Are You Really Hungry? How Do You Know?

You’re out at a restaurant and order an appetizer & entree + you feel full to the max. I mean, bloated full, yet when the waitress asks you for a dessert menu, you say “yes.” You start reading all the desserts: ice cream with a chocolate brownie, molted lava cake, strawberry shortcake and the list goes on.

Are you hungry?

Nope, but you order dessert anyway.

A few reasons why could be:

  • Because it sounded good

  • You had a bad day

  • You’re craving ice cream

  • You’re an emotional eater

Food can serve as many purposes such as a stress reliever, entertainment, a reward, pleasure or even a punishment. Sometimes your relationship with food isn’t always straightforward. But, when it comes to food, it’s so much more than just “tasting” good.. Sometimes, we have emotional ties with food that we didn’t even know about. We use it to soothe ourselves when times are rough and don’t see it as fuel.

When it comes to food, I am not perfect. Sometimes, I eat when I’m not hungry because it looks good. But, it’s rare that that sort of thing occurs because I’ve learned to listen to my body and ask myself if I’m hungry or just thirsty. I mean, if I just ate a big meal and I feel hungry, I know that my body is begging for water. But, many people mistake that cue for more food and instead of stopping while they’re ahead, they keep eating. In turn, this could turn into a habit.

So, how can YOU tell when your hungry? Do you typically listen to your body? Do you follow a strict diet or schedule when it comes to eating?

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

10 Ways to Stay Happy + Healthy

I used to think just by eating clean and healthy foods, it would equal to a guaranteed happy + healthy life and boy was I wrong!

Here’s the truth: eating all the salad & kale will not automatically make you happy + healthy because there are so many other components.

Sure - these foods WILL make you feel good, but they will not be the all end all because as humans, we crave companionship and if you’re not getting that in your life, in turn you might end up with an eating disorder, binge eating, etc. And, I’m NOT saying that just because you don’t have a boyfriend, you’re destined to be unhappy! All I’m saying is relationships of any kind are extremely important for your overall well-being along with a few other components.

Here are ways to stay healthy:

1) Eating healthy. Okay, again, this one is obvious. Eating bags of cheetos every night will not make you feel good. In fact, your stomach will probably HATE you. Eating those types of foods once in a while is fine, but not all the time. I always stick to the 80/20 rule. Most of the time, I’m eating salad, sweet potatoes, kale, etc and foods that will benefit my body instead of hurt it and then the other 20%, I eat chips or something considered “unhealthy.” Remember: we only get 1 body, so why punish it day in and day out?

2) Building relationships. Whether it’s a significant other, family or friends, surround yourself with loved ones. We all crave human interaction and making memories with people is SO good for your health. So, plan a girls night, a date night, or go out to dinner with your family ASAP!

3) Enjoying your job. Do you like your job? There are so many people who have stayed in their jobs because of the pay or they cannot find another job and it’s sad. If you’re finding you’re miserable with your job, it might be time to re-evaluate your job situation. Being miserable at a job will only bring on negative emotions, which could lead to depression. Try to make sure you’re happy at your job and if you’re not, sometimes happiness overpowers money!

4) Being financially stable. Do you feel as if you’re financially stable? This is a hard question for most because we always want more! The amount of money we earn isn’t always enough, but there’s a difference between living to work or working to live. When you’re financially stable, you’re less likely to feel stressed. I get that sometimes you feel like you don’t earn enough, and you’re looking for a way to earn more, consider taking on something you enjoy on the side! If you’ve always wanted to be a dog walker, baby sitter, blogger, vlogger, health coach, etc, why not go for it? But, if you’re happy with your situation, more power to you!

5) Going to trips. I find that traveling is good for the mind, body + spirit. Getting away from life for a few days clears your mind and makes you feel less stressed. And, besides, who doesn’t like to try new restaurants, explore different cities and decompress? It doesn’t have to be a long trip or that far, rather, you could go somewhere local and still feel the same way.

6) Get off social media. I say comparison might just be the death of Americans. Our whole lives are spent looking at other people’s lives, bodies, etc and feeling depressed. So…. stop scrolling for a few days and you might find yourself feeling happier + healthier.

7) Have sex. Okay, okay, no one wants to talk about sex + I get it, but it is healthy to have sex. It puts you in a good mood and the sensation is like nothing else, so as long as you’re safe, have all the sex you want!

8) Listen to music. Maybe this is a personal preference, but I find that listening to music definitely makes me happier!

9) Enjoy food. Try not to let food rule your entire life. If you’re craving a donut, have the damn donut. Don’t restrict yourself because you’ll end up binge eating. Please try not to punish yourself for listening to your body. Just enjoy every single bite of that donut and eat healthy the rest of the day. It DOES not have to be a recipe for disaster. Rather, think of it as a treat!

10) Spend time with your animals. I find that taking my dogs for a walk or simply cuddling with them puts me in a better mood. Whether you have a dog. cat, rabbit, etc, make sure they know how much you love them!

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

Sharing My LOVE STORY In Hopes That It Will Inspire You

October 6, 2013: Hey, that sounds like a really cool career path in writing but way to go in considering a pursuit of your health admiration!!!

I had no idea that the conversation I had with this guy on October 6, 2013 would turn into something even bigger than I EVER knew.

But, you have to start somewhere.

I’m not going to sugar-coat it or lie to you when I say that it has been easy because it hasn’t. When I first met my husband, he was closed off. He had never had a girlfriend and he was an angry person who bottled up his feelings. And, I’m not going to say I was perfect either because I was very immature and didn’t know how to handle situations in a mature manner.

