ETC: Week 40

Hello friends!

I hope all is well! This past week, we made it to 40 weeks! It’s very bittersweet because I am very happy baby girl is fully cooked, but I’m also very anxious to meet her already!

We had a rather busy week and even had some visitors, but still, no baby!

Our 40-week weekend was beautiful; warm and filled with sunshine! Saturday we ran our weekly errands and Sunday we didn’t move until about 1pm. After relaxing all morning, we decided to go on a long walk. We walked down to the lakefront path and took a stroll through Andersonville on the way home. It was nice to reminisce along my old running path. Once Naomi is here and old enough to be in the jogging stroller, she will quickly become well acquainted with that path as well!

I worked from home this week which was extremely stress relieving. Not having to commute on crowded public transportation or worry about my escape route from downtown to up north if labor were to start was a blessing. Also, not having to try and fit in to office maternity clothes was pretty nice. At this point, a few maternity items still fit because they are stretchy, but are they by no means comfortable.

My mom and sister also came to visit this week. Unfortunately for them, when they booked the trip, they had planned to spend time with the baby since it was technically 2 days passed my due date that they would arrive. Joke was on all of us because, Naomi never made her grand entrance into the world.

It was nice to see them both one last time without a baby though. We went to Homeslice pizza one night and Xoco another night. Two places we wouldn’t have been able to check out with a newborn. We also stopped and walked around Oz park. Did you know, the statues can talk to you?!?! You enter a website on your phone then Dorothy or Tin Man will call you and talk to you for a minute or two. It’s a neat idea and I can’t wait to take Naomi to see them, once she’s old enough to understand the hype.

My mom and sister left at the end of the week but booked another stay the first weekend in May. They will be guaranteed to meet Naomi this next time around!

It was also our precious Pumbaa’s birthday this week! He is 7 and I cannot believe where the time went. I adopted Pumbaa when I moved to Whitewater for college and since then, he’s become such an important part of our family. I hope he loves Naomi as much as he loves us. It may take some getting used to, but he’s a cuddly lover so I have faith in him.

We made it the entire week, everyday asking ourselves ‘is today the day?’ We’ve tried nearly every home remedy people suggest and have answered the “where is she” or “how are you feeling” question at least 55 million times (little to no exaggeration on that estimated number). I’m fully convinced that all of these “at home labor inducing tricks” only work if baby is ready and Naomi is just not ready yet.

It’s definitely bittersweet going past your due date. Yes, I am so happy she’s fully developed in my belly, but we are anxiously awaiting her arrival. There’s a sense of frustration that kicks in when you wake up in the morning and realize it’s time to get up for work but you haven’t had any contractions and today may not be the day. However, it’s a blessing to continue feeling her movements. Soon, she will only be able to kick me from the outside 🙂

Currently, I am 41 weeks and 2 days pregnant. Our next update WILL have a baby update because I will be induced at the end of the week if she doesn’t come out on her own. I personally think she just wanted to wait for the month of May because Te’s birthday is also in May; so we have a serious daddy’s girl on our hands! 🙂

We cannot wait to meet our little bundle and I cannot wait to be done with pregnancy! We’ve got quite an exciting week ahead – Stay tuned!!

Until next time..

Explore: A World Without TV

Hello friends,

I hope your weeks have been going well as the new year is upon us! Have you been sticking with the resolutions you made?

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve come to the realization that  in order for me to achieve a lot of my goals, I’ve really got to change my routine. I discovered there’s a huge distraction in my world that gobbles up my time and does not allow me to focus on more important things, like my resolutions. That big distraction, is our television.

I am in a routine where immediately in the morning, I wake up and turn on the TV. After work, I come home and before even making dinner, I’ll turn on the TV. Mind you, while I’m cooking I cannot hear or see the TV, so that’s a wasteful habit in and of itself. I’m in a rut where TV is just comfortable background noise. And to be honest, a lot of times even if the TV is on, I’m not watching it. I’m probably laying on the couch, scrolling through my phone or as of late, you can most likely find me sleeping.

