The End of Another Semester

another semester

And just like that, we are at the end of another semester of school. Wow. I have now finished my last spring semester of undergrad school. Crazy!! I apologize for being gone for a while again, but with the end of school and so much going on personally, I needed to focus on much more. But now I can provide some updates!

My semester finished better than I would have ever imagined. My GPA for this semester was a 4.0 (FINALLY!!) which I feel I really really deserved. I had a really hard semester academically (mostly because my professors were awful but that’s another story) and I worked my tail off to make sure I knew what was going on. So that’s pretty exciting news! Summer has also started and yes, I am taking summer classes. The end of another semester just brings the start of another and it never ends haha. I just need to finish up three business courses this summer and then I will be done with my business minor!

On top of that, I turn in my application to dental schools on Tuesday. Pretty scary, but pretty fun news too. I’m applying to five schools: one in Colorado, two in Nebraska, one in California, and one in Texas. I’d be happy to go to any dental school I get into, but I’m personally really pulling for the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. That would be nice and close to home.

In more random news, I can now squat more than I weigh. Yesterday I got a new PR and squatted 160 pounds. We’re getting strong out here, people. I’ve really enjoyed working out and feeling myself get stronger and stronger. It’s very rewarding.

Other than that, things have been pretty chill. It has been good to be home with my family and Boo and Bobo. I’ve been able to plant some very pretty petunias and pansies in my backyard with my mom. We even made a very cute little tribute area to Marty. It looks very nice. So in general, life is good! I hope you are all well and I hope to see you next weekend.

Remember that this weekend, is more than just a long weekend. Today and every day I am thankful and grateful to those who have served us and continue to do so. You should be too. See you all next weekend.

Fighting with Food

fighting with food

I find it funny that last week’s post was about food and how much I love this one protein shake I’ve figured that I really like. Now here we are, talking about what I realized this past week as I’ve worked through fighting with food. I feel like I’m finally winning this fight. ๐Ÿ™‚

As I’ve focused more on my fitness and developing a sustainable routine for my lifestyle, I realized how some of the things I’ve done in my life have really affected my relationship with food and with myself overall. In particular, pageantry and modeling have created a strange complex that has made me feel angry and frustrated with myself for not always eating “clean” or healthy. So if I were to eat a cookie, for example, to treat myself after an exam or rough day with classes or something, I might enjoy that cookie in the moment but later feel disgusted with myself for allowing myself to have that extra sugar and junk in my body. I might work out harder the next day or make my lunch or dinner somewhat smaller the next day to compensate for that which is SO WRONG. And I have just now realized that.

Since freshman year of college, I have been struggling and fighting myself so hard every time I eat something that my mind has decided to deem as “unclean” or “unhealthy”. I’ve always been a bit lenient on special occasions like birthdays and other celebrations. I have always allowed myself to relax a bit then, but in general, I have been so rough with myself in terms of food because I thought needed to be that way in order to look a certain way. While I have learned that I can cut out certain foods and feel good, I have also learned that I’m much more miserable by restricting myself to the salad bar and produce aisle at the grocery store. I haven’t been happy feeling afraid of eating certain things. There hasn’t been progress made by fighting with food like I have, so I knew something had to change. And no, it was not my diet. It was my mindset.

Ever since I began working with my trainer, I feel like my eyes have opened so much more and I am so thankful to have her and my mom in my life. They have both helped me so much with building a better relationship with food and I really cannot thank them enough for helping me with this. I feel like my fighting with food has become much less of a fight and I’m so much happier for it. While I still restrict or limit certain things, I feel much more free with my eating. There is much less shame, frustration, and anger associated with allowing certain foods every once in a while which is amazing and I’m so happy that I’ve had this change in mindset. It has not been easy to reach this point, but we are here and we are in a much healthier position with food now which I am so happy to say.

