Sweating It Out In KC

Fall is officially here, and the days of outdoor workouts will soon be a distant memory. Lucky for us, Kansas City has no shortage of innovative fitness studios to keep you sweating in any season! 

As a self-proclaimed fitness junkie, one of my favorite things to do when I travel is get a local sweat session. Although Kansas City has all of your national favorites (Orangetheory, F45, CrossFit, Anytime Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, Planet Fitness, Rock Climbing gyms, Boot Camps, Boxing, Personal Trainers), I encourage you to check out one of these KC exclusives. 

The Bar Method (Barre)

This studio has a mission to empower us to be the best version of ourselves by creating highly efficient, full-body workouts that build inner and outer strength. Every Bar Method class starts with a warm-up and upper-body exercises, followed by a sequence of leg and seat work at the barre and core exercises on the floor. The class uses your own bodyweight for resistance along with a few basic props – free weights, mats, and a ball. Students of all fitness levels work within their individual limits while receiving encouragement to continually push forward. On any given day, this runner chick likes to think she’s pretty athletic, but this workout had my legs shaking throughout! After your class, stop in next door at T. Loft for a green juice or healthy snack. 

Health House (Rowing + Weights) 

Health House is the first dedicated rowing studio that mixes rowing and strength training for the ultimate full body workout. This high energy, high intensity class will keep your heart pumping throughout. With little to no downtime, you will move back and forth between the rowing machine and weights, with a killer playlist and a motivational coach that will keep you going throughout. Rowing uses 86% of your body’s muscle mass, providing a more efficient and effective full body workout. However, since rowing is a seated activity, it eliminates impact on the injury prone joints of the hips, knees, and ankles. This gym is all about community, so you can expect a lot of sweaty fist bumps and high fives. 

FusionFly (Cycling) 

Fellow cardio lovers, I give you FusionFly! Fusion Fitness believes everyone deserves to look and feel their best. And I can assure you, during my class, I feel like a strong, sweaty warrior. They keep the music pumping and the sweat dripping during this ultimate workout that challenges the entire body in one hour. If you’re up for the best coaching of your life, take a class with Jos, and get ready to work! More good news, you can pop in Homer’s Coffee after class to get another boost. 

Core Energy Yoga (Yoga) 

If zenning out is your thing, Core Energy is your spot! This is Overland Park’s first hot yoga studio offering Power Vinyasa Yoga, in the tradition of Baron Baptiste. Core Energy is inclusive of everyone, so you can expect to feel like family, no matter your experience level. This class will keep you sweating, centered, and feeling restored. If you really want to up the positive vibes, book a class with Amanda. But no matter what you do, don’t skip out on Shavasana…Namaste friends!

There are so many great ways to workout in Crown Town. So grab your water and towel, book your classes, and check out all the sweat we have to offer! 

Let me know if you have a fitness studio that you love…I’m always up for a challenge!

XOXO,

Molly B.

Five Ways to Wear the Scarf Trend

Recently I went to the grand opening for EB and Co., a local accessories boutique. Emily Bordner is the inspiring brainchild of what is now my (and several other KC ladies) favorite new store. Jewelry, handbags, hair accessories, even some stationary. The store itself is beautiful, as is everything inside.

At the grand opening, I quickly started picking up everything I saw, but I found myself repeatedly drawn to her collection of scarves.

One thing about me is that I will typically not purchase something unless I can style it multiple ways. And the scarf that I picked up from EB has certainly been a very versatile piece!

So if you’ve been eyeing the scarf trend but are not sure yet, here are five ways that I have styled my new accessory.

Bandana Style:

Parisian Style:

Dress Up A Ponytail:

Headband:

Bracelet:

There are so many options with a scarf, so head to EB, grab your own, and have some fun!

XOXO,

Molly B.

Home Decor Shopping Roundup

Chad and I moved into our current home nearly 4 years ago, and when we did, we started from scratch. Okay not completely, but almost. Most of our belongings were either hand-me-downs or things we got before we were married. So this seemed like the opportunity to invest in some upgrades. Through the process of furnishing and decorating our home, I definitely formed some favorite spots, and I’m sharing them here.

