I have this vivid memory of a time I cannot pinpoint but a plan I remember so well. If I’m being honest, it was likely in high school or maybe even sometime in college, but I’d like to think it was when I was under the age of 10 – innocent, carefree, and having no idea how life really ends up going. This memory is of a plan of how my 20s would be – I’d be married by around 23 and with my first child around 25, second a year or two later, and be done with bearing children by 30 so that I could be a young mom. I also had plans my whole life, until my junior year of college (where I’d have met the father of these children I was planning to have) to be a teacher.

Today, I’m 2 days from turning 30 – single, childless, living in an apartment in the suburbs, and working as a therapist in a juvenile jail.

These two stories – the plan I made and reality – do not line up… not even remotely.

This reality is hard to swallow at times. Mostly the reality of being single and without a family of my own, as I watch friends have child number 3, 4, and 5 and the last of the single friends start to pair off. This became very obvious when I started thinking about inviting people to my birthday dinner – I would be the only one there without another on my check, the only one arriving alone. To MY birthday dinner. I had recently started bargaining with God, “Can I at least be in a serious relationship with someone to share my 30th birthday with? Please?”. Unless I invite someone from Bumble that I just met, I’ll be going solo. Again.

This is not easy, and it’s not what I had in mind. Today at church the pastor spoke on singleness and had every single person stand up and be prayed over (thank goodness I was sitting in the balcony where I don’t normally so I couldn’t look around to see all the single guys also standing up – that is not the point of this, Kara). It was a difficult blessing. Then, I was driving to the store to buy my single-lady list of groceries and an older man and his wife flagged me down in the middle of the road (both of us in cars) to tell me my engine sounded funny and I should get it checked. Then we met again in the Trader Joe’s parking lot where he apologized for stopping me mid-road and asked if I had a boyfriend or husband who could help me with my car. I laughed as I went into the store thinking about the irony of his question after the sermon this morning.

No, I don’t have a husband or a boyfriend but I do have a family and some great friends. I have people I can’t count on, but it’s learning to let people help me that I need to work on.

It is difficult when life doesn’t go as planned. I am so thankful for so many things I get to do because I am single, that I cannot be sure I’d get to if I were married with children. I bought myself flowers at the store, made a point to strike up conversation with the cashier, and smiled at people I passed – because marriage is not the only relationship we should care about. I came home and put on my Sunday best (my lululemon pants I can splurge on because I have no children to buy clothes for), cooked some chili (extra spicy because that’s how I like it and don’t have to worry about how my husband prefers his chili), put on football on the TV (there’s no one to argue with about what to watch), and ate breakfast for lunch.

I worry about getting too selfish during this singleness and not knowing how to do life with another person. But God has begun to show me that I shouldn’t be living selfish but should be pouring into other people and connecting with my family of friends. He’s been teaching me to work on loving people like they’re the single most important in my life. I haven’t even gotten close to this (but to be fair this is a lesson I just started learning a week or two ago) and I have a long way to go. Fortunately, I am single and I can pour into other people more than I could if I had a family to take care of.

And you know what? While my original plan isn’t even remotely reality, there are a lot of things I’ve done that I never planned or dreamed.



Rest and Recovery


There have been times in my life where I have worked out every single day, sometimes twice a day. The way I think often is that if I work out, I won’t get fat, and then people will like me. I mean, those aren’t the thoughts that are on the surface, but when I think about why I feel so guilty about skipping the gym, those are some of the root thoughts.

And what I just said there is part of the issue – “skipping the gym”. I feel most guilty when I don’t plan ahead or things come up and I don’t make it to the gym or for a run. There are days I know I won’t have much time for a workout. Actually, I’ll have all kinds of time for a workout but it’s the getting back to looking like a non-sweaty mess afterwards that I don’t have time for. These days, if I plan ahead well, I’ll work out early in the morning or PLAN to have  a rest day. But there are some days where my schedule is unexpectedly busy and things come up. Those days I miss the gym and I get irritated.

