This week I thought I’d share a few things on my fall bucket list! I am a lover of all things fall and spring, so it’s no surprise that I have a pretty lengthy fall bucket list. The best part about my fall bucket list is a lot of the activities are low cost! Having fun while not digging deep into your bank account are both SUPER important as a college student, so this fall have a little fun and save a little green ($$$) at the same time!
Go to a haunted house
Carve pumpkins (or pineapples, carving pineapples is the new trend this fall! Check it out!)
Get together a group, dress up and go show it off! Group Halloween costumes are always the best!
Go to a football game! I love going to UWP’s football games, so this one was a breeze for me. If you’re not a football fan, try soccer, volleyball, or cross country! The athletes will appreciate the support!
Drive somewhere gorgeous and have a fun fall themed photo shoot with your girls. You all get to be the models for a day, and everyone will have super cute pictures for social media!
Have a cookout with friends, family, your club, etc.! It’s a good time to bond and get some great food!
Halloween movie marathon. Pull out all your favorite Halloween movies whether scary or something along the lines of Halloweentown, and curl up with a blanket.
Go to/put on a bonfire with some friends!
Visit a corn maze! Admission to corn mazes depend on the size of the maze, but generally tickets are fairly inexpensive. I love going to Vesperman Farms. They have an amazing corn maze and a ton of other outdoor activities to enjoy!
Go apple picking!
Think up a new fall recipe, or make a new fall recipe & enjoy! One of the best ways to get in the fall spirit is to make the food of the season. Whether it be soup, chili, pies, caramel apples, etc., fall has lots of great foods to choose from.
Go hiking during peak colors and take lots of pictures of the trees before all the leaves are gone for the year!
Make fall crafts! You can get a lot of craft supplies for cheap at the Dollar Store and just have a night in with some friends making some crafts.
Go stargazing! Fall weather leads to some pretty clear views of the stars above, so take the opportunity to check ’em out!
Have fun! Each season has its own activities, and its always a treat to take advantage of those activities before they disappear for another year!
There are obviously many, many more things you can do during Fall, but these are just a few ideas to get you started. You never know, you might even make some new friends while trying out some of these!
As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see you all next time!
As I start to plan for Dressember, maintain a busy class/club/work schedule, and continue to figure out my new health goals, I want to share what has gotten me thus far in my journey. All of the above may seem like a lot to handle, and at times it sure feels like it is, but I consistently find little tips and tricks to help me along the way. 5 of those tricks are what I’m going to share with you today! Just to start out, I’m in no way certified as a personal trainer or life coach, this is just what I have found works for me.
1. Make your workout schedule and stick to it!
Figure out what type of exercise you enjoy (yoga, lifting, running, boxing, etc) and plan times and workouts for the week on Sundays. I find that if I have a plan before I go to bed on Sunday, I don’t have to then worry about when and what workouts I do the rest of the week, after all my homework is being assigned and I spend hours doing homework. I also find that if I write my workouts into my planner, I’m more likely to do my workouts because I know I have the time. My tired self then can’t say, “Oh, well, you don’t have the time today” when, clearly, I have plenty of time according to my planner. Also, don’t be afraid to mix up your workouts a little bit! I combine weight lifting with cardio and yoga. That way my body gets worked in a few different ways, and I get the most benefit from my workouts. Remember, that even if you have an injury or restriction, there’s always a type of exercise for you. I have laterally tracking kneecaps (slightly to super painful when running and jumping) so I can’t do a ton of impact exercises. I have found weight lifting to benefit my knees, and for the days my knees hurt too bad to lift, I resort to yoga to stretch out the muscles and bring some peace to the joint. So there’s something out there for everyone, you just have to find it.
