How to Make “Me” Time

I spent part of my evening today with the music turned up and dancing in the kitchen all by myself…and I was loving it. Last Friday, I enjoyed sipping a beer while watching everyone else buzz around me…I look forward to my time curled up on my bed with my laptop before I hit the sack every night…

Solitude: noun –

the state of being or living alone; seclusion

Some identify solitude as a lonely state but I find it a peaceful state. I’ve learned to enjoy my “me” time quite much. It gives me time to reflect, it gives me time to observe, and it gives me a place to remove all the screens that I put up to the world. Having solitude, ‘alone time’ or ‘me time’ is critical to living a well-balanced life and to a good self-care routine. For both introverts and extroverts (and ambiverts), it is a time to recharge and to reflect, and to relax. There was a time that I had a hard time finding time for my solitude. My schedule was so busy and not living alone can also make it a challenge but I found myself starving for it, craving that down time. It was a challenge I needed to find a solution to.

  1. Evaluate how you are currently spending your time. Take a look at your schedule. Do you spend time doing tasks that aren’t necessary or can be eliminated? What can you take out so that you have more open time?
  2. Schedule some alone time in your planner. Block off a little time just for you. Get up early before everyone else and claim that quiet time as yours, or set aside some time in the evening, whatever works for your schedule, plan on at least an hour to spend by yourself every few days.
  3. Make a list of things you can do alone. – reading, taking a bubble bath, coloring or painting, journaling…even just curling up and scanning Pinterest…whatever strikes your fancy!
  4. Get outside. Nature holds so much beauty and strength. It is a perfect place to find peace and solitude. Take a walk or go for a hike in the woods or take a solo bike ride along the river trail.
  5. Set boundaries. Say no. Don’t be afraid to turn down an invite if you’re cozied up for some down time. This takes a little practice but get into the habit of not overbooking your schedule. Allow time for you to just have chill time. Don’t feel guilty for turning down social activities to have some alone time.

 

Why I’m Enjoying Being Single Right Now

Last night I stopped by a local brewery and grabbed a beer.  It was a last minute decision after running to the store. This was a solo stop and I almost didn’t do it. I almost let fear and society stigma stop me from doing it. But I pushed myself, it was something I wanted to do and I was going to do it. I had to conquer the thoughts of if it was acceptable or not for me being a woman and being alone. I had to push out the face that there was the possibility I could feel lonely there among all the other people. I was totally the solo girl in the corner with her beer and fries (yeah I went all out and went for the fries), face tucked in my phone…but I was happy. I was happy being solo there watching everyone buzz around me. I’m coming along nicely in really starting to enjoy being single. It’s been awhile since I’ve truly been single…meaning I’m not even really thinking about finding a relationship right now. Sure I have some moments where I think it’d be nice to have a partner but it’s a different thought process. Heck, I can even give a you a little laundry list of why it’s better being single. I’ve always thought I had been pretty independent. I’ve always been able to handle things on my own but I’m not sure I even truly enjoyed doing things on my own before now. I truly enjoyed being alone last night. This isn’t saying I’m going to become one of those hard-knock girls that will never need a man (or will I? just kidding!) but it’s saying I am okay and I am happy on my own. I know my worth, I know what I want and I’m not willing to settle just to be in a couple. I’m okay waiting for the right one. Some of my friends are concerned I’m becoming disinterested…maybe I am a little but not out of defeat or negativity. I have other things going on, other things I’m really focused on right now and actively seeking out a relationship seems like an unnecessary distraction for me right now. Okay, there I may have sounded like that hard-knock, super independent gal but so what, it’s real. Being in a relationship is a distraction, not negative always, but still a distraction. It’s something else to tend to and when it’s right it’s totally worth it but right now I don’t have that in front of me and I’m trusting that the Universe (or I will) decide when it’s right to go after it again. I don’t want to go after dating because I’m bored, or I’m lonely, or because it’s what society implies I should do. I want to go after it because it’s what I truly want and what I feel is right for me in that moment of time. Right now, overall I’m happy being single. I’m good y’all. 

There’s simple, trivial pleasures of being single and then there’s big perks that are pushing me to develop myself more and grow more as an individual.

