September 2015

55 Minutes That Have Changed My Body & Mind

About a year ago I decided to take a fitness class that has resulted in a change in the fundamental fiber of who I am. Any one who has known me for longer than a day now, knows one thing… I love my Pure Barre classes! Even the most athletic will tell you that a Pure Barre class will make you shake & sweat. It will help you find muscles you didn’t know you had! But to truly paint a picture of  that  first class, Let me walk you through a quick “Cliff Notes” version of what to expect.

The First Class: You Can Do This!

You show up in a beautiful studio that undoubtedly smells wonderfully like Volcano candles or the like.  You are surrounded by other women of varying ages, athletic stamina, and wearing super cute clothes.  You are hopefully draped in your own admirable work out clothing, your sticky socks, water-bottle in hand and pony tail tight and high!

The Equipment: The Gather

Next comes the essentials of every Barre Babes class: the equipment!  We are not talking machines, we are talking exercise simplicity at its finest.  A set or two of weights and a exercise band and ball.  Yes, that is all you will need! You gather these items before class and claim your spot in the room. Trust me, you still got this!

Warm-Up: Get Movin’

The first section of class is low impact aerobics designed to get you and hopefully your heart rate moving. A series of floor exercises will then isolate the core muscles and you are on your way to a fabulous Barre class workout.

Now the next part of class will very from instructor to instructor but follow the same general format. You will usually start with weights, (two sets if you choose) and working those arms.  Form is key here so make sure you ask for help if you need it, followed by moving to {Cue dramatic music ‘dun dun dun’} the Barre

Thighs and Seat Work: Embrace the Shake

This is the part of class that will create the real change!  Your instructors will come up with effective yet creative ways to work muscles you didn’t know you had and most of these exercises will happen at or near the ballet barre.  But not to fear, You will learn how to tuck, small movements, the proper form and embracing the shake. Just remember to breathe and you can do anything for 30 seconds.

Ab work and Cool Down: The Finish-line

The remainder of class (I promise will go by quickly) will focus on all areas of your abs and back muscles.  A strong core will make any physical activities that much easier in the long run.  They will walk you through the last 2.30 mins of lower seat work (Low bridge) and some final stretches.  And guess what…you’ve made it! (Although you may want to…don’t pass-out on the mat!)

Please note: This is a very simplified, non-instructor, mother of two review of a typical Pure Barre class.  Things may change from instructor to instructor and different studios and states.

  • How it changed My Body:

After a year of doing Barre and almost 100 classes later, I have seen many dramatic changes in my body shape, tone and overall strength.  Let me clarify, you will most likely see results much sooner than a year!  You get what you put into things in life.  I noticed the biggest changes when I joined an in-studio 6 week challenge and made a plan to complete it!  It pushed me to do more, so I scheduled time to make it happen and gave it my all.

  • How it changed My Mind:

To be really honest I have never been a big fan of gyms and/or organized group exercise. I, like many of you, have joined a half dozen gyms in my life only to never really stick with it.  They are overwhelming for me and I always felt like I was a little fish in a big (sweaty) pond. Pure Barre was the first studio that has kept me coming back for more.  But it hasn’t always been Volcano Candles (Order Here) and bouncing ponytails. There have been classes, even weeks where I felt like giving up.  I can remember one class where I almost walked out and one where I thought I might pass-out…but I didn’t. I didn’t give up.  I pushed through, kept going and told myself I am not a quitter. You will have classes where your mind and body just can’t seem to communicate.  Classes where you’re struggling to do something this week that last week was drastically easier.  That is by design and an indication that your body is changing.  Once I was able to mentally able to grasp that I don’t have to be perfect, that my instructor  is correcting my form because she wants me to get the most out of class, it clicked.   Barre was helping me mentally and emotionally just as much as physically: I was beginning to master mind over matter.

It takes time, dedication and discipline to make anything a habit.  But If I can do it while managing several businesses and a family, you can too! You are deserving of a strong mind and body. You are deserving of taking time out of your week for you. If Barre isn’t your thing, go find your passion that allows you to really enjoy exercise. Some say gyms and classes are “too expensive”:  So are doctor’s offices folks! If you don’t take care of yourself now, you will pay for it later.  Price is relative to value.  As the Barre saying goes, You are stronger than you think.

Find a Pure Barre Studio!

Order my favorite Slip Resistant Socks!

Creating a “Grab n Go” Beach & Pool Bag!

