Health and fitness goals- Time to get serious...more serious

Health and fitness goals- Time to get serious...more serious

Time for a little heart to heart about my fitness goals.  My goals should not be tied to the number on a scale but I have to say it is.  I don't feel comfortable in this body of mine.  I feel strong.  I feel healthy.  I don't feel comfortable.  Maybe that's a failure of society or maybe that's just my personal failure but it is what it is.  So this post will talk a lot about weight.  Its not the most important thing for sure.  For me right now though I just don't believe that this weight is the healthiest weight for my bod.  I don't believe that my slow running is the fastest I can do.  If I were talking to someone else.  A close friend for instance I would say, "but how do you feel?  You're healthy and you eat healthy and you exercise so who cares what the number on the scale says?"  The answer?  I care. Maybe I shouldn't, but I do...

Read More

All the books


Disclaimer....I wrote this on February 1st.  Its February 16th and I'm just posting this.  Actually its February 17th because I fell asleep with the boys and then woke up and wanted to watch the Olympics so its almost 2 am and I'm wide awake.  Anyway...pretend its February 1st with me for a moment.

It's February 1st, which means I suppose I need to get really focused on my goals for this year. I am not totally sure where January went, but it has come and it is gone. Here we are on February 1st and I have not written out my 18 for '18, and I have not shared with you my word of the year, and even my word of the month, but I am going to start doing that now. 

In a series of blog posts, you're going to find my 18 for '18, my word of my month, and then some separate goals and challenges that I'd like to talk about. So, a focus on fitness goals, a focus on certain relationship goals, how they all work together, a focus on career and business goals, and of course a focus on book goals. This is about my book goals.  I've known this goal since about half way through last year.  What can I say.  I love book goals.

Last year, I challenged myself to read 52 books, which means obviously a book a week. The way I was going to achieve that goal was a balance of reading books and a balance of Audible helping me out. I listen to a lot of books while I'm driving, or cleaning the kitchen, or doing the dishes, or running, or whatever. It was a combination of those two things. Of course what it meant was there were certainly books that I chose not to read. 

For example, someone suggested I try the Game of Thrones series. I thought, "Yeah. No, that book is really long. Or books are really long." Or I downloaded a book about the Donner Party, which is actually makes me remember that I want to read that while it's cold.  (better get on that!)  But I listened to an interview on NPR and it was about this man who wrote this very lengthy 16-hour book on the Donner Party and I downloaded it but I haven't listened to it yet because I didn't want to spend the time. There was a lot of sort of choosing wisely, choosing shorter books, and staying away from books that I know that I struggle with. 

So, this year, I have a different set of goals. I have a shelf of books in our bookcase that I have been meaning to read, have started to read, have never finished, and just continue to struggle with. I want to get those books off my shelf. Now, maybe they will be passed along to the next person or maybe they will be put on my shelf of books, of books that I love and I may read it in another point in my life or I may not. Like my Jane Austen novels, and Little Women, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, these are some of my favorite books. East of Eden. These are some of my favorite books that I just want to have a home that has them in my home. 

There are about 15 of these books that have been stalking me for years. Now, not every single book here is been waiting to be read for years and years. Some of them are just books that I have picked up in the last year or two and I just want to get them off my plate, but a number of these have been here for a while. Passage to India, I've made it to about page 70 in that book and I've never finished it. The Good Earth, Beloved, these are total classics and the problem is as often with many books, you need to get over that hump before you really want to read them. I just get too tired at night.

This year's really going to be me putting on a priority to find 10 minutes every day to read these books until I get to the point where I'm so excited to read them, I'm devouring them. That eventually happens with most books. Some of these books I picked out because I had friends who suggested them or they were hand-me-downs, but nonetheless they are books that have been on my list to read for a while. 

That is what this year is all about. I have read one book in the month of January, so I'm not off to an excellent start. I have not listened to any Audible books in the month of January, so, once again, not an excellent start. But my goal is to just read as many of these books as I can both because I want to read them but also just to feel like I can check them off the proverbial book list and get them off my plate so I can move onto other books, 

My question for you is are there any books that you have wanted to read for years and years and you've been putting off because if there are, and even better if they're one of the books on this shelf, we can do it together, which I would really love to do, working on this together. So, let me know what books are on your lifelong list to read?  Or do you have a different goal for books to read this year?

Really, I'm going to start journaling...

One of my goals this year is to journal every day. This was my plan. I was going to decide that this was the year of Tovah. This was going to be the transformative year of Tovah, and I was going to journal every single day. Just sit down at night, just going to type a little, just going to state my goals for the day or for the next day. Big plans. I was going to get up at 5 a.m. every morning, just going to work out. I don't know when I was going to meditate, but I was going to meditate. I had a new job, newish. This was great. It was going to be wonderful.

Well, it's February 7th. Let me tell you, I have not journaled one freaking day. Not once. Not once. Once I sat down and I opened up a Google Doc, and that's how far I got. Here I am, February 7th, and I decided, "Let's rip off the band aid. I need to start telling people about these goals of mine, these journaling every day, the year of Tovah." You know, this is the first time that I am going to be hosting a two year old's birthday party without being very pregnant. It does sort of feel like things are opening up for me, because I'll be honest, in the past when I've had a two year old, I have had to remind myself, "Hey, just wait. In a few months, you're going to be back to ground zero. The clock will restart." 

As much I love teeny tiny infant babies, and boy, do I love teeny tiny infant babies, there is something very calming and peaceful about knowing that this is done. That chapter is over. It's sad, it's scary, it's overwhelming, but it also means that not only can I refocus on the year of Tovah, but we can refocus on our family, as a family where we want to do stuff. We're not always running around playing catch up. We're not going to be separating our kids; here are the young ones, here are the old ones. You know, we're going to have three kids two and older, kind of amazing.
I feel like I just needed to get pen to paper and get something down. Now, ironically, when I said I needed to get something pen to paper, I'm dictating this. Even if I weren't dictating this, I'd be typing it up, because I don't journal anymore with a pen and paper. Maybe that's my problem. Let's be honest, I want screen times to be less. Maybe this is what I need to do, and actually pen to paper journal. . Now that I'm talking it out a little bit, because isn't this the magic of journaling, literally pen to paper. 

