After a year long business relaunch (learn more over on my photo blog) I am quickly reminded of how important it is to have a wellness plan within your business plan.

Being a sole-prenuer often requires us to wear a million hats during any given day. From emptying your inbox, writing checks, designing social media content, taking out the trash, picking up coffee, running to the post office, letting the dog out, and finally sitting down to do your actual job (attending a photo shoot or editing the photo shoot) carving out time to workout, visit the chiropractor, and creating healthy meals makes most creatives shut down.

I used to be incredibly guilty of putting my health & wellness on the back burner to take care of my clients needs first.

By putting myself at the bottom of my daily to-do list I gained weight and became so burnt out that I actually started to resent the gift of photography that I had been given. And, if you are a fellow creative who is starting to feel burn out creeping in, I hope this post can pull you out of the overwhelm and help you reclaim the love you have for your business even if you currently aren’t in love with it.


Start by having a honest conversation with yourself (or any key players that make business decisions) about the current status of your business, but also with how you are measuring up personally. it’s so easy to put our head in the sand and pass off how we are feeling but eventually you will have to stop and take inventory of how things are ACTUALLY going.

Business Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • Do I enjoy being a business owner?

  • Am I feeling creatively fulfilled?

  • Am I letting my business run my life?

  • Am I still in love with my business?

  • What did I enjoy most in about 2018 my business?

  • What did I enjoy least in 2018 about my business?

  • What do I want to do more of?

  • What do I want to do less of?

  • What my ideal work day look like?

  • How can I work smarter in 2019?

  • What services or products can I let go of?

Personal Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • Am I living my best life?

  • Does my business bring me happiness?

  • What do I need to be doing in order to be living my healthiest and happiest life?

  • What does my ideal day look like?

  • Am I moving my body daily?

  • Am I giving myself enough time in the day or week for self care?

  • Does my business add value to my life?

These questions may make you uncomfortable or cause you to shut down, but I do believe you owe it to yourself to answer these questions openly and honestly. When my health and wellness was at it’s worst - I didn’t find joy in my business, I wasn’t living my best life, and I felt so unfulfilled.

I sat down to answer each of these questions and then created a plan of how to merge business with wellness and wellness with business.

Let’s start by answering those questions and check back for part two tomorrow on how to create a wellness plan that supports your business plan.

New Year, New Habits

Everyone is in full NEW YEAR, NEW YOU mode and while I do love a brand new year I am struggling with the new YOU part. When I was personal training, January was always a sudden influx of new clients coming in wanting to be all gung-ho with their resolutions only to fizzle out by Superbowl Sunday.

Committing to a NEW YOU is a major undertaking and most who attempt will fail - this isn’t to be a buzzkill, but the honest reality. My suggestion is to break up with your old, bad habits. You aren’t broken or need fixed, instead you need to break up with your old ways. Our habits are what ultimately define us.

The habit of sleeping in because we stayed up too late watching tv, the habit of skipping a workout because the weather is bad or the habit of choosing a unhealthy carryout because you don’t feel like cooking something healthy.

All of these things are habits that we’ve fall victim too and don’t be too hard on yourself - it’s super easy to do and we all at one point of the year fall into a bad habit and/our routine. (keep reading for my tips on how to breakup with your bad habits)


If you want to uncover a NEW YOU, you need to form NEW HABITS.

How does someone do this? You crowd out the bad habits and start with easy BETTER habits.

  • Does your barista know you by your car? - Dust off your coffee pot and make a to-go coffee at home (saving your time, calories, and money)

  • Instead of eating lunch out every day - Brown Bag It Instead

  • Not eating enough veggies - Give smoothies a try to pack in veggies (download the smoothie lovers guide here)

  • Keep skipping your workouts - Maybe it’s time to find a new type of workout or an accountability buddy to re-spark your love for moving your booty!

  • Claiming you don’t have enough time, but you’ve seen the latest episode of GOT, Outlander, FBI, all three Chicago’s (Med, Fire, PD), and Big Bang from this week?

