Goals On Goals On Goals

4 Jan

Goals on goals on goals! Every post on Facebook is about goal setting, planning, how to stick to it. Anyone else kind of over it?

All I know is, you gotta do what works for YOU. I MUST plan and track and set MY own course or it all goes to hell. For others they need someone else to write the plan. For some they have incredible will power to not eat all the snacks in the house and others ban snacks and “junk” from the house so they have no temptation.

YOU do YOU. Ok? Just make that the first goal you accomplish this year. Don’t let ANYONE tell you what is your “best you” (side eye at all the commercials for WW, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem over the holidays… especially YOU Oprah. et tu, Oprah?!?) or that you have to pay them and they’ll get you there.

There are PLENTY of free apps and sites and menu plans and work outs that you can use if “fitness” is a part of your plan. But if you need someone to help you, that’s ok too! Just be sure they are qualified and reputable and will keep your best interest first, aren’t selling you a scheme, and aren’t going to injure you.

You got this. LOVE YOURSELF.

Sparkle on,

Good Riddance Day

28 Dec

Peek. Peek. I’m just wondering if I wrote something if anyone would actually listen. So, here we go again.

I could write about why I stopped blogging and all that has happened in my life since I happily ran across the finish line of the Pittsburgh Half Marathon and turned forty in May. But I won’t bore anyone with that.

I thought what I’d done was “forgot to put on my own oxygen mask” but what I honestly did was threw in the towel. I gave up on myself. I stopped working out, I stopped accepting offers to meet up with friends, I stopped setting goals for myself personally and professionally. I had worked out my schedule to run to the gym at lunch but what I’d end up doing is sitting at my desk. Not working, just sitting. And I’d do the same thing when I got home. Come home, make dinner, and sit. Except for one night out with DOC, I was basically sitting letting life pass me by. I was in a full on funk – not just a set-back.

So here we are.  The start of the new year.  As I’ve said in year’s past, it’s my favorite part of the year. The quiet time after Christmas with the thoughtful hope for the New Year is on the horizon.  It feels peaceful and hopeful and that’s just what I need right now with all the crazy that is the world and how I’m feeling.

I have absolutely no idea where this started or the theory behind it – but I like it, so THERE! – today is Good Riddance Day.  “Good Riddance Day,” is a day where you’re encouraged to say goodbye to whatever troubled you in the past year, so that you may start the new year with a clean slate.

I am saying good riddance to beating myself up for past mistakes.  I’m saying good riddance to people that don’t make me feel good about myself. Good riddance to not speaking my mind and letting people off the hook for hurting me or my family.  And as always, good riddance to not living my happiest, healthiest life.

What will you say goodbye to today?

Sparkle On,


ps – I’m going to try to start blogging again.  It’s not always going to be health or fitness or tips – it’s just going to be me.  Moving on after good riddance.

Oxygen Mask

8 Oct

A while ago (Way back in January of 2014) I wrote a post called “Prepared for Takeoff“.

Somewhere in the past several months I have forgotten to do just that.  I became the worst kind of hypocrite.  I preach and preach and preach on my facebook, instagram, this blog, to my friends in real life to give themselves a break, to apply their own oxygen mask first and to LOVE YOURSELF.  And somewhere, some how, lately I let my mask fall off.

So, I come here today to tell you.


I’ve seen this picture everywhere lately so I have no idea where to share the credit.
If someone tells me, I swear I’ll share the credit.  

I’m working on repairing myself.  I’m working on controlling my emotions and temper and anxiety and releasing some of my responsibilities.  It meant not writing for a while. It meant after the Charlottesville Women’s 4 Miler stopping running to repair a hip that’s been hurting and giving up on running the Richmond Half. It means saying no to some volunteer opportunities, asking for help and scheduling my yearly doctors appointments.  Such little things that I would preach to you to do that I stopped doing for myself.

I have put a lot of goals out here – running, fitness, weight loss, fitting into a dress and on and on and on. Now I have just one goal.  Ok, two. To pay attention to my body and take a breath. To act with intention – meaning, paying attention to how I’m feeling about working out and eating and my mood before I act.  And two – to get myself well and give my self the space to do that.

Sparkle on.  Love Yourself.


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and  Pinterest…. and OF COURSE Instagram

Friday Five: Five Strategies for Winning The Day

11 Sep wintheday

Recently my mantra has been “Win The Day.”  I may not win every choice I make, but my goal is to not lose the day. I might make the choice to eat hot wings for dinner and drink two beers because it’s the first night of the football season, but I also walked more yesterday and ate sensibly the rest of the day.

