Tag: lifestyle

Choosing the RIGHT Supplements for YOU

Choosing the RIGHT Supplements for YOU

Hi Friends! I know it’s been a while since my last post on the blog – LIFE, mannnnnnn. LOL but in all seriousness, the past month has been crazy, in the best kind of way. From my bachelorette weekend, to music festivals, to NYC, to MOVING to a new apt – basically just haven’t had the time and/or energy to sit down and write (this is when instagram comes in CLUTCH – short, sweet, and to the point). Anyway, the topic I wanted to chat with you all about today are SUPPLEMENTS. I used to be that person that had like 20 different vitamins & supplements in the pill cabinet and then one day, it just became overwhelmingly stressful (and expensive). I was heavily influenced by everything I saw scrolling through social media and thought, well, since “so and so” is taking XYZ that means I probably need to as well…right?!?! Wrong. One person’s need is going to be COMPLETELY different than my own needs. Not to mention, I probably didn’t NEED half of what I was taking. At the end of the day, I eat an extremely clean diet compared to the average individual and therefor, I’m getting so many awesome macro and micronutrients into my body. I’m getting protein, calcium, iron, various vitamins, etc. all from the awesome REAL food I eat daily. Anyway, my point in all of this is that choosing the right supplements for YOU should not be stressful (that is quite the opposite of what “healthy living” is).

I’ve finally narrowed it down to just a few that feel right for me in my MY body at this point in MY life. Emphasizing the “my” because I’m writing this blog post to simply share what I take. As with any of my posts, take this with a grain of salt and just do your research! I feel the need to preface this blog post with the fact that just because I take something does not mean you should or even need to. Always consult with a doctor or do your research prior to adding additional supplements into your diet.

Alright so with ALL of that being said, here we go!

– B12 (I don’t eat meat and have had low B12 levels in the past)
– Digestive Enzymes (helps to break down tougher foods like cruciferous veggies for example)
– Spirulina (currently taking to try it out, but hasn’t always been a part of my routine/ vitamins A, K1, K2, B12 and iron, manganese and chromium + increased energy)
– Probiotic Pill (gut-health y’allll! Also not for everyone – probiotics can actually have the opposite effect on some people, so as with everything else, do your research!)
Avie Nutraceuticals Ultramicronized Turmeric Curcumin – (Promotes a healthy lifestyle, Supports your immune system, Provides you with superior antioxidant protection)
Avie Nutraceuticals Joint Balance – Promotes optimal and healthy joint function, Improves flexibility, Reduces muscle soreness

I’m going to go ahead and assume most of you are familiar with the first 4 supplements (if not, feel free to comment & I’ll go into more details on the benefits) but the last 2 may intrigue you?! They certainly had me excited upon trying them for the first time. Having grown up as an athlete and then continuing that love for fitness into my early/mid 20’s through teaching group fitness classes daily, running, gym workouts, and yoga, I’ve always been in the search for some miracle supplement that would help me recover more quickly and support my active lifestyle. Avie Nutraceuticals prides their products on using natural ingredients (i.e. everything I preach = FOOD AS MEDICINE) and “Avie’s proprietary ultramicronization process renders purified curcumin into a water-soluble form, allowing it to quickly absorb into the body. Avie’s scientists have shown that this formulation is over 100 times more potent than the leading curcumin products on the market.”

Before I continue, for those who aren’t as familiar with curcumin…“Recent studies have shown that Curcumin aids in anti-inflammation and joint mobility, anti-oxidant protection of cells from free radical damage, brain function and memory, liver function, healthy immune system, removal of toxins from the body, healthy digestion, and improved appearance of skin and hair.”

So which product is right for you and your lifestyle?!

Joint Balance – is a scientifically formulated nutraceutical supplement designed to help promote optimal and healthy joint function, improve flexibility, and reduce muscle soreness after exercise, while being gentle on the digestive system.

Ultramicronized Turmeric Curcumin – can promote a healthy lifestyle, support your immune system, and provide you with superior antioxidant protection. Avie’s proprietary water-soluble Ultramicronized Turmeric CurcuminTM is designed for maximum absorption, potency, stability, and bioactivity. Ultramicronized Turmeric CurcuminTM has been shown to have a higher biological activity than leading competitors. When tested in water, it has shown:

– 352 times greater anti-oxidant activity
– More than 1,400 times greater free radical scavenging properties
– 126 times greater COX-2 inhibition

As awesome as it is to add turmeric and black pepper (helps with absorption) to your meals daily (def don’t stop – keep on it!) this supplement makes it so easy and incredibly effective because of its ability to quickly absorb in your body! I’ve included direct links to their website and blog if you’re interested in learning more or feel free to email me with questions!

Resources:

Avie Nutraceuticals Website
Avie Nutraceuticals Blog

Thank you to Avie Nutraceuticals for sponsoring this post! I truly love partnering with brands I believe in and that are authentic and true to me. All opinions and thoughts in this post are MY OWN.

getting REAL with you.

getting REAL with you.

Hi guys!

I know it’s been quite awhile since I’ve blogged. For me, blogging is very ebb and flow. I haven’t felt myself lately, nor have I felt that creative drive to just write. Rather than being inauthentic with you…it’s sometimes easier to just take a break! However, lately, there’s been a topic on my mind that I feel the need to bring to light. Having been in the blogging world for quite some time now, I’ve heard it all – “your life is amazing, you’re so balanced, you’re so fit, you’re so motivated, you’re always so positive, etc. etc.” Though it’s quite flattering to hear these thing, it’s not always the truth and I hate that instagram sometimes portrays it that way. Yes, I’m the one who is sharing these photos, recording stories, etc. But I don’t always share the whole “woe is me” story since I do my best to be this positive light and I think there’s a fine balance between oversharing and not sharing enough. At the same time, I do try to share my struggles with you every now and then because I want you to understand that I too, am HUMAN and we are not perfect. I prefer to do this through writing rather than a little blurb on a photo or me talking to you through a story (just my personal preference on how I prefer to get my words out).

What you don’t see behind the perfectly posed pictures, are my everyday struggles, just like everyone else! We all have them. Yes I get to work from home as part of my full-time job, but is this my dream job? No. Do I know what the hell I want to do with my life? Still no. Was BerryGood Bliss a success? Nope. Does that mean I’m giving up on it forever? Also no. The biggest thing lately however, has been dealing with the stress of balancing divorced parents who do not get along, while planning a big wedding. I’ll be honest, this has not been the most “enjoyable” experience I thought it would be to plan a wedding. It’s not to say it’s all been bad at all, but it definitely hasn’t been smooth sailing either. Trust me, I know this weekend will all come together and it will be amazing…and of course, the best part, I get to marry my best friend. That being said, I’m the kind of person who always feels the need to please, which means I find myself constantly playing this balancing act between my parents. Lately my anxiety and stress levels have been at an all time high, which I’ve shared with them both. I had been keeping it to myself for quite some time, but recently it all boiled up. I know I shouldn’t keep these things to myself, but again, it goes back to me always wanting to remain strong and please everyone. At the end of the day, I know it’s neither of my parents intention to have their personal feelings between one another affect me…sadly it’s the “not so easy” side of divorce and wedding planning isn’t exactly rainbows and butterflies when you are trying to all get “along”. If only there was a how-to book for situations like this (haha …wishful thinking)!

As a result of my anxiety being heighted, I find myself falling into unhealthy habits of feeling sorry for myself and unconnected with my TRUE self. I haven’t been meditating or practicing yoga as much. I’d rather sit on the couch at night then do something productive. I reach for sugary foods on weekends that I think will “make all things better”. Oh the list could go on. However, at the end of the day, the only person who has the power to change things is MYSELF. Fortunately enough, I thrive in warmer weather and with Spring finally coming to life in Boston, I’ve felt more driven to stop feeling sorry myself and bring back some positive habits into my life like journaling, walking, listening to positive podcasts, connecting with friends, going to group fitness classes and so on.

The point is, instagram can be REALLY great but also can be do detrimental on mental health and wellness. Though I hate to admit it, I certainly catch myself scrolling through instagram, comparing, wishing I had something that someone has achieved, feeling sorry for myself and so on. What I’ve found lately that has helped is taking a step back and truly being grateful for what I DO have in my life. We all are unique and have strengths that make us WHO we ARE. I’ve been doing this through journaling and simply sharing things that I’m both grateful for AND writing down the things I love about myself. Again, I don’t mean to share all of this because I want you to feel sorry for me. I just want you to know that we all have struggles and it can be really easy to hide behind instagram and pretend like life is perfect. At the end of the day, the bad comes with the GOOD and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel 🙂

MOTIVATION + FITNESS + just LIVIN’ your BEST LIFE

MOTIVATION + FITNESS + just LIVIN’ your BEST LIFE

Staying Motivated. 

I get this question asked a lot…how on EARTH do I stay motivated while managing a busy schedule? Unfortunately, I probably don’t have the answer you want to hear…(no, there’s no magic potion or superfood out there…hehe…although I wish there was) but I do have tips that have helped me over the years! I’ll be honest; my commitment to fitness has basically been a way of life for me that was engraved into my younger self beginning in high school. Being part of the cross-country and track & field team throughout high-school was key to learning how to manage time, while also prioritizing my love for running and obligation to competing my best on the high school varsity team. Though it was in high school where I learned to manage time, clean eating didn’t come until much later in life (I’ll get to the in a bit). After high school, I went on to run competitively on my universities DI track & field and cross-country team. I couldn’t imagine my life without being part of a team (hence why I’ve continued to seek that same sense of community through other outlets like Corepower Yoga).  That leads me to my first TIP…

TEAM + COMMUNITY + FRIENDSHIP

Though it may sound cliché, having a support group has always been the most important and motivating factor in maintaining my dedication to fitness. I can especially attest to this during my college running career. I don’t know what I would have done without my best friends (all of whom I ran with from Day 1) by my side throughout those 4 years. From struggling to get to 6am weight lifting sessions, to VERY long 2-day track meets, to grueling intervals on the track, to HOT long run days early in the cross-country season…these girls helped me get through every second of those moments where I wanted to give up.  

My point here? Find a support group that will be there for you when times get tough. Find that community that keeps you motivated. Keep those friends around who are going to push you to be the BEST version of yourself, not those who try to knock you down. This is why going to group fitness classes can be a really great way to build that community and find the RIGHT one for you. Remember, you’re not necessarily going to “click” with every fitness class you try and that’s OK. For me, I found Corepower. For others, it may be Soul Cycle, Cross Fit, Barry’s Boot Camp, Barre3…the list goes on and on! Find your COMMUNITY, build on those friendships, and lastly find a class that you actually ENJOY. At the end of the day fitness should be fun….which…you guessed it…this leads to my next TIP…

MAKE FITNESS FUN AGAIN

I feel like we’ve slowly gone away from this idea that fitness should be fun. Fitness isn’t about killing yourself over 2-a-days and going HARD every single day without any rest day. Fitness doesn’t have to always involve cardio, weights, or even breaking a crazy sweat. Unfortunately, due to social media, there’s this false idea that you should be spending more than an hour a day breaking a killer sweat, burning crazy amount of calories, and essentially creating this picture that you should be miserable after every workout, otherwise, you’re not pushing hard enough. These are all LIEZZZZ!!! My idea of fun? LOUD MUSIC that gets my body moving. Any workout that can be done in under an hour. Workouts that are different and keep both my body AND mind guessing. Fitness classes that make you feel welcomed and not “left out” if you have no idea what the F you’re doing. Workouts that leaving you feeling (naturally) high on LIFE after (not dead lol)! And yes…somedays I truly ENJOY doing treadmill sprints for 45 minutes. BUT that doesn’t mean I do that every day…TRUST me. There’s definitely a crazy side of me that enjoys pushing past my limits…but I am now more aware that these kind of workouts are a 1x a week (if that) kind of thing and your body NEEDS to recover before and after.

