Thursday, May 31, 2012

Homemade Low Sodium Taco Seasoning

Whenever my mom or dad used to ask what we wanted for dinner, I always said tacos. It's still one of my favorite foods. discovered this recipe while I was on my competition meal plan and I now prefer it to the taco kit packages! You can use any ground meat. This seasoning is great to use for salads, tacos or even soup! I use a tablespoon or two of the mix depending on the weight of the meat. You can customize it to how strong you like your seasoning! My favorite way to eat this is ground beef over romaine with salsa and fat free sour cream.


  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oninon powder
  • 4 pinches of cayenne pepper (chipotle pepper is also awesome)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika (try smoked paprika for a smoky taste)
  • 6 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight jar.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Kale Chip Deliciousness

Kale chips.

Where have you been all my life?

I'm a chip girl. Always have been. I love chips and salsa, ketchup chips...pretty much any kind of chips. I've come to prefer the baked kind of but even those aren't health enough to have on a daily basis.
These kale chips are.
Preheat oven to 350.
Take a bunch of dry kale, rip it up into small peices (it shrinks a lot though)
Spray pan (or 2. Make 2 pans, this stuff goes fast) with cooking spray or olive oil spray.
Side note: This tool is awesome.
Back to the kale chips.
Arrange the kale peices aka future delicious chips on the tray. Spray lightly with olive oil.

Now come your seasonings. Do you realise how UNLIMITED your options are?!

Sea Salt: sprinkle with sea salt.
Sea Salt and Pepper:  sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.
Parmesan Chips: sprinkle with sea salt.
Ranch:  sprinkle with 1/4  of a packet of ranch seasoning (the dry kind)
Sea Salt and Lemon Juice: Sprinkle with sea salt and squeeze lemon juice and/or lemon zest.
Taco: Sprinkle with homemade or from a packet (preferable low sodium) taco seasoning.

These little green guys are SO addicting. Make two trays. Trust me.


Fitness Photoshoot!

I'm a little addicted to photo shoots. I started out a few years ago with pics for my hubby's wedding present, then we had engagement pictures, wedding pictures, anniversary pictures. In January, my favorite photographer ever, Carol-Ann Photography did some head shots for my Facebook page and website.

I knew at that time I wanted to a competition so I emailed her about doing a little fitness photo shoot. So the day before I left for Kelowna, I met up with her! I seriously love these photos. I have struggled so long with my weight that to do something like these and feel so confident felt AMAZING. If you are looking for a way to motivate yourself, a photo shoot is so fun! I got my makeup done at Mac, which I've talked about before, and my amazing friend Kyleigh did my hair!

Here's a few of my favorites:

I LOVE them! They were such a great way to celebrate my accomplishment. Thanks again to my amazing friend Carol-Ann for making me feel so great! :-)


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bikini Competition Recap

So...the competition.
Soo much to say!
First off I have to say that setting a goal and actually reaching it is the most amazing feeling. Being in great shape is something I've always wanted. Doesn't everyone? I dedicated my life to it for over 5 months and I feel pretty darn great about that. I still can't quite believe that I did it! I have been asked to write a blog post about the competition so here goes, Part 1!

Left at 5am with my amazing trainer. Had a blast driving up with her, there was no traffic and we were chatting the whole time so it went by fast.

930 or so we got to Kelowna. I got my tan done, then we went to the hotel and by some miracle my room was ready like 5 hrs early. This part of the weekend was actually so fun and easy especially compared to the last few weeks. My trainer and I just kicked back, watched tv and napped it was like a mini vacation!
After 2 weeks of no carbs, I got to "carb up" which was really fun after being so deprived. I got to eat peanut butter cups and rice cakes with peanut butter (and some jam on this one)

At 7pm, I wandered over to the host hotel for our athlete's meeting. Every time I think about that I giggle...I can't believe I can be considered an athlete! Please note I do actually realize how dark my tan is. Yes, it's supposed to be like that. My professional stage shots that I ordered and some that the other photographers took do not make me look this dark.

off to athletes meeting!
After that, we just relaxed because I had to get up for 3:30 am to get my makeup done. I got squeezed in by an amazing makeup artist so I was happy to get up that early! It was actually super hard to get up that early, I literally wrapped a blanket around myself put on thick socks and shuffled over to my makeup artists room. Thank god she was staying in the same hotel as me!
After my makeup was done I went back to bed for a few hours. When I woke up, I put on my bikini!

