Your Metanoia

About two years ago, I decided to take a good look at my life and reflect on everything around me. Many questions arose during this process. Who was I hanging out with, what was I watching, what was I reading, what was I doing, but most importantly, who was I becoming? And to my surprise, I wasn't proud of most of the answers to those questions.

I felt as though my life was not moving forward. I wasn't accomplishing or doing anything. I was becoming stagnant.

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question."- Harun Yahya

I slowly started changing my perspective on life and myself. One of the very first things I did was evaluate the people around me. What value were they bringing into my life? It may sound selfish, but that's how you have to view friendships. If they're not supporting you, motivating you, inspiring you, challenging you, or genuinely caring for you, then honestly, they have no room in your life.

I quickly detached myself from a lot of friendships. Not because they were bad people, but unfortunately, they were just not on the same path I was embarking. And that's ok. That's part of life. That's part of growth.

Once you make one positive change in your life, everything else seems to follow. You'll discover that your interests and how you view life in general will change. I've had many people praise me for these changes. But at the same time, I've also had people question my new lifestyle. Some even saying that I wasn't the "same" person anymore.

Well, that's kind of the whole point.

For the first time in my life, I have dreams and aspirations for myself. I'm making better choices. Choices that are taking me a step closer to achieving my goals.

You have to be confident and strong enough to make these type of changes in your life. They're not easy and sometimes people will question them or try to bring you down. You just need to surround yourself with good people, stay true to yourself and continue on your path.

What you think of yourself is much more important than what people think of you.

journey
journey

At the end of the day, it's your metanoia. Do what makes you happy. There is no better reward than being proud of the person you've become.

6 Week Weight Loss Challenge: Week #3

This week was the first time during the challenge that I've actually been afraid to step on the scale... no, more like terrified! Let's just say, I was a naughty girl this weekend. A verynaughty girl!

I only worked out twice during the week (it was so cold outside), attended a wedding on Saturday (and we all know how that goes) and then had an epic Sunday Funday (still dreaming about it).

If it sounds like I'm making excuses, it's because I am! I should've had more self-control, end of story! My downfall was definitely this weekend, especially on Sunday. Which I'll write about later on this week- trust me, you'll want to lookout for that post!

But alas, here are my results for this week (I bet you're dying to see them)

week 3
week 3
results
results

Despite having a gluttony fest during the weekend, I only gained a pound, which I can't express how relieved I am for that! Not sure how I managed to drop my body fat percentage and increase my muscle mass, but I'll take it. So to be honest, I wouldn't really consider this week a total failure -although I know it could've gone a lot better.

Even though I was a cheating machine, I did start off the week strong. Here are my tips:

