Building Your Own Rome

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

As a personal trainer and lifestyle coach, I have to deal with a lot of set backs. We’re human. We fail. We get back up and try again. This post is about going for your ultimate goal and not letting anything stand in your way. You need to build your Rome, no matter what bridges you must cross or burn. Whatever your Rome may be: losing weight, winning a show, landing a big job, getting a raise, or publishing a novel; You can do it.

Now, of course not everything works out. Let’s not fill ourselves with false hope. Let’s fill ourselves with real commitment, dedication, and control. Challenge yourself to go beyond that tiny comfort zone and do something different. Try something new. If your blueprint for Rome isn’t working, draw up a new plan.

This is not as easy as it seems.  As I write this to you, I write this to myself as well. I’m working on my very own Rome, and it is one hell of a project.  Life isn’t easy, but when it comes down to making huge decisions, you have to remember the end goal. 

When you remember your finished project, you’ll be able to make the right choices to build it. Put things into perspective. It’s easy to lose perspective. It’s not simple to step outside of your current life and analyze it as if it were a picture in a frame. Pick out the “what’s wrong with this picture” parts. Remember that game? Two pictures side by side. One has 15 things wrong in it. Draw up your life in your mind. Pick out those upside down hats, backwards faces, and torn shirts. Get them out of there. Re-arrange your picture so that it’s pretty and organized.

It may hurt a bit. It may hurt a lot. Actually let’s be honest…Emotionally, physically, and mentally, it will hurt. No pain, no gain, right?

No matter what you are doing remember this:

  • Commit
    • Commit yourself to your Rome. Make a plan of action and follow through the steps. If you have a setback, realign and forge ahead.
  • Control
    • Have control of yourself. Use your will power. Control each situation so that it is the best to build your Rome.
  • Challenge
    • This is the difficult one. You must challenge your current life, thoughts, emotions, and physical being to be something better, different, and successful. To challenge yourself means tackling that thing you fear. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.

Credit to Dr. Sal Maddi for teaching me the laws of hardiness and the 3 C’s. 

Chia Jam & A Mini Meatball Sandwich

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Mini Meatball Sandwich

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I made up a tiny snack/meal last night and was so impressed with the look and taste, I had to capture and share it. This mini-meatless-meatball sandwich is full of protein, on sprouted toast, easy to make, and delicious. Below you see my process of making Chia Jam. It’s a simple and easy recipe (Difficult is not my style).  I recycled a ginger jar, so save your old jam/mustard/condiment jars! They work great for things like this. Recipes below!

Mini Meatless Meatball Sandy For One 

1 slice ezekial bread, toasted, quartered
6 meatless meatballs
1 sandwich sliced pickle
2 tbsp baby lettuces
1 tbsp reduced-fat veganaise
Black Pepper
Mustard, for dipping


  1. Microwave the meatballs for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, toast your piece of bread. 
  2. Cut the bread into 4 pieces, to make two small “buns.”
  3. Spread all with veganaise and spice up as you like. I used black pepper. 
  4. Cut the pickle into two, and place half on each bottom bun.
  5. Place the lettuce on top. 
  6. Then 1 meatball. 
  7. Smash the top down a little bit. 
  8. This will make two mini sandwiches. Dip the last 4 meatballs in mustard.

Nutrition Facts include all 6 meatballs.
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And onto the jam!

You can see from the photos exactly how easy this is.

Chia Jam 

1 3/4 C Frozen Berries of choice (if fresh, omit microwave process)
1/4 C Chia Seeds
Juice of half a lemon 
1 tbsp of Agave/Maple Syrup/Fruit Juice

  1. Microwave/defrost berries. 
  2. Blend until smooth, or however chunky you like your jam.
  3. Stir in chia seeds, sweetener of choice, and lemon juice.
  4. Place into jar or tupperware. Refrigerate over night.
  5. Enjoy like regular jam!

I really love this on toast, bananas, or Almond Butter and Chia Jam sandys. 🙂 Sandy is officially my nickname for sandwiches now. Forget “sammy” I like Sandy.  This is not for those who like “jelly.” Unless you use blueberries, it will have plenty of “crunch” or texture because of all the seeds. The chia seeds get smooth, but the raspberries and strawberries have seeds. I like it. And most jam lovers do. But jelly-lovers, beware!

