Advocare 24 Day Challenge & Easy Meals

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If you follow me on my other various social networks, you know that I have recently started the ADVOCARE 24 DAY CHALLENGE! How exciting. I’ve spent months and months wondering what the heck Advocare was, and thinking it was some silly little fad-diet where they tell you to eat nothing and go on a liquid diet and take fat burner pills etc etc etc. After a couple of phone calls with Drew, one of my crossfit coaches, he explained everything Advocare has to offer! On my own, I learned that Advocare sells quality products that are not only extremely reliable, but they WORK! I spent time going through personal Advocare success stories on the internet and other social networks, and decided that Advocare was just what I needed! Now that I have graduated college, I’ve decided it’s time to finally beat my plateau! It’s been about two years since I’ve been at my most comfortable weight, and I’m done with settling with the uncomfortable!

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So, it’s Day Two of the challenge and I’m already feeling great! The first ten days is the cleanse phase. I will do more updates as the days go on, as two days is almost too early to talk about too many results – but so far I’m feeling good! Today, I got a procedure done on my lower leg and have to lay low for a while. My doctor told me that I need to go two weeks minimum without workout out, and we will reevaluate then. Meanwhile, I need to wait one month until I squat, all so I don’t tear my stitches apart. I was pretty bummed out that this was all happening around the challenge. Though, I figure it’s a good sign because the challenge will keep me on track while I am not active! I hope to start working out my first weekend of work. I make the big move to NYC next week and I am so excited to start my internship. I’m hoping Advocare will help keep my energy high for those long work hours! Other than Advocare, I like to make sure that my food is also my fuel for the day. Here are a few meals I’ve had since I’ve started the challenge:

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1/2 Cup Quick Oats, microwaved for 2 minutes with 1 cup of Water. 1 Tablespoon Slivered Almonds. 1 Large Strawberry. 1 Cup Egg Whites, with some dollops of horseradish mustard & hot sauce!

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This was 1/4 cup (uncooked) Quinoa, 5 oz Ground Turkey, and 1 cup Mushrooms, 1/2 cup Zucchini, 1/2 Large Tomato, sautéed!

For lunch today, I had 3/4 cup Brown Rice, 6 oz Chicken Breast, 1 cup Mushrooms, 1/2 Large Tomato, and 2 tbsp Hummus! I wish I took a picture of that because it was delicious. The hummus was a perfect addition to my meal!

Stay tuned for more easy meal ideas and inspiration during my 24 Day Challenge!

Yours Truly,

Stef

 

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Fashion Meets Fitness: Dark Knike feat. Nike

