Monday, December 14, 2015

Guest Post #1: Sam, on Weight Loss

Today's post features a close friend and partner in crime, Sam. (Get to briefly know Sam in my Charlotte --> Charlottesville post). Here she talks about her struggles with weight, confidence and attitude and all she's done to overcome. So proud of you, Sam! 

Before you read her story below, check out these AMAZING before & after pics!!

December 2014 (left) vs. December 2015 (right)
November 2014 (left) vs. October 2015 (right)

February 2014 (left) vs. December 2015 (right)

On behalf of Sam;

I have really missed writing, but I am far too lazy to have my own blog so I asked Alyssa if I could guest write a blog post. She agreed, so I am essentially the beer pong celebrity shot taker right now.

Fun facts about me:
 I have known Alyssa since braces, and I have lost 52.2 lbs since January 2015.

My weight loss program is no secret, and follows no fad diet programs. I don’t count calories, points or track my steps. It is comprised of Motivation, Goal Setting, Accountability, Conscious Decisions and Sweat.

Motivation: My “you seriously need to lose weight” wake up call came somewhat randomly. It wasn’t looking into the mirror and seeing a pale blob, or sucking it in so hard so that even your biggest size pants won’t button. Nope, it came watching a show called the Mindy Project with my husband. Spoiler Alert! The main character Mindy Lahiri becomes pregnant. Mindy was having a conversation with her good friend, coworker and OBGYN, Peter, when conversation becomes awkward. He was informing her that she is considered a “high risk pregnancy” due to her weight and that she was going have to eat healthy and take care of herself or her and the baby could be in danger.

That slapped me in the face. I am 25, married and in my “child bearing years” (which repulses me to say due to the fact that children terrify me). Regardless, my husband and I want to have a family eventually and I was terrified that if Mindy was having a “high risk pregnancy” at her size, then I would be in even more trouble. So there you have it, my intrinsic motivation for weight loss is to have a baby. My extrinsic motivation is that my sister is getting married March 2016 and all of the other bridesmaids are all tiny as hell, so I am trying to look good next to them.

Goal Setting: The BMI calculator is the biggest joke I have ever heard of. In order for me to not be overweight at my height (5’3) I need to weigh 140 lbs. This seemed very daunting at an obese 221.6 lbs but I decided that I no longer wanted to be even considered overweight. My goal was set, at the BMI healthy 140 lbs. I broke this out in 10-15 pound goals and each time a milestone is met I celebrated and then got back after it.

Accountability: I could not have lost the weight without this step; first thing every Thursday morning was Sam vs. Scale of Truth. A text message would go out to a few of my closest friends with the results. A few of them participate with me and will send back their results as well. It is a total judgment free zone, full of positivity, laugher and a few “we will get back after it this week”. This helped tremendously since a large aspect of weight loss is the mentality you need to get it done. Texts back and forth to each other trying to limit “Binge Eat Sundays” and now I also never miss a Monday workout.

Conscious Decisions: This started by becoming informed. Once I learned scientifically how the body breaks down food, it became clear for me… I needed to ditch most of the carbs. I started by using the basis for the 17 Day Diet that I had failed miserably at a few years ago. I knew that there was no way I can sustain extreme carb cutting so I made a few “swaps” and eliminated a lot of processed foods. The conscious decisions aspect comes in play every time I put something in my mouth. I don’t count calories, or carbs but I will read nutritional labels and make the conscious decision of whether or not I actually want to eat that or if I can find something else that is healthier. I drink a ton of water, limit alcohol to the weekends and only occasionally have Diet Coke if I really need the caffeine. It really is that easy.

Ex) Day in the Life

Morning- 1-2 Coffees, 2 Eggs with Side of Fruit or OatFit Oatmeal
Lunch – Jimmy John’s Turkey Tom in a lettuce wrap (UnWhich) or HT Turkey Spinach Wrap
Dinner – Chicken and veggies over brown rice (Hibachi Style, Mexican Style, Chinese Style) or Tilapia and asparagus or ground turkey chili.

