January is an interesting month for me- & I think all of us! It's filled with goal-setting, motivation, & the opportunity to recreate ourselves. It's also one of the coldest months (I live in Chicago so the struggle is SO real!) and many times it's a bit depressing to leave the magic of the holidays and to be stuck in this deep cold with short days and long nights =/
So how do we manifest into this new person without falling back into our normal routine as winter rages on? I think you just have to take it one day at a time! So I made a list- of 31 things to do in January 2018. & I will continue to have a new list out each month - with things based off of the season & activities. Maybe you just do some of the list, maybe you do all of it! Regardless, just checking a few things off will help you break out of your normal routine & try new things!
So here's to 2018! May we embrace the new year & each day that comes with it! Happy New Year - let's do this 2018!
1. Go sledding / skiing / snow tubing
2. Make mittens out of old sweaters (or learn to knit your own!)
3. Pick up 1-2 new books to read this month
4. Host a hot chocolate + game night for your friends
5. See a band/musician you love in concert
6. Make a photo album of 2017
7. Take a social media break
8. Delete Snapchat from your phone (for at least this month!)
9. Donate old blankets to a local homeless or pet shelter - they can really use them this time of year!
10. Do a polar plunge
11. Attempt to start a 100 day yoga challenge
12. Get a jump start on spring cleaning!
13. Enjoy the Christmas activities that were super crowded before the Holidays (i.e. Zoo Lights, Ice Skating, etc)
14. Make a playlist of your fav 2017 songs
15. Enjoy a relaxing Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
16. Watch a Youtube tutorial over something you've been wanting to learn
17. Download Duolingo & start learning a new language!
18. Try a new restaurant in your city
19. Leave super awesome Yelp/Facebook reviews for places you loved in 2017
20. Embrace National Cheese Day on January 20th with some mac & cheese!
21. Get out of the house & go to the art museum (for some spark in your creativity!)
22. Get a nice planner for 2018 & start making new plans/goals!
23. Find a new coffee shop that can be your go-to spot in the mornings!
24. Tip a little more than normal once - it's a new year, people can use the motivation!
25. Get a head start on Valentine's Day by shopping & decorating for the day of love
26. Plan a vacation for Spring time (preferably somewhere warm & tropical!)
27. Enjoy a day inside to yourself. Take a nap, a nice long bath, & meditate.
28. See Insidious: The Last Key (Or Molly's Game if you're not into horror movies)
29. Binge watch a new TV show
30. Call your parents to check in :)
31. Buy a journal & write an entry about all the things you accomplished, felt, & did this month!
This year I did Christmas Eve/Morning, alone, in a 5-star hotel.
I didn't have to do this. I could have gone home to Texas. I could have go to a friend's house. I could have done a lot of things. But I just felt like being alone would be ok. & something I needed to do.
Two years ago I lost my best friend/cousin to suicide a week before Christmas. I was actually flying home from Chicago to see her the morning she died. That Christmas was hard. & so was the one following it.
& then two weeks ago I lost another friend to suicide. We were close and it came out of nowhere. In between these deaths, my life has been filled with uncertainty, divorces in the family, craziness, and so many other things. I just really wasn't in the holiday mood this year.
& it's amazing the looks I got checking in. Or sitting at the bar, alone, on Christmas Eve ordering my 3rd glass of wine. In the course of 5 hours I was gifted a free shot (or should I say a free glass of "wine" aka tequila because this is a fancy establishment and we don't do shots), 3 free drink tickets, a box of macaroons, and several stares of pity. I felt like everyone was looking at me- they probably weren't. & sure, I was lonely. I was a bit down. I'm sure I looked as pitiful as their glances told me. It was hard. Christmas dragged on. I slept the whole day- in my 5-star hotel room with room service.
It was simultaneously one of the worst and most relaxing holidays I've ever had.
The holidays are hard. We act like they are so exciting & happy & filled with love- and some years it's like that. Other years, not so much. I think we all need to be ok being alone and to know that Christmas is really just another day of the year. It only means something because we're told it's important. & we see Christmas "cheer" plastered all over everything for nearly 2 months straight.
