Goals

Morel of the Story

foraging morel mushrooms eat local

I don’t quite have the words to capture the magic I feel in this place. Particularly in this rainy spring weather. The birds in chorus. The forest full with fresh greens. Moss covered trees. Fungi on everything. Damp bark, the clean, fresh air. Little tree frogs. Red tailed squirrels. A white tail frolicking away from us. The energy of trees that are hundreds of years old. The view of the river bluffs carved from the same glacier that made the ole Mississippi.

I’m at my dad’s (no longer working) farm, that has been in our family for almost 200 years. The farm land (consisting of corn and soybeans as crops) was sold a few years ago. What’s left? 150 acres of woods, creeks, ponds, and furry friends!

Sup lil brah

Sup lil brah

fungi on bark
I want his shell to be replicated into art for my home! So pretty!

I want his shell to be replicated into art for my home! So pretty!

An atmosphere perfect for foraging morels. Morel mushrooms are incredibly good tasting mushrooms that can’t be cultivated. They (seemingly) just grow at random during the Spring. They are native to the midwest– and they are fabulously yummy. I’ve only come down to the farm maybe twice before during this time of year. I remember coming as a kid, and being very disappointed in the process. My husband has a joke he loves to say, “Alexandra vs nature”– well imagine a young kid version of this. Bugs? Cold? Rain? Looking in dirt? Yeah not so ideal. But adult Alexandra, while still hating insects in my space, handles all of this much better. And in fact, I kinda love it!

fresh morel mushroom spring illinois midwest

Walking in the woods, listening to the birds, the crunch of the branches beneath my feet. It is very much a magical, meditative experience.

Then comes the actual search process. This is the part I am learning I am not so good at. I thought being so distinctive, I would have no trouble with this. Pattern recognition is my jam. Well, finding them is a pretty random game. There needs to be some sunlight, so that the land isn’t too moist. And they tend to be close to elm trees, but not necessarily directly under them. Lots of rain seems to help them to pop up, too.

I’m embarrassed that my initial thoughts made me feel like I was in a real life version of Zelda. Searching for any oddities or things out of place. I felt like I was pretty good at that. I found a tree frog, countless spiders, a deer antler, various other types of fungi, deer fur, and more. But the morels… a bit tougher. I found the first one of the trip, but my beginners luck ended there. The thrill of finding one is addictive. It feels like finding gold–nature’s gold, that is! 

My dad really seems to have a knack for it. Miraculously, on day 2, my dad found the hot spot of all hot spots. We found an area with about 100 morels! It was like hitting the jackpot. So so satisfying, everywhere we turned we could find one! So satisfying. 

This is beyond farm to table. This is natural food, uncultivated, just created because mother nature is incredible, then foraged and immediately put on the table. I’m beginning to understand the appeal of hunting. I’m much happier with being the gatherer in the hunter-gathering scenario though! 😅

I’m so thankful for the experience: for the connection to the land and my food! “Morel” of the story: I came back after 3 days having a much deeper appreciation for all that our mother earth provides for us! -AHS

morel mushrooms pike county illinois
morels on burger with spinach
morels with butter and white wine

How to Prepare morels

In terms of preparation- simpler is better! My step mom lightly breads them and fries them. A delicious option if you are into crunch! After cleaning them thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly!!!) I prepared them in a large pan. I heated them and let them release their water for a few minutes. With some of the mushroom juice still available I added several pads of butter, and white wine! They pair beautifully with pasta, steak, or even a burger!

morel mushrooms midwest fresh

Q & A: How do I lose belly fat?

First clue: skip the bagels! I know. So hard!!

First clue: skip the bagels! I know. So hard!!

A very common question I get as a health coach is “how do I lose belly fat?”.

[Note: I’m not going to evaluate the validity of the question- if it matters to you, it matters to me! I’m here to support you the best I can!]

Well unfortunately, there is not a simple answer. There is a lot of information out there, a lot of it is nonsense. Please skip the “teatoxes” or anything that guarantees fast results. Furthermore, no amount of crunches will eliminate that extra cushion in the front! You may have heard that abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym– and that is absolutely true!

I believe the best approach is one with slow, sustainable progress. That’s not what most people want to hear, but that will leave you with lasting results. It’s important to remember that it is very common that belly fat is the last to go! You need to be consistent, and put in the time to even approach losing excess from your midsection!

The Shed program is designed to help you tackle this issue! You eliminate and scale back on some of the most problematic foods for your middle!

Foods that can hinder belly fat loss:

  • white or refined carbohydrates (see above bagel)

  • sugar

  • dairy

  • alcohol (beer especially can be problematic!)

You don’t need to eliminate these from your diet forever. But skipping them for a concentrated period of time will help push your body out of it’s current de facto state and will allow you to start losing.

But if you are skipping the foods above- what do you eat? Prioritize eating lots of vegetables, protein at each meal, and healthy fats! (If you are looking for guidance on this- the Shed program has meal plans included!)

