Book Club
Book Club

Book Club

Here are our top 5 recent reads:



  1. Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson: After reading the first 32 pages of this book, I was hooked. By hooked, I mean I finished it in one day. I called my mom to tell her about it, and it turns out that it’s been made into a movie too! I am now itching to see it. If you’re into page-turners that won’t give you nightmares, this one is for you.
  2. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson: A friend suggested this book when she heard I was going to be traveling to Chicago this summer. It goes back and forth between the story the architect behind the construction of the World’s Fair and a serial killer who plagued the city at that same time. A few portions of this book bored me, specifically when talking about building, but I found myself fascinated by the circumstances of the Worlds’ Fair.
  3. After Anna by Alex Lake: “The real nightmare starts when her daughter is returned…” A five year old girl goes missing during carpool time at school. The story chronicles her mother’s search for her, as well as their attempt to return to normalcy once the little girl is returned. Some of the mother’s choices had me cringing, because I wanted to root for her so badly! If you’re not careful, the ending might really make you question the intentions of some people around you.
  4. The River at Night by Erica Ferencik: THIS IS WHY I DO NOT GO CAMPING. Seriously, this freak accident + survival quest will confirm any fear that you may have about being outdoors at night.
  5. A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena: This story starts right off the bat. Tom Krupp arrives home one night to find his wife Karen missing, but her purse, phone, and license are all at home. He reports her missing only to find out that she was in a terrible car accident in a shady part of town–with no memory of her travels or the accident. The story takes twists and turns as a body is found near the scene of her accident, and Karen begins to regain her memory. I had the culprit figured out pretty early, but the very last chapter managed to surprise me!


  1. The Quiet Game by Greg Isles: I honestly wasn’t even sure which novel in this series to include in the list. I absolutely loved each of the six books, so I’m more or less going to let this book represent the entire series. I have a very short attention span and a few of these books are on the lengthy side, but the character development, plot twists and gripping story lines will not allow you to put the books down. Southern charm, conspiracies, romance, U.S. history and race relations; these books have it all and are an absolute must-read.
  2. The Cutting: A McCabe and Savage Thriller by James Hayman: I have only read this book and began one other from this series, but I can say with confidence that these truly are thrillers. It’s no secret that I never go running…ever, and this book has given me even greater reason to never go running. Nobody ever got kidnapped by a surgical psychopath while squatting or deadlifting. Enough said.
  3. Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide For Athletes and Coaches by Greg Everett: This may be one of the most comprehensive manuals related to Olympic Weightlifting. If you are just beginning and wanting to learn the movements and positions or if you have been lifting for years and want to learn how to improve technique and add in necessary accessory work, then this is perfect for you. From in-depth movement breakdowns, warmups, and mobility to nutrition this book has it all. To top it all off, perhaps my favorite perk of this book is that it has 8-10 week (free) programming templates included. They are catered towards beginners all the way too advanced lifters.
  4. Special Strength Development For All Sports by Louie Simmons: Anyone who knows me knows that I love all things Westside Barbell Club, and that I am a firm believer in the Conjugate Method. This method can often be pretty difficult to understand how to implement (intelligently). This book by THE Louie Simmons himself breaks down how to effectively utilize the principles of Max and Dynamic effort workouts in addition to the necessary accessory work and special exercises. It is must-read for anyone looking to take their training or their athletes or clients to the next level.
  5. Black Cross by Greg Isles: Huge fan of anything written by Greg Isles, also huge fan of anything having to do with WW2, Military Science and Nazi Germany. Absolutely fascinating! I’m honestly not even half way through yet, and I know this will be a top 5 favorite read.


Thanks for reading! We would LOVE to hear your suggestions/what you’re currently reading.


Favorite Cookbooks

Favorite Cookbooks


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Every Last Crumb: If you are a fan of indulgent meals and sweet treats, but need to stay clear of certain allergens, this is the cookbook for you. From tortillas to biscuits to cupcakes to chili & grilled cheese, this makes a paleo approach to eating a lot more fun. Warning: not macro-friendly.

Practical Paleo: Diane Sanfillipo’s cookbook is so much more than just recipes. She walks you through topics such as gut health, transitioning to a Paleo approach, and how common health disorders can be managed through eliminating certain foods. She also includes meal plans in addition to the recipes. Neither of us follows a strict Paleo approach these days, but still love these cookbooks.

It’s All Good: This cookbook by Gwyneth Paltrow is a little more comprehensive and grain-heavy. It does include her personal story about nutrition and how it changed her life. We tend to pull vegetable dishes or “sides” from this cookbook.

Flavors of the Southern Coast: This is our newest addition, and we found ourselves drooling over many of the pictures. We picked this up keeping Lent in mind, because we both fast from meat on Friday and are always looking for seafood recipes. We are pretty sure these recipes will remain on rotation well past Lent.

Lauren: January Favorites

Lauren: January Favorites


As January comes to a close, here are some of the things I have found myself LOVING all month long.

IMG_0396.jpgFresh flowers: We were gifted this stunning vase as a wedding gift, and I have not let it go empty since we received it. I have been finding roses at an amazing price at Trader Joe’s. This combo of pink and white may have been my favorite so far.

BaubleBar everything. Choosing which color for these tassel earrings might have been one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in a while. I may be adding more to my collection soon.

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I also picked up this adorable Bauble of the Day, and I can’t wait for these to arrive!