We grew close very quickly and soon, he began to open up and his anger slowly began to diminish.

As for me, I was scared of my feelings. He was the first guy who I truly cared about. Sure, I had other boyfriends, but this was different.

Our love story is different because after 15 months of dating, we moved to another state that was 12+ hours away in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. and we were tested in more ways than 1.

It was then that we needed to see if we’d last.

There were days I’d doubt our relationship and felt breaking up was our best option. I pondered it one day as I lay in our apartment. And, he knew I had doubts.

Conversation after conversation drew me closer to the breaking point.

And, I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone about my doubts for fear of the person telling me what I already knew - we needed a break.

Gosh, I was terrified.

But, there was always something there. There was something telling me that he was the one for me and reminding me that I was never going to find a flawless man. I would always find something to complain about. I would always find something about the person that drove me nuts.

And, then, just like that, the doubts were gone.

Then, in November 2015, he popped the question. But then, a few months later, we were presented with another test - he lost his job and we had to move back home.

Devastated and still immature, I handled it terribly instead of appreciating the fact that we had the option to move back home.

As time progressed, the doubts resurfaced.

In fact, the doubts resurfaced a few months before we got married. This is the part that no one knows about because I never disclosed this information. I held it in, but finally talked to him about it.

Did I believe it was a red flag. Duh. But, I also know myself and thinking that THE PERFECT MAN is out there for me WITHOUT FLAWS was ridiculous.

All I knew was I HAD to talk to him about my feelings.

We both had tears in our eyes as I explained to him that I wasn’t sure if we should get married due to his flaws.

Here were the 2 questions: would I ever be able to accept them OR would I dwell on them for the rest of my life?

I cried because I had no idea what I was doing. I knew I was madly in love with him and that I had to decide what I wanted.

He stressed the fact that he accepted my flaws and would love me no matter what. We barely spoke the rest of the evening and the next day, we revisited the conversation.

This was when I realized that I couldn’t keep doing this to him. It wasn’t fair that I kept questioning him as a person when he was the guy who would do anything for me and I saw through his actions that he was dependable and would always do his best to protect me and handle situations in a mature manner. You never had to ask him twice to do something because after you explained that you needed him, he would be there in a heartbeat and I never found that in another guy. So, I just knew.

We got married in November 2016.

But, there were still plenty more tests to endure.

In March 2017, we moved again without a plan. No concrete job. Then, he started his own business and I found a job.

A year later, we found a house, but money was always something that was concerning. All at the same time our heater broke, the windows in our house suddenly stopped working, our dog chewed my prescription glasses, we owed thousands of dollars for our income tax, and the list went on.

BUT.

One thing has remained the same. Our love for one another. Though, I’ve strayed from him a few times due to my insecurities, his flaws and my immaturity, at the end of the day, I still loved him.

Every couple has had ups and downs and has had to put out money they weren’t prepared for, but it’s all about finding a way to make it work.

Maybe your love story is a bit more complicated, simpler or easy to tell, but ours is nothing shy of a world-wind.

Just remembering at the end of the day that you’ll get through it together is the most important thing.

My hope is that this will inspire you. If your guy has flaws, just remember that NO ONE IS PERFECT and you will never find a man with every single characteristic that you’re looking for!

Every story has a different ending. If you can handle the bad along with the good, then more than likely it’s meant to be. But, if there’s something telling you that you’re making a mistake, you may want to ask yourself if it’s worth moving forward and starting your life with this person.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Does he make you feel warm & fuzzy?

Does he give you butterflies?

Does he make you feel good about yourself?

Does he tell you truth and not sugar-coat it?

Does he listen when you need him?

Does he lift you up when you’re feeling down?

Does he encourage you or support you no matter what?

Is he there when you need him the most?

Is my relationship with my husband perfect? Absolutely not! Do we argue? Yes. Do we bicker about stupid stuff? Yup! Don’t believe EVERYTHING you read and hear on social media because it’s not true! It’s a facade that people put on. No one ever tells you about the bad. They always want to talk about the good, but I want to remind you that there WILL BE bad. Not everything is picture-perfect.

Remember that having a happy and healthy relationship is extremely crucial for your well-being. If you feel like your relationship isn’t what you thought, let’s chat!

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

Being Mindful

Most of us spend our entire lives living in the past or future.

We start thinking, “how could I have changed the scenario” instead of focusing on the present. We get lost thinking so many thoughts that we don’t concentrate on what’s happening NOW. And, I’m guilty of doing this because on my drive to work, all I can think about is how I think my day will pan out instead of focusing on the trees, plants, landmarks and the other cars surrounding me. I also get so lost into thinking what I need to do after work, what tasks I need to get done at work and what I’m having for dinner.

Here’s the thing: you can train your mind to start thinking in the moment. It won’t be easy because our mind often wanders., but it’s definitely feasible.

So, next time you’re eating, pay attention to the taste, how the texture feels, how it feels in your mouth and how much chewing it takes.

Next time you’re driving, pay attention to the cars, scenery and your overall surroundings.

Next time you’re washing your hands, pay attention to how your hands feel, the temperature of the water and how the soap feels in your hands.

Just learn how to be more mindful and stop trying to figure out what your next move is. We need to focus on our breathe and learn how to concentrate on what’s happening NOW.

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

Listening to Your Body & Deconstructing Your Cravings

When I was in college, I started restricting myself from eating certain foods such as donuts, bagels, pastries and anything else I considered “bad food.” At work when someone brought in donuts, I would take a cold, hard look at them and want one so badly, but deny myself the pleasure.

