Tropical Blend Smoothie & Solo Dance Parties

Take a minute to think about what makes you happy. It has a lot to do with how you feel doesn’t it? This may seem obvious but how often do you take time to make yourself FEEL great? I spend a lot of time finding reasons why I shouldn’t feel great – I need to lose weight, I’m job searching, the house is a mess. It’s easy to get into this cycle. But with that being said, what if the next time you were starting to get down on yourself, you instead, found a reason and a way to make yourself feel great!

This is what a lifestyle change is all about. You have a choice with every meal you make or eat, with every opportunity you have to workout or get some exercise in, with going to bed at a decent hour, etc. Each decision we make can make us feel better or worse. It’s why I try my best to make healthy choices; eat foods that make me FEEL GOOD and do things that make me feel STRONG, encouraged, determined, and legit awesome.

It’s also why more often than not, I’m blasting music and throwing solo dance parties. My husband hasn’t caught me yet, but when he does someday, I hope he joins me. Yesterday I blasted one of my favorite tracks and just went nuts. Jumping, moving, dancing however I felt and let me tell you, after just one song, I felt so amped up and excited about life! I was so inspired I decided to throw on my heart rate monitor to prove to you how a solo dance party can do as much for your body as it can your mind.

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In just seven minutes I burned 70 calories! Is 70 calories a lot? Not really but it’s something! It’s about being active when we can. A body in motion STAYS in motion. The more you decide to be active and alive, the more you’ll WANT to move!

Now onto those other choices that make us feel good.

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A smoothie a day is one of the easiest ways to boost your weight loss and feel amazing! Here’s one of my new favorite smoothie recipes:

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 TSBP chia seeds
  • 1 TBSP ground flax meal
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 cup frozen mango

Directions: Blend the spinach, water, and seeds first to ensure you don’t have any leaf chunks. Then add in fruit. Blend until smooth and pour into your favorite glass or mug.

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Then get ready to rock your day!

Let’s talk about MSG – Monosodium Glutamate

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I’ve talked about Monosodium Glutamate quite a bit but the battle never ends to avoid it. MSG is an excitotoxin which means that it stimulates brain cells into such a high state of euphoria that they physically explode. No wonder those sour cream and onion chips taste so good and no wonder Lays says “betcha can’t have just one!” Because you can’t! It’s a drug. MSG is also a flavor enhancer and can make any food and any flavor taste better, more powerful, and more savory.

Why is this bad? Besides having food give you a drug-like reaction, MSG also makes you want to eat MORE! Even after you’re full, even after you’re done eating that specific food. Remember the Dominos times? It makes your brain crave more. So while you may only be eating 1500 calories a day, if you’re consuming products with MSG (which hides under a dozen (more like 40 actually) another names as well) you’ll find yourself having a harder time sticking to your goals. More and more people are battling with good addictions and while it’s a real thing, MSG isn’t helping!

You can view a list of other names for MSG here.

 

Ultimate Banana Pancakes

Sometimes I want breakfast for dinner. More importantly, sometimes I want pancakes – ok I ALWAYS want pancakes. But what I don’t want is a bunch of syrup and butter and that horrible sick and shaky feeling I get after inhaling a stack of them.

So here comes lovely option B 🙂

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There’s tons of recipes out there for protein pancakes filled with tons of protein powders and what not, but I tell you something – that’s just not for me. You don’t need excess protein (especially from powders) to get enough in your diet. Plants have protein, too! And you don’t need as much as you think to build muscle. Plus so many of them have sucralose and other fake sugars and chemicals in them – yuck! But that’s a topic for another time.

Today I want to talk about pancakes and making them clean and healthy.

