How Does She Do It: Brooke Yoder

*How Does She Do It is a recurring feature where I interview fabulous women I know.*

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Today I’m sharing a little bit about my friend Brooke Yoder. If her name sounds familiar it’s because her husband is a Congressman running for re-election. Many of you know I have a background in politics, which has afforded me a peek behind the curtain at what running for office is like for candidates’ families. Often they are judged harshly and unfairly. I actually met Brooke at the NFL 101 Awards about 7 years ago before her husband won Dennis Moore’s old seat. She instantly struck me as an elegant, timeless, independent woman with a quiet self-assurance that hints that she is always gracious by choice, but she notices everything. Over the years I’ve seen her at fundraisers, baby showers, and parties, and I think the Brooke I love the most is the one in her KU T-shirt holding a beer bottle and lighting up when she sees her friends walk into the room so she can embrace them in a big hug. So politics aside: if you’ve ever been curious what it’s like to be a Congressman’s wife, here’s a little background you might find interesting.

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EK: You’ve always had a lil Southern Belle vibe I love. Where are you from originally?

BY: I was born and raised in western Kentucky near a town called Morganfield, located in Union County. (Every place in rural Kentucky is known by its county.) I attended the University of Kentucky and graduated with a degree in Agriculture.

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EK: How did you meet your hubby (Congressman) Kevin Yoder?

BY: Kevin and I met in Washington DC. He was a law clerk at the Pentagon and I was working in the US Senate.

EK: What are the best and worst things about being a campaign wife?

BY: Best is all of the interesting people you meet along the way. Our country is full of amazing people with great stories to tell. The worst is the judgment you receive from people who don’t know you. I also fear for my children as they are exposed to all of the negative attention.

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EK: Yes. I think the mom thing would be the hardest part. Speaking of that, I hate to sound sexist because people never ask men this, but you’re a hot mom, so I’m curious, how do you stay in shape/practice self care?

BY (laughing): I have NEVER been called that. I wish I could say I worked out and ate the way I should. I do the best I can. I eat lots of vegetables and clean protein. I do enjoy working out, especially spinning and yoga, but I never make the time for it anymore.

EK: Who’s your favorite character from Scandal?

BY: ALL OF THEM! I am obsessed with this show right now. I just started watching it this summer as a recommendation for something to keep my mind off the campaign. The show is completely unrealistic, but I love every second of it. Is it just me or does every Shonda Rhimes show make you want to drink wine?

EK: How have you JUST NOW STARTED SCANDAL?? *remembers you’re way busier than me, then changes subject before launching into ode to Kerry Washington and accidentally telling a million spoilers while contemplating pouring a glass of red wine. PS Crate and Barrel has Olivia Pope wine glasses and they are on sale right now.*  Do you want your daughters to go into public service someday?

BY: Sure. I want my girls to be gracious and care about their community. Public service can take many forms so whatever path they choose, I want them to take pride in making the world a better place.

EK: Do you ever have moments where you feel like people define you by your husband’s job? As an accomplished woman in your own right, how does this make you feel?

BY: I came to terms with my husband’s success years ago, but when we were first married, I would get jealous when people didn’t recognize my success. It took me a lot of time to figure out that his successes are mine as well and our marriage isn’t a competition. Also, my husband is the most supportive partner anyone could ask for, so I am pretty lucky.

EK: Favorite mom/life-hack?

BY: Red lipstick when you feel crappy!

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EK: Yesss. Mine is extra eyeliner, but same principle. Most comfortable pumps you own?

BY: For me, you cannot beat LK Bennett! I can wear those all day every day. And I do most days right now.

EK: *Immediately googles LK Bennett. Drools over Fern Grey Glitter Closed Courts.* What are you most proud of about yourself?

BY: I am the first person in my family to go to college. The law degree I earned from the University of Kansas is one of my proudest achievements. At the risk of sounding completely cheesy, I’m proud of the parents Kevin and I are. I never knew how incredibly difficult and rewarding parenting can be. On the days you “get it right” there is no better feeling in the world.

