10 Tips To Drop Pounds

Time and time again, people go on diets because they want to lose weight. But, reality is, diets don’t work. All diets do is make you binge eat later on, so stop restricting yourself and just eat food in moderation.

You can lose weight without dieting and this is how:

1. CHEW YOUR FOOD WELL. Digestion begins in the mouth. By thoroughly chewing your food, your body will better assimilate nutrients, and you will also slow down your eating. It takes about twenty minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that it’s full. By slowing down, you’ll feel full and satisfied on less food. Aim to chew each bite thirty times.

2. EAT REAL FOOD. Avoid products with high-fructose corn syrup and/or a long list of hard-to-pronounce ingredients. These items are highly processed, lack the nutrients your body needs, and are often loaded with empty calories

3. EAT MINDFULLY. Turn off the television, computer, and other devices. Make your food look beautiful and light a candle. Sit down and savor the food you’re eating with no distractions.

4. DRINK WATER. Most people are chronically dehydrated. We often mistake thirst for hunger. If you feel hungry between meals, drink one or two large glasses of water, then check in and see if you’re genuinely hungry .

5. REMOVE LIQUID CALORIES. Sodas, sweetened coffees and teas, and even pure fruit juices pack a lot of sugar. One of the easiest ways to release weight is to eliminate all sweetened beverages. Try blood-sugar-balancing vegetable juices, water, and pure tea and coffee in moderation.

6. EAT A PLANT-BASED DIET. Plant foods are typically lower in fat and calories and higher in filling fiber than meat, dairy, and processed foods. They provide essential nutrients and minerals that support weight loss.

7. EAT BREAKFAST. Having breakfast sets the tone for your whole day and gets your metabolism buzzing first thing. Skipping breakfast causes your blood sugar levels to dip, affecting your energy, moods, and cravings. Your body naturally needs less food as the day progresses and you get closer to bedtime.

8. ADD SWEET VEGETABLES TO YOUR DIET. Sweet vegetables, such as carrots, onions, squash, and sweet potatoes, naturally satisfy sugar cravings and soothe the nervous and digestive systems.

9. START JUICING. Pairing fresh vegetable juices with a light, plant-based diet is a great way to gently cleanse the body and jump-start weight loss. Try having a low-sugar green juice every day for thirty days and notice the difference in your energy and weight.

10. IDENTIFY ALLERGIES. One of the most common weight loss roadblocks is unidentified allergies. Get tested for common allergies like gluten, soy, and dairy, or simply do an elimination diet – eliminate all three for thirty days, then reintroduce them one at a time, a few days apart, and take note of any reactions. When you remove allergens, weight is naturally released.

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

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 👇

Last Minute Valentine's Day Dates - On a Budget

It’s Valentine’s Day and you still don’t have plans.

DON’T PANIC! I’ve got you covered.

Even though you might be on a budget and not looking to spend a ton of money on your significant other because well, there are always bills to pay, there are a few ways you can still make Valentine’s Day happen!

1) Picnic at the park. Okay, okay, I get it, the weather isn’t that nice for a picnic, but the fresh air will do you some good. Just pack a few sammies, chips, fruit salad and head to the park! It’s a cheap afternoon date that won’t break the bank.

2) Go out for dessert. You can have a nice sit-down dinner at home and then go out for dessert. Why not try Carol’s for ice cream? Or, if you’re in the mood for cake, Chocolate Moose, Nose Dive, or even a milkshake at Grill Marks are all good option!

3) Stay in and make dinner. Polish off a bottle of wine with a homemade dinner with your significant other. Nothing says romance quite like bonding over creating a dish together. Spaghetti & meatballs, anyone? And, if you don’t want to spend money on dinner, just make it or buy it yourself!

4) Go out for coffee. Grab a cup of joe at Coffee Underground, Spill the Beans, or any other coffee joint in the Upstate!

5) At home spa. Why pay for a spa when you can have one at home? Pamper you and your significant other by giving massages, relaxing with a bath and a glass of wine. After that, watch a movie. Ah, what a perfect night!

So, if you’re in a crunch, choose any of these budget=friendly Valentine’s Day date ideas! Let me know if you pick one! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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

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!

