Blog · Recipes

Clean Pumpkin Spice Latte

Here is my clean version of the Pumpkin Spice Latte — which I think is delicious. I love Fall for mums, running weather, leaves changing, football, chili, apple crisp, orchard apples and pumpkin.

I honestly prefer my homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte to the ‘Bucks version – I can doctor it up to make it more pumpkin, more coffee, more sweet or less. Plus saves me a heck of a lot of money this season and sugar/calories (I am all about treating yourself but a latte out MORE days than not doesn’t align with my goals personally). I work hard and my hard work is also reflected in the kitchen. ✌🏻

Here it goes:
Put in a blender:
-brewed coffee (1-3 cups depending on how big your cup is, mine is BIG)
-4 to 5 tablespoons of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (little less than 1/4 cup)
-2 Tablespoons of organic pumpkin
-1 teaspoon of cinnamon
-1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice
-1/4 tsp of pure vanilla
-few drops of liquid Stevia

I put these all into a small blender cup, blend on high for 5 seconds and then pour back into my coffee cup ready to go!

Enjoy!!!

Blog

A Story About A Girl

This is a story about a girl….A girl who had a special bond with her Dad. He came to all her games as a kid while her Mom worked. He drove her to school many days, he took her to get ice cream, go for walks and so much more. They snowmobiled in the winters, and they went to the lake up north in the summers.

This girl respected and listened to his rules as a kid (being a little strict at times), and as an adult became friends with him. He taught her that rules and respect happen at home. She listened, she never wanted to disappoint him.

Their relationship changed when she lost her Mom when she was 21 (and in her last year of college). Her Dad now became her best friend. Their bond grew stronger as he had to be her Mom AND Dad for the next 24 years. As an adult, they took trips, they reminisced about him coaching her softball games, they had lunches, coffee, he got to meet her husband-to-be (at the time) and created a bond with him over sports, Wisconsin and life. He then watched her raise her sons and cheered them on in all they did, took them fishing, spoiled them with treats and gave them belly laughs with his humor.

This is a story about a girl who never dreamed of a wedding dress or certain things for her wedding day, but just dreamed her Dad could be there to walk her down the aisle.

This is a story about a girl who watched her Dad fight SO hard the past 18 months (from Diabetes complications), and she was by his side telling him it was NOT an option to stop.

This is a story about a girl who called her Dad a few times a week just to talk and he was always there for her.

This is a story about a girl who shared a few amazing memories this summer with her Dad- taking the boys boating and fishing, a day on the river with all four of his kids and his brother.

This is a story about a girl who saw her Dad made friends with every single person he met with his warm and kind personality- she learned so much by watching how he treated others. He lit up a room when he walked in and ALWAYS asked, “How are you doing?” He was full of life, full of personality and full of warmth. He was always kind, funny and someone you wanted to be around.

This is a story about a girl who knew the time came where he couldn’t fight anymore, so she spent special time with him. Each day was a blessing, and she cherished it with all her heart. She understood, even thought it was hard. She told him all the things, and he told her he lived fully and now it was time to go.This is a story about a girl who knew the end was coming very soon (within hours), so she told him he could go and be an angel and she was so confident he would watch over her! She re-assured him that she’d make sure she lived out his legacy and teach her boys to do the same.

This is a story about a girl who told him “Sweet Daddy, it’s your time”……and an hour after she left, he took his last breathe. Maybe he needed to see/hear her one more time, maybe he needed the re-assurance his baby would be OK and has so many people to take care of her, maybe he was being called to his new life right after she left and the timing was exactly how it was supposed to be.

This is a story about a girl who is heart broken that the most amazing man she has ever known for her entire life is no longer here to call or see. BUT she knows he is in an amazing place, ailment free and watching over her already. He believed in her more than she believe in herself — and he has taught her that she can and will do anything she sets her mind to!This is my story, and I am this girl. I was so blessed to have the most amazing father, a special bond for 45 years, so many memories and so much love.

This story has a new chapter, and I don’t know where it will bring me but I know it’s living out his legacy and honoring him every day.

Cheers to a wonderful man that I got to have for 45 years. I miss you already, but every day I will look for signs from you. RIP sweet Daddy, until I see you again…..💚☘👼

Blog

This IS Me

This is me.

I live in the cold climate, but secretly wish I was near constant beach weather.

You never know what you’ll get from my winter look- athleisure wear or leather pants with a leopard sweater. 

Workouts start each of my days besides Sunday.

I work hard Monday-Thursday and let Friday be my FUN DAY! 

I love tacos and a New Zealand Sauv Blanc.

