February Challenge!

It is time for the first official challenge of the year! WOO!  I wanted to give some time in advance to plan ahead and SET YOURSELF UP for success.  Planning is KEY people, KEY!   This challenge will officially begin on Monday Feb 3rd and will end Friday Feb 28th.  So not quite 30 days, but enough to give your self a good kick in the butt.  After this challenge, I will continue to post little challenges to build off of this one.  Keep it simple, baby steps.  No need to make a bunch of crazy changes at once.

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No this is NOT a Paleo Challenge, more so of a general- clean eating/watching what you eat/having boundaries/not being a total piggy-challenge.  The cool thing is you can tweak it however you want!  For example, if you are not such a sweets monster like I am, maybe substitute no sweets for no fast food or no alcohol etc.  Something that you have a hard time moderating, give it up for this month.  You will not regret it.  Shain and I have been doing this challenge together for almost 2 weeks now, so far so good.  We are logging our food and keeping  each other accountable and at the end of the 30 days we will decide on the winner and here is the kicker…the LOSER has to do ALL the house chores for a month (we split them in half usually).  I mean, talk about motivation.  I won’t have to clean for an entire month if I stick to the challenge??  It’s on Shain, it is ON.  So, let’s get to it! Here  are the rules:

  • All CLEAN foods.  If eating something “processed” it must have 5 ingredients or LESS on the label.  None of that paragraph of words you cannot pronounce crap.
  • Get 6 workouts in a week.  Even if it is a quick 20 minutes of cardio, aim to MOVE at least 6 days out of the week.
  • No eating after 6pm (big weakness for me).
  • No sweets (ugh).
  • ONE carbohydrate based meal a day and no more than that (pasta, rice, bread etc).  Avoid those meals for dinner if possible.
  • AT LEAST one meat based meal a day.
  • 6-8 glasses of water a day.

So, that is not so bad right?  Again, feel free to tweak as needed.  Or twerk…you can do that too if you want and count it as cardio.

eatcleanEach week of this challenge I will post some recipes for you to try out as well as some quick workouts anybody can do at home.  NO EXCUSES.  Let’s do this! I have already been suffering for 2 weeks so it is only right you join me?!

Food for the week: typically for two of us I make 3 meals a week that serve 4-6 and that can get us through until Friday.  So if you see the attached document, it has 4 meals to prepare and then some quick breakfast and snack ideas.   If you are only making food for yourself this week, the attached list will probably be too much…BUT you can also freeze it for the next week!  I put more than necessary just in case you are cooking for more than two.  Creating healthy habits should be a FAMILY affair you know!

See attached and start planning!  When will you cook this week?  When will you get your workouts in? Speaking of, workouts for the week will come tomorrow 🙂   Happy Thursday!

Week 1 Meal Ideas

Week 1 Groceries

Meatza Recipe

White Chicken Chili Recipe

Put it out there.

What kind of life do you create for yourself?  What kind of things do you “put out in the world”.  What you put out…comes right back.


Yet, we so often get caught putting words and thoughts out there that we do not in fact want.  I cannot tell you how many times I hear things like this:

“What if I never find somebody?”

“What if I don’t reach my goal?”

“I can’t lose the weight, it’s too hard.”

“I will never look good in jeans like that.”

“There is no hope.”

“I won’t be able to finish this workout.”

“I will never make enough money to stay ahead.”

There is one thing all of these statements have in common.  They are a bunch of hooey. If you find yourself saying things like this you need to:

1. Get a new attitude and start believing in yourself

2. Stop looking to other people to give you compliments or encourage you.  It may work at first, but you will exhaust people. You need to lift YOURSELF up.  If you don’t believe in you, nobody else will.

3. Fake it til you make it.  Put what you want out there.  Tell yourself you are strong.  Tell yourself you are capable and WORTHY. Tell yourself you can DO IT.  Tell yourself you are enough.   

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If you get into the habit of saying these things, eventually you will think them and eventually you will believe them.  And all will fall into place.

Every single milestone I have had in my life started as a lofty dream or wish on paper, that is it.  I can give you example upon example of things I have “put out in the universe” and have appeared on my doorstep.  There is no logical sense behind many of these things, they just happened.  The things that didn’t workout  during the time I wanted or in the way I wanted…ended up showing up later and even better than I could have imagined.  Put it out there.  Stop the doubt.  Stop the negative self talk and fishing for encouragement from others.  All you need is YOU.

If you don’t design your life, somebody else will design it for you.

Stay blessed in the mess 🙂





Nothing “new”.

