Lifestyle

2018: My Year In Review

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Hi Live Your F*ck Yes Lifers!

I can’t believe it’s that time again to sit down and take stock of the year — it feels like just yesterday I was writing my 2017: My Year in Review blog post.

Doing this every year has become such a beautiful tradition. It gives me space to reflect and set intentions for the upcoming year — and my hope is that it inspires you to do the same.

So often we go about our life not taking stock for what we’ve accomplished, especially when we feel like we haven’t made any progress in a year. But I bet that if you rock out this exercise alongside of me and take some time to truly look back on your year, you’ll be surprised of just how much you HAVE accomplished and just how far you’ve come.


2018 was arguably the best year of my life. 

While learning about having the BRCA 1 mutation was a huge thread through it all, the biggest thing was living up to my chosen word of the year — UNAPOLOGETIC.

It allowed me to feel the fear and do it anyways. 

Say YES to opportunities that my gut was pulling me towards even if my head was saying no. 

Share my story and truth with abandon. 

Finally DO the things I’d been holding myself back from doing for years.

Here’s a snapshot of some of those things…

MY YEAR IN REVIEW

TRAVEL

  • My first trip was a 2 week long stint to LA, San Francisco and Hawaii. I was put up in LA for a leadership conference for my business (which in and of itself was a DREAM and an HONOR) and it landed right around my Birthday/mine and Kev’s anniversary so we extended the trip and drove up the coast to San Francisco before I flew to Honolulu for a week with my best friend from high school, Irina. It was the first time in my career that I was able to just take off and go somewhere because of my business.

  • In April, I got to experience my first all expenses paid trip to Punta Cana that I earned through my coaching biz. I got to take Kev as my guest and it was the most luxurious and relaxing and fun 5 days.

  • Next up was my first retreat I held for the gals on my coaching team in Florida — aka the most hilarious, fun and amazing weekend filled with face masks, rained out photoshoots, laugh attacks and margaritas.

  • And then I got to see them again (plus way more of my gals!) in Indy at our annual coach Summit where I had the biggest full circle moment of my life. Can’t say Indy was the most exciting place to visit, but I would go anywhere to spend a long weekend growing as a business owner and person alongside my team.

  • In August, I got to check a major place off of my bucket list: Iceland. We went in celebration of my mom’s 60th and the amount of adventure we experienced was just unparalleled. We went into the inner chamber of a MF volcano. So cool.

  • The rest of the year was filled with mini trips to Canada (a week spent at my cabin was heaven on earth), a stint in NYC and my first time in Texas for an amazing conference.

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BUSINESS

  • After 2.5 years of rocking my side hustle, I was able to make enough to quit all of my additional part time jobs. And that’s working no more than 5-10 hours a week. It’s amazing what happens when you decide to show up and trust in the compound effect.

  • I launched my Live Your F*ck Yes Life podcast!!! If ya haven’t already, subscribe here.

  • I launched my wellness events & retreats company Empowered and Free. We hosted 3 amazing events and one retreat in the Chicago area this year and have some BIG plans for the next year and I can’t WAIT. This was honestly the biggest surprise of 2018. I had NO intention of creating a company like this. All I wanted to do was hold space for wellness, self care & community in a way that I hadn’t seen in Chicago via a social media movement experiment…and SO many women resonated. Just another beautiful example of following those gut tugs.

  • I had my writing published in a book, The Authentic Woman Series: Identity Rising.

  • I got certified as an emotional eating and mindset coach.

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LIFE

  • I was tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene and had a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy.

  • Spent 6 months of the year working on the most artistically fulfilling and empowering show I’ve ever been a part of. Haymarket the musical was such a gift in my life — and it was super badass getting to be a part of an original cast recording!

  • I went off the hormonal birth control after 12 years of being on the pill — read more about my decision to do so here!

  • I started working with a therapist after years of resisting it. Best. Decision. Ever.

  • I completed my first 90 day workout program, focused on strength training in new and exciting ways and truly learned what loving and appreciating your body is all about.

  • Celebrated my 10 year high school reunion — WHAT? So crazy.

  • Created and fostered the most incredible support system in Chicago. It’s been a year of nurturing and deepening new & existing relationships like never before.

  • Had a bon voyage to the boobs weekend and photoshoot with my 3 best girlfriends at my cottage and a surprise ta-ta to the tits party the week before my surgery in Chicago!

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This year was filled with unexpected magic.

Some things I planned but most? The things that brought the most to my life were FAR from anticipated.

And I truly believe it’s because I allowed space to explore them.

I listened to my intuition, my gut, and I went where I was called to go.


Did I “hit all of my 2018 goals”? Hell no.

That’s not the point. Some of them I showed up for with gusto. Some I’m still working towards and it’s only a matter of time. Some no longer serve my greater vision and purpose. And others I didn’t even know I needed/wanted.

All I know is that I followed my gut to the YES’s.

Because I know it’s my compass more than anything in the world.


Sometimes, it’s the most simple YES’s that transform your life in the most INCREDIBLE ways.

So this year, I hope you say YES. Invest your time, money, heart in things that will allow you to LIVE YOUR FUCK YES LIFE.

And notice how I said YOURS. Not someone ELSE’s version of that. YOURS. YOUR happiness. YOUR dreams. YOUR health.


Follow the gut tugs, my badasses.

It’ll lead you to LIVE YOUR F*CK YES LIFE TOO, ok?


What’s your intention heading into 2019?

Xo Amanda

Why I decided to get a Preventative Double Mastectomy at the age of 27

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I've always known that whatever hardship came my way I could handle.

I'm strong willed and a hell of a fighter.

When I was 8, at overnight camp, I was bullied and literally thrown rocks at by the other girls in my cabin. 

When I was 10, I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night and unexpectedly couldn't walk and ended up in the hospital for 4 days with the doctors unable to diagnose what was wrong with me. 

I’ve struggled with body image, toxic friendships, losing friendships, orthorexia, the yo yo dieting binge cycle, anxiety, panic attacks, the works, and with self development and the right tools, I’ve overcome them.

But some things you just don’t feel like you can…

When I found out I was positive for the BRCA 1 gene earlier this year, I tried so hard to not let it derail me and have a total breakdown — to be “strong”. But the day I found out, I couldn’t keep it together. I ran to the shower and had a totally hot ass mess breakdown, movie style.

And it’s crazy to think that in 2 weeks, on December 3rd 2018, I’m going to have the official “previvor” status.

Yup, I’m chopping off my tits.

The decision to get a preventative double mastectomy was easy. I knew going into my genetic testing that if I found out I was #brca1 I would be going through with the surgery. (I didn’t WANT to, but I knew that’s what I would want to do given the circumstances.)

I could have gone the preventative screening route — which is a totally valid option! — but I know myself and I knew that I would constantly be living in fear.

Getting tested on the other hand? I put it off for years out of fear. But if there’s one thing I hope my journey with all of this shared is that knowing your predispositions is what gives you AGENCY over your HEALTH and your LIFE.

I’m grateful I know because now, I get to MAKE a choice. I get to stand up to cancer and tell it to fuck right off.

And that is a powerful thing.

Maybe you have a history of breast or ovarian cancer in your family and you can relate. Or maybe you are navigating your journey with a genetic mutation too. Or maybe, you are waiting to do something you know you need to do out of FEAR.

I’m here to tell you you’re not alone, my love. And that if you need ANYTHING, I’m always just a message away.

If you want to learn more about BRCA and my journey with it,

take a listen to this episode of the podcast.

 

I’ll be blogging more about my recovery journey and everything in between so if we’re not email penpals, be sure to subscribe to my email list to not miss a beat.

Your love & support means the world.

Let’s kick this BRCA gene in the goddamn tits.

Xo Amanda  

Gut Health Matters. Poop better, live happier & feel your MF best.

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I was super into the arts and humanitarians in high school.

English. History. Psych. It was my jam.

But science? Anything math related? It was just NOT my jam. Except for Biology.

I was so fascinated by the ways our bodies worked and I related to it because it felt applicable to me — ya know, ‘cause I have a body.


So when I started learning more about nutrition in my journey to becoming a health coach, I became FASCINATED by the gut.

Gut health has become a super trendy topic as of late — you know, all those fancy yogurts and kombucha supporting that gut health all the wayyyy. Right?

But supporting our gut health is SO MUCH MORE than having a kombucha every day…(which for the record, I don’t recommend). And having a healthy gut is KEY to having a healthy body…and here’s why…

The gut is largely responsible for putting our body into working order.

As our food gets broken down, the microbiome (aka the bacteria in our gut) absorb the nutrients from the food which, in turn, supports things like hormone balance, mental health, healthy waste elimination (aka GOOD POOPS) & even skin health.


The craziest thing that totally blew my mind?

The gut and the brain are directly connected.

Which, in turn, means the food you’re ingesting and being absorbed by the gut impact your mental health/anxiety in profound ways.


How do you know if your gut needs some extra love? Here are some symptoms you may be experiencing…

  • Anxiety - Around 80% of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that impacts mood, sleep, social behavior etc is produced in the gut. So when the gut isn’t healthy, you’re getting less serotonin, which can negatively impact your mood.

  • IBS/ bowel movement issues — these have been directly linked to an imbalance of the microbiome

  • Exhaustion/Brain fog - this is also linked to lack of seratonin, as having lower levels of it can cause insomnia or trouble sleeping

  • Acne or skin issues — the main cause for acne/rashes is an imbalance in the gut

  • Cravings — if there’s an overgrowth of yeast in the system, you can crave more sugar


If you’re like AHHHHH I HAVE ALL OF THESE or even SOME of these, then GIRLFRIEND, you can do something about it right fucking now.


The microbiome in our gut can be reset in as little as 3 days. Isn’t that incredible? Which means with some mindful practices, we can take agency over our health, mind body and soul.


BEST WAYS TO SUPPORT GUT HEALTH


QUICK RESET & GUT OVERHAUL

I’m not a proponent for quick fixes in life. Especially when it comes to our health. But sometimes, our body needs a reset to be able to give us a healthy base to launch into new shifts.

And that’s why I love the 3 day refresh. A 3 day plant based gut detox which focuses on eating real foods & supporting your gut health through supplements.

I’ve rocked this particular program three times now (about once per year) and every time I do it, I’m astounded by my results. And this time was no exception.

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I weighed myself out of sheer curiosity and I’m down 7.6 lbs (my husband who also rocked it alongside with me this time was down 7 lbs) and we both have maintained that loss a week later.

I’m feeling SO energized and refreshed in a way I haven’t felt in months — YASS GUT HEALTH.

WINS?

  • bloating GONE

  • slept better than I have in months 

  • feeling so lean 

  • brain alert and focused 

  • poops are on point

  • eczema cleared up

SPEEDBUMPS

  • felt a little hungry the last night of the 3 days but tea helped 

  • my energy was lower overall through the 3 days but it’s back tenfold  

I am so glad I dove into this even when I felt like I didn’t “have the time” for it. And I’m so proud of my LYFYL wellness community for rocking it out too, especially my 2 gals who did it while traveling for work. MF ROCKSTARS and proof that you CAN put yourself first no matter what season of life you’re in. And if you’re looking for a quick way to shift your body’s composition, this is 100% what I would recommend.


EAT MORE VEGETABLES

Big ol’ duh, I know. But seriously, gut check yourself (ha, see what I did there?) and check in with how many vegetables a day you’re actually getting in. They are the best way to add more healthy nutrients in your day to support gut health.

EAT HIGH FIBER FOODS

Fiber doesn’t get digested in the body until it gets to the gut (which stimulates bacteria growth!) so it’s the healthiest thing you can ingest. Some of my favorite high fiber foods include: raspberries, broccoli, chickpeas, artichokes, lentils.

TAKE A PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT

This can be a bit tricky because many probiotics on the market are actually not beneficial to your gut health at all because the casing they’re encapsulated in aren’t made to withstand the acidity in the stomach and break down before they even make it to the intestines (which is where they are needed to do their job!). I take my probiotic in form of powder in my daily smoothie because I know it has the correct casing (shoot me a message if you want more info!) so whatever you do, just be sure to do your research on which ones you can snag that will actually do the job intended!

