Planning for Success as a Student

Chances are we all know at least one person who is ready to embark on their college journey in the fall. When I first went away to school, I remember feeling like I had so many school supplies, yet I felt nowhere near prepared enough to actually start college. Y’all already know how much I love office supplies and every possible product to keep me organized, so I thought I’d elaborate a little more on some things that I loved having and that I wish I had! Through my five and half (long) years of college, I finally learned what products work best and the ones that aren’t really necessary. These are the things that have worked well for me and the things I really don’t think I would have made it through successfully without!

*This post contains affiliate links.
I really feel like a person can’t have enough office or school supplies. It’s just not possible! You’ll always use them eventually, and there’s just something about a nice clean notebook with catchy stickers and colorful pens that make note taking easier. In college, my Lilly Pulitzer Academic planner was the best thing I owned. It was bright and colorful, user friendly and made me actually want to get it out to use – always. How cute is this Lilly Pulitzer 17 month 2017-2018?!

I always loved to use a colored coated notebook & binder for each class, just the simple $1 or $2 ones you can find just about anywhere they sell school supplies. I know I linked these pens in another post, but I’ve found that color coating notes with ink color helps in the studying process, it doesn’t just look pretty! These BIC colorful pens are inexpensive and the best option, with the best colors!

Note taking is never complete without page markers and stickers. Check out some of my favorites here! There are so many options out there, so I just wanted to share some of my favorites. Another thing that made organization of my weeks easier was a set of paper clips, push pins, and binder clips, in a addition to a small bulletin board. I used the bulletin to write out my week at a glance, in order to hold me accountable and let me know what events I had coming up that week. My Day Designs Wall Calendar has since taken the place of a bulletin board in my home, but either one works perfectly! Which one do you prefer?

Do any of you all have an organization station in your kitchen or somewhere around the house? I think they are SO cute so please let me know if y’all have one & how you set it up & use it!

The summer before heading to school, I received an Amazon gift card as a graduation gift and had absolutely no idea what I would ever find on Amazon. Good news- Amazon has literally everything. I ended up finding my favorite kate spade new york Pencil Pouch on there and I still use it today! It’s so clean and pretty and, I must say, we have definitely come a long way from the plastic pencil boxes from first grade! I also absolutely love my Kate Spade coffee tumbler. Mine is white and gold striped, and my pencil holder is white and gold polka dots, like I’ve linked above. Does it get any cuter than that?

One of the biggest things I’ve fallen in love with is this stainless steel programmable crockpot. There are so many recipes out there that are so much better than soup every night and cooking with a crockpot is SO easy. Besides, these bags make for the easiest clean up! I love making oatmeal or chia pudding in the crockpot, as well as my Mexican chili and apple crisp. The options are endless. Over the last few years, I’ve accumulated several cookbooks with tons of recipes too, so we all know there’s tons of options out there to make cooking easy for busy students or adults! We’re all busy, so no matter if we’re heading to college or just dealing with all the crazy of our every day lives’, a crockpot is always a good idea.

A lot of these recommendations and products are steered more toward girls, but some of my note taking tips and colored coordination study habits hopefully can help everyone! Who do you know that’s heading off to school? What are you doing to help get them ready?

 

*I know I’ve been referring you guys to Amazon a lot in my posts, I just think it’s awesome how much you can order and how quickly you can get it! You can literally get anything you could possibly need! Another thing that’s awesome is the opportunity for Amazon Prime. I’ve linked a 30 day free trial for Amazon Prime to get free shipping in 2 days on thousands of products on the site. I definitely encourage you to at least try Amazon Prime, if you haven’t already. There’s always an option to cancel after the initial 30 days, but the benefits are totally worth it!

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

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East Coast Excursions.