I’ve substituted pasta for rice and quinoa because of how much more rice and quinoa can give me nutritionally. And there are still days where I really just want spaghetti or penne. What do I do in situations like this? I make myself what I want! It might be gluten-free or whole wheat, because that benefits me more and I’ve found works better for me and what my goals are, and that’s ok! I’m ok with it! And what if I’m at a restaurant and I’m really wanting pasta? I allow myself to have it. I allow it because I know this is a once-in-a-while thing and that this one meal isn’t going to cause me to gain five pounds or lose any progress. I’ve learned to avoid milk because it causes inflammation and irritates my stomach. Instead, I have substituted that for oat and almond milk. I still enjoy ice cream though. ๐Ÿ˜‰ That’s too hard to give up haha. Again, in moderation it can’t hurt me too bad! I’ve increased my fiber and protein intake and that’s because I have goals set for myself. I focus on including more veggies and meats or eggs on my plate and I’m much happier for that.

There are some days where I feel like I deserve a piece of chocolate or two. I allow myself that treat and I move on with it! I work out the same amount I have been for the past seven months and I feel no pressure to work out extra to work off those calories. And why is that? I now know that I’m not eating large amounts of chocolate every day. There is moderation. This was a one-time thing and if it becomes more of a habit, it’s something I can work on and learn to manage. This is something so important to keep in mind and is something I wish I had allowed myself to think about in the past.

As mentioned earlier, I am truly so thankful to have people like my mom and trainer in my life. They have helped me build healthier relationships with food and working out, but most importantly with myself. I am finally learning to honor my body and love myself. I am feeling like a more confident and free person for it. Of course, there are still days where I struggle and I still have moments where I’m frustrated or upset, but I recognize that it’s okay to have days like that. I truck along, keep moving forward, and keep working hard. And I encourage you all to do the same. See you next weekend.

The Perfect Protein Shake

the perfect protein shake
Image credits to Tasty Kitchen. I wish mine looked this fancy, but I do know it tastes pretty good. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m definitely no nutrition expert or dietician, but I feel like I have also learned a thing or two trying to work on what I eat. While I definitely am still figuring a lot of things out, I have found one thing I really like: peanut butter chocolate banana protein shakes. There was never a specific recipe I found, I just decided to try things out and I loved it. So if you’re interested in learning how to make the perfect protein shake (at least according to me!!) then stick around. All you need is a blender, a banana or two, peanut butter or peanut butter powder, and your favorite chocolate protein powder.

Here’s my recipe!
– At least one banana
– A good tablespoon of peanut butter powder (PB-Fit All Natural)
– Half of a scoop of Simple Truth’s chocolate protein powder
– Califa Farms unsweetened almond milk (I just pour this until it covers the banana, peanut. butter, and protein powder)

With all of your good stuff in your blender, just blend until smooth and then enjoy! I really like to have this for breakfast in addition to an omelet or some hard-boiled eggs. Sometimes, this is really good on its own in between meals. I find that it serves as a good filler until I’m ready to eat an actual meal. Yummy yummy! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve really been working on adding more protein to my diet and I’ve found that this is one of the many ways to do so. Eggs and chicken are a few more of my favorite ways to get my protein in! If there’s anyone reading this that also enjoys a good protein shake, share your recipes with me! I’d love to try them. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great week and I’ll see you next Sunday!

Not all Sunshine and Rainbows

sunshine and rainbows
Photo by rita peron on Unsplash

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a good weekend. Happy Easter by the way as well! As I write this, I’m honestly very tired mentally. When I say this, I speak from an academic standpoint. This semester has been not been easy. As some would say, it really is has not all been sunshine and rainbows. There are a lot of good moments and I’ve had fun, but I’m getting really tired of everything.

I’m tired of online coursework. I’m tired of communicating over long email chains with classmates and professors. If I never saw Zoom or Microsoft Teams again in my life, I wouldn’t be upset. I’m sick of not being able to interact with people in a manner where we aren’t concerned about social distancing or other public health protocols. More than anything, I’m so over going to school thinking I’ll be able to have more face-to-face interaction, only for things to be an absolute, unorganized disaster, resulting in me spending so much time in my apartment by myself.