Part of me wants to use this as an excuse to buy a new journal. Let's be honest, I own a lot of journals. When I'm done with this I'm going to go find a journal, I'm going to take a picture of it to show you that I have it, and I'm going to start journaling pen to paper. I don't know why this is a mind-blowing idea. Don't know why I'm just thinking of this now, but nonetheless, I am. Here we go, the year of Tovah, 2018, starting February 7th. Pen to paper. Game time. 

Update:  I've journaled 4 times in the last week.  Victory!!

Do you journal?


Word of the year is here. Finally!

Surround yourself with people who remind you of what you can be and love you for what you are..png

Finally I'm going to share my word of the year. (Only 6 weeks in.  Not so bad.)  I've done a word of the year for the last two years. I'm adding a little excitement to this year. I'm kicking it up a notch, and in addition to having a word of the year, I'm also going to have a word of the month. Let's talk about first the word of the year and then my reasoning to have a word of the month. In the past, I have picked one word each year that I have tried to remember and sometimes it's worked and sometimes it hasn't, but it is been there sort of in the back of my head throughout the year. It's just a reminder of what my goals are and how I hope to reach those goals. 

The first year it was ENGAGE, and this is something I still struggle with. Being engaged wherever I am, doing whatever I'm doing. When I have the mom hat on, which is so cheesy, but let's just say the mom hat on, I am engaged with my kids. I'm doing the mom thing. I'm not thinking about work. I'm not spending any of my brain power worried about work, worried about other things. When I have my work hat on or my friends hat, whatever, you get the point, the hats are cheesy, but you get the gist. When I have that focus, then that's what I am focused on. That is what I'm doing and I'm not looking at other things. I'm not worried about other things. That was engaged. 

Last year it was COMMIT, and the purpose of choosing that word was to really focus on committing to my goals and committing to what it was that I wanted to get done, to really throw myself into my job. You're going to find there is sort of a theme. I do pick sort of similar words. This year the word that I've had in my mind really for months and months is SERVE. It sparked my idea. I stumbled upon these bracelets. Actually, I was looking for something else from our trip to New Orleans online, and I came across these bracelets. They're sort of wooden and they each have a word on them. I got thankful. I got serve. I got explore. I have another word that I can't think of right now, but these four words, and I really just liked the word serve. 

I  have struggled over the last year really staying focus on my purpose, making sure that I'm doing best in the relationships that I have with other people. I really like this concept of serving.  Serving my purpose. Serving my goals. Staying focused on that. Serving why I'm here. What am I here to do, and feeling as though I'm really devoted towards this purpose, and also serving my children. I think when you start talking about kids, and husbands, and you use the word serve, it sounds like ... I don't know words that maybe we won't feel comfortable using, that there's some sort of hierarchy that we're putting in place. "I'm here to serve you," but what I really mean is to figure out, am I doing the best that I can do at any moment? Am I serving them in the best way that I can. Mind you, I didn't say, am I being the best mother possible in the wold wide world, but just am I doing the best I can at that moment. 

What I always remind myself is, and others I hope, is that sometimes our best at any given moment is not even the best that we can do on another day. It is what it is, we do what we can, when we can and we're not perfect. But am I really serving our family? Am I serving my husband and focusing on our relationship? As a relationship, we are coming out of the crazy bubble of young children. Obviously, we have really young children, but our youngest is about to be two, which has been in our past, in our world that sort of age, where you should start doing things and really engaging with them in a way that you couldn't before. The family has a little more freedom at that point. You're down to one nap. There's some flexibility on bed time if you have to have it. So flexibility that we didn't necessarily have up until this point. 

In the past, when we hit that two year mark, I have always been very pregnant with our next child. This is a unique experience in that I am not pregnant with no intentions of expanding our family. This can really allow us to reengage and reconnect and really serve our relationship, like we probably should of been doing for the past six years. That is how I came upon the word, serve, and I think it will serve me well.  (hehehe) I hoping to just have it be a guiding post, a guiding light throughout the year. 

Now, as much as I love that word, I have also decided that I need a word of the month, because the months are short. The months are quick and the year goes by so fast February 14th, here we are, crazy. We've just come so fast upon it, so I want a monthly word because it just gives me some fun. I made this decision last week and January is gone, but I've decided to give January a word anyway, because it's what I was doing, which was breathing. Taking a step back, taking a breath in, looking at the year in the past, looking at the future, figuring out what I wanted the next step to be. I'm still doing that, but that was the word that I applied to January. Breath.

I kicked off February with a new word that I am super excited about, and that word is grit. Grit is the word that I'm using. It's just a great word. It's fun to say. I feel feisty just when I say the word grit, so I am excited to see what the word brings. I plan to bring a lot of grit to it. That's what I'm planning on at least. I'm excited to see what this month has to offer (okay with just 2 weeks left!) We're out of the very beginning stages of the year. Now it's time to get to work, get our plans in motion.

I'm excited, so my question for you is, do you have a word of the year? What about a word of the month? How has it served you? How have you found it helpful throughout the year? Do you forget about it by, I don't know,  March or April or is it something that you stay connected with throughout the year? 

A review- Better than Before- #tovahreads

Recently I finished the book Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin and I was really excited to read this book. I had read Gretchen Rubin's earlier book, The Happiness Project, and I felt like I had taken a lot out of that book. I spent a fair amount of time on Gretchen's website, and I, also, listened to her podcast. I felt like, I was really missing out by not listening to her book, Better Than Before. 

It was definitely worth reading but I didn't love it.  While reading it I didn't feel like I was getting much out of it. I was wrong, and we'll get to that, but while I was listening to it, I felt like it was very repetitive, perhaps, because I listened to the podcast, so some of the thoughts were the same. I felt like there was more that I would have liked to have heard, on some things, and less that I would have liked to hear on others. 

