Physical Wellness: Don’t Get Sucked In.

The other day, Eric was talking to me about something he had read about on Nerd Fitness. Which Nerd Fitness is a website that helps break down fitness in terms of kind of like video games. When you PR, you level up and they just kind of relate everything in a different way to fit that “nerd” demographic. He was telling me about an article that was breaking down supplements. Basically it was saying that using supplements that promise immediate results is like using a cheat code in a video game. Usually you have to put in hours into the video game to get to where someone else has gotten with a cheat code.

As he was saying this, it really made me think about how many people get sucked into these gimmicks of the diet industry. Whether it be losing weight or gaining weight. But everyone, and I do mean everyone, knows that the real secret to sculpting the perfect body is that it takes time. And beyond that it takes realistic expectations. I have been running this blog for almost a year and I can tell you that hands down my most popular post I have ever written is my how to set SMART goals. Having that realistic component to your physical goals is really important.

There is no cheat code. There is no short code on the road of health and wellness. It takes time. It takes dedication. It takes realistic expectations. It takes trial and error to figure out what works for you. And honestly it will probably be changing often throughout your life. It might side “pessimistic” to say, but I don’t think you ever get to the end goal of total health and wellness. Because you work on it every single day. You are constantly on this journey. And even when you get to the point where you are like, “ok, yup, I’m there” you still have to work every day to stay there.

Enjoy the journey.

Mental Wellness: Just Some Well-Written Truth.

Which by the title, you already know…this girl did not write the article.

But seriously, this is going to be one of those posts where I just tell you, just take the time and read this article…because it is … just a gorgeous article. Which I know sounds weird to say, but just read it.

One of my favorite truths in this article is “some kind of failure always occurs before success”. I don’t always like to use the word failure (I prefer set back) but man alive is this true.

Just…all of them…

Just read it. I’m not trying to be lazy with this post. It’s just…when someone writes something that well, you don’t want to mess it up. It’s a good article.


Financial Wellness: Spending Triggers

According to this article from LearnVest, my spending trigger is a perfect home. …Now I tend to not agree with a lot of these quizzes like this…I mean BuzzFeed pretty much has a monopoly on my quiz taking now that I am out of grad school but I have a really hard time seeing the validity and reliability in this specific quiz.

First of all, it’s very limited in the questions and answers for the questions.

Second, it’s one thing to be interested in interior design/architecture (or whatever you are interested in), but it is quite a different thing to actually be spending all your money on it. This quiz asked a few questions about things that you have spent your money on…but honestly I had a hard time answering it. Yeah I bought my dining room table for $200 a few months ago…but I also used gift cards with it and paid a total of $50 for it. No where in the quiz does it give you any option of saying that you budget or use gift money or something…

I get that this was a quiz about what your spending triggers are but, at least for me, this quiz was a complete bust. It asked random questions that didn’t really have links…I’m sorry…I love LearnVest and their articles but this one just doesn’t do it for me. If you take the quiz, let me know A.) what your spending trigger was and B.) if you agree with it.

Physical Wellness: My Go-To Smoothie and An Update

First the recipe, then I will touch on a quick update and my lack of posts last week.

I have never really been one to enjoy a big dinner. I see tons of pictures on tumblr and instragram of people that have made these gorgeous meals, but me…maybe it is because I grew up eating soup for dinner most nights, but I just don’t like a big heavy dinner. I prefer to eat my big meal at breakfast and/or lunch. So lately I have been whipping up this smoothie to get some protein and veggies at night.

What you will need:

  • A blender
  • A banana
  • Handful of spinach
  • Protein powder – whatever you fancy
  • Peanut butter/PB2 powder – again whatever you prefer
  • Almond milk

The recipe is this

  • Cut up banana into your blender
  • Throw some spinach in there (make sure it is exactly some…otherwise…nothing happens…it’s spinach load it up)
  • Scoop of protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons of PB2 or peanut butter (I prefer using PB2 but if you use peanut butter, go w/ creamy)
  • Dump almond milk until the blender is full (I use a blend and go size blender)
  • Blend until blended.

Obviously this is easy, super easy. And I find that it actually fills me up fairly well while also getting some fruits, veggies, and proteins in me. The peanut butter/PB2 gives it a really nice sweetness. I use vanilla protein powder because I’m not a fan of chocolate powder, but I’m guess chocolate would be good in this too. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a dinner meal either. This is good for a quick out the door breakfast, snack, after workout om nom…also some people use ice in their smoothies, I don’t. Because I don’t like ice, but you could probably add that in.

One more side note on this:  after careful testing, I have found that putting the spinach in before the powders helps everything get mixed in faster and better (IMO) than putting the powders in before.

