Lifestyle

Ways to Slow Down and Destress your Busy Life

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.

That's what my day looked like for years. 

And I will never forget what my mom said to me one day a few years back. She said, "You have to slow down or else 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 and for so many years, wore busy as a badge of honor

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, life isn't mean to be lived running around like a chicken with your head cut off, am I right?

Ready to destress and take away the overwhelm?

Here are some things you can start incorporating into your life right now, girlfriend!

START EACH DAY WITH A WORKOUT

 

Getting your body moving is the freaking BEST thing you can do to de-stress and start your day off on a beautiful foot! I used to use the "I don't have time" excuse all the time but as soon as I started my at home workouts and was rocking out 30 minutes or less for my whole day for a workout, it became a non-negotiable and all my excuses were busted at the door. I chat about some of my favorite go-tos here!

Wake up 30 minutes earlier. And freaking GET IT IN. Your body, mind and soul will thank you.

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PRACTICE MINDFULNESS

Even amidst a crazy schedule, there are so many opportunities to be mindful. To show up for our lives with intention. 

Be present.

Look deep within and figure out what is important to you.

Decide to live your life on purpose in every way that you CAN. And commit to showing up as the woman you KNOW you were put on this earth to be.

Not sure where to start? Download your FREE copy of 5 Steps to A Mindful Life for a deeper look into how to implement this into your daily life!

GO FOR A WALK

There's a reason all great creatives/writers/thinkers have a daily walk as part of their routine. Being outside gives us a break from being at our computers. A way for us to unplug and just BE. 

Bonus? If you have a pup like I do, it's super awesome bonding time and they'll love you forever. 

 

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LAUGH YOUR BOOTY OFF

Call your gal pal that always makes you laugh so hard you pee a little.

Throw yourself a dance party with your dog in the kitchen while making dinner. 

JUST LAUGH. It's an immediate reminder not to take life So seriously and to soak in the present. (And it helps you make faces like this!)

 

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UNPLUG FROM YOUR PHONE

Turn it off an hour before bed and leave it off for the first hour in the morning too. Or at least put it on airplane mode.

We spend so many hours staying constantly connected and it's causing more and more stress to our nervous system and our brain. Soak in that unplugged time and you'll feel less stressed in no time.

(and yes, girl, those emails CAN wait until work hours. And you're not gonna miss anything important on Instagram, I promise.)

 

What's something you're committing to to start YOUR journey to a less stressed life?

Share in the comments or, if you're looking for some extra accountability and a safe space to go through this process, join our Live on Purpose Facebook community! 

Cheers to living a more intentional and grounded life! You deserve it, babe.

Xo Amanda

p.s. not getting weekly love bombs to your inbox yet? Girl, what are you waiting for?! I dish out allll of the goods there ;)

Friday Favorites: March Edition

Can you believe tomorrow is officially APRIL? How the eff did that shit happen?!

March is usually a lay low month for me. February is always so fun-filled with my Birthday and celebrating our anniversary and coming off of that, I just end up spending the month hibernating and waiting for Spring to come -- anyone else feel this way? And last year this time, we were being moved out of our new home into a hotel and life was just CRAY so when March rolled this year, I wasn't sure how it would all roll out but holy wow it's been a beautiful month. Between traveling, starting rehearsals for my next show, work and family time, it's been a busy but oh so wonderful (and snuggly) month. 

Fun and exciting thangs? I've been getting back into Pinterest (be ma pinning friend!) and am freaking LOVING IT and it's been inspiring me to start being intentional in new areas of my life that I haven't been focusing on as much -- like home decor & clothing style! I'm dedicating April to decluttering all the things in my life that don't light me up using the Marie Kondo method (if you wanna join in, join our Live On Purpose community -- we're spending the month doing it together 'cause no gal should have to de-clutter on her lonesome!) 

And without further adoooo... here are ma highlights of the month!

 

MARCH FAVES

 

RECIPE

If you don't follow Ambitious Kitchen, run and start pinning all her recipes 'cause they're the shit. But for realz, her recipes are not just healthy but freaking DELICIOUS. And she lives in Chicago soooooo you know I'm all about supporting ma local peeps! 

Now I will say that not all of her recipes are for busy babes like me, BUT a lot of them are and this one in particular is one of my faves. Whenever my hubby asks for chocolate chip cookies, this is what I make -- so freaking good.

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ADVENTURE

At the verrry beginning of the month, I went to Ottawa, Canada to surprise my bestie Caroline! She's the QUEEN of surprises and it was high time I got her back and man oh man was it PERFECT. Her reaction literally made me laugh so hard I (almost) peed my pants.

I love to travel, but what I love even more are my best friends. And almost all of mine happen to live super far away. This year, it's been my goal to spend more time with the people that light me up and I'm just so grateful that I have created a life for myself that allows me the freedom to up and go whenever I want to, because man oh man do weekends and moments like this feed my soul!! 

WORKOUT MOVE

I've been doing a new strength training program that has been rocking my freaking world. I feel SO STRONG and I can't believe how much my body has changed in the past 2 months. I used to think that there was no way I could ever see results like this from home (I'll be sharing my final results on my Instagram so stay tuned!) -- especially from a strength training program but holy balls I am feeling SO BANGIN. And this was one of my favorite moves :) Mostly because I think triceps are bangin'. And because jamming out to this song brought me back to my 19 year old self busting it out with my besties. 

LOCAL COFFEE SHOP

At least once a week, I spend my day working out of a coffee shop with my biz bestie. Becoming a Beachbody coach has allowed me to get rid of all my soul sucking day jobs and make my own schedule (#girlbossin). And while entrepreneurship comes with sooo many beautiful gifts, it also can feel lonely at times when you're always working from home, so I've started spending at least one day a week working at a coffee shop and trying to explore as many new ones as possible to make it an adventure! My fave for this month is Gaslight Coffee Roasters in Logan Square. It's super bright and spacious, the people who work there are always so friendly and they make their tea (and coffee) is really good.

And the piece de resistance, because obviously you're just here for cute pictures of my pup -- come on, don't deny it! 

TOBY MOMENT OF THE MONTH

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Because if this isn't the cutest thing you've ever seen, I don't know what is.

SNUGGLES FOR DAYS.

 

Cheers to March! Let's make it an epic April. 

My word of the month? ENGAGED. 

What's yours? 

Xo Amanda

Growth is the key to happiness

Today, I want to talk to you about something that has been on my heart lately:

GROWTH > GOALS.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a two hour special team call all about personal development, goal setting and how to get out of your own way and it was amazing. The fact that I actually WANT to work on a Monday night still blows my mind, but I guess when you love something so much, it never feels like work, am I right?

Anyways, in my corner of the Universe, we've been talking a lot about Goals. And how depending on how you approach them, creating goals can either be super effective and wonderful OR it can end up making shit a whole lot worse in the long run.

I used to be a HUGE goal setter. I would make bucket list after bucket list. And when I look back on it, it caused me soooo much anxiety.

WHY? Because I would have the SAME things on my list for YEARS. I knew what I wanted to do, but never actually did it.

So, I want to share with you how I've shifted my mindset surrounding GOALS and how I've actually been able to take ACTION for the first time in my life -- all in just 3 simple steps:

STEP ONE: WRITE IT DOWN

You can't just claim to want it in your head. You need to put it on paper for it to actually feel REAL.

So I want to challenge you to envision for a minute -- What do you dream about? Pick a dream, any dream. Your dream job. Dream marriage. Dream house. Write it down and describe it in just a few words. Now do the same thing 3 times until you've listed 3 separate dreams.

GREAT. Once you've done that, now add 2 descriptors that will make your dream more concrete: what and when.

Here are mine:

1. Go on a yoga retreat in Bali before I'm 30.

2. Be living 100% debt free and have the freedom to live my life 100% on my own terms by the time I'm 30 by building a heart-centered, thriving, stable and values driven business as Beachbody Coach.

3. Perform at the Stratford Festival of Canada as a lead in a Shakespeare play by the time I'm 35 years.

STEP TWO: LOOK AT IT EVERY SINGLE DAY

Chances are, you've written a bucket list, put it away and never looked at it again. Can you even remember what you put on there? I bet not.

So why is it so important to actually LOOK at it? Well, you may not believe in the power of manifestation (I didn't either), but from a gal who's been doing this for over a year, trust me when I say, this shit works. Surround yourself with your goals. Your subconscious needs the daily reminder to be able to actually bring it into your life.

As Jeff Olson says: "Having your dreams concretely spelled out, on paper, in the most vivid and specific terms possible, and with a very tangible, concrete timeline, provides you with an 'environment of Yes!' for your goals, dreams and aspirations."

STEP THREE: START WITH A PLAN

But here's the trick. Don't be STUCK on making that plan come to fruition.

So often, we make a plan and we almost force things to go down the way we want it to (read: think it should.) And I want to propose something different.

Yes, start with a plan. Because ultimately, until you actually START, you're not moving forward. But be OPEN to the fact that whatever plan you actually start with will not be the plan that gets you there in the end.

I know this may sound confusing but here's my thought on all of this: there is no perfect way to do something. I mean, by definition, there can't be, because a plan is not getting there -- it's only your jumping off point. And THAT is why you need a plan. Because if you don't have a starting point, there won't be any jumping off happening at all.

As Nike says, JUST DO IT.

What are your 3 goals that you came up with during this exercise?

Share in the comments below! I'd love to keep you accountable.

I hope this helps you on your journey to GREATNESS.

Know that I believe in you. You are so so capable of being everything you want to be & more. Of not just wishing for those goals of yours to come true but to actually make them happen.
 

