Happy Weekend!

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is almost here.  The Mr. & I will be in full holiday mode this weekend with Christmas shopping, Christmas cocktails, and most likely some Christmas cookies ;-)

I saw these yummies on Glitter Guide earlier this week…so I have an inkling they may be baked up in the kitchen this weekend since I am still thinking about them.

Almond-Butter-Cookies-with-Chocolate-ChipsRecipe + Image: Erika Sheffer of Style Activist 

P.S. They are healthy and paleo-friendly. Your welcome :)


Fitness Friday with Larisa

Holiday chocolate chip cookies that are healthy?  They do exist! Trust me I am so nervous about the holiday season! I worry about getting off track with my nutrition plan.   So, I have decided to  start preparing myself with an arsenal of recipes that fill that need to have the holiday treat but, without all of the calories and guilt.  Check out these super yummy chocolate chip cookies with our secret ingredient…coconut flour.  If you are a die-hard fan of the chewy traditional chocolate chip cookie, this particular recipe may not be for you because this cookie is light, almost cake-like.  Think chocolate chip muffin tops…yum!


Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 12 cookies

Adapted from this recipe


1/3 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup pure sugar free pancake syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips


Preheat your oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, melted coconut oil, pancake syrup, vanilla, salt and egg substitute until a uniform batter is created. The batter will start off a bit runny, but will thicken as the coconut flour starts to absorb the moisture. Add in the chocolate chips, and fold them in gently.

Use a heaping tablespoon to drop the cookie dough onto the lined baking sheet, and use the back of the spoon to flatten the cookies because these cookies will NOT spread on their own, so you’ll want to shape them how you’d like them to turn out.

Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I think they are best stored in the fridge the texture changes a bit…a little more chewy, plus they are a little more moist. Added bonus a longer shelf life.

Fitness Friday with Larisa

Today we have a great way to overcome the recent darkness in the mornings thanks to daylight savings time; flexibility training.  This mini sun salutation is the perfect way to energize your body: just 3 simple poses that will get your blood flowing and your body ready to conquer the day.


1. Extended  Mountain & Chest Stretch- Breath in and put your hands together over your head, exhale reach back, inhale and circle your arms down behind your back clasping your hands behind your back. Exhale and pull your hands down away from your body.

2. Down Dog- Get down on all fours, place your hands in front of your shoulders, keep your hips high, and your feet shoulder width apart.  Your body should now form an inverted V. Stay in this pose for 5 long breathes.  As you take each breathe, pull your belly towards your spine & reach your heels towards the floor, keeping you legs as straight as you can & keeping your arms pressing into the floor like you are pushing it away.

3. Yoga Lunges- Bring your hips low. Shoulders over your hands and take your right foot outside of your right hand & drop your hips even lower to stretch the back of your leg.  Switch legs and repeat 4 times on each leg

Then jump pack to stand straight and repeat this mini sun salutation 3-5 times.

Involve the kids too! Gabby, Larisa’s daughter had a lot of fun with this one…isn’t that the cutest down dog you’ve ever seen?!?

Don’t forget if you want to know more reach out to Larisa directly at (443)250-5245 or lunger123@aol.com.

Fitness Friday with Larisa

Confession: I am completely smitten with Halloween! It’s one of my favorite holidays…it’s like a theme party on steroids and there can never be enough theme parties in my life.  I love the costumes, I love the decorations, I love haunted houses, I love Hocus Pocus, and I love the candy!!!  If no one was watching I could probably eat the entire bag of the REESE’S Peanut Butter Pumpkins… they are my kryptonite!

But, I will resist! And instead of stuffing my face with 170 calories, 10 g fat (3 g saturated), 16 g sugars in each one of those I decided to look into an alternative. Enter Black Bean Brownies.  Sounds gross I know! I was skeptical…and a little angry when I tasted the batter and it was disgusting! But, something magical happens in the oven when you bake these bad boys.  They come out fudgey and chocolaty and delicious! Go ahead and let your kids eat their Halloween candy. Don’t be the parent who steals from their child’s trick or treat stash.  Bake these Larisa approved treats instead…trust!

black bean brownies

recipe adapted from chocolate covered katie


2 15-oz cans, black beans (drained and rinsed very well)
4 tbsp cocoa powder (Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa is my fav budget friendly option)
1 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
4 tbsp baking truvia
1/2 cup coconut oil
4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup shelled walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Combine all ingredients except chips & walnuts in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well.

