Thirty, Flirty and Thriving!

Hi Guys –

I’m sorry for the delay in my latest post, but I’ve been out having “more fun” and really enjoying the world around me.

Since my last post, I have turned 30! I celebrated by going on a cruise with a dear friend of mine who I used work with in Chicago. We set sail Thursday March 1st from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and came back on March 5th.  The ship’s name was the Independence of the Seas (very appropriate, given my sassy personality). The destination was to Cozumel, Mexico and back. I want to do a separate post on this later, so I don’t want to give away too much from the vacation. I promise, more to come on this adventure. Instead, it has been really weighing on me to talk about the whole notion of turning 30 and what it represents in our culture as a milestone birthday.

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All of my friends who turned 30 before me, kept stressing that it was this age when they felt most comfortable in their own skin. Over the next few posts, I want to share 30 life lessons that have had the most impact on who I am becoming and eventually who I want to be. Some of these are quotes, others are stories and some are personal reflections:

  1. “I’d rather live a life of ‘oh well’s’ instead of ‘what if’s’”. This is the first thing you see on the homepage of my blog. I’ve really started to adopt this as my motto and the framework for my life. I never want to look back and regret the things I didn’t do or say. By embracing this motto, I’ve had the courage to do things I never thought were possible, and by doing so they paid off greatly for me personally and professionally. Have you ever been afraid to say how you feel toward someone or take a chance by picking up and moving across the country? My own advice that I’m hijacking from Nike, is to just do it.
  2. Your body is a temple. If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that I’m a health nut. What you put into your body you will get out. Nobody on the cruise could believe that I was turning 30. Almost everyone thought I was 22 – 25. The bartender at one of the bars even thought I was underage. If you want to look and feel good, then eat nutritious foods. The best ab exercise is 5 sets of stop eating so much crap. Also, get your a$$ to the gym. You need to create energy to have energy! Whether you chose to bike, walk, run, swim, barre, yoga, HIIT – just do something. Trust me you’ll feel great after that endorphin high, post workout as well.
  3. Learn to practice a virtue. This is REALLY new for me. I got this from the Dynamic Catholic video series for the Best Lent Ever. What virtue do you feel is lacking most in your life? For me, I really need to learn how to practice more patience. I am not patient when it comes to anything. When I want or need something, I need to have it as soon as possible. I hate lines and I am the worst person to be around when I’m hangry. As Matthew Kelly explains in Dynamic Catholic, when we grow in one virtue, we grow in all other virtues simultaneously. If I become more patient, I’m going to become more compassionate. There’s an element of compassion that is patience. People who are impatient tend to lack empathy, tend to lack compassion. Pick a virtue and own it for a couple of weeks!

 

 

That’s all the life lessons this 30-year old has for today, but I can’t wait to share more with you in the coming weeks!

~Briana

Finally A Recipe Post: Breakfast Smoothie

Happy Friyay, everyone! We officially made it to the weekend.

In my Instagram story earlier this week, I mentioned that I was excited to share some of my favorite recipes with you all.

Warning: I am a health-nut but I try and do a good job at making healthy food tasty and satisfying. While I have many recipes that I love, I am still new to veganism. Therefore I have limited recipes that are meatless, dairy and egg free. Regardless, I’m still excited to share what I do love and what is working so far. This week’s recipe is my Breakfast Smoothie, this one is for you Ally Kepler!

 Why I love this recipe: This is a great way to get nutrients from real, fresh fruit. The vegan protein powder mix that I use has a chocolate fudge taste to it. That taste plus the sweetness of the fruit really helps me overcome by sugar cravings every day. Surprisingly, this liquid breakfast keeps me full until about 11AM which is a great weight management tool.