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What you’ll need (makes 3 medium sized pancakes – that are oh so filling):

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup whole grain oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 date, pitted

Optional toppings:

  • 1 TBSP peanut butter
  • 1 TBSP shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 TSBP sliced almonds
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries

Directions:

Heat up your skillet over medium heat. Chop pitted date into tiny pieces. Mix/mash together banana, oats, eggs, and date. Pour into 3 medium sized pancakes in greased skillet. Top with lid. Don’t worry if you don’t get all of the banana completely mashed, it’s fun to bite into a glob of it in the middle of the pancake when they are done. Cook on each side for 3-5 minutes or until cooked through.

Tops with peanut butter, coconut, almonds, raspberries or any of your favorite ingredients.

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These were super filling and amazing. The peanut butter melts into ooey gooey heaven. The mixture of everything together is the perfect amount of sweet and indulgent.

 

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The pancakes alone net around 345 calories, 5.6g of fiber and 16.9g of protein. Additional toppings add varying calories.

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Enjoy!

The I’m-Not-Sharing Smoothie!

Good glorious fruits of unicorn rainbows, is this smoothie ever delicious. I made this first thing this morning and took a giant gulp from my straw and said “MOTHER OF GOD.” It’s so tasty that I don’t think I’d ever share it. MAKE YOUR OWN! This is MINE! I will retreat back to being 5 years old and have no issues with that.

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So what’s in this glorious milkshake of mayhem? All things healthy! And with 13g of fiber and 11g of plant-based protein you’re going to feel full and satisfied for a WHILE! I drank mine around 9am this morning and wasn’t hungry until around 3pm.

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It’s like drinking a milkshake for breakfast without the guilt (or the awful tummy aches) of drinking a real milkshake.

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What you’ll need:

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 TBSP peanut butter
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 TBSP chia seeds
  • 1 TBSP ground flax meal (these are optional but are great superfoods that add fiber to your drink!)

Add spinach, water, chia seeds, and flax meal to your blender and blend first. Then add in bananas and peanut butter. This will ensure you don’t have any huge chunks of spinach that can be hard to get through a straw 😉

Enjoy! And feel free to brag about the fact that you’re drinking homemade milkshakes for breakfast every morning and still losing weight!

 

Zucchini Lasagna

I love lasagna and I love cheese. With that being said, I’m always looking for ways to make dishes a little healthier (even if they still have a lot of cheese). The other night I was craving lasagna like crazy but didn’t have any lasagna noodles. I’d heard about using squash before but was always a little hesitant.

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Luckily, I usually have fresh produce in my fridge and zucchini was the perfect experimental substitute for the job. The dish came out amazing and even my husband loved it. The first thing he said was “Wait! Where’s the pasta? There isn’t pasta in this?!” and then chowed down another bite.

I’m excited to try making this again soon and adding new things. The great thing about dishes like this is that there’s really no wrong way to make them and you can add as much (or as little) of anything in them as you want.

I forgot to take an after picture because we devoured it.

What you’ll need:

  • Fresh kale
  • Fresh spinach
  • 2-3 zucchini
  • 1 jar marinara/tomato sauce of choice
  • crumbled feta
  • mozzarella cheese
  • fresh Parmesan
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • oregano
  • onion or onion powder
  • salt/pepper

Start off by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. I then took about 4-5 cups of spinach and another 3 or so cups of kale and added them to a pan over low-medium heat with 2 TBSP of olive oil. Stir and add in seasonings to taste: garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, onion.

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Next, start laying and building your lasagna. Make sure your pan is lightly greased with olive oil. Then pour marinara for the base, add thin slices of zucchini, spinach/kale mixture, and cheese as you like.

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I just did two full layers and then topped it off with more marinara and mozzarella over the entire thing.

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Bake for about 30-35 minutes until cheese is fully melted. Let sit for about 10-15 minutes to let it solidify. You’ll need to use a spoon to dish it up and will want to eat it out of a bowl. It was heavenly. One thing I’d recommend trying is using a cheese grater to make long, thin slices of the zucchini. I just sliced them with a knife and didn’t get them as thin as I wanted and risked cutting my fingers about eight times.

