5 Habits To Develop in 2017 for a Healthier, Happier YOU

Hi Friends! How are you doing? Are we surviving the beginning of the year?
It’s ironic I’m sharing this post today on health as Calvin has been sick all weekend. Luckily this is only the 2nd time he’s been sick…ever, but this means we aren’t used to seeing him like this and we want our lil’ Calvin back. We went to the doctor and he just has the really bad cold that’s going around…so guess who else has it now? Yours truly. Isn’t this true to life though – you’re feelin’ good, feelin’ good, and then a detour comes along, which can throw a wrench in the entire week. January…you’re winning, but not for long…
I shared this instagram post last week about my new year goal. It’s not something I WANT to do – it’s something I NEED to do in order to keep my sanity. Or did I lose it along time ago? My goal this year is to put my physical and mental health first. I seem to have put myself on the back burner for too long at the end of 2016 and honestly it’s really taken a toll on every aspect of my life. I know I will write more about this in the future because I’m realizing just how important making time to take of yourself truly is – and how easy it is to not. Having kid(s) means having to deliberately set aside time for yourself – one of the biggest things I’ve had to overcome as a new mom. So, in 2017, I’m making this a priority.
There are 5 things I started committing to consistently and I already am starting to feel a bit more grounded & on track for the year. They all seem like common sense but are super easy to slack on or forget in the midst of such busy, busy weeks!
|Keep Fresh Groceries in the House|
Anyone who knows me well knows that I really dislike grocery shopping – one my least favorite activities, but so important! It’s kind of like going to the gym…once I’m there, I don’t mind doing it! Shopping on the outside parameter of the store and having fresh, natural ingredients in stock at home guarantees you’ll have something healthy to grab or make at any time. It’s the best decision for your health and your wallet. Now that Calvin is starting to eat “real” foods it’s really stretching us to make sure we have a surplus of good food ready. It’s one thing if we slack on our healthy eating momentarily, but we cannot for Calvin. Honestly, in the busyness of 2016, we ate worse than we should have, and slacked in this area big time. Craig usually goes to the grocery but I am going to try and take on this responsibility more often and make it a weekly (quick) trip.
What are some common items on my grocery list?
Organic, lean meets (chicken, ground turkey, turkey burgers) – we probably only eat red meat once a month
Carrots, raspberries, bananas, peppers, lettuce, avocado
Bagged salads – easy to grab for lunch (choose ones with oil based dressings)
Natural lunch meets and cheese from the deli section
Brown rice, oatmeal
Steam fresh vegetables – so easy for dinner sides!
Red Onion (one of my favorite ingredients for cooking), Cilantro
Cheese sticks/Eggs/Yogurt – vanilla greek or the 100 cal greek chobani mix-ins (so good)
Salsa, hummus, guacamole
Organic Beech-nut baby foods and pouches – I try to buy organic or natural while I can still control what he’s eating!
Whole wheat tortillas & english muffins (with PB is one of my favorites)
Calvin’s current favorites? bananas, cheese, raspberries


What am I missing? Any recommendations?
|Keep a (visual) Calendar|
img_1864^not the fanciest, but it works!
Get a monthly dry erase calendar and put it somewhere you look every day. Mine is on the countertop in the kitchen and I use it to write down appointments, events and most importantly, plan workouts. This is much like writing your goals – if you jot them down, you are more likely to commit and see  it through. It’s not the end of the world if I miss a workout as I will just adjust the schedule, but this is helping to keep me accountable.
It also helps on the days that you just DON’T want to get moving. You can look back and see how far you’ve come that month and use it as motivation to keep going. Check off the days as you go. Put up pictures of what inspires you, or write out a new favorite quote for that month. Get creative, and keep it in front of you! The quote that is helping me this month: “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” I have to do these things for myself and keep up with them in order to provide for and be the best me for the others in my life.
Get mine here.
|Make Coffee at Home|
I think we are all guilty of going through phases where we buy coffee every day, aka me on maternity leave and then for a few months after…. this is another habit that is bad for the waist line and your bank account. If you drink coffee every day, make it at home! I have a 30+ minute commute so I like to take that time to enjoy my coffee. Since I only need one cup, I have the single serving Keurig. Get a to-go mug that you love, take 2 minutes to pop in a k-cup (hello Starbucks from home) and buy natural ingredients for fixing. My personal favorites are natural creamer & either Organic Honey or Organic Blue Agave as a sweetener (in very small doses because these are still added sugars) Say this with me: I WILL STOP USING ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS. There are already enough hidden sweeteners in the foods we eat, don’t add them into your daily coffee where you can actually control the ingredients.
|Drink More Water|
Image result for water image
GUYS. I also don’t like drinking water. What’s wrong with me? Sometimes I feel like my thirst button doesn’t work. This year I am MAKING myself drink more water. For my energy levels, my skin, my hydration and overall well-being. I noticed I was starting to get headaches every day around 3 pm and often felt nauseous. And no, I’m not pregnant again – it was because I wasn’t drinking enough water. I have also been trying to get in the habit of drinking a large glass in the morning before I eat or drink anything else and then at least 50 ounces throughout the day. I have noticed a huge difference in sustained energy.
Using a cup that holds 20+ ounces and has a straw makes me drink the most. I’m loving these type of cups: Plastic Mason Jar Tumbler.
|Be Present|

