Holiday Road, Our Family Road Trip across the USA


The Burnett’s are back from our trip across country and what a journey it was…

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Recently, Bob, Logan and I met up with my mom and my son Alex in Vegas to begin an 11 day trip in an RV across country.  5 people, one breadbox of an RV living space, traveling across country for 11 days.  This is the perfect pitch for a reality tv show.  Much like the old MTV Real World episodes of “See what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.” Thank God we were family and not strangers.

Where to begin?  Should I start with getting felt up by the nice TSA lady at the airport in Baltimore before our journey even began, or should I start with the cab drive to the airport where we were able to get all the juicy details from our cab driver about what his former life as a 30 year prison guard was like as well as all the horrid details that happen to men at night when the lights go off.  Yeah, lets skip that part and go right to TSA.

I’ll keep it short.  I got felt up by a TSA lady who was in training.  Allegedly the computer picked up that I had metal near my groin.  Not sure how that could be, given that I was wearing all cotton and my skirt was tight enough (classy but very from fitting) that if I were carrying a weapon or any metal you would easily be able to see it.  FYI, I have no piercings below my ears.  Anyhow, it turns out they flagged me because this TSA lady needed to learn how to pat people down and look for explosives, or weapons of some sort.  I just wish they would have been honest about it and not lied to me, making me look like a criminal with my hands up over my head as she frisked me.  Anyway, I was in and out and got to my flight with plenty of time to spare, but still annoyed that I purposely wore clothing and slip on shoes to avoid BS like that.  Of course there are a lot of people who they would never flag, or pull aside to be used as a 2016-08-03 08.01.24guinea pig, because of racial profiling, so you know…they can’t go wrong targeting the white woman.

 

We landed in Vegas around noon.  Las Vegas has never been a destination spot for me. Mostly because I don’t like people.  I’m not a gambler.  It looked exactly how I expected it to look.  Like an oversized miniature golf course for drunk people who think they might be in New York and Paris at the same time.  We had lunch at the Bellagio and then gambled for a bit.  Being the high roller that I am, I put five dollars in the slot machine and walked out with sixty bucks.  Bob won about 100 dollars off the black jack table and then we quit while we were ahead.  Besides, we had a long ride ahead of us and we wanted to see the Hoover Dam before we headed out to Arizona.

Imagine our surprise when we saw a sign that said “Welcome to Arizona” we completely missed the exit or road that took us to the Hoover Dam.  We were told we would drive right over it.  Didn’t happen. Road trip fail.

A couple hours later we were all hungry and decided to get a quick bite to eat at IN and Out Burger. The boys were stoked to eat there.  Being that we don’t have them on the east coast the kids get so excited to eat there when we visit the west.  I have always heard the hype around In and Out Burger so I gave it a try.  I was not impressed.  I thought it was gross but then again I can be a bit of a food snob.  The highlight of our dinner experience was watching a homeless man role a joint on the outdoor tables at In and Out Burger, maybe that’s the secret to making it taste good? We are winning this day for sure.(<—sarcasm)

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The first campground was still about a three hour drive so we piled back in the RV and got to the campground around 9pm.  The campground was located off of Route 66 somewhere in Arizona. We turned in to an old dark gas station that had a bunch of abandoned antique cars all over the drive way.  We didn’t see any tents, cabins or RVs.  My mom got out to look around and see if anyone was in the gas station office.  A sign read “Campers come to room 22 after 8pm.” Turns out there was an old motel behind the gas station.  We headed to the motel room.  Any horror story you can think of was what this place looked like in the dark.  Bob spoke with a woman about our reservation and she told us to drive down to the end of the road turn right and keep driving until we saw the RV park.  I’ll skip past the part of the old lady who chased us down as we headed to camp and grabbed onto Bob’s arm as though she was trying to tell him something without saying it out loud. I think she was hopped up on something.

It was a very quiet ride down the dirt driveway in the pitch black. No one said a word, but the thought bubbles that were hanging over our heads all had a scene from Psycho or The Hills Have Eyes or whatever horror movie you can imagine. Most people probably would have left and found another campsite. However, we were exhausted and in the middle of the desert; who knows when we would see another campsite.

We were only one of three RV’s in a very big RV park in the desert.  We barely slept that night as we listened to the weird sounds of scraping and tapping against the RV.  At one point Bob went to check it out.  It felt like being trapped animals in a cage.  Whatever was out there could see us but we can’t see them.  (By them, I mean the wind, bugs and probably some small rodents like lizards and armadillos or whatever animals live in Arizona, but in our mind it was Leather Face coming for us.)

We woke up to a very beautiful morning with cows, bulls and steers eating grass from their pasture right next to our RV.  A friendly employee came by as we were cooking breakfast to let us know about their free continental breakfast at there restaurant lounge.  I took a hot shower in a bathroom that turned out to be the cleanest of all the campgrounds we stayed at.  It turns out the campground was very old and also had a motel and lodging, as well as an old store and restaurant, probably once a big tourist destination in the 1950’s.

We learned a lesson that we are city slicker snobs and watch way too much tv.  The place was charming yet still creepy, there were creepy manikins around the campground, one was a boy manikin tied to a rope and being lowered into a 250 foot hole in the ground by an adult manikin.  It’s called Dope on a Rope.  Apparently tourists used to pay to go down into the hole.  It’s a thing… you can look it up. It’s very creepy and bizarre but still interesting.

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Next stop was the Grand Canyon. Absolutely beautiful. We stayed one night for only 6 bucks. Apparently, in order to do all the active fun stuff like hiking, donkey rides and paddle boarding you have to plan a year in advance.  However, we made the most of it.  The boys got too close to the edge and would goof off at times.  This sent me into lunatic mom mode.  We hear all the time about people falling off over the edge and I can see how that can happen.  People are idiots and do stupid shit.  I don’t think I’m fearful of heights but I am fearful of seeing one of my kids fall to his death because he wants to do some stupid headstand or crow pose by the edge. Ok, yes I did a yoga pose in the picture below, but I was far from the edge.  Trust me, I’m an expert. (not) Bob recommended waking up super early and watching the sunrise over the  canyon, so that’s exactly what us adults did.  Teenagers had no interest so they slept.  I highly recommend watching the sun rise and set over the Grand Canyon.  It’s something magical for sure.

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The rest of that day was spent mostly driving.  We drove through Utah and stopped at Arches National Park.  We hiked up to one of the arches, it was a great way to get some movement after being cooped up for the day.  We made our way to Grand Junction Colorado and  stayed for the night. Then we started our way to Denver.  We stopped at a place to swim and hopefully see a waterfall but it was a bust. The water was more suitable for boaters and there were fish hooks and sharp objects all over the place, so we called it a day and headed to Denver.

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Denver was all about the eats for me.  We had dinner at this great restaurant called Pinche Tacos. This place is so good!  It’s a young trendy restaurant with really great food.  The food is served family style so we all ordered different tacos.  I had cow tongue, fish and porkbelly tacos.  They are severed on small but but very filling tacos.  I couldn’t finish mine.  I also enjoyed a spicy margarita made with really good and cleanish ingredients.

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After dinner we enjoyed a treat from Beet Box Bakery and Cafe. Everything there is vegan and you can also get gluten free.  I had a donut and a bite of Logan’s brownie.  It was probably one of the best desserts I have ever eaten.  I also enjoyed a berry black Kombucha from Upstart, a company that makes and bottles their Kombucha in Boulder Co.

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Probably one of my most favorite stops from the trip was our visit to Mount Rushmore.  It was a beautiful drive on the way to see the four presidents. Lot’s of pine trees and mountain views. We had a lot of fun sight seeing.  Most tourists walked the wooded path and steps but we insisted on running the path. Partly because we are not normal and partly because we needed to get our energy out.  On the drive back down the mountain we spotted a lake and went for a nice swim.  The weather and water was perfect and everyone was happy.

