Saturday, August 20, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: Giveaway Time!!

Ok it's the moment you've all been waiting for!! My HUGE giveaway! I am beyond excited to share this with all of you!

Here it is...

  • Thanks to the AMAZING people at Chobani, the winner of this giveaway will receive 2 cases of free Chobani in the flavor of your choice!
  • A one year subscription to Shape Magazine (one of my favorites!)
  • The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook, filled with recipes for you to bring on New Years, Super Bowl day, holiday time, and more! Even if you don't have a TJ's near you, you can still make these recipes!
  • The hilarious and cute book, "There's a Skinny Person Inside Me...But I Shut the Bitch Up With a Cookie" by Arleen Mavorah!
  • Your very own Vera Bradley notebook- start writing about life experiences, new recipes, workouts, thoughts, dreams, aspirations, etc. I love these babies and have one of my own as well! It's a great stress reliever and therapeutic remedy!
  • Vera Bradley mints! You can never have enough!
  • A small container of my favorite Shea Body Scrub from The Body Shop (my favorite is Mango but they were sold out!)
  • 2 sample packets of Justin's Honey Peanut Butter containing only 4 ingredients: Organic dry roasted peanuts, honey powder, organic palm fruit oil, and sea salt.
  • Plus more surprises from me!

There are TONS of ways to enter my giveaway! You all will have lots of chances! Here is how:

Mandatory: Comment on which of these giveaway items you are looking forward to the most.

  1. Comment on which "30 Days of Blogging" post you enjoyed the most.
  2. Follow me on Twitter and let me know that you did.
  3. Follow Chobani on Twitter and let me know that you did.
  4. Subscribe or follow my blog and let me know you do so!
  5. Blog about my giveaway!
  6. Tweet about this giveaway with, "I want to win the @i_will_overcome HUGE giveaway! Enter here:"
  7. If you can email me the three secret codes from the "30 Days of Blogging" giveaway, you will gain an extra 5 entries!! Email me at walkingonmyowntwofeet {at} gmail [dot] com .

You have until Thursday, August 25th at 10pm EST to enter. The winner will be announced on Friday! Good luck to everyone!

I hope you all conquer the next week...walking on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Friday, August 19, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: A Letter To You...

To you...Yes, YOU!...

I started my 30 Days of Blogging on a whim, a chance for me to be held accountable to track my health for 30 Days. It turned into so much more than that. I got the chance to educate and share amazing facts and stories about fitness, nutrition, health, and more with just a click. Every day became a new adventure with thinking what I would share with you next. It became something I looked forward to every day.

I can only hope you took something out of all of this. Maybe you will start your own "30 Days of Blogging" sometime in the near future. It would be great to see someone get motivated enough to do it.

As I stated before in previous posts, I started my "healthy" journey because of a fire that was lit under my you-know-what and some harsh words (though needed). Do I follow through with it everyday? No...I'm only human. But I do hold myself accountable. I started slow. It took a lot for me to workout on a regular basis because I never needed to before (and could fit into a size 4). Now that my Greek and Italian roots are coming to bite me in the butt as I enter my mid-20's, it is time for me to take control of my own body.

Everyone is different in their own way. What works for me may not work for you and vise versa. This is the toughest challenge I have had to face so far. I find inspiration through you, it doesn't quite work out well for me, and I get discouraged. I have found what works for me and what doesn't now.

Now, I find my motivation and inspiration not only through you but by knowing that soon I will do the most noble and loyal thing I have ever done in my life...join the United States Navy. I want to be in good enough shape that when they break me down and build me back up, I can come out on top even better than before and be the best person I can be.

I want to thank you for taking this 30 Day journey with me and opening your minds to my world and what goes on in it. For those of you that commented on posts you particularly liked, thank you. Seeing your words means more than you know, plus it is fun hearing what you have to say as well!

My final question:

Which "30 Days of Blogging" post did you enjoy the best??

As promised, my giveaway is going to be underway tonight or tomorrow morning. I am finalizing everything and getting things in order. Remember, if you can name all 3 of my secret codes, you get 5 extra entries for the "mother of all giveaways." I hope you all are as excited as I am; I cannot wait to share this giveaway with all of you!

So there you have it. Another chapter written, another journey completed. I can only hope you join me as I enter this new chapter...walking on my own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

With love,


Thursday, August 18, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: Check It Out!

Today was a great day. No really...after a morning workout and breakfast (30 minute swim and Tone It Up DVD followed by some egg whites with veggies and a protein shake), I headed up north about a half hour to my "Little Sister's" (her name is Sara too!) house. Let me tell yo, I fell in love with the area she lives. She is within walking/running distance from the water, so many hiking and biking trails, and just great nature all around. As soon as I pulled up into her driveway, I was already planning a hiking trip with our dogs (She has a new 13 week old boxer and I have my Bearded Collie mix). We spent the day catching up on our summer festivities and laying out in the sun poolside. We planned some getaways in the next few weeks and I could not be more excited for them! Get them in while I can, right?

In talking with her about health (she is in the nursing program too- hence why she is my "Little Sister." I became her mentor and go-to person last year if she needed any test taking tips, stress relievers, etc. We call them our "Little Sisters."), I quickly knew what I wanted to post about tonight.

As I hear tips and stories about how you all stay in shape and create health for your family, I don't hear many of you speaking about how you keep healthy INTERNALLY! Going to the doctor on a regular basis is so important and simple tests can help you learn more about your own body than anyone could know.

