Where have I been…

Hey everyone!

So I went on a bit of a hiatus. I apologize about that. But I am back! And it feels good to be chatting with you all again.

I have been busy working and enjoying the summertime sunshine. We have been taking our puppy dogs down to the river as much as possible and they absolutely love it. Luna has FINALLY started to swim. Not very well mind you, but she is swimming.

IMG_0596IMG_0618IMG_0657

Also, look at this adorable photo of Ryan and Cocomo. She tends to be pretty vocal and this is him giving her a talking to about being a little more polite.

IMG_0594.JPG

Enjoy some of these adorable photos of these puppies of mine and I will have a fun post for you tomorrow!

IMG_0580IMG_0591IMG_0616IMG_0624IMG_0671IMG_0676IMG_0691IMG_0723

Most Common Excuses You Hear As A Personal Trainer…

As someone who has been working out & working in the fitness industry for about 10 years now I have heard all sorts of excuses about why people aren’t being healthy. The thing is, all of these excuses have a solution. So today I wanted to share with you the most common excuses we as personal trainers hear on a regular basis and what the solution is to that excuse.

Now there are of course exceptions to every situation, but that is exactly what they are. Exceptions. Few and far between. If we stopped making excuses and spent as much time and effort on our health as we do on other things in our lives, we would all feel so much better physically and mentally!

IMG_0631

EXCUSE: I just don’t have time to workout!

SOLUTION: First off, this is just not true. Yes some of us are busier than others, but we all have the same amount of time in a day. There is no reason why you can’t carve out an hour or even just thirty minutes at least twice a week. You need to make it a priority. You know that hour you sit watching TV every day? Or that 30 minutes you spend before you get ready in the morning just scrolling social media? Use that time more wisely and get in a good sweat session. Your body will thank you!

IMG_0868.jpg

EXCUSE: I don’t want big muscles!

SOLUTION: I love this one. You usually hear this come from women but occasionally men will say this too. Women have a very hard time building big muscles, we just don’t have the hormonal makeup in order to put on giant muscles. The women that appear to have bigger muscles usually just have a lower body fat percentage and therefore their muscles are easier to see and more defined. I have been lifting heavy for several years trying to put on muscle and let me tell you ladies, it is HARD. So no worries there. Lifting weights will help you get that “toned” look most women crave!

IMG_0579

EXCUSE: I’m just too tired.

SOLUTION: I hear this a lot. And trust me, we have all been there. But the great thing about exercise is that it releases a hormone in the brain called dopamine which improves mood, reduces fatigue, and boosts energy! With regular exercise you will start to notice better sleep, more energy throughout the day, and an overall better mood. With exercise your body is able to more efficiently turn what you eat into fuel and therefore gives you that energy boost you need!

IMG_0660

EXCUSE: I need to get in shape before I get a personal trainer.

SOLUTION: Wait……what? I hear this so often it’s crazy. And the majority of the time these people are walking on the treadmill for 30-45 minutes 3 days a week and that’s it. First off, that is not going to get you in shape at all. Secondly, we are here to help you get in shape. I think most people are afraid of trainers because of what they see on TV and they think we are going to make them do all kinds of things they aren’t capable of. That is the farthest thing from the truth. Trainers are there to help create an exercise program fit to your current abilities. Don’t be afraid of us, we don’t bite I promise!

IMG_0627.jpg

EXCUSE: I have too many injuries or health issues.

SOLUTION: This is one of my favorites. Guess what? At the gym I work at we have people who are paralyzed from the waist down, people missing limbs, people with terminal illnesses, people with canes and wheelchairs, people with casts on, and so on so forth. The truth is, no matter what your limitations are, there is always a way to work around them and find an exercise program that will work for you. Nothing is impossible. And if you have injuries or health issues, 99% of the time keeping a regular exercise program of some sort will help your body in so many ways.

IMG_0560.jpg

EXCUSE: My schedule is irregular and I just can’t make it in enough.

SOLUTION: The best part about working out is that it doesn’t have to be at a gym. Buy some resistance bands and some dumbbells and you have yourself a home gym. Add in a cardio machine of some sort and a stability ball and you can do all your workouts from home if that is what works for you. So many people have the misconception in their minds that to be a good workout it has to be at a gym. And that is so far from the truth. If you have a small open space and enough motivation, you can do a full killer workout with just your body weight!

IMG_0680.jpg

I know that sometimes it is hard to workout. Sometimes it is scary to try new things. Sometimes we just don’t feel up to it, and that is totally okay. What is not okay is always finding excuses to keep putting your physical fitness on the back burner. There are a countless number of proven benefits to having a regular exercise regimen.

Remember that it is okay to have off days, it is okay to have a lack of motivation, it is okay to “just not feel like it”. But keep your health a priority!

