Guest Post: (my ideal) Tiffany!

My final guest post is from my good friend Tiffany. We actually met on sparkpeople.com. I had a blog, we began following eachother, she inspired me, EACH and EVERYDAY. Basically she is awesome. I also get a lot of information about paleo, eating health, and just life in general. She is also one of my biggest cheerleaders!

~~~~~~~~

First, I can’t believe that Kristen asked me to guest blog for her…I don’t have a blog and I don’t follow more than two…Kristen’s and Angela’s Chicken Scoop!   What could I possibly have to say?   Well, Kristen thought maybe I could share about my journey since we first “met” on SparkPeople.  Somehow, I “met” Kristen and Angela on SP and we became good online friends.  Angela doesn’t live too far from me, so we actually ran a few races together and then last year we decided to road trip to St. Louis and meet Kristen in person!  It was the most amazing few days and my all-time favorite Marathon to date

403388_10100814460197086_1030364553_n

So, my SparkPeople journey began on January 1, 2010.  I finally hit a point where I was so frustrated with my weight that when someone mentioned that website, I jumped on it and never looked back.  I was a regular on there for months.  I logged all of my food, I logged all of me exercise and met some amazing inspiring women.  Years before, I had given up eating bread and pasta (thank you South Beach) but I really wasn’t dialed into the exercise part.   As a mom of four girls, at that time aged 9, 7, 6 and 4, I was busy!  I was a stay at home mom with no real routine.  I had previously run, did a few half marathons, was a HS and college athlete…what was my problem?  I started walking every day.  Our neighborhood has a “loop” that we discovered is 4 miles.  I walked it every day.  Then as I got better at walking it, I’d try to finish it in less time.  By April, I was able to jog a bit of it. Then I added in some Jillian Michaels.  I couldn’t even get though the first 20 minutes of her 60 minute workout!  But I kept trying.  Every day, I’d try to make it to the next section.  By the end of the week, I could consistently make it through another section!   I was making progress and then that became the motivation.  In August, I went to an event and there were women who didn’t recognize me.

Dallas 2010

 My self confidence started to come for the first time in a long time…I battled an eating disorder in college – I think they refer to it now as exercise bulimia.  I also have a mild case (not formally diagnosed) of dysmorphia.  I don’t see what others see when I look in the mirror.  I have so see a photo of myself to see what I look like more accurately.  So, no matter what my weight is (225 or 135) I see myself as a chunky size 14.  No matter what the tag says…it can be 18 or 6, I still see the same thing in the mirror.  But on the inside, when I was exercising and eating well, I felt great.  I felt like a million bucks! 

Fast forward to February 2011.  I was having some serious foot pain and I’d recently recovered from a hip stress fracture and I went to see a new chiropractor.  As he and I were talking about diet and exercise, he mentioned something called the Paleo Diet.  Now he was using the word diet as the kinds of foods you eat, not the calorie restricting process that we often think of when we hear that word…  I was intrigued so I came home and Googled it.  I started reading websites, trying out a few recipes, it wasn’t too different from what I was already eating, except my religious consumption of oats.  And I wasn’t about to give them up!!!

Well, I eventually did give up oats, and all other grains along with legumes and eventually transitioned my family into the Paleo way of eating….They “cheat” when out and I often wish that I’d know about it when they were young before developing a love for pizza and chicken nuggets.  I try to mix it up for them and sometimes packing lunch can be a challenge (none of them ever like the same thing!)  We use a few websites frequently and have several cookbooks which they love to flip through looking for new ideas.  A few of the websites I love are, Nom Nom Paleo, Civilized Caveman Cooking, Everyday Paleo, Primal Palate, Paleo Parents, Robb Wolf, Mark’s Daily Apple and my friend Liz at CaveGirlEats.  Even if you don’t eat Paleo, some of their recipes are amazing.  Non-Paleo friends often ask for the recipe when I bring dishes to events and parties.

