Guest Blogger: Erica!

It’s my last day. I am probably throwing a tantrum in the airport right now about not wanting to leave and Luke is embarrassed sitting in the corner pretending like he doesn’t know me. You think I’m kidding, but I am not. I haven’t even gone on my trip yet and I know I don’t want to leave. However, I’m sure I’m very excited to recap you all on it tomorrow!

This chick is my bestest friend. And I know her in real-life, too! Yes, a friend; I know. Crazy concept. She does a really good intro of our relationship, so I’m not messing with one. Just listen to her Smile

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Hi everyone!!

So first can I say that aren’t we ALL jealous that Ally is in CALI right now!? I have always wanted to go there and sure many of you do as well! So I thought I would be a little “guest” blogger. Let me give you a little introduction here!

My name is Erica and I have been best friends with Ally ever since we were um… could poop our diapers ..basically. TMI? Sorry. We also live exactly 3 minutes away from each other and enjoy bike riding in our trails in the summertime and being obsessed with way too many TV shows. I am currently in my last semester at Grand Valley State in MI finishing my degree of Exercise Science with a Health/Fitness emphasis. I am Zumba certified and have taught this semester for my first time and LOVE it as well as teach circuit classes, train clients, etc. As you can already tell, Ally and I have lots in common since we both are in the health field!

So without further ado, here are some lovely little tips I came up with to help us along with our goals. I hope this helps you all as it does to me!

Trainer Tips #1

What have you always wanted to do? Write it down, goal set, and get to it!

“I want to be in better health”; “I want to feel better”; “I want to lose weight”; “I want to be stronger”; “I want to look better”.

Do you ever find yourself thinking or telling others any of the sayings above? Or possibly something similar to it? Why is that? Why do we constantly tell ourselves for months, even years, that we want to accomplish a specific achievement but are not able to follow through?

Goal-setting !!

1. First, think of a feasible goal that you are highly confident that you can achieve.

This should not be something that it easy for you, but also not something that entirely difficult to manage. For example, you should not pick a goal of exercising 5x/week if you never have exercised before. Likewise, you should not pick a goal of running 2 miles if you run half-marathons.

2. Make a plan.

We can say over and over again of how much we want something, but it’s not actually until we take one baby step forward that we are actually on our path of achieving it. For example, you can say over and over that you want to buy a house, but it’s not until you actually look at houses for sale that you are getting one step closer to completing your goal.

So how are you going to do this?? I challenge you to right now to think of where you would like to be with your goal. If it’s a health-related goal, start making reminders for yourself every day. Look at the calendar in a month-view and write down your goal each day so that you can actually see you are progressing and taking those baby steps. Cross those days off when you have completed your task.

3. Make yourself accountable!!

“There’s an app for everything” – Although humorous, yet basically true. Just one tech-savvy way of keeping yourself accountable, regardless of your goal.

Whether it’s drinking more water, getting to the gym more often, or increasing your energy, goal setting will get you to where you want to be. Don’t think of the big picture. Take and treasure each day as improving your health; one by one. It will become easier, but you can’t begin to achieve if you haven’t even begun!

Trainer Tips #2

Try group Exercise!

Many individuals get stuck in a rut by repeating their same workout routine over and over again. This can lead to boredom and possibly even fewer results. So why try group exercise?

1. Accountability

It’s so easy nowadays with our hectic schedules to skip the gym. It’s even easier to skip the gym when no one knows that you were even planning on going and you talk yourself out of it. Group exercise is a way to help you overcome that goal by setting a time for you that fits your schedule and sticking to it! You know the class is going to start without you, so it’s even more motivation to go!

2. Social reinforcement! AKA make some friends!

What better way is it than to surround yourself around others that have similar goals and successes that you want to achieve?? It’s extremely easy to start making “small talk” with a few participants in the classes. After going for a few classes, you expect them to be there and to catch up on the latest TV show gossip with them. If you don’t show up, you may feel as if you are letting the other person down…which helps with accountability!

3. Motivation!

Do you push yourself hard enough at the gym? Do you wish you had a personal trainer? Group exercise can act as if you do! By seeing others around you push themselves to the limit; it makes you want to be right up there with them. This helps increase your heart rate and possibly help you do things you might not have thought possible!

4. Still thinking Group Exercise isn’t for me?

Are you thinking, “Sure, that’d be great if I was coordinated- I can’t keep up with all those fast Zumba moves!” Think again. Don’t restrict yourself to just aerobics! There are offerings from yoga to pilates, aqua to cycling, and even small group training.

