Hammer & Chisel Review {Week 1}

If you follow me on Instagram or my coaching “Like” page then you know that last week was my first week of The Master’s Hammer & Chisel, which is a 60-day workout program that focuses on building strength, endurance, agility, and power. The program has TWO trainers: Autumn Calabrese (best known from the 21 Day Fix) and Sagi Kalev (from Body Beast). All the workouts with “Chisel” in the name are with Autumn, and all the ones with “Hammer” in the name are with Sagi.

Beachbody The Master's Hammer & Chisel

I knew I wanted to try out this program back in July when I first learned about it at Beachbody’s Summit, and I decided to save it for January and February so I could go all in, nutrition-wise. Since each week of the calendar is completely different, I’ve decided to review each week on its own. Plus gives me accountability because I’d rather not say I skipped a workout!

Beachbody Summit Hammer & Chisel

Week One of Hammer & Chisel

Monday- Chisel Balance: A total-body scorcher that taps into your strength and endurance with killer stability and core training.

Oh. My. Gosh. What an intro to the program. This one had me SO SORE and I loved all the balance moves. 

Tuesday- Hammer Plyometrics: Fire up your fast-twitch muscles to develop force, speed, and power with total-body jump training.

I hate plyometrics. The jumping. BAH. It’s hard. But I was shocked I was able to do most of these moves with them. It was tough but I’m glad I did it! 

Wednesday- Iso-Strength Chisel: Full range-of-motion moves and isometric holds build strength and chisel fat for your leanest physique.

AHHHHHH. This one got sooo tough near the end. Holding a position for just 10 seconds seemed like forever! I liked this one!

Thursday- Rest Day :)

Friday- Iso Speed Hammer: A tempo-style workout that focuses on eccentric lifts help you shape lean muscle and build unprecedented strength.

Not gonna lie, this wasn’t my favorite workout. They were going too quickly for me to keep up. The next time it comes up in the schedule I think I’ll just pause and do the moves at my own pace – which they suggest if you feel their pace is unsafe for you!

Saturday- Chisel Endurance: Improve endurance by sustaining tension with moves that target your slow-twitch muscle fibers.

Ouch. Haha, another tough one! I think I like the Autumn workouts the best, so far. We did two rounds of the same moves and my quads were on FIRE! Luckily she kept the breaks short so you didn’t have time to think about stopping!

Sunday- Total Body Hammer: Power through pyramid-style sets to rev up metabolic burn long after your last rep.

Ahhh this was tough! This workout was much more like Sagi’s Body Beast program and I used heavier weights to challenge myself. But I LOVE weight lifting! I feel so good afterwards.

Hammer and Chisel Week One

Hammer & Chisel Nutrition Plan

*Personal Note:

Remember how I said I pushed off starting this program until January so I could go all in? That’s because if you want to take the nutrition 100% seriously, that means no sugar and no alcohol. It’s important to remember that you don’t HAVE to follow the plan exactly and if you need to build in treats, then do it! Especially if you struggle with any kind of eating disorder or may be triggered by the “all or nothing” mindset.

Personally, I struggle following nutrition plans in the name of balance and mental health, but really it ends up being an excuse to use food as an emotional crutch. This program is a test for me and that’s why I’ve chosen to go all in. And yes, it’s hard. But if you want to give it your all, that means it WILL be hard.


So back to the plan.

What I love about this plan is that you can change it based on your goals. You answer a series of questions including your gender, weight, and general daily activity, and then you choose whether you want to focus on leaning out or whether you want to focus on building muscle.

From there, it ends up being very similar to the 21 Day Fix since it is a container system, rather than calorie counting. Each food group is color coded and you’re given a list of appropriate foods (for example, yellow = carbs and blue = healthy fats). You’re then given the number of each colored container you should eat in a day.


When you first receive the containers they seem shockingly small. I actually laughed out loud. But you’d be surprised when you fill them up and then dump them out just how much food it is on your plate. They offer tons of recipes in the plan, but you can also go to Pinterest and find thousands more.

