What’s in My Cup?

C O F F E E

I cruised through 24 years of my life without needing coffee. And yes, the word need was intentional. This last year coffee and I have entered into a very committed relationship. I started drinking it while traveling for work when many mornings began around 4:30am. And the hotel always had free coffee. Let’s be serious, I will always take advantage of whatever the hotel has for free. But, through testing out all of the different hotel coffee options, I realized it makes a big difference in my energy for the day.

I want to first caution you to drink it in moderation. Coffee is not something that our bodies need to survive, although some of us may feel like it. None of these suggestions are meant to be taken advantage of five times a day. I limit myself to one cup of coffee a day as a jumpstart to have a smoother morning. Coffee can also cost waaaaay more than it’s worth and can pack on unnecessary calories. Hopefully these suggestions will help you develop some healthier coffee choices or at least give you some more variety!

I’m going to break this coffee-blog down as follows:

  1. Health-benefit filled coffee
  2. Various Creamer Types
  3. Cold Coffees
  4. Ordering On-The-Go

1. Health-benefit Filled Coffee

  • Bulletproof Coffee
    • This is a high-fatty coffee that is often used by people who abide by a keto-diet or low-carb. Do some research on this type of coffee before you just start churning up butter and oil with coffee
    • Recipe: Blend coffee, 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter or ghee, 2 Tbsp coconut oil. Use a high power blender because they don’t blend easily. You can also add some stevia or sugar-free sweeteners for taste. Many also add collagen to the mixture. If you don’t like the idea of butter you can sub with a dairy-free creamer.
    • Benefits? Credited for providing people with extra energy over normal coffee and fat loss. This is all a part of a ketogenic diet (which I don’t follow, but I know works for many). I like to provide you all with more than just my opinion. To check out keto… visit here.
  • Collagen Peptides
    • This is a simple, quick add-in that has many health benefits.
    • Collagen peptides are a powder form of collagen derived directly from animal collagen. You can also find similar collagen from plants. I use products from a company called Vital Proteins.
    • What do Collagen Peptides do? They are an amazing source of protein, so it can help keep you fuller in the morning with breakfast & coffee. It is great for digestion and gut health. If you have tummy issues, many have seen collagen peptides making it feel better and have better digestion. It increases energy and greatly helps to ease soreness. I have noticed a difference myself between gym soreness with and without the collagen peptides.
    • If you are looking to start adding collagen to your coffee, check out Collagen Peptide Creamer by Vital Proteins. It’s a way to get creamer and collagen all in one.
  • Protein Coffee
    • This is one of my favorites!
    • It is great way to have breakfast-on-the-go, a snack, an extra dose of protein and an easy way to make a trip to Starbucks a healthy one.
    • Order or make an espresso shot (or two if you’re really struggling) and mix with a pre-made protein shake. My favorites are either Premier Protein or Iconic Protein. They are both relatively cheap and can be found at most grocery stores/Walmart/Target. I recommend the Premier Protein in caramel flavor. You can also mix it with a cup of coffee, the protein shake won’t be as strong and you’ll have more liquid to drink. Just depends on what works for you!

2. Various Creamer Types

If you’re anything like me (and most of the world) creamer in your coffee is a must-have. Adding creamer can also mean adding in un-wanted dairy and a plethora of calories. I’ve found a few ways to combat a few of these disasters.

  • Sugar-free Creamer
    • Every grocery store has the typical creamer brands that make flavors in sugar-free style. There is a small difference between the taste of them and the original “all-sugar” flavors.
    • The reduction in sugar also helps to cut the calories almost in half.
  • Fat-free Creamer
    • Same as above, you can find these just about anywhere. The fat-free can help reduce some calories
  • Dairy-Free Creamer
    • NutPods is one of the most popular brands. You can order online or find it at Publix.
    • There are other brands of dairy-free creamers and almond milk creamers that can be found at the local grocery store.  Califia Farms tastes great and so does Natural Coffee Mate. Click on their names to check out the brands!
    • Don’t immediately be turned off to these because they are dairy free! They taste almost exactly the same and they can help reduce the calories that is in your typical cup of coffee.
  • Coconut Creamer
    • This is my new go-to!
    • The coconut milk creamer helps to “milk-y” (can’t think of a better adjective for that) down the coffee and then I add a tbsp of regular creamer on top of it to add flavor.
    • I use Trader Joe’s brand of this and it costs under $2.00.