VitaminShoppe Gift Card Giveaway! 2 Winners!

I’ve got good news! I’m officially partnering up with:

Vitamin Shoppe! 

VitaminShoppe is an amazing company in USA and Canada that helps people achieve their ultimate needs for health and wellness. With over 500 locations in the United States and Puerto Rico, they can fulfill anyone’s possible demand. I started shopping at VitaminShoppe when I needed extra greens in my diet. Hello Wheat Grass! Have you ever been to one? What’d you go in for? 

 Since we are now officially connected, I will be hosting product reviews, giveaways, and posts regarding their holistic, sports nutrition, and organic products. I’m plant-based so I won’t host any animal products, so keep a lookout for ultimately healthy products! I will provide you with full-fledge honest opinions and results of whatever I encounter. So get ready for some fun reviews. I won’t let you down! I’m not getting paid per post, but am happy to try out products, give reviews, and promote a great company. Experience and knowledge are key in any industry, so I thank VitaminShoppe for giving me this opportunity to promote and educate the masses on health and health products. Cheers!

The Giveaway

The Prizes: Two $25 Gift Cards



How To Enter:

  1. Like My Facebook Business Page
  2. Follow Me On Twitter
  3. Follow VitaminShoppe on Twitter
  4. Follow this Blog
  5. Comment below telling me one way how you are bettering yourself through mind, body, or soul.
  6. Be sure to include in your comment that you did the first 4 steps! I will be checking each one!
  7. Enter with a super easy form by clicking here! 



Perk Up: Chest + Back Routine

Don't be Intimidated By These Machines.
Don’t be Intimidated By These Machines

Smith Bench

  1. Chest Press, Flat
    1. Reps 8, Sets 5 
  2. Chest Press, Incline
    1. Reps 8, Sets 5 

Move bench to front of system. Grab 20lb weight, or heavy as you can curl.
Remove weights. Place smith bar as low as you can do push-ups. For Pull-ups, place bar about belly button height. Get underneath bar. Do a reverse plank, holding abs up tight, and pull yourself up.

Perform all exercises back to back, quickly as possible.

  • Sets: 5
  • Push-ups, Wide
    • 12
  • Pull-ups, Wide
    • 12 
  • One-Arm DB Chest Press
    • 8, ES
  • Goblet Squats
    • 12
  • Bench or Bar Triceps Dips
    • 8

Cable Machine

  • Sets 3
  • Squat + Neutral Grip Row
    • 12
  • Lat Pull Down
    • 12 
  • Triceps Pull Down
    • 12 
  • Sets 5
  • Lunge + Row, right
  • Lunge + Row, left
  • Lat Pull Down, + 5lbs
    • 8
  • Triceps Pull Down
  • Oblique Turns+HoldReps
    • 8 Each side, Hold last one straight out as long as possible

Fat Burning Finishers*

  • 1-2 Miles, sprints + jogs
  • Dead lift + Belly Button Row
    • 8 reps, 2 sets
  • Barbell Cleans 
  • Reverse Crunch + Hold (Standing Ab/Dips Tower)
  • Straight Leg Hold

*These are high intensity exercises to burn through that last bit of energy you have at the end of a planned workout. You have already emptied your glycogen (sugar) stores, and so these last bit of exercises are using pure fat for energy. They are important if you are looking to get cut, ripped, or lose that extra 5 lbs. And if you have more than 5lbs to lose, you sure will get that fat burning faster and more efficiently with these finishers. FINISH STRONG!  

How Did You Get Here?

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As I was watching Biggest Loser last night, seeing the morbidly obese contestants step onto the scale, it makes me think. It makes me angry. It makes me sad. And wonder:

How could they do this to themselves? How could they not see what was happening to their bodies? Did they care? Do they want to live a long life? Are they happy? After gaining 10lbs, how come they didn’t stop? 20lbs? 50lbs? How come they didn’t see what it was doing to their bodies, lives, and esteem? What was going through their head as they chugged that soda, munched that cheeseburger, downed that milkshake, or ate all that food? How did they feel after sitting on their ass, day after day, after day? Did they own a scale? Did anyone tell them to change? Did anyone try to help them? Why? Why not?

