Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Following Through With My Resolutions . . . Fitness & Food

Good morning!  

I <3 the turquoise color!
I'm super excited about my new FitBit Charge 2!  A friend of mine was telling me about hers, and I decided that it would really help me get on track and stay on track with two of my resolutions - food and fitness.  The app makes it super easy to track food and portion, and seeing how many calories I've eaten throughout the day compared to the amount of calories I've burned is extremely motivating.  I've been super terrible at following my no sugar etc. . . . way too much ice cream and donuts and sweets and ALL the things I shouldn't be eating have been consumed over the past month.  But I resolved again this week to actually cut it out.  I sacrificially consumed the rest of the ice cream in the house last night, so no more temptation there.  And I've eaten so many bad carbs the past few weeks that I no longer really crave them, which is also good.  So now to keep that up and attack the portion control - which is where the FitBit calorie tracker comes in.  Plus, I can also track my water intake - which will help me meet that goal AND keep me less hungry.

Being able to track my sleep is another cool feature that will help with overall healthiness.  I got 6hr, 56min of sleep last night - only 6 minutes of which was awake/restless sleep.  That's good, right?  Honestly, the fact that the FitBit Charge 2 tracks my sleep at night is one of the key reasons I took the plunge and bought one.  I've wanted to be able to track my sleep patterns etc. for a long time, but every app on my phone requires the phone to be IN BED with me . . . which just doesn't sound like a good idea.  Thus, having a device that I'm not terrified of dropping or squishing is AWESOME!

Finally, fitness.  I love how customizable the FitBit is for every goal - steps; stairs; exercise; weight; etc.  I know I need to exercise more, and I'm still struggling to keep on top of everything else going on in my life . . . which is why I haven't yet found the time to actually think about fitness, let alone incorporate any exercise into my life.  But my current goal is to make meeting at least the 10,000 step goal a daily habit.  I figure if I can at least be moving that much during the day AND eating right for my blood type, I'll be on track with making these regular habits.  An added bonus is the heart rate tracker.  I'm hoping that I can have the presence of mind to take note of my heart rate when I start to develop anxiety so that I can remind myself to take time to calm down and focus.

How do you keep track of fitness and food?  Any tips?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Where Do You See Yourself?

Last week, this question came up in a group of people, and we were going around the room saying where we see ourselves going, what our goals are, etc.  Since I work at a law school, everyone's goals were centered around life after graduation - starting their own firms or working for a law firm etc.  I was last (and part of me hoped I wouldn't have to answer since I was one of the instructors . . . no such luck.)  And I just said the first thing that came to mind because it's been my goal and aspiration since I was five years old.  My goal?  I want to have 12 children.  And that's what I said.  I also added on that I enjoyed working and helping people because I do enjoy my job (and my co-instructor seemed a bit shocked that 12 children was the goal I chose to share with a class full of law students.)  In fact, he wanted to know if I had any law firm aspirations . . . to which I replied possibly if I get my license and my husband and I start something.  But in the back of my mind, I was thinking "Not really."  I absolutely support my husband as he considers starting his own firm, and I will do everything in my power to assist him in whatever way I can.  Especially while we don't actually have any children.  But I know, deep in my inner core, my vocation is to be a wife and mother.  It's all I've ever wanted and worked towards.  I fully believe that a large part of why God led me to law school was so that I could meet my husband.  Who also wants 12 children, by the way.  So that works. :)

Typically, when I tell people my goal is to have a large family, they laugh or dismiss it saying "Come back when you have two kids and tell me that."  Or something else along the lines of "That's all?  What about all of your potential for SO MUCH MORE?"  And my self-conscious introvert sits there and feels like I'm not good enough somehow.  That my dreams aren't "big enough" or whatever.  That somehow the world views the bearing and raising of children as insufficient for a fulfilling life.  That I, as a strong, intelligent woman, need to DO IT ALL in order to be truly successful.  That having that many children would mean giving up myself. (I will say it was refreshing that one person in the room last week said afterwards that my goal was admirable and worthwhile.)

When I hear those responses and reactions, I just want to scream back at them.  That having children and raising them to be good, moral, Catholics is the highest goal and aspiration I could ever have.  That my goal to be a mother is one of the most important in the world.  I mean, without mothers, how would the world survive?  We'd essentially breed ourselves OUT OF EXISTENCE!  It was really saddening to read a statistic the other day that more women today are choosing simply not to have children.  They just don't want them.  And I understand that having kids is hard work, absolutely.  And I know that I don't have first-hand knowledge yet since I don't have kids of my own.  But even so . . . what will become of our society if we don't have children?  