And if you wanna chat more about this shit, I'm always just an email away. I LIVE for this shit. And I wanna help you succeed and live your wildest dreams -- because you are so freaking worth it.

Xo Amanda

Oh and p.s. haven't signed up for my weekly love bombs and freebies yet? Whatchya waiting for!!!  Get the goods here!!!!!!!

 

A Year in Review: how I lived intentionally for the first time in my life

1. Be Courageously Authentic. // This was arguably my biggest intention for the year. I wanted to live a COURAGEOUS life. Where I said YES to the things I so desperately wanted, even if I was scared shitless. To find my authentic self (aka get to freaking know myself) and live from that place as often as freaking possible. And while was certainly not perfect, I made this mission a huge part of my 25th year and it has shaped me so much into the woman I've become. Can't wait to see where the next year takes me.

2. Read something every day that fuels my mind. // YAASS. For the past 365 days, I have prioritized AT LEAST 10 minutes of personal development a day and it has been a game changer for me. If you're looking for something to dig into, you can check out my top 5 life-changing reads over at my friend Courtney's blog!

3. Be in the best shape of my life. // The scale may say I'm 15 lbs heavier than when I was at my skinniest (*cringe* so blessed to have that all behind me) but I'm the strongest, fastest, healthiest and happiest I've ever been and it's the best fucking feeling on the planet.

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4. Spend more time doing the things that light me up, with the people that make me laugh. // 10000 times yes on this one. When I think back to my life last year at this time, I was spending big chunks of my day doing things that didn't make me happy -- nannying full time, saying YES to things I didn't want to say yes to, taking very little time for ME. Between pursuing a career path that brings me greater JOY than I ever imagined possible (and the incredible friendships it has brought my way in the process) and prioritizing self care, this year has been SO BRIGHT and it's only gonna get brighter.

5. Fill my surroundings at home with comfort, beauty, and love, physically and energetically. // With all of the moving and unexpected renovations because of the water damage in our place, this didn't quite happen the way I'd have hoped. Slowly but surely, we're adding pieces that light me up -- like our gorgeous duvet for our bed, our new dream couch and inspiring bits and pieces above my desk -- but this is still a project I'm working on. 

6. Allow myself to express myself creatively in a myriad of fun and enjoyable ways, including knitting, writing and painting. // While I may not have spent as much time as I would have liked doing these thing, I call this a WIN because I actually prioritized it for the first time in years. I took afternoons to paint my watercolors, I journaled, I blogged, I performed in plays, I sang and I got into bullet journaling -- all things that really helped me express my creative side!

7. Adventure somewhere new. // I went to 2 new states in the US this year -- Nashville for our big team summit and Atlantic Beach for a leadership wellness retreat with my biz besties -- and man oh man were they adventures. Can't wait to keep the travel train running this year. So far, I've got plans to go Tel Aviv, Ireland and New Orleans!

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8. Up my weights for my workouts. // A year ago, I was rocking 5lb-ers as my heavy weights. My upper arm strength was pretty weak and I was terrified that strength training would lead to bulking. But now, I'm consistently rocking 10 lb-ers as my heavy weights for isometric training and 25 lb-ers as my heavy weights for power training. 

9. Dare to dream, and always remain open to new possibilities. // This year has been ALLLLLL about this. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would become a business owner -- let alone a health & fitness coach. It was the LAST thing on my radar. I definitely loved health & fitness and connecting with other inspiring women on Instagram  (and hopefully inspiring them along the way!) but I always just figured it was a hobby of mine -- not a realistic career. But when I was made aware of the coaching opportunity, I had this crazy gut feeling that this could be something special (you know, the one you got when you went on your first date with your now hubby and knew you were going to marry him! ... or was that just me :P) And man oh man was I right. I'm so grateful for being willing to be OPEN with my heart. It has given me all of the JOY, FREEDOM and COMMUNITY that I could have ever hoped for. 

10. Spend every single day practicing gratitude. // Did I practice gratitude every day? No. I did bring it into my life sooo much more frequently than ever before and on the days where I intentionally wrote my list of 3 things I'm grateful for, I could feel the difference. Definitely something I'm going to continue to practice and try to incorporate more into my daily life!

11. See the humor in every situation & try not to take myself too seriously // This is something I'm still deeply working on because man oh man, for being a goofball at heart, sometimes I just take myself so goddamn seriously! Thank goodness for a hubby who makes me have a tickle fight / fake nun chuck battle when I'm being pissy ;) 

12. Teach LIVE fitness classes. // This was something I thought would make a priority this year and fell to the wayside. While I still would LOVE to do more of this in the future, my heart wasn't screaming to go at it full force, so I didn't. Sometimes, you've just gotta go with the flow and let go of the goals that no longer speak to you and that's what I did with this one. We'll see where the journey takes me!

13. Make "me" time an every day priority. // This one was a HUGE win for me. A couple of years ago, I was the queen of never making time for myself. I would fill my schedule to the brim and spend all of my energy on others -- never filling my own cup. (I used to think self care was selfish...you know the feeling?) Well, I've learned how freaking important it is if you wanna live a fulfilled and intentional life. 

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14. Approach every situation with grace & kindness. // When I wrote this down a year ago, I felt like I was setting myself up for failure. And now that I look back on it -- I am sure that I was. Why? Not because doing my best to approach each situation with grace & kindness isn't an important intention -- but the key part of this is "doing my best". Because, let's be honest, we are all human. And while I may have every intention to approach life with grace & kindness, by making it so definite, I didn't allow myself any grace along the way. Grace to f*ck up. To not be perfect. That being said, I am really proud of myself this year. I've worked super hard to be more conscious about the way I approach situations and speak to people and it's been a game changer. One I intend to continue this year, and all the years of my life.

15. Do Yoga, at least once a week. // It's funny to look back on some of these intentions now and see how far I've come with my perception of things -- at the time, I thought having a consistent yoga practice was a good intention. But what I've realized in my journey this past year is that what I have been seeking more of (that I thought yoga could fill) was the feeling of FLOW and EASE. So yes, I did a butt ton of yoga -- because I freaking love it. I actually did an entire month of just yoga with my Live on Purpose Community and it was BLISS. But I also tried out meditation, journaling, morning rituals -- the works! I'm finding my way, slowly but surely, and yoga is definitely part of that journey, but I'm no longer feeling called to attaching a number next to it -- because while I didn't achieve that number, I started to achieve the feeling I was seeking. And to me, that's way more important.

16. Drink Shakeology every single day. // HELL FREAKING YES, 365 days in a row. Why is this so important to me? Because by doing this, I said YES to fueling my body from the inside out. To filling it with whole foods and saying YES to my health. 

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17. Climb trees, often. // Living in a city and not spending much time outside of it this year made this especially hard. However, I 100% acknowledge that I could have made more of an effort to spending more time in nature and finding badass climbing trees in the process ;) Good thing I'm going to Ireland and will be surrounded by gorgeous greenery this year!

18. Feel real self love for myself, and inspire others to feel loving towards themselves. // When I wrote this one down last year, I remember thinking to myself: "This will never happen". Already deciding I was going to fail. Classic old school Amanda thinking. But this year, I was determined to change this. I was SO OVER my inner shit talker being a big ol' meanie -- you know, that voice in your head that tells you you're not good enough, smart enough? So I spent my year filling my heart and my head with amazing books and podcasts (this is my fave pod for self love!) and working on it. And slowly but surely, I started to actually believe that I was good enough. To actually love my body. And these realizations have fueled me to pay that forward and seeing other women have those a-ha moments too has been life changing. 

19. Transition over to all natural skincare / bath products // I got SO close on this one! I've found some seriously amazing all natural options for so many aspects of my routine, but the one thing I'm really struggling with is my haircare -- I'm just too worried about it becoming supah greasy, ya know? If you have any tips/tricks, I would LOVE to hear 'em.

20. Grow my Business to a full time salary // While I'm not there yet, I'm well on my way to getting there and I am so freaking amazed by everything coaching has brought to my life. Beyond the community, joy and friendships, it's given me the FREEDOM to be able to work from home 3 days a week, to quit 3 of my soul sucking day jobs, and provide for our family in ways I never imagined. Can't wait to see where the next year takes me :) 

21. Spend at least 20 minutes of connected time with my Hubby a day // This was one of the most important intentions for me this year (quality time is my love language!) and on the days that we were in the same city, we definitely made this a priority. Even if it was 20 minutes of cuddle time in the morning before the day started or a twenty minute phone call, being conscious giving each other our undivided attention every single day has been so wonderful and definitely something we will continue with!

22. Live a balanced life, giving quality and attention to the most important things in my life // When I read back on this intention, I'm not really sure what I meant by it at the time. But looking at it now, I interpret this as making time for the things that matter. And man oh man have I done that this year (even when it felt impossible to do). Every single day for the past year, I've made it a non negotiable to move and fuel my body, to fill my cup with inspiration and joy -- and it has arguably been the greatest gift I've ever given myself. Shit doesn't always go right - hell more often than not it goes super wrong!- but through it all, I've felt GOOD. HAPPY. INSPIRED. And considering how negative, overwhelmed and burnt out I was a year and a half ago, that's a huge freaking win for me :) 

23. Spend more time in Nature // Again with the lack of nature in my life. Man oh man do I need to be more intentional with this. Wanna make a real effort to go up to my cottage more this year. 

24. Be patient with myself and the world around me when things don't go "according to plan" // This was arguably the anthem of the first half of my 25th year -- if you don't know the full story, you can read all about it HERE -- and man oh man, did I surprise myself on this one. A year ago, I would have been a freaking mess. Endlessly upset, negative, brimming with anxiety -- but not this year. I even surprised myself on this one because let me tell ya, it is not fun living out of a suitcase for 3+ months. And barring a few freak out moments, I stayed positive and high-spirited through it all. 

