Hammer and Chisel: Before you get started

Hello friends!

We just finished the first week of Hammer and Chisel (HC)! Personally, I love it so far. A few friends have asked me what I think of the workout, so I want to break it down in a few posts.

A few things before you commit to this workout; you need weights, they don’t call it hammer and chisel for nothing. Erik and I have accumulated weights over time so we didn’t have to drop a huge lump of cash on getting a bunch of weights. We have 5, 10, 12, 15, 20, 25, 35 and 45 lb weights. By the end of the first month I feel like we are going to need to get some 55 lb weights so Erik can push his limits! Weights are expensive, I know, but if you want the results you need the right weights. If you are trying to save a little cash, you can get the adjustable weights, which will run you anywhere from $80-$350.  The only problem with these weights; if you are working out with a partner who also needs the weights at the same time, you have to buy two sets. Alternatively, if you are a member of a gym, you can take your laptop or tablet (if you get beach body on demand) and do the workouts at the gym.

Another thing you might need is a bench. We have been using an ab ball and out flat ottoman (not recommended by beachbody), but I think we are going to be investing in a bench in the next few days. Again if you are trying to save a little money, the ab ball works really well, and they show modifications using the ab ball (I will continue to use the ab ball while Erik uses the bench).

I have also been thinking about getting my weight lifting gloves back out. It might seem silly but the grip might help me lift heavier weights. Probably not, but at least I will look like a bad a$$.

In general, when I look at the 60 day calendar it’s not designed like the P90x series, which is what drew me to the workouts in the first place. What I mean by that is, Monday’s aren’t always the same workout for four weeks, then you change to something else. Take a look for yourself.


This is awesome for a few reasons; the main one being that if I don’t particularly like a certain workout (hello P90x3 agility) I don’t dread a certain day of the week for four weeks. *disclaimer, I still love the P90 series, and I am not putting it down; just giving you my honest opinion.* Another reason I love HC is the varying workout lengths. Maybe for me it’s just a mental thing (probably), but it gives the workout series a bit of variety. I also love the rest day. One thing about the rest day, it is on day 4, so currently our rest day is on Thursdays, which isn’t too bad, but I wish I would have thought it through a little more and started on a Wednesday or Thursday, so the rest days falls on a weekend. For now, it works for us. I think if we decide to redo the 60 days after we complete it this time around, we will change the start date.


Alright I think that is all the “Before you get started” information I wanted to share with you all today.  Check back tomorrow when I break down each of the workouts.

PS: It’s not too late to join my Fit-uary challenge group. Shoot me an email at myrunningthoughts(at)gmail(dot)com for more information.


I hope you all have a great day!


My completely honest review of Shakeology

Hello friends!

Here we go my completely honest shakeology review. If you all know me at all, I am not going to lie just to get a sale; that is not the type of person I am. I hate HATE protein shakes. I think they all taste like crap. I hate that whey protein taste, bleh.  I was really skeptical, when I first heard about shakeology. I thought, “Oh ya just another way for beach body to make some money.” But no if you really look at the ShakeologyCholocateVegan_Ingredients and the science behind the powder it is really amazing.IMG_1742

I just recently started drinking the Vegan Chocolate shakeology and I am ready to give you my first thoughts.  I was SUPER excited to get it in the mail; after delivery being delayed because of the snow storm. The first day I made it I used: a scoop for the shakeology, ¼ cup coffee, a banana, handful of walnuts and a tablespoon of almond butter. It was not great. All I could taste was the almond butter, and the combination of the almond butter and the chocolate did not work. I was really disappointed and I actually wanted to cry. That ever happen to you guys? You get really excited about something and it is a complete letdown!? Ugh the WORST. Thankfully, beachbody has a 30 day “bottom of the bag” guarantee, stating that if you do not like the product or it did not work for you, they will refund your money even if the entire bag is empty.IMG_1763