    • You, my friend, have time to meal prep, workout, read personal development, get a handle on your budget, clean your house, take the dog for a walk, and still be able to catch up one of the episodes above. Trust me… I know this one first hand!

My point to all of this is… we fall into a pattern of bad habits because life gets in the way, it’s human nature and it can be corrected. Start with simple basic changes and you will begin to crowd out a handful of bad habits in no time.

Remember, you don’t need a brand new YOU, instead focus on creating an improved YOU!



A few Friday’s ago we needed to grab groceries for the upcoming week - after work we decided to knock out dinner and grocery shopping at the same time by grabbing burgers from the Burger Bar at our new Wegmans.

Patrick and I both ordered the American Classic Burger - Beef burger, ketchup, mustard, pickles, American cheese, toasted brioche roll. I opted for a gluten free roll instead of a toasted brioche roll that came with the burger.

The burgers were awesome and the gluten free roll was so-so. I struggle with GF rolls because they often crumble and this was the case. I am not sure if a toasted roll might have worked better - next time I will skip the roll all together or consider buying a pack of gluten free wraps before we order and make a burger wrap instead.

The Tuscan Fries were about the size of a heaping medium and really tasty. I am not sure if the same fryer was used for any of the other menu items that could have caused cross contamination, but for me - I have yet to experience any issues if items are cooked in the same fryer.

All in all - I’d give the Burger Bar a thumbs up! Just knowing ahead of time that the roll - might crumble and it might be wise to buy another roll or wrap ahead of time.

Going Gluten Free

When we came back from North Myrtle Beach in early November I was feeling incredibly off. My body ached, my right eye twitched uncontrollably, my brain fog was in full force, I was sleepy all of the time and my rib cage was tender to the touch.

I was experiencing all of the symptoms of someone who struggles with gluten sensitivity and after doing my own experiment I went gluten free. Within three weeks of removing gluten from my diet; my inflammation reduced dramatically, my sleep improved, brain fog lifted, and my eye twitching came to a halt.

Allow me to go on record and say I did not seek medical advice for doing this. I simply listed to my body, tracked my mood & symptoms and it was clear to me that gluten + me needed to break up.


To confirm my theory - we attended a holiday party hosted by a family member who is a fantastic chef and the menu was everything I loved. Pasta, seafood enchiladas, and homemade pirogies all of which were full of wheat. Sunday morning I woke up to eye twitches, feeling sleepy, and a bit of inflammation.

It’s safe to say that my body is much happier on the gluten free diet than having wheat based meals.

So far, I’ve done the typical transition to gluten free buying everything I normally would just in the gluten free form. As this journey continues I will be sharing recipes, product reviews, and menu items I’ve enjoyed that are gluten free.


One of my favorite ways to pack in nutrients and have a grab-n-go snack or meal is to make smoothies. It’s the perfect option when you are running out the door for work, running errands, or need something to hold you over before a sit down meal. Not to mention a great fuel source pre or post workout.


I am sharing a very comprehensive smoothie guide to help you become a little more creative with your smoothie making and optimize your health at the same time.

Personally, I enjoy smoothies any time of the day and sometimes choose a smoothie as a post dinner snack over another treat.

To keep costs down opt for frozen fruits, spinach, or kale. Or if you choose to buy fresh you can always freeze excess for future smoothies. Another tip is to check out some of the discount grocery stores as many have amazing deals on frozen fruit.

Oh and those weird ingredients like maca, hemp seeds, chia seeds, bee pollen - check your local homegoods, tjmaxx, or discount store as they often have those types of items at a significant savings.

Lastly, I want to talk about protein powder. When my wellness journey began I was introduced to the protein line EAS which I could purchase locally. Over the years, I’ve tried different protein powders and meal replacements and keep coming back to the EAS brand.

I do not believe you need to break the bank on your protein and yes, EAS might not be the highest quality brand or grass-fed, plant based, etc. but DO THE BEST YOU CAN WITH WHAT YOU HAVE ACCESS TOO AND CAN AFFORD!

