When there are no words. a creative tantrum from a thirty-six year old.

"Discipline allows magic. To be a writer is to be the very best of assassins. You do not sit down and write every day to force the Muse to show up. You get into the habit of writing every day so that when she shows up, you have the maximum chance of catching her, bashing her on the head, and squeezing every last drop out of that bitch."

-Lili St. Chow

It comes out of nowhere. Its as if in one moment, I have all the words in the world flooding my mind as I rush to get them onto the screen and then, just as quick as they come, they are gone. A title wave swoops in and destroys my brain, taking every last word with it. 

It ebbs and flows. It's seasonal. It's experiential. It's a creative spark that bursts into a flame consuming me, almost feverishly, until it's done and put out by the water of my being. 

It drives me nuts. It's annoying. I am a writer damn it. This cannot be happening to me. 

Why can't I always have words? Why can't I always connect with this higher part of my self that consumes me with those beautiful, magical, inspiring words? 

I sit and stare at the blinking curser, cursing at the screen as it taunts me, arguing with the voice within. "You were born to write these words Amanda. Only you." I hear. "What words? I don't have any freakin' words. Give me the words and I will write them. I promise. I will write the friggin' words! Whatever you want, I'll write!" I say back. "They are in you Amanda. They are always there. They are waiting" 

I roll my eyes and close my computer screen and go make food. 

"When are you going to write your book Amanda" I hear three times in one week. 

Pressure. I feel the pressure now. Now the words will never come. 

"When are you going to write the follow-up post Amanda? Don't wait too long. We are eager." 

More pressure. 

Don't you understand? That isn't how it works for me. Words aren't just there. They come, out of what feels like nowhere but they are not coming now. I broke it. 

"You didn't break it." I hear a voice say in that distant place in my mind. "You are merely in waiting. Be patient. They'll come again."

"F THIS. I'm sick of waiting. I'll move on. I will. Don't tempt me!. I'll find something else to consume this raw energy bubbling up from within. If you won't give me the words, I will find some other way of getting it out of me. I'll paint and cut and shape and dance and burn this fire deep within out into the word. If I can't write it. I will find some other way. You just wait and see. You will not waste me any longer. You just wait and see."

Still, there are no words. 

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. 






The Highest I've Ever Been {Part 1}


(Recently I was told by my mom that my blog posts are a little too long. Out of love, I know she wants me to keep the readers attention long enough to finish my post. My intention with blogging has always been, and always will be, more of a journal with the hopes of sharing, inspiring and above all, connecting with others. So, sometimes it means that the story takes a little longer to get out, the details, to me, are all important. So, I've decided to break this one up a bit so it's shorter, maybe you'll read all of it and while still keeping the integrity of the piece. - Here ya go Ma! Love you!)

"We must take adventures in order to know where we truly belong."

It's 12:30am and I wake to the clicking sound of someone lighting the propane gas stove twenty feet from my tent. Its pitch black and cold but not nearly as cold as it soon will be as I snuggle down further into my sleeping bag. "Just a few more minutes." I say to myself. 

I roll over, knowing very well that I have twenty-five minutes, exactly, to get up, brush my teeth, get my coffee and change into my black fleece-lined running leggings which I've chosen because of their warmth, my grey swiftly tech long sleeve crew that is quick drying and surprisingly warm, and my dark grey running jacket. The one with the little thumb holes and giant hood. I make a mental note to pack my North Face down jacket and of course, my black and red checkered flannel in my pack in case I get cold. 

I've already been wearing my black Graced by Grit sports bra for the past three days and crack a smile at how uncouth I am. All of this accompanied by my new REI hiking socks, my low top hiking boots that I got before I backpacked around Mt. Hood, and of course, my green 'Be Hippy' hat. She goes everywhere with me. 

I hear Robb climb out of his tent and realize I am running out of time. It's now or never. 

"Do you really want to do this Amanda?" I quietly ask myself as I thought of all the reasons to bail out last minute, all little while lies of course. I got my period? No, girls do plenty of stuff on their moon cycle. I twisted my ankle on yesterdays short hike and it's just too painful? No, they would have been well aware of anything like that happening yesterday. I'm too sensitive to altitude? Nope, you've been acclimating for two days just fine. There are bears and mountain lions and I really do like my face. Ugh, Amanda, toughen up.  

And then the real reason starts to bubble up from deep within and I could not ignore it any longer. I'm just plain f&^king scared.

I crawl out of my warm sleeping bag and unzip the tent door making a mental note to go to the next REI sale and purchase one of my own all while simultaneously feeling very grateful for neighbors who had a small tent I could borrow.

Grabbing my headlamp, I switch on the light and navigate my way to the picnic table twenty feet away from my borrowed tent and say good morning to John and Robb who are busy making coffee as I walk past them to my car to change into my hiking attire. 

As I fumble back to the picnic table, the hot water is bubbling and the coffee is steeping and I finally give in to the fear and the excitement that I am, in fact, going to climb the tallest mountain in the lower forty-eight. 

I grab my toothbrush and walk about thirty feet away from camp, more for one last moment of reprieve then to follow the rules of camping.  I am filled with the feels that come with facing your fears; a mix of excitement, wonder and nerves coupled with a slight numbness and an overwhelming feeling that I am exactly where I need to be. That every experience, for better or worse, has lead me to this very moment. And I crack and faint smile as I think back to how it all began. 

When I was somewhere around ten years old, my dad took me up my first mountain. Tiger Mountain sits east on I-90 about twenty minutes from the home I grew up in. My dad, the epitome of fit in my small and narrow world, was beginning to train for Mt. Rainer and I thought he was nothing short of the cat's meow. 

Together, we jumped in his blue Chevy pickup truck, barreling down the road, we sang along to Randy Travis, "He wore starched white shirts buttoned at the neck, and he'd sit in the shade and watch the chickens peck. And his teeth were gone, but what the heck, I thought that he walked on water." As we drove and sang I stole sideways glances and smiled at the man who in my world, walked on water.  

I started the hike with a burst of energy, running up ahead shouting back at my dad to hurry up as my spiral strawberry blonde curls danced frantically on top of my head. I don't know why I remember my curls but they were big and everywhere and a vivid part of this memory. I also remember wearing a white shirt splattered with a mix of red, blue and yellow paint and dollops of sparkly puffy paint that matched the same colors of the regular paint. All paired with navy blue loose fitting cotton pants with an elastic waistband and white tennis shoes. Be nice, it was the late eighties, early nineties after all. 

At some point early on, I grew tired and my dad ended up carrying me on his back for a good portion of the steeper parts of the trail. Despite my exhausted effort, I was hooked. The sweet smell of vanilla scented pine trees and morning dew was like a hit of crack; intoxicating, inviting, invigorating. I was hooked and little did I know then but my soul would always fiend for more.

The quiet, which is at times almost eery, sends you into an almost meditative trace. Every noise is pronounced, every moment seems heightened and whatever thoughts are dancing around in your head and emotions in your heart are exaggerated, whether you like it or not, you feel things and think things you spend all your other time trying to ignore.

When the wind rustle through the trees or the branches creak around you, you feel it throughout your body. Ever foot step inviting more as rocks and dirt crunch beneath your feet. And the soft lullaby of the bird's who perch high above, watching, observing your every move, are forever etched in your memory. 

My heart was stolen, all those years ago, by the timeless wonder and mystery of the mountains and now by the bittersweet nostalgia that each dance in the wilderness brings, when I remember  a time when to me, he still walked on water.  

I always think of that morning as I set out on another adventure in the mountains. I always think of my dad, who  most likely unbeknownst to him, inspired this deep love, this connection to a part of myself that is the most wild and untamed, raw and inspired. It was my dad, all those years ago, who first instilled my longing, my deep and at times reckless need, to be wild and free. 

I shake the memory off as we climb into the rented maroon Kia Minivan I told Robb was a 'chick magnet.' "Girls just love dudes who drive maroon Kia minivans Robb. It screams babies." I said laughing as we sipped on our hot coffee and loosely chattered about nothing much at all.  

"The mountains are calling and I must go." I said over and over quietly to myself as we drove down the road that lead to the tallest mountain in the lower forty-eight.

I needed my latest fix. I needed to get higher then I've ever been.  

Part two coming soon...stay tune.


"I am willing to see things differently" -- a story of breakup, growth and understanding.

"It takes courage...to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the full pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives." - Marianne Williamson

Lately, my mornings have begun like this. At the first sign of light, my body becomes restless, twitching ever so slightly as it slowly comes out of a deep and intense dream filled sleep.  I can already tell by the lighting that it's early, probably between six and six-thirty in the morning. The downside of being a lark in a world full of owls is that no matter what time you go to bed, your body wakes with the rising of the sun.

 I shift ever so slightly in bed until I become conscious that I am, once again, awake. I lay there momentarily until I have a good grasp on how I feel. My dreams have been filled with interesting story lines lately, ones I can only imagine Freud would have a heyday with. The monsters are playing tricks with me again. Monsters that can only be stirred by heartache and loss and leaving. 

I open one eye, then the other, blinking uncontrollably as I patiently wait for them to adjust to the dim morning light. I move my body in a more direct and aware manner now, noticing how I feel. Sore and achy seems to be the norm lately, all for good reason though. Then it hits me, that undeniable feeling of heaviness that smacks me in the middle of my chest. And I remember. 

Two weeks have gone by and it's slowly starting to fade and I find myself in an interesting position. A mix of holding on and letting go. The never ending battle between the head, and the heart. 

I want to roll back over and go back to sleep, I long for the reprieve from the battle within. An eight hour break from feeling...anything. When you are a person who has finally allowed yourself to feel everything deeply, sleep becomes a welcome escape every now and then. Not that I condone numbing or escaping, I fully believe in facing your feelings head on. However, sometimes the reprieve is needed, even for just a day or two.  

In my morning fuzz, I remember the excitement of yesterday, how good I felt, how free and full of possibility. How my friend and I were talking and laughing about life's little mysteries on our bike ride. How when one door closes, it means others are waiting to open in its place. And then, in the matter of twelve hours, you can wake with that sinking feeling in your chest again, grasping for what's familiar once more. 

We want to hold on to the potential, especially when it's someone who we could see and feel something real with. When it's someone who gives you that feeling that only comes once ever so often. The chemistry.

We want to hold on to the little moments, the treasured inside jokes, the sweet somethings they do just to show they care, the mornings filled with laughter and stolen glances of admiration. You long once again for the "good morning sunshine" texts and wonder why you didn't completely cherish and appreciate them in the moment. 

As human beings, it's hard to let go of something that feels good, something our heart wants. We are in a constant tug-of-war with our resistance to change. We waver every day, between multiple feelings and extremes. We hold on to the known because we are terrified of what the unknown may bring. Even when it very well could be better for you. I am no stranger to this truth.

I shake my thoughts off and push back the covers forgetting that my four-legged companion was curled up, deep in his own dream world, at the end of my bed. Startled awake, he gives me a dirty look, one he's perfected perfectly. So much so that it feels like a tiny danger right through my heart. He jumps off the bed, running to the closed bedroom door and begins to scratch gently. A signal to me that he wants out. I really do not think people give cats enough credit for their keen ability to train humans. 

I sit up in bed and stare back at him, my dearest companion of ten years, as his quiet pawing at the door has now become a frantic mix of body slamming and deep, guttural cries. All with the occasional pause and glance back towards me to make sure I've taken notice and I'm in pursuit of doing something about it. 

"Jeeze Oliver.." I say as I throw my legs over the side of the bed scratching my tangled mix of overly processed, dry curly hair.  "Calm down. People are going to think I torture you or something. You are so stinking dramatic." I say as calming as I can, as if my tone just may ease his fears of being trapped in our bedroom. He glances back at me as if to say, "Look lady, if you don't let me out RIGHT NOW, I will destroy you and everything in this room!" And then I swear he bared his teeth and growled at me.  

Ten years. Ten years of perfected attitude. Ten years of knowing just how to get me to do what he wants. 

I stepped onto the faded brown carpet that lined my bedroom floor. "Oliver, one of these days I really hope you appreciate what you have. You could be a mangy street cat who's left to his own devices. Try that on for fun." I say with my sassiest tone as I open the door. He barrels out, running as fast as he can into the sliding glass door. I stare on in mild disbelief. "Payback." I mutter as I walk to the sliding glass door and give him the very thing he longs for; freedom. This irony is not lost on me as I reflect on my recent breakup. 

I watched as he sprints out the door, panicked and needing air, only to stop six feet away and sit on the stones that adorn the backyard patio. With his back to me, I can tell his eyes are closed as he feels the light breeze against his fur and the warm morning rays of sunlight beginning to poke through the trees that line our backyard, and I can tell he has found his peace. He finally feels free.

And it hit me; we are more alike then I've ever realized. 

The anxiety that was bubbling in my chest from the moment I woke needed to be released, it needed to be free.  

I quickly changed out of the night shirt I had wore to bed, throw on my purple leggings and a black and white tank top I find in my closet and deem clean enough to wear out in public. I throw on my green 'Be Hippy' hat, standard attire for most of my outings if I'm honest, and slip into my favorite black flip flops and head out the door, grabbing my keys and ten dollars on my way out. 

I drive to my favorite coffee shop and grabbed my black cup of inspiration and head down to walk the beach. 

Over the last few years one of my daily practices has be trying to listen to what I need and want more and convince myself of other things less. I mean, that is pretty much self-love 101, right? What does your heart want Amanda? What do you NEED right now Amanda? How are you feeling in this moment Amanda? All questions I try to infuse moment to moment, situation to situation and experience to experience.  

However, this doesn't mean it does't come without painful experiences or feelings. Not everything we need is what we want, at least on a conscious level, and not every decision makes you feel great in the moment or for the weeks that follow. However, learning to listen to yourself and trust what your intuition is telling you will always lead you to the truth. 

As I walked along the beach I observed the heaviness in my chest and feel the longing to understand. "I am willing to see things differently." I mumbled to myself. "I am willing to see things differently.

The truth is, any time something comes to an end, whether that is a romantic relationships, an opportunity we thought we really wanted, a job, a friendship or so forth, there is an undeniable pain and feeling of loss that comes with it.  A sadness, a disappointment, a longing for what was and what could have potentially been. But a long time I go I was told by a wise person to never date potential. Always trust and work with what is right in front of your face. 

Some can stuff their feelings down. I know this because I use to be incredibly skillful at stuffing myself. So good in fact that I thought I was dealing with whatever was happening but the truth was, I was stuffing. 

You numb yourself perfectly to the point where you feel...nothing. No feelings come or go. No real happiness and no real sadness. In an attempt to not feel the lows, congratulations, you now feel nothing at all. 