Once the TV goes on I feel as though my night is just that. TV watching, phone scrolling and sleeping by 8pm. I lose the motivation to do yoga or write a blog or read my 10 pages, because I get sucked in to being a comfortable blob while my mind is not challenged to grow. This is not how I want to live and I definitely do not want my child to be raised in front of the TV screen. Life without TV is quiet and pretty soon, I will not know ‘quiet’ as I do now, so before baby comes, I’m going to soak up every second of it.

Now, maybe some of this routine has to do with the fact that it’s currently winter in the Midwest. That means, when I get home at 6PM, it’s dark (and already has been for nearly 2 hours), it’s freezing and there’s not a whole lot to do outside. Because of this, us Midwesterners get trapped into our homes and most of us sit in front of a TV to pass the time.

Over the next month, I plan to challenge myself to break this habit. Instead of watching TV all night once I get home, I plan to go in a separate room and do something productive – read, yoga, write a blog, etc. I’m not going to cut it out completely because there are still a few shows that I’m interested in watching; Wheel of Fortune, This Is Us and Teen Mom (stop judging me, you know you watch it too) to be specific. Instead of watching TV all night, I’ll pop in front of the TV when these shows are on and once they’re over, I’ll leave the TV and go do something else.

I talk a lot about health and wellness, and I do a lot to keep my body healthy; working out and eating a mostly healthy diet. However, wellness is mind, body and soul and TV is not fostering any healthy habits for my mind, or body or soul for that matter.

Do you have a TV in your home? How often do you watch it? Does it distract you from completing other tasks?

Do you want to join me in this monthly TV cleanse? If so, let me know in the comments below. We can hold each other accountable and then in a month, talk about all of the amazing things we accomplished with the extra time we had! Good luck!

Until next time..

Create: Healthy Quick(ish) Meals

Is it just this time of year or are my weeks legitimately getting busier constantly? I am not sure. What I do know is that no matter how much time I have, I always make time to cook a healthy, nutritious meal that will fill me up and refuel my body properly.

I want to share 3 recipes all of which are nutritious, filling and quick! The first recipe takes the longest, about 45 minutes, and would be great for lunch or dinner. The second takes about 5 minutes to make with about 5 minutes of prep time and would be a delicious option for breakfast or dinner… or lunch! Lastly, we’ll make a yummy snack or dessert in just 2 minutes!

Before we get started, I must mention that all of these recipes I came up with on my own due to wanting a quick and healthy meal, satisfying a craving with a healthier option or pure creativity with the random ingredients I had left before my next trip to the grocery store. So please, use these as a motivator to not be afraid to get crafty in the kitchen, amazing (tasty) things can happen!

Recipe #1: Sweet Potato with Goat Cheese & Sauteed Veggies
Ingredients
– 1 or 2 Sweet Potato(s)
– Coconut Oil
– 1 Bell Pepper (any color)
– Mushrooms (any kind)
– Goat Cheese
– Cayenne (optional)
– Cracked Black Pepper (optional)

Directions
1. 
Turn on your oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is preheating, rinse your sweet potato(s). Poke holes in the potato(s) and wrap in tin foil. Place wrapped potato(s) on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes, or until tender.
2. Slice your bell pepper into long strips and your mushrooms into slices for sauteeing.
3. Heat coconut oil in your fry pan. Once hot, add bell pepper. Sautee for about 5 minutes then add your mushrooms. Sprinkle in Cayenne and Cracked Black Pepper. Once veggies are soft and charred, remove from heat, cover and set aside.
4. Once your sweet potato(s) are tender, pull the pan out of the oven and open tin foil. Spread Goat Cheese across each potato and return to oven, uncovered, for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese becomes warm.
5. Remove potato(s) from oven, top with sauteed veggies and enjoy your delicious, healthy meal!

