Happy Labor Day Weekend!


Labor day weekend holds a very special place in my heart.

Sure, it marks the end of summer, the start of a new school year, and some of the best sales of the year. Oh, and who can forget the good old fashion rule: we can’t wear white after labor day. Totally old school in my book. Rules are meant to be broken, especially in fashion.

But besides that, it is the weekend my husband and I chose to get married. Our intent was we’d celebrate each anniversary with a little weekend getaway.

This year we decided to do a little stay-cation in La Jolla, CA and just take a few days to enjoy the beautiful coast right in our own backyard.


Stay tuned for pics!

Tell me: What are YOUR labor day weekend plans? 

P.S. Skinny tips for your summer cookout!

How Safe is Exercise During Pregnancy?

Healthy pregnancy.I was shocked to hear my doctor’s advice on exercise during pregnancy: “You should exercise at least 30 minutes a day up until the day you give birth, but avoid anything that increases your heart rate above 140 BPM, and absolutely nothing over 150.

Now, you all know I’m more than happy to exercise every day, but I had always heard: whatever you did pre-pregnancy, you could continue throughout pregnancy as long as you listen to your body. So since I was used to seeing my heart rates upwards of 160-170 quite often during workouts, shouldn’t that still be ok?


Apparently, when your heart rate gets above 140, your blood starts rapidly fueling your muscles — and not baby.

According to Baby Center, the best way to keep your prenatal exercise routine safe and effective is to use your body’s responses as your guide.

The goal is to keep your intensity in a range that is moderate to somewhat challenging. That corresponds to the level of exercise your body can do without feeling so out of breath that you can’t talk. If you’re feeling out of breath, that’s your signal to reduce your intensity or take a break. The great thing about using this method for monitoring exercise intensity is that it allows women of every level of fitness to continue to exercise in a zone that keeps them fit.

Remember these tips when exercising during pregnancy, whether you’re continuing or starting a fitness program:

  • Keep your intensity at a level where you can carry on a conversation without feeling out of breath.
  • Reduce your exercise intensity or take a break if you start to feel out of breath, exhausted, or dizzy.
  • Modify your exercise routine as your pregnancy progresses. Remember that your growing baby adds weight to your body. So as you move through pregnancy, it’s as if you’re carrying a backpack that gets heavier each week. Whatever you’re doing when you’re 10 weeks pregnant will feel much harder at 30 weeks because you have to support more weight.
  • Listen to your body and discuss your exercise routine with your healthcare provider if you experience any discomfort, pain, or extreme exhaustion.

After hearing the advice from my doctor and doing my own research, I decided that quitting Fitwall would be best for me and the baby. I’m happy to report I’ve been able to continue exercising 30 minutes a day by modifying my workouts and slowing the intensity.


What I Wish I Knew in College about my Health

college-lifeA dear friend tagged me in an old college photo last weekend and it instantly brought us all back to the time and place we met. Looking back, college was full of SO many good times — now a million and one memories. While some days I’d give anything to go back for just one day, I can’t help but look at how much I’ve changed since then.

When I graduated from high school, I was “healthy” and “in shape.” But then again isn’t every 17-year-old? (The truth is: I didn’t know a thing about health – but that’s a whole other story, for a different day.)

And then college happened. And over those 4 years, the weight crept on. By the time I graduated, I didn’t recognize myself. Five pounds a year will do that to you!

I’m happy to say, after graduation I learned how to lose weight in a healthy way. I found a healthy balance between having fun and nourishing my body. And eventually I re-discovered my love for exercise.

I wanted to share a little on what I know now and what I would have done differently if I were moving back into the dorms today.

Drink smart // Let’s face it: every college kid is going to drink. A lot. Don’t waste your time with sugary flavored vodka and fruity mixed drinks. Remember, clear drinks are better choices than darker varieties and just say no to the 3am burritos.

Find a routine // The one thing about college life is that every day can be totally different if you let it. With class schedules different every day and parties popping up whenever/wherever, a routine is easy to get away from. Get a healthy breakfast every morning, get plenty of sleep and find a gym time that fits in with your class schedule.

Eat real food // Frozen dinners get you nowhere in life. Learn to cook real food, even if it’s just grilled chicken and brown rice. It will save you in the long run. Start simple and slowly add in spices and try new recipes to mix it up. Easy and cheap is not the answer.

