F.I.N.A.N.C.E.S

Hello readers! I feel like I started this blog with a mission and I have somehow dropped the ball with that mission! So sorry! I think the one thing that really put a dent in this mission of making blog posts at least once a week to help and encourage others in life is that I didn’t realize how bad of a writer I can be at times. I mean, there is so much I want to share and say but the hard part is finding the time and then actually putting it on paper in a way that actually attracts readers can be quite difficult. Several months ago, I decided that it would be pretty cool to start a vlog since I am pretty good in front of camera but then never got to it after looking at the price of the camera that I would need. One day. One day, you guys.  I still plan on doing the vlog but for now that adventure will be placed on hold until I can get a good deal on my camera.

I named todays blog post finances because admittedly I have dropped the ball in this area as well. So I have to rewind and get back on track with this. Is it me or is everything, EVERYTHING so expensive nowadays?! I mean, seriously. Everything costs so much. I don’t know if any of you follow Dave Ramsey on social media but if you don’t, you should. He focuses on getting out of debt and is always giving strategies in how to do just that. I obviously need to refocus and go back and read some of his advice because I have been on a spending kick. I need to revamp by budget and figure out a way to SAVE more money. I have come up with a few things in how to do this but I don’t know how well that will go. If you have any suggestions or know of a blog that can help me in this area, please comment and share! I am willing to read anything at this point to make me more successful in this area. Please share any books as well.

So these are the things that I have come up with so far to help me in my new journey:

  1. Coupon more. Especially digital coupons.
  2. Only buy sale items. Do not pay full price for an item.
  3. Cook more. Yup, I eat out way too much.
  4. Less alcohol. My wallet says I shouldn’t be spending $10.00 on a margarita.
  5. Spend money less on nails and hair (this is only until I can get at a comfortable finance situation).
  6. Cut Starbucks to at least once a week.
  7. Stop charging my credit cards ( I am typically pretty good at paying some things by end of month but here lately, I have been splurging).
  8. Figure out a new way to bring in money. I have actually come up with an idea for this but I want to keep that on a hush, hush for now. So excited though.

Do I think these things are achievable?! Of course but the actual steps that will need to be taken to accomplish these goals are going to be hard. Right now my main focus is fitness and eating better. It has been this way for the past several months. Finances is going to have to start being up with the other two goals. So I am going to try to incorporate all three on a weekly basis. Wish me luck. Lets see how this goes!

Vacation for me is next week so I plan to go and relax on my vacay but when I come back, I will attack those goals. I hope everyone is having a great summer and if you have any advice, please let me know!

Step Challenge Adventure

Several months ago I decided to embark on a new journey, what I like to call “the step challenge adventure”. I had made a post on Facebook about wanting to head or form a challenge that involved some form of physical activity that would motivate me and my friends to exercise more. The idea was that sometimes we all need a little push or a reason to actually get out there and do something. So after making my post and several suggestions later, I came up with the step challenge. I researched different apps that were being used for step counting and discovered StrideKick. It is a pretty cool little app. It allows you to create a challenge on there. I quickly asked a few of my friends to join and had them download the app and we started on May 1st. That was the first challenge that ran and it was a true success.

I am now on my third challenge. The July Challenge and it started today. I named it The HOTTTT Steppers. It consists of 10 girls all trying to beat one another. Everyone paid $20 to be included in the challenge and at the end of the challenge there will be three winners. The first place gets $120.00. The second place gets $50.00 and the third place gets $30.00. I won first place in May and June. This month, I am stepping aside to give the other girls an opportunity to win. Every month, it is a different group of girls. Most of them are my friends but some of them are friends of friends. A couple of them have participated in every one of the challenges. The May Challenge consisted of a lot of kickass steppers and although it was fun, it was a major challenge. The numbers got into the 700,000 plus. I ended up with a total of 781,463 steps for the whole month. Second place ended up with 780,623 and third place ended up with 774, 810. Yup, we were on fire! An added plus was that all three of us slimmed up and achieved weight loss. The June Challenge was a little less crazy because a lot of girls were doing the minimal. First place ended up with 606,073 steps, second place with 551,962 steps, and third place with 378.113. We all agreed that we wouldn’t have been able to get moving that much without the challenge. Today is the first day of the July Challenge and it is already going strong and it is only day 1.

