Saturday, August 29, 2009

Where does time go?

Do you remember when we were little kids and we couldn't wait to get older? We would constantly wish to be older, try to be taller, bigger, smarter, and faster. The cooler kids were ALWAYS older. We were jealous of those who could drive before us, see an R rated movie before us, legally have a beer before us... but the one thing I've noticed now that I have a child is that all I want is for time to slow down.

I cannot believe that Isabella will be one year old a month from today. It brings tears to my eyes and a knot in my stomach when I think about it. I want to push the pause button and remember today. I want to remember the barrel of belly laughs and squeal that I got when I kissed her neck this afternoon... I want to remember the way she flapped her whole arm at me when she waved goodbye this morning when I dropped her off at my Mom's house for a couple of hours. I want to always remember the way she snuggles into my shoulder when she's sleepy and the way that she prefers me to hold her over everyone else. And yet, somehow, I know that in a few years from today-- chances are good that I won't remember these little moments quite as well and they will only be filled with other great moments with her.

My own mother, who I look up to more each day, recently told me that as we get older and our experiences get richer and more meaningful that time speeds up. She even said that she should have a discussion with Stephen Hawkings about the scientific findings of this fact :) I think she is right. And while I wish time would slow down each day I wake up to Bella's beautiful smiling face, I am so excited to wake up to see her that every single moment.. .every single smile, tear, poopy diaper and laugh... are more amazing than the last. And THOSE are the things that I wouldn't trade for anything. Not anything-- and that makes aging worth every second. :)

On that note, I end this post with one of my favorite quotes...

"Dance like no on is watching, work like you don't need the money and love like you've never been hurt before."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe was shared with me by a friend of mine Christina, who is also a fitness enthusiast. I tested this recipe out on my girlfriends for a Mexican themed girls night last week and it was a hit:)


1 package of corn tortillas
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can Healthy Request Cream of Chicken Soup
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can green chilies
1/4c reduced fat sour cream
1/2c reduced fat shredded cheese

Cook your chicken breasts in the crockpot on low all day. When its cooked, shred with a fork and mix in a bowl with the sour cream and half of the soup. Preheat your oven to 350. Spoon small amounts to corn tortillas. Spray your 9X13 baking dish and pour half of chilies and half of enchilada sauce in bottom and swirl. Place enchiladas in dish with seam side down. Then top with rest of enchilada sauce, the rest of the soup and the rest of the chilies. Top with cheese. Bake until bubbly.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Photography Hobby....

Since giving birth to Bella, I have added another passion to my life-- photography. I've actually ALWAYS enjoyed taking pictures. In high school and college my friends always relied on me to take all the pictures at our fun outings and events because I always had my handy camera with me and ready to shoot:) In high school I also took a photography class where I learned all about exposure, aperature, ISOs and dark room developing. In the past 11 months, my passion for photography as an art has grown stronger and I've become fascinated in learning and growing in this field. It helps that I have such an adorable little subject to practice on, but I am now ready to reach outside of the box and have more subjects other than Bella. I've been told numerous times over the months as my skills have improved that I should do this more seriously as a photographer, so I am going to begin this venture now. It will be very much part-time and my fitness career is still my #1 priority in terms of my jobs. However, this is something I really love to do, can interact with my family and friends why doing it and continue to grow and learn over time.

So each Wednesday I will post a new picture on this blog for you all to see my progress. I've also created a seperate blog for Mandy Leonards Photography for sneak peeks to be placed there. Be sure to follow that blog as well if you are interested in seeing my work grow! And if you are in the Indianapolis area and are looking for a photographer, ask me. I'm currently not charging session fees since I'm portfolio building :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ola Loa Vitamins WINNER**

BECKY you have won the Ola Loa Vitamins Giveaway :) Email me at to claim your prize!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

RAWWAY Review and Giveaway!

I am SO excited to host this review and giveaway! Thats because this is supporting my friend, Bethany and her wonderful venture into sharing her passion for healthy raw food with the world! Bethany is a mother to two beautiful daughters, and her oldest daughter-- we share a name (Isabella Rose) :) So she obviously has GREAT taste ;) Anyway, we have a lot in common in terms of leading a healthy lifestyle, and she has sparked my interest in eating raw. She feeds her family this way as well, including her little girls and is an amazing cook! She started making this raw granola bars for her friends and family, and they have taken off and she is now in the process of getting them into local grocery stores and offering them to all of you!!

I had the wonderful pleasure of trying this raw bars first hand. And let me tell you-- they are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! So yummy, totally hit the spot and completely portable. And when you think about raw food, you don't normally think of it being easy. The RawWay Bars are going to totally change the way that the world sees raw food... and help us all eat healthier!