If I had to wrap up my journey in a quick little nutshell, it would be to say that I found the most of my success in consistent exercise and making better food choices by sticking to things without labels, eating whole, real food…I usually only shop the outside of the supermarket.  And by not having the “junk” in the house for the kids makes it easier on all of us…we all have to eat real food when we are hungry.  There isn’t really another option since I don’t even buy it!  Makes the temptation less for me, too, so it’s a win/win in my eyes!

While I continued to run half marathons here and there and developed a passionate love for mudruns, my biggest accomplishment came last fall when I ran the St. Louis full marathon in October then 30 days later ran the Philadelphia full marathon.  I know that I never would have been able to do that if it hadn’t been for my commitment to health and eating Paleo.  I’ll leave you with a picture from 2005 when I was at my heaviest…and remember anything is possible when you commit, get up when you fall, and keep going!

SP before

Thanks Kristen for letting me share!  Hope you are enjoying some well deserved time away.  Can’t wait to hear how it all went!

Today, I am thankful for my son

I know that I might be a little bias, but I have a pretty amazing son. He makes me laugh. He loves to cuddle. And he could talk my ear off before the sun is up 😉

169085_674865048248_3623415_n IMG_1030me and andrew

483338_10100326904413108_108056487_n PHONE PICTURES 006 IMG_0038

IMG_0051 IMG_1537 8335_587716065508_5843246_n

IMG_0743 IMG_1187 me and andrew

But most of all, I love when we lay in bed, too early to go downstairs, and just talk. We have no place to go. Nothing to think about. Just the two of us 🙂

IMG_0877

Question for you:

Who is someone you are thankful for?

Guest Post: Kathleen from Katieen Pursuit

Another guest post from another favorite blogger of mine! Kathleen has THE BEST humor, and I am always laughing and smiling with her posts. Ilove her workouts, motivations, and determination. She gives me the self confidence that I can do it, I can take on the world! She  writes at KatieenPursuit, go check her out!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hi friends!  I’m honored Kristen asked me to step-in to attempt to fill her shoes while she’s gone!   Kristen & I are both from St. Louis & share a passion for exercise, good eats & TRAVEL!  I myself have been super-lucky in my 31-years to see many corners of the world.  Since Kristen’s out & about galavanting I thought I’d fill you in on some of my favorite travels & memories from my life…
1985 — I was four (& probably about as sassy as any 4-year old should be allowed to act) & took my first trip I can remember, to San Antonio, TX to be the flower girl in my Aunt’s wedding.  It was also my 1st airplane ride & I thought I was super hot-stuff traveling high in the sky!  Note: I was probably just a jerk of a 4-year old hugging my cabbage patch doll & freaking about flying.
1989-1996 — These were some of the best Summer trips I can remember!  We packed up whatever sedan my Dad drove & hauled butt to my aunt’s cush house on Hilton Head Island, SC.  These were also the years where I started to develop awkward pre-teen crushes on whatever boys I would run into at the beach.  The most memorable of this stretch of trips was the Summer I met John Cougar Mellencamp rollerblading down our quite beach lane.  I remember shaking his hand in awe then promptly running to my journal & tracing my hand, only to write next to it “This is the hand that touched John’s, I’ll NEVER wash it again!”.  Ummmm…yea….I have washed my hands since then!

john_cougar_1282144301

1993 — For my Great Aunt & Uncle’s 50th Wedding Anniversary, they invited everyone down to Grand Cayman for a week.  I don’t know about you, if & when I celebrate a 50th Wedding Anniversary, I’m probably going to want to be on an island ALONE rather than with 35 of my relatives, please & thank you!  Being the super-cool 12-year old I was, I made a spreadsheet of all I would need to pack for my 1st “international voyage”.  I’ll spare you any awkward teen photos from this time period, picture a piece of spaghetti in a one-piece, with braces, yes, that was me!
1994 — My Mom surprised me for my 13th birthday to a trip to the Big Ol’ City…CHICAGO!  Ohhhh-weeee, just the mention of “Shopping in Chicago” had me feeling like a million bucks!  That’s where my true love for that city began.
