Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chrsitmas time is here

Somehow the year has already flown by and we are counting down the weeks until Christmas. It doesn't seem possible, but yet our tree is up and I'll be wraping gifts this weekend.

It seems that the beginning of the year is when everyone makes a promise, "resolution" if you will, to lose weight, but falls off the wagon a week or two later. I didn't make a resolution at all, I decided I was going to change my life somehow...and one way or another I figured it out. Take a little piece of advice; if you want to make a change, just do it. Don't wait for Jan 1st to roll around, just DO IT. Make those small changes everyday in your routine. A few small, everyday changes can alter your entire life.

I attended the Marine Corps ball this past month, and I got to feels good wearing a sweetheart neckline for the first time ever. I am actually small enough to show a little bit of skin and feel confident about it. I'm getting more confortable in my own skin and accepting myself.

My life has changed so drastically this year. I spent my first full year in Japan. I wrote a book. I opened my own craft shop. My oldest started school. I made a new friend, and got rid of a few people who were dragging me down. I still kept my promise to myself and maintained my goal weight for almost a full year! I grew stronger. I started Crossfit. I ran more than 2 miles at a time (huge thing for me, although it sounds so small) and got up to 4.5 miles in one run. I pushed my body to the limits and learned what I was capeable of.

This month I have goals. I won't eat my weight in cookie dough...I won't. I'm seriously bad at that! I love making Christmas cookies with my 5 year old. Cooking is our way of really spending time together, and around this time of year we are always in the kitchen making goodies! I want to make our holiday NOT revolve around food! I can do this!

What is your favorite treat at the holidays? It seems like most everyone loves the FOOD!

Hugs & Love

Friday, November 9, 2012

My Vinyl Site!

Where has HarperGirl been? Up to her eyeballs in vinyl, that's where! Would you mind dropping by and "liking" my page? I ship everywhere now! So come by and look at everything I have to offer :)

I ship to America, so come by, say hello, and put in an order with my new shop!!

Samples of my custom work:

LIKE my site, and message me for an order!! Orders will be shipped out once a week.
This is what has kept me SO busy, and I love doing it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New Routine

Yay for Kindergarten! 

 He got in line with his friends and after the entire class blew all their mommy's one last kiss, they said farewell and marched into the land of Kindergarten, leaving behind a bunch of teary-eyed parents. Danny graciously pulled me out of there quickly, and we left to go run our errands for the day.

 I sort of felt like I was missing something important the entire day, like my right arm, without him there.


At one point, Danny even opened up the back right side car door where Josh normally sits when we arrived at the grocery store, only to remember halfway through that Josh wasn't there.

With Josh in school, that means I have a very early alarm to set every night. Get this. I have to wake up now at 4:45. That's right, kids. At 4:45 my alarm now goes off, and I have to get out of bed, throw on my workout gear, and get my butt moving to Insanity/Crossfit/running to make sure I have time to get a shower and get my boys ready to take Josh to school. Very early morning around here, but it is necessary if I want to get my workout in. Just when I get used to a new routine, I have to change it up again!

If I can do can do it ;)

Until tomorrow, folks.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Finding My Happy

Part of the reason, well most of the reason, why I wanted to lose weight was to be happy. Happy in my marriage, happy with my life, just a happier person all around. Sometimes life is just a big 'ole mess though, and happy is the last thing I am. This week was one of those weeks where I just wanted to hide under the covers. I had a million things to do, not enough time to do them, and to be honest, my kids are growing way too fast and I've had to deal with that reality a lot this week.

I've talked some about how my oldest, Joshua, is going to Kindergarten. As a teacher, I'm so excited for him! This is such an exciting time in his little life. He's so happy to go and make friends, he's asked once a day every day this summer when it was time for "big school".

As a mom, though, I feel like I'm losing Josh in a way. I know I sound ridiculous, but that's just the way it feels. I'm dealing with it, but I can't say right now that I'll be one of those moms throwing a party as the school bus drives away. Maybe next year, but not this year. With a husband who is gone so much with schools and training, field ops and deployments, Josh and I have become "battle buddies" over the years. Even when he was too young to remember, he was my "battle buddy". We got through all those times together.

As I lay in bed 2 nights ago with my husband telling him all of this, I realized something; I never got that time with Jake, our 2 year old. Now it's going to be Jake's turn with me. I am excited now to have this time with Jake, and to have some one-on-one time with him. That actually made things a lot better for me.

Some of you veteran moms are laughing at me right now I imagine, and that's okay. I know it sounds silly. I just love my kids to pieces and all the time that I've had with them. They are my happy.  They make me laugh, smile, and love the life I live.

I'm taking the time everyday now to "find my happy". I never used to do this, and I honestly think it makes me happier. I take time to thank God for my little ones and all the things that make me happy. Sometimes there is this pressure to be this "perfect mother" when in reality, there is no perfect mom. I've come to terms with that, and now I'm on a mission to just be happy. Working out makes me happier all around, which is something I never thought I'd say. I am a happier person when I'm healthy. I'm no longer depressed, wallowing in shame like I used to. My life used to pass me by everyday, but now I feel like I'm living my life. I wished for this, prayed for this, for so long. I won't let a week ruin that. Even on my bad days, I have to have a talk with myself about "eating my emotions". I can't do that anymore. I won't allow myself to do that. I deal with my emotions, work them out, rather than making my day worse by eating myself into depression. In return, my kids learn how to deal with emotions, too.
I should have done this when I was over wight and I never did. I should have learned to embrace little moments. It was so hard back then between the depression I had and just being so unhealthy. I was happy, but to a point. I'm now learning how to really live, and how to really love. My weight loss journey wasn't just about weight, it helped me learn about life. I learned more about myself in the process than about healthy living.

What makes HarperGirl happy today?
-A sweet text message from my hubby on duty today.
-Spending the day with both of my kids.
-Putting out Halloween/Fall decor.
-New jeans.
-Baking an afternoon healthy snack with Josh.
-Day 2 of breaking Jacob of his pacifier (the worst is behind us, yeah!!)
-Movie and snack time with Josh while Jake naps.

