Time for a new Playlist – 29 minutes perfect for cario

IPODWent trolling the internet to find a playlist that would motivate a new cardio routine.  I cherry picked those that would motivate me and I’m still seat dancing to it.  I’m loving the first one a LOT!

We have a rowing machine at the gym.  I’m going to see if this will keep me motivated to go 29 minutes.  HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA  we’ll see.

Here we go.

Move – Little Mix

Timber – Pitbull ( one of my boyfriends)

Can’t Hold Us - Macklemore

Love Me Again – John Newman

Boneless – Steve Aoki

Smooth Criminal - King of Pop MJ

Last Chance – Kaskade & Project 46 (left this one for the end to slow down :) )

Summer Gazpacho and only 105 calories!!!!!


This past weekend I had lunch at Benedict’s in Crystal Lake.  They had one of my VERY favorite soups, Gazpacho.  I’ve made it before but didn’t have all the ingredients in the fridge. Gazpacho is light, delicious and filling.

After my workout today I just had to make it.  I headed over to Aldi because they carry SimplyNature products hoping I could find a low sodium tomato juice.  Didn’t but they had all the veggies!  It cost me $8.40 which is $1.05 per serving – just incase you’re watching your pennies.

You can see it makes two large containers.  It’s made in your blender or food processor.  I based it off of Ina Garten’s recipe after a google search for a lighter faire but I changed it because of what I had in my cupboard and I didn’t use as much salt.  She makes me a wee bit anxious over her salt usage.

You’ll need:

  • Food processor or blender
  • Extra large glass bowl to mix it all in
  • Large ladle
  • 2 qt containers to store it in.


  • 4 plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, or 3 small ones, chopped into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 2 red sweet peppers, I used a red and a yellow.  You could use green.  Cut up in 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 of a red onion, sliced.
  • 48 ounce can of tomato juice, you’ll only use half of it or a little more
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra light olive oil, Bertolli
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

Using your blender/processor, add your cucumbers, peppers, onion, and garlic and 1/4 of the tomato juice and blend it all.  You should have maybe half of the blender full.  Add all the tomatoes and blend again.  When finished pour the mixture into your extra large glass bowl.

Add the red wine vinegar, extra light olive oil, another 1/4 of the tomato juice, pepper, and salt.  Using a whisk, whisk all the ingredients together to mix the oil and vinegar into the mixture.   If you think you need a little more tomato juice just add it.  You should have about 2 cups remaining of the tomato juice.

Ladle it into your containers (from Cassandra’s Kitchen) and refrigerate the gazpacho to the meld the flavors.  IT’S AMAZING!!!!!!  And perfect for a summer day after your workout.

Now, you can add any veggie you’d like, maybe zucchini or black olives.  Also, if you have some elderly tomatoes in your keeper, use them.  Some folks like jalapenos, not me.  No heat for me.

The Nutrition Facts came from MyFitnessPal.com for 1 cup.  One of the reasons I LOVE MyFitnessPal.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
Calories 105

Total Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 536 mg
Potassium 348 mg 1
Total Carbohydrate 9 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Sugars 6 g
Protein 2 g
Vitamin A 15%
Vitamin C 65 %
Calcium 3 %
Iron 3 %






The Great American Quilt: Just Call me Rhapsody in Red – Part VII

2014 AQG done3It’s been a while since I wrote about the Great American Quilt but I had conflicts at poignant parts of the process, I had to work, then there was a wake, unfortunately life happens.  But during those times the raffle quilt committee moved forward to hand off the quilt top to one of our members Emma Everett who quilted it on a long arm machine.  We like to use our members for these projects.  She was kind enough to raise her hand and we are sooooooo appreciative of her time and artistic vision.

When you take your first quilt class you will find out about all these techniques.  Listed below are the things a long arm quilter needs to complete your quilt.  My friend and quilt mentor first described this process to me as, “If you are going to spend hundreds of hours, in making a beautiful top, give it to someone whom has a long arm.  You’ll be much happier.”  I whole heartedly agree.  But, to the purist, our guild will be offering at one of our meetings to learn how to quilt by hand.  Can’t wait to take that class.

2014 AQG done8This is why we offer a raffle quilt, to bring opportunities such as learning to quilt by hand to our members.   We take any and all members who would like to learn about quilting and all form of artistic sewing.  At our last meeting a very distinguished artisan, author and blogger, Rachel Wetzler, presented a slide show called – “MY Story”.  She shared a STUNNING selection of quilts.

