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 👇

I'm Overcoming an Undiagnosed Eating Disorder....

**PLEASE NOTE THAT I’M DEALING WITH MY UNDIAGNOSED EATING DISORDER & NOT LETTING IT GET TO A POINT OF NO RETURN. Honestly, some days are worse than others. I wrote this in the hopes that it helps someone else in a similar situation. I’ve always told you I’ve be open & transparent with you, so here goes!

Growing up, I was always self-conscious about the way I looked.

In high school, I got a little heavier and by senior year, I knew I had to make a change. So, I lost weight, but there were days when I just didn’t think I was skinny enough.

I’ve carried that mentality ever since and I didn’t know why I felt this way - until I started attending Institute for Integrative Nutrition and found out I had an undiagnosed eating disorder.

That means I never binged or purged or did any self-conflicting damage, I would just tell myself that I wasn’t good enough and I could only eat a certain amount of calories. If I ate too much, I would NEED to work it off. If I didn’t, I would feel like absolute crap. I tried to change my mindset, but nothing worked.

Then, I got pregnant and KNEW if I did not change, I would be hurting my child.

I was nervous though because I knew my mind would creep in and potentially take over.

The first trimester was hard. Every time I would eat more than I usually do, my mind would say, “no, no, no you’re not allowed to eat that much.” I tried to fight what my mind was saying, but somehow, I couldn’t fight the urge to want to listen. Gosh, I was PETRIFIED of gaining weight. Every time I thought about gaining a pound or so, I would cringe.

“You are growing a freaking person inside of you, Hope, you need to stop,” my husband would remind me. Then, there was my mother who told me the same followed by one of my friends. And, I KNEW I had to listen.

I knew I was blessed because so many women cannot get pregnant and I was privileged enough to get pregnant, so I had to stop wasting my time on such a stupid matter. At the same time, I knew it was psychological and if I needed to seek help, now was the time to do so.

When my 2nd trimester began, my mindset started to change and I felt differently. Instead of constantly worrying about the amount of food I was consuming, I focused on my growing baby. I’m not saying I’m completely “over” it, but I’d definitely feel better about myself and am happy about being pregnant.

** Please note that there was NEVER a time I put my growing baby in danger due to my mind. I ate when I was hungry, but never overdid it.

If you’re struggling with an undiagnosed eating disorder that you had no idea you had, please talk to someone! Do not be afraid to ask for help or pretend that everything is okay.

I knew that if it got to a point where it was affecting my everyday routine and my life in general, I would seek help but at this time, I can handle it on my own and know how to talk myself out of feeling like I need to eat less. I’m NOT going to endanger my growing child just because my mind is telling me not to eat “too much.”

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Pay attention to your triggers. Does eating certain foods make you feel bad about yourself? Does a certain friend or family member make you feel about about yourself? Stay away from them because you DO NOT NEED that negative energy!

  2. You’re binge eating and then throwing up. RED Flag! It’s not normal, so you should probably find someone to talk to about why you’re doing this in the first place.

  3. If the thought of gaining weight concerns you, then you may want to seek help!

There are always people around to talk to. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a therapist YET, feel free to reach out to friends, family or a holistic health coach!

Healthy Living Tips

Being healthy is about more than just eating nutritious food. These tips will help you find balance, health, and happiness.

  • Be generous.

  • Be grateful for everything and everyone.

  • Focus on what’s good in your life.

  • Hum or sing a happy song every day.

  • Laugh often.

  • Treat yourself to things that you enjoy daily.

  • Keep your bedroom clean and organized.

  • Spend time outside.

  • Spend less time watching TV.

  • Chew your food well.

  • Say thank you.

  • Be positive.

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 👇

5 Ways To Feel Less Suffocated At Work

If you work at a desk job, most of your day is spent sitting there getting projects done, eating your breakfast, lunch and possibly dinner, chugging down coffee, possibly soda to keep you going. And, if you have a very important deadline, you never really get up from your desk to move your body.

By the time you get home, you’re so exhausted that you skip your yoga class and the downward spiral begins.

Either way, you might feel suffocated at work.

Most of your day is spent indoors and if you don’t have a window, you’re not getting ANY sunlight.

So, if your office feels a tad stuffy most days, this is what I suggest:

1) Take 15 minutes out of your day to walk. Go to a local park. Walk around your work’s parking lot. Do something to get the heck out of the office.

2) Meet a friend for lunch. Do you find yourself needing some time to re-group? Use your lunch break to meet a friend and either do lunch or just take a walk.

3) Drive around for 15 minutes. Don’t have anywhere to go? Why not drive around with the windows down and get some fresh air? t will do you some good to get the heck out of the office.

4) Come home for lunch. Live close to your house and need a breather? If you feel yourself needing alone time or needing time away from the office, why not spend your lunch break at home?

