Days 10-11-and-12 of 30 – Healthy Living Challenge and some catching up to do!

I’m gonna start by saying I had a monster of a migraine this morning that I had to suffer through before getting online to catch up, but more on that later….

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We’ve had a HUGE bowl of trick or treat candy sitting in our apartment since last weekend’s Trunk-Or-Treat event we volunteered at. And I swear candy that I don’t even like is calling to me from the bottom of that bowl. Childhood memories can often trigger the want of certain foods. Especially comfort foods. We will all indulge once in a while. But succumbing to bad eating habits FOR comfort is never the solution, instead it adds to the problem! Ps…. neither of us have eaten any of that candy and don’t plan on it. Hopefully we get some trick-or-treaters here at the apartment. But we’ve noticed that it’s not very common for apartments here in Virginia Beach.

BREAKFAST: Arbonne Chocolate Protein Shake w/1/2 scoop Arbonne Daily Fiber + 1 scoop Arbonne Greens Balance + 1 Pear

LUNCH: Coconut Yogurt blended w/cherries and w/blueberries, blackberries & pecans. About 30 minutes later, Arbonne Digestion Plus w/water

EXERCISE/SNACK: 30 Minutes Elliptical + Arbonne Fizz Stick w/water and baby carrots with hummus.

DINNER:  Red lentil pasta with brown lentils, zucchini, and red peppers in a veggie tomato sauce, served with sautéed garlic and spinach. Mixed all together 

BEFORE BED:  Arbonne Herbal Detox Tea

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Last minute Random Act Of Kindness. That morning we had just heard about this food drive to help kids at schools here who can’t afford lunches. NO CHILD should EVER go hungry. Hubby and I are pretty passionate about making sure those who can’t speak for themselves (like animals) and the welfare of children. Children are the future hope of the world. We need to make sure they are given the very best opportunities possible to flourish and grow. And empty belly’s are something no child should have to live with.

BREAKFAST: Arbonne Java Chip Protein Shake w/1/2 scoop Arbonne Daily Fiber (I omitted the cacao nibs) + 1 banana

LUNCH: Steel cut oats (plain) w/coconut milk + blueberries + blackberries.  About 30 minutes later, Arbonne Digestion Plus w/water.

EXERCISE/SNACK: 60 minutes Les Mills Bodypump. Celery + carrots and a Citrus Arbonne Fizz Stick w/water.

DINNER:  Vegan Stuffed Peppers w/side salad of greens + cucumber + shredded carrot w/hummus.

BEFORE BED:  Arbonne Herbal Detox Tea w/half scoop Arbonne Vanilla Protein + coconut milk + cinnamon (this was delicious!)




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I try to be a full disclosure girl. I admit when I make mistakes and admit when I try something and it turns out not as I hoped it would or not as good as it should have. And NO ONE is 100% perfect at all times. So it’s confession time and I’ll tell you what I learned from it.

Yesterday it was a day out with my Virginia Beach besties. And I had decided when I woke up I would experiment a bit. I had been feeling soooooo fabulous since getting over my sinus infection and being on this 30 Day Challenge; plus I knew I would be surrounded by temptation anyway. I’ve already proven to myself that I can have self control when I CHOOSE self control. But I really wanted to test how a change in diet would affect me since I’ve been eating soooooo clean. 

I didn’t photo journal much of the day. The day started at Starbucks where I decided to forgo my cappuccino I had been planning on and opted for their holiday drink. Which I was so distracted talking and glancing around at all the new Starbucks cups, forgot to ask for coconut milk instead of milk 😢. I hate wasting money and the person’s time so I just sucked it up and dealt with it knowing I would suffer with a belly ache/bloating afterwards 😒  I also bought a chocolate croissant which I ate a bite of and tossed it. 

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At first I thought mmmm this is yummy. It does indeed taste like a caramel green apple with chocolate. But as I continued to drink it I realized it was just the fact that I was drinking sugar and coldness that was comforting. About half way through I knew it was a stupid impulse. The milk was like chalk in my mouth. I wish I had ordered my coconut milk cappuccino and been happy with that small dose of sweet. Live and learn… don’t always have to follow a trend! It’s not always good for you, and often it doesn’t live up to the hype! This not only didn’t live up the hype but I chose to deprive my body of my healthy shake and opted for a cup of twice the calories and zero nutrition.

We shopped all day long starting at Michael’s for craft supplies and bargain hunting. I bought two covered ramekins for a grand total of $3 and some cents! Then we headed to lunch at Panera and  I had a bowl of their Autumn Squash Soup and afterwards realized I have no clue what their recipe is. I blindly presumed there was no dairy or anything else unhealthy hiding behind the delicious squashiness. So I searched the web for copycat recipes and found some that didn’t have dairy or added sugars but a lot of them did have cream, heavy cream and milk. Yeah I was gonna have a belly ache tonight 🤢 I also indulged in 🥖 Yikes what was I doing????????

