Chaos Coordinator

There are so many times in life where it’s almost as if the devil himself is trying to stop me.  There are many times throughout the day where I feel like maybe I should just give up something.

Life is hard.

You just do it.

You don’t whine.

You don’t complain.

You focus on the little things.  Be grateful.  Stop trying to be perfect.  Smile. Surround yourself with people like you and people you want to be like.  Get a mentor.  Stop trying to please everyone.  Just live your own life!

There are moments when I tear up or flat out cry, but I always pick myself up and keep going.  I have so many goals, dreams and aspirations for myself and my beautiful family.

Letting go of expectations, judgements and ‘should be’ ideas, is the only way to live peacefully.  I could literally write an entire book on how I thought my life would be right now, but guess what? I was dealt a totally different hand of playing cards. I don’t know all of the reasonings why, maybe I will never know, but I do realize that this is what I have to work with and it’s my choice to be happy or not.

I jokingly had my friend Rachel make this shirt, but oh how true it is!!

Life with littles, dogs, businesses etc is nothing short of chaos!

The best advice for you, if you too are in the trenches, is to not put yourself last every day.  Maybe you can’t do you every day, but if you put yourself first a few times a week? I promise your mind will stop playing tricks on you and you’ll feel better, look better, and life won’t seem so hard.

This is my post Zumba glow—err sweat.

Stop and take the silly photos to remember your season; photos do NOT have to be perfect.  Life is not staged. There is no re-do.  There is no dress rehearsal.  You are given today, and hopefully tomorrow.

Make games out of simple mundane tasks, like homework.

And for goodness sakes, if you’re in a funk?  Lay off the Netflix and Chill and feed your mind, soul and heart with some inspiration. Maybe everyone out there won’t seem so awful, scary, money hungry, etc. if you worked harder on yourself rather than watching everyone live out her dreams.

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This could not be more true–

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And if you’re ready to quit, whether it’s the gym routine, the eating well, the hard work you’re putting into your marriage, the effort in raising your babies right, the side hustle, the career…just keep going.  Just when you’re ready to throw in the towel, you literally could be SO stinking close to striking gold!

 

Don’t lose sight of the big picture sweet sister; you may not be able to control anyone else, but you can always control your own mind.  Remember that what you think about, you bring about.  As soon as your head starts going down that negative path, tell yourself (aloud too!) “I won’t go there.”  It really is that simple.  You will need do it over and over again, but you too can be happy.

When all is crumbling or you feel like you’re failing?  Just laugh.  What is there, if you can’t laugh?

Getting Quiet

If you happen to follow me on Instagram you may (or may not) have noticed I haven’t posted in a week.  If you know me well, Insta is my favorite slice of social media.  I started blogging back in 2011 and I believe it was that year that Instagram made its debut.  I loved my little blogging/insta community. It was real, raw, and pure.  Friends from all over could share their photos instantly with adorable captions.  I had so many amazing connections with women over fashion, food, family, husbands, you name it!!

Fast forward to 2018 and my feed was filled with overly airbrushed images, ads to buy something and picture perfect squares of everyone’s perfect lives.  I knew that when I would scroll, put the phone down and then only to pick it right back up and scroll again, it wasn’t making me feel good.  I kept brushing it off because I still do have some amazing, inspiring and uplifting people that I follow—but that wasn’t how I was left feeling after looking at Instagram.

Instead of feeling empowered, I felt insecure, jealous, envy and literally joy was being sucked out of me.  I’d wish that my house was more perfect, that my kids could strike amazing poses for photos and that I must not really be inspiring anyone because, well? To be honest, I was hung up on the numbers.  I don’t have 21k followers.  Hell, I don’t have 1,000.  And I was beating myself up.  I must not be helping enough people.

Regardless, I was going through a low point, feeling sorry for myself, oh woe-is-me, playing the victim, and if I’m being brutally honest? I was ready to go to a Dr and ask for a little magical pill that would maybe make me feel happier.

All because of Instagram? No.  Absolutely not.

But I can say that taking a little fast from Instagram, helped me quiet my mind, soul and allowed me to truly listen.  I have never been addicted to anything, but I believe that I had a problem with incessantly checking this silly app! So once I removed it off my phone, a lot of things happened.