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We camped overnight somewhere in South Dakota. The next morning we drove through part of the Bad lands and stopped to feed the prairie dogs.  My mom had the great idea of dressing up in frontier clothing that the gift shop offered to take photos.  We certainly had a lot of laughs and got a kick out of it.

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We made our way east.  Next stop in Wisconsin.  This was a short but special trip to see our dearest friends the Campbell’s.  We have been friends with the Campbell’s since our kids were little toddlers.  It was so great to see all of them and see how big our kids have gotten.  Only wish we would of had more time to spend with them.

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Bob and my mom got up the next morning at 4 am and packed up camp so we could get to Niagara Falls by dinner.  It was a very long drive.  The boys and I slept most of the morning and avoided the stressful episode of almost running out of gas just past Chicago.  Something to do with only certain gas stations sold diesel, which is what the RV needed.  Also, the GPS tried to take us to Canada so we got to see a bit of Michigan by accident.

2016-08-11 22.30.30My entire life people have spoken about Niagara Falls as being a must see and make it sound so magical.  What no one tells you is that it’s pretty much a big carnival and other than the falls it’s not very pretty or even clean and kept.  The falls themselves were beautiful and I definitely recommend taking the ferry ride to get a closer look and walking the Cave of the Winds to feel the power of the waterfall. But… here’s what no one tells you.  There are so many people on the boat and you get shuffled on and off like cattle. There are long lines for both the ferry and the Cave of the Winds.  They sell cheap overly priced carnival food, like your typical ice cream, pretzels, soda, burgers and such.  They charge an arm and a leg for water.  The trolley is over crowded with people standing and the drivers won’t allow you to bring your overly priced iced cream onto the trolley and they treat you like a child as they shame you for trying to bring it on.  My mom was smart, she snuck it into her purse.  Bob was a little pissed to say the least.  Partly because it was hot, he already spent a few hundred bucks for tickets, food and water and he didn’t appreciate the condescending bus drivers tone of voice as she shamed him for trying to bring his just bought ice-cream on the trolley.  Unless I just happened to be in the area, I wouldn’t waste my time going to Niagara Falls. Although, I hear the Canada side is nice, but  after our experience, I have no desire to see the falls from that side either.  All that being said, I’m grateful for the opportunity to see the falls with my family.

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We made a last minute decision to leave Buffalo that evening and headed out to Connecticut. It was a very long drive.  I stayed up to keep Bob company as he drove.  We decided to stay at a hotel that night and didn’t get in until 2 am.  At this point we had all been living in the RV for 9 days and the hotel stay was short lived but a welcome treat.

We were on the road again by 9 am the next morning.  Our final stop was Cape Cod.  We stayed in Falmouth Cape Cod. Our stay was short, only a day but we made the most of it. We enjoyed some ice cream at Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium and then took a nice bike ride along the coast.  The boys went for a swim and skipped rocks into the water. We ended our day with a nice dinner at the Glass Onion. A pretty fancy and pricey restaurant which after living in an RV we were a little out of place because we weren’t dressed for it, but it was worth it. I only wish we had more time to spend in Cape Cod.  Perhaps a three day stay at a bed and breakfast is in the future.

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We headed home the next morning.  We hit lots of traffic through New York and Philly.  We were happy to get home that night.  I’m so thankful to have done this trip with my family before Logan heads off to college next year.  I would absolutely have done it all over again but I will never do it again.  If that makes any sense.  I’m not a fan of long endless car rides and waking up in a new spot everyday. Plus we didn’t have enough time to really stay and enjoy all the places.  For example, the next time I go to Colorado, I would like to fly there and enjoy a couple of days doing fun active stuff.

I must say my boys did great. Never once did they fight or lose their mind.  The adults did well too.  We had a few freak out moments that were to be expected, but when one would freak out the others would stay cool, and understanding.  So it all worked out. There were a lot of Griswold moments as well. Things broke, an alarm went off in the RV, we almost ran out of gas, my mom and I walked into the men’s shower room, we almost got lost a few times and ended up in some shady areas, but we laughed it off.  I lost my shit over Bob asking me to make him a sandwich while he was driving because I was getting bumped around the cabin, but settled down after I had something to eat. When traveling in small quarters all the way across our great nation It’s all to be expected, it’s what makes us human and great Americans after all. Right? Just nod in agreement.

As far as workouts and healthy eating goes.  Hahaha! Not this time. Sure, I did a few push-ups and lunges here and there just to get some movement from sitting for so long, but it wasn’t really exercise. We would arrive at a campsite with just enough time to set up camp, eat dinner and then pack up and be on the road early the next day.  Our sleep habits were off too. Twizzlers and Cow Tails were my go to stress and boredom snack.  We kept most of our meals healthy with exception to In and Out Burger and the lunch we had in Niagara Falls.  For me exercise and nutrition are part of my lifestyle so if I’m not perfect or on point while I’m living in an RV for 11 days traveling across country I don’t stress about it. My body starts to crave healthy foods and movement because it is part of my daily life. I have been living a healthy lifestyle so long that experience and maturity has taught me so much about what my body is capable of doing and what it needs that I don’t struggle with getting on track.  It has taken practice to get there, but consistency is key and before you know it, its a habit that becomes a lifestyle.  I don’t have any advice for eating healthy and exercise on a family trip across country.  All I can say is make the best of it and enjoy the experience.


Rachel Carson 18 mile hike recap.


At the beginning of the summer I had the privilege to hike the 18 mile Rachel Carson course in Pennsylvania with my friend Julie and her sweet cousin Lindsay. The 18 mile was the half-challenge of the course, for those willing there was the option to hike the full 34 mile course.  Participants have one day to complete the entire course.

I had never heard of this challenge before being invited by Julie to hike the course with her and Lindsay.  When she invited me to join them I jumped at the chance to try something different. Other than going on three longish hikes with Julie: about 7miles one day, 7 the next and 13 miles another time, I didn’t really  train for this event.  I was pretty confident that I could hike the course without any problems because of my current fitness level. The only thing that I was really concerned about were snakes, and thankfully there were so many people on the course I didn’t see any.

Julie and I drove up to Pittsburg the day before the hike.  We met up with Lindsay to register for the hike and then headed to dinner.  I’m not sure what I was more excited about, the hike with two fun gals or dinner at Meat and Potatoes.  One of my favorite restaurants in Pittsburg.   We ordered so much food.  We started with some apps, one of my favorites is the bone marrow on toast…so good, and of course I enjoyed a drink or two.

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After gorging ourselves with allthefood we headed to the waterfront from some amazing views,

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and then headed back to Julie’s Aunt’s house for some much needed sleep.  We woke up early to roll out on some lax balls before heading out to the race.  We weren’t very hungry after the big dinner from the night before.  I drank a Bang which has some BCAAs and a lot of caffeine in it. I also ate a quest bar about an hour before starting the race.

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We took a very long  bus ride to the start of the course and there were surprisingly a lot of people there already.  We also did some stretching before starting our 18 mile trek.

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I packed some protein bars, trail mix and some plums for the hike.  I wanted fruit that would be juicy enough to keep me hydrated and give me energy to finish the hike.  I also had a camelback full of water that I refilled at the water stations.

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The course was so much fun.  I liked the rolling hills most of all.  Going up hill is not a problem whatsoever, but down hill for me is a whole other story.  I really slow down going down hill and even did a crab crawl when the gravel was loose and steep.  Thankfully Julie let me borrow one of her hiking sticks. There were people of all walks of life and a lot of kids too. What a great idea to expose the kids to hiking at an early age.

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The first four miles flew by.  There was a water station after the first four miles and then every seven after that.  The water stations were very organized and they had plenty of food as well.  I had a couple of orange slices but stuck to the food I brought for the most part.