5) Grab a coffee or a smoothie. Do you feel like you’re in a slump and need some caffeine or a refreshing drink? Grab a cup of joe or a smoothie!

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.

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

Nothing Was Enough, Until This Happened....

I was a miserable kid.

My mom and aunt both told me that and also, I’ve seen it with my own eyes because I watch home movies and I see myself pouting. In one home video, while we were having a family party, I laid on the front lawn refusing to socialize. I often got into arguments with my aunt, who admitted years later that we never got along because I always acted like a bitch. And, I’m glad she was honest with me because looking back, I was.

To add to my unhappiness, which I don’t understand what stemmed from because I never had any tragic experiences or any negatives events happen as a child, I never felt like anything was enough. I had supportive parents, brothers who I got along with, a roof over my head, food on the table, my own room, etc. Point being I didn’t have parents who neglected me or went to a school full of bullies, so I figured it was time for me to dig deep into my past.

I started looking at the jobs I had and began to re-evaluate what happened at each job that made me dislike them. Honestly, it wasn’t really the job itself, but rather, the boss I had that made it miserable for me to drive to the office every day.

I was either micromanaged or treated like I was dumb. Just when I’d think I was getting somewhere with either my job or my freelancing, something would happen and bring me back down. I was very easily upset and the downward spiral would start where I was too hard on myself. I would begin to ridicule my body, want to leave a job and so on and so forth.

I never felt like I could find a job that I genuinely enjoyed. And, I think that was a sign that all the jobs I had were just a stepping stone, not what I would be doing for the rest of my life.

So, I spent years focusing on what I didn’t have instead of what I do have.

I focused on all the negative things happening in my life and often felt compelled to say, “poor me.” Guess what though? My life was NOT bad enough to say, “poor me” because I was never homeless, I always had food to eat, I always had money coming in, I’ve always had a supportive family and then, in 2013, I met my now-husband, who loves me for who I am, so how dare I say “POOR ME?!” How dare I lump myself into that category and feel “sorry” for myself.

I wasted all this time complaining when I could have been using that energy to focus on more important things. I should have spent that time figuring out why I felt like nothing was ever enough and truly searching for my happiness.

Happiness does NOT come from money or fame or being thin. It comes from appreciating what you have and focusing on what you do have.

Know when my perception changed? On Thursday night I watched a lecture from Geneen Roth, who said she had all the money in the world, and yet, she still complained. She wanted more and never felt like it was enough until she lost all her savings and something inside of her changed. It clicked.

I sat in front of my computer in awe.

Damn, I said to myself. That’s me. My husband said to me the other day, “is there ever a day where you don’t complain about something?” Ouch. It’s true though.

Geneen experienced the same thing with her husband, who asked her if she was feeling okay after not complaining for a few days straight. So, that was my turning point.

So, when YOU feel like nothing is enough, this is what you can do:

1) Write down everything you DO have. Make a list of what you feel grateful for. Review the list daily and remind yourself not to focus on the negative.

2) Go for a walk. Use this time to reflect and ask yourself why you’re feeling this way.

3) Read a book. There are so many books out there such as Geneen Roth’s “Lost and Found: One Woman's Story of Losing Her Money and Finding Her Life.”

Instead of New Years Resolutions, Let's Come Up With a List of Goals

2019 is finally here.

And, I’m sure the gym is more packed than usual because most people’s resolutions will be to go to the gym. For about a month, they will be dedicated to working out and eating healthy , but once it becomes too hard for them and they feel like they’re unable to eat certain foods, they’ll end up binge eating, punishing themselves and falling off the wagon and unfortunately not hopping back on.

Then, they are disappointed in themselves and might in turn gain even more weight. The cycle continues and they either try again and fail or they feel frustrated that the weight isn’t coming off as quickly as they’d like.

Okay, well, I have a suggestion: instead of creating New Years Resolutions, let’s come up with a list of ATTAINABLE GOALS.

What are some goals you KNOW you can achieve this year?

Maybe one of your goals is to eat healthier. Okay, that is definitely doable. There are thousands of great recipes ideas online and in cookbooks. Maybe one of your goals is to feel confident. Well, what are some ways you can do that? Maybe by buying a few new outfits, wearing a little makeup, hanging out with friends more often or even going for a pamper session. Whatever makes you feel good inside, I would recommend doing in order to build your confidence.

If you need an accountability coach, I’d be more than happy to help you write a list of goals and stick to them this year! Please send me an email and let’s chat: adashofhopee@gmail.com!

To The Women Who Call Themselves Ugly

As women, we’re always critiquing and picking apart our body. We constantly bash ourselves about our appearance. It’s easy to convince ourselves that we’re ugly. Here’s The ugly truth, we actually listen.