A Letter to Myself in 2019

Dear Self:

In 2019, you will be happier because well, you’ll have your own business, which is something you’ve been wanting for so long now. You’ll also earn your certification, which is a huge accomplishment because you truly did not believe in yourself enough to go to school to begin with. You were too scared and used your learning disability as a crutch. But, let’s put the past behind us because we can’t go backwards, instead we’re going to move forward.

In 2018, you bought a house, a FREAKING house, which is amazing! You should be so proud of yourself. You also paid off your student loans, hit your 1-year mark at your job and in Greenville, celebrated your 2-year anniversary with your husband, got the news that you’re going to be an aunt, fought for happiness, flew home to surprise your mom for mother’s day/her birthday, and finally figured out what you want to do with your life. Lastly, you were blessed with another surprise, which I’m sure you’ll disclose within the next few weeks.

All in all, 2018 has treated you and Brett pretty well. His business finally took off and he earned decent money this year. Compared to all the years, 2018 has been the best year for you financially. And, I know you are so ready for 2019. It will be so much better than 2018 with all the blessings that I’m sure you’re looking forward to.

Mainly, I just wanted to say I’m so proud of you. Think about where you started until now. You’ve come a long way and you should be happy of your progress. Peace out 2018!

This Is How You Stay Happy In A Relationship

There’s no such thing as the perfect guy.

As humans, we all have flaws and are not even close to being imperfect.

"I'm imperfectly flawed," my husband said. "Just like Steve jobs."

Some people are easy to understand and then, there are opens are who hard to grasp. My husband is one of the harder ones, but that doesn't make him a bad person.

You see, I saw his hard-to-read signals as a flaw, until I spoke to him about it and he told me why.

Before you replace him, be sure to communicate your concerns. You must accept him for who he is not who you want him to be. The more you put pressure on them to be who you wish him to be, the more likely you’ll be unhappy.

You’re with this guy for a reason, so either deal with it or move on.

Here’s how to be happy in your relationship:

  • Stop comparing. The moment you stop looking for ways to compare your relationship to your bestie, the happier you’ll be.

  • Just love him. Accept him – flaws and all!

  • Appreciate him. If he goes out of his way to make you happy, you’ve scored at life!

  • Spend time with him. If he’s putting in the effort to make time for you, do the same in return.

  • Do activities that enhance your relationship. Travel. Go out to dinner. Go hiking. Adopt a dog.

  • Always communicate.  In my opinion, the happiest couples are usually the one who communicate.

  • Never underestimate him. If he truly loves you, he’ll do his best not to disappoint you.

  • Compliment him. If he looks nice, compliment him.

  • Thank him. If he does the laundry, thank him for it.

  • See him for who he is. If he’s an all-around great guy who some flaws, accept him regardless. I mean, it's totally a deal-breaker if he's abusive. But, if not, never stop caring or loving him.

Couples throw in the towel once things get rough, however, if you’re able to keep putting in the effort to make your relationship the best it can be, that’s what matters most.

10 Ways to Say 'I Do' Without Going Bankrupt

When my then-boyfriend asked for my hand in marriage November 2015, we were both full-time employees living in Tennessee.

Not only were we living on our own, we now had to pay for a wedding. So, before we began planning, we sat down and set a budget of $15,000. Knowing the average was about $35,329, according to Fortune.com, we planned to spend half of that!

But, then, four months later, life got turned upside down when we had to move back home.

My then-fiancé lost his job and I had to find another job because I knew working remotely would be a bit too difficult.

His parents and my parents told us they’d pitch in, but in reality, we wanted to do this on our own.  Regardless, we appreciated everything they gave us.

We also knew realistically we were unable to do so because of our job situations.

We budgeted and did the best we could to save money and not overspend. We created a budget sheet on excel to track our spending.

I wanted a beautiful wedding, but I also didn’t anticipate having to pay -- for instance -- the caterer a whopping $3,000 for their services. If you don’t know already, weddings are expensive. However, they do not have to be – if you budget for them or go for a cheaper route.

My husband wanted to elope, but I refused because I wanted my dad to walk me down the aisle, dance with me and have the DJ play a song my husband and I could dance to.

So, if you’re smart about it, your wedding can cost less than a mortgage. In the end, ours was around $15,000 and now, the average cost of a wedding is 35,329! So, we spent less than 53% of the average wedding!