It may be the end of August but in many parts of the country summer is alive and well.  Here in Florida the sun is shining, Hurricane Erika is brewing in the East and my girls still have a warm summer glow. A few months back I decided that getting the family out of the house to go to the beach and pool was becoming a chore!  It was taking us the better part of an hour to find the gear, the sunscreen, all or part of the swimsuits and get out of the house.  Finally, we had the idea to make a ‘Grab n Go’ bag that allowed us to do just that.  Paired with a bathroom swimsuit hanger for the kids bathroom and we finally had a system.  So how did we prepare this mystery bag of greatness?  What did we include?  I’m so glad you asked!  Sit back, grab a Mai Tai and let me take the guessing game out of it for you.

The Basics:
Get a bag!  Not just any bag, a big one!  The bigger your family, the bigger the bag.  I was able to score a Peanuts Branded Utility Tote bag at Target on sale for $20.
You can order great ones through Thirty-one or even here:

Thirty One Scratch & Dent Large UTILITY TOTE bag

You need to protect those little loves and yourself.   And while there is much debate over which to use, here are the ones we tend to use:
Badger Balm Lavender Sunscreen Cream- SPF 30 – 2.9 oz
Badger is organic and a completely chemical free formula.
I also really like Coola products. They also have organic inactive ingredients, go on great and smell wonderful!
Coola Sport SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray – Citrus Mimosa 6 ounce

Keep in mind that nothing is better than good clothing, hats and occasional shade!

The small items you will likely forget:

  • Sunglasses, even the cheap-o’s from the Target dollar section! (Love that section)
  • LipBalm with SPF (See Palm Valley Lavender Co. Brand, links coming soon)
  • Swim Diapers (If needed and I recommend reusable)  
  • Water Wings: I like Puddle Jumper water wings for our two year old.  The thing to keep in mind is that nothing will fully keep your little love out of harms way except you.  That being said, these are really great for beginning swimmers!

Stearns Deluxe Puddle Jumper 30-50 lbs. Elephant

  • Individually wrapped snacks: Lets face it, nobody likes wet chips and soggy pretzels.
  • Water bottles
  • Hats
  • Water toys
  • Towels
  • Cover-ups/ Dry Clothes

Specifically for the Beach:

  • Beach cooler
  • Chairs 
  • Umbrella
  • Beach Toys and Buckets

Really the key like anything in life is preparation.  A little preparation goes a long way when wrangling excited little ones for anything involving water.  Going to the pool and/or beach should be fun, easy and hassle free.

Happy Swimming!

Top 3 Reasons You Should Get Up Before 5am!

Top 3 Reasons You should Get Up Before 5am
Top 3 Reasons You should Get Up Before 5am

You’ve heard the saying, we all have the same 24 hours each day.  Yet some of us complain that we don’t have enough time, we don’t know where the time goes and we can’t seem to get it all done!  It is very hard to run a household, or a business and keep your sanity. I described to my husband yesterday that I feel like my days are in a constant state of “interruption.” (In fact, my 5 yr old just came to me while writing this sentence to tell me that “M and O go together or you wont have an M word.”) He of course related it to a game of Tetris.  You knock out items as they come down, fitting them in to the day only to have the same amount of items coming down and at you at the same rate.

You’ve probably been there.  You start a project, only to be interrupted 8 times, retrieving juice boxes or responding to an urgent email and then while checking your Instagram can’t remember what you were actually working on 3 hours before! The less self-sufficient your children are and the more of them you have, the more you may relate!  At first I thought it was just me.
Do I have adult onset ADD, I thought? And even in the office it can feel the same way.  You make a To-Do list at 8 am and somewhere between emails, phone calls, and knocks on the door its lunch time with the list left untouched.  The realization I have came to is that time is the most precious gift, but we have to control our time or our time will control us.

So how does 5 am come into play for me?  I often start work early and my kiddos are early risers.  By having that quiet time to organize my day for work and the personal life, it is amazing what a leg up it has provided! Coupled with a few hours in the evening after all is quiet, things are getting done!

The Top 3 Lessons of Why Getting up Before 5 am Might be Right for You.
5 am Lesson #1:
You make time for what is important
Decide what is important.  Really important.  Prioritize and re-prioritize.  Point-in-case, I recently knew it was important to have a meal plan for the month so I took one full morning and afternoon of shopping and prep work to make it happen.  One less thing to distract me on a daily basis.  It is also really important I have the time needed to work on my business so my early mornings allow me the needed time.  Get clear about what you want and schedule out how you will get there.