It will however, always resurfaces in some way, at some point, in some form, usually as some complicated mix of anxiety, anger and sadness and you will be left feeling more then if you would have just dealt with it in the first place. 

You have to deal with life head on or all those issues with continue to resurface until you do. Please believe me when I say this. You will continue to be met with the same situation, the same person, the same scenario over and over until you get to the root of why you are attracting that in the first place. This has been the greatest lesson this past year for me. 

You end a relationship with someone for a reason. Compatibility. Life goals and values. Bad timing. Betrayal. Lack of respect and communication. And sometimes something ends out of fear. Fear of being hurt, fear of the unknown, fear of growth, fear of change, fear of being challenged into a new way of existing, fear of old wounds resurfacing. Fear of never being enough for someone. 

And sometimes you don't even want the breakup but you know you have to and it takes everything in you to cut the ties and slowly, but surely, move on. Because you realize that deep within you, you want more for yourself. You deserve better. You deserve to stay true to what you know exist but needs time to manifest.  

And so, once again, you are left feeling the feels. Deeply. It's taken me a long time to allow myself to really feel an ending, no matter what that ending is. How long the relationship lasted is irrelevant to what the relationship brought you. You can experience something more deep and meaningful with someone in three months then someone you've been with for two years. It's about chemistry. It's about connection. It's about friendship. And when that is gone, it hurts. Deeply. 

When they are no longer in your life, mourning is an important part of moving on. I would advice against trying to avoid this process. I would advice against trying to fill that void too quickly with things that bring you momentary happiness or excitement. Feel. The. Feels. All of them. That isn't to say wallow in your pain. Please, surround yourself with love and laughter and happiness. Find gratitude and appreciation for those pure moments of joy. But don't try to cover up those quiet moments when you are alone, feeling the feels. 

When I was going through my divorce I was told by many people that the best way to get over someone was to "get under someone else." I know most were joking. However, I know it's a common practice. Why feel the pain when you can feel the pleasure with someone else? Multiple times in one night.  Come to think of it, you actually get a lot of really interesting advice when you are going through a divorce but that one piece has never sat right with me nor will it ever be a way I work through a break up. I need to feel the feels

As I walked the beach and repeated "I am willing to see things differently," I felt the heaviness in my chest begin to lift as something profound and vital to my evolution as a person hit me. This isn't necessarily an ending, this is an awakening. It's a loss and a gain. 

As my mom always says, people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime, and when something is so short-lived, it's usually for a reason, a lesson, a quick smack up side the head to say "Amanda, seriously. LISTEN ALREADY, will you?"

I was being gifted an opportunity. I was being cracked open so I could see where I still need to heal, to grow, to learn and to "see things differently." Ultimately, I was given an opportunity  to shift perspective, to do things differently, to acknowledge damaging patterns, to understand my pain, my triggers, my fears and myself even better, and to continue to figure out how to forgive myself and ultimately, love and trust myself deeper.  And that my friends, that is a truly a gift.

Losing someone is never easy. Actually, it sucks. Plain and simple. I feel like I've lost an extremely close friend. I feel like I've lost something that meant a lot to me. I feel like I've lost something that had all the potential to be magical. A confidant, a closeness, a person I turned to. An attraction, a chemistry, a deep something.  You spend all this time with a person and then wham! In one day they are gone, no communication, no response to a momentary weakness when you send them a "I miss you" late night text. Nothing. And you are left spinning. Feeling completely abandoned. But I promise you, it's all FOR you. It's all for your growth...and theirs. 

Over a year ago I got 'wild and free' tattooed on the inside of my left bicep and six months ago I got "eudaimonia" on my rib cage, both as a daily reminder to always listen to myself, always strive to step up and live from a genuine place and always ask myself what it is I truly want. Mostly, I use it as a compass for my life. Are the decisions I make leading me towards feeling free or further away? Are certain situations in my life leaving me feeling like a trapped cat in a room where it feels like the walls are closing in on me, or do they contribute to feeling the wind on my skin and a sense of overall freedom? Are they based on true love for myself or a feeling of lack and neediness? 

So yes, breakups and loss are painful. It's not always what you really want. However, trust that if you are truly listening to yourself, life will start to unfold FOR you. If you are willing to see things differently, you will. 





Filters, perceptions and adulating -- oh my!

"Life is all about perception. Positive versus negative. Whichever you choose will affect and more then likely reflect your outcomes." -Sonya Teclai

Adulting can be really confusing sometimes. It's this sweet mix of pain and heartache and surrender, joy and growth.

Growing up I thought stepping into the adult world meant life got easier. I use to look on at all the grown ups in my life and think, "Man, I can't wait to be an adult too. Life looks way more fun when you are older."

I had high hopes, big dreams and lofty aspiration as a kid. I was going to set the world on fire with my badass adutingness (That is a word in my adult world) and I could hardly wait to get there. Being an adult is what dreams were made of, right?  

Okay, so insert scratching record player and every head turning in my direction as if I just stepped into the room wearing nothing but a velvet fedora and a bright pink sash that say, "Look at me! Look at me! I'm a mother fing gangsta!" Stranger things have happened. 

Life, as an adult, is interesting to say the least. Some view it as the most amazing part of the human experience, full of incredible opportunities, exchanges, experiences and so on. Others are practically hammering the nails in their own coffin as they slowly let the days pass them by, loathing every minute,  just waiting for it all to be over. 

The only difference? Filters, perceptions and perspective. 

Right after my divorce I was living with my brother and sister-in-law back in my home town of Issaquah, Washington and my adorably sweet and ridiculously intuitive and smart nephew would often as me out of what felt like out of nowhere, "TT, when am I going to be an adult?" It was always said as if he was missing out on some kind of awesome toy that comes once you enter adulthood. I'm serious, we'd be in the middle of watching a movie or playing with his toys and he'd just pause, look up at me and ask, "TT, when am I going to be and adult?

I always took a long, deep breath, remembering what it felt like to be a kid longing to grow up fast. I'd looked at him, smile and say, "Oh buddy, you have plenty of time to be an adult. Just be happy and have fun being a kid. You'll have plenty of time to adult"

He'd always look back at me with a questioning stare as if I was hiding some big, crazy something from him like, the Easter Bunny was in fact, really a Turtle. Sometimes you can't win with kids. Sometimes kids are way more intuitive then we give them credit for. 

I often wondered how I could persuade him into slowing down a bit and just enjoy being a kid. How, if he was't careful, before he knew it he'd be thirty-six years old, looking back on his life wondering how it went by so fast. I want to tell him that there are some really beautiful things about the naivety of being a kid and you can never go back to that time in your life and so try and drag it out as long as possible.

Sometimes, when he'd ask me, "TT, when AM I going to be an adult?" these words would momentarily flash before me: 

Bud, adulting is scary business. Really friggin' scary. You see, there are all these expectations and responsibilities and one wrong move and you can completely screw everything up. Or at least it feels that way most of the time.  

And the choices. All the friggin' choices. God, are there A LOT of decisions to make. Like, seriously man. I mean, I work way better with multiple choice questions so why can't life work that way too? Just give me a few choices, I'll work my process of elimination and viola, I'll know exactly what to do and life will feel very easy. Instead, life feels like you are constantly writing a twenty-five page abstract essay on a time limit of about five minutes. Cause that's basically how fast life goes by when you reach adulthood bud. 

You think picking out a new toy is overwhelming sweet boy? Well, just wait until you have to pick out a whole friggin' life in a world that is constantly changing full of other adults who are trying to make similar choices. It can feel dark and scary and like there are storms brewing from every directions. 

Then there are experiences that happen that are just out of your control. Heartbreak, betrayal, lies, death, illness, losing jobs, falling in love, falling out of love, realizing the person you are with just can't love you back. Mommy and daddy aren't around twenty-four seven to put a bandaid on your broken heart or hold you when you are scared of the lions under the bed. And sometimes you lie in bed at night and just cry because it all just feels like too much and all you want to do is go back to a time when your biggest worry was how the hell you are going to hide the fact that you spilt milk on the couch from your mom and dad and you come up with the brilliant idea that you'll just simply let the dog lick it up and you are proud of yourself. 

Life works it's way so deep into your cells that you start to feel yourself become jaded and rough. You are constantly in a tug-a-war, an internal battle of staying soft and open verses becoming hard and crusty with every major life experience. 

Then there are these things called responsibilities. If you aren't careful they wills start to weigh you down like a one hundred pound weight that you are required to carry around every day, all day. All a result of some choice you made in the past. Another wrong turn you took when you were merely just trying to make, what you thought, was the best decision at the time. 

Oh, and whoa, I almost forgot, people are mean. And scary. I mean, not all of them, but there are a lot of them that are because most of them are just as scared and tired as you are and they are merely taking their frustrations and fears out on you. Their shoulders are just as heavy from the weight of their own stories. 

And don't get me started on failed dreams. All those things you wanted to do, all those places you wanted to go, the wild, crazy adventures you thought you'd experience on a regular basis, a lot of them probably won't come true and you'll be left feeling disappointed, depressed and wondering if this is really what life is supposed to be about. So, buddy, there is plenty of time to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. Just stay a kid as long as you friggin' can, okay? 

I'd come to after a minute, shaking off the remnants of my own fears and instead, I'd smile, take a deep breath and say, "Buddy, you have plenty of time to be an adult. Just try and enjoy being a kid as long as you can, okay?" And he'd give me a confused look as if I just told him the Easter Bunny was, in fact, a Turtle. 

And then others times, quieter, peaceful, more self-reflective and grow-inspired times, I'd look at him and think: 

Buddy, if you can, try to stay young as long as possible but pay attention now because you will learn a lot about yourself, who you are, what you want to do, your gifts to the world. If you start to listen closely now, you'll learn that the voice inside of you is actually the truth. Its like an internal compass, helping you navigate your way through life. Its the way, the truth, and the light. Unfortunately, a lot of us stop listening to it as we get older and let other things guide us.

Adulting is amazing bud. It comes with freedoms you don't have as a kid like being able to make decisions for yourself. There are choices that you GET to make as an adult that mommy and daddy make for you as a kid. You GET to choose what you want to do and who you want to be. Isn't that exciting?   

And this bud, this is very important to remember so listen closely sweet boy; life does not happen TO you but FOR you. It's easy bud, to become a victim of life's circumstances. Believe me, your TT has perfected that. We can become jaded and fearful, afraid to get hurt again, to put yourself out there once more, to be seen, especially for an introverts like us. But just keep going. Keep breaking down walls or better yet, fight hard to never put them up to begin with. No matter how afraid you are just remember that life isn't about staying trapped in a protective bubble. Life is about stepping out of your comfort zone and finding the courage to keep going, despite the disappointments, the set back, the fears, the heartache, the pain and the betrayal.

All of it is for your growth as you move through life as an adult. I'll be honest, it doesn't always feel good. Some of it is heavy stuff and almost all of it is the result of a filter or perception we've taken on, sometimes a long time ago. But you want to know one of the coolest things about being an adult? You GET to change that if you want. You have all the freedom in the world to rewrite whatever story you'e been telling yourself. 

So bud, the hard moments are really the defining moments. They don't always make sense. You may end up going through the same experience many times, that too is intended for your growth. You see, until we learn what we need to learn, until we decide to change, life does that to you. It keeps bringing you the same people (just different faces) the same experience, and the same situation, until you decide to rewrite your story, to go down a different path, and to find the courage to react differently. 

Life can be extremely mesmerizing too bud. It can suck you in like when you stand barefoot on the beach, starring down as your feet sinking into the coolness of the sand. Or like when you stand at the shoreline as the waves lap over your feet and you stare out into the endless ocean horizon and feel so full of possibility. Or maybe like when you feel captivated by the crackling embers of the amber and yellow light from a campfire. Adulting has so many moments like that too. 

Buddy, being an adult is awesome. But so is the simplicity of being a kid. Your only job right now is to have fun and be open to new things. To explore and learn, to make mistakes and learn from them. Try not to carry those mistakes with you because if you aren't careful, they will start to feel really heavy and weigh you down later on in life. Learn from them, then brush them off and let them go. Don't let them become part of your story, don't let the cloud your filters and shape your perceptions. 

There will be seasons of pain and sadness. It will come and go, ebb and flow without any warning. If you can, accept that and ride the wave of feelings that come with it knowing that, as grandma always tells me, "This too will eventually pass and you will feel joy and happiness once again. Just give it time."  

And yes, there will be seasons of joy bud and man does this feel good. It kind of feels like every day for you now, as a kid. You wake up so excited for what the day will bring. You jump out of bed, take a big stretch and wonder what amazing thing you will experience today. You know that feeling bud, when we put on our rain boots and go on a walk and jump in puddle after puddle and we laugh and laugh until our bellies ache and are cheeks hurt from that incredible feeling we feel? Those days feel a lot like that. 

Life is a mix of those seasons little man, but always remember this; without the storms and the rain, there wouldn't be any puddles to jump in. 

Then I'd give him a smile and say, "See bud, there is a lot of great things about being an adult, but if you can, enjoy the experience of being a kid." And he'd still look back at me with his confused and questioning stare as if I told him the Easter Bunny was in fact, a Turtle.   

So which one is the truth? Which filter do you walk around with? The first? The second? A mix of both? I don't know. That isn't for me to decide for you. But I hope you think long and hard about the way you view life, the world around you and realize that perception is everything. And it's okay if sometimes you see the world as both because we all have good days and bad days, joyful seasons and sad ones. We would never fully appreciate the happiness that comes from the good times if we hadn't experience the bad ones. 

And it is ridiculously important to remember this one very things;  our filters create our present reality but what we see isn't always the truth. Sometimes we have to take a deep breath, step back and try to look at each situation, each experience, each person from a different perspective, a different angle, a different lens. We have to remember that life isn't happening TO us but FOR our greatest growth as human beings. 

Our filters and perceptions may not actually be the truth and the reality is, we should all smile at the fact that the Easter Bunny very well may in fact, be a Turtle to someone. 


Am I Insane? On Daring to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

"a comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there."

Several years ago I remember hearing about a workout called Insanity. At the time, I also remember saying, "why the hell would anyone want to do a workout called Insanity? I'm good, thanks." I also, once upon a time, said this exact same thing about Triathlons. See a theme? 

I have this funny theory that most of the time, the very thing you say you can not do or don't want to do is actually the very thing you want to be doing. Looking back over my life, that has shown up pretty consistently. 

So, when I signed up to do the 21 Day Fix Extreme challenge in February I was like, they all look great, except Insanity and Insanity Max 30. I'm good, I don't need to do those. 

