Feb 27, 2015

Twenty-Eight on the Twenty-Eighth

Twenty-seven  was both exciting and challenging • I learned so much about myself and I had to make some major life changing decisions • My fiancé and I moved twice this past year for his job • I loved our time alone in the desert but it’s so nice to be back home and closer to our families • I left a job that no longer made me happy with no backup plan • I took a leap of faith and I’m happy to say that everything worked out for the best • God was definitely on my side in that situation {in fact, He’s always on my side} • We lost my Uncle • He was taken from us way too young and it’s hard to understand why • I just have to remind myself that everything happens in God’s timing • The love of my life proposed to me • We began planning our wedding and we will be married on October 25th of this year • I fell deeper in love with fitness and nutrition • I started lifting weights regularly and I saw some great changes in my body • I pursued my passion for fitness and nutrition and became a certified personal trainer; something my twenty year old self would have never even considered doing

The most valuable lesson I have learned in this past year is that I have to find my own bliss •  As difficult as this life may be at times, there are still so many wonderful things about it • Forget about the negative and focus on the positive • We can’t take one moment for granted • I am looking forward to all the
 beauty twenty-eight will bring


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Feb 25, 2015

Preparing for the Whole 30

I’ve been reading It Starts With Food every evening before bed. {My fiancé gave up TV for lent so that means less TV for me as well.} I’m trying to finish the book by Monday because I’ll be starting my next round of the Whole 30. My goal is to stay on the Whole 30 until the end of September or early October. Let me explain myself. Last year I did one round of the Whole 30 and I felt amazing but I didn’t even think about going longer. Since then I have read so many success stories from people who chose to do multiple rounds of the Whole 30 and their results were unbelievable. I want to push myself to see what kind of results I can have.

Why am I waiting until March 2nd? Well, my birthday is February 28th and I would like to indulge in a piece of vanilla cake with vanilla frosting before I give up ALL added sugar for seven months.

For the last four weeks I have been slowly trying to clean up my diet. I’ve cut out bread, pasta and dairy. I have to say that dairy is something I should have never even added back into my diet. I always hope that I’ve cured myself because I start feeling so much better {obviously because I’m not consuming dairy} so I add dairy back in and I pay for it with horrible cystic acne, allergies and asthma symptoms. I haven’t really noticed any huge changes from eliminating bread and pasta but I feel so much better since I said good-bye to dairy AGAIN. Hopefully my detox period will not be too painful.

I’ve started stocking up on Whole 30 compliant groceries and I wanted to share those with you. As I add more I will share more.

I know these are not the healthiest items but I keep them for emergencies. They are quick and compliant so when I’m in a pinch they will come in handy. 

I started buying coconut oil before my first Whole 30 last year and I’ve been hooked since then. I use it to cook, in my Bulletproof Coffee, to wash my face and as a moisturizer for my hair.

I fell in love with cashews last year during my first round of the Whole 30 but I have not been able to find compliant cashews or cashew butter. I did, however, find this compliant almond butter at Trader Joe’s. I like to dip my apples in nut butter. It Starts With Food mentioned that sunflower butter tastes very similar to peanut butter so I may try and find some compliant sunflower butter.

These are a little tart but they will work to curb my cravings for something sweet if I am unable to get my hands on fresh fruit. The only ingredient is strawberries.

Compliant bacon!!! This stuff was expensive, which is a good thing to me. The price will keep me from eating too much of it. I found this at Sprouts and it was close to $7.

I absolutely love coconut milk in iced coffee. Don’t bother getting the light version. It’s disgusting. Full fat is the best! I’d really like to try making some ranch dressing with this as well.

I would have never even tried ghee if it weren’t for the Whole 30. This stuff is delicious, especially on a baked potato with some broccoli. I also throw it in my Bulletproof Coffee every now and then.

And these! These are little pieces of perfection in a wrapper. I have grown to like Larabars. I wasn’t impressed the first time I tried them because I don’t like dates but they grew on me. But THESE were love at first bite. They even have the Whole 30 stamp of approval on them.

I also purchased some dried apricots from Trader Joe’s but they have sulfur dioxide in them. After doing some research I found that sulfur dioxide is not allowed on the Whole 30 so I will not be eating those. I’m going to stock up on chicken, steak and produce over the weekend. I can't wait to get started!

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Feb 19, 2015

Valentine's Day

My Valentine’s Day turned into a Valentine’s weekend. It was absolutely perfect. I stayed with my parents at their house all weekend. My dad made my mom and I dinner on Friday night. My dad even made sure my dinner was Whole 30 compliant. 
I really need to learn how to grill because I love steak right off of the barbecue.

I started my Saturday morning with a run outside.

I went to my favorite coffee shop {where I met my fiancé}. 
They had so many festive Valentine’s drinks but I stuck to my Paleo iced coffee.

I treated myself to some cute new accessories for my Fitbit.

I went to the winery where my fiancé and I will get married to buy him a bottle of wine for Valentine’s Day. They gave me a sample while I was there. Don’t mind if I do!

I grabbed dinner from a local barbecue place. I’d like to have our rehearsal lunch there and my fiancé wanted to try it before we booked the place. Our Valentine’s Day quickly became wedding themed.

My fiancé finally made it to me after a long day at work and a long drive.

This was what I gave to my boy.

And this was what he gave me. Inside was a coffee mug with a diamond ring for a handle 
and an “I♥U” charm for my Pandora bracelet.

The next day we kept our celebration of love going.

We headed down to San Diego.

We had lunch at the Yellow Deli in Vista. One of our favorite places to go.

I thank God every night for this wonderful and incredibly gorgeous man.