KEEP YOUR BODY GUESSING

I touched on it briefly above, but switching up at least a few times a week is important for so many reasons! For one, let’s start with the obvious. Switching things up keeps you from getting bored with the workout you’re doing. Let’s do the math here…BOREDOM = NOT FUN. NEW and EXCITING = FUN! Sorry if that’s cheesy but it’s the fricken TRUTH. I used to run…every…single…day…for 8+ years straight. And you wonder why I’m so anti-running these days? Don’t get me wrong I love going for a run when the weather outside is RIGHT or I’m always down for some interval sprints on the treadmill. But, running every single day made me want to hate it…which is sad, because I actually do enjoy running, however, it got to the point of where I started to rebel against it. My “fitness routine” changes regularly since I love to always change things up!

Here’s what a typical week looks like for me RIGHT NOW:

  • Corepower Yoga Sculpt 1 or 2x
  • Yoga 2x
  • Soul Cycle or Treadmill Intervals or Stair Stepper 1 or 2x
  • Special Fitness Class: recently tried SLT pilates and LOVE it. Also a big fan of Barry’s Boot Camp,

At least ONE rest day a week! I like to walk on these days ☺

Not only is it important to switch up your workouts to avoid boredom but it also helps to develop different muscles that may not get any attention if you’re say, running every day. Additionally, your body learns to adapt (and improve) and therefor, you consume less energy, which is why you may not see the changes you’re hoping to see in your body.  

WORKING OUT MAKES ME A MORE PRODUCTIVE PERSON

Here’s another big thing that keeps me motivated is knowing that workouts lead to an overall more productive day for me. I’ve found that on days when I don’t get any movement in first thing in the AM, the whole day seems to drag on, I find that I have constant brain fog, I fall out of “good health” habits, and lastly, I just am not my “energized and outgoing” self.  I love the natural endorphins I get from working out…so yes, that gets me out of bed.

GET SLEEP!!

My last tip here is get an ample amount of sleep. More sleep = more energy to burn. On days I don’t get enough sleep, I use that time to take off from a workout and give my body time to recover. I know if I try to push myself on days when I’m feeling low in energy, my workouts too, reflect that same feeling. I do tend to wake up very early to squeeze my workouts in first thing in the AM (at least 3-4 days a week). How do I do this? It’s easy. I’m ALWAYS in bed by 9 or 9:30 latest. This is an absolute MUST. Now, my body is so used to that schedule, that waking up early has become so much easier for me and I now thrive in the mornings vs. at night.

At the end of the day…FITNESS is a part of my life. It’s what makes me the best version of myself and I purely love it for just that reason <3

How Teaching Helped me Regain my Confidence…

How Teaching Helped me Regain my Confidence…

Less than two weeks ago, I was coming off a high of teaching my VERY first Corepower class and found myself preaching to my mom about confidence. In that moment, I DID feel confident. The class was a rush of magical energy, nervousness, excitement, and pure adrenaline. I had just finished teaching my first class, without f***ing it up…which believe me, came as a surprise since leading up to that point, I was bottling up a lot of self-doubt. Anyway, back to this conversation with my mom. She’s beautiful, looks like she could be 30 years old, incredibly creative, and is an entrepreneur – yet she has little confidence in herself. Why is it that we women constantly feel like we’re not good enough? I hear it all of the time, “confidence is the best accessory”. Even though I know this and believe me, I try to fake it until I make it, but some days, I find myself hiding behind my hair or an oversized sweater. I find myself hunched over, rather than standing tall. I put earphones in and avoid eye contact. Why is it that I do these things? What is it in these moments that make me feel less confident in myself? Sometimes it’s the comparison trap, whether that be from social media, TV, magazines, etc. Sometimes it’s because I’m wearing sweats and no makeup. Sometimes it’s because I feel “soft and bloated” after a weekend of overindulging. All of these reasons come down to appearance.

How can we push past the idea that appearance = confidence? Well, this brings me back to that post-teaching high. I’m not saying everyone needs to go out and teach a class. But a BIG area of insecurity for me has always been public speaking and putting myself out there, because ultimately I felt insecure about myself. Does this come as a surprise to you? If so, I GET why. I’ve had a blog since college now where I post pictures of myself, my food, and my everyday life through Instagram story.  Though it may appear like I have my shit together….believe me when I say, that’s not always true. For example, I STRUGGLED big time when Instagram story started to become a thing. I was so used to hiding behind my food pictures that having to talk to a video and a large audience terrified me. What would people say about me? What if they don’t like what I’m posting? What if they don’t like my personality? What if I’m not looking my best? In a way, Instagram story helped to push me out of my comfort zone and get over caring what people would THINK of me.

IMG_4362

In December of 2016, I went off and did a 17 day intensive yoga teacher training. I hadn’t gone into it with the intention of teaching. Within the first day or so there, we had to get up in front of everyone and teach a small part. I didn’t know what I was doing. I felt awkward, uncomfortable, nervous, terrified…all of the above. You could tell I was not confident in my own body. Yet, no one judged me. Luckily, I was in a group of the MOST supportive people. It was never a competition. We were all here to improve and we all had a personal reason as to WHY we were here, in this space, pushing our limits, together. By the end of the 17-days I was a different person. I wasn’t perfect by any means, but I was WAY more confident leaving there than I had been when I arrived.

Beginning in October 2017, I had my very first Corepower yoga sculpt teaching training. For those of you who are not familiar with sculpt, it’s a heated, fast-paced, music centric, high-energy, yoga meets strength training class. It is VERY different than yoga, but has always been a practice that I’ve loved because it truly makes working out FUN. I’ll be honest, before signing up for this, I never thought I could get up there and teach a class like this. Just as teaching yoga finally became comfortable for me, sculpt brought on a new element. People come to this class to get a hard, FUN 60 minute workout in. But just as I threw myself into yoga training, I figured why not, let’s test my limits once again. Though I tend to sign up for these types of things with a lot of doubt, I do it because I KNOW this is the only way I’ll ever keep improving. I love challenging myself and getting out of my comfort zone. This drive is what helps to build my confidence. When I get into something that makes me uneasy, but come out on the other side successful, that is where I begin to see my confidence shine through. It has absolutely nothing to do with looks. It’s finding something that both excites you but scares you at the same time. It’s challenging yourself to be the best version of YOU.  That’s when and where I’m the MOST confident.

Finding CONFIDENCE can be different for everyone. What I’ve found in the past year or so, is when I put myself out there without truly giving a f*** what anyone thinks, that’s when my confidence reaches an all-time high. I’ve only taught just a few classes at this point, but already, the way I feel after a class is unlike anything I can explain. I love that I have the ability to motivate and empower this amazingly supportive community to get through 60 minutes of fricken HARD work. Had I continued doubting myself, I never would have had the opportunity to find so much joy through teaching. I can already tell that this was one of the best decisions I’ve made. I know that with each class I teach, the more confidence I’ll find. Teaching has given me the confidence to OWN who I am. My at home yoga practice has given me the confidence to feel beautiful in my own body and fight that negative talk. My blog has given me the confidence to let my creative side run wild and free. Living a healthy lifestyle has nourished my body and enables me to feel glowing in my own skin. These are just a few things I’ve learned along the way that have helped to build my confidence. I know there will still be days of doubt and insecurity, but already, those days seem few and far between compared to how I was feeling just a few years back.

My challenge to you? Go after something that you’ve always been drawn to, but at the same time, find terrifying. The accomplishment you feel at the end of whatever journey that may be is MAGICAL and so incredibly gratifying. That exact moment is where you’ll find the most confidence.  

My Grocery List + Kitchen Staples Part 1

My Grocery List + Kitchen Staples Part 1

Hi guys!

I’ve gotten a few questions on my grocery list, kitchen staples, favorite brands, etc., so figured I’d dedicate this blog to my GROCERY LIST. Keep in mind, obviously not every trip to the store looks like this…but these are all things I typically like to keep in my kitchen or rotate through on different shopping trips. I’ll be honest, I usually shop at Whole Foods out of convenience (it’s 4 min walk from me)…but, a lot of these items can be found at most grocery stores these days! I’ve gone through and added a lot of links so you can learn more about these brands, some via Amazon, some via their direct links.

For next week, I’m adding a mini meal prep guide using a lot of the ingredients found on this list! So keep an eye for part dos!


Produce:

Bananas – peel & freeze for smoothies
Organic Spinach – I buy the largest container available
Organic mixed greens, dinosaur kale, arugula, or romaine (I try to always buy a different green to mix it up with the spinach)
Avocados – I buy about 4 for me (1/2 avocado a day or more ☺)
Cauliflower and/or Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts
Rainbow/Heirloom Carrots
Optional Broccoli and/or cauliflower rice
Sweet Potatoes – I usually roast about 4-5 for me & Justin for the week
Raspberries – SUPER high in FIBER
Radishes – for some extra crunch!
Baby Carrots – for snacking
Microgreens
Sprouts
Beets – love the brand Love Beets
Ginger
Lemons
Garlic
Onion
Zucchini – usually always have a few to spiralize & add to Banza pasta to bulk it up

Bulk Foods:

Raw Cashews – to make homemade cashew milk!
Gluten-Free Oats
Sprouted Almonds
Quinoa, Farro, or Wheatberry are some of my favorites!
Fresh ground Almond Butter

Refrigerated:

Large Brown Eggs – love Vital Farms (buy eggs that are pasture raised, certified organic, non-GMO)
Non-Dairy Cheese – Love the brands: Treeline ( garlic-herb cashew cheese) or Kite Hill Almond-based Ricotta
Hummus – love Hope Foods Hummus (100% clean, organic ingredients & so many yummy flavors)
Coconut Casava Tortillas from Siete – grain-free & paleo tortillas
Kombucha – always buy Health-Ade (usually lemon ginger & buy 2 small bottles to sip on throughout the week)
Sauerkraut – GREAT for the gut! Love the beet kraut from Wildbrine or the dill pickle from Farmhouse Cultures

Optional:

Kite Hill (almond based yogurt) or Forager (cashew based yogurt) non-dairy yogurts
Nut-Based Milk if no-time to prep your own – check to see that there are no weird additives or gums
Kite Hill cream cheese (also almond based)

Dry Foods:

Lentil/Bean Based Pasta – some of my favorite brands include Banza (chickpea) pasta, Tolerant Foods (red lentil pasta), or Ancient Harvest Green lentil pasta
Organic (no sugar added) Diced Tomatoes – I like to have a few cans on hand to sauté with mixed veggies, spices, and toss over pasta
GG’s Scandinavian Crackers (high fiber, low carb/calorie crisp) – great for snacking with avocado or almond butter
Mary’s Gone Crackers (love the cracked black pepper)
Ground Flax Seeds – I buy mine from Bob’s Red Mill
Plant-Based Protein Powder – Brands I like: Aloha! (not at WF, but can be found at CVS), Amazing Grass, Garden of Life
Vital Proteins Collagen
RxBars (paleo, only natural sugars (i.e. dates), egg whites for added protein
Bulletproof Bars (fave is the vanilla flavor)
Hu Chocolate or Eating Evolved Chocolate (uses coconut sugar to sweeten, dairy-free, PALEO)

