Friday faves 22

February 24, 2017

Happy Friday! Yay – we made it. How did the week turn out for you? Please tell me it was good! I’m diving in with some Friday favorites and fun things to share.


Friday faves 22


Jojoba oil – I have been using this a lot as a moisturizer for my face and hands. I love the slightly nutty smell and it feels great on my skin. I also use it to remove eye makeup (add a small amount to a cotton ball). Trader Joe’s carries it on the cheap, but you can find it just about anywhere.

A Fit Mess

This “papa” shirt my sister gifted to the girls. Madison is modeling her blue steel look below. This girl kills me.

A Fit Mess

All the 4T clothes ever made (courtesy of my sister). She’s the best. Seriously, this picture is only about half of the clothes she brought. It took us forever to sort through it all. No lie.

A Fit Mess

Nail Stop: My sister and I took her girls to have mani-pedis done while they were here visiting. This place is so neat that I had to share for any local friends. First of all, it’s huge! There is a separate kid’s area as well as a private room for groups. There’s also an espresso/coffee bar and cocktail bar for adults. Perfect, right? Highly recommend!

A Fit Mess

Here’s the darling kid’s section.

A Fit Mess

This giant Mama NEEDS SOME coffee mug. #truth

A Fit Mess

I had some photos taken with Amelya Jayne Photography and I am super happy with how they turned out. I’ve added them to my Workouts and About Me pages. Is there anything more awkward than having your picture taken?

Location: Carpe Diem Personal Training

The pizza Matt makes is honestly the best! We had it last week, but I’m still dreaming about it. The crust is from Julie Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook, but he does his own sauce and toppings. This one had a little Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top and roasted broccoli.

A Fit Mess

Cousin love! <3 Such cuties!

Warm weather treats. The girls have been asking for “ice cream” a lot lately. I think we are all looking forward to spring!

A Fit Mess


Fun/interesting links:

Want to try CrossFit? Here’s what you need to know.

Women like to compete against themselves: I found this NYT article interesting from a professional standpoint, but also from a fitness focus. I love competing against my past performance – it matters more to me that what others may be doing.

Chocolate covered vegan cookie dough bars – a long title, but looks soooo yummy!

This deadlift video demo that Matt shared with me (I love him because he sends me power lifting videos during the day).


What are you loving lately?

P.S. I did my first official CrossFit class yesterday and I am stupid sore today. Everything hurts.



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Last weeks workouts + my first CrossFit class

February 21, 2017

Hey, friends! Happiest of Tuesdays to you. I’m popping in to share last week’s workouts and tell you about my first experience at CrossFit. I’ve been sort of winging my workouts lately as I try and figure out what schedule works best for me, but I’m enjoying not having a¬†set training plan at the moment. ūüôā


Last week’s workouts


REST – took a walk during lunch because it was beautiful out!

Tuesday (Valentine’s Day)

6 mile run – average pace 8:05

For the last mile I did hill sprint repeats and my legs were noodles by the end. If felt really good to end my run with a hard effort and “empty my tank”. We are definitely soaking up the warm winter weather here in North Carolina.

A Fit Mess


CrossFit intro class (see below!)


3 mile run




Orangetheory – ESP Day (Endurance – Strength – Power)

Strength work included a lot of pressing movements (one arm DB chest presses) and pushing exercises. Ab work (planks, bicycle crunches, toe taps).

Treadmill: various incline work / pushes –> all out efforts


  • 750 meter row + 25 med ball overhead presses (I used a 12# ball)
  • 500 meter row + 25 med ball OH presses
  • 250 meter row + 25 med ball OH presses
  • repeat 25o meter row and presses until time is called


I’m not sure why, but this workout totally killed me. I was completely wiped out from the rowing at the end. I like to alternate between starting with the strength work and the conditioning. Something about the combination of the rowing and the med ball overhead presses at the finish just destroyed me.



1 hour walk outside with my sister <3


My intro CrossFit session


I have been thinking about trying CrossFit for a while, but just haven’t taken the time to check it out. I recently had a conversation with Matt about wanting to increase my strength and power in a group setting, and he encouraged me to look into it. I love working out with my husband, but our schedules rarely jive and he is booked up most days with Carpe Diem clients. Much of my strength work is done on my own or at Orangetheory. As you know, I love OTF! ¬†The community atmosphere and workouts are awesome. So I still¬†plan on sticking with OTF, but I wanted to learn more about the CrossFit program and experience it for myself.


Mostly I’m intrigued¬†because CrossFit intimidates the heck out of me. I thought I’d share my initial experience with you in case you were interested in learning more about it, too.

