5 Lessons I’ve Learned From Our Rescue Dog

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Can you believe it’s been over a year since we brought Stella home? Our skinny 8-pound nutjob has grown into a skinny 38-pound nutjob, and if I said I loved every minute of the past year… it would be a lie. That being said, between house training, cat poop eating (can’t make that up), long walks, scary trips to the emergency vet, hugs and kisses, and lots of goofiness, I’ve learned so much more from Stella than I could ever hope to teach her. Here are five lessons that stand out to me:

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One: Get outside in the morning. I used to lay in bed until the last possible minute- counting backwards from when I had to be at work and figuring out how many times I could hit the snooze button. Now, I’m not saying that never, ever happens anymore- but more often than not, I’m up and moving with Stella as she snorts like a pig every time she gets excited (yup). Every single morning we do the exact same thing (I let her out of the crate, she sprints downstairs, I let her outside, put my shoes on, and get her harness out), and every single morning, she acts like a little kid on Christmas morning. The combination of that energy and the fresh air and sunlight wakes me up better than coffee.

Two: Play. On Friday evening, it was just me and Stells. Justin was gone for a TDY. I was a little bit down- I’m not used to being by myself at night. Instead of sitting down and watching TV, I cranked up the music and danced around my house. Stella looked at me like I had lost my mind, and then joined in, chasing me, jumping and spinning in circles. Within 5 minutes, my mood had completely changed.

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Three: If you attack things head on, they aren’t so scary. This picture so perfectly sums up Stella’s personality. One of her favorite things to do at the dog park is get a running start and run directly into large dogs- great danes, dobermans, German shepherds like her cousin Silas- until they finally agree to chase her back. No fear!

Four: When someone is having a hard time, just sit with them. Time for a not-so-funny one. If you’ve been following my blog for awhile or if you know me in real life, you know that I suffer from the occasional panic attack. The last time this happened was a few months ago. Justin asked me what he could do to help, and I told him I just wanted Stella. She licked my face and then just sat with me. I’ll never understand how dogs know what to do when someone is sad, but I’m so thankful for their intuition. This has helped me to realize that sometimes the best thing you can do for someone in pain is to simply sit and feel their pain with them, rather than rushing to find a solution to ease the discomfort.

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Five: Be happy anyway. Stella has not had what most people would call an easy beginning.  We were told she was 11 weeks old when we got her, but we’re pretty sure she was much younger. She has a birth defect in which she only has about 50% of her bottom jaw, and what she has is slanted at a diagonal (if you haven’t seen it, you’ve got to- it’s so goofy looking). Her mouth makes it difficult for her to pant/ cool herself, and when she gets out of breath she often struggles to breathe. When we rescued her, we learned that there had been talk of using her as a bait dog… and yet, she’s as happy as anything. I look at her and think about how we all have a choice every day- to focus on the bad, or to focus on the good. She reminds me to focus on the good.

Energize- What it is and why I’m obsessed

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If you follow me on Instagram or are friends with me on Facebook, you know how much I love my mysterious yellow powder every morning:

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I have tried so many pre-workouts: C4, Super HD, No X-Plode, something that was in a green bottle that was recalled because it contained lead (no lie), and while I’m always all for a boost of energy, I’m not all for the effects I noticed with some pre-workouts.

Here’s the deal (for me):

Energize DOES:

  • Give me a noticeable boost within about 10 minutes of taking it
  • Give me a slight tingling in my arms and hands as it kicks in
  • Lengthen the amount of time I can work out without feeling fatigued
  • Get me talking (I’ll talk Justin’s ear off after taking it)
  • Taste really, really good- very similar to lemon-lime Gatorade

Energize DOES NOT:

  • Make me sick to my stomach
  • Make my ears/ face itch
  • Make me crash
  • Make me cranky a few hours later
  • Make me feel like I can hear colors/ see sounds (Super HD, that was fun, but I am not Bradley Cooper in Limitless, and the way I felt 45 minutes later just wasn’t worth it, not even a little bit)

Do you have a favorite pre-workout?

Want to chat about Energize? Click here and shoot me a message!

 

Vanilla Protein Peanut Butter Cups

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Happy Saturday! I hope you’re having a great weekend so far. Here’s a little not-so-bad for you sweet treat that I hope you enjoy as much as I do!

You’ll need:

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  • Vanilla Shakeology
  • Coconut Oil
  • All-Natural Peanut Butter
  • Muffin cups

Instructions:

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Melt 2 tablespoons coconut oil in the microwave.

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Add 4 tablespoons Shakeology and stir- consistency should be pourable, adjust as needed.

Add approximately 1/2 inch layer of Shakeology mixture to bottom of each muffin cup. Place in freezer until solid (2-3 minutes).

