Thursday, May 25, 2017

SoCal and Sunshine: Thinking Out Loud #38

Happy Thursday from sunny SoCal🌸 I am so excited to be in California visiting my brother and checking out the sights. Getting to SoCal has been an adventure in itself seeing as it took two Airbnb disasters and a flight getting pushed back causing me to miss my connecting flight, thus getting in over 2 hours later than planned and arriving smack dab in the middle of rush hour. Nonetheless I'm here now and I'm going to try to soak up some much needed sun and enjoy. Let's jump into this weeks thinking out loud!

1. I've used Airbnb multiple times to find places to stay all over the U.S. and I've never had a problem, but for some reason this trip seemed to be doomed. I booked a place over a month in advance and one week prior to leaving the host contacted me and said the current guest wanted to stay longer so she had to cancel my reservation. Cue scrambling to find a new place. I find a new place and I think all is well. But it's not. Less than 36 hours before I am set to leave my new host contacts me and says he has to cancel. He was incredibly rude and at one point threatens me so I call Airbnb basically in tears. There's only a handful of places left and all are significantly more expensive than what I originally paid. After over two hours on the phone and now less than 12 hours until I leave I finally got a new place to stay, but had to shell out over $100 more because the prior host screwed me. Needless to say I'm not overly happy with Airbnb or the jerk of a host right now. My new host has been fantastic though.

2. This quote seemed fitting after the whole Airbnb debacle. There was a series of bad days, but I am thankful to be in Cali now and spending time with my brother and his girlfriend. One bad day doesn't have to make another day or week or year, etc bad. Wake up each day with a thankful spirit and a good attitude. Good things will happen. There's always good even in the midst of heartache or struggle.

3. In the midst of a lot of ongoing chaos my best friend and I went out for a girls night. We hit up one of our favorite restaurants, had a fabulous dinner, relaxed, laughed, and got dairy free froyo after. I'm seriously so grateful for Kate because she never hesitates to tell me exactly what I need to hear. She knew life had been stressful recently and she immediately said, "We're going out for a girls night." It was exactly what I needed. I'm so thankful to have such an amazing best friend💜

4. I'm also incredibly thankful to everyone who participated in Put On Purple for lupus awareness last Friday. Typically I am not one to open up about my struggles with the disease, but in the past few years that I have been sharing my story I have met countless others who also struggle with the disease. I've formed amazing friendships with people from all over because they understand and relate to what I go through on a daily basis. Now I'm proud to share my story because if it makes one other lupus warrior feel less alone then I'm more than happy. If you or anyone you know struggles with lupus don't ever hesitate to email me, I'm more than happy to lend a listening ear. Of course I also wore purple because raising awareness and educating others about lupus is so important in the fight to find a cure for this cruel disease.

5. In the past few months I have really gotten into self-care. I used to only think of my time at the gym or running as all the self-care I needed, but I got so burned out. I shared more about why taking time for self-care is important to me in a post earlier this week. One of my favorite ways to take time out for myself is by doing a face mask. It's really helped my skin tone even out (as much as it will anyway thanks to lupus) and it's made my skin super soft. My favorite face mask is a dead sea face mask from skyorganics. I got it on sale on Amazon. I'm not sponsored in anyway by them I simply love their products and I feel good using their products knowing I'm not putting any harmful chemicals on my skin.

6. Cora has gotten increasingly lazy. She always used to greet me when I got home from the gym in the morning, now most of the time I'm lucky if she opens one eye or sometimes I have to step over her to get in. She always plays way harder in the spring and summer since she can be outside so much more so in the mornings she is dead tired. Normally around 8 or 9am she starts to really wake up and of course wants to play again🐶

7. I came across this quote this week and it really struck me. I used to be so big on journaling and I've kind of fallen away from that habit, but writing stuff down is how I make sense of things. I've also find writing to be incredibly healing. You can spill all of your feelings onto the page and when you're done you feel empty, but clean and you can close the book, walk away and begin again. 

I'm going to end things so I can head out and soak up some more SoCal sunshine☀ Have a fantastic weekend and a very happy Memorial Day!! 

How do you like to make sense of things? Journaling, Going for a walk, etc.
What is your favorite way to practice self-care?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Self-care Is Not Selfish

Self-care is something I have always struggled with. I love running, lifting, practicing yoga, hiking, and meal prepping, but I've always thought I was being selfish by dedicating so much time to myself. It's time I take out of my day that I could be doing something else- working, volunteering, etc. 

I recently returned from vacation in Hawaii and the biggest lesson I learned was taking time for yourself is not selfish at all. I'm a perfectionist to the nth degree. No matter if I'm doing something personally or professionally I want it to be done just right. The problem was I had been running myself ragged striving for perfection. 

