Let that SHI(F)T go!

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Photo property of Beachbody, LLC.

Anything is possible when you remove the phrase “I can’t” from your vocabulary. I have to admit that I was initially intimidated by SHIFT SHOP. The moves are intense, and the meal plan is pretty strict. I wanted to fully commit myself to a program that is known for getting people great results in record time, so I stepped out of my comfort zone and jumped right in. I’m so glad I did.

This Beachbody workout is for everyone. Whether you’re new to fitness, a seasoned pro, or trying to bust through a weight loss plateau. It’s hard, but trust me, you CAN do this.

SHIFT SHOP is a 21-day program with six working days and either a stretch or rest day on Sunday. Since it’s such a short program, you work hard from beginning to end. If you get the Deluxe package, you get a few additional workouts to help you burn more calories and get fit faster. Most challengers (including me) will save these for round two.

I stream my workouts right from Beachbody on Demand (BOD)*. I am so in love with my BOD subscription. For a low monthly price of $8.25, you can access to ALL the Beachbody programs available (including any future releases). This service is the Holy Grail – the Netflix of Fitness!

Before You Begin

Make sure to track your results! Take measurements, weigh yourself, and figure out your container breakdown (more details under “Nutrition”).

Nutrition

Start each day off right – with breakfast. This can be a shake or another healthier option like scrambled egg stuffed sweet potatoes or Icelandic yogurt with berries, pistachios, and cacao nibs. I’m on a yogurt kick lately – I love adding a lot of mix ins to vanilla.

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A delicious mix of white plum, coconut chips, and pistachios!

A little Sunday meal prep can help you stay on track! I recently started using my Instant Pot for this, and it has helped tremendously.

The program recommends three meals and two snacks, but you can design your own plan. I’ve gotten into the habit of eating three filling meals with minimal snacking. Do what works best for you.

There are over 80 recipes designed just for SHIFT SHOP including Turkey and Brussels Sprouts Frittata, Pork & Sweet Potato Kabobs, and Watermelon Heirloom Salad. Yum!

I love that the newer Beachbody programs all use the same container breakdowns in some way. While SHIFT SHOP is really it’s own plan that varies by week, you still use the Portion Fix containers as a guide. A simple formula can help you figure out how many of each container you get per day. My plan is based on a 1,200-1,499 calorie diet. This turns out to be plenty of food, but SHIFT SHOP allows for unlimited veggies, so if you’re still hungry, pile on the greens! This plan can also be designed around a vegetarian or gluten free lifestyle.

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Snap peas are seriously the BEST snack. Plus, they satisfy that need for a crunch!

Make sure you are drinking plenty of water during the workouts and throughout the day – at least half of your body weight. It will cut down on hunger, keep you hydrated, and help prevent your muscles from cramping. Both Beachbody Performance Energize and Hydrate are encouraged for ultimate performance.

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I drink this before every workout to push harder and burn more calories.

Equipment

  • Agility Markers – (these can also be printed from BOD)
  • Weights
  • Yoga Mat
  • Towel (for Sunday stretch)
  • PT Sandbag (optional, used for Deluxe workouts)
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Great quality and definitely worth the investment – especially if you love the program.

The Workouts

I love every workout in the SHIFT SHOP and actually look forward to my daily 5 am sweat sesh. The variety is great – there are alternating cardio speed and fat-burning strength workouts for each of the three weeks, all building on the previous week’s sessions.

Week 1 workouts are 25 minutes, Week 2 are 35, and Week 3 are 45. If you get the Deluxe Kit (or have a BOD subscription), bonus workouts are 50 minutes. All are fun and challenging.

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Check out this calorie burn from Speed 45.

There is a modifier for every move, so you don’t have to worry about giving up or falling behind. Remember, remove the words “I can’t” from your vocabulary, and you’ll be capable of amazing things.

Each week ends with a 20-minute stretch or rest day. Some days you’ll supplement the workouts with a 12-minute core workout (15 minutes for the Deluxe). If your muscles are sore and you are so inclined, I highly recommend the Relief workout from Core de Force. It can be done each night right before bed – and get this: the trainers show up in their jammies!