As some of you are aware, one of my goals for this year was to buy “nothing new”…specifically no new clothes.  In 2012 I had a goal of no clothes shopping, AT ALL.  And I held to it, it was one of the best things I ever did.  But this year I am tweaking it a bit.  I am only allowed to shop at thrift stores/donation stores/re-sale shops.  Why did I decide on this challenge?  Because I am getting married in less than 5 months (insert panic attack here)  which means we are in crazy money saving mode right now.  Every single penny has to be put away.

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Sounds like an expensive brand? 5 bucks, boom.

But not only do I need to be saving money for all these up coming costs, with special events like a bridal shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner etc….it is a perfect “excuse” to buy something new.   It’s my BRIDAL shower, I HAVE to buy a new dress!?  It’s my last night out as a single girl, I NEED to buy the right shoes!?  Right?? WRONG.  I need nothing.  I have plenty of outfits and I could seriously wear something different every single day this year and still have un-worn clothes.  It is a problem.

2013 Cont. 201apparently Target dumps their clearance items at Goodwill, which is great for me because these shorts were $1.49 each.  Come on SUMMER!

Even after a year of not shopping and continuously purging my closets, I still have too much.   This is mainly because I wear the same favorites over and over again.  Am I too old for ripped up jeans? I hope not.  Anyway,  by not allowing myself to buy anything “new” I am saving myself from the money trap of buying 5 different outfits to wear to my rehearsal dinner or shower or bachelorette party…because I can’t decide what to pick.  Being a girl is so stupid.

2013 Cont. 200work flats: $3 each

 Last year I became inspired to start hitting up thrift stores, Goodwill, Platos Closets etc. and have been finding so many treasures! So why can’t I do that for a whole year? If I REALLY feel that I “need” something new, I can aid in the re-using of resources instead of buying more overpriced crap.  Everybody wins!  I have yet to buy anything this year (have not had the urge yet) but all the pictures here are from things I purchased in November/December… and the crazy thing?  Everything except for the leopard Sperry boat shoes (below) had original tags on them, so I really do get the thrill of something new without suffering from the price.  Awesome sauce.


Stay blessed in the mess! 🙂


Sooo I only posted once last week, why?  Because last week I was a crabby negative mess.  Yea, it was one of those weeks.  Oh… and then I topped it off yesterday by rear-ending somebody.  All  because I was dazing off at stop light. I am so awesome.  So it is best that I kept my raging thoughts confined to my private journal last week, you are welcome.  I DID however get to spend time with lots of good friends this weekend, so all was not lost.  Phew. Blessed in the mess right?

Now that I am not raging angry any more and I have had time to reflect on some things that have been weighing on me, perhaps I can provide some insight.  As I am sure I am not alone in this issue.  The issue is people.  People have just been getting to me lately.  And that is saying something because I LOVE people.  I love being around people, meeting new people and really getting to know them.  But recently, people have been letting me down.


If I could sum up the theme of the last few months it would be “Jill tries to please everybody and everybody ends up mad at Jill”.  Sounds like an awesome horror movie right?  Not.

I remember being so relieved to be done with junior high and high school, because I thought it would get better.  Remember how mean kids could be at that age?  They say nice and wonderful things to your face, maybe even comment on your cute outfit and then they bash you to another friend.  At that age, everyone was insecure and simply trying to survive the awful years of puberty and fitting in.  Okay fine.  But those years are long gone now and it makes me sad to see those same things that happen in my every day life, with grown adults.


I think that most of the time sadly, we don’t realize when we are doing these things. I know I can be guilty of being sucked in sometimes, especially when I am frustrated or hurt.  But it is NOT an excuse, EVER.   Which is why I made the resolution of limiting my “negative talk”.  I have noticed that when this negative talk is present, others tend to think they are just speaking the “truth” or “venting”.  Speaking negatively of somebody else should be avoided at all costs, always.  If you have an issue, chat about it with that person.  That is what will make you different than a 15 year old who gossips.  How am I to know if you are upset you if you never tell me?  How am I to know that you don’t like something I did, when you respond positively to it?


I try my best to please everybody in all aspects of my life, which I am very aware is a losing battle, yet I still continue to try.  I pride myself in being a sensitive, thoughtful and respectful person… but that will never be enough.  Especially for those who are only out for themselves and their own interests. Trying to please people at work or with wedding planning has been taking it’s toll.  Despite that challenge, I refuse to just give up and say “SCREW THE WORLD!” and make my own island.  At the end of the day, people and relationships are what makes the world go round, they are what makes life worth living.  And let’s be honest, being on an island by yourself would be no fun, it would only be fun to have all the candy to myself.  I will continue to work on my relationships and on raising people up around me, even the difficult ones.  They are usually the ones that need it the most. 

Stay blessed in this crazy MESS!


Monday, Monday.

