Category Archives: Life

Openness for the Journey

I’ve really struggled to consistently blog lately. Honestly, other than my jaw surgery followers (who are awesome, by the way!), I’m not sure who actually reads my posts consistently! But I’ve decided that my 2018 focus will be “openness”, in whatever form that takes: openness to the journey that lies ahead of me, especially this year.


Openness does not come easily to me. I’m a creature of habit, and I like things the way they always are. When I go to a restaurant, I don’t usually deviate from the meal I know I already like. “I know that it’s good. Why try anything else?” I say to my husband.

I also struggle with openness in friendships and relationships, as I feel very different than my peers. (I always have!) Growing up with two church jobs at 16 means that I couldn’t do things on a whim on the weekends. I had church jobs that I couldn’t “call off” for. I the only thing I could feel as a “call” was the call to ministry.

And so very often I feel misunderstood by those who don’t work in a church setting. “Yes, I’m tired because I worked all weekend. All weekend. A marathon of back-to-back funerals, weddings, masses, and meetings.” Ministry is so “soul-draining” at times.


I’ve grown weary, and so as I looked at 2018, I examined what I wanted to bring to this year. The word “openness” kept coming to mind. And so here are just a few of the ways I’m staying open as we begin to journey this year:


  1. I’m open to the best nutrition possible for my body. Every single person is different, and so I’m following a 12-week educational course on finding the best course of nutrition for yourself. It’s been a challenge but I’m really enjoying it! I haven’t been perfect but it’s been very enlightening.
  2. I’m staying open to the potential job changes that I might face this year. I’m listening to “Trade Your Cares for Calm” (Max Lucado) at the moment as I drive. It’s like comfort food for the soul.
    I’m also reading “Wait and See: Finding Peace in God’s Promises and Plans” (Wendy Pope)

  3. I’m doing silly things like grabbing books at the library that I usually wouldn’t read. I also used my Christmas money to get a subscription to Rosetta Stone. I’m using that openness to get my Polish up to where it used to be! (Uczę się mowić po Polsku!)
  4. I’m forcefully plowing towards our goal of being debt-free this year. (Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dave Ramsey!) Staying open and trusting that the finish line is near!
  5. I’m living my truth, as unabashedly as I can. I’m a musician who loves health & wellness, and I love fusing the two worlds together when I can.



Also, I’m staying open to sharing as many photos of my dog, Cooper, as I can. Because, really, that has brought so much openness and change to my life over the past 8 months. He turns 1 next month, so get ready for that onslaught of photos….


Cooper reading Kafka


Cooper loves the snow, but doesn’t necessarily like the gear that comes with it



I don’t know if you’re a New Years Resolution-type person, but hey, if you needed a fresh start, 2018 seems like a pretty good opportunity…Here’s hoping you stay open to whatever you need most!



In peace & good health,


My 6 Pearls [of wisdom] from 2016

I always feel as if I am mentally paddling onto this huge wave during the week between Christmas and New Year’s. I know something big is coming and I should paddle hard, but I can’t fully believe it. I sit in denial for a few days, avoiding the whole “New Year’s ‘Resolution'” thing as I put away Christmas presents.

But it’s coming. Turn the page, the chapter’s ending.


How do I sum up a year that seemed to go by so quickly? If I could sum up 2016 with “nuggets” of wisdom, it’s the following 6 things. If one of them speaks to you or is something you needed to hear, then I will have done my job. Here we go:

1. Don’t be afraid to travel. 

This one has more than one meaning: My husband and I were supposed to go to Paris and Brussels this year, but in the wake of the attacks on both cities, we abruptly changed our itinerary to go to Italy instead. My husband wasn’t as keen on going to Italy as he was with the original brewery-filled plans of Brussels, but he and I fell in love with the golden, cobblestoned roads of Italy much more than we anticipated.

It renewed my faith, which brings me to #2……


2. In this crazy world, don’t be afraid to connect to a Higher Power. 

When I remind myself that I’m really not in charge, I can always feel a burden lifting from my chest and my shoulders. Whatever you believe in, I hope you come to realize something that I have: there’s something much greater than us, and when things look ridiculous and insane, take a deep breath and realize that we don’t get to see all of the cards.

I still need reminding of this on a daily basis, but it’s a good practice to remind myself.


