Thirty Things to Do Before I Turn Thirty (Well…Here’s Hoping, Anyway!)

Two weeks ago, I turned 25. Cue the quarter life crisis. I’m supposed to be adulting now, but instead I’m just over here binging Netflix.

Turns out, “halfway to 30” doesn’t mean “existential questions answered.” Shocker. Guess I’m still the clueless human I was at 24.

Alright…so, my twenty-something years are numbered. So, I’m nowhere close to nailing down my purpose—outside of moscato and HIMYM. So, life hasn’t taken the course I once assumed it would. So what?

Age doesn’t have an expiration date, and 30 isn’t even that old. Besides, five whole years stand between me and the Big Three-0. Five years of adventures, opportunities, aspirations and undertakings. Five years to define (and re-define) my goals. Five years to make. it. happen. 

On that note, you obviously know what’s coming:

30 before 30 bucket list

Drumroll, please…

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Phew…that was one monster post. If you stuck it out, thanks for being a trooper! Now, what’s on your “30 Before 30” bucket list? Promise I won’t steal your brilliant ideas—unless I need more inspiration when I turn 40!

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Sweat It Out With a Protein-Packed Snack Attack

There’s a 50/50 chance I might’ve *casually* mentioned once—maaaaybe twice—that I’m getting married in the near future. 160 days if you wanna get technical, but who’s counting?

Although I don’t buy into that stereotypical “wedding workout” mentality (fitness is a lifestyle, not some Must. Drop. Two. Dress. Sizes. For. The. Big. Day. thing), exercise does have a prominent place in my routine. That would still be true regardless of this whole bride-to-be caveat…but extra motivation a la Alfred Angelo never hurts either!

post pure barre

That time I dragged the (almost) hubs to Pure Barre…Couples who sweat together stay together, dontcha know!

Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not just about turning heads on your walk down the aisle or rocking that honeymoon bikini you’ve ogled for months. Exercise relieves stress (pre-wedding jitters, anyone?), boosts productivity (those guest lists aren’t gonna write themselves!), and influences even more healthy habits too.

Like eating. A.K.A. the other part of this wellness equation. In order to sustain physical activity, our bodies need fuel. Mainly protein-dense fuel which promotes muscular development, strength and endurance, so we can keep moving for longer periods of time. Fact: no snacking repertoire—for pre-workout energy or post-workout recovery—is complete without this nutritional powerhouse.

Think raw almonds, steamed edamame, roasted chickpeas, hard-boiled eggs, sunflower seeds, plain Greek yogurt and nut butters, for example. Or, need some further “nom”spiration? (Just invented a new word. No biggie.) Check out my Sweat Sesh Snack Attack go-tos for your protein loading pleasure!

protein post-workout snacks

Whether you’re #SweatingForTheWedding or craving a healthier alternative to Cool Ranch Doritos, these mindful munchies just reinvented snacktime. Yup…don’t underestimate the power of protein. This bride-to-be has spoken.


*For even more ideas, recipes and tidbits to pack your diet with protein,  Nuts.com  has you covered!

Healthy Habits to Keep the Odds (of Cancer) Ever in Your Favor

February is National Cancer Prevention Month—a cause which has deeply resonated with me over these last 10 years. And that’s due to one remarkable girl who, during the short time I knew her, impacted my life more than some people twice her age ever could.

February 25, 2006  will forever be etched into my memory. On this date, heaven gained an angel in the form of my childhood friend and role model, Kalyn Elizabeth High. I avoid using the expression “lost her battle” to describe Kalyn’s final moments here on earth—because that girl was the toughest fighter I have ever met, and osteosarcoma couldn’t crush her spirit or shake her faith.

But this disease did take an incredibly gifted 16-year-old away from a world who just didn’t want to say goodbye. So, throughout the past decade, I’ve become passionate about cancer awareness, research and prevention. Kalyn is the inspiration for this post, but anyone can benefit from the information.

After all…cancer doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender, ethnicity or background. Cancer is ruthless. But we can stack the odds of survival—and even avoidance—in our favor. Check out these statistics from the American Center for Cancer Research:

Approximately 1/3 cases of the most common cancers in the U.S. could be prevented by eating healthy, being active and staying lean. That’s an estimated 374,000 cases of cancer in the United States that would never happen.

For practical and effective pointers on limiting your exposure to physical, chemical and environmental stressors that could put you at risk, I’ve teamed up with the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center, an online resource that warns against asbestos usage. This substance  is a leading cause of the rare but aggressive Mesothelioma and other lung cancers. 

As illustrated by the following infographics, cultivating simple habits throughout everyday life can make a positive, long-term impact on your overall wellness…

cancer prevention

healthy home checklist

Finally, remember—February might be Cancer Prevention Month, but these tips should be utilized year-round.

