Burn Out, Mental Fatigue & My Story

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I have been experiencing burnout & mental fatigue since I can remember. It really took shape when my mother became a single mom when I was 12. Her empowering GO attitude was always there but took a turn for overkill once she was supporting my sister and I on her own.

Days consisted of waking up, sprinting around the house, eating breakfast with her hair still in a towel, getting ready for work, making lunches, rushing us to school on two wheels because {why would you ever get to school on time haha}, school for us, work for her, after school sports for us, waitressing at night for her, dinner late night standing up {IDK why but this is a thing in my family, we eat standing up?? HELLO RUSHING MENTALITY RIGHT THERE}, Home and in bed for her around 11pm just to do it all over again in the morning.

{Doesn’t this just give you stress reading it?}.

We lived like this all of my years from 12-18 when I moved out. THIS was the way to live. Cram your schedule, get as much done as possible & celebrate like no tomorrow to ease the pain of all the SH** happening.

At 16 I got my first job and was responsible for taking care of myself. Basic necessities were met {well sometimes…I feel like I need to write a book}, but other than that, gas, car, college, etc. was all on me.

I moved out of my moms house at 18 and started life the only way I knew. Do whatever you can to make the money to live life, go to college, support yourself and make it all happen. So what do you know…the GO attitude was the only way.

I was a full time college student working 3 jobs {nannying 4 days a week, working at a school 3 days a week & waitressing at night} just to get by. School work suffered, life was ALWAYS rushed and burn out was FRICKEN REAL. Not to mention Chris was at college 3 hours away so fitting that into the schedule as much as I could was everything!

If you guys have been following for a long time you know that BL began because of all of this, BL was my outlet to a life of stress, burnout & fatigue.

BL was the catalyst that made me look at my life & STOP the visible stress. Quit the jobs that I hated, stop running 100 miles/minute all the time, sit when I ate {LOL}, take life a little slower.

BL helped me recognize the external factors that were causing burn out at the time! For a few years it helped me recalibrate to a more calm way of living and I am SO thankful for the internet & other peoples blogs that I used as inspiration to start my own & turn BL into a business.

Where it took a turn for stress-ville was when I decided to make BL my full time job. At the beginning it was nothing but fun, inspiration & goals on goals on goals. I had mood boards & vision boards & affirmations & pinterest boards, ALL THE THINGS of what BL was going to be. Now I’ve got to say I have accomplished SO much of those things and when I look back at those early day boards I TEAR UP for the incredible things I have been able to dream and then really put into action on this journey.

The inspiration boards started turning into real life and that’s when you set the bar HIGHER. That’s when you work your little tail off to turn 5 clients into 10 & 10 into 20…You get the point. The goals got bigger and the workload left me questioning everything.

This fun & outlet of a platform that I had created to connect with women & coach them through their wellness journey to become the healthy, happy, fulfilled individuals they longed to be was becoming a machine.

Kinda like the guys on wall street {I’m just stereotyping here and guessing on what I believe wall street to be so excuse me if you actually know someone there and it isn’t like this at all} BUT it became somewhat of a mental basketcase of a space. You release a new program and TONS of women sign up {IT’S A SUCCESS, YOU’VE DONE IT, YOU’RE HELPING ALL THE PEOPLE, THEY GET IT & BUY IT AND WANT IT, HOORAY, YOU’RE CHANGING THEIR LIVES WHICH WILL CHANGE OUR WORLD}. THEN you launch another program and NO ONE buys it, not a soul comments on it, gets it, buys it. You’re left confused and a little hurt cause hey you worked SO hard on it, put your hours and inspiration and truly blood sweat and tears into it and people just aren’t on board {NO blame to anyone here, that’s just the nature of being an entrepreneur}.

So you go back to the drawing board to find THE thing that people need in their lives, THE thing that people want to help them change their lives…which in turn creates ENDLESS thinking about your current project, analyzing why it didn’t do well, giving yourself space to think up another program/project all the while doing all the other necessary things to RUN A FUNCTIONING BUSINESS. Does burn out ring a bell??

SO you try another program, hope, pray, wish, do everything in your power to make it work…nail the marketing, share all over your newsletters, add to your Instagram, Pinterest about it, post flyers, mention it to friends to share about, hire a business coach to help you hack it all {btw you guys she was incredible, shout out to Amber Lilyestrom & team, I learned so much about myself & BL to get to this point & doing what’s best for my health from investing in this course}, go to personal development to up level yourself {is this making you see the machine of it all yet?}.

And it lands with people but not as good as the first time, so the marketing starts all over again, the self doubt & WORK HARDER mentality comes creeping in & you’re left a little confused but hopeful/yearning for the goals to be met & the vision board to come to LIFE.

I lived this way year after year after year trying to turn BL my passion project into a space of coaching women to change their lives. The intentions were so pure, the programs and content and events were incredible {if I do say so myself}. But wanna know what wasn’t?

The anxiety and the constant racing mind and the burn out, insomnia, stress, the list could go on. The feeling of having to SELL instead of HELP. The feeling of having to hit THE number in order to keep BL afloat instead of craft programs & projects just because I wanted to, just because I thought they would make a difference.

This GO mentality that I thought I had run away from when I started BL, when I left my corporate job to make the scary jump and pursue it came flooding back in, created an unhealthy relationship to self & changed what I loved so deeply into a marketing, business, wall street machine that left me overworked and underpaid {a person can only take so much before they stop and evaluate} {at least guys on wall street are paid the BIG bucks haha}

You guys know I’m always real with you and I’m sharing so deeply and in depth because if there’s ONE person here that benefits from hearing this, my work in life is done.

Over the years of doing BL I have had MANY and I mean MANY break downs. Many times of “is this right”, “I want to keep going but it feels misaligned”, “I love my people but financially this just isn’t making sense”. Thank gosh for the bestest husband, partner & friend out there, also shout out to Caitlin my intern/ content manager/ friend who has heard me and worked tirelessly with me to make BL what it is. BUT I kept going because the goals were on the vision board, hard work was easy for me and I wasn’t raised to be a quitter.

The turning point came just this past week when I was standing in the grocery store in line with a cart FULL of groceries ready to pay. I had had spinning anxiety that day for the launch of The BL Community but rallied like I always did and pushed through. I inserted my card into the card reader & the women told me “sorry hun, this card was declined”. Sheer anxiety came over me “Oh whoops, it must just be the card, let me try another one” I said… “I’m sorry love but this one seems to be declined too”. Now I’m really panicking.

I hadn’t been this stranded in a grocery story counting the change in my wallet since college. Oh come on, you guys know it the pulling up your bank acct app while you’re in line to make sure you can cover it all. {monkey covering its eyes emoji}

“How about you move to the windows over there, figure this all out with your bank and I will suspend your order until you’re ready”.

I moved over to the windows, sat there fishing through my wallet so frazzled it wasn’t even funny. I finally calmed myself down enough to remember I had Chris and I’s savings card {our joint acct} in my wallet, went back up to the register & used that to purchase. I walked my way to my car in utter disbelief.

My hands were shaking, my heart was pounding, my eyes were dilated. I was beginning to have a straight up panic attack in the Hannafords parking lot.

THIS was the moment it all clicked. THIS was the moment I realized maybe the external GO habits of {working 3 jobs & running from thing to thing} was gone but the INNER GO mentality was not. The mindset & anxiety of running BL was now shoving me into burn out, mental fatigue & anxiety all over again. I calmed myself down, went home & just sat on the hammock.

After a long good cry, journaling and saying affirmations, sitting with myself, literally on the verge of praying {I’m not religious or a prayer} I realized reevaluating isn’t quitting.

Taking some space and time to evaluate what I want this to look like isn’t quitting. I took that time, some much needed beach time with with my sweetest husband to ever live and I made a decision.

….

I have decided that I yurn for the days when BL was F U N. For the days when I share what I wanted with you all, for the days when we connected on EVERYTHING, not just wellness programs or recipes, or what bulletproof latte to drink. I yurn for the days when this experience was REAL. When this was curated by what I had tried and loved or what I had seen success with, NOT what I thought you would want to buy, NOT what I thought would hook you and sell you.

I have made the decision to stop offering coaching programs through BL & pull back to SHARING genuine content to change your lives for the better. Genuine podcasts and blog posts and events and products that I feel will help you become the best version of YOU. GO BACK to creating relationships with all of you like you’re my friends {not that this ever stopped, but it felt harder to continue when selling programs was my main focus}. I have decided to turn BL back into my passion project that allows me to connect with women all over the world and help them change their lives by sharing the favorite ways I have changed mine.

No one panic, this doesn’t mean BL is shutting down or changing or becoming different. This just means all of my coaching programs are done as of October 1st, 2018. & this will give me so much more time to genuinely share and connect with all of you on a deeper level through in person events, ebooks, podcasts, blog posts, vlogs/ video’s & SO MUCH MORE.

