Category Archives: Puppy Love

Hiking, Stupid Laws & Spartan Rhode Island Bucket Workout

It’s FRIDAY! Can you believe it?

It's friday

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What a week it’s been, but as they say ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, right?! *Okay, okay! I’m totally exaggerating here*. It’s been busy and productive, just the way I like it.

It’s been raining here in Montreal these past couple of days. On the brighter side *literally*, it should clear out for the weekend. Yay! And you know what I’ve been planning? A nice hike with my hubby and our baby!!!

Hiking with Bella

*Look at those cute butts haha!*

This picture is from our hike a month ago. I’m embarrassed to say, but that was my first ever hiking experience. I have no idea why I had never done it before! It was such a great experience, I want to do it more and more.

But than listen to this. Shortly after the hike to the Black Mountain, I found out that dogs are not allowed in provincial parks of Quebec. I was (and still am) outraged. To me, this doesn’t make any sense. I would understand having to keep my pup on a leash, but not this. And in all honesty, I can’t imagine going for a hike on a weekend to enjoy myself knowing that my beloved Bella is locked up at home in her crate.

no dogs allowed

Anyhow, I was lucky enough to speak to one of my co-workers about my concern this week. He was brilliant enough to suggest to me to check out some skiing resorts a.k.a. private parks. *BINGO!* I was able to find a few really nice hiking places within an hour drive!!! All I have to hope for right now is that my husband’s heel doesn’t hurt as much, which he hurt during his soccer game last week. *Sad face… He kind of looks like a T-Rex when he walks, which is… kind of… well… absolutely HILARIOUS!* 

funny-T-Rex-hat-dinosaur

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*P.S. I just died laughing!!!!!*

Moving on to today’s training… As always, I use the Spartan guide, but today’s workout looks rather interesting. Oh, and it’s called: Rhode Island Bucket Workout! Not that it’s impossible to do, I just have to figure out HOW I can accomplish it successfully since I don’t have a membership at the gym. Well… Judge for yourself *and, please, let me know if you’ve got any ideas*!

Equipment needed:

2-5 gallon buckets with lids, filled with sand, water, rocks – some type of manageable weight – and a 5′ steel bar with hooks on both ends *YESSS! Any ideas?!*

Warm up:

Jog slowly in place for 1 minute
200 jumping jacks
Stretch

Conditioning:

Decline-bucket push-up – place your feet on the buckets and your hand on the ground. Adjusting the spacing of your hands for variation, do as many push-ups as possible.

Incline bucket push-up – place buckets 224-30 inches apart. Place hands on buckets and feet on ground. Do as many push-ups as possible, going between the buckets.

Bucket lunge – Hand the weighted buckets from each side of the steel bar. Place bar behind your head resting on your trapezius. Lunge for 50 yards.

Side jump – place buckets on ground with steel bar resting across them. Stand beside the bar, jump over the bar to the other side, and repeat 20 times.

Bucket curl shoulder press – use the steel bar with weighted buckets hanging from both ends. Begin by curling the bar up to your chest and then press the bar over your head. Slowly return to the starting position, and repeat.

Bucket high-step walk – hold a weighted bucket in each hand. Walk for 100 yards with high knees.

Cool down with a light jog, and stretch.

Spartan Bike

Warm up for 10 minutes in zone 2

Repeat 6 times:

Ride 3 minutes in zone 4.
Ride 1 minute in zone 2.

Cool down for 10 minutes.

+ 30 sit-ups for 30 days challenge

dedicated

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Are you a dog owner? What are your thoughts about this ‘No dogs allowed’ thing?

xoxo
Olena

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Q & A: Life Is Too Short To Be Serious All The Time (Part 2)

Oh my gosh, it’s Friday! How exciting is it?!

My body is finally getting back to normal and the soreness is fading away, which means that most likely I’ll go for a nice jog this weekend. I can’t wait!

Oh, and check out what I got from Amazon yesterday.

Spartan Up

That’s right, it’s Spartan Up! by Joe De Sena. For those of you who don’t know, he is the founder of the Spartan Race. I kept on seeing this book everywhere over the past few weeks, and finally gave in.

I read only a few pages and I am already hooked!

This book is a guide to leaving your comfort zone and aiming for more, despite how difficult this may be. It teaches how to:

  • conquer your greatest obstacle – your will
  • embrace your greatest friend – discipline
  • make limitations vanish and establish a new normal
  • achieve the ultimate – obstacle immunity

Here is a short excerpt from a prologue:“An inverse correlation links how miserable you feel in the race, and how great you feel after it, so you can bet I felt like a million bucks afterward. When you break through the other side of hell and finish an event that did not seem possible, that stopped you in your tracks over and over, something happens. You feel accomplished, incredibly proud of yourself and, in some ways, a different person.”