If you had a rough holiday or celebrated alone- then cheers to us. Because it's not always perfect or happy. Sometimes it's sad and a struggle. I felt more alone this Christmas than I have my entire life. But it's ok, because I made it through and I know that there will be some amazing holidays to come. & You can also make it through. It's just one year, there will be more. Some worth celebrating, maybe some even more depressing. It's just a day so all that really counts is that you try to make it a good one, just like any other. ✨
Planning your bucket list is personal & exciting - many of us have the same goals & desires we hope to one day accomplish. Is it just me or are some of our list ideas a little cliché? Sure, going to Paris or visiting Times Square are all rad ideas but I think it's a little more exciting to add some unique & creative ideas to our bucket list. Things that will leave us feeling inspired, alive, passionate, and a little more full of life than before we embarked down this journey.
So this is a list of "100 Things You Don't Have On Your Bucket List - But Totally Should!". A list of unique, creative (I hope!), and different ideas that you should add to your list of things to cross off. I think your bucket list should be entirely about doing things that make you FEEl something - not a list filled with things you think you're supposed to do. Get creative, jump out of your comfort zone! You only live once, do it with the sole intention of expanding YOUR adventures & outlook on life.
Here's to a lifetime filled with adventure ;)
1. Celebrate Halloween in Salem, MA
2. Win A Costume Contest
3. Fly Hawks At The Ashford Castle
4. Rent an Airbnb house for a weekend getaway with friends
5. Visit The Prada Store in Marfa, Texas
6. Trick or Treat on Embassy Row in DC
7. Buy Meet/Greet Tickets To Your Favorite Band/Musician
8. Run A Half Marathon/Marathon In Your Favorite City
9. Visit The Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory
10. Go To The GW Exotic Zoo & Play With Wild Tigers!
11. Make A Family Cook Book With Recipes via Artifact Uprising
12. Do a 365 Photo Challenge (One picture a day, for a year)
13. Make music tapes of each year & include songs that will always bring you back to that year & memories you made
14. Swim in the Blue Lagoon hot springs
15. Experience the joy of having an amazing friends group during your adult years
16. Getting a piercing in Amsterdam
17. Go somewhere you never thought you would explore
18. Visit the Museum of Neon Art in LA
19. Buy a piece of artwork that speaks to your soul
20. Take a trapeze class
21. See the Bonneville Salt Flats
22. Eat deep dish pizza in Chicago
23. Go Vegan for one month
24. Visit all of the Disney World Parks
25. Go cheese tasting in Switzerland
26. See the Northern Lights from the ground & from the air (night flight to Iceland!)
27. Swim with otters
28. Volunteer at least once a year for something that inspires you
29. Ride the Orient Express
30. Take a cooking class by a Michelin Chef
31. Visit the city your favorite book/movie of all time takes place in
32. Flower shopping at Seattle's Fisherman Wharf
33. A Food & Drink Event by Bompas & Parr
34. Buying books at The Strand NYC
35. A Rebel Bingo Event
36. Barton Springs Pool Austin, TX
37. Lola Star's Dreamland Roller Disco
38. Holi Color Festival in India
39. The Golden Retriever Festival in Scotland (THIS IS AMAZING)
40. Visiting the Neon Museum in Vegas
41. Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs, TX
42. Taking a master class by someone who has inspired you
43. Reindeer sledding in Norway
44. Visit Mackinac Island
45. Check out a cat cafe
46. Sleep in an all-glass igloo room
47. Stay at the Palazzo Versace hotel in Australia
48. A Daybreaker Clubbing Experience
49. Visit the Dow Jones bar in Spain
50. Do Yacht Week with your closest pals
You guys- it's almost 2018! & I could not be more excited for it!
This post has become a little internet sensation over the years 😉 and so this time I have spent MONTHS planning it out & adding some really fun + cool things worth trying out for 2018. All of us rack our brains coming up with resolutions and new ideas for the new year. This list is meant to inspire and provide ways to learn, create, try, & experience new things each year. I think growing is the most important resolution we can make. Getting out of our comfort zones & trying new things will provide us with so much more knowledge and adventure instead of deciding (and many times failing) on a resolution made a few seconds before midnight on NYE.