Simply put there is no such thing as perfection. 

You can work on something endlessly, but someone, including yourself, is always going to find a reason that it's not good enough. 

For the first time in I don't know how long I put my phone away on vacation and ignored emails, texts, phone calls and most communication. I pulled out my laptop probably three times and even then it was only to back up my photos in case something happened to my SD card. Taking time away from technology was so refreshing and it was something I desperately needed. 

I'm sure we've all heard the phrase live in the moment, but it's so true. Putting my phone away and just heading out into nature was so refreshing. I went for walks, hikes, and runs without every snapping a single picture. I sat on the beach and listened to waves and just soaked it all up. 

Did I take pictures and videos? Of course because I want those things to remember my vacation by and to share with others, but that wasn't on the forefront of my mind. Instead I focused on soaking up all the vitamin D I could (with sunscreen on of course 😉) and just being present. 

I can honestly say it was one of the best vacations I've ever been on. There were less than perfect moments but I gave my body the rest it needed, both physically and mentally. I still ran and lifted but I did so for pure joy. Running in Hawaii never once felt like a chore because the scenery was so beautiful and there were so many places to explore. I did yoga on the beach and watched the sunrise and left with an incredibly full heart. 

Life is meant to be lived in the here and now. Life isn't meant to be lived through a phone screen while trying to portray life as perfect on social media. Life isn't perfect. It's messy, it's chaotic, it's a crazy, unpredictable ride, but life is pretty dang awesome. 

There's nothing wrong with taking a break from work and social media to just unplug. In fact it's needed. Take a day and just disconnect. Spend time taking care of yourself and in genuine conversation with other people. I came across some really amazing people in Hawaii and I ran with the same people every morning because I genuinely enjoyed their company and conversation. Had I been on my phone or had headphones in I would have missed those moments. 

Disconnect from your devices and connect to yourself and those around you. Since I've been back I've made it a point to take time out every week to take care of me. I don't feel guilty working out or going to yoga because those are moments where I am making myself better by making myself a priority. I've also been doing weekly face masks because it's incredibly relaxing and it gives me some time to just destress.

Self-care is not selfish. By taking time out to make yourself a priority you will see other areas of your life improve and you will be more productive. I know it's made me more productive and it's helped me to manage stress better. So go ahead disconnect and set some time aside for yourself, I promise you won't regret it.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Put On Purple: Thinking Out Loud #37

Happy Thursday! This week has gone by in gigantic blur following a series of mini emergencies, but thankfully I think everything is mostly back to normal. I am ready for one very long nap though because I am exhausted from running all over the place this week. The rest of the week is looking up though and the weather is gorgeous so I can't complain! Anywho let's jump right into this weeks thinking out loud

1. TOMORROW IS THE DAY!! Please wear purple tomorrow for put on purple to support people, like me, who have lupus and also to show support for research efforts. Post pictures on instagram, tag me, and use the hashtag #putonpurple to spread the word! It would mean a lot to myself and all the other lupus warriors if you would wear purple to show your support!

2. Sunday was my first real day back running. My doctor told me to take it easy and day by day. I really wanted to jump right back in and go gun hoe but I knew after two weeks of hardly running my body just wouldn't be able to handle it. I stuck with 3 miles and by no means was it a great run, but I got it done and walked away grateful to run. I'm slowly ramping back up on my miles though and plan to do so safely, but am also listening to my body.

3. It's rained the past number of mornings here so running outside in the early morning hasn't been possible so I've been sticking to the treadmill. The weather is finally warm but the heat is still on FULL BLAST at the gym. It's basically an inferno and I get so sweaty so fast🔥 I get sweaty while running, but good grief when it's close to 80F in the gym it's flat out miserable to run but it beats running in a thunderstorm.

4. I've been on a salad kick this past week and this one has been one of my favorite combinations. It's a mix of kale, spinach, arugula, and romaine topped with strawberries, avocado, tomatoes, goat cheese, dried tart cherries, and pan seared turkey sausage. It's packed with flavor and so dang good! I've even added a tad of organic poppyseed dressing on top and it blends so well with all the flavors👌

5. Luckily the storms and rain have cleared by mid morning and the rest of the day has been gorgeous so Cora and I have been soaking up as much vitamin D as possible. I felt bad leaving her alone so much early in the week so we made up for it yesterday afternoon. It was around 90F so she was in the lake a ton, but it felt nice to just be outside and enjoy the weather. I'm all for these warm temps😎

