Life's Journey Lately

November 19, 2014

Blogging and social media are ambiguous. On one side, I love sharing random pictures and writings of my daily life happenings - even the most monotonous that I get poked fun at. Additionally, I enjoy looking into everyone's lives: because of curiosity, to find new beauty tricks,  see new products, and/or find motivation, etc. 

On the other side, sometimes I just want to be quiet. Sometimes I do not want to share about my life, what I am doing, and things like that. When that happens, people close to me or who read here regularly get concerned. It makes me emotional because I am still in awe that people read and follow my writings. I will never get over that either. I will never stop thanking people for reading, believing in me and seeing the good even when I can't. 

Lately I have been in one of the "hermit" moods. My state of mind where I do not want to "publicly" share what is going on. There is not anything wrong, I have just felt in the mood to keep to myself a little more. Being the extrovert I am and how open I have been, I know that may sound odd, but I consider it a "phase". 

I feel as if I am starting a new journey in life. I am finally free of heartache and the life I had. It took one freaking year, but I can tell you, I am absolutely free of it. Now that the smoke around me has finally settled and I can see through clear eyes, I feel different. 

I do not feel weighed down by chains. I absolutely still have my inner demons that come to play more often than not, but I do not have the chains of putting myself, my heart, and my dreams last because I cared more about another person. 

I have not felt this way in over 3 years.

For the most part of this year, I have worked. All of my my time has been spent by working my regular job with a lot of overtime and extra dedication, growing "Fitness Blondie" and not just as a blog, and starting a novel. Plus, numbing myself. Most of the time the only way I could do that was by working.

It is a lot. It's productive and it is essential to me as single woman who is solely responsibility for everything in life, but it is exhausting. At first, I had no balance and I wore myself out tremendously. After I recovered, I proceeded to get better at finding a balance. 

Then a couple of weeks ago, I found myself begging internally for a break. My regular job is busier than ever with everyone more stressed than ever. That is what pays my bills and allows me to have a roof over my head, so it must come first. After the work day is done, I am craving fun and adventure -- more than just a Saturday night. 

Thus I have been going out a lot lately; doing different things. Surprisingly, getting back to my "country" roots some. I have made a ton of new friends. I have laughed and made fun memories, and I have enjoyed myself. 

On the contrary, I know that I have to get back down to business so I don't lose you guys, and I definitely will. I am still here. I have just needed a break. 

Since writing is my outlet, my escape, my high, and everything in between, I have been working hard on my novel. I enjoy that a lot because it is only me and my characters. It almost feels like when I am writing, I am in another world. I like that. 

I have also had this awful cold for over a week and a half now. It is about to drive me insane since there is nothing you can do but stay loaded up on over the counter medications until it passes.

I also got my hair done Monday. I am back to my blonde with red streaks... except there was a problem. My best friend/stylist's sink was clogged up when she was rinsing my color and she did not know it. Thus the rinsed red die was still in the bowl as she was taking out my blonde foils. The result? Pink everywhere. We spent last night trying to do as much damage control as we could, but I am now officially a hot mess. Now I just have to wait for it to fade. I will post a picture when I get the guts.

Other than that, I have truly just been trying to figure things out. I feel different and I feel like I am starting a new chapter and new journey with life. It's exciting, intriguing and still a bit scary. But I have come to realize that I do not have all the answers, and sometimes, I just have to take my feelings and plans one day at a time. Through realizing this, it prompted me to keep to myself a little more than normal. 

I'm still here though, I am just finding that balance (especially with work stress) and I am excited for my friends and readers to go through this journey with me. Like I always say: weight loss, fitness, life... we're all in this together. 

The Perfect Healthy Snack: Nature Box Review

November 17, 2014

I was recently given product from the awesome company Nature Box to try and review. When the opportunity was presented to me, I immediately had to jump in. I am a busy and very on the go person, so being able to have healthy snacks readily available are essential to me. This prevents me from going through the drive-thru or stopping at a convenience store.

The best part? You can get a free trial.

NatureBox delivers a world of carefully sourced and nutritionist-approved foods right to your door. Each snack contains wholesome ingredients - with no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors, zero grams trans fats, and no high fructose corn syrup. You can learn more about their Product Promise here.

I have to start with my favorite; the lemon tea biscuits. There is no other way to describe them other than absolutely delicious. They reminded me so much of everyone's beloved girl scout cookies, They had a bit of a crunch, but still soft, and a sweet taste; but not to the point of being overly sweet.

Coconut cashews sounded very interesting to me, which is why I had to try them. Nuts in general are a perfect source of good fats and energy. This is a great snack to keep in your bag, purse, desk -- anywhere. The taste is very unique, but it goes so well together. It's a satisfying blend and sweet and salty. 