I just want to say thank you to all of my clients past and present that have made BL what it is today. Because of all of you I have been able to do what I love {connecting with all of you and helping you shape your lives} for the last 3 years. My life would have never been the same without the hundreds of women I have coached and programs I have led. All of you are truly my real life best friends and I can’t wait to continue this journey of connecting even more on a more real and genuine way from here on out.

You all light up my life and I am so grateful for you. Here’s to an exciting new chapter & experience for all of us <3

Bringing this post to a close I want to challenge every single one of you reading this to EVALUATE your life & if you’re experiencing this type of burnout you’re not alone…& no it’s not normal {this was something I told myself for YEARS until I broke out of it}… How does it look, where do you want to be, will the current way you’re “doing life” get your there? Will the job you hate help you be a happy person, will the terrible boss help you get to a stress free life? EVALUATE IT ALL & make the necessary small changes to make your life the way you envision it being. Sometimes it just takes a good swing in the hammock and a long cry/ some time at the sea to figure it all out. TRUST yourself & your intuition. Trust that you do truly no best even when others are telling you differently & no reevaluating, changing, down right stopping is never quitting. It’s all doing what’s best for YOU.

P.S Chris and I have some exciting news coming soon so keep your eyes peeled…My palms are sweating writing this but hey new beginnings right? {pps NO I’m not preggers <3}

All my love and huge hugs,

Lauren

The Transformation Illusion

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Transformations have been super popular on social since the rise of the #transformationtuesday hashtag and fitness programs that thrive off before and after pictures. Because I have personally felt INCREDIBLY overwhelmed by the influx of program coaches contacting me & my need to always tell it like it is with you ladies I wanted to share my knowledge on this subject in hopes that it would inspire you to choose differently/wisely.

I am a huge believer in documenting your progress, and taking movement seriously, but I'm not sold on transformation photos, 30 day slim downs, etc. & let me tell you why.

2 reasons. 1 The photos are misleading because of many different editing tactics & 2 They're a poor representation of what well balanced programs will actually do for you. They make it seem like a magic genie will change the way your body looks in a months time.

Losing weight, or making the decision to live a healthy life is a lifestyle change that takes dedication, TIME, and intention!

Even the best programs take months of dedicated work to get results from...plain and simple. {HELLOOO The BL Community}

There's no quick fix... 

It doesn't happen at the snap of your fingers and we need to flip the mindset to not be so phased by this. These transformation photos we're seeing are really just a marketing tactic used to lure people in to buying a specific workout program, drink, etc. but don't work for everyone, and are an illusion to make people think their body will look chiseled in a seriously short about of time. Just to show you guys how much of an illusion they are I put up my own before and after photo. Both of these photos were taken on the exact same day, 90 seconds from one another, one flexing and manipulating my body into the sunlight and the other pushing my stomach out and manipulating my pose to look "unfit". I wanted to share this with you to show you how photos can easily be doctored to show desired results. Photoshop, lighting, time of day the picture is taken, etc. can drastically change the photos for better or worse, social media is an interesting place PLEASE don't get sucked into the highlight reel. 

Now lets get into the nitty gritty...The human body doesn't want to change. It fights the process of losing weight, & the process of gaining muscle {the body doesn't want to be pushed outside its comfort zone...it's cozy where it is which means CONSISTENT WORK over a long span of time is in order to create longterm change}. It's one thing to exercise to maintain your look and it's another to transform the way you look {that takes a significantly greater amount of work}.

My question to these large scale programs is...What do we do after your month long weight loss challenge? Have we really learned the tools in ONE MONTH to sustainably change our life? Have we taken a step back & looked at the end goal, the long term play rather than the short term outcome? Even if we lose weight in that month then what do we do after it's over? 

Do we keep up with the perfectly portioned container eating & the expensive morning shakes? Do we purchase another program in hopes it will create change? Sadly but most often the answer is YES until we see the light of day, until we realize it isn't working. Why? because it isn't realistic or attainable just like the transformation photos themselves.

I'm always honest with you loves and I had to bring this to attention much more deeply than in a few quick Instagram stories, I had to give you examples & reference, to the incredibly hard spiral sooo many of us fall down.

Here's something I want you all to remember, Everyone's bodies are different which means everyones BEST bodies are different. Find out what best, healthiest, most fulfilled looks like for you & GO FOR THAT... get rid of the social accounts & salesy fitness program friends on FB & DO YOU. Eat real whole foods, move your body at least once per day, ALLOW YOURSELF TIME & most important of all put your head down and stick with it. 

I'm always here for guidance and true personalized whole body transformation whenever you're ready. Lets do this thing SUSTAINABLY together. Sign up for your discovery call HERE or check out The Community 8 month online whole body wellness program starting September 23rd.

xo,

L

All The Details on CBD Oil

You guys have been dying to know why I use CBD oil, what the effects are & how to get it! Finally here are all the details you've been waiting for & a little surprise at the end of the post {scroll to the bottom if you're like me & can't wait}

What is CBD Oil?

CBD is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant {Yes marijuana}. BUT unlike THC which is also found in marijuana, CBD does not produce any psychoactive effects. In layman terms, CBD DOES NOT make you feel high. SO there is nothing to be afraid of when using CBD oil. Take it from the girl who hasn't smoked a day in her life & isn't planning on it...OH also the girl who has never had more than 3 alcoholic drinks because I hate the feeling of being "out of control". {I would tell ya!}

Blissfully Lively CBD Oil
Blissfully Lively CBD Oil

CBD also has the highest medicinal value of the whole Cannabis plant! It's a super powerful plant medicine & we should be hoarding the stuff like gold. I truly feel like in the next few years cannabis for health is going to take over! CBD is the compound that is extracted from the Majijuana plant and turned into an oil just to clarify! Now lets get into what is it used for?

What is CBD Oil Used for?

CBD oil can be used for SO many things! My #1 use for it is insomnia. I have had terrible insomnia since I can remember & it got significantly worse when I started BL full time {so many things to do my brain NEVER shut off}. I would go on 3-4 days in a row with little to NO sleep. It was causing me headaches, irritation & serious eye pain {cause my eyes weren't settling to sleep}. I finally reached out to Chris's Aunt who I knew used CBD oil and asked for a sample. 1 drop on my tongue at night & I drifted slowly off to sleep within 30 minutes. LIFE CHANGING.

Research states that CBD oil can also be used for treating inflammation, pain, anxiety, muscle spasms, skin disorders & more! I haven't tried it yet on my skin but i've heard from a family member that mixing it with cream and using it on sore muscles is INCREDIBLE.

I want to clarify as I have had a few of you ask me this, Hemp oil & Cannabis CBD oil ARE NOT the same thing. Hemp derived CBD is a weaker version of the oil which you may have seen used in food for its calming effects. Here is a recipe for CBD Fat Balls from one of my favorite bloggers The Balanced Blonde using hemp oil. ALSO here are the 'It's Not Pot' CBD Chocolates using help oil, that I recommended to many of you when I started sharing my love for CBD on Insta.

How Do You Take It?
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Most CBD oils come in a super small bottle with a little dropper. Why? Because ONE drop goes a long way. You can either drop it under your tongue or into a beverage {sleepy time tea is a great way to start using it}. {This is the recommended dose for CBD oil, not hemp oil. Hemp oil isn't as strong & would take much more than 1 drop to help you fall asleep}.

This being said everyones body reacts differently to the effects. I would start with one small drop and see how it goes. I currently take 2 drops before bed on my tongue when I'm feeling really restless or in need of a sound sleep. & 1 drop for when I want a little help drifting off to sleep. These dosages won't make you feel groggy or in a cloud the next morning like some sleeping medications will, this was my most favorite part about using CBD. I dropped one drop on my tongue, read a few pages of the BL book club book before bed, drifted off to a natural sleep & woke up feeling TRULY rested.

Keep in mind if you for some reason wake up middle of the night, don't use another drop of the oil. One drop is normally good for 8 hrs of sleep. If you're waking up at 3am & then taking another dose & are set to wake up at 6am you're doing to be feeling pretty groggy when the alarm goes off! I learned this the hard way. Instead just up your dosage from 1 drop to 2 drops the following night.

Where Can I Get CBD Oil?
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This little oil has become my saving grace for sleeping purposes and since all of you have been asking, I wanted to make it available for you & as easily as possible! I reached out to my supplier and I will now be selling CBD Oil on BL.com! Our first trial {to see how interested you guys are} will launch Wednesday March 28th! Mark your calendars & get ready to hop on the website to purchase your BL 'Pure Bliss CBD Oil' at 8am! We haveVERY FEWbottles available as this is the first launch BUT are ready and willing to bring it back if you guys are interested!

As always don't be afraid to shoot us a message if you have any questions! Email: hello@blissfullylively.com

xo,

Lauren

*Disclaimer: Lauren Atwood/Blissfully Lively are not doctors, these opinions are my own from personal use.

Wellness Spotlight: February 2018

Hey babes!

