Monday, November 25, 2013

Life on the Balance Beam

Imagine standing in an empty room. Bare walls, hardwood floor beneath your feet. There are multiple doors. All of them in a row… but how do you know which one to choose? Do you go for the "fast track" and speed past the hard work to reach your dreams? Do you rush towards the door promising marriage and children? Or do you choose the one that takes a little longer? The one that requires sacrifice and effort… promising you everything you've ever wanted, if you are just willing to put forth the energy.

I have been sitting on this blog post since Friday night. Should I write this? Should I not? Will I sound selfish or lazy? The truth is, I don't think I am either selfish nor lazy. I am a 27 year old, working hard towards her dreams, and hitting some bumps along the way.

I am currently finishing up my second term out of five, in nursing school. It is challenging me beyond belief. I am doing all of the things that are asked of me, to succeed. But, I never seem to shine where I need to. Seeing as nursing is my passion in life, I have to obviously make it through school first. Challenge 1: Accepted! Shining through… not so much. However, I am putting my faith in God that it all will work out just the way it is supposed to.

Then there is the idea of marriage and kids, and a house! Every women's dream… or maybe just mine? Anyways… I am on this nursing school journey for another year and a half. Eventually the thought of marriage and children will become a reality. I just have to be patient that God is working out those details to happen at the right time, for me. Selfishly… (yes, I said it!) I have dreamed about becoming a wife and a mother for as long as I can remember. It is probably the number one thing I am desiring to hold claim to, but I know it will take place in due time. For now, I have my puppy to keep me busy.

Throw into the mix my Beachbody Coach business, working out 5-6 days a week, trying to eat a clean, healthy diet, studying, homework, clinicals, papers, my job as a Nursing Assistant, and all of the driving I do to get to/from all these places I have to be.

It's a balancing act. I constantly feel like I am on a balance beam, trying to hold my head high, keep my eyes looking straight ahead, and a smile on my face. Piece of cake, right? Not so much. I struggle with staying optimistic and eluding beams of positivity. I am not perfect. I'll admit that openly. However, I am a firm believer that each and every one of us has a plate piled high of "To-Do Lists", "Grocery Lists", taking the kids to sports practices/games, walking the dog, prepping meals, working out, investing all week at our jobs, spending way too much time in rush hour traffic, and so forth. I could go on and on, adding to this list… but, you get the point.

So, how do you keep a balanced lifestyle, with all the craziness piled high on our plates? For one, we don't dare drop it. No, sir. We'd have a sticky, gooey mess if we did that! Start by taking a look at the items on your plate. Are there certain things you could begin removing, one at a time? Start first by looking at your priorities. For example: family and friends, nursing school, my job, working out, running my Beachbody business, household chores, and what have you. Take all of your priorities and arrange them, beginning with what is most important to you. Could you wake up 30-60 minutes early to squeeze in a quick workout? Could you skip some things you want (fancy coffees, manicures and pedicures, or shopping trips) to save money to put towards something you need? Are you able to rearrange your work schedule to make it to your child's sports game or ballet recital? We take so much for granted on using excuses to opt out of things, when in reality, we only get one life. We need to grasp it in our hands, and dive fully into our top priorities. Making sure to sort through the odds and ends on our way through.

I know it is not always easy, and sometimes you just need to say "No, Thank You!" to a friend's invitation for coffee, or grabbing drinks after a long work week. Sometimes we just need to take a step back from all the craziness, and reevaluate where we belong, and what we are willing to put our energy into. It isn't a matter of if you fail or succeed that really shows your determination. Real, down-to-earth dedication to trying is what's important. If you must fail, fail forward.

The following was taken from a book I own,
"The Confident Women Devotional" by Joyce Meyer.

"I believe that failing is part of every success. As John Maxwell says, "We can fail forward." History is filled with examples of people who are famous for doing great things-yet if we study their lives, we find that they failed miserably before they succeeded. Some of them failed numerous times before they ever succeeded at anything. Their real strength was not their talent as much as it was their tenacity. A person who refuses to give up will always succeed eventually."

Never give up on YOU, and Never give up on your DREAMS!

Monday, November 18, 2013

All Things Pumpkin

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Your favorite pie crust dough, enough for one 9-inch shell.

For the filling:
1 pie pumpkin
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups organic cream
1/2 cup unrefined cane sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
**1/2 tsp ground ginger
**1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
**1/8 tsp ground cloves
(I substituted pumpkin pie spice for the starred spices)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the pumpkin in half, remove the seeds, place the pumpkin halves in a pan, shell side up, and bake for 1 hour or until the pumpkin is tender, exudes liquid and the shell starts to sag.

Pour off accumulated liquid, scrape the pulp from the shell and purée it with a potato masher or in a blender. Measure 2 cups of the purée and set it aside. Reserve any additional pumpkin for another use.

Place your pie dough on a lightly floured surface and, starting from the center out, roll the dough to about 2 inches larger than the size of the pan. Loosen the pastry, fold it in half, lift it and unfold it into the pan. Press it into place, trim off the excess dough and crimp the edges.

Increase the temperature of the oven to 425°F. In a large mixing bowl lightly beat the eggs. Add the purée and the remaining ingredients and stir to blend. Pour the mixture into the dough-lined pan.

Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake an additional 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Recipe adapted from


Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Compliments of

Pumpkin Spice Syrup
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 cinnamon sticks or 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3 Tbsp canned pumpkin

1 shot of espresso (or coffee)
6-8 oz Silk Original or Vanilla soymilk, steamed
1-2 Tbsp pumpkin spice syrup (or to taste)
Whipped cream, optional (can whip up canned coconutmilk to make whipped cream)

Prepare syrup
1. Cook sugar and water in a small pot over medium heat until the mixture is completely clear.
2. Whisk in the remaining ingredients and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Do not allow mixture to come to a boil. Remove from heat.
3. Allow mixture to cool for 10-15 minutes.
4. Strain syrup through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer into a large jar or bottle of your choice.
5. Keep syrup in the fridge for future use. Recipe yields ~2 1/4 cups syrup. Use 1-2 Tbsp for latte.

Prepare latte
6. Combine espresso with steamed milk and 1-2 Tbsp of pumpkin spice syrup (add to taste).
7. Top with fat-free whipped cream.

Enjoy! :)