A Healthy Christmas: Why and How to Take Care of Your Body During the Holidays

Friends, have any of you ever struggled with just feeling like healthy eating or exercise of any kind is pretty much null and void during the holidays? It just seems too hard, and you don’t want to miss out on anything? Well, I have been there, too, but something has been going through my mind the past few days……

Health still matters, even when life is full and there is sugar everywhere!

WHY you should take care of your body during Christmas:

“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (I Cor. 6:19)

WE ARE NOT OUR OWN!  If you have been saved by Jesus Christ, you body belongs to Him, and He asks you to care for the body that is the temple of His Holy Spirit. And guess what? Your body is still this temple during Christmas.

HOW you can take care of your body during Christmas:

-Schedule time to exercise. It might be a couple runs per week, or a few nice long walks, or 5-15 minutes in the morning to do some pushups and situps and stretches. You won’t regret it, and I find that exercising regularly, even during a holiday season, helps motivate me to stay on track with moderate + wise food choices and other areas of health.

-Drink plenty of water! You should drink at least half your weight in ounces every day.

-Take some extra vitamins or herbs. I have been taking one probiotic vitamin (I love this one) and one vitamin C (find it here) before breakfast. I also drink a few tablespoons of warm water with one teaspoon apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon molasses when I wake up. Some evenings I take a teaspoon of this magnesium supplement as well- it is good for digestion, sleep, and overall health. This is my personal little arsenal, but you can make your own!

-Limit sweets/junk food. This is a matter of discipline. You can eat whatever you want, or you can have some discipline and not eat every little sweet in sight! Start your mornings with a good breakfast (read my post on breakfast here), and keep healthy snacks on hand such as veggies, nuts, bologna, and cheese. When you go to parties, be the one to take a platter of veggies or a meat/cheese tray. Concerning desserts- you can offer to take a healthy option, or choose one serving of something you really love, or just skip it altogether. Whatever you decide, one of the worst things you can do for your health over the holidays is to eat sweets on repeat, day in and day out.

-Don’t overeat. Whatever you are eating, exercise moderation. It is never right to overeat, not even at Christmas. If you can’t have a little discipline when it comes to food this Christmas, what makes you think you can reach your goals (health and otherwise) in 2018?!

And that’s it, friends. Be encouraged to be disciplined this Christmas; it’s all about choices. I would love to hear from you…please join the conversation in the comment section.

Merry Christmas!


ps. This post contains affiliate links- read my full policy here. I only link to products that I use + love.

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Last Minute Gift Guide

Good morning sweet readers!

Christmas is one of my very favorite things! I love the joy, the celebration, the traditions, the nostalgia, the family.

I am so grateful for Jesus Christ coming as a baby- the whole reason we celebrate.

Today I have a little list of some fun gift ideas if you are still doing last minute shopping. These items are all from Amazon, so you can still get them in time for Christmas!

I have a pretty wide variety in this list, including a few “guy gifts”, some fun stuff for the fitness gurus on your list, good reads for bookworms, etc. In fact, if your Christmas shopping is all done, you just may want to go buy a few of these things for yourself!

Without further ado, Allison’s Last Minute Gift Guide…..a compilation of items I use and LOVE (just click on the items to shop!):

Whey Protein Powder– This is the whey protein powder I use and I LOVE. It has no added fillers, doesn’t taste weird (just a nice little vanilla taste in your shake), and is pure protein!!

Creotine Powder– Guys or gals looking to build muscles will love this!

Larabars– These little gems are DELICIOUS!!! There are a variety of flavors, but my personal favorite is the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip (the one I linked). These would make great stocking stuffers- you could buy the box and use them for a bunch of people!

Tim Hortons Coffee– This is a really delicious, inexpensive coffee that I have fallen in love with since I was introduced to it in Canada.

Stash Tea– If you are buying gifts for tea lovers, this tea is high quality and just plain delicious. I am linking a very fun assortment….again, this will give you multiple gifts for a great price.

Caribou Coffee K Cups– Just. So. Good.

