt Lauer for over 12 years. Chris's goal is to keep it SIMPLE and FRESH!

Make sure to follow Restaurant Doro on social media, so that you can follow events, happenings, and obviously beautiful photos of food! Get inspired and if you are EVER in the Neptune Beach, Florida area, stop in and tell Chris that I sent you!

What restaurant have you recently fallen in love with? 

Are you adventerous when it comes to trying new restaurants while traveling or in your city?

Friday Friendly Reminders

And we meet again and we meet on the BEST day of the week! I am liking this day of the week to post. It is a nice time to reflect on the past week, to talk about what happened, and to slowly start to unwind and enjoy the weekend. Today is a round up of friendly reminders for all of us to work on. I am looking forward to tackling them all. Aggressive...maybe...but totally worth it! Have a fabulous weekend and see y'all next week! xoxo

Treat Yourself

Do you make sure to spoil yourself every week? Maybe it is retail therapy, a manicure/pedicure, sweet treats, or a trip, I believe it is definitely a must that you treat yourself to something that makes you HAPPY! You work hard and not allowing yourself to enjoy that hard work, well is just not fun. It can be a simple treat or an elaborate treat, whatever it is, go for it. For me, it is a simple one, but something my body has been craving. A bowl of ice cream with peanut M&M's twice a week and I am a happy lady. 

Friday Friendly Reminder

DISCONNECT

JUST DO IT!!! Whether it is for the entire weekend or 2 hours, put away your devices and just be in the moment. Enjoy the time away from staring at your phone and make eye contact with those around you...Be bored for a few minutes...Pick up a good book and read...And give those thumbs a little break. 

READ These Inspiring Posts

Share The NuttZo LOVE

I LOVE working for NuttZo, not only because I am obsessed with their nut butters, but because I am inspired by Danielle and what she has done to build her business, while always making sure to give back. Check out our latest feature in the Daily Burn. Great stuff is happening this year for the NuttZo Team and the hard work is definitely paying off! Make sure to check out the #NuttZoNEWS page and spread the #NuttZoLOVE!

NEVER GIVE UP

Do you know how many times I have heard NO? A LOT and yet I keep on trucking because giving up is not an option whether it comes to my personal or professional life. I have applied to so many jobs, campaigns, and emailed brands and people that I want to work with. I either hear a NO or no response. And the same goes with dating. I put myself out there and swipe to the right a heck of a lot more than I used to. And yes you guessed it...I hear a lot of crickets. No pity party here. I am just reminding all of you and myself of course, that we all hit a lot of speed bumps in life. "Adulting" is hard. Hearing "NO" day in a day out is hard.  

Daily Reminder to: Keep your head up...stay strong...believe...give it 100%...NEVER GIVE UP!

Get OUTSIDE

We experienced warm weather this week and it was FABULOUS! I really hope that you took some time to get out there and soak up that Vitamin D. When you have been cooped up all winter, there is no better feeling for me than to put on my shorts and get outside for a long run and actually start sweating because it is so warm. WINNING! Each day this week, I made sure to take the pups for a walk and I know that they enjoyed the weather too. Disconnect and opt to get outside to soak up that fresh air. Spring is COMING! 

LOVE Yourself With These Self-Care Tips  

This past winter I have talked a lot about self-care. I believe it is necessary for us to be selfish and to take care of ourselves in whatever ways make us feel our best inside and out. When you fell happy and healthy, it shows and you radiate your beauty, power, and confidence to the universe. And that energy is CONTAGIOUS! Read a few of my self-care tips in this month's  Core Power post: HERE

Friday Friendly Reminders

How are you practicing self-care this month?

Did you get OUTSIDE this week?

A Week In Review

HELLO Beautiful Friday! How are you doing friends? How was your week? No small talk needed, so let us jump right into today's post before I kick off the weekend and disconnect. After working a little too much last weekend, it is time to step away from the devices. Happy Friday friends! XO

My Weekly Reminder...I love this quote! Thanks Leslie for posting this on Tuesday! I have spent this week worrying too much about my social media numbers and it ends up being annoying and exhausting. There is so much more to life and happiness! So YES, I am looking forward to time away from my devices this weekend. To enjoy the tangible things in life that bring me joy! 

