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Friday, March 31, 2017

How to Use Negativity as Fuel

Something you may not know about me is that I was bullied for years throughout my elementary/middle school years.  I believe this is why I spent the majority of my young adult life seeking acceptance and approval from anyone and everyone.  

I'm not sure why exactly it started, but I remember the girls in my class coming to school with handmade buttons they had made.  The buttons had "IHL" written on them which stood for "I hate Lindsay."  I remember the teachers figuring out what was going on and making the students remove them so the next day they came with pins that said "RSO" which was "IHL" if you went backward in the alphabet.  

I remember much of 5th and 6th grade just trying really hard to fit in and be accepted.  I'm not sure what I did to turn everyone; I'm sure there was something (not that it was my fault or I deserved this treatment).  I cried a lot.  I remember having long conversations with my Mimi about it all, but something I remember most is an overwhelming sense of being loved at home.  The love that I experienced at home made up for the dislike and hatred I was experiencing at school.  It didn't make it easier and it didn't make me happy while at school, but I was so motivated to make my parents proud, to please my teachers, to do what I knew was right because it had been instilled in me that I stopped focusing on the pins and the mean comments.

I really stopped caring or even really acknowledging the treatment (it went on through junior/high school) when I started playing sports.  I lived for soccer, basketball, and softball.  I put 100% of my focus into being the best athlete possible and everything else was a fog.

I am not some champion who wasn't affected by it - I have struggled so much with self-confidence and self-worth and still wanting to please people into adulthood because of the bullying I experienced throughout school.  I still struggle to really voice opinions in a lot of situations and mastered the art of being a diplomat.  I was never the "popular girl," but somehow I always came out on top, I always had a smile on my face, and I found my success in the things I set out to do.  And I did, in fact, make my parents and myself proud.

Here are a few tips on how to use that negativity in your life (we all have it) as fuel.

Immerse yourself in personal development.
If you aren't being fed positivity, it will not come naturally.  You must read and listen to works that  uplift you, empower you, and inspire you.  Some of my recent favorites are You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst, and #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso.

Cut out the cancer.
Anyone get that RHONJ reference?!

Seriously though, you know there are friends in your life who are your friend and they might even like you, but they aren't for you.  When I say that I'm talking about the friends that may be fun to be around, but when it comes down to you needing something or them supporting you it just doesn't happen.  It's not easy, but worth it.

Prioritize everything.
Really sit back and think about what is important to you and who matters most in your life.  Chances are the people who are bringing you down aren't contributing much to you and aren't at the top of your priority list either.  So WHY are they holding so much power over you?

Keep a Gratitude Journal.
This may seem silly, but simply writing down all the things you have to be grateful for is a huge way to focus on the good and let go of the ugly.  I mean, I'm even grateful for my dry shampoo most days.  It's the little things, y'all!

Do the thing that makes you tick.
Figure out your WHY a.k.a. your reason for doing whatever it is that you do.  Chances are it has NOTHING to do with the negativity in your life and if you keep it in focus the negativity pushes you to work harder to achieve it.

There have been a few things to happen recently that had the potential to really hurt me and get me in a slump, but instead, I chose to use them as fuel and work even harder so I can *hypothetically* give all those haters the middle finger as I celebrate my successes.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Create Your Healthy Lifestyle Free Challenge

Have I told you I'm a recovering sugar addict?
Or that I use to workout 7x a week, but didn't know how to fuel my body?
Or that I took diet pills because being skinny was more important than being healthy?

As I've completed my Nutrition and Wellness Consultation Certification, I've learned soooo much about health + fitness and I feel a huge responsibility to share it.

The truth is I see so many claims floating around these days about "fat blocking" pills and weight loss shakes and magic drinks.  I know why people try these things because I was that girl!  I wanted fast results and I didn't necessarily care how I got them as long as I got them...fast!  And you will get them, but you will not learn a thing and you may even be putting your body in jeopardy.

So, the point of this group is for me to share tips + strategies + easy ways to incorporate good nutrition + exercise + accountability into your daily life so that you can get these results the right way and truly learn what it means to live a healthy lifestyle.