These sourdough cheddar pretzels had more flavor than I thought possible. Every bite was fantastic. I have never been a big pretzel eater, but I was sold when I read they were "sourdough cheddar". You can tell just by looking at them how much flavor they have. These are also fantastic to me because I dip them hummus. 

I have never participated or purchased from a company like Nature Box before and overall I was extremely pleased. The products tasted much better than I thought they would and there is SO much you can choose from.

Here are the details:

When you join NatureBox, you'll receive five different snacks every month. You can choose the snacks you want or be surprised with their carefully curated selections.

The free trial box contains one full-sized bag and four single-served pouches.

Got a dietary goal or taste preference? NatureBox has 100+ snacks to excite and delight every palate.
NatureBox snacks are perfect for this indulgent holiday season as a better for you snacking alternative – delicious snacks for your holiday party (and options for all of the picky eaters), easy and unique additions to fall/holiday recipes and fun ways to change up the lunchbox routine.

Click here for your free trial
Click here to visit their homepage
Click here to visit their complete snack catalog

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

The Hump Day Blog Hop!

November 11, 2014

Happy Hump Day everyone! We are halfway through the week and the hump day camel is too freaking cool, so lets have some fun and a blog hop to celebrate.

This is a little different than a link up. To participate, simply add your blog link. There is no required entry or anything like that. This is about networking, making new friends, and finding new blogs.

All I ask:
1) "The Hump Day" blog hop button button be displayed anywhere on your blog page or a specific entry with a link back to me or the weekly co-host. (Please do this. These blog hops take a lot of work and preparation.)
2) You don't have to follow me, but in the words of Blake Shelton: it'd sure be cool if ya did.
3) Please follow the co-host
4) Mingle with your fellow Bloggers.

Image Map
The Hump Day Blog Hop

Please join me in welcoming this weeks absolutely fabulous co-host:

3 Ways I Help Myself When I Lose My Weigh (Get it?)

November 7, 2014

The real world has been kicking my butt this week. I am so, so tired. I normally thrive and appreciate the hectic days in my office, but this week they are drowning me. I am normally liberated at new blogging opportunities and posts, but this week they are exhausting me. My mom was in town Monday through yesterday, which helped, and was so nice to have. I let loose a little and enjoyed time with her. 

What has been bothering me most-- a lot of the reason why I am more tired than usual, and why I have had so much trouble sleeping lately is my RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome). I was diagnosed in February. I started showing symptoms a year before though, but they were sporadic and did not happen often. At the time, I attributed the symptoms to overworking myself at the gym. 

It feels like ever since I was diagnosed I have issues nearly every night when I get into bed, which is horrible for me because I absolutely love sleep, and I ensure I get plenty of it nightly. It is rare that I let anything interfere with my sleep schedule. For my RLS, I have been on prescribed medication from my doctor as well engaging in a plethora of "home remedies" that my friends and readers have advised to me. Most of the time, that entire combination helps, but sometimes it doesn't. 

Saturday and last night it did not. I was up all night in so much pain. It is so hard to describe the pain to people: it is not an ache or pulled muscle type of pain, it is nerve pain. It is agony to lay still. The only relief I find is when I get up and walk around; which last night I did until 2 in the morning. By then, all of my sleep medication kicked in and knocked me out. Which is great, but I have felt horrible today: fatigued, unable to concentrate, falling asleep at my desk, and my RLS pain is still active. It carried on from the night and is still hurting as I am in my office. I keep getting up to stretch my legs that provides provides relief, but the pain sneaks right back in when I become still. 

Being sleep deprived affects me more than others sometimes. A lot of people are used to it, and their bodies and mind have adjusted. Unfortunately, I am not at that stage. Since I am a very high energy, outgoing, nonstop kind of person, I wear myself out a lot. I have admitted that on here many times. My remedy is sleep. When I am deprived from this, I can maybe be a bit dramatic and overbearing. Hell, I may even act like a 2 year old who needs a nap. I admit it, though. I am not proud. It is just one of my many flaws. 

I was dealing with the sleep deprivation over the weekend and on Monday and now I am back again plowing through it today. When I feel this way, it makes me lose sight of everything. I am a person who has never had balance in their life. It has always been all or nothing. Thus, over the past year, I have been working extensively to teach myself a life balance. 

I have gotten so, so much better, but I am still not where I want to be.

When I find myself slipping and losing my way-- losing vision of my goals, I need motivation to help me get over this internal negativity. 

Below is what I have done to help lately. It may be "over the top" to some, but for me, it's perfect. I am a woman on a mission, I am a woman who is fighting emotional eating, and I am a woman who still has 30 pounds to lose. I am also a woman who is working on improving the way I handle tasks and stress. 

Some of us truly need this extra, grandiose motivation. 

Food Motivation:

Print that picture above (I think the black background and white font just make it so intense and like it's really challenging you) and put it on your refrigerator, near your purse and/or wallet, at your desk-- wherever you need too. 

