My #1 Goal Setting Tool

My #1 Goal Setting Tool

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here. I personally use and adore the PowerSheets and many products from the Cultivate What Matters Shop. I greatly appreciate you shopping with my link! 

Have you ever found something that you never knew you needed, but once you had it you couldn’t imagine life without it?

For me, that is the PowerSheets.

That may sound a bit dramatic to feel that way about a beautifully bound intentional goal setting planner, but if you own a set you totally understand.

When the happy mail arrives

If you’ve been around here for a little while, you’ve surely seen my monthly posts about my progress and goals using the incredible PowerSheets.

I have always been a fan of planners and writing things down. For as long as I can remember, I’ve believed in the power of goals and the importance of setting them. Before the PowerSheets came into my life, I would write down my goals, sure, but they didn’t always have a true sense of purpose. I felt a little lost in setting them, so they weren’t as meaningful as I would hope.

My well-loved PowerSheets through the years: 2017, 2018, 2019

Last year, 2017, was my first experience with PowerSheets. I could hardly wait to start the prep work and get my goals ready! Although it was challenging and it certainly took a good amount of time to thoughtfully work through and prepare my goals, I was hooked. I finally had a vision for my goals and goal setting in general.

My PowerSheets feels like a cheerleader I can carry around with me. She encourages me to reach farther and picks me up when a goal isn’t accomplished or a dream changes direction.

Because of my work in my PowerSheets, I think about my goals, my time, and my daily actions differently. I’m better (and improving) at letting things go that don’t serve me in this season. I’m understanding it’s okay to say no because that means I can say yes to what’s more important. I’m learning and experiencing each day that little by little progress adds up!

I am a Cultivator.

I strive to cultivate beautiful things in my life.

Faith.
Relationships.
Health and wellness.
Financial peace.
Success at work.
Contentment.
Peace.
Rest.
Joy.

You know what the best part is? We don’t have to do this alone. You can be a Cultivator too and you can start right now. Do you need some guidance? Start with your very own set of PowerSheets. You can do things in these final few months of 2018 that will set up 2019 to be your best year YET!

#1: Order your PowerSheets Oct 24th at 10am EST!

#2: Dig into the work and get messy.

I promise you won’t regret it ❤

What I love most about the PowerSheets is the prep work. These are pages before you even get to setting your goals where you consider what’s working/not working, how different areas of your life are currently, and how you want to grow in the coming year.

The question that always makes me ponder hard and smile at the same time: Where do I want to be when I’m 80? My answer to that question helps me cultivate a life that adds up to 80 year old Rachel’s reality.

It’s hard to say where I would be today without my trusty PowerSheets, but I’m glad I don’t have to know. I believe this amazing tool has allowed me to reach higher and go farther than I would’ve done all on my own. It has helped me to realize goals and go after things that are scary, but ultimately so good!

Friend, if you’re feeling stuck in your goals, it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a community of Cultivators waiting to cheer you on! Grab your goal setting tool and lets dig in.

Will you be grabbing your set of PowerSheets!? Let me know below so we can crush our goals together! Do you have any questions about how to cultivate what matters?

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My evening routine

My evening routine

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

Welcome to the third and final post of our routine series.

Post #1: Why and how routines + my favorite resources
Post #2: My morning routine

I love routines and it has been so helpful for me to break mine down. I’ve been able to take a closer look at what I include in my routine and why I’m doing each activity. I hope this series will encourage you to cultivate your own routines because I want you to live a life that is flourishing! Routines help make that happen.

daily routine quote

10 things that make up my ideal evening

I want to preface this with some honesty (honesty that you probably already know). I’m certainly not perfect and all of these things don’t get done every day. Sometimes I have a really busy evening planned and I’m only able to do a few. There are days I would rather get to sleep than put away the pile of dishes. This is just my ideal and I’m okay with letting it go when I need to.

Tidy up

I don’t like going to sleep with things out of order. I’ll do dishes that are in the sink, tidy up anything on the counters, and clean my space. This gives each day a totally fresh start.

Tie up loose ends

I do anything important that I didn’t get to earlier. Cross the t’s and dot the i’s so to say. This keeps things from lingering one day to the next.

Prepare food for the next day

This saves a huge amount of time in the morning. I eat from home most days, so it’s important I have food prepared. I’ll pack my lunch box and prepare my shake the night before so I have minimal things to do in the morning. No excuses for eating out. Unless I choose to 🙂

Lay out clothes for the next day

This is another major time saver! For some reason it’s about 170% faster to pick out an outfit the night before rather than the morning of. I check my planner and the weather to make a decision and make sure I have all needed outfits accounted for (work clothes, workout clothes, after work date clothes, etc).

