Instagram Challenge......

Happy Monday my peeps! So I have some fun news for you! I am loving Instagram lately, it makes sharing so easy and its fast to see what everyone else is up to. Well, myself and some pretty awesome bloggers are teaming up and hosting the #HeatItUp Instagram Photo Challenge which begins April 1st and lasts all month!

How do you get involved? It's super easy! First of all follow all of my fellow #hotmessexpress Team mates:

Abby @backatsquare0
Debi from @girslrunthe901
Dani from @irisheyes1982
Cecilia from @mommiesrun
Sarah from @momonempty  and
Mindy from @roadrunnergirl

Then everyday in April take a picture that relates to each number on the list. For instance on April 1st take a picture of you sweating, your sweaty kids or a hot sweaty guy (haha!) and share it on Instagram. Make sure to use the #heatitup hashtag and it would be super cool to tag us if you want!!

This is a fun way to get involved on Instagram and get to know other great people!

We are very excited to be hosting this and can't wait to see everyone's pictures and get to know some new IG users! Please feel free to share this with all of your IG friends and family!

Have a great week!


Out of my comfort zones....

I sometimes tend to be a creature of habit and honestly I'm fine with that, but sometimes I know we need to shake things up a little to get results. I have been in a funk lately and I am not quite sure why. I suspect the winter weather has a lot to do with it and also I tend to hyper focus on things, currently my focus has been on work. Well sometimes that leads to burn out, so for sake of my sanity, I decided to shake things up a little.

I love running, but even that can get a little "habitual" sometimes so I opted to add in new activities, and now I get to bore you with them, lol! I for one hate to be caught taking pictures so I haven't been brave enough to snap any during Barre class, that will come, in time! So today we'll discuss swimming.

"Nuun Energy"

My hubby and I joined the North Baldwin Wellness Center, he is the primary member since he works in Bay Minette. I depend mostly on the YMCA for my gym access, but I do go to the Wellness Center to swim!

"North Baldwin Wellness Center"

I have taken advantage of some time off of work and also time waiting for my youngest to finish ball practice to run up the road and get some laps done. It is a nice pool and generally it is pretty empty. Once upon a time, I use to be on a swim team so I thought I would pick this up like it was yesterday, only it wasn't just yesterday. In the years since I did swim like a fish I have gotten older, I smoked for many years and I developed an anxious fear of the water. 

Man, what's a girl to do? I have no set goal with this swimming, I just want to shake it up and trim me up, lol! I am working on my form and trying to get my left shoulder to act right. All in all I have the form down pat, I just freak out with the breathing, and I may  be trying to go to fast.

those goggles leave crazy indents under my eyes

So far I have built up to around 18-25 laps each session which is 1/2 mile and more. 35 laps = a mile. My main stroke is freestyle and I am throwing some Breast stroke and back stroke in there to break it up. I had to go get a swim cap the other day because my hair is so thick and kept getting in my way, I figured it would help with my breathing, plus it makes me look legit!

Any tips for the anxiety and breathing? I would love to hear them. For now, its just me and this lane and I am focusing on getting my anxiety under control and just breathing. After that I will work on distance and speed. 

I do keep my Nuun nearby and the Energy version is really helping to get me moving, plus it tastes way better than that pool water, I hope its clean!! I will say it is nice to add something else in to my fitness routine, I notice it makes me want to run more and faster!

QOTD:  What do you do to shake it up? Does water freak you out??


Corporate Wellness programs.........

Hi all! I'm home today from work, taking some personal days to unwind and get some appointments out of the way. I wanted to share something that I have going on at work that I think is pretty cool. I work for a publically traded Corporation in Mobile, we are 1 of maybe 3 that are located here. Well as part of our compensation packages we receive quite a few "perks" that don't show up as $$'s in our pay check.

Being  older and wiser and having years of employment under my belt I have learned to appreciate all of these things. Also, our annual meetings of them telling us just how much they pay for outside of the salary helps to keep us being thankful as well. I wanted to tell you about our newest benefit.

