Monday, November 18, 2013

It's not about me

Exercise, fitness, nutrition- are these all things just part of a selfish pursuit to happiness?

When we choose to eat better, join a gym and take on the battle of the bulge- we do it because we want to look good. We want to fit into our skinny jeans and be able to say "I did it!"... "I challenged myself and I did it!.. and I lost weight and feel good and LOOK good!"

Most people have no problem with the selfishness of it all. Eating right and exercising will keep us healthy, will give us more energy, and lengthen our lifespans. No one would argue that's a bad thing, right?
For a long time now, living a healthy lifestyle has been rooted in some form of selfishness on my part. Yes I want to feel good, yes I want to have more energy and tackle challenging fitness goals, and yes I want to take pride in my body. And it's only as of recently I realized that as much as I LOVE a good run by the river or sweaty session at the gym, and as much energy and joy and sense of accomplishment is left with me after a workout.... something is still missing.

I really had been struggling to come to terms with the fact that something that seems to be rooted in vanity is actually my passion and the thing I get most excited about every day when I wake up. And yes, for many it may be about vanity-but for me it is so much more that what I look like or how fast I run, or how much weight I can bench press.(haha, funny, I know- the amount of weight I can personally bench press is not one to toot my own horn over)

I once had read an article written by a woman who had given away a special piece of jewelry she owned to an orphan on a mission trip she had taken to South America. She had realized that having possessions wasn't as fulfilling as using those possessions in order to love others. That had really resonated with me but at the time I didn't know it could also be applied to my love for healthy living.

All the sudden it really made sense. The joy I get from my passion does not reach its full potential if I can't share it with others! I would love nothing more but to replicate and pass on my love for running, fitness and nutrition, and use my knowledge and experiences gained from my journey to bless other people. Therein lies the unselfish answer to speaking out for my passion.

I understand there is a lot more to life than vegetables, sit-ups and 5k's but for me- all my experiences every single day are so deeply enhanced by the balance I have attained through eating right and exercising. These things have formed the foundation for moving forward and doing good in all other facets of my life, and I want to share that with my friends, family, and even those of you I don't know!

So now: onto to spreading the joy of a healthy lifestyle both near and far!!!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Listening to your body! And a banana berry smoothie!

Through the years my interest in fitness and nutrition has developed over time. I look back to when I was a fairly unhealthy pre-teen and teenager eating hoho's and corndogs and I realize how far I have come! It has been years of a combo of self-guided research on things like running, resistance training and good nutritious food, as well as learning to really tune into my body and figuring out what makes it truly feel at its optimum.

To me its so fascinating to see this change in myself and the fact that I am STILL learning is pretty exciting. 

Just this weekend I learned a great lesson on tuning into your body. I think this is so important in the world of wellness! 

There are times when I feel far less motivated to get a workout in some days. I think to myself "hmm it would be nice if I just skipped it today- I'll just relax, or do something else productive that I need to do." On these days I know that I should just suck it up and do it because the result is a much happier, bright eyed, ready to conquer the world me. Getting started is hard- but as soon as I'm finished- I have relieved my stress, boosted my energy levels and I just feel GOOD. This was the case on Saturday. But I made myself pop in a 40 minute Insanity video at home. I like to have these videos on hand for those days I don't feel like running or going to the gym- it makes it easier by removing the step of leaving the house- which can be half the battle! Before I knew it the workout was done and I felt rejuvenated and ready for whatever my day had in store.

Then- there are times like Sunday- where I am so exhausted that my body just feels like it has nothing to give and its just screaming out for rest. I had had a long, busy week and I was feeling pretty much out of gas. In the past it has been hard for me to feel okay with going a day without doing something active. I had a hard time reading myself to see if it was because I was making an excuse to be lazy- or if I was actually tired. Sunday I needed to rest- and so I thoroughly enjoyed a low key day and now I feel rested and ready for another week ahead!

Learn how to listen to your body! It knows best!!

Another thing!

I have become a big fan of smoothies. Especially for refueling after a high intensity workout! I think I have found my favorite blend- I made this one after my workout Saturday and here it is:

Half a frozen banana (you can use a regular banana but I like to cut them up and throw them in the freezer-they have a longer life span and help give the smoothie a thicker- smoothie like texture, rather then a juice like texture)

Frozen berries (I like to buy fruit in the produce section and freeze them but the frozen already bagged kind is great too)

1/2 cup PLAIN greek yogurt (you don't need the extra sugar in the flavored stuff- its going to be sweet from the fruit!)

