Month: November 2017

I can hardly believe the holiday season is just around the corner–how did it get here so quickly?!?

If you are like me, you struggle to come up with gifts for people, and the struggle is especially real for those who seem to have everything. At that point, it’s a matter of figuring out what they like or want as opposed to what they need. I thought I’d provide some gift ideas for the fitness enthusiast in your life, all of which are under 50.00. These are things I’ve used and been happy with and in many cases, think the price to value ratio is on point (meaning I have had a good experience with the purchase and it’s lasted me a while or given me tremendous value).

In full disclosure, the links to Amazon are all associate links. You don’t have to purchase through me; I only provide the link so you’ll know the exact product I am referring to and hopefully it’s easier (and quicker) to click a link rather than open Amazon and hit their search bar.


For anyone looking to eat more home cooked food in 2018 (and hopefully every year thereafter, wink wink), I’ve come across 2 sources that I think are so well done and so well thought out that I’d be crazy to not recommend them for anyone looking to add some variety (and simplicity) to their meals. Knowing I have something good to eat at home or packed in my meal bag makes it so much easier to skip eating out and eating something that isn’t prepared healthfully or made with fresh, wholesome ingredients.

  • Ready or Not, from Michelle Tam and Henry Fong 

Michelle Tam, of Nom Nom Paleo fame, recently put a cookbook out that is not only BEAUTIFUL, it is comprehensive in it’s display. She has some outstanding recipes that are easy for an intermediate level cook like myself, but there are plenty of recipes appropriate for any level cook. This is one of the best cookbooks I own and one thing I *really* appreciate is the inclusion of recipes for using an instant pot. The book is broken into multiple sections: Get Set! (mastering some basics and having some things prepared ahead of time for when you’re short on time; Ready! (recipes that can be made ahead of time and are excellent for meal prep/planning); Kinda Ready! (good for those hectic work days and you have pantry staples on hand or leftovers you want to repurpose); Not Ready! (quick meals that don’t require tons of effort or pre-made ingredients); Beyond Ready! (4 weeks of dinner plans).

Favorite recipes so far: Slow Cooker Kabocha +Ginger Pork; Pressure Cooker Kalua Pig (this is a popular one for me); Bangin’ Baby Back Ribs; Roasted Carrots w Ginger Sesame Sauce; and Choose Your Own Adventure Egg Muffins.

Purchase here: Ready or Not!: 150+ Make-Ahead, Make-Over, and Make-Now Recipes by Nom Nom Paleo

  • Practical Paleo, 2nd Edition, from Diane Sanfilippo

Diane Sanfilippo, of Practical Paleo and Balanced Bites, also has a few cookbooks out but the one I have is the updated and expanded version of Practical Paleo. I’m not a strict Paleo follower, but I use the lifestyle as a guide in my approach to eating. What attracted me to this book is that it’s almost half nutrition/wellness book (with excellent graphics) and half recipe book. If you’re looking for information on getting started with Paleo; clearing up carb confusion; autoimmunity; balancing blood sugar; managing stress; and coming up with meal plans addressing those issues, this is the book for you. Diane’s recipes are also easy to follow, well laid out and they are ones you’ll enjoy using over and over again.

Purchase here: Practical Paleo, 2nd Edition (Updated and Expanded): A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle


Back in September, I saw TreadBands at a race expo and thought it was brilliant to leave out the elastic and make it a tie back. I’ve got some headbands I really like but am sad the elastic hasn’t lasted very long on them. With a tie back, you never have to worry about that! I have one in charcoal heather, but with the sales they frequently have, I know I’ll be adding others in the future. Subscribe to their email to catch their sales! I really do love my headband because of the tie back. 🙂

Check them out here: TreadBands


Passion Planner isn’t just *any* planner, this is an awesome tool to mind map; dream; schedule; plan; reflect and list out what you’re grateful for. I know there are other planners out there, but really, this one has been the best fit for me in planning out my training business and keeping my life in order. I write small, so last year I purchased the 2017 compact planner. This year I purchased the classic size which is much larger in comparison and absolutely beautiful to look at. Passion Planner is a small business company that impressively has their shit together in ways that are beyond impressive. Their CEO, Angelia Trinidad, has such amazing vision and her business model is brilliant. For every planner purchased, they give one away to individuals, organizations and schools via an application process. Seriously. How cool is that?