25. Express my true, authentic self -- always living in alignment with my values and vision. // I think for so long, I wasn't able to properly do this because I didn't actually know what I wanted and who I wanted to be. But this past year, I've spent every single day working on getting closer to that person. And thanks to the books I've been reading, and the workshops I've been a part of with the amazing women in my tribe, I have learned how to actually figure that out. Live, breathe and actively SEEK a life that is centered around my values and my vision. And I'm so grateful for it. Because I feel like I'm actually living on purpose for the first time in my life. And THAT is something to celebrate.


So there you have it :) My year in review. And what a year it's been.  I can't wait to see where the next year of my life takes me -- and I'm so grateful and honored to be going on this journey together. So thank you for being here. For sharing in this with me. It means more to me than you'll ever know.

p.s. I'll be sharing my intentions for this year (as well as some tips on how to create your own intentions!) in my weekly love notes so if you haven't already signed up, you can do so here! 

How to Choose Joy On Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days

Anyone else used to be obsessed with that book growing up? I would make my Mom read it to me over and over and over again. I just loved Alexander's super red hair and freckles!!...Maybe that explains why I've always wanted a little kid with bright red hair...ha, I can't believe I'd never considered that!

Okay, I digress. But fo realz. Whether you know that book or not, if you've been on the planet for more than a minute, chances are, you've had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

You know the one. Where everything just seems to be against you. You spill your coffee in the morning, rip your favorite shirt, miss the train, send an email to the wrong person, get yelled at by your boss, burn dinner and when you go to sit down to watch this week's episode of the Bachelor, realize you've forgotten to DVR it. Or maybe you are just feeling a general lack of faith in humanity with the going ons of the world lately. And chances are, if you're anything like me. you've spend the whoooole day listening to Adele (#bestsadmusicever) and complaining to your friends about your shitty, shitty, day.

Sound familiar?

I used to have more days like this than I'd like to admit. I would sit and sulk in my frustration. And let me tell ya, I was not fun to be around. 

I've been reading The Universe Has Your Back (a really fantastic book all about fear)  and something she emphasizes is how the energy you intentionally put out into the world directly affects your mindset. In other words, how you FEEL every single day is entirely up to you.

This is a concept I used to have a really hard time grasping -- I mean, I just couldn't get it... 
What if someone was being rude to me? Or traffic was THE WORST and it took me an extra 30 minutes to get home.  Or what if I had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day like the one I just shared? Those things would obviously make an impact on how my day went... I would CLEARLY feel frustrated, upset, irritated and annoyed if any of those things happened to me, right?

Well, that's what I used to think.

But here's what I've been learning, and what I want to empower you to consider:

You are 100% made up of the decisions you make.

 

Sure, you can't control the things that you'll come up against throughout your day, but you CAN control how you respond to them. You can choose to lean towards JOY instead of fear, doubt or frustration.
 

"Your decision leads you to experience joy in a seemingly joyless situation" - Gabby Bernstein

 

Let me guess...you're thinking "ok, ok, it SOUNDS easy and all, but how do you actually put it into practice?" You know I wasn't gonna leave you hanging like that. I gotchu, girl ;) 

So here are 3 of my favorite tools on how to CHOOSE JOY on even the worst of days:

+ Focus on how you WANT to feel and get clear on your VALUES

If I were to ask you the question: "How do you want to feel every single day?", what would you say? For example, I would say: Joy-filled, ease, connected, grounded, free and strong.

And further, what are the things that you do/have done that help you feel these things? For example, some of the things that I do to connect to these feelings are: throwing myself a dance party, getting a workout in, calling my mom, practice yoga, meditate, journal, play with my pup , share my story in a blog post, have a work date at a coffee shop, snuggle with my hubby etc.

Brainstorm and journal it out and see what you come up with!

+ Recite an affirmation that is in line with your values

I know this may sound hokey (and trust me, until recently, I thought all of this was a load of bullshit), but I've been incorporating affirmations into my morning rituals for the past month and it has been a GAME CHANGER. 

My current favorite go-to is from a book called the Big leap (check it out!): 

“I expand in abundance, success and love every day as I inspire others to do the same.”

Before I start my day, I spend 5 minutes saying this out loud and breathing it in. This hasn't been something that has come easy to me. I've been SUPER resistant to any form of affirmation for years, but I dedicated this year as the year of GROWTH and part of that means being open to new experiences. So I said F*ck it. Let's try it. And man oh man has it been a game changer. That sense of ease I've been craving? I'm finally starting to see it show up in my life and I'm loving every second of it.

So whether this affirmation resonates with you, or another one jumps out at you, choose one and commit to starting your day by saying it every day next week! Need some examples of mantras? Click here!

+Shock your system

You ready for it? This is how to put all of the things you've discovered in the last two points and jolt yourself into joy.

I want you to spend the next week getting curious with yourself. On days when you're feeling any negative emotion, allow yourself to feel the feels if you need to for a few minutes ('cause sometimes that shit is necessary), and then SHIFT YOUR SPIRIT. You know that list I had you write up? The one of all the things that help you feel the way you want to? Pick one and DO IT. Jolt yourself into a better day and decide to freaking CHOOSE JOY. Ok?


You are more POWERFUL and CAPABLE than you realize, beautiful girl. And you deserve to feel all the light & love the world has to offer. Let's start creating it together, ok?

Xo Amanda

p.s. I'd love to hear your thoughts and how you found this exercise! Comment below or contact me if you wanna chat more about this :)  

Busy Babe's Guide to Meal Prep

Let me guess.

You're two weeks into the new year and you are already starting to see your nutrition.

You had SUCH GOOD INTENTIONS to making this year your healthiest year yet. Losing those last 5-10 lbs. Feeling energized, amazing -- you were gonna SLAYYYYYYYYYY 2017.

But then life happened. And you got busy. And it's cold. And pizza.... I get it. I really do. I was right there with you.

But this year has been different.

For the first time in my adult life, I have come into the new year HAPPY, HEALTHY and so freaking energized. I'm rocking out my goals and feeling like a whole new woman -- and you wanna know why?

MEAL PREP.  

I know, I know, this may seem RIDICULOUS. That such a little thing could cause such a major shift. I thought it was ridiculous too! (probably why I didn't actually implement it for so long), but holy shitake mushrooms it has been the number one game changer for my health. 


So here are my top 10 meal prep tips for Busy babes just like you...

1. Have a PLAN

Make a list of your favorite healthy foods, choose simple (and delicious -- duhh) recipes that can be made quickly [Need some ideas? Click here to grab your Free Recipe E-book] and decide what you'll eat for every snack and meal. 

2. Stick to your Grocery List

"Fail to plan, fail to succeed" -- that's my motto when it comes to food shopping. I go into the grocery store with a PLAN. No throwing in those Reese's cups or your favorite chips into the cart -- if you don't have it in the house means you are setting yourself up for success! (PSA: if there is chocolate in the house I WILL EAT IT. haha My hubby knows.) So stick to your list. And hopefully, if you're following a meal plan that promotes balance, your list will have some treats here and there anyways ;)

3. Keep snacks simple

When you're gearing up to make food for the week, it's best to keep snacks simple. Save time by choosing snacks that don't require a lot of time to put together -- my go tos? Fresh fruit with some peanut butter, hard boiled eggs, Shakeology and carrots and hummus! All DELICIOUS!

4. Look for shortcuts

Pre-chopped veggies & fruit (or just fruits that don't need chopping! I love me some apples and bananas), cooked lentils/garbanzo beans are a great complex carb to add to a meal and come ready to rock and tuna packets (in water) are a personal favorite of mine for a quick and easy protein option to throw on a salad or mix in with some avocado :) 

5. Cook everything all at once!

I spend about an hour a week on meal prep and you know how? Because I do it all at once! Roasting veggies, sweet potatoes and even chicken breasts can happen all at the same time -- which not only saves you time but also cuts down your utility bill ;) You know I've got your back.

6. Batch it out!

And better yet? Make big ol' batches of everything so you have plenty of healthy options on hand. Make a large batch of quinoa or brown rice (or whatever whole grain you loooove!) and bake a bunch of chicken breasts/lean meat/ground turkey at once, chop them up and keep them in the fridge for salads and dinners.

7. Pack your meals

Schedule time in your evening to pack your lunch and all of the meals you need for the next day! That way you aren't feeling rushed in the morning // inclined to just "go out to eat since it's easier"

8. Mix it up

I was so worried when I started meal prepping that it would mean eating the same, boring thing every day -- but it doesn't have to be like that! Give yourself OPTIONS throughout the week so that you can mix it up when you're feeling like it! I recommend having at least 2 lunch and dinner options. Start small and make simple changes (like swapping out your protein for dinner!) and once you get the hang of it, you can get more creative in the kitchen.

9. Crockpot that shit

If there's one kitchen appliance I cannot recommend enough, it's my crockpot. It is a lifesaver for busy babes like me and is GREAT for leftovers :) Here's one of my fave recipes from my girl Laura!

10. Remember WHY this is important to you

All of this meal prep -- it's not to make your life HARDER, it's to help you reach your health and fitness goals. To be less tempted to stop for fast food or order takeout. To have MORE TIME to do the things you love with the people that matter to you than spending your evenings cooking away. If you get clear on WHY healthy living is something that is important to you -- on how you WANT to feel, you will be more inclined to keep this meal prep game up -- and give you even more time to Push play and rock your workout ;)


What's YOUR why? Your biggest struggle when it comes to meal prep? I'd love to hear/guide you in the right direction! Share in the comments below or Contact me :) I'm always here for you!

