Category Archives: Healthy Life

Real life after playing competitive sports

With the Olympic Games happening this week, the world is watching the world’s most elite and dedicated athletes compete for the status of being an Olympic medalist. For some of them, it will lead to short term glory, an endorsement deal and being a household name. For the majority of them, however, the ‘real world’ that we all live and work in awaits them when they hang up their gear. Let’s face it — the majority of athletes are not Michael Phelps.

In this vintage photo, you will see a super skinny girl in the second row on the far right. That’s me! For ten years of my life, competitive swimming was a huge part of my life. I joined the swim team because I thought it sounded like fun. It was — I still have special bonds with all of the people I swam with to this day. The first year I swam I was terrible — and I have the third and fourth place ribbons to prove it!!

That year, however, was when my competitive spirit kicked in. I wanted to be better and I knew if I practiced hard enough that could happen. I knew I couldn’t be selected for a relay team if I wasn’t a team player, yet I couldn’t be considered for one if I wasn’t doing my personal best. I had a lot to learn and a long journey in front of me. So I practiced many hours (many, many, many hours) and swam up to 8,000 yards a day six days a week, and ultimately became an excellent swimmer. There was drama, laughter, successes, and losses — just like the real world.

But I was no Michael Phelps. (Who is?)

In the real world (life after chlorine) I started a business in 2002. The feelings of anticipation were the same as when I started swimming all those years ago — I had to start somewhere. I wouldn’t be good at first but with dedication, practice and being a team player, maybe I could become a success. Around that time I began seeking out established mentors in my industry who could share their knowledge with me, their personal journey, and their lessons learned. I set up my business plan, website, packages and marketing materials. I sat back and watched all the drama (not just with brides — those vendors have a way of creating their own drama in the industry!), learned, and focused on how to make the business a success.

I swam competitively for ten years — a term that spanned through high school and college. By the time I stopped, the big ‘swimming fish’ had made a name for myself in her little pond. However, I was primarily known as ‘the swimmer’ by most people in my ‘pond.’ The whole time I was swimming I had earned decent grades, so my focus and that same discipline were then applied just to my academics. 

I officially hung up my competitive swimming goggles 20 years ago, and a lot of new techniques and technology have made swimmers even better and more efficient than in my days. It is very exciting to watch all these Olympians destroy these records and swim these incredible times!

Today, eleven years into being a wedding planner, the entrepreneur journey has parallels to my swimming days. It took a lot of practice, learning, and being a team player. Like swimming, the journey has had lots of ups and downs, triumphs and losses. Today many know me as ‘the wedding planner,’ just like 20 years ago people knew me as ‘the swimmer’ in my little pond of Ohio. (That is exactly the reason I started this blog — there is so much more to me than just weddings! Yet another journey!)

I truly believe that playing sports gave me the foundation for the person I am today. It taught me discipline, teamwork, and gave me the confidence to know that hard work and focus can pay off in high rewards. 

Statistically, 2% of all high school athletes will play in college, and of that total 2%, 1% of them will play sports professionally. So the odds are, if you are a college athlete, you’ll hang up your gear when you graduate from college, just like the other 99% of the people in that statistic. (I hung mine up after Freshman year of college, but hung up my goggles during college nonetheless!) On the internet I found a copy of the last article written in the school paper at LeMoyne College about my last swim meet. (After that I transferred to Xavier to become a life long Muskie!)

The real world is a fun place too! Life is great off the court and out of the pool as well!

Kpl πŸ™‚

Wedding fun!

The past two weekends I have had weddings. Both events went extremely well! Take a peek at the photo collages from each wedding day. 

Congrats Ashley & Brandon!!

Congrats Tara and Ryan!!

I am so blessed that these couples invited me into their lives for this exciting new chapter they’ve entered. Thank you for letting me make Your Dream Day come to life! -kpl

Safety at the pool

Pools are a great way to cool off during the summer, exercise, and create memories with your family!