Adidas Superstars: My Nike Metcons have gotten a little ratty from all the use, so I wanted some comfortable athletic shoes to wear that look a little more polished. These run BIG…so big that the sweet people at Nordstrom sent me upstairs to the kids’ section. I bought mine in a kids 3.5 for reference. I love how comfortable they are–I’ve even paired them with jeans, colored denim, or leggings for work. They  make running back and forth to the copy machine a lot easier!



Concealer: Obviously I bought this in the shade “very fair”. Usually, I can find the shade I need easily just by choosing the lightest one. So far, this one seems to have the correct undertones to brighten my undereyes while concealing dark circles. I don’t know if it’ll be able to top the Kat Von D Lock-it concealer, but we’ll see!



What? More Bauble Bar? Yes. I think these Flouro Crispin Drops are the cutest statement earrings, even though my husband thinks they look ridiculous.


These Metcon 3s are SO.COOL. I’m unashamedly jealous of Zach’s brand new Metcons, and now I think I need my own. How does someone even choose what color combo?


Book 6 of the Penn Cage Series is available on March 21 of this year, and I’m already counting down the days. I mentioned this series in an earlier post. I CANNOT WAIT to get my hands on this next installment. It’s titled Mississippi Blood, and it’s available for pre-order now.



Lauren: Favorite Reads of 2016

Hello everyone!

Ever since I was younger, I’ve had a hard time putting books down. At the beginning of 2016, I set the goal of reading 52 books in one year–one for each week. Although it mostly ended up as binge reading over the summer and Christmas break, I achieved my goal on December 31, 2016! Here are some of my favorites.


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Grace, Not Perfection by Emily Ley: This book had me shamelessly crying on a plane. I’ve followed Emily Ley on Instagram for ages now, so I was eager to read her book. Even though she is a wife, mother, and business owner (and I am only 1/3 of those), her book resonated with me. What an amazing beautiful reminder of self-worth and true values in life. I will definitely be referencing this book often in 2017.

The Penn Cage series by Chris Iles THESE. BOOKS. A few members of my former book club recommended this series many times until I finally caved and downloaded them on my iPad. Talk about gripping. Can’t decide which genre you want? These books have the perfect dose of mystery, romance, politics, and history. Natchez Burning was my favorite of the series.

The Woman in Cabin 10 & In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware: These two are page-turning mysteries. I basically inhaled these two, trying to figure out the culprit of each novel. I’m not going to lie, I ended up leaving my apartment early for work one day, because I was so freaked out reading it alone!

The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger: I’ve read all of her books and enjoyed each one. In my opinion, these fall under the “beach read” category. Other notables by Lauren Weisberger: The Devil Wears Prada & Revenge Wears Prada.

The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin: This best-seller focuses on the relationship between Truman Capote and his close friend Babe Paley. It topped the best-seller list, highlighting the scandal and gossip in New York in the 1950s. After reading this book, I became fascinated with Truman Capote and immediately read In Cold Blood.

I keep track of each book that I read, so I am more than happy to share the complete list or any recommendations. I like to think my 52 books span nearly each and every genre.

Happy reading!



Dallas Fitness Ambassadors
  • This egg-in-a-hole from @presscafefwtx put all others to shame. Prosciutto, fontina, and cheddar on the yummiest bread. New favorite #datespot 🍳🍞
  • Today on the blog, we are answering the dreaded question: "but how do you get your #cardio?!" SPOILER ALERT: it doesn't include squatting your wife.
  • @g2gbar has become a favorite for both of us! The ingredient list on these bars makes you feel really good about what you're eating! Thanks to @equippingstrength for sending some of these our way!
  • Vanilla-cinnamon oatmeal with coconut cream & fresh berries. Don't be surprised if we drive back to Fort Worth to eat this again tomorrow 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • Today I taught a health lesson on reading nutrition labels. The conversation among 10-year olds quickly turned to:
1️⃣Fat is bad for you. 
2️⃣No, carbs are bad. Carbs make you fat. 
3️⃣Don't eat too many calories. 
How do we change our conversations about food from what NOT to eat ➡️ how certain foods can serve our bodies. I.E.:
1️⃣Fats promote hormone balance and brain function.
2️⃣Carbs are our primary source of energy.
3️⃣Let's focus on macro/micronutrients instead. 
If we can keep things this simple, we can start to focus on the benefits of food rather than the misconceptions.
  • ✨🍁CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR GIVEAWAY WINNER @shellelizabeth1 🍁✨We hope you enjoy your $275 gift card to @Target! Have fun on your shopping trip! Please DM @lifestyledbyleena in order to claim your prize!
  • It seems like everyone is talking about macros-protein, fat, and carbs: super important, but we often forget to talk about MICROnutrients. I personally get into a rut with choosing go-to foods day after day, BUT the foundation for building a rounded, balanced day means including things like fruits and vegetables every. single. day. 🍎🍇🌽🥕 The micronutrients found on this plate have been proven to support energy & brain function, an active metabolism, and a healthy complexion & hair. 💇🏻 To see a list, look in the comments ⬇️
  • This cool fall weather 🍁🍂means it's time to take those workouts outside! I absolutely love outdoor workouts and my go to workout tools are my @onnit kettle-bells! You simply cannot beat the versatility of the kettle-bell. Here's my top 5 go to movements.
1. KB Swing
2. KB Deadlift
3. Single Arm KB Push Press
4. KB Suitcase Carry
5. KB Goblet Squat
  • Is this fall weather in DFW making anyone else want to grab a novel, some hot coffee, and spend the day on the couch? We both blogged our top 5 recent reads--link in bio! 🍁☕️📚