Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

The last couple of weeks have been interesting.  Housing hunting in Portland continues to be slightly unpleasant and more competitive than I generally like.  We have seen a little less than 30 homes at this point and have just put in our third offer.  We shall see how it goes!  This has been an interesting process because I spend my working hours with folks who are experiencing homelessness and battling this fiercely competitive housing market in a very different way.  They are fighting just to find any place to live, while I am looking for a home from the comfort of my safe apartment that I can afford.  Despite how frustrating buying a house has been, I finish each day feeling grateful to be in this position.  We are incredibly lucky and I won’t forget that. 🙂

The stress of all of this has sent my sugar cravings through the freaking roof!!  Does anyone else experience this?  You are going through something stressful and you are suddenly the Cookie Monster devouring every sweet in sight!  I’ve been trying to reach for natural sweets, such as dates, but at work I have been slightly less successful.  We get weekly donations of pastries from Starbucks and cupcakes from Saint Cupcake so I am always surrounded by surgary, buttery, bready foods.  It’s intense!


It’s a new week, however, and I am ready to tame the sugar beast!  I am starting this week with a new resolve and hope to access other coping mechanisms for stress.  In addition to my morning work outs, I will try going for a little walk at times where I feel like I need that chocolate cookie staring at me (i.e. when I am feeling particularly stressed).  Other tactics I have found are helpful for me when I am overwhelmed include cleaning (I know, I’m weird) and taking a minute to breathe and drink some water.  I also made some tasty date and nut bites (using this recipe) and can rely on the deliciousness of chocolate Shakeology too!

I made this smoothie for the first time a couple of weeks ago and it really was like drinking a chocolate covered strawberry.  However, instead of a couple strawberries dipped in chocolate, it was a big ol’ glass of cold, creamy, super foods that tasted like ice cream!   Perfect for post-work out or to cool off on a warm afternoon (if you are lucky enough to be in sunny Sping/Summer weather already!).  This has definitely been added to my regular smoothie flavor rotation 🙂

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie |

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

Serves 2

Strawberry Layer

Add to your blender the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 4-5 large organic frozen strawberries
  • 1 scoop Strawberry Shakeology
  • Large handful+ of ice

Blend and pour between two glasses.  Place the glasses in the freezer while you make the chocolate layer.

Chocolate Layer

In your blender, combine:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology (I used the vegan one)
  • 2 tsp almond butter
  • Ice

Pour on top of the strawberry layers and enjoy!

Happy Monday!

Blueberry and Minty Peach Vanilla Shakeology

Hello there!  I hope you had a lovely weekend.  Portland continues to bask in summer’s glory with sunshine, delicious produce, and SO many weekend activities!  It’s hard to keep up with everything that goes on throughout the summer!  

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I am now in week 12 of training for the Portland Marathon and seriously can’t believe the race is only 7 weeks ago!  On Saturday my long run was 16 miles.  16 miles!  That is 3 miles longer than I have ever run before.  It was by no means easy.  It was hot, I got tired, and walked more than I would prefer.  I did, however, finish and that is my main goal for the race.  I’ll keep trucking along and putting my best foot forward with each run 🙂

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Last weekend, Nick and I picked fresh peaches on a farm on Sauvie Island.  We came home with a box of huge, juicy peaches that entice me every time I open the fridge!  With those on hand, along with the huge bag of blueberries I picked on Sauvie Island and froze, I had the perfect solution for lazy summer days.  To keep cool on Sunday before heading to the second day of MusicFest NW, I headed straight for the blender and whipped up a Blueberry and Minty Peach Vanilla Shakeology.  Pure perfection.

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Blueberry and Minty Peach Vanilla Shakeology Recipe:

Serves 2

For the first layer, combine in a blender:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 handfuls of frozen organic blueberries
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology
  • Ice

Blend and split between two large glasses.  If it’s really warm in your house, place the glasses in the freezer while you make the second layer.


For the second layer, combine in a blender:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 organic peaches
  • 6-8 (or to taste) fresh mint leaves
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology

Blend and pour over the first layer in the glasses.  Stick a straw in there and enjoy!  ❤




The 3-Day Refresh

Three Day Refresh chevron


Let me set the stage for you.  It’s the last week of July and 20 people are making their way by plane and automobile from Southern California to my house.  Most of these people have come before and for some, this is their 5th year in a row they have made the trek.  They come for one main attraction: the Oregon Brewer’s Festival.  This incredibly fun group has been visiting NIck and I for the large craft beer festival since we moved to Portland and each year the group has gotten larger.  The only way I can describe this annual event is…wild!  We spend the week drinking beer, eating at their favorite restaurants (so many trips to Pine State Biscuit and Salt and Straw!), staying out until the wee hours of the morning, and… drinking more beer.