We are also a philanthropic organization making baby quilts for the NICU at Advocate Sherman Hospital.  Our next meeting is an exchange of fabrics in order to make baby quilts which will be due this November.  We make these at our own cost.

Ok, enough about us.  What do you have to do to get the top prepped for the long arm quilter.

The “quilting” of the quilt needs:

  • a top – the blocks that everyone made and Sue Stanek pieced together with the borders
  • a middle – a natural cotton fiber batting
  • a backing – material we initially chose that compliments the top.

Emma met with Carlene Moeller and Sue and they discussed their ideas for the design of the quilting.  Emma asked that the quilt back and batting be 3 inches larger than the quilt top on all sides.   The extra fabric helps ease the stitches for shrinking as it is stitched.

There is an art form to designing patterns that fit within the blocks.  Emma did a gorgeous job of highlighting the dynamics of the quilt.  Let’s say you have a triangle.  Are you 2014 AQG done22014 AQG done 5going to just stitch lines or will you create a triangle flower?

Sue and Carlene together with Emma discussed the quilting of the larger open spaces, the larger light square in center of star and the large red half square triangles.  All the smaller pieces, Emma suggested, would have the scallop stitching you can see on the quilt.  As for the border, Emma asked if Carlene and Sue would like feathers.  She would follow the curves of the vine in the border fabric and add feathers.2014 AQG done4

Sue and Carlene delivered the quilt to Emma on April 10.  It was back in time for the April guild meeting after 18 hours of work.  WOW!

Back in the day people would hand quilt their labors of love.   Today, there are machines that can do amazing wonderful things with patterns on fabric.  The machine is called a long arm.   Judi Madsen of Green Fairy Quilts has wonderful videos, if you care to see them, on how to use a long arm.  You can even see what a long arm looks like on her blog.  It takes up a room.  She has a lovely site and is expanding her business in yardage and notions.  I really enjoy seeing young people enjoy sewing.

2014 AQG done 7Moving on, Sue then started the binding.  That’s almost 11 yards of binding because the quilt is 96″ x 96″.  It was complete but not stitched down by the meeting night on April 24th. The binding was stitched down while watching the Black Hawks games, leaving a small part to finish at the Saturday bee in May.  Pat Mesker and I swapped bodies and she was me at the Bee.  I had to work.

The last thing to do is label the quilt.  The name is Rhapsody in Red.  The approximate cost (our cost) is $1,000, which honestly is on the very low side.  There are appraisers who will appraise a quilt and depending upon the artistic work, the composition, the detail to perfection, quilting, and numerous other characteristics a quilt could appraise at $2,00 to $2,500.  This is a piece of Americana art.  We will have it displayed in many places till the drawing time of November 20, 20014.  Winner need not be present to win.  I’ll be posting those sites soon.

Our raffle quilt is ready to go.  You can reach any member of the Algonquin Quilt Guild or contact me and I can get you tickets.  They’re SUPER CHEAP!  $1 for 1 and 6 for $5.  The money raised goes for programs and projects that the Guild performs throughout the year.  You can get ahold of me here or on my Facebook and we’ll get you the tickets promptly.

Stay tuned to viewing venues.


Inspire Us: Best Trainer Ever Tony Wuebker

2014 Trainer Tony3There’s a “fitness tribe” of us that found out we could submit our trainer for Live with Kelly an Michael show and we collectively brought our words and photos together to submit him because we felt he deserved a chance at winning.  Unfortunately he was not chosen out of the thousands of entries.

So we’ll let you know what we submitted.  WE have a tremendous amount of pride in his professionalism because he’s done so much for so many.

“Meeting with a trainer when your demons are on high is the worst and best day of your new lifestyle change. Trainer Tony Wuebker’s demonstrated professionalism has helped us to conquer any and all demons. He passionately BELIEVES we will attain our goals especially when we have entered into the dreaded self-doubt direction. Tony will NEVER give up on you. His knowledge of health and fitness has changed our lives.

Tony will tell you that he does not offer a cookie cutter routine to obtain your fitness goals. His clients come in various sizes, genders, ages, and medical needs. His unique style of training is tailored to each client. He is always positive and excited about the workouts he creates. You can always tell how excited he is about his workouts when he tells you the plan and then flashes the pearly white teeth with a big smile.  The bigger his smile is, the better the workout.

What also makes him unique is the connection he has made with his clients. You might be a boot camp person, or a private training client, but whether it is through the annual Thanksgiving Day Boot camp, his “Trainer Tony” Facebook Page, or just showing up, he makes sure we all know each other.  Linking us with likeminded people only strengthens the drive and motivation to stick to our fitness goals. He creates that magic. His energy and enthusiasm are contagious.2014 Trainer Tony2

Tony graduated with a BS in Sports Science and pre Physical Therapy from Loras College. He is an NSCA Certified Personal Trainer. He employs the successful High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) techniques for all of his clients.