Kalyn…this one’s for you!

A Groom’s Take on “Sweating for the Wedding”

If you follow me on social media, you might’ve noticed my not-so-subtle references to recently getting engaged. BUT, if you follow almost any engaged woman on social media, you’ll be hard pressed to escape #SweatingForTheWedding posts.

In fact, this Instagram search yields 171,277 results—talk about a staggering number of body conscious brides-to-be! Yet, with all the emphasis placed on that “feminine ideal,” who could blame them?!

Since I’ve been tempted to dabble in said fitness fad (hellllooooo…this girl’s gotta fit into an Alfred Angelo dress 8 months from now!), I enlisted my future hubby for his stance on the subject. Thus, our discussion became a blog post.

Check it out, bridal beauties, straight from a guy’s POV:

Sweating for the Wedding

image courtesy of CNDY via Flickr Creative Commons  (changes have been made)

I’m fairly new to this whole “Sweating for the Wedding” thing. In fact, I didn’t even know it existed until my fiancé brought me up to speed once I put a ring on her finger.

Now, after Googling the phrase, I can attest that “Sweating for the Wedding” has indeed gone viral. Brides can get dri-fit shirts with this hashtag printed across the front. There are even water bottles, car decals, sweat bands and more, urging women to jump on the bandwagon.

Listen, I’m all about exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but I also feel this trend could send a harmful message to some women—especially those who struggle with insecurities surrounding weight or body image.

Not to mention, if these insecurities are triggered by stress, they’ll escalate into overdrive once those wedding plans get underway. I’ve only been engaged for about a month, yet I can already vouch for all the time, energy and craziness that goes into this process. So, with the added pressure of sculpting that “perfect bod”…well, you’re eventually gonna crack.

While there’s nothing wrong with prioritizing fitness, “Sweating for the Wedding” is not a prerequisite for marriage. Your future husband already finds you sexy. He wouldn’t have pursued you in the first place if he wasn’t sexually attracted, right? Exactly. You’ve got nothing to prove.

Men are visual creatures. I am a man, so I’ll freely admit this. But I can also assure you that any guy, who kneels down and proposes, thinks the girl standing in front of him is drop-dead gorgeous. She’s the only woman he sees—guaranteed.

Anyone, who’s anxiously anticipating their wedding day, wants to turn their spouse’s head. However, when this goal manifests itself through extreme workout regimens, it could result in serious physical damage.

I hope my fiancé knows that her appearance and physique will never disappoint me. From my—okay, biased—viewpoint, she’s the most beautiful woman alive, and my jaw will drop when I see her walk down the aisle. She doesn’t need to impress me…or anyone else, for that matter.  

Same goes for you other brides out there. Imagine how your husband will perceive you that day. After all, his devotion isn’t only surface-deep.

And, if you opt to workout beforehand, make it a bonding activity for both of you. Be each other’s accountability partner, so—rather than just “Sweating for the Wedding”—you’ll discover positive motivation for long-term health.  No hashtag needed.

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Can you see why I’m marrying him, ladies? The dude’s a keeper (and my self-esteem levels concur)!

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I’m painfully awkward sometimes.

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But at least we clean up good.

 

The Mindfulness Model: Why Listening to Your Body Trumps any Diet

Ever collapse on the couch with that “emergency” Doritos stash after a chaotic week, then proceed to finish every single crumb without noticing?

Yeaaaah…We’ve all been there. Once or twice.

In fact, the average person spends approximately 38,003 hours eating over the course of their lifetime. Talk about a feeding frenzy! So, give your choppers a break and practice the art of mindful eating instead. 

Because, let’s be honest, our “instant gratification” culture has reduced this to a lost art.

By deliberately pacing yourself and savoring each bite throughout a meal, you’ll become more aware of your body’s internal cues which send the brain “hunger” and “fullness” messages. If you tune into these signals, they’ll take the guesswork out of knowing when to drop that fork.

Anyone can cultivate mindfulness — just slow down and listen. After all, the human body is constantly communicating, even when we’re too hurried or preoccupied to get the memo.

The infographic below explains how replacing those absent-minded munchies with mindful eating habits will help you make permanent strides toward a healthier, balanced and physically empowered lifestyle.

How to Master Mindful Eating


Shout-out to Health Perch for providing the featured research and  infographic.

Why, Yes. I DO Enjoy Exercise. (And, No. I’m NOT Lying.)

{This is a rant. You have been warned.}

Is it just me, or do any other “workout junkies” out there constantly feel pressured into justifying their love for fitness?

And, while we’re on this subject, does the following soapbox speech sound vaguely familiar?

“But, forreeeeal. I like the burn. It’s calming. Invigorating. Liberating, even!”

“Please don’t judge me.”

