Reflection: A Tribe Called Bliss

Close your eyes. Prepare to set your intentions. Breathe in through your nose the desires you have for the day. Breathe out the preconceived notions and expectations. It’s time to create your tribe.

I have followed Lori Harder for the past four years. Between living in Nebraska, Ohio and Georgia, she has been a part of my transformation and journey. She does not know it, but she has had a direct impact on my development as a woman. Through her podcast called Earn Your Happy, and Instagram, I’ve felt like I’m right alongside her, in her growth, her challenges and her successes.

We have a lot in common. We both grew up the Midwest, her a Michigan gal, me from Ohio. We were raised in a conservative rural communities, hers a bit moreso. We have competed in bodybuilding competitions. We both have larger-than-life goals! These commonalities helped me connect and want to learn with and from her. I also had set in my mind that one day, I would meet her and work with her.

About one month ago, the opportunity arose! Lori has been promoting her new book, A Tribe Called Bliss, which I heard a bit about on another podcast, and discovered she was doing a book tour around the country. Atlanta had made the list! I asked David if it was OK and fit our budget and he knew I’d been talking about her forever and said “Go for it!”. So then and there, I reserved my ticket.

I experienced a crazy day before the event. A lot of stress at work, followed by trying to get to a gym to train and go straight to the event. I got in a half hour chest and shoulder workout with an insane pump and started towards the venue near Midtown.

I wasn’t sure its location and on the way, my GPS navigation tried to turn me on a closed road and I was almost T-boned when en route. But I made it, early, in once piece, wearing a new sweater dress and boots to stay warm in this brisk fall weather on Thursday night.

I approached the small venue and opened the door to a vibrant energy. Women [and men] gathered around the chairs set before Lori’s presentation began. I had never been to a “book tour” so it was neat to be a part of one I could deeply connect with. And, most importantly, start to connect with the women there to build a tribe.

Lori came on stage in a full length, long sleeve dress, looking stunning. The thing that caught my eye most: her iconic braid and a stunning quartz ring on her right middle finger. I’ve been researching more about crystals and seeing hers, that is a symbol for clarity and a few other things, was just another indicator I was in the right place.

She began with meditation. This is how I knew I was in the right room! We each set our intention for the evening. Mine?

Embrace likemindedness and new relationships.

Lori shared with us her two intentions: make it fun and share her tools to deeper connection. Immediately after, we spent the next four minutes to meet four new people! Nothing says networking like working a room of excited women.

As Lori continued the event, she shared the 7 Sacred Commitments to having real, authentic relationships. A lot of it I have already known and no, I won’t spoil it for anyone wanting to read the book! But, nonetheless, she had quite a few mindblowing quotes.

When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.

Wayne Dyer

After her speech, photo opportunity and autographs were a must. A few ladies like Ashley and Stormy I am definitely going to keep in touch with! Some others, I did not get to meet very long but this is the chance to use social media for GOOD and send a quick follow up DM on IG or Facebook.

Sometimes, things happen if they are not meant to be on our path.

Lori Harder

Finding a tribe to flourish with has been difficult. But, I believe my tribe will continue to strengthen and evolve. I know it’s just a matter of time and energy. Give and you will receive.

Lori Harder a Tribe Called Bliss

My current tribe is spread across the country. They are still amazing, wonderful women! And I’ve made it a goal to not lose touch with those in my court. Now, I set course to create another tribe, but locally. I guess that is the give and take of moving around for different jobs and life opportunities.

If it scares me, I need to do it. Grow through it!

Lori Harder
Lori Harder a Tribe Called Bliss

This reflection is not just about the amazing event, but to turning a page into my authentic self. I really resonated with Lori’s philosophy about our true self.

Lori Harder personal definition of authenticity: Give yourself the freedom and grace to show up completely different than you did yesterday.

Going into the end of the year and 2019, you can bet I’m making my tribe a priority. Want to join me in reading the book? Send me an email at and I’d LOVE to start up a little book club.


How do you protect your time?

Do you ever feel like time FLIES BY or TAKES FOREVER?

Perhaps you are doing something you LOVE! For me, that is baking or making healthy desserts. I can be in the kitchen making a few recipes and before I know it, I have been there for 2 hours. Oops!

Like this lemon poppyseed recipe I created took WAYYYY too long but it was fun ๐Ÿ™‚ And it will be in my new dessert e-cookbook launching this next week!