Colors are great, but sometimes black is just the answer. You have your girls who wear black when they’re bloated, black when they’re sad, or your girls who refuse to wear any black at all. Yes, black is a very dark and ominous color (I only use the word ominous because of the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall..). Black is also a slimming color when it comes to outfit choices. Some of us girls generally love to wear the color black all the time. I am one of them. One reason could be that my beloved yoga pants are always black, and what’s a better way to match them then with a black sports bra, black v-neck, black nikes, and a black beanie? (Say black again. Black.) Another point I’m trying to prove is that girls get lazy. Last minute night out with the girls? Nobody has time for MATCHING?! Please. Putting together an all black outfit not only takes minimal effort, but it’s most definitely always a win-win situation. Black on black is so chic, and I don’t think it will ever go out of style. That leads me to my first few looks that I’ve put together. Keep in mind, I’d almost never wear this outfit in public, but what high fashion looks would you ever wear out in public, anyway? My first step was to name these pieces Dark Knight. Then I looked at my merchandise and my title, and came up with…
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Pictured above is a look that is athletic, yet chic. Your Nike Dunk Sky Hi Women’s sneaker puts emphasis on the fact that no, you’re not about to go work out, you’re about the run the town. Nike’s Vintage Gym Shorts… wait did I just say vintage? Enough said. Adding a touch of old school to your outfit makes you go from Taylor Swift to Rihanna in two seconds. Nobody has time for the new stuff. Vintage is and always will be in. The Printed Nike Pro sports bra adds a little bit of a twist to things with it’s bold, yet subtle, pattern. And now we’re talking accessories. Walking out of the house and walking out of the house with sunglasses on is two completely different things. Another way to go from Taylor Swift, to Rihanna, in seconds. (Goin 0 to 60 in 3.5 …that Rihanna song, anyone?) Anyways, not only do the sunglasses physically add a sense of glam to your ever-so-simple outfit, but they mentally make you feel like the world is your oyster. If you’ve never put on a pair of sunglasses and instantly felt slightly more bad ass than before, you’re lying. Lastly, we have your Nike Jordan Jumpman Air hat. The great thing about wearing all black is that any color pop is dramatic, and we love dramatic. The red creates a dramatic effect. This is one color pop that does not calm the outfit down. Pairing red and black together is one of my favorite things to do, and that’s why I started with two outfits with such similar tastes.
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I’m looking at this outfit and I want it on my body right now. It’s so… Bronx meets Upper East Side. Am I right? You have your Marc by Marc Jacobs Baker Watch. All black watch? A must have. Your Black Spike Bracelet pretty much brings the outfit together and lets everyone know you mean business. From the gym, to the streets, it’s a statement piece. A long with your color pop item, your Nike and Jordan Beanie, which calms the outfit down to keep it casual. Your Nike Air Max’s aren’t just black. They glisten, and shine, like a new car. Your shoes are like your transportation, why not keep them as chic as possible. I paired the Nike Pro Capri Tights with the Nike Thre-D Tank and the Nike Compression Swoosh bra. All. Black. Everything. To emphasize the fancy Nike logo that everyone knows and loves.
To shop these items, simply click on the photographs above. Don’t forget, the color black does not have to promote all the negative. To me, wearing all black is a confidence statement. Here I am, not giving a crap, wearing all black, cause I can. It takes style to put together a chic all black outfit, though it does not take time. And that is why I love my beloved color black. Why do you love the color black?
Yours Truly,
Stef

Cookie Dough Quest Bar Cereal

If you haven’t realized, I’ve recently become an unofficial spokesperson for Quest Bars. I talk about them almost daily, I recommend them to those with a sweet tooth, and I just generally praise their existence. Almost as much as peanut butter, but that’s pushing it.

Okay, so Quest Bars are no chocolate lava cake, but they are the closest thing you will get to that while still keeping your diet clean. They don’t taste like any ordinary-100 ingredient list-high calorie-no protein-just carbs-diet bar. Each flavor tastes amazing, you almost feel like you’re cheating on your diet! But don’t worry, you’re not. Each Quest Bar has 160-190 calories, 4 net carbs, a ridiculous amount of fiber (rock on), and a weird amount of protein. Weird, as in freakin’ awesome, that is. Where does the protein come from? I’ll list the ingredients for the Cookie Dough Quest Bar, and then you’ll see.

-Protein Blend (Whey Protein Isolate, Milk Protein Isolate)
-Isomalto-Oligosaccharides (100% Natural Prebiotic Fiber)
-Almonds
-Water
– Unsweetened Chocolate
-Cocoa Butter
-Erythritol

It may look like I skimped on the ingredient list, but I’ll give you some proof.

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The first time I heard about Quest Bars I could have sworn they were going to taste like plastic. I got a Cinnamon Roll Quest Bar and ate it. It was delicious, but I was still not THAT impressed. Why was everyone raving about them? I then realized that my quest bar was practically frozen, so it was a little harder than it should have been. I put it in the microwave, and it’s all a blur from there.