Ingredients:

  • Blueberries*
  • Strawberries*
  • Bananas*
  • Grapes*
  • Pineapple*
  • Apple*
  • Orgain Organic Protein Powder (100% plant based unlike whey protein)
  • Almond Milk**
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or almond butter
  • Baby Spinach – if you’re feeling super healthy, you can add in spinach if not you can omit

*You can use whatever fruit you want. I tend to buy whatever is cheapest that week at Costco. You can always purchase your fruit based on your dietary needs. Different fruits have different benefits, so if you want a fruit that helps fight stress then you should consider a shake that consists of bananas, strawberries and pears. Check out the graph below, courtesy of corylrodriguez on Instagram to see what combination works best for you.

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**I recently switched to using almond milk instead of water for my protein shakes. I took it a step further and now make my own homemade almond milk which is cheaper and healthier!

Steps:

  • Be sure to wash all of your fresh fruit thoroughly
  • Cut up the fruit into small pieces. Warning: this part takes forever which sucks, so set aside enough time for this.
  • After washing and cutting, you can either put all of the fruit into one bag so it’s mixed together or individual bags in the event you want to variations of your shake each morning.
  • Place the bag or bags into the freezer
  • After the fruit is completely frozen add as much fruit as you want into the blender – adding spinach is optional
  • Two scoops of Orgain Organic Protein Powder
  • Peanut or almond butter
  • 2-3 cups of almond milk (depends on how frothy you want your shake to be)

Voila, you now have a vegan, protein filled shake with no added sugars or strange ingredients. It’s not going to taste like a McFlurry or some Starbucks high calorie beverage, but it’s healthy and is a great substitute if you like these drinks and are looking for a healthier option each morning.

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What are some of your favorite recipes? Send them to me or comment in the section below and I can share them in my next post!

~Briana

 

LENT 2018 – YES WE CAN!

Lent is one of my favorite times of the year! It allows us the opportunity to once again prioritize things that REALLY matter in our lives. For those of us who live in cold weather climates, it is also the promise that Spring is around the corner.

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In many Christian faiths, people celebrate the 40 days leading up to Easter by giving something up or going without something during this time period. The past couple of years during Lent I realized that I didn’t need to give anything up. I eat healthy, don’t drink excessively, go the gym each morning, etc.. I did, however, realize there are some habits in my life that need to change ASAP. For this Lenten journey, I am not taking anything away, but instead adding things back in. These habits should already be routine, but as we all know, things just happen. Whether or not you’re a spiritual person, I hope you’ll join me on bettering ourselves as we move into Spring. Below is a synopsis of my goals for this year’s pilgrimage:

  1. Participating in the Dynamic Catholic video series: I did this last year and failed, so I will do it again until I get it right. This video series encourages yet challenges you to grow in your spiritual journey. Today’s video reminded us what are we going to give up or add in for Lent. Tomorrow’s lesson and task could be to reflect on something important in your life and pray about it for 15 minutes. It’s not too late to join if you are interested in this truly life changing exercise: Best Lent Ever.
  2. Reading the Bible every day: If I can spend hours watching Netflix or reading about wizards and vampires, I can certainly spend 10 minutes reading my Bible. Although written thousands of years ago, there are so many takeaways that we can utilize in today’s situations and circumstances. Those of you who know me, know how much I enjoy a good quote, scripture or good advice. This is the best place to get the tools you need to live life every day the way God intended for you to live.
  3. Stopping Procrastination: This is my Lenten goal for work. I’m not usually a procrastinator, but when things aren’t super busy I tend to put things off. Doing a million things or not, pushing things off for a later date is a bad habit. I’m a big believer in using time wisely, and I want to quash this habit before it becomes problematic.

Lent is not supposed to be easy, so challenge yourself. What do you want to change or improve about yourself?

Happy Lent!

~Briana

God, is it my turn yet?

Have you ever felt like everyone around you is moving in the right direction or any direction for that matter? On the flip side your life is in the exact same place? About four months ago I started to get a serious case of FOMO as it pertained to the direction of my life.

Looking back at previous decisions that I made while looking ahead at what I wanted, I started to feel frustrated. Additionally, I was comparing my life to other people who seemed genuinely happy. My social media feed is constantly littered with couple pictures, engagement announcements, wedding images, baby pictures, career advancements, salary raises, exciting opportunities and events happening in everyone’s lives. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I absolutely love my job. My job is more than a job, it is a career that I love and that excites me. I also want to point out that I am absolutely thrilled for my family and friends and their happiness is my happiness.

