Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year's Eve! It only seems fitting to write a post about the infamous New Year's Resolutions. If you're anything like me, you might be hesitant to even make a resolution for fear of not being able to follow through on it. So this year, I am making resolutions I KNOW are easily attainable, and will make me a better person.

Here are my (Lauren's) goals for making 2013 the best year yet!

  • Read through the Bible in a year. My most important goal this year! I've done this before, but want to do it again to get more out of it.
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  • Work hard at the relationships that are fruitful, and be okay with letting go with ones that are not. Ingenuine relationships are not worth the time and effort.
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  • Stop comparising myself to others. My new favorite quote: "Don't compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else's highlight reel." *cough* FACEBOOK *cough*
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  • Make my marriage better everyday. My husband is my best friend and my most valuable relationship on this earth. I want to be the best wife I can be for him.
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  • Become the strongest, healthiest version of myself. For me, 2013 is all about health. Not about pounds or inches, but about strength and feeling fit. I won't care what the scale says, I just want to feel strong, eat healthy, enjoy life, and strive to be in the best shape of my life!
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Wishing you all a happy, healthy, SAFE New Year's Eve! Make resolutions you know you can achieve, but also be willing to challenge yourself! Bring it ON 2013!!
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P.S.: Look for some new blog changes in the coming year! We are excited to show you what we have in store!

Friday, December 28, 2012


Foam rolling is becoming a major staple in training programs today. There are tons of benefits.... beyond lookin like a fitness pro rollin around on the ground after your work outs. Here are a couple reasons you might  want to include SMR techniques into your trainings and daily workouts.

1) Improvement of mobility and range of motion
2) Reduction of scar tissue adhesions
3) Decreased tone of over-active muscles
4) Improved quality of movement
5) A great substitute for deep tissue massages

Check out the glam roller babe

WHY WE SHOULD ROLL: SMR stands for self-myofascial release. The golgi tendon organ (GTO) is the key ingredient for effective foam rolling. The GTO is a mechanoreceptor found at the muscle-tendon junction. It tells us the level of tensions within our muscle/tendon group. When there is too much tension in our tendons and muscles it puts us at high risk of injury or tendon rupture. The GTO stimulates muscle spindles to relax our tight muscles. Foam rolling allows you to stimulate these muscle tensions causing the GTO to relax the muscle.


1) Foam Rollers: Foam rollers are versatile and can work out almost every muscle group. They come in various sizes and densities. They work best for big muscle groups like glutes, quads, and the IT band.

2) Medicine Ball: The surface area being worked with a medicine ball is smaller, so if you want to increase pressure you should use a medicine ball. It also allows you to work out muscles in a three- dimensional way.

3) Tennis ball: The tennis ball is the smallest implement to use for SMR. Its great for muscles that have smaller surface areas like calves.

4) The stick: The narrow diameter of the stick allows you to work on some tendons better than a medicine ball or foam roller. The stick is a great option for hamstrings. Hammy's generally don't respond well to the foam roller since your hands/arms are supporting the majority of your body weight to hold yourself up.

DURATION: The amount of time spent on rolling relates directly with the quality of your tissue. If you have poor tissue quality or are new to rolling, you'll need more time to work your muscles and tendons. The more familiar your muscles become with rolling, the less time you will have to spend on those muscle groups. 

In the beginning you should aim for 1-2 minutes per muscle group. If one area is particularly tight, spend longer on it. Obviously, the key is to spend the most time on the tighter muscles. For example, if I went on a 10 mile run, I am more inclined to spend extra time on my quads, IT band, hamstrings, and calves rather than arms, pecs, and back. 

There are plenty of helpful websites online that you can research muscle groups for the exact techniques of foam rolling, how to set it up, the reasons to treat the area, the anatomy of the area etc. Also, check out the foam roller app! Praise the LORD for iPhones. 