Tranquility skirt– This fantastic skirt is available right now for less than $8!!! Ladies, just trust me when I say that this is my ALL TIME FAVORITE skirt and any gal on your list who loves simple + feminine + versatile clothing will love this one! I have an entire post on it coming soon, but let me tell you- I (and my sis and sis in loves) wear these skirts every week for everything from cleaning to running errands to church, and not only do we love them, but they are incredible quality. They run true to size, by the way.  Ok, that’s the end…..if you don’t get one, it’s your loss! (If you want to know how serious I am about these skirts, I am going to order another today because I literally don’t want to be without it when mine is in the laundry!)

Trendy United Skirt (long)– Again, this is a beautiful skirt, and on this one I especially love the details of pockets and shirring. The fabric is incredibly soft, too. I have the dusty blue, and absolutely love it. These also run true to size.

Trendy United Skirt (shorter lengths)– I have the “below knee” length in burgandy and it’s amazing! It is perfect tucked or untucked, casual or dressy, sandals or boots,etc.

Burts Bees Lipstick– I am very picky about my lipstick, because I don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, or slather a million toxins on my lips, or feel completely dried out after wearing it. This stuff fits the bill! I love the Brimming Berry color so much! And it’s on sale right now for $6.43, which I think is an amazing deal!!!

My Favorite Mascara– It’s a fantastic mascara, enough said.:)

My Favorite Face Mask– Read all about it here.

Pens– Again, personal favorite, and just an incredible pen!!

Violin Books– I did a whole post here about the our favorites.

20 Top Books for Singles– Check out this post for some great book ideas.

The Family– This books is INCREDIBLE.

Reading People– A fun read for the personality guru!

Alrighty, friends, that’s all for today! I hope this is helpful to you in your last minute shopping! 


(This post contains affiliate links- read my full disclosure policy here)

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How I Exercise While Traveling

I have gotten a lot of questions about exercising while traveling.

Today I am going to share with you what I’ve found to be true about exercise and travel.

First of all, if you travel a lot and are struggling to fit in exercise, I’m right with ya! There have been times when I just gave up and said, “It’s too hard to exercise on the road. I will get back into a routine when I get home.” There were all sorts of excuses:

-Exercising on the road is too hard.

-My schedule is different every day.

-There aren’t always good places to workout or run.

-Traveling and exercise just don’t fit together!

-I can get back in shape when I get home.

The problem is, I spend almost half of my life traveling. If I go with the excuses, I automatically will exercise only about half the months of the year. That’s really no way to build good habits, is it?! And it doesn’t make for very effective fitness, either!

I have finally realized that it is possible to exercise on the road.

Yes, some days it is hard. It takes more creativity than at home. It isn’t always convenient, and sometimes it’s very inconvenient. I have to think ahead and plan or it won’t happen.

If you’re trying to make exercise happen while traveling, here are the top tips that have helped me (they could apply for exercise at home, too, for that matter!):

Make it as convenient as possible.

One way I do this is to keep a set of workout clothes hanging up so that I don’t have the excuse of “I can’t get more clothes dirty”. Even if we don’t get to do laundry for more than a week, with rotating my small stock of workout clothes, I won’t run out this way.

Don’t give yourself a choice.  

I have decided that I will exercise no matter how hard or inconvenient it is. If you make it an optional part of your schedule, it won’t happen.

Set goals.

On this trip, my goals look like this: Walk, run or hike 2+ miles three times per week. (I try to do much more than this when possible.) Workout Mon-Sat, at least 300 repetitions of SOMETHING. Some days that might be squats, pushups, crunches, and tricep dips in a church sanctuary. Other days I get out my mat and 10 pound weights and workout for longer beside the bus (sometimes with a family member). Sometimes I do an ab and bodyweight workout in the bus. Yes, IN THE BUS! There isn’t much space, but there is enough.

Look for opportunities for additional exercise.