However, true to my type A and anxious self, I started to panic. Would I be doing the exact same job two years from now? Would I be living in the same city and in the same apartment? It is human nature to want to learn new skill sets, take on new projects, and have a destination to journey towards. As a practicing Catholic, who values a relationship with God, I couldn’t help but feel really irritated with Him. For example, my once womanizing co-worker actually met someone while excelling in all aspects of his professional career. I thought to myself: I’m a good person, I do the right thing, say my prayers, and go to mass. God, what is happening?

Before I go any further, I want to make something very clear – I’m not saying I want to get married and have a kid tomorrow. What I am saying is that having the opportunity to do so is what was missing. I couldn’t help but think…when will it be my turn?

Within the last three months, I’ve felt God speak to me through many different people and situations, that I really want to share with you all:

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  1. God may be requiring a greater sacrifice out of me more than anyone else: Joyce Meyer said this is in a podcast during one of her weekly segments that I listen to each day going to work. In a nutshell, she went on to explain it is not for us to understand everything, all the time. It is up to us to trust and obey God. There are some things we just do not need to know for our only well-being. Furthermore, we cannot comprehend things like God can. If God is in fact requiring a greater sacrifice out of me, then it must be for a good reason because He wants all of us to prosper as it lays out in Jeremiah 29:11.
  2. Stop focusing on what I don’t have and focus on what I do have: as I said in my NYC blog post, I am doing more than okay. I have the best family in the world, an amazing career that has granted me some incredible opportunities, friendships that will last me a lifetime, and my health. You’ve heard the expression, “there are starving people in China.” If I look out of my office window, there are starving people 500 feet away from me. When I put things into perspective, I’m reminded of God’s grace.
  3. Our life is not our own:. My priest so beautifully said this past Sunday, that “our lives do not belong to us.” If we focus on serving God, having a relationship with Him, serving others and having a relationships with those people then happiness pursues. While there are many things that I am hoping will happen in the next 6-12 months, I’ve decided not to let those things define my life and who I am. As long as I am doing what I believe God wants me to do then how can I possibly go wrong?
  4. Have Fun: This one is my own. Just because people post the positive things on social media does not mean that their life is perfect. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to not compare yourself to other people. When I started this blog, I was challenged by those around me to have more fun in life, hence Bri More Fun. Fun can mean different things to different people, but for me it is enjoying my life every day, focusing on my own race, and looking forward to the small things in addition to the big things in life.

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 Be happy, have fun and know everything will unfold just as it is supposed to.

~Briana

The City That Never Sleeps

pexels-photo-597909.jpegThis may sound cliché, but I assure you it is very, very true as I experienced this first hand during my visit to New York City last weekend. Typically this is how my Friday and Saturday nights play out in Michigan:

Friday Night: come home, feed the guinea pigs, cook dinner, call my BFF or mom, watch Netflix, in bed by 10:30 PM

Saturday: wake up around 6AM, hit the gym from 6:30 AM – 7:30 AM, put in a couple hours at work, maybe hang out with friends (if I am feeling social), watch some sporting event or more Netflix, most definitely in bed by midnight or earlier.

Now let’s talk about how my weekend went in NYC:

FRIDAY

I spent the entire morning and afternoon walking around New York with me, myself and I. Honestly, I am not even sure which neighborhoods I ventured into, but I found myself walking and enjoying all the sights and smells the city had to offer. I cautiously went into Pottery Barn and bought the cutest napkin rings ever…perfect for my Royal Family addiction!

I also took this time to do some self-evaluation: where do I see myself in six months? Am I working towards the goals that I outlined in November and December? What’s changed since 2017 and what hasn’t? More on this topic in a later post. After a long day of walking and shopping, I ended the evening early at my friend, Tulsi’s apartment.