The planner I purchased for 2018 is a new addition to their line–the Eco line. It’s a thick, card stock paper planner on the inside, with a reusable, faux vegan leather sleeve. That way, I can recycle the planner if I like, but when I purchase one for 2019, I still have my cover to slide over it. My rose gold planner is so, so pretty, but there are plenty of other great looking options available to you!

Check out the rose gold classic planner here: 2018 Rose Gold Eco Set


  • Down Dog Yoga App (free and 29.99 for one year)

What made this app different for me, compared to some other free yoga apps I’ve used, is the ability to focus on certain areas (called boosts in the app) such as back strength; hamstring opening; hip opening and low back opening. There are other options, but these are the ones I like the most. There are 4 levels of sessions available to the user: Beginner 1; Beginner 2; Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2. Session lengths are as varied according to the level you choose and can be as few as 10 minutes and as long as 60 minutes. There are also 4 sequence types: full practice, short practice, quick flow and restorative. The cues given are easy to follow and the poses are easy to follow, plus there is a comprehensive directory of all poses and their breakdowns (you’ll be redirected to You Tube to see these).

See info here: Down Dog Yoga App

  • Calm App (free and 44.99 for one year)

I won’t lie. There’s only one reason I purchased this app: the sleep stories. I am willing to do anything to get a good night of sleep and using this app at bed time really helps a lot. Don’t get me wrong, there are a limited number of things available in the free version (both meditation and sleep stories), but after hearing the same story over and over, I decided to purchase an annual subscription as soon as it was on sale.

Other features of this app include different meditation programs (I wasn’t a believer at first, but it does take practice (repetition) for it to get easier to simply relax for 10 minutes a day. I use the beginner guided meditations for now, but there are multiple programs to choose from. There is also music / white noise you can listen to, which is a fairly new offering for users. New material is added all the time, for me it was a good purchase.

See info here: Calm


  • Mini bands

I had no idea how versatile these were until the last year or two! I keep one set in my travel bag to do light workouts while I’m on the road and I keep one set at home in my gym. The fitness enthusiast in your life will appreciate having a set of mini bands–the number of exercises that can be done with them helps one stay on their fitness track! I can tell a difference in quality between the ones I keep in my suitcase vs. the ones I have in my home gym, so I’ll give you the link to the ones in my home gym. Check their website often because they have sales and that’s when I bought mine.

Purchase here: Mini Bands

  • Resistance bands with handles

I love the set I got because the handles can be swapped out via a metal clipping system (so all bands don’t have a handle on either end until you clip one on), which give the bands a lot more versatility. I also travel with some of these bands and leave the rest at home. I take 2 or 3 of them with me on my trips and those, combined with the mini bands, also give me a great workout.

Purchase here: Black Mountain Products Resistance Band Set with Door Anchor, Ankle Strap, Exercise Chart, and Resistance Band

  • Loop style resistance bands

This is another product I didn’t realize was so versatile until the last year or so. I use these to add resistance to tricep push ups, dumbbell bench presses, goblet squats, barbell squats, barbell bench presses, straight arm pull downs, rows, hamstring stretches, lat stretches, and the list goes on. These can also help with pull ups in a few different ways! If there is anything I recommend for the fitness enthusiast in your life, it’s definitely bands like these. I keep one skinny band in my travel bag and use it ALL THE TIME.

Purchase here: MummyStrength Resistance Bands for Men and Women. The Best Stretch Band for Pull Up Exercise and Powerlifting. Works With Any Pull Up Bar or Station. Single Band. Workout Guide Included – BLACK

This is a short but hopefully useful list. If you have any questions or need suggestions for exercises that can be done with bands, feel free to contact me, I’d love to make a list for you!