Review planner & to dos

I just mentioned it, but this is crucial. Reviewing my planner helps me determine my clothes and food needs. It also give me a heads up on what time I need to be out the door and anything else I need to be prepared for. My Simplified Planner keeps me organized (if you’re new to Simplified, enjoy $10 off here — you’ll thank me later).

Unwind

Some days may require more unwinding than others. I try to listen to my self and give me what I need. That may be a bath, an episode on Netflix, or a face mask. I try to read every night to relax my mind and focus on something outside myself.

Put phone on airplane mode + charge

Put the phone to bed! Ideally outside the bedroom. This is also a great time to charge it so you’re ready to go tomorrow. I like airplane mode because then I’m not immediately sucked into any notifications I may have missed over night.

Beverages 

I always keep water on my bedside table to take my medicine at night and first thing in the morning. A new addition to my routine is Natural Calm. This is a magnesium supplement, called the anti-stress drink. It restores healthy magnesium levels and helps you sleep better at night. I put a tablespoon of the powder into a mug of warm water and enjoy, usually with my book of choice.

Skin care

Cleaning my face is like a little meditation for me. It washes off the day and triggers my mind for bedtime. I usually wash my face and remove my makeup right after I get home from my day, but I’ll do it before bed if I haven’t already. This part of my routine will never be skipped.

Dental care

Brush well, floss, mouthwash. I struggle with cavities no matter how well I brush, but I’m giving this a much bigger focus. One day I will be praised at my dentist appointment for my flossing.

Natural Calm and Water

Ideas for cultivating your evening routine

As I said for your morning routine, I would suggest you choose 3-5 items to be a part of your routine as you’re getting into the habit. You can always adjust this as needed. Your routine can be as long or short as you need to feel relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep. These are some additional ideas to help you create your own.

  • Meditate
  • Warm tea
  • Stretch
  • Light a candle
  • Yoga
  • Gratitude
  • Journal + brain dump
  • Set an alarm
  • Skin mask
  • Body scrub
  • Diffuse essential oil
  • Darken your room
  • Turn down temperature
  • Reflect on the day
  • Visualize tomorrow

Tips for cultivating your evening routine

Choose things that make you feel relaxed — Doing certain things (like showering at night) may wind you up. Be mindful of how you feeling after activities and do the ones that prepare you for a good night of sleep.

Calm your mind — At the end of the day, your body is likely tired, but your mind may still be racing. I know the nights I’m restless is usually due to anxiety about the next day or ruminating on something that happened the day of. It’s hard to control your mind, but you’ll learn ways to help ease it and create space.

Take things off your morning plate — There are things you can do at night that will actually make your morning more peaceful and enjoyable. Do those things! Remember, a productive day starts the night before.

You don’t need to do everything — An evening routine could be 30 items long, but that may not be beneficial. Don’t feel like you have to do every good thing. If you try, that’ll likely stress you out and be the opposite of relaxing. Do the things that make a difference for you and leave the rest. Maybe you incorporate others on occasion or regularly once you’re in a rhythm.

Your evening routine is YOURS! Do what works best for you. Some evenings you may have a lot of energy left and want to tackle extra things. Some evenings you’re so drained you can barely get through any of your routine and just need an early bedtime. Either way is okay. When you listen to your body and give it what it needs, you’ll be better tomorrow ❤

Are there things you do each evening to have the best night ever? I’ve love to read them in the comments below!

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Our Whole30 + tips for your own

Our Whole30 + tips for your own

Whole30. You may have no clue what I’m talking about or you may be a Whole30 alum. Either way, welcome!

In August 2018 I successfully completed my second round of Whole30 with my husband. I did my first Whole30 in February 2018 (you can read about that here) and the experiences were quite different. I learned a lot from my first round and having the support of my husband who was in the trenches with me made a world of difference.

If you’re not familiar with the Whole30, let me take a moment to explain. Whole30 is essentially an elimination diet. You cut out the most common craving-inducing, blood sugar disrupting, gut-damaging, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Food groups like sugar, gluten, grains, dairy, legumes. You can whole, unprocessed, healthy foods for the 30 days to reset your body and give your system a chance to heal and return to baseline. You can learn more about the Whole30 Program here straight from the source.

