Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thoughts from the Struggle Bus of Unicorns and Rainbow [Carrots] courtesy of waitbutwhy
There's been an article circulating on the book of faces (Facebook) in the past few day about "Why Generation Y is Unhappy". After skimming through the article a few things entered by chaotic box of thoughts (brain): 

- So... I'm not alone? Other people are feeling like they're meant for so much more than they're actually achieving?

-You mean.. I'm not supposed to already be killing it with an awesome career, multiple accolades, and lots of cash flow yet?
- And...What if some people really are special unicorns that can do anything they want? 

I am a huge believer that enough work and motivation can create something special... but I guess I can also recognize that we can't all just will ourselves to be unicorns. 

After noticing the surprisingly high amount of people I know that shared or discussed this article on happiness, expectations, and our culture;  my eyes were opened to the realization that maybe "its not just me". Maybe twenty something year olds, in the beginning of a career or two, is a hard place to be....but maybe thats ok... and maybe theres community in that place. And what if this is a multi-generational human nature problem that were just now applying cultural and sociological concepts to.. but really it's been a struggle for many for some time. 

For the sake of transparency, I have to confess that I have been taking some trips on the struggle bus recently. Working hard towards accomplishments (half marathons, triathlons, running a new business, crossfit PRs,etc.) but not feeling super rewarded. I've felt God speaking to me through these "bus rides" and I think my eyes were opened to some things I needed to share (keep in mind these are just my thoughts not biblical scholarship).
1 & 2 Samuel chronicle through the life of King David- one of the most notable, famous, and I'm guessing pretty hot pieces of royalty in Bible times. He was promised to be King of Israel when he was really young. I think he killed a giant and won a war fairly 2010 Bieber status. He spent the next few years in this crazy love/hate, chase/kill/don't kill/ make up "frienemy" type thing with King Saul. He spent some time in hiding, and eventually went on to be King of this random city called Hebon. He asked God if thats where he should go, he got the OK, and went and was king there...not the king of the great nation of Israel.. but of this other place... for one ever talks of or seems to care about these early career moves (that lasted 7 years..). 

But taking a minute to think about that: 
 He accomplished something really really great when he was very young and was promised to be king of ISRAEL (that was a huge nation and kinda a big deal). Then we look at him in his twenties and he's king, sure, but of some random place...thats not Israel. 

He was told from a young age that he was special and would accomplish great things, like many of us, but then spent teenage years and more reaching small goals, hitting set backs, running for his life, saving some cities, etc. It wasn't until he was 30 years old that he was crowned king of Israel (something he was promised at like 11? don't fact check me here). He put in a lot of work before his time to shine but all along he held onto character traits I'm needing to be reminded of...

God knew David's plan. David was probably a unicorn from the beginning. But did he just immediately walk into the place that would be his crowning glory? Nope. 

He legit had to wonder if he would LIVE. He spent years fighting and fleeing. And all of this even after being promised greatness. Not only that, he spent 7 years at a mediocre job (in comparison), with multiple struggles, and a lot of hard work.. but he was faithful (and really it would've been easy for anyone else to slack off after being promised a nation, but he didn't). I bet that took patience; and a lot of it.

One thing that stayed constant was that he just straight up asked God what to do with EVERY decision. And even after God answered him once, if the situation came up again (like exact same circumstances), he went to God and would ask for direction again. He had a lot of faith and a lot of patience.
This spoke volumes to me.
Perseverance: when you are and when you are not sure of the end result
 Persistence: continually seeking God's power and direction, even if you think you know it already
Patience: even when its really hard. For my season now, the patience is huge. I am a go-getter and feel that I can persist and pursue through rough conditions but the patience gets me every time. 

So here is my reminder. 
To myself & anyone else that may need one. Pursue patience through your perseverance. And pray. And know you are not alone and a lot of other people are needing, seeking, and searching-- and for now, patience may just be your answer for this season. 

Recipe: Rainbow Carrots & Unicorns (jk... Roasted Egg Plant & Zucchini) 

This is a great way to spice up a plain old vegetable side dish for holidays. And you're bringing something healthy to the typically insanely delicious yet not so health conscious gatherings.