Optional:

Shredded Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
Soups to have on hand – I love Amy’s soups (check for low-sodium, no dairy, no added cane sugar) or Faween Soups (not available at Whole Foods)
Granola (I don’t always buy granola as I end up overeating it LOL. I swear granola is the one thing I could eat endless amounts of). BUT if you like granola, brands I recommend include: Gr8nola, Purely Elizabeth, Back Roads Granola, Steve’s Paleo Granola, Kitchfix Grain Free Granola
Crispy Chickpeas – adds a delicious crunch on salads (sea salt from Biena Foods is delish!)
Siete Tortilla Chips – BEST grain free tortilla chip out there
Popcorn – I buy the brand Lesser Evil (they make their popcorn with either coconut oil, avocado oil, or ghee & add Himalayan salt)

Optional Superfoods: (MOST can be found in the supplement aisle at Whole Foods)

Bee Pollen
Chia Seeds
Hemp Seeds (great extra source of High protein)
Goji Berries
Cacao Nibs
Cacao Powder
Matcha Green Tea Powder
Maca Powder
Ashwaganda Powder

Condiments & Healthy Fats:

Tahini
Almond Butter (usually buy the ground almond butter from the Whole Foods bulk section)
Coconut Butter
Coconut AminosCoconut Secrets Garlic sauce (low-sodium, made w/ coconut aminos)
Coconut Oil (spray can and jar)
Avocado Oil
Olive Oil
Ghee – Fourth & Heart is a great brand available at WF! Or you can check out a local brand: Gather Superfoods
Spicy Brown Mustard – (love the brand: Sir. Kensington’s)
Healthy Mayo – (love the brand Primal Kitchen & their chipotle lime mayo)

Optional:

Healthy Dressings from Primal Kitchen Foods (LOVE their Caesar, Green Goddess, & Ranch Dressing)

Frozen Foods:

Frozen Riced Cauliflower (for smoothies)
Frozen wild blueberries
Frozen veggie/stir-fry mix
Hilary’s Eat Well Veggie Burgers and/or bites
Shrimp
Salmon Fillet
Food for Life Ezekiel Toast
Mikey’s Paleo English Muffins
Cali’Flour Foods Plant-Based Pizza *not found in grocery stores

Sweeteners:

Dates
Honey
Organic Maple Syrup
Coconut Sugar
Vanilla Stevia

Spices/condiments:

Nutritional Yeast – literally add this to everything for a vegan “cheesy” flavor
Himalayan Salt
Cinnamon
Rosemary
Black Pepper
Paprika
Basil
Oregano
Thyme
*all of Primal Palate’s spices (they’re not available at WF, but order them online – highly recommend!)

Current December Obsessions

Current December Obsessions

A while back (more like 2015 lol – you’ll be able to tell based on the “fads”), I had a series of posts called “In With the New Obsessions, Out with the Old” …these “obsessions” ranged from health & fashion trends, to favorite products, wellness tips, travel destinations, etc. I decided to bring this series back because let’s be honest…my obsessions are constantly changing and with how quickly trends come and go, I like to share what I think is actually worth the hype and the investment. So, here’s what I have for you for December’s Obsessions! PS – none of the below is sponsored in any way. Any products mentioned are truly those I love and enjoy!

Book of choice: Body Love: Live in Balance, Weigh What you Want, and Free Yourself from Food Drama Forever by Kelly Leveque

  1. I’ve been following Kelly for quite some time now. From her Instagram, to podcast interviews, to MBG articles, and more! It wasn’t until my friend gifted me (thanks Jackie!!) her new book, that I REALLY started to get what all the hype was about Kelly. Her book essentially is the guide to FOOD FREEDOM and at the end of the day, isn’t that what we’re all seeking? Regardless of whether you’ve had a bad relationship with food or not, I think we all tend to at some point or another, get caught up in a food obsession. It’s unfortunately a result of a restrictive diet culture that we grew up with (especially those who were born in the 80’s and 90’s).
  2. Luckily, REAL health (aka not those “diet frozen dinners” or “meal shakes”) is becoming trendy. I think that Kelly plays a big role in this. Her book is so incredibly informative. She empowers you with REAL science to back up the facts. I find it so helpful when I can understand what is going on in my body, to help me make smarter and healthier decisions. She runs through living a positive, stress free lifestyle while making healthy choices. She offers healthy recipes, talks about her Fab4 Smoothies, fitness, and so on.

Fab4 Lifestyle and FIBER

  1. Alright so if I’ve learned ANYTHING between Kelly Leveque’s “Fab4” lifestyle and Tanya’s F-Factor lifestyle…it’s basically the importance of incorporating FIBER into our diet at EVERY meal. Because FIBER is COOL and makes ya regular…ya feel me?!!??! (hahahaha) Unfortunately, because so much of our food has become processed, we’ve moved away from naturally fiber-rich foods. Fiber essentially helps things move through our body (aka bowel movements if I’m being FRANK lol), helps to detoxify toxins, helps to break down carbohydrates, and can even help prevent forms of cancer.
  2. The “Fab4” lifestyle is essentially eating the following at every meal: healthy FATS, FIBER rich foods, GREENS/VEGGIES, PROTEIN, plus any extra superfoods or adaptogens if you choose! If you have a little bit of both at every meal, you’ll naturally start to feel full & satiated longer, your hunger hormones will be turned off, you’ll keep your blood sugar levels low, and you’ll naturally find that you either maintain weight or shed those few extra pounds based on where you and your body feel best.
    1. Recommended sources of fiber:
    2. GG’s Scandanavian crackers – you’ve likely seen these posted on the Skinny Confidential or part of the F-Factor movement. They’re one of the HIGHEST forms of fiber rich grab-n-go snacks out there, that are super low in cals. Add them to lunch & breakfast to help fill you up!
    3. If you’re GF, Jillz Crackers and Mary’s Gone Crackers are also great options
    4. flax Seeds
    5. Chia Seeds
    6. Raspberries, Avocados, Brussel Sprouts, Legumes, Pomegranate, etc. are also high sources of fiber that are found in fruits and veggies.

Vital Proteins – i.e. Love their COLLAGEN products

  1. I know this isn’t exactly a “new” trend, but it’s a trend that has stuck and for good reason! There are so many amazing benefits to adding collagen into your diet:
    1. Muscle & joint recovery
    2. Stronger, more vibrant hair, skin, and nails
    3. Better nights sleep
    4. PLUS they now have a new matcha collagen!

Fawen Drinkable Soups

  1. So this is one product I’ve really been LOVING lately. Why? Well, I recently went to Whole Foods and was strolling through the pre-packaged soup section (because winter = endless nights of soup) and was honestly shocked to find that I could count on one hand the number of soups that were sugar free, preservative free, weird additive free, gum free, and so on. Even brands I thought to be “healthy” had added cane sugar or used vegetable oil in their soups.
  2. Fawen is honestly one of the only to-go soups I’ve found that use REAL ingredients like coconut oil, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, Himalayan salt, season veggies, etc. to help flavor their soups. NO weird added anything! Oh and ps they taste great and can be enjoyed right from the container (though I love heating it up over the stovetop anyway)!

Cacao & REFINED SUGAR-FREE Vegan/Paleo Chocolate

  1. I tend to have a major sweet tooth after dinner and also tend to crave chocolate. This doesn’t need to be a “cheat” if you find the RIGHT chocolate out there. Cacao is a SUPERFOOD for a reason and should be enjoyed (right)! What are my favorite Brands?
    1. Hu Chocolate – especially their “dark salted chocolate”   (with ingredients like cacao, coconut oil, Himalayan salt, and coconut sugar to flavor). No cane sugar, dairy products, etc.!
    2. Eating Evolved – similar to Hu chocolate, they use coconut oil, coconut butter, and coconut sugar to sweetend.
    3. Lastly, if those two products aren’t in budget, then no worries! Make your own chocolate bark easily using coconut oil, cacao, cinnamon, Himalayan salt, and coconut sugar/honey/or maple syrup following THIS recipe.

Spotify Playlists

  1. Music is and has always been one constant form of pure HAPPINESS in my life. Justin and I love going to shows, festivals, or even just hanging at home and listening to music. It just puts you in the right place
  2. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with making playlists on spotfiy that are 100% ME and vary based on my mood. I have a playlist for everything – mornings, yoga flows, Friday nights, summer day vibes, and so on.
  3. So if you’re not following me, get on it AND if you haven’t gone into your own Spotify hole…do it! But beware, you may get sucked in for hours creating playlists!

Friend, Fitness, and Foodie Dates

  1. One thing I love about this Instagram/blogging community is that it has connected me with so many new people! And what better way to connect than over a fitness class, followed by a healthy treat?! I’ve talked about this before, but face-to-face interaction is SO valuable and GOOD for the soul. It’s easy to be comfortable in your own apartment and routine (trust me, I’m the last person to want to make plans during the week) BUT when I finally get my butt out the door and DO it, it feels SO good. I always leave those conversations on a high. It’s nice connecting, sharing similar struggles (and successes), chatting about health, wellness, friends, boys, music, ALL OF IT.

A fashion trend I can’t get over? JUMP SUITS.

  1. I’m sure this is one trend you’ve seen a lot lately, but hey, I don’t see myself getting over it any time soon. Jumpsuits transform perfectly from day to evening, summer to winter. They work all year round. They can be dressed up or dressed down. They’re comfy AF. A nice fitted one makes your booty look GREAT. I mean what more can I say?? Go get yourself one or two jumpsuits that you love and that can be versatile. It’s my idea of the new “little black dress” that everyone needs to have as a staple in their closet! Here’s one from Forever21 that I recently bought and LOVE.

Favorite Bar? This one hasn’t really changed and for good reason – RX BARS

  1. These bars still have got to be my favorite out there. High in protein (egg whites), healthy fats (nuts), naturally sweetened with dates, no weird added things at all.
  2. Though I don’t recommend eating one every day, I do find these are GREAT to have on hand if you need a “bridge snack” between lunch and dinner, or while traveling, on-the-go, etc.!
  3. My favorite flavors right now? Their seasonal Gingerbread flavor, Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, Maple Sea Salt, and Coconut Chocolate Chip!

Deepening your Yoga Practice

So I’m doing my BEST to MANIFEST a future yoga retreat because I see so much value in them. Though these can be costly, I think they’re 100% worth it! It’s the BEST kind of way to hit refresh, take a hot second from the craziness that is life, and connect with your mind, body, and SOUL. It doesn’t necessarily need to be some fancy retreat in Costa Rica. Even a one-day refresh can be just as valuable! Look around locally. I’m sure you can find at least one or two within driving distance!

This time last year, I also took the leap of faith and traveled to Mallorca for my 200hr yoga teacher training and FELL IN LOVE with everyone about it. So spirutually opening. Pushed me out of my comfort zone BIG TIME. Even if you have no intention on teaching, I recommend it to deepen your practice.

Lastly, I’m currently in my Corepower teacher sculpt training at this moment. I LOVE high-energy music and workouts, so this is the perfect way to blend my love for yoga with high-intensity fitness.