YOUR TURN: What is the craziest excuse you have ever heard for not working out?

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Taters

I am not one for spicy things. No, seriously. I am a total wimp with spicy stuff. If I put too much pepper on something sometimes I start to sweat. Cute, I know.

With that being said, I LOVE the taste of spicy food. It adds so much flavor. So I wanted to find a way to get that amazing taste without burning all the taste buds off my tongue. And by golly I did it. This buffalo chicken has all the flavor of spicy buffalo without the heat, and that makes me one happy girl. Plus it is really simple to make, and that also makes be a very happy girl.

IMG_0472.JPG

You can get the “hard” part of this done before you head off to work, turn on the crockpot, and have the “easy” stuff left to do when you return. This is a delicious and flavorful recipe that could be mixed up in so many ways!

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Taters

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1/2C buffalo wing sauce (I used Franks)
  • 1/4C barbecue sauce
  • 2 TBS coconut oil
  • 2 TBS minced garlic
  • 1/4C water
  • dash of sea salt
  • 4 sweet potatoes

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place chicken in the bottom of the crockpot. Place all other ingredients, besides sweet potatoes, into a bowl and microwave for 20-30 seconds or until coconut oil is melted. Pour over chicken.
  2. Leave crockpot on low for 6 hours or until chicken is cooked enough to shred.
  3. 45 minutes before chicken is done, poke several holes in each sweet potato and bake in the oven at 400 degrees. Or you can cook in the microwave 10 minutes before chicken is ready by poking a few holes in each potato, wrapping them in a moist paper towel, and microwaving on high for 8-10 minutes or until fully cooked.
  4. Shred the chicken into desired sized pieces. Remove potatoes from oven and slice lengthwise. Top with buffalo chicken mixture.
  5. **Optional to top with sour cream and chives.
  6. ENJOY!

IMG_0499

IMG_0503

How I Met My Other Half…

This is the question that all couples hear, “how did you two meet?”. I know that some people feel annoyed by this, but I never do. It makes me smile to think about it. I really truly love this man and we have been together almost 6 years, so it is nice to reminisce about when we first met!

r5

Ok so first a little bit of backstory. I first started going to the chiropractor when I was 15 because I hurt my hip in volleyball. From then until I was 18 I would occasionally go in but only when I really needed (like after I got rear ended…ugh). I knew one of the guys that worked there but I never really paid attention to anyone else (is that totally terrible of me)?

So my senior year in high school I was in the top 10 to become Apple Blossom Royalty. Thank goodness I wasn’t chosen, but we can talk about that later. So about a week or so before the big pageant I went in to get adjusted and chatted with everyone, then took off like usual.

Fast forward 6 months and I am working at a local outdoor goods store. It is a Saturday in the middle of August and it is busy. People are in buying inner tubes and camping gear and fishing poles and blah blah blah. I work up at the cash register so I am ringing people through.

1a.jpg

Next person steps up and it is this SUPER freaking hott guy and his friend. They were buying a couple of tubes to go float the river. He looks at me for a second and goes, “your name is Samantha right?”. UMMMMMMM….you know me!?!?! I do that thing where I pretend to recognize him too, “yeah it is how are you doing?!?”. We chat while I ring him up and I have no clue who this guy is. Like not even a tiny idea. I know, I’m a jerk.

I tell him his total and he hands me his credit card. SCORE! I peek at his name while I swipe his card. Ryan Cox. Still no freaking clue! Ugh! And I can’t just ask him how I know him cause he is ridiculously good looking and that would be embarrassing. So he says, “well have a good day see you around” and takes off. I spent the rest of my shift searching the archives in my head to figure out how I knew this guy!

r.jpg

So I decide to start asking around. Everywhere. I asked every person I knew, “Do you know anybody named Ryan Cox?”. Nothing. Not one single hit. I was getting discouraged because I knew that if I wanted to figure this out I was pretty much left with only one option. Cyber stalking. That’s right, it was time for Facebook.

I logged onto Facebook that night and searched his name. BOOM. Found him. And hot damn, his profile picture just solidified how good looking he was. I looked to see where he listed his job as cause maybe that would help. Forest Service. Well that sure doesn’t help me. I looked through the few pictures I could see on his profile. NOTHING. This guy was literally no help to me. At this point, I knew what I had to do.

I private messaged him. I did it guys. I sent him a message with these exact words, “Hey it’s Samantha from Hooked On Toys. I am sorry if this seems weird or like I am jerk but how in the world do I know you. I cannot figure it out!”. I was so nervous when I sent that message, not really expecting much back. *DING*. He replied. Holy shit he replied. Below is our following conversation.

Ryan.png

Ryan (1)Ryan (2)

This boy. From the start he wasn’t great at flirting and still isn’t. And I love him even more for it.

