This year, I'm putting together Easter baskets for my parents, my cat Callie and my two teenage cousins age 15 and 19. I went to the dollar store for adorable, inspirational gift bags and fun paper shreds to package everything up. I also shopped for some of the smaller candy items there. Afterwards, I headed to the holy land, aka Target, and snagged their unicorn terrariums in the dollar spot before getting lost in wonderland. I like to look for a unique activity that is multi-purpose. This can be used as room decor after it's created!
Valomie Boutique is my favorite one stop shop for affordable fashion. The entire site is under $40! Everything is also really great quality. Join the facebook group here to get first dibs on new releases and for the chance to win some giveaways!
If I'm not rocking Valomie Boutique, chances are you'll find me in Abercrombie and Fitch. They're having a HUGE sale today - a lot of things 60-70% off and seriously the most perfect pieces to take you from summer to fall and some even through the winter! I'm all about pieces that are multi purpose to get the most bang for your buck! I've linked my favorites HERE!
One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to find new grocery stores to explore and discover new gluten free finds! I had the opportunity to travel to the GORGEOUS Bennington, VT recently for a wedding. October in VT is next level leaf peeping y'all. Worth the trip out there for sure!
I couldn't get my normal celery juice first thing in the morning but I did find this fun alternative!
In their juice section they also had a wide variety of wellness shots. I typically don't love the ginger and turmeric ones that most stores have because they're SPICY and despite the health benefits I just can't stomach them so I was very happy to find a new one here!
Gave me the perfect amount of energy for my trek back home to Connecticut!
While on beverages, Hannaford also had a pretty big selection of local beers and ciders. Avoiding the beers obviously, I went straight to the ciders. This one was REALLY good. Dry and not sweet, just how I like them!
There were so many great snacks it took all my self control to not purchase the whole store but this is what I narrowed it down to!
The RW Garcia sweet potato crackers are my new favorites. No lie I ate the whole box in one sitting. Self control was not in the cards for me. There were crunchy and flavorful and just the perfect touch of sweetness.
The Lance gluten free cheddar cheese sandwich crackers were just like tasting childhood all over again! They taste just like I remember!
1. stop taking your health for granted, we don't get two shots at this. drink your water, eat your veggies, manage your stress, and get enough sleep.
2. choose another perspective. we can't control what people say or do but we do get to choose how we react to it and the meaning we choose to give it. make it work in your favor, don't give up your power.
3. don't let the little things get to you. if it won't matter 5 years from now, don't spend more than 5 minutes on it.
4. feel your feelings to the fullest. being sensitive is a super power. honor those feelings, let them move through your body, and then release them. trying to hide them only blows up in your face lately.
5. it's okay to set boundaries. and then set some more. and then some more.
6. karma is real. trust and have faith in it and focus on YOU.
7. your gut is always right. always. listen to that thing! you always regret it when you don't...
8. heartache, trauma, and nights crying to your cat are blessings in disguise. every lessons learned has made you a better person and gotten you clearer on who you are and what you want. embrace the chaos.
9. if you're not happy with yourself, you'll never be happy in a relationship.
10. friends come and go and it's OKAY. stop dwelling on it and appreciate each person for the role they played in your life, long or short.
11. stop saying you don't have time and just call it what it is and say it's not a priority, see how that feels.
12. being sweet to everyone all of the time can get you into trouble. say how you really feel and what you really want.
13. feeling guilty about what you eat is a waste of time. eat the extra slice of pizza and move on. the stress you put yourself through beating yourself up about it is way worse for you than just enjoying it and continuing on with your life.
14. love the journey and stop focusing so much on the destination and you'll be much happier.
15. find something to appreciate about every single person and every single situation, no matter how impossible it seems. trading expectations for appreciate will change your whole reality instantaneously.
16. don't rely on one stream of income. having multiple streams of income is the best thing you can do for yourself TODAY.
17. how you manage your energy is more important than how you manage your time.
18. spend money on experiences and travel over material things. this has been one of the biggest game changers in my happiness.
19. keep a journal. USE that journal. it's free therapy.
