Rose: Word of the Year

Over the past few years, I’ve chosen a word of the year. I got the idea from another blogger and love the simplicity of this practice. It’s just a simple word, but it has a way of shaping a year in a real remarkable way.

Most years, I’ve chosen very active words. These entailed qualities I was seeking to attain like patience or fortitude. Last year, I wanted to just remain stable, so I chose steadfast.

I wanted this year’s word to be different. I wanted a break from routine. A word that would remind me that chances are worth taking. That sometimes you just need to go all in. That following your gut is a real thing.

And so, I’ve chosen: EMBRACE.

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Quite literally, this word has taken shape — at my wedding to M on Jan. 16. It has already proven to be an exciting year, full of love and promise. And I want to keep that going.

I want to be open to what is ahead. I want to willingly accept what is given to me. I want to be enthusiastic about what comes my way. And most importantly, I want take chances. Doing so has paid off for me in remarkable ways, as I literally have a life I’m proud of and that I love.

More specifically, I want to embrace:

  • New ways of being healthy. I want to try different things. I want to go to fitness classes. I want to make more fit friends. I want to regularly attend yoga. I want to spice things up so I can stay in shape and be happy while doing so.
  • Reading. I read one book in January, and I’m halfway done with another. My goal is to read a book a month and to enjoy that quiet solitude of engaging my brain.
  • New opportunities. I don’t know what form they’ll come in, but I’ll know ’em when I see ’em. I don’t want to shy away from the unknown.
  • The time I have with family and friends. I have really great people in my life. And we make wonderful memories together. I want to really cherish those times and be present in the moment.
  • Phone-free nights. I just need to take a break from the Internet and breathe a little more.
  • The way things are. There are situations I can never change. I want to stop beating my head against the wall trying to figure those things out. I just want to accept what is and be okay.

As the year goes on, I’m sure I’ll find other ways to embrace. But for now, this is a pretty good start. Here’s to 2016.

Rose: Seeya, 2015.

In 2015, my word of the year escaped me.

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Unlike past years, I didn’t paint it on a canvas or place it in an obvious part of the house as a reminder. I didn’t reflect on it monthly, like I thought I would, and I didn’t write reflective posts about it (except maybe this one.)

It just wasn’t with me. I had too much on my mind.

While the year started off with monthly intentions and excitement for the year ahead, it all got lost in the shuffle. It got lost in worrying about a sick dad, getting engaged on the beach and managing a crazy work load. It got lost in the chaos (and joy) of planning a wedding, staying on top of my relationships and traveling abroad (to two countries in the same week!).

It got lost in love and sickness and joy and sadness.

I experienced all of these things in 2015, and, while I lost sight of my word of the year, it turns out that it never really left me.

I had vowed to be STEADFAST, which means to be loyal or steady. And while I feel as though I might’ve gone off the deep end at times, I never gave up on myself. When I really take a good look at the past year, I know that I remained dutiful, unwavering and loyal … to myself.

I was healthy. Eating right and exercising daily remained a daily routine for me. This has truly become part of my life, my every day. Like any human, I had slip-ups. I went a few days without working out. I hate Chinese food. But I never gave up. I made sure to give myself those 30 minutes every day. A time to walk, or do push-ups and just sweat. For me, this is my place of peace. Movement gives me power.

I surrounded myself well. Last year, I wrote that I had some really great friends and that I wanted to foster those relationships. As 2015 comes to a close, I feel closer than ever to some of the people in my life. Like any year, I’ve grown distant from some people. But the people in my life right here and right now matter most to me. It’s a pretty remarkable feeling.

I stayed creative. I vowed not to be hard on myself this year. Whenever I got those thoughts of “I never did anything with my MFA” or “Why don’t I get stories published?” I pushed them down. I told myself that my creative interests right now are what’s important. How those things make me feel. How being creative doesn’t have to be telling a story. It can be designing a color scheme for a wedding, reorganizing the bathroom, working on a gift for someone. Creativity comes in many forms, and I’ve learned to accept that.

I didn’t save money. This is a goal every year. It’s obvious to me that I didn’t actually save more money. Every month we had a credit card bill the size of Miami. This is what happens when you pay for a large portion of your own wedding. I have no regrets. I saved when I could. I indulged a bit too much at times. But the big thing: I never touched my savings account. Never dipped into it at all.

I did things for me. I spent a lot of time at home this year. It was really, remarkably nice. I didn’t stress myself with doing things all of the time. I had my tasks, which I completed, but I didn’t pressure myself to go out if I didn’t want to. I said no. I said yes. I looked out for myself. I vowed I’d stay home for Christmas break. And it was one of the most relaxing, peaceful holidays I’ve ever had. I missed my family, but I enjoyed creating a memory with my new family, with my future husband. I ended the year by looking out for me.

The year, like all years, had its high points and lows. It had its moments of stress, joy, chaos. And even though my word seemed to leave me, it never really did. It was there in my daily actions and in the way I just live my life.