I’m not here today to write and complain about all of the sucky things about being a college student right now, but I also don’t understand why it seems to be ok to be a bit more disorganized and chaotic now. Take my chemistry lab for instance. We’ve had several labs canceled not because someone is sick but because the materials for the lab aren’t ready or haven’t been shipped yet. We missed the first week of lab because the professor and TAs weren’t ready to begin lab yet. I mean come on!!! You had all of winter break to prepare for this course and it’s not the first time this lab has been offered as a course. There have been several weeks in this lab, where something doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to or it doesn’t work at all and my TA throws his hands up in the air, laughs, and then says he’ll send some data over email and that we can all go home. Then why did I just waste an hour and a half trying to get something to work?? Why am I even putting any effort into this lab if it ends up with me sitting back in my apartment reading through a bunch of chemistry papers that I can barely understand to talk about something in a paper on a topic that my TA doesn’t even understand. Absolutely ridiculous.

And I know, again, that this pandemic has been easy for no one. Again, it has not all been sunshine and rainbows! Things have changed so much and there are so many guidelines and regulations to follow and ensure safety and health of all. I fully understand that. I bet there are a lot of ways that the pandemic has affected how this chemistry lab that I’m in can operate. I think there comes a point though where you can no longer blame the pandemic on your inabilities to be organized and put-together.

This class hasn’t been my only issue either. I feel like I really tried to be an optimistic and hopefully person about these classes at first, but I quickly came to realize that it was not going to be all sunshine and rainbows with two of my other classes… They have been horrible disappointments. It feels as if I’ve learned nothing. It feels like my professors try but all the words they speak have no true meaning. The thing that bothers me the most about this is that I pay for this. I pay a good deal of money for something so low-quality. It’s embarrassing and more than anything its frustrating! I was so excited for these two classes, developmental biology and chemistry of addictions, and I couldn’t tell you one really important or exciting thing I’ve learned in either class.

Being online for most of my coursework and living alone (unless I’m just staying at home for classes) has been a very interesting experience and as much as I appreciate the alone time, it can be really hard sometimes. I’m pretty distracted most of the time, whether I’m working out or doing classwork or watching a show. It is hard though, when I’ve done all that I feel I can do for the day and I have no one to talk to and everyone is busy. I just feel lonely sometimes and that’s something I have not enjoyed one bit. We are social beings and being robbed of that has really taken a toll on so many of us. Sometimes I go on walks and it makes me sad sometimes to not even see another person on campus. Even just seeing another person can make you feel less alone, or at least that’s how I am. At least there’s someone else around, in your presence. And it’s so different to text a person or talk to them on the phone. Yes, it helps to know that another actual person is interacting with you but it isn’t the same as seeing them in-person. In my opinion, it’s the interactions that occur face-to-face that make things so much better and mean so much more.

More than anything, I pray for better classes next semester with better professors and I pray for better days ahead. I’m really looking forward to spring break which starts next weekend and I’m thinking that will help with some of this burnout I’m feeling. I know I need some time to recharge and I’m sure a lot of you out there do too! I know that the world will not always be sunshine and rainbows, but I know that I can make the best of every situation I’m presented with and recognize that most of life is going to actually be pretty good. Life sucks sometimes though, and in these times you really just need to truck along and remember that things will be ok in the end. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a good week everyone. I’ll see you next Sunday.

A Breakthrough!!

I don’t know what it was, but something amazing happened this past week and I think I’ve made a breakthrough! I’ll just go ahead and share what I wrote in my workout journal. ๐Ÿ™‚ I might edit it so it makes a bit more sense formatting-wise and for this post as I upload it today. Again, I’m pretty sore today but today’s soreness makes me feel so proud of where I’m at now. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m down almost two pounds from last weekend?! Not that weight matters an extreme amount but I’m genuinely surprised. I was going for 100 lbs with my bench press but I donโ€™t think it happened and thatโ€™s ok! I believe I benched around 75 lbs and thatโ€™s still a PR!! ๐Ÿ™‚ (Sidenote: My previous personal record, or PR, was 65 lbs for those of you that were wondering and I’ve been making good gains with my upper body as of lately, so my trainer and I thought it was doable.) I honestly think I had a breakthrough this past week. I donโ€™t know what it was but Iโ€™m starting to feel better about myself. Yes, I am still working on things and I am also still extremely hard on myself but Iโ€™m learning and Iโ€™m making big improvements. I wasnโ€™t too worried about food this week as far as worrying I was eating too much or too little which is a step in the right direction if you ask me. (Another sidenote: I’ve never been obsessed about tracking my food or anything but as I’ve started working out more I would definitely say that I’ve become a bit more aware of what I eat and sometimes it feels wrong eating certain things because I worry about it affecting my progress. Working to adjust that mindset has been challenging but I think we are making good progress with that!!) I just told myself that as long as Iโ€™m eating a lot of fiber and protein (and still including carbs!) then Iโ€™m good. As long as I see veggies and fruits on my plate, Iโ€™m good!