However, recently I've been wondering why I am so resistant to some things. Why is it easy for me to challenge myself with one thing but not something else? So, like everything else in my life, I started exploring it further. I started analyzing it. 

What I discovered was that most of the things I say I can't do I actually want to do but I'm scared of not being able to do them well. I like to do things well. I'm a Virgo, we are perfectionists. I mean, have you seen my handwriting? So, I like to be good at things. The problem with stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new things is, chances are, you aren't very good at it to begin with. On top of that, for a long time I really disliked not knowing what I was doing and how it appeared to others. So, what it all boiled down to was this idea that I had to be perfect. 

And we all know how I feel about perfection. BOR-ING.

However, I thought I had to be great at things, even when I had never done them before which prevented me from trying a lot of new things. Eventually however, I realized that this expectation I had put on myself was unrealistic. I was never going to live the kind of life I dreamed of if I kept putting unrealistic expectations on myself. Obviously, on a deeper level, I was doing this intentionally. Self-preservation. If you keep doing what you already know you are good at, if you never push yourself and stay in your comfort zone, then you will always feel safe and never really grow. 

When I realized that what I truly crave is a sense of freedom I knew that without trying new things, I'll never find find that feeling that I long for. I think I began this journey years ago before I was fully aware of what I was even doing but once you are conscious of it, it's hard to continue living a life tightly wrapped in your comfort zone. 

So, as my triathlon training was coming to an end, I knew that I had to continue pushing myself and my body and since I'm all about facing my fears head on, I knew what I had to do. 


I actually opted to Insanity Max 30. The focus is more on finding your edge for 30 minutes. You push yourself at 100% in each exercise until you've maxed out then you write that down and start over. You may not make it through the full 30 seconds of each exercise which is a hard thing for me to wrap my head around. I feel like I'm quitting.  Which feels uncomfortable to me. And when you go to the max you are pushing yourself to your limit and it makes you feel like you are going to throw up and I hate feeling like I'm going to throw up when I'm working out. However, one of the things I've noticed about myself is that I always do my cross training/tabata style workouts at about 80%. I rarely push myself fully, even with the 21 Day Fix Extreme, and I want to know what if feels like to be fully in and 100% committed. 

I've also realized I'm definitely more of an endurance person. I think this is why I do well at things like triathlon. I can go for extended periods of time without stopping and I feel like I'm accomplishing a lot of my goals. I don't like feeling like I'm quitting, especially when it comes to working out. 

As I write this I am on day four of Instanity Max 30. I started on Wednesday, June 1st with the goal of doing 30 days but in total transparency and because I ALWAYS want to be honest with you, I missed Friday because I didn't plan well. My brother and sister-in-law are in town and we drank more then I care to admit on Thursday night and I wasn't feeling too well Friday. And then there is the fact that I've been dating someone new and it's so fun and different and we like to spend a lot of time together and sometimes when that happens, you kind of get excited and want to spend your time with them instead of working out. However, those are excuses and I've committed to this for 30 days and because I always want to live my life with integrity, I'm extending this challenge by one day so it will end on July 2nd. That means that it's coming with me to Thailand on June 20th. Jet lag and all, I'll be fitting in my Insanity while on vacation. No excuses. I'm extending to July 2nd because I leave for Thailand on the 20th and get there on the 22nd so I skip a day.  Trippy! 

I plan on being much better about documenting this challenge. I had every intention of doing so when I did 21 Day Fix Extreme but didn't. I got bronchitis during it and although I still did the workouts, I didn't do the challenge 100%. 

On top of this, tomorrow, Monday, June 6th, I'm not drinking until Thailand and will be living a very clean life. 

No sugar
No alcohol
No coffee or much caffeine in general. I'm allowing myself my Green Dandelion Tea
Nothing that is inflammatory (no or limited nightshades)
No dairy
No soy (which I try and stay away from in general.)

So, LOTS of smoothies. I'll be drinking my daily superfood smoothie. Lots of vegetables and lean protein. 

I feel like I need to reset my body. As I've mentioned before, I have Hashimotos, an autoimmune disorder and most of the above trigger and cause a flare up anyway.  I don't really drink that much in general but have been more so lately which means I haven't been eating the best because when I drink I just feel crummy the next day and eat more of the things I usually wouldn't eat like sugar (the natural kind), and dairy. 

So that is that my friends. Here is to stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing things that scare you!

And if you have been following me for a while, you know that I don't like making things about how my body looks. After spending so many years focused soley on what my body looked like, I never want to be obsessed with that again. And I need to be careful to not trigger myself back into old behaviors. I've had to get very honest with myself and just because I have overcome my eating disorder and body dysmorphia doesn't mean I never could go back there. So my focus is not on how I look but about how I feel, from the inside out.

Some of you will look at my before photo below and probably think she she doesn't have anything to loose and I don't. This IS NOT about losing weight for me. This is about feeling strong and healthy. Cleaning up my diet and doing Insanity Max 30 has nothing to do with me feeling like I need to lose weight. I don't. I don't even really need to tone up right now. This is 100% about pushing and challenging myself mentally and physically and doing something that scares me and feeling energized and healthy again.  

This is about me connecting back to my why which has a lot to do with the fact that at one time I was lying in a hospital bed unable to move, with my stomach cut open and a major infection trying to take over my body. It's about the fact that I am closer to forty then thirty and it's so easy to use that as an excuse as to why I can't do some of the things I push myself to do. Because age is just a number, it does not limit or define us. And most importantly, it's about helping you realize that if I can do these things, so too can you. I promise. 





The Funny Thing About Fear and why you should do the very thing that scares you most.

"Fear is the brains way of saying there is something important for you to overcome."

As I walked slowly into the water, my mind raced with all the possibilities. What if the current pulls me out too far and I can't get back in? What if a Sea Lion thinks I'm kind of cute and gets too close for comfort? What if the seaweed wraps itself around my leg and pulls me under? What if, on some off chance, a hungry Great White lost it's way and ended up north in La Jolla Cove, at the EXACT same time I pass the outlet and enter open waters? I grew up watching JAWS, I'm well aware this doesn't fair well for the human. 

My mind was racing. I had spent the early morning drive down to La Jolla from Encinitas trying to talk myself out of the open water swim I had committed to a few days prior. I don't NEED to do this. I'll be fine no matter what. I'll just take a gander on race day. I mean, I AM trying to take more risks and live more adventurously. I could turn around right now and send a text saying I woke up feeling sick. 

Sometimes I find myself thinking this whole living fearlessly thing is a joke. I mean, why not just play it safe? Why not stay tightly wrapped in my safe cocoon where it's warm and cozy? I know what to expect. I know the outcome. I know I will survive. Maybe I could find happiness living a life only dipping my toes in the water?

I know however, deep inside this isn't true. I know that I had already spent so may years living a life that felt safe yet feeling horribly miserable inside. I know that right on the others side of fear, is truth and the truth is, I need to live fearlessly in order to fully live. 

"I just need you to know I'm absolutely terrified right now." I said to Adriana as I approached her car. I met Adriana a few days prior when I went to her swim and sporting shop in downtown La Jolla to rent my Tri wet suit. She told me that she hosts free daily open water swims and invited me to go with her whenever I wanted. I knew that was probably a good idea for me to in the water before race day, More then anything though, I knew that the reason why I hadn't thus far wasn't for lack of time but because I was scared. So I did what has become a regular habit for me and said yes before I thought it through. 

She looked back at me and cracked a crooked smile, "You should be." 

I laughed with the hopes that it would momentarily ease my fears. I stood at the railing and looked out at the sea. "Yeah, she's mighty big and powerful. She's got a whole lot of sass, even more then me! But, I suppose if I respect her, maybe she'll do the same in return." I said in a half statement, half question as we headed down the stairs towards the water. 

"Exactly." Adriana replied. "We are just going to go really slow. We can stop and turn around whenever you want."  Nice and slow. Got it. 

I scanned my surroundings and watched the abnormally large amount of Sea Lions snuggling on shore, flopping around on each other and crying out in their deep guttural screams, telling me, what I imagined was, "DON'T GO IN THE WATER!" 

"I kind of just want to go join them." I said in my dry, sarcastic tone as I pointed to the baby Sea Lions frolicking on the shoreline. "They look fun." I gave Adriana a cheeky grin and looked back at the ocean. I took a deep breath and a step forward as the water lapped up my legs. I continued walking in further as I pulled my goggles over my eyes and with a whisper said, "Fuck it" and dove in. 

As we swam to our first check in point, I focused on my breath. "Just breath Amanda. Let go. Trust." Something that has never been easy for me but has become a regular mantra in my daily life.  At first I found it hard to look around beneath the water. I focused on taking a breath each time I turned my head up towards the sky. There it is, it's right there. Comfort, safety.

When I did Lavaman, the olympic distance triathlon on the Big Island back in 2009, we had the privilege of listening to one of the top Ironman competitors, whom for the life of me I can't remember his name. What I remember most about his talk was when he discussed the swim. He said that whenever you feel yourself start to panic, whenever you feel frightened or scared, turn your head towards the sky and you'll find comfort.  

I felt my heart rate come down as I glided along the water. "I can do this." I thought. "I AM doing this." I corrected myself. And then a thought occurred to me,  I realized I was missing out on half the fun of what I was doing by letting fear consume me. "It's not very often that we get the opportunity to see what's below the surface Amanda." I said to myself. "Open your eyes and look." 

Something magical happens when we look at our fears straight in the face. They don't seem so scary anymore. When we begin to strip away the stories that we've built up around those fears, we start to see the truth; that we have made them into the very thing they are. 

I scanned the murky waters and sang Mary Had a Little Lamb to myself, another tip I picked up at Lavaman. Pick a song and sing it as you swim. It calms you down just as looking at the sky does. Why Mary Had a Little Lamb, probably has something to do with the fact my mom used to sing it to us at bedtime when we were little. It was comfort.  

As we approached our goal, the small round white buoy about a quarter of a mile out, I reach out and slapped my hand on the bobbing circle and smiled as I turned back and looked at the shoreline. We sat there treading water as we looked back at what we had just accomplished. 

"I wish everyone could see this." I said to Adriana. "More then anything, I wish people knew that right past fear is the most incredible thing ever -- that feeling of really living. The belief that anything is possible" Adriana smiled at me and we headed back towards the shore.

As I drove home, full of hope and excitement and a readiness to take on the world, I thought about the things that still scare me and plotted and planned how I was going to overcome them. 

Some of the greatest things we will ever do in our lives often happen right past our biggest, deepest fears. The interesting thing is, once we do that very thing we are scared of, we realize it wasn't as big of a deal as we made it out to be. We can get so consumed with the what if's and playing it safe that we miss out on a lot of magic and wonder beneath the surface.  

I thought about some of the other fears I've been holding on to, ones that are deeply ingrained in me.  I got really curious as to why I find myself craving protection and safety from the very things I want most and wandered off into the dreamy world of fantasizing about what it would be like to have the very things I want. Then I thought about how I would move past the fear and into creating the reality I want.

I want to live a life that feels aligned with the truth that is in the deepest part of my soul and I never again want do something because I feel this need to fit in or be 'normal.' I want to run with the wild and brave and have the confidence to stand up for and pursue my dreams and do what I feel called to do, even if it triggers my own and other's fears. 

I want to speak my truth and live it with the deepest sense of integrity. I've always believed that actions speak louder then words and I hope my words always are aligned with my actions. And I hope my actions are based on living fearlessly and being brave. However, in order for me to do all of this, I have to identify my fears and get really comfortable with them and that isn't always easy. 

I realized that trying new things isn't the issue for me. Looking at that kind of fear is the easy part for me. I'll always be jumping into the next big thing. A 22 mile day hike up Mt. Whitney with a 6500 foot elevation gain? No problem. Sign me up. A half Ironman? Sure! Why not! Traveling to unfamiliar cultures and navigating my way around? Yes, please! 

As I drove home I realized that the fear that really holds me back from truly living isn't the kind that comes with taking the risk of swimming in the depths of the dark waters of the ocean but rather it stems from being frightened of navigating the depths of my heart and bravely acknowledging past pain and hurt, and choosing forgive and move forward into vulnerability anyway.  What really prevents me from living the life I truly dream of has less to do with trying new things and everything to do with feeling scared of whats lies inside of me. 

I'm reminded of this quote by Marianne Williamsome. 

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us."

And never have these words meant more to me then once I discovered the missing piece of the puzzle of my fears. I'm not frightened of doing the physical things; big, brave and courageous things that push my body in crazy ways. What I've come to learn is that my biggest fear is I'm terrified, absolutely frightened, of being seen. Really, truly, deeply seen.


I know I will always continue doing the big and risky things like climbing mountains and swimming in dark waters and pushing my body to it's limits but the fear I need to face now leaves my breath staggered and my heart racing. It leaves me feeling vulnerable and naked and grasping for air. 

This fear is its own beast and one I have little experience with. It's navigating dark open waters of a different kind and leaves me feeling like I can't catch my breath. 

I know however, that until I can face this fear head on, I'll never truly live an authentic existence. I know part of my purpose is right past this fear. My deepest fear is never allowing myself the opportunity of being open and vulnerable. My deepest fear is that I'll never fully let down my guard with another and let them love me. My deepest fear is that I won't let those that care about me in all the way. My deepest fear is that I'll live behind the protection of my computer and the words I write and share on paper and never be able to speak them in person. My biggest fear is the pains of my past will continue to haunt me and run on repeat in my mind, convincing me that I will never be enough. My deepest fear is that I'll one day take my last breath and feel the disappointment that I let labels and identities run my life instead of allowing my light and love from deep within seep out and be shared with the world. 

That is what my deepest fears really look like. 

There is however, a greatness here as I share this with you and that is I now know the truth and once you know the truth and you have shared it out loud, it's almost impossible to forget. It's almost impossible to live life unaffected by what you've learned. 

 I have come to a reckoning I have never come to before and as scary as these waters are to swim, I have to take the chance. I have to bravely move forward, knowing that moving past these fears will open up a world of magical wonder of it's own kind. It may not be easy but I also now know that at any time, all I have to do is turn my head and look towards the sky and breath. But I must keep moving forward. 

I can do this too. I AM doing this.   

And here begins the greatest journey I will ever take. One that involves peeling back those walls I spent so many years building up. 

Who will join me?

An Old Fashion Girl's Thoughts on Dating, on pain and growth and her happily ever after.

Ah, yes. This post.  Here's a little warning: it's long(er).