cellphone
cellphone
  1. Go outside: I'm not a big fan of gyms. They bore me and I never find the motivation to go. I prefer walking or running around my neighborhood. It's exactly 3 miles all the way around, so I know that if I complete a lap or two, I'll get in a good workout. There is nothing better than breathing in fresh air and admiring mother nature. Besides being good for your body, going out for a nature walk is good for your mind as well. I take advantage of this time and reflect on my life and my goals. We're constantly surrounded by so many distractions that it's nice to be alone with your thoughts. I just grab my headphones, cell phone, put on Pandora, and I'm set!
  2. scale
  3. Don't obsess over the number on the scale: I used to be the type of person that would weigh themselves in the morning, afternoon, and right before going to bed. It was a mixture between torture and curiosity. I think it's a girl thing. We obsess too much on what the scale reads instead of listening to our bodies. With all these lifestyle changes that I've made in the last few months, I can honestly say, I've never felt better. When you feel good, you look good. The scale is a great tool to gauge your weekly improvement but it shouldn't become an obsession. Sometimes the scales can be inaccurate due to various factors, such as poor digestion, dehydration, time of the day, etc. Unless you weigh yourself in a professional doctor scale, your scale will typically be off by 0-2 lbs, so don't stress about it! Tip: To better determine your weight, always weigh yourself in the same scale, not on top of carpet, without socks or shoes, and in the mornings (preferably once a week)
  4. vitamins
  5. Take your multivitamins: In my case, I chew them. I take the VitaFusion gummy vitamins. Whoever created them should be given some type of award. I mean, infusing vitamins into candy- genius!!! In the mornings I take the Power C, then for lunch I take the Woman's Multivitamin, along with Nature's Bounty Fish Oil and Hair, Skin, and Nails, which I think every woman should take. I've seen a huge improvement in my hair and nails since taking them. Then midafternoon I take the FiberWell. Right before I go to bed I take Probiotic gummies. I've been taking this combination of vitamins for over a year now and it works well for me. In the past few weeks, I've made it a point to take them consistently every day. That's the only way they'll work. Tip: After lunch I always crave something sweet, so instead of dessert, I have two multivitamins gummies- which satisfies the craving.
  6. Cheat-days1
  7. Have a cheat meal: I think most people don't grasp this concept, and when I say most people, I'm really referring to myself. It's called a cheat meal, not a cheat day. The way I see it is, "well if I cheated already today, might as well cheat the rest of the day weekend" No! Doesn't work that way! Bad Fio!! A cheat day is fine once in a while, maybe every other weekend, but only when you've already reached your goal weight. In my opinion, when you're trying to lose weight, you should only be allowed to have a cheat meal, every two or three weeks. That's it! Tip: If you can avoid being around unhealthy environments or people, then try to do it, especially when you're just starting off.
  8. Have a goal picture: This motivates me to keep pursuing my weight loss goal. When you feel like cheating, you can just look at the picture and ask yourself, "is it really worth it?" Somehow this picture was nowhere in sight this weekend (*sigh*) but you get the idea. It gives you something to work towards. You can keep the picture by your refrigerator, on your phone, or anywhere that is readily visible.
goal
goal

If you're like me and you kind of fell off the wagon this week, its ok, learn from it and move on. You're going to experience bumps along the way, it's part of the journey of making significant life changes, but whatever you do, don't give up!

success-really-looks-like
success-really-looks-like

Let me know the type of struggles you faced this week. Did you have a fatty fest like me??

Last week no one really commented on their progress, so hopefully this time there will be more participation. I don't want to do it alone, so help a sista out!!

Here's to a cheat-free healthy week!!

-Fiorella

Your To-Do List For The Week

I believe that small changes over a period of time can create a huge impact in your life. And what better way to keep track of these small changes then with a "Motivational Monday To-Do List"!

Print out the list below and keep it somewhere visible. Every day throughout this week, try to accomplish at least one thing from each column. Don't forget to cross them out, that way you can see your achievements.

LessMore
LessMore

What I love about this list is that you can interpret it however you'd like. Our weaknesses or beliefs are not all the same. Only you will appreciate and know the meaning behind every word, so personalize it and make it your own.

If you commit to doing at least half of the things from the list, I'm almost certain you'll start feeling better about yourself and the way you treat the people around you.

Good luck and let me know how your week goes.

6 Week Weight Loss Challenge: Week #2

Ever since I started this challenge, it seems like the weeks are flying by. Tuesdays get here before I know it! I decided to weigh myself and post on the same day. So now I weigh myself on Tuesday mornings instead of Mondays. It makes more sense (plus I secretly want to lose a little more weight before I post) Even though I've been good, I always get a little nervous before stepping on the scale. Thankfully this week, the results were positive again.

weight week 2
weight week 2
results 2nd
results 2nd

Here are my tips for the week:

  1. Don't eat past 7pm: This might not work and be possible for everyone, but for me, this has been a big factor in losing weight. All of our bodies are different, especially with the amount of time it takes to digest food, so make sure you find the ideal time that works for you. Some people might eat dinner at 9pm and be fine. I personally don't like to go to bed feeling full because it interferes with me getting a good night's sleep, which is very important for losing weight. Tip: Try having your last meal 2-4 hours before going to bed.
  2. r-ALCOHOL-PIZZA-large570
  3. Limit your alcohol consumption: Thankfully I am not a big drinker. I'd rather spend my calories on food than on alcohol any day. My favorite drink is Malibu Pineapple, but it's filled with a ton of sugar and definitely not the healthiest. Now, my drink of choice is Vodka Diet Coke with lime, which has fewer calories. Alcohol in general is not good for you, but if you're going to drink, try to make better choices and limit yourself. I probably drink onceamonth- like I said, not a big drinkeratall- but when I go out, my cut off number is 2. I know that if I have more than two drinks, a pizza fest at 2am will most likely ensue. So, I'd rather not allow myself to get that impaired that I start making bad choices.
  4. Eat mindfully: What does this mean? Mindfully eating is being aware of your eating habits. It's being present when you're eating and listening to your body. Are you really hungry? I sometimes eat because food is there, not necessarily because I'm hungry. I'm learning to eat only when my body asks me. Something that you want to avoid while eating is multitasking, such as being on your phone or watching TV. If your attention is not fully there, you'll most likely miss the signal of being full and overeat. Another key point in mindful eating is slowing down and chewing properly. You have to chew your food 20 times before you can swallow it. 20 times!! This is something I'm still working on. I eat super fast and probably chew my food only five times. When you slow down and chew your food properly, not only are you fully enjoying and savoring every bite, but you're also helping with the nutrient absorption and healthy digestion of your body. Tip: Stop eating before you get full-it takes about 20 mins for your stomach to send a signal to your brain telling it it's full.
  5. healthy carbs
  6. Eat Carbs: Contrary to what most people believe, carbs are needed in your diet. They are the main source of energy for our bodies; without them we wouldn't be able to function properly. You just need to know the difference between the good carbs and the bad carbs (and in my case, I know the difference but love them both) There is nothing more delicious than a straight out of the oven warm French baguette! (just writing this sentence makes me want to have some, ugh!) but unfortunately, white bread, along with pasta, white rice, pastries, candy, and non-natural juices are a big no-no when trying to lose weight. They contain very little nutritional value and can even cause health problems. Tip: Try to only eat carbs from the picture below.
  7. Purchase new shoes: If you're serious about incorporating exercise into your routine, you need to have the proper shoes. Whether your workout involves running, walking, sports, or going to the gym, a decent sport shoe is a must. Investing in a good quality shoe can prevent injury and make your workout a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. It might sound silly, but having a new pair of shoes motivates me to actually put them on and use them. I purchased the Nike Free 5.0 TR Fit 3 and I absolutely love them! They're so comfortable and stylish!
shoes
shoes

If you're having trouble choosing healthy brands that actually taste good, then I have a couple of recomendations.

I highly recommend Ancient Harvest. So far I've tried their quinoa pasta and traditional quinoa, and was very impressed! They have other products, such as: mac n' cheese, polenta, grains, flour and hot cereal. If you haven't tried quinoa, you need to! It's rich in vitamins and protein, is gluten-free, and easy to make.

ancient harvest
ancient harvest

Click here for some quinoa recipes from Ancient Harvest.

Right now, I'm slightly obsessed with humus! It's so versatile and delicious. You can eat it with practically anything-as part of a snack or in a meal- but with moderation of course. Too much of a good thing is also bad for you. I used to buy the Sabra brand, which is tasty but contains too many preservatives and GMO ingredients. I recommend trying Hannah Hommus. In my opinion, it's much tastier than Sabra, and all the ingredients are organic. I bought mine at Costco.

hommus
hommus

We only have a month left of the challenge, so it's time to get serious!! April 1st will be here in no time. Even if you don't reach your goal weight within these six weeks, at least you have started a lifestyle change that will help you become healthier. You're heading in the right direction and a step closer to achieving your goal.