Xo Amanda

p.s. Click the button below for some quick and delicious recipes that I put together just for you! 

How to make your Resolutions STICK this year.

Do you feel like you're constantly putting the same resolution on paper, year after year after year? Or you get SO EXCITED about your resolution to finally lose those pesky 10 lbs, travel more or and come February, have gotten so consumed with your day to day life that you've all but forgotten about it?

I was that gal. Hell, I was WORSE. I would make a bucket list of 50 things I wanted to do that year, would find it 6 months later and feel like a total and complete fuck up because I hadn't done any of it.

But this past year, my entire mindset on new years resolutions and goal setting has completely shifted. Instead of writing a bazillion things down that my Ego told me I should be doing/wanting to do, I have found a system that makes me FEEL GOOD and for once, actually FOLLOW THROUGH. Let's make 2017 AMAZEBALLS, ok?

My Top 3 Tips for Rocking those Resolutions

1. Focus on how you want to FEEL

Take a look at your bucket list -- or any previous resolutions you may have made in the past or are planning to rock out in 2017 -- are they actually things that light you up? Or are you putting join a gym and lose 15 lbs because that's what everyone and their mother writes down for their resolutions...

If you are doing that, know that it's TOTALLY NORMAL. I did that for years and of course, I never actually followed through with my resolutions. And I now realize that it's because they weren't things that actually made me EXCITED. 

So how do we choose resolutions that are actually in line with how we want to feel? I've come up with 5 questions that I ask myself every year that help me figure out how I want to FEEL -- and then base my resolutions on those answers!

  • Other than time or money, what I want more of is...
  • My joy comes from...
  • I crave...
  • When I'm feeling free and strong, I tend to...
  • I need to give myself more permission to be...

Dig deep. Be honest with yourself. You'll be surprised at what comes out. And based on your answers, think about how you want to feel in the various areas of your life. For example: for my lifestyle/work life I want to feel FREE, for my body/wellness I want to feel STRONG, for my creativity/learning I want to feel VIBRANT, for my relationships I want to feel CONNECTED and for my inner work/spirituality I want to feel GROUNDED

+Read more about how to make intentions vs. goals here

+ Wanna really dig deep? Check out The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte. It was a game changer for me!

2. Create a Visual

Once you've figured out resolutions that are in line with how you want to feel, your next step is to create a vision board.

I know, I know, this may seem super hokey -- trust me, I bashed it for years -- but I actually did one this year and you know what? I ended the year having achieved almost every single thing on there. Visuals are KEY to success. So often we write something down on a piece of paper or our journal, never to be found again. Writing it down and putting it somewhere you can see every dang day is going to bring you SO MUCH CLOSER to achieving it because it's always in the forefront of your brain. (And finding pictures is just so fun and bright sooo vision boards are the best)

Not a crafty queen and love the shit out of Pinterest? 

Make a board on there and set a reminder in your phone to come back to it every week! 

3. Find a Support Squad

This. This has been the key for me.

On my search to find a way to live my dream life, I found a girl on Instagram that shared her story about how she got out of her funk, was able to build a healthy relationship with food and was able to in the span of a year, quit her full time job and work for herself on her own terms. I joined one of her virtual health & wellness bootcamps (you know, to fulfill those fitness resolutions I could never stick to) and realized I was missing out on the magic the support of these other amazing women (just like me!) provided. I instantly fell in love with the atmosphere and knew I wanted to duplicate this sense of community, which is why I host monthly Bootcamps as well. 

Over the past year, the women in these groups have become more to me than just fitness pals. They've become my tribe. My endless support squad. My cheerleaders on good days and bad. They're women who immediately get me. Who are going through the same things as me. And having an intimate support system and accountability group like this has been the missing link I needed all along.

A lot of people, when I share what I'm doing, don't get how it's possible to form such strong bonds with women who I've never met. Women who live all around North American -- scattered in places like Illinois, Florida, Colorado, Washington and Canada to name a few. But when you spend a month, 3 months, a year working on finding your best self alongside a group of women like these, you can't help but form a bond unlike anything else. And man oh man does the motivation never end. 

I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for these groups. I've lost 15 lbs and actually been able to maintain it BEYOND January of last year (which is a first for me). I've formed a healthy relationship with food for the first time in years and I can honestly say that all of the things I used to deal with every single day -- the self bashing while staring at my body in the mirror, my debilitating anxiety, feeling just BLAH and unconfident -- all those things have disappeared and I've found the confident, radiant and energized version of myself that I never want to let go of. Because she freaking kicks ass.

So there you have it.

My 3 best tips for rocking those resolutions aka having the most kickass 2017 of all time. 

Quit settling for the status quo. Stop allowing yourself to go on automatic pilot all over again in a months time. Decide that from this moment forward, you will actively go after a life that makes you literally excited to jump out of the bed. 

Commit to a year of YOU. (And if you're worried about that making you selfish, giiiiirl, read this.) And I guarantee, you will end 2017 feeling on FIRE. 

Ok my lady, I wanna know what YOUR goals are for 2017! Let's hold each other accountable ;)

Share them in the comments below or message me -- I love love love getting emails hearing all about your life!

Happy New Year, my loves.

Xo Amanda

5 Ways to Make the Holidays Feel Special when you're Adult-ing.

I will be the first to admit...I LOVE CHRISTMAS.

It is far and above my favorite time of year. The twinkly lights. The hot chocolate. The giving spirit that is all around. The family time. And TRADITIONS.

I am a sucker for traditions. And growing up, we had soo many traditions. And each and every single one of them would fill my heart with so much joy. Going to pick out the tree with my Dad. Listening to the Ella Fitzgerald Christmas cd while we decorated the tree. Baking shortbread cookies with my mom. The new matching pjs on Christmas eve. Pancakes for breakfast Christmas morning. Dinner with the whole family on Christmas. Boxing Day shopping (yeahhhh Canada) ... it was the BEST.

And after graduating college, I found those traditions slowly slipping away. I'm from Toronto and while Chicago isn't a bajillion hours away, it's far enough away that going home for a weekend isn't super easy to do. A couple of years ago, I couldn't even make it home for Christmas because I was in a show that ran right through the holidays. And last year, I spent Christmas at my in-laws. So it's safe to say that the traditions I grew up knowing largely went out the window. 

At first, I was heartbroken. And honestly, it's only been the past year or so of my life (since I started regularly doing personal development) that I shifted my perspective and found JOY in the holiday again. Because, as I've learned, when you choose to place your energy and thoughts on the positive things of life -- when you CREATE the kind of experience you so crave -- you can have what you feel like you're missing on your own terms! :) 

So, here are my top 5 ways to make the Holidays feel special:

1. Make new traditions

When I wasn't able to make it home for Christmas a couple of years back, I moped around for weeks. I was sad. No cookie making, christmas tree decorating, pj opening christmas. 

SO instead, I decided to make the most of it and since it was the first Christmas that Kev and I were spending together as a family, we decided that a great way to make it exciting was to make NEW traditions! And that's when our ornament tradition began.

Every year, we find an ornament to add to our collection. The ornament we pick represents the year we had together -- last year, we got a "Our First Home" ornament since we had just bought our place! This year, I'm sure it will have to be a dog ornament of some kind ;) 

So find something new and exciting and build it into your Holiday traditions! :)

2. Have a Christmas Movie Marathon

This one is KEY for me to feel like it's Christmas. So grab a girlfriend or your hubby and park yourselves on the couch, turn the sparkly lights on, grab some homemade hot cocoa and have a snuggly night in.

My personal faves? The Santa Clause, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, White Christmas and Love Actually :)

3. Celebrate the Holiday Locally

There are TONS of festive celebrations that happen all over and I'm sure there are some super fun ones in your city/town! 

Chicago is filled with fun little things but our all time favorite thing to do is go to the Christkindlemarket -- there's a giant tree that's all lit up and booths with Christmas treats, ornaments, gifts and all the gluvine (aka mulled wine -- DELICIOUS) you could want! It's a really cute thing to do and we have so much fun going every year. 

4. Get your Bake on!

Something about baking really gets me in the Christmas mood :)

So blast that Christmas pandora station and bake some guilt free cookies -- recipe for the cookies pictured above HERE. Also loving these 21 Day Fix-Approved Holiday Treats

5. Surround yourself with people you LOVE

When it comes down to it, the holidays are really a time to spend with those you love most in the world. So make TIME for the people that matter to you. Because that's what the holidays are all about, right? 

So spend this month sharing the love.

Make girlfriend dates. Call your Mom. Send homemade cards to your faraway friends. 

If that doesn't put you in the holiday spirit, I don't know what will ;) 

 

What are YOUR favorite traditions? I would love to hear! Share in the comments below!

What I wish I'd known...

This week marked the anniversary of my wedding day.


The entire day was a dream. Having my family and friends all in one space was seriously the fucking coolest. And sharing mine and Kev's love with everyone was so wonderful. We danced the night away, drank beer (we got married at a brewery in Chicago!) and had truly the best night of my life.

BUT, I wasn't happy.

YES I was ecstatic when it came to my love life. Kevan and I were in a wonderful place and so happy to be finally sharing a little piece of our lives with the people closest to us. I was on cloud nine to be around all of the people that I love most in this world.

But a year ago, I felt more lost than I ever had in my life. 

 



Let's rewind a little...

I graduated from college with a Bachelors degree in musical theatre. And while I LOVE acting and know it's something I'm supposed to do for the rest of my life, we were never really taught in school how to actually manage life in a practical sense (i.e. pay the bills, find work outside of acting, etc.)

