How Do You FEEL?

DSC07132I’m not a morning person. I don’t love getting up at 5 a.m. It doesn’t feel great to wake up that early, especially if I haven’t gotten my 7-8 hours of sleep (yes, I am a sleep diva).

What I do love, however, is how I FEEL after I’ve gotten up, exercised, and spent time reading/reflecting/writing/praying , all before 6:30 am. When my kids wake up, I’ve already taken time for myself. I love how I feel and know that whatever comes my way that day, I started off on the right foot.

I also love sleeping in. What I don’t love, however, is how I FEEL when I start my day waking up at 6:30 with the kids, who are demanding to be fed along with the dog who needs to eat and be let out. Once 6:3o am hits, chaos starts. And on the days where I haven’t taken time for myself first, I quickly become crabby, overwhelmed, and I tend to have less patience for the madness that ensues.

Physical health is not something to take for granted. There may come a day where I’m no longer able to run or exercise. Today is not that day. There are people who would give anything to spend a day in my shoes and have the physical ability to exercise. I choose not to waste my mornings sleeping in an extra hour. I choose to get up early, 3-4 days a week, and take time to better myself. Because I love how it FEELS.

Whatever your goals are, don’t think about what you have to do, think about how you will FEEL when you achieve them. 

Here are a few helpful tips that have worked for me:

  1. Spend some time experimenting with your mornings. Find a routine that works for you. Ask yourself “What is the best way to start my day”? Try a variety of exercises until you find one that works. I’ve spend the last 6-7 years trying every type of exercise under the sun (hot yoga, barre, spin class, running clubs, exercise DVD’s, etc.). I like to change it up, so my current routine includes a mix of yoga, barre, TRX, pilates, and running. I can’t wait to wake up early because I’ve found exercises that I LOVE to do.
  2. Give yourself a “reward” for waking up early. I love music, so my reward is listening to my favorite new songs. When I find new songs that I love, I only allow myself to listen to them when I’m exercising. If it comes on while I’m driving or listening to music, I turn it off. That way it becomes a treat to listen to it during my runs.
  3. Give your exercise a purpose. Some of my best thinking comes when I’m in motion. It helps me think through things clearly and rationally. On my long runs, I will focus my thoughts on something specific. As soon as my run is over, I’ll write down all of the ideas. One of my best friends spends the first mile of her run praying for her friends and family before she turns on her music. Talk about purpose!
  4. Use apps to take free or very discounted classes. I use Mindbody to search for local studios. You can refine the search based on the type of exercise (yoga, barre, spin, etc). Many studios offer the first class for free or for a very low price, and they also offer a one week or one month unlimited membership for a steal. This allows you to try a new place every week or month for next to nothing.
  5. Set yourself up for success. Set out your workout gear the night before, and place your alarm across the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. Half of the battle is just getting out of that warm, cozy bed. Once you are up, you might as well get your sweat on 🙂

I sometimes exercise in the afternoon or evenings. It depends on my day and when I can fit it in. But here’s the thing- the longer I wait to exercise, the less likely I am to do it. Kids get sick. Projects come up. Laundry doesn’t fold itself. Things get in the way. And once 9 pm hits, I’m ready to lay in bed.

Stop saying “I’m not a morning person”. Don’t waste that precious time getting a few extra minutes of sleep. Wake up early, and focus on how you will FEEL once you’ve taken the first hour of your day for yourself. If you are anything like me, you’ll find that you are a better parent, spouse, co-worker and friend on those days.




Living Legacy

"BETTER is better than more. " Seth Godin

“BETTER is better than more. ” Seth Godin

3 years ago I started this blog.

That means 3 years ago I was sitting in my hotel room in Montreal, having just gone out for a run after a long but rewarding day running an education consultant certification training, and was contemplating starting my own blog. As soon as the thought popped into my head, the song “Right Now” by Van Halen came on.

I took that as a sign, so I went back to my hotel room and wrote this post.

I look back now and laugh. I had no idea what I was doing or what I was writing about, all I knew is that I wanted to share.

I remember clicking the “publish” button. I immediately felt sick to my stomach. What if people don’t like it? What if no one comments? Who really wants to read what I have to say?