Remember, there is no magic pill or quick way to lose weight! It takes patience, dedication, sacrifice, will power, and hard work. Don't fall into the fad diets or products that promise you miracles. They don't work and are a waste of money- and sometimes comprises your health. The only way to lose weight is by:

losing weight
losing weight

Keep motivated and don't take your eyes off the prize. Trust me, it's not easy, but if you want it bad enough, you'll do what it takes!

We got this!!!

Move, Eat, Learn

Move. Eat. Learn. Love this video and the message it conveys.

Today is the oldest you've ever been and the youngest you'll ever be. Be curious about the world in which you live in. Keep your mind in a constant state of openness and let your curiosity lead you to new paths and adventures.

mmquote
mmquote

As long as you live, keep learning how to live.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."- Mark Twain

6 Week Weight Loss Challenge: Week #1

I don't know about you, but for me, this week went by really fast. Only 5 more weeks left of the challenge! If you haven't yet joined, it's not too late. There will be tips given by me and by some of the participants in the comment section, so you don't want to miss out. I'm going to go ahead and get this part out of the way . The first week results are in...dun dun dun.

week1progress
week1progress
week1results
week1results

I was pleased with the results. I didn't lose the 2 lbs that I had originally wanted, but that's ok. I decreased my body fat % and increased muscle mass, which are the numbers that truly matter. Don't get discouraged if the scale didn't reflect the weight you had hoped for. Even if you lost half a pound, that is still half a pound lost. Slow progress is better than no progress, remember that!

Here are some the tips that helped me lose weight this week and could help you as well:

  1. Have support from family and friends: This first step is crucial in you achieving your weight loss goal. Ideally, it would be helpful if the people you lived with also committed to healthy eating, so your chances of cheating are much less, but if that is not possible, their support will also make a big difference. We've all experienced the "C'mon, one bite won't hurt you!" line before. And it's true, one bite won't make you gain 5 lbs on the spot, but what it will do, is derail the will power you've worked on increasing all week. Solution: Kindly ask them to respect and support you on this journey. You can't do it alone.
  2. Don't make drastic changes: This was the first week, you can't expect to change all of your bad habits overnight. You want to gradually start removing and replacing your old habits, that way, you can stick to it. I learned this from experience. I used to kill myself at the gym and only eat a salad the first day of my diet. What that caused, was for me to give up the following day. Baby steps, in this case, is actually better than giant drastic changes.
  3. conwaterbottle
  4. Increase water intake: I know we've all heard this before, but it's true, water needs to become your new best friend. I carry my water bottle with meat all times. If it's in front of me, I'm more likely to drink out of it. Before I know it, I've consumed my water intake for the day.Todetermine the amount of ounces you need to drink in a day, divide your weight by 2. Example, I weigh around 114 lbs, so half of that is 57. I have to drink a minimum of 57 ounces of water per day. My water bottle holds 24 ounces, so I normally will drink about three of those. Purchase any type of bottle and startdrinkingsomeH20!
  5. quinoa
  6. Portion control: This is an ongoing struggle! I have to keep reminding myself that a little girl like me should not be eating like a 250 lbs man! To avoid this dilemma, I try to measure everything I eat. It's actually not as annoying as it sounds. Instead of serving yourself with a spoon, use a measuring cup. Easy! Also, if you go out to eat, only eat half of the portion served. Trust me, you'll still be satisfied and you'll save yourself a ton of calories. Tip: Ask your server for a to-go box as soon as your food comes and immediately put half of the meal away, it will prevent you from overeating.
  7. friendworkout
  8.  Get moving: This is another area that I need to work on.Ilackmotivation to workout. I actually hate it,to be honest! But I know that if I want to see results, I have to get my body involved in some type of movement. I decided to join my friend in her workout. This actuallyturnedoutto be a lot of fun! We did intervals in the treadmill of walking and running. After 30 minutes of cardio, we grabbed some dumbbells and worked out our arms, then used them for squats. After 45 minutes of torture, we treated ourselves to a healthy smoothie. If you're like me and find going to the gym boring, grab a friend and go together. It will make your workouts more enjoyable and for me, it was an added girl time!