In all honesty, I have so much to share that I'm trying to squeeze it all into these 7 days.  If you feel like you don't know where to start or can't be helped or hate exercise, join me.  It's FREE.  It's 7 days and if you don't learn a thing, you haven't lost anything.  But...chances are, you will walk away with a nugget or two that helps you to start your journey to a healthier life.

To join simply click here and request to join!  We start April 2nd!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Clean & Easy Chocolate Nut Butter Candy

I'm a little late to this bandwagon because I generally don't mess with a good thing and my chocolate shake is a pretty darn good thing each day.  But, some of the women in my 21 Day Bikini Bootcamp were starting to get a little sweet tooth and wanted to know how to fix it.  So, I got to work finding them a recipe that wouldn't sabotage their goals, take a ton of ingredients or time, and still taste sinful without the sin.

These are so easy and will definitely be part of my monthly prep from here on out.

Chocolate Nut Butter Candy

2 scoops vegan chocolate Shakeology
1/3 c coconut oil
nut butter (peanut, almond, sunflower, etc)

To Make:
1. Warm coconut oil in microwave for 15-20 seconds.
2. Mix coconut oil and Shakeology together thoroughly.
3. Fill mini-muffin tin about 1/3 full with chocolate mix.
4. Spoon small amount of nut butter on top.
5. Cover with chocolate mix.
6. Freeze until hard.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Traveling Outside the Country With Little Ones: What to Pack for Baby

Anyone else guilty of over-packing?

I'm not terrible about it, but if I'm going on a 5 day trip you can bet I have at least 10 pairs of underwear.  Not even joking!  I mean, that is something you just don't want to go without, am I right?!

So, as we are packing and preparing for this trip out of the country with a baby + toddler I'm trying to be really strategic about what I am packing for each of us while still making sure to have enough.  One thing I learned from our long weekend at the beach when L was just a few months old is going without a washer/dryer for any amount of time with a baby makes for a lot of dirty clothes.

Today I'm just going to share what I'm packing specifically for the baby because I have a feeling she is going to be the most difficult; difficult meaning I need to pack enough, but not too much.  And since I'm already an over-planner, this is tough.

packing for baby

Beach Wear: Knowing we will not have access to a washing machine for a few days and we will be spending the majority of our time at the beach or pool, I plan to bring 1 swimsuit per day so that I'm not trying to squeeze a wet swimsuit over a dry baby - the torture!  

I'm also bringing 2 sunhats just in case one gets terribly dirty.

One-Piece Outfits: I loooooved one-piece outfits for my son in the summer and it's pretty much all I'm packing for baby girl for this trip.  One piece means less clothing to pack which turns into less laundry when we get home.  Plus, it's easy and cool for the warmer temps.

Pool Float: I'm bringing a cheap inflatable one so that I can leave it there when we return home.  I don't want to mess with the sand/water or trying to squeeze it back into the suitcase.

Sand Toys: Again, I'm purchasing some inexpensive sand toys that can be left behind if need be.  Laurel sits up on her own and is very interested in what her big brother is doing so I think it's important to pack some toys just for her. 

I found a compact, easy to travel tent for Laurel to lay in when we are at the beach.  I'm not sure how much time we will spend there or how sparse resort shade will be.  Based on images from the site, there is some on site, but I would rather be safe than sorry.

Sun-Protection: I'm a huuuuuuge advocate of sun protection so I intend to have baby powder for sand removal, tons of sun screen, sunglasses, and hooded towels for her.  Again, the resort may have plenty of towels and if I feel the suitcase is too full, I will remove that from the list.

Anything I need that's not on my list?!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Happiness + Gratitude

Monday was the International Day of Happiness and it got me thinking about some ways I've made happiness a priority in my life.  I know it seems like such a small thing, but how often each day do you really stop to think about alllll the things in your life that make you happy?

