Monday Musings: Muffins!!

Hello all!

Please excuse me for my absence this past Friday. I thought I would try to make it up to you all with a delicious Monday Muffin recipe. This recipe was inspired by the delicious recipes on blogilates.com.
Alrighty. Here we go!
What you will need:

2 cups oatmeal
2 over ripened bananas
2 eggs
2 TBS light agave syrup
1 TBS vanilla almond milk
Your favorite berries (I used raspberries and blueberries. Yumm)

*Preheat your oven to 350ยบ

*Add your ingredients other than the berries to medium mixing bowl

*Blend ingredients together until smooth. You want to get out as many of the banana chunks as possible, but the mixture will still be fairly chunky because of the oatmeal.Chopping up the bananas may make this easier if you don't have a stand mixer. :)

*After your muffin mix is smooth, spoon it into a greased muffin pan. Fill them about 1/2-2/3 of the way full. I use a small ice cream scoop to dollop cookies and mix into pans. It gives you even portions and makes the process a lot easier. 

*Now its time to add the berries! Add your washed berries to each muffin.

*Put your muffins on the middle rack in your oven and bake them for 12-14 mins. 
*Check them to make sure the middle is cooked thoroughly. Let them cool 10 mins and then enjoy!
(If you want you can also sprinkle a little Stevia on top as they come out)

And that's it! Totally easy and totally delicious. Let me know what you guys think!

Thanks for reading!
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Monday Musings: Fooducate

Hello all!

It's Monday again and I thought I would do a review of one of my favorite apps in regard to my health. Before we go any further, though I'm sure you already know this, I'm not being paid by anybody to review this app. I just really like this app and I thought I would share it with everybody. :)

Okay, so this app has a ton of great features and great options to help you track your health. You can change the settings to make it specific to you and your needs/goals. I've provided a few screenshots below to help give you a small tour of the app and how awesome it is. Let's begin!

When you open up the app, this is one of the first things you will see. It is the home screen and it is pretty self explanatory.
From the home screen you can open this little side bar which allows you to do a ton more stuff. You can track what you eat and how much you exercise with you health tracker. You can set your own goals. You can personalize what you want the app to check for and notify you of such as GMOs, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, and gluten free.
This is the second part of the side bar menu. Here you can make your own lists of products you like or favorite, your own shopping lists, and you can check for products you have searched before. Pretty cool right? It gets better!
This is what the scan screen looks like. You place the bar code in that little frame. Yes, that is a blanket that I'm "scanning."
Here I scanned some Stax. I think this screen has some of the coolest options. Here it shows you what the overall food rating is of this product according to your interests, how many people like or recommend the product, the nutritional values...etc. It also shows some of the major points, good or bad, about the product. For example, this product has a high probability of GMOs so it is the first thing listed as that is one of the criteria I personalized the app to search. You can also rate this yourself (whether you like or don't like), add it to you shopping list, AND see alternatives if it isn't the best version of this type of product.
These are the Stax alternatives, They normally provide better alternatives.  Yummmm.
This is just a screen shot of the health tracker. Depending on how you personalize it, the app with give you a goal of calories. Then you can add what you have eaten, what you have drank, and how much you have exercised. This is like MyfitnessPal a little bit.
Then, if you don't have a bar code or are just curious about a certain food, you can just browse through foods, or search for something. :) So cool! AND to top it all off.....this app is FREE! YES! FREE! Woah! What more could you want?

So that's about it. Some more in depth info on my favorite little helper. I hope this inspires you to go check it out and make your own opinions on it.

Hope you all have a great week! Thanks for reading!
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Foodie Friday: Chocolate!!

Yeah you read that title correctly. Chocolate! And not just any chocolate, but clean chocolate! What?! I know!

I know the ladies out there often have a craving for this sweet and tantalizing treat especially around shark week. I can tell you now that chocolate is probably my best friend around that time. So I was sad when I couldn't find really any chocolate that met my standards of clean eating. I had to find another way. So what did I do? I made my own! And the following is the delicious outcome. 