6. With all the hecticness I haven't even started packing for California yet and I leave in a few days😳 it's sending my OCD/planner self into a bit of a panic, but I'm setting aside time to pack this weekend. I'm heading out to the Newport Beach/Costa Mesa area to see my brother and I am so excited to be back in Cali. One day I hope to move out there because I love it so much. I'm super excited about getting açai bowls and exploring new running trails. If anyone has any restaurant, shopping, trail, etc. recommendations definitely comment and let me know👇

7. I've always been a quote person. I love finding them, I love keeping them and I love sharing them (if you hadn't already noticed on my instagram stories). I really loved this one because there's always chaos in the world. Everyone always seems to focus on the bad, but really there is still so much good in the world. Even if you see bad around you you can make a difference. The simple act of smiling, complimenting someone, or having a genuine conversation with someone can make ALL the difference. Fill your world with kindness and it will overflow into other peoples lives.

Have an amazing Thursday and PLEASE WEAR PURPLE TOMORROW!!

What is one thing you always look forward to doing on vacation?
Do you like stepping out of your comfort zone and explore new places, trying new foods, etc.?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Running and Happy Puppies: Thinking Out Loud #36

Happy Thursday! I'm running on aloe water and fumes as I type this because the two and half hours of sleep I got cannot be considered a nights sleep, heck that's pretty much a nap. The struggle is very real today #teamnosleep. Here's to hoping I form mostly complete sentences for this weeks thinking out loud!

1. Sunday was an awesome day for me because I ran SEVEN pain free miles🎉🎉🎉 I shared a little about why I needed to run on instagram, but I was beyond happy to just run. I didn't put any time limits on myself because I hadn't run in a week due to pain from the kidney stone, which I've still yet to get rid of😒 I'm taking it one day at a time and listening to my body but I was bursting with joy that I was able to get seven miles in!

2. I picked up some flowers for my mom this week because this week marked her ten year cancer free anniversary! She was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was pretty young and I really didn't understand what was going on. My mom was fortunate because the cancer was caught early so she didn't need chemo, but she went through several surgeries over the course of a year and despite a few setbacks, a little over a year after he diagnosis she was declared cancer free! Every year I get my mom flowers with the number of carnations corresponding to how many years she's been cancer free🌸

3. The weather has finally broke in the mitten and we are FINALLY getting some warmer temps. Cora has been overjoyed that it hasn't been raining every day and she's been running around the yard, playing with her best friend who lives a few houses down, and swimming in the lake. At the end of the day she is one very tired puppy. The other day I found her spread out on my bed sleeping with the happiest look on her face💜

4. "Character is who you are when no one is watching." I love that quote and ironically it was in the fortune cookie of my Chinese takeout. It's such a powerful statement because I've always believed actions speak louder than words and the actions you take when no one is around speak volumes about who you really are.

5. The quote from my fortune reminded me of a saying my dad always used to tell my when my brother and I were growing up. He would always tell us, "never do something you'd be ashamed to tell your mom and I about." This is something I still keep in mind even now that I'm in my 20's.

6. I'm not one to buy new music often but I have been loving Charlie Puth's new single Attention. It's such a fun song to listen to to get pumped up for a workout or when running because I just want to dance. The beat is so dang catchy and fun and I definitely recommend checking it out👌

7. I want to say a big thank you for all the support, messages, texts, I have gotten about my World Lupus Day post. I'm always hesitant to share posts like that because I never want something to think I'm looking for sympathy because I'm definitely not. It's always scary to be so open and vulnerable about my struggles with this disease because people can be (and have been) really, really mean about it. Thankfully I have a thick skin and mean comments don't get to me, but all I ever hope to do is raise awareness about this disease. If I can educate one or two people about lupus then I'm a happy camper. Also, thank you for all the love this week and for all the kinds words and prayers for healing with this dang kidney stone. I'm determined to make the best of it and not let it get me down💜

Have a terrific Thursday and an amazing weekend!!

What is one thing that you are really passionate about and sets your soul on fire?
Do you have a favorite song?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

World Lupus Day

Lupus. It's an autoimmune disease some people have heard of, but many know nothing about it. I could give you the clinical definition (I know it by heart), however that really wouldn't tell you what it's like to live with lupus so let me provide you a front row seat into what it's like to live with lupus. 

I'm a 22 year-old trapped in a body that feels 80 years old. My joints swell up like balloons, often it's incredibly painful to bend my fingers, which is semi-essential to everyday life. A lot of times it feels like fire is shooting through my fingers. Sometimes my feet swell up and I can't fit them into shoes, flip-flops in February anyone? My stomach also swells, no I'm not 16 and pregnant (I've been asked) so please stop looking at me like I'm a terrible person. 

