Tag: lifestyle blog

A look back at 2017 & What my #1 GOAL is for the New Year

A look back at 2017 & What my #1 GOAL is for the New Year

Hi guys! Apologies for the blog hiatus. Since the holidays, I’ve had trouble feeling a bit creative, which in turn means no exciting blog posts for ya! Though I consider myself to be a creative person, there are times when other things take priority and I just don’t feel inspired or motivated. Creativity is definitely an ebb and flow kind of thing for me. Some days I feel SO inspired, excited, and passionate and on other days, it’s just blah. But, hey, that’s life! Not every day is going to be perfect and that’s OK ☺

Anyway, I hope you all had a fabulous holiday break and had time to hang with friends and family. I know it was non-stop for me all break, so I definitely needed to hit the refresh button as soon as I got back into my daily routine. That being said…I am SO EXCITED for what 2018 has in store for me. For one, Justin and I are getting married (EEKK) on August 25th, 2018 – so I’d say that’s a pretty MAJOR thing to be amped about for 2018. But on top of that, I have so many exciting trips, friend reunions, and a CRAZY cool honeymoon that we’re in the middle of planning to Southeast Asia!

I have a gut feeling that 2018 is going to be a GREAT year. I’ll be honest, 2017 was an interesting year for me – a lot of change & was on a mission to find what excites me and “sets my soul on fire”. This certainly came with its challenges and I sure as hell hit a few low points. All that said, I’m so grateful for my experiences because I gained a wealth of new knowledge (and new friends)! Reflecting back on 2017, I think one big thing that was missing for me since graduating college nearly 5 years ago was continuing my path to grow, learn more, and fill a void. Granted I was learning new things at work…but they weren’t all in line with my passions. I have an itch to learn more and challenge myself, but in the world of health and wellness, because that has always been where my curiosity resigns.  So what’s my point in all of this? NEVER STOP LEARNING. I’m carrying this lust to learn over into 2018 and I challenge you to join me! Find something that excites you, maybe completely different than what your 8-5 looks like, and go after it.

It can be ANYTHING and it doesn’t always have to cost a lot of money or in some cases, it may be FREE. Here are some ideas on how I plan to either continue challenging myself or some things that are future goals (either for this year or 2019, 2020, and so on)…