Week Of Workouts...There has been lots of running involved over the past couple of weeks, which has me thinking about signing up for a race. It has been way too long and I am itching for something to help me stay motivated with a goal in site. I am even thinking about triathlons again too...HA! I am not sure what has gotten into me, but I am kind of excited about it! 

The weather on the east coast has been cold and snowy, so any sort of running outside is not safe. I do not mind the treadmill as long as I have some good shows to watch. It is usually my time to either catch up on the news of watch the Food Network. And to beat the boredom on the step mill, I always bring my book. 

  • Sunday - 45-minute run + Strength Training (Legs + Triceps)
  • Monday - 45-minute on the Step Mill + Strength Training (Chest + Shoulders + Core)
  • Tuesday - 6-mile treadmill run + 25-minute outdoor walk with Lucy (the sun was out WAHOO!)
  • Wednesday - 45-minute on the Step Mill + Strength Training (Back + Core)
  • Thursday - 90-minute walk with Lucy
  • Friday - TBD
  • Saturday - OFF

Favorite Eats Of The Week...I forgot how good and easy preparing spaghetti squash is and I finally roasted it on Sunday when I was stuck inside ALL day because of ice. It is a great substitute to pasta. I can do without pasta, but bread...heck no! Crispy Italian bread slathered in butter and dipped in sauce...DELICIOUS! I had that meal 2 nights in a row and it just hits the spot on cold winter nights and leaves me feeling satisfied without the bloat. 

How did I prepare my spaghetti squash:

  • Cut in half + take out the seeds + drizzle in olive oil and salt;
  • Place flat side down on a baking shee;
  • Roast for 50-60 minutes at 400 degrees! Shred out the insides or eat straight out of the half!

Sweet Breakfast Bowl - Eggs + Fruit + Nut Butter

More BIG Beautiful Salads (except this time it's not in Tupperware)

Spaghetti Squash Bowls - Mom's Meat Sauce and Crispy Bread

Recent Reads...I LOVE to read and it is the best way for me to SLOW DOWN at the end of the day! I start working every morning between 6:45 AM - 7:15 AM, so I am pretty tired at night. Disconnecting earlier from all of my devices and reading instead of watching TV in bed, has definitely made a huge difference. Since I have made this change into my nightly ritual, I have been flying through books! These 2 are great reads to help you unwind at the end of busy day!

  • A Dog's Purpose - Funny, sad, heart-warming, and so TRUE, this book is for dog lovers!
  • Eligible - The modern day version of "Jane Austen" this book was so much fun to read! 

I am ready for the weekend and hoping the sun will stay out and grace us with her presence! Enjoy friends and see you next week!

What is the best thing you ate this week?

What was the last good book you read?

    Building A Beautiful SALAD

    Snow days make for the perfect days to tackle the "To Do List" that you have been ignoring for long periods of time. It is good to hunker down with lots of coffee and get it done. Even though my taxes are staring straight at me as I work away, I am still going to ignore that task and instead talk about FOOD! Food is fun...Food is good...And food fuels this lifestyle! This weeks obsession is SALADS. Instead of consuming all the sweet potatoes, I have been eating lots of BIG, flavorful, and nourishing salads for lunch and with dinner. It is all about that crunch and using whatever leftovers are around to make these beautiful meals. 

