Goals for the New Year – 2012 Edition

Another year has passed and its time for my New Year’s resolutions…

  • Once again, my goal is to blog once a week about life, fitness, nutrition, and yoga.  Along with this goal I plan to also take the time to organize my blog and update the formatting to include an actual website with multiple pages.
  • Spend less time stressing and more time laughing.  I always tend to take on more things than I can handle but this year I plan to handle the mutli-tasking better.  I will prioritize and not let my busy life stress me out… Plus laughing burns extra calories!
  • I’m going to enjoy the last of my 20’s as I move forward into my 30’s…  like a fine wine, life only gets better as we age!

What are your New Year’s Resolutions?  Think about things that will help make you a better person and goals that are actually obtainable…


Dear 2011…

Dear 2011,

I am writing this message to you as a farewell… I am looking forward to 2012 and new beginnings!  You have brought me many up’s and down’s but I’m thankful for this year.  These are the times that make us who we are.  Last year (2010) was one of the most blessed years of my life with the birth of my son and the purchase of our first home, so I think it was hard to follow such a high point in our lives. Going back to my yoga roots and remembering that each opportunity is an experience for us to learn and grow.  I was reminded this year that I have the most amazing group of family and friends who will not only support me in the high points of my life but in the very low.  I can honestly say I’m a better person for these experiences and moving forward I plan to give back all the love I have received.   I am making something of this life I was blessed with and working to be a good role model for our son.  The most important thing that you have taught me is that happiness and beauty lies within and no one can define who you are! 

Thank YOU! 


What Motivates YOU?

I’m currently on detox mode for the next week before my vacation in Hawaii due to all the wonderful holiday celebrations I have attended over the past week… This means: 1-2 workouts/day, no sweets, and well balanced meals! 

One of the top New Year’s Resolutions each and every year is to lose weight, are you one of those people that has set this goal? Did you obtain it last year? This is a great opportunity to make a change and instead of striving to lose weight, why don’t you strive to be a little healthier. Small changes will make a larger impact in the long run and help you achieve your overall weight goals. And instead of year after year setting the same goal, you may find yourself setting new goals to push yourself in ways you never thought possible (i.e. training for a marathon, joining a co-ed softball team, hiking at your favorite national park, learning to surf…)

The hardest part about making these changes are the fact that you may not see results overnight. It’s important to reward yourself as you hit milestones so that you stay motivated throughout these changes. Here are some ideas I have to help reward yourself (and I have used them myself) as you make a change to a healthier you:

• Workout outfit (shorts/pants, shirt)

• $25.00 i-tunes gift card for some new workout jams

• Workout shoes

• Bathing suit

• Facial

• New book

• Restorative yoga class

• Massage

• Subscription to a health related magazine

• New workout accessory (workout gloves, headband/sweatband, socks)

• Manicure/pedicure

You can certainly tailor this list to your ‘favorite’ things and/or if there are any specific sports that you enjoy participating in…

Use these incentives to keep you going so that you can obtain your goals. Some milestones might include losing ½-1 pound/week, bringing lunch every day to work instead of eating out, eating 5 servings of fruits and veggies daily, attending the gym 5 days/week, walking 2-3 miles/day…

And once you obtain your goal remember that maintenance can be just as hard, so it’s important to surround yourself with positive people that have the same goals in mind and help keep you on track. Or maybe you can motivate a friend or family member to join your movement to a healthier you! Having a healthy body and mind is the best gift we can give ourselves. It will help us as we age to not get injured and to bounce back quicker after an illness or disease and as a parent it will allow us to be good role models for our children. Wishing you ALL the best this holiday season!


Favorites of 2011: Pinterest

As I reflect on 2011 I was thinking about some of my favorite things and one of them has to be – Pinterest (www.pinterest.com).  It’s the modern way to ‘scrap book’ your favorite things on the internet (instead of creating bookmarks for everything you ‘like’).  I really wish I had this tool back when I was planning my wedding instead of ripping pictures or ideas out of magazines and lugging around that big scrapbook I made.  You can create different categories based on your favorite things to look up.  Some of my categories include – Recipes & Food, For the Home, Dinner Parties, Its ALL about Bode, The Holidays…
Its amazing how sometimes a picture can say 1000 words.  For example, take a look at this picture below (my mouth is watering just looking at it LOL)…

chicken crockpot soup - http://www.pinterest.com

Two of my favorite hobbies this year have been home decorating and party planning and pinterest has become a perfect way for me to track my favorite ideas to be able to apply them to my hobbies. 

