Month: April 2015

Mother’s Day Giveaway

It’s a Mother’s Day Giveaway!!!

Mother’s Day is right around the corner! Check out the basket full of pampering goodies valued at over $400 that I’m giving away this Friday, May 8th! Want to know what you have to do to enter to win? Keep reading!!!

Here’s what’s included:

30 minute massage from Body Kneads Therapeutic Massage & a back massager (valued at over $30)
$25 gift certificate from Salt & Pepper Accessory Boutique
Bath goodies and chocolate from Fiesta Nutrition Center (valued at $25)
A plush pink & black leopard print rob, a large coffee mug, KIND bars, an iEncourage Fitness coozie. the basket, a deluxe Scentsy burner with one bar of scents and 2 free classes from iEncourage Fitness (valued at $105)
One full-body airbrush tan from Southern Sun Spray Tans (valued at $40)
Two sandwiches or wraps from Daily Harvest (valued at $10)
Two lunches with drinks and sides from Daily Press and two hot drinks for later (valued at $20)
Redkin hair products from Alysa Neil at A Wild Hair (valued at $70)
Gift certificate for a mani/pedi at Pampered & Polished (valued at $50)
Gift certificate from Missy Emory Photography for a snapshot special for up to 3 children (valued at $60)


You MUST DO BOTH – LIKE AND COMMENT over here: iEncourage Fitness facebook entry for basket giveaway
You’ll get one entry by doing BOTH of these.


1) COMMENT BELOW! You will receive one additional entry for this.

2) Visit me at iEncourage Fitness and fill out an entry form to put in the jar.

Soooooo you have 3 opportunities to have your name entered to win this baby on Friday! Drawing to be held at lunchtime!

iEncourage Fitness Mother's Day basket giveaway

iEncourage Fitness Mother’s Day basket giveaway

Hate to shop for clothes?

Do you hate to shop for clothes? If so, Stitch Fix may just be the answer you need! I’ve been using this service for about 8 or 9 months now (I just received my 9th Fix this month). I don’t mind shopping at all, but I thought I’d try this service for the sake of stepping outside my “clothing comfort zone”. You know how you sometimes tend to gravitate toward certain styles or colors? Well, let’s just say I have a lot of black, white and gray in my closet when it comes to “every day” type clothes and I’d like to try a little color. LOL

Getting a Stitch Fix box delivered to my door is a lot like Christmas every time. It’s fun to find out what my stylist has sent; I get to try it on in my own house; she sends me things to try that I may not have ever picked up to try on in a store and if I don’t like something all I have to do is put it back in the enclosed package and send it back – postage has already been paid! How easy is that?!

Stitch Fix is a service that sends 5 items directly to your door however often you tell them to – just once, monthly, every other month, etc. Simply fill out a Stitch Fix Style Profile and their personal stylists will handpick a selection of five clothing items and/or accessories unique to your taste, budget and lifestyle. Simply buy what you like and return the rest. There’s a $20 styling fee that gets credited to your order if you keep any of the items and you can earn $25 in referral credit for each person that schedules their first Fix through your referral link. I’ve paid as little as $3 for a Fix before. Whaaaaatttt? Yep, you read that right…. just $3.

Sooooo…. if you’d like to try it out to see how you like it, I would LOVE for you to use my link (I’d LOVE to have more credit toward my next Fix, of course!). Be sure to go here: Shari’s Stitch Fix referral link

Happy shopping!!! =)

Twice-baked cauliflower

First, let me say that I am NOT a fan of cauliflower! I did, however, find a recipe for twice-baked cauliflower that got me thinking. I LOVE twice-baked potatoes, but I try to stay away from those as much as possible. I wondered if the two “twice-bakeds” (is that even a word?) could compare.

I tweaked the recipe that I found on Pinterest from since I wanted a smaller portion. I will DEFINITELY be making this again…it was sooooo YUMMY!

Twice-baked cauliflower

Twice-baked cauliflower


1/2 of a large head of cauliflower
4 oz of low-fat cream cheese (don’t use fat free!)
1/2 cup of lite sour cream
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3-4 slices of low-sodium bacon, cooked until very crisp & blotted with a paper towel
1 cup of reduced fat Sharp Cheddar cheese


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Cut out stem and core from cauliflower; cut head in half and cut the portion that you want to use into small pieces.
3) Cook these pieces in a large pot of boiling, salted water (I used pink Himalayan salt for this) until tender, but not overly soft.
4) Drain cauliflower, pour into a bowl and mash with a potato masher, leaving some chunks.
5) Mix in cream cheese, sour cream, green onion, Parmesan and 3/4 of the bacon, crumbled.
6) Spread mixture evenly in a 9×9 glass casserole dish.
7) Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and remaining bacon crumbles.
8) Bake 30-35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Makes 4-6 servings

Of course, you can always use the entire head of cauliflower for more servings.

If you try this out, I would love to hear how you liked it. =)

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Have you heard of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Do you have or have you had it? Do you know someone that has or has had it?

Here’s the definition of carpal tunnel syndrome given by

“Carpal tunnel syndrome is a hand and arm condition that causes numbness, tingling and other symptoms. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a pinched nerve in your wrist.

A number of factors can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, including the anatomy of your wrist, certain underlying health problems and possibly patterns of hand use.

Bound by bones and ligaments, the carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway located on the palm side of your wrist. This tunnel protects a main nerve to your hand and the nine tendons that bend your fingers.

Compression of the nerve produces the numbness, tingling and, eventually, hand weakness that characterize carpal tunnel syndrome.

Fortunately, for most people who develop carpal tunnel syndrome, proper treatment usually can relieve the tingling and numbness and restore wrist and hand function.”

