food + nutrition

Feel like new. Feel like you. // Part Two

February 17, 2017

Thank you Jenny Craig for sponsoring this post. — Get serious about losing weight with Jenny Craig!

Feel like new. // livelovesimple.com

This is my final post in my series with Jenny Craig. I am a little bit sad about that, but I am so excited about moving forward with the positive momentum that this experience has given me.

The thing that has stood out to me the most in this journey has been how effectively Jenny has changed my relationship with food. Over the course of my life, my relationship with food has been so up and down. There have been times when I was so healthy, constantly making smart decisions. But there have been other times, including recently, where my relationship with food was out of control. Essentially, I used food as a drug, and I abused it like a drug, too.

With Jenny Craig, members develop a healthy relationship with food, build an active lifestyle and create a more balanced approach to living. They understand and overcome the internal/external challenges to healthy eating, identify enjoyable ways to move more, learn positive coping strategies and reframe their beliefs and attitudes to better support their weight management goals.

Feel like new. // livelovesimple.com

All of these things were true for me. As soon as I began to see positive results, my energy and dedication to my health snowballed for the better. I grew more focused with each day that passed. I have been amazed by the results that I experienced inside of the program, and by the positive changes that I continue to experience as a result of what I have learned.

Feel like new. // livelovesimple.com

When it comes to health, wellness, and nutrition there are so many ways to approach it. For some, it comes naturally. For others, it takes a lot of work. As with everything in life, we all have our individual strengths and weaknesses. Jenny is a flexible program that can serve as a complete reset or simply as a gentle reminder. The beauty of the program is that, with your personal consultant, you always have someone there to cheer you on, motivate you and keep you on track. That support system means everything when it comes to accomplishing your goals.

Feel like new. // livelovesimple.com

If you have any questions about the program, feel free to hit me up. I am more than happy to answer your questions and speak about my experience.

Wishing you love and wellness always– xo

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Put on your oxygen mask before helping others.

February 11, 2017

Put on your oxygen mask before helping others. // livelovesimple.com

I’ve been wanting to write this post forever. I’ve started it in my head countless times. I kept stopping though, I could never get it out. I want to say so much and I want to say it well.

It’s just that the message is so much more important than simply, “You have to take care of yourself.” And yet, that is the message. I hope that saying something will be better than saying nothing at all. I hope that you will read this and that it will touch you to make a change in your life, a change that you very much deserve.


It’s been a month and a half since I found my way out of the darkness, again. The past few years have been a roller coaster in every way. The only constant has been my lack of self care. Sure, there were a few times when I stepped up my game and did something positive or healthy for myself; but all of those attempts fizzled quickly.

The thing about self care is that it’s a massive undertaking. It’s not about one thing, or even a series of short term efforts. It’s about a lot of things: a permanent, holistic picture of healthiness, happiness, fullness, and balance. When I “woke up” at the beginning of this year, it wasn’t so much a matter of wanting to, as it was a matter of necessity. I was literally slowly dying.

Over the past six weeks, everything has changed. It had been so hard to take care of myself for so long, because I fell into the trap that a lot of women (and men) fall into–I believed that I mattered the least. It’s a natural belief, easy to fall into, especially when you are a mother or a caretaker. It’s instinctual to a degree, to want to put your babies or loved ones in front of yourself in every way.

The unfortunate thing is that ultimately, and almost always, it ends in disaster. When we do not take care of ourselves, we fall apart. Our health suffers and our mind suffers. We run ourselves ragged trying to do everything, and be everything, for every one; and even if that works for a little while, eventually, it always falls apart.

Sometimes we think that by neglecting ourselves, we are serving others; but that is not the truth. When we are broken, the love and the care that we give to others is inadequate at best. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.

I have found that there are five key areas of nourishment when it comes to self care. If we can meet these five areas, truly and completely, then we are, indeed taking care of ourselves. When we are our best selves, we can also care wholly for the people that we love. In order to effectively, love and care for the people and things in our lives, we must first love and care for ourselves.

There are five areas of nourishment for self care:

  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Nutritional
  • Spiritual
  • Interpersonal

Emotional: First, we must be nourished emotionally. Self-love and emotional wellness are the very basis of self care. If we do not love ourselves, everything else in our lives will be out of balance. The challenge of emotional nourishment often comes down to our beliefs about what we, ourselves, deserve.

When I started my journey of self care, I struggled intensely. For a long time I would start only to stop again quickly thereafter. I finally found lasting success when I began using my self-love mantra, “I deserve to be happy and healthy.” When I feel like I can not (or should not) reach personal success, I repeat my mantra to myself. It empowers me to keep going.