In June 2015, right in the midst of my first quarter life crisis, Southwest Airlines was having a huge sale & I made a split second decision to book a flight to Baltimore. It was $98 round trip, how could I not?! Then I realized, I’d never been to Baltimore and I had no idea what I was going to do there or if anyone was going to go with me. So I started planning. The trip of a lifetime, all by myself. I was going to fly into Baltimore early one Tuesday morning in September, rent a car & drive up the coast. I was elated! I had never been to the East Coast before, so this trip was going to be so amazing for me. My mom decided she would meet me in Maine after 5 days and we’d spend the last 5 days together. I’m so excited to share with y’all my excursions from this trip I’ll never forget!

Tuesday, September 15th: I left Louisville early and arrived in Baltimore around 9:00 am. As soon as I landed, I felt like this was where I belonged. I drove to the National Aquarium and had an amazing morning, talking to some of the employees about potential jobs there and being able to work closely with some of the marine life. There was a beautiful sea turtle who was rescued from the ocean after losing one of it’s feet and they helped restore him back to his full potential. I know zoos and aquariums get a lot of bad press because the animals are held in captivity, but that was definitely a feel good story! Already, I was in heaven. I found an awesome seafood restaurant for lunch on the water and sat outside enjoying every second.

That night, I went to see the Baltimore Orioles play the Boston RedSox at Camden Yards. That park is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen! To see a game at every Major League stadium is on my bucket list so I was so excited to check this one off the list! The Red Sox won the game and then I was on my way to stay at the hotel in Greenbelt, Maryland. I was so excited I was actually on this trip that I could barely sleep that night.

Wednesday, September 16th: It was an early morning after a late game as I drove from Greenbelt, Maryland to Falmouth, Massachusetts, making it through 8 states that day. Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. I stopped in Philly to see one of the LOVE Statues and grab some coffee. I drove down into New York City, through Chelsea, Manhattan, and the Bronx. I had been to NYC before but driving through was a much different experience than walking or taking a cab everywhere! I didn’t really love the part of Delaware I drove through, but it’s another state I can mark off my list! I made it to Newport, Rhode Island for sunset and I could not be more thankful that I did! The whole town was absolutely beautiful. So quaint and friendly. Peaceful and serene. My destination of Falmouth-Cape Cod was finally reached where I would spend the next two nights. I felt like I was at home, regardless of the fact I had absolutely no idea where I really was. Pure Bliss.

Thursday, September 17th: On day 3, I was scheduled to take a ferry ride to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. This was the event I was most looking forward to of the entire trip. Beautiful pictures of Nantucket had been flooding my timelines on Instagram and Pinterest for years and I could not wait to experience it for myself! I woke up extremely early again and drove from Falmouth to Hyannis to the port for Hy-Line Cruises. We went from Hyannis to Nantucket, where I spent most of the morning and afternoon wandering aimlessly through the brick streets and neighborhoods. I never ever wanted to leave. I had lunch at a cute little spot not too far from the port where I had the best lobster roll and the sweetest server. Everyone was so friendly and (seemingly) insanely happy. After being there, it makes me wonder why anyone would live anywhere else. I got coffee from Handlebar Café and walked to Brant Point Lighthouse, where I intended to lose track of time and miss the ferry to our next destination.

Sure enough, I made it back to the ferry and we were on our way to Martha’s Vineyard. Our port was at Oaks Bluff and I was surprisingly a little disappointed! Maybe there’s just no way it could have lived up to how I felt about Nantucket or maybe my hopes were just too high to begin with. I walked around on the beach for most of the evening and had dinner at one of the places along the river walk. I can’t remember the name but it wasn’t the best dinner of the trip. The beach was beautiful and the sunset that night was single handedly the most amazing sight I’ve ever seen. During the ferry ride back, I felt happier than I had felt in years. That night, I stayed in Falmouth again, and fell asleep feeling better about life than I ever had.