You say you're tired? Try living in my body for a few days and then you'll see what tired really is. I count my lucky stars if I get 3-4 hours of sleep at night. Sleep is illusive and naps have become my best friend. But really it doesn't matter how much sleep I get, 2 hours or 10 hours, exhaustion lingers over me like a giant cloud. And for the love of pete please stop telling me I look exhausted and have bags under my eyes, I'm well aware of them thank you very much. 

"Do you want to hangout tonight?" When you say 'at night' do you mean watch movies in our PJ's and eat snacks at 7pm? Because if it's after 9pm lord knows it's not happening, I have to go to bed and count the cracks on my bedroom ceiling and pretend to sleep. There's going to be drinking there? Yeah definitely not going now, lupus and drinking don't exactly mix. It's like smearing ketchup on your peanut butter sandwich instead of jelly. 

Complain one more time about having to go to the doctor and get blood drawn and see what happens, I dare you. I've had so much blood taken out of me I have needle tracks on my arms. I'm on a first name basis with nurses in about a dozen clinics because I have blood work done so often. My doctor probably knows more about me than my best friend, heck he can even tell you what I ate for my last meal<- true story.

Food...HA. Don't even get me started. Spontaneous dinner out? Yeah right. Does the place have gluten and dairy free food options? And no I don't want to eat a giant bowl of lettuce. Want to know what my diet currently looks like so I don't have a flare? Gluten free, dairy free, low fat, low fiber, limited carbs. Is there one of those on the menu? 

This is a small glimmer into what my life is like. Yet this doesn't even begin to describe the ridiculous amount of doctors I have (more than I have fingers for), the frequent doctor visits- I see my doctors more than I see most of my family, the medication- I'm not sure there's a purse big enough for all my pills, or the ordinary everyday things I miss out on in life because of lupus. It's a struggle to go out to eat, it's just too hard and often expensive to find allergy friendly options, most social events are at night and I'm too tired to even think about going, and dating is a joke. Try explaining to someone why you want to go on a date at 6pm instead of 8pm or later or why you have to carry a bag of pills around. 

My life with lupus is drastically different than what it was before lupus and I now know that I took my health for granted. In a lot of ways life with lupus feels like I'm living a double life. On the outside I look fine, I always say "I'm good" when someone asks how I'm doing, I get work done, I workout, etc., but really it's a facade. Inside I'm so exhausted I wish I could lay down on the floor and sleep, I'm probably hurting beyond belief but why bother to tell someone that and make the situation awkward?, and yeah I workout and get my work done but it takes triple the amount of effort for me to do it. I'm a shell of the person I used to be.

Lupus sucks. There really isn't any other way to put it. It a horrible, life-altering disease. There's no cure for lupus. Medications are used to help manage symptoms if you're lucky enough to find some that work. Most medications take 3-4 months to work and if they don't work, well then it's another 3-4 months to try something else. Essentially I'm a human lab rat which is always a fantastic feeling...not

I've had more blood drawn in the past year than most people have drawn in their life. For awhile I held the clinic record for 22 vials of blood drawn, probably not something most people would be proud of. Since the start of 2017 I've had three ultrasounds, countless ovarian cysts and now a kidney stone, which are all directly linked to lupus. Not to mention I really cannot remember the last time I got more than four hours of sleep or had a day where I didn't feel nauseated.    

But, people with lupus are a special breed. We're strong and we're resilient. We live life in spite of the disease. We also have a special bond with one another. Some of the best friends I've ever had are fellow lupus warriors. We understand what one another goes through, we're there when the other has a rough day, we celebrate each others victories, and we stand united against this disease. 

You see despite all the crap I go through and suffer through on a daily basis because of lupus I'm also semi grateful for the disease. Do I wish I didn't have lupus? Of course, but I'd never wish it upon anyone else. You see if it weren't for lupus I wouldn't know how strong I am, some of my best friends wouldn't be in my life, and some of my favorite memories wouldn't exist. To an outside maybe it's weird to bond over a game of Cards Against Humanity in a tiny room while your best friend is getting chemo for her lupus, but to me it's moments like those that show how deep our bond runs. 

Most people don't know about lupus because it's not talked about. Everyone talks about cancer research, but lupus needs to be studied too. Lupus isn't a visible disease, but essentially your body is at war with itself. If you don't think lupus should be studied I invite you walk in my shoes for a day or two and I think you'll change your mind- there's about 5 million people worldwide who would agree with me. It's a disease best served with a sense of humor (and a nap) because some days that's all that will get you through. 

