quitting sugar

I was tired…physically tired, YES, but even more tired of the excuses.

  • ‘If it is dark chocolate-it’s good for me’
  • ‘what is a life without ice cream…or cookies?
  • ‘I’ll start Monday’
  • ‘Is it really that bad?’
  • ‘Can I be a good mom if I don’t make homemade cookies?
  • ‘I don’t want to be obsessive or fanatical’

Honestly, I was ready for a challenge. I was ready for change. Diabetes, heart issues, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and ADHD run in our families. I finally felt motivated to do this for me.

On July 24th, 2019 I began a 100 day challenge. 100 days of no refined sugar. I have been pleasantly surprised (relieved!) at how easy it has been! I will share my TOP FIVE TIPS FOR QUITTING SUGAR:

#1 WHY! Clarify your WHY. Be careful that your WHY comes from a loving place. Don’t begin if it come from a place of negativity- hating your size and feeling down on yourself. Make sure your reasons are based in health, goals, and self improvement. One practice I learned from Rachel Hollis really help me understand my why. It is the 10-10-1 that I talked about HERE and HERE.

#2 CHART! I did a google search of 100 chart and printed off the first one I liked. I placed it on a clipboard and wrote the details of my goal. I colored in a square for every day of success! It is crazy how much this meant to me. I had at least four dreams where somebody had gifted me or handed me chocolate and I popped it into my mouth without thinking. My first panicked thought in these dreams was “OH NO! MY CHART!” For a visual person like me, coloring that square is a reward and powerful.

#3 FOCUS! Initially, I had 4 things listed on my chart that involved exercise and organization. I realized pretty quickly that tracking ONE goal is much more powerful than having a list of goals. Once I let go of the list and kept my focus concentrated, the rest of those items on my list improved without any extra effort.

#4 CELEBRATE your successes! Each time you check a square, lay your head on your pillow after a day of no sugar…congratulate your progress! Have a reward on the line once you meet your goal.

#5 NOTICE how you feel! As you progress through the days- notice little things about how you feel after you eat. I have had plenty of experiences to reflect on how I have felt after eating poorly, remember those too. Food is fuel, and this exercise has reinforced that for me.

Tomorrow I will share my FIVE favorite benefits I have experienced being on day 62 of a no sugar challenge! I know these tips would apply to almost any goal you choose for a 100 day challenge. If you began a 100 day challenge, what would you do?

a haircut

I was sitting in church on Sunday. I have been lucky enough to attend the same congregation for over 14 years. As I looked around I realized at least 3/4 of the women I know here have kept the same hairstyle since I have known them. I am a hair changer. I think I change my hair so often because I am never thrilled with how it looks.

But this girl of mine had a haircut this week that she loves. She came home looking like she had almost a foot removed! We couldn’t love it more…and it helps her bangs (almost) grown out!

I heard this last week from Jim Kwik and it stopped me in my tracks. It seems so obvious but I had never looked at limitations in this way before.

What limitations am I fighting for?

-physical strength

-connection in relationships



-professional endeavors


None of my limitations have been forced on me and weren’t even given to me. Some of them might be serving me…but I can’t think of one yet. I am fairly certain that none of them are worth fighting for. LET’S END THE FIGHT! Who is with me!?

create a dream: nutrition coach (part two)

As part of our photo session together, Aly wanted photographs with her family in their garden this year. Their hard work is inspiring…but so is the beautiful location. It was my favorite part of our time together (you know how I feel about photographing children…my favorite!)


As a mom, knowing and understanding the importance of nutrition has come slowly for me over the years. I struggle with how to teach my children. I know force and full restriction isn’t healthy. I am wondering how someone, with your knowledge, implements and inspires your family in nutrition…

This is one of the questions I get asked most frequently. It takes A LOT of work, intentionality, and preparation to take care of our own nutrition. How in the WORLD do we help our kids? 

Obviously, the best way is by example. But also with dropping hints along the way. haha! I try to offer my young kids different foods multiple times for them to have the opportunity to like it. Sometimes they never do. But there is a statistic that says it could take as many as 12 tries before you like a certain food. I also like to tell my kids what different nutrients or foods “do” for our bodies. For example, I’ll tell them that broccoli helps heal their scrapes and cuts. Or eggs can help keep their eyes strong. They think that’s pretty cool. I actually remember my mom telling me the same sorts of things growing up. 