  • I can focus on me and just me.
  • I don’t have to balance my time and schedule with someone else’s.
  • I don’t have to worry about cordials as much.
  • I don’t have to share the bed (except with my dog…she’s a bit of a bed hog lol).
  • I can spend more time working towards my goals and dreams.
  • I don’t have to shave my legs if I don’t feel like it.
  • I didn’t have to buy anything for Valentine’s Day.
  • I can work late and not have to worry about missing dinner.
  • I can ignore my phone for an evening.
  • I can focus on me and just me…this is a big one for me. I am naturally a caretaker so taking that task out of the scenario has forced me to put myself front and center and take care of myself more and not so much others.

I’m not saying I never want to be in a relationship again, because I do, I do dream of a happy and healthy relationship and I foresee that in my future. But right now I’m very “me” focused and I’m enjoying it. I’m rolling with it. I’m focusing on what’s in front of me and my goals. And the next time I am in a relationship, I’ll be a better me in it, a better part of the relationship.

5 Positive Ways to Address World Challenges

I can’t believe we’re already on Day 16 of #LoveBlog2018! Usually I’d be the one saying even though February is the shortest month of the year it feels like the longest but this year it seems to be moving right along. There have been so many fantastic posts from the hosts this year (last year was amazing also!) and I’m still so excited to be part of such a great series. You can check out all the prompts for this year at bellebrita.com. Make sure to swing by and enter to win this week’s giveaway too! One lucky winner will receive a custom illustration from Coffee and Maps, plus the item of their choice from the Coffee and Maps online store. The giveaway starts February 15th and ends on February 21st. US residents only. Learn more on Rafflecopter. Brita Long of Belle Brita will verify the winning entry before emailing the winner during the fourth week of February. If the winner doesn’t respond, she will start the process over again. Good luck!

Today’s prompt is ‘Challenges’. I have so many thoughts around this prompt that I struggled a little getting my thoughts organized and deciding which way I wanted to go with today’s post. With everything that is going on in our world today, we are faced with challenges, both big and small, on a daily basis. Initially I was going to share my thoughts about challenges in the office, about how the workload can be overwhelming or about the struggles of working with different personalities but when I sat down at the kitchen table to have dinner with my mom, the news was on and they were reporting about that awful shooting in Florida. Then my mother and I ended up in a discussion about the opioid crisis. As a society we have many world challenges. As individuals we have personal challenges, both within ourselves and from external circumstances. There is so much going on, how do we navigate through it all? I found myself in thought about the issues I feel passionate about and the ones I feel an urge to drive advocacy about – mental health, breaking the opioid cycle, minimizing the negativity and anger that’s in our world today…there’s a lot that can easily fill up my mind. I spent much of the evening working through the thoughts that flew around in my head. Although there are special exceptions in any issue, I found all of my thoughts ending at “if we (as a society) took better full care of ourselves” we could make more headway, more improvement towards these issues. Things we’ve gotten away from like managing our pain, managing our emotions, our grief, our stress – not taking care of ourselves in a full, rounded way. So many times we try to mask symptoms or discomfort with medicines instead of truly working through them (again please note, there are exceptions – clinical depression and mental illnesses are real and should be treated properly, I’ll get onto my thoughts of that a little bit down the road here). I believe as a whole we have less pain tolerance (both physically and emotionally) so we feel the need to medicate instead of being able to breathe through it or in a term I don’t necessarily love, “suck it up”. How do we reform this? We (we being wellness advocates, bloggers, and all of the included) keep pushing through, we keep researching, we keep making strides back to natural health. We keep talking about self-care, we keep promoting positivity and motivational quotes. We keep trying. We keep sharing our stories, we keep giving all we have to inspire others.

Now onto my second thought – mental health and wellness…we need to be addressing this more, we need to keep speaking up about it. There are still too many people out there not getting the help they need. There are people living their whole lives with depression and feeling as if they can’t tell anyone, can’t reach out to who they need to, barring them from getting the help they need. There is absolutely no need to ever be ashamed of how you are feeling, whether it’s anger you are struggling to let go, or clinical depression, or anything above, below or between. We need to create more places people can feel safe in their lives. We can’t wait until it’s too late to open our eyes to it. Maybe this one is personal for me. I have many outlooks on it. I have the “we can’t help them until they are ready to help themselves” outlook and also the we better be damn well available for when they are ready  and I have the we need to be recognizing the signs more so we as a society build better systems and help our community. I hear so much about gun control, and though I do think there are some things that can be done there, I am not against guns. I am a big advocate of the thought that we can’t address gun control without addressing mental illnesses. I spent my time eating my dinner listening the news of how this kid (18 years old so I guess technically that makes him a young man) noticeably had mental issues yet was able to own a gun. I have a problem with that. Guns don’t kill people, people use them as a tool to kill people. I was raised as a military child so I can’t consciously admit that I’m against guns nor am I against myself owning a gun (I don’t own one but maybe I would) and I will admit that I would shoot to protect myself and my family but I wouldn’t shoot to kill. I know that I wasn’t in every one of those situations so I can only speak in speculation but it’s heartbreaking watching these things happen in our world. We need to break the cycle of violence. We need to advocate for mental illness. We need to promote wellness in all areas. We all deserve to be well in mind, body, heart and soul. 