I usually take Rebecca out to bed directly after the concert, and occasionally we do stretches together. This isn’t my exercise for the day, but just something extra that’s good for me! Sometimes Liz wants to go on a quick run, and I’m in! A walk to a coffee shop (like today) is welcome extra exercise above my goals. I have been known to jump platform steps in the front of churches in time with the music during soundcheck with my mother or sisters. Again, this is just a fun way to fit in some more exercise! 

Welcome accountability.

One trip I set goals and voxed with my future sis-in-law to keep each other accountable. This trip we are doing a family accountability/competition program that is fabulous and fun! While I need to be disciplined to exercise whether or not I am reporting to someone, it is very fun to have an accountability partner, and something that I fully enjoy doing from time to time!

Measure your progress.

Right now (in addition to short workouts), I am doing quite a bit of running, as well as hiking and power walking. I am enjoying keeping track of my total miles and trying to reach certain mile numbers weekly/monthly. It’s kinda like competing against myself! 

For strength work, it could be fun to track how many pushups you can do at the beginning of a trip and see how far you can bump that number. The same goes for lifting weights. If you are just starting to run, track your farthest distance at the beginning of a trip and work at lengthening it. I did that on our winter tour and was thrilled to see the progress! You could also set a goal for increasing your speed. 

Invite others to join you!

The picture at the top of this post is from an amazing 5 mile power walk with my brother’s fiance, Cassidy just the other day. The day after that, I went on a run with my sister, Liz, and a walk later in the day with my little brother, Hudson. This morning my mother and I enjoyed 4 invigorating miles of power walking and sprinting together.

I personally love the quiet time when I exercise by myself, there’s no doubt it’s pretty fun to do it with someone you love spending time with! Especially if you’re struggling to exercise, this can be a great added boost to your morale.

In my family, we’re pretty competitive, so doing wall sits, planks, and other exercises with one or more others is usually a sure way to make us work harder than we would alone!

If you exercise while traveling, what are your tips? If you don’t much but want to start/do more, was this post helpful in giving you ideas for how to make exercise work with traveling?

much love,


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Workout FAQ: Answers to Your Questions

Hey friends!

So we just left on our summer tour, and I wanted to pop in with a quick little post with some workout Q+A. I got such a variety of questions on workout related posts, that I thought it might work best to just do a post answering those. I have copied the questions and put those in quotation marks, with my answers in italics below that. Please leave any additional thoughts or questions in the comment section! Thanks for reading!


“Enjoying” Working Out:

“This probably will sound strange, but do you enjoy working out? And if so, did you always enjoy it? Because I DON’T.  and I was wondering if you had any thoughts on that? Thanks, Alli!”

Well, my answer to this is “yes and no”.  Somedays, I am all excited and others I am NOT. It’s something I try to enjoy, and usually I genuinely do, at least once I get started.  If nothing else, I love the satisfying feeling when I am finished!  But one thing I’d encourage you with, is to remember that you’re not primarily exercising for the fun of it, although it’s fine to have fun while doing it.  Reminding yourself why you’re doing it will help keep you motivated, and I also think it helps to find what you enjoy the most (for example, running vs. lifting weights) and spend the majority of your workout time in that area.  


Showering Post Workout:

“I know this is kind of a weird topic request, but one excuse I use (whether it’s valid or not) for not exercising daily is that then I would have to shower every day (currently I shower every other or occasionally every third day). Any tips on freshening up after exercising?”

This is a great question, and actually something I had to figure to when I started exercising regularly.  I find that the length and intensity of the workout determines how much cleaning up I need to do afterwards.  Something like a quick ab workout may only require a fast little scrub off with a  soapy wet washcloth.  I tend to sweat easily, so wiping off and applying fresh deodorant goes a long way.:)  For a more intense workout or longer runs, a shower and washing my hair is what I need.  Basically, I have three options: quick scrub with a washcloth, super fast rinse off shower, or complete shower (including washing hair).  I just do whichever seems necessary that day! 


Back Pain During Ab Workout:

“This is great, Allison! Question: when I do these ab workouts, what seems to hurt more is my back. Is that normal? Or am I not doing it correctly or on the right surface. Thanks!”