I also talk A LOT about the effects of junk food on our bodies and moods. Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE treats and desserts. But I can tell in myself and my children if we’ve been having a lot of sugar.  I can tell because we all get so grumpy afterwards!! I’ll tell my kids, “Sugar tastes SO good. But it doesn’t make me feel very good. Those brownies are kind of making my stomach hurt and I think we all may be a little grumpy from it.” Or “I had a CRAZY dream last night, do you think it could have been the chocolate ice cream I ate before bed?” I want to teach them there is a connection between what we eat and how we feel. I am VERY careful not to use words like “fat” in front of my kids. We like to talk about the benefits of how healthy foods help us be STRONG. Or I tell them things like healthy food helps us be awesome soccer players or ballerinas. 

For older kids, which I haven’t fully experienced yet, I have offered the idea of having kids track their food in an app like, My Fitness Pal, for just a day or two. So they can have a better understanding of what calories are and which foods have more or less calories and nutrients. I don’t believe kids, including teenagers, should track their food intake long-term. Kids bodies are growing so rapidly and I don’t believe they should be worried about restricting calories. Besides putting their growth at risk, it could also cause more self esteem problems and unhealthy relationships with food. However, teenagers are old enough to understand what different nutrients can do for their bodies and how balanced nutrition can help them perform better in school, in sports, and in life. If you could challenge kids to go sugar or junk food free for one month, I think they’d be surprised at how good they feel and how clear their minds are!

I also think it’s very important to involve kids in cooking and preparing food from an early age. Preparing food at home is the healthiest way to eat and they need to know HOW to menu plan, grocery shop, and prepare food. 

Anxiety and depression are on the rise, as we all know. And I can’t help but suspect that our diets are a huge culprit in those illnesses. Blood sugar regulation helps with mood stabilization. Adequate water helps with energy and proper bodily functions. Protein helps rebuild ALL our cells in our bodies. Healthy fats help with brain and hormone function. It also keeps our hair looking good! I know there are so many facets to mental health. But for the sake of our kids, cleaning up their nutrition should be one of our first lines of defense. And I believe we need to teach our children these things!

I want to thank Aly (and her beautiful family!) for taking the time to share, not only what she is passionate about, but also details on how to put her work into practice. If you don’t already, follow Aly on IG, you can find her wisdom there @food.rebel

create a dream: nutrition coach (part one)

My friend Aly from FOOD REBEL is an inspiration to me! She is a nutritional consultant and coach. She is a cross-fit enthusiast, and a wonderful friend. I admire her real persona on social media, it is authentic to how I know her as a friend and neighbor. She is also motivated in leading this community she has created! I hope you enjoy what I learned from her as much as I did!

What does confidence mean to you? How do you create it in your life?

Personal confidence is knowing who you are and loving yourself anyway. I truly believe personal confidence is a trait that comes through A LOT of hard work and persistence. You find who you are, by going through hard times and continuing to stand back up when life knocks you down. It comes by acknowledging your flaws and weaknesses — and choosing to either strengthen them or accept them as they are. I believe in showing yourself grace as you learn and grow as an individual. It’s definitely something I’m still working on each day!

Just as there is personal confidence in yourself, I also believe there is confidence in a process. Finding a mentor you admire and trust to show you the way through a process is key. And then allowing yourself to trust and have CONFIDENCE and patience in the process can bring things and ideas into your life that you never imagined were possible.

learning of this routine, I’m not surprised at Aly’s outlook and work ethic…


My ABSOLUTE favorite routine has only been a part of my life for the past 6 months. It has brought so much perspective and peace into my days. Each morning, as I wake up, I roll over and grab my notebook off my nightstand and spend 10 minutes journaling. First, I write a list of personal affirmations. These are goals and ideals and dreams I have for myself. They include things like, “I am a supportive wife. I am an effective and knowledgeable coach. I listen to my children. I am intentional with my time. Etc.”

Then I write a handful of things I am thankful for right then. They can be as important as my family or my God, or as minor as my toothbrush and mechanical pencils.

I also write my three specific long-terms goals each day, which include a wellness goal, a financial goal, and a family goal.

Finally, I write a “people list,” I ponder who I would like to intentionally show up for today. It could be one of my children that I feel needs a little extra love or attention, a neighbor that needs a helping hand, my amazing clients, or even myself—if I need to take time to protect my own well-being.

If my children are still sleeping at this point (whew), I also take time to read some scripture, do some yoga stretches or breathing, take a few minutes to pray, and pre-log my meals for the day.

This sets my day up for peace and purpose. I hope to continue to have this routine a part of my day for the rest of my life.

Aly asked during this shoot- I really want photos of Steve and I, he is my biggest supporter.


My favorite mistake in my life was accidentally leaving my gloves in the car of my cousin’s date. I hadn’t realized I had stolen his attention on our double date that night. He brought the lost gloves to my house the next day hoping to get my phone number. However, I wouldn’t come to the door because I had just gotten out of the shower and had a towel on my head and mascara running down my face! I drove by his work a few days later and left a note thanking him. He carried that note in his wallet for 2 years! It took that long for me to stop feeling bad for stealing my cousins date! But thankfully she forgave me and I now have been married to him for 12 years!

she interacts with clients with no judgement…just encouragement!