I digress. Maybe it’s a by-product of personal insecurities, but I find myself repeating that defensive mantra…a lot.

So, here’s the sitch: I am unabashedly passionate about maintaining a strong, toned and healthy physique, which often elicits both thinly veiled skepticism and outright condemnation from those, who view exercise as a necessary evil or instrument of torture.

Whether we’re talking crunches during a Friends marathon, yoga after a taxing 9–5, or even a brisk weekend hike, the more often others catch me engaging in physical activities, the more judgment I perceive from them.

What these skeptics apparently can’t reconcile, though, is that some of us might choose sweating in our Nike’s over lounging with a remote.

Nor have they considered the outrageous possibility that we might actually want to stay routinely active.

Not as penance for sneaking Cheetos.

Not as a miserable last resort because…well, skinny jeans.

But, because we freaks of nature associate exercise with personal empowerment rather than self-inflicted punishment.

Groundbreaking, huh?

I’ll just give you a minute to recover from your mind being blown.

Excuse the sarcasm, but occasional passive aggression is soothing for the soul. Besides, this is honestly how I feel whenever someone fixes me with a suspicious sidelong glare and demands, “You’re working out AGAIN?!?!” Voice dripping with accusatory condescension.

YES. Yes, I am. How astute of you to notice, person with functioning eyeballs.

Admittedly, I’ve flirted with the impulse to overexert myself. In the past, I even experienced addictive highs from going “too hard.” Therefore, I understand better than most of my accusers how difficult striking a healthy balance can be.

But progress is a thing, people!

“That girl who cried PHAT” — she’s no longer me. Once upon a time, maybe. But not anymore. I refuse to still be defined by how she would behave. The fact remains it took hardcore effort and commitment to sculpt this vigorous, muscular body, and — sorry, not sorry — I won’t quit now.

Exercise will never not be an integral part of my daily life.

So, to my fellow fitness aficionados who’ve been disputed or scoffed at for simply doing what you love: Haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate (Taylor Swift lyrics, anyone?).

Don’t stop. Don’t agonize over this lack of acceptance. Just keep fueling your passion.

No guilt. No apologies. No shame.

Just. Pure. Awesomeness.

{End rant.}

Nutri Maqui: Because “Natural” Doesn’t Have to Mean “Nasty”

image courtesy of nutrilifescience.com

image courtesy of nutrilifescience.com

Why is the claim “all-natural” typically met with groans, eye rolling, and outright skepticism from the average consumer?

Well, because it’s often just that — a claim. Pretentious-sounding marketing ploys that guilt people into buying overpriced (not to mention, unappetizing!) products, which may or may not legitimately support a nutritious lifestyle.

The result? Money wasted, and no perceptible health benefits to justify the cost (or assault on your taste buds!).

If only there was a dietary supplement out there, which could live up to the “all-natural” hype, without compromising flavor and affordability…

Enter: Nutri Maqui.

This gluten-free superfruit juice is the solution to our dilemma, dear readers! Made with the purest and highest quality ingredients found in nature, Nutri Maqui delivers optimum nutritional benefits and tastes startlingly delicious, too. Think: sweet with just a hint of satisfying tartness. Fabuloso!

Developed by Nutri Lifescience, a Florida-based company dedicated to preserving the overall wellbeing of its customers with premium-grade health products, Nutri Maqui packs an energizing punch, guaranteed to power you through even the most hectic schedule.

Its primary active ingredient — maqui berry — is nature’s richest known source of antioxidants (essential nutrients that fight disease-causing free radicals in the body) and can only be harvested from the Patagonian region of South America. This extraordinary superfruit has been proven to fortify immune function, alleviate oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, and promote both physical and mental longevity.

These are the very same benefits you can expect from just a single serving of Nutri Maqui!

Plus, integrating this dietary supplement into your regular routine couldn’t be simpler. Jump-start your morning by blending it into a smoothie. Drink it straight from the bottle for pre-workout fuel or post-workout recovery. Even enjoy it as an afternoon pick-me-up instead of reaching for those Doritos. Regardless of how you choose to get your daily dosage, Nutri Maqui fits in with any lifestyle demand.

Now, let’s discuss cost. One 32-ounce bottle retails on Amazon for $39.95, and — I can assure you — the value is worth the price tag. Check it out: Each serving equals 1 cap-ful, and every bottle contains 32 servings. That’s 32 days full of energy-boosting, antioxidant-enriching nourishment. Talk about a bang for your buck!

My personal experience with this superfruit juice can only be described as “love at first sip.” Nutri Maqui is the real deal, — not just another poser of false advertising — and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

So, whether you’re already an all-natural enthusiast or you’re striving to live healthier in the New Year, Nutri Maqui has you covered!

nutri maqui juice

image used with permission from Nutri Lifescience, LLC

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