You may eventually hit a plateau. There are a variety of ways to tackle a plateau– it really depends on your body and circumstances. Oftentimes you just need to change up your exercise routine. Doing more or LESS may be the solution. If you are putting too much stress on your body, it releases cortisol- which is the enemy to weight loss! If you have been doing light exercise like walking, it may be time to add an extra boost. Plateaus are really where coaching is the most helpful– everyone’s life is unique and what may be causing your plateau may be completely unique to you. (Shoot me an email if you are interested in one-on-one coaching!)

Back to cortisol– if you perpetually feel stressed– this could be your biggest issue with losing weight around your tummy. Try to find ways to manage your stress. I highly recommend meditation and yoga to bring some calm to the chaos! Other people manage their stress with running or other cardio. Just try to find something that can consistently bring you some zen!

In summary, the steps to losing that pesky tummy:

  1. Eliminate problematic foods (white/refined carbs, sugar, dairy, alcohol) from your diet for a period of time

  2. Eat a healthy diet filled with lots of vegetables, protein and healthy fats!

  3. Push past plateaus

  4. Manage your stress

  5. Have patience and enjoy the journey of changing your lifestyle for the better!

5 Ways to Practise Self-Love from Bridal Coach, Georgina Lucy

Georgina Lucy. Photo by  Ashley Kingsbury  .

Georgina Lucy. Photo by Ashley Kingsbury.

Today’s post is a special guest share from Mindful Bride Coach, Georgina Lucy! I love her thoughts on this topic. Please note I left the post written in her delightful British English. Enjoy! -AHS


I get it, as a bride you want to look and feel your very best for your wedding day.  You’d be hard pushed to find a bride who doesn’t want this. With this being an important goal for so many brides it can also bring up challenges. By focusing on what you want to change about yourself it can lead to unhelpful and often quite punishing self-talk and that’s no fun!

I want to help you turn this on its head and practise some self-love during your engagement, whilst staying committed to your goal of looking and feeling your best come the wedding day. I promise you, these two things are perfectly compatible.

1. See yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you

So often we are our own worst critics. We look in the mirror and see all our perceived flaws and fixate on them. We give ourselves a hard time when we make mistakes and put insane amounts of pressure on ourselves when we’re not ticking things off the ‘wedmin’ to-do list fast enough. It’s exhausting isn’t it?

Have a think about all the people in your life who love you. Hopefully you have a few special people to pick from. Take a moment to put yourself in their shoes. See yourself through their eyes.

What do they love about you? What little quirks make them smile? What parts of you do they adore the most? Really feel that love they feel for you. When we see ourselves through the eyes of someone who loves us it can feel a little more comfortable than looking in the mirror and chanting, ‘I love you’ (don’t get me wrong, there is a place for that too).  Hopefully this will allow you to see yourself in a loving way. Tap into this feeling next time you’re giving yourself a hard time.

2. Be careful what you consume

Do a social media audit. What’s dominating your newsfeed? Does it make you feel good? Often, we follow ‘aspirational’ accounts and people to give us something to aspire to but is this making you feel good? If it is, then great but really question the impact certain accounts are having on you. Do you notice a shift in energy when a particular person pops up on your feed? Really notice these shifts and don’t be afraid to hit ‘unfollow’ or ‘mute.’  Believe me, it can feel very empowering!

By consuming content that lifts you up and nurtures you you’re being kind to yourself and this is a huge act of self-love. What podcasts make you smile and make you feel good about yourself? Listen to more of them. We have a lot of ‘dead time’ in life – travelling, loading and unloading the dishwasher, sorting laundry. Use this time to absorb anything that makes you feel good about yourself. Some of my go-to feel-good podcasts are, Oprah’s Super-Soul Conversations, Project Love and Wobble.

3. Be Obsessively Grateful

As I said before, we tend to fixate on what we don’t like about ourselves don’t we? What about fixating on what we love about ourselves instead?

Think of just one thing that you’re grateful for about your body. For me, it’s my long legs. I used to hate being tall and felt like a freak when I was head and shoulders above my school friends but now, I’m so grateful for my long legs. They carry me through my day, get me from A to B, and often rather speedily! Not everyone can say that. Maybe you have incredible skin, beautiful long eyelashes, strong arms. Believe me, you have multiple parts of yourself you can feel gratitude towards, if you let yourself.

Really focus on that feeling of gratitude. Notice how it feels and sit with it a while. Simply the act of noticing things to be grateful for shifts your mindset and sooner or later, when you look in that mirror, your mind will go to the good bits first.


4. Let yourself off the hook

When you’re planning a wedding, it can become ALL about the wedding, ALL of the time. If this creates feelings of pressure and overwhelm rather than feelings of excitement give yourself permission to take a break.

One of the brides inside my Facebook community, The Mindful Bride Tribe was feeling totally behind and overwhelmed. The solution wasn’t to work out how to fit yet more tasks into every ounce of spare time she had, it was the opposite. She let herself off the hook and had a weekend off.