The thing with me, and why I’m so much better at “winning the day” during the school year is because I have a set schedule.  I can be more organized, in fact, I MUST be more organized so that the kids get to after school activities, I get to my evening work functions, I get to my volunteer functions, all without the wheels coming off the whole shebang.  My wellness and weight-loss is a priority for me so I must schedule it into the day.

But here’s the kicker – I am just NOT good at remembering. I never ever take my weddings ring off (except when making meatballs and doing mud runs) because I would forget to put them back on.  I never could rely on “the pill” because I couldn’t remember to take the thing at the same time every day.

So, I really REALLY have to set my self up for success if I want to Win The Day.


Fit Bit

Here’s the thing about me and my Fit Bit.  I forget to put it on. I forget to put it on and then I forget to charge it.  But I’m trying to get better at remembering!

What I use the Fit Bit for is to remind myself to just move.  I’ve set an alert on the Fit Bit to remind me to get up and walk once an hour.  I have a sedentary work job for the most part, so having the Fit Bit buzz on my wrist is a good reminder to get up, refill my water bottle, take a walk around and get in some squats before I sit again.

Lay Out Clothes

I’ve mentioned before that on Sunday’s I’ll pack up my workout clothes for the week and take them with me to work. I have a drawer reserved just for my workout clothes.

If you’re not a workout at lunch kind of person, here are some other tips

Morning Workout?:  Lay out your clothes the night before or sleep in your workout gear (minus your sports bra!)
Evening workout?: Why not take your workout clothes with you and change before you leave work?  It’s so easy to go home, throw on the pajamas (it’s not just me, right?).  If you’re already in your clothes, you’re more likely to put in the work.


Meal Prep

I know, I feel like I keep clanging the same bell. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  I think I’ve probably said it a million times but it is because it’s the truth.  If I had PLANNED better on Sunday for us to eat better this week, I wouldn’t have resorted to ordering the hot wings and would have made Peace Love and Low Carbs amazingly amazing zero carb boneless buffalo wings.

Here’s one of my favorite tricks for meal planning, using my Pinterest boards. There are many plans out there that you can purchase or even those that you can use to have your weekly meals delivered to you. Whatever process works for you – it’s just that you DO it.  Plan ahead, shop well, prepare your meals in advance and win the week.

When all else fails, have easy to prepare meals in your arsenal.  (Yesterday I posted a one pot chicken and rosemary sage freekeh recipe and a giveaway!) Life is going to interrupt your plans, just knowing what you have in the pantry and fridge are half the battle.

Back Up Plans and Avoiding the Perfection Trap

Of course life gets in the way.  You oversleep a workout.  Your boss needs to meet over lunch.  The kids homework over takes the evening.  Having a back-up plan in place is crucial.  My favorite blog, podcast and bloggers right now are the girls over at WYCWYC – What You Can When You Can. This is not about losing ten pounds or finding a solution to whatever is stopping you from finding balance, wellness, weight loss, whatever – it’s about not beating yourself up if you aren’t perfect.  LIFE HAPPENS.  So, have a plan, have a back up plan and when all of that doesn’t happen for whatever reason – WYCWYC it.  Just make the next right decision.  The next right day. Get in the next workout.  Do squats at your desk instead of the long run you planned because it’s raining and you have an afternoon meeting and you can’t look like a drowned rat.  Don’t beat yourself up – don’t let perfection get in the way of progress.

I could beat myself up over beer and hot wings – and throw the week away, or I could just start today making good decisions and be OK with beer and hot wings every now and again.

Recruit a Friend

The only way I survive, thrive and keep going is simple.  I blog about it so you all will hold me accountable.  Virtual friends, facebook support groups and the like are perfect ways to find a friend to hold you accountable.

I have two friends that I love to workout with.  I ran this summer with my mom.  All three of these people will call me on my BS if I cancel.  Having a friend that will call you on your BS and will run, walk, squat, dance, or lift with you is critical.  If this person isn’t in your home or work, find a virtual friend to text you and ask you if you’ve worked out today.  Share pictures. Laugh.  Cheer. Cry.  Allow each other to be frustrated. Don’t allow each other to quit.

When you get this picture from Confessions of an Unlikely Runner: A Guide to Racing and Obstacle Courses for the Averagely Fit and Halfway Dedicated  texted to you from your best workout friend with the caption “so clearly, we followed this pro tip when we ran our first race”  you know you have found your right workout partner.


What are your strategies for Winning The Day?  Besides WYCWYC and Win the Day – what are other mantras you use to stay on track while also not beating yourself up?