- 1 bag of rainbow carrots
- 1 eggplant
- 1 zucchini
- any other veggies you want to add.. potatoes, squash, artichokes, etc.
- Spices (rosemary, paprika, pepper, garlic salt)
- Cashews
- Cinnamon Roasted Almonds
- Freeze Dried Apple Crisps or Chips

Steam carrots in bag in microwave until soft, then slice. Cut up other veggies into slices. Spray all with coconut oil and place on aluminum foil on baking sheet. Sprinkle with lots of rosemary, paprika, pepper, and garlic salt. Bake on high (450 degrees) for about 20 minutes (flip at the 10 minute mark).  Once everything looks super crispy, remove from oven and place in baking dish. You can layer, or just mix it all together.

Top with crushed cashews. Then sprinkle with crushed apple crisps and honey/cinnamon roasted almonds to add a slightly sweet taste and special spark to your veggies!

Monday, November 2, 2015

This One Time We Played Truth or Dare.. And Now.. We Have This...

" Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works." Hebrews 10:24

TRUTH: Around 70% of my time spent in ALL of my 6-9pm MBA classes was on stylemepretty/pintrest/theknot, etc.. looking at weddings, planning a wedding (that was like 5 years into my future), planning everyone else's wedding.... Visions of peplums, tulle, confetti, and glitter danced in my head. We all thought symptoms of such wedding intoxication would subside with the execution of my own wedding and a life of wedding sobriety would ensue.... I'm now 2.5 years post wedding and I may still have a problem.

TRUTH: I Love Weddings.

So.... I did something about it... Keep reading to find out what...

Ben and I reflect on our wedding and re-live the moments often. I bring out the full videography from ceremony to sparkler exit on our anniversary each year. BUT one of the best tangible memories we have from our once in a lifetime moment is our footage from the Guestbox. 

The Guestbox is a video booth, rented by the event hosts, and set-up for guests entertainment at special events (weddings, proms, retirement parties, graduation parties, corporate events, corporate christmas parties, etc). Everyone wins because after the hilarious moments in the booth are recorded- a montage of footage is pieced together to create a memorable video highlight reel of the best performances. 

Before entering the booth--> the guest picks a TRUTH or DARE card-->they then enter the solitude of the tent, read their chosen task, and perform. 

What happens inside the tent, stays inside the tent---- except it doesn't---at all--and that's where wonderful happens.

We LOVE having this video to share with friends, families, and reminisce on all the amazing people, times, and obvious fun that was had on our special day. It helps that we can't stop laughing uncontrollably every time we watch it.. mainly because it reminds us of each specific friend,  it captures their personalities, and it strengthens our love through the constant memory of how much love and support our marriage has from our friends and family.
We actually loved this service and product so much.. that we decided- it's going to be our first child! We've adopted the Guestbox and have revived the services! 

Our wedding was the final wedding for the Guestbox in 2013 (but there were many before us, we could spend hours watching them all- here) and since it has been "resting" for it's big return to business. The original owners experienced a season of life filled with little humans & another growing business (The Big Fake Wedding), which caused them to halt business at the Guestbox. Ironically, this happened on the brink of popularity in the wedding industry. Check out Buzzfeed's recognition of how unique and awesome this idea is... 

A few other wedding guru's have also seen the potential for mad memory making through a one-of-a kind entertainment opportunity for guests. 
SO! All of this means that... The Guestbox is back in business! We're now booking weddings for 2016! And we couldn't be more excited. We can't wait to invest in each and every couple, company, friend, family member, stranger, ice-cream corporation (please?!) that has interest in including this booth at their next event. 

Marriage is so important-- if our services can help build up marriages through a reminder to be kept forever of the friends, love, family, support, and laughs during this life season- our job is fulfilled. 

People are so important-- don't underestimate the value of a tangible memory of the smiles, jokes, dance moves, confessions, and love shared in moments of hilarity. 