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About half way through the course we stopped to stretch which was a really great idea.  A few calf stretches, back and hip stretches is exactly what the body needs to recharge and keep going. We stuck together for the entire race.  Which was good because when one person was feeling hot, and tired the others would pick up the pace a bit and we were able to keep each other motivated.

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I didn’t feel the course was very hard,  If anything the mental game was the hardest part at the end.  It’s hot, your feet are wet and blistered because of going through some streams,and you just want to be done on that last mile or two.  That being said, I would do it all over again.  I have no desire to do the 34 mile course but I would definitely do 18 again.  It helps when you have good company too.

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A Journey to Finding My Happy Place


I think being happy in your own skin plays a huge role when it comes to being happy in life.  If you don’t like who you are, if you don’t have a good relationship with yourself, then how can you experience genuine joy?  Sure, there may be fleeting experiences with happiness but can you spend time alone with yourself and just feel joy? Does your joy only come from things or material possessions?  Do you think you will be happier when you have a better body, the bigger house, the vacation of your dreams, PR the next race or competition? I will be the first to admit that I used to think that way.

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It has taken me a while to get to the place I am today, and no, I’m not always happy.  That’s not realistic. However, I feel joyful, peaceful, and at this present time, I’m in a good place. Will that change?  Sure! Life has to change. As sure as the tides roll in and off the shore, feelings of happiness come and go, that’s why I want to be here and be present while I feel this way.  Relish in this peaceful happy feeling.

If you’re a long time reader of my blog then you know my thoughts on body image. You know my personal story to overcome my struggles, and you also know that I have experimented with different ways to improve my nutrition, or fitness. I have competed in various races, fitness challenges, nutrition challenges, body measurements and many other things in the past as a way to challenge myself, chase a goal, or better myself in some way.  Whether it was by counting my macros, doing an endurance race or a CrossFit competition, I have learned so much about who I am as a person. All of those things have made me a stronger, more confident woman, but not necessarily a happier one.  In fact, some of those things, like counting my macros and competing in CF competitions, made me feel worse about myself.  Now that’s just MY experience.

There can be a time and a place for calories or macro counting, but for me it took away the joyful experience of sitting down to have an enjoyable meal.  Yes, some may say “food is fuel” but for me food is also an experience.  One I value.  Not just the taste but sitting down to “break bread” with friends and family.  Taking time to enjoy the smells, taste the flavors, and feel the feeling of being satisfied afterwords. Weighing and measuring my food took away the pleasurable experience I get when it came down to meal time.  It felt a lot like calorie counting and a numbers game.  Again, there may be a time and a place for counting macros or calories and food journaling, and there are a lot of positive lessons to be learned from doing so.  The main lesson I learned was that my meals needed to be more balanced  and that I wasn’t eating enough food.  Physically I started to feel a bit better too, but the psychological effect was not good for me.  It caused more stress and took away my joy.  So again, FOR ME2016-07-17 07.48.21 it wasn’t a positive experience.  I do better by listening to my body.  That, in and of itself, has taken years of practice, but now I crave vegetables and protein, and yes at times I crave donuts and ice cream too, so I eat them and  I stop when I’m satisfied.  It’s a very healthy, happy place to be. No binging, no wishing I could have something, no regrets.  Just eating healthy meals most of the time, and the other stuff some of the time.

I admire strong people.  Especially people who have overcome life hardships such as bad relationships, illness, or losses of some sort.  People who push through and carry on to fight the good fight.  In fitness, I admire people of all walks of life who don’t give up no matter what. I admire Crossfitter’s who just don’t quit, swimmers who well, don’t drown and endurance athletes who continue to keep going the distance no matter how far or how long.  I have been all of those things.  I have loved every second of those things.  However, when competing was no longer fun, and became a numbers game or comparison game, making me feel less of a person, I knew it was time for me to make a change.  Not give up, but find other forms of movement and exercises that make me happy.  That’s not to say I won’t compete again, or sign up for another challenge of some sort, it’s just that I have learned that if it’s no longer fun, then for me it’s no longer worth it.  My time is valuable! The biggest and best lesson that I have learned so far is to enjoy th experience and not take myself too seriously.

I’m learning to pay less attention to what others think of me or at least what I think others think of me, and pay more attention to believing in myself and my own capabilities.  Do I like the person in the mirror? Do my children enjoy spending time with me, is my husband happy with the woman he is married to?  My family is a reflection of myself.  While it’s not my job to make them happy, I do play a role when it comes to making their life a little better.

So right now, in the middle of a very hot summer I am so happy to say I have enjoyed every second of it.  It started with the Rachel Carson 18 mile hike in Pittsburg, PA with these fun ladies.(recap of the hike coming soon.)

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Followed by a get away with my oldest son Logan.  We went to visit my mom, so I got some quality time with my mom and Logan.  Relaxing and having fun at the beach.  Meanwhile, I got to see and hear about Bob and Alex’s adventures in Colorado.  They rode bikes down Pikes Peak, and hiked a bit too.  Alex got the chance to tour the Air Force Academy and has decided he wants to pursue the Air Force Academy after high school, so he has a big goal to chase and I’m very proud of him!

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We got to hang out at the pool with our friends Julie and Rico, and celebrate the forth of July with our friends the Coards.  Even though it rained all day and night on the fourth, we still enjoyed fireworks from our deck. I have also been enjoying getting some vitamin D on the patio roof.

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In addition to all the summer fun, I am happy to report that our garden is growing a lot of vegetables.  It’s like free food!  The best part is seeing the fruit of our labor, there is nothing better  than growing your own food, well, besides eating it. 🙂

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Of course I can’t forget donuts and ice cream.  This summer we got to chance to indulge in Duck Donuts and try The Fractured Prune. I have no words, both donuts are totally worth every bite.  A few visits to Brooms Bloom for ice cream with the boys has been a nice treat too.

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Long morning and afternoon walks with Abby have made her and I closer since the loss of Jedi and she seems to be happy too.

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Last weekend our good friends, Ken and Sandy invited us to stay the weekend with them at their beach house.  Bob and I had such a good time with really great people.  Our friend Lauren, had a an awesome idea about  taking a yoga class on the beach.  It was the perfect way to start our day.

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On the way home that evening Bob and I stopped to enjoy the ocean and take it all in before heading home to the grind.  The pictures below say it all.

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The summer’s not over yet.  We still have another fun trip coming up.  You will be able to read about all of the fun and not so fun adventures to come on the blog. For now, think Griswold’s.  I will also be Snapchatting the whole experience.

Have a Happy weekend!!!!

 


Shopping, Fashion and Eating…a New Boutique, plus a Summer Salad Recipe!!!


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Hello and Happy Hump Day!  Hope you’re off to a good week.  Today’s blog post is going to be fun because it’s all about shopping, fashion and eating!!  Moving near down town Bel Air has truly been the best thing for our family. We walk everywhere and I’m especially happy when I can walk to some of my favorite boutiques and shops!

Speaking of boutiques, Bel Air residents (and Harford County Peeps) did you know there is a new boutique in town? Say what?! Yes, there is a cute little boutique that just opened up called, Velvet Trunk. It’s right off the corner of Office St and Main St. I stumbled upon it one day on my walk to the bank.  I finally had a chance to pop in the other day on my way home after getting iced coffee from my new favorite coffee shop the Jaded Bean (See fun fact about the owner here).

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While I was there I had the pleasure of meeting Marissa who is the owner of the Velvet Trunk.  2016-07-07 17.08.01She is super chill, friendly and extremely fashionable!  This cute store is going to do big things for the small town of Bel Air.  Marissa grew up in New York City and has lived in California and many places in between. She brings fun, stylish, and bohemian pieces of fashion to Bel Air . If you’re looking for fun flirty she has it! Edgy rocker? Yep, she offers stylish t-shirts and distressed jeans. Looking for something more on the bohemian style, you will find at Velvet Trunk for sure!