Join the Friday Five Link Up hosted by the DC area bloggers Eat Pray Run DC, Mar on the Run and You Signed Up For What?! This week is a FREE FRIDAY, so you never know what you can learn from them and the forty or so other bloggers who link up this week.

Make it a great weekend!

Sparkle on,


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and  Pinterest…. and OF COURSE Instagram

Diggin It: Get Your Freekeh On

10 Sep freekeh

It has been quite sometime since I’ve done a Diggin’ It review, but here is a ‘new to me’ product I really think you’re going to like.

Freekeh Food was provided to me free of charge for the purposes of this product review and giveaway through my affiliation with Fit Approach as a #SweatPink Ambassador.  As always all opinions are my very own.

First, let me tell you WHAT THE FREEK freekeh is anyways:

Freekeh is an ancient grain that’s high in fiber & protein. Freekeh is organic & Non-GMO verified. Freekeh is an ancient roasted grain that can be compared to and prepared similar to  rice or other grains. It has a nutty, chewy texture and has up to 3 times the amount of fiber and protein as brown rice.  Freekeh is also naturally low in sodium and vegan, however, it is a wheat so is not gluten free for those of you who are gluten free.

Anything that can add some fiber and protein to a meal is a big winner for me.  The kids nearly ate us out of house and home this summer.  It was like I couldn’t get them full, so I was game for adding some filling protein into our meals. Honestly, I was a little skeptical how the family would embrace another new grain.  It took a couple of tries with quinoa, but we love it now.  Amaranth got one shot and now I have a nice container of amaranth that will never be used again.  I was given two packages of the organic freekeh toasted green wheat to try over the summer.  At first I made a bag of the “original” just as a side dish – as a swap for quinoa or brown rice, our go to side dishes to go with any meat and a vegetable. The kids really liked it and I had a lot of leftovers to add into salads and blend into smoothies for a couple of days, as I didn’t season it much, so they didn’t taste the addition to their smoothies.

Then one night I had a brilliant idea.  I needed some simplicity so I searched on pinterest for a one pan chicken and rice dish and swapped the freekeh for the rice.  PERFECTION.  Who doesn’t love a one pot dish that is super easy to make?


But we liked the first try with the plain “original” freekeh so I figured I’d try to venture out with the Rosemary Sage Freekeh and try to make a little “Thanksgiving in a pan.”  I mean, really, what is more of a comfort food than the sage of Thanksgiving stuffing?


Buttery chicken and rosemary sage freekeh
Fixed in 30 minutes in one pot!
Serves: 6 (4 for dinner and leftovers for at least 2 lunches in my case!)
for the chicken
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts ( I sliced mine into tenders, makes it easier for serving the kids)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground sage (and a sprig of rosemary for added flavor.  You could also add garlic or diced onions for more flavor.)
for the freekeh
  • 1 8-ounce package Freekeh (approx. 1 1/3 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth (I used low sodium)
  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet or pan (one that has a lid). Season chicken with salt, pepper and sage.  Brown chicken in the butter for 1-2 minutes on each side. (Chicken shouldn’t be cooked through at this point, you’re just getting the outside brown in the butter) Transfer chicken to a plate.
  2. Add freekeh, chicken broth, and sage right into the pan. Scrape up the browned butter a bit and stir. Place the chicken on top, then cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes until liquid is dissolved.
  3. Serve immediately.
  4. I served this with cauliflower and it made for a VERY boring looking (but delicious tasting!) plate.  Next time I’d roast some broccoli, brussel sprouts, green beans or any of your side vegetables you would serve with a comfort food dish! IMG_1381

Anytime the people I live with clean their plates AND give me a compliment, I consider dinner a major winner.  THIS dish not only got a thumbs up from the Girl, it got a “this dinner is really good, momma, thank you for making it for us” from The Boy.  I really don’t think he was trying to butter me up or anything! They weren’t grounded, so he wasn’t sucking up.  Now that I’m writing this I’m suspicious.  Hmmmm.  Just kidding.  It really was fantastic and DOC and I both gave it a thumbs up instead of the amaranth that prompted a “this tastes like crunchy dirt and let’s never cook it again” discussion.

I imagine that you could use any of the freekeh flavors with whatever seasonings you choose and make a perfect one pot meal.  You could do a cajun dish with the original with a little Tony Cachere’s in place of the salt, pepper and sage.  You could do an Asian inspired dish with the tamari and toss in some sesame or soy sauce. Use your imagination and come up with a fun new dish that will only take you 30 minutes to get on the table with only one pan to clean! I can’t wait to hear what you come up with!