Potatoe.jpg

A Few Health Benefits: Sweet Potatoes are high in Vitamins A, C and B6, as well as Vitamin D, which all of us in the Midwest can always use more of to help regulate our energy levels, moods and build strong bones. They’re also a great source of magnesium which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Lastly, their sweet tasting but their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream to ensure balanced energy without blood sugar spikes that lead to weight gain and fatigue. Read more about sweet potato benefits here.

Recipe #2: Egg Tacos  (A personal favorite)
Ingredients
– 2 to 4 eggs (Think about 1 egg per taco)
– Coconut Oil
– Cayenne (optional)
– Turmeric (optional)
– Cracked Black Pepper (optional)
– Tortillas
– Pepperjack Cheese
– 1/2 Bell Pepper
– 2 to 4 slices of Avocado
– Salsa and/or Hot Sauce (optional)

Directions
1.
 Heat coconut oil in a fry pan. Crack eggs into the pan and let them begin to cook while adding a few shakes of cayenne, turmeric and cracked black pepper. Scramble eggs up in the pan and let cook.
2. Shred pepper jack cheese (or cheese of choice) and add a few pinches of cheese to hot eggs. Mix around until cheese is completely melted.
3. Slice Bell Pepper into thin strips, about 3 per taco. Slice small strips of Avocado (or cut into small chunks), 1 slice or 3-4 chunks per taco.
4. Warm up tortillas. I have a gas stove so naturally, I throw them on the open flame burner to get the delicious char marks. A microwave will work to heat them up if you have a fancy electric stove 🙂
5. Lay warm tortillas on the plate. Add egg and cheese mixture, bell pepper and avocado slices and top with salsa and/or hot sauce of your choice. Enjoy!

taco.jpgAll in all, this meal takes about 10 minutes and it’s filling, nutritious and is a great option for any meal of the day!

A Few Health Benefits: Eggs are an excellent source of protein and the Avocado will provide your body with (heart) healthy fats. Turmeric is a yellow spice that is extremely beneficial for your health. It is essentially tasteless so it’s great to mix with eggs because the color blends right in and you’re getting healthier with each bite! Turmeric contains strong anti-inflammatory compounds, which can help defend us from disease, it also can help prevent Cancer (due to its ability to reduce the growth of cancer cells), Alzheimer Disease, Heart Disease and Depression. Ready more about this powerhouse spice here.

Who’s ready for dessert (or a quick snack)?

Recipe #3: PB Ezekiel Bread
Ingredients
– 1 Slice Ezekiel Bread
– 2 tbsp JIF Natural Super Chunk Peanut Butter (or any nut-butter you prefer)
– Cinnamon
– Honey (optional)

Directions
* Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat, if you’re not eating chunky peanut butter, you’re doing it wrong. 🙂
1. Toast your Ezekiel bread
2. Spread Peanut Butter across top of bread
3. Sprinkle with cinnamon and honey (if desired)
4. Enjoy!

pb bread.jpg

A Few Health Benefits: Ezekiel Bread is sprouted bread which contains no added sugar, compared to most other breads which do. Also, it contains more protein than other breads and is very filling. Read more about Ezekiel Bread here. Cinnamon is another power spice I like to use a lot! Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. It can fight the risk of heart disease, bacterial and fungal infections and even cancer. And, it’s sweet and tasty!

I hope you enjoy these recipes. They definitely get me through the busiest of weeks on a healthy note! Let me know some of your favorite healthy meals in the comments below!

Until Next Time..

 

 

Create: Goals

What types of goals do you have? Do you have a variety of long-term and short-term goals? What are you doing to achieve your goals? What is stopping you from achieving those goals?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my personal goals. As I continue on my career exploration journey, I find new passions and interests that I enjoy and thus, I create new goals for myself. I’ve already accomplished a few of my short-term goals and with each achievement comes a new level of confidence in myself.

Before we get too into it, let’s define ‘short’ and ‘long’ term, shall we? When I think short-term, I’m primarily talking about 3-9 months. Long term goals are anything about 1 year or more in the future. (FYI Super long term is about 5 years out, but that’s for another post someday!)

So, let’s get started!