That she gave a lot of personal examples, which is one thing I like about her, but one thing I could use less of in the book. I would've liked a deeper dive into the Four Tendencies, which I, actually, think is another book she's coming out with, so I must not have been the only one, but a deeper dive into the Four Tendencies, and, specifically, how each certain type of tendency should deal with another one.  I realized that my husband and I have very different tendencies. I think it would be, incredibly helpful if we learned how to deal with each other.  I need a better understanding. 

That being said, while I wasn't overwhelmingly, enjoying the book when I read it, I am glad that I finished it. I did pick up at the very least, one tip, if not many more, because I do love learning about habits, and the book is more about habits than I realized.


Specifically, I am looking for ways to put a habit in place. That habit is, I need to take better care of my skin, specifically at night. I need a better nighttime routine both for my hands, my neck, my shoulders, my face. I'd like to look at ways to implement pairing which Gretchen talks a lot about.  My thought is, I put on my pajamas, I do my face routine.  Now, this won't necessarily work, because sometimes I run upstairs after work, and I throw on my pajamas, and I have to run downstairs because the kids are doing who knows what. The other possibility is that when I leave the boys' room, after putting them to bed, I automatically go and do my face. Whatever it is, I need to figure out some way to pair this need with something that is already happening.

That is a pretty big takeaway that I'm excited about. Like I said, I'm excited to implement this. Now, I'm excited to really listen to her podcast and partake in some of the online quizzes that she makes available because I have a better understanding of the four tendencies, as well.

What are you reading today?


A Review- What Happened- #tovahreads


I recently finished Hillary Clinton's book, What Happened. While I don't want to get into a huge political discussion, I did want to review this book briefly for everyone. Mainly because I felt like the press coverage the book was getting was such an inaccurate depiction of what actually took place in the book. 

So let's be very clear. I supported Hillary Clinton. I was a fan of hers, I am a fan of hers, so let's not get confused that somehow I'm pretending to be nonpartisan or anything like that. I am a fan. I also didn't listen to a large majority of the reviews of the book. I didn't read them.  I really wanted to read the book first. I actually got it on Audible so I was able to hear her voice for 16 hours, which was a lot, but I finished the book in under two weeks, if that's any indication of how quickly I listened to it.

Just to clear up a few thoughts that I had, because I did initially get some negative feedback from people when I said I was reading the book. Let's cover some basics, she does not whine in the book about why she lost the election. She does discuss in the book as to why she lost the election. She doesn't throw around blame without supporting it with facts, or at least allegations supported by facts. She gives reasons for certain results, but she doesn't look for excuses. She recognizes that she's not a good campaigner, and not a good candidate. And she recognized that there were things that she did as an individual, and as a campaign, that resulted in her losing the election.  (Yes, she mentions Wisconsin and Michigan.)

She also, recognizes that there were some things beyond her control, and some things that were unique, or hopefully unique to this specific election. Part of it is just the hatred of the Clinton name, part of it is the Russian scandal, whatever that turns out to be, part of it was  related to James Comey. She does not ignore the fact that their strategy failed in some ways.  That she didn't successfully convey her policies well. She recognizes the fact that she'd expected it to be a more policy focused general election, which it obviously wasn't. 

But she doesn't back down.  She backs up her arguments, or her defense of some of these decisions, with some pretty persuasive evidence as to who did actually vote for her and who didn't. 

What i felt was most important when listening to this was to remember that this book is what she thought happened with only a few months to look back.  Its not a historical accounting.  Time will tell.  Either way this book answer some questions, left some unanswered and made me laugh, and yes, cry.

What are you reading these days?


Failure, strength and a whole lot of hope

The last five months have had a whole lot of failure, some joy, and a lot of soul searching.  I have dreaded writing this for a long time now. Even as I plan to sit down and write it right now, I was thinking of excuses like it's late and I want to go to bed, not to write this, but I feel as though I have shared my journey with everyone for the last few years, especially the last few months when it came to my new job that I needed to give an explanation or share exactly what took place, because you were all part of my transition from consulting back to practicing, and how I'm not there anymore. 

I've sort of kept pushing it off and said, "oh, I'll explain. I'll explain later. I'll explain." It has taken almost a full month in my new position to really start coming to terms with what has happened over the last few months.  To understand what has happened I really need to go back well beyond the last few months.  I practiced for a number of years following law school and I was never really in a position that I loved or doing work that I loved. 

What I've come to realize now, after lots of soul searching, conversations with people who knew me when, a lot of personal development, going down to New Orleans for the Beach Body Summit where I really had some eye opening self-reflection (cheesy, but true).  What I realized (or remembered) was that I went to law schoolto be an advocate for people and I wanted to help people and specifically, I wanted to help kids. And so, I went to law school with this sort of pie-in-the-sky attitude and I was gonna save the world one kid at a time. That was my goal, but I wasn't actually sure how to execute that goal or how to make it happen. 

I assumed that I wouldn't be able to afford doing non-profit work, but I thought, "well, family law would be a good way to use my psych degree and use my law degree to help people and be a family law attorney." I did all of my internships and clerkship in family law from college through law school. After law school, I had my clerkship with a family law judge and that family law judge focused on DYFS, which if you're not familiar, is the Division of Youth and Family Services in New Jersey.  DYFS focuses on the issues when children may or may not being cared for appropriately and adequately by whomever their guardian is and so, they're dealing with thedeputy attorney general and law guardian that represents the kids and public defenderthat represents the parents. Sometimes these cases can lead to a termination of parental rights and they're very heavy and very serious, but I have to say that I absolutely loved it. I loved the court and I love the atmosphere, I love the concept that all of these people were working towards the best interest of the children. Even if their definitions of what the best interests of the children was different. 

Because of my experience during that year I really wanted to be a law guardian but at the time of my clerkship ending, they weren't hiring.  Instead I looked closely at family law positions.  I did have a number of interviews with family law positions, but after a year in DYFS, I really had trouble seeing myself working with people who are fighting over things like a couch. 