Ok and now a quick ish update on why I was MIA last week. Honestly, I just didn’t feel like posting. I had some other stuff going on plus I took some time off from work and enjoyed being outside (I work in a basement so being outside is actually a huge deal to me) and not doing blog posts. I’m also getting to a place where I’m not sure where I want to go with my blog. I started this blog as a way for me to get to do wellness everyday because it is what I love and what I want to do in my career. However, my career is taking some different turns and I’m not sure how wellness fits into this anymore. I still love it. I do, I really do. I wouldn’t still be bookmarking things to blog about and share and keeping my blog if I didn’t. I’m just a little unsure of where and how everything fits right now. My daily readers have probably noticed that I have moved from a M-F blogging schedule to a M-Th schedule. It happened really on accident. I started doing my blog post at night and scheduling them to post the next morning. It just so happens that Thursday nights are run club nights and writing up a blog post just was the last thing on my mind…I have thought about writing up all my posts on Sunday and just scheduling them out, and that is still an option for me…

Really what it comes down to is that I want you, my readers, to know that I still love wellness and I’m actually pretty happy with my blog. Do I wish I had more people reading my content? Yeah. Absolutely. But I have to keep in mind and keep the perspective that wellness isn’t something that you can easily quantify. It’s something that if you can help one person, if you can education one person, if you can touch the life of just one person…then that’s pretty awesome.

So that’s it! Please feel free to leave me comments on topics that you would like me to talk about. I’ve got a couple of interesting posts that will go up Wednesday and Thursday about identifying what your triggers are with spending and a really thought provoking article to share on mental wellness. So stay tuned. And thank you, thank you for giving me an outlet to express my passion.

Occupational Wellness: You’ve Got Mail!…er E-mail

I suppose this could fall under life wellness as well…

I’m so guilty of letting email run my life. I hear the ding and in a middle of a person to person conversation (even when I’m at home or out or at Eric’s) I grab my life vest (aka my phone) and start checking my email. Just typing that sentence, my brain is screaming at me. It’s SO rude! I hate when people interrupt me while I telling a story or talking…I hate it. It drives me up the wall. But I will just grab my phone in the middle of a conversation and start scrolling while claiming that I am listening to whoever is talking to me (IN REAL LIFE).

But honestly, my day is run by email. If I’m not at my desk with immediate access to my outlook, then I have my Surface (yes, I’m that person) that is updating me with my emails or my phone is dinging letting me know that I have a new email. And of course I have to check it. But once I get home? Oh the dings do not stop. The dings are still there and the last minute frantic emails about something that has to get done right this second haunt my dreams as I toss and turn then inevitably get up and get whatever needs to be done. That damn email ding is like Pavlov’s dog experiment. Except less salivating.

Well, last week, LearnVest had an article in their daily newsletter about 5 steps to help keep email from making you salivate at a ding. And the tips aren’t too shabby. But I know that what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for anyone else. So I’m asking you, yes you reading this post. Go ahead in the comments and give one tip that you have for making yourself not chained to your email 24/7. Let’s share some ideas, shall we?

Financial Wellness: Student Loans (insert groans here)

One thing I absolutely cannot wait for, but must, is to just be done paying my stupid student loans. For those of you that don’t know, I did my undergrad in Iowa (my home state) and then did my masters in Kentucky (uh, not my home state) so I racked up quite the pretty penny with my student loans. I almost daily try and think of how I am going to pay these bad boys off. And I have no clue. It feels overwhelming to think about it. But alas, my troubles are not your troubles and today, I’m here to provide what I think is a valuable resource. And of course, I found it from my daily LearnVest email.

Here is a checklist for paying of your student loans. But honestly, if you are in high school or are in college right now, do the work and find scholarship opportunities. Meet with a financial counselor to have them help you figure out what your budget is and get a job to cover your living expenses instead of relying on student loans for everything. Take out as absolutely little of student loans as possible. Sure doing things like researching scholarship opportunities and making a budget are harder than just taking out all of your student loans, but being tied down to that kind of debt for 10, 20, 30+ years…I definitely wish that I had been more conscientious of my finances in college and grad school than I was. Even if you do end up getting a great job when you are done with school and you could pay off your student loans in a couple of years…wouldn’t you rather use that money for something else…anything else? Hell, I’d rather use the $200 a month I pay for my repayment for anything – food, clothes, an eye doctors appointment, putting it into savings…really anything sounds better than paying my student loans.

Apparently this week I’m getting ranty on topics. Meh.

Life Wellness: Just Stop What You Are Doing

And read this. Stop reading this article right now and READ THIS BLOG POST.