This year, when you buy the full version PDF - you will be given a printable checklist to go alongside each item, a 2018 calendar (inspired by this post!), & a personal notes section. I really wanted this to be a more interactive experience- one that really gets us motivated for 2018 & ready to seize the day.
So, without further ado.... here is my list of "218 Things To Do In 2018"!
Cheers to the New Year!
1. How to pronounce items on food menus that you always struggle with
2. Being a decent Ping Pong player!
3. How to say hello / good bye in 5+ languages
4. How to say “No” to something you can’t / don’t want to do
5. How to use a computer program you’re unfamiliar with
6. All about the cryptocurrency market (& not just bitcoin😏)
7. Salsa dancing
8. How to market yourself - be it in business or your personal life
9. Life / funny stories from your grandparents and older relatives
10. Perfect dental hygiene
11. About a political law/policy that’s trending but you’re unfamiliar with
12. The full history of the country your family heritage is from
13. How to plan an event: budgeting, time management, decorating, etc
14. About a subject you failed (ok, or reaaaaally had to try on) in college
15. How to change a baby’s diaper - even if you have no plans to ever have one!
16. To research using more credible sources than Google (sorry, Google ;))
17. Making smart purchases
18. Balancing a checkbook
20. How to negotiate on price when buying something
22. Other ways to vent besides posting to social media
23. Being honest with people when you cancel, are running late, don’t do something, etc instead of making up an excuse or saying “sorry”
24. Somethings aren’t worth debating
25. How to improve on a character flaw you know you struggle with
26. To be a little more forgiving sometimes
27. Present Wrapping: How to make pretty bows & use wrapping paper so that it doesn’t look like it was found in a dumpster
28. To give the perfect foot massage
29. How to chop a salad to absolute perfection
30. The difference in APRs/Incentives of various credit cards & if any are worth opening based off your financial needs
31. How to overcome (or eventually overcome) a fear you have
32. All about diamonds & jewelry - just because! ;)
33. How to politely decline a wedding/shower/event
34. All about an artist who makes you feel something & about their art pieces
35. How to nicely tell people what they need to hear instead of what they want to hear
36. To be true to your word
37. About various mental illnesses & how you can support your friends, relatives, or yourself
38. The correct ways for you to stay calm in situations you would normally be flustered in
39. To talk with correct grammar... it’s amazing how lazy we get sometimes!
40. To not make those impulse buys you normally make
41. How to love a part of your body that you normally criticize or think needs to be perfected
42. To not say/write/text/post things you don’t mean or will regret
43. 3D Printing
44. To be more empathetic on a regular basis
45. To draw one animal/product/item/etc really well
47. All about classic cars
48. Glass blowing
49. Chocolate Making
50. To bowl really well (without the gutter guards!)
51. Being more reliable this year
52. The ways you can keep YOUR body healthy (based on your weight, height, family history etc)
53. About Aromatherapy + Scents
54. Basic math skills you’ve long forgotten
55. How to get around your city/town using only local transit (even if you drive everywhere, it’s a good thing to know how to do!)
56. The basics of acupuncture
57. To be more honest with yourself & the art of self reflection
58. The best questions to ask in Never Have I Ever
59. An oxygen bar
60. Going one month without using your personal social media accounts
61. Fasting for a cause
62. Clicking the “Random article” link on Wikipedia to learn something new (& donating to Wikipedia while you're at it!)
63. Bocce Ball
64. A mermaid swimming class!
65. Going Vegan for 1-2 weeks (I promise it will have such a great affect on your life if you do it in a healthy way! & anything is worth trying once!)
