How Does Your Garden Grow?

Happy Monday! This Motivation Monday is dedicated to anyone who feels like they are falling behind, can’t keep up, or feels like they are struggling while everyone else is all sunshine and roses. I am here to tell you, the grass isn’t always greener — often it’s not.

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It’s really easy to feel like you have to work twice as hard as others for the same results. It can also be easy to feel like your accomplishments are celebrated with a whisper while other’s are trumpeted with resounding excitement. I think everyone wants love, support, and achievement in their lives and I think it takes a lot of hard work to earn those things. So, if you don’t have those and are giving it your all, while others have it made in the shade with half of the effort, just know their grass isn’t necessarily greener. It could be fake.

It’s really easy to be the center of attention, can-do-no-wrong champ when you put 100% of your effort into maintaining that. At the end of they day, it’s exhausting and it isn’t real. The real grass…it’s imperfect, patchy, maybe it looks like it’s been tilled, but guess what? That’s your investment and that’s where you’ll see the most flowers grow. Flowers are better than boring patches of grass anyways.

Happy Monday! xox

5 Easy Ways to Kick Off a Healthier Lifestyle

Healthier.pngAs someone who loves veggies and tries to eat mostly vegan, I think about health a lot, but sometimes it’s the things you aren’t doing that can contribute to an unhealthy or less healthy lifestyle. The good news is, fixing this is super easy, even for the laziest/busiest of people.

Because I don’t eat meat and I rarely eat dairy, I am always worried about getting enough of my iron and vitamins, especially because I tend to have low iron anyways. I eat a lot of beans, seeds, and veggies, but until I started using My Fitness Pal, I didn’t realize all of the nutrients I wasn’t getting.

I have made some really easy adjustments and not only do I feel great I have lost 10 pounds without even really trying! My husband has lost weight too, all his shirts are too big! What? I know, right! Anyways, here are some tips and adjustments to things that you may or may not already be doing in order to feel good every day.

START USING MY FITNESS PAL: This is one of my favorite apps, hands down. It keeps you on track with calories, water consumption, but most importantly—nutrition. I had NO idea I wasn’t getting enough Vitamin A, B, C, protein, and iron. You can also log in calories burned from working out. A lot of the meals are pre-loaded, so all you need to know are the portions you eat. You can log in via the web and your phone to log in your meals and snacks so there’s no excuse to not use it, because it’s that easy. My macros look great, but I was not meeting my daily nutrition goals, which I have adjusted and I feel great!

20160524_144011DRINK MORE WATER: This is what I struggle with big time. I would go from coffee to maybe a glass of water during the day and then I would have some water with dinner. There’s NO WAY that’s enough. I have a method now. If you have to drink 11 glasses of water a day, I know that I need to fill my water bottle at work 4 times and then drink a few glasses of water at home.

In order to stay on task I write goal times down on a post it note (11:30 a.m. , 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m.) and I know by those times, whatever they may be, I need to have had a bottle of water. I always add lemons and herbs to make it more interesting. When you get enough water there’s less headaches, you have better skin, you loose weight, and my acid reflux is so much better. Also, I hardly ever drink pop, but I love bubbles so I drink La Croix instead—my fave!

VITAMINS & NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS: Because I have dietary restrictions and I take daily medication for reflux I am lacking some nutrients. When you take a proton pump inhibitor daily it can deplete your magnesium, vitamin D, calcium and can lead to weak bones. I am not trying to have a hip replacement in my early 30’s so I take magnesium, calcium + vitamin D, in addition to vitamin B12 (for energy), COq10 (for heart health), folic acid (to help alleviate cramps), 5-HTP (for anxiety), and turmeric (for joint health/inflammation). That’s a long list, but I take a few in the morning and a few in the evening and I am confident that my bones will not break, I am getting the vitamins I need, and my cramps are 50% better than they used to be!

20160613_183856EAT MORE: Wait for it…veggies! Literally, 65% of my dinner and lunch are veggies. This might be more challenging to some, but I have never met a veggie I wouldn’t try so it’s easy for me. For example, tonight I roasted some cherry tomatoes, brussels sprouts, peppers, onions, and squash and I ate it with some soy “chicken”. Because my plate was mostly veggies that were filled with fiber and vitamins, it was filling and didn’t make me feel like garbage after I ate! Try spicing them up with some garlic, herbs, and red pepper flakes, yum.