3. Cold Coffees

I am a total coffee newbie, so this is where I began my coffee experience. I spent a couple of weeks just purchasing various brand of Cold Brew and Iced Coffee from the store. If you want to start doing this – a couple a tips… They are much more expensive than just buying and making your own coffee. If you are just wanting to dip your toes in the coffee pool this can be a good, non-overwhelming option. If you go this route, be sure that whatever blend you get has “no added sugars.” Pre-made coffee doesn’t have to have any sugar to be made, but many companies will try to sneak it in there on you.

4. Ordering One The Go

Here are some great options if you are in a pinch and need to order on-the go from Starbucks. I’m sure other places will have things similar to this!

  • Order Up:
    • Mix one or two shots of espresso with protein drink (order in vent cup with ice) – best part is this doubles as coffee and breakfast
    • Iced coffee mixed with protein shake
    • Cafe Americano
    • Grande Skinny Caramel Macchiato or Skinny Latte
    • Grande Skinny Vanilla Lattee with nonfat Milk
    • Iced Coffee with sugar free syrup of choice and nonfat or almond milk
    • Skinny Soy Cinnamon Dulce Latte
      • Tall Latte with soy milk and 2 pumps of sugar-free cinnamon dulce syrup
    • Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Ask about fat-free and sugar-free options and ways that you can cut corners. They are used to those questions and usually can get them answered pretty quickly!

If you don’t love coffee – don’t try to force yourself to fall in love with it. Try your hand at a hot tea if you are wanting a morning drink that comes with a little extra energy. Tea has just as much caffeine as coffee and can be sweetened with just a single pack of Splenda!

Hopefully these suggestions have given you a few new tips and ways to have a healthier relationship with coffee. Because let’s be real, this is never a break-up than any of us need to go through.

-O

New Year, New Goals

I know everyone always says this, but I SWEAR it was just 2004 like five days ago. It blows my mind whenever I think about how fast times goes. I am a total sucker for a little bought of nostalgia and the first day of the year always has me feeling all warm and fuzzy.

2017 was a big year for me. There was a lot of heartache, disappointment, and let downs but that was all completely overshadowed by all of the love, success, and incredible moments. I cried a lot of tears and laughed a lot of laughs. I graduated with my Master’s degree. Got my first “big girl” job (that I love). Started a blog. Sang a large amount of karaoke and busted out many a dance move. I loved my people and they loved me back. And I focused a lot of time on keeping myself healthy and happy. Needless to say 2017 was good, but I’m ready to cruise right on into 2018.

In the past, I have always made New Year’s Resolutions but I just kept the list in my head. Mainly because I didn’t have to admit it to anyone if I slipped up or just all together dropped the ball. For example, I will now publicly admit that last year I planned to read a book each month and I managed to reach 30 pages of one book. Not my best.

This year, I wrote out a list of the goals that I have for the new year and I literally taped them to my bathroom wall. There was something so exciting to me about writing out the list. I could feel the opportunity and growth popping out of the page each time I wrote out a new goal. And I don’t want to rush anything, but I am already excited to get to the end of this year and see what all I was able to accomplish. Isn’t this a mindset that you want to have about the upcoming year? Instead of being encompassed by dread and already thinking about things that might go wrong, encompass your whole mind with things that you want to go right and the new year’s opportunities. Y’all know by now I am a big supporter of intentionality and this is no exception. You have to make intentional changes and choices to meet your goals.

In an attempt to be more transparent with you all and an added way to hold myself accountable, I want to share my goals for the upcoming year.

