Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Best of 2012 - Blog Posts Style

This little blog started just 4 months ago!
So the "best" of my 2012 blogging days will be oh, so short and sweet.
Should come as a relief if you've been hopping around these link ups!


Hello blogging world! My first few posts really show the novice in me! But I was hooked and ready to dive in, learning as I blogged.

I believe in - would be the best of my first month blogging.

another mention of that first month....Race Day 5k 
Placed 3rd (in women) and became my 1st of many post featured on SportBall Kids Community Voice!


Ah! This is much harder to pick from!
October is full of adorable stories and pics of my boys as well as fab & fun DIY's and 3-minute recipes... but if I focus on the best of blogging, my writings then the best would be...

Cupcakes and a Mud Run - one of the first times I found my writing style and truly inspired others through my own fitness track...


This month shows I was falling in love with blogging! My blog got a new name and became official by having it's own style, becoming Heart Shaped Sweat and thanks to the incredible Jessica it also received a custom makeover! Now, posts like this are dear to my heart and little did I know it would affect others positively (perfect combo). I wrote my first "sad" post...a recount of 18 years in furball love, our youngest had his first trip to the ER and there was another delicious recipe post which became my first pinned post ever! But....

Scared of the Gym? Top 10 Reasons not to be is hands down my best post of this month and maybe of all time. It's the kind of post that flows so fluently from your mind to the keyboard and was completed within minutes, no photo's needed, the words are enough.


While my H54F posts consistently rank among the highest hap-hazzard fashion post have surpassed those viewing numbers. Very humorous to me, yet oddly encouraging. Guess I should consider a little more integrity in any future fashion posts. I introduced the Army wife side of my life here and here and was thrilled with your acceptance and beyond excited by the new Army wife bloggers it introduced to me to.

I don't know if I could say there was a "best" post of this month. The way Christmas consumed most of my energy and was hard to blog. I managed to get in a few post regarding healthy snacks and healthy holidays and I laughed the whole way through this post.

Heading into January, the New Year....

Maybe I'm in my blogging groove....maybe not, but almost 200 of you think this of me!
Blogging, like anything else, is a work in progress. There are many times, I stop and wonder where I'd like to take Heart Shaped Sweat. I've done giveaways and plan to do more, I've done guest posting and have accepted 2 more offers, I plan to create and host a Linky party (very excited about this), I hope to open up a bit more and publish some of my drafts, I am being more active in sponsorship and showing blog love and will be offering the same opportunity to you, but ultimately, I hope to become even more motivational and inspirational in my fitness posts.

So if none of this excites you, I don't know what will!
I, personally, love this little corner of the www and hope that you leave me some comments so I can find your corner too!

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Covered in Grace

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Friday, December 28, 2012

High Five for FRIDAY

Seriously, it's already Friday?! Does it feel like Friday to anyone else?
Ahhhh, the week after Christmas, such a lazy time of the year.
And now we have another long weekend to ring in the NEW YEAR!!

Linking up with Lauren for High Five for Friday....


1// In my opinion, this is the time of the year for shoe shopping!! Clearance items are everywhere ranging from winter to summer styles. Hells to the yes.

2// For those who may not know...this is how you access an attic in a home built before the 80's! And that's where the Christmas stuff is going ASAP! I love the decor and Christmas Spirit but we need our "spaces" back.

3// My Christmas Spirit rose up a notch or 500 when I got this Dooney and Burke bag from Santa :)
Love the combo of camel and black. Well done Santa, well done.

4// A trip to Whole Food Living! I love changing it up and even got the hubby to join me on this grocery shopping trip. What?! A husband goes grocery shopping with wife?!! Amazing. I might have even convinced him to meet me there for lunch...a glass of wine and a yummy cafe lunch... seems like a grand idea.

5// Happy New Year to all of you!!! This pic is from last year but tonight we squared away our sitter and started discussing plans. Hubby and I really love this holiday. I would almost say this and the 4th of July are our favorites. We're looking forward to dining out and ringing in the New Year sans kiddos!

Take a moment to reflect on the big and small things that make your week more beautiful.


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Thursday, December 27, 2012

25 Healthy Snacks to Flatten Out Holiday Buldge

Eat more to weigh's a proven mantra but I doubt it's meant for the foods we were grazing, over the holidays.