WORK OUT WITH NOISE: I have never understood how people can run on the treadmill or work out in complete silence (unless it’s yoga), but even then I need some noise. If I make a certain play list while I am working out in my home “gym” aka my elliptical, bike, and treadmill, I know how far a long I am by what song is on and I know if I want to finish strong I need to push myself during a certain song. I also know what I need to start cooling down. Let’s be honest, I’m the girl listening to something fun and poppy like Passion Pit while getting into a deep thoughtful yoga pose (I’m not great at finding my center—yet!), but this is how I am able to stay on task and motivated while working out.

See…super easy! What are your simple tips to a healthier you?

Hustle Hard, Girls.

Start the grind, it’s Monday y’all and I. am. excited! This week, I am signing a contract for a really amazing new position. It’s a HUGE step up in every way possible; compensation, work-life balance, benefits, opportunities, everything. It’s been a really long process; multiple interviews, a 15 page marketing plan, presentation, group interviews, the list goes on.

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And…I’m batting 100–I’ve still never gone in for an interview and not received an offer for the position. So, keep at it…whatever you’re working on and you’ll get there, just hustle hard and run wild with success. Happy Monday. ❤

I’m the Hero of This Story on a Monday.

HeroHappy Monday! Here’s some motivation for you because it’s going to be a longggg week!:

Often times, I think that people are way harder than themselves than anyone else, which is crazy because why pile on top of what your critics already say/think about you? People will paint you in a negative light—there’s no reason for you to add to what people who aren’t your friends think and there’s certainly no reason why your biggest critic should be yourself.

It’s taken me a long time, the majority of my life, to get to the point when I don’t care what people say and I don’t participate in the criticism of myself. In fact, the only time I ever get blindly furious is when people make assumptions about my family and my childhood (and adulthood, really) — which is something my mother, sisters, and I currently struggle with, with regards to my father. Sounds really crappy of someone to bring up, right? Also, name an “ism” and it probably really angers me, because duh.

The hardest part of being kind to yourself is realizing that nobody can make you feel comfortable about your character and capabilities except for you. So, be your own hero…be your own Batman…Superman…Beatrix KiddoWednesday Addams…whoever, because at the end of the day you have to save yourself.

Also, let’s get some more awesome female superheroes please?

 

Budget Like A Boss, Beginners Edition

BudgetGraphicI had a visit from my family over this past weekend which was so much fun. I finally got to meet my future brother-in-law and Mr. JD and I love love love him. While they were visiting I came to some realizations amidst all of the fun; I need to start saving for 1) my sister’s wedding in France (her fiance is from the French countryside) and 2) my mom’s inevitable retirement. Also—and somewhat related—I realized that people can be really disgusting, have zero integrity or accountability, and love to make assumptions, but that’s a story for a different day because I wasn’t going to let anything ruin my family being here :).

As I was saying, most people believe that their parents will spend their golden years with a robust retirement, but that’s just not the case for everyone—I wish it was! For example, because of my unaccountable (and estranged) father, my mother has very little savings and she’s past the age where she can technically retire. I want her to be able to stop working when she wants and live comfortably, so this is something I have to start budgeting for. Luckily I have help from my sisters, one is a vice president at a hedge fund and her fiance is an architect—my other sister manages creative content. We will all be in the position to chip in, but I also have to think about my in-laws and my sister-in-law, who has medical needs. Everyone needs help at one point or another, especially in retirement and I want to be able to provide that.

Because I want to be able to take care of my entire family and can only count on limited amounts of help, Mr. JD and I are going to do the best we can to budget more than we normally do.