I challenge you today to whip out that big chunky planner of yours and to find one class a week for a month that you are able to attend (even look on weekends) and try different formats you never have had. You may find some you hate, but you may also find some you love. As the famous saying goes, “You will never know unless you give it a try!”

“The challenge, therefore, is to take pleasure in the “atmosphere of growth” in the gradual progress made toward a goal, in the present.”

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I currently am finishing up an internship now and will graduate in 3 weeks! Crazzay. THEN, I have the INCREDIBLE opportunity to partake in the Disney College Program from mid-June to January in Orlando, FL. PUMPED! I actually already did the program once and am going back down again because I want to be there for the holidays and such. I also just got interviewed for a fitness internship position there which I would be STOKED if I get, but it is super competitive. Since we are in the blog world.. here is mine! I only am going to write it in regards to Disney, so if you like Disney, feel free to subscribe! (I’ll try to be as funny as Ally, but I’m not sure if I can be). This first post I wrote was super long, but you can see all the previous posts and “secrets” from last program I did. Enjoy!

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She’s much funnier than I am, so don’t let her try to convince you she’s not. I know I will be reading every post she writes from Disney and being insanely jealous every day. I love her. Don’t you?? See ya tomorrow with hopefully some good news! Smile

Spice Up Your Life, Week 6

Hi friends! I had an amazing day yesterday. Like really freaking good. I woke up early to watch some more Tara Stiles videos on her youtube channel. Gosh, I love that woman. She makes me so happy. I just want to be her best friend, but there’s no way I’m cool enough for that. Then I was at the gym for a little while working, followed up by running a few errands, and babysitting all afternoon. Kids make me smile. Then Luke and I had a date night at Cheeseburger in Paradise, where I got a Calypso Salad, containing avocado, strawberries, pineapples, mandarin oranges, apples, honey roasted almonds, and red onion and a Skinny Margarita. The margarita was fantastic; literally tasted just like tequila and lime (just how I like it!). I may or may not have convinced Luke to split some key lime pie with me as well. We also saw The Call, which was really scary and made me never want to pump gas ever again. I am not happy about that movie; not happy at all. It broke my heart.

I do have a question for you guys. When Luke and I go to LA next month, we’re not sure if we’re going to rent a car or take cabs everywhere we go. We’ve been trying to compare prices and they’re honestly quite similar. Anyone have any suggestions on if you think it would be better to drive ourselves or get cabs? A pro of our own car would definitely be that we could drive along the coast and not have to worry about waiting for a car. A con would be that we both suck at directions and LA is confusing as it is. Thoughts, suggestions?

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Last week in the Spice Up Your Life Challenge I asked you guys to say no to someone. How did it go? I have found that a common theme among many of us is that we tend to say yes to everything. I know that I am a huge people pleaser and always try to keep my promises, yet I don’t take care of or keep promises I make to myself. Gotta work on that! I did really good with the challenge this week. Here’s what I did to say no to others and make a little bit of time for myself:

  • didn’t work any hours behind the desk at the gym (not that I had time to anyway; hopefully I will next week because I actually really enjoy it!)
  • said no to my inner voice telling me not to and bought a set of Tara Stiles yoga DVD’s online
  • took my time responding to e-mails instead of feeling the need to do it immediately
  • said no to my inner voice telling me to workout and took a rest week full of simple yoga routines

Small changes, but definitely made a difference in my happiness levels. I’m hoping to continue this “free” mindset my week next week and see if things can increase even more. I’m starting to realize more and more every day how much I love yoga. I always kinda knew I was into it, but taking time for myself to relax AND work my body/mind this week was perfection. This may be a new path for me. Yoga helps me to connect to myself and make better decisions throughout my day. So yay for that!

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Challenge for this week:

40. Create a sacred space.

Um, wow. What weird timing to get this goal when I’ve just been preaching about the benefits of yoga and meditation. The book describes this goal of more of a legit sacred space. I say to find somewhere you feel comfortable and develop it into a happy place where you can go whenever need be. Examples of where this could be:

  • In your car. Even though I have terrible road rage, when I don’t put any music on in my car and have my commute to just think and be alone, I am ridiculously happy. In the mornings I listen to the news, but coming home at night I usually sit in silence. It gives me a chance to reflect on myself and my day and to also just have some quiet time after being around loud people all day.
  • In your bedroom. This is where we all do the most relaxing thing ever: sleep. Your bedroom should be a place you can go to reflect, write, watch TV, relax, workout, stretch, read, ANYTHING. I do pretty much everything in my room, but that very well may be because I still live with my parents. It will be interesting to see if that changes once I move out. In my opinion, your bedroom should be your happy place. Anything goes.
  • In your mind. As long as you know how to block out the rest of the world and concentrate on yourself, all you need is your mind. I’m working on this one. I would love to be able to walk down a busy street and not be affected by others; just myself.

