Grieving Is Personal

Hello Friends!

It’s been a rough few days.  Mother’s Day is always hard for me.  Did a little crying, a little remembering, and a lot of reflecting.  When you have lost the two most important females in your life, my Mom and the daughter that made me a Mom, it makes for a crappy holiday for me.

I know some of you understand, and I empathize with you.  And each year, I try to do my best to keep my sadness out of the actual day of celebrating, but I feel it all the same.

The following pictures speak to me and partially represent how I feel, not only on Mother’s Day, but most days as I think of them.


Yesterday was also my Dad’s 83rd birthday.  This is our last picture together before he passed.  It is me introducing one of his Great-Granddaughters to him ❤

But as sad as I am that he is gone, because I got to see his life play out in full and he was ready to go Home to be reunited with Mom, I think for me, I grieve him differently than I do Mom and Marian.  Because in my mind, they were taken too soon.  My heart was NOT ready to let them go!  30 years ago for Marian, and 16 years ago for Mom, and there are still nights that I can cry myself to sleep missing them to the core of my being.

It’s OK to be sad over a lost life.  And it is important to remember that those of us left behind still have a life to live.  And even more importantly, that you let everyone grieve those losses in their own way.  Grief is personal.  But personal does NOT mean that you have to go through it alone.  Whether you keep more to yourself about it, share memories daily on social media, go to a support group, or go see a therapist.  Unless you are not hurting yourself or others, however you get through each day after a loss is OK!  Don’t let people tell you that you should be FINE now, because it has been such and such a time.  Or my PERSONAL favorite in my situation – “You never even got to hold her, how can you still miss her so much?”

Grieving is personal.  So please, don’t tell ANYONE that they are doing it wrong.  That is hurtful and disrespectful to their core being.  And NO, it doesn’t matter if you agree with them!  As long as they are still living their life and not hurting themselves or others, please just show them love and support. ❤



Yep, I have been an MIA blogger 😛

And the reasons are kind of deep yet vague(even to me) at the same time.  So I will do my best to be as real and transparent and vulnerable as possible with my explanation in this post.

I have kind of been having a rough time lately, and have had a hard time finding the motivation as to WHAT to even blog about!

Right now, I don’t feel very “Health & Fitness-y” 😦

I am STILL struggling with my weight!

My chronic pain has been worse in the last 3 weeks than it has been in the past 10 years.

My business is very close to a full on nose dive.

And BOTH of my elderly basset hounds are not doing well.

And those are just a few of the major issues murking up the waters of my life right now.




I AM doing my best to continue to stay positive and work towards success in all the areas that I am struggling with. Is every day a GRAND Success?  Well….NO!  BUT every day is ALSO not a DISMAL FAILURE!  So I try to focus on the good, and when I don’t(Yes, it happens a lot, even to me, the eternal optimist!) I try to let the feelings come, and get back on track as soon as possible.

I know that this sea

son too will some day come to an end and I hope that there is brighter skies ahead.


Today, I will concentrate on one thing that is bringing me joy right now, and that is my beloved St Louis Blues being in the 2nd Round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs!

If you follow me on social media, you KNOW I am a HUGE Blues fan, so this has helped a bit the last few weeks. 🙂


But believe me, I do know that my happiness comes from within, and that if I am not happy with me, nothing and no one else can ever make me happy.

I will keep working on Me!

Tell me in the comments, What is something YOU do to help your mood and outlook when you are feeling low?

Let’s Talk About the Four Letter F Word!


What did you think I was talking about?

Let’s add another BAD 4 Letter Word.


Depending on how long you have known me, you have seen me at not only many sizes, but many different levels of fitness and weights too.  Back in 2008 when my consciousness came alive to the fact that I was killing myself “not so” slowly with food, alcohol, cigarettes, and a sedentary lifestyle, I started making changes.  First, I cut back on ONE thing.  Then I added/subtracted things to improve my health SLOWLY over the next several months.  And over the next 2 years or so, I lost 148 POUNDS!  I was quite literally HALF my heaviest weight!  At that point, I was running a lot, and had not fully found my love of lifting.  When I did, I put back on 15-20# of lean muscle over the next 2 years while dropping another pant size!  And I felt GOOD!