EK: Even though you’re name isn’t on the ballot, you have an integral role and unique position to influence politics in our state and country at a time where a lot of us feel like we are walking on eggshells. Do you have any aspirations to have “Brooke Yoder” on the ballot? 

BY: There is 0% chance I would ever run for office. I admire the women who do run, but that isn’t me.

EK: Ending on a light note, what’s a little tidbit people wouldn’t expect about you and Kevin? 

BY: Kevin and I are total nerds and we geek out over the silliest things. One of our favorite date night is to sitting at a bar during March madness, eating wings and competing at Trivia. (I’m better, but he’s funnier.) Actually what attracted to me about him in the first place is how smart his sense of humor is. What’s not to love!

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Erin-Go-Bar (Baby’s first Bar Method class)

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When your friend stops by and you guys accidentally look like a lesbian couple at their bohemian wedding.

 

Back story:

I went to my friend Erin’s birthday party and one of her other friends brought a handmade lavender bath bomb from @Spire_Sweet, and Erin was like, “Emily you have to try this sometime,” so I grabbed it and was like, “oh I totally will, thanks!” and then Erin’s friend had to awkwardly be like, oh, actually that was my birthday gift to Erin. And what I should have done was be like, “how embarrassing of me to assume it was for me to try, of course I can’t keep this” but what I actually did was throw it in my purse and yell BYE-YEE! Continue reading

KC Live: Modern Mommy Essentials (Pills, Boobs, Booze + More)

The greatest thing happened to me today. Right before we went live, I was asked to “say something” for the mic check and I got to utter the epic words, “The arsonist has oddly shaped feet…what is your name, Lanolin?” in a real life TV studio.

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Here’s my girl-talk with the amazing Michelle Davidson. Everytime I see her I love her more and today was no exception:

 

Here are the innovative modern mommy essentials from the segment and where to find them:

The Innovation award-nominated mifold is more than 10x smaller than a regular booster seat but just as safe. It’s literally small enough to fit in your purse and therefore perfect for travel and ideal for times when you need to fit three booster seats across!

mi fold Booster Seat

Order the mifold Booster Seat HERE

Nanobébé Breastmilk Bottle. Launching in the US now and also up for an Innovation Award, this is the first bottle specifically designed to protect breastmilk nutrients and allow the baby to start self-feeding at an earlier age. This bottle cools breastmilk 7x faster than standard bottles, preserving more nutrients. It also warms 2-3 times faster so you can quickly feed your crying baby without destroying any of the good stuff you worked so hard to pump!

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Order the Nanobebe HERE

Vitasome’s Curcumin-C & Glutasome have energy-boosting turmeric which is a natural anti-inflammatory and promote healthy skin, diminishing the signs of aging (YES!) What’s so different about these supplements is the patented liposomal delivery system. Liposomes surround the nutrients until they penetrate your cells where they’ll have the most benefit so the nutrients are never mistaken for waste.

 

 

Order Vitasome HERE

The Nugeni Steva + is an all in one, easily interchangeable handheld vacuum (cordless and upright), steam mop and a mobile steam cleaner. You can even use it to steam clothes! The steam kills 99% of bacteria so you don’t need to use any harsh chemicals.

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Order the Nugeni Steva + HERE

 

Defying Gravity (And Better Judgement)

Once in college I went on a Greek leadership retreat where the team-building exercises were a series of ropes course activities, all involving heights. Long story short, they had to lower me by my harness down to the ground where I spent several minutes dry heaving in the fetal position in front of my horrified peers.

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The Bare Gyminum

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I went to the gym today for the first time in months. I have no excuse other than that working out is not my Me Time. Watching Hulu and eating my kids’ Halloween candy in my own empty house is my Me Time.

So you always know you’re at the gym in Johnson County when the middle-aged moms with their large fake breasts and manicured fingers are significantly fitter than the actual trainers. I saw one mom today that was like a muscular skeleton in head to toe Lulu Lemon, chiseled midriff bared for all to see. Lest you think I’m body shaming, I’m not. I am always the first one to say, “Damn girl, those legs are hot!” or “I just have to tell you, your body looks amazing!” As I type it out, I’m now realizing these unsolicited comments might actually be sexual harassment. Like, what if I was randomly commenting on men’s fitness levels?