And there you have it! GUT HEALTH FOR THE WIN.

Do you have any symptoms listed above? What has been your biggest struggle with gut health?

Let me know in the comments!

Xo Amanda

Living with Anxiety? Yeah, me too.

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Anxiety.

The word alone gives me anxiety — and honestly, I’ve been wanting to write a post about this for a long ass time but something has kept holding me back…until today.


Why now?

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I love to pop into my Insta stories on the regular and talk to you guys — pep talks, rants, goofy moments, adorable pup time with Toby and silly dance parties are what you normally can expect, but last week, I was having one of those days (maybe you know the kind) and I brought it up on my stories, asking for help on how to navigate it all.

And I’ve never had SO MUCH response to something I posted in my life. 92% of my followers said they struggled with anxiety too. I knew I wasn’t alone but the amount of “me too” responses I got absolutely blew me away and I knew I couldn’t stay silent about it anymore.


My Story

I've lived with anxiety for the past 5 years. The summer of 2013, an event in my life triggered what I now know to be called a panic attack. At the time, I thought I was literally dying. I was hyperventilating and crying so much that I almost passed out and for the life of me, I couldn’t make it stop.

This was my first experience with anxiety, or at least what I can remember.

And honestly, my first experience with mental health struggles.

My anxiety took a really intense hold over my life for the years following — panic attacks would happen when I least expected, conversations about the simplest things could spur it and I would find myself waking up with a heavy chest that just couldn’t go away, no matter what I did.

I’ve spent the past 5 years navigating my anxiety and building up tools in my tool box that have helped immensely — and what used to be a super common feeling has turned into something that rears its head every one and a while.

Anxiety looks different on everyone. I know women who navigate it from all ends of the spectrum — from women who have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) who are on medication for their anxiety to women who occasionally get anxious about specific circumstances in their lives.

One thing I do know? Most women don’t talk about it.

Which makes us all feel a hell of a lot more alone in all of it, don’t ya think?

It’s my mission to help contribute to the mission to normalize anxiety — ‘cause you are not less than because you experience it, in any capacity. Ya hear me?


What you can do?

I was blown away by the incredible thoughtful response some of my amazing followers on Instagram shared with me, and I wanted to share their thoughts alongside mine. Here they are…

“Breathing mantras and writing!”

“Puppy snuggles” — you laugh but there is scientific proof that petting pups actually lowers your cortisol (aka stress) levels!

“Journaling out my feelings”

“Evening out my breath. So making my inhales 5ish secs and my exhales 5ish secs.”

“Yoga, meditation and journaling is what works for me.”

“Getting enough sleep”

“Painting/being creative in any way.”

“Reading.”

“Big hugs”

“Writing down things I can see, feel. and hear helps ground me.”

“Reminding myself of things that are true.”

“Running and coloring”


How thoughtful are these responses? So many incredible things to sift through and find what works for you.


Here are some of my personal go-tos that have been a total godsend to quiet or rid myself of anxiety:


EXERCISE PAIRED WITH SUPPORT

The minute I feel anxiety creeping up, I know that the best thing I can do is to sweat it out. It works absolute WONDERS, and having a community of women encouraging me and supporting me along the way has been KEY in my journey. We all need spaces that allow us to come exactly as we are and that’s what these groups have been for me.


THROW MYSELF A DANCE PARTY

There is nothing like putting on some of my favorite tunes (lately I’ve been taking it back to some TLC and it’s been pretty fucking incredible) and throwing myself a major dance party.

I know it can feel counter-intuitive in the moment but thrusting your body into something active and physical and unexpected can help jolt you out of your state of anxiety.


GO FOR A WALK

Sometimes something as simple as a shift in environment and getting outside can make all the difference. I actually try to pre-emptively plan for these with my daily mid day walk with my pup — it forces me to get out of the house! If you work a traditional full time gig, take your lunch outside or take the second half of it by going for a walk. Better yet, start your day with a quick walk around the block to wake you up!

REMEMBER — if you are struggling and need someone to talk to, I’m always just a message away my love. I’m no expert on anxiety but I’m always, always here.

Xo Amanda

p.s. I’m hosting an End Overeating & Anxiety for good webinar with my good friend and therapist Rachel Wright later this month and would love to see you there — be sure to hop on my email list and in our Live Your F*ck Yes Life Facebook community to get the deets first!

Why I decided to go off the birth control pill after 12 years

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I know this is gonna ruffle a million and one feathers but you know your girl is gonna give it to you straight and this has been a huge part of my wellness journey 

This time last year, I remember sitting in a coffee shop with my friend Jen talking all about the birth control pill. She had decided to go off of it 6 months prior and was sharing her experience with me and it got me thinking ... "why have I been on the pill for so goddamn long?"

I mean OBVIOUSLY to not have a baby.

But the reason I went on the pill in the first place? I was 15 years old and my doctor misdiagnosed me with PCOS and said "here, just take the pill. It'll help your symptoms."

And she was right, it did. And I didn't question it (and hadn't questioned it until recently).


But that conversation got me thinking about how I've been putting synthetic hormones into my body for 12 years of my life without question ('cause ya know, everyone is on the pill, right?) and that I hadn't even thought to question it. 

And the past year, I've been going back and forth about it and out of fear of what would come of change, I never decided to make any shifts...until now. After all of the medical stuff going on with me and the incredible conversation I had with Claire Baker on episode 7 of the podcast and speaking with my doctor, I decided to officially go off of the pill. 

Now I want to preface this by saying this is in NO WAY a "you need to go off the pill" post. YOU are the only person that can make choices for YOUR body (and girlfriend, you 100% know what's best for YOU and where you're at in life), but I've been getting a billion questions about why I made this decision and what I'm doing now for preventative measures. 

So here is MY story based off of my personal findings, speaking with my trusted hormone experts, my doctor and MY BODY.


WHY I DECIDED TO GO OFF THE PILL

1. I'm hella health conscious (obviously). And after getting hella into nutrition, the body and how everything works, I realized how VITAL the health of a woman's' endocrine system (aka the collection of glands and organs that produce hormones) is for overall health. And I have been working so hard on implementing habits in my nutrition and day to day life to support this, but not my birth control method? My girl Jess over at Wholly Healed shares ALL about the negative side effects of going on the pill, so if you wanna learn more definitely check her out. 

2. When I found out I was BRCA 1 positive earlier this year, I was hell bent on doing everything in my power to arm myself with everything I could to prevent myself from getting breast or ovarian cancer. And I knew that certain pills have been associated with raising risks of getting breast cancer and I was NOT fucking around with that.

*what I didn't know? Being on certain BC pills like the one I was on (ortho trinessa or ortho tricyclen low) for upwards of 5 years can actually REDUCE your likelihood of developing ovarian cancer so that was a major WIN for me and my doctor. 

3. My gynaecologist recommended I make the switch. While I was pretty convinced through my own personal readings and speaking with hormone health experts, I also wanted to hear the input from my doctor and she gave me the green light immediately. 

 

OK SO I WANNA GO OFF THE PILL, BUT I DON'T WANT BABIES!! HALP!!!

I hear ya. Kev and I are NOT ready for babies anytime soon, so when we were looking for another option, we knew we still needed to have a form of birth control going .

Here are other some options other than the pill to consider:

Paraguard IUD  - this is the option I opted with for a few reasons.  

  • It's over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, making it one of the most effective forms of birth control available. This is hugely important to us because if and when we do decide to have kids, we have committed to going through the IVF process so we can screen the embryos for the BRCA gene. 
  • It is hormone FREE. So your body goes through the ovulation process as it naturally would but the Copper IUD disrupts sperm motility and damages sperm so they can't join with an egg. Fun fact that I didn't know? Copper actually acts as a spermicide within the uterus, increasing levels of copper ions, prostaglandins, and white blood cells within the uterine and tubal fluids. Fun science facts for ya! 
  • It is good for up to 10 years and can be removed at any time.

Condoms - also a great option! 

Withdrawl...not so fun but if you're in a relationship or sex isn't on the table, there ya go! 

Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) -- if you want to learn more about this, I highly recommend the book Taking Control of Your Fertility 

 

HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW ABOUT YOUR DECISION?

So far, I am OVER THE MOON about it.

I stopped taking the pill and transitioned to the Paraguard 2 weeks ago, so I've yet to experience a full cycle (and have yet to see if my period is going to return right away -- I know quite a few women who waited a year for their period to return) so I will definitely do a follow up post in a few months but so far, it's been great.

The process of inserting the IUD? It sucked. Majorly. And I experienced pretty awful cramping the rest of the day. The heating pad, aleve, netflix and my pup Toby were my best friends that day -- so DEFINITELY do not go into work after you get it inserted. SERIOUSLY. 

But less than 24 hours later later and after a nights sleep, I felt good as new.

I've been following the My Flo app to track my cycle and so far it's been pretty on track! No spotting, weird cramping or anything like that.

And just knowing that I've taken action about this has taken a huge weight off of my chest.

 

So there ya have it!

As always, you know I'm an open book so if you have any questions, pop 'em in the comments below! 

And I'm curious -- what form of birth control do you use? 

Xo Cheers to living our f*ck yes lives,

Amanda

20 things you should start doing so you won't regret your twenties

My twenties so far have been anything but seamless, and I'm betting you can relate.

And for so many years, I just chalked it up to what everyone and their mother said: 

"your twenties are your crazy years, everything changes at thirty."

And so for the first 5 years of my twenties, you better believe I lived up to that ('cause I was given hella permission to do so) -- you know the pattern...get up, go to work for jobs that suck the life out of you, say yes to all the parties/events because you're afraid you'll be missing out if you don't, spend so much time trying to look like some magazine's definition of what an "ideal woman" should look like, which of course leds us to years of binging and over exercising until our inevitable quarter life crisis break down ensues...

Or at least, that was my story.

Can you relate?

Now don't get me wrong, I'm all about spending your twenties to figure out who you are and what you want (and along the way, you can bet it's gonna be messy AF), but why do we have to hit rock bottom for us to wake the fuck up and make a change?

What if we could equip ourselves with tools that allowed us to do the inner work, the REAL work, so that come our thirties, we had already started to put into place some intentional habits that were in line with how we wanted to feel & show up in the world. 

Habits that are deeply rooted in our VALUES. 

My hope is that by sharing what I wish I had known, you can avoid having your own burnout broken quarter life crisis that takes years of work to undo. 

Here we go.

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20 THINGS YOU SHOULD START DOING SO YOU WON'T REGRET YOUR TWENTIES

1. Wake up early. If this gal can become a morning person, so can you. 

2. Get into a regular exercise routine. You don't need to go crazy at the gym or kill yourself at a spin class on the regular, but 30 minutes of moving your body a day is so important for your health. 

3. Cut out processed foods (FO REAL YO) and focus on simple REAL foods. Check out my FREE BUSY BABES GUIDE TO HEALTHY LIVING e-book to learn how to get started!

4. Have the courage to say YES to the things that excite you.

5. Have the courage to say NO to the things that aren’t aligned with your values.

6. Explore and discover what your true values ARE (don't know where to start? Check out this post

7. Say buh bye to the friendships that don’t serve you — you know who they are. 

8. Read books — here’s a great place to get started!

9. Take yourself on soul dates.

10. Tell the truth and expect it in return.

11. Break free from the typical “adulting” day to day life and add more freaking PLAY into your day. 

12. Create a budget and start putting a little money aside into a savings fund NOW. 

13. Trade in blackout party nights for a glass of wine or kombucha with a gal pal and inspiring and goofy conversations 

14. Create self care rituals that you do on a daily or weekly basis. Some of my faves? Check 'em out here. 

15. TRAVEL more -- it doesn't have to be to faraway exotic cultures (although those are awesome too), but even a simple road trip 2 hours away for a weekend in the woods can do your soul some GOOD. 

16. Do something that scares you every single day. Apply to that dream job. Ask the guy out. Try that move in yoga. It won't only get you one step closer to the life you want, but your confidence will grow in the process too -- double win!

17. Get in touch with your body and your womanhood. For more information, listen to episode 7 of the podcast with Claire Baker.  