Is it just me or did February FLY by?! Not going to lie January felt like it dragged on... but we're starting to get SO close to spring time & warmer weather- You know my sunshine loving self is praising this. I'm so excited to be bringing back the Wellness Spotlight posts, a place to highlight my favorite finds from the past month that are from the 3 pillars of BL: real food, mindfulness & movement!

Real Food

Intuitive Eating for Weight Loss: MindBodyGreen says it perfectly in this article "if you don't tune into your body, maintaining your weight will always be a struggle" YES! I don't focus on calorie counting or macro tracking with my clients and this article sums it up. Give it a read to learn more about self care and mindful eating as strategies for weight loss... it's EVERYTHING.

Mindfulness

Meditation Makes You Better at Everything - Including Work: Ever have those days when your brain just won't shut off?! I seem to be having those more often than not these days but in the best way because there are so many exciting projects for BL coming soon! But when things start to get overwhelming and hectic, it's so important to take a beat & center yourself to focus on the present moment. This article highlights the benefits of mindfulness for productivity & relationships!

Movement

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You all know my love for HIIT & strength training from watching my instagram story workouts, but lately i've been in a bit of a workout rut. Feeling like I myself {the coach} needs some external accountability to help me complete my workouts. Recently I've been relying on the buddy system! I know this isn't a proven facts thing but I need you all to know the power of the body system for workouts. Call your bestie, get that workout marked in the calendar & stick to it each week. My friend and I workout 3 times a week together & then I fit in 2 workouts on the weekend with Chris. This was a huge game changer for me...DO IT you won't be sorry!

Hope you all enjoy some of my favorite highlights from this past month! As always, feel free to reach out with any questions- I'm always here to help!

xo,

Lauren

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BL Smoothie: Everything You Need to Know

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BL Smoothie 1

If you've been following along  for a while, then you know just how much I LOVE to start my mornings off with a BL smoothie {and if you're new to BL- welcome! I'm so happy you're here!}. BL smoothies are something I have been recommending to my clients and having myself for quite a while, so I wanted to share with all of you the secret behind why I love them and how you can make them for yourself! You guys, Chris even loves them & drinks them every morning so they're husband approved too!

What is the BL smoothie?

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BL Smoothie 2

The BL smoothie was inspired by Kelly Leveque, author of Body Love. It incorporates the Fantastic Four which are: protein, fat, fiber & greens {stay tuned for another blog post diving into all about the Fantastic Four}. By including these 4 key ingredients, BL smoothies start your day off with satiating protein, fat & fiber as well as packing in a ton of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants! Who doesn't want to feel full from breakfast all the way until lunch, while also getting glowing skin, stronger hair & nails, and building lean muscle?! 

Why do I recommend the BL smoothie to my clients?

The BL smoothie makes a super quick & easy breakfast that you can take on the go while packing in all of the good stuff your body needs to function at its best. I know my BL babes are hard-working, busy women who may not always have time to sit down for breakfast, so I wanted this breakfast option to be something that was transportable & easy to make ahead of time. We both know if it isn't easy it isn't a goal we will keep accomplishing, right?! Also because this is a lower-carb & fruit dense smoothie than you might be used to, it is great for burning fat  which is a goal of many of my clients. Because they are so customizable you can tailor the BL smoothie to fit within your taste & flavor preferences!

How Do I Make the BL Smoothie?

Now that we know why the BL smoothie is so good for us and can help us reach our goals, you're probably thinking "okay Lauren... now tell me how to do it!" The basic recipe for the BL smoothie is:

  • 1 1/2 cups liquid
  • 1 tbsp fiber
  • 1 serving protein {I recommend collagen or pea protein, trying to stay away from whey}
  • 2 tbsp good fat
  • 1 handful greens
  • Optional: 1/4 cup fruit

Examples of ingredients that I recommend are:

   Liquid: almond milk, coconut milk, water    Fiber: flaxseeds, chia seeds, fiber powder    Protein: I recommend using Primal Kitchen's Collagen  Fuel or Tone It Up Plant Based Protein   Good fat: avocado, coconut oil, peanut butter, any nut butter, MCT oil    Greens: spinach, kale, mixed greens, this can also include green veggies like zucchini, etc.    Fruit: 1/2 banana, berries {I like to keep the fruit to 1/4 of a cup}

*** ONE OF THE BIGGEST TIPS WHEN CRAFTING YOUR SMOOTHIE***

All of our metabolisms are different, my smoothie looks like the one below each morning but don't be afraid to play around with the portions. If you have just had a workout you may need to up the good fat {avocado} from 1 tbsp to 2 tbsp or add more protein to keep you feeling satiated! Also it differs for males. Chris uses double the amount of protein as I do, no fiber {it hurts his stomach} & extra good fats.

Buy in to this process & start asking yourself, did this smoothie keep me full from breakfast to lunch? If it did, CONGRATS! You succeeded, if it didn't think on what you can adjust, most likely the protein or good fats, {not usually fiber as too much may begin to make us gassy} & start playing around with the portion sizings so you get to a spot of feeling satiated, not needing a snack in between breakfast & lunch.

Putting it all together might look something like this...

PB Chocolate Chip BL Smoothie

PB Chocolate Chip BL Smoothie
PB Chocolate Chip BL Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel Protein Powder
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to blender and top with cacao nibs, & enjoy!

Let me know if you give the BL smoothie a try! I'd love to hear what you think :)  As always feel free to reach out with any questions, always here to help.

xo,

Lauren

Instagram Recipes Round Up: Fav BL Treats

Hi babes! Indulgences are the spice of life, right?! We ALL need to treat ourselves from time to time! Sometimes there's just nothing better than a sweet treat or a cozy comfort food dinner. Here is a round up of some of my favorite indulgent recipes that I have featured on my Instagram {@BlissfullyLively}. Be sure to follow along on Insta because I LOVE to post in real time about my fav foods and recipes in my stories. <3

Chocolate Craving Smoothie

You all know I love my BL smoothies {stay tuned for a full post about them coming' soon!} but this one is for those days where you're craving something drool-worthy and chocolate-y but also has some staying power!

Ingredients:

  • 2 scoops Primal Kitchen chocolate collagen protein powder
  • 1 tbsp chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 overripe banana
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • TONS of ice
  • Granola

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients to the blender {except for the granola} 2. Assess if you need more almond milk or ice, you want it thick but not chunky! 3. Top with granola and enjoy!

Creamy Hot Pepper Tomato Basil Sauce

Sometimes we all just need a little warm cozy comfort food for dinner, am I right?! And you guys... this recipe is LIFE. As a bonus, the whole wheat pasta will keep you fuller than traditional pasta and provide some extra fiber & nutrients!

Ingredients:

  • 1 box whole wheat penne
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp red cayenne pepper
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup spinach

Directions:

1. Boil whole wheat penne pasta and cook until soft, drain 2. While penne is cooking, in a large pan sauté 1 tbsp olive oil and onion & garlic until translucent, about 5 or so minutes 3. Add in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, oregano, basil, cayenne pepper, and salt & pepper 4. Turn the heat down to low and simmer while stirring to combine 5. Add in cream cheese and stir to combine. Add spinach and mix until wilted 6. Add penne pasta back into the skillet and mix to coat until warm, enjoy!

Chai Raspberry Cacao Latte

This is a delicious & indulgent twist on my BL bulletproof tea that I drink every morning. For those mornings where you're looking for a special sweet treat or a little chocolate boost to kick start your day!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of chai tea, steeped
  • 1 dash vanilla almond milk creamer
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 square raspberry cacao chocolate {like this one}
  • Dash cinnamon
  • Dash nutmeg

Directions:

1. Steep tea until flavor comes through 2. Add coconut oil, spices, creamer, and tea to blender, blend until smooth 3. Add in chocolate at the end and give one quick blend 4. Pour into a mug & enjoy the creamy treat!

Jingle Jangle Ice Cream Cookies

Who doesn't love chocolate chip cookies?! Especially turned into an ice cream sandwich... these are so dang good you can't have just one, trust me!

Ingredients: 

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375*F 2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl 3. Beat butter, both sugars & vanilla until creamy 4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well 5. Stir in nuts & chocolate chips, gradually beat in sugar 6. Drop by teaspoonful onto a baking sheet 7. Bake for 9-11 minutes until browned 8. Sandwich between your favorite ice cream {or Trader Joes Jingle Jangle Christmas flavor ice cream} and you're golden!

I hope you enjoy indulging in these recipes with me! I would LOVE to hear if you try them out and what you think! <3

xo,

Lauren

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Ask Lauren: Instagram Q&A Part One

Hey babes! I posted on Instagram asking for what questions you had for me and combined those with some frequently asked questions that I get all the time. 

Q: Did you know from the beginning that you and your husband were made for each other?

Yes! Even though I was young {I was 16 when we met} I knew there was something different about him. He actually cared about me and cared about my life. I think when you are in that space to allow someone to come into your life, the person you're meant to find will find you. You can't just wish for it you need to actually work on yourself. But I did know he was the one the moment I met him. However, I actually blew him off for our first date... he'll never let me live that down. Just got to keep him on his toes, you know? ;)

Q: What’s your morning routine from the moment you wake up?