Going to, what we call in the medical field, your PCP (Primary Care Provider) you can punch out a bunch of these tests to help you get a better grasp on your own health:

Cholesterol: You may eat your 4-5 servings of vegetables, 3-4 servings of fruits, your whole grains, protein, no sugar, etc. every day, but you could still have high cholesterol levels. Your LDL levels need to be monitored, especially as you age, because this could be a genetic factor leading you to an unexpected illness, disease, or even death.

Blood Pressure: Make sure you know what your average blood pressure is versus what the ideal blood pressure is (generally around 120/80). Having high blood pressure could eventually lead to heart disease, kidney failure, migraines, stress, etc. This can also be passed on through the family so make sure it ends with you!

Teeth: Every six months, you should be visiting your dentist for a routine cleaning. Though brushing your teeth daily followed by flossing is great, that doesn't mean you can never get a cavity. Plus, there is nothing like the feeling of walking out of a dentist office with your teeth cleaned!

Opthamologist: Get your eyes checked!! Doctors recommend that you see an eye doctor every year. Vision changes constantly, especially as you age, and you want to make sure your corrective lenses are up-to-date in order to not strain your eyes/vision any more. Personally? I am almost legally blind. Seriously...I almost have the vision that is legally considered blind...I'm 24! What?? I have been wearing glasses since I was about 8 years old and am extremely near-sighted (I can't see things that are far away). Because my vision is so bad, I need to make sure I have the right prescription so I can actually see!

Pap Smear: Ladies! Our best friend, next to our mothers and perhaps that girl we've known since the 4th grade, might just be our OB/GYN. And this doctor will do A LOT  for you. Not only does he/she know your downstairs better than most, if not any, they are the first to tell you if something is wrong with your reproductive system. A pap smear is a cervical smear that is a screen to detect cancerous processes. Cervical cancer usually goes unnoticed so it is important to visit your BFF once a year.

Mammograms: Every doctor is different in their recommendation of when to start getting mammograms. The average age they say to start is around 40. However, for ladies like me who aren't as fortunate, my situation is a bit different. Due to genetics and probability, I am at a higher risk for breast cancer than say my mother. My mammogram checks will start next year at the age of 25 and will continue every other year until I turn 35 when it will switch to every year. Consult with your own OB/GYN on what they recommend.
  • NOTE: Self breast exams should be given once a month, first when lying down then standing up or in the shower. However, make sure you are looking at your breasts in the mirror on a regular basis to make sure they are their usual size, shape, and color. Use a firm, smooth touch with just the first few finger pads, keeping your fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter. Cover the entire breast from top to bottom. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast.

  • NOTE: GENTLEMAN! Self testicular exams are just as important for you! The best time to do it is right after a hot shower. To learn more about the procedure, check here.

**Ask your doctor what other tests should be taken for you to gain total health for your body. Everyone is different and you might be at risk for different health issues due to genetics or environment.**

Do you visit your doctor family regularly??

Make sure you are taking care and being accountable for your ENTIRE body. This way you can live your life to its fullest!...on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: Earbuds=Danger??

Blaring Britney or Ke$ha can help you climb killer hills or push through that last 15 minutes of your workout. But recent research shows that a reliance on earbuds while exercising may hurt your health in surprising ways.

By now, most of us have learned to curb the urge to update our status, fix our makeup, drink our Starbucks, and shout, "I'm running late!" texts while behind the wheel. But we still zone out to music or fiddle with our iThings while running or biking. The problem? Distracted exercising may come with risks just like to those of distracted driving: Last year for the first time in four years, pedestrian deaths rose. And experts are blaming our beloved, can't-live-without-'em gadgets.

The result? Some state lawmakers are cracking down on exercising multitasking. Example? In New York, a pending bill will make it illegal for joggers to use any kind of electronic device while crossing the street. Oregon and Virginia have pending measures where, if passed, would fine bicyclists as much as $90 for riding "under the influence" of technology. Sure, these proposed pieces of paper may not come to fruition, however, they make one thing clear: Tuning out during a workout can be very hazardous to your health.

Hear No Evil

35% of Women's Health readers claim to always listen to music when working out outdoors and that their music is essential. Music can distract you fitness peeps from hearing other sounds and noises such as a car or, even worse, an approaching stranger. When listening to music, your thought process is overcome by the lyrics, beat, and "feel good" mood that comes along with it. A song can send you into a spiraling daydream which could effect how your brain perceives images as you pass them by. All in all? Music pulls you away from reality enough to increase your risk of running into a dangerous situation...literally.

Press Pause

Stan Beecham, a sport psychologist, claims, "Many people exercise while listening to music because they don't want to think about how uncomfortable they feel. But being distracted severs connection between your body and mind, so you're no longer tuned in to the subtle signals your body relays, like when it's ready to speed up and when it needs to slow down." Our flight-or-fight response is controlled by our sympathetic nervous system, which apparently, is what music stimulates. So that "pumped up" feeling you get when a great song comes on, is real; hence that extra boost you get to make it up that hill or cross a finish line. Muting our brain to what your body is trying to tell you can also increase your risk for injury. Minor pain stimulants may not get to you as fast if you are in the zone. Having too much separation anxiety from your tunes? A few simple adjustments can make exercising more effective and safer for you while still jamming.

Please Don't Stop the Music

>Make a Playlist
     Hit play before you take off and don't look down at it again. Fiddling with your iPod or other mp3 player causes you to lose another sense of yours: sight. Need to make an adjustment? Stop moving to make it safer for yourself.

>Upgrade Your Earphones

     Many people think that running with one earbud in instead of two is safer. Wrong. The brain depends on both ears to determine which direction a noise is coming from. Auria earphones sit on the outer part of your ear without blocking the ear canal.

