Rose: Taking a Rest

I’m serious about my rest days. M will often ask me on a Sunday if I want to go hiking. “No way,” I’ll say. “It’s my rest day.” I need that recovery and a day to do absolutely nothing.

Rest days are especially important for those who exercise. I’m currently following Focus T25, Gamma phase, which centers around “getting ripped.” I’m looking to gain lean muscle mass, and so, it’s important for me to rest my muscles so they can strengthen and grow. Right now I am using dumbbells, in some form or another, nearly every day. So my days to rest are cherished.

But what about rest days that aren’t exercise-related? Like mental health days? Or rest and recovery days so you don’t get sick? Well those, I’m not so good at.


As this week has progressed, I continue to feel myself getting more worn down. In the midst of work stresses, I’ve also had a slew of issues with my cat, causing me to run around a bit frantically. Plus, it’s Christmas and so on, and so on. You know the excuses.

I’ve always been one to charge ahead, even if I am under the weather. I think this stems back to the days of my father saying, “Just tough it out,” when I thought I needed to go to the hospital (I never actually needed to go). I always think I can just continue on, but I’m learning the hard way that not only is rest important for my body – it’s important for my overall health.

So tonight, my plan is simple. Go home, get in my 25-minute workout and have a nice dinner. Perhaps I’ll do a bit of packing for my trip, or perhaps I won’t. I’ll enjoy the comforts of my cozy apartment and long-stretching couch. I’ll finally do something to get this cold to go away. I’ll drink tea. I’ll (maybe) read a book. I won’t think about anything I have to do, and focus on what I need to do to feel better.

How do you rest?


Rose: Christmas Crafts

Every Christmas I try and outdo myself from the year. I try and make better cards and better crafts. Eventually, this system will get the best of me. But this year, I’m still feeling satisfied with what I’ve crafted.

In recent years I did the whole handmade gift thing. While I enjoyed the process, I spent way too much money on citric acid (for homemade bath salts). Plus I’m not sure whether people actually used them. So, I focused on the outer shell of my gifts this year.

I was inspired by a class at Paper Source that I never actually attended (I went on the wrong night). Of course, I paid the $25 to attend, and so I demanded the materials. Not knowing what I was doing, I made these crafts up based on what materials they gave me. I was especially pleased with how they turned out – especially the snowman fellow.


The box was quite beautiful, too, so I saved it for my boss. The other jars and packages went to my new coworkers. I filled them with treats from Thomas Sweet, a candy store in town. Everyone was quite pleased with what they received.

I didn’t go too crazy this year. These gifts and my cards took plenty of hours to create. Perhaps next year I’ll get back into the handmade gift thing. We’ll see in another year. 🙂

Do you craft for the holidays?

Jenna: Simple Tahini Dressing recipe

I love salad dressing. I stumbled upon a  yogurt based ranch a few months ago that was life changing (only 45 calories a serving). I always want to make my own for a healthier option, but most of them require equipment and ingredients that I don’t have. I’m pretty against spending $15 on items to make something like dressing, so I started messing around with stuff in my kitchen last night and really like this one that I came up with. It does require tahini, but I happened to have some on hand from making hummus (another excellent investment considering it can push $5 a container).

Simple Tahini Dressing: 
Equal parts tahini, apple cider vinegar and olive oil. I did about 3 tablespoons of each.

Whisk quickly. It’ll be pretty thick at this point, so add water until you get the consistency you want. Continue to whisk. Salt and Pepper to taste. I also added the juice of one lime. Yum!


Last night added some of this to a mix of chickpeas, tomato, broccoli and onion. It made a delicious little salad as a side to some protein.


Have you ever made your own dressing? What’s your favorite kind?

Rose: Soon it will be … Christmas Day

Sundays at home have become one of my favorite days. Snuggling in, taking care of crafts and projects, cooking large pots of soup. I get so much accomplished during these peaceful days. And yesterday, with Jersey’s first snow fall, it was quite perfect indeed.

Every year I make my own Christmas cards, which has become quite the feat. I’ve been doing this since 2008, and my list of recipients has nearly doubled since then! Nevertheless, I enjoy coming up with new ideas for these cards and writing personal messages. This weekend, amidst a 6K and fun in Philadelphia with some friends, I finished writing out all 75+ cards for family and friends. It feels good to have these ready to go; they’ll ship tomorrow.