I wake up with my sunrise alarm clock around 6 or 6:30. Chris is already awake making his BL smoothie, so the blender machine usually wakes me up before my alarm. Once I'm awake, I go straight to the bathroom and wash my face. Then I drink a full glass of water and mix up 1/2 glass of water with Emergence-C {for extra vitamins & minerals during the winter time} and take my vitamin D3. I brew my chai tea and make my bulletproof tea and then I give Chris a kiss goodbye because he leaves for work super early.

Then I walk over to my meditation area and turn on my meditation music {come back mid-March for a full post on how to create your mindful morning routine!} and I turn on my essential oil diffuser. I do 15-20 minutes of meditation/visualization and then I use my BL mindfulness template. I do 5-10 minutes of journaling and then do a little bit of yoga/stretching, literally like 2 minutes just a couple rounds of a flow to get my muscles awake and warmed up for the day. Then I start work! I don't get ready until later because perks of working from home, right?

Q: What was your personal journey to wellness?

I was always on sports teams growing up, but never really knew what healthy eating was. My mom would cook pretty healthy meals, but I had no idea that dietary intake had anything to do with how you feel. So I go to college after high school, and I was done being on sports teams. I found myself working a lot because I supported myself all throughout college and I was just getting by- literally eating pasta for every dinner and living off of bars. One day I just felt so terrible and knew something needed to change so that's when I started doing Kayla Itsines' BBG and started blogging. I started sharing my journey and with that I realized that there was a whole world of other workouts and wellness and nutrition. I didn't love Kayla Itsines' program and I just kind of slowly began implementing other things. I was Googling everything to learn as much as I could, and this was also around the same time Chris was getting his strength & conditioning certification. Chris was also on college sports teams so that made it easier to care for myself more.

My journey began with realizing I was unhappy and had a poor quality of life and what could I do to change? It started with quitting jobs where I was treated poorly, moving more, and being aware of my protein intake & snacking. The first thing I did nutrition-wise was clean out my snacks. I completely stopped snacking, no more chips/pretzels/bars. Then I started thinking about whole sources of protein, did I have protein at every meal? I was already good about including vegetables, so I was focusing mainly on my protein intake. The most important thing to stress here is education is everything. Do your research and find what works best for you, because what works for me might not work for you.

Q: If I want to change one thing, what’s the first thing I should change?

It's a little out of the box, but I truly think it's your relationship with yourself. I know I said in the last question that quitting my jobs was one of the first things I did on my journey to wellness. I was being worked into the ground by jobs where I couldn't stand up for myself and it was really negatively impacting my life. Stop allowing other people to dictate your life and start to work on creating a relationship with yourself.

Q: What do you use for dry shampoo?

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo, hands down the most life changing dry shampoo. Instead of just covering up oil and giving you gross residue it actually absorbs oil in your hair. There's no white crusty residue like you get with other dry shampoos. It is 100% worth the splurge. Your hair actually feels clean after & it smells amazing. Seriously try it, you won't regret it!

Q: What mascaras do you use?

They're Real by Benefit and Perversion by Urban Decay. You can get them both at Ulta and they're both incredible. You put one coat of They're Real on first and then do two coats of Perversion. And no I don't have eyelash extensions!

Q: What’s CBD oil and where do you get it?

CBD oil is a compound from the marijuana plant. It's the compound that gives you chill & calming effects {whereas THC, the other compound in marijuana, is psychoactive and gives you the high effects}. CBD has calming effects and can be used for stress relief, anxiety, headaches/migraines, and insomnia {which is what I use it for}. Coming very soon we're going to be selling BL CBD oil on the website so stay tuned!

Q: Where do you get workout clothes?

Mostly from Fabletics. Although is a membership, you can skip a month at any time. Their quality is amazing and their style is super cute. If you don't want to sign up for a membership my go-to is always TJ Maxx because it's affordable and has super cute stuff.

Q: Where do you get your hair done?

Leah Berger at Siren Salon in Portsmouth, NH.

Q: What does your workout routine look like?

Tuesdays and Thursdays I start my mornings with yoga. Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays are usually strength training which can be a variety of different workouts. But it is basically whole body strength {follow along on Instagram @BlissfullyLively to see more in my stories!}. Sundays and Mondays I usually take off to rest. I recommend trying out a lot of different options. I've been working out on my own for six years now and I am just figuring out the process that I like the best and that works best for me. I've tried barre, BBG, hot yoga, cycling, and I found strengthening my muscles and stretching to calm my mind to be my most favorite.

Q: What do you have in your meditation corner?

Plants {which are incredible for filtering the air and giving you a good vibe}, an essential oil diffuser, succulents, a cozy rug & pillow, BL affirmation cards and my set up is along a wall because if I'm feeling tired I'll start to hunch which hurts my back so I'll just scoot my pillow back so I'm leaning against the wall!

Q: What are all the plants in your house and how do you care for them?

My most favorite is the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree. These are super temperamental but they can found at your local greenhouse, they even sometimes have them at Home Depot. The way you care for them is the trusted, tried way that I do- when the leaves start to droop you run the shower over it because the actual leaves like water. I dump like 4 cups of water in the soil and let the water run on the leaves. Then I let it hang out in the tub to drain and I just dry the leaves off with a paper towel.

Bird of Paradise Tree - this one you water when you stick a pencil into the soil and it comes up fully dry {usually every week and a half or so} and I usually do 2 cups of water.

The most finicky to care for, and I've really learned to listen to the people at the greenhouse, are succulents. When they say they need a lot of sunlight, they really need it. I've tried twice to put a succulent in a place where there's not a ton of sun and killed it. They need to be near a window with the shade closed, but also not in direct sunlight because that will also kill it. But the bright side is that you only need to water them every 2-3 weeks.

For even more answers to your most frequently asked questions about lifestyle, marriage & healthy eating, check out this video!

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CU53cj3nPS0&t=57s[/embed]

As always, feel free to reach out through Instagram or email with any other questions that weren't answered in this post! <3

xo,

Lauren

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5 Ways to Celebrate Ourselves on VDAY

Valentines day is a day flooded with LOVE!

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When we think about this day we always think about the special person in our life, a friend we want to catch up with, family who we love so much! We think about what little presents or sweet treats to get them, what is going to make THEM happy on a day full of love.

What we forget most often is what would make me happy? As much as I want to focus on my partner, their happiness & make their day the best. What will make my day the best? What can I do for me to make this the best valentines day yet, partner or no partner to share it with!

Here's a few short and sweet self care tips that require little to no money spent & reap all the self care benefits we need!

5 Ways to Celebrate Ourselves on Vday
  1. Put down the phone & pick up a book: Reading inspiring or thought worthy books motivates us to think & turn inward. Spend some time today reading, & no not listening on audible while you clean the house. Actually turning the pages of a book and slowing down! Here are a few I recommend that you can pick up at your local Target {The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, The Universe Has Your Back by Gabby Bernstein, Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin & Body Love by Kelly Leveque}
Valentines Day Self Care
Valentines Day Self Care
  1. Tending to your space/ Environment: You guys, I don't know about you but when my space is messy and clothes are thrown everywhere MY LIFE IS HECTIC. Take today to do an inventory of your space A little awareness check in. Are your plants shrivled up & dying cause you don't make time for them, is there dust all over your desk? {sharing these ones cause they're popping up as things I need to tend to <3}. Sometimes decluttering and cleaning our space can bring us the most stress relief & self care as a day at the spa!
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VDay Self love & self care
VDay Self love & self care
  1. Add Little spa like touches: This little secret is going to change your morning routine gameeee! You guys throw some Eucalyptus {you can pick up for $6 at trader joes on your way home tonight} on your shower head & each morning will feel like a full pampering at the spa. The aromas Eucalyptus emits instantly calm my stressed & remind me "it's the little things in life", right babes?! I'm not hating on any face mask or manicure/pedicure doing today too! Pamper yourself, YOU DESERVE IT!
Valentines day self love blissfully lively
Valentines day self love blissfully lively
self care valentines day blissfully lively
self care valentines day blissfully lively
  • Stop, drop & BREATHE: I shared this technique in the Inner Bliss Mindfulness Course & all the ladies love it! It can be done ANYWHERE you see fit {trust me even in your car in the Target parking lot after a stressful call :) }. Stop what you're doing, turn on some ocean sounds or calming music & close your eyes, take three deep cleansing breaths in & slowly release. Envision the person, situation, etc. that is causing you stress & envision shining love & light on them. {If something isn't bothering you at this moment} envision you at your happiest, what does that look like, continue envisioning until you can see a clear picture of this person or situation standing in from of you in love & light or yourself in love & light. Take 3 deep cleansing breaths & sigh out all the stress. Immediately following say 1 affirmation 10ish times, or pick from your BL Affirmation Card Deck! Takes less than 5 minutes & will turn your whole day around!
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  • Make yourself laugh, do something silly, dance around, Don't take yourself too seriously!: This is a day we sometimes over look at. We think it's only for couples, we begin to hear ourselves think self depricating talk. NO this day is for everyone, it's for loving, bottomline. So do what lights you up and what invokes a smile! My most personal favorite, turning up my Fav BL Playlist & dancing around my living room like no one is watching while eating dark chocolate <3
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This is your reminder that today is just another day, another day of smiling, being happy, loving & cherishing yourself & the people surrounding you... I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH & AM SO GRATEFUL FOR YOU.