SATURDAY

I started the day by leaving my friend’s apartment at 11:30 AM to meet up with a girlfriend from high school, Ashley, in Central Park. While I was waiting for her, I treated myself to a coffee and cookie at the most amazing underground gem in NYC. If you’ve ever had a thing for bakeries, fresh bread, delicacies of all sorts, then you will love this place. It was lively, but not overcrowded like most places in the city and the cookie was on point. We then moved to have sushi in the Upper East Side where we caught up on all things about our lives and picking up where things left off since high school. Hearing about her life and all of the events in between high school and current day was great. She’s super independent, strong and an all around kind hearted person.

We then caught a train to SoHo where we stopped by her job only to run into Dave Chappelle. Both of us had completely forgotten that it was Grammy’s weekend and for the first time in 15 years, the event was taking outside of LA. After we strolled around SoHo, admiring all of the clothing we were unable to afford we migrated to Brooklyn so I could see her place. By this time it was 7:30 PM and I was shocked that I wanted to keep going and exploring, not showing any signs of slowing down. We then went our separate ways for dinner, as I headed back to the island to meet up with Tulsi in East Village. In this non-suspecting restaurant, I had possibly the best vegetarian Chinese food in my life. Yes, another hidden gem in the city and I would highly recommend eating here.

After dinner, I met back up with Ashley as well as my friend Robbie. Robbie brought his wife, Trisha, whom I had not yet met and she is a realtor in NYC. The four of us had a great time over drinks, mostly talking about how expensive it is to live in New York City. Seriously do any of you know of a place to live that is reasonable that doesn’t require having 3-4 roommates? After drinks, my friend Ashley and I continued to walk around the city – mind you it was 2 AM at this point. I cannot speak for Ashley, but I just didn’t want to go home. I was having so much fun catching up with an old friend that I didn’t want to say goodbye. To say goodbye meant to go home the next day. To say goodbye meant back to communicating and keeping in touch over social media and text message versus real, human interaction. To say goodbye meant, next time I’m here I’ll be sure to let you know but in the meantime, work, responsibilities, stress will all get in the way of us keeping in touch.

During this trip, I came to realize a few things:

1)      Always be grateful for the opportunity to travel. While I realize, I didn’t go to Europe or any place tropical, I am blessed that I had the opportunity to visit one of my favorite cities. Not everyone has the means to do even the smallest of trips, so I’m super thankful that I made this journey and I have wonderful friends who hosted me at their apartments.

2)      The importance of relationships. I am so happy that I was able to see three of my friends all from different time periods in my life. Tulsi and I were friends from when we both first moved to Chicago in 2010; Robbie and I were both collegiate athletes at Marshall and clicked beginning of freshmen year; and Ashley and I were friends from high school. While I admit I do a poor job of keeping in touch with people, my soul smiles that my relationships with these people picked up right where I left them.

3)      I am doing more than okay. Is my life exactly where I want it to be? Of course not, but is anyone’s? Just in my daily interactions with strangers and catching up with my friends, I started to realize that nobody has it figured out. Nobody’s life is perfect and nobody is 100% happy with every aspect of their life. Just enjoy where you are at, have faith that God has you in the right place, and always, always have fun!

Until next time New York ❤

~Briana

All Things Meghan Markle & HRH Prince Harry

Sorry Catherine, but Meghan is the new “it” girl in London these days. She’s easy on the eyes, comfortable in-front of the cameras, outgoing, and absolutely stunning. She compliments Harry in so many ways and I couldn’t be happier about their engagement. Fortunately, ever since they announced their plans to marry, Meghan and Harry have been on quite a few royal engagements together. Unlike Catherine & William, Meghan and Harry’s romance has been much shorter, not allowing much time for Meghan to get acquainted with royal life. Meghan is American and knows very little about England, the people and its culture which only comes from living there for a long period of time. I assume all of these engagements ahead of their wedding day are to help immerse Meghan as quickly as possible, so she has a smooth transition post wedding nuptials. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I love all things about The Royal Family. Just like I follow Wills & Kate, I also plan on following Meghan & Harry.