3. There is nothing more important than taking care of your health. 

I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, “she’s always harping on and on about exercise and nutrition!” but I feel as if I have earned my right to do so. Growing up in a household with a father who had kidney disease brought me staring in the face of illness many times. Illness does not just impact the person, it impacts the lives of those they love the most.

When it comes down to it, that football jersey or new car or top-of-the-line cell phone isn’t going to give you more years with your loved ones. Furthermore, being healthy means making small, seemingly insignificant choices on a regular basis that add up over time.

I attend a lot of funerals (it’s part of the job as church musician), and I’ve yet to hear a eulogy from a priest or a loved one that goes like this: “Rose was a beautiful person, and in her last days of suffering, she wished she hadn’t taken care of her health when she had the chance.” The fullness of life comes from being present to it, as strongly and with as much life as you can, for as long as you are able to, God willing. I’ve heard it said that “people spend their health to gain wealth, then spend their wealth to try and re-gain their health.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Health-related New Year’s “Resolutions” seem to be frowned upon lately, but I will never stop preaching about how important it is to take care of yourself. I firmly believe that I am writing these words for you, whomever you are as you read them. Which brings me to #4……


4. Surround yourself with the people who see how amazing you are. 

One of the best things I ever did for myself was begin to take care of my mental health. I read personal development books every single day, and I now choose the people in my life with intention. It’s tough, but it’s true. Choosing the people in your life can make a world of difference in how you feel.


5. Dance to the beat of your own song. Be different, and be okay with it. 

I’ve never felt like a normal person. I had three part-time jobs in high school, and I worked the opposite hours of everyone else. (I still do.) My friends didn’t understand why I couldn’t just take the weekend off because I was playing church services at two different churches. Now, as an adult, I still feel like the outsider….but lately I’m working on embracing that. If you feel like you never fit in, then that’s okay. Color outside those lines, and don’t be afraid to boldly live. Never apologize for being exactly who you’re supposed to be.


 6. Set goals for 2017, and stick to them. Never stop growing, and never stop looking for another way to make a positive impact. Forgive yourself when you miss the mark, and get right back to work. 


Enough said. 🙂


Are you ready for 2017? I am.

Stitch Fix Plot Twist! (+ other Friday musings)

So this week has been an insane week (for life in general), but I’ve had some great highlights & plot twists that I wanted to share!


  • THANK YOU to all who read my Stitch Fix reviews! + news

My Stitch Fix reviews ( The first one is here and the second one is here) are some of the most popular blog entries of all-time! Thanks so much for reading them!


Something funny happened after I wrote the last one….I got an email from Stitch Fix offering to waive the $20 styling fee if I were to try one more box of clothes. I decided to go for it for two reasons: 1) I always appreciate excellent customer service, and 2) I wanted to blog about it and share it with my readers. 🙂

The box is set to arrive next week, so stay tuned!


  • My new workout program has me kicking and screaming. [well…maybe just kicking.]

I started a new workout program called Core de Force. So far, I describe the program as this: “you kick, you punch, you feel like a badass. Then you’re sore the day afterward.” It’s been awesome. It was quite easy to motivate myself to kick and punch as therapy this week, but for the sake of peace, I’ll leave it at that. 😉
Anyways, the workout is segmented into 3-minute rounds. You work as hard as you can until you hear the bell (similar to a 3-minute boxing round). I feel like a badass, but I look like a child. Eh, I’ll take what I can get. It’s just another reason why I love exercising at home!



  • Yelling “plot twist!” on my nutrition plan 

So my nutrition plan for this workout program is quite easy to follow. There are no unreasonable food restrictions, and plenty of really healthy food to eat. But I’ve had some low points this week…let’s call them “stress eating”. But I’ve learned that we don’t live in a vacuum. It’s ridiculous to think that we will all eat perfectly. Life happens, and I’m moving past it.


  • Skinny Pop is awesome!

So a few weeks back, I wrote a blog entry about healthy lunch food on-the-go. I included Skinny Pop as an example, and I received an email saying that they are sending me a gift as a “thank you!” Yay! 🙂


  • FINALLY putting away things in our house

My new project? Finally unpacking all of the things into our new house. I plan to do some major de-cluttering, and some home projects myself! Here’s hoping I don’t put a huge hole in a wall….