Obviously, most divorce cases and most separation cases are not as antagonistic as something like that, but that's what I had seen in court.  I decided when I had the option to take a position at a civil law firm rather than a family law firm and so, I did homeowner's associate work. In addition to homeowner's association work, I did ski mountain defense, interestingly enough, and I liked it, but it wasn't my heart's passion. 

When I left that position, I did a little bit of doc review and then I moved on to a firm that did insurance defense work and that was okay, too. It was a little more complex, which I enjoyed, but it was not, once again, what I always wanted to do and it was starting to get to the point where it really felt like I wasn't using my strengths. I wasn't really doing the best that I could be doing.

When I had the opportunity, it was a few months after I had my son, I applied for a position as a legal research consultant at Lexis. When I took that position, I loved it. I loved working in law firms. I loved working with other attorneys. I loved the flexibility. I mean, I really loved the position and as the years went on, I continued to enjoy the position. Obviously, every position has the good things and the bad things about it, but I continued to really like it. 

Financially though, it was a little tougher. I wasn't being paid what I could be as a practicing attorney.   Frankly, the job just got harder, which I didn't mind, except that one thing that had always sort of balanced out the salary was the fact that I had a lot of flexibility.  Over the years the work increased especially during off hours, the travel increased but the money didn't. 

I made the decision, and we as a family made the decision, that I would go back to practicing law and I have to admit, I was incredibly nervous. I didn't really know how that would work. I didn't know where I would end up, but I felt like if I didn't go back soon I would never go back.

I started looking around. I tried to be pretty specific about the firms that I applied to. I only applied to a few. I only applied to firms that I felt would be a good fit. In some ways transitioning was easier than I thought it would be. I enjoyed having an office. I enjoyed having some place to go.  It was hard to adjust to be an associate again. I went from working with partners and attorneys and really being seen as equals, to once again feeling like a new associate despite having even more years of experience.  There were a lot of factors but either way it was a bad fit.  Not don't get me wrong since this was my first opportunity to do school law, which is what I really always wanted to do in law school I enjoyed it.  I enjoyed learning about labor disputes and things like that. I counseling school districts.  I enjoyed special education law.  There was a serious learning curve but I looked forward to the challenge.  
I knew around July, so two months in that I this was not going to be sustainable. It was my assumption that I was going to continue practicing.  I wasn't in any particular rush, simply because I didn't think I could possibly have anything on my resume for less than a year. It felt incredibly flaky and I was really feeling the anxiety that I felt when I transferred from NYU to Lehigh.   

How will this look?

I was really mentally caught up in, how will this look? How is it that I went back to this law firm or to a law firm and it didn't fit and I went to law school and why does it seem that I continue to not fit in a law firm? I was at two law firms before, plus some as summer associates and some as internships and externships and it's never fit. That was probably the hardest thing to come to terms with.  I never actually wanted to be at a law firm, and I know that doesn't sound like a big epiphany, but to me, it was a huge epiphany. 

 I didn't want to be a lawyer practicing like that. I would love to have worked in a government agency or for a business or a non-profit, but I never wanted to work at a law firm. None of the jobs that I ever had in my head growing up had me sitting behind a desk for hours on end. None of them had me doing what I had to do as a lawyer. It became so incredibly apparent that this was not a good fit. I wasn't having the opportunity to talk to clients and that was no one's fault. That was the way it was, but this structure of this job, didn't work.  Even if there was a better fit, the actual work would've been the same. 

 After three consecutive Fridays of crying on my way home from work, for various reasons, but mainly just general despondence and unhappiness, I spent a weekend applying to new positions. It was hard thing to do.  I felt like failure.   It was hard to admit that I was applying to these positions after such a short period of time.

I really felt like a failure on so many levels.  Picking it a job.  Staying at a job.  Not to mention that for years I had said that I loved my job (which was true) and despite salary concerns I would keep my Beach Body business as a way to supplement the income.  I felt like a failure there too.   Of course part of that was the fact that there are only so many hours in a day and with the consulting having increased traveling and the need to actually sleep meant very little time when to health coaching.  
I was embarrassed. I felt like I failed by even deciding to go to law school. Here I am strapped with all of these law school loans and I'm not even gonna practice as an attorney, right. I felt like a failure because I didn't realize what I was doing wasn't what I should be doing. 

With all this in my head head I interviewed to be an attorney recruiter. I dug in and did some serious due diligence. I reached out to people. I reached out to my law mama's group and said, "Who's your recruiter? What do you like about it? What do you not like about it? What can you tell me about this company?" I really vetted people or vetted this position, both this specific position, but the position as a whole.  I was so afraid of making the wrong decision again.  

I accepted the position.  Another new job in such a short period of time but here I was.  

2017 has been quite a year.   Pivotal at best.  Wild to say the least.  I started my new position as an attorney recruiter just after Labor Day.  It has been quite a whirlwind filled with soul searching.  

I plan on still using my law degree for pro bono pursuits.  As an attorney recruiter I can do things I really love.   It taps into my competitive spirit. It lets me play around on social media to meet people and connect. It lets me connect people to other people.  It pushes me. It keeps me a little bit scared, but scared in a good way.

I'm only a month in, but I am enjoying it. I am cautiously optimistic. I can still use that fantastic lawyer wardrobe, but it can be a little funkier and a little more fun. I really wanted to share the journey of what is, insanely enough, only the last five months. 

I felt like I owed all of you a story of the last five months and an explanation and so, there it is.   I'm still processing it all myself.  Out of what I view as a lot failure is actually growth, strength and a whole lot of hope. 

We'll have another discussion on what being a health coach has done for me to get me this position, but we'll save that for another day. If you've made it this long I'm impressed.  Until another day..


#TovahReads- Born a Crime

Book review time! That's right, I just finished listening to Trevor Noah's Born A Crime, and I have to say, just like I think with almost all memoirs, if you can listen to this Audible or from the library, I highly suggest that you listen to this because he is hilarious. His voices of his family and his friends are fantastic and totally on point. Now, I don't know how long it would have taken me to read this book had I not listened to it, but it has been the fastest book that I've listened to in recent time.  Definitely a small look, or peak into a world in South Africa that I will admit that I knew little to nothing about. Now am probably going to be looking for more books about South Africa. 

