Virtual Coffee Date (aka Long-Overdue Life Update)

31 Aug

Hello, friend! It’s been way, way too long since we’ve talked. But what’s a few months between friends?


This spring and summer have been extremely busy for the Heimerman household!
Christopher accepted a job as the news editor of the DeKalb Daily Chronicle in April. He commuted the 75 minutes each way between Sterling and DeKalb in the initial weeks as he felt out the job and made sure it was smart and worthwhile for us to uproot our family and our life and start over in a new city.

We furiously searched for houses in DeKalb and fixed up (new microwave and dishwasher, new front window, new shower) and cleaned our house in Sterling, and ultimately, the sell-one-home-and-buy-another-home process took only 10 days.

It was a very emotional two months, as we prepared to leave our first home–the site of so many firsts for our family–and as we prepared to leave Sterling–a community we had truly grown into and in which we made meaningful friendships over 5 years. In the last few weeks leading up to the move, and especially in the last week, as we packed during the free moments between work and school, I had many weepy moments. I just couldn’t fathom leaving it all behind. And yet, I was so excited to start anew. It was an emotional rollercoaster.

We moved June 30 and July 1 and were completely settled within just a couple of days.
I landed some part-time work as a group fitness instructor at the Kishwaukee Family YMCA. I am co-leading a senior strength and balance class three mornings a week, and starting after Labor Day, I will also lead a bootcamp class four mornings a week. I have filled in as a pilates, yoga, and BodyPump instructor, too.

I also studied for the NETA personal training certification. I went to the certification workshop Aug. 5-6, conveniently hosted at the local YMCA, and took the exam Aug. 6. After more than three long weeks, and after the exam results were mistakenly sent to our old address, then forwarded to our new one, I learned yesterday that I passed the certification exam with flying colors and now am a certified personal trainer!


I’ll jump right into training within the next few weeks, and while I’m a bit nervous as to how to go about it all, I’m really excited to embark on this new journey–and honestly, to have a meaningful career in a growing industry.

I had a meaningful career as a reporter, too. I am an excellent writer and storyteller and a solid journalist. But while I enjoyed being a reporter, I most enjoyed meeting new people and telling their stories; I never was in it to be a watchdog, to uncover the truth, to right the wrongs of the world. I just wanted to tell stories that were important, that were special, that made people feel important and valued.

I discovered that I can do all that and more as a group fitness instructor and now, as a personal trainer. I will meet new people, I will learn their stories, and I will hopefully help them write new and better stories for themselves. I will honor people where they are, and I will value them and hopefully help them value themselves, so that as we work together, they want to be the best version of themselves, inside and outside.

Anna and Elise finished up 3-year-old preschool at St. Mary’s in Sterling in May. They had a fabulous year of learning, discovering, and growing. They are so smart and funny, and they are very well-behaved.

The summer has been challenging, though, as we got out of our school routine and into a more laid-back summer schedule. The first part of summer was spent cleaning, packing, and moving. And the latter part has been spent establishing our “new normal.”

They start school at the YMCA on Tuesday. They will go to a 4-year-old Kingergarten-like program five days a week, from 9 a.m. to noon. And they get swimming lessons, sports, and music throughout the week. It’s not a traditional preschool program, like what they had at St. Mary’s, but it’s got its perks (swimming lessons!) because they’ll be at the YMCA.

We’re definitely ready for school–for the girls to get back into that routine, and for me, personally, to dive a little deeper into my new jobs.

All this time, Christopher and I still have been running. We trained for and ran the Summerfest Rock ‘n’ Sole half marathon on our wedding anniversary June 10. (I had good intentions of writing a race recap, but I got caught up–and rightly so–in moving and changing jobs.) Christopher posted a great time, considering the incredible heat and humidity that day, but I really battled, and so I just ran for the fun of it.

We took just a couple weeks off to move and settle in, and then we picked back up and now are in the waning weeks of training for the Milwaukee Marathon on Oct. 15, for which I am a race ambassador. (Use code KaylaRunsMKE for a discount on any of the races!) Both Christopher and I are doing well, especially with our long runs. We’re scheduled for two 20-milers, one next weekend, and the other two weeks after that. Distances that long still sort of freak me out, but not nearly the way they used to scare me. #thingsdistancerunnerssay I’m excited for the marathon, and I hope it’s a better race than last year.

That’s the long and short of it. Lots of changes, lots of adjustments, but already some good stories and memories.

Let’s do this again soon.



I am a Milwaukee Marathon race ambassador!

