Burn Boot Camp

Burn Boot Camp | A Bit of Bees Knees

This will be my 3rd month at Burn Boot Camp Costa Mesa (BBC). I’ve been seeing great progress in my strength and overall health! I love spending my mornings with a fun group of ladies that inspire me to reach for my personal best. It’s such a friendly and uplifting environment. Here are a few words from some of the wonderful ladies that I workout with:

“This is no normal gym, this place feels like home. The women that come here work hard and they work even harder at supporting each other. This is why I love Burn and why I come back even when my body is threatening to fail me. Give up all the excuses, shut off your brain, just put your pants on and show up. Do what you can plus a little more and repeat.”- Elizabeth Bader

“I could have given up long time ago but with all my ladies at Burn Bootcamp encouraging and supporting one another is what motivates me the most. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all my beautiful strong Ladies and Jeffrey Lawler and Britt Sturg for always pushing me.” –Karla Murillo

“I love coming to this place, putting in a challenging workout and doing it with all of these amazing women!” –Mindy Murrieta

“I want to say thank you to every single person who made a change in my life, especially in this new chapter. Burn Boot Camp – Costa Mesa, every day there is motivation to keep going, every single face that shares the same passion to see all these lady’s giving a 100 %. Thank you to Brittanny Sturgess and Jeffrey Lawler for pushing me everyday to not give up, Thank you to Dale Lawler for opening this place to make a better community.”-Gabriela Rosales
Burn Boot Camp | A Bit of Bees KneesBurn Boot Camp | A Bit of Bees Knees
Working out everyday is wonderful, but exercising alone will not get you results. You need to change your eating habits. Fresh veggies, fruit and lean meat should the base of your nutrition. Get rid of the junk food at home. Throw out the artificial sweeteners and processed foods.
Understanding macronutrients is the next step in the BBC nutrition philosophy. Learning about protein, carbohydrate and fat ratios and how they impact your body will help you determine food options throughout the day. This plan involves monitoring your calorie and macro intake to hit the correct %  of protein, carbs and fats. I like to use my fitness pal app on my iPhone and computer to track the food I eat. Here are a few charts that I find helpful. I printed these out and posted them on my fridge to remind me.


and a few helpful tips from BBC headquarters for meal prepping!

——Meal Prep——

1. Plan your meals around THE SAME MAIN PROTEIN. Choose a lean protein (boneless skinless chicken breast, lean ground turkey, etc.) and structure all of your lunches and dinners around that item. For beginner meal-preppers, chicken is by far the easiest protein to deal with. (Cook 4-6 pounds of chicken in your slow-cooker for 4 hours on low. Chop or shred the chicken and use as the base for your main meals.)

2. Wash, dry, slice and pre-portion all fruits and vegetables so they are ready to go.

3. Pre-portion snacks such as almonds, cashews, or chickpeas in small bags to be sure you are eating a proper serving size.

4. Choose recipes with ingredients that overlap to save time and money (green peppers, onions, etc.).

5. Make double-batches of items and freeze for future meal planning.

6. Invest in reusable and stackable microwave-safe containers to store individual entrees for the week.

7. Grab an inexpensive food scale to help with portion control and serving size.

Melissa at eat.lift.play.repeat has a great shopping list that is perfect for the BBC lifestyle.

Burn Boot Camp Workout Video and Chocolate Coconut Protein Muffins

Burn Boot Camp | A Bit of Bees Knees
This is my second month at Burn Boot Camp and I am really enjoying my time here! It has become my daily routine – wake up in the morning, put on my workout clothes and lace up my shoes, fill up a water bottle, pack an extra outfit for work and I’m good to go. My whole day is more productive, my mind is sharper and I’m excited to be spending time focusing on my health. Burn Boot Camp’s pillars of success are mindset, organic whole food nutrition, strength training, burst training, and providing a positive environment – it’s just the place I want to be.
Burn Boot Camp | A Bit of Bees Knees
My trainers help me focus on my goals, give nutritional advice and push me to improve in strength and cardio training. There is a “weekly protocol” that changes every week and they never do the same workout twice! Classes are always interesting, challenging and fun. Every other day we alternate between different muscle groups with burst and strength training techniques. Here is an example of our weekly protocol –>