Sometimes I get anxious that I haven’t been present enough mentally during this time in my life. As an extreme multi-tasker, it doesn’t always allow me to focus on ONE thing and take it all in. Having a baby, a full time job, a blog, a fiance…the list goes on and on of different areas that need my attention each day. I want to try to minimize the things I’m trying to do at once and BE PRESENT. I want to make a conscious effort to focus on one thing at a time – and remember that right after work, it’s strictly Calvin time where we can play and enjoy each other’s company uninterrupted. When I’m exercising, I’m taking those 20 minutes to give it 100%. When I’m writing, I’m not trying to answer work emails and vice versa. When I’m talking to Craig, I’m not browsing instagram. I definitely need to dive into this one a bit more – let me know if you have any tips for growing in this habit.

Okay friends, what am I missing? What are your goals for 2017? Any of these overlap with yours? I need to know 🙂 Catch up with you all soon!!


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HIIT: The Most Efficient Workout For Your Busy Schedule

OKAY OKAY – we’re already deep into another week! How does that happen?  Anyways, this means a full new week of work, meetings, calls, taking care of baby, prepping him for daycare each day, picking up from daycare each day, making dinner, keeping up on laundry, cleaning up after ourselves, packing lunch, blogging, and last but not least – trying to fit in exercise.
BUT, Thank God (seriously, thank you God *insert praying hands emoji*) for my all time favorite type of workouts: HIIT 

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. Basically you can kill cardio & strength at the same time. 
My favorite benefits to this type of training:
  • Efficient – short, intense interval workouts can produce results similar to longer, slower cardio workouts in a much quicker time period.
  • No gym or equipment necessary – Clear a room in your home, grab a glass of water, and go. The best for when you have the busiest day and cannot clear time to make it to the gym (which is now most days!) I do recommend a workout mat and some free weights for the times you want to add some intensity with weight.
  • Continual fat burn – not only does the intensity of the workout allow you to burn more fat in a shorter period of time, you will also continue to burn fat for up to 24 hours following the workout
  • The Challenge – I actually feel like I got a REALLY hard ass workout after a HIIT session. I’m one of those people who isn’t satisfied unless you can feel it the next day. Trust me when I say your muscles will feel and respond to your workout for multiple days.
  • Different exercises each time – much less repetitive than running, elliptical, or cycling. It’s almost impossible to run out of HIIT routines. I like to make up my own, but when I don’t feel like thinking, I head to Bodyrock.tv. So many free videos that can be sent straight to your inbox. They also have a new subscription service called SweatFlix – all of the videos they’ve ever created are in one spot for 9.99/month.
I’ve been doing HIIT workouts for years and have made my sisters, cousins, friends, and co-workers participate with me… Haha, love me a good workout partner! When I lived in Cincinnati, I started and taught a corporate bootcamp called Sweat Suits at my workplace and we focused on body weight HIIT exercises. This means almost everything we did, required little to no equipment outside of your own body weight (just like it sounds.) I taught HIIT workouts 2x/week for 2 years with a group of awesome individuals and can honestly say I was the strongest, and in the best shape of my life during those 2 years. Ah, the good old days.

My favorite time intervals are 50/10 – this means you are going all out for 50 seconds, and ‘resting’ for 10. Long enough to get in the zone – short enough that you can tell yourself, “I can do anything for less than a hot minute.” Chose your # of exercises and repeat those in as many sets as you’d like. I usually pick a set of 4 exercises and repeat 3-4 times, depending on how I’m feeling.
In those 4 exercises I choose, I love to create what I call “combos”, or exercises that target multiple muscle groups at once. For example, instead of just doing squats as one of the 4, I’ll add a squat + shoulder press and now I’m engaging the upper and lower body in just “one” exercise.
Here’s an example:
5-10 minute warm-up (jog, jumping jacks, quick stretch)
Standard burpee with pushup (hold 5-8lb free weights)*
Squat jacks – bending down to touch opposite hand to foot*
(On hands) 4 Plank jacks + 4 side crunches bringing knee to elbow*
Back lunge with simultaneous bicep curl + step up & lift knee to chest. Split half time on right, half on left*
5 minute ab burnout (bicycles)
5 min stretch
(repeat the set of exercises in bold 3 times through)

Get the look:

Incredible by Victorias Secret Sport Bra
I legit could barely do exercises with my feet coming off the ground before I found this sports bra. It is made for high-impact and comes in actual bra sizes. I highly recommend for post-partum OR anyone who needs some extra support! Need. every. color. stat.
Knockout by Victorias Secret Capri
The best black workout capris. Period. They are the good ones that come up justttt high enough to suck everything in! Again, need. every. color. stat.
product photo
Old Navy Go-Dry V-Back Long Sleeve
Nike Women’s Flex Trainer

 I’m somehow just now discovering how amazing the VSX line is at Victoria’s Secret is…who else swears by their sport clothing?  Any other pieces I need?
Talk so soon!