But in addition to being that peak at South Africa, it was also just this great look into his personal life and based on all of his experiences, like I normally find, there are heroes in everyday life. I read a lot of personal development. I read it and I listen to it on Audible, but often I find memoirs to be the strongest places for personal development. Sometimes it's just one sentence or one story, so you do read this whole book and you just get one thing, but it is always worth that one nugget of inspiration or story of inspiration.  In this book, I feel like I found a few nuggets.

From learning how Trevor Noah's mother parented, learning how she raised her son and what she demanded from him and what her expectations were, and how she lived her life. There was no expectation that he would ever need to be educated properly.

Even those that were educated and were given this potential, weren't necessarily given the resources to use that potential. He said, "If you give a man a fish, you've fed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you've fed him for a lifetime.  But you need to give him a fishing rod." It's one thing to show a person their potential, but you need to give them the tools and his resource to reach that potential. In his case, the resources was a CD burner so he could pirate music, but I think the same goes for other tools and other things to help someone meet their potential and meet their goals.

The book focused on the way he hustled, day after day after day, as a child and as a younger person in South Africa. f you are interested in learning about more South Africa, if you're interested in learning more about Trevor Noah obviously, and if you just want to laugh this is definitely your book.

There were stories where I'm driving along and the people on the highway must've thought I was crazy because I was just laughing and laughing and laughing out loud. That is my review of Trevor Noah's Born A Crime. I highly suggest you take the time to read it or even better, listen to it.

Do you have a favorite memoir?



I remember I why I loved Belle

When I saw Beauty and the Beast a few months ago it was the first time I'd been to the theater in 3 years.  It was totally worth it.  Most movies I'm willing to wait until they come out on Netflix but this was worth the effort to get out.  (With three littles it is an effort.)

Honestly, I wasn't initially planning on going to see Beauty and the Beast, but the response from people was just been so overwhelmingly positive, that I thought perhaps I should give it a shot, and I should check it out. In preparation for it and in excitement for it, I looked for my old Beauty and the Beast CD, and I didn't find it. I found all the other old Disney ones, but I couldn't find Beauty and the Beast. So I bought the new one, which is great because it has all the new songs on it from the new movie.

was getting excited as I was listening to the soundtrack, and a friend of mine and I head to the movies, we stopped for 7-Eleven for snacks, we drove to the movie theater. We got in our seats and we're ready to watch it.   We're both really excited, and then the first scene, or maybe perhaps the second scene, Belle comes on the screen. Then, it was like it came crashing back to me, why I loved Belle so very much.

started thinking back to the other Disney princess, Disney movies. They were all princesses, right? So, Snow White was a princess, Cinderella was not that relatable, even though she wasn't really a princess. I never watched Sleeping Beauty, but I know that she was a princess. I guess Anastasia was sort of a princess. I didn't find Pocahontas to be overly relatable, and Princess Jasmine was a princess. Ariel was a princess, and also a mermaid, doesn't make her overly relatable.

ut, whilst out on the street, in Beauty and the Beast, out walks Belle, and Belle is wearing blue, my favorite color. She has brown hair. I have brown hair. She loves books, and I love books. And I remember that feeling, when I first saw her, and I was 10, looking at Belle and thinking "oh look, that's like me." She's a brunette, and she doesn't dress up, and she loves books. I don't think I expected to have just this emotional reminder, as to how much I loved her. 

ow that I have three boys, I'm not overly concerned about one of them thinking they can grow up to be a princess, although I suppose they could. But I am aware and concerned of the messages that Disney sells them. This is coming from a pretty big fan of Disney. I still feel it is necessary to have all these disclaimers when I read them Sleeping Beauty, like "just so you know, you can't do that.  You're not allowed to kiss a woman she's sleeping."

o, with that being said, I was watching Beauty and the Beast, and I thought this movie requires no disclaimer. This is a young woman, who is dissatisfied with where she lives. She's fiercely loyal to her family. She has this desire to try new things, and invent and imagine, and she does it unapologetically. She's not willing to compromise simply because there's a status quo that everyone would like to maintain. That's before she even meets the vicious beast. You learn all about that, you learn all of that about her.

hen, of course there's the love story.  The first thing that the beast is attracted to in Belle, or one of the things that he likes about her, is that she tells him what she thinks. She uses her mind, and one of the first things that makes Belle even look at the Beast as something other than a Beast, of course, is the fact that he can quote Shakespeare. It's their love of books and the academic and their respect for each other that brings them close together. If he were too tough to quote Shakespeare to her, or if she was too mild mannered to speak back to him, their love story would never happen.

s opposed to many Disney movies where you get the feeling that once they get married, it's sort of over, at the end of Beauty and the Beast, you get the feeling that when they get married, it's really just beginning. That their love for each other will just continue, and they all of these happy, wonderful people around them, and that they will truly appreciate each other.

nd looking at Belle, and looking at a young girl, or a young woman, you might look at Belle and look up to Belle. She is quite a character, and I can't wait to watch the movie again, with my boys, so they can see another example of a fearless, strong-willed, educated, imaginative, inventive woman, who is no less female and no less beautiful.

o, thank you Disney for Beauty and the Beast.

Who is your favorite Disney princess?



