Monday, November 6, 2017

Meal Prep - Breakfast Edition

For the longest time I have been big on meal prep when it comes to breakfast. We typically have our meals planned out for the week but they are all very quick (30 minutes max) and fairly simple to make so I don't have to do a lot of prep dinner-wise. 

But with breakfast, I like to have healthy, filling options on hand for the whole family. I will often make pancakes on the weekend and make more than what the four of us will eat. Then I freeze the leftovers and heat them up for the kids before school. The pancakes are gluten free and I typically try to squeeze in fruit (blueberries, pumpkin, bananas) and sometimes oats or flaxseed as an extra health boost. 

I also make scrambled egg sandwiches or burritos for the kids on Sunday and freeze them. I'll pull them out and place in the refrigerator the night before I'll need them and in the morning I just pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds. They have a filling, protein-packed breakfast ready to go!

Frittatas are what I usually make for the hubs and I. They are super simple and very easy to make. I'll cut them into wedges and, you guessed it, freeze them so they're on hand throughout the week. I load them up with veggies and will often use canadian bacon as the protein, in addition to the eggs. I've shared one of my favorites here so you can check it out!

And finally, thanks to the wonderful world of Instagram, I stumbled upon a new go-to breakfast recipe that I am in LOVE with! I'm a sucker for a good quiche but they aren't always the healthiest option. They are typically made with a pie crust and heavy cream. So when I saw a lightened up version using potatoes for the crust, I was very excited to try it! You can find the full recipe on the Ambitious Kitchen website. Like the frittata, this is one of those recipes you really just need to get the method down and then you can make it any way you'd like! The possibilities are endless!

This is gluten free, and very tasty! You can make it vegetarian or dairy-free as well. Enjoy!! 

Visit Ambitious Kitchen for the recipe. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A New Season

"All the trees are losing their leaves, and not one of them is worried." - Donald Miller

Here I am again. Didn't think it would be so soon but I suppose three-and-a-half years was a good run? I find myself in a time of transition, but it is very different from the last time.

This wasn't traumatic and the logistics behind it are simple. Our company was purchased and therefore, we were given our exit dates. Next week I will no longer be at a company, in a role, and with a team that I grew to respect, admire and hold in very high regard.

I am looking at this twist of events as bad news disguised as an opportunity. Yes, I am stressed and anxious about what the future holds and all my job search attempts are moving very slow. But I'm grateful to have irons in the fire and am optimistic and excited to see where my career will take me next.

Grateful. That is the overarching feeling I have as I reflect back on the last three years. This job came to me when I was in a state of desperation. Unemployed and in a very dark time of our lives. To be honest, I only recently "healed" from the whole experience.

As traumatic as it was, I am very grateful that unfortunate event led me here. I grew so much on a professional and personal level in my current role. This was the first job of my career in a large corporate environment so I had to get used to the challenges that came along with it, but there were also many perks.

As a marketer I learned so much about the creative process and loved brainstorming, problem solving, and collaborating with the most talented people I've ever met. I also confirmed more than ever that marketing and the work I was doing is something I love. LOVE! It is where I belong and that is a great feeling and so different from treading water in my twenties trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grow up. I'm still trying to figure it out but I know marketing is the path I'll continue down and I'm grateful for this revelation.

My gratitude journey is capped off with the people. The amazing, interesting, and (at times) challenging, individuals that pushed me, taught me, and inspired great work. The company I was a part of lived within the walls of an even larger corporation so the amount of people whose paths I crossed was vast. For example, I formed a friendship with a person in another state solely over the phone. I've only been face-to-face with her three times in three years but consider her a dear friend.

I also found my way into a lovely group of women fearlessly leading the helm of change for women in business. Their efforts and passion for what they do is contagious and their important work is making a difference. I had an idea to put pumping supplies for nursing mamas in each of our wellness rooms. This group of woman loved the idea and made it a reality. There are now baskets in every room stocked with magazines, nursing pads, hand sanitizer, milk bags, and many other supplies in case a mom forgot an item of her own. They also asked if I'd be interested in leading the Denver Parents Network and I was thrilled to get this program off the ground! To have been a part of it for a small time was something I'll never forget. I can't wait to see what else these intelligent, superhero women have up their sleeves. Better maternity leave, continuing to empower women in business and just overall bad-assery that I know they are more than capable of.

Then there's our team. When I started there was only six of us and toward the end there was a whopping nine. We were a small, close-knit group of misfits that worked so effortlessly together. If the rare conflict came about, it was practically over before it started. We worked fast and furiously against unrealistic expectations and always delivered. We shared similar interests but were also so different from one another. We created competitions to keep things interesting. A stair challenge which got out of hand fast and uncovered who the most competitive people on our team were. A peanut butter and jelly taste test because, as it turns out, we each have a very different and unique way of making the "just right" classic sammie. We'd play Catchphrase as a team every Friday afternoon if work wasn't piled up. Games often included laughing til we cried and have had lasting anecdotes we reminisce on often.

Of course I'm concerned and sad that I'm losing my job, but it is the dismantling of our team and people I enjoyed working with and seeing every single day that I'm going to miss the most. I am so grateful that the universe brought us all together and that we had this time together. There's a text thread of messages on our phones filled with pictures of our babies, jabs at one another, random gifs, and a plethora of emojis. We are more than your average colleagues, I truly consider them my work family.

And last, but certainly not least, is a special friendship that came into my life when I needed her most. It became a friendship that has filled my soul so much! Taylor is a shining light and her mindful approach to life has taught me invaluable lessons. Her focus on mind/body balance and her health has been very inspiring to me. She introduced me to meditation, provided book recommendations that I have absolutely loved, and has been a great sounding board and advice-giver. Taylor's friendship got me through many difficult times and I don't know what I would do without her. I know next week will not be goodbye with this one!