When we’re not doing what we think we should be doing, we can beat ourselves up can’t we? Just like your mobile phone, you need a recharge once in a while. How about a wedding free weekend? A date night free from wedding chat?  Time spent doing things that light you up? I bet when you come back to it you’ll have a new lease of life to tackle that to-do list like a boss!

It all starts with giving yourself permission to do what feels good for you. Listen to your body and if there’s signs of stress, that’s a clue you need a break and letting yourself off the hook is such a wonderful way to show yourself some love.

5. Write a love letter to yourself

Get quiet, put on some lovely music, get a pen and a notebook and write a love letter to yourself. If you find yourself staring blankly at a page then think about how you’d support a friend who needs some words of wisdom? Treat yourself as you treat those you love.

If you’re stressed, anxious or under confident give yourself advice about what steps you could take to ease that pressure. Don’t give too much thought to what you’re writing. Just let it flow out of you. It may feel hard at first but persevere. This is just for you. There is no judgment and you may just find you have some real breakthroughs.


Find out more about Georgina and how she is supporting brides with their wedding wellbeing by visiting her website georginalucy.com, or joining The Mindful Bride Tribe Community on Instagram or Facebook.

Your body is beautiful

I’m sharing this photo as an act of self love. Even though I see my faults, I also see a strong healthy woman!

I’m sharing this photo as an act of self love. Even though I see my faults, I also see a strong healthy woman!

I was having coffee with a friend last week and I had a realization that I have a low tolerance for talking about weight loss. Upon reflection, I think that’s because no matter what your shape or size is, I truly think you are beautiful no matter what your size is. And obsessing and following extreme diets and exercise regimes to change you… well it upsets me, to be honest. While that may sound contrarian to what my name implies; “Shed” for the Wed, is really about making Soulful Healthy Eating Decisions. It’s so much more than seeing a certain number on the scale.

I’ve made it very clear that I am not about counting calories, weighing food portions, or restricting whole food categories for an extended period of time. I want to teach you how to eat healthfully to make you feel your best on the big day–but more importantly for the rest of your life! And that requires making healthy living sustainable for the long term.

But while you are learning about healthy eats (which will in 99% of the time help you lose weight if that is your objective), I want you to know you are already “wedding ready”. You are a radiant human just as you are right this very moment. If you have a hard time believing that–as so many of us do–I want you to be actively working on loving your body. By showing love for your body, you are showing love for yourself, and when you love yourself, you can truly love others fully and without judgement. And isn’t that what life is all about?

Another incredibly important point–when you love your body you have a healthy relationship with food. You don’t look at cake with disgust or with lust (okay maybe sometimes with lust 😂), but it is neutral. There will always be options that are healthier and options that are less healthy. Foods do not have the labels of “good” or “bad”.

All of this is easier said than done. This work does not happen overnight. Sometimes it can take years of our lives to decondition ourselves from the years of torment we (and society) have placed on ourselves. I’m for sure still working on it, and probably will be for a long time! I’ve compiled some easy actionable tips to start you on the right path:

  1. Look in the mirror and say something nice about what you see once a day (at least!)

  2. Eat vegetables and fruits. By feeding yourself nourishing foods, you are honoring yourself and showing your body love.

  3. Whenever you think a menu item is “bad,” active try to change your mindset in that moment to that it is neutral. Bonus points if someone orders it and you eat some!

  4. Meditate. Take 5 minutes out of your day to just be.

  5. Move your body joyfully. Turn on the happiest song in your Spotify library and have a dance party for one. Or ride your bike outside. Whatever it is, make sure it puts a smile on your face.

What are you doing to show your body some love this week? Leave me a note below or on Instagram/Facebook! With love, AHS

Finding balance: How to Juggle Healthy Eating, Exercise, Insanely Busy Work Life, a Seemingly Endless Social Calendar, and Planning a Wedding!

finding balance shed for the wed healthy eating exercise

If you read this headline and got very excited, well, I’m sorry to disappoint. Before you keep reading looking for the solve, know that there is no miracle solution to finding balance. “Work-life balance” is a myth. You just have one life. Work is a part of that life. It reminds me of what they used to say about working mothers– “she wants to have it all!” well the reality is you can’t have it ALL. Something will always feel like it is out of whack in some capacity. But what you can do is find routine and ritual to keep what matters most to you moving.

I decided to write this post because one of the most put together people I know was one of the people requesting it. If I couldn’t ask her to be a guest blogger on this topic, I was fairly certain there isn’t a clear answer.

This is coming from someone who searched for the answer for years! I remember my first real job out of college. I was working super late every night and really it was my first time really living on my own. I always felt too tired for the gym or to cook when I got home. I ordered takeout nonstop. I craved balance so badly. I kept saying there had to be another way. Well I can tell you, that led me to quit said job and move to another continent for a year in search of a better way of life. And I can say I learned a lot in that one year from the way that the Aussies live their lives in work and play. But moving to another continent is not really an option for most people, nor is it desired! The real question is how to make the life you have right now feel more ideal.