    A couple of things you should know about my salad creations:

    Building A Beautiful Salad
    • I always eat my lunch salads out of a Tupperware container...Why? Because I like to mix all the ingredients together...Shake it up...And then let it marinade for a little bit before I devour it!
    • I always add leftovers from the night before! Whatever is leftover from dinner or hanging out in the fridge goes into my salads. I hate wasting food!
    • LOTS of CRUNCH! I love texture and when it comes to my salads, the more crunch the better. It is just like my obession with crunchy nut butters!
    Building A Beautiful Salad

    Here is how I build my SALADS:

    Building A Beautiful Salad
    • Protein: Chicken, tuna fish, salmon, fried eggs, or roasted chickpeas are my usual go tos! Adding a protein is a MUST when making a beautiful salad. Make sure that you are getting all the great benefits of proteins, because they are so important for our bodies, especially if you live a active lifestyle!
    • Fats: Diced avocado, leftover guacamole, goat cheese, or a heaping handful of mixed nuts are my favorites to add to a salad. Adding fats to your salads are key to helping you stay satiated. 
    • Fruit: Pick one of your favorites and add it for some natural sweetness! As of lately, I like to dice up an opal apple for added crunch. Minneola and moro oranges are really good additions right now for that much-needed Vitamin C. 
    • LOTS of Vegetables: Tomatoes, Carrots, Cucumber, Peppers, Red Onion, and a mix of greens are always in my salads. Sometimes I like to add roasted broccoli and cauliflower. You can never go wrong with adding any vegetable to a salad...so load it UP friends!
    • Dressing: Typically I do a balsamic and olive oil combo, but thanks to my friend PAM, she introduced me to Bolthouse Farms yogurt dressings and they are FABULOUS! A nice way to switch things up and try something new. 

    That is it my friends! Now go have fun and be creative with your salad creations and remember you can always keep it simple, healthy, nourishing, and FUN. Salads can be a side dish or a meal and are always a good decision. You just need to know how to build the right one to keep your belly happy and satisfied. Let me know how it goes! XOXO

    Do you eat your salads out of Tupperware?

    What do you put in your salad for that extra CRUNCH?

    Thinking Out LOUD

    It is February...How the heck did that happen? Despite the ups and downs; the dreary and gray weather; January went by surprisingly fast. As we close one month and enter into a new one, I thought it would be a good day to post about those random topics that go through my head and share them with all of you. A short summary of what has been happening in my world. Grab that cup of coffee and read along as to what has been happening these days. Cheers to a fresh new month of only good energy, experiences, food, and happiness! 

    Sweet Potatoes are the BEST...I could seriously eat one every night! They are nutritious, delicious, versatile, and so easy to prepare. I keep it simple when preparing mine. Scrub clean + pork with a fork + stick into a preheated over of 450 degrees and bake for 45 minutes to an hour (depending on how crispy on the outside you like it) + sprinkle with garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and hot sauce + serve alongside dinner. 

    Sweet Potato Dinner
    Sweet Potato Dinner

    Tiny Space Workouts are CHALLENGING but FUN...Yes it is winter and gray and cold and sometimes depressing, but that shouldn't stop you from staying active! Make sure to check out this Core Power Workout that is challenging, fun, and can be done anywhere. It is specifically designed to do in a "tiny space", but you can obviously take it to the gym or do it whatever you feel most comfortable working out. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out!

    Healthy Dog Treats...YES PLEASE...Thank you to Best Bully Sticks for sending us dental dog chews that are hormone free; drool-worthy; contain limited ingredients; and from what Lucy tells me, they are DELICIOUS! She is a lucky dog and we appreciate gifts like these! 

    Chia Seed Pudding Is BACK...I forgot how easy it is to prepare chia seed pudding. It is also a versatile recipe, a great meal to take when on the go, and even better when topped with blobs of nut butter or granola. I will share the recipe soon! Oh and of course it is jam packed with all those healthy nutrients to keep your body happy and nourished! 

    Nature's Touch Blueberry Chia Seed Pudding

    Online Dating Is BRUTAL...Because sometimes I need to talk about personal things. There are only so many food photos and exercise routines I can talk about. And dating these days as y'all know is hard, frustrating, confusing, and comical. Can someone please explain to me: 

    • Car Selfies...Shirtless Selfies...Bathroom Selfies??? 
    • The disappearing into thin air act! Raise your hand if you have been texting with someone who you met online and developed a rapport with and then POOF...GONE...And never to be heard from again! Where did they go? And what is the point of engaging with someone if you are going to disappear on them with no explanation? I'm a big girl and can handle rejection. Just tell me that "you are just not that into me!"