20. find something that you're passionate about and pour into it unapologetically. stop settling for just going through the motions, collecting a paycheck, and waking up and doing it all over again. we are meant for so much more than that.
21. dreams change and that doesn't mean you failed.
22. never stop learning. keep setting new goals. always be working towards something bigger and better.
23. take more alone time to sit and reflect. all the accomplishments are nothing if they're not reflected on and given the chance to sink in and become a part of your growth.
24. HEALTH IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN LOOKS.
26. don't be afraid to use the block feature on social media and in your phone. BOUNDARIES
27. don't be so quick to judge others OR yourself. you aren't seeing the whole story. grace is the greatest gift we can give and receive.
28. when someone is frustrating you or making you mad, it's because they are reflecting a part of your OWN self that you're unhappy with. be self-aware enough to realize that and heal your own demons first.
29. no matter how many times you've been hurt, keep your walls down, your heart open, and love fearlessly
Before I started coaching, I never travelled. I didn't have the time, energy, money, company...etc etc. This coaching journey has given me endless opportunity to travel, make new friends, learn about blogging, and it's opened up countless more opportunities as a result of being on this journey of personal development and self growth (my first job as a coach!) This year has been constant travel, and it fills up my heart and soul! Over the course of my last several trips, I've put together my best tips and tricks and all of my go-to travel products for ya'll! If you have a fave, I'd love to hear as well!
If you've never used packing cubes before, OMG your life is about to change! These cubes make packing so easy and you can fit SO MUCH MORE in your suitcase. I usually travel with just a carry on so this was a real savior for me. You can organize by day or by type of outfit, there are different size cubes, ones for makeup and cosmetics, shoes, undies etc! Being organized took so much travel stress off the table for me! Plus they come in tons of cute colors!
Traveling with only a carry on and not checking a bag means I have to be super picky about which liquids I choose to bring! These are my MUST HAVES.
Goddess Garden sunscreen: I love the kids version because it is reef safe and great for sensitive skin. This brand is mineral based so you're avoiding the harmful chemicals and toxins found in lots of other brands. Do your research on sunscreen ya'll! The 3.4 oz was perfect for a long weekend and fit the carry on guidelines!
Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray: a MUST. for tropical vacations and summer vacays! Makes everything stay in place all night and prevents you from sweating off your face so you can snag all your photo ops without worry! I've tried a few brands but this by far lasts the longest in my opinion.
Living Proof Travel Hair Care Set: comes with humidity spray (MUST if you have wild locks like me), styling creme, shampoo and conditioner. Best deal out there if you ask me. $18 for the full set, quality product especially if you have color treated and heat damaged hair like myself, and all in the TSA travel guidelines for liquids!
St. Tropez Gradual Tan Plus: I use this on my face every 3-4 days at home but love it for my whole body when traveling! It's gradual so no fear of turning orange and helps to give that healthy vacation glow!
DigestZen and Steady Essential Oils from Doterra: I can't live without these two. Seriously. I use both multiple times a day, every day, traveling or not. DigestZen goes right on my stomach after every meal and as needed if I feel any discomfort. Steady is a grounding blend for nerves, anxiety, and general feelings of unease. I purchase through @starbritewarrior on instagram but ask around your friends/family! Always look to shop through people you know to support them first!
DermaQuest Essential B5 Hydrating Serum: another daily product of mine that I cannot LIVE without, so it comes with me everywhere I go. I seriously struggle with dry, dull skin and this gives me LIFE. Literally. It's a pretty penny but I'd give up tacos before giving this up, it's that good. The science behind it is also pretty cool, it makes my nerd heart happy!
Covering all the bases here! Traveling alone can be nerve wracking sometimes so I always feel more comfortable when I know I can have a fully charged phone. I never go anywhere without a portable battery pack. I linked the one I use but if you're out shopping for one, pay attention to power. You want to look for minimum 10,000 mAh to ensure you can have enough charge to last all day.