Here are my 3 steps to help you reclaim “balance” in your life.

1) Determine what feels off to you

If you are searching for balance that implies that something is imbalanced. Do you just feel like you are struggling to reach your goals? Do you feel exhausted with your current lifestyle? There is a tool I use with my one-on-one coaching clients called the Circle of Life. It helps you identify where you feel off in your current day-to-day life. What’s amazing is that it can change entirely from one week to the next. But it’s a great place to start if you are struggling to identify what feels off in your day to day. I’ve included it here for you, just because! Note: it includes a variety of facets to life. Those may be applicable to what comprises your circle, or you may need to make an adjustment to fit your life! Ask yourself, “what does balance mean to you?”

Do the exercise and see where your gaps come up for you right now!

2) Set a goal (or not)

Once you are clear on what is off, you can move forward deciding with what is most important that you would like to change. If goals are your thing, you could make yourself a goal to help correct the imbalance. Sometimes I feel like setting goals for everything takes away their power, so I would most likely give myself some weekly objectives (in my world they are different!) I would like to aim for.

An example of my weekly objectives: exercise 4x/week and meditating daily. I have check boxes in my planner for them both. I don’t always hit them, but that is okay too!

If it is something you really care about, you need to make it a priority. If you don’t really want to make it a priority, think about why that is. Maybe it’s that you feel like you should do something, but in your heart, you just don’t care. THAT IS 100% OKAY! But don’t beat yourself up about not working out everyday if it’s not something that you really don’t have any interest in prioritizing.

3) Be Prepared

Now that we are clear on where our imbalance lies, and what we would like to change, now it’s time to make sure it happens. If you have a typical 9-5 the weekend is a great way to get on top of it. Carve out time for yourself during the weekend or whenever your off days are. It’s easy to load up on social events, but make sure you have time for a bit of productivity. I have one friend who says “Sunday’s are sacred”– and it’s become my favorite phrase! For many people it’s meal planning and doing cooking for the week on Sundays. For others it’s plotting out and signing up for their work out classes for the week. Make that time a part of your ritual and then the Sunday scaries become empowering!

I’ll be honest with you, this step is my weakness. Because I work for myself, I’ve just gotten good at doing things that matter on the fly, and that works for me. I wouldn’t aim for that, but know that success looks different to everyone.

As I am all about the healthy eats, I will tell you the number one way to ensure success is to prepare in advance. The Shed nutrition plans have meal plans built in for 8 weeks. If you use one weekend day to really make meals in advance and portion things out for the week, you will be on the right track from the very beginning of the week! It’s all about making that a priority, if that is what matters to you!

Allowing for grace

For me, living intuitively within my body is the goal. I listen to my body and give it room to process. This goes for eating (I eat mindfully, and try to listen to the cues my body gives me) and exercise (if I’ve worked out 3 days in a row, and my muscles are telling me they need a break, I give them a break!). But it also is a part of the bigger picture in my life. Sometimes life is going to be madness, and you need to step it up to make everything come together. But then, you need to allow for time to recoup. We live in a world where productivity is the metric of living a successful life. We’ve been trained to think that way, but really, there is more to life than checking off every item on your to do list. If you don’t make it to the grocery store because you are spending time with people you care about and having meaningful connections with them, then you know what, I would consider that more productive than meal prepping for the week! It all comes down to what really matters to you. And depending on your phase of life this can fluctuate.

Why I love working with brides is because they have a definitive time frame to when they would like to reach their goals. They are highly motivated in the moment that they find me! That being said a bride’s goals and mindset is not the same as a new mother’s, etc. Each phase of life you are in, a new balance becomes clear. Allow yourself to be comfortable in the place that you are in right now!

There isn’t a one size fits all answer

Every individual has their own, unique set of challenges. This is why I have a coaching business and not just online programs that run without me. Because at the end of the day, finding that balance in our day to day lives is hard! Sometimes you need someone there to help you deal with your particular set of circumstances (the Shed platinum program is the best for this!). Following a program works for some people, but other people have more challenges that they need to overcome in order to reach their goals. Your experience is unique to you, and your job is to find what a balanced healthy lifestyle means in the context of your life!


So what does living a balanced life mean to you? Where do you prioritize your time? I want to hear! Leave me a note below or on Insta/FB. -AHS

Tidying Up Before The Wedding (written by a self proclaimed pack rat)

tidying up before the wedding marie kondo konmari method

Conor and I live in a 2 bedroom condo. We’ve been in a relationship for 12 years and we’ve lived together for about 7 years. We’ve been married for 4. We have accumulated a lot of mess during that time. And mostly its stuff we don’t use or need. We literally still have things from college around our place. I feel like I’m always getting rid of things, but we are always at max capacity–and to be clear, this place really is the perfect size for the two of us. There is no reason for us to live this way.