2. Find the time of day when you’re most motivated.
I’m an early bird. I’m usually asleep by 10:30pm at the absolute latest during the week, so I like to get up early to do my workouts. I try to get to my gym as soon as it opens in the morning because that’s when I’m most awake and ready to work. I find myself more energized the rest of the day when I workout in the morning. Also, I don’t often have club meetings, homework, or have to be at work that early in the morning, so that’s when I can make time to get to the gym. I also do yoga workouts in my apartment on my non-lifting days and those I tend to do right before bed so I sleep better at night. However, I know that not everyone is an early bird like myself, so if evening/night exercise is your thing, go for it! Just remember, you HAVE to MAKE time. You can’t just wing it with your workouts, or you may not always get the most benefit. This is your health, and making the time to workout is SO important.
3. Figure out how to eat healthy, while not depriving yourself all the time.
Food is something that is different to almost every person. That’s why there are so many different ways to eat out there, because everyone has different tastes and tolerances for certain foods. I have spent quite a bit of my college experience trying to figure out what I can and can’t eat. In my two years in college, I have developed a gluten intolerance, and lettuce allergy, and an avocado allergy. I also find that the more carbs I have, the more tired I am and the worse my stomach feels. So I have adopted a lower-carb diet with lots of fruits, veggies, and meat. However, I still allow myself to eat the things I want, within reason. I still eat gluten free mac n cheese and gluten free pizza, I just try to limit them. I go through phases where I just eat all the things I want to, and after a few days I feel like crap and go back to following my diet. All in all, you just have to find what works best for you and stick with it. They say health is 70% diet and 20% exercise, and abs are made in the kitchen, AND in the gym. So find what works for you, and follow it!
4. Know when you need a day off.
Rest days sound like something you’d use an excuse to not do a workout, but rest days are SO important. Especially with such a busy schedule like a college student. Rest days allow your mind and body to rest, recharge, and reset. Sometimes life just gets too hard, or too busy, and you need those rest days to maintain your sanity. So plan during the week to take a few hours everyday, or maybe even just one day to have some “me” time after classes and/or work. Your body will thank you for it every time.
5. Be constantly setting smaller goals, and reaching them.
A little cliche for a picture, but the message is important. When setting goals in life, it’s important to make them something you can reach. You don’t want to set a super small goal and after you reach it, that’s it. You want to set a goal that is possible, but difficult. You want to grow on your way to that goal, but you want to be able to get there and then set a new one. This supports constant growth in your life in general, and especially in your health. For example, making it to the gym 3x a week, or not having ice cream everyday (if that’s your thing). You’ll be more motivated and inspired if you’re reaching goals every few weeks/months than if you set year-long goals and don’t reach them by the end of the year. It’s easier to think short term and see long term results than to think long term and see short term results.
Health and fitness while being a working college student is something that I’m still trying to figure out myself, but I’m enjoying every step of the way. I’m a month into classes and I’m finally getting into the swing of my new class, homework, work, and workout schedule. Food has always been a battle for me as well, but I’m finally finding my footing there as well. The goal is always some sort of improvement, and baby steps are perfectly acceptable.
I hope you enjoy and find some use from my 5 tricks to a healthy student life, and I’ll see you next week!
This week I would like to introduce (or re-introduce) a movement near and dear to my heart for the past few years. That movement is a little something called Dressember.
You may have read a little bit about Dressember in my very first blog post (Check it out here!), and it’s that time of year again! Dressember 2017 registration opens October 1st and I’m more motivated this year than any year before to participate and help in any way I can.
Dressember is a movement lead by the Dressember Foundation (Click here for their website) to raise awareness and funds for anti-human and sex trafficking efforts around the world. During the month of December women wear dresses every day for the entire month. Men can also participate by wearing dress clothes as well. The point is to raise awareness. Now, for those of you who think it’s a silly idea, especially in cold states, let me explain to you my experience with this movement so near and dear to my heart.
I had always known that human trafficking existed in our world, but never could I have imagined the scale on which it occurs all around us on a daily basis. My friend Paige brought human trafficking into a whole new light for me during my first year of college. I participated in the second half of Dressember 2015 alongside Paige and her leadership and passion for such a worthy cause lit a flame that I have now begun to share with the world as well.
