Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Perfection is Overrated

Jacket, Top, Necklace, & Ring: Forever 21, Leggings: Old Navy, Boots: Gifted, Bag & Watch: Asos, Hat: World Market, Sunnies: Kohl's

 It took me a while to fully appreciate and embrace the message on this shirt but I think that I have. For me that's a part of the beauty of getting older. You become more comfortable in your own skin, and you appreciate the things that make you uniquely you. Perfection is overrated. It's boring. It's predictable. And to be quite honest, it's subjective. What one person considers to be flawed another person could see as perfect. I am perfectly imperfect. 

Now some days are better than others. I could pretend that every day I go around exuding this aura of self-love and acceptance but that would be a lie. Besides, aren't people like that just a little annoying? Some days my brain just doesn't get the memo about how awesome I am and I find myself being overly critical. These days will happen no matter how "evolved" I become and that is okay.  What I can do with each passing day is try to be the best version of myself possible. I think that's doable.

There is only one of you on this Earth. Doesn't the world deserve the best version there is?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Not About That Christopher Columbus Life...

An article I wrote that got picked up by the Huffington Post. To say I was excited would be a huge understatement!
I love what I do. What exactly is that? I write. More specifically, I write about health.  Now I know I do that here but I also do it professionally. I’m a health news reporter for an ehealth media company. I read research studies on a variety of health and wellness topics like eye safety, women’s health, and nutrition, and I communicate the findings of those studies to audiences in a clear, and easy to understand format. As much as I love this job, it’s not the permanent, full-time position I’ve been looking for. I’m looking for a position as a health communication specialist. The problem is there aren’t that many of those positions out there. For the ones that are, many are with huge corporations where there will be hundreds of applicants and hundreds of resumes to sift through. There’s no doubt in my mind that I want to be a health communicator. My academic and professional experiences have been carefully tailored to this field. Even in college before I realized that this is what I wanted to do, I was making decisions that were leading me down this path. I just didn’t know it at the time.

Coming up on six months post graduation from my MPH program, I’m beginning to feel the pressure from some of the people in my life to be more “open” in my search. Some of this pressure is very real, some may be imagined, but either way it exists. Why does it have to be health communication? Just go for any job in public health.  Just go for any job.

Call me an idealist but I feel like you should find the work you do enjoyable and meaningful. I know in my heart what’s right for me. I constantly pray about this, and I know that God didn’t grant me the skills and desire for health communication by mere chance. While they may not intentionally mean harm, their advice in this instance is off the mark. I think people are more likely to convince you to settle or abandon hope, when they’ve done the same. If they can convince you to quit on your dreams, it subconsciously makes them feel better about the choices they’ve made in their own lives.

Don’t let people who have settled for mediocrity, convince you to do the same. Live the life you’ve imagined, even if others don’t get it. Believe in the gifts and talents you’ve been given, and don’t abandon a desire that God has placed in you. Have any of you experienced pressure from people around you to give up on a dream or a goal? How did you handle it?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

To Be or Not to Be...

Sweater: Target, Skirt: Zara, Shoes & Watch: Asos, Necklace: Forever 21, Bracelet: Charleston City Market

To be or not to be…that is the question. Apparently the answer is not to be. My sister and I made plans to go see Shakespeare in the park today. There was supposed to be a performance of Pride and Prejudice. When we got to the park we didn’t see any signs, crowds, or a stage so we were a bit confused. We decided to go into a little restaurant close by and see if they knew where the event was being held. A woman was kind enough to show us where the performance would have been if it were still on. You read that right. There was not going to be a show. She told us that the same thing happened yesterday. I figure either the information on their website is incorrect or all of the actors and stage hands got sick and couldn’t make it. Not cool on their part but hey it happens. We were both bummed but we decided to laugh about it and make plans to do something next weekend.  Since we were already there, we decided to sit for a bit. It was a pretty park with little swings and a view of the city skyline. We were able to enjoy it for about 5 minutes before the weather decided to turn on us too. Come on Mother Nature! After that we found ourselves at the bookstore. On a positive note, I finally got my hands on Cooked by Michael Pollan! If you haven’t heard of him Pollan is a New York Times best selling author and journalist who writes about what we eat, where it comes from, and what it does to or for our bodies.  I’m looking forward to reading this one. I’ll probably be doing a review/recap of it here on the blog in the future. I hope you all are enjoying your weekend!

Monday, October 14, 2013

High Impact vs. Low Impact Workouts


Core Fusion Barre Basics for Beginners

Yoga Workouts

I’m a graduate of the Insanity program. I committed myself to it for 60 days – no skipping days – and completed it this past May. I wanted to try the program for a while but I didn’t want to spend the money for it. I couldn’t bring myself to shell out $120 for workout DVDs. I finally took the plunge this year after working out consistently for months with only minimal progress seen. I told myself that if it didn’t work, I’d send it back. Well, it worked. I finally started seeing greater muscle definition in my arms and legs. I was thrilled! After I completed the program, I continued doing Insanity for a few more months just cycling through the month 2 workouts. At some point in August, though, I felt like my body needed a break. Insanity is a great program and it is doable, but it’s also very high impact. High impact workouts can place a considerable amount of stress on your joints and ligaments – the tissue that connects your bones.

I knew that I still wanted intense and challenging workouts, just ones that were not as stressful for my joints. In my search for high intensity, low impact workouts, I came across the Exhale Core Fusion workout series. The workouts include a mix of strength training, toning, yoga, and cardio. I purchased the Core Fusion 30-day sculpt program and the Core Fusion Barre Basics for Beginners. I’ve been using them both for a couple of months at this point and I LOVE them. They are serious total body workouts targeting your core, arms, and legs. I especially love them for my legs since they are most resistant to change. The best part is knowing that I don’t have to sacrifice intensity for workouts that are kinder on my joints. I still do love a good high-impact workout, so for me the key will be balance.