It’s even amazing the next day heated up in the microwave.

Green Lime Smoothie

I recently liked the FoodBabe on Facebook and have loved getting all of her amazing, healthy, and toxic-free recipe in my news feed. The other day my husband told me about this smoothie using lime juice and cucumber – which I’ve never tried before. Let me put it this way – it’s outstanding and tasting how fresh it is and smelling all of the ingredients in the process instantly made my morning glow.

This recipe is from FoodBabe’s site under her Sunrise Green Smoothie. I altered it sightly by changing measurements and adding in chia seeds and ground flax meal.

I was worried that using cucumbers might make the smoothie consistency different – I’ll be honest, I’m worried anything will ruin my morning smoothie but it was quite the opposite. Using cucumber not only smells amazing and fresh but gave the smoothie a rounded taste that’s hard to describe.

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I was also very intrigued to use fresh lime juice. I was also amazed at how much smaller organic limes are – about half the size – makes you wonder about all of those GMOs. The lime juice gives this smoothie a tangy kick that’s unique to anything else I’ve made before.

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Strawberries are one of my most favorite things, ever. They are beautiful, they taste like angel berries, and I can eat them every day if I want. They also make me feel super patriotic on the 4th of July 😉 Just one cup of strawberries has only 50 calories, 1g of protein (plants have protein, too!), Vitamin C, Vitamin A, folate, magnesium, and almost 4 grams of fiber!

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I’m big on making the every day things fun. It’s why I have cute ice cube trays like this one with stars. You can add a few ice cubes to this smoothie to add a little texture and to keep it cooler. Throw a few stars into your drink!

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And now for the recipe. I also added in 2 TBSP of chia seeds and 2 TBSP of ground flax meal for extra fiber.

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Tangy, sweet, refreshing, and vibrant – this smoothie will boost your day in more ways than one. Enjoy!

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Why You Should Call Yourself a Feminist and Stop Being Afraid of the Word

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Yesterday I heard a woman (who was giving a lecture at the time) say “Oh, I’m NOT a feminist!” Similar to how one might say “Oh, I do NOT eat fast food!” Here’s why this bothered me. Hang tight. This is important.

Feminism is defined as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” 

It’s unfortunate that many people equate feminism and being a feminist with “man-hating, non-shaving, violent-protest-engaging, angry women” because let’s be honest, we’ve all heard one of those and at some point might have even thought that automatically when we heard the word.

Negatively associating feminism with those things is like associating all apples as being rotten because of that one time you bit into a bad one or knew someone who knew someone who did.

There will always be radical people, radical situations, illogical events, and so forth, but that does not mean that the definition of a word has changed. We have to continually circle back to the heart of a meaning. Redefine it for our generation and keep going strong.

Why am I so passionate about this? Because feminism IS IMPORTANT! It’s why women are where they are today and it’s what we need to keep moving forward. Name another word that defines the same values and pursuits.

Lastly, everyone should be a feminist. Especially men. Re-read the definition again and tell me where it says you have to have a vagina, you don’t. You just have to agree with the advocacy of women’s rights. And if you’re a really stand up person, you’ll do what you can in daily interactions and situations to show that.

Women need to stop putting down other women for the choices they make, whether it is to stay home with children, work, or both. Men need to do the same and encourage a work place that isn’t biased and chauvinistic, because holy hell, it still happens all the time.

So the next time someone says “I’m not a feminist” I dare you to say that you ARE and explain why. Be the change you wish to see in this world. It will improve your workplace, your life, the lives of those around you, and the world we live in.

Happy Wednesday.

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5 Ways to embrace change: Love where you are and what you already have

How many times have you said “I’ll be happy when…” It could be when you lose 20 pounds, when you buy a house, once you get that promotion, once it stops raining, when I can move, once I can buy a sports car, etc. The thing is there’s ALWAYS going to be a “when” and it’s always going to be in the future, and more times than not, there’s always going to be a barrier to getting it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting something new or better but we often forget to rejoice in the now.