Anthropologie: kitchen/serving, shelf decor, wall decor

At Home: wall decor, accent furniture, curtains, decorative pillows, storage

Ballard Designs: large furniture, accent furniture

Container Store: organization, storage, closet

Hobby Lobby: wall decor, shelf decor, accent furniture, decorative pillows

Home Goods: kitchen/serving, shelf decor, wall decor, accent furniture, decorative pillows

Kirkland’s: shelf decor, wall decor, accent furniture, decorative pillows

Lamps Plus: large furniture, accent furniture, lighting

Nebraska Furniture Mart: large furniture, accent furniture, appliances

Target: Um everything…?

Wayfair: large furniture, patio furniture

West Elm: kitchen/serving, shelf decor, wall decor, accent furniture

World Market: accent furniture, decorative pillows, shelf decor

Let me know if there’s anything you would add to the list!

XOXO,

Molly B.

How to Stay Healthy on the Road

One of the most common questions I get about my travel schedule is “How do you stay healthy when you travel?” And yes, very valid. It can be a struggle to balance exploration and indulgence with a commitment to your health. When I first started traveling for my job, I ate all the things, drank all the things, bought all the things, and after a particularly long stretch, felt physically and mentally drained. Since then, I’ve figured out a few things that keep me healthy while still enjoying my surroundings.

1. Get Some Sleep! I will refrain from getting on my soapbox, but so much of our overall health can be traced back to our sleep. Getting a full night of rest will put you in the right physical and mental state to perform well the following day.

2. Walk Everywhere Possible. When booking my hotel, I typically try to stay in a downtown area that has several restaurants and shops within walking distance. This gets you some fresh air and added movement.

3. Get In Some Exercise. Most every hotel has a fitness center. You can find free workout videos online to watch on your phone or tablet. Buy a set of resistance bands to throw in your suitcase. Join ClassPass. There are so many options to continue an exercise routine on the road. I like to use travel as an opportunity to try new workouts that we don’t yet have in Kansas City. And I’ve also been known to drag a coworker along with me!

4. Eat Breakfast. I never know what my day will bring. Late lunch, no lunch, weird lunch, late dinner, the list goes on. I always eat a filling breakfast to ensure that I’m sustained as long as possible. Some of my favorite choices are oatmeal, avocado toast, and meal replacement smoothies.

5. Hydrate. Throw a water bottle in your carryon and fill it up as often as possible. We all know we should be drinking water, but the travel will dehydrate you, meaning you need even more water than usual. Pro Tip: Find the hotel fitness center for the filtered water cooler.

6. Don’t Overdo the Alcohol. I’m all for trying the local craft beer, or having a glass of wine with dinner, or a coworker happy hour. But everything in moderation, especially when you travel. Keeping it light will ensure you make healthy choices in every sense. And it will ensure you stay employed…just saying.

7. Pack Snacks. I always pack protein bars, bags of nuts or trail mix, and portable fruit. Again, I never know what the day will bring, so I’m always loaded down with snacks to prevent hanger.

8. Eat Well, Don’t Restrict. Don’t stress out about what you’re eating. When you stress, your tendency will be to restrict, and then you will make unhealthy choices or binge later. If you allow yourself to eat well, focusing on getting in a nice balance of protein, veggies, fruit, healthy carbs and fats, you won’t want to make unhealthy choices later.

9. Take Your Vitamins, Nuun, Apple Cider Vinegar, Probiotics, etc. If you take these things daily, take them along on your trip. You may want to bump up some of the preventative things to keep your immune system running strong, because travel can take its toll on your body.

10. Stick With Routine. Just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean you stop being yourself. When I travel, I basically follow the same routine that I would at home. It keeps me mentally, spiritually, and physically grounded and healthy.

Just remember, it’s all about experiencing joy, whatever that means to you. Health is not one size fits all, and you have to find what works best for you. But these things have helped me find some sense of normalcy when I travel.

If you’re a fellow road warrior, I would love to hear anything you would add to the list.

XOXO,

Molly B.