 

 

I’m eyeballing this dress Marissa is holding up.  I didn’t have time to try it on the day I was there, but I plan on going back this week and picking up some cute things for my upcoming trips. So stay tuned!

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If you live near town, grab your girl friends and swing by this Friday, July 15th from 5-8 pm to enjoy a cocktail and save 10% off a single item!!!! 

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August 1st is the official store opening date. Store hours will be Tuesday-Saturday 10:30-5pm, and Sunday 11-3.

No time to stop in? Or perhaps you live in another state, no worries, you can check out her online site Velvet Trunk.  Let me know what you bought!  There are so many cute things to choose from!

On my way home the other evening I was able to pop into another favorite store of mine on 2016-07-07 17.14.37Main Street. Full Heart Solutions.  There are so many great things happening in this shop!  Whether you are looking for a gift for a special someone or a treat yo-self occasion they have everything from handmade gifts to essential oils, and cute pieces of jewelry and clothing. In addition to all of this, Heartfelt Solutions also offers message therapy and reiki, chakra healing.  As well as waxing!!! Located in this cute shop is The Honey Pot Waxing Studio. New clients can save 50% off of in studio services!!!

2016-07-07 17.16.32-1If nothing else, just stop in to say hi to this little guy – Olly.  How cute is he?!  He fits in perfectly with this adorable, affordable, lovely shop on Main St. in Bel Air.  Also, say hello to Kyanne and Lisa, who are the very friendly owners of Full Heart Solutions.   They are not just owners, Kyanne and Lisa are passionate spiritual women who believe in offering organic, earth friendly practices to nurture the body, mind and spirit!   We need more shops like this in our world.  You can swing by or check them out on line here.

Now on to food!!! I made this summer salad recipe for our fourth of July pool cookout with our friends Julie and Rico.  It is super easy to make, I just used what I had in my fridge. It turned out so good that I will definitely be making this again this summer.

Summer Salad

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Ingredients: 

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1 quart Sun sugar tomatoes halved

1/3 of a red onion thinly sliced

2 bell peppers  (one red, one yellow) thinly sliced

1 large English Cucumber ( lazy peeled and sliced)

2 yellow summer squash sliced and steamed

3 tbsp of olive oil (use more or less to your liking)

2 tbsp Brags Apple cider vinegar (use more or less to you liking)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions: slice a up all the veggies the way you like them.  I was lazy so I just thinly sliced my bell pepper and red onion.  I peeled the cucumber in a stripped fashion, because I’m lazy and it makes it look so fancy.  After you slice your yellow squash, steam it for about 5 minutes or until slightly tender but not soggy.  Steaming it will help you digest the vegetable better. While yellow squash is set aside to cool, place all of you cut up veggies in a large bowl. Once yellow squash is cool add it to the bowl and mix in oil, apple cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper to your liking.  Keep in fridge until ready to eat.  It’s good, refreshing, and the perfect easy salad to make on a summer day.  Enjoy!

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A Teenage Boy’s Journey: Overcoming an Eating Disorder and Body Image


If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat you are probably looking for the summer salad I said I would post this week.  I will post it next week, I promise. After all, we have plenty of summer left and who needs another summer salad blog post when there are more important matters to read about.  Like the story below from my son Alex.  If you think eating disorders are something that only young girls or women face, think again. Living and seeing my son struggle with his body image when he was younger was heart wrenching to say the least. A while back I wrote a blog post about the words we use in front of children, and how our actions are important.  I know this from experience.  Who would have known that a statement such as, “hot sauce is good for the metabolism” would cause him to drink a glass of it hoping it would make him “skinny.” Below you will read an incredible story and get inside the head of a young boys struggle to not be the “chubby” kid. 

Side note: {We never thought or told Alex he was fat, those are his words not ours.  We did tell him it was just a phase and he would shoot up and lean out once he hit puberty.}

I would like to thank my son Alex, for showing courage and opening his heart for all of us to read. You are my super hero Alex, and by sharing your story, you may be the hero that some young boy may need!

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Hi, my name is Alex, son of Just Me Jenn B. My mom asked if I wanted to write a blog post about my experience growing up as a boy in today’s society with negative body image and to share my point of view when it comes to food, exercise and weight loss. This isn’t a blog post about how to get lean or build muscle.  This is my personal story, growing up as a “chubby Kid.”

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As far as I can remember I was always chubby. I’ve seen older pictures of myself (like the ones above) when I was really little and I wasn’t  chubby at all,  but I don’t really remember those times. It was around third grade that I noticed my body was, what I felt, different from that of my friends.  I  remember hating myself because I had a thick waist, had fat that would hang over my waistline, and cheeks that would rise up to my eyes when I smiled. I hated going shopping for clothes because I would have to wear a “husky” pant size.  I remember it was third grade that I seemed to take notice of this, because that was my first year in public school after being home schooled. We had just moved from North Carolina to Maryland. Starting a new school was hard enough, not to mention a public school where I didn’t know anyone and only wanted to fit in with the other kids.

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In the summer time I would go to other kids houses to swim or go on the slip and slide and I wouldn’t want to take my shirt off. I remember wearing a swim shirt, and everyone asking me why I had it on, to which my response was “it makes me go faster down the slide.” of course  it didn’t. For me it was like a cone of shame. You know how a dog has to wear a cone to stop from scratching itself?  Well, this was my cone to stop myself from being embarrassed and for covering up my body.

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That same year, I would go to school with a belt on. Not the usual way you wear a belt through the loops of your pants though, I wore my belt over my stomach at the tightest setting to suck in my fat. I would have to go to the bathroom in gym class so I could take it off in the stall and let myself breathe, before tightening it back up and forcing a smile on my face. This didn’t make me a depressed or sad kid. Honestly I was very happy for the most part or at least when I wasn’t thinking about my body. You can ask my family, they always love it when I smile. To this day, when I am sad, they say; “Show me that Alex-smile.” However, this was like a deep secret that I kept. I was good at keeping this secret.

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There were times I would get upset.  Like going clothes shopping.  As much as my parents tried to encourage me and tell me it was just a “phase” or “a lot of boys go through a chubby phase before puberty.” My dad would always try and convince me that he was a “chubby” kid and he hit puberty and shot right up, so did my uncle and even my brother.  They would even show me pictures, but I didn’t believe them and I didn’t think they could relate to me. My parents would also talk to me about being confident no matter what.  I showed confidence on the outside, but deep down, I hated myself.  I hated my body, and I hated that I didn’t look like everyone else.

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I am a huge nerd who loves to read comic books. My dad gave me his old comic collection from the 1980’s. I had these strong male idols and role models with over-exagerrated muscles, which didn’t exactly make me feel good about myself. But thats just part of the story. I remember looking at ads that had bicycles being raffled away, or if you sent in a slip, you would receive “X-ray glasses,” but there was one recurring ad that would always catch my eye. It would show a skinny boy with an arrow pointing to a muscular man indicating that the boy had transformed into this man.The picture was in a box with a perforated line around it, and in the box, there was a big text that read “Get Bigger Now! ” I remember thinking to myself “that kid is so lucky! He’s skinny! He doesn’t realize how lucky he is to not be fat like me! Why can’t he just be happy the way he is?!” Now this was obviously advertised to skinny kids in the 80’s when being skinny wasn’t exactly a good looking feature. I still see those ads now, and I am reminded of that envious feeling I had for the boy in the picture.

Once I started middle school (a private school), I would still do the “belt-trick” every now and then, but I stopped at about 7th grade. However, 6th grade was a tough year for me. I won’t go into detail, and I wasn’t bullied or anything like that, but I remember really thinking how I didn’t want to grow up. Going into sixth grade made me realize i was getting older, and I didn’t want that! I came home crying one day around the same time my 11th birthday had come (yes, I was one of the younger kids in my class.) I was crying because I hadn’t changed. My body still looked the same.  The other kids were bigger, leaner, taller and looking back now even older. My parents said that I would hit a growth spurt, and I would eventually lean out as I get taller. But I didn’t. Just about every Summer, my dad would say “this summer, we  will be active, and you will get faster on the lacrosse field!” This would excite me, because I thought that this is a turning point! This is the time i will look better! This is the summer I will look like the super hero’s in the comics I read, but it wasn’t. I would still be stuck looking the same by the next school year.

