Monday, July 29, 2013

a little glimpse of this summer...

So long, sweet summer.  This is my last week before the school year starts up again.  Last summer was ALL about the kids.  We had playdates, library visits, park visits, swimming every single day.

This summer was a little bit different.  We had an abundance of storms for about 2 or 3 weeks that kept us inside most of the time.  My husband was also out of town for 11 days in July and we moved last week too.  So this summer was a lot more inside time, packing, and trying to keep the household under control- but overall, I would say we had a successful & fun summer.

Here's a little glimpse:

Owen ate a lot of snacks.

Jamin got a haircut.

There were wagon rides.

Some family exercise sessions

Lots of swimming.

Lots of trying to figure out whats for lunch.

Human potato heads.

Owen got a haircut.

The boys played together nicely...sometimes.

There was a rave party in the tub.

Jamin became a real pirate.

Unfortunately, there was some toddler moments.

Houdini.

Jamin loved his first Vacation Bible School.

Working hard at the new house.
And packing up the old house.
Monsters.

Playdates.

Weird food.

4th Anniversary!
Girls weekend for Lindsey in Greenville.

Finished P90X!

4th of July.

Jamin learned how to use the computer.

Lots of rainy day cartoons.
Jamin was jungle boy.
            
Swim lessons.

New house!

Unexpected new house surprise.

Owen found his Italian roots.







Wednesday, July 17, 2013

a story about stretch marks

Ohh, this is a weird post to write.

Let me start off by saying that I am on this crazy BeachBody journey that is blowing my mind and that is where the courage for this post comes from. For me, this journey has become more than losing weight.  It is completely changing my mindset about so many things I believed about myself to be true!

I no longer want to be skinny, I want to be strong. 
I no longer want to hide flaws, I want to share.
I no longer think that I'm average, I know I am more.
I no longer think that this is about sales, it's about helping others and helping myself.

The support that is flowing from this group of coaches and challengers is huge!  People building people up.  It's crazy awesome.

What's that got to do with stretch marks you say?

Well, here MY story that lead to BeachBody.

Chapter 1: Who likes middle school, anyways?
I always felt pretty wishy-washy about my body.  During middle school I was unfortunate enough to get terrible stretch marks across my hips and inner thighs from puberty.  They were terrible and noticeable.  And it made me feel terrible and self-conscious.

Chapter 2: "The beach?? Nah, I hate the beach."
Well, they faded!  Hooooray! Along comes high school.  I was so self-conscious from middle school that I didn't go with friends to the beach for my ENTIRE freshman year.  You guys, I live a mile from the beach.  My excuses were lame.  I didn't even own a swimsuit.  I went shopping with some girlfriends one time to find a suit and I refused to come out of the dressing room until they resorted to crawling under the door- this was completely acceptable 14 yr old behavior!

Chapter 3: Frida's broken cookies for lunch
I was on the cross country team and ran 40+ miles a week, every week, year-round.  Four years of that and I felt content with my body but I treated it so poorly. I would eat a pudding cup for breakfast (not kidding), have some chocolate chip cookies for lunch (I really wish I were kidding) and go run my heart out.  But the running kept me fit and I was happy enough with it all.

Chapter 4: How much feta can I put on one salad?
College slowed down my metabolism (as did the buffet style meal-plan) but it was manageable and the weight fell off eventually.  To be honest, I was having so much fun I didn't even know I had gained weight.  By the time it came off after moving AWAY from my buffet style food was right around when I was realizing it was even there to begin with.

Chapter 5: Hello, tankini.
And then comes love and marriage and the baby carriage.  Oh boy.

I have to be honest here, my entire life I could not wait to have children!  I couldn't wait to be pregnant but mixed in there I had a terrible deep rooted fear about what it would do to my body.  I wasn't scared of changes, or weight...I was deeply afraid of the stretch marks that I knew would be mine.

Once a stretchmark girl, always a stretchmark girl they say. I don't know if anyone says that actually. But I guess I do!

I made it really far.  8 months.  Then one morning, there it was.  One small mark.  I HATED myself.  I literally started crying and spent a few hours laying in bed and basically waiting for the rest of them.  Pity party for one.

And then they came one after another.  In two weeks I was COVERED.  They spanned all across my stomach in every direction, over my hips, and one even on my back. (really skin?? Thanks for that!)

