5 Ways to Make the Holidays Feel Special when you're Adult-ing.

I will be the first to admit...I LOVE CHRISTMAS.

It is far and above my favorite time of year. The twinkly lights. The hot chocolate. The giving spirit that is all around. The family time. And TRADITIONS.

I am a sucker for traditions. And growing up, we had soo many traditions. And each and every single one of them would fill my heart with so much joy. Going to pick out the tree with my Dad. Listening to the Ella Fitzgerald Christmas cd while we decorated the tree. Baking shortbread cookies with my mom. The new matching pjs on Christmas eve. Pancakes for breakfast Christmas morning. Dinner with the whole family on Christmas. Boxing Day shopping (yeahhhh Canada) ... it was the BEST.

And after graduating college, I found those traditions slowly slipping away. I'm from Toronto and while Chicago isn't a bajillion hours away, it's far enough away that going home for a weekend isn't super easy to do. A couple of years ago, I couldn't even make it home for Christmas because I was in a show that ran right through the holidays. And last year, I spent Christmas at my in-laws. So it's safe to say that the traditions I grew up knowing largely went out the window. 

At first, I was heartbroken. And honestly, it's only been the past year or so of my life (since I started regularly doing personal development) that I shifted my perspective and found JOY in the holiday again. Because, as I've learned, when you choose to place your energy and thoughts on the positive things of life -- when you CREATE the kind of experience you so crave -- you can have what you feel like you're missing on your own terms! :) 

So, here are my top 5 ways to make the Holidays feel special:

1. Make new traditions

When I wasn't able to make it home for Christmas a couple of years back, I moped around for weeks. I was sad. No cookie making, christmas tree decorating, pj opening christmas. 

SO instead, I decided to make the most of it and since it was the first Christmas that Kev and I were spending together as a family, we decided that a great way to make it exciting was to make NEW traditions! And that's when our ornament tradition began.

Every year, we find an ornament to add to our collection. The ornament we pick represents the year we had together -- last year, we got a "Our First Home" ornament since we had just bought our place! This year, I'm sure it will have to be a dog ornament of some kind ;) 

So find something new and exciting and build it into your Holiday traditions! :)

2. Have a Christmas Movie Marathon

This one is KEY for me to feel like it's Christmas. So grab a girlfriend or your hubby and park yourselves on the couch, turn the sparkly lights on, grab some homemade hot cocoa and have a snuggly night in.

My personal faves? The Santa Clause, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, White Christmas and Love Actually :)

3. Celebrate the Holiday Locally

There are TONS of festive celebrations that happen all over and I'm sure there are some super fun ones in your city/town! 

Chicago is filled with fun little things but our all time favorite thing to do is go to the Christkindlemarket -- there's a giant tree that's all lit up and booths with Christmas treats, ornaments, gifts and all the gluvine (aka mulled wine -- DELICIOUS) you could want! It's a really cute thing to do and we have so much fun going every year. 

4. Get your Bake on!

Something about baking really gets me in the Christmas mood :)

So blast that Christmas pandora station and bake some guilt free cookies -- recipe for the cookies pictured above HERE. Also loving these 21 Day Fix-Approved Holiday Treats

5. Surround yourself with people you LOVE

When it comes down to it, the holidays are really a time to spend with those you love most in the world. So make TIME for the people that matter to you. Because that's what the holidays are all about, right? 

So spend this month sharing the love.

Make girlfriend dates. Call your Mom. Send homemade cards to your faraway friends. 

If that doesn't put you in the holiday spirit, I don't know what will ;) 


What are YOUR favorite traditions? I would love to hear! Share in the comments below!

5 Ways to Stay on Track this Summer

Summer used to TERRIFY me. 

Bikini season, shorts weather -- all things that would literally make my skin crawl because HELL NO would you ever catch me in either of those. I was ashamed of my body, would cover up my arms with sweaters despite the heat and used to go swimming in a t-shirt because at least then my stomach wouldn't show. I was the girl who would go shopping for summer clothes with my Mom (ugh, bathing suits were the WORST) and have breakdowns in the changing room because I couldn't fit into anything and felt gross.

You too? 

It's a feeling that followed me around for so long that even now that I feel confident in my own skin, once summer starts to hit, my stomach drops. Those feelings come rushing back and my mind goes to: "Ok, Amanda, how can you get bikini ready?" .... AS IF THAT'S A THING. 

According to the media, the only way to be "bikini ready" is to have six pack abs & be tanned. Well, I fit into neither of those categories (I wear sunscreen like it's my JOB so this gal is pretty pasty and proud of it!) and I would say just the nature alone of me wearing a bikini makes me bikini ready...no? I digress. And I'm getting away from my point as I tend to do (ha! you love my rambles, don't deny it). So I'll hop back on track...