So I did what all of my actor friends did. I found a job (well, multiple jobs really) just to get by. I worked at a call centre, I was a segway tour guide, I nanny-ed my butt off and I taught. All of that ON TOP of rehearsals in the evening for the various shows I was doing. At one point a year and a half ago, I was working six different jobs.

To say that I was burnt out is putting it lightly.

I had my wedding to look forward to and our mini moon to St Lucia but as soon as we got back to "reality", I came crashing down HARD.

 

You know that whole quarter life crisis thing? Well, let's just say I know allllll about it. I was a mess. I kept asking myself  "What am I doing with my life?" ... "Is this how it's going to be forever?"  ... and about a week after getting back to Chicago, I broke. 

I quit almost all of my jobs and spent a month soul searching. 

(I don't recommend this, by the way, but you know I will always tell it how it went down and well, that's what happened)

I was scared shitless. But I knew that I needed to take a strong hard look at what the hell I was doing with my life because I knew I was meant for so much more than the anxiety ridden, overwhelmed and exhausted version of myself that I had become. 

And I'm so glad I did. Because a year later, I'm in SUCH a different place. I've found I'm finally actually happy. I’ve found a career path outside of acting that actually LIGHTS ME UP. I’m calm. I’m happy. I wake up every morning and I’m so grateful for the world I’ve created for myself.

I feel FREE. And I get to spend my days working in little coffee shops like this, going for long walks with my dog and connecting with some of the most incredible women I've ever known.

How did I get here?

I asked myself three super simple (but crazy important) questions. And if my story has resonated with you at all, take a moment in your week and sit down and answer these questions too...Just write. Don't edit yourself. And you'll be surprised what you learn about yourself and what you really want.

Question 1: What makes you feel most ALIVE?

Question 2: Describe your perfect day, from the moment you get up in the morning to the minute you go to sleep.

Question 3: What do you VALUE most in life?


I know these may seem simple, but trust me when I say that if you take the time to sit down and get really clear with yourself on these answers, you will all of a sudden have a whole new world ahead of you. A potential world that is actually in line with what you need/want/crave. 

And though it may not be 100% feasible to just up and quit your life like I did, it IS possible to slowly start moving towards the quality of life you want.

You just have to decide you're worth it and take the leap.

So I guess all of this is to say that it's never too late to take a second chance on yourself. To live the life you crave. It's not going to be easy, and it's definitely going to be scary as all hell but from the gal who'se on the other side, I can promise you it's worth it.

(And if you wanna chat more about this with me, I'm always here for you. This is something I'm super passionate about. I'm an open book and happy to share, always.)

Xo Amanda
 

Tone It Up Girl turned Beachbody Coach

I've been wanting to share this for a while now. It's been on my heart but for some reason I have been holding off doing so -- but here's the thing. I always say that I'm going to be 100% HONEST with you guys and so not sharing this with you would be me not being true to myself so I say FUCK THE FEAR and here goes.

Hi, my name is Amanda Loy. I'm a Wifey, a dog mom, an actor, a Tone It Up Girl & a Beachbody Coach with #TeamInspireJoy , and THIS is my story. 

When I started my health & fitness journey in 2012, I had no idea it would lead me to where I am today. That it would be such a vital part of my day to day.

All I knew was that I was desperate for a change. Tired of feeling like who I was inside wasn't being reflected on the outside. Tired of looking in the mirror and not liking what I saw. Tired of going into store after store and just settling for clothes because "well at least they sort of fit" or  with the "well this covers up my tummy, so I'll wear it" mentality. Most of all, I was just tired of being tired. Tired of being the unhappy and uncomfortable version of me.

So, I started looking around for something -- anything -- that could help me.

And that's when I found Tone It Up on Youtube.

I was immediately attracted to Karena and Katrina's energy. They were silly and the rays of light that I needed and they reminded me so much of the version of me I hadn't seen in years. I wanted to be just like them. They had just started Tone It Up (yup, I was an Original TIU gal), and all I could think was -- if I could look just like them, I will be able to get my groove back.

I mean, have you seen them? They're freaking bombshells.

IMG_3741.JPG

So that's how I got started. I started picking one of their workouts and doing it every single day. A month later, I purchased the nutrition plan, officially became a part of the community, and decided to go in full force.

And man oh man did I do that. I stuck to their workout programs and their meal plan to a tea. As in, I never ONCE "fell off the wagon".

For those of you unfamiliar with Tone It Up, their nutrition program focuses on eating mostly lean proteins and vegetables, with some fruit and healthy fats sprinkled in there. Carbohydrates were occasionally incorporated, but the serving size was usually pretty small and often it was optional. So for 6 months, I ate, as my husband likes to say, bunny food. And their daily workouts usually incorporate a cardio start to your day and then a toning workout in the afternoon -- so I started running every morning (for those of you who know me now know how much I hate running hahaha, but I thought I needed to be a runner to be fit!) and I would do their badass super fun toning workouts in the afternoon. 

And 6 months later, I had gone from 172 lbs to 145 lbs (this coming from a 5'10" girl).

WOOOHOOOO, right?! Well, my EGO said HELL YES. I was growing out my hair, abs that I never thought could possibly appear were starting to show up and I was finally going to get to be skinny, just like K&K! That was the goal, right? To lose the weight and be happy!! 

But here's the thing... I wasn't happy. 

Sure, I was skinny. (And now that I look back on it, I can honestly say that I was too skinny, although at the time I wouldn't admit it) And I was sooo excited to be a part of an amazing community of women (some of whom are some of my best friends now) and to have the bright energy of Karena and Katrina in my life. But I was so focused (read: obsessed) on BECOMING THEM that along the way, I lost myself. And I went so extreme in one path that I went from being slightly overweight and unhappy to underweight and unhealthy.

And the summer of 2013, everything that I thought I knew came crashing down around me and within two months, I had put back on all the weight that I'd lost and then some. I spent my days binge eating pints of ben & jerrys half baked, double stuffed oreos, jars of nutella -- you name it. I couldn't control myself. 

And once it was time to pick up the pieces, I knew that I had to figure out what would work for ME.

I tried joining a yoga studio, which really helped combat my anxiety.

I connected with TIU girls in the Chicago area and on Instagram who are truly some of the most gorgeous souls I have ever met on the planet -- and who just GET me. 

I stopped running and stuck to doing workouts that made me HAPPY, like the TIU toning routines, dance based workouts and strength training.

I started trying to reframe my mind that healthy didn't have to be an all or nothing mindset and that carbs were good for me :) 

**Picture from my first TIU Chicago meetup**

**Picture from my first TIU Chicago meetup**

I LOVE Tone It Up, for so many reasons. It introduced me to some of the best women I know. It empowered me to take a step towards my own health & fitness journey. And holy balls am I obsessed with some of their recipes. Nomz. And I continue to do their workouts because I loooove them and their energy! And I have finally figured out what works for me and am in a GOOD place :)

But for so long, I would tell people that I owed all my success to Tone It Up. That if it weren't for Karena and Katrina, I wouldn't be where I'm at.

So often in life, we attribute our own success to other people.

Do you ever catch yourself doing that? I know I do.

All the time, the amazing women in my Live Your F*ck YES Life Challenge tell me things like "You're the reason I feel so amazing." or "Because of you, I'm at my goal weight for the first time in 5 years." and I always step back and say -- no, it's because of YOU. YOU are the one who got your butt up every morning and got your workout in. YOU are the one that made healthy nutrition choices. YOU are the one who did the work. 

And when I hit my quarter life crisis a year ago (yuppp that shit is REAL haha), I kept thinking to myself -- how can you pay everything you've learned on your OWN journey forward? How can you help other women show up for themselves in the way that works for THEM? How can I do what K&K are doing for other women but on my own terms?!

And that's when I thought of my TIU gal pal Anna.

I officially met Anna at a TIU Chicago meet up in February 2015. We had been friends on Instagram for a while, and I had been loving on her blog posts. She was so REAL and not scared to just SHARE her heart and I found that so fucking inspiring.

I didn't even realize for the first 6 months of our friendship that she was as Beachbody Coach and I will never forget my first thought: "How can this amazing, super real chick be a Beachbody coach? They're scammy and superficial and just not genuine people."

And I realized that I must be missing something, so I asked her to coffee (because I'm the kinda girl that just needs to hear it from someone's mouth directly) to basically sit her down and be like how can you be doing this thing when you're so .... normal? And nice? AND A TONE IT UP GIRL!?!?

(To say that I was confused and suuuper skeptical is putting it nicely.)

And that's the day when my entire life shifted. 

Ask Anna, and she will tell you that I put her to the test. I asked her every fucking question under the sun. She's probably laughing reading this right now because I was a SHIT HEAD, you guys. To say that I was skeptical is putting it suuuuper lightly. 

And the more we talked, the more I thought to myself, wow, this is really cool. You mean becoming a Beachbody Coach would help me share my passion for health & fitness with others and actually be a BUSINESS? Like a my OWN version of K&K? I could slowly start to fade out my 5 super draining day jobs and actually spend time doing things that light me up? I could have a job that allowed me to work from home, work when I chose, post inspiring things on social media and empower others to be the best version of themselves?!

I was stunned. Why had I been so RUDELY opposed to Beachbody for so long? Because associating with another company would make me a traitor to Tone It Up? Because I had built up this notion that Beachbody coaches were terrible people?

Well, let me tell ya, was I ever fucking wrong.

My gut kept telling me that this was the right step for me and so I took a leap of faith and I said YES.  And it's hands down the best decision I've ever made in my entire life (except marrying Kevan, that was a pretty stellar choice.)

Am I still a TIU girl? Heck yes.

But I can also add Team Inspire Joy Leader, Girl boss and Beachbody Coach to my resume and I am SO DAMN PROUD of it. 

