Fitness With Alexa Jean Brown

Maintaining a fitness routine in my forties has been rocky. In my twenty’s, due to Ms. Fitness competitions, I spent hours in the gym only turn right around the next day and do it again. In my thirties, I decided to step it up a notch and start running long distances. I competed in half marathons, full marathon and, even went out on a limb and, tried a mini triathlon. When I turned forty, I did not have a fitness goal or anything to work towards. I have accomplished all that I set out to do. I have tried almost every type of workout from spinning, to kettlebell and boot camp classes. I even took a stab at CrossFit. While I enjoy each of those workouts after a while I get bored and have to move on to something else. So last year I took a break from running competitively, I quite the gym and worked out at home when I felt like it. Working out without a goal, for me, did not work. I felt lost. I discussed my lack luster fitness drive to my sister, Jennifer, and she mentioned that I should try a monthly workout challenge like Alexa Jean Brown’s workouts.

Jennifer found Alexa Brown on a random stroll through Instagram.  My sister is a stay at home mom with two young boys and a gym membership is not in the cards for her. She was looking for a workout in which you did not need a lot of equipment and could complete at home. Alexa brings a fresh new routine every day.

If you are not familiar with Alexa Jean’s fitness routines: here is the skinny

  • Alexa Jean started her workout program to motivate busy parents.
  • Her workouts are for a beginner to advance depending on your fitness level.
  • Each of Alexa’s workouts targets different muscle groups.
  • You can get started as soon as you buy the program that fits you.  You can access them immediately from any device anywhere.

Sample Workout

I just completed my first month with a arms/back challenge. I did add and cut a few things to my workouts. For instance, I added 5 min on the treadmill as a warm-up and a short sprint in between each exercise. I also incorporated 100 squats each day. Alexa suggests to rest 1 minuet between each exercise. I only rest for 30 seconds.


Warm- Up



Bicep time- Delilah says my arms look huge.


Currently, Alexa’s workouts have been perfect for me. I am not spending hours in the gym, and I am not board.

I am always up for fitness suggestions so please let me know what fitness routines work for you.

As Always,

Melissa Gayle


How To Celebrate Mom & Pop Day

It is National Mom & Pop Day!  You maybe asking yourself, what is Mom & Pop day? I am referring to locally/privately owned businesses in your community. These small business owners are the staple to the American economy.

Here are several facts, if you did not know, about shopping locally.

  • For every $100.00 you spend at a local Mom & Pop, $68.00 stays in your community as compared to a big box retailer.
  • Mom & Pops’ have a sense of community and bringing better resources and funding to your community.
  • Locally owned businesses creates jobs. 77 million Americans are employed by small local businesses.

I am a smidge biased when it comes to celebrating this day because, at one time, both of parents were small business owners. I remember my parents putting in countless hours, time and energy to live the American dream of becoming an Entrepreneur.

I know this may come across as somewhat hypocritical after blogging about my recent shopping experiences. Yes, I do like going to Target, Trunk Club and Costco. When given the time, without Lucy in tow,  I do try to shop in my community.

In honor of this day I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite things that I have purchased from a locally owned business in my community.

Gold Bracelet// Silver Virginia Bracelet

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I wear these bracelets everyday.  They are a constant in my wardrobe.

Doormat can be found here

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My new spring doormat found here

One of my favorite local vendors is Flora’s Crafty Creations.  She makes the most amazing gifts.


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We love our produce stand that is located in town.  Fresh food and great prices.  I do not know why Clint looks evil but it is hilarious.

What can you do to observe and honor this day? Go out support a privately owned small business and use #Mom&PopBusinessOwnersDay

Make sure to send me your shopping locally photos, or tag me in your posts.  I am excited to see your favorite local places.  If you are Instagram: come follow me at thehouseofhazel

As Always,

Melissa Gayle

Week 4: Treasure & Close Up

Today’s assignment is to show off our treasurer(s) with a close up view. The goal is to capture as much detail as possible.  Unfortunately, in order for me to get the full effect of the ukulele I had to pull back a bit on the camera.


My treasurers are as follows: my bible, my wedding band and my Dad’s ukulele.

No matter where I go in life, I always follow Mathew 6:33 “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”. It is my favorite bible verse and one of my favorite books to read.