That’s all for now! Hope you enjoyed. Oh and by the way, NONE of this is sponsored. Any products mentioned are truly those I love and enjoy!

Top 3 Products for When You’re on-the-go (+ Life Updates)!

Top 3 Products for When You’re on-the-go (+ Life Updates)!

Hi friends!

Hope your week is off to a great start! Before I dive into today’s blog post, I wanted to share a few life-updates with you! PS – I feel like I’m always sharing drastic updates LOL. It’s NEVER DULL around here. Soo a few things – I just wrapped up my first FULL farmers market season for BerryGood Bliss – I can’t believe how quickly the time flew by. It’s been such a whirlwind and I’m SO pleased that people even LIKE my product! My goal this summer was to get my brand out there, test my products and see if people even enjoyed it (which luckily is a success!), make meaningful connections, and of course strategize next steps in the business plan to continue to grow BerryGood. As I’ve mentioned previously, starting a business like this adds up financially (BIG TIME). I’m so glad I took the time that I did to go all-in and build the brand. I know had I been working full-time during this period, I would have continued to put it off and not give it a 110%.

That being said, I’m being realistic in knowing that I can’t continue to support my current lifestyle (personal/housing, social, and business expenses) in the way that I am at the moment. Part of having a passion project like BerryGood is knowing that at times, you’ll need to HUSTLE big time and likely be working twice as hard to make ends meet. I’m fortunate enough to have found a part-time HR position (HR is the field I worked in prior to leaving my corporate job) that will allow me to work flexible hours (20-25 hrs a week) in order to balance both work and BerryGood. This new lifestyle will definitely be a challenge for me at first – learning how to find some kind of balance between work, my social life, my blog, fitness, and so on. However, I’m trying to look at this as an exciting time in my life and ready to take on new challenges with a SMILE. So that’s pretty much the BIGGEST change in my life right now. Oh and ps I’ve also decided to pursue my CorePower Sculpt teacher training (because I can just never be satisfied not having free time HAHA). But in all seriousness, this is something I’ve always wanted to do and timing worked out well on my end/the commitment for this training is very doable. So will keep you guys posted there!


Moving on to some of my favorite products that I always have on hand whether I’m traveling on vacation, going away for a quick weekend getaway, spending the night at my moms or dads house, or just out of the apartment for the day! I tend to have a “firey” metabolism and if I’m hungry, but without anything to hold me over, things can get ugly (aka HANGER strikes at its best and you can ask Justin, it’s certainly not a pretty sight). Lastly, none of the below is sponsored. This is simply all my own, un-biased opinion!

1) Protein Bar

As much as I love switching up my bars, I always seem to revert back to RxBar as my snack of choice. Why? Because their ingredients truly are no BS.

  • High in Protein
  • Vegetarian Friendly
  • No funky protein powder ingredients (aka casein + WPC, skim milk/milk powders, soy protein, vegetable oils, gluten, dextrin/glucose, soy protein, artificial sweeteners, etc.)
  • No added sugars
  • No Soy
  • No Gluten
  • TASTES DELISH!

The main ingredients in RxBars include: egg whites (high in protein, no cholesterol, & easily absorbed into the body) + dates (which help to bind & act as a natural sweetener) + nuts (for texture, healthy fats, & sustained energy).

PS – my favorite flavors include: Peanut Butter, Maple Sea Salt, Chocolate Sea Salt, and Mint-Chocolate.


2) Collagen Peptides

Collagen has been a STAPLE in my diet for almost the past year. I’ve truly noticed differences in my skin first and foremost, as well as my hair, nails, gut-health, better sleeps, joint/muscle recovery, and not to mention, it makes my lattes EXTRA frothy!

My go-to collagen is Vital Proteins and I LOVE that they sell individual serving sizes for when you’re on-the-go. These have been essential for traveling. I simply add it right into my warm coffee or tea and it dissolves instantly and is flavorless.

3) Elixirs

I never used to be a “beverage” person, but oddly enough, in the past year, I’ve been craving warm, nurturing beverages like golden milk (turmeric & black pepper + warm coconut milk), coffee & tea of course, and hot coco. I recently have fallen in love with the products from Four Sigmatic. Their goal is to “make drinking mushrooms and superfoods delicious and easy-to-do with their Mushroom Coffees, Mushroom Superfood Blends, and Mushroom Elixirs”.

Lately, I’ve been REALLY into their Mushroom Hot Cacao with Cordyceps. I’ll heat up either almond milk or coconut milk and then pour the contents in my mug, stir, and enjoy! It makes for the perfect night-capper, especially when I’m craving something warm & chocolatey. Plus the added benefits of the superfood mushroom AND the fact that it comes in an individually sealed bag for convenience makes these products that much better.


Look out for a similar blog post in the future! I certainly have a few more products I always rely on for when I’m on-the-go, but wanted to be mindful of this post getting too lengthy! 🙂

Ballin’ on a Budget: Tips for the Staples (Food, Fitness, & Style)

Ballin’ on a Budget: Tips for the Staples (Food, Fitness, & Style)

Happy Hump Day!

As you know, I’ve been on a MAJOR budget lately but the last thing I want, is that to stop me from living my life and doing things (or buying things) that make me happy and healthy! Being a small business owner, while working multiple part-time jobs, leaves little to no “extra” spending money. When it comes to spending money, there are a few things I’ll invest in. Food is absolutely number one. Food is medicine to me. I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve had to pay for a pharmaceutical. Wholesome, healthy food has been my save and grace and for that reason, I’m ALWAYS willing to spend an extra dollar or two. As for fitness, that’s probably tied with food. Again, I feel my BEST when I get a good sweat in, surround myself with a positive fitness community, and treat my body well! Lastly, I threw style in here because that’s always been a fun passion of mine. I feel the clothes I wear are a representation of who I am. I consider myself a pretty creative individual and my clothes allow me to express my inner fashionista (lol, too far?)

Let’s start with FOOD. How to eat healthy on a small budget.

I’ll be honest, I don’t always follow my own advice. The convenience of having a Whole Foods within walking distance can be far too tempting most times.

  • A lot of “chain” grocery stores now carry your everyday healthy products at a much cheaper price. I’m a huge fan of shopping at Wegmans. Their organic produce selection is top-notch. They have great bulk food options (and prices). Trader Joes is another one that has really low prices for their produce and other products.


Thrive Market. This one I accidentally bought the membership a year ago, BUT I will say, it HAS been worth it. When you stock up and spend more than $49 on groceries, you get free shipping. Not to mention, they always are doing free product giveaways with your order. See this picture on the left, that rosewater came free! Last time, I got two cartons of Califia Farms products. They offer these deals while supplies last. PLUS almost all of their products are discounted (trust me, I’ve checked and compared!) I love using Thrive when I’m running low on all of the expensive oils, dry goods, nuts, superfoods, etc.
– Buy from the BULK FOOD SECTION! A huge part of our diet is nuts, grains, dried fruits, almond butter, and so on. The bulk food section at any store tends to always be cheaper than if you were to buy it pre-packaged.
– Get yourself a WholeFoods Whole Body Benefits Card at customer service. Gets you 20% off supplements!
– Always keep an eye out for Whole Foods sales. Trust me, a lot of my fave products like Health-Ade Kombucha, Simple Mills, Purely Elizabeth, Hilary’s Eat Well, etc. goes on sale!
– Scroll through your fave instagramers and you can ALWAYS find a discount code for some of your favorite products! PS – I’ve added in some of my discount codes at the bottom of this post!
– Speaking of Kombucha, did you know that anytime you buy a case (of anything) at Whole Foods, you get 10% off! Sometimes the cashiers don’t even realize this, so make sure you ask.

Now moving on to fitness…

If you know me, I’ve joked that I’m a serial fitness dater (not sure if that even makes sense…) But what I’m trying to get at is that I…

1) LOVE switching up my workouts (which is actually really good for your body) and…
2) I’m always on the hunt for “free trials”, “membership deal sign-ups”, “student discounts” (sry I know this is bad but I still use my student ID everywhere…it doesn’t have an expiration date!), 30 days for $30 unlimited, and so on. The deals go on. ESPECIALLY if you’re living in a college city. SO keep an eye out for those.
* For example, did you know you get a 1-week free trial with CorePower Yoga?
– Create your own work-out space at home! I did this for almost a year after I quit my “luxury” gym (spending far too much money on a monthly basis). I had a yoga mat, simple weights, and did a lot of HIIT. Kayla Itsines (like every other girl haha) was one of the programs I followed. Youtube and even the fitness instagram world can both be great resources.
– I also switched up my workouts with runs and yoga. I will admit, I recently found an AWESOME gym deal ($25 a month) and I felt now was a good time to jump on that since we’re entering into the brutal seasons of Boston (i.e. the dreaded Winter months). The snow and cold makes running outside not fun and certainly doesn’t help with any of my fitness motivation.
– ALWAYS search groupon or gilt city before paying for any studio. Guarantee there will be some deal out there.
– You can also join ClassPass and pay a CRAZY cheap price ($19 if you’re a new member) for your first month. I’ll be honest, I cancelled after 🙂 Though I love the idea of it…I couldn’t get myself to pay the regular monthly price after your trial ends.
– Search on your cities event page for free fitness classes!
– Go to community/donation-based yoga classes.

And finally…STYLE!

I will admit, I was a HUGE spender when it came to clothes. Especially when I had a pretty nice income. I never dropped money on super pricey designers but I definitely regularly shopped at Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People. Obviously times have changed and I can’t afford to do that anymore. LUCKILY, I have a lot of clothes in my closet that I no longer where and I’ve found a FAB way to cheat the system. Whenever I’m getting an itch to shop or update my fall wardrobe for example, I’ll search through my closet and drawers for pieces that are in season (this is key because most trendy thrift stores won’t accept out of season clothing). I’ll then search through any hats, shoes, jewelry, purses, jackets, etc. to see if there’s been anything I haven’t touched in the past year (or sometimes even 6 months if I’m feeling frisky).

Oversized jackets never go out of style in my book // found @ Buffalo Exchange
Loving these pieces from Buffalo Exchange. Pair a slingy dress w/ a sparkly see-through long sleeve (and pearls!) – Perfect for the Holidays!

I then march my giant bag of clothing to my FAVE thrift store, Buffalo Exchange , vintage and used clothing. (located in Allston on Harvard St. for my local friends). PS there are Buffulo Exchange stores all over the US. I found one in Queens, NY and spotted one while in Denver, CO. They are extremely picky with the clothes they accept, so make sure it’s in style, trendy, in pretty good condition, and hipster(y) is always a plus. Though it can be annoying as the seller when they send back nearly half of what you brought in, it’s also great because you know that you’re going to find the racks are all stocked with clothes, shoes, and accessories that are in style and SUPER cheap (I’m talking almost everything under $20)! They’ll offer you either a store credit or cash (though the cash ends up being like half of what you’d get with store credit), so I always keep the store credit! I then go shop, pick up a few staple fall items, and then end up having a $0 balance thanks to the clothes that I brought in and were accepted! Also, always check the quality of the clothing, if you find any small tears or stains, they’ll discount it even more, usually like 30-50% off.

Get yourself a pair of fun loafers for Fall // found brand new (Zara) @ Buffalo Exchange
…and a pair of funky wedges to go with pants & an oversized sweater // again found @ B.E.

This is my NUMBER 1 tip to always keeping fresh new items in your closet without spending a dime! Happy shopping ladies (and men)!!