Believe it or not, that’s exactly how I felt on Monday. I am looking forward to reliving this experience over and over again.

Today, I’d like to finally answer questions from Michelle, a blogger behind Baby Blues to Running Shoes, who was super kind and sweet to nominate me for a Liebster Award.

Q & A

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1. What was a defining moment in your life so far?

It’s definitely a moment I wish never happened. About 2 years ago, I almost lost my mom because one bad driver decided to burn a stop sign and hit my mom, who was crossing the street on her bicycle, at full speed, even though it was her right of way.

reckless driving

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Needless to say, this event shook my world. At that moment of time, my mom was only 46 years old,as you can imagine, I never really thought that something bad could happen… I was wrong! I am very grateful that she is okay now, but this whole incident taught me to live my life to the fullest and appreciate people around me, and also not to forget to tell that I love them all the time.

live to the fullest

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2. Who is your biggest inspiration?

Probably, my future unborn children. *Did that sound cheesy? lol!*

3. What is one thing you are too scared to try?

Giving birth! *Not that it’s going to be a choice when it comes to it!*

labor

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4. What is a goal you are working towards right now?

Even though there were a few setbacks throughout my training, but I am really keen on obtaining the Spartan Trifecta Medal this summer.

Super Spartan

5. Do you have any phobias?

Giving birth?! *AHAHA! Crying silently…*

6. Have you ever broken a bone?

Scared to jinx it, but I am glad to say that I don’t have any broken bones in my body.

7. What is your favorite time of year and why?

I love spring/early summer when everything around comes back to life! I find this time of year I get extra energy and motivation to set new goals and accomplish more.

weekend walk

8. Who are 3 celebrities you would want to have dinner with and why?

I always have a difficulty answering this question… Probably Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock and Ellen Degeneres… These women inspire me!

9. Do you have a nickname?

According to my husband, I am  ‘baberoo’, ‘tootsie roll’ and ‘toots’. Go figure!

10. What decision are you most proud of?

To marry my husband! Even though, at times I tell him otherwise *girls, girls, girls*, but meeting him is the best thing that has ever happened to me. He is my world! *Babe, you didn’t really just read that… You must be dreaming or something…*

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What is the book you are reading right now? What is it about?

xoxo
Olena

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Well, Well, Well! Have You Missed Me? Hiking At Black Mountain & More

HELLO, MY DARLINGSSSSS!

First off, Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful and beautiful mommies out there!

Happy mother's day

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Now… I returned from Europe a week ago. I am so sorry for disappearing off the radar for so long, I really didn’t mean to. However, I really underestimated the emotional impact my trip to Ukraine had. I will talk about this some other time, but I really needed to take a break  and I feel that I am ready to be back. *WOOP WOOP!!!*  

I missed you

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I know you all would like to hear about my trip to Europe; however, today I’d like to tell about the AWESOME weekend I had!

My hubby and I went to a cottage with our friends. And let me tell you, they are an amazing bunch of people, I love them with all my heart… to the moon and back… twice! Haha! *You see? I AM generous!*

Recently, one of the couples got a super adorable pup, a mix of  boxer and pitbull. They called her Stella, and she is the cutest thing EVER! I mean, look at her!!!

Stella

Needless to say, Bella and Stella are best friends now! *Why wouldn’t they be? LOL!*

Bella & Stella

*Aren’t they SUPER CUTE?!?!*

When we woke up on Saturday, we were pleasantly surprised by the sun and warm weather because the forecast predicted showers. The guys considered playing soccer in the backyard, but then we all unanimously decided to go for a hike to Montagne Noire (Black Mountain). I wasn’t aware, but on October 19, 1943, a B-24 bomber crashed near the summit of the mountain. It’s a very sad story because all 24 military men, who were heading home, died in the crash. Not only that, but the plane was found almost 3 years later (read more here). According to Global News, it is the worst accident in the history of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Black Mountain

The nature was simply breathtaking!

Lake

It was about a 12-13 km hike (back and forth, obviously). So as you can imagine, the dogs had a blast! Unfortunately, we didn’t see the remaining wreckage of the plane, even though the crash sight was only about 300 meters away: there was too much snow and it would be too dangerous to bring our pups there.

Snow

*I took this picture on the way back; but it was about knee deep at the place we got to.* 

I feel like this weekend with my family (my hubby & Bella) and friends up north finally brought my mind back to a positive place.