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

In January, I was diagnosed with moderate carpal tunnel syndrome and I’ve chosen not to have surgery, at least not right now. The crazy thing is that I haven’t worked in an office environment on a computer in over 3 years so this just isn’t something that I ever thought I would have to deal with. Granted, I did work at a computer for over 20 years before that! My doctor told me that carpal tunnel is related to repetitive motion more times than not and it can stay the same, get better with treatment or surgery or it can get worse if nothing is done.

Here’s how mine started:

Last fall, I kept waking up, usually around 3am (I know… weird time and maybe weird that I looked at the clock each time to notice that it was almost exactly the same time I was waking up) with my right arm feeling tingly, like it was asleep, from my shoulder all the way to my fingertips. I honestly thought I must be sleeping on my arm wrong, but it seemed a little too coincidental that it was EVERY night. I also had problems with my hand “going to sleep” while I was putting on my makeup each morning, while I was driving and during certain exercises in the classes that I teach.

I started off with a visit to my GP (that’s General Practitioner, in case you don’t know). She sent me for an MRI to make sure I had no pinched nerve in my shoulder and her taps with the little hammer tool (yeah, I don’t know what that thing is really called) indicated “no carpal tunnel”. My MRI results came back showing no pinched nerve in my shoulder so I was prescribed muscle relaxers (seriously? I wasn’t about to take those considering what my job is!). A month later (that’s October, in case you’re keeping track), I decide to see a sports chiropractor. In the process of seeing him (great Dr, by the way! Highly recommend if you’re in my area.), we didn’t figure out that I was dealing with carpal tunnel, however, he did get rid of a MAJOR knot that I had been dealing with in my neck, as well as what I have thought for years was sciatic nerve pain caused by a wayward fertility injection in my hip. Shoot…. those visits to Dr. C. were TOTALLY worth being rid of those two things alone! Anyway, in January of this year I went to see a nerve specialist to see if he could tell me what was REALLY going on. He had x-rays done of my hand and also sent me for a nerve conduction study. One week later, the diagnosis… moderate carpal tunnel syndrome. My orthopedic doctor recommended several options: 1) wear a wrist brace with a metal plate on the palm side while sleeping at night (to keep me from bending my wrist during sleep. Check out that piece of attractive sleepwear in the pic below), 2) 6 reps of 15 hand exercises daily or 3) surgery. I elected the brace and the hand exercises.

As of today, I can say that the vast majority of the time my hand feels better just from wearing the brace at night. I only occasionally do the assigned hand exercises (I know….. boooooo….. bad, Shari!). As long as it doesn’t get worse, this will continue to be my plan. Hopefully, this info can help some of you. =)

If you’ve had to deal with carpal tunnel or are currently dealing with it, what methods are you using?

Wrist brace that I sleep in to help with carpal tunnel syndrome

Wrist brace that I sleep in to help with carpal tunnel syndrome

Green tea & its benefits

Green tea anyone?

Green tea anyone?

Are you a TEA fan? What kind do you drink (please oh please don’t say sweet!)?

I’m a fan of GREEN TEA sweetened with 1 packet of Stevia or the liquid Stevia drops. I don’t buy the premixed stuff in a bottle. I actually microwave a coffee mug of water an then let the tea bag sit in it for a minute or so; I add Stevia and then I drink up. Good stuff!

DID YOU KNOW THIS about green tea?

1. Because of how it’s processed, it maintains maximum levels of antioxidants

2. It can aid in weight loss because it slightly increases your bodies FAT oxidation rate.

3. It can help regulate glucose, slowing the rate of blood glucose spikes after eating.

4. It can help reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol.

5. It contains the amino acid theanine which can help relax you.

Food labels

You’re in the grocery store…. how many times do you notice the word “organic” or “low-fat” on food labels? Probably quite often. Do you know exactly what these words mean? Did you know that there are FDA and USDA regulations that must be met for these terms to be used?

What does the word “organic” mean? According to a recent article in IDEA Fitness Journal, it means irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, prohibited pesticides and genetically modified organisms cannot be used on crops that bear the “USDA Organic” seal. For livestock, the logo verifies that producers have “met animal health and welfare standards, for example letting animals graze on pasture, did not use antibiotics or growth hormones, used 100% organic feed, and provided animals with access to outdoors.” The program does not address food safety or nutrition. Manufacturers may use several variations of the label.

Do you tend to buy products that are labeled as “organic”? I can say that I do on some products, but not all.

Let’s talk about the regulations for “low-fat, fat-free and reduced-fat” labels. I guess I had never really considered what these labels might mean prior to reading the article in IDEA Fitness Journal so I’ll share what I learned. For a food to be labeled “fat-free”, it must have less than 0.5 gram of fat per serving and “low-fat” foods cannot have more than 3 grams of fat per serving. According to Brian Wansink, PhD, “low-fat products are, on average, only 11% lower in calories than the regular versions. Manufacturers take the fat out and replace it with sugar.” No wonder we keep hearing “just have the regular version and forget low-fat!” “Reduced-fat” foods must have at least 25% less fat than regular versions of those same foods. “Reduced” is really only relative to the original product of comparison and not to a healthful standard for foods. I’ve actually made more of an effort in the past year to stay away from products with these “fat” labels and just gone with the regular product.

Remember that just because a food is labeled as “low-fat, fat-free or reduced-fat”, that’s not a green light to eat more of it. Some of these products are, in fact, higher in calories due to added sugars and refined grains.

What’s the best thing you can do when in doubt about a product that you’re looking at? Read the ingredient label (remember less is more!) or refer to a great nutrition app like Fooducate for assistance.

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