I would say I’m pretty good at controlling myself when it comes to food.

But, some people are not. For instance, if you restrict yourself from eating specific foods, more than likely, you’ll end up binge eating, which is worse than just eating the darn donut in the first place.

It wasn’t until I started attending IIN that I found denying myself was actually hurting more than helping, so I started LISTENING to my body. Was I in the mood for a sweet treat? If so, I would have something small. I never felt like I needed to eat a whole carton of say ice cream because I began tuning into my cravings.

Is it easy to listen to your body?

Hell no.

But, once you train yourself to tune into what your body WANTS, you’ll more than likely not feel the desire to eat an entire chocolate cake.

Do you know why you crave certain foods? This is why:

  1. Lack of Primary Food. Being dissatisfied with a relationship, having an inappropriate exercise routine (too much, too little, or the wrong kind), being bored, stressed, or uninspired by a job, or lacking a spiritual practice can all cause emotional eating. Many people try to cope with uncomfortable emotions or difficult situations by seeking balance through food. Food can provide a form of relief, or even an escape, when you’re under stress. In this way, food is being used as a strategy to fulfill areas of primary food that aren’t being satisfied.

  2. Water. Staying hydrated is a great way to help reduce extreme cravings and may ultimately help regulate the amount eaten to match needs more closely. A glass of water before eating has actually been shown to reduce the amount of food consumed during a meal. Another factor to consider is that your hydration status affects your body’s electrolyte balance. When you sweat and lose water, you also lose electrolytes, like sodium. This may lead you to seek out sodium-rich foods following an intense workout.

  3. Lack of Nutrients. If the body has inadequate nutrients, it might produce odd cravings. An extreme example of this is a disorder called pica, which leads to extreme cravings of nonfood items, like clay. This condition may arise due to a chronic iron deficiency.

  4. Seasonal. The body often craves foods in accordance with the season. In the spring, people crave lighter foods, like leafy greens or citrus fruits. In the summer, people crave cooling foods, like raw foods and ice cream. In the fall, people tend to crave grounding foods, like squash, onions, and nuts, and many crave heat-producing foods, like meat, oil, and fat, in the winter. Cravings can also be associated with seasonal holidays. For example, turkey, eggnog, or Christmas cookies.

  5. Inside Coming Out. Cravings often come from foods you’ve recently eaten or foods from your childhood. Recently eaten foods tend to be fresh in your mind, so you’re more likely to crave that food in an attempt to re-create a positive eating experience. Similarly, when you crave foods from your childhood, you may really be seeking the feeling of comfort those foods may have provided when you were younger.

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

It's Been Two Years Since We Moved To Greenville And My Experience Has Been...

In 2015, we visited Greenville for an engagement shoot.

At the time, we were living in Tennessee and my now-husband had just lost his job, so we made the decision to move back to Pennsylvania.

It was a difficult time for both of us because we had been living on our own for about a year and I loved the freedom of having my own place. Did I miss my family? Hell yeah, but it was a choice we made.

So, two weeks after doing the shoot, we moved back to PA.

A few months later, we decided to move to Greenville permanently. Was I afraid the same thing would happen as Tennessee? Yes, but it was a risk I knew I had to take.

Around the time we moved here, my grandma passed away, so that made it 10 times harder because I knew it was a horrible time to leave my family. But, I had to go.

Gosh, these two years had been emotionally draining.

My husband started his own business, which took a while to gain traction. It only took me about a month to obtain a job, but still, we were not used to our surroundings and we only had 2 friends here. It was hard starting over again and not to mention, the people in the south are so much different than the north, so we had to get used to the personalities.

But, we made it.

Together, we worked as a team and adopted a dog, moved to a nicer apartment, then bought a house, found out I was pregnant and I started attended IIN to become a holistic health coach. No, these events didn’t happen all in the same year.

So, it’s safe to say that these past few years have had its ups and downs.

In terms of the emotional aspect, there are days I miss my family so much it hurts, but then I remind myself that we would NOT be living comfortably in the north. It’s too damn expensive to live here and I wasn’t getting ANY job opportunities.

In order to learn, you must go through rough patches! It will only make you a stronger person. And, people ask me all the time how I cope with not seeing my family. What do I say? I don’t think about it. If I do, I’ll become a blabbering mess and you won’t want to pick up the pieces, trust me.

I’ve learned so much about myself, my husband and our abilities to take situations in stride. I mean, this year has started off really rough with having to fork out SO MUCH money for our taxes, then having the washer break, the heater, and my dog eating my prescription glasses. So, it’s safe to say we’ve put out way more money than we anticipated, BUT…. I remind myself to focus on the positive aspects of my life. It could be so much worse.

I mean, compared to other women (knock on wood), my pregnancy has been a breeze. I often feel nauseous, exhausted, heartburn, but nothing too extreme, so I’m lucky.

What have I learned living here?

I’ve learned that there’s a little creative community that is willing to help. All you have to do is reach out!

My husband and I can get through anything.

Stay positive even when negative things are heading my way.

It gets better.

Believe in myself and my abilities.

Believe that I WILL obtain clients for my business.

Thanks GVL for the memories so far! I can’t wait to create more. ✌️


If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

Dear Future Daughter

Dear Future Daughter:

I'm writing to you before I find out if I can have children, before I'm engaged, and before I'm ready to have children. There's so much I want you to know about this world, your daddy and what kind of man we want you to be with. I could be jumping the gun a little bit here with your daddy, but he's told me asking my hand in marriage is just a few months away. And, I'm not planning or wishing for it to come true. Instead, I'm taking it day-by-day and enjoying my time with him.