Happy VDay!

xo, Lauren

Instagram Recipes Round Up: Part One

The Community
The Community

Hey babes! SO I realize that I've posted some recipes on my Instagram {@BlissfullyLively} that needed a special home on the blog! I want these to be available for you to reference when you're looking for drool-worthy, BL-friendly recipes {plenty of satiating protein, good fats & fiber!}. Also, these are all fantastic dishes to meal prep ahead of time for my BL babes who are short on time.

Tortellini & Chicken Bean Soup

I am kind of becoming a soup cooking professional these days. They are the easiest recipes, so hard to mess up & can be rough chopped for quick assembly!

BL Recipes: Chicken Tortellini Soup
BL Recipes: Chicken Tortellini Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 5-6 carrots, chopped
  • 5-6 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 92 oz. (3 cartons) organic free-range chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp. dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 organic chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
  • 1 package cheese tortellini
  • 2 cans cannelini beans, drained & rinsed
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Chop onion & garlic, add to large pot with EVOO on medium high heat. Saute for 3-5 minutes until browned. 2. Rough chop all veggies. Set kale aside. Add the rest of the veggies to the pot. 3. Stir in butter & sauté for 5-8 minutes until carrots & celery are soft. 4. Add in chicken broth & spices. Stir to combine. 5. Let simmer until boiling & turn down to low to simmer for 20 minutes. 6. While this is cooking, add chicken to pot & cover with water. Put on high heat until boiling & then turn down to low & simmer for 20 minutes. 7. Shred chicken & add to pot. 8. Add in tortellini, kale & beans. Mix well and add salt & pepper as desired!

Balsamic Caprese Chicken

One of my FAVORITE dishes that I literally never get tired of. Pair it with some green veggies and whole grains on the side {roasted brussel sprouts and quinoa pictured below} and you've got yourself the perfect BL dinner!

BL Recipes: Balsamic Caprese Chicken
BL Recipes: Balsamic Caprese Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. chicken breasts
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 dash oregano
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 tbsp. chopped basil
  • 1 ball of mozzarella, 4 slices
  • 1 tsp. balsamic reduction

Directions:

1. Put chicken breasts in ziplock bag with balsamic vinegar and let marinate overnight. 2. Take out and place on a plate. 3. Pre-heat grill to medium high. 4. Grill chicken breasts 5 minutes {-ish} on each side until cooked through the middle and golden. 5. Add the tomato, basil and mozzarella to the top of the chicken and turn the heat of the grill down to allow the cheese to melt. 6. Once the cheese has melted, transfer to plate & drizzle with balsamic reduction!

Chicken & Quinoa Taco Soup

My BL-twist on a classic. With quinoa and extra veggies this is sure to keep you full all the way to dinner! {Top with some avocado for a dose of healthy fat!}

BL Recipes: Chicken and Quinoa Taco Soup
BL Recipes: Chicken and Quinoa Taco Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 peppers, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 92 oz. (3 cartons) organic free-range chicken broth
  • 2 cans low-sodium corn
  • 2 cans low-sodium black beans
  • 2 cups dry quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can mild diced chilies
  • Chili powder, garlic salt, garlic powder & cayenne paper to taste

Directions:

1. Chop peppers, garlic & onion, add to large pot on medium high heat with olive oil. Saute for 3-5 minutes until soft. 2. Cover with chicken breasts. 3. Add in chicken broth, corn, beans, quinoa, water, tomatoes, chilies & spices. 4. Cover & bring to a boil, once boiling reduce to heat to low & simmer for 20 minutes. 5. Take out chicken & shred. 6. Add back in shredded chicken & stir to combine. 7. Simmer for another 5 minutes & serve with 1/4 avocado!

Loaded Chicken Noodle & Kale Soup

Last but not least... you guys soups are so convenient, a complete meal in one, and reheat amazingly when made ahead of time. {Not to mention my favorite way to warm up from NH winters while I anxiously await warm springtime weather!} Packed with so many more veggies than traditional chicken noodle soup to give you an antioxidant boost!

BL Recipes: Kale Chicken Noodle Soup
BL Recipes: Kale Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 5 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
  • 32 oz. organic free-range chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 lb. cooked & shredded chicken breast
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 1 cup whole wheat rotini
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Chop onions & garlic, put in small bowl. 2. Chop carrots & celery, put in small bowl. 3. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to soup pot on medium high heat. Add in onions & garlic. 4. Once sautéed until brown, add in 1 tbsp. butter, carrots & celery. 5. Sauté until soft, 5-10 minutes. 6. Add in chicken broth, thyme, oregano & bay leaves. 7. Bring to a boil & then simmer for 20 minutes. 8. Add in chicken, kale & 1 cup rotini, simmer for 10 minutes. 9. Add salt & pepper to taste!

I hope you babes enjoy these recipes! I also LOVE to share recipes that I am cooking in real-time on Instagram story so make sure you're following there @BlissfullyLively. Stay tuned for part 2 where I'll be showing you some of my favorite BL indulgences!

xo,

Lauren

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Meal Prep 101 (& FREE Meal Prep Planning Template!)

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Meal Prep 1
Meal Prep 1

How many times have you come home absolutely STARVING? You open the fridge and there's nothing that looks appealing, so you open the pantry. You go back and forth for a bit until you settle on something that is quick and easy {but might not be the healthiest option}. I know I am 100% guilty of this if I don't plan ahead! This is exactly where meal prep comes in handy - to make your life easier while also helping you stick to your goals.

Meal Prep 2
Meal Prep 2

Make Eating Healthy EASY

Make healthy options the easiest ones to grab! Imagine opening your fridge and there are washed and chopped veggies, hardboiled eggs, or pre-portioned nut butter with fruit ready to go for a snack! Meal prep is especially helpful for those busy weeknights when you get home late and don't have time to cook. If you cook ahead of time, even doubling a recipe and saving the leftovers, healthy weeknight meals become a breeze. {Side note: leftovers are only good in the fridge for 3-4 days!}. If you are a person who hates eating leftovers the next day, stash them in the freezer!

Meal Prep Saves Time and Money

Time and money are both things everyone would like a little more of! With meal prep, you are able to save both and research even backs this up. Think about how much time it takes to drive to a restaurant, wait to be seated or in line to order, and wait for the food to be prepared. Additionally, when you go out to eat there are A LOT of other costs you are paying for besides just food - staff, overhead costs, tips, etc. On the other hand, cooking every single night isn't the most efficient way to prep in the kitchen. Think of how much time you would be able to save if you could have something in the oven, while you're washing and prepping veggies, and while something is cooking on the stove. Make the most of your down time!

Perfection Isn't The Goal

Things don't need to be chopped fancily or spices measured out perfectly! For simplicity and the sake of time, just rough chop or eyeball, always air on the side of less is more with spices, taste test & add more if need be. Focus on only doing what you can to make this as sustainable as possible. Crank up some music, dance around, and ENJOY it babes!

Find What Works for YOU 

Meal prep will look different for everyone. If you only have an hour to spare on the weekends, that's totally okay! It definitely doesn't have to take up an entire day. You are setting yourself up for success even by just washing and prepping a few veggies. Also, consider what meals/snacks you want to prep. Start by brain storming which meals are the most challenging for you to eat healthy - Is it lunch at work? Dinner on busy work nights? Prioritize those meals and start off small by just prepping those few things that will get you through!

Meal Prep 3
Meal Prep 3

To make this as EASY as possible Here is your free PDF for prepping success! Use this guide to plan out your week of healthy meals and snacks. This can be helpful for making a grocery list, using one ingredient in multiple recipes and prioritizing what needs to be prepped.

For more even more meal prep tips and ideas - check out the BL Guide to Simple Meal Prep E-book!

xo,

Lauren

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Wellness Spotlight Holidays Edition

BL Wellness Spotlight
BL Wellness Spotlight

Hey Babes! Can you believe Christmas is THIS month?! I know this time of year can be stressful/ difficult & the holidays aren’t always joyful and merry so I thought I would bring back the Wellness Spotlight posts to lift our spirits even more! It’s important to remember that there are things that YOU can do that will help “make the season bright”. Hello, do I not talk about you having control over your life 24/7 so this post fits perfectly. Here are some great articles that I came across this week. From massages and showering to laughing and giving yourself a break, there is something here for every one of you. I truly want all of you to have the best December possible, so give these a read & let me know your favs.