The Backstory

As we drove North on I-405, I sat in the front seat as my pregnant sister-in-law squeezed in between my niece and nephew in the back of their Ford Escape. My older brother sipped his latte and they talked with the kids about the nature of our drive north. Trying to explain to a four and two year old that grandpa is now in heaven with Jesus is like trying to explain how babies are made. Both awkward, confusing and a delicate dance of deciding how much to share. And then your four year old nephew asks, "when am I going to heaven with Jesus?" And your heart crumbles just a little. 

It was May 18th and I had been back in Seattle for only a few days. I was settling in to my new life, setting up my home living with my older brother and sister-in-law, niece and nephew. I was also back in the same town I grew up in and my life all of the sudden felt like a made for TV movie. 

It was the day of my grandpa's memorial service who passed away almost a month earlier, the same week I decided to leave my husband. My cat, the only thing that made me feel someone normal in this new world I was navigating, had been missing for 15 hours, and it would have been my third wedding anniversary. I sighed, releasing the heavy breath I had been holding on to as I gazed out the window watching the forest green pines pass by at rapid speed. I focused on the afterglow, that stream of light you see when moving at fast speeds.

I thought about the day ahead, the inevitable questions, the comments, the sympathetic looks, and I knew that all it would take was just one and I would crumble. I prayed that I could hold it all together.  

We stepped into the church and were all a little overwhelmed by the outpouring of people who came to pay their respects to my grandfather. He was a man who dedicated himself to serving his community and it showed. I plastered on a fake smile and reminded myself that this was about celebrating the wonderful and hilarious person that was my grandpa. However, at any time, I could always use my niece or nephew as an excuse to step away. I eyed the vacant nursery room full of toys and books and planned my potential escape, hiding away in a room full of giggles, toy trains and Bernstein Bears Books. 

The service was a beautiful tribute to my grandpa and for the first time, I felt relief from my own pain by celebrating his memory. After the service, we gathered in the room adjacent to potluck. As I walked down the dimly lit hallway I coached myself for all the possible outcomes, "This is it Amanda. Just get through this and you can head home and lie on the couch with Henry and Kate and watch Thomas the Train. Everything will be fine." 

I did my best to avoid, turning conversations around to focus on the other person but somewhere inside I knew it was inevitable. And I know people meant well. It's an awkward situation to be in really. They are saying and doing what they think will help, offering up any words that will potentially make all of this easier. What I really wanted was for them to say nothing or to just say, "I know this sucks. I'm sorry." Instead, I was met with the expected:

"There are so many amazing men out there Amanda."

"Honey, there are plenty of fish in the sea,"

"He doesn't know what he's losing. What a jerk!" 

"You'lI meet the right person when its time."

I politely excused myself, walking as fast as I could to the double doors at the back of the church cafeteria, picking up my pace until I was jogging to the playground where Henry was playing with my bonus dad. I knew I could find some reprieve with them. I knew it would be all talks of Thomas and dinosaurs. No divorce. No dating. No men. No eventually. 

 I sat on the swing watching Henry squeal with excitement as he repetitively slide down the slide and for a few moments I was able to escape the thoughts that at some point, I would have to navigate that deep sea with all those colorful fish once again.

But for now, I pumped my feet back and forth as the swing took me higher and higher and Henry's giggles temporarily filled the cracks in my heart.  

Two Years Later

A lot has changed in the world of dating since I was last on the market. It seems to me, that dating had become an interesting and complex game of "online" cat and mouse. There was a time, back in my early twenties, that I tried online dating. Back then it was only Match.com and eHarmony. The ladder felt a little too intense for me at the time, and I gave Match a go. I met a few really great guys and ended up dated one with a lot of potential. However, that was right before all my surgeries and I tried to be in the relationship as I was going through everything but in the end, realized I had nothing to give at the time and ended it to his disappointment. 

This was eleven years ago and a time when online dating wasn't really something you discussed openly. It made me feel like there was something wrong with me, like I was awkward and lacked normal social skills that were necessary to meet men. Which was partially true, I'm notoriously awkward when it come to flirting and showing someone I'm actually interested in, that I am, in fact, interested in them. 

However, in just six short years since I was last on the market, online dating has become rather mainstream and culturally accepted. It almost feels expected of you when you are single. Check almost any single persons phone and it's covered with apps like Tinder, Bumble, Plenty of Fish, Match, eHarmony, OK Cupid, Chemistry.com, Christian Mingle, JDate, Farmersonly.com...and trust me, the list goes on and on. As a single person, you start to feel that if you are not connected to several of them at once, you are possibly missing someone. Even worse, you are possibly missing THE ONE. I mean, I did love living on a farm. Just saying. (I'm kidding. I am not on Farmersonly.com)

When I initially moved to San Diego, I was ten months post split and felt the self-inflicted pressure to start dating again. That and the fact that I found out my ex was in a full-blown relationship, I begrudgingly joined Tinder and Bumble. However, since I was new here, and can be somewhat awkward and shy, I tried to look at it as good way to meet new people. Even if they were all men.  Within the first few weeks I meet two really great guys and dating both of them briefly. However, both ended after just a few weeks as I came to the realization that I was absolutely not ready to date.

I had spent the better part of my first year divorced running from one thing to the next, and found myself, for the first time ever, with this new feeling of wanting to be alone. This was rather confusion for someone who spent the better part of her twenties looking for that one. And when I say better part of I mean ALL of my twenties. 

 But since I was fully committed to learning and growing from my split, I listened to the need for solitude and took a vow of celibacy and dedicated myself to the time it would take to explore my feelings. I knew dating and those apps would only cause a distraction from working this process. 

So I took the apps off my phone, put some other things I was pursuing on hold and allowed myself to just feel the wave of those, at times, obnoxious, yet necessary emotions. And it sucked. I'm serious. I now fully understand why so many people run from their pain. It's quite literally the worst, most confusing and uncontrollable feeling ever. At least with physical pain, like when you cut yourself or break a bone, you know there is an ending in site. You know that pain is brief and temporary. Emotional pain is being thrown into the unknown. There is no timeline, no guidelines, no bandaid or stitches to speed up the healing process. Just waiting, and waiting, and waiting, hoping, that eventually, you'll make it out on the other side and feel like yourself again. 

I realized though, that it is a necessary part of healthy adulting. Dealing with pain that is. I knew that if I truly wanted to show up in the world, and eventually, the dating world again healthy, I had to come to understand my habits and patterns which meant I was going to have to get down and dirty with the shits of my past. I had to come to an understanding. I had to figure out why I felt so unworthy of a healthy, loving, kind, compassionate, trustworthy, loyal, funny, and wonderful man. The man I had always dreamed of. 

This doesn't mean that I didn't get distracted by a guy or two (or three). Old habits die hard, right? As much as I wasn't looking to date, I felt like I kept getting tested to see how I was progressing. There were a couple of guys I met in "real" life during this time that I thought I wanted to get to know and see if there was any chemistry. They showed interest, one even asked me out, the old fashion way, by calling me on the phone which blew my mind. However, he ended up meeting someone else while on a vacation prior to our actual date and felt like he wanted to pursue that. This has actually happened to me way more then I care to admit. I also happen to be the girl who a guy dates right before he ends up meeting the one he marries. This may have contributed to my awkwardness over time. 

 That experience, though, brought up more of those shitty feelings. Feelings of unworthiness, of acceptance, of never being 'enough' and I again realized I needed to continue to put dating and men on hold because what I've come to discover is that when you are in an emotionally unhealthy place you exude a smell that repels the healthy ones and you end up attracting the very thing you don't want...the unhealthy male version of yourself. 

So I dove into some creative outlets and just went back to giving myself more time and allowed more of those shitty feelings to come up. This is right about the time that Adele's hit single, Hello came out. Good Lord that woman knows how to puncture my heart in the best, and worst, kind of way. The first time I heard this song I found myself sobbing uncontrollably on my living room floor. I mean, "I'm in California dreaming of who we use to be..." I'm pretty sure she wrote that song with me in mind. 

Those tears were only the beginning though. It was like an emotional detox. It was going to feel worse before it felt better. I was dealing with the pain, the pain of betrayal, of expectations never met, of loss, the death of my 'old fashion, happily ever after.' And it hurt. It hurt bad. 

So I began to explore this hurt and while talking with a friend, she made an interesting observation about something I was saying. "I really don't think it has anything to do with him anymore Amanda" she said matter of fact. "It seems, to me, that it has everything to do with a lifetime of feeling unworthy and you just keep attracting men that are going to help you perpetuate this story." 

"Yeah, I know" I said with a sign. 

I already knew this. In the deepest part of my gut, I knew that I was actually the one that needed to change. That I had spent a lifetime trying to FIND someone that would make me feel complete, make me feel whole and worthy but the reality is, Jerry Maquire had it all wrong, YOU don't complete me...only I CAN complete me. And for the first time I saw the beauty in that. Only I can heal these wounds. Only I can fill those holes with love and kindness and accepting my messy, unruly imperfections. 

So this lead me to explore more of that. I got really curious with feelings that came up. I'd ask myself WHY a lot and I would just keep digging until I got some kind of answer, even it if was painful. 

And this is when I came to realize why so many avoid the pain. We live in a world that says feeling that pain is wrong. That we have to be strong and brave and courageous and that means we have to be void of any feelings other then ones that feel good. But without the pain, I'm not sure we will ever really know ourselves fully. 

I did this for a while, exploring the pain. And then one day I finally saw a light. Well, I didn't actually SEE a light but I felt lighter. I felt like I understood why I tend seek out a man who will save me and I realized that IS NOT what I want. I don't need or want to be saved. I want a partner. Someone who has his life and who respects that I have mine, and together, we share  adventures, laughter, vulnerability, passion and love, but know that we are perfectly capable and happy exploring this alone too. 

I had a good grasp on where I was going emotionally and had worked through a lot of pain. I had finally started shedding the dead skin of my past and was ready. Ready to get curious about dating again. 

So in January, after a long discussion with my roommate about how online dating is totally and 100% acceptable now, I connected back into Tinder and Bumble. Right away I met a guy and we spent a little time getting to know each other, went on a date and he was nice but for the first time, I listened to my gut when it screamed nope, this isn't it. There wasn't Chemistry. It was good on paper but not something I wanted to pursue any further. Chemistry, the kind where you just want to spend hours talking with someone getting to know them through laughing and flirting and stories and when its time to say good-bye, you find it hard to peel yourself away because there is just so much more to know. That is what I want. 

And then I found that chemistry a few weeks later with a roamer, a gypsy of sorts, a vagabond, a free spirit and he told me right away he wasn't looking for anything. And I fell back into old behaviors of convincing myself I was fine with that. See, old habits die hard.  I should have turned away then but I was pulled in by intrigue and chemistry and the old fashion belief that anything is possible.  We spent two days together and then he drove off, taking the possibility with him.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pretty disappointed, however, one of the best pieces of advice my mom ever gave me, something she actually learned from Oprah, was that people will show you who they are and where they are right away. It's your responsibility to believe them and not try to convince and manipulate otherwise.  

The realization I took away from that experience was actually pretty wonderful. It reminded me that the partner I hope to one day meet loves and values adventure and wanderlust just as much as I do. He knows how to treat a women. He knows the difference between "hanging out" and taking me on a date. And believes that I deserve dates. He has manners and perseverance and intrigue in pursuing me. He seeks the same kind of unconventional freedom that I do yet neither one of us will want to drive away from the potential. We will both be curious enough to lean in, even just a little. 

And more then anything, what I've taken away from all of this, this entire experience, every single part, from the pain of exploring my feelings after divorce to embarking on this new socially acceptable way of meeting a potential mate, is this new and intriguing peace with being happy alone.

What once felt like a personal defect, for once feels like a blessing. I know that no one will complete me. No somebody is going to come along on his white horse and save me and give me my happily ever after. Only I can really create that for myself. 

For the first time ever, whether I'm single or in a relationship, bares no weight on my sense of worthiness. It no longer dictates whether or not I live my adventure fully, or wait for someone to do it with.  For the first time, I feel truly excited about my own future, my own dreams, my own adventure. I'm excited to continuing building a life that feels truthful to me.

I am hopeful that, at some point, I'll meet a man that compliments my dreams, my desire for adventure and laughter and comfortable mutual ease. And we will add to each others lives but all the while, continue creating our own. 

That, to me, is happly ever after. 

The End. 

Vegan Chocolate and Peanut Butter Triffle

So I'm leading a clean eating challenge right now and I also happen to be about to get my moon cycle which brings out this side of me I have little, to no control over. She's edgy, extremely sassy and knows what she wants and will do just about anything to get it. There is no reasoning with her. 

And yesterday she wanted chocolate and custard, two of her biggest food weaknesses. If you took her out to dinner and there was any kind of custard on the menu, she'd be done for.  Which essentially means I'd be done for. 

But I've learned that I can trick her into thinking she's eating something decadent and sweet when in fact, she's really eating something that is a better alternative. It's still decadent and you probably don't want to eat the whole jar, but you can at least satisfy the beast. She's none the wiser though and as long as she's happy, we are all happy.

If you ever happen to meet her, her name is Mandy. And this is what I made for her yesterday. She was quite content with it. Phew. 

Vegan Chocolate and Peanut Butter Triffle

What you need:

1.5 scoops of Vegan Chocolate Shakeology
2 cans of Organic Coconut milk (chilled in refrigerator)
1/2 cup organic peanut butter
Shredded coconut
Fresh or frozen blueberries to garnish
Small glass jars. 

To make: 

1. Open chilled cans of coconut milk and scoop out the solid cream into two separate bowls. You can hold on to the liquid for smoothies!

2. In the first bowl, add the Vegan Chocolate Shakeology and mix with coconut cream until smooth and silky. Do the same with the peanut butter and coconut cream in the second bowl.

3. In one of your small glass jars, start layering your triffle. Add a layer of the chocolate mix on the bottom, then the peanut butter mix, then a think layer of shredded coconut and keep going till you reach the top. Top off with your blueberries. 

There really is no strict method. It will probably be enough for 2-3 small mason jars but that depends on how much you eat as you are making it. Ha! Or is that just me? 



The Struggle is Real - Thoughts On Aging Gracefully with saggy boobs

"there is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. when you learn to tap into this source, you will truly have defeated age."

- sophia loren

For a really long time I thought I was never going to age. Seriously. I thought that I was going to be the one person that skipped the inevitable, and remain the youthful version of myself forever. I am not kidding here. 