What makes you happy today?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Another week of Insanity!

I haven't posted in the past week because I've been frustrated with blogger. It's not allowing me, and a million other users, to upload pictures. And what's a blog post without pictures?!

I want to show you my new family planner, random dinner shots, and post what this monster typhoon looks like. So I've switched to HTML mode. Take that, Blogger. ::Sticks tongue out:: Anyways, I'm almost done with another week of Insanity! Who has stuck with it with me? I think a few of you dropped out, so I hope that some of you are still around! Comment below if you're still sticking through it!

Want a tip? Sleep in your workout clothes. I used to do this quite often when I was first starting out and lacked morning motivation. I still do it sometimes, it just makes my morning run smoother. Here is proof:

I got something in the mail this week that made me SQUEE! I got my family planner I ordered from and it. is. amazing. I cannot say enough good things about it. I've been able to organize my meal plan for my family, workout plan with Insanity, bills, school schedule, work in my new vinyl shop, and stuff for my husband's job. It's amazing, it really is. Photobucket

Don't I look happy? I am. I'm super-duper happy. Organization makes me really happy....I think I'm turning into my mother. Shhh....

In other news in the HarperGirl house, we met little man's Kindergarten teacher today. She's super sweet, we really like her. My little guy was somewhat nervous, which is way out of character for him. I think he will love it though, he's always loved school. He's so outgoing, which is nothing like me! He's my little extrovert :)

We have a ginormous typhoon about to hit us here in Okinawa, and it's quite scary-looking on radar. Photobucket

See the little white outline at the tip of the arrow? That's us. We have 2 major typhoons out there that will be hitting us starting Sunday. The big one hits Sunday, the other one Tuesday. So if I'm gone from my facebook site for a few days, you'll know why. Rest assured, I'm not floating on a board somewhere in Japan, but stuck in my house with no Internet. Our home on base is like a concrete bunker with reinforced glass, nothing is going to get us in here besides the humidity after the power clicks off. Board games are being collected around the house!

I may be in for a long weekend. And what bothers me most...If I lose power I can't do Insanity or run on my treadmill!! Sad face. I'll have to wing it.

Stay tuned, folks, I'll let you know how that works out.

Till then, keep smilin'! <---as Shaun T says!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Week 2!

Okay so the week is a far cry from over, but this is the time where a lot of people drop out of programs like Insanity. DO. NOT. QUIT. If you feel tired, and a little sore, good! All that pain, sweat, and struggle is progress in the making! Unless your injured...and that's not my department. Anyways, I'm having fun with round 2! I'm making progress. I lost a half of an inch on my waist already, and down almost a pound. I'm ecstatic with the progress so far!

There I am after my workout this week! I'm smilin' cause I love it....or cause it's over. Take your pick!

I'm also playing with different foods and trying to make my meals more interesting, especially dinner. My boys have been requesting different dinners, but I have to keep them healthy. I've been putting my slow cooker to good use lately, even indulging in those "chop and freeze" bags so I just have to grab a bag out of the freezer and put it in my cooker all day and dinner is done. Here is one of my dinners from last week

This was really good! Teryaki Chicken, just chicken, teryaki sauce, red onion, baby carrots, and garlic. I put it over some rice and the boys ate it all. WIN.

Here is breakfast from this week

People, this is CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN oatmeal. Yes. You read that right. A pack of high fiber brown sugar oatmeal, little bit of cocoa powder, 1/4 cup pumpkin, and 1/3 cup water, and a sprinkle of Splenda. Perfection. Great for after Insanity!

My oldest is almost ready for kindergarten, I'm trying to open up a shop out of my home, and my toddler is cutting his 2 year molars. It's getting crazy in HarperGirl's world, but I still make fitness a huge priority. So much has been happening lately, and things are constantly changing. But that is life. We are always growing and changing, and we have to learn to adapt to all of it.

If I've learned anything from this process it's this; I can be miserable, or I can be happy. Either way, I have the power to change myself. Only I can get myself up in the morning to workout. Only I can opt out of eating a cheeseburger and order a salad instead. Only I can decide to deal with my emotions rather than eat them. I can make excuses, or I can make progress.

With that, I am out of here. I have more orders to complete, and two children to run around after.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Week 1!


So, how is my group doing the first week of the challenge? Are you feeling the burn? Don't worry, that pain you feel right now is the beginning of progress. You have to go through this to get through to your results. It will be worth it, I promise. Stick with it, don't give up. The first few weeks of Insanity are notorious for putting on weight, so don't fret if you see the scale move up a little. It's water weight from your muscles changing and growing. Month 2 you'll start losing that and slim down.

My son's 2nd birthday was this past weekend. My amazing friend, Kayti, was my photographer, and she did a phenomenal job.

Isn't he adorable? We had a lot of fun celebrating together, being with our friends and *gulp* indulging on that cake.

Probably the best cake I've ever had in my entire life. Sorry, grandma.

There's me and the hubs, cheesin' it up for Kayti. Don't mind my epic tan lines going on. I think this is one of the best pics of my husband and I ever. HUGE thank you to my Kayti for this one. She's amazing.

We had so much fun with everyone. I introduced a few friends of mine to quinoa. I tried to have some healthy options at the party. Parties are difficult. I had a lot of Marines there, and let's just say those guys can EAT. We went through a lot of food this weekend, but it was so worth it.

So this week was damage control for the splurging. Not much, just that blasted cake. I made sure we had NO leftovers! This is how we did it:

He had a blast smashing that cake. I don't blame him. The Cookie Monster was make of cookie dough. NO LIE. I'm not a cake fan at all, but yeah....

So to do damage control this week, we've had a lot of good wholesome clean foods for dinner. Tonight, it's slow cooker chicken teriyaki. NOMMY.

Make sure you check in with me on how you're doing with Insanity. Click my facebook page over to the side --------------------->
I update that several times a day!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Insanity Group

If you're participating in the group, please sign your name below in the comment box.

By signing/typing your name below you are acknowledging the following:

1. This is strictly voluntary.
2. You are approved by a doctor to do this program
3. HarperGirl is not held liable for any injury whatsoever
4. You will have FUN!!
5. You've added HarperGril on Facebook to keep up with the group updates!
6. Did I mention the FUN!?
7. You have the program!