Not to go on a long winded rant, but I will - I’ve spend a TON of money with different “popular” shake companies and honestly, the only thing I was left with was a dwindling bank account. Don’t fall for the marketing ploys or traps. That’s just my 2 cents on protein powders.

If eating clean or healthy is new to you, keep it basic. Don’t get overwhelmed with a ton of fancy ingredients. You can make due with simple vanilla or chocolate protein, a banana ,ice and non-dairy milk or water.



  • 1 cup coconut water or almond milk

  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries

  • 1 banana

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil

  • 1 Tablespoon hemp seeds

  • 1 Tablespoon flax meal or chia seeds

  • Pinch of cinnamon

  • Stevia or raw honey to sweeten

  • Ice (optional)


  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk

  • 1 Tablespoon flax meal or chia seeds

  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 banana

  • 1 cup of spinach

  • 1 Tablespoon of almond butter

  • Stevia to taste (optional)

  • Ice (optional)


  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk

  • 1⁄2 large cucumber peeled and sliced

  • 1 cup fresh/frozen blueberries

  • 1 Tablespoon flax meal or chia seeds

  • 1 Tablespoon raw, organic honey or stevia to taste (optional)

  • Ice (optional)

  • Cucumbers are a wonderful kidney cleanser and provide you with bounds of energy.


  • 1 cup unsweetened almond/coconut/hemp or rice milk

  • 1 cup of mixed berries

  • 1⁄4 cup unsweetened cranberry juice concentrate

  • 1⁄4 avocado

  • 1 Tablespoon flax meal or chia seeds

  • 1 Teaspoon ginger

  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon

  • Ice (optional)


  • 1 cup unsweetened almond/coconut/hemp or rice milk

  • 1 ripe banana

  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice

  • 2 Tablespoons honey or stevia

  • Ice (optional)


  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk

  • 1 ripe banana

  • 1/2 cup kale

  • 2 Tablespoons cashew butter or almond butter

  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey or stevia

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao

  • Ice (optional) 


  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries

  • 1 Teaspoon maca powder

  • 1 Tablespoon almond butter

  • 1 handful of spinach

  • 1 Tablespoon raw, organic honey or stevia to taste (optional)


  • 1 cup unsweetened almond/coconut/hemp or rice milk

  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds

  • 1/2 avocado

  • 1 banana

  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 Tablespoon flax meal or chia seeds

  • Stevia to taste (optional)

  • Ice (optional)


  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk

  • 1/2 cup coconut water

  • 2 leaves kale or Swiss chard, coarsely chopped

  • 1/4 avocado

  • 1/2 cup mango chunks (the freezer section is great for this)

  • Ice (optional)

Let me know which of the recipes is your favorite! I am already dreaming of my morning smoothie and will be sharing it on instagram stories first thing tomorrow!

My full-time gig

Health and wellness hasn’t always played the role in my life that it has within the past 4 years. Prior to attending IIN, becoming a personal trainer and exploring the world of wellness I was and still am a full-time photographer.

For as long as I can remember and as cliche as it sounds, photography and becoming a photographer was all I thought of. I always dreamed of traveling and documenting the world through my lens. After college graduation I had dreamed of moving to NYC and pursuing a fashion photography career, but instead I met my husband and launched AKP in 2003.

As it happens for many photographers I was asked to photograph a few weddings for family friends and created a full time career traveling up and down the East Coast and Internationally photographing weddings & events. When I wasn’t traveling I was photographing Lancaster County High School Seniors. Side note: I actually dreamed of moving to NYC and becoming a fashion photographer instead of wedding & portrait photographer.

In 2014, I decided to take a brief hiatus from photography to explore the world of health & wellness but if I am being fully transparent, my heart & soul never felt as complete as it does when am behind my camera and working with my clients.

So, that’s it… my full time gig is being a photographer who helps women embrace their own definition of beauty.