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Add 1 tsp peanut butter to each muffin cup, top with remaining Shakeology mixture.

Freeze until solid (about 10 minutes).

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Enjoy!

Are you whipping up anything delicious this weekend? I’d love to hear about it!

An Open Letter To My Twenties

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Dear Twenties,

It all seemed like so much fun, didn’t it?  Penn State, Penn, moving around, the new friendships, the uncertainty of what the next year (or even the next week) would bring. Knowing that I could change my life course in an instant, if I felt like it. I loved your instability- which, to me, translated to possibility. The potential for change was always there.

With that potential for change, however, came near-constant insecurity. Friendships that were based more on a mutual interest in happy hour than a mutual interest in anything real. Overextending myself in a desperate attempt to succeed so that I would feel validated in my intelligence and work ethic. Relying on caffeine and Wawa to get me through the day, because my nights were filled with trying to fulfill all of the obligations I forced on myself rather than giving my body and mind the rest that it craved.

I dreaded the day I would have to leave you, twenties. I was so sure that I would miss your excitement and possibility. I thought that I would spend the rest of my life looking back at “the good old days.”

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

My thirties have brought me a sense of peace, security, and happiness that I didn’t know was possible. Suddenly, I have the ability to put my health and happiness before the needs of others. My sense of self-worth comes from within- not from the praise (or criticism) that I receive from others. I realize that it’s a good idea to ask for help when I need it. I treat my body with love and respect. Although it’s hard, I remind myself that I teach others how to treat me. Friendships are real, and are based on the fact that we enjoy spending time together (even if it has to be time spent together via text or phone- #militarylife). I know change happens at every age, but now, I am constantly excited for the next phases of my life, and I’m no longer worried about what others will think, or if they’ll approve.

Thirties, I can’t wait to see what else you’ve got.

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On The Menu This Week…

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Hey there! I haven’t tried any new healthy recipes in awhile, and I can’t wait to try these over the next few days!

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I have a spiralizer… it’s about time that I put it to work! This recipe from Eat Yourself Skinny will be perfect, and gives me an excuse to buy a new basil plant.

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This afternoon, I got some local honey from a friend and I can’t wait to put it to good use with this sweet potato wedge recipe from Julie over at Peanut Butter Fingers. How good does that look?!

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A new recipe list wouldn’t be compete without a sweet treat, right? These vegan Elvis bars from Angela at Oh She Glows are going to be Oh So Good.

Will you try any of these? I can’t wait to see how they turn out!

#TransformationTuesday- The Mental Stuff

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I shared the following on Instagram today, and wanted to elaborate here.

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Today’s#transformationtuesday is a mental one- not a physical one. I had an early appointment this morning. I have a long, full day at work, filled with deadlines and ends that need to be tied up. I have 15 coaches on my list that I need to check in with today. I have a glance into coaching group starting next week that I need to create. I have two challengers who are getting started today and need my help. A year ago, having such a full day would have caused me to do what I thought was “simplifying.” I would have skipped my workout, skipped breakfast (to save time), ran on coffee and takeout, and collapsed, tired and anxious, when it was all done. Now… I know how much more productive and pleasant I will be if I put my well being first. Clean lunch (chicken salad, blueberries, banana, Shakeo) was packed last night. Breakfast was made at home. The workout will happen the mi it’s I get home- before I open my laptop or respond to texts. Consistency is hardest, and therefore most important, on days like this.

I used to think I was doing myself favors by doing more in less time. By skipping breakfast, I could get a few more things done around the house and get to work a few minutes early. The other side of that is I would be crazy hungry and therefore have trouble concentrating on anything from 10 a.m. to noon. By skipping my workout, I was able to mindlessly decompress by watching tv. The other side of that is I would wake up anxious and antsy (yet somehow even more tired) because I didn’t take the time to move my body and get my endorphins flowing. By giving myself the short end of the stick, I felt that I could offer more to others.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

I’m NOT saying that we should always put ourselves first- I don’t believe that- however, I am saying that self-care cannot come in last place. When we don’t love and take care of ourselves, how can we possibly help those around us? When we’re tired and run down, no one is getting our best. The people around us are getting the short end of the stick… and we end up feeling miserable.

Bottom line: If you want to give others your best, you must start by treating yourself with respect.

How I Make Morning Workouts Happen

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We all have the best of intentions when it comes to morning workouts. The alarm is set, and you go to bed with visions of getting it all out of the way before the sun comes up. Then… it happens. You hit snooze, and you hit snooze again. You figure out what time you have to be at work, subtract how long it takes to drive there, and figure out exactly how late you can sleep. Then exactly how late you can sleep if you don’t wash your hair. Then exactly how late you can sleep if you don’t put much makeup on. Tell me I’m not alone!

