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Give Thanks.

Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

Turkey Day is nearing and over the past couple months I have been working on being more grateful in my life. It’s always something that I think about, but I don’t always practice it or say it out loud.

Usually I’m writing down my grateful’s when the struggle is strong, not when everything is amazing.

In reality, we should be tracking what we are grateful for daily – regardless of the good and bad in our lives.

Darren Hardy issues an annual THANKS-giving challenge to his followers and when August 28th, 2017 rolled around – with 90 days left in the year – I challenged myself to play along, to daily write down something I was grateful for.

On November 1st, 2017, the company I work for handed out lists and challenged us to write one work item and one personal item each day in the month of November that we are grateful for. It’s in the moments when you feel beat up and broke down, that it’s okay to be grateful just for a listening ear, the delete key in Gmail, a roof over your head, and a hot cup of tea. In moments of great happiness, the list is longer and we see so many things to be thankful for.

When I look back over my list, I’m reminded of all the good times and not the frustrating ones. The bad disappeared and was forgotten. It was replaced with only good memories. I couldn’t remember what it was on a specific day that made me grateful for the simple act of holding hands (was it a disagreement?) or for a check in the mail for a freelance project (over credit card debt).

Each year, I usually create a list of things to challenge myself with in the coming year – my bucket list, my new years resolutions, whatever you want to call them. In addition, I try to think of my ONE WORD to represent the coming year.

It’s too early for me to decide on a theme for the next year, but being grateful is high on the list. Not just being grateful for other people, but for myself and the things I have accomplished and will accomplish.

For now, focus on some actionable items to embrace gratitude in the remaining days of the year and beyond:

  • Set a calendar reminder on your phone to write your grateful list each day
  • Find a good gratitude app to track – Gratitude Journal 365 allows you to upload a photo with your daily list and export it
  • Have a gratitude buddy to hold you accountable
  • Keep your list handy (in your phone, notebook in your purse, day planner, etc.)
  • Share grateful’s with your family – at breakfast, driving to work/school, or at dinner
  • On Thanksgiving, hand write 5, 10, or more thank you notes to unsuspecting recipients thanking them for something they did for you during the year.
  • Have a small white board at your desk you update each morning with your grateful list

It may be small, it may be big, it may be insignificant, it may be life changing. Whatever you are grateful for today, write it down. Whoever you are grateful for today, tell them.

I know following Darren Hardy’s simple challenge has changed my mentality, changed my perspective, and changed how the past few months have evolved. I find the good, the positive, in every situation. When I’m down, I’m not there long.

Gratitude is not just for Thanksgiving. It’s not just for the people around you. It’s for you, too.

Don’t be afraid of NaNoWriMo

Don’t be afraid of NaNoWriMo

*originally posted on Medium.com 11.2.17 / photo source: pixabay.com

It’s November 1st — the first official day of NaNoWriMo and I don’t have an idea. Empty page, cursor idling and haunting me as the minutes ticked on.

That was me yesterday. Struggling in the days leading up to National Novel Writing Month for some sort of story idea that I’d been harvesting and saving for this very moment.

And then the panic started to set it knowing I already had a busy couple weeks coming up, which meant I was wondering how in the world was I going to fit in time to write 1,667 words each day for the next 30 days.

Two years ago when I finished my first NaNoWriMo with a double whammy of writing the entire book on a typewriter, hand counting my words each day.

But I conquered day 1, then 2, and the habit became addictive. My day was not complete if I hadn’t tried to write a few words on the page.

If I can do it, so can you!

Here is my 2 cents into a successful NaNoWriMo experience.

Just Write

Any idea is an idea, even a brain dump and a ramble. Just start typing and see where it takes you. 1,667 words for me is about 5 pages. I started this year telling an adventure I had with my boyfriend recently. I don’t know how it will play out but it started spawning more ideas and before I knew it I was mid sentence and over the word count and I wanted to keep writing.

