Beach Body!

About 6 weeks ago, I ordered the 21-day Fix from Beach Body and my first order of Shakeology. AND I FELL IN LOVE. The workouts are do-able, only 30 minutes, and I saw results. I then decided to do the 3-day Refresh – which, let me be clear, is not a cleanse, and is definitely not a colon cleanse as I had to reassure my husband several times. It’s to re-start your body and flush out processed foods that we tend to eat.

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So you only eat the shakes provided and fresh fruits and vegetables for 3 days. Everything is scheduled for you and packaged all nicely, except for your snacks and dinner. My favorites were hummus and carrots and the cucumber/tomato salad with vinaigrette. The salad can be seen below (but I didn’t have the spinach and turkey burger while doing the refresh). 

IMG_3972I didn’t see major changes but I felt better. And my favorite part was that I didn’t need coffee. I haven’t had coffee but once in the past 2 weeks. I lost about 2 lbs. on the refresh and I’ve now ordered PiYo which is a combination of pilates and yoga. While it’s still a high-intensity workout, there’s no jumping – which my knees will love me for! I’m sold on Beach Body and it’s products as I continue to see changes in my body. 

IMG_3415I also love that I can have real food like the turkey meatballs above. I do try to avoid cheese, milk and bread; although, I occasionally have some greek yogurt with berries and granola as a snack. Never hurts to have probiotics! 

IMG_3413I’m one of those people that gets hangry if I don’t have enough to eat, and I haven’t been that way while doing any of these programs. I’ve had plenty of food and even though I may technically be eating less than I would if I wasn’t on one of these plans, I am feeding my body the right foods and it’s loving it. 

I use the Shakeology for my breakfast and it tides me over until lunch most days. I have the chocolate vegan which tastes like brownie batter (I’m not kidding. A lady at work didn’t believe me today, asked me to taste it and couldn’t stop raving about it after her first sip). I’ve also tried the regular chocolate, vanilla and strawberry but our bodies absorb plant nutrients better, so that’s why I selected the vegan this go-around. I have it on a recurring shipment so I get a 30-day supply each month. I even ordered some extra packets for my upcoming trip to St. Martin so I can try to be healthy between pina coladas and mojitos. 

I decided to become a coach recently. My own coach has invited me to two challenge groups where I’m surrounded (virtually) by others who are doing Beach Body programs and we all encourage, motivate and inspire each other through posts of pictures, workouts, and meals. It’s such a great group and a great way to stay accountable and have a support system of people who are doing the exact same thing as you. I’m looking forward to hosting my first one with my very own team! 

If you have questions about Beach Body, Shakeology or any of the workouts, please feel free to reach out. I’d love to have a conversation with you and tell you more and welcome you to join one of our challenge groups so you can see how amazing it is for yourself! 

 

 

 

Growing together!

When we bought our new house, we walked around the backyard talking about where we would put our garden and we found the perfect spot, right in the sun and against our white picket fence.

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We could have probably planned a little more real-estate for said garden but it’s doing just fine for the zucchini, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs that we planted. We had also planted spinach since I go through about a pound a week but a rabbit dug it up and stole it. The whole plant. Gone.

It’s been so fun to come home in the afternoons (especially after a big rain) and see how much everything has grown. And secretly hoping that my tomatoes have ripened. There’s nothing better than a tomato straight from the garden.

This week, our squash and zucchini have grown tremendously and I was finally able to pick some.

And we were able to pick our first blackberry (actually we got the 2nd one, a bird stole the first one).

We’re not trying to live off the land or anything but we do enjoy having fresh veggies and fruit when we want; and I use our herbs almost every day for our meals, er, my meals since my husband is traveling and will see these photos at the same time as the rest of the world (and I will have devoured the squash and zucchini by the time he gets home).

A few more days before our tomatoes are ready, maybe even early next week. Several are about the size of my fist, and we have about 15 more that are growing by the day. I’m just so excited to have this many already growing – we didn’t have much luck at our old place, maybe getting 5 tomatoes all season.

And ta-da, our very first zucchini (first one I’ve ever grown!). The last picture is to give my husband an idea of the size.

I remember my grandfather building a garden plot for us when I was younger but contrary to the image growing up on a farm provides, I really have never been much of a “dig in the dirt” kind of girl. Now? I love it. We are already planning next year’s garden, but so very excited to enjoy this one THIS year.