Quest Bar Nutrition’s instagram posts 15 second recipe videos, which can also be found on youtube. I want to start trying almost all of them! Which takes me to my first experiment. Quest Bar Cereal. Who doesn’t love cereal? The other day I saw someone eating Reeses Cereal and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. My inner fat girl was crying to come out. Anywho, this happened:

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-1 Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Quest Bar
-1 Rice Cake
-1 Small Banana
-1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

The instructions are also very simple. Set your oven to 350 degrees. Cut your Quest Bar into tiny pieces. I’d say bite size but, I take big bites. I cut my quest bar into pieces the size of peanut M&M’s (yum). Lay your quest bar pieces on a cookie sheet, or a piece of tin foil (I didn’t feel like doing dishes). Once your oven is preheated, put your quest bar in your oven and set your timer for 4 MINUTES. No more, no less. Once that 4 minutes is up, take out your quest bar and “stir”. Put your quest bar back in the over for another 4 MINUTES. No more, no less. Once my four minutes were up I put my quest bar pieces directly in the freezer for another four minutes. I chopped up my rice cake into cereal-like pieces, cut up my banana, and took my Quest Bar Cereal out of the freezer and added it to the bowl! Add your milk and enjoy 🙂 

Yours Truly,

Stef

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For a video of how to do this, click here!

A CrockPot Mishap

My CrockPot Mishap

I wanted to make some sort of delicious crockpot recipe but then I remembered that I am unfortunately not Juli Bauer. I also wanted to keep it as “clean” as possible. I threw some stuff together and this is what happened. It turned into a half soup half chili type situation, but it was seriously delicious!

✔️2 Pounds Ground Turkey
✔️2 Cups Kale
✔️1 Pepper (I used 1/2 Red, 1/2 Yellow)
✔️1 Cup Chicken Broth
✔️3 Chopped up Garlic Cloves
✔️Lemon Juice, Mrs. Dash Italian Medley, Basil

Put your ground turkey into your crockpot, add the Kale, peppers, seasonings, garlic & broth! One step process, people. You’ve got this. I served myself about 1.5 cups of this recipe over 1/2 cup of Brown & Wild rice.

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Yours Truly,

Stef

IIFYM, Eat Clean, Paleo – What’s Next?

I recently got a little made fun of for my “Clean Eating” mantra, which inspired me to briefly go over what it means to #eatclean. So there are a million different ways of eating out there, and I’ve tried a few of them.

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I started dieting with an IIFYM approach. At the time, I had no idea that I was even following this fad. For those of you who are out of the loop, IIFYM stands for If It Fits Your Macros. I don’t like to get all scientific, but this ones science. You need a caloric deficit, Calories in, calories out, yadda yadda… “science”. Anyways, IIFYM promotes flexible dieting. It is a GREAT approach for beginner dieters, and those who are just starting their journey towards awesomeness.  IIFYM was the main reason I was so successful with my weightloss journey. I counted my calories on an app called My Net Diary. In my About Me, I listed a few foods I ate that helped me get in the groove and drop a few pounds. Because I wasn’t completely restricted to chicken and broccoli, dieting became fun. I have undiagnosed OCD, and my diet was something I had complete control over, and I liked that. I fit Special K cereal into my diet, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and a healthy serving of pasta and chicken for dinner, all as long as it fit into my available macronutrients! I was not limiting myself, but I was controlling my portions and measuring serving sizes to make sure I was on track. Paleo people cringe at the thought of IIFYM. That’s because it technically allows processed foods, dairy, gluten, anything and everything. If you really wanted, you could have a pop tart for dinner. If it fits your macros. Fitness competitors also use IIFYM to make “gains” in their off season. From my research (brought to you by Instagram, Twitter, etc), IIFYM seems to be commonly used by those with an already fast metabolism and those who are just discovering the calorie counting process and benefits of changing your diet. It seems that many people start with IIFYM, and move on to a cleaner diet eventually when they want to reach some serious goals. Though IIFYM is often abused, I have no negative thing to say about this diet strategy because it is all about what works for you. If Pop Tarts and Reeses get you to where you need to be, so be it.