You don’t have to write it all at once

There’s no rule that says you have to write all your words in one sitting. Today I wrote in my Google Drive document while sitting at stoplights and if I had a sentence pop into my head, I quickly typed it out while at work. While I was waiting for a program or file to load, I wrote a couple more sentences.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Write for five minutes when you first get up
  • Write during your lunch break
  • Stay at work a few minutes late after you clock off and write
  • Carry a notepad with you and write while waiting for an appointment (or on a notepad app on your phone)
  • Voice dictate your pages on your phone while you drive and use a program to create a transcript (you do this on your phone notepad or Google as well)
  • Write before you go to bed
  • Plan family writing or quiet time each day

There are plenty more options, but mix it up. If you need a rigid routine, pick a time and place that works best. I can’t always get up and write and I can’t always write before bed. The variety helps my creativity.

Find a buddy

While I’ve only completed one NaNoWriMo, I’ve participated multiple years, and this is the first year I have a local buddy who I work with. Day 1 I asked if she had signed up yet and when I finished writing I texted her. We plan to share stories as well along the way. Even without her knowing, she was holding me accountable for putting words down. And I ended up motivating her with my text to sit down and write even a bit.

Whether your buddy is someone you know or from the NaNoWriMo online community or a FB group, the encouragement is amazing.

Power Through

Most of the time we start of strong, we are oozing creative genius, everyone is posting about their success, we hit our goal every day.

And then suddenly life throws a curve ball and you only managed to write a half your words, thinking the next few days you would make up for it, and all of a sudden you see you tracker bar dip below the goal line.

You feel defeated. You’re already behind. You might as well stop and try again next year.

NOPE!

I speak from experience. The year I finished I got behind. Writing on a typewriter took almost twice as long, I had to swap pages, I had to manually count words. I had to carve out almost 2 hours each day when I wasn’t fully juiced with ideas to finish.

But I was determined because I put it out there and I wanted that badge that said I was a NaNoWriMo Winner!

So the last day of the month I cleared my calendar and I started typing. And I typed. And I typed, typed, typed. I’m sure I had some blisters. My feet hurt from standing at my desk for hours.

And by 9pm I had written over 5,000 to catch myself up to 50,000. It never felt so good!

And even better, my story was still going so I came back after I recovered from the marathon and finished it up.

Have Fun

That’s the point in my opinion. If it’s not fun, then we shouldn’t do it.

Yes, writing can be stressful and we writers are constantly challenging ourselves and rewriting and never feel like our work is perfect. We write because we love it.

If you’re happy writing 500 words a day on week days, and blocking a huge chunk of time shutting out the world to write on the weekends, then do it.

If you just want to use NaNoWriMo to start the habit of writing daily, then do it.

If trying to hit the goal every day causes more anxiety than getting a tooth pulled, create your own goal. Challenge yourself to do a 1/2 NaNoWriMo or a NaNoWriMo Sprint vs a Beast (little reference to the Spartan race series).

It’s your book, it’s your challenge, you get to call the shots.

Conclusion

Take a deep breath, find your zone, create your happy place, and just enjoy the journey that is NaNoWriMo. Your story is calling your name. It wants to be told, it wants to be read.

If you want to connect as NaNoWriMo buddies, you can follow me HERE.

Happy NaNoWriMo’ing.

❤,
Lauren

PS … to catch up on Season One of the Alter Egos podcast, swing over HERE.

October Shenanigans No. 6

October was a busy month and it’s only getting busier with the holidays coming up. We made it through dressing up, and the weather starting to change finally, and now we’re gearing up for some insane creative time while we’re staying inside where it’s warm.

1. I’ve been getting together with a group of nerdy friends to combine our collective creativity to create a new multimedia company. We all come from different backgrounds, we all are different personalities, and we all have different skills. It’s a trifecta. We’re three weeks in with planning, the website is in progress, and I’m stoked to soon be able to share it with you all. Here’s a hint: they call me “North“. Launch date is only a couple weeks away.

2. The Keto lifestyle is begging for me to make dinner more. You might start seeing some great recipes popping up here and there with a twist or two on the original. If you’ve never made homemade cauliflower mac & cheese and cauliflower mashed potatoes – you’re going to want to try it. I’ll never go back to Kraft. And Keto Fried Chicken isn’t too bad either.

3. Who knew wedding planning could be so fun? Not my wedding but I jumped on board helping a bestie plan her wedding and it’s amazing, and fun, and I’m getting all sorts of ideas and goodies that I hope to share once the adventure has reached wedding time.