Let it go

Sorry for all you Frozen fans, this post will not be about the beloved movie, but I do have it on my list of films to watch. Letting things go can make you a happier person. It seems pretty simple, but we all tend to harbor a little resentment about something, maybe hold a grudge over something that happened years ago, or can’t shake that angry feeling after being cut off in traffic. Unfortunately, even though you may be right in your feelings at the time, it doesn’t impact the other person the way it does you.

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My husband says I will die on my principles. He also says that sometimes I spend too much energy trying to prove a point. Anyone else do this? When I know I’m right, I want to make sure that others do, too. In fact, I rarely shout out answers unless I am 150% sure that I’m correct. But when I’m not listened to, not given credit, or someone argues (when I KNOW I am right), I tend to get ready for battle on the subject and continue trying to prove the point. I am also a sharer. Over the weekend, I shared a terrible experience with a local Charlotte Photographer. This photographer asked me to model some poses for her so she could practice them, and in exchange she would give me free headshots. Felt like a good trade-off at the time. I spent almost two hours in her home studio on February 23, 2014. I waited until March 3rd to ask her when I might get the photos and she responded that I would have them by the weekend (3/7). Without going through all the details and multiple times I attempted to contact her after that without response, I decided to share the story on social media. Upon doing so, I found others who had similar experiences with this photographer and also found reviews online of her poor communication and terrible customer service. The social media got her attention (as it often does). Within an hour, I had 9 shares of one tweet to almost 2500 followers. How’s that for a PR nightmare for a small business? My goal was not to cause the nightmare for her, it was to bring attention to how she was treating me (and other customers), and to get her attention on the subject. She responded (threatening legal action for my libelous truthful comments) and told me that she had lost my images and wouldn’t be able to provide them. She did offer a new session and that I could sit there while she edited the photos and get them then and there. A) I don’t have time for that B) I don’t care to work with her and C) I don’t think her work could be that good based on the rest of her business practices. The point is not about the photographer here, the point is about how much time and energy I wasted on this person. Time, reviews and word of mouth will sink her business, and I didn’t need to spend part of my weekend putting forth the effort I did. My husband told me to let it go and if I still wanted headshots, go to someone who is a little more professional and just pay fo them (great idea!).

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It’s not just with the photographer that I do this. If I have a bad day, I tend to think (and over think) what happened, who was involved and who should be responsible. I think we’re all a little guilty of this on some level. In order to be happy, we have to let go of those moments that steal our happiness. Let go of bad days, angry phone calls with your cable company, that driver who swerved in front of you, the TSA agent who slowed you down, and be more forgiving overall. Try to understand where others are coming from before you get worked up or upset. A lot of times we interpret things differently than the person speaking to us meant them. Maybe that text that said “fine” actually meant “that’s a good plan. I’m fine with it!” and not that they hated the idea. Trying not to jump to conclusions can help with our attitude and level of happiness. Try to assume that people always have the best intentions (without being completely naive), and see how that effects your outlook. Try to let go of any grudges you may be holding onto. Forgive people, especially for those things that really no longer matter. The longer you hold onto something, the more important it seems, but in reality, it’s just a tiny blip on your map of life. Just has happiness trumps money, happiness wins in the attitude arena. Take a deep breath, stop proving points until you’re short of breath, forgive, spend your energy doing something you love instead, and let it go.

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Choosing Happiness

I’ve been reading a lot of books on marriage, happiness, change and if anything has resonated with me it’s that you can CHOOSE to be HAPPY. When something doesn’t go your way, you have the option to huff and puff, tell everyone you know about it and be worked up for the rest of the day, or you can choose to not let it bring you down. In reality, that person who uploaded something incorrectly for you on the form that you created, probably just did it wrong and wasn’t actually trying to sabotage your work. Maybe the person who cut you off on your drive to work wasn’t trying to cause an accident but was running late because their kid forgot their lunch box and they had to go home and get it. Trying to focus on the big picture can help you determine if that one incident really matters and if it should send your day in a downward spiral. I’m guessing 95% of the time, it won’t matter in a week and your heart would be better off if you hadn’t spend that time griping about it.