Needless to say, this week ends with the strange silence of no longer having 20 people share our tiny living space and our bodies royally hating us.  To cleanse our systems and get back into the swing of our routine of healthy eating and regular exercise, Nick and I decided to give The  3-Day Refresh a try.  The 3-Day Refresh is a new program from Beachbody designed to:

  • Provide a clean break from bad habits
  • Kick-start healthy eating
  • Break through a weight loss plateau
  • Jumpstart a weight loss journey

For 3 days you have the superfood-packed Shakeology for breakfast along with a fruit option; a Fiber Sweep digestive health drink later in the morning; a high-protein Vanilla Fresh shake for lunch, accompanied by fresh fruit, vegetables, and healthy fat options throughout the afternoon.  For dinner, you have another Vanilla Fresh shake along with your choice from a list of delicious, easy-to-prepare dinner recipes, which are provided in the Refresh guidebook.  You can also have tea twice a day and as much filtered water as you like (LOTS! You should drink at least half your body weight in ounces per day).

Refresh dinner 2

How is the Refresh different from other cleanses?  Juice cleanses and other popular short-term cleanses provide incomplete nutrition promoting muscle loss instead of fat loss and can cause a rebound due to the lack of adequate protein, low fiber, and/or high sugar levels.  It’s probably a huge bummer to go through a cleanse only to see the “results” disappear as soon as you begin eating normally again.

So, how did the 3-Day Refresh go for Nick and I?

Nick and I both loved how each day was mostly planned out for us AND we got to make choices on the fruit, vegetables, and dinner options.  This made the Refresh both easy to follow and also added to the sense of satisfaction because if we wanted blueberries, we could have blueberries!

The dinners were really delicious.  We tried the kale salad with lemon juice and almonds (in place of pine nuts, which we didn’t have on hand) and the spinach salad with cucumber, sprouts, tomato and raw pumpkin seeds.  We didn’t have time to try all of the dinner recipes and we definitely plan on trying out the carrot-seaweed medley and Moroccan carrot salad.

Refresh Dinner

We both noticed changes in each other’s bodies, particularly in our bloated stomachs!  I feel really silly to admit this, but we didn’t do the best job at tracking our progress through pictures or measurements.  My “before” and “after” photos were taken in the morning rush between getting out of bed and heading to work, so the light isn’t ideal and neither is the clutter of Reymie’s dog bed and our computer in the background!  In any case, I could see some significant changes, especially in my stomach, over those three days.

Refresh resultsNick lost 5 pounds over the 3 days and realized that he hadn’t been drinking enough water prior to the Refresh.  I was able to concentrate on and avoid my tendency to emotionally eat at work, which usually strikes some time in the early afternoon when I feel like I have way too many things to accomplish in a short amount of time and that nearby sweet or latte somehow provides a little support. During the 3-Day Refresh, I was forced to ask myself, “Am I really hungry right now?” The answer was always, “no, this is stress. Drink more water.”

Despite the fact that I am currently training for Hood to Coast, two half marathons and the Portland Marathon, I took a break from tough workouts for the three days I was on the Refresh.  Although the 3-Day Refresh is a low-calorie program, the shakes and fresh food selections are high in protein and fiber so you feel satiated throughout the day.  You can continue to do light-to-moderate exercise during the Refresh, so I chose to concentrate on walking more with my dog and at work on those days.  I know of people who have continued to do PiYo and felt totally fine, so I’d recommend sticking to what you feel up for.

What didn’t go so well?

I happened to be on-call that week for work.  This means that in the event of a critical incident in any part of the large agency I work for, I need to respond in person.  On the third day of the 3-Day Refresh, not only did I have to deal with my dog panicking until 2am about a lightning storm, I had to respond to a call at work from 3am to 6am.  I then went home, slept for a few hours and went back to work at my regular work site.  Having a disjointed sleep schedule and too few hours of sleep really threw me off.  I always feel more hungry (not exactly hungry – more like “I need chocolate and nothing else will satisfy me,” which is more emotional eating) when I am tired and stressed, so my hectic night made the third day feel slightly hard.  In short, it feels better to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night (regardless of what you’re currently eating throughout the day!).

All in all, I really liked the 3-Day Refresh. I definitely plan to do it again after a particularly indulgent weekend or trip. I think I’ll do it over a weekend next time so I don’t have to worry about work.

