Saturday, November 21, 2015

The First 3 Days are the Hardest

vegan jokes

Almost one month ago, I started eating a plant-based, whole food diet. Meat has never been my food of choice (I do, however, love me some seafood!), so I decided to give vegetarianism a try. I actually decided to give up meat, oil, and limit my gluten intake. I even stopped eating dairy! So I did end up going vegan. 

Over the course of the past three weeks, I ate NO meat. I had dairy a few times. We had conferences this week and I ate the delicious vegetarian food provided for me at school. The vegetarian lasagna I ate had a little cheese in it. I felt okay afterwards, but I realized that dairy does something strange to my stomach. With conferences, I ended up ordering pizza one night too after being too tired to cook one day. That did not go over well with my stomach. Then I realized, why can't I order cheese-less pizza?!? I used to eat pizza without cheese when I was a teenager. I don't know why I did that; I just liked it better ;)

My delicious, cheese-less pizza

I have also limited my sugar intake. The sugar I eat is mostly from fresh fruit. I also occasionally snack on some delicious gluten-free cookies when I feel a sweet craving coming on. I also would like to completely cut dairy out of my diet. The only reason I ate it a few times the past few weeks was because of convenience. I do not plan of doing that any more. I'll see how it goes.

I have been vegetarian/vegan for a little over one month. And let me tell you, it wasn't easy. The first three days were the hardest. After the second day of eating plant-based food, I was starving, cranky, and in a piss-poor mood. I realized that I wasn't eating enough. Eating a bunch of veggies without meat or dairy was not filling to me because I was not eating big enough portions. I had to change the way I ate. It was a lot of trial and error, and it was hard! I felt hungry, cranky, and light-headed for most of the first week. That made me want to give up even more. But by the end of the first week, I had only one migraine that half of a pill took away. I was amazed!

The long and the short of it: I'm seriously in! And I'm in for the long haul. I LOVE the way I feel. I feel lighter, I have more energy, and my brain feels more focused. I honestly don't come home and fall asleep as soon as my butt hits the couch. Honestly, I ate healthily before I started eating vegan, but cutting out meat, dairy, and gluten (most days) has really helped me!

Here are a few of the delicious recipes I've been making over the past few weeks:

Strawberry and Mango "Nice" Cream

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos

Curried Chickpeas, Mushrooms, and Kale

One of my new favorites! I got this idea from the Engine 2 Diet. Shredded wheat (no sugar), All Bran (no sugar), and gluten free Chex with lots of fruit and almond milk.

Roasted Beet and Butternut Squash Salad with Pears and Walnuts

If you'd like to follow my Pinterest Board "Whole Food, Plant-Based," click here. I am continuously adding more and more vegan friendly recipes. Some of the recipes contain dairy, but I have gotten really good at modifying yummy recipes I find :)

Have you ever tried to cut something out of your diet? 

Lots of love <3 Holly

Sunday, October 25, 2015

I Can't Believe I'm Doing This...

Those of you who know me know that I suffer from chronic migraines. Even though I continue to take handfuls of supplements every day, watch out for triggers, and get Botox treatments, I still have 8-10 migraines per month. Now this is a serious improvement from where I was one and a half years ago. I was getting 17-20 migraines per month. I am in no way complaining about the success of the treatments I am receiving, but I always wonder if I can limit my migraines even more. 

I have decided to change my life. I work out regularly, I stretch, I take time to relax, but I eat animal products. I have decided to jump cold turkey into a whole foods, plant-based diet. I have been reading, researching, and searching for delicious recipes to use in my diet. I will be eating no meat, no fish,no oil, and no dairy. Thinking about not eating cheese or seafood is seriously killing me. I love cheese, and that's an understatement. I also love seafood: mussels, shrimp, scallops. Some of my absolute favorite foods. 

Creamy Curried Kale and Chickpeas:

At the moment, I'm not nervous or scared about starting this new way of eating and living. I'm really excited. When I asked my husband to jump on board my crazy train, he agreed. But then he looked at me and asked, "Wait, we're still eating cheese, right?" I froze and looked at him with a little bit of trepidation. I answered, "No. It's not plant based." His eyes opened wide, and I think he wanted to say a few choice words about eating no dairy. But he didn't. My husband is an amazing man, who supports me in any way he can. When I have a crazy idea, he jumps on board no questions asked. So we're going on this ride together.