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Friday, September 18th: Boston day! One of the most beautifully historic cities I’ve ever been in and I was ready to experience it all. The morning was spent down by the Boston harbor, watching the boats go out and listening to the thick Boston accents from the locals. The best thing about traveling is being thrown in with the locals to see how they do life. I had lunch at Salty Dog at Quincy Market and it was delicious! I walked through the market and watched a magician in the square. I walked up the hill toward the university and sat in the quad to cool off from the heat before visiting Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. There was no game that day so I can’t check it off the list, but I was able to get a ball cap! I can’t wait to go back to see at game at the Green Monster!

Later, I was walking through the mall when my mom called to tell me my grandmother had been in a terrible car accident. She had no details and my mood was instantly turned. I felt completely lost, and for the first time on the trip, I actually felt lonely. I didn’t know what else to do except go back to the hotel, swim some laps and try to wait around for more news. I had dinner at a chain restaurant for the first time on the trip and went back to the hotel in Peabody, Massachusetts to go rest up for the next day.

*I received word that my grandma was in better shape than we originally thought but she still spent weeks in ICU at the hospital in Chicago. I changed the details of my trip and knew I needed to be with her.

Saturday, September 19th: Another early morning- I was going on a whale watching cruise! I headed to Gloucester, Massachusetts to take a boat out to watch these amazing creatures in their natural habitats. While waiting to board, I saw a local fisherman bringing in all of the lobsters he’d found on his trip. Being able to hold one was pretty cool! I had lunch at Gloucester House Restaurant, where the food was delicious! I ate so much fresh seafood on this trip it was insane.

We finally boarded for our day trip and it was about a 4 hour trip on a ship from 7 Seas Whale Watching Company. It was a blast! On the way out, it was so foggy we couldn’t see anything around us but out to sea even further it was beautiful and we ended up following three different whales for the rest of the afternoon. There were two grown whales that the captain and guide were familiar with and one calf that had never been seen on an excursion before. It was awesome to see how small the baby was compared to it’s mother, yet it was still gigantic! Going back to my love for marine life- we learned how to identify whales based on specific features they each have, so y’all already know I was just in heaven, yet again. We could not have had a more perfect day for a trip like this. I was so lucky throughout the my whole trip to have perfect temperatures and clear skies.

After we returned to the port, I drove from Massachusetts to South Portland, Maine. I drove through New Hampshire, so the only state in the east I haven’t visited is Vermont! I arrived in Portland after sunset, so I stopped at a Target to grab some nail polish and a few of my favorite things so I could pamper myself a little for the first time in several days! I had Otto’s pizza delivery to the hotel and thoroughly enjoyed some down time that night. It was exactly what I needed.

Sunday, September 20th: I woke up even earlier than I had any other day of the trip so I could see some lighthouses in Maine before I had to drive back down to Boston for my flight to Chicago. I visited Portland Head Lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth and I still cannot get over how beautiful that part of our country truly is. It was supposed to rain all day but it ended up clearing up early, making for some of the best pictures! I hiked the Cliff Trail for a few hours so I could take in every moment I possibly could that morning.

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After a few hours at the lighthouse, I stopped for lunch and headed back down to Boston to catch a plane to see my grandma.

I spent the next 5 days exploring Chicago instead of the east coast, but being with my family during that time was most important. I drove into downtown each day I was there and ended up going to a Cubs game spur of the moment! Of course, it was a blast! My grandma was happy to see me but sorry I cut my trip short for her. Almost two years later, she’s doing great and I still have the best memories of my first solo trip. I will definitely be taking another trip to the east coast.

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Where should I visit on my next trip there? Favorite things to do in Maine, on Nantucket, or anywhere else? Help me out! I’d also love to hear some stories about people who live in the area!

Also, how many of you guys have taken solo trips? Where did you go? I’m planning to take another solo vacay so any tips you have are definitely appreciated!

How Do You Measure Success?

What is success to you?

The last several months have been quite a whirlwind, between making the decision to quit school & also trying to find a new job that will turn into a career, it feels like I’ve been running around in circles with no progress. When I turned 26 and was feeling completely behind in life, I refused to let myself have another quarter life crisis. I’ve learned a lot about myself over the span of these days & I’ve realized I’m so much stronger in every aspect than I realized and than I ever have been before. I’m still constantly looking for something to keep me busy & no matter how hard I want to, I can’t seem to sleep late & spend the days doing absolutely nothing!

