Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Mini Guide to Power Through Your Cold


vicks-vaporub
The cure all

I'm a baby when I'm sick. Full-on big baby. "Where's my mommmm???" baby. But I'm an adult, right? So I gotta take care of myself, because mom isn't always around.

Enter: current state.

I like to think I have a strong immune system. I rarely get a cold, and when I do, I fight it off relatively quickly. But this time, I got sick and hopped on a plane. An airplane. It might as well have been a petri dish brewing with germs.

So now, I can only breathe out of one nostril, my throat and ears are itchy and my eyes burn. This time, I didn't fight the cold in a day, even though I followed all the tried-and-true tips. I took the day off yesterday, I rested, I hydrated, I loaded up on Vitamin C... nothing.

So I'm coming up with another list. Not the fight-the-cold-in-a-day list, but the how-to-power-through-your-cold list. Here's what that one looks like.

___


broccoli-soup
This tasted better than it looks. 

1. Eat well. 
Last time I wrote one of these because I was sick, I was having pizza. Way to go, Natalie. As much as I love pizza, that was a terrible idea.

Healthy food doesn't have to be difficult to make, and it can definitely keep you feeling stronger. I got home tonight craving soup, so I grabbed my Nutribullet and tossed in some broccoli, water, a bouillon cube and light cheese. VoilĂ !: a millennial's scrappy soup. It's nothing fancy, but it does the trick. Plus, broccoli is a great source of Vitamin C. Guess what I'm taking to lunch tomorrow?

(Let me add that I started by just boiling some water with a buoillon cube, so that Nutribullet/broccoli aha! moment was truly special. God do I have things to learn.)

2. Rest when you can. 
You've taken the day off and nothing. Okay, let me give you the advice I never take myself: take another day off. Take a break. Or maybe, if taking the day off isn't an option, ask to work from home. Laying in bed makes answering emails a bit better, especially when you're coughing/sneezing/sniffling every other second.

3. Vicks VapoRub.*
Rub some of that on your chest, and apologize to your colleagues. A little bit right by your nose will also help you breathe a little easier (keep it super light, because otherwise it will burn). This girl right here smells like walking eucalyptus right now.

*Read in Spanish. 

4. Make sure to sleep early. 
Maybe you slept all of day one. You felt like s***, so you napped all day. But enough's enough because you're an adult and you have things to do -- I get that. Here's what to do instead: go to bed early. And I'm not talking half an hour earlier. Go to bed a full two hours earlier. Your body will appreciate the extra Zzzs when you wake up in the morning.

Pro tip: You probably can't breathe very well when you lay down, so you'll need the extra time to knock out anyway.

5. DON'T GET ANYONE SICK. 
This is the hardest because you have little control over it. But please, for your sake and theirs, minimize physical contact with other people, especially those you see every day. You're sick, you get them sick, anddd the vicious cycle begins. In complete shameless hyperbole: you'll be sick forever.

Cover your mouth (obviously, but you'd be surprised how many people don't), wipe down your desk and hand those around you a courtesy Emergen-C packet.

___


You do all that, and you'll power through it. It might take more than a day, but you'll power through it. I gots to believe.

With love,
Natalie


Thursday, February 4, 2016

2016 resolutions start in February, right?


january-trial-month

Anyone who says they've been committed to their New Year's Resolutions since Jan. 1 is BSing you. (And if they're not and they're some sort of superhuman, please introduce me. That's the kind of people I need in my life.)

Unlike years past, this year, my resolutions kicked into gear in February. I figure it's only appropriate, since 1) it basically took the whole month before I started naming files "_2016" and 2) it took just as long to drop the extra chubs I gained over the holidays. 

Last year, my resolutions were to be strong and be courageous. Very vague, Natalie. But it's what I needed to put me in the right mindset in 2015. By no stretch of the imagination was 2015 a whirlwind year -- not compared to 2013 and 2014. 

2016 is coming on strong, though. I'm making sure of that. And this girl's gotta get her shit together for it. Here come the resolutions:

___

Travel often, near and far


The plan is to be in another city, state or country at least once a month. It's ambitious, but when business trips often put you on a plane, it's not overly so. 

The first of these trips was a mini one back in January to Orlando North with Khaely. We did all the outdoorsy things -- anyone say carry a baby gator? The next trip is to D.C. this weekend with Shannunga and Monica to celebrate Shannen's 24th birthday. We land Monday night and Wednesday I'm back on a plane, this time to Chicago. You guessed it -- meetings at McD's. I'm so not ready to freeze but I'm so ready for the miles. (February travels? Check!)

March is Long Beach, California for We All Grow (I'll be speaking and representing BodenPR, so find me!) and possibly Austin, TX for SXSW. April is NYC for my birthday. May and June are Paris and Spain with my girl, D. 

That leaves me six more months and six more trips. Open to suggestions!


Get my ass in shape


You guys, I've been saying this for too many years now. Literally for as long as I can remember making New Year's Resolutions, I've been wanting to get in shape. I think know I'm finally getting there. 