Interested in refreshing your eating habits and cleaning out your system?  Have questions about something else?  Drop me an email at OR complete the form under the “Ready to Make a Change?” tab at the top of this page 🙂


Is Shakeology Worth the Price?


You’ve probably seen a whole bunch of excited fitness folks posting pictures of their Shakeology drinks all over the internet and you may be wondering what all the fuss is about and if it is worth the price.  The Shakeology website lists the many healthy ingredients and benefits of adding the supplement to your diet, but what the website doesn’t tell you is how a busy and often broke graduate student can afford a monthly supply.


One way I have made room for Shakeology in my monthly budget is I have prioritized my health and fitness.  By putting healthy living first, I am spending money wisely on quality foods instead of spending it on garbage foods, alcoholic drinks, and going out.  I used to love to stop at one of Portland’s many coffee shops and grab a latte and possibly a snack just about every day.  Furthermore, on long days that I did not prep meals for, I would grab dinner at a nearby restaurant for around $6.  If I have school, my internship, or work 7 days a week, I could be spending between $10 and $70 per week on store bought meals and snacks.  That is $40 to $280 per month just for lunch and a snack!  Yikes!  Replacing those calorie laden lattes and store bought meals with Shakeology and home-cooked meals has saved me money and time and has given me huge rewards in my fitness goals.  Furthermore, ordering Shakeology Home Direct means I don’t pay shipping costs and a new bag arrives at my doorstep every 30 days without me having to remember to order and wait for another bag!  You can set up Home Direct to alternate flavors so you never get bored either.  Acquiring a Team Beachbody Membership gets you 10% off all orders.  Also, being a Team Beachbody Coach gives you a 25% discount.

photo-4I drink Shakeology everyday at lunch time to give me an afternoon boost of more than 20 different antioxidants and phytonutrients, fiber, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, amino acids and protein all in a delicious smoothie.  Who doesn’t like to feel like they are drinking a decadent chocolate milkshake in the midst of a stressful day?  Because my mornings are usually rushed, making Shakeology is a quick way to make sure I have a filling lunch and I won’t need to grab take out while I am at work, school, or internship.  Since adding Shakeology to my daily diet, I have decreased my caffeine intake and can easily resist the multiple cartons of ice cream you’ll find in my freezer at any given time.  Combined with exercise and a clean diet, I have lost 21 pounds since I started drinking Shakeology.

Shakeology comes in 4 flavors, two of which are vegan!  I blend Shakeology with a wide variety of ingredients depending on my mood and nutritional needs including: coconut milk or almond milk, fruit (fresh or frozen), spinach, almond butter, avocado, slivered almonds, oats or coconut oil.  I also use extracts to create a variety of delicious flavors.  To get an idea of the versatility, some recipes for each flavor can be found at the following:

Order Shakeology Home Direct here and I’ll send you a fun free gift to help you get started (or continue) your fitness journey!

Of course, Shakeology is backed by Beachbody’s 30-day Monday Back Guarantee: “If you don’t start to see and feel the benefits of Shakeology within the first month of using it, or if you’re not 100% satisfied for any reason, just return it within 30 days for a full refund of the purchase price, less s&h – guaranteed.  That’s our promise to you.”  You can keep the gift I send you 🙂

As always, if you have questions feel free to email me at

Avocado and Spinach Tropical Shakeology Recipe


Yum!  I tried a new Tropical Shakeology recipe today and I am in love!  I used avocado to give the shake a creamy texture and to reap all of the amazing health benefits of this power fruit!

Some of the health benefits of avocados include: Vitamin B6, folic acid, Vitamin E, monounsaturated fat (healthy fats), potassium, anti-inflammatory properties, carotenoid lutein (promotes eye health), glutathione (powerful antioxidants), and avocados are linked with increased nutrient absorption!

I also used a couple handfuls of spinach to get a healthy, low calorie dose of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, manganese, folate, dietary fiber, calcium, and antioxidants.  Another fun fact about spinach: it improves brain function and protects brain function from premature aging!  Just what a busy girl needs to get through her day!

The shake still has that sweet, delicious taste of the Tropical flavor and definitely does not taste like spinach or avocado – a plus for those who don’t like the taste of either!


In a blender or Magic Bullet cup, mix the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut milk (or almond milk)
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 5-8 raspberries (I use frozen)
  • 1-2 hand fulls of fresh spinach
  • 2-5 ice cubes, to taste (more ice gives more of that smoothie/frappuccino consistency)
  • 1 scoop of Tropical Shakeology

Blend and Enjoy!  🙂