all barre, all the time

I’m trying to live up to Carol’s energy level (can’t) at the community center this month and next  while she’s temporarily out.  Unfortunately, I’m not as talented or versatile as she is, so even though she teaches a multitude of different classes, while I’m subbing for her…the classes are mostly barre.  Because that’s my thang.  (Except for the Pump classes…I am trying to, you know, pump instead of pulse during those hours.)  So, if you’ve been wanting to try out a barre format, March and April may be a good time to come on over.  Monday nights, as usual, at 6:30, then Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30am (except for March 27th), and Fridays at 9am.  And of course there are so many other classes to try! Different kinds of yoga, HIIT workouts, toning classes, cardio, cross-training, Pilates…

It’s easy to get caught up in the Spring Breaks, and our kids’ extra-curricular activities, etc this time of year and sort of…fade out of the gym/exercising.  Don’t forget to take care of yourself.  Make your health a priority and a year-round habit.

The Perfect Bento Box

Our kitchen is like a circus right now.  I’m learning how to Instant Pot, and all my Instant Pot paraphernalia is everywhere, and my daughter has decided to do the Whole 30 plan on her own, so all her Whole 30 stuff is also everywhere.  And then there’s our combined bento box stuff, and that’s what I’m writing about here.  We’re trying to do more meal prep on the weekends for  (opens in a new win upcoming weekday lunches, and are always searching for recipes/ideas/things to make all that easier.  A few weeks ago we discovered these bento box lunch kits on Amazon, and I have to say they’re just the best.  I’ve used little containers in the past, but they’re either not dishwasher safe, not stackable, or not easy to fit into a cooler.  This little system has it all–lots of compartments, it’s freezer/microwave/dishwasher safe, stackable, BPA-free, and they come with their own insulated cooler.  And they even have a spoon and chopsticks!  I know, nothing earth-shattering, but they have made my life easier, so I thought I’d share.

And these are a trusty fall-back, just no dedicated cooler.  I still like all the separate compartments, though.  I hate it when my lunch becomes an unintended casserole.




Do you bento?  What do you like to pack for lunch?




Is MuTu for you?

OK, so this is just the coolest thing:

I’ve recently learned that a friend of mine, Dee Macolly, is certified in a world-renowned specialized fitness system for recently (or not-so-recently…their website says it’s for women who’ve given birth “6 weeks ago or 6 years ago or more”) postnatal women.  The system is called MuTu (“moo too”), and it is a progressive program that works to heal Diastasis Recti, and strengthen the pelvic floor, core, and then some.  Dee is the only MuTu Pro listed in Tennessee, and she’s right here!  She is a director at a local Women’s Care Center, has a heart for helping prenatal and postnatal mamas, and is a mama herself.  I wish that I had had a kind, gentle soul like Dee to help me get strong after childbirth.  If you or anyone you know could use some post-baby strengthening, Dee is 100% your person.  Reach out to her; you will not regret it.

Dee Macolly:

you really need a steamer, you do


I am generally not into gimmicks or props or fads, especially when it comes to dieting or exercise.  I prefer bodyweight exercise to machines.  I like good old-fashioned free weights instead of kettlebells.  And I really don’t think costly Vitamix or Ninja mixers, or, don’tevengetmestarted, juicers, are the key to good health.

That being said, may I please suggest one kitchen item that I find absolutely indispensable in my sometimes-successful strategy for healthy living?

An electric steamer.

They’re inexpensive, easy to use, and make life so, so much easier.  I had one that finally gave up its ghost after 19 years, and I just got another one that will hopefully last another 19 years.  Put in the eggs, set for 22 minutes, walk away…boiled eggs for the week.  Dump in a few big bunches of broccoli…or carrots…or green beans…walk away…delicious veggies for days.  I can steam veggies on bottom, fish fillets on top–dinner in like 20 minutes or less.  You can steam shrimp, chicken breasts, even hot dogs/kielbasa.  You can steam hot dogs on the bottom, buns on top…or kielbasa on the bottom, cabbage on top…or chicken cutlets on the bottom, tortillas on top.