How to Stay Healthy & Happy This Holiday Season

Addicted to Lovely offers some tips on how to enjoy the holidays. One that stood out to me is being present. It’s so easy to get caught up in the online world and forget about what’s happening here on earth. It’s true! Try to savor each moment. Browsing through Instagram & Pinterest isn’t what makes memories - being with loved ones, laughter, enjoying meals together, going on outdoor adventures - those are the things that stay in your heart forever. Try to be more present this holiday season. Maybe that means putting your phone down for a few hours while your friends and family are spending time with you.

Intentionality & Self Care

I love the point here about pacing yourself. The holidays get so busy that we sometimes forget that we are not immune to breaking down. We’re human: we get tired, hangry {just ask Chris, it was literally in his wedding vows to me}, upset, overwhelmed. It’s all part of life and it’s totally normal and okay. We just need to slow down and take a breath.This article also mentions offering gratitude and setting your intentions, which you already know are one of my favorite things to do, holiday season or not!

Shower Like You're at A Spa

Who doesn't love a nice shower? Bathing isn't just about good hygiene - sometimes it's the best way to wash a stressful day off of you. Here are some neat ways to upgrade your shower routine. I have my eyes on those shower bombs! Also a little BL Tip...Add some fresh eucalyptus stems to the head of your shower & breathe in that aroma each morning!

Be Happier

There is so much good info in this article! And it’s all backed by science! Lack of motivation, fatigue, addictive behavior, mood swings and memory loss are sometimes caused by low dopamine levels. This article will give you some ways to help increase your dopamine levels naturally. Things like breaking daunting tasks into more manageable, bite sized pieces and taking action when it comes to your dreams and goals. It also highlights the importance of laughing {daily goal for me is to laugh at least once} &, get this… massages! Just give me a minute so that I can step out and schedule an appointment for one of thoseeee...

Feel free to share in the comments below your tips for having a happy & carefree holiday season. I want to hear from you!

Xo,

Lauren

3 Ways Your Hometown Shapes Who You Are

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If any of you know my life story it is truly unconventional, so unconventional I sometimes trim it down, & sum it up into a short sentence or two leaving out all the parts of "sob storiness" or "poor you" because I never want to dwell. I honestly am a person that looks at life as glass half full so trudging back into those sad or unfortunate times in my life seems to me as negativity that 's unnecessary. What I have come to realize recently is our stories good and bad make us who we are & when we start accepting them and sharing them it allows other people to accept theirs too! We all have a background a life thats lead us to the happy, thriving, successful people we have become & as much as we think others lives are perfect, theirs are this way too. NO ONE is perfect, NO ONE has it all figured out...News Flash, not even OPRAH {ugh do you guys not love her...JUST BE MY MENTOR ALREADY.} So I want to take you back to my hometown and show you bits & pieces of how it's shaped me & my story. If one person can feel less alone, different or troubled through this sharing, my job here is done.

3 Ways Your Hometown Shapes Who You Are

BL Hometown Story
BL Hometown Story
1. It's the place that "houses" your home {or 4 for me}

Our home, our sanctuary, the place you always know you can go to find comfort & chill while Mom cooks up some dinner. The same place that houses all your childhood memories of opening Christmas presents, getting your first kittens & being dragged behind a bike on roller skates requiring stitches {whoops is that not in your memories, cause it's in mine LOL}. Our hometown houses our #1 support system, the walls, floors, bedrooms & material things that shaped us. For me this wasn't as conventional. My home was the beautiful photo above for 6 years of my life, pretty kick ass if I do say so myself then a small apartment, another home & finally a condo. All within the same town, but many different places that had me feeling like a gipsy and realizing that home doesn't need to be a PLACE. As much as we associate "home" with a physical house, it doesn't need to be the stereotypical rooms where we grew up, It can & for me always will be family. Home to me is my loved ones, the sense of belonging and pure happiness I feel when spending time with my little sister, the little cutie that I dressed up & dragged around as my side kick & now get to see grow up into the funny and beautiful young women she is. Home to me is taking those memories with me but not attaching them to the four walls of your stereotypical "home".

Hometown BL
Hometown BL
2. It's where some have their first heartbreak & {forever} love

For me heartbreak here is something much less trivial than first boyfriend or fling in high school but a true family divide that has in more ways that one shaped my whole life. 12 years old & being told that your parents are divorcing is pretty tough. I can remember the clothes I was wearing, the whole bus ride to school {what parent's tell their kids they're divorcing before they head out to school?, but that's a whole other post}, the real promise that we would "stay a family". This heartbreak was one that took many years of figuring out, releasing & working through. It spiraled my mom into single mom status and an intense next few years of trying to find her footing which really never came & resulted in nights of no heat, electricity or cable oh & food stamps. Heartbreak is real & in whatever way you have experienced it {a death in the family, a divorce, a traumatic experience} it is all housed right in that little home town of yours. This heartbreak and hardship created a new life for myself that actually created some good. A few years later, a few moves later & I was finally a high schooler being introduced to a cute guy at my new house for a double date...In walks Chris & the rest is LITERALLY history. Isn't it crazy how the same place the same geographic location that could house so much heartbreak could also bring with it an intense and forever LOVE?

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3. It's where some learn independence & perseverance

The whole parents divorcing and Mom becoming a single mom really threw me into independence without a choice & looking back I am so incredibly thankful for this experience. I had to make decisions on my own, work for what I wanted, wasn't handed anything and truly began to understand the meaning of hard work the moment I turned 16. There was lots of crying, & "Why me's". Why can't I just have what they have, why can't my Mom just give me money like my friends. The life that I lived instilled a work ethic in me that I wouldn't trade for the world. SO to all your ladies out there that had it similar I see you, I hear you & I understand you! These experiences have made us who we are and don't second guess, want to change or make better for one second. Relish in the fact that you're a self made person that has gone through tough stuff to be here today & you're better off for it.

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What I want for you is to live life THIS happy knowing that your past, your hometown, your experience have shaped you NOT dictated your life. You have always been and always will be in control of you & your future is so incredibly bright if you allow yourself to see past the dark spots of the past.

I am so humbled and touched when I hear others life stories that put into perspective how good we DO & CAN have it. Please share them with me through email lauren@blissfullylively.com, Instagram DM or contact here on BL.com.

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Also I'm sure you guys are going to ask but this stunning 14k gold & diamond NH necklace makes the perfect thoughtful Holiday gift with your diamond placed in the hometown of whoever you're gifting this too. It is one of my most cherished pieces & can be found at Bellmans Jewelers or by using this link.

xo,

Lauren

What Would You Say To Five Year Old YOU?

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In the BL Virtual Book Club on FB we have been talking about "our mean girl" the little voice inside our head that makes us question and look down upon ourselves every move we make. Do these sound familiar?

I'm so fat
My hair looks so gross
UGH i wish I could just get rid of this extra skin
Omg i'm so stupid
I Can't do that, i'm not XYZ enough
*Insert looking in the mirror & pinching any skin on your body*

I'm sure most if not all we have said to ourselves in a moment of weakness, hard day, normal day even. We see it in the tabloids "get a flatter stomach with this one ab move", the perfectly curated Instagrams of the girls sucking in, holding their breath or manipulating their body via a waist trainer. Or from someone as close to you as your mother, pulling at her wrinkles in the mirror saying "UGH i'm starting to look old, botox is your best friend girls".

We have been flooded with hating out bodies, thinking we're not good enough & treating ourselves poorly since we entered the world...LITERALLY

We say these things without even thinking. When we're feeling low or defeated we resort to name calling ourselves because it's what we've been taught, but i'm here to UNTEACH that philosophy.

I'm also here to tell you, it isn't just you. I'm what some would consider "skinny", "could eat for the rest of my life and never get fat", "NEED A HAMBURGER" "have the perfect body" etc. {No i'm not saying these things to brag, i'm saying them to allow others to understand the severity of this} AND I as well resort to name calling and pinching in the mirror when i'm feeling low.

Why do we do this? BECAUSE IT"S EASY.

It's easier to put yourself down than deal with what's going on in your mind to lift yourself up. It's easier to call yourself names and sit on the couch with some PB cups after a hard day than run yourself a bath, sit there, cry a little and deal with the emotions that are coming up.

So now that we've got it all out there...WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO DO?

WHAT WOULD YOU say to 5 year old you?
blissfully Lively 5 year old you
blissfully Lively 5 year old you

That's the question I want you to think about every single time you resort to picking yourself apart...

Would you call that innocent little girl fat, would you pinch at her skin and tell her she needs to lose some LBS because she's ugly, hideous etc.

I SURE AS HELL HOPE YOU WOULD NOT.

These things we do have become out norm...we say them without even thinking and the best way to stop those old habits dead in their tracks is assign them a buddy. A little something you do or say every single time those bad habits creep in.