4. NaNoWriMo starts today! That means I need to come up with a substantial story idea, time block every day to write, and get motivated! I also found my first accountability buddy that I know and see regularly so hopefully that will help.

5. We took a hike up to Tablerock in Boise on a whim one evening. I’ve never hiked it at night, plenty of times during the morning and a couple times drove to the top to save time, but the man friend has never been up there so it was great to share the experience with someone knew. It is about a 30 minute hike up (with a couple steep inclines and had our legs burning for days). However, it’s so worth it when you get this view!

6. November Book of the Month selections are out and I wish I could read them all. I recently joined as an affiliate and still playing catch up on past BOTM selections. November we’re talking a Tom Hanks debut book of short stories, a new Alice Hoffman (Practical Magic), and a new Andy Weir (The Martian) – to name a few. Join today and get a free book with code FREEBIE.

7. Halloween was killer this year! I tagged along with a steampunk crew for two nights of live music and dancing, did it all again for work, and even through in an early 80s rocker for a pre-Halloween gathering. 13 Gears knocked it out of the park with my original and locally made goggles.

October Reads:

  1. July by Audrey Carlan
  2. Private Down Under by James Patterson
  3. Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
  4. O is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton
  5. Come and Get Me by James Patterson
  6. The House Husband by James Patterson
  7. Alert by James Patterson
  8. French Kiss by James Patterson
  9. The Writer’s Roadmap by Jeff Goins
  10. The Christmas Mystery by James Patterson
  11. French Twist by James Patterson
  12. Idaho by Emily Ruskovich
  13. The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
  14. Mastering Your Mean Girl by Melissa Ambrosini

Coming up in November:

  • Alter Egos Reboot
  • Launching new creative endeavor with friends
  • Catch up on my reading – 75/100 books read this year – 25 to goal
  • NaNoWriMo adventures
  • Create a couple ebooks
  • Launch my vlog

What are you creating? What adventures are you going on?

<3,
Lauren

 

REVIEW: The Power of Positive Leadership

REVIEW: The Power of Positive Leadership

Title: The Power of Positive Leadership | Author: Jon Gordon | Published: 2017

To begin, I could read this book once a year and come away with new concepts and motivation I missed the first time. There was so much amazing content that I couldn’t put it down.

Until I read this book, and began discussing with friends and co-workers, I never really thought myself to be a leader. Leaders are a manager, the boss, the VP, the captain. Leaders are not the girl who does data entry or assists the team with their requests.

Jon Gordon changed my mind and I felt it in full force this past weekend. Back to that in a minute.

The Power of Positive Leadership is a book that everyone, EVERYONE, needs to read. The motivation, inspiration, and empowerment you will receive will take you to new heights not only in your personal life but your professional life.

While the focus of the book is obviously on positive over negative, there are some keys points and takeaways that impacted many, including myself, in the leadership journey.

We are not positive because life is easy. We are positive because life can be hard.

Creating a culture in your community, your office, your life all stems from the leadership you choose to bring to the table. By creating a culture, you are bringing together like minds and new views. Each of us is unique and one alone cannot create everything.

To be a great leader, you have to empower yourself, to lead first, to be the one living the life you speak for your culture, your team, your tribe.

If you want the fruit, you must invest in the root. If you invest in the root, you will always receive a great supply of fruit.

Part of what I love about Jon Gordon is that he manages to deliver a message that inspires advanced leaders but also speaks to the novice who is still trying to figure it out. I can’t remember how many times I had an “AHA” moment while reading and realizing that I was already starting to embody the leadership mentality without realizing it.

Even in a team of 1, you are empowering yourself to move forward and the tribe around you starts to notice. This comes back to how recently I found myself at an event with many people I don’t see very often but I feel like belong to my tribe.

Many times over the course of the night I was humbled (and shocked) by their compliments of great things they saw me doing, and how inspirational that was. And, they encouraged me to keep going. These people were not always commenting or giving feedback in the moment. They were passive observers. But those conversations made me realize that even if I didn’t see the results first hand, choices I was making were leading the trail and the positive feedback was amazing.

God doesn’t say oops. God doesn’t make mistakes. There is a bigger plan. Trust in it.