    On a "Positive Patty" note...High-Fives though to men who take lots of pictures with their dogs! That is always a major plus in my opinion. 

    Practicing Slowing Down Feels Really GOOD...I posted this quote earlier this week on Instagram because recently I have had to slow down because there have been multiple times I have felt the burn out coming on STRONG. It has been with work, training, and just life in general. Those mornings when you wake up and look in the mirror and think to yourself "WOW I look really tired!". It was happening too much, so I am taking baby steps to learn to slow down and let life take its course one day at a time. A few of the things that have helped me slow down: 

    • Closing my laptop at 6:00 PM on the dot!!! I typically start doing work on mine around 6:45 AM and throughout the day, so those hours add up fast;
    • No more social media checking after 8:00 PM! This is hard, but when I stick to it, I feel so much better and refreshed the next day;
    • Sleeping an extra 15 minutes! A few months ago, I was waking up at 5:45 AM...YIKES! I was tired and it made the days really long. Now I am sleeping until 6:30 AM. Great progress!
    • And finally my "go to" for slowing down and disconnecting is LONG WALKS with Lucy! I love leaving my devices and just going for a long walk or hike with Lucy and a friend and just soaking up the fresh air and the peace and quiet. It makes me happy to just be in the moment and soak up the beauty and the simple things in life!
    Practicing Slowing Down Feels Really GOOD

    What is your favorite way to SLOW DOWN?

    Do you have a favorite sweet potato recipe? If so, please share with me in the comments!

    Recipes That Use GHEE

    After reading all your comments last week on my review of Gather Superfoods Ghee, I thought that it would be appropriate to follow up with some FUN recipes that you could try out that incorporate ghee. And later on, I would like to dive in a little deeper as to why it is important to incorporate ghee and other healthy fats into our daily eats. But first the recipes...

    Ghee is a very versatile healthy fat that you can use as a substitute for butter, for sauteing, for slathering on your favorite delicious toast, and for drizzling on your nighttime popcorn. But there are MANY other ways you can use ghee. Here are 5 GHEE RECIPES that I found inspiring and I am looking forward to whipping up in the near future. 

    GUT HEALING CINNAMON COCONUT LATTE by The Real Food Dietitians

    I LOVE coffee and I LOVE lattes! The Real Food RDs are pretty amazing ladies, who I have gotten to know this past year and worked with on many projects. They are knowledgeable, inspiring, and their recipes are delicious. Make sure to whip up this latte and enjoy all the nutritional benefits it has to offer!

    PALEO LEMON BUTTER CHICKEN by Jay's Baking Me Crazy

    If you follow me on Instagram, you probably notice that I make chicken thighs a lot. They are so damn good and that crispy skin is my favorite part. I love the simplicity of this recipe with all the fresh lemon and the nice touch of coconut cream. I feel like this photo needs to be a scratch and sniff. DELICIOUS! 

    GHEE RICE by Sailu's Food

    This recipe only takes 5 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to cook! It is versatile, healthy, and loaded with lots of delicious flavors. Who knew you could dress up rice like this? I love the addition of Garam masala and cashew nuts. Make a big pot of this on Sunday and eat it throughout the week! 

    WHOLE30 SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI RECIPE by Design Life Diaries

    This recipe...This photo...OMGHEE...I want this now! Was that cheesy enough for you? But seriously. Yes this recipe is going to take a little bit of time, practice, and extra love, but I believe it is 100% worth it. Invite a friend over, sip on some wine, and make these little sweet potato bites and just have fun with it! 

    MEXICAN CAULIFLOWER RICE by Fashionable Foods

    Another thing that I eat on a regular basis is cauliflower! I love how versatile this hearty vegetable is and how it is the perfect side dish with any meal. Next time you are craving Mexican, make sure to whip up this simple, healthy, and easy Mexican cauliflower recipe. Pass the hot sauce PLEASE!

    I hope that you will try some of these recipes and if you do, definitely let me know how they turned out. They are ALL great recipes that are good for your health, so use that ghee and reap all those health benefits that they have to offer. 

