Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Happy Thursday bloggers! It has been disgustingly hot here in Maryland which means bad hair days (for me at least!) Having extremely thick hair does not always work out in my favor! I have been trying to keep up with the bad weather going on in the Midwest/south. I have already donated many items to the Red Cross and have been sending prayers and thoughts to everyone I know down there.

Last night I had a "Girls Night Out" with some friends in Fells Point- amazing time! We wanted to start the summer off on the right foot so we headed to The Red Star in Fells Point for their $5 Martini night. It was nice to have girl talk and dodge rude guys.

Kind of small but you get the picture (no pun intended!)

This week I wanted to highlight the next ingredient/nutrient on my list:


  • A group of enzymes that function is to breakdown sugar and starch.
  • It digests carbohydrates units, eventually converting them into sugar. 
  • Can be used as an anti-inflammatory!
  • It is present in your saliva!
  • Made in your body by the pancreas!

I also wanted to give a shout out to some amazing giveaways some of your fellow bloggers are having:

Courtney at Sweet Tooth Sweet Life is giving away a $10 to 2 lucky winners to use for Goji cookies! Hurry! It ends today!

Beth at Beth's Journey is giving away a freebie swag bag of things she picked up from the Fitbloggin Convention last weekend!

Amanda at Eats, Love, and Happiness is giving away a "I<3 DC" running tshirt! Who doesn't love DC and running??

Good luck if you choose to enter!

I hope you all are enjoying your day and your week is going by quickly!

What is everyone doing for the holiday weekend?? Are you going to enter the giveaways??

*\o/* This is my "cheerleader" and she is sending all of you positive thoughts and energy to be able to get through the rest of the week with poise, happiness, and a sense of accomplishment...and of course...on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Wow! What a weekend- filled and jammed pack with lots of fun activities! I hope yours was as adventurous and "one for the books" as mine was!

Thursday and Friday night were spent in downtown Baltimore, bartending and hanging out. Always fun!

I haven't had my hair THIS curly in a while! Thank you genetics!

Friday it was determined that Megan won my first giveaway! I am so excited as I love reading her posts on twitter and her blog! Congrats Megan and I hope you enjoy your Maryland Health Basket!

Put all "contestants" in a pot and drew a name!

Yesterday was a little thing called Wine in the Woods in Columbia (which is about 10 minutes from me). It is just a wine festival and a chance for people to come taste different vendors and types of wine, eat, enjoy live music, and have good times with friends. A couple girlfriends of mine and I had a blast! The gorgeous weather helped too!

Today was what I have been waiting for for months! WARRIOR DASH!! I signed up in February or March and have been anxiously awaiting this day!

The Warrior Dash is a 5k obstacle course run (sometimes a little longer in some locations) including climbing walls, jumping over fire, dodging tires, and swimming through mud. It is a great time had by all complete with giant turkey legs, bbq, and beer. To see if the Warrior Dash comes to a town near you, visit their website!

Our matching shirts that I tye-dyed! Complete with matching softball socks!
They turned out great!

For my pre-Dash meal, I knew I would need energy and lots of it (I was up at 5:45am to be at the location and in line for my wave at 9am!). So I made some Quaker Oats oatmeal (with skim milk), squirted some honey on top and dropped some rasp/blackberries in there. I then had some Chobani vanilla yogurt with almond/honey granola and some banana slices on top. Yum!

After we finished our 5k, us girls were EXHAUSTED and DISGUSTING! The course also tore my knees up!! I am sure I will be finding scratches and bruises for a couple days-But it was all worth it! Next stop? Beach Palooza!!

Definition of the day!

Lauren and I right after our run- next year we are diving in the mud!

Ok so I know I said I was going to create "Spotlight Saturday" but it also goes if I do "Spotlight Sunday" this week right?? This week I am showcasing Carrie! She always has sweet things to say to me and we have a lot in common. She agreed to share her amazing story so enjoy! :

Hi bloggers and readers. My name is Carrie and I was asked to be a guest blogger. Thank you to Sarah for allowing me to do this.

(Doesn't she look amazing??)

