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.


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.


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


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!


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!


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!


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!


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!


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.


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!


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?

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!


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.


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!


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 (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!


(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”


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!


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!

Dog days of summer…

How has your weekend been so far my friends? Mine has been busy busy!

Yesterday we went to a new event in town called the “Dog Days of Summer”. We will get to that but first lets start with breakfast.

My day started with some eggs and a serving of Love Crunch granola. I have seen this stuff before but we finally bought some from Costco. It is organic granola with pieces of chocolate and freeze dried red berries. I ate it with some unsweetened almond milk and it was DELICIOUS!



After breakfast I got ready to carpool with my mom and meet up with a friend at the Dog Days of Summer fair. Basically it was a fair of sorts with all kinds of vendors handing out a shit ton of free samples for dogs. Everything from dog food to leashes to tennis balls and even free samples of doggy beer and wine. Our pups had a blast and made out like bandits!


This is just some of the freebies they got. Being the crazy dog lady that I am, it made me so happy to see so many other people just as obsessed with their fur-faced children. My girls got to meet lots of new doggy friends and they were pretty pooped by the end of it.

We then made a pit stop at the Farmer’s Market on our way home. I picked up some cherries, micro-greens, local beer, and some giant doggy bones that were only $5! The girls have been gnawing away at those things since we brought them home.

I was pretty hungry by noonish and so I decided to whip up some lunch for myself. I cooked up some ground venison and sauteed it with some shredded carrots, shaved brussel sprouts, and diced mushrooms. I cooked it all in just a tiny bit of olive oil and seasoned it with garlic powder and no-salt everything seasoning. It hit the spot!


Ryan spent the day riding yesterday, so the rest of the afternoon was pretty chill. I had puppy training with our Golden Retriever Luna. She was tired yesterday so she didn’t listen as well as she normally does, but we are still making great progress. She is a very good dog, her only issue is she gets a wee-bit excited when she greets people. She gets all jumpy and starts rolling over like a crazy thing. So we are just working on it.

I spent some of the afternoon looking through some gluten-free cookbooks that one of my amazing clients let me borrow. Ryan and I are going back to paleo eating as it works best for us. Plus gluten does not agree with me at all so getting some new fresh recipe ideas is great!


The rest of the night was pretty low key. Keep your eyes open for a delicious recipe that is perfect for summertime!

YOUR TURN! Do you have any paleo or gluten free recipes that you love?

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is just around the corner (next Sunday, June 18th to be exact). Many of us are known for being last minute shoppers and never knowing what to buy dad.

So I put together a little list of some of the best gifts for all kinds of dads. From sporty dads to outdoorsy dads to techy dads. Hopefully this list will help you find that perfect gift or help bring something to mind that you think the father figure in your life will love!



All dads love music. We have a portable  bluetooth speaker and love it for in the car, working outside, etc. This one is great because it is also waterproof! Great gift for any dad!



These Bose Sport Headphones are the best set of headphones I have ever owned. They are sweat and water resistant and the sound quality is amazing. Plus they last forever and Bose has an amazing return policy if anything ever goes wrong.


  • Car Detailing


This may seem random but I can guarantee any dad who takes pride in his ride would love this as a gift. Being able to have someone fully detail your car and you get to come back to it all shiny and new. You can hire someone for this or do the work yourself!



For the outdoorsy dad this is a great gift! For hiking or camping, this lightweight hammock would be so easy to take along. Plus it is made from industrial strength material and holds up to 500lbs!


  • Plan A Day Activity With Him That He Will Love


Whether it be fishing or going for a drive or seeing a movie, quality one-on-one time is always a great gift for dad. Make sure it is something he loves to do and plan a day around him. Better yet make it a surprise and show him how much you truly appreciate him.



This is for the saucier dads out there (get it?). A make your own anything kit is such a great idea. It lets dad get out his creative side and when it is something like make your own beer or hot sauce, he will enjoy the fruits of his labor when he is done! Plus he can share with others his fun creations!



Drones are all the rage right now. And for good reason. They make so many now with live feed cameras that take fun videos and can go just about anywhere. My dad got one and loves it. It has been so cool to see some of the fly over footage he has taken. This one is a great affordable option for that techy dad in your life.


  • Something Crafty & Handmade


You can never go wrong with a handmade gift. Whether it be a bottle opener like this one, a scrapbook, some framed pictures of the kids, coupons for things to help him out with, etc. Put some thought and time into it and dad will see how much he means to you!


I hope some of these ideas helped you out or you found the perfect gift for that dad in your life! Comment below and let me know the best Father’s Day gift you have ever given or received!

Why do we compare ourselves…

Oh the age old issue. Comparing ourselves to others. Whether it be our bodies, our relationships, our income, the car we drive, the clothes we wear, etc etc etc. We are always comparing our story to someone else’s; whether we like to admit it or not.

Now this may seem like a cliche topic, but no matter how many times we may hear it, I think it is important to hear it again. Below is a picture comparison of me. On the left I am standing normal, straight on, not posing or doing anything to make the shot more flattering. On the right I am posed and twisted just right, making the booty pop, flexing my upper body slightly, and playing to my flattering angles.


Do I prefer people to see my like I am in the left photo? Of course not. We all want to show off out best angles and assets. But does that make me any less beautiful, talented, worthy, strong, funny, or caring in the left photo? Hell no!

We spend so much of our time comparing our normal angles to other peoples “good” angles, that we forget we have good angles too. But our normal angles (this can apply to body or work or life or whatever) are just as amazing. You have worked hard for that angle. Of course it is okay to be proud of your good angles, you worked damn hard for those, but don’t forget that even the happiest or best looking people have normal angles too.

Self love is hard. We have to work at it. Our relationship with ourselves is just as important as our relationship with others. It takes work. It takes time. It takes love and nurturing and trust and respect. There are gonna be bad days. We are all going to look at some aspect of our lives at time and think, “but why can’t it be like this instead”? THAT IS OKAY! The biggest thing to remember is don’t let that mindset be your main one. Let those thoughts come and then let them go. Don’t dwell on it or overthink it. Accept it and the let it pass.

Sam (7)

So be weird. Be crazy. Be silly and fashionable and strong and hippie and tomboy and whatever the hell you want to be. But whatever you choose to be, be a good one.

Now go enjoy your Tuesday! And remember to love yourself at your normal angles and your good angles!