As a fitness trainer, and self-obsessed body improving perfectionist, I notice every tiny change. I notice a dimple, a wrinkle, a jiggle, a heavy feeling, a light feeling, a sad feeling…I notice every tiny little thing, unless of course it’s positive. So when I improve, it takes me weeks to see. At least 8-12 weeks before I notice a tighter muscle. A smaller tummy. A cheekbone. A change for the better. Some may call it body-dysmorphic disorder. I just call it perfectionism. I always believe we can be better. Stronger. Faster. Tighter.

That doesn’t mean I skip sushi or pizza. That doesn’t mean I don’t accidentally eat 12 cookies in 10 minutes. That doesn’t mean I am perfect in diet and fitness. But I make attempts. Very strong, embedded mentally, attempts. I read labels. Every label. I count calories (mentally). I eat slowly. I don’t party. I eat/use organic products.  I lift heavy. I run hard. And I move often. I constantly believe in improvement. I want to learn something new every day. I want to be inspired. try.

What goes through your head? How did you get there? Did you notice the negatives or the positives? What makes you tick? What makes you stop? What makes you give up, lie down, and roll over? What makes you crawl into a hole? What makes you pop out of bed with enthusiasm? When you find these things out, you’ll be able to better yourself. You’ll be able to become that girl/guy you’ve always wanted.

Get Better.

You’re overweight because of something in your head, not your body. Your body can work. It can lift. It can lose weight. Even if you have an injury, you can work through it. You can work past it. Eat less if you move less. Eat more if you move more. Make your body work for you. But this means getting your head in the right place. It has to be dedicated. It has to be determined. It has to be for you because of you. You can’t depend on anyone else, or anything else to give you the body you want. Your workout buddy can’t make it? So what. Workout at home. Stop making excuses. And figure out what you really want. You already know. So just be honest with yourself. Tell the truth. Stop living in an illusion. And wake up. It’s going to be scary. It’s going to be saddening. But you know what? It’s going to change you for the better, forever.

Thriving Forward In The Kitchen

Clean Food from a Non-Chef, Non-Photographer

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I’ve always wanted to try zucchini pasta. I finally dished out the surprisingly low amount for one of these. You can see the awesome veggie-pasta maker above. The Thrive Forward program been reminding me to eat more raw, fresh foods. It has inspired me to use my Vitamix daily, boil some quinoa, and eat less wheat. I haven’t started sprouting yet, but I do have my own organic herb garden growing! The pasta above is mostly raw, minus the silken tofu. I was searching for an oil-free pesto because I try and follow the Forks Over Knives philosophy of not eating oils, or keeping them to a minimum. I actually looked at a few vegan pestos and then made up my own. (Recipe below.)

Oil-Free Avocado Pesto & Raw Zucchini Pasta

1 avocado, small and ripe
1 oz basil (1 pack)
1 cup parsley
1/2 cup silken tofu
dab of ground garlic (mine is in a squeezy tube)
juice of 1/4 lemon
sprinkle of sea salt
sprinkle of vegan parmesan, optional 

One zucchini
1) Place all ingredients, except the zucchini, in a Vitamix or Food Processor. Leave on for 5-10 minutes, stirring down sides as needed. I used the Vitamix stirring tool to keep things going. If it’s not moving, add more lemon juice.
2) As it is churning around on low, turn your zucchini into pasta. If you don’t have the pasta machine, use a vegetable peeler to make thin strips.
3) Stir it all together and eat… or cover and refrigerate for dinner, or lunch the next day. Enjoy!
The entire bowl of pasta is under 300 calories! I’m proud of this recipe and it is all clean and organic! =D
Screen shot 2013-01-20 at 9.00.57 PM*The calories include all of the ingredients listed, including the zucchini.*

Soon after, I went on to making these cookies.

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I need to start using my expensive camera. :/ Dang blurry phone pics!