Here is what you will need for your clean chocolate:

3/4 cup coconut oil (I use LouAna thanks to Megan! :D)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup honey (I buy local honey)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp freshly ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/8 tsp freshly ground sea salt
Extras: Smart Balance creamy peanut butter, organic milk+, almonds

*In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients (except extras). You want to get out as many
clumps as possible. I try to warm up my coconut oil a bit to make it easier to mix.
*When everything is thoroughly mixed, spread mixture evenly out over a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.
*Next comes the extras. I sometimes like to sprinkle unsalted almonds over the cookie sheet to make almond chocolate bars, but the peanut butter was the biggest hit with my family. After I spread the chocolate out I took 2 TBS of the Smart Balance creamy peanut butter and dolloped it on top of the chocolate. I then took a butter knife and swirled the PB into the chocolate (like making a marble cake).
* Next, put the chocolate in the freezer overnight.
*Once frozen, cut up and enjoy!
+This chocolate is very dark. You can optionally add a splash of organic milk to the original mixture to make your chocolate a little less intense. 

This chocolate is very soft so I recommend cutting it and then putting in a seal-able container that you can keep in the freezer. This is because there is no paraffin in this chocolate to keep it hard at room temperature, we alleviate this (sorta) with the coconut oil. The chocolate will still melt quickly, but that shouldn't be a problem as I'm sure you will gobble it up lickety-split!

That is all for now! Let me know how your chocolate turns out!

Thanks for reading!

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Monday Musings: 3 Months

Hello All!

It's a wonderful Memorial Monday and today also marks about 90 days that I have been on my fitness journey. I'm in shock at how much I have accomplished in the last 3 months and I can't even believe that my body is actually mine. I have completely transformed my lifestyle to one that has made me much happier and healthier in the long run.

I thought I would just try this for a few months and see where it left me or I would just drop it within a few days, but the results I've seen and the knowledge I've gained has invaluable. This has been an amazing learning experience and the knowledge I have will stay with me forever. I only hope that I can continue to learn more about my own body, my limits, my strength as well as teach others who wish to learn. This journey is not over by any stretch of the imagination though i think now this is almost purely just my lifestyle. I no longer believe that this is a "plan" or a "diet" or anything like that. This is just me.

I don't think i will always be training as diligently or as often and I don't think I will always be as strict with my nutrition, but I do think I will stay healthy and not allow myself to ever go back to the unhealthy life I was leading.

Well, I have a personal announcement to make. I'm done with my 90 day journey, but that doesn't mean I'm done. I could just stay healthy, but I'm setting some new goals for myself. Here, today, with all of you as my witnesses. My goal was to always be in a size twelve. I wanted to be in the average. The normal. Well, I'm pleased to announce that I made that goal! I went from a size 16/18 down to a comfortable size 12! Though I know this isn't the best way to track your progress, it is a good way for me to track my progress without using the number on the scale or using super expensive equipment to track fat loss.

I know I'm never going to be stick thin. I enjoy my curves and I'm so much more confident in my body. Hourglass figure. Check. No thigh gap? Don't care! I'm just happy I'm healthy and I'm so happy that I'm setting my new goal! Are you ready for this? Okay.....

I've always said I wanted to be a size twelve. Well, I'm there. So what's the next step? A size 10! Oh no! Craziness! Yes, I'm going to do it! My goal is to be in a size ten before I go back to school in August. That is about three more months from today. You think I can do it? Well I dropped almost 3 sizes in the past 3 months, I think I can go one more in the next 3. I'm a goal oriented person and I think keeping this goal will even further set my clean lifestyle and help me keep going. If I have something to work towards, I know I'm not going to be lazy. I know I can do it. Can you?

I sure think you can! I challenge you to do it with me! Set yourself a goal of one size difference or a couple inch difference or even just a piece of clothing that you want to fit into and feel fabulous. Make it a goal that you want to reach by the time school days come again. Make it a reasonable goal and then let me know what it is. We will do this together and end up more fabulous and confident than we already are!