  • Dabo Swinney

Negativity is a fact of life. We each face it. It’s how we approach it and how we address it that change us from a negative leader to a positive leader. The positive force can transform a team, can recreate one player. Often times we don’t realize how just a simple smile can change the course of a day or a life. It seems so simple, yet that is the key.

Possibly one of the best parts of Gordon’s book, was towards the end when he gave us the real examples of names we recognize who went from failure to success, focused on the positive, embraced the GRIT that kept them going, and went on to do powerful things. They persevered under the most strenuous circumstances. Which means we can too.

By embracing positivity in our lives, leading first, talking the talk, and encouraging others, we can create a tribe of positive leaders who will go onto to create great things!

How are you going to change the world?

<3,
Lauren

How I crossed off 30 bucket list items in 365 days.

How I crossed off 30 bucket list items in 365 days.

It was a crazy adventure where I learned a lot. It was a test to see if not only I could accomplish my goals, but an experiment in how sharing my journey with people empowered and motivated me more than I ever expected.

Here are 6 things I learned by challenging myself to cross off 30 items from my bucket list in 365 days.

#1. Fall In Love

This is always important in life but also in any goal setting scenario. If you’re not loving what you’re doing, then you need to stop. If it doesn’t bring you joy, then move on. Life should be full of love.

Example: One of my bucket list items was to “fall in love”. Typically, most would think that meant falling in love with a human, but I found at the end of my year, I fell more in love with adventure, accomplishment, and I learned to love myself just the way I am.

#2. Be okay with change

Give yourself permission to change your list and adjust your goals (see #1). Don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t happen just the way you expected or planned. This is your list and you get to decide what stays and what goes. My goal was to finish 30 things regardless of what they were.

Example: I purchased an entrance ticket to the Tough Mudder and all my friends backed out or were unable to attend. I substituted it with something else. Same with sky diving — it just didn’t come to fruition and it wasn’t fun putting the pressure on myself to complete or schedule something and force it.

#3Think outside the box and add as you go

My bucket list and life lists are long. Most of it hasn’t made it onto my website for everyone to see. Some things might be personal. But I found by thinking outside the box for ideas and not stick with typical goals made it more fun and a challenge. It’s also fun to add to your list as you go if that helps ensure that you succeed in the end.

Example: It wasn’t on my original list or something that I thought I would ever want to do, but I was asked to film a wedding and create the official wedding video. I also ended up participating in a Flash Mob and on a whim in Belize I tried Flyboarding, swimming with sharks, and going on a jungle cruise.

#4. It’s okay to have a general goal

Coming up with 30 items may sound easy, but it’s harder than you think. When you google bucket lists, you find a lot of the same things and I had already checked a lot of the standard bucket list items off (ie. read 100 books, ride a horse, run a half marathon). Give yourself a general goal (or two) and see how it evolves — much like falling in love.

Example: I’m a planner but I added “be spontaneous” to my list and on a whim signed up for Jeff Goins Tribe Writer’s online writing course.

#5. Give yourself some easy goals

It’s your list right? So, give yourself some easy goals that help you cross items off when it feels like you’ve stalled out. At the beginning of a challenge, like new years resolutions, we all start off strong, but slowly our previous habits get the better of us and suddenly we find ourselves dwindling or losing steam. Having some quick and easy goals will help you build momentum back up. These items can be accomplished at any time, anywhere, and even be FREE.

Example: A couple of my easy bucket list items included getting a bikini wax (yes, I had never had one), host a tea party, and stay up to watch the sunrise.

#6. Ask for help and enlist your friends

Sometimes our bucket list items and goals are personal and only yours truly can accomplish them (ie. no one can read 109 books for me), but for many things we want to do in our lives, we need a little assistance. It’s okay to ask your friends and family for help, and even more so to help hold you accountable.

Example: I needed a police connection in order to do my first ride-a-long, a photographer friend for my boudoir photo shoot, and a slew of all my favorite people to help me celebrate 30 in style. I wouldn’t want to experience the Hemingway Suite all alone and I wasn’t quite bold enough to leave the country for the first time to Belize by myself. I wanted to learn a new language and seeing it on my list, my stepdad helped set up private Italian lessons with one of his friends (which came in handy when we traveled to Italy the next year).