Try to commit ten minutes of your workouts/ trainings to rolling out the muscle groups that are tight in your body. Your body will be so happy you did! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Giddy!

It's Christmas Eve and I can't sleep. In years past I couldn't sleep because I was so excited thinking about Santa sliding down the chimney and because of all the great presents under the tree, because of the great Christmas breakfast my mom always makes or because my stocking was filled to the brim with goodies. Tonight is a different story though. I can't sleep because I am genuinely thankful today. I'm really thankful for my family. My big messy family. Malachi got a drum set tonight for Christmas but Mom, Dad, Josiah and I still sat in the living room with coffee and dessert talking/yelling to each other as he banged around upstairs and I was thankful. This morning Dad and I woke up early to beat the last minute shoppers which we denied ourselves of being and grabbed a Starbucks on the way down to complete our Christmas shopping. We blew through Banana Republic, H&M, and Gap in about an hour fulfilling everyone on our list in true Mekenzie/Rustin fashion. We chatted about life and fire arms and politics and marriage and God and I was thankful. My mom is the most phenomenal hostess and if you've ever gotten the opportunity to have a meal around the Carlson table, you know there's far too much food than guests to enjoy it. She overdoes it because she wants you to feel loved and important and honored and fed, not just with food but with love and good conversation. She thinks about you specifically. She made me salmon tonight while the boys ate brisket just because she knew I would like it better. Her gift of hospitality makes me thankful. I'm thankful for my older brother who is the nicest and most genuine guy you'll ever meet. He's sensitive and strong and smart and kind. He really values my opinion so we talk about all sorts of things when we are together and I give him lots of "girl perspective." He makes me thankful. And then there's Malachi. Today we were riding in the car together just him and I. He carefully scrolled through his playlist to find good country music that I would like. We sang at the top of our lungs together and I was thankful. My family is really great and being together around Christmas time is nostalgic and wonderful. I'm so thankful for every weird and goofy member. Here's to another Christmas full of family and fun and memories and most importantly, the celebration of Jesus.

Good Night Friends & Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hydrate for the Holidays

     If you are anything like me, the only time you ever drink water is when your thirsty. I've heard that when your thirsty, its too late. Like any other physical sensations, thirst tells us something is missing from our bodies that we need. Its an indicator that if we don't replenish, we won't be able to operate at full power. I know what that's like. I almost always forget my water bottle on my way out the door for the gym and frequently run out of activity classes to grab a sip from the drinking fountain. I'm not your typical "carry around your Nalgene" Coloradan either. I try to drink a glass right when I wake up and right when I go to bed and everything else is a bonus. I realize that if I drink more water I'll have energy for my workouts, my muscles won't become fatigued, and I'll be combatting toxins all day long. I really want to hydrate better so when I heard about the HydraCoach it was immediately added to my Christmas list. 

     The HydraCoach is a measurement device that calculates, monitors, and provides instant feedback on fluid consumption. Measurements are determined by a users weight and duration of exercise. The HydraCoach generates a personal hydration goal for the day accounting for intensity of exercise, heat, altitude etc. so that your sure to be keeping yourself hydrated all day long. 

Water the Body: 
• Transports nutrients and oxygen to cells
• Ensures adequate blood volume
• Protects against heat exhaustion
• Acts as insulation in the cold
• Regulates body temperature
• Cushions joints
• Suppresses appetite
• Assists the body in metabolizing stored fat
• Relieves fluid retention problems
• Reduces sodium buildup in the body
• Helps to maintain proper muscle tone
• Rids the body of waste and toxins
• Relieves constipation
• Helps convert food into energy
• Maintains strength and endurance
• Protects organs

Other helpful hydration tips: 
- Give your water so FLAVA: Strawberries are a personal favorite. Adding cucumber, mint leaves, lemons, limes, and different kinds of berries will give your water an extra pop. 