Instead of mindlessly scrolling, I picked up a book:

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This book seemed to speak to me and allow me to reflect on what the hell was going on inside my mind.  I didn’t read it cover to cover, but I don’t think that I needed to or was meant to.  I got what I needed out of it.  People need other people in order to not only survive but also thrive.  Staying home I clearly don’t get as much social interaction as I used to when I was a teacher, but somehow I stopped going out pretty much all together.  I’d get the groceries.  Visit my husband at his work.  Do the school drop off/pick up.  Take the kids to the occasional park or library.  Dance class.   But when was the last time I did a mommy meet up?  Play date?  Had fun with the kids some place other than home?

I immediately decided to take the kids to the Museum of Play that very next day since Brooke had a day off.  We had so much fun.  While they played in the “Vet clinic” for no joke, 45 minutes, I decided to look up the local gyms in my area.  Interestingly enough, the gym I was interested in was having a $1 sign up fee and $20 a month membership.  What?!  You know what I did? I took immediate action.  Why? Because that is how you conquer fear.  Anxiety.  Stress.  You do something. Anything!! After we left the museum I went straight to the gym and signed up. I knew that the classes would be excellent for me, I’d be more social and around happy, energetic and healthy people.

Know what? It’s working.

I’m not saying that medicine is a bad thing; if you honestly need anti-despressants or anti-anxiety meds then definitely take them!  I was at my OBGYN’s office Wednesday of last week telling him about how I had been feeling.  It seemed to coincide with my monthly cycle.  The sadness, crying, overwhelm.  He suggested I figure out the root of my problem, come to a solution and execute!  If that didn’t work then he obviously suggested that I go and talk to someone and maybe explore medicinal options if need be.

I can’t explain why I was feeling the way I was.  I have a beautiful life and everything I have ever dreamed of.  I listen to positive podcasts.  I read leadership books. I was grateful, writing gratitude lists, trying to cling to anything that seemed to try and help pull me from that funk.  The guilt I felt about just not feeling happy or well, was becoming overwhelming and only when I took the bull by the horns and acted upon something did it all change.

While I have only been going to the gym for a week, my body, mind and spirit are in so much better of a place.  I feel as though I’ve cleared some cobwebs, decluttered the social media accounts I choose to follow and have really begun to listen to what matters most.

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I’ve also started to listen to a little meditation on you tube each morning. Maybe about 10 minutes or so, and I just allow myself some time to wake up and listen to good things.  I feel like it helps our crazy morning routines go by with more ease, less stress and certainly more smiles.

As women, we can sometimes take other people’s problems on as our own.  It’s our job as a mom to fix boo boos, wipe tears and lend an ear.  I tend to be overly empathetic and while I know watching the news isn’t great for me, I didn’t realize how much toxic energy I was absorbing through social media apps.

I’m a little apprehensive in sharing all of this publicly, but as Brené Brown keeps speaking into my ear, the power lies in vulnerability. (I’m currently listening to her newest book, Dare to Lead.)  So I suppose I am sharing all of this on my blog so that if you’re feeling stressed, sad, overwhelmed or just not happy, I am suggesting that you get quiet.  I went and got a pedicure and put my phone down.  I read some of a book.  I listened to that still small voice that I don’t make enough time for.  It’s never too late to start something different.  To make one small change.  One step leads to so many more. After you get quiet, I also highly suggest you force yourself to work up a sweat.  10, 20 or 30 minutes whatever–get your body moving! Just as we were intended to be social creatures, our bodies crave movement.

I think I’ll be taking more “social media cleanses” and I know that checking myself has done more wonders than I could have imagined. Once I realized that time is our biggest gift and the one thing we can never ever get back, I knew I had to be more strict with my time.  Where my time goes, my energy flows.

 

And of course, in Jenn fashion, there are a few quotes that really resonated with me…

 

 

 

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You matter. You are beautiful.  You are strong.  You are brave.  You are real.  You are living this one life that is truly a gift.  When you fall down, brush yourself off and get back up.  You are not a victim; you and you alone are responsible for your happiness.  Happiness is your birthright.

All my love,
Jenn

CBD Oil

I’ll preface this post by saying, I am not a doctor nor do I have any sort of certification in the health world.  I do however love sharing what helps my family and I feel our best.