With this post I wanted to give you a glimpse into our Whole30 experience. Share some of our favorite meals, our results, and our best tips. If you’re considering the Whole30 or just seeking some encouragement for wellness, I hope this is helpful!

Our favorite meals

My favorite thing about Whole30 is trying new recipes! We tried these and many other yummy ones during our 30 days, most of which I would love to make again. Tip: keep a binder or folder for printed recipes to reference in the future! I have a ton on my Pinterest board, but it can be a pain to find my favorites again. Plus, you can jot down any notes right there on the recipe to remember for the future.

Chicken & Zoodles

  • Cook zoodles on stovetop until warm
  • Bake or cook chicken on stovetop, add to zoodles once cooked through
  • Top with your favorite sauce (make sure no added sugar) and sprinkle nutritional yeast if that’s your thing

Zoodles & Shrimp

Chicken sausage, apple, sweet potato

Homemade chicken salad

  • Shredded chicken
  • Whole30 compliant mayo (I use Primal Kitchen), enough to coat chicken
  • Grapes
  • Add pepper to taste

Salad

When in doubt, salad! Good way to use up fruit/veggies/meat before they go bad. Also super easy to mix it up or eat out, just be mindful of dressings.

Chia seed pudding

  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 cup liquid (I use unsweetened almond milk)
    • Put ingredients in a cup and store in fridge for at least a couple hours
    • Stir up and then let sit, ideally overnight

Roasted sweet potato & broccoli

  • Clean and cut up
  • Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper
  • Roast at 425 for 20-30 mins (or until tops of broccoli start to blacken)
    • Add an egg for yummy breakfast or meat for lunch/dinner

Our NSVs

Weight loss was a motivating factor for us to do Whole30, but it wasn’t the only thing we were after. And it certainly wasn’t the only benefit we experienced. I lost 10 pounds and Eric lost 18 pounds during the 30 days. Wow! More importantly, I want to share some of our NSVs — our Non Scale Victories! At the end of the day, weight will fluctuate and the scale can’t really be trusted. If you’re doing a Whole30, you can download this to mark your achievements.

Here’s a look into what we experienced apart from the scale. Although it’s a long list, it’s not exhaustive. It was a powerful, life shifting 30 days.

Improved performance at job.
You think more clearly.
You feel generally more productive.
You fall asleep more easily.
You sleep more soundly.
Energy levels are more even.
You no longer need to eat every two hours.
You need less sugar or caffeine. 
You can exercise longer, harder, or faster.
You feel more athletic.
More knowledgeable about nutrition.
New cooking skills.
New recipes. 
Meal prep is organized and efficient. 
Maximize your food budget.
Healthy eating habits have brought your family closer.
People ask what you’re doing differently.
Fewer blemishes.
Glowing skin.
Longer, stronger nails. 
Clothes fitting better.
Feeling more confident in your appearance.
Less bloating.
Improved “regularity.”
You’re happier.
You’re more patient. 
You’re more optimistic.
Improved body image/self-esteem/self-confidence.
Healthier relationship with food.
No longer a slave to sugar/carbs.
No more food guilt or shame.

Tips to be successful

Meal plan + prep: Whole30 is pretty much impossible without this. Make food you’ll be excited for! There will be a ton of dishes to do, but the prepped food is so wonderful! This will help keep you on track because you won’t be starving and reach for something that isn’t beneficial for you.

Tunnel vision: Instagram stories can be the worst on the weekends. Everyone is out to brunch or partying or celebrating something with cake. This can be super tempting and make you crave all the things, but stay focused. Be mindful of what may trigger your cravings and avoid it if you think that’s best. You do you, boo.

Remember why you’re doing it: You are doing this for YOU! Even on the hardest days, remember it’s worth it in the end. If you stick with it, you will learn so much about yourself and your body. You are stronger than you think!

Start on the 1st: This isn’t a must, but it sure makes things easier. You don’t have to remember what day you’re on because the calendar will tell you.

Accountability: As with any goal, accountability is huge! Maybe your spouse, best friend, or mom will do Whole30 with you. If you aren’t doing it with someone, utilize social media and the Whole30 community. You’re not alone! At the very least, be open with the people close to you about what it is you’re doing and why. They can still support and cheer you on!

