Does anyone else get mega anxiety before heading back to work on a Sunday evening? 🙋🏻🙋🏻🙋🏻🙋🏻🙋🏻. This girl does. Especially after a long weekend. So here I sit. Finding myself trying to do everything I had planned on doing over the 5 days I had off......but then the ADHD kicks in. And I'm accidentally planning a trip, watching 90 Day Fiancé & deciding to stay up late to Cyber Monday shop. Oh well. Stay tuned for deals!!!
Y'all....I mean seriously....this is so exciting. My writing got posted on one of my fave blogs ever! Her View From Home. Total dream. The best part is....if I get enough views....I can write for them on a regular basis! #LifeGoals. So....please....click away, share away and read!!!!! Go Cats!! Go Bucks!!!
Gahhhh. I'm actually the worst blogger ever! These past few weeks have been crazy!! I'm so grateful to have the chance to relax this week and share Thanksgiving with my wonderful family and friends! On that note....here is a last minute, easy and quick....and pretty healthy dessert! Meet: Sweet Potato Chocolate Pie. Yum.
P.s. How freaking cute is our little kitchen paddle? My awesome aunt got us this for our wedding! Good news!!!! American Laser Crafts is running a Black Friday deal on groupon!!!! Check them out!!!!!!
Enjoy the rest of Turkey Day!!
Enter to win the FITMARK GIVEAWAY using the link below!!!
Okay...first of all....thank you SO much for all the love and support over the past 24 hours. I was just thrilled to share where I came from....and had no clue I would get the response I did. I think you can tell from the photo above how insanely happy Eric and I are, and we can't wait to see what the future holds. And now I obvi have to share it! Duh! Because we are all besties now ;)!
On a lighter note....let's talk tacos. I mean....it is TACO TUESDAY....right? And I would totally be lying if I tried to deny that it wasn't taco Sunday and taco Monday in my house....and more than likely will be taco Wednesday too. But I am giving myself props....because instead of eating Chipotle 6 nights a week...I have perfected my own rendition. Introducing: The Turkey & Quinoa Taco Bowl.
I obviously am in a serious relationship with quinoa. But it is totally justifiable. Quinoa is super nutritious. It is high in protein and fiber, is gluten-free, has a low glycemic index...and it is very versatile in the kitchen. It is also bland in flavor, so it blends wonderfully with pretty much anything. There isn't anything super over-the-top special about this recipe; however there are some great healthy touches. Instead of using a taco seasoning as sold in stores.....I used spices I already had at home to make my own. The big benefit here is that this makes the seasoning much lower in sodium. Plus it rocks. I used a ground turkey and quinoa mix instead of ground beef....which was bomb and healthy. I consider eating this meal for 3-nights-straight: research. I had to figure out the best combos. You can get crazy if you want and add beans and corn for toppings or add a little orzo to spice things up. Maybe a little cheese and a dollop of plain greek yogurt....or is that too risky (Jordan? Katie?)? The possibilities are endless ;). No matter how you dress it....you won't be mad. Promise.
Peace, love & tacos.
So I have totally played around with sharing my “story” forever. Not that it is anything super special, but it did get me where I am today. I think I have been too embarrassed and too worried about what people would think about me, but I have gotten to a point in my life where I have come to the realization that the “blips on the radar” (as my dad calls them) from my past are truly blessings, and they made me.
They made me strong. They keep me humble.
Growing up in Ohio, I wanted to do the midwest thing. Go to college, graduate, get married, have kids, move to the suburbs and raise an adorable little family. So that is what I did. Literally two weeks after graduating college, I got engaged to my high school sweetheart, bought a house in almost suburbia, and got married the following summer. Check. Next comes baby. Check. I found out I was pregnant, and was over the moon excited. One of my biggest character flaws is the fact that I am a total planner and control freak. I had plans for my life (as noted above), and I was soon going to find out that I indeed was not in control. Not one bit. And it devastated me. Being the fitness freak I have always been, I remember getting up on Thanksgiving morning and having to get a workout in. And right in the middle of that workout, is when I started to lose my baby. It took years for me to get over that guilt. I thought for so long that I killed my baby. Little did I know then that God had much bigger plans for me and it just wasn’t time. That didn’t mean I took it easy. I was depressed.
For a long time. Remember, I am a planner and a control freak, and a miscarriage wasn't in my plans. I also don't like to lose. And I felt like I lost. I had planned on being a mom and having a baby….and that was what I was going to do. Fast forward 6 months...still no baby. A year. Yup, no baby. But I wasn't going to give up. Enter fertility specialist. Drugs, shots, procedures, acupuncture, surgery, 7 failed iui attempts. No luck. I was now depressed and obsessed. Not going to quit though. Begin prep for IVF….and BAM. World rocked. Husband goes out for the night, doesn't come home. Next morning tells me he doesn't love me, doesn't want to be married and found someone else. Slap in face.