So as an individual how do we help address these challenges?

  1. We stay positive and hopeful. Without hope we are lost. The world needs hope. We need to be able to see that things can get better. This motivates us to make positive changes.
  2. We stay respectful in our advocacy, our comments, our chants. When preaching for your cause it’s important to not create more anger and hate. We don’t fight fire with fire. You can disagree with someone’s opinion or comment without throwing them down and stomping on them. The world needs positive change. There are many perspectives of a challenge. It doesn’t make it not a challenge. It means that we are seeing it differently. I find it frustrating that we spend more time arguing about the problem than actually working on finding solutions and healthy compromises…this goes for world challenges and personal challenges. I am absolutely exhausted of seeing the hateful posts on social media and the road rage and the anger and negativity. 
  3. We educate ourselves. I have many personal opinions about how I feel about situations but if I really want to work towards making changes (in any situation) I have to learn about them more, from both sides.
  4. We stay passionate. Let your passion drive you (not to the point of crazy though – passion is not defacing property or throwing things at people in protest). Use your passion to not give up. If one letter didn’t work, send more. Build plans, suggest solutions, show people you care in positive ways.
  5. We find people that share our concerns. Again, this is one of those, I’m not saying go join an extremist group. But build a group of those that also want to advocate and fight for your cause (fight meaning positive ways of protest). Raise money to help improve a shelter if your cause is getting homeless of the street. Get a group of folks together to write letters to send to politicians about saving endangered animals. Link up with wellness bloggers to help get the word about healthy living out. Whatever it may be, numbers and collaboration make a difference.

If we all give a little then we can create a lot of change. We need to be united to address world challenges…but also keep in mind it all starts with the person we look at in the mirror every day.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi

Meet Your Hosts

Brita from bellabrita.comBrita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. While her first love will always be Paris, she lives happily with her husband Daniel Fleck in the Atlanta area.

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Pamela from thecoastiecouple.com. Pam is one half of The Coastie Couple. She is a teacher turned blogger that shares her family’s adventures and recipes on the blog. She currently lives in Michigan with her husband, baby boy, and two dogs. You can often find her exploring the local area to find hidden gems to share on the blog. She enjoys travel, wine, writing, and playtime.

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Laura from dofivethingsaday.com. Laura is a big dreamer, full time marketing manager, blogger, and part-time artist. She aspires to inspire people in their everyday lives and help them to live towards their dreams and making the most out of every day by sharing her own experiences and stories.

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Why Horseradish is a Powerful Remedy & Healthy Condiment

So I’m sitting at the kitchen table snacking on some pretzel sticks and a new delicious dip I picked up yesterday while out running errands with my Ma, an Onion Horseradish Dip. It wasn’t spicy to taste but after a few bites I noticed my sinuses started to get a burning sensation. I thought geez, this would be a perfect thing to have around if I’ve caught myself a cold and was a bit stuffy, should clear me right up! I started thinking how else can and does horseradish benefit our health, what other remedies could this food serve? It’s funny how our thought processes can come about isn’t it?

My love for root vegetables continues to grow and I’m excited to be adding this one to my list as well.

My curiosity led me to discover that horseradish has been used for many years in old traditional folk medicine to treat several ailments. Among being used to treat respiratory illnesses and sinus congestion, it was once also used as a topical application to treat inflammation and help ease pain. What we typically think as just a tangy or spicy condiment can actually be a wonderful addition to our diets to add some healthy boosts to our systems. 

  1. It boosts immunity. There are two main reasons this helps improve our immunity systems – Horseradish is a cruciferous vegetable which are known for containing glucosinolates. These help prevent cancer and help fight off illness and disease. Horseradish root also contains allyl isothiocyanate (mustard oil) which has shown to have anti-microbial and anti-bacterial capabilities also helping to fight off infection.
  2. It is high in antioxidants.
  3. Horseradish contains enzymes that stimulate digestion and it helps regulate bowel movements. This is beneficial in an overall healthy digestive system.
  4. It is high in fiber and protein which helps you stay fuller and it has been shown to boost metabolism.
  5. Horseradish contains potassium which aids in lowering blood pressure.
  6. It is a natural diuretic.
  7. The scent of horseradish has shown to increase awareness and focus, making it wonderful for improving concentration.