1 cup of fresh spinach 

Tablespoon of Chia seeds

1/2 scoop of chocolate protein powder (optional- but I like to give it a little chocolate kick)

1/2 cup Almond milk (might need to add more as you blend to get the right consistency)

VOILA! delicious and does a body good


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The early bird gets the worm

Does anyone else find mornings extremely full of life and hope and hapiness?
I know it seems that I am a rare breed- as it seems many friends/family/colleagues say they hit the snooze button as many times as possible before they slowly roll out of bed and drag themselves into the shower. And not to say that this NEVER happens to me, because it definitely does, but for the most part I can't wait to get up and start my day early. I love that there is a whole day ahead of me-the earlier I wake up, the more day you get!
When it comes to working out, the morning is primetime for me. It kickstarts my mind, body and mood for the rest of the day. I can't tell you how good it feels to be finished with a run or time spent at the gym and head into work with that already checked off my list. As the days get shorter and colder the closer we get to winter, I know it can be so challenging to have the motivation to get up and work out but I just have to remind myself of that feeling that comes over me that fills me full of energy and propels me through the day. I feel unstoppable, I feel motivated, I feel as though positivity is just exploding from the inside out!
It wasn't always this way! Mornings were definitely not always my jam. I used to be a sleep-til-noon if I could type of girl too. I remember in highschool driving to school and thinking to myself when I saw a runner on the sidewalk "what is wrong with them! WHY are they up this early..running!?"
I can remember the summer that waking up early was neccesary and I learned what worked best for me, and I haven't looked back since! Now I would never give up my mornings for anything! Which brings me to the conclusion that if you want to be a morning person- you CAN! It's possible, I promise! A few quick tips that have worked for me..
Routine, Routine, Routine.: try getting in the groove with the same routine every morning. For me I get up the same time, I go to the gym the same time, I come home from the gym the same time-EVERY DAY. I set little time goals of when I should be getting up, leaving as well as what time I need to be in the shower by.
Food!: Look forward to breakfast! It has become my absolute hands down favorite meal of the day. Eggs/ Whole wheat toast/ coffee= YUM. I reward myself with a healthy, nutritious breakfast that I truly enjoy after my workout is complete.
Build in extra time: I never feel rushed in the morning because I build in about 45 min extra time to eat/check emails/Facebook/ online time. I feel this really allows me to unwind and mentally prepare for my day ahead.
Know it takes time: I think the biggest thing that defeats peoples efforts is that those first few days, or even weeks is that they are NOT fun- I'm not gunna lie, YES they suck. It's hard to get up and you may not feel that you enjoy it for a while. It takes time to develop habits and progress is made slowly. Don't give up. Try it for at LEAST a month. It WILL get easier.
And sprinkled in for visual goodness are some random fall Boston photos that I love, Enjoy!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Life on paper

There is a sort of excitement stirring today and to be quite honest- I can't tell you why.
I often feel as if I have this greater purpose that I am right on the cusp of discovering. My heart and soul are being prepped for something big. The hard part of it is just waiting to know what exactly that means.This is not one of those things you can force, so I will sit here patiently waiting and watching and listening and soaking in the euphoric feeling of knowing something really cool is on the horizon.
On another note- I really enjoy writing and reflecting and making observations through words on paper (er..or computer?) Not that I am the next Ernest Hemingway by any means but I do think there is something about sharing my life story through this creative outlet of writing that is so appealing to me. After all life is just a series of stories strewn together back to back to back. In all hopes of creating a story that people want to read, I am going to do my best to write my little thoughts here. No matter how big or small the audience-or if for nothing else than to have something to read when I get older and to reminisce on how amazing and full of adventure my life has been.

So here's to a life full of curiosity, adventure, and a whole lotta' love.