 Set your alarm: Its a good way to remind yourself its time for more. Eventually it will becomes second nature. 
-  Drink before you eat: Make it a habit to drink a glass of water before every meal. 
-  Make water your accessory: Don't leave the house without your HydraCoach or any other water bottle. 

- Keep a glass on your desk at work: Every time its empty, go refill. 

- Drink a glass right when you wake up: NOT AFTER YOUR COFFEE (note to self) 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Butternut Squash Pasta

Back in action with a little recipe goodness for you today....tried this one out last week and it was a HUGE hit in our house. Hubs loved it, I loved it, AND it made for great work lunch leftovers. Its perfect for those nights you're craving some comfort food but don't want to feel the guilt from a huge calorie-laden meal.

This recipe is great because the pureed butternut squash sauce makes it taste like a sinful mac-&-cheese dish, but its super healthy! Paired with some whole grain pasta, spinach, and some protein, this recipe makes for a well-balanced meal.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Spinach & Italian Sausage
adapted from here

  • 11 oz (4 links) spicy chicken Italian sausage or any protein of choice
  • 1 lb butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 tbsp light butter
  • 10 oz whole grain pasta 
  • 1/4 cup shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh shaved parmesan cheese
  • 4 sage leaves, sliced thin
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add butternut squash and cook until soft. Remove squash with a slotted spoon and place in a blender, blend until smooth.

Add pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions for al dente, reserving at least 1 cup of the pasta water before draining.

Meanwhile, in a large deep non-stick skillet, sauté sausage over medium heat until browned, breaking up with a spoon as it cooks. When cooked through, set aside on a plate.

Reduce heat to medium-low and melt the butter, sauté the shallots and garlic until soft and golden, about 5 - 6 minutes. Add pureed butternut squash, season with with salt and fresh cracked pepper and add a little of the reserved pasta water (I used about 1 cup) to thin out the sauce to your liking. Add baby spinach and stir in parmesan cheese and sage.
Toss with pasta, and serve with parmesan on top.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Top Ten Essentials!

Every girl has her go-to’s, the things in life you can’t live without, her daily must have’s. I definitely have them in my life and when I think about actually going a day without one of these 10 essentials, it kinda gives me anxiety. I know, I’m being a bit dramatic but to some extent it’s true. I love these products, foods and life necessities! Maybe you can learn to love them too. 

Top 10 Essentials for my life:

1.       EOS Chapstick. It comes in the most delicious flavors like mango, sweet mint, and strawberry. More than their great smell, its best feature is its shape. The weird egg design allows me to easily find it in my suitcase of a purse. I always use the entire thing, because I never lose it. I mean honestly what girl can say she has used an entire chapstick from start to finish? It’s an anomaly. 

2.       Nike running tights. I cannot buy enough pairs of these hot pants. They come in every color or print you could possibly think of and for every type of weather! They are by far the most comfortable thing to wear when working out. Add them to your Christmas wish list, if it’s not too late. Here are tights I asked Santa for…
Seriously, with this print? So stinkin' fun!

3.       Almonds. Yep, sounds boring but nothing satisfies me more than my afternoon snack of almonds, of course paired with a hot cup of green tea. They are so good for you and with their high protein quality they curb appetite when the office vending machine might be screaming your name!

4.       Jergins Natural Glow Lotion. This is a must for me during the winter. It actually provides your skin with a healthy looking tan (and I use the word tan loosely, it’s more of a “not so pasty tan!") With a brand like Jergins it makes my skin soft the entire day. Double Bonus!

5.       Day Planner. Call me old fashioned but I have to see it in writing on paper for it to count. Siri just doesn't do it for me. I feel like I can’t trust her. My life is too busy to just remember everything I am suppose to do. But when I see it written down, my mind can actually wrap around the long to do list and I manage my life much better this way. It’s crazy but I think I would have a 2 year old melt down if I lost it!
Please note my Saturday plan! 