I started blogging a couple months ago and started doing project 365. I was really good with it for the first couple of weeks, but then I guess life took over and I would forget to post. I then decided to go in a new direction and talk about my passion and journey with fitness and nutrition.

I've always struggled with my weight ever since I can remember. In high school I was overweight (the worst years to be overweight), and right after I graduated I decided to lose weight. Growing up, my family didn't always cook healthy meals. My dad only liked potatoes, meat, and bread. So that is what we would usually have for dinner all the time. Those bad habits carried over until I decided to learn how to eat right. My mom was on Weight Watchers toward the end of my high school years, so I just would watch what she ate and kind of ate the same things. I also started exercising. 

In three months, I went from a size 12 to a size 6. I felt so great about myself. I somehow maintained that weight for the next 4-5 years. But I still didn't really know what foods were good for you and what weren't. I thought if it said low fat or fat free well by all means! It was good for you. Little did I realize the other things they put into it to make it low fat or fat free.

The next five years I wanted to lose more weight so I would eat as little as possible. I love food but I have very good will power when it comes to it. I lost weight but I also did the yo-yo dieting. I would eat a lot one week and then practically starve myself the next. I didn't exercise. I just thought I can eat very little and I'll be able to lose the weight. I also had a couple of hard break-ups in between that time and when that happened, I just wouldn't eat at all.

I managed to get down to a size 0. My family was a little concerned and thought I was anorexic, but I would tell them I was eating. I wasn't anorexic.

Well, when I turned 30, my metabolism changed. It was so easy for me to lose the weight back then, but now it's something I have to work at.

I knew someone who ate organic and natural foods. He introduced me to to a lot of different types of food. I started experiementing with different types of vegetables, recipes, and foods. I started trying new things that that I hadn't had before. I also started exercising again.

I maintained my weight of a size 0 for about a year and a half. I had so much energy, my skin looked great, and I felt great. About a year ago, I made a major change in my life and moved from Texas to Colorado by myself. Well, my best friend was up here. I was looking for a job for months and I was getting depressed. Within two months, I was back to what I was in high school. I pulled myself together after I found a job, decided to lose the weight again, and transform my body.

Currently, I am not a size 0, but I have lost 20 pounds and feel great. I realize you have to eat right and exercise. You can't just do one or the other. They go hand in hand.

You can read my blog here!

*Thank you so much Carrie!*

What did you do this weekend? What is your "Breakfast of Champions?" Would you ever try the Warrior Dash??

I hope you all check back later this week for the next ingredient/nutrient showcase! I wish you determination, strength, and confidence to get through another week...on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time." -Abraham Lincoln

Oh my gosh bloggers. I am super excited to write this post...and it's even a gloomy day outside! In light of Sam sharing her guest post on my page (Thanks so much Sam! ) I have decided to make it a weekly occurance (hopefully!) Every Saturday I will be holding "Spotlight Saturday" where one follower or one other blogger will have a chance to show their stuff to all of you! It will be a way for you all to experience other people's perspectives without flipping through pages looking for someone else's opinions or ideas! Check back later this week for my next spotlight blogger! 

It is a new week which means another highlighted ingredient:

Gingko Powder

Have you ever found your legs, feet, hands, etc. falling asleep or getting numb/tingly, especially after a workout?? Well, look no further! This powder helps maintain blood circulation in the peripheral areas of the body such as legs, hands, and feet.

It also stimulates the metabolism of fats and acts as an anti-oxidant. (Take that, fats!!)

Gingko leaf tea was also used to enhance a clear mind and improve the power of concentration. (Where has this been during nursing school?!)

It is the oldest living species of plant on the earth, dating backmore than 225 million years!!

It is an approved therapy for the treatment of memory loss in conditions such as Alzheimer's, ringing in the ears, and dizziness.

Wow! Who knew?! Do any of you take gingko powder or know that it's in your multi-vitamin/protein shakes??

Ok so as excited as I am about this, I am also very nervous to announce that today is MY FIRST GIVEAWAY!!