 

* Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a medical professional. These are healthy suggestions based solely on personal experiences, personal opinions, and light research.

The Marvelous Things I Do Every Sunday

Sundays are my favorite day of the week! Maybe it’s because I’m a power planner and I look forward to prepping for the week ahead. Or maybe it’s because I always squeeze a little lazy time into my Sundays to chill and refresh for the busy week I know is coming. Or maybe there’s just something sanctimonious about a Sunday to me. I think it’s a little bit of all of the above. Sundays always feel a bit new to me, like I’m kicking off a new project or starting a new adventure, there’s just something invigorating about it for me.

  1. I clean up my home. I wash the dishes and put them away. I clean my bathroom and I pick up my bedroom. I always find I feel better throughout the week being able to get ready in a clean area and starting my week off with the house looking fresh and tidy.
  2. I finish the laundry and put away my clothes. Making sure my clothes are clean and I have what I need for the week always helps me feel more sane and helps me stay pulled together even when the week gets busy and hectic.
  3. I review my planner and schedule for the week making sure I don’t have any surprises ahead in the week. Knowing what you have coming in the week helps give you a stronger mindset to manage your days.
  4. I spend some time with my blog. I review my blog editorial calendar and plan out some time throughout the week to write accordingly. I build and schedule out my social media posts for the week. I stumble my recent posts. I build at least the outline draft for my weekly email. This way I have a good structure for the week and can time block some evenings for writing.
  5. I plan my meals for the week. This keeps me on plan with my healthy eating and I can make sure I have what I need for lunches and dinners before the week starts.
  6. I plan out my outfit for Monday morning, or at least get some ideas of what I want to wear. This takes out some of the hustle on a Monday morning.
  7. I take a quick go-through of my work emails. My inbox always seems to fill up over the weekend so I find my Monday mornings are a bit more relaxing if I can clear out the junk mail and organize the others into their correct files and flag priority emails to find easily come the morning.
  8. I indulge in a facial treatment. Sundays are a good day for me to get in a little extra skin care. I apply a detoxing facial mask and then follow up with an organic facial oil. I find it relaxing and I love feeling a little extra pampered.
  9. I Netflix (or Amazon Prime) and chill. I always make it a point to get a little lazy time in on my Sundays. This is important to me because I don’t get much down time during the week. I’m currently powering through a show on Amazon called ‘Humans’.
  10. I spend some time sketching or painting. I am a huge advocate of art therapy. I always find it a wonderful way for me to release some built up stress or frustration. It helps me relax and recharge before the week starts.

Maybe this seems like a little bit of a busy day to some but for me this is my day, my time. Getting myself organized and balanced out helps me have a better week. It helps me feel prepared and gives me peace of mind. What routines do you have on Sundays to prepare for your week?

10 Awesome Things I Do for Health, Happiness & Balance

It’s Day 7 of the #loveblog2018! Today’s prompt is ‘Wellness’ and this is a topic that has become a huge focus in my life so I’ve very excited to be sharing my thoughts about it today. Make sure to check out my post about Guilty Pleasures’ from earlier in the season and all the other prompts from the series too at www.bellebrita.com. One of the reasons I love participating in the #loveblog so much is because it gives me (or pushes me more) to share my story in a more personal way. 

I grew up with a mom in the medical field and a dad in safety management so I guess wellness has always been a part of my life in some way or another but it didn’t really become such a main focus for me until I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia in my twenties. At that time my mindset around wellness wasn’t very well at all though. I felt like true wellness was going to be something that would always be out of my reach after being diagnosed. I thought I’m always going to feel crappy, achy, tired, and everything that comes with that. I felt saddened that I was in my twenties and couldn’t keep up with my friends. I was taking nine pills a day and a bi-weekly injection just to ‘survive’, just to escape the pain. I felt like a zombie most days and if I wasn’t at work I was on the couch or in bed. It wasn’t how I dreamed of spending a good part of my twenties. I carried on like this, having ups and downs, good days and bad days, some weeks better than others…side note – *this is a general overview, I still had good trips and happy days but overall it wasn’t what I dreamed of for myself. The energy I dreamed of having I couldn’t sustain. Everything was in spurts. I craved consistency. I craved to be able to express the energy that filled my mind in physical expressions and actions. 

