Monday, January 30, 2017

Freedom From Judgment

People can be really mean. What's been said can stick with someone for days, weeks, or years after it's said. I think all too often people forget the power of words- they can help heal or they can inflict lasting wounds. 

I used to take what people said personally. When someone said something mean about me I'd get upset because I wanted to be liked. Let me tell you middle and high school girls can be especially cruel and far too many tears were wasted over rumors and judgments that were the furthest thing from the truth. 

Luckily with age comes wisdom and I can happily say that what people say or think about me no longer affects me. I have developed a very thick skin. A big part of not caring about what other people think of me comes from working in a newsroom. Let me tell you that a newsroom can be very cruel place. You see things on a day to day basis that most people will never see- crime scenes, horrific accidents, etc. These things affect you and you have to find a way to disconnect. It sounds horrible, but eventually you become desensitized to things, but as a reporter you have to take your thoughts and emotions out of the equation so you can do your job. Broadcasting is also a very competitive field and sadly a lot of who gets a job can boil down to how someone looks. I have had news directors tell me that they love the story I covered, but they don't like how my face looks on camera. If I took every comment that I've received like that personally I would wear a bag over my head 24/7. 

Mean people say mean things because they are often insecure about something in their own life or they are just jealous. The other day I shared on instagram that a man approached me at the gym and told me that my calves were too muscular. His comment never affected me at any level and I never got mad. As I shared in my post I actually feel sorry for him because he feels the need to try to degrade others to make himself feel good. Kindness wins you more friends every time. Honestly I am glad he said his comment to me and not someone else who would have fretted over his words. I love my legs, calves included. Are they really muscular? Yup. I like how strong my legs are. My legs enable me to run long distances, lift heavy weights, skate, dance, and live life. 

Now when people say mean things they just bounce off of me. I don't give their words one thought or second of my time. It's simply not worth it. Why spend your life worrying about what other people think of you? There are going to be people who will never like you and no matter what you will never be good enough for them. Why would you want to waste valuable energy on such people? People who are worthy of your time are those who love you unconditionally and could care less about how you look. 

It has definitely taken time for me to get to where I am in my journey. I did not wake up one day and just decide that I was no longer going to care what people thought about me. Constantly caring about what other people thought of me was draining. I was so busy trying to please people, some of who I really did not care for, that I lost my sense of self. Instead of trying to please people I began to work at being good at things that made me happy. I worked toward being a good reporter, good daughter, good friend, and I have found fulfillment in those roles. 

It is incredibly freeing to not worry about what others think about you. I don't care if that man thinks my calves are too muscular, or if someone thinks I shouldn't lift heavy weights, or if I'm not pretty enough to be on camera. I really mean it when I say I have never felt so free in my life. 

The journey may not be easy, but it is so worth it. I laugh more freely, I dance like no one is watching, and I live life without limits because I know who I am. I am happy with who I am and my happiness does not depend on other people and what they think of me, and neither should yours. Your happiness should come from within and from knowing you are loved unconditionally by the creator of the universe. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thinking Out Loud #21

Happy Thursday! This week has been a tad hectic, hence the lack of blog posts, but I didn't want to miss a thinking out loud post. I'm just going to jump right this week, so here we go! 

1. Maybe I'm incredibly lame, no I know I'm incredibly lame, but instead of going out on a Friday night I stayed home and baked muffins. Am I in my 20's or 80's? I do love going out with friends, but I've never been the clubbing type. When we go out we go to a bar to watch a hockey or football game and have a few drinks. I'm much more of the stay at home, drink cheap wine, bake, dance like a nut because no one is judging me, and watch Friends reruns.