    Would you try any of these ghee recipes?

    Did you know that ghee was this versatile?

    Gather Superfoods - Product Review

    Raise your hand if you LOVE healthy FATS!!! We all know my slight obsession with nut butters, but I also make sure to eat plenty of avocados, mixed nuts, and I always cook with olive oil, and now ghee too. I will 100% admit that I used to be one of those people who was scared of FATS. But this was back in the day when I honestly had no clue as to how to properly nourish my body. Times have changed and I am older and wiser and more in tune with my body and its needs. I LOVE fats!  I eat a lot of fats! They make me feel good inside and out and they work for my lifestyle, my training, and my belly. 

    Today I am talking about ghee! I recently partnered up with Gather Superfoods to talk about their ghee and why you should check them out; follow them on social media; and start including their ghee into your eats! ENJOY!

    What is GHEE...

    Gather Superfoods Ghee is derived from butter. The butter is cooked down to remove all the butterfat/milk solids to create pure butterfat that is lactose and casein free. It is a great substitute for anyone with a dairy intolerance and great for anyone who wants to try another fat that is fabulous for you!

    Why GHEE...

    Gather Superfoods Ghee is a delicious and nutritious fat that you definitely need to add to your list of healthy FATS. Ghee is an ancient superfood that is known for its amazing healing abilities internally and externally. This healthy fat is known to alkalize our bodies; provide physical and mental stamina; reduce inflammation; and is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Some other fun facts to take note of: 

    • Lactose and Casein FREE
    • High Smoke Point of 485 degrees
    • Rich in Omega-3
    • Packed with Vitamins A, D, E, and K

    What do I use GHEE for...

    Gather Superfoods Ghee is a great replacement to your butter! You can use it for baking, sauteeing, spreading onto a delicious piece of toast, and drizzling it over your nighttime popcorn. The possibilities are endless! Check out this DELICIOUS Gather Superfoods recipe by my friend Sarah!

    Who are the people behind Gather Superfoods?

    Foodies are the BEST kind of people! When I started to learn more about this company and their founders, I knew we would get along and this would be a good collaboration. The two founders have traveled all over the country eating their way from coast to coast enjoying all that life and food has to offer. Food + Travel = PURE BLISS! Learn more about their story and why they started Gather Superfoods HERE! 

    Make sure to follow this fabulous couple on their social media channels to get inspired with healthy recipes, updates on products, and any promotions that they are running! 

    Have you ever used ghee? If so, what is your favorite way to add it to your recipes?

    *Disclosure: I received compensation and product for this post. All opinions are my own.*

    Yoga Goddess - Jessica Haims

    What do you look for in a teacher when it comes to taking care of your health and fitness? What makes you come back to keep taking their classes? Is it knowledge, passion, their personality, or that they can kick your butt and yell at you, while still having a pretty smile plastered on their face? We all have different likes, goals, and reasons for practicing a healthy and active lifestyle, so it is great that nowadays there are a plethora of options to fit YOUR needs. 

    When it comes to yoga teachers whose classes I revisit, I like a variety of styles, that fit whatever my body is currently needing...it could be more focused on stretching my hips; building up my core; or honestly just getting my butt kicked and getting in a good sweat session. I want to introduce you to Jessica Haims from Powerflow Yoga. She is ONE of those teachers who in a matter of 75 minutes educated me, stretched, strengthened, and kicked my butt! Her passion and knowledge of the yoga and the human body...The way she effortlessly flowed into the poses...Learn more about this beautiful woman and why I consider her a yoga goddess!  