Commit to yourself + your Whole30: You are worth it! Commit to completing your Whole30. Don’t let excuses or cheats sneak in. You’re only cheating yourself…

Utilize the resources: As I mentioned previously, there are so many resources that can help! Instagram was big for me to follow coaches and Whole30 accounts that share recipes and encouragement. The Whole30 website is full of good, free resources. I also highly recommend the books (I’ve read It Starts with Food, Whole30, and Food Freedom Forever). Google is also your best friend if you have a question!

Be willing to try new things and think outside the box: This experience will be a lot more enjoyable if you’re open to new things. New foods, new cooking methods, new thoughts. You may need to get creative at times too. It’s all good!

Keep it as simple as you need: You do not have to be a gourmet chef to make this happen. I actually find it easier to keep it as simple as possible. Get as fancy as you’d like, but it’s totally okay if you end up eating the same lunch all week because that’s what you prepared and you just can’t handle making another recipe and doing more dishes. There is joy in simplicity.

Putting the tips into practice

We put many of these tips to the test with a family trip to the beach. We were gone just two days, but a lot more preparation goes into it when you’re eating a particular way. I was honestly a bit nervous how it would go, but we had a wonderful time.

We didn’t eat out at all since I didn’t want to bother with being tempted or trying to figure out what’s compliant and being complicated with the waiter. I prepared our food in advance (breakfast, lunch, and dinner… although I did accidentally forget my smoothie bags in the freezer at home, bummer) and packed it all in our cooler to take. Of course we didn’t have alcohol, so I brought a few sparkling waters I had on hand otherwise we just took jugs of water to the beach.

We saved a ton of money since we didn’t eat out or do any extra grocery shopping. We also had extra time to just relax because we didn’t need to use time to get ready and drive to a restaurant. We had slow mornings, enjoyed a long family walk in the morning and evening, and spent the day on the beach. It was wonderful, but I am looking forward to a shrimp burger on our next visit 😉

I’m so glad we did it! We pushed ourselves and resisted pleasures in the form of food/drink in order to gain long term. We gained a better understanding of what we’re capable of and what our bodies need. We also gained confidence and clothes that fit so much better! It was challenging, but oh so worth it! Now, what questions do you have? 

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Being body positive

Being body positive

You may have never experienced challenges like I’m going to discuss. You may have always had a healthy relationship with your body and the scale and that is so awesome. Keep doing your thing!

But I know so many of us don’t fit into that. We have struggled. If that’s where you fit, this post is an encouragement just for you. And myself.

I have been thinking a lot about my body and my health this month. My husband and I have been doing Whole30 since August 1st, so it’s been at the forefront of my mind and I’ve noticed my mindset shifting.

To be clear, I’ve thought about my body and health for a while, since I actually noticed there were differences. I still vividly recall being in dance class in middle school, looking at the wall sized mirror and realizing that I was shaped differently than many of my thin classmates.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to change something about my body. I wanted to be skinnier, taller, more flexible. I wanted to have thinner thighs, flatter stomach, tanner skin. I’m sure in the 26 years I’ve had this body, that list is not exhaustive of my wishes.

It was after college graduation that I decided I really needed to take care of myself. I was sick and tired of not feeling my best, which stemmed from not looking my best. Slowly, I began to learn new healthy habits. All I had ever known up until that point was weight loss culture. For the first time I was introduced to wellness. Understandably, it would take some time to adjust to this new way of thinking and living. I’m still learning and growing. I’m still reprogramming old ways in my mind. It’s a process.

Where I stand now, I am fully thankful for and appreciative of this body.

I’ve spent many years wrestling with it. Wanting badly to change it. To make it smaller, toner, tanner. To change bits and pieces of it. To change sizes and shapes of its parts.

This is the body I’ve been blessed with and I love it.

It’s healthy and strong.

It has carried me through every day of my life, even when I haven’t treated it well. Even when I downright disrespected it in the name of a “summer bod” or a party. Thinking back to those college years specifically…

It has taken me to many beautiful places — Mexico, Belgium, Italy were some favorites. And there’s many more places I hope visit in the future.

It walked me down the aisle with my daddy and allowed me to dance with my husband on our wedding day. And many dances before and after that.

It has worked hard in Pure Barre classes and has become stronger with each pulse and tuck.

It has been gentle when caring for children and pets. I pray one day it will be able carry our future children.

I will love and respect this body. It’s the only one I’ll ever have.

I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection. -Emily Ley

This body of mine doesn’t have to be perfect. It can’t be. I’m human. And I don’t have to be perfect in the way I treat it. Again, I can’t. I’m human. I will slip up and make mistakes.