By the time we got to our next stop, Marshalls. I was feeling like I had a HUGE balloon 🎈 inflating inside my stomach. And I was getting soooooo tired. I felt like I could head to bed right then and sleep all night 💤 And it was 2pm in the afternoon! 


I met up with Keith a while later and we decided to do even more shopping. Partly because I was ready for bed and if we sat and watched tv or I got on the computer to do this I was going to fall asleep where I sat. He needed a new winter coat and I needed a new dress for two semi-formal events we have coming up. So we walked and walked and walked and walked. Finally headed home for a healthier dinner and 💤💤💤💤💤💤💤💤

Bread seems to be eaten in our society as a huge filler. Both for our tummy and our plate. Why? It’s cheap! We need to make better choices, I needed to make better choices. And we need better choices at restaurants and in many situations we need to make healthy options as inexpensive as tossing a slice of bread to a meal to fill us up!

Lesson learned. I felt like crap all day long, bloated and zero energy. I need to stick with what I’ve learned and even on those days when I indulge in something that’s less than healthy, I need to make the rest of the day healthy. Not just say oh well I screwed up breakfast may as well just keep screwing up. Indulgences should be just that, and indulgence, a decadent moment, not our daily nutrition plan.

BREAKFAST: Starbucks Zombie Frappucino + a bite of a chocolate croissant 

LUNCH: Panera Autumn Squash Soup + evil side of bread  + half a sandwich w/half the bread taken off + tea

EXERCISE/SNACK: Walking…… + coffee

DINNER:  Italian Chicken Sausage + brown rice pasta + huge salad

BEFORE BED:  Arbonne Herbal Detox Tea 




How Forests Heal People


How Forests Heal People from Nitin Das on Vimeo.


Benefits Of Exercising In Nature (and why it’s better than at home workouts)


I still do some at home workouts. But I really feel too strongly about getting out in nature and just moving. You can walk, hike, run, swim, etc… But the added benefits to getting outside and away from technology for a hot minute is well worth it. At home and gym workouts are awesome for changing up your routine, getting out of the rain and snow, or just meeting other people and that energy vibe you get from working out around other people. But stepping away from the TV, the computers and the tablets can change your entire mental outlook for the day. So get outside and take a walk!




Improved cardio-respiratory fitness for your heart, lungs, and blood vessels

Improved muscular fitness

Lower risk of early death

Lower risk of coronary heart disease 

Lower risk of stroke

Lower risk of high blood pressure

Lower risk of type 2 diabetes

Lower risk of high cholesterol

Lower risk of high triglycerides

Lower risk of colon cancer

Lower risk of breast cancer

Increased bone density or a slower loss bone and bone strength

With kids it lessens the chance of developing obesity

Reduced depression

Better quality sleep

More vitamin D absorption

Get out and walk 💚😀


Busch Gardens 07/30/2017


Yesterday was to be Round 1 – Day 07/21 of Shift Shop and it was to be a day of either rest or Shift Mobility. Instead I walked🚶🏽 alllllllllll day lol.  Close friends of ours were heading to Busch Gardens for the day and we hadn’t been there together since 2007 when the Griffon roller coaster🎢 ride first opened there.

It was a short travel to get to Busch Gardens, about an hour. We arrived at around noon and left after Celtic Fyre at about 9pm. It was a long day of walking, burning a whole lot of calories and having fabulous day with friends.

My hubby & I had so much fun even though we didn’t do many rides. Keith did a few of the coasters (If you are in to roller coasters, you’ll LOVE this park) with our friend Jason while me, Jason’s wife Wendy, their son and our friend Rachel (her hubby had to work 😞) and her two girls took the kids for their rides and fun adventures. We all met up after and went to the “More Pet Shenanigans Show”.  😸🐶🕊️🐔🐀🐷All their animals are rescues and they are treated really well. The show was realllllly cute and funny. The video below wasn’t the show we attended (this was posted last year) but all the animals seemed to be super happy and having fun. All the dogs were wagging their tails and looked loved.




The whole layout of Busch Gardens is really beautiful, with lots of places to stop and rest in the shade and get cool drinks. We did a meal package plan which was very reasonably priced for a theme park. And the food, although cafeteria style was delicious, with healthier options available. There are adventures and experiences for all ages and the park is kept clean (even the bathrooms).

After the More Pet Shenanigans Show, we all kind of went our separate ways. Jason and Wendy headed home and Rachel and the girls went over to have fun with the Sesame Street Show and fun play area. Keith and I went to see Britmania, a musical show about the British invasion of music into the U.S., it was a fun show especially if you are a fan of musicals and music. After that we grabbed some dinner in Canada since we had done lunch in England. The park is divided up by hamlets to be able to travel your way around the park. Each of the hamlets has their own shops with fare that would be from that hamlet. From baked goods, to jewelry.