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View from our new townhouse in Maryland

We just moved to a new part of the country – we put down a deposit on a townhouse site unseen. It was nerve-wracking, intimidating, and anxiety-ridden. Luckily, thanks to Google Earth and lots of research, we didn’t do too bad. We have a nice place in a pretty nice neighborhood close to shopping, great views, and everything we need to get by. I can’t help feeling though, constantly even, that maybe we made the wrong choice.

What if there’s a better place that’s closer to base where my husband works?

I wish we were closer to that awesome mall!

It takes us 20 minutes to drive to all these places we like, why didn’t we think of this?!

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Dublyn – helping us unpack

When something big in your life changes, it’s normal to question just about everything you’re doing. We all have moments of anxiety and insecurity. This morning I started thinking about all of these racing thoughts in my head and asked myself “what do you already love about the place you rented?” Ok. I love that it’s something we can easily afford. I love that it’s cozy with tons of space we’ve never had. Then I started thinking deeper about it. 20 minutes to get to that mall or that movie theater is not THAT big of a deal. It’s certainly not a big enough deal to pack up and move again in a year.

My point in sharing this with you is that we live in a society where many of us constantly feel like we instantly need the next big thing. That life isn’t good enough until we have more by putting in less effort – it’s a sense of entitlement that’s brewing a plague of unhappiness.

So how do we stop this cycle and become happy in the now with what we already have?

1. Give yourself time to adapt and be patient. Whenever change happens – moving, a new job, a new group of friends – we might expect ourselves to just snap into it especially when we can anticipate change and know something is coming. The thing is, that’s not how the mind works. There isn’t a switch in your brain to just “get with it.” For any new/big situation give yourself some time and space to think. I remember it took me two full months my first quarter at college to get used to being away from home and family and to embrace all the new changes. Those first two months I felt lost and depressed – but after that? I felt awesome, accomplished, and like a new person!

2. Make a list every day of what you love and what you hate about the change. Sure – we keep hearing “just focus on the positive!” but come on, we have to listen to what bugs us, too if we want to find a solution. The other night I asked my husband “what do you hate about living here?” It took him off guard but then he thought about it and listed a few things. He doesn’t like the aggressive drivers, the barrage of freeways everywhere, that there’s way less craft beer. But after he told me this I could see there was a sense of relief, because acknowledging our feelings helps us move forward. I asked myself the same question the other day and realized that I feel out of sorts because I’m in a totally new environment, I don’t know anyone yet, and I want to get back in better shape. Once I realized what was really bothering me, it didn’t seem so bad. Hey! I thought. I can actually start to change these things! It’s also important to be thankful for the things we already have. That’s why today I’m working on creating a Thankfulness Jar. I’m going to cut out strips of colored paper and every day or anytime I think of it, write down something I’m happy about or thankful for with our new surroundings. Then when I’m having one of those awful mind storms, I can reach in the jar and remember something happy 🙂

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Savage Mill – Savage, MD

3. Realize that “normal” happens faster than you think. I always panic at a new job or a new apartment because I don’t have my barrings yet. Everything feels out of place and nothing is “regular” yet. We’ve been just a little over 2 weeks and already I feel more at home simply because I know how to get to the grocery store without GPS, I know the name of all of the leasing staff, and I’ve figured out what time of day to close the blinds to keep the heat out. All of these little things may seem obvious, but if you think back to times in your life that you felt completely comfortable, it was because you just KNEW stuff.