Here are some tips on how to dish out less dough:

  • Make DIY your BFF. Instead of buying the décor, make it from scratch. My husband and I scoped Pinterest and found loads of décor for weddings!

  • Don’t invite Aunt what’s her face. Here’s my rule of thumb, if you haven’t talked in the last two years, heck within the last year, these people do not deserve to be invited.

  • Send out Save the dates via email. I was told by a friend who got married that people throw away save the dates. So, if you are going to, send it via email.

  • Choose an inexpensive venue. My husband and I chose a $4,000 venue. I’m sure there are way cheaper venues, but we wanted a rustic wedding, so we chose an old manor. Just do your research!

  • Make your own bouquets. Flowers are expensive. However, they don’t have to be if you don’t get them. So, be sure to opt for something besides flowers.

  • Plan the wedding and reception at one location. Don’t make your guests flock to two different locations. It's also way easier on the bridal party who doesn’t have to spend time in a car riding to the other location.

  • Your dress doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. I set a budget for my dress to be $400-$500. Trust me; it is possible to find a beautiful dress for that amount.

  • Opt for less expensive food dishes. You don’t need caviar and shrimp. Go for something simpler and less likely to break your bank.

  • Choose cupcakes instead of cake. Our cake was around $300 and that was the cheapest we found. However, I’m sure cupcakes are just as delicious and less costly.

  • You don't need too much food. You don’t need fondue, dessert bar, smores bar and an open bar. Just one dessert option will suffice.

Love Is F*cking Strong: Here's Why You Should Never Let It Go

I stare into his eyes and think about how much love I have for this man. And, the thought of losing him absolutely terrifies me.

I have only been in love once. You can say that I don't know a thing about love because I've only been in love once, but you're wrong. So what? Why can't he be my one great and powerful love? Why do I need to be love multiple times to really know what love is?

I fell in love with him within 4 months. Is that too early? Is that too soon? Maybe, but it happened. I didn’t want it to happen because I was scared and all that stuff. But, I’ve always been a hopeless romantic who often wished for prince charming to sweep me off my feet.

Maybe that was unrealistic, but I’d watch wedding proposals, read love stories, watch romance movies and imagine meeting the guy of my dreams one day, falling in love and having kids. Pretty typical, huh?

When I met my now fiancé, I wasn’t looking for a relationship, I was focused on my career and I told myself that no guy would stand in my way. No matter what, my career was number 1.

That shifted when we began dating.

I didn’t think this guy – who by the way, I put in the friend zone at first– would be my first love. I took him back out of the friend zone a few days later, but I didn’t intend on falling in love with him. I just figured if it happened, then I wasn’t about to stop it.

I knew he was special when I met him. Know how I knew? Well, he wasn’t like any other guy I’ve ever spoken with.

One day, we literally texted for 12 hours! What guy would do that? And, whenever we’d hang out, we never wanted to leave each other because our bond was so strong.

Every morning, he was the first thing on my mind and at night, he was always the last thing too. I’d look forward to seeing him and dread when the time came that he had to go home. My heart beat a mile a minute whenever I'm in in his presence.

I had fallen madly in love with him and there was no turning back.

I was scared that I had given my whole heart to someone because in another moment, this person could shatter it into a million pieces. But, I stopped worrying about that when we were together for a year. I began focusing on the future, heck, our future.

Love is so fucking strong, powerful, terrifying, free and empowering. To have someone in this world that you share intimate moments, secrets, and your life with is absolutely blissful.

This is the man I will have kids with, grow old with, share memories with.

Whenever he looks at me in that way, chills run throughout my spine. In another moment, he kisses me and his lips feel so soft and my heart skips a beat – just for one minute because I feel like I’m on top of the world.

Here’s why you should never let the love of your life go.

  • Being in love  is amazing. Falling in love is easy, but falling for the right person isn’t always simple. It takes time and patience to find the right guy.

  • You may never  find another who makes you feel the same way. They always say you never forget your first love. Don’t shut love out because you may not find another person who makes your heart beat that fast.

  • Makes life  better. Being in love with someone makes you feel like you’re on cloud 9. Don’t ever take it for granted because it makes everything better!