>Use as Needed

     Try using music for the challenging part of your workout to give you that extra "oomph" needed to push yourself through. Try listening to songs between 120 and 145 beats per minute like these:

"This Time (Dirty Bit)" Black Eyed Peas- 128 bpm
"Lights On" Katy B ft. Ms. Dynamite- 129 bpm
"Barbra Streisand" Duck Sauce- 130 bpm
"Happiness" Alexis Jordan- 129 bpm

> Go Instrumental

     Wordless songs may be the answer if you definitely need that background noise. Because that's just what it becomes so you can still be aware of your surroundings.

"Complication"- Nine Inch Nails
"Any Colour You Like"- Pink Floyd
"Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp"- Led Zeppelin
"Lord Leopard"- Caribou
"Black Mud"- The Black Keys
"Pink Batman"- Dan Deacon
"Blue Mountain Hop"- Bela Fleck

(*Thank you Women's Health for help with this post!)

Now I must admit, I am one you will catch with earbuds stuffed into my ears blasting rock or rap to keep me motivated through my runs or strength exercises. However, seeing it from this point of view makes me want to think twice...

Are you a "music must-have"?? What thoughts do you have about the dangers of earbuds??

Be safe out there everyone. We want you to be able to see the next day...on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: Foods That Increase Your "Hott" Factor!

"You are what you eat." Well, isn't that just the saying from hell?? But there is research saying that what you eat has more powerful effects on your appearance than ever thought before?? Educate me on this please!!

Everyone knows that eating right can help your chances of fitting into those skinny jeans, improve your overall health, etc. However, scientists have recently discovered that certain nutrients make you...shall I say it?...more attractive!

1. Banish Breakouts 
  • Pumpkin seeds! They are packed with zinc so they can be THE antidote for those pesky blemishes! A recent study found that those with acne tend to be zinc-deficient. Aim for one to two tablespoons a day!

2. De-Puff Your Face
  • Consume watercress daily! It is PACKED with antioxidants (which reduce inflammation and pore size), and iron (helps give you a glow) ! It also may raise antioxidant levels in your blood and reduce DNA damage. Who knew??

3. Make Your Eyes Pop
  • Spinach! A study showed that lutein is KEY in protecting your eyes and may help make them brighter and whiter. One to two cups a day is recommended, which is basically one big spinach salad. Don't like spinach in a salad? Throw it in your juicer and drink a glass of it!

4. Reveal a Megawatt Grin
  • You know the saying "an apple a day will keep the doctor away"? Well, in this case it's true- with that doctor being your dentist! This crunchy and satisfying snack has been actually known to buff away the stains left behind by tea, coffee, and wine. Now you don't have to give up the good stuff because people says they stain your teeth!

5. Get Blake Lively-esque Locks
  • Green beans! These skinny friends are high in silicon-which was shown to give people significantly stronger and thicker hair in just 9 months! Bring a microwaveable bag for an afternoon snack!

6. Condition Dry Skin
  • Hate those scaly patches that creep up when you least expect them (or want them)? Flaxseed is the answer! It contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help hydrate skin and keep it as soft as a baby's backside. Drizzle some flaxseed oil on a salad, add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to some oatmeal or yogurt, or bake some into your next batch of cookies!

7. Ensure Future MILF Status
  • Eating your kiwis could mean looking like Angelina Jolie one day. They are a great source of vitamin C, which can slow down aging by stimulating collagen production. The more collagen you have, the more firmer and tighter your skin will be!

8. Beef Up Your Nails
  • Down those eggs! If you consume that biotin several times a week, research reveals that the nutrient can give your nails the superstrength you want! You won't be hearing "I broke a nail!" ever again!

Do you know of any other foods that are the key to the "Fountain of Youth"??

Here is to hoping for perkier, tighter, smoother, and brighter days...on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

30 Days of Blogging: A Day in the Life Of...

This past week, I have had the house to myself. While this quiet environment will not last forever, I have soaked it in these last couple of days. Working in a hospital is different than a desk job, cashier, or even working from your own home. I have had many "odds and ends" jobs and nothing compares to the hours in a hospital. It is so physically and mentally draining that I cannot even describe it. After working just two nights (or sometimes days if I am getting overtime) I am dead to the world for at least a day.

I wanted to get a couple things done while I had the time to myself. First stop, the library. I don't know about you but I usually walk out of there with about 5 books every time. I love to read! I like suspense/mystery or drama. I have wanted to read the Hunger Games series that everyone keeps raving about but they are always checked out when I get there! (Damn these teens!)

One book included in my bunch is The Reservoir by John Milliken Thompson. I have heard good things about this one but see for yourself:

"On an early spring morning in Richmond, Virginia, in the year 1885, a young pregnant woman is found floating in the city reservoir. It appears that she has committed suicide, but there are curious clues at the scene that suggest foul play. As the identity of the woman, Lillie, is revealed, her dark family history comes to light. Soon the investigation focuses on her tumultuous affair with her cousin, Tommie Cluverius.

Tommie, an ambitious young lawyer, is the pride and joy of his family and the polar opposite of his brother Willie, a quiet, humble farmer. Though both men loved Lillie, it's Tommie's reckless affair that thrusts his family into the spotlight. Despite his grief, Willie remains loyal to his brother- a task that proves taxing as the investigation proceeds. Tommie's story finally ends in a riveting courtroom climax with a shocking conclusion."

It's based on a real crime so I am eager to start it!

My next stop was to Trader Joe's. I never really go in with a checklist when I go there. I just pick up things that sound interesting to me. My most favorite find this time? The tomato, pesto flatbread pizza! Yum! A around 400 calories, I am excited to have this as a dinner with some extra veggies on top!