So one of my goals of this year is to clear the clutter. Get rid of what we don’t need, use, or in the words of the great Marie Kondo, “spark joy”. I received Marie’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” as a gift a few years back. I started reading it, and was learning a lot, but stopped because without executing I felt like I wasn’t actually making progress. I ended up converting a few of my drawers to her signature trifold method, but they eventually were messed beyond repair- and TBH, without getting rid of {enough} stuff, it was hard to have space for everything.

This is an example of a the KonMari method trifold FAIL. Note: It is important to know the size of your drawers! Keep scrolling for “after” success pictures.

This is an example of a the KonMari method trifold FAIL. Note: It is important to know the size of your drawers! Keep scrolling for “after” success pictures.

Fast forward to 2019– I was super sick the first week of the year, and during that time I binged “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix. And I know I am not alone. There are reports of thrift shops being filled to the brim with all the excess goodies inspired by Marie. I caught the bug and began the process. My goal is to complete the KonMari method by the end of Q1, freeing up space in our home, and setting up our good tidying habits for life!

If you are not familiar with Marie and her work, I will give you a summary but first– why should you tidy up before the wedding? You have so much going on in the months pre-wedding, why make time for this now?

Well, first and foremost, you are about to receive SO. MUCH. STUFF. Between bridal showers, bachelorette’s (often with a lingerie shower included), and just your general wedding registry, you are about to own more stuff than you ever have before. Yep. I said it. You are going to have more stuff than you ever have before!!! If you don’t live with your significant other, you are about to merge all of your stuff with another human. Don’t be like me and bring everything. You don’t need it. If you do live with them already, you are going to make room for your new goods! Lastly, having a clear, clutter-free space feels awesome. It helps your mind have space to think. You are approaching a new life phase- head in with a clear head!

The KonMari Method

I am not an expert at tidying. In any way (*cough, pack rat, cough*). So, I am taking my cue from the expert. Marie Kondo’s “KonMari Method” is a 5 step process. Instead of going room by room she goes by category:

  1. Clothes

  2. Books

  3. Paper

  4. Komono (Miscellaneous: includes kitchen items, bath, decor, office, cleaning, etc.)

  5. Sentimental Items

I like this for several reasons- you have to take everything out of its place before you put it back in a more organized fashion. It forces you to deal with things that haven’t been dealt with in eons. I also like that you do sentimental items last. Like most things, tidying up is a muscle and you are building strength by going through the process. By the time you get to the tough stuff, you have built up the muscle. This is also why it’s important to do all categories within a relatively quick period. Otherwise you lose the strength!

This is my before picture. Does it give you anxiety?? It sure made me feel horrible. These are just my clothes- my husband’s are not included.

This is my before picture. Does it give you anxiety?? It sure made me feel horrible. These are just my clothes- my husband’s are not included.

I am on the clothes section right now. I have done my tees, sweaters, pants, dresses, shorts, scarves, and bathing suits. I haven’t finished shoes, underwear, socks, jewelry, coats, belts, handbags, or hats. What I struggle with the most with getting rid of things is the nostalgia of it. Sometimes an old teeshirt will remind me of the best times in college or those were the jeans I bought when I studied in Italy. Marie encourages you to thank every item you give away. A lot of people laugh at this step, but it has been such a gift for me! I can say thank you and honor our time together- it helps me get through my sentimentality.

Another one of her criteria for all possessions is that they should “spark joy” for you. It is also really helpful when evaluating. That being said, there hits a point where you know (for example) your kitchen knife doesn’t spark joy, but you use it everyday. So then the question to ask is “do you want to bring it into your future?” - a great question for all brides-to-be!!

This is just the beginning of my process and I am perpetually reminding myself that perfection is not necessary. I’m also hoping that this process will help break some of my sentimentality around objects– the less I care about them, the happier I will be! I’m really looking forward to getting to the Paper step (omg this is the worst for me) and kitchen! I cannot wait to get rid of a million excess water bottles and organize my drawers. 😂😂


In summary, tidying up as you embark on your next phase in life will put you in an awesome position to start your marriage! What’s better than starting your journey will a fresh slate and a beautiful tidy home?!

If you are inspired to get started, I highly recommend you watch a couple episodes of Marie’s show on Netflix or buy her book. I will say, the show makes it really seem within reach. If you guys want to hear more about my tidying process, let me know and I’ll continue to post updates.

Happy tidying! -AHS

Setting Intentions for 2019

setting intentions 2019 core desired feelings.jpg

Note: I laid out my entire goal-setting method (which I’m obsessed with) here, so if you want to read all about that, that post is for you! This post will cover the changes I made to this years process and my personal journey with setting my new year intentions.