So there ya have it friends, my personal tips to BALLLLLLIN’ on a budget 😉



Discount Codes:

Pearl Butter – (collagen/superfood boosting coconut butter) code ‘CALLI’ for 15% off your order.
Sips By – (customized monthly tea subscription box order) code ‘EATRUNTEA’ for 50% off your first order.
OMG Detox – (detox beauty blends) code ‘CALLI10’ for 10$ off.
Health Warrior – (superfood bars) code ‘eatrunandallinbetween30’ for 30% off your order.

3 Simple Swaps to a Healthier Pantry

3 Simple Swaps to a Healthier Pantry

Wow, can’t believe we’re already into October! I swear this summer flew by faster than most. Though it technically is the Fall, it still feels like Summer here in Boston…and I definitely don’t hate it! That being said, I can certainly feel my body craving the warmer, seasonal foods. It’s so important to listen to your body and give it what it needs with the change of season. Our bodies are smart and are VERY much aligned to nature and the universe. Sadly, that means I won’t be drinking my smoothies everyday (though I certainly will treat myself every now and then). Rather, I’ll be substituting it with warmer foods like oatmeal, warm chia pudding, eggs, toast, squashes, etc.! This philosophy comes from the Ayurveda practice which I’ve talked about in the past.

“Ayurvedic philosophy holds that eating warming foods in the fall and winter is vital in order to keep the body healthy and balanced. It suggests that the metabolism works harder to keep us warm in the winter, and therefore the “digestive fire” must be adequately fueled with heavier foods. Ayurveda says that cold, damp foods like salads and smoothies, which might seem delicious and perfect in the summertime, can sap the body of energy and even leave it vulnerable to illness during the fall and winter.”

This article shares with you some warm fall & winter foods to incorporate into your diet! Anyway, shifting gears slightly towards the topic of today’s blog post! This was actually inspired by my mom who has made some major shifts in her diet and adapting some of my health tips. This is not to say she was eating poorly by any means. She’s super lean, healthy, and eats a very balanced diet! However, she’s made simple swaps like using coconut oil to cook instead of olive oil because of it’s higher cook point. Below are some simple swaps you can make in your pantry and fridge. Though these swaps may seem minor, they go such a long way in your diet!


1.) Oil and Butter.

First, let’s talk about why VEGETABLE Oils are a big, fat NO…

This includes all processed oils like soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil and a few others out there. These oils “contain very large amounts of biologically active fats called Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are harmful in excess.” The way in which these oils are processed “involve pressing, heating, various industrial chemicals and highly toxic solvents.” This article from Healthline goes into even more depth on this topic.

So, what oils/butters SHOULD you cook with? See below:

  • Grass-fed Butter or Ghee (butter with all traces of dairy proteins and sugars cooked out)
  • Coconut Oil (virgin or expeller pressed)
  • Avocado Oil
  • Olive oil (Extra virgin olive oil should stay unheated, but normal olive oil that isn’t extra virgin is a good cooking oil as long as you aren’t cooking at high heat. Extra virgin olive oil is still great for you; just add it after you plate your food.) – BulletProof Article (more details on smoke points and oils)

2.) Sweeteners.

Let’s chat about the difference between Refined Sugars and UnRefined Sugars. “Refined sugar is sugar that has gone through a refining process, or chemical process to remove the molasses that’s naturally found in it.” – Ambitious Kitchen

Here are some staples I always have on hand:

  • Dates
  • Organic Maple Syrup
  • Organic Honey
  • Organic Coconut Sugar
  • Organic Coconut Nectar
  • Organic Vanilla Bean

3.) White Flour.

Let’s start REAL basic here. Ditch anything with white flour. White flour has been stripped of literally all the important vitamins and nutrients (i.e. the parts of the wheat kernel that slow its digestion), making it extremely easy for the body to turn white flour into blood sugar.

So, that being said here are some of my favorite options I usually have on hand:

  • ANY lentil or bean based pasta. My favorites include Eat Banza Chickpea Pasta (literally can’t tasted a difference between this and the real thing). Tolerant Foods is another one of my favorites.
  • Lentils
  • Wheat Berries
  • Quinoa
  • Black Rice
  • Farro
  • Amaranth
  • Oats
  • Bulgur

Some of my favorite Flours Include:

  • almond flour
  • oat flower
  • cassava flour
  • coconut flour
  • buckwheat flour
  • Chickpea Flour
  • Rice Flour

One thing I will say is that I certainly treat myself to a really nice Italian meal every now and then where I can trust I’m getting REAL, HOMEMADE pasta, with no preservatives or chemicals. It’s about balance. Just when you’re at home and cooking, try to have the above alternatives on hand!

Start with those three tips above and keep an eye out NEXT week for 3 more healthy swaps! 🙂

A Foodie’s Guide to Denver, Colorado

A Foodie’s Guide to Denver, Colorado

Hi Friends!

Some of you may know I just recently traveled to Denver, Colorado. In preparation for the trip, I reached out and asked for an endless amount of recommendations and you guys did not disappoint (THANK YOU)!! I figured I’d summarize the list below, share with you some of our adventures, which lets be honest, mostly revolved around food and drink since Justin was on crutches the entire time!

Let’s start with my favorite…

EATTTTS:

Just BE Kitchen: LOVED this place so much, we came back for seconds. 100% PALEO friendly, CLEAN ingredients, EVERYTHING is Gluten, Grain-Free, and Refined-Sugar Free, FRIENDLY staff, CUTE sit-down atmosphere, AMAZING COFFEE.

The “Wonder” Bowl
Highlights: There are plenty of meat options for those who like their meat! That being said, vegetarians would do just fine here as well with plenty of veggie & egg options!

  • I however, went with the “Wonder” Seasonal Veggie Bowl (SEASONAL VEGGIE, ALMOND GREMOLATA, POACHED EGG). Extremely filling bowl (I had leftovers both days).
  • Justin got the “Fulfilled” Burrito on the first day and literally said it was the BEST burrito he’s ever had (which is saying something since he loves his Chipotle burrito’s). Ingredients include: SCRAMBLED EGGS, SAUSAGE,‘CHEDDAR WIZ’ (vegan cheese), PALEO TORTILLA, CRISPY SWEET POTATO HASH, PORK OR VEGGIE GREEN CHILI, CILANTRO, SCALLION, JALAPENO
  • Justin also tried the “Simplicity” Egg Sandwich (2 EGGS, CRISPY SWEET POTATO HASH, BACON OR SAUSAGE PATTY, TORTILLA OR GRIDDLED HOUSE BUN) Also LOVED this
  • “Lifted” Chia Seed Yogurt + their homemade grain-free granola & fresh blueberries – smaller portion, so Justin and I split it to balance out our savory dishes. Their granola is ON POINT.

COFFEE Highlights (yes, we tried 4 different flavors and yes, they were all amazing):

Lavender Honey Latte
  • Maple Cinnamon Butter Bullet-Proof Coffee (grass-fed butter, maple syrup, MCT oil, cinnamon): absolutely amazing. Literally tastes like a really “naughty” cinnamon bun yet all ingredients are 100% clean. HIGHLY Recommend.
  • Mocha Bullet-Proof Coffee (grass-fed butter, MCT oil, cocoa, coconut milk, honey): if you’re a chocolate lover, this one is for YOU. We both liked the maple cinnamon butter slightly more, but this still ranked an 8/10!
  • Vanilla Sea Salt Latte (coconut milk, vanilla, salt, 2 espresso shots): LOVED this one (so much, that I’ve been replicating it at home). Right up my alley. Simple, clean ingredients. So airy and light, plus the perfect balance of sweet & salty.
  • Lavender Clover Honey Latte (lavender, clover honey, almond milk, 2 espresso shots): Shocker…another WINNER. Again, no complaints here. Simply delish! Perfect amount of lavender (not overwhelming at all). So comforting on a chilly morning.

Address:
Located in LoHi
2364 15th Street, Denver, CO 80202
Open 7 days/week 7am-3pm // easy street parking (outskirts of city center)
Website
Instagram Handle


Vital Roots: great recommendation for healthy eats in the Denver area. We enjoyed their breakfast menu very much! Again, super friendly & helpful service, super clean menu options, cool atmosphere/decor inside, and great fast-casual healthy option! Menu items are “98% grain-free, 99% vegan, and 100% gluten-free”.

Avocado Toast + Overnight Oatmeal
Highlights: We only ate here for breakfast, though the menu for lunch and dinner looks fab as well! Only complain would be that we wish the portion sizes were slightly bigger 🙂

  • “Everything Bagel” Avocado Toast (Sunflower Seed Bread, Crispy Chickpeas, Smoked Almonds & Date Molasses add Sunny Side Up Egg) // SO tasty and the flavor combos were on POINT. Your taste buds will dance for joy between all the unique flavors that explode in one bite.
  • The Overnight Oats (Coconut Almond Milk, Cashews, Vanilla, Maple, Five-Seed Mix & Fruit) // always a great go-to option and these oats certainly did not disappoint. SO creamy and the seed mix added the perfect sweet & salty crunch.
  • PLENTY of coffee options available, including BULLET-PROOF!

Address:
3915 TENNYSON ST. DENVER, CO 80212
OPEN TUES-THURS 10AM & FRI-SUN 9AM CLOSED MONDAY
Website
Instagram Handle


Happy Leaf Kombucha: another recommendation I received and am SO so happy we made it here at the very end of our trip! It is a little off the beaten path, but if you have a rental car, it is absolutely worth the drive. Such a unique experience going to (my VERY first) Kombucha TAP ROOM. This was a nice change of scenery after all of the breweries haha. Super spacious, open, airy tap room. Long wooden tables inside, large walls that open to the outdoor area which is perfect on a mild, fall day. Also includes outdoor grass area with lawn games. Lastly, I noticed a sign for yoga happy hour & kombucha. Would be cool to plan around this NEXT time!

Veggie “Sandwich” Over Greens + Orange Basil Kombucha
Now for the highlights:

  • KOMBUCHA was DELISH. I got the Orange Basil (really unique flavor, the fresh basil balanced out the citrus orange). Justin got the Cranberry Lavender (again, super delicious, a sweeter option (they do add cane sugar after the fermentation), the lavender is not overwhelming, perfect balance to the cran). Overall, the BOOCH was a 9/10. Highly recommend.
  • For food, I got the Veggie “Sandwich” (house made apple-carrot kraut, sunflower sprouts, kale pesto, dijonaise / NO bread, served on a bed of greens instead + side of sautéed greens w/ lemon & chili. This was the perfect salad to go along with the booch. And TBH, I REALLY needed a hearty, gut-friendly salad by the end of this trip. LOL.
  • Justin got the “Albondigas de Bison Torta” (mexican spiced local bison meatballs, fiery chili sauce, spicy pickled carrots, melted provolone, fresh cilantro) // he devoured this. AKA NO COMPLAINTS for him. PS it’s always a WIN in my book when I choose a healthy restaurant and he loves it. Anyone else struggle with convincing others to come try a new healthy restaurant with you?!

Address:
5700 W 25th Avenue, Edgewater, CO 80214
Monday–Friday • 11:30 am–8:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday • 11:30 am–8:00 pm
Website
Instagram Handle


True Food Kitchen: Ahhh another favorite of mine and so happy to have made it here in Denver before our flight took off on Sunday night. I first tried True Food while I was living in Palo Alto, CA. This place is the ULTIMATE healthy SIT-DOWN restaurant with a cozy, fresh atmosphere, open kitchen (love when restaurants do this = TRANSPARENCY), clean cocktails, and plenty of options for literally ANYONE.