Actually, I got all of my finds at Trader Joe's this time (Blueberry Muffin mix, apple granola bars, tomato/pesto pizza, fresh strawberries, cinnamon raisin bread, lean ground turkey meat, and whole grain tortillas with flaxseeds and rolled oats) all for under $20! Score!

Last but not least, was Petco to try and spoil my loveable muts. I have to get a toy for each of them when I go and I try to pick up some sale shirts/sweaters for when it gets cold out. I HATE dressing my dogs up but if it keeps them warm and is necessary, then I guess I can go along with it. Other than in the winter, you will not find me dressing up my dogs for anything. I try to spoil them as often as I can...they are great dogs, so why not?

My 7 year old Bearded Collie mix, Jake
Harley and Juliet, brother and sister yet she is more than half his size!

What did you do this weekend? What are some activities you like to do for yourself??

So as I sit here, still trying to play catch-up due to blocked websites and bad Internet connections, I am reminded how much I have loved sharing things with you all these last few weeks. I hope you stick around for the big "30 Days of Blogging" giveaway! Make sure you stay tuned...on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: Summertime Energy Boosters!

So as summer is quickly coming to an end (Wahhh!), I wanted to post some tips to make sure you finish this wonderful season in style...and smart. Though for the most part, these tips have been stated in my posts, it can't hurt to reiterate them!

Be Cool

On hot days, stay cool by chilling out. Enjoy low fat yogurt (like Chobani!) topped with cold sliced peaches, granola, or banana slices. Start with whole grain cereal and cold skim milk topped with chilled berries. Blend some 100% apple juice and ice with bananas and strawberries for a refreshing smoothie. Pour your favorite fruit juice into molded shapes and freeze for fun snacks the whole family can enjoy!

Lighten Up

Avoid the sluggish feeling that comes from large meals on a hot day. Lighten up with smaller meals and healthy snacks to keep your energy levels steady. After breakfast, snack on fresh fruit or string cheese. For lunch, try a turkey sandwich on whole wheat with lettuce and tomato. Try dried fruit or mixed nut trail mix for an afternoon snack. Smaller meals and lighter snacks will help energize you throughout the day!

Drink Smart

Follow the golden rule- "Don't drink your calories." Cut back on, or avoid altogether, sweetened drinks. If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation. Hydrate for lasting energy all summer long and throughout the day with water, seltzer with a splash of 100% fruit juice, unsweetened teas with a squeeze of fresh summer fruit, or iced coffee with skim or low fat milk.

     How much is enough??
  • For most adults, 9-12 glasses of fluids (water and other beverages) a day is recommended.
  • For active adults, 2 extra glasses a few hours before exercising and 1 glass every 20 minutes during physical activity.
  • Adjust the amount you drink based on the length of time you spend outdoors, in hot environments, or exercising.

Visit the Local Farmers Market

If you love peaches, cherries, tomatoes, corn, watermelon, or strawberries, a trip to the farmers market is just the healthy outdoor summer activity for you. Local farms and markets are fun places to visit and in-season fruits and veggies are a delicious and nutritious way to enjoy the season! Plus, why not help out local farmers and your local community??

Put Veggies on the Grill

Whether you're hosting a backyard barbeque or tailgating at the big game, put veggies on the grill. Use bell or chili peppers, asparagus, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, or red onions for grilled kabobs or side dishes. They're all great on the grill!

Walk the Walk

Whether you choose oceanside board-walks, hiking trails, or neighborhood parks, put on a hat (and some suntan lotion!) and go for a walk. Bring a friend, meet a neighbor, or just listen to your favorite music on the go- just get out and have fun!

Get Wet

Everyone enjoys getting wet on a hot summer's day. Some enjoy wading in local rivers or streams while fishing; others prefer swimming in the neighborhood pool or a trip to the beach. Backyard water slides or sprinklers are also great for getting in some play time with kids. Getting wet can also be a great way to get active as a part of your summertime wellness routine.

Here is one of my favorite summer recipes:

Grilled Chicken with Fresh Peaches
(150 calories, 16g protein, 270mg sodium)

For sauteed peaches:

2 1/2 cups sliced, peeled fresh peaches
1 cup diced red onions
1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 pinches black pepper
2 1/2 Tbl. soft margarine

Melt margarine in saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onions. Saute for 3-4 minutes until tender. Add peaches, lemon juice, curry powder, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper. Saute for 4-6 minutes until peaches are tender. Keep warm.

For grilled chicken:

1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
8 (4oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Preheat char-grill to medium. Lightly pound chicken with meat mallet. Lightly coat with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Cook chicken until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees and juices run clear, 4-6 minutes on each side.

Serve each piece of chicken with 1/4 cup sauteed peaches. 

What are you doing to enjoy the rest of the season??

I hope all of you enjoy the rest of your summer. Make sure you enjoy it happily, healthy, and of course...on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

30 Days of Blogging: Turning Failure into Success

Ok so for the past few days, Blogger has been cooperating with me. I either have bad Internet connection, trying to post through my phone (I was away for a bit), etc. and my posts have not been going up as planned. I am playing a bit of catch up here so bear with me...

Let me be the first to tell you that it has taken me a lot to get to where I am today as far as mentality, fitness, and nutrition are concerned. When I was a teenager, it was my 4 dance teams, youth group, soccer team, and volunteer work that kept me lean and fit. Even though McDonald's, macaroni and cheese, and chicken nuggets were my best friends since I was always on the go, my young metabolism never ceased to amaze me and I was a size 4 for a long time.

