by Penelope Loves Lists Founder Meredith Monday Schwartz

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my booty KICKED in these last 6 weeks. These workouts from the Weekly Workout List series have been awesome. And I love that no gym membership is required to get into shape. The only thing required is to get into the habit of keeping that appointment with yourself.


We’re going to take a break from the series as we head into summer (to make room for some other, totally awesome content!) and so I thought I’d wrap it up with a post that brings links to all 6 weeks of workouts together.

Here we go!

Week 1: Find Your Motivation. Includes Yoga, HIIT and Barre workouts. It’s a nice mix to find the type of workout you love.

Week 2: Shake Your Groove Thang. Dance workouts you can do at home.

Week 3: Push Yourself. Workouts inspired by P90X.

Week 4: Get in the box. Crossfit for beginners.

Week 5: Girl Crush. Workouts from Jessica Smith, an IWL (Instructor We Love.)

Week 6: Fit on the Go. Workouts you can do while you travel.

We’ve also created Video “Playlists” on our YouTube channel for all 6 weeks of workouts. This makes it super easy to queue the videos up and get moving faster.

Remember to keep those workout appointments with yourself, because BOSSES DON’T CANCEL. (And neither do Penelopes.)



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I’m so excited to give you the first of several morning routines of fellow Penelope readers. Today, we’ll hear from Frances. She’s a wife, mom, scientist and blogger. You got it, she gets a lot done each day. And it all starts with you morning routine. She shares it here:

  • Marital Status: Marriedpic
  • Occupation: Clinical Laboratory Scientist
  • Number of children/ages: 2 kids ages, 9 and 11
  • Wake up time: 5:15am
  • Average hours of sleep: 7 hours
  • Wake-up inspiration: Very loud alarm clock
  • Keys to success: planning ahead

The Rundown:

I am a morning person. I think way better at six in the morning than I do at six at night. I have always been that way. But I also like to sleep and with my busy life I never seem to get enough of it! In a bid to squeeze in as much shut eye as possible (even though I do get up before most birds) I have one trick:

Everything is prepared the night before.

I pack my lunch, get my breakfast ready, put together my gym bag, and lay out what clothes I am going to wear the next day, all before I crawl into bed. Then when the alarm goes off at the last possible moment, I can quickly be out the door.

This is my morning…

5:15am – Alarm wakes me up. Quickly pull on my exercise clothes, grab all my bags, and my breakfast (has to be food I can eat one-handed as I drive) and head out the door…leaving my husband and kids still asleep.

5:40am – Get to the fitness facility that is located in the hospital where I work. Throw everything in a locker and rush to the 5:45 exercise class. If I am a few minutes late, or just don’t feel like taking the class that morning, I will hit the indoor track. I love to read, but don’t always have the time, so I put in my headphones and listen to an audio book as I jog around the track. This is my version of multitasking.

6:45am – Head back to the locker room, and jump in the shower. I am not exaggerating when I say this is the best part of my day. Since I am not at home, this is the one place where I can take a hot shower for just a few minutes without little ones poking their heads around the curtain and asking for something, or being interrupted by a husband suddenly needing to have an in depth conversation. For just a moment, I can have my version of a Zen moment, and have my own deep thoughts. I always feel refreshed and happy to start my day once I take this shower.

7:15am – All dressed and ready to go. I still have 45 minutes until I need to be at work. I take a moment to trade messages with our au pair who is now at our house getting the kids ready for school, and check in with my husband who is on his way to work. I also take advantage of this time to go through my email, check off any tasks from my to-do list that I can complete, glance at the family calendar to see if anything is coming up that needs my attention or coordination, and start a rough draft for a post for my blog Improvement List.

7:55am – Walk to work and start my day.

What one piece of my routine would de-rail my morning: I recently moved and switched jobs. My start time for work is earlier with this new job, so I am missing that little bit of time I use to have where I could get a few things checked off my to-do list and go over my calendar before I started work. This is making me feel disorganized. I am working on getting my balance back, and getting this morning routine (that really worked well for me) reestablished in the framework of my new life.

Morning wakeup call looks like this:

I won’t scare you with what I really look like in the morning. (I just hope my fellow exercisers are still half asleep and are not looking too closely until I get that shower!) Instead, here is a picture of my pile of bags and clothes I have ready to go in the morning.


About Frances: I am a mother, a wife, and a community volunteer. I work as a scientist by day and moonlight as a blogger. Making lists helps me keep everything on track. While I have a good life, there is always room for improvement. Join me on my blog Improvement List as I decorate, organize, and try new things. Also, check out my tips on the blog Tipsaholic where I am a contributor.

Thanks, Frances! I totally agree, the more than can be done the night before, the better. Penelopes – please submit YOUR morning routine so you can be featured here. We learn from each other. You can email me at penelopeloveslists AT gmail DOT COM. I’d love to feature you.



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by Penelope Loves Lists Founder Meredith Monday Schwartz

I’ve created a monster.

A sweet, innocent-looking little male Penelope monster.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 3.41.00 PM

The other day, I was in the kitchen, making dinner. My 3-year-old, Jackson, comes in, stands next to me, face serious, fists clenched.

Jackson: “Mom, we have a problem. In the other room. It’s bad. Come with me to see.”

I’m concerned, so I follow him.

He walks into our bedroom and walks over to a specific spot on the floor and points down. “Do you see this? Do you see what’s on the floor here?”

I look down onto our cream-colored carpet and see four black pieces of fuzz on the floor.

Me: “Yeah, Daddy was putting on some new black socks, there are a few pieces of fuzz on the floor that were left behind.”

Jackson: “He just left them there. Like he didn’t need to clean them up! This is bad. We need a new dad.”

Me: “Jackson! We don’t need a new dad just because he left a few fuzzes on the floor. We just clean them up and move on. He’s your favorite daddy. You adore him! He does so many great things for you. And he loves you so much.”

Shakes his head seriously. Looks at my gravely.

Jackson: “Okay, we’ll give him one more chance. But just this once.”

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