So he held true to his word. Texted my withing in a few minutes and I kept dropping HARD hints that I wanted to maybe go out on a date. “We should hang out soon”. His answer? “Sure”. So I tried again, “You free anytime this week?”. Again, “I think so”. Oh for goodness sake boy. Finally, “Well you let me know when you are free and we could do something”. Thank goodness that seemed to work since he replied, “How about Wednesday after work? We could go to dinner”. I said yes of course, and the rest is history! It was such a fun time and I am so glad I decided to “stalk” him ha!

r6

(Look at those little babies!) He was 21 and I was 18 when we started dating. Now he is 27 and I am 24 and I have loved growing up with him. I plan to spend many more years learning and growing and adventuring with this wonderful man.

Here’s to us!

 

YOUR TURN! How did you and your significant other meet?

Guest Post: Micaiah from Beyond The Blonde

I am so excited to share my first guest post with you! Today our featured guest will be Micaiah McMcreary from “Beyond The Blonde” (you can check out her amazing blog here). We will talk about how she got started with her blog, where she gets inspiration for her amazing fashion sense, and what her favorite workout clothing is!

So without further ado, please welcome our guest!

 

Micaiah McMcreary from “Beyond The Blonde”

mm.png

First off tell us a little bit about yourself? What you do, your hobbies, etc.

Hi! My name is Micaiah McCreary. I am 24 years old and am a real estate agent. I have a Bachelors Degree in Community Health from Eastern Washington University (go Eags!) I am fortunate enough to work alongside my sweet hubby, Jeremy, and we currently live in Quincy, WA. We also have a husky/malamute named Kunu. Some of my favorite hobbies include playing any sport really, going to the lake, making DIY crafts, baking, reading, and just hanging out with family and friends!

 

What made you want to start “Beyond The Blonde”? What is your blog about?

I love to journal but have a hard time remembering to do so. Starting a blog has made me more accountable with documenting any fun events/trips/memories that I have had. I’ve also been following several blogs, so I kind of got inspired by them! Beyond The Blonde is basically my creative platform where I can share and talk about anything I’d like to. Whether that be a new recipe I found, an outift, or just whatever is on my mind. The blog is for myself to, down the road, look back on and be able to relive things that were going on in my life and things I was interested in. But it is also a way for those to just kind of follow my life and what I am up to. I have family who lives all over so its nice being able to share things that are going on in my life with them.

My blog mainly is focused on lifestyle and fashion. The lifestyle part is just me sharing what I’m up to and the things I am doing. I’ve been a fashion lover since day one, so I have a blast sharing outfits and new looks on the blog. My main goal with starting this blog was to be absolutely transparent. I wanted those who knew me to read what I am writing and be able to say “yeah, I can definitely hear Micaiah say that.” 🙂 The way I came up with the name “Beyond The Blonde” was that yes, I may be sharing fashion looks and talk about material things every now and then, but my blog is so much more than that. I wanted my blog to be a place where I can share thoughts and ideas that are meaningful and have a purpose. Basically, there is more to my blog and myself than being blonde 😉

 

You have such amazing fashion sense…where do you get your inspiration?

You are too sweet! I’ve always loooooooved clothes. I don’t know what it is but I just love them. Even clothes I don’t wear anymore but have memories with I don’t give way haha! I just store them in tubs! But I get my inspiration mainly from Pinterest. Whether it be in magazines, on Instagram or just random people on the street. I love almost EVERY quote by Audrey Hepburn, and when she says she believes in overdressing that is ME! I’m not afraid to try a new trend or something I think looks good. I am a clothes lover and they are just something that make me feel happy and beautiful 🙂

 

Do you have any fashion tips for us not-so-fashionable on how we can improve our closets?

I would say find whatever makes you feel most yourself and comfortable and roll with it! If you are comfortable trying new styles, then go for it! The great thing about fashion is there really isn’t any wrong or right to it. It’s however you make it. But if you would like to step up your game a bit, get out of your comfort zone. Try things on you normally wouldn’t, online “window-shop” to get ideas, or go on Pinterest. Pinterest is the answer to all questions 😉 I would also recommend buying quality over quantity. Don’t get me wrong, Old Navy, Target & Forever 21 are some of my go-to spots, but it’s good to throw in some higher quality pieces. You never know when you might need them, and to tell you the truth, they will just feel better and will probably become your new favorites!

 

You seem like you live a pretty healthy lifestyle…do you have a favorite gym clothing brand?

I am IN LOVE with everything Old Navy has come out with. The quality of their items are great, and everything is so cute! I just bought a pair of floral running shorts and they are amazing! I also am a sucker for anything Nike. I have yet to buy anything from Lululemon, mainly because what I buy from Old Navy and Nike work excellent for me, but it is on my bucket list to own a pair of their yoga pants!

m.png

I want to thank Micaiah for being my first guest here! If you want to follow a fun, happy, upbeat, and adorable lifestyle blog go check her out at www.beyond-the-blonde.com!

Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos

It’s Tuesday, so I figured it only fitting to post a recipe for tacos. Taco Tuesday ya’ll! Maybe this should become a weekly thing. But are there enough taco recipes out there to make it last….shit. Well don’t count on tacos every Tuesday but I will do my best!

Ok back to the recipe. I love my slow cooker guys. Like seriously it is the best invention for the kitchen. Or at least close. You throw stuff into it, turn it on, and then you can forget about it for hours until you’re ready to devour whatever deliciousness you tossed in there. How cool is that?

Today I bring you a super simple and delicious carnitas tacos recipes that utilizes that wonderful slow cooker. Now I don’t know about you, but tacos are always a win in my book. And these bad boys turned out so delicious. I love carnitas when they are juicy and tender on the inside with a nice crunch on the outside. MMMMHHMMM!! That’s what I’m talking about. Ok now I am hungry for tacos again damnit.

Enough of my rambling. Check out the recipe below and let me know if (I mean when) you try them out!

IMG_0441.JPG

Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos with Pepper Salsa

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium to large pork shoulder bone-out
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 large tomato
  • Corn tortillas
  • Cilantro
  • Limes (1 for juice and extra for topping tacos)
  • Olive oil
  • Seasonings of choice (I used garlic, cumin, sea salt, onion powder)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Rub pork shoulder with olive oil, salt, and garlic. Place in slow cooker, fat cap up, and turn on low for 8 hours or high for 6 hours.
  2. When shoulder is done cooking, dice up peppers and tomato. Toss together in bowl with juice of one lime, salt, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder. Put in the fridge to keep cool until ready.
  3. Shred pork shoulder into desired sized pieces. Place pieces in large pan with a drizzle of olive oil and cook on the stove top for 4-5 minutes, tossing regularly, or until pieces are browned on the outside.
  4. Heat up corn tortillas. Place carnitas inside tortillas and top with salsa.
  5. ENJOY!

IMG_0443.JPG

My Monday Faves #2

I cannot believe the weekend is over already. Doesn’t it always seem to go by so fast? But I am trying to embrace every day and not fret over the weekends. Every day is another chance to get after our goals!

So without further ado, lets get into today’s post. Last week I posted the first “Monday Faves” post. So today we are rounding up number two. Below you will see some of my favorite things from this last week. Feel free to share your weekly faves in the comments below!

 

IMG_0444.JPG

We first tried this coffee about 2-3 years ago. We ran out recently but thankfully last month I was able to make a trip to Trader Joe’s and pick some up and I am so glad it is back in my life. It is one of my favorite coffee’s ever! Love this stuff!

 

IMG_0449.JPG

This stuff is amazing you guys. I remember in high school I would go to Safeway in the mornings a lot and pick up an everything bagel. I loved those damn things. And this right here, is the real deal. You put this on anything and whaaaaaboooommmm, it tastes just like an everything bagel. I have used it on everything from toast to chicken and even my eggs. You can’t go wrong with this!

 

  • Close Up Photography

Long Beach May 2017 (27).JPG

Ever since I got my camera (Canon Rebel t3i) a few months ago, I have slowly been learning more and more each day. I still have a long ways to go and so much more to learn, but I am really enjoying close up micro photos. Catching the tiniest details in a photo (like the little fuzzies on these tiny flowers) is a lot of fun to me and I can’t wait to continue to learn more.

 

  • Homemade Specialty Doggy Treats

Food (7).JPG

My pups are my kids and I spoil them like it. After discovering an adorable IG page of a lady who makes special homemade treats for her dog each day (click here to check out her IG page), I decided to try my hand at it. These are just coconut flour with water kneaded to make a dough. Then rolled in unsweetened coconut flakes. And finally topped with a sliced up strawberry. It was fun and the fur-faces loved them!

 

hjkhjkhjkhjk.png

Ok this may seem silly, but I know many of us went through some sort of emo stage in our early middle school and/or junior high years. I know I sure did. And during that time I was obsessed with bands like MCR, Blink-182, Cute Is What We Aim For, Breaking Benjamin, etc etc etc. I recently discovered this playlist on Spotify and it brings back all the feels and music memories! I have spend so much time listening to the various artists and hearing songs I haven’t heard in forever! #flaskbackeveryday

 

Today will be just a normal Monday. A nice and early workout with Ryan, some chores and work around home, then off to the gym to train/coach for a few hours, back home for dinner, and then a relaxed evening. Remember Monday’s are just as good as any other day to chase your dreams and make your goals and reality!

 

YOUR TURN! What things have been your fave the last week?