I've spent almost a year of my life doing this. I've worked with some of the most incredible women who inspire me on the freaking daily, I've built a team of women (aka my TRIBE) who have become like family to me, I've seen the company up close and personal and am more sure than EVER that this is exactly where I'm supposed to be, I've traveled to beautiful retreats and I've become my very own Entrepreneur, building a path to financial freedom for my family.

Everything is piecing itself together. I am quickly and gracefully and fiercely building a business, supporting women to rise into their role as leaders and supporting people to improve their physical and emotional health with state of the art workout programs, Shakeology , accountability groups and some major self care and daily 1:1 coaching with me.

 

So from this super grateful gal, here's what I have to say:

Don't judge a book by it's cover.

And just SAY YES to the the things that light you up AND THEN FIGURE IT OUT.

Please. For the sake of your soul. Even if it scares the shit out of you. Ok?



And one more thing:


I am so deeply passionate about what these programs and Shakeology.

Over the past almost year, I have watched myself become the healthiest and happiest version of me that I've ever been and my anxieties have completely disappeared. 

If you're curious about what I do and would like to learn more about how to become the healthiest and happiest version of YOU, just click here to schedule a chat with me. I would love to support you. 

Here's to Living Your F*ck YES Life. 

Xo Amanda

How the eff to figure out what path to take?

Doesn't it feel like this is just the question of the century?

We're in a "what's my purpose" trend of life right now. In the past year, sooo many of my friends are having quarter life crises (me included you guys), and the question we are all battling always seems to come down to what the hell we're going to do with the rest of our lives.

And I get it.

I mean, if you're anything like me, you spent your younger years going to an intensely academic school where everyone and their mother were lawyers, doctors, biz peeps, you name it.

Entrepreneurs? Girl bosses? Creatives?

Not so much.

So, I just figured that was my path too. Gonna go and get my major in English lit and be a lawyer just like my Mom. Because that's just what you do!

Well, I am SO grateful I had parents who encouraged me to look to my passions and my heart before making a decision like that because chances are, this Health Coach entrepreneur creative artist would not be writing you gorgeous babes this blog post. 

And here's the thing, I have a bunch of friends who are doctors and lawyers and who truly LOVE it. It's what lights them up and that's AWESOME. I am by no way saying that it's not a valid path. But it wasn't right for me.

And what I've been hearing from sooo many of my friends is that they're miserable in their jobs. They spend their days exhausted, burnt out and doing something that is unfulfilling. And I TOTALLY get where they're coming from. After I graduated from acting school, I had to find a "day job" -- aka, in the world of an artist, a job that will pay your bills so you can continue to live out your dreams of being an actor because, newsflash, acting jobs don't pay so well. Wompidy wompidy.

So I did that. I worked so many jobs that I didn't love. And I became that girl that I always told myself I would never be -- the girl who isn't living and breathing her PASSIONS.

Cue: quarter life crisis

And you know what I did? I quit all my stupid jobs and I gave myself a few months to figure it the eff out. And that's what brought me here. To Beachbody Coaching. Because I was able to sit down myself and ask myself some really tough questions that helped me decide what path I wanted to take.

Now I'm not telling you to go and quit your job. Hell naw. I mean, by all means, if that's what you wanna do, I'm not going to stand in your way.

BUT, I am going to share with you some of the tools that I used to get there.


I want you to sit down with a pen and paper -- JUST trust me on this, ok? And for the next 15 minutes (or when you have a break in your day, COME BACK TO THIS), just write and don't edit yourself.

And answer the following questions...

What lights you up? 

Ex: For me? The list includes... snuggles with my hubby, long walks with my dog, morning me time, pancakes for breakfast, dancing in my kitchen, singing at the top of my lungs, being surrounded by incredible empowering women, climbing trees, spending time at my cottage

If you could create your perfect day, what would it look like? 

Ex: For me, I would be at my cottage, with my family and my hubby Kevan and our dog Toby. I'd spend the morning on my dock, alone, doing yoga and reading some personal development book & journaling. Then breakfast (my dad's pancakes, duh!), followed by lake time adventures and lots of canoeing. After lunch, we'd play board games and drink tea and have good conversation and for dinner, we'd bbq and sit outside and watch the stars. Followed, OF COURSE, by snuggles.

What do you NOT want in your work life?

Ex: I do not want a 9-5 schedule. I don't want to have a boss. I don't want to have to commute in my car to work. I don't want to be restricted to vacation time to go on holidays. I don't want to work with lazy, needy people. 

What DO you want more of in your life?

Ex: Freedom, Joy, Energy, Laughter, Time with my family & friends, Travel

**Share your answers to these questions in the comments!**

What did answering these questions reveal to you? Are you living a life that's in line with what you really want? What you value most? Or are you just doing something because it's what your degree happens to be in?

It's time to start aligning your LIFE with your VALUES.

I know it's scary to realize that you're not leading the life you want. Truuuuust me. But isn't it better to take ACTION towards leading your dreams than to sit there, year after year, watching them fade away?

I dare you to start getting REAL with yourself and stop settling for a lesser life. You deserve it.

 

Oh, and p.s. for some extra goodies...if you haven't watched our first episode, it's alllll about this topic ;)

How I Stopped Wearing Busy as a Badge of Honor

I know, I know, you're BUSY. 

Girl, I get it. I've been right where you are, running around like a chicken with your head cut off, feeling like you have no fucking time to do anything. 

You're exhausted.

You're burnt out.

And you're just need a break.

Sound familiar?

If you're anything like me, then the answer is a resounding YES. And for so long, I was PROUD of how busy I was. I'd be on the phone with my best friends and they'd ask me what I've been up to and I would say "oh, you know, just super busy!" -- I know you do the same, girl. Hell, we've been taught to embrace the hustle, right? 

"Just keep trudging along!"

"Good things come to those who hustle"

 

Well, here's what I've learned after wearing the Busy Badge of Honor for FAR TOO LONG:

 

 Hustling is not fun. Hustling does not spark JOY in my life.

It makes me tired. And irritable. And those are the last things that I want to feel in life.

 

Six months ago, I got SO BURNT OUT from being Busy all the fucking time (and not spending time on the things that really made me HAPPY) that I had a full fledged breakdown. Scratch that -- try multiple breakdowns. I was so busy hustling my way through life, making plan after plan, saying YES to everything that I forgot to make time for the things that really mattered to me. 

I forgot to make my DREAM LIFE a priority.

 

And shouldn't that be our focus? I mean, hell, we were put on this earth to LIVE, right? Not coast and come to the end of our years to look back and think, "Wow, what a busy life I led."

HELL NAW.

I want to look back and remember the CHANCES I took. The FUN I had. The ADVENTURES I went on. The LOVE & FRIENDSHIP I experienced. The LIGHT, JOY AND FULL life I led.

Not a boring, jam packed exhausting life that left me wondering what I could have done differently if I had just made time for it.

 

So, I did a crazy thing. I quit my job(s) and started my own business where I get to be my own boss and have the FREEDOM to get work done on my own time.

 

Every day, I get to SOAK UP my morning, get my workout in, take a leisurely shower, enjoy a beautiful big breakfast while reading a book with a cup of Buddha's Blend tea in my owl mug and spend an hour journaling before I start my day.

Every day, I get to spend my day in yoga pants. I can go for afternoon dates with friends whenever I choose and plan a last minute trip home for a week without having to ask someone else's permission. 

 

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not telling you to quit your job.

I mean, by all means, if you are not loving what you're doing and you're feeling super burnt out and you just are looking for a change, then girl, maybe it's time for a change of pace (and if you'd like to see how I managed to start living my FUCK YES life, Click here !) 

 

What I am saying is that I want to EMPOWER you to start making time for the things that make you happy. I'm still working on this (yep, I may be my own Girlboss now, but I am an overachiever and still have to WORK at making time for the things that light me up), so hold me accountable too, lady love, ok?

 

5 Ways to Keep the Busy at Bay

1. Wake up 30 minutes before you normally would. Light a candle, pull out a journal and start your day with gratitude or read something inspirational. Doing this in the morning can have such an incredible effect on your mindset for the rest of the day! Try it, I dare ya.

2. Have an especially stressful day at work filled with to-do tasks? Take yourself on a 15 minute walk outside. Studies show that getting fresh air and your blood pumping will actually allow you to focus so much better than trying to power through. 

3. Say NO. Yep, you heard me, and girl, it's OK to say no sometimes. You HAVE to prioritize yourself, and if you're constantly saying yes to every event, dinner date, extra project and task, you are going to drive yourself bonkers! You are not superwoman, and nobody expects you to be!

4. Schedule time into your calendar and title it "Me time" every single day. Treat it like an appointment. You wouldn't miss a meeting or your doctors appointment, right? Your me-time is just as important, if not MORE so, so make it a non negotiable and WRITE IT DOWN.

5. Build healthy, sustainable habits by grabing your FREE Busy Babes Guide to Healthy Living E-book to rock out your health and fitness journey in a STRESS FREE, and efficient way -- ya know, so you can live your freaking life and not have to stress about this shit either ;) 

 

“Some people never get a chance or give themselves a chance of celebrating life. All they do is work and work and work more. They never celebrate their own life or enjoy this gift called life.

Thats why they are always worried, complaining, stressed and busy. They have everything going for them, but missing the pleasures and benefits of living. Why work so hard if you cant enjoy what you have worked for.” 

 

25 Intentions for my 25th Year

I was reading through old journals of mine -- all my journalers out there, have you ever done this? Gone back over journals from YEARS ago? It's a pretty mind blowing experience. If you haven't ever taken the time to do it, have a little fun and take a look. It's a pretty enlightening (and weird!) experience. OK, there I go again, getting off track like always. Let's try this again.