I am impressed with the outcome of these challenges. It keeps me and all others involved motivated and dedicated. I never thought that my little adventure would be this successful. It has taught me so much and most importantly it has allowed me to see that a lot of times we limit ourselves with so much. We have the potential to do so many things. If we push ourselves, the sky is the limit. Who would have thought that I could wake up at 6 am and do 2-3 miles before work with an added workout session at lunch and an after work walk. I sure didn’t think I could do it but I did! I walked 65,000 steps in one day on the last day of the May Challenge. That is a lot and I don’t suggest doing that much but I really wanted to win! hahaha.

It is going to be hard to stay motivated even though I am not participating in this month’s challenge. I kind of regret it now but its okay. I can follow the challenge and push them to do more. I am thinking of doing a challenge of my own where I challenge myself. My goal for this month is to do anywhere from 10,000 steps to 15,000 steps on a daily basis. No excuses. That is very doable and if I can do more, I will do more. My 2019 fitness journey so far is kicking butt and I am so proud of myself! I hope all of you find your own way of staying motivated! Goodluck!

 

I kicked the “no-alcohol challenge” in the butt!

On Tuesday of this week, I completed my 30-day challenge of no drinking, of absolutely zero alcohol for a whole month. Ya’ll, I still cannot believe that I did it! I am super proud of myself and mainly because I proved to myself that I can do anything if I really set my mind on it. I learned a lot about myself during this 30 day sober period. I had started to use alcohol as an outlet for pain and for sadness. I don’t want that for myself. I want to have a drink or two to celebrate but that’s about it. I have decided that I don’t really even have to have it to have fun.

Okay, so what really helped me to accomplish this goal of no alcoholic beverages for 30 days was mainly changing my environment, people and places. I distanced myself from all individuals that might influence me to drink. Now, I am by no means saying that people that drink are bad influences, I just mean that if they are having a yummy drink that looks so good, then that will influence me in itself.  Why put myself there if I know how bad that temptation would be for me. Another thing was avoiding places.  I avoided places that served the best drinks and opted for places that typically were a no-drink zone for me. I still had a few instances where I would still meet up with family or friends at a bar but I made sure to tell them beforehand that I was not drinking and most of them decided to be supportive. For those instances I ordered a Diet Coke because water did not cut it. As a matter of fact, there was even one time that the individual that I met up for dinner decided to not drink and we both had water that night. I quickly told that they didn’t have to do that but they said it was okay and that they wanted to be supportive. There was one occasion that I can remember where everyone at the table had an alcoholic drink and they all looked so good but I was able to say “no, thank you”. The hardest time during the whole month of this challenge was at the very beginning of the month. Adjusting my schedule and saying no to many outings was not easy. Once I made the half-way point, I was like oh yeah, I have to stay sober now. I kept telling myself, “I can do this. I am half-way done”. Ya’ll it is two days into the month of May and I have yet to have a drink. Wow. Just wow.

The best part of the 30 day challenge was the change that I started seeing in my body. Of course, I am exercising and eating better as well but I do think that avoiding beer has definitely helped me lose the weight even faster than I would have lost it continuing to drink the same. I have slimmed down quite a bit. I don’t know how many inches but I was in a size 16 and I fit in a 14 now. At the beginning of April I weighed around 215 pounds. Today, I weigh 207 pounds. That is 8 pounds lost just this month. Now, I can’t attribute most of that weight-loss to avoiding alcohol but what I can say is that I have worked out and eaten healthy before without leaving the alcohol out and the results were not as strong. This goes to show you that alcohol really does set back your fitness goals. If you are eating healthier and exercising and still not seeing results, try to take the beer or sugary drinks out of the equation and see what happens. I bet that you will lose some weight.