I have two boys and a hubby who rock my socks!

In the summer you’ll find me in mostly shorts and a tank, with an occasional dress…

I’m organized and can multi-task, but doesn’t mean I can’t sometimes be a hot mess. 

I have lost 40 pounds and will never go back.

I lost my Mom to cancer, but have an amazing Dad Jack.

I’m a mix of sweet, extroverted introvert with a touch of sass.

I can breakdance, paint the house or bring out the class. 

I hate staying up late and being cold. 

I used to always play it safe and now I have learned to be bold.

I love people, fitness and staying as active as can be, but really need to recharge by having quiet down time for me. 

So yes, you’ll get a little bit of everything from me! 

What are some of our similarities?

Blog · Uncategorized

The Quarantine Rollercoaster

I think quarantine time can be compared to a roller coaster 🎢 for most of us (if I had to generalize). Days are fine and you have found a groove and then all of a sudden you have an off day that hits you like a ton of bricks.

It’s hard to explain, it doesn’t have ration. But grief of life as we knew it is what’s happening. And it’s OK to let yourself feel both sides of the spectrum. Grief has stages. I fought myself for feeling guilty about missing things because I know there are far worse things others are going through, but I truly believe in order to cope and deal you just have to let yourself have the swings and not feel guilty. This is affecting you and your life in your own way.

Yes we can feel grateful— and still miss certain things. ❤️

Yes we can appreciate the time with our family— but still get overwhelmed by their constant presence.❤️

Yes we can be hopeful— but also worry about the unknown. ❤️

Yes we can help others— but still need to find ways to fill our own cups too. ❤️

It’s confusing. It’s a lot. We’ve never done this before. ❤️

Today I was grateful for an Easter where my boys seemed happy, and we made the best of not seeing our extended family like previous Easters. We had a great weekend and spent all day outside yesterday. I talked to neighbors from our yards and took a run. It was nice.

But then it hit me tonight- what I wouldn’t do to have it be our typical Easter traditions with extended family. Or how I miss baseball season, and watch this guy in his element. I wouldn’t even complain about washing those darn white pants full of stains lol. I wouldn’t complain about a rainy tournament or dragging my wagon to the ball park. What I wouldn’t do to see my favorite people, make plans and hug them in person. These waves of emotions can hit hard. So when they do, I learn to lean in and do some self-care (yoga, meditation, walking outside to get fresh air and breathe), or talk to a friend.

This situation sure brings perspective. We will never take certain things for granted coming out of it. It will leave a mark on everyone. But we will be OK.

What’s one thing you’d give anything to be able to do?

Uncategorized

Goal Digger Momma

Where are my fellow lady Goal Diggers at? 🙋🏻

I was raised by a Mom who was what I call a Goal Digger!


You see, my bad@ss Momma, was a nurse for over 25 years. She worked overnights at the hospital when I was a baby, then all through elementary school and into junior high she worked in a clinic as a pediatric nurse. She also took on overnights some weekends at the hospital to earn extra money for our family- which meant skipping sleep and sometimes working 6 days a week. She worked A LOT. She couldn’t come to sporting events, she wasn’t home when I got off the bus— but I never ever once doubted the Mom that she was or her love for me, nor felt like I didn’t get to see her! It’s funny how “mom-guilt” is such a term we use these days, but I was not raised in a house where that term existed. I believe we use it to let our fears get the best of it- it’s an easy out to say we CAN”T do certain things because our kids need us 24/7. What if we threw that aside and went after what we wanted and showed our kids we can be present AND work on our goals (income, fulfilling something we are passionate about, etc..)? I know we want to be at all of our kiddo things, and I can relate– but my boys don’t say a peep if I miss a game or practice to plug into my job

Back to the story— well after 25 years of being a nurse and working all the hours, my Mom decided to go for a job that paid her more. She knew she didn’t want to go back to school to be a Doctor, but wanted the opportunity to earn as much as one per se- to build her dreams and goals, and not feel stuck.

So she took a chance. She quit her nursing job to be a pharmaceutical device sales rep. It was scary, but she believed in herself. She had to go away for 6-weeks to pass a series of tests and IF she passed them she could then move into the job. But if she didn’t, they’d send her home and she’d be out of a job! Do you think she doubted that she would pass or not? Do you think she was scared of the risk but went for it anyways because she believed in herself? She knew the company could leave her high and dry if she didn’t pass, but she BELIEVED with every ounce in her bone. I am sure she felt bad leaving me at home for 6-weeks in 8th grade, but my Dad and I would figure it out (all of the other siblings were out of the house).