Today (May 10) is World Lupus Day, which is why I am sharing my lupus story. I invite you to learn more about lupus by clicking here. I also ask you to put on purple on Friday, May 19th to show support for lupus patients and research. Post a selfie on social media and use the hashtag #putonpurple to raise awareness. Let's stand together to find a cure for Lupus! 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Lupus Awareness & Kidney Stones: Thinking Out Loud #35

Happy Thursday! This week has been a bit of a blur. I've had my days all mixed up this week so every day I've been left questioning what day it actually was🙈 I think all the rain and pain (totally did not mean to rhyme) have been messing with my brain. Before I start whipping out anymore rhymes let's jump into this weeks thinking out loud

1. The past week and half have been rather rough dealing with lupus pain and side effects from one of the medications I am on for it. I was basically stuck in bed all weekend and food wasn't even remotely appealing. Sunday night I did get some nutrients in me with a smoothie bowl and I got a few requests for this recipe that I shared on my instagram story. I blended frozen pineapple, blackberries, strawberries, a small chunk of banana, almond milk, and Vega chocolate protein until smooth. I topped it with strawberry slices, blueberries, raspberries, and chia seed granola. 

2. Monday morning I finally dragged myself to the doctor because the pain, nausea and other symptoms were not going away. After all was said and done I was diagnosed with a kidney stone (an ultrasound this morning confirmed that diagnosis). Maybe I'm blissfully ignorant but I had no clue that young people could get kidney stones. I was told that because I have lupus I'm at a higher risk to have kidney stones and ovarian cysts (which I've had a lot of) because of lupus. While I wait for the stone to pass or if it doesn't I get to have it lasered I can't run because the back pain makes it hard to do much of anything. The doctor gave me permission to do very light lifting and gentle yoga, but I have to stop if it hurts. If you have any tips on how to ease kidney stone pain please let me know!

3. I had also shared a shot of my new Calia shorts and I got a number of questions about where I got them. I bought them online from Dick's Sporting Goods, you can see them here. I am not in any way shape or form affiliated or sponsored by Calia I just genuinely love the clothes. I have never been one to drop a lot of money on workout clothes because I get sweaty, the get worn constantly, and then they have to be replaced. Running shorts have always been a struggle for me because I could never find a pair that didn't chafe me after a given distance. I own a number of pairs of Calia running shorts and they are by far the best shorts I've ever owned. They are comfortable, they give you room to breathe and don't let sweat stick to you, and I never have to pull them up or adjust them while running. Hands down the best investment I've made for comfort while running or lifting. Plus there are a ton of cute prints so you can look cute while getting your sweat on! 

4. My nutcase of a dog has FINALLY learned that she won't be allowed outside after I eat breakfast if she doesn't behave while I'm making and eating breakfast. Now when I go to find her after I've eaten I almost always find her looking something like this. Laying down surrounded by toys looking totally innocent. She is far from innocent, but she's cute so sometimes she gets away with things. Lord knows when she cocks her head at me when I'm talking to her that she can get away with just about anything. I'm a terrible dog parent I know. 

5. I get asked a LOT about what I eat for breakfast and honestly I'm a creature of habit. I have oatmeal basically every day for breakfast because it's easy and actually holds me. I mix gluten free oats with two tablespoons of Bob's Red Mill protein powder and top it with a mixture of fruit and honey. Usually I try to have a mixture of berries, but recently I've been using all sorts of different fruit just because berries have been so expensive. 

6. I actually took some time and meal prepped this week, which I haven't done in awhile, but I have been LOVING this combo recently. It's a turkey taco bowl of sorts👉 spring mix lettuce, cherry tomatoes, carrots, red cabbage, avocado, olives, dried cherries, and chopped up turkey burger topped with peach mango salsa. It may sound like a strange combo but it's so good😋

7. I'm making my second attempt at reading Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. The book has been recommended to my by countless friends, so I picked up a copy right when it came out and I started reading it right away, but my dad started going in and out of the hospital so the book got pushed to the side. Here's to hoping the second time is the charm.

8. I did a little happy dance on Wednesday because the sun finally came out🌤 it's been raining here pretty much for a week nonstop so I was beyond excited to see the sun. Cora has been moping around too because she is not a fan of the rain either. We spent basically all day outside soaking up vitamin D. I definitely need to move to Cali so I can soak up all the sun I miss by living in the arctic. 

9. Lastly I wast to say a huge THANK YOU for all the support I've gotten on my lupus awareness month post. The outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming and it sincerely means the world to me. Lupus is often overlooked because so much funding is poured into cancer research. Raising awareness of the disease is so important to me as someone who suffers from the disease, but also because the more people who know about the disease the easier it is to get funding for research. Next Wednesday, May 10 in honor of World Lupus Day I will be sharing more of my lupus story to raise awareness, but also to give people who have never heard of the disease insight into what it's like to live with lupus. Just thank you again for all of your support💜💜

Have a great Thursday and an amazing weekend!!