3 years later, I don’t think too much about the “publish” button. I just write. I’m still learning. Some day I’ll look back at this post and laugh. The more you do something, the better you become. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make you BETTER.

The way I felt about the blog 3 years ago is now how I feel with iMoveU. I’m anxious, nervous and afraid of failing. But I keep on pushing.

I KNOW that in time, I’ll look back and remember this time in my life and wonder why I was so afraid.

I consider this blog my living legacy. I’m not writing this for anyone but myself and my children. If something were to happen to me, I want them to have a place to turn to where they can get to know their mom and understand what she went through, the good and the bad, to build the life she wanted for her family. I want to put my very best work online so I can model for anyone who wants to know more about what it looks like to live your truth and drown out the noise of the world. Because it’s not easy. It’s taken me 35 years to understand how to love and lead myself. It’s been a roller coaster of highs and lows these past few months. And I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Thank you for stopping by to read my blog, thank you for all your likes and comments, and thank you for sharing this with others when the messages I share resonate with you.

Happy 3rd birthday, Blog. Here’s to many more.



Make Believe

make believeMake-Believe. Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.

Sing it with me. You know you want to. Belt it out. Right here, right now.

“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood. A beautiful day for a neighbor. Could you be mine? Would you be mine?…. I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you. I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you. So let’s make the most of this beautiful day. Since we’re together, we might as well say: Would you be mine, could you be mine? Won’t you be my neighbor.”

Hello, neighbor.

Here’s the thing.

In this hyper-connected world, we are all neighbors. We have access to one another, like it or not.

And it’s not going away.

We have a choice to make in how we interact with one another as “neighbors”.

I choose to be the best neighbor I can. I choose to wake up each day and make you think, smile, move and laugh. I’m like Wilson, and you’re Tim the Toolman Taylor.

I want to make you believe in yourself.

You become what you believe.

You know that saying “fake it until you make it”? Sometimes as adults we need to play a little make believe. We need to MAKE ourselves BELIEVE we can do something. When we believe we can, we WILL.

Here’s a perfect example.

My best friend from high school ran cross country with me. She hated it, and she wasn’t very fast. She did it more for the social aspect.

A little over a year ago, she made herself believe she was a runner.

She ran a few shorter races, gained some confidence and ran Dam to Dam (just short of a half marathon) last summer, ran her first marathon, and then ran the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon just a few weeks ago.

She pushed through an injury and 10 mile an hour winds she endured for 6+ miles.

Kiley, mother of 3, runner and Boston qualifier.

Kiley, mother of 3, runner and Boston qualifier.

And she qualified for Boston. 

Don’t think for a second that Make Believe is just for kids.

Find something you want to do (especially something that scares you). Something that will make you a better version of yourself.

And MAKE yourself BELIEVE you can do it.


How iMoveU Starts a Movement

post iMoveU bootcamp selfie

post iMoveU bootcamp selfie

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can NEVER get it back.”

Harvey Mackay


My first official iMoveU bootcamp is in the books! I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect morning to host this in my backyard. My foursome included 2 great mommy friends I met when we enrolled our kids in daycare several years ago, and a new friend who tagged along with one of them. It was the perfect crew to start.

You might think it’s weird, different or not for you. All I ask is that you don’t judge until you try it. What I’m starting is a movement. I want to spend the rest of my life doing this. It gives me the freedom to work where I want, when I want, how I want to help those I love the most. I’m helping people to be Brave, Better and Happy.

As many of you know, I’m the lone nut. I’m out there dancing my butt off like Elaine on Seinfeld. And I’m LOVING it. Never in the history of my life have I ever known, with ever fiber of my being, that iMoveU is what I was put here on this earth to do. Never in my life have I been happier, more excited, more motivated or more scared. Never have I received more signs from God that this is what he had planned for me.

This is not about me, it’s about YOU. Help me help you. If you are brave enough to join me (the shirtless dancing guy- except I’m not a guy, so I won’t be shirtless. That would be weird.), I will nurture you as an equal. I will help you in any way I can to live your best life. I will make it so much fun you will LOVE waking up early.