Summer. The season of weddings, bbqs, roadtrips, traveling, outdoor festivals, patio living and pretty much all the amazing things ever -- all the things which also make it SUPER hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Now don't get me wrong, I am ALL about indulging in a glass on sangria, an Oberon on the porch and chocolate wedding cake, because LIVE YOUR LIFE, am I right? But ultimately, my goal is to FEEL AMAZING and when I start drinking more often and eating less healthy options, I start to feel like shit.

So I made a list of ways to help myself stay on track this summer, despite the many crazy events and traveling that I'll be doing and you KNOW I'm allll about sharing, so I figured I'd share my tips with you! Hopefully it'll help you stay on track with your goals :)


5 Ways to Stay on Track this Summer

1. Stay Hydrated

With the heat in the summer months, it's more important than EVER to keep your body hydrated. You're losing more water than you normally do (yup, that's what sweating does!) so you should be upping your water intake to make up for it. General rule of thumb? At LEAST 8 glasses of water a day. A lot of the time, I find that my body is really just needing water but I mistake that for needing food -- up your hydration level and it'll be easier to stay on track with your daily food intake, your skin will clear up and you'll feel more energized!

Tired of boring old water? Infuse it with fruit and herbs! My personal favorite combination at the moment is grapefruit and mint! I also am obsessed with La Croix sparkling water -- try the Coconut one ;) 

2. Walk everywhere

It's finally NICE out and girl, unless there's a heat warning, you have no excuse not to get your booty outside and WALK! Even if you don't live in a bustling city where it's easy to get places by foot, make it a priority to get at least a 30 minute walk in every day. Maybe grab your favorite podcast and incorporate it into your morning me time or take a stroll with your hubby after dinner and catch up on your days. 

Get those steps in, girl! And soak up the gorgeous summer days while you can!

3. Be a Perfect Guest

You know all those BBQs and family dinners where you feel like you show up, are planning to stay on track and WHOOPS, no healthy choices? Chances are, the host isn't thinking about you while they're building their menu and why should they?! Hot dogs and hamburgers are easy to feed a bunch of people and they're already going out of their way! SO, be a good guest and offer to bring something -- most people will be so grateful for the help and BONUS, you can choose to make something that you are happy to eat :) Make a big ol' salad, bring a veggie tray, whatever! 

4. Set yourself up for Success

I know traveling can be the TOUGHEST thing to deal with because sometimes we have no control over things but can we do our best? Hell yes! Here are some of my favorite go-tos...

For roadtrips: Pack a bunch of healthy snacks to munch on and PRE PLAN where you'll be stopping for lunch. Check out the menu and make sure there's an option that you are happy with.

For traveling in general: Go to the grocery store and pick up some healthy options to have on hand -- fresh fruit, carrot sticks, bars, raw almonds (that way, you can fill up on healthy options and keep your veggie and fruit intake strong!)

5. Have FUN!

Summer is FILLED with possibilities and ways to be active. So go on that hike you've been wanting to do. Dance your butt off at every single wedding you're at. Bike to and from the festivals you're checking out. Go throw a frisbee in the park. Don't just lay on your towel at the beach -- go swimming, build a sandcastle, play chicken with your friends --- whatever!

ENJOY yourself and live your life, girl. And remember, you are gorgeous, just the way you are. 

You are soooo loved,

Xo Amanda

What is Beachbody Coaching?

If you’ve spent any time with me in the past few months, you’ve probably been subjected to a non-stop gushfest on Beachbody, Coaching, and Shakeology. I can't help it you guys, I'm just too stinkin' happy not to share!

I am literally so freaking happy with my decision to become an independent Team Beachbody coach. It has truly changed my life in just a few short months. I am happier. Healthier. And more in touch with what I want out of life than I have ever been. So I thought it was high time I shared a little more about what it’s all about!

I came into this opportunity knowing five things about myself:

1. I am hugely passionate about health and fitness.

2. Nothing makes me happier than using my life experiences to help other people make positive changes in their lives.

3. I love sharing my passions and connecting with others.

4. I am motivated by a challenge.

5. If there is a way to make a hobby or passion into a side business, I am ALL ABOUT THAT.

Since December, I have led dozens of amazing, motivated women through the 21 Day Fix, and everyone who has committed to the program has seen REEEEDONKULOUS results! And not JUST physically, but also mentally. It's been SO FREAKING INSPIRATIONAL. And I am am completely in love with running Challenge Groups, sharing my experiences, and motivating others to help take the first step towards their fitness goals!


The company

Ok, so I am extremely skeptical of "get rich quick"/ "too good to be true" schemes and am majorly turned off by hard-sell tactics and the network marketing model in general because, let's just say I've have had some super uncomfy experiences in the past where people have been incredibly pushy and scammy and I'm just NOT ABOUT THAT. So you can imagine I did a shit-ton of research before signing up, just to make sure that there weren't strings attached to this coaching business. 