I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel yet. I was going to give myself at least two weeks of trying different recipes to see what worked, and if I hated it still I would return it and sob in the corner (just kidding). The second attempt was MUCH better.  I nixed the almond butter, and did frozen strawberries, scoop of shakeology, a little bit of coffee, a little bit of water, handful of cashews, and a handful of walnuts. I tasted it, and I liked it but it was missing something. I poured it back into the magic bullet and added a banana. It was just what it needed. It was good, but it still took me a while to drink it. I still wasn’t 100% convinced.  You know what they say though… third time is a charm! This morning’s shakeology was a berry medley: one scoop of shakeology, ½ cup water, banana, handful of walnuts, ½ frozen berry mix (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries) and some ice. It.was.amazing.  Seriously, I wish I had more and I cannot wait to make it again tomorrow.  I will say, you have to get the proportions right. I think the first few times I made it; I did not have enough liquid in it to counteract the “powdery” taste of it. The one I made this morning did not taste powdery at all.IMG_1807

I am still planning on trying out some other recipes so I have a variety of shake options for my breakfasts, but for now I am happy with this one.  Also I just discovered I can put maple syrup in the shakeology, I might actually have to try that tomorrow.

The price, now I know people look at the price and get sticker shock; “Goodness it’s $130 for a 30-day supply of shakeology, that is ridiculous.” Well if you look at the breakdown of how much it would actually cost for you to get all the ingredients in shakeology it comes out to over $41 a SERVING.  Shakeology breaks down to just over $4 a serving. To me, that is worth every penny.

Two more things…

#1- The Shakeology has a 30 day money back guarantee, even if the bag is empty. If you don’t like it or the product didnt work for you, they will refund your money.
#2- They offer a sampler pack for $30 for the regular flavors ( Each sample pack contains 6 single-serve packets of Shakeology (1 Chocolate, 1 Vanilla, 1 Strawberry, 1 Greenberry, 1 Chocolate Vegan, and 1 Tropical Strawberry Vegan). Or if you just want to try the Vegan flavors, it’s $20. (click the links, click buy now and go all the way to the bottom of the page, you should see the sampler packs there. Let me know if you need help)

EEEEE! I am excited!IMG_1802

Let me know if you all would like to get your hands on a bag and join my challenge group on facebook!

I hope everyone has a great day!


51 Weeks!

Hello friends!

Our little Panda (Liam’s new nickname for Quinn) is going to be ONE in FOUR days; seems unreal that I was pregnant with her at this time last year.

Sometimes it feels like a million years ago and other times I look at her and I can’t believe she is almost one. Just look at how pregnant I was last year.


Yikes! I do not miss feeling that miserable, but it was so worth it!

Look at what a difference a year can make!


This week we started giving her goat milk at various times throughout the day.  She drank a bunch of it the first time I gave it to her but has not shown any interest in it since.  I will keep trying, because my milk is basically gone. I feel a little less sad about it this time around only because I know things will be okay. With Liam I thought I was going to lose this enormous bond and not feel as close to him, but that wasn’t the case. Sure, breastfeeding creates a special bond, but the amount of time I had to spend with him when I was done nursing was awesome.  It also gave me freedom, I felt I could go out with my friends and family without stressing about having to nurse or pump. I will still miss the quiet time I had with my Q, but I am excited to watch her grow and change.


I was home with the kids on Friday because we were preparing to get SLAMMED with snow.

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It was fun working from home with them on Friday,


But we are ready to get out of the house. Luckily we have a playdate today, and we have some last minute birthday party items we have to get for Quinn’s birthday party this weekend (eeek!). I will be home on Friday sans kids, and that is when I plan to do most of my shopping and decorating. This snow has really thrown me off and I am trying to get my S together.

Alright friends! ONE more weekly post, then its back to regular workout, home improvement and food posts!

Recently UpdatedI hope everyone has a great day!


The Struggle of fear

As I lay in bed at night, I think of all the things I want to do to help people. I want to help people reach their full potential. A lot of people (myself included) are held back by fear. The fear of the unknown; I was too. I took a leap of faith when I started the Paleo diet. Sure there are hundreds of people with before and after pictures; millions of success stories about how good people feel when they eat the paleo way.  And like a lot of people not only was I scared that I wasn’t going to be able to do it, but I was very skeptical. How was I going to feel? Would I feel hungry all the time? How long will this “diet” last? Questions anyone would have when changing their whole lifestyle. But I put my fears aside and decided no matter what I was going to try my hardest, because honestly, I hated the way I felt.