I was reading through old journals of mine...and I realized that I used to have this habit of every year, on my birthday, writing down a List (a Bucket list if you will) on what I wanted to accomplish that year of my life. Well, it's been about a month since I turned 25, and I realized that for the first time of my adult life, I didn't make a list. 

If you read my post on New Years Resolutions, you already know that I'm a recovering Goal Setter // List Maker. For the past few months, I've been focusing on making Intentions based on how I want to FEEL and I guess that without realizing it, it's become a part of me. 

Turns out that when we actively incorporate things into our daily lives, they become HABITS.

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And so, in the spirit of me being a quarter century old, I am going to resurrect my List making skills, but put my new spin on it -- instead of a list of 25 Goals, here are my 25 Intentions based on me wanting to feel:  Joyful, Vibrant, Strong, Grounded & Free. 

1. Be Courageously Authentic.

2. Read something every day that fuels my mind.

3. Be in the best shape of my life.

4. Spend more time doing the things that light me up, with the people that make me laugh.

5. Fill my surroundings at home with comfort, beauty, and love, physically and energetically. 

6. Allow myself to express myself creatively in a myriad of fun and enjoyable ways, including knitting, writing and painting.

7. Adventure somewhere new.

8. Up my weights for my workouts.

9. Dare to dream, and always remain open to new possibilities.

10. Spend every single day practicing gratitude.

11. See the humor in every situation & try not to take myself too seriously! 

12. Teach LIVE fitness classes.

13. Make "me" time and every day priority.

14. Approach every situation with grace & kindness. Shout out to ma girl Amy E. Smith from The Joy Junkie for this one. 

15. Do Yoga, at least once a week.

16. Drink Shakeology every single day. 

17. Climb trees, often

18. Feel real self love for myself, and inspire others to feel loving towards themselves

19. Transition over to all natural skincare / bath products.

20. Grow my Business to a full time salary.

21. Spend at least 20 minutes of connected time with my Hubby.

22. Live a balanced life, giving quality and attention to the most important things in my life. 

23. Spend more time in Nature.

24. Be patient with myself and the world around me when things don't go "according to plan"

25. Express my true, authentic self -- always living in alignment with my values and vision.

 

So there ya have it. My 25 Intentions for my 25th year. 

It's amazing how different I feel even just writing these out compared to my previous list of goals -- I always felt that there was no way I could actually achieve the goals I set out for myself because, more often than not, they would be things that I felt like I was "supposed" to be doing or trying, instead of things that would actually bring me the feelings I so crave in life. And so often, I would come back to my goal list a year later and feel like a failure because half of what I'd set out to do, I hadn't accomplished.

This list. These intentions. When I look at them, I experience excitement, not anxiety. These are things that light me up inside & make me feel amazing. 

 

Are you a Goal setter or Intention maker?

If you're a Goal setter like I've been my whole life, try making your list this way and see if that shifts things for you --if when you truly listen to how you want to FEEL and you base your intentions on that, you put things on that list that you would have never thought to before. Nothing is too small or seemingly unimportant to add if it brings you what you crave in life. 

Try it, I Dare ya. 

And let me know how you feel afterwards. This is something new I'm trying and would love to know your thoughts too! 

 

Xo Amanda

How I Lost 5 Pounds in One Month By Out-Eating My Husband

For the past month, I have been consistently out-eating my husband. My plate always has more food on it than his, and while he can't finish what's on his, you can bet your ass that I am licking my plate clean. Kev, my husband, looks at me with a face of complete shock because not only is he seeing me eating all of this food (wayyyy more than I normally would be eating on a day to day basis), he is also seeing my clothes getting looser on me.

Wanna know why he's so shocked?

Because here's a girl who, up until very recently, wouldn't eat carbs for dinner unless it was a 'special occasion'. A girl who consistently was eating about HALF of what was on his plate for dinner. A girl who thought that by eating LESS, she would FEEL better. Look better. That restricting my diet would be the KEY to getting toned, losing weight...being healthy.

Boy was I wrong. In the past month, I have been eating more on a day to day basis than I have in years and for the first time since I can remember, I finally not only LOOK the way that I've always wanted to look, but I FEEL energized, strong and -- shocker! -- FULL. 

By upping my food consumption & working out less, I was able to lose 5 pounds and 11 inches in just ONE MONTH, all the while never feeling hungry. And not just that, but I finally feel like I have found something that I can STICK WITH. A lifestyle that is SUSTAINABLE. 

I owe all of this to the 21 Day Fix. This program has changed my life. Has made me understand how to properly FUEL my body. 

Was I killing myself every day at the gym for hours on end?

NO. I worked out for no more than 30 minutes every day. That's it.

Was I not having ANY alcohol or treats?

NO. I definitely limited my alcohol and treat consumption but there are treats and wine built into the nutrition plan!

Was your food really boring?

HELL NO. You guys, I freaking love food. Good food. Tasty food. And I am ALL about cooking up a storm in the kitchen. That was my favorite thing about this program -- the options are ENDLESS! Check it out...

A Typical Food Day 

 

Now obviously this is just an example of the meals that I eat on a typical day now -- I like to keep my options varied, and what I love so much about this plan is that it's EASY to keep things fresh!

Breakfast: Cooked oats, a granny smith apple, 1 tsp peanut butter, cinnamon

Snack: Shakeology special ;) Message me for the recipe! It's HEAVEN.

Lunch: Asian marinated tofu with sauteed broccoli

Snack: Carrots, tuna and hummus

Dinner: Steak, Potato and Artichoke hash and green beans

 

And Guess what...It Worked.

 

And here are the pictures to prove it. 21 Days apart -- Before and Now.

I am so grateful that I took the leap of faith, invested in Myself and tried this program. It has made me finally FEEL the way I've always wanted to.

Strong. Confident. In Control. 

And I want to help YOU feel that way too. To finally lose those last pesky 5 pounds. To have a healthy relationship with food. To not spend your days counting down until the next meal because you're so hungry. 

Want IN?

CLICK HERE to sign up for my next Challenge, break free of the yo yo diet cycle of death and finally live the life you've always dreamed of! 

Xo Amanda

My Venture into Natural Beauty Products

If you've been an avid blog reader of mine, you know how important my health is to me. I spent so many years of early adulthood not truly understanding what it meant to be healthy. What foods (and how much of those foods) I should be consuming. I seriously thought that carbs were evil. Not allowed. That cardio was the most effective form of exercise and that I should be doing it every single day. I didn't know. I read all of these articles from countless magazines searching for that "magic cure" to get my thighs not to touch, to get that six pack that I'd always thought was the definition of being "fit". You can read more about My Story but, ultimately, when it came down to it, it took me really listening to my body and trying out various programs before I really knew what my body needed. 

And because of programs like the 21 Day Fix, I now can truly say that for the first time in my adult life, my relationship to food is healthy. That I am properly fueling my body with the right kinds of foods. That my cravings have completely disappeared. That I don't feel the need to step on the scale every single day and see if it's moved. That I am never, ever hungry (which, for those of you who know me intimately know how much of a WIN that is for me). And I am the most fit I have ever been in my life, and hell noooo do I have a six pack. Can I do a shit ton of burpees and swing some heavy ass kettle bells? You bet your ass I can. So in terms of internal health, I am finally starting to figure this shit out. And I am happier and more full of energy than I have ever been.

But what I was realizing was that I wasn't giving the same amount of love to myself on the outside. What do I mean by that? I mean my skin. The skin is the body's largest organ and absorbs what you put into it. Why did I never realize how important it is to know what's inside the products I use? Being aware of what of what ingredients were in my creams, my shampoos, my deodorant, my face wash...everything! I had no stinking' clue. Nobody had ever said, 'hey, you probably don't want to be using that cream. It has a buuuunch of ingredients in there that are super toxic.' -- I'd been using Herbal Essences shampoos and dove deodorant my entire life and it didn't kill me, right? What's the big deal? 

Well, here's the thing. It is a big deal. And as it turns out, I have been putting awful toxins in my body without even being aware of it for my entire life.

I found out a few years back that I could have the cancer gene. The only reason I don't know the answer to that? Well, I'm scared shitless to find out. I mean, if you could take a blood test that would tell you if you had a 75% greater likelihood of developing cancer by the time you're 60, wouldn't you be terrified to find out? Because once you know, you know. And I imagine that it would start to feel like a ticking time bomb, slowly eating away at you...your thoughts just waiting for the cancer to show it's nasty face. Am I going to get tested? Yes. Hopefully, this year actually. (Stay tuned for that) The way I see it, I'd rather know so that I can do everything in my power to prevent it than be constantly sitting in the dark. But, in the meantime, I decided to start actively using skin and beauty products that are toxin free. I'm not 100% perfect about the -- I still am working to find a shampoo that I like that doesn't leave my hair feeling perpetually greasy. 

But these products are some of the BEST I've discovered and best of all? All natural, all safe ingredients. 

** I am in no way affiliated with LUSH, I just happen to LOOOVE their products**

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The Dream Cream from LUSH

This cream is seriously the best thing I have ever invested in. The entire pot is $27.95 and it usually lasts me anywhere from 4-6 months. I grew up with seriously awful eczema on my hands, and perpetually dry skin. I tried every cream you could possibly find at the drugstore, even prescription creams from my doctor and nothing worked. The Dream Cream made my skin completely clear, smooth and soft. And it has continued to do so for the past two years. Main ingredients are oat milk, lavender, chamomile and olive oil. 

Do yourself a favor and buy this. It's a lifesaver. 