I maintained that within about 10# for the next 2 years.  And to be honest, I never in those 6 years really felt like I was on a diet.  Then we get to 2014.  Life got tough!  And in 2015, we lost Dad and it got tougher!  I seemed to be on a downward spiral emotionally and my weight seemed to be on an upward climb.  Then came the wonderful season every woman looks forward to hating…..menopause!  And with it came MORE weight.  And even MORE frustration!

2018, I thought I was once again getting a handle on it.  I started the year losing 19.6# with a great program, and then. POOF!  Pain. Stress. Life. It was all back!  And it brought friends!

That brings us up to today.  Although I have kept up my fitness as best I could through all of this, my nutrition has suffered.  I am an emotional eater.  Always have been.  And I feed ALL of my emotions!  But I have been doing a LOT of reflecting about this the last 2 weeks, because while I was SICK AS A DOG and not fit to be around other humans, I was also going through the DEEPER work of a Master Coach Certification for a new Nutrition Program, and I realized something.

What I realized, was back when I was doing GREAT, I was following a balanced diet.  I never took out my “beer and pizza” date nights with my hubby, or the occasional party with friends.  I just ate in a balanced, nutritious way and kept track of my calories so they didn’t get out of hand.  And I never felt deprived.  It didn’t come off fast, it took me about 2 years to lose 148#, but it came off and stayed off until I ALLOWED some self-detrimental JUNK to inch its way back in and take over.  AND THEN, when a few pounds crept back on because I had slacked, instead of reeling it back in, I started going on DIETS!

Yup!  And that is where my Downward Spiral really took off!  And the more I tried to stick to this diet or that diet, or try to figure out what I was doing wrong by changing up this and that and eating weird food combinations and even taking some new “fat blasting” supplements, and eliminating whole food groups!  Everything that I KNEW was wrong, but allowed the media and questions from clients about different diets sway me to give them a shot!

So, WHY do I need a “NEW” nutrition program, if I already know what works?

Here’s a secret……

It ISN’T a NEW concept!

BUT…….I do need something to help me while I reestablish those habits and ways that I had learned that DID work for me!  Which sounds easy to do, RIGHT?  Just do what you did before.  Well…I am 10 years older and with all the keto this, paleo that, Intermittent fasting, juicing, macro counting, calorie counting NEVER EAT ANOTHER PIECE OF PIZZA AGAIN, and on and on out there, it is hard for a “Shiny Squirrel” kinda girl, like myself, to NOT get caught up in it.

So, basically I am returning to MY BASICS!  It will just be structured a bit differently while I use these new TOOLS to relearn the GOOD habits that I have lost and remove the BAD habits that I have picked up.  I really like how this program has really made me do the DIG DEEP work that it takes to get me to SEE what I have been doing to myself, and that ONLY I can fix it!

So, now that I have DIETED myself up about 50# from where I wish I want to be.  Yep!  50 POUNDS! I am happy to say that I feel like this new program is going to help me with the confidence I need to take back the reigns from my out of control nutrition habits!

Do I expect those 50# gone by summer?  YUP!  Summer 2020! 😉

But seriously, of course I hope it comes off a LITTLE faster than that, but if not……I will just keep consistently doing what I KNOW works, and it will come off eventually.  If you want to follow my journey back to better health, or better yet, JOIN ME, come find me on Facebook and Instagram.


And you can always find out what I am up to on MY WEBSITE .

Maybe you could even join me for a workout at Phoenix Fitness with Body By BrendaT in Fowler, IL!

#MakeTodayGreat ❤

Hey! Remember Me!

I  know it’s been a long time since I have done a blog post, but I have been working hard just to keep myself and my business going lately.  Some internal, and some external, stresses have taken over a lot of space in my brain.  Including some Sadness caused partially by this HORRIBLE winter we seem to be having this year.  As I type this, it is 15°, feels like 1° with snow in the forecast again for this weekend.  But today, I have something to say, so I thought I would get it all off my chest.