The year I turned thirty, I lost my job. I found myself home and on the search…it turned out to be a huge blessing for me, it turned out to be an opportunity to change my life. The job I was working I had very long hours and it was emotionally and physically stressful on a daily basis (which I laugh because my first Rheumatologist had told me that the best thing for me was to stay away from stress – ummm, right.) With losing my job I also lost my Healthcare benefits and that left me unable to afford my medications (it sounds awful, but really it was a blessing in disguise). So I went off my pills and off the injections. I started working towards a complete lifestyle change. I started practicing yoga twice a day. I gave up fast food and junk food and I started studying my disease. I started reading how to manage it organically. I taught myself how to eat better. I started using essential oil therapies. I meditated, and I learned my limits and how to schedule resting and recoup time into my weeks.

It took me about a year and a half to find a new job but fast forward and now I’m working at a job that even though can be stressful and have long hours (that seems to be a common thing in today’s world), I have the flexibility to work from home, I have a management team that understands I may burnout sometimes and need some downtime, and I have co-workers that get the idea of how important wellness is to me and they motivate and inspire me to stick with it. I’m naturally a Type A Personality so I always have a lot on my plate (i just don’t know what to do with myself if I don’t have a whole bunch of projects going on at one time) but I’m getting better each day at managing them realistically and being more forgiving of myself when I need to shift things or when I slip and I keep the focus on if I want to feel good then I need to continuously take care of myself. Today some of the words used to describe me is ‘energetic’ and ‘positive’ and ‘motivated’ and that feels good, they describe more of who I aspire to be. I owe so much of that to the idea of wellness, to the changes I made to bring wellness to be a reality in my world.

All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive payments for leads/sales. For more information please reference my disclosure page

 

  1. Daily vitamins – Women’s Multivitamin (currently loving SmartyPants for Women), Vitamin D supplements, and a Vitamin C supplement
  2. 30 crunches daily and participating in a 30 days plank challenge – I co-manage a local healthy lifestyles/fitness group at work called No Sweat York and we’ve committed to doing a 30 day challenge this month – check out our No Sweat York Instagram Page for photos and thoughts from our challenge
  3. A Greek Yogurt daily during the week at the office – Yogurt was something I just couldn’t get myself to eat except for one – I love the Fage Greek Yogurts with fruit <3
  4. Gave up eating out so much and am cooking healthier meals at home – helps keep my sodium intake down which helps with decreasing inflammation
  5. Personal Training at my gym for strength training – Legs one day, Arms another
  6. Making sure I schedule down time each week for lazy days, just to mellow out and recoup
  7. Washing my face every night with Alba Organic Make-up Wipes
  8. Scheduling my tasks out throughout the week so I’m balancing out my time better
  9. Journaling ‘one sentence a day’ to help keep my mind clear
  10. Participating in my #FebruaryArtChallenge for some daily/weekly art therapy to release stress

Wellness is about being well rounded to me, it’s about being real and honest, rolling with the punches sometimes and having balance in my life. That’s what keeps me feeling good, keeps me happier. Wellness is something that I am continuously working towards and adapting to fit into what’s going on in my life. It is not only about health and fitness physically but also keeping our minds and our hearts healthy. What does wellness mean to you? 

This week’s giveaway is brought to you by Callie Richards, LuLaRoe Fashion Retailer. One lucky winner will receive a fabulous LuLaRoe outfit in the size(s) of their choice. The giveaway ends on February 14th. US residents only. While Callie will consider your style preferences, she cannot guarantee any patterns or colors in your outfit. Enter to win here: http://bellebrita.com/2018/02/winter-date-night-outfits/ Brita Long of Belle Brita will verify the winning entry before emailing the winner during the third week of February. If the winner doesn’t respond, she will start the process over again. Good luck!

Meet Your Hosts

Brita from bellabrita.comBrita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. While her first love will always be Paris, she lives happily with her husband Daniel Fleck in the Atlanta area.

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Amritha from joinmeintransit.com. Amritha is a travel and food blogger offering travel, dining and healthy recipe guides for vegetarians who love to vacation. Her mission is to guide others in creating meaningful life experiences with friends and family through mindful travel, vegetarian food, and an active lifestyle.

