Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Healthy Happy Holidays || 6 tips to maintain balance AND enjoy the party season

Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to be sharing tips and tricks to make this your healthiest AND happiest holiday season ever so we can start 2015 feeling confident and strong! 
Buckle up, gorgeous. Consider this your roadmap to balanced living.

Alright, it's officially COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS! I woke up at 3 am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep because all of a sudden my brain realized that we're leaving in three days on our annual holiday road trip to visit our families for the holidays! So much to do! So much holiday spirit and Christmas cheer to absorb! This is my favorite time of year, but it always catches me off guard.

When you're trying to make healthy choices and maybe reach some fitness or weight loss goals, December throws more roadblocks and obstacles in the way than any other time of the year. Everywhere you look there are delicious treats in the office, peppermint mocha lattes on every corner,  and a party every other night. But don't give up! I want to help you navigate the way through the season so you can maintain a happy and healthy balance and arrive at January 2nd (because let's be real...January 1st is for mimosas, bloody marys, and my epic monkey bread) feeling EXCITED for what's in store instead of hating yourself for overindulging yet again.

I personally believe that it's entirely possible to make progress on your fitness and weight loss goals while still enjoying the holiday season to the fullest. You just have to focus on balance and priorities, and be a little more intentional and strategic with your decisions. There's a fine line between having fun, and having a leeeeeettle too much fun, yeah?

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE social events, party food, wine and fun holiday beverages, and most of all celebrating the culmination of another crazy year with the people I love the most, but there's no need to feel deprived when you're trying to make healthy choices. I promise!
Trust me, I'm right there in the passenger seat with you!

Here are 6 tips to maintain balance during the holiday party circuit -- AND enjoy every minute -- without derailing your goals!

1. Be objective, realistic, and intentional with your social calendar and goals.

Objective: How many social obligations, trips, and family visits do you have? Block them out on the calendar so you're prepared.

Realistic: You probably aren't going to lose five pounds this month. But how about feeling good instead of 'gross' come January? Or maintaining your weight instead of gaining? Small victories people! January is waiting for us. Make goals based on ACTIONS that you can control, like staying active and working out every single day, or eating only clean whole foods until 6 pm. Schedule in your "treat nights" so you can enjoy them guilt-free.

Intentional: Prioritize your parties! Choose the ones that you're looking forward to the most, and make a decision in advance to enjoy yourself to the max. Then reign it in a little at the parties that aren't worth it. Family Christmas weekend with your siblings you never get to see? Party On! Your husband's work party at a bar called She-nanigans? Club soda and lime with an early bedtime it is!

It's all about the plan.

2. When you're at a party with a buffet, stay away from the food table!

The purpose of a party is to enjoy the PEOPLE, not the mini meatballs.

3. Alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water. 

Better yet: soda water! You'll drink it slower and the bubbles will fill your tummy.

4. Set yourself up for success!

If you're heading to a potluck, bring a healthy option!

Don't give yourself ultimatums like "I'm not oging to touch the cheese" if you really really really love cheese. Put a couple pieces on a plate, and then walk away from the cheese.

If you're tracking your weight, give yourself a buffer of a few days after a party for your system to normalize. Better yet: weigh yourself on Friday BEFORE you head into a festive weekend, after you've been eating healthy for the whole week!

5. Strive for balance, not perfection.

When you have control over your schedule and meals, choose the healthy option. When you're at Grandma's and she's dishing up her famous lasagna and cake, for gosh sake enjoy every bite!

Stay consistent with your workouts and nutrition the majority of the time during the week, and you'll have a little wiggle room to play with.

Plus, it's been shown that people who indulge a little on the weekends actually end up losing more weight over time! It's science, it's official ;)

6. Surround yourself with a support system.

You're not going to be able to stick to your plan if no one in your life understands your motivation. Don't make your personal choices into a dinner table defense trial! Enlist a friend to be your success partner and check in with each other when you need a boost of support.

