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courtneyg

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More Than a Number

There used to be a time when I worked out 7 days a week. I felt guilty taking a “rest ” day. I stepped on the scale multiple times a day and lived my life based on a number.To the naked eye, I “looked great.” I was “in such good shape.” What the naked eye wouldn’t tell you though, is that I was anything but healthy.

My obsession to “look good” and “be skinny” took over my life. I thought if I could “just be skinny enough” that I would be worthy of love. It has been a very slow and steady process to undo all that I have done to myself. To understand that skinny does not mean healthy and that my worth is not measured by the number on a scale.

Today’s post is to simply say … if you are struggling, you are not alone. I have been there. Some days I still am there, but even after 4 steps back follows 2 steps forward, I never give up. In those moments I pause. I breathe and I remind myself:

  1. Do not compare yourself to where you used to be or where you want to. Love who you are now.
  2. Food is fuel that feeds your body. It is not the enemy.
  3.  There is no ideal weight. There is no ideal size. There is just you, waking up every day being the best version of yourself that you can be.
  4.  The person in the mirror is worth of love that is kind, honest and true.
  5. Focus on being healthy and the rest will follow. You do not have to fight alone. Speak out and you will be surprised who will lend their shoulder to lean on.
  6. You have always been enough and you will always be enough
  7. How incredibly boring would it be if you looked like everyone else?
  8.  You are stronger than your eating disorder.
  9. You control your mind, what you tell it, it believes. Continue to remind yourself that you can beat this… and you will.
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No More Knots – DIY Necklace Holder

My love for shower hooks in DIY projects has become an obsession. Is anyone else always losing earrings and having their necklaces get tangled in their jewelry box?

Yup, that’s me over here. So, I finally decided that I’ve had enough. I got creative and bought this cute shelf at none other than Target along with a pack of shower hooks.

It was so easy. All I did was hang this shelf high enough in my closet that my necklaces wouldn’t hit the ground and once it was secure, I placed the shower hooks on it and lined all my earrings and necklaces on each hook. And the shelf even had room for all my bracelets to rest on top.

Now it looks like I’m so organized! The best part though, no more spending time trying to unknot all my necklaces when I pull them out of my jewelry box. Woo hoo!!

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Power of the Mind

I began adding meditation into my nightly routine about a year ago. Back then I didn’t truly understand it and it was incredibly hard for me. “Start with just 30 seconds and go from there,” they said. “Let your mind go blank.”

30 seconds, I thought. I can do anything for 30 seconds. It turns out, 30 seconds of meditation was impossible for me. I tried not to think about anything. I tried to put my mind at complete silence, but failed, so I gave up. Meditation just isn’t for me, I thought.

Then began the panic attacks. They started off maybe once a month and after 6 or 7 months it became weekly. Weekly turned into not sleeping for days at a time. Just as I was about to fall asleep, I would shoot back up again in bed, barely able to catch my breath. My heart was pounding out of my chest and my body shaking.

I went to the doctor and she told me that the panic attacks stem from my mind not being able to succumb to sleep. That I had so much running through my mind at night, it didn’t know how to stop. She put me on anxiety medication. It took about a week, but the panic attacks began to lessen and eventually they disappeared. It took about 3 months to get the dosage just right where I wasn’t falling asleep in my chair during the day or feeling nauseous.

I hated it, taking a pill every day. It wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to make a lifelong commitment to a pill. I didn’t want to rely on a pill to fix me. I wanted to fix myself. My Dr. recommended I introduce some sort of relaxation into my nightly routine using an app, so I downloaded Calm.

First I started out with their adult sleep stories. I focused hard on making sure to follow along instead of being interrupted by my own thoughts. It was hard at first. If I caught myself being distracted, I would quickly refocus. After a few nights, I found myself falling asleep before the stories were even over. Now, I alternate between nightly sleep stories and meditation.

Those 30 minutes before bedtime have become my solace. During that time I wash away the day’s stress. I forget about what I have to do tomorrow and lie still. I check in with myself and what really matters — me. It wasn’t easy. I am always going a hundred miles an hour. Taking time for myself was always on the backburner, but for my well-being and truthfully, the sanity of others, it was time.