It wasn't the meal that got was the "buffet like" spread of appetizers and finger foods. Oh, it's so hard to say no to another scoop of creamy crab dip or another slice of Grandma's chocolate cake, and the bubbly soda sitting so temptingly next to cups, ready filled with ice...ohhhh, don't even remind me of my stocking stuffers. oh.meee.gosh.

Some say calories don't count during the holidays but I can tell from just one day of saying -- "oh,well" -- that, they do. They count. And they add up fast. My tummy just isn't used to this bulging, overstuffed feeling. And now, the taste of those yummy treats are in my mind and therefore the craving for those foods is sure to creep up, in the days to come.

So, to help move on from the holidays and the treats that have filled our homes since the onslaught...
(going back to Halloween) I've made a Go-To list of healthy snacks.

best healthy snacks, good healthy snacks, good snacks, healthy snack ideas
Eating more to weigh less is true when done correctly. They recommend 3 meals and 2/3 snacks. But really it's up to you. You might be able to eat 3 square meals and never want a snack during the in-between or you may be one who needs 5 smalls meals throughout the day.
What methods work for you?

The snacks in white are either my faves or ones I'd like to try soon! I lie. They are all my faves except for the tomato one (which I now see I spelled wrong!) Anways.....

How about you? What are your go-to healthy snacks? 
Lets make this list bigger!

AND!!! Don't forget to enter the incredible GIVEAWAY via Katie at For Lauren and Lauren.

I've linked with Follow Who Weekend Social give them a look,see may be a hop your interested in!

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

from...The One, Who Stole Christmas

you start with the reason for the season. taking time to focus on all that was given up, for us the have each of these days to cherish.

then you have a hearty breakfast.

and like good brothers help each other open gifts from under the tree.

as you prepare yourself for all the places to go and people to see, you think back to the day before and remember the sweet new wheels you got, the hard work you and your cousin put into cooking,
and you thank your big brother for letting you, again, steal the show.

all of this, is too much and the day is still young, you pass out on the floor as you and your brother almost did the day before.

you awake to Christmas feasts, family, and more presents. again, you steal the show.

thankfully, us other lovelies got in for a pic or two. Great Grandma's. Grandma's. And sisters (one pregnant with round two).

and for dessert, we paused to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. A tradition my mom started years ago.
soon you'll understand why.

from three different camera's (don't ask) and a view from the little guy who stole Christmas......
we hope you felt as blessed as we did. We hope your home was overfilled with laughter, love, and generosity.  We hope you kept within your the heart the reason for the season and were not lost within the hustle and bustle required by each of us, on what can be, the busiest day of the year.

At times we lost sight of it and have talked about how to ensure it becomes more prominent in the celebrations for years to come.

Things we'll miss most about this Christmas season....

-being minutes away from family and friends. Next years Christmas is "still to be told" as we will be living in Colorado.
-being secure in our family of 4 being together...see mention above, between the lines most likely holds a hint that hubby could be deployed.
-the lights. Our neighbors home is on the tacky light Christmas tour, it's been such a joy to see the lights from our front porch.
-the generosity and togetherness the season prompts. As difficult as it can be to find the perfect gift and be when and where, it's a thrill.
-the sheer excitement in our children's eyes brought on only by the wonder found in this season.

Tell me, how was your Christmas?! 
Point me to your stories so the Joy of Christmas can go on!

P.S. Thanks to the shockingly WARM Christmas weather we enjoyed...mine and the hubs outfits were rather last minute. See, when you're sweating before you even the know better than to wear the wool sweaters (originally planned) to another house, full of Merry. So if you came to find some form of fashion...have a look at last week's post of Leopard.Bows.and Naughty Snowman.

P. to the P.S. I won't ever dump that many photo's on you again!! errrr....unless it's one of their birthdays or next years Christmas!

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I've linked with Random Wednesday brought to you by Shanna and linking with Walkabout Wednesday!
Linking up with Katherine for Thursday Favorite Things 
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Sunday, December 23, 2012


A chocolate candy bar gifted to me, offered more than just a whopping 600 calories, it's wrapper suggested 99 ways to survive the holidays. The repetitive tip was EAT CHOCOLATE.