Mint Chocolate Chip Protein Balls

The crew at 310 Nutrition recently sent me some of their goodies to try, and I was so excited to see that they had included four flavors of their protein powder in my package. We all know that I love a protein smoothie, but when I saw the package of Mint Chocolate protein powder, I knew instantly what I wanted to do–Mint Chocolate Chip Protein Balls! It’s a super easy recipe, and you will love them! Plus, you can use code 310MOLLYBU for Free Shipping on your order from 310!

Ingredients:

• 1 package 310 Nutrition Chocolate Mint Protein Powder (Use Code 310MOLLYBU for Free Shipping!)

• 2 cups rolled oats

• 1/2 cup ground flaxseed

• 1/4 cup chia seeds

• 1 cup nut butter of choice (I use Almond Butter.)

• 2/3 cup agave

• 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions:

• Place all dry ingredients in mixing bowl and combine.

• Add the agave and nut butter and stir until combined.  (This will be very thick and hard to stir, so I recommend using a mixer if you have one.)

• Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to slightly harden.

• Remove from the refrigerator and form mixture into balls.  (I use a cookie dough scoop or ice cream scoop, but you can use a spoon or just eyeball it for the size you want.)

• Place balls in airtight container of choice.  Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

I know you’re going to love 310 and this delicious treat!

XOXO,

Molly B.

How to Prevent the Sunday Scaries

Okay wait, what are the Sunday Scaries? Whether you call them The Sunday Scaries, The Sunday Blues, The Sunday Dread – they’re the anxiety you feel on Sunday with the impending return to work, or school, or whatever your weekday routine. The feeling you have of running through that never ending to do list, trying to prepare for the week ahead, only to feel like you never actually had a weekend.

I remember it vividly. Sitting in church roughly three years ago. A sermon about time and how we use ours. I cried through that entire sermon. Not just pretty little tears that gently roll down your cheek, full on Kim Kardashian sobs. God put me in my place that morning.

I was exhausted, feeling like I could never get caught up. (And for a girl who loves crossing things off her to do list, that is an uncomfortable situation.) Every Monday, I would hit the ground running, and every Sunday was full to the brim. Sunday nights were spent waiting on laundry to finish so that I could go to sleep. I didn’t have time for anyone or anything that wasn’t on my to do list, and every Monday morning felt like I didn’t even have a weekend.

So that Sunday morning, just like every one before that, my to do list was running through my head. I’m embarrassed to admit how many sermons I spaced on, because I was so distracted by all of the things on my list. But like I said, God delivered a message to me that morning about rest and the importance of a Sabbath. And it clicked. Through the tears, I heard every word deep in my heart.

Over lunch, my husband, who, although is used to my crying for no reason, was caught a little off guard by my sob session and inquired about the source. And he confirmed what the sermon had said–he had seen me running myself into the ground every Sunday and knew it was affecting me throughout the week.

Right then, I made the commitment to observe the Sabbath every single week, and it has changed my life. Maintaining a rest day every single week is crucial, no matter if that is Sunday, or another day that works for you. God set the example for us to observe a day of rest from our labors, to fill it by taking care of ourselves, and by honoring Him.

Here are five things that I implemented to set myself up for a successful rest day and to prevent the Sunday Scaries.

1. Start every day, and especially your rest day with prayer. For most of us, the feeling of unrest is more mental, so tell God what is on your heart and how you need Him to show up for you. Sometimes it helps me to write it down too, but we’ve established that I’m a writer, so…

2. Church. This is the absolute only “to do” on my Sunday. Everything else is relaxed and unplanned, but church is a necessity. It’s important to be surrounded by like minded people who will support your commitment to rest. Even if we are traveling on a Sunday and cannot physically be in our building, we’re watching the sermon online! We actually even go to the later service so that we don’t have to set an alarm on Sundays. (Embracing that rest…)

3. Clean, meal prep, laundry, errands, and other tasks on Friday and Saturday. These used to be my Sunday tasks, but no more. These things get done before Sunday so that I can truly enjoy my rest day with the things and people I love. Even my Monday schedule and to do list get made on Friday before I leave work so that I don’t have to take up any of my Sunday energy on Monday’s work.

