Fit Friday: 30 Ways to Incorporate Self-Care into Your Life

If there is one thing I have learned over the last couple of years in this fit journey, and most definitely since returning to work after 17 years as a stay-at-home-mom: women, especially mommas, put a whole lot on their plates.

The amount of pressure we place on ourselves is truly more than anyone should deal with.  No matter what Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram portrays, life is not perfect.  Not one of us is a perfect wife, employee, mom or grandmother.  We all like to hide behind a facade, because that’s what is acceptable, but that facade eventually will fall, leaving behind a generation (or two) of exhausted ladies who no longer want to care for their homes, marriages, or themselves!


Self-care is so important in the society we live in today.  We are all guilty of people-pleasing, comparison, and striving for perfection in a world where perfection doesn’t exist.  As a result anxiety, depression, drug-abuse, alcoholism, and walking out on families are growing problems among women.  If we don’t pause to take care of ourselves, who is going to take care of our family when we break?! Continue reading

Fit Friday: Healthy Travel

While in Hawaii for our anniversary, Audley and I made it a point to stay on a fairly healthy track.  It’s funny, but I often find it easier to stay focused while traveling than when I am a home and work.  This isn’t to say we didn’t indulge while in Hawaii (I had a couple of amazing desserts), but I did lose three pounds during the week just because we chose activities to fit our healthy lifestyle.

So how do you manage to stay fit and on target while traveling?

First, chose locations/activities that fit your lifestyle, not work against it.  I enjoy relaxing on the beach more than anyone, but why waste away 8 days of vacation laying on the beach or beside a pool?!  There is a whole world to see and enjoy…. check it out!

Which way do we go?

Which way do we go?

Second, prepare for obstacles.  We knew before going breakfast at the hotel was expensive ($40 breakfast buffet…. no thank you).

Local fresh fruit makes a fabulous choice for breakfast!

Local fresh fruit makes a fabulous choice for breakfast!

We did enjoy a large breakfast one morning, but for the most part fresh fruit and protein bars served a loyal meal for us.  I prefer Quest Bars when using protein bars in my nutrition plan.  These were convenient, easy to travel with by plane and great to have on hand for the morning as well as when we were out during the day.  We packed an insulated cooler bag (carried it over in my suitcase) that was easy to stock with apple, oranges, & natural peanut butter for snacking.


I LOVE this fabulous insulated cooler bag that I ordered from Miss Lucy’s Monograms just for this trip! It fit perfectly in my suitcase for flying and served as a wonderful tote for healthy snacks whether we were at the pool, traveling in the car or hiking. You can order one as well from Miss Lucy’s Monograms. They have fabulous options!

Third….. HYDRATE!  I know water is expensive when you have to purchase it at a hotel or from a convenience store.  One of our first stops when we rented our car was at a grocery store.  There we purchased a bag of ice, a foam cooler and a case of water.  We were set for a couple of days and it saved a lot of money.

Fourth, don’t indulge every day.  I knew staying the Doubletree Hotel on Oahu meant fresh & warm chocolate chip cookies waiting on us when we arrived.  I saved a little cheat for them.  We also chose a fabulous chocolate mousse for our anniversary dessert and on another night had a lovely banana spilt.  BUT, it wasn’t everyday and knowing dessert was on our agenda I ate a healthy dinner and splurged at the end.  Also, Audley and I spilt every dessert.  Sharing allows you to enjoy a taste without completely overdoing it.  Just know, it’s perfectly alright to skip dessert.

Fifth, skip the bread basket.  I know, we all love piping hot bread spread with creamy butter, but seriously ask the waitperson not to bring it to the table.  There are far better choice that won’t affect your waistline to nosh on prior to supper.  Try ordering a shrimp cocktail, hummus and veggies, or even a crisp, green salad with vinegar & olive oil for dressing.


A light appetizer Audley and I split before supper; he claimed the oysters, I enjoyed and fresh pacific shrimp and we shared the Limu Poke (ahi tuna and avocado)

Sixth, incorporate fit activities into your schedule.  We hiked at Volcanos National Park as well as Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park on the Big Island.


Hiking Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park …. It was so hot this day, but the hike took us past gorgeous ocean views and seeing my first sea turtle up close.

Hiking at Volcano's National Park ....

Hiking at Volcano’s National Park …. Seeing such huge waves crash against the cliffs was unforgettable

On Oahu we did a little more sightseeing in touristy areas like the Arizona Memorial, Punchbowl cemetery and the Polynesian Cultural Center, but we walked a lot on those days and definitely ate lighter meals.

Make you own itinerary.... riding a bus all day does nothing for you whereas walking the Punchbowl you can soak it all in. Very powerful and heart wrenching, but worth your time.

Make you own itinerary…. riding a bus all day does nothing for you whereas walking the Punchbowl you can soak it all in. Very powerful and heart wrenching, but worth your time.

 We did swim a couple of times, but saved most of these laps for the evenings. The night swims in the pool were especially wonderful after supper and kept our bellies from feeling so full at bedtime.