Protect Your Time by Strong Sweet Caroline - Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

On the other end of the spectrum, I might be stuck working on a freelance article that I’m struggling to get the right feel and language. And that severe writers block is beating me… time is dragging and I need to pick it up. This essence of time is important for everyone and is my topic today. Watch this video or read below about protecting your time.

Time is a commodity. I think it is the MOST important commodity in a person’s life. Why? Many reasons. But if you think about time, we never really know how much time we have on this planet.

We can track and target time. But, it is often immeasurable.

We each can use time however we like. But, if we do not allot it appropriately, what happens? We lose it, people steal it, it gets wasted. Not just like having too much alcohol to drink and time slips by wasted…. like you can never ever get it back and have regret wasted!

Let’s prevent that. Over the past few years, this has been a priority for me. My time is valuable. And I recognize that in the lives of others I surround myself with. Whether it is for business, personal life or any goal, you need to protect your time.

I think there are three vital factors to protecting your time.

Three steps to protect your time

1 – Schedule in your priority time

We all have different priorities in life. I might like to bake and cook for 4 hours per week. Someone else might want to research engines and cars. You may also have a goal to start a new hobby, take a college class or start up a new business. Schedule windows in your day, week and month and prioritize those things. I’ve found that I am more likely to accomplish a large goal if I actually put it on my calendar and protect that time.

Think about the top one or two priorities that already, no matter what, you make sure to accomplish it. For me, one of those is going to the gym to train. I still compete in bodybuilding and it is a large part of my life. I protect that time and schedule it in after my day job to go push myself and enjoy it. Once it is scheduled, that block of time is set and nothing else can touch it.

Protect Your Time by Strong Sweet Caroline


2 – Identify distractions and disruptions

People, habits, natural tendencies, social media, and electronics are just a few examples of distractions. Have you ever spent 10-20 minutes just scrolling on Instagram or Pinterest? What could you be doing if you protected that valuable time?

In my life, I had a Pinterest obsession at one point… particularly looking at recipes. Ooops! What did that help me accomplish? Typically nothing. Maybe a few new pins of recipes for later but not really helpful now. It’s similar to going to the grocery store without a shopping list. Unless you schedule it in as a priority, DON’T DO IT!

3 – Share your priorities

Do the people closest to you know your priorities? Maybe you want to start a side business or create a new hobby. Start scheduling it in, get the distractions out of the way and share with others what you are working at! They can help you stay focused and keep priorities in check. This is a sacred moment for you. EMBRACE IT!

These are the three that have worked for me. Scheduling in your priorities, identifying distractions and sharing the priorities are key to success! What’s been valuable for you?

Interested to learn more? Comment below! I’m starting a new e-newsletter and creating a free guide for time management and would LOVE for you to join!

Obstacles bring you options and an Enlightened cookie shake recipe

Have you ever felt a moment where you just keep hitting obstacles? That’s been me the past week. From cooking snafus and burning myself to discovering new business needs on permits and finances, it’s been eventful. And I’ve struggled to keep my head above water, physically and emotionally.

I’ve been told this is the beginning of entrepreneurship. Just try and hold on to your seat!

The kitchen is usually my release. It allows my creative mind to work, try new flavors, make foods not only taste good, but look good too. I’ve lost some of that recently with trying to learn new recipes, stay up to date with food safety protocols and cook for clients [and then finally for myself].

Luckily for me, I have managed to keep my head down and continue the grind. What happens when you see an obstacle?

We have fight or flight responses. Our adrenaline kicks in. These are the breaking points we need to beat the plateaus and grow.

This week, I’ve come to realize that obstacles bring you options. You will have more than you can handle at some moments. Ultimately, that gives you the option to more clearly define goals, purpose and action steps as well as see new options you would have never imagined!

The other day, I was feeling like baking and made these delicious protein pumpkin peanut butter cookies.

Strong Sweet Caroline: Enlightened cookie shake recipe

The recipe, taste and consistency were perfect.

I then thought, “what if I added these cookies with some Enlightened Ice Cream for a preworkout shake?

Strong Sweet Caroline: Enlightened cookie shake recipe

Magic. I love all their flavors but for some reason, cold brew coffee and pumpkin peanut butter cookies sounded good and it did not disappoint!

The only thing missing was someone to share them with. David was out of town and I would not be seeing anyone for a few days. That’s when it occurred to me that I am sharing.