I remember sitting on my couch that day sobbing with two really great and supportive friends. One of them said, “I don't know why this is happening to you, but I see you in 6 years married to the perfect person and so happy”. At the time, it was a really sweet thought, but it didn't matter. I had a new life to try and deal with. I was humiliated and embarrassed, ashamed and even more depressed. It was the craziest time of my life. I was convinced I had done something wrong. That I was a bad wife. That I was the problem.
I had no idea the toll stress was about to take on my body. Within weeks I dropped 15 lbs. My skin turned jaundice and I couldn’t keep food in. I was shutting down from the inside out. I learned a lot about myself, and how poorly I deal with stress was a huge lesson. I tried outwardly to pretend that nothing was wrong, but my inside was not going to let me forget that I had to learn to cope.
After a doctor’s visit that displayed a low white blood cell count and a pancreatic cancer scare, test results finally showed that stress had caused an enlarged bile duct which was making me so sick.
Insert how fitness and food saved my life.
I had to find a way to cope. Obviously acting like nothing was wrong wasn’t doing much for me. First I had to get the confidence in myself back. Enlisting the help of my wonderful and supportive family and friends FINALLY without being embarrassed and talking to a therapist got me back on track. And instead of focusing on what I thought were my failures, I set new goals. I talked with a gastrointestinologist who recommended that I start eating gluten-free to help with my health condition. This was key and essential for getting my strength back and putting weight back on. I started cooking more. Something I have always loved. Something I felt like I had to give up when I was no longer a wife (how stupid?). So if you have noticed, a lot of the recipes I post are GF. There is your back story :). With the fuel from food, I had energy again. And with the new mental strength, I wanted the physical strength too. I was determined to be the strongest I had ever been. So I started running again. In 2012 I ran an unhealthy ½ marathon. But I was back. I started feeling happy again. My fitness was something I could control and was in control of….and I was elated.
Here comes the best part!!! During that time of rediscovering myself, I reconnected with the love of my life and soulmate. I had been so freaked out that nobody would want me if they knew what I had been through. Eric not only was so supportive, but he was proud of me and what I had accomplished. And he loves me so much. And I love him back so much. Which is pretty awesome :).
Fast-forward to now. I am happier than I ever have been in my entire life. I guess that is why I am writing this. I think a person’s past explains the present. If you asked me 4 years ago, I would have never dreamed this is where I would be. On October 24th, the story came full circle when I walked down the aisle to marry Eric. I have never cried tears of happiness in my life. Ever. When those barn doors opened and I saw all of my family and friends who have supported me and the man who stands behind me in everything...I totally lost it. I tear up just thinking about it. One of my best friends, Jordan, and I always joke about our lives using the Drake lyrics, “started from the bottom, now we here”. As ridiculous as it is, it is totally true. In that moment I realized how lucky I was for each and every one of those tough experiences. They built me. I am happy, healthy, surrounded by the most amazing husband, family (including my puppies of course) and friends....and most importantly....I am STRONG.
A fitness instructor in a class I was taking once said, “It doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger”. That’s life. And I am SO thankful for that!
Gah. Get me out of this food rut. I realized this week that I was boring. Well not just this week...I already knew I was boring...ha. Kidding. But if I eat carrots and hummus for lunch one more day I might puke. I need diversity. We all do it. We get comfortable with our daily meals and when cooking for one especially, it is just easy to stick what we know. So this morning, I sat down and created a brand new meal plan for the week, with easy-to-prep-in-advance meal ideas! Nothing crazy, but it is enough to keep me happy for the week! Check it out below! And try the overnight pumpkin oats....they do NOT disappoint!
Wow. October was a complete whirlwind. In the most wonderful way possible. Can you believe it is already NOVEMBER? In order to celebrate, I am taking the opportunity to roll out LOTS of exciting news for NaturallyNati!
First of all....did you see the new logo? How cute is that?!?! We are getting super official!
Here is a sneak peak of one of the yummy recipes I am sharing Wednesday. A perfect fall treat!
Whew. That is a lot of NEWS for the first day of NOVEMBER!!!!! Let's do Fall Ya'll!
I AM A 30-SOMETHING, FOOD-LOVING, FITNESS-OBSESSED, DIY-ING, WORK-A-HOLIC, MOMMY, DOGGY MOMMY & AND WIFEY.....THAT DECIDED TO SHARE MY LIFE WITH YOU. WELCOME AND ENJOY!