And finally, don’t be afraid to walk!  The Hilton resort had a tram and boat for transportation around the area, but only used it when the occasion called for it (I wasn’t walking over a mile to supper in a pair of heels!).  Besides, if we had ridden the tram all week, we would have missed out on some lovely art and history lessons (and entertainment from Audley) scattered throughout the resort halls.  We averaged 6-7 miles everyday walking, not counting some of our hiking…… perfect for not gaining weight while on vacation!

Oh the things we would've missed if we had ridden the tram everywhere!

Oh the things we would’ve missed if we had ridden the tram everywhere!

Take advantage of every fit opportunity you have and make your next vacation one of the healthiest you’ve ever enjoyed!



Fit Friday: Fruit Infused Water

Ah water ….  We clean with it, cook with it, use it in our yards, wash in it & swim in it, but for some reason we seem to avoid drinking it….. at least as much as we should.

 There are many advantages to drinking water:

**The biggie is of course hydration, but drinking water regularly also helps to keep your energy levels up and the achy dragging along feeling at bay.  Fatigue is often the result of mild dehydration which can make our days feel even longer than they are.

By the way, drinking sodas, coffee (I am an addict), tea and alcohol all dehydrate your muscles, so for each cup/glass I have, I always add an extra glass of water for good measure.

**Staying hydrated helps keep you looking younger. Our skin is actually the largest organ in our body and regularly drinking water can actually improve the color and texture of your skin. Hydrated skin glows and looks supple, where being dehydrated leaves us looking older and drawn.

**Drinking water aids in curbing your appetite.  Sometimes when we think we are hungry, we are actually dehydrated and need water!  FYI, being dehydrated can actually make you gain weight as your body will begin hanging onto any and all fluids trying to keep the body functioning properly.  Water will also keep you feeling full, helping you not eat so much in a sitting.

**Drinking water can ease joint pain as it aids in keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated.  Who doesn’t want to feel less achy?

**Water flushes out waste and bacteria.  Our body need water to function properly.  If we aren’t putting it in, it can’t properly flush out the things that are bad for us.  If it is holding on to waste, we are putting ourselves in danger for problems down the road.

**Prevention of headaches.  Many headaches come on as a result of dehydration (I experienced that my first day at the Kentucky Derby last week), so drinking water can help end or ease that annoying head pain.

**It puts you in a good mood!  When your body is functioning at its best, you will feel great making your days much more productive and happy.

So, now we all know why we need to drink more water, especially as the days continue to warm-up, but how can we get in enough water to benefit us when we also know just how boring drinking water can be!

Yes, there are Crystal Light packets that you can use to flavor your water, (they seem to leave my mouth dry) but they contain artificial sweeteners and have no nutritional value to them.  I try my best to limit artificial sweeteners or contain them to natural sweeteners or stevia just for health’s sake.

So, how do you keep water from being so boring?

Why dress it up of course!

fruit infused water

Fruit infused water is fresh, clean and a great way to flavor your water without fake anything.  It is also super easy to create fruit infused water as well as many possibilities that can incorporate seasonal flavor all spring and summer long!  These aren’t sweet waters, but with the infused subtle flavors you really won’t miss the sugar.

This is how I have managed my water intake for nearly 3 years now!  Believe me, it works.

To assemble infused water is really quite elementary.  I choose my favorite combinations of fruit; slice, dice or chunk, add to a pitcher of water and allow to steep for an hour or so.  I also use fresh herbs from time to time like lavender, lemon thyme, rosemary, mint or chocolate mint…. options are limitless depending on your taste.

Easy enough?

While you can use frozen or canned fruit (in natural juice), I prefer using fresh fruit as the flavors seem to taste so much better.  Purchasing what is in season (right now berries are a great option) helps with the budget.

There isn’t really a wrong way to assemble your fruit infused water.  You can spend money for a pitcher that is specifically made for this or just use what you already have at home.  I prefer the latter.

When assembling my waters I like to use a 2-quart or gallon pitcher.  I add my fruits and herbs the night before to water, then place in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to mesh overnight.  If you would like, you can bruise the fruit & herbs with a wooden spoon or pestle to strengthen the flavor of the water.

Releasing the fruit juice into the pitcher using a wooden pestle

Releasing the fruit juice into the pitcher using a wooden pestle

When I do this, I usually pour my water through a strainer.  The next day I just refill my glass of ice with water as needed all day long.

You can also flavor a single glass of water with just a few slivers of fruit in the bottom of a glass full of ice.  Add the water last and let sit a few minutes.


Here are a few of my favorite combinations ….

1.  Lemon water.  This is the easiest and most common was to dress up water.  Slice a lemon, squeeze into a glass of ice-cold water and drink up.  I also do this same thing with a lime.  It’s quick and the tangy splash of  citrus really wakes me up!  Top it off with mint for added flavor.

2.  Lime, cucumber and mint.

cucumber & lime with mint

Add 6 slices of lime to a 2 qt. pitcher with half a seedless cucumber.  Add ice and press with a wooden spoon (I used a pestle) to release the juices and fill with water.  Let sit for 30-60 minutes and serve over ice.