Sweating: Find something you enjoy, something you are willing to spend 3+ hours a week doing and something that you actually feel guilty if you miss a few days.  For me, that is 3 Words- Orange Theory Fitness. I hate working out, hate, hate, hate! I am naturally lazy and would much rather do just about anything else but I now understand that the benefits of a good workout are bar none. I did a free trial at a studio gym called Orange Theory Fitness and I signed up immediately after the class. It is a high intensity interval workout that kicks your ass. It combines treadmill interval training with water based rowing and a TRX suspension system, and then dumbbell or body weight workouts. You wear a heart rate monitor that is linked to a TV screen during the class so you can see what “zone” your heart rate is in. Their “Theory” is if you stay in specific zones for x amount of time then you will continue to burn calories after the class – also known as the “after burn”. Essentially being the lazy person I am, I learned that if I bust my ass during the class then I will continue to burn calories outside of the class. Yahtzee! The class itself has a trainer who is there to tell you what to do (so you don’t have to think), how to do it (so you don’t hurt yourself) and motivate you throughout the grueling workout with a great playlist. An unexpected benefit of the studio is making friends and seeing people grow and get better, faster, and stronger every day with you. I try to go to OTF three times a week and do yoga at least once a week. A lot of breweries are offering yoga classes on the weekdays in Charlotte and currently Thursday nights at Free Range Brewing is my favorite. Oh, and sweating in cute workout clothes helps too!

As of today I still have about 30 lbs. to lose to reach my final goal. It is a daily struggle but I love all the compliments I receive and the new clothes I get to wear! Alyssa has been helping me dress with trendy styles since I was always too big (in my mind) to wear latest trends.  

Thanks again!

#OrangeTheoryFitness #OTF #SplatPoints #Afterburn #ActiveWear #Goals #Motivation #Accountability #NoFadDiets #LowCarb #LowCarbLifestyle

Hahaha I don’t know about those tags but I was throwing it out there.


Yes, I left the last sentence because it was just too funny not to share. Keep on keepin' on, Sam! How amazing does she look?! Do any of you have a secret to your healthy lifestyle? 

Day 12: Blogging Challenge

Day Twelve: Bullet Your Whole Day.

Well since I can't blog about my whole day on the same day, I'll bullet yesterday #GAMEDAY #SUNDAYFUNDAY #SOHOTITSLIKESUMMER

Bridgette, Brooke, Alli, Yours Truly, Sam, Emily
Crazy looking lightrail station at 8:30am // Bucket o' beers @ Angry Ales Charlotte (via Leslie)

  • Wake up at 8am via text from Sam, "are you coming with?" 
  • Tell her "No, I have too much to do today"
  • Reply again saying "Eh, whatever, YOLO" and hop out of bed 
  • Let dog out and feed dog
  • Brush teeth, wash face, dry shampoo, throw some makeup on
  • Get dressed - rocking the 'Mighty fine fifty nine' Carolina Panthers jersey #ILoveYouKuechly
  • Grab the sunglasses (it's like 74 degrees out), a breakfast bar, a Naked smoothie from the fridge and a couple beers for tailgating
  • Drive to Sam & Jeremy's to grab them 
  • Head to the lightrail in Charlotte and ride uptown 
  • Arrive to tailgating spot and pour mimosas, set up cornhole boards and food
  • Drink & eat
  • Made up a story to some man at the lightrail station that I hitch-hiked from Ohio to come tailgate but I lost my ticket and couldn't go to the game. He totally believed me & said he liked my converse shoes.
  • Ride lightrail home around 12pm as everyone heads into the game (I was not about to pay $200 for a ticket)
  • Get home, let dog out again
  • Change jerseys - it's Steelers time!!! (Big Ben #7)
  • Grab the pup and head to Angry Ales bar on Montford 
  • Try to find a seat for 30 minutes
  • Finally find a seat and try to find a server
  • Prevent Boone (the pup) from trying to eat all the trash on the ground for 3 hours ... he has a thing for napkins
  • Watch my Steelers whoop up on the Bengals and Carolina crush the Falcons with a bucket of Miller Lite and a chicken quesadilla
  • Head home 
  • Shower
  • Be super lazy for the rest of the night until bedtime around 10:30pm

Helloooo Sunday Funday... Goodbyeeee productive Monday. 
Hope everyone had a great weekend, cheers to the undefeated CAROLINA PANTHERS and a big win for the PITTSBURGH STEELERS!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Day 11: Blogging Challenge

Day Eleven: Put your iPod on shuffle and write 10 songs that pop up.