What is your favorite way to spend a rainy day? 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Lupus Awareness Month

Today is a special day for me because it marks the start of Lupus Awareness Month. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the body, skin, joints, organs or combo of all three. Something causes the immune system to go haywire and start attacking and destroying healthy tissue. There are a whole host of symptoms for lupus, but it affects everyone differently, thus making it incredibly difficult to treat. 

I was diagnosed with lupus when I was 18 years old and it's radically changed my life. Throughout the month of May I will be sharing different parts of my journey with lupus, while trying to provide a broad overview of this cruel disease because many people have never heard of lupus. 

To kick off Lupus Awareness Month I wanted to share 10 little known facts about lupus. I also want to encourage you to wear purple on Friday May 19th to support those living this with cruel disease. 

1. Lupus is most commonly diagnosed in women usually between the ages of 15 and 44. Men can develop lupus too, but women have a significantly higher chance of developing the disease.  

2. There are four types of lupus- systemic, cutaneous, drug-induced, and neonatal lupus. Drug induced lupus and neonatal lupus are not true forms of lupus and usually disappear within a few months. 

3. Systemic lupus is incurable and cases range from mild to life threatening. 

4. Any/all organs can be affected by lupus. It can also affects joints and tissues in the body causing other diseases.

5. more than 16,000 new cases of lupus are diagnosed across the United States every year. 

6. In no way shape or form is lupus contagious. You cannot catch lupus or give someone lupus. 

7. Large scale research has never been done, but it is believed that there approximately 1.5 million Americans living with lupus. The number could be much higher as lupus is incredibly difficult to diagnose and is often misdiagnosed. 

8. Lupus is two to three times more common in women of African American decent than it is Caucasians. 

9. A study conducted in 2008 estimated the average cost for a lupus patient in health care and lost productivity is over $20,000. 
     *I guarantee those numbers are significantly higher in 2017 as medical costs have risen drastically and the numbers can vary greatly depending on the course of treatment needed. If chemo is needed to suppress the immune system the cost can be 3-4 times that much.

10. 73% of American between 18-34 have never heard of lupus, which is problematic because this is the age group that is most at risk for developing the disease. 

Sources: The Lupus Foundation of America: What is Lupus and The Lupus Foundation of America: Lupus Facts and Statistics

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Spring Has Sprung: Thinking Out Loud #34

Happy Thursday! This post is going up much later than it was supposed to but sometimes life happens. This week has been incredibly chaotic and for once I'm actually looking forward to a rainy weekend to relax and unwind. Anyone else down for a lazy weekend🙋 On that note I'm just going to jump right into this weeks thinking out loud.

1. Spring is slowly but surely arriving in the mitten! This past weekend was gorgeous so a friend and I took full advantage of the weather by taking a mini road trip to a town that has a super cute downtown. We walked around, window shopped, and ate froyo in the park. There was a wedding party taking pictures while we were there and the brides dress was stunning. It was the perfect day to be outside. 

2. Sunday was an exciting day for me because for the first time in I don't know how long I had a totally pain free run🎉🎉 I had a longer run planned, but I stuck with six miles because I had some home construction projects on tap for the day and didn't want to be totally exhausted. Living with lupus and chronic pain and fatigue makes running far more difficult than it is for the average healthy person. I took it slow and steady, but all in all it felt great and I can't wait to push myself more.

3. Cora has been LOVING the beautiful weather. We have been spending tons of time outside soaking up tons of vitamin D. Her favorite thing to do is play frisbee so we've been doing lots of that, but it's been almost impossible to get her out of the lake. I'm telling you she's half fish🐟

4. I stumbled upon this shirt while I out running errands this week and I had to get it because it totally fits my personality. It says, "I just want to drink wine, do yoga, and sleep." The only thing missing is running and lifting and it would be me to a T. It's ridiculously comfortable too. For those wondering the top is from Betsy Johnson and I got the x-small, but even that is a tad big. 

5. Tuesday I was running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. There was so many places I had to go and as I made my way through the list I wound up near a Whole Foods. I had a list of produce that I needed to pick up so I just stopped in and got it there. Berries were all on sale and on the Whole Foods app there was a coupon for berries so I saved even more🙌 I also got a salad from the salad bar because I was starving and no one wants me driving around hangry😳

6. I LOVE this quote. So many awesome quotes have been popping up on my pinterest feed recently and I have zero complaints. I've been sharing some of my favorites on my instagram stories. This quote is incredibly fitting for this week as I have received a number of rather mean comments and emails. Honestly, what the people had to say had zero effect on me. I didn't even bother replying because I have better things to do with my time. Who those people thought I was couldn't have been further from the truth and the people who actually know, know the kind of person I am. I'm a big believer that the words you say can reveal a lot about your character, so choose your words wisely, and for pete sake just be nice to others. Kindness gets you so much further in life.

