Saturday, October 27, 2012

what is love?

"we accept the love we think we deserve"
"all you need is love"
"what is love?"
"tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all"
"love never fails"
"i like my skechers, but i love my prada backpack." "but i love my skechers" "well thats because you dont have a prada backpack"

the dictionary defines it as "a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person, a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend, and sexual passion or desire."

does this really define love though? to me love is such a multi-facetted emotion. a lot of people throw the word love around like it is a five cent word, but to me it carries so much behind it. i think everyone experiences love in a different way. from receiving flowers, to a great hug, to taking a walk, to sexual relations, to simply spending time together, and everything in between. to me, there is no simple way to define love. 

to me, love really is all you need. sure, money and other wordly possessions are great, but can true happiness exist without love? not necessarily romantic love, but we all need to feel love. we feel this from our family, our friends, our pets, and others that are close to us. 

so tell me, how do you experience love in your life?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

more than just exist...

as i was looking through old postsecret archives tonight, i came across this one and something about it just struck me to the core.
YES! this is exactly how i feel.
when i am old and gray i want to know that i have done more than just exist in this world.
i want to know that i have done something to make a difference in the lives of those around me.
i want to touch people in ways that i dont even realize.
i have searched for this in my career and i feel this is one reason why i want to go into RT so badly.
i am passionate about it because i will be making a difference. i will be doing more than just existing.
however, i want to do this in my personal life too. i hope those close to me can feel this. i really do try to make a difference in their lives.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

what is happiness?

Webster's Dictionary defines Happiness as "a state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy."
But what does that really mean?
Honestly, I think everyone could answer that differently.
Some people experience happiness daily, and others are unable to define what that even feels like.
For me, happiness can be described in a lot of ways; holding hands, a hug from my nephews, a great cup of coffee, seeing my dog after a long day at work, an awesome rainstorm, spending time with those I love, the list could go on and on.
To me, all of those situations fit the definition of "a state of well-being".
I know Webster's definition of happiness, and there are countless books out there about how to "experience happiness" or trying to define for me what happiness should be like, but I am interested to know your thoughts.
So, how do you define happiness? How do you experience it in your life?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

my thoughts on Chick-fil-a

ok, so maybe these arent MY thoughts, but a friend of mine articulated perfectly how i feel about the whole chick-fil-a situation so i wanted to share. 

" I don't agree with his [Dan Cathy] personal beliefs. and I don't support every organization that the company [Chick-Fil-A] chooses to support. but the same can be said of nearly every single company. isn't the beauty of this country that we have the freedom to state our beliefs? cfa isn't going to start kicking people out who disagree with them. they aren't even going to kick openly gay people out (or frog/pig couples for that matter...). if I'm still welcome in their establishments, welcome to openly share my beliefs, and get a yummy chicken sammich out of it? someone explain to me how they're the ones at fault? when it comes down to it - everyone is still welcome and invited to share with them. and it irks me that the ones preaching and fighting for "equality" are unhappy that someone is sharing a belief different from theirs. yet that's at the core of why they argue - to see everyone get a say. they can't have it both ways. (this is coming from someone who adamantly supports equal rights, goes to an open & affirming church, and thinks rainbow Oreos are a cool idea. "

I dont understand when we lost the middle ground. why is it ok for me to want others to hear and share my beliefs but we are so intolerant of others opinions. it seems like so many people fight for "tolerance" right up until someone else's opinion is different than theirs. like stated in this quote above, Chickfila is not discriminating against gay couples, or kicking them out of their stores, the CEO of the company simply holds different beliefs than i do and he had the balls to publicly state them. 

I am not looking for a huge argument, I have heard the opinion of just about every single person I know on this subject and thought I would take the opportunity to share my opinion. 

Monday, June 11, 2012


At the risk of sounding conceited, tonight I want to say that I am proud of myself.

Over the past 5 ½ months there are plenty of things that could have derailed my progress; my weight constantly staying between 157 and 160 lbs no matter how hard I try, my knee injury that came back to bite me, my back giving out on me, a social life threatening to derail me, I could continue on… Somehow though, I have continued trucking on.

I tend to discount my own accomplishments a lot, whether it is because I don’t feel I am worthy of any sort of accolades, or whether I just don’t want to make others feel bad, I don’t really know, I just feel uncomfortable putting them out there.