21 Reasons to love the 21 Day Fix

  1. A new quote for every workout.

  2. 7 days of no repeating

  3. The hardest move of the entire workout is the first one.  (Get that out of the way!)

  4. A great 10 minute abs

  5. Simple eating plan

  6. Colorful containers

  7. Chocolate chips (allowed in the eating plan)

  8. Cheese (allowed in the eating plan)

  9. Avocado (allowed in the eating plan)

  10. Accessible via DVD or Beachbody on Demand

  11. Cardio/Pilates/Yoga/Weights- I never get bored.

  12. My favorite workout.  (Say hey for Dirty 30)

  13. The small talk- It always makes me laugh.  (Her wedding is still only 6 weeks away.)

  14. PG- No swearing.  Always positive.  No talk about losing weight.  Just talking about muscles.  My kids love Autumn.

  15. Kat, the modifier.  If you watched her you know her and you love her.  

  16. Autumn.  She's not annoying in the videos and if you follow her in Instagram she's endearing.  

  17. Its only 21 Days long.

  18. Each day is a different workout but its the same for each day of the week.  Once I know that Wednesday is legs day I never have to learn it again.  

  19.  I can do it in my living room (usually in my bare feet.)

  20. I've watched person after person learn how to eat healthier using the 21 Day Fix eating plan.

  21. It is the first program I ever used to lead a challenge group and those challengers are still people I'm so close to and we continue to love and inspire each other over 2 years later.

  22. Bonus!  It showed me the power of working a program and an eating plan day in and day out.  It works if you work it!


#Tovah Reads- Outliers

I recently finished the book, Outliers, by Maxwell Gladwell. This book had been recommended to me in one of those "hey, I'm looking for a new book. What should I download?" Posts on Facebook. I'm always interested in personal development. I hadn't read his other books yet, even the more famous Tipping Point.

When I started this book, I had just finished a memoir, and I was looking for something new. So, it's about seven or eight hours long on Audible. I though "oh well that's totally doable. It can't be that bad, it's not that long." I have to say, this book was, the best way I can describe it, an absolute delight. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and in fact I could have kept listening to this book for much longer than the book went, simply because it was filled with fascinating story, after fascinating story. 

It was just one continuous discussion of taking how we look at the world, or look at something, and how perhaps we should be looking at it. Perhaps the statistics that we're looking at, should be looked at them from a different angle. Perhaps someone succeeded, not in spite of something, or in spite of a awful experience, but because of it. At first, so much of the book was focused on opportunity, and some people having opportunities that other people hadn't. But in many cases, the opportunities weren't these huge, sweeping things of parents being wealthy, or these certain experiences, but they were subtler opportunities. Someone saying "yes".  Often it came down to the successful person having the stability to get someone else to say "yes".

I don't know that really the whole impact of the book has totally sunk in yet. One definite takeaway, perhaps my main takeaway, is something he said at the very beginning, which is "there really aren't people who just luck-out and make it big without hard work. And vice versa, there aren't people that work really, really hard for years, and years, and years toiling away, that don't have success." All of the opportunities in the world will not do anything, if you're not working really hard.

He talked about the Beatles, he talked about Bill Gates and Bill Joy. None of these people, or groups would have had the success they had without opportunity, and none of them would have the success they had without, without working very, very hard.  The book made me want to work hard, hustle more. It made me want to find my own opportunities, figure out how to make opportunities. It also made me think about the responsibility I have to make opportunities for other people, but when can I say "yes" to other people? When can I help other people? So they can look back and say "well, it was when Tovah said yes, that was a turning point. That was when all my hard work started to pay off."  Now I'm not just looking for my own opportunities but for the opportunity to say YES.

Fascinating book. Totally intriguing, inspiring. Once again, it just makes your brain work in a different way than it's use to working, so I would highly recommend Outliers. 

Have you read any other Malcolm Gladwell's Books?

Do you have a favorite?



Love Warrior you speak to my heart

Audio books have been a fairly new find of mine.  (Okay I've been in love for two years but in the grand scheme of things its new.)  I wasn't so sure about it at first but where I have really fallen in love with the practice of listening to books is when they are read by the author.  I cannot stop listening to memoirs for this reason.

There are times that a book enters your life when you need to hear it and you know that you and this book will be connected forever.  Such is the story of this book and me.  Of course the only problem I have with Audible books is that I can't underline them.  It just means I know I will listen to this book over and over

In many ways I have absolutely no connection or similarities with this character.  I am not an alcoholic.  I have not had an eating disorder.  I don't think I have had a particular addictive personality.  I have however doubted my role in the universe.  I have doubted myself.  I have been worried about how I fit in the world.  About whether I am putting myself on display or sharing my real self.  I have thought about the struggles to be a mom and a wife and a woman.

This book spoke to me and inspired me.  I may have cheered some parts aloud while driving and I definitely teared up.  I'm a huge fan of this book but you need to read it with an open mind and an open heart.  If you do that it will take you on quite a wild ride.  


I don't like transitioning any more than my toddlers...I just can't tantrum

One of the hardest things day in and day out I think in every single parent's life, including mine, are transitions. Getting children out of the door into the car and then out of the car into the school and then out of the school back into the car and then out of the car back into the house and then from the first floor of the house, out of their regular clothing, onto the second floor of the house, possibly into a path, possibly into pajamas, and then out of the bath, from pajamas around the house to pajamas in the bed.

Every single transition is nothing short of a disaster sometimes. Sometimes they go really smooth and sometimes they take 25 minutes and there's absolutely no rhyme or reason as far as I can tell, no amount of warning, no amount of preparation, "Okay, we're going to be leaving in five minutes," nothing that can prepare you for these things. It's enough to drive me crazy.

The other day we were at the park and I told the boys, "Okay guys, this is your ten-minute warning," "Okay guys, this is your five-minute warning," "Okay guys, in two minutes we're going to leave." Then, oddly enough, I ran into a friend from college and I was like, "Okay guys, this is your five-minute warning. You have five more minutes."  When I said that they're like, "Okay, let's go run. Let's go run away." I mean, not really run away but, "Let's go run on the playground." They were hiding. They were excited. They were going to prevent the transition. I knew it. I knew it was going to be me keeping an eye on them while I put the baby in the car and then getting them one at a time.

I was just preparing for this sort of disaster of a transition, one by one. Miraculously enough, it started to thunder, and immediately I said, "It's thundering. We have to go." All the other parents said, "It's thundering. We have to go." We got out of the playground and we were in the car and it was fast, unbelievably fast. I just thought, "That was amazing. I want a thunderstorm to end every time we go to the playground.  No matter how much I prepare them, one of the three of them has trouble transitioning and then I have to be careful I don't say, "Wow, your brother did such a good job listening and you sucked." But that's always what I say in my of course.