Anyway, this challenge was a tough one you guys! It took a lot of determination and effort! If you decide to do it make sure that you track your days and make sure that you eliminate your temptations or triggers. Once you figure out your triggers, you can find a solution or a replacement. Some people literally just drink because they are bored. So get busy and you won’t have to drink! Please see my 30 day tracking calendar below that I used during my challenge. I got it online somewhere. Happy Thursday! Thanks for reading!

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I am not boring!

This weekend has got to have been one of the toughest weekends yet to get through since starting my fitness journey this year. I think this has a lot to do with the addition of going 30 days with no alcohol that I began on April 1st. I have been called all sorts of names by friends and family. My favorite are “boring” and “party pooper”! I feel offended. I am not boring just because I don’t have a cocktail in my hand! I have people telling me that one drink will not hurt me and telling me to just have one. Just one.  Talking about peer pressure at its finest! I have even been told that I am no longer “fun”. It really has astonished me how quickly others are to talk down on you just because  you are trying to do better for yourself. It is as if being socially acceptable only includes fun which is drinks and eating to your greatest desires. Peer pressure is hard. Super hard.

So overall the exercise and eating better is going pretty good for me. It is almost natural now for me to got to the gym during my lunch hour. It is also almost natural for me to pick a “healthier” food option for lunch. I eat one cheat meal during the week and I have a good unhealthy meal during the weekend. The food prepping is still hard but I do more than what I have done in the past. Right now I am sticking to easy meals but I really want to get creative with this. I found out recently that red meat is not my favorite meat. I prefer chicken and fish so I am probably going to stick to those for now. I love mixing sausage and veggies. It is so much easier to cook it up on Sunday and have several meals for the week versus trying to figure out meals day by day. As an example, Sunday I failed to do my regular food prep so here I am trying to figure out what will be my lunch meals for the next few days. Today, I chose to go with a sandwich. Tomorrow, I plan to eat tuna fish and avocado. On Wednesday probably some chicken and veggies. On Thursday probably more tuna. Friday will be my cheat meal. For dinner, I will probably make some eggs and sausage. Or some eggs and chorizo. I will have to come up with something healthy.

Anyway, ya’ll this is hard. The effort. The comments. The everything. But I am here to tell you that things will get better. Keep on working. I am frustrated. I am tired but I will not give up. Also, don’t forget that this is about you. This is your journey. This is your life. I am doing it for the health and the ooooo and ahhhhhhs. What are you doing it for? Lets get it!

Track your workouts!!!

In February, I started doing this thing that has really helped me out in organizing and keeping myself motivated. I saw that one of my sorority sisters, Vanessa (follow her at: https://instagram.com/_life_with_nessa_?utm_source=ig_profile_share&igshid=1999q233ho4eg), was tracking her workouts by putting emojis on a calendar and sharing it on her Instagram story. I wanted to ask her so bad how she was doing it because my iPhone wasn’t allowing me to add stickers or emojis to a downloaded calendar. But I had already bothered her with other stuff so I just tried to figure it out myself.

So, I went on Pinterest and downloaded a 2019 March Calendar and then added it to my story on Instagram and added an emoji sticker to it. Since it was March, I used a cloverleaf sticker to mark a successful workout. I then saved it and would do this every time I completed a workout. Here is the completed product.

As you can see I worked out a total of 16 days the whole month! It might not seem like a lot but it is for me. This month I plan to do at least 20 workouts!

Anyway, this gives me a visual of what I was able to accomplish for the month and where I can do better; like weekends for example. I slacked big time on weekends for the month of March. I plan on doing better.

So document! Document! Document! It doesn’t have to be boring! Do it in a pretty way like me! For the month of April I am using Easter eggs! Take a look:

I am always trying to find new ways to make this fitness journey easier. Hope this works for you too. Good luck!

No alcohol. For 30 days. It’s a challenge.