Last October (2017), I was able to turn the key and step into my own natural light studio just outside of Downtown Lancaster. It’s always been a dream of mine to have a studio space to play & create until my heart is content and after 14+ years in the photography industry that dream has come true.


Write here…

Inspired by the Wheel of Life

This website & blog has been weighing heavy on my heart and as I was journaling, the idea to blog in relation to the Wheel of Life hit me. If you aren’t sure what the Wheel of Life is - here is a link to the original post and freebie download.


Each quarter I complete a new Wheel of Life to determine how things are going and if there is an area of my life that needs a little extra TLC.

The Wheel of Life is divided into segments or wedges:

  • Home Environment

  • Physical Activity

  • Career

  • Creativity

  • Spirituality

  • Relationships

I want to take the blog into the direction in 2019 playing off the segments that align with the Wheel of Life so I can touch on more topics and areas that excite me. Simply writing about diet and exercise isn’t providing the whole picture. I want to address struggles in career being a self employed business owner to discussing finances and the role that money plays in our health & wellness. And let’s face it, what blogger doesn’t want to talk about fashion, travel, and food so those topics will also be popping up too!

I know this blog and website has taken a lot of twists and turns throughout the past few years, but I’m really excited to share the things that come up in our household and lives.

Bring on 2019! Who’s with me?!



How many of you get anxiety and a bit more stressed around the holidays?!?! Family dynamics, crazy holiday gift giving stress, insane parking lot madness.... 


yeah, me too!

Over this past year, I’ve worked hard to find alternative ways to combat my anxiety, be a social butterfly, and keep my stress level super low. My secret weapon has been using CBD on a daily basis.

My day typically starts with a drop or two of 500mg Peppermint MY SOUL CBD in my coffee (I’ll admit, I’m a peppermint mocha girl any time of the year - I’m so not team PSL), and I’ll apply muscle & joint cream post workout or post photo shoot to avoid any aches or pains that cause irritation at night.


Of course, I could take prescription meds to keep my anxiety away but I quickly discovered that the medication I had been on left me feeling numb to my emotions, always feeling tired, not enjoying workouts, gaining weight, and quite honestly, not feeling like myself - almost as if I was going through the motions, but not really enjoying anything.

After 8 months of taking my daily dose of anxiety medication I decided to cycle off (totally not following doctors orders, but hey… I had to try it on my own). When I felt a bit of panic or anxiety set in, I decided to focus on how CBD could become part of my daily routine. I began to feel like my old self; happy, full of energy, clearer mind, and ready to get back to doing what I love; working out, cooking, standup paddleboarding, and running my business.

To say that I am an advocate of using CBD would be an understatement. We’ve even introduced CBD to our anxiety filled 130# great dane who suffered from anxiety and being a bit overprotectiveness when people come to visit.



My side effects from using anxiety meds:
feeling numb to everything
emotionally blah
weight gain
foggy & hazy Brain




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My first time speaking was a disaster

Not everything goes to plan.

Three (or maybe four) years ago, I completed an application to speak at a photography retreat in Rhode Island and was shocked & honored when I was picked to speak. I spent weeks prepping for the event and closer to the date my nerves were at an all time high. In fact, I sort of felt like an imposter.


Self doubt and negative self talk flooded over me - I even left the welcome party early to go back and rework my entire presentation. My presentation was on the second day of the retreat and as I was listening to other presenters I felt so unworthy of being there. I had about two hours to share my presentation and flew through what I had prepared and was left there standing twiddling my thumbs for what felt like a lifetime.

Several people loved what I had to share and others hated it. A survey landed in my inbox a few weeks after the retreat confirming the feels I had already been feeling. While the speaking event might have been a disaster - it was also a major industry milestone for me. I stretched well beyond my comfort zone. I spoke from the heart and shared my story - the struggles, the wins, the failures and no one could take that from me.

We live in a time where everyone shows their highlight reel, but so few are willing to share the bad days, the failures, and the things that didn’t go as planned. I don’t know if I will ever stand on a stage again, but if I do… I promise to bare my heart & soul once again and if it changes one life… than I did my job.