3. Pour the blended batter into a bowl and then fold in just 1 cup of the chips.

4. Spoon the batter into cupcake liners. I use an ice cream scoop with the little release to make it easier.  This way you make little individual brownies with all of the yummy crunchy edges, so no one has to fight over the corners of the pan :)  Then sprinkle the extra 1/2 cup chocolate chips & shelled walnuts over the top.

4. Get these bad boys in the over and bake them for 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to eat them.  It’s worth the wait! It makes 20-24 brownies depending on how big your scoops are…

5. Enjoy!

Fitness Friday with Larisa

Happy Friday! Today we are taking a look at a day in the food life of Larisa. Seeing what she eats may help us learn from her example.  She not only talks the talk, but she walks the walk!


Fitness Friday with Larisa

The long awaited Cardio Circuit ala Larisa to mix up your cardio routine and keep it fun!  The beauty of this workout is you don’t need anything but a little motivation to get you through.  You could even squeeze this in to your busy day in front of the TV in the living room if you wanted to…









  1. Mountain Climbers– starting from  a push-up position keeping your arms straight bring your knee to your chest and then switch, keep repeating.
  2. Jumping Jacks– jumping moving your feet in & out. We all know the jumping jack hopefully you don’t need more explanation than that, lol! Hello, 1st grade P.E. class.
  3. High Knees– run in place while bringing your knees to your chest.
  4. Butt Kicks– run in place, while exaggerateing the running motion by bringing your feet to your butt.
  5. Plyometric Lunges– start in the lunge position (start with one foot behind the other with your legs bent at 90 degrees) then propel yourself in the air and switch legs.
  6. Burpees– keep your legs hip distance apart, then squat down and touch the floor outside of your feet, jump back until your body forms a straight line, then return to the starting position and jump into the air and clap.
  7. Shadow Box Punches– stand hip distance apart and make fists, slightly bend your knees while pretending you have a punching bag in front of you.  Throw punches with force & intent.  Make sure to bring your fists back to the starting position with the same speed you throw your punches to get the full benefit of the exercise.
  8. Tuck Jumps– (an advanced exercise) make sure as you jump you bring your knees you to your chest & then you can reach your elbows to your knees or if you need a little boost push your arms out to help propel yourself.

To get the most out of this circuit do a minute of each exercise with a minute break in between each exercise.  Then take a 3 minute break when you finish the set & repeat 2-3x.  If you are feeling extra tough & want to really push yourself cut off your break time in between each exercise to 30 seconds.

These are pretty simple exercises separately but, they pack a serious punch when you do them all together.  Have fun!

Don’t forget if you want to know more reach out to Larisa directly at (443)250-5245 or lunger123@aol.com.

Fitness Friday with Larisa

So most of us brides-to-be are trying to loose some weight before the BIG day, right? Well, I can’t begin to tell you how important cardio is to that. Obviously, we want to focus on all 3 of Larisa’s main elements of fitness:

1. Strength

2. Cardio

3. Flexibility 

But, if you want to loose weight cardio is even more important.  I have been on a journey to loose 40 lbs. so, that I can fit into my Mom’s wedding dress…lofty goal I know but, cardio is helping me get there.  I have lost 12 lbs. so far! The weeks that I focus more on cardio I generally loose like 3 lbs…if I don’t then it’s either no loss or like 1 lb…womp womp! Lol! Of course, I am also eating clean and getting in some intense workouts with Larisa in our personal training sessions as well.