And with this thinking, Iโ€™ve actually started noticing changes with my body. The biggest for me has been around my hips and lower back which is where Iโ€™ve carried a decent amount of fat. Suddenly this week, things felt much slimmer to me! And I was able to fit into a pair of pants that I wore during my pageant times and I know that I weighed less than I do currently!! My trainer told me that I shouldnโ€™t worry so much about what the scale says, and I agree because that doesnโ€™t mean everything. She said that I should focus more on how things are fitting. Since I started working with her, I have definitely noticed a difference with that but just now and am I really starting to celebrate and feel proud of the accomplishments I’ve made. Workouts are still feeling good and I think it has really helped that Iโ€™m incorporating walks and yoga into my workout routines too. I think that has helped me learn to appreciate and honor my body more. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now we’re back to me writing in the current time. Yay for this breakthrough!! I really am so proud of the progress I’ve made thus far. It bothers me that it took me this long to see it but I’m glad that I’m finally getting there. I’m so happy that I’ve made this breakthrough and I’m truly very excited and so motivated to see where we go from here. If any of you out there are working to accomplish something, do not give up. Dig in and get to work. You may not see progress and things may feel hard but others notice and you will eventually see it too. See you all next weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

Feeling Sore

So last weekend I got a new PR with my bench squats so that’s pretty fun. The last time I went for a PR was in October and then I could squat 125 lbs but this past weekend, I squatted 145 lbs. Needless to say I was feeling sore. VERY. SORE. Still, pretty exciting stuff!

It’s really satisfying and makes me feel good to see my strength improving, even if I still struggle to see physical changes because of how hard I am on myself. It is really encouraging to see the improvements elsewhere though and that makes me really happy.

The one thing that is rough about lifting and strength training however, is feeling sore the day or two after. This comes with many forms of physical activity! Feeling sore means that you’ve worked hard and really pushed yourself. I’ve come to actually feel really satisfied when I’m really sore the next day, because that means that I worked hard and that I’m getting stronger. Love to see that. A sore core is the best in my opinion. I love training core, even though it really sucks in the moment. It’s just a good feeling. What’s my least favorite place to feel sore? Definitely quads. Walking is just a much more difficult task when you’re feeling sore. And sitting just makes things 10x worse. After a good leg day, I think it’s really important to walk a lot, take a good hot bath, and just make sure my legs stay warm. That seems to help with the lactic acid buildup and keeps me from feeling like a stiff stick every time I get up and move.

If you’re feeling sore though, it’s also important to be more aware of your movements and body in general, especially if you are working out or performing some other sort of physical activity in the following days. In no way am I a doctor and in no way am I trying to give any sort of medical or training advice but I think it’s wise to take it a bit easier the next day following a heavy lifting day. You don’t want to push it too hard and injure anything!

It’s crazy that spring is already here and I’m honestly really looking forward to some sun and slightly warmer weather! Let’s hope Colorado doesn’t get another round of snow anytime soon. See you all next Sunday!

Snowmageddon 2021

snowmageddon 2021

So we’re currently snowed in. Earlier this week, a massive storm front was headed our way and today it finally decided to get ugly. I call it Snowmageddon 2021. It has been SUCH a long time since we had a true blizzard and it has been really nice to see so much snow. Shoveling it has been another story though. We woke up to a decent amount of snow this morning. Heavy, wet snow. It just kept coming and coming and continues to do so. I’m not sure what total amount we were expecting, but I would say we definitely have a foot by now and that’s honestly more than I was expecting. Maybe even two feet.