I'm fortunate to have genes that grace me with a somewhat youthful look and leave me looking at least six years my junior. However, they led me down a road that confused me into believing I would be saved from the inevitable truth; that we all will grow old. Five months shy of thirty-six, I often get met with the wide-eyed looks of surprise and confusion when I correct someone who thinks I'm in my mid to late twenties. Flattered I am, but I often wonder if that has more to do with my, at times, introverted and immature nature, rather then actually looking younger. 

As I see it when looking in the mirror, the years are written all over my face. Battle scars from a life well lived, hard lessons learned and years of running "wild and free" in the sun, slathered not in sunscreen but baby oil, as I told myself, "I'll just deal with it when I'm older. Ha ha ha" I guess the joke is on the older version of me now. 

 I have aches and pains in places I use to roll my eyes at when my mom would complain of similar ailments and I find myself typing in "anti-aging night cream" in the Amazon search bar more often then I care to admit. My boobs, once perky and youthful, are slowly working their way south and I have images of them swaying closer to my belly button then my actual chest, sometime in the near future. And I've now taken to smoothing out the "ruffness" on my face with the more then occasional plucking of dark, course rouge stray hairs. I can't believe I just admitted that to you. The struggle is real. 

And then, there is dating which I think I'll reserve for an entire post of its own, however after being married and thinking my life was going down a certain path and now, navigating the dark waters of dating in an online dating world, where there is something more shiny and youthful and new around every corner, I find myself drifting off into thoughts of my fifties living in a little cottage by the sea with my litter of fur children and shelves of books to keep me company. All with the occasional visit from my niece and nephews. Someone has to look out for me when I'm older and they love their TT. 

This my friends, is aging gracefully. 

The funny thing is, I really do love aging. I was always wanting to hang with the adults when I was younger. I preferred real conversation over superficial talks of clothes and trends. I preferred curling up in my bed on weekends hanging out with characters in books to raging parties where everyone tried to act older then they really were. That doesn't mean I didn't succumb to it all, I was, after all, an insecure and impressionable youth. 

However, I was young and did things because I desperately wanted to feel,"normal." Whatever that means. But I wouldn't want to go back in time for anything. Sure, I wouldn't mind if the girls would solute me in the mirror rather then warm my waste line, but all jokes aside, I really love the person I am becoming as I step into this new chapter of my life. 

I find myself shedding old stories of what my life is supposed to look like and taking more risks as I become more aligned with the life I actually want.

I want to feel good from the inside out. 

And what is most alluring about aging gracefully is this unusual newness of starting to not giving a f$%K what others think. That is a newness that I find intriguing. That is something I've never experienced before. 

This isn't to say that I don't want to feel my best or I'm just throwing in the towel on working out. I think as we work on our insides, our outsides should match. As I grow into the adult I want to be, I want an outer shell that can support her. And so its give and take. Its balance. It's accepting that I can't change my past but I can shape my future. 

An old friend (no pun intended. We've literally been friends since age 20) and I were talking on the phone yesterday when the topic of aging came up. I mentioned how strange it was, the day I realized I was no longer that youthful twenty-something, and was actually closer to forty then thirty. We started laughing as she confessed that occasionally she walks by a mirror and sees her mother and how it sends her into fits of panic. "Man, where did the time go?" we laugh. And then we laugh even harder because we just said, "Man, where did the time go?" as we confess how we promised ourselves we'd never say that and start talking about all the other things we promised we'd never say, yet now find ourselves saying all the time. 

Aging is an interesting and extremely humbling experience. When I was living with my brother and sister-in-law, Henry, my five year old nephew would often ask me, "TT, when am I going to be a grown up?" and I'd always respond by saying, "Henry, you have plenty of time to be a grown up. Just be a little kid right now." 

But it got me thinking, we spend so much time when we are younger rushing to grow up and yet, here I am, "All grown up" and I can't help but wish that time would slow down, just a little bit, so I can catch my breath and really take it all in. 

As that cliche saying goes, "Life is short." 

And then all of this gets me thinking; man, life IS short so why do I waste so much time on things that don't matter? Like my sagging boobs and reading reviews on anti-aging cream on Amazon. And caring what others think. And fear of trying new things. And the list goes on. 

You can't erase your past and maybe that is what I'm trying to do with slathering on creams and lotions that tout gimmicks of restoring you to your youthfulness? There is no going back so you might as well buckle up and enjoy the ride going forward, saggy boobs and all. 

Aging gracefully, to me, is more about accepting your past and focusing on the here and now. Yes, another cliche but you gotta think that all these cliches have something to them, right? I mean, when they were originally quoted, you have to believe that who ever came up with said cliche actually, truly believed that what they were saying was one of their biggest "ah ha" moments in their life and they were just trying to spare us all and help pave the long and at times, tumultuous path for us to follow. 

 I guess what I'm trying to say is I want to spend more time living, like, really living and less time worrying about aging because as I've come to realize, its inevitable. As my dad always said, 'we are all dying a little more every single day." Depressing, yes, but true nonetheless. We wake up thinking we'll get to it later, all those things we want to do, and then we realize twenty-years has gone by and we are left wondering, "Man, where did the time go?"

My friends, lets all let go of the should of's, the could of's and the would of's of our past and just cut to living. Truly living. 

As I embrace the sagging, the crows feet and the crinkles in my butt, I'm stepping forward into my second half of my thirties with a new fierceness and commitment to living well. I'm committed to taking care of my body, my mind and my spirit, not for vanity, but because I realize I deserve to feel my best. I deserve to feel that freedom within that only comes with truly living a life on purpose. 

Will you join me? 

I'll leave you with a song that has been circulating in my head ever since I started writing this post, one my mom used to sing to me as a young child that would send me into fits of giggles but has recently taken on a whole new meaning...

"Dooooo yourrrr...boobs hang low, do the wobble to and fro, can you tie them in a knot, can you tie them in a bow, can you throw them over shoulder like a continental solider, do your boobs, hang low?

Celebrate it. 

Broken-heart, closed heart, open heart, full heart

"She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible.
She walked with the Universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings."

- Ariana Dancu

The title of this post actually came to me back in August of 2015 while I was on a cool, early morning run on the beach. True to form, out of seemingly nowhere, these four words echoed in my head and I couldn't shake them. I felt this overwhelming urge to stop and sit on one of the cold, sand-covered rocks and gaze out at the ocean when suddenly warm tears began to slide down my cold, wind-kissed cheeks, and these words came to me: broken-heart, closed-heart, open-heart, full-heart.

I sat there in a bit of confusion because I knew well enough that my heart was not full and it was barely even open. However, it no longer felt broken and I could feel the light slowly start to creep back in as I continued to process not only the events of the following two years but more importantly, what lead me down that path to begin with. So, to feel such a connection to these four words left me a little dumbfounded. 

However, there was an unexplainable deep knowing that this was something I was supposed to write about and when I got home I sat down at my computer and typed out the title thinking the words that needed to be shared would immediately follow. Nothing came and I grew more frustrated. Most of the time when this happens words to accompany the title follow shortly there after. But month after month nothing came. But something inside told me to be patient and nine months later they finally came and it all made sense.

The other day, as I was cleaning out my room, purging myself and my life of anything that I no longer felt belonged , I stumbled upon my wedding dress. Something I thought I had gotten rid of months ago. It was tucked under some clothes that were stuffed in a garment bag I kept under my bed. I pulled out the short dingy white Nicole Miller dress we purchased four years early at Nordstrom and stared at it, waiting for the inevitable sadness to come but the strangest thing happened. It didn't. I paused and scanned the room, feeling as if some kind of joke was being pulled on me. Where was that familiar heaviness? Where was the deep sadness? The tears?

A smile slowly cracked from my lips as I cocked my head to one side.

"Huh?" I said out loud to my four-legged companion who was curled up in a ball on the floor by my bedroom door. He looked back at me with his usual indifferent blank stare. "So this is it." I said. 

I pulled the dingy white dress off the hanger that accompanied it in the garment bag under my bed. "I wonder if it'll be different if I put the dress on?" I asked Oliver. He cracked a single eye open and gave me a look that said, "shh, can't you see I'm sleeping?" I smiled back at him with a look that said, "Yes, but I don't care."  I slide out of my tattered jean shorts and mint green 'The Moon Made Me Do It' crop tank top, throwing them in a pile on the floor. I stood there, naked, clutching on to my past with both my hands.


I unzipped the back of the dress and slowly, one foot at a time, stepped in. beginning to work the dress up to my hips. 

Still, nothing.

I gently worked the dress up and over my freshly tan hips, being extra careful as I pulled the dress over my rear. All those squats have added a little extra junk in my truck and with one gentle tug, I had the dress up and was sliding one arm at a time into the arm holes and carefully zipping up the back. 


I hesitated as I lifted my gaze, waiting for my past to finally catch up and for the flood of tears to come rushing out.


It was like staring at a long lost friend in the mirror. Someone who I thought I knew so well yet today, is only a distant memory. If I could only go back and tell her what I know now. If I could tell her how brave and courageous she really was. If I could tell her that she needn't do anything she truly didnt't want to do. That love, real love, didn't look or feel that way. I wonder if she would have ever gone through with it? I wonder if she would have ever said yes? 

A smile broke loose and spread across my face, as coincidently, the sounds of Sia's 'Wild One' echoed in the background and I stared my past down in the mirror. Laughter broke free, quietly at first until a thunderous fit of wild giggles erupted from deep within and suddenly I was dancing with my past, wildly across the living room floor as Oliver looked on in a mix of pure confusion and terror. 

So this is what it really means to be wild and free. And for the first time, the title of this post had words. After months of waiting, her transformation was clear:

Broken heart, closed heart, open heart, full heart. 



Why I share - a vlog

One of the things I've been feeling really called to do lately are videos blogs. As much as I love writing, there is something so beautiful about seeing someone speak. Their mannerisms, their quirks, the way they say um over and over and smack their lips together out of nervousness. Or wait, is that just me?

All jokes aside, this IS something I've been feeling like I want to do more of. Bear with me as I get more and more comfortable in front of the camera though. 

This one was a little off the cuff. I was literally in the middle of a workout when all of these thoughts started coming at me full speed and I knew it was time. 

So, for those of you that may not get it and for those of you that want to know more about why, here is why I share. 

And with seriously the most craziest amounts of love and gratitude, thank you for being a part of my journey and allowing me to be so fully transparent. My heart is full.

Your truly,

Only a few more days to sign up. Registration closes Thursday, April 28th. 

Join us for five days of eating clean, leaning out, and having so much fun as we explore fun topics and gain the confidence to be happy and healthy. 



Fit and Free Weekly Playlist - Hip Hop Throwback

I have so many posts I'm in the middle of working on. I'm hoping that I'll feel rejuvenated and inspired to write more in Mexico, or at least when I return. I leave on Tuesday from LAX for one of my dear friend's wedding in Yelapa. This will be my first international trip in two years. As someone who was constantly jet setting for about a five year period, this is incredibly exciting and also bringing up some interesting feelings. Excitement, nervous, happy, uncertain. You name it, I'm feeling it.  

It's the first time I've traveled internationally by myself in a long time. But its time. It is so time. 

So cheers to being wild and free! This is what I've been striving for ever since I stepped into this new life of mine and I'm excited that it's finally starting to happen again. 

I'll be sharing more for sure. 

And now for what I'm sure you've all been waiting for...

I feel like this week's playlist needs a little explanation. So, here's a little secret about me not many know: I have always been a huge hip hop fan. I'm not sure anything else gets me quite as worked up as Biggie bustin' his Biggie Smalls rhymes. Except for maybe Nelly riding dirty. 

But be warned, there are definitely some explicit and inappropriate lyrics on this playlist. If you are sensitive to that, maybe check out last weeks playlist or wait for next weeks. I'll make it more user friendly.

Oh, and no laughing at the last song. I stand by my man. Team Joey forever.  

Time of Our Lives - Pitbull, Ne-Yo
Stay - Rihanna, Mikky Ekko
Ride Wit Me - Nelly , City Spud
Country Grammar - Nelly
Air Force Ones - Nelly, Murphy Lee
Right Thurr - Chingy
One Call Away - Chingy
Smack That - Akon, Eminem
So Sick - Ne-Yo
Because of You - Ne-Yo
Closer - Ne-Yo
Cupid - 112
Anywhere -112
Dance With Me - 112
Only You (Bad Boy Remix) - 112, The Notorious B.I.G
Let's Get Married -Jagged Edge
Old Thing Back - Matoma, The Notorious B.I.G
Juicy - The Notorious B.I.G
Notorious Things - The Notorious B.I.G
In Da Club - 50 Cent
21 Questions - 50 Cent, Nate Dogg
Wanna Get To Know You - G-Unit, Joe
Poppin' Them Thangs - G-Unit
Don't Cha - The Pussycat Dolls
Still Not a Player - Big Pun, Joe
I'm Not a Player - Big Pun, Joe
The Seed (2.0) - The Roots
Vivrant Thing - Q-Tip
If I Ruled The World - Mas, Ms. Layryn Hill
Lose Yourself - Eminem
The Monster - Eminem, Rihanna
Love The Way You Life - Eminem, Rihana
Without Me - Eminem
Please Don't Go Girl - New Kids On The Block

You say you want to feel good again.
You say the time is now.
You say you want a good relationship with food. 
You say something just has to change. 
You say you want to feel good in your skin again. 
You say you really want it bad. 

So what's stopping you? 

I use to say all these things until I realized it was really all up to me. That all the little things I did every single day added up to big things in my life. These things either lead me closer to or further from my goals. 

And in some areas, things needed to change. (It's a process) 

And I needed help. 

I was stubborn though and hated admitting that. I hated asking for help. But it was the only way. 

And you know what? It's actually very brave to say, "hey, I need some help. I don't think I can do this alone." So it's not complicated but it does have to be your choice and you do have to be the one to say yes.

 I'll take it from there.

Join me, May 1st to May 5th and we commit to eating clean for a better life (and booty). 


What you get:

+ Grocery list to plan and prep with
+ My tools and tips for lasting success
+ 5 days of delicious recipes
+ Daily videos to keep you focused and motivated
+ FREE accountability group
+ Muah as your fearless food loving leader

BONUS: MY secret weapon that has helped with cravings, regulate my blood sugar, helped with my adult acne and provides long lasting energy!

Cost: Nothing, this ones on me!

Join the movement to feeling fit and free!

Registration closes April 25th. 

Feeling Fit and Free Weekly Playlist - What I Listen To When I workout

Ever since I was younger I've been very connected to music. It's had such a huge impact on my life by helping me work through turmoil and pain as well as motivating me when I needed extra pep in my long runs or sweaty workouts. I have a hard time moving my person if I don't have funky jams blasting in the background that I can zone out to while moving my person.