Here are the goals I have for eating a whole-food, plant-based diet:

  • Reduce my migraines even more
  • Reduce animal sufering
  • Lose weight!
  • Have more energy
  • Feel lighter
  • Recover more quickly from my workouts
  • Be healthier
  • Reverse my acid reflux
  • Have a smaller global footprint

I know I have lofty goals for this change, but I am excited because I feel that all of these goals are possible with this new eating adventure. From everything that I've read so far, I do not believe that any of these goals are unattainable. The only question I have is about my migraines: can this really help me to reduce them even more? I can't wait to find out!

Here are a few links to some interesting information to check out if you're interested in living a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle:

Must watch: Forks Over Knives Documentary

Here's a link to my Whole Food, Plant-Based Pinterest Board

I know that I may struggle with this change at first. I know that I may just want to eat a piece of cheese. I know my husband may seriously want to eat some cheese or some eggs. Hubby and I also have a giftcard to one of our favorite restaurants. I am planning on eating a meal of my choice when we go out. Lifestyle changes are personal. You decide how they fit into your life and how you want to adapt that lifestyle to fit into your own. At home, I am going to completely do my best to eat a whole-food, plant-based diet. I feel so good about it, and I am ready to rock and roll!

Here's my first whole-food, plant-based grocery list for this week. All of this is for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners:

Anyone else eat a whole-food, plant-based diet?

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Friday, October 23, 2015

Funny on Friday

Hey, friends! Have you ever had one of those Fridays--the one where you're just not feeling great, you're tired, not in a peppy mood, and you just want the day to end? Well, I was having one of those days. It's funny how one small thing can happen in your day to put a pep in your step and turn your whole day around. 

As an ESL teacher, my students say the cutest and funniest things! One sweetie today made me smile just when I needed it. Thought I'd share with you the funny that made me turn that frown upside down--so to speak. 

Happy Friday!

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Going All In Is Not Always As Easy As It Sounds

As a teacher, I hope that no matter where I am or what I'm doing, I can make a difference in the life of my students. That's all I can hope for. Starting at a new school district this year has been challenging. It was also not an easy decision to make. For the past nine years. I developed relationships with other teachers, my students, and their families. I knew I'd have mixed emotions about leaving once I made the decision to go, but I never realized the emotional roller coaster that would come with this change.

The reading corner in my former classroom

I left a family, a family I developed relationships with. We laughed together, we cried together, and we supported each other. I had gotten into a routine; I felt comfortable where I was, but I decided it was time for a change. I made a conscious decision to jump into the cold water and let what would happen, happen. And things happened. I got offered a new job, and I decided to accept the position.

The initial excitement of feeling needed somewhere hit me. It was the beginning of a new journey. After a few days, I battled with the decision of leaving my current job. Am I making the right decision? Should I really do this? That step of the life changing process lasted awhile. I knew in my heart I was making the right decision; my mind (especially my OCD mind) doubted everything I did. That was a tough battle. I kept questioning whether I was listening to my intuition by taking on this new opportunity or making the wrong decision. 

Drawing from a former student

Doubt. My OCD loves doubt. It plays with my emotions and keeps me wondering if I did the right thing or if I made the wrong choice. After some time battling with my doubt OCD, I finally started to tell myself--I did the right thing. I knew I did, but squashing those doubtful thoughts was not always easy.

My confusion and frustration turned into excitement again. I started thinking of new teaching ideas, getting excited for my upcoming professional development, and meeting new people. That excitement lasted for awhile until it was almost time for school to start. A new emotion gave way and was extremely hard to shake off. I was extremely sad. I was sad for leaving my good friends, for leaving the students whom I love so much, the people who cared for me every day for the last nine years. That was a rough feeling. Leaving my job was like a loss I had to work through. I think the sadness was the hardest emotion during this time of change. There were some teary-eyed days. Talking to my friends or texting them made me feel infinitely more sad. It was a hard realization that I was starting over.

Tears, uncertainty, excitement, and anxiety: what an unexpected ride. 

Pine cone gift from a former student.

After the first month of school, I had gotten into more of a routine and the sadness lifted. I feel good about my decision. I always had; it was just really difficult to separate the emotions I was feeling from the choice I made and the reason I made it. 