66. Lush’s teeth whitening tabs
67. Sole Soothing Spray when wearing heels
68. To not Snapchat your day / night but instead embrace the moment
69. Cutting out dairy products as much as you can
70. Watching “What The Health”
71. Running a half marathon - if I can do it, you can do it!
72. Memorizing something (a poem, excerpt, quote, religious text, etc) once a week
73. New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle
74. A gym membership trial at a new gym / work out place
75. Growing your own vegetables
76. Different coffee shops in your city (and different coffees!)
77. On the topic of coffee… cutting back if it’s your weakness
78. Going one week without checking/listening to any news stations
79. Finding new podcasts to listen to that you really enjoy
80. Unsubscribing from monthly reoccurring bills you don’t use/need
81. A new hairstyle
82. Repairing something that’s broken that you were otherwise going to throw out
83. Entering a sweepstakes for something you want to win!
84. Not leaving a single bad review this year (unless it was a serious incident!)
85. Logging into your old Myspace/tumblr/other profiles from back in the day because nostalgia!
86. Saving up & having the means to make a big purchase you’ve been waiting for (such as a car, house, vacation, medical bill, etc)
87. Going to an event with a friend/partner that you hate but they love
88. Finding a new hobby
89. Writing a nice note & giving it to a stranger to make their day
90. Doing a daring activity - like skydiving, trapeze, etc
91. Giving the benefit of the doubt
92. Tipping more on a daily basis
93. Attending old, foreign, or indie movie showings in your city
94. Being on time to something you would normally be late to
95. Reaching out to your friends more & having more time where they talk & you just listen
96. Putting your foot down to someone who always tends to walk all over you
97. Completing a jumbo puzzle
98. Being more committed in 2018 - either in relationships, work, or your personal wellbeing (or everything!)
99. NOT texting your ex/blast from the past when you’re lonely or sad
100. Bird watching
101. Getting fake tattoos from Inkme
102. Flying a drone
103. A charcoal face mask
104.Crystal Healing Methods
105. Reading financial/business magazines frequently
106. A Bungee Dance Class
107. Taking a professional development class
108. Going to an art museum & making up your own stories about each person in each painting (super silly thing to do
109. Enrolling in an acting class
110. Joining a film group
111. Doing really well at a local trivia night in your city
112. Having a date night with items/entertainment solely from the Dollar Store
113. Thinking outside the box more
114.Participating in an escape room event
115. Staying super calm in a situation you would normally freak out in
116. Photo album of 2017
117. Mittens out of old sweaters
118. A list of all the things you love about yourself
119. Reviews to leave of restaurants/ stores / hotels you’ve been to recently that provided great customer service
120. Multiple go-to music playlists for any feeling/event/etc
121. An emergency kit / box complete with flashlights, water, canned foods, medical supplies, etc
122. Some poems (it’s super relaxing!)
123. A book shelf filled with classic literature
124. A dinner @ a friend, family, co-worker, acquaintance, or even a stranger’s home… all prepared for & cooked by you!
125. A new signature dish you can always prepare to perfection
126. A journal that documents every moment of life you cherish/remember from your childhood up until present day. I suggest sorting memories by friend / family member :)
127. Music tapes (Throwback!) of songs you loved, organized by dates/trips/events/etc to always listen back on (& a tape player!)
128. A family cookbook
129. A Group text group using Groupme (or similar app) for all of your friends or family to stay connected & in touch daily!
130. List of books you want to read this year
131. The perfect 2018 wine collection - cultivated from different trips, events, etc that you attend throughout the year
132. A list of things you want to do by 2020
133. The perfect password that *fingers crossed* no one could hack!
134. List of your friends/relatives birthdays so you never forget them again
135. A way to make some amount of passive income
136. A USB/Disc of scanned old family photos & giving your family members each a copy
137. Making a handmade furniture piece
138. Collection of your favorite magazines from decades ago to present day!
139. Embracing people more i.e. hugs, handshakes, etc (obviously respecting people’s space when requested or unsure)
140. Well decorated Christmas/Holiday cookies
141. A recording of your parents/grandparents/relatives voices, stories, advice, etc (super great to have for sharing with future generations)
142. A collection of your favorite childhood books
143. Seashell collection from places you visit
144. A daily journal entry
145. More of a “Smart Home” - such as investing in lightbulbs that can be turned on/off by a mobile app, wireless speakers, etc