I will keep you up on my progress and you can do the same with me. If you set yourself a goal, let me know what it is by leaving a comment below, tweeting it to me, or send me a shout out on Instagram. I'm hoping that your goals will motivate me and my goal/progress will do the same for you.

So go out and grab life by the horns. Let's do this!

This is me as a new Leah:

Thank you guys for reading!

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Foodie Friday: Meal Prep Madness

Hello again everyone and welcome to yet another Foodie Friday! 
I know...you were waiting all week just for this moment. Well its here and today I'm going to be sharing with you some of my recipes and tricks for my meal preps. Leggo!

1. Chicken
Ok, so chicken is a major part of my nutrition. I love it and eat often. I'm also one to get bored easily so I need to have options. Normally I will defrost all my chicken for the week and then split it up. I usually take half and marinate it with one of my delicious chicken marinades that I talked about during our first Foodie Friday. You can find those recipes HERE. I will take the other half and season it with my spicy taco seasoning. I grill all of my chicken now that it is summertime because I love the flavor that the grill gives.

2. Sweet Potatoes
I LOVE sweet potatoes and I love to have them at least once a day. They have great vitamins and minerals, they are lower in starch than normal potatoes, and they satisfy my sweet tooth. Well they don't freeze well so to make them freezable I turn them into twice baked sweet potatoes. They are delicious and nutritious! 

3. Green Beans
Gotta have those veggies. I don't enjoy too many of them so green beans are my go to. I buy a large portion of them and cook them for the week in some water and low sodium veggie broth. Then I store them in the fridge for the week. Easy Peasy.

4. Awesome Flax seed Pancakes
Gotta have these things too! I love them and they are the perfect touch to my egg whites in the morning when I'm not feeling oatmeal. Topped with a bit of PB2 and organic strawberry jam they are perfection. I usually make a double batch and freeze them. Pop them in the toaster when I'm ready to chow down.

5. Rice
Make it with chicken broth to give it a little extra flavor.

Here's a BASIC run down of my daily meals:

That's it for now! If you have any questions, leave me comment. :) Let me know what you think of the new look. I'm trying to make it all easier to navigate.

Thanks for reading!
*All recipes I didn't link will be posted later today under my recipes tab and then linked back to this post. :)

View Megan's Foodie Friday post HERE


Thursday Thoughts: Beauty Picks for Fit, Fierce Femme Fatales

Whoa! That's a lot of f's!

Hello all and welcome to another episode of Monday Musings...err...Thursday Thoughts. Due to some medical issues, I have been on a mini hiatus and missed my normally schedule Monday Musings post. Well, I thought I would do a Thursday edition to make up for it. 

I have been talking a lot about my fitness and clean eating and blah blah which I know can get boring sometimes (or annoying, you take your pick) so today I'm going to switch it up....slightly.

As many of you may know already, I'm a girl. And I enjoy the girly things in life like makeup, fashion, fuzzy animals, small dogs...you know. All that bologna. Well, when I was online the other day, I noticed a fitfam member criticizing another woman for wearing makeup to the gym saying that she obviously didn't get a good enough workout and she needed leave the gym to "really dedicated" gym goers. I love my fitfam, but this bothered me. We are all on our own journey here and nobody has any right to bring somebody down because their path is different. We should be supporting each other, I would tell that girl to "Get on with ya bad self!" because she took the time to look nice before she ventured to tear it up in her own way. 

Fitness is all about being healthy and body positive. If that girl is anything like me, then working out with her eyelashes on probably makes her feel more confident and thus makes her go at her workouts even harder. And if her face melts off, then so be it. This unknown girl and her "attacker" inspired me to write about the products I use to satisfy my beauty and fitness needs.