Time for a bit of Friday Reflection.
This morning during my VERY HARD workout, as I cried halfway through it because I REALLY wanted to QUIT, I thought of some of the things that not only Shaun T was saying, but things that I have said to hundreds of students and clients. Do what works for YOU! Do something that you ENJOY and makes YOU happy! Don’t worry about anyone else! And I began to think about the first photo shoot I ever did with KICKPICS, and how Strong, Confident, and Proud I felt when we first took those pictures. So I decided to pull up those pics and try to figure out what(besides 7 years) is different in me then and now.

I miss her confidence. I miss her fearlessness. I miss her independence and not caring what others thought of her! I miss her feeling of success. I look at the things in my life that have changed since this picture. Some bad, some good, and some that I THOUGHT were good. But over the last few years, I admit that some of them seem to be bringing me more stress and internal negativity than anything. I feel like I am living my life to try to please others, and it just makes me feel like crap ALL THE TIME. Because of the constant fear that I will NEVER measure up!
And while I looked at this picture in particular, I realized that I was feeling some other stuff when I think about where I am now. And at first, all I felt was shame!
But then a rush of gratitude came over me. I DID THAT! And I CAN DO IT AGAIN! I just have to reevaluate my mindset. And the first thing I need to change, is to take care of ME!

That isn’t selfish, it is just what has to be! Me, my home life, and my studio are where my focus will be over the next few months. Because I am going to be REAL honest….Even if I don’t 100% get her body back, there is a LOT that I am missing about the girl in this picture! And it is HER and her alone who I can say, “Because of YOU, I didn’t give up!”



Here We Go 2019!!!

Yup!  Here we are.  At the beginning of yet another year.  Time to start fresh and new and find that energy and motivation that comes from something brand new.

I will be starting a new program with this guy, ShaunT, in a Test Group, so I am kind of excited about that.  But worried and nervous at the same time.  I keep saying 2019 is MY YEAR!  That I am going to DO IT again and not let my head and heart garbage hold me  back.  But I have said that before. 37175696_1830501447040453_2553900928453312512_nI think it is FATE!  Back in July 2018 when I met ShaunT, we talked about the Phoenix and what it represents to us.  And his motto through this workout, Transform:20, seems to be transforming by choosing to RISE UP from where you are and getting the job done.  Sounds like exactly the kind of influence I need in my life right now 🙂 

And THEN, this morning as I got ready for work, I listened to Darren Daily as I always do, and he was taking about OWNING your life.  I have heard this from him before, but for some reason, as I pulled on my pants this morning over my seemingly ever growing belly and butt, I HEARD him

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This weight problem of mine has NOTHING to do with menopause.  It has NOTHING to do with stress.  It has NOTHING to do with the crap that I have gone through over the past 5 years.  It came ONLY from my actions and reactions and lack of actions to all those situations over the past 5 years.  Which means it is ALL ON ME!


Yet it is also GREAT!  Because if I can F-up my weight/health this bad, I can also fix it up pretty good too.  In fact, I’ve done it before, so I KNOW I can!

So…today I take a step forward.  Tomorrow I will take another.  And Wednesday another.  And so on and so on.  I can’t change the fact that I dealt with some of my problems in recent years by drinking too much and binge eating.  I wish I could, but I can’t.  I wish I could tell you that although I eat healthy most of the time, workout religiously, and do my best to get at least 6 hours of sleep a night, that I could always handle the stress in my life in a healthier way.  But I can’t.


Starting today, with the help of an AWESOME group of women in my current support and accountability group, AND the Transform:20 Coach Test Group including ShaunT himself, I am going to grant myself grace to DO my very best and not beat myself up on days I fall short.  But making a concerted effort EVERY day to handling my stress better and not allowing my environment outside my body, rule the environment INSIDE!  Basically, negativity and other people’s bullshit is getting kicked to the curb for 2019!

Also, I am planning to deal with things like my finances and addiction to social media scrolling in a different way.  I’ll still be there(not going cold turkey) just working on not spending as much time watching other people live their lives, so that I can focus on other parts of my life 🙂

I do fully intend to make 2019 my B!#@H!!!