His boot camps are HIIT circuits incorporating bodyweight exercises, (ex: lunges, squats, burpees), TRX Bands, Ropes, balance ball, water pipes, his own wall to climb, tractor tires, hurdles, truck pulls, and of course weights. He gets the most out of us without putting us in jeopardy of injury. He is always thinking of new ways to train.  Because he is a master at HIIT he knows exactly how to get your heart rate up and down to maximize the benefits of the training.  He teaches proper form and explains why you are doing a particular move and how it will affect your progress.

Many one-on-one clients come in with serious issues. His genuine concern for their well-being is evident in the professionalism toward goal setting, nutrition, exercise, and rebuilding broken spirits. He works at building up confidence in ones strength. He’s admitted that he takes pride in seeing people reach their goals, whether that’s losing 100 pounds or learning to walk again.

Tony trains his clients to compete in Tough Mudder and marathons. These challenges create transformative work ethics for his clients related to career, lifestyle, family and other successes even outside of the gym. He has the capacity to change lives.

2014 Trainer Tony4He is not above jumping in with you to workout. If your schedule isn’t allowing you to get into the gym, he will offer up his personal time to meet you or join in with him during his personal workout. He looks for you every day at the gym and will call to see if you’re adding some type of exercise to your non-gym time or at least keeping on track with your food choices. He is only a text away, and celebrates with you even if it’s to take a picture of the scale for a small goal reached.

Tony is completely non-judgmental with an innate kindness that motivates us to continue our journey. He pushes us to achieve more than we ever thought possible. He teaches with an unwavering commitment to a lifestyle of better nutrition and activity.

Tony has changed our lifestyles for the better. Some of us have lost 15 pounds; some have lost upwards of 100. He teaches us about nutrition and not dieting.  It’s the clean eating regiment where processed foods are a thing of the past. At least 5 to 6 meals a day, lean and green after lunch, half your weight in water, cut out the pop, salt, no fat stacking and only good fats are on the menu.

Professional Highlights:

  • Trainer to Julio Gomez Season 8 of Biggest Loser who lost 180 pounds in 180 days and came in second for the at home participation.
  • Behind the scenes Trainer for Becky Ochal, MTV’s show “I used to be Fat”.
  • Author: “Get it Right Make it Tight” The Ultimate Guide to a Sustainable and Profitable Personal Training Business.
  • X-Plode Athletic Enhancement Program
  • X-Treme Physique Classes / Bootcamps / 90 Day transformation Programs
  • Part owner and program designer for a new fitness concept Cross Kicks Fitness

From all of us, we BELIEVE Tony is the best fitness trainer.”

  • Mary Fioretti
  • Zim Asani
  • Dana Popovich
  • Allison Popovich
  • Ianna Loader
  • Dani Ebert
  • Brian Eback
  • Curtis Faessler
  • Donna Bland
  • Marcy Buffo
  • Bob Henry
  • Teri Mehlhop
  • Jen Kelly
  • Kathy Eback
  • Betsy Lima
  • Brittany Agnes
  • Arianna Fontana
  • Danielle Giamberduca
  • Abby Peterhans




Blogger Girls Block of the Month Block 2

I know, long time no type.  My husband works from home now and has command of the computer.  Makes it a wee bit difficult to be creative in the writing realm when you don’t have access to it when you feel like composing.

The guild has been pretty busy this year.  One of the projects we started was a Block of the Month using Monique Dillard’s Blogger Girl’s BOM 2.  We’re two months behind them.  We chose this because the design uses rulers – a new technique for some, we had a quilt educator come in and demonstrate how to create these rulers, we had a project developed around this technique for April, and finally Monique will be joining us in August to see what type or progression we’re making.  WE actually articulated a series of events.  Accomplishments.

What I will say about the ruler and flying geese, they’re perfect..  Not kidding, they’re perfect.  I’ve never had any goose come out perfect.  For you quilters, you know I’m saying here.

This is really for my fellow guild members as a guide.

2014 AQG BOM block 2 12014 AQG BOM block 2 2For me I chose to do red and creams for my BOM.  I fell in love with our raffle quilt and wanted my own red and white quilt.

Pat Mesker gave me a great idea to keep things straight as I was cutting and assembling, to label the pieces.  In block 2 we use 4 colors.  So I used A-D on post its.  You can see in the second photo how well this works.