The other day, I read this status made from someone on my Facebook, “I might be ugly but at least I ain’t stupid cause ugly can be fixed and your stupidity can’t.” And, this absolutely disgusted me. As a woman, why do we need to call ourselves, “ugly?” Why is it necessary to put ourselves down? Everyone is attractive in their own way.

Your personality might be cute as a button and that’s why so many people like you. Or, you may always make a negative into a positive, making you beautiful. We need to stop labeling ourselves as “unworthy” “ugly” or “stupid.”

So what if you don’t wear a size 0 or have a rather large nose, that doesn’t mean you’re unworthy of love. Everyone deserves to be loved and to be happy. We need to start telling each other we’re beautiful. And, we must start believing and having confidence in ourselves.
In the past, only tall and thin-framed girls could be models.

But, now, you see plus size models are just as successful and still beautiful. So, whomever tells you you must be skinny to be attractive should go to hell! Feel comfortable in your own skin and feel proud of who you are.

Therefore, stop telling yourself you’re hideous when you look at yourself in the mirror. Post positive aspects of yourself and post it on your bathroom mirror. Then, after you write at least 5 positive characteristics of yourself, repeat them to yourself every single day. Don’t ever put yourself down. You are your worst enemy and nothing will change if you don’t alter the way you show yourself.

Here's Why You Need to Take Risks......

“Dude, we moved here on the skin of our teeth,” I heard my husband say to his brother-in-law yesterday on the phone.

Oh, right. I almost forgot.

For those of you who are skeptical about taking risks and scared shitless to jump, I say go for it! Honestly, you’ll learn so much about yourself in the process that it will be worth it.

Let me take you back to January 2017 (where I did just that!)

We just got married two months prior to that and we were living with his folks in a 2-bedroom apartment. In March, our lease was up and we had two options: 1) move to Delaware with his parents in their new house, 2) come up with a plan to somehow move away (again). We both struggled with this and went back and forth as to where we should go. At the time, he was going to school in North Carolina to pursue a career as a home inspector. He would make trips every other week back and forth. I was working part-time and he was on unemployment, so we didn’t have tons of money coming in. So, traveling back and forth was draining our bank account and him. He would come home after his trip absolutely exhausted. He would left PA on Wednesday afternoon, stay at a hotel Wednesday and Thursday night, and then leave after his class on Friday evening. Keep in mind the drive was 10 hours and I felt bad for my poor husband who was doing his damnest to pursue a new career. And, I commend him for his dedication.

It was getting closer and closer to the time we had to make a decision.

This was when we decided to move to Greenville because he was offered a home inspection job in Asheville once he was done his schooling. Not to mention, his trips would only be 3 hours instead of 10!

In the back of my mind, I was afraid that the same thing that happened in Tennessee would haunt us again in South Carolina, but was willing to take the risk. And, when I say we took a risk, I meant it.

When we moved here, he used an offer letter the company he was supposed to work for and I used the offer letter from my remote position. We both did not have jobs so, we were left using our savings and then gradually, I saw an even bigger dip in our bank account.

Luckily, it only took me a month to find a full-time job.

Fast forward to now, we’re living in a house. But, moral of this story is don’t let fear hold you back. Though, it’s scary, you never know what door it could open for you. You never know what could come out of it.

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We Bought Our First House? WTF?

In 2013, Brett, my husband and I met on Okcupid. Was I expecting to meet a guy online? Hell no, but it happened and we fell in love. People tend to say they love our story. It is pretty unique.

At the time, we did not have stability, which I yearned for it so badly. After almost getting our own apartment together, we had to be adults and accept the fact that we were not making enough money to support ourselves. A few months later, we made the move to Tennessee.

Ahhh..

We were finally out on our own. Reality struck quick when I realized I no longer had my parents right around the corner.  I was crushed, but happy. That happiness only lasted a year because Brett lost his job. 

I watched his brother and sister-in-law purchase their first house. I was crushed, jealous , but happy for them. I was down in the dumps most of the time because I was comparing myself to his siblings. I know I shouldn't have been, but I couldn't help myself. 

A few months before losing his job, he asked for my hand in marriage on our 2-year anniversary. The next few months were spent in Pennsylvania back with his folks in their house and then sharing an apartment. My freedom was gone.

We then watched his parents purchase a brand new house. Again, I was jealous and stuck on the sidelines wondering when we would get the opportunity to buy a house or heck, live in an apartment with just the two of us.

I was sad, and most of the time dwelled on the negative. I spent my engagement working as a barista at a local community college hoping we'd get our own space again.

In March 2017, it happened. 

We moved to Greenville and had our own apartment once again. This time, I was fine with the distance. Was I sick of apartments? Yes, of course, but we had no choice. We took a risk moving here without concrete jobs. I only had a remote position while he had a possible job on the table. 