146. Knitting a giant chunky knit blanket
147. Nice words of encouragement to send to someone you
look up to
148. A scavenger hunt with your friends (based off your interests together!)
149. A collection of photo booth strips throughout the year
150.Gift baskets for your local fire/police departments
151. Sweet cards for a local nursing home
152. A vinyl collection
153. Healthy connections/relationships in all areas of your life
154. An extensive family tree
155. Handwritten cards to give to your friends
156. An Ikea furniture hack
157. Album of pictures that will always make you smile/happy
158. A space in your home with fairy/twinkling lights
159. Regularly scheduled sports team/group for your friends - like volleyball, kickball, tennis ,etc
160. A fund for something you’ve always wanted to treat yo’ self to!
161. Balloon Art
162. Your own bar hopping tour with friends!
163. A book of family recipes
164. A beautiful bouquet of flowers to gift to someone
165. A collection of all the videos you have (even if it means breaking out the VCR) & making one big video montage
166. A safety plan for you & your friends/family in the event of an emergency
167. Crazy cool LED sign
168. Collection of hotel keys from all your travels
169. A picture perfect moment
170. The 52 Week Photo Challenge
171. Bedtime routine you can actually stick with
172. A Fantasy Football League
173. Friendsgiving with your friends!
174. A membership to a rewards program you will actually benefit from (For me it’s definitely Southwest Airlines or Hotels.com!)
175. Holding an exotic animal at an exotic zoo
176. Doing a ropes course
177. Opening night of a band / artist you love
178. A Poetry Night at a local bar / restaurant
179. Giving back to your community in some way
180. Attending a therapy session just to let go of past problems + any issues you might be going through
181. Completing something you thought you would never complete
182. Getting to know someone you would normally never interact with
183. Playing a game you loved growing up
184. Taking a road trip somewhere 5+ hours away
185. Donating just a little more money than you’re comfortable with…. good things come out of comfort zones!
186. A fun food festival in your city
187. Dining without your senses (ya know, when they blindfold you & it’s supposed to enhance your taste buds!)
188. The Ancestry.com DNA kit
189. Voting in an election in your town over an issue you care about
190. Getting a massage at least once a month - TRUST ME ON THIS
191. Professional photos of you - either with family, friends, your pet, your lover, or just for yourself!:)
192. Wearing REALLY NICE jewelry all thanks to Switch
193. A health/wellness checkup
194. Your credit score going up (at least a few digits!)
195. Buying a children’s book you love on a trip or at an event & writing a note to your future children in it
196. Seeing a legend in concert
197. Visiting a new city
198. Not getting a hangover on a night you normally would - self control people! ;)
199. Finding a new comedian that makes you genuinely LOL
200. Getting mental health check ups & letting out your fears/anger/sadness/thoughts to a professional. We ALL need to vent sometimes & speaking to a licensed professional can do the mind good
201. Failure - because it sets you up to be ready for success
202. Making a connection that is sure to be beneficial down the road…. be it in business, relationships, etc
203. A natural phenomenon
204. Hosting a watch party with your friends when your favorite Netflix/HBO/TV show aires
205. Setting a new personal record when it comes to working out or your career/school life
206. Not buying a single item you don’t need from Target (Sorry, Target!)
207. Creating an extremely thoughtful gift for someone special in your life that they will genuinely always remember/
208. The thrill of reading a book that has you engulfed page by page
209. Rooting for the underdog team
210. Attending a sports event of a local high school or college & supporting your community
211. Cooking a full meal & donating it to a homeless person you encounter on a frequent basis
212. Finding the perfect shampoo/conditioner/soap that makes your senses & body relaxed & happy in the shower!
213. Making a whole new group of friends
214. Sending a gift to a complete stranger from their wedding/baby registry
215. Going to a B&B for a nice weekend getaway with family/ friends/pets/your love
216. Completing something you never thought you would finish
217. Earning a medal/trophy
218. Knowing that 2018 is just one year out of many, many more to come & if you haven’t done something yet it doesn’t mean you won’t. Cheers to a new year & new possibilities!
It's Fall Y'all!
& I am super excited for new music to listen to while walking down the streets of Chicago crunching on leaves ;)
So here's my playlist that I'm playing on repeat...