Fun is so important- don't miss opportunities to encourage friends to tell truths, belt it out, share embarrassing stores, and dance like no one is watching (because really no one is.. until the video's released) 

Now here's your DARE: Tell all your friends! Check out MORE videos!! Visit the website! 
Contact us now :) 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Wedding Tour 2015: lessons from hot people & cold coffee

Wedding Tour 2015 

Lessons from a month of weddings. 
I literally spent 9 months of 2015 looking forward to September. I knew I would get to watch so many amazing people start their lives together. Blah, Blah, Blah... I was really just super excited to show off  my dance moves. and eat cake. so. much. cake. 
But really, 3 weekends in a row of weddings was a whirl-wind and amazing. I was surprised by the things I learned from these experiences. And really, they don't have much to do with marriage. Just Life. 

1. Growing up is required; Growing apart isn't. 
So many people talk about how much they miss college and how those were "the good old days." 
I see it differently. 

We're getting to watch the people who shaped who we are go through life and its really really exciting. We watch them grow and love and change. We get to enjoy new experiences together- marriages, proposals, babies, buying houses, buying businesses, creating professional careers. We get to support the evolution of our favorite people, encourage them, learn more about them, and continue enjoying them. 

Even though usually growing up comes with distances in miles- I have a new appreciation for how much technology allows those miles to shorten.  I really want to be better at conitnuing to appreciate and value the people I get to CONTINUE doing life with.  

2. PEOPLE can be your passion.
One of the weddings we attended in New York, resulted in some of best memories of this year. Not only did we get to experience life in one of my new favorite places, Saratoga, New York, I saw friendships that left an impression on my heart. 

Our friend Kristin served as an amazing host and watching her life those 3 days opened my eyes to how much I desire to be a friend like she is. She is literally passionate about each of her friends. They're a real family. She's excited to talk to each one of them on the phone (real talking- not texting- like voice to voice). I want to be that passionate about my friends, strangers, and just people. It was such an encouragement so be reminded of this. 

3. Expresso + Gelato is heaven sent. My for real new obsession. We went to a cute gelato shop in the downtown area, Saratoga Gelato and I devoured the vanilla gelato + expresso (which is technically called an Affogato). Life changed. I made sure we went back there one two more times for my treat. Next time you're at a fro-yo shop with this option--> I encourage you to go for it! 

Or you can make your own! 
I would use the Starbucks Cold Brew Expresso (which can be purchased at most grocery stores)  + any vanilla ice-cream (1 scoop). You could also try it with an iced americano from Starbucks + frozen yogurt or ice-cream.  

Short and Sweet for this Tuesday
but I hope maybe you now will spend some time today thinking about: 

WHO can be your passion this week
WHO you can catch up with (or send that text to, or dial those numbers for a real phone call) 
WHO you could invest in

People matter. Life together is important. Friendships are more important than really anything else. Make your tuesday mean something. And if you don't feel like it.. drink some expresso + ice-cream and make it happen :) People are worth it. Always. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Welcome to New York


September 24-28 
Ben and I went to New York.. for 3 days.. and video taped very little but wanted to give this video blog life a shot. I tried to edit and create a short memory clip for us and others to enjoy. Bare with me at my first attempt here. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Mouth: Where Diets Come to Die 

My Eats, Experiences, & Encouragement 

I'm guilty of being a diet-ho. In my opinion.

I hate to even say it- buttttt I cheat on diets, jump around between diets, and abandon diets without a second thought.

I will go dairy-free for a few weeks, then not so much.
I was a vegetarian for 8 months, then needed more protein and went full out opposite to paleo-ish, then moved to "macros" and am currently floating between all of the above.