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Laura from dofivethingsaday.com. Laura is a big dreamer, full time marketing manager, blogger, and part-time artist. She aspires to inspire people in their everyday lives and help them to live towards their dreams and making the most out of every day by sharing her own experiences and stories.

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How Indulging in Your Guilty Pleasures Keep You Happy

I’m sitting here eating my third piece of cake this weekend thinking about what I want to write for my #loveblog prompt, guilty pleasures. Yes, third piece of cake. Saturday it was a rollerskating birthday party for my son’s step-cousin with a gorgeous unicorn cake with amazingly delicious fondant and icing, Saturday night it was the fried cheesecake I finished off for my son after his birthday dinner, and tonight it’s the slice of Oreo Blizzard cake to belatedly celebrate my son’s birthday from last week. Yup, I did it all, dove right in. I can’t say I won’t feel the affects of it when I step on the scale tomorrow morning but I’ll say it felt good to let loose this weekend and gobble it up! Guilty pleasures don’t have to be life ending, actually I think it’s healthy to have some guilty pleasures, whether it’s just on special occasions or it’s something that you can make part of your weekly routine, it’s important to have some of those that you can indulge in, something that makes you feel good. I think having a (healthy or not-too-bad) guilty pleasure is good for you. Maybe it’s long, relaxing bubble baths, or allowing yourself to buy that expensive bag you’ve had your eye on for a while (saving up for it of course – I’m not suggesting you skip paying a bill to purchase it), or having that dessert once in awhile, it’s important to allow yourself to have things in your life that really bring you joy. We call them guilty pleasures but do they really need to be? Do we have to feel guilty about something that brings us pleasure? (Now all this goes with saying that it’s not something that is destroying your life…I’m going to be frank here, if it’s harmful to you or others then it has lost its shine and it’s stepped past the boundaries of just being a guilty pleasure.) I’m the kind of person that believes that our lives should be lived with passion, pleasure and joy. We should be setting out to do things that feel rewarding to us, that make us smile, that bring light to our eyes.

I drink way more hot tea than I probably should in one day – like 8-10 cups per day is kind of my normal.

I can Netflix binge for days on if I didn’t ever have to leave the house.

I have a bit of a collection of paintings I’ve done filling corners in my bedroom and I’ll keep on painting and stacking them up.

I love brownie batter…so I just don’t keep the mix in the house too often…like I’ll mix it up just to eat the batter, I am perfectly happy skipping the cooking part.

I collect quotes like it’s nobody’s business…they’re in all of my notebooks, scribbled in my planner, taped on my wall…anywhere I can write or stick a quote I will.

I kind of like the word sh** – maybe it’s because I was a Navy brat and well it was my first word, in context from what my parents have told me (my toy wasn’t working so out of frustration I slammed it down and yelled “sh**”)…it’s just stuck I guess, I’m sorry…come on, it could be worse.

The truth is, my guilty pleasures can vary from day to day or week to week, it depends on what presents itself, it depends on how my day is, or what’s happening in my world. Sometimes after a long week, my guilty pleasure is turning my phone on silent, staying in bed and disappearing from the world for a bit. And I’m okay with that, sometimes I need that to recharge. I need to give into my guilty pleasures now and then, I need to allow myself that freedom, that flexibility to be me and only me.

What guilty pleasures do you have? How often do you allow yourself to give into them, to enjoy them?

Tonight’s post was prompted by my participation in Brita’s #LoveBlog2018! I am so excited to have the opportunity to participate again this year! This series has opened some wonderful thought processes for me in which I was able to learn more about myself and tell my story to my readers in a new light. Check out this year’s prompts here

Meet Your Hosts

Brita from bellabrita.comBrita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. While her first love will always be Paris, she lives happily with her husband Daniel Fleck in the Atlanta area.

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Laura from dofivethingsaday.com. Laura is a big dreamer, full time marketing manager, blogger, and part-time artist. She aspires to inspire people in their everyday lives and help them to live towards their dreams and making the most out of every day by sharing her own experiences and stories.

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Ivana from provocativejoy.com. Ivanna is a registered nurse who loves expressing her creative side. She enjoys thrifting, learning about sustainable living, and anything purple. She writes on Provocative Joy about living unconventionally, and loves to inspire people to realize their potential to be world-changers.