4. Consider how you would really feel if you had everything you want. While wanting to live closer to all these amenities, I thought about how I would really feel if we decided to move closer to stuff. We’d have to pack up all over again, move all over again, unpack, and then yes, we’d be in this amazing new place but how long would that feeling of euphoria really last? I remember the first time I was looking for my very own 1 bedroom apartment. I was telling my Mom all of my “must haves” including marble counter-tops, pool access, you name it. For a 23 year old at the time with a small salary, it was not only ridiculous but lavish. My Mom laughed but then said something that has always been great advice for life. She said “after a few weeks, you’ll forget the marble counter-tops are there, you will say ‘I can go to the pool tomorrow’ because you know it’s there, but if you find a place that you can truly afford without all the bells and whistles, after a few weeks you’ll also forget that you don’t have marble counter-tops.”  She was absolutely right though. The next time you really want something or a big change from what you just got, think about how you would really feel if you were able to instantly have everything.

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5. Think about what you want to carry with you on your journey and what you want to leave behind. I’ve always liked the metaphor of having a backpack for your life. We all get one and we all encounter times when we have to stuff it full of stuff to take with us. The problem is that each backpack can only carry so much. Sometimes we have to let friends go because they are weighing us down or preventing us from trekking forward. I’ve spent years of my life carrying heavy rock-like feelings because I thought I had  responsibility to hold on to them for….someone else. Once we realize that it’s okay and healthy to take things out and leave them on the trail as we go, we are able to make room for new treasures, thoughts, experiences, friends, and moments. That backpack is YOURS and realizing you can pick up and let go of what you want, when you want, allows you to embrace the journey. Keep it light for those days up the mountains, but fill it up with luxuries when you know you’re close to an oasis.

10 Things I Learned From Driving Cross-Country

Not everyone moves in together, gets married, and then drives across the United States within 4 months of getting engaged. But we did. The Navy lifestyle is already proving to be a wild and crazy adventure full with TONS of ups and downs, and not just from the actual roller coasters we went on. Here are the top 10 things I learned about life during those 7 days on the road…

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1. Real life isn’t Instagram filtered Pinterest goodness. We all know this but it’s easy to forget. The life you see of everyone posting warm-frosted-sprinkle-life-Pinterest-porn pics on Facebook and other social media sites is NOT the life they 10373762_10100892042057620_8381901850397216729_nare living. We all put our best online. Why would we do anything else? It’s important to remember though that we often compare ourselves at our worst to others at their best. Usually it’s when I’m shoving Cheez-its into my mouth with no makeup on and I’m looking at someone who is all dolled up to go out after losing 20 lbs and has abs on top of their abs. WAAAAH. While you’re going to see a lot of those pics on this post, you won’t see the ones of me crying in tears over our spilled cooler or my ugly cry face after my first coaster at Cedar Point. Hell, at least I’m writing about it though 😉 It’s funny that we take pictures of the best but then drive ourselves crazy focusing on the negative sometimes. I definitely got this reminder immediately on the road after I’d spent days pinning shit onto my road trip board. All these pics of well-organized minivans and happy couples and then here I am not able to see out the back of our Sonata and getting pissed because my feet are damp from the cooler that leaked in the front seat.

2. You’re always going to learn new things about yourself and meet parts of your mind you never knew existed. It can be terrifying when you’ve cried more in the past week than you have in the past year. This lesson I learned quickly. It’s that moment when you go “well fuck, apparently Sarah has never done or felt ANY of this before and we have NO idea what’s going on!”  The good news is that emotions are like rivers, they channel through you and the faster you let them go through you and experience them, the sooner your husband will stop freaking out about your face water. And as much as I preach about observing emotions, you are allowed to FEEL them just as much. Sometimes we have to react and cry at a road stop in the middle of Oregon, and Utah…and Illinois when you realize you left your shorts at the last hotel. The point is, we never stop learning about who we are and who we react. And no matter how many times others may tell you about what different experiences feel like, you’ll never truly know what it’s like until YOU experience it, YOUR way.