Not only that, but I wrapped ALL of my Christmas presents. I have a big family, so this took a straight two hours. Thank goodness I’ve found The Killing on Netflix to keep me occupied. I watched many an episode yesterday.


I was also able to make a banner for my upcoming Ugly Sweater Party – “Merry” with triangle flags. I love the way it turned out. And I decided that instead of buying “real art,” I think I’ll just start decorating with banners like these. A word for every month. Or something like that. It’s much cheaper, and it gives me a reason to work with my hands!

When life gets too busy, these Sundays are simply perfect. I pound it out, day after day – working, eating, sleeping, exercising. It feels good to have time to delight in the simple joys of a holiday season.

How are you getting ready for Christmas?

Rose: The 3-Day Shakeology Cleanse

I once said this thing about Cleveland: It’s not as bad as you’d think. And I think I’ll use that same mantra for the 3-Day Shakeology Performance Cleanse. I feel lighter, leaner and all around better since I finished the cleanse. And I dropped 4.4 pounds (for those of you who care about numbers).


Why I Tried It

My weight loss plateaued a while ago. And, while I am probably fitter than I’ve ever been, I was looking to get just a bit leaner. I also overate throughout the Thanksgiving holiday and pounded my body with unclean foods. I arrived home feeling bloated and tired. I wanted a pick-me-up, and I remembered this cleanse.

Many of my FitFam friends have tried the cleanse before and detoxed their system of all the nasty stuff. All of them reported feeling lighter and leaner. And while I have never been a fan of juice cleanses or anything like that, I wanted to try it at least once in my life. The Shakeology cleanse appealed to me for several reasons:

  • I am already drinking the product and know how it works.
  • It’s a calorie-restricted cleanse – but dense in nutrients. I knew I’d still be getting 800-1,200 calories per day (anything less, and I could kill.)
  • It follows the five-meals-per-day plan, which I’m also following.
  • It’s only three days.

Due to my work schedule, I modified my cleanse, swapping my dinners and lunches. I also decided to drink two to three shakes per day with a banana. I consumed 6 oz. of coffee each morning. As you can see, I didn’t follow the cleanse to the T but modified it based on my personal needs. Despite this, I still saw results.

The Good

While I am not a fan of the scale, I do find it occasionally helpful to measure my progress. And I lost 4.4 pounds, as noted above. My clothes fit much better, and my stomach was much less bloated. I ended the cleanse feeling so much lighter, refreshed and energized. I’m also noticing that I now get fuller faster since I’ve completed.

The cleanse is most definitely a test of your mental willpower. I never wanted to give up, but I often questioned why I was doing it. Would it be worth it? In those moments, I found myself wondering about the lives of those who are truly hungry. And I felt grateful for my life.

I also realized that I don’t need as much food as I eat to survive. At night, I always treat myself to an apple smeared with natural PB. Not a bad thing, but eating so close to my bedtime probably isn’t necessary. Sometimes I do it just out of habit. The same applies to my half n’ half addiction. I don’t need to dump five containers into my morning coffee.

Oh, and my skin is clearer and smoother. I immediately noticed that some areas of redness went away.

The Bad

Days 2 & 3 are a real struggle. Day 1 was, by far, the easiest. I was motivated and stuck to it. But on Day 3 came the intense hunger, especially at night. The hour or so before bedtime was usually the worst. I found myself going to bed earlier, just so I could focus on something else. That’s when I felt some of the headaches. The afternoons, at work, were especially hard to concentrate. But I’d often wake up the next day feeling great.

I had the Shakeology, so it wasn’t a big expense, but it could be for some. And they do get old after you’ve had 5 in two days. I also tried Vanilla Shakeology during the cleanse and hated it (you must add strawberries to that flavor!).

In terms of digestion, I can report that nothing bad happened to me there. I was (for lack of a better word) regular throughout the cleanse. I did drink a ton of water, forcing me to take bathroom breaks nearly every hour.


I would, without a doubt, do this again. It is designed so that you can only do it every three months. I see this as a nice reset following a holiday. I’d maybe incorporate it once or twice a year. I definitely feel as though it restarted my system and was worth the mental struggle I went through. I especially like that this cleanse doesn’t restrict your calories as much as the juice cleanses you read about. This is important for those who want to work out while going through it. I still completed my T25 workouts and even upped my game a bit. I still felt like I had enough fuel. I’d say it was a win!

Questions? Hit me up in the comments.