This January, my goals have not been as free flowing as in the past. Normally, post-Christmas, I know exactly what I want to work on in the upcoming year. And while I definitely have this drive in many areas of my life right now, this upcoming year is going to look different than years past (more on this in posts to come), and I’m not going to lie- it has thrown me! I feel a bit less in control of my life and thus, are having a harder time really connecting with my goals. Especially the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) aspects of them.

For that reason, I have decided to focus on my core desired feelings for the year, and to set my intentions, but without using monthly SMART goals. (Again, if you need a debriefing of these terms, read my original goal setting post!) As time goes on, I may choose to set monthly SMART goals, but right now, I’m keeping it loose. Typically, I would not encourage this in clients of mine. You need to get very clear on what you want in order to achieve it! But you also need to know yourself, and right now, that feels a bit counter intuitive to my own nature. And as you will soon see, one of my words is grace, and that is what I am giving myself!

The two words that have come through the most strongly for me this year are Connection and Flow. This is not the first time these words have come to me. I believe that these words, at the end of the day, are apart of my soul’s mission. I need to have meaningful connection with others first and foremost. And re: flow, I need to go with the natural rhythms of life, and not work against them. And bonus points because it also ties in with my yoga practice! My other core desired feelings for this year are: joy, grace, and prosperous. The key with Core Desired Feelings is that you should want to feel them inside your core. Sit with them.

These words are more higher arching ideals, and normally I have a tangible work word(s) like “focus” or “discipline” like last year! But those feel off to me this year so I think this is a year to enjoy the ride!

So to summarize, my core desired feelings for the year are:

  1. Connection

  2. Flow

  3. Joy

  4. Grace

  5. Prosperous

Next I’ve set intentions for the following pillars of my life: health, career, family, home, community, spirituality, and travel. I won’t lay them all out for you here but I will share a couple examples.

In the home area of my life, I have decided to Konmari method our condo in the first quarter of the year. (Yes, I binged Marie Kondo’s Netflix show when I was sick the first week of the year!) Both my husband and I tend to keep things longer than we should, and sometimes it feels like we are busting at the seams. Her whole essence behind tidying up is that your possessions should “spark joy”- and that ties directly with one of my core desired feelings for the year, so I am fired up about this!

In the spirituality area of my life my intention is a bit more vague. My intention I set for this year is to make meditation and prayer a priority. I could make it more tangible like, meditate 5x/week for 15 minutes or go to church every Sunday- but I’m allowing for grace with this intention (and with all of them!). It may not seem like this is a very exciting goal- but I can tell you, I can feel the difference in my life when I do not make meditation and prayer a priority- and it’s not pretty.


Overall, my net takeaway is be in tune with yourself and where you are at. Feel free to adjust your sails accordingly as time goes on. And remember that new intentions should light you up and feel excited! I wanted to share my own personal experience with you, because I think it’s important to trust in yourself first and foremost. There are a million people out there telling you what to do and how you should do it to see the best results- but at the end of the day- you know you better than anyone else. Go deep within yourself, you know what you need. And at the end of the day, give yourself some grace with the process and enjoy the journey!

What are your intentions for 2019? Leave me a note and tell me about them! Holler if you want me to check in on you (for free!) to see how they are coming! Xo, AHS

Intuitive Eating

Yeah, that’s me being a lovely example of not practicing mindful eating! Or am I? 3 bite rule?! Side note: I love the dapper groomsman strutting across the floor! Photo by Kristin LaVoie

Yeah, that’s me being a lovely example of not practicing mindful eating! Or am I? 3 bite rule?! Side note: I love the dapper groomsman strutting across the floor! Photo by Kristin LaVoie

Hello bride tribe!!

Today I wanted to talk to you about one of my favorite things to work on when I coach clients one-on-one, Intuitive Eating. Also, often referred to as “Mindful Eating,” it’s all about finding your own flow.

It’s interesting, because my coaching clients tend to fall into one of two camps. The first: “tell me what to do and I’ll do it” and the second, “I already know what to do but I have trouble executing.” In all actuality, both types of clients are desperately in need of more mindfulness in their own lives and routines. Client one is great at doing whatever they need to do to “see results”- and often times ignore their bodily cues. Client two may recognize their body cues more easily - but have a hard time finding the right rhythm of mindfulness in their day-to-day lives. Either way- we end up working on becoming more mindful and intuitive, especially in regards to consumption!

If you had a standard American childhood (I’m sure this applies to many places outside of America as well, but not sure where to draw the line, lol) you grew up on three main meals and then several snacks throughout the day. You may have dropped one or two of those as you grew up and life became busy and hectic- but I’m guessing you probably still think in terms of 3 meals a day (even if you’re consciously skipping one)! We have a societal routine of breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. It’s just what we do! And nothing is wrong with eating 3 meals–in fact, the Shed program is built around it! But the key here is - if you are having three square meals a day- are you actually hungry when you eat? Or are you forcing it? Are you starving by mealtime? Are you eating quickly to get all the food in on your lunch break? I often have three meals a day, but I listen to my body cues to tell me when to eat and how much. We need to tune into our bodies to figure out what it needs! Vs what it’s scheduled for.