This weekend was awwwssshum. Yes,  I like to spell words wrong.   Despite having class on Friday night and all day Saturday, I was able to get in some fun stuff to make me feel like I did indeed still have a weekend left.

On Saturday night there was a Crossfit Holiday-ish party and in the past I have either wussed out of going to one of these or I have not been able to go due to class or other obligations.  So I was pretty pumped to be social with my fellow meat heads for once.  I even had more than one beer….I had FOUR.  I know I am a party animal.   So far my resolution to be more “fun” is going well.  However, I do have to confess that I left around 1030pm..so I am not that fun yet.  Baby steps people.


Sunday morning I went for a run with my two pals and it was our first run all together on the trail since my friend Jess had her baby, so this was a pretty big moment.  I was SO happy to not run on a treadmill and run with PEOPLE.  However, we did almost die like 5 times trying to keep our traction on the icey trail.  Still fun.  The celebration then of course continued with some yummy breakfast and coffee at The Village Grind, only the best place in Oswego ever.

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The rest of the afternoon I spent listening to 90’s pop radio on Pandora (best station ever) and destroying our kitchen.  I made some Turkey Burgers, scrambled egg and potato hash and this awesome paleo pizza casserole ( I forgot to take a picture, ugh!).

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Then we went to Shain’s parents for Sunday Dinner, in which we had “bang bang shrimp” and Salmon patties. YUM.  We capped off the night finalizing our honeymoon details, which I AM GETTING SO EXCITED ABOUT.  We are still doing the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives thing but we are also going to be going through Reno, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite.  It is turning out that we will get to do lots of things that we both love.  Shain will get to gamble in Reno, we can relax in our private cottage in Lake Tahoe and then we will get to HIKE in Yosemite! AHH PERFECT!  Is it June 15th yet??

Lake tahoe

Speaking of, time is flying and we are in wedding planning MODE.  We have knocked quite a few things off the list so far, so hopefully we are ahead of the game.  I know these months are going to fly by, lord help me now.

Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead,  stay blessed in the MESS! 🙂



Want to make some serious positive changes in your life but don’t know how? Too crazy of a schedule?  Too many things happening right now?  Guess what? Time flies and if you don’t STOP, sit down, organize your thoughts and be INTENTIONAL on how you want to reach your goals…another year will go by.  And you will be in the same spot you were 365 days prior and no closer to where you want to be.  That would suck huh?  Don’t let that happen to you this year.


I am a big planner.  This is 100% because I am terribly UN-organized and forgetful by nature.  No, really.  Ask my parents or any of my best friends what my life (not to mention my bedroom) was like from high school through college.  Out of control mess all of the time.  When I graduated college, I made a pact to my self to be better.  To take better care of myself, to get organized and kick butt at this whole “real world adult” thing.   Somehow over the years I have learned how to “tame” my organization and flighty self.   Although Shain might tell you differently…


  Today is Friday, which means this weekend is probably not filled with as much relaxation as you like.  Maybe you are carting kids around to different practices, working at another job, going to a million family parties or maybe like me you get to spend it in class.  Whatever it is…do this one thing.  Take just 20 minutes and plan your week ahead. Plan out your grocery list, plan out when you will get a workout in and plan what you will eat.  Does not have to be exact, just a general idea of how you will go about your week and get the things you need done.

planning2If I did not plan my food and workouts every single week, guess what?  I would miss the opportunity to get a workout in and I would probably spend too much money on “quick” food that is not good for me because I did not plan.  And the busier you get….the more it keeps happening.  PLAN PLAN PLAN! And sometimes you will go away from your plan and that is okay, the important thing is that you HAVE ONE.

Starting in February, I will start posting on either Thursdays or Fridays of every week with some meal plans and workouts for you so that you have time to PLAN them for the following week.  I also have some cool ideas for some 30 day challenges I will share with you at the start of every month!  I would have loved to do this for you sooner, but I want to make sure this stuff is good and worth your time, thank you for your patience.

BUT…that being said this does NOT mean you have to wait until February to kick all this off.  Take some time this weekend and look at your week ahead.  What days can you squeeze a workout in (even if it is short) what days will you be too busy to cook and should have something already made?  You will find that when you have a plan in place, it is harder to stray away from it.  So what are you waiting for…PLAN for your success!




Rando Rant.

Hello friends!  I apologize for my lack of blog presence this week, one of the most important weeks of the year none the less! I hope you were able to kick off towards some awesome goals this week, if you are still thinking about those goals that is okay too.  There are no resolution police that will arrest you for not starting EXACTLY the first week in January.  Phew!