Weekly Protocol

Monday – upper body superset w/ elevator push-ups
Tuesday – bodyweight burst training mini-camp w/ sprint finisher
Wednesday – cardio pyramid whiteboard w/star crunch finisher
Thursday – partner leg strength chipper w/ partner bunny hop finisher
Friday – partner core/conditioning droplet w/ half burpee jump knee tuck finisher
Saturday – full body strength circuit w/ squat press finisher
Burn Boot Camp | A Bit of Bees Knees

A word from my trainer Brittanny:

“Burn Boot Camp focuses on 2 exercise formats: strength and burst/cardio training.  On strength days we are working on muscle hypertrophy meaning we are seeking maximum growth of our muscles lifting heavier weights working toward muscle fatigue and muscle failure, making those last few reps of the set nearly impossible to sustain.  Burst training is HIIT (high intensity interval training) with more cardio and athletic conditioning; a full body work that builds strength, power, mobility, balance, and agility.  On burst and cardio days your heart rate will spike much higher than strength days – that’s one big difference. We never combine the 2 types of training so it’s either cardio/HIIT day or a strength day.  We never train the same body part the following day because we expect our clients will be sore! It’s a good thing therefore we work on a totally different muscle group or training format. No workout is every the same and the protocol changes every week.”

I asked my trainers, Jeffrey, Brittanny and fellow BBCer Shastin to help me make a short clip to demo some examples of strength and burst/cardio training that we do at the gym.

Song by: MØ – Final Song

weighted back lunges
bicep curls to overhead press
bent over low rowers
jump squats
jump tucks
cricket burpees

I always follow my BBC workouts with lots of protein – usually a protein shake, lean turkey or chicken with a side of veggies will do, but somedays I’ve got mad cravings for chocolate! Here is a yummy recipe from “Beyond the Blender Bottle” by Burn Boot Camp that uses  After Burn protein powder – everything you need to fuel your potential.

Chocolate Coconut Protein Muffins

Chocolate Coconut Protein Muffins

2/3 cup oat flour
1⁄4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 serving of Afterburn whey protein
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice)
1⁄4 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk (or regular almond milk) 3 egg whites
2 tablespoons liquid coconut oil (or melted coconut oil)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place 8 silicone cupcake liners on a sheet pan. Whisk together egg whites, almond milk, and coconut oil in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add remainder of ingredients into the bowl and stir until well combined.

Evenly divide cupcake batter among cupcake liners.

Bake in the oven for 14-16 minutes, or until center is cooked. Let cool and enjoy! Makes 6 servings; 1 serving is 1 muffin
NUTRITION INFO: Macros for 1 serving: 126 calories, 6.5g protein, 12.8g carbs, 6g fat, 3.6g sugar 1.9g fiber
*I made my muffins smaller (bitesize) so the nutrition info is cut in half for 12 mini muffins. Drizzle with natural PB and a few crispy coconut chips

Chocolate Coconut Protein MuffinsChocolate Coconut Protein Muffins Chocolate Coconut Protein Muffins Chocolate Coconut Protein Muffins

Passion Fruit Lemongrass Bird Nest Summer Sipper

Yes, you read that correctly. Bird nest; and I’m not talking about twigs and feathers here….this is a nest made from the magical saliva of the swiftlet bird found in Indonesia and South East Asia. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. And no, it doesn’t taste like the saliva you are thinking about. I would describe it as gelatinous glass noodles with a hint of sugarcane. It’s fantastic! These nests are highly prized in Chinese medicine – fit for the emperor of China with a long list of healthy benefits.

“These bird nests are rich in several amino acids, proteins and minerals and are believed to stimulate the regeneration of cells, enhance skin complexion and support your immune and respiratory system.” – Blessing Birdnest

Blessing Birdnest is a family business that originated in the 1980’s in Cepu, Central Java, Indonesia. A few years ago they developed a unique process for making bird nest drinks, using only the finest grade nests, water and sugarcane. A delicious taste with no added preservatives. This fountain-of-youth drink is available for people in the US! It is FDA approved and imported to southern California.

Blessings Birdnest practices responsible harvesting, ensuring the safety of their employees as well as the birds. They harvest each bird nest after the eggs hatch and the baby birds mature, to promote natural regeneration. They are deeply committed to maintaining a sustainable environment for the birds.


It’s been a hot summer here in California, so I was eager to experiment with a refreshing summer recipe that complimented its eastern Asian origin.