So sign your name below so I can get a headcount for my group! I'll be updating through my HarperGirl facebook profile and through the HomeFront Warriors group page.

Only a few days left!!

Comment away!

<3 HarperGirl

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Insanity Challenge!

Insanity Challenge Begins August 6th!

Yes! I have a few takers, and the 6th seems to work out best for most people. Make sure you hit my Harpergirl "like" button on facebook. I'll be posting updates there and in the Homefront Warriors group.

If you need the workout calendar, just google it. It comes up on several links. First day is the fit test.

Before we begin you need to do a few things:

1. Weigh and measure yourself.
2. Have a workout calendar.
3. Make a specific time each day to devote to the program.
4. Make sure you are eating on the Insanity program or eating a healthy diet!
5. Make sure you are approved by your doctor to do this program. I AM NOT A DOCTOR. You will be doing this at your own risk. I am not liable for injury. If you are not in good health, sit it out.

Something to keep in mind with Insanity; the first month is notorious for putting on a few pounds of weight. DON'T FREAK OUT. It's muscle and water weight. That's why I'm telling you to take measurements. You'll lose the few pounds you gain in month 1 during month 2.

Okay I think that's about it. Make sure you have some good shoes, and prepare to sweat!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Get Insane with HarperGirl!

I had an idea today. I want to start an end-of-summer Insanity group! Who would like in?

I want to start the program again (making sure I'm at my best for the Marine Corps Ball in November!) sometime in August. I need some feedback though from you all!

So I have the calendar for anyone who needs the schedule. You can get the program and details either at or

I'm looking for a small group of us. We'd do the workout each day together, and discuss our progress on my Facebook page.

If you'd like to participate, please comment below! Also, add me on facebook! My link is on the sidebar. We can all discuss when the best time for us to start will be! I look forward to working out with you all!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Meal Challenge!

Wowza it is getting hot here! It's the Indiana girl in me, I guess. I can't take the tropic heat (so many "Tropic Thunder" quotes are buzzing in my head right now, but I'll go way off topic).

I want to challenge my readers to try something new this week! This summer I have been trying a lot of new things. So far, I switched trainers, tried new workouts, started working on a novel I (yes, you read that right!), made a bunch of new meals for my family that we love, and stepped outside the box more and more. I started a vinyl business, too. I'm trying new things this summer, and I want you, dear readers, to do the same!

This coming week, I want you to try at least 2 new dinners with your family. They need to be healthy, tasty, and nothing too expensive. Then post about them in the comments below! Tell me what you are trying this week. Be adventurous, be bold, and do something amazing. The best ones I'll try myself and do a feature post on them!

This was my new meal this week, and it was GOOD! Quinoa mixed with grapes, pineapple, and lemon juice.

I've been in full party-planing mode at the house lately, so forgive my absence. Plus I can't get enough time with my kids this summer. It's my oldest last summer before what he calls "big school" begins. He starts Kindergarten in a few weeks. Cue the tears....I'm not going to be one of those moms that you see on the commercial jumping and cheering as soon as the school bus pulls away. I love having him here with me, and I'll be sad to see him go. He's overly excited though, and it counting down the days.

So get out there and post your favorite meals that you've tried! Get cooking!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Like" Me on Facebook!

I'm on Facebook!

So I realized that I get a lot of Facebook ads from people that I don't actually know. I tend to not add people I don't actually know. Many of you have found me on facebook and I've denied your requests, and I don't do that to be mean, I do that to protect myself.

What I DID do though, is create a fanpage!

::insert angels singing::

I'm on Facebook much more than I'm on blogger, so for daily updates, motivation, and workouts/meal ideas, add me!!


YAY! I'm on Facebook! I can't wait to talk to you all!!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Team Bob is Back!

Insanity is over, and Bob is back in the house! I must say, I missed my trainer. Good ole Bob, he's so reliable when it comes to making my muscles sore. I feel the extreme difference between Crossfit with Bob and Insanity with Shaun T. Major difference. Bob focuses more on strength with weights and kettle bells, while adding in cardio bursts. Insanity focuses on long cardio bursts while using your body weight. After 9 weeks of Insanity and just using my own body weight, I feel weaker than I did before, but leaner. This isn't a bad thing, it's just a different feeling. I feel leaner, I feel faster, and I know my cardio is better. My strength is lacking though, and that's something I have to work back up.

Oh my goodness I want this! My favorite Bob-ism on a shirt! I want yesterday.

Over all, I've lost 2 inches in my waist, 1.5 inches in my hips, and .5 of an inch in my thighs. I've put on 2 pounds of muscle, and got my body muscle percentage up and body fat percentage down. I'm happy with my results, and I'll probably do another round of Insanity just for fun. For long term goals, I think I'll stick with Bob. I like his style better, and he's just my man :) I like working with weights, while incorporating running and crossfit into my routine. Bob has a lot more flexibility in his program, which I love at this point in my fitness journey.

I did weighted squats for the first time in 9 weeks, and I feel the difference in my groin, glutes, and quads. It's all on fire from yesterday morning still. I honestly can't remember the last time I've hurt this bad, other than the first week of my journey. Seriously, that's how extreme the pain is in my legs. It made moving difficult this morning, and was a challenge during my run today. I still managed a run and cardio circuit with Bob though.

This past Sunday, the boys and I went to the Kadena Marina for dinner, and it was fabulous!

We had a great time, and had an amazing view during our meal. The little ones got to look at fish swimming by, and watched planes fly overhead from the base across the street. Ah, the little things in life. I had a ginormous grilled chicken cesar salad since I'm not much of a fan of seafood. It was a treat though just to sit out on the patio of this place and see the ocean.

Okay I'm out for tonight. Have a good one, and remember to make the most of your day today!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Running Track List 2

I promised a decent post surprise! I'm sharing my running play list.