Goal 1: Lose 30 pounds 

  • I know that numbers aren’t everything. But, I think that this last stretch of loss will get me to a healthy weight for my height. (Those of you who don’t know me; I’m a few inches under the Jolly Green Giant).
  • Action to get there: I will be mindful of what I eat, 4 gym visits a week with one day added for yoga/deep stretching, 120-150 ounces of water a day.

Goal 2: Find Home Church 

  • I have lived in my current town for far too long to not have a church family and I am looking forward to finding a place that I really feel at home with. I’m looking for a church that has a choir and a larger number of people around my age.
  • Action to get there: I am going to start visiting a few churches. I have done some research on ones that I think will be a good fit, so I will be going to those in the coming weeks.

Goal 3: Daily Happiness List 

  • By nature, I am a not an overly joyous person. I mean I really have to dig deep to just be happy, happy, happy. But, I know that I live an incredibly happy life. I just want to be better able to reflect on those experiences at the end of the year. So, after I got sucked into a sappy Facebook video detailing another woman’s experience with happiness for a year, I have decided to follow her lead. I am going to write down a sentence or two each night about something that really made me happy/thankful that day. It can’t be “I am happy because I have a house,” it needs to be a dig-deep moment.
  • Action to get there: I am keeping a journal by my bed and each night I am going to write about my happy. This is going to be such an amazing list of memories to have at the end of the year. *cue tears*

Goal 4: Grow Blog Following 

  • I want to continue sharing good content that my followers think is interesting and finding new followers along that way that will let me be a part of their own journeys.
  • Action to get there: Continue weekly posts on blog, try to post on Instagram at least 4-5 times a week. Comment and create connections with other bloggers.

Goal 5: Financial Stability

  • I have said it once and I will say it again… It is hard out here for a young professional.
  • Action to get there: Stick to a firm budget that I make each month. Create a savings account and continue working on paying off student loans. It’s a marathon here, not a sprint.

Goal 6: Focus on You! 

  • I tend to get pretty caught up in what other people are doing. “Oh they’re not working out so I won’t go to the gym.” “So and so isn’t giving this project their all, so I can slow up a little bit.” “Everyone else is eating fast food, so I am going to do the same.” These are just minimal examples and I know that I need to overall focus on myself and the things that I want.
  • Action to get there: I plan to just be more mindful of myself in general. Focusing on my successes and goals without getting wrapped up in the things that are going on around me.

Feel free to share your lists with me! I love to knowing what you want out of the year and we can team up and continue to encourage each other to do great things.

I want to challenge you to make a physical list of your goals. Be intentional about the things that you want. Go out and get them instead of just being mad that you aren’t making progress. Because when you walk by and see that list everyday, you will be reminded why they mattered to you and why you wrote them down in the first place. Let’s make 2018 our year.

-O

15 GIFs that Describe the Workout that Almost Killed You

We are thankful once we get there, but no one said it would be easy…

1. It’s time, you’ve finally come to terms with the fact that you’re actually going to have to workout.

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2. Gotta listen to a pump up song on the way there hoping it will stir something wild inside of you.

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3. You just sit in the parking lot trying to talk yourself in to walking in.

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4. “Woah, there are a lot of people here.” This is specifically rough around the new year when everyone has new-found motivation… And I think I know that guy over there by the weights.

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5. Cardio…  here we go…

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6. “Let me pick a treadmill beside someone who doesn’t look like they are in way better shape than me…” Can’t be letting them hear you breath too hard.

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7. “Wow, I think I’m in better shape than I thought!”

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8. “Oh my Lord, I am really not in shape at all.” *breathes too hard*

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9. “Hey, at least this is almost over… HOW HAS IT ONLY BEEN 7 MINUTES?!”

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10. “If I do squats… am I going to have a booty like that girl because dang lil momma?”(Looks at own behind and immediately knows that ain’t happenin’)

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11. Then the person you avoided at the beginning has come over to small-talk while you are so out of breathe that you may pass away

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12. Now it’s time to move on to weights and every machine I know how to use is occupied…

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13. “I just know I am going to wake up tomorrow and be able to tell a difference.”
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14. The line at the water fountain is entirely too long because everyone is slowly dying. Or trying to flirt. It’s a toss-up.