6.       French Press. As many of you know, I am a coffee-aholic. I love it in almost all forms but if I’m making it at home it only comes one way, french press. It’s bold. It’s a process. And it’s the most delicious way to drink your coffee. Of course freshly grind your beans (Mrs. Lobdell would freak out if you didn't!) add pipin’ hot water, stir, let sit for at least 4 minutes and the finale..PRESS! Ta’da!! French press!

Always put your coffee in a fancy, personalized mug

7.     Suave Dry Shampoo. This is a fav that came from our one and only Lo Zeman! She is a avid user and has made me a big fan. Sometimes, during my long days I’ll work out during my lunch break. To cover up any weird smells or greasy bangs, I’ll use a couple sprays of this gem and I’m good to go. It’s a life saver when I’m in a hurry too! *Please keep my non showering habits on the DL, ok?*

8.     Good Running Shoes. I know, I talk about running shoes in about every post, but I can’t help it...I am obsessed. Splurge over $100 on heals, never! But splurge over $100 on a pair of amazing running shoes, absolutely. May I recommend my newest favs of the Mizuno Waves 13. Light weight but lots of great support with fun, bright colors. Ascis is also an awesome brand.
Our shoes at the Malibu Half. 

 9.      Lash Stiletto Mascara. Ask any of the core and they will tell you about my addiction to mascara. I have tried almost every brand out there and I am a sucker for the newest release of this lengthening beauty product. But Lash Stiletto by Maybelline, is incredible. It’s not clumpy and stays all day long. It’s the one I always come back to and I rarely go a day without this phenomenal invention.

10.     Essie Nail Polish. My roommate, Karlie and I just counted and we have 14 bottles of this unbelievably stunning nail polish. They come in the best colors, and stay on your nails without chipping for a really long time. Right now they have some really fun holiday glitter polishes. To. Die. For. Essie nail polish is my impulse buy whenever I step foot in Target. 
I think I will do this holiday color for the office Christmas party!

So there you have it; my dailies in a nut shell. On a typical day you will find me sipping my french press coffee, applying my second coat of lengthening mascara, putting my running shoes into my gym bag and writing my long list on lunch dates in my planner. I need them, I want them and I cannot live without my “must haves!” 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

This is life. Try to take it in...

Do you ever have those moments where you look around you and wonder, “How the heck did I get here? Why am I so blessed?” I hope you have, because I have had so many of them lately that it could make my head explode. Can I  share in these joys with you? November has been an exciting month and I would love to tell you all about it. 

I’m sure you saw our last post about the Malibu Half Marathon Mekenzie and I ran a couple weeks ago. If you haven’t you can read it now it detail here A Race in the 'BU. It was a life giving, amazing trip. I had one of those “How’d I get here” moments happened when I was running the race. The sun was dancing on the ocean, surfers were unpacking their boards and hitting the waves. There were beautiful homes and rocky cliffs on my left and the ocean on my right. The contrast of the bright sunrise against the glittering water was almost too much for my eyes to take in. I took a deep breath and asked God to not let me forget that moment. I don’t think I will. I felt His presence so deeply and as I looked out into the vast ocean, I was reminded of how desparately I need Him. Blessed. 

Breath taking, right?

I had to leave on my trip to Malibu just moments before my sister gave birth to the newest member of our family, sweet Halle Marie. She is perfect. It’s amazing- life. How it comes into this world and how someone so small can have such a huge impact on my life. I love all nieces and nephews so much. And Halle is no different. I love that my sister and her family live here because it allows me to show up unannouced to hold that precious little girl and rock her to sleep. It’s pretty incredible that watching a baby sleep for hours in your arms can keep you so engaged. It’s like she casts a baby spell on me and instantly she has me falling more in love with her and wrapping me around her tiny finger. And it happens again, “How’d did I get here? Holding this new beautiful life in my arms.” In that moment I took a deep breath, remind myself of the joy of a new life and did my best not to squeeze the love out of the baby. Blessed.