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By 8th grade, I was done. Even though we eat pretty healthy in our house if I had any sugary food I would regret it right away, so much that I didn’t want to shower at night because I would have to get out of the shower and see myself in the mirror. I would have to see my flaws. That same year in eighth grade, my friends and I were looking through old  yearbooks of ourselves, and I saw that one of my friends looked like I did in his sixth grade picture (chubby). It was 8th grade and he had changed completely! So I asked him what he did to change and lose weight and I remember his exact words, “well in 7th grade, i just stopped eating” he said, making a cutting motion with his hand to exaggerate his words. As soon as his words fell out of his mouth, the idea popped into my head. That day, I threw away my lunch, I barely picked at my dinner, and I didn’t eat anything else for the rest of the day. From then on, I wouldn’t eat breakfast, telling my mom I already ate unless she made me eat with the family. I would pack a lunch but tell the teacher that I forgot it at home or that I wasn’t hungry. The only meal I ate was dinner, and I would still feel bad about it. I would even tell my friends not to offer me any food, even if i begged for it. One weekend, while i was starving myself, my mom made eggs for breakfast, and asked me if I wanted sriracha sauce on mine. I lied and told her I didn’t want anything  and that I wasn’t hungry. “Are you sure?” she asked, “you got to eat and hot sauce is good for your metabolism!” Hot sauce is good for your metabolism… another idea came into my head. After reassuring her that I wasn’t hungry and waiting for her to leave the kitchen, I got out a glass, took the top off the sriracha sauce, and poured about the amount of a shot glass into it, and drank all of it in hopes that it would help my metabolism, and in turn make me skinny. Holding back the sickening, burning feeling, I washed out the glass, and put it away, along with the sriracha bottle, erasing the evidence.

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It’s important for you, the reader, to know that my parents talked to me about food many times.  They emphasized and role modeled healthy eating, as well as limiting sugary foods but recognizing that there is a place for them too.  Yes, I would get eyeballed or lectured if my brother and I drank too much soda but I just felt I was different from them.  Even from my brother who at the time had hit puberty and was constantly flexing his new found muscle.

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My big bro

It wasn’t until one night, I was texting a friend, and told her how I felt light-headed. She asked me what I ate today, and I said “an apple.” She began to tell me how she wasn’t sure I should be doing this, and how it’s not good for me, but I said that I had everything in control, and that the results would pay off. That night, my parents read the messages on my phone. They woke me up, called me into their bedroom, and demanded I tell them what was happening. I spilled the beans about how I had been starving myself, and how I was ashamed of what I looked like. They asked what I had eaten that day, my mom noticed at dinner that I had been pushing food around my plate. I told them that I had only eaten an apple. So they brought me downstairs and heated me up a bowl of spaghetti squash, and made me a sandwich, and had me eat all of it. I told them about my friends advice and confided in them that I hated my body.  They explained to me what an eating disorder was.  My mom sat down with me on the couch and showed me pictures of anarexic boys and how it could be deadly. I was able to read for myself the dangers of what I had been doing the last few months. I had no idea and I can’t thank my parents  enough for sitting me down, explaining what food does for the body  and explaining to me the dangers of my habit. I would like to also say that if anyone reading this has the same problem I had that they should educate themselves and get help! My parents contacted my school, had a meeting with my teacher who had also witnessed me not eating lunch, and things started to get better.

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I have always been active. I have wrestled, played soccer, basketball , and lacrosse; I have always 2016-05-29 17.12.07-1been in some type of sport. I was introduced to CrossFit in 6th grade and used to go to a CrossFit box where my my dad was my coach. I liked it a lot, however at the time I wasn’t seeing any gains or even weight loss, but I think that was just due to my eating disorder or perhaps it was my prepuberty “chubby” stage or maybe a combo of the two. The summer after my eighth grade year, I found myself getting stronger. It was also that summer that my mom had shown me healthy recipes and taught me how to cook. She and my dad showed me workouts that I could do to get healthier, and achieve what I wanted. And you know what? My mom was also right about the growth spurt!  I had gotten a lot taller that summer, and began to slim down a lot! Now, I not only have a better outlook on things, but I am also comfortable and confident in my body, and happy with myself. I have both my parents to thank for that, my dad who coached all of my lacrosse teams and the Crossfit kids program, and my mom who helped me eat healthier, enjoy all food and appreciate myself. I am now on my high school lacrosse team and I enjoy working out and lifting to accomplish my goals of being a strong athelete in a healthy body, no longer trying to be a skinny kid or even a muscular super hero in my old comic book.. I just wish i could go back and tell myself when I was younger about how it will get better, but everything happens for a reason i guess. 🙂

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A Teenage Girls Perspective of Self-love and Positive Body Image


Learning to Love the Woman You Are Becoming

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By: Brogan Gerhart

Hi! As many of you may already be able to tell, I’m not Jenn B! Don’t worry though, I’m not taking over her page or anything like that – just stopping in for a quick talk about how young women, like myself, can maintain a positive self-image and learn to love and appreciate all that their bodies and bright, beautiful minds can do for them. My name is Brogan Gerhart, and this is my story.

When I was a little kid, after my parents divorced, I moved to Maryland with my dad. I attended private school from kindergarten to 6th grade and, aside from the one or two close friends in my entire grade of twenty students and a few of the girls on my gymnastics team, I didn’t really know a whole lot of people. This made the shift to public school not only one of the scariest things I’d ever done, but also one of the most exciting. I was finally connected to a HUGE (well, huge to me) group of kids my age that I could talk to and become friends with!! It was beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of! I was open and ready for all this new world had to offer me, however, sadly, some of the things that I got out of this new world weren’t all that great. A few years after I’d started public school I was absolutely obsessed with how I looked. Every day after I got on the bus, I would come home, add whatever I’d eaten that day to a list I kept in the notes section on my phone, and then spend two to three hours on the elliptical in my basement… Running. It was horrible. I made sure that I didn’t eat more than 1500 calories a day (the recommended amount for my BMI) and that I never skipped a day of working out. I was always hungry and always sore, but I was losing weight and starting to achieve the perfect thigh gap – something I’d thought all beautiful women were supposed to have.

I was insecure and terribly misguided. God, all I wanted to do was fit in. I thought that maybe if I looked a certain way or wore the right clothes or talked about the right things, then maybe people would like me and if people liked me, then maybe that meant there was a reason to like myself. I was trying so desperately to change who I was when, in reality, there was never anything wrong with me to begin with! It was a long, hard road to realizing that – a journey that took my frail spirit and fragile body and made me stronger than I’d ever believed possible.

It all started with yoga.

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I discovered my love for yoga after deciding to participate in a month-long yoga challenge that I was following on Instagram. With my background in gymnastics I thought it would be easy. A pose per day? Piece of cake! Or so I thought. After months of over-exercise and not eating nearly enough of what I should have been, it became painstakingly clear how weak my body had become. I could hardly hold a plank, let alone a handstand like I’d been able to do before, for more than a few shaky seconds. It was one of the most eye-opening and defeating moments I’d ever experienced.

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But man did it really show me how far I’d let myself slip into the false, misinterpretations of what it meant to be beautiful. For years I’d been telling myself I had to look more like the models I saw on television or be more like the pretty girls in school that everyone wanted to sit next to, but once I stopped seeing my body for what it wasn’t and started listening to and accepting and loving my body for what it was, it became more about all that it could do opposed to what it looked like and what it couldn’t.