My new classroom

Bottom line: I'm getting my work done and not taking it home, I have a manageable caseload, and I love ESL kiddos. I've realized now that the anxiety and sadness has passed, that I did the right thing. I will never forget my years at my former job. I belonged there, and I love that I felt so comfortable in my skin. But I keep reminding myself I was there for 9 years. 9 years of building relationships. 9 years for people to get to know me. 

New endeavors always start out with a sense of uneasiness, especially when you have anxiety. Eventually, people will get to know me, and I will get to know people too. Students will do the same, and so will their families. It takes time to build relationships, and I am looking forward to doing so. I can't say that my emotions about leaving my former job will never resurface. And if they do, its okay. I welcome those feelings with open arms. After all, it is hard to leave one family you love to start building a new one.

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Rory Gilmore Challenge

One of my bookish IG friends recently started a challenge--you may have heard of it--among our other book-loving IG friends. The challenge is to read the 339 books that Rory Gilmore was seen reading or mentioned throughout the course of The Gilmore Girls series (or at least try to). 

Here is a link to the entire list of books in the challenge: Rory's Books. It's a daunting list for sure, but I love the fact that working on this challenge has gotten me to read books that I most likely would never have picked up otherwise. I just started the challenge in July, so I haven't finished a ton of these books.Plus I'm reading other choices too. But I am really enjoying reading out of my comfort zone!

Here are the books that I have read in prior years before I started the challenge:

1. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
2. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
3. Babe by Dick King-Smith
4. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
5. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
6. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
7. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
8. Eloise by Kay Thompson
9. Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
10. Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
11. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
12.  Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
13. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
14. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
15. Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
16. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
17. The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
18. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
19. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
20. The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
21. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
22. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
23. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
24. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
25. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
26. Night by Elie Wiesel
27. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
28. Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
29. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
30.  Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
31. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
32.  Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
33. The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
34. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
35. Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
36. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
37. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
38. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
39. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
40. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
41. Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
42. The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum

And from July through the first two weeks of August, I have added the following books to the "read" list:


And here's what I have lined up to read next:



Have you ever tried the Rory Gilmore Challenge?

What are you reading at the moment?

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tried It Tuesday

I'm linking up today with Casey over at Hey, Momma for her Link Party #5!

Hey, Momma!

It's time for another installment of Tried It Tuesday! Yay! I've missed writing these posts, so I'm going to share some of the things I've been loving over the summer! Since I haven't posted a Tried It Tuesday in awhile, I'll quickly explain the premise of it:

Tried It Tuesday is a place where I share things that I have been loving. The items can come in any shape or form (makeup, books, YouTube videos, food, drinks, recipes, music, etc.). I am not endorsed by any of the companies who make these products. I just love to share the things I'm really liking at the moment in case it's something you'd be interested in too!

Make sure you let me know if you have tried something new that you love! I would love to check it out! :)


I have migraines...really bad migraines. I was getting frustrated because my migraines have been much more under control lately with different medications and treatments, but every time I worked out, I was getting a migraine! My neurologist told me to drink Gatorade before, during, and after working out because all the water I was drinking was flushing out the vitamins I was talking to curb my migraines. I also sweat out more of them! Well, let me tell you, I am totally sick of drinking Gatorade! Blech! I went to Whole Foods to look for some kind of electrolyte/vitamin-based drink. And I found one that tastes great!!

The powder is called 365 Everyday Value Electrolyte Plus Powder. I cannot for the life of my find a picture of it; sorry about that! (I threw my last packet away.) It is made with Stevia, so it doesn't have that artificial sugar taste. And it tastes like raspberries! It's just a subtle taste; I really enjoy it. I bought little sample packets for 50 cents each. Next time, I'm going to buy a box!

I also tried Vega One Plant-Based Nutritional Shakes this week. I tried the plant and greens protein shake. They are gluten-free, soy free, dairy free, and have no sugar added. I love them! Whey protein in many kinds of protein shakes really messes with my stomach. I had no problem with these shakes, and they have great flavors! I tried mocha and vanilla chai. I bought two sample packets on sale now at Whole Foods 2/$6. I think I'm going to purchase this as well. I'm leaning toward the mocha flavor. Sooo good! And a great snack! You can also find it at GNC and on Amazon.