So while I enjoyed half of that candy bar, I decided to make some corrections changes to their list.
I'm sharing with you silly and legit stress busters for the holiday season...even if it's a little late!

tips to survive the holidays

49. remember the true meaning of Christmas
50. Head over to Katie's blog for a chance to win a great group giveaway! I've sponsored her blog this month and am offering a Bath and Body gift card as part of her giveaway fun!

Healthy Holidays tips can be found here.

From my family to yours, we wish each of you Happy Holidays and homes filled with laughter, love, hope, and blessings!

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I've linked with Monday Meetup via Covered in Grace and YOLO Mondays via Lipgloss and Crayons
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Friday, December 21, 2012

High Five for FRIDAY

Last weekend before Christmas and in other big news the world did not end today. womp.womp.womp.
Two news flashes, I'm sure you wanted to read again?!

I'm keeping with the High Five for Friday posts hosted by Lauren because I love them and can't resist being nosy and reading up on all of your High Fives! This week's is probably riding on the edge of obnoxious since it's entirely Christmas themed. Can't help it. It's taken over our life this week. Strange.


1// Oh, no the bad before the good photo's are still rolling in. Here's the most unexpected of Santa pictures and definite proof of our healthy holidays. After waiting way too long 3 hours at Bass Pro Shop we surrendered the idea of seeing Santa that day. Our only other option to see Santa was one weeknight after the gym, Lucas rushing to meet us from work. Now, Landon was not at all in agreement with being dropped off on some velour infused strange man's lap so we gained yet another funny, one of a kind Christmas photo.

2// spreading cheer via USPS! You know the "gift hunt" you enjoyed most and the box you wrapped so precisely? That's this in a box. My package of love. I send these year round to my niece and nephew and honestly, I don't know which "end" has more fun.

3// Dinner with the hubs at....the Masonic Lodge. It was a first for us. I'm not nearly educated enough on the Masonary Organization to yet form a genuine opinion but I can say the apple pie was good, so good that I had seconds. (opps!) I can also say that one song of the night resounded with me, I loved the lyric "Be still, I will fight this battle for you".

4// The debates still out on if these are  pumpkin cupcakes or pumpkin muffins either way, I'll be making more of them for all of next weeks gatherings....hmmm,mmmm,good!

5// WOD time! Thanks to my Elf4Health buddy Erin...I found out about Sophie.
She's an inspiration to thousands sharing daily WODS that pack results and once you get over the "I'm dieing" feel incredible and ready for the next one.

Take a moment to reflect on the big and small things that make your week more beautiful.


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And don't forget about our "beautiful" giveaway!!! Enter to win, just a few days left!
This week I've also linked with That Friday Blog Hop...
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

...the before the perfect Holiday Photo

The good. The bad. The ugly. Tell me your family has these too?!

Every year my husband begs for a professional phtographer to do our Christmas pictures and every year I'm like, "No, I got this!" such the optomist.

So every year we go through this....

It's a beautiful thing. Two a@@es, two handsome smiles, and too much space for a toddler to run free.

But trapping toddlers is never a good idea either.  Damn't.

And limiting a family of 4 to a 10 second window isn't recommended either. Although, I try every year.

and no, we are not singing carols.

And, just when you think you may have captured the perfect picture for your Holiday later realize it was out of focus and of no real quality. Shiitake!!

It could have been much worse. I could have forced everyone into cheesy, matching outfits expecting us to fit perfectly around the base of a tree in some awkward pose. Or I could have demanded we all buy Christmas themed pajama's and sit together wrapped in Christmas lights, which would have undoubtedly sent our youngest into an almighty fit. I don't know how those families pull it off. Instead, I carried my camera with us throughout the day (abused my timer switch) as we waited over 3 hours to see Santa...more on that later.

So, yes dear hubby, next year we will do professional pictures.
Meanwhile this gem will do for Christmas 2012.

Happy Holidays to all my Blogging Buddies!

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Linked with Embrace the Camera Challenge and Mom's Monday Mingle

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Leopard. Bows. and Naughty Snowmen

Let's break it down...

Leopard "leap".

Seriously, that leopard print a bit of a leap for me. I love my leopard print items but I tend to buy them and leave them in the closet. While, I love seeing other's wear the print, I always feel nervous rockin' it myself, yes even in skinny belt fashion....hence, the classic black and white combo, awkwardly posed pictures and snagging my hubby for some distraction...