What I can do is my best to care for it. Some days that best is better than others. But each day I can give myself grace and move forward. One “bad” moment or day doesn’t mean all hope is lost and I might as well throw in the towel completely.

The goal is not perfection.

The goal is health.

The goal is joy.

I finally feel like my goal is not weight loss. Honestly, there is some weight my body could do without just because I know how I feel my best and I know that I’ve been living in the “treat yourself” mindset a bit too much. BUT I do not have a set weight loss goal that is going to determine my success or failure. I workout because I appreciate this body, not because I hate it. I eat right, drink lots of water, and exercise as a way to honor this incredible body.

Listen to this: my healthy weight is the weight my body is when I’m living a reasonable life. The weight that my unique body settles to when I’m not obsessing over food or exercise, but instead listening to its needs and providing. The weight my body will cling to if I were to diet and push it.

I do notice this number and am aware of it. But I am no longer tied to it. There were days that a wrong, higher number would mean a bad mood. Now that number is just another metric to see how my body is responding to what’s going on. This is a relationship — one in which I want to be a respectful, loving partner.

My actions define my success, not a number on a scale.

My success lies in my choices. It’s found in how I’m able to live my life day to day. How happy I feel. How much energy I have. How much peace and contentment are in my heart. How well I’m able to meet my needs — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Those are the true measures, not the number on the scale.

Say it with me if you resonate: I release any power the number had over me. 

We are not victims. We can choose to live happy, fulfilling lives without a number on the scale or size on our pants having anything to do with it. These fluctuate anyways. Do you really want your joy to be left up to a floating number?

I want a body that is fit and healthy. I want to be able to run around and play with our future children. I want to be adventurous and explore on our trips. I want to be clear-headed and fully present in my life. I want to be able to serve friends and neighbors and love my people well. I don’t need a perfect body to do these things.

This body is enough.

I am enough.

And you absolutely are too. ❤

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Clean Juice – 2 Day Cleanse

Clean Juice – 2 Day Cleanse

All about Clean Juice

I discovered Clean Juice through my Pure Barre studio (shout out to Pure Barre Holly Springs)! PSHS was having an event and Clean Juice was there with samples. I immediately fell in love with the White Juice. You will understand once you taste it… trust me.

Clean Juice is a 100% Certified Organic juice bar. That’s no small accomplishment. As they say, they make it easy to choose organic and get a truly healthy product. Yes please! I love their product, but I also adore their culture. The employees are so friendly and helpful, which I really appreciated because I had no idea what I was doing. Beyond that, what really captured my heart is their faith. They have a jar for prayer requests in store (I took full advantage after I picked up my juice) and they have 3 John 1:2 printed on every bottle. Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. I was reminded of that verse with every juice and it’s one I’m going to tuck away for later.

Why a cleanse?

I never ever thought I’d do a juice cleanse. I’m a foodie and thought I would be too starving to complete it. Plus there is always an event scheduled or life happens and it’s easy to throw the idea of a juice cleanse out the window…

I was intrigued by the idea and wanted to challenge myself. I enjoy pushing myself in my health to see what I’m capable of and I’m usually surprised. Over the last year or so I’ve gradually put on weight due to some poor habits I’ve developed, so I wanted to use this as a kickstart to put some healthy habits in place and get my mindset right. Nutrition is about fueling your body with foods that make you feel good. Although it’s certainly not a long term fix, dropping some weight and giving my body a chance to detox and have a break seemed like a good place to start.

How a cleanse with Clean Juice works

If you’re anything like me, you’re wondering how this juice cleanse works…

Clean Juice offers 5 types of cleanses with cold pressed juices ranging from “juice til dinner” to 5 days long. I chose to do the 2 day because that seemed like long enough to experience positive effects, but short enough to stick with it as a first time cleanser. The prices range from about $36 to $255. The different lengths and prices offer something for everyone! You can read more about the cleanses directly from Clean Juice here.

Clean Juice makes it so simple! They give you a 6 pack juice carrier for each day and each juice is marked 1 through 6 so you know in what order to drink them. Yes, there is a specific order and specific juices to drink. I drank my first juice for the day about 2 hours after I woke up, drank the next four 2.5-3 hours apart, drank the last (best) one at least an hour before bed. I also drank lots of water! This helped maintain a full stomach.

I was told it’s best to do the cleanse when you’re busy and I would agree. Although I did this on my days off, I was busy both days and that helped keep my mind off of mindless snacking. Old habits die hard.