What is eating raw exactly you ask? These bars are made with all natural, WHOLE foods. They are not processed. Only whole food ingredients, fresh food are used. A dehydrator is then used to dry out the fruits and veggies and to keep the food fresh and so its able to be packaged. There are no artificial sweetners, and these bars are also 100% certified Vegan. How cool is that?!

The flavors of the bars currently include Lean Green Crunch, Banana Bread, Cinnamon Almond, Homemade Apple Pie, and Berry Sweet. I got to try Lean Green Crunch, Cinnamon Almond and Berry Sweet for myself.

All 3 flavors were extremely flavorful and totally worked for me for a mid-morning post workout snack. The nutritional component of these bars are exceptional as well. Each bar is right around 200 calories and about 10g of protein. She uses agave for a natural sweetner and the crunch of the bars is also very satisfying. One thing I found completely fascinating as well was the Lean Green flavor. This bar includes Spirulina, a tiny aquatic plant that is a vegetable that has more protein than soy, more vitamin A than carrots, more iron than beef, amazing amounts of protective phytochemicals, naturally low fat and is a wonderful source of GLA, an essential fatty acid. WOW! Thats ALOT of nutrition in one little plant... and RawWay's Lean and Green bar has it for you! And for the record-- it does not taste like algae :)

RawWayLife getting their website up and running this week. But I cannot say enough good things about this company or these products and I recommend you all keep an eye for them! She is going to take the world by storm!

RawWayLife is offering one very lucky Fitness and Family reader a free BOX of bars of their choice! To enter this giveaway, you must comment here why you would like to try these bars for yourself. To gain additional entries you may:

1. Follow or Subscribe to my blog
2. Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway
3. Add my blog button to your blog
5. Blog about this giveaway and link back
6. Purchase something from RawWay Life (email at to purchase) make sure you cc me on the email (

**This giveaway will end on Wednesday, September 2nd at 12 NOON. HAPPY COMMENTING!!

Celebrate Chocolate Review & Giveaway!

A few months back, I had the privilege of reviewing and giving away some wonderful chocolate truffles from Celebrate Chocolate. I know you are thinking... "Mandy, the personal trainer, giving away chocolates?!!" YES! These aren't just your everyday chocolate full of processed junk. This company takes pride in all natural products and actually helping you control your appetite and cravings.

So my latest review from this company were the cocoa covered almonds. These all natural almonds are 73% Cocoa that is not bitter and full of superb natural antioxidants. They are also a wonderful source of DHA Omega 3 fatty acids which feed your heart and brain. These are one of the only sweet treats you'll find that are actually full of concentrated nutrients from 59 whole foods and these nutrients are quickly absorbed to deliver quick satisfaction-- which is also proven to cut cravings.

My second experience with this company was another wonderful one. Once again, the products were amazing and I continue to be impressed that this little bag of almonds lasted almost an entire week in my house, since only a few almonds satisfied my sweet tooth and left me feeling energized rather than craving more sugar. I highly recommend this product, and I absolutely LOVE that these products are all natural and do not have any artificial sweetners and are actually good for you!

Celebrate Chocolate has been nice enough to offer one lucky Fitness and Family reader a free package of Chocolate Covered Cocoa Almonds for themselves! To enter this giveaway, you must visit their website HERE and fave this page on "Share This". This is the last button located on the left navigation. Please share this company on a site of your choice and then come back here and let us know where you shared! Other entries may be won by :

1. Follow or subscribe to my blog
2. Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (may be done once a day)
3. Add my blog button to your blog
4. Blog about this giveaway on your blog and link back
5. Email this giveaway to someone and cc me on the email :) (

If you would like to win a Celebrate product in addition to this giveaway, you can go to this page: and enter any of the 4-digit number. If you win, the result is presented
right there and they could receive a FREE 12-box of Chocolate Truffles!!

**This giveaway will end on Wednesday, September 2nd at 12 NOON by choosing a random winner using **

Also, a 30% OFF coupon to Celebrate Chocolate is offered to Fitness and FAmily readers just for reading this blog post! Just visit their website and use the coupon code 30NUTS.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ola Loa Vitamins REVIEW & GIVEAWAY!

Are you tired of taking a handful of chalky hard to swollow pills everyday?

As stated on their website:

"Ola Loa products are recommended for everyday vibrant health as a general anti-aging vitamin supplement for energy and vitality, and for antioxidant protection. They are also great to bring along when traveling. If you spend time outdoors in the summer sun, Ola Loa can also provide protection against harmful ultraviolet exposure. So take your Ola Loa with you wherever you go."

Ola Loa products are offered in ENERGY, REPAIR, KIDS, and SPORT formulations. All 4 formulations come in powders that easily dissolve into water or juice so you don't have to swollow any pills. Each packet provides you with the same nutrients found in a handful of vitamins and minerals. The supplement is also very gentle on your stomach so it can even be taken on an empty stomach and because its taken as a liquid, the abosorbation will be much quicker and the nutrients will absorb much more efficiently than they would in pill form.