Dressember 2016 I participated for the full month and, let me tell you, it was not always easy. I live in Wisconsin where winter can be brutal. There were days when the news would tell me it was going to be -30 degrees or less. Local schools would be closed because of the wind chills, but since I’m in college classes aren’t cancelled unless professors absolutely can’t get to class. So I would be afraid of how cold I would be if I were to wear a dress and my tights outside, but I never quit. Now let me explain why.
Human Trafficking is a $150 billion industry with millions of slaves worldwide and less than 1% of victims are ever rescued (Facts from A21). There are many different types of trafficking such as labor trafficking, bonded labor (forcing someone to work for a low wage to pay back an impossible debt), child labor trafficking, and sex trafficking of men, women, and even children. These victims are taken from their homes, from shopping malls, from elementary schools through college campuses, and the list goes on and on. The life of a victim can vary depending on what type of work they are forced to perform, but the typical path is as follows: They are kidnapped and then “conditioned” to fear their owner(s) so they won’t try to escape, they are then either sold or transported to where they will be performing their forced duties, and that’s how the majority end up living the rest of their lives. It’s a sad story with a bad ending that I, as well as millions of people around the world are standing up to spread the word to end (Half the Sky).
This year I’m challenging each and every one of you that read this to make an effort. Talk to someone about human trafficking, read an article, or even participate alongside me in Dressember 2017! I try to recruit friends and family each year to at least participate for a few days to help spread the word.
Something like Dressember is the least we can do to help speak out for those who don’t have a voice. When you think you can’t do something like Dressember because you don’t have enough dresses or it’s too cold, think about the young boys and girls living without food, without proper clothing, without their families and friends, all while being forced to perform labor or sexual acts against their own will. Or think about the families that are searching for their loved ones kidnapped and not yet found, and ask yourself if a little bit of a chill is really that inconvenient. It’s for them that I will continue to participate and speak out every year through the form of Dressember and everyday conversations.
I hope to see many, many more people join the movement to end human trafficking and join me in Dressember this year! Even if you don’t fundraise like myself, participation and starting those tough conversations can have a ripple effect. Two years ago I had no idea human trafficking existed so close to my hometown and it took my friend Paige to open my eyes. If I can be that person for someone else, then that’s one more life we could save from a life of slavery.
If you have any questions, or just want to discuss what I’ve explained above, don’t hesitate to contact me through my contact page! I would love to share what info I have with anyone interested. Also be watching on October 1st for Dressember 2017 registration! (Here’s the link!).
As Ghandi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
I have taken a bit of a break from blogging to work on myself. I have spent the past 2-3 months figuring out where I want to be in life and how to get there. At the end of last semester, I found myself constantly in a bad mood whether it be from a lack of patience, lack of exercise or the lack of a meal plan that worked well for my body. I have since changed all of the above and I’m going to share how so that maybe someone reading this who is struggling the same way I was can find some peace in finally taking more control over their life.
The first step in my guide to a new me, was to pinpoint what exactly was causing my stress. I made mental notes throughout the day when I felt annoyed or sick, so at the end of the day I could reflect on what had bothered me and think about why. For example, if someone walking slow while I was behind them I would ask myself, “why should that really bother me?” In the end, unless I’m late, the slow walker in front of me will only get me to my destination maybe a minute later than I would arrive otherwise, so is it really that big of a deal? No. So I change my mindset. I’m not saying that slow walker doesn’t still annoy me sometimes, I just try to keep a level head and understand that there are many more things to be really worried about in life.
Step two was to go through my social media and get rid of pages and people that didn’t add value to my life. I used to just scroll through my social media and think of all the bad memories that I associated with some of the people I still followed, but would never again talk to in real life. So I did a social media cleanse. I only wanted to see people and companies on my feeds that would inspire me and add to my life, not take away from it. I was attempting to make my social media mine again, and for the most part, it worked. I try not to use my social media as much anymore because too much screen time isn’t good for you, but now I know if I want to look, I will find mostly good things.