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And this is where my thoughts collide. I’ve recently been trying to find a balance in my diet and mind about food. As I said before, I started with an IIFYM approach. Now, I often find myself cringing at the thought of processed foods. Not to mention, I am gluten and dairy intolerant, so IIFYM would make me just as limited. So yeah, you’re following science. You might be eating chicken and veggies for lunch, but Reeses and ice cream for dinner. Ah! Filling your body with chemicals you can’t even pronounce? You might be fitting in your calories, but your insides are not thanking you. There is actual research that proves that these foods are poisonous to your body. They are also very addictive, as well as chemically made. Not real food.

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So you opt for a bowl of cereal instead of a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Yeah, they might have the same macronutrients, but there are more cons than pros. One including, those processed foods increase your serotonin levels (I’m talkin’ science, people). Serotonin causes you to be drowsy, tired, and lazy. When I follow my #eatclean way of eating, which is as close to Paleo as possible, everything gets better. And yeah, I mean everything. I feel energized. My skin shines, my hair looks healthier, my thoughts are positive and clear, and my body just feels right. But also, who the hell can eat one serving of Reeses cereal without going for round two? Not me. Reeses are the bomb dot com. Anyways, what I was trying to mention in the top of this paragraph was that I’m trying not to be so gosh darn anal about what I put in  my body. Yes, it’ll help me in the long run, but sometimes you have to throw your chicken and broccoli out the window and stop at Taco Bell. Also, nobody wants to go out to eat with someone who isn’t going to eat. For example, Friday night we went to a Burlesque show at one of my favorite local restaurants, Jackie O’s. They have an unbelievable gluten free menu. I was wondering all week about what I was going to eat there, because I am really trying to follow my plan! There’s a difference between a healthy lifestyle and trying to lose weight. When you’re trying to lose weight, you can’t throw out your chicken and broccoli for Taco Bell. It is important to follow your diet to the best of your ability, your body will thank you later.

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I thought maybe I would just eat dinner before we went, but then I thought about how not fun it would be watching everybody chow down on pizza. They have burgers, so I ordered the morning burger, which is a burger with an egg on top! No bun, no cheese. And yeah, I ate the chips, thanks Chardonnay.

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Okay, back to clean eating. Clean eating doesn’t mean you spray your food with windex. Clean eating means you opt for food with as little ingredients as possible.

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I started getting into the #eatclean fad when Instagram became more popular. Sophomore year I would follow all these profiles with great clean eating recipes that looked delicious. I was in the dorms, so I started #eatingclean with the best of my ability. Our market at school sucked. There were no fresh fruits, veggies, or meats. So I bought what I could at the market and the rest at the grocery store. When I went to the dining hall, which wasn’t that often, I would get a salad or a deli sandwich on wheat bread. I was lucky if they had chicken and brown rice. In my dorm room I would have oatmeal for breakfast, or Smart Start cereal with added FiberOne cereal and fruit. I also got egg beaters and microwaved them with broccoli and would make sandwiches with those Whole Wheat Flat Out wraps and thins.  I was obsessed with Wasa Crackers and the Laughing Cow Cheese wedges. I would spread those on the Wasa crackers with some Deli Turkey meat and have a baggie of carrots and broccoli for lunch. My snacks were apples, veggies, bananas, or granola bars. I was trying to follow a low-fat diet at the time, so I didn’t have peanut butter as much. But when I did I would make peanut butter and banana sandwiches. For dinner I would have the One Minute Ready Rice cups, with microwavable chicken and veggies. I steamed my veggies by putting them in a microwavable bowl with water for about five minutes.

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My body slowly started craving more fresh foods, and by junior year I was in full force with my clean eating lifestyle. Not to mention, I actually had a kitchen to cook in. Perks. So I started really cooking for myself my junior year. Breakfast was omelets, with Feta cheese! (Oh how I miss cheese sometimes) Sometimes I just had oatmeal or yogurt with granola. That was before I got into putting protein in almost every meal. For instance, sometimes for dinner I’d have soup and salad. Sometimes the salad would have a protein in it, sometimes it wouldn’t. I still would enjoy a nice sandwich every now and then (I may or  may not have just started drooling because I really want a sandwich now, it’s the little things).  My junior year is also when I started getting a lot more into Crossfit and lifting. I was gaining a little muscle and getting stronger without even realizing it. I started researching how to eat for performance, and started eating like an athlete. For instance, I started making protein and vegetables my main focus, and keeping carbs involved for performance and recovery.