Last year I made my own tacky Christmas sweater. This year I got distracted and chose to instead play with my youngest. Pinterest-DIY-tacky-sweater fail. Good times, sweet laughter, and big goodnight XOXO's -win.

Naughty Snowman.
I was able to make hubby's tacky Christmas sweater. Felt, hot glue and 15 minutes gave us, the party crowd, and hopefully you a big laugh. We had to keep this sweater under wrap until the boys were with the sitter because, well, obvious reasons! But in good humor and tasteless, tacky fit in, just fine. no pun, intended. And, I thank Goodwill for hooking a momma up with this mass production, popular tacky Christmas Tree Sweater of the what, 80's ? 90's? Good time had by all and hubby can now stop acting in character, whatever character that snowman called for. It changed throughout the night, each one ridiculously funny. I get the feeling, if he were a girl he could rock leopard from head to toe and completely own it.

So that's how leopard...bows...and naughty snowmen come together. My fashions of the past week.

Other fun news this "beautiful" giveaway!

Other mentions, it's too easy to sit and burrow in the fears that are raised from recent events and worry immensely that the world is far from safe. I've shared my thoughts and each time I read a post concerning forgiveness, hope, and faith it warmed my heart and gave me a smile. I think this world is a beautiful place a midst it's sadness and I know that if we each focus on joy that kind of strength will allow all affected to rebuild, for, if we focused on bitterness and anger or sat in fear...only demise can arise from there.

I've linked with What I Wore Wednesday, Wednesday Walkabout, and duh, Random Wednesdays.
also...A Lovely Blog Hop :)

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Writing in the Morning Frost....making a difference

A message in the frost on Friday morning warmed my cold hands and my heart.
I sent a text to my husband saying "Thank you, I love you too" which he replied, "Thank you for what" ?!?
I smiled and texted for the "I love you" written in the mornings frost.

It wasn't a message from him, it wasn't from a secret admirer, it was from my oldest son.
That morning he had one more thing to do before getting on the school bus.

I shared it on Twitter. I posted it to Facebook.
I loved the thoughtfulness and randomness of it.
I went about my Friday with a brighter smile and thought how sweet it was of him to stop and write
- I love you - to his mom before getting on the bus that day.

I anxiously waited for the workday to end, to get home and hug him. To thank him for his sweetness and thoughtfulness. To tell him just how special that message was to me and how it changed my entire day.

On that same morning many, many, too many parents had their entire lives changed.
Sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and grandparents, bestfriends and cousins, too.

balloons released, balloons floating, hope

The "typing away" ceases. My fingers stop. My thoughts jumble.

What do you say to those families affected by the horrific, unimaginable tragedy on that day, in Newtown?
How do you speak of Heroes who gave their lives in a selfless, willful effort to protect others?!

No words can heal a heart defeated by the loss of life. Time doesn't even stand a chance in closing the emptiness now hugely present in their souls.

It's unimaginable, it's surreal that life has twists like these. It earthshaking and bone chilling that hatred exists at this level.

It's unfathomable.
Tragedies like this are heart shattering. Paralyzing.

This is a time to refocus on what the heart holds dear and outreach.  
One blogger (of many, I'm sure) has committed to donate per tweet, to help and honor those affected.
HopeMob knows the drill, they are longstanding in their efforts to collect for those in need. And the Memorial Fund is set and ready to accept for the short and long term. 

It's also a time to think through rights & laws, and of utmost importance...mental illness. A post written by Jessica includes a link to a mother who shares her story with open heart and tongue. She points to the importance and the neglect of mental illness. It's well worth reading - a must share, filled with pleas, despair and hope.

This is a time to forgive, hope, love, and work together. Each one of us can make a difference in the effort to change time from ever repeating any horrible events like these. We can share stories for as long as the day allows, donate as much money as our accounts can give but unless we intentionally make a difference to lead better lives, to outreach those troubled and be patient with ones of unexplained behavior, then the fear of this kind of day will prove real again.

feather image, feather floating, hope, sandy hook support,

A child's laugh is the sweetest of serenades. With so many taken away that day, we cry with those families.
We take their stories to our own lives and shake in the fear of "what if".

