So… I’m starting the year with a double whammy. Being engaged, having a wedding in 3 months (we only just booked the date), aaaand the New Year aka that goal body is at the forefront of my mind. But how am I going to get there?

As luck should have it, I was asked to judge the Miss Minnesota USA pageant at the end of November and sat on the judging panel with Scott Keppel – personal trainer and nutritional consultant who’s resume is impressive to say the least. Some of his clients include: 9 plus different Miss USA and Miss Teen USA states meaning that each year he prepares about 18 different contestants to be on HDTV in their bikinis. He is also certified in Pre and Post Natal, Breast Cancer Recovery, Power Plate, MovNat, Spitfire Sled training master programmer and NASM sled training. (His wife is a 2-time breast cancer survivor, so this topic is extra close to his heart.)

This Miss Minnesota USA and Miss Minnesota Teen USA judging panel. Loved this whole crew!

This Miss Minnesota USA and Miss Minnesota Teen USA judging panel. Loved this whole crew! Also, can we talk about how big of a contradiction my outfit is? haha High leg slit, but yet, fur coat.  Because Minneapolis in late November. You can take the girl out of the pageant, but you can’t take the pageant out of the girl… 

I was so impressed over the course of the weekend in talking to him by how much he individualizes his programs for each specific person. He resides in Arizona. but trains most of his clients from a distance by having them track their workouts, nutrition, and measurements and having them check in once a week via text and phone calls. I offhandedly made the comment, “maybe I should have you train me for my wedding…!” and he was all over it. In my mind I was going to start my training AFTER the holidays, but he reached out shortly after the pageant and I’ve been working with him since the first week in December. I’m happy to report that I made it thought Christmas and New Years and lost some inches on my measurements while still being able to enjoy myself! (As I type this, I just ate 3 mini Reeses cups… which is fine as long as they fit within my daily intake goal.) 

Scott has me tracking my macros which means I eat a specific gram amount of protein, fat, and carbs. My typical diet pre-Scott was drinking green juice and eating salads mostly during the week and then eating and/or drinking whatever I wanted on the weekend. In case you couldn’t have guessed, that wasn’t working. I was actually not eating enough the majority of the time, but then on the weekends I was taking in too much. He has actually increased my calorie count for the time being from what I was taking in before – and somehow it’s still working. #nocomplaintsthere

The thing that’s been the biggest adjustment for me has been how much protein I’m consuming. He has me taking in 100-110 grams per day which is much more than I would usually consume.

I have a little tip out there for people who don’t necessarily want to consume meat at every meal or protein powder. Introducing, your new best friend: fage nonfat greek yogurt which has 23 grams of protein, no fat (obvi) and 7 grams of carbs. I stir in a teaspoon of honey and voila! The easiest breakfast ever that also tastes really really good. Sometimes I’ll throw in some sliced almonds and raspberries too if I’m feeling extra fancy.

A typical day in the life - tracked using the "My Plate" app which makes it really easy to keep track of what you've consumed.

A typical day in the life – tracked using the “My Plate” app which makes it really easy to keep track of what you’ve consumed.

More recipes, workouts, and a q&a with Scott to come soon. If you guys have any questions you’ve been wanting to ask a trainer – comment below and I’ll pass them on to him! Also, if you’re looking for personalized accountability to reach a weight loss or fitness goal, I couldn’t recommend Scott more highly.

Playlists are backkkk! This playlist isn’t as big as a lot of my others, but it packs a lot of high energy… add some of these tunes to your workout playlist because I know errrrrbody gonna be clogging up the gym for at LEAST 4 days. (haha)

When this photo was taken I had no idea how much my life was going to change within the 365 days that made up 2016.

When this photo was taken I had no idea how much my life was going to change within the 365 days that made up 2016.

As 2016 comes to a close, as I often do, I’ve been thinking back on this year – all that has changed, all that has remained the same, where I’ve been, where I want to go, etc. This year though, has been more life altering than most and as I think back I get a little teary because 2016 has been a fairytale year for me that can never be duplicated.

2016 wasn’t messing around – it showed me its colors right off the bat on day 1.

Literally starting on January 1st. I was on a New Year’s trip to Seaside, Florida with two of my best girlfriends, Marcia and Taryn. It was rainy almost the entire trip which was fine with us because we hardly left our respective perches in front of the fireplace at the cozy cottage we were staying in. We relaxed, read, slept, journaled, made vision boards, ate our weight in guacamole, and talked about all of our goals for 2016. (I know, I know, very Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.)

When your NYE vacay house looks like this, you know you're setting yourself up for a good year!

When your NYE vacay house looks like this, you know you’re setting yourself up for a good year!