Recently I thought, hmm, maybe you are the same? Maybe it would be awesome to start incorporating my playlist into the blog? Sharing is caring after all. And it's also a great way to get me to find and listen to new music too. 

My main source for listening to and finding music is Spotify. You can find and follow me there and check out new and old playlists. 

I don't exactly have a rhyme or reason behind the order of the songs but beat is one aspect and lyrics are another. As you know, I love words and I'm a total lyric girl. But when I workout, it's all about the bass. I mean beats. It's all about the beats. 

So get turnt up and shake your booty to these bumpin' beats. 

Run/Ride (indoor) Tri Training Playlist One

And my friends, please, no judgement. I will fully admit and embrace that I have the Bieber fever. I fought it for a long time but finally drank the kool aid. 

John Legend - Save the Night
Justin Bieber - Love Yourself
Justin Bieber - Sorry
Justin Bieber - What Do You Mean
David Guetta - Bang My Head
Alessia Cara - Wild Things
Deorro - Five More Hours (Chris Brown Remix)
Demi Lovato - Confident
Selena Gomez - Same Old Love
Ayokay - Kings of Summer
Kings of Leon - Sex On Fire
Kings of Leon - Pyro
Kings of Leon - On Call

And get ready cause it's happening....

You guys. It's almost here. 


Swimsuit season. 

Which means we all parade around half naked. Or is that just in San Diego? 

As much as my message is about learning to embrace all of you exactly as you are, I also believe we all want to feel and look our best, especially as we get older, not just on the inside, but on the outside as well. 

 And I know that bathing suit season can cause serious anxiety and unnecessary stress. Especially when we see the calendar pages aggressively turning. I mean, how is it already April? 

New Years goals are long gone and some of you are just peeling yourself out of hibernation and want to get fit and feel free so you can feel summer strong and happy. 

And did you know that diet is about 75% of weightless? That doesn't mean we don't need to work our person but what you put in your body affects your booty. And your health. And your overall well-being. 

So, what better way to jumpstart your health, wellness and fitness then with this five day reset to get you back on track?

Join me, May 1st to May 5th and we commit to eating clean for a better life (and booty). 


What you get:

+ Grocery list to plan and prep with
+ 5 days of delicious recipes
+ Daily videos to keep you focused and motivated
+ FREE accountability group
+ Muah as your fearless food loving leader

Cost: Nothing, this ones on me!

Join the movement to feeling fit and free!

MAGIC Super Food almond butter cups

So, who loves chocolate? Who loves almond butter? And who loooves them together? 

Thought so. Me too.

I wanted to lighten the mood a bit since the last two post were a little on the heavy side. If you haven't read them you can find them here and here. Real stuff gets talked about. 

You know I'm all for real talk. I love super vulnerable conversations where life gets dissected through powerful discussion but I also love light and fluffy and funny and well, food. And I love sharing foods I love with you. 

And part of balance is knowing when to add in more of the opposite. Too heavy? Lighten the load. Too funny, throw in a bit of serious, real talk. Someone once told me that I tend to error on the side of serious more often then not and the truth is, I have a wicked and witty sense of humor. Balance.

Life is all about finding B  A   L  A  N  C  E


So we both love chocolate and we both love almond butter and we especially love them together. 

I thought I had a really good feeling about you. 

This little treat is good. So good in fact that I suggest you make extra and keep them in the freezer. However, even though they are chalked full of superfood goodness, two will feed your soul, all of them at once will probably induce a wicked episode of self-loathing and cyclical negative talk. And we've all come too far to go back down that crazy road again, right? I don't recommend it. Moderation is key. 

Honestly, that's my biggest problem with healthy treats. I can convince myself that since they are 'healthy' I can have more then I probably should. I'm like, "oh but they are chalked full of healthy antioxidants like camu camu and goji berries and adaptogens like Ashwagandha and Maca. Oh and plant-based proteins and pre and probiotics."

See, the mind can trick us into a lot if we aren't careful. 

But I do think you will love these. And they are actually good for you. In moderation. 


There are only four ingredients, one being Shakeology Superfood. If you read this post you saw that I introduced you to this new and amazing staple in my day. And if you know me, I'm a huge believer in getting your nutrition through real foods so I've always been a bit weary of shakes/meal replacement and in all honesty, I would never back something if I didn't truly believe in it. I'm WAY too honest of a person. As in I can barely even tell a little white lie without a neon sign blinking over my head shouting I'M SO NOT TELLING THE TRUTH RIGHT NOW!  

With that being said, adding this to my daily routine has been a huge game changer. And here is what I've noticed over the last six weeks. Coincidence?  Maybe. Probably not however. It's probably real magic. 

I've been drinking a smoothie every day for just over a month now and this is what I've observed. I am not a doctor and I am not, in any way, shape or form, claiming that this is why these things have changed. Other then being more consistent with my workouts, Shakeology is the only thing that I've changed.  

+ Better sleep. I don't wake up multiple times throughout the night like I usually do. No more night sweats either thank God. I was going through up to three shirts a night which was making me super stoked for menopause!! (Insert sarcastic tone here). 

+ Less sugar cravings. I've always had a huge sweet tooth. Once when I was a kid a family friend took my older brother and I to the candy store and told us we could each get a pound. Little did she know that my older brother was basically boy genius and proceeded to find the lightest treats he could to fill his bad. Naturally I, like with every thing else he did, followed suit. 

Those days are long gone because I don't eat refined sugar anymore but even natural sugar starts to add up over time and was zapping the energy right out of me. If I'm craving something sweet I eat one of these babes below or make my blueberry chocolate superfood {milk}shake. I'll share that soon. 

+ (THIS IS THE BIGGEST ONE!) My Skin is GLOWING! I've had multiple people tell me that I have this new glow. That I'm radiating happiness and a shiny, smooth complexion.  And I ain't mad about that compliment! Fo sure! This has to do with a lot of inner work I've been doing but I know that it also has to do with what I'm putting in my body.  

My adult acne is virtually gone. Except with the mild breakout right before my period, it's just up and went away. And I aint mad about that either.  I have been struggling with some serious adult acne for the past two years. Like really bad, puberty kind of acne. 

It started right after my marriage ended which is kind of the last thing you want to deal with when you are already dealing with a million other things. Stress. Life changes. Emotions. Er, LOTS of emotions. Change in diet (going from strictly vegan to eating meat again). All of these could have contributed to the acne but within the last 6 weeks, my skin has seriously never looked better. Check it out! Disregard the age spots and swim goggle eye circles and just focus on the beautiful, acne-free skin. Despite the distressed look on my face, I'm pretty happy that after all this time, my skin is finally free and clear of something I already went through when I was a young adolescent. 

+ More energy. So much energy. I haven't had this much energy in I don't even know how long. I've mentioned this before but I have something called Hoshimoto's which is an autoimmune disorder where your body basically attacks your thyroid tissue like it's a foreign object. It can send me into crazy fits of exhaustion and fatigue. I call them my Hashi 'flare ups' but the truth is, they knock me on my behind. I have to take naps *gasp, during the day and I'm not, nor have I ever been, a napper. For the last six weeks I've been virtually nap-free. Even when I had bronchitis. #winning 

+ Its given me the ability to read minds and fly. Okay, I'm kidding on this one. Or am I? Mwahahaha!

So, as I've said, coincidence, maybe but I'm thinking that Shakeology is the cats meow (and we all know how much I love cats) and I've just landed on a gold mine full of a magical elixir of health and wellness. It gives me the same feeling as if I were to walk into a room full of kittens and puppies. I just want to jump up and down clapping my hands while letting out little shrills of happy cheer.  #myideaofheaven. I think I just may be a lifer. If you need any more evidence that Shakeology IS the cat's meow read these.

So without further ado. 

I'd like to introduce you to...

What's you'll need:

1 scoop Chocolate or Vegan Chocolate Shakeology (I use vegan)
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
1/4 cup organic coconut butter
1/4 cup raw almond butter (I get mine at Trader Joe's)

How to make:

Serving size: roughly 12 (that depends on your pouring ability)

1. In a sauce pan, melt coconut oil and coconut butter on medium heat. Watch carefully because the coconut butter will burn if you just let it sit so stir, stir, stir. Once melted, turn off heat and allow to cool. Not all the way until it's hard but so it's temperate. The Shakeology is loaded with raw super foods that you don't want to heat up too much so don't add it while melting the coconut oil and butter. 

2. Line your muffin tin with paper liners.  I have one that has smaller cup sizes. I think they are about 1 inch in diameter. Pour a small amount of your Shakeology coconut butter/oil mixture into the bottom of each liner and place in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to harden. There should be about half of the mixture left once all the cups are filled. 

3. Remove hardened mixture from fridge and scoop a small amount of almond butter into the center of each cup. Small amount as in about 1/2 tsp. Place back in fridge to harden. About 10 minutes. 

4. Fill each cup up using the remainder of the Shakeology coconut butter/oil mixture and place back in fridge to harden the rest of the way. 

5. Enjoy!

Keep these guys in the fridge as they will melt at room temperature. 

Interested in Shakeology? Email me with any questions. I'm serious, this stuff is like liquid GOLD. It sparkles in the sunlight just like Edward from Twilight and I know just how much you love him. 


Lots of love and magic to you, 

your tragedy is your opportunity

Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. Its up to you to find it.
— Buddha

Here goes nothing. I bawled my eyes out while writing this. 


I remember lying in that hospital bed, head fuzzy from the obscene amount of pain killers coursing through my body, just a few days post op from having two feet of my colon removed.  My surgeon sat on my right, my mom in a chair at the foot of my hospital bed. Beeps and humming echoed in the background and quiet moans seeped through my roommates lips as she herself healed from some kind of painful surgery. 

No amount of drugs could drown out the words that slipped from my doctors mouth moments later.  I was slammed head first into my worst nightmare. 

"Due to the infection Amanda, we are going to have to go back in, clean it out, leave you open to heal and..." he paused, hesitation filled the room as he prepared to confirm my biggest fear. "And you'll have to have a bag."

My body went limp. I was unable to speak yet silent screams reverberated throughout. I locked eyes with my mom and saw the fear spread across her face. Neither of us were any good at hiding how we were feeling. I closed my eyes as tears seeped up and slid down my cheeks. 

I kept my eyes closed hoping that when I opened them, I'd find that I was only dreaming. 

"For good? You mean, for...ever?" I whispered. 

"Well, not exactly. Given that everything goes well and we are able to clean out the infection and give your pelvis and abdomen time to heal, it would be temporary. Anywhere from 3-6 months. But..." he paused, more hesitation. "As we have learned, nothing is certain Amanda."

Flashbacks to a year and a half earlier flooded my mind. I was driving home from dropping off a friend in Tacoma when my phone rang. I looked down to see my older brother, Tyler, on the other end. I flipped open my phone and brought it to my ear. "Hi Ty." I said. 

"Hi Manda." He replied in his matter of fact tone. "So, I got my results and I have cancer. I have colon cancer actually." 

My mouth went dry and my world momentarily dark. How did my twenty-six year old brother have colon cancer? 

After we exchanged our words and hung up, I called my mom and cried into the phone as she explained everything in more detail. 

"The worst case scenario Mandy, is that he would have surgery and will have to have a bag." She explained. 

I gasped in horror. "You mean, like, he would have to poop in a bag for the rest of his life?" I cried out. "Mom, I...I just. I can't even. I mean, that is my absolute worst nightmare. I couldn't even survive if I had to have a bag!"

I laid in my hospital bed remembering that moment speaking with my mom and all I could manage to whisper out loud was, "Fuck."

A little while later they wheeled me down to surgery and when I woke, I momentarily forgot what had happened. Then everything flooded back. No longer could I use my bowels but rather, a 12" plastic bag hung from my stomach. I felt the PCA in my right hand and hit the button, falling back to sleep, giving myself more time before I had to face reality. 


Those first few day were rough to say the least. When I did managed to get out of my bed to take a shower, my mom helped me undress out of my hospital gown and as it slipped from my frail, thin, battered and bruised body, I started sobbing when I saw the bag hanging from my once pristine, 6-pack lined stomach. 

"Why me?" I screamed at my mom, "Why'd this happen to me?" My body shaking. 

Snot and tears dripped down my face, landing in a pool on top of my hospital gown that was curled up on the floor. As if on que, part of my bag detached from my stomach and the contents, (fortunately I wasn't eating yet) started spilling out, accompanying the snot and tears below. What was already an emotional moment now became the darkest ten minute of my life. I wanted to kick and stream and throw myself on the floor but the pain from the 6-inch open wound down my stomach prevented me from moving at all without help from someone else. I wanted to hit someone, anyone, but I knew everyone was only trying to help.  All I could do was allow the mess to drip down my body and cry deep, guttural and painful sobs as my mom frantically went for help. 

"Why'd this happen to me?" I continued crying, screaming out to no one. 

Moments later the bathroom door opened and I looked over my left shoulder, eyes swollen and caked with tears, sobs still slipping from my naked body. A young women stood in the doorway and the way the light was coming in through the window behind, made whoever was standing there look like an angel. Little did I know then, she was. 

"Hi Amanda, I'm Kerri. Oh man, I'm so sorry. Here, let me help you." She comforted me with the most soothing tone. 

There was something so calming about this nurse who came to my rescue. Instantly, I loved her. Intuitively I knew she was going to be apart of my life.

 She helped me get cleaned up and dressed in a new hospital gown and situated back into my bed. She said she had heard of my situation and she was going to go see if she could do something about getting me a private room and she left. 

A little while later she came in and wheeled me down the hall to my own private, corner suite.  

Hotel Swedish we started calling it.


She came back every day for the whole duration of my stay (nine days total). She sat with me, she got to know my family and I and most of all, she treated me like a human who needed all the love and comfort in the world. Because I did. I owe this earth angel so much. 

Fortunately for me, eleven years later, my older brother and this angel have a beautiful marriage and three amazing and wonderful kids together. And they are the loves of my life. 

So, you just never know. You never know what great and amazing things may come from your worst nightmare. 

Years later as I reflect back on that tragic moment in my life, I realize that it was all leading me somewhere. To where I am right now.

I remember those first few days home from the hospital I couldn't even touch my bag. My mom had to do everything for me. But overtime, as life went by, that bag became a part of me and when I went to have surgery to reverse the iliostomy a few months later, part of me was oddly sad. Not because I wanted to live with the bag for the rest of my life but because I had SURVIVED my worst fear and now I didn't know what to fear anymore.

