Last Motivation Monday of 2013

Holy smokes I really cannot believe it is the last Monday of the year. Where in the world has 2013 gone??

I must say the year 2013 has been very good to me.

  • From meeting amazing and inspiring Physical Therapists during my final two clinical’s
  • Returning to Texas for graduation & receiving my Doctorate
  • Two of my best friends weddings over the summer
  • Studying for and passing my boards
  • Accepting and starting my FIRST a big girl job
  • Continuing my fitness journey with AFS, GPP and advancing my lifting tolerance
  • Starting this blog and meeting so many inspirational bloggers through it.
  • Finally and most recently excitingly getting engaged to Brent! I truly believe this is the icing on an already sweet cake!

I am excited for the adventures that 2014 has in store for me, my family, friend and this blog. I cannot wait to see how this upcoming year pans out. I am linking up today with Nikki and Ashleigh for Motivate Me Monday.

Here are my fitness goals that I hope to accomplish during 2014; I left my goals pretty basic so I could elaborate on them later and feel a since of accomplishment without being stressed about the small stuff. Setting broad goals works best for me, but do whats best for you!

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But for now here is a little motivation and inspiration for you to get started on your new year.

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Enjoy your last Monday of the year!! And remember:

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Its okay to just JUMP and let the water catch you… perfection is not a requirement but commitment is!

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Five Things Friday!

Happy Friday!!!

I am loving this week because it really feels like Tuesday since I took Monday & Tuesday off work to spend time with my family. I wanted to pop in today with a speedy fast 5 things friday post while linking up with Clare, Jill & Jennie!

1. Home = Food & all the Food!!! I loved going home and enjoying great food with great people. One of my favorite things about Ann Arbor is the fact that there is ALWAYS somewhere new and amazing to eat. We definitely enjoyed our fare share of restaurants in our quick trip home along with home cooked meals…& the great food was definitely not lost on me!

Tapas on Saturday Night!

Tapas on Saturday Night!

2. Family Family & more Family…. I love my family and spending time with them. even if it means jumping on my Papa’s lap or attacking my notsobabyboy cousin. I loved spending time with *almost* all my family members over this holiday weekend.

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3. Total Foodie Christmas! It’s no small secret that I like to cook and use whole foods, but if it was a secret this Christmas would show you otherwise… I was unpacking my gifts last night and realized that the majority of the stuff was for my kitchen!! I LOVE kitchen gadgets and am super excited for this very-foodie-christmas.

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4. Christmas Gingerbread Graham Cracker House Making… Brent & I decided to make Graham cracker houses with my cousins during our Christmas celebration. It was such a fun && messy way to spend time together after opening gifts and eating.

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5. (and 6-109209123) ENGAGED!!!! ahhhh the weekend was amazing and I had so much fun catching up with all our family (see #2) but the total ICING on top of the cake was being proposed to in front of 5 of the most important members of my family on Christmas morning. It was a really amazing and wonderful moment that deserves a post of its own!

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Enjoy your Friday!

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I’d Love To Know ~~ How was your week? If you celebrate Christmas did you have a wonderful one? Any Wedding Planning Tips??? 

Sew-tastic Christmas Sweater

Happy Thursday!!!

I hope you all enjoyed yesterdays post from Katie & were able to check out some of the other Elf posts that went up yesterday.

I am excited to share a QUICK holiday craft with you that will make your friends jealous & you happy you didn’t spend a bunch of money on an Ugly Christmas Sweater.

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Not my sweater but definitely a runner up!

My office decided to do Christmas week this week and Monday was Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. Sunday night around 10 o’clock I realized I had absolutely nothing to wear come monday morning. I looked around my house and saw a spool of ribbon and a bag of bows. I figured I could grab a sweater and make some ugly happen.

I rummaged through the closet and POOF there was a plain sweater staring at me. I decided to take that sweater and create some christmas magic!

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What you will need:

  • 1 sweater – any color will do… I happened to find a gray one of Brent’s that did the trick!
  • 1 bow – more if you’d like!
  • spool of thread & needle
  • scissors
  • ribbon – any type will do… mine was thick wire edged ribbon 2-3 inches will probably work best
  • safety pins or straight pins
  • approximately 30 minutes, depending on how speedy you are

Process:

  1. lay sweater flat on ground and arrange your ribbon to create a tree. I intentionally made it so it was not perfectly centered on my shirt & tried to make it taper up and back down into a tree stump. 8c40a77dd7988d642dbc3908d3f106b8
  2. Cut the end at your desired length to create the base of your tree.
  3. Safety pin down each corner so you can maneuver sweater without losing your tree shape. ** do not pull ribbon tight across sweater, remember you have to fit into it so give yourself some moving room!**
  4. Quick stitch each corner of the ribbon to the sweater, I did 4-5 stitches at each spot. I  tried to get the ribbon to lay flat and keep the shinny side up (if you have double sided ribbon this won’t matter as much.
  5. After stitching each corner decide where to place your bow and quickly stitch that to the sweater too. I left the adhesive back on the bow so I could cut it off and use it again!
  6. Try on & rock at your Christmas party or work function!