Fast forward, she passed those exams and got that job with flying colors. She quickly dove into that role, learning as she went and failing forward a lot. She juggled being on the road more, and working both at home and making hospital visits. She quickly went to the top of her company and began to earn a 6 figure income. Is that uncomfortable to share? No, because now I look back and am so proud! She wanted MORE. She wanted change. She believed. She didn’t give herself a plan B, a “what if” I don’t make it. She went ALL-IN. This is where I got it from. I learned and watched from the best.

When she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer stage 4, her world got rocked. She still worked and still met her sales quota. She made her job work around her chemo and her sick days. She had ups and downs just like any disease but she kept fighting. She even won an award for her ability to come into the company so quickly and rise to the top with tenacity and heart. Her battle with cancer lasted about 4 years. On her last few days, she told me she “thought” she got fired from her job because she couldn’t get into her voicemail. She figured since she was missing work and in the hospital that they let her go without telling her. Well low and behold, after she passed away— I learned that her voicemail was TOO FULL with messages of love and support and that’s why she couldn’t get into her voicemail. Heartbreaking at the time, but it now makes me smile. They made an award with her name to honor other more rookie sales reps who come in strong, are amazing at what they do and touch people along the way. She sure left a legacy in her days as pediatric nurse, people would stop me and tell me how much they loved my Mom. She left a legacy in her company, she left a legacy in the heart of her children and everyone she came into contact with.

So people ask me, “Why are you a coach or what made you choose it vs. something else?” Yes I have a college degree. Yes I have 12 years in corporate america, yes I have fitness and personal training certifications. But you know what I wanted to do? I wanted MORE. I wanted to be there for my kids BUT also build an income I was in control over. I may not make 6 figures YET, but it’s on my dream board. I started with small goals- earn more than my fitness classes, then earn to pay the Target bill– I made little goals and worked to DO THEM. know I WILL get to those big goals now with consistency, time and tenacity. Right now I can pay our Target bill monthly, my kids’ activities, our vacations and have some extra money for me without feeling bad. How cool will it be when I can say I built this from 0 to 6-figures WITH my boys SEEING me do it? They get to come on some of my trips I earn, they see the work I do on my computer or phone- checking in with my team or my virtual clients. They understand why I workout in the basement every morning, and miss baseball for my yearly conference. I am not afraid of success as a woman. I’d like to be the to be the breadwinner someday (not that I NEED that), but how cool would it be to give our family more options to ALL be together someday? I won’t let Mom-guilt stop me from plugging into my work. I am not ashamed to say I want to build a legacy TOO! I am still there for my kids plenty! I will lean into the community of support that I get through coaching because it’s positive, uplifting and I am surrounded with other dreamers and doers too- they say you are like the 5 people you surround yourself with.

Here’s to being a Mom, and going after dreams and goals. No fears, no guilt, just hard-work and loving both my family and what I do!

Blog

2019 Did Not Break Me

You know those years that life hands you the lemons, throws you that curveball or you hit that bump on the road that you didn’t expect? That was my life this past year. The thing is, we all have those years- we just never know when they will happen or what the circumstance may be. I heard the quote “2019 didn’t break me, it only made me stronger” somewhere and that is truly my motto for 2019.

It’s crazy how you can be going through life as you normally know it, and then all of a sudden the scenery looks different. You get the call, the bad news, or the series of events that leads to crisis mode eventually. You aren’t moving forward anymore, you feel like time has literally frozen. It seems like everyone else’s life is going on per usual, but yours is not. You can’t quite make plans because some weeks are very unknown. You can’t look ahead because the road isn’t clear with too many unknowns, and your normal routine is totally off. It’s living in crisis mode and you feel isolated and lonely because you are the only one that understands your new reality. People check in here and there to see how you are doing or how they can help, and you have no idea what to tell them because you are taking it hour by hour, day by day. You are just doing what you have to do to survive and keep some sense of normalcy for your kids, and yourself whenever possible.

I have been there for friends during a season of hard. I have been in a season of hard before too, but it has been over 20 years. The thing about life is that we will all experience seasons of hard- some more than others maybe, some will be spread out, some will happen consecutively. They all look different— from the failed marriages, to the diagnosis, or the sick loved one to take care of, or the miscarriage, or the death, and the list goes on. Life surely is NOT fair. But when your season of not fair is upon you, what you can do to get through it is BE GOOD TO YOU.