Wait, did you see above… I mentioned a GIVEAWAY!?!  That’s right.  Again, thanks to Freekeh and Fit Approach I’m going to give away one pack of freekeh and a cookbook.  Head on over to my instagram page, follow me and find out how you can win! You’ll have to be following me to win this great cookbook and prize. I’m closing this contest on Monday, September 14 – so you need to act fast!

What’s your favorite grain?  Your favorite fast one pot meal?

Sparkle on,


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and  Pinterest…. and OF COURSE Instagram

Win The Day

25 Aug

Recently, I had to have a conversation that turned into a real Dr. Phil conversation (I mean, old school Dr. Phil, not that hot mess of a train wreck he’s been hosting for the last couple of years).  I asked “What are you afraid of?”  And it turns out, he’s afraid of being too successful because what if in the future people expect him to be very successful.  He’s afraid of future failing.

We talked about a strategy for how to not feel so anxious all of the time. My go to – because everything in our lives revolves around football season right now –  WIN THE DAY.  I know tons of coaches use this, but I remembered that Coach Freeze at Ole Miss used it, so I used him in my story.

I explained that Coach and his staff never look ahead in the schedule.  The player and coaches simply try to win each play, each practice, each down, each game, each day.  All you can expect of yourself if to try your hardest and do you your best at each moment and if you fail, you just try to win the next thing.  A player will throw an interception or miss a block or fumble the ball but they don’t quit on the game and if they lose a game they can not give up on the whole season.

We aren’t ever going to be perfect.  We can try try try our hardest, but sometimes we’re just not going to be the best or do the best we can do on that particular day.  We can’t worry about tomorrow.  All we can do is try our hardest at this very minute to be the best me that I can be.  I can work my hardest to try and WIN THE DAY.


Then my girls over at Fit Approach asked, What’s your fitness strategy? How will you achieve your goals?  I thought back to this conversation and thought about my own struggles.  I am not currently focused on Winning The Day.  I’m focused on finishing a race, fitting into a dress, being a weight (that yes I know DOESN’T DEFINE ME, Jeez Louise, I get it).  But I have not been focused on the day, the bite, the meal, the plan, the focus.  I must learn to be present in the day, to win the day, to reach the goal.

I can’t possibly achieve my goals if I don’t focus on winning today.  Food, exercise (parenting, work and marriage while I’m at it!) I can not be focused on an end goal and ignore doing the small tasks to be successful today.

I can not finish the race, fit into the goal dress, be at a weight I’m comfortable with if I do not try to Win The Day but also know that if I do not, I will win the next choice.



  • Set a training plan and stick to it:
    • Lay out my workout clothes
    • Set the alarm
    • Remind DOC to kick me out of bed the second time I hit snooze
    • Have a back-up plan for when DOC forgets to kick me out of bed/I turn the alarm off instead of hitting snooze
  • Plan and prepare my meals:
    • Stick to the menu
    • When my meals are prepped I make them.  Don’t waste food because you’re too tired to cook.
    • When you don’t stick to the meal plan, when you use Order Up, win the day by picking the best option instead of feeling guilty later on.
    • Remember that you feel like absolute crap when you eat crap for dinner and try to run the next morning.
  • Keep Motivations in Sight:
    • Put daily goals in writing
    • Put monthly goals in writing
    • Move the dress from the back of the closet.

This is how I’ll win the day and stay focused on my goals.

What is your fitness strategy?  How do you stay focused on your goals? I’d love to hear how you’re staying focused!

Sparkle on,


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and Instagram… and of course Pinterest!

Friday Five: Five Things We Did This Summer

21 Aug 11041563_10153265639752659_3163790356922886749_n

Hello.  HELLO?  Are you still here?  Sorry, I fell off the map over the past three weeks.  Us 4 Carters were a WEE BIT Busy.

Of course I’m off topic again for the Friday Five Link-up.  The DC Trifecta has probably decided to kick me out.  But I like those girls, so go check them out:  Courtney of Eat Pray Run, DC, Cynthia of You Signed Up for What?!? and Mar from Mar on the Run.   You see, this week’s topic is Five Things I’ll be doing in Five years and NEXT week’s is 5 things you did this summer.  I’m still recovering from THIS summer so I can not wrap my brain around where I’ll be in five years.  So, please enjoy… Five Things We Did This Summer… or, where the heck have you been?