That's right bloggers! I am giving away what I am calling my "Maryland Health Basket." In it includes:

  • A reusable Maryland bag (I use these when I grocery shop- saves on paper and plastic!)
  • A longsleeve University of Maryland tshirt! (My whole family went there so it's where my heart is- Go Terps!)
  • A box of Mango Black Tea and a jar of Mango butter from Trader Joes! (I love drinking hot tea before I go to bed and the Mango butter I love to put on whole wheat toast as a snack or even breakfast with some Chobani!)
  • A box of Old Bay seasoning! (A true Maryland staple! Mix it with some steamed shrimp or as a spicy marinade for chicken! Yum!)
  • 2 Larabars!
  • 2 kinds of veggies for your garden! (And some of my favorite summer veggies: squash and snow peas!)
  • 1 sample packet of Shakeology-Greenberry! I am throwing in the recipes too so you know how to make your favorite shake!
  • Plus there might be a couple more surprises in there!

To enter yourself you can do one or all of the following:

1. Follow my blog!
2. Comment on here and tell me some of your favorite "bedtime" drinks/snack!
3. Follow me on twitter!
4. Blog about my giveaway!
5. Tweet the giveaway, "Get a taste of Maryland and more! @i_will_overcome is having her first giveaway!"

The deadline is this Friday at 5pm. A winner will be picked at random and notified by 10pm! Good luck!

What are some of your favorite bedtime snacks/drinks? What do you think about "Spotlight Saturday" and would you ever want to do one on my page??

Keep up all that hard work everyone! Summertime is just around the corner! I hope you can enjoy it...on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

“What is uttered from the heart alone, Will win the hearts of others to your own.” - Johann Wolgang von Goethe

Happy Saturday bloggers! I hope you all are enjoying the weekend so far! I realized that this weekend was the 2011 fitbloggin convention in Baltimore and am totally bummed I could not make it. I expect full details ladies when you all return!

As I sit with nothing to do on this rainy Saturday (which NEVER happens! I should be studying for my Peds final on Tuesday...hmmm...) I get an email/twitter post from Sam with her first and my first guest blog post! I am so excited to share it with all of you! She is so fun, spirited, and has been one of my favorite connections on twitter! Enjoy!

Hello! My name is Sam, and I blog over at Living with Grace I actually just began blogging a few months ago, and since then, an entirely new world has opened up for me! Sarah was one of the first people that I became connected with on twitter and she has also been one of my favorite followers, always providing me with comments and input that I absolutely love! When she asked me to do a guest post for her I practically peed my pants I was so happy! (If you can’t tell, I like sarcasm.)

When I started my blog, I assumed that I would just write about my day-to-day life, including it’s conflicts and struggles. Okay, so to be completely honest, I didn’t have a clue what my blogger identity would be! After turning to twitter and connecting with many other bloggers, I realized what my interests were, and what part(s) of my life that I wanted to share with everyone. I concluded that I really wanted to focus on fun, fitness, and most importantly, FOOD!

With that being said, today I wanted to share with you all how to be able to enjoy all of life’s indulgences, while still being happy and healthy! Healthy?? (Yeah, I said it!)
Coming from a family with a history of heart problems, and also being someone who has also had their share of chunkier days, I know how important it is to maintain a balanced, healthy diet.

Does this mean that I count my calories and have staring contests with cupcakes? Absolutely not! What fun is life without a sweet tooth? Or a carb craze? It’s not! And there isn’t one ounce of me that wants to give those things up. Trust me, I could live off of queso and guacamole. But, does that mean that I eat crap for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Nope! So what does it mean? It means that I find ways to “healthify” recipes to make them just as delicious as the “real deal”-- you know, those things packed with fat and processed corn and sugar. (Personally, that doesn’t sound very “real” to me.)

Recently both my father and grandfather (who are not blood-related), have experienced heart issues. Ironically, they had the same procedure done, where stents were put into two different arteries in their hearts. Even more ironically, this all happened within 2 weeks of one another. Pretty much, I wanted to curl into a ball and make it all go away. But I couldn’t. So I put on my big girl pants and got real. My entire family knew from that moment on, our lifestyles were going to change.