But, anyway back to cardio.  How do you keep it interesting? The treadmill kills me…it’s so boring!  So, I try to keep it entertaining by running in pretty places (the photos are all from Centennial Park),

Centennial Park

running with my puppy (how cute is Mr. Brady?! Lol! Only drawback of running with him is he only makes it 2 miles before he puts on the brakes),


or switching it up with a cardio circuit…more on that later (Larisa has put together a great one that I will share with you next week)!

How do you keep your cardio fun?

Fitness Friday with Larisa

I heard recently that people spend more time thinking of excuses not to work out then they would if you would just go to the gym already.  But, we all know there are times when you just can’t make it to the gym for various reasons.  The one that is more common for me is getting stuck at the office late.  So, Larisa has armed me with some office workout tips so that when I get stuck at work I no longer have an excuse to skip out on my workout.  All you need is an office chair and some understanding co-workers…

Check out some of these work appropriate moves modeled by Larisa and her too cute daughter Gabby :)

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1. Chair Squats.  Sit in your chair and stand up in the squat position.  If you want to make it more challenging put your hands behind your head and twist at your waist alternating sides.

2. Tricep Dips. Make sure your chair is locked in place or push it up against a wall.  Slide your butt 1 inch off the seat of your chair and bend your elbows while pressing your hands to straighten and keeping your abs tight.

3.  Single Leg Squats. Stand profile to your chair & support yourself with 1 hand.  Lift your outside leg out in front of you & squat down and up just using your standing leg.  Switch legs and continue.

4. Chair Push-up.  Again make sure your chair is secure.  Then place feet shoulder width apart and hands under shoulders and same width as shoulders.  Hold on to outside edges, lower your chest between your elbows keeping your back straight then push into the chair & press up.

5.  Mountain Climber. Start in the previous push-up position keeping your arms straight bring your knee to your chest and then switch, keep repeating.

6. Toe taps.  Slide your butt to the edge of the seat, lean back and lift your knees up at your waist level.  Feel your abs engaged and tap your toes like you are touching hot sand.

GOWORKOUTNow Gabby says, “Go work out girl!”

Don’t forget if you want to know more reach out to Larisa directly at (443)250-5245 or lunger123@aol.com.

Giveaway: Fitness Friday with Larisa

Lucky me won a new gym bag! Yay! It just arrived, so we are still in our honeymoon phase, lol!  Thanks again vmac+cheese for a great giveaway! Anywho, once the new pretty gym bag arrived I got to thinking… what should I be packing to help me prepare for my workouts?  If anyone knows how to pack a gym bag, it’s someone whose line of work is working out.  So today we are taking a peek inside of Larisa’s workout bag for a look at what she uses to stay on top of her game:


  1. First things first, you need a gym bag…this is the prettiness that just got shipped to me ala vmac + cheese, here.
  2. An obvious must have: your gym clothes & shoes.  While there are a few freaks of nature that workout in their jeans, it’s not recommended. Gotta show some love to the hometown brand, here.
  3. An extra pair of socks. Just like they disappear in the washer/dryer socks seem to disappear from your gym bag, so it’s a good idea to have a spare just in case. More UA goodness, here.
  4. A BPA free reusable bottle of water, ALWAYS STAY HYDRATED! This bkr bottle is so cute and there are so many color choices, here.
  5. Deodorant, enough said.
  6. A small towel, just in case your gym is out of clean towels or for some reason they don’t offer a towel service.  Trust, you don’t want to get caught in a RPM class without a towel…gross! Love, love, love these motivational towels from inperspire, here.
  7. A stock pile of hair ties, only certain ladies can workout with their hair down and we don’t make that list…These hair ties are so colorful! The etsy shop creates packs based on the Pantone’s Fashion Color Report,  the Fall 2013 Fashion Color Report is shown, here.
  8. SweatyBands.  Amazing! Best workout headband on the market.  These things do not move…they are life changing, here.
  9. 2 pairs of ear buds.  A back-up just in case one gets misplaced or broken. I’m pretty particular about my ear buds…not all of them fit right in my ear, but I love the SkullCandy buds they are really affordable and you can get them at Target.  That’s a win-win in my book, here.
  10. Some sort of cold therapy.  Ben Gay is a good choice it acts just like an ice pack for any bumps and bruises you may experience along the way.
  11. An Ace bandage or knee brace is a good idea to have as well for any possible strains or injuries.
  12. A non-perishable snack…almonds & apples are a great choice to fuel your workouts. In the cooler months (because they won’t melt then), protein bars are a great choice as long as they are less than 5g of sugar.  Larisa’s top picks are Quest Bars or Pure Protein Bars.
  13. Jump rope. Obviously, the jump rope is a very versatile tool. See here and here. So, pack your own so you can get a workout in whenever/wherever you are…
  14. Business cards are always a good idea.  The gym is a perfect networking opportunity.