Ever want some little home tips for yourself? See what I’m up to on my Pinterest page!

Anyways, tgif. This week’s almost over, folks. Stay positive, be an example of peace and love for others, and let’s keep moving.


in peace and good health signature

My Stitch Fix Box #2 Review

Amanda Plazek Stitch Fix Box


It’s here! It’s here! After getting my first Stitch Fix (you can find that review here) I decided to get a second Stitch Fix box, and as soon as possible. After finding two nice pieces in the last box, I was excited to see what else my stylist could come up with after I gave more information on my Pinterest board (which they recommend you doing, so they can get an even better idea of your style).


First impressions:


Amanda Plazek Stitch Fix Box Review 2


  • I love that they gave me more wear-to-work pieces, which I wanted. I also loved the color scheme! I’m really into burgundy (as the rest of the world is, I know…it’s fall) so I was thrilled to see that!
  • I LOVED the immediate look of the two burgundy tops! The sweater had cute, embroidered polka dots and the other wine-colored shirt was made of this swiss dot material. It was right up my alley!
  • I laughed out loud when I looked at the white shirt because my friend (a fellow Stitch Fix lover) was just wearing that shirt when I got home from work and saw it in my own box!


Let’s get down to business, shall we?

[disclaimer: It was dark outside when we took these photos, so forgive the spooky shadows that I cast throughout these photos]


  1. the 41Hawthorn Ribbed Pencil Skirt and 2. the Le Les Faux Wrap Skirt ($48 and $58, respectively)


Listen, I’m not even showing you photos of how these skirts fit because they were scandalously small on me. I would never wear them in public, so they aren’t going on the blog! 😉 Sorry, folks. Verdict: Returning both. 



2. the Daniel Rainn Yolimar Henley Swiss Dot Blouse ($68) 




So this shirt strongly reminded me of the magenta shirt I got in the last Stitch Fix box! It had a very similar length, cut and style. I couldn’t bring myself to keep it, though, as it’s getting chillier where I live and I wouldn’t wear it as much as I would hope to.

It was also when I edited these photos for this blog entry that I realized…I didn’t like the way it fit me from the side.

Confession: I’m very sensitive about the fact that people have been asking me when if I’m pregnant/when I’m going to have a baby. When I have a headache, people ask me if I’m pregnant. When I say that I’m really tired, they ask me if I’ve considered if I’m pregnant. When I’m really hungry, they ask me if I’m eating for two. So if a shirt would potentially give people that impression, it’s not honoring me and how I choose to wear clothes.

"How far along are you?" "Far along enough that I'll tell you to get your own life!"
Verdict: It’s, sadly, going back.



3. 41Hawthorn Tameron Button Down Blouse ($58) 




Okay, so this is the shirt that my friend already owns, so I had already seen it a few times in person. The biggest problem, for me, was how sheer it was! I’m also not a big fan of the double-pocket look on shirts.



Verdict: my friend wears it better, and I’m sending it back! 


5. Renee C Jerri Polka Dot Pullover Sweater ($64) 




Oh, how I wanted this sweater to work. It was so me, in a sweater! I could wear this with a pencil skirt, with dress pants, with my Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants jeans (again, check the previous Stitch Fix box review) . It was so sweet, and the length was great!

But when my [helpful] husband took this picture, I noticed that it was sheer around the top of the sweater. “Maybe it’s the fact that I left my camisole on from the white button-down shirt,” I said. So I changed and took the picture again.

After I changed, my husband said, “…I hate to tell you this, but it’s still sheer up top.”


I actually left this picture as-is because you can see the disappointment on my face. It was adorable!

Verdict: I am, begrudgingly, returning it. 


Total purchases: none. 