As those who have followed for a while might know, I love goal setting, reflection and am very futuristic. I am in the midst of setting my 2018 goals (they are not resolutions because mine continue to evolve). One new goal is that for January, I plan to release my first e-book! This one is a dessert e-cookbook and will feature 50 delicious, tested and proven clean treats you and your loved ones will enjoy.

I am also preparing a 1-month challenge contest based around one of my favorite topics: meal prepping! I’ve had many people reach out about how-to’s, tips, recipes and staying committed to healthier food selections. This will touch on all of those and more and I will present an award to a winner at the end of the month!

Stay tuned for updates on both projects, as well as Meals Beyond Athletes. It’s amazing how when you put your mind to it, you can turn like the flip of a switch to overcome those obstacles and discover new options.

For those seeking a new option for a sweet indulgent but healthier, high protein shake, try the recipe below.

I hope you’ll join me in this excitement because I know the next few months will be full of MANY obstacles turning into options! Never take for granted the blessings and gifts right in front of us. I’m thankful for all of you followers and encourage you to share this message with a friend who it would resonate.

Make it a great day and take time to choose your options!

Strong Sweet Caroline

Strong Sweet Caroline: Enlightened cookie shake recipe

Enlightened Cookie Shake

Serves one, because it’s too good to share. Unless you double the recipe.

Macros: 238 calories, 29g protein, 21 carbs, 4g fat, 4g sugar


  • 1/2 scoop True Nutrition custom whey protein in Chocolate Fudge Brownie flavor
  • 1/2 c Enlightened Ice Cream in Cold Brew flavor (discount “STRONGSWEET20” for broad bean crisps ordered online)
  • ~1/3-1/2 c unsweetened Almond Breeze Almond Milk
  • 1 Protein Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cookie by me ๐Ÿ™‚ – replace with cookie of choice


  • In food process or blender, combine ice cream, almond milk, whey protein, and half of your protein cookie.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Pour into glass and top with other half of your cookie.
  • Indulge without guilt. ๐Ÿ™‚

5 tips to succeed in your casted roles

This past weekend, I flew to Scottsdale, Arizona for the third annual Fitposium conference. I discovered it this past spring over James Patrick Photography’s Instagram profile and ponder it for a few weeks before securing my spot. Each year, I usually invest in one weekend for some sort of personal development. To be frank, some of the conferences I’ve attend the past 3+ years have become stale. Sure, I always had some new nuggets of information to learn. But, there was something tugging at me to travel to Arizona.

As someone transitioning from one industry to a completely different one, I was not sure what to expect. The two-day agenda was full of unique opportunities. And it did not disappoint! I had some powerful takeaways from Fitposium. Watch now for my five tips to succeed in your casted roles. You can also read more details below!

Do not treat your peers as your customers.

I was surrounded by other fitness professionals, entrepreneurs and models during the two-day conference. The industry has become saturated and, even in a conference setting, it can often be competitive. For example, during the casting call, I got nervous about what others were doing for poses and outfits. Should it have mattered? No. My brand is the only one I need to focus on at that moment in time.ย Do not worry about what your peers are doing. Majority of the time, they are not your customers.

Many of the keynote and session speakers hit on specialization. It used to be about knowing “everything” and being a “Jack or Jill of all trades”. But guess who is now getting all the business? The specialized ones. Speaker, Jill Coleman, creator of Jill Fit, asked, “What is your X-Factor?” Identify your customers, your niche, your true “passion” in the industry. Is it powerlifting? Do you love yoga? Vegan nutrition? Get clear and focus now.ย  This is not just advice for fitness professionals, but all professionals in their respective industries.

Strong Sweet Caroline | 5 tips to succeed in your casted roles

Know numbers to succeed in business.

I have always been a writer. I love marketing, public relations and photography. Where is my weakness? Financials. Even in my full-time corporate role, I was challenged a lot to improve on knowing my numbers. It helped me make it more of a habit but I need to keep growing it. The biggest reason businesses fail is because they do not focus enough on their balance sheet, profit and loss statement and operating budget. Even as someone in college, corporate or in your home, having a budget is essential to staying balanced and having less worry on financials.

The grind is not sexy.

I am experiencing this firsthand. There will always be things in life we are required to do that we may not love to do. You may have heard the phrase, “the most valuable things in life do not come easy.” This is the same with building businesses, relationships and the life we dreamed of. This is the opportunity to think futuristic and make shit happen. Speaker and entrepreneur Jon Boles stated that you must “position yourself to where you are going, not where you are.” But, in order to do that, you have to trust the process and do the daily grind. Hustle your butt off.