Step three: Evaluate my food choices. I found myself constantly cheating on my diet, and constantly being sick because of it. I found that, while the Keto diet did help heal my stomach, it was time for me to loosen up on my restrictions. I now still eat fairly low carb compared to the average American diet, but I allow myself to have some of my favorite high-carb foods, just in moderation now. This way when I do have a cheat day or decide to eat some sugar, my body doesn’t go into a panic. I also found that I wasn’t eating enough on the Keto diet. Now I make sure to get enough food in a day, but if I’m not hungry, I still don’t eat. I have days where I have only breakfast and dinner, and there are days where I have five meals a day because I’m just so hungry. What matters most is that I try to make those foods fuel for my body, not foods to satisfy my cravings.
Last, but not least, I started to exercise 5-6x a week. I spent the majority of the past two years only exercising when I thought I looked too pudgy. I had a bad relationship with exercise because I treated it like a chore. This summer, I changed my mindset. I started doing yoga outdoors every morning that I could. I also started lifting (at home) just enough to remember how much I loved lifting when I was part of a crossfit gym in high school. I made exercise a time for me to be alone and start my day off on the right foot. Now that I’m back at school, I lift three mornings a week at the school gym and do yoga 2-3x a week as well. I love how much energy my morning workouts give me and I’m already starting to see the difference in my muscle and figure.
I am no expert in any of the above topics, but I find that sometimes that’s okay. I have figure out what works the best for me and I’m loving how it feels. So for those of you still reading, I hope you can take away even a small piece of advice from this entry. From this post on, I will be changing the direction of my blog just a tad. I will be focusing on how to be the best you, inside and out. I’ll be talking about different diet trends, exercise plans, I’ll track my fitness progress, and I’ll explain how, even when in college like myself, you can become the best version of yourself. My goal is to inspire those around me and, hopefully, make the world a better place a little piece at a time.
For those still with me who have questions, feel free to contact me by my socials tagged at the bottom of the page, or through the contact page.
I hope you enjoyed my update and that you’ll continue this journey with me!
The past few weeks I have been really trying to cut back on my soda consumption. Since I eat (mostly) according to the Ketogenic Diet, any soda I do have is diet soda. The extra sugar in regular soda upsets my stomach something major, so diet soda used to be what I would fall back on.
However, lately I have been having some seriously annoying stomach problems. I’m slowly finding my way back into a normal diet, and I’m having less and less episodes every day. One thing I have found to trigger these episodes is, you guessed it, soda. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s regular or diet, my stomach just doesn’t want it anymore. So here’s what I’m drinking instead!
Everyone seems to have their own way of making bulletproof coffee, this is mine. I use coconut milk creamer (unsweetened) instead of the normal heavy cream, because the heavy cream doesn’t always agree with me. In the little red bowl is my combo of grassfed butter and MCT oil. Then I add a little bit of Truvia and cinnamon, then blend with some black coffee. That’s it! Tasty, simple, and just one cup of this will carry me over until a late lunch.
I drink a LOT of water throughout the day. I generally just fill my water bottle and take it with me wherever I go. Some days I like just plain water, and some days I add these little beauties to flavor the water. I use the vitamin line of flavorings because they are sweetened using stevia. Other sweeteners have upset my stomach in the past, so I generally stick to stevia because I know it’s safe for my system. You can use whichever flavorings your heart desires, these are just what I use.
Sometimes I find myself craving the fizz and bubbles from soda. When this craving hits, I like to grab a sparkling water. My favorite flavor is the Coconut from La Croix, but there are tons of brands and flavors out there that don’t use sugar or artificial sweeteners, you just have to read the labels!
I am a strong lover of most teas. Hot, iced, sweetened, unsweetened; you name it, I’ll most likely drink it. Tea can have lots of great antioxidants and almost healing properties. I drink a lot of tea when I’m sick, but I try to drink lots of tea the rest of the time, too. I’m always looking for new ways to drink tea, flavor tea, etc. Recently I found a recipe for iced matcha tea, which is one of my favorite teas. It kind of smells like grass and looks like you just blended up some spinach, but it is SO good, as well as good FOR you.