  1. I would have to say that pursuing my 200HR yoga teacher training was one of my favorites. I had a fairly good, at-home practice going before I completed my intensive training, but it was more so for the physical benefits. At the time, I didn’t look at yoga as a spiritual or mental journey – it was purely a form of exercise, toning, and stretching for me. That being said, I was ready for a drastic change in my life and on the whim, applied to a 200HR intensive training in Mallorca, Spain. This was the BEST decision. I intuitively felt a want to get in touch with myself and a more spiritual practice…and this was the answer. Oh and PS you don’t need to be a yoga pro to complete your 200HR. Nor do you need to necessarily have the intention to go out and teach after your training. These are both common misconceptions about 200HR yoga teacher training. There is SO much more value that you get out of this magical journey. Learn more on my experience with my post from last year!
  2. Piggy backing off the above, I’m now in the middle (and nearing the end) of my training for CorePower Yoga Sculpt. I haven’t found a community I love as much as what I have at CPY. I also fell in love immediately with their sculpt class. I loved the high energy, the fun music, the strength training aspect, the heat, etc. I still have my at-home yoga practice, but I love switching it up with CPY sculpt classes. I also love that you can always pop into any class, whether it be sculpt or yoga, at any time of day and with so many options for locations in the city! Anyway, just like 200HR yoga training, ANYONE can sign up for the CPY sculpt training. And I’ll be honest; this style of teaching is way more challenging than what you may think from just attending a class. Don’t get me wrong, my 200HR yoga training was extremely challenging, but CPY sculpt training brings its new challenges – power of voice, music & beat matching to exercises, weight & strength training, having the whole class flow seamlessly, and of course making it both challenging and fun at the same time. Anyway, as you can tell, I have an appetite for fitness and sharing that with others in the community! This is my form of challenging myself and continuing my journey to learn more and get out of my comfort zone!
  3. Reading! Oh gosh there is so much I can say hear. In the past year, I’ve gotten WAY more into spirituality and self-care in so many forms. Learning more about yoga, meditation, forms of mindfulness, crystals, scents, oils, holistic self-care tricks, astrology, food freedom, manifestation, and oh the list could go on. There are SO MANY FREE resources online. Well & Good , Mind, Body, Green, and Chalkboard are always a few of my favorite go-to’s for catching up on the latest wellness trends. Then from there, I’ll usually go into a deeper dive on the topic elsewhere. I like that both sites “dumb” it down in a sense…aka making it relatable to a large audience. In addition to online resources, there are so many cool books out there, some of my faves being Gabby Bernstein and Kelly Leveque’s book.
  4. Listening! What do I mean by this? Podcasts. There is SO much to learn from a simple 1.5 hour episode…you just need to be listening to the right interview. I can’t even tell you how much knowledge I’ve gained from various podcasts I’ve listened to. I also have some of my fave podcast go-to’s and find it so exciting when I learn about a topic that I’ve never even heard about before, mostly because I trust the interviewer and their interviewee choices! The best part? There is literally a podcast out there for EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. Seriously!! Any topic you’re interested in learning more about…there’s likely a podcast for it.
  5. Watch! Justin and I are serial documentary viewers. I LOVE them. I’ll be honest, it’s really hard for me to get through movies (I swear my attention span lasts for all of 30 minutes during any movie). But for some reason, documentaries are the ONLY ones that can hold my attention from start to end. There are so many interesting docs on netflix that are health & wellness focused. Additionally, I’ve been really into more life sciences, UFO’s (haha don’t judge me), nature, the universe, etc.! Also, another great resource for health & wellness focused documentaries is FoodMatters TV. You can subscribe for an online subscription and get so many free resources including documentaries, meditations, yoga pratices, guided courses, recipes, interviews, and more!
  6. Attending a workshop and/or conference. Another great way to learn is putting yourself out there and attending a local workshop or even a larger-scale conference. There’s so much value in attending things in person and meeting/interacting with like-minded people. I’m always scrolling through Eventbrite.com in the Boston area to see what events are going on locally – it’s a great resource for any city!
  7. Take an online course! In the next year or two, I plan on signing up for the integrative nutrition course or another course that is primarily focused on functional and/or holistic nutrition. This has ALWAYS been something I’ve wanted to do, just need to carve out the time. Seeing as 2018 is a busy year for me, I’m thinking I’ll tackle this one in 2019! But I wanted to share and keep it on the radar. Other online resources that I love is from FoodMattersTV and Mind, Body, Green!

Those are some of my pro tips on how you can continue to keep challenging yourself in the new year and never stop learning! Would love to hear any of your suggestions in the comments!

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!

A Long-Winded Note on –  Ending Anxiety around the Holidays, My Relationship with Food & Fitness, and Finding Acceptance

A Long-Winded Note on – Ending Anxiety around the Holidays, My Relationship with Food & Fitness, and Finding Acceptance

I don’t know about you, but family holidays always seem to spark my anxiety around food, which if you think about it, this seems counterintuitive to the point of Thanksgiving in the first place.  I can’t pinpoint exactly when and where this anxiety around food during the holidays started, but if I had to guess, I’d say back in high school during my, where we were just beginning to be introduced to social media and the “diet culture”.  Leading up to and following the holidays, you’d see “shedding for the holidays”, or “stay skinny this thanksgiving”, or “how to shed 10 pounds before and after the holidays”. It’s everywhere and nearly impossible to avoid. It’s no wonder high-schoolers’ (and probably even middle schoolers’) get roped into this mindset so early. They’re still young, impressionable, and heavily influenced by social media. I’m sure I’m not alone here, regardless of whether you’ve had an on and off relationship with food. This frame of thinking is basically engraved into everyone at one point or another.

Each year, I make it an effort to enjoy the time with my family and be PRESENT rather than feeling overwhelmed by thoughts around food, working out, looking good in my holiday outfit, and so on. Some years are successful and some years I find myself still consumed by these thoughts. The difference between past years and now is that I’m in a much better place mentally. Being a food blogger, it’s easy to feel consumed by food all the time. Constantly thinking about your next meal whether it’s for lunch that day or what you’ll be eating for breakfast on the weekend. Finding that balance between feeling controlled by food vs. just cooking and photographing out of pure joy/passion can be difficult, but it IS possible. I think the biggest challenge for me was eating to feel satiated. As I’ve discussed in the past, I’ve tried so many different diet and health-food trends, hoping that one would be the right fit for me. Unfortunately, none of them left me feeling satisfied and only had me craving more since I wasn’t getting the RIGHT food and nourishment for what my body needed.