I've known my vocation as a wife and mother for decades now, and yet somehow I still feel doubt in myself when people question my goal.  Should I really be that selfish to want to just stay home and raise a dozen children?  Shouldn't I be contributing to society in some other way?  Shouldn't I be fiscally responsible and help generate income for my family?  And it saddens me that I know my calling, and yet I still allow others to spread doubt in my mind.  It's been a long struggle, and I'm definitely more confident in my goals than I used to be.  It helps that my husband fully supports this goal.  And what greater aspiration could I have than to share what little I know with my children who will one day go out into the world and continue on the next generation?  

I don't know what life has in store for me or when God will bless us with children.  But I do know that being a wife and mother is a noble, admirable, and sacrificial vocation - one that I am nowhere near worthy of successfully living but one that I am striving to fulfill as best I can.  And in the meantime?  I work and help the people around me as best I can.  And I place my trust in God that He's got all of this taken care of.  That He's the one in charge, and we're working with His timing and not mine.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Letting Go

It's been a crazy week.  Classes started, so I'm up to my ears in lesson plans.  Bar prep is in FULL SWING, which means at least 50 multiple choice questions every day - should be more.  And life still goes on, which means chores and laundry (my husband fixed the washer!) and teaching piano and ALL the things.  All of which to say . . . I haven't had time or energy to come up with a new post this week.  But don't worry.  I won't leave you hanging.  This is a re-post from my old blog on letting go and dealing with emotions etc.  Particularly apt for myself right now, so I thought I'd share it with you all.
There are several ways to deal with anger, frustration, sorrow and the like.  Some people retaliate with force and sweep a path of destruction.  Some people crumble to the ground and bemoan their trials.  And some people don't seem affected at all.  These last often take the most dangerous approach to trouble.  They force their emotions aside as they deal with the problem at hand rationally.  While it is extremely useful to have a level head when dealing with trials, it can also be extremely dangerous if you never release your emotions.  I've seen first hand how burying your true emotions beneath layers of sturdy masks can damage and sometimes ruin relationships with everyone around you.  If you don't deal with the entire problem, you may fall in to the trap of developing a sub-conscious grudge that will grow and grow until you can't stop it.  But I also know how hard it is for these same people to let go of their control and just allow the emotions to take their course.  So here's my advice:

1.  Keeping a strong face in the midst of trials can be a good thing, especially if you have other people leaning on you for support.  Everyone falling to pieces solves nothing.  Just be careful of how many people you try to care for.  If you are a generous and loving person, it's often hard to say no or to even realize when you should.  You have to remember that in order to help them, you must also help yourself.  If that means taking 5 minutes or 5 days away from everyone else who leans on you, then so be it.  You don't want them to become annoying ticks rather than the friends and family you truly want to help and support.

2.  When you do take time for yourself, find an outlet.  Get the emotions out so that they don't continue to build up inside your heart.  I find an outlet through my writing.  Or talking to a very close friend.  Remember that a true friendship has give and take.  You rely on each other.  Just make sure that you deal with the emotions and your own pain in a timely fashion.  If you allow it to build up for too long, you often either forget it or become too overwhelmed.

3.  Be aware that the sorrows of your past (unless dealt with properly) will probably encroach on your future.  Some trial that you pushed aside years ago may suddenly resurface with vehemence.  So please face your trials.  Don't use comforting others as an excuse to hide once more behind the mask.  You needn't face them alone.  You can always find someone to help you, even if you can't see them.

Basically, don't bury your emotions and forget about them.  Push them aside if the present case calls for it, but don't forget to pull them back in and find closure regarding whatever the issues may be.  And if you have buried issues in your past, figure out how to solve them.  Do whatever you can to ensure that your heart is no longer a potentially hazardous waiting zone for grudges and thoughts of revenge or depression.  Seek out the light, and you will find it sooner or later.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year . . . New You . . . Right?

It's officially the New Year 2017 . . . and that means it's time for resolutions again!  For me, New Year's resolutions always seemed like an excuse to wait until January to begin something and then forget about it by mid-February (which is why I'm thankful for Lent because that really gives me something to work on).