If you're like me, you might struggle with letting go of the little things and focusing on the important things in life.  For some reason the negative stuff has a tendency of staying in the forefront of our minds while the rest gets forgotten.  Am I right?!

So, a list of all the things I'm grateful for today:
  • A husband who helps with all the things
  • A safe, comfortable vehicle to take to work
  • A daycare that makes it easy to drop my kids off
  • A toddler who keeps my side of the bed warm
  • A baby who pulls my hair as she snuggles into me
  • Parents and a Mimi who travel hundred of miles to visit
  • More sunshine in the day
  • Warmer temps on the horizon
  • A coffee maker
  • My dad's text messages every morning
  • Mail that gets delivered to the house rather than the p.o.
  • Challengers who celebrate each step of my fitness journey
  • This creative space
  • A filter on my coworkers sink
  • Students who appreciate me
  • Leggings
  • Dry Shampoo
I mean, the list goes on.  And those little things that are often forgotten like dry shampoo and my coffee maker...they really do make the world go round, right?

What are you grateful for today?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Last Baby

Last night as I looked at my 7 month old daughter laughing, smiling, playing with my 3 year old son, it hit me.  And it hit me pretty hard in what felt like a normal evening routine of eating a salad for dinner across from my husband.

Just like that in the middle of my normal, it occurred to me that this might be the last baby we play with in that high chair.

It may be the last baby I carry for 9 months and bring into this world.
It may be our last baby.

As much as I feel like our family is complete and whole and perfect just the way it is right now, I struggle with the idea that I may not ever be in that period of time where sleep happens for 30 minute intervals (if you're lucky) and you run on coffee and fumes and everything is blissful chaos.  

I have a feeling I'm going to miss it.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Traveling Outside the Country with Little Ones: 3 Preparation Tips

Call me crazy, but we are prepping for our first out of country experience with littles!

CT has flown quite a bit since my parents live in NY, but Laurel hasn't flown at all.  And neither of our children has ever been outside the country before.  (Ages 3 and 7 months)  So, this is a new experience for all of us and I thought it might be worth documenting the preparation leading up to the trip as well as any tips I can share after we return in the even that you might be traveling as well!

A lot of the preliminary planning has already happened or is currently happening so I will start by sharing 3 tips to help plan your trip:

1. Get passports sooner rather than later.
This ended up stressing us out for a few reasons.  Did you know you have to have a scheduled appointment to do passport applications at the post office?!  We walked in one day to find out and then the first available appointment was 3 weeks out.  That was slightly nerve-racking because that 3 week window put us scarily close to the deadline in which we needed to apply in order to receive our passports on time.  (They typically take 4-6 weeks).

Luckily, my husband and I already had passports from traveling we did before children, but both kids needed passports + pictures and although we thought we had everything in order when we arrived, it still took closer to an hour to get it all done.  Sidenote: you can't have too many copies of EVERYTHING so be over-prepared in that arena.

2. Check out the amenities at your resort.
We are traveling to an all-inclusive resort with my business and we already know what is available for the kids so that we aren't over-packing.  For instance, I know that there is a lazy river, kids pool area, and water slide on site meaning we will most likely spend the majority of our time at the pools rather than the beach.  However, I'm planning to pack some inexpensive sand toys because the beaches look incredible there and shade is provided by tiki huts so although I plan to bring some extra shade for the baby, I'm hoping it won't be necessary.

I've called ahead of time to reserve a crib for the room for the baby so that it should be in the room when we arrive and that is one less thing to worry about.

3.  Schedule your flights accordingly.
When I'm traveling by myself I typically go for cheapest and forego the additional cost of trip insurance.  Not the case with kids.  What if your child gets sick with the flu 2 days before you fly out?  Guarantee you cancel your flight and without trip insurance, you'd lose everything.  I know it's an expense, but children make everything slightly unpredictable which makes insurance a worthy investment.  This also means I'm willing to pay a little bit more for airfare if it means a shorter layover or a layover in an airport I know has a children's play area inside.

*This is a list of the most kid-friendly airports in America.  Personally, I've been to Philly with a toddler and it was worth the trip on the tram to the play area to keep him occupied and let him run out his energy.