Not only did I survive, but I thrived. I went back to work at the restaurant I had been at prior, not knowing how I would empty my bag in moments of chaos, but I figured it out. I continued dating the guy I had just started seeing right before I was diagnosed and he saw past the bag, he saw me and made me feel incredibly special and beautiful. My dad and I hiked my favorite trails to help me gain back my strength and I even went to the gym a few times. All with the bag

All these fears I had were really just a figment of my imagination. I was stronger, I was more resilient, I could still do everything I loved. I looked at fear in the face...and I did it anyway. 

I believe, with every ounce of my being, that we are given certain things in life because it is only us that can do something big and powerful with it. However, its up to us to find meaning and understanding of what that may be.

I know with every bone in my body, that I was given all these experiences with my body to help others regain a sense of power and strength in their own. I know that I went through my divorce and had to start my life over because I am supposed to help others who are walking similar paths.  

You see, no matter what your tragedy is, no matter what is causing your suffering, you can and will get through it. I  promise  you  that.  But here is the most difficult part of it all;  it is all up to you. You can stay tightly wrapped in the comfort of our victimhood and pity, or you can look it in the face, use those emotions, those feelings, that experience, to make the world a little brighter for others walking similar paths.  

Don't get me wrong, each tragic moment in my life; my eating disorder, cancer, my family members going through cancer, my divorce, each one has brought with it a slew of emotions. Painful and haunting emotions. You have to work your process, PLEASE work your process and honor where you are at. 

But at some point, and this is different for everyone, there comes a moment when you have to rise. You have say no more and look fear straight in the eyes. You can either stay on that path, riddled with anger and fear, doubt and despair or, you can life your head up and take daily steps to use what you've been given to change your life and the lives of others. 

I can't tell you when that will happen but I can tell you it will. And when it does, you'll look back and realize that your tragedy...your tragedy was actually YOUR opportunity. 

Sometimes the hardest part is just admitting you are worthy of it all

I remember the morning after my thirtieth birthday party very clearly. A fun filled night full of family, friends, booze and gourmet foods. Four things I love a lot. That night I felt so special, so loved and I think the picture below speaks volumes as to the amount of fun that was had by all. However, the next morning, my actual thirtieth birthday, told a very different story.  

As I peeled open my swollen and puffy eyes, my head foggy, my stomach queasy, I could feel the familiar sadness start to creep in, as if a looming dark fog was settling over my unsteady soul. I knew this feeling pretty well. I had woken with her darkness so many mornings before. 

In just a little bit, I was to get in a car and drive three hours to Eastern Washington for the Dave Matthews concert at the Gorge amphitheater with my best girlfriends to continue celebrating and I felt horribly unworthy of it all.

I felt pretty unworthy of a lot of things to be honest. 

I had just turned thirty and my life felt like a huge mess. I had moved back from Taiwan four weeks earlier, damaged the car a friend temporarily loaned me in a fender bender the DAY he loaned it to me, took a job that keep me feeling safe and was living, once again, with my parents...all at the age of thirty. Don't get me wrong, I have a DEEP love and appreciation for my folks and all the love and support they have provided me over the years. However, I just felt so ashamed of my life. I knew I had to figure out how to relinquish this feeling of unworthiness and reclaim my sense of freedom. 

I laid in bed, with my eyes closed and head pounding, wondering if I would ever pull my shit together. My heart was a mess, my spirit was dull and all those big dreams I once had were lost in a mix of tequila fuzz and self-loathing chasers. 

I needed something to change. I needed a spark to ignite the burning desire deep inside and to get me to step outside of my comfort zone and do all those really big things I had always wanted to do with my life.

Climb big mountains, travel to far off lands, be a rockstar girl boss, write and publish a book, help inspire change in others, live in Southern California, meet my love and live an adventurous life together. These were just a few. It's funny how some things never change over time though. 

As I lay there quietly in bed I felt the oddest thing. It was as if finally wanting to change bad enough was just enough to feel her darkness loosen her grip just a little. I knew in that moment this was my opportunity to escape her clasp.  It was now or never but I needed help, and before she could grab hold of me even tighter, I said a simple prayer which I believe, drove an unbreakable wedge between her darkness and my truth.  "Please help me. I cannot do this on my own any longer." Then, I peeled back the covers, sat up slowly and went about my weekend celebrating my self-proclaimed unworthy existence not knowing that I had just decided I was, in fact, very worthy. 

As I look back five and a half years later, I'm pretty amazed at what has transformed since asking for help in that moment of darkness. I wish I could say the clouds parted and bright rays of sun beamed down on me and magically, I was granted the ease I was longing for and everything started to fall into place. That wasn't exactly the case. Life got a bit easier in some ways but it also got a lot harder too. Allow me to explain.  

One of the greatest, and at times, most frustrating lessons I've had to learn over the course of my life is that you will continue to be presented with the same lesson over and over again until YOU, let me say that again, YOU, step up and take action to learn what you truly need to learn from them. My greatest lesson in this lifetime, I believe, is to accept that I am worthy of all that I want and desire and that I have all the power to create it. 

So, as I mentioned, life got easier in some ways when I asked for help and unconsciously declared that I am actually quite worthy. However, it still felt hard because I would continue to be presented with the same people and similar situations that would test me in great ways. 

The serious of events that took place from that moment on have taken my life on a really interesting and wild adventure. Each person, each experience, and every single moment has continued to teach me of my worthiness. Some of these lessons were harder then others, my failed marriage being a huge example, but was it really a failure or a lesson for me to dig even deeper and really see my value and worthiness? Walking away from a commitment like that wasn't easy but the realization that I WAS worthy of being treated better was what I needed to accept and learn. I was and am worthy of a deeper, stronger, more pure love with someone who truly sees and loves me. Accepting this one truth has helped me to see how worthy I am of other things I want for myself too. 

The career, the adventure, the unorthodox way of living, the body, the financial security and yes, the man who has the ability to love himself so much that he can love me too. 

And here is the real kicker, you are worthy of everything you want too.  

Do you even know just how worthy you are? 

The most important piece of this puzzle is identifying the things in your life that keep happening and truly believing that you are worthy of things happening differently. We may finally realize we are worthy but continue sabotaging our own happiness because we fail to understand that it is a muscle we need to constantly work. With every similar situation, it's our responsibility to do things a little differently. Can we say something in a different way? Can we forgive? Can we walk away? Can we find our voice and speak up? Can we accept the person for who they are? Can we accept the situation for what it is supposed to teach us?

My dad use to repeat this quote to me all the time. Back then I'd roll my eyes but now it's something I repeat often, "If you always do what you've always did you'll always get what you've always gotten."

The other night as I sat in my car watching the sun set over the pacific ocean I thought about my journey, how I ended up here and how I continue to be presented with people and experiences that are helping me learn this amazingly simple truth: I am worthy. Conflicts and people and situations that are making me rise up, find my voice and ultimately, lean in differently. Sometimes it feels hard. Sometimes they make me smile because I know why they are here. Sometimes I get sad because I just want this one particular lesson to be over already. And most of the time, I just say thanks. I get it.  

I smile at how far I've come and get excited about how much I still have to learn about life, others and myself. Something that use to feel daunting and so big is now an excellent example of living life as if it's just one big adventure. One thing is for certain, there is this peace in my heart that is unbreakable. I respect and admire the woman I have turned out to be and when I have a moment of being human, falling back into old patterns and habits, I nurture myself differently and remind myself that I am worthy regardless of what I sometimes say and do. 

I don't strive for perfection anymore because quite honestly, perfect is unattainable, perfect is unrealistic, perfect is boring and doesn't really exist. Worthiness doesn't come with obtaining this idea of perfection. Worthiness, like so many other things, comes with the truly believing you deserve it and then taking small steps in a different direction every time you are presented with a similar experience 

Worthiness is knowing that you do have a choice in the matter. You are the only one that can define whether or not you deserve something and then only you can go after it. 

One moment in your life could change everything. Whether you listen and make the small changes necessary from then on out, that determines everything.

So here are a few questions to real on. Chew on them. Soak them in. And then get very honest with yourself. But only do this if you actually want your life to change. 

1. Where do you feel unworthy? In what areas of your life? 

example: For me, it was money, a healthy, loving relationship, and having a job that is creative, fun, adventurous and location independent. Those were my dreams. And those also happen to be three huge areas in your life. If one is off, then your whole life can feel off. Three were off. That says something, right?

2. What is the story behind this unworthiness?

example: Yuck, I really hate having to admit this because its super scary and vul-ner-ab-le. But vulnerable is the key to happy times ahead so here I go. Once upon a time when I was young and super impressionable,  I picked up this little story from someone close to me who said, "Don't worry Amanda, you just need to meet a man who can take care of you. You don't have to worry about a career." Ugh. There. Sounds funny saying it out loud but from that moment on, it was like a tick that burrowed deep into my skin except it was my subconscious, and I learned that my worthiness was dependent on finding someone to take care of me. It's taken a lot of self-analysis and uncovering to redefine that belief. 

3. How can you reframe it?

example: Actually,  (if you know me you know I just did a little side-to-side head motion with a twist of index finger up in the air and hands on my hip) Let. me. tell. you. I don't need someone to take care of me. My dreams are just as important and relevant and I can achieve them just like anyone else thank you very much. (this is where I get super sassy}. The truth is,  I want a partner that grows with me, that pushes me to be better every single day, that gives me room to spread my wings and fly. That supports my dreams. Sure, we all want to be taken care of in some ways but having mutual love and respect for each other and our dreams is vital for happiness. 

4. Now the fun part...WHAT do you really want? 

example: I want to have enough money in the bank to always feel secure. I want a career that is inspiring others to achieve their ultimate greatness focused on health, wellness, fitness, travel and food. I want a love with a man that is deep, pure, real, passionate, adventurous and fun. I want to travel around the world and be location independent. Can I get a high five?

5. Decide and implement daily one small step to get you closer. 

example: Today, and every day, I wake up and set one little goal. For money, I put away X amount every week so that I can feel secure if something happens or if I want to take a vacation or have an unexpected expense. For love, well, I put myself back out on the market and took it a little more seriously and told the big old UNIVERSE that I'm ready. For my career, I'm taking bold and active steps, once again, in that direction. Travel, I'm committed to two big trips in the next five months and I'm gonna make it happen. 

You see, you really do deserve the things you want. Please believe me when I say this:

 You  Are  Worthy. 


whipped honey-garlic tahini dressing

I'm pretty sure this recipe came out of desperation. I have a deep love for any kind of dressing that is plain not good for you: Ranch, Blue Cheese, Thousand Island, rich and creamy burger sauces, you name it and I want to smother, not lightly coat, everything in the stuff. It's one of the reasons I can't eat pizza (even the gluten-free kind) very often because I'm a dipper and usually it's more like, "I'll have a slice of pizza with my dip, thank you! However, because I believe everything should be done in moderation, I reserve my dip and pizza for special occasions.  And I know it's okay to have some every now and then but one little tablespoon (the recommended serving) well, that's a tease for someone like me. 

However, desperate times call for me getting my hands dirty in the kitchen, which is fine by me because I love cooking and making healthier alternative to those 'naughty' old time favorites. And a girl needs her dip! 

So one day I was desperate for something creamy for my kale salad and I had a pretty barren cupboard but I did have tahini, garlic, honey, lemon and salt. "Alrighty," I thought. "I need my dip." And thus, this came into creation. 

Just a word to the wise though, if you aren't too keen on a super garlicy flavor OR you have a hot date in the same day that you decide to eat this dressing/dip, maybe go a little lighter on the garlic. So now you've been warned. 

whipped honey-garlic tahini dressing {dip}


1 cup tahini
1 tsp honey
1-2 cloves garlic (roasted or not)
1/2 a lemon
pink sea salt
water to thin 

How to Make:

1. Blend all ingredients until well combined. It may thicken up a bit. This is why I add water. Add about 1/2 cup of water and continue to blend on high. This is where you get the whipped affect and it becomes super creamy. Continue adding a little water until it is smooth and creamy. 

2. Serve and Enjoy. 

Yep, it's really that easy!

feeling fit, free and thirty-five and what that means in this chapter of life

(Read to the bottom to here about a special offer for you)

I've never really been one to stick to one particular diet. Except for the three years that I choose, for ethical and health reasons, to eat a strict vegan diet, I've never truly committed to one modality of eating. I have however, been extremely interested in learning about the vastness that is health, wellness and nutrition and have learned to apply what makes sense to me and my life. My natural curiosity began at a very young age and I think I started eating quiona in 2001 before it became the superfood staple that it is today because I read about it's superpowers in a health magazine.

However, I was a bit of a conundrum. Despite my natural curiosity and love of health, nutrition, fitness and personal development, I struggled with body acceptance and the way I looked for a very long time. I spent about fifteen years trapped in a cycle of shame surrounding an, at times, crippling eating disorder. I've shared this journey here if you'd like to read more. 

Fortunately, through a lot of personal growth and discovery and coming to a deep understanding of where my body dysmorphia stemmed from, I've learned the tools to be able to reframe the way I see myself and how I feel in my skin. 

I've also, at a very young age, had my body betray me in the worst kind of way. Getting colon cancer at twenty-four, having part of my large intestine removed, developing a major complication/infection, having to have "The Bag" for three months, more surgeries, lots of recovery and THEN having to learn how to work with a new body that felt broken was to say the least, a lot. 

Learning to find a deep sense of appreciation for the body has been a huge journey. 

So naturally, sharing what follows feels a little superficial but, in my efforts to always being transparent, this is part of my journey too. With that being said, I've noticed over the course of the last few years, as I pass threw my early thirties and climb over that inevitable hill into my mid to late thirties, some new and interesting thoughts appearing about the way I look. I'm starting to realize the importance, now more then ever, to maintain a regular healthy diet and exercise routine and even more focus on acceptance and self-love. 

One of the stories I attached myself to at some point or another is that as you get older, things just don't work the way they use to and that is just the way it is. The damaging part of this story is the, "That is just the way it is." I discovered that I started using this as a way to be more complacent and as an excuse for not doing the things I once loved doing. 

It is true that as you get older, things change. Your body changes. Your ability to gain weight is easier and losing weight feels harder. Things start to droop a little and lines and creases form where you once had none. I remember right after my thirtieth birthday I looked in the mirror and saw the horizontal creases on my forehead and my jaw dropped. I guess I just never thought I was going to...age. I've always felt energetically and physically a lot younger then I was but its inevitable. We all age, we all get older. 

 So a huge part of my growing over the last few years is finding a sense of appreciation and acceptance for my body in a whole new light. Don't get me wrong, I know a lot of people will look at me and probably roll their eyes. I look a lot younger then I am. However, I think it's important to understand that everyone has their shit. Everyone has the stuff they are hyper cryptical of and we all have a past, that at times, can creep back up and start to tell old stories. 