Bella at lake

The Spartan Race is only a week away, and I feel like I am not in the best shape for it. Last month was somewhat of an emotional roller coaster and I haven’t done any running at all. That being said, I have remained active and I am super excited for this 13+ km race, and can’t wait for the day to come!

I can do it

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Has this ever happened to you? What do you suggest I do in order to get my body ready *somewhat ready* with only 7 days left? *Let’s be real, I am not expecting miracles here! lol! I simply want to enjoy the experience.*

xoxo
Olena

 

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The Spartan 30 Push Ups For 30 Days Challenge, Doggy Park & More

Good morning beauties!!! How are you? I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

be awesome

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My weekend was really great. Even though it didn’t really go the way it was planned *stupid weather lol!*, my hubby and I spent a lot of time with our little beauty Bella. We decided to take her to a doggy park for the first time. Despite being somewhat intimidated  by bigger dogs, I think, she really enjoyed the experience.

at a doggy park

Needless to say, she was EXHAUSTED.

Tired Bella - German Shepherd

When my loves were sound asleep and there was absolutely nothing on TV, I started snapping some selfies with my cell. *My pest bit through the rear-end camera lens… for the second time… I guess, that’s what they call LIFE. Haha!* Here is the result.

Be YOU

Oh! And we finally got to watch Frozen. I LOOOOVE Olaf! ❤

*PS. This specific scene is so actual for the weather in Montreal. We all wish for summer/spring very much, but the real surroundings are very close to those in the cartoon. But I’m not losing my hope! Haha!*

Guys!!! You will not believe me! It seems like finally the Spartan Gods have heard my plea and sent a challenge that I needed for a while!

myths-legends-atlas-greek_gods-greek_myths-ancient_mythology-titans-jprn157l

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As you may remember *or not*, one of my fellow fitness bloggers, Emmeline, threw a challenge to see who will be able to do the most push ups and pull ups by June 21, 2014. I diligently did my thinking and decided to set a goal of 30+ push ups. It’s all sweet and dandy, but I felt like i needed a solid plan in order to reach my objective. And VOILA!

Spartan30_PushUp_Calendar_PS

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I am super duper excited to share that the challenge starts TOMORROW on April 1! All you have to do is 30 push-ups a day for 30 consecutive days. SIMPLE!!!

Here are a few more tips from the Spartan Race itself:

  • No fancy gym memberships required. All you need is the floor beneath your legs, your own body (safe to assume you have this) and determination. Post your pictures and/or your times. Then do it again the next day.
  • So how do you complete a push-up? Follow these steps: 1 – Get into plank position, with your hands slightly outside of your shoulders. 2 – Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor, keeping your elbows close to your torso. 3 – Push away from the floor and back to the starting position. Repeat 29 more times!
  • If you can’t do one push up, start the challenge with the “modified push-up”. To perform a modified push-up assume a push-up position but bend your knees allowing them to touch the floor and cross your ankles. This will make the push-up easier and can be used as a stepping stone to the standard push-up!
  • If your wrists hurt, Try using a pair of dumbbells or push-up bars. The modified grip will allow you to keep your wrists straight.
  • You can even time yourself. By keeping track of your progress, you can watch yourself improving
  • Feel free to push yourself further! Don’t stop at 30, if you can do more.

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make things happen

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*** Also make sure to read one of my previous posts for more insights on push up technique, some laughs and cute pictures of little kidos ‘doing’ push ups: Push Ups 101: A Cheater’s Guide To Lousy Push Ups, 35+ Push Up Variations, And Fast & Effective Bodyweight Upper Body Workout.

watch me

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How was your weekend? Are you going to embark on the Spartan 30 push ups for 30 days challenge? How do you challenge yourself every day?

xoxo
Olena

 

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Be Weird, Be Random, Be Who You Are Or 11 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

Good morning, darlings!

A quick follow up on yesterday’s run. It was somewhat tough because my legs were sore from my Sunday’s workout. However, I did manage to run 6.5 km in 37 minutes, which is okay. I SHALL NOT GIVE UP!

tough-runs

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Needless to say, my foam roller became my best friend yet again *read here for more foam rolling tips*! Today, thankfully is my rest day, so I will probably do some stretches, nothing major though.

As you most likely remember, I was nominated for the Liebster Award about a month ago. However, when I was nominated again last weekend by She Does Write, I was truly honored and couldn’t decline it. Not to repeat myself, I decided just to answer the questions. I find, it is a great way to provide give you with another glimpse into my life. *For some strange reason, I noticed that I don’t tend to talk about my private life in here that much.*

So there it goes.