I'm a total slacker. A week and a half after Day 10 and I'm posting Day 11. 
Longest 30 day challenge everrrrrrr #mybad 

... but my excuse is because I never use my iPod anymore so I had to find it... then find the charger... then charge it. So HA.

Here is Gone - Goo Goo Dolls 
My Sacrifice - Creed
The Party Song - Blink 182
Old Dirt Hill - Dave Matthews Band
That's When I'll Stop Loving You - *Nsync
Baby Don't Go - Fabolous ft. T-Pain
Sexy Bitch - David Guetta ft. Akon
Dance in the Dark - Lady GaGa
Use Somebody - Kings of Leon
Superstar - Lupe Fiasco 

THE most random mix of workout, pregame and chill, haha!  Can you tell I haven't used my iPod since college?? Happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Clean Eating - Breakfast Edition


A great starting point: CLEAN EATING - SNACK EDITION 


I started to share my love for clean eating via the Snack Edition and today I want to share with you my favorite BREAKFAST OPTIONS for clean eating. 

I don't have a lot of time in the mornings. Between turning the alarm off 4 times (whoops), to taking the dog out, to attempting to curl my hair and smudge some makeup on, I'm literally the worst morning person. I need quickon-the-gohealthy breakfasts that will keep me fueled until I get hungry again around 10am. No seriously, my stomach YELLS at me if I don't eat like every two hours. 

Here's how a typical day of eating works for me;

TOP 10 Clean Eating Breakfasts 

1. Quinoa Omelette Bites


Made in a muffin tin and easily prepared ahead of time, these bites are super tasty and packed with protein. The recipe calls for a mini-muffin tin, but I just use a regular sized pan. You can add or take away ingredients, but my favorite is just what the recipe calls for ... plus a dab of Sriracha on top for an extra kick of flavor.

2. Breakfast Tostada

This recipe uses a flour tortilla but to keep it clean I sub for whole wheat. You can use any kind of egg on this (I prefer over easy) but I've also done scrambled and fried. If you're feeling crazy nutritious, swap out the spinach for some softened kale! To make this on-the-go, I just put it in a Ziplock® container and slightly re-heat at the office, but it is a bit better fresh. For an even more on-the-go option, don't bake the tortilla but leave fresh and roll up with scrambled eggs to make a portable wrap. 

3. Skinny Omelette Wrap

Eggs are cooked super thin and stuffed with an unimaginable amount of healthy fillings - try mixed salad greens, feta cheese and pesto like this recipe, or swap for spinach, mixed peppers and salsa for a southwest feel. Super light compared to normal omelettes but definitely just as filling.

4. Southwest Scrambled Egg Wrap

This is my twice-a-week breakfast, literally. It's packed with flavor, it's filling and portable. I switch it up with one full egg and one egg white and sometimes I'll add a piece of lean turkey for extra protein. I also like extra avocado but it's because I'm obsessed with avocado. This wrap is seriously SO good.

5. Strawberry Banana Protein Muffins

So easy to make and uses whole wheat flour, protein powder, fresh fruit and ZERO artificial sweeteners, this breakfast can be made ahead of time and ready to eat all week. Swap out the strawberries for another fruit like raspberries or blueberries to change it up. 

6. Bowl of Doom

The name of this is hilariously awesome and it's equally as delicious. One of my favorite breakfasts to prep the night before (after I eat half a sweet potato with dinner - use the other half!) and throw in a Tupperware container. The recipe calls for ground beef, but I use 94% ground lean turkey instead to keep my fat intake low and my protein high. YUM.

7. PB & B Smoothie

A super quick breakfast idea for when you really have to fly out the door. This specific recipe calls for chocolate whey protein, but I prefer vanilla (not as sweet in the mornings). I also use frozen banana slices instead of ice cubes to make the texture smoother and less watered down by the time I drink it all. So filling & perfect for kick-starting the day or even as a pre-workout meal. 

8. Apple Pie Oatmeal

It's like sneaking in dessert for breakfast. It's hearty, tasty and basically Fall in a bowl. This recipe doesn't call for a specific type of apple, but i'm a sucker for Honeycrisp (+ the honey? HELLO, HEAVEN). I think it tastes just as great reheated, so make a big batch at the beginning of the week.