This buddy is a question or mantra,

Would I say this to 5 year old me?
Blissfully Lively 5 year old you
Blissfully Lively 5 year old you

Whenever we're breaking habits it's the hardest thing to commit and stick to because we want to revert back to our old ways. When we stop smoking, drinking, eating poorly etc. our little mean girl pops in and says "well I could just have one"...NOPE.

We can't just have one, we can't just say one mean thing to ourselves because it allows us permission to keep doing it...even worse,

IT ALLOWS OTHERS PERMISSION TO KEEP ON DOING IT.

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Draw that line in the sand. For all the moms out there, who do you want your children to grow up to be? What habits do you want them to take with them through life. If we aren't our best selves currently what habits can we adopt to show them we're trying. We all have a starting place, we all have somewhere we come from, a back story, a sob story but how we move through that with grace and teaching lessons is what others will learn.

My most favorite thing when working with clients is asking them what is you why?

Why did you reach out to me...a good majority of them say, ' to get healthier', 'to learn how to eat cleaner' 'to lose weight' 'for my clothes to fit better' etc. in the beginning but what really drops my jaw to the floor and makes me continue doing this client after client is half way through they realize it isn't because they want to go down a jeans size, they want to eat healthier or they want to lose weight, yes those are all reasons, but after thoughts. The real reason is because they want to love themselves, become a better example for their children or best of all, find out who they are.

So now I leave you with this question...

Would you say that to 5 year old you???

xo,

Lauren

Blissed Out Meditation

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Meditate/ noun: to think or focus deeply ones mind for a period of time, in silence or with music as a method of relaxation.

Doesn't that just sound damn peaceful? I give you the definition because many times we think of things that are outside our scope of practice as off limits, too hard to start, or just plain weird {negative, etc.}. But in all honestly it isn't.

It's what we make it out to be. People see meditation as "made for religious people", "too woo-woo", "too time consuming", "too hard to get in to", ETC. Only because we for one don't want to try things that scare us or require time & energy.

& I want to bring you guys wellness tools that I find to work for myself in a digestible way to YOU, so you too can reap the benefits.

I want to change the way we look at some of the more "scary" or "negatively thought about" wellness topics such as meditation, crystals, cupping, ETC. & show you how to do them easily and comfortably in your own home, or with minimal work.

I want to call this new section "The Everyday Girl": outside of the box wellness tools SIMPLIFIED for all of you every day babes that read.

First up, meditation!

BL meditate
BL meditate

I started meditation about a year ago now, and it has become a staple in my morning routine. Just like my mindfulness, I can't start my day without it. It sets the tone for my day like nothing else i've tried, not even a workout, honestly.

Sitting with yourself & getting real with your thoughts...setting an intention is so powerful.

At first when I started I didn't really know where to begin, so I used Gabby Bernsteins recorded meditations to start. I got more comfortable & then just started playing music & focusing on my breathing each morning for 10 minutes. I would breath in & breath out slowly, allowing my mind to stop thinking for just 10 minutes. I would think up an intention for myself or my day such as "bring love to each experience today" and try to calm my mind.

During this meditation is when I came up with the idea for this post or section of the blog. When I realized that I too was one of those people who honestly thought meditation was too "spiritual, too religious" for me {side note: nothing against people who are religious or spiritual, it just isn't my thing, you know}. It was too woo-woo, or out there.

This is when I realized that I want to break down those walls, those barriers for people to experience some of the things they think are out of their comfort zone in an easy and non intimidating way!

How to meditate
Mediate BL
Mediate BL
  1. sit on the floor {or a pillow} in criss cross position with your hands on your knees and your palms facing upward.
  2. Think of your head as extending into the sky, pulling yourself up into proper, natural alignment.
  3. close your eyes or keep a soft gaze ahead & begin focusing on your breath.
  4. Breath in 3 slow counts & out three slow counts.
  5. As you do this, try to stop your brain from producing thoughts.
  6. Try to picture a white wall, a scenic ocean, something that won't provoke thoughts.
  7. Allow thoughts to come in, be aware of them & then release them, always going back to this blank or scenic state.
  8. sit as long as you wish.

You guys will be blown away by the benefits of meditation & I think it's something that's truly one of the most beneficial practices I have added into my daily routine!

If you're one of the BL Newsletter Subscribers then you are going to be getting something extra special & exclusive in your inbox. The first ever BL Meditation Practice. An audio recording of me walking you through your meditation practice one calming step at a time! <3

xo,

Lauren

Hearty & Spicy BL Bison Chili

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Ok so I shared this recipe on Insta Story & it no joke was one of my most engaged with stories so I thought why the heck not bring it to the blog in a more permanent place that you guys can reference whenever you need a quick & healthy recipe to whip up! Fare warning I make my chili overwhelmingly spicy & thick sooo if you aren't into a burning mouth cooool it on the chili powder & jalapeño! Anyway I love all these chili/ soup recipes popping up all over Pinterest now that labor day has passed but I just keep being disappointed, I go to these recipes just to find out they only call for 1 breast of chicken or 1 can of beans...like come on people, I don't want to take the time to make this soup just to be starving an hour after I eat it!!!

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Problem solved, I added in some hearty fiber {all the beans}, some lean protein {bison meat} & some healthy fat {avocado} to make this soup one you will literally die for {& want to make a thousand times because it keeps you full & tastes like heaven}.

Make it, & thank me later!

BL Hearty AF Spicy AF Bison Chili

[amd-yrecipe-recipe:3]

If you guys are in the market for another loaded soup recipe try the chicken tortilla soup!

xo,

Lauren

What is Wellness, Really?

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You guys know my love for making wellness more than just some trendy topic. I love really promoting self care, mindfulness, eating whole foods & moving your body in whatever way that feels good for you. Hello, the 3 pillars of BL {mindfulness, fitness & nutrition}. Recently I've felt like the wellness scene has been bombarded with pretty pictures of your Soul Cycle ride, Sweet Green lunch & adaptogen latte. Which don't get me wrong is amazing for you but what are we doing when the camera is turned off & Instagram isn't our main focus?

Are we continuing to make those gorgeous smoothie bowls at home, getting up an hour early to drive ourselves to the nearest gym & above all else really working through the muck of our own mind to become more mindful & centered as a person?

Well Summit
Well Summit

{P.C. @naturalbeautynaturallife}

I want to think YES we are because you know i'm always on the bright side, but sadly some people are riding this wellness fad until it wears right out. This thought has  made me come to terms with the fact that I need to be more real than ever, letting people see what REAL wellness looks like from the inside out.

One of my favorite resources for this has been retreats or summits that emerse you in a real 360 degree view of wellness from what you're eating to what you're putting on your skin, honestly how you're moving & shaking this worlds wellness views.

Well Summit Blissfully Lively
Well Summit Blissfully Lively

I went to W.E.L.L SummitsBoston Day of Wellness this past spring and really loved learning about the ins and outs of wellness. The maybe not always pretty side of wellness. The thoughts behind fad diets, info on keeping your home chemical free, info on heart disease. The real knowledge we need to be educating ourselves on.

It truly changed my view of wellness from being this pretty, curated surface lifestyle to an all encompassing thing that connects mind, body, & lifestyle choices together.

Honestly, I want to attribute my courage to step into nutrition coaching because of my time at Boston Day of Wellness. I went to a break out session all about fad diets that really struck me to my core.

Anything that challenges your thoughts processes, pushes you out of your comfort zone or allows you to meet people within the community that motivates you is something in my book not worth missing out on!

The W.E.L.L Summit will be having their annual weekend workshop in NYC on November 3rd & 4th. They will be hosting 17 amazing speakers touching on skincare, the practice of yoga, holistic health, gluten free eating, self love, etc. The weekend will consist of many breakout sessions that allow you to feel connected to the speakers, asking questions and really feeling engaged.

BL Wellness
BL Wellness

{P.C. @gurlgonegreen}

To top it all off they will be hosting 30 different vendors that you can browse and learn more about, a manicure bar & kicking off the weekend with a rad AF wellness party!

The pictures of last years W.E.L.L Summit have me so excited to be immersed in all things wellness this fall. Check out W.EL.L Summits website for more details and grab yo self a ticket! You don't want to miss this <3

xo,

Lauren

Three Tips To Make Any Recipe Healthier

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We all have those recipes, Moms chicken picatta, cheese stuffed gnocchi with meat sauce or even a hand-me-down homemade oatmeal cookie peach cobbler recipe that we just can't help but make a few times a year. Well here are a few tips to help you "healthify" those recipes so they can become more of a staple & less of an "only on special occasions" meal.