While I was still a bit shaken by everything going on, my family members turned to me for some healthy recipes. My grandfather is an oatmeal cookie lover! While his diet is rather well balanced, he has been poisoning (yes, poisoning) his body with processed, store-brand junk cookies. With the encouragement of my aunt, I put together a simple, quick, and easy recipe that anybody can modify and make!

Looks good, huh? ;-)

Healthified Oatmeal Cookies½ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
¼ cup raw walnut pieces
¼ cup raw almond slivers
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup skim milk
1 banana
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine and stir all ingredients together, until mixed well. Roll into ball in hand (yes, this will be messy) and flatten on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and enjoy!

I’m serious when I say these babies are awesome! Yeah, there is some butter and chocolate chips in them, but so what? Moderation is all that matters, and this recipe can easily be modified. Try adding nut butter in place of regular butter, add different fruits, nuts, or any other goodies to satisfy your craving!

How could you not want to eat that ooey-gooey goodness?
See, this just goes to show you don’t have to miss out on all of the yumminess that life has to offer in order to stay healthy and fit! I hope you all enjoy this recipe, and I hope even more that I can inspire at least one person to venture out and try new ways of cooking and baking!

If you’re interested in other tips and tricks, or have suggestions and questions, please stop by my blog!

Hope to see all of your healthy, happy faces soon!

Thanks so much Sam! You always know how to put a smile on my face daily!

Everyone should check back early next week for my first giveaway!

What is everyone doing for the weekend? Cookouts? Hike? Night on the town? Or simply just living your own special lives...on your own two feet...?

Until the next step bloggers...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

“Don’t dig your grave with your own knife and fork.” ~ English Proverb

Ok bloggers...I have decided to try to blog more often about staying fit, eating right, and living your life on our own two feet (by request)! So I have decided to write about ingredients that some of you all may or may not have in your protein powders/shakes. Knowing your ingredients and how much you are getting daily (especially if you take a multivitamin) is crucial in your weight loss/toning up journey. After all, they tell us everything that goes into our body needs to have a purpose- problem solved!

For example, did you know that too much Vitamin A is actually toxic and can be deadly? Polar bear liver is a HUGE source of Vitamin A (not that anyone eats it...). It's such a big source of VitA that eating it will kill you. Yikes!

Therefore, every week, I will be featuring a different ingredient that you may or may not have heard of. Hopefully, some of you will get more educated about the minerals and nutrients you put into your body!

This week's spotlight goes to.........drumroll......

Apple Pectin Powder

This is a water-soluble fiber that is helpful in removing cholesterol out of the intestines and delays glucose absorption. It is VERY BIG in being a digestive aid {which is very important in maintaining a healthy body weight!} It wears many faces, however, and also plays the role of antioxidant and detoxifier.

The pectin in apples transforms into a soothing coating for the intestines by intestinal bacteria, which soothes stomach cramps!

A recent study also hinted that pectin may stop cancer from spreading throughout the body, binding to certain carcinogenic compounds in the colon and speeds their elimination from the body!

Apple pectin reduces blood sugar levels in diabetics!

By now, most of us know what we should be eating—fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and fish, among other foods. But anyone heading off to the supermarket with a shopping list of the best recommendations for a healthy diet is in for a bit of sticker shock. Over a 2-year period, a recent study tracked the costs of "nutrient-dense" foods (foods high in vitamins and minerals and low in calories) and "energy-dense" foods (foods high in calories and low in vitamins and minerals—aka junk). The nutrient-dense foods rose in cost by almost 20% while the cost of junk food declined. The study found that getting your average day's worth of 2,000 calories from the junk side cost $3.52, while getting your 2,000 calories' worth from nutrient-dense munchies would cost $36.32. Since the average American spends about $7.00 a day on food, you can see where the rise in obesity might come from. Ugh! It is possible, however, to eat healthily and still have some $$$ left over. Even on the tightest budget, you can do a little research to make the most nutritious choices for you. Here are nine tips to get the most nutritional bang for your buck:

1. 'Tis the Season

Eating seasonally is the best way to get the most delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. When harvest time comes around for your favorite fruit or veggie, the market is usually glutted, and following the time-honored supply-and-demand curve, the prices of those fruits and veggies plummet. If you're fortunate enough to live in a community with a decent farmers' market, it pays to get to know the men and women who are selling the produce. They can let you know when the best time to buy the best stuff is and give you a preview of what's coming up harvest-wise so you can plan your menu accordingly.