What I've been thinking about with transitions is that I don't like transitions either. I don't have trouble with transitions normally, like getting in and out of the car or getting in the house, but at the end of a long day, I do sort of sit in my car for a little bit because I'm tired and I know as soon as I go in the house I'm going to have to carry the bags in and put them down and possibly put something away and change out of my work clothes. There's just so much transition at the end of the day. I don't like it. In the morning, I'm all comfy in my pajamas or my workout clothes and even transitioning from my pajamas to my workout clothes, even if my workout clothes are laid out and I'm following all those nice rules, it takes a minute.

What I've realized is that I don't like transitions. I don't. I don't like transitions at all. I don't like transitions any more than my kids, the difference being that I am 36 and not five or three or one, and so I can't actually have a temper tantrum anytime I transition. I do in my head sometimes, "Oh, I really don't want to be doing this," but I can't actually do it in real life.

I was thinking there's got to be a better way. I actually don't know what that better way is. I have a theory. We use a behavior chart sometimes. The kids seem to really like it. Well, the one kid does. I don't think the middle child even cares about behavior charts, but we're going to give it a go and make a little reward with transitions. "If you transition easily, you're going to get to go up on the behavior chart and there'll be big rewards." Things like that. We're just going to rely on that a little more, because I don't think my basic sense of, "I'm just relying on you to suck it up to our transition and get over it," is totally working out. I think perhaps they are a little too young to get the suck it up factor.

Do you have some transition miracle?  

Or do you struggle like I do?





                                Yeah, that's my idea. I don't know if it's a good one, but it's what I'm going with because something has got to be better than me saying, "Put on your shoes. Put on your shoes. You need to put on your shoes. You need to get dressed. You need to get dressed. Get dressed. Get dressed. You need to get dressed. Now you need to get undressed. Bath time. Bath time. Bath time." There's got to be something better than this, so I have no solution. I'm sharing a problem, but I think the fact that I've recognized that I like transitions as little as my kids like transitions may be the first step in some sort of revolution in our house. I will keep you posted.

Are you willing to fail?

 "If you don't start failing at things you're not living a full life."

Sebastian Junger on The Tim Ferris Podcast

I'll be honest, I'm sort of obsessed with failing these days.  The idea of failing and the need to fail.  I'm going for nos.  I'm pushing for failure.  Failure means I'm getting outside of my comfort zone and I'm getting uncomfortable.  

One of the themes of just about every personal development book I've read is that you need to be wiling to fail.  (Even the anti- PD book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck)  In fact one of the first books I read was John Maxwell's Failing Forward.  I was knew to the world of personal development when I read this.  I don' t think mentally I was really there yet.  

Failure is hard and scary.  As parents its not really something we want for our kids and we work hard to prevent it.  For ourselves we often try to avoid failure.  Why exactly would you put ourselves in the position to fail.  It just doesn't make sense and goes against our instincts to survive.  

Failure, however is the one thing that will really help us succeed in life.  If you want great big things in life you need to be wiling to fail to get them.  You need to be willing to try something new and try something different.  One area that we all seem pretty okay doing this is with our relationships.  Unless you stay with someone forever, technically isn't every relationship a failure of sorts?  Well, no of course not.  Every relationship, or at least most of them, is a learning experience putting you in a better positioning.  And yet technically these are in fact failures.  

This concept is definitely something that I have struggled with but is so important.  I will not change my life or get anywhere unless I'm wiling to take risks and fail.   Right now I'm trying to teach my kids to fail.  I know that isn't something you hear most parents say but looking back I think I spent a huge chunk of my life afraid of failure.  I think I missed out on a lot by being that way.  I'm hoping, if anything, I can get my kids to get to the point of their lives that they are comfortable with failure.  At least get their sooner.  Sure I want them to be confident but I want them to be confident to fail.  To try things that they don't know if they will excel at them. 

Its certainly scary.  Its certainly an adventure but its one I'm willing to take.




Why I LOVE my BOD!

Haha.  I tricked you.  Okay I didn't trick because I do love my BOD, just a different BOD than you're thinking of.   I thought it was time that I really tell you all about Beachbody On Demand All Access because I keep talking about it and posting about it, but I don't actually tell you what it is. 

Beach Body On Demand is this thing, okay not a good start. It's an app on my phone. It's a website I can go to on my computer. It's an app on my Roku, the little way I make my computer talk to the Internet. That's about as technologically advanced as I know it is. It is an app that I can go to. It's great. Up until recently, it had a quarterly fee. 

I got a bunch of workouts. I got any workouts that I ever bought, like T25 and 21 Day Fix and other ones, P90x. It had all those workouts plus it had some bonus workouts like Rockin' Abs. Shawn T Hip Hop Abs, Rockin' Abs from way back when. It was great. It was a good deal. I didn't have to worry about my kids scratching DVDs anymore. I didn't have to worry about losing DVDs. It was all right there on my TV or on my phone or whatever I needed. Wonderful.

Then they brought us All Access Beachbody On Demand. Let me tell you a little bit about All Access Beachbody On Demand. It is access to every single workout that Beach Body has ever, ever produced. Every, single one. Every, single one. You know when you get those DVDs and they're like, "And for another $35, you can get two bonus workouts," and you're like, "Yeah I'm not spending $35 for two bonus workouts." Well, those bonus workouts are here. P90X3, 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, T25, Core to Force.

The workout comes out it's included. It's everything. All access. Every, single thing. It would be like getting a gym membership and then signing up for all of the courses. It's even workouts that you don't even know exists.  They did a show called The Twenties and they were picking out a new Beach Body trainer and it was really exciting. I'll admit, I didn't watch the show, but all of the workouts attached to those trainers are there. These great 20 minute workouts. 