I topped off my look with a felt ornament hair “flake” which I found at the clinic and added some bobby pins to for some added christmas cheer! I also wore some jingle-bell knee high socks and leg warmers to keep me warm!

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I loved seeing all our office Christmas sweaters and hearing what all our patients thought about them. I was surprised some of my patients were oblivious to everyone being dressed in Christmas sweaters and just thought I wanted to wear this sweater for fun. Then I told them I whipped it up at 10pm the night before and they were all amazed. It’s definitely a head-turner 🙂

Here are all the girls dressed in our Christmas Finest! ((sorry for the blur!!))

Here are all the girls dressed in our Christmas Finest! ((sorry for the blur!!))

The rest of the weeks Christmas schedule includes:

  • Tuesday – Christmas Hats… I got a $1 Christmas Tree headband and some $1 snowflake glasses to rock!
  • Thursday — Christmas T-Shirt… stay tuned for another DIY!
  • Friday — Christmas Socks… my jingle-bell socks were a hit but just wait until I share these socks on Instagram!

Hope you have a wonderful Thursday & fantastic week!

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I’d Love To Know ~~ Does your office do any holiday spirit weeks? What’s your favorite Ugly Christmas sweater?

Elf 4 Health Blog Swap

Hey Friends,

I am stopping in to share with you my very first guest blog post. I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday & I’ll be back tomorrow with an awesome Christmas Sweater idea!

As you know I am participating in #elf4health and we decided to do a massive blog swap today to the challenge of sharing our expertise. I am really excited to have Katie guest posting here with some great advice for being the best YOU, you can be!

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Well, hey there! My name is Katie and I blog over at Peace, Love & Oats! I am a 20-something recent law school graduate on the job hunt and enjoying my life in Chicago! One thing that I have worked a lot on over the past few years, and consequently write about often, is self-confidence and learning to love and appreciate who you are. On that note, I thought I’d share some thoughts with all of you on that subject!

Growing up, I was taught that appearances are important. I’m not just talking about what you wear and looking appropriate, but how you act and come across as well. Obviously manners were important, but so was making and sticking to commitments, succeeding and trying hard in any activity that you joined, making a good first impression, doing well in school, having a good application or resume; the list goes on and on. I’m not saying these aren’t important aspects to life or good values to learn, but they were all very important to me. Appearing “perfect” became very important to me.

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Recognizing that aspect of myself was necessary, but the most critical thing is learning how to place a lower value on my appearance to others. A piece of advice I was given once was to check in with myself throughout the day, ask myself why I’m doing the things that I’m doing. Am I doing this because of what someone else would think of me?

Why am I wearing this? Why am I so anxious to talk to that guy? Why am I avoiding this subject with someone? Why am I going out when I don’t feel well and just want to go home? Why am I not speaking up if I have something to say?

I realize this sounds like a lot of questions, but stopping and asking myself just a couple of these questions each day, has already made me relax a bit and let my guard down. The point behind this exercise, and of this post really, is to learn how to just be your “true and honest self.”

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The reason we all try to keep up appearances is to avoid rejection, but if you love yourself and are confident in yourself, then being rejected won’t shake you up or upset you as much. Why is that? Because this “true and honest self” is the person you really are. This is the person you want people to love and appreciate. If they can’t love and appreciate you the way you really are, then they aren’t the right people for you.

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Having that confidence in yourself and believing in yourself is how you put yourself in situations that make you happy and surround yourself with people that make you happy. If you have to “keep up appearances” for someone to like you, is that person really right for you? I don’t think so.

So do you. Be you. Love you. Everything else will fall into place. And if you’re someone who struggles with self-love and acceptance, then here are a few tips that you can add into your daily life that might help:

1. Tell yourself how great you are. Every time you catch your reflection in the mirror, give yourself a compliment. You are gorgeous! You’re pretty amazing. Great hair today! Whatever it is, make it a habit.

2. Dance. Dance freely, like no one is watching. Dance to your favorite song from middle school, dance to a holiday song, dance to hip hop or classical. Whatever you’re feeling! Just moving to music without worrying about how you look always makes you feel better!