  • Never feeling judged.  This person fell in love with you because of your quirks and flaws. So, if you do something, instead of judging you, they’ll probably laugh.

Sorry, But Eating Healthy Doesn’t Make Me Weird

I’d rather eat food I made myself rather than a processed piece of shit that will mess up my stomach. I have a sensitive belly and when consumed the wrong food, the repercussions can ruin my day.

I’ve been to the gastroenterologist loads of times and the doctor suggested cutting out meat to see if it helped with my digestion. I never tried doing that because I feared I couldn’t stay away from hamburgers, especially. But, when my husband and I went on a cruise for our honeymoon and met with a nutritionist, he told me to do the same.

So, I did.

The nutritionist told me to stop eating processed foods and avoid food with animals that have four legs. He also provided us with a list of foods not to eat. This time I complied because I needed a change. My husband did the same and we waited a month to see how we felt.

To my surprise, my stomach actually did improve. I stopped feeling like utter shit after I consumed cheese or dairy products. I began to stick to a healthy diet and cut out foods with ingredients that I cannot pronounce.

And, here’s the thing: eating healthy does not make me weird. I'd much prefer a salad over a fried chicken sandwich with mounds of cheese. Not to mention, how many calories is that?

Whenever someone offers me something at work, if I don’t look at the ingredients and know it’s processed, I politely decline. However, I know what they’re thinking. They think I’m strange because who doesn’t like chocolate or muffins or heck, tater tots?

What they don’t know is I must look at every single label when I’m about to eat something or make sure it doesn’t have acid in it.

However, there is such a thing as cheat day, which is one day out of the week where I consume whatever I want. But, then, I get back to my healthy eating habits.

But, let me tell you something, most of the population is unhealthy and probably have several cheat days in a row. 

We walk around not knowing we have toxins in our bodies. This could eventually lead to cancer or other diseases, but no one knows it. We all just go about our day choosing foods that are extremely unhealthy because they look appetizing.

We’re so busy that we pick up fast food or purchase frozen foods. But, really, if we took the time to think about how bad this stuff is for us, we’d avoid it like the plague!

Let me ask a question: If a health coach told us to start looking at labels and watching calories, would we? Sadly, no.

As a general population, it’s hard to stop eating fries, fried food and foods that make us gain weight because it makes us feel good. But, I’m done with all that shit because it makes me feel horrible after I eat it.

I hate people looking at me like I have 4 eyes because I look at labels or opt for a healthy lunch. It doesn’t make me weird! Maybe I don’t want to get cancer or any other illnesses because I’m not concerned with watching what I’m putting in my mouth.

Just think about it.

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.

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.

I Finally Achieved One of my Lifetime Goals

Since high school, One Tree Hill has been my go-to show. I religiously watched it every single week and bought seasons 1-6. Unfortunately, once the original cast was no longer part of the story, my interest in the show diminished and I found something new to indulge in. But, still, I’d every so often check-in to see the latest episode.

A few years ago, I found out they filmed in Wilmington, NC and one of my lifetime goals was to venture into town and take pictures at each of the iconic spots. And, two weeks, ago, I fulfilled my goal.

My husband agreed to come along as I went to a few spots and took pictures every time I’d ask him to. It was a 4-hour car ride and so worth the gas and money to get us there.

First, we went to where Karen’s Cafe was filmed in Season 1. I thought OMG, as I stood there, I felt pretty pumped - even though people who were starring at me were probably wondering why the hell I was there in the first place. But, I have to say that I simply did not care. Whenever I’d ask my husband to take a picture, I didn’t care who stared or who snickered. I just went with it.

Then, we went to Downtown Wilmington where we went to a few restaurants they filmed at. It was so much fun getting to see these spots IN-PERSON. Honestly, though, if you’re not a HUGE One Tree Hill fan - like myself - you won’t understand the hype. You won’t get how important it was to go to the famous “Naley” bench. Not only was OTH filmed in Wilmington, Dawson’s Creek and a few other shows were. ALSO…. I missed a few cast members visiting the area by just a one or two! Ahhh! In general, Wilmington is a beautiful area and I get the appeal. I get what they filmed there. The downtown is nice enough to walk around and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from.

After that, we visited the cemetery, Keith Scott Motors, the famous bridge and Haley and Peyton’s houses!

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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