I’ll be offering the same bootcamp again Thursday morning (5:45 am in my backyard), Saturday morning at 8 am in Iowa City, IA (where I went to college)  and Sunday morning at 7 am in Gilbert, IA (where I grew up).  Below is the format. Any and all are welcome to join me.

At some point, when more people are attending iMoveU bootcamps, I may need to put a limit who can come. I may have to turn people away. As much as that breaks my heart, it’s a reality. It might happen in 3 months, it might happen in 3 years. But here’s the thing, I will NEVER turn away those who were brave enough to follow me from the start. These 3 ladies have a free iMoveU membership for life.

I can’t even begin to put into words how incredibly grateful and blessed I feel to be able to do this. For me, exercising, nutrition, humor, music, and personal growth are as important to me as the air I breathe. It’s who I am. It’s been a long journey for me. I didn’t always eat healthy. In college I gained the “freshman 15” TWICE with a steady diet of Natty Light and Gumby’s Pokey Sticks. I had terrible stomach issues all through college and though maybe I had IBS.

I began eating better about 6 years ago. After having my first child I wanted to lose the baby weight, and I also just wanted to feel better. Over those 6 years I have learned a lot about how to cook and snack healthy. My cousin Jen has been a goldmine of information. Her BLOG is amazing and full of awesome recipes, many of them I used for my Happier Hour last week.

Around the same time, I also began reading for my own personal growth. I read the book Good to Great by Jim Collins, and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve gobbled up hundreds of books that have taught me invaluable lessons on leadership, creativity, innovation, neuroscience, time management, wellness, etc….

I WANT TO SHARE ALL OF THIS WITH YOU. FOR FREE. Just show up. I’ll take it from there. Stop saying “I’m not a morning person” or “I don’t have time”. I’m not a morning person either! I hate the alarm. But I LOVE the feeling of accomplishing something alongside good friends early in the morning before my family has even opened their eyes. The rest of my day is better when I start out with exercise, learning, reflection and a healthy breakfast. So join me. I don’t want to do it alone. That would be boring. Find a friend, pressure them in to joining you, pick them up and get moving. It doesn’t matter what your activity level is. There will be modifications for EVERYONE.

Here’s the format for the 1 hour iMoveU Bootcamp:

30 Minute P90x3 video 

  • I chose this program because I’ve gone through about 30 exercise video programs over the past 6 years. P90X 3 is BY FAR the best in my opinion. Third times a charm. Tony finally got it right.
  • I also choose this because the AMA recommended amount of exercise is 30 minutes a day 5 times a week for adults.
  • Exercise comes first because it helps prepare the brain to learn.

20 Minute presentation (The Gift of Time)

    • According to Eric Jensen’s book, Teaching With The Brain In Mind, adult learners should only receive 15-18 minutes of direct instruction when learning NEW CONTENT. Anything beyond that and it’s information overload. These are very focused talks. I will make a slide deck for each talk and share it on Haiku Deck (which is an AMAZING resource) and share them online. A new talk will be created each week and repeated at each iMoveU bootcamp throughout the week. (CLICK HERE to view the presentation for The Gift of Time.)

10 Minute reflection

  • One of the best ways to retain new information is to immediately reflect and put it in your own words. I use the 3-2-1 approach: Share 3 things you learned, 2 things you are going to DO, and 1 person you are going to share the message with (the best way to learn is to TEACH someone else. This also allows you to pay it forward, which is a big part of what iMoveU is all about. )
Overnight oats with fresh berries. Recipe courtesy of my cousin Jen.

Overnight oats with fresh berries. Recipe courtesy of my cousin Jen.

Healthy Food and Juice Options 

During and after the presentation, there will be healthy food and juice options. This week, since it is my first week, I’m giving the food away FOR FREE. In the future however, the food will be available for purchase. This morning I had overnight oats, recipe courtesy of my cousin Jen mentioned above.


So- that’s it. 1 hour of exercising, learning, laughing, talking and eating. All focused on making you better. This is a movement in wellness. Please join me. I’m tired of being the lone nut.



shoesThis past week I “launched” iMoveU. Mother’s Day was more of a symbolic launch with family and friends. Tuesday I hosted a Happier Hour with some amazing women where I talked a little bit about the free bootcamps I’ll be hosting over the summer.