{Some Summer in season fruits/veggies include: apricots, avocados, basil, black/blue/rasp/strawberries, figs, carrots, zucchini, peaches, okra, plums, spinach, melons, lemongrass, peas, corn, cucumbers, and mangoes!} 

2. The Big Freeze

Not only are frozen and canned foods way cheaper than fresh foods, in many cases, they're more nutritious. Fruits and vegetables are usually preserved within hours of harvest, when they have their maximum vitamins and minerals. Fresh fruits and vegetables can take days, or even weeks, to make the journey from the field to your table. Add to that any time spent lingering on supermarket shelves and in your fridge's crisper drawer, and suddenly fresh doesn't seem so fresh anymore. The only thing to be wary of is the sodium and sugar content in many canned goods, or frozen veggies that come with high-calorie sauces or other not-so-healthy ingredients in not-so-healthy amounts.

3. Shop Around

Check out the supermarket circulars that keep getting stuffed into your mailbox. Every week, your supermarket advertises "loss leaders," including fruits, veggies, lean meats, and fish. Their hope is to lure you into the store with these bargains that they don't make so much money on and tempt you to buy extra high-profit stuff while you're there. But if you stick to your list, you can fill your cart with the loss leaders and save a ton of money. Plus they'll usually be items that are in season, because these are cheaper for the store to buy. Also, signing up for your supermarket's club or rewards cards can help save you money. It's better to monitor sales and promotions rather than clipping coupons, because coupons generally apply to processed, less healthy foods, although you can sometimes find good coupons for canned and frozen produce.

4. Get to know your grocer.

Find out on which day produce is delivered to the store, so you get maximum freshness for your dollar. Ask the store's butcher how soon before the printed expiration date they place meat, poultry, and fish on the "buy it fast!" discount shelf. Another tip? Many butchers will custom-grind for you at no additional charge. If a package of factory-ground turkey breast costs $6.00 a pound and a whole turkey breast costs $2.00 a pound, why not buy the whole breast and ask your butcher to grind it for you?

5. Think outside the big box.

Instead of always going to the big-box supermarket chains, check and see whether there are any farmers' markets and/or food co-ops in your area. The food will be fresher, cheaper, and hopefully not as coated with pesticides, waxes, or other unsavory elements. Organic food is great, but if you're trying to save money, traditionally grown food isn't any less nutritious than organic; it may just need a little more scrubbing.

6. Start your own farm.

If you have a yard, start your own vegetable and/or herb garden. With a little online research, you can find out what grows well and easily in your neck of the woods. Personally? My garden is currently growing kiwi, tomatoes, green/red/yellow bell peppers, lettuce, green beans, berries, lettuce, and squash!

7. Plan ahead.

Take some time on Sunday to plan out your menu for the week for all your meals and snacks. Find out what's in season and on sale in your area. If you can only make one shopping trip for the week, front-load your menu with fresh ingredients and stock up on canned and frozen items for the latter half of the week. Just by planning ahead and not wasting money on spur-of-the-moment restaurant meals, you might find you have a lot more money to spend at the grocery store, which means you won't have to cut as many corners for the meals you prepare.

8. Tap into tap water...not into your wallet.

Instead of spending big money on bottled water, try switching to tap water, which is subject to a lot more regulations than bottled water. If you're concerned about impurities or don't like the taste of your local tap water, consider getting a simple, relatively inexpensive filtration system—one that either attaches to the tap itself or is located in a separate pitcher. Brita makes a new water bottle with a filter system built into the lid, making it an easy tote and keeps you hydrated. Check it out here!

