Dine, Pure Barre, The 30 Clean, Think - Speak - Inspire

Every New Beginning Comes from Some Other Beginning’s End

A little over a month ago, I decided to accept the challenge to participate in The 30 Clean with a few dozen Pure Barre clients and teachers. I went into it with the mindset that is was going to be extremely hard, but knew I was going to do whatever I had to do in order to make sure I made it to the finish line.

The Pure Barre community is unlike any other bond that I have experienced in my adult life. It takes me back to my competitive dance days. The group of girls on my dance team were more like sisters – we shared lots of laughter, tears and were by each other’s side as we all grew up and headed off to college. The clients and teachers at each studio become one big family and it is SUCH a positive environment to have in your life. You’ve read all about my love of Pure Barre – so back to The 30 Clean.

First off, let me tell you a little bit more about The 30 Clean as far as the interaction goes. I’ve already talked about what foods were being eliminated and what I was hoping to get out of the challenge. On a daily basis, the participants on the private board were encouraged to post photos of breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were also given feedback, answers to our questions, daily tips and a whole lot of encouragement. At times, my Facebook news feed was flooded with food photos and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t drive me a little crazy sometimes. I was trying to really stick to my three solid meals a day, but every time I opened up Facebook – BAM! – there’s my mind thinking about food again.

Secondly, I will let you know as day #30 comes to a close…

  1. I am so proud of myself.  As much as I went into it determined to do it, I guess there was a little doubt lurking in the back of my mind (or should I stay in my stomach).
  2. I (sort of) stuck to the program. The only reason I say sort of is because this should be pretty black and white, no gray area, right? All of the foods that I ate were compliant, BUT there were times that I had food in between the three meals. I am fully aware when I am hungry rather than when I’m bored and knew to listen to my body. I wasn’t trying to pass out while teaching or rip off my boyfriend’s head.
  3. I notice a huge difference in my body. My skin is better. I fall asleep much easier. The quality of my sleep is higher. I have more energy. No stomach issues (compared to almost daily stomach issues). I lost a little over three pounds (not a goal, but added bonus). I lost inches. I see more definition in my muscles (PB you’ve been doing your job all along but now I can see y’all a little better!)
  4. I could go back and do the exact math, but I would say about 80% of my meals were homecooked. That’s probably the exact opposite of what it was before. I love cooking, but would always wait until I was hungry and then get annoyed with the idea and hop on in the car and go grab us food from somewhere.
  5. I felt like I was eating fairly healthy…However, the more I think about it, I know I had a dessert like item just about everyday. I would eat lots of vegetables, but the way they were being prepared wasn’t usually the best option (oh adding cheese and butter isn’t a good choice?). Because I was getting some much take out food or going out to eat so much, I rarely knew what was actually going into my food. Even items that I would purchase at the grocery store – I rarely looked for the RIGHT things on the labels.

So, what’s next? I learned a lot. More importantly, I felt and saw the differences. I loved all the food that I was eating. However, there are definitely things that I will add back in. For me, it’s all about balance and moderation. Is it ok if I have a few pieces of Easter candy that I know is NOT good for me? I think so. Should I eat 3/4 of the bag? Absolutely not. Other people would argue that certain things should be eliminated indefinitely. I like to be realistic with myself and know that a piece of pizza or a cupcake may find it’s way into my hands within the next week or so and I don’t want to make myself feel guilty about it. Hey – I already know the repercussions and that my stomach will most likely hate me, but that’s the risk I’m willing to take 😉

And, one more thing before I go and I’ll make it short and sweet – even though I could go on for days about this…

Today some of the participants that were on this 30 day adventure with me shared before and after pictures. With those pictures they shared measurement and weight changes. The most important part, that had me in tears, were the descriptions of how they felt because of being able to make those changes. Some were shocked. Others had a new found confidence. Motivation to make this a lifestyle change for themselves and for the betterment of their family. Looking back on the board of all the photos, encouragement, struggles and triumphs – it’s beyond inspiring. I am so proud of each and every one of them. Most of these women have already inspired me inside the studio and now they have taken it to a whole new level.

This may be the end of this particular run of The 30 Clean challenge…but, for most of the people who participated they have seen such a difference in themselves both mentally and physically that I think most will at least take some of their learnings along with them. After all, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

I truly believe that one of the most important things in life is to surround ourselves with people who motivate, inspire and encourage us. Think about the people that you associated yourself with and more importantly spend the majority of the time with. If they don’t do these things for you, maybe it’s time you start to incorporate more people into your life who WILL motivate you, inspire you and encourage you to accomplish all of your goals and dreams.

“Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.”
– Karl Marx

To read more about my 30 Clean experience check out We Become What We Repeatedly Do, Almost Halfway There and The Starting Line.

Dine, The 30 Clean

We Become What We Repeatedly Do

I’m still alive and kickin’ going strong with The 30 Clean. Day #20 is coming to a close…and you know what they say “it takes 21 days to create a habit”, but how true is that anyways? Let’s take a look at some of the delicious and colorful meals that have been gracing their presence in my life over the past eight days. Again, the majority are homecooked, but there’s a few in there that are not.

Day 20

Day 20

Day 20

The bottom right is Luna’s Living Kitchen‘s newest menu item. It was a raw/vegan manicotti. “Wide zucchini noodles are stuffed with cashew ricotta and topped with a tomato basil marinara This entree is served with an arugula and cherry tomato salad tossed in a light olive oil and lemon dressing.” I was told that this had too much nuts based off of the recommended daily nut intake that The 30 Clean program allows, BUT it was totally worth the slap on the wrist 😉

Alright, so now let’s get down to business.

I just read a great (and short) article from Jason Selk that was featured on Forbes a while back. The article was entitled, Habit Formation: The 21 Day Myth. I really suggest you read it – it’s short and sweet…and most importantly it breaks down “The 3 Phases of Habit Formation” and should get your wheels a turnin’ a bit.

Since I like to spoil endings… the article finishes with:

“Most people want positive habits to be as easy as brushing their teeth. HELLO…LET’S BE ADULTS HERE…being great isn’t easy. In fact greatness requires sacrifice. It requires doing things that others won’t or can’t do. GREAT HABITS ARE FORMED DAILY. Truth be told, good habits require consistent commitment. Highly successful people have learned to develop good habits. Make the commitment to make it past the fight thru, no matter how many times you go back to it, to reach new levels of success.”

So what does this have to do with me initially posting about The 30 Clean?

First off, this is the best I’ve felt in my life…ever. Yes, there’s been some frustrations and challenges over the past 20 days, but overall I am truly enjoying this challenge. Why?

1. The sense of willpower. I would say at least once a day, there’s been a point where an individual proclaims, “But who is going to know if you cheat?!” Uhhh…ME! From the beginning I chose to do this for myself. Sounds a little selfish – you bet!

2. The sense of accomplishment. Honestly, I’m doing a lot better with this than I anticipated. Yes, there’s been a few times here and there that I’ve had grilled chicken that may have not been cooked in a compliant oil or have overdone on the daily recommended amount of seeds, fruits and nuts, but for the most part every food that I have consumed over the past 20 days was compliant with the program.

3. The sense of strength / body awareness. I typically take Pure Barre 4-5 times a week. Over the years since starting, I’ve mixed it with a variety of things – yoga, running, dance classes, etc. Most recently, it’s just about 100% Pure Barre. If you’ve ever been to a Pure Barre class, you know it never gets “easy”, but instead it gets harder as you find a deeper connection with your body and stronger understanding of the technique. I (wrongly) assumed that during this program that I would feel the classes getting easier. I couldn’t be further from that! Instead, I was surprised to find that I could find where I was working from even quicker and more intensely and it made the classes EVEN HARDER… but in a good way. It’s as if I could feel my muscles changing instantly. Not complaining about that. AT. ALL.

Upon reading the “Three Phases of Habit Formation”, I immediately related it to The 30 Clean Program and started to think a little bit more about what will happen on Day #31. Could I make this a lifestyle change long term? Yes. Do I want to eat this way 100% of the time? Eh, not entirely. I’ve started to pay so much more attention to the foods that I’m buying. I’ve rediscovered a love for cooking. I’ve gotten better at planning out what I am going to buy at the grocery store. In the past, I’ve headed to the grocery store, spent over a $100 and then got home and looked at everything and usually said, “Wait, how can I even put any of this together to make something for dinner tonight?” I’ve spent 95% of the time stomach ache free (for whatever reason sometimes avocados make me feel sick, but I love them so always risk it). I’ve learned the difference of “I’m bored” vs. “I’m legit HANGRY right now.” Do I want that? Yes. Do I need that? No.

Hold on, I’ve always had lots of conversations with myself (inside my head), but I’m making this sound like I do this non stop now. Now that I’m thinking of it, I think I have had LOTS of conversations with myself over the past 20 days.. Moreso than normal, but I am ok with that! 😉

So after this is over, my gracious mother has my all time favorite candy waiting for me. Am I going to have some of it at some point? You bet. Do I need to eat half a bag in one sitting like I would’ve done in the past? Heck no.

CandyI’m JUST kidding.