We spent the rest of the day shopping at exploring. Our first and only Valentine’s Day as a betrothed couple. 
Next year we will be husband and wife. I can’t wait!

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Feb 18, 2015

I am a NASM Certified Personal Trainer!

I made a decision a year ago to obtain my personal training certification. I did a lot of research and I ended up enrolling with NASM. I chose the self-study route. You are given six months from the time you enroll to the time you take your exam. I ended up paying for an extension in August. I didn’t feel ready to take the exam when my six months was approaching.

I have to say that when I received my textbook I found that there was so much more Science than I was expecting. I was horrible at Math and Science while I was in school which is why I obtained my degree in English.

I really buckled down during the last few months and I studied like crazy. I also purchased NASM’s practice test bundle. The first time I took a practice test I got a 40%. I became really discouraged. I continued to study though and I will say the practice exams did help me realize what I needed to focus on. I took all three practice exams (one came with the self-study course and the other two I purchased) over and over again. Every time I got an answer wrong I went back in the text and studied that concept.

Two weeks before I took my exam I saw a friend of mine on Instagram had just taken his exam and he passed. I commented on his photo and within an hour he had sent me an email with some tips. I was extremely grateful! Thanks again, Austin!

This was my view all day Monday. I hate to admit it but I was definitely stressing AND stress eating. I indulged in a Paleo cinnamon roll from Ryan Bros Coffee. I can’t even count how many cups of coffee I drank. I took all three practice exams and made out note cards for each answer I got wrong. I went over those note cards up until I walked in to take my exam. 

There were 120 questions on the test, 20 are not scored but you don’t know which 20 those are. You are able to mark the questions that you’d like to go back to. This was my life saver. I went through and answered all the questions I was sure about and then I went back to the ones I had marked. Once I finished, I said a prayer and then went to tell the lady at the front desk that I was done. When I saw “Passed” on her computer screen I questioned her. I was shocked. I really thought I had failed. This was a very hard exam and I was incredibly relieved to know that I had passed.

So what’s next? I’d really like to work towards a nutrition certification. I love nutrition and I was actually disappointed when I found there was only one chapter on nutrition in the personal training textbook. I’m going to do some research before I decide which school to go through. My ultimate goal is to be a stay at home mom but I still want to be able to help others. If I can work with people and help them achieve their goals while still being able to be there for my babies - that would be the dream. That is still a little while down the road though. We have to get married first. Until then I'll just continue adding to my resume. 

My parents treated me to coffee and lunch to celebrate.

Thank you to everyone who prayed for me, encouraged me, texted me, emailed me and congratulated me. All your kind words mean so much.

My Valentine’s Day blog will be up tomorrow. I planned on posting it on Monday but studying took over my entire day.

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Feb 13, 2015

All the Single Ladies

With Valentine’s Day being tomorrow, I wanted to write a special message to all the single ladies out there. Above is one of my all time favorite quotes spoken by the fabulous Carrie Bradshaw during the final season of Sex & the City. If you know me personally or if you read my blog regularly you know that I am engaged. What you may not be aware of is that fact that before I met my fiancé I almost settled. I was in and out of a five year relationship with a very nice guy. I had my doubts while we were together but for some reason I continued to go back to him after every break up. I guess he was safe. I was comfortable with him.

I grew up listening to my mom talk about my dad. She always told me her life began when she met my dad. Her heart stopped when she first saw him leaning up against his locker wearing his pink Oxford shirt and black Members Only jacket. I never felt this way about my ex and I never understood why. I just thought maybe that was the way God had planned my love story. I never felt any spark and I never had butterflies in my stomach but I figured I could live with that.

Shortly before we broke up, we were spending the evening at my parent’s house watching TV. He got up to get some water and I asked him if he could grab me a cup of coffee. He poured me what was left in the pot and it only came out to at most a quarter of the cup. My dad asked him, “Why don’t you just make her a new pot?” He replied, “I don’t know how to make coffee,” which was insane because he made a pot of coffee for himself at his place every morning. I didn’t know it at the time but my dad was livid.

My parents told me this story recently. I honestly don’t remember it. I think I blocked a lot of that time out (almost as if my life began when I met my fiancé). I guess as soon as my mom got home from work my dad pulled her aside and told her what had just happened. He told her, “Coffee is one of our daughter’s favorite things and he refuses to make it for her.”

The next night my mom sat me down and had a talk with me. She told me that she never wanted to intrude or try to influence me one way or the other but her and my dad couldn’t keep quiet anymore. They knew I deserved better and after everything they had seen and heard they were worried I was settling. I started crying because I knew what she was saying was correct. I was too afraid to admit any of it to myself but I had been feeling that way for years.

I prayed to God and asked Him to guide me. I was terrified of being single and alone after having someone there for five years but I trusted God. I told Him that I was going to end my relationship and I was going to give my love life to Him. I knew He had a much greater plan. 

We broke up the next night. I felt sadness and relief all at the same time. I knew it was for the best. I received this text from my dad after he found out.

I met my fiancé less than two weeks later. On the night of our first date I thought to myself several times, “This is how it’s supposed to feel.”

For our third date he invited me over to his place. He made me enchiladas, rice and beans. And for dessert he put together this fancy caramel thing. Oh, and freshly brewed coffee in a French press. Yes, I took photos of the food. Mostly to show others how wonderful he was. He still cooks for me to this day. He would prepare coffee in the French press for me if I didn't pack it and put it in storage. Oops! 

I’m telling you all these things because I don’t want you to settle. I was watching the news while I was at the gym yesterday. They were discussing how it is better to marry someone who is safe and actually get married than to wait forever for someone extremely special. I completely disagree. I’ve been in both types of relationships and speaking from experience, it is so much better to hold out for that extremely special person.

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