Walk // College campuses are giant. Save some money, don’t buy a parking pass this year. Walk from your apartment/dorm to class instead. Those extra steps will add up and you’ll thank me later. Oh how I wish I had at Fitbit circa 2005.

What do you wish you would have known in college that you know now? How would you have been healthier?

Switching Gears


Whether you’ve been a Skinny Opinion follower since day one or are a brand new reader, you probably know S.O. started as a health and fitness blog to encourage women to become all around healthier and happier people.

Over the months, I’ve found a love for writing about whatever is on my mind at the moment. And while it’s still primarily sharing my passion for health, nutrition and fitness, I’m also a real person who loves style, beauty, overall wellness, home improvement, decor, travel, friendships, family, marriage and now the topic that’s constantly on my mind: pregnancy and motherhood.

I hope you don’t mind that S.O. is switching gears to more of a (healthy) lifestyle blog and I’ll be sharing posts on all the topics I mentioned plus everything in between. I promise this will never become a full-on mommy blog, but I can’t help but write about whatever is currently running through my head.

Stay with me for the journey?


P.S. What would you like to see more of on the blog? What would you like to see less of?

First Trimester Symptoms

pickled cucumberThank you all for the sweet words on the blog and all over social media yesterday after I shared our big news!

Pregnancy is a crazy thing. I never expected my body to experience so many changes in just three months. While it’s fresh in my mind, I wanted to document a little on my personal symptoms during the first trimester.

Exhausted. Turns out, growing a tiny person is very hard work. The last three months have been extremely exhausting! I have never experienced so much fatigue in my life. There would  be days when I’d come home from work, take a nap and then literally go to bed at 8:00.

Emotional. I think my first clue I could be pregnant was when I cried watching Click starring Adam Sandler. One minute I’m laughing hysterically and the next I’m crying over something so silly. Thank you, hormones!

Nauseous. I’ve felt pretty sick throughout my entire first trimester, but thankfully didn’t experience full blown morning sickness (aka vomitting) like many women do. Some days I’d actually hope I’d vomit just to relieve some queasiness. Nope. Just a constant yucky feeling, similar to motion sickness.

Hungry. I’m not gonna lie, there were days when I threw my normal healthy eating habits completely out the window and probably consumed way more calories than I’d like to admit. Pregnancy hunger is REAL, my friends. I’ve had a few interesting cravings: pickles, fruit, cottage cheese, yogurt, and Chipotle (!!). Oh, and veggies / salads make me gag.

Oily. I have always been lucky when it comes to my skin and never really experienced breakouts or zits, even as a teenager. My skin is normally on the drier side, but lately I’ve felt like a total grease ball and am experiencing more acne than ever. Ugh!

Phew, I’m glad the first tri is over with!

As I’m writing this, I realize how horrible the first three months sound. Even though most of the symptoms aren’t very appealing, it has, hands down, been one of the most exciting seasons of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Thankfully I’m starting to feel a lot more like myself these days!

Special Announcement!!


IT’S TRUE, It’s true!! Today is the day I can finally share my very exciting news…I’m pregnant!! Mark and are expecting our own little bundle of love next Valentine’s Day!

It’s been killing me to keep this little secret for the past 13 weeks, but now that I’m officially in the second trimester I could not be happier to share our special announcement.

Stay tuned for some upcoming posts on how I’ve been trying to stay healthy during this crazy season of life!


HANSEN BABY_8.9.2014 102





Friday Five: Summer Date Ideas

tumblr_lmby2mnQaJ1qck08go1_500_largeI’m a huge believer in weekly date nights. No matter how busy we get, Mark and I always set aside one night a week for a date. It’s important for us to dedicate a specific time to be together as a couple to connect, be romantic and just enjoy each other’s company.

As we settle more and more into marriage, we’ve agreed that date nights don’t have to be as fancy as they once were. While an evening of wining and dining is always OK in my book, it’s not always practical or affordable. After all it’s the time we spend together that’s the most important.

During the summer months when the weather is warm and the nights are long, the possibilities for date night are endless. So to give you a little inspiration, I’m sharing my top five favorite date ideas to try out this sunny season.

// One //  Beach Cruising // Preferably near the beach or bay, but just about anywhere around town will do. If you don’t own a bike, they are pretty reasonable to rent for a few hours. Just remember to bring bike lock so you can stop for a drink along with way!

// Two // Picnic in the Park // The ultimate romantic date. Pack your picnic basket, grab a blanket and some tunes and head to the park. Not sure what to pack? Think finger foods, a mix of snacks like pretzels, grapes and carrots, plus your favorite wine or beer.