2. I did go out on Sunday night, but it was to a hockey game and it was over by 7pm😂 one of my good friends plays in a rec hockey league so another friend of mine and I decided to go to his game. Neither team is overly great, but it's rec hockey so it's pretty much all for fun anyway. My friend's team won and it was a lot of fun to cheer for him. Another wild night obviously😬

3. My boyfriend and I had date night Saturday night and decided to try a new place. We drove to a nearby town and tried a local brewery, but it ended up being ironic because neither of us drank. I can't have beer and he doesn't like it. The place was quite hipstery and so much so that we didn't know what some of the things on the menu were, so we had to break out Google😂 We laughed about it and the food ended up being good, but we stick to our favorite places for a reason. 

4. This is in case you're in need of a laugh. I found this picture while I was at Target getting shampoo and eye drops. How I ended up in the home section I really have no idea, the real question is how do I always end up in the home section?! It's a fun store to browse though and this gave me a good laugh. I'd also like to add that I only got the items I went for so I was proud- I think we all know Target can be a bottomless pit.

5. I am missing the beach big time! For being January the weather has been surprisingly mild for MI, but the days have been really gray and I'm not sure that last time I saw the sun was. I am more than ready for sunshine, laying on the beach, and enjoying time out on the water. BRING ON SUMMER😎☀

6. I am not one to get political, at least not on the internet, but this tweet struck a chord with me (and no I'm not on twitter). I don't care what your political views are but no one should ever want a president to fail. Regardless of who the president is if they fail it will be bad for our country and for everyone in our country. Do you have to agree with the president? Absolutely not. That's the great thing about this country is we do have freedom of speech and can make our voices heard. I don't think anyone will agree with every single thing a president says or does 100% of the time regardless of political party affiliation. 

I'm going to keep it short this week and end it there. Have a terrific Thursday and remember to smile😄

What are your plans for the weekend? 
Do you prefer to stay in or go out on the weekends? 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thinking Out Loud #20

Happy Thursday! This week has felt so long, it might have something to do with me being incredibly sleep deprived, nonetheless I'm ready for the weekend. If there's a bunch of spelling and grammatical errors I apologize and blame the lack of sleep. Let's jump right into this weeks thinking out loud.

1. Valentine's Day is still basically a month away but the stores have had their displays up since the day after Christmas and I'm kind of tired of it. I tend to think Valentine's Day is overrated anyway. Maybe I'm just a party pooper but I have always subscribed the idea that if you love someone you should tell them every single day, not just show it one day of the year. Of course it's fun to celebrate and do things together but I'd rather do little things throughout the year for each other. I also don't like candy so maybe that's part of the reason I don't like Valentine's Day🙊

2. Let me start by saying I hated on DNCE so hard because I cannot stand their song Toothbrush, do we really need to sing about a toothbrush?! I was scrolling through the iTunes store and this popped up as a recommendation so I previewed the song and I actually liked it😳 It's a slower song and it actually tells a story, unlike Cake by the Ocean. I found it really relatable, especially where they sing I love you more than you love me. 

3. One of my friends from college and I always joked that were really old ladies because we loved to watch HGTV. This popped up on my Facebook feed the other day and I had to laugh because I never understood why my parents watched all those home renovation shows when I was younger, but now I'll sometimes watch them with my parents😂 I love looking at all the beautiful homes and getting ideas for my future home. I also love me some Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna seem so down to earth and fun. 

4. I FINALLY got a chance to skate on the lake. With everything going on I've hardly had a moment to breathe so when I got some down time over the weekend I broke out the skates, tapped up the sticks, grabbed a puck, and headed out on the lake. My boyfriend came over and we passed the puck around for awhile and for never playing hockey he caught on to passing fairly quick. I also grabbed a tennis ball to pass around for Cora. She loved running along the ice with us while we skated and passed the puck, she was so tired the next day she slept almost the entire day.

5. You know you're officially old when you like grocery shopping. Granted I've always liked grocery shopping, but it was a moment I had to myself. There was so many epic sales on fruits and veggies so I stocked up. I got organic avocados for 66 cents each and blueberries were 98 cents! Yes, I really do get excited about these things, sad but true.

6. I shared this on instagram but I think it's worth sharing again. I found this sticky note on the mirror at the gym and I loved it. It's so easy to get caught up in the comparison game and find our flaws, but we need to appreciate our bodies for what they can do. Love yourself, love your body and embrace your flaws because they make you you. 