I recognized that it was time to lay out all the stories I have about aging and revamp and redefine them in a way that is aligned to how I REALLY feel inside and how I will allow myself to feel moving forward. 

Then one day recently, as I was scrolling Instagram, I landed on a woman's page, a fellow health and wellness warrior and San Diegoan (is that how you spell it?), and I started watching the things she posted more closely. There was something about her that just really inspired me. Something that left me thinking, "You know, our lives are made up of the stories that we tell ourselves every single day. What stories do I need to reframe? What stories do I, Amanda, have the power to change and reshape?" Eventually I felt compelled to reach out to her and learn more about all of these workouts she was doing and she invited me to join one of her challenges and I thought, why not? There is no greater time then now to be exactly who I want to be or better put, exactly who I really am. 

So about a week ago I started doing the workouts and paying closer attention to what I was eating, careful however, to use the tools I've garnered over the years to not fall back into old, obsessive behaviors. This photo is my before. 

As I mentioned in the Instagram post, my goals aren't exactly to lose weight. My goals are to feel my absolute best, inside and out, as I move into my second half of my thirties. In all honesty, it's been something I've struggled with, especially after my divorce two years ago. With 100% transparency, my whole marriage and the end of it left me feeling broken and self-conscious in so many of ways. I had no idea it would take me so long to put the pieces back together and discover who I was again. My goal is, and always has been since the minute I walked away, was to rebuild myself and life from the inside out. 

So, the number on the scale doesn't mean much to me but the way I feel in my skin, that changes everything. Feeling good in your skin helps our confidence and inner spirit shine brighter. When we shine our brightest we inspire others to feel safe doing so too.

As we pull ourselves out of the darkness of winter and into the lightness of spring (at least in San Diego), I think its safe to say we all feel so much better when we are surrounded by brightness and warmth, am I right? 

So I ask you this, what is something you are telling yourself right now that isn't exactly the truth, is just a story you picked up along the way and made it your own? Now, how can you reframe it to be more truthful and aligned to who you are?

And for those of you that want to know exactly what it is I'm doing, here are the details. 


21 day fix extreme or 21 day fix

What I REALLY love about this workout, like the others I've done, is that I can do them from the comfort of my own home, they are 30 minutes and you walk away feeling like you got a killer workout. You can always add on another if you want a little more. Sometimes I'll add cardio or a 10 minute abs. What is really awesome is you feel and see results pretty quickly.

I love working out from home. I know this seems to be one of the biggest issues for a lot of people, they feel like they just aren't motivated enough, but seriously, the hardest part is putting on your workout clothes and pushing play. Once you are in it, you are in it and the 30 minutes goes by quickly. 

diet and nutrition

superfood shake: Vegan Chocolate

As I mentioned above, I don't really follow a particular diet. This program gives you a plan which is nice for anyone who needs more detailed guidance. I eat pretty intuitively, meaning, I listen to what my body is craving and ask why, then eat according to whatever answers I come up with. This isn't a freebie to eat poorly. If I'm craving junk, well, I know enough by now that I'm probably really craving more nurturing and love. 

I have added in a new superfood shake/smoothie. One thing about me is that I do not like a lot of over the counter shakes. They usually are way too chalky for me but this one is legit. I was a little nervous at first because I truly believe in getting our nutrition from real, whole foods but that is exactly what this is.  The ingredients in this are just that. 

The proprietary superfood formula was designed to provide you with vital nutrients to help you lose weight (if that is part of your goal), maintain healthy cholesterol, and support healthy blood sugar levels. A huge component of this shake is made up of super foods that I was taking already to support healthy digestion, energy levels, thyroid/adrenal support, and longevity. 

Look at these:

Protein derived from (helps build lean muscle and reduce cravings): Chia, Flax, Quinoa, Rice, Pea and Oat.

Super-fruit/antioxidants (immune support):  Camu-camu, acerola Cherry, Bilberry, Goji Berry, Green Tea, Luo Han Guo, Pmegranate, Rose Hips. 

Super-green and Phytonutrient Blend( support health and vitality): Moringa, Chlorella, Spirulina, Spinach and Kale.

Adaptogen Blend (helps body adapt and respond to stress): Ashwagandha, Astragalus, Cordyceps, Ginkgo, Maca, Maitake, Reishi, Schisandra.

Pre and Probiotic and Digestive Enzyme Blend (help absorb nutrients and support regular healthy digestion): Yacon Root, Chicory Root, Lactobacillus Sporogenes, Amylase, Cellulase, Lactase, Glucoamylase, Alpha-Lalactosidase, Invertase. 

So, if you know me you know that all of these ingredients are pretty sexy to me and I bet they sound pretty intriguing to you as well!

So, now you are probably thinking, I've read all the way down to the bottom, what's in this for me? What is this special offer just for me? 

Well, I'm thinking that maybe part of my story resonated with you. Maybe, like me, you want to feel your absolute best, despite your age. Maybe you are ready to let go of some of those old stories that have been circling around your head and adopt some new, life affirming and life changing ones. Maybe you, yourself are ready to join a challenge with me? 

Together, we can, not only change ourselves, but change the way we feel inside and out by leading by example, that no matter where you are in life, no matter what you have gone through, what you are going through, or where you are showing up from today, you can begin by saying yes, signing up and joining in the movement to brighten the world. 

I just think that is so amazing that we have the choice. Don't you?

Want to know more? Email me right now and let's start a conversation on how you can begin feeling your very best. The conversation is FREE, the changes you'll make, well, those are priceless!


I lived.

The other morning as I was driving from one errand to the next, I unexpectantly found myself in tears. I quickly scanned my body, physically and emotionally, wondering where this sudden burst of emotion came from. I reflected on what I was thinking about right before the waterworks and suddenly it all made sense. 

You see, that day marked eleven years since I sat in that cold and sterile doctors office with my mom and dad and heard those words that I naively thought I'd never hear. 

The tears that streamed down my cheeks weren't actually because I was sad, quite the contrary. Those were tears of joy and gratitude because I have had the opportunity to live.  To be honest, I'm not sure I've ever truly experienced these kind of tears before. My whole body reverberated with joy and happiness as I felt the heat and warmth of those tears slide down my cheeks.  

As I drove down Encinitas Boulevard, fully sobbing, I gave into this uncontrollable experience. 


How did I get so lucky?

I shared a picture on my Instagram talking about how every day is an opportunity to wake up and remind yourself that you are, indeed, so very lucky because the truth is, we are all on borrowed time. My health and wellness, they mean everything to me and at any moment, during any doctors appointment, they can be taken away from me.

Today I treat my body like the temple it is so hopefully I never have to deal with cancer again. Each day is a new beginning, an opportunity to use those struggles to grow into the person I am and to help others. I GET to live life to the fullest. To make smart and healthy food choices to nourish a body that works very hard to support me in life. I workout and eat clean foods not for vanity reasons but because like all of you, I deserve to live a long, healthy and happy life. Or do my best trying. 

I know it can sound cliche and it's thrown around a lot but ask someone who has almost had it all taken away from them or ask a person who is dying a slow death and I guarantee that each one will say the same thing, life IS a gift. ALL OF IT, every single moment, even the shit that happens in between the amazing and sweet moments. 

There are two truths I know for certain; no one gets out alive and many are taken WAY too soon. When you put it that way, how are we all not waking up every single day, jumping out of bed and shouting "fuck yeah! I GET to do this again!" 

I think the biggest lessons I've learned through cancer is that we are on borrowed time and no matter what is going on in my life, I have to find some kind of peace and happiness moment to moment. This isn't to say I am always able to live this way. I have to remind myself often by saying, "Smile and live Amanda. Stop taking this all so bloody seriously!" I usually have to say this to myself daily. 

We all could probably stand to give credit where credit is due for where you are right now. Even the mundane and ordinary are pretty special moments when you compare it to the alternative. Even when things feel heavy and big and you wonder how you will make it through this next moment, think about it from the perspective of the dying. I'm sure they'd give anything to be in your shoes. 

Slow down, lean into what you are experiencing and let the flow of life happen because you get a new day to fucking do this again. You get a new day, another opportunity, a second chance. Stop trying to force or control things. Let life happen and oh yeah, bloody smile already! 

This is all leading you somewhere. I promise. 

If one day I am told I have cancer again and that I only have a short amount of time to live, I truly hope that I can look back on the life I lived and say, "Well, this isn't the news I was hoping for but at least I F-ING LIVED."

I lived every day awake and conscious of where I currently am and where I want to go.

I lived every single day telling those I love just how much. 

I lived every day not holding back. 

I lived every day giving thanks for everything and I mean everything. Even the shit.  

I lived every day making choices that were aligned with my values and what is in my heart and not because I felt like I had to in order to please others or it was the acceptable thing to do.

I lived every day with the hope that I could make one person smile. 

I lived every day letting go of the petty bullshit, letting others off the hook, giving second chances, and letting go of grudges. 

I lived every day loving so big that I felt unstoppable. That I felt as if my heart just may explode with love. 

I lived every day remembering that I am on borrowed time. 

I lived every day dancing my ass of in my living room not caring who sees or that I have two left feet. 

I lived every day not giving a flying fuck what others thought of me because I followed what was in my heart and that my friends, that's where the GOOD stuff lives. 

I lived every day as an example that no matter what happens, you can still find a reason to smile and laugh. 

I lived every day giving thanks for the little things just as much as the big. 

And, I lived every day with one intention, to live my truth and to live with integrity. 

And sure, maybe I'll look back and see that I never climb that huge mountain or I never hiked the Pacific Crest Trail or jumped out of an airplane. Maybe I'll never write that New York Bestseller or visit all the countries I hoped to but despite it all, I will look back and be able to say with certainty and the greatest of conviction that I did, in fact, LIVE. 

So I ask you this, right now, how are you going to live?


Christmas Traditions + Rosemary Bacon, Apple and Hazelnut Mince Mini Pies with Date Caramel Sauce


As I gear up to spend this Christmas away from my family back in Seattle, I've been feeling a little homesick and nostalgic which always results in me cooking...a lot. Cooking reminds me of my family, my mom, sister-in-laws and I love spending time in the kitchen, surrounded by the ones we love, cooking up a feast that we will all share as we drink and laugh and snuggle into to the warmth that is family. I'm one of those lucky ones that loves spending time with my family, not only just during the holidays but any opportunity I get. But during the holidays, well, let me just tell you that my family are a little nutty for Christmas. 

Being so far away from them leaves me thinking about those little family Christmas traditions that I long for and adore. Like how my mom always places this driftwood Christmas decoration I made in preschool in her kitchen window. It's been there, every single Christmas for thirty-three years. Or how my brothers and I would eagerly wake every morning to open the next window of our Chocolate Christmas advent calendar and snack on my mom's homemade Christmas toffee. Every year we knew it was the start of the Christmas season when my mom made the first batch of Christmas toffee. It's the only time of year we will allow her to make it. My brother's and I are very strict about this. Don't be tryin' to make us any Christmas toffee in October, Ma!  And, she knows better. Oh does she know better. And now her toffee is known all around town. Everyone waits all year for Teri's Terrific Toffee. 

And my favorite memories, how I would turn off all the lights in the living room and dance around the Christmas tree listening to the Carpenter's Christmas album as the lights twinkled in the background. It's memories like these that make Christmas so special. These memories fill me with so much joy and happiness. If I am lucky enough to have kids one day, I hope I can pass some of these down to them and make many more that they will remember well into their adult years.

As I cook and reminisce on Christmas pasts, I'm filled with so much gratitude for having a family that cherishes tradition. I think tradition is the foundation of family. As much as I wish I could be with my family this Christmas, I won't be. However, you better believe I'll be dancing around my tiny tree listening to the soft haunting voice of Karen Carpenter. Some habits die hard. 

Rosemary Bacon, Apple and Hazelnut Mince Mini Pies with Caramel-Date Sauce. 

When I was younger, maybe around the seventh grade or so, we were required to research a part of our lineage and write a report on our findings. With my dad being born in England, and knowing very little about that side of my family, I decided to look deeper and do my report on our English roots. 

Part of this report was to create a traditional and culturally relevant dish and share it with the class in a potluck.  I knew enough to know that British cuisine isn't exactly looked upon as something to be desired when trying to decided what to make for dinner so when the time came to decide on what to make I called my grandmother and asked her a bit about some traditional foods and we decided on Mincemeat Pie. The name alone lacks something to be desired but when it was all said and done and my grandmother and I had completed the little decadent treats, they weren't half bad. 

These little treats are a mix of savory and sweet, gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar-free. A little word of warning though, if you love super traditional pie crust and haven't ventured into the world of gluten-free eating, keep an open mind. 


Pie Filling
1/2 lbs. black forest bacon (I get mine at Whole Foods)
1 apple, chopped
1 pear, chopped
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried figs, chopped
1/4 cup goji berries
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves

Pie Crust
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 tsp chia seeds (mix with 2 tbsp cold water)
6-8 tbsp cold water

Date Caramel Sauce
8 dates (soaked in water or at least 10-15 minutes)
2 tbsp coconut butter
2 tbsp cold water

how to make

Makes 12-16

Make the pie crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix the chia seeds in a small bowl with 2 tbsp of water and set aside.
  3. In a food processor, add oats and salt. Blend until the oats have broken down into flour.
  4. Add in the chia mixture, buckwheat flour and olive oil and pulse in until combined.
  5. Drizzle in the remaining water a tablespoon at a time while pulsing the mixture until a dough forms (you might not need all of the water). Roll the pastry out on a piece of baking paper until it's only a few mm thick. Using a small glass, cut out circles and form to the bottle of greased (butter or vegetable shortening) muffin tin. Bake for 12 minutes until dry. Leave to cool.

For the rosemary bacon, apple and hazelnut filling: 

  1. In a sauté pan or cast iron skillet, cook bacon. As bacon cooks, chop up rosemary and add to pan towards the end. The rosemary is to give a hint of flavor. 
  2. Remove bacon and set aside. Add chopped apple, pear and fig to bacon pan and cook until tender. Add in goji berries, honey and spices and cook for another 3-5 minutes. 
  3. Chop bacon and add to pan along with the chopped hazelnuts. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. 

For the caramel-date sauce:

  1. Pit the soaked dates and place into a blender with the coconut butter, boiling water, salt and vanilla extract. Blend until completely smooth.

To assemble:

  1.  Add 1-2 tbsp of apple mixture to each pie cup and top with a dollop of the caramel date sauce. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon to finish. 
  2. Enjoy!