Fashion Friday, Sales, and an Interview with Wendy Hodge

Happy Friday! I’m so glad we finally made it! 

So one day left in November and we are off to the races! The final countdown to Christmas and New Years and 2019! How would you like to cross that finish line feeling strong and great about your health?

Well, I would cordially like to invite you to join me and a group of awesome ladies as we team up and inspire and encourage each other to really try and do better on our health! Trust me, I need it! It’s a Facebook Group, and we are finishing our November challenge today, so tomorrow kicks off our December Sizzlers Challenge and we would sure love to have you join us!

It’s totally free and we just keep encouraging and cheering each other on! We have all levels of ability (trust me I am on the bottom end but I am working my way to a healthier lifestyle, and I invite you to join me)! Some of the nicest women, real people who live real lives all just trying to get healthier and feel better! The timing is perfect as we are going into the season I typically add 5-10 pounds on the scale. But what if this year we maintain with no gain? Come join us if you are interested. Click here: December Sizzlers Challenge

Here are some Sales to get your Shopping Game on!

Ann Taylor – 40% off sweaters and tops, use code TOPPICKS

Anthropologie – 40% off sale items!

Banana Republic – 35% Your Purchase Friday Only – use code BRFRIDAY35

Barnes & Noble – 10% off your order- use code GIFTING

Bloomingdales – Take 25% off items labeled 25% off.

Chicos – Friday only, 50% off your highest priced item when you spend $100 or more, use code 75142

Clarks – $30 off your purchase of $100 or more, use code SAVE30

Dick’s Sporting Goods – 20% off your order online only

DSW – 30% off women’s UGG shoes, 25% off select Nike styles.

Gap – Gap Cash Redeem 11/28- 12/3. No Gap Cash? 20% off- use code WINTERYAY,

Gap Factory – up to 70% off almost everything! Also use your Gap Cash! No Gap Cash? Extra 20% off, Code ALLYOURS .  — Cowabunga!

JCrew – 40% off your purchase of $200 or more, OR, 30% off your purchase, use code SNUGGLE

JJill – 30% off entire purchase – use code SPARKLE

Kohls – 25% off Friends and Family code: HOLIDAY25 + Kohls Cash $10 for every $50 spent

Loft – extra 60% off sale styles! 40% off select tops, sweaters and Plus

Lord & Taylor – 70% off almost all fine jewelry- Shazam! 20% off regular and sale priced items- use code SAVE

Luckybrand – 50% off all sales styles, 30% off women’s sweaters

Macy’s – Take an extra 30% off, use code FRIEND, 15% off beauty items, code FRIEND

Nine West – Buy 2, Get 50% off, use code GET50

Old Navy – 20% off entire purchase- use code SWEET

Sephora – $15 off your purchase of $75 or more: use code 2018HOORAY

Talbots – 30% off entire purchase, use code HOLIDAY

Target – 40% off Bedding and Bath online only, ends Saturday

White House Black Market – up to 40% off select full price styles

Wow! There are some seriously good deals out there!

A Few of My Favorite Things

So a few weeks ago, I began adding a new component to my blog, and I titled it “A Few of my Favorite Things”. It dawned on me that I spend so much time reading other people’s blogs that I have some great information all bottled up inside, and it’s time I share it with you! So I am sharing the best of the best in a host of topics. And this week is no exception!

As many of you know, I am on a bit of a health journey trying to shift to a healthy lifestyle (ok, and lose some weight, hah!) And so I was thrilled to find a fantastic health blog meant for women midlife and beyond by the name of “Wendy’s Way to Health”. I am honored to introduce you to Wendy Hodge.

Wendy is so educated on all things health, and she is as sweet as they come. And she resides in Tasmania… she is my first Tasmanian friend! I asked her if she would do me the honor of allowing me to interview her to share with you, and she said, “Yes”!

So first I want to share with you what it is I love about Wendy and her blog.