Things I’ve learned from the Stitch Fix process so far:

  • There actually are things out there that are long enough for me and my long, Gumby torso and arms. I just have to find the store that suits my body type.
  • The Stitch Fix process really is fun. It’s like Christmas, coming home to a box of clothes that someone else picked out for you! It gave me something to look forward to for several days.
  • It made me re-evaluate my style, which was the biggest thing for me. I’ve been wearing the same outfits for about 5 years now, and it’s nice to freshen up your wardrobe with a few pieces. I re-evaluated my style, though, not from the Stitch Fix boxes themselves, but from surfing Pinterest and finding a few new fall outfits that made me say, “oh my gosh, that’s a great idea!” After seeing a photo like this….

vest-picture…it made me hunt for a look like that of my own! I found a gingham shirt on clearance (which I still think makes me look like a lumberjack). On top of that, I found a great sale & got myself my very own burgundy vest! Listen, I know it may not seem like a big deal, but those two items were enough to keep me looking for new ways to wear my old standard favorites. That alone made Stitch Fix a cool thing to try.


Will I try it again? Honestly, I’m not sure. I get the sense that my style isn’t understood by Stitch Fix and is a little more casual than I would usually wear on a daily basis. Remember: I play for 80+ weddings/year, and all I wear are church-appropriate work clothes! (Or yoga pants, there seems to be no in-between.)


On top of that, the clothes were a little pricey. While 90% of my clothes come from J.Crew (because of the length), I always, always find ways to pay less for my clothes. The price tag on these items just didn’t seem worth it.

So the long and the short of it is….I liked the inspiration and the process, but I’m not sure it’s worth another go.


Have you tried Stitch Fix? Would you give it a try?

in peace and good health signature



What’s On My Plate? [week of Nov. 1]

It’s been an exciting fall for my household: we bought a house, we moved, and now we are amping up for Christmas (i.e. my most stressful time of the year in my job)! I don’t know if it’s the residual stress from the insane past few months, but my body has been feeling like it’s coming off of the rails.


    • I’m having headache/shoulder problems off and on, and it has me scared to exercise too rigorously. So I’m either doing yoga or nothing at all, until my new kickboxing program arrives in the mail next week.
    • I woke up in the middle of the night with some freaky digestive issues, which never happens to me. (Over the past few years, I don’t have trouble sleeping.) It inspired me to go very back to basics with my nutrition: plenty of probiotics; no unnatural sugar (sorry, Halloween candy); lots and lots of vegetables; and “light” protein (i.e. lean protein, eggs, and/or plant-based protein). Add a lot of water to that equation, and I’m feeling better already! (side note: I’m also seeing my stomach flatten out again after a few weeks of junkier eating!)
      Here’s my video sharing my “healing from the inside out”:

  • I’ve been reflecting on the fact that it’s November, and we struggle, as a society, to express gratitude on a regular basis. We tend to focus on the negative, not the positive. And so I’ve decided to create a 3-week gratitude challenge throughout the month of November!
    Here’s my live video from last night sharing my plan (and why I am choosing to do it now):

  • My next Stitch Fix box is coming today and I can barely contain my excitement! I almost cancelled after box #1 (which you can find by clicking here) but I decided to give it another go. Can’t wait to make my next unboxing and share what’s inside!

And now, I’m off to tackle the day ahead. Water, coffee, and probiotics in hand. 😉 Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write!


in peace and good health signature

21 Day Fix Extreme, Week 2 Re-Cap

I’m almost done with the 21 Day Fix Extreme!


Now, for those of you who are reading this for the first time (and have no idea what the 21 Day Fix Extreme is), the 21 Day Fix is a program of 30-minute workouts that you can do at home, combined with a simple nutrition plan that focuses on eating well and what a proper portion size is. The “Extreme” part of the 21 Day Fix Extreme simply means that I picked the more “advanced” version of the program, which comes with  much more challenging workouts for the day.


Here is my check in from the past week: WEEK 3!


I plan on doing a Facebook Live event so you can tune in and ask me anything you’d like about the 21 Day Fix process. Here we go- I’m almost at the finish line!



in peace and good health signature

Embracing Uniqueness [the crowds are too boring anyway]

fit in stand out fb pic_8-15-16


I came across this picture recently and I think it SO represents how I feel about my life in so many ways.

I really never felt like I’ve fit in fully.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always really liked myself and who I’ve become, but I consistently felt like that “square peg in a round hole”.

*In high school, my friends teased me about the way I dressed- not in a malicious way, but when the rest of the world was wearing Hollister and Abercrombie, I was wearing cardigans, navy blue keds, and pearls.