OK, I know we still have 4 weeks to go, so please don’t misunderstand this post thinking I am going to quit for the next 25 days.  I will NOT be throwing in the towel on 2018!!!  I am just realistic that I am not, in fact COMMITTED, to a program right now.  That for me, usually means DISASTER!  But I am in a prep phase.  Because this email just came, and I am PUMPED!

t20 email

If you don’t normally follow me, you may not know that I got to meet and talk with ShaunT in July.  It was a very inspirational, motivational, and on my part EMOTIONAL meeting.  I felt his words so deep into my core.  I felt that he TRULY believed in me and what I was doing and what I stand for!  But here it is, 5 months later, and I am STILL holding myself back!  I haven’t lost any weight since then, in fact I have gained back most of what I lost last year doing 80DO!  I workout a minimum of 5 days a week.  I PUSH!  I GO HARD!  I CHALLENGE MYSELF!  And then I eat TOO MUCH!  Not ALL the time, but I am a huge stress and emotional eater, and the last few years have been PACKED with it!  I also eat when I sit down to rest.  I use it as an excuse to sit down, because I feel guilty if I sit down just because I am tired and need to rest!  Add in some other health stuff, and you have me looking at the scale, AND at the mirror, seeing that I could honestly stand to lose 50# again! Not just because I prefer looking a certain way and the superficial vanity of it all(However….the “Damn You Got HOT!” comments are NICE 😉 ) but also because of my family health history.  I have more to do with this life, and I can’t do that if I am sick or dead!

As I sit here at work today, I was thinking about what exactly my goals are going to be for 2019.  So I opened Beachbody On Demand to take a peek at what was on there so far for Transform:20, since the VIP Early Access Launch isn’t actually until Jan 15th, and ended up watching the first episode of Transform with Shaun T.

transform your life with shaunt

The cast’s stories, and Shaun’s story, got me even more excited about starting this particular chapter of my journey.  I am so good at finding every fault and negative thing about myself, yet would never accept that kind of self loathing actions from anyone around me.  I have been working very hard at loving me NOW, and not waiting until I get back to where I want to be physically.  My physical self is NOT all there is to me.  But in the fitness profession, I know that my physical self is my biggest marketing tool for my personal brand, and right now, my marketing needs HELP!    So I am going to accept the help of Shaun T and the thousands of coaches and VIP members in the Exclusive Test Group.  Want to join me, message me at, and I will get you hooked up with all the tools you need to start prepping and be ready to jump in on January 7th for Prep Week.  OR sooner, if you need a little extra preparation, and want to prep with me 🙂  I am going to be doing these workouts in the early AM, which is NOT my cup of tea, so I have to start working on getting up earlier again 😛 And by December 17th, my plan is to be working out BY 6:15 AM!  Yes, that IS early for me, because I work evenings, so I don’t usually go to bed until after 11PM.  

So, keep your eyes peeled, because this is going to be a straight up, 100% truthful and transparent experience for me!  My hope is that the accountability gets me and KEEPS me fired up!  Time to Conquer my MIND, so I can once and for all, Transform my LIFE!


Can’t Raise The Dead!

I was just listening to a mentor of mine on a Facebook Live business meeting, and he said the phrase, “It is easier to Give Birth than it is to Raise The Dead!”

OMG!  Talk about the EXACT thing I needed to hear!

And BEFORE anyone who loves me and reads this jumps to any conclusions, I am FINE!  I just need to learn when it is time to let some things go so I can move forward in a MORE Positive Light! ❤ 

Recently, I have been feeling very defeated and lost.  ESPECIALLY in my businesses!  I keep chasing after the same people, because they said they would be there.  And my heart WANTS to still help them, that is why I do what I do!  Well……sometimes life happens, sometimes feelings and/or loyalties change, and sometimes people simply decide you aren’t worth their time anymore.  Isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just the facts of life AND/OR business! 


Not everyone is a fit for your life.  And not everyone who says they are your friend or colleague really wants to see you succeed.  It could be many things.  Jealousy? Fear of Change? Misunderstanding? Drifting apart? Different Goals?  Different priorities? MANY Things!  And although it is sometimes difficult to remember, not everyone wants to be, or for that fact, BELONGS in your circle.  What DOES matter is learning your own worth.  And remembering that when others don’t see your worth, THAT’S OK!  They simply weren’t meant to be part of your life.  At least not forever.  maybe they were there for a learning season of your life.  And seasons inevitably change.