Ya’ll, today I got a crazy idea! I want to do a 30 day challenge of no drinking! I have tried numerous of times to go sober for at least 30 days and guess what!? I always quit or give up. I go out to eat with a friend and they order one of those cute margaritas and then bam, I change my mind. I say, “I can start next week”. And then next week never comes. This time I am determined. I want to demonstrate to myself and others that I don’t need alcohol to feel better or to have fun.

Truth be told, I consume alcohol way less than what I have done in the past but I still drink a margarita or two at least once a week. Just a few months ago, I was drinking three or four Micheladas a week. Yes. You read that right. A week. And sometimes I would add some Mimosas. I think what really bothers me about my alcohol consumption is that I seem to have this lack of self-control in completely giving it up and I ask myself but why. Why is it so hard. My family plays around with me and say, “MUST you have a drink every time we go out to eat”. Well first of all, I only have one margarita when we do go out to eat but most of the time it is when we are celebrating something. I mean what if they are right though. Must I drink. Can I do without I? I always laugh it off and say “uh no, I don’t need it”. The reality of the situation is that obviously I feel like I need it or I would not be ordering it.

Anyway, for the past couple of months I’ve been toying with the idea of giving up alcoholic beverages completely but then I ask myself why. Why give it up completely? You are not an alcoholic, I tell myself. I mean I could just socially drink, right? So this brings me to the reasons for even thinking about this. I feel like alcohol is preventing me from accomplishing my fitness goals. I feel like alcohol is keeping me from saving more money. I feel like alcohol is messing with my physical and emotional health. Writing this out and seeing it really brings out the BIG WHY I want to make changes in my life where alcohol is involved. I have to do something.

Months ago I had a scary moment. I was out of town and my drinking got a little out of control. Nothing bad happened but I had consumed so much alcohol that I remembered very little of that night. That was a scary feeling. I told myself that I could not do that again. I have always acted responsively when drinking and it scared me that it is that easy for things to get out of control. So this is yet another reason to make changes.

So I have decided to do 30 days of no alcohol during the month of April. I will start on the 1st and this time there will be no quitting. I plan to be successful and I hope that I can learn a few things along the way. On the first of May, I will make a post about how I feel and if I plan on doing another 30 days soon after. Anyway, thanks for reading! Happy Wednesday!

Your feelings are important.

This post is about love & respect within relationships. I want to tell you ladies something very important, trust your gut and trust your feelings. If something doesn’t feel right, speak up and stand your ground on things that are important to you. If you don’t like something, say it. If you don’t agree with something, say it. Stop being naïve and allowing others to dictate what is right or wrong for you. Also, don’t forget that we all come from different backgrounds and we all have different values.

I have always battled with self-love. That has never been a secret. I am also a victim of abuse. I have been pretty open about it and because of it, I have different insecurities and problems with self-esteem. I have surpassed a lot of them but something always comes up. Because of this, I have settled many times in many areas of my life. For example, in relationships, I put up with stuff that should never be tolerated or accepted.

Today, I want to touch on the subject of respect within a relationship. Think of the word respect. What does that mean for you? To me it means respecting my boundaries, my feelings. I have every right to feel hurt. To feel offended. As an example,  I have the right to tell my partner that I feel hurt that he is looking at other women  when I am right there with him. I have every right to tell my partner that I feel disrespected if he is following something that I find inappropriate. Now, I know I have no control of what he does with what I tell him. Ultimately, I can’t make him stop doing whatever he is doing. He is allowed to do what he wants, right? But ladies, listen carefully, that doesn’t mean that you have to be okay with it. If he chooses to continue to do what is not making you feel respected or loved, then he is showing you just how much he cares about your feelings. He is giving you a clear picture of how he handles something that affects you.

This is the way that I look at things now. Don’t allow your partner to tell you that you are wrong for feeling a certain way about something that is important to you. Each of our individual boundaries and the way we each view respect are all very different and that is okay. What is not okay is for your partner to tell you that you are wrong for what you believe and feel.  Don’t forget, your feelings are important. Hope you liked this read. Now tell me what is your take on this? Please comment below.