9. Berry English Muffin

Salty peanut butter & sweet strawberries are a match made in heaven for me. The recipe calls for Eziekiel bread, but I just use whole wheat english muffins instead, #broke. Hint: Toast the english muffin to make the peanut butter all warm and melty :)

10. Spinach Quinoa Egg Scramble

Mixing up traditional scrambled eggs with spinach and pre-cooked quinoa is a great way to use leftovers AND start your morning on a high note. The recipe says it packs in 19.6 grams of protein per serving... I call that awesome gym fuel. 

WOO - there you have it! 10 of my favorite Clean Eating Breakfast options. All are filling, healthy, and easily portable for on-the-go mornings. 
No more excuses ... save all the bad foods for the holidays :)

Monday, December 07, 2015

Bananas for Banana Bread

I go through banana phases. Sorry, that sounds kinda weird but it's true. I'll want a banana for breakfast every morning for a week, then I'll want it with peanut butter the next week, then I'll want the Banana Sushi I referenced in my Clean Eating - Snack Edition post (#yum). Then I'll want nothing to do with them. Last week was one of those weeks. I had an entire bunch of bananas that were way past ripe and nearing throw-out time. 

Then I remembered that I don't have to be wasteful and can use up those gross, squishy naners in this amazingly moist, flavorful banana bread recipe! It's so simple and only requires a few ingredients. My mom used to make this recipe growing up and has since passed the torch... now i'll pass it to you! 


Prep: 15 min |  Cook: 1 hr 5 min | Ready In: 1 hr 20 min


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup butter (1 stick - softened)
3/4 cup light brown sugar 
2 eggs, beaten
Approximately 4 medium overripe bananas (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or more depending on preference) 


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Use cooking spray to grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan (I use coconut oil here, but my mom just uses canola oil). 
  2. In a large bowl mix the flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs. Mash bananas (I find this easiest with a fork) and add to the brown sugar and butter mix. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture, add chopped walnuts, then stir just enough to combine. Pour batter into greased loaf pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60 - 65 minutes (Test? Insert a toothpick into the middle - if it comes out clean, you're good to go)
  4. Let bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes while sitting on a cooling rack, then use a knife to run along the sides and remove bread from pan.
  5. Slice into desired thickness and enjoy! - I like to add a bit of butter spread to mine but it's completely optional. 


I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do - it might not be the healthiest, but it sure is the tastiest! If you make it, be sure to share your feedback :)

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Day 10: Blogging Challenge

Day Ten: Discuss your first love and first kiss.

Ooh la la, young love. Haha, I wish online blogging let you put the monkey face emoji that's covering it's eyes. This is about to get embarrassing!

My first kiss and first love were not the same but a fun story nonetheless.... and no it did not look anything like the adorable picture above (how cute are they?!).

First Kiss | I was 14 years old (I think?!) and lived in a neighborhood full of boys and girls my age. We were inseparable, all 20 of us. We all swam on the neighborhood swim team. We all went to the same schools. We had sleepovers (well the girls at least). We carpooled. Every weekend night we'd stay out as late as we were allowed - so when the street lights came on - playing Hide and Seek, Ghost in the Graveyard and Capture the Flag. Sometimes (and by that I mean when our parents were outside drinking in the driveway with all the other parents cause that was totally a thing) they'd let us stay out past dark for Ghost in the Graveyard. It was hands down our favorite game and we'd count to midnight and yell as loud as we could for all the neighborhood to hear. Then we'd run to try to find the person hiding ("The Ghost") and have to run back to base (aka the street light) without getting tagged or you become the next ghost. I remember one night we were playing past street light time and I was running around trying to find the ghost with a family friend named Ryan. He was my brother's best friend's little brother and I had a little teenage crush on him. Long story made short we were behind a neighbors house in between some pine trees and he planted one on my lips. I don't remember anything about it other than I was huge tom boy and kissing boys was super gross. So romantic right? Hope yours was better.