Seeing how I grew encouraged me to keep growing.

The more time I spent doing yoga, the less time I spent counting calories and running just to lose. I was working to gain now and doing something that made me genuinely happy and it felt incredible! As time went on I was able to look back, not only on the change in my physical ability, but also on my mindset. I felt… Lighter than before. And no not lighter as in less weight, lighter as in I was beginning to love the person I was and… I smiled more <3

I formed positive relationships.

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Once I started pursuing the kind of lifestyle that made me feel happy and healthy again, it made me beyond excited to share that life with others. I began reaching out to confident, enthusiastic, loving, likeminded individuals who not only supported me in my journey, but also inspired me to continue it.

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Through forming these connections with these amazing people, and encouraging anyone who was willing to listen, I began to develop a sense of devotion, trust, and honesty towards myself as well as the people that I came to teach, learn from, grow with, and love.

Being kind.

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It’s pretty easy to find ourselves slipping into the routine gossips of everyday life. Passing judgements and saying hateful things about other people, even behind their backs, may be something that we don’t really think about or intend to do, but we do anyway. Don’t get me wrong I’m plenty guilty for doing this, but one thing that I learned about loving yourself: It’s pretty hard to see the good on the inside if you don’t at least try to see the good that surrounds you.

By practicing seeing the beauty and strength in others, you will be able to better look at yourself in the mirror, see the person in front of you, and tell them, without fail or doubt or hesitation, just how perfect they (YOU!) are.

Falling down taught me I was capable of getting back up.

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No matter how many times I fell or wasn’t able to do something, I pushed forward with nothing but passion and enthusiasm. Through my mistakes I was able to encourage myself to go further; I knew my limits, but I also believed that I was capable of raising them.

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Laughing also played a big part in keeping up my spirits and my motivation. Everyone has bad days and everyone falls. It’s okay if today is the day that you fall, but don’t let it drag you down too deep – let yourself learn, let it go, and move on. There’s no point in holding onto a “that one time I couldn’t” when you’re trying to achieve a “this time I can”.

The time I spent with myself helped me learn more about who I was and who I wanted to be.

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I cannot thank the practice of yoga enough for what it did for me. Yoga taught me so many life lessons about what it means to be strong – it’s not just about being able to lift your body off the ground. True strength comes from relentlessly pursuing the healthy, beautiful person you are and guiding others, and challenging them, to think the same way.

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Learning to love yourself is a personal journey – one that you will have to start and finish on your own. Having people along the way helps, and there’s nothing wrong with being open to others, but you must remember that ultimately this is YOUR road to walk.

Don’t be afraid to spend some time with the person you want to love. By taking the time to be alone and self-reflect, you’ll be able to gain better understanding of who you are as a person and what you like, and what you might want to change, about yourself.

Final thoughts… You only have to live with one person in this world. You’ll grow and change and meet new people and experience new things throughout life, but you’ll still be you.

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The question is whether or not you’ll be proud of that fact – that you are you. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. It isn’t vain or selfish, or whatever anyone else will tell you, to want to better yourself and it is by no means conceited to be proud of the fact that you are able to take a good long look at yourself and say, “I like my body and who I am beneath it.”

I can’t tell you through what activity or medium you’ll be able to accomplish this, or how your past or your future will play a part in how difficult or simple it will be for you, but I do know that it is possible. For me, I found peace in myself through yoga. But guess what? I didn’t just create that peace with myself out of nothing… I FOUND it. It had been there inside of me the entire time and that peace is inside of you too.

So. With that being said, what are you waiting for?

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You know it’s there. You know that it wouldn’t have been put there if you wouldn’t one day have the strength to reach it. Go on! You already have the key to loving yourself…  It’s time to find it!

 


Lumberjack Squat, Body Image, and Podcasting


Hello peeps!

I have so much to share with you this week and lot’s more to come. Before I forget, stay tuned for next weeks blog post; I will have a special guest on JustmeJennb.com.  She will be writing a blog post about what it’s like to be a teen in today’s culture and dealing with body image. It’s going to be a good one for sure.

Speaking of body image.  It’s hard to believe that a year ago today, I launched the Love Your Body Campaign on JustmeJennb.com. For those of you who may be new to this site, last year around this time a group of ladies came together to share their struggles about body image and learning to love the skin they’re in.  I will be resharing random stories this month on the blog for anyone who may have missed the Love Your Body Campaign series last year or for anyone who may just be looking for a little inspiration about loving the body you live in.  Here are a few stories  you can checkout today.

Overcoming pressure as a gymnast

An example for my daughter

Finding confidence

In other news, as most of you know, I am a personal trainer (among many other things) so I thought I might try out something new and a little out of my comfort zone on justmejennb.  I will randomly be posting a video of different exercises or fitness tips for the readers of this blog and for my clients to check out as well.   You can find the first video at the end of this post. For your entertainment I have included some bloopers that happened during the filming. Courtesy of my son Alex.

Podcast news:  The Perfectly Imperfect Podcast is going through a transition.  Today’s podcast found here will be Abby’s last podcast on the show.  She has a lot going on in her life and she is on a trek to become a professional athlete, so she needs to be wise with her time.  However, she will stop by from time to time as a guest on the show.  The podcast will return in the fall as the Perfectly Imperfect Life with Just Me Jenn B.  I will be taking time during the summer to learn all the IT stuff, (because that was Abby’s gift) lining up interviews and figuring out how to post it to iTunes.  (if anyone has advice on how to do this, I am all ears) Yesterday we recorded a whole hour of fabulous podcasting about rejection.  Trust me when I say, it was golden.  After the show, Abby was showing me how to record and just like that we deleted the entire episode! UGHHHH…So, I will rerecord the podcast about rejection when I return in the fall.

Ok, now go try this squat variation.  It’s a fun one for sure!!!

Lumberjack squats.  This is a squat variation that loads the anterior core and helps to assist people to keep their chest up and sit up tall in a squat. You can add this into a warm up if you keep the weight light (empty bar is fine) or add weight to the top of the bar and include it into you training program.  Enjoy!

lumberjack squat demo

blooper 1 – I had no clue he was filming my little dance.

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Mix it up


Hello, hello!

Yesterday  was Monday and I had one of those mornings when I just didn’t want to do anything;  especially a workout. Thankfully I had my dog Abby turn my morning around with dog kisses that changed my mood and cheered me up real quick.  Dogs are the best!2016-06-06 11.36.42

Today’s post I’m going to talk about fitness.  Most importantly, I’m going to talk about the importance of mixing it up.

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Anyway, workouts or “training” (whatever you want to call it) can suck sometimes.  Especially when you have to train by yourself.  Before I had my own gym, it was easier for me to get motivated when I went to a gym because there would be awesome people to keep me company and someone to inspire me or help get me motivated.  Having my own gym comes with so many perks, and I really don’t mind training alone, but there are days that I just don’t want to workout, but I do it anyway.  Unless I’m sick, injured, or overly tired.  Even if it means just pushing through for ten minutes and seeing how I feel. Exercise is part of my life so I learn to push through even when I don’t “feel like it.” However, to keep pushing forward it’s important to mix it up from time to time.

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As you can see from the pictures above I really like to mix things up. Pilates, CrossFit, running, hiking, weight training, kettle bell workouts, or just hanging out in a headstand at the beach… Whatever, works for you it’s important to mix it up from time to time.

I’m no longer a member of a CrossFit gym and I have changed the way I workout a lot.  After my back injury I kind of had to start over and avoid movements that didn’t work for my body.  Like snatching, box jumps, and constant high intensity all the time. This was not easy for me in the beginning.  I loved my CF box and really loved the workouts, but my body was giving me warning signs to stop, and unfortunately I didn’t listen until I was hurt.  The good news is, I learned a lesson about not being so stubborn and the importance of patience and how changing the way I workout not only helped me heal but I’m getting stronger and the beauty of it all is I have learned not to take anything so seriously.