But tonight is different, tonight I am proud. This weekend I ran my second 5k, bettering my time by 2min 41sec, this week I finish the first phase of New Rules of Lifting for Women (and tonight I did my squat sets at 100 lbs), and I got my body fat tested again and I am down to 18.0%. Hell yes!

So yes, tonight I am proud, tonight I am driven, and tonight I don’t mind if others think I sound conceited.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I Reached My Goal! ...Now What?

When I started my fitness journey originally in January of 2011, I weighed 175 lbs and oh how I wish I would have gotten my body fat tested. Although I am pretty sure I would have cried at the results. My goal at the time was to get down to 150 lbs, just above where I graduated high school.

Fast forward a year to January of 2012, when I restarted my fitness journey, this time taking it just one day at a time. I had no expectations, I only wanted to improve myself. This time, however, I got my body fat tested.

Along the way I determined that getting my weight down to 150 lbs was almost unrealistic, however what I could work to lower was my body fat %. I cleaned up my diet, did cardio and weight lifting, and well, I started to see results, and they just kept getting better.   

The picture on the left is from January, the picture on the right is from May 4, 2012

When I got my body fat tested on May 4, 2012, I was HAPPILY shocked to see I had hit my goal of 19% body fat! I was elated, but it left me wondering...what now?

I so desperately do not want to fall back into bad patterns and lose all of the hard work I have done over the last 4 months (I want to stay between 18-20% body fat). So I had to set some new goals.

1 - complete a 5k (and run the whole thing) - would love to complete this by the end of summer!

2 - complete New Rules of Lifting For Women program - not quite sure how long this will take

I have heard maintenance can be the hardest part of the journey, but I know I am driven by goals, so I plan to continuously set new goals for myself to keep myself driven. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Why I Hate the Scale

I absolutely hate stepping on the scale.
Not because I think I am fat and am afraid of the number it might show me, but because the scale does not show the whole picture and can be very discouraging.

Here are some examples:
Between these two pictures I only lost 3 pounds, however I lost almost 10% body fat going from 31.6% to 21.8%. Only 3 pounds!! If I went based only on the scale, I would be very discouraged, and at times when I made the mistake of weighing myself I was.
Between these two pictures there is a difference of ZERO pounds. None. Nada. Zilch. Hard to believe right?
This right here is why I hate the scale and why I say that it lies. Sure, it may tell you how much you weigh total, and that is the truth, but that doesn’t show the whole picture. It doesn’t tell you how many pounds of fat you are losing and how many pounds of muscle you are gaining, or how many inches you are losing.
So many people just starting on the road to fitness can become quickly discouraged by the scale. I know people who weigh themselves daily, or even multiple times a day, who have become almost obsessed with weighing themselves, and become extremely discouraged any time their weight fluctuates.
My advice to anyone starting on a fitness journey is this:
1 – Take pictures. Lots of them. You may not want to show them to anyone right now, or even look at them yourself. But when you start reaching your goals and are happy to take pictures of yourself, you will be very disappointed if you have nothing to compare them to in order to show yourself and others just how far you have come.
2 – Take your measurements and get  your body fat % tested. These two things will be such a better measurement of your success than the scale and will give you a better picture of where you truly are.
3 – Have someone hide the scale from you. I try to weigh in no more often than 1-2 times a month, but this takes some serious self control. I used to be someone who weighed multiple times a week and I would become so down and want to give up when I saw that my weight either hadn’t changed or had gone up, but now I simply use it to make sure I am staying in the same range and if it happens to have dropped at all, well that is a nice surprise too.
So, stay positive and remember, the scale is only a tool for guidance, it does NOT show the whole picture.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Elli's Mexican Quinoa - Recipe

6 oz bonless skinless chicken breast shredded
4-5 oz cooked quinoa (i used fresh and easy's precooked bowl - much easier)
1 can no salt added corn
1 can reduced sodium black beans
2/3 cup salsa
1/2 T lime juice
2 T zesty italian fat free salad dressing
2 T fresh cilantro
1/3 cup shredded cheese of your choice
salt/pepper to taste

Cook and shred chicken breast
Mix all ingredients except for cheese together
Divide into servings
Sprinkle cheese on top

(for better results chill for 2+ hours before serving for flavors to mix together)

Nutritional Info - Serves 3
Per Serving:
386 calories
55 g carbs
6 g fat
34 g protein

Sorry - I forgot to take a picture.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

100 Days

100 days ago I started my fitness journey. Well, I REstarted my journey.
I have always lived a very active life, playing sports all throughout my childhood and until I graduated high school, so I never had any problem with my weight. That all changed when I went to college. When I graduated high school, I weighed 148 pounds, by the end of my Freshman year of college I weighed 170 pounds. Yikes!