You may have noticed that there¬†are CrossFit studios popping up everywhere. Each gym (known as a “box”) is actually its own entity and – from what I hear – the workouts, coaches, and experience can vary greatly from one location to another. I ended up selecting the box that was nearest to my house and I scheduled a complimentary one-on-one training¬†session with a coach (a prerequisite before taking a class).


Although I was a bit nervous pulling up to the box, I felt much more comfortable after meeting the coach and seeing the members. I was given a tour of the facility and my coach asked me a lot of questions about my goals, background, and interests.


We talked quite a bit about the program and the movements, what typical workouts look like (each class in an hour long, but the strength work lasts between 8-12 minutes on average), how the class moves (warm up, active work, conditioning, cool down), etc. I asked a lot of questions and my coach took time to answer everything thoroughly. There was a class going on while I was there so it was neat to see an actual workout in progress. I was surprised to see people of ALL ages, background, and fitness levels working out. I was impressed by how the members were engaging with one another. They were super encouraging and offered each other feedback and helpful pointers. It was so cool to be in such a supportive environment.


After the tour, I went through a quick baseline workout:


  • 500 meter row
  • 40 air squats
  • 30 sit ups
  • 20 push ups
  • 10 pull ups


I finished the workout in 8:25, but I wasn’t really pushing myself. I was just going through the workout and letting the coach analyze my movements.¬†I completed most of the workout straight through, but broke up the pull ups in reps (4, 3, 3). Some of the movements were a bit different from what I am used to doing. For example, the sit ups were performed with a wedge under my back and my legs were in a butterfly position. For the push ups I was told to touch my chest to the floor. I managed to hit my face on one of those. ūüôā I did the pull ups strict because that’s the only way I know how to do them (a lot of CrossFitters do a moment called “kipping”).


After the workout, I stayed and talked to the coach a bit more and then watched the remainder of the class. A few of the members came up to me to chat and everyone was very friendly and down-to-earth. All in all it was a great experience and I plan on going back again this week!

A Fit Mess


In case you aren’t familiar with CrossFit, I thought I’d share¬†some background info..


What is CrossFit?


According to, CrossFit is a fitness program that combines a wide variety of functional movements into a timed or scored workout. Common exercises include pull-ups, squats, push-ups, weightlifting, gymnastics, running, rowing, and a host of other movements. Programs are always varied and always changing.


Philosophy – CrossFit


We believe that fitness is a state of mind, a way of being. It shows up in the way you talk, walk, sleep, eat, work, play, dress and relax. It is the physical embodiment of the character traits of honor, courage, confidence, discipline, integrity, responsibility, dedication, and joy. It is also instrumental in reducing the immediate and cumulative effects of stress and anxiety. We‚Äôve found that the fitter a person is, the more he/she is physically able to do the things that bring joy and fun to life ‚Äď everything from feeling strong, confident and energetic through your normal work day, running around with your kids, being physically active and playing sports, to traveling to remote corners of the earth. Being physically fit is inspiring, feels good, enriches your life, and adds both years to your life, and life to your years. For us, the bottom line is this: Fitness allows you to live your best.


Have you taken a CrossFit class before? What did you like about the workout? 


    1. Hi Christina-I was pretty intimated at first, too, but I was truly surprised by how welcoming they were. The members were very friendly and everyone was working at his/her own pace. It was pretty neat!

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Gluten free + dairy free packed lunch ideas for toddlers

February 20, 2017

As many of you know, the girls recently started a new preschool (which they love so far!) and since they stay for the lunch program, I have to send them in with a packed meal three days per week. The lunches need to be nut-free and must not require refrigeration or need to be heated. Since the girls don’t eat dairy or gluten, I was a bit worried about what to prepare for them.


After doing some research, I realized that with the proper equipment and a little bit of planning, the lunches were totally doable. Today I want to share some suggestions that you might find helpful if you are preparing gluten-free and dairy-free school lunches. These ideas would work for kids on regular diets, too!


To begin, I bought insulated lunch bags that were large enough to store the¬†girls’ containers¬†and utensils. The bags are durable, simple to¬†clean, and fold flat for storage. They also have a¬†velcro top that’s easy for toddlers to open. The material is lead-free, bpa-free, and phthalate-free.

I also purchased a couple of stainless steel¬†thermoses for food storage. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love these! They have a¬†wide mouth that’s easy to fill and eat out of. And they hold 10 ounces of food which is the perfect portion size for my kids. They can keep food hot or cold for several hours.

Finally, these¬†lunch BLOX¬†kits from Rubbermaid are great for holding sandwiches, but they work for just about anything. They have dividers inside to keep food separated¬†if your kids don’t want items to touch, like mine.

I try not to use Ziploc baggies to cut down on waste, so I usually put small items in these little cubes. I have a lot leftover from when I use to prepare and store baby food for the girls.