You get the picture.

And steamed foods just taste good, because they get to keep their juice, instead of the juices getting boiled away.  And that makes it more nutritious, too.

Just an all-around handy thing to have on hand.  If you don’t already have one, think about getting one this year.  Definitely worth it.

gearing up

Oh, you guys, you guys….

I’m getting really excited about this upcoming study.  These words:

Just because a woman finally fits into her skinny jeans doesn’t mean she’s won her battle with food. Too often, women overlook the spiritual component to their physical struggle with healthy eating. Made to Crave taps into the desires God gave you to consume food without letting food consume you!

Made to Crave is the missing link between a woman’s desire to be healthy and the spiritual empowerment necessary to make that happen. The reality is we were made to crave. Craving isn’t a bad thing. But we must realize God created us to crave more of him. Many of us have misplaced that craving by overindulging in physical pleasures instead of lasting spiritual satisfaction. If you are struggling with unhealthy eating habits, you can break the “I’ll start again Monday” cycle, and start feeling good about yourself today. Learn to stop beating yourself up over the numbers on the scale. Discover that your weight loss struggle isn’t a curse but rather a blessing in the making, and replace justifications that lead to diet failure with empowering go-to scripts that lead to victory. You can reach your healthy weight goal – and grow closer to God in the process. This is not a how-to book. This is not the latest and greatest dieting plan. This book is the necessary companion for you to use alongside whatever healthy lifestyle plan you choose. This is a book and Bible study to help you find the “want to” in making healthy lifestyle choices.

I just love this so much.  Until this starts in mid-January, I’ll be praying that God will use this to speak to me and so may other women in my community.  Will you pray with me?

downtime, thoughts, announcements


Barre class at Riversong Dance is on holiday right now. First class of the year will be Wednesday January 18th at 7:30 pm.

That’s 4 weeks of break! If you’re like me, coasting isn’t an option. I have to keep up a workout routine or I gain weight, lose muscle, and become less limber. And I just feel bad.

Here’s what I’ll be doing for the next month:

I purchased Body by Simone on Amazon (tip: buy used) and have begun her core workout . It’s a nice switch-up because it requires a few accessories, such as resistance bands, that we don’t use at the studio .

Tonight I started a 45-day free trial of Grokker so that I can access Brett Larkin‘s yoga + barre workout. She is my fav yoga instructor . Her humble, gentle demeanor . . . love .

I am going to make an effort to swim once a week for the next month. I rarely swim because I get so cold. Also I have asthma and something about a breast stroke makes me wheeze like nothing else. It’s weird. But I need to work on my shoulders and that annoying anterior deltoid tilt thing I have going on, and so I will swim (here).

Also. . . I was talking to my pastor tonight, and it looks like Seymour United Methodist will be offering a Wednesday evening course beginning in January called Made to Crave. I will be helping facilitate this, and I’m excited! It’s a 6-week course that really addresses the mental/emotional/spiritual facets of our health choices, and encourages a lot of introspection and discussion. The premise is that we are indeed made to crave,  but we often crave things that harm us (like food) .  And then there is a 6-week follow-up course that the author developed with a physician that really gets to the nuts and bolts of fitness. Should be good. I think SO OFTEN we attempt to self-treat our physical issues without addressing the underlying emotional issues that led us to unhealthy behaviors in the first place.

Also, registration for Get Fit Seymour is going on now, with a late-January program start date. Word is I’ll be leading an early morning barre class AND a late evening barre class at the Get Fit/The Pound studio in Seymour. Gretchen, the owner, is pregnant. Valerie, the Riversong Dance Studio owner, is pregnant. So I’ll have two pregnant bosses. Perhaps you are a pregnant studio owner who needs a barre instructor? I make really cute baby blankets, just saying.

Guess that’s it. I’ll post here in a week or so, but for now I wish you all a most joyful Christmas . Shalom! ~Shannon