Meeting Halle for the first time!

She has my heart

Just last weekend we got to have our Kenz back on CO soil. It was the Core Four back in each others arms- for an entire weekend. We ate delicious meals together and talked about the hardships and blessings of being single and being married. We laughed...A LOT! And shared beers and discovered our new found favorite called a Moscow Mule. Delish. We celebrated an early birthday for me and indulged in some free birthday dessert. As I was sitting around the table at my birthday dinner I had that weird moment happen to me again, “How’d I get here? Where did all these amazing friends come from?” I took a deep breath and another drink of my aprocot beer - trying my best  not to miss a moment of this joy. Because isn’t that what it’s all about anyway- sharing joy with the people in your life that you love the most. Blessed.

The Whole Gang 

Kenz & Me 

Core Four

Life is good. Really good. Share in the joy with the people you love most. And in those moments pause - take a deep breath and do your best to take it all in. 

Thanks for letting me share my life with you. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Race in the 'BU


Why Malibu?

Mekenzie: I am such a sucker for good marketing which is why when I saw the promo video for the Malibu Half marathon I was signed up in the same week. I really wanted my next race to be a destination race and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to run in a really cool spot.

Erin: After we did the Rock ‘n Roll half in Denver and realized that races happen is some pretty amazing cities, Kenz and I knew we had to find the perfect destination for our next race. Once Kenz sent me the video I was hooked. Plus, here in CO we are in the dead of winter and nothing sounded better than 70 and sunny on the beach! 

How was training?
Mekenzie: This round of training was the hardest it has ever been. The post college adjustment was a way bigger challenge than I had anticipated. Mentally, to prep for a challenging run early in the morning or after your body has been stagnant for an entire work day is tough. On a positive note, I did get to do a lot of training with my cousins which was a blast. I called it cousin run club. Three of my cousins were training for the Kansas City half that was just three weeks before mine so we were able to help motivate each other and it was great to be able to have someone to run in the dark with in those early cold morning hours.

Erin: I have to agree with Kenz on this one. It can be challenging to find time, more importantly the right time, to run. I somehow stayed more disciplined this training season than I ever had before, though. Maybe it was because I was fearful that my sedentary career was going to ruin all my hard work. I made time on my days off for my longer runs. When I was working I would bring my workout clothes with me so that I didn’t have an excuse to not run. If I walked in my front door I knew that I would find myself laying on the couch and taking a nap. There’s an amazing trail called Spring Creek right by my work so I would just hop on it after my shift. Once I was outside running it felt great to get my legs moving after a long day of sitting.

Favorite part of the weekend:

Mekenzie: My favorite part of the weekend was the two hours of post-race bliss. Crossing the finish line is always so exciting. Two months of training and discipline coming to end in that moment is such a rush. The finish line was on Zuma Beach and it was 68 degrees. Erin and I grabbed our finisher’s towels, a free mimosa, and more free protein bars then we could hold in our hands and joined a bunch of other finishers on the beach watching the ocean, soaking up the sun, and taking it all in. It’s always a blast to talk about race details. Where our legs hurt, where our lungs hurt, the mentally challenging points of the race, our favorite mile, the friends we made along the way, the crazy outfits, the community cheering us along. I was full of joy and completely content all at the same time. That was the best part of the weekend.

Erin: I get goose bumps reading Mekenzie’s favorite part of the weekend. I would agree that it is up in my top moments of the weekend, for sure.  My favorite part of the weekend was a trip to a coffee shop called the Cow’s End. Clever name and weird atmosphere. It was a place we wanted to go to ever since we saw our favorite fitnessista’s (the Tone it Up Girls) post it on Instagram. My dirty chia latte (steamed almond milk, vanilla chia, and 2 espresso shots!) hit the spot and the funky vibe of this Venice, CA shop was fun to be a part of. But the best part was sitting for hours with my best friend, chatting about the trials and blessings of life. The good parts and the parts that make us want to cry. We talked about our dreams of being personal trainers and owning our fitness studio together. We have big dreams and it made my heart soar processing it all with my best. It was one of the most encouraging, heart-felt, up lifting conversations I’ve had. It was a blessing to share this with her. I cannot wait to chase after our dreams together.