I usually work weird shifts so keeping my workouts on schedule is quite hard, but they normally happen in the evening when all is quiet. So I usually like to go home, go straight to getting my sweat on, and then get ready for bed so I can do it all again the next day. This means my makeup needs to transfer from work to workout with no problems. When I first started this fitness journey, I was rockin the full face (foundation, eyeliner, powder, eye shadow...etc) I quickly found out that wasn't going to work. My face ended up on my mat every night. So, I did some research and found some awesome drugstore products to move with my lifestyle. Without further ado, here are my beauty picks for fierce, fit femme fatales.

1. Cetaphil gentle cleanser and moisturizer

This stuff is great! (I'm officially switching to it after I finish my last bottle of Olay) I've used Olay for a long time, but I'm switching because this cleanser and moisturizer is much more gentle and you get way more bang for your buck. Working out can cause those sweat glands to kick into high gear, especially since its summer. Using this makes my skin smooth, clean, and keeps those facial demons from popping up.

2. Garnier BB cream

I'm obsessed with BB creams right now and this one is my favorite. It gives you coverage comparable to foundation, but make no mistake that this is NOT going to give you full coverage. It is lightweight and smooths out the face taking attention off any trouble spots. It is great for those who want to wear something, but not a caked on face. Plus it stays true when you work it out. :)

3. Revlon Photoready Powder

I usually take a fluffy brush and pat this on top of my BB cream to set it. The Garnier BB cream especially is quite "dewy" looking when applied so I like to "matte" it up a bit with this. If you have dry skin, I don't recommend this step, but your results could also vary depending on what BB cream you use.

4. NYC Park Avenue Plum

I'm a bargain hunter, for sure. So when I first saw this, I almost died! I used it once and instantly fell in love. When you want to look "natural" but still glow, you should use a blush that has a peachy-nude tint to it. It will make you look naturally flushed and not too done up or like you are constantly embarrassed. The reason I'm so glad this is a bargain is because I usually stick with the Mark Kay sunny spice blush for this purpose and that normally costs around $15. Yikes. That's a lot for me. Well, this blush maxes out around $3 and looks exactly the same!! Talk about a deal! Not to mention it holds true and stays on all day. Even through the sweat.

5. Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Eyeliner

I'm pretty faithful to my Maybelline black liquid liner, but recently I've been craving a pencil. The problem with pencils is that they are poke-y and glide on like a rock. Plus, they usually don't last very long. When I saw this, I had to try it and it turned out to be great! It glides on just like a liquid liner, smudges nicely to create a soft look, and stays on all day! Thank you waterproof! An added bonus is that it is fairly easy to get off and it has a touch of sparkle to it so it brightens the eyes even more. :)

6. Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Mascara

This has also been a recent favorite. It plumps and spreads my lashes really well while making them look equally natural and done up. The waterproof does make it a bit to get off, but it stays on great all day and I haven't had any troubles with flaking.

This is my usual line up for an everyday look that can go from work to working out. Sometimes I will add a lip gloss (NYC NudeYork) or eyes shadow to glam it up. Other things I use during the day are chap stick (Nivea A Kiss of Moisture) and makeup removing wipes (Simple makeup removing wipes or Burt's Bees makeup removing wipes).

I hope this has helped some of you or inspired you to try some new products. :) Let me know what some of your favorites are that fit into your healthy lifestyle. Have a great day!

Bye for now!

Leah ♥

P.S. You've probably noticed the new look, thanks for understanding and being patient while I do some construction. Let me know what you think of it. :)


My Choice: Why I Hate the Word "Diet"

Hello all!

So this is going to be a tiny bit of a rant. If you don't like that then hide yo kids, hide yo wives, cover your ears, or just skeedaddle. 

I'm not going to go into the dictionary definition of anything, but I will talk about how I perceive the word "diet." In the last few months I have come to abhor the word diet. It is used as a dirty word in our society in regards to every day human interaction. It has a bad connotation and most other people cringe at the thought of what the words entails: counting calories, bland food, constant hunger, no fun...etc. This is the complete opposite of what I'm doing so I got a little pissed  frustrated when someone told me that what I was doing was a "diet."