Or find a few friends and set up a secret accountability group on Facebook! When there's someone out there holding you accountable, it's so much easier to stay on track.

And if you do over-indulge? Don't give up. Just bounce back and keep moving forward.

We've got this!

xo Anna

Friday, December 12, 2014

homemade microwave popcorn

Happy Friday!

I feel like I've been using this blog as dumping grounds to process all the deep stuff I'm going through right now. GROWING PAINS! It's all good, but all overwhelming. So how about a lighter post for the weekend?

This has been my afternoon snack all week! I'm obsessed. 

Who doesn't love the convenience and delicious buttery warm crunch of fresh popcorn? I've been avoiding microwave popcorn for a while because even the "healthy" kind tends to have nasty chemicals in the bag, plus it’s expensive. My younger sisters make traditional stove top popcorn in  a heavy skillet over an open flame, but that always seems a little too ambitious for me. THEN I discovered this DIY method for microwave air-popped popcorn. Life changer! It's super easy, fun, cheap, delicious, and the popcorn doesn’t burn even when you pop it until almost all the kernels have exploded.

Homemade Microwave Popcorn
Serves 1


+3T popcorn kernels
+coconut oil spray


+Put popcorn in a large glass bowl, cover with an upside down plate, and microwave for 4-5 minutes, until kernels are popped! (I use a clear Pyrex bowl so I can watch them)
+CAREFUL, bowl will be super hot! Remove with oven mitts and transfer popcorn into a serving bowl.
+Spray with coconut oil, sprinkle with stevia and salt! Or salt and pepper. Or hot sauce. Or parmesan. Or let marshmallows melt into the hot popcorn. The options are endless :)

(1 yellow on the 21 Day Fix or Insanity:Max nutrition plan)

Have a fantastic weekend!

xo Anna

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Self Employment || Month 3

This post is a week late, but I wanted to do a November life re-cap before the holiday craziness gets underway! I'm writing these self employment reflections mainly for myself, because I want to be able to record the beginning of my journey so hopefully I can look back on this season of my life and smile. Ha!

So it's been a quarter of a year since I left the "normal" career path, and it kind of feels like a quarter of a century. Right now, in the moment, I feel like I'm on a roller coaster of excitement, overwhelm, purpose, overwhelm, complete fulfillment, overwhelm, and so on. My highs are higher and my lows are lower. I'm learning that there is so much I have to learn in order to be a successful small business owner--but luckily it's the type of stuff that for the most part I'm super excited about.

If I could define November in one word, it would be BREAKTHROUGH.

I'm just beginning to realize that this adventure, this year, has been the biggest voyage of self discovery that I've ever experienced. Yeah, kind of "duh" when I write it out, but what I'm going through on the INSIDE is shaking me to my core. Without external distractions, I'm literally getting to know myself on a much deeper level and it's kind of scary! Like, it almost feels like entering a new, serious phase of a relationship when you start to feel piercingly vulnerable yet your whole world and future is opening with wonderful possibilities you never imagined. It's intensely personal, but I still feel compelled and desperate to share EVERYTHING with the world, shout it out, shock people out of their complacency and routine. Don't take anything for granted. Don't ever settle for an existence that doesn't completely fulfill you in every way. Have you ever heard the quote "do more of what makes you happy?" Take it seriously. Have you ever been so excited to wake up in the morning and go to work that you can barely sleep? Because what you do is so immensely fulfilling and custom tailored to fit every strength, talent, interest, passion that is uniquely yours, and you aren't afraid of failure because you know you're going to be successful because you are doing what you're designed to do? That is my reality. I'm basically making things up as I go, but I'm starting to weigh every decision based on how it makes me feel and how I WANT to feel. Everything in my life that has ever happened to me, everything I've ever loved, created, accomplished, dreamed, experienced, ever since the beginning of my memory has started to come together and make sense.

This month I learned that your personal story is the most powerful and valuable thing you've got. All anyone ultimately desires is to feel connected to others, and your unique struggles and journey will change lives if you're brave enough to share. The more vulnerable you feel? The more impact you will have.