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#LT90DayChallenge : Progress Report

Here is my most recent progress picture. This is about 6 weeks in and after I took a two week hiatus from weightlifting while I was on vacation. My weight is down 6 lbs without cutting calories but my body fat is at 21.9% (up from 21.6% at my last progress post.)

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I’m really happy with the definition I’m seeing in my abs. The weird thing about a post-baby body is that some days I look down and I have a pooch that makes me do a doubletake, like, WTF am I three months pregnant?! Moms, what is up with that?! Like my ab muscles are disgruntled workers and they go, f*** this, she put us through enough, I’m goin’ out. I’ll clock in in the morning.

Then other days when I’ve been eating “clean,” I look back at pictures from before I had children and I think I look better now. Here I am on my honeymoon when I was 24, and I think I look a lot stronger today at age 30.

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(Sorry for the blurry pictures, I promise to take better ones at the end of the 90 days.)

Anyway, what I learned on vacation is that my best defense is a good diet. Although I only worked out once or twice, I made a conscious effort to eat sensibly MOST of the time (think, hamburger without the bun, order two chicken tacos but only eat one tortilla with all the chicken, etc)

I saw this on Pinterest and it really rings true for my experience the past few weeks.

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This week I’ve been back in the gym and back at the weights. It feels awesome. I’m planning to dial back in for the remainder of the 90 days, but I’m already so happy with the changes in lifestyle I’ve made in this process. My husband and I have completely revamped the way we grocery shop and cook. I can’t wait to show you his progress pictures at the end!!!

And on a personal note…

Not all of my feedback from you guys about this endeavor has been positive; some insinuate that I’m setting a bad example for my daughters by focusing on my appearance. Body image is a touchy issue and I’m obviously not a fitness blogger, but I do blog about my thoughts and my life because I figure if I’m interested in a topic, there are other moms out there who are too. I’m glad you guys read and comment, even when you don’t agree, because that’s the whole point of sharing my real life with you. Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing!

#LT90DayChallenge : The First Two Weeks

This is the first I’m posting about it, but my hubby and I are competing in the 90 day challenge at Lifetime Fitness. He’s doing the Weightloss Challenge and I’m doing the Transformation Challenge, which means they judge my change in body fat because I already have a healthy BMI.

Over the winter I put on about 15 lbs of mush, all around my middle, because that’s ‘how I rolls.’ (Sorry.) When I weighed in I was surprised to see that my body fat had skyrocketed to 24.6% from the 19-20% it’s always been since I had Savvy! Like anyone, I love a before and after picture, just not of myself…but what’s the point of this if I don’t show AND tell…

Before After 14 Days

Side note: isn’t it funny how small and tight my swimsuit bottoms look in the first picture compared to the second? Talk about holding on for dear life!

I am thrilled to have already changed my body fat percentage so much over the first 2 weeks, but for a little perspective, this is a picture of me last year at about 18%:

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My goal is to get to 17% body fat in the next 75 days by following a mainly low-carb diet and adding weight-training four days per week.

At the gym I’m usually a flip-through-Us-Weekly-on-the-elliptical kind of girl, so this weightlifting thing is new to me. I look like George Banks at the gym in the beginning of Father of the Bride Part II. (And if you get that reference, please comment because we are probably soulmates. I can’t even find it anywhere on the internet.)

I am tall (5’9″) so my plan is to eat anywhere from 1500-1800 calories per day depending on my workouts. These are the foods I eat in various combinations:

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I also do a lot of squats at home and light conditioning while I’m watching TV.

You know what really annoys me about celebrities? When they’re like, “Oh, I just stay in shape by eating right and keeping up with my kids!” Really? Because I’m pretty sure you have a nanny doing that anyway and the rest of us with our kids ALL DAY LONG are not ripped.

ALRIGHT!