Liam Gallagher - For What It's Worth
Marilyn Manson - KILL4ME
Sam Smith - Pray
Maren Morris - Dear Hate
Charlie Puth - How Long
Jordan Fisher - Mess
Ludacris - Vices
Sabrina Claudio - Frozen
Rachel Patten - Perfect For You
Grace VanderWaal - Out Of My Mind
Darius Rucker - Twenty Something
Ryan Adams - Back In Your Head
Banks - Underdog
Kygo - Stargazing
Toulouse - Man From Pennsylvania
Nick Jonas - Find You
St. Vincent - Los Angeles
Moses Sumney - Indulge Me
The Killers - Wonderful Wonderful
Thirty Seconds To Mars - Walk On Water
Kelela - LMK
Queens Of The Stone Age - The Evil Has Landed
Purity Ring - Asido
Weezer - Weekend Woman
Goldfish - No One Has To Know
The Breeders - Wait In The Car
Chase Atlantic - Okay
Poppy - Moshi Moshi
Portugal. The Man - Feel It Still
Halsey - Bad At Love
Marshmellow - Silence
Sabrina Carpenter - Why
WALK THE MOON - One Foot
PRETTYMUCH - Teacher
Foster The People - Sit Next To Me
Fall Out Boy - Champion
Weezer - Feels Like Summer
The more I come across these glam, famous Instagrammers the more I wonder one thing- Is Instafame the new high school fame?
I mean it's basically the same thing. There are hierarchies, there are rules, and, most of all, there are people who gawk and drool over anyone who hits the "Instafame" mark.
You have the regulars- the Instagrammers who have sub par grams with less than 500 followers. They post blah pictures of their Olive Garden pasta and flowers in their backyard. Some of these people have tons of friends in the real world but no idea how to turn their enjoyable personality into virtual profit.
You have the wannabes-The girl who would KILL to be Instafamous. These accounts just continually fall short of hitting the 100k+ mark and are usually filled with tons of hashtags, overly filtered photos, and the occasional slutty selfie.
You have the posers- Some of them might have even hit the Instafame status, thanks to the power of fake followers & buying likes. They copy the best & make everyone else think THEY are the revolutionary.
You have the Queen B: She's got 150k+ followers, a flamingo pool float, at least one photo in a gingham bikini, up close shots of her Chanel earrings, tonssss of #iwokeuplikethis posts, a shockingly attractive boyfriend (oops, I meant fiance), & group photos of her and her besties on some rooftop bar. She's always jet setting off somewhere & is somehow invited to events like Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in NYC even though she lives in small town USA and has zero real world connections.
In my opinion, Instafamous is just a few letters away from infamous. Is being Instafamous really what it's all about? Have we as a culture graced that dreadful group from high school with an online presence?
Except now instead of having the cool table in the cafeteria they have photos of pumpkin spice lattes and acai bowls from some trendy breakfast joint in their posh neighborhood. They've upgraded from Abercrombie & Fitch to designers at Barney's. They've replaced the hot jock boyfriend with a handsome accountant, hipster startup guy, or (in the name of female empowerment) dates from Bumble. Instead of daddy's credit card, they have us!
& we follow each post. We search their usernames daily, fingers crossed we didn't miss anything while we were off in the "real world". We shop their closets with their handy liketoknow.it links and religiously follow their beauty routines. We read their advice on fashion & dating like it's the Bible. They are the epitome of Millennial adulting and should be praised as so.
& just like in high school, there's no escaping. These Instafamous girls & guys are everywhere. Except now instead of comparing ourselves to someone with a fake tan & too much lip gloss, we have to compare ourselves to filters, airbrush, & heavenly amounts of bright lighting. The brighter the light, the closer to heaven- I think that's what they say, right?
I don't mean to downplay the whole social networking experience. Obviously, there are people & brands who rightfully have thousands to millions of followers. It's just that the prom queen* is supposed to get fat after high school, not go on to sign some modeling contract.