When I first got the vitamins in the mail, I really wasn't looking forward to crushed up vitamins in a drink. I tried one thinking it was going to taste horrible. Despite my hesitation, I drank every last drop and didn't give it another thought. I went about my day as usual and noticed I wasn't tired (and wasn't reaching for my third cup of coffee like usual). The next day I tried a different flavor. Much like my first experience it seemed to give me an extra boost of energy. After a few days of adding the vitamins to my water I was starting to become very attached to the Ola Loa packets. They were easy to take with me to work where I had an ample supply of filtered water, and they dropped right in and easily dissolved giving me a bit of flavor in normally bland water. My husband who despises vitamins in pill form also started taking his vitamins every day and told me that he really noticed an increase in energy within a few days.

Ola Loa has been gracious enough to offer one very lucky Fitness & Family reader a free box of vitamins of their choice! To be entered into the giveaway, please visit the Ola Loa website here and come back here and comment telling me what product you would like to try. Additional entries may be earned by doing the following. Please be sure to leave a comment for each entry to be counted.

Extra Entries:

  1. Blog about this giveaway on your blog and link back.
  2. Follow or subscribe to this blog.
  3. Twitter about this giveaway (may tweet daily may earn 1 entry each day for this)
  4. Add my blog button to your blog (leave me the link here)
  5. Purchase a product from the Ola Loa website

This giveaway will end on Wednesday, August 26th at 12 NOON. At that time, a winner will be chosen randomly using Happy commenting!

Friday, August 14, 2009

IT Band Syndrome

Have you ever suffered from achy knees or hips? You could be one of the millions of people suffering from IT band syndrome and not even know it. IT (Iliotibial band) Syndrome is a common injury to the thigh , generally associated with running, cycling, hiking, or weight lifting (especially squats). I myself, have suffered from IT band syndrome before-- so I know first hand how painful and ANNOYING it can be... especially when you are an avid gym goer, like myself.

The IT band is a thickening of tissue on the outside of the thigh, extending from the outside of the pelvis, over the hip and knee and inserting just below the knee. The band is crucial to stabilizing the knee during running, moving from behind the femur to the front while walking. The continual rubbing of the band combined with the repeated flexion and extension of the knee during running may cause the area to become irritated and inflamed.

What are the symptoms? It hurts! haha! Seriously though, it might vary from a slight stinging to an ache sensation just above the knee or the outside of the knee or on the side of your thigh. It may even get to the point of swelling. THe pain may not be constant, and may only flare up during activity. ITBS is often common in pregnant women as the connective tissues loosen up around your hip joints.

So what should you avoid if you suffer from ITBS? Running, Court sports with lots of lateral movement and Front Squats that put a lot of pressure on the knees should be avoided until you can heal. ITBS is an overuse injury and will go away if you give it the proper time to rest.

What can do you to heal? Ice, rest, compress and elevate. And Stretching properly will help. Massage therapy is also extremely beneficial to ITBS, as is using a foam roller. Another thing that can help I have found is strengthening the muscle imbalance. This is by far the #1 thing that has helped my ITBS go away. WHen you have ITBS, you generally have very strong quads, and very weak hip abductors and hamstrings/glutes. I worked on focusing my workouts on these muscles (reverse lunges, hamstring curls, deadlifts, incline walking, etc) and saw a difference within a couple of weeks. This combined with proper stretching and using the foam roller and I am good to go again :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Beat the Bloat

I can't tell you how many times my friends and clients have told me ... "Mandy, I feel soooo bloated today. I can't get my rings off and on. I must have gained 10 pounds!" Nah... its called water weight and there are some simple things we can do to beat the bloat!

1. Eat more fiber. Getting at least 25g of fiber a day from whole grains, fruits and vegetables (leave the peel on) will keep your intestinal system regular and keep that belly bulge down!

2. Keep a lookout for trigger foods. Some people bloat up a ton from dairy products or wheat. Many people have a slight intolerance to these products without even realizing it. I for one, get super bloated if I have too much dairy. I LOVE my cheese though so I still eat it... but if I overindulge, my waistline tells me so.

3. Drink enough WATER. And drink from a CUP. Sipping from a straw means you suck in more air.

4. Slow down when you eat. Again, otherwise you suck in too much air.

5. Skip the gum. Again--swollowing air.

Do you have a helpful beating the bloat tip? Share with the rest of us!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Smartipants Review

When my best friend told me she was going to cloth diaper her baby, I admit that I was very intrigued -- but I also thought that it meant that it would be a lot more work on her part. I envisioned a smelly house, safety pins, exploding diapers and lots of leaks. Boy was I wrong! Now her baby is now over 4 months old, and she has made cloth diapering look like a breeze! She uses pockets for the most part and after months of admiring her cute fluffy bummed daughter, Jerry and I decided that we'd really like to give cloth diapering a try for ourselves. We like the idea of no chemicals next to Bella's skin-- and we also like the thought of saving money....and lets be honest, they are pretty darn cute too!