I'm getting flustered just thinking about it. First off, let's get something straight, diets DON'T WORK. Diets ALWAYS FAIL. If what you are doing is a "diet," you are setting yourself up for failure. So, when someone says I'm on a diet or that all this change is my diet I perceive this as that person expecting me to fail/does not have faith in me to succeed. Do you see where this can get messy? I already am succeeding and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon, so right off the bat they are W-R-O-N-G.

"Diet" implies that what you are doing is something that differs from your normal way of life. Thus, at some point you will have to go back to your normal way of life and your "diet" will have failed. If you go on a diet and stop, you will gain the weight back. If you change your nutrition and lifestyle to lose weight, you will keep it off because there will be no stopping. You will maintain a healthy body AND mind which adds up to your healthy lifestyle.

What I'm doing is my new lifestyle. I'm NEVER going back to all those junky processed foods as the main source of my food intake. Yes, I will indulge every now and again. This choice doesn't mean I can't have any fun. It doesn't mean I can't go out with friends. It doesn't mean I have to "give up" anything except the things that were weighing on my body and health. In fact, this choice hasn't limited me at all. in fact, I feel more free with my nutrition and like I have been opened to many more delicious foods that my taste buds would have previously rejected. Sure I may not be eating this many meals a day or the same things everyday like I do now, but I will maintain a healthy and clean lifestyle.

I also got asked what the good is in clean eating because it seemed to this person that my working out was the only thing that was giving me results. There is no specific ONE thing that clean eating helps. Basically it helps your whole body help itself. Your body was made to process natural foods, not preservatives, artificial colors, and artificial sweeteners. By eating clean, you allow your body to work more efficiently and give you the results you want and work so hard for.

I honestly can say that explaining all this is very hard and I don't think anyone will totally understand it until they go through the same process of changing. If you want something badly enough you will work for it. It could be as simple as changing your perspective. If you think that all this is just a diet, maybe seeing things from a different point of view will help (and make your friends like me, or anyone else who has seen progress through eating clean, happier).  

So, to wrap things up, THIS IS A LIFESTYLE CHOICE! Understand it, accept it, live it. You may not be able to do all of the things I just listed, but doing one can help a ton and make someone (or yourself) go from a 


to an un-grump. C: 

See? All about perspective. 

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you have a wonderful rest of the weekend! :D

Bye for now!
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Foodie Friday: Cookout

Hello all!

It is time for another Foodie Friday to satisfy your taste buds! It is getting close to summer time and one thing I know I love are the cookouts I have with my family. Unfortunately, some of those cookout foods can be hiding something more sinister and can be quite tempting. So here are a few recipes to clean up your cookout and satisfy the whole family

Clementine & Spinach Salad:
This salad is soooooo good! I absolutely love it and it is an amazing side for those summer cookouts. It is fresh and satisfies both the sweet and salty cravings you may have. Here is what you will need:

2 lbs clementines, peeled and sectioned                                     2 TBS red wine vinegar
32 oz baby spinach                                                                  1/4 cup olive oil
4 medium stalks celery, thinly sliced                                          1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 cup red onion, thinly sliced or chopped                                  1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1/2 cup unsalted walnuts                                                           1/8 tsp Stevia
1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries (optional)                          Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

§In a large bowl toss rinsed spinach, celery, onion walnuts, dried fruit, and half clementines. Spread remaining clementines across top of tossed salad.
§In smaller bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic, Stevia, salt, and pepper. When ready to serve, pour whisked dressing over salad and serve immediately.

I don't have any pictures to show you guys, but I assure you this salad is amazingly satisfying and so pretty with all the different colors.