// Three //  Sunset walks //  It doesn’t get any more romantic than this! We love taking our doggies on a long walk during sunset. The best part about this date: it doesn’t cost a dime!

// Four // An afternoon at the Dog Park // There’s nothing that will put a smile on your face  more than watching all the pups run free. Bring a bottle of wine and make it “yappy” hour!

// Five // Fro-yo Date //  Nothing says summer like an ice cream date. When its warm out, I love grabbing a nice cold sweet treat and enjoying it in the summer sun with my man.

What is your favorite summer time date? Any ideas for me?


A Note on Mental Illness Following Robin William’s Death


“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien — but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most — from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.”

–President Barack Obama

The news of Robin Williams’ death yesterday morning due to apparent suicide is such a tragedy. While I am by no means an expert in this area, I can’t help but want to write about it.

Coincidentally, my husband and I were talking on Sunday about our favorite childhood movies and I immediately brought up two of my favorites: Hook and Mrs. Doubtfire. Robin Williams brought so much laughter and joy to my childhood. The news is surely a shock to us all.

I can’t help but wonder though. How could someone with so much going for them possibly feel depressed to the point of suicide? He had it all, right? The fame, a dream worthy career, and a beautiful family.

But it’s important to remember that depression and most mental illnesses don’t take personal factors into account. Mental illness can affect anyone. It’s time that we, as a culture, as a community, stop shaming people for what is out of their control.

Now maybe we can’t prevent the inevitable. But what if we can.

In memory of Robin Williams, my hope is that we can all be a little kinder to each other and strive to make each other smile, laugh and feel happy. There is no doubt that he did that for us.

Twenty – Eight

Pink Cupcake with CandleYesterday I celebrated my twenty eighth birthday.

Womp Womp. There’s nothing too exciting about twenty-eight.

The day was perfect, nonetheless. It was pretty mellow, and just want I wanted. Brunch at one of my favorite restaurants with some great friends followed by a day in the sun at the bay with Mark. And yes, the SUPs were definitely involved. Told you — can’t get enough!

Mark cooked me a yummy dinner and we ended the evening with the Kardashians. Typical Sunday night, don’t judge.

It was simple, perfect and everything I’d hoped for.

I must mention though, last weekend Mark surprised me with tickets to the Beyoncé and Jay Z On the Run Tour for my birthday and we totally partied it up. I definitely got in my share of celebrating! But let me tell ya, that concert was insane. I’m still having withdrawals. Best show ever.

And you all know how I love that power couple.

Cheers to the an amazing 27 years. Twenty-eight is full of big things and I can’t wait!!

My New Favorite Exercise / Hobby: Stand Up Paddle Boarding

casey_michigan_sup1My husband and I have been borrowing my in-laws stand up paddle boards for the summer and let me tell you: I’m hooked.

If you aren’t familiar with stand up paddling (SUP), let me fill you in. Stand up paddle boarding originated in Hawaii as an off shoot of surfing. It can be done on anything from flat water protected lakes, to easy beach paddling, to open water paddling, and all the way to surfing waves.

Anyway, these SUPs we’ve been using, they are INFLATABLE! Have you ever heard of such thing? I mean, how practical is that?

Because let’s be real — owning a traditional 10 to 12 foot SUP is only practical if you a) live at the beach or b) own a truck and c) have lots of storage space.


Suddenly stand up paddle boarding became mobile. Now, this isn’t your typical water toy. They are military grade, highly pressurized and super rigid.

Thankfully I have my hubby to help blow pump them up for us, which takes him all of 5 minutes. But let’s be honest, if I were doing it…. it might take all day. These babies hold 14 pounds of pressure. And they best part? They roll up into a backpack when you aren’t using them. So they easily fit into your car/garage/closet.

Is SUP good exercise? Yes! It is an excellent low impact workout. You’ll engage your core while activating the burn in your arms, legs and back. It’s a full body workout and is great for balance. Caloric burn will vary depending on stroke intensity, wind, and water conditions but here is a good rule of thumb:

 ++ Leisure Paddle: 225 calories per hour ++

++ Moderate Paddle: 500 calories per hour ++

++ Intense Paddle: 850 calories per hour ++

**Estimates are based on a 165 lb person and one hour of paddling.

Looking for an inflatable SUP? Check out these babies.

Have you tried SUP? What is your favorite summer time exercise? 


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