9. Take your vitamins.

Here's the easiest, most economical way to help ensure that you meet your basic nutritional needs. They'll help you get many if not all of the same nutrients you'd get from whole-food sources (often without spending nearly as much money)—and fish oil supplements are especially good for those who don't care for fish. My favorite multi-vitamin is GNC's Women's Ultra Mega Active, but do your research. Each person is different and may need certain vitamins and minerals for their own unique body.

So I hope this helps you understand your nutrition and your money a little bit more, bloggers. What are some of your favorite fruits/veggies? Do you ever go shopping at a farmers market? What do you do that helps you save money? I am excited to hear what you think and I hope you continue to make healthy choices...on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"The United States Navy is the envy of every other navy in the world. They don't want to be like us - they want to be us." -Admiral Leighton Smith

"Hear my voice, America! Though I speak through the mists of 200 years, my shout for freedom will echo through liberty's halls for many centuries to come. Hear me speak, for my words are of Truth and Justice, and the Rights of Man. For those ideals, I have spilled my blood upon the world's troubled waters. Listen well, for my time is eternal - yours is but a moment...

...I am the American Sailor and I wear many faces. I am a pilot soaring across God's blue canopy, and I am a Seabee atop a dusty bulldozer in the South Pacific. I am a Corpsman nursing the wounded in the jungle, and I am a Torpedoman in the Nautilus deep beneath the North Pole. I am hard and I am strong...
...I am the American Sailor. I am woman; I am man; I am white and black, yellow, red and brown. I am Jew, Muslim, Christian and Buddhist. I am Irish, Filipino, African, French, Chinese, and Indian. My standard is the outstretched hand of Liberty. Today, I serve around the world, on land, in air, on and under the sea. I serve proudly, in war and peace alike. Tell your children of me. Tell them of my sacrifice, and how my spirit soars above their country. I have spread the mantle of my nation over the ocean and I will guard her forever. I am her heritage and yours...

In light of this week's amazing military victory by United States Navy SEALS, I am dedicated this post to them...

The history of the United States Navy is divided into two major periods: The "Old Navy," a small group of sailing ships that innovated the use of the ironclads during the American Civil War, and the "New Navy," a modernized effort that began in the 1880's and eventually became the most powerful in the world. The official date of establishment for the United States Navy is October 13, 1775, when the Continental Congress passed a resolution creating the Continental Navy.

In 1861, the American Civil War began and the United States Navy fought the small Confederate Navy with both sailing ships and ironclad ships while forming a blockade on the confederacy. After the Civil War most of the ships were laid up in reserve and by 1878 the Navy shrank to only 6,000 men. In the next decade or so, Congress approved building multiple modern armoured cruisers and battleships and by the turn of the century, the US Navy had moved from twelfth place to fifth place in terms of number of ships. By the end of WWI, we had more men and women in uniform than the Royal Navy.

During the 1920's and 1930's, the Navy built several aircraft carriers and modern battleships and was drawn into WWII after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six different aircraft carriers. Four US Naval battleships were sunk (two of which were raised and returned to service later in the war) and the four others present were damaged. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,402 men were killed, and 1,282 wounded.

The Navy gradually developed a reputation for having the most highly-developed technology of all the US services. The 1950's saw the development of nuclear power for ships as well as the development of missiles and jets for Navy use.

As of 2011, the Navy is the smallest numerically, with less than 300 ships, since World War I. However, the comparison is misleading since modern ships are larger and carry more firepower than those of 100 years ago. Since the end of the Cold War, the Navy has shifted its focus from preparations for large-scale war with the Soviet Union to special operations and strike missions in regional conflicts. The Navy participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and is a major participant in the ongoing War on Terror.

The United States Navy SEa, Air and Land (SEAL) Teams, commonly known as Navy SEALs, are the US Navy's principal special operations force. The unit's acronym ("SEAL") is derived from their capacity to operate at sea, in the air, and on land – but it is their ability to work underwater that separates SEALs from most other military units in the world. Though their history does not go back as far as the Navy itself, their special forces title makes them some of the most elite and well-trained military in the world.