Oh my GOSH! This applies to not just the gym but LIFE! You hear (or read) fashion bloggers all the time talking about how you just wear whatever you want to wear and whatever makes you happy and don’t worry about what other people think/say/post about you. We hear/read about it in the fitness community. You go into the gym and you do what works for you. When I first started running I would get so self conscious about how slow I thought I was running or if I needed to stop to take breaks to walk. I would always think, “oh man, people are definitely making fun of me.” But 1.) WHO CARES? You are out there being active! Plus those people don’t know your workout plan, they don’t know your injuries and they sure as h-e-double hockey sticks don’t know you. And 2.) DON’T BE THAT PERSON MAKING FUN OF SOMEONE.


Side note:  I’m actually really into this blog post and wish that my readers could see me typing this up. I’m quite literally mouthing all the words that I am typing and typing ferociously fast and loud and whatnot.


Don’t do it at the gym. Don’t do it on the internet. Don’t do it in the grocery store. Just don’t do it. And when you do, apologize. In whatever way you can.

Key takeaways from this article? Vanessa gets animated when typing about something she is passionate about AND DON’T BULLY PEOPLE!

Physical Wellness: Facebook, Friend or Foe?

One of my good friends is out in Delaware cranking out a PhD in psych and one of her profs that she works with studies eating disorders. One day, on Facebook of all places, she posted this article about how Facebook could be linked to dissatisfaction with your body, comparative behaviors, disordered thoughts regarding food, and even eating disorders. Now my eating disorders have all spiraled out of control from social media but from being on message boards and following blogs that promoted this kind of behavior. But I can also distinctly remember when a class member started to noticeably lose weight and rumors started to swirl around that she was only eating x amount of calories a day and I started comparing my diet to what her’s “was” and trying to eat less than her. This wasn’t even a girl that I spoke to but I was friends with her on Facebook because we had gone to school together for so long…

The article speaks about how we always put our best foot forward on social media. Sure, there are some people that find their lives humorous and don’t mind poking fun at unflattering pictures taken of them or owning up to eating that bag of candy and binge watching a show on Netflix. But for the most part, we put our best lives forward. I don’t share with the world when I have binged and purged. But I sure have no problem sharing when I have run a half marathon. I don’t put pictures up that I think I look fat or unattractive.

I have tossed this theory around before that being on Facebook too much where people put their best of their best up there can lead to you comparing your life to someone else’s. It can start to make you feel like your life isn’t as great or perfect as theirs. That you aren’t as accomplished, you aren’t as loved, you aren’t as valued as someone else. Spending too much time on social media can sometimes lead to a more empty life, even if it is filled with likes, comments, retweets, reblogs, favorites…

Emotional Wellness: Let’s Start Monday Off Right, Shall We?

Now I know BuzzFeed isn’t necessarily breaking news or cutting edge information unless you want to know what kind of grilled cheese you would be or see the rainbow of dresses worn at the Oscars…but I still enjoy a nice little chuckle every once in awhile. And while scrolling through to figure out which Buffy character I would have been, I stumbled across this truly heartwarming article. There was a race in San Jose remembering a fallen soldier and on the course, there was a WWII Vet in his uniform cheering on the runners. And then those (FYI-already starting to tear up, I love this story so much) started running off the course to shake his hand. The 95 year old was later interviewed and stated that he, “never got that much recognition in my life.” Precious. Absolutely precious. 

I felt this article was appropriate to share because you really have no idea sometimes the impact you can have on someone’s life. Just today, on my run, a girl drove by me and shouted, “whooo good for you!” (whether she was being sarcastic or not is not something I really care to analyze). But her giving me an impromptu yell of encouragement was really nice. I have heard this a million times that you should try to smile at one stranger a day. If they see it or don’t, if they think it’s genuine or not, you should try to share a little bit of happiness with one person a day. Now being an introvert, this concept terrifies the pants off of me. Having to interact with a stranger? In person? I’d rather not, thanks. But lately I have been trying to push myself a little bit outside my comfort zone. Maybe my “victories” aren’t as meaningful or grand as being able to shake the hand and thank a WWII vet, but…I’m working my way to it.

Physical Wellness: The Perfect Body

Who doesn’t want the perfect body? Seriously. Well thanks to Thought Catalog writer Jessica Blakenship, she has given you those secrets!

The perfect body. The answers are all in that article. But they aren’t going to be what you may want or think they are going to be. Because the article talks about the best of the best in terms of your body. Not looking at your body as the physical being but looking at what an amazing thing you body is. It fights off illness, not always, but it fights off illness. It breathes! It has a beat heart that pulses blood through your body. It produces energy. It holds together. And best of all, it has a brain. Which truly can be the most sexy body part of all.