Beauty Products

For some reason, my acne has flared up this summer. I was so tired of it that I started researching different solutions online, and then it hit me! I can go to Lush and find some all-natural products for my acne. The woman I talked to there was very helpful! She lead me towards this soap/cleanser: Fresh Farmacy Facial Soap. It has lavender, chamomile, tea tree oil, and rose. It calms the skin and promotes acne healing. It smells great, is gentle, and doesn't dry out my skin.

I also purchased the Tea Tree Toner Water from Lush. It is fabulous! It helps my oily skin and also has been clearing up my acne. After I get out of the shower and wash my skin at night, I spray this on and let it dry before I put on my moisturizer. It's so refreshing!


In July I signed up for a free trail of Audible. I listened to books on CD all the time when I was in grad school, driving 50-60 minutes to school from my home. I tried it again this summer! I usually listen before I go to bed and fall asleep listening to a story. It's so relaxing!

The book I got for free was Down the Rabbit Hole by Holly Madison. I have a few more days before my subscription kicks in, and I can't wait to choose another book!

If you sign up, you get your first book free, then you pay $14.99 each month for one book (which are really expensive otherwise!) and then you can also purchase books at discounted prices if you want more than one. You can always cancel your free trial month before 30 days are up. 

Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny | [Holly Madison]

Kitchen Product

Bjorn and I like to have breakfast for dinner every once and awhile and love to make pancakes on the weekend. Pancakes, however, always make a mess. I recently heard about a product that Williams Sonoma makes to help with pancake mess! It's called the pancake pen.

Pancake Pen

You put the mix in the container, shake it up, and squirt as much mix as you want into the pan. You can also put the remaining batter in the fridge (inside the pancake pen) and make more another morning. It also has two twist off ends for easy cleaning. It's super fun!

Have you tried anything new lately?

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Thursday, August 6, 2015

I Still Can't Believe He's Gone

7 years and 3 months ago, my dad passed away. It was the hardest thing I've ever dealt with in my life. In August of 2007, he was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma (terminal brain cancer). He passed away nine months later. My dad spent most of his life battling Multiple Sclerosis (MS), but was hardly ever "sick" a day in my life. He never had the flu, a cold, strep throat. My dad dealt with his MS so well--he didn't let it stop him. He still shot hoops with us in the driveway and took us to the mall (as a father of three girls) and walked through at his own pace. Every once and awhile his MS would slow him down, but he managed it. 

When he was diagnosed with brain cancer, it was the biggest shock of my life. I never thought my parents were going to get that sick, let alone at the age of 50. I was 26 at the time, and losing one of my parents never crossed my mind. My mom had cancer years before, but came out of it alright. Twice. I thought my dad's diagnosis would pan out in a similar fashion--we'd get my dad treatment, and he'd be fine. Too bad Glioblastoma don't work that way. They gave my dad 6 weeks to live.

My dad shortly after his diagnosis.

My dad quickly went downhill. And eventually lost his battle with brain cancer.

As the years have gone by, it hasn't gotten easier--every day I find something that I wish I could call my dad and tell him about. It just hurts less as time goes on. The ache I used to feel right after my dad's death isn't as raw. The hole is still there, but reality has sunk in over time. I don't wake up anymore thinking he's alive, only to come crashing down minutes later when I remember what actually happened. 

There are so many things that I wish I could share with him by just picking up the phone and calling. He passed before I got married. He never saw me in my wedding dress. He didn't walk me down the aisle. I would love to tell him about my new job, my writing, and my Instagram businesses. He would be so proud of me; he was always good at making sure we [his girls] knew how much he loved us and how proud he was of us. 

Recently, I've been missing my dad quite a bit. A few weeks ago, my mom's dog Bella was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, bone cancer. The vet told my mom she may not make it until Christmas. That was another shock to the heart. 

Me and Bella

Bella was my dad's dog. He loved that baby. Bella is an adorable, stubborn, and loving black lab. She loved my dad more than anything. By Thanksgiving-time the year my dad was diagnosed, he could no longer walk. He lost half his weight and was moved into a hospital bed in our family room. Bella really struggled with this at first. Her "Grampy," as we called him, could no longer take her outside to throw her favorite ball. She could no longer sit on his lap. Bella tried a few times to jump on my dad's hospital bed to lie with him. It hurt my dad too much because his body had become weak. Her life was also changing at the time, but we had no way to communicate it to her. That was tough.

