Back on Track.

Happy beginning of the week to you!  I used to despise Mondays, but now I've put a different vision on my head and I try to tackle Monday so I can be full speed ahead for the rest of the week.

I'm glad you are here - and heck, I'm glad I'm here!  Clearly, I have been pretty M.I.A. on here since like, oh...a year ago.  What the heck happened?! I had this plan to blog every week and really take off, and then, I got busy.  It's an excuse we all have - "Oh, I'm too busy to do that" or "I have too much on my plate".  I know, I say it too...because we are all SO BUSY!  I tend to say yes to a lot of things and then realize I've piled up too much stuff in front of me.  So, I'm going to backtrack to a year ago.  Mainly to tell you why I've been so busy, but also to maybe help you realize what you can do to keep rolling on with life without pulling your hair out!!

Last summer, we got our puppy Laila.  She's not much of a puppy now as she turned a year in March and is a big girl at 55 pounds! Holy cow.  Girlfriend can knock me over but I love our daily walks together and she is a total lover!  Growing up, I had Miniature Schnauzers and they were kind of a piece of cake.  I've never had to put so much energy into a dog, but I have learned so much and it is so worth it.

Sitting so tall in the car.  We now have some rules with the leather seats 
and she has her own hammock in the back!

Laila requires her morning and afternoon naps and the pictures 
I take of her crack me up!

In the fall, all of a sudden the holidays hit.  I swear, I don't understand how time flies but it does and holidays sneak up on me every year.  We spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with both of our families - my man's family is about three hours away and we wanted to see was busy but great to celebrate!  A favorite part of the fall season is our anniversary and we celebrated a sweet three years together! 

Food + Wine + Good conversation. LOVE.

At the beginning of 2015, I took a really big step in my life.  If you have tagged along with me from my very first blog (which let's be honest, I haven't blogged even nearly as much that I would like to) I decided to go back to school to become a Registered Dietitian.  That was three years ago and yuck, I'm still in school.  In January, I reduced my work hours to part-time and started full-speed ahead with my education!  I can't even tell you the number of times I would wake up in the morning and think to myself, "What the h**l am I doing"?  I was (and am) still extremely scared of the fact that I'm making a complete change in my career life, that my income has reduced more than 50%, and I have to be responsible to study instead of doing other things in my life that us late 20-some year olds are embarking on.  What I can tell you - is that although it has been scary, I LOVE IT!  I love going back to my college, Iowa State University - Go Cyclones!  Bad side of it is the drive is 45-ish minutes away, but once I get up there, I'm in my zone and I have found that I love learning.  It's so interesting how you present yourself in the classroom later in life.  I actually pay attention in class, I ask questions, and even better, I'm not hungover! (Thirsty Thursdays into FAC, anyone?)  That was a lot to take in because I feel like I just word vomited on the page.  I'm excited to continue my education and hopefully the next year and a half will fly by!  

Spring was spring in Iowa - snow, sun, wind, rain, cold temps, 80 degrees and then rain again.  It's finally Summer here although right now, its a chilly 72 degrees and raining.  Our big, exciting Summer news is that we bought a house!  For the last year and a half, we rented a town home and loved it but we wanted to take advantage of the market and step into the grown-up world.  And, Laila needed a back yard which makes our new six-foot fence a major plus!  We moved in a week ago and love it so far.  We are a little further away from the "busy-ness" of the city but still close to a ton of stuff including my new favorite walking and running trail!  The best thing about having a house is that you can make it your own.  We made some changes right away including painting a couple of rooms that I am excited to show on here soon!

Morning of closing!

Sunset from our back deck.  Beautiful view!

Now, I'm boring myself with all of the catch-up and I promised you to give you some tips on how to stay sane during a busy time of life.  I feel like I can never catch a breath and its really, really hard.  Stress and unforeseen changes can create road blocks and sometimes, we aren't ready for them.  As human beings, we are hard on ourselves no matter what is in front of us.  Making small changes in your life can create big differences and hopefully sharing them will help you as much as they have helped me!

How to Stay Sane! (And enjoy life at the same time):
  • Plan out your meals and snacks.  It sounds silly, but almost daily, I write in my calendar what meals I'm eating when I'm away from home.  It helps me stay on track and reminds me what I need to pack.  I feel like I'm constantly munching and I always need snacks with me.  I've sampled a fair share of protein bars and am planning on a review on here soon.  I love making my homemade protein bars (click to see recipe) and having them on hand.
  • Pack/layout Clothes.  This includes your daily wear and your workout clothes.  I find that when I layout my clothes for the next day, it shaves off time in the morning so I don't have to make decisions.  If you workout in the morning, lay out your workout clothes so you don't have to fumble around in the dark.  If you are an after workout-goer, pack your clothes in your gym/yoga bag so you are ready to tackle your sweat session.  Also, it makes a huge difference if you do this at 5 or 6 p.m. instead of at 10 p.m. :)
  • Take some time for yourself.  I know what you are thinking - how can I do this when I'm running around?  Literally, take ten minutes and chill out.  Turn on some music, get off your computer/phone, read, meditate, whatever.  I promise you it will decrease your stress level.
  • Stay active.  All year long!  I know its really hard in the winter because who wants to go to the gym when it is snowing? And in the summer, everyone wants to be outside on the patio with a beverage in their hand.  You can still do that - maybe you make a change and start waking up earlier to work out so you have time after work to go meet friends.  Or, maybe you work out during your lunch break.  Even if it is a 30-minute walk, it helps!  If you need a super fast workout just to get your heart rate going, here is one that I love:
Quickie Workout
Complete all for 30 seconds - when you are done, do it again!
High Knees
Jumping Jacks
Booty Kicks
Wall Sit
Plank/Forearm Plank
Hip dips
  • And as always, turn to the healthier option.  Just like any other time of the year, we have reasons to eat food that may not be the best choice for us.  Substitutions are great and you really can find a healthier option for almost everything:
    • Oils: Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I use the light version) or coconut oil
    • Mayo/Sour Cream: Plain greek yogurt
    • Crunchy cravings: Instead of chips, grab some carrots or veggie of your choice and hummus.  
    • Sweets: Don't get me wrong, I enjoy ice cream too!  Some lighter substitutions include fruit (strawberries + dark chocolate is delicious) or frozen bananas blended up with some almond milk and almond butter.
I feel like I've over-extended my stay today.  It would just be much easier if I stayed consistent so I didn't have to catch you up over a year's worth of time, right?  Until next time (which will be sooner than later)...heading to yoga to keep my sanity!

Stay Healthy.



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