But before we look inward, we need to clear out some of the bad habits that make it difficult to assess our bodily needs! It’s easier to follow your body’s cues when you aren’t exhausted, or surrounded by other people. For example, I am horrible at listening to it when I am at parties or around my mother (lol, seriously though), but I’m great at it during the work week when I’m predominantly by myself. The following includes some of the biggest culprits to preventing mindful, intuitive eating.

Basically, you want to avoid and break these habits:

emotional eating

Don’t eat when you are overly stressed, sad, or mad. 1) It’s hard to feel hunger (or it subsiding) when you are in extreme emotional states. 2) It can create a bad connection between food and emotion. You never want to rely on any substance to make feelings go away. This goes for wine too!

Eating because “it’s time to eat”

If you eat just because it’s lunch time but you are still full from breakfast, you are doing your body a disservice by eating. If you can, wait until you start to feel those hunger cues before starting the next meal. If work makes that tricky for you, try having small snacks on hand so that if you do get hungry and you are in a meeting you have something to hold you over.

Grazing

Similarly to above, grazing is a similar form of non-mindful eating. Have you ever been completely non-aware and you snap out of it when you are looking in the refrigerator? Boredom and eating just because are the opposite of mindful eating. Make sure you are actually interested in eating a snack before proceeding.

Technology at meal times

Eating while watching tv or looking at your phone is basically the death of mindfulness. It is very difficult to process what you’re eating when you are zoning out. It’s also a great way to get in the habit of eating dinner with your fiancé/e! Romance bonus points!

over eating because something is too delicious

By eating slowly, you will be able to listen to your hunger cues and not over indulge. If you are eating dessert- this is a great time to use the three-bite rule. Have three bites of the deliciousness and then stop. Most of the time, you will feel totally satisfied!


Seriously, this work can take a lifetime, so don’t beat yourself up if you catch yourself doing any of those things. Pick one to work on for the next two weeks, and then once you feel good about it, add another one to your healthy habit to do!

Now that you’ve cleared out your anti-mindful habits, now it’s time to add in some of the good stuff!

Things to incorporate:

1-minute body scans

Before eating, take one minute and close your eyes, and focus on every part of your body, one part at a time, from head to toes. You will be able to identify if you are tense, or stressed, famished, full, bored, or tired (or anything else!). So many times we turn to food when we are looking for a distraction. This will help you realize if you actually are hungry or if you are just looking for something to pass the time. It is maybe the biggest step in becoming in tune with your body, and in turn your eating habits!

drinking lots of water

Many times we think we are hungry when in fact, we are just dehydrated! The cue is very often confused in the body! Water will make you feel great and will make sure you are tuning into your real hunger!

Eat slowly

Which also means, try to prevent extreme hunger when you can- because it is difficult to slow down when you are hangry! But when you slow down, you can fully appreciate all of the flavors of the wonderful meal you are eating, you will know when you are full, because your stomach will have time to communicate with the brain, you won’t overeat and you will enjoy more! What’s not to love about all of that??


There, for sure, is an art to becoming more mindful and intuitive around your eating habits. And even if you are tuned in–it doesn’t always mean you listen! Mindfulness is a practice just like anything else. It’s not something that is easily checked off on your list of to dos. But, when you add the practice to your life you will be able to listen to yourself and know what you need. No long term coaching required. Once you find your own internal rhythm and know how to listen to your body, you will never have to go on a diet again! It is hands down maybe the best habit to get into for living a healthy lifestyle for the long run!

What are you going to switch up to have more mindfulness in your routine? Leave me a note below or on social! -AHS

Gratitude Begets Gratitude... the November Gratitude Challenge is back!

Ah it’s that time of year. The weather is getting colder and darker. Many of us in the Midwest begin to get SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder (also this is your PSA- it’s time to add Vitamin D supplements into your routine. It helps! I promise!)!

To combat the gloom, last year, I created the Shed Gratitude Challenge for the month of November. And we are doing it again this year! This is such a great time to be mindful of all that we have to be thankful for. And honestly it’s probably the easiest way to get #zenforthewed. A truly grateful heart is the best peace you can find.

To quote myself from last year’s post:

“You have to actively choose gratitude. Gratitude is a practice, and an important one at that.  Just like hopping on your yoga mat, or sitting down to meditate, you have to bring focus and presence to your practice. But why should we practice gratitude? Being aware of all the good in your life helps to cultivate a mindset of abundance and helps to keep hardships and daily struggles in perspective.”

I’ll take it one step further to say, it can help shift our mindset to find our challenges as gifts. It is also a great way to show some #selflove too! Anyways, I’m clearly into it. I hope you are too! Now let’s give some thanks, together!

How to participate

  1. Every day, write down three things you are grateful for. It doesn't have to fit a particular theme. It can be anything you are grateful for, just make it specific! Try to make them different every day. I recommend a journal or planner if you are a paper person, but it’s not necessary.