*I picked a musical career that very few follow, and my hours are essentially the opposite of the rest of society. When everyone gets to go to weekend football games, pumpkin patches, and social events, I work.
Every weekend.
When families get together for Christmas Eve or Easter or New Year’s, I’m working. (Disclaimer- I know I’m not the only one!)

*When my peers were partying, I stayed in. While they went to bars, I was either working or preferred to not expose myself to the noise and smoke. (I’m more of an introvert than many may think!)

*When it came to ATHLETICS….I felt like a real-life version of Gumby when it came to exercising at first. I was uncoordinated, my limbs were flailing, and I seemed to be a beat behind.

But I’ve learned….if I was born to live like this, why feel like I have to fit in? Why not just STAND OUT and be okay with that?

And so as I push forward, I’m going to dig my (magenta) heels into my work and LEAN INTO the things that make me unique instead of apologizing for them.

We ALL have that “special sauce” that makes us so unique if we stop trying to mask it.

So my call to action for you fierce ladies reading this today is this:

Don’t ever dull that sparkle of yours. You bring something entirely unique to this world that NO ONE else can do. <3

in peace and good health signature

My Personal Challenge: the 21 Day Fix Extreme

It’s official! I am following the 21 Day fix Extreme program! I am committing to it for 21 days.


What is the 21 Day Fix [extreme]?

the 21 Day Fix is a workout + nutrition program. The “extreme” part of it mostly just indicates more advanced workouts.

Each workout is 30 minutes long and is easily done in my living room, away from the embarrassment of others’ views. (ha!)

The nutrition guide helps determine how much of each major food group (fruits, vegetables, protein) you should have for the unique person that is you! (I love that.)

For more info about the 21 Day Fix, you can check out my previous blog entries by clicking here.


I actually have to admit that I have never finished a workout program, start to finish. I know. I’m guilty.

I exercise, don’t get me wrong! But I haven’t been able to follow a workout program without skipping a day (or two…or three) and then deciding to start all over again.


Here is my first YouTube video confessing my lack of following a program, AND my call-to-action as I officially commit to the 21 Day Fix Extreme:



Stay tuned to follow my journey over these 21 days!

in peace and good health signature

My Takeaways from Coach Summit 2016 (and how they can help you, too)

I am freshly back from a trip to Nashville, Tennessee (is that spelled right? I’m never sure.) as I spent the week at my coaching conference!


Aptly named “Coach Summit”, I spent the week with 25,000 of my closest friends who like health & fitness as much as I do.


After reflecting about what I learned the most this year, I decided to share my takeaways with you too! (Spoiler alert: They aren’t necessarily for people who are coaches!)


I recently did a live video feed on Facebook. Here is the recording- check it out for my top 10 takeaways from Coach Summit that I think can help you too. Here we go!

What did you think? Were there any takeaways that stuck in your mind the most? Comment with them below!

Share this video with someone that you think could benefit from a healthy dose of motivation!


in peace & good health-


What’s On My Plate: Seasonings & Meal Prepping

It’s another Monday, which means it’s time to ask…”What’s on my plate?”

[DISCLAIMER: none of these products are endorsed. These are simply the things on my mind that I’m using this week!]


Healthy for body: Meal Prepping

Ah, yes. The elusive meal prepping. I’ve always said that I was too busy to meal prep, but I can’t keep using that as an excuse. I need to give it a try. meal prep containers



I got these meal prep containers after a fellow coach had success with them. This is a totally new territory for me, and I will try and blog (and vlog) my process!


Mrs. Dash No Salt Seasoning

I don’t count calories, but I do try and focus on salt and sugar intake. I really like these salt-free seasonings from Mrs. Dash because you control how much salt/sodium is included in your dishes! Mrs Dash No Salt Seasoner Sauteed Zucchini



Healthy for mind: My Gaiam Meditation App

It’s $2.99. It’s on my phone. And it’s just what I need.

Meditation is not my thing. I have a fast-paced, type-A personality that likes to keep working nonstop….which results in plenty of stress headaches. But this Gaiam meditation app gives me 5 to 7-minute videos that are just enough to calm me and give me focus when I call upon it. It’s amazing. Check it out here via the app store on Apple’s website.


And just in case you don’t even want to download the app, try taking the next 1-2 minutes breathing, in and out, with this video. It’s amazing the difference it can make.






What’s on YOUR plate this week?

In peace & good health,