1. What is your favorite word or phrase?

The first phrase that came to my mind is…

Be-the-change-You-Want-To-See-in-the-World-Gandhi

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2. Dogs, cats, or other–and why?

I am definitely a dog person. It might sound somewhat funny *and RIDICULOUS*, but I am actually scared of cats. Not that I want to run the moment I see one, but I am really afraid that it will scratch me. I think I’ll blame my grandma’s cat who is super cute and WILD at the same time! On the other hand, I’d love to own a tiger! *How confusing!*

As for the dogs, I am a German Shepherd lover. Meet my beloved Sanda who passed away last year.

German Shephed

And here is my little 4.5 months old pest and trouble-maker, Bella:

Bella

3. What was the best part of living where you grew up?

I was born in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Kyiv

When I was little (about 2-3 years old) my parents decided to move to my dad’s home city Cherkasy, where I ended up living for about 13 years of my life. My fondest memories of my childhood are the moments I spent with my family at the beach close to our house, where we would go quite often: in summer – to swim, play soccer and volleyball, and even camp, in winter – to skate and ski.

Dnipro

Dnipro 2
4. What’s the best part of living where you are now?

Montreal is one of the most beautiful cities in the entire world! I might be biased, but my heart belongs here.

The nature is breathtaking.

Montreal - Mont Royal

There are plenty of events happening all year long.

Jardins botaniques

And the architecture is beautiful, and yet not overwhelming: a mix of old and new.

downtown Montreal
5. What was your last dream about?

To be honest, I don’t really recall, but it was something in James Bond style, meaning me running away from someone to stay alive. All jokes aside, that’s how I felt. Haha!

Nightmares

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6. Have you ever pranked someone in an epic way?

Okay, so I don’t really remember pranking anybody recently, HOWEVER… I was pranked pretty badly about a year ago by a local show Les Détestables. It is a Montreal’s hidden camera comedy program, where elderly people say or do inappropriate things trying to get a reaction out of innocent people *me!* who do not suspect a thing!

Since the video is in French (Montreal is a bilingual city), here is the translation:

Elderly lady, ‘Excuse me, but I haven’t finished reading… Can you turn the page back?’
Me *clearly shocked*, ‘Excuse me?!?!’
Elderly lady *turning the page of my book*, ‘I stopped reading right here.’

You won’t believe, this encounter lasted for much longer, but they didn’t show it all on TV. What you need to know about me is that I am NOT a rude person. That being said, this situation gave me a pretty intense headache from conflicting emotions and feelings that I had experienced for the rest of the day! Haha!

7. If you could ask your future self anything, what would it be?

How was child labor?! Ahaha! *I am terrified!!! Not that I’m pregnant either! LOL!*

you pushed me out of your whatSource

8. How would you describe your personal style?

I am not sure I understand this question properly, but I am very determined and competitive. Definitely, a good friend and a family person.

9. Have you ever met a celebrity?

Multiple times! My problem though is that I don’t know who they are!

who are you againSource

10. What is your favorite thing to do in downtime?

I love to read, take pictures and edit them!

smelling books

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11. What is the last thing you photographed?

I actually took this picture of myself.

nomakeup selfie

Not that I’m one of those girls that loves to constantly take selfies, but I thought the idea behind it was really nice. #nomakeupselfie was done in order to show support and raise breast cancer awareness.

So tell me, do you like these posts where I give you some random facts about myself? What would you like to know about me?

xoxo
Olena

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The New Spartan Challenge + The Most Effective Squat Workout From Fitness Blender – Drop It Like A Squat!

Good morning darlings!

I apologize for not checking in with you for a few days. As I mentioned last week, I am really preoccupied with what’s been happening in Ukraine, especially with my trip there only a bit over a month away *my hubby is not excited about me having to go there without him at all*. Plus, I was not in my top physical shape, that’s for sure. Anyhow, let’s forget all about it, it’s a new week.

take what you need

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Obviously, there are many updates. Come on, don’t underestimate me!

First of all, in my quest to lower sugar intake, I decided to give up all chocolate and cookies for Lent. *There, in your face, sugar!*

I love chocolate but it makes my clothes shrink

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Our 4-month old German Shepherd puppy is a big girl now. She had her first training class… and she lost her first 2 teeth! Aweeee! *Just in case, these 2 events were NOT related! Haha! Imagine!*

Toothless Bella - German Shepherd comic

Oh, and I made poached eggs for the first time in my life! *I know, what a shame. But then, it’ better later than never, right?!* Sorry, there is no picture. I was too hungry, plus my hubby made some delicious hash potatoes. Yum!