My Conclusion: Nope, no strings attached. No overhead. No requirements to buy OR sell anything. Basically no risk, but unlimited potential for growth if you really want to take your business to the top. The structure and tools are there, you just get to plug in and see where you want to take it with the time that you have to set aside. And when I saw that what I'd get to be doing is building relationships with genuine, like minded women and helping other people achieve their goals and enjoy healthy, fulfilling lives, I was IN. 

The more I learn about Beachbody as a company, the more confident I am in this organization. Not only are the products incredible and actually WORK, but the integrity of the company itself is unreal. Founded in 1998, Beachbody at its core is an American health and fitness brand that is famous for its renowned and results-oriented at-home fitness programs created by celebrity trainers. Have you ever seen an infomercial for P90X or Insanity? Yup, that's Beachbody. 

And the best thing?!?! Anyone can sign up to be a coach. Whether you are a complete fitness newbie or a freaking personal trainer, doctor/lawyer/teacher/actor (*cough* me *cough*), if you have lost 50 pounds or have 50 pounds to lose, if you want some extra accountability, want to help others, want some extra income to supplement your full time salary, or want to be the Girlboss of your OWN biz and work on your OWN terms.


What do Beachbody coaches do?

-They love Beachbody products (Shakeology and fitness programs) because the products work. And Shakeology is addicting...Seriously, I call it my magical unicorn shake. It deserves its own blog post.

-They use their STORY to share with others who might also benefit.

-They run these super FUN online Challenge Groups -- aka support and accountability groups with likeminded peeps that GET YOU.

-Coaches are committed to building relationships, and making sure that each client has the most successful experience possible and moves at least one step forward towards reaching their ultimate health goals -- whether that is to simply gain a little muscle tone, lose 100+ pounds or is wanting to develop a healthier relationship with food. There is LITERALLY a program for everyone, no matter your fitness background or level!

-Coaches do some sort of "personal development" every single day, to make sure they are constantly striving to become the best version of themselves possible in every aspect of life. We're not just working out robot machines! We also spend time every day working on buidling a positive inner relationship with ourselves! 

The only actual financial commitment? A $15/month coaching fee to maintain your websites/so you don't have to do all the super boring and taxing shit like shipping/packaging/etc. And then you get a 25% discount on anything, and get all the incredible opportunity for support, love & accountability!

When you become a coach, you are essentially starting your OWN health and fitness-based business. You're not an employee of the company, but you become an independent distributor, which is kind of like being a contractor. You get to use the Beachbody as a PLATFORM to launch YOUR dreams of becoming a Badass Girl Boss, just by sharing what you LOVE and helping others make positive changes in THEIR lives. It's freaking awesome.

And the best bonus of all? You get to join our goofy #TeamInspireJoy Family and have an immediate community of gals who just GET YOU and will become your best friends. 


What I’ve gained through becoming a "coach":

-The confidence to OWN who I am.

-Motivation to stick to my own workouts and nutrition.

-Friendships with authentic and amazing women around the country who are just like me.

-The ability to believe that my dreams ARE possible.

-The ability to help women to gain confidence, feel strong and empowered, re-define their relationship with food, and to be able to be that tiny burst of light and support in someone else's life.

-A FAMILY of gorgeous gals on my team who share my exact same values and passions.

- A flexible schedule to run my own business on MY OWN TERMS, and make a side income through doing what I love.

-I'm living and breathing my philosophy every single day: Eat more, eat better, ENJOY life, “treats not cheats,” Balance is key & that the key to JOYFUL LIVING is to do something that lights you up inside, every single day.


I have also been able to meet ladies who are just like me and mentor them as coaches on my own team, and it feels like going into business with my best friends. It's incredible how you just feel that CLICK when you put your heart out there. You end up crossing paths with people who just get you. I don't even know how to really describe it. I've never experienced something like it before.


Coaching is that “thing” that I didn’t even know I was missing. A path that is bringing all aspects of my life into one clear focus. I guess you know that you’ve found your passion when you're doing something that you literally can’t stop thinking or talking about. That lights a FIRE in your soul. 

If your soul is CRAVING something more out of life, or you're just looking for a COMMUNITY of genuine and loving ladies who will support you along your health & fitness journey, this opportunity might just be for you.


And if you're still reading this, well, GIRL, this is clearly a sign and what the heck are you waiting for? 


Wanna get join in on the fun?

I would be STOKED to chat more with you about your health & fitness (heck, and LIFE) goals and help you take the first step! Whether it's losing those pesky last 5 pounds, feeling confident in your own skin, learning how to fuel your body through healthy eating and proper portion control, do a full fledged push up, overcome your emotional eating habits, or being able to finally truly LOVE yourself from the inside out. You are NOT alone. I've been there and I've had so many ladies in my Groups who have dealt with ALL of these things too. 

If you wanna join in on my next Challenge Group:

If you're super passionate about Healthy living and want to learn more about how you can pay it forward and create a side business through helping others (and yourself!), please don't hesitate to reach out! I'm obviously so freaking stoked about this opportunity and would LOVE to chat about it with you some more. You can learn more about our mission HERE

Xo Amanda