I’ve enjoyed eating all of the foods that are a part of the program and could eat like this the majority of the time. However, trying out new restaurants (which means new dishes and cocktails) is something that I’ve always loved. I wouldn’t want to say that I will NEVER have added sugar, dairy, corn, soy or bread again. I CAN say that I can start reevaluating a lot of my choices and making better decisions moving forward once Day #31 kicks in.

Once the curtain closes on the program, I will be sure to update one last time… or will it be the last time? Who knows!

Dine, The 30 Clean

Almost Halfway There

I had said I would check in at the halfway mark of The 30 Clean, but figured I would update ya just a little early (Day #12 is coming to a close!)

Here’s a glimpse at what I’ve been eating over the last dozen days. I was on the road for three days and had a handful of meals here and there that were not home cooked either, but the majority of them were made in Cote’s Cocina.

30 Clean

30 Clean 2

30 Clean 3

Here’s a dozen thoughts and / or feelings that I’ve had so far:

  1. Overall, I do feel pretty great. Secretly, I was kind of hoping I wouldn’t so I could just say, “Eh, who cares, bring me my cookies, fried chicken and mac n cheese.”
  2. I’ve noticed a difference in my skin. A while back I started using Beauty Counter‘s Essentials Face Collection thanks to a client at Pure Barre. I absolutely love the products and more importantly the story behind the company is amazing. Look for a blog post on that in the near future.  Beauty Counter’s products paired with the change in what I am putting in my body is definitely making a difference.
  3. Bye bye, stomach issues. It’s a rare day if I don’t get a stomach ache at some point or another. I’ve always had issues with dairy. An overload of sugar and I aren’t besties either. When I cut out sugar for the 10 days I noticed a slight difference. However, when I cut out sugar I found myself eating the most random stuff without sugar just because there was no sugar in it. I don’t even like eating an entire sleeve of Saltines!  I think cutting out grains has made a big impact as well.
  4. Bye bye bye, bloat and inflammation. This has got to be one of the biggest perks and motivators thus far. At least for me.
  5. Energy Level. I cut caffeine out back in November, so I’ve already been relying on sleep, food and positive people to keep me going everyday. I haven’t had any trouble waking up (and I have lots of early mornings) and seem to fall asleep better at night. Not complaining about either of those things.
  6. Sugar. *sigh* you’re such a devil vs. angel on my shoulders. I’ve found when I am hungry my mind my thoughts immediately go to what sounds most delicious. It can be anything from a slice of pizza, Mexican food or a salted caramel brownie. As soon as I eat my food that is compliant with The 30 Clean, the feeling does seem to go away. Now, don’t get me wrong…I can’t stop thinking about the Cadbury Easter Candy Coated Mini Eggs, that my Mom so graciously bought for me post challenge. You know, in case they were sold out by the time I could have them.
  7. At first, I was really trying to stick to the eat 3 meals only a day like The 30 Clean suggests in order to reset your body’s way of eating. I found myself getting really stressed about not eating enough at those three meals and being starving in between. I don’t find it difficult to separate hunger from boredom. I’m the first to admit and know that I often did eat when I was bored…or just because something tasted good. I’ve gotten better at listening to my body and know that if I’m up from 6am – 12am, teaching two classes, taking a class and running around doing a bunch of other stuff – homegirl needs a little extra fuel.
  8. The women that I’m doing the challenge with. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – these chicas are just so dang inspiring. There’s certain days that it literally brings tears to my eyes as I see all the time, energy and commitment they are putting into the challenge. We are on a private board where we share photos, thoughts, ideas, recipes, etc.
  9. I really do like all the food I’m eating. As much as I ate a fairly decent amount of dairy, wheat, corn (won’t even address the sugar), etc. I’m loving all the quality protein, loads of veggies and fruits/nuts.
  10. I’m loving cooking. I’ve spent more time in the kitchen than ever before. So much so, that I tend to lose track of time when I’m prepping, cooking…and eating. I get In. The. Zone. It’s slightly therapeutic. I’m not loving all the extra dishes though.
  11. “You want me to do something? Tell me I can’t do it.” – Maya Angelou
  12. “You better work, b*tch.” Britney pretty much summed it with her chorus for “Work, B*tch”:

“You wanna hot body
You wanna Bugatti
You wanna Maserati
You better work
You wanna Lamborghini
Sip Martinis
Look hot in a bikini
You better work
You wanna live fancy
Live in a big mansion
Party in France

You better work, you better work
You better work, you better work
Now get to work!
Now get to work!”

What’s your biggest weakness – salt, sugar, dairy or something else? Have you done The 30 Clean, Whole 30 or a different / similar program?