Ultrabland from LUSH

I hate washing my face. I have really dry skin and I just have never been able to find a cleanser that makes my skin feel fresh & clean but also moisturized. Enter Ultrabland from LUSH. Now I will say that this is a more recent addition to my daily regiment, but holy wow do I love this stuff. It leaves my skin feeling refreshed and my dry spots are gone. Main ingredients are almond oil, rose water, honey and beeswax. 

All Natural Soap

So this should have been a no brainer for me but for some reason it really wasn't something I started doing until I came across this bar of soap in this little store in the middle of nowhere Michigan. I read the ingredients and I was like "ahhh I understand all of these!" And there are so many stores around nowadays that carry stuff like this. So find a scent you love and go to town!

Tom's Deodorant

Tom's is one of the few brands I've found that is all natural, aluminum free AND affordable. A stick is $4.99 and they now have a bunch of different scents -- my favorite is the lavender. It took a week or so for my body to adjust to not having all of the extra crap in my previous deodorant and I was a bit smellier for it, but after that, I apply it in the morning after my showers and I'm good to go.

Mask of Magnaminty from LUSH

I have lately been ALL about Face masks. Seriously, don't know how I lived without them. Never going back. And the Mask of Magnaminty is my all-time favourite. The small pot ($13.95) is really all you need if you're only doing it once a week or so. And it smells just like mint chocolate chip ice cream -- WIN. Just don't eat it. Trust me, I tried it. Not the best decision. Main ingredients: Kaolin, honey, peppermint.

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All of this is to say, do your research & know what you're putting on your body. Read the ingredients of the things you use every day and make sure that you're being safe! You'd be surprised. Click here for an excellent article on the ingredients you should avoid. Your body will thank you, I promise!

My Soul is on Fire

Okay. I don't even know where to start here, because holy shit is my HEART and my SOUL on fire right now. I am finally doing something with my life that feels so right. My days are filled with butterflies. My heart is the happiest it's been in a LONG time and it's because I had the courage to  say yes to an amazing and life changing opportunity.

For those of you who don't know, a couple of months ago, I took a big leap of faith and decided to become a Team Independent Beachbody coach -- what does this mean? It means that I spend my days encouraging incredible & brave women to make positive changes in their lives by taking control of their health. To be the best versions of themselves -- body, mind & soul. In just my two months of coaching, I have met some of the most inspiring, courageous and genuine women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing through my Challenge Groups. Women from all walks of life who have decided to start taking care of themselves and lead a kick-ass life. And, above all, I've found my TRIBE -- my team of badass coaches who have quickly become my family. 

This past weekend, I attended the Chicago Super Saturday, which is a quarterly regional live event for coaches. I got to meet Autumn Calabrese (my celebrity trainer Girl Crush) & hear some incredibly inspirational speeches focused on leadership and personal development. It was amazing getting to be in a room full of people who share my passion and drive -- the community aspect of it all is insane. And I got to experience it all with some of my team -- ladies who I immediately click with from the get go -- it's like having instant new Besties! What could be better?

My Biggest Takeaway?

Share Your Story Because It Matters.

Yes, you. Your story. It matters. What you've been through. What you've learned through your journey in this crazy adventure we call life. No matter where you are or how far away you are from reaching your goals, you are on your way and THAT is a beautiful thing. And if there's one thing I've learned through my own adventure, it's that Sharing your successes and our struggles is so important. Blogging has been so good for keeping me accountable to keep doing just that!

So get out there and SHARE YOUR STORY. Put yourself out there. You never know who's listening that needs to know that they are not alone. Be Brave. Be Bold. And above all, Be You. 

Xo, Amanda

How To Stay Positive When Shit Hits The Fan

No matter what you do to set yourself up for success, sometimes life happens and shit just doesn't go the way you'd planned. Can it suck? Hell yes. Do you have your "why does this have to happen to ME" moment and feel all of those feelings and maybe cry a bit into a big chunky blanket while eating copious amounts of chocolate? Been there, done that. But what I've found has been a game changer in my life has been choosing to move forward and live life with a positive outlook, even (and especially) when the hard times are happening. 

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind for me. Christmas is my favorite time of year, hands down. Seriously, guys, I'm a little obsessed. It's unnatural. And I was so happy I was able to spend Christmas with my family this year (being an actor, I don't always have the luxury of doing so), but let's just say that things did not end up how I had anticipated. My hubby and I rarely get to spend substantial time in my hometown with my family, and we were so looking forward to having our second Christmas with my parents, my brother and my extended family. Unfortunately, we were in for a rude awakening when we received news from our neighbor that our new condo was experiencing a major leak. And I'm not talking a small drip coming through the ceiling, oh no. Streams of water coming down the walls, through our electrical panel, BAD. 

After only being with my family for 24 hours, my hubby flew back to Chicago to deal with the damage. I wanted to go with him, but we would have had to buy two whole new flights instead of just one and really, there was nothing that I could have done to help under the circumstances. So he left, and I was left feeling helpless and sad. We just bought this place. It's our first home, and we finally got everything put away, decorated the way we wanted and it was finally feeling like home. Like ours. And then this

So here's the thing, me a year ago would have been FREAKING OUT. I mean, having a full on panic attack. Sobbing for hours. Feeling sorry for myself for days on end. And don't get me wrong, I definitely was upset, and I shed a few tears. But because of all of the personal development I've been doing this past year, I was able to stay positive, and have been able to continue to do so. My Secret? It's oh so simple.

Instead of focusing on the bad, I choose to focus on the good.

Say that line out loud to yourself. Sounds easy, right? Well, it can be, but it takes dedication. You have to choose to practice Gratitude. If you have never done this before, it can sound super kitchy but I promise, it works, dude. This has been fundamental for my mental health and since living my daily life focusing on what I'm grateful for -- what's GOOD in my life -- the dark days haven't felt quite so dark.

So here's my challenge to you. To help you stay positive when shit hits the fan:

Carve out a few minutes every day and write down 5 things you're grateful for. Even better? Do it at the same time of day so that you make it a habit. I like doing it while I'm drinking my morning tea. Find what works for you and stick to it. Keep that list with you every day. I like using a little pocket journal that I bring everywhere with me. That way, when I need a reminder or when I'm feeling frustrated or upset, I have something positive to turn to.

Totally do-able, right? It takes so little time but is so impactful. 

Here are my 5 for this mess I'm in:

1. Our Unbelievable Support System. Our family & our friends have come to our aid in all of this in ways we never imagined. We are so lucky and so thankful.

2. My Husband. Seriously, this man is a fucking rockstar. He dealt with all of the bullshit and made sure that I didn't have to come home to a giant shit show. 

3. My Business. In the short month of being a Health Coach, it has filled me with so much light. My #StrongNotSkinny challenge started today and these girls are so ready to take on their goals and make positive changes in their lives. They are my constant inspiration and I am so happy to be a part of their journey.

4. My Health. I am so grateful that no matter what, I have an able body that allows me to move & be consistently strong. Working out and being active has been such a source of strength and positivity for me and no matter how bad my day is, a workout always makes it better.

5. Adventure. We may not have a home for a while, but it'll be an adventure right?! Couch surfing, living out of suitcases -- it'll be a story we will have for the rest of our lives.

 

So there you have it, folks. I hope that when your days are at their darkest, this will help you find the tiniest sliver of light. 

Xo, Amanda

 

Why I'm treating my Resolutions Differently This Year

For years and years, I have been the ultimate goal setter. You know that friend of yours that makes a bucket list for every year and even goes so far as to do it for every month within that year? What about that girl you know who lives off list after list? Well, that's me. Or at least, was me. 

I'm a recovering goal setter. Ever since I can remember, I've been making these lists of goals at the end of every year ...Things like: run a marathon, learn how to play the guitar, lose 10 pounds... whatever I think I need to be doing in order to better my life that particular year. And when I don't complete all of the items on my list, I feel like I've somehow failed myself. 

Most people I know don't follow through on their New Years Resolutions. By March, most people can't even remember what their resolutions were! And I think that if everybody were to really search their hearts for why they made a particular resolution in the first place, most people would likely say that they felt pressured to make a decision on something or their decision was based on something that they were unhappy about. Key example : I want to lose 10 pounds. So many people have a weight related NY resolution, and while getting healthy and getting back in shape can be a very positive decision, when a goal is made on a foundation of unhappiness and frustration, it is so much harder to want to achieve it. They focus on a number on the scale and when they implement workouts into their day, the focus is "I'm not good enough" or "Why won't the number on the scale get lower?" instead of "This is making me feel so amazing". 

So this year, instead of making a list of things to accomplish that I think I should be doing, I'm going to focus on a few small things that I can do that will hep me feel the way I want.

And for me, I want to feel:

Free      -      Grounded       -       Vibrant      -       Strong       -       Joy

 

So here are my resolutions for 2016. And this year, I choose to focus on doing things for myself that allow me to feel the way I want to feel. Here goes...

+ Reconnect with my childhood self. Paint, color, play make believe, climb trees & make up stories.

+ Move my body everyday in a way that makes me feel strong, grounded and energized. I've tried every kind of exercise under the sun and I've found that I feel most alive when I am on the yoga mat or doing strength training, so I'll be focusing more on that this year!

+ Travel somewhere I've never been before. I love the feeling of exploring new places and cultures. I'm such a travel bug and I am craving a beautiful adventure.

+ Live in the now. Let go of the past. Be present, mindful and say YES to new adventures. 

 

I urge you, nay, I DARE you to set your goals this year based on how you want to FEEL. You'll be amazed at what a difference it makes in what you put to paper. So...don't be shy, sharing is caring! Post your 2016 Goals in the comments below!