Conclusion

You’re the boss. You’re in charge. Goals, bucket lists, and adventures should be fun and amazing and challenge us. They shouldn’t drag us down, stress us out, or make us feel like we failed.

Comment below with your favorite bucket list items or challenge posts. We can inspire each other to have fun while creating amazing adventures and memories.

To read the full original list of 30 in 30, click here.

REVIEW: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

REVIEW: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo | Author: Taylor Reid Jenkins | Published: 2017
Book of the Month (July)

This was my first Book of the Month club book that I had a chance to read and if I wasn’t a fan of this monthly subscription, I was definitely hooked.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is the story of Monique, a magazine writer, who gets the opportunity of a lifetime to do the one and only interview with movie star Evelyn Hugo, who was infamous for her seven husbands. It’s not only a shock to Monique but her boss who doesn’t feel she is qualified to do the job.

Once the agreement is made, Monique starts her journey with Evelyn starting from day 1, husband 1, and continuing through her life story – a story that no one could have ever imagined. I was captivated from the moment I started reading. The characterization was amazing and I immediately felt drawn to Monique as well as Evelyn as she weaved the tale of each husband, the romance, the drama, and told the absolute truth through the whole process.

I’ve read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novels before and her writing style is easy to follow and captivates from page one to the end. You can feel through each page that there is a twist coming that is unexpected and for the first time in a very long time, by the last page I was gasping out loud in surprise and felt like I lost a friend when I closed the book.

Did I mentioned I finished this book in less than 24 hours?

You’re turn. What did you think?

REVIEW: Finish

REVIEW: Finish

Title: Finish | Author: Jon Acuff | Published: 2017

Give yourself the gift of done.

I’m proud to say I finished Finish which was not a hard thing to do because this book was AMAZING. I flew through it in about 24 hours give or tack.

For starters, I haven’t read the “prequel” as you might call it to Finish called Start which Jon kicks off the book discussing (but now it’s on my list and I’m very intrigued).

Finish is the perfect book for anyone and everyone, no matter what you do or where you are at this point in your life. If you’re looking to start something new or struggling to keep your to-do list in check, whether at home or at work or your side hustle, I found so many benefits from reading Finish in all areas of my life.

I LOVE how Jon focuses on this need we have in society to be “perfect” and how that influences who we are and how much we might punish ourselves for not succeeding at our goals and dreams. How can we possibly finish something if it’s not perfect?

My favorite takeaways that I am starting to implement in my life at this point are:

  • Cut your goal in half – instead of wanting to lose 5 lbs a week I say 2.5 lbs and I’m actually succeeding and less disappointed by the higher goal (I like to be an overachiever)
  • Choose what to bomb – even though I’m trying to save money, I gave up mowing my own lawn (an example Jon uses) to pay someone else so it’s one less thing I have to worry about; I stopped watching TV shows out of obligation and only watch what I want when the moments strikes (if at all)
  • Make it fun, weird, and my own – I’m working on finding my own flow and system and when it works best in my schedule to work on projects. #ElleTeaReadsBooks is my new favorite hashtag to track and share all my fun reads, a book doesn’t have to be 700 pages to be add to my overall yearly book count (some are 30 page ebooks)
  • Create rewards and don’t start a new project until you finish – I want to create an vlog/podcast but I won’t let myself until I get my email campaigns set up. I want to plan a trip out of the country, but I refuse to start planning until I pay off my debt
  • Create a list of next goals – I’ve already been doing this but it’s grown a lot since I finished this book. I don’t want to forget an idea.
  • We all need data – Measure specifics to goals to see where you are at. Some of the data I plan to measure are time invested, money earned, debt paid, pounds lost, words written, blogs posted, thank you notes sent, and books read. Note – Jon says don’t overdo it and choose three points to start off with. A couple of these items I already do so I’m really adding to my list.

Now that I’ve “finished” this review, it’s time to go finish more of my goals and projects. Find a way to make it fun, to challenge yourself, and watch all the things you accomplish. What will you finish today?