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#FitMommy: Kid-Approved Chocolate Protein Pudding

Chocolate Protein Pudding

Perhaps I am the last person to figure this out, but did you guys know you can make a delicious creamy dessert using avocado, almond milk, and chocolate protein powder?

I made it yesterday (on accident because we were out of bananas and didn’t have enough milk to make a shake) and it was a huge hit. I rarely post recipes, but Avery and I both agreed this deserved a post on the blog. The texture turned out as a cross between pudding and a Wendy’s frostie. For someone like me who is constantly battling sugar-addiction, this was a nice surprise dessert alternative to my usual greek yogurt or sugar-free jello.

What I did:

In blender or Magic bullet cup add:

4 or 5 ice cubes

1 small avocado

2 full scoops chocolate protein powder (Arbonne is a favorite of mine)

About half a cup of unsweetened almond milk

Blend until creamy then spoon in to bowls and enjoy! This amount was enough for the three of us. If my husband was having some, I’d probably add 50% more of everything.

-UPDATE- Nutrition Info: Obviously it will depend on the exact ingredients you use, but the way we make this it is approximately 190 calories per serving, 9 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber and 25 grams of protein.

Chocolate Protein Pudding Avery

Chocolate Protein Pudding Savvy

Low-Carb Food for Toddlers

As moms, we are all looking for ways to help our toddlers drop that pesky baby weight, am I right?

JUST kidding! This post is NOT about putting your baby on a low carb diet. That would be so Fiona Wallice. (Are you watching Web Therapy? Lisa Kudrow is a genius.)

I’m going on a girls trip to Florida in a couple weeks! Anytime I know I’ll be in a bikini, I go to my tried-and-true low carb diet. The only problem with this is that I make about 9 meals per day and countless snacks because I stay home with a three year old and a one year old. Clearly Pizza and Mac and Cheese are always a hit. My challenge is making things in addition to the “kid food”  that they will like and I won’t feel bad about eating either. I’m not a baked chicken breast and steamed vegetable kind of person. I just can’t. I actually find most baked chicken breast dry and nasty. I’ve had an aversion to it ever since I got pregnant with my first child. (Weird, right?)

I’ve compiled a list of my favorite “low-carb diet” foods that my kiddos love to eat with me. These are not Atkins-grade low carb, just a good alternative to bread/pasta/crackers/potatoes/etc when you are trying to drop a few lbs and you need to cook for kiddos too. I hope it gives you some fresh ideas!

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1. Hard Boiled Eggs with sea salt and fresh-ground pepper

2. No Sugar Added Mini Gherkins

3. Tomatoes + Mozzarella + Basil with a splash of olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Salt and fresh-ground pepper.

(We currently love the mini yellow and purple tomatoes and the Pink Himalayan salt grinder from Costco. Also, if you’re not always using fresh-ground salt and pepper you are wasting portions of your life on mediocre seasoning choices. I question other life choices you might be making…)

4. Green juice made with spinach, one lemon and one pear. This is a Savvy Carter morning FAVORITE. That baby loves her green juice more than anything!

5. Edamame with sea salt. (I have to remove the soybeans for the baby but the toddler eats them out of the pod.)

6. Shrimp with cocktail sauce.

7. Avocado. My kids and I eat them plain with a spoon.

8. Crockpot shredded chicken with taco seasoning and melted cheese. A yummy dinnertime alternative to baked chicken or fish.

9. Sauteed zucchini slices with olive oil and a dash of soy sauce at the very end. The soy sauce caramelizes and makes them taste sweet!

10. Mashed Cauliflower. Steam a head of cauliflower then add olive oil, garlic salt and white pepper. Blend with an immersion blender. My family actually prefers this to mashed potatoes.

11. Butternut Squash Fries. Cut a raw butternut squash into thick fry shapes (not for sissies, these things are tough so make sure you have a sharp paring knife) then coat the fries in olive oil, put on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 450 degrees until they are done to your satisfaction. I like them SUPER squishy and a little burnt on the edges which usually takes about 20-30 minutes in my oven.) Avery loves these so much she asks for them!

What other ideas do you guys have?