Physical & Nutritional: These two go hand-in-hand. Physical and nutritional wellness are the bedrock foundation on which wellness is built. For some people, these things come naturally. Regular physical activity and a healthy balanced diet are staples in some peoples lives. For others, however, it’s just the opposite. Sedentary lifestyles equate to constant aches and pains. The diet consists of almost entirely unhealthy, processed garbage food.

I could write a novel on this bullet point alone, but for now, I’ll simply say two things.

Exercise–You must do something that stretches your muscles and elevates your heartbeat every day. A brisk walk, a dance party in the living room, a ten minute yoga video on YouTube. Any of these things will suffice. Further, you must exercise hard–until you sweat–between one and three times a week. If you think this sounds impossible, start with a mere fraction of what I am recommending and go from there. It is not impossible. Wherever you are today, just start. Even if you have long forgotten its magic, your body is still a wonderful, powerful temple. It is waiting for you to reclaim it.

Diet–Imagine that your body is a garden. If you want it to grow and flourish, it needs certain things. It’s very simple. We all know that gardens need water, sunlight, and rich soil to grow. Our bodies are similar. We need water, vitamins and minerals, protein, and fiber. There are many ways to achieve this, thousands of diet plans in the world. But most basically, what we need is real, organic food. Fruit, vegetables, lean meat (in moderation or not at all). It’s that simple. Everything else, other than the things that I’ve described here, is garbage. With very few exceptions, all processed food is garbage, loaded with chemicals and preservatives. Cigarettes, alcohol, and drug abuse–would you pour battery acid all over your garden?

Spiritual: Once we are emotionally, physically, and nutritionally nourished, we can turn attention to our spiritual lives. Spiritual nourishment comes from a whole host of areas, and for each person, it means something different. For many, religion plays a part in soothing the spirit. For others, time spent alone in nature is critical to spiritual health. Almost everyone can benefit from art–reading nourishing books, listening to touching music, visiting a museum, watching a moving play, and so on.

When it comes to spiritual nourishment, it’s really simple. Do whatever it is that makes your spirit come alive.

Interpersonal: Relationships are the final piece of this puzzle. Ten years ago, I was in an amazing place in my life. I had just overcome anxiety and depression. I had lost seventy pounds. I was living a life that I had always dreamed of living. At that time, I absolutely loved helping people. I was building my career on my ability and desire to help people. What happened next, however, I never could have anticipated. My desire to help people almost killed me.

I was so blinded by my desire to help that I dove into it headfirst without caution. Both in my professional life and in my personal life. I was so committed to helping and healing others, that I completely forgot about me. I fell so hard and so quickly into a trap and I never, for a moment, realized that in trying to help, I–myself–would be destroyed.

By the time I finally realized what had happened, I was so far gone that I was unrecognizable. My life had fallen apart into a million broken pieces. One day I looked in the mirror and I had no idea who I was. It’s taken me a year and a half to slowly crawl out of that hole. I can finally see the light again.

My point regarding interpersonal relationships is that you have to be extremely careful about who you allow into your life and how. Not every person can be helped. Not every person wants to be helped. It is critical that you choose relationships that nourish you, build you up, and empower you to be your best self. Do not settle for anything less–whether in friendships, romantic relationships, colleagues, or acquaintances. Never, never settle. You do not have to tolerate toxicity in your life, ever.


When I first started therapy, again, I received some of the best advice I’ve ever heard. She said, when you are talking to yourself, speak as though you are talking to your children or to your best friend–to someone who you love very, very much. It took me awhile to fully come around to it, to truly embrace it. I still stumble occasionally, but mostly I am here now. I treat my self with the love and care that I deserve. And thereby, I can love and care for the people around me with a full, strong, nourished heart–which is the greatest love that can be given.

Every morning when you wake up, think of the best compliment that you could ever receive–and then give it to yourself. Say it in your mind. Say it out loud. Say it again, and again, and again. Then say it again at lunchtime. And again when you’re getting ready for bed. Not just today or tomorrow, but every day. Then watch the magic in your life unfold. ♥

Put on your oxygen mask before helping others. // livelovesimple.com

Put on your oxygen mask before helping others.
You can’t help anybody when you’re dead.

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Feel like new. Feel like you.

January 26, 2017

Thank you Jenny Craig for sponsoring this post. — Get serious about losing weight with Jenny Craig!

Jenny Craig // livelovesimple.com

Thanks to this blog, I’ve been able to work with so many great companies over the years. I am so grateful for the opportunities that have come my way. I’ve been really excited about a lot of them, but working with Jenny Craig has been my most rewarding partnership yet.

As I wrote about in my last post, just a couple of months ago I was in a really difficult place. I was facing an uphill battle. Especially when it came to my health, I was close to giving up. It was right around that time that I was contacted and asked to partner with Jenny. The timing was so perfect that it felt like an answered prayer.