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15. But, once it’s over I am a goddess, my body is a temple. All these endorphins got this body feelin’ 10/10.

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And as soon as you’re done, there’s a tiny piece of you already looking forward to coming back tomorrow.

-O

Ready, Set, Reset

There is a huge difference between being comfortable and stuck. When I started my fitness journey, I was really unhappy with where I was. Then over the course of the next year and a half, I slowly but surely moved into a place that I was really proud to be in. I started being able to shop in whatever store I wanted, getting compliments from people I had known for years, and I finally was getting the results that I worked so hard to get. I mean, losing 70 pounds completely changes you; mentally and physically.

For the past couple of months, I have been comfortable. I eat healthy, drink the water I’m supposed to, and hit the gym a few times a week. I also am not afraid to indulge myself once in a while and I don’t spend hours beating myself up if I miss a trip to the gym. Travelling for work has also been an added challenge as I have had brand new restaurants I wanted to try and for some reason the state of Kentucky doesn’t have Gold’s Gyms (insert eye roll). Kentucky does have a lot of good food and I have made it a point to try most of it (excuse, all of it).

I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the past couple of months. I have spent a good amount of the time celebrating my victories, on and off the scale. Most importantly, I have proved to myself that I really understand what goes into a sustainable maintenance lifestyle and the importance of finding a balance that works for me.

But… I have, yet again, moved to a new part in my journey. I feel stuck. I’m not seeing new results (and no before anyone suggests a plateau, I’ve just gotten lazy), I’ve gotten too relaxed with my eating and I am just overall not challenging myself anymore. I feel stuck and I refuse to let that be a word used to describe me. So, back to moving I go.

Hitting the Reset Button

I would daresay at some point during your life, you have set a goal and reached it. Even if you never quite got to where you wanted to be, I am fairly confident that you at least started the process and saw some results. It’s okay to get comfortable/stuck and have to hit the reset button. That is exactly what I am choosing to do. I am looking forward to challenging myself again, even though I know it is going to suck. But I have survived (and thrived, if I say so myself) before.

Goal Setting

We have already discussed goals, but just ensure that whatever you are pushing for is something that you want. Unless it’s a goal at work and then you’re on your own with that one, kid. Your boss will ever so politely set those for you. Anyways, your personal goals need to be just for you. When you begin to do things for you, it just continues to create a culture within yourself of power and self-love. And just like the most important Word you’ll read says, “Do everything in love.” So wouldn’t you want to live your own life in love?

Your Goals Should Be:

  •  Attainable & Realistic. You’re not going to drop 70 pounds in a week. That’s not realistic and you don’t get to be mad at the end of it and drown your sorrows in a bag of chips. Your goals
  • Trackable. It’s hard to keep track of anything if you aren’t actually able to track it. Take measurements. Write down how you are mentally feeling. Note when you start to see a difference in your clothes. Take pictures. Whatever you do, just keep up with it.
    • You can choose more subtle ways to track. For example, I didn’t take any photos of my body to document progress. It wasn’t good for me mentally, so I chose not to do. For some, that is the biggest motivator.
  • Adaptable. Your goals are not concrete. It’s okay to make adjustments to fit better for what you ultimately want. It’s also okay to just completely change what you want or if you change your mind. Key word: YOU. Stop letting people step all over what you want and rearrange your goals accordingly. This is coming from someone who was told they couldn’t reach their goals…. boop, guess what happened? I did. You can too.

Accountability

Now it’s time to actually put the goals into action and start working towards them. Whether you are just beginning or restarting or resetting or just re-doing the whole thing, I think it’s always nice to have a reminder that you can do it. Even if you are scared, you are capable.

You have to be able to hold yourself accountable. You have to have some kind of desire to reach your goals and do what it takes to make it happen. One way to hold yourself accountable is to physically write down your goals. Put them on the fridge or on your bathroom mirror. My coworkers and I are going to post our goals on a column by our desks that we see multiple times a day. I’m going to put my new goals up in my room. It’s not about guilting yourself into doing it, but it’s a nice reminder and a promise that you’re making to yourself.