2014 AQG BOM block 2 3

2014 AQG BOM block 2 4Just follow the directions to sew the geese.  There’s four in this block.  I also have to create a “true” or “scant quarter inch” stich on my Janome which is position 4.5 on my machine.  That worked out amazingly.  The next photo shows lining up the point and the ruler.  See how it fits so perfectly – lined right up.  Point on the goose, and point on the ruler.  Get the heck out.  I am NEVER that lucky.  Once you have that lined up, you cut the excess off the top.

2014 AQG BOM block 2 62014 AQG BOM block 2 7With the ruler still on your goose slice off the right side of your goose. Rotate the piece, line up the cut edge on the 2″ x 3 1/2″ and trim.

2014 AQG BOM block 2 82014 AQG BOM block 2 9I then lay them out to see what it’ll look like and to keep my placement “put”.   Sew each small block and press the seam.   Keep them laid out so you don’t lose your direction.

2014 AQG BOM block 2 112014 AQG BOM block 2 10Then you complete the sewing and you end up with this.  Awesome-sauce.  So I added this to the design board with last months BOM.  It’s really shaping up.  Can hardly wait to finish the whole darn thing.

My new sneakers have made their debut here too.  Loving that bright pink shoe lace aren’t ya?    I couldn’t make the meeting this past Thursday due to a wake.  I missed seeing the raffle quilt QUILTED.  It still needs to be bound.  I’m going to try to get together with Sue Stanek as she finishes that process.    It’s really beautiful.

2014 AQB raffle 2



The Great American Quilt – Part VI Piecing it Together

2014 GAQ Part VI sewn together2014 GAQ Part VI sewn together 3Sue Stanek has been a busy lady piecing the blocks that the Algonquin Quilt Guild members returned in February.  Isn’t it stunning?  She also added the red border and is in the process of attaching the GORGEOUS outer border.  Members viewed her work and everyone extolled praises to her beautiful accuracy.

Emma, from our group, will be doing the quilting.  She has been in consultation with Sue and Carlene with her vision of what would work well.  Believe it or not when adding the back to a quilt it must be pieced.  The way in which the seams are ironed make a difference.  Does the quilter want the seam ironed open or pressed to the side? It makes a difference when quilting on a long arm.

Over the next two months I will be seeking venues to display the quilt with members selling raffle tickets.  More on that next month.

2014 GAQ Part VI sewn together 7The evenings presentation was from Susan Abraham, quilt educator, on a technique called flying geese.  She gave us three ways in which to sew them.  One of the techniques will be used in our Block of the Month project that was introduce that evening.  We are participating with Monique Dillards currant free Bloggers Girl BOM II.

2014 GAQ Part VI sewn together 8Sue graciously shared with us a baby blanket pattern we could make with the flying geese.  Our philanthropic work is making baby blankets for Advocate Sherman Hospital NICU unit.  As of this year members have already made 15.  Last year we made 52.

2014 GAQ Part VI Sewn Together 10I and Pat Mesker will be helping to guide members along with the BOM. I finished my blocks and displayed them.  I’ve chosen the Red and Cream line of French General’s Josephine.  The fabrics are gorgeous.  This one I’m keeping.

Feel free to follow along with us to make your Block of the Month. And please feel free to follow us as we complete The Great American Quilt.  It’s simply stunning.

#7. It’s done

Inspire me Randy Knipfel!

2014 Randy K before after 1About two weeks ago I saw a new flier at the gym.  It was one of the trainers whom had gone through a remarkable transformation, Randy Knipfel.  It was really astonishing.  Randy happens to be my son’s age and they may have played opposite each other in football games in their Junior year.

His story is much like a lot of us, we get in a routine, life happens, we really haven’t looked in the mirror and then pfft, what the heck.   Randy did something about it and lost 100 pounds.  Yep, he did.  He looks “badass”.   I think I can say that.

Randy happens to be one of the trainers at the gym I go to.  Trainers like to inspire members to make lifestyle changes that will benefit their long term needs through training.  With training you have someone to be accountable to (because we all need that), and you learn a cadre of exercises that will help you build strength with the added benefit of redefining your body at a faster pace.2014 Rand K before and after 1

I want you to think about this a little bit, how much strength do you have today and compare yourself to an earlier you.  I’m going to tell you, you’ve lost a lot.  Studies have proven that even small changes help to increase bone density, increase strength and in a short time.  I’m referring to Dr. Miriam Nelson’s studies in her book, Strong Women Stay Young.