I'll end things there this week, have a great Thursday and remember to smile😀

What is your favorite way to spend time outside in the winter?
If you could go back and tell your younger self one thing what would you say?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Ten Unique and Affordable Date Ideas

Happy Tuesday! It's hard to believe it's already the middle of January and Valentine's Day is right around the corner. I'm not one to make a fuss out of Valentine's Day because I think you should tell and show someone that you love them every day of the year. If you're in a new relationship or even if you're in a long term relationship dating can be stressful and boring at times. Deciding what to do can be a challenge and can result in some of the same dates, aka dinner and movie. Instead of sticking to the same, and sometimes boring, dates why not step out of your comfort zones and try something new? Here's ten unique and affordable date night ideas that are bound to be more interesting than dinner and a movie.

1. Trampoline Park

On a whim my boyfriend and I bought a Groupon for an hour of jump time at a SkyZone trampoline park. I watched my boyfriend become a little kid again jumping around, doing flips, jumping into the foam pit, and playing dodgeball. We both left exhausted and sweaty because it was actually a good workout and now he always wants to go to the trampoline park. Most trampoline parks offer Groupons for 2 or 4 people sometimes cutting the price of admission in half. Some trampoline parks offer adult only jump time so you don't have to deal with throngs of kids screaming and jumping all over the place. 

2. Arcade or Laser Tag

Dig out all your spare quarters and head to a local arcade for a bit of competitive fun. Nothing beats classic arcade games like skee-ball or DDR, plus it's a ton of fun to egg each other on all in the name of fun of course. My boyfriend still refuses to play skee-ball because I beat him so many times😏 If you're not much for arcade games give laser tag a try. It's a fun way to enjoy some friendly competition and get away from the traditional dinner and movie date.

3. Ice Skating

I grew up on a lake and my dad had me on skates by the ripe old age of 3. My brother and I used to spend hours out on the lake skating, passing pucks around, and playing hockey with friends during the winter. Skating has always been one of my favorite past times, so this winter I took my boyfriend to a local rink and have been teaching him how to skate. Most communities have local rinks that offer open skate for free or a few dollars. It's a great way to spend time outside in the winter, laugh, and get some exercise in!

4. Wine Tasting

Lots of wineries or tasting rooms offer deals on flights or half flights before happy hour. Some places even offer deals that including a cheese and cracker plate in addition to the flight. We went to a cider mill that had a wine tasting room that offered a tasting for $2 a person and if you brought the glass they gave you back you got a free tasting. Also check Groupon for deals at local wineries and breweries. 

5. Learn something new together

In a relationship it's important to challenge each other and step outside your comfort zones and what better way to do that than to learn something new together. Take a cooking class, try a fitness class (like aerial yoga) together, or find a random class at a local community center and try it out (underwater basket weaving anyone🙋). Over the summer I tried to teach my boyfriend to wakeboard and while he didn't exactly get the hang of it it was a fun way to spend an afternoon and we still laugh about it.

6. Find a new trail and go for a hike

Put away your phones and spend some time in nature. Most communities have parks that you can get into for free if you walk in or if you drive in it's only a few dollars to enter. Pack some waterbottles, bug spray, and maybe a few snacks and hit up a local trail that you've never gone to before. My boyfriend and I have spent countless hours exploring local parks and have found some really beautiful places we didn't know existed in our own backyards because we had never bothered to explore before. It's a fun way to spend time together without distractions and you can simply enjoy nature.

7. Go paddleboarding

I may be a slight paddleboard fanatic. I've spent entire days out on a paddleboard going around the lake and exploring in the ocean. Over the summer my best friend and I found a Groupon for $20 paddleboard rentals for a full day. We got the boards and spent the day paddling around the lake. It's a great workout and you will feel it the next day especially if you're new to it. Also fun is paddleboard yoga. Some people make it look easy, but it's harder than you might think. 