My husband has Crohn’s Disease and has dealt with it since diagnosed at 17.  He’s been on all sorts of medications and steroids, eliminated certain food and drinks from his diet and really watches his stress levels.

He saw a HUGE change in his overall health this past year when he added CBD.  First and foremost, for the love of all things, IT DOES NOT GET YOU HIGH.  There is no THC in CBD, it is NOT the same thing as “pot or weed” as most of us know it.

I’m still “new” to CBD, but I wanted to document n

It does not have to be smoked.  You can use a vape pen, or a tincture or it can be an edible like these gummies.

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The gummies my husband buys from a local CBDepot here in town.  They do taste yummy, but I don’t love the extra chemicals…

My husband was so kind and saved these for me to share, if you’re into visuals like this:

I know this is a bit blurry, but it explains how CBD can effectively work in our bodies.

I personally like this oil from Thoughtcloud, which I’ve seen others post about as well.  The quality is great and it’s super effective.  I started with this 750 mg bottle and just did a little drop under my tongue before bed each night.  I slept like a rock!!  I also noticed that my moods were a little more stable and the biggest difference for me was that typically the week before my period I was a MESS.  I’m talking, crying, angry, frustrated, hating the world, everything felt like it was crashing down on me.  I was making mountains out of mole hills and feeling like I couldn’t breathe. I really rely on holistic approaches, not that I’m against doctors and modern meds, but nothing that I was doing seemed to help.  I was getting ready to bring up my issue as possible PMDD at my next OB appointment because of how badly I was feeling.

Since adding this, I have felt SO much better.   It does take awhile (I’d say a few weeks for me) to start seeing a significant change. It’s not a quick fix, nor can you feel an immediate effect if you’re super overwhelmed or feeling a bit out of control.

I upgraded to the bigger bottle last time so that it would last me longer.

Does it make you sleepy?

I have taken it during the day and have had zero effects of feeling lazy, tired or unable to function. If anything, it has helped me focus and get whatever I was trying to accomplish, done.  I have even had really great workouts because of it!  You will not wake up groggy from taking it the night before either.

My husband and I have nothing but rave reviews about CBD oil.

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If you are interested, use this link to checkout Thoughtcloud! They are constantly running sales and promotions on their products.  I only wish I had started taking the oil sooner! Any of my friends who have tried it also have seen great improvements in their ability to sleep, better moods and less anxiety.  It is the FIRST thing I now recommend to people, along with Acupuncture, eating clean & healthy foods as well as exercise and rest.

Feel free to ask me any questions and I will do my best to answer you honestly, as always!

Stepbet Thoughts

My best girlfriend Ann joined a “Stepbet” and basically made me join too.  LOL!  No really, she encouraged me and said it’d be fun, all we have to do is meet our daily walking goal 4x a week and power goals 2x a week and you get a day off.  You put $40 into the pot and if you stick with it all 6 weeks, you get your money back.  If others drop out, you get a cut of their money split amongst the rest of the crew who stuck it out.  If you have an Apple Watch or a Fitbit, it will calculate your averages for you. Somehow my friend Nikki thought it’d be fun too, so she joined in! HA!

The first week is a prep week and it doesn’t actually count. This is where I learned the value of charging my watch; it died a few times and that was bad. I am not gonna lie, the second week I ROCKED it!  I was walking the dogs, pushing the stroller, running around like a mad woman–all while the weather was nice.  However as soon as the temps started to drop, so did my activity level.

Now I’m not a stationary person to begin with; but I don’t hit almost 11,000 steps every single day either.  I’ve learned that this is harder than I thought!! There are days where you are stuck in the car, going to appointments or sitting doing work (chores, playing with kids, snuggling, etc) and there are also times where you just want to not walk!

I literally have 4 days left.  2 can be active and 2 have to be power.  I developed a small (yet annoying!) chest cold on Saturday, so my energy has been zero.  I tried to “rest” as much as I could while still getting in my steps Monday & Tuesday.   Today as I type this at 3pm, I’m at 5,322.  I still need to get to 10,781 by midnight tonight.

