Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Any Time, Any Place, Any Intensity!

I'm always looking for different ways to break a sweat. If I do the same thing for too long, I get bored and burnt out and never want to do a downward dog or deadlift again. This is why I was happy to review the TKO Soft Grip Jump Rope

Besides the fact that jumping rope burns 170 calories in only 15 minutes...

  • TKO workout ropes are affordable and fun. At minimal cost, they add variety to a fitness routine in less boredom and an enjoyable way to get past an exercise plateau.
  • TKO workout ropes are convenient and portable. They can be used any time and any where! Some places you can take your ropes are to the beach, the park, or a friend's gym if you are not using it at home or outdoors.
  • TKO workout ropes are versatile…there are many ways to use them and in fact, multiple exercises are explained on many fitness sites and within varied magazine articles in top fitness/lifestyle publications.
  • TKO workout ropes can be used in high intensity interval training (HITT) which means repeated bouts of short duration high intensity exercise and is a popular method of building stamina.
  • TKO ropes provide a full body workout, yet are simple by design---any one can learn to use it and fits into all exercise routines. 
  • TKO rips provide fluidity of motion which means little strain on joints, while offering a meaningful workout. 

With school starting and Fall activities soon underway, our lives are going to amp up and naturally become busier. However, this doesn't mean that getting your heart rate up needs to take a back seat! 

Many of the popular exercise routines of today, require accessories such as mats, balls, and specialized products for yoga, Pilates, muscle toning and strength training. TKO makes a full home workout possible for a small sum of money. Presently, the TKO assortment now includes boxing gloves and punching towers to body balls, yoga mats, fitness electronics, dumbbells to kettle balls and newly added agility training accessories. 

You can find the TKO products at your local Macy's store and/or here. All products are currently 20% off! 

Disclaimer: I was sent this product from TKO to review for consideration but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

10 Verses for an Anxious Heart

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:25-34

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:1

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love 1 John 4:18

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:6-7

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. -Psalm 55:22

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Chapter That Can't Go Unwritten

When I knew that I wasn’t going to be working this summer, I had all intentions of using my time to focus on my writing. I was going to make a calendar for my blog, marking the dates in which I would publish posts on workouts, foods, and how the lake life is the only life we should all be living. But then the days come and the days go. They get filled up with appointments and errands and lunch dates with girlfriends, and the down time I have to stitch words into sentences slowly falls to the wayside.

But look! A new post!

The story I’m about to share with you is one that I wish I didn’t have to write. It’s messy and scary and raw, but it’s exposing a chapter in my “book” that I feel called to put on the shelves. While I don’t know the reasons why God is bringing me through it, my heart tells me that one reason is to extend a hand to other men and women saying, “take my hand, walk with me, let’s journey beside one another and remind ourselves that we are not alone”.

With words stirring in my mind and tears rolling down my face, I sat and stared at my mom. I didn’t want to share with her what my self-talk was saying because it was awful, negative, and down right embarrassing. You can’t be in a swimsuit because you just had a banana and that banana made your stomach bloat. No one wants to look at a body like that. Oh, and forget about enjoying the day with your friends because you are far less confident, attractive, and desirable than them.

That was just the first strike.

Then came in how I felt physically. My body was tense yet weak. My heart and mind were racing. My head was throbbing and my ears were ringing. I wanted to cry but didn’t have anything to cry about. I was crabby but why? I didn’t want to go to my soccer game but I love soccer! I knew I needed to eat something before the game but melted into a puddle when I stared at the fridge because I didn’t want to eat too many carbs or calories or processed foods.

My mom stood beside me as I word-vomited everything that was going on in my head. Again, I knew I needed to walk her through what was happening so she knew just how dark my struggle was. After 30 minutes of a full on anxiety attack, I escaped it and felt like I had control of my body again. I still wasn’t 100%, though, because I was scared and angry at why I had to go through this. Why did God put anxiety on me? What did I do to deserve these feelings?

I’m broken. We all are.

I can sit here all day and wonder and ask and question “why me?”, but that will lead to a dead end. Instead I am choosing to talk. All week I have been in conversation with my boyfriend, family, and friends about my anxiety. It’s not easy, more embarrassing than anything, but if people are going to love me than they need to know the parts of me that need loving the most.