18. Start administering self breast exams. But FOR REAL. 1 out of 8 women will develop breast cancer over their life time. 1 out of 8! This is clearly on the front of mind for me right now but I was always told by my doctors to rock out self exams on my own and never did because I always thought "that won't happen to me".   

19. Start journaling. Whether it's through journal prompts or using the "brain dump" method and just spewing your thoughts on paper, it can be such a powerful way to actually get to know yourself, your emotions and your dreams.

20. Practice self compassion. You are learning. You are growing. And while it may feel like you so often don't get it "right", or that you haven't "arrived", remember that this journey is a beautiful rollercoaster (and so often one we cannot control), but what we can control is the way we speak to ourselves and treat ourselves along the way. 

 

You've got this, babe.

Let's push the habits that aren't serving us to the curb and start implementing one or even two of these practices in our lives.

 

Which one are YOU going to start with first? 

 

Xo Amanda

 

Facing Fear Head On: A 20 somethings journey of being BRCA positive

FEAR.

For so much of my life, I let fear steer the wheel. 

 

I quit ballet after my first class because 3 girls made fun of me and I was scared nobody would be my friend.

I didn't ask the boy out because I was terrified he'd reject me and not think I was pretty enough.

I dieted and dieted in fear that I wouldn't be cast in shows because I wouldn't be "skinny enough".

Can you relate? 

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The past 2 years of my life, I've been on an intense journey of self discovery and a huge part of that was facing fear head on.

 

I faced it head on when I broke the diet cycle once and for all, and healed my relationship with food and fitness.

I faced it head on when I decided to pay everything I've learned forward and become a health coach and join a tribe of incredible women changing the freaking world

I faced it head on when I took a good hard look at my debt, made a plan and in less than a year, paid off all my credit card debt. 

I faced it head on when I went shirtless on stage for the first time in my life and faced all the body love demons that had been a part of my life for so damn long. 

 

And heading into this year, I knew that it was time to face a fear I've been living with for a very long time. 

 

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MY STORY 

When my dad was 18, his mum died of breast cancer at the age of 44. 

And growing up, I've seen how that loss took such a toll on him. I mean, losing a parent at all let alone at 18 years old is awful -- and something that I'm so grateful to say I've not had to go through myself. Because goddamn, my parents are my best friends and that's something even just thinking about breaks my fucking heart.

And all my life, I've had this little fear living at the back of my mind that I would have the same fate as my grandma. Call it intuition, call it gut, call it fear, it was super present in my world since I was old enough to understand it.

And that fear came to an all time high during my Sophomore year of college when my Dad got tested for the BRCA gene mutations (more info on all of this and real time reactions on episode 6 of the Live Your F*ck Yes Life Podcast) and found out that he was a carrier of the gene (and the only one of his siblings who is).

At the time, I didn't fully understand what that meant,  beyond the fact that I had a 50/50 chance of getting it, and honestly fear took over every ounce of me that I didn't want to know. I was 20 and the way I felt at the time was that knowing would just make it harder.

So I decided not to find out...until this year.

And you know what? Looking back, I'm grateful I waited.

Grateful because at the time, I was going through SO much internally that I think the information I knew deep down was true -- the fact that I also am BRCA 1 positive -- would have broken me in half.

Now, I'm 27, and while I'm still so young, I've lived a lot of life.

Hell, in the last 4 years alone, I've dealt with a binge eating disorder, orthorexia, planned a wedding, dealt with sudden onset anxiety, bought our first house, started my business, moved out of said home and lived in hotels for 6 months because of water damage, navigated job shifts and health issues with my hubby, started a podcast and beyond. 

And that's not counting all the odd jobs, shows, teaching gigs, travels, mentoring and everything else in my life. 

And while so much of it has been incredibly fulfilling and invigorating, a lot of my life has been filled with obstacle after obstacle -- as I'm sure yours has been too, because hey, that's what being a freaking human being is all about, right?

And while, at the time, those obstacles have felt INSURMOUNTABLE, here I am (and here you are) on the other side of it all, STRONGER for it and more self aware than ever. 

And I sit here, grateful for it all, because it gave me the courage to stop waiting.

To show up as a warrior in my life and put the worries to rest.

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So yes, I am a woman living with the BRCA 1 gene.

I don't have cancer, yet. But the chance of me getting breast or ovarian cancer is high AF.

And while that in and of itself scares the SHIT out of me, I've never felt more empowered. Because I get to do something about it.

I don't know what that is yet, but you know I'll be sharing it all along the way, mess and all, 'cause that's how I freaking roll. 

And I'm so goddamn grateful to have you along for the ride.

Xo Amanda 

 

p.s. if you aren't in our Live Your F*ck Yes Life Community, come on over and join the convo. We're all in this together babe.

27 Lessons from 27 Years of Life

Anyone else feel like birthdays 'cause you to do some serious reflection?

The week of my 27th birthday, I spent a few hours paging through my journal from 2017. I reacquainted myself with all of my most intimate thoughts, fears, beliefs, takeaways and lessons & it was so incredible to see how much I gained just by re-reading it all.

It's so easy to allow life to pass us by.

To write things down that we want to remember. Goals. Dreams. Realizations. Aha moments. 

But so often, we just leave them on the page. And a year goes by and nothing has changed.

I'm a dreamer, but more than that, I'm an action taker. And I know that by revisiting my dreams every single day, and by sharing the lessons I've learned along the way, I will have the courage to take inspired action. 

And I hope this inspires you to do the same. 

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27 lessons from 27 years

 

1. SHARING YOUR STORY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO

Why is this my first big takeaway? Because this was arguably the greatest lesson I've had this year. 

The first time I shared a tiny slice of my story, I was terrified. I was sharing something SO vulnerable, and I was scared that I would be judged. That people wouldn't understand.

But what I found on the other side was the complete opposite -- I found relief. I found community. I found common ground. I found gratitude. 

By having the courage to share my heart, I gave space for others to do the same. To say "me too". And to realize that they are not alone in the journey.

My journey to believing I'm enough? To embracing my body the way it is? To breaking free of my binge eating and orthorexia? It's because another woman had the courage to share her story. 

So share your story. Share the mess. The fears. The doubts. The insecurities. (and check out this podcast episode for more on this!) 

You never know who's life you could change. 

 

2. EMBRACE YOUR GOOF

Something I was really struggling.

But uh...newsflash Amanda. Just because you aren't a kid anymore doesn't mean you can't have PLAY in your life.

It's so funny the stories we tell ourselves -- and 2017 was the year of me breaking free of that story and embracing the quirky, goofy, playful aspects of who I am.

Dance parties, weird AF noises, bear hugs & baby grandma nights with cuddle and tickle fights with the hubs are officially happening on the daily now, and it makes me so dang happy. 

 

3. WHAT YOU FOCUS ON EXPANDS

Are you always complaining, frustrated about this that and the other and overall a negative nancy? Or do you do your best to show up every single day with positivity?

I'm all for acknowledging that sometimes, life sucks. But I for one don't want to live in a world that sucks all the freaking time. So I focus on the things that light me up. And I encourage you to do the same. It's a way better way to live.

 

4. MESSY AND DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT

I stood in my own way for so long because I was so worried about something being perfect. I would overthink it and end up not getting anywhere ... My instagram captions. My accountability groups. My podcast. My blog posts for god's sake! 

But when I adopted the fail forward approach, I realized there was so much beauty in the mess. In figuring it out as you go. And just freaking getting started already.

Don't let your dreams pass you by because you're worried you won't be perfect at something right away. Guess what? You won't be. And that's OK. You'll learn. You'll grow. And you'll take action on your dreams in the process.

 

5. SO MANY THINGS THAT FEEL WRONG IN YOUR BODY ARE LARGELY LINKED TO THE FOODS YOU'RE EATING

I've known this for years -- processed foods and sugar? Acne, IBS and lethargy inducing. But I had a major aha moment this past year that I never expected.

My entire life, I've majorly struggled with eczema. There was a point in college where it got so bad that my hands were literally pussing and cracking -- I know, gross. And painful. And I had SO much shame around it. 

It's been an endless battle of dermatologists, creams, eliminating dairy -- ALL THE THINGS and nothing worked until  this summer when I completed a program workout program that had a grain free meal plan and for 2 months. And guess what happened for the first time in my life?

My eczema went away.

And when I went to reintroduce grains (largely gluten) into my diet, it came back in full force.

The past 6 months, I've been playing around with eating grains and completely eliminating gluten from my daily eats and I am SO thrilled to say that it has been gone for 3 months and counting.

It's amazing how food can impact you in so many ways below the surface. 

 

6. I'M MY HEALTHIEST AND HAPPIEST ON A STRUCTURED MEAL PLAN AND EXERCISE PROGRAM

My type A competitive nature loves the structure. The not having to “think” about which workout to rock or what I need to eat when.

As a recovering binge eater (I say recovering ‘cause while I haven’t had a binge in a year and a half, I don’t think we ever fully recover from disordered eating), I tried the whole “intuitive eating” approach, and I intuitively ATE MY FEELINGS.
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It’s TOUGH to get to a place with our bodies where we can actually trust that the signals it’s giving us are true signals from our bodies, and not just false paths from the preservatives/sugar/whatever the fuck in our foods.

And while I truly do feel that I’ve gotten there, for me, structure & planning is what helps FUEL me best & keeps me feeling STRONG. 

 

7. THE SHINY PENNIES ARE JUST SHINY PENNIES  

I used to be the straight A teachers pet in school. The shiny penny of an A, 1st place trophy at a volleyball meet or positive recognition was was I worked my butt off for because I thought that those things validated my worth.

And while I totally believe in working for your goals, I also know that those shinny pennies? They don't represent your worth. 

Be grateful for the little things, follow your heart & your dreams, do the work and if the shiny pennies come? Embrace them. And when they don't, celebrate the life you ARE leading. 

 

8. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE THAT ALLOW YOU TO RISE UP INTO YOUR FULL POTENTIAL

When you look at the people around you, do they drag you down and bring more negativity to your life? Or do they constantly empower you to raise your vibe? 

You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with, so choose wisely, lady love.

 

9. LET IT BE EASY

The beginning of 2017, so many things happened that made me feel like life was hard. My husband unexpectedly quit his job and was unemployed for 6 months. We were dealing with some serious vet bills and my business was plateau-ing.

And I could focus on how hard everything was. And because I was focusing on how hard it was, guess what happened? More hard shit just kept piling up.

But the second I decided enough was enough and adopted the "let it be easy" mantra, the simplest shift of mindset changed everything. Things started falling into place -- my business took off, our credit cards got completely paid off and Kev found a job within a month.

It's amazing what happens when you simply shift where your energy goes. Try it, I dare ya. 

 

10. HAVE A DREAM? IT'S UP TO YOU TO MAKE IT HAPPEN

Stop waiting. Take messy action.

That job you've always wanted but been too scared to pursue? Find someone who's already doing it, talk to them and see if it really does resonate.

That trip you have always wanted to take? Look at your budget and put money aside so you can take it. 

That podcast you wanna start? Stop just putting it on your bucket list and just freaking make it happen. *mission accomplished*

 

11. IT'S OK TO SAY NO

This one was HUGE for me because I am SUCH a people pleaser by nature. But I saw this quote a couple of years ago and it hit me hard: "By saying YES to something, you're saying no to something else."

Make sure the things you're saying yes to are a HELL YES, and that you're holding space for your best self every day. 

 

12. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE SPECIAL. YOU JUST HAVE TO SHOW UP AND DO THE WORK. 

I am just a normal girl with big ass dreams. And I used to think those people that had the amazing life? You know, the ones with all the travel adventures who actually LOVED their jobs and had amazing girlfriends/marriages/the works? I never thought I could have a life like that because I just didn't think I was special enough.

Turns out when you make a decision to go for it, show up every damn day and do the work, you can create whatever life you crave. So do the damn thing. And never settle for less than the life you want. 

 

13. JUST FREAKING DO IT

It can be SO easy to claim you wanna do all the things (you know those bucket lists you’ve made a million times and never completed) and then years go by and you still haven’t done them. 