I also need my Beats headphones everywhere I go. It helps to pass the time, especially when traveling alone, to be able to listen to a book or a favorite playlist. It also helps me stay grounded when I'm around a lot of people and needing a second to myself! People tend to leave you alone when they see big headphones covering your ears! (lol)
Liquid I.V. is one of my favorite products of all times. I've used this hydration multiple for a few years now! They were nice enough to give ya'll a discount code too! gffitfoodie for 20% off AND FREE SHIPPING One packet of. this equals 3 bottles of water. Traveling is soooo dehydrating to our systems and it's when we are exposed more than usual to germs we maybe aren't used to. It contains electrolytes and vitamins to help keep you healthy on the go or in hotter than usual climates, like tropical vacations (especially when sugary fruity cocktails are involved, and they always are!!!) Honestly, all the flavors are delish but passionfruit is. by far my fave!
I also always travel with my superfoods shake (shake with water and get all your nutrients for the day plus 5 servings of fruits/veggies) - a no brainer when traveling, especially with all the treats!
Last but certainly not least, protein bars! Traveling with celiac disease can often times be challenging so this way I always have a back up! Always read your labels! Tons of bars are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients. I like these because they're obviously gluten free, but also 10g of protein, low on the glycemic index, and loaded with fiber and real ingredients you can actually pronounce.
To follow all my travel adventures, come hang out with me on instagram! @glutenfree_fit_foodie Next stop, Indianapolis! Stay tuned!
2018 has been a year of massive growth. When things seem chaotic it’s really just the universe rearranging your life to make room for you to up-level and have the things you’ve been wanting and working so hard for. I’ve learned to honor and be grateful for the chaos and to trust it’s happening for my highest good.
I’ve learned to prioritize health above all else, to walk away from abuse, to love myself at every stage, and to choose love and light no matter what. -
The girl who never thought she’d be able to travel visited Destin, FL, Rivera Maya, Mexico, Kansas City, and Indianapolis along with too many new cities and towns in New England to count this year. -
I’ve made friends this year that I can’t even remember how life was before I knew them. I rescued a new fur baby who in reality rescued me during my most intense health scare to date. I gained 15 pounds during treatment in the fight to get my health back, had to re-overcome my anxiety and re-learn to love my body in this season of healing. -
Despite battle after battle, I wouldn’t change a damn thing about 2018. The love and joy I discovered during all of that was something I never realized I was missing. Looking back at this time last year, I don’t even recognize myself. -
But that’s the goal... I never want to look back and reflect and realize I’m the same person in the same place. We are not meant to settle for mediocrity. We are MEANT to do the hard work, to dig deep and learn about ourselves on the deepest of levels, to find love in every moment, to dream so big it scares us and to then prove that ANYTHING is possible and be the example for those around us.
When I think about how grateful I am for this past year of learning and the community that pushed me to grow and demand more - it brings tears to my eyes. To think if I hadn’t said yes to this crazy coaching thing, I’d still be the same girl living the same life going through the motions spinning my wheels.
2019 is the year of HEALTH, the year of traveling to even more new places, the year of true abundance and love. Still your same beautiful badass over here, shit is just about to up-level like you wouldn’t believe. Join me?
This is not a post about losing weight. It’s time for a gut check. Something happened in my life yesterday that hit me HARD and I know I can’t be the only one. You see, I worked so hard to become who I am today but sometimes the old me creeps back in and I don’t even realize it.
Friends and family have been trying to tell me but sometimes it takes a total stranger to really wake you up.
With all of my health stuff lately I have a new bff named Lynn. She’s my Cigna rep and calls me to make sure I’m making my follow up appointments (doing that today I promise!) and making sure insurance is covering all of my procedures properly (🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼).
Yesterday she asked because of the intensity of what’s been going on if it was okay to ask me a few personal questions. Like I said, we’re basically bff now 😂 so I said sure.
“Do you think (in the last two weeks) you’re letting people down or a burden on peoples lives - never, some days, more than half the days, or always.”
Insert meltdown here. Holy deja vu. The last time I got asked that question was my intake interview for my inpatient hospital for depression as a teen.
The girl on the left would have answered always. A month ago, the girl on the right would have answered never. Yesterday, I had no words, just a gut feeling that I need to make a mindset change and FAST. For my family, for my friends, for my relationship, but most importantly for ME.