I really didn't know where to start-- but I came across Smartipants. Now Smartipants are fairly new in the cloth diaper world. They are a pocket one sized diaper-- and they are very very affordable!! I was able to get my first 3 pack in a sale, for only $36.95. This is just over $12 a diaper, which is considerably less than your typical pocket diaper. And to my surprise, these diapers are AWESOME. Here are the things I love most about these diapers:

*They are very well made. They fit Bella very well, and fit almost exactly like the well known Bum Genius.

*They are one sized... meaning they will fit babies newborn all the way up to toddler years.

*They are microfleece on the inside of the pocket--keeping the baby's bum dry

*The POCKET. One of a kind. You stick the insert in and when its soiled, just dump the whole diaper in the wash. No need to remove the nasty insert-- it works itself out in the washer! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this aspect of the diaper! Much like an All in One, except there is still room for more inserts if needed at naps or overnight :)

*The Price... I mentioned these were inexpensive right? :)

*Love the SNAPS! No Aplix rubbing on B's thighs and they stay on her too.

I HIGHLY recommend these pocket diapers. I only hope they come out in some cute prints soon because the pastel colors don't do this diaper justice!

Bella is Walking!!

I can't believe it. My little girl is getting so big.

Those of you who are my facebook friends, check out our video HERE And if you aren't my FB friend, add me :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cloth Diapering Update

I am in the process of exploring cloth diapering and so far I am having a blast! I am trying different kinds to figure out what works best for Isabella and our family. So far I have tried Bum Genius One Size pockets, GoodMama fitteds, Smartipants and a custom made WAHM pocket diaper. Here are my pros and cons of the ones I've tried so far:

1. Bum Genius': Fit well, good absorbancy. No leaks. Easy to use, but do have to remove insert before washing. (aka sticking hand in wet/soiled diaper) ****

2. Smartipants: To me, these have worked exactly like BGs except I don't have to remove the insert before washing! AWESOME diaper! *****

3. GoodMamas: SUPER cute. Soft and non-irritating to Bella's sensitive skin. Con? They leak without a cover past the 60 minute mark. I am a fan of snap insert though. ****

4. Custom Made pocket: a little too small for Bella and harder to stuff; not my favorite so far. ***

So I'm still experimenting! So far though we've had NO leaks so thats a definite plus! If you are reading this and have a recommendation for us to try, or if you make or sell your own cloth diapers and want us to try one for review on Fitness & Family, let me know!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Milestone Mania

We've been having some pretty big milestones around our house; and it seems like everyday Bella does something new. She took her first official steps this week for us. Yes, you heard it right-- steps-- as in walking... at 10 months old! She is also trying to say "dog" to the dogs over and over and its super cute. We also get "Dadadadadada" alot. She is working on 4 more teeth at the moment as well. Lots of mimicking and the dropping game has become hilarious to her. I just can't believe how fast she is growing up. I opened her baby book last night to write down her first steps, and thought I'd post when Bella has done everything so far. Every baby is so different and go completely at their own pace... but it seriously amazes me how much she has already done. Most of our "firsts" in the baby book are already filled in :(

First tooth: 4 months old
Slept though the night: 2 months old (6 hours) 3 months old (12 hours)
Rolled over: 4 weeks old (front to back) ; 9 weeks old (back to front)
Sat unassisted (tripod): 3 months old; sat unassisted non-tripod at 5.5 months old
First Smile: 6 weeks old
First Belly Laugh: 13 weeks old (at mommy! heehee)
First solid food: 4 months old
Army crawling: 6 months old
all fours crawling: 7 months old
Pulling Up: 7 months old
Cruising: 8 months old
Standing unassisted for short periods of time: 9 months old
First Steps: 10 months old

Saturday, August 1, 2009

La Stella Blu

I wanted to take some time to talk about a great site I was recently directed to. All of my momma friends will love it! La Stella Blu is a wonderful online provider of some of the best baby carrier and other accessories in the world. My FAVORITE baby carrier of all time is also featured on the website--the Ergo. I seriously cannot say enough good things about the Ergo Baby Carrier. 100 times better than the Bjorn and much more practical for a baby larger than 15 pounds than a ring sling, the Ergo works from newborn all the way up to 40 pounds and has a front, back and side carry option. I can comfortably carry Bella in the Ergo for many hours without any discomfort at all. I will also say there is nothing better than snuggling with your baby. :)

Check out La Stella Blu for yourself here to read reviews on the Ergo and other baby carrier options as well! In my opinion all moms should have a decent baby carrier. It makes your life easier and helps you bond with your baby too!

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