Finding an accountability partner also really helps. An accountability partner isn’t just someone who is supportive, this should be someone who is also working towards a goal. So on the days when you really want to skip the gym, they encourage you to go. And on the days that it’s been really hard and you just want to eat some ice cream, they grab an extra spoon. It’s nice to have someone in your corner rooting for you while you can root for them at the same time.

If you feel like you need someone to hold you accountable, I would be more than happy to be that for you. The whole reason that I started this blog was to share my story, get some laughs, and ultimately help people. I know, sooooo cheesy. You’ve made it to the end of the post… so for that, I applaud you. If you feel like you need someone in your corner to cheer you on (even if we don’t live in the same place), I would love to be that person for you. This isn’t some blogger gimmick and I don’t want to be your cheerleader for $20 a month. I just want you to feel the strength that comes when two people choose to empower each other. If that’s you, please reach out. Let’s do it together.

-O

Fitness List: Must Haves

Thanksgiving has come and gone which can only mean one thing. It is officially the Christmas season. So all you Scrooges out there can quit being rude and start listening to Christmas music like the rest of us. I love Black Friday shopping. I mean I love it a ridiculous amount. I just delight in the drama of the whole day. People running through Walmart to get a cheap tv in a fit of rage cracks me up. Just for the record, I am not running through stores, I am just an innocent spectator. And by innocent spectator I mean spending way too much money on crap I don’t need. Anyways…

As I was walking from store to store I couldn’t help but notice a lot of the craze items that every store had on sale. A lot of those items were things that have been really instrumental for me during my fitness journey. So, I thought you all might want to add some of them to your list since Santa Clause is getting ready for the big day. Here’s a list of my top five in no particular order:

  1. Air Fryer
    • If you add nothing else to your list, please do yourself a favor and add this.
    • An air fryer does the same thing to food that a deep fryer does, but it does it with air. It’s witchcraft and I cannot explain what is happening inside besides the fact that it is magic.
    • It also can cook raw chicken in 12 minutes and roasts broccoli in 6 minutes versus the 36 minutes and 25 minutes that they take in the oven. It’s so versatile and there hasn’t been a thing I’ve made in it yet that hasn’t been good!
  2. Big Water Bottle
    • I’ve had a lot of experience drinking water, but I have realized there is nothing more exhausting than filling up a bottle over and over again.
    • I just bought a new bottle that is 64 oz. and it is a game changer. I really only have to drink two bottles the whole day and that’s just easier for my brain than trying to count nine other bottles. I never said I was good at math.
  3. Nice Headphones
    • Preferably wireless
    • These make a huge difference at the gym. Especially if you are doing any floor exercises or lifting weights. You don’t have to worry with the cord getting in your way.
    • Headphones can be hard to pay for because there are the Gummy brand sitting two feet away on the shelf and they are only $5. The investment will be worth it
  4. Digital Food Scale
    • There is no way to know what you are eating if you don’t have a way to track it. I started out by using measuring cups but it made everything much more difficult to manage. And I got lazy and tired of constantly washing them.
    • A food scale serves the same purpose but you start measuring it all in grams and ounces. I recommend a digital one instead of one that you have to read the numbers… once again, not great at math.
    • My scale was only $14 and worth every penny. I got it at Walmart.
  5. Home Gym
    1. Spoiler Alert: You don’t have to spend a ton of money to make your own functional, home gym.
    2. I have a few staple items that can give me a full body workout at my house.
      1. 10 pound hand weights
      2. Yoga Mat
      3. Stretch Resistance Bands
      4. Foam Roller
      5. Fitness Ball (optional)
      6. Kettle Ball (optional)
    3. By adding these few items to your house, you are able to get rid of the excuse to not workout because you don’t want to go the gym. Just bring the gym to your house.

       

The list may seem like a list of simple things. Nothing on here is over $100 so they’re great additions to add to a list if you’re looking for a few small things to help with your lifestyle change. I use each of the things on this list a couple of times a week, if not more. Hopefully Santa can pull through for ya, as long as you’ve behaved.