So far so good – I have stuck to the plan! I have definitely had some weak moments where all I wanted were some M&Ms or Cheerios, but I’m hoping as time goes on those cravings will become fewer and far between!


Have you ever followed a workout plan? What was your favorite?

What were your workouts last week?

Minted Art Marketplace

You all know I’m a little obsessed with quotes… haha if you’ve been reading for any amount of time you’ve probably noticed – especially if you follow me on instagram or you’ve checked out my etsy shop!

I was contacted by Minted and, although I’d heard of them before, I thought they only did stationary and invitations. Well… I was wrong! Minted has this amazing page on their website that’s an Art Marketplace.

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Various artists have their own collection pages, or you can sift through categories of art pieces, prints or order your own custom design. Clearly the people at Minted knew me well when they sent me these three pieces as examples:

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I’m pretty sure I spent a good half hour last night clicking through all the prints that they have… haha now I’m a bit obsessed! And inspired by all their work! I kind of hope some of my friends don’t read this post because I’ve already found a few that I’d love to send as gifts!

Anyway, I just wanted to share since I had no idea this existed and I love the site now. I am receiving a gift card for my review (disclaimer!) but I would have shared this anyway!

Do you like art & quote prints? 

Have you gotten your mom/grandmother/friend who’s a mom something for mother’s day??

Piyo Review

First of all, I want to emphasize that I am no way affiliated with Beach Body (yet… haha) and I was not compensated for this review. I decided to try Piyo at the prompting of a friend and purchased the DVDs with my own money. 

Piyo is a workout program that uses pilates and yoga moves and is all body-weight: all you need is yourself and a yoga mat! From Beachbody:

PiYo combines the muscle-sculpting, core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility advantages of yoga. And, we crank up the speed to deliver a true fat-burning, low-impact workout that leaves your body looking long, lean, and incredibly defined.



When you order Piyo you receive 8 workouts on three different DVDs, a Quick Start Guide, a 60-day workout calendar, a nutrition guide and a bonus Buns DVD. When I ordered Piyo, I do so through a Beach Body Coach, who is meant to answer your questions and support you along your journey. My coach, Anna, offers monthly challenges to keep you accountable with your workouts and your eating, as well as to keep you motivated.

I decided to follow the 60-day workout calender to the best of my abilities. So what did I think? I actually really liked this program. I usually hate doing at-home workouts but over the past few months I’ve really enjoyed them. The first couple of weeks of doing Piyo was a little harder, but once I got further into the program I started to feel stronger and fully understood the rhythm. Also, the workouts you do starting after the first two weeks are a little more interesting. The program adds in new workouts as you move along which helps to mix things up quite a bit.

I did not 100% follow the program for two reasons: 1) by the last two weeks I was missing Tone It Up workouts and getting a little bored and 2) I haven’t been feeling my best and they started to be too much for me. As for 1, that’s pretty typical of me and as for number 2, well, I’m seeing a doctor this week about some things I’ve been dealing with and hopefully I’ll be more capable of demanding workouts in the near future.

So final verdict? TRY IT! If you’re willing to pay for the DVDs, this is a great at-home workout program, especially for someone who doesn’t have much space or equipment and if you’re consistent with it and with your eating habits, I really think you will see great results.


Do you like at-home workout DVDs? 

Do you follow a workout program or make it up as you go? 

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Review

This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno. As always, the opinions expressed here are completely my own.

I really loved the Mizuno Wave Rider 17, so I was excited when Mizuno sent me their Wave Rider 18 to try out. The Mizuno Wave Rider 18 is a neutral shoe, which means that it has the right amount of support for a wide range of runners. The shoe is actually 1 oz lighter than its previous version, coming in at 7.8oz with a 12mm ramp (difference between heel and toe height). The shoe also comes in wide or narrow, and three different colors:

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I’ve been using my Mizunos for a couple weeks now, taking them on light jogs, walks, and plenty of errand running.