Takin tips from some of our favorite fitness inspirations

Delicious coffee bevs at The Cows End

What else did we do?:

Mekenzie: We did all kinds of things. Erin has family in Studio City so we got to spend a lot of time with them. Breakfast plans was a must as Erin and I are quite the breakfast snobs.The Blue Plate in Santa Monica won our hearts with outdoor seating, fresh beet juice, great coffee, awesome scrambles, and a perfect little atmosphere. After breakfast we found the coolest farmers market. It put all other farmers markets I have ever been to to shame. We ended up buying our lunch there and trying all kinds of new unique oils and fruits. This was another highlight. The cows end was another hot spot for us. The “Tone it Up girls” inspired us to find this little Venice Beach coffee stop and we enjoyed delicious bevs and a long conversation there as we sat on the lookout for Karina and Katrina. These are just a few of the weekend’s adventures.

Beet Stashin

Erin: Because we were staying with my family and they were so generous to us when we were there, I really wanted to spend some time with them too. On our first night there all my cousins and their husbands and kiddos came over. We had delish Thai take out and chatting about the latest happenings in our lives. It was fun to introduce Kenz to our wild bunch, she fit right in! Driving along Pacific Coast Highway 1 was a highlight for me, too. I know, it seems a bit silly, but my eyes felt like they couldn’t take in that much beauty. God’s grace and unending love was beaming across the ocean and I had my best friend next to me belting out T-Swift songs. It was one of those seemingly insignificant moments that I don’t ever want to forget.
Santa Monica Farmers Market
Berry Heaven 

How did the race go?

Mekenzie: I’m super competitive and had to swallow my pride a bit when I realized I didn’t meet my goal for the race. The course had some pretty intense elevation changes and even when you weren’t climbing a very visible hill, you were always climbing. I could have done better with my hill training to prepare myself, but that’s okay. I’m so proud of Erin getting her best race time yet and I was so thankful to be doing what I love in such a stunning place.

Erin: First of all the race was beautiful. I was amazed the whole time at how much beauty there was to be seen. I was just feeling so immensely blessed that I got to experience this race with Kenz. Physically, I felt pretty good the whole race. Kenz, is not exaggerating though, the hills and elevation changes were way more intense than I was prepared for. My hips got pretty sore and tight but overall I did well. I didn’t wear a watch and there were no clocks at the mile markers so I was clueless as to how I would finish. When I crossed the finish line, I was so excited to see my time. I PR’d by almost 6 minutes from last race. It felt so good, so accomplishing! Running half marathons is not an easy feat, and I am super proud that Mekenzie didn’t stop and finished the race. She really did have a great speed for the race but it just wasn’t what she was hoping for. She is one competitive girl. 
Our favorite race day breakfast. Gotta do Justin's!

Sassy and ready at 4:30 a.m.
GOOOHOOOOD mornin. 7:30 race start! 
Runners ready to run! 

Starting Line 

What’s next?

Mekenzie: The Core Four have talked about a spring or summer triathlon next. It’s nice to take a mental break from training, but we all know we love a good challenge and can’t stay away from training long. I think we are going to scope out a good sprint tri to complete together so if you have any suggestions we would love to hear!

Erin: I have always wanted to do a triathlon, so I could not be more excited than to set a new goal with the Core early this coming summer. In the meantime, I’m starting up my gym membership again at Miramount Fitness. They have amazing classes and I cannot wait to get my left hook back at kick boxing. I am also considering getting my Certified Personal Trainer Certificate (along with Mekenzie!) and becoming a fitness instructor.

 Until next time….