According to the CDC, more than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese. [Read abstract Journal of American Medicine (JAMA)]. That is insane! Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, are some of the leading causes of preventable death. [Read guidelines]. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese was $1,429 higher than those of normal weight. [Read summary]. I personally believe obesity is preventable and it starts with the way you look at food. I know you hear it all the time, but food is fuel for your body and in order to properly fuel your body, you need to make good food choices. I hear all kinds of excuses, ” well it’s really hard to eat healthy around the holidays” or my favorite, “we go out to eat all the time; it is so hard to eat out and be healthy.’  All excuses. It IS really hard to go out to a delicious burger place and not get a giant cheeseburger and greasy fries. It’s hard, I know, I’ve been doing it for almost a year now. Eventually it becomes a habit. I admit, there are plenty of times I don’t want a salad, or a lettuce burger, but I have experienced the consequences of  eating those foods.  Trust me, it’s not pretty.

When I tell people about the paleo diet, they say they can never commit to eating that way because they love candy, bread, pasta, rice, and cheese too much. I tell those people to stop and think about what they are saying… essentially, they are saying they love those food items more than they love taking care of their bodies. That was me, practically my whole life. But my stomach hurt all the time, I had horrible gas, and I hated getting dressed in the morning. It was an awful downward spiral; the worse I felt, the crapper I wanted to eat.  I guess that is why they call it “comfort food”. Logically it doesn’t make sense, but that is how I felt, and I am willing to bet most of you have felt that way too (at least I hope I am not the only one). At a certain point, you have to break the cycle; you have to decide that you are going to be stronger than the cravings. I know each and every one of you reading this today has that strength, now all I have to do is get you to believe it.

Isn’t it about time you put your fears aside and let your faith guide you?! If this post changed just one person’s mindset about food, then I have done my job. Trust me… you can do it too!

I hope everyone is staying warm and dry! Have a great night!


Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Hello friends!

As promised, an amazing Slow Cooker Butter Chicken recipe I found on Pinterest and I changed it up a little bit. I didn’t have cardamom, so I used nutmeg and cinnamon instead. I also didn’t have any cilantro or lime, but I am sure those would add to the amazing flavor.

butter chickenI made some rice for Quinn and the boys and they loved it. It was really easy to prep and the slow cooker did most of the cooking.  I think the recipe could use a little spice to it. If I wasn’t making it for kids I would have added the cayenne pepper. Next time I might add some curry powder to it.. I love me some curry. Let me know if you make it and if you changed anything; I would love ideas to change it up too!

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken                                                                                           Print


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 (14oz) can coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 (6oz) can tomato paste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ¼c Cilantro, or to taste


  1. In a medium saute pan, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent and fairly tender. Add garlic, ginger, spices, and salt. Cook 1 minute longer, until all the spices are fragrant. Stir in coconut milk and tomato paste and stir until well combined.
  2. Place the chicken to the slow cooker and pour the sauce over everything; stir to make sure it is all combined.
  3. Cook on high heat for 3-4 hours or on low heat for 6-8 hours.
  4. Shred or dice chicken into the sauce, squeeze in lime juice, top with cilantro, and serve.


Gallery Wall reveal!

Hello friends!

As promised and three days late, here is my gallery wall reveal. I am so so so so in love with it. I will warn you, I do not have any pictures in the frames yet; that is going to take a lot longer than me picking the pieces out.  I do know they will all be black and white pictures, and probably pictures from some of the places we have visited. And I actually think I am going to keep one of the pre-framed pictures, and no Anya it is not the Zebra! HA.

Guys it was a process to get this thing to where it is now, it started out looking like this…

IMG_1125Then I got a few ideas from pinterest and started making cardboard cutouts and taping them to the wall.

IMG_1213Then it started to slowly come together. My mom and I went to Ikea and World Market and got all of the frames you see here. IMG_1275 IMG_1276The final detail pieces make the wall complete. I found the arrow on pinterest and showed it to Gary. He and Erik whipped it up in the garage,

IMG_1396We put the arrow on the wall, and I liked it but thought it kind of stuck out in a bad way.