I’m committing to a 7 day beginner meditation practice (its free!) and I’d love for you to join me! Who knows, it might be exactly what your season of life needs right now and you didn’t even know it! Worst case? In 10 days, you’re slightly more relaxed and best case? In 10 days you’ve made massive progress on the journey to love yourself FULLY where you’re at RIGHT NOW and drop the bad habit of comparison (literally the thief of ALL joy and cause of 99% of our anxieties).
Who’s with me? Click here to join!
Day One - All You Do Is Breathe
Day one (I'm using the free app Insight Timer and using their free 7 day beginner challenge) is an eleven minute guided sequence, focused on the basics of just breathing. Sounds simple right? Not so much. Meditation has so many health benefits - reduced stress, anxiety management, aids with chronic pain, lowers blood pressure, and lessens depressive symptoms to name a few - so why haven't I tried it before? Like for more than just 30 seconds before giving up? Fear. My mind races, I can't sit still, I don't really want to know the craziness going on in my head. But here's the thing, as much as I hate admitting this, those are the EXACT REASONS I need meditation in my life. Hard things are never comfortable but it's getting outside of our comfort zones where our lives change for the better. So here goes nothing!
Today so many thoughts came up during the breathing exercise. I wanted to stop. Many times. My mind wandered literally EVERYWHERE. Seriously to the most random places. I was very fidgety - like I couldn't stop finding something to scratch, yawning and cracking my knuckles. Not very zen like I know. I felt pretty distracted the entire time if I'm being honest. But you know what? I DID IT. I did the whole 11 minutes even though it felt like 40 and I'm PROUD of that. We have to start somewhere right? During this next week I will be consciously focusing on at least one win from each session to keep my motivation going and stay committed. Today's win? I finished. I started and saw it all the way through and completed it. Now on to day two!!!
I knew I had hit my breaking point when I couldn't go out without a drink in my hand. Not because I liked to party but because it was the only way I could get the gremlin in my brain to shut up about how awful I looked and FELT. Trying on clothes to go out was asking for a meltdown EVERY SINGLE TIME. It didn't matter what I put on I HATED the reflection looking back at me and even worse, I hated MYSELF for letting this happen. I was in absolute denial. Blaming the weight gain on hormones, my thyroid, stress, being sick, WHATEVER - you name it, I blamed it for not being able to lose weight.
One day I just decided I couldn't live like this anymore. I was suffering from serious adrenal fatigue, I was anxious ALL the time and very depressed. It took feeling THAT awful to finally take RESPONSIBILITY for my own body. The ONLY reason I gained the weight and the ONLY reason I was not losing it was because of MY actions. That sure stung my ego a little bit realizing it but it was more PAINFUL to stay stuck where I was so I made a decision and I stuck to it, even on the days I didn't want to get out of bed. Even on the days I wanted pizza and mac & cheese AND a cheeseburger.
It was HARD but what helped me stick to it was this POWERFUL group of women supporting me. I joined a virtual accountability group with other women facing the same challenges as me and we did it TOGETHER. On the hard days and on the victorious days we SUPPORTED each other and LOVED each other through the journey. It was the first time in my life I didn't quit something that I had started.
I took back my life and now I want to help you take back yours. Maybe your situation isn't as dire as mine, maybe you just want to lose those last stubborn pounds, or maybe you read my story and see yourself in it. EITHER WAY, I want you to know that it is POSSIBLE to making true and lasting change. It is possible to END yo-yo dieting. It is possible to live a life of true BALANCE.
I am opening up TWO different groups in January to help you have access to the resources, support, COMMUNITY and coaching (ME!) so you can reach those goals once and for all. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can chat, I'm excited to see how I can help YOU! Talk soon beautiful! xoxo
I recently had the beautiful gift of collaborating with Antasha, the gifted creator of CAJ Spirituality. Her mission is simple yet powerful:
"I started CAJ Spirituality after asking myself a million dollar question: If I won the lottery today, what would I do with the rest of my life? The answer was to bring more positivity, hope, connectedness, love and inspiration into the world. "
Her mission aligned perfectly with mine in sharing my story to spread mental health awareness and end the stigma. You can read the full story here.