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!”