I am COMPLETELY in love with helping women learn to love themselves. I love to see their excitement as they not only lose fat, but as they gain confidence in themselves and in the process. I love seeing the support in the groups. They motivate me to make healthy choices in my own life.

I also really love creating something. I love being a mother, but its hard work!! And it’s often mundane and forgotten tasks. I’ve found joy in creating a business that is growing and helping others!! It’s given my life an added purpose and confidence. It’s a perfect creative outlet for me it helps remind me that I’m a capable and intelligent woman.


The most memorable gift I ever received was a little handmade Christmas ornament my preschooler made for me one year. It had his painted handprint on it. He then painted each finger like a snowman. It was a seemingly small and insignificant gift. But he gave it to me on the day the Sandy Hook school shooting happened. I remember holding that little ornament and crying that evening. I remember feeling so thankful that I got to hold my precious little children that day and my heart ached for those families who didn’t get to do the same.


I am grateful for my ability for personal introspection. I’ve always been an introvert and I’ve learned to stay in tune with what’s going on in my mind and body. I’ve researched to find tools that help me stay peaceful and feel my best. It’s also helped me in my spiritual life. I feel like I have a stronger connection with my God because of the time I’ve spent in personal reflection.

she has a podcast just for her FOOD REBEL community


I am a HUGE lover of Google. One of my favorite “guilty pleasures” is to google all my curiosities and questions. If you look through my search history you’ll find things as varied as, “How to give a goldendoodle a haircut at home,” to things like “Healthy and quick school morning recipes.” You can find anything and learn about so many different things online! We live in an AMAZING time to have access to so much information instantly. I love it!


The world needs more patience. Myself included! We are all so impatient with other people, with waiting for services, for things to heal, and for the next big thing to happen in our lives. It brings so much anxiety, frustration and depression. If we could just BREATHE and find happiness and contentment now, I believe we could save ourselves so much angst.

Don’t you LOVE her!? I am excited to share more about her as a mom next week…and how her nutrition background and expertise helps her AND HER FAMILY!


50mm | f2.0 | 1/250 | iso1000

You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your goals!

-Booker T. Washington

My habit has been to seek a path of least resistance. That has been especially true in my role as a photographer. When family and personal responsibilities interrupted my professional life, I quit. When doubt crept in…I avoided.

Not true anymore. I keep a dream journal, and I write everyday “I am a confidant, successful photographer with a thriving business.” I love the thoughts and feelings that swirl around that statement. Just writing that daily increases my confidence. I am in it for the long haul. The obstacles that come will only add to anything I accomplish. I love having a camera in my hand. I love documenting individuals, relationships and the dreams and accomplishments of others- like really LOVE IT! I am excited to be on this journey again…and stay there!

He would be 88 years old today. This is my favorite image I have taken of my dad. This is how he greeted us most Sundays- socks (no shoes) and comfortable clothing. He was often at the grill, one of his favorite ways to serve and give. Taking time to photograph life as it is- without pretension and posing, is often the very most meaningful. What my family and I wouldn’t give to sit at his table with him tonight, feasting on one of his grilled steaks and then washing it down with a watermelon milkshake. Instead, lets pick up our cameras this week…photographing the people we love, just as they are.

getting ready to GO!

My daughter Ellie is preparing to leave for her humanitarian trip to Tonga. I am so excited for her. It stops my heart a bit to think of her on the other side of the world so far away. She will be without a phone…and gone for 17 days! I know her perspective of life and the world will open. Her heart will expand with love for the people she meets through this experience. These clothes…that have been sprayed with repellant and dried in the sun, are sure lucky to tag along. I hope she remembers every detail…and I can sit and listen to the highlights for hours…17 days!


35mm | f3.2 | iso500 | 1/125

When we bought our home, over 14 years ago, one of the first changes we made outside, was ripping out the roses. There was a rose garden set on top of a raised area in our backyard. I felt at the time, that roses were only appreciated by people a lot older than me. I planted daisies. 
Roses have gradually made their way back into our landscaping. First in the front yard. Our landscape architect suggested pink roses in a row when we re-designed the front of our home. I love them…and so do the 🦌. They bloom from late spring well into the fall…over and over again! I liked that so much, I found some double bloom English roses for the backyard. The blooms were so heavy this morning they were brushing the ground. I decided to thin them out so that what was left would stand taller. The blooms fill vases so beautifully and effortlessly. 

The daisies have been upgraded to roses and I am thrilled about it. It makes me wonder what else those with a few more years experience than me know, that I have yet to figure out.