My dieting "evolves" is how I like to term it. Better yet, I don't like the word [diet] at all- nutrition philosophy is my latest term. I know I do not have a full grasp on my philosophy yet. I am still experimenting, evolving, and eating lots of different combinations to find the best "health" for me in terms of muscle growth, strength, performance, energy, endurance, and weight. The web of my complicated opinions on nutrition is open-minded and insane

That being said, right now I follow "IIFYM" (If It Fits Your Macros).  I track my food intake to reach daily macronutrient amounts. Macronutrients (macros) are fat, protein, and carbohydrates. I eat a specified amount (in grams) of these three nutrients each day regardless of calories. Since grams of macronutrients can be converted to calories, if consistent with your macro amounts, your calories will also trend towards consistency. I have an amazing coach, Katie Ringley- from Katie'sFitScript, that assists with macro adjustments, training, and diet.
Katie Ringley- KatiesFitScript
She has really awesome and simple advice about what IIFYM or Macronutrients are, as well as training plans for workouts, half marathons, full marathons, triathlons, etc.:

I am not advocating that this is a perfect [diet] or even the best way of living. This is just a tool I'm using at this point in my journey. I've increased the amount of food I eat to better fuel workouts and training without weight gain but actually with weight loss. It's helped break the cycle of food restriction (eating anything I wanted for 2-3 days, then restricting to super low calorie, all raw, only "healthy" foods for 2-3 days).

I feel balance. Mentally, it aligns with my OCD, rule-following self... but I recognize not everyone enjoys that.  I honestly can't say I plan to track macronutrients forever, or that I don't still have "dietary restrictions", but I am making progress and enjoying food, performance, and results.

I do NOT want to share this to push a "lifestyle" on anyone. 

My point is to encourage everyone else that feels like they are too promiscuous with diets--> that IT'S OK. 
[The first step is admittance]
[We've all got a little Miley Cyrus in us]

Just know someone else has been there. You're not alone. It sucks to have to explain to friends and family, "oh yeah, I'm not vegetarian anymore bring on the proteins" or "my 21 day fix broke at day 3"...

But sometimes that's life. It's doubtful anyone would be able to be super strict 100% of the time to any diet without compelling reasons fueling their decision. It's nearly impossible to be "chemical free" in our society, as literally everything (unless it was grass fed, killed last night, hunted and gathered) will have some form of "unnatural" or "processed" ingredient.

People that diet jump get a bad rep and can be looked at as "failures" for not pushing through, staying motivated and sticking with it. But again, sometimes thats life. And more likely than not, each of us has been there in some aspect.

No one makes progress without failures. The first time you decide to "diet" is not going to be a magical spell that changes your mind and body into permanently following a set of rules that you've most likely only been exposed to for a few weeks before committing to. 

AND THATS OK. You've decided to make a decision and take some form of action to better your health. AND THATS GOOD!

When it comes to diets and what you're eating... here it comes... you. be. you.

If you want to cycle between vegan/paleo/hunter gatherer/shrimp watchers/donut craig/ ice-cream only diets each week then do it. But I encourage you to know why you're choosing to "diet".

Weight loss? Ok- lets look at small changes  that would last longer than 30 days to change your lifestyle.

Physical Health? Ok- lets look at what you're already eating and make substitutions that involve more whole, nutrient rich, unprocessed foods.

Abs? Ok- jkdsjfkjsdfksdfk they're so annoying and will lead you on and never commit to staying around. Screw Em'. 

Acne Relief? Ok- lets pull the studies and find the food restrictions we should  implement under controlled circumstances to explore the cause of the inflammation and radical damage leading to acne formation.

You just want to eat donuts and ice-cream all day? Ok-do that and after 3 days you'll be over it and breaking up with that diet like it's Adam Levine with the personality of a grapefruit.
So here are my tips: 
- Don't pick just another "diet" to hang out with for a few days--> do some research, write your goals, and align them with some small changes to implement daily.

- Track the days you're able to stick with them, if after 14 days you've stuck with them more days than not, challenge yourself to make it to 30.

- Track your results.

- Stick with things that align results with your goals.

- Accept and own the PROCESS.

BUT, If you do pick a 30 day diet and quit after 3, its ok to give yourself some grace. Don't let fear of someone else's opinion of your "lack of commitment" or  "failure again" keep you from trying to next thing.
It's hard to share the mental challenges and changes of chasing a "healthy" lifestyle but you're going through the process for you.