1. Shook Down-Yuck
2. Perfect Day- Hoku
3. Scream- Usher
4. Breathless- The Corrs
5. Brokenhearted-Karmin
6. Part of Me-Katy Perry
7. So What-Pink
8. Stronger-Kelly Clarkson
9. Evacuate the Dance Floor- Cascada
10. What the Hell- Avril Lavigne
11. Shots-LMFAO
12. Obsession- Sky Ferreira
13. One Girl Revolution- Superchick
14. OMG- Usher
15. Yeah!-Usher
16. DJ Got us Fallin in Love-Usher

Yes...I like Usher. That is my latest track listing. I like those "I don't need a man" songs while I run! Don't ask me why, I honestly don't know. I love my husband to pieces. But ladies like Pink, Kelly Clarkson, and Avril Lavinge amp up the girl power!

I get asked for running music quite often, so I thought I'd share another listing of my favorite running songs. I've been running more again now that I'm almost at the end of Insanity. I ran about 3 miles yesterday, and my time was decent. I run more for distance rather than time right now. It's been a while since I've been distance running, so I'm trying to get back into it. I want to start Crossfit back up for a few weeks before (or if) I start another Insanity round.

I hope you all enjoy my little playlist :)


Summer Lovin'...

Now that I have that song in your head, I'd love to say "HAPPY SUMMER" to my dear readers!

I've been absent from my blog because I've been busy with summer activities. I'm doing a summer organization challenge here at home. It's something I've wanted to do for a while, and I finally got the ball rolling with it. I got a new Silhouette Cameo to help me out with that. If you don't have one of these, they are amazing! It's a crafting machine similar to the Cricuit, but it does so much more! Look it up! It's a nifty tool to have. Anyways, I've been creating labels, wall decals, and even made a few things for my son's upcoming birthday.

My friend Kayti took that picture of my husband and I about 2 weeks ago. Gosh I'm so behind on blogging. Forgive me! But as you can see, I've been having fun :) That was a cookout at my house, the picture is in my back yard.

Apart from the cookouts, beach trips, organizing and crafting going on at home, I've also realized that in 3 days I will be finished with my first round of Insanity! The 63 days has flown by, and I'm torn on what to do next. Take a break and go back to running and Crossfit with my Bob, keep doing Insanity, or a totally new program all together. Who knows what I'll chose. I will say though, I miss Bob and will probably do another running/Crossfit hybrid again with him. Running is a challenge for me, even still, so I want to keep setting goals there.

I've been asked to do several different blog topics, and I plan to cover those here this week as well. We've just been having a lot of fun here at home now that the weather is nice. Japan is humid in the summer, but there is so much to see and do, and we want to experience it all while we are here! This is what we did over the 4th of July

We went swimming at Cape Zanpa beach. We gave my 5 year old some basic swim lessons and he's getting the hang of it. We had a lot of fun! I hope you all enjoyed your 4th of July! in a bathing suit for the entire internet world to see...yeah I never thought that would happen! That's how much I love you readers.

Until tomorrow my readers! I'll get some posts up very soon!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dedication & Committment; Working out as a Mommy

The question I get asked most frequently about fitness is "how do you stay motivated to workout with 2 kids?". The answer? I don't. Okay, hear me out. I do have a real answer for you, but it's one that requires a little more than a few sentences.

Motivation is usually what drives us to start a diet or workout routine in the first place. You go to the beach, see the gorgeous girls in itty bitty bikinis, and feel a sense of self doubt and insecurity. I've been there, MANY times. Back in 2006, I was a newlywed. I was also a bit on the heavy side, a size 12. This was before kids, mind you. My husband had just returned from Iraq, and since we didn't have the big wedding that we were trying to plan (schedule conflicts with his homecoming date), he booked us a cruise as a wedding gift to me! It was the sweetest thing ever, and I was so excited. I had never been on a cruise before. He gave us a honeymoon :) Well, I spent most of that cruise indoors, and not in my swimsuit. It was so hard for me to go out in my tankini (yeah...the TANKini) and feel confident in front of girls half my size with my newlywed husband. So...BAM! Motivation. Does it last? Hardly ever! If it did, most of America would be fit. The problem is that motivation does not last.

Is motivation what drives me at 5:45am to roll out of bed, throw on workout gear, and take the assault of Harper's 45 minute Crossfit? Oh hell no.

It's not motivation anymore. It's 2 things:

Dedication & Commitment

I'll go into these more. Dedication is just what it means, being dedicated to fitness, being healthy, and fitting into my jeans. Dedication and habit also go hand-in-hand here. Habit also helps me roll out of bed in the morning, too. Honestly, after taking care of everyone in my house all day long, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and chasing after my 5 and 1 year old, the last thing I want to do is get up at 5:45am and see Harper's face before the sun rises. I do it, though. I owe it to myself to be healthy. What I've found is that the hour that I workout each morning is dedication to myself. I owe it to myself to be the best version of me that I can be. I owe that to my family as well. They deserve the best from me too, and that includes having a happy mommy and wife. You'd be amazed at the changes in my family life and marriage that being healthy has made.

Commitment is very similar, but it's more of a promise I've made to myself. I've promised myself that for the rest of my life, I will be healthy. That's a huge promise, but I will live by the commitment I've made. Too many people count on me to be at my best, and others need my help (like you lovely people reading my blog now!). I've made the commitment to fitness, and it's paid off, but the journey is never over. The hardest part of my jorney is now, while I'm getting comfortable with my "new self" and living the lifestyle. Fighting to maintain is hard. Fighting my "old self" is hard. Commitment is what I have when everything else fails. I committed myself to this lifestyle, and I will live my life this way now. I know there is no going back for me, even if that means I have to miss an hour of sleep or relaxing time when my kids are still sleeping. I will do it. I not only commitmed myself to this life, but my family as well. My kids deserve to be healthy and have a good example of a healthy lifestyle. I will stay committed for them. Does that mean we don't loosen up and have dessert ever? Not at all! We just do things like that in moderation, and we teach them the value of health and fitness.