On April 12, 2009, in response to a hostage-taking incident off of the coast of Somalia, three Navy SEALs simultaneously engaged and killed three Somalian pirates. The three pirates were closely holding the hostage, Captain Richard Phillips, of a freighter ship. They were killed by three Navy SEAL snipers with single shots to each of their heads.

On May 1, 2011 a group of elite Navy SEALS stormed into Osama Bin Laden's secret compound in Pakistan, killing the unarmed terrorist leader. After a decade of this manhunt, OBL was killed by a gunshot wound to the head. No Americans were injured in the raid. The group of about 40 Navy SEALs were part of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, previously known as "Team 6."

For those of you that have never been to Hawaii, it is a must, of course, not only for the beautiful scenery but for the experience of Pearl Harbor. The resting place for 1,102 men, whose bodies are still entrapped within the ship, the memorial is one of the most moving sights you will ever see. The battleship, which still leaks about a gallon of fuel a day, peeks through the Pacific Ocean and whose sailors have their names engraved on a wall. It is a must see for everyone who enjoys history, the movie, or just wants to experience it. For more information about Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona memorial, visit their website.

The Unites States Navy's history is much more extensive than this. Having a history that goes back to 1775, we have evolved and transformed into one of the most powerful military branches in the world. Many people do not know that the Navy is not only "the sea." We have pilots, nurses, "groundmen," etc. I am so proud to have my eye set on being a Navy Nurse and am honored to join such a distinguished group of men and women. I cannot wait to join the group that I was born to serve, The United States Navy.

I know the Navy is the right choice for me and I cannot wait to have the honor of being called a Navy nurse. I am excited for the Navy to help me serve my country as a service"woman", enhance my career, and grow as a person...on my own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Speaking Now is Fearless...

"To me, 'fearless' is not the absence of fear. It is not being completely unafraid. To me, fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death. Fearless is falling madly in love again, even though you've been hurt before. Fearless is walking into your freshman year of college at eighteen. Fearless is getting back up and fighting for what you want over and over again...even though every time you've tried before, you've lost. It's fearless to have faith that someday things will change. Fearless is having the courage to say goodbye to someone who only hurts you, even if you can't breathe without them. I think it's fearless to fall for your best friend, even though he's in love with someone else. And when someone apologizes to you enough times for things they'll never stop doing, I think it's fearless to stop believing them. It's fearless to say, "you're NOT sorry", and walk away. I think loving someone despite what people think is fearless. I think allowing yourself to cry on the bathroom floor is fearless. Letting go is fearless. Then, moving on and being alright...that's fearless too. But no matter what love throws at you, you have to believe in it. You have to believe in love stories and prince charmings and happily ever after. Because I think love is fearless...

'Speak now or forever hold your peace,' the words said by preachers at the end of wedding ceremonies all over the world, right before the vows. It's a last chance for protest, a moment that makes everyone's heart race, and a moment I've always been strangely fascinated by. So many fantasize about bursting into a church, saying what they'd kept inside for years like in the movies. In real life, it rarely happens.

Real life is a funny thing, you know. In real life, saying the right thing at the right moment is beyond crucial. So crucial, in fact, that most of us start to hesitate for fear of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. But lately what I've begun to fear more than that is letting the moment pass without saying anything.

I think most of us fear reaching the end of our life, and looking back regretting the moments we didn't speak up. When we didn't say, 'I love you.' When we should've said, 'I'm sorry.' When we didn't stand up for ourselves or someone who needed help.

Words can break someone into a million pieces, but they can also put them back together. I hope you use yours for good, because the only words you'll regret more than the ones left unsaid are the ones you use to intentionally hurt someone.

What you say might be too much for some people. Maybe it will come out all wrong and you'll stutter and you'll walk away embarrassed, wincing as you play it all back in your head. But I think the words you stop yourself from saying are the ones that will haunt you the longest.

So say it to them. Or say it to yourself in the mirror. Say it in a letter you'll never send or in a book millions might read someday. I think you deserve to look back on your life without a chorus of resounding voices saying, 'I could've, but it's too late now.'

There is a time for silence. There is a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you'll know it.

I don't think you should wait. I think you should speak now"...on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...