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Once I started noticing the gains I was making from Crossfit, I couldn’t stop! And that’s how I got into Paleo. Somehow, Crossfit and Paleo are paired up. After my research (also brought to you by Instagram, Twitter, etc) I now realize that most crossfit athletes don’t even eat a Paleo diet. Anyways, I grew a girl-crush on Juli Baurer’s PaleOMG website, and really thought Paleo would help me lose weight!

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You figure if you’re eating meats and veggies, nuts and seeds, fruit and fish, and healthy fats, you would lose weight, fast! Well I didn’t exactly lose weight. I’ve heard of many successful weightloss stories from the Paleo diet, but my results were not consistent and I learned that it was not for me. My body changed though. I realized what it actually felt like to be happy, mentally and physically. My physique changed. My booty lifted, my shoulders broadened. I started to actually look like I at least worked out from time to time. (Which is all why my diet is still mostly Paleo, anyway) Any fitness nerd has that goal in mind. You want everyone to see how hard you work, and your body is a reflection of that. I think that’s my biggest frustration with my body. I kill my workouts, but my stubborn body is not giving me the results I KNOW I can get. Hence my recent diet change. I’m putting everything I know that has worked together. Lifting, HIIT, Cardio, a clean diet, a meal plan, counting calories, and a few moderate treat meals here and there! I know that I have accomplished a lot, and I am more than proud of myself for doing so! I’m hopefully on the road to the body that I have worked so hard for.

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I know I’ve mentioned this a million times throughout my blog, but I can’t stress this enough. It’s not what you’re friends are doing, not what your instagram idol is doing, and sometimes… it’s not even 100% what your nutritionist is telling you to do. It’s what works for you. You have to be well rounded. You aren’t going to get anywhere by depriving yourself, but you also aren’t going to get anywhere by constantly rewarding yourself with food. I’ve shot and missed a million times, and eventually you start knowing your body better than any advice column can tell you.

Yours Truly,

Stef

Mushroom & Basil Turkey Muffins – Simple & Healthy!

Plain ground turkey meat is not all that appetizing. What makes it so delicious is the seasonings, flavors, and salt that you can add to it! But what do you do if you’re like me and you’re trying to keep your salt to a minimum and your diet as clean as possible (without going stir crazy)? So I’ve been following a very strict “plan” and am ready to experiment just how strict I can stay while still adding loads of flavor. Below is the ingredients & cooking instructions for my delicious mushroom and basil turkey muffins! Before you scroll down, keep in mind this was during one of my cooking binges. Anyone else go on cooking binges? I was bored, in general and with my diet, so all of the sudden I cooked up everything I just bought at the grocery store into three GREAT dishes, this one included, that I will be sharing with you all! When I go on these cooking “binges”, I typically just eye everything. I have become very good at eye-ing ingredients, so don’t be worried – you can trust me.

Mushroom & Basil Turkey Muffins!

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Approx. 1 pound Ground Turkey Meat
2 cups cut up Mushrooms

Mrs. Dash Italian Medley Seasoning
Lemon Juice
Basil

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Combine all ingredients into a bowl (or your meat container, I honestly just didn’t want to do dishes). This is where eye-ing your ingredients comes in handy. Do you want the flavor overloaded with Basil? Go ahead, girl, sprinkle as much as you want! The same goes for the lemon juice and italian medley seasoning. (I know I said “girl” but, dudes can make this recipe too, in case you were wondering)

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Mush (professional cooking terms) your ingredients together until everything looks portioned. This is a good time to decide if you need to add more basil, lemon juice, or Mrs. Dash.

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Portion your “mush” into muffin tins. Mine fit perfectly into six muffin cups! (Don’t forget to use Pam!)
Cook on 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes! Cooking time may vary, as my oven is pretty strong.