<3,
Lauren

Adventures in Keto – Part Two

Adventures in Keto – Part Two

As far as challenges go, I consider myself a master. I spend hours upon hours challenging myself in any way possible, but the hardest challenges for me are lifestyle changes. That includes diets, food, and exercise.

Everywhere we look there is a new fad diet, new options, friends with their opinions of what worked for them and what we should try, a new gym opening up, etc. What I have found, and touched on in part one of my “Adventures in Keto” is that unless I make the choice it’s not going to happen. I can’t be bribed, coerced, pressured, or encouraged to follow the crowd because otherwise I get bored and I feel miserable.

If there’s anything I have learned that has kept me going through the past two weeks, it’s that I have to do it for me and ONLY ME.

If you missed it last week, check out part one of Adventures in Keto here.

Week Two is a game changer

There were still struggles and successes, but what I started realizing is it’s not as hard as I thought to transform to this lifestyle. Did you catch that? LIFESTYLE. Not diet, not fad, not 30 day challenge. LIFESTYLE.

Through week two I had to continually remind people around to me that I had eliminated some things from my diet, which meant I couldn’t eat what they were eating. I couldn’t have a piece of chocolate or partake in Taco Tuesday.

The biggest struggle was having family in town, which meant eating more AND eating out more. I wasn’t sticking to my normal meal portions or homemade food that I knew didn’t have extras built in.

I did the best I could under the circumstances, and wasn’t too surprised when I stepped on the scale and I had went up one more pound. I tried not to be disappointed but it definitely made he realize what I needed to change and focus on for the next week if I was going to

Successes

For starters, Pinterest introduced me to my first quick and easy recipe — Keto Pig in a Blankets. I needed an easy meal and this one changed my eating from just meat and cheeses to actually feeling like I was getting something more of substance.

Finding some new recipes, or new foods, spiced up what was already starting to become a boring meal plan. And it saved my life. Remember, I’m still a novice, and I’m taking continuous baby steps, but that has been part of the fun as well.

What I wish I knew about from day 1 was 90 Second Bread. I’m sure having it with every meal is not part of the lifestyle and not recommended, so I’ve been limiting myself.

However, we are getting creative with our dinners and took 90 Second Bread to the next level to create 90 Second Pizzas (with cheese, pepperoni, BBQ chicken, and more).

In 5 minutes, we

had a full meal! And I only had one 90 Second Bread (cut in half) and I was full. Even the family is enjoying the new bread replacement.

SUCCESS!

Conclusion

Week 1 was a struggle but the end result of losing a few pounds kept me going.

By week 2, I started to feel better overall but struggled with outside influences and eating more resulting in gaining 1 pound.

I was more determined than ever and have found it pays off but staying disciplined, because weighing after week 3, I found I was down 4 pounds.

Just keep pushing, just keep going, just keep up the momentum.

It’s worth it.

<3,
Lauren

Creative Shenanigans No. 5

I love being a creative. I’m sure every person that has met me would agree. Even if I can’t create something, the idea of creating something or coming up with an idea for someone else brings me joy. I often have so many creative projects I want to pursue, that my demand for instant gratifications goes a little haywire and I spend more time trying to figure out how to do it all now, than actually creating.

Here are just a few of my favorite creative shenanigans and crushes that I can’t get enough of.

Boise Native
I launched this page at the end of July and I have had a blast working on new posts, new ideas, and forcing myself to go on new adventures and experiencing the town I was born in, raised, and never left. The list of everything I want to share is long. The hours I have in a day to create is limited. But right now, it’s great to know I have endless content.

Elle Tea Creative & Boise Native Vlog/Podcast
This is a brand new project I’m brainstorming. It’s still in infancy but I’m very excited to see where it goes and if I’ll even enjoy producing a video blog. If you haven’t checked out the Alter Egos Podcast, or you miss our weekly episodes, this will be a continuation of that adventure. To be the first to know when this baby is born, make sure and sign up for the mailing list.

Ebooks and Guides
Among some of my other writing projects, I am working on a couple ebooks and guides for Boise adventures and experiences. This is a whole new ballpark for someone who typically writes fiction but I’m having fun finding my way around the non-fiction world.

