So, apparently, I tend to overindulge a little bit over Christmas and Valentine’s Day. What can I say? Mama loves some chocolate. The net effect? I’ve put on about 7 pounds that I’d lost previously. Color me irritated. And a little chubby.

But, no use wallowing, I know I simply need to lock it down for a couple weeks and go back to the same tried and true plan that helped me lose 20 lbs over a year and a half ago.

Given that we’ve gained a lot of new readers (welcome, new Penelopes!) in the last few months, I thought it might make sense to post  the links to the whole series here, in case anyone else is in the same boat.

You can learn:

the overview of the process, including a really lovely “before” shot.

about the book I used that started it all (and helped me make it through)

about the app I used to monitor my calorie intake and exercise

about the workout routine that helped me put it all together

how I looked (and felt) after I dropped the weight, including some tips for maintaining.

More than 18 months later, and, barring overindulgence at the holidays, I can vouch wholeheartedly for every one of these tools. In fact, I recently had my blood panel done and was incredibly happy to see that every one of my levels were in a perfect range. I credit this set of tools with helping me eat clean and stay active.

This set of tools works because they become “the boss”, you get to simply do what they tell you to do. I love that. Sometimes, I’m tired of being in charge. And, if you do follow this structure, for a few weeks, you’ll lose weight in a healthy, smart way, too.





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by PLL Contributor Lisa Shields

We can all agree that breakfast is important. Right? I mean, we’ve all read countless articles filed with scientific jargon that stresses the value of kickstarting your metabolism with a healthy morning meal.

And, yet, the struggle is real. For a lot of us, breakfast is the longest 4-letter word in our vocabulary. What do we grab for the family (let alone ourselves!) while the sleep dust still sits in our eyes and the caffeine drip hasn’t quite made its way through the cobwebs? In my house, this challenge is particularly complicated as I have an elite athlete who not only devours calories like a ravenous bear, but due to her schedule, has to eat a lot of her fuel on the go.

After many long Google searches and countless recipes that required way to much early morning manipulation for my blood, I came across the jackpot! We call these nuggets OOG, because we love acronyms in our house. It’s our “thing”. But they are more commonly referred to as Oatmeal On the Go or Baked Oatmeal (#notasmuchfun), and they are nothing short of a miracle.


These little muffin-like beauties are packed with healthy protein and fiber and are the kind of morning meal that will “stick to your bones” and get you to lunch without annoying 10am munchies.

As if that weren’t enough, they are also endlessly customizable to the tastes and preferences of your home. Some love almond butter, some need to be eased in with some old fashioned PB. Go ahead, swap it out! Some love raisins, other are chocolate chip purists. To each their own!

Here’s the recipe I use to create these morsels .. it’s adapted from a great blog on healthy eating, My Whole Food Life.

2 ripe bananas mashed
1/3 cup almond butter
3 T maple syrup
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 T almond milk
2 cups gluten free rolled oats (I use Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats. I like that they come in a resealable bag and are GF to boot!)
2 T flaxseed
2 scoops protein powder – whatever one you fancy will do
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/8 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350° F.

Mash bananas in a medium bowl. Mix remaining wet ingredients. Add oats, flaxseed and protein powder and stir to combine. Stir in chocolate chips and raisins until distributed.

Grease a muffin tin and scoop mix until about 3/4 full. I use a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop and get about 8-9 muffins out of this recipe.

Bake 15-18 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown. Let cool slightly before removing from pan.

I store them in the fridge and give them a 25 second “nuke” as we head out the door.

SOOOO yummy, and kid tested. Thank you, OOG, for keeping me sane in the morning!



4 nicely neat comments

I was interviewing a candidate for a job at my company recently and the person I was talking to said these words …

“To be honest, I’m probably organized to a fault.”

My brain almost exploded. I literally stopped her mid-sentence and challenged that statement. Is there such a thing as being organized to a fault? Not in my vocabulary. This just doesn’t compute.

The conversation moved on to other things but this statement has been swirling in my brain ever since. It made me think of all the times I’ve been derided for the very traits that are my strengths. The ones that make me a Penelope.

I’ve been called, since I was very small:

  • controlling
  • bossy
  • a perfectionist
  • a control freak
  • anal
  • OCD
  • Type A
  • a busybody
  • Little Miss Goody Two Shoes
  • overly organized
  • organized to a fault
  • hyper-scheduled
  • a neat freak
  • a worry wart
  • rigid

And the list goes on. And, perhaps more damaging, not only have I been called these things, I’ve called myself these things. Making excuses or apologizing for being the way I am.

So, I have to ask myself – and all of you- why does society negatively describe the Penelope Personality? And why do we accept it?


Why do we make apologies for the very things that make us successful? For the traits that help us manage multiple projects, or maintain multiple roles in our lives successfully? The traits that help us get so much more done than other people?

Why did this woman, a smart, successful woman, who we considered hiring BECAUSE of her Penelope-ness, feel the need to say she was sorry for being organized? And why don’t we hear these things being said about men? Because, you know, we don’t.

I for one am done with this. I’m putting a stake in the ground and saying I forbid all Penelopes from apologizing for being the way we are naturally. Sure, not everyone has to be this way, and it’s not a question of better or worse, but it is a matter of us accepting our natural selves and loving it. It’s about valuing our strengths and what makes us special and oh, so capable, no matter what we choose to do.

And, it’s about banding together and affirming that being a Penelope is overwhelmingly positive and any negative names will be ignored.

There’s a power in being this way. We need to teach that to our Penelope daughters and nieces and young friends. And we need to accept it as a truth within our selves.

#imapenelope #hearmeroar



11 nicely neat comments

The 7-Minute Workout – the ultimate workout for the efficient Penelope

February 16, 2015

Today’s post comes to you from new PLL Contributor Jennifer Ahearn. Jenn and I have worked together for, no joke, 20 years. At two different jobs. Now, writing Penelope together means we’re doing it a third time. Jenn is a brilliant, sweet mom of twin boys. Yes: twin boys, now 12 years old. She survived. […]

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Want to Try Mindfulness Training? Yes. Yes you do.

February 12, 2015

I have a long and illustrious career as a sufferer of an anxiety disorder. Loooong, I tell you. I was 6 when I had my first panic attack (picture poor little 1st grader Meredith, clutching her heart, sure it’s about to stop) and now, I’m so good at it, I bet you $100 I could […]

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Get ready for tax time: I wish this were fun

February 9, 2015

Sigh. Tax time. W-2s, gathering paperwork, financial advisers, time away from work to meet with these people and talk about boring things. None of this is real sexy. All of it’s necessary, right? You need a plan for the onslaught of tax documents that are hitting your mailbox now. This is the stuff you’ll need […]

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Intentional Living – The Family White Board

February 5, 2015

Today’s post comes to us from new Penelope Loves Lists contributor, Lisa Shields. Lisa’s a tall, blonde Superwoman: she’s a wife and mom of two absolutely amazing girls, aged 11 and 14. Her oldest is an elite swimmer and man, it’s amazing how much dedication and time that takes- not just from the athlete, but […]

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