Cheeseburger Roll-Ups

For those of you who don't have a grill, too bad no problem! You can still have delicious cookout foods without the hassle. These babies are super good and super easy to make. Perfect for picky little ones and all those kids at heart. Here is what you will need:

2 lbs lean ground beef (I get mine from a local butcher fresh)
3/4 cups soft bread crumbs (I like to make my own bread and crumble it up)
1/2 cup red onion minced
2 eggs, beaten
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (Or use Mrs. Dash C:)
12 oz shredded white cheddar cheese*

§In a large bowl combine beef, bread crumbs, onion, eggs, and seasonings using clean hands (My favorite part. :D) When mixed thoroughly, pat out onto a large cookie sheet covered with wax paper roughly leaving a 3/4 inch border around the edges (Kind of like pressing out a pizza crust). 
§Sprinkle shredded cheese over the surface of the meat until desired coverage is achieved.
§Then, start at one end of the meat and start rolling the the short side in a jelly roll form towards the other short side.
§When the meat is all rolled up, bake the roll at 350 degrees for an hour (make sure the internal temp is appropriate. 160 degrees). Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
§Slice the meat to your desired burger thickness and serve on homemade bread or buns of your choice. Top with your favorite condiments (Remember to read the label or make your own C:)

I hope you guys enjoy these recipes. I will try to get some pictures up of each as soon as possible and will notify you when I do. Let me know what you think and what you would like to see next. 
You can find Megan's "Foodie Friday" entry at her website HERE.

Thank you so much for reading!

Bye for now!

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*Did you know that nowadays, most cheeses that are orange are dyed to that color? Cheddar especially. "Yellow" cheeses used to be naturally that color because of the enzymes found in the food that cows were eating. Such a grass. Now, it is often too expensive to just let cows graze on grass so they are fed supplement foods like corn. So, the cheeses that cows milk produces are very rarely naturally "yellow" when they are made and often cheddar cheese is the most common form of cheese that is made. So, when you see "natural" yellow cheddar cheeses in the store, take a closer look. The color may not be natural at all and it doesn't have to be labeled as a color. It is normally labeled as an "enzyme." Your best bet is to go with natural white cheeses.*


Monday Musings: Confessions

Hello all!

Well it is another Monday and I feel like I really need to get something off my chest. Last week was a terrible week for me when it comes to my fitness journey. To put it in perspective, I usually weigh myself at the beginning of each week just to get an idea of where I am (not as my measurement of progress) and this week I am afraid to.

This past week has been full of early mornings, late nights, working hours, bad news and skipped meals. Even when I tried to keep myself on track it just felt like I would fall off the cart as soon I got on. I worked out 3 times this past week when I normally workout 6 days a week. One night I only got 3 hours of sleep before I had to go to work and then followed that up with a 4 hour sleep night to go to work again. Working strange hours threw off my eating schedule. Working in an ER makes it hard to squeeze in those scheduled eating times. Don't get me wrong,I  absolutely love the fast pace of my job, but it doesn't always allow for me to follow through with all my healthy choices, even if I had everything planned out. One day I only ate two meals.....Yikes. The rest of the week was not much better.

Not to mention some bad news, some anxiety attacks (yes, I battle with these), crying, and attempted retail therapy (not always the best choice), and bad food choices. Can anyone say sweet tart gummies? (which did not help the sluggish-ness). I think I was chugging more coffee than water. *face palm* Every time something bad happened it would make me more discouraged and angry with myself just adding to my stress level and generally making me more exhausted. I felt so bad yesterday because I felt like I ruined everything I had worked for in one week.

Then I went to sleep...

This morning I woke up after 10 hours of rest and I felt great. I took a look at everything around me and realized that it was okay. I looked in the mirror, i still had the start of my bicep muscles, my butt was still more lifted and toned than when I started, my legs still looked more toned than when I started, I still looked taller, my face still had more definition, and (to top it off) the bags underneath my eyes were pretty much gone. I was smiling too.

What's the point? Everything was and is still good. I didn't ruin everything. This is a lifestyle, not a diet. I will have bad weeks and really bad weeks, but I will also have great weeks! Life throws some punches and I will have to roll with them so I can't give up on myself for trying to persevere through all that (even if I crash and burn). I want to be honest with everyone and tell you guys that I am human. I think at some point I started to believe I wasn't and this week was a way of showing me that I still was. It was a way of humbling me and letting me share that with other people. I make mistakes. Everyone will make mistakes, but you just have to learn from them and move forward.