I'm going to tell you something about your daddy. He's a special guy who will do anything and everything for his little girl. He'll always protect you and love you like he loves his mommy. Your daddy will take spending time with you very seriously because he'll love you to pieces and want to make memories.

Once the time comes, he'll teach you that there are good men in this world and will be honest with you about the men who just want to sleep with you. He'll want to know who is spending time with his little girl. And, I know for a fact if this man breaks your heart, your daddy will beat the crap out of him. He'll feel devastated to see his little girl hurting and so, he'll do everything in his power to cheer you up.

I know what kind of guy he is and what kind of father he'll be because we have a dog--whom you'll grow to love--who he plays, cuddles and takes on long walks. He cherishes the moments he spends with our pooch just like he'll do with you.

He was raised to be respectful and courteous to women and that's why I love him so much. He goes out of his way to do things for me and even puts me first. You will witness these acts of kindness by your daddy when you're old enough to understand. You will learn who a good man is by watching your daddy love and care for me when I'm in pain. You'll watch your daddy be my rock, my shoulder to cry on, my co-pilot and my partner for life.

Even though he's a rather anti-social person and avoids chaotic situations, he'll never pass up an opportunity to go somewhere with you or our family.

Society can be mean sometimes. I'm so sorry if you're bullied in school. Daddy and I will teach you how to be a strong woman who doesn't care what other people think of you. We'll teach you to have a thick skin and defend yourself when people are cruel and rude to you. You will le

Unhealthy vs Healthy Carbs

When it came to carbs, I used to be obsessed with only eating carbs for one meal a day. Typically, my lunch would consist of a bagel with peanut butter, salty and sweet snack. But, then later on, I might indulge in a bag of chips. It was mostly empty calories that would fill me up for a bit and then, I’d just end up getting hungry a few hours later because it never held me over.

I would often write down exactly what I’d eat just to avoid carb overload.

All I heard was CARBS MAKE YOU FAT! And, I listened because here I was trying to stick to one meal of carbs a day, which by the way the bagel was processed with added sugar, but I really wasn’t paying attention. I wasn’t researching healthy vs unhealthy carbs.

So, when I started going to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I learned the difference between the two. You know you hear so many different perspectives about nutrition when it comes to the media, magazines and society. First we hear carbs are the enemy and then all of a sudden, we hear, oh actually carbs make you lose weight, which is what everyone wants to hear.

But, honestly, it’s based on the individual and not every single person gains weight from carbs, not to mention, there is a difference between unhealthy and healthy carbs.

HEALTHY CARBS include:
✔️ Whole grain bread
✔️ brown rice
✔️ quinoa
✔️ oatmeal
✔️ beans
✔️ sweet potato

UNHEALTHY CARBS include:

✔️processed pastries
✔️cookies
✔️white bread
✔️potato chips
✔️white rice
✔️ candy
✔️ sugary cereal

I mean, it’s not going to kill you if you consume a donut once a while. My tip is NOT to deprive yourself because you’ll end up binging later on, which will be worse than actually eating it in the first place. Just know that carbs give you energy, You NEED carbs to keep you going and you shouldn’t be afraid of them. You need them in order to feel full. So, next time you start thinking, “maybe I shouldn’t eat this, remember this article!” Refer to it whenever you need to. And, as always, I’m here if you need me!

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

How to Start Your Week on the Right Foot

Sunday nights.

They’re rough on all of us. The next day is Monday and so the circle of dread begins. I get it because I’m with you. The weekend is filled with laughter, fun & you can stay up late! But, on week days, you need to be responsible & go to bed at a reasonable hour in order to feel your best!

But, I’m here to tell you that Sunday night doesn’t have to be filled with dread. You can change your attitude and I’ll tell you how by focusing on the good things happening during the week.

1) Meal prep on Sunday. This will start your week on the right foot because you’re less likely to reach for processed foods. Bring foods you’ll look forward to eating!

2) Set your clothes out the night before. Want to catch some extra Zzz’s? Make sure you pick out your clothes the night before to avoid being late the next day & maybe you’ll get to sleep in for a few the next day.

3) Meditate on Monday morning. Before going to work on Monday morning, take 30 minutes out to meditate and cleanse your mind before heading into work.

4) Make plans after work. Get together with friends after work, so you have something to look forward to. Grab a coffee or a glass of wine & relax with your best gal pals.

5) Schedule a date night. Book a reservation at your favorite restaurant & surprise your significant other with a date night!

If you’d like to schedule a FREE HEALTH CONSULTATION, CLICK ON THE LEARN MORE BUTTON BELOW 👇

You Live & You Learn. Here's What Happened To Me.....

“You owe a couple thousand dollars for taxes,” said our accountant. I sat there in AWE. It was shocked beyond disbelief.

My husband & I had never owed money. I mean, he had a hunch that we would need to pay money, but I had no idea.

On top of that, we just learned that something is wrong with the circuit board on the outside unit of our HVAC system, so that’s going to cost us some money. Right now we’re not really running the heat in order to save money. Our last two bills for our electric were a couple hundred dollars, vs $80, which is what we were paying at our apartment.

Not to mention, I found out today that my dog chewed my prescription glasses, so that’s another expense we never took into account. Oh, and, we’re spending a couple thousand every month just to LIVE. It’s disgusting & absolutely frustrating.

So, I went into the garage, went on the elliptical & cried.