8. Video game/board game night

Even if you're not a big gamer, like me, it can still be fun to dig out some classic video games and challenge each other. I still have the N64 from when my brother and I were younger and my boyfriend and I love challenging each other to races in Mario Kart. We're both super competitive and have made deals that whoever loses buys the winner dinner. It's a fun (and cheap) way to be competitive and adding an element of buying dinner makes it more interesting. If you're more into board games break out the classics and challenge each other. My favorite game to play is Cards Against Humanity because it's so stinking funny. You'll need more than two people to play but it's impossible not to laugh with that game. 

9. Go geocaching

I learned about geocaching from a friend and I cannot wait to go out and try it. Basically you use your phone (iPhone or Android) to find geocaches in your area. You use the official app (which is free) to get directions to a particular geocache and once you find it you log it and rehide it exactly how you found it so someone else can find it. It's a great way to get out and explore your community while going on a scavenger hunt. For full instructions check out the official geocaching website here.

10. Try an escape room

Escape rooms have gained popularity in the past few years so there are far more of them around. Different places offer different rooms ranging in price, but many places offer deals on Groupon. Often different times and days vary in prices, so weekends often cost more because more people want to do them then so try going on a weeknight. Check out reviews on Yelp for reviews so you can pick the best escape room in your area. It's a great way to have fun together but also work with strangers to find your way out of the room. You can also go in with a group of friends and book the entire room. 

What's the best date you've ever been on?
If you could go/see/do anything for a date what would you do?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Single Serving Low Carb Protein Waffle (Vegan+ GF+DF)

Happy Friday and cheers to the weekend🎉 I'm super pumped for this weekend because it's a long weekend with MLK day on Monday and I have all sorts of fun things planned with my boyfriend. This week has felt super long so I am definitely pumped for the weekend🙌

Nothing beats kicking off the weekend with a delicious and nutritious breakfast. One of my go to's recently has been protein waffles. It keeps me full for hours, I can add whatever toppings I feel like and it's a great way to refuel after a workout. This recipe is my favorite because it's so easy and it's ready in under five minutes! 

Single Serving Low Carb Protein Waffle 
  • 1 scoop Pescience vegan chocolate protein powder (or protein powder of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg 
  • 1/4 cup water
  • OPTIONAL: 1/2 Tablespoon Enjoy Life chocolate chips

In a small bowl mix all ingredients together. If the batter is too thick add an additional 1 Tablespoon of water at a time to thin it out. You want the batter to be thin enough to spread out over the waffle iron, but not too runny. 

Lightly spray waffle iron with nonstick spray, this helps the waffle not to stick to and rip when you try get it off the iron.

Pour batter into waffle iron spreading it out evenly. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until done. Top with all your favorite toppings and devour! If you make this delicious waffle tag me on instagram and use the hashtag #thesimplelife so I can see all your delicious creations😋

Nutrition per waffle:
Nutrition Facts
Servings 1.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 182
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5 g8 %
Saturated Fat 2 g8 %
Monounsaturated Fat 2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 186 mg62 %
Sodium 466 mg19 %
Potassium 69 mg2 %
Total Carbohydrate 6 g2 %
Dietary Fiber 2 g8 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 26 g53 %
Vitamin A5 %
Vitamin C0 %
Calcium9 %
Iron40 %

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thinking Out Loud #19

Every time I've sat down to blog this week something has come up thus why thinking out loud is my first post this week. I'm a terrible blogger🙈  This going to be long so strap on your seat belts and let's dive in!

1. Stress has been the name of the game in my life for the past two months so I decided to treat myself to some relaxation time. I picked up one of my favorite face masks at Target and settled in for a little me time. Que Bella are my favorite face masks because they leave my skin so refreshed and soft, I definitely recommend trying them out. I picked up an extra face mask that I'm going to use tonight👌

2. I got to babysit two of my baby cousins last week and they were so stinking cute. It was freezing cold outside so I couldn't take them out to play so I brought the goods to make cookies and the movie The Secret Life of Pets. Normally I don't let kids watch TV but I made an exception and they were really excited about it. It was the first time I had seen the movie and it was really cute, the storyline was kind of similar to Finding Nemo, but it was good nonetheless. 