(Let me interject here and mention how dramatic this is sounding.  Well, I'm only going to halfway apologize because although there are much, much worse things in the world, this is a TRUE feeling women get!  I'm telling you- the pressure on women to hide flaws and be perfect is HUGE.  It would be absurd to dismiss these feelings since it seems we have been trained to have them. Amen.)

Goodbye, self-esteem.  Hello, tankini.


Chapter 6: Nip Tuck
After a year of moping I was determined to get fit!  I had run three half marathons, a 10 miler, three 10K's.

I remember crying to my husband the same night after a half marathon (with a pretty decent time might I add 2:04:03) that I was disappointed in myself.  Although I had trained and beat my goal time- I still didn't like the way I looked.  I had honestly thought this would do the trick, just like it did in high school when I would eat a pudding cup and run it off, but that night when I looked in the mirror I still wasn't happy.

After a lengthy research on tummy tucks I told my husband that I was going to do p90x. P90x was currently on our shelf, where it had been for FOUR years, collecting dust.  I figured if I did it, when the time for the tummy tuck came, I would be able to rest assured that I had done everything in my power to change my body and then I could content in  my decision to opt  for medical intervention.  (I don't think I could have really gone through with a tummy tuck- but I DID use it as some solid motivation.)

Chapter 7
Visions of P90x and when to start were swirling around my head right around the time I heard of challenge groups, Shakeology, etc. for the first time....

ALL over my newsfeed.

To be honest, I was pretty annoyed by it.  But, I knew it was a "me" problem (thank you mental health grad school for this inner self-realization! lol). I was annoyed because I wanted to be doing it too.

It took me three months to decide to commit.

I knew the programs would work.  I had tried p90x before and quit after 11 days because the program demanded results and WORK.  But, to be honest, I had high doubts about Shakeology.   But I figured investing some cash into Shakeology would force me to finish the program and eat healthy.  Because if nothing else- I (and that hubby of mine) don't like to waste money.

The entire experience and balance of working out, Shakeology, nutrition, and accountability has transformed me!

I cant even really put it into words.

The pictures don't even begin to explain the changes on the inside.

I feel better than I have in years.  Energy, confidence, motivation is UP!

Finally.


Those love handles? I didn't even know I had those until they were gone- I was so focused on that baby belly of mine ;)

I am now onto my next program- T25 and an active BeachBody Coach!  I get an awesome opportunity to help others get healthy (whatever that means- tone up, eat right, lose weight, gain weight) and in the process keep myself accountable.  It. is. awesome.

Chapter 8
The coaching journey begins...I'm currently running a few challenge groups, working on improving myself from the inside out and I am delighted to say this is a "To Be Continued".

I can't wait to see what comes next!






Brussel Sprouts

Ok, so I know that they are actually Brussels Sprouts but I didn't recently realize this until about a week ago when I was reading a list of things that you should know, but don't.

Always learning something new.

Anyways, I bought some at Publix when I was on this magical "my cart is so green" high. I passed those sprouts and they looked right back at me challenging me.

I have never cooked Brussels Sprouts.
I have never tasted Brussels Sprouts.
I never have had the desire to try Brussels Sprouts.

But this is what green cart high can do to you. 

You start dreaming big in the produce aisle.

I kept it basic for the recipe!

The cast:
Brussels Sprouts
Soy Sauce 1 tablespoon
EVOO 1 tablespoon
Balsamic Vinegar 1 tablespoon
Sea Salt to taste

Toss washed Brussels Sprouts in all ingredients listed.
Roast in the oven at 375 degrees for 25-30 min, stirring every 10 minutes!
Easy!
Good, but I don't think Brussels are my new go-to!


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Twila's Yummy (but scary looking) Soup.

A few months ago at a work pot-luck my friend Twila brought in this soup.

You guys, it looked disgusting.
 
It was a horrible dark green swamp color.  It had an earthy smell.  It concerned me.
But, knowing Twila, and her history of delicious pot-luck contributions, I thought I should give it a try.

I had three bowls.  And that was only day 1.
Then, I had two bowls on day 2.

I practically licked the tupperware clean. 

It was DELICIOUS in all of it's swamp green glory.  And it is SO easy to make.

This is my take on it since Twila still hasn't given me the exact recipe (despite constant pestering!) This version is very good, but credit needs to be given where credit is due, and Twila's soup is really where the magic happens.


The Cast:
Beef Broth
Chicken Broth
1 onion (cut into slices)
Red pepper flakes
Sausage (featured here is chicken sausage- Twila's recipe calls for Medium Italian Sausage)
1 package frozen spinach


Such an easy-going cast of characters!
 