I’m really excited about this new journey. But I’m sick and tired of just talking about it.

So- let’s move.

iMoveU Summer kick-off bootcamps:




  • Tuesday, May 20, 5:45 -6:45 a.m.
  • Thursday, May 22, 5:45-6:45 a.m.

Location: My backyard (if you need my address- send me a note) I may have a Google Hangout option for Thursday if anyone is interested in joining remotely.


Bring: We will be exercising outside, so dress appropriately and bring a large towel or mat and water. If it is pouring down rain or there is lightning, I’ll reschedule. Bring a notebook and pen for the presentation portion. I’ll be delivering the same workout for both kick-off sessions. Come to one or come to both. Bring a friend. Bring your green hat. I don’t care- just come.


  • 30 minutes of exercise (P90x3 Isometrics)
  • 20 minute presentation on The Gift of Time (based on the books The Slight Edge, Off Balance, and Steal Like an Artist)
  • 10 minute reflection/discussion/goal setting
  • Bring cash if you want to purchase any of the food/juice options


iMoveU: Be Brave. Be Better. BE HAPPY.


Happier Hour

photo (21)Last night I hosted my first “Happier Hour” with a group of amazing women- some I’ve known for years and some I just met this year as our boys enrolled in a new school. I’m a very social person, so I love any opportunity to get women together to network and talk about anything and everything.

The evening was focused on sharing things that make me happy. I had a table full of healthy food and juice options (see recipes and links below), and I had several “stations” set up with resources they could learn more about: A work station, personal growth station, exercise station, kids station, and a beauty station (see below for more information on each station).

Moving forward, the Happier Hours I will host through iMoveU will incorporate 30 minutes of exercise in the beginning (a combination of yoga, pilates , cardio and isometric movements), however last night was more of an opportunity to share my vision for iMoveU and explain a little more about what I’ll be doing over the summer.

One of my dear friends who attended gave me a necklace with a beautiful note inside. The necklace simply says “Choose joy”. She wrote a heartfelt letter with it that made me cry when I read it. She shared a quote with me that I would like to share: “Life can be hard…financial troubles, difficult relationships, health problems, death….but every day I have a choice: I can let these things bring me down…or I can choose joy and just be thankful that I’m here . I can choose.” Check out for more inspiration.

I hope you all choose joy each and every day. Some days joy comes easily. Other days it can be hard to find. But the beauty is that we have a choice. So much of what happens in our life is a direct result of our perspective. Although we can’t control what happens in life, we can control how we react.

Here are all of the resources and recipes from my first Happier Hour. I hope you find joy and happiness as you try some of my favorite things!

Click HERE to view the food and juice recipes I used. If you try them, make sure you let me know what you think!

“Work” station:

Work can be hard, so when you can lighten the mood and make people laugh it will motivate them to want to work harder. Here are some fun items my former co-workers have used:

Borrow my pen

Humorous File Folders

WTF button (not recommended around children!!)

Recommended magazines: Fast Company and Harvard Business Review


Health/Beauty/Exercise stations: 

Nerium night cream and firming cream (all natural- made from a plant extract. No perfumes, dyes, gluten free, paraben free. You can receive your night cream for free when you refer 3 friends. The new firming cream is UH-Ma-ZINg. After gaining and losing 30-40 lbs 3 times in 6 years, these products have done so much to help my loose skin, and my fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. It’s also an amazing company that is dedicated to personal growth and development. I continue to be blown away by everything Nerium stands for.)

Coffee Planet: An amazing, new independently owned coffee joint in Rolling Meadows. Well worth the trip! For fellow dairy free coffee and late drinkers, they have soy AND almond milk options.

I had a mix of exercise DVD programs and studios I’ve tried. Let me know if you are interested in hearing my thoughts on any of the following:

  • Beach Body programs: P90x 1, 2 and 3, Insanity, Focus T25
  • Kettlenetics
  • The Abs Diet for Women (has workout plans and food recipes)
  • Yoga Studios (Core Power, Pulsation, Tribalance- all in NW burbs)
  • Ripped in 30 (Jillian Michaels)
  • Yoga DVD’s (Sadie Nardini, Gaiam )
  • The Dailey Method DVD
  • Tracy Anderson’s the Pregnancy Project (AWESOME for pregnant women still wanting to work out)

Children’s Station

Personalized books and puzzles:

Parent and Child Magazine (Scholastic) has AMAZING articles!