IMG_1395We left it that way until the final pieces came in. Then I asked them to stain it the same color as the console table (more on that later).  My mom and I made one last trip to world market this past weekend to get the last circle frame and the key you will see on the left of the gallery

Alright I have made you all wait long enough….Here is the completed gallery wall! (sorry about the lighting in the photos)

DSC_1137So cute right?! Here I will show you 1000 more pictures of it.
DSC_1139 So the console table.. You remember it from my family room post; the one from world market..

IMG_0883Yes that one. I showed it to Gary, and he got the details and dimensions from the website and recreated it. IMG_1478 IMG_1527DSC_1145 I got the handles from World Market for.. wait for it… $7 each!?!  I think it fits in perfectly, and really ties the room together. DSC_1144 I don’t know how I am going to accessorize the top of it yet, but I think fresh flowers are going to always be a must.  Liam picked those flowers out for me when we went to Costco the other day.

DSC_1133 DSC_1145AH I LOVE IT. Next up, the matching coffee table and benches for the dining room :)

Have a great day!


50 Weeks!!!

Hello friends!

Only TWO more weekly posts to go :( I cannot believe our little lady is already 50 weeks old and will be ONE in 2 weeks?! REDIC DSC_1088JUST LOOK AT HER LITTLE TOES?! CoMe oN!

This week we gated the kids in Q’s room so we could do a little house cleaning. It was more to keep Quinn contained than Liam, but he didn’t try and climb out, and they played really well together for about an hour; it was glorious. #parentingwin


This week, they also had their very first fight. I really wish I had gotten it on video, but we were too busy laughing about it. Liam would put all the cars in the garbage truck and Quinn would open it and take them out as soon as he walked away. It was hilarious. IMG_1470Liam as very sweet about it, he kept saying, “Quinny STOPPPPP”. He did tell on her though, “mommy Quinny keeps making a mess,” HA. We have our work cut out for us with these two.. I love it! But in all seriousness, we are very blessed with kids that really love each other and get along so well.

Erik and I were still laying in bed when Liam and Quinn both woke up Saturday morning. We had told Liam to stay in his room and play, and he did for a while, but when he heard Quinn crying, he went into her room, turned on the lights (which required bringing one of his chairs in to stand on), put toys in her bed and climbed right in.

IMG_1535We watched them play on the camera for a good 20-30 minutes before getting up for the day. It was adorable. Actually I think Liam came in and told us he had to go to the bathroom, so we got up. I love watching them grow up together :)

Alright friends! That is all for this week!

Week 50I hope everyone has a great night!


More big changes

Hello friends!

Man I knew 2016 was going to be awesome, but it is only January 16 and I have already made tons of changes. I never thought I would take the plunge, but after doing beachbody workouts for 10 years, I am finally a beachbody coach. BBAltSigBErik has been drinking shakeology for almost a month now and he really loves it. If I am being 100% honest, I started this journey to get the discount on the shakeology for him, but I have been toying with being a beachbody coach for almost a year now.  I am mad at myself for not taking the plunge last year when I really started my weight loss and paleo journey, but better late than never. I am still working out the details of this whole thing in my head, so bare with me while I figure it out.

For the most part, I think I am going to keep the coaching business to my blog, and my blog’s facebook page/profile,  But I am really excited to be able to share my passion for healthy living with you all in a more concrete manner.

Erik and I are going to start Hammer and Chisel as soon as it comes in the mail, and I will FINALLY try shakeology. I HATE and I mean HATE protein shakes. They all taste horrible, so I am curious to see what all the hype is about. I ordered the Vegan Chocolate flavor, my only gripe about the whole thing at this point is that there are only two Vegan flavors. I am hoping they can figure out how to make the cafe latte one vegan (not sure it is possible, but I want them to try).  I really hope I like shakeology, because I have been eating eggs almost every morning since March 2015, and I am ready to change it up a little. Don’t get me wrong, I love eggs, but I think it’s time to change it up. I will do a post with my totally honest opinion about shakeology as soon as I try it.