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I’m working on doing what makes me happy. We all have a lot of things that have to get done, but we don’t have to spend all of our time doing those and none doing what will brighten our lives until we’re done with the “have-to” list. It should be a compromise on how we spend our time. For me, there’s nothing better than a good run. If I had to make a list of other ways to get instant happiness in my life, I’d say:

  1. A dinner/movie date with my husband (or a cuddle session with one of the dogs if hubs is out of town)
  2. A spontaneous weekend escape to the beach
  3. A pedicure and/or massage
  4. Hot yoga (even better after a run)
  5. A catch-up session with a friend

Spending time working on your own happiness is imperative to achieving it. Obviously, there will be moments where you won’t be happy (and shouldn’t be) but in the times where it’s a choice to either let something slide or think on it all day, choosing to let it slide will get you to happiness 100 times faster. I’m making a deal with my husband to only talk about the good things that happened in a day for a week, and not complaining about the bad. Sometimes sharing feels good, but you’re not only letting other people thing you’re miserable, you tend to bring them down too.

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If you’re up for reading some excellent books on happiness, I recommend:

  1. The Happiness Project (Gretchin Rubin)  *follow up with Happier at Home if you need more!
  2. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (Richard Carlson)
  3. Happy Wives Club (Fawn Weaver)

And my next book is “Loving What Is” by Byron Katie (thanks, Lo).

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Removing things from your life that make you unhappy is okay. You can’t make someone else want to be happy (although, I am still working on trying to find a way to do this). Spending time around negative energy doesn’t do anything positive for your own mental state. Happiness is a choice we make every day. When you wake up, tell yourself it is going to be a good day – and mean it. Do things that will make you happy throughout the day. Start with a breakfast that will give you energy (and is healthy!), take a walk if you need a break at work, have lunch with your other half or a friend (getting out of the office for lunch is a MUST – even if you’re eating what you packed at a picnic table – just don’t set at your desk!), plan time to workout or walk in the evening, do some stretching or reading to relax at night. Do whatever makes YOU happy. Life’s too short to not be happy.

 

Love what you do

Finding happiness in your work may not always be possible, but it is definitely what we all want in our careers. From a young age, we desire success. We plan to be doctors, teachers, lawyers… or a veterinarian in my case. We talk about families, travel and our jobs, even as children. I remember playing “house” as a kid and pretending I had a job that I was coming home from. Most people work because they have to, but it’s nice if you can find a job that you love if you’re going to have to do it anyway. 

unnamed-3I watched the movie “Bounce” when I was younger. Yes, back when Ben Affleck was still a respectable movie star (before Gigli). I decided then that I wanted to be in Advertising when I grew up. I focused my undergrad on Advertising and my grad school on Communications. Luckily, I’ve been successful in my career and in finding jobs that align with my degrees. But it didn’t come without work. Growing up we weren’t rich, we weren’t poor either, but we certainly weren’t considered “well off.” I think that created a drive in me (and in my brother) that has helped our careers, shaped our personalities and made us who we are today. Having not been handed everything in life, I understand the value of hard work. I respect the power of networking and make every attempt to make valuable connections. Being ambitious (or aggressive in my career, as some have said), I am not afraid to ask to join meetings, groups, events, or set up time to chat about what a department or person does. It may seem bold, but it has only benefited me to this point in my career. I also believe in taking every opportunity I can to develop myself personally and professionally (i.e.: grad school, CCMP, trainings, reading influential books, etc.). 
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While I was in grad school, I was in a communication role and doing work that I wanted to do. However, I also fell in love with the power of social media and wanted to pursue that passion. Along with falling in love, I also fell into a position as a social media consultant. Having been in that role, I learned a lot about social media, how businesses use social media, how little some people know about social media and a lot about myself. I grew a lot from that experience and realized I needed to become more of a teacher than a do-er. I never wanted to manage social media for anyone but myself, but I do want people to understand the value of certain platforms and how it can help their company. I was incredibly busy at the point in my life, with grad school, planning a wedding, a full time job and consulting – but I was happy. I was doing what I loved. 

I’m always a proponent of doing what you love. I constantly send friends job posting that I think align with their career goals or skills. I review and edit resumes and cover letters for friends and family regularly. I try to help people make connections, do mock interviews or seek out opportunities to become qualified for their dream job. We all deserve to be happy. Being comfortable in a job can make it hard to leave. Being unsure of the future or fearful of a pay decrease can, too. I think happiness wins. Happiness trumps money. 

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It’s really easy for us to settle in life and stop making attempts to move forward. I’m sure I’ll get to that point in my career but I’m not there yet. Right now, I’m enjoying a corporate role in communications and my side gig of being a social media consultant within the community. Today, I urge you to look at what you’re doing and ask yourself if it’s what you love. If it’s not, take an hour this evening to search for your “dream job” and see what the qualifications are – and if you are missing more than 40% of them, set goals to get qualified. If you meet them and you have just been scared to jump, I say DO IT. It can’t hurt to update your resume, interview and see what’s out there. If you’re happier at work, you’ll be happier when you get home. It’s a win-win. Go out and aim for happiness! 