It's all thanks to Women Only Fitness Bootcamp and the incredible trainers and support. I may want to die after every class, but it's a glorious, sweaty death. I've given up yoga a bit (gotta get back to that), but I have started lifting weights. Lifting. Actual bars and plates. Sometimes I walk out of there thinking "who am i?" A badass bitch is who. (Lol, see, it's all endorphins and motivation.)

I meal prep every week too. I don't put salt in my foods, and I can resist my cravings better than before. I even eat broccoli. I used to hate broccoli. (Currently, I'm "indulging" my sweet tooth with some no-sugar-added hot chocolate with water. You can laugh.)

I started bootcamp in early September 2015 at 149 lbs and 27% body fat, all of which are perfectly healthy I'll add. Now, five months later, I'm at 140 lbs and ~21% body fat. I feel the difference in my body. I'm stronger, healthier and happier.

And now, we just got started with a Photoshoot Challenge that'll take us through the next 12 weeks. Extra workouts and stricter meal planning. No drinking. So far, so good. Let's see if I can hit the 18-19%. 


Good Riddance



The biggest of the resolutions this year is to get rid of all the crap in life that doesn't make me happy. That means donating that shirt I haven't worn ever. It means deleting Tinder (bc wtf)... and maybe adding it again. And it means getting rid of the negative, overwhelming thoughts that make you think you can't do it because you most definitely can

It also means getting rid of people. The crappy, meh people who don't add any value to your life. Why keep them around? Seriously. 

You ever try to force a friendship when deep down you know you shouldn't? I plan on stopping that. There's a reason people come into your life and a reason they leave it. Maybe you pushed them out. Remember why. 

Sometimes, you say, it's not them but the circumstances -- a new job, a move, a SO. Maybe they're not in the right mindset, too much going on. When you start making excuses, think of all the people for whom you're not making excuses. Those people who are there no matter what, no matter where, in every possible moment. Keep those people around.  Toss the rest of 'em. 

And I'm being blunt here, too. I'm not saying to go on a hurtful tirade or to make a big deal about cutting friendships. Let it ease away. If the person's crappy like you think, they won't make an effort. They might not even notice. #byefelicia
___


Of course, there are the smaller resolutions, too. Read more (1 book down!). Stay up to date on current events (it is an election year after all). Get a new car at some point.

It's all part of the "2016 is gonna slay" plan. One month late, but better late than never, y'all. 

With love,
Natalie



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

In Orlando North: Airboat Rides and Zoo Adventures


black-hammock-airboat-ride


When I told Khaely we were heading to Orlando for a weekend, she immediately thought, "Disney!"

Nope, not Disney, Khaels. Orlando North. Seminole County. (But Naty, aren't you a Gator?... Lol, have I mentioned how much I love her?)

Even without Disney, she was totally digging the outdoor adventures we had lined up. She knows I'm the adventurous, outdoorsy one, so she was ready to give it a go with her older sister... "the blogger."

Friday night, we headed right from work up to Seminole County. The drive was an extra long one with some rain, several delays and tons of traffic. Khaely slept the whole way, so when I woke her in the parking lot of the Westin Lake Mary, she sprung up with energy. I was ready to collapse in bed.

Shoutout: A special thanks to the Westin for hosting us. Khaely's favorite part? Knowing she was staying on the "preferred" floor. And the bathrobe, oh, the bathrobe. She felt like a little queen, and that's what makes me happiest.

westin-robe

That night, we knocked out as soon as possible, because our Saturday was jam packed with adventures and chilly weather. What adventures? Here goes.



airboat-ride-sisters

Let me start by saying that before we arrived at Black Hammock Airboat Rides that morning, Khaely had already made three new best friends (with more to come throughout the day). They were attached at the hip. And it warmed my heart to see how quickly they were BFFs -- holding hands, taking selfies, being girls.

Black Hammock is on Lake Jesup. And guess what's in Lake Jesup? You guessed it: gators. Lots of them. We jumped on the airboat ride, all bundled up with our sweaters and *super cute* noise cancellers, and saw a bunch of gators. Baby gators, full-blown scary big gators -- and even a snapping turtle that propably could have snapped my hand off.

After the airboat ride, we all had a chance to hold a baby gator. I was proud of Khaely, who shot right up, ready to hold the baby gator. "It's mouth is taped, Naty. It doesn't do anything." Who knew she was suddenly the Crocodile Hunter? (I'll add that at some point in my childhood, I legitimately thought I could be an alligator wrestler... who am I?)

black-hammock-gator
Conditioning her to become a Florida Gator ;)


central-fl-zoo-children

I was stoked to go to the zoo. Khaels and I make it a habit to go to Zoo Miami at least once a year, so this was a nice, different alternative.

We were greeted by the super cool new zoo CEO, Philip Flynn, and our docent, Bob, was the most informative. Want to distinguish a good place from a bad one? Look at the people. We were in for a treat.

First stop: vultures. Can you distinguish black vultures from turkey vultures? Well, little miss Khaely can, and now she spots them out the car window.

We saw lemurs and sloths, camels, giraffes, gators (of course), and more.