But, lately I’ve really learned the value of scheduling my rest times, just like I’d schedule a long run or a 1 rep max deadlift (my favorite!) day. It started when my first coach was asking me goals for programming. I started to question why I was at the gym and what working out meant to me. It continued when I started studying for my Precision Nutrition certification and I learned how important nutrition was and if I was so worried about missing a workout, maybe something was wrong with my diet. It didn’t stop when my second coach started hammering in rest to me based on different energy systems and other big concepts I didn’t (and still don’t ) totally understand. I realized that rest would breed better workouts when I was at the gym. I also learned that planning those rest days made me feel like I was on target, not falling behind. 

Yesterday I listened to a podcast by Being Boss interviewing a friend of mine who owns a gym here in Dayton. There was a lot of great information and Jason is so well spoken but also incredibly knowledgable, but one thing I took away was the value of rest. I don’t even remember what was said, but I remember gaining a deeper appreciate for resting my hard-working body.

I still don’t do an incredible job with scheduling rest days, but I have improved a lot. And my thoughts about them have become more positive. I have started to notice when I am constantly feeling exhausted no matter the amount of sleep I’ve gotten, a rest day may be just what I need.

Other GREAT articles about rest:

Built Lean – 7 Signs You’re Training Too Much

Training Think Tank – Training Break (written by the previous owner of my gym and all around boss-lady!)

Training Think Tank – Resting to Win

Breaking Muscle – 7 Essential Elements of Rest and Recovery

Sweet Potato Bacon Hash (paleo, gf)

Lately I feel like I have been very boring in my eating. Basically I pack a salad and some protein for lunch and eat eggs, toast and a veggie for dinner. I mean almost daily. Zzz, snooze!

So this weekend I had a bit of time to actually prep some food and had a kid of sweet potatoes laying around.  So, I made this super easy recipe. I like recipes like this because you make it and while its cooking have time to clean up the dishes or prep some other food – and that’s exactly what I did! 

Sweet Potato Bacon Hash (paleo, gluten free)

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 8 strips bacon
  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt, pepper, seasoned salt – to taste

Directions: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cube sweet potatoes and rinse with water; let dry. While potatoes are drying, fry bacon in a skillet; remove bacon and let cool then crumble. Cook onions in fat until brown. Set aside browned onions and bacon (crumbled). In a large bowl toss cubed sweet potatoes with olive oil and seasoning. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven and mix with bacon and onions. 


I’m Baaack!

Oh, friends.

I have missed you. You probably didn’t even realize I was gone, but I was and I have missed you.

After a trip to California, I decided I’d take the rest of the summer off. And quite frankly, it’s good I did because the past couple months have been SO BUSY. I did end up quitting my second job so now I have my weekends back – all the praise hands!

While I quit my job, I added a new business to my life!

Have you heard of Rodan + Fields? If you haven’t, it’s about to BLOW UP so I’m glad I get to  be the first to tell you about it!

R + F is a skincare company started by the same dermatologists who started Proactive. The company started in 2002 and was sold in stores like Nordstrom and Macy’s right next to brands like Clinique and Estee Lauder. In 2008 the brand was totally out of department stores and the company became a direct selling brand.

Since 2010, the company’s revenues have grown nearly ten-fold, reaching $56.90 million in 2011, $109.48 million in 2012 and $196 million in 2013 and $330 million in 2014.

The number of Rodan + Fields consultants has also grown considerably, from 7,500 in 2008 to more than 50,000 in 2014.

The company is g-r-o-w-i-n-g. Right now we are in the U.S. and Canada and by the end of 2016 will be launching in Australia.

If you want to check out my personal consultant site, you can go here.

Read about some great reasons to join here.






Memorial Day Murph

If you’ve ever been around the Crossfit world, you may have heard of a workout called “Murph”(great info on the reason we do Murph by Box Life Magazine found here). Last year was the first time I did it, and I did a partner scaled version because I was still pretty new to the Crossfit world. It ended up being pretty easy for me doing it that way and I didn’t feel like I gave much. This year I decided I really wanted it to suck because I feel like that is part of the point… So, I decided to do the full murph.