I'm going to end things there this week. Don't forget to smile and have an amazing weekend😃

What is your favorite season and why?
If you could say one thing to your younger self what would you say?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Allergy Friendly Paleo Banana Bread Muffins

For the first time in awhile I bought bananas and then I watched them turn brown before deciding that I actually needed to do something with them. It's been a long time since I've actually baked something, but I decided I wanted to make banana bread muffins. 

I have shared a lot of banana bread muffin recipes before, but I wanted something that was dairy, gluten, and peanut/almond butter free. There are so many people have food allergies and sensitivities, including myself, that I wanted to be able to enjoy them without having to worry about anything. I love these muffins because they're packed full of bananay goodness and the pinch of brown sugar on top give them a bakery like taste. Do yourself and make these muffins for your next brunch or just because👌

Allergy Friendly Paleo Banana Bread Muffins
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • heaping 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (more or less to taste)
  • brown sugar for topping
  • 3 small/medium bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs 
  • 3 Tablespoons liquid egg whites
  • 1 Tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple Grove Farms sugar free syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • heaping 1/3 cup Don't Go Nuts slightly sweet allergy friendly spread (or the chocolate spread)

Preheat oven to 350F degrees and spray muffin tins with nonstick cook spray.

In a mixing bowl combine coconut flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. 

Once dry ingredients are combined add in wet ingredients and stir until everything mixes and batter forms. 

Scoop batter into muffin tins, filling about halfway full. Crumble a little bit of brown sugar on top of muffin batter.

Bake at 350F degrees for 17-20 minutes. The muffins are done when a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. The edges should also be a darker brown and slightly crispy. Allow muffins to cool completely before removing and storing. For optimal freshness keep muffins in airtight container in the refrigerator or freeze for up to six months.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Self Care and Sunshine: Thinking Out Loud #33

Happy Thursday! I hope everyone had a good Easter and got to spend time with family and friends. My Easter was pretty low key, I spent time with my parents, a few family members and then went and saw my boyfriend and his parents. We stayed up way too late playing Cards Against Humanity but I hadn't laughed that hard in a long time and it felt really good😂 This weeks thinking out loud is pretty low key because this week has been low key but I have zero complaints!

1. I have been trying to be more intentional about taking time for self care. Of course working out is a form of self care and I love it, but I hadn't been doing anything to help myself relax or unwind at the end of the day. On a whim I got a jar of dead sea mud mask because it was on sale on Amazon and I love it. I've always been a fan of face masks because they make my skin feel so soft, but this one felt so good! My skin felt hydrated, clean, and so soft. 

2. The best part about face masks is you look so hot wearing them😂 maybe not, but I'll deal with 15 minutes of looking silly to get soft, healthy skin any day👌

3. Speaking of self care I found this quote as I was scrolling through Pinterest and honestly it hit home for me. I have always loved being busy and rarely took time out for myself. In the past few weeks that I have been making myself more of a priority and taking time out to do simple things like face masks or go to yoga I have felt more relax than I have in a long time. Running yourself ragged isn't going to get you where you want to go any faster than if you take time out to rest and relax. You'll be doing yourself and others a big favor.

4. Spring is FINALLY starting to arrive in Michigan and I couldn't be happier. Last weekend was sunny, warm, and absolutely gorgeous. My boyfriend and I hiked around a local nature preserve to soak up some of the beautiful weather. Luckily he doesn't mind that I'm not a sit still person. When it's nice outside I want to be outside 24/7 because spring and summer don't last nearly long enough in Michigan! It's nice to finally be seeing some blooms on flowers and the trees budding, although my allergies think otherwise. Anyone else suffer from allergies🙆

5. After hiking and getting a bite to eat we drove into a local downtown area to walk around. Since it was such a nice night out there was a ton of people out and about, but it was nice to stroll around, window shop, and not rush through anything. We stopped at a local froyo place that served dairy free frozen yogurt and I was beyond ecstatic. I'm pretty sure I ate more than a pound of dairy free froyo but I have no regrets (other than the stomachache that later ensued)🙈 of course I had to add rainbow sprinkles and cocoa chips on top😋

6. Cora has been soaking up the warm weather too. Every day for the past week she has been in the lake swimming, I'm telling you my dog is half fish🐟 we have spent tons of time outside playing Frisbee and she has been chasing a ton of squirrels that decided to make one of the trees in my yard home. She's living a good life what can I say?