Over the past few months, I’ve become a regular morning exerciser, and it’s been so nice to come home after work and know that I my workout is done and all I need to do is… everything else that I need to do, ha!

Here’s what works for me. The more I have done the night before, the less overwhelmed I feel when I wake up, and the more likely I am to get moving. As with so many things in life, the key is in the preparation!

The Night Before:

  • Load and run the dishwasher (for some reason my life feels so much more organized when the sink is empty- I don’t know why, but knowing that the sink is empty makes me more likely to get up)
  • Lay out both workout clothes AND work clothes in the closet
  • Plug in computer and have it set up in front of the TV (since I stream Beachbody On Demand for my workouts)
  • Put Energize on the counter, put cup on the counter, make sure Brita is full in the fridge
  • Pack lunch for next day, put full lunchbox in the fridge

The Morning Of: 

  • Text my accountability parter at the agreed upon time to make sure we’re both getting our workout in (I can’t say enough how valuable this is)
  • Get dressed, get out of the bedroom, turn some lights on
  • Drink Energize and KEEP MOVING (laundry, put dishes away, let the dog out, whatever- just dont lie down)
  • After 10 minutes, whether I feel like it or not, the workout HAS to begin.

What works for you? How do you get moving for those super early workout sessions? I’d love to hear your tips!

Ready to start your own program? I’d love to talk over some options with you! Click here to message me so we can get you started!

 

Lazy Sunday

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Today has been the most perfect, lazy Sunday. I love making the most of my weekends, but sometimes you need a day to just lay around and recharge, you know?

I got up much later than usual and got this pretty lady out for a morning walk. Because of her mouth issue, she can only go for about 20 minutes until she’s pooped, especially when it’s super hot out, like today. What a trooper!

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After that, I cut up some cherries for breakfast- why must cherries be such a labor-intensive fruit?! I guess that’s a good thing, though, because it stops me from eating the entire bag at once.

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Scooped up some Energize out of my almost- empty container (come on UPS- show up tomorrow), got my workout in with Cize, checked in with my challengers and coaches, and wrapped up my Sunday power hour! Power hours are so productive on the weekends… because they often turn into two or three hours, and I don’t mind in the least. I love getting super productive and losing track of time.

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Had this amazing salad for lunch! Garlic soy grilled chicken topped with a little Sweet Baby Ray’s over greens- so good. It’s amazing how the Refresh reset my tastes when it comes to sugar- I couldn’t believe how sweet this salad tasted!

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Time to get dinner started- honey bbq chicken thighs on the grill over broccoli🙂 Yum!

I hope you had a fabulous Sunday! What was the best thing you ate today?

3 Day Refresh RESULTS!

3DR results

100% DONE.

And it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.

For anyone who hasn’t been following me over the past few days, I’ve been completing the 3 Day Refresh- a program that focuses on resetting your body for clean eating, getting garbage out and and getting loads of vitamins and hydration in. Was it always easy? No. Was it worth it? Totally.

A few people have asked me if I was hungry the whole time- not. at. all. The first day was rough with hunger, but I’m pretty sure that was actually my sugar cravings hard at work due to the “throw caution to the wind” way I had been eating on vacation during the previous week.

THE RESULTS:

Starting weight (Wednesday morning): 137.8

Ending weight (Saturday morning): 133.2

High points: If you follow me on Facebook, you already know- the morning of day 3 (and, really, the morning of day 4) feel incredible. You feel lighter in the best way, cravings are gone, skin looks great, energy is high. I can totally understand why someone would do this multiple times. You know that feeling you have when you eat a ton of garbage and feel like a slug (kind of like I felt after my Oreos-dipped-in-Nutella binge on vacation)? The high points of the Refresh are like the opposite of that feeling.

Low points: End of day 1 was my lowest point, no doubt about it. If I hadn’t told my fellow coaches that I was doing the Refresh, I would have quit. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that the vast majority of them have already done it. I would have felt like a piece of crap leader if I couldn’t do it too (thanks ladies for all your cheerleading along the way). As far as the day-to-day, I found that late afternoon was a little bit tough, but this was only due to poor planning on my part. I should have brought my afternoon snack to work with me instead of having it when I got home.

I was a little worried that I wouldn’t see significant change in such a short period of time, but… looks like it all worked out (before on top, after on bottom):

3DR results

I will definitely be doing this again after holidays and vacations. It took that “I’ve got to get back on track” thing that can take months and squashed it into 3 days. Crazy happy with this process and the results.

Ready to refresh yourself? Send me a message, and let’s chat!