My friends and I have found ourselves doing jumping jacks, pacing hallways, running in place and just walking for literally NO reason.  I think it’s kind of hilarious and kind of obnoxious all in one.  I’m a huge fan of challenges, but man alive I’m ready for this one to be OVER! Why is the last week of something always the hardest?

If you’re reading, then please say a little prayer I’ll actually finish this last week; mama needs all the support she can get!  I so appreciate all of my friends who encourage me and to those of you stepping, we’ve got this!!  I will let you all know how much money I end up with at the end. #positivevibes

Here is what today looks like:

Here is a look at the whole 5 weeks that actually counted.

I must say there are a few pros/cons.

Pros- I feel like my legs are super muscular! My booty is looking fine too (according to the hubs! LOL!) I have not gained any weight and honestly, I’m enjoying carbs and yummy treats.  I’ve bonded with some good friends.  I feel like Superwoman when I complete each week.  I know I’m being healthier and getting outside with the kids, when I maybe would wanna curl up and be lazy.  I feel like I’m being a good role model for my son and daughter.

Cons– Really the biggest is maybe the stress of it this last week.  Getting sick sucks and I’m just tired! I don’t want to lose my money, so I must finish! The only other con is that I miss lifting weights and doing yoga.  If I’m “going to spend time being active” then I need my darn steps!

Have you or would you do a Stepbet?

10 Day Cleanse

It was that time again! I have really honed into what my body needs, how to fuel it properly, what I can and should not eat…but I am human!  Enter: Advocare’s 10 Day Cleanse.  I started my AdvoCare journey back in the Summer of 2013.  I could not lose those extra 25 pounds from having my first baby and everything I was trying did not seem to help.

I aim to do one cleanse every season (90 days). The last one I did was in January. 

I did the 24 Day challenge and even that first cleanse I felt so amazing!  It was the perfect match for my personality, and still is.  I love goals and simplified eating.  I realized the more ‘real food’ I ate, the better that I felt.   Throughout the last 5 years I’ve tweaked my diet slightly but over all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Day 1: I was at a number I hadn’t seen in a very long time.  Even around Christmas I don’t think I broke into 140’s! Either way, between not putting myself first, eating a ton of yummy food and not working out consistently, the pounds added up.  I’m not too hung up on numbers, but I was super sad that my clothes weren’t fitting.  It was time.

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I eat the same foods pretty much daily, and I try my hardest to eat 5-6 small meals.

Lean protein

Greens/veggies

Comlex carb

Fats

I treat myself to a protein shake after workouts.  I love adding 4 ice cubes, 12 oz of unsweetened cashew milk, 1/2 of a banana and a scoop of natural peanut butter. Delish!

Wraps are super easy and a great way to fill up.

I live by these little almond butter packets!

I treated myself to some sashimi for dinner one night.

If I didn’t make it to the gym, then I tried so hard to get in an at home workout!

More meal ideas…

One of my friends taught me awhile back that we should eat like a King for breakfast–the most filling meal of the day!  Break that fast with healthy foods.

Water is HUGE. I was feeling a bit of bloat and knew I had to start CHUGGING water.  You need to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water to keep those toxins out!

Left over smoked chicken wings.  They taste much better with blue cheese, but I behaved! Avocado is a cleanse life saver too.

I did ‘cheat’ on Father’s Day and I did not feel bad about it.  I wanted to enjoy some yummy lobster pasta and a little bubbly with my husband.  I did not feel my best the next day, so all the more power to not over indulge like that!

Once again, I re-learned how great it felt to be full of energy and fill my body with real food that nourishes my mind, soul and tummy.

I had patience, even during a STRESSFUL week of my husband working the tent sale, my dad having major surgery and me solo parenting for the whole time.
My shorts fit, my tummy is tighter and the number on the scale went from 141 to 134.

WINNING!!

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I don’t share to boast, I share to encourage.  Anything and everything is possible.  We are all a work in progress and while I may never have a rock hard, 6 pack abdomen, I have a healthy body that is working at maximum speed because I’m doing the right things at the very least, 80% of the time.

80/20 is SO helpful for me.

Eat clean, real, whole foods 80% of the week and allow 20% to be maybe not the cleanest. This means enjoy the ice cream cone with the kiddos, or the glass of wine, but don’t do it every day.