Follow closely here- things start getting really complicated:
 
  1. Add chicken Broth, beef broth, frozen chopped spinach block, sliced onion and red pepper flakes in pot over medium heat.
 
 
  1. Chop up sausage and brown/cook in skillet.
 
3. Throw the sausage in the pot and let simmer together about 20 min over low heat.
4. Taste, and add more red pepper if you like the spicier side of life!
 
Don't be ashamed, serve that green goodness, believe me ...it. is. delicious!
 
 
 





Thursday, July 11, 2013

A year (and a few months) out...

Around Owen's birthday I did the natural mommy thing to do and started reminiscing about his birth and homecoming.  That story, of course, full of love and thankfulness and joy.  But there were also sad moments woven into that memory as I was trying to come to terms with the fact my son wasn't, by society's standards, totally normal.

Last summer I was talking to someone and the mentioned how these days mothers really bring about most of the birth abnormalities their children have.   Is this grounded on anything scientific? I have no idea.  Where she came up with it- I don't know.  But words do matter and stick, even if they're not founded, and it hit close to home.  I know what she meant but I also knew that it bothered me even if it wasn't directed at me.  I couldn't help but think is this the thought the crosses peoples minds when they meet Owen?  

I was convinced people noticed his differences.  I felt like they would take one look at Owen and sum him up and then sum me up in return.  I honestly thought this was the very first thing people noticed about our entire family.  I wanted to almost disclaim it to anyone we met.  "This is my newborn Owen..as you can see, he was born with one ear."  How awkward, right?

A year can provide a lot of clarity.  I no longer think every person who meets Owen must wonder what I did to cause his microtia.  I also am 100% convinced that the first thing people notice about Owen is his wild hair, mischievous smile and the fact he is a spitting image of his father.

Yesterday, at his ENT appointment, a little boy was whispering loudly to his mom, "mom! mom! look at that baby's ear!"  This little boy had two siblings with him.  One of which being an adorable bleach blonde toddler that happened to have Down Syndrome.  This just showed me that people may notice differences, it is in our nature, but there are truly differences all around us.

I look back on the posts I wrote after Owen was born and I remember the feelings very vividly.  But a lot has changed too- and I think for the better.

I wrote that I was thankful Owen only had what he has.  That he will still walk, and talk, and run...  I realize now, "what if he couldn't?"  Parents face that reality every day.  They don't have the luxury of saying things like "it could be worse."  But, regardless, we are designed to love our children fully and selflessly.  I admire these parents that can face great challenges at the sides of their children.  I also realized, at the time, I was validating myself with all the things Owen CAN do.  I was listing them off and getting comfort from it.  But that is not where his value comes from.  It's not something that could be checked off a list.  He is, and all people, are of value regardless of their abilities.  They are simply themselves and and that is enough.

Such a serious post.

I just got to thinking about all this today as I was looking into Infantino's "Everybody Plays" campaign contest.  The campaign promotes using children with differences in advertising.  I submitted Owen into the contest as possibly representing the population of children that have cranio-facial birth abnormalities and it just got me thinking about all these things again and processing it from a year (and a few months) out...

And so there you have it, all the thoughts of today that were swirling around this mind of mine.

Take care. Love your babies. xoxo






What's so great about Shakeology?



n70 ALL- NATURAL ingredients.  No filler, no fakes.
nVEGAN options available (brown rice protein with pea protein)
nGluten free
nTastes good! (sample anyone?)
nGood on the go and can be bought in individual packets.  Keep one in your purse and use when there are no good alternatives available or during travel.
nAverages $4.30 a shake.  You'll  spend more at Starbucks!
nCompletely transparent ingredient lists available on the website.
nNot designed as a weight loss shake, designed as a nutritional supplement.  Can be used AS a meal for weight loss (without cutting nutrients) or in ADDITION to for weight gain.
nHelps curb cravings
nIncreases energy naturally
nNo bloat!  Helps digestion J
nCan be mixed with any cold liquid- including your morning coffee!
nGood for people who resist their veggies- veggies in disguise.
nBottom of the bag guarantee!  








Monday, July 8, 2013

Is T25 the right choice?

Hello all!

So, there is a lot of buzz about Shaun T's new program, T25, that launched last month!  If you have been in the BeachBody scene at all I am sure you have heard of it. If you're not, give it time, you WILL hear about this one because it is going to become as popular, or maybe even more popular, than P90X and Insanity!