1995 — On the way to “6th Grade Camp” in the middle of rural Missouri, someone opening the port-a-potty door on me while most of the entire rest of the class was standing by….that’s why this trip is memorable.  Well, that & the Sophomore mens camp counselor I had a super-crush on for 3 days!
1997 — Our 8th grade class took a Marine Biology trip to West Virginia.  I also deem this my “Are You There God It’s Me Margaret” trip…enough said.
1999 — Destin, FL Spring Break Trip with 4 of my closest girlfriends.  This trip was kind of a blur, I do recall a hotel room packed full of Heineken, Doritos & Boone’s Farm…you can take the girl out of Missouri, but you can’t take the Missouri out of the girl!
2001-2004 — Nassau, Bahama’s, numerous trips.  I was fortunate to attend college in Florida for a few years where I made a nice collection of friends who resided in the Caribbean (yes, real people live there).  Of course we used this as an excuse to island hop any chance we got.  13 of us crammed into someone’s friends/cousins/brothers/in-laws house for Spring Break one year.  This was a trip that involved lots of cigarette’s & mashed potatoes. I’ll leave it at that.
190726_17350009048_8827_n
2001 — London, England, Paris, France & Bath, England.  A good friend was finishing a semester abroad so I hopped across the pond to help her end the term with a bang.  We galavanted around England & France for about 10 days.  At the tail end we were involved in a house fire in someone’s grandmothers home, we missed our flights home & met a really nice group of fireman.  There’s a LOT more to that story, I’ll spare you!
2007 — I did the craziest thing to date…I moved to China for a year to teach English.  WTF?!?  Yes, you read that right, I packed up & took my tall Caucasian self to a “small city” of 7 million Chinese people for a year.  It was interesting.  The 2-month hiatus I had between semesters proved more than enough time to travel to other cities in China.  Man oh man, that was both the most rewarding & toughest year of my life. You want to learn alot about yourself?  Move to a foreign country where you don’t know a soul for a year!  Hoorah!  ps.  I also came home with a boatload of good counterfeit swag!
231030_20397504048_4221_n
2010-2013 — I started working for a company that required me to travel.  Chicago, New Orleans, San Diego, Denver, San Francisco, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Detroit, Orlando, Las Vegas, all of the major players.  Seeing all of these cities on my expense accounts dime was well worth the hard work that went into it.  There are far too many odds & ends throughout these trips to divulge…I’d probably get subpoenaed if I spilled the beans anyway.
Present Day — Effective this week, I am saying goodbye to my full-time job to pursue a career in Personal Training so will not get the option to travel as much for work.  I am not worried though, I seem to always work in a few fun trips throughout the year so I anticipate nothing less.
Travel in my mind is one of the greatest experiences in life, seeing the world is an awesome thing!
20179_244720834048_2159364_n
Kristen, hope you’re having a fab trip!  Thanks readers for listening to my rambles & memories!  What have been some of your favorite travel spots or memories?

Guest Post: Nikki from Life After Swimming

Hello from the beach! Here is one of my first guest posts, and it comes from Nikki at lifeafterswimming. Not only is Nikki teaching, coaching, and planning a wedding, she also has time to cook! Luckily she is sharing a great recipe with us! And only three ingredients, you can’t beat that!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hey everyone! Thanks to Kristen, I’m here with a guest post for ya! I hope she’s having a great time, and I hope she’s taking a nice break from technology, too! A little break is good for the soul!

I’m here today to introduce you to my favorite cookie recipe as of late.  It’s probably the simplest recipe in the world, but it makes for a filling, low calorie treat!  And another plus is that it can be easily adapted to include a multitude of yummy tastes!  I’ve already posted it on my blog, but I wanted to share it with the rest of Kristen’s readers because this recipe is honestly the simplest recipe that is also satisfying!

Three ingredients is all it takes for a healthy, filling, delicious dessert.  A bonus: each cookie is roughly 50 calories!

Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies

  • 1 cup oats

  • 2 ripe bananas

  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients together well, spoon onto a greased baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes.  The end.  Easy as pie (or cookies in this case…). I got 12 nice-sized cookies out of it.