I never stepped foot into a gym until I got to college. Even then, I barely went since I never had to use it before. I just didn’t have the motivation to go.  In college I was on the cheerleading team which kept me active but I also walked everywhere, especially in my first year. It wasn’t a large campus but it wasn’t tiny either. Freshmen weren’t allowed to have cars on campus so that left my own two feet. I had unlimited access to the dining hall aka tacos, pasta, pizza, sandwiches, meatloaf, ice cream, soda, etc. It was every college kid’s dream!

When I moved out into an apartment with three other girls, I didn’t know what to do with myself. You mean I have to BUY and MAKE my own food?? Are you out of your mind?! Take-out please!  It also helped that I worked at a popular steakhouse where I got a crazy good discount on their food.

When I moved back home suddenly, I was in a pretty dark place emotionally and mentally due to an unfortunate situation while at school. You could say I was suffering from depression though I was never officially diagnosed. I felt like a failure (more to come on this at a later date, hopefully). I gained some weight (though you would never know just by looking at me) and I had absolutely no inspiration or motivation to trim down.

My now ex-boyfriend and still very good friend was and still is a “fitness buff.” Some say he could be a bodybuilder but he takes pride in his hard work that he puts into his body-and hard work is an understatement. When I would go over to his house, he had his scheduled workouts like any fitness guru would. He would always offer his equipment and himself as a trainer/motivator, but I wouldn’t have it. I figured I was too far down in the hole and had a lot of catching up to do, why start now? Why embarrass myself in front of this guy I hadn’t been dating very long? I soon felt like I wasn’t good enough for him BECAUSE I wasn’t motivated to love and take care of my body.

Throughout the three and a half years I have known him now, he has been one of the biggest inspirations currently to me (though he might not know it). He is living proof that if you put your mind to it, anything is possible. Hard work pays off, even if it takes years to see the results.

So I started my journey… It started slow at first, of course, but once the ball got rolling it was never going to stop. Sure, I have my downfalls/”off days”/ cheat days. But I always get back on the horse and set out for what I want to accomplish: complete contentment.

Failure and its close relatives disappointment, letdown, setback, and downer are going to be a part of our lives and yet we are still surprised and bummed when they show up on our doorstep. And the saying our parents used to say, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again?” Sure, that might have helped us when we were 7 years old learning to ride our bikes without training wheels but now? Uh, no. The possibility of failure seems to be everywhere we look now that we are older. We also know that failure is a necessary step in order to gain success. Those who are successful just know how to respond to setbacks and know how to get back up.

Think of failure as a learning tool. Let’s face it; bouncing back takes practice. A failed relationship, a bad job interview, a missed weight loss goal; it’s the painful things that guide us and drive us to self-improvement. Taking detours doesn’t mean you have ultimately failed; it just means that it might take a little longer to reach your eventual goal. Rather than focus on past mistakes, put your energy into shaping your response.

Flexibility in framing your goals is the key to staying on course to reach them.  There is always a chance to try again.

Want to know some famous failures?? Even celebrities have faced setbacks to be where they are today:
·        Jennifer Aniston auditioned to be a regular on Saturday Night Live and was rejected before she was cast as Rachel Green on Friends.
·        Julia Roberts auditioned for a role on the soap opera All My Children and was not chosen.
·        Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team because his coach thought he lacked the needed skills. (Wow! I bet that coach is shaking his head now!)
·        After one performance at the Grand Ole Opry, Elvis Presley was told by the manager, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere son. You ought to go back to driving a truck.”

Charles Manz PH.D., author of The Power of Failure, wrote tips on how to get back in the saddle and stay focused on success:

1.     Stick to the facts. Think of your failure as an experiment that had a different result than what you expected. Try to analyze the situation the way a scientist would analyze data.
2.     Question your logic. Why did things go differently? Did you make an incorrect assumption? Was your timing flawed? Pinpointing an error or lapse in judgment will help you avoid it in the future.
3.     Learn from it. Failures can help give birth to new ideas and prevent us from becoming too self-satisfied.
4.     Stay positive. The greatest risk is not failure itself but the possibility that it will make you think of yourself as a failure. If you lose confidence, you may not be willing to try again.
5.     Go for it again. Don’t quit now; psych yourself up and do it all over again. Without a full effort you won’t know if you failed because the idea was flawed or because you didn’t give yourself a chance to succeed. Most great victories come through perseverance, not instant triumph. 

How do you overcome personal setbacks??

With the past couple weeks, I have had my own personal setbacks, I am working on turning failure into success so I can get back to being myself...on my own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: Music is the Key to My Soul

Not having the best of days...

The only thing I could think of to post is best said by the lovely Keith Urban...

These lyrics strike a particular chord with me and I feel each word every time I hear this song.

Stupid Boy

by Keith Urban

Well, she was precious like a flower
She grew wild, wild but innocent
A perfect prayer in a desperate hour
She was everything beautiful and different

Stupid boy, you can't fence that in
Stupid boy, it's like holding back the wind
she let her heart and soul right in your hands
And you stole her every dream and you crushed her plans
She never even knew she had a choice and that's what happens
When the only voice she hears is telling her she can't
Stupid boy, stupid boy

So what made you think you could take a life
And just push it push it around
I guess to build yourself up so high
You had to take her and break her down

she let her heart and soul right in your hands
And you stole her every dream and you crushed her plans
She never even knew she had a choice and that's what happens
When the only voice she hears is telling her she can't
You stupid boy

Oh, you always had to be right but now you've lost
The only thing that ever made you feel alive
Yeah, yeah

Well, she let her heart and soul right in your hands
And you stole her every dream and you crushed her plans
Yes, you did
She never even knew she had a choice and that's what happens
When the only voice she hears is telling her she can't
You stupid boy, oh, I'm the same old
Same old stupid boy

It took awhile for her to figure out she could run
But when she did, she was long gone
Long gone, long gone
Ah, she's gone

Nobody's ever gonna love me like she loved me
And she loved me, she loved me
God please, just let her know
I'm sorry, I'm sorry
I'm sorry, I'm sorry
Baby, yeah, I'm down on my knees
She's never coming back to me

I am just trying to get through this day...on my own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: A Good Book and a Glass of Wine!

