New Week, New Goals

March 23, 2015

Last week felt so long and was pretty draining physically, so I wasn’t sad to see it end.  Over the weekend we cleaned, baked, spent time with family and friends, and I added a run in there too.  I love the weekends.  So refreshing to have less of an agenda and more respite.

I love going into a new week.  It’s a fresh start to do well.  I accomplished all of last weeks goals and found myself 4 pounds lighter with several inches  GONZO.  It is so rewarding to see the hard work pay off.  This week my goals are similar to last weeks (and the weeks before): Ten workouts total, 5 at the gym, 5 extra cardio sessions, clean eating daily.  You can read what I do at the gym here but this weeks cardio goal will be running 2 miles M-F.  That might not sound too impressive to you, but this is big for me. I’ve always been super resistant to running.  It’s just not my thing.  I had never ran 2 miles straight before – like everuntil today.  It feels so good to do something that you think you can’t.   I’m kinda falling in love with running.

(Celebrating and praising God for a little victory!)

My nutrition challenge is to keep it clean.  Nothing processed other than my protein shake.  Oh, and continue to update my nutrition journal.  That is something that’s really kept me accountable.  I was a major hater when it came to keeping track of meals before, but I’m learning that I clearly know less than I thought. : ) Food has been less of an issue the past week, probably because when you start to see little physical changes and you know how hard you’re working that piece of pizza is just not worth it.

Someone asked me the other day what my ultimate goal is.  That’s easy: to wear cute shorts this summer. That’s it.  I can’t wait to post that pic on June 21 – the first day of summer. : )


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Post Categories: Health & Fitness
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Guilt-Free Strawberry Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

March 22, 2015

I just have to share this delicious and HEALTHY (holla!!!) recipe that I found this weekend from Ambitious Kitchen.  My girls and I had a great time making these and I promise they taste as good as they look.  Total prep time was about an hour – which I’m guessing was longer than if I had made these sans two cute little sous chefs in the kitchen. ; )  Enjoy!


  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping cup mashed bananas (about 2 to 3 large very ripe bananas)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup diced strawberries
  • 12 thin slices of strawberries (about 3-4 strawberries) for topping, if desired


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or line the insides of the muffin tins with paper liners and spray with cooking spray so the muffins do not stick to the liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the oat-flour mixture and toss with your diced strawberries. Set aside for later.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine mashed banana, olive oil, honey and vanilla. Add in egg and the egg white and beat until combined. Next add in greek yogurt and almond milk and and beat on low until smooth in consistency, about 1 minute. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and combine until moist — It’s important to not over mix! Next gently fold in the diced strawberries and chocolate chips into the batter with a wooden spoon to evenly distribute.
  4. Spoon the batter evenly into muffin cups. Place a thin strawberry slice on each muffin if desired.
  5. Bake for 18-23 minutes or until a tester inserted into middle of the muffin comes out clean. The length of time will vary based on your oven. Once a tester inserted into the muffin comes out clean, cool for 10 minutes in muffin tins on wire rack, then remove from pan gently and cool completely on wire rack. Muffins are perfect served a bit warm and spread with nut butter.
  6. The muffins can be frozen. Once completely cool, simply individually wrap in plastic wrap and place in freezer. To reheat simply heat in microwave. Muffins should be stored in refrigerator or frozen after two days.

I hope your Sunday is full of love and rest!

Shine On,

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Activate & Shine

March 17, 2015

One of the biggest mistakes I have ever made was waiting.  I was a professional waiter.  I’m not really sure what I was waiting for exactly…maybe permission, maybe opportunity, perhaps maturity or getting back into my skinny jeans or success or wealth, but I waited just the same.  I felt unqualified to lead because I didn’t have every piece of every single thing figured out.  I felt unqualified to shine because how dare I – and besides, I didn’t have enough accolades to shine.  I felt unqualified to share my faith because I was a major work in progress.  I mean major.  (Still am.)  I was afraid of everything.  I was afraid of what people thought.  I was afraid of failing.  I was afraid of succeeding.  Most of all I was afraid to completely surrender to God because I was selfish and unwilling to relent control.   Then life hit me square in the face and I woke up.  I realized that all the waiting around until I became a non-existent perfect version of myself wasn’t what I was called to do.  I was called to activate and shine.

Activate.  Verb.  To make something (or someone) active or operative.
Shine. Verb. To give out a bright light.

“You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5: 14-16

So what does it look like to activate and shine in real life?  In my life it looks like this:

I am a recovering control freak with a Masters in discontent.  Nothing was ever good enough.  I wanted to be the best.  I wanted to be liked by all.  I wanted perfection and it left me depleted.  Friends, if you are trying so hard to fill yourself up with more more more (be it material things, attention, substances, food, TV, whatever) the only cure (according to Alison, and God) is God.  I was a Christian for nearly 20 years before I truly surrendered to God and dang, I really wish that I would have trusted Him enough to burn my own life agenda and just follow what He had planned for me from the start.  I wasted so much time seeking after things that I thought would fill me up and make me happy only to find that God-shaped hole that is in all of us is insatiable unless it is filled with Him.  Surrendering has left me free and able to experience true joy.

Believe That You Are Qualified
No matter who you are or what your past (or present) looks like, you matter; your story matters. Period.  Just because some are on stage and some are sitting in the audience does not make the person in the audience less qualified or less important.  I have sat in the audience, I have been on the sidelines and I remember thinking, One day, when I’m successful like her and speaking all over the country I’m going to really let my light shine!  Then the time came when I was on stage speaking all over the country and I didn’t really shine at all.  I hid.  I was afraid of others discovering that I wasn’t as put together and perfect as everyone thought I was. The truth is, I didn’t feel extremely qualified and I kept waiting for some proverbial green light to give me the cue that I was.  That doesn’t happen.  You have to make a decision that who you are and what you’ve experienced, good and bad, is all the qualification you need.  God will equip you.  He will give you words when you’re out.  He will give you courage when you’re low.  He will provide you with opportunities to further His plans.  All you need to do is willingly participate and believe that you matter.  Whether you have an audience of 1 or 100 or 1000.  Right now, wherever you are, you matter and you have the ability to lead, serve, inspire, encourage and love people every single day.

Activate and Shine!
You know how children sing their hearts out at the top of their lungs without a trace of embarrassment….speak the truth even when it’s not super PC…confidently share their dreams and talents in a very “like duh” way?  We should be more like that!  We should use the gifts and skills that God has embedded within us to shine for Him.  We need to actually.  The world is hurting and broken. Negativity abounds.  Lets stop waiting for some big platform or grand recognition and start shining daily.  RIGHT NOW.  SHINE NOW.  Don’t wait unit you have that degree or that job or that accomplishment.  Don’t put it off until you are brave, popular, all put-together in size two designer jeans.  If we all stopped waiting to surrender until we’re good enough, waiting to shine until we’re accepted by most, waiting to serve until we have more time so much would actually get accomplished for His Glory.

No more waiting.  Activate and Shine.

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Post Categories: Faith, Personal
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I'm so glad you're here!

I'm Alison and I have been a professional wedding planner since 2007. After planning and coordinating over 200 events I am taking a bit of a sabbatical to regroup and focus on the events in my own life while I also work on some new and exciting opportunities.

If you are an aspiring wedding planner I hope you find my experiences and insight helpful. If you are a wife and/or mom in the trenches, I get it and hope you feel less alone as I share my own stories of marriage and motherhood. If you are a fellow blog lover who just happened to find yourself here, enjoy!

Thank you for sharing your comments and thoughts - I love hearing from you!

Shine On,