I can take you to the exact page in my journal where I wrote that I wanted to: a.) go on a mission trip this year and b.) spend a month living abroad which Taryn ingeniously titled an “adult internship.” All 3 of us were single at the time (FYI two of us are engaged now… there might be something to those vision boards!) so we also spent some time talking about the types of qualities we would be looking for if we were going to date someone. One of my must-haves was someone I could adventure with. Both Marcia and Taryn made a point of telling me that the next guy I dated needed to be a “grown ass man” aka mature and able to take care of himself – and maybe even take care of me sometimes. Fast forward to that very night at dinner at The Pearl in Rosemary Beach when a handsome acquaintance I hadn’t seen in 3 years called the restaurant from 600 miles away to pay for our dinner. Continue reading

I’ve noticed something about my wardrobe recently… if it’s not olive green, I probably haven’t purchased it as of late. Seriously, it’s all I wear. It started before I went to Africa when I went verrrry literal when planning my safari outfit. haha I happen to think everyone looks good in the color too, so sue me.

I thought I would share some of my favorite looks here so you can see the many many ways I’ve styled some of the same pieces, as well as how versatile it is.

Military Jacket: 
This piece was the gateway drug. I’d been looking for a cute jacket like this for years actually and I love the lightweight fabric and the drawstring waist which adds shape and makes the fit more flattering. It comes in two other colors and regular and tall sizing which always excites me. I’ve dressed it up and down as you’ll see below. I’m also really feeling this moto vest I found via www.octer.com (Look for links in the captions to shop.)

Casual paired with jeans and sneaks for our African game drive. Get the whole look here.

Casual paired with jeans and sneaks for our African game drive. Get the whole look here.

Just adding this pic because safari and bae and love and stuff.

Just adding this pic because safari and bae and love and stuff.

I dressed the jacket up a little more with a white button up, a bold burgundy lip, and braided choker. Get the entire look here!

I dressed the jacket up a little more with a white button up, a bold burgundy lip, and braided choker. Get the entire look here!

Accessorized with grey boots and handbag and my favorite jeans. Shop the look here.

Accessorized with grey boots and handbag and my favorite jeans. Shop the look here.

Joggers:
I
 love this style of pant and for the longest I couldn’t find one that flattered me. I have hips and I thought this style looked best on girls that didn’t. However, I love the way these fit and I love them with literally any shoe – a pump, sandal, sneaker, etc. and they look great with a t-shirt, blazer, etc. I’ve spent a 24 hour travel day in them and I’ve also worn them to happy hour. What are you waiting for? You need them. (They also come in black.)

Dressed up a little bit - heels, a fitted top, and great bag made this great for wearing to work and then straight to cocktails. Winnnn! Shop the look here.

Dressed up a little bit – leopard heels (leopard is totally a neutral in my book of subtle fashion rules haha), a fitted top, and great bag made this great for wearing to work and then straight to cocktails. Winnnn! Shop the look here.

As casual as it gets with my beloved croc sandals. (I'm not joking, no I wasn't paid to say that - I'm just owning my that comfort and not caring about the brand like a boss - and you would too if you felt how insanely comfortable these sandals are.) Shop the look here.

As casual as it gets with my beloved croc sandals. (I’m not joking, no I wasn’t paid to say that – I’m just owning my that comfort and not caring about the brand like a boss – and you would too if you felt how insanely comfortable these sandals are.) The denim jacket has also been worn 1,000 times as of late. Shop the look here.

Jumpsuit:
Gosh I love a good jumpsuit. It’s an entire outfit in one piece. You don’t even have to think about it. Just throw on shoes of your choice – booties, pumps, heeled sandals, etc., and you look effortless and chic. So comfortable too. Keep in mind that I’m 5’8 1/2″ and this fits me great! I even rolled the legs a little bit for a slightly cropped look which you could also do if you’re shorter. What a cute fit, eh? I’ve also attached some of my other favorite jumpsuits here.

That classic over-the-shoulder... lol Shop the look here.

That classic over-the-shoulder… lol Shop the look here.

The booties, clutch, and beer my dreams are made of. Shop them here.

The booties, clutch, and beer my dreams are made of. Shop them here.

Aaaaand a full shot just so you can really see. Shop the look here.

Aaaaand a full shot just so you can really see. Shop the look here.

There you have it – just a small snippet of my olive obsession. I also own a shirt dress, a tank, and a cowl neck sweater… and there are a pair of rag and bone booties that I have all the heart eye emojis for. Are you guys as obsessed with olive as me?

PS: Big thank you to Kelleigh Bannen for taking the majority of these pics.

This month’s playlist has so much poppy goodness. Multiple Ariana Grande and Gavin DeGraw tunes. Seriously so good. A John Legend song from the soundtrack of “Southside With You” is so beautiful and brings the romance. “Victory” brought to you by two geniuses, Pharrell and Kirk Franklin will have you swaying in your car. New finds include everything Walker Hayes (a local guy who I think could blow up!) – his honesty, individuality, and infectous beats and melodies make him stick out from your average Nashville country artist. Also, be sure to check out “This Head I Hold” by Electric Guest, this upbeat throwback tune will be an instant favorite.

As always, I need to know what you guys are listening to! Comment below!