Personally, my boyfriend and I wouldn’t call these cookies. They are more like little bundles of yumminess, but not a cookie. They are gluten-free and don’t contain any flour. You could honestly eat the dough for breakfast or dessert, without even cooking it. It’s great, but not a typical “cookie” dough form. I bought some coconut flour on sale today, so maybe my next cookie dough will look/taste more like a wheat cookie.

The main ingredient in these “cookies” is quinoa. Freshly-cooked plain quinoa, quinoa flakes, and bananas make up the bulk of this dough. It truly is guilt-free. Look at the Nutrition Facts. I measured each cookie out with a tablespoon measuring spoon.

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Kettle Bell Cardio

I love getting new fitness toys. My most recent addition to my gym bag has been a 25lb Bob Harper Countoured Kettle Bell. I love it! It’s so much fun to use, gives an amazing strength-cardio workout, and can be shared with my boyfriend (who is like 10x stronger and still gets a good workout with this thing!).


I’ve been scouring the net for fun moves, watching the Bob Harper DVD that came with it, and doing my own combinations to get use out of this gorgeous piece of equipment. I’ve designed a simple workout for you that will blast calories, build muscle, and make you smile.

Here you go!

Warm Up
2 Minutes Dynamic Stretches:
Knee Pulls, Arm Circles Both Ways, Huggers, Reachers, Twists, Kicks. (Do your faves to warm your muscles.)

Work Out

20 Kettle Bell Swings
12 High Pulls
12 Decline Push-ups
12 Triceps Dips 

5 Halos Left
5 Halos Right 

20 Kettle Bell Swings 
15 Squat + High Pulls
10 Decline Push-Ups 
15 Front Squats (holding KB) 

Dead lifts
8 High Pulls 
8 Dead lift–>High Pulls

10 Oblique Reach Left Hand 
10 Oblique Reach Right Hand
10 Sumo Squats–>Calf Raise

Plank until you Fall
Side Plank until Failure, left
Side Plank until Failure, right

10 KettleBell Swings


Note: This workout took me 20 minutes to complete. If you still have energy, do a second round! 

3-Ingredient Protein Hot Cocoa

Performance Cocoa
Performance Cocoa
Tomorrow: Frozen Hot Chocolate

First of all I want to say, whenever I see a recipe that has less than 5 ingredients, I click on it. No matter what they are, I’m like, “Only 3!?! I can do that!” I’m no chef by any standard. I hardly measure anything  and I truly suck at baking 95% of the time. Tonight was a lucky one when I made this concoction.

I was getting bored with mixing my protein powder with cold water and drinking it as if it couldn’t taste good. I knew it tasted well, but underestimated its ability to become a star. Tonight, it became a shining one.

I saw a post about hot cocoa with soy whip by Kathy Patalsky  on twitter and thought, “Mmm that sounds yummy.” And since I’m not cool and dandy with a stock of soy whip or one of these, I figured I would turn my protein powder into a hot cocoa. I have raw cacao powder next to all my Vega and smoothie stuff so my hot cocoa was just asking to be made. Here is the simple 3 minute post-workout delicious drink you will never turn down.


1 Big mug of Unsweetened Almond Milk, Vanilla (12 oz)
1 Scoop Vega Performance Protein, Vanilla
2 tsp Raw Cacao Powder
Stevia, to taste (a good sprinkle) 

Place all ingredients in a mug and stir. Microwave for 2 minutes. Stir again. Enjoy!

With 28 grams of branched-chain amino acid protein, only 9 complex carbs, and a hot chocolate delicious taste to warm you up, this cocoa really can’t be beat. Why have it any other way?

Frozen Hot Chocolate: Freeze the prepared drink in an ice cube tray, throw it in the blender with a 1/2 frozen banana. Add extra almond milk (about 1-2 cups) to get the frozen ice and banana to move! Use your Vitamix or high powered blender and stirring tool.