Highlights: Justin and I split the apps and our dinners. LOVE doing this so that we can try more of the menu itemss!

  • Charred cauliflower (harissa tahini, medjool date, dill, mint, pistachio)
  • Kale Guacamole (pink grapefruit, cilantro, roasted poblano, sunflower seeds & pita chips) // both of which were AMAZING! We especially loved the flavors in the guac. I’d recommend splitting a few apps since the entrees aren’t overly filling.
  • Teriyaki Quinoa Bowl (broccoli, heirloom carrot, bok choy, mushroom, brown rice, avocado, toasted sesame) + Tofu // this was super yummy but wasn’t my favorite dish of the night. 7/10
  • Poke Bowl (wild caught albacore, avocado, quinoa rice, mushroom, snow pea, cucumber, cashew, turmeric ponzu) // we both LOVED this. Again, very light, cool, and refreshing.

Address:
2800 E. 2nd Ave, Suite 101, Denver, Colorado 80206
Mon – Fri: 11am – 10pm // Sat: 10am – 10pm // Sun: 10am – 9pm
Website
Instagram Handle

Lake between Idaho Springs + Breckenridge

Other EATS/Foodie Recommendations:

  • Amethyst Coffee // LOVED their matcha latte (homemade cashew milk). They also had turmeric lattes, seasonal lattes, chia pudding,
    etc. Decor inside was very chic. Plants, white, and crystals. // Address: 1111 Broadway #101, Denver, CO 80203
  • Stowaway Coffee & Kitchen // // REALLY cute spot, GREAT lattes (homemade cashew milk), friendly spot, menu looked DELISH though I didn’t eat there. // Address: 2528 Walnut St, Denver, CO 80205
  • Olive & Finch
  • Linger
  • Beet Box Donuts (vegan baked goods)
  • Native Foods
  • Protein Bar
  • El Five // wasn’t able to get a reservation here, but looked cool! // mediterranean style tapas, 360 views of city, cool atmosphere
  • Element Kitchen & Cocktail // cool brunch spot to watch the football games on Sunday. Not a ton of vegetarian options but I was able to get a plate with eggs, sweet potato hash, gluten-free bread, and avocado. Also was able to watch the Patriots game 🙂
  • Hedge Row – menu looks AMAZING but you NEED to make a reservation. We weren’t able to get in.
  • Senor Bear // another one we weren’t able to get to, but again, menu looks dope. Modern Latin spin on food and drinks.
  • Denver Central Market // didn’t get to check out, but diverse group of vendors. Located in RiNo neighborhood.
  • South Pearl Street Farmers Market // located on s. pearl street on Sunday’s (starts at 9am). Healthy Breakfast Food truck highlights included Ba-NOM-a-NOM (soft-served banana “nice cream”), Prosper Oats (acai bowls, overnight oatmeal, coffee), and a number of other hand-crafted & speciality food vendors. Would def recommend stopping by!
  • American Cultures Kombucha TapRoom – BOOCH and Vegan Ice cream…what’s better?!
  • Tea Bar Denver – Kombucha, lots of Tea and Coffee Options
  • Beau Jos Pizza (located in Idaho Springs. Not many food options here and splurged a bit with Pizza) I got the gluten-free crust + sauce + veggies // very delish!

Breweries: (NOTE: we didn’t make it to all of these, not even half haha but I wanted to share since they were recommendations)

Ratio Beerworks (RiNo)
  • Ratio Beerworks: 2920 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205 (LOVED this spot. Cool outdoor patio w/ lawn games)
  • First Draft – right down the street from us, RiverNorth (recommended – cool brewery where you pour your own beer + really good food)
  • New Terrain Brewing Co. – 16401 Table Mountain Pkwy, Golden, CO 80403
  • Briar Common – 2298 N Clay St, Denver, CO 80211
  • New Image Brewing – 5622 Yukon St, Arvada, CO 80002
  • 10 Barrel Brewing Company – 2620 Walnut Street Denver, Colorado 80205, Denver, CO
  • Bierstadt Lagerhaus – 2875 Blake St, Denver, CO 80205
  • Bruz Beers – 1675 W 67th Ave #100, Denver, CO 80221
  • Larimer beer hall – 2012 larimer st Denver co 80205
  • Great divide brewery – 2201 arapahoe st Denver co 80205

OTHER Highlights:

Botanical Gardens

-Spent a lot of time in the RiNo area (cool, hipster(y) neighboorhood, ~ 15/20 min walk from Coors Field area). Lots of breweries and funky bars here.
– 16 Street Mall (lots of chain stores, but good people watching)
– Visit the Botanical Gardens. We got lucky with the weather as the sun was shining and the time of year was ideal for all of the plants. So Beautiful!!
– Check out the ORIGINAL CorePower Yoga on East 13th Ave. This was the perfect place to get a quick workout in while the boys continued to drink beers all day at the Beer Fest HAHA.
– Try and catch a show at Red Rocks. We saw Big Gigantic and it far exceeded my expectations. The HYPE at Red Rocks is 110% REAL. Hands down most amazing venue I’ve ever been to. PS we stayed at an airbnb in Littleton, CO (10 mins from the venue). Highly recommend so you don’t need to worry about driving home. Also, gives you the morning to explore.
– While in Littleton, CO, I got up early and went for a beautiful trail run at South Valley Park.
South Valley Park

Overall, the trip was A LOT of fun. The weather was perfect. Would have loved to explore more, but given the circumstances (i.e. torn ACL for Justin), we weren’t able to hike. Hopefully our next trip out there we can explore more of Colorado!

PS if you have any questions on airbnbs, car rentals, locations, food/drink spots, etc. — comment below or email me directly!

XO, Cal

5 Essential Tips to a Calmer Mind

5 Essential Tips to a Calmer Mind

Happy HUMP day y’all!

For this weeks post I wanted to share with you tips I’ve been using to help calm my ever-so-racing mind! Being an adult is hard AF. The number one thing that’s been giving me a bit of anxiety lately has been around finances. Who else can relate? It’s unfortunate that money tends to be the number one culprit behind anxiety and stress for the average person. As you all know, I left my steady paycheck to pursue starting my own business. Luckily, I have no family, kids, college tuition, etc. to pay for…but that doesn’t mean I’m not covering rent, internet, gas/electric, car insurance, car payments, groceries, boston city parking tickets and tow fees (LOL) and oh just trying to have a social life as a 25-year old living in a thriving city. Yep, costs certainly add up and unfortunately, they’ve been leaving me with quite a bit of stress these days. I know I’m not alone and knew I had to share with you my personal tips that help me to calm my crazy mind. I wish I could say these would help to solve all financial issues (haha wishful thinking) BUT they certainly help to get into a right headspace, to then be able to better tackle solving those financial burdens.

1) Take a walk and listen to your favorite podcast.

I know this sounds obvious, but I promise you it’s an INSTANT mood-booster and gets your mind off of things. Find a podcast (or two) that you’re super into and commit to listening to them on walks. My podcast list is growing which leaves me with more motivation to get out the door and kill a podcast or two each day. Plus, the added vitamin D is SO crucial and hello, walking = happy endorphins!

PS – here’s a quick list of some of my fave podcasts at the moment. They’re all available on itunes and are FREE!

  • The Chasing Joy Podcast (positivity, wellness, self-love)
  • The Skinny Confidential: Him & Her Podcast (wellness, blogging/business tips, marketing your brand)
  • Actually Adultish (wellness, “adult” things for people in their 20’s and 30’s)
  • Rich Roll Podcast (wellness, entrepreneurship, spirituality, veganism, endurance training)
  • BulletProof Radio (wellness topics)
  • The Lively Show (high vibe living, law of attraction)
  • Let it Out with Katie Dalebout (wellness, positivity, self-love, entrepreneurship)
  • The Balanced Blonde: Soul on Fire (Spirituality, health & wellness)

2) Essential Oils, Diffusers, Candles, and Incense

This has been a big part of my practice lately, whether during yoga, meditation, or just hanging out at night before bed. Lavender oil can be rubbed on the back of your neck, your third eye, on the inside of your wrists, or pillow before going to sleep. The aroma of the “lavender helps to remove nervous exhaustion and restlessness, while increasing mental activity.” I love adding it to my diffuser before going to bed.

I’m also obsessed with lighting candles and incense. Incense are so cheap to purchase, you can buy various scents (including lavender if you wanted to keep up with that calming trend), they smell amazing, and instantly have a calming effect on me. I think personally, incense remind me of a yoga studio, which tends to be a calm, peaceful place that I can mindfully take myself to in the comfort of my own home.

3) Get upside down AND practice light, restorative yoga.

When in doubt, I always get upside down! Whether it’s headstand, forearmstand, handstand or just a simple, legs up the wall, inversions have been proven to have a calming effect on the mind and get the blood circulating which is KEY. If you can’t do a headstand, DON’T YOU WORRY! It’s just as effective to put your legs up the wall! Find any way to get your legs comfortably vertical. Also, peep my blog post on simple yoga moves to help relive stress and anxiety!

4) Whip up a calming beverage before bed or in the morning. It also never hurts to have a side of Cacao Vegan Chocolate 😉

There are a number of go-to concoctions I’ll whip up if I’m feeling super stressed or anxious. Most importantly, you certainly want to AVOID caffeine if you’re already feeling very uneasy. My go-to beverages include:

  • a calming tea: chamomile tea, peppermint tea, lemon balm tea, passion flower tea, rose tea
  • OR you can boil warm water, add fresh squeezed lemon, fresh ginger, and a drizzle of honey
  • CALM VITALITY – all natural anxiety relief powder that you add to warm water. Promotes healthy magnesium levels and calcium intake. You can learn more about the product here.
  • Make a healing “golden milk”. Golden milk is a medicinal drink that has been used for years in eastern medicine. Simply add 1 tsp of turmeric, a splash of cinnamon, ginger (optional), cardamon (optional), a pinch of black pepper, 1 tsp coconut butter (optional) a sweetener of your choice (maple syrup, honey, or organic vanilla extract) with 1 cup of warm coconut milk and mix well. Occasionally I’ll throw it in my nutribullet, but if I’m lazy, I just use a mini whisk! I love having this before bed. It makes me feel SO good and you get so many anti-inflammatory benefits!

And for my favorite go-to vegan chocolates?

5) MEDITATE.

I know, I know you probably hear this ALL the TIME. But, I promise you, it does help and can instantly put you in euphoria. I had been playing around with different methods of meditation, which I’ve shared below.

  • Guided meditation. There are SO many free ones on youtube. Just search “5 or 10 minute guided meditation” and find one you like.
  • Candle light mediation. Best done in the dark (Either early morning or at night). Sit upright on the floor. Stair into the candle without trying to blink as much as possible. After 5 minutes or so, close your eyes and focus internally on your third eye. You should see a colorful image of the flame still burning. Use that as your focus point. If you lose it, you can open your eyes again and refocus on the flame for another minute or so before shutting the eyes again.
  • Silent, seated meditation. This has been working the best for me lately, however, I advise you play around with timing of the day. I used to try and practice in the morning but found this just did not suit me well. I started mediating between the hours of 4-6pm which seem to work MUCH better for me. Usually at this time of day, my to-do list is out of my head and I’m actually read to just sit and be mindful. I’ll usually set my timer for 10 minutes, while sitting up right on the floor with a block under my butt (helps with comfort).