At first,¬†the¬†most daunting part for me was trying to figure out what to make. Having a list of ideas to choose from can take the guesswork out of what to prepare. I always include a protein and starch along with fruits and veggies. Generally, the girls eat the same thing as one another, but there are a few items that I know Maddie won’t eat (avocados, peas, etc.) so I will only include a little bit in her lunch (I still offer!).


Here are some examples of the lunches I have prepared for the girls so far. Most days they return with empty containers or a small amount of leftovers (good sign!). So far I’ve really enjoyed preparing their meals because it has encouraged me to be a bit more creative with what I make them each day.

A Fit Mess

The meals listed below require a little bit of planning, but they can all be prepared the night before to make things easier in the morning. We usually have either rice or noodles in the fridge so it doesn’t take me long to whip something up. The fruits and veggies can all be washed and chopped in the evening and sometimes I will use frozen fruit since my kids like to eat it that way, too.


Gluten free + dairy free packed school lunches


Lunch 1:

  • beans and rice
  • carrots and cucumber sticks
  • sliced strawberries
  • plantain chips and sunflower seed butter


Lunch 2:


Lunch 3:

  • sunflower seed butter and jelly on gluten-free bread
  • carrot sticks +¬†olives
  • apples + blueberries


Lunch 4:

  • buttered rice noodles + peas
  • applesauce pouch
  • mini box of raisins


Lunch 5:

  • turkey sandwich on gluten-free bread
  • carrots, cucumbers, and broccoli
  • plantain chips
  • clementine slices




There you have it! Hopefully I have offered a few ideas or helpful suggestions. What do you pack for lunches?


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Do you run alone? Stay safe with these 5 tips

February 16, 2017

Hello, there. I hope your Thursday has been amazing so far!


Today’s post is something I hope can serve as a reminder when you are running (or walking) alone. Most of us understand the general safety rules, like “trust your instincts” and “be aware of your surroundings,” however, it’s easy to¬†become a bit lax with our precautions because we feel the odds of incurring danger are¬†low. Unfortunately,¬†the reality is that we should¬†never let our guards down, especially women. Many runners have at least one or two scary moments to share, myself included. So, I hope these five tips will be useful to you or a loved one.


5 safety tips for runners


1.  Try to tell at least one person that you are going for a run, and if possible, where you will be running.

I usually let Matt know where I’m headed and how long I think I will¬†be so he knows around what time to expect me back. Our neighborhood backs up to several winding trails which eventually loop right back to my house. This allows me to¬†easily run long distances yet stay within a five-mile radius of our house. Having quick access to so many walking/running paths was one of the reasons we bought our house!


My Garmin forerunner has a feature called LiveTrack which allows you to connect and pair your watch with mobile devices. Friends and family can easily track my location and workouts in real-time. Most phones are enabled with GPS tracking as well.

2. ¬†Avoid¬†running alone in the dark unless it’s a place that is well lit and you feel comfortable.

I know this can be tricky for people who run early in the morning or at the end of the day. When I was training for my last half marathon, I had no choice but to run at 5:00 a.m.¬†some days¬†just so I could get my long run in before Matt left for work. This wasn’t the best idea since our neighborhood streets are extremely dark and in¬†some spots¬†I was running in total darkness.


If you need to run in the dark, be as cautious as possible and follow these guidelines:


  • Always wear a reflective vest.
  • Do not run on trails or roads with shallow shoulders.
  • Stick to streets you are familiar with.


3. Turn music off or lower the volume in a secluded or dark place.

Your hearing is invaluable and could save your life during a run. Wearing headphones makes you vulnerable not only to attack, but to collision with cars and cyclists. I know how essential¬†music can be while running (Motivator #1!) so you don’t need to forgo music altogether, but be sure to¬†turn the volume off in heavy traffic areas and secluded places. I would also refrain from listening to music while running in the dark.


4.  Always look directly at passer-bys and make a mental note of his/her appearance.

I know it may feel slightly rude to look squarely at a stranger, but try adding a wave or saying “hello” to make it less awkward. Not only does this let the other person know you have noticed them, but it keeps you alert, too. I try to make a short mental note of a person when I run by them, such as “black hair, green shirt, etc.” After you pass someone coming in the opposite direction, be sure to turn around to check that¬†they are still moving in the other direction.


5. Keep your phone with you.

It wasn’t until I became a parent that I started taking my phone with me on my runs. I loved feeling unplugged from the world and I kept most of my music on my iPod. Now I have my phone on me most of the time in case someone needs to reach me about the girls, but it’s also helpful in case I am hurt and/or I need to call for help.


I created this safety tip sheet below for easy reference. Safety should always be our number one priority.

Safety products for runners:

Road ID bracelet

Reflective vest

LED headlamp


What tips would you add?



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