*I was prom queen myself so I can make jokes on the subject
As humans, maybe we need this hierarchy. Maybe having all of these accounts to look at fills us with some kind of hope or sense of belonging. As we continue to incorporate sharing & a more communal lifestyle (i.e. Airbnb, Uber Pool, Rent The Runway, Couch Surfing), maybe Instagram is a way for us to revert back to our primitive form of follow the leader.
If Instafame is anything like high school fame, then we all know how this ends. & us regular people will just have to go on with our non-famous lives. I think we'll turn out just fine.
When my boyfriend called me randomly one night and said he had made a crazy decision- going Vegan wasn't what I was expecting to hear. This is a guy who would order mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, cornbread, AND fries/chips to accompany his pulled pork sandwich. I was surprised, to say the least.
He told me he had just finished watching a documentary on Netflix- "What The Health"- and that he was 100% committed to ridding his life of all animal products right then and there.
I was hesitant.
I mean could I really give up Whataburger's honey buttered chicken biscuits when I visited home? I crave Chick-Fil-A every Sunday, would I be able to withstand craving them the rest of my life? & what about In-&-Out?! Or the Shack Sauce that I splash all over my Shake Shack hamburgers as I double fist a vanilla & chocolate shake?
Not only did it seem like a ridiculous idea when all my go-to fav foods revolve around meat, I doubted the benefits. Sure, maybe you would lose a few pounds (from hardly eating anything but lettuce) or maybe actually hit the daily recommended veggie intake the FDA suggests- however, I highly doubted the difference would be noticeable.
I consider myself extremely lucky because my boyfriend has always pushed me to be my best self. I think it's rare to find someone (nonetheless someone you love!) who cares and inspires you to be the best version of you. As someone with an open mind (and a persistent boyfriend!), I decided that I would give the Vegan lifestyle a shot for 1-2 weeks. & I was pretty convinced once those two weeks were up that I would be happily ready to denounce the lifestyle of Veganism and be back to a plate full of ribs...
The Start Of A New Era....
Flash forward nearly a month and I am 100% Vegan- & THRILLED about it! I can honestly sit here and say that going Vegan was one of the best decisions I've made for myself and my life. I realize I've hopped on the bandwagon & have become one of "those" people. SOOO before I go any further I would just like to say-
I would never push any lifestyle choice on anyone! What works for me may be different for you. It's also important to make cautious, rational decisions when changing your diet or making a lifestyle change. I recommend consulting your doctor and doing research to ensure you are getting all of the vitamins, protein, & nutrition your body needs to function.
Now that that's out of the way- on to how this has been one of the best choices of my life!
Making The Switch.....
I transitioned pretty easily- basically giving up all animal products over night. While this might be super difficult for a lot of people, I didn't find it too hard. I also haven't really had cravings yet for anything- besides the occasional pizza slice or smelling someone cooking out on my street.
Give it a week. Or rather, give it two weeks. It's true that everyone reacts different to lifestyle & diet changes so go easy on yourself and don't rush into anything too fast. I suggest starting out by just cutting meat from your diet and then slowly but surely cutting out dairy & other animal products. I can honestly say that if you just give it a few weeks, I think you'll realize how amazing the Vegan lifestyle is and that the benefits outweigh the few minutes satisfaction your taste buds get by indulging in cuts of meat!
Vegan meals can be super yummy and you don't have to just rely on fruits & salads to fill you up! There are so many amazing Vegan cookbooks and online resources that you can turn to. Also, Ben & Jerry's has a few Vegan ice cream flavors soooo that's amazing!
Trust me on this- one week Vegan and you'll question why you've been eating so much meat & dairy products. It's disturbing how much of our food intake revolves around meat and animal products- with very little fruits, vegetables, and "healthy" food. Making these changes will make a huge difference in your health and quality of life- I can assure you that!
My Go-To Meal Plan:
I think the hardest thing about being Vegan is the planning you have to do. It can take a bit to get used to preparing your food at home and when you're hungry not always having the option to just throw a pizza in the oven or grab something from Subway (although there's definitely quick, easy options!).