The nice thing is that these can be modified simply.  You can switch out the chocolate chips for raisins, dried fruit, nuts, etc.  Or you can add a little bit of nut butter for a smoother taste!

Seriously, I encourage you to try these! They don’t really taste like a health cookies, and they are totally perfect for a little sweet tooth craving!

Thanks, again, to Kristen! Hope you enjoy the recipe! 🙂

Beach Vacation Survey

Right now, I’m on the road!!! I can not express how much I have been looking forward to fresh air, and getting out of St Louis. I always feel rejuvenated after our beach vacation, now I just have a few hours standing between me and the gulf 🙂

I saw this survey on mealsandmoves and thought it was a good one!

Current Book: I actually need some ideas for the beach! send you suggestions!

Current music: I just heard Dont Ya by Brett Eldredge. LOVE IT!

Current guilty pleasure: Starbucks 🙂

starbucks

Current nail color:  I’m not sure the name, but I just got a pedicure with my mom, and they match my flowers 🙂

IMG_1568

Current drink: good o’ water (after my starbucks….I did have a coupon though! haha)

water

Current food: This morning I had a big bowl of oats, now its time to decide what to do for lunch….

IMG_1284

Current favorite show: I love Dancing with the Stars, sadly it just ended

dancing with the stars

Current wish list: travel with just me and Andrew out West, try crossfit, and volunteer with Andrew with animals

Current needs: To stop coughing, apparently I caught it from my nephew (who now has pneumonia….)

Current celebrity crush: I think you guys all know about this one….

channing tatum 2

Current indulgence:  besides starbucks, it is definitely ice cream

IMG_1536

Current blessing: The ability to take a vacation with my whole family, and take 2 weeks off work

221884_727365721478_5046006_n

Current outfit:I don’t have a picture of me, but I am wearing this outfit

rollerskating

Current excitement: Leaving to go to the beach (and not head back to work till June 6th!)

Current mood: alittle under the weather (darn nephew. haha)

Current link: Oh my. I have a few. Youtube.  A few blogs I need to read: Sweet Tooth Sweet Life, and Fuelbylolz

Alrighty, time to get back to driving (haha just kidding)

Question for you:

What is one your “current”?

What book should I read while laying on the beach?

Starbucks makes everything better

With my cough still hanging tight, I knew I needed to take it easy. I kept my TO DO list pretty short: start packing, mow the grass, go to starbucks.

The worker suggested a Chocolate Cookie Crumble Frappucino and it did not Disappoint!

IMG_1571 IMG_1570

Although it was more of a dessert than a drink haha. I used a coupon, and it was perfect for my sore throat 🙂

I also got Andrew a few books for this summer

IMG_1573

And treats for me 😦

IMG_1575

I had a very off day. I am getting lightheaded easy, and felt worn out, just from helping my dad outside. Hopefully a good nights sleep will help for the long trip tomorrow. I am definitely in need of a change in scenery.

I have a few guest posts this coming week, but I might be stopping in a few times along the way! But mostly I am going to try and disconnect. I am hoping this will help as well.

Question for you:

How do you unwind?

Any big plans for the summer?

What I Ate Wednesday #1

In an attempt to keep track of all the junk food I am eating, I took pictures and put it all on sparkpeople.com

Several bloggers, follow peasandcrayons What I Ate Wednesday.

Peas and Crayons

I decided its time to finally join in! haha. And it might help me along the way!

Breakfast: eggs, peppers, frozen blueberries and 3 sausage links

IMG_1554

Lunch: Meatballs and cashews

IMG_1556

Green monster for dessert

 IMG_1555

Snack: Yoplait greek yogurt and chia seeds

IMG_1563

Dinner: Burger and GRILLED sweet potatoes!

IMG_1566

Dessert: Skinny Cow Ice cream

IMG_1569

Question for you:

What do you like to have for snacks?