What I’ve Learned Wednesday: How To Hack and Track Your Fitness Life

Hey y’all!

I just got back from a whirlwind week in Nashville—it’s crazy how much you can miss a place. I am thankful for the life chats with friends, abundant amounts of Jeni’s ice cream, and a chance to pass on the Miss Nashville legacy. Now it’s time to cozy down, enjoy the Christmas season, and start planning…

I was asked today by a reader (yay!) about my favorite fitness wearable, and since I know some of us are already set on atoning for all the holiday noshing, I figured I’d expand this post to talk about some tools I’ve found helpful in staying well and reaching my fitness goals.

Wearable Tech: I’ve not been shy about my love for my Fitbit. I did a fair amount of digging before purchasing my Fitbit Charge, and I couldn’t have been happier with it. Not only did it track steps, sleep, and active minutes, it also could receive and display phone calls and texts. As someone who was reluctant to wear a watch because I have such a small wrist, this tracker was much less obtrusive than an Apple Watch or even the larger Fitbit models and can withstand the occasional toss in the pool (yep, that happened). I’ve since upgraded to the Fitbit Alta, and while it’s sleek and still super functional, I do miss the stopwatch feature. Fitbit Customer Support is also FANTASTIC—they replaced a broken tracker when I tweeted about it, free of charge. Yay for great companies!


Food Tracking: I didn’t think that I could get onboard with the loyal following that MyFitnessPal has, but after downloading it and committing to record my food intake for just three days, I was hooked. I’m a huge numbers person so tracking macronutrients definitely helped me make smarter choices. However, EVERYBODY needs a little grace, so if the idea of measuring food down to the last budgeted calorie stresses you out, you can always go old school and log your food in a notebook, sans numbers.


Continue reading “What I’ve Learned Wednesday: How To Hack and Track Your Fitness Life”

Thank You. 

As I stand before you, I can’t help but reflect over the past 394 days, 2000 miles, 20,000 people, and hundreds of moments that have defined my time as Miss Nashville. This year has been the embodiment of one of my favorite sayings: never underestimate the power of an ordinary person when they are presented with an extraordinary opportunity. To me, Miss Nashville was that opportunity—an opportunity to represent a city whose innovation, generosity, and passion truly make it the best place in the world. 
Being Miss Nashville is about far more than wearing a crown or putting on a beautiful dress. There’s a certain kind of magic that the Miss America Organization has—the kind that makes tourists on the Pedestrian Bridge stop and ask you for a picture, the kind that makes a little girl’s eyes light up when you let her wear your crown, the kind that inspires people to write hundreds of birthday cards for a little boy in the hospital who laughed at seeing you in scrubs when you came to visit him. Every year that this crown is passed on, the legacy continues—the possibility to touch someone in an extraordinary way continues. People will forget my name in a few years from now—but there are kids who will never forget the day Miss Nashville came to their school or ran a race down 12th South in her crown and pajamas. I’m truly lucky to have been a part of that legacy.

Although I am giving up the title of Miss Nashville, who I am as a person will forever be changed. I will never forget the kindness and support shown to me throughout my year, especially through promoting my platform the Power of One and on the Miss Tennessee stage, where I found the courage to publicly identify myself as a sexual assault survivor to what would become an international audience. I have learned to love every part of myself and my story because of this year, and have found my voice because of it. Our world is in desperate need of strong, passionate, and driven women—exactly the kind of women that you’ll find in the Miss America Organization, and especially here in Tennessee.

I stand here today in gratitude all of the people who believed in me more than I ever did. The biggest reward I received as Miss Nashville wasn’t my crown, scholarship money, or even competing at Miss Tennessee—it is the privilege of calling Scott Hilburn my director, mentor, and friend. Scott, the love that you have for this organization is nothing short of inspiring. I am thankful that in you I have a friend for life and someone who will always encourage me to aim a little bit higher (especially when it comes to my hair). I would not have made it to Miss Tennessee without the support of my family and friends and some truly wonderful people. Paige and the Joann’s team—I don’t think you can call yourself a real princess until you have a fairy godmother who can dress you like real royalty. Thank you for always making me feel that way and for being such a supporter of this program. Kent, thank you for transforming me from a giraffe on ice skates to someone who can walk into a room with total confidence. Gordon—I miss our chats in your salon and am so thankful for your friendship. Steve—I still eat egg whites and blueberry oatmeal just about every morning, so to say I learned from you would be an understatement. Matt and Meredith–from my time as Miss America’s Outstanding Teen to Miss Nashville, you two have been such an important part of my journey. To Mayor Megan Barry and the Metro Nashville School system, thank you for allowing me to work alongside you through my platform The Power of One to encourage and inspire our future leaders. And to the city of Nashville, my city, you have and will always have my heart. Thank you for allowing me to serve you this year.

To my successor—I know that you will carry the Miss Nashville legacy well and I am so excited to cheer you on as you serve our city in an incredible way. And to each of you here with me tonight, I hope you leave here inspired by the stories of the women on this stage and the power that each of us have, in our own way, to make a difference. The power of one of us is formidable; the power of all of us is unstoppable. Here’s to building our legacy together.