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My Thoughts & Realizations about ‘Adventures for Your Soul’

I spent January reading ‘Adventures for your Soul’ by Shannon Kaiser. This book was filled with reminders of how to push towards your dreams and live to your full potential. She reminded me that to truly find our passions and live them we have to be true to ourselves, we have to love ourselves honestly and openly. Shannon outlines ’21 Ways to Transform Your Habits and Reach Your Full Potential’ breaking it down into action items for the reader to put into place right away, creating new, positive thought patterns. She shares examples in how she actively changed her life to a life she loves by sharing her story and how she overcame her challenges. I loved how Shannon included notes of awareness of habits that are creating blocks of the happiness we desire and motivational mantras.

Some of my favorite parts & Lessons:

“Emotions are the way that you assess or react to a situation. Emotions are rooted in assessing situations, whereas feelings are grounded in truth in the moment. Emotions are often in your head, whereas feelings are inspired by your body and heart……Distinguishing between the two is an important step in moving forward in life with clarity and confidence.”

“We lean into love by recognizing that everything is in our life for a reason, that we are in those situations to help us grow and to learn……They lead us to new opportunities and to new doors that may open, but life is an ever-expansive journey where we are growing, changing, and morphing into what we want to be based on where we have come from.”

“Accept where you are fully to reach where you want to go faster. You are not broken; there is nothing to fix.”

“……it doesn’t matter what our life “looks” like, it matters how our life feels.”

“…….ask yourself what you want, and what feels good for you in the moment. Aligning with your own truth in each moment will help you become who you want to be.”

What I realized reading this book is that I shared so many of the beliefs Shannon was sharing in her book but I have been limiting myself. I have only been going halfway in. I need to commit to my beliefs, my passions and my dreams, go all in, allow them to lead me in my life. 

You can check out more about the book here.

All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive payments for leads/sales. For more information please reference my disclosure page.  

5 Delicious, Simple & Healthy Recipes to Make This Week

So I put in place some stricter routines for my eating to get myself back on track with healthier (and super tasty!) eating and to save some money! I spent a Saturday planning out meals, cleaning out the cupboards and fridge, and stocking up with the ingredients I needed for the week. I was tired of feeling bloated and ready to fuel my body with what it needed to be at full speed! Not only am I feeling better but I’ve really found some amazing recipes which helped add some variety to the Lean Cuisines I also picked up for quick lunches throughout the week.

5 EAsy & Delicious Recipes to Try This Week

Day 1 – Dinner: ‘Pan-Seared Salmon with Creamy Avocado Sauce’ from kitchenswagger.com

The sauce on top of the salmon was divine! It was easy to make too with the help of my little food processor. Paired with some steamed vegetables, this was a great dinner to enjoy after a busy day. 

Day 2 – Lunch: a colorful salad to take to the office

I’m getting better at blending tastes and building more creative salads and I’m loving the results! This salad has a spring mix salad mix and butter lettuce base with chopped red bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, blackberries, and tomatoes. Top off with some fresh italian cheese blend and poppy-seed dressing.

Day 3 – Dinner: ‘One Pan Healthy Italian Sausage & Veggies’ from chelseasmessyapron.com

I loved the flavor of this dish. It was so easy to make too. Just chop everything up, toss with the seasonings, throw on the pan and cook. Wah-lah dinner is ready! 

Day 4 – Dinner: ‘One Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas’ from number-2-pencil.com

I let loose a little for Thursday, indulging in a healthier version of fajitas (I love fajitas!). These had such awesome flavor! I loved being able to make it all on one pan for a quick after-work dinner.

Day 5 – Lunch: ‘Sun-dried Tomato Spinach Grilled Cheese Sandwich’ from eatgood4life.com

I worked from home so I was able to cook up a warm lunch. This sandwich had the perfect blend of flavors!

As I find myself getting back to cooking more, I am getting more and more creative and am enjoying my meals so much more. I am also finding coming home and cooking after a long, busy day has been very relaxing too! 

 

Why It’s So Important to Get Your Vitamin D

About a month and a half ago I was feeling like I hit a brick wall. I felt so drained, physically, mentally and emotionally. It was so bad that one Sunday morning I got up and started my chores…I got the toilet scrubbed and had to go back to bed. Just cleaning the bathroom completely exhausted me, took all the energy I had. The few weeks prior to that I had been feeling so tired, and each day it got worse. I heard from a friend at work that she might have Mono…could I have picked it up from her? Did we sip each other’s drinks the night we were all out? Why was I so so tired?  So tired that I struggled to think and process things happening in my day. So tired that I was having weird moments of sadness. So tired that it was a daunting task just to walk from my bedroom to the kitchen. So finally I gave in and headed to the doctor’s. Initially the thought was that maybe I was having some kind of weird flare-up of my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. But what was unusual is that I wasn’t in pain which is usually the first sign of a flare-up for me. I had no pain, no cough, no stuffy nose, no stomach ache, I was just completely exhausted. So we did blood tests…for everything she could think of, let’s just knock out the possibilities. Check thyroid, check white blood count…check vitamin levels…