Preview of T25!

I just ordered my T25 and will be beginning July 15th and I can't wait!  The workouts are only 25 minutes long, 5 days a week!  This is 1% of your day.  Everyone has the time!



Some basics if you're wondering if T25 is a good fit for you:


What is FOCUS T25?
FOCUS T25 is a new 10-Week program made up of workouts that only take 25 minutes to do. This fast and effective workout is about no nonsense, no wasted time, and all about getting great results. It's short in length, but intense, and has eleven workouts on nine DVDs that will push your whole body to new limits. These workouts are packed with cardio and resistance moves that require minimal equipment to do, but every ounce of commitment and dedication!



Who is FOCUS T25 made for?
This program is ideal for those with busy schedules, or for people who are short on time but want to "GET IT DONE" and have the best workout in the shortest time possible. FOCUS T25 is an intense workout program, but unlike Shaun's other programs, this one includes a modifier who shows lower impact modifications for EVERY move. FOCUS T25 suitable for a broad range of customers and fitness levels. 

What equipment and space do I need?
You just need your living room space and somewhere to play your DVD's!

What comes with FOCUS T25?
The Base Kit comes with:
10 Workouts
  • ALPHA: Cardio is a calorie burning, sweat drenching, cardio based workout.
  • ALPHA: Ab Intervals is where you will be spending a lot of your time on the floor doing ab workouts with quick cardio recovery workouts in between. This routine will have you shredding the fat from your midsection and getting you the abs of your dreams.
  • ALPHA: Speed 1.0 gets you fast results with this fast paced workout that will ignite your quickness while burning the fat from your body.
  • ALPHA: Lower Focus is the key to burning fat and kicking up your metabolism as you focus on working your lower-body muscles.
  • ALPHA: Total Body Circuit focuses on strength and resistance without having to lift a single weight.
  • BETA: Core Cardio is where you'll "get your sweat on", with this progressive cardio-core workout designed to get you shredded fast.
  • BETA: Dynamic Core will take you from vertical to horizontal and back again in this dynamic, crazy core routine.
  • BETA: Speed 2.0 has you rev it all the way up with Shaun's calorie-scorching, core-focused speed drills.
  • BETA: Upper Focus will help you develop the upper body you've dreamed of; all you have to do is focus.
  • BETA: Rip't Circuit is a workout comprised of cardio, upper body, legs and abs that you do on repeat, taking your body to the next level to get you even more shredded.
Bonus Tools:
  • Alpha-Beta Workout Calendars tells you which workouts to do on which days, taking out the guess-work so all you have to do is nail it.
  • Get It Done Nutrition Guide makes eating simple with just 5 meals a day, using 5 ingredients that take only 5 minutes to prepare. It doesn't get any simpler.
  • Quick Start Guide helps you to hit the ground running with this step-by-step guide for how to achieve your best results.
  • Free Online Support tools keep the motivation strong with 'round-the-clock access to fitness experts and peer support.
Free Gifts:
  • Stretch Workout (also 25 min): after 5 days of hard work you get to stretch it out and relieve those muscles. Enjoy it because you deserve it!
  • B-Lines Resistance Band (15 lb) will assist you in burning fat and carving lean muscle faster.
  • 5-Day Fast Track gives you a jump start on our weight loss with this 5-day low calorie meal plan; it's not easy but it works.
  • 24/7 Online Support keeps you motivated with 'round-the-clock access to fitness experts and peer support.

What is the pricing for T25?

BeachBody is running a great deal right now during July where you can save $90 with T25 and your choice of Shakeology paired together!  The price is $180 for everything and with a Challenge Pack purchase you can be part of a facebook accountability group that provides nutrition support, recipes, daily check-in's & a team you are working WITH to make long-lasting changes.  Challenge groups are to challenge YOURSELF to stick with it and get the results!




Click on the Beachbody button on the top menu or email me at krystanymark@gmail.com if you are ready to make the change!!



Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sticking with Slow-carb

Good morning!

In my humble opinion, one of the biggest draws to the slow-carb nutrition plan was the incredible no holds barred cheat meal you are allowed once a week!

I can spend more time than I care to admit thinking about the foods I plan to devour.

....And even though you PLAN to eat everything under the sun.  It won't be possible.  But you have probably enjoyed enough to keep you satisfied until the next cheat day rolls around.