I want to thank everyone for reading this and supporting me. Thank you for all your positive and comments because they make me feel like what I'm doing is really important. I hope it will continue to be important and I will continue to feel your love and support.

So thank you all!

bye for now!

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Mother's Day & Musings

Hello all!

It's Mother's Day! What can I say? Wow. Moms. They are amazing. Where would be without them? Literally: We would be non-existent. But, seriously, moms are the greatest!

I owe a lot to my mom. She is the strongest and most powerful woman I know and I couldn't fathom doing what she does all the time. I guess you could say she has been an inspiration to me in my fitness journey as well. 

My mom has always been one of those people who has done the "right thing" in life. She got married to my dad, she had my brother while going to school to be a nurse, got a lot of training and great jobs to help support her family (whether that meant being on call, working thirds, or just plain working her butt off), then she had me and the rest of my life is history. She and my dad have always tried to do what is best for my brother and me and, comparatively, we have had a pretty fortunate and good life.

Turns out biology doesn't really care if you have done the right thing. For the past two years I have watched her battle a crippling disease called Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). For those of you who don't know, RA is an autoimmune disease (meaning the body attacks itself) that affects the joints and causes them to swell, hurt, and become immobile. This disease has cost her so much. She had to stop pursuing her passion of nursing, she has missed holidays because of stays in the hospital, she almost missed my brother's wedding, and countless other things that her RA has taken away from her. 

Normally, RA is treatable and maybe even curable with proper treatment and medication. My mom does not have this luxury. A doctor once told my mom that she was Murphy's Law (Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong). Basically her body has rejected most forms of modern medicine in relation to her condition. I won't go into her entire medical history, so take this as you will.

Though she has had some nasty habits, she has generally stayed active and led a healthy life. She even tried to let go of her bad habits to become even more healthy right before she found out what she had. So what is the point of telling you all this? Preparation. My mother wasn't. This was not her fault. We have not, to my knowledge, had any complications like this in our family tree. This is a one in a million case. This has made me see that I need to treat my body like a temple and be prepared for the future because you don't know what life is going to throw at you and you need to live life the way you believe to be the best for you. One day you may no longer have the chance.

 Though I made the decision to change my lifestyle on my own, she has been a major inspiration and has supported me unconditionally with my choice. She once said, "Leah you need to stop losing weight or otherwise I'm going to start feeling bad about myself" in a joking way pointing to her belly. I had never before seen someone find the strength to be humorous, supportive, and humbled all in one sentence. She is a fighter. 

This is just one aspect of my mom. I am in awe of her for so many other reasons and I hope some day I will be able to be half the woman, hard worker, and mother she has been. I love you mom. Thank you for absolutely everything.

Happy Mother's Day!

If you feel so inclined, I would love to hear about you and your mom. 

Are you fitness fiends together?


Or culinary artists?

Let me know with a comment below! C:

To wrap this all up, i want to say that Ia would like to start a new little series called "Monday Musings." This will just be a way for me to reflect on the past week and the week ahead and share with you guys my thoughts, opinions, feelings (related and unrelated to fitness) about whatever and also talk about a topic that   you choose. Hopefully this can be a nice way for everyone to chat and ask each other questions or share your own ideas. Let me know in the comments if you like this idea and what you think I should talk about?

Thank you all so much for reading!

Have a great Mother's Day!

buh bye!

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Foodie Friday!!

Hello all!

Alright, as you may already know me and Megan from "from flab to fab" are going to be linking up to do Foodie Fridays every Friday. So what is Foodie Friday? It is the day where Megan and I share our delicious, clean recipes with you all. You can see Megan's Foodie Friday recipe HERE.
 Without  further ado, I hope you enjoy this week's recipe!