Also, do you remember my recent post on squats? The timing was perfect. Why? Because, there is a new 30-day challenge from the Spartan Race!!! Woop woop, I looooove love love those!!! (you can see previous challenges here and here).

So this time around is… DRUM ROLL… 30 squats for 30 days!!!

30FOR30_SQUAT

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Even though the challenge started on March 5, don’t hesitate to take it on. All you have to do is to do at least 30 squats per day for 30 consecutive days. EASY PEASY!

If in doubt, here is how to perform a correct bodyweight squat:

That being said, you are not limited to a particular type of a squat. Therefore, you can change it up every day and work different muscles.

What else is important to remember is that “Many people find that they cannot perform this movement until they increase their mobility. A quick warmup and gentle stretch can help to you feel ready to attempt a bodyweight squat. The full squat requires sufficient core stability and glute activation, so be patient and focus on quality not quantity.”, according to the challenge organizers.

Feel like challenging yourself even more? Try this 100 squat workout from Fitness Blender one of these days, or maybe even to conclude the Spartan challenge. Why not?!

How was your weekend? Will you join in on the Spartan squat challenge? What are the ways you like to challenge yourself from time to time?

xoxo
Olena

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Failure To Find A Valentine’s Gift On Time, Fighting Blood Cancer & 45-Minute HIIT & Total Body Toning Tabata Workout

Hi lovelies! I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s day and a fantastic weekend! Today, I decided to give you a sneak pic into my life. *I figured, you need to know that I am a normal human being who likes to have fun and what not. Haha!*

On Valentine’s Day, my husband was a total sweetheart and sent these beautiful roses to my work.

Roses

And what I loved the most is the balloon that was attached to them!

Balloon

HOW CUTE! Right?!?!

Anyhow, I was a horrible wife. And I must admit, I failed at coming up with an idea for a gift. Yup, that’s pretty bad considering that it was out first ‘married’ Valentine’s day and I DID NOT get him a gift… Okay, okay, I made these delicious mini cheesecakes at least… on Wednesday!!! Yup, total failure and there is no way around it! *But keep on reading! As you know, there’s always hope when there is desire! Haha!*

On Saturday, we went to the Light the Night fundraiser, a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society event designed to raise funds for a lifesaving blood cancer research.

My family-in-law has two very close friends whose children beat the cancer’s a$$. *If you’re interested, you can always support the cause by sponsoring one *or both* of these teams: Alyssa’s Crew or TOM THE BOMB!*

light the night

It was definitely touching to hear the survivors speak about their battle with cancer. I can’t imagine how these children have so much courage and strength to face a decease that doesn’t give a chance at life to many… It was heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time! And the food was delicious!

Osso bucco

Also, there was a silent auction. *Please bare with me here, it’s important!* I NEVER thought they were fun, but then… I SAW AN OPPORTUNITY!

You see, my hubby is a BIG soccer fan and he is Italian, and there was a sports memorabilia frame with a glove of Gianluigi Buffon, a great Italian goalkeeper.

Buffon

That’s where the evening got SUPER STRESSFUL! The room was full of roaming soccer fans, and I…. I DARED to overbid someone else. Of course, I knew that that someone else was going to come back about 5 minutes before the end of the auction, so I had to use a woman’s persuasion. Here is a quick overview of my speech: “Oh hi! Please, tell me you’re not interested in soccer, there is so much of hockey memorabilia!…Can I somehow hide this bidding sheet? Oh, no? Okay… Hey guys, can you please block this table for me?…Are you the guy who bid before me? Oh no! Please, don’t overbid me! PLEAAAAASE! I bid on this for my husband, who is a HUGEEEE fan of Buffon. Please, don’t bid! We’re newlyweds… We just got married last August… And… I… I… I didn’t get him a gift for our FIRST married Valentine’s day.. PLEASE, DO NOT BID, this is my last chance to get it right!” 

And, it worked!!! IT WORKED SOMEHOW! I got my hubby a gift, a day later, but I did! *Please, DO NOT leave shopping for gifts till the very last moment. Especially, during your first year of getting married. It’s a bad BAD idea! Haha!*

And here is a picture of our fast growing beauty.

Bella 3.5 months

For today’s workout, I decided to switch it up and do this 45-minute HIIT & total body toning Tabata workout. Just because… I FEEL IN LOVE with Tabata!

Have you ever participated in a silent auction? What was your experience? Have you ever had to really beg someone to get what you want?

xoxo
Olena

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