There’s never going to be the “right time” so just freaking do the thing. Complete the workout program. Take the trip. Start that side hustle. Take the class. 

You’ll be so glad you did.

 

14. GUT HEALTH IS QUEEN

If you can do one thing for your health, get your gut health on point. Making sure my microbiome is working at its peak (google that shit, it’s fascinating AF) has been such a game changer for my health.

Pro tip? Any old pro and pre biotic is not gonna cut it (most of them aren’t made to pass through our stomach acid and actually GET to the small intestine to do WERK) and kombucha? Don’t get me wrong, I freaking love that shit but same goes for that (and most kombucha brands are crazy high in sugar). So do your research // and message me if you want my fave go to that’s helped me heal my gut! 

Life is never going to go according to plan

Going into my 26th year, I expected a lot to happen and to be honest? Very few of those things actually did.

And the old me would have viewed that as a total failure, but today, I see it a little differently and I wanna empower you to do the same.

Instead of looking back at all the things you didn’t accomplish, make a list of all of the things you DID.

Here are a few of mine that were not on my radar at the beginning of my 26th birthday:

  • Launch a freaking podcast 
  • A year of absolutely no binges 
  • Support our family on my income alone for 4 months 
  • Hosted my first wellness workshop 

 

15. I'M OFFICIALLY A BABY GRANDMA

It’s real. I would take a night at home snuggling with my pup Toby, drinking a cup of tea, journaling, reading and an Epsom salts bath and being in bed by 9:30 PM any day of the week. 

 

16. RELATIONSHIPS TAKE WORK

This is something I’ve intimately known for a few years now but this year has been really interesting when it comes to my close relationships.

I used to spread myself so thin with the people in my life because I wanted to be the BEST friend I could possibly be (I’m a perma people pleaser by nature) and in the process of doing that all, I stopped taking care of myself.

The past 2 years have been a journey of self discovery and learning what actually putting myself first looks like. You’ve gotta work on YOUR self care (aka your relationship with YO SELF) and then you can pour into a few people in your life with INTENTION (aka WERK into relationships with your soulmate humans).

And that’s what I’ve aimed to do this past year and it’s been a HUGE game changer. And such a beautiful reminder that any relationship (romantic, friendship, with yourself) takes WORK but it’s so freaking worth it if you show up for it. 

I’m FAR from perfect with all of this but it’s something I’m actively working on every dang day.

 

14. I'M MORE OF AN INTROVERT THAN I THOUGHT

According to my Meyers Briggs (ENFJ) I am definitely an extrovert at heart, but I've been finding that my recharge me time has been more and more necessary for my wellbeing. 

 

15. DO THE SHIT THAT SCARES YOU

Take that class. Sing in front of strangers. Speak in public. Swim under a waterfall. Skydive.

Feel the fear and do it anyways. That's how you grow. That's how you LIVE.

 

16. COMMUNITY IS EVERYTHING

You know that saying "Find Your Tribe, Love them Hard"? 

Well, there's a reason it's in the universe because it is SO key. Because the second you surround yourself with women who are just like you -- who you don't have to explain yourself to because they get it -- who will dance with you in the aisles of a conference centre because that's just how you do -- who you can spend HOURS laughing with -- gals who RAISE YOU UP and constantly inspire you to be the BEST & BRIGHTEST version of you?

There is nothing better in this world.

 

17. GRATITUDE IS THE BEST SELF CARE TOOL

Obviously I'm a huge self care nut. Just take a peek at this post all about it. But my one go-to tool that can always turn any shitty day around is my gratitude practice.

Whether you wake up and start your day with writing down 3 things you're grateful for or catch yourself having a frustrating moment and shifting your thoughts to something you're grateful for, it can be such a powerful tool and one I use on the reg. 

 

18. YOU DON'T NEED SIX PACK ABS TO BE BEAUTIFUL

I'm never going to be the girl with 6 pack abs, and I'm A OK with that. 👌🏻
I used to think I needed to have a magazine cover Barbie body to be beautiful. That 6 pack abs meant SUCCESS.
But I say EFF THAT.
Those magazine covers? Most of them eat nothing but kale and have hours of time in their day that they dedicate to working out.


The way I see it, as a woman I have 2 choices: 

1. Accept my body as is (STRONG, CAPABLE and FIERCE AF -- rolls, stretch marks and all) and workout and eat well because it makes me into the happiest & healthiest version of me

OR

2. Go on crazy diets and workout for hours every day in order to "fix" a body that isn't broken, just for some ridiculous notion that having six pack abs means being sexy and enough.


I chose the later for too many goddamn years. Don't make the same mistakes I did, babe. You are worth more than that

 

19. EMBRACE THE JOURNEY

If there's one thing I've learned in my journey to healthy living, it's that it's just that, a JOURNEY.


Be gentle with yourself. 
Be CONSISTENT.
Find BALANCE.

Remember that the "all or nothing" way of living doesn't work. 

And that just because you aren't SEEING the results you want today, doesn't mean you aren't on the path to achieving them.

Keep Going.
Keep doing YOU.
And I promise you, JOY will follow

 

20. VULNERABILITY IS BEAUTIFUL. EMBRACE IT. IT'LL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

If you're not familiar with Brene Browns work on vulnerability, do yourself a favor and google her ted talk. Familiarizing myself with her work has been such a game changer for me and is a huge part of what helped me build up the courage to share this

Vulnerability is a beautiful thing and it's what makes us HUMAN. Embrace it, don't run from it. 

 

21. MARRIAGE SHOULDN'T CHANGE A THING

I've been married for 4 years now and the first thing people always ask me is "what's different about being married?" and I always say "nothing!"

I knew well before I got married to Kev that our relationships was a forever thing. He's my person. And while I'm so glad I married it, ultimately, the only thing marriage changed was that, legally, we are bound, and our finances are in the same bank account.

Have things changed in our relationship in the last 7 years of being together? Hell yes. WE have changed and grown in the last 7 years, so that's kind of a given. But we endlessly make it a point to grow together & communicate as we go.

 

22. MOTIVATION IS BS

Waiting to feel motivated to do your workout? Learn to cook? Go for that walk? Try that yoga class? It turns out, motivation is BS. 

You are ONE decision away from a 100% different life.

A different job. A different relationship. A different life. A different outlook.

It may not feel that easy, but it IS. You literally have that power because YOU are in control of your life -- and as Mel so poignantly says: “If you change your decisions, you change everything.”

 

23. THE DIET CULTURE IS TOXIC AF

Obviously I'm all about that anti diet life -- I mean, my monthly challenges are called the Ditch the Diet challenge for gods sake -- but for 5 years of my life, I was alllll about that diet life. 

Juice cleanses, food trends, calorie counting, crazy ass workouts that made my body wanna die -- I lived and breathed the dieting life -- and let me tell ya, it was not pretty and it took YEARS of work to undo all the damage I did.

Don't diet. Eat food that fuels you and makes you feel amazing. Do workouts that genuinely light you up (and that CAN mean it pushes you too). And if you don't know where to start, I'm always a message away. 

 

24. IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO REALLY GET TO KNOW YOURSELF

Something I neglected to do for so long was taking time every day to get to know myself -- dig deep, ask myself questions that really make me think about what I want out of life. 

A fun place to start? Take your Meyers briggs or Eneagram test. And better yet, read and take action on some of these personal development books

 

25. YOU BECOME THE SUM OF THE 5 PEOPLE YOU SPEND THE MOST TIME WITH

You know that saying choose your friendships wisely? It's so freaking true.

I have had my fair share of failed friendships. As a perma people pleaser and an eternal optimist, all I ever wanted to do was to be there for the people in my life. And for a lot of years, that also meant that I allowed people to walk all over me (and attract friendships into my life that weren't super positive).

The past few years, I've really worked on fostering my friendships only with the people in my life that LIGHT ME UP and it's been a total game changer. I encourage you to do the same.

 

26. CELEBRATE THE LITTLE THINGS

It's so easy in life to celebrate the big wins, but what about the little things?

Every week in my Ditch the diet challenge, we celebrate our little wins and non scale victories, and I make an effort to do the same in my daily life. It's so easy to focus on the bad but when we put our energy and attention onto the good moments throughout the day, it becomes so much easier to see the magic.

 

27. BE YOURSELF UNAPOLOGETICALLY

The best you you can be is 100% yourself, unapologetically. If you're a weirdo dancer on the dancer, dance your face off. If you're a baby grandma and hate going to parties, don't go to the damn party. If your laugh is loud and weird AF, LAUGH YOUR FREAKING ASS OFF WITH CONFIDENCE.

Don't let anyone else dim your life. You are BEAUTIFUL just the way you are. 

 


WHICH LESSON RESONATED WITH YOU THE MOST?

Share in the comments below!

Xo Amanda

Self Love Isn't What You Think It Is

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I used to think self love meant "treat yoself".

You know... have a bad day? Get a cupcake. Rough day at work? Go shopping. Feel like total shit and all you wanna do is curl up in bed? Netflix, chill, and probably a bubble bath thrown in the mix.

Now don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for all of the above, but the past few years I've been on a major journey to self love and I realized how wrong I had it for so many years.

Thank you social media for totally messing this shiz up for everyone -- I mean the hashtags #selflove and #selfcare could be such a powerful tool if we actually applied self love in the way its intended! And maybe, just maybe, more woman would learn to actually love themselves.

So...what is the secret to self love you ask?

From my own personal journey, I've found that it rarely has anything to do with the things that are affecting us from the outside in...it's all about the work that you're doing from the inside out.

Here's a self love checklist I made to show you some examples of what I mean...

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In other words, are you showing up for yourself every single day and doing the WORK to help you combat your insecurities, negativity, frustrations & anxieties?

Or do you find that you gravitate towards the numbing activities that allow your brain to just shut off because you're so damn tired?

If you're like 95% of the world, you probably find yourself answering YES to the latter most days. And I just want you to know that it's 100% NORMAL. I was there too for YEARS (and some days all I wanna do is numb the fuck out on the latest episode of the Bachelor and turn my brain off). And there's nothing WRONG with that. Hell, society tells us those are the right things to do...so how should you know any better?

Well, that's why I'm here.

Because I've lived on both ends of the spectrum.

I spent years numbing myself on treat yo-self actions because I was just so damn tired, anxious and irritable. And yeah, I'd feel better for a few minutes or maybe a few hours. But I was lightyears away from actually loving myself & being proud of the person I was on the inside.

 And after practicing all of those self love actions (some daily, some weekly, some when I feel like it) for the past 2 years, I can honestly say that I actually know what self love is, because I feel it every damn day.

Now, I'll be the first to say this did not happen overnight. Not even close. It took daily inspired action to make these shifts. And a lot of it did not come easily to me, but if you're struggling with loving yourself in any way, I can promise you that if you dedicate yourself to putting some or many of these self love tools into action every single day, you will start to see a shift in you that you never imagined possible.


SELF LOVE TOOLS

1. Positive Self Talk

What are you saying to yourself? Do you use positive words when you're speaking about yourself? Or do you find yourself saying things like: "Man, I look gross today.", "Why can't I be prettier?" or "I'm never going to get that promotion."

It's a tough switch to flip but get curious about what you're actually saying to yourself and when you notice a negative thought, try one of these things to shift your mindset:

  • When you look in the mirror, focus on what you DO love, not what you don't.
  • Do something that makes you feel on freaking fire. Rock a workout. Throw yourself a dance party. Get out of your head and into you body!
  • Quit the comparison game. I know you do it. We all do. If you are following people on social media that trigger you, stop following them. Or better yet, remember that you don't know their story or how they got themselves to look the way they do. Celebrate your own personal victories and remember that we're all on our journeys -- and where you are right now is exactly where you're supposed to be.

2. Moving Your Body At The Pleasure of Your Soul

Believe it or not, this is more of mindset shift than anything but when you're working out, do you do it because you're hell bent on CHANGING your body or because you APPRECIATE your body?

I came from a place of obsession because I hated my body for years, but the second I found programs that actually made me excited to push play & I ditched the scale and focused on how I was feeling, I started actually moving my body every day because it got me one step closer to feeling my most energized and confident self. 