I realize that this is a sponsored post, but everything that I’m going to share in this post (and every post!) is 100% true to my real-life experience. Over the past few weeks, since I started the program, my life has changed.

Health, wellness, and nutrition have always been a topic on this blog of mine. When I first started writing here, eight years ago, I had just gone through a personal health revolution. I had overcome depression and anxiety, and lost seventy pounds. I was at the top of my health game for sure. After I lost that weight, I had no trouble keeping it off for many years. It wasn’t until after I had my second baby, that everything changed. Becoming a mother changes things for a lot of women. Add to that all of the challenges that life throws on a daily, and sometimes it feels impossible.

Again, as I mentioned in my last post, there was a perfect storm of poor health in my life. No matter what I seemed to do, I just couldn’t get healthy. Everything was out of control for me, especially my diet.

The Jenny Craig program has taken my nutrition from night to day. I am relearning what appropriate portions are. I am remembering how it feels to eat the right amount of calories for my body. My energy and my mood have not been this high in years. The momentum that I’ve gained through the program has even encouraged me to get back to the gym, which I thought I would never be able to do again. I’ve been consistently going three days a week and it feels incredible.

The program features more than 100 premium menu items to love in delicious flavors, created by 40 professional chefs. Every meal that I’ve eaten on the program has been restaurant-quality. It’s like having a personal chef in the kitchen seven days a week; and as a busy mom it’s pretty much the greatest thing ever!

The program will leave you feeling satisfied because the food is so good and you get to eat so much in the course of a day. Here is a picture to show you what food for one day on the program looks like:

Jenny Craig // livelovesimple.com

I’ve been on the program for a little over three weeks now and I’ve lost eleven pounds. I am required to tell you that my results are not typical. Members following the Jenny Craig program, on average, lose 1-2 lbs. per week. And I received promotional consideration. But with that said, I personally feel so confident that anyone who engages with this program will see results. It’s so simple and it’s so good!

When I looked at my meal plan for the week and the daily menus, I wondered if I would even be able to eat all of that food in a day. But don’t worry, I did. 😉 There are not only typical “healthy” meal options, but there are delicious snacks worked into each day’s menu, as well. Whether you love salty & crunch or gooey & sweet, there is something for you.

Jenny Craig // livelovesimple.com

For me, the cornerstone of the plan has been my weekly meetings with my Consultant. On the plan, your Consultant will work with you on your menu, discuss any challenges from the previous week and determine a plan for the week ahead. Plus, your consultant will keep track of your success with weekly weigh-ins and teach you how to self-monitor. The weigh-ins have been such a motivation for me to stay on track and continually make progress.

Jenny Craig // livelovesimple.com

I love my Consultant, Allie. She is such a wealth of information and source of encouragement. For members who don’t live near a center, Jenny Craig Anywhere offers one-on-one support through consultations over the phone or via video chat. They’ve got you covered.

Jenny Craig // livelovesimple.com

For me, the program has truly been life-changing. It’s set me off on a path of positivity and health, that I was afraid I would never find again. If you’ve been thinking about trying it out for yourself, I would definitely recommend it. It is an investment in yourself. When I started the program, I had a lot of fear and doubt. I adopted a mantra to help myself get through the days. Every time I started to feel myself slip in any way, I said, “You deserve to be happy and healthy.” It feels so good to have been saying that these last few weeks. It’s such a far cry from where I was just a couple of months ago. I am so excited to keep going down this path.

Jenny Craig // livelovesimple.com

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Simple, Delicious Seared Ahi Tuna Salad

November 17, 2016

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As a busy mama with two little ones running around, “Me Time” doesn’t happen every day. So when it does happen, I’m all about keeping it low-maintenance and stress-free. Still, when it does come around, I want to enjoy that precious time and treat myself well.

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That’s why I’m always on the lookout for delicious ingredients that make me feel like I’m having a restaurant-quality meal in the comfort of my own home. I was recently invited to try out the new Bumble Bee SuperFresh® line. And it did not disappoint.

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After an exhausting day chasing toddlers, I had a few hours by myself to relax. I whipped up this delicious Seared Tuna Salad and paired it with a bottle of wine I’d been saving for a special occasion. It was so simple–less than 15 minutes to have everything ready to enjoy. Food, wine, and my favorite music playing in the background. This mama thought she’d died and went to heaven for a little while there. 😉

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Whether you’re enjoying some well-deserved “Me Time” or even entertaining guests, this simple, delicious salad is sure to impress.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One package of Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Seared Ahi Tuna
  • A handful of Roma Tomatoes
  • A bowl of Spring Mix
  • A handful of Sliced Almonds
  • Your favorite Dressing (Ginger & Wasabi are both delicious with Tuna!)