Dine, The 30 Clean, Think - Speak - Inspire

The Starting Line

Day #1 of The 30 Clean‘s Spring Break Challenge is coming to an end!

“The 30 Clean™ is a 30-day clean eating challenge where participants eliminate the main food culprits causing systematic inflammation, skin problems, depression, bloat, and weight retention. For 30 days participants focus on eating only the REAL, WHOLE foods our bodies were meant to digest.”

There’s people all over the country that are participating. A group of about 40 clients and teachers from Pure Barre Lake Norman have decided to embark on the adventure together. We share all sorts of recipes, thoughts and questions on a private board that is run by a 30 Clean Coach and a Health Advisor.

I didn’t make it to the grocery store yesterday – luckily I had foods that were compliant that I could eat for breakfast.

BreakfastSpinach, broccoli and eggs with red pepper, salt & pepper. Aloha Berry Greens, Pineapple, Peaches & Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk.

I made a salad at Whole Foods for lunch…


…and then it was on my way to Trader Joe’s for my first run through of goodies.

Looks a little different than when I normally go:

GroceriesTaste the Rainbow.

I plan on checking in with y’all at the half way mark and then at the end. I’m sure there will be some mention of it over the next month or so too…since it’s all I will be thinking about – just kidding (sort of).

This morning we received an email asking, “What is YOUR motivation for 30 days of clean, real, unaltered food? What is driving YOU to succeed?”

Here is my MOTIVATION:

  1. You – If I can do this, so can you. I love sugar, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, french fries, YOU NAME IT. When I complete this, I’ll be able to tell people how great of a program it is.
  2. My fellow challengers – Just when I thought that the clients at Pure Barre couldn’t inspire me anymore… well look at ’em! You women are really so great. I could write a whole post about you all (oh, wait, I already have!) When I taught the class yesterday, I legit had tears in my eyes.
  3. My boyfriend – I really do love to cook. I’m just not good at planning stuff out. I know what I should and shouldn’t eat, but clearly do not always make the best choices. I know this will be great for the both of us!
  4. Me – Sounds selfish, right? You bet! When I cut out sugar for 10 days I noticed such a difference in my body – energy level, bloating, sleeping habits… Cutting out added sugars (in the many forms that it exists), gluten, dairy, grains, soy AND corn – I can’t even imagine how wonderful I will feel!
  5. Challenge – If it was EASY, every one would do it. 😉

Here are a dozen quotes to *inspire* all of my fellow challengers and ANYONE looking for a little extra inspiration today. to ANY part of life. Enjoy!

“You don’t really deserve it until you are willing to sacrifice for it…Anything worth having requires a process, and most people commit to the process right up until it’s time to sacrifice, then they quit. You’ve come too far to quit, be willing to do whatever is necessary to earn everything you say you deserve.” – Rob Hill Sr.

“You are meant to fight. When you are sick, your body fights for its right to function. When you hold your breath, your body fights for its right to breathe. There are billions of tiny events—from the surface of your skin, down to the very cells of your body—that have to happen in order for you to be simply sitting here today. If your most minuscule parts haven’t given up yet, Why should you?”

“Be mindful of what you put in your body; in your mind. We not only consume the food that we eat, but also the thoughts, images, and energy we surround ourselves with. Choose wisely.” – The Blissful Blog

“For most of us the problem isn’t that we aim too high and fail – it’s just the opposite – we aim too low and succeed.” – Ken Robinson

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” – Sean Combs (P.Diddy)

“People never learn anything by being told, they have to find out for themselves.” – Paulo Coelho

“Even if you know what’s coming, you’re never prepared for how it feels.” – Natalie Standiford

“There is nothing in this world that can trouble you as much as your own thoughts.”

“Don’t trust the beginnings, truth is told in the last moments.” – Ahlam Mosteghanemi

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided… The most important thing you can do to achieve your goals is to make sure that as soon as you set them, you immediately begin to create momentum. The most important rules that I ever adopted to help me in achieving my goals were those I learned from a very successful man who taught me to first write down the goal, and then to never leave the site of setting a goal without first taking some form of positive action toward its attainment.” – Tony Robbins

“There’s no one to stop you but yourself.” – Dave Thomas

“For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent. Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards… If you don’t set a baseline standard for what you’ll accept in life, you’ll find it’s easy to slip into behaviors and attitudes or a quality of life that’s far below what you deserve… Whatever happens, take responsibility… The only thing that’s keeping you from getting what you want is the story you keep telling yourself.” – Tony Robbins

 What gives you motivation? Do you eat clean or have you done a similar program before?