3.  Strawberry-Kiwi.

strawberry kiwi infused water

3 or four kiwi (depends on how well you like the flavor of kiwi) thinly sliced added to 5 large strawberries, sliced.  Cover with ice, release the flavor, fill with water and allow to sit in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes.

Layering of my fruit and ice

Layering of my fruit and ice

4. Cucumber-Melon.

cucumber melon infused water

Honeydew & cantaloupe chunks mixed with several slices of cucumber keep this water light and refreshing.  I like to mix this up single serving and continue to use the glass for a little while.

5. Berry Splash

berry splash

By the glass I mix 6-8 blackberries, 8 raspberries and 10 blueberries, cover with ice and use the pestle to press on the ice and help release the juices.

6.  Raspberry-Lime

Raspberry Lime Infused Water

By the glass I use 10 raspberries, and 2 slices of lime.

cucumber melon in a sports bottle with an infuser.... my 17 year old loves to use this at school!

cucumber melon in a sports bottle with an infuser…. my 17 year old loves to use this at school!

What makes these flavored waters even better is the fact they are so pretty.  With the subtle flavors these are a perfect accompaniment to a cookout or pool party as the flavor doesn’t clash with most cook-out favorites.

So how much water do we need?  I recommend at least half your body weight in ounces.  So if you weigh 150 pounds, you need 75 ounces of water a day; a little more if you live an active lifestyle.  Me?  Because I work out five days a week I try to get in a gallon a day because I lose so much through sweat.

Try a few of these simple flavored waters and let me know what you think!

And if you have a combination you like better,  share it and let me know!  I’m always up for trying something new!


Have a fabulous weekend, and don’t forget to drink your water!


Fit Friday: 15 Gifts that will Build Fitness

The New Year has arrived and along with it comes more than half the people you know that have made the resolution to be more healthy and/or fit in 2015.  We all know that resolution; we’ve all made it at one time or another.  But for me, the New Year brings a whole lot of gift giving.  It’s not the 12 days of Christmas, but birthday season.  That means between now and June each of my nieces and nephews, as well as my own children, will have their birthdays.  I’m one of those aunts/moms that loves to find something useful or educational as a gift, so here are some great ideas for gifts that will encourage kids and adults alike to get out and get to moving!  WIth the help of a fitness-oriented gift, some of those New Years resolutions may become realities.


Here are several suggestions (in all price ranges) that are perfect for promoting fitness in children and adults alike!


1.  Toys that will get the kiddos moving… skateboards, ripsticks, bikes (with a helmet), scooters, hula hoops …. emphasize that fitness is fun!

2. Kids love music and kids love to dance.  Keeping that in mind, Shaun T’s Fit Kids Club DVD (Beachbody) with it’s popping music will have kids of all ages and stages dancing their booties off.

3.  If you don’t mind spending a little more for kids challenge older ones in your family with a home wall climbing kit.  You can find these as accessories to backyard playsets or construct one in a garage or basement.  Also, kids LOVE trampolines and will spend hours bouncing, flipping and flopping on one.  This is great cardiovascular exercise as well as good for their little muscles.

4.  A gift certificate for a class.  Think ballet or dance, karate, or even horseback riding.  Think of something that promises fun and adventure, but also keep in mind their own personalities.


5.  Paid registration fees for a Color Run 5K or other fun walk/run.  Register yourself as well and you’ll have a training partner on hand.

6.  Gift certificate for a sports store like Academy or Dick’s Sporting Goods.  If they like to run try a certificate to a running store like Fleet Feet so that they can be properly fitted for running shoes.

7.  FitBit activity trackers.


These are all the rage right now and will sync right up with a smart phone to track number of steps taken in a day, heart rate, sleep patterns, and other personal metrics. It also has an option so that you challenge others who use a FitBit and compete against each other.  A little friendly competition never hurt anyone!


8.  Stainless steel or BPA-free water bottles ( GAIAM, Klean Kanteen, CafePress)  reduce plastic in landfills and come in tons of fun designs to fit every personality!

9.  A small iPod shuffle is perfect for working out/running.


You can throw in an iTunes gift card so that they can download a few hip tunes and they will be ready to go!

10.  Earphones or ear buds that won’t fall off during a workout are always a welcome treat!

11.  Easy at-home workout equipment like resistance bands, a bosu or ball help with all over fitness routines without going to the gym.


12.  Indoor rock climbing adventure gift certificates (from for an afternoon of family fun (and often entertainment!) White water rafting is also a fun family adventure!

13.  SherrillTree offers tips and gear – like pulleys and snaps – for recreational tree climbing.  Both adults and kids would love this!

14. Family gift cards to a trampoline center like Gravitopia or Pump-it-Up (Different cities have different names for these places).

15. My all-time favorite Twister.


Surly you remember this fun game from your own childhood!  Imagine the laughs everyone would have with this!

A few guidelines for giving fitness related gifts; give them only to those you are close to, and those who would welcome and enjoy them!  Base the gift on what the recipient does or wants to do, not on what you would like for them to do.  Never give a fitness gift that suggests they lose weight or try a new sport, unless they are game.  When in doubt, ask.

Have you ever given or received a fitness related gift?  How did you enjoy it?