During my season of hard, I still worked out six days a week. Some may think that’s absurd, but it was literally the one thing that got me out of bed and moving each day. Once my body started moving in the workout, I felt my the emotions leaving me a bit, the focus coming back in, the endorphins helping my mood, and when I was done….I was reminded that I could do HARD THINGS because that 30-40 minute session was hard. It’s crazy how just a simple thing in your routine can help your mindset, and yes my body needed that outlet too. When I had my hard season over 20 some years ago, self-care was not on my list. I suffered because of it. My season of hard took me years to get over. This time? I put self-care at the top of the list, even if it looked slightly different– I fought for me each day so that I could be STRONG for the situation and the person that needed me to be STRONG FOR THEM.

So just remember that when someone else needs you, you have to work on being strong. And even if the thing is happening to YOU directly, you need to be strong for you too. I don’t want to know what life would have looked like this year if I didn’t take care of me. My kids needed me during this time, my husband needed me present during this time. Sure I felt like I wasn’t the best Mom or wife at times when my mind was elsewhere a lot of weeks, or I was physically gone more— but I did the best I could. I tried to keep my home life as normal as possible, and my workouts were my saving grace to remind me that I am strong, and that I CAN get through tough seasons. And you know what?? 2019 didn’t break me, it only made me stronger.

As I enter 2020, I have a new focus. I let go of the things that don’t serve me, as I had to in that season of hard. So I have a different perspective this year. Sometimes the seasons of hard give you new perspective, as a matter of fact they always do.

So here’s hoping that you don’t experience a season of hard, but if you do– do the things to keep you strong mentally and physically so you come out stronger, and then it’s your time to be there for others during their season of hard.

Blog

Daughter Strong x2

A lot has been swirling in my brain these past few months, so today is the day to share it. Here it goes….

Twenty-three years ago, I had just lost my Mom to cancer.

That Fall, I was just entering my senior year of college. Most kids were excited about the last year; some had jobs or grad school line up. Most were out whooping it up on the weekends at house parties or the local watering holes. However, my senior year had a different view. My world had just been completely turned upside down. I was sad, mad, lonely, and felt very lost. Nobody could relate to me– most hadn’t experienced loss or watched a loved one suffer from a life-ending disease. Instead of going out, I spent time at the library or in my room crying myself to sleep.

It was my Mom’s last dying wish to see me graduate, so the fact that stage four Ovarian Cancer took her before that had left me feeling all the emotions, as you can imagine. I didn’t know how to cope, deal or move on in my senior year (or even my post college years for that matter).

In her four year battle, she had four kids and two grandkids as a reminder to keep pushing through the chemo, the sick days, the hair loss, the colostomy bag and many surgeries and relapses. She had an amazing job that she worked so hard at. She was a nurse her entire career until she moved into medical device sales when I was in 8th grade. My Mom was a fighter through and through, everyone knew that because it was in her bones and DNA. She was healthy, a runner actually. She touched so many lives in her nursing and sales career and everyone loved her smile, energy and personality. She had SO many people rooting for her, but she protected those super close to her by taking on cancer by herself initially. I remember her telling me she had to go in for just a little surgery, sparing me the fact that it was stage four Ovarian Cancer. I know she wanted to protect me, and save me from worry being that I was only 17. But as a worry-wart by nature, even if I didn’t know the whole story I was always worrying. I was her “Pina-Colada” as she called me, the youngest of the four kids by seven years. I know she didn’t want to tell me how bad it was, because she was determined to beat it. But we all know now, that Ovarian Cancer is a silent one– often undetected until it’s too late (and yes I get extra screenings each year now). She was sick off and on for four years. She even beat cancer a few times and went into remission; but that final year it reared it’s ugly head with more force and audacity.

During the summer she passed away, I was home from college. It was so hard to watch her be sick and slowly fade away. I watched with one eye if that makes sense. I couldn’t even imagine life without her, so I didn’t even go there. This was my Mom, I needed her. I was young, and she was my rock. I didn’t talk about the “what if” scenarios. When it really got bad at the end I know she couldn’t even look at me without tears in her eyes or her heart breaking because she was so worried about me. Who would take care of me, would I be ok, what did my future hold?