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3. Smile. Having a bad day? Getting frustrated by work, a workout, standing in line at the grocery store? Take a deep breath and smile. Trust me, it really does improve your mood!

4. Say yes. When you get out of your comfort zone and get out there and socialize, you tend to forget about all the things you’re worrying about. And remember, if you’re self conscious about something, I can almost guarantee that no one else notices or cares as much as you do. Taking a risk and going out on a limb is always better than doing nothing.

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5. Be nice. Helping other people, or even just complimenting them, not only improves their day, but it improves yours and your own self-image. Make giving back to others a part of your routine, whether it’s volunteering or just holding the door open for someone, and soon you’ll see more value in yourself.

6. Surround yourself with uplifting people. Last but not least, you have to love yourself but if the people around you are bringing you down then it’s just not helping. Be sure that the people who you keep close, whose opinions you value, are the kind of people who love and support you no matter what.

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I hope you all enjoyed these tips, and if you ever have any questions or just want to chat, feel free to email me at peaceloveandoats@gmail.com!

Do you worry too much about what others think of you?

What self-love advice would you give? 

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Thanks again for all the great advice Katie. Make sure to check out my guest post on Katie’s blog along with all the other Elf’s posts you can find the link party over on Elle’s blog.

Meditation Monday

Happy Monday!!!

Today’s elf4health challenge is to take some time to meditate! I can say I am not a meditator. I try to do some stretching, read some motivational quotes and internalize them for myself, or do some yoga to relax and breathe deep. Last week I spent 2 days after my workout in the steam room just breathing in the warm air and relaxing after a workout and before going to work. That was my kind of relaxation!!!

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I decided today to take a page out of Heather Waxman’s journal blog and do some meditation with her guidance.

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I love reading Heather’s soul scriptures on instagram and her longer very insightful posts on her blog feed. I always feel like a better person after reading her message and always take away something wonderful.

Today I will be repeating this soul scripture for my meditation to help me reconnect with my body and ground myself during this pre holiday craze.

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Happy Monday & Happy Meditating to you all!

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I’d Love To Know ~~ Do you meditate regularly? Whats your favorite way to reconnect with yourself?

 

 

Meal Prep

Hi Friends!

Sorry for dropping off the blogosphere last week, I have been fighting a sinus cold and making coherent thoughts was a bit of a challenge after a long day at work. I am back this week & will be posting a few round ups along with having my first GUEST blogger on wednesday!

Today’s elf4health challenge is Meal Planning/food prep! If you know me much or have followed my blog in the past I (typically) sit down every Sunday and prep our meals for the week. So this challenge is fun & easy for me since it is already part of my weekly plan!

I typically focus on making our lunches so in the morning we just have to grab a container & apple and then our lunch is set for the week. That does mean I have very little variety in my weekly lunches so I try to make 2-3 dinner meals a week that will help bring variety to our life.

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The past few weeks we have been pretty lazy when it comes to dinners & my meal planning has focused completely on lunches & snacks. However, with an upcoming week of feasting I knew that I wanted to get a week of good foods in before indulging in the holiday season!

Heres this weeks plan:

Breakfast – Protein Pancakes

Lunches – Pork Tenderloin Salad & Vegetable Soup

Dinners –

Christmas Cookies from FitFoodieFinds

Sundays Prep Plan — Make burgers, prep veggies for squash, make & portion out lunches

Alright now off to the gym then the grocery store to get this food prep started! Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday you definitely deserve it!

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Do you food prep? Whats your favorite holiday cookie?

 

 

Gratitude List

Happy Monday!

Yesterday’s Elf 4 Health challenge was to write 20 things you’re grateful for in a Gratitude list. It may have taken me some extra time to compile but with some time and thought I developed Twenty things in 2013 that I am grateful for.

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This list was compiled in absolutely NO particular order. Just a list of things I am grateful for, provided to you in wonderful pictures of the last 11 months!

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My Sister is one of a kind… I am grateful to have her compassionate, carefree, wine drinking self in my life! We may not be the closet but we are the coolest.

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I never thought the day would come & then I got TWO DAYS… Graduation from TTU was definitely a highlight of this year.

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This needs little explanation… what other girl wouldn’t love this closet of shoes??? there is still room to add more too, so if you’re looking to buy me a christmas gift heres a **hint**

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Dearest high school friend got hitches in a gorgeous garden wedding! I felt beyond blessed to be a part of her day and celebrate their love! I can’t believe its almost 6 months already!

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For without Texas Tech, I would have never met this guy… he keeps me sane, loves me, spoils me, and pushes me to be the best ME I can be!