I battled between breaking it up to 5-10-15 (which was suggested) and 3-6-9 (with the first one being 4-7-10). Since I was doing strict pull-ups, I thought breaking it down to 3 would be better. But the first way is 20 rounds and the second is 33. The 33 just seemed a bit more terrifying. I actually ended up doing most at 5-10-15 but then did some rounds of 5-5-5-5-5 (pull-ups, squats, push-ups, squats, push-ups, squats) and did jumping pull-ups with the last half of push-ups on knees.My total time was 49:12.



Peanut Butter Date Balls

I am an early riser. Sometimes this can be a pain, like nights where I’m out late with friends and just want to sleep until… at least 7, but sometimes it’s a blessing. Today, I woke up a little after 6 and went for a run on the ‘ole treadmill at the gym. I did this little grinder, to try and save my legs for tomorrow’s Memorial Day Murph:

  • 30 minutes run – increase speed by .1 every minute from 6.0-7.5 and then back down.
  • 5 minute walk or jog
  • 6 minute highest incline walk
  • 4 minute tabata at 10 mph speed
  • 6 minute highest incline walk
  • 2 minute cool down walk

When I got home I still had a couple hours before church so I did a lot of food prep and preparing for my trip to California – I leave Wednesday! Part of that food prep was making these little energy balls:

Peanut Butter Date Balls


  • 1 cup oat flour (approximately 2 cups ground oats)
  • 10 pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter (I used smooth and crunchy)
  • 1/4 cup Walden Farms Pancake Syrup (or maple syrup of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 scoops protein powder (I used Vega One Nutritional Shake and ImPrettyFit vanilla)
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions: mix all ingredients but chocolate chips in food processor; once mixture forms a crumby dough that molds together when formed, add chocolate chips and pulse a few times to mix. Form into balls and enjoy!

Makes approximately 35 balls, 6f/9c/4p

Sweet Potato Brussels Sprouts Hash

Last week at my house church we had the theme of breakfast for dinner. The signup quickly was full of egg dishes and sweet breads so I was trying to think of something savory to bring.

Enter: Sweet Potato Brussels Sprout Hash.

Two of  my favorite veggies in one!

Sweet Potato Brussels Sprout Hash (paleo, gluten free, refined sugar free)


  • 4 cups cubed sweet potatoes (I left skin on)
  • 4 cups quartered Brussels sprouts
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1/2-1 C chopped bell pepper (I used red, yellow and orange as I had leftover mini peppers to use before they went bad)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Bring 8 cups of water to a boil, add sweet potatoes and cook approximately 10 minutes until soft. While sweet potatoes cook, heat oil in skillet; add onion, peppers, and garlic and cook for a few minutes until onions are tender. Add in Brussels sprouts and cover. Stir occasionally.  Drain sweet potatoes from water and add to Brussels sprout mixture. Continue to cook approx. 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and enjoy!

    Paleo Banana Bread

    I made a joke one time that I buy all the single bananas at the store because “us single ladies gotta stick together.” While this was a joke, it’s also kind of true. I buy the single bananas at the store, because there is no reason for them to be there all alone. Those single bananas deserve love just like those in relationships bunches. The other day the grocery shelves were filled with single bananas, so I had to help out as many as possible. But here I am a few days later with lots of uneaten bananas. Fortunately, I love baking with bananas so it’s actually a pleasure when they start to go bad.

    Is this not the truest thing you’ve read all day!?

    I decided to give a paleo banana bread recipe a try, and it turned out quite well. It’s a good post-workout snack because it has healthy carbs from the bananas plus some protein from the eggs and some healthy fats, without being too heavy. It’s super simple and a great use of those old naners!


    Paleo Banana Bread (grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free, paleo)


    • 2 eggs
    • 3 egg whites
    • 3 medium overly ripe bananas, mashed
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1/4 cup almond milk
    • 1 tbsp vanilla
    • 2 tsp Baking Soda
    • 2 1/4 cups almond flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

    Directions: preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a loaf pan.