The Trainer

Chris Downing – Officially Beachbody’s newest Super Trainer, Chris has trained both amateur and pro athletes, including individuals at all different fitness levels. He pushes you to do your best and give it your all. An amazing motivational coach – he will have you laughing your behind off (literally).

The Results

SHIFT SHOP works. You can expect to see results after the first week if you’re consistent with both workouts and healthy eating. This my favorite program. Overall, I lost 6.4 pounds and 9 inches during my first round, but most importantly, I gained strength, definition, and confidence. Nothing compares to feeling comfortable in your own skin.

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My 3-Day Refresh & SHIFT SHOP results.

Bottom Line: I have and will continue to recommend this program to everyone. Give it a try. If you decide it’s not for you, Beachbody offers a 30-day money back guarantee (less s&h). If you do like it and you see results, be sure to submit your before and after photos, weight, and measurements to the Beachbody Challenge and they will send you a FREE t-shirt. Either way, you really can’t lose.

 

 

I know you know, but I have to say it anyway…Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise, fitness, and/or diet program.

*Other package options available online. Team Beachbody Coaches save 25%.

Visit teambeachbody.com for more information on programs, to sign up for Beachbody On Demand, and to request me as your FREE coach! (Note: I will receive a commission from any purchase made through these Beachbody links – see full disclosure for more information.)

 

Got goals?

I like to visualize my goals. It’s easy to look at and carry everywhere! 

Author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” He was right. It’s so easy to say you are going to do something, to create hypothetical goals, to wish that things were different, and to hope that all your dreams will come true without taking any action. But that only leaves you stuck in the rut you are trying to escape.

Many goals are easy – “I’m going to find 10 minutes each day to catch up on the news.” Some are harder – “I’m going to set 3 hours aside each weekend to meal prep for the week.” And then there are those that seem entirely out of reach – “I’m going to increase my annual income by 10% within the next six months.”

Below are some steps to take when goal planning. As you will read, it’s not just one and done – all things, whether great or small take effort. The more you give, the more you’ll get.

Step 1 – Trust in the Universe

Before you even set your goals, you have to set your mindset. The truth is that EVERYTHING is attainable. Yes, you read that right. Everything that you can think up is available to you. The Law of Attraction states that like attracts like, so if you set a goal, but don’t believe it’s possible, it won’t happen. If you have negative thoughts, you’ll only receive more negative situations to feel bad about. On the contrary, if you set a goal, believe in it, and take action, you will achieve it.

This is the hard because it’s difficult to put faith and trust in the unknown, we love the feeling of control, and – let’s face it – when things are rough, it’s hard to be positive. Just give it a try and see what happens!

Recommended Reading: The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein and E-Squared by Pam Grout

Step 2 – Set SMART Goals

You may have heard about SMART goals at work. Companies are all about these, and for good reason. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant & Time-Bound.

Specific

Be specific and detailed in what you want to achieve.

  • Vague Goal– I want to make more money.
  • Specific Goal – I want to make an extra $100 per week through my soap making business by December 25, 2017.

The Universe can have a sense of humor. If you’re not specific with what you want, you may get exactly what you asked for – such as a $5 gift card for taking an online survey Hey, it’s more money, right?

Measurable

This allows you to track your progress and help you stay motivated. So, if your goal is to make $100 more per week through your soap making business by December 25th you might achieve this by increasing your marketing efforts and then tracking the sales. This is something tangible that can be physically reviewed and monitored, so you’ll know when you hit your goal.

Goals that aren’t specific are so much harder to track and measure.

Achievable

Okay, I know I said ALL goals are achievable, and it’s true, but let’s be realistic here too. If you want $1 million by tomorrow, it’s probably not happening unless you win the lotto. But, if you’re just starting out your career and want to grow your retirement savings to $1 million by the time you hit 65, that’s entirely possible and achievable. Make sure you have access to the resources you need to make the goals happen.