Ok so if you are like me, the only thing you want to do when you get home from work is put on some sweats, curl up with your dogs or beau for a cuddle sesh, and have a glass of wine. Well that was my day in a nutshell...almost.

{What's my favorite kind of vino?? If it's red, I love Pinot Noir. If it's white, I love Riesling!}

Getting home around 8am from the night shift, it can be very hard for me to fall asleep right away. What made it worse was knowing I needed to get up at 2:30pm to get ready for work again. The good thing was that tonight I was bartending at Ravens Stadium for a special event. Before I left to head to Baltimore, I needed to make something to eat!

This is what came from me just not caring...the best sauce ever! I threw in any and every veggie I had in my refrigerator including onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, along with some tomato paste. I put it on top of a chicken breast with rice, threw it in a tupperware container, and went on my way! It was as easy as that! No recipe required because it was literally a "See it, throw it, mix it" kind of deal!

Bartending for the Ravens is so much fun. As I said in yesterday's post, I get to meet the players, make a lot of money, meet so many new people, and be a part of the fans special day. Days like today, I get to bartend for special events such as weddings, banquets, Hall of Fame parties, VIP parties, etc. It's always fun to make a little extra money!

The view tonight! Heaven!

Along with my glass of wine after work, I like to curl up with a good book before I go to bed. I absolutely love to read and am always looking for a good page-turner. A girlfriend of mine introduced me to Paperback Swap, a website that is pretty self-explanatory. You let people know what books you have, and when someone sees one they want to read, they request it and you send it! You can also search for books you have been dying to get your hands on, request it, and someone sends it! How did I not know about this before?? A great book I have read lately? The Violets of March  by Sarah Jio. Romance, suspense, cliff-hangers, etc.; it is the perfect "girlie" beach book. (I finished it in less than 24 hours!)

What was the last really good book you read?? What is your favorite kind of wine??

So kick your feet up, snuggle up with your loved ones, and share the gift of a book. Take time for yourself so you can enter the next chapter of your life...on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Monday, August 8, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: 7 Facts!

I haven't been feeling well the last couple of days so I wanted to post something quick and easy. (I hate migraines!)...

Many of you have jumped on board the “7 Links” train and I have loved getting to know you and what you think about your own blogs. However, since mine is fairly new and still growing, instead of a “7 Links” post, I wanted to do a “7 Facts” post; letting you all know some things about myself.

I do not have an “About Me” section for a couple of reasons. I might put one up sooner or later but I figure I have had many reasons to start a blog-the deep side just has not come out…yet. Therefore, this will have to do for now...

>My mom is my ultimate best friend. We have had tough times in the past…very tough times. But still at the end of the day, I know that she will always be there for me and I love knowing that. She has taken care of me, disciplined me, been to every soccer game, dance recital, clarinet concert, etc. since the beginning. She is one of the strongest people that I know and I cannot believe I have gotten to learn the ins and outs of life from a woman like her. She is fun, yet supportive. She can make me laugh and can make my heart melt. I am so proud to call her my mom.

>I am completely and utterly obsessed with the Baltimore Ravens. Actually, I am obsessed with the NFL in general but I love my hometown team. Sure, the Philadelphia Eagles are my NFC team but the Ravens will always have my whole heart. I have eight (yes, eight!) jerseys, numerous accessories, and even more shirts, sweatsuits, luggage, and just “stuff”- all Ravens. For those of you who don’t know, I bartend for Ravens home games on the club level. Though I do not get to enjoy the live action like the fans do, I try to catch one away game each year (This year I am keeping my fingers crossed for San Diego!!). With my job, however, has its perks. I have met practically the whole team in the hallway of the “basement” since I am getting there as many of them are. Michael Oher, Joe Flacco, Todd Heap (Miss you!), Derrick Mason (Miss you!), Jarret Johnson, Ray Rice, Ed Dickson, Terrence Cody, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, Jared Gaither (Miss you!), Brendan Ayanbadejo, Matt Stover (Miss you!), Billy Cundiff, etc. are all on my “met” list. Living every football fan’s fantasy!

>I cannot get enough beauty products! My bathroom is FILLED with half-empty or full lotions, face washes, make up, hair products, creams, exfoliates, shampoos/conditioners, etc. Have you all been there when you just can’t seem to find anything that works?? I think I have finally found a cleansing line to my liking- Mary Kay! I have the whole line almost it seems! Everything from hand scrub to acne cream to foundation to exfoliate to lip balm. I love the way it makes my skin feel after a mini-facial. It has that complete clean feel that makes my skin help fight breakouts, dryness, and scarring. My cousin got me hooked on a lot of it and she is quickly persuading me to becoming an Independent Beauty Consultant myself! Products anyone??