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Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Seared Ahi Tuna is so simple to prepare. Just remove from vacuum pack and place in refrigerator to thaw. Allow to thaw approximately 3 hours. Plate and serve. Et voilà! You’re ready to eat and enjoy.

Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Seared Ahi Tuna is the first ever sushi quality “Thaw and serve” packaged seafood product. It stays frozen during the processing and never fully defrosted or re-frozen during preparation, so Bumble Bee guarantees its quality is on par with what you expect from fine chefs who know how to source the best product for their restaurants.

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My favorite part about Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Ahi Tuna is that they are wild caught and harvested from sources that are managed to promote healthy fish stocks for generations. As a gal who absolutely loves sushi, but struggles with the ethics of eating certain fish species, this is music to my ears.

I hope that you enjoy this easy and healthy recipe as much as I did. ♥

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Getting It All Done // 5 Tips for Busy Moms

September 17, 2015

5 Tips for Busy Moms // livelovesimple.com

Let’s be honest — how often do you feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day? It’s a side-effect of the world that we live in. Go, go, go. Do, do, do.

However, I never really knew what it was like to be “short on time” until I became a mother of a toddler and an infant at the same time. My favorite mantra has become, “It’ll get done when it gets done.” Because, frankly, I don’t have any other choice!

Lately, I’ve had to take a look at life and make moves to give myself more time. Yes, there are still nights that I cry myself to sleep, because it’s all just so much. But implementing these 5 little tips has helped.

1. Prioritize. — Let’s start with the bottom line: you can’t do it all. Always remember to think about what is the most important and put that at the top of the list. Speaking of lists…

2. Make lists. — I’m an avid list maker. I make lists for everything — packing, shopping, blogging. It helps me to stay organized even when life is full of chaos. I make to-do lists for myself at least once a week, sometimes daily when I’ve got a lot on my plate.

3. Find shortcuts. — If you look hard, you’ll find shortcuts in your life just waiting to be found. For example, I’ve written about how Marina won’t sleep on her own. It makes my life hellish not even being able to put her down for a nap. But she has started to fall asleep in her stroller. So now, I combine my daily exercise and her nap time by pushing the babies in the stroller while I power-walk. Bam! — shortcut — exercise & nap in one shot.

Another thing I’ve discovered recently are Eat Smart Salad Kits. Pretty much the quickest/easiest meal option you could ask for. Best of all, they’re healthy and delicious. More on that in a minute.

4. Unplug. — I can’t even begin to quantify how much time I used to waste “scrolling” on social media — Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Now I limit myself to twenty minutes in the morning and twenty minutes before bed. I’ve saved so much time that it’s actually embarrassing. Oh, and don’t get me started on those social games (like Words with Friends & Candy Crush). Just don’t do it!

5. Ask for help. — This last one is the hardest one for me. Chalk it up to pride or even to my guilty conscience. But I have one hell of a hard time asking for help. Thing is, sometimes we all need it, and we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it once in awhile.

The people in our lives aren’t mind-readers and just because you feel like you’re drowning, it might look like you’re holding it all together with ease. If you need help, ask for it. Whether that means asking your mother-in-law to bring over a casserole once a week or asking your best friend to push the baby around the yard while you scrub the bathroom. Don’t be afraid to reach out. If they care about you, they’ll be happy to do it.

Back to those salad kits… Our family was recently sent several Eat Smart Salad Kits to try out. We were truly impressed. I can’t believe how delicious and easy to put together they are. When you open each bag, you’ll find all of the fresh salad ingredients in individual packets. You just pour the salad onto a plate, snip open each of the ingredient packets, pour them on, and mix everything together. It couldn’t be simpler!

5 Tips for Busy Moms // livelovesimple.com

5 Tips for Busy Moms // livelovesimple.com

5 Tips for Busy Moms // livelovesimple.com

5 Tips for Busy Moms // livelovesimple.com

5 Tips for Busy Moms // livelovesimple.com

We tried a bunch of the kits, but our favorite was the Beets and Greens Salad. Fresh beets are blended with five other superfoods — golden raisins, feta cheese and a white wine vinaigrette. It’s sweet & savory — everything that I want in my salad! Matthew and I have been eating these salads for lunch and even Roman has been sneaking around, swiping beets & cheese from our plates.

Each single-serve salad includes at least 11 grams of protein from plant-based protein sources such as corn, edamame, chia seeds and sunflower seeds. They’re perfect for when you’re short on time. Just toss and enjoy. Music to every busy mom’s ears, right!?

5 Tips for Busy Moms // livelovesimple.com

5 Tips for Busy Moms // livelovesimple.com

5 Tips for Busy Moms // livelovesimple.com

5 Tips for Busy Moms // livelovesimple.com

I hope that these tips have been helpful to you. If you’ve got any to add, please leave them in the comments!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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