But as a young 21 year old, I was in denial that I was losing her. I stayed so busy that final summer- with a nanny job, softball games, and spending time with the boyfriend or friends. We had family members rotating shifts at our house so I wasn’t alone in caring for her- she was hooked up to IVs for food, and she had a colostomy bag. I think I probably knew what was coming, but I shoved it out of my mind and just stayed busy- being with her when I was home and helping her. She moved to the hospital the last few weeks of her life. It was at the U of M Cancer Center, so it was a bit of a drive from Stillwater. I went to visit, but of course still tried to stay busy nannying and playing softball. When the end was near, a sibling had to tell me to quit my nanny job, and to also get to the hospital STAT because the end was getting near. It was hard to go, my heart was breaking. But we took shifts that last week of being with her around the clock and on her final day, I did tell her all the things I wanted to tell her. I gave her permission to go, if she needed to and that I would be OK eventually. I felt like she was hanging on as she was worried about me. All of us would take this hard, but the others had homes, jobs and significant others. It was after I left the hospital that she decided it was her time to go to Heaven. I believe she chose to wait until I was gone, because if I had been there there’s no way I would have been able to deal with it. Getting the call at home a few hours later, and going back to the hospital to officially say good-bye is forever etched in my mind and brain. I fell to the floor, I couldn’t breathe and I had a panic attack. Typing that out makes my hair stand up and brings tears to my eyes still.

I didn’t come to terms with my emotions or recognize them after she was gone. I never talked to anyone besides maybe two close people I confided in. I didn’t take care of me, and I went into a downward spiral the years after her death. Emotional eating, anxiety and some self-destructive behaviors crept in during my early 20s. I gained 40 pounds over time. I felt lost, frustrated and stuck. Most of my friends loved their jobs, or were getting married- and here I was going through the motions with a job I didn’t love, and not really knowing who I was, what I wanted or where I was going. And as for dating? I wasn’t close to being ready to settle down in my 20s with really needed to work on ME, love ME, before I could love someone else.

Fast forward, I had years to work on ME when I was ready to. I started exercising, eating better, coping with my anxiety and finding what made ME happy. I found passion and energy in life again. I began running. I ran my first marathon at the age of 28 as a way to show her and myself that I was strong and I’d be OK, even if life sucked without her. I lost 40 pounds over the next year after the marathon and fell in love with fitness, so I started to pursue a career in fitness on the side of my corporate job. I then met my husband because I truly loved ME and found the piece of my heart that was missing. When my corporate years came to an end so I could stay at-home and raise kids, I jumped into heath and fitness full force with Personal Training and virtual wellness coaching and being my own boss. Life happened to me early, but it made me dig deep, spend time with myself, have life experiences like travel and meeting people all over and it helped shaped me into the person I am today!

Now at 44, I am going through a similar health experience with my Dad. Stage Two Diabetes has reared its ugly head in his body after 20 years. This summer he had two (partial) foot amputations, many hospital stays and months in transitional care. He went home over Labor Day for three days finally, but came down with an infection so back to the hospital he went. A week stay that time around and some more scary days, we weren’t sure which direction he was headed but he turned a corner thankfully. Back to Transitional Care he goes to get stronger and cared for by professionals. So this journey continues, and once again watching a parent suffer, and go through trauma is extremely difficult. Not knowing what could happen is extremely difficult. Having really rough patches and then good days throws your mind and emotions for loops.

But this time, the view is a little different for me……..

Is it unfair to go through this twice? Yep, I am not in denial this time. I am letting myself feel all the feelings- scared, fear, mad, resentful, etc… I am taking care of myself this time- workouts (for stress-relief and me time) and eating. My daily exercise habits are there, and there’s no way I am letting them go during a time where I need an outlet the most! It’s what makes me feel stronger inside and out, so I can go be a strong daughter. I am pouring my heart and soul into being one of his cheerleaders, motivators and caretakers. I’m the schedule lady, keeping track of all of his appointments and getting all the calls from social workers or clinics. I am there pretty much every other day, checking in on him, advocating for his health, and being one of his rocks (he is lucky to have four kids and a girlfriend to support him, along with lots of friends). This time I am not running away, but I’m right front and center. This time around I am having the hard conversations even with him- and helping him stay strong mentally so he can push past those really hard days. Yes it’s emotionally taxing to help someone fight for life, but it’s worth every second. It’s hard to be “on” in that way and then come home and be “on” as a Mom and Health Motivator in my job. But I can do it. It’s a season of life, and it may be the new normal but I’ll adjust. I was young the first time around, I didn’t know how to balance life and trauma. This time around, I am a Mom, Wife and Health Motivator. Coaching people is what I do. I can be the rock he needs because I work on me, I have worked on me for over 20 years, and I have a gift to offer.

I have a group of ladies that I coach virtually, and they remind me to keep showing up for me each day in my health so I can be STRONG for my Dad and my kids and husband. There are days I don’t feel strong, but after a workout it reminds me that I am. I signed up for a 10-mile race this October because I once again, want a goal to keep me mentally and physically challenged so I can remind myself how strong I am. (It’s just my thing I like to do to give myself a mental push as that spreads into my life in other places if that makes sense).