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To make sure they are done, place your fork in them, if they slide right out and are nice and firm – they are finished! If not, put them in for another 5 minutes.

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Makes 3 Servings
Serving Size: 4 oz (two muffins)
Approx. 170 Calories, 9 g Fat, 1 Carb, 23 g Protein

You really can’t go wrong with this recipe! If you prefer ground beef, go for it! These muffins are great on-the-go and portioned perfectly! For all of you heavy lifters, all six of these muffins may be your whole dinner. For some, two muffins is just enough! I ate my portion with 1/2 cup Brown Rice and 2 cups of broccoli. Hash tag eat clean, hash tag meat for dayz.

Yours Truly,

Stef

 

Passion vs. Dramatics

Have you ever woken up feeling like someone was pumping an IV of Extra Bold coffee into your system? Well, that’s how I woke up today. I was casually scrolling through my twitter feed when I came across a ton of positive and uplifting tweets. Who would have thought twitter would “uplift” me? The typical tweets on a twenty-one year old year olds feed are complaints of hangovers, celebrations of starbucks, and people dreading gym time. “I was gonna go to the gym but I hung out with my friend Jim instead”. That’s something I specifically remember tweeting freshman year of college. I actually live for the overdramatic tweets in todays society, and I am quite the culprit of them. There are many that are not a fan, but sometimes overdramatizing or overemphasizing is not as much of a negative thing as you might think. How else are we supposed to make it happen? Think of it in terms of olympic lifting. You are told every day to exaggerate the movements. The only way you’re going to get your true PR on your snatch is if you take every step and overemphasize it. That is my problem. Some might be thinking, “There is no way Stefani has a problem with making something dramatic”. Well, yes, as dramatic as I am, my olympic lifts are not dramatic enough. As much as I try to SNAP my feet, I make no noise. As much as I try to burst my hips in the air… I don’t. My hips are the strongest part of my body, they are the only reason why I can clean a heavy weight, and handle those heavy back squats. If you take your hips out of a movement, you don’t have a movement. This also goes for twerking.

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The only reason Miley Cyrus has been talked about so much in the last year is because she’s dramatic. Yeah, I think she is absolutely ridiculous, though I can’t lie about jamming out to her songs sometimes. More people bought her album because they were curious, not because they were fans. What led their curiosity was her overdramatic public appearance and performances. Miley made it happen by making every little thing overdramatic, which led her to the twerk. The twerk has been around for some time but it recently made its big break. It is now a word in the dictionary, and being practiced by five year olds everywhere. That is something we can thank Miley Cyrus for, not.

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A lot of times people mistake passion for dramatics. Sometimes you’re so passionate about something that you just want to paint the town with it. Apparently, Miley Cyrus is passionate about twerking and, of course, music, so she has done everything in her power to let those two things reach audiences around the world. I, for example, am passionate about health and fitness. I’m passionate about feeling good, and feeling healthy. I’m passionate about helping others to feel their best, and motivating them enough to make them realize that they CAN do it. I’m passionate about results. I feel uplifted when those who read my blog tell me how much they enjoy it. I am passionate about writing, and humor. I overemphasize it all. I post, I comment, I snoop. It’s because I have a passion for being involved. I want adventure, friendships, a clear mind and a purpose. I’m passionate about my friendships, and will always put them first. But most of all, I’ve learned that I’m passionate about myself. So passionate about myself and my character, that I often never put myself first, which is something I’m learning to do. One day, someone will put me first. But I’m passionate enough to know that right now all I need is what is around me, and what is around me is all that matters.

Passion. Friendships. Family. Results. Happiness. Surround yourself with it.

This post is to help you make it happen. Whatever “it” may be. Whether it be PRing your snatch, nailing a new dance move, going on a  run, or losing weight. You can’t just sit back and think you can watch it happen. You have to go out and DO something. You have to overemphasize every strategy you have, because playing it safe is not going to get you anywhere.

Yours Truly,

Stef