We all know that we are supposed to have our daily vitamins but I have to admit I spent most of my life not putting as much thought into it as maybe I should have. I eat pretty healthy, lots of vegetables and fruit. I know I have to push myself to eat red meat and leafy vegetables from time to time to make sure I’m getting enough iron but other than that I wasn’t as responsible as I could have been about taking daily vitamins…I had them in my cabinet, which apparently doesn’t really count unless you take them. (Yeah I know, here I am a Wellness and Healthy Lifestyle Blogger admitting she wasn’t taking her vitamins…I never said I was perfect). 

I spent a few days working from home and taking naps in between meetings and office work to help keep my energy up while I waited for the test results. I found that the mini naps helped give me bursts of energy so that I could get more done throughout the day – it just turned into a weird work schedule, in a way I guess my days were sort of longer those three days because I scattered work out. My doctor’s office called with my results that Wednesday: Good news, no Mono and no other virus. Bad News: it wasn’t going to go away on its own…turns out deficiency in just one vitamin can shake your whole world up. The typical range for a healthy level of Vitamin D is 50-100…my level was 10. Whew, what?!  Vitamin D deficiency is pretty common in the NorthEast Region because of our winters but I hadn’t realized I could feel this awful and it could get that low. I started taking 5000 units of Vitamin D a day, instructed to do so for a month to get my level boosted back up. These things take some time to build up though so this was going to be a little bit of a journey to feeling better again. Three weeks later I started feeling like my spunky self again. I added in a daily vitamin…let’s stop and note just for a moment that I really hate taking pills (thank goodness that 5000 Units Vitamin D supplement was a little guy) and I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to taste (hey, we all have stubborn quirks!). I totally saw these vitamins for kids called ‘Smarty Pants’  that I was teasing saying I should get them for my son because he can be a smart butt. Well they have them for Women too – ‘Smarty Pants Women’s Complete Gummy Vitamin’ – so I picked them up. They are actually super tasty and the levels are good in them for me. (*Always check with your physician to see what’s best for you) . I feel like such a better version of me, well I feel like me again. My moral of the story: Vitamins do matter, like really, really matter! 

According to www.medicalnewstoday.com, Vitamin D is also referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”. Typically, we absorb Vitamin D from exposure to the sun, however this time of year our time outside is greatly reduced.

  1. For energy – from my experience if you are deficient in Vitamin D you can end up feeling super drained and exhausted.
  2. It is important for healthy bones. Vitamin D helps with the regulation of calcium and in maintaining healthy levels of phosphorus in the blood.
  3. It helps reduce the risk of catching the flu – which is super helpful during flu season!
  4. Good levels of Vitamin D help reduce muscle and bone pain.
  5. A deficiency can put you in a funk. You may be feeling kind of depressed or sad if you are low in Vitamin D.
  6. It promotes stronger, healthier teeth.
  7.  It increases your mental clarity and sharpness.
  8. Some studies show reduced amount of abdominal fat in people that were sufficient in Vitamin D. That sounds like a good perk to me!

So where do we get Vitamin D when we can’t get in the sunshine? I found this one a bit challenging to solve with changing my diet. Vitamin D is a tricky one to find in a lot of foods. My best advice is to talk to your doctor and pick up a supplement that is suited for you. Here are some foods that will also help (sorry, the list is a bit short).

  • Look for fortified dairy foods such as Vitamin D fortified yogurt, cheese, milk, cereal, etc.

  • Cod Liver Oil, if you dare…this one isn’t for me.

  • Egg Yolks

  • Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna

  • Beef liver…another one that I don’t think is going to make it to my plate.

This week, I’ll down my dose some. Down to one 5000 Unit Vitamin D supplement a week and two (chewable, yay!) 400 units of Vitamin D a day. This little ‘adventure’ was eye-opening for me. We all know what we should be doing but putting it into action sometimes takes a little push, I got mine! 

 

* Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a medical professional. These are healthy suggestions based solely on personal experiences, personal opinions, and light research. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive payments for leads/sales. For more information please reference my disclosure page.