Favorite books: The Dot (Peter Reynolds), On Top of the Potty (for anyone potty training little kids!), Goldilocks and the 3 Dinosaurs and any of the Pigeon books (Mo Willems)


 Personal Development Station

Here are some of my favorite books (in no particular order):

Creative Confidence

Steal Like an Artist

Start With Why

The Happiness Project

Presentation Zen

Tribes, Poke the Box, Stop Stealing Dreams, Linchpin (all Seth Godin)

Leading with Questions

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There



Insanely Simple

Good to Great

Creating Innovators

Off Balance

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Where Good Ideas Come From

Lean In (mixed feelings about this one, but it does have some great points)

Anything You Want

A New Culture of Learning



The War of Art

A Whole New Mind

Disrupting Class

Why School?



What Makes You Happy?

DSC05450“‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?'” And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something,”

-Steve Jobs

A good friend of mine posted this quote on Facebook the other day. It immediately made me smile, because I’m in the middle of a pretty big life change.

If I would have asked myself the question above on my 35th birthday (which was this past January), the answer would have been “NO!”.  I had recently returned to working full-time after having my 3rd son. Although I LOVED Discovery Education, adored the people I was blessed to work beside, and honored to work with compassionate educators across the nation to help transform teaching and learning, I was not happy. For me and what I want in MY life, it was too much travel. I loved my job, but I love my husband and my family even more. I was so stressed, and I didn’t have the confidence to have “the talk” with the leadership team at work to tell them I was drowning. I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to upset anyone, and I’m also the type of person who doesn’t like to admit I can’t “do it all”. So I put on a front and pretend everything is “A-OK”. I avoid the crucial conversations and instead cry and pray in the privacy of my own home for courage and strength. I lie to myself and tell myself that this is just the kind of stress that all full-time working moms deal with. I surround myself with friends and family every weekend who lift me up and give me energy to face another week.

Luckily, God often times takes the wheel when you are lost and guides you along the right path when you need it most.

Two days after my 35th birthday, I received the news that my position at work was eliminated as a result of a reorganization. Let me first say that I 100% AGREED WITH AND SUPPORTED this decision. I knew a change was coming and was hoping it would place me in a position where I was traveling less. The position I was in no longer made sense for the team I was on. I knew it, I felt it, and I agreed with the decision. I was in the wrong seat on the bus.

There were other seats available on the bus, however they also required a significant amount of travel, so in the end I made the decision not to pursue any of those seats, and I left.

I could say I was excited, happy and relieved when I left, but that would be a lie. I did feel that deep down, but mostly my ego was bruised. I felt embarrassed, ashamed, and angry. Laid off? That doesn’t happen to me.

I was pretty upset the first few weeks. I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone outside my inner circle. Luckily I have the most amazing family and friends, and they lifted me up and reminded me that everything happens for a reason.

A few weeks after I left, I flew down to Florida to visit my parents for a week with the boys. We got to the condo we rented on a beach outside of Tampa just in time to see the sunset. My 2 older boys kicked off their shoes and ran to put their toes into the ocean for the first time.

As the sun disappeared behind the Gulf, a man (who had been standing in the ocean playing his bagpipes when we arrived) played Amazing Grace. Now, of all the places in the world he choose to play, God placed him right in front of me. If that’s not a sign that I’m on the right path, I don’t know what is. My dad hugged me and I held back tears of joy. I knew in that moment that I would be ok.

Fast forward a few months to yesterday, Mother’s Day. About a month ago the idea came to me to launch iMoveU on Mother’s Day. It was more of a symbolic launch, and I wanted to celebrate with family and freinds. That little voice in my head said “You should call it The Gift Of Time.” I likedimage (1) this name because time is a gift, and as a Mother of 3 boys, there is no greater gift than spending time with my family. The SAME DAY I had this idea, my middle son came home with this picture he had made at school. Getting chills yet? Yeah, me too.