But the most memorable part of the zoo visit? PETTING RHINOS. I also found out rhinos are pretty much blind, so my spirit animal. And side note: one of the rhinos peed... like a hose spraying water. The kids got a kick out of that.

central-fl-zoo-rhino

rhino-tongue-eating


I have to add: the adventures were great, but the families we met were what made the trip so special. Incredible parents and spunky little ones who became friends in a heartbeat. (Imagine that one day this will be a mommy blog?!)

And the adventures with my munchkin, well, that's priceless -- and totally worth the drive.

With love,
Natalie


Check out the other families!



Disclaimer: Super thanks to Orlando North Seminole County for treating us to this weekend trip. All opinions are my own, and Khaely's, of course.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Whirlwind December: New kitchen, holiday love & Naked Juice


naked-juice-christmas


You guys, I've been a little MIA lately. I'm sorry. It's been a whirl around here since November (which was arguably one of the busiest months of the year for me).

And just as everything was winding down, last weekend, my parents and I decided to embark on a little project: remodeling my mini kitchen. While the kitchen is mini, the project was not. It was built before I was born, and when we demolished it, there were some electrical/plumbing issues to fix.

It wasn't until one week later that we put some of the final touches. Needless to say, it was a long week. I didn't do too much remodeling myself (okay, none of it really), but having the dusty disaster took its toll.

And it wasn't until yesterday that I was finally able to go on a late-night cleaning spree and leave my little place spotless. SPOT.LESS.

All this to say, I was a little late on my Christmas decorating. So late, in fact, that I got a head start without my munchkin, Khaely. (She'll put some final touches, though!) Last night, in a flurry of excitement that my home was clean, I set up the tree, put up some stockings and got some Christmas cheer up in here.

And today, I served us all some Naked Juice from my brand-spankin' new countertops. YAS.

naked-juice-countertops
Sneak peek at the new kitchen!

This coming weekend, I'm having a little annual get-together with some of the girls. We'll exchange gifts, catch up (since so many live out of town) and be merry.


I'll definitely bust out the Naked Juice again (did you know they have 32 and 64 oz bottles?!) and get us all a serving of fruits and veggies. Green Machine will hook 'em up with apples, bananas, kiwi and mango, while we snack on Brie, cookies and all the other delicious things. MMMM.

But I'll hop off here now, though, because as is typical with this whirlwind month, I'm running late: I haven't told the girls about getting together.

So if you're reading this, and you know who you are, come on by. I'll text ya while I sip on Blue Machine (remember my berry kick?) and catch up on some more writing ;)

Los quiero,
Natalie



naked-juice-mug
my energy boost, y'all


Disclaimer: This post is part of a paid sponsorship with Naked Juice. I received free samples for review through this sponsorship. All opinions expressed are my own.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

It's That Time: Holiday Traditions!


naked-juice-holidays


Every year, as December rolls around, I can't help but think about how quickly this year went by. It feels like just yesterday I was sitting with my munchkin, Khaely, putting up ornaments.

And with Thanksgiving just a few days away, it's almost that time again -- time to set up the Christmas tree, put up the holiday lights outside and sing a few carols.

The traditions with my munchkin make this such a wonderful time of year. And I hope that even as she grows older, she'll treasure these with me.

Holiday Donations
Each year, Khaely and I get together to donate to the less fortunate. We go through all her toys and she's very quick to point out all the shoes she's never seen me wear. The first year we did this, she didn't want to get rid of much. Now, she looks at her toys and thinks about how happy they might make another little girl or boy. Last year, she chopped off her hair to donate to Locks of Love. Imagine just how proud she made her big sister. :)

Decorating the Christmas Tree
Khaels and I do this together every year, too. She gets the bottom half of the tree and I the top half -- and because the ornaments are plastic, there's no worry about breaking anything. We also make our usual trip to Target to pick out one "cute" ornament to add to the collection every year. Sometimes my cousins get in on the fun too. We write our names + year on the bottom of the ornament to remember the moment. Let's just say I've got a Supergirl, Batgirl, slinky dog and blowfish on my tree.

Baking Holiday Goodies
For Santa Claus, obviously. And for Noche Buena too. We used to bake these from "the box," but Khaels and I have since kicked our "Betty Crocker" into gear and we make these goodies from scratch. We decorate with red and green sprinkles and always leave a note for Santa and his reindeer.

holiday-christmas-tree-2014
This was us last year :) 

Next weekend, as we get ready for what's sure to be a wonderful Christmas season, I'm going to introduce Khaely to a new tradition: eat, drink and be healthy. I've got some of my favorite Naked Juice in the fridge to keep us going as we set up the tree (she usually gets "tired" halfway through), and I'm sure she'll gulp those right down.

I've got a Power-C Machine ready for her because the girl lovessss her some mango and peaches. Plus, the Vitamin C will do her good to make sure she stays healthy just in time for Santa.
And for me, I've got the Blue Machine. I've been on a berry kick lately and this blueberry juice feeds right into it.

Holiday pictures to come, y'all. Stay tuned on Instagram!

With love,
Natalie



Disclaimer: This post is part of a paid sponsorship with Naked Juice. I received free samples for review through this sponsorship. All opinions expressed are my own.