Recently, I’ve reignited my passion for social media and digital marketing. I am mainly engaged on Instagram and Twitter. I continuously engage with other users on each platform to increase awareness of my page, learn marketing tips from their page and cultivate an influential community online.

batman

Instagram Post. {Follow me @leahbeutler – click to see more!}


Short Term Goal #1: To become Social Media Marketing Certified through Hootsuite. To accomplish this goal, I have been listening to the Hootsuite guide for social media marketers each morning while on the train to work. They review tips and strategies for popular platforms including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Youtube. I have about three lessons left and once they are complete, I can take the exam. I hope to complete the lessons and pass the exam by December 1, 2015.

Short Term Goal #2: To become an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer. “Wait, what? Where did this come from?” is what you might be thinking. Although it seems a bit left field, it’s really not. I’ve always been interested in health, wellness and fitness. I’ve also always enjoyed roles in which I can teach and help others. To become a CPT will allow me to combine my creativity, interest in health and passion for helping others by creating customized workouts that help people become a better version of themselves. I just received my books in the mail and I plan to begin studying this week. I plan to pass this exam by March 1, 2016.

burpee

Pushing myself so I can learn to push others. Who doesn’t love burpees?

Once I complete the CPT exam, I will be eligible to begin completing my third goal which is my first “long term” goal.

Long Term Goal #1: Become a Certified Nutritionist. I’ve always been interested in health and nutrition so I want to explore how nutrition supplements and stresses our bodies. I want to use this knowledge combined with my marketing knowledge to promote healthy lifestyles to others. Why not become a certified nutritionist off the bat and skip the CPT exam, you ask? In order to become a  ‘verified’ certified nutritionist, you must hold a personal training license OR have a degree in nutrition/science/Kinesiology. Since I do not have a degree or a base knowledge of the body, I think becoming a CPT first is a great (and less expensive) alternative. If I do really enjoy it, then we can talk Master’s Degree. I’m not sure how to properly plan for the timing of this goal since its dependent upon my CPT completion. I am going to shoot for passing the nutrition certification exam by August 2016.

food veg

Instagram Post {eat real food}

Those three goals will keep me pretty busy over the next few months. There’s one more goal I have in mind that will continue to push me to new limits over the next year and I am so excited to share it with you all! The big one! 🙂

Long Term Goal #2: Complete the Chicago Marathon (My First Marathon). 26.2 miles will be behind me after I finish this marathon. It was only a few months ago when I despised running outside. ‘I can’t’, ‘I hate it’, and ‘It’s the worst’ were typical phrases I used to describe running outside. I just never got into it. Over the summer when I didn’t have a gym membership  I wanted to stay active, so what did I do? Forced myself to run outside. Guess what? I fell in love. I think it’s the combination of running outside and my involvement with Nike Training Club (NTC) that fueled this passion inside of me to become faster and stronger. Recently, I ran outside for 8 miles straight without stopping. It was the first time I ran that amount of miles at once and although it was challenging, it felt SO freaking good. I figure with an entire year in front of me to train, I’ll be pretty much unstoppable come October 2016. As I train, I plan to run with Nike Run Club as well as challenge myself to run on my own and continue with a variety of workout classes. Please pray for no injuries! 🙂

run

Instagram Post. {Run}

Yikes. Now that I wrote all of that down, I am accountable for it. That’s kind of scary, right? 🙂

Do you write down your goals? Do you find them easier to achieve once they are written down? What about sharing them on social media to have your community help encourage you to accomplish your goals? What’s your goal-accomplishing secret? What keeps you motivated when the busy-ness of life gets in the way? What is the excuse you use to trick yourself into thinking you can’t?

No matter how busy you are, keep on setting goals. You’ll continuously better yourself by challenging yourself to try new things. Don’t get discouraged if some of the timelines you set need a bit of adjusting; that is ok! Adjust, refocus and move forward. You can do it. And each bit of progress, you are #BetterForIt.

Let me know your goals in the comments below. We can help hold one another accountable and encourage each other through the inevitable hard times. We can also help celebrate each other’s victories  along the way!

Until Next Time..