We have started a Corporate Wellness program, and I was fortunate enough to get in on the Committee that handles this program. As part of the kick off we have teamed up with the local Hospital system and they came out to our offices to administer Biometric Screenings....... so I of course took my cell phone with me and my friend to snap some pictures.

I am 35 and to date I cannot recall ever being told about my Cholosterol levels or Glucose levels. I've always secretly worried a little bit about them, but then I figured if there was an issue, I would have been notified. But have any of my doctors ever checked my levels? I wasn't sure. Now at the expense of my company, I am at peace knowing that everything is A-okay!

We started out by checking my weight, thank goodness I made my appointment for first thing in the morning. Next we moved on to the blood test, which required an easy finger stick! Seriously.... I would rather you go for my arm, my poor little fingers hate that "stick"

As we waited for the results to print out, we talked a little and I discovered that my nurse ran the McGuire's 5K Prediction run the weekend before, and she had a stress fracture on her foot from the race. Poor thing! But now we had something to talk about because we all know I love to talk about running. While we talked she measured my waist and my hips, I think she was having a hard time finding the widest part of my hips, lol! 

After just a few minutes her machine printed out my results. All in all it took about 5 minutes and all of my unanswered questions were about to be addressed.

My weight is on here, and that's cool, I'm an open book. I have been eating like crap lately and it's showing, I have gained about 15 pounds since Thanksgiving. Now I have something to work towards.

My blood pressure was 128/78, the top number is a tad high, but I take ADHD medicine daily so that easily explains the little bit of increase that you see there. My waist to hip ratio is .75 which is excellent, they noted that women should be < .81, so I passed that. My BMI is 23.4 and it should be under 24.9. I will get this number lower, it is rather high!

Total Cholesterol came in at 169 mg and should be under 200 mg. HDL levels are 50 mg which is excellent and over the 40 mg that the pamphlet listed. My triglycerides came in at 81 mg which is well under the 150 mg that are "desirable". My LDL or "bad" cholesterol level is 103 which is also under the 130 mg level. Lastly my glucose levels came in at 89 mg and for me, I was taking a non-fasting test so the desired level would be anything under 140 mg.

So all of my levels are excellent and I am going to live to see another day!! As part of our program, I have access to an online community and all of my results will be uploaded and compared to all of the questions I answered when signing up. I can use these tools to help accomplish my goals.

At the end of the month we are having a health fair at our office, I am super stoked because I heard they are bringing a high tech scale that will measure my body fat and many other things. I plan to use all of this information to help establish a plan to lean up and use to fine tune my training!

So now at 35, I am aware of my biometric levels and I will continue to work towards improving my health. I am super thankful to my company for providing all of this free of charge!!

QOTD:  Do you dread the finger stick?? Does your company offer any cool "perks"? I am still working on getting a napping room!


Some of my recent races....

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! I am home today and need to get ready to go run some errands and take kids to Orthodontist appointments and later my daughter and I both have appointments to go to. Needless to day, I am not resting today, but that's okay.

I ran a local 10K race this weekend and wanted to tell you about it when I realized I never posted about my St. Patrick's Day runs from the past weekend, so I will share both races with you. I don't run a lot of local races, and realized that I really need to, they are a lot of fun and cheaper!

So last weekend I headed over to Pensacola to run the McGuire's 5k Prediction race. This is a huge party  race, I think there were 17,000 people there. And for a 5k, that doesn't give you anytime to spread out. You pretty much trip over other runners the whole route. I don't run this race, I pretty much walk/run. It's more about the people watching and after party.

The costume's are awesome at this race, I am a people watcher so this race is a great experience. I also love the Bag Pipe band that they have march through the crowd. 

I had a nice even number.... I headed over with my friend and co-worker Melanie and we met up with Brandy and her husband John. The race was fun, it got a little hot so we were so happy when we got to the after party and was able to get the Irish Wake drinks. I don't recall what all they use to make these drinks but they are strong and so good!

They also have the local Army soldiers participating in the race. They always start at the tail end of the race and this year I was able to catch them on video at the finish line, it was amazing!

Then we moved on to the after party!