The best advice for prepping a big trip with little ones is to know what you are walking into; take the time to plan ahead and brace yourself for the unexpected.

Are you traveling anywhere in the near future?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Glowing Green Smoothie Bowl

In honor of St. Patrick's Day I thought it would be appropriate to share something tasty and green (other than your adult beverage later this evening.)

We have professional development today at work so I treated myself to a Creme Brulee Latte from my favorite local coffee shop after drinking my chocolate shake this morning.

And of course, I'm sporting green!  Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I was that girl.

Have you ever been that girl?

It could mean different things depending on what that thing is for you.  You know what I mean?

Like, maybe you're the girl who pretends to be someone she isn't so she fits in with whatever crowd she's hanging with. Maybe you're the one who eats Oreos in her closet so no one knows.  Maybe you're the one who acts like a total badass when in reality you're super sensitive.  Maybe you're the one so desperate to look in the mirror and like what you see that you're willing to do whatever it takes to get there.

That was me.  

Let me make it clear: I've never had an eating disorder and I am not trying to discount the seriousness or severity of that.  What I did do, however, was take weight loss pills that are not FDA approved (I assume considering I could only buy them by going to the back of a nail salon and the packaging was all written in Korean) just so that I could be a certain size.  

In the left picture, I was so consumed by the number on the scale and the number on my jeans tag that I was willing to put unknown substances in my body to make it happen.  Yes, I looked great!  I looked fit and thin, but honestly, the number never really made me happy; I was always striving for more.  And what I was doing was so super dangerous - I didn't even realize it at the time.

I was told the pills were water pills and they pretty much depleted my body of water.  I was warned that if I drank less than 80-100 ounces of water a day I could be hospitalized for dehydration.  I was only warned after trying to find information about the pills online.  None of that scared me - I continued taking them focusing on what I thought was important.

Someone I knew who was also taking the pills ended up hospitalized for dehydration; that's when I decided to stop taking them myself.  I blamed the pills for her hospital visit and that's when I started to question their safety.

Fast forward to today, 2 kids later.  I am so much more in tune with what I'm putting in my body.  I treat it like the temple it is and I'm forever grateful there are no side effects of that poor decision made just a few years ago.

I may not be exactly where I want to be, but I know I'm doing it the right way and that is so much more important to me than getting there quickly.

I hope that by sharing this I can encourage you to do the same, be patient, and give yourself grace.

Monday, March 13, 2017

21 Day Bikini Bootcamp

Anyone else have big plans for Spring Break this year?!  (While we're at it, can we all decide - do we capitalize spring break or no?  Shouldn't the ELA teacher know the answer to this? I asked myself the same question!)

Oh well - let's talk about more important things like BIKINI season!  Which does need to be capitalized.

So, if you've been following my journey you know baby weight looooves me.  Like especially likes to cling to my midsection.  But, I'm taking my family on a vacation to Punta Cana in April thanks to my business treating me for my achievements and I want to rock my bikini while I'm there.

I know I'm not the only one, ladies!

Let's do it together!  I'm starting my 21 Day Bikini Bootcamp on March 26th so that we will be all wrapped up and ready to strut our stuff on the beach by the time Easter Sunday rolls around.

If you're interested in joining me for a fool-proof meal plan + 30 minute workouts + group of other strong, amazing women cheering you on, leave me a comment!  

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Feeling Like ME

I've been a little quiet over here lately because I've been busy working on this new design!  I sort of didn't want to do anything until it was complete.  Special shoutout to Vanessa because she took my ideas and made them happen and I LOVE it.  Hope you do, too!

I decided this was the year to really take my space and make it feel more like me.  I've got an affinity for minimal and rose gold so this pretty much screams perfection if you ask me.  

I do plan to start posting more often now that we are up and running and I hope you continue to join me as a haphazardly share my highs + lows + babies + business ventures with you all.  

I love this space and I love you and it means so much to me that you share this piece of the interweb with me.