4. Friends and family. The idea of the Sabbath is more about relationships than law. I was so busy on my Sunday, that I didn’t even spend time with my husband. We would go to church, rush through lunch, and I would busy myself until bedtime. Not cool. A rest day should consist of friends and family and the people who bring you joy. And furthermore, be present with those people. Don’t spend time with them only to disconnect on your Instagram feed; really show up.

5. Only participate in activities that fill you up. Church, good food, pajamas, cuddles, Real Housewives, all things that have a place in my Sunday rotation. I don’t check email. I don’t work. Look, we all know I love to exercise, but it does take up time, and everyone needs a break from it too, so even that gets a pass on Sunday. And for the love, go to bed at a decent time; you didn’t get all that rest just to blow it! Here’s the thing, if you treat your Sunday like a mini vacation, you’ll enter the new week refreshed and rejuvenated, versus anxious and bitter.

So what about you? Do you have a rest day each week? How do you create space for it, protect it and yourself, and what do you do with your day?

Here’s to preventing the Sunday Scaries and looking forward to the new week ahead.

XOXO,

Molly B.

The Ultimate Fall Bucket List

It’s finally freaking Fall! Y’all, this is my absolute favorite season. Let’s talk about God’s most perfect weather, all the Fall colors, all the Fall flavors, all the Fall fashion, and of course, all the Fall activities. So many activities!

Here’s a roundup of my favorite things to do when Fall hits. And if you’re in Kansas City, do them quick, because we only get like 3 days of Fall before it snows.

1. Visit a state or county fair

2. Have a picnic

3. Sit on your favorite patio

4. Have a bonfire (or fire pit) and roast s’mores

5. Explore a Corn Maze

6. Bake all the pumpkin things

7. Visit a Pumpkin Patch and pick out pumpkins

8. Attend a football game and do some tailgating

9. Visit a Farmers Market

10. Explore a vendor or craft fair

11. Take a hike and/or go camping

12. Carve or decorate pumpkins

13. Watch Halloween movies

14. Take donations to a food pantry

15. Decorate the house for Fall and/or Halloween

16. Plant some Mums

17. Boo your neighbors

18. Host a party or a Friendsgiving

19. Go Trick or Treating

20. Take family pictures

Okay now give me all your favorite Fall things!

XOXO,

Molly B.

Friday Find: Tanning Drops

It all started with tanning oil, then baby oil, then the tanning bed boom, and by the end of college, I was going “tanning” nearly every single day.  A year-round tan was just a “natural” thing for me in the tropical oasis that is Oklahoma (where I grew up).  I’m not so evolved from vanity to not admit that I love the look of tan.  It’s just a thing, so let’s accept it and move on.  But here’s the thing…a couple of years ago, I had a weird mole that turned out to be melanoma.  That will rock your entire sun-worshipping world, in the least of ways how will you maintain your tan.  I will write that whole story for you on another day, but for now, I want to tell you what I’ve implemented to keep my skin safe and maintain that tan I can’t quite quit.

For the past couple of years, since stopping my tanning bed routine and staying out of the sun, I’ve tried a lot of things to keep a tan.  First was self-tanning lotion.  At first, it looked pretty good!  And almost overnight, I was orange.  I saw a picture of myself from a race, and I looked like a straight up Oompa Loompa (see below), so I threw that tube in the trash.  Next, I tried self tanning wipes.  Again, these worked pretty well at first, but ultimately orange.  What I found about these is that they are good in a pinch when you need a quick color for a temporary amount of time.  But they should not be part of a regular routine.

Next was regular spray tans.  And honestly, this lasted the longest, in every sense.  I got a membership at a local tanning salon, paying around $40 a month, which gave me unlimited access to their spray tanning booths.  A tan would last about 4-5 days, so I was going every week.  It looked as natural as a tan can look in February in Kansas, and it was fairly easy to accomplish.  But it did come with some considerations: you have to make an appointment, you have to budget for it, you have to plan around it with showering, work, events, etc.  So even though it worked the best of anything I had tried so far, I kept searching.  Enter tanning drops.