Here are some of the meals that I ate during the week. As you can see, I eat normal meals, just smaller portions.

meals
meals

I typically eat rice every single day. I can't live without it! But instead of having white rice, I switched it to brown rice. Which is just as delicious. I buy Della Organic Basmati Brown Rice. I used to eat a cup of rice- now I only eat 1/4 cup, which is sufficient, no need for more. You can also give Quinoa a try. Both are great substitutes and better for you.

Yesterday I incorporated a quick and easy daily workout, a 3 Step Butt workout (because who doesn't want a nice looking butt??) I do this every morning when I wake up and right before I go to bed.

3stepbutt
3stepbutt

I look forward to hearing from you guys and how your week went. Make sure you subscribe to the blog and comment below with your progress and tips.

Keep up the good work!! Here's to another successful week!

Update: Many of you have asked about my scale. The brand is Taylor, model 5761SF. Unfortunately, I don't think they make this kind anymore- or at least I haven't been able to find it anywhere. I found one online in Target that is similar.

6 Week Weight Loss Challenge!

Before I begin, I should probably post some type of disclaimer. So here goes: I am NOT a personal trainer (which is quite obvious) or any type of doctor (we're going with a "duh!" on this one as well) so whatever I post is MY own personal experience. It will be based on the knowledge I have and the research I've done, so please do NOT perform or consume anything that you do not feel comfortable with.

Now with that out of the way, let's begin, shall we!

weight-loss-challenge
weight-loss-challenge

Reason for the 6 Week Challenge:

The past few weeks I've been all over the place with my diet. One day I'll be super strict, like brown rice, lean protein and vegetables type of diet, and the other days I'll be on the "I don't give a- you know what -diet", which mostly consists of eating anything and everything in sight... plus dessert! Most of the time, it's the latter diet. I just love food! Unfortunately, my jeans don't always agree with this obsession love, hence why I'm doing this 6 week challenge.

I decided to do the challenge through the blog for one simple reason:

Accountability.

This word is probably the reason most people (including myself) have a hard time losing weight. If I cheat or gain weight, I don't have to answer to anyone. It stays between me and my scale. But, when you have to report to someone else, when you feel a level of pressure, it tends to change how you think and act. This is why accountability is one of the most important factors in losing weight, or changing any behavior. I believe that if I have someone helping me and holding me accountable through this process, I will most likely reach my desired goal.

How it's going to work:

Each Monday, I will weigh myself and take a picture of the scale. The results, as well as a weekly progress report, will be posted every Tuesday. I will share the activities I've done, most of the foods I've consumed, and products I've used that I find worthy of you giving a try. I'd like for this to be a group effort, so if you can, next week please comment below with any tips, advice, or even struggles that you may have. You can also post how much weight you've lost each week. Don't worry about sharing how much you weigh, just what you've lost will be fine. That way, we can motivate each other to stay on track.

Dates:

February 18- April 1st (6 weeks)

Are you interested yet?? Hope so!!

Now onto the fun part (for you, not me)

week1
week1

                        Starting Numbers:               

  • Weight: 115 lbs
  • Body Fat: 28 %
  • Muscle: 76.7 lbs

         Goal:

  • Weight: 103 lbs (don't ask me why, I just like that number)
  • Body Fat: 18 %
  • Muscle: 80 lbs? (not really sure how to determine this)
  • Lose 12lbs in 6 weeks; 2lbs/week- healthy rate

Before I go on any further, I know what you're probably thinking... 115lbs and she wants to lose weight??? It might seem like a low number, but I forgot to mention that I'm only 5'1 and have a small frame. Based on my height, my ideal weight is between 95-116lbs. I figured 103 would be a happy median- not trying to be underweight, just slimmer.