Bomb Breakfast Burritos

Let me preface this post by saying I do not consider myself a food blogger, a food photographer, or a domestic goddess in the kitchen. In fact, I am quite the opposite & kind of lazy when it comes to cooking. It has to be SIMPLE with a minimal amount of ingredients or it gets overwhelming and I shut down all together. I know it sounds dramatic. When I left for college my parents were actually concerned with how I would survive…much to their surprise, I made it (cue: “look at me now”) 🎧
If this sound like you, then you are in the right place! I will only post meals from time to time that I truly find delicious, healthy-ish, and that are quick & easy to make! I made this burrito in about 5 min, rushing around with a baby staring at me…probably thinking, “what is she even doing?”
I have officially graduated from breakfast sandwiches to breakfast BURRITOS. When I find a clean, easy recipe I tend to wear it out – so right now I’m in a scrambled egg/salsa/avocado burrito phase. So yummy and filling! It’s an entire meal in one tortilla.
I don’t really count macros or calories, esp since I’m breastfeeding & exercising right now, and need to make sure I’m eating enough. My goal is to simply be choosing clean ingredients in what I am making, when I can.  I do know that this burrito has around 30g of protein! If you are looking to cut out some calories or fats, you can remove the cheese, avocado, and/or tortilla for a simple egg scramble. I’m not a fan of giving up food groups – all in moderation. 

olive oil or non-stick spray
whole wheat tortilla
1/2 avocado
2 eggs
1 cup spinach 
1/4 cup chopped red onion 
1/4 cup skim sharp cheddar 
2 tbsp.tomato salsa 
protein of your choice – I used honey ham, but bacon is awesome too
pepper to taste
*Although more expensive, I try to choose organic ingredients when available and I ALWAYS choose organic, all-natural, antibiotic free, etc, etc, meats. Nature’s Promise is my grocery chain’s organic brand.

Step 1: Scramble two eggs in a bowl with a dash of skim milk

Step 2: Chop red onion & honey ham, separate out spinach and begin to saute in pan with non-stick spray or olive oil

Step 3: Pour eggs on top & scramble into veggies – sprinkle on sharp cheddar & pepper



Step 4: Warm tortilla in microwave for 20 seconds

Step 5: slice avocado and spread 1/2 onto tortilla


Step 6: transfer eggs onto tortilla


Step 7: top with 2 tbsp. organic salsa


* ENJOY! *
I hope you all had an amazing Mother’s Day & that your weeks are off to a great start!
❤ Kayla



“Get Well Soon” Smoothie Goodness 

First off, you may have noticed that I have added a new menu to the blog : Health & Fitness, which has always been a passion of mine. I didn’t add this section to the blog right away because I slightly fell off the wagon and did not want to give health advice during pregnancy, as I’m still learning myself. Prior to pregnancy and starting “Kayla Marie,” I was an avid fitness nut and bootcamp teacher – more to come on this post-baby 😊

For now, the first post in this section will be a Vitamin C “Get Well Soon” smoothie recipe. 🍹 Turns out the holidays, traveling, planning for baby, have decided to catch up to us this weekend and we’ve been a bit under the weather. This has caused me to pick up an old habit, and one that was much needed…making homemade smoothies. I’m not going to lie– we definitely overdid it over the break with unhealthy eating and holiday indulgences, which is probably another reason we got sick. Note that this smoothie was made with the intention to incorporate a large amount of Vitamin C, calcium, and overall nutrition to help cure us back to health, not for post-workout, weight loss, etc, which are likely different recipes I’ll be posting in the future.

 As long as you have your fruit (frozen or fresh), some juice, and yogurt, proportions aren’t super important, as you really can’t mess this up. The ingredients above are some options, but I didn’t put everything in at once.

“Get Well Soon” Smoothie 

  • 1 cup OJ or fresh fruit juice (you can use skim milk or almond milk as a base as well)
  • 1 container vanilla Greek yogurt (you can use any flavor you’d like)
  • 1 banana
  • 2 cups Frozen fruit mixture
  • Blend!

Choose your fruit blend based on the type of taste you’d like. For a citrusy taste use pineapple, mangos, oranges. To off-set some of the citrus, use a berry medley. I used both! If you use all fresh fruit, add some ice to give it the cold, icy texture. Frozen fruit will do this on its own. My concoctions usually make about 2 – 16 oz. glasses. Also, I’m weird and like to eat with a spoon…Enjoy!

💕 Kayla