    1. mix eggs, banana, honey, coconut milk, and vanilla;
    2. in separate bowl mix baking soda, almond flour, salt, and cinnamon;
    3. combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well,
    4. pour in pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until brown on top and toothpick comes out clean.



    Chocolate Mug Cake Recipe + Mug Cake Roundup

    Oh, cake – I don’t love you like I love cookies, but I sure do love you.

    The more I work on cleaning up my diet the more I just want something sweet. I mean, that’s probably not true because I always want sweet things, but it feels like it, okay?! Donut judge me.

    I’ve done multiple google searches lately for mug cakes because mug cakes are the perfect, easy 1-serving treat. You get to eat cake and not have a lot left over to eat for the next 3 hours, I mean days.

    I have a pretty standard recipe I use, but love to look around for others!

    Chocolate Mug Cake


    • 2 T chocolate protein powder
    • 2 T cocoa powder
    • 1/4 t baking soda
    • 1/2 T coconut sugar
    • dash salt
    • 1 egg white
    • 1 T almond milk (or other liquid)
    • 1 T applesauce (or mashed banana, pumpkin, butter, coconut oil)
    • 1/8 t vanilla
    • optional: nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit

    Directions: mix all ingredients and transfer to microwave safe and greased bowl or mug. Cook for 1.5 minutes.

    Check these out and give them a try!

    Have your own recipe? Share it in the comments below!

    Why the Why

    I have been working out for a long time now but only recently did I sit down and really think about why I wanted to work out every day. The coach who was doing my program design (which is like personal training) asked me to think of some specific goals – both for the gym and my personal/professional life. Can I just be honest? I struggled. When I thought about it, long and hard, I realized this: I was working out to look good, so that people would like me. 

    I mean, there was a lot more involved but when I really thought about it, it all went back to that. Sure, I enjoy fitness and I need to move and I like being healthy. But when I thought about the times I couldn’t make it to the gym and how I felt about that, it was never “oh man, I can’t make it to the gym today now my heart won’t be healthy;” or, “I missed the gym today because I was at work all day so now I can’t move around and I’ll go crazy.” Yes, those played a small role. But mostly, my thought pattern would lead back to, “I didn’t work out today. I will get fat. People will judge me and not like me.” My heart was hurt and my mind was a little shocked. When I realized that, I was overwhelmed with how much I was considering the opinions of others.

    So… I wrote to my coach that I wanted to spend 1 night/week not at the gym but out with friends. I also said I wanted to develop a new hobby. I wanted to be more than fitness and have a social life outside of all my gym friendships. Those things are good, but when they start to define who I am, they’ve become an issue. 

    Today, I read an article by my nutrition coach that she wrote on a blog. She discussed relationship with food and asking ourselves why we are eating or what our goal is. She said this,

    “I’m a stress-eater and am forever reminding myself of what I want my relationship with food to be – fuel for my performance and body composition NOT comfort or stress release.”

    Whoa. Yes. Me too. She then challenges us to step back and determine what we want our relationship with food to be like – not what we want the outcome to be. Do I want to use food to fuel my body and contribute to my health or do I want to use it to make me feel better after a hard day for a few minutes before making me feel awful for lack of self-control? Do I want to eat that #iifym dessert but feel bloated and heavy or do I want to eat a piece of chocolate and then go for a walk to feel satisfied after a meal?

    The why is important. So often in life we go along just doing, just reacting but rarely are we thinking. We live in a world full of reactions where people are posting/speaking without thinking of those who will read/hear what they’re saying. We want immediate response and we live in the moment (can you say #yolo) but we aren’t very good at considering why we do things or what the outcome will be. This doesn’t just apply to fitness or food, but to everything you do.

    Take some time to consider why – why you do everything you do. Take some time to write out your goals, your dreams, your ideals. Take time to consider why. 

    Training Think Tank – #transformationtuesday (article referenced above)

    Goal Setting (an article I wrote awhile ago for my friends at UFit Murfeesboro, TN)