For all of you Royal Family fans out there, the timeline below is for you!

November 27, 2017

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Meghan and Harry’s engagement photo call at Kensington Palace

The pair announce their engagement and later have a photo call in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace.

Ring Details: Harry sourced the center diamond from Botswana and the two smaller diamonds are from Princess Diana’s collection. The band is yellow gold as that is Meghan’s favorite!

 

 

 

 

December 1, 2017

1157732Meghan and Harry made their first official public appearance together in Nottingham, England. This was only four days after announcing their engagement. The couple went to Nottingham Contemporary to visit the Terrence Higgins Trust charity fair to mark World Aids Day. They then made their way to Nottingham Academy to learn about the Full Effect artistic program, which helps prevent young people from turning to violence and crime.

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Meghan was genuinely moved by all of the wonderful well wishes from the locals on her and Harry’s engagement.

 

 

 

 

December 20, 2017

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Meghan’s first of many Christmas Luncheon’s with Queen Elizabeth II

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We saw Meghan again at the Queen’s Annual Christmas Luncheon which is held every year at Buckingham Palace with extended members of the Royal Family. Although we only got a glimpse of her in the car, she looked stunning. You looked handsome too, Harry!

December 21, 2017

Meghan and Harry released their official engagement photos right after the Christmas Luncheon. I have to admit, I was actually depressed after seeing these photos. These images are serious #relationshipgoals, #fashiongoals, #hairgoals, #makeupgoals, #weddinggoals, #fitnessgoals – you name it, this couple captured it during the shoot.

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December 25, 2017

Christmas at Sandringham

Meghan was the first royal fiancé to spend Christmas with the Royal Family at Sandringham. There have been mixed reviews on her outfit, but I thought she looked lovely. They were going to church and God tells us, “come as you are.” Meghan even did a curtsy for Her Majesty, The Queen.

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Members Of The Royal Family Attend St Mary Magdalene Church In Sandringham

January 9, 2018

On their second official public engagement, Meghan & Harry head to South London to Reprezent 107.3FM in Brixton, which trains hundreds of young people every year in media and employment skills. Again, moved by all of the well wishers, Meghan even blows a kiss to people who came out to wait in the cold just to catch a glimpse of the couple.

Meghan, I’d cry too…you’re about to be a future duchess.

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January 18, 2018

Meghan & Harry arrive in Wales for the third official public appearance together as part of their pre-wedding tour around England. Meghan was described as a natural with crowds and with meeting people. Personally, I love that she was rocking the messy bun…I like people that can keep it real. Our future Duchess, also received her first curtsy despite not yet being a royal. #Yesssssss!!!

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Visit Cardiff Castle

Meghan receives her first public curtsy in ahead of her wedding to Prince Harry in May.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meghan Markle hugs a group of girls at the Star Hub leisure centre

I’m sure we will be seeing much more of Meghan & Harry ahead of their wedding in May. #harryandmeghan2018

 

Cheerio!

~Briana

 

 

Tuesday Morning Workout: “Are We Jumping With This Exercise?!”

9760072Every Tuesday morning I do a class called Fitness Solutions at Applied Fitness Solutions in Ann Arbor with the class starting sharply at 6AM and ending at 7AM. The first 20 minutes of the class consists of three different weight lifting movements. This morning it was RDL’s, lateral sweeps with a band, and bench press on an incline. We did each exercise three times with 15-20 reps, so basically 60 RDL’s, 60 lateral sweeps, and 60 bench presses. The pace is quick as you are paired with a partner and as soon as they’re done then it’s your turn again. By the time you get to the 16th rep on your third set, your arms and legs feel like jelly. On the flip side, by this time you have buns of steel and convince yourself if you keep going, your body will slowly look like Kelly Ripa’s. After the strength portion is complete, you move into the HIIT portion of the class. This part consists of 4 stations with 6 minutes at each station, leaving you breathless, thirsty and starving.