The apartment ended up being disappointing and we moved to another one down the road.  

Our lease is up in January and I originally said that I was done with apartments and was hoping our next step was a house. I mean, we are 30 and 29 years old and we have yet to find financial stability - until now. 

It's happening.

It's all happening so fast. Did I think it was going to be so soon? Nope, but I'm ready. Thinking back to 5 years ago to now is an incredible transformation. We've learned so much about life, each other, and have done so as a team. We've gone through these hard times together and came out stronger and smarter. 

Life is hard. I mean, sometimes it's down right cruel, but it's knowing how to weather to ups and downs with your significant other that counts. 

Did I think we were ever going to buy a house? Um...... I figured SOMEDAY, but not now. Am I proud? Of course. I'm proud of myself and my husband for having patience. Boy did I have patience though! Watching his family get everything I wanted so badly was a hard pill to swallow. Having to smile, grin and jump or joy while feeling dead inside was a struggle, but I had to do it. I had to wait for our opportunity.

We're next. 

This is it. Is it our final house? Nope. My plan is to be here for a few years then jump ship more toward family. Why? I think we're a tad too far from our family and I want my children to grow up knowing their aunts, uncle and grandparents.

But, we made it.

It certainly has not been easy, but it was definitely worth the wait!

What To Do If You’re Unhappy With Your Life

It’s Sunday night and knowing you have work the next day makes you feel sick.

Well, that’s a red flag in itself.

It might be time to make a career or job change. If you’re unhappy with your job situation, here are a few things you can do.

  1. Jot down things you’re good at. Are you an expert at writing, editing or social media? If so, have you thought about opening up a business? If you have the funds, it’s seriously something to consider.

  2. Changing your mindset. Sometimes just changing your mindset and thinking more positively can equal happiness.

  3. Make a list of what makes you happy. What brings you joy? What do you love? Concentrate on the things that elicit happiness.

  4. Hang out with positive people. Instead of getting together with people who bring you down, make a date to hang with those who make you feel motivated.

  5. Talk to a therapist. If your unhappiness is bringing you down and you’ve vented to friends, significant other and family and still don’t feel at ease, maybe talking to a therapist is the trick. It might make you feel better and help you figure out how to achieve happiness!

Wanna chat? I'm here: hopeandlove89@gmail.com!

The Day I Realized I Had Become "The Nagging Wife"

Let me be real with you on this topic. In my blog, I plan on being transparent, truthful and authentic, so this is something couples rarely talk about, so I figured I’d shed some light.

It was on a Saturday morning when I realized I’d somehow become “the nagging wife.”

“Do you really have to eat that whole bagel?” I asked my husband. “Carbs are the enemy.” He shrugged it off as I proceeded to continuously ask him the same question which lead to him ignoring me. Unfortunately, this sort of situation is a common occurrence.

About a year into dating, I began nagging him about his eating habits. He’s a binge eater and sometimes eats when he’s not hungry, which in my opinion isn’t healthy. Me on the other hand who is overly obsessive about my weight and stomach only eats when I’m hungry, which is the norm. But, still, the person who is self-conscious about her own weight is telling her husband what to do when it comes to eating.

“I’m a much bigger person than you, Hope and need to consume more calories. I can’t eat pea-sized meals like you,” he said. And, you know what? He’s right. It seems I’ve projected my body issues onto him. It seems I’ve become the woman who is pushy and controlling.

In the last year, I’d say I've become “that” wife. The type of wife who pouts if he doesn’t give me enough attention, the wife who gets pissed off if he watches football every Sunday for a few hours, the type of woman who tells their husband what he can and cannot eat. Ew. I’ve always told myself I would never ever act like that because it’s appalling.

Every time I start to nag my husband about this and that, I need to remember that it’s really annoying and not helpful. There are other ways to get my point across and nagging is definitely not the route to go.

On that Saturday, as we drove in the car, all I could think about was hopping out due to embarrassment. I finally listened to myself and sounded really immature. I was always the cool and laid-back girl who let situations roll off her shoulders, so why have I turned into a control freak?

Going forward, when I start to become “that wife,” I need to step back, and just let It go.  I am not going to be in control of every situation and monitoring his eating is only hurting our relationship. The more I push, the more he’ll start to distance himself.

If you’re in this type of situation, here are some key aspects to keep in mind.

1) Being a controlling wife is annoying. Need I elaborate?

2) If he doesn’t tell you what you can and cannot eat, then why do the same for him?

3) Stop projecting your self-conscious body issues onto him and deal with them YOURSELF. Harsh, but true!

4) When you feel yourself in a nagging mood, do something to distract yourself so you don’t go down that path.

Have you ever gone through a similar situation? If so, how’d you handle it?

Let’s chat : therealwayshopegvl@gmail.com