I cried because I feel like everything is crashing down. I feel like we just can’t catch a break no matter what we do in life. Every time we want to save money, it always bites us in the ass. Every time we think we’re about to get ahead in life, we get a set-back. I know, I know, that’s life and there are SO MANY worse things that could have happened. I know that I need to appreciate what I have, but why can’t I be frustrated? Do I have to be happy ALL THE TIME?

But, this is it: in life, there’s always a lesson to be learned.

You should put away money for taxes.

You should have an emergency account.

You shouldn’t leave your glasses where your dog can reach.

You need to spend less money on groceries.

For me, those are just some things that come to mind. But, it’s not that simple for some people. Some people are struggling & trying to stay above water while the waves continue to crash down. And, I know that. I remind myself that every time something bad happens.

I start focusing on the positives.

Do I have a nice house? Heck yeah.

Do I deserve it? Heck yeah! My husband & I worked hard for this house & it’s about time we got SOMETHING that we wanted. We’ve been through so much shit and we’re just getting started.

But, you live & you learn. So, let me ask you: what lessons in life have you learned?

So..... I'm Pregnant?

“I’m really late,” I told my husband, Brett while we were on a trip in Wilmington, NC.

I was supposed to get my period at the end of October and I kept waiting for it. The previous months it came around the end of the month and I felt as if it would come, so I was prepared, but it didn’t.

“But, you’ve been late before,” Brett said. “Yeah, but, not this late.” He smiled. He looked at me and just stared. We’d been trying since May or June, but it just wasn’t the right time. I kept telling myself it would happen, but maybe the timing just isn’t right. I mean, in August, I started a new career and will earn my certification in April. I took it as a sign that we weren’t ready.

But, I have to admit by the end of October, I was frustrated.

I began thinking, “maybe we can’t get pregnant” and then “what the hell is wrong with me?” If I hadn’t been late in October, I was going to start doing research and scheduling a doctor appointment to find out if I was able to get pregnant or not because it seemed like it was taking a long time.

I told my husband on November 3rd, 3 days before our anniversary. Why did I tell him? Because I was REALLY tired and in case I was pregnant, I didn’t want to push it too much. But, he was excited at the thought. I, on the other hand, was scared shitless.

The next day I took a pregnancy test.

I didn’t want to take it though. I was really, really nervous and my heart was beating a mile a minute. He kept asking if I took it or not and I was stalling.

But, then, around 5:30 on Nov 4th, I took it.

I waited 15 minutes before the test confirmed that I was in fact… PREGNANT.

Maybe it’s wrong, I thought to myself. Pregnancy tests aren’t always right.

I walked down the stairs and showed my husband. He looked at me and smiled.

What was the first thing I did?

Cry.

I cried because I live in South Carolina and my mom lives in Pennsylvania and she won’t be here during my first pregnancy. I cried because I didn’t know what I was doing and I was scared out of my mind. All this time I so badly wanted to get pregnant, but here I was terrified.

My husband hugged me tight because he saw I was getting emotional, which by the way NEVER happens. And, I HATE crying because I don’t like to display emotion. Does that make sense? Probably not.

Anyway, after crying for what felt like 10 minutes straight, I stopped.

I told myself I had to be a big girl and deal with the fact that my mom lives in PA. She is always a phone call away. And, there are plenty more people who have moved here while their parents live somewhere else, so I’m not the only one.

In the end, I’m happy, but I’m also pretty nervous.

Want to know my story?

“We’re not going to conduct an allergy test because it wouldn’t make sense after hearing your symptoms,” said the doctor.

Okay.

Again, another dead end. I was back where I started and felt rather frustrated.

Over the last 6 years, I’ve gone to a total of 7 gastroenterologists. The issue I was having stemmed back to high school. I would eat a dairy product and feel my stomach start to gurgle and then gas would rear its ugly head and I couldn’t let it out because I was in school and felt embarrassed, so there I was spending the whole day keeping it in until I was able to release it. By the time, I let loose, my stomach had already felt like shit and I just didn’t get it.

I tried to avoid dairy, but then it started happening when I ate random food such as pasta sauce, pasta, sandwiches, etc.

In college, it got worse and that’s around the time I told my mother, who took me to a gastro. I’d describe my issues, they’d ask me a few questions, give me a pill and I went on my way. Did those pills work? Hell no!

So, I went to another one and they recommended a cat-scan and an ultrasound and found that I had an ovarian cyst, which they removed. “We’re hoping that that’s the issue,” said my doctor. So was I!

But, unfortunately, it wasn’t. I continued to suffer. I dealt with it for years and then went to see someone else, who gave me another dose of pills. OH, yay!

In 2015, I moved to Tennessee and went to see another gastro, who suggested I eliminate red meat from my diet. And, she was the ONLY doctor who suggested food being the healer, not medicine. A few months later, I went to another gastro, who asked me if I’ve ever had a colonoscopy. Nope! But, I was willing to try it.

They found NOTHING!

It was as if I was a rare medical case because NO ONE could figure out what I had. Someone suggested possibly a slight case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but she wasn’t sure.

When I went on a cruise for my honeymoon, I saw a nutritionist, who put me on an elimination diet. To my surprise, it helped a little bit. He explained that I had many toxins and chemicals in my body and told me to stick to these certain foods to see if my symptoms disappeared. They didn’t totally, but my stomach felt so much better!

In 2018, I started IIN and learned so much about elimination diets and how food IS medicine. Looking back had I known that I should have changed my diet instead of listening to the doctor, I might have gotten rid of my stomach problems. BUT, you live and you learn.