We enjoyed the Wakes and the Stew. We actually were able to hang out this year, and the crowd was a lot easier to make our way through so we were able to enjoy the music and the festivities.

I don't recall my race time, but it wasn't great, however, the after party was a hit!

The next day I went with my husband and his friend to another local race and I cheered them on while they ran. Joby did really well at his 3rd 5k. He even placed third in his age group!

This past Saturday I ran the Spring Fever Chase 10K in Fairhope, Alabama. I haven't ran this run in a few years. Once I realized I would be out of town for the Azalea Trail Run I knew I needed to add in a race and was happy to find the Spring Fever Chase. My running buddy Mindy was running it so I was stoked!

Going in to this race my legs were killing me. Joby and I have really picked up our training this past week and my legs were yelling at me. I have added in swimming, Barre class and Pilates. On top of that my runs have been regular this past week so I was tired. I wasn't expecting a great race, but I wanted to do  it anyway.

I always love their shirts and I was super excited to be hydrating with the new Nuun energy tablets. Let me just say I love them and I highly recommend you try them out!

Mindy and I before the race started, I love my new Oiselle shirt and I was able to wear one of the Sparkle Skirts that I won! I was feeling very springy for this race. 

apparently Larry loves Ryan too!?!?

I do have to say, the residents went all out with some really good signs, I love Ryan Gosling! Well done Fairhopians, well done! My time wasn't the greatest but considering my calf strain, I feel okay about the race. Yesterday I spent my day watching TV and icing my calf. It feels a lot better today so I think a lazy day was just what I needed! I have to remember to add this race to my list again next year!

While I am taking some time off from Half Marathons and Fulls, I am going to add in more local races, they will fit better in to my studying schedule. I better get ready I have to go pick up the teens and get them to the Orthodontist. I hope everyone has a great Monday and St. Patty's Day! 

QOTD:  What are some of your favorite local races? Did you run a St. Patrick's Day themed run this year??


Kid approved recipe....

I am so thankful that I have this day off of work. We finally filed our Annual Report Form 10K with the SEC yesterday and now I get to take 2 days off work and next Friday, SCORE!!

This means I now have some free time to catch up on some blog posts, the first of which is a recipe. It's frustrating in our home, I work a lot and the kids are in never ending sports, so we aren't home a lot. When I am home and cook, I usually get met with kids who hate it or refuse to eat it. It's so frustrating! 

Our family is really focusing on getting healthy now and trying to eat better as well as work out. so I was surfing Pinterest and found a recipe that I thought I would try and hoped the kids would approve. I got met with 4 happy kids who loved it and begged for it to make the weekly menu, so I knew i had to share. Its an easy crock-pot meal that is a light and healthier option.

Chicken Caesar Sandwich Recipe
Servings ~ 8 sandwiches


4 Chicken Breasts
1 Cup Water
1 Bottle Caesar Salad Dressing
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
Dried Parsley
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Romaine lettuce
Wheat buns, pita pockets, tortillas or Caesar salad


In the morning, place the chicken and water in the crock pot, cook on low all day while you work and run errands.

When you get home, drain the liquid, shred the meat and add the Salt, Pepper, Parmesan, Parsley (I didn't measure this, I just sprinkled it until there was "a covering" over the chicken). And add 1/2 Bottle of Caesar Salad dressing, mix it all up and let it warm up in the crock pot with the lid on. 

If you need to add more dressing, do because you want it a little creamy. After its warmed up, serve on a bun with some Romaine lettuce.

You can serve this with some fruit and chips, my kids loved it! We have had it a second time and I ate it on the lettuce with a side of melon, it was great!


QOTD:  Do you have picky eaters at home? How do you cope, lol??


Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash

It's not very often that I share recipes on my blog but I think this one deserves it's own post. I have been dying for some Buffalo Chicken dip, but now that Joby and I are trying to be healthy those cravings are not going to be filled. I was on Pinterest looking for some ideas for dinner when I came across one for Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash. 

After reading through the post, I decided I could lighten it up and hopefully still end up with a tasty meal. It made enough for Joby and I to eat dinner and have enough for lunch tomorrow. Let's just say it was delish!