For about a year, I had a subscription to a service that sent me different beauty products to try.  Some hits, some misses, as is the case with most subscription boxes.  But the last box I received had a bottle of MineTan Self Tanning Drops, and I was intrigued, and then hooked.

Here’s the way they work: you mix the recommended amount of tanning drops (typically 1-4 drops) with your daily facial moisturizer and body lotion and apply as normal.  The drops work to gradually tan you, versus the other aforementioned products that are most instant solutions.

Here are my tips for morning use: After my morning shower, I complete my daily skin care routine, with my moisturizer being the last step.  I mix in 2 drops with my moisturizer and apply as normal, covering my face and neck.  I wait for the moisturizer to completely set before applying my makeup.  Yes, you can still wear makeup!  The drops are so light and, again, are mixed in with your moisturizer, so you can proceed as normal.  Then I apply my body lotion with the following measurements–4 drops per leg and 4 drops for my upper body (arms and chest).  This formula seems to give me the most natural look, and you can certainly adjust the number of drops for your desired shade.

Here are my tips for use for evening use: I complete my nightly skin care routine, with my night cream being the last step.  I mix in 2 drops with my night cream and apply as normal. Then I sleep with this on so it can work overnight.

That initial bottle lasted for almost 3 months, and it worked so well that I cancelled my membership at that tanning salon.  Since that time, I have tried a couple of other brands, so here are my recommendations:

Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops–These are fantastic!  They have great reviews, and I agree that they have the best overall performance.

tan

TAN-LUXE Illuminating Self-Tan Drops–These are the priciest of the bunch, but for good reason.  They work really well and are kind of the leader in this space.  They do have separate formulas for face and body, which will give you the best experience, but it will double the price.

tan2.png

Ulta Bronze Glow Self Tanning Glow by Morning Gradual Tan Drops–This is the most cost effective option and would be a good way to dip your toe in the drop pond.  I think they work very well for the face but not as well on the body.

tan3.png

Stay safe and stay sunless, and let me know if you try the tanning drops!

XOXO,

Molly B.

Quick and Easy Granola

One thing that I love about Fall is all of the traditional Fall flavors and recipes.  Recently I was craving some granola to use on top of my yogurt, baked fruit, and let’s be honest…ice cream.  I did a quick scan of my pantry and decided to use what I had on hand to throw together a quick and easy granola.  It turned out great, so I’m sharing it with you!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cup raw nuts and/or seeds (I used 1 cup pecan pieces and 1/2 cup sunflower seeds.)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup dried fruit (I used raisins and dried cranberries.)
  • Optional add ins: Chocolate chips, coconut flakes, any other nuts/seeds/dried fruit.

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, nuts/seeds, salt, and cinnamon.
  • Pour in oil, honey/agave, and vanilla and fully coat your oat-nut mixture.
  • Pour the granola onto your prepared pan and spread evenly.
  • Bake 21-24 minutes or until lightly golden.  Stir halfway.
  • Let the granola cool for 45-60 minutes.
  • Top with dried fruit, and other optional add ins.
  • Break the granola in pieces of desired consistency.
  • Store in an airtight container.  It lasts 1-2 weeks in the pantry or up to 3 months in the freezer.  If freezing, let it warm at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Let me know what you mix in and how you enjoy your granola!

 

XOXO,

Molly B.

How to Prepare Your Home and Family for Travel

Ah the business travel life…

When I tell people that I travel about 75% of my time for my job, I get one of two reactions: “Oh that’s awesome!” or “Oh that sucks!”  And typically the first question I get is, “How do you do that with a husband and toddler at home?”

Here’s the thing, I absolutely love my job.  And that is the essential point in all of this, because if I didn’t, this could never work.  Yes, travel can be a grind.  Airports are weird, hotel rooms can be uncomfortable, rental cars smell like smoke, but when I’m doing my job and I’m in it, I really come to life.

But the question is valid, because it’s certainly not easy to leave my guys.  In a perfect world, they would come with me on every trip, but I don’t think that would get approved on my expense report…

I have had this role since right after Jack was born, so we have learned a lot of lessons, and I have a few tips that keep us organized, connected, and help ease the burden on my husband and my mom guilt.