So yes, I am here again. But the view looks different this time. I am older, stronger and wiser  but the message is the same! Life throws you for loops and it’s unfair at times but you “NEVER GIVE UP.” You don’t give up on you, and you remind others to not give up in their battles too! I remind my Dad everyday of this, and myself. I couldn’t speak those words out loud to my Mom, but she knew. She knew I had to do what I needed to do to cope.

Whatever battle you are going through – don’t give up. Life will try to knock you down, but I am here to remind you that you are strong. You can do hard things, and you can help others do hard things too! It’s going to suck, it’s going to wear on you– but you WILL come out stronger if you persevere and lean into others, shut the white noise out (the things that don’t matter or can’t be paid attention to), don’t get too far ahead, and take care of you (exercise, sleep if possible, eating good 80% of the time, mediation, yoga or mindfulness- whatever helps you).

My passion for health is even stronger, cancer took my life best friend and Diabetes is trying to take another life best friend. Yep, I’m here again, but the view is different this time. My mind, body, and spirit is stronger from life experiences. My mission is to help others take care of themselves too, because you never know when others may need you to be strong!

I am #daughterstrong x2.

Blog

Daughter Strong x2

A lot has been swirling in my brain these past few months, so today is the day to share it. Here it goes….

Exactly 23 years ago (well in August of 1996 to be exact), I had just lost my Mom to cancer.

That Fall, I was just entering my senior year of college. Most kids were excited about the last year; some had jobs or grad school line up. Most were out whooping it up on the weekends at house parties or the local watering holes. However, my senior year had a different view. My world had just been completely turned upside down. I was sad, mad, lonely, and felt very lost. Nobody could relate to me– most hadn’t experienced loss or watched a loved one suffer from a life-ending disease. Instead of going out, I spent time at the library or in my room crying myself to sleep.

It was my Mom’s last dying wish to see me graduate, so the fact that stage four Ovarian Cancer took her before that had left me feeling all the feels, as you can imagine. I didn’t know how to cope, deal or move on in my senior year (or even my post college years for that matter).

In her four year battle, she had four kids and two grandkids as a reminder to keep pushing through the chemo, the sick days, the hair loss, the colostomy bag and many surgeries and relapses. She had an amazing job that she worked so hard at. She was a nurse her entire career until she moved into medical device sales when I was in 8th grade. My Mom was a fighter through and through, everyone knew that because it was in her bones and DNA. She was healthy, a runner actually. She touched so many lives in her nursing and sales career and everyone loved her smile, energy and personality. She had SO many people rooting for her, but she protected those super close to her by taking on cancer by herself initially. I remember her telling me she had to go in for just a little surgery, sparing me the fact that it was stage four Ovarian Cancer. I know she wanted to protect me, and save me from worry being that I was only 17. But as a worry-wart by nature, even if I didn’t know the whole story I was always worrying. I was her “Pina-Colada” as she called me, the youngest of the four kids by seven years. I know she didn’t want to tell me how bad it was, because she was determined to beat it. But we all know now, that Ovarian Cancer is a silent one– often undetected until it’s too late (and yes I get extra screenings each year now). She was sick off and on for four years. She even beat cancer a few times and went into remission; but that final year it reared it’s ugly head with more force and audacity.

During the summer she passed away, I was home from college. It was so hard to watch her be sick and slowly fade away. I watched with one eye if that makes sense. I couldn’t even imagine life without her, so I didn’t even go there. This was my Mom, I needed her. I was young, and she was my rock. I didn’t talk about the “what if” scenarios. When it really got bad at the end I know she couldn’t even look at me without tears in her eyes or her heart breaking because she was so worried about me. Who would take care of me, would I be ok, what did my future hold?

But as a young 21 year old, I was in denial that I was losing her. I stayed so busy that final summer- with a nanny job, softball games, and spending time with the boyfriend or friends. We had family members rotating shifts at our house so I wasn’t alone in caring for her- she was hooked up to IVs for food, and she had a colostomy bag. I think I probably knew what was coming, but I shoved it out of my mind and just stayed busy- being with her when I was home and helping her. She moved to the hospital the last few weeks of her life. It was at the U of M Cancer Center, so it was a bit of a drive from Stillwater. I went to visit, but of course still tried to stay busy nannying and playing softball. When the end was near, a sibling had to tell me to quit my nanny job, and to also get to the hospital STAT because the end was getting near. It was hard to go, my heart was breaking. But we took shifts that last week of being with her around the clock and on her final day, I did tell her all the things I wanted to tell her. I gave her permission to go, if she needed to and that I would be OK eventually. I felt like she was hanging on as she was worried about me. All of us would take this hard, but the others had homes, jobs and significant others. It was after I left the hospital that she decided it was her time to go to Heaven. I believe she chose to wait until I was gone, because if I had been there there’s no way I would have been able to deal with it. Getting the call at home a few hours later, and going back to the hospital to officially say good-bye is forever etched in my mind and brain. I fell to the floor, I couldn’t breathe and I had a panic attack.