I write inspirational stories to first celebrate the individual for all their hard work, and secondly and hopefully, you the reader, will be inspired to make a healthy lifestyle change too.

So here we go:

 Randy, what is your background?

I was born and raised in Crystal Lake, IL. I started playing sports at the age of fifteen months and continued playing team sports all the way through college.

Where did you go to college and what did you study?

When I graduated from Prairie Ridge high school in 2005 I went to Harper Junior College from 2005-2007 to play football. While at Harper I started every game as an offensive lineman and also earned academic All-American honors in having a GPA over 3.0 every semester attending Harper College.  After my years at Harper College I earned a full scholarship to play football at Marian University in Indianapolis, IN. While at Marian I was team captain and started every game there as well, in which not too many athletes can say they have started in every game in their college career.   I graduated in 2010 with my Bachelor of Science in Sports Performance earning a cumulative GPA of 3.14.

What inspired you to start a new lifestyle change? 

I was always overweight because I needed to be for football. Eating fast food all the time and not watching what I ate continued after my football career.  Bad habits caught up to me fast and got me in the worst shape of my life.  I topped at 290lbs, the most I have ever weighted. My friends actually inspired me to start a new life and change it to a healthier one. All my friends were losing weight and getting into the best shape of their lives.   I decided to join them and see how far I could push myself to get that body I have always dreamed about.

What drew you to become a trainer?

While at Marian I also coached football and was the Asst. Strength and Condition coach. While doing both of those jobs I developed a passion for teaching and coaching others in getting better on and off the field.  Seeing the changes I was making for them, helping to develop their skills which led them to getting into the best shape of their lives, I knew the fitness industry was the perfect fit for me.  Once you have changed one person’s life, in some way, training others becomes a passion and something you never want to stop doing.

How long have you been a trainer?

I have been training for four years and have trained many clients.  Their combined weight loss is over 500lbs.

What drew you to come to Algonquin?

Nick Hunt drew me to Fitness 19.  He is a personal friend and has been a personal trainer there for years.  Nick and I played football together in high school and have always kept in touch. He would always tell me to come and train there, so one day I came in and handed in my resume to the manager.  I have been there ever since, which is about 8 months. I couldn’t be happier with the people I work with and the club I train at.

What would you say to others to help them lead a healthier lifestyle?

I would tell people to have a positive attitude when you walk into the gym, don’t give up when you’re not seeing the results you want, just keep working hard every day, don’t be overwhelmed, and ask as many questions about cardio, diet, and resistance you can to develop a foundation to build a better and healthier lifestyle.  Living a healthier lifestyle can help you prevent health risks such as strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and stress.  Why would you not want to start leading your lie into a healthier direction NOW?

What have you noticed since working out that you do better or what are the surprises you’ve noticed since working out?

The thing that surprises me since I started working out is how quickly your body can change once cutting out all the pop, candy, and fast food.  Also how your body reacts to certain foods, strength programs, and the cardio you perform. Fitness is a lot about trial and error and seeing what works for you and what doesn’t.

What is your favorite exercise that you get the best results from?

My favorite exercises that I see the most results from are squats and deadlifts. These exercises work the whole entire body to develop overall strength and endurance.

What’s your favorite saying when working out?

My favorite saying is “Let’s go, finish strong for me”

For the person just deciding to get into a fitness routine, what would you suggest for them?

I would suggest to the person who is just starting to work out that it’s not about how much weight you can lift but using proper technique to prevent injury.  Strength and results will not come without proper technique.  I would also recommend to perform functional movements such as squats, lunges, burpees, sit ups, pushups because you can do these at home as well at the gym with different types of equipment (dumbbells, med-balls, and barbells). By performing functional movements you will burn more calories because you are using your body weight and performing with just body weight is much harder than using weights.

What is your philosophy for clients?

My philosophy is you have to want it and be dedicated in achieving it. With a commitment to your workout and making good choices, you can achieve anything and everything.

When you’re not working what are you up to?

If I’m not working or at the gym, in which I’m usually there most hours of the day I’m hanging out with my family and friends.

Given what you do, is there a client that you feel you’ve helped to turn their health around?

It’s really hard to pick just one client that I have change their life into a healthier one because all my clients have made huge progress in so many ways, but if I had to pick one it would be a client who had both knees replaced, spine problems and pretty out of shape. Since then the client has lost over 50lbs and just broke a personal best on the leg press of 300lbs for 12 reps.   At the beginning the client wasn’t physically able to press 70 pounds.

2014 Randy K before after 3FANTASTIC JOB RANDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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