    Yoga Goddess - Jessica Haims

    I Am Jessica Haims:

    My approach to yoga is to be safe, educational, challenging, and fun. I believe in educating students about their bodies so that they are equipped to make appropriate decisions about their bodies on and off the mat. Classes are based heavily through a lens of biomechanics and anatomy, always explaining to students why we do a pose a certain way. I want to offer as many tools as possible to my students so that they learn how to modify poses when necessary, and know how to play their edge when appropriate. I am both a vinyasa teacher and Yoga Tune Up® teacher and seek to blend these two styles together to link movement and breath in an intelligent manner. I mainly work one on one with students teaching self-care; we come up with a routine at home comprising of myofascial release work, corrective exercise, and yoga. After suffering a serious back injury due to years of competitive ballroom dancing and teaching full time it became my mission to empower students with the relationship to their bodies!

    Why did you start teaching yoga? 

    I started teaching yoga because it gave me a sense of empowerment and peace that was uncanny. In 2011 I took my first class ever (at Powerflow Yoga in Chatham!) and it was the HARDEST thing I had ever done (seriously I thought I was going to collapse on the mat by the end of it) - but then savasana came and I nearly fell asleep. I left the yoga room called my mom and said “I want to be a yoga teacher after school” - it was one of those weird gut feelings. I did my first training a little over a year later and fell in love with the studies of anatomy. Over the past year, I have dove deep into the study of biomechanics, anatomy, and the science of stretching. The more I learn about anatomy, biomechanics, physiology, etc… it reminds me why I always want to teach - to help people understand their bodies and to feel good in their bodies.

    Yoga Goddess - Jessica Haims

    What is your favorite pose and why? 

    Half moon! There are SO many different ways of approaching this pose with props, the wall, different isometric contractions - I always find something new about my body in this pose. When I’m in it I feel like I’m flying and floating!

    What is your least favorite pose and why? 

    I have a hate/love relationship with warrior 3 (which means I probably need to do it more ;) ) - it always kicks my butt no matter how many times I do it!

    What advice would you give to someone (aka - me) who is scared of handstands? 

    Work slowly away from the wall and with a teacher you trust. Going upside down is a HUGE mental game so it’s all about taking those little steps until you feel ready! There is a move called “scissor kick handstand” that Phillip Askew taught me and it helped me get away from the wall and over my fear of hand standing (will have to show you during our coffee date!). Working on shoulder/core stability and hamstring mobility are major players in working into those handstands. One of my favorite moves are working planks and doing scapula push ups! Another great exercise is doing plank with a blanket under your feet and pulling the blanket towards your hands (ending in forward fold) and then sliding back out to plank.

    How do you practice a healthy lifestyle? 

    Yoga Goddess - Jessica Haims

    I practice self-care by setting aside time for myself every day - whether it's 5 min or an hour for a workout. I love to go hiking, cooking, writing, reading, and watch old Hollywood movies! I make sure to fuel my body with clean food, get in exercise 5 times a week, and take 2 complete days of rest when I can to re-charge and do active recovery (or binge watch Netflix for hours ;) ! ) 

    Sweet or salty? 

    SWEEEEEET!!!!! I have such a strong sweet tooth - chocolate covered anything will have my name written all over it. My one vice is chocolate and coffee - I can never say no to it. My favorite chocolate is german chocolate, but my favorite sweets are my homemade chocolate chip marshmallow cookies - they are out of this world!

    Tell us 3 FUN things that we should know about you...And if there is anything else you want to add, go for it.

    I LOVE old jazz music - I always say I was born in the wrong era… I love old Hollywood movies and music. Ella Fitzgerald, Solomon Burke, Etta James, Duke Ellington, Sam Cooke, Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra, this list goes on and on. I would have killed to live in that era and see those people perform. I had the honor and privilege to see Tony Bennett live with one of my best friends (she got me a ticket for Christmas!) I started tearing up during the performance - it was one of the most amazing experiences.  

    I won world and nationals in 2011 for ballroom dancing! I miss those dancing days with all my heart and when I hear music my mind will wonder off into choreography!

    Yoga Goddess - Jessica Haims

    My dream is to have a huge back yard one day for a garden and chickens!

    I am a huge nerd and love spending free time reading about human anatomy and the latest research on the science of stretching (Jules Mitchell is an amazing resource for anyone interested). One of my goals with teaching is to eventually develop an anatomy module for 200-hour training that gives newer teachers a concrete understanding of the human body. It is our responsibility as teachers to keep these people safe and I would like to see the bar raised in this department!