 

*UPDATE: Many of you all know, I have since found a full time job, but am definitely still not where I want to be on my own scale of success.

 

How many of you guys had a quarter life crisis? Make any crazy decisions? I know they’re real yet I know to some of you, freaking out about turning 26 seems ridiculous. I just feel like I should have myself together by this point in life!

 

It seems like so many people ultimately measure success by how much money you make or how high standing in society you are. Over the last year, I’ve realized it’s so much more than that. I admit, money sure does help when times are hard & it seems like more money would bring instant happiness. Of course we all know, sure money can aid in happiness, but it certainly does not create it.

 

Even still, it seems like so many people are worried about how much money they make or how big their house is. Lately I’ve learnned that my success can be measured by how happy I am with the life I’m living & by the steps I take every day to make the best of every moment in my life every single day. I know not every day is perfect and days at the office are often super difficult & just plain draining. But I also know there are people in this world who love their job & who love the career they’ve chosen.

 

I’ve learned that success is best defined by each individual person. To me, it’s measured by genuine happiness & a feeling of accomplishment day in & day out. It’s displayed in the way we carry ourselves from the time we wake up until the moment we fall asleep each day. I know it may be so much harder to see success so simply when you have a family to raise, mortgages to pay & a day job you’re not in love with. What if we all took a step back & revisited one the scariest words we try to live each day? What if we redefined what this word means to each of us, in hopes of easing in to simpler, more fulfilling lives?

 

What kind of advice can you all give? How did you find your passion? What is your passion & how did you know?

 

 

From my experience, success & leading a fulfilling life have so much to do with your morning routine. I used to work at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, working a 9-5, Monday-Friday & for the most part, it was pretty great. I loved getting up at 5 am to go to the 6 am Pure Barre class, walk for 3 miles, shower & head to work! I always carry teeth whitening strips, a green tea bag, my mascara & eyeliner with me & with those few things, I’m always good to go! I have at least one cup of green tea every day because something about it just helps me feel like I can conquer the world! Crazy right? But really. On days that I didn’t go to Pure Barre or the gym before work, I was sluggish and just plain irritable. Very quickly, I realized how important that ‘me time’ before work every day really was.

 

We are all constantly connected via email, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever forms of social media we like best. So that hour or so every morning completely for me is always the best way to start my day disconnected from the outside world so I’m able to get myself feeling good!

 

What are some of your morning routines that help get you going every day? What is your go to, no fail item/workout that you have to have every morning?

 

Your takeaway from this one: success is what you make it. Try not to let the neighbors next door or even your sister make you feel inferior about where you are in your life compared to theirs. Everyone is on their own path to success. Work on yourself without worrying about how you measure up to the guy next door. At least that’s certainly what I’m trying to do.

Halo Top. Arctic Zero.

Well, it’s finally time to address one of the more popular debates in the world these days: Artic Zero or Halo Top? Which kind of healthier ice cream option is the best?

It seems like every time we turn around there’s another option for healthier snacking & sometimes it’s just too hard to choose! Plus, when you’re spending $5 on one pint of ice cream, you wanna be able to make an educated choice. That’s where I come in. 

For a little over a year I was all about Artic Zero. I love how icy and refreshing they all are, even the decadent ones like brownie or cookie dough. The flavor is so good and I tried just about every single flavor option they sold in my local Kroger. My favorite creamier flavor is the cookie dough. It has real pieces of cookie dough and it’s oh so wonderful. I also love the pomegranate as an icier option that is so delicious and refreshing during the brutal summer months. They recommend you leave it out for 10 minutes before eating, or they say you can put it in the microwave for 30 seconds to speed up the process. It is a lot better when you let it sit, but it’s awfully hard to wait sometimes. Artic Zero has a good amount of protein and doesn’t taste powdery or like it’s chalked full of protein. It comes in a pint and has the nutritional values for one serving, as well as for the whole thing. I know we’re not supposed to eat a whole pint of ice cream ever, but when you can eat something that’s so delicious for less than 300 calories that will keep you full, sometimes it’s difficult not to!