Back in the day, I was a competitive swimmer and lifeguard. (Trivia — my high school 100 backstroke record stood for 19 years!) So today I want to talk about safety at the pool, in particular HOA, backyard or community pools that don’t staff a full time lifeguard. 

These tips will keep you and your family safe(r) when you’re at the pool!

(1) Use a zipped life preserver on children who can’t swim well, or who are under 4. (Please don’t buy the inflatable arm floaties, they can easily be poked, creating a slow leak, that can catch an unprepared child off guard if you aren’t paying attention! Those make every lifeguard cringe!)

(2) Walk around the pool — no running. Every time you go to a public pool you hear a lifeguard blowing the whistle asking people not to run. There is a good reason for it. Puddles make pool concrete very slippery and easy for anyone running to slip, break a bone or sprain an ankle or wrist. Kids tend to run when they get excited, just discourage them from running.

(3) Don’t swim alone. This is a universal rule for children and adults alike. It is dangerous to swim alone — anything can happen while you’re in the pool, such as a leg cramp, that can impair your ability to swim to safety. Depending on the posted pool rules, a child under 14 or 16 may require supervision. 

(4) Pools with no lifeguard are at your own risk. So you are responsible for anything that happens to you or your family while you’re there.

(5) Stop texting when supervising. This rule didn’t exist in my day, but it certainly does now! Anything can happen in a matter of seconds — like a 2 year old wearing blow up arm floaties can drift into the deep end of a pool where it doesn’t belong!

(6) Drink responsibly, if at all. Drinking impairs your judgement and reaction time. This can put you in danger at the pool. This is especially important in hot tubs where your heart rate is impacted with the combination of the excessive heat and the alcohol.

(7) No glass. Period. Bring plastic cups, plastic or beer cans, and paper plates. You can injure yourself and the people around you.

(8) Speak up to your HOA or community if the pool water doesn’t look right. If the water is cloudy, green, excessive amounts of debris floating, doesn’t smell of chlorine or smells to the point where is is overpowering, stinging your eyes or making your skin red or excessively itch, say something to the powers that be! Readings for chlorine should be between 2-3, and pH 7-8, at safe healthy levels. You can also call your local health department for the latest report.

Pools are a refreshing way to cool down and enjoy the summer sunshine. Just be safe!

Kpl πŸ™‚

ο»ΏNetworking events and the food buffet: how to eat responsibly while networking

Networking events are great for connecting with business colleagues, building new relationships and learning new insight to help you grow your business.

The downside? The breakfast or lunch buffet. All those bad carbs and fattening foods on the buffet, just for one plate, may be all the calories you should consume in one day!

So how do you survive the dreaded buffet and eat responsibly? Here is what I do:

(1) Drink 32 ounces of water, and if possible, a protein shake before you leave for the event. This will fill up your stomach and make you feel fuller so when you arrive at the event, you won’t feel as drawn to the cubed potatoes, bagels and muffins.

(2) Avoid breads, potatoes, bagels, muffins, sugar cereals and pasta. These are big bad culprits. Not only does the carbs in these types of food give you a quick sugar high, you’ll also feel a crash before the next meal. These foods will tempt you to snack later in the day. That being said, oatmeal is okay. This is a slower digesting carb that is good for you. Steel cut is best but rolled oats are okay. Avoid the pre-flavored packets and add your own maple syrup, applesauce or cinnamon for the same flavor more naturally.

(3) What is a serving size? One serving (in general) of food is the size of the palm of your hand. So one piece of chicken is fine, one scoop of green beans — one scoop in general is all you need. Salad dressing, croutons, and sunflower seeds on a salad should be no more than two tablespoons. Your plate doesn’t need to be spilling over with food.

(4) Load up on salad, fruits, veggies, and one protein (like chicken, eggs, etc). You can’t go wrong with these! Go easy on the sauces and gravy though, it is full of unnatural fillers, sugars and thickeners.

(5) Drink water or unsweetened iced tea with your meal. Avoid soda pop that is loaded with sugars and artificial flavors.

(6) Take one bite of the dessert. After taking that one bite, decide if it is really tasty enough to have a second or third bite. Dessert should be no more that three portions on your fork or spoon.