Today my training looks a lot different.  I get a good balance of movements, strength, cardio, using my fast and slow twitch muscles. (unfortunately I have more slow than fast)  I program all of my workouts 4 weeks in advance.  Currently I am doing Wendler 5-3-1 for strength four days out of the week.  Squat, bench, deadlift, and shoulder press.  I add in 2 HIIT workouts, a meathead workout (accessory work) and an endurance workout once a week on the days I do Wendler. For example on Monday when I do Squat for strength, I’ll add in a HIIT workout afterwards. It might be a short metcon ,EMOM or Tabata.  Tuesday I do pilates and 30 minute of moderate cardio. (key word moderate) On Wednesday after I bench, I might add in some accessory work or work on a skill that I need to practice and depending on how my body feels I might add a short metcon or work on my endurance.  Thursday I do pilates and play, for example I might walk the dog or do some kind of playful movement that doesn’t feel like a workout but more like having fun and keeping movements feeling good and easy. Friday, is Ho sesh like bro sesh but with girls.  I squeeze in my Wendler deadlifts that day too.  Saturday is shoulder press and I leave this day open for a free day.  I usually workout with Bob on that day and sometimes the boys join us so I keep it open for what they want to do. Sunday I rest.

People these days are all about HIIT, and they are really fun to do, just remember not to over do them, or you will lose the benefit of the exercise.  You got to mix it up.  Cardio all the time is not the best, so if you run or take Spinning all the time you might want to cut back and add in some strength.  If all you do is lift weights add in some cardio.  If you mostly work fast twitch muscles then do some pilates or yoga or even barre and use more controlled movements.  Recruit the slow twitch muscles.

A hike, walk, or swim is yet another way to mix up your workout routine.  If you are feeling really stressed or anxious just getting outside close to nature can really put you at ease.  In other words, keep your training fun and different to avoid burnout.  Last week when I didn’t feel like working out I decided to a little bit of boxing, I thought to myself, do some drills for 10 minutes and if you still don’t feel like it then stop. I did all kinds of drills and before I knew it I was having so much fun that I didn’t notice an hour had gone by.

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I usually train alone which can be hard mentally, but I do it anyway. I also train with my husband at least once a week and with a group of girlfriends on Friday.  This works out nicely for me because I get my alone time where I can just focus on the task at hand, but I also get to spend time working out with friends and catching up too.  Plus, I get a little extra push when I do workout with people. The point is, I mix it up and keep things fun.

Below you will find the workout I did yesterday.  It was a challenge for sure but I felt awesome after.

Front Squats 3 x 5

3 Rounds of

20 Overhead dumbbell walking lunges. 10 on the right leg then 10 on the left leg. ( one leg leads for 10 reps then switch.) I used two 15 pound dumbbells

20 wall balls.

Variation planks: 3 rounds

1 minute front,

1 minute right side

1 minute  left side


Things I’m into lately and a typical day in my life.


It’s official, I have lost creativity so I’m reverting to what bloggers do when they lack creativity… boring you with a day in a life post and what I’m digging lately.  As if you care. However, if you’re nosy like me then you do care, okay you don’t really care but you’re curious with nothing better to do at this moment so why not be nosy, right? Right!

A day in the life of me is nothing special and if this kind of thing puts you to sleep, I totally understand if you stop reading right now.  Before I bore you with my life though, here are some things I’m into lately.

Primal Mayo– Love this stuff.  I got tired of making my own and it would go bad too quickly so I decided to buy this online.  Added hot sauce and garlic powder to it the other day and it was very tasty with my homemade duck fat sweet potato fries.

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Snapchat.  I really don’t love social media, (I hate Facebook) but I love love love Snapchat and I’m a little addicted. It makes me laugh every day.  You’ve got to do it.  Who doesn’t want to laugh everyday? Follow me if you want to…

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Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides.  It doesn’t have a flavor and I can add it to my morning coffee.  I love that I can get some extra protein in my day with this awesome stuff.  I struggle to get enough protein everyday. Mostly because I want allthefruit. Also, if you read closely it’s not only 100% natural it’s also anti-aging!!! Fountain of youth baby! Just kidding, maybe. 🙂

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Just Great Stuff Chocolate Peanut Butter Powder.  Just add water.  I like my fat, I add coconut milk to my morning coffee, eat avocados, cook with duck fat, ghee and all the other oils, and eat nuts.  So the fat can really add up in my diet.  Just Great Stuff has 1 gram of fat.  It’s powered so you have to add water.  I was skeptical at first but I am definitely a fan now.

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Hiking with my friend Julie.  We are prepping for an 18 mile hike in Pittsburgh next month.  So we got some miles in this weekend.  Both Saturday and Sunday we did a little over 7 miles, in the rain.  It was awesome!  You know you have a good friend when you can talk non-stop for hours two days in a row, get a little lost in the woods and not freak out on each other.  We make a good team! She is awesome!

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Podcasting.  I look forward to every Tuesday when Abby comes over to record a Podcast with me.  We have so much fun recording and talking about real stuff, and it really clears my head after we are done.  Haven’t heard the podcast yet? Catch up here.

Ok…So what I do in a day varies from day to day but in general it looks like this.

Wake up:  It could be 5:30 am or 7am depends if I’m training a client.

I start my day with coffee and read some blogs while I wake up.  Then I catch up on email and look over my schedule for the day. Eat breakfast, take Abby (our dog) for a walk or leash her outside if it’s raining. (she hates being leashed outside. I don’t blame her, after all there are snakes out there)  Get dressed, read a devotional (usually while I’m brushing my teeth) and start training my morning clients.

Late morning: Get my workout in, if I didn’t already get it in during the early morning hours.  Depends on the day and clients. Blog if I have time. Shower.

Mid noon:  I tinker around and check Snapchat because I love it!!  Get the house stuff done.  (Laundry, dishes, make my bed, all the stuff that needs to get done) Eat lunch, run errands and prep for dinner.

Afternoon:  Run more errands or more housework.  Look over clients programming, respond to email or text, prep for clients, train clients. Maybe walk Abby if the boys didn’t already.

Evening: Start dinner, hang with family, train another client.  Eat dinner and then I veg out on the couch.  I’m spent by 8 pm and really don’t want to do anything but plop my butt on the couch and watch crappy TV. Bravo housewives trash TV.

If I could change one thing in my routine it would be to get outside more.  I train in my garage and walk the dog, but I would like to get more yard stuff done. Bob and the boys do most of it on the weekend.  I love being outside which is why I don’t mind taking Abby out for long walks.  but I feel I spend way too much time taking care of the inside stuff.

So I’m going to change that starting now.  Took this goofy selfie as I was picking the dead flower heads of my plant while practicing my squat.  Multitasker indeed!  Also, we just bought all our vegetable plants and planted out garden last Friday.  Yay!

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What is one thing you would like to change in your daily routine?

What things are you into lately?

Do you Snapchat?

 

 

 


Lessons from a Jedi Master (the best dog in the world)


I don’t want to write this post…

But… “If you don’t write it down, it never happened.” – Paul Pogue

I created Just Me Jenn B to share my life.  My pursuit for health and happiness. Truth is, I won’t always be healthy, and I won’t always be happy, but my pursuit will never stop chasing those two things.  Overcoming illnesses, and injuries, experiencing sadness and loss, learning ways to handle anger or defeat…these are just obstacles and life lessons used to teach and mold my spirit to be unbreakable.

This post is dedicated to my beloved Jedi. If I don’t write it down, it never happened…Well Jedi was my old man dog, a wise dog who taught my family important lessons.  Lessons that any family who has ever loved a dog knows very well. I’m writing it down, because his life happened, and I’m glad it happened with us.