3. My brother and his girlfriend got me a waffle maker for Christmas since my old one died and I have been putting it to use! I've probably made a dozen waffles since I got it Christmas morning. I'm going to be sharing my favorite protein waffle tomorrow- it's made with only four ingredients, ready in less than 5 minutes, is low carb, and will keep you full for hours. I think y'all are really going to like it and I'm super pumped to share it with you guys😋

4. The weather has been really wacky the past few days and Cora has been going crazy being cooped up indoors. I found a giant Christmas tree tough toy on clearance at Home Goods so I picked it up. Needless to say she made quick work of it and in a matter of 10 minutes it looked like her toy had exploded in my living room, every time I thought there couldn't possibly be anymore stuffing in the dang toy NOPE. So much for being a tough toy😒

5. Is anyone else loving the cut out shoulders right now?! I've seen so many people hating on them and saying the trend needs to go but I'm loving it! Every time I've worn this shirt I've gotten tons of compliments on it. Call me crazy but this is one fashion trend I don't mind. 

6. I was given a giftcard to Panera for Christmas and I finally got around to trying their new roasted beet and citrus salad. I had the salad with cheese and pecans and added chicken for protein. I loved the roasted beets, I thought they were fantastic, but I was disappointed because my salad had two slices of citrus. The salad was good, but I think I'm going to stick to my normal Thai chicken salad. 

7. While I was at Home Goods this week looking for a new comforter I came across this sign and laughed. I snapped a pic and sent it to my best friend who shares my love of wine. Why is it when I go to Home Goods I always find a bunch of cute stuff but I never find what I go there looking for? I've been searching everywhere for a new comforter and have had zero luck, if anyone has any recommendations of where to get a thick comforter please let me know. 

8. Chipotle date night is back🙌 while my boyfriend was on break over Christmas we were super low key and hardly went out. Over the weekend we had a hankering for Chipotle so after we picked up a few things at the grocery store we grabbed Chipotle and hunkered down for a movie night. Neither of us are big on going out, once in awhile we will go to a bar with friends to catch a hockey game or football game, but we are perfectly happy staying at home and watching a movie.

9. Speaking of movies I've seen more movies in the past two weeks than I've seen in the last eight years. Sad but true. My boyfriend and I went and saw the new James Franco movie, Why Him. We are both really big James Franco fans and I must say I don't know the last time I laughed so hard at a movie😂 it is in my top favorite movies and by far my favorite James Franco movie. He plays an over the top character but he does is SO WELL🙌 props to James Franco and if you're in need of a laugh I definitely recommend seeing Why Him😂

10. I've been lengthening out my long runs and I'm so pumped because I ran my furthest distance to date on Tuesday🙌 I was even more excited because it was totally pain free and at the end I felt fantastic and like I could go even further. Lupus has made running really hard for me and made me slower, but I can still run and for that I'm thankful. 

I'll end things there this week, happy Thursday and have a great weekend!

What has been one of your joys this week?
What is one way you like to treat yourself after a stressful day/week? 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Recently and Thinking Out Loud #18

It's a little late but Happy New Year! I hope you had a terrific time ringing in the New Year with friends, family, or whoever you celebrated with🎉 The last few months of 2016 were incredibly busy and stressful so I'm hoping 2017 will be better. I haven't had time to do anything so I'm going to combine this post to make it a thinking out loud and recently and I'm hoping next week I can get some new recipes up. I'll try not to drone on too long so let's go!

1. First things first thank you so much for all the comments, messages, emails, etc. with support and prayers for my dad. He spent the week following Christmas in the ICU at the hospital but is now home and doing better. It's been an incredibly stressful few months for all of us so I'm hoping that that was the last of the hospital visits for a very long time. 