While this may seem like a lot of stuff to carry around in your gym bag, you don’t want to give yourself any excuse to skip out on your workout AND make sure you pack your gym bag the night before so, that it doesn’t get forgotten in your morning rush out the door.  Bottom line if you are prepared you can’t let yourself skip out on living a fit life.

Giveaway! I wanted to pay it forward and do a  Soon to be A Mrs. first, a little giveaway. One reader will be lucky enough to have their life changed by sporting a swanky new SweatyBand in their next workout courtesy of Soon to be A Mrs.  It’s as easy as leaving a comment here telling us one thing you can’t go to the gym without.  Open to U.S. residents only.  Good luck! Entries must be posted by this coming Thursday, September 19th, at 8 a.m. EST, and one winner will be chosen at random.*

P.S. Don’t forget if you want to know more reach out to Larisa directly at (443)250-5245 or lunger123@aol.com.

*Please do not leave your email or web address in the body of the comment, only in the allotted boxes. $15 USD approximate total value. Winner will be contacted by email once comments close, and announced at the bottom of this post soon after.

Fitness Friday with Larisa

The past few weeks we have been focusing on the exercise element of fitness. Today we will take a closer look at nutrition.  Larisa offers up her top 3 tips to keep you on track:

  • Try to eliminate ALL processed foods.  If you can’t give up ALL…some processed foods are okay, just be sure to limit yourself to 3 ingredients you can pronounce or less.
  • Water, Water, Water.  Start your day out with a tall glass of water before eating your breakfast.  A good goal is to drink a glass of water with any and all solid foods.  If you don’t have to pee every hour you’re not drinking enough.
  • Always prepare your snacks. Package them by serving size and make sure you always have them accessible.  Most of my clients have their office prepped with a desk drawer stocked as well as their car center console to ensure that they are prepared when hunger strikes.  Here are some of Larisa’s favorite snacks for both the car and office:

healthy snacks

The car can be a little tricky when trying to figure out what would be okay to store for a few days, but these picks will last for a while with no worries PLUS they are 100 calories or less.  Apples (1), almonds (2), and air popped popcorn (3) are perfect for an on the go car snack.  Just make sure the almonds and popcorn are premeasured, so that your portions don’t get out of control.  Some of my personal favorites that come conveniently premeasured for you (I can be lazy about doing this, so when it’s done for me it works better :) are Blue Diamond 100 calorie packs of Low Sodium almonds and Skinny Pop Popcorn 100 calorie packs.  Both delicious & nutritious!

The office is a little easier because most of the time you will have access to a break room refrigerator.  Larisa’s favorite office snacks include jicama and hummus (4).  Jicama is a lesser known super veggie.  It is excellent source of fiber and vitamin C – 44% of the daily value per serving.  If you are hesitant to try it celery is a good alternative.  Another yummy snack, 1/2 of a banana and almond or peanut butter (5).  Bananas are one of our best sources of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function.  Last but not least greek yogurt (6) makes the cut as one of Larisa’s top 3 office snacks…the protein and calcium 1-2 punch is a perfect fit for a healthy lifestyle.  Just be cautious of the amount of sugar and try to go with something with 6g of sugar or less.

If you want to know more or need any help developing a daily meal plan reach out to Larisa directly at (443)250-5245 or lunger123@aol.com.

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After my 105 pound weight loss, I started this blog to inspire and motivate others to live a healthy lifestyle!


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