  • Wendy never gives you ideas you can’t actually do. She can pinpoint right where you are at and make suggestions accordingly. This is a big deal for me because I could get really discouraged if it seemed unattainable.
  • She does videos that demonstrate everything from food to exercise to motivational talks. It is so easy to absorb information that way!
  • She is ever providing ways you can access her suggestions, recipes, even a community for women trying to really log and track their improvement.
  • She is extremely reliable so I can count on her posts and communication every day.
  • She is so nice to work with! That is huge in my book! I’m a bit of a mushy person, and I do great with people that are really nice, not so much if they aren’t nice. She wins this hands down, and I am grateful to call her my friend!
  • She really knows her stuff, and can quickly sort out the items that really work and the ones that are a waste of time and money. And she is practical. I need that too!
  • She has reached out to me on many occasions to help get me on track. She even sits in on my exercise group above sharing tips and ideas and loads of encouragement!

I could not be a more faithful fan, and with that, let me share with you my interview with Wendy Hodge.

Wendy, I know you have helped me many times over. It seems like you have so many different talents and avenues to reach out to people who want a better lifestyle. Can you share with us a little about you and your journey? What is the best way to define your role today?

Well, I’ve always been into health and fitness, and in my 20’s and 30’s I was really focussed on fitness. I was super fit back then. I worked as a trainer and taught aerobics classes. And in my spare time I competed in triathlons and half marathons. Then Jayson (my husband) and I lived in the UK for a while and worked in pubs, so that was a big lifestyle change! We worked very long hours, didn’t eat very well, drank too much and rarely exercised.

One of the first things we did when we got back home to Australia was to get back into a regular exercise routine. We also knew that our diet needed to change, so we cut out most of the junk food, cut down on alcohol and slowly over time, made healthy changes.

That’s when I became a lot more interested in nutrition, and I worked for a big weight loss company for a few years. That was valuable experience and I learned a lot. That’s also when I became certified with Precision Nutrition. As much as I enjoyed my job though, I found that the more I learned, the more I wanted the freedom to do my own thing. So I started Wendy’s Way to Health in 2014, and it’s grown from there.

These days I describe myself as an Over 50’s health and fitness expert. I feel that my personal experience plays an equal part, along with my knowledge, in how I’m able to help my members and followers.

Wendy, one of the things I love about your approach to health is that you are always so positive! I need that! This time of year has us reflecting on our past, present and future. Many women feel like they want to change but its too late in the game. Is it ever too late to begin living a healthy lifestyle? What is the best way to begin?

It is absolutely NEVER too late! Small changes over time are the key to long term success. This can be a lot harder to put into practice than we realize, though, because of the “all or nothing” dieting mentality that most of us are used to. So really, changing the way you think is the first step.

People often tell me they don’t want to start a diet or exercise program because it is so hard and they are afraid to fail. For those who feel like its hopeless, what is the best way to transition into a healthy lifestyle to minimize risk of failing?

I know, I hear that all the time, too. It can be really hard, especially when you’re doing it on your own. And like I said earlier, we tend to think that we have to make lots of changes, all at once. However, it’s been proven that making small changes over time, with guidance and support, is a much better path to success.

It’s going to be different for everyone, so you need someone who understands that, and is able to guide you on your unique journey. You shouldn’t just be looking to follow a set “cookie cutter” type program, but rather a set of guidelines that you can tweak along the way, to find what works best for YOU.

Wendy, you seem like the picture of health, and you have such a great attitude! Have you always had this? Have you ever had to come back after a road block and how did you do it?

Thank you, Amy! It’s something I work at every day, because I know it’s worth the effort. I think you could call our time living in the UK a road block. As I said above, I started with exercise. I knew it would increase my energy levels, and that would motivate me to start making other healthy changes. I didn’t worry about a time frame, or an end date, because without sounding woo-woo, it really is an ongoing journey. Getting yourself fitter and healthier is only the beginning. Continuing to do it consistently every day is the real challenge!

Some of the trends or fads in the health world are a bit daunting. They often seem so complicated like you would spend half of your life in prep for the food alone… which seems very inconvenient. Does it have to be that way?