We deal with so much pressure on a daily basis. We’re constantly judging ourselves, climbing on our pedestals and falling off them. Who we’re suppose to be and what we’re supposed to do is constantly hanging over our heads. All of that took it’s toll on me. So much was being thrown at me and I didn’t have the right tools to handle it.

Meditation has given me those tools to take control of it all. To reevaluate my priorities and to truly understand the power of the mind and the healing ability of a single breath. We cannot carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. We have to learn to let go. To inhale the positive and exhale the negative.

It’s been 3 months without medication. 3 months with daily meditation. I haven’t had a single panic attack. A direct result, I believe, of slowing down, showing up for myself and saying, I’m here.

 

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Crafty for Christmas

I always love giving personalized gifts for Christmas. This year I am loving the finished products of these mason jar fragrances.

I loved this idea because you could really get creative and it smells amazing. I scoured Michaels and Kirkland’s for the perfect additions and filled the mason jar with a mixture of pine cones, cinnamon sticks, floral and decorative accents.

After all decor was added into the jar, I poured in spices from Kirkland’s “All Through the House” sachet in to add a scent to it.

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My first attempt, I glued tissue paper to the mason jar lid. I think it came out so cute!

3AE4AAE2-06B6-45A0-883B-816AF243A0C2My boyfriend suggested material you could hole punch, which was an idea I loved, but when searching through my crafty bin, I found burlap. I have a huge burlap obsession and the cool part is, burlap material has tiny little openings that would work perfectly for keeping the lid on while allowing the scent to escape through the house!

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So, with my hot glue gun, I glued the perfect size circle to the top of the mason jar lid, let it dry and screwed it on and voila! I can’t wait to give these out as gifts this holiday season.

 


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I left my heart in Venice

I’ve waited more than 3 decades to visit Italy. I knew that I would love it once I was given the chance, but I never imagined loving a place as much as I love Venice.

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I’m not sure if it was the Gondolas, the fact that everyone got around by boat or the amazing historical architecture. Maybe it was a little of all of them, but when our cruise ship sailed away down the Adriatic Sea, I found myself counting the days until I could return again.

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We sipped coffee in San Marco, dipped our toes in the sea in Lido and tried our first Italian pizza in Murano. I thought that San Marco was exquisite. The Basilica was stunning and standing over the water watching the gondolas ride through was a dream come true.

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Of each island in the Venetian Lagoon, Lido was my favorite. It was a bit quieter with a small town Main Street feel and had its own beach area off the beaten path.

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Everywhere I turned, my heart grew fonder. Venice must have been the place Belinda Carlisle had in mind when she released “Heaven is a Place on Earth.”

Someday Venice, we will meet again. Someday…

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Buddy the Elf Morning Smoothie

Does anyone else love starting their mornings off with a freshly made smoothie? Knowing I packed them up with lots of nutrients makes me feel better and tends to keep me on a healthy eating kick for the rest of the day.

This week I decided to get creative! With the holidays in full swing and Elf being one of my favorite Christmas movies, I am introducing the “Buddy the Elf” morning smoothie! IMG_7511

 

I have an old Ninja pulse blender that comes with single serving blending cups, so I used 2 of them for this recipe. One to make the yellow portion and one to make the green. I placed all ingredients for each portion into their blending cup, blended them all up and then poured the yellow on the bottom to represent Buddy’s yellow tights and the green portion on top to represent his green jacket.

I forgot unsweetened coconut flakes, so I used coconut chunks and cut them up for his white collar. I recommend though not to forget the flakes, because they would’ve been better :)  All ingredients listed below!

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Yellow Smoothie Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 banana frozen
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp Tumeric
  • 1 small chunk of ginger

Green Smoothie Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 banana frozen
  • 2 kiwis frozen and chopped
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/2 avocado

I put the kiwi and banana in the freezer the night before and sliced them frozen in the morning right before I put them in the blender. I’m not a fan of ice in my smoothies, so I try to replace that addition with frozen fruit. The pineapples I got at the store already pre-cut in the frozen fruit aisle.