And here’s some ways to make that space sacred for you:

  • look forward to the time you get to spend there each day
  • fill it with things you love
  • only allow others there that benefit you!
  • associate positive thoughts with it

There are obviously many more places you could choose and ways to make it happy, but these are just the main ones I can think of right now. This week I am going to focus on transforming my mind into a place that is full of happiness for me. I’m going to try to get rid of all the negativity, worry, and rushing I feel on a regular basis and focus on relaxing, breathing, and knowing that I have complete control over my body.

Enjoy your weekend! Good luck to all the ladies running in the DC Rock N’ Roll half this weekend <3

Where is your sacred space?

Fitting It All In

I’ve been having a real problem lately with scheduling my life. I used to be really good in college about getting everything done, with time to spare. I would:

  • get all my homework and studying done and usually stay ahead of track on all my syllabi (is that the right way to use that word?)
  • take 18 credits and work 20-30 hours a week
  • find time every day to go to hot yoga for 1.5 hours or go on a minimum 6 mile run
  • hang out with friends almost daily, whether it was meeting for lunch or seeing a movie
  • keep up on all my TV shows
  • cook and bake my meals every single day
  • commute a half hour to/from school every day
  • still have time to myself!!!!

What on earth? I mean, sure, I got stressed at times, but I was always able to handle everything with ease. Lately things have just been building up to a point where I truly feel like I can’t handle it all. Deep down I know that I can, but my mind is telling me otherwise. And here’s a list of what’s happening in my life today:

  • nannying for one family 25 hours a week and for approximately 15 hours a week rotating between 4 different families
  • working behind the desk at the gym about 10 hours a week
  • personal training about 5-6 different clients each week
  • writing up training plans for said clients
  • spending about 2 hours a day on writing/reading blogs and researching content material
  • I know this is a pathetic one, but watching all my TV shows
  • finding time to (hopefully) work out about an hour a day
  • extras, like cleaning, social media, running errands, and that’s not even to mention spending time with family, friends, and Luke

I know it doesn’t seem like a ton (especially compared to what some of you are currently dealing with), but it’s kind of blowing my mind. I think it’s a combination of running around from place to place every day instead of going to ONE job and the stress of living with my family where I feel chastised for my crazy schedule. I don’t work traditional hours for the most part, which is contradictory to what the rest of my family is doing. I’m not home when they are and am gone when they’re home, making it seem like I’m avoiding them, which I’m really just not.

Would I like a “typical” 8-5 job? Probably; it would relieve a lot of stress. Would I be happy in a “typical” 8-5 job? Probably not; I would most likely be in an environment I don’t like. I enjoy the jobs that are not typical hours, because I have found (at least for me) that those are the fun ones. I’ve always been a person that is more concerned with doing what they love than having a significant amount of money. As I get older, I’m learning that money is definitely a necessity, but I really just wish it wasn’t that way. For a really long time, I’ve wanted to live in California. I’ve always admired that SoCal lifestyle. The people who reside there just seem like healthy, life-loving, happy people. I want that mindset. I know that contentment comes from within, but at least for me, the external environment plays a huge factor in my happiness.

So if I could do anything I wanted in my life?:

  • have my own successful online health coaching business with one of my best friends
  • really get my blog up-and-running and write some freelance pieces as well
  • live on the beach in California with Luke near my best friends, like on How I Met Your Mother
  • live somewhere where I’m able to comfortably be outside year-round, riding bikes, taking walks, and not having to drive everywhere in congestion
  • get my quirks under control so I don’t have to stress so much about everything

It’s not a lot! Nothing fancy. I may be wrong, but I truly think that living somewhere different would really help me out. Maybe I’m being over-dramatic, but nothing seems to be exactly right right now. I need some sort of a change or consistency or SOMETHING. I didn’t mean for this to turn into as much of a rant as it did, but I need to get these thoughts out and maybe get some advice from some of you.

Any suggestions on a simple change to make in my life right now? Any thoughts on making a big move?