So find a program that lights you up, and find a supportive community to embark on the positive journey with. 

3. Fueling your body with healthy foods

This one is a no brainer. 

Are you putting foods that will help you body work and thrive at its peak? Or are you eating food that makes you feel like shit?

Show your body some major love by employing the "food is fuel" mantra in your life. 

4. Journaling

The first step to loving yourself is knowing yourself. I mean, how can you love a person you hardly know? It might sound crazy that you could be living as yourself and not really know yourself, but I've had SO many clients (myself included) share with me that when they started the process of journaling, they discovered SO many things about themselves.

HOW? Because they asked themselves questions they had never thought to ask. And they answered TRUTHFULLY.

Were all those answers things they liked hearing? Hell no. There are aspects of all of us that we don't like -- but once we really understand what those things are, we can take action on shifting those areas in our lives and adopting the tools to rise up into the best versions of ourselves.

Don't know where to start on the journaling front? This month we're rocking out a book alllll around journaling, so join our community here and dive on in with us! 

5. Personal Development

Yup. I'm talking all things self help. 

Think it's crazy? Read this post all about how my mind TOTALLY shifted on this topic -- and grab one of the books I recommend to get started! 

6. Meditation

Whatever floats your boat in this world (guided meditations, sitting and breathing in silence or hell, even just allowing yourself some quiet time away from any electronics or distractions), creating space in your life for SILENCE allows your body, mind and soul reset.

It gives you SPACE to just be. As you are. Whatever that may look like. 

I use meditation as a daily tool to start my day with a clean slate or even to calm myself during stressful or emotionally taxing situations (which, let's face it, we all have them).

It's not about being perfect, it's about finding a practice that works for you! 

7. Setting boundaries

Do you constantly find yourself saying YES to things that don't light you up? You over-extend yourself on the regular. Always trying to do anything and everything for the people around you but rarely spend any time on yourself?

While having a servants heart is a beautiful thing (and one I resonate with), it can be so taxing to constantly be saying yes to things. Before you know it, you burn out on all the things and have completely thrown your self care out the window because, you guessed it, by saying YES to something, you're saying NO to something else in your life.

So the next time your friend asks you to go out on a Friday night and all you want to do is go to a yoga class, come home, light some candles, take a bath and go to bed early with a good book, this is your official permission slip to say no.

 

SELF LOVE? IT'S ABOUT MAKING YOURSELF A PRIORITY SO YOU CAN FILL YOUR CUP UP AND POUR ALL THE GOODNESS INTO THE CUPS OF THE LIVES OF THOSE AROUND YOU.

 

Which self love exercise are you going to start implementing into your life?

Share in the comments!

Xo Amanda 

Top 5 Things My Dog Has Taught Me

The past year and a half of my life have been INFINITELY brighter and it's all because of this little (not so little) guy. 

I always knew I was meant to be a dog mom. But after losing my family dog a few years ago, I didn’t know if I had it in my heart to love a pup that much again.

(And to be honest, a few years ago, I was out of the house more than I was in it & living paycheck to paycheck and getting a dog just wouldn’t have been fair.)

But a year after my leap into coaching, so much changed and all of a sudden the idea of owning a dog wasn't out of the question.

And every single day, when I wake up next to your fluffy goofy self and I get to spend so much of my day snuggling, going for walks & playing, I can’t help but be filled with so much damn gratitude.

It's amazing what dogs can teach us -- if you're a dog mama you know! And I'm forever thankful for the daily reminders. 

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THE TOP 5 THINGS MY DOG HAS TAUGHT ME

 

1. PLAY IS SOMETHING YOU SHOULD STRIVE FOR, DAILY.

I don't know about you, but past the age of 22, it seemed like everyone and their mother went from play mode to #adulting up the wazoo. 

Don't get me wrong, I totally had the same thing happen to me. I went into "I have to pay all the bills" mode. I picked up 7 different part time jobs and was running myself ragged, frustrated and irritable as all hell. And the LAST thing I made time for in my life was play.

Getting a dog completely fliped that switch -- it's a daily reminder to not take your life so goddamn seriously. To take moments to BE SILLY. Celebrate your goofy-ness. Run in the rain/snow/whatever!! And Toby is just as goofy as me, so it's been a freaking GOOF PARTY over here since he's come into the picture, and I couldn't imagine it any other way.

2. LOVE, LOVE, ALWAYS LOVE.

The best thing about dogs? They love you unconditionally. 

They don't hold grudges. They see you as your BEST every dang day. And the way I see it, we could all take a page from their unconditional love book.

Holding grudges... Being frustrated with others or things...who is that helping?

Certainly not yourself. And while I am ALL about feeling the feels, holding onto frustration about things that are out of your control (I used to be like this ALL the time about traffic) is only hurting yourself, right?

So let's just choose to LOVE. Forgive, so you can release YOURSELF from the burden you're holding onto. Life is too short to live being frustrated and irritable on the daily. 

Toby teaches me the power of LOVE everyday, and I think we can learn a lesson or two from it!

3. SHIT DOESN'T ALWAYS GO THE WAY YOU PLANNED, AND THAT'S OKAY.

Toby may be the best thing in my entire life, but sometimes he can be a royal pain in the ass.

When we first got him, every time we took him driving in the car he got hella car sick. We learned quickly that we always needed to have cleaner and paper towels in the car at all times. #lessonlearned

All my favorite tupperware? If I leave it out (or even in the sink -- yup he's tall), by the time I get home it has been DESTROYED. Invest in glass tupperware, my friends. It's a game changer. 

And sometimes your dog decides to eat an avocado, and you end up canceling all of your plans and spending 4 hours waiting at pet emergency. *cough* Toby *cough*

Please say Toby isn't the only pup out there making all the weird choices with his life...

My point is, shit doesn't go according to plan with a dog all of the time.

And isn't that the way LIFE goes too? Having a dog has helped me EMBRACE the mess, and remember that there are going to be days when shit hits the fan, and that's OK because that's LIFE.

4. BE PRESENT

It's so easy these days with social media and the news to get wrapped up in everything going on, and forget to slow down and appreciate the little things that are right in front of you. And what I love about Toby is he lives for the little things -- literally. Dude is STOKED for a day of cuddles, naps, eating amazing food, play time & belly rubs.

And if that's not a life lesson in and of itself, I don't know what is. 

Stay present. Appreciate the little things, and what's more -- make TIME for the little things.

Cuddle your favorite person. Eat amazing food. Have tickle fights if that's what floats your boat. 

And turn the electronics OFF. You'll be so grateful for those moments once you do. 

5. PARENTING IS HARD AF, BUT WORTH IT. 

As my hubby Kev always says, Toby has been our furry test child, and he's proven just how challenging parenting can be.

Now I'm not saying having a dog is like having a kid, but this is the first time in my life that I've been entirely responsible for something outside of myself. And I'm not just talking the daily and weekly tasks -- feeding him, walking him, playing with him, bathing him etc. But the TOUGH stuff? That shit you can never prepare for? It's can hit you like a ton of bricks. 

July 2017, I was out of town in NOLA with my coaching tribe when I got a call from my husband that he was taking Toby to the emergency room because the vet found a mass in his stomach. My heart DROPPED. You hear the word mass and you immediately think cancer, right? And let's just say, the anxiety attacks and uncontrollable sobbing were real that night. After some tests, he was cleared from anything life threatening and it ended up being an allergy to gluten (yup, this is real you guys -- I had no idea gluten could impact dogs too), but the sheer panic I experienced when I found out he wasn't doing so well broke my heart.

I never expected to bond so much with a dog. To view him as more than just my dog, but as my freaking kid. I would do anything for him, and that means loving him through the vet visits, the destroyed tupperware and his inability to understand personal space.

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So there ya have it -- I'm officially a crazy obsessed dog mom and I'm never going back.

Are you a fur mom too? What are some of the favorite things your pet has taught you?

Xo Amanda

Things I'm Afraid To Tell You

I've written and rewritten this blog post upwards of 5 times the past few months...because truth? I'm scared to share this shit.

But I chose my word of 2018 to be UNAPOLOGETIC, and while part of that means letting my freak flag fly (aka not giving AF about what people think about my goofy baby grandma-ness), to me, it means committing to showing up every day with a VULNERABLE and REAL heart.

It means no longer allowing FEAR to rule my day to day -- and choosing to CRASH INTO IT and embrace it for all it will show me on the other side.

So, here are the things I'm afraid to tell you. 

(p.s. thank you to Jess Lively for being the major inspiration for creating a post like this in the first place -- if you don't follow her/listen to her podcast, you're missing out! Thank you for being such an inspiration for me to tell my truth. I hope it inspires you to do the same.)

 

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THINGS I'M AFRAID TO TELL YOU

 

I MIGHT HAVE THE BRCA CANCER GENE

Starting big, Amanda. Ok here we go.

When my dad was 18, his mom died of breast cancer. She was 44, crazy healthy and she still was killed by the horrible disease. 

My dad decided to get tested 5 years ago to see if he had the gene and, it turns out, he does. Now, for my brother and for him, the chance of it impacting them are quite small. But for me? It means I have a 50/50 shot of having the gene -- and if I do have it, a 78.3% chance of developing breast or ovarian cancer in my lifetime. 

And those are odds I don't wanna fuck around with.

This has been a big part of my life for a long time now, but it's becoming even bigger because I've decided, after all these years, to finally get tested. 

Why now? Because I'm tired of letting fear call the shots in my life.

Because while it scares the shit out of me, I would rather KNOW so I can make an informed decision moving forward.

So next week, I'm getting tested and I'll be finding out in the next month. Maybe nothing from my perspective will change. But maybe everything will. Stay tuned.

 

I LOVE BEING A TEAM BEACHBODY COACH

For so long, I hid behind the label attached to coaching -- network marketing, MLM, Beachbody -- call it what you may, it's my JOB and I'm freaking proud of it.

Network marketing companies get a bad rap -- why? Because there are a few shitty ones that put a negative taste in our mouths. You know those companies that encourage their "distributors" to set up parties where you feel pressured into buying some lipstick or face cream you don't want / or suddenly some facebook acquaintance of yours adds you to a facebook group without asking your permission -- yeah, I've had both happen on several occasions and it's not fun.

So when I first found out about Beachbody, I was skeptical AF. 

I didn't know anything about it but I knew it was a network marketing company and there was "no way I'm getting involved with that pyramid scheme BS". 

But I soon got to learn more about the mission of the company, became OBSESSED with the  integrity behind the workout programs and nutrition products & the emphasis on COMMUNITY, building empowering relationships and financial freedom, I soon realized that Team Beachbody does it differently.

WAY differently. 

So yeah, I've been partnered with Team Beachbody for the past 2 years and it was the best decision I've ever made. 

I've found a family in my team.

I've helped hundreds of women change their relationship with food and feel CONFIDENT in their own skin.

And because of this side hustle, I've been able to single handedly pay our mortgage for the last few months. 

You never know what possibilities your life could have if you allow yourself to be open to learning more. More and more women on our team are changing their LIVES because of this opportunity. You could too, if it feels right to you. 

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I GAINED 10 LBS OVER THE HOLIDAYS

This one feels SO stupid as I write it out, but it's true. I've been holding myself back from sharing this because I'm afraid of what this means.

The things my inner shit talker has said it means?

"You're a bad coach. You can't even practice what you preach."

"Yup, look at those thighs and that ass. So fucking gross."

"You are such a hypocrite -- don't you preach not attaching your worth to the scale?"

Yup, nasty shit, am I right?

And yeah, I'm up 10 lbs since I last weighed myself in September. 

I know this because I'm starting a new fitness program for my Live Your F*ck YES life challenge & before we begin each challenge, we take our right now photos and measurements so we can track our progress. Pictures are worth so much to my clients (and honestly, to myself) in this process because it's so amazing to see how far we come in our journey. 

However, I normally don't weigh myself as part of these (the scale caused major anxiety for me for so long in my life that I stopped a long time ago), but a few months back, when I completed Shift Shop, I decided to weigh myself and see my full progress throughout the program. And I decided to do the same for this one -- except this time, I was shocked to see I had put on 10 lbs.

I will admit that I haven't been feeling my best.