Relevant

Does the goal matter to you? People tell you what to do all the time – you should eat better, sleep more, lose weight, etc. But if the goal is not top of mind for you or it’s just not a good time to start working on it, it’s not worth your effort or energy.

Time-Bound

All goals need end dates. When do you hope to lose 50lbs? Eventually? I hate to burst your bubble, but eventually is never going to happen. Set a realistic target date for achieving and then work on it every day.

Recommended Reading: The Push by Chalene Johnson

Step 3 – Take Action & Be Consistent

You don’t have to go at it all at once. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take baby steps. Even small efforts towards a bigger goal will add up over time. You’ll never reach the goal if you don’t start somewhere.

Recommended Reading: The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

Step 4 – Track Progress

Get a journal or an app to help track your goals. Writing them down reinforces the behavior and looking at them often will help you realize where you are and where you need to be. When you make a step in the right direction, note it. If you have a setback, note that too. This will help you reevaluate future goals.

Recommended Journal: Chalene Johnson’s SmartLife PUSH Journal

Step 5 – Reward Yourself

It goes without saying that kids love rewards. Secretly, adults do too! Indulge your inner child and give yourself a little extra motivation. I wouldn’t go overboard, but having something extra (such as a manicure, new pair of sneakers, or a tablet) at the finish line will give you a boost to reach those goals. I have a few goals to crush by November and I’m picturing a Lularoe Amelia dress (that I’ve wanted for months) hanging in my closet!

What goals are on your list for the coming months?

Remember, whether you think you can achieve them or you think you can’t, you’re right.

 

Shift Shop Sneak Peek!

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Photo property of Beachbody, LLC

I’ve never been so excited for a workout program to launch. Until now. Shift Shop challenges you to push your limits. It’s hard, but once you finish a workout, you’ll be so proud of yourself. It’s a shift for your body and your mind.

I have to admit that I’ve been super jealous of the top coaches who’ve had the opportunity to participate in the test group. Their results have been amazing. Seriously, I’m in awe of what can be accomplished in just 3 short weeks. If you thought the 21 Day Fix Extreme brought kick ass results, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Because the program doesn’t officially launch until July 12th, there are still a lot of unknowns, but I’ll do my best to paint an accurate (and unbiased) picture.

What, exactly, is the Shift Shop?

An awesome combination of cardio and resistance. It will get you shredded in record time. Over the course of three weeks, workout times will increase from 25 to 45 minutes and some days include a 12-minute bonus workout – Shift Core – which focuses on sculpting those abs. Sundays will either be a day of rest or stretching with Shift Mobility – your choice.

I was able to try out Speed 25 twice and it was exhilarating. This is actually the first time my heart rate skyrocketed over 190 and I burned over 200 calories in just under 30 minutes.

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My results from Speed 25

For this particular workout, there are one-minute rounds where you give it your all and then a little break in between to grab water as the trainer explains how to do the next move. I appreciated these breaks because I needed them.

The Trainer

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Photo property of Beachbody, LLC

Chris Downing – Officially Beachbody’s newest Super Trainer, Chris has trained both amateur and pro athletes, including individuals at all different fitness levels. He really pushes you to do your best and give it your all. A fantastic motivational coach!

Nutrition

Details are a little hazy here. I know that Portion Fix Containers are involved, but the breakdowns are not the same as with many of the other programs. I did hear that you can eat extra veggies – always a good thing!

Since the program seems strict, Sunday meal prep will help you stay on track. Even if you just make meal starters to help you with dinners throughout the week, you will be one step ahead.

It goes without saying, but make sure you are drinking plenty of water during the workouts and throughout the day – at least half of your body weight. It will cut down on hunger and keep you hydrated. You might even consider adding Beachbody Performance Hydrate into your routine. I also love Beachbody Performance Energize to get that jumpstart before the workout even begins.

Agility Markers

I personally think that the Agility Markers (pictured above) are too expensive when purchased separately – $19.95* plus $6.95 shipping. Yikes!