I know what you're thinking "but HarperGirl, you haven't told me how you work out with kids in the house!!". Honestly, every house and routine is different. If you have the committment and dedication to this lifestyle, you will find a way. Sometimes that means rearranging your schedule, or missing an hour of sleep time, or putting down the remote and DVRing your favorite show instead. If it's important to you, you'll find a way to workout. Plain and simple. If I can do it with a newborn and active 3 year old, then I know you can, too. Even when I was tired from being up every 2-3 hours at night with my newborn, I still got up and did my workout because it helped me wake up and greet the day. I'm just now finished with a run, and my energy is through the roof!

Where there is a will, there is a way. Look at your schedule and routine at home. Write it out, even. Then take out all the non-essential things. I'm sure there is 20-45 minutes in there somewhere that you can do a workout. If I can do it, anyone can!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book Review; Awry

Okay, I know what you're thinking, "HarperGirl, this is a fitness blog! Why are you reviewing novels?". I'm reviewing novels because I love to read, and it deters me from binge eating from boredom. Plus, it's my blog, and I can review whatever I please ;) So there.

Deep breaths...deep breaths....this was one of the best books I've ever read. Awry is the 2nd book in the Archers of Avalong series, and there will be a 3rd book! I was speechless after the end chapter of this book!

What I love: STRONG female lead. There is no "Bella" in this book. Scar (we are on a nickame basis now!) is a strong leader and I love that about her. No vampires, angels, zombies or typical YA stuff that is really popular right now. Flashbacks rock in this book. Tristian and his amazing green eyes! Oh Tristian, how I adore you. Most of all though, I just love how refreshing this story is. It's completely different from anything out there in the YA fiction world!
Here is the book syopsis:
Sometimes love is meant to be. But is the death of you....

Seventeen-year-old Scarlet has just died. Only, dying isn't unusual for a girl under a centuries old curse that left her semi-immortal.

This time, though, she comes back to her current life instead of awaking in a new one, and she realizes the curse is changing. Together with the immortal Archer brothers, Scarlet must piece together her life and try to break the curse before her impending death comes again.

Scarlet wakes up from "death" to find the twins in battle with each other, and she still doesn't remember her past. In this book though, we learn where she came from through flashbacks. We really start to see the real story behind Tristian and Scarlet, and why Tristian is somewhat distant with her in this life. I enjoyed the flashbacks so much, and normally I'm not a fan of flashback chapters in books. This was beautifully done though, and we learn about Scarlet and who she actually is. Then all hell breaks lose at the end, and we are left with another cliffhanger. I had a smile on my face, but I was so shocked at the end, too! I wish I could write more about this book, but then I'd give away so much that I'd spoil it for you. No spoilery posts here!

Basically, you need to read this book this summer. Everyone needs to know about this series! Here is the link on Goodreads to the series:
Click for the Archers of Avalon Series!!

Here is the trailer for book 1

And here is book 2's trailer

So, hot boys, mystery girl, flashbacks from the 1500's, and mythology. What else could a girl ask for?

Go read these books, and then come back here and tell me how you liked it!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Insanity Update

I am currently in week 2 of month 2 of Insanity. I can't believe it's been this long already! I've completed day 44 today of Insanity. I've noticed some major differences between month 1 and 2. First, month 1 workouts are significantly shorter. They last maybe 30-45 minutes at most. Month 2 goes over an hour in some workouts. Intensity is also a huge factor. The intervals are longer, 3-4 minutes a round. My muscles freaked out the first week from the new workouts and the higher intensity intervals. I was retaining water, too, so I felt a little off.

Now I'm in week 2, and I feel a little more normal. I have yet to lose any real weight, but my body fat percentage is pretty low anyways, so I'm not really concerned about losing pounds. I did notice my muscle mass starting to rise over the past few weeks though, which would account for the 2 pound I've gained while on Insanity. I have also lost inches, which makes me really happy! I can see where I've lost inches.

Here is my inches:
Waist- lost 1.5"
Hips- lost .75" (hardest place for me to lose!!)
Legs/thighs- lost 1"

Not HUGE losses, but definite change. I don't have much left to lose here, so I'm really just toning. My cardio is better, which is also making my run time better, too. So I can't complain! I've had some really good workouts with Insanity, and I've lost inches and increased muscle mass. So far, so good!

Summer is in full-swing around here, so I have my kiddos full time at home. I've been busy with them and trying to make sure we have lost of fun this summer. I've been trying out new recipes. I've been trying to make my own protein bars at home, and they are hit and miss. I found a pumpkin one that I like, and today I'm going to try a different kind. I've also (finally) received my PB2 Chocolate and regular peanut butter. I've been experimenting with protein shakes for my husband and I. I created this one:

It's a chocolate peanut butter & strawberry protein shake, all for about 250 calories! I used 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder, 1 cup of almond milk, a few frozen strawberries, 1 tblsp of chocolate PB2, and a teaspoon of truvia. Blend and drink! It's really good, and my favorite right now! If you try this one, let me know what you think!

Working on more posts. If you have an idea for a topic that you want me to cover, please comment this post and let me know! I'd love to hear from you!

Comments are love <3 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Insanity; Starting Month 2

Hi all! I meant to post sooner, but we've had a little situation going on here in Okinawa. This, to be more specific:

Say hello to Typhoon Guchol, a category 4 typhoon headed straight for Okinawa. Yay. So we've been cleaning up around the outside of our home, getting last minute items for our typhoon kit, and making sure we have things to keep the wee ones happy during the storm and possibly after in case we lose power. It's starting to rain now, the winds are picking up, and it'll be hitting us sometime tonight into tomorrow morning.

I am pretty sure Shaun T tried to murder me yesterday.  I started month 2 yesterday (fit test and max interval circuit), and I am feeling it! My muscles have felt the shock in a huge way; I have gained 2lbs of water weight alone since in just 2 days!! No worries, it's normal. It's my muscles being shocked from the new routines. I have done my research on this. I had recovery week all last week, and now it's the first week of month 2. I am on day 37, and my glutes are on FIRE. I feel every muscle in my body right now. It's a good hurt...a good hurt. The workouts are more difficult and so far they have all been longer (around an hour each vs 40 minutes). I did better on my fit test again yesterday, which was a YAY moment for me!

I have a book review waiting for you all for Anew, and let's just say...WOW!! I can't wait to write my review for this. It is a must read! I absolutely loved it, cover to cover!