I ate a buttload of christmas cookies, have been eating more gluten than normal (which I know is an irritant to my body), and the takeout train has been REAL in my house with all the travel and bumps in the road this past month. 

And my pants certainly aren't fitting the way they used to.

The 10 lbs I gained? That part alone honestly doesn't bother me beyond what others might think (because yes, as much as I work my ASS off not to let those things bother me, they still do -- I'm a freaking human being).

What does bother me is that I'm not feeling my best.

Luckily, I have the tools I need to be able to turn that around and shift how I'm feeling alongside my Live Your F*ck YES Life community -- I'm excited to launch into a new workout program, be intentional with the food I'm putting into my body and feel AMAZING in my clothes again.

 

And there you have it.

Wow, I've gotta say, it feels really good to get all of that off my chest. Ever since I was a little girl, writing has been so therapeutic for me and this post has been uber cathartic to say the least.

I hope me sharing my truth empowers you to share a little bit of yours.

I believe so much in the power of vulnerability -- and that through sharing our stories, we can empower one another to rise up into our authentic selves, and quit hiding behind the bullshit stories we've been telling ourselves. 

Thank you for coming along this journey with me. This community we've built means the world to me and I'm so grateful for each and every single one of you.

 

Come on over to our facebook community and share something you've been afraid to tell us. Be brave, lady love. You can do it.

Love & light,

Amanda 

 

2017: My Year In Review

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My favorite thing to do the first week of any year is reflect back on the year & vision for the upcoming one. 

I'm a giant DORKO -- I love this kind of shit. 

And honestly, it feels SO good to actually take a look back and be grateful for all that we accomplish instead of just enter the year without any perspective, am I right?

It's amazing how quickly we can just forget about the good and focus on all the shit, am I right? It was nice to look back and remember some forgotten wins -- and I encourage you to do the same! You might be surprised what you forgot you rocked out :) 

 

MY YEAR IN REVIEW

 

TRAVEL

  • My first getaway was an impromptu cabin adventure with the hubs. The beginning of 2017 was tough for us -- Kev unexpectedly quit his job in February and was unemployed until June so all of the financial burden fell on me. I'm so grateful for coaching and everything it allowed for us financially, and while in the moment I experienced quite a bit of anxiety around it all, it also lit a fire for me to dig deep and level the EFF UP in my coaching business
  • My favorite travel moment was hands down our trip to Ireland to celebrate my dad's 60th. It was the first time all five of us had traveled together, and the first time Kev and I had traveled together overseas! Northern Ireland has a piece of my heart forever.
  • Next up was visiting New Orleans for our annual Coach Summit aka a giant wellness adventure and slumber party with my best friends. Favorite moments include hearing Cara Alwill Leyba (aka blogger at The Champagne Diet) talk at our Women Power event and our keynote speaker Brandon Bouchard, dancing on a New Orleans jazz stage with my best gals & learning SO much from all the workshops (I had 50 + pages of notes!)
  • In August, I spent the long weekend with my best friends at our family cottage in northern Ontario. I have it as a goal to live there a month out of every year and knowing that I'm getting closer to that being a reality made the trip feel even more incredible. 
  • In the fall, we had our leadership retreat for our coaching team in Northern Michigan and holy hell was it freaking PERFECT. Fall leaves, crisp air, photoshoots, blanket snuggles -- it was the best weekend with my best friends. 
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BUSINESS

  • I invested in the Wellpreneur Business Academy and got incredibly clear on my branding, the kind of women I wanna work with & how to access my full potential as a coach. 
  • I hosted my first live workshop with my biz partner in crime & it affirmed how POWERFUL events like these are. I loved it so much & I can't wait to do a shitload more in 2018 (stay tuned)!
  • I had my first professional fitness/business photoshoot 
  • I paid off all my credit card debt!
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LIFE

This was actually the first year in our life with no crazy major traditional milestone (you know, get married, buy a house, get a dog -- check, check, check). BUT it still was filled with some wonderful moments to remember.

  • We got a car! I guess this is a big milestone too? Maybe it just doesn't feel like it since I'm not a big car person.

  • We watched the total eclipse and it was the most magical thing I've ever witnessed. 

  • I got into the best shape of my life and found my SOULMATE program. 

  • I got to be a part of 4 incredible acting productions that have my heart. 

  • My mom got honored as one of Canada's 100 most powerful women and I got to share the day with her and it was pure MAGIC.

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BLOG

I had SO much fun sharing my heart this year with you guys via the blog.

Here's a roundup of some of my favorite shares:

Love Letters to My Former Selves

Why You Should Give A Fuck

Why I Refuse To Do The Whole 30

How To Overcome Emotional Eating

5 Steps to Loving Yourself From The Inside Out

 

And there you have it!

What a year 2017 was.

 

2018 is already looking pretty incredible -- some serious travel plans, opportunities, launches and so much more!

 

CHEERS TO LIVING OUR FUCK YES LIVES EVERY DANG DAY.

TO SAYING YES TO THE THINGS THAT LIGHT US UP.

AND REMEMBERING THAT EVERYTHING WE EXPERIENCE IN LIFE TEACHES US SOMETHING 


What were some of your highlight moments from 2017?

Xo Amanda 

The One Thing You Need To Start Your Year Right

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Are you a big fan on new years resolutions?

I used to make them every single year, and every year I would inevitably break them and my type A perfectionist nature would feel like an utter failure.

"Go to the gym 5x a week." FAILURE.

"Go vegan." Ha, that one lasted a month.

"Practice yoga 3x a week." Nope.

Sound familiar?

And it got me thinking -- why do we start our years out making a resolution that is clearly well intentioned but will inevitably not be able to fully commit to (and often forget about 2 weeks later)?

There has to be a better way to be INTENTIONAL with our upcoming year -- and that's why I started a NEW TRADITION heading into this last year that really stuck with me and helped build POSITIVE momentum.

 

What's this you say, Amanda? 

Hush, hush, I'll tell you.

 

CHOOSE YOUR WORD OF THE YEAR.

 

I went into 2017 with the word GROWTH.

I started my business at the very end of 2015 and the first year of ANY new adventure is a freaking rollercoaster and filled with ALL the kinks. 

I was failing forward like crazy and had definitely started to build a foundation for my business but I had (and have) some seriously HUGE goals and I knew that the only way I would be able to achieve them was with MASSIVE GROWTH.

What I didn't realize was just how much of that growth needed to be INTERNAL instead of EXTERNAL.

I don't know about you but when I hear the word growth, I think numbers and a higher income. And while that certainly did happen this year, the external growth ONLY happened AFTER I had done a shit ton of work on my INNER GROWTH.

What areas did this include?

  • Inner work on my positive self talk
  • Serious work on my money mindset (*cough* scarcity mindset)
  • Belief in myself as a leader
  • Working "as if" I was was already where I wanted to be. 
  • Developing a routine and a work ethic that was IN LINE with my goals. It turns out that big dreams without action are just DREAMS. 
  • Allowing myself to DREAM BIG and crash into the fear instead of allowing it to paralyze me. 

...and so much more. 

2017 was certainly a year of massive growth for me and my team.

And because of all of the self development I did as a PERSON, and all the work I did on building up my MINDSET and BELIEF SYSTEMS, I was able to grow my team into a group of 100+ women who also want to turn their passion for health & fitness into a business or side hustle, help over 200 women BUST THROUGH THEIR EMOTIONAL EATING & ditch the yo yo dieting once and for all within my Live Your F*ck YES Life Challenges and financially, I was able to pay off ALL of our credit card debt, and start to really contribute to our family.


So as we head into 2018, I've been thinking a lot about what I want my word of the year to be. And through the prompts I will share with you shortly, I decided on

UNAPOLOGETIC

So often, we (myself included) apologize for the way we are and the things that light us up.

And I realized this year that I've been doing that way more frequently than I realized -- and enough is enough.

I'm CLAIMING MY TRUTH and officially going BALLS TO THE WALL with who I am, what I believe in and what is important to me and I'm refusing to hold myself back.

If that means I lose a few followers on social media because I'm too much of a crazy goofball baby grandma who swears and talks about poop, so be it.

No more dimming my light because I'm afraid people won't like me.

This gal is officially going to show up every day UNAPOLOGETICALLY HERSELF. So gear up.

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Now, how does one even start figuring out what their word of the year might be?

I'm glad you asked!

 

Here's a combination of exercises to help you discover yours:

1. Grab a journal and allow yourself to free write -- close your eyes and think about your DREAM day. What are you doing? Who are you with? How do you feel? Got it in your head? Write down everything you're experiencing on a piece of paper.

2. Think about your upcoming year. What do you know for sure will be happening in 2018? What do you want to manifest for your year? What are some things that could happen that would LIGHT YOU UP INSIDE? 

3. Look over the words you wrote in the last 2 steps. Did any feelings resonate throughout? Any particular words get written more than once? Bonus? Check out this list of words (inspired by the lovely Susannah Conway) and see which ones pop out to you most! Circle the 5 ones that really resonate with you.

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4. From the words you circled, I want you to spend some time journaling out what each of them represents to you and WHY feeling that way would make you feel your BEST in 2018. What does it represent to you? Why is that important?

 

You'll likely find yourself gravitating towards one or two words that really hit home for you. 

And from there -- the way to officially choose your word is to answer one simple question: WHICH ONE LIGHTS ME UP THE MOST?

 

That's your word of the year.

 

I would LOVE to hear which word you came up with!

Share in the comments below (or in our Facebook community!) so I can support you heading into the new year!

Xo Amanda 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My 3 Top Tips On How to Deal with Stress

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Does this sound like you?

Every single day.

You're feeling overworked. Busy.
Running out the door. Looking for your phone/keys. Leave your lunch on the kitchen counter.
Work all day.
Trudge home in traffic.
Grab a glass of wine. Make dinner.
Cuddle on the couch. Netflix.
Go to bed and do it all over again.

 

My day looked like that for years. 
 

And I will never forget what my mom said to me a few years back...

She said: "You have to slow down or you're going to burn out." 



And she was right.

And of course, like the stubborn gal I am, I didn't listen.

And I burnt the fuck out.

 

This isn't something I've had the courage to share until now (and to be honest, I'm not quite sure where I'm finding the courage to do it now, but it's happening and girl, I'm gonna go with it...) 

STRESS.

Such a little word but such an overwhelming feeling, am I right? And for some reason, people just DON'T talk about it. If I were to sit down and ask you right now if there's anything that's stressing you out in your life, chances are your answer would be a resounding YES.

And if not, holy shit girl congratulations for being an amazing amoeba -- this blog post probably isn't for you (although feel free to hang around, you're still awesome in my books). 

 

So why why why do we just not talk about it?

We've been taught to hide our stress. Keep our anxieties at bay. Put on a mask and "just deal with it". And while I'm all about keeping positive, I am also about being REAL and honest, and that includes the shitty days -- because YUP, you guessed it, stress is something I deal with all the fucking time. 

For YEARS I felt paralyzed by stress. I mean, I would get stressed out at the tiniest things -- if a dish was left in the sink for longer than an hour, if there was any form of traffic when I was driving, if situations didn't happen EXACTLY how my mind imagined that they would. 

I once removed myself from my own 14th birthday party because my friends didn't wanna watch Bring It On 2...(when my best gals remind me of this, I can't help but laugh now but at the time, I was PISSED.) And let's just say, that added stress that I kept imposing into my life...well, it kept up for a LONG while.

I was a bundle of stress and it was affecting so many areas in my life. 

My control freak tendencies got the best of me and for a while, I got so overcome by all of that stress that I started having panic attacks. I literally made myself sick because I couldn't give up my control over shit. I became the girl I always was so frustrated by -- the negative nancy who would spend her days complaining about the littlest things and putting more energy into the every day bullshit than the GOOD.

Sound familiar?

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While my schedule may look a whole hell of a lot different than it did then, I still lead a busy life. And what I've learned along the way is the importance to find ways to slow down and find some grounding amidst the busy.

Because let's be honest, you were not put on this Earth to spend your lifetime running around like a chicken with your head cut off and feeling endlessly anxious and overwhelmed.