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Jedi lesson #1

A mixed mutt puppy who only cost $25 from a litter on the side of the road is a better investment than any overpriced hybrid or purebred dog available.

We came across Jedi’s litter by accident.  The boys were little. Only five and two years old at the time.  We had just visited a farm that had two labradors for sale.  We had left the farm after being jumped on and covered in mud by two dogs that had apparently lacked training.  Bob noticed the puppy for sale sign and asked if I wanted to stop, so we did. The lady who was selling the pups handed me Jedi, the most calm puppy of the group. I will never forget her telling us, “this one here is the most gentle and loving of the bunch.”

On the way home the boys decided his name shall be Jedi.  Jedi Master Burnett to be exact. The best 25 bucks we ever spent.

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Jedi lesson #2

A dog can destroy a few things you treasure, but it doesn’t matter because your heart treasures the dog more.

Apparently Jedi wasn’t a fan of John Mayor’s CD; Room for Squares.  So he chewed through the CD case and left the CD in a million tiny pieces (or should I say million tiny squares) on the floor for me to clean up. I guess he was tired of listening to it.

Also, never take a dog on vacation and leave him in the jeep while you go have a nice dinner for two.  You come back to the stuffing of the seats torn out.  Again, your heart loves the dog more than things, even if it means driving  an hour home without a seat cushion. Bob loved that Jeep, but he loved Jedi more.

Jedi Lesson # 3 Dogs like Christmas too

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Every year we decorate the house with Christmas lights, Jedi also enjoyed this tradition. Every year he would chew through a stand of them, always leaving at least one bush without lights.

On Christmas day  Jedi and any animal in our house would awake to a stocking filled with bones and treats.  Many Christmas mornings Jedi would be just as excited as the kids to be opening his stocking and pulling out a nice bone.

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Dogs have family feuds on Christmas day just like any good family.  One Christmas morning, Jedi and my mom’s dog Dallas got into a fight over a dog bone.  I put Jedi in timeout because I was disappointed in his behavior.  So he decided to make me a nice little gift and leave it on my bedroom floor. He wasn’t going to take any shit on Christmas and he let me know it.

Jedi Lesson # 4 Dogs have a better instinct about humans than other humans do

Jedi liked everyone.  He didn’t know a stranger.  Until one day he growled and lunged at a lady with sunglasses on. Apparently he didn’t like her.  He only did this one other time to a man who was doing work in our yard. He was such a loving dog that I trusted his instincts.  If Jedi didn’t like them, then there must of been a good reason for it.

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Jedi Lesson # 5 Dogs make the best dog trainers

When we got Abby as a puppy 5 years ago, Jedi did a better job training her than we did. He taught her not to jump on small children or women holding babies.  He actually reprimanded Abby when she was a puppy for jumping up on a lady holding a baby. Abby never did that again.

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Abby was a stubborn puppy.  We introduced her to her crate and she refused to get in, so Jedi walked in the crate and walked out.  After that Abby went right in the crate without any problem.

Jedi looked after Abby as if she was his very own dog.  He trained her in many different ways and continued to until his last day.

Jedi Lesson # 6 Dogs know family members anywhere

When I used to walk the boys to and from elementary school Jedi always looked for them after school.  Often times ignoring the sea of other kids until he saw his own boys.  Wagging his tail and greeting them with a kiss.

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On the five hour drive to grandma’s house, Jedi would sleep the entire trip until we were ten minutes from her house.  Then he would dance and wine, somehow knowing we were very close.  He was always just as excited, if not more, to see grandma as the kids were. Giving her lot’s of kisses and even hugs.  Abandoning our bed at night for hers.

Jedi Lesson # 7 Dogs raise your kids too

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Jedi had been in the boys lives for most of their childhood.  He went from being bigger than they were to being picked up by them and carried around like a sack of potatoes when the boys became teenagers. He wanted to know who their friends were, he would tolerate them dressing him up with sun glasses or putting a jacket and shoes on him for a laugh.   He humored them with their endless selfie pics. He played with them, and protected them just like any good dog.  He had to be in front of the pack on most hiking trips.  Annoyed if Alex tried to lead the way.  He was a wonderful pack leader and looked after them with a kind and very wise heart.

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Jedi Lesson # 8 Dogs adapt better than we do

Jedi has been with us through two states, and three houses.  From a house with a big yard to a townhouse with barely a yard to an old house without a fenced yard.  From kids and their different phases, to new dogs and cats, and many trips to visit family or go camping.  Dogs adapt.  Jedi never wined or acted out with the different changes to his environment, he just adapted.  Went with the flow, just happy to be with us on our journey.  He handled moves and kids and other animals much better than we did.

Jedi Lesson # 9 Dogs really do love unconditionally

More than anyone Jedi knew me best.  He was my shadow.  Always by my side and under my feet. ALWAYS.  He knew if I was sad, angry, annoyed, happy, excited and even sick.  He has witnessed me at my best and at my worst.  Heard me sing when I thought I was alone and was witness to all the silly shit we humans do when we think no one is watching. Not judging me at all.  Just smiling at me or listening to my shenanigans.

He loved me when I would get mad because he was on the couch, or if I missed his morning walk because I got busy with other things.  He loved me when I got furious at him for puking on the newly steamed carpets. He loved me even when I didn’t deserve to be loved at times.

Dogs don’t hold grudges or remind you of your imperfections.  They just love.  Jedi showed us so much love over the last 12 years.  Along with so much wisdom. Good dogs, loyal dogs like Jedi, don’t come around very often.   When they do, they leave an imprint on your heart, and on your spirit.  They really do teach us unconditional love.

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Jedi Lesson #10 Nothing will prepare you for the final goodbye

Jedi’s passing happened unexpectedly last Sunday night.  Mother’s Day.  We didn’t know he was sick, but looking back I think he did.  He stayed in bed longer than usual.  I passed it off as old age.  He insisted on sleeping with the kids the last two weeks before he passed.  He usually slept with us.  He did odd things like pull all the luggage out from under the bed in the guest bedroom to lay under it, and did a few other unusual things too.

The night he passed he refused to go for a walk, one of his favorite things. A few minutes after that he collapsed on the floor.  Bob rushed to his side, scooped him up and off to the Vet we went.  A tumor had burst in his belly, the odds of him making it out of surgery were heavily against him, and so we were left with the decision to make him comfortable and see him off into his new world.

People often say how sad it is to lose a family pet.  I believed them, but I kind of thought yes it will be sad but that’s what pets do.  They come into your life for a short time and then they go. It’s the way of life with a pet.  I guess because I have human children I kind of thought that it wouldn’t affect me like others have claimed it affected them.  After all, nothing is worse than a death of a child.  That is still true nothing is worse. However, Jedi really was part of our family. Not just a dog.  A friend, and wise old man. He was as much a part of our family as any human family member.

He was very ill.  They brought him into the room to say goodbye and as soon as he heard our voices he sat straight up.  When he saw that all four of us were there, he laid down and was very calm.  We all felt as though he knew it was time.  He was very much at peace.  I watched my boys say their final goodbyes to their childhood dog, friend, brother. With tears in my eyes I said my goodbye and locked eyes with my old man dog. As usual the wisdom in his eyes let me know that he was ready.  He had already known and prepared.  I wasn’t prepared.  Not prepared to lose him, not prepared for the hurt, or the lack of his presence that is felt every moment of the day, missing his snoring, missing him under my feet everywhere I go.  Missing him on our lonely walks with Abby. Not prepared as my husband walks in the house just moments ago with tears in his eyes as he holds Jedi’s ashes in a box.  Nothing prepares you for the loss of a great pet. I can’t call him my pet.  He was my friend, my family, my old man dog.

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So, while I dread having to write this post, it must be written, because Jedi’s life happened. Jedi Master Burnett, full of so much joy, love, and wisdom.  ‘Til we meet again old man. ‘Til we meet again.

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Jedi Master March 2004-May 2016