Here are 5 easy step to start a budget or strengthen the budget you already have:

  1. Get Organized: At work, I have binders for everything and my budget is no different. I happen to like this free printable from Printable Crush—it has almost everything you need to get on track, including: monthly budget, expenses, schedule, and meal planner. The only thing is doesn’t have is something to track your student loans (which can be complicated, but we’ll get to that later).
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  2. Track It On the Go: Everyone has to have extra spending money for clothes, toiletries, etc. This can get out of control really fast so I suggest giving yourself a set amount of personal spending money and then track it using Trello. I make boards for line items in my budget and then as soon as I spend money I make sure I account for it so I know where I am at on a weekly basis. Trello also has an app, so you’re mobile on the go! And the best part? It’s FREE, which means it’s budget friendly.
  3. Pay Down Debt With High Interest: This depends on the debt you have, Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 11.09.34 PMgenerally credit card debt is going to have a higher interest rate than your student loans, but it really just depends. Paying your high-interest loans and lines of credit down will free up money to pay down other debts, make investments, or just save. I created this Student Loan Payment tracker because most of the time people have multiple loans with different interest rates. I always try to round up and pay at least $10-$40 more on each of my student loans every month.
  4. Save For Emergencies: Saving 10% of your paycheck is crucial, this way you will have savings on hand in case you have a astronomical vet bill, insurance premium payment, doctors visit, etc. There is no worse feeling that having your budget be blown out of the water and/or not having cash-on-hand in case of an emergency. Typically, Mr. JD and I save between 10% and 15% of our monthly income, but we will be bumping that up a bit so we can help our family in the future.
  5. Decrease Your Required Payments: This is important because low payments are so attractive when you really want something with a big price tag, but financing isn’t always the answer. Also, there is an opportunity cost that comes with everything. I was talking to my aea2447ce69e0692e17d5c686ad494d0sister over the weekend and she was talking about how she disagrees with people who have upwards of 8 kids (because she saw a gaggle of kids at a Museum we were checking out). Her argument is that, just because you can provide food, clothing, etc. doesn’t mean you can provide the attention and care that each child needs. This is where the term “opportunity cost” comes in, meaning, just because you can afford payments for something doesn’t mean you have the time to invest in it. My best suggestion would be to keep things you have to make payments on down to things that are invaluable to your everyday life…like a car, perhaps a house and maybe not-so-much a giant jet ski or flat screen tv. For me, this means putting some of the big projects that I wanted to do on hold, like an in ground pool. We can certainly afford to do it, however, we don’t have the time to fully enjoy it or take care of it…maybe in the next house we buy! 🙂

I hope these tips put you on the right track to budgeting, it’s hard work and takes time, but I know you can do it—it works well for us, in fact, we’ll send you a post card from Paris next summer. ❤

 

 

Take it, Use it, Rise Above it!

I know it’s a little late for some motivation for this Monday, but here’s something for the rest of the week.

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I nailed a very important appointment I had today, spent time with my husband, and worked out while doing errands (yes, I made a hair appointment while on my elliptical). I feel great and ready to tackle the entire week and while I hope you do as well, I know that Mondays can be tough.

Of course, there are always reasons to feel down, questions the caliber of person you are, and where you are going, especially when people (including yourself) plant those seeds. Use it as motivation, prove them wrong, and get. it. done! xo

Mixtape Monday: Ain’t It Fun?

I’m super ready and motivated for Monday! Wake up, work out, then off to my busy work day. Whether I’m working out, driving to/from work, or just need to simmer down, music is always a cathartic thing for me—kind of a way to detox. This is especially true for when I get supremely annoyed/angry/frustrated, so dedicate this week’s Mixtape Monday to all the people out there who through their words, actions, or lack there of, put you down and out.

More than once this past week I wanted to say some not very nice, but well deserved things to people who were less than nice to me. However, it’s always better to take a breath, listen to some music, simmer down, and take the high road. Throw on some music in your headphones and dedicate it to everyone who is bothering you and trust me, you’ll feel better.

Consequently, this is also an awesome mix to work out to.

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  • “Ain’t it Fun” – Paramore (Side note: Hayley’s basically telling everyone to grow heck up and get over themselves…and I LOVE it!)
  • “The Sweet Life” – Every Time I Die (Side note: I feel like Keith Buckley wrote this song about (some) Millenials.)
  • “Ignorance” – Paramore
  • “Interlude: Moving On” – Paramore (Side note: Ukulele, a total no-brainer)
  • “Bad Blood” – Ryan Adams (Side note: An awesome cover.)
  • “Surprise, Surprise” – The Starting Line
  • “Outsider” Remix – A Perfect Circle
  • “Hate on Me” – Jill Scott (Side note: Jill Scott’s voice is amaaaazing)
  • “Big Brat” – Phantom Planet (Side note: The song is self explanitory and also features an actor from one of my fav. Wes Anderson movies.)

Click here to play