First Love | There was a guy named Alex that I ironically met 2 years later at above mentioned first kiss Ryan's parent's house. I was 16 years old and our families were gathered for the Super Bowl and in walks this 6' tall blonde hair green-eyed kid. I was shy and super awkward, but he started talking to me and we ended up exchanging AOL AIM screen names (I was sportschik14, he was dukeguy51... how could I forget?). We talked, er typed, almost every night for over a year until we were old enough to get phones, then we texted and occasionally called. He lived in Greenville, SC and I in Charlotte, NC but we had managed to meet up a couple times in the next few years. I went to an Aerosmith concert with him and his parents, he rode his motorcycle (yes, motorcycle, my Dad loved that) on a day trip to Charlotte to see me and a couple other random times. We got older and went to college and stayed in touch through college. We never officially dated but I was totally head over heels for this kid. Unfortunately, as we grew older we grew apart and the last time I saw him was a couple years ago when he was dating someone. I still wonder about him to this day! 

I truly hope that your first kiss and first love stories are better than mine. Is anyone still with their first love or first kiss partner? I want to hear your story and live vicariously :)

Thanks for stopping by for Day 10 of the Blogging Challenge - 1/3 of the way done! 

Clean Eating - Snack Edition

I don't about you guys, but I think I'm still feeling the post-Turkey blues. I pretty much ate my weight in fat and carbs over the Holiday and I swore to myself come Monday I'd get back on track with eating wholesome, healthy foods.

I've rounded up some of my favorite "Clean" eating snack options below. Although Clean is a relative term (to each his/her own), I personally define it as all-natural ingredients, non-processed, mostly homemade, good for the body foods. I try to eat as clean as possible, but to me life is also about balance. As much as I want to eat a cauliflower pizza crust for dinner, whole wheat just sounds a bit better in my opinion :) 

Anything with an asterisk beside it is detailed below. Enjoy!

Roasted Chickpeas | A crisp light snack that can be seasoned to your liking! There are so many options for using chickpeas other than for salads and hummus. A favorite of mine is this Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas recipe from Blogging Over Thyme and a general crowd favorite are these Cool Ranch Roasted Chickpeas from A Saucy Kitchen.

Apple Cookies | Not quite like they sound, but equally as appealing. Try this simple recipe where apple slices are coated in peanut butter and drizzled with honey. Add dark chocolate chips and coconut shreds like Rachel Schultz does here.

Banana Sushi | A fun twist on the traditional fruit - plus I love eating anything and everything with chopsticks. Fit Foodie Finds makes this fun version by adding Dark Chocolate almond butter, pistachios and chia seeds. I love to make mine with a melted dark chocolate/all-natural peanut butter mixture, walnuts and chia seeds! The best part about this snack is that you can totally customize it with what you have on hand. 

Cool Ranch Roasted Chickpeas via // Apple Cookies via // Banana Sushi via

Quinoa Salad | A spin on traditional quinoa, but easy and customizable! This aesthetically pleasing fruit salad from Two Peas and Their Pod is packed with protein, nutrients and flavor. The honey-lime vinaigrette is amazing too so often times I put it on regular salads.

No Bake Energy Balls | Gimme Some Oven makes this delicious recipe that's super simple, made with healthy ingredients like oats, honey and ground flax seed and tastes just like a no-bake cookie! I love munching on one or two of these after a workout. 

Frozen Yogurt Fruit | So easy, so tasty. Dip (or coat) fresh fruit into greek yogurt and freeze! I prefer blueberries and strawberries here but I think pineapple would be delicious too - it's next on my list. Try the recipe from Family Fresh Meals that uses blueberry greek yogurt. 

Quinoa Fruit Salad via // No Bake Energy Balls via // Frozen Yogurt Fruit via

Lara Bar | This store-bought bar is gluten free, non-GMO and made from wholesome ingredients. If I'm going to buy a pre-made bar, it's this one. They have an amazing assortment of flavors like Carrot Cake, Chocolate Chip Brownie and Apple Pie and can be found in most major grocery stores, Target, and most drug stores.

Banana 'Nice' Cream | All the pleasure without the guilt... now that's my kind of snack. Eat this after dinner & it makes you feel like you're eating real ice cream before bed. Try The Kitchn's version of this treat featuring just one ingredient, or make your own version using peanut butter, dark chocolate, fresh fruit or other add-ins.

Baked Wheat Tortilla | It's like eating chips without all the processed ingredients! Try this super simple recipe from Food Network and dip in your favorite salsas and homemade guac.

Lara Bars // Banana Nice Cream via // Baked Wheat Tortilla Chips via

I hope some of these clean eating snack ideas help you get back on track with healthy eating! Feel free to comment below with some of your favorite snack ideas!
Happy Hump Day!