Though these work well for me, everyone is different! Play around and see what works for you. Also, if you have any ideas/or tips that aren’t posted about, please comment and share below! I love hearing what everyone else does to relieve stress and anxiety.

Creating your Own Positive Storyline

Creating your Own Positive Storyline

Happy Friday Friends!

For this weeks blog post, I wanted to talk about positivity and manifesting your own storyline. I’ll be completely straightforward with you – I’m not always the most happy, positive person, though I tend to put on a facade. And sometimes, especially over these past 2 weeks, I have a tendency to drive myself into a damaging FUNK. If you follow along with me on my instagram, you may have noticed me talk about this series of bad luck that seemed to have just hit me one after another. I cried, a lot. I felt sorry for myself. I became a victim of my own sorrows. I vented to my fiance, my friends, and my family. What did I do to deserve this? Though I was given advice and comfort from those who I emptied my feelings on, none of that seemed to make a difference for me. I had made the internal decision and suddenly believed that I was doomed for bad luck. I was the one who started reading into things and created this ridiculous connection between a series of events that honestly, were my own wrongdoing. At the end of the day, the series of bad luck that came storming at me over the past 2 weeks, could have happened to anyone. I chose to believe that it was ME and that the universe was against me. But in reality, it almost seemed easier to play the victim card and accept things as they were. I personally think I used these “events” to cover up the fact that sometimes life isn’t always easy and you have to make hard decisions that may affect your career, your routine, your habits, your personal life and so on.

So why am I bringing all of this up now? Well, I conveniently started Gabby Bernstein’s book, “The Universe has Your Back” in the midst of all of this “chaos” I was facing. How cliche am I grabbing a self-help book at a time in need? I completely understand now how SILLY my “troubles” are in comparison to the REAL struggles that most of the world is facing. I’m very well aware that I fall into the 1% of the world and I’m oh so grateful for what I have every second of the day. It’s okay to have bad days and feel sorry for yourself, but getting out of that is key. Being able to clear your head, take a step back, BREATHE, and just remember how much you have to be grateful for can go a long way. That was the first step I needed to take to pull me out of this funk. Not going to lie, I’m really bad at finishing books. I’m easily distracted by instagram and ridiculous reality tv shows like real housewives. It’s crazy to me that those take priority over a book that can become an extremely powerful tool in changing your life for the better. So, here I am, making a commitment to all of you, that I will read at least chapter a night. Luckily for me, Gabby caught my attention instantly by sharing a glimpse of her own spiritual journey right off the bat.

The first chapter resonated with me BIG time and was exactly what I needed to hear.

“Joy is our birthright. What blocks our joy is our separation from love. The way back to love begins with understanding how we disconnected in the first place…we separate from the love of the Universe by giving purpose to pain and thinking power comes from outside sources. We deny the power of love, and we save our faith for fear. We forget love altogether.”

“Our projection is our perception. You see the world that you have made, but you do not see yourself as the image-maker.”

– Gabby Bernstein, The Universe Has Your Back

Ah-ha. This all made sense. The second you start connecting a negative connotation with yourself or something in your life, the second that becomes your reality. If you truly believe you’re destined for sadness, there’s a really good chance you’ll likely find more reasons to be sad in your life. You’ll unknowingly put yourself in negative situations. However, YOU and only you, have the ability to shift this perception. You can’t just say you’re going to be happy or that you’ll become successful, you have to truly believe it. And sometimes, that can take time. The second you’re able to get a taste of what it feels like to truly believe, is the important shift that you’ve been waiting for. It comes back to the classic law of attraction. Positive people will attract positive things and vice versa. I’ve experienced this feeling on and off. I’m the type of person that has really HIGH highs and sometimes, LOW lows. I can see it first hand when I’m ultra positive and optimistic. It’s like everything seems to work in my favor. BUT the second I face one speed bump, it’s like a downward spiral. So, my focus now is trying to take EVERY negative situation and find a positive in it. I’m going to accept that I’M the only who has control over a negative situation and at the end of the day, I’M the only one who change that perception.

Saying no to the “wedding diet”

Saying no to the “wedding diet”

I’ll be honest with you, one of the first thoughts I had after booking our wedding venue for NEXT year was “alright, so I have more than a year to kick my butt into gear for the wedding day”. Was this REALLY one of the first things that came to my mind after booking the venue? Am I wrong for thinking this? Or is this a result of diet culture and the wedding industry? Sadly, I feel it’s a mix of all of the above. It’s no surprise that I’ve battled body insecurities, as most women do growing up in their teens, early 20’s…and let’s be honest, is there any age were women feel 100% beautiful? Sadly…I’m not sure?? As I’ve blogged about in the past, my own insecurities have developed over the years, beginning in high school where I was heavily influenced by social media, TV, magazines, and more, running competitively in cross-country and track & field, and of course, the continuous diet culture that we can never seem to get away from. So of course, it’s only natural that when we as woman finally have a wedding date set, it’s an immediate reaction that we must now start the countdown to getting that perfect wedding “bod”.

Ironically, I was in the middle of writing this blog post right before heading to my engagement photo session yesterday and of course, I couldn’t escape those negative thoughts developing in my head. The ones that tell you you’re not ready for a photo shoot. Your skin looks like shit. Your hair looks dry. You feel bloated in the face and belly. You don’t have the right outfit. You can’t afford to get your nails or hair done. Oh the list just goes on! Like, Calli, do you think this is a progress photo or something? Am I expecting to drop weight between todays engagement photo and my day-of wedding photos?? Personally, I think the most difficult thing for me is falling in that comparison trap. Being a blogger, I see fitness photos posted ALL the time as I scroll through instagram. On top of that, I’m now constantly scrolling through pinterest looking at wedding dresses and of course, every woman looks nearly perfect in the wedding dress.

I don’t believe this wedding diet mindset is coming from a negative place at all. I think it’s entirely innocent and we shouldn’t be ashamed in ourselves for thinking like this. Unfortunately, it’s become a somewhat major part of the wedding and fitness industry. Both industries obviously financially benefit from this, so it’s no surprise that they’re taking advantage of marketing and advertisements targeting women looking to lose weight for the big day. Again, not trying to point fingers, we’re all guilty of playing a part and creating this wedding/diet culture. For example, just look at how many articles are shared on Knot.com regarding wedding diet tips, meal plans, celebrity workouts, etc. How many fitness studios around you offer wedding packages? How about the fact that when you go to your first fitting, it’s almost 100% likely you’ll request to schedule several more in hopes of being a smaller size? How about the thousands of posts you’ll find on pinterest about wedding diet and workouts? It’s even become normalized and totally OK in conversation between friends and family. If you look around, it’s everywhere and nearly impossible to avoid? Even those who likely never struggled with weight or body issues before, are now feeling pressured to get into wedding shape.

But, for what? To look a certain way on just one day? I’ll be honest, I was totally deep in the wedding diet mindset (and still am struggling with it) until recently when I listened to an older podcast on the Healthy Maven (episode #22 with Robyn Nohling (the Real Life RD)) where they discuss this topic. It was such an “aw-ha” moment for me because I didn’t even realize I was THAT girl obsessing over how I would look on my wedding day. The sad part is, most times, we’re not doing this for ourselves. We’re doing it so we can look good in front of the 250 attendees at the wedding. Yep, you heard that right. Potentially expecting 250 people at the wedding next year. Talk about added pressure, right? Honestly, I wish I could say that my motivation behind looking good for the big day was for me. But the truth is, I want to look good for all of the 250 people attending. I’m typically not that type of person at all, but for some reason, on this particular day, I’m already concerned with what people will say about my appearance. Again, I realize this is all crazy delusional, but this is how my mind works and I’m sure I’m not alone here. We shouldn’t be concerned about looking good. We SHOULD care about FEELING good. The other point that I found really interesting that was made on this podcast, is do you really want to look back at pictures and say “wow, I wish I could get back to my wedding body some day”? Like, do I really want to kill myself all to look good on ONE day?? Is that really how I want to remember my wedding? Do I want to spend my life trying to get back to that point of likely eating minimal calories and obsessively working out? Absolutely not. I don’t think anyone wants that. I want to look back at the moment and know that it was the happiest moment of my life!

Realizing all of this was half the battle. The most challenging part is doing my best to just observe and ignore those negative thoughts that creep in. Being able to admit and just be aware that these thoughts are REAL will make being able to push them aside that much easier. Though I don’t have any major, life-changing tips here, it certainly helped listening to that podcast and reading this blog from Robyn Nohling (aka the Real Life RD). Definitely worth a read! At the end of the day, Robyn said it best, “thinness does not equal beauty. Marriage is not about the wedding. And a wedding is not about the size of your body.”

XOXO,
Cal

Lessons Learned: From the Desk to the Farmers Market

Lessons Learned: From the Desk to the Farmers Market

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” – Joseph Campbell

If you haven’t already, I’d recommend checking out my last blog post “My Journey from Corporate to Starting my Own Business” before diving into this one! The last one is truly my full story on why I left my job, how I got to launching BerryGood Bliss, and some of the challenges, fears, and successes I faced in that process. I really want to focus this blog post on the present, where I am now, and lessons learned.

The reality of starting your own business is that unless you get things handed to you on a golden platter, you truly need to start from the bottom and work your way up. It takes a hell of a lot of determination and believing in yourself and your company. I’ll be honest, going from working in a corporate setting to selling my products at local farmers markets is quite humbling. I no longer can wear nail polish on my fingernails because of working in the kitchen each and every day, to getting my hands and nails dirty while setting up and taking down my farmers market stand. I wear dirty converses, jean shorts, and a t-shirt every day. My hair is usually tied up in a messy bun. I usually smell by the end of the day (LOL). I’m running off of endless coffee, yet avoiding water since I don’t have time to run and pee during the market (also LOL). I can’t ever drive anyone in my car since it’s quite literally packed to the brim with a portable freezer, a 10×10 tent, a yeti cooler, tables, supplies, and so on. My beach weekends are now devoted to 5:30AM wakeup calls to work Saturday and Sunday markets. But guess what, I’ve never felt more fulfilled then I do now.

I’m not sharing the above to ask for sympathy or a pitty card, I simply just wanted to share the reality of the situation! This new lifestyle of mine certainly isn’t for everyone and that’s totally fine! It’s definitely not a glamorous job. It takes a lot more manual labor than you think. And honestly, had you told me this 3 years ago that future Calli would be selling popsicles at a farmers market I’d laugh in your face.

What keeps me motivated? Interacting with the customers. Learning about the people who are consuming my goods. What do they like? What don’t they like? Are they newly vegan? Have they faced health issues? Do they have a gluten allergy? Are they struggling to find healthy food that also tastes good? THIS is what keeps me motivated. Knowing that I’m positively impacting someones day, even if it’s through a simple, healthy popsicle! I LOVE that I’m able to touch every step of the process. From prep in the kitchen to selling directly to the customer. When you’re finally able to see your work appreciated by the consumers of your products, it feels as though I finally have a meaningful purpose, even if it’s through bringing simple pleasure to someones tastebuds!