The next couple years my weight went up and down and I was not happy with how I looked, but never unhappy enough to do something about it. A year ago in January 2010, with my weight at a peak of 175 lbs, I decided something needed to change, through diet and light exercise I was able to drop 15 lbs in 3 months and by the end of March I was down to 160 lbs and 31% body fat. Then life happened again and I got off of my fitness track. Luckily because of the fast pace of my job I was able to keep my weight at 160 lbs, but I still wasn’t happy.

This brings me to 100 days ago. Something changed in me and I was finally unhappy enough with myself to make something different. So I started moving. And I started eating healthier.

Over the last 100 days I  have gone from walking 2-3 miles 4-5 times a week to taking 2-3 body pump classes, 3 core conditioning classes, walking 3-5 miles 5 times, and hiking 2 times every week. Is it a LOT? Yes. There is no denying that. However, I did not try to jump into that type of a schedule from the start. I started out doing what I felt comfortable with and each time I needed a new push, I added something. I listened to my body.

I have also changed what I eat. Fast food and eating out used to be the norm and now if I eat out it is at most once a week and I never eat fast food. I try to eat as clean and natural as possible. And I net around 1600 calories each day, high in protein and low in fat. (calories net means that I track my exercise calories as well so if I were to exercise for 400 calories one day I would actually eat about 2000 calories that day). The only supplements I used was protein powder to add protein to my diet. No diet pills, no thermogenics, no caffeine pills. Not saying these are all bad, just not for me. 

I am now down to 157 lbs and 21% body fat.

The last 100 days have been quite the journey and I look forward to the next 100 and beyond. Although I weigh more than I did when I graduated high school, I am in the best shape of my life and I am extremely happy with how my body is starting to look.

This is the change my body has gone through from 175 lbs to 157 lbs. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Today I had a conversation that really struck me and got me thinking about the nonprofit sector.

This morning I spoke briefly with someone who works in the same organization that I do who, upon congratulating me on my recent graduation was shocked to find out that I will be going back to school for a completely different career. He thought I was going to be, as he put it, a "nonprofit godess." He knew I had previously had the passion for our organization and that even as recent as the spring of 2011 I had career aspirations to advance within the organization and the long term goal of being an Executive Director.
None of this is what really got to me thought, it was what he said next that really got me thinking. "We broke you didn't we? That seems to be what we do to people."
Now call me foolish, but if the leaders of this organization are recognizing this problem, why is nothing being done to change it?
And it isn't just the organization I work for...
In a study referenced here it is evident that the nonprofit sector is doing a great job at recruiting young would be leaders, however it is not so great at keeping them.
The article referenced above, and the findings and suggestions within it hit home with me 100%.
The leaders in the nonprofit sector need to open their eyes and realize what is happening before we truly do have a leadership crisis. I have experienced this burnout in my own life and am close with many others who have experienced or are experiencing something very similar.
As it states in the article many leave the nonprofit sector and find a way to put their passion to work elsewhere, making the change and impact they want to make without getting used and crushed along the way. While leaving my job may not have been my choice, mentally I was out the door long before it happened. I had been looking for other ways to put my passion to help others into practice for months.
I do feel that I have found it, but how many others are there like me whose spirit has been crushed and passion left by the way side because of unsupportive leaders and the drive for the dollar?
How many others will give up making a difference in order to make above minimum wage?
When will executives who make 6 figure salaries realize that their legacy will never continue if they don't invest in those in line to succeed them? all that money they are being paid could be put to much better use if invested into the community around them?
I could continue on and on with the questions, but I think you get the idea. A change needs to happen and it has to come from the top.

*I obviously understand that this does not apply to ALL nonprofit organizations.