    What do YOU look for in a teacher?

    Tell me your favorite teacher and where they teach!

    Love At First Sight - The Best Match

    Life on Nantucket during the winter months can definitely be a little lonely. It is grey, cold, and QUIET. I definitely could not live here if it was not for my amazing friends, but little Lucy has a VERY big part in keeping me sane too! She is with me all the time. She lies by my side while I work. She runs by my side while we walk. She sleeps by the bed and snores like a champ. She is the perfect match for my personality, my lifestyle, and me!

    She was rescued in Houston, where she was left on the side of the highway in a kennel with her two other siblings covered in fleas. It took days for her to venture out of that kennel. After I lost Kala, I started looking for a purebred Golden Retriever just a few weeks later, but I could not justify spending over a thousand dollars for a dog, when there were thousands of dogs without homes. So instead I started searching the rescues for golden retriever puppies. I found a picture of “Custard” and started contact with the foster mom. Once I agreed to meet the foster mom and “Custard”, I knew I was not going home alone. Just like everything else in life, when it is meant to be, it is meant to be - no matter how cliché that sounds, it is the darn truth!

    It was love at first sight and “Custard” would be named Lucy and she came home with me a week later. And her two siblings were also rescued. One went to New Orleans and the other went to live on a apple orchard farm in Rhode Island. Knowing that all 3 of them found such healthy, happy, and safe environments is just BEAUTIFUL!

    Lucy means so much to me and it is really hard to imagine life without her! All those corny quotes about dogs are the TRUTH. She teaches me to be a better person. She makes and reminds me to laugh daily. She reminds me to live life to the fullest and to just keep it simple…LIVE, LOVE, and of course EAT!

    She is in doggie heaven here on Nantucket Island, along with the rest of amazing dogs that live here. They truly do live a fabulous life here! So when I was asked to team up with Z Living to help promote their newest show Finding Fido , it was a no brainer.

    Finding Fido (premiering January 17th at 9pm ET) is all about matchmaking—only instead of human couples, host Seth Casteel is pairing people with pooches. Each week one lucky dog finds their forever home, and one lucky person finds their new best friend. You can see more about the show here.

    In addition to being an awesome show that we’re super excited about, there is also an amazing campaign created by Finding Fido to help support animal shelters and rescue groups.

    Z Living has joined forces with A Greater Good and Halo, Purely for Pets® to launch the #FindingFido program. Z Living will be giving away a series of cash grants plus pet food to shelters and pet adoption organizations in need across the U.S..

    Share a photo of you and your pooch on your favorite social channel and tag it with #FindingFido, for every hashtagged post Z Living will give an additional $1.

    Have a shelter you think should be considered for a grant? Tag them in your post and they’ll automatically be in the running to receive one of several $500 cash grants given away weekly + $6000 worth of Halo pet food donated to shelters in need leading up to the premiere of Finding Fido on January 17th at 9pm.

    Now go give your pet a big SMOOCH and tell them how much you love them! XOXO

     

    Healthy and Happy with Swanson Vitamins

    It is here...The NEW YEAR is upon us! The holidays are done. It is time to take down the decorations. It is time to practice our new intentions. It is time to nourish our minds and bodies with healthy and happy thoughts! Are you ready? I definitely am and I have already been making it happen...ONE day at a time! 

    New Year - New You

    Taking care of ourselves emotionally, physically, and nutritionally is a process. It is not something that happens overnight or the first two weeks after the New Year. Living a healthy and active lifestyle takes time, work, and dedication. It is not easy, but it is SO WORTH IT! When you feel strong, when your skin is glowing, when your body feels healthy, you radiate positivity inside and out and that is why we dedicate so much time and effort into it sweating daily and eating well-balanced meals. And that positive energy is contagious, so throw it around like confetti and inspire others to join you on the healthy and happy journey!