Have a similar experience? Let’s chat: adashofhopee@gmail.com!

Would you ever consider going on an elimination diet?

I Finally Found My Happiness

I’ve always wanted to help people, but wasn’t sure in what compacity.

In college, I felt drawn to the magazine industry and yearned to live in NYC to become a magazine writer. I did intern for Good Housekeeping and Family Circle Magazine, but changed my mind due to the competitiveness.

Instead, I went straight into content writing then became a social media coordinator, and finally a community manager. But, there was always something missing.

When it came to my career, I never felt settled.

I always felt the sense that I was meant for something greater. I always felt like there was something else out there for me. I would suggest a new career every week, but never followed through because it wasn’t meant to be. That was until I moved to Greenville a year ago and came across holistic health coaching.

Something clicked in my mind. The excitement started creeping up and that’s when I knew I finally found it. I’ve spent most of my 20’s confused as to what career I wanted. I’d start a job, love it and then all of a sudden, something would happen. And, in my heart, I knew it was a sign. I kept on looking and wondering when it would finally hit me.

So, now, after years of exploring career options, I’m becoming a holistic health coach and my goal is to help people – whether it be men or women – become their best selves. I want to see the smile on their face when they finally find their happiness. The joy I’ll feel will be overwhelming and for the first time in my life, I know I’ll be making a difference.

Via Hannah Kerr’s Little Pink Book

Don't Forgot About Yourself!

I’ve been married for a little over 2 years now.

And, I’ve been with my husband a total of 5 YEARS. In 2013, we met, which was a few months after I graduated. At that time, I thought I was at the peak of my career and yearned to be a New York City girl reason being I had my 2nd internship at a magazine. I wanted to become a magazine writer and be engrossed in the magazine industry. Later on, I figured out that it was no longer something I was interested in due to the competitiveness.

I’d only see my now-husband a few times a week and weekends because of our schedules. We only lived 30 minutes away, but it felt like so much farther.

We had our alone time and I was still Hope and he was still Brett. We each had separate lives and we were two different people. I would focus on what I had to do and my goals and he did the same.

In 2014, I moved in with him and his parents. Then, in 2015, we moved to Tennessee. In 2016, we moved back to PA temporarily until 2017 when we moved in SC and have been here since.

But, sometimes I feel like I lost myself. I used to write in a journal almost every night, workout, and spend time by myself. I still workout, but don’t write as often as I used to. Part of it is because I don’t have as much time and my full-time job takes up most of my time, but still, I definitely don’t manage my time well enough.

So, if you’re engaged, in a relationship or married, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t forget about yourself. I know at times you should put your partner first sometimes, but always remember to take care of yourself too!

Here are few ideas for self-care:

1) Book a Massage.

2) Take a Bath.

3) Get your hair done.

4) Go to a yoga class.

5) Go for a walk alone.

6) Get your nails done.

7) Meditate.

8) Write.

9) Book a facial.

10) Go for a run.

Now, these are just suggestions above and they do not have to cost an arm and a leg. If you’re on a budget, I suggest getting a french manicure or even spending 30 minutes to pamper yourself. Bottom line is if YOU feel good, then everything around you will feel good and you’ll feel happier, more content and feel closer to your partner.

You Gotta Try Hare & Field -- Like ASAP!

“I have a reservation for 5:30 on our anniversary,” I informed my husband a few days before our 2-year anniversary. I didn’t tell him where, just the fact that we were going out to eat at one of the restaurants we’ve been wanting to try since it opened in March.

It took us 30 minutes to get to Hare & Field in Travelers Rest, but it was worth every ounce of gas.

When we walked in, there was a table with a RESERVED sign that was for us, so we sat down. Upon being seated, we were greeted by a friendly waitress, who was very knowledgeable and sweet.

We asked our waitress what she recommended and we were told their Fish & Chips, Shrimp & Grits were popular. But, my husband was in the mood for a burger, so he ordered the Diablo Burger, which he noted was zesty. On the side, he ordered rabbit soup, which he described as having an earthy and flavorful broth. He also ordered a beer. Now, my hubby is not a beer drinker, but he said you didn’t get the rubbing alcohol taste like most beers. Instead, it was smooth, slightly fruity and bubbly.

I went for the “Go To” Vegan Burger with fries, which by the way were TO DIE FOR! The best part about this place is EVERYTHING is made from scratch, in-house and they hardly use their freezer. You can tell the difference between fresh ingredients vs “convenient foods” aka pre-packaged processed foods.

Now, getting back to the the vegan burger, it has the same consistency as a regular burger, but doesn’t taste exactly like a beef burger because it’s made from plants. It was really good, but for people who want beef, I probably wouldn’t recommend it. But, for me, it tasted delicious and had all the toppings I love! And, the FRIES, omg! They were crisped to perfection and again were fresh.

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For dessert, we ordered their Smores cake. Ya’ll - I’m partially lactose intolerance, but this cake was so worth a few bites. It was moist, sweet and the filling was even creamier. It was seriously heaven on a plate and I wished I could have more, but I didn’t want to piss my stomach off.

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I would HIGHLY recommend making a trip to Travelers Rest to check out this restaurant ASAP! They seriously know how to make good food and treat their customers right! I would go again in a heartbeat.

FU, stomach

FU, stomach.

That’s why I say almost on a daily basis to my stomach whenever I feel nauseous or feel like I need to eat before I pass out. You see, I’ve had a sensitive stomach for years. That means, if I eat certain foods that will make me want to sit in the bathroom all day or don’t eat a certain amount of food per day, I’m screwed. In order to get my stomach working properly, there are specific things I need to do.