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This past weekend kicked off grad school classes again, I only have two semesters to go!! WOOT!  The class I am in right now is called Social Entrepreneurship and so far it is pretty interesting and the readings have been awesome as well. As I have said before, even though this takes up my Friday nights and Saturdays which is not ideal and kind of exhausting, I feel so rewarded about the discussions we have and the knowledge I gain.  I love this program.

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I am sad that I will not be graduating with my classmates who I have grown to love so much this coming May 2014, I will not be done until December 2014.  I had to take a half course load this past fall due to this whole saving for a wedding thing and with also because it was a very busy time at work.  Oh well, I will get there soon enough!  I could not be more happy about switching from an MBA program to this program, it has been so amazing.

Despite having the two “snow” days this week, it has been very busy.  We still stayed open on Monday and Tuesday which truthfully I was thankful for because I have so many projects and tasks to get done before all my Ambassadors get back next week!  I cannot wait to see all their faces on a consistent basis again.  College kids are so fun to be around.

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I also had jury duty yesterday which was SUPER interesting.  Here I thought I would be stuck in a room most of the day and have time to read (which I was excited about).  But I got called into the court room where they spend hours questioning all of us just in order to pick the appropriate jurors, I never officially got called in but still had to stick around (and finally got to my reading) but it was kind of intense!  I am thankful I got to see how that process actually works, pretty cool.

Anywho, I know this was not even remotely inspiring and I apologize.  I have some good things coming for you.  I am working on putting together some 30 day challenges to post on my blog and you can join in on the fun if your are interested.  I was also thinking of putting together  details on my meal and workout plan every Saturday or Sunday in writing for you here on my blog.  This includes a grocery list, recipes etc.  Just in case you are looking for some extra guidance, comment below or on my FB if you would be interested.  If not, I will spare you the annoyance 😉2013 Cont. 184

Speaking of comments, I have a serious Spam problem right now that I am working through.  So if you have commented on my actual blog and I have not responded I promise I am not ignoring you!

Stay blessed in the mess 🙂


2013 is officially behind me, it was a year full of lots of blessings and as well as some hard lessons.  When looking back at the goals I set for myself this year, the majority of them were accomplished.  I PR’ed in all my races, became more comfortable with lifting heavier weight, spent more time praying, writing, reading, figured out some tools to keep my clean eating on track, created a Spartan Ambassador program and have almost completed my Masters.  But the BIG goal I set out to do this year did not happen.  I did not qualify for Boston, even after two attempts.  I would be lying if I told you I have not replayed those races over and over in my head a million times.  I am still angry with myself.  But I also know better.  In many different ways, the experience of falling short humbled me and taught me a lot.  I know I will get that qualifying time, there is a reason it wasn’t in the cards this year.  I will be going for it again in 2014.

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As I have mentioned before, I break my goals down into categories and I have a strategy for how I go about making them.  For my detailed list of resolutions and those strategies I use, feel free to click on “2014 goals” tab on the top of my site.  But for this post I will spare you and just give some highlights 🙂  In addition to going after Boston again, below are the other things I am going after.

Nothing New:  In 2012 I made the goal/resolution to not buy a single item of clothing for an entire year.  It was one of the best things I ever did.  I became more aware of my spending and I learned to want less.  Even though I had “free reign” to shop this year, I still carried those lessons with me and bought clothes on rare occasions.  THIS year, I am allowed to buy clothes but NOTHING new. Meaning, I am only to buy clothes second hand from places like goodwill, salvation army etc.  This will not only save me money, but keep me out of the stores that suck you in.  I will be sure to share my finds with you 🙂

Nothing negative:  Among stressful situations it can be easy to get caught up into other peoples’ gossip or venting sessions.  I find myself in these situations very often at work, and it is unacceptable.  I feel terrible about it every time it happens.  I am making a pact to myself this year to say NOTHING NEGATIVE about anybody while at work.  If I need to get home and vent to Shain, that is fine.  But it is not allowed to anybody else.  I will raise those around me up because that is what they deserve.  Nothing good ever came out of negative banter.

Wedding under $10,000:  This has been and will be a very difficult challenge.  I have shed so many tears over people I love dearly but cannot invite due to space and cost, but it is one of many factors in having an affordable wedding.  We will fight to keep things simple and keep everything in perspective.

More FUN:  I have a goal to be better balanced this year.  To still work hard but also remember to let loose.  This has always been a little hard for me, both Shain and I are homebodies by nature,  but even he knows how to let loose with his friends once in a while.  I need to learn from him and have more fun.

2013 Cont. 182I would love to hear what your goals are for the year.  You don’t have to know them right now, take your time.  Be intentional.  Most importantly, set yourself up for success.  Don’t just say you will do something, plan for it, write it down, tell everybody you know.  Make 2014 your best year yet!

Stay BLESSED in the mess! 🙂