>If you don’t know by now, I plan on joining the United States Navy, hopefully, sometime next year. I have wanted to go into the military for a long time; it has always been a passion of mine. I think it hit hard for me and I was deadset on it when September 11th happened. Watching the second plane hit the Twin Towers live, I got so angry yet was so saddened, I wanted to do something right then and there. Jumping in a car and driving up to NYC was the first thing that came to mind to just help in anyway that I could. It hit me then that I knew what I HAD to do. I needed to fight for my country. To protect people I didn’t know, like those victims of that awful day. After a talk with my mom when I was about to graduate high school, I decided to wait a little bit and pursue the dream at a later time. Now, I feel is my time. I am so excited for this new chapter of my life to unfold and I am counting down the days until I say “Goodbye” to my life in Maryland.

Wanting to be in the military helps you becoming close with those who already are. I am fascinated by stories men and women have about their experiences, lives, and job duties within the military, no matter what branch. I love meeting new people so I can enrich my knowledge about the life I will soon be leading. I am not sure how I came across it, but in high school, I was introduced to Any Soldier, a website dedicated to letting civilians send care packages or letters to units deployed overseas. I have probably written over 250 letters over the years, letting the soldiers know how much I appreciate and support each and every one of them and have actually made many friends in the process. (Hi David and Justin!)

>I absolutely love my job. I have always wanted to work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) but for right now, I work at the next best thing- the Labor and Delivery unit at a local hospital. We are one of the biggest "baby pushers" in the state of Maryland so there is never a dull moment. Working the night shift (7p-7a) does have its downsides but overall, it's the best! My unit, High Risk OB, is actually the section where we try to keep women pregnant because the stork is knocking on the door a little early. Working closely with Labor and Delivery, however, I get to see many C-sections, natural births, multiples (twins...), etc. I love the women that I work with and am so happy I can call them my friends. I look forward to going into work because of them!

>Ok, I admit it. My worst habit has got to be cracking my joints and biting my nails. Ugh...I don't mind the cracking as much as I do the biting. If you are a "cracker" like me, you know what pure joy it is to get that little "pop of pleasure" several times during the day. Bones that I crack? Knuckles, fingers, neck, toes, ankles, hips, and back. Ahhh yes. The nail thing is tough. It's like quitting smoking. I've been biting them since I could chew according to my mom. I can do really well for a while but the urge comes back to bite me in the butt again (Pun intended!). It looks awful, I know, but I guess that's why they call it a habit!

What is one fact about you??

So there you go...a little "About Me" page just for you. Hopefully you have gotten to know me a little better and hopefully I am not the only one for some of these facts! I love myself though and everything that surrounds me and I will always thank God and me for being able to walk on my own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: Top 20 Look Better Naked Foods!

In honor of the Look Better Naked book I mentioned in yesterday's post (thanks to Women's Health), I wanted to add these foods that are not part of "a weight loss program merely designed to help you peel off any extra pounds that are standing between the now you- and the new-you (though it will also accomplish that). No, this plan will do much more by changing how you think about food.

Focus on what you can eat-not on what you can't or shouldn't. The point is to empower yourself. Train yourself to stop thinking, "I can't have chocolate cake." Instead, think, "I can have delicious blueberries." If you think 'can't', you'll feel miserable- and you'll go ahead and indulge anyway, and end up feeling even worse. By choosing to eat something as good for you as those sweet, luscious, nutrient-packed blueberries, you can take control of what you put into your body, which will in turn help you to feel positive about yourself- and lose weight.  

The majority of the ingredients in the diet are included not just for the weight loss or palate-pampering properties. These foods have natural elements that will enhance your appearance-by targeting belly fat, plumping up skin cells, adding luster to your hair, "glowifying" your complexion, strengthening your nails, and even protecting you from illness. Here is a sneak peek of the top 20 Look Better Naked foods and what they can do for you...


This fruit is famous for containing an abundance of cholesterol-lowering, heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, which boosts the bioavailability of antioxidants in the foods it's paired with. A good complement? Tomatoes-a fact that makes a strong case for adding tomatoes to your guacamole- because they're rich in lycopene, a pigment-rich antioxidant that reduces cancer risk and cardiovascular disease.

To whip up your own avocado salad dressing, puree a medium avocado with 2 Tbl. lemon juice and a dash of cayenne. If an avocado is firm, place it in a brown paper bag with an apple or a banana, which will emit ripening ethylene gas. If you're only going to eat half of the avocado, leave the pit in the part you don't use- it will prevent browning.


Nothing beats pure protein when it comes to building muscle. The problem with the majority of store-bought beef, is that most cattle are fed grain, giving their meat a relatively high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. This, in turn, contributes to a host of problems.

Beef is among the best sources of highly absorbable iron that you'll find in your supermarket. Low iron levels, which are common in us ladies, not only zap your zip, but can also cause brittle nails.


Any variety you pick- blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries- is insanely good for you. In general, the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice- and the better it is for your health. Blackberries, for instance, are loaded with powerful antioxidant compounds that have been shown to improve brain function (and are also found in red wine and tea).

Can't say anything bad about blueberries either, but wild varieties contain 26% more antioxidants than cultivated ones. Blueberries also contain vision-protecting vitamin C plus appetite-quelling fiber (though raspberries have more fiber than any other berry). Researchers now believe that blueberries also fight urinary tract infections. Ladies, we are more prone to these nasty bugs due to our shortened anatomy down there.

Strawberries pack up to 3x more vit C than any other berry and have fewer calories, but they're one of the most important foods to buy organic because they have a unique capacity for absorbing pesticides.

Black Beans

Beans are a healthy way to add protein to your diet, as well as potassium, folate, and iron- and the darker the beans, the better. Studies found that beans are loaded with the same heart-healthy, cancer-preventing compounds found in red wine, berries, and tea. All beans are low in fat, and they're packed with protein, fiber, and iron-nutrients that are crucial for building muscle and losing weight.