Firstly, if I eat a meal with a lot of grains, I’ll feel full, but at the same time, I’ll still be hungry. Let me specify that the days I eat a bowl of quinoa + veggies and I’m at work, it just sort of sits at the bottom of my stomach making me want more foods. But, I’m not really hungry. It’s annoying. The only way I can cure my stomach is if I walk. My office isn’t very big, so that’s sort of an issue. However, if I eat that same meal at home and get adequate amount of exercise, I’m fine. Ugh.

Also, let’s say I eat an apple at 3 and don’t eat dinner until 7:00, my stomach will HATE me. Reason being my stomach does not like apples. It will indicate that it will be bothering me the rest of the evening whether I like it or not. Hate you, tummy. I’ve been living with this for a while and wanted to disclose this information because I told you I would be transparent, real and genuine when it comes to discussing my life. If you’re living with a sensitive stomach, I’m here to tell you I’m here for you.

All those times you had to head to the bathroom in a social situation, I get it. How about the times you feel as if you need to pass gas, but your co-worker is in your office talking about something you don’t care about. How about not wanting to complain when you’re starving, but the food won’t be ready for another hour and there are NO snacks around. What about when you thought you brought an extra granola bar, when in fact it’s nowhere in sight. Or, how about when you do make it to the bathroom and three of your co-workers are gabbing about their husbands and you really have to go #2? They stand in front of the mirror giggling, meanwhile it’s just about ready to plop. TMI? Yeah, it’s embarrassing, but it’s reality for us. This is something we need to live with on either a daily, weekly or monthly basis and it’s time to talk about it.

It’s time to stop hiding and finally come forward. It happens to the best of us. And, I can help you - you can trust me when I say I know how you feel. I understand 100% and if you need an ear, please send me an email: adashofhopee@gmail.com.

Hi I'm Hope and I'm Becoming a Holistic Health Coach!

Back in 2013, I knew the nutrition field was calling my name, but I just didn't know what I wanted to do. Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, Dietitian were a few options I explored, but I never followed through with any of them because I was never sure which to choose. 

One day, I looked for nutrition schools and came across the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, but had just graduated from college, so I knew it wasn't feasible.  In addition to the student loans that I now owed, my learning disability held me back. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to comprehend what I put in front of me. In order for me to understand something, I need to read it over a few times. It's frustrating when trying to comprehend material and not being able to process the information.

So, my love of nutrition was put on the back-burner because I was still living with parents and wasn't getting paid enough to pursue another career. 

I decided to move forward as a social media/marketing coordinator. I went from job to job trying to figure out what I truly wanted. Every job started out the same way. I'd love it and then something would happen that would make me dislike it. It was a pattern I desired to break.

Fast forward to this year when I met a girl in Anderson, SC that was a Holistic Health Coach. She went to the same school I looked into years before. I took it as a sign, but despite it being right in front of me again, I still searching for a profession that I loved. Photographer, wedding planner, social media coordinator, marketing manager, and the list went on. I'd tell my husband I wanted to try something new almost every week. But, truly, I had NO clue. I was confused, but determined to figure it out.

That was until I looked into the program seriously this time. I started reading all the components and it started calling my name. I contacted the school and spoke with an administer who told me all about the school.

"You have two options: a 6-month or 1-year program," said the gentleman. Everything he was telling me was appealing. The smile began to form on my face as I began to soak in the information. I knew it in my heart and knew my next step was to tell my husband, who I figured would be skeptical because well, the certificate is $5,000. 

But, at the same time, I KNEW this was my destiny. I knew that this is what I want. This is what I'm destined to do for the rest of my life. I'm learning how to balance earning a certificate as a health coach with my full-time job and it's hard, but it will be so worth it in the end. 

So, two weeks ago, I officially started my journey as a holistic health coach. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out: adashofhopee@gmail.com!

Um, I'm 29?

29 Years old.

30 next year?! That's all I can think about. In one year, I'll be 30.

What have I accomplished?

Should I be proud of myself in terms of what I've done thus far in my life? 

Let's recap my 20's. 

In 2010, I graduated with an AD in Journalism then moved onto obtain my Bachelors in English. From there, I interned for a Good Housekeeping Magazine in New York City traveling 3 days a week for a mere $7.50. I struggled to find myself.

At the time, I wanted to be a magazine writer, until I figured out how cut-throat the industry turned was. Around that time, I met Brett.

I knew this guy was special from the start and so, we were inseparable. 

After the internship, I found a content writing job that earned me jack-s*** then moved on to social media job, which paid me a bit more. We then moved to Tennessee where I found a Community Manager position. This was a job I saw myself working at for a few years. That was until my now-husband lost his job and we had to move back home to PA. While in Tennessee, we adopted a dog, got engaged and really feel like we got to know each other.

When we moved back, I was devastated, but I got through it.  I survived. Did I crumble? Yes. Did I fall? Yes, but my husband was there to pick me up. After we tied the knot, we had to figure out our next step, which ended up being Greenville, SC where we took a serious risk because neither one of us had a concrete job. We were hoping things would finally pan out in our favor and we were right! 

He started his own business and I began working in Public Relations. 

We then adopted a second dog, moved from one apartment to another, and now, I'm pursuing a certificate as a Holistic Health Coach. Am I scared? Yes, but I want it. I've always been interested in nutrition and looked into this exact nutrition school a few years ago. I had just graduated from college though and knew I could not financially pursue that career, so I let it go.