I didn’t come to terms with my emotions or recognize them after she was gone. I never talked to anyone besides maybe two close people I confided in. I didn’t take care of me, and I went into a downward spiral the years after her death. Emotional eating, anxiety and some self-destructive behaviors crept in during my early 20s. I gained 40 pounds over time. I felt lost, frustrated and stuck. Most of my friends loved their jobs, or were getting married- and here I was going through the motions with a job I didn’t love, and not really knowing who I was, what I wanted or where I was going.

Fast forward, I had years to work on ME when I was ready to. I started exercising, eating better, coping with my anxiety and finding what made ME happy. I found passion and energy in life again. I began running. I ran my first marathon at the age of 28 as a way to show her and myself that I was strong and I’d be OK, even if life sucked without her. I lost 40 pounds over the next year after the marathon and fell in love with fitness, so I started to pursue a career in fitness on the side of my corporate job. When my corporate years came to an end so I could stay at-home and raise kids, I jumped into heath and fitness full force with Personal Training and virtual wellness coaching and being my own boss. Life happened to me early, but it made me dig deep, spend time with myself, have life experiences like travel and meeting people all over and it helped shaped me into the person I am today!

Now at 44, I am going through a similar health experience with my Dad. Stage Two Diabetes has reared its ugly head in his body after 20 years of having it. This summer he had two (partial) foot amputations, many hospital stays and months in transitional care. He went home over Labor Day for three days finally, but came down with an infection so back to the hospital he went. A week stay and some scary days, we weren’t sure which direction he was headed but he turned a corner thankfully. Back to transition care he goes to get stronger and cared for. So this journey continues, and once again watching a parent suffer, and go through trauma is extremely difficult. Not knowing what could happen is extremely difficult. Having really rough patches and then good days throws you for loops.

But this time, it looks a little different for me……..

Is it unfair to go through this twice? Yep, but this time around I am not in denial this time. I am letting myself feel all the feelings- scared, fear, mad, resentful, etc… I am taking care of myself this time- workouts and eating. My daily exercise habits are there, and there’s no way I am letting them go during a time where I need an outlet the most! It’s what makes me feel stronger inside and out, so I can go be a strong daughter. I am pouring my heart and soul into being one of his cheerleaders, motivators and caretakers. I’m the schedule lady, keeping track of all of his appointments. I am there pretty much every other day, checking in on him, advocating for his health, going to appointments and meetings. This time I am not running away, but I’m right front and center. This time around I am having the hard conversations even with him- and helping him stay strong mentally so he can push past those really hard days. Yes it’s emotionally taxing to help someone fight for life, but it’s worth every second. I was young the first time around, I didn’t know how to do that. This time around, I am a Mom, Wife and Health Motivator. Coaching people is what I do. I can be the rock he needs because i work on me, I have worked on me, and I have a gift to offer.

I have a group of ladies that I coach virtually, and they remind me to keep showing up for me each day in my health so I can be STRONG for my Dad and my kids and husband. There are days I don’t feel strong, but after a workout it reminds me that I am. I signed up for a 10-mile race this October because I once again, want a goal to keep me mentally and physically challenged so I can remind myself how strong I am. (It’s just my thing I like to do to give myself a mental push as that spreads into my life in other places if that makes sense).

So yes, I am here again. But the view looks different this time. I am older, stronger and wiser  but the message is the same! Life throws you for loops and it’s unfair at times but you “NEVER GIVE UP.” You don’t give up on you, and you remind others to not give up in their battles too! I remind my Dad everyday of this, and myself. I couldn’t speak those words out loud to my Mom, but she knew. She knew I had to do what I needed to do to cope.

Whatever battle you are going through – don’t give up. Life will try to knock you down, but I am here to remind you that you are strong. You can do hard things, and you can help others do hard things too! It’s going to suck, it’s going to wear on you– but you WILL come out stronger if you persevere and lean into others, shut the white noise out (the things that don’t matter or can’t be paid attention to), don’t get too far ahead, and take care of you (exercise, sleep if possible, eating good 80% of the time, mediation, yoga or mindfulness- whatever helps you!

My passion for health is even stronger, cancer took my life best friend and Diabetes is trying to take another life best friend. Yep, I’m here again, but the view is different this time- my mind, body, and spirit is stronger from life experiences. My mission is to help others take care of themselves too, because you never know when others may need you to be strong!