There are three prenatal and one postnatal workout. There's just a ton of stuff. The new Shift Shop?  Its there.  The new workout coming in the fall?  It will be there.  Now you can get All Access Beachbody on Demand for ONE WHOLE YEAR plus Shakeology for a month for $160.  What, the what??  Yes, I'm serious.

I know that sounds like a ton. Totally sounds like a ton to me, except that it's a full year.  All the new workouts coming out this year you get access to, plus a big old bag or 24 little bags, of Shakeology. It's yours. Done. Yours. That's normally on its own, with shipping and everything, it's about $146. Just the bag of Shakeology, no workouts, is $146. The bag of Shakeology with all of the workouts, like I said, every, single workout you get for $160.

That's why it's a big deal. We have an ongoing online accountability group ready to help you when you're ready to be helped.  So I say get it now and pick out your workout. You literally can pick out any and every workout.  There are also workouts made exclusively just for BOD. Workouts that you've never seen before. You can do a whole program. You get the nutrition guides. You get the guide that says, "Do this workout on this day. Do this workout on this day," or you could literally just do whatever you want. What's nice is, halfway through the year you're like, "You know. This martial arts was great but now I want to do T25." Great. You have it. Or, "Oh I love that new workout that's coming out." Great. You have it.

No more spending money for the rest of the year, unless you want more Shakeology.  (Which you probably will.) Then last but not least.  The big bonus is I am cleaning out my closet and I have a ton of DVDs and Fixate cookbooks.  Anyone who signs up with the Beach Body On Demand All Access with Shakeology can get either a bonus workout DVD or the Fixate cookbook. Your Choice. 

It is like an absurd bang for your buck. That's all for now!  

Who is READY to JOIN me?



I Call BS on Better than Yesterday

(This was written a long time ago and for whatever reason just sat on the side.  I did not go to a funeral yesterday but the sentiment is still very much the same.)

I want to talk a little bit about this concept of being better than yesterday. This kind of hit me when I was listening to the book Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. It's got me to go back and look at her blog from years ago, which I used to follow, but I don't remember. Anyway, she talked a little bit about this concept of better than yesterday and being better than yesterday and this sort of push, this push to be like your best and always be better than you've been before, and do your best, and all of this stuff. It got me thinking. I've decided to make an official call on BS (my mom's watching so that's why I'm not going to swear) on better than yesterday. Because here's the thing, yesterday for me, for example, I was in a dress, I had tights on, I had some sort of tight thing happening to hold it all together, I had a really pretty necklace, I had makeup on. I was put together, right?

Today, I'm wearing a baseball cap and I don't have big plans for showering. Although, I hope to do that, but if it doesn't happen, cool. I'm not really going to be better than yesterday, at least in this regard, right? There are some days that I'm totally on point. I'm firing at all cylinders. I'm like 5:30 in the morning I wake up, and then I do my meditation, and I drink my water with a little lemon slice, maybe it's even warm and I get my workout in, and then my kids get up, and then I go to work, and I'm like, "Pshew," and I do everything I'm supposed to do at work. It's just awesome and I'm checking things off my list. Maybe I have a call with one of my friends, so it's like all sorts of connection. My husband and I find our favorite show and we watch our show, and I look back and I'm like, "Yes, that was the perfect day. That was awesome. Tomorrow I will do the exact same thing, except it will be better. It'll be better than yesterday."

Then, I wake up and ... Sorry, it's so windy I thought somebody was creeping around my house. Then, I wake up and my alarm went off, but there's a three year old laying next to me, and if I get up, he's going to wake up, so I can't get up. Even though yesterday was great, I sort of forgot to pack the lunches. Now I have to pack the lunches, so I haven't worked out yet, I didn't get a meditation in, the kids finally get up, I get up, we're running late to work. Then, I realize that I needed to pick up my rental car the night before and I totally forgot to do that, and so now I'm late. I'm running around all day and I'm spending the day 10 to 15 minutes late the whole day, and when I get home I realize I don't actually have time to go for the three mile run that I wanted to do, and maybe I can get a mile in, or maybe two. I forgot I had to lift weights, so when I put the kids to bed, I'm in my sweaty gross workout clothes and I don't get to sit down and relax, and then I workout, and then I realize it's 9:00 before I ate dinner.

What I realize, is that was probably the best I could do that day. That's the best I could do. I just want to sort of give everyone permission to not be better than yesterday, right? I'm all about setting goals and setting to-do lists and really trying to be bettering yourself, but at the same time I think we have to realize that we're all pretty okay, right? There's things that we want to do better, sure, and sometimes it's going to happen, but we need to rate ourselves on a curve somehow, or just not rate ourselves at all, even better, and just be okay doing the best we can on any given day. Some days, the best we can do is going to be awesome, because the thing I don't mention is that yesterday when I was looking all fancy and I had the pretty hair going, and the makeup, it was just up because I was going to a funeral. Today, I'm not. I have a baseball cap on to drop the kids off, there's a stain on my shirt, I have workout pants on, I probably will wear this all day to get my workout in. At some point I will squeeze it in between work. I will probably run errands in it.

I might be in this outfit until I get in my pajamas, but you know what? I'm not going to be going to a funeral today, so I'm okay with this being less than better than yesterday. I just want to encourage everyone, take it as it comes, do your best, set goals, sure. We're all about setting goals. We're all about having to-do lists. You know me, I'm very goal driven. I'm all about breaking down my big goals.  Putting them into little to-do lists, and then having eight to-do lists I can check things off of. One of my phone, and one on my planner, and I love it, I love it all. Sometimes we just have to give ourselves a pass and say, you know what? This is the best I could do. Just like we probably tell our kids to do our best, I think that it's okay if we tell ourselves the same thing. Just do your best. Some days your best looks cooler than others. Some days your best means that you did eventually put pants on, and some days your best means that you got fancy, and some days your best means that the kids ate cereal for dinner, and all of that is okay. That is my little, I don't know, Monday muse. Is there a hashtag about that? Anyway, I hope you all have a really great day and yeah, happy Monday.