Medium
I just launched my first Medium article and I’m obsessed. I have ten more ideas direct in the hopper that span from goal setting and bucket lists, to productivity and organization, plus literature and more! It’s great to share all my interests and experiences, plus read articles from other great writers and participate in the Medium Community.

#ElleTeaReadsBooks
I’ve been screaming through a bunch of amazing books and official reviews are still in the works but if your bookshelf is getting lonely or your Kindle needs some new friends, I highly recommend picking up any of the following:

  • The Power of Positive Leadership by Jon Gordon
  • Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Reid Jenkins
  • Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins
  • Reading People by Anne Bogel
  • Finish by Jon Acuff
  • Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (author of The Girl on the Train)

It will be fun to see how things have changed within a months time. So, get excited. Because there is a lot that will be going on and a lot I cannot wait to share with you!

Adventures in Keto – Week One

Adventures in Keto – Week One

What is it like to challenge yourself to go the extra mile for 30 days? For some it’s just flossing their teeth, or drinking an extra glass of water. Others set 30 day challenges for exercising, training, saving money, giving to others, you name it.

This past February, I challenged myself to wear different clothes every single day for 28 days (and not do laundry). It was eye opening, fun, and I felt so accomplished when I landed on day 28 having done what I set out to do. See the journey and photos here.

I was hooked. But I haven’t succeed in completing another 30 day challenge since.

Introducing KETO. 

For months, maybe since even early 2017, I have been commenting to myself and my closest friends, that I wanted to have better eating habits, I wanted to be fit, I wanted a change. And when I booked a trip to Mexico, I was determined to feel better about my body before I went. I lasted about 10-15 days of a 30 day challenge leading up to our departure doing different exercises for 30 minutes a day.

Mentally I felt better because I was doing something. I was just talking anymore, I wasn’t just sitting back hoping for a change. But it was short lived. We went on the trip and it was great and no one on the beach cared what I looked like in my swimsuit (and I even posted a photo so I guess I didn’t care that much either).

Fast forward to September, and I’ve slowly watched my weight climb to the highest I have ever weighed in my life, to date. My motivation, my self confidence, my attitude wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I knew exercise would help and changing my diet, but I kept finding ever excuse to continue on the same road hoping for a different result.

Sound familiar?

But when the timing is right … I am the ultimate girl who creates a challenge and sticks with it. Part of that is not just holding myself accountable, but telling important people in my life who encourage me and point me in the right direction.

KETO – WEEK ONE

I’ve dieted and cleansed and detoxed before. But when I tried keto a couple months ago all I could think about was that I could eat a salad. It was overwhelming. But I vowed after the Labor Day holiday I was going to really try it this time. I told my man friend, I told my mom, I told my closest friends.

Remember, I’m easing into this Keto thing, and I’m not doing it 100% by the book like some people. I’m starting in a way I felt like I could manage.

My primary meals included eggs, cheese, bacon, salad, steak, chicken, salami or pepperoni, avocado, nuts, lots of water, and tea. Unlike many who choose a keto diet, I didn’t not eliminate alcohol, but I have revised the drinks I choose to have.

It wasn’t easy. Week one was full of initial hurdles that I’m sure many have faced:

  • My man friend likes his fast food, and carbs, and sugar – we basically had to prepare two separate meals and options for quick dining out was limited.
  • Meal prep – finding enough variety but making it easy and affordable. I’m not a chef, or really a cook, so I wanted the simplest options available to make breakfast and lunch at work obtainable, and dinner uncomplicated.
  • I was exhausted. I felt hungry most of the time even after eating. I had mild headaches. Welcome to carb and sugar detox!

BUT … then as the first week ended I found my energy again. I found I wasn’t as hungry, I didn’t need to rely on snacks between meals, and I was starting to feel better about how I looked. Did I lose weight? I didn’t know yet. I didn’t necessarily think my body looked different or my clothes fit different, I just felt a little different.

I’m nervous that I might not have made as much progress in week one as I hoped. I’m scared maybe it’s not the lifestyle for me and I’m just torturing myself and depriving myself of the foods I love the most. Like any transformation or life change, it’s hard to wait. We want instant gratifications.

I decided I would only weigh myself each week – which means today is my first weigh in.

Come back next week to see how week 2 goes. This is definitely a new 30 day adventure.

<3
Lauren