Realizing how sick Bella is really brings back up a lot of the emotions from my dad's last nine months with us. It brings back memories of my dad loving that dog more than anything. Giving his heart so freely and completely. It brings back memories and familiar feelings of loss that are so hard to deal with. I am so sad for Bella. I am so sad for my mom. 

Bella, never far from my mom

Loss is something you never expect, but it eventually comes in some way, form, or manner. It's never easy to deal with, and no matter how many times you've experienced loss, it always catches you off guard. But one thing I've learned in my life is that I'll get through it. It won't be easy, but I can survive. I am going to pet that Bella-boo as much as I can and give her as many kisses as she'll let me. I'm going to visit her as much as I can and lie on my mom's bed with her. I'm going to feed her dog treats and cheese and hug my mom. 

I know we'll get through this. We always do. And I know Bella will one day be back with my dad playing ball and smiling her puppy smile. Please pray for Bella and my mom. This is going to be another hard road to walk down. 

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Be Healthier and Happier: My Favorite Breakfast Lately

I'm linking up again this week with my friend Casey over at Hey, Momma! Go check out her blog! It rocks!

Hey, Momma!

Breakfast is probably one of my strangest meals of the day. I either grab something to take in the car on the way to school, or I grab something and don't eat it until I get to school. So breakfast, in a few words, needs to be fast, easy, healthy, and filling. Sometimes I just grab a Luna bar and a banana, but 1) that gets old quickly and 2) it doesn't usually tide me over until lunch. I recently started realizing that I'm going to need to do something different this year once school starts. And, happily, I found the perfect go-to breakfast! Refrigerator oats!

Honestly, my first thought about refrigerator oats was, "Blech! That can't taste good!" I thought about oats sitting overnight in Greek yogurt. Honestly, I didn't think this sounded like a winner. I couldn't imagine thick, Greek yogurt mixed with oats sitting in the fridge overnight. I'm not one for thick textures in my breakfast food, especially oatmeal. But for some reason, I decided to give the recipe a chance. 

I had recently purchased The FitGirl Guide which lays out meal plans and exercise routines to help you eat healthier and loose weight in a safe and thought-out way. One of the breakfast recipes was refrigerator oats. So I decided to give in to the hype and try them out. Let me just tell you, they are delicious, they are filling, and they are super easy! The texture is nice too; it's not too thick. It's just the right consistency. The oats soak up the milk and yogurt and really turns the oats into a satisfying meal. You can eat the oats cold or heated up. I prefer them cold right now; it's been so hot lately this summer. 

The base recipe is as follows:

1/3 cup oats (not quick cooking)
1/3 cup almond milk
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp peanut butter or nut butter of your choice
1/2 cup chopped frozen fruit (your choice)

I put my overnight oats in 16 oz. Mason jars that I purchased from Target. Keep an eye out on these jars! Target has been putting them on sale on and off this summer. I got my 6 pack for $7.99.

Ball 6ct Heritage Collection 16oz Jars - Purple

You mix all the ingredients together in the Mason jars. The most important thing is to mix all the ingredients together really well. The honey and the nut butter add nice flavor to the oats, but they can't if they're not mixed! I use a knife to mix the oats because it fits nicely in the jar and seems to help everything combine nicely. 

I switch up the fruit that I put with the oats. Sometimes I do dark, sweet cherries, blueberries, peaches, or mixed berries. All of them have been tasty!  I even added a little bit of cinnamon and ginger to the peach oats to make it taste like peach pie! Yum!

If you'd like some more ideas for refrigerator oats, I pinned some on my Pinterest Board "FitGirl Recipes." You can follow it here

Pumpkin Pie Refrigerator Oatmeal. No cook. Great grab-and-go breakfast!  #refrigeratoroatmeal

Banana Bread Overnight Oats | The Wheatless Kitchen

These are healthy recipes that I've found based on the premise of FitGirl. They are not necessarily FitGirl recipes. To find out more about the FitGirl Guide, click here

Have you tried refrigerator oats? What do you think? What is your favorite go-to breakfast?