Dine, The 30 Clean

So Fresh and So (30) Clean Clean

I knew I’d be back for more. After surviving 10 days with no sugar, another challenge conveniently fell into my lap – well into my inbox.  In exactly three weeks from today the two Pure Barre Lake Norman studios (Birkdale Village in Huntersville, NC and Morrison Plantation in Mooresville, NC) have partnered with The 30 Clean for their 30 Clean™ Spring Break Challenge.

The description of this particular challenge:

If “Summer bodies are made in the Winter”… and “Abs are made in the kitchen”… then a clean eating challenge starting February 23rd is the perfect prequel to those Spring Vacations!

Did somebody say abs?


First, you choose between “Standard” and “Fit”:

Standard – “The 30 Clean is 30 days of real food and mindful eating. On our standard challenge all challengers eliminate gluten, dairy, grains, sugar, corn and soy.”
Fit – Holds you accountable for not only what you’re fueling your body with but provides physical challenges, workout accountability and goal setting.

Second, how fresh and so clean clean will you be?

The Original Clean – Eliminate everything that was listed, BUT you’re allowed two adult beverages a week (on the weekend) and real 80% dark chocolate (one square) three nights a week.
The Super Clean – You eliminate gluten, wheat, grains, dairy, sugar and anything artificial. You also eliminate alcohol and legumes (including peanuts).
The V Clean – This is the vegetarian and/or vegan option. There’s some wiggle room with organic dairy, gluten free grains and non-gmo soy.

After you register they send you an awesome Start Up Guide. There’s a lot of great stuff in there:
– Nutritional Guidelines
– Links to Resources & Cookbook Recommendations
– Foods to Avoid
– Foods to Enjoy
… and so much more

I opted to buy the “The 30 Clean 30-Day Meal Plan” that is available on their website. For me, I know I struggle with the whole planning component when it comes to eating healthy. It’s very tempting and convenient to stop and grab something from a restaurant or opt for something that takes me less time to prep. If it’s all laid out for me I know I’ll be setting myself up for success. Also, there’s a lot of variety which prevents me from getting bored.

There’s already over a dozen of us (teachers and clients) signed up to do this. I’m excited for us all to be able to take on this healthy lifestyle choice which will not only challenge us all mentally and physically, but really take our workouts to the next level.

BONUS: Right now you can use Promo Code “SUPERBOWL30” to get 10% off on your registration and any other purchases on their website. The code started yesterday and was good for 48 hours, so don’t wait!

Not a Pure Barre client? No problem. The more the merrier – if you have any questions or anything feel free to reach out to me. C’mon, what do you have to lose?

HungryHungry for REAL food that is 😉

So, whose with me?! 


Supa (Dupa Fly) Bowl Sunday

First and foremost, this was me when Missy Elliott took the stage:

CelebrateHow did I not know she was going to be performing?

In no particular order I need to go listen to:

1. Sock it to Me
2. The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)
3. Hot Boyz
4. One Minute Man
5. Work It
6. Pass That Dutch
7. Lose Control
8. I’m Really Hot
9. Ching-A-Ling
10. Gossip Folks

Reverse It

Because I like to see my family and friends happy, I’m pulling for the Patriots because the majority of them are all huge Pats fans. I’m just here for the food, commercials and half time show. And by “here” I mean sitting on my couch and by “food” I mean the super unhealthy food I went and got for Randall and I before the game started.

Speaking of healthy, I signed up to do The 30 Clean Spring Break Challenge. It starts on February 23rd. Since I will definitely do another post as it gets a little closer, I won’t get into it too much now. Head on over to their website to read all about it. If you’re interested in it and up for the challenge let me know. The two Pure Barre Lake Norman studios are partnering with them so we will have our own group. That way we can all inspire and motivate each other! Looks like I will be listening to a lot of Missy Elliott once that starts 😉

Yesterday, I taught our first (first for our studio) 90 Minute Intensive class. If you’ve ever been to a Pure Barre class before there was an extra 35 minutes of lifting, toning and burning incorporated throughout. The clients who came out totally rocked it – I’m sure they were feeling it today!

Today, I was down in Sparkle City (Spartanburg, SC) leading a training. I actually really enjoy my 75 minute drives down there. There’s no one on the road and I throw on a great Pandora station and I’m there before I know it. There’s something so calming and motivating about walking into the studio before everyone arrives for the day.


The drive back isn’t always *as* fun, but I’m not complaining. I love having the opportunity to meet people from all over the country that will be using their talents and passion to start teaching at a Pure Barre studio before they know it.

Well, that pretty much sums my weekend!

What did you think of the halftime show and commercials? Who are/were you rooting for? Did you do anything fun this weekend?