That was until I met a girl in the area who went to the same school and earned a certificate in the program I looked into a few years back.

Maybe the signs were always there, but I just wasn't paying attention.

And, now, on the day of my 29th birthday, I'm here to offer some advice:

1) Take risks.
2) Stop being afraid.
3) Look for the signs.
4) If you're unhappy with your career, find something else!
5) Be happy. 

So, do I feel like I've accomplished everything I wanted to? Not yet, but I know I will by 30. 

A Holistic Approach with Andrea Arledge

Andrea Arledge with Elements Integrative Wellness has lived with Type 1 diabetes for 26 years, and at first when she was diagnosed, she felt her whole world crumbling down. 

"I didn't know how I was going to navigate life with type 1 diabetes because my grandmother had it and I knew the difficulties she faced," said Andrea. "I lived in fear for so many years, so I finally decided it's nursing, that's the way I'm going to heal myself, by helping heal other people and giving them hope and that it does not have to be this way."

So, she signed up for nursing school.  Her original plan was to be a Diabetes educator and did indeed end being a Diabetes educator without the title through St. Frances for 16 years.  She would get patients ready for surgery and would ask what drugs they were taking. When they disclosed the medicine they were taking was for diabetes, they had no idea they even had diabetes. Unfortunately, she learned that these doctors never educated their patients on their diagnosis. She felt as if it was a broken healthcare system that she did not want to be part of it. 

She knew there was another way to do healthcare, so she decided to change careers and became a holistic nutritionist.  She knew she wanted to educate women on finding their worth, figuring out what their underlying issues were with food and life in general. 

"Holistic nutrition is not just about what you put in your mouth, it's also about the thoughts you think, so it's like, what nutrient thoughts am I thinking?" said Andrea.  "The better you eat, then the more likely your "inner critic" or "inner mean girl" goes away because you feel better."

While getting her certificate, she also completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training and Stone Medicine Certification.

"I went on my own health journey and have turned around Hashimoto’s thyroiditis using food as medicine," said Andrea.

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Currently, she's an educator in Mind Body Medicine, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Yoga instructor and a Reiki Master Teacher. 

She left nursing and never looked back.

"I love watching my clients truly transform their health! Body, mind and Spirit as opposed to band aid medicine," said Andrea.

With the motto, "we don't have to be "cured" to heal from any dis-ease, and no disease should keep us in fear from leading a life of our dreams," Andrea will be at the Ness Fest teaching a 15- minute Reiki demo as well as explaining what Holistic nutrition is.  The Ness Fest is a two-day health and lifestyle festival in Greenville, SC focusing on wellNESS, goodNESS, fitNESS, and wholeNESS.  This event will be held at Fluor Field and will give people the chance to chat with health professionals, fitness instructions and watch cooking demos. What better way to spend your weekend? I know, right! 

So, if you'd like to see Andrea at The Ness Fest, purchase your tickets asap and check out their schedule HERE

To learn more about what she's all about, be sure to click on the button below!

Listen Up, Mommies, and Mommies-to-be You Should Enroll in Baby Boot Camp

Listen here mommies and mommies-to-be, if you're pregnant, a new mom, a mom with one or more stroller-aged children or a mom who is at least 6 weeks postpartum (8 weeks for a c-section), then you need to check out Baby Boot Camp Greenville with Allison Puckett.

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"I was looking to start my own fitness company here in Greenville and stumbled across this amazing program for moms," said Allison.  "Although no young ones of my own (dog mom), I saw a lot of my friends and family members struggle with the challenges of early motherhood and wanted to make a difference in their lives as well as others." 

Baby Boot Camp stroller fitness classes are geared toward these moms and moms-to-be looking to do some cardio, strength and core total body workout along with their baby. Yes, you heard that right! You don't have to drop off your child at daycare or wait until your spouse comes home from work, you can actually workout with baby by your side. 

"Baby Boot Camp offers a wide variety of programs. We specialize in 60-minute stroller fitness classes, 5k training programs, nutritional guidance, diastasis, birth recovery, and prenatal programs," said Allison. "We bring the mom community together all while being able to workout with their little ones (under age 6 preferred). No babysitter or daycare is needed. "

Started in 2001, Baby Boot Camp was founded by Kristen Horler with its mission to empower women to realize their full potential through inspiring health and wellness in their community.  That's the same mentality Allison Puckett possesses.

"I want to not only help them get fit, but to find others to bond with in the mom community here in Greenville," says Allison. "It can be a lonely road, and its important to have a network that can relate and want the same things in life. "

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Since buying Baby Boot Camp Greenville at the end of April, Allison has hosted Pop-up classes at Noma Square on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:00 A.M. On Saturday, August 11th, she'll celebrate Baby Boot Camp's Grand Opening at the Haywood Mall from 2:00 P.M - 4:00 P. M. 

In addition to that, Allison will also be attending The Ness Fest in October to help moms learn how to get in shape with their little one.  Speaking of, are you wondering what the Ness Fest is? Glad you asked! The Ness Fest is a two-day health and lifestyle festival in Greenville, SC focusing on wellNESS, goodNESS, fitNESS, and wholeNESS.  This event will be held at Fluor Field and will give people the chance to chat with health professionals, fitness instructions and watch cooking demos. What better way to spend your weekend? I know, right! 

So, if you'd like to see Allison at The Ness Fest, purchase your tickets asap and check out their schedule HERE

FYI, Your first class Baby Boot Camp is free, so if you're interested, click the link below. 

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