I will continue to use this awesome tool in 2012 as I explore my little hobbies and look forward to hopefully growing our family with baby #2…  When you set up your account on pinterest be sure to follow me (search for me under – Nicole Hank)! 

Now if I can only figure out how to update my blog and create a Pinterest feed so you can view my pins as I update them (techy friends – help?)

PB and J – Cake Balls Recipe

I grew up eating a lot of diet foods like lean cuisines and sugar-free products but these days I live the philosophy of everything in moderation and by everything I mean real foods. So I’ve replaced splenda with real sugar and large portions with smaller portions. I think its important to be able to live your life for the things that you enjoy and food is definitely one of the things that I enjoy in life. I’m very blessed to have amazing friends and this holiday I’ve been invited to a Holiday Sweet Exchange, which is similar to a cookie exchange but doesn’t limit your sweets to only cookies. So I’ve decided to make my take on PB & J Cake balls. I figured it might be fun seeing as it’s the holidays and everyone is baking this time of year to blog about how to make these delicious treats.


Strawberry cake mix (and ingredients as needed to make the cake)

Peanut Butter candies

1 can of Cream cheese frosting


First step – Bake the cake as directed on the box and allow it to cool.

cake baked and crumbled up in the pan

Second step – Mix the cooled cake with a 1 can of frosting and roll into individual balls. Freeze the balls for at least 1 hour+ so that they harden.

Cake + Frosting

'cake balls'

Third step – Melt the peanut candies in the microwave (30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until they are completely melted). Take the cake balls out of the freezer and dip them in the melted candies using a spoon (or two) to completely cover each ball. Place them on parchment paper to cool.

PB & J cake balls

Fourth step – Once the chocolate has set, you can plate them and serve them to your guests.

I also took a few additional pictures of all the holiday goodies from the event I attended – YUM!

sweet treats

Yummy food and treats and a great bunch of ladies equals a great time! Thanks for hosting Jen xoxo

Team in Training – Please donate to LLS!

I am following up from my blog a few weeks ago to let you know that my deadline for donations is fast approaching. But it’s not too late to help me reach my fundraising minimum. For those of you that haven’t had the experience of training with Team in Training, each week someone provides a ‘Mission moment,’ which is a thought, story, personal experience, that somehow relates back to the reason people participate in Team in Training. I wanted to share my mission moment with you:

My little brother Justin Larkins had Leukemia when he was just 2 ½ and went through chemo for the next 3 ½ years. I grew up going to the hospital for weekly visits with my parents and helping my parents take care of my brother. We are 6 years apart, and because I felt like I had to take care of him, I’ve always had a more nurturing relationship with him. I remember him at the age of 3 telling the nurses which veins to use for his weekly blood draw, and me being 9 years old and being frightened of needles. Or when we would go to the see his pediatric oncologist and she would tell us of the passing of another child that we could have seen even the week before. Today he is 23-years old and finishing his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University. He doesn’t remember much of his childhood which amazes me because I remember so much. He is probably one of the toughest people I know and you will rarely ever see him complain about anything! I love him very much and am so proud to call him a hero… So many kids out there haven’t been as lucky as him, and kids battling this disease today look up to him because they too have dreams and goals in life like any other child should. I run for team in training because I can. I do it for all the people that can’t run, and who don’t have this amazing opportunity to experience.

This is Justin when he was going through treatment...

Please support me.

Please follow my journey on my team in training website as I blog my journey. Please help and know that no amount is too small.


This is Justin and my son Bode from last Christmas - both very healthy today!

Thank you for your generous support!