We are all going through life with baggage and it wasn’t until recently that I picked mine up and started sorting through it. I’m tossing out the past but still saving some of it because it needs my attention. My insecurities, thoughts on body image, confidence, food struggles, the list goes on when I want it to stop but the more dust that gathers, the more I am running away from a God that is seeking me out.

As much as I think I can figure out where this anxiety and other struggles are coming from, I can't. I have an appointment next week to meet with a counselor to begin my recovery and am looking up to a Father who is always constant, even during this battle. I trust that He is forcing me to deal with these things so that I can live the way that serves Him and others around me best!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I'm Running Away

With ease and hesitation, I climbed on the railing of the bridge. My toes crept over the edge just slightly, leaving enough room for my eyes to look down at the water below. I knew I was going to be ok and that hey, maybe I would enjoy jumping from 30 feet up into a lake below?! But when I was about to do something I had never done before, my nerves knew to kick it in high gear.

He held my hand, counted to three, and we jumped.

My head popped up from the water and a smile emerged on my face.  I laughed, joking that I think I let half of the water in my body through my nose and ears. It was thrilling yet terrifying. It was a rush yet calming. It was putting myself out of my comfort zone to see that I can survive on the other side of it.

God has placed things in my life that are nowhere close to my realm of comfort. From people to events to emotions, I am continually being pulled and stretched to dive in corners where I have never been. I’m feeling things that were part of my past but are slowly emerging in the present. Truthfully, all of these things scare me. My mind and heart act like I just injected a 5-Hour Energy Drink directly to them. But at the end of the day, how blessed am I to get the opportunity to experience these things? I get the chance to grow and be challenged and breathe

I wasn’t given a life that didn’t come with detours and dead ends. None of us were. We all experience those situations that make us want to crawl out of our skin and run away. So where do we run to?

God. The one who knows our heart and what it needs to stay full. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Smackin' Cakes : Coffee & Crumbs

It goes without saying that I love my coffee and I love the lakes, so when my mom and I drove down Lake Avenue in Battle Lake and saw a new store that combined those things, we made a mother-daughter morning out of it. 

While I sipped my coffee and she enjoyed her bagel, we both sounded like a broken record because we kept looking around saying, "this is just so cute in here!", which it was! From the color scheme to the furniture to the presentation of all the yummy baked goods, it looked like something straight out of Martha Stewart Living

Last week I had the opportunity to interview Sara, the owner of Smackin' Cakes! 

How long has Smackin' Cakes been in business? 

Our grand opening was May of this year. 

How did Smackin' Cakes get started? 

We use to have a gift shop in this same building for 5 years but got a little bored with it and I always wanted to have a coffee shop (and cupcakes as an added bonus!). As owners of Stella's next door, we use to have both the restaurant with a coffee shop inside, too, but because we became so busy with both, we decided to close the coffee shop and focus on the restaurant. I've always wanted a cute little shop on main street and looking around Smackin' Cakes, I think I got it!

What does Smackin’ Cakes specialize in/sell?

Coffee, latte's, blended drinks, and smoothies along with our baked goods such as cupcakes, bars, different kinds of sweet little treats, and our famous scones.

What makes your scones famous?

We've had them around for 8 years and not a day goes by that customers don't ask about them!

What is your most popular selling item?

Our Blueberry Almond Scones as well as our Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcake. 

Is everything baked in-store or do you bring them in from somewhere?

Everything is made right here except for the bagels. 

Does Smackin’ Cakes just sell baked goods and coffee? 

No. We have a gift shop located in the back of the store that has Battle Lake/Minnesota clothing, home/cabin decor, candles, etc.

What do you suggest someone order if they have never been to Smackin’ Cakes?

Definitely a scone and blended latte. Also, our cupcakes are out of this world! You can custom order cupcakes (24-48 hrs in advance) for any kind of occasion!

Anything else that you would like to share about Smackin’ Cakes?

You know when you walk into a place and it just doesn't feel right? That's not the case when you walk through our door. We spent over a year shopping around for vintage pieces and decor, and I just really love how it turned out. It's comfortable and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming.

Smackin' Cakes is located at 114 Lake Avenue South in Battle Lake, MN. 
They are open Monday-Sunday 7am-8pm. 
(218) 862-4900
Want seconds? Check them out on Facebook!