The show started at 9am, but I knew I wouldn't be going on for a long time. However, I headed over around 10:30 to make sure I was there to help out my friend and coworker Vanessa, who competed in Figure.
On our way to the comp! Hot pink lipstick hehe
Once at the theatre, I tracked down Vanessa, she wasn't hard to spot because she looked so darn pretty and ripped!!
hottie Vanessa
Vanessa and I!

Me with a bunch more bikini girls in the background!
After all our primping, it was time to go ON STAGE!!

Hello there!

If your wondering why I haven't posted on this blog in awhile, it's because I have been crazy busy with my fitness competition! Now that it's all over, I am combining my Life of Taren blog and my Taren's Bikini Diaries blog into one easy url! I managed to snag so Please follow me over there. You can click the image below to get there!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

5 days out!

I know, I know, I've been a little quiet the past week. Don't get me wrong, everything is going great! It's just...HARD!
Everything is getting to be intense, my diet is very very strict. I'm eating tilapia and fish basically, drinking insane amounts of water, working out for at least 2 hrs a day. But only a few more days! This is certainly not for the faint of heart lol!
Last week was very difficult. I was tired, and it felt like time was dragging on forever!
However Friday and Saturday brought me a much brighter outlook on everything. I went shopping with one of my best friends and got some clothes that actually fit. I saw a big drop in the scale, another 2 lbs!
I started in January at 151.8, and weighed in this morning at 125.2! That's almost 27 lbs lost! I would never think in a million years I could be that light! The healthy range for my height is 120-150, in case you were curious. I had hoped to begin peak week at 127 so I am doing great in that regard.
Feeling a little crappy but that's to be expected!
I felt summery this weekend so I put on a sundress. Leigh took this pic of me in Leigh Square by my house. The other pic is from our first wedding anniversary last year. Can you spot the difference? Hehe!

Saturday, May 5, 2012


One of the most important things that has helped me through this process is vision. I started thinking about doing this a few years ago and by February of 2011, I knew I wanted to compete in 2012. I watched everyone train for it, watched how they dealt with things, watched them all leave and return from Kelowna last May and I vowed I would do it. I volunteered at the BC Championships and watched the girls who placed at Kelowna and the fall show go on stage. I kept it so close in my vision that when the time came to start training for it I just started. My heart was already in it.

As I get closer and closer, my vision gets so clear it feels real. When I picked my suit, my hair, my shoes, my makeup. I can see myself so clearly achieving this goal. When I am exhausted on the treadmill, I visualize myself on stage and I can push through.

I heard this story at a course I took and I think of it often.

"The Catalina Island is twenty-one miles away from the coast of California, and many people have taken the challenge to swim across it.
On July 4th 1952, Florence Chadwick stepped into the water off Catalina Island to swim across to the California coast. She started well and on course, but later fatigue set in, and the weather became cold.
She persisted, but fifteen hours later, numb and cold, she asked to be taken out of the water.
After she recovered, she was told that she had been pulled out only half a mile away from the coast. She commented that she could have made it, if the fog had not affected her vision and she would have just seen the land.
She promised that this would be the only time that she would ever quit.
She went back to her rigorous training. And two months later she swam that same channel. The same thing happened. The fatigue set in, and the fog obscured her view, but this time she swam with faith and vision of the land in her mind. She knew that somewhere behind the fog was land.
She succeeded and became the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel. She even broke the men’s record by two hours."

So amazing. Think about what you can achieve. Start with a dream and begin to visualize it!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Yes, I Can and So Can You

All my life, I would always quit whatever I started because I thought I couldn't do it.

Dance? I can't perform in front of other people at a recital. Quit.

Piano. Ditto. Quit.

Tae-Kwon-Do. Ditto again. Quit.

See a pattern here?

Fear kept me from finishing things I started and kept me from starting things I wanted to do. I believe life has an amazing path for each and every person and I become more and more amazed as I follow it and realizing all the things that I sure as hell CAN do.

The absolute BEST part so far of this entire experience is constantly stunning myself on what I can do that I never thought I could. I have always dreamed of being fit and being in amazing shape. When I discovered the gym, I LOVED it just from the way it made me feel but I never worked out hard enough or ate clean enough to change my body. I maintained the same weight pretty much no matter what I ate for a long time. I started to lose my belief that I could have my dream body.

When they opened the bikini division of fitness competing, I was instantly intrigued. I wanted to look like that, curvy, fit and toned. I wanted to DO that. I vowed that I would do it one day. Now that day is in 15 days. I have been working so hard and I can't wait to keep working hard after the show too. I will set new goals and challenges to complete. Because now I know that I CAN.