The past three years I was surrounded by a unique culture, creativity, inspiring leaders and mentors, and I can't believe it's coming to an end. I'm still operating in "surreal mode" and the gravity of this will sting something awful, I'm sure. But as the quote I opened with suggests, similar to the fall leaves, I will blossom again. A new season of my life is just beginning and I hope it's as sweet as this last one was.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sugar Cleanse Results

I've been blabbing all over Facebook lately that "this is my year!" The year I've made it my personal mission to be the healthiest version of myself. I will tell you that at first I made this declaration with a goal weight in mind. A number on a scale that would magically mean I'm healthy and happy... But would it?

Let me tell you, the amount of reflection I've done on this topic is mighty. You see, I no longer want to focus on the scale. Instead I want to focus on my lifestyle and how I can make better choices to feel better in my own skin. I firmly believe that when we feel good, we do good. When I'm working out and eating right it's usually a product of being in a positive state of mind. I'm feeling good, I'm motivated, and I'm moving! When I have a slump and I'm feeling down, I may take a break from working out, I may pile more portions on my plate to feed my feelings and that's when it takes a lot more to get me back to where I started and in the zone again. 

I want to feel good and I'm taking a number of steps to do this. First and foremost is my health. I am embarrassed to say that I forgot the last time I made an appointment with my doctor for a wellness visit. So when I sat down to make new year's goals that was the first item on my list. I had been feeling kind of "yucky" on the the inside and I wanted to get medical advice for my symptoms. 

Last year I felt like I was on an emotional roller-coaster. Ladies, please tell me I'm not alone here!! ;) I would have these bouts of time where I didn't recognize who I was. Feeling lethargic, irrational, even ragey at times. It wasn't pretty and I finally got to a place where I threw up my arms and said ENOUGH!!! I need to be in control here and I want feel like myself again! 

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I explained in detail these things with my doctor and was relieved to hear there are a number of recommendations to help with what I was dealing with. One that felt doable right away was giving up sugar two weeks before my period. After my doctor said that, I got to thinking why not take it a step further and see if I could go sugar-free for a whole month. It's no secret that sugar wreaks havoc on our bodies and there are plenty of studies and research to back up why going sugar-free is extremely beneficial. But, something new I learned is how much sugar affects PMS. I always knew PMS was a "thing" but up until last year I never really felt symptoms like this. Oh, the joys of getting older. Amiright?!?

So that was it! I would go sugar-free for a whole month and see if I felt any different. On February 1st I gave up all refined sugars and foods with added sugar. I became very label conscious and was surprised when I started to see how many things I typically ate contained added sugar. I said "no thanks" to cake at birthday parties, donuts at work and candy from the community bowl. I said goodbye to bottled salad dressings, peanut butter (that one was hard), almost all bread and flavored yogurt, among other things. 

I upped my fruit intake and would grab a cutie or apple when I had an afternoon sugar craving. I have to admit that I was never a big dessert person to begin with, so after dinner and in the evenings seemed to not be as hard for me. But at the office where I would mindlessly pass by the candy bowl and grab a mini snickers multiple times a day, that was where the challenge was. The other challenge I had was the mood connection I apparently have with sugar. There were a couple of days I wasn't feeling particularly chipper and my stress levels were high. These were the moments that I felt a need to have a peanut butter cup for no other reason than to shove it in my face parts to make myself "feel" better. I had to kind of settle in with my feelings and figure out where they were coming from and how I could find a healthy way to address them. Not. Easy. But I did it! I made it through the whole month SUGAR FREE!

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I'm so glad I challenged myself to do this! Because I was more label conscious I found myself eating better in general. I did not shed a bunch of weight but started to notice I didn't feel bloated very often and my pants were fitting a bit looser. I also noticed I had a more mild temperament during the challenge. Of course life stress would still get the better of me at times, but overall, day-to-day I was feeling really good!

The most surprising thing about this challenge... the support I received from others! I can't tell you how much it has meant to me that people were in my corner, cheering me on while I did this. People would write thoughtful comments on my FB posts and I even had someone send me a link to the Dr. Oz show where they shared the benefits of kicking sugar. My co-workers have been awesome and I've even inspired them to make changes of their own to better their health.

This sugar cleanse was the first step to making positive changes. I'm going to remain sugar free to the best of my abilities. I will bring back peanut butter (hallelujah) and may let myself have a treat every once in a while but honestly, I'm nervous to "feed the beast." I've done so well I wonder if once I have  even a little I'll be inviting the flood gates to reopen. We'll see!

I'm doing this, guys! I'm capable of doing hard things and I will make it to the finish line. I'm so excited to have this be the year I actually achieve my goals and not just hope and wish for them. I know this is an investment in time as much as effort. I need to be patient and kind to myself along the way but push harder than I ever have and never give up! The journey has begun! #commitdontquit

Thursday, January 5, 2017

2017 Goals - January

Two years ago I started working out regularly in preparation for a trip to Jacksonville, FL. I started posting monthly goals and I have to say, it really helped keep me accountable and motivated throughout the process. I also was able to hit some (in my opinion) impressive goals and physically achieve things I never thought I could!

I feel the need to get back to it and while I'm very tardy to the first-of-the-year party, it's still not too late to set some goals for the month. So let's do this, shall we?!?!

  1. Lose 5 lbs. - I totally feel this is doable in a month
  2. Workout at least 3 days a week - so far I have 2 times for this week. I will document and report back in Feb. 
  3. Work on my It Works business every single day and follow the 90 day burst to a T - I'll share more about my new gig at a later time, this post is just for goals. 
That's it for now! I'm excited to get back at it. What are your goals for the month?