So this year I have a few resolutions, and they happen to coincide with the new year . . . and I suppose it'll be interesting to see how far I make it over the course of the year.  Anyway, here they are:


My Catholic faith is the cornerstone, the foundation of my entire life.  Without it, I'd be floundering with no direction.  But like all things in life, faith cannot flourish if it remains stagnate.  So one of my resolutions this year is to develop my spiritual life.  I've already started this by reading The Divine Intimacy each day, but this resolution includes adding in a daily spiritual reading with my husband and eventually a daily rosary.  


While my husband and I are currently both blessed with full-time employment, our ultimate goal is to live within one income and funnel everything else into savings . . . for children or retirement . . . basically for the future.

This resolution is to curb spending, find more ways of cutting expenses, and learning how to have fun and enjoy life WITHOUT having to spend big bucks or go out to eat.  It also involves overcoming my occasional distaste for cooking our own meals, which ends up costing us too much money as we eat out instead.

Another aspect of this resolution is to develop a supplemental income to help pay for travel and fun trips and such.  This is through my business as an Independent Thirty-One Consultant (and if anyone is interested in learning more about the company or hosting a party, let me know!)

This was definitely me this week.


Sweets.  Sugar.  Portion control.  These are things that I do not deal well with.  I've gotten better at portion control as far as actual meals go, but when it comes to ice cream or chocolate . . . I'm lost.  Plus, all that sugar is bad for me . . . supposedly.  So I'm cutting out processed sugar completely to start, and probably completely for the most part.  This will also help with the Finances resolution of cutting expenses . . . no more ice cream!

Additionally, I'm going to try and work in more O-Blood type beneficial foods and cut out as many of the Avoid foods as possible.  And starches.  Starches are nasty.  They should be cut out as well . . . by and large.


This is my last resolution . . . it's also the one that will be addressed last.  I've never been a good exerciser.  Never enjoyed it.  Never liked it.  Never found the stamina and motivation to keep up with it.  And with a job that has me up at 6am and working until 8pm (between breakfast and lunch and dinner and work-work and housework), finding time every day to exercise has seemed impossible.  I know it's not . . . but like I said, the motivation just isn't there.

My resolution is to try and incorporate some small exercise into my daily routine . . . maybe just 5-10 minutes of simple exercises in the morning.  Obviously, I'd like to be able to spend more time, especially since an O-Blood type thrives on physical exertion, but we'll see how this one goes.

And that's my list of resolutions.  Hopefully writing them down will help keep me more accountable.  Plus, it helps to have actual accountability partners - I've got an awesome friend keeping me accountable with my spiritual development and a terrific sister who's joining me in the "no processed sugar" fight this year.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Recipe Corner - Pecan Pie Cheesecake

This post is a few days late (ok almost a week) . . . But surely all will be forgiven when you see the amazing and decadent dessert I'm sharing with you today!  I've made this cheesecake twice now this week (one for each Christmas celebration we had - it's been fun experiencing our first Christmas together as a married couple and celebrating with both sides of our family.) And it's been a delicious treat to share with both families.

I found the recipe via Pinterest (check out my page for many more food pins) and ultimately used the recipe from Lil' Luna (which can be found here).  Fair warning - this cheesecake is extremely rich and decadent.  Go easy on the serving sizes.  :)

Pecan Pie Filling
The first time I made it without the crust since we're gluten-free, and I couldn't find any vanilla wafers that were also gluten-free.  Still tasted amazing.  The second time we made it with a crust, and it was still amazing.  Another change I made was substituting honey for the dark corn syrup.  I did a 1-1 ratio substitution; however, you can use the corn syrup or do another substitution.  My family decreed the pecan pie filling bottom absolutely the sweetest part of this cheesecake.

Once the pecan pie filling is made and in the pan, the next step is cheesecake (my favorite part)!  I would advise letting the pecan pie filling part cool in the fridge while you mix the cheesecake to keep the cheesecake from filling the center and pushing the pecan pie filling up the sides.

Next came the hard part - letting the cheesecake sit overnight so that we could mix up the topping and finish it the next day.  But the topping tastes and looks amazing!  And, as an added bonus, it hides any mistakes or imperfections in your cheesecake top!  I do recommend, however, baking your cheesecake in a water bath.  This helps prevent cracking.  But also wrap the bottom of your cheesecake pan with tinfoil to avoid getting water inside.

And voila!  You've got an amazing and decadent dessert perfect for any special occasion!  As an added bonus, I used my leftover heavy whipping cream to make my own whipped cream - 1 c. whipping cream + 2 tbsp. sugar/honey + 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.

What do you think?  What's your favorite dessert?