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Lots of yummy food happened in 2013!

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Post boards #selfie would’ve been on the attitude list if I hadn’t passed. Praise the Lord I was able to study and pass that bad boy!

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2013 has proven to be a very Fit year for me! I Love experimenting in fitness & finding new workouts that continue to inspire and motivate me. PROGRESS is in the PROCESS 🙂

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My soul sister got married & I got a vacation! Miami was a week of memories that will soon not be forgotten. Another beautiful couple who I was blessed to stand by while they celebrated their love.

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After YEARS of telling my dad (and anyone who’d listen) that I would be a PT when I grew up the day finally came where I put on my big girl shoes and started my FIRST JOB! Business cards make it extra official!

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Motivation from loved ones is never lost on me! I love getting little notes from my family at random. They always seem to be at the MOST needed time!

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My Michigan football team may have let me down but at least I have wonderful memories from the game and these great CANDID shots to make me laugh each and every day!

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Brent & I are celebrating our 2nd Christmas together but this year is our first year where we decorated our own tree & sent out a christmas card!!! I love the holiday season and having an official tree & stockings makes me feel like a proper adult.

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Although this is just a part of them, I am beyond blessed with an abundance of loving and supporting family members. I cannot thank you all for the love you give me and the fun times and memories we share together. Y’all Rock!

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Because what 6′ tall girl doesn’t like a tiny smart car?

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Ahhh sunrises on the beach with a kiss to top it off… nothing gets better than this!

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Living in Texas got the best of me and I brought the best of it back with me in the form of these beautiful boots. It’s amazing what a good pair of boots can do for a mood!

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My dad is one hellvua guy! I am grateful for all of his love, support and encouragement. I could not be where I am today without all this man has done for me and my family over the years! LOVE YOU!

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Its simple I love Elephants & I love Wine so whats better than an elephant drinking wine?

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and last but CERTAINLY not least YOU!!! for without all of you this blog would just be me rambling on and on…. well lets be real I do that any ways and the few of you who are reading this are probably really bored with me by now… but THANK YOU for being my motivation, my encouragement and my inspiration. Without this blogging community I would be in a very different place than I am now.

Since this gratitude list is marvelous I am linking up with Katie for another MiMM

Since this gratitude list is marvelous I am linking up with Katie for another MiMM

So there you have it Twenty Things From 2013 that I am grateful for. I hope you all have a wonderful week & take some time to think about what would be on your gratitude list.

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I’d Love To Know ~~ Whats on your gratitude list?

Spill It Sunday

Hope you all have a had a wonderful weekend.

After a lazy start to our day yesterday we hit the mall for a little christmas shopping, took a break to hit the gym then continued shopping our way back to our house, before watching MICHIGAN STATE beat that team from ohio. I am a true blue fan and will always be a Michigan Wolverine but when it comes to Michigan State vs. someone else I will ALWAYS cheer for my state, especially if its against osu.

Christmas Shopping Selfie!!

Christmas Shopping Selfie!!

Today our plans are gym, grocery store, cleaning & reorganizing our life before getting the week on track. I love productive sundays so lets hope **fingers crossed** today turns out to be a success.

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I am linking up with Arman today for Spill It Sunday:

Within the blogging community, we all know what a passion for fitness, food and a healthy lifestyles entail. How about we get to know MORE behind the blogger outside of these parameters? Join the Spill it, Sundays! link up to get to know other bloggers on a more intimate level! Also, chuck in a selfie with each post and embrace this narcissism. Add your link below and get to you some bloggers better!

Todays theme is TRAVEL… ahh I really do love to travel and have been lucky enough to travel a few fabulous places over the years.

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AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND –  I cannot believe it was over 10 years ago I took the extremely long flight and spent 3 weeks with strangers who became fast friends. I traveled with People to People which is a student ambassador program whose mission is to expose students with the culture and history of countries around the world. I had an amazing experience and remember so many parts of the trip like they were just yesterday! My favorite place in Australia was far and beyond Sydney, I loved the city, the architecture and the history. I would LOVE to go back and experience the city in this 20 something body not the high school freshman body I was in.

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In New Zealand I got to spend a few days with a local family in Auckland and loved getting to know them on a closer deeper level. It was wonderful to see the city in the eyes of a local, I know I took this experience for granted looking back now. My other favorite place in NZ was Rock & Ice where we spent a weekend connecting, team building and stepping outside our comfort zone. This weekend was well into our trip so by that time we were all pretty close which made the weekend that much more impacting. We climbed and repelled down a cliff which was something i honestly did not think I would be able to do, but I DID IT and I wanted to do it TWICE. I actually still have the t-shirt I bought at this trip which I don’t wear often but love each time I do!