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Motivation to Be Healthier and Happier

Last year I completely (practically) stopped working out. I was coming off a huge depression caused by different migraine medication I was taking at the time. I had never felt so unmotivated, down, dark, and hopeless in my life. I am a pretty "glass-is-half-full" kind of person. Going through such a dark time in my life really took the wind out of my sails. 

I truly enjoy Zumba and dancing. I used to go a few times per week and also go to group dance classes (salsa, swing, hustle, bachata, waltz, etc.) at least once each week. Last year all of that stopped when I couldn't even get off the couch or get out of bed. I felt miserable, not myself. My body felt like it didn't belong to me. I felt inhuman--I don't even know how else to describe my feelings at the time. I had no emotions and the things I loved did not bring me any joy. I could hardly even take the dogs outside, let alone think about going to a dance class. 

At this moment in my life, I feel 110% better. I feel more myself. I've been weened off the last of the medication causing me problems. My head feels clearer. My body feels my own again--I control it, not vice versa. And my mind is living in a more suggestible state at the moment. It's easy to convince it of the benefits of working out and making my body follow through. 

In general I am pretty good at pushing myself to do something. I've never lacked the ability to motivate myself to do something, especially when I know it is good for me. Exercise is a huge anxiety release for me. If I feel my anxiety creeping up on me, I know I have to work out. My head feels so much clearer after a good exercise stint. That in itself is usually good enough motivation to get me to workout.

Feeling good after a workout at home

It is, however, not easy to restart a habit once you've lost your momentum. Here are a few things that I did to help motivate me to stay on track with my exercise routine:

New Shoes

I have plantar fascistic. When I wear out a pair of shoes, my feet are not happy campers. I usually wear out my shoes and continue to wear them over and over because I just don't want to suck it up and get new ones. I haven't really found a great pair of shoes that I love to workout in. However, I decided that I needed new shoes if I was going to workout as much as I am this summer. I found THE PERFECT shoes, and I love them! I think it was just luck, but I don't care because my shoes rock!

I looked up some good shoes to Zumba/dance in. So many running shoes are not good for me because they have too much traction on the bottom. It's hard to twist your feet, turn, and move quickly without twisting your ankle. I ended up ordering the Nike Free TR 5 Women's Training Shoe. I can move really well in them, and they give my ankles great support (old dance injury). I love them!

New Workout Gear

Since I gained weight, a lot of my workout clothes felt a little tight on me. I ended up going to Old Navy and buying two pairs of great workout leggings and a few shirts on super clearance! I also bought a few new pairs of cute socks because I couldn't find any matches to the ones I had! It felt good to have my workout clothes fit well. And I felt like I looked good in them because they fit. It is definitely a motivator to be able to feel comfortable in what you're wearing!


The second week of July I had been working out solidly and tracking my calories in My Fitness Pal for a good month. I never drink frappucinos from Starbucks, but the 
S more's Frap sounded delicious as a treat, so I decided to get one. I got a tall, light frappucino. It satisfied my sweet tooth craving, and it was amazing! I don't plan on ordering another anytime soon, but who knows? Maybe I'll have one next month as a treat to myself. If there's something you would really like to treat yourself to, everything is okay in moderation. I don't plan on depriving myself of things I enjoy just because I'm trying to lose weight. I added it into the calories I ate for the day, and I was still under. Seriously try this one if you're into S More's or Starbucks.

Workout Friends

I love the people in my Zumba classes. It's fun to be there and dance with people you really enjoy being around, but I also convinced my sissy to come back to Zumba too! She is my ultimate workout partner. I am so happy she started going with me again! I also occasionally get to go with one of my long-time friends from high school. I love being able to see her more than I normally do. It's super fun, and it keeps me going to class even if I'm trying to talk myself out of going for the day. 

Grabbing lunch with my sissy after working out.

Try Something New

Sometimes you just need to do something different. I found a dance studio that has adult modern dance and hip hop drop in classes. I'm so excited; I'm going to go to the modern dance class next week if it's offered. I haven't really "danced" in about 13 years, so wish me luck! I am SO EXCITED to try it! Dance, dance, dance! Try to find something you love to do to get your exercise in. Dancing is totally me; I was a dancer for about 18 years. That's why I love taking the classes I do. I don't really feel like I'm working out when I'm on the dance floor.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated in your workouts?

Love and happiness <3 Holly