I am #daughterstrong x2.

Blog · Uncategorized

What’s your Why?

When you start a health journey, or business– there will be days where you don’t feel like showing up. Maybe your bed is more cozy than getting up to change into workout clothes. Maybe sipping coffee slowly and watching a replay of The Real Housewives after the kids go off to school sounds better than plugging into your online business.

Well in either cases, you need a WHY to help you do the hard things, to help you show up day after day even when you may not feel like it.

My reason for living a healthy lifestyle is twofold. My first reason is I lost my Mom early in life. She was 53 and I was 21. It rocked my world. I gained 40 pounds and a bunch of anxiety. When I finally started to work on me with exercise and eating better, I had re-gained that spark of who I was before I had lost her. I found confidence and happiness within again. I felt so good that I wanted to pay that forward to help others. So now health and fitness is my career. But everyday the reason why I get up out of bed to workout, and why I choose to eat whole foods in my day is because I know what it felt like to NOT feel good. There’s NO way I am going back. There’s also a lot of disease that runs in my family, so I need to combat anything that I am dispositioned to if I can have a say in it!

My reason for showing up for my online business each day is twofold too. Gosh, I can’t just have an EASY one-line answer huh? My first reason is my Mom. She was a successful business woman who taught me to go after my dreams, goals, not be afraid of change and make big leaps when she left her nursing job after 25+ years to go into medical sales. I know she would be proud of me today for starting my own business and following my dreams and heart. My other reason is of course my family of three- my boys. I have two young boys and an older boy (my husband LOL). He’s four years younger than me, so he’s not old– I AM! But I want to spend time with them and not be in a corporate job 8-5 with a commute. I want to be able to take them on trips and create new memories and experiences with them. I want them to see how hard work pays off by creating a life that has more freedoms than an office job or a job at the gym. I am currently creating that right now and they have seen some doses of it and keep asking me when I get to this point, can we go do x, y, and z. For me, being able to work from home and be flexible to get my kids to school, to volunteer on their fieldtrips, to be at home when they return for the day and to shuffle them off to sports is a HUGE reason to do the hard things during the day. Nothing worth having comes easy, so that’s why my business is important to me and I take it seriously.

So dig deep, find that WHY. Put a picture up to remind you of it every.single.day! And once it becomes a routine you won’t question showing up or not, it will become WHO you are and you will keep crushing those goals and dreams because we all know consistency pays off!

My family in the Bahamas March 2019.
Uncategorized

Mind OVER Matter

Having a strong mindset is SO powerful in everything you do– especially your health journey.  Fifteen years ago, when I first began my health journey it all started with a choice– choosing that I wanted CHANGE more than I wanted to stay the same.  I was forty pounds up. I was anxious. I was stressed. I also had insomnia. The world felt lonely and at times heavy, post losing my Mom to cancer. I wasn’t taking care of ME but I was letting the things that were out of my control take over me.  So I started my journey- one day at a time. I began to exercise and use it as a stress-relief and a way to practice self-love. I had to love myself FIRST to become happy on the inside, and the rest would happen. I learned to be more mindful of my food choices, and to slow down on the extra desserts, servings and drinks that added up. Forty pounds later I found my passion for life again, my stress and anxiety decreased. My insomnia went away. I found ME again, and that self-love that I knew was inside.

It all started with my mind– that had to be FIRST. Now, as a Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer and Online Fitness Influencer I work with women all over the world on practicing self- love. But I teach them to start with their MIND. Our minds can play games on us– tell us are are not worth, we are not strong enough to do a 20-minute hard workout, that we can’t do a push-up on our toes ever, that we can’t lose weight, be strong, run a mile or be better. But our mind is LYING to us. We can’t listen to those negative voices. We have to say “I CAN” and “I WILL”. There is NO perfect in my book- it’s progress. We fail as we go- if we try one push-up on our toes and we fall on our face, we tried. Then we modify and do it on our knees until we can do ONE on our toes. We keep trying. Then it becomes two and three with consistency and practice. We get stronger and we say “I CAN” do it.

So do NOT doubt yourself for one minute on a goal you want to accomplish. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to work on you with all you have to give others you probably pour into them. You can pour into others BETTER and MORE if you are happy inside and out– taking care of YOU!

So Mind over matter– you’ve got this. Every goal, every journey begins with just getting that mind in the right place and believing in yourself! Then start and don’t look back, learning and failing forward as you go to a stronger and better YOU. The sky is the limit, nothing holds you back but yourself!