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

To Live Passionately

I have words on my heart,... thoughts.. ideas.. excitement just stirring. My soul is screaming out with all the things I want to be, accomplish do and see. How can I communicate ALL that I want to do into a statement of purpose? How do I choose a platform that contains the wide spectrum of goals I have for myself and my life? And the bigger question is, how can I do it all??
I think the best place to start is to write it all out- everything I want to do and be and experience. So here goes!
1. To live a life dedicated to service to others.
2. To travel the world and always stay hungry for adventure.
3. To grow spiritually, continuously grow in my faith, and be the proof of God's love every day.
4. Challenge myself in ways that help me learn and grow as an individual.
5. Unconditionally love my friends and family and always make them feel special and important.
6. Love my husbund (to be) and our family (to be) with all my heart, and empower them to love others and above all be followers of Christ.
7. Share my love for fitness and nutrition, always stay active, challenge my body and strive for a healthy balance in life.
8. To live passionately in all that I do, and uplift others through positivity and encouragement.

Lets LIVE this LIFE!!!!!

Monday, June 24, 2013


Every summer since we began dating two years ago, Brandon has brought me along to go to Tablerock lake with him and his family. Each year brought family boating adventures, cliff jumping, and an endless supply of wake boarding tricks by the Cusick boys. Being out on the lake is one of Brandon's all time favorite activities and from day one I was hooked too. For me its the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure: the ultimate vacation. There is something about being on the water that brings family and friends together, and somehow everyone has a permanent smile plastered on their face and all the little things that aggravate you most days melt away and instead laughter is what remains.

Tablerock Lake trip 2013: you, my dear friend, are one for the books!

OH and can I just say I have one studly fiance? Look at that superman. YEP its a beautiful thing.


Friday, June 21, 2013


I was trying to think of a really clever title for this post, but I think there is no better way to put it, but to scream it out "We're engaged!!!" (I feel like many random moments I feel the urge coming on to just excitably burst out in song and dance about it!)

I had been anxiously anticipating this weekend for weeks prior: a trip back to Kansas City and then down to our favorite lake in Missouri: Tablerock Lake. I hadn't been back to Kansas since we left for Boston last August and I couldn't wait to get back to see Brandon's family, our friends, and get down to our favorite lake for a few days of relaxation!

Little did I know what the weekend really had in store for me! 

Brandon was extremely sneaky and had hid his plan so well for the past two months that I had absolutely no idea what was in store up until the moment he went down to one knee and pulled out that special red box with my BEAUTIFUL ring inside.

(Although, looking back, I now see I should have suspected something was up when he woke me up around 6:30 AM to show me around Big Cedar Lodge- the resort we were staying at- and a place Brandon and his family had been coming for years growing up. I am always an early riser and I actually enjoy getting up .... Brandon on the other hand typically has to be physically dragged out of bed or enticed with the smell of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven.)

However, it WAS Father's Day and since he told me we were having breakfast early at one of the nice restaurants at the resort, I figured that it would be fun to do some exploring before meeting the family to eat.
We walked around a little bit, as Brandon showed me several of his favorite spots as and convinced me to hike up to the main lodge that looked over the entire lake to see the morning view of Tablerock.

The whole time we were walking around, Brandon had been filming parts of our walk with his GoPro camera.. The boys had been using it all weekend to film anything and everything- and were still testing it out and seeing all that it could again, it didn't cross my mind that this filming he was doing was out of the ordinary.

We reached the deck of the lodge and admired the beautiful colors of the sun peeking through the clouds onto the lake in shades of pink and purple. Brandon set the camera down and suggested we try to find the cabin we were staying in from where we were on the deck. He pointed across the edge of the lake and stated he thought we were staying on that side- I knew this was incorrect immediately and was insistent that we were in fact on the opposite corner of his prediction. This was the perfect distraction for him to be able to get the box out of his pocket without me noticing because I was set on proving my idea correct!

I turned to him after making my argument of the cabin location and he went down to one knee, box in hand, and asked me the most wonderful question I had ever been asked in my entire life

and I said
And now I get to marry the love of my life!

Brandon did such an amazing job, I was COMPLETELY surprised, and had no idea he was proposing. I think it took a few days to actually set in what had happened and I am just so thrilled to now call him my fiancé as we start to plan the wedding and our lives together!

Who would have thought... 
I met a boy in studying abroad in Italy two years ago who would turn out to be the man of my dreams, and now my future husband!

Love you B

P.S. lots more photos from the weekend to come!