Planning & being prepared is essential to going Vegan. Doing research and coming up with a meal plan will help you make sure you're getting all the vitamins + nutrients you need on a daily basis. I recommend talking to your doctor and considering taking a multi-vitamin (at least at first) just to ensure you're not lacking your body on anything. It's also essential to take a Vitamin B12 supplement!
This is an easy & fairly cheap meal plan for a few days. All of these are relatively quick to make and are super satisfying!
Meal 1: Curry "Chicken" With Rice & Garbanzo Beans (I use Quinoa Patties)
Meal 2: Quinoa + Salsa CrockPot Dip
Meal 3: Sweet Potato + Black Bean Tacos
For Recipes / Ingredients of the above listed Meal Plan (among other recipes!) - Click Here :)
Fast Forward 3 Months....
When I wrote this post I originally left it unpublished & had only been Vegan for about a month. I'll be honest with you, going Vegan was something I never thought I would do. I love my meats & while I'm an animal lover, I've never felt that me cutting out meat would make a difference in the American meat industry. C'est la vie....
So fast forward 3 months in & I'm really loving it! I still have a lot more energy than before. I don't crave meat or cheese/dairy products at all. I attempt to take a multi-vitamin daily to ensure I'm getting enough nutrients (sometimes I forget!) but overall I don't think I've lacked any vitamins thus far. I think the hardest part now is just having to look in ingredients because you would be shocked how many food products unbeknownst to majority of us include milk, eggs, or other dairy products in their food.
I haven't been super picky when it comes to small amounts of butter or possibly eggs/dairy in certain foods. I realize every Vegan is different but to me cutting out 95% of my meat/dairy/animal products is substantial enough- I'm not going to worry about rather or not a loaf of bread contains 2% butter or eggs. Understandably, everyone is different on their beliefs and how much of the Vegan lifestyle they want to embrace.
I ran my first half marathon (with hardly any training mind you), I don't get near as many stomach/headaches, my hangovers are slightly more tolerable, I have 10x more energy, on a daily basis I feel less anxious or like my blood pressure is high, my skin has cleared up significantly, & *fingers crossed* it already seems like my body is adjusting to fall weather better than before.
Will I eat meat/animal products again? Probably on the occasional vacation or family holiday, however, I feel so much better healthwise & to me that's all I need to know in order to believe that dairy/meat/animal products might not be that good for you- at least on a daily basis.
Sooooo here's to being Vegan & loving our bodies & loving nature. Also, here's to not being Vegan because the last thing I want to do is be one of those Vegans- who condemns everyone for not adapting the same lifestyle. You do you! & if you're happy & healthy then that's all that matters! :)
Summer is hands down my favorite season of the year! It's HOT outside & you're glowing- literally because tan skin! My mood drastically improves and I just feel so much more productive. It's great for vacations, lounging, and celebrating. With there being 93 days of summer- I thought I would make a list of 93 things to do this summer! Leave your thoughts / recommendations in the comments :)
Hope your summer vacation is AMAZING!
In your city....
1. Try a float therapy session
2. Go to a new rooftop bar in your city
3. Rent bikes & bike a trail
4. Take a class on something that interests you at a local college / university - some are free or really cheap!
5. Grab some friends & instead of bar hopping try photo booth hopping at all the photo booths around town!
6. Read 5+ books that you've been eyeing (That's only 2 a month!)
7. Find a street festival to attend
8. Volunteer or donate treats/toys at a local animal shelter
9. Support local artists & attend a gallery opening or event in town
10. Eat at a new place in your city & leave them a nice review (if they deserved it!)
11. Find a public pool that you can lounge at
12. Road trip to a nearby lake / beach
13. See at least one summer concert for a band/artist you've always wanted to see live
14. Attend a wine tasting event
15. Go to your local museum - you know it's been AGES since you last went!
16. Have a staycation at a local or nearby hotel - hotel pools are great!
17. Listen to live music somewhere & support your local musicians
18. Find & try out a new coffee shop
19. Take a yoga or fitness class - perfect time to get in shape if you didn't for New Years!
20. Visit the zoo!
21. Get your friends together and visit the nearest amusement park
22. Visit a local brewery / winery
23. Go to a water park