Takeaway message: It is possible to get an amazing workout that is both intense and joint-friendly. If you’re looking for low impact, high intensity workouts to try think swimming, yoga, weight training, or cycling. Remember that intensity refers to the level of difficulty of an exercise and the power required to do it, while impact refers to the pressure that is placed on your joints and ligaments. What workouts are you currently doing that you love? I’m always looking for ways to switch up my exercise regimen, so tell me in the comments!

Medline Plus, “Tendons vs. Ligaments”

Mayo Clinic, “Exercise Intensity – Why it matters, how it’s measured?”

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Culinary Pursuits: Avocado Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Avocado lovers, this one is for you! It’s a fun take on an American classic and ridiculously good. The best part is that it’s extremely quick to prepare. Side note: I realize that a slight pattern may be developing here (another vegetarian dish), but I do eat meat!

2 slices of whole wheat whole grain bread (I use Pepperidge Farm, 100 calories and 5 grams of fiber per slice)
½ of a medium sized avocado
1.5 tablespoons of crumbled goat cheese
1 slice of low-moisture part skim mozzarella cheese
6 or 7 leaves of spinach (stems removed)

1.     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.     Pit your avocado and slice it into ½ inch wedges.
3.     Spray a little cooking spray on your two slices of bread.
4.     Sprinkle on goat cheese, next add spinach, then mozzarella, and finally your sliced avocado.
5.     Put the sandwich in the oven for about 5-6 minutes.
6.     Pull the sandwich out and spray a little cooking spray on the top of the sandwich and put it back in the oven for 1-2 minutes.
7.     Take out and enjoy!

This one is seriously yummy, easy to make, and only requires a few ingredients. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out in the comments!

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Strength in the Struggle

Today I decided to go to church with my sister. She lives about 45 minutes away so on the drive up I played one of my favorite gospel albums, Tye Tribbett’s Stand Out. After I got to her place, we headed over to church and I still had his album playing. As we were driving, we started talking about Tye Tribbett and his cheating scandal from a few years back. I know some people took his music out of rotation as soon as it came to light, but I didn’t understand why? Nobody is perfect. I can’t judge other people for mistakes they’re making because I’m making mistakes as well.

From there we started talking about how other Christian artists like Kirk Franklin have been vocal about the struggles they’ve gone through as believers. To me that is so refreshing. I don’t want to listen to artists or pastors who make it appear like their lives are perfect. I want to hear about the good and the bad. Knowing that a song or sermon is based off of lived experiences gives it greater value and meaning. I jokingly said that you need to have gone through some things to be my pastor, but that’s a pretty accurate statement. Struggle is where you find strength, where you learn lessons, and where your relationship with God is truly formed. The greater the struggle is, the greater the testimony is and the more lives that can potentially be brought to Christ. Besides, how can you sincerely counsel me on overcoming trials if you haven’t faced them yourself?

As I was saying all of this, it really put things into perspective. I’m at this juncture in my life where I have a better sense of what I’m supposed to do but unsure of the path to follow to get there. As I try to take steps forward, I feel like I keep running into brick walls. This was a reminder for me that the struggle is a part of the journey. Because of my encounters with these brick walls, once I’m able to conquer them, I’ll be more resilient, less doubtful, and better able to help other people do the same. My present struggles will become my future strength. I hope for all of you reading this that you come to (or have come to) that same realization. 

Here's a quick look at what I wore to church

Sweater & Necklace: Forever 21, Skirt: Target, Shoes: Baker's, Clutch: BCBG 

P.S. The pumpkin pie bagel and New York style cheesecake cream cheese from Panera are incredibly good! They’re both seasonal items so make sure to check them out before they're gone for another year! You've got to indulge every once in a while, right?

The extra cream cheese is my sister's, I promise!

Happy Monday in advance!

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Weekend Chronicles: Back to Atlanta

Top: Kohl's - Rock & Republic, Vest & Ring: Forever 21, Pants, Bag, and Watch: Asos, Shoes: Steve Madden

Cardigan: H&M, Jumpsuit: Forever 21, Shoes: Topshop, Purse: American Threads, Watch: Asos
Forever 21
Cardigan: H&M, Top & Skirt: Forever 21, Shoes: Steve Madden
The Food...
salmon salad
Salmon Salad from Mirko's

Flaming Joy Roll from Kiku's
The beeeUtiful Park...

Lullwater Park

This past weekend I took a trip to Atlanta to meet up with some friends from school. In the two short years of my program, I made a home for myself there, so it was difficult having to part ways after graduation. Going back felt so good. It also didn’t hurt that the weather was gorgeous throughout the entire trip! The first night a group of us had a mini reunion catching each other up on work and life. The next few days involved movies, homecoming, a lovely stroll through a park, and lots of eating at some of our favorite restaurants. One of the highlights for me though was definitely the park. It always takes some people by surprise when they learn that I love nature and being outside. It has such a calming effect on me. The park was breathtaking. It’s the kind of setting you’d expect to see in a Hallmark movie. The pictures certainly don’t do it justice.  I was kind of bummed that I didn’t know about it when I was in school. It definitely would have been a nice oasis when I was working on my thesis! Needless to say, having to leave on Sunday was bittersweet. However, I’m consoled by the fact that I’ll be back for more visits and shenanigans. I hope you all had a great weekend!
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