Meal Prep Monday: My Favorite Healthy Food Bloggers

Happy Monday, friends!

I know it’s extra hard to get back to the grind after a long weekend…technically I’m cheating though, because tomorrow I get on a plane to return to my favorite city! Regardless, Mondays are hard, and sometimes it’s difficult to get those creative juices flowing, especially when it comes to food. So today, I’m sharing some of my favorite healthy food blogs out there. They just might spark your creative juices for tomorrow’s dinner!

Minimalist Baker. You’ve heard me rave about The Minimalist Baker’s recipes time and time again, from Tofu Eggplant Lasagna to Coconut Curry. These recipes take either 30 minutes or 10 ingredients or less, so they’re as easy as they are good for you.

Recipe I’m Currently Dying to Try: No Bake Almond Butter Cup Bars. I mean…hellooooo chocolate.

minimalist baker

Against All Grain. I love Danielle’s creative take on Paleo recipes. She’s got a whole section on her website dedicated to crock-pot recipes, so there’s no need to spend hours in the kitchen to get something wholesome and delicious on your plate.

Recipe I’m Currently Dying to Try: Thai Chicken Pizza. Hello, delicious.

against all grain

Cook Eat Paleo. In addition to a smorgasbord of sneakily-healthy recipes, this site has a free printable shopping list for the newbies to the Paleo diet.

Recipe I’m Currently Dying to Try: Sausage and Butternut Squash Frittata. You know I’m going to be eating this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

cook eat paleo

Paleo Leap. Paleo is a lifestyle (one that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to fully commit to!) more than a diet. This website is great for providing information on the caveman lifestyle and is sure to keep you inspired.

Recipe I’m Currently Dying to Try: Garlic Shrimp with Zucchini NoodlesThis recipe looks so good, it’s got to be cheating.

paleo leap

I’m hoping these bloggers will give you plenty of wellness-related inspiration! If there’s another blogger you adore, show them some love in the comments. Meanwhile, I’ll be in Nashville indulging in my totally-non-Paleo Jeni’s ice cream…hey, we all gotta live a little.

peace, love, and blessings,


Meal Prep Monday: Paleo Sweet Potato Pie

Let’s do some simple math. Pie math (not to be confused with π math)…

Thanksgiving = pie.

Paleo = guilt-free.

Paleo Sweet Potato Pie = Thanksgiving bliss. You can start thanking me now.FullSizeRender-6.jpgI was on the prowl for a Paleo-perfect recipe for this Thanksgiving, and kind of just assumed I’d end up trying out some combination of brussels sprouts, bacon, and kale (not that those are bad things). Something I didn’t think was on my radar: pie. The crown jewel on the Thanksgiving table DEFINITELY doesn’t scream Paleo. But then Lindsay over at Cotter Crunch went ahead and blew my mind with this recipe anyways. I’m definitely okay with that. Continue reading “Meal Prep Monday: Paleo Sweet Potato Pie”

The Friday Five.

Happy weekend, darlings!

There’s a pie in my oven and a wind blowing leaves past my window. The cold weather has been taking its time here in Wisconsin, but I can sense a change in the weather and have bundled my sweaters and scarves accordingly. Here’s a few things to read while we’re all getting good and cozy:

One. Thankful for Thanksgiving and the fact that it can be made into a soup or salad…and healthy ones to boot. This soup from Minimalist Baker is dreams, no?

minimalist baker

Two. Today’s Women Entrepreneurship Day, and the world needs to take note. The way of the #girlboss is the way of the future. Invest in women, inspire your girls, improve our world. Time to roll up those sleeves!

Three. I did some serious dorking out about emails this week…come to find out, I’m not alone in my love for the inbox. Thanks, Internet.

Four. This article from The New York Times has wormed a hole in my brain and seems to be there to stay, so naturally, I’m sharing it with you. The End of Identity Liberalism.


Five. Really and truly need this pair of velvet leggings so I can eat my Thanksgiving dinner with a little class and a LOT of elasticity. It’s the little things in life, y’all.

Wishing you a weekend of warm blankets and long naps.






What I’ve Learned Wednesday: The Art of The Email

Can I dork out for a second? I totally love emails. I am the 1% of the population who is elated by a clean inbox, and pressing send after crafting a well-written note brings me no uncertain joy. Unfortunately, I’m a minority in this sentiment. For those of you who dread checking, responding to, and writing emails, I’m here to share my over-enthusiasm. photo-1477453559950-e541fa922120.jpeg Continue reading “What I’ve Learned Wednesday: The Art of The Email”

Meal Prep Monday: Warm Harvest Quinoa Salad

Do you ever dream of lunch at 9AM?

I know I do. It’s everything I can do not to daydream to my refrigerator and throw together ingredient combinations in my mind. There are some sweet potatoes and a stray red onion in the drawer and some kale on the top shelf. Some quinoa in the pantry…and cheese. Always cheese.FullSizeRender-4.jpgDaydreaming is a good thing. Continue reading “Meal Prep Monday: Warm Harvest Quinoa Salad”