I totally agree with you, most of these ideas are crazy. They’re expensive, time consuming, and a lot of them don’t actually have any evidence or scientific facts to back them up. Trends and fads are a dime a dozen; common sense is invaluable.

Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t need to be complicated. As with anything new, it can be hard in the beginning, but it gets easier over time, as you develop habits – it just becomes part of what you do. It’s also about wanting to make the effort, because you’re worth it.

You always seem to have great energy! What would your typical breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack include on an ordinary day? (I’m writing this one down!)

Haha! I love fruit, so a typical breakfast for me is a yoghurt brekkie bowl, or porridge with fresh fruit, nuts & seeds. My lunch is quite often leftovers from last night’s dinner. Otherwise, it’s some chicken or canned salmon in a bowl with chopped tomato, cucumber, feta, or avocado or home made dip. A typical dinner is meat and vegetables. So chicken breast, or pork or steak with steamed or roasted veggies. I usually have a snack after I’ve exercised, and it’s usually something I’ve made myself like an energy bar, banana bread or a mango ice cream pop.

I’ve learned that binges and regret come from deprivation, so nothing is off limits. I apply moderation and common sense instead. I make most of my own snacks and treats, because I know what’s in them. Sometimes I buy myself a cake or some chocolate, sometimes I don’t. Balance is a beautiful thing!

Wendy, you wear so many hats. You always approach people with open hands that say, “Let me help you.” (I’ve gotten some very kind messages from you in the past and boy that meant so much to me!) I wish everyone had a friend like Wendy! Are there any dreams you have for other directions you might take your message and influence?

For the moment, I want to keep growing The Healthy Normal Revolution. My goal is to have a large, vibrant community of women who are changing and improving their health. Facilitating that makes me feel good, and I just want to do more of that!

I love your Monday Motivation segments, I love your very down to earth and friendly approach. What are some of the places you go for inspiration, motivation and a pep talk when you need it? Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?

I get my inspiration from a variety of different places. Quotes and posts that I come across on social media from other health professionals, and I love yours too in the Sizzler group. I also look to my mentors at Precision Nutrition and fellow coaches/colleagues when I need help or a boost.
My mantra is “There’s no right or wrong way to live a healthy lifestyle. Because there isn’t just one way.”

Wendy’s Way to Health has so many ways it can help women. What are the key components of programs and resources people can find through you?

The Wendy’s Way website is what I like to think of as the place where we meet. It’s the front room of my business “house,” where you can see what I’m about and what I have to offer. There are free recipes, articles and resources, and you can sign up and join the Wendy’s Way community.

https://wendyswaytohealth.com

The Healthy Normal Revolution is my membership program – it’s all the other rooms in my business house! It’s unique in that you can get individualized guidance in a group setting. Members have online access to the videos, guides, and resources whenever they need them. The forum though, is the key to success, because it’s where you set your intentions, track your progress, ask questions, get my guidance and connect with the other members for friendship and support.

https://wendyswaymembers.com

I have participated in the Brekkie challenge, and it really helps me stay on track with my eating all day. Can you share a little about the Brekkie Challenge? When is the next one, and how can readers get involved?

The brekkie challenge has two main objectives. Firstly, it’s a stepping stone for anyone wanting to make some healthy changes, as breakfast is a great place to start. It’s also helpful for anyone who needs to get back on track, or anyone who needs some inspiration and new ideas for healthy breakfasts.

Participants have a healthy breakfast every day and post pics in the Facebook group. They use the recipes I provide, and/or their own. The next one will be in January. I haven’t set a date yet, but we usually start mid January, after all of the holiday craziness is over. There’s more info on the page on my website:

https://wendyswaytohealth.com/brekkie-challenge

Wendy, here in the USA we just celebrated Thanksgiving, a lovely holiday of thanks but also the biggest eating day of the year! And Christmas and New Years are just around the corner! Can you share any good tips or survival skills as we go into the holidays and all the tempting treats? (I am going to be baking Grandma’s Christmas Cookies and I know I will be sneaking a few and I already feel guilty! Thank you in advance for this one!)