It was kind of funny to see how many people thought this storm might not actually be that big of a deal. It was supposed to start snowing hard yesterday, but all it really did was rain with the occasional frozen rain. I was able to get a good normal workout in and I also got to play tennis with my dad and sister. It felt like another March morning in Colorado. It was cold yesterday but not at all what it is today. We were all joking that this storm was going to be nothing and then overnight, Mother Nature, was like WABAM! YOU GET SNOW AND YOU GET SNOW. Mother Nature sure didn’t fail to disappoint today and presented us with Snowmageddon 2021, my goodness.

I went out and helped my dad attempt to shovel the driveway after lunch and that was an experience. The snow was heavy and wet, the wind was blowing, and the snow seemed to come down much harder especially when we tried to shovel. I was working to clear a path and it felt like I would shovel a bit, only to look back and see like half an inch where I had just cleaned. The struggles of shoveling during snowmageddon!! I’m also pretty sore from my workout yesterday (yay for leg day!!) and so that was a fun experience. It did feel so good to get out and move around though.

We haven’t heard whether or not I won’t have school tomorrow but I’m hoping that’s the case because we definitely have way too much snow to deal with and I’m not sure that it’ll be safe to get back to campus tomorrow. If anything, I’ll plan on going back to Fort Collins tomorrow in the afternoon if the roads are clear or Tuesday since I don’t have class til 3.

On days like today, I am reminded to be thankful for a warm home to stay cozy in. To be able to go back inside and warm up with some tea and my favorite fuzzy blanket after shoveling was a wonderful feeling. I’m also thankful for snow blowers and good shovels. Those make quite the difference!

Let’s all pray for a snow day and I hope that you’re all staying warm and cozy this weekend! Have a good week and I’ll see you next Sunday!

I Love LUSH

As far as I know, I haven’t talked too much about LUSH, which just so happens to be one of my favorite companies right now. If you’re not familiar, LUSH is a handmade cosmetics company that claims to use all natural, organic materials in their products. They are also cruelty-free. I got into LUSH about a year ago and I haven’t looked back since. I will say that this post is not sponsored by LUSH but if that ever were to happen, I wouldn’t be upset. Hint, hint, wink, wink.

My all-time favorite product of their’s is the bath bomb. Oh my goodness do I love their bath bombs. Deep Sleep is my absolute favorite bath bomb that they sell. It comes in this little muslin sack and has Roman chamomile, lavender, and Neroli in it. 10/10. It makes me feel very relaxed and it always leaving my skin feeling super hydrated. Some of my other favorites include: Turmeric Latte (which will leave your tub quite sparkly so make sure to give it a good rinse!) and Twilight (more lavender smells!!). I honestly haven’t had a bath bomb that I didn’t enjoy. My one suggestion with all bath bombs and products you use though: Make sure you rinse the tub after use! I haven’t ever had any experiences with tub staining but I do know that there sometimes is a little bit of residue from the bath bomb or bubble bar that I use which could potentially leave stains if left uncleaned.

Before Christmas, I ventured into the world of bubble bars by LUSH and those have also been a lot of fun to try. When using their bubble bars, you can take half of the bar or the entire thing (depending on the size) and just crumble it up under warm, running water. And then voila! You have a bubble bath and it smells amazing! I really enjoy their products with lavender, and one of my favorite bubble bars is Sleepy. This one is a little bit larger, so I broke it in half and then had two uses with the product. One of the bubble bars I recently got was called Milky Bath and I’m really excited to use that one. It has oat flour, patchouli, and Brazilian orange oil in it. One of the other bubble bars I’m SUPER excited to try is called Nana. This one has banana, organic cocoa butter, and whole oats in it. It smells amazing and as I said before, I’m just very excited to try it out!