Paris & Brussels – I am lucky to have a rockstar of a best friend who traveled with Camp Adventure and during our senior year of college, persuaded me to come visit her while she was away. I talked one of our friends into making the trip with me & we spent 10 days in Brussels making little day trips & a weekend trip to Paris for New Years Eve 2010.

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Brussels was gorgeous, I loved trekking around the city, taking in all the christmas festivities, freezingggg in the cold temps, eating crepes, drinking HOT WINE, seeing the Manneken Pis & singing songs at bus stops. I loved spending the week with Tara, Heather & Lauren; the 4 of us made quite the loud & boisterous group making for a very memorable trip.

DSC01936For New Years we had the bright idea (with 10000000000000 others) to head to Paris for NYE & further exploration. Well NYE in Paris is not what they show on TV. We ended up being in a crowd with 100000000 creepy parisian men who thought my personal space was theirs including our “thigh gap” … after RUNNING and WEAVING to find a spot free from space invasion we ended up finding a new friend who was from Michigan living in Paris. She ended up taking us on a tour of the city the next day which was great!

Besides the creepy parisian men we were also disappointed in the lack of fireworks at the Eiffel Tower at midnight. If you ever see a picture of fireworks & the tower stating that it is NYE its a lie!! They do a light show on the tower (similar to what they do hourly) but no fireworks bummed girl over here!

 

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We ended our trip in Paris with a day at the tower and a lot of walking around town. It was a wonderful weekend trip. Overall Brussels was likely my favorite trip this far, I loved the experience of being there in the winter and the girls I was with made it even better!

ACAPULCO – My freshman year of college I ended up (very last minute) going to Acapulco with some of the girls from my sorority. I got the trip after one of the girls had to back out and decided I would be going exactly 1 week before we left! I loved going on vacation with this group of girls who I was friends with but not all extremely close to. It was a whirlwind of a week consisting of drinking, tanning and enjoying the beautiful sun. I actually woke up this morning thinking about that trip (before deciding to write this post!)

United States Travel – I’ve loved all my traveling in the USA! I have been lucky to live (at least 1 month) in Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, & now Illinois. I love each state even the downfalls of them all make them wonderful. I also have had the privilege to travel to multiple states as well including Florida (multiple times & places), Kentucky, West Virginia, Arizona, Missouri, Indiana, Minnesota, Tennessee, New York, Pennsylvania & I’m sure a few others I cannot remember. I have so many great memories from all these places and cannot wait to explore MORE! I have a few states really really high on my list so hopefully some traveling will be coming soon!

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I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday & take time to travel this amazing world we live in!

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I’d Love To Know ~~ Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled? Tell me about your last vacation!

Apple Cinnamon Protein Pancakes

Happy Thursday!!!

I honestly cannot believe it was just thanksgiving a week ago. It seems like this week has flown by but that thanksgiving was so long ago already.

I am sure i’ve told you all already but I have been working out in the mornings before work almost everyday and really loving it. I enjoy having the gym a bit less crowded and knowing that after work all I have to do is go home and relax. Not fight the crowds in the weight room.

However, I struggle with adequate nutrients and energy for these early morning workouts. I generally wake up and am at the gym within 30 minutes so eating something that will charge me in 30 10-15 minutes is a challenge. The GPP workouts I’ve been doing can be very taxing to my system that early in the morning so I need the fuel but not the weight/slosh factor.

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I have experimented with multiple small carb packed foods prior to working out and still haven’t quite found the perfect fit. However, last night I decided to make some Protein Pancakes since the ones I made on Thanksgiving morning were such a hit {with my belly, HA!}

I ate one said pancake this morning prior to hitting the gym & felt full and energized through my whole workout. Now I must say my workout was mostly strength training and not very cardiovascularly taxing, AND it didn’t involve much fast up-down transitions which is where I find my pre-workout choice to be most impacting. But these little pancakes were packed with flavor and absolutely scrumptious pre & post workout session. {note: brent ate 3 prior to a cardio/ab workout this morning and didn’t seem to vomit either.}

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I used Jamie Eason’s recipe for Thanksgiving however I didn’t have any pumpkin in the house (travesty!!!) so I made some adjustments/substitutions to make it my own!

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I enjoyed two of these bad boys post workout {cold} with a heaping amount of peanut butter, a few walnuts & a few golden raisins! A perfect post workout protein pack meal!

I hope you enjoy!

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I’d Love To Know ~~ Do you workout in the morning? What is your pre-workout go to?