This time of year can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve got lots of simple tips on my blog, here are a couple of links:

http://wendyswaytohealth.com/how-to-enjoy-christmas-without-the-weight-gain/ http://wendyswaytohealth.com/oops-i-lapsed/

I’ve also teamed up with another coach, Deb Guttierez in the Forever Fierce FB group to share daily tips in the group leading up to Christmas.

If you were to take a day to spoil yourself, what would it include?

An ideal day of spoiling myself would start with a delicious, healthy breakfast, of course – you know breakfast is my thing! So maybe pancakes, (my recipe) or a chocolate & strawberry topped flax bun. Then I would have a lovely walk at the beach, followed by coffee somewhere. A massage and a facial would be next. Then I’d relax with a good book, or a movie, and I’d end the day with dinner cooked by Jayson and a glass of wine.

What are 3 bucket list items you want to include in your life story?

#1 I want to meet you and all of our other Forever Fierce sisters IRL!

#2 is more traveling. I’ve seen a lot of England, but I want to go back and visit all of our wonderful friends and family there. A cruise is something I haven’t done that I’d like to, so a European river cruise would be fabulous.

#3 is the freedom to not be tied to living in one place. This is also travel related, as there’s still loads of places in Australia that I haven’t seen yet. I’d like to have a base here in Tassie, but be able to spend extended periods during Winter exploring the amazing little beachy towns and villages along the NSW and Queensland coast.

You can find Wendy at all of the following social media platforms

Thank you so much Wendy, for this very inspiring and encouraging interview! 

And finally just a little fashion for this lovely last Friday of November!

Many thanks to my son Jake Kennedy who took the photos for the fashion segment of  this week’s blog. Jake is studying photography and video as a career path. If you would like to see more of his work, you can follow him on Instagram @jjacob.kennedy21.

We took Kasey with us for a few shots this past week! It was tough to get her to look forwards toward the camera because someone had a dog on the other side of the street!

So the coat I am wearing is the Helene Berman Oversize Coat, from Nordstrom. The color is “Rust” though since I ordered it, it now is available in red.

It has a bit of a menswear feel to it, with an oversized notched lapel and a double breasted front on it.

I am not sure it is a good fit on me in that the shoulders and sleeves are rather large, (I actually folded the cuff of the sleeves under one time). And the hips it actually kind of pulls there. Since I have a fuller bottom half (how is that for silver tongue descriptives! Hah!) I think it is not meant for my shape so much. Maybe someone with the opposite shape, trimmer down below and a little wider shoulders.

But I love that it is lined, and that it has pockets. It is really a lovely coat!

Next, I have a really cute top with some Christmas whimsy! The Fa la la la sweater by TopShop!

Ok, this top runs really large! Normally I wear a large or an XL in most tops and sweaters. I am wearing a Medium in this and have plenty of room.

The black dots on this are actually pompoms that just add to the festive feel of this sweater.

I chose to wear a turtleneck underneath (it was freezing out!) but you could totally wear it without a turtleneck. I think this would also look adorable with a black skirt!

I do love the Christmas carol, “Deck the Halls”! It is just so festive and cheerful, like a kickoff to decorating the tree! I have that on the agenda hopefully this weekend! Some folks like to pull out all the stops! I have heard now some people hire companies to do lights on their house and trees! It’s probably a lot safer having a professional on that ladder! I do love to drive around and look at the Christmas lights!

Others like to keep it very simple. Maybe one gift and a cozy dinner.  It does not have to be big! It does not have to cost a lot of money. What matters is the spirit of Christmas love in your heart and expressing it to others!  However you like to celebrate this season, I wish you joy and peace!

Have a fantastic weekend!

I’ll be back Tuesday for another Tasty Tuesday!

Love Always,

Amy

My idea of Christmas, whether old fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?      ~Bob Hope

Places I link up:

Jo Lynne Shane My Life and Style 

Jodie’s Touch of Style / Ageless Style Link up

Sharing A Journey

Fashion Should Be Fun  

Not Dressed As A Lamb

Elegantly Dressed and Stylish

Glass of Glam

A Pocket Full of Polka Dots

The Blended Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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