5am Lesson #2:
Be Flexible
Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.  This is so very true yet so often when things go astray and I cant figure out why, its because I didn’t have a solid plan in place.  But here is the kicker, life is going to require us to be flexible.  Re-adjust and make a new plan.  Think of a road map:  If you take Route A and it has a detour, you take Route B.  If you didn’t have a map at all, you may never arrive.

5am Lesson #3:
Get enough sleep
The third and most  important lesson is go to bed! Outside of drinking enough water, getting enough zzz’s every day should be next on the priority list.  Did you know it can even aid in weight loss?  Regardless, we all know how our children get without enough sleep and as adults we can be pretty much the same.  You will be far more productive, think more clearly and be able to tackle your day when the alarm goes off with enough sleep.

Need some help falling asleep?  Try my favorite night time tea:

PlanetBox: Making Lunch Time Fun Again!


A couple years ago my daughter started attending preschool so we began the search for a lunchbox.  We picked up a cute little character lunch box, threw in a plastic bag with grapes, carrot sticks and PB & J and called it good.  For the most part all lunch boxes are the same right?  Then I came across the one lunchbox to rule them all. The PlanetBox.  Four “Rover” orders and many happy lunches later and we are never going back.

What is a PlanetBox?
A stainless steel portable lunchbox design in a ‘cafeteria tray’ style.  With portioned sections so food doesn’t touch, it fosters creativity and ‘thinking outside the {lunch} box’.  With three different versatile designs called the Launch, Rover and Shuttle, they serve a variety of purposes. We have even used ours for picnics, camping and the beach!

Photo Credit : PlanetBox®
Photo Credit : PlanetBox®

What makes it unique?
They are Durable
These lunchboxes are “kid-resistant!”  We ordered our first lunchbox system 3 years ago and it is still in great condition today! Anything that can withstand the force of my children has my stamp of approval.  They are totally dishwasher safe as we usually add them to our dinner dishes load the following evening.  They even have a 5 year warranty!  The cloth box exterior cleans up well as does the insulated interior.

Photo Credit:PlanetBox®

They will put the fun back in lunch time!
Packing a lunch can feel like a chore when we do it daily and for the whole family. But with a little creativity and the right tools in place it can be enjoyable and rewarding .  I promise you will be more inclined to pack your lunch in a variety of different color and designed bags, throw in some fruits and veggies and even add a few creative touches here and there!  There are literally tons of ideas online but come up with your own from time to time.

Check out this Star Wars Themed box from Wendy Copley at Wendolonia

(See link below for more inspirational ideas!)

The Best Part, The Magnets!
The real reason you may love it is the beautiful magnets (Yes, even for adults) There are several options to decorate the boxes as well as colors and styles of the carrying case!  You can mix and match, swip and swap and get creative.
We are super excited to try the BottleRocket thermos and signed up to be emailed when it is available, as it looks to be great for warm or cold liquids!

Photo Credit : PlanetBox®
Photo Credit : PlanetBox®

The Cost Savings
Eating out every day can really add up on the pocket book.  You may be surprised what making an effort to pack a lunch daily will make on the monthly budget.  Buying prepackaged meals are costly, create more waste, and are often packed with GMO’s and chemicals.

The Environmental Footprint Reduction
Day after day use of plastic bags will add up, in a landfill and in your pocketbook. No more plastic ware or missing lids, no more searching for what you are going to pack all the sides in.

Clean Eating
I am still not confident in the ‘balanced’ food pyramid used in a majority of today’s school lunchrooms. It is up to us to instill good eating habits in our children so they continue to make good choices into adulthood.  Good food is not fast and fast food is not good.  Even “healthy” items on fast food menus are usually not made with quality ingredients, so do you really know what you’re consuming and where it came from?  Pack a clean, unprocessed lunch and watch how this one meal can make a difference in how you feel the rest of the day.

Our Lunch time lineup!

I assure you this is a small investment in a great product that will help your whole family as it has ours.  I’d love to hear from you.  Do you have one already or are you thinking of ordering one?  Share in the comments below.  I’d love to see what you come up with so feel free to share your creativity as well

Order one today!
PlanetBox Rover Lunchbox

Check out the PlanetBox inspirations page for tons of categorized ideas!
Happy Planet Happy Lunch!