You will never know all of a persons heartaches, trials and challenges.

You may never really know the "reach" of your kindness and the "power" in gifting patience.

You never know just how your day will start and end.

Our family joins you in sending prayers and thoughts to any and all affected by this explainable shooting. I'm immensely grateful that I was able to return home that day to my son and thank him for his sweet message.

I want to be dedicated to finding ways, small or big, to show support. I hope you are too.
Change starts with each one of us.

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"Healthy" Holiday Tips & a GIVEAWAY

I know, I know it's not even Christmas yet and we're already talking New Years?!
But just like Christmas, the New Year will be here before you know it.
I've teamed up with a bloggy friend to offer you a few special treats to stay Beautiful in the New Year!

Before you get all "click happy" take a minute and check out these tips to help you have healthy holidays!
In case you missed my Healthy Holiday Tips shared on Laura's blog, I'm sharing a quick recap!

healthy holiday tips, fit holidays, healthy holidays

Definitely give yourself "calories burned points" for cleaning. It can seriously work up a sweat!
I turn to healthy dishes like veggie pizza's, bruschetta, pumpkin dips, fun fruits like cranberries, and bites instead of cakes to be sure of good eats while at a holiday party. The more color, the better the food choices for your body. And choosing these healthier foods will eliminate the "portion control" worries.

Stay active, people! There's nothing worse than feeling tired after having done nothing! That happens after sitting around chatting, eating and sipping. We'd be much happier if we were tired from a day of mingling, dancing, and oh, say, snow sledding! So if possible, take a cue from the kids and get the party outside and active!

Always, always allow time for yourself. It's so easy to neglect ourselves during this busy time of the year and it's sure to backfire. Allow some time for yourself each day, whether that time is spent working out, reading, painting your nails, whatever you do in your "you time" make the time for it!

And you know, I'd mention water! Never leave home without it.

Now for the GIVEAWAY!!!

We all know that beauty comes from within but a little shimmer and sparkle never hurts!
Annie from Annie One Can Cook came up with the idea of a Beautiful New Year Giveaway. I was more than happy to contribute items and co-host for a beautiful you, beautiful New Year Giyveaway. Tricia also threw in a pair of her beautifully made, edgy owl earrings. Be sure to check her Etsy shop for more unique jewelry pieces!

Enter below and cross your fingers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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I've linked with YOLO Mondays via Lipgloss and Crayons and Mommy Moments at Life of Faith and Meet Up Monday via Covered in Grace
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Friday, December 14, 2012

High Five for Friday

I'm not looking forward to the Holiday Break.  Said, no one ever...

I may not be finished with all my shopping and wrapping but I am sooooo ready for our Christmas Break!
The holidays are such a warm, sweet time of the year and the best part is being free from the workplace to enjoy time with your family, maybe even hang in pj's all day, if wanted! Sounds fab, I'm so ready.

Anyone get in on the 12.12.12 celebrations?!
I watched some of the concert and was definitely impressed when I read about Kanye's leather skirt that it has already raised 30 million in profits for Sandy Relief and still counting! I was stopped in my tracks at the gym last night when I saw a group huddled around the TV watching the news on a baby born at 12:12 on 12.12.12. (kinda neat) and I got in on some the workouts designed with the 12.12.12 theme...

Linking up with Lauren for some high fives to another Friday!


1// enjoying a protein smoothie after the gym :) Still going strong with healthy holidays and it's only getting harder as all the goodies get dropped off at my workplace! What happened to fruit baskets?!

2// nice! my craft challenged friend says this to me every year...we should've planned to wrap and chat together over a drink or two.

3// love this ornament. It speaks volumes to me and our family.

4// on that note....Hubby's been working REALLY late hours this week, I miss him so, but love my one on one time with my boys.

5// Zina or Zina-Wina-Bo-Fina as I call her and really I like to sing the rest of the song! (remember it?) She's our sweet American Bulldog, weighing in at more weight than I. She's like a living rug. She has the life.

And BTW !!! there's a "beautiful" giveaway in the works for the New Year! I'll keep you posted!

Take a moment to reflect on the big and small things that make your week more beautiful.


Today I also linked up with Jean @ What Jean Likes for a first at Aloha Fridays....check in all the fun that goes around that hop!

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