I’d try to mimic the pretty food I saw on Instagram, which sometimes meant giant smoothie bowls loaded with fruit, almond butter, and granola. Sure, this tasted REALLY good and it was super filling at the time (I still think it should be enjoyed every now and then, the difference being that I’m now AWARE of how these ingredients will affect my cravings. I can still make a smoothie bowl, but the ingredients I choose to use may be different than what I would throw in, in the past). But was it really giving me the proper nutrition that I needed? Even after starting my morning with giant smoothie bowls, I couldn’t stop eating at night. None of it made sense to me. It wasn’t until recently where I started to really think about each plate at every meal. Was I getting proper protein, healthy fats, veggies, superfoods, fiber, etc? How much FRUIT (and additional sugar) was I consuming throughout the day? Was I eating enough calories? Did I need to adjust based on my workouts?

What I found was that a) I was running A LOT. Being a runner my whole life, I was used to logging a lot of miles and I “used” to be able to eat a lot of food to replenish. However, just like anything else that you do day in and day out, it can get mundane and your body starts to adapt. And b) though I was running anywhere from 5-8 miles about 4-5 times a week, I wasn’t burning as many calories as I used to. Yet I came home STARVING all the time and would likely overeat because that’s what I thought my hunger signs were telling me.

Fast forward to January 2017, post 200hr yoga teacher training. After 17 intensive days of pure yoga and little to no running, my body changed, but in a good way. I hadn’t seen results like this in SO LONG. I LOVED yoga and sadly, running became something I started to resent because it usually meant me hammering miles (and breaking down my body) to make up for all of the food I would consume. It became a vicious cycle and this small realization opened up a new way of looking at fitness. At the end of the day, I think that running is still a great way of getting some cardio in, but I’m not as tied to it as I used to be. Honestly, I probably run 1x a week now, if that. I’ve finally found a workout routine that makes me feel amazing, challenges my body (and mind), and the best part, I actually LOOK FORWARD to it! I share this bit because I feel for me, my relationship to fitness and food go hand-in-hand. The second I started to embrace working out as something that made me feel good, instead of looking at it as a way to punish my body, more positive thoughts around food started to fall in place.

I started craving foods that would truly nourish my body. I started understanding the science behind food & fitness. I became interested in the research. I invested time into listening to podcasts and reading; anything from body positivity, to spirituality, to nutritionists that covered everything from paleo, to plant-based, to keto, to grain-free / gluten-free, and everything in between. I started looking at everything with an open mind, ditched the “food labels”, and began to understand how different lifestyles worked for different people. I found it significantly helpful to understand the science & research behind all of these “health trends” so that I could pull bits of each to find what works well for me. It’s funny too because I’ve always been into following different health trends out there, but what happened, was that I would get too consumed by that particular one and closed off to the idea that maybe that lifestyle wasn’t the best for ME, even though it appeared that so and so on Instagram seemed to be incredibly happy following that lifestyle. 

My point to all of this is that this whole “wellness” thing is a journey. It’s trial and error. It’s accepting that we’re ALL different and have different needs. It means being open minded and accepting that health trends come and go for a reason. At the end of the day, it always seems to come back to eating wholesome, unprocessed food and finding a healthy, balanced workout routine that makes you feel good from the inside, out. Though I’ve found a more “balanced” way of living, this doesn’t mean that I’m throwing all concepts of healthy eating out the door when it comes to the holidays. If I REALLY want that dessert full of butter, I’ll eat it. BUT, I know that after I go for that, my body feels like shit. And I truly hate feeling like SHIT. This is the same reason why I choose to rarely drink alcohol. It makes me feel awful and for me, it’s not worth getting drunk to feel like crap the entire next day. Personally, it comes down to this: do I REALLY want that dessert or is it knowing that I’m allowing myself the option to grab it, that makes me deny it all together?

Here’s the other thing. I feel JUST as satisfied making my own dessert that I know tastes just as good, if not better, and is full of real ingredients and no refined sugars. Sometimes I get asked the question, “do you REALLY think that healthy dessert of yours tastes just as good as this store-bought cheesecake?” and my answer is always yes. This type of question used to drive me crazy. Why can’t others just accept that I actually enjoy healthy food? At the end of the day, you’re not going to please everyone. You need to do what makes you feel good. I still have balance and a healthy relationship with food, even if I still choose to go for my healthier dessert option. The difference in all of this is where my head and mental state is at. I can honestly say I’m truly in a better place. Not every day is perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than where it used to be. It’s all about progress, not perfection!

I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving!

I’m absolutely so grateful for all of you!

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