  • Banbury Cross (England)
  • Heatherdowns (Scotland)
  • Sesame Street Forest of Fun
  • Killarney (Ireland)
  • San Marco (Italy)
  • Festa Italia (Italy)
  • Rhinefeld (Rhineland Germany)
  • Land of the Dragons
  • Oktoberfest (Bavarian Germany)
  • Aquitaine (France)
  • New France (French Canada)


After dinner we headed to Celtic Fyre, which was the show we were most looking forward to seeing! If you like celtic song and dance, you would be mesmerized by their performance! It was Broadway level showmanship and artistry. We would go back just to see this show again! Below is a promo for the show.



We headed homeward bound after Celtic Fyre. I ended up burning about 1, 400 😯calories just walking around all day! So all in all it was a pretty ✨magical ✨day





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10,000 Steps – No Problem!


1. Get a dog

2. Take the stairs

3. Take a moving break

4. Park far away

5. Always Take the long way

6. Take a post-meal walk

7. Get off the bus or train one (or two) stops early

10. Play with your kids

11. Don’t fast forward your DVR – stand and walk around

12. Go on a walking date

14. Take extra trips from the car carrying your groceries in/up

15. Use a pedometer

16. Walk up and down hills  

17. Set reminders for yourself  

18. Mow or rake the lawn  

19. Take extra laps when grocery shopping or at the mall  

20. Go window shopping  

21. Vacuum daily  

22. Under a mile to where you’re going, walk it  

23. Take the grocery cart back inside after you load the car  

24. Get a manual treadmill and walk while you watch tv

Stop And Smell The Roses


You’re moving along pretty nicely on your training run and about a mile in your leg starts cramping. Not badly, not movement threatening and not to a degree that it’s going to cause damage. But it hurts. And your mind starts making that little hurt into a big hurt, it’s messing with you. The pain gets bigger and suddenly you know you just won’t be able to finish (in your head). *sigh* so you hit pause and come to a grinding halt, squat down to take some pressure off, and then you see them and smile. Beautiful spring flowers in bloom, rising up to meet the day, fighting the odds against their stay. And you think about this for a brief moment and then stand up.

Hmmm, no more pain. Or is there, and for a brief moment my mind was distracted by the spring blooms in their glory under the shining sun?

Yeah, the mind will play that way with you. And maybe you really do need to stop because of a real injury, but maybe, just maybe, it’s bigger in your head. So instead of giving up, just hit pause

🌹 stop and smell the roses 🌹


Walking Workout


Warm-Up, Cool-Down
Speed (mph): 2.5
How it feels: Like window-shopping
Intensity level*: 3-4

Easy Walk
Speed (mph): 3.0
How it feels: Easy enough that you can sing
Intensity level: 4-5

Brisk Walk
Speed (mph): 3.5
How it feels: You can talk freely but no more singing.
Intensity level: 5-6

Strong Walk
Speed (mph): 4.0
How it feels: You’re slightly breathless.
Intensity level: 6-7

Power Walk
Speed (mph): 4.5
How it feels: You can talk in brief phrases—but you’d rather not.
Intensity level: 7-8

Speed Walk (or Jumping Jacks)
Speed (mph): 5.0
How it feels: No breath for chatting
Intensity level: 8-9

*Based on 1-10 scale, with 1 equivalent to sitting on the sofa and 10 equivalent to sprinting.

Running out of my darkness


 writer for New York Magazine wrote this article “How Running and Meditation Change the Brains of the Depressed” and exercise helping depression is something I knew was real but something when you’re slipping into that dark place, you forget.

I’m not a full fledged “runner” by any means, yet. But I know just lacing up my shoes and stepping out the door were some of the first moments I was reminded, I am alive and I breathe. So I’m thankful just for the training, for the ability to step out into nature and move forward. It was hard at first. I cried. I couldn’t breathe. I started hyperventilating a few times. But every day was just a tiny bit easier. Easier to live beyond the sadness, or despite it. Easier find bright moments in a day that would remind me that I needed to thrive.

Something about feeling the sun beating down on my face (vitamin D is awesome) and leaving the emotionally cocooned safe  walls  of our apartment allowed me to not have anywhere to hide from the vulnerability of grief. And I think that’s a necessary step in battling depression. Allowing the vulnerability to release itself maybe is where you find renewed strength of spirit. That comfort of four walls are like arms embracing you with a huge hug when depression begins to set in, especially from loss. But soon the walls become a prison cell locking you into a moment in time. Maybe we do that because we fear we are letting go of that which we lost, that last spark of life remembered.