On the second station, we had to do TRX bands with a squat. This exercise internally excites me because I’m all about getting dat a$$! Summer bodies are made in the winter, especially for us Michiganders who have nothing else to do right now. A few seconds into the circuit, my trainer stopped by and informed me this exercise is a squat WITH a jump. At this point, I quickly turned my head to him, bothered by this information. The kind of head turn from the Exorcist when Linda Blair’s head completely spins all the way around. I think to myself, “what did you say? You want me to do a squat WITH a jump at 6:30AM after I just did RDL’s? Don’t you know that my knees and butt are already in severe pain? Can’t you see I’m still out of breath from doing high knees at the last station?” This small addition to the workout takes the exercise from a four to an eight in intensity. Then I thought about it, this small addition to the exercise is only going to make me stronger and in better shape. Why am I putting mental limits on myself when my body is physically able to do this? Once I decided to commit to adding the jump, I was fine. It was my mind that was saying, “no” not my legs.

It was then in the workout that I realized I am always putting limits on myself, in and out of the gym. When something scary, unknown or difficult arises, my first reaction is “ahhh *$%#@” What I’ve slowly started to realize, is that this is absolutely the wrong approach. If I’ve never done something before or it seems difficult, instead I should approach it as an opportunity. In hindsight I should actually be grateful that I’m able to challenge myself physically, mentally, or emotionally. Once I’ve committed to the task, if I physically, mentally or emotionally can’t do it, that is okay. At the gym, this is when you modify the exercise so that you can get still get something out of the workout. In life, you go about solving the problem a different way or ask for help. It’s also important to note that mistakes are going to get made in the process, it’s inevitable. Not to sound too cliche, but I have learned most from my mistakes and those learning lessons have served me well in the gym and out of the gym. This goes back to my favorite saying, “oh well at least I know versus always wondering what if.” In that exact moment, I learned that I can actually do the exercise. I didn’t leave the gym this morning wondering if I could have pushed myself more. Challenge, change and unknown circumstances are okay and we should embrace them more. When you’re in the middle of a challenging work, situation or uncertainty remember to follow the self-care tips below:

  1. Always remember to breathe: I’ll never forget when a trainer told me that I am struggling with the workout because I wasn’t breathing. Learning this was a game-changer. If you are struggling through a workout, chances are you are not breathing correctly. We tend to hold our breath during strenuous exercise without realizing it. Just like in life, when we feel overwhelmed, we need to breathe through the stress.
  2. Rest when you need to: sometimes we need to rest during our workouts. If you’re running a long distance or putting in a couple of hours at the gym, don’t forget to stop and drink water. Also, depending on the workout allow your heart rate to slowly come down before starting back up again. Just like at work or in your personal time, you need to take breaks. Sitting in front of your computer for nine hours drinking cups of coffee, Red Bull and 5 Hour Energy’s is unproductive and bad for you. How can you possibly be focused for nine consecutive hours? It is literally impossible – you need to take breaks in order to make rational versus emotional decisions. Unless something is of urgent matter or time sensitive, I tackle all of my bigger projects first thing in the morning when I am most alert. With the remaining 30 minutes of my day, I organize my notes, look ahead to tomorrow, create to-do lists and flag e-mails in my tasks bar. That is how my brain is wired, and I’m all about working smarter.
  3. Get excited: I absolutely love the workouts that I am currently doing at Applied Fitness Solutions anPrintable-Quote-Art-I-think-I-cand Pure Barre. Part of this excitement is because of the people that I work out with at the gym/studio. They’re positive and they challenge me to push myself. This is also the same for my job. For me this is more than a job, it is a way of life and I am 100% passionate about what I do. Working in the sports and entertainment industry is fascinating, exciting and ever-changing. The people that I work for and with push me, excite me, and make me better. They’re excitement, is my excitement even when a project does not directly affect or impact me. This mentality is from our CEO down and I feel incredibly grateful for my career. If you’re not loving your workouts, career path, the people you hang out with, etc. you can should change it up. Don’t be afraid to do something new or start over again. You only get one life and in my opinion, you should make the absolute most of it.

Have a great rest of the week & remember you CAN!

~Briana