So what is the theme this week? Chicken! And, what better way to kick it off than with some kickin chicken marinades.I'm obsessed with marinades and rubs! They are amazingly versatile and with just a few tweaks, you can change a marinade to fit any occasion or any side dish. I thought that I would give you two of my favorite really easy marinades to try out where one is pretty set in stone and the other is a very basic marinade guideline for you to tweak and make it fit your specific tastes. Here we go!

Italian Chicken Marinade

This marinade is amazing, easy, versatile, and a life saver when you are in a time crunch.

As you can see I need to make some more. :) Yes, this is a dry mixture which is awesome because you can just make a bunch of it and just store it away in a tight container until you are ready to use it. Plus, it is made from ingredients that you probably already have in your cupboard. Awesome, right?! Okay, here is what you will need:

1 TBS garlic powder                                                                    1/4 tsp thyme
1 TBS onion powder                                                                    1 tsp basil
1 TBS white sugar (you can also use stevia for this)                       1 tsp parsley
2 TBS oregano                                                                             1/4 tsp celery salt  
1 tsp ground black pepper

Place all of your ingredients in your air tight container, close the lid, and shake to mix everything together. It's as easy as that! Here is what it looks like all mixed up:

Mmm. It smells amazing! When you are ready to use it this is what you need:

2 TBS of your dry mix
2 TBS water
1/4 cup white vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil (you can also use canola oil if you prefer it)

Whisk it all together and, Voila! Italian Marinade. This marinade will marinade 4-6 medium sized chicken breasts or 8-10 breast tenders. What's even better about this mix? It doubles as an Italian dressing! It is so light and fresh that it goes great over spinach or romaine. This mixture could also, in theory, be used as a rub for grilled chicken as a dry mixture. I haven't tried this yet, but if you wish to try go ahead and leave me a comment about how it turns out. :)

Ok, next!

Basic Kickin' Chicken Marinade

This one is amazing because it works with just about any person's tastes. The ingredients are interchangeable and leave room for your own exploration and creativity. What does this mean? I'll show you...here is your recipe:

1-2 TBS vinegar
2-3 TBS Mrs. Dash (any kind, or you can use dried herbs of your choosing)
1-2 TBS mustard
1-2 tsp garlic or onion powder (this is totally optional)
1/4 olive oil
Sea salt and Ground pepper to taste

So now you can see what I meant by basic. This recipe is great because whenever I'm feeling bored with food and want to change it up, I can just use this guide to create my own flavor according to what I'm craving. For example, here are some options I like:

Depending on what flavor you want, you could use any one of these. If you have more in mind, go ahead and try them or leave me a comment telling me what kind I missed. For a smokey flavor, try malt vinegar. For a crisp flavor try apple cider or red wine vinegar. I have also tried sparkling white and red wines instead of vinegar. Yummm.

I personally love using Dijon or Honey Dijon mustard in this marinade, but there are endless options for what mustard to use. 

I don't have them pictured, but the people who make the original Mrs. Dash also have other Mrs. Dash spice combinations. Other than the original, I enjoy the Caribbean Mrs. Dash blend and the Tomato Basil Mrs.Dash blend. 

As soon as you decide what flavor combination to try, put all your ingredients in a big plastic bag, seal it, and shake to mix everything. Add your chicken, seal, and shake again to coat all the meat. Then let your bag sit for roughly 3 hours or longer if you wish. Because of the mustard and vinegar, you can also freeze this marinade for 2 weeks! Just thaw when you need it. :) This marinade is also good for 4-6 chicken breasts or 8-10 strips.

I know this was long, but hopefully now you have some inspiration to go cook a chicken masterpiece of your own! If you try any flavor combinations, I didn't mention or have not tried, leave me a comment about them and I will try it out. Also, if you liked these recipes and want to see more marinades, dressings, or packaged spice mixes made from scratch, let me know what you want to see and I will attempt to recreate your store bought must-haves with a clean twist.

Thank you guys for reading!

buh bye!

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