Strong Sweet Caroline | Blog Quote

Do not be vanilla.

One of my favorite speakers was Bizzie Gold. She is a serial entrepreneur who I’d define as a bad ass boss lady. She shared we spend too much time being wishy washy, trying to be all to everyone. You can have whatever ice cream you want. There are many brands and even different types of vanillas out there. We must identify who we are, being creative to showcase our talents and taking action each day that will lead to future expansion. Rome was not built in one day. Our lives and empires will not be either if we do not act DAILY and do not find a way to be unique in the crowd.

Always tell your story.

Past Olympian Erin Stern, Your Marketing BFF Tana Nelson and Chris Powell and Heidi Powell all shared a common message: tell your story. Story telling is the oldest form of communication. It’s how we build relationships. It’s how we impact the world. It is the most important way we communicate to anyone. Never forget to tell your unique story. Many people do not know I have traveled to different countries, spoken on stage in front of over 20,000 people or raised alpacas. They do not know I grew up on a farm, moved across the country three times and that I left corporate sales to pursue a dream larger than myself. But now more than ever, I am empowered to share that message.

Strong Sweet Caroline | 5 tips to succeed in your casted roles

Strong Sweet Caroline | 5 tips to succeed in your casted roles

I am empowered to help other people create elegant strength and joy in life’s journey. I know who I am to the bone. And this allows me to give my best talents and gifts to the world.


Oh my, Omega! Grind with gratitude.

Phew, this week has been a doozy! From working the two part time jobs to doing more research on my requirements as a food business start up in Atlanta, there has been a lot of information to take in. Some days, I forget to take time for what makes me tick or an even more productive business woman. A few days ago, I decided to listen to a short podcast. This was a “restart button” for me.

When I was a sales rep, I was on the road 4-6 hours per day. Besides having phone conversations or listening to my stations on Pandora, I would often find podcasts to enjoy. As leadership guru Zig Ziglar once quoted, “automobile university” is best to attend when commuting or traveling.

The podcast chosen was by one of my favorite female entrepreneurs, Lori Harder. In “Earn Your Happy” podcast episode 172, the focus was on taking action towards what you want to be doing. We often hesitate to start a new hobby, a new class, a new business, a new adventure until we feel “ready” or feel “qualified”. From my first-hand experience, that is bull shit.

I’ve been known to wait too long to make decisions. I would hesitate, need to “do more research or investigate” and, in a sense, procrastinate. It was from my own insecurities. In this fast-paced world, I cherish time. I have realized that the longer I take to make a decision, the more time I waste on create solutions and solving problems. I cannot afford to do that anymore. Can you?

Strong Sweet Caroline | Omegas and grind with gratitude

After the 10-minute podcast ended, I knew what I needed. I need to keep grinding with gratitude. Even when I’m exhausted, I know that the 24-hour day is for me. It’s for me to conquer.

Yesterday, I did some grocery shopping and meal prepping for one of my clients (until the full launch in a few weeks). I almost just walked out of Costco with only broccoli and chicken breasts. I pondered for a few minutes (after remembering the piece above about time) and grabbed some salmon. I have been neglecting my own and the health of my client by not including more foods with omegas.

In the dictionary, “omega” is the last letter in the Greek alphabet and is also defined as “the last in a series”. Do not put it last in your personal health!

Here are a few reasons why.

  1. The three “omegas” are needed for life-long health.
    • Essential fatty acids are the omegas. Omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 should all be in your system. They can help regulate cholesterol levels, reduce cancer risks, help in athletic recovery, support joint health, balance mood, brain functionality and more!
  2. Omegas can be supplemented but is best from whole foods.
  3. If heart disease runs in your family, this could help.
    • Dr. Weil and many others have explained it is beneficial (not directly proven) that consuming more omega-3s will help prevent cardiovascular health issues.

These are a few reasons I grabbed some salmon to meal prep and make this chili lime salmon with basmati rice and steamed broccoli. Balanced meal with protein and omega-3s, carbohydrates and one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables out there!

Strong Sweet Caroline | Omegas and Grind with Gratitude - salmon meal

You do not have to eat salmon to get omega-3s in your diet. Additionally, I take fish oil capsules every morning and use flaxseed meal with my oat bran. Dr. Axe and Dr. Weil share more comprehensive lists of foods to consider for increasing your omegas. Thankfully, my fish will help me #grindwithgratitude. How about you?