The ingredients are all listed below in a screen shot from My Fitness Pal! It was really a very easy recipe. First I started by cutting 2 Squash and de-seeding them. After a light brushing with olive oil I placed them face down on a cookie sheet and baked them for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. You can cook them faster in a microwave, I just don't like to.

While the squash roasted, I boiled 5 chicken breast tenderloins on the stove. Once done, I drained the pot and shredded the meat. 

After 40 minutes I shredded the squash with a fork and put it all into a mixing bowl. To that I added:

1 Cup of Daisy 2% Cottage Cheese
1/2 Cup of Franks Red Hot Sauce
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch packet
Shredded Chicken Breast tenderloins

I mixed it all up really good and then scooped the mixture equally among the 4 empty squash shells.

These filled squash were put back into my 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes before I sprinkled some shredded cheddar cheese on top. They went back into the oven for another 5 minutes to get everything bubbly and melted!

This made for a really satisfying and healthier version of Buffalo Chicken dip. Joby and I were both only able to eat half of our squash. I am super stoked that tomorrow I have my lunch already planned and I know it's going to be really tasty!

According to the picture below each 1/2 of the squash comes in at a little under 500 calories each. I paired mine with a Cherry Limeade Nuun and for dessert I will be enjoying a Quest Nutrition Bar with some yogurt. All in all, this is a much healthier option for myself and Joby to enjoy!

QOTD:  What is your favorite way to use Spaghetti Squash??


Olympians giving back.....

This post was created in partnership with Citi®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I'm home today relaxing enjoying this rainy Sunday and watching movies. I was asked to participate in Citi's Every Step of the Way campaign and I have spent some time learning about all of the athlete's and their program that they support. 

I was really touched by Evan Lysacek's story and program. Evan did not compete in Sochi because he is healing from a torn labrum in his left hip. He had hopes to compete but had to put those hopes aside after his doctors warned him that he could face permanent damage if he kept training. So instead of competing he was in Sochi working with many companies including the Today Show as an analyst, and he was busy promoting Citi's Every Step of the Way program.

The program that Evan is supporting is Figure Skating Harlem. I visited their website and was blown away by their mission and vision. FSH wants to give girls in Harlem who would not otherwise have this opportunity the ability to train in figure skating. Through the process they provide the girls with education and fitness programs that promote academic success, physical health and emotional well being. They strive to empower these girls to achieve their dreams and become a powerful leader.

I find Evan inspiring because even though he was injured and unable to compete in Sochi he still made the trip and worked with his sponsors to promote the Olympics and support his teammates. While I am by no means anywhere near his level of being an athlete, I can relate. There are times when we all have to take time off and are unable to compete. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves we should be there to support others and help to lift them up. I can only imagine how devastating it was to learn that he would not be competing but he was able to inspire others through his participation. 

I was so impressed with Figure Skating Harlem. There are so many children in this world that live in poverty, who aren't able to participate in organized sports and who are lacking in the support system at home. Programs like FHS give these kids a way to learn a sport, thrive in their education and give back to their communities. All too often people give up on these kids when what they really need is someone to believe in them and give them an opportunity to have a better life. 

FHS teaches these girls to work hard and to be accountable for their life and actions. Each skater has to sign a skaters contract. Academics always come first and they are required to maintain a B+ average. Once they hit the ice they have to work hard and spend hours training. They earn their opportunities to advance and get to join the team. All of these are great life skills that will make these girls better citizens, students and athletes.

Let me tell you a little bit about the Citi Every Step of the Way program. Citi has teamed up with 9 athletes who support different programs or para-athletes. Through this program, we can help determine where Citi's $500,000 that was donated to the U.S. Olympic Committee will be allocated. I encourage you to visit their website to learn more about the other 8 athletes and their programs of choice. 

QOTD:  Did you watch the olympics? what was your favorite moment? Did you check out any of the Citi athlete's? What athlete/program do you relate to the most? 

I would love to hear from you! Have a great Sunday!!