But we don’t. All the good memories remain as long as you choose to be brave enough, vulnerable enough to remember. I still cry. I still hurt. And I think when we lose someone (this includes furbabies as someone’s) who is close to your soul, you always will hurt, there always will be tears. But you have to find a way to smile despite it all. You have to choose to live the life they can’t. It’s the very best way we can honor them.

So how does it all work this running (exercising, walking, aerobics) help with depression? What’s the proof, or scientific mumbo-jumbo?





• It elevates the brain-derived neurotrophic factor, slowing cognitive decline and strengthening your capacity for and rate of learning, and protects neurons against the corrosive effects of cortisol (exercise boosts BDNF ) 8 Ways To Increase BDNF Levels (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor)

• It promotes brain growth. Not like, your heads gonna get big lol. Running and the chemicals release while going through very physical things stimulates new nerve growth. Endorphin’s are an amazing fix for depression! 5 Ways Running Boosts Brain Power .

• It helps ward off stress. If you include some sort of aerobic exercise into your daily routine, like walking and running your body and mind is better prepared for whatever comes at ya in the form of stress or depression triggers. If everyday stress is minimized coping skills are much more effective and with easier transition. Physical Activity Reduces Stress

• It’s kinda the closest we have to a Fountain Of Youth (naturally) Physically, the effects are obvious. But also mentally. Following a half hour of strenuous exercise, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex works harder to resist distracters and performance on tests of attention improves. Studies also show that immediately following exercise, problem solving, memory, and attention improve.  Think Better: Exercise


•It interrupts the mental feedback loop of stress, anxiety and depression within our brains. When we are stressed in our everyday life, or depressed because of a loss of some kind or dealing with anxiety because of something life has thrown unexpectedly at us, we can get “stuck”. Our brains go on a loop and doing a vigorous activity can be just the thing to snap our brains back into problem solving, or at least into acceptance of a situation if no other resolution is possible. Along with this, when depression sets in our bodies produce less Cortisol and that is bad news for our body trying to help us out of that loop, exercise increases Cortisol levels! The Brain on Stress

• It reduces muscle tension. Ever notice your body when you’re stressed out, or depressed? We tend to contract muscles and hold them in tense states. It’s all a part of that fight or flight mode ancient humans carry within them. Our body is ready to defend us against the perceived threat. Even if that threat is coming from ourselves being depressed or stressed to the max. Exercise, running, gives those muscles something to actually do. It then tires them out, they feel they fought the good fight and finally they can relax. Exercising to Relax

• It improves your self esteem which in turn gives you the confidence you can move forward away from the depression and anxiety. Developing Self-Confidence Through Running: How I Found Myself Out on the Road


So I don’t run very well, nor very fast or far (yet). But lacing up those shoes and putting your best effort in is what matters. You don’t have to be skinny, or already healthy. And you don’t have to be happy either. But your mood will lift as you continue running out of your darkness and into a better state of physical and mental health.


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Walking Meditation


INKnBURN Does Nature



“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” 

― John Muir







Hiking & walking in nature, for me, is blissful. And each season brings it’s own bit of wonder and wisdom to the hike. I never really sat down and wondered why I love to hike so much. I mean, yeah I love nature and getting any exercise is a pure endocrine giving burst while getting my body in better shape. But I knew it was more than that, something deeper, almost spiritual in form. I found a sense of peace as my footsteps hit the earth and my mind would wander to, wow, to nowhere, and yet everywhere all at the same time. But not in a rushed getting through the day mode, or not in the chaotic work essence. No, it was within a place of complete release. Complete mental relaxation. And that was when I realized, without knowing it, I was meditating by accident.

Having done meditation in a seated position in my home, and on the beach, I knew exactly what meditation was. But this was different, almost a purer meditation. I realized that my eyes drinking in the trees, the beaches, or the streams was guiding my meditation deeper within.

You don’t even have to believe in meditation for meditation to have effect. Meditation is nothing much more than allowing your mind to be still, and then, once still to allow it to wander to places of peace and zero stress. And nature is a remedy in itself for stress. Why do you think major white collar corporations do retreats to the wilderness camps?

In our hectic world of technology and as we rush from job to second job, or from work to making dinner for the family. Or when we have to study relentlessly into the wee hours of night just to get up to go take the test and a full day of classes. We forget to take time to really turn off. Many people turn to the TV to do that, when in fact it may distract, but it doesn’t help your brain find peace. It’s just living someone else’s fictional life instead of your own.

Meditation is hard on some. They don’t know the first steps, or just can’t do it automatically, can’t shut out the world outside. It takes practice. And patience. I think walking meditation is in some ways an easier starting point at meditating 101 because your body is still being allowed to move, while quieting the racket in your mind. I highly recommend being in nature though, not on a busy street where you have to watch for traffic, lights and hear blaring sirens and car honks. A peaceful little park will do.




From Mind Space