Rose: The Bridal Shower

It has been so long since we’ve posted. Needless to say, life has been busy for both me and Jenna. But I’d remiss if I didn’t post about one of the happiest days of my life: my bridal shower. Together, my maid of honor, bridesmaids, mother and stepmother pulled off one of the most incredible bridal showers. Every detail was so “me” and the day was captured perfectly with photography.

It had long been a hope of mine to get married on my grandparents’ farm. I knew long ago that wouldn’t be a reality for a number of reasons: space issues, timing. But I made the request that the shower be on the farm, if at all possible. Despite a cold and rainy September day, the girls made it happen. Even from the day’s sunrise, the day was beautiful.

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The number of details included in the shower made it just perfect. I’d told Marissa, “Moo”, my maid of honor, that all I wanted was mimosas. I went to a bridal shower like that years ago, and it always stuck in my mind. So they delivered, with a beautiful mimosa bar:

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And they stuck with the breakfast theme. For snacks, they set up a cute bagel bar with muffins, pastries and fruit.

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One of my favorite aspects of the shower were the date sticks. Guests were asked to write a “date idea” on one of the sticks and drop it into this old jar. The jar actually belonged to my grandmother and was gifted to us after the shower. The dates are hilarious — they sure got creative. And again, I loved the small details. The book on the table was a classic at my grandparent’s house; we always looked at those World Books!

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The cupcake stand was out of this world. With a little bit of effort, they made these look super cute and unique.

And check out the cute card holder!

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The favors were also super cute. They made these neat little sugar scrubs. I especially liked this detail because I ALWAYS make these at Christmas for friends and family. They knew it would be perfect for the shower.

Even more important than the details were the family and friends that gathered for my big day. I had family and friends who traveled far distances for the occasion, and it meant so much to me that they were there. My dad and Morgan also worked hard — taking care of the farm, parking cars. And I know everyone worked hard to make the place look spic and span for the shower.

This is a day I’ll never forget. So many memories … It makes me so excited for the wedding in January!

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Rose: Back to Basics Challenge

Next month, many of us are going “back to school.” Even if you aren’t a formal student, September is always a good time to restart. Fall is settling in, and summer vacations have ended. Work ramps up (at least for me!), and it starts to get cooler. This is why it’s important to set a plan, an intention, early on — before fall slips away.

We’ll be doing all of that and more in my September challenge!

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There are a couple of ways to restart, and I’m here to help you figure out what works best for you.

Option 1: Complete, along with a supportive group, the 3-Day Refresh. We hope to do this the week after Labor Day to rid ourselves of toxins and bring the body back to equilibrium.

Option 2: Complete, along with a supportive group, a month of clean eating (we can discuss this in depth if you are new to this concept). We’ll be using the 21 Day Fix as a guide, but this can be adapted based on your needs. You can check in via FB, or, if you’re taking a break from social media, we can check in via email, text or phone calls.

Option 3: Both of these together, which is what I’ll be doing.

In addition to honing in on nutrition, I’m asking each challenger to have a fitness plan. This can be an at-home DVD workout, a calendar you create with me or a gym regime. Your goal is 6 days a week, 30 minutes a day along with a combination of strength and cardio.

Questions? Comments? Are you ready to the take the plunge? If so, comment below, and we can set up a personal consultation.

Rose: Honest Review of Shakeology Boost “Focused Energy”

While I was at the Team Beachbody Summit, they introduced a new Shakeology add-on called “Shakeology Boosts.” There are three types: Focused Energy, Power Greens and Digestive Health. I decided to give the “Focused Energy” a try, especially on days where I’m not feeling rested.

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What I like about the Focused Energy are the ingredients. I spent some time looking up each ingredient and found that many include natural form of caffeine. In fact, much more caffeine than a cup of coffee. One of the main ingredients is Guarana, which has been seen to increase mental alertness, fight fatigue and help increase concentration.

On a particularly restless night, I added one scoop of this to my regular morning Shakeology. The taste is a little chalky but resembles chocolate, so it wasn’t hard for me to drink. I did notice that I immediately felt a surge of energy that carried me through my entire morning. For how poor my sleep was, I got quite a bit done at work that morning. I was alert, rested and energized. And I never felt jittery.

However, I did have some intestinal discomfort that’s worth mentioning. All of my life, I’ve struggled with stomach issues. I actually had to switch to Chocolate Vegan because whey protein does not agree with me (and it’s an ingredient in the regular formula). Unfortunately, the Focused Energy Boost gave me slight issues — but only for a few days. Once I started drinking it more regularly, those issues went away (after about 3-4 days of consuming with Shakeology). And, not to be TMI, but the first time I tried this product, I had to use the bathroom — like RIGHT AWAY. That’s not a problem; it’s just something you should be aware of.

My next experiment will be trying the Boost WITHOUT Shakeology. Given my sensitive stomach, it may be easier for me digestively to have this with just plain water. I will keep you posted on how that goes!

Overall, I liked the Focused Energy Boost, and I will continue to purchase and use it daily. I also think this is a great option for those who don’t get enough sleep, are trying to quit coffee and want a natural form of caffeine. This Boost provides all three at a pretty affordable price.

If you have questions, feel free to include them below. I’m happy to answer! :)