Happy networking! Next blog we will discuss tips to maximize your time at a business networking event. πŸ™‚ kpl

Beauty in Sharon Woods

Today’s weather was beautiful! The sun is shining, a light breeze was blowing, the trees have green leaves on them again, and flowers are blooming. (This means that summer is finally on its way, correct?)

My husband and I decided to rent a pontoon boat after work for an hour ($45), and we enjoyed the beauty of Sharon Woods from the Sharon Woods Lake in Sharonville. (This is the same lake I like to jog around — it is 3 miles around. Two times around gets that magical 10,000 steps per day!)

I took these photos of a pelican from the boat. I didn’t realize we had them in Ohio!

This family of geese also swam over to the boat to say hello.

It is hard to see, but this photo is a mama duck with some very tiny baby wood ducks.

You can also rent paddle boats, kayaks, and power boats. Rates can be found by visiting the Great Parks website. (You can see them behind me in this selfie.)

So the next time you are looking for a nice time out with nature, look no further than your State Parks for relaxation.

Kpl πŸ™‚

Staying and keeping focused

So I will admit … I got off the blogging bandwagon for a few weeks. Everyone gets in a funk, right? First I got a cold, then my husband got back to back episodes of gout. So needless to say between that and the rainy weather, I wasn’t working out the way I normally do. When I don’t work out I get out of my routine, I feel sluggish and depressed, and my rhythm gets off.
routine, better, habits,  exercise, goals, task list, peachy, keen, lifr
When we are children we are provided with a structured routine — breakfast, go to school, sports, church — but when we are adults you need to create your own structure. If you are a stay at home parent, work from home or are self employed, that structure is even harder!  

Here are some tips about how to get and stay in a routine

(1) Exercise in the morning. You may need to get up an hour earlier but giving yourself that opportunity to stretch both your mind and body after a good night’s sleep will jump-start you for the day. Plus releasing all of those endorphins will put you into a great mood!

(2) Go to bed the same time every night and remove technology from your bedroom. A bedroom was meant for sleeping, not watching TV. A lot of people (myself included!) use their cell phone as an alarm clock, but the temptation is there to pick it up and Facebook, play games and read blogs (like this!) during the night when you can’t sleep.

(3) Eat breakfast after you work out. Your body will continue to burn off the calories longer during the day if you do this. Instead of eating, drink a glass of lemon water when you first wake up and drink water throughout your workout.

(4) Set a list of goals for the next day the night before. Before I close up shop for the night, I create a list of everything I need to do for the day while it is fresh in my mind. This will keep you focused on what you need to accomplish the next day and during the week.

(5) Take mental breaks throughout the day. Every 45 to 90 minutes, try to take a 15-20 minute break to recharge your thoughts and refocus your energies. Complete a task before taking a break to help you feel a sense of accomplishment.

I’ll stay focused (on blogging better this month) if you do! πŸ™‚ kpl

Autoimmune disease Facebook support group

Some of you may know that I have lupus, an autoimmune disease.
So I am hoping to connect people by starting an online support group for patients and their families, start the conversation about their struggles with autoimmune disease, living a healthy lifestyle and staying POSITIVE AND STRONG when you are dealing with autoimmune disease. So if you know anyone that might be interested in joining this group please share!
To join this free Facebook group click here

Clean eating vs Prepackaged: Easy oatmeal recipes

Compare the ingredients of rolled quaker oats (in the big tub) to the conveniently flavored apple cinnamon and maple brown sugar oatmeal packets. Can you pronounce all the ingredients in the packets?

Here are some clean eating alternative recipes. Feel free to adjust for taste. FYI, Ten packets of the flavored oatmeal packets will cost you roughly $3, or 33 cents per serving.

The clean alternative for the apple cinnamon oatmeal and the cost:

Six servings of rolled oats (1/2 cup per serving) prepared. Grate 1/2 a small fresh apple (using a cheese grater) and 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon. Stir and place in small containers. Refrigerate for later or eat while warm.