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I have been chasing after the same people for months.  Some for YEARS!  But today I realized that if I need to chase them, that they may not be my people.  I miss some people SO MUCH that it is hard for me to let go, but if they don’t want to be a part my world enough to actually be here, then maybe I need to stop begging them to be a part of it.

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That is a HARD pill for me to swallow!  Believe me!  I HATE giving up on people, because I am an eternal optimist and BELIEVE that there is good in everyone, and that their good should mesh with MY good.  But that is not how it always works out.  So I have to learn to let them go and just BREATHE.


Sometimes that means let go forever, sometimes that means that a person slips from one part of your life to another.   A loved one becomes a friend.  A friend becomes an acquaintance.  An acquaintance becomes someone you say hi to in public. Or a colleague becomes someone who doesn’t give you the time of day.  It’s OK!  Not everyone was meant to be part of your life forever!  If you get a few of those in your lifetime, consider yourself LUCKY!

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Many times in my life, I have looked at letting go as a personal failure.   Even when I knew it was best for me and/or the other person.  Let go of one of the greatest loves of my life that way.  And I truly felt that I had failed at life and may never be given a second chance. 

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I myself often feel personal responsibility and guilt for people leaving me.  Thinking it HAD to be something I did!  HAD to be something deeply unlikable about me.  But it is destructive having that low of an opinion of yourself.  As a kid, I was once told that it was my fault that my family wasn’t in a better place.  That my “mental” issues were more of an inconvenience, and not the deeply disturbing situation that they were to me. Not only at the time, but for my entire life.  In my head, lives a constant reminder that I was at one time told that I was “THE problem”. I know I made life more difficult, but feeling like a disappointment and that the burden of all life’s happiness was taken away because I ruined it by having “problems”, lead to a life of me trying to win people’s love and sometimes fight to win it BACK!  But learning that sometimes you have to know when it is time to let go so the energy wasted on trying to raise the dead can be focused towards giving birth to the new.  

raise the dead

Let’s Workout!



I heard the audible groans come from all over as soon as you read that title.

But this is about just that!  NOT wanting to workout.

no workout

Maybe you don’t like to sweat.


Maybe you feel you are TOO out of shape to even start.

body mind

Maybe you are overweight, and the feeling of your excess jiggle jiggling just grosses you out(Been there and back again!).


Maybe you lack motivation.


Maybe you simply don’t see the point because your progress is always too slow because you can’t be PERFECT!


Maybe you hate cardio, but heard that lifting weights will make you bulky! (BIGGEST MYTH EVER!!! 😡 )

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Maybe you are afraid!  Afraid you won’t be able to keep up or maybe afraid that you will look stupid!  So you are going to do a bunch of research FIRST and then you will start.

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One of my all time favorites – SOMEONE ELSE TOLD YOU YOU COULDN’T!!!!

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OR MAYBE you simply don’t know where to start!


All of these are only EXCUSES that you put in your own mind to keep you from facing this fear.  And all they are doing is holding you back from being your healthiest and best you.  Often we think it is outside circumstances holding us back, but if you REALLY Dig Deep, we usually find out that our biggest saboteur is US!

And although I own Phoenix Fitness with Body By BrendaT in Fowler, IL and am a Beachbody Coach, and would LOVE to help you personally on your journey, but if having an accountability and support group and/or a trainer/coach/mentor isn’t your thing, and you prefer to do it on your own, the DO IT!!!!  DON’T let your excuses be the thing that stops you before you ever even start!  A health and fitness journey is hard enough without giving yourself false reasons to hold you back before you ever even start.

And message me if you are interested in what my studio has to offer, online help, or if you are simply looking for an online support group who could help you stay accountable.  You can find me on Facebook and IG, or go to


Working Through A Messy Life Season

We all go through seasons in our lives.  And sometimes, life gets you feeling like you are the losing monkey in the WORST EVER Monkey Poo Fight in the Zoo Monkey House!  Some of you know what I am talking about. 


But we need to do our best to keep moving forward.