Just mix the matcha powder with the appropriate amount of water (instructions are usually on the bottle/package) and some ice, then shake! I use my Blender Bottle so all the little chunks of the powder get broken up, then pour it into a smaller glass over fresh ice to drink.
Last, but not least, Kombucha!
Kombucha is a funny little beverage, but SO good for you. My parents discovered kombucha a few years back, and I have gone through phases with this adventure of a drink. Kombucha is actually fermented tea. It contains lots of probiotics which help the good bacteria in your stomach. I try to drink some every day. Now, I say interesting because it’s absolutely an acquired taste. Kombucha has a different sort of smell with a very distinct taste to match. Also, there’s sometimes particles at the bottom of the bottle, which won’t hurt you (they’re actually supposed to be really good to drink), but DEFINITELY creep me out. It took me quite a while to get used to, and actually like, drinking Kombucha and I still just drink until I can see the particles on the bottom then dump the little bit left at the bottom with the particles. There are tons of flavors and brands of Kombucha and most are very low in sugar/carbs. BE CAREFUL if you want to start drinking Kombucha. Your body is accustomed to a certain amount of probiotics and good bacteria in your stomach. If you just start chugging a whole bottle or more of this stuff everyday, you’re most likely going to make yourself sick. Kombucha is something to start slow and gradually increase in intake. I started with about a third of a bottle and I’m now closer to drinking about a half a bottle to 3/4 of a bottle a day. It’s all in how your stomach reacts to this wonderfully odd creation. Here’s the one I’m working on currently.
Overall, there are tons of beverage options out there that aren’t soda. When at restaurants, I try to order either unsweetened iced tea, water, or sparkling water. So whether you’re trying to cut out more sugar in your diet, or just soda altogether, I hope my few ideas help you along your journey!
With many graduations coming up in the next few weeks, I thought I’d share a bit of what I’ve learned since my graduation from Portage High School. I have many friends and family graduating in the next few weeks and I remember not being sure of my future, but I want them to know that everything will work out if they’re willing to make the next big step into life after high school.
First, it’s okay to be sentimental. You have probably spent the past 12+ years with the same people in school. In my case, I had gone to three different elementary schools, and I don’t treasure any of my old friendships less than any other. Each friendship and school gave me wonderful memories and you’ll find yourself at graduation thinking about how excited you are to go off to college, but it may hit you either on the day, or a few days later that some of your friends are going to school hours from your school, and that you may only see some of the best friends you’ve had your whole life a few times a year. So get sentimental, talk about all those good memories because you will cherish some of those memories the rest of your life.
Second, your high school friends may not end up being forever friends like you thought, but they could be. Relationships give out exactly what you put into them. I have people that I haven’t talked to since my project graduation, and I have high school friends I still talk to on a weekly basis. If your high school friends are willing and able to put in the time to talk, go for it! However, if you start to slip away from some of your high school friends, I’m gonna tell you now, it’s gonna happen. Some of your best friends will get new friends or get too busy to talk all the time or be too far away for it to be plausible that you see one another more than 2 or 3 times a year. That’s okay too! You will meet PLENTY of new friends at your next step in your life, whether that be college, a sports team, an apprenticeship, the workforce. There will always be new people for you to meet and become friends with. Which leads me to my next point.
Thirdly, don’t be afraid to meet new people! Graduation is the change for you to spread your wings (cheesy, i know) and find what you want to do with your life. Along the way you will meet tons of new people all looking for their next step in life, and sometimes they coincide with yours. My mom always told me my friends will always be changing, and the longer I’m out of high school, the more I find that to be true. Some of my best friends now, weren’t my friends a year ago. Some of my friends from 1st semester of college I don’t even talk to anymore. That doesn’t mean you don’t hold on to what they taught you, your paths just don’t cross anymore and that’s okay.