This frozen hot chocolate seriously tastes and looks  like chocolate ice cream! But so healthy. (If you don’t have a Vitamix, it will be more of an Icy milk.)

hot cocoa info

More Info On Nutritional Timing:
More Info On Vega Sport Line:

Thrive Forward With Fitness: Total Body Workout


Free Workouts

At Home or At The Gym

Do you want to work out but don’t have a clue where to start? So many people want to be healthy but don’t know how. Here is a free hint.  I’ve made up a home workout session and gym session, to fit all levels and needs. If this is too boring, contact me and I’ll make up a personalized workout for you. What do you love to do? Try this beginners workout and let me know how it goes! It will challenge your balance, make your mind work, and keep you laughing as you crank out that sweat. Have fun!

Home (30 minutes)

Equipment: Jump Rope (optional)

Warm Up

1 Min Straight Kick + Reach w/Opposite Hand
3 Min Jump Rope or Jumping Jacks
1 Min Mountain Climbers

3 min Squats
3 min One-Leg Triceps-Dips
30 Sec One-Leg Jump Rope or Cross Jacks
Stacked-Feet Pushups

30 Sec Rest

12 Front Lunges, holding a weight on one side.
Do 6 on right leg, 6 on left leg.
1 Min Jump Rope or Cross Jacks
2 Min Cross Body Punches
Repeat 2x. 

x.X.x Bonus Round x.X.x

45 secs Disc Mountain Climbers, Wide
45 secs Disc In n Out’s
1 Minute 1-Leg Jump Rope
10 One-Leg Pushups
2 Minute Squat Jumps
30 Sec High Plank 2 Low Plank
Wall Sit until failure

Gym (30-45 minutes)

Equipment: Treadmill or Elliptical, Free Weights, Bench

Warm Up
2 Minutes: Jog: 4.0 speed, 3.0^ <–That symbol means incline!
5 Minutes: Jog Faster: 5.5 Speed, 5.0 ^
2 Minutes: Sprint as fast as possible, 5.5^
1 Minute: Walk, 8.0 Incline

If the treadmill is too hard or you are too heavy, do the same workout on the elliptical. Keep your hands OFF the treadmill, and ON the elliptical hand pulls!

12 Reps One-Leg Hammer Curl to Press
30 Sec Bench Triceps-Dips
12 Reps One-Leg Hammer Curl to Press

30 Sec Bench Triceps-Dips

8 Reps One-Side One-Leg Lateral Raise
30 Seconds Sumo Squats

8 Reps One-Side One-Leg Lateral Raise
30 Seconds Sumo Squats 

12 Reps One-Leg Upright Row
30 Sec Bench Push-ups, Wide Grip 

12 Reps One-Leg Upright Row

30 Sec Bench Push-ups 

x.X.x Bonus x.X.x
Hop Back on the Treadmill or Elliptical!
5 Minutes Jog
2 Minutes Run
5 Minutes Jog Uphill (5-8 incline)
2 Minutes Walk Uphill (8.0^)

When you’re doing one-side or one-leg, make sure you switch the next time you have to do it! Don’t only work one side of your body. X.x

If you have any questions about form or how to do something, feel free to comment or email me. You can always youtube a move, but there are thousands of variations of things, so I highly suggest just asking!

How often do you workout? At Home or At the Gym?

You Are Beautiful

Through our mental, physical, and life journeys, we get down on ourselves. No matter what you are doing, just know in the back of your mind:

You are enough.

You are worth it.

You are beautiful.

You are strong.

You can do it.

You need to take time to rest on your journey, find peace with your inner self, and get your mind straight. Put aside all that food noise, those body image issues, the voice that says you can’t do it, and the childhood that is holding you back. Put everything down and FOCUS on yourself. Take the 4 minutes of this song. Close your eyes. And know that you are enough. You can do anything you put your mind to. So give it some peace and quiet, settle down everything else, and find your center. Find your equilibrium. Tell all those voices to shut up, and just FOCUS.

Truth is, the best time I focus is when I’m running hard, cycling fast, pushing that heavy weight up, or pulling my body past that bar. I focus, tell myself I am strong enough, fast enough, and good enough to do this. And it carries over to every part of life.

No matter what journey(s) you are on, whether it be losing weight, learning how to eat clean, trying to have a baby, trying to start a new career, planning a big move, or just making it through the work week – Find your focus. Give yourself a break. And center your mind.

You are loved. You are worth it. You are enough.