    New Year - New You

    As you know living 30 miles out at sea has it challenges sometimes, when it comes to shopping, as my choices are limited. Do not get me wrong, for an island the stores here have a very good selection, but it is hard for them to carry everything! For that reason, I am grateful to be able to work with companies like Swanson Vitamins that provide a plethora of healthy options for not only myself but Lucy too! YES, they sell an abundance of doggie treats! I was so happy to find that they sell Greenies! I have been shopping with Swanson Vitamins for a couple of years now and I am always a happy customer. They offer so much more than just vitamins. I can get lost on their site...in a good way! And you can always find a good deal, as they have deals of the day, sales, buy 1 get 1 free, overstock, and clearance options. The possibilities are endless and there are no excuses to not make healthy and happy choices in 2017 on Swanson Vitamins website! 

    Above are just a few of my favorite Swanson Vitamins products that I recently bought. I already have a list of what I want to buy next because my nut butter jars are almost empty, but also am realizing that I probably need some Vitamin D because these gray days are driving me bonkers! I am going to treat Lucy to some more Greenies and Oatmeal Milk and Honey Shampoo! So many great options, but now it is YOUR turn to shop with $100.00 thanks to Swanson Vitamins! It is YOUR turn to shop for a healthier and happier YOU in 2017! Follow all the details below and GOOD LUCK friends! 

    How are you living a healthier and happier 2017?

    What would you buy with the $100.00 gift certificate?

    MY 2017 INTENTIONS

    It is time to head bACK to the island after a week of celebrating with family and friends. It was a week well spent. There was LOTS of food consumed...There was LOTS of time spent on the yoga mat...There was LOTS of time connecting with Mom, old friends, and new friends. But it is time to get bACK into my routine and set my intentions for 2017. My body and mind are ready for my routine and I am VERY READY for the new year! I am just READY for a clean slate and fresh start!

    Jockey Hollow New Jersey

    "INTENTION leads to BEHAVIORS which lead to HABITS which lead to PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT which leads to DESTINY"

    I am not one to set "goals" for the New Year or at the beginning of a new month, but I do believe in setting intentions, which is one of the many things that I work with, with my Life Coach. My intentions have nothing to do with fitness and food. They dig deeper. They are not easy. They take patience, practice, and work. As you know, working on yourself is never an easy task. Admitting your faults is hard enough, but then taking the time to work on them is when the real work begins...

    MY 2017 INTENTIONS:

    My 2017 Intentions
    • WIN AT LOVE personally and professionally - The past few months I have experienced a lot of bumps in the road, both personally and professionally. Nothing has come easy. It felt like everything was a struggle and required 100% effort, which in the end was leaving me exhausted, depleted, and slightly negative. 2017 is going to be about WINNING! Winning at love, relationships, business opportunities, health, and overall life. A little cheesy...YES...but for ME, this is the kind of attitude I need to make 2017 a WINNING year!
    • Travel MORE - I can easily become a hermit on Nantucket and get into a routine. This routine gets comfortable real fast and before I know it POOF time has slipped away. It is time to shake up the routine. It is time to explore. It is time to get out of my comfort zone. I am single. I am young. I have worked hard. It is time to book some trips and BE FREE!
    • Be FEARLESS - I am always talking about being "fearless" and it is a good reminder and intention for me as the new year approaches. I am a very sensitive person, which is one of my strengths but can also be one of my weaknesses. Sometimes I need to take a little bit of that emotion and sensitivity out of the picture and just GO FOR IT! This applies to all aspects of my life. 
    • Have more FUN - Do I need to say more??? I want to travel more...Go out more...Flirt more...Learn more...Build and dream MORE! I have to step out of my routine and live fully and let my full self shine. It is time to get out of my comfort zone and LIVE! It's time to go FUNNING!

    It is not a big list and that is a good thing for ME! I believe it is important to keep things SIMPLE! These are intentions that I know I can work on daily. These are intentions that I can give 100% of my attention too. These are intentions that I KNOW I have to work on to be the best version of ME! 

    Have a happy and healthy New Year friends and see you in 2017!

    Tell me ONE of your favorite 2017 Intentions...