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Planning our road trip

3. No matter how much you plan and how much you pack, something else will ultimately happen. 10264956_10100890410676920_3397822638891836598_nThis goes back to my previous mention of the cooler that leaked, the books that got soggy, the exits and on-ramps we missed that delayed our travel time, the gas stations we almost missed or had to turn around for, the frustration we had with each other, the lack of healthy road food options, the number of times we had to go to the bathroom but held it for “just another hour” so we could make better time. Shit. Happens. In life it can be advantageous to plan ahead, bring a coat even if its warm when you leave the house, save extra money for those emergencies, but the truth is, stuff will always come up. I learned quickly from this trip especially, that how you decide to handle things will ultimately determine your happiness and your stress levels. Frustration and anger are inevitable. Just like stress, there are everyday and reoccurring emotions we can’t escape. Emotions happen.

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Cute Dino in Little America, Wyoming off Lincoln Hwy/I-80

4. Change is inevitable. Change is good. But change can also rock you, shock you, and make you feel overwhelmed as fuck. We all know that change can be hard but sometimes we’re impatient with ourselves and we don’t really take the time to realize how much we’re taking on. I had this moment (several, actually) both on the road and once we got to Maryland. It all started to sink in. Holy crap! We got married and didn’t have a big wedding, I didn’t even have a dress, I know we’ll do that later but what?! I just quit my 4 1/2 year job in downtown Seattle to travel with the man of my dreams, I just said goodbye to all of my family and friends – the people I grew up with! That takes a lot of guts yeah, but it doesn’t mean I’m not human. I always try to remind myself that it can take around 2 months to truly get acclimated to a new place. To find out where you are, what’s around you, get to know some regular people, even finding the right place to get gas and buy groceries can make you feel at home! So take a deep breath as you encounter those big life changes and remember that sooner than later you’re going to relax and things WILL start to feel normal again – just in wonderful and very different ways.

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My husband fighting off dinosaurs in Nebraska. 

5. Routines make the world go round. Nothing made me more depressed than 10 days without our household goods at our new townhouse in Maryland. Ten very slow days. Ten days to think about every anxiety and worry I had and then some. Ten days to ask myself (and my husband) more questions and then questions about those questions. I have a question – can I ask you a question? What those ten days did for me though was important. It made me realize the importance of routine in our lives. It doesn’t mean you need to have a 9-5 or go to Karate every Tuesday but it does mean that every day you should have something that you regularly do. The day I started getting up, brewing coffee like a normal person and didn’t try to sleep in til 11am was the day I started to calm down and feel a LOT better. It can be hard to establish a routine when you’re someplace new, but it’s important. Even when I didn’t have our stuff, I started exercising every morning, checked the mail, went outside, cleaned the kitchen. Keeping busy can save you a lot of worries and it gives your poor mind a break when you’re already overwhelmed.

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Frog Rock on Bainbridge Island, WA -where I grew up

6. In-Laws are overwhelming but so are ALL people. When you’re newly married in-laws can be mega overwhelming. And it doesn’t matter how welcoming, sweet, rude, irritating, or thoughtful they may be, they are new people in your life that you are now committed to in one way or another and that my friends, is terrifying. It’s easy to deal with our own family because if we yell at them over someone’s birthday dinner, we know deep down how much we love each other and that after a couple of awkward hours/days life will continue on as normal. If anything, we grew from that tussle. But with in-laws, it isn’t quite like that. We suddenly meet an entire new family – OUR new family – and as much as they might annoy us, we can’t just say what we normally would. It can feel like a lot of effort, it can be intimidating, it can make you worry about swearing or saying the wrong thing off-hand about religion or political matters. It can also put us in situations where we might feel overly defensive or judged – even if people don’t mean to come across that way. We’re suddenly trying to prove our self-worth and as normal as that is, it can be self-sabotaging in many ways. I’ve learned that just being yourself, always, is the best way to go. Sure, you’re going to upset people from time to time but so are they. We’re all human. Just remember that your family is just as difficult as his/hers and things affect us all differently.