 

Ready to Move!

This past week, on top of trying to eat healthy, I was busy packing for our big move, taking care of a sick pup (think he just missed his dad), and working from home while we had some renovations done on our townhouse. You could say it was a full week. However, I was even more glad that I decided to make the Vegetable and Bean soup from last week because it lasted the entire week! I changed up my meal plan some, but I did end up making most of the meals I listed and they were all delicious. Including some photos to get your mouth watering. Lots of vegetable chopping but your body will appreciate it!

I’m on to Round Two this week and here’s the plan:

Monday

Breakfast: Oatmeal (if you need a recipe)

Lunch: Quinoa Salad / Faux Fried Chicken* (we had this for dinner last night)
*Recommend leaving chicken in buttermilk mixture for at least 4 hours for best taste!

Snack: Apple

Dinner: Grilled Chicken and steamed broccolini

Tuesday:

Breakfast: Eggs and 1/2 Avocado

Lunch: Quinoa Salad

Snack: Banana

Dinner: Skillet Chicken & Quinoa

Wednesday:

 Breakfast: Protein Shake w/ Coconut Milk

Lunch: Skillet Chicken and Quinoa

Snack: handful of almonds

Dinner: Herby French Lentil Salad

Thursday:

Breakfast: Oatmeal

Lunch: Herby French Lentil Salad

Snack: Banana

Dinner: Breakfast for dinner! 3 eggs omelet with spinach, tomato, onion and mushroom

We close on our new house on Friday, so I don’t imagine we’ll have time to cooking or to even heat up leftovers, so that will probably be a cheat day. But, even over this past weekend I was good with my cheat meal, I opted for a salad with no dressing for my side instead of sweet potato fries. I did manage to lose a pound this week, but my goal isn’t necessarily to lose weight, just to feel better and more energized.

Sick puppy who missed his daddy
Sick puppy who missed his daddy

I’d love to hear of any clean eating recipes that you know and love! Always looking for new ways to excite my taste buds! Feel free to share in the comments!

Healthy & Happy

Ever noticed how you drag after a weekend of eating fried food and indulging in a few more alcoholic beverages than you normally do? I certainly do, and I’m the first to notice when I’ve gained even a single pound. Eating healthy takes more work and lots of self-discipline, but isn’t it worth it to look and feel better? I’m committing to making the change and fueling my body with what it needs to run (literally), and getting rid of the “bad” stuff. This does not mean that I actually think the wings and barbeque I had from Mac’s yesterday (yes, I had both) were bad, but they certainly aren’t the definition of clean eating.

I spent time with family yesterday after dropping my husband off at the airport and didn’t make it to the grocery store. I am planning to go this afternoon and I’m including my shopping list (Clean Eating Groceries) for you – and a meal plan for the rest of the week.

So far today, I’ve had two over-easy eggs and 1/2 of an avocado and a salad with grilled chicken, tomatoes, corn, black beans, onions and cilantro with lemon slices for the dressing. For dinner, I’m having left over ribs (thanks, Shelly & Doug) with sautéed garlic spinach and mushrooms. Since I plan on working out after work, I have a banana that I’ll have for a snack this afternoon. The grocery list is made based on what’s currently in my refrigerator and pantry, you’ll want to check your own before heading out to shop.

Here’s the rest of the week’s meal plan:

Tuesday
Breakfast: Oatmeal (if you need a recipe)
Lunch: Quinoa Salad (save the leftovers)
Snack: Apple
Dinner: Vegetable & Bean Soup (save the leftovers)

Wednesday:
Breakfast: Egg & Spinach Cup
Lunch: Vegetable & Bean Soup
Snack: Banana
Dinner: Skillet Chicken & Quinoa

Thursday:
Breakfast: Protein Shake w/ Coconut Milk
Lunch: Quinoa Salad
Snack: handful of almonds
Dinner: Herby French Lentil Salad

Friday:
Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: Vegetable & Bean Soup
Snack: Banana
Dinner: Grilled chicken /spinach / broccolini

Most of it is pretty self-explanatory and I’ve included recipes for those items that require more effort. If you’re not a fan of plain oatmeal, try the overnight oats recipe that I included. You’ll need a crock pot, ramekins and some time for most of these items, but it will be worth it at the end of the week when you’re already seeing a difference. Instead of waiting until after next weekend, or until the beginning of a new month (or year), why not start now?

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