7. My latest obsession has been The Chainsmokers new album. It's pretty rare for me to like an entire album by an artist but dang they knocked this one out of the park🙌 my boyfriend is loving the album too and we typically have pretty different tastes in music. I've had the album pretty much on repeat and I have no regrets. Definitely check it out! My favorite song off the album so far is Paris because it brings back so many amazing memories of being in Paris.

8. I couldn't talk about Paris and not share one of my pictures from when I went with a group of AP students from my high school. Paris is one of the most magical cities I've ever been to and some day I want to go back and explore it some more. I'm all about living life well traveled. 

9. Finally I want to end with this quote. I love it because it's such a simple reminder, but I think all too often we find ourselves in a rut and don't know how to get out. Life isn't always going to be easy, but you always have the power to change your story. If you're not happy with your job find a new one. If you're not happy in a relationship, change it or maybe it's time to move on. Life is too short to be anything but happy, so if you find yourself in the wrong story, leave.

Have a great Thursday and check back tomorrow for a delicious banana bread muffin recipe😋

What is your favorite form of self care?
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Glitter and Cupcakes: Thinking Out Loud #32

Happy Thursday! This whole week has felt off and for most of it I've felt like I'm walking through a sleep deprived fog (#teamnosleep). On a positive note Easter is this week and that means summer isn't too far away😎 I'm more than ready for sunshine, beach days, and running outside every day. Anyway, onward to this weeks thinking out loud!

1. Last Friday was one of my friends birthdays so of course I had to make her a cake. Every time I've made a piñata cake it has been a huge hit so I made her a chocolate piñata cake the infamous chocolate fudge frosting. It's taken some time but I have perfected the frosting. The secret to making the smoothest, fudgiest frosting is to leave the butter on the counter for a few hours to make it room temperature. Also let it whip in the mixer for awhile, scrap down the blade and sides of the mixer, and whip it some more. While I personally can't eat the frosting everyone who's had it has told me it's hands down the best frosting they've had. You can grab the recipe for the cake and frosting here.

2. Of course no birthday is complete without presents, so while the cake layers baked I went to work wrapping her presents. Cora is super nosey so of course she had to "help." By help I mean stick her nose in absolutely everything, walk on the wrapping paper, and slow down the entire process. Not to mention there was more than a few pieces of tap that had dog hair on them😒

3. I've been a little better about meal prepping recently. I had to be somewhere all day so I whipped up a giant pan of chicken and vegetable stir fry to have for dinner and I packed some of the leftovers for lunch. I have also been loving papaya since Hawaii. They put papaya in salads, smoothies, and basically everything there and I loved how fresh it was. Rxbars are my go to protein bars because there's so few ingredients in them and they're so delicious. 

4. The weather was absolutely gorgeous over the weekend so my boyfriend and I hit some area trails to soak up some much needed vitamin-D. Afterward we got breakfast for dinner then got some dairy free frozen yogurt and strolled around a local downtown. We are both super simple so days like that are my favorite. I can't wait until it's warmer and spring weather arrives so I can be outside even more. I'm itching to ditch the treadmill and run outside but it's still too cold in the mornings to do that. 

5. Sunday afternoon I set out for a run after squeezing in a quick short run at the gym in the morning. It was in the upper 70's and I was itching to be outside, but the run did not go like I hoped it would. The wind was so strong, it was a bit too warm for my running preference, and I never like to run in the afternoon because I don't do well running after I've eaten. Even though it was 3+ hours after I had eaten lunch food and running just don't mix in my body. My quad starting hurting a mile in, I was battling ridiculously strong winds, my pacing was terrible, and I was so frustrated. I finally stopped and just admitted it wasn't meant to be, looped back home, and stopped. Not all runs are going to be good, but one bad run doesn't deter my love of the sport.

6. Every year I color eggs for Easter and this year I bribed my boyfriend into doing it with me. I had a kit to make glitter eggs, but my boyfriend doesn't share my love of glitter so he had to be bribed with vanilla bean cupcakes topped with chocolate fudge frosting. The cupcakes and frosting turned out perfectly and he dyed eggs with me. I consider it a victory😏

7. I wasn't kidding when I said I had all the glitter for Easter egg dying. We made eight eggs and all but one has glitter on them😬 I was definitely a happy camper, but the time we were done we had glitter everywhere and my boyfriend was not overly happy to be wearing glitter. I on the other had thought it was terrific, I somehow still had glitter on me when I got to the gym the following morning😂 and for those who are going to hate on me for being 22 and still dying eggs, there is no age limit on egg dying fun!

I'll end things on a sparkly note this week😜 Have a terrific Thursday, a fabulous weekend, and a very Happy Easter!

Do you dye Easter eggs with your friends or family? 
What are your plans for Easter?