I’ve always been one who loves fruity sorbet and sherbet rather than heavy chocolaty ice creams or custards. Until recently, that is.

Halo Top. I was so hesitant to give in to yet another brand of healthier “ice cream” because I really thought that Artic Zero was as good as it was gonna get. Then my sister came home on Weight Watchers and informed me that Halo Top was better on points, a whole lot creamier, and still had the protein that I felt like I needed to keep me full. I hate to admit this, but little sister was right. I cannot get enough. Red Velvet, Mint Chocolate Chip, Pistachio, Black Cherry, Brownie Batter, give me all of the flavors. I truly need them all. I didn’t even know I liked Red Velvet and last night I looked down and the pint was half empty! If you’re looking for something creamy like real ice cream is, this is definitely the winner. It’s so satisfying and also has the protein I like to have in a snack. It’s just that good. They do recommend you leave it out on the counter for about 15 minutes and it helps to reach the maximum consistency we look for when we need to satisfy our ice cream craving. Just like Artic Zero, it’s really hard to wait, but it’s SO much better when you do. Just don’t forget about it!

Ultimately, if I had to choose, I would go with Halo Top. But I really do think it depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re on a program like Weight Watchers, it seems Halo Top is also the better option. But if you’re looking for something icy to cool down or ease a sore throat, Arctic Zero is the way to go, no doubt. If you’re looking to combat the need for a half-gallon of creamy goodness of custard or ice cream, go with Halo Top.

Now I wanna know which one you love! Are there some other new brands that are better than either one of these?

And now of course I need to know your favorite flavors of each so I can try them for myself!

This is one of those posts that I really want all of the advice and recommendations on!

Can’t wait to hear from you guys!

What Are You Planning On?

Alright y’all, I’ve been working on this one for a while and I am entirely too excited to talk about it! I absolutely LOVE to plan. Plan the days, plan the weeks, plan the months. I think it’s so much fun and I absolutely love all the colorful pens and pretty stickers, along with all of the place holders, rulers, and just about any office supply you could imagine. I love notebooks, wall calendars, day-by-day planners and month-by-month planners and any kind of print-out that helps me step my game up. You name it, I’ve tried it and chances are, I love it! It’s rare that you’ll catch me without my planner, a notebook, and my daily notepad at any given time. Of course I know things come up that it’s impossible to plan for everything and I really still do love some spontaneity in my life! I just like to lay out the things I know about the week or month in advance, especially with my work and now that I’m trying my best to run this blog! I’ve also found that by putting my workouts in my planner each week, I’m a lot more likely to attend every day!

I’m going to list some of the essentials that I use and I know I wouldn’t be able to make it through the days without. These are all items I have used and continue to use and I would honestly not have them on this page if I didn’t really feel like you all could benefit from them too! *This post contains affiliate links.

Day Designer Wall Calendar
I’ve recently started to love Day Designer by Blue Sky after using their wall calendars for the last three years. Their designs are always so cute and the layouts are always perfect for my needs. Check out one of their adorable 2017-2018 wall calendars here! This one is very similar to the one I purchased here last year, with the ability to not only write in daily tasks and events, but also include monthly projects and notes in the side bar. I can’t get over how cute the floral is! They offer January through December or July through June formats.

Day Designer for Blue Sky Lined Pad, 3-Pack
This is a product that I just ordered and I can’t wait to use. After downloading a few print outs, I knew this note pad was gonna be a game changer. They’re perfect to use with a clipboard or even tear a few off, fold them up & put them in your pocket to take quicks notes on during a meeting. From there, it’s super easy to transfer any special dates and times to your planner when you have time! Plus this an awesome deal for a three pack!