Bad Days and a Survey

Remember how I started yesterday off with my burst of positivity and a goal to have a great Monday? Well, I failed. Just because I say something on here, doesn’t mean I’m going to do it perfectly. Caitlin and I have been discussing the quote, “Do as I say, not as I do,” a lot lately. I may have good intentions for something, but life gets in the way and my plans get messed up. I really just want to put yesterday behind me and move on from that. Don’t even want to talk about it. Today will be better. I have a much shorter schedule, so that’s already a plus!

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I will say that yesterday was a swift reality check for me. It gave  me a push in the direction of what I don’t want to do with my life. I was very unhappy all day because of that realization and made some bad decisions on account of my mood. It’s hard for me to remember that every moment is a new opportunity and I don’t need to wait until tomorrow to start over and make things better. Anyone know of a tattoo that incorporates that? I feel like I need to get it right on the top of my hand. Not even joking. Well, kinda.

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I think one of my biggest issues I’m facing right now is living at home in my parents house. I love my family to death. They’re fantastic. However, I feel like now that I’m a college graduate trying to start my own life, it’s really just setting me back living here. I know it’s helping financially, but I’m starting to be at that point where I know I need to take the leap and get a place away from them. I know that I will be more productive and positive in my own place. It’s gotta happen. You guys know how stressful it is to move out. All the responsibilities that come with it, the financial obligations, etc. I lived on my own while in college, but this is different. This is the real world. Just something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Moving on!

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I thought I would give you guys a survey today. I hope that some of you will fill it out as well! I love learning more about you guys Smile

 

1. Have you ever been searched by the cops?

Nope. I have been pulled over my fair share of times though. And I used to work for a police station in college so I’ve definitely ridden in a few cop cars as well.

2. Do you close your eyes on roller coasters?

I do not ride roller coasters at all. I am absolutely terrified. I think the only person I would get on a roller coaster for is Ellen DeGeneres or to save one of my future children.

3. When’s the last time you’ve been sledding?

Probably back in college. It was different when I was young with a bunch of other people like me and had some alcohol in my system. Now it’s just cold and wet.

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4. Would you rather sleep with someone else, or alone?

Um, alone. Sorry Luke! <3

5. Do you believe in ghosts?

I do not.

6. Do you consider yourself creative?

Once again, I do not. Not at all. I like consistency and the same thing over and over. I should really develop a creative side though. I could probably benefit from that. I cringe whenever the kiddies want me to do a craft with them, because I will definitely not be able to do it up to their ridiculously high standards.

7. Do you think you lead an active lifestyle?

Yes, I do. When I’m home I am usually lazy as all get-out, but I’m literally running around all day long when I’m gone. Add on exercising 6 days a week and I’m pooped!

8. Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?

Jennifer Aniston. Biggest girl-crush on her ever. Definitely had the “Rachel” hairstyle back in the day.

9. Can you honestly say you know ANYTHING about politics?

Nope. It’s about time I learn though, yeah?

10. Do you know how to play poker?

Not a clue in the world. I rock at blackjack though.

11. Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?

No way! I can barely get through my days without a nap.

12. What’s your favorite commercial?

I like the new Sofia Vergara diet pepsi ones. Mainly just because I think she’s gorgeous.

13. Who was your first love?

Luke. One and only <3

14. If you’re driving in the middle of the night, and no one is around you, do you run a red light?

No! I’m way too much of a chicken for that.

15. Do you have a secret that no one knows but you?

Yes I do.

16. Hockey or basketball?

Not really a fan of either, but Luke has definitely got me into hockey in recent years. I truly enjoy going to games with him.

17. Have you ever been ice skating?

I have! I used to take lessons when I was younger, but just go occasionally with Luke now. He’s amazing from all his years of hockey. I make a fool out of myself.

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18. How often do you remember your dreams?

Almost never. I remember bits and pieces sometimes, but never big details.

19. What’s the one thing on your mind?

I am really pissed at Desiree’s brother on The Bachelor right now.

20. Do you always wear your seat belt?

Yes I do. I know of way too many people who have been in accidents without their seatbelts and had very sad results.

21. What talent do you wish you had?

I wish I could sing. I am SO bad. Like, you don’t even know how bad.

22. Do you like Sushi?

I do not. Maybe I’ve just never tried a good kind, but the only kind I’ve ever had made me gag.

23. What do you wear to bed?

Huge sweatpants and a huge t-shirt.

24. Do you truly hate anyone?

Only murderers.

25. If you could sleep with one famous person, who would it be?

Am I really about to say this on the internet? Channing Tatum. Luke and I made our “lists” once before. That was a hilarious conversation.