To share a piece from our road trip – we took two days to stop in Indiana to meet his family. Yes, I’m writing about my in-laws in the interwebs, god save me. Really though, this is funny as hell and if my family doesn’t know I’m a blogger, they will soon 😉 While visiting my husbands grandmothers house I was delighted when she finally decided to speak directly to me in the group of us. Sitting outside on a nice spring day in May with the sun above us and sodas in everyone’s hands. Ah, I thought, here comes grandma bonding time. Little did I know what she was about to say. You see, a few weeks prior I had sent her an email outlining our travel plans, our new address, as well as a link to the apartment website for her to check out. Slowly my grandma in-law raised her head, locked eyes with me and proceeded to announce:

Sarah. I got that email you sent me. While it was very thoughtful of you to think of me and make that gesture, the link took me to a pornography site.

WHAT!?! BAHAHAHAHA. I was speechless and so was everyone else. After pulling my jaw up from the concrete I simply responded “______ there’s no way that’s correct.”

I searched for my phone in my purse. Pulled up my sent email history. Found the very one I had sent her, clicked on the link, anxiously waited for it to load on 3G and BEHOLD…it was the apartment link. This lady now thought I had literally emailed her porn – must have been looking at porn when I emailed her – and sent her the link. When in reality, she most likely had a virus or brought up something someone else in the house may have been browsing. Ugh.

Point is. In-laws are just new people you meet, just like co-workers and people you have to interact with on a daily basis. Just remember to be yourself – even if your new grandma thinks you’re a slutty slut slut who married her grandson.

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The Bean – Chicago, IL

7. Stop and enjoy the view. Life is ever-changing. Sometimes moments happen that change into moments that will never happen again. It’s easy to always say “eh, we’ll do that tomorrow” or to not truly take in a moment, like saying goodbye, or hello for the first or last time. We won’t always know what’s next, what’s last, what’s ever-lasting, or what’s fleeting. So enjoying those moments as best we can is important.

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Lighthouse Point at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH

8. Appreciate what you already have. I mean this is so many ways. The people you know, the home you live in, the food you get to eat. I had NO idea how amazing Seattle truly was because I grew up there. I have had people my whole life tell me how amazing and gorgeous the Pacific Northwest is but didn’t even REALIZE until I left. I also didn’t realize how great some of the food was. It was also a lesson about not being afraid to try new things, I never knew I’d have the MOST AMAZING nachos of my life in Denver, but I did.

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True Deep Dish Pizza – Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta – Chicago, IL

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The Best Nachos of My Life (thus far) – Breckenridge Brewery – Denver, CO

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Glorious Pie – Farmhouse Cafe – Omaha, NE

Side note: I realized why they call it Omaha because it’s the sound you make when you eat the pie and still have your mouth full trying to say oh my god. “OH-MA-HA”

 9. You can look back from time to time as long as you keep moving forward. There’s nothing wrong with reflecting on your life or feeling nostalgic but often times we are so focused on what we once had that we forget what we have now in the present moment. When you go through a giant change it’s normal to clench onto the past. One thing that helped me though was to really think back to my time in WA and the reasons I was excited to leave. The more I remembered that, the easier it was for me to embrace the new moments and the challenges ahead.

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Maybe Wyoming?!

10. You’re never too old (or too young) for an adventure. Living the Navy lifestyle means we’ll be doing a lot of traveling and moving every 3 years but it’s all about how you look at it. Places, jobs, people – they are all going to have their pros and cons. Adventuring doesn’t mean you need to drive cross-country though. It can mean turning everyday into something new. Cooking a new dish, creating a new recipe, calling an old friend you haven’t talked to in years, going to the library and reading the first book you see, getting up early on a Saturday and driving East until you find a diner to eat at. This is your life!! Get to living it ❤

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Magnum – the roller coaster at Cedar Point that had me in tears #Imababy

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More of Little America in Wyoming (with a population of under 80 people)

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Roadside T-Rex – Dinosaur Museum – Lincoln, NE

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Snake River – Twin Falls, ID