  2. Share it! Because #gratitudebegetsgratitude! I would love to hear all that you are grateful for! I’ve created a template for Instagram stories you can use to share, or you can post on your feed. Whatever feels right to you. If you don’t want to share it that’s okay too–but it’s nice to have community. :)

  3. That’s it! What’s holding you back?

The challenge goes until Thanksgiving, and I hope you will continue the practice after too! Tag your posts with #shedgratitudechallenge for a chance to be regrammed/shared.

Follow along with me @shed.for.the.wed on Instagram to keep up with my gratitudes! I'll be posting to my feed and stories daily! 

Download the graphic below to start sharing to your stories:

shed for the wed gratitude challenge instagram stories

In other news: the Shed Weekly Digest will be coming out this week! Every week I’m sharing a day’s worth of #shedapproved recipes! And when you sign up you get my food and wellness journal for free! Woohoo! Add it to your list of daily gratitudes! ;) You can sign up below!

Happy November, loves! Very grateful for all of you! -AHS

The Glow Up

Hello beauties! First and foremost: this is your reminder that you are amazing and perfect just as you are. Right this very second! Are you feeling your fabulous selves today? Do a lil shimmy! Okay, now we’re ready!

I created Shed for the Wed because I wanted to help brides feel good! Planning a wedding whether for 500 people or just an intimate occasion with just your nearest and dearest can be stressful. It can bring up a lot of different emotions and can be downright exhausting! I want you to feel* full of life, love, and energy during your engagement. And I want to help you glow on the big day. There are many ways to accomplish this task, but the foundations of achieving this are the 3 Ss: Sustenance, Sweat, and Spirit. These are the basics that I want you to make sure you prioritizing in your pre-wedding routine. I will dive into each of the three Ss more in later posts- but I wanted to lay the foundation for the wedding glow up!

glow up - food for fuel vitamins minerals eat the rainbow

Sustenance

It is so, so critical to fuel your body with foods that provide nutritional value. Make sure you are “eating the rainbow” and getting your vitamins and minerals through whole food sources that are accessible for your body to process. Eating this way (and eliminating foods that may hinder it) give you ample energy and make your skin glow from the inside out.

Beyond that, have you ever noticed when you haven’t been eating healthy foods and perhaps have been drinking too much alcohol, you tend to feel more anxious or sad? This is not unusual, but you may not have made the correlation before. Healthy foods and water galore help not just your glow, but your mind too! All of this was taken into consideration when creating the Shed for the Wed Nutrition Programs! You can have piece of mind that you are fueling you glow and not adding to your pre-wedding nerves!

Sweat

yoga wheel exercise sweat it out sweating for the wedding

Getting your sweat on is the most obvious place people start when #sheddingforthewedding - which is actually why I don’t focus on it that much. I’m sure you already know there are serious benefits to exercise. Ranging from good heart health, increased bone density, all the way to relief from depression and anxiety– it really is fantastic. I find that when I have a good sweat routine, I know I’m taking care of my body, and I automatically just feel better about myself. When you build physical strength, you also build mental strength. I include it in the glow up list mostly because it’s an awesome way to boost your confidence. Just don’t overdo it- if you focus too much on sweating for the wedding, it can actually end up doing more harm then good.


Spirit

Spirit is the hardest to define, because we are have different essences to our beings and our souls and what satisfies my spirit may be very different to yours. But it is maybe the most important part of the glow up. You should be LIT about your life. I blather on about “self-care” quite a bit. But really any of the things on the following list could fall into that category. Do things that you love every single day.

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

Connection

  • Going on date night with your boo (*ahem* I mean almost spouse)

  • Belly laughs with friends

  • Spending time with loved ones

  • Volunteering

  • Cooking for loved ones

Nature

  • Swimming in the sea

  • Sunshine

  • Hiking (also counts as sweating!)

  • Gardening

Mindset

Spirituality

  • Praying

  • Going to church (or temple, mosque, whatever your affiliation)

  • Meditating (again)

Creativity

  • Making music

  • Writing

  • Painting

  • Drawing

  • Blogging

  • Cooking

Other

  • Traveling

  • Participating in activism

  • Snuggle time with a pet

  • Taking a social media hiatus

  • Whatever you consider fun!

My spirit is flying high on this one! Hiking, sunshine, nature, travel, all with my favorite person- doesn’t get much better than that! <3

My spirit is flying high on this one! Hiking, sunshine, nature, travel, all with my favorite person- doesn’t get much better than that! <3

The 3 Ss are the perfect trifecta to maximize your glow up for the big day. Which one are you going to begin to focus on first? Leave me a note in the comments or on Instagram or FB!

Happy glowing!

-AHS


*It’s okay to feel any emotion during this time, but I’m assuming you want to feel your best, thus I want to help you get there! Have a read of this post if you are feeling less than stellar mentally during your engagement.