Below you can find where you fall within the chart and see what healthy range corresponds to you.

weightchart
weightchart

(Source)

At the end of the day, a number doesn't define you. If you're healthy and happy with the way you look, then more power to you! I personally would like to feel better in my clothes and be healthier. I'm not too worried about the number on the scale. My main concern is to lower my body fat % and to tone up.

Hopefully you will join me on this 6 Week Challenge. We can encourage each other and be the motivating support group that we all need.

*Make sure to subscribe to the blog to receive the weekly email updates for the challenge.

Let the challenge begin!!

Go After Your Dreams!

This is officially the first Motivational Monday post! (insert happy dance)

I have a feeling that these are going to be my favorite posts from my blog. If you know me, you know that I'm a sucker for anything that is motivational or inspiring, especially quotes. There is just something about them that speak to me and make me believe that I can do anything.

(Ya, like I said... I'm a sucker for them!)

For Valentine's Day, my sister gave me the most perfect gift. It wasn't the size or the cost that made it so special, but the message it had.

The gift was a mug.

Yup, that's right, a mug! A plain, black and white, simple mug.

motivationalmug
motivationalmug

So, what's the big deal you ask? Well, it was the quote on the mug that really moved me.

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined" - Thoreau

This quote couldn't have come at a better time in my life.

For months, I'd been searching for something that I felt was missing in my life. Something that I could be passionate about. I prayed and patiently waited for a sign. Then one morning, out of the blue, I woke up with the urge to start this blog. Just like that!

Two weeks later, Metanoia Living was created.

For me, this blog started off by just being something fun to do on my spare time, a hobby, and something that I could share with my family and friends. But the more I write, the more I find myself dreaming and wanting to make it bigger and better. I'd been debating whether I should make an investment on something that, let's be real, I'm still fairly new at, but like I mentioned in my previous post, I've never taken on a project as fulfilling and rewarding as this one. So I asked myself, why not follow the path that my heart is leading me towards? Why not "confidently go in the direction of my dreams"?

So, that is exactly what I plan to do.

In the next few weeks, you'll be seeing a lot of changes to the blog. I'm currently working on new ideas and creative ways to make my vision come to life. The mug was the confirmation I needed to allow myself to move forward with my dream.

Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go after it! If you're contemplating an idea that you've been wanting to pursue, go for it! Don't let fear or any other obstacle get in the way. Even if it seems unattainable and the odds are against you, just do it! You'll never know where it could lead you unless you muster up the courage to try.

Always continue to dream and take action towards making it a reality. As long as you believe in yourself, you're halfway there.

Motivational Mondays

Every time I look at Facebook on Monday mornings, I always expect to see the same posts. You know, those hilarious "I hate Monday" posts.

mondays
mondays

They never fail to crack me up! I actually find them entertaining (Is that weird?)

For me, it's the total opposite feeling. I love Mondays!! Yes, I said it, I LOVE Mondays!!

itsokmonday
itsokmonday

I get it though. The weekends are typically filled with fun and relaxing activities that we don't want to end. Our beloved Sunday Fundays. The last thing you want to do is wake up early on Monday morning and go to school or work. Trust me, I don't either, but it's all about your perspective.

To me, Mondays represent another week of opportunity and possibilities. It produces a new chance for you to work towards your goals. To challenge yourself. To regroup your thoughts. But most importantly, they represent a fresh new start.

Besides, it's no fun to start on a Friday. I mean, hello, "diet starts on Monday" people!

makethingshappen
makethingshappen

So with that being said, I decided I wanted to start Motivational Monday posts. It will be a great way to inspire you (and myself) to begin the new week with a positive mind frame. A chance for you to redeem yourself from the weekend, cause Lord knows, we've all done, said or eaten things that we shouldn't have (Damn you, you delicious Mac n' Cheese with a side of pizza and fajitas!)