Bell Peppers

Bright-red peppers have high levels of antioxidant vitamins A and C. As little as one cup of chopped red peppers contains nearly 3x the minimum of amount of vitamin C and nearly 100% of the vitamin A recommended for the typical 2000-calorie-a-day diet. While green or yellow peppers contain less vitamin A than red ones, all peppers are naturally fat-free and low-calorie, and contain 3 grams of fiber per chopped cup.

Brussels Sprouts

Yes, we have grown to hate these little suckers. Selenium is a vital trace mineral that mops up those pesky free radicals and helps protect against heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and cancer. A cup of brussels sprouts contains twice as much selenium as butternut squash or kale. Your thyroid can't produce certain hormones without it. Brussels sprouts can also fire up enzymes that may stop breast-cancer cells from growing.

Chicken Breast

In terms of lean protein, white-meat chicken (minus the skin) reigns supreme. And lean protein also is a terrific source that assists in skin cell turnover. (So good-bye flaky old dead cells, and hello fresh, rosy new ones!) You can easily grill enough chicken for a week's worth of meals- to chunk into salads or slice for sandwiches. Just rub a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts with olive oil, garlic, and dried rosemary and fire on each side for about 5 min., then store in the fridge for up to a week.

Dried Fruit

The abundant fiber and sorbitol (a sugar alcohol that the body metabolizes slowly) in prunes keep blood sugar and insulin levels in check. Prunes may also help you shrink your waistline. (It's all that fiber which means you are less likely to gain weight!) Prunes can help fight the hardening of arteries and pack a powerful antioxidant punch too. Also a good dried fruit? Cherries!


This is the ideal breakfast! The incredible edible contains B vitamins, which enable nerve cells to burn glucose, your brain's major energy source: antioxidants, which protect neurons from damage; and omega-3 fatty acids, which keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed. They're good for your belly too. Those who eat eggs for breakfast lose 65% more weight than those who eat a bagel breakfast with the same number of calories...Wow!


These super seeds have the highest level of lignans, estrogen-like compounds, of any food. In fact, women who eat the most lignans have the lowest body mass indexes. Estrogen quells appetite and shrinks fat cells. Give the seeds a spin in your coffee grinder and sprinkle the grinds on cereal or yogurt, or blend them into smoothies. You can also find flaxseed in multigrain breads and cereals.


This is now your go-to dip instead of the calorie bomb that is ranch dressing. High in fiber and lower in saturated fat and calories, hummus pairs equally well with veggies. Make your own by mixing the following ingredients in a food processor until smooth and creamy: two 10 oz. cans of garbanzo beans, drained, with 1/3 cup liquid reserved; juice of 1 lemon; 3 Tbl. olive oil; 2 cloves garlic; 1 tsp salt; 1 tsp ground cumin. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to use.

Milk, Yogurt, & Cheese

Low-fat, calcium rich foods can help you lose weight in the long term. Plain low-fat yogurt, especially the Greek-style stuff like Chobani provides muscle, friendly protein and contains less sugar than other types. Reduced-fat cottage cheese is another protein heavyweight, with 14g in half a cup. In addition to building muscle, calcium will help you attain a strong, vibrant mane, because hair is made up of almost all protein.

Nuts & Nut Butters

To get moist, beautiful, chap-free lips, your body needs to constantly replace old skin cells with new ones. Reach for walnuts. Their omega-3 fats help regulate this turnover so that it happens all the time. Almonds are bursting with vitamin E, an antioxidant that bolsters the immune system, and almond butter is an easy flavor upgrade from peanut butter.

Olives & Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

A single tablespoon of olive oil delivers 10g of monounsaturated fat. Adding olive oil to red, green, orange, or yellow fruits and vegetables increases the amount of cancer-fighting, vision-boosting, heart-saving, immune-repairing, bone-strengthening vitamins such as A, E, and K, as well as carotenoids. For a quick salad dressing, pair two parts olive oil with one part balsamic vinegar, which can improve vascular function.


Eat wild salmon from Alaska and you'll be taking advantage of a nutritional all-star. This tasty fish can help lower cholesterol and boost your mood, plus it's a great source of lean protein. Eating this delicious fish helps your body produce wrinkle-fighting friends, such as collagen and keratin. Yet another score!


Made from pressed soybean curds, tofu was once the bastion of vegetarians. But the plant protein in tofu-which comes in firm or soft varieties, and is delicious marinated and tossed in salads- provides a full complement of amino acids, as well as isoflavone, which helps muscle recover from exercise.


One of the best lean proteins out there, tuna contains niacin that raises HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides more than most cholesterol-lowering drugs alone! Instead of mixing it in a lot of mayo and turning it into a fatty disaster, add pepper, hot sauce, and some fresh lemon juice. Or toss it in your salad!

Whole Grains

Oatmeal, barley, wheat flour, brown rice, and whole-grain sourdough bread are all high in fiber. which will keep you full by taking a long time to digest. But not all breads and crackers advertised as "whole grain" are the real deal. Read the label. Those that aren't whole grain can be high in fat. Two easy options: Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats or The Baker Bread's seven-grain sourdough whole-wheat bread. Beginning your day with oats helps protect against obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes. Sourdough also causes less of a spike in blood sugar than any other type of bread."

*Disclaimer- Again, I am not a registered dietitian, nutritionist, etc. These foods can be researched for your own health benefit.*

Which of these Look Better Naked foods is your favorite??

So now maybe you can plan your meals a little wiser and be conscious of what is going into your body. Learning the different kinds of foods and how they will improve your health may make you think twice about what you put into your body.

So let's plan accordingly. Because we all want to live long, happy, healthy lives...on our own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...