 

  1. Draw boundaries.  As much as possible, I control my travel schedule by creating “travel rules” to ensure that my schedule doesn’t get too out of control.  For example, I don’t sleep away from home more than two nights in a row, I don’t travel on Fridays, etc.  Of course there are times that this cannot be helped, but the majority of the time, I follow my rules and protect my time to ensure some routine and reassurance at home.
  2. Get on the same page.  We use the Cozi app for a shared family calendar.  Absolutely everything goes on that calendar so that nothing gets double booked, overbooked, etc.  As soon as I have a trip, I add it to the calendar so that my husband has advance notice and can see what the upcoming weeks will bring.
  3. Communicate my schedule.  Every trip is a little bit different, and that also speaks to my availability.  Sometimes I have a lot of downtime where I can text, talk on the phone, FaceTime, etc.  And others are back to back, early morning to late night.  So before I leave, we walk through as much of my agenda as possible to set realistic expectations and find the times where we can connect.
  4. Disconnect before I connect.  Before leaving, I spend designated time with my guys.  No phone, no interwebs, just my guys and whatever we want to do.  I want to make sure that we have some sweet uninterrupted family time before we are apart.
  5. Grocery shop and meal prep.  I try to make my husband’s life as easy as possible when I’m on the road.  Before I leave, I take inventory of everything they will need during that time, including food, toiletries, diapers, etc.  Of course Chad could easily run to the store to get something, but things run much smoother for everyone if they have everything they need.  (And honestly, it brings me a lot of comfort to know they are taken care of when I’m away.)  If there are foods or meals that I can batch prep before leaving so that they can quickly heat up, I take care of that before heading out.  (Have y’all ever seen a toddler waiting for their dinner…?)
  6. Pick out and lay out clothes.  In the same vain as the meal prep, I also pick out each of Jack’s outfits, including pajamas, and lay them out for a quick morning routine.  (We actually lay out his outfit each night for the following morning even when I’m home, and it makes things so much quicker in the morning!)  Chad has told me multiple times that this simple act is the most helpful to him, because it saves time for him in the mornings, which are already hectic when you don’t have a partner to tag team the routine.
  7. Relax and work.  Easier said than done, right?  But truly, you have to trust your partner and caregivers and get your head in the game.  My family is successful if I am enjoying what I’m doing and if I’m performing in my job, so guilt and worry doesn’t help anyone.  (Least of all me.)  Also, don’t forget about trying a new restaurant in a new city and that quiet hotel room.  Just saying…
  8. Don’t critique.  If your kid eats pizza for every meal while you’re away, the dishes aren’t put away the way you would do it, or whatever annoyance you encounter during or after your travel, let it go.  Single parenting is hard, and the wheels may have completely fallen off, so practice gratitude for their efforts while you were away.
  9. Stay connected.  FaceTime is essential to our routine.  I wish I could say that we do it every single day when I’m away, as that is certainly the goal.  But schedules don’t always align, so it’s not always daily.  But we do make as many concessions as possible on both sides to make this happen.  Talking on the phone is fine, but there’s something about that face to face connection (even through a screen) that makes things so much better.
  10. Sweet reunions.  When you get home, make it a positive experience.  Don’t complain at length about your delayed flight or the colleague that made you mad.  Focus on the fact that you’re home and that you’re happy to see your family.  If you get in late at night, the morning wakeup should be done by you and full of kisses and snuggles.  If you pick up a souvenir for your family (which I highly recommend to reinforce the positive of the experience), give it to them as soon after the return as possible.  Have a special dinner (maybe not pizza, because they’ve probably had that for the past 2 nights…).  Schedule an early daycare/school pickup to get in some extra time.  Whatever you can do to create a positive experience out of your travel will go a long way for everyone, especially you.

 

With the right perspective, a lot of preparation, and some strategies for staying connected, traveling for work as a parent can be very manageable.  Honestly, it’s actually even a little bit of fun!

If you are a frequent traveler, I’d love to see your additions in the comments!

XOXO,

Molly B.