It's mind blowing, terrifying, shattering, and I've had several 6:30 am breakthroughs while reading a book or journaling in my fluffy bathrobe, crying into my morning smoothie, freaking Ben out as the poor man is simply trying to get out the door on time and head to work because he has a normal routine and a normal job. Thank you Ben for loving, supporting, grounding, dealing, and believing in me, because I wouldn't be able to do this without you.

Yeah, month three of self employment was intense.

What I did
+Flew to Dallas for The Platinum Edge, a Beachbody training conference with two of my amazing coaches Sharayah and Mandy! My brain exploded.
+Experienced PiYo live with Chalene Johnson
+Read The Desire Map, actually defined my Core Desired Feelings, my life and driving purpose suddenly became so clear
+Discovered the magic of E-COURSES!!!!! Uh oh. Brain exploded more.
+Started an e-course on InDesign from
+Started an e-course on Digital Products from Creative Live
+Watched a Pinterest e-course and Branding e-course on Creative Live
+Discovered a trajillion amazing small biz/entrepreneurship/marketing podcasts. More brain explosions.
+Sold my scarves at a holiday bazaar fundraiser
+Rocked a Black Friday sale in the Etsy shop
+Started using Contactually to organize my contacts, and Calendly to organize my phone calls. Introvert's lifesavers! I'm getting legit.
+Ran my first official free "clean eating basics" accountability group
+Started shifting my monthly fitness challenge groups into a new format: 21 day "bootcamps" that are designed to help women develop confidence and learn how to lead a more active, empowered, organized, and inspired life. Stay tuned for more on this...

What I accomplished
+Cleared out our second bedroom and created a home office space (THIS CHANGED EVERYTHING!)
+Started to attempt to follow a monthly/weekly/daily schedule (I know I need more structure, I'm just so bad at implementing it into my life)
+$1,000+ sales in my Etsy shop for the SECOND MONTH IN A ROW! It feels like making money out of thin air. And fabric I guess. Can't get over it.
+Highest Beachbody paycheck ever. Over $730 in one week. I think I can do this network marketing thing...
+My coaching team, Inspire Joy, reached 50 coaches and I'm starting to develop more training and mentorship systems
+Starting to feel like I'm getting everything sooooort of under control...I am developing a clearer vision for my future and both small businesses! It's so fun and exciting and overwhelming ahh! I don't feel fully "legit" quite yet, and need to figure out a lot more business details (accounting, budgeting, marketing, branding, file organization and storage, you know...) but I am no longer QUITE as scared of the things that are over my head.

What I learned
+I already have everything I need to be successful, and need to be confident
+I officially want to be some sort of life coach someday. Yup, you heard it here first. It's happening.
+I will get certified to teach PiYo next year and start teaching it in a fitness studio. This format brings me SO much joy in a live class!
+Creating content is more important than consuming content
+I need to give myself more credit, and less pressure
+I need to define success based on how I feel at the end of the day, instead of how many to-do's I accomplish
+Just because I don't understand something, or because I'm not immediately great, doesn't mean I should avoid it or be afraid to give it a shot.
+I can do anything, but not everything. Do less with more focus!

If you really truly deeply passionately want to take a leap of faith and strike out on your own, let this be a sign to take that first baby step. You can do it, even if you don't know where you're going or how to get there. One step at a time. Stop saying "someday."

TODAY is all we have!

Life is too short to ignore the dreams and passions you've been shoving to the back burner.

Dream BIGGER and chase your joy!

Now I'm just trying to make the most of the holiday season and finish out 2014 strong! I'm starting to think about goals for next year, and I'm slowly starting to shift the emotional balance from overwhelmed to excited. I AM capable of doing this.

Thanks for reading and following along with my journey! I think that over the next few months you'll start to see some huge changes around here, and I can't wait to share them with you.

My word for December: Clarity
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