“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” – Julie Andrews

I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to work these farmers markets for so many reasons. The biggest and most meaningful has been the new friends I’ve met along the way. Through all the bad s*** going on in the world right now, I still see so much hope and potential in our little community here in Boston. I’ve met the kindest, sweetest, most personable, and supportive people. Sure, I’ve gotten a few negative comments here and there, but that comes with the reality of putting yourself out there. The positive people far make up for those few negative ones here and there. It’s amazing to see how supportive people are. They truly want to see you succeed and grow. Whether it’s women supporting women, young entrepreneurs, kind elders, or super ambitious college students who are just into healthy eating – you can tell they’re sincere in their support and interactions. I love getting caught up in conversations with folks who come by my tent. THIS is what I look forward to when attending the markets. I’ve had the opportunity to share my knowledge with folks and also have received a wealth of knowledge from those who have stopped by and started up a conversation.

I’ve always been taught that networking is KEY if you want to succeed. However, it’s important to be SINCERE in your networking verse being fake and trying to hard. There’s a fine balance between give & take. If you’re networking to quickly climb to the top, but never giving back what you get, karma can and will bite you in the bum! That being said, there’s 100% a right way to network. Let’s be honest, networking is part of human nature. It’s also a win-win for the BOTH of you if you connect and have things to share/offer to one another, while still establishing a meaningful relationship. That’s truly the power of building connections. It feels good to help someone out and most likely, there’s a future point in your life where that person will have the ability to then help you out in ways that you least expect. It’s especially important while building a brand and your own business to make these connections, show sincere interest, maintain relationships, learn & grown from one another, and ensure you’re portraying a positive reputation.

“The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.” – Arthur C. Clarke

My overall goal from attending these markets this summer was to establish myself as a legitimate company in the Boston area, build my brand, meet and connect with a diverse group of people, and hopefully establish relationships with other small store/market owners. I’d love to be able to continue doing a few small winter markets to maintain the connection with the community, work with various companies and fitness studios to host events, while also stocking my pops & energy superfood balls in local speciality stores. Although these goals may seem ambitious to some, I just continue to believe in myself and what I’m representing. Sure, plenty moments of doubt seep in nearly everyday, but I do my best to ignore them and focus on the future.

So in summary, here are a few lessons learned from this summer so far in launching my business:

1. Be Open Minded & remain humble.
2. You need to start from the bottom & work the grind.
3. Assess EVERY opportunity. Don’t shut anything down right away.
4. Don’t beat yourself up if someone gives you negative feedback. See how you can use that feedback to only improve.
5. Reach out! Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
6. BELIEVE in what you’re doing. If you are truly passionate about your product/company, people will instantly be drawn in. Positivity is contagious.
7. You need to be put in money, to make money.
8. CONNECT. NETWORK. BE KIND. PERSONABLE. This will go a long way.
9. Social Media is your friend (and also FREE marketing).
10. Interact directly with your consumer. Learn from them and adjust accordingly.

XO,
Cal

My Journey from Corporate to Starting my Own Business…

My Journey from Corporate to Starting my Own Business…

Hi there!

First off, I want to apologize for my summer hiatus from writing. Though I have not been active on the blog, I’ve been keeping up with my instagram daily as it’s all I’ve had the capacity for! To be honest, my creative juices have been exhausted through instagram posts and cooking, yoga, and…well, my new business I started back in May. Yep, you heard it here first! I’m finally ready to share my latest endeavors, from leaving my job back in November, to starting my own food business. It’s been quite an interesting journey and until now, I haven’t felt ready to share it with you all. If I’m being completely honest, I kept a lot of what I was doing on the down-low, even to close friends and family. Why? Mostly out of the fear of failure.

Failure is a scary thing. Especially when you spontaneously take the leap of faith and leave your stable income and structured 8-5 desk job. It’s one thing to say you’re going to do something. But it’s even scarier to actually take action on that and make an idea come to life. Myself and those close to me had doubts, and for good reason! I was about to enter into a world of the unknown. Who am I to declare myself an entrepreneur in the food business? I’ve had 0 experience with any of the above. So, what was the biggest motivating factor knowing that so much could go wrong with this dream? Living with Regret. The fear of living my entire life in regret vs. the fear of losing 1-2 years of my young 20’s as a Sr. HR Generalist greatly outweighed the latter. So here’s my story on the WHY, the HOW, and WHERE I am now in the midst of this crazy new chapter of my life…

The WHY.

To keep this story from becoming a short novel, I’ll try and break things down as easily as possible. I was working as an Human Resources Business Partner at one of the largest information technology companies. I started as an intern there, quickly fell in love with the company, the people, and my opportunity to grow and progress as an individual. My transformation from an intern to where I was just just 10 months ago never seizes to surprise me. I worked with fearless and empowering females, who quickly became role models and mentors in my life. This company shaped me and equipped me with the interpersonal tools, business mindset, and confidence I now have today. Like most companies in the technology industry these days, we were bought out by yet another large tech company. It was at this point when my role changed and I had to take a step back to assess my future with this company. The same excitement I used to have waking up in the morning and coming into work was lost. I began to evaluate my current situation. Was having a stable desk job and salary worth my happiness? It sounds like an easy answer, but there’s more to it. There’s risk. There’s doubt. There’s fear of walking away from something that became “comfortable” to me. Where was I going to go next? What would I do? Will I be happy in yet another desk job?

It seemed as though all of this came at a right time in my life. I like to look at situations like this as a sign from the universe (as hippy-dippy as this may sound, I firmly believe it). Our company being bought out was truly the extra push I needed as part of this self-realization I was experiencing. It all seemed to come at the right time. I began to turn what was initially an extremely negative situation into something that could open up so many new possibilities for me. I thought to myself, this is the perfect time in my life to truly follow my passions, which have always been in the health and wellness world. At the time, I didn’t exactly know what I would do next. Obviously there were some important questions I had to address, the biggest being can I financially support going off and starting my own business? After some serious conversations, a lot of break-downs and crying on the phone to my mom, dad, and fiancé about how un-happy I was, and a little bit of soul searching, I had a plan (well, to some my plan was just a vision, but to me, it made sense, in it’s weird, fractured way).

The HOW.

My “plan” certainly didn’t make sense to some, but to me, it all seemed to fit together like a puzzle. My last day at my company was on November 30th, 2016. On that same day, I took off on my travels to Mallorca, Spain for my 17-day intensive 200HR yoga teacher training. Before you ask, yes, this was ALL part of the plan. Yoga teacher training somehow all aligned with where I wanted to go next. I knew I wanted to do something for MYSELF, mostly to clear my head, detach from reality for a bit, and like most who set off on this journey, I had hopes that in the midst of this training, I would realize what I was meant to do. Though I didn’t come out of the training with a clear vision on where the next 10 years would bring me (wishful thinking LOL), I did come out of this with a greater sense of self-realization, which ultimately, is what yoga is about. Union, bliss, oneness. You can read more about my yoga teacher training journey on my post, here. Before I move on, one thing that surprised me most was that on the first day of our arrival, as we went around a circle and introduced ourselves, I was extremely relieved (and pleasantly surprised) to hear that a number of us had literally just left our jobs. I thought to myself, GREAT! I’m not the only crazy one here! Not that I needed any kind of confirmation…but this certainly helped to ease my mind. We were all here for a purpose.

Okay so here’s the quick & dirty on how a few emotional phone calls with friends and family turned from an idea to a reality. You may remember a few years ago, I was temporarily living in California for work. It was there where I fell in LOVE with acai bowls. Now keep in mind, a few years ago, acai bowls were not a “thing” here in Boston. The only time prior to my experience there of indulging in an acai bowl was on a family vaca in Hawaii (go figure)! I was even more surprised by how popular acai bowls were, when I eventually made my way to San Diego. You’d get lucky finding a cafe on every corner! It was HEAVEN there. Why did I fall in love with these deliciously hearty bowls? They brought me BLISS.

I finished feeling so happy, energetic, satisfied, and full of life. You can bet I had acai bowls up until my last few days in CA. It was a sad day when I moved back to the outskirts of Boston and the only “smoothie” options were Smoothie King or Jamba Juice (no offense to either, but not exactly my idea of a nutritious smoothie). So, from that point, I started making my own acai bowls. I got my fiancé, Justin hooked. I got friends and family members hooked. Slowly but surely, I noticed health food cafes in Boston pop up and begin to serve acai bowls. However, the one thing I struggled most with at these places, was that they were loading them with unneccesary sugars. From the generic sugary granola, to already sweetened acai, to heaping spoonfuls of skippys peanut butter. This wasn’t what acai bowls were, nor were these the bowls that gave me oh so much life back in California.

I went back and forth with wanting to open my own cafe, but was then lured back into the idea of beginning with a food product first. Through a lot of brainstorming with friends and family, the acai pop came to life! This popsicle had the potential to solve a few of the problems I noticed with the food industry. For one, I wanted to created a pop that wasn’t loaded with sugar. A lot of the frozen treats you see at the stores, even Whole Foods for example, are packed with refined sugars and other unknown ingredients. I also struggle with pops that read “90 calories” on the front, yet there’s nothing nutritiously satisfying in the ingredients. In addition to the nutrition factor, I also wanted to put an alternative breakfast, snack, or dessert option out there for those who are on-the-go. These days, we are all moving so quickly, with little to no time to sit and eat proper meals. Now, I don’t think this is IDEAL, but it is reality. My goal was to put something out there that could be eaten conveniently and also satisfy your hunger through hearty, REAL, CLEAN, ingredients.

WHERE I AM NOW

Fast forward to January, 2017, BerryGood Bliss LLC became official. I had taken the first step needed to creating my own company. I wish I could say starting your own company is as easy as that first step, but I’d be lying! There is so much more to it than I even realized. Of course, I reached out to a ton of different friends, family members, and mentors to get advice from those who had maybe done something similar or who had knowledge in this area. This was absolutely a critical step for me. For anyone considering starting their own business, it’s so important to leverage your connections and reach out. Putting yourself out there can be scary, but it’s so worth it, and for the most part, the people you contact, usually really want to help you and see you succeed. During those winter months, I gathered research, recipe tested, got my logo, found a commercial kitchen, applied for food permits from the city, applied to farmers markets, got my servsafe certificate, designed my tent layout and purchased necessary equipment, built out my website and other social media sources, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch of things! At the end of the day, I had to accept that things weren’t going to be perfect right off the bat and I really just had to jump into things and improve as I go.

I will say none of the above came easy. I faced a lot of obstacles, the biggest being finding a commercial kitchen in Boston and then acquiring the necessary permits. This process at times drove me absolutely crazy, heightened my anxiety and certainly led me to have a number of breakdowns. But, through some miracle, it all worked out. Through all of these challenges, I did my best to continue manifesting my own outcome through positive thinking, determination, and trying to balance out the high’s and low’s as the came. I had my very first farmers market in June and have been selling my goods locally throughout the summer at various farmers markets.

Since this has turned out to be quite lengthy (I had a feeling this would happen), I will end here and then pick up where I left off sometime in the next week or two to share how things have been going this summer, challenges faced, successes, and next steps/my plan for the fall when things come to an end with the summer markets.

I’m so excited to have finally shared this with all of you! My true hope is that you read this and leave inspired. Perhaps there’s a passion of yours that you’ve always wanted to pursue but have been afraid to take that next step. I can ABSOLUTELY relate to that and would love to be able to connect and chat further if that’s something you’re interested in. It’s so important to support and help one another out. Feel free to email me at calli@berrygoodbliss.com or send me a DM on instagram!

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