3 Apr


I am thrilled to be an ambassador for the Milwaukee Marathon this year!

The running festival, which features races at all distances for all abilities and paces, is sure to be the event of the year in the City of Festivals — my beloved hometown of Milwaukee.

Register at and use the promo code “KaylaRunsMKE” for a discount off the marathon, half marathon, 10K, or 5K.

It’s more than a new name, new date, and new finish line. The @mke_marathon weekend Oct. 14-15 is an opportunity to challenge yourself and run the streets of Milwaukee’s distinctive and diverse neighborhoods.


(Milwaukee Running Festival Marathon 2016)

Join me for one of the races. I promise you’ll have an incredible experience! And I promise, I’ll be one of your biggest cheerleaders, whatever challenge you take on.

The deets:

Milwaukee Marathon (or half marathon, 10K, 5K or even 1-mile)
Oct. 14-15, 2017
Next price increase is July 1.

Review: Maple Holistics shampoo and conditioner

8 Mar

Disclosure: I was sent the Winter Blend shampoo and conditioner set to review. I am not otherwise being compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

My beauty routine is pretty simple, and thus, my arsenal of haircare, skincare, and cosmetic products is pretty small.

In terms of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and face wash, I prefer products that are fairly natural with clean, fresh scents and that leave my skin feeling clean and invigorated.

Maple Holistics, an American company that makes all-natural haircare and skincare products, with an emphasis on shampoo and conditioner, offers several items that fit that bill.


I’ve used their Winter Blend shampoo and conditioner over the past 8 weeks, and I love it.

The limited edition Winter Blend formula contains five varieties of mint: peppermint, spearmint, eucalyptus mint, bergamot mint, and wild mint.

The scent is lovely and transforms your shower into a cooling, refreshing environment. It’s perfect in the morning, to wake up your senses with the brightness of invigorating mint; it’s wonderful after a sweaty workout, too, to cool and refresh your body and mind.

The conditioner specifically is Maple Holistics’ own Silk18 blend of ingredients to treat dry, damaged hair; it contains 18 silk amino acids, plus argan oil, jojoba oil, botanical keratin, sea buckthorn, pomegranate, aloe, and more.


The shampoo, naturally, left my scalp and hair feeling clean, thanks to the bright mint blend. And the conditioner, which feels thick and silky straight out of the bottle, left my hair feeling soft and smooth.

The two 8-ounce bottles retail for $19.95, which is far more than I would ever pay for shampoo or conditioner. But you are paying not only for high quality products, but also for products that are all natural, sulfate free, and made (animal-cruelty-free) in the United States.

So if natural hair and skincare is important to you, and if supporting domestic manufacturers is important to you, Maple Holistics offers some wonderful products.

The company currently offers free samples of its lemon oil, massage oil, or sage shampoo in exchange for honest reviews online, either on social media, a blog, or Amazon. The offer is good only through March 17!

I finished the Whole30!

15 Feb


We finished the Whole30!

I won’t lie to you and tell you it was easy or that it completely changed me (for the better or for the worse). But I will admit it was not as hard as it is purported to be. It also was not as life-changing as it is marketed to be, either.

Some quick thoughts:

  • Christopher lost about 10 pounds during the program. I lost fewer than 5 over the 30 days.
  • We both reported better sleep — an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep — although we did not usually wake up feeling as well-rested and restored, probably in part to both of us being sick with a cold at some point in the last two weeks and to dealing with sick toddlers in the last two weeks.
  • We mostly avoided the withdrawal and “carb flu” early in the program — a testament to the quality of our diet and exercise regimen pre-Whole30? — but we never really experienced the “Tiger Blood” that supposedly comes midway through the program. We are most disappointed about that.
    • We both came down with a cold in the last two weeks, though, which probably had a lot to do with lackluster energy.
  • Neither of us really suffered from digestive issues before Whole30. So I don’t know if the emphasis on meat and fat did is to blame, but I suffered from diarrhea (sorry, TMI!) for almost the entire 30 days.
  • I successfully ditched MyFitness Pal. I had been religiously counting calories (and often lying to myself about the amount by conveniently not tracking some foods) for years. I didn’t count a single calories over the 30 days, and I don’t plan to start counting calories again, unless I notice my pants stop fitting properly. It is so liberating to cook and eat without having to log every bite.
  • We did not fully follow reintroduction protocol. At the start, we did; we reintroduced legumes, then waited a day, then reintroduced non-gluten-containing grains, then waited a day. But on Saturday evening, four days after the end of Whole30, we went out and finally indulged. And while we didn’t feel too badly after that, we continued to indulge and imbibe Sunday and by then, we felt crummy.
    • We learned that we simply need to watch it with things like sugar and alcohol. My personal rule going forward is no sweets and treats unless they are homemade or a once-a-year indulgence (i.e. Cadbury Mini Eggs at Easter). I don’t need to waste my time or calories on crappy candy or store-bought cookies. My other rule, which sort of goes along with the limit on sweets and treats, is no refined carbs or sugar, again, unless it is 100 percent worth it. No white flour or sugar, no white pasta or rice. There are much better options out there that make my body feel so much better.