My wedding bands: I love my husband with all my heart, and the symbol that represents our vows to each other.  Together, we make it though life’s ups and downs.  I love this saying from the movie, Just Married, ” You never see the hard days in a photo album… but those are the ones that get you from one happy snapshot to the next”.

My Dad’s Ukulele:  One of the last Father’s Day gifts I gave my Dad was the ukulele.  When I was little he would play the guitar and I would dance around the living room listening to him sing and play.  When I moved to Hawaii I bought him a ukulele to learn to play.  The ukulele represents my amazing memories of Hawaii but most importantly my Dad.

What is your most valuable treasure(s)?


Melissa Gayle

Easter- 1980’s Edition

I have to confess; I am a mom who goes shopping for Easter basket items the Saturday evening before Easter. One year I attempted to go shopping weeks in advance, I hid the candy in my car and it was a hot month.  You can do the math; the girls’ chocolate bunnies were a puddle of what looked like poo.  I honestly thought this year would be the year we stopped Easter baskets. Sadly, no, Lucy reminded me that Easter was Sunday. In recent years, Easter basket items have not just been about candy.  Lucy and Delilah give request items like shoes, clothing, electronics and all sorts of large ticket items.  When did Easter turn into Christmas?

(Side note funny: Lucy figured out the Easter bunny was not real years ago. She told us it was physically impossible for a guy in a bunny suite to hop around to everyone’s house. He would wear himself out before he got through one neighborhood. )

Since the girls did not forget about Easter I started on my shopping list. While writing down all the items I needed to buy, I began to think about my childhood Easters. I remember very large basket (it was actually my parents’ picnic basket but they never picnicked) with lots of plastic eggs filled with jellybeans, peeps (because hello, marshmallow birds just scream the meaning of Easter), cadbury creme eggs, big and small chocolate bunnies.   My sister and I always got a new Easter dress to wear to church, we attended a sunrise service and the rest of our day was spent with family.


See I told you I had a large Easter basket

This Easter instead of sharing my girls’ sparse Easter baskets I thought I would take you back to the 1980’s.  A decade where Easter baskets were filled with candy.


My sister and I: She will probably get me back for posting this picture



Me, My Dad and Sister: My Dad was dressed and ready to roll. My mom knows I hate blazers I don’t know why she bought me this Easter suit. 



My sister (trying to run), my mom and me: Yes, I picked out the floppy hat. 


I would love to hear about your favorite Easter memories so please make sure to comment.

As Always,

Melissa Gayle

How To Use An Old School Study Method

Studying at one time was a struggle and battle between me and Lucy.  Typically I would win that battle. Let me reiterate Lucy loathes reading.  She detests doing anything that requires her to sit still for more than 5 minutes.  Our study sessions normally end in yelling and crying, mostly on my part.  Then I decided to go old school with Lucy.

Old school studying meant writing down the information on the study guide instead of just reading the study guide. In Lucy’s case I took a similar concept, used my teaching techniques and I have found a successful way to help an overactive child sit, study and come home with great test grades.

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My method is simple: Lucy reads her study guide for at least 15 minutes.  Afterwards, I let Lucy take a break. During Lucy’s break I take the study guide and make up a test for her take.  Most of the tests are matching vocabulary words with definitions, multiple choice and maybe a few true and false questions.  This is time-consuming but it is well worth every bit of time I spend.  Lucy comes back to the table and takes my test. Almost always she gets a few answers wrong.  Any questions she misses she has to write the correct answer at least 5 times. Taking my test not only helps Lucy remember her information, but it also helps her get over any test anxiety she may have. She despises writing the correct answers over and over, but she knows she will retain the information when she does.  Normally, she and I only have to check the study guide one more day just to make sure she is retaining the information.

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Example study guide and my test: LucysSG    mytest1  mytest2  mytest3

What is your homework and study like at your house?

As Always,

Melissa Gayle




Moment and Motion

Today’s photo assignment is to capture life as it happens.  A time and place where “small moments, motion, that we love to document”.


This was my very first 1/2 marathon.  It looks like I am walking, but  I ran the entire 13.1.


Same race: OBX half marathon.  It looks as if the runner is running on air.     Photo Cred: my husband




My Delilah at FH practice. Taken 2 years ago



Flashback Photo:  Lucy at the age of 4.  Oh I miss her being this little

I hope you enjoyed today’s photos in motion.

As Always,


Melissa Gayle