LUSH also offers a wide variety of other products including face masks, massage bars, lotions, soaps (which are pretty good as well!!), shower bombs (which are similar to bath bombs but for the shower!), shampoos, conditioners, and most other self-care products you might be able to think of! I just really enjoy that all of their products seem to have a lot of thought go into them and that they use such good, high-quality ingredients to make their products. If you’re a person that enjoys treating yourself to a bubble bath every once in a while or feels like you could use a bit more relaxation, I highly recommend you check out LUSH if you haven’t done so already. I’ll include the link for you to all go check it out! ๐Ÿ™‚ https://www.lushusa.com/home

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I’ll see you next Sunday! Stay healthy and stay happy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Birthday, Mom

So my mom’s birthday was yesterday. We got to celebrate on Friday when I got home from school and then went out for a late lunch/early dinner on Saturday and had cake. It was a good weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Happy Birthday Mom

On my mom’s birthday, we received a package from some of my cousins in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was so wonderful to receive something from them and I’ve really enjoyed connecting with them over Skype and Instagram. I’m so grateful to have such a wonderful family. ๐Ÿ™‚ My cousins are both working on their English and I’m also working (but not very consistently haha) on my Russian, so we talk over Instagram and on Skype when I’m home and they’re not asleep. They sent matroshkas (which are the cute little Russian nesting dolls), some marmalade chocolate, some beautiful little jars, some cute magnets, and a little bag with St. Petersburg written on it in Russia, of course. It was just so fitting that the package arrived on my mom’s birthday. It was like another birthday present!

We got two beautiful flower bouquets and cards for my mama and when she was home from work, we went to lunch/dinner at Ted’s Montana Grill which is definitely a family favorite. ๐Ÿ™‚ We tried the bison nachos as an appetizer for the first time and I have to say, they were pretty good! If you’re looking to try an appetizer at Ted’s I do recommend the bison nachos. It was nice to be able to go to a restaurant again. We’ve been a couple of times since things started opening back up but the restaurants we like to go to have been fairly limited. I am just thankful we have the opportunity to go out and that we are all healthy.

My mom and I went for a walk after our big meal and then later in the evening, we had a delicious lemon bundt cake sent by my aunt and uncle in New Mexico. Always a fun tradition. ๐Ÿ™‚ Kinda funny story with the cake though, the cards on top of the cake were mixed up and instead of it saying happy birthday to my mom, it was some congratulatory card for some other woman who was going to have a baby soon. Didn’t know my mom was expecting!! Haha! The cake was so good and that wrapped up our birthday festivities for the day.

I will go back to school a little bit after lunch today and then that’s kinda it! I hope that my mama had a great birthday. She means a lot to me and I’m so lucky to have such a good listener and such a supportive, genuine, and wonderful person in my life. If you’re reading this Mom, I love you so so so much.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I will see you all in March! It’s crazy that tomorrow is already going to be March.

Random Thoughts: Part 2

Hi everyone! I hope you are all having a good weekend so far. This week I wasn’t really sure what to post so I’ve decided to dump a bunch more of my random thoughts into another blog.

Is it weird to have a favorite organ? I’m currently an anatomy tutor at my university and I was recently talking with my co-worker about all the different organs when we didn’t have any students and that made me wonder if I really have a favorite organ. Currently, the answer is no but I love learning about all the different structures and features of the human body and how it functions.

When is it considered weird to still have your Christmas tree up? In my family, we always leave our tree up past January 7th typically, which is Orthodox Christian Christmas. To me, that’s always been normal. I’m just curious if there’s a specific day where you might as well just leave it up because Christmas is coming again soon.

What do clothing stores do with all of the clothing that doesn’t sell? Do they keep it until it does sell? If they do, that seems impractical but also is much better than throwing away everything that hasn’t been sold. Do they sell it to other stores that will then sell it for cheaper?

How staged are the shows on TLC like My 500 Pound Life (or whatever it’s called), and 90 Day Fiancee? Shows on TLC especially have always seemed so fake to me but I just wonder how much of what people say and do is actually real on those shows. I’ve also always wondered what it would be like to be told to act completely normal and go about my day but then be followed by a camera crew throughout my entire “normal” day. That just seems strange.

I’ve found it really enjoyable to keep track of all of the super random thoughts that go through my head during the day. It’s kinda fun honestly. Never stop thinking big and never stop imagining! Have a good week and I will see you all next Sunday. ๐Ÿ™‚