You're eating or not eating the foods, you're tracking your progress, you're making and reaching your goals... do not have to explain or justify anything you eat to anyone. ever. so own it.

you be you.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Sermon to Myself & A Serving of Oat-Less Oatmeal 

This one time - I got beat up at work.
mentally, emotionally, verbally punched... or so it felt.

To spare details,  an insurance company once again denied prescription coverage for an insanely pricey drug. When explaining this, I got out maybe 2 sentences- PUNCH, a left hook of really mean words straight to my face. I apologized (on behalf of? the insurance company?) and tried to further explain our options. PUNCH. STOMP. STOMP... right out of the store. Such a scene that other customers commented on the behavior.

I was left embarrassed and doubting my own ability. Did I say the right thing? How could I have handled that better? After discussing all of this with my technicians that witnessed the event, it was conclusive I handled it right and there wasn't much else I could've done. Band-Aids on. Neosporin on. I was ready to continue my day. A mild twinge in my stomach and ramblings in my mind of the situation, but i was thinking I'd be over it in at least an hour.

And then the phone rings. Round 2. First words out.. BAM.BAM.BAM. PUNCH. I stand back up (or decide to address the comments), put on my "service" voice, and calmly repeat my earlier explanations. I apologize. I am so so nice (it was really hard to be), but despite all efforts...PUNCH.PUNCH.and CLICK. Really mean words left me a "loser" in this verbal battle (that I didn't even fight).

Even I know 100% this issue was not my fault, but the words still hurt. The wounds sting. The Band-Aids show. After contemplating and replaying all the encounters over and over, I'm still left feeling like I screwed up, somethings wrong with me, I'm inferior to this person...etc. But none of that is the point. A greater lesson came from this battle. One that is not focused on fights, words, or even hurt feelings- more so, humility.

Being humble in the moment of being treated unfairly, demeaningly, or disrespectfully is not as hard as dealing with the aftermath of those storms. In the moment, I can stay calm, I can whisper "humility" over and over, I can politely handle someones rant. The moments after, the emotions hit me. In one minute I'm wanting to shout my story of how mistreated I was to anyone that will listen, I'm wanting to trash and bash the issuer of the harsh words, and I'm begging for validation that what I received was undeserved. My humility is out the window and although I showed it to avoid conflict, I wonder if my heart was truly acting in humility or instinct.

I am not usually a fighter so my first instinct is no't to become aggressively defensive. But afterwards, I'm left with wounds that need covering and emotions that need restoring. I worry that I tend these wounds with outside conversations, validations, and discussions instead of internal prayer, humility, and discernment.

 I didn't set out to write this blog about me and how I can grow in these moments. I intended to blog about how much I was hurt by someone else and to remind us all not to be mean people. While thats an important reminder, as I write, I realize maybe the message is deeper and maybe the message is for me- not just the readers.

Humility is more than a moment.
A truly humble heart is more than acting humble in a situation that produces humility. It's changing your heart to look beyond your current perspective and truly see the grace God gives to you and that you are required to do that same for someone else. And this isn't a grace that says "yea, i didn't fight back they'll get theirs one day though".

It's a grace like God's.
A grace that is able to love this person despite their overtly wrong behavior. A grace that is able to not think or say bad things about this person to others, even though there may not even be repercussions for it. A grace that doesn't "fake" it the next time the person comes in and is overly nice to make them feel bad but rather having a truly forgiving and accepting heart that forgets the incident all together.

I am literally preaching to myself right now.
I did all of these things in an ungraceful way after being hurt.
I know this post is long, but I think I needed it. I really hope maybe you did to.

I like to include recipes in my posts, so here is a really random, but surprisingly delicious recipe for low calorie oatmeal using no oats at all.

Oat-Less Oats 

150g "Riced"Cauliflower- this recipe works best with frozen cauliflower that is unthawed in the microwave (or steamed on the stovetop) and then "riced" in the blender or food processor.