Appreciate you joining. Don’t forget to subscribe for more updates on my company, leadership, recipes and life!


Strong Sweet Caroline

Precision and cream of rice chia bowl

I’m slowly but surely making my way. I put one foot in front of the other. I take one step at a time. Precision is key. Just like anything worth having, if you don’t take baby steps, one step at a time, how can you learn to walk?

Today, I had the pleasure of talking to a gal on the phone. Similar to me, she is interested in starting a meal prep company in her local area. She wanted to pick my brain about why I’m doing it, how I’m getting started, etc. The current word that comes to mind is precision.

I am become more precise on my vision. I am building the detailed framework and business plan of what I want it to be now and what it will become in two years, five years and even ten years. The more precision I have, the better off I will be in aligning action steps, goals and needs.

When you work with someone on a project, do you prefer they ask a general question like, “how can I help”? Or would you rather they ask a specific question like “what can I work on for your website today”?

For those who enjoy firearms, think about it like target practice. You cannot improve your accuracy until you load the weapon, step up to the line, aim, and fire. Sure, you might be off the first shot. You may be off the first 30 shots. But as long as you are improving on your consistency and precision, you will get better.

I shared an Instagram photo a few weeks back of some sweet potato donuts I made. I was going to share the recipe, but haven’t felt ready yet. It’s not quite to the precise taste and consistency I am confident sharing.

Strong Sweet Caroline | Precision

But, that’s OK. It gives me more reason to keep trying, continue baking, researching new methods to prepare the ingredients, use the oven and get better. Take one more step in the right direction.

Instead, I’m excited to share a breakfast recipe I made with inspiration from acai bowls. This one was for a higher carb, medium protein, low fat day to speed up my metabolism. I enjoyed a few other foods that day also, like nonfat Greek yogurt with rice Chex cereal and powdered peanut butter. If you’ve not tried that, I HIGHLY recommend. So good. Add natural almond or peanut butter for added amazingness.

Strong Sweet Caroline | cream of rice chia bowl

Nonetheless, this recipe featured hydrolyzed caseinate protein in fruit punch flavor from True Nutrition, cream of rice, unsweetened almond milk, chia seeds, and topped with some peaches, blueberries, and Trader Joe’s roasted cocoa nibs. Why the assorted ingredients?

Strong Sweet Caroline | Cream of rice chia bowl ingredients

  • Hydrolyzed caseinate – one of the purest forms of whey protein and most readily digested into your body. True Nutrition has some of the best products if you need pure, quality ingredients.
  • Cream of rice – it’s essentially granulated rice and is easily digested in the body as a carbohydrate.
  • Unsweetened almond milk – delicious and lower calorie milk substitute. I am removing conventional dairy products from my diet again because every time I try to bring them back, my body does not respond positively. I’ll spare you the details.
  • Chia seeds – per serving, chia seeds offer high fiber, high protein, high omega-3 fatty acids. They are unique because they can be consumed raw or like in this recipe, soaked and puffed up and “jell-like” texture.
  • Fruits – natural source of sugar, antioxidants and vitamins.
  • Cocoa nibs – cleaner source for my fellow chocoholics and gives a little crunch.

Time for you to try it yourself! How precise will you be? I’d eat it as a pre workout or post workout treat.

Cream of rice chia bowl

Estimated macronutrients (will vary based on amount of toppings)

400 calories | 20g protein | 55g carbohydrates | 8g fat

Strong Sweet Caroline | Cream of Rice chia bowl


  • 1/4 cup cream of rice, prepared as directed on box in the microwave
  • 1/2 scoop True Nutrition or alternative brand hydrolyzed caseinate whey protein in a fruity or vanilla flavor
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup (or just under) unsweetened almondmilk
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa nibs
  • 1/4 banana, sliced thinly
  • Handful blueberries
  • 2 slices peach, thin


  • Make cream of rice in one serving bowl.
  • With a little water left in the cream of rice bowl, add protein powder until thoroughly combined.
  • In separate bowl, combine almond milk and chia seeds and let sit in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
  • While chia sets, gather other toppings.
  • Using a spoon, push cream of rice protein mixture to 1/3 of the bowl.
  • Pour the chia mixture into other 2/3 of bowl.
  • Add toppings as pretty as you like!