And then you have those times when a season seems to take hold.  Take over even!  Make all of your hard work seem like it was for nothing.  THAT is kind of where I have been for awhile now.  And I have done my best to stay positive, but I do struggle with some depression, stress, sadness, and anxiety, so when I feel like I have failed, ALL the feelings come RUSHING in!  Am I a FAILURE?  NO!  Absolutely not!  But those demons in my head have been screaming pretty loud lately.


And I know you have heard me say it before, but I am REALLY not enjoying this whole early menopause thing! UGH!  My hormones seem to be all over the place.  I can be having the time of my life one minute, and one simple comment or action can make me feel like the most unloved, unworthy, unwanted person alive. 

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Being someone who has struggled with being suicidal for most of their life, those feelings piss me off!  I don’t like feeling like that.  I KNOW I am a good person.  I KNOW I have so much to offer people.  But when these feelings arise, and I feel worthless, what am I doing for anyone?

Some say that sharing my whole life shows my vulnerability and “human-ness”.  I am human, and I do have problems.  But some of my problems, struggles, and TRIUMPHS over them have made me the strong woman that I am today!

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I tried to leave this world multiple times when I was only 9 years old.  God wouldn’t take me.  So WHY did he leave me here?  I believe there was a REAL reason.  I am 47, closing in on 50, and still haven’t truly found it yet. 

But even though I still have days where I wonder if things would have been better had I succeeded 38 years ago, I then think of the people who tell me that I AM an inspiration to them.  That I show them even during a setback, that it is possible to KEEP WORKING!  That it is possible to still put a smile on my face and look for the positives in life!  Because they ARE out there.  There is ALWAYS something to be grateful for.  Don’t believe me?  God WANTED you to wake up this morning, so you DID!  He has a plan for you!  You DO have a purpose!  And so do I! 

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Some days you may feel like you don’t have purpose, but please believe that every day, someone is thankful for you!  Someone is praying for you!  And if you are reading this, I can guarantee this that you are someone I am grateful for.

Fitness has been my catalyst into working on more of myself.  My deeper self.  I work very hard on the things I CAN control.  My fitness, and as of this week, the return of working on my nutrition.  If either of those things are of interest to you, whether you are a customer of mine or not, I encourage you to join my Virtual Gym Support Group.  You can find a link to the Facebook Group here.  Request to join, and if we are not Facebook friends, watch for a message from me shortly after, because I have VERY strict NO BULLY policies, and need everyone who comes in to realize that NO amount of ugliness will be tolerated, just like it is at my physical studio, Phoenix Fitness with Body By BrendaT.

Talk to you all soon


It’s Almost November! WHAT?!?!?

OK, so I KNOW what you are doing.  I could do it too to be honest.  I am ONLY 3# under where I was on January 13th as I am today.  I started the year AWESOME, and even lost a few lbs and had some progress.  Then, you know what happened?  LIFE!

Yup.  Stress of owning a business.  Anxiety of not feeling like I am good enough to do what I do.  Home stress. Job stress. Even struggled with overwhelming sadness and feeling like I couldn’t tell a soul about it, because I am supposed to always be the happy, positive one.  Well, since a perfect life probably doesn’t actually exist, I’ll be honest, I am NOT always happy.  I do NOT always feel like leading a workout, going to my day job, or even getting out of bed for that fact!  I do my best to pull myself up by my boot straps, put on a happy face and get on with it, but let’s be realistic, being “ON” up to 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, in and of itself, is hard sometimes.  Add other life things and raging menopause hormones that you aren’t always sure what to do with, and it can be a struggle sometimes.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do it, because I KNOW once I start, I will feel better.  The endorphins that come from exercise always help cheer me up!

Besides, I LOVE what I do!

But sometimes when we stress, we stop doing some things that we KNOW we should be doing.  Like cutting alcohol down to a minimum, not eating sweets, and NOT medicating our emotions with FOOD!

Today is 

Do you know what that means?

NO, not that it is 5 days til Halloween.  Not that it is less than a month til Thanksgiving.  AND NO….Definitely NOT that it is 2 months til Christmas.

It means that you have 66 days to work on your 2018 goals.  OK, we will take off one day for Thanksgiving and 2 days for Christmas, and even 3 random days for Holiday parties.  That leaves 60 DAYS to work on your goals!



What Are YOU Going to Do About It???

Let me know if you need some help! ❤