1/3-1 Scoop Protein Powder of Choice
I love Optimum Nutrition's Blueberries & Cream or Quest          Peanut Butter with this recipe 

2-3 Egg Whites (or ~50g liquid egg whites)


Vanilla Extract

Any Additional Flavoring Extract (pumpkin, almond, lemon, etc) 

Peanut or Almond Butter (I use Nuts N' More Toffee Crunch)

Syrup or Sweettner of choice 

Additional Toppings (fresh fruit, coconut, chocolate chips, pumpkin, etc.)

--> Add egg whites to riced cauliflower (may add additional "splash" of milk or creamer). Mix in protein powder. Stir. Add cinnamon & extracts. Microwave 45 seconds. Stir. Microwave 45 seconds to 1 minute based on consistency you desire. Top with nut butter and additional toppings + a good amount of the syrup and/or a sweetener of choice :)

Macros (for my recipe using Quest Protein and Nuts N' More)
180 Calories: 12C/21P/5F

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Week Without Blogging & This Is All I've Got

Life Things

I feel like I have yet to do a blog thats just blogging (or writing) about my life. Having a record of my life to look back on was another reason I decided to start this blog. I sometimes think that no one will really care and if you don't- I get it. I probably wouldn't either.. now you have time to go clean a room in your house and get off the internet. For my own sake, Heather,  here's whats been happening in your life :)

Saturday 8/22 -Girls Night!

Here's what you wore:
You didn't clean your mirror or bathroom. Your selfies need work. 

Here's what you ate:

Ember- Ester Pizza 
Woodfire Pizza Crust: Red Spinach, Artichoke Hearts, Arugula, EVOO-Lemon
You had a lot of fun.

Sunday 8/23- Your BFF got Engaged! 

You now get to plan all her wedding events and live vicariously through her. YaY!

Monday 8/24- Your First Open Mic Night

Obligatory picture: 

You sang with Jeremiah and you think y'all did pretty well. Voice Clip Video Below:

Jeremiah & Heather Hallelujah

The plan is to work on some songs and keep this up! You're thinking of offering to play weddings, events, etc. to anyone reading your blog thats interested :)

Tuesday-Friday 8/25-8/28

You ate some really good things. Pics & Recipes Below.

Mock Pumpkin Pie- Basic White Girl Style 

-Heat Quest Bar and save to crumble on top 
- Mix all ingredients and cook at ~350 for 12-ish minutes 

Crazy Combo Bowls 

Chicken, Squash, Avocado, Nectarine, Shredded Raw Coconut, Balsamic Glaze Drizzle, topped with Terra Sweet Potato Chips 
Egg Whites, Sundried Tomatoes, Squash, Asparagus, Fresh Crab Meat (1 oz Canned from Harris Teeter Seafood Market) , Topped with Terra Sweet Potato Chips

New Favorite Starbs Drink

Matcha Powder (Green Tea- 1 scoop) + Water + 2 SF Vanilla Pumps 

Shrimp on Shrimp on Shrimp 

BCAA Pre/Post Workout Drink 

Branched Chain Amino Acids are taken to help restore electrolytes and aid in muscle recovery. Optimum Nutrition carries a pre-made drink perfect for quick hydration. Watermelon Flavor is INSANELY good. It's recommended to half the drink between pre and post workout since it has caffeine. (I can't tell a huge difference, but if you love BCAA this is worth a try) 

Fri-Sun 8/28-9/30 --> Maria's Bachelorette Weekend! 

A weekend spent with 16 other killer girls at a friend from pharmacy school, Maria's  Bachelorette Party in Savannah, GA. You spent the weekend catching up and getting down (on the dance floor-duh).  

my life...just had to...

This week of living life was really good.

I don't have any super insightful thoughts or advice or things to share this week besides just me. Maybe you now will pull out some orange patterned shorts and pair it with your 3rd millionth slinky black shirt for a night out, maybe you'll go and eat some shrimps tonight, or maybe you will be inspired to live life balanced, happy, and doing things you love (even if they're scary--open mic night whatttt). Either way, I hope you were entertained for a little bit and thanks for letting me share my life journal :)

Side Note- shout out to Owen for his awesome encouragement to keep up my blogging :)

ps--> he's single ladies