I’ve looked for comparable ones elsewhere, but those are around $20 as well. To me, it’s just not worth it. I might try my hand at making them with felt or foam from a craft store. Way more budget friendly!

Your best option would be to purchase a Challenge Pack, which includes a 30-day supply of Shakeology or (my favorite option) the Shift Shop Deluxe Kit, which for $119.70* includes 6 base workouts, two bonus workouts, three additional deluxe workouts, nutrition guide, jumpstart guide, 3-week calendar, 3-week deluxe calendar, agility markers, and sandbag.

I’m a Beachbody on Demand girl, myself, but I love having the original wall calendars (instead of printed ones). Maybe Beachbody will start printing and selling them one day!

The Results

Right now this is the newest program and it has a ton of hype surrounding it. For good reason – it works. Beachbody even claims that “anyone can get fit and lose up to 10 pounds with Shift Shop – now, that’s bold. I read a ton of positive reviews from those participating in the test group. You can expect to see results after the first week if you’re consistent. Expect to see a shift in both your body and your mind.

Bottom Line: Beachbody claims that Shift Shop is perfect for beginners, but I have to disagree. I will easily recommend this program to anyone, but I believe you have to be in the right mindset to make progress. The Shift Shop is a high-intensity program. If this was my first program, it probably would have turned me off from fitness altogether. Now, however, I welcome the challenge.

In all, I seriously can’t wait until July 12th!

 

 

I know you know, but I have to say it anyway…always consult your doctor before beginning an intense exercise, fitness, and/or diet program.

* Team Beachbody Club members save 10%, coaches save 25%. Current prices valid as of 6/28/2017.

Visit teambeachbody.com for more information on programs, to sign up for Beachbody On Demand, and to request me as your FREE coach! (Note: I will receive a commission from any purchase made through these Beachbody links – see full disclosure for more information.)

#FightForIt

The other day someone mentioned that I was really fit. Of course my first reaction was “who, me?” I’ve never really considered myself fit. Thin, at times, but never fit. I guess, when you think about it, working out regularly will get you there, a nd Icredit Core de Force for getting me there.

This Beachbody workout is for you if you want to work your ass off (literally), want that bikini body, have a lot of pent up anger and need an outlet to release it, enjoy hard work, and/or aren’t afraid of looking like a fool (at first anyway). It’s labeled intermediate, but it’s hard. You really have to work for it to get results – that means no wimpy punches or baby kicks. You need to put in all the effort “until the bell.”

Core de Force lasts 30 days without a rest day. Since it’s such a short program, you work hard from beginning to end. The last day of the week is as close as you’ll come to resting – give your body a break with Active Recovery. You’re still working, but you’re loosening up those muscles and preparing for another week of tough work. If you get the Deluxe package, you get a few additional workouts to help you burn more calories and get fit faster – some of these focus on toning the bum (aka MMA Kick Butt).

I have a serious love-hate relationship with Core de Force. I hate the push-ups, but I love the MMA workouts. Dynamic Strength is my absolute worst enemy – if you take the challenge, you’ll see why. What’s enticing about this program is that it’s only 30 days and you can do anything for a month. You definitely feel like you’re working out, but the trainers are great and help you get through it. There is also a modifier who does – you guessed it! – less intense, but still powerful, versions of the exercises. Routines are upwards of 30 minutes. Some days you’ll have two, which could bring the time up to an hour. It’s really not bad when you plan for it. Even if you don’t usually sweat (like me), you’ll be drenched by the end, and I mean hair soaking wet. It feels good.

You may be wondering why I love it if it sounds so…bad? hard? Well, you get results. Fast. Plus, the workouts really are fun. You have 3-minute rounds where you go all out, a  quick opportunity for a water break in between, and then go full force again. When you’re doing it, you hate yourself, you’re cursing the trainers, and you literally just want it to be over. Then, when it is over, you want more. That’s why I’m currently in my second round.

This is the second program I’ve purchased digitally from Beachbody on Demand (BOD)*. I am so in love with my BOD subscription. Now you can purchase a monthly subscription for less than $9 and that gives you access to ALL the Beachbody programs available!