Vitamin D in the Winter

Are you getting enough Vitamin D this winter?  I recently got my vitamin D tested and I was surprised to find out I was just below the recommended range.  My doctor recommended a supplement especially throughout the winter months.  So I thought I’d do a little more research to see how lack of Vitamin D affected our body and mind…

There are two major forms of vitamin D – D2 and D3.  D3 is produced by ultraviolet irradiation (sun exposure), but can found in supplements.  This form of Vitamin D can be found in animals.  D2 on the other hand can be found in plants and chemically it goes through a similar process as the D3, found in animals.  Based on my research, there really isn’t much of a difference in which form  you are taking orally as long as you are taking one.  Of course I don’t necessarily like just running out and picking up supplements.  The easiest and most natural way to receive Vitamin D is through sun exposure.  However, during this time of year the days are shorter and there are less opportunities for sunshine, especially if you are like me and spend 8 hours in an office building a day.  Please talk to your doctor first before starting to take any supplements.  There is a slight risk of overdosing on Vitamin D (orally), however you cannot overdose on sunlight exposure vitamin D.  In fact, its recommended to get 15-20 minutes of unprotected (i.e. no sunscreen, bare arms and legs) sun exposure every day!  This seems kind of contradictory when doctors are always recommending sunscreen daily but this is the best way to get your daily Vitamin D.

I’ve been taking my supplement for about a month now and I’m making more of an effort to get outside at least 20 minutes every day for some sunshine.  I recommend getting yours checked as well!  I consider myself an outdoor person and never thought that I’d be low on this important vitamin. Here are some additional interesting facts about Vitamin D and how you can get it through different dietary sources:

Low levels of Vitamin can result in:

  • Poor Bone Health
  • Increased risk for cardiovascular disease
  • Increased risk for cancer
  • Decreased Nerve and Muscle function
  • Depression
  • Mortality

Besides taking a Vitamin supplement you can find Vitamin D in the following dietary sources:

  • Fatty Fish (salmon, canned tuna in oil,  eel, catfish)
  • Whole Egg
  • Beef Liver
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Other foods fortified with Vitamin D

Resources: www.livestrong.com, http://voices.yahoo.com/vitamin-d-deficiency-increase-foods-high-vitamin-9134203.html?cat=5, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_d.

Mashed Potato Breaded Chicken

This is one of my new favorite recipes – Mashed potato breaded chicken (it works with fish too!)

This is an easy recipe and a very filling meal for someone who is trying to limit their carbohydrate intake in the evenings (like me because I leave for a family Hawaii vacation in 3 weeks)…


  • Organic Chicken tenders
  • Powdered Mashed Potatoes (I use the Trader Joe’s brand because its more natural than the variety at the grocery store – check the label and make sure there isn’t anything that you can’t pronounce before you serve it to your family)
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil


Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Take the chicken tenders and dip them in olive oil and then roll them in a half a serving of powdered mashed potatoes.  Spray a pan with non-stick spray and place the chicken tenders in the pan.  Cook for 20-30 minutes or until its golden brown.

Trader Joe's Mashed Potatoes

Potato Flakes in a bowl

Extra Virgin Olive Oil on a plate

Breaded Chicken (raw)

Breaded Chicken (cooked and golden brown)

Use the other half of the powdered mashed potatoes to make a side dish for yourself or your family.  And you could always cook both packets because the box comes with 2 servings if 1/2 isn’t enough for your family.

Plated Meal - Mashed Potato Breaded Chicken and my version of Urth Salad

Recommended side dishes:

  • Mixed green salad (My version of the Urth Salad comes with organic mixed greens, chopped cucumbers, chopped carrots, hearts of palm, chopped bell peppers, pine nuts, goat cheese, and Trader Joe’s Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette)
  • Mashed potatoes

Note: this recipe was adapted from an idea that my Mom gave me, love you Mommy xoxo!

November Challenge… Final Thoughts

I completed my November challenge and I’m continuing it for as long as I need (maybe the rest of my life)… Have you ever meditated?  If not, than you are missing out on an amazing opportunity to get to know yourself a little more from within.  I just love the way it helps me sleep a little better at night because I have been doing my meditation right before I go to bed.  I feel lighter and it allows me to fall asleep within just a few minutes of putting my head on the pillow.  I can honestly say I am a better person when I meditate because I can breathe a little bit easier, without any distractions.  Taking your thoughts beyond your daily tasks, worries, hopes, dreams, to another place.  Just to be still without anything clogging your mind.  I think the breathing is probably the most important part of my meditation because that’s how I’m able to relax so much.  I take extra long exhalations to calm my body down.  And if you were trying to wake your body it would be best to take longer inhalations.  Even if you don’t think you can do this every day, I think it’s best if you at least attempt to do it once a week to give your mind a break.  Another tip I have, if you enjoy music, I love the Pandora station:  Calm Meditation.  It has some beautiful music from all over the world and it really brings a nice relaxing, calm feeling to your mediation or yoga practice.  Let me know if you have questions!