The problem could be improper form or surface.   I would recommend watching some professional workout trainers (you can find them on youtube or at the library) if you are in doubt about your form.  Regarding the surface, definitely don’t do floor work (like the ab exercises I posted) on a hard floor.  Carpet is great, or you can get an inexpensive mat that enables you to workout on any floor.  I even use it on concrete parking lots when we’re traveling!


My Exercise Routine:

“I enjoyed your post. In addition to what you have listed I enjoy exercising for the health benefits. Do you have a certain exercise routine you follow?”

My exercise routine is constantly changing, as I love variety!  Currently, I do one of the following pretty much every day (Mon-Sat): running, strength training/lifting, ab workout, or other workout (sometimes an overall body workout that includes ab/strength/cardio).  I usually workout in the morning. 


Exercising Indoors:

“Hey Allison,

Thanks for this post!  I kind of have a love-hate relationship with exercising…, but it is something I need to be consistent with. Do you have any good indoor workouts? I had been doing bike rides with my Daddy for a few weeks, but then the weather got rainy, and then it been snowing for almost a week now!  Also, how do you exercise when you are traveling? As you know, we also travel (although not NEAR as much as you!:) ), and with a busy schedule and staying in other people’s homes, it can be hard to find time or ways to exercise. Any suggestions? Thanks again! You are such a joyful blessing to me!”

Yes!  I do almost all of my workouts indoors!  Honestly, the place I find the most inspiration is pinterest!  I have found excellent links to workout videos as well as well as different super simple workout formulas on there.  Below are a few great ones to give you some ideas.  There are literally thousands to choose from!  And the awesome thing is that there are so many good workouts you can do with absolutely no equipment and very little space.  You could workout beside you van or in a guest bedroom where you’re staying as you travel.  I plan to post more ideas this summer on working out while traveling.

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Simple + Fast Ab Workout

Hey friends! Today I am sharing one of my current favorite (and fast!) ab workout routines. This workout is great combined with strength training or cardio, or you can do it by itself for a quick morning ab burner.  I am not a certified coach or a workout professional (by ANY stretch of the imagination!), so please look up these exercises online if the descriptions I provide below don’t make sense. 

Do the following Circuit 2 Times:

25 Leg Lifts: Lay flat on your back, placing your hands underneath your lower back.  Bring your upper body off the ground slightly.  Slowly lift your legs 1-2 feet in the air, and lower slowly till they almost touch the ground.

25 Double Leg Toe Touch Crunches: To perform this exercise, lie on your back with your legs straight toward the ceiling. Squeeze your abs to push your lower back down. Then, crunch your head and shoulders off the floor, extend your arms straight and reach for your toes.

50 Cross Body Crunch (25 each side): Lie flat on your back and bend your knees about 60 degrees. Keep your feet flat on the floor and place your hands loosely behind your head. This will be your starting position. Now curl up and bring your right elbow and shoulder across your body while bring your left knee in toward your left shoulder at the same time. Reach with your elbow and try to touch your knee. Exhale as you perform this movement. (Tip: Try to bring your shoulder up towards your knee rather than just your elbow and remember that the key is to contract the abs as you perform the movement; not just to move the elbow.)
Now go back down to the starting position as you inhale and repeat.

After completing the above 2x (for a total of 200 repetitions), do the following:

2 Minute Plank:  Lie facedown with legs extended and elbows bent and directly under shoulders; clasp your hands. Feet should be hip-width apart, and elbows should be shoulder-width apart. Contract your abs, then tuck your toes to lift your body (forearms remain on the ground); you should be in a straight line from head to heels. Hold for 2 minutes.

50 Plank Jacks: Begin in a plank position, with your shoulders over your wrists, your core braced and your feet together. Jump your feet out wide and then back again while upper body remains in place.

I would be happy to post more on fitness/working out, but I need your help! Which (or more than one) of the following are you most interested in hearing about:

A. diet

B. specific workouts

C. how to fit fitness into a full schedule (try sayin’ that 10 times!:)

D. running

E. other (do tell!)

Have a fantastic day, friends!


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