Note: I used to stream on the Amazon Firestick, but have since upgraded to the Apple TV and it was so worth it. The menus are better and so is the display. Highly recommend it. The only downside is that it’s not as portable.

Photo property of Beachbody, LLC.

Before You Begin

Make sure to track your results! Take measurements, weigh yourself, and figure out your container breakdown (more details under “Nutrition”).

Watch the move breakdown videos; trust me – they will come in handy.

Nutrition

Start each day off right – with breakfast. This can be a shake or another healthier option like sweet potato hash and eggs. I’m a fan of eating non-traditional breakfasts. Sweet potato chocolate chili, anyone?

A little Sunday meal prep can help you stay on track! I recently started using my Instant Pot  for this and it has helped tremendously.

The program recommends eating small meals and healthy snacks throughout the day. I’ve gotten into the habit of eating 3 filling meals with minimal snacking. Do what works best for you. The included recipe booklet has fun meals such as BBQ Chicken Pita Pizza and Energy Trail Mix.

I love that the newer Beachbody programs all use the same container breakdowns. (NOTE: These will be updating soon to make it a little easier to convert recipes.) It makes it super easy to stay on top of your nutrition as you move through the programs. Use a simple formula to figure out how many of each container you get per day. My plan is based on a 1,200-1,499 calorie diet: 4Red (protein), 3Green (veggies), 2Purple (fruits), 2Yellow (carbs), 1Blue (healthy fats), 1Orange (nuts and seeds), and 2Teaspoons (oils). This turns out to be plenty of food, but if you’re still hungry, and a glass of water doesn’t do the trick, add another green or red. This plan can also be designed around a vegetarian or gluten free lifestyle.

The Portion Fix Containers help you eat just the right amount.

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Make sure you are drinking plenty of water during the workouts and throughout the day – at least half of your body weight. It will cut down on hunger and keep you hydrated. You might even consider adding Beachbody Hydrate into your routine.

My favorite way to keep hydrated is with my healthy human water bottle.

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Optional Equipment

  • Yoga Mat / Towel for elbow planks (the first round I got rug burn!)
  • Agility Ladder (Deluxe workouts only)

The Workouts

Workouts are switched up throughout the four weeks. Each varies from 6-12 three-minute rounds. You might not get them down right away, but you will as you repeat them. Again, the move breakdown videos are helpful.

Each week ends with a 21-minute Active Recovery (described above). Some days you’ll supplement the workouts with 5 Minute Core on the Floor and 16-minute Core Kinetics. Both are tough, but will get you where you need to be. If your muscles are sore and you are so inclined, there is a Relief workout that can be done each night – and get this: the trainers show up in their jammies!

The Trainers

Joel Freeman – Elite personal trainer and one of the newest Super Trainers in the Beachbody family.

Jericho McMatthews – Self-proclaimed “fitness chameleon,” new mommy (to the cutest baby!), and one of the newest Super Trainers in the Beachbody family.

The Results

Right now this is the newest program (but not for long!) and it has a lot of hype surrounding it. For good reason – it works. I read a ton of positive reviews online. You can expect to see results after the first week if you’re consistent. This is my favorite program. I may whine about it, but I still look forward to my workouts every day. Overall, I lost 4.6 pounds and 4 inches during my first round, but most importantly, I gained strength and definition. Nothing compares to feeling confident in your own skin.

Bottom Line: I have and will continue to recommend this to all of my friends and family. Try it out for yourself. What’s the worst that can happen? If you decide it’s not really your thing, Beachbody offers a 30-day money back guarantee (less s&h). If you do like it and you see results, be sure to submit your before and after photos, weight, and measurements to the Beachbody Challenge and they will send you a FREE t-shirt. Either way, you really can’t lose.

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Seriously, the comfiest shirt I own!

I know you know, but I have to say it anyway…always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise, fitness, and/or diet program.

*Other package options available online. Team Beachbody Club members save 10%, coaches save 25%.