Mondays
Mondays

So, if you're dreading Mondays, hopefully these posts will change your attitude towards that dreaded M word and get you back on track!

Here's to making Mondays your favorite day of the week!

The Health Benefits Of Warm Lemon Water

I'm constantly browsing the Internet and reading books in search of new ways to improve my lifestyle and health. This is why I recently added lemon water to my daily morning routine. After learning about all the great benefits, I decided to give it a try. I was worried at first that I wasn't going to like the taste, but to my surprise, I actually enjoyed it and look forward to drinking it every morning. I'm fortunate that I'm able to sleep 8-9 hours a day (I know, please don't hate me) but somehow in the afternoons I always found myself getting tired or sluggish and in need of a nap. Since I don't drink coffee, I was looking for a pick me up substitute.

Enter lemon water to the rescue!

Besides improving my nutrition, I found that drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning has increased my energy level. I can't remember the last time I've taken a nap. Since faithfully drinking lemon water every morning for the past two months, I've noticed an improvement in my overall heath.

lemonwater3
lemonwater3

Some of the Benefits:

1. Boosts your immune system: Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds. They’re high in potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function. Potassium also helps control blood pressure.

2. Balances pH: Drink lemon water everyday and you’ll reduce your  body’s overall acidity. Lemon is one of the most alkaline foods around. Yes, lemon has citric acid but it does not create acidity in the body once metabolized.

3. Helps with weight loss: Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings. It also has been shown that people who maintain a more alkaline diet lose weight faster.

4. Aids digestion: Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials. It  encourages the liver to produce bile which is an acid that is required for digestion. Efficient digestion reduces heartburn and constipation.

5. Is a diuretic: Lemons increase the rate of urination in the body,  which helps purify it. Toxins are, therefore, released at a faster rate  which helps keep your urinary tract healthy.

6. Clears skin:  The vitamin C component helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes. Lemon water purges toxins from the blood which also helps  keep your skin clear.  It can actually be applied directly to scars to help reduce their appearance.

7. Freshens breath: Not only this, but it can help relieve tooth pain and gingivitis. The citric acid can erode tooth enamel, so make sure you dilute the lemon juice with a sufficient amount of water.

8. Relieves respiratory problems: Warm lemon water helps get rid of chest infections and halt those pesky coughs. It’s thought to be helpful for people with asthma and allergies too.

9. Keeps you Zen: Vitamin C is one of the first things depleted when you subject your mind and body to stress. As previously mentioned, lemons are full of vitamin C.

10. Helps kick the coffee habit: After taking a glass of warm lemon water, most people experience less cravings for coffee in the morning.

(Source)

How I Prepare My Lemon Water:

lemonwater
lemonwater

Ingredients:

lemonwater2
lemonwater2

The way you start your day is incredibly important. Try swapping your cup of coffee this week for a cup of warm lemon water instead. Who knows, you might have just met your new morning friend.

Bahamas Cruise: My Trip Of The Many "Firsts"

This year I decided to only have one New Year's Resolution; to live life to thefullest! To savor every minute and to immerse myself in new adventures and experiences. 

I know we all have this mentality at the beginning of the year, but somehow it always seems to fade within the first couple of months. I've been guilty of this as well. However, this year I'm making a conscious effort to successfully accomplish this goal.

So far, this year has been off to a great start. Last weekend I went on an incredible trip with my family. Not only did I have an unforgettable time, but I also experienced many new things that I've always wanted to do.

1) I finally went on a cruise: Yes, I was one of those rare people who had never been on one. Crazy right? Well, I'm happy to say, it was everything I imagined and more. I'm pretty sure you can assume what my favorite part was... the unlimited food! Their selection is endless! (I have yet to step on the scale, and most likely will be avoiding it until next month.) If food is not your thing, there is a variety of other fun activities you can do. It's virtually impossible to get bored! Overall, my cruise experience was a success thanks to Royal Carribbean. Definitely will be going on another one!