It may sound silly, but I promise you it works. There is nothing quite like reaching for that slice of chocolate cake after you already had a slice yesterday, and seeing something like that. It ruins the mood. It kills the cravings.

I am all about losing weight the healthy way-- a person needs their occasional bad food and cheat meal(s), however, if you're like me and stress eat, binge when life gets hard, or just have an issue with saying "no" to bad foods more often than you want to admit, something like this will help. It is a reminder of the measures you are taking to try and lose weight and become healthier.

Seeing something that like that puts my journey into perspective for me when a bad day or overbearing food craving start to take over and cloud my judgement.

Exercise Motivation:

I love to exercise. The high that comes from sweating and pushing your body's limits while blasting your favorite music, to me, is indescribable. I absolutely love training. 

But sometimes, my case of the "blah's" after a long day of work or stress, outweigh my my love for exercise. That is when I have to dig deep inside of myself and kick my own ass. Which is unbelievably hard as I am sure most of you know. That is why it can be so difficult to stay motivated.

When this happens, you have to look deep within yourself. It is not easy. This is the number 1 one reason why so many people give up on their weight loss journey: the lack of self-motivation. Motivation cannot be bought. Motivation cannot be taken with a glass of water to start your day each morning. 

Motivation comes from constantly cheering yourself on and making yourself mentally stronger. That is why I think the above picture is perfect to print and keep for those days when you lose sight, and most importantly, when you lose hope.
  • I started because everyday I could not look in the mirror without crying.
  • I would shower with the lights off because my naked body disgusted me. 
  • I started because I was in Target trying on a size 18 in pants that did not fit and I broke down. 
  • I started because I felt so tired all of the time. 
  • I started because my passion and work ethic for life dissipated on a daily basis..
  • I started because I wanted to FEEL good about myself.
When I remember how bad I used to feel, and how desperately I wanted to change, it helps me push on. I may be weary, I may be cussing and crying, but I push on. 

Eventually, you reach the finish line. You pushed yourself: you made healthy choices, and you attended that workout you so vehemently wanted to miss. That is when everything changes. The endorphin's are pumping, your confidence is built back up, and you now how the strength to keep going. 

Goal Motivation

There is nothing that makes a journey so real than seeing what you could be-- what you WILL be. One thing I have done for years now and continue to do, is carry pictures of my favorite fitness inspirations; be it on my phone, on my refrigerator, desk, or somewhere in my home. My two favorite women are Ava Cowan and Pauline Nordin. They remind me that what I want is possible if I work hard enough. When my passion for fitness began in late 2008, those two women stood out to me more in the magazines than anyone else. I have been inspired ever since. 

If they can do it, damn it, so can I. They are women and I am a woman. It's simple-- if I put in the work and dedication, I will get the same results.

The Hump Day Blog Hop and Two Awesome Giveaways!

November 5, 2014

Happy Hump Day everyone! We are halfway through the week and the hump day camel is too freaking cool, so lets have some fun and a blog hop to celebrate.

This is a little different than a link up. To participate, simply add your blog link. There is no required entry or anything like that. This is about networking, making new friends, and finding new blogs.

All I ask:
1) "The Hump Day" blog hop button button be displayed anywhere on your blog page or a specific entry with a link back to me or the weekly co-host. (Please do this. These blog hops take a lot of work and preparation.)
2) You don't have to follow me, but in the words of Blake Shelton: it'd sure be cool if ya did.
3) Mingle with your fellow Bloggers.

Image Map
The Hump Day Blog Hop

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Crockpot) Easy, Skinny Orange Chicken

November 4, 2014

Orange chicken is one of my absolute favorite Chinese dishes to eat. One day, the idea to make it in a healthier way hit me like a ton of bricks when I was in the grocery store and saw sugar free orange marmalade. I make this recipe via crockpot. It is simple, and I really like the taste. 

  • 1 pound of fresh chicken breast
  • 1 cup of Walden Farm's (calorie free) BBQ Sauce
  • 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup sugar free orange marmalade 
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch 
  • Couple dashes of ginger seasoning
What you do:
  • Cut chicken into small pieces
  • Place in crockpot and add all other ingredients
  • Stir to thoroughly combine
  • Place ingredients in a tupperware container
  • Stir to throughly combine
  • Let marinate over night
  • When ready to cook, place all ingredients in crockpot on high for 3-5 hours depending up on size and quantity.
  • Serve over a bed of brown rice or lo mein!
Super easy and super delicious. It's something different, too!

Nutritional Information:
This will vary based on different ingredients and specific brands used; this is to be used as a generic guide only.
Servings: 5
Calories: 110
Fat: 4g
Carbohydrates: 6g
Fiber: 2g
Protein: 20g