Passion Fruit Lemongrass Bird Nest Summer Sipper
2 cups (16oz) water
1 stalk of lemongrass
1 passion fruit

-In a small pot, boil 2 cups (16oz) water
-Cut lemongrass stalk into thin strips and place in boiling water. Boil until fragrant and water turns a light amber color.
-Strain water into 2 glasses over ice and discard the lemongrass stalks
-Add half a bottle of Blessing Birdnest drink to each glass
-Top with a spoonfull of passion fruit pulp and an extra stalk of lemongrass
-Add more ice if needed

Blessing Birdnest

We are going to India! {2 Week Packing List}

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Oh lordy! I’m so excited! OK 90% thrilled and 10% nervous…Dan and I are going to INDIA! From what I’ve heard, it’s the land of sensory overload and contrast, loud and chaotic but quiet and peaceful, poor and wealthy, corrupt and honest — heartbreaking and beautiful in all that life has to offer. I’m excited to learn and see new things. I’m ready for you India!
The 3 week countdown begins! We bought our tickets a few weeks ago and the visas are pending! We’re planning on spending 2 weeks. The first week we arrive in Delhi, explore the city, drive or travel by train to Argra, see the Taj Mahal (of course) and then catch a plane to Kerala in the south. I’m crossing our fingers that we can snag a houseboat and explore the backwaters of Alleppey — see some remote villages, elephants and tea plantations in Munnar. Then we fly to Kolkata for John and Avantika’s wedding; a week long celebration! I was invited to take part in a Sangeet dance competition (so it’s bound to be hilarious/I can’t dance) and decorating the bridal suite! We are so excited to celebrate John and Avantika, spend time with the Grams and Jalan family and experience India for the first time!

I’ve been researching like crazy…what to bring and not to bring, how to reserve train tickets, what to expect etc.

Here is a list of items that I have found helpful. If you’ve been to India and have any recommendations, please feel free to add to the list! I also have a carry-on for international travel list if you’re interested. And a recipe for that tasty masala veggie wrap pictured above ^.

india list

1. Playing cards. It’s a looooong flight. D and I like to play cards to pass the time.

2. Colloidal Silver. A natural anti-viral. Spray it under your tongue to ward off viruses that might be lurking in the plane or while traveling in India. It’s also great for spraying cuts and scrapes. Always check with your doctor before using natural remedies. It’s not a cure-all; just something that might help.

3. Rx medications. Get your vaccinations and medication for traveling to India. Check the CDC website for up to date recommendations. Don’t forget Imodium and an Rx for ciprofloxacin ugggggghhh… apparently we are doomed for the Delhi Belly. Always remember – Boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it. Only drink bottled water and skip the ice and juices.

4. Echinacea for natural immune support. I also recommend taking probiotics, such as acidophilus for a month before your trip. You’ll need your belly to be in tip-top shape. As with any natural remedies, please consult with your doctor.

5. Sunscreen. Wear it!

6. Pacsafe 55L Backpack and Bag Protector. AMAZING! Someone has finally invented a lock for your backpack! This will come in handy when traveling on the train or bus or locking your pack in a hotel while you’re out exploring. I still don’t recommend leaving your valuables alone (and ALWAYS take your passport and money with you), but this is the second best option. Here is an article on scams and theft problems and how to avoid them.

7. A good book. I highly recommend this one, about a wonderful woman I met in Egypt. An inspiring story about loving others and her work in the Mokattam slum that will give you an unabashed look at inequality and extreme poverty. It exists in India and everywhere else in the world to differing degrees. Remain open. Remain aware. Treat everyone with respect and compassion.

8. A journal. I like to jot down moments, words or locations that I’d like to remember.

9. Water color kit. I like to paint pictures in ^ my travel journal.

10. Hat. Sun Protection.

11. Beanie. Mostly for the airplane and layovers. It can get chilly. I like to find a corner of the airport, pull my beanie over my head and catch some Zzzzzz. Sleep with your arms around your carry-on.

12. Multi tool knife. Don’t pack this one in your carry-on! Leave it in your checked bag. Comes in handy while traveling…cutting food, ropes, getting out splinters, protection etc.