About a week after I chose to launch iMoveU on Mother’s Day, I also decided I would use the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds. It’s a wonderful children’s book that teaches kids how to “make their mark” on the world. I recently gave it to my friend Jessica who wrote her first novel.  (It’s called The Rooms Are Filled, and it’s amazing. Go buy it. Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc. ) Although I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Peter in person, I had the opportunity to listen to him talk during a virtual event while I was at Discovery and I was really touched by his own story. He’s an amazing man with a passion for helping kids (AND ADULTS) make their mark and share their inner art with the world.


The SAME DAY I decided to use this book in my launch, my middle son (who rarely draws anything- normally he’s busy playing with his cars and planes) drew this picture, which looks almost identical to the cover of the book. HE HAD NEVER SEEN OR HEARD OF THE BOOK!!! And why, of all the things he could draw, would he draw a big dot? Yet another sign….

These are just a few of the “signs” I’ve received along the way over the course of the past 3 months. These signs give me courage, hope and excitement for the future of iMoveU. I’m not doing this for attention, to prove anything to anyone, or to make a ton of money. I’m doing it all out of love. I’m doing this because I’m HAPPY. And I want to help other people be HAPPY.

Tomorrow I’m hosting my first “Happier Hour” for a group of amazing women where I will be cooking some of my favorite healthy apps and fresh juices, and I’ll be talking about companies, resources and products that have made me happy. (If you live in the NW Chicago burbs and you want to come please let me know!)

One of those products is Nerium. About 2 months ago my best friend and college roommate Megan called me to tell me all about “this amazing, all natural skin care product” called Nerium. I thought she was crazy and almost started avoiding her calls and texts. I’ve never spent more than $30 on face cream and I just lost my job, why would I want to spend money on that? However, because she is my best friend and because I love her, I listened.

I’m SO glad I trusted her when she promised me it would change my life.

I’ll save the details for a later post, but let me just say that Nerium has transformed my skin. Not just my face, but also my stomach (which I’ve had very loose skin since my second child), my neck, and my chest. I worked hard to loose the baby weight after each child. But after gaining and losing 30-40 pounds 3 times, my body has been through quite a beating. I am proud to say that I did it the right way. I didn’t go on a crash diet, I exercised daily and ate well. However, I was embarrassed by the loose skin on my stomach and was sad that it looked the way it did. I even thought about getting a tummy tuck because society is constantly yelling at women that we have to look perfect. (Which says a lot, because I even refused epidurals for all 3 kids in large part because needles scare me. The thought of my skin being cut off makes me cringe.)

After only 5 weeks, my stomach looks drastically different. Don’t get me wrong, I still have loose skin. I HAD 3 KIDS! You should see what my stomach looks like in high plank position if I don’t have a compression top on. Not pretty. But it has made such a huge difference, and it’s made me feel more comfortable in my own skin.

I’m happy to privately send my before and after pictures to anyone interested. Maybe in time I will post them publicly on on here and Facebook, but for now just send me a message if you want to see my real results.

I’m such a firm believer and supporter of Nerium that I also signed on to be a brand partner. I’ve never sold anything in my life, but I believe so strongly in the product AND the organization. I’m proud to represent Nerium and can’t wait to share it with my friends and family to see the difference it can make for others. And the best part about it is, you receive Nerium for free when you refer 3 friends. The company believes so strongly in helping people live better lives that they literally give the product away for free. They also give 30% of their profits to cancer research, which was how the product was discovered. It’s gluten free, and does not contain anything artificial or harmful for your skin. As a brand partner, I am blown away by the leadership and commitment to personal development this organization provides. Nerium is giving me access to amazing tools and resources that will help give me the skill set to build iMoveU.

If someone would have told me on my 35th birthday that I was going to lose my job, start my own non-profit, sell skin cream and have a new stomach (without having to get a tummy tuck)  within the next 3 months I would have slapped them across the face and called them crazy. But when you drown out noise of the world and listen to what’s in your heart, you never know where God will take you.

Here’s to being HAPPY!!