According to Mizuno, they adopted the influence of the Japanese “Hado,” which essential means a life force that promotes powerful transformations. Their idea is that the sleek, dynamic design relaying the power and kinetic energy of running will harness the transformative possibilities of every run. Some inspiration, right? Haha I didn’t realize so much background thought went into these shoes, but they are passionate about them!

The one thing I noticed about the Wave Rider 18 is that they do take time to break in. The bottom of the shoe is pretty stiff, so when I wore them for 4 hours volunteering and then on a walk with a friend, my feet were feeling it by the end. I’d recommend slowly breaking these in on shorter runs/walks before taking them out for anything longer.


Otherwise, I was pretty pleased with the fit. I normally order a narrow in running shoes, but these worked really well for me in the regular size. They also have plenty of support for a neutral shoe, so once you do get them loosened up a bit they will be great for long runs. According to Mizuno, their patented Wave Technology gives you maximum responsiveness, or “just enough” support for your run, and the modified outsole pattern gives the shoe added durability and an improved underfoot feel.

I do have to be honest and say that I preferred the 17 over the 18 so far, but I’ll give these some more time and report back to you all if I change my mind! I plan on wearing them through the winter to really break them in, so I’m excited to see how they do!


How often do you get new running/walking shoes? 

If you were designing a running shoe, what would you choose for your inspiration? 


Graceland Cemetery Tour–Vimbly

Disclaimer: I was offered a free ticket for the tour, however all opinions and thoughts are, as always, my own.

First off – HAPPY OATMEAL DAY! Haha did you know October 29th is Oatmeal Day? Well it is! And to celebrate I have a new recipe for you… coming on tomorrow’s WIAW post! I know – brace yourselves. The excitement is overwhelming, right?..

So. Why would I want to take a tour of a cemetery? Creepy, right? Let me explain. I was contacted by Vimbly to try out their services. It’s a website where you can search for things to do in your city, and then you can buy your tickets right on their website.


I really enjoyed how easy it was to find and book a tour on Vimbly. I liked it so much that I used it again to book the architecture tour I went on with my family on Sunday!

Although booked through Vimbly, the tour itself was given by Joyce Walks Chicago, which offers several other tours in the city.

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Here is a description of the tour from their website:

Graceland Cemetery was established in 1860. At that time, it was outside the city boundaries. Taking a stroll through Graceland Cemetery will take you back in time as you discover the history of some of Chicago’s famous politicians, architects, business leaders, philanthropists, and artists.  Some of the greats buried here include: Daniel Burnham, Potter and Bertha Honore Palmer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Ruth Page, and Louis Sullivan.


I chose the Graceland Cemetery tour because I was intrigued, I’d never been on a cemetery tour before, and I knew it would have a lot of Chicago history. Before we started, our tour guide gave us a map of the cemetery with a list of the grave sites we would visit and hear about on the tour.

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I was surprised at how beautiful the cemetery was! We learned that it had actually been designed that way. It’s a privately owned cemetery and the man who founded it wanted it to feel like a park, giving family members the experience of visiting their loved ones in a beautiful and uplifting space.

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The cemetery is run by a board, who make all aesthetic decisions. Unlike most cemeteries, you can’t place flowers, pinwheels, ribbons, flags, etc. on the gravesites. They’re very specific about what is and isn’t allowed.

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Although the cemetery was interesting, the part of the tour that I really came for was the history of Chicago, which I heard a lot about through the people who are in the cemetery. Since Graceland is such a beautiful and private cemetery, a lot of prominent characters from Chicago’s history are buried there.

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Our tour guide was absolutely fantastic. She had an incredibly upbeat attitude (which helped since it was so cold out…), a real passion for history, and a lot of great stories. What I loved about the tour is that she didn’t just recite facts to us, she told us stories. If only my history classes in school had been so interesting!

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Despite the cold, I really enjoyed the tour and would love to sign up for more. I’m already looking into the one in the Gold Coast area, which is another more historical area with large houses. Beautiful architecture and a lot of Chicago history!

I had a great experience on both my tour and with Vimbly and would definitely recommend using the website if it’s offered where you live!


Have you been on a historical tour before?

Have you ever been on a tour of a cemetery?