 

MY TOP 3 TOOLS FOR DEALING WITH STRESS:

1. THE BRAINDUMP

This is a journaling technique that I adopted when I read the book The Artists Way and while I don't implement it every day anymore like I used to, on days when I'm feeling particularly anxious, it's a lifesaver.

The idea? As soon as you wake up in the morning, before you do ANYTHING, grab a journal and a pen and just write down anything and everything that's in your head. Don't edit. Just WRITE.

Light a candle, curl up in a blanket and treat this as your ME time.

Morning times doesn't resonate with you? Do this before bed to get rid of all of the BS chatter making it tough to fall asleep. 

2. MEDITATION

Honest? I was super turned off by meditation for years. I always felt like I wasn't doing it right and that I just couldn't sit still and quiet my mind the way I was "supposed to".

But once I shifted my perspective on it and gave it a chance, it did WONDERS for my mental health.

My best tip is to treat it as a PRACTICE. You're not going to be able to quiet the chatter but can you breathe through it? You are intentionally creating space for YOU and that is SO powerful! Celebrate that.

I recommend starting off with a guided meditation -- my personal favorite is a free app called CALM. Try out their 7 days of calm to get started and see how you feel!

3. THROW YOURSELF A DANCE PARTY

You know I had to add something goofy in -- I can't help it!

But for real, when you're feeling suuuper stressed out and funky and in your head, the best thing you can do is to MOVE YOUR BODY.

You know I'm all for a good sweat session, but if you can't muster up the time or courage to push play for 30 minutes and sweat it out, throw on some of your favorite tunes (my personal go tos are 90s boybands and disney belt fests) and DANCE YOUR HEART OUT.

 

And there you have it. 

What's your favorite of the 3 tips? Share in the comments!

Xo Amanda

How to Set Yourself Up For Your Best Year Ever

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Do you find yourself making BIG ASS GOALS that sound really freaking good...
but end up at the end of the year with nothing having changed and the same “hopes” and “dreams” heading into the next year?

One of my most eye-opening takeaways from my leadership retreat this fall was the realization that the first half of the year, I was living in maintenance mode.

MAINTENANCE MODE? DA FUCK?

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As a coach, I spend so much of my time preaching and teaching how to bust through your comfort zones but here I've been, holding myself back along the way. 

And, as a result, a few months ago, I found myself in a self-induced plateau with my own fitness, business, and personal growth.

The past few months, I’ve been journaling, surrounding myself with high vibe women that have helped me work through some major roadblocks and gave me some serious aha realizations...
 

The truth?
I've been hiding.
 

I have let self doubt and fear run my life.
I've been waiting for all my big goals and dreams to just go *POOF* and happen.

But you know what? I'm the only one who can make them happen.

The only one who can start believing in myself.
The only one who can step up and make a change.

The only one who can bust through this comfy warm and fuzzy zone I’m in and SHOW THE FUCK UP for my business and my life the way I KNOW I am capable of.


 

So, for the rest of 2017 I'm committing to ME.
I'm committing to my dreams.

I'm committing to working as hard as I can so Kevan and I can build the life we want and set a foundation for our future family and lives.

I'm committing to sharing my message because I know that someone, somewhere needs to hear it, just the way I needed it when I was starting MY journey.

I'm committing to early mornings with my community so I can pour into my own cup so that I have enough left over to pour into others.

I'm committing to getting fierce AF with my goals and following through no matter what.

I’m committing to being the best leader I can be for the amazing women on my team, because my success inspires their success.

 

 

Are you ready to commit to YOU, too? 

Time to stop sitting on the sidelines of your own freaking life, girlfriend.


 

HERE ARE SOME JOURNALING PROMPTS TO GET YOU STARTED... 

What would that look like?

What would you have to give up or release?

What changes would you have to make in your daily routine?

What mindset shifts would you need to make?

 

Today is the beginning of the rest of your life and YOU get to write the script -- what do you want it to say?

If you need some support, you know I'm always here for ya :)

Xo Amanda

23 Ways To Show Yourself Some Love

There are 23 days until Thanksgiving. A time when we express our GRATITUDE to those around us and give thanks.

The spirit of Thanksgiving is such a beautiful thing, and while I'm all for living in gratitude and showing the people in my life how much I care about them, I find that this time of year is when I have the hardest time showing MYSELF love and gratitude.

So this holiday season, I want to empower you to not just show up for those you love, but your YOURSELF TOO. 

Don't know where to start? Here are 23 ways you can show yourself some love this month -- check off a few of them this week! You deserve it.

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1) Start your morning with some cozy journaling time. Light a candle, make some tea and just BE!

2) Rock out a face mask -- my favorite is the magnaminty from LUSH. 

3) Read a book -- here are my top 5 fave self care books!

4) Choose a word of the month that lights you up. I do this every month and it's SO empowering. My word of the month is PLAYFUL. What's yours?

5) Grab a gal pal and go to a yoga class at a studio near you.

6) Create a vision board! You can make a poster board version or make on online -- like this one! I used the website Canva

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7) Bake a treat for your coworkers -- how about these cookies?

8) Go for a walk and just be with yourself. No phone. No podcast. No music. Just you, your thoughts, and the crisp fall air.

9) Adopt the mantra FOOD IS FUEL and be mindful about the food you're eating.

10) After a glass of wine, switch to kombucha. JUST as delicious and won't leave you rocking a headache the next day.

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12) Facetime a gal pal you haven't talked to in a while

13) Get a haircut! Or better yet, switch up your hairstyle! Why do we always put this on the back burner when it makes us feel AMAZEBALLS?

14) Spend a day completely unplugged.

15) An hour before bedtime, turn your phone on airplane mode and don't turn it back on until after your morning me time!

16) Try a new recipe -- like this healthy pad thai! 

17) Buy yourself some flowers.

18) Play with your pup (or steal a friends for a day!) and soak up their playful, snuggly energy.

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19) Have a mid-day dance party. 

20) Make a list of 10 things you love about your body, right now.

21) Say no. Self love is all about bringing more positive energy into your life. So stand up for yourself and say no -- it'll allow you to say yes to things that actually raise your vibes instead of putting time into things that don't! 

22) Press play on a workout that makes you feel AMAZING from the inside out. 

23) Invest in something that will help you grow into your best self -- a fun class, workshop, workout program, anything!

 

Let's commit to showing ourselves some LOVE this month, ok?

Who's with me?

Xo Amanda 

 

Why You Should Give A F*ck

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WOWZA ma peeps.

It's been a long whirlwind of a summer and honest? While I freaking LOVE sharing my heart with you guys, I just haven't had the time to properly pour into a blog post that would SERVE you. My energy has been reserved for my challengers in our Ditch the Diet Challenge, my coaching tribe, my acting gigs, theatre classes and time with my hubs!

BUT I'M BACK and have something major on my heart to share with you babes, so here goes.

At the beginning of September, I spent an amazing weekend at a leadership retreat in Michigan with the leaders in my coaching family.

We had photoshoots, did some MAJOR ASS goal setting, snuggled under the stars, had bonfires, ate delicious food and celebrated social media strangers turned best friends, business partners and family. 

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I’ve spent the past few weeks journaling and processing the entire experience and holy wow am I just filled with so much damn gratitude.

It’s been almost 2 years since I had my quarter life crisis and quit all of my soul sucking part time jobs to dive in and be a full time coach and actor. While it’s been quite the rollercoaster, it’s pretty freaking incredible to wake up and realize that I’m actually living my freaking dream.

Yep, even normal ass girls can make their dreams come true. I’m not special. I just decided to freaking go for it. (And if you’re ever curious to learn more about my story or what it’s like to be a coach on Team Inspire Joy, you can learn more here. I'd love to chat!)

In all the journaling I’ve been rocking out the past month, I got to thinking about some deep shit and you KNOW I can’t keep that to myself.

 

The main question?

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What do you give a fuck about? Like, really really care about.

If SELF CARE TIME isn't #1 on that list, then giiirl, it’s time to do some re-evaluating on your life.

Trust me -- I spent YEARS putting everyone and their mother above myself and was always in hustle mode and it did not end well. You know that quarter life crisis moment I mentioned earlier? Yup. Don’t make the mistakes I made.

And if you have and are at your breaking point,

THERE IS A WAY OUT AND UP.

 

So what does self care reeeeallly mean?

I’ve been on my own personal journey to self care and I’ve found that there are 3 main factors that have been HUGE in my development:

 

EAT LIKE YOU LOVE YOURSELF

Plain and simple: fuel your bod with whole foods. GET THE EFF OFF the yo yo diet train of death and eliminate processed foods and JUNK for once and for all.

You want to feel energized, strong, confident and empowered?!

So much of that starts with what you put in your body.

Not sure where to start? Grab your free copy of the Busy Babes Guide to Healthy Living and hop into our Live Your F*ck YES Life community -- join the convo and start showing your bod some LOVE.

 

MOVE YOUR BODY

Now I’m not going to tell you to do one kind of workout for the rest of your life or that you can’t feel strong & happy unless you’re rocking out cycling classes or getting ripped in a crossfit gym.

(Y’all know I’ve pretty much ditched the group fitness classes unless it’s my monthly yoga goodness anyways ‘cause let’s be honest, I save wayyyy more time and money by rocking my badass at home workouts)

But what I AM going to tell you is that you haaaave to move your body every single day.

Yup. every single freaking day.

My mantra? I will move my body to the pleasure of my soul.

Some months, that might mean rocking out a strength training program. Other months, it’s diving deep into my yoga practice. And sometimes, it’s just going for a long walk with my hubby and our pup, Toby.

Find your mantra or feel free to use mine if it resonates ;)

 

SLOW THE EFF DOWN

This one’s ESPECIALLY hard for all you type A perfectionists (raise yo hand, I see you girl). And one that I’ve had to PRACTICE.

I am reeeally good at the hustle mode. And while I appreciate it at moments in my life, there HAS to be a balance or else you just burn the eff out and before you know it, you’re crying on your bathroom floor, wondering how you got here. Yeppp, definitely been there.

 

Quick tips to find stillness in your day?

  • Take a 5 minute break from whatever you’re doing and step outside and just breathe in the fresh air

  • Stop everything you’re doing, grab a piece of paper and write down 5 things you’re grateful for.

  • Put the phone AWAY, grab a book and dive in.


Ok, now it’s YOUR TURN.

This week, I want you to focus on ONE of these 3 things.

Dig in, show up for yourself and start making those habits, lady love!

 

Want the accountability? Join our Live Your F*ck YES Life community!!

 

Sending you love & light,

Xo Amanda

The One Decision That Changed My Life (New Orleans Recap!)

A couple of weeks ago, I spent the weekend in New Orleans for our annual coach summit with my amazeballs tribe, Inspire Joy. This was my second time coming to this event and this time around, I really felt like I was HOME. I laughed, I cried, I learned, I was inspired but most of all, I was re-ignited.

So first up -- WHAT THE HELL IS SUMMIT ANYWAYS?

For almost 2 years, I’ve been a health and fitness coach with Team Beachbody, the company that makes the amazing at home programs like 21 Day Fix, PiYo, and Insanity. I run virtual accountability groups for women who want to ditch the diet and find joy in fitness, and I also mentor a team of almost 100 women who have decided to pay their passion of health & fitness forward and earn extra income by becoming coaches themselves.

The reason why I LOVE Beachbody is that it’s mission is focused on transformation from the inside out in every aspect of your life -- your mental/emotional/physical health, your finances, self confidence, mindset and so much more! The more I coach, the more I fall in love with it and am endlessly proud to be a part of such a beautiful, values driven and integrity based company!

I am also obsessed with my team, Inspire Joy. We’re a group of goofy, creative go getters who freaking LOVE quality time together, and we spend sooo much of the year working together virtually that trips like this are seriously AMAZEBALLS.

 

NOLA ADVENTURES

My flight was delayed THREE HOURS flying out of Chicago because of a silly rain storm (CAMAAAN) but luckily some of my team was also delayed so we got to hang together :) Once we finally got to the city, we drove to our Airbnb and got ready for TEAM TACO NIGHT! 