Speaking of paths, it’s okay to not know what you want to do in the future. I was always told you don’t need to know what you want to do, you need to know what you DON’T want to do in your life. I have already switched majors and minors a few times, and I’m finally happy with what I’m studying. Change is inevitable. Learn to experiment with all different classes and have an open mind. I’m majoring in accounting and in high school I wouldn’t take any accounting classes because I thought I would hate it. I never gave it a shot and now I love my accounting classes more than any of the other classes I’m taking. So don’t be afraid to not know what you want to do with your life. Even after you have your major, the workforce is a whole other animal. A lot of my professors have worked many different jobs just because they felt they needed a change.
This next category isn’t as light-hearted as the first few. Make sure you understand that reading the textbook and studying become important to actually learning and passing your classes in college. At this point in your life you get to start picking the classes you will be taking, so you should find them more interesting. However, there are so many events and chances to see your friends at any moment at school, that sometimes students procrastinate or think they can just do the minimum like they did in high school. This is a recipe for disaster in college. You will have good professors who care if you’re doing your homework and actually learning, and you will have professors who couldn’t care less if you show up for class everyday, let alone pass their class. In college you HAVE to take your education into your own hands and make sure you know what you need to do to reach your goals.
Last, but not least, have fun with this transition in front of you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help and/or advice if you need it. After high school, many of you will be going to school or moving out to go into the work force and/or insert whatever you are going to do to take the next step. You are officially an adult, and many of you will be moving onto college campuses, some of you very far from home. I’m lucky that my school is only 2 hours from home so if I needed help, it was fairly close. Others of you will be going across the country, or even elsewhere in the world. Have fun with that transition and enjoy every moment this crazy life may bring you, but never be afraid to call home for help. Your parents will wait to hear from you, and sometimes may give you some tough love, but understand that they’re just trying to help you through the next step of you becoming who you are meant to be, without doing everything for you. Being independent can be hard, but it’s something that everyone needs to learn at some point, and these few years after high school are the perfect time to do so.
So good luck to the class of 2017 in your future, and I hope you enjoy life after high school just as much as I have.
The past few weeks have been, for lack of a better word, interesting. I have been fighting a reoccurring sickness that I can’t seem to put my finger on, and my to-do list continues to get longer. I have started to feel rather overwhelmed, but I have found a comfort in different quotes I have either heard or seen in the past week. As May goes on, many of you will encounter either finals, moving stresses, graduation stresses, so on and so forth. Whatever you are dealing with this next week, I want to share seven quotes, one for each day, to inspire thought and possibly help some of you through this next week. Enjoy!
I thought this quote would be a great way to start off the week. I believe in extending kindness to those who may need it. A simple smile or small compliment can brighten the rest of someone’s day. Be thinking about a way you can extend kindness to those around you this week.
I am a firm believer in being present in the moment. In our age, many people are on their phones and forgetting to really be part of the world around them. So this week I challenge you to put down the technology, and really be present in every moment you can. That text message can wait, the moment will always pass.
Take the extra time this week to wear something that truly makes you feel good inside, whatever that is to you, as well as the time to learn something new about a subject you enjoy, or about someone different than you.
There has always been a special place in my heart for the Dr. Seuss, and this quote is one of my all-time favorites. It applies to almost every part of life and I like to read it when I feel discouraged or left-out.
Today, I want you to think about how often you feel overshadowed by someone else and why. After that, I want to let you know that it is 100% okay to not be the center of attention, but to never let someone put you down or slow your shine.
Throughout the week if you mess up or feel low, just read this little ray of sunshine and tell yourself that it’s okay to fall sometimes, but it’s not okay to give up.
Last, but not least, think over everything you’ve done this past week and decide if you are where you want to be at this point in your life. If so, good for you! How can you keep your momentum? If not, don’t be discouraged. There’s always time to make a change, you just have to figure out how.
These are just a few of the quotes that have helped me in the past and that, I hope, can help you through the stress of the next week.
See you next time!
**Disclaimer: I don’t own these pictures. I found them on Pinterest and I do not claim ownership.