13. Travel Pillow. Great for the airplane and your lower-end hotels that don’t provide pillows.

14. Camera. I use the Canon Rebel T3. I take it everywhere! Super durable and easy to use (bring your charger too).

15. 32GB class 10 or more SD card for taking lots of pictures!

16. GoPro for capturing water pictures and videos (bring your charger too).

17. Jacket with hood. Semi-waterproof for staying dry and toasty at night.

18. Digital waterproof travel watch with multiple alarms for catching trains and waking early etc. This one has multiple time zones so you’ll know what time it is back at home. Pretty cheap too!

19. Rx glasses and sunglasses. Because I’m blind without them.

20 Rohto eyedrops. These are so soothing.

21. Anti-bacterial gel. Keep clean and healthy.

22. Nasal Spray. Great for the airplane or when visiting dryer desert areas of India, like Rajasthan.

23. Lavender spray…or any kind of yummy smelling spray. Fellow travelers have recommended bringing a tiny bottle of something nice for your room.

24. A good ole’ fallback for snacks. Kind bars are great, natural, tasty and easy on the belly.

25. Headlight or flashlight for navigating at night.

26. Batteries for backing up electronics

27. A scarf! My favorite…so useful! Use it as a blanket, a head cover, a towel or tie strap etc.

28. Loose fitting long sleeve light colored blouses. India is a very modest country. Cover up but stay cool. Mosquito’s are attracted to dark and black colors, so stay lighter.

29. Fun costume jewelry (for the wedding).

30. Long pants or jeans. Keep em comfy…not too skinny. Modesty first.

31. Dresses. Keep the shoulders and knees covered or wear them with leggings in the city.

32. Swimsuit for your hotel or when visiting a beach. Be aware of your surroundings and cultural cues…some beaches are meant for walks or family picnics. You don’t want to be the only person in a swimsuit on a beach with fully clothed people. I would opt for a one-piece over a 2-piece.

33. A shawl for those slightly breezy evenings or up in the mountains. A cover-up for a short sleeve top.

34. Lip balm!

35. Small hair brush, ponytail bands and hair pins

36. PASSPORT! <— keep it with you at all times.

37. Small bottle of essential oil…peppermint, lavender or clove etc. Great for putting under your nose or on your temples — helps you relax on a long train ride.

38. Bug repellent in addition to Malaria pills. Some mosquitos carry bacteria, malaria and dengue fever. Wear long sleeves and light colors to avoid bites.

39. Pen or pencil for writing, filling-out immigration papers, names, numbers, notes etc.

40. Shorts* I don’t recommend wearing these in cities, heavily populated or religious areas, but they can be worn in more westernized towns like Goa, your hotel room or by the pool. Be aware that you may get unwanted attention.

41. Sleeping case. Perfect for those cheap hotels with questionable/no blankets or on a sleeper train to discourage peeping-Tom passengers.

42. Long skirt. Easy, breezy, modest.

43.  Comfortable bras and panties. Preferably cotton

44. Shoes for the cities

45. Small towel

46. Waterproof matches or lighter. Pack in your checked baggage

47. Wet Ones anti-bacterial wipes.

48. Mini speaker for playing tunes in your room or at a party (or to practice your sangeet dance)!

49. SD card adapter. I use this to transfer my pictures from my camera or GoPro to my iPad. Super cheap and useful!

50. Small folder for keeping important papers, copies of passports, itinerary, phone numbers and medical information in case of an emergency (and in case your electronics run out of juice/ are stollen/ break)

51. Calculator for those moments that you don’t want to use your phone –> calculating currency exchanges. Double check everything and learn how to haggle.

52. Naked eye shadow kit. Small/ compact and I use the darker shades as my eyeliner when traveling light.

53. Not completely necessary when backpacking, but a contour kit will be useful for a more polished look at the wedding.

54. Small concealer trio, great for tired eyes and blemish spots

55. Super yummy body cream. Smells wonderful without being overpowering. Woody Amber vanilla smell.

56. Rainbow sandals…because they go everywhere with me.

57. EARPLUGS will be your best friends!  The only way you’ll be able to sleep on those trains!

58. Earbuds for the plane and traveling between destinations.

59. An Indian adapter for all your electronics

60. An iPad or iPhone. Wifi is everywhere (although slow and spotty) it’ll be a life saver for booking hotels, train tickets, directions for your rickshaw driver etc.