On Thursday, I got up with my gals Jess & Laura and we got our sweat on to our latest program we’re rocking out together and had a relaxing morning hanging out before heading to our first personal development event -- the Power of I Am! This event was amaaazing -- learned so much from incredible leaders & got to hear from Cara Alwill Leyba, the author of The Champagne Diet and Girl Code.

Afterwards, we got beignets at Cafe du Monde ('cause DUH) and later that night, we had our huge opening ceremony at the Superdome! 

Imagine being in a stadium surrounded by 20,000 of the most ambitous, positive, driven, self aware people you know. I get giddy just thinking about it again! IT WAS SERIOUSLY SO EMPOWERING.

Friday, I got up SUPER early for a live workout with the infamous Shaun T (yes he is just attractive in real life and MOTIVATIONAL AF) and holy balls, it was tough. I had had a really emotional night the night before -- continue reading to learn why -- so I neeeeded this sweat sesh so bad. #therapy for real. And it was so empowering to sweat alongside of so many people I admire and look up to. 

Then it was a full day of workshops followed by a super wonderful dinner in the French quarter and a night on the town on Bourbon street ;) We kept it classy but we DEF had fun haha. 

Saturday was our last full day -- filled with more sessions and we closed out the trip  with our huge Celebration at the Superdome. It’s like a giant broadway show meets the Oscars meets Cirque du Soleil. And you get to be there up close and personal. Freaking EPIC.

WHAT I LEARNED:

 

+ IT’S TIME I FREAKING BELIEVE IN MYSELF

Last year, when I came to summit, I had a DREAM. A VISION. A life filled with freedom, travel, purpose, goofy-ness and LIGHT. But it was just that : A dream. Something that felt so freaking far away. 

I mean, I had just started coaching 8 months prior, and was still working 7 different part time jobs, and while I had started to become a more positive and healthy version of myself, I still had a shiz ton of work to do on my self esteem and belief. 

And last year, I came on this trip dreaming of FREEDOM. Of having a tribe of MY gals by my side.

And this year? That dream turned into my reality and it's all because of these incredible women.

Because these gals believed in my dream too. 

They saw what I was doing and said to themselves "I wanna do that too" and they ACTED on it. 

They stepped up to their life to pursue THEIR dreams. To change THEIR lives. And in turn, they've completely transformed mine.

And seeing them there, it hit me like a ton of bricks -- I did what I set out to do. I made my dreams freaking happen. 

It’s so easy in the day to day to get soo wrapped up in what’s not going right or what’s hard that you forget to take in and be grateful for what IS working and this trip put everything in perspective for me :) After all, this journey is FAR from a race -- it's a marathon, and one that I'm IN for the long haul.

 

+ MY TRIBE IS MY FAMILY

Truth? I didn’t have a lot of girlfriends growing up. 

I never did the whole sorority thing, or really got along in big groups of gals because I just couldn’t handle the gossip and I always felt like I just didn’t fit in. 

I became a coach because I wanted to turn my passion for health and fitness into a side hustle that would give me the FREEDOM to follow my dreams and build a life by design.

What I didn’t realize is that I would be getting a FAMILY. These women inspire me every single day to be a better coach, leader, friend and above all, a better version of me. And it’s been the biggest surprise and the greatest gift along this journey.

When we were in NOLA, I found out that my dog Toby had been rushed to the ER. It was our first night, we had just gotten to our opening night celebration and I was feeling SO full of light, gratitude and giddy-ness and in a single text, all of that felt so far away. I had the first anxiety attack and sob fest I’ve had in a long time sitting on the cement floor of the back of the stadium with one of my coaches and in that moment, I realized how LUCKY I was. To have women in my life (some of which I was just meeting in person for the first time) who I didn’t have to say anything to -- they knew EXACTLY what to do and were supportive in the most incredible ways. Every single one of them was THERE for me. 

I believe that community is everything. 

It was the missing link in my life that I never knew I needed. And now that I have it, I can’t ever imagine going a day in my life without it. 

Every day, I am surrounded by other women JUST LIKE ME. 

Women who are dreamers and want to do MORE with their life. To extend BEYOND the status quo. And through it all, I've been able to RISE UP into my full potential and LIVE A LIFE ON PURPOSE. All because of them. 

 

+ HOW MUCH MY LIFE HAS CHANGED IN SUCH A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME

As I sat in our sessions and speakers and team dinners and live workouts, I couldn’t help but think about how different things were for me just one year prior. In just 20 short months, my entire life has shifted.

Through coaching I have been able to:

  • break free of my binge eating disorder .
  • finally stay consistent with my own health and happiness a priority because it's MY JOB to be happy and healthy and fit
  • believe in my enoughness
  • pay off all my credit card debt and contribute to our finances aka PAY DEM BILLLSSSS! .
  •  inspire and empower other women to, bust through their emotional eating habits and rise up to the become the women they KNOW they were put on this earth to be
  • travel to new and amazing places
  • mentor other women just like me to be able to build a side hustle of their own too, and live life to the fullest.

Here is what I believe:

Community is everything. 

Your HEALTH is everything. 

 And if you aren’t waking up every day and saying FUCK YES my life feels AMAZEBALLS, then it’s time to shift course, girlfriend.

It's never too late to say YASSS to your dreams.

 

If there was one thing you could do right now to get a step closer to your dreams,

what would it be?

FOR ME?

IT'S RISE THE F*CK UP.

TIME TO STOP PLAYING SMALL AND START STEPPING INTO THE LEADER I KNOW I WAS PUT ON THIS EARTH TO BE.

Ready or not, world. Here I come.

Xo Amanda

p.s. If you want to learn more about joining our team, please reach out and send me a message. I'd love nothing more than to get to know you and tell you more about what we do! 

How to Stop Giving Up On Yourself When Shit Gets Hard

How do you handle things when things get hard? Do you lean into the shit storm and see it through to the other side? Or do you give up? 

I've been thinking about this a lot. About why people give up. And why some people rise to the occasion, crash into their fears and see the shit storm through to the other side. 

I've been talking to a few coaches on my team about how it's totally normal to feel uncomfortable and terrified. We're all entrepreneurs and let me tell ya, while the work from home and make your own hours has a billion perks, it requires you to dive in and bust through your comfort zones like woah. My journey of entrepreneurship has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs filled with so much self-discovery and failing forward along the way. 

But here's the thing -- so often, the minute things get hard or they don't go the way we think they should, people give up. Why? Because it's EASY to stay in our comfort zones. To stick to the status quo. 

We start something new and exciting -- like a workout program, a creative endeavour, a business venture -- and at first, it's SO AMAZING. It's FRESH. It makes us giddy just thinking about it. But when the rush of the honeymoon stage begins to wear off, and we see how much work and dedication it will take, we start to wonder if we should keep on pursuing it at all. 

So really, you have two choices: quit or figure it out.

The easy choice is to quit. Give up on yourself and go back to your life. 

And I'll be honest? There have been many times when my inner mean girl is like giiiiirl, just stop. Put some Netflix on and just put all the things aside.

When I had my quarter life crisis moment in 2015, I hit that crossroads. I was trying so hard to make it as a full time actor and was KILLING MYSELF working a billion day jobs and running to auditions every single day and just not getting anywhere. I felt like a total failure. And I was miserable.

I knew something had to change, but I also knew that giving up on my dream of being an actor was just not going to happen. 

SO, instead of continuing to run on that hamster wheel of death and pave the path of what other artists deemed successful -- I decided to create my own version of it. And I've been building my coaching biz ever since. That being said, being an entrepreneur, I've had hundreds of moments where I've wanted to give up. It's SO satisfying but also hard AF. 

And you're on this crazy amazing rollercoaster. The highs are SO life giving and beautiful, and the lows can be soul crushing. And for most, those lows become an OUT. A way to say "ok, I tried, but I'm not doing this anymore". And I'll be honest -- I've had those moments. When I have a big day in my business and push myself wayyy out of my comfort zone, all I want to do the next day is curl up in my pjs with my pup, and binge watch the Bachelor.

I'm working on finding the flow of it all. Of breaking the habit of backing off and slowing down when things get hard -- and there have been 3 things that have been VITAL for this process for me. 

  1. Practice. Busting through your comfort zone and doing hard things can feel super SCARY. But it's through these things that we GROW into the best versions of ourselves. And as Tony Robbins always says, the key to happiness is consistent growth. So practice! When you feel yourself wanting to give up mid workout, dig in and see how much further you can push your body. 
  2. Give yourself some epic self love. How can we rock this? Wake up early and fill your brain with positivity. Read an inspiring book (check out my top 5 faves for inspo here!). Practice positive self talk. Make a gratitude list. Braindump all of your thoughts onto paper and let that shit go. When we're fueling our minds with goodness, the hard shit won't feel so insurmountable.
  3. Meditate. The best thing you can do when life gets hard? Find a quiet space and BREATHE. So often our emotions and anxieties are just side effects of living in the shit for too long. So step away from it and give yourself some space to just be with yourself. And once you've found some grounding, come back to it and dive in with a clear mind and heart.

As my coach and biz wifey always says, "You can do hard things."

And she's right. I can. And so can you, beautiful girl. 

I challenge you to lean into the fear. Say YES to yourself and your dreams, especially when shit gets hard.

Because if you do, you'll be one step closer to that HIGH VIBE, BADASS version of you you were put on this Earth to be. 

And that girl? She's worth fighting for.

 

Xo, your no BS soul sistah,

 Amanda

Motivation is Garbage

Are you spending your life on automatic pilot?

 

You have all these aspirations in your life about what you WANT and who you want to be, but you’ve let months go by without taking any action...

 

I was watching this amazing video with Mel Robbins this past weekend all about why it’s so hard to be motivated to do the little things to improve our lives and it got my wheels turning.

Here’s the thing: our brains are designed to protect us -- going out of our comfort zone and deciding to make a change literally makes our brains send stress signals to our body telling us to retreat and get back to our comfy cozy zone.

So  literally, our bodies are programmed to keep us from going out of our comfort zones and leaping. And it’s up to US to take the leap of faith and dive in. Trust our gut and tell our brains to eff off.

 

Here's the real-freaking-deal.

 

You need to stop waiting until you “feel like it”.

 

You are ONE decision away from a 100% different life.

A different job. A different relationship. A different life. A different outlook.

It may not feel that easy, but it IS. You literally have that power because YOU are in control of your life -- and as Mel so poignantly says: “If you change your decisions, you change everything.”

The timing of shit in your life can be SUUUPER MESSY.

And game changing opportunities don't just knock on your door once the "timing is right" or "you're ready".

Because, let's be honest: there is always something making it the "wrong time".

And if there's anything I've learned it's that those life changing magical opportunities tend to knock on your door at the most inopportune times.


I launched my business right after my wedding, having just quit my job and having the roof of our new house leak, causing major water damage.

Not ideal to say the least. But I jumped ANYWAYS.

I decided to crash into the fear, trust my gut and say YES to the life I had been dreaming of for years but never took any action on.

 

And that's what I want you to do. To jump in with everything you've got.

 

Right fucking now.

 

Not:

"when you have the time"

“When the motivation strikes”

"when the timing feels right"

"once you have the perfect body"

"once your busy schedule opens up"

"once you pay off all your debt"

"in a few months"

"when you feel ready"

"when everything lines up so perfectly that magical unicorns and rainbows fall from the sky"

 

Truth bomb? If you’re waiting for those things, then you’ll be waiting for the rest of your life. Because life just doesn’t happen that way.

 

You are WORTH putting your dreams into action right now.

So quit delaying your happiness.

And take f*cking action.


I want you to take the next 5 minutes and just write the answer to this question --

Where have YOU been holding yourself back? If you could have the courage to make a change in your life right freaking now, without any “repercussions”, and what would you do?

And once you've spent some time thinking on that, I want you to think of ONE way that you can take action on that RIGHT NOW. 

It's time to jump in. With both feet.

And decide to live that f*ck yes life you and I both know is there waiting for you.

I'm with you. I'm going. Who's coming with me?

Xo Amanda

p.s. my weekly love bombs have even more amaazeballs tips, tricks and truth bombs coming atcha every single week --- click the button below to get the weekly goods!!