Be on the lookout for another post very soon, including my book review!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Comfort Food

Admit it; there is at least one or two meals that you go to when you're stressed. Why does food make us feel better when we are stressed out? It does for a few moments, while that food is in our mouth. As soon as our plate is gone though, that guilt usually settles in. It does for me, anyways.

*picture courtesy of Yahoo*

I did something I don't normally do this weekend; I had dessert! Granted, it was a special treat, and I didn't binge, but I still consumed probably 300-400 extra calories in that little meal. Immediately after the last bite was gone, I felt awful. Why did I do that to myself? WHY? When I knew I'd feel terrible.

In my group, HomeFront Warriors, we've had a few discussions about this lately. Quite a few of my members have done the same thing and felt guilty lately. What should you do when this happens? I have a few tips for you!

Before I eat a treat (dessert, comfort food, etc.) I take a few steps.
-How many calories is in this meal? Take note so you know exactly what you're eating, even if it's an ugly number of calories. You still need to know. It's essential for tracking your food.
-What is the serving size? Never go over 1 serving. It's all about portion control! Don't deprive yourself be eliminating the foods you love completely, but keep it in check, too.
-Think to yourself "if I eat this food, how will I feel after?". If it will just make you feel worse, then I'd stay away from it. If you can feel good about that small portion and your calorie allowance is good for the day, then go for it!
-If you still feel guilty after the food is gone, then do something active after. After I had dessert the other night I went for a light jog on the treadmill. It made me feel better to be active afterwards. I got a little endorphin high, plus I made my calorie burn goal for the day by doing a little more activity.
-Ask yourself "do I really want this food, or am I really wanting something else instead?". Did you just have a fight with your spouse? A bad day at work? Kids driving you nuts? Sometimes, food just isn't the answer. If you're eating because of your emotions, then find out what you really want. The food isn't what you really want. I had to find this out myself, and it was really difficult for me. I had to face my problems head-on, instead of hiding and eating my emotions. I would go talk my problems through with my husband, friend, or co-worker. Or, I would go read a book and relax. A good book and a bath will do WONDERS for you! Point: don't eat comfort food because you're stressed. Work though those feelings. You will thank me later when you are not emotionally eating anymore.

Tracking your foods will also allow you to really know if you should eat that comfort food or not. If you are not tracking your food, I highly suggest that you start. It will change the relationship you have with food. Learn what your body needs.

Eat to fuel your body, not to comfort your mind!

I hope these tips help!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

HarperGirl Reads: On the Island

It's my first book review (other than fitness book)! YAY! Okay, so I read this book in less than 24 hours between last night and today. I couldn't put it down.

You can read the reviews here on Goodreads. I bought it for a few bucks on my Kindle.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads:

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends. Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

I really, really liked this book. It was a short read for me, but I was completely lost in this book last night. It kept me from getting into the fridge for a late-night snack, that's for sure! It's a great summer read for the beach. It was short, sweet, and really action-packed too. Just when things die down, BOOM!! Something else happens and you're getting a cramp in your hand from holding up your Kindle too long. I read until my eyes drooped last night. It's told from T.J. and Ana's prospective, which I liked so you can really see what's going on in their heads and how the situation effects both of them. Seeing that I'm close to Ana's age, and a teacher, this book really appealed to me. Although, I normally go for the YA Paranormal books.

What is next on my list to read?

This is a book I've been waiting on for a while now. It's the follow-up to Archers of Avalon. It comes out Tuesday, so stay tuned. I'm sure I'll have a post up by Thursday on how I liked it! The last book left such a cliffhanger that I am itching to get my hands on this book!


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Insanity; Month 1 is Complete!

Hello, lovely readers! It's Friday, which means another week of Insanity is behind me. Today I hit a milestone; I've completed month 1! I stuck it out and I'm moving onto Recovery Week, and then into the notorious month 2. From what I've been reading, month 2 is where everyone really starts shredding and losing weight, and also where you see the most results. So, of course, I am uber excited.

My husband is also itching to get to month 2. I have to tell you, after several months of working out with my husband, I've come to love it. We push each other, encourage each other, and we have a lot of fun doing it together. I used to hate working out when he was home, especially in the beginning. I was so embarrassed. Here is my husband, this badass Marine in fantastic shape, watching my 200lb self trying to get through a push-up or simple round of jumping jacks. I was so embarrassed! Now though, we can do the same workouts, and I've come to love our workouts together. He pushes me, I push him, and we are more on the same fitness level (to a point). He's still better than me, of course, but we can at least do the same program now! We were doing Crossfit together (Bob Harper's Crossfit) before we started Insanity. We plan on going back to that after Insanity. Today though, I didn't get to workout with him. I'm sure I will this weekend though.

This week I've been outside as much as possible with my kids. My BodyMedia band really helps me to be more active and mindful of how much activity I'm doing everyday. I love incorporating my kids into my activity every day. We've been playing at the park, playing in the water, swimming in the kiddie pools, and kicking the ball around out back. As I type this, the pool is being filled again since the sun is out again today. I've been working with my oldest on his site words to help prepare him for Kindergarten too, and that is going better than expected! His word bank is growing quickly. It's very humid out, so I've had to create indoor activities for the boys too, since we can't spend ALL day outside. We've all gotten some sun this week :)

I've also been jogging/walking at night after my boys are in bed. Trying to meet my daily step/activity goals on my BodyMedia band. I love getting check marks on all of my daily goals. It's hard to get them all checked, especially my food intake, but I try everyday. Playing with the kids and walking at night really helps that! I end up jogging and running usually, but I just can't help myself. I love to run! I plan on running next week a lot when I'm in Recovery Week.

Enjoy your weekend!

Until next entry,

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Happy National Running Day!

Happy National Running Day to all!! Did you go on a run today to celebrate? I ran last night, when it was the 6th here in Japan, along with my Insanity workout. I'm doing an Insanity/running hybrid. I love running and just can't give it up, even while doing Insanity. I do Insanity in the morning, and run at night. Mad calorie burn!!