May Designs Notebooks
My absolute favorite notebooks on Earth are from May Designs. They literally blow any other product out of the water. You can special order your academic planners, notebooks, and stationary from maydesigns.com and their products are gorgeous! I’m not kidding when I say I’ve purchased over 20 books from them and tons of stationary. The designs they offer are perfect for every mood you’ll experience and for each of the seasons! Plus they have excellent customer service. They also have food & exercise journals, as well as agendas and adult coloring books. Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for a giveaway and more on my Instagram page!

Only a small portion of my May Designs collection!

Erin Condren Planner
I’ve ordered a LifePlanner from Erin Condren for the last three years, and I could not be more impressed with the designs they offer and with how the inside layouts look. You can choose from vertical or horizontal layouts, and from colorful or black and white. The horizontal is nice for academics, but I prefer the vertical layout so I can break down my days by morning, day, and evening. They come with tons of stickers that already have events written on them and also some blank ones to write in your own events and appointments. Of course you have the option to order and create as many extra stickers for any events you could dream of. All orders and be placed through erincondren.com. Go order for 2018 and let me know which design you’ve chosen!

Erin Condren Life Planner

Daily To-Do List
This is another great alternative that’s similar to the one I currently carry around everywhere. It’s like the notepad version of a planner. It’s broken down into sections for the easiest daily organization possible, without the bulkiness of an actual planner. Each day is broken down by hour to list meetings or special events, there’s a to-do list section, a place to list the 3 things you absolutely have to do that day, and one of my favorite parts is the area where you can write down everything you’ve eaten and how much water you’ve had to drink! How cool?! You can grab yours here!

BIC Atlantis Original Retractable Ball Colored Pens
These are the exact pens that I use for all of my note taking and planning needs. The ink seems to last forever and the colors are so vibrant and pretty! It makes it easy to categorize different events on my calendars. Typically I use green to symbolize pay day or when bills are due, I usually use pink for social events, purple for special work events, the list continues. I also change it up when I’m getting bored of the color coordination I’ve been running with for too long. Regardless of color, these pens write smoothly and it’s like an actual ink pen instead of a marker, so there’s no bleeding through the paper or smearing like the old school gel pens do. Plus these are the perfect, fun colors!

And that’s it! These are some of my favorite things that help me get through each day without going crazy. My job keeps me busy with people telling me little details right and left so with notepads and planners always within reach, my mind is at ease and I’m able to do my work so much more efficiently.

What are your favorite brands and products for planning and organization of every day life? Anything I’ve just got to try? Can’t wait to hear from you!

*I know I’ve been referring you guys to Amazon a lot in my posts, I just think it’s awesome how much you can order and how quickly you can get it! You can literally get anything you could possibly need! Another thing that’s awesome is the opportunity for Amazon Prime. I’ve linked a 30 day free trial for Amazon Prime to get free shipping in 2 days on thousands of products on the site. I definitely encourage you to at least try Amazon Prime, if you haven’t already. There’s always an option to cancel after the initial 30 days, but the benefits are totally worth it!

Going the Extra Mile.

“Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded.”

How insanely true is this quote? I took this picture after lunch with my parents last week and all I wanted to do was keep running. It ended up being a gorgeous day regardless of it being overcast with a major chance of storms. The perfect temperature for a run, yet there was no one around. I started thinking about how often the path is wide open for us to start working and follow our dreams, whatever they may be. Then it occurred to me how infrequently we advantage of these opportunities. Why? Is it because we’re scared of failing? Don’t feel like putting in the extra work? Too tired when we come home from our day job to work on ourselves and our own goals? There are so many things that keep us from accomplishing our goals, big or small.