Visit teambeachbody.com for more information on programs, to sign up for Beachbody On Demand, and to request me as your FREE coach! (Note: I will receive a commission from any purchase made through these Beachbody links – see full disclosure for more information.)

Happy New Year!

Chinese New Year, that is.

In a way, I’ve been a little slow going this year. As Martha Stewart would say, I’ve got a lot of “good things” going on. But it’s definitely time go jump back into the swing of things, and what better way to do that than with a celebration?

Celebrations!

When I was younger, my grandmother gave me a book of Celebrations around the World. That was and still is one of my favorite books. I’m Catholic, so I celebrate Easter, Christmas, and the rest of the commercialized American holidays, but it was always fun to read about Purim, Dia de los Muertos, Eid ul-Fitr, St. Nicholas Day, Holi, and many others. I loved seeing the colorful outfits, reading the descriptions of the delicious foods, and learning about traditions that were completely new to me.

Chinese New Year

Goodies from my work celebration: hot & sour soup, traditional Chinese desserts, green apple bubble tea, and general tso chicken.

One of the most colorful celebrations is Chinese New Year. It’s a 15-day tradition to welcome in the year with parades, yummy foods, gifts of good fortune, and family time. In the days before the New Year, families clean their houses from top to bottom to get rid of last years bad luck and welcome the good health, happiness, and fortune of the New Year.

Red Envelopes

The Chinese see red as the symbol of joy, energy, happiness, and good luck. During the new year they place crisp money in red envelopes and give them as gifts to family and friends. This is a way of wishing the recipient a happy new year filled with good luck. Traditionally you accept the envelope with two hands and to be polite, do not open the envelopes in front of the giver.

Chinese Zodiac

2017 is the year of the Rooster, the fire Rooster, to be more precise – a combination that only happens once every 60 years. Those born during the year of the Fire Rooster are thought to be very trustworthy and responsible with their work.

Unfortunately, according to Chinese Astrology, it’s unlucky if your birth sign matches the current zodiac sign. Take extra precautions to avoid any dangers or warnings. For everyone else, however, 2017 is said to be a year of good fortune and happiness. I think we can all rejoice in hearing that!

For more information about the Rooster Sign, Chinese Zodiac Signs, and Chinese culture in general, check out this comprehensive site.

Happy New Year and may it be filled with health, wealth, and happiness!

Cut those cravings 

Talking about your…*cough*…time of the month…*cough*…used to be really taboo. It was kind of like discussing your salary – something you kept private and maybe only shared with one or two people close to you. Now there are products and commercials galore related to women’s health, including everything from vitamins and pain reducers to all things feminine hygiene.

But what about those brutal cravings? You know, the ones that hit you when you’re just minding your own business watching Netflix? Suddenly, chocolate covered sea salt and vinegar kettle chips with a side of strawberry cheesecake ice cream sounds like the best idea EVER. The guilt, the shame, the horror.

Well, ladies (and guys who have rollercoaster PMSing ladies at home) your prayers have been answered.

PMS Bites is a company founded by Boston entrepreneur Tania Green. The idea for her healthier chocolate treats developed from her own desire to curb PMS cravings, or better yet, satisfy the feeling without the guilt. Tania’s products have been featured on Shark Tank and in the Huffington Post and Allure.

PMS Bites are gluten free, vegan, all, natural, and great-tasting. They also contain herbs (chamomile, Siberian Ginseng, dandelion root) that are used to ease PMS symptoms such as bloating, cramping, and mood swings. One PMS Bite (Plain Crazy) is only 70 calories and contains just 7 grams of sugar. It’s a satisfying and healthier option – one you don’t have to feel guilty about.

Bites are affordably priced at $9.99 for a six pack and shipping is FREE! There are three flavors: Coco-Nutty (rolled in coconut), Plain Crazy (dusted with coco powder and coconut palm sugar), and All Kinds of Nuts (made with yummy pecans). If you want to try them all, you’re in luck – just go with the variety pack and try two of each.

For more information or to purchase a pack for yourself or a special someone, visit pmsbites.com.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by PMS Bites. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Snacker successful. All opinions are my own.