26. Do you know anyone in jail?

I do not.

27. What food do you find disgusting?

Olives.

28. Have you ever made fun of your friends behind their back?

Made fun of, no. Talked about, sad to say yes.

29. Have you ever been punched in the face?

No way! These are some crazy questions.

30. Do you believe in love at first sight?

I do not. I think you need to get to know someone first.

 

Your turn! <3

The Unexpected

Let’s just go ahead and say that today didn’t go quite as planned.

I was originally going to get up and do a workout before going to work, but I ended up hitting the snooze button one too many times and missed it altogether.

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I was planning on having a big salad for lunch, but I ha a good ol’ pb&j with the girls I nanny for.

I was planning on having time to write my daily blog post sometime this afternoon, but at had a sick baby to take care of who just wanted to cuddle and play.

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I thought since I missed my morning workout I would go to the gym after work and get some cardio in, but I was exhausted and it just wasn’t appealing to me. So I didn’t. I went home and literally fell asleep in the shower. Don’t knock it til you try it.

I was going to go to the boyfriend’s house tonight, but he had a surprise visit from his nieces, so that didn’t happen. I decided to stay home and give him some time with them. There’s always tomorrow.

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I thought I would finish my to-do list, but there’s still 3 things that need to be checked off. Oh well.

I’m starting to learn the importance of ‘going with the flow.’ I try extremely hard every single day to not let my OCD take over my life. In case you didn’t know, I really do have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). I’m not as extreme as those people you see on TV, but I do have my own little quirks. For example, I like things to be in even numbers. I have to have the radio volume on 10 or 12, never 11, and I have to eat my food in even numbers. Like, I literally count out 8 almonds every morning to put on my yogurt. I’m a lot better than I used to be, but some days it’s out of control.

Enough ranting! What I’m trying to say is that I try to tell myself that there is always another option when my original plan doesn’t work out. This is something that I can apply to all aspects of my life. I have great people in my life, I am very blessed, I am healthy, and I am safe. What more could I ask for? I gotta let my life plan out the way it’s destined to….not necessarily the way I think I want it to right now. I’m 21 and reckless, what can I say? ;)

Now if you don’t mind, I need some advice! I am totally new to blogging and really am not sure how to go about things, so I have some questions for all you more experienced bloggers. I would adore some feedback!

1. Do you write your posts on your actual blog or on Microsoft Word or a similar program? I find that my posts appear differently if I type them on WordPress, on my iPad, or on my dell. Super fustrating.
2. How do you get all your pictures to be the same size?
3. Is it worth it to buy your own website?
4. How do you get involved in giveaways and sponsorships?

Any help would be more than greatly appreciated :)

Sometimes You Just Gotta Do It

Have you ever had one of those days where you just were so excited for something that you couldn’t even sit still, let alone concentrate on anything?! Yeah, that’s me right now. And I’m not even excited for anything big. I haven’t seen my boyfriend in 2 days and tonight I’m babysitting for 3 little girls and he’s coming with me and bringing Chipotle for dinner (which I’ve never had!; burrito bowl, here I come). Maybe it’s odd to be so completely pumped up for our little night playing house, but I couldn’t think of any better way to spend my Wednesday evening. Throw in the fact that The Middle and Modern Family are on AND American Idol starts back up and I am one happy girl. Can’t wait to see Nicki Minaj on there!

 

I’m also really happy because I had a great morning at mommy and me with the baby I nanny for. We were in the same class as last session, so I really got to know and love some of the moms. Two of my favorites were there today and we had an awesome discussion about life and major changes for me while the girls played together. They gave me great advice on my future career, having kids of my own, and the best age for me to get married at. So thanks for that ladies! Really put a lot of things into perspective for me.

 

By the time lunch rolled around, I was exhausted from running around with the girls all morning and only wanted one thing: comfort food. Then this happened.

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That’s right a good old fashioned grilled cheese. I made it with multigrain bread if that counts for anything? And yes, I dip my grilled cheese in ketchup.

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Mmmmm, look at that cheese!

Lunch may or may not have been finished off with some of these. No, not the whole thing ;)I needed this lunch, bad.

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Gonna continue to count my blessings this afternoon, cuddle with my girls, and count down the hours until I get to see Luke!

What’s your favorite comfort food??

If I had to pick something different than grilled cheese, my grandma makes this fantastic macaroni pasta with cheddar cheese and diced tomatoes. Totally simple but totally fantastic.