I also tried to dice the kale up a little smaller because I can NEVER get the leafy greens to fully blend and I think it helps a little so you’re not chewing it as you sip.

I thought it was pretty tasty the way it was, but if you like your smoothies on the sweeter side, feel free to add in some honey or a tsp of vanilla.

And obviously I put it in a mason jar, because it just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t!

 

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DIY Christmas Door Decor

Christmas decorating has officially begun! I wanted something different for our door this year. Originally I thought of making a new wreath, but instead I got creative and transformed this old wood frame into a little holiday cheer. All materials cost less than $25. It took about an hour and a little bit of hot glue. My apartment is now nicely decorated in sparkles, but I just love the way it came out!

P.S. – I’ve linked all decor pieces at the bottom of this post.

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All decor is from Michaels and At Home, except the adorable bow which was a handmade gift for Sam and I!

Read more by Courtney here!

Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

Meal Planning for Two

Let’s be real today. I haven’t lived with someone in over 5 years. In those past 5 years I’ve settled into my own routine, especially with health and fitness. I made meal plans every week, cooked everything I needed on Sunday and it was way easier to stick to the plan when it was just me solo.

Now I’m grocery shopping, cooking and meal planning for two and let’s face it, there’s so many times when “hey, do you want to eat out tonight” rolls off both of our tongues. Does this sound familiar to anyone else? 

For the most part, the transition from just me to me and my cat, dog and boyfriend has been pretty seamless, but the first couple of months fitness and healthy eating has been on the back burner for both of us. To be honest though, I enjoy going out to eat and trying new places in Nashville with my other half. I enjoy our date nights out, getting dressed up and ordering a glass of wine before the meal comes. About a month ago though, we both sat down and had a come to Jesus meeting with ourselves about how it was time.

It was time to start budgeting a little bit better so we could save for our big travel plans and time to start getting back into the fueling our body with the right kinds of foods. Sam is starting to focus more on his marathon training for 2019 which means checking more U.S. destinations off our bucket list. Me, I’m not running any marathons anytime soon, but I will be at the finish line when he crosses it. Mostly, I just want to feel strong again, less tired when I wake up and have more energy throughout the day that doesn’t come from a daily dose of coffee.

Now that doesn’t mean we can’t eat out ever or splurge on some dessert, because we totally do. What that means is, we focus a lot more on what we eat at home and I have to say, we’ve made some pretty delicious meals. We’re still going strong on getting creative in the kitchen, so today I’m sharing a few of my favorites below.

 Blueberry Oatmeal Cups

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This isn’t an original recipe. I followed this one from Confessions of a Fit Foodie. Only difference is that I actually forgot the almond milk and ground my oats before mixing them. These were SO SO good! I had 2 of them for breakfast and the recipe was enough to last an entire week! I kept 2 days worth in the fridge and put the rest in the freezer. Perfect for on-the-go!

Green Pepper Nachos

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This is what happens when you’re trying to get rid of everything in the fridge at the end of the week before it goes bad. A little slice of random genius because these were a hit and so quick and easy! Slice a pepper the long way into skinny pieces, cook until soft, then top with your favorites like: shredded cheese, salsa, beans, guacamole and sour cream. For you meat eaters, shredded chicken or pork or ground beef would be amazing on this too!

Rice Bowls

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Rice bowls have been our go to most nights when we want something fast, full of substance and healthy. We’ve done all different combinations, but this was our most recent one. There’s wild brown rice under all the tasty toppings. Confession: We use the 90 second rice. I also sauteed our shrimp in Trader Joes’s sweet chili sauce for extra flavor. I took this picture before Sam put the egg on top!

All of these took a total of about 15 minutes from start to finish (besides the oatmeal cups which needed about 25 minutes in the oven, but the preparation was about 5).

Even though I still love our nights out, I absolutely adore our mornings and evenings cooking together in the kitchen seeing what we can come up with next!

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