It was 2009 when I first thought I wanted to be an orthodontist. I was born with a severe underbite and a crossbite and spent most of my childhood with mouth pieces, face masks, and retainers before having braces in 8th grade. I literally had every kind of contraption to straighten my jaw that you could imagine. And it all worked. My teeth were straight and my jaw was (& still is!) perfectly aligned. I had an amazing orthodontist through those years- he made the process bearable and even enjoyable. I wanted to do for people what he did for me. His passion for his profession showed every day in the office and it made me want to be that. Once he retired, I shadowed a different orthodontist several times. She was not only running her dental/orthodontics  practice alone, but she was a single mom, worked out twice a day, and was seriously killing it every single day. We spent a lot of time together before the office opened and after it closed and it quickly became official- that’s who I wanted to be like. For a few years, I felt that same passion, too. Then it took me 5 and half years to finish my undergrad and I decided I didn’t want to spend 7 more years in school. That’s what I convinced myself, anyway.
Or was it that I was afraid I wouldn’t get in to dental school? What if I wasn’t as good at it as those two were? I didn’t have the most exceptional grades, but I’d visited the advisors at UofL and they were encouraging every time I was there. Still, something in my mind was too scared to act on what I once felt so strongly about.

Then there’s Pure Barre. It was 2011 when I first heard about the studios in Louisville. I wanted to try instantly. I even had a friend who told me I could go with her. I was so excited, motivated, a little nervous, but actually terrified. I started talking myself out of it because it was too far from home, I didn’t look like the other girls there- the list goes on. It was 2015 before I ever even tried a class! This is the perfect example of why it’s so important to push ourselves to our limits because we never know how perfect it can turn out. Y’all already know how much Pure Barre has changed my life in the last two years so I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer.

It was also 2011 when I first wanted to start a blog. Now 6 years later and I’ve actually started one! I feel so proud to have this thing up & running, no matter how successful it currently is. I’ve achieved one of my biggest goals and it feels so. freaking. good.

I’ve always been one to put in the extra effort at work especially. I haven’t loved every job I’ve had, so it definitely hasn’t been easy to give 120% day in and day out. But in my experience, it’s worth it. At my last job, I started out selling tickets at a museum on the weekends during college. Then I started going on the trips with the mobile museum and quickly became the full time manager and Brand Ambassador for the museum. It was an absolute dream job. I moved up quickly and felt successful for the first time in my life. I reached this point because I was reliable, worked hard every day, and made sure to leave lasting impressions on the customers. Obviously not many other people around me had worked like that because there wasn’t anyone else who moved up like I had. And I’m proud to say I’m the only Brand Ambassador that museum has ever seen.

It’s so easy to give up on ourselves and our own goals because so many of us spend every day working for someone else to achieve their goals. I’m not saying quit your day job. I’m only saying take time to prioritize your own life. Time management is one of the biggest things that has helped me do things to benefit myself. Make bettering yourself each and every day a habit.

I challenge each of you to push yourself out of your comfort zone, no matter what it is. Sure we might not succeed the first time or even the second, but we certainly will never succeed if we don’t try. I recently participated in a 5 day boot camp that helped lay out visions and goals for my life and it’s insane how much something like that will help! Write down your visions and your goals, short term and long term. Then write out the smaller steps you’ll have to take each day to lead you to achieve those visions and goals.

Tell yourself failure is not an option and just keep going. Go the extra mile, unlike so many people we encounter each day. You will be amazed with yourself, I promise!

 

Imagine all the things we could achieve if we would just do them. Make yourself proud, you deserve it!

What are you going to do today that your future self will thank you for? Tell me! 

Pitaya Smoothie Bowl.

This one is my absolute favorite & I could really eat this every single day. I am all about eating what you love, but I know as well as anyone that you’ve got to give your body the good stuff. My go to in the morning, especially in the summer, is a smoothie or smoothie bowl. Seriously what is better than a frosty smoothie on a hot summer day? I have recently become absolutely addicted to pitaya smoothies. Pitaya is basically just dragon fruit & after using this product for almost two years, I still cannot get over the beautiful color & how good it tastes! You can buy frozen packs from pitayaplus.com to freeze, add a few ingredients, blend it up, & hit the road. Pitaya has a very mild flavor that can be enhanced by the different things you put in your smoothies. Below is my favorite recipe. *This post contains affiliate links.