3 Tips to Make Any Recipe Healthier
Blissfully Lively Recipe Substitution
Blissfully Lively Recipe Substitution
1.Cut out the carbs:
  1. Substitute quinoa for white rice
  2. Substitute zoodles {zucchini noodles} for white pasta
  3. Substitute whole wheat flour of white
2.Cut down the sugar/ fat
  1. Substitute unsweetened apple sauce for sugar: this can be a 1:1 ratio but for every cup of applesauce you use, cut down the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup.
  2. Substitute stevia for white sugar
  3. Substitute cocoa nibs for chocolate chips
  4. Substitute coconut oil/olive oil/ avocado oil for butter
  5. Substitute plain greek yogurt for mayo
BL recipe Substitutions
BL recipe Substitutions
3. Add some veggies/ fruit
  • Substitute lettuce wraps for corn tortillas
  • Substitute spaghetti squash for traditional pasta
  • Substitute kale chips for potato chips
  • Substitute mashed berries for syrup: 1/4 cup of berries, 1 tbsp chia seeds mash together into a delicious sweet syrupy consistency!

I hope this helped you gain some interesting new ways to remake your favorite recipes! & most if not all of these are such a small change that you won't even be able to tell the difference {honestly I know people will gasp but I kinda think I like Zoodles better than PASTA...}. Gasp away, until you try it!!!

xo,

Lauren

Farm Fresh Oatmeal Cookie Peach Cobbler

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If you guys don't know...IT'S PEACH SEASON... Honestly one of my favorite fruit seasons other than apples, oh & strawberries, but maybe blueberries too...OK I LOVE ALL THE FRUITS. I went peach picking this weekend at my aunt and uncles farm...yes the same farm where we had the wedding! Gives me all the feels... if you haven't checked out the wedding posts, go do that now and come on back here after. It's so awesome that I can head to the farm & hand pick the fruit that's going in my recipe. I got a few extra peaches and I'm going to chop, & freeze them for smoothies over the winter. If you're in the market for the perfect smoothie recipes use this one!

Anyway I saw one of my favorite lifestyle bloggers whipping up some peach cobbler a few weeks ago and I new I wanted to bring this recipe to the blog once peach season hit at the farm.

Blissfully Lively Oatmeal Cookie Peach Cobbler
Blissfully Lively Oatmeal Cookie Peach Cobbler

Is there anything better than an ooey-gooey oatmeal chocolate chip cookie topping over a sticky delicious peach mixture & a dollop of vanilla ice cream? Mouth is watering just thinking about it.

If you guys are in the market for a little sweet treat, whip this one up this weekend {but cut the recipe in half as it makes a good amount, & we both know we don't need extra cobbler tempting us for a whole week}.

[amd-yrecipe-recipe:2]

xo,

Lauren

How to Build Your Plate The BL Way

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There are sooo many different diets, fads & "meal plans" out there that restrict, cut out or even eliminate food groups from your diet all together. They create stress around picking foods on the "approved food list" that you feel frustrated and inevitably fall off the prescribed "plan". I want to let you know for one, you're NOT ALONE! & 2 give you some insight into the way I structure meals for my clients to see results and reach their goals of weight loss/ healthy eating. I give to you the BL way to build you plate. Breakfast, lunch and dinner all consist of pretty similar food groups for my clients {and myself included, I can't have them eating a certain way & not follow suit right?}

How to Build Your Plate The BL Way

I try to structure breakfast around healthy fats, proteins, greens, fiber/fruit. I have structured this based around the learnings of Kelly Leveque or @Bewellbykelly. All of the takeways from her book Bodylove rocked my nutrition mind and I did some more research on hunger hormones and limiting carb intake and I loved what I saw. Limiting carb intake in the AM cuts out that spike of blood sugar and crash mid morning resulting in you reaching for carby snacks mid morning. I talked a lot about this in the Good Fats blog post.

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So Breakfast can either consist of a smoothie, or a meal of those amazing 4 ingredients above.

Breakfast looks something like this...

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For a female this would look something like 1 & 1/2 palmfuls of protein, 1 cup of greens, 1/2 cup fruit & 2 tbsp good fats.

A meal example of this would be 3 fried eggs, 1 handful of sautéed spinach, 1/2 banana & 1/4 avocado diced!

Another amazing way to get all of these nutrients in the Am could be through a smoothie which would look something like thing:

1 serving of protein powder

1 tbsp fiber or flax seed/ chia seed

1 tbsp good fat or almond butter/ PB/ Avocado/ coconut oil

1 handful greens or spinach/kale/mixed greens

1/2 cup almond milk to get it all moving

Ice if desired

The goal of a breakfast packed with all these nutrients is to turn off your hunger hormones keeping you full all the way until lunch, no need for a mid morning snack which keeps your blood sugar levels more level, instead of that spike crash we talked about above.

Lunch looks something like this

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Lunch is also based around the good fats, protein & greens/fiber but we add in a bit of carbs for satiety.

So this would look like 1 & 1/2 palmfuls of protein, 2 cups of greens, 1/2 cup carbs & 2 tbsp good fats.

This could be in the form of a salad so 2 cups leafy greens {I really say endless amount of leafy greens if it's over 2 cups, have at it, greens are good for you!} 1 breast of chicken, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, some cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, red pepper, etc. as toppings & 1/4 of an avocado for good fats! Also great fat in an EVOO & balsamic dressing.

Dinner looks pretty similar

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The only thing a little different is we cut out the good fats. 2 servings a day is enough! This could look like something along the lines of 1 1/2 palmfuls of Mahi Mahi, 1/2 cup roasted brussel sprouts & 1/2 cup lemon quinoa.

Pretty simple ways to build your plate you just need to find foods within each group that you love and want to incorporate into your daily meals!

The number one thing I try to tell clients in order for them to work up to eating like this each and every day is START SMALL. Try only changing up your breakfasts each morning. Try starting your morning with a protein, fats, fiber, greens/ fruit breakfast or smoothie and go from there!

I hope this helped some of you who are struggling with portion sizes, fad diets or yo-yoing. Please let me know if you need any more help building your plate or someone to hold you accountable, I am always taking new one-on-one nutrition clients! For more info contact me here <3

xo,

Lauren

What's All the Hype About Bulletproof Coffee?

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You guys have seen me drinking frothy AF homemade elevated Tea on Instagram day in and day out after meditation/mindfulness practice and have most definitely heard about the hype that is bulletproof, so I thought I would break it all down for you today with a little info & a recipe for you to give it a go!

What is Bulletproof Coffee?

Ok, so Bulletproof is actually a brand started by Dave Asprey basically a wellness entrepreneur who has created supplements, books & a brand off of his eating style of choice...the Bulletproof way.

He describes it as the "low inflammatory protocol, for hunger free, rapid weight loss & peak performance lifestyle".

It essentially cuts out inflammatory foods, breakfast & toxins from your body. He used this style of eating to lose 100 lbs in his 20's and feel/ look great. You can learn more about it on his website.

While I don't adopt his lifestyle or eating habits I do believe in the benefits of adding a bulletproof coffee/tea to start your day.

So now what is it?

BL Bulletproof Coffee
BL Bulletproof Coffee

The Trademarked name Bulletproof coffee is specifically Brain Octane or {MCT oil}, roasted Bulletproof Coffee Beans & Ghee Butter.

But the BL way is...

Your normal coffee or tea, elevated! Adding a scoop of grass fed butter or coconut oil & {my fav} almond milk creamer to the mix & blending it up into frothy goodness. There are many different  recipes but the BL way is a serving of coffee/tea with an added boost of healthy fats such as coconut oil, grass fed butter, MCT Oil etc.

What are the benefits?

Adding any type of good fat to your coffee boasts some serious benefits. My most favorite, it keeps your hunger hormones {such as Ghrelin the hormone your body releases when it's hungry & CCK the hormone your body releases when it's full} at bay while simultaneously slowly the release of caffeine into your system.

We all know those days where we skip breakfast grab our coffee and head out the door to work only to realize 2 hours later we haven't eaten, we're starving and shaking from the caffeine high.

This combination completely takes care of that. The good fats slow down the release of caffeine into your system never giving you that high and then crash sort of feeling. You feel much more level, energized but calm & can wait a bit longer to eat breakfast each morning.

I actually have one of my nutrition clients on a daily coconut oil coffee mix each morning as she dislikes eating super early but wants to work out in the Am. She has her bulletproof coffee, gets her workout on & then fuels with some breakfast once she feels more ready to eat.

Another benefit that has really helped me is in the digestion department. Adding these good fats to your morning coffee can increase the bodies digestion of fat-soluble vitamins and make bowel movements much easier. TMI but you guys know I want to give you all the details to make an educated decision for yourself!

BL Bulletproof Coffee
BL Bulletproof Coffee
BL Coffee/Tea Elevated
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup coffee/ 1 cup black/chai tea, steeped
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil/ MCT oil
  • 1 tbsp almond milk creamer
Directions:
  1. Steep tea/ coffee until desired taste
  2. Add coffee/tea 1tbsp coconut oil & 1 tbsp almond milk creamer to blender.
  3. Blend until smooth, top w/ cinnamon if desired.
  4. Enjoy!

I hope this article helped you learn a little more about my BL Elevated Coffee & why I choose to drink it ever morning! Let me know if you have any questions babes <3

xo,

Lauren