-O

Winter is Coming

I have exhausted all of my Game of Thrones references in the title, so if that’s what you’ve come here for, I’m sorry to have misled you. Winter is, as a matter of fact, coming. And what comes along with winter? Holidays.

If there is one thing in this entire world that I love it is the holiday season. Emphasis on Christmas. All of the other holidays are just a pregame to Christmas. But, I will be respectful of all the other holiday lovers out there (just know that you’re wrong). The holidays are a perfect time to reflect on the last year, get a mindset for your upcoming goals and be thankful for all of the amazing things that you have all while being surrounding by family and friends. But… I know I am not alone when I say that the holidays can be really stressful.

There’s a lot of pressure. Are you single? Still trying to graduate from college? Not particularly at a job that you want/love? Maybe you packed on a couple of pounds? Broke? Tired? Struggling with a bad haircut? You’re aware of whatever you have going on and now you have the faces of all the people you love the most staring back at you. Or maybe some of them aren’t the ones you love the most, but they happen to be the most vocal. Go figure.

As we move into the holiday season I hope that you choose to be more mindful. You are enough. You were enough before you went home for the holidays. You are enough even if you have to show up to the family lunch alone. You’ll still be enough after you eat three plates full of food. You know all of these things to be true, but I hope you keep that in mind over the holiday season if you begin to feel anything less than that. It’s hard to remember to do that sometimes, so I’m gonna hold you to it.

So, in my typical fashion, here are a couple of mindful reminders to get you through the season!

  • It is not The Last Supper…
    • This goes out to all of my people who have nutritional goals or who are trying to make better food choices throughout the holiday season.
    • Thanksgiving is not the last time you are going to get to eat. Just try to be more mindful. Treat yo’ self. But maybe only have three desserts instead of five? I feel like Thanksgiving kicks off the most ridiculous spiral of eating choices and you think you’re just sitting down for one meal but then it’s all of a sudden a week later and you wake up from a black-out and you’ve eaten everything in sight for days on end. Thanksgiving is one day. So try to keep your bad choices wrapped into that day. Or maybe just extend it through the weekend.
    • Once the holiday has wrapped up (no pun intended because then it is really Christmas time), you are going to wake up from that food coma and feel guilty. Making small, subtle choices can help to get you back to the swing of things and back to your normal routine.
    • Just for the record, I’m not suggesting you throw in the towel completely, this is a time to indulge yourself, so celebrate accordingly.
  • Shoutout to my single people
    • It is a common thread for people to come out of the woodworks with this around the holidays. Coming from a fellow member of the club, I got you. I hear you. I feel it too. I’ll be right there with you this season.
    • It’s hard to keep it in perspective when you’re surrounded by happy couples celebrating the love that they have for each other… but, instead I choose to be mindful of all the things that I have done myself over the last year. The holidays aren’t absent of love just because you are single. It just gives you an extra opportunity to love on yourself.
    • Just a note: Why do people consider it the perfect time to ask if you have found a special friend… WHY. and why do adults try to be subtle and call someone your special friend?
  • Set traditions for yourself!
    • I’m sure that some of you have traditions that your family has done for years and years. All of the women in my family go on a big shopping trip on Black Friday. Except we do a lot more eating than actually shopping. We also used to all play a football game on Thanksgiving Day in the yard. Kickball is involved. They’re some of my favorite traditions in the world.
    • There are a lot of traditions that stress me out. Everyone fussing in the kitchen. There’s a lot of love, but it’s still fussing. Traveling is difficult and traffic is ridiculous. Traveling with a pet (whom weighs 75 pounds is even more difficult).
    • If there is one thing in life that I swear by, it is balance. Everything isn’t always going to be rainbows and butterflies, just like everything isn’t going to be thunder and lightning. Finding balance during the holidays is hard, but one way that I do that is to create my own traditions. Be mindful of the things that make you happy.
      • My roommate and I decorate our house together every year, just us. The Grinch plays in the background and it is a relaxed time to make our house look great. She decorates the tree and I put out the other stuff in the house. No stress. Just happy. And it’s been like that for the last six years. Find your own traditions whether with friends or by yourself.
  • Remember the Reason
    • Stay mindful of the reason for all of the holiday shenanigans. It’s not about the new outfit during family Thanksgiving. Or all of the presents that you can buy on Friday. It’s all about remembering to have a grateful heart and a time for giving thanks. The year is coming to a close (which seems crazy!!) and a brand new year full of new surprising and adventures is waiting just around the corner. So, when you feel like you’re too caught up in the moment or too overwhelmed to stop and actually enjoy it, just remember all of the things that you have to be thankful for.