Go Ape

This is hands-down the BEST thing we did as a family this year.  Go Ape Freedom Park in Williamsburg was simply incredible.  While I was nervous before we went I absolutely loved the entire experience.  The squeals from The Girl were worth the price of admission alone.  That girl is a daredevil and wasn’t intimidated for a minute.  The Boy really pushed himself and tried to go as fast as he could, pushed himself to try to do the course in harder ways and was the first to “stick” the zipline landing, teasing each of us until we finally got it.  The Boy  could have handled the Treetop Adventure (for ages 10+ only) but Tree Top Junior was perfect for The Girl (AND ME!).


This isn’t a sponsored post in any way – we just love this place.  Now that I’m on the mailing list, I get coupons all the time.  Right now you can get 20% off using the code LUNCHBOX before August 31. They have these parks all over the east coast and mid-west so be sure to check out Go Ape.


Beach Trip

We stuck our toes in the sand.  Actually, DOC and I only went down for one day, but my mom and the kids stayed for a week.  The beach was a “Red Flag Day” meaning, no going in the ocean.  Oh my gosh, best day ever.  It’s like “adult swim” at the pool.  We could be on the beach and not have the be nervous watching the kids swim.

After that we headed HOME ALONE!  PARENTS GONE WILD!  We went out to eat and relaxed, enjoyed a whole bottle of wine, ordered in, caught up on the DVR and had a friend tell us “You look so relaxed.”  Guess we needed the vacation more than the kids did!  THANKS GRAM.


A BEACH RUN all by myself. AMAZING


Sunrise in the OBX.


Carter Kids on a Red Flag day on the beach.




Prepared for the Four Miler!

As I continue to run, I’ve been preparing for the Charlottesville Women’s Four Miler.

I’m really loving running with my mom.  I hope I don’t annoy her, but I’ve learned so much over the past three years that I’m happy to help someone else – especially with hills!  I’m like the HILL MASTER. Ha.  I’m kidding.  Charlottesville is a hilly city, but we’re conquering them one at a time.


I was sent a RaesWear skirt to try out.  I’ve been terrified to run in a skirt but I finally silenced my inner mean girl who says there is too much jiggle, too much cellulite, just too much, and BAM! I’m in love with running in a skirt.  Who knew those capris were making me that much hotter?  I owe RaesWear a full review next week, but I had to slip this in here.


LOVING Running in my new RaesWear skirt. (Review coming next week!)

Survived Summer Camps and Sitters

That’s all I can say.  We survived.  The kids had fun, they learned lots.  But man, I’m not good at summer.  Maybe I’m jealous they’re off having fun and I’m at work.  Maybe we haven’t found the right camp/sitter fit that makes it relaxing and enjoyable.  Whatever it is, I’m thankful for the routine the school year brings. They did love their camps this summer, the Boy at Basketball, fencing and computer programming camp and the Girl at a drama camp (like she needs more) and an outdoor education camp (that she turned into craft camp.)

11752108_10153226390732659_9210402234017726442_n 11754715_10153226231712659_5323391345371419197_o

Got Ready For The Year

This year is going to be wicked busy.  First there’s the whole ‘school’ thing.  My job is as an event planner, so I have lots of events.  I’m going to be keeping up with my training and weight loss. My favorite cousin is having a baby and I’m helping with her shower.  My sister is getting married in the spring.  The Boy is focusing on basketball so we’re helping get him trained, getting him stronger and breaking some bad habits.  The Girl is going to start field hockey and I’m helping to coach.  (oh, that reminds me, is there a “coaching field hockey for dummies” book? Yep, thanks, Amazon.)  Between packing lunches, working on PTO, coaching, shuttling kids, working on our health and fitness, and ACTUAL WORK, DOC and I have also committed to more date nights, making the kids go to bed on time (ha) and surviving the year by being in better communication.  Let’s just hope we all survive it all.

Wedding dress shopping road trip

Wedding dress shopping road trip

Lunch Box Prepping

Lunch Box Prepping

Basketball Training

Basketball Training



So, here we are.  Back into the routine of the school year.  I think back to last September’s Back to School, Back to you Challenge and think about starting that one up again, because it was so good for me (and I hope those of you who did it).  But then I think WOMAN, you have lost your damn mind.  You Can Not do one more thing right now.  I can.  I can do ONE more thing: share with you the calendar we used last year.  The Back To School, Back To You Challenge helped to get me organized and focused on creating some balance in my life.  I hope you can use this! (Just ignore the dates, or days of the week, or whatever works for you!) Also, I’m sure if you need an extra kick in the pants Nica would totally be available to help you.

Back To School Calendar

Happy end of summer.  Happy start of fall.  When does the pumpkin spice everything start?


Sparkle on,


I would love to see you on FacebookTwitter and Instagram… and of course Pinterest!



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