1 pack frozen Pitaya Plus

½ c. pineapple

2 kale cubes (recipe below)

¼ c. orange juice

1 tbsp matcha powder

1 banana

Optional: juice of half a lemon, 1 scoop maca powder

You can get my favorite maca powder here Navitas Organics Maca Gelatinized Powder, 4 Ounce and this is by far my favorite matcha Matcha Green Tea Powder Organic, 100gms (3.5oz)!

Kale Cubes:

This is so easy. I usually buy a few bags of kale that is on sale because of a close expiration date. As soon as I unpack the groceries, I add the kale to the blender with just enough water to allow for blending. It ends up being about ½ cup for a big bag of kale. Once it’s all blended, I pour the mix into ice cube trays & freeze them. That way they’re ready to go & you don’t always have to have fresh greens for your smoothies!

You can put these in any smoothie you make. I literally add them to acai bowls, wheatgrass smoothies, regular strawberry banana smoothies…basically everything! For those of you who don’t even like kale, you really can’t taste it but you’re still getting all the benefits!

Some days when I’m not rushing out the door, I like to make smoothie bowls, which I like to be thicker than a normal smoothie, so I just add a frozen banana instead of one that’s room temperature. The lemon juice just brings out the flavor of the pitaya and the maca powder has tons of vitamins and doesn’t add any flavor or bad taste to the smoothie.

When I make a smoothie bowl, I mix it up with different toppings, but usually leave the blended ingredients the same. If I have fresh fruits that need to be used, I’ll toss them in the blender to sweeten the base a little bit. Pineapple or kiwis are so good in the base whether I’m turning it into a smoothie bowl or not. Sometimes I slice a kiwi & a few strawberries to put on top or put some granola & low sugar dried cranberries. Pineapple is also amazing as a topping! I’ve used Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds, 12 Ounce & goji berries, drizzled almond butter or used sliced almonds with any kind of fresh berries. I’ve also been known to use shredded coconut for added sweetness or raw pumpkin seeds for an added crunch and extra protein. My method is usually something that’s crunchy, a fresh fruit, & something like hemp seeds for an added boost of all the things that are good for you! Below is a picture of the recipe given above with a frozen banana poured into a bowl & topped with sliced almonds, shredded coconut, sliced strawberries & a sliced kiwi. See how pretty?

As you can see, pitaya bowls are an art- one I am obsessed with!

TIP: I also love to add hemp seeds or granola to yogurt for quick, easy lunch!
This is my favorite granola for all things and it’s so indulgent with big pieces of dark chocolate Nature’s Path Organic Love Crunch Premium Granola, Dark Chocolate Macaroon, 11.5 Ounce. YUM!

What kind of smoothie bowls or smoothies are your favorites? Do y’all have any recommendations for some better toppings for smoothies or smoothie bowls for me? Have you tried pitaya?

You can literally make anything from it! I’ve made pitaya jam just by adding ½ teaspoon of chia seeds to a pack of thawed Pitaya Plus. I like to use it on rice cakes or drizzled over fresh fruit. I’ve also completely thawed out 2 packs & made ice cubes out of it. I’ve found the ice cubes are so good with Cran-Raspberry La Criox. Try it out & let me know what you think!

Acai Bowls have been really popular as of late and I make a lot of those, too. They’re still a delicious treat that also use a lot of nutritious ingredients. The recipe I normally use is pretty simple and it is listed below!

1 scoop (about a tbsp.) of Navitas Organics Acai Powder, 8 oz. Bag

1 frozen banana

½ c. frozen fruit blend

¼ c. orange juice

Throw it all in and blend until smooth. Some of my favorite toppings are pineapple, granola, and shredded coconut. I’m telling you guys, try it! And then let me know how much you love it!