Well, we have about 48 hours until the first holiday of the season hits and after that we will be caught in the whirlwind of snowflakes and Santa Clauses. Gift wraps and shopping lists. But I hope you keep in mind, through all the tinsel and mistletoe, that you are still just as important as you were the day before. Here’s to the holidays, y’all!

-O

 

 

Run, October, Run

The title is so cheesy it’s almost painful, huh? I couldn’t help it. If you gather nothing else from this entire blog, please at least take home the understanding that if there is ever an opportunity to make a Forrest Gump reference, you seize the moment. You make that reference. You let those haters hate.

Last weekend, I ran my first race. It was just a 5k, so i’ll try not to get carried away here. But I can honestly say that I have never pushed myself harder physically than I did during that race. I’ve had some pretty hard workouts over the last year and a half. I mean like hard. Bend over and put your hands on your knees and pray you don’t vomit on the gym floor hard. But running. Ugh. It’s just not for me. And people I really gave it my best go.

If there is one thing I am good at it is making people laugh… and this was no exception. So if nothing else from this whole experience I hope you all can at least get a little giggle at my expense.

Mile One: For the first thirty seconds, I was thriving. Momma has got some long legs and I was just zooming past all these people. Until I was about a fourth of a mile in and there was a hill… hmm. In all of the training I did over the past two months, I did not plan for hills. I, nor my legs, were prepared for hills. Also, keep in mind, it was 34 degrees outside. I couldn’t even change the song on my phone because my thumb was frozen solid at this point.

I also have very sensitive eyes. So about eight minutes in and I was full blown crying the tears weren’t stopping, it was just so cold and there was so much wind. As I ran past the people watching the race I could see the worry on their faces. “Oh no, that poor girl is gonna pass out and now she’s crying.”

Mile Two: I had a really good cold sweat situation going on by this point. Similar to the flu, but you don’t typically run while flu-ridden. This is the time that hill number two presented itself. If you’ve ever been to Nashville and gone across the walking bridge, you know what hill I am referring to. You aren’t typically running up those hills, it’s usually more of a saunter after an evening out. It’s hard enough to walk up it.

Mile Three: During this mile, both a 70 year old woman and 10 year old little boy passed me. It wasn’t my shining moment. I accidentally muted my music at one point and heard myself breathing for a millisecond and it was audible. I had crossed over to the zone of being so out of breath that I was wheezing. It was ugly.

My goal was to finish under 35 minutes and as I turned the corner and saw the timer, I realized it could definitely happen if I dialed it up a notch. So I started to run in the way that I have always reserved my running, as if someone was chasing me. I ran right through the finish line and proceeded to walk away from the crowd as far as I could. I could not let these people watch me hyperventilate after three measly little miles.

After I composed myself and walked out from behind the news van I was hiding behind to catch my breath, I was overwhelmed with such a sense of accomplishment. All of the ridiculous things that happened to me during those three miles seemed so insignificant because I did something that I used to believe that I was never capable of doing.

There was a time that I literally told myself I couldn’t do it. That I wasn’t healthy or strong enough. That I was just going to embarrass myself. And you know what I did?

I did it. I beat my goal. I ran faster and pushed myself harder than I ever have before. And can you imagine what a shame it would be if I didn’t make the choice to step out of my comfort zone. I want to challenge you to face something that you don’t think you can do. Face it head-on like the badass that you are.

At the end of the day, you just gotta keep running. Even if you’re running right into the face of something that scares you to death.

-O