Here is my badge :) If you ran today, you can log your miles! Go to and log in what you ran! I did this morning, and got this cool badge. There is still time left, go run!

Why do I run? I run because I can. I run because 2 years ago, I was 100lbs heavier and literally couldn't run more than 50 feet without wanting to die. I run because it makes me feel strong and beautiful, even with sweat dripping down my face. Running makes me feel like I can conquer the world. I run to clear my head, listen to amazing music, and zone out with no distractions. I run the hills here in Okinawa just so I can stand at the top and look at the ocean, knowing that I conquered another huge hill. It empowers me, it burns mad calories, and it's something that I never thought I could do. I run because I CAN.

Much love,

Sunday, June 3, 2012

How's everyone's weekend been? Ours has been pretty good here. I have been really, really busy! I've been on a cleaning and organizing kick all week, and I've got a lot done in our home. Saturday was my "rest day" from working out, so I wanted to keep busy. My husband took our oldest to see The Avengers at the movie theater (his first movie at the theater!!), so I had a few hours to myself. What I wanted to do was sit outside, drink & book in hand, while our 1 year old napped....but with the constant downpours that afternoon, it was just impossible. I ended up organizing, and I'll show you what I did in another post!

Here is a run-down of my weekend:
-Rest day Saturday
-Organized the boys' clothes in bins
-Organized hall closet
-Laundry/Cloth Diaper was day
-Finished "Shadows" book
-Pizza night for the boys, salad night for mommy
-Went to BX, got a few things we needed
-Commissary (military grocery store)
-Insanity with the hubs this afternoon
-Rearranged living room
-Made a "to donate" box, filled it up with my clothes

Yeah, I'm a little tired. I did, however, stumble upon these beauties at the grocery today!

I cut these babies up tonight and I can't wait to eat them this week. I'm on a serious pineapple kick. Friday I had amazing totals with my armband, and this thing is working wonders for me. It's helping me stay accountable and I love it. Totally worth every penny!! Check this out!

Sometimes making my step total is difficult, so I've been walking on the treadmill at night to help me meet that goal. It honestly takes maybe 10-15 minutes to walk around 3,000 steps! I honestly sleep more than what that says, there's no way I'd run on 5 hours of sleep, that is just how long it logs me sleeping very soundly in REM sleep. I toss and turn quite a bit, so my sleep is really broken up. If you are thinking about getting a BodyMedia band, do it. I am in love with mine!

Have a happy Monday everyone!

Friday, June 1, 2012

HarperGirl Reads!

When I started losing weight I came to the conclusion that I must  have eaten a lot throughout the day before, because I had all this free time that wasn't spent in the kitchen! I needed to replace the act of eating with something else. I took something that I love, reading, and made it into my new hobby to replace eating. This is just one thing I do to get my mind off of food. My husband bought me a Kindle for Christmas 2 years ago, and I honestly think it's my favorite gift ever from him.

Books are something that I cherish. My love of reading developed in my childhood. As a teenager, I'd rather read a book at night than go out with friends. Books were a way for me to escape reality for a while. Sometimes, I really needed an escape. My most favorite place in the world was a bookstore. My mom would often find me there, huddled in a corner with a stack of 10 books in my lap. I have a very extensive book collection, and you can imagine how heavy that can get when you are a military family moving from place to place. Books are extremely heavy when they are packed in a box! When Amazon introduced the Kindle a few years ago, I knew it would be absolutely perfect for me to take to Japan! I could load all of my books on it, and save space and precious weight (we can only take 2500lbs of stuff coming from the US to Japan) at the same time.

This was shortly after I got it! I downloaded my favorite books to it, plus games and other things just to make sure I had something to do when  a food craving struck. I downloaded Bob's book to it, and began reading that one immediately. I love a good read when my kids are in bed, or even while they play outside!

This was taken on my back screened-in porch last spring. As you can see, my youngest was in a bouncy seat enjoying the fresh air, and my oldest is playing in his cozy coupe while I enjoy some Edward Cullen goodness ;) <---don't hate!! I made time for my books. I know when my food cravings strike, 2-5PM, and 8-9PM. I made sure I had a book on hand or something else to do so I wouldn't binge between meals.

So, what are my favorite books, you ask? My favorite books are usually YA paranormal, which includes everything from vampires to angels to things that authors just make up! I have a few favorite series:

-Significance series by Shelly Crane
-Soul Screamers series by Rachel Vincent
-The Premonition Series by Amy Bartol
-The Archers of Avalon by Chelsea Fine
-The Existence Trilogy by Abbi Glines
-My Blood Approves series by Amanda Hocking
-The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer

Seriously really good reads, all of them. I'd love to do more posts about what I've reading from time to time on my blog. Although it's not fitness related, it is helping me cope. I read fitness books and non-fitness books. I already show the fitness ones I read. Would any of my lovely readers be interested in seeing the books I love while I read them? Comment and let me know!!

With love,

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Week 3 Insanity & Other Randomness

Another week of Insanity is over! This week flew by in a flash! It was much of the same as last week, which was fine with me! I did better with some of the moves and I made it through without stopping much anymore. The biggest change this week is on the scale! I'm no longer moving up in numbers, I'm going back down! YIPPEE!!! I'm also losing more inches around my waist. I'll keep that number to myself until the next week when I have another fit test, but let's just say that HarperGirl is extremely happy!

.....I do feel like I'm cheating on Bob Harper though. GAH I miss him something fierce and can't wait until I finish Insanity so I can have him back!.....

There are other things going on other than Insanity though. I'm trying new food combinations, and had a really, really good salad last night!

It's under 400 calories, and yes, I measured! Its lettuce, grilled chicken, pineapple, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, and croutons (don't my croutons!). The combo of the chicken and pineapple was delish! Salads don't have to be boring, explore! I use a lot of fruit in my salads! Okay, I know some of you are singing "fruit salad....yummy yummy" and I apologize! My preschooler grew up on The Wiggles! In all seriousness though, fruit makes salads much more colorful, and more delish! I'll eat a salad with fruit any day over one with just veggies and dressing. Another thing, I don't like salad dressing. Call me a freak, but I just don't like it. The fruit juices seem to give it a dressing though all on their own, and that really helps it not taste bland. You can cut out excess dressing with fruit :) Try it!!