2. The week after Christmas was also stressful because I had committed to babysitting a month prior and I couldn't cancel on the mom two days beforehand. I spent three very long days babysitting and afterward would run up to the hospital to spend time with my dad and then turn around and do it all again the next day. By the end of the week I was exhausted but I was able to keep the kids entertained with building forts, playing with legos and playdoh, we took a trip to the library and the movies, and even baked some brownies. Kids are HARD work and while I never want kids of my own I enjoyed how unfiltered the kids were. They said exactly what they thought because they were too young to know any different, it made for some interesting comments😂

3. One of the days I babysat I took the kiddos to a trampoline park and holy smokes those things are so dangerous! I've been to a SkyZone before and felt very safe because only one person could jump per square, everyone was separated by age, and they were very strict about enforcing the rules. This park was totally different and it was chaos! Kids and adults were jumping together, everyone was running all over, and basically there were no rules. I thought I was going to have a hernia making sure the kids were safe. I was fairly relieved when they tuckered out before their jump time was over because I was able to get them out of the mayhem in one piece and I felt my blood pressure drop significantly. 

4. On one of our excursions I took the kids to the library and they each picked out a number of books. The youngest picked a booked that had all sorts of animals kissing and it was cute. She informed me that kissing was gross and boys had cooties😂 I had to suppress my laughter. I'm guessing in 10 or so years her opinion will change- much to her parents dismay.

5. Friday morning I had to be over to watch the kids by 6:30am so that left me with little time for anything. I still managed to get a six mile run in before heading out the door to babysit. Luckily I had a Bob's Red Mill oatmeal cup leftover from traveling over the summer so I packed it with some cut up fruit to have once I got to the house. The to go cups are seriously the easiest thing ever because all you have to do is add hot water and let it sit for a few minutes. I heated water up in the microwave, let the oats sit, and breakfast was ready in under 5 minutes. It was also the first meal I was able to eat without getting up every minute because one of the kids needed somethings because the kids weren't up yet.

6. The kids didn't get up until well after 9!! I guess they were really tired from the trampoline park and going to the movies the day before. I had almost three hours of quiet, but luckily I had brought the new Nicholas Sparks book my parents had gotten me for Christmas. I had taken it to the hospital but I never got a chance to start it because there was too much going on to get a chance to just sit and read. I got a good chunk of the book done by the time the kids did get up. Maybe it's just me but I always get so emotionally involved in his books, which anyone who knows me finds hilarious because I cannot stand romantic movies or anything like that. But give me a Nicholas Sparks book and I cannot put it down. Strange I know, but it's a fantastic book and I highly recommend it!

7. Over the weekend I finished the book, basically I couldn't put it down and I stayed up WAY too late reading😁 I really, really liked it and it's probably one of my favorites by Nicholas Sparks but I think his writing has changed since he got divorced. Maybe I'm overthinking everything but his style of writing and his characters have definitely changed in the last 5 years. It's not a bad thing, in fact I think his last two books are fantastic but it's noticeably different from his early stuff like The Notebook

8. Meal prep was the only reason I survived last week and I got a decent amount of questions about what I had. I had turkey zucchini meatballs, roasted brussels sprouts and tomatoes, bean and quinoa noodles (allergen friendly), cut up broccoli and cauliflower, with hummus and ketchup on the side. It was easy, quick, and kept me full while watching the kids.

9. Lastly I'm super pumped because I got new running shoes for Christmas (thanks mom and dad!) and they're in my favorite color- blue! But I'm also super pumped because I've been lengthening out my runs and they're feeling good! I'm hoping it stays this way so I can do some road races this year. Also I got a new squat PR so I was pretty excited about that! 

I'll end on things on a happy note today. Sorry for the post being so long, but I feel like we haven't gotten to chat in so long with everything happening. I miss you guys! Have a terrific Thursday and I hope your 2017 is off to a terrific start🎉

What did you do for New Years Eve? Did you stay up and watch the ball drop?
Any suggestions for entertaining kids that will keep them occupied for a LONG time?