2) Went to the Bahamas: Living in Florida, Bahamas would seem like an obvious destination to have visited. Once again, not for this girl. The two stops our Royal Caribbean 3 day cruise made was in Nassau and CocoCay. We got lucky that there was beautiful weather all throughout the weekend. A clear blue sky and crystal clear water, I mean, what more could you ask for? Oh Bahamas, expect my return real soon!

3) Went to the Atlantis Resort: You can't go to the Bahamas and not go to the Atlantis. This place is absolutely breathtaking! Even if you're not staying there, you can still enjoy all of their amazing amenities, such as their pool and beach. It is a little pricey but trust me, well worth it. We purchased the pass that allowed us access to walk around the Atlantis, entrance to the Aquarium and Dolphin Cay. Which leads me to my next new experience.

4) Went swimming with dolphins: This was a dream come true for me! Ever since I can remember, swimming with dolphins has been on the top of my bucket list. We went to Dolphin Cay, which is located at the Atlantis Resort. You can't help but smile when looking at a dolphin. They're just so darn cute! Our dolphin's name was Electra. She had such a vibrant and playful personality, and in my opinion, the best dolphin there. I can honestly say, that day was one of the happiest days of my life.

5) Ate Conch: Before this trip, I didn't even know what conch was. Conch is a type of shellfish that is eaten raw or cooked. In the Bahamas, conch is typically served as fritters and salads. It is considered to be the country's main dish. We went to this cozy little restaurant called Twin Brothers and tried it for the first time. We couldn't decide what to get, so we ordered it all! The conch chowder, fritters and salad. I enjoyed the chowder and the fritters- the salad, not so much. The texture of conch is similar to that of calamari, but for me, calamari is much tastier.

This trip not only allowed me to visit another county, but it also made me realize how blessed I am to have been able to experience such wonderful new things.

We sometimes get too comfortable in our daily routines that we forget to really live. Doing new things and creating new memories is truly what life is all about.

"Don't get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life."

Try new foods, experience new cultures, make new connections, take a trip... the list goes on.

Time waits for no one. Go out and experience this beautiful journey we call life!

Gratitude Jar- My New Tradition

Last month I was counting down for January to get here already. No, it wasn't to begin working on my New Year's Resolutions. It was for something even better. The start of my new tradition... a gratitude jar!

I came across this idea two months ago and I remember thinking what a powerful concept it was. A gratitude jar is exactly what it sounds like. A jar that you fill with gratitude. It's a creative way to keep a visual reminder of the many blessings in your life.

gratitude jar
gratitude jar

Experiences or events that you feel are memorable go in the jar. This could be a promotion, surprise gift, a fun family day, a blessing, an accomplishment, etc. Then, on New Year's Eve, you read the accumulated gratitude notes and reflect on the amazing things that happened to you that year.

You can get as creative as you want. I've seen different versions of these jars, from simple, to very elaborate. There is no wrong way to make one.

A jar, pen, and paper is all you need!
A jar, pen, and paper is all you need!
Gratitude Jar Idea
Gratitude Jar Idea
Such a creative gratitude jar!
Such a creative gratitude jar!
Cute Gratitude Jar
Cute Gratitude Jar

My gratitude jar is actually not even a jar.

Gold Gratitude Jar
Gold Gratitude Jar

To be honest, I don't really know what it would be used for. All I know is that it's pretty, different, and goes well with my elephant and Buddha decoration. Perfect to use as my gratitude jar.

Buddha, Elephant, Gratitude Jar
Buddha, Elephant, Gratitude Jar

Can't wait to start filling my gratitude jar with the many blessings that are coming my way. I have a feeling this year will be the best one yet!

Thankful
Thankful

Whatever tradition you have, make sure to always take a moment and appreciate the people and things around you. Expressing gratitude truly makes you happier!

Happiness
Happiness

Here's to a prosperous and happy New Year!