Cost: 25 cents per serving. (Initial investment: 40 oz container of Quaker Oats is $4, small organic apple .60, container of cinnamon $1.)

The clean alternative for the maple brown sugar oatmeal packets and the cost:

Six servings of rolled oats, prepared (1/2 cup per serving). Add 2 tbsp of real maple syrup and 2tbsp of butter. Stir and place in small containers. Refrigerate for later or eat while warm.

Cost: 25 cents per serving. (Initial investment: 40 oz container of Quaker Oats is $4, bottle of grade A maple syrup $7 for 12 ounces and package of 4 sticks of butter $4)

If it is the convenience of the packets you like, make the six servings of this on Sunday, put it in tiny containers, and take those to work or heat them up in the morning. You can also buddy up with someone and split the cost if you are worries about not eating all the portions yourself.

Yummy! πŸ™‚ kpl

Definition of “clean eating”

I have lost forty pounds during the past year doing three things — exercising 4-5 times a week for at least 30 minutes, drinking 100 ounces of water a day, and eating clean, organic food as often as possible in three meals and three snacks per day. What exactly does clean eating mean? It’s simple — it is eating real, unprocessed foods.  

 When you go to the grocery store, you will notice that (in general) real food is located on the perimeter of the store. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, dairy, eggs, meats, fish, chicken, juice, cheese, and the deli (watch out for lunch meats with added fillers and preservatives). The inner aisles tend to contain prepackaged, processed foods. The more you can avoid the inner aisles, the better.

Some ingredients in the inner shopping aisles are okay, but you need to read the ingredients on the package to see what exactly is in them. The baking aisle contains many of my go-to ‘clean eating’ necessities like cinnamon, ginger, himalayan salt, pepper (cayenne and black), olive oil, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, olive oil, natural peanut butter, stevia (not all stevia is created equal, but that’s another blog entry!), pumpkin, steel cut oats (rolled oats are ok too, I just prefer the steel cut ones), cocoa powder (again, not all are created equal), nuts, dried fruits, extracts, tea, coffee, maple syrup, raw honey, coconut flour, popcorn and salad dressing. You may be paying for preservatives and fillers without realizing it in something marketed as ‘healthy.’ The fewer ingredients listed on the package the better off you are. 

When I tell people I eat organic as much as I can, their immediate response is that ‘it is so expensive.’ Organic isn’t more expensive than traditional food if you buy it the right way. We get a lot of our organic ingredients at Costco, the local farmers markets, Kroger, Fresh Thyme and Dorothy Lane Market. (The $50 membership fee to Costco pays for itself very quickly when you buy your organic foods and regular necessities like laundry detergent, cheese, butter, oatmeal, almond milk, eggs, nuts, raspberries, chicken, fish, salmon, and ground beef in bulk.) Some of my friends have purchased a 1/4 of a cow and said that the meat is not only significantly less expensive than a store but the taste is amazing. 

Eating clean for me doesn’t mean I am 100% full blown clean all the time. Occasionally I do eat rice pilaf, pasta and tortilla shells. (I like a low carb pasta and Aztec makes a lower carb tortilla.) I also enjoy a piece of chocolate, Graeters ice cream or a slice of cake. These items are not part of my regular diet though — they are occasional treats. When I do have these treats, they are just that (and they either taste amazing or sit like a brick in your stomach!). Once you have been eating clean for a week or so, you’ll find that you won’t crave processed foods as much.

You will need to invest in two things to start your clean eating journey — an insulated lunch bag and containers to put your food in. You can purchase an insulated lunch bag for around $10 and a 40 piece rubbermaid containers set for around $20-$30. Making your own food, as opposed to buying at a restaurant, will save you money and be healthier in the long run. 

(Before starting any diet, check with your doctor. I am not a certified nutritionist, personal trainer or a medical doctor — I’m just a normal person who feels better, lost weight and doesn’t want to eat processed food or genetically modified produce and meats. That’s my disclaimer!)

That being said … Let’s get started!! Kpl πŸ™‚