Summer is upon us, and my 5 year old just graduated preschool.

Here he is with his Daddy, holding up his preschool diploma! He's gotten so big!!

With summer here, and my kids both at home all day, I've been looking at getting them outside more and away from the TV/Nintendo. Seems like an easy task with a playground literally outside my front door, but it rains a lot here in Japan during the summer. My kids have been inside much more than outside already, and it's only been a week! As a teacher, I've had to deal with rainy-day-wiggles quite often, so I've had to use my brain a bit to come up with cool activities for my kids to do inside that will keep them both entertained. I'll make a post about this later, but this is dear to my heart. You see, I'm trying to promote staying healthy with my kids. I want them to not be addicted to TV and video games, but to running and jumping and playing outside. I want to make sure that they have a great start in life to a healthy lifestyle. I figure that teaching it early on is best. So, during certain times of the day, we shut the TV off, and crank the music up instead! I'll be making a post soon about all the things we do inside that are TV-free and that get the kids moving and grooving this summer.

My BodyMedia arm band is working out extremely well, and it's really held me accountable for my food choices. I record everything, and I keep track of my activity. I love having a visual on my calorie burn throughout the day. I know what I burn when I workout now, and that is really motivating!

More to come soon!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Happy Memorial Day

As a Marine Wife, Memorial Day hits closer to home for me than many others. I've seen the sacrifices made, and lived through some of them with deployments. I've witnessed the heartache that many of our service members go through. Know this though; most of them would tell you that they would do it all over again. They love their country, and they love their Corps. Please remember our hero's during this time, and then enjoy the freedom they've given us all.

God bless each and every one of them, and their families.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Insanity; Week 2 Fit Test Results

Hello, readers! So you all must be wondering about how I'm doing on Insanity, right?! I've survived week 2, and I'm beginning week 3 today. I took the fit test again and got decent results. For those of you who have never tried Insanity, on day 1 you take a fit test and record your results. Then you take it again every 2 weeks to compare each week and see your progress. You do a exercise for 1 minute solid, record the number, and go to the next one. My husband and I took both fit tests together and we both got better results than week 1, which was encouraging since I didn't think I could improve much over just 14 days.

So I'll be brave and post my numbers. No laughing, mmkay?! I'll post 2 numbers, one from the first fit test, and the second number will be from today's fit test (14 days apart)

101-101 switch kicks (no improvement, but those suckers are hard for me!)
36-50 power squats
97-102 power knees
34-42 power jumps
9-12 full globe jumps
20-21 burpees
26-29 push-up jacks
63-75 planks

So a little improvement all around. Now for the gold...I took measurements week 1 and week 2, and I have a little difference :)

Bust area is down -.34"
Waist is down -.5"
Hips are the same
Legs down -.34"

As far as the improvement. BUT, because I'm losing inches and the scale isn't moving any, I can only conclude that I'm gaining muscle. I've also been told a few times that month 2 of Insanity is really where you start losing weight. I intend to stick with it through the next 6 weeks and go to the end, so I'm excited to see what changes.

After all that I've put my body through the last 2 years of circuit training, running, Crossfit, strength training, etc., I'm really happy to see that my body can still change. I'm really excited for the next 6 weeks to come!

Until next entry,

PS-still reading Bob's new book "The Skinny Rules" and it's amazing! Great book, I'll post about it when I'm finished!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

BodyMedia Fit Armband

I posted a few entries back that I was getting one of these babies:'s FINALLY here. There was a mix up with the mail, and I didn't get the first one I ordered. Luckily, Amazon has pretty decent customer service for us military folk overseas, and they sent me a new one for free! Thanks, Amazon :) So now that it's here, let me tell you how much fin this little toy is.

My favorite thing; it syncs with my iPhone. Anyone who knows me well knows that I love gadgets. Call me a nerd, but I love electronics. Always have, always will. So anything that allows me to play with my iPhone more has me hooked! Anyways, I can type in the food I'm eating and it'll add the calories to my daily bank. It keeps track of everything. EVERYTHING. I have to be disciplined though and really look at what I'm eating and make sure I put it in. That is what I love about this. It's great for people like me who have food addictions. It will hold you accountable. Being able to sync it to my phone allows me to carry it with me wherever I go, so if I go out to eat I can plug in my food right away instead of waiting till I get home and possibly forgetting something.

Then there is the calorie burn. Oh how I love seeing what I burn all day long! It's not even bed time yet for me, and I've burned almost 2,000 calories (Insanity workout plus running errands and cleaning house)! Insanity only counts for....217 of those. Not what you thought, hu? Me either. But I am still at a calorie deficit for the day. I have a deficit of over 715 calories right now. This tells me if I can have that 100 calorie Skinny Cow ice cream that's calling my name all the way from the freezer! So...yes I can have that after my kiddos are in bed :)

This is what it looks like on me:

I had a few "what is that chick wearing?!" looks today, but that was expected...and ignored easily... but other than that, it's a great little tool. It's easy and comfortable to sleep with on. You charge it right on your computer. It syncs with Bluetooth, so my data updates wherever I am without wifi. My friend helped me set it up (thanks again, Justi!!) and she's loving hers as well! I can keep track of just about everything. You'd be surprised that you burn calories in your sleep! You burn calories for just existing, it's just a matter of how many.

Here is an example of what it looks like on my iPhone (these are the totals from my day today)

Something else I love is that you can customize this! There are armbands in all different colors (I have chrome/black) and you can order skins for it too. This is a really cool feature!

For someone who needs that extra push with weight loss, I think this is a great tool to have. It helps you see what your caloric needs are, and it gives you a real number to what you are burning. Having a deficit at the end of the day means weight loss! It's simple to use, easy to understand, and really gives you a visual.

Do you want one? Of course you do. You can get one here or here!

Look for more reviews of this later. I haven't had this long, so I'd like to wear it more and I'll update how it's going with this!

NOTE:: I'm actually wearing mine backwards in this pic, but you can see what it looks like and what size it is facing forward.


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