I was recently introduced to the glory that is a cheese platter in a recent trip to the Carolina's.  I don't know why- but there was a cheese platter at every event I attended and it rocked my world.

Now, I can't get the thing out of my head.

Anyways, the point is there is a LOT of mouth-watering options to daydream about for a planned once a week cheat day.  And this is a part of the plan I give an enthusiastic thumbs up to!  I also think I also needed to know a cheat day was on the horizon to stick with it mentally.

The idea actually comes from The Four Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss. Now, I have *not* read this book nor am I endorsing it but that is where some of this slow-carb model comes from.  Personally, I heard about the slow-carb nutrition plan through friends and fellow BeachBody coaches who had seen success and transformation within their own bodies.  This was the plan that I chose to follow when I did P90X this past April.

I held strong to the plan for about 30 days and did see about 5 pounds in weight loss. But as with all things there are mixed reviews on this plan in regards to restricting fruits and particular veggies.   For me, when I think of long-term meal planning, I do think is reasonable to include a variety of colorful veggies. The same with fruit...I try to limit my intake to the mornings but I will certainly pick and apple or other fruit as a snack if on hand and our bodies obviously need a variety of healthy options.

I now follow this plan a little looser than I did at the beginning.  I think the rule of thumb to limit white carbs is a good one and something that I personally see results with.  Plus when I take pasta, cheese and bread out of my dinner options it usually leaves me with a protein and lots of veggies as options.  Good things.

My advice is to build a LONG-TERM eating plan that you can stick with successfully BUT pick a plan in the BEGINNING that will train you to eat cleaner.  How many times have we all said "Ohh, I will just eat better?"  That often doesn't happen unless we define what eating "better" actually means.  Set some guidelines for yourself and stick to them strongly.  Once you've developed a habit you can loosen the reigns...just a little bit ;)

And don't forget to enjoy your cheat day! Eliminating sweets if you love sweets isn't so bad if you keep it to once a week.  Same with a loaf of bread and a cheese plate.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Shakeology...the first shake!

Ok, so you have this magical powder delivered to your door from BeachBody.  It's sitting there, in all it's glory, ready to be blended into your new healthiest meal of the day. Well, after 4 months of enjoying my shakes I am ready to share some how-to's with the world...



Take some time to get to know your shake first! Don't just jump right in! Read the information it comes with and check out the recipe calendar and find some blends that sound yummy.

For me I almost always choose chocolate, yum.
I like:
Vanilla Almond Fudge (just add vanilla almond milk, cinnamon and almond butter-or a little pb!)
Mocha Chiller (just add 1 cup cold coffee and almond milk)
Chocolate Banana Nutter (just add banana and PB and water)

And of course blend all these up with some ice.

My first shake I mixed with just water...good, but not as amazing as making a little recipe.  Especially not as refreshing without the blender.  But I do love how in it's rawest form you don't have ot choke it down!  But, take a minute to blow your socks off with a little recipe to start and it will most likely become your new go-to meal!

OK, so this is personal opinion....but, try your first shake with a banana and almond milk!  And from that point on ALWAYS make your shakes with a banana and almond milk.  In the blender this actually turns into milkshake consistency that is super delicious and the perfect texture to match.

I also recommend taking some time to decide what meal you would like to replace.  For me, having to be at work at 6:50 naturally lends itself to busy mornings and trying to run out the door.  Breakfast makes the most sense.  Maybe for some of you it is difficult to have healthy lunch options at work, or even time to sit and eat at all, so a shake is more convenient.  I know many friends that also have their shake's for dinner depending on what they are preparing for the meal that night for their fam's.

Success is always the best when you have a plan!  I know you will love the shakes, so does BeachBody, which is why they have the bottom-of-the-bag guarantee!  But you can take them from good to great and get the most benefit if you do a little research and planning!

I have single-serving packets for sample if anyone is interested in trying them out! Feel free to email me!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July Wedding

Four years ago we picked and celebrated our wedding date.  We ended up with the lovely June 27, 2009.  But that year the following week the 4th of July also fell on a Saturday...

Regrets, sometimes I have them.  Especially when I came across these gems on Pinterest...

And wouldn't it  be AWESOME to always have your anniversary off of work?

And you could have picked a location where you could enjoy a public firework display for your guests...

Sparklers for all...

And you could create some fireworks every year with your hubby! 

hey hey! ;)



HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!
(and happy anniversary to any of you 4th of July lovebirds!)

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