Christopher swears he will never do Whole30 again — that the benefits we experienced do not outweigh the effort we put in. And I can’t say I disagree entirely. I would do a Whole30 again, if I felt myself spiraling out of control, but I concede that the ends did not justify the means. We spent a TON of time planning and preparing, and a TON more money grocery shopping and for what, really? Frankly, our wallet really took a hit eating this way, whereas before Whole30, our grocery cart was filled with very little processed or patently unhealthy foods, and our bill was two-thirds the size. The fact of the matter is oatmeal, brown rice, black beans, chickpeas, Greek yogurt, low-fat cheese are a part of a well-balanced diet and do not make us feel crummy; and those foods are just not as expensive as pounds on top of pounds of chicken and beef and pork (and let me tell you, we went through two or three dozen eggs a week!).

Overall, I am really glad we did Whole30. We learned a lot about our food, our emotional attachment to food, and how our bodies respond to having (and not having) certain foods. We also learned that we can do something that most people consider damn near impossible for 30 freaking days! That is definitely something to be proud of.


Whole30 Recap – Week 3 and Meal Plan – Week 4

1 Feb

Well, we’ve reached the proverbial summit!

Week 3 was supposed to be all about Tiger Blood — the newfound energy, through-the-roof confidence and pride. While both Christopher and I are confident within the Whole30 framework and proud of ourselves for making it two-thirds of the way through the program, we certainly haven’t experienced boundless energy. We understand that the program affects everybody differently, but to say we are slightly disappointed and underwhelmed would be an understatement.


(A day of eats: Left column – breakfast: two eggs, hashbrowns, and avocado; lunch: chocolate chili with onions and avocado; dinner: burger with sauteed onions, chimichurri, and Ranch dressing and roasted carrots. Right column – snacks: mixed nuts, pineapple, strawberry-apple-chia bar, and plantain chips.)

Here’s how Week 3 shaped up for us:

  • We’re still snacking. Homemade cashew-date balls, Larabars, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, and fruit are our go-to snacks.
  • I’m still drinking 88 to 96 ounces of water every day.
  • We have yet to experience the purported physical benefits of this program — especially the surge in energy. Christopher is still battling a cold. And I now am feeling run down. Our weight has stayed mostly the same. My cravings are not as strong — but they are not gone.
Recipe wins from last week:

(Italics denote the recipe is from the Whole30 book.)

And here’s our meal plan for the week:




We are definitely ready to be done, but we want to do reintroduction the right way so these 30 days weren’t for nothing. Any Whole30 alumni have some advice?

Whole30 Recap – Week 2 and Meal Plan – Week 3

24 Jan

We are about halfway through our Whole30 journey!

Week 2 was all about settling into our new routine, which by this point is very much a routine. We haven’t hit the stereotypical rut of eggs for breakfast every morning or protein + vegetable + potato for dinner every night. But we do miss some of our old convenience foods.


Here’s how Week 2 shaped up for us:

  • We’re still snacking. We both do better, mentally and physically, if we eat a little something every few hours.
  • I’m still drinking 88 to 96 ounces of water, which I believe helps curb my hunger and desire to snack. I slacked a little on the weekend, with just 64 ounces, and I felt more hungry that day.
  • My emotions were very fragile this week. Monday morning, Christopher took the girls to Wee Care at the Y; the staff thought she had a fever. That evening, I brought them back, and the staff sent us home because their policy states children must be fever-free for 24 hours before they may return to Wee Care. I just sobbed–flat-out sobbed–for a good 5 minutes in the parking lot, and then much of the drive home.Was that Whole30 talking? Tuesday afternoon, the girls were full-blown sick–coughing badly and frequently–and I panicked and broke down in tears that I might again miss my workout. Christopher came home for an hour so I could teach my yoga class. I would have been a mess without it. And I know I would have emotionally eaten to make myself feel better.
  • I successfully avoided major temptations Tuesday. It was the pastor’s birthday (I work at a church) First thing in the morning, I brought him a hazelnut latte, and I got myself an Americano. I would have killed for a latte (frothy milk is life!) and a scone. Later that morning, someone brought cupcakes from the local cake shop, and I passed on them multiple times. I would have killed for one of those, too. And then regretted the sugar crash later.
  • I’m still figuring out how much to eat and when to eat it when it comes to more intense workouts. I got very lightheaded and nauseous at the end of our team workout Wednesday.
  • We successfully ate out for lunch Saturday. We went to IKEA and Woodfield Mall. We did a little research and found that Macy’s offers a build-your-own salad bar in their Marketplace. But we found no salad bar; Macy’s only has that on weekdays. We thought our only other option was Subway, otherwise we would have had to pick off cheese and other noncompliant items from salads at nicer restaurants. But we landed at Kin Fork, a barbeque/steakhouse-type restaurant, where we decided we would order naked burgers and veggie sides. We both had an 8-ounce burger grilled and wrapped in lettuce with onions for me and grilled jalapenos for Chris; I had broccolini on the side, and Chris had Brussels sprouts with balsamic glaze. We now know why they suggest just abstaining from eating out, but we also learned it is do-able. It was tasty and, because we were hangry and impatient, satisfying, but at the same time, it was not nearly as fulfilling as a typical restaurant experience.


Recipe wins from last week:

(Italics denote the recipe is from the Whole30 book.)

And here’s our meal plan for Week 3:





(Italics denote the recipe is from the Whole30 book.)

We are 51 percent of the way through this little experiment! How are you feeling?

Whole30 Recap – Week 1 and Meal Plan – Week 2

16 Jan

Whole30 Week 1 is a wrap!

Week 1 was all about adjustment: adjusting to a strict diet, adjusting to an increased consumption of meat, adjusting to a decreased consumption of sugar, adjusting to being hungry, adjusting to thinking about why we’re eating what and when we’re eating it.

I don’t know that I’ve ever thought so much about food in my life…

First, some confessions:

  • We ate a couple of non-compliant foodstuffs: nuts roasted in peanut oil, breakfast sausage with sugar, and bacon cured in sugar. My rationale was that a) we were not eating those non-compliant foods in any sort of quantity and b) we are not able to find 100% compliant foods as easily and within our budget in our area, so we were going to do the best we could with what was available, if not already in our pantry and refrigerator.
  • We snacked. A lot. And we snacked after dinner, before bed, a few times. We didn’t re-create treats with compliant ingredients, as is a big-time no-no on the program. But we did eat a snack.


A day of eats: sweet potato, Brussels sprouts and sausage breakfast casserole; pear and roasted nuts; sweet potato and cauliflower chili; raw nuts; apple-pecan spiced chicken with roasted asparagus; hard-boiled egg


And now some thoughts:

  • I’m drinking 88 to 96 ounces of water, which I believe helps curb my hunger and desire to snack.
  • I need to stay busy, especially when the girls are napping in the afternoon, so I don’t mindlessly eat (even if I am making wise choices). We watched a lot of documentaries after dinner this week, and we found that intellectual stimulation helpful in curbing our desire to snack, too.
  • We didn’t get the “carb flu” as much as we expected. I felt a little lightheaded and nauseous on Day 2, but I think I was truly hungry, because I ate breakfast and felt infinitely better.
  • We also didn’t experience the “kill all the things” rage as suggested by the Whole30 timeline. We were irritable or quicker to anger, but I think that has little to do with the diet and more to do with real-life frustrations.
  • Christopher experienced some of the fatigue and malaise that comes with the end of Week 1. That said, we’re both sleeping much, much better than before. We’re not waking up feeling incredibly refreshed, but we’re falling asleep faster, and sleeping more deeply than before.
  • I didn’t have any major or prolonged cravings, except for peanut butter and graham crackers Wednesday and beer and chocolate over the weekend. The craving Wednesday was very fleeting, as was the craving over the weekend, honestly. I think my willpower is very strong. Christopher’s is, too. I’m so proud of how well he’s doing and how seriously he’s taking this program.
  • We both cheated and weighed ourselves this week. We both were down 6 pounds.


Recipe wins from last week:

And here’s our meal plan for Week 2:




(Italics denote the recipe is from the Whole30 book.)

How are you doing? Are you already experiencing some non-scale changes to your life?