61. Basic first aid kit, band aids, tape, scissors , alcohol swabs, iodine, gloves, medication, tweezers, extractors, tourniquet etc.

62. Dry bags. For your camera and important papers. Especially if you’ll be boating.

63. Money belt. Essential for keeping your money and passport safe. Wear it under your clothes and take out money as needed in a private area. Pickpockets are bold and many travelers have been frisked in crowds. Never leave your wallet in your pocket – it’s expected…

64. Kai body glow. Gardenia, jasmin, tropical flowers. Perfect for India.

65. Toilettries. Mini shampoo, conditioner, facial wipes, toothbrush and paste (use bottled water when brushing your teeth), feminine products (tampons are hard to find in India), small lotion, etc. any personal products you’ll be needing

66. Cords, cables and chargers for your electronics

67. Tissues (for your nose and…your bum). If carrying your own T.P. Roll is too big, then take a bunch of these tissue packets with you. T.P. is not available in most bathrooms so bring your own.

68. Day pack.  Canvas bag that is easy to roll up and stick inside your larger pack. Something smaller that you can use during the day while you leave your bigger pack locked up at the hotel.

not pictured:
69. Mosquito net to keep the bugs away.

70.  Small travel umbrella for those rainy days.

+ here is a complete list for clothes that you’ll be needing in India (ladies). –>
For a 2 week trip I’m bringing 1 pair of sandals, 1 pair of closed toed shoes or sneakers and socks, one pair of nice shoes/flats for the wedding, 1 jacket, 1 shawl, 5 tops, 2 dresses, 1 long skirt, 1 pair of shorts and 3 pants – jeans, harem pants and leggings. 7 days worth of panties and 2 bras. I’ll buy a few tops, kurtis and a saree for the wedding when we get there. Washing your clothes is cheap and fast (around 15 cents per item). Hire the local dhobi wallah, these guys take your clothes away and bring them back the next day freshly washed and ironed.

*Something I’ve learned…I always thought it would be rude or disrespectful for outsiders to wear traditional Indian clothing, but most Indian’s prefer/encourage visitors to wear their traditional clothing. Sounds fun to me! It’s not a big problem if you feel uncomfortable doing so, just adopt a modest fashion. Stay away from formfitting outfits and keep your shoulders and knees covered.

That’s about all I can think of for now…let me know if you come across other useful items and I’ll add them to the list!

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I’m deeply thankful for this holiday that helps me pause and take notice of my blessings. To savor every moment and express gratitude for all the details in life – to all the pieces of this puzzle. I love that.

I’ve learned that one of the very best gifts I can give myself is finding gratitude and joy in what and who is around me. I’m thankful for my warm home, good health and my faith. For my freedom to write and create. But especially for my family, my loving husband and our friends. I look at these people every day, my people and I just wanna pinch myself. I’ve got the greatest crew. Life is all about relationships – being with them, listening, hugging, loving them.

I wish you the most wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones and a magical start of this holiday season!
PS. Today was that last day in our little home. Dan and I are moving into one of the houses he’s been building. I’m thankful for those 3 amazing years in that tiny house…the coziness of that kitchen (you could only fit one person in it). And for our squeaky washer and dryer and the heater you had to kick to get working. At least it worked Ha-ha. I’m thankful for all that time spent with you in that little house. It was small, but it was all that we needed. It was perfect. I’m a little sad that we’re leaving our first place, but I’m excited for the next chapter… looking forward to the new memories we’ll make in our new home. One that you built.
A few more photos and a short video from our day…

What a fun chapter of life this is. It’s a good one.
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^^^My mom went all out with the table decorations. It’s fun watching her get so excited about throwing a party. She really enjoys making things special for everyone. I think she has a real talent for it, not to mention she’s the most hospitable and loving person I know. And my Dad is a whiz in the kitchen. He really loves cooking…together with their powers combined, my parents are the ultimate hosts. Mom even found these cute little plastic animals and transformed them into place cards/ thankful cards. She cut them in half and used a dremel tool to hollow out the inside of each figurine, then glued in a magnet on each side, painted them silver and mounted them on wood wafers. Whatttt!? Yes she is pretty amazing.
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Love my fam! We have a huge family and it’s only getting bigger! I can’t wait for all my cousins to get married and start having babies too! Oh lordy then it’ll be about 50+ at the table…
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What a beautiful day.