Alright I am signing off. I hope you all stick with me on this new journey. I am excited to see where it takes me and my little blog :)

I hope everyone has a great night!


Paleo Spaghetti Squash & Chicken Chow Mein

Hello friends!

Recipe time! As promised Paleo Spaghetti Squash & Chicken Chow Mein recipe.  I took this recipe, added grilled chicken and tweaked it just a teeny bit. You can print the recipe out at the bottom of my post.IMG_1477

Erik and I love the No salt seasoning from Costco, (side note, we get a LOT of our spices from costco because you can get a 14.5 oz container of it for half the price of a teeny container at the grocery store, and they have a lot of good spices.)

no salt costco-seasoning

Look just pure seasoning, no junk. The fact that there is no salt is awesome because we feel really good about giving it to our kids. I will say the because the seasoning has some pepper in it, we do not put a lot on the kids chicken pieces, but we LOVE it.no salt

On my way home from work I called Erik and gave him instructions on how to cook the spaghetti squash, so that it would be ready by the time I got home (teamwork for the win). This means I wasn’t around to take pictures of the squash when he put it in the oven. But here are the basics, he lined a 13×9 pyrex dish with foil, cut the spaghetti squash in half length-wise and scooped out seeds. He put the spaghetti squash skin side up and poured 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the pan and baked it at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until flesh was very tender. Once I got home, I scooped out the flesh and set it aside while I made the rest of the Chow Mein.

Erik is in charge of all things that require the grill, so he seasoned the chicken and put them on the grill.


Meanwhile, I mixed together the coconut aminos, garlic, coconut sugar and ginger. Then I cooked the onion and celery. Make sure to use a big enough skillet so you can put your entire meal in it.

IMG_1473Once the onions were tender and translucent, I stirred in the cole slawand cooked it until it was just soft enough not to crunch like cole slaw.IMG_1474Then I stirred in the spaghetti squash and sauce, freaking yum…IMG_1475

It was really delicious. If you try it out, let me know what you think of it.


Spaghetti Squash & Chicken Chow Mein                                                                        Print     


  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 2 cups cole slaw mix (my mix has cabbage, carrots and broccoli florets)
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • No salt seasoning (or any other seasoning you like to put on your chicken)


Line a 13×9 pyrex dish with foil. Cut your spaghetti squash in half length-wise and scoop out seeds. Lay spaghetti squash skin side up and pour 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until flesh is very tender. Once done, scoop out flesh with a fork so it breaks apart into strings, set aside.

Meanwhile, season chicken breast with the no salt seasoning, and grill.

In a small bowl, mix together coconut aminos, garlic, coconut sugar and ginger; set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and celery, and cook, stirring often, until tender and the onions are translucent. Stir in cole slaw until heated through.

Stir in spaghetti squash and sauce until well combined.

Serve immediately.


It happened!

Hey guyssss,

It happened! I WON THE LOTTERY. Yup you are looking (er?reading?) at the newest $4 lottery winner! I have no idea how I am going to spend the money, maybe I will invest it. So many possibilities, I am going to need some time to think about it.lottery-girl-520x346

(link for picture)

HA! In all seriousness I hope the people that won the lottery do something meaningful with the money and don’t (excuse me French) piss it all away on stupid stuff. I feel like Saturday’s drawing for 40 million would be the one to play, maybe the odds of winning the lottery after the big one is slightly higher. Who knows.

Anyway! I wanted to pop in today to clear something up from yesterday’s post. My sister said my post made it seem like our dad was overweight and that was the cause of his diabetes; he was not overweight. His diabetes was caused from the medication he had to take for his kidneys, but it was still hard to see him go through the pain, and I want to do whatever I can to maintain a healthy body.

I also wanted to pop in and share a 30 day guide to Paleo that I found and have been playing around with:

Take a look at it, and maybe grab your own ebook copy of it.

It has a weekly meal plan:


mealplanShopping lists:

shopping listand some delicious looking recipes:


Check it out and get your own copy. I cannot wait to try some of the recipes out!

Alright friends! I hope you all have a great day!


*Disclosure: This post is not sponsored, but please be aware that there may be some affiliate links in this post. I genuinely thank you for your support!

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