Juices

Sweet Green
Ingredients: organic cucumber, organic apple, organic kale, organic spinach, organic mint
Potential Benefits: huge vitamin boost / sharp brain / glowing skin / regulates pH

Orange
Ingredients: organic carrot, organic pineapple, organic orange, organic tumeric
Potential Benefits: cold + flu protection / happy digestive track / joint & bone pain relief / reduced inflammation

Green
Ingredients: organic cucumber, organic celery, organic spinach, organic kale, organic ginger, organic lemon
Potential Benefits: low sugar, high vitamin boost / hydration / illness protection / antioxidant boost

Yellow
Ingredients: filtered water, organic lemon, organic maple syrup, organic cayenne
Potential Benefits: intense detox / increased metabolism / lower blood pressure / healthy cell function

Red
Ingredients: organic apple, organic carrot, organic beet, organic lemon
Potential Benefits: boost stamina / improve blood flow / protects skin & eyes / huge vitamin boost

White
Ingredients: organic cashews, filtered water, organic vanilla, organic cinnamon, organic maple syrup, Himalayan pink sea salt
Potential Benefits: good source of protein / healthy muscles / promotes heart health / calm nerves

My experience — Juice by Juice & Overall

August 6
7:30am — Pick up at Clean Juice Morrisville
7:40am 1st juice (Sweet Green) — Yum! Really good taste
9am — Dentist appointment for fillings and super numb!
11:15am 2nd drink (Orange) — Delicious! Tastes like fancy orange juice
2pm 3rd drink (Green) — Tastes very green with strong veggie flavor. Not my fave, but not bad at all. Feels like my insides are getting a bath
5pm 4th drink (Yellow) — Smells like lemonade 😍 Tastes like lemonade with a kick
8pm 5th drink (Red) — Good flavor, a bit sweet. I’ve never had beets before, so I wasn’t sure about this one, but I like it!
10pm 6th drink (White) — MY FAVE!!! So delicious. Tastes like the milk at the end of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Such a wonderful treat before bed. Goodnight!

August 7
9am Sweet Green — Yum! Good start to the day
12:45 Orange — Little late since I got caught up in the work event. Yummy! Wasn’t even hungry or craving the catered food or treats at the booths
3:20 Green — Still not my favorite. Strong celery taste, but definitely drinkable. I just prefer to drink it fast 😉
5:10 Yellow — Sassy lemonade. Drinking before I double up on Pure Barre/Empower classes. Giving me energy and fuel I need (I usually do my 6am classes fasted, so used to it and didn’t feel bad during class)
8:15 Red — Refueling after 2 Pure Barre classes. Need it! Didn’t feel super hungry, but stomach did growl a few times during my 2nd class (thank goodness the music is loud) Drank it pretty fast and easy
10:15 White — been looking forward to this all day! So tasty!

I honestly enjoyed my juice cleanse. It was a lot easier than I had imagined, mostly thanks to Clean Juice’s organization and tasty juices. I felt lighter, both physically and mentally. I felt focused and positive. I was able to do better work in my Pure Barre classes because I didn’t feel full or icky from the day’s food combined with exercise. As expected, I did lose some weight (1.8 pounds), but I’m more excited about my lack of sweet cravings and continued good mood! When I feel good, I do good.

It’s taking my body and stomach some adjustment time back to normal food which makes sense after two days of liquids only. I intend to continue with healthy, clean eating, so the cleanse was just the jumping off point. I definitely want the positive effects to stick around! Would I do a cleanse with Clean Juice again? Absolutely. Maybe it will be a good seasonal or as needed reboot for my system.

Exciting opportunity for local friends!

I know I’ve given you a ton of information, but if you’re itching for a juice cleanse now too I’ve got exciting news for you! Where are my local friends!? Raleigh, Cary, Holly Springs, Apex, etc — whoever is willing to venture to the Park West (Morrisville, NC) location (it’s totally worth it). YOU have a chance to get a discount and a tasting in store!

If we can get TEN or more people to commit to doing a cleanse, Clean Juice will generously give a 10% discount. Woohoo! AND they’ll even do a sample night so you can try each juice before you purchase. I’ll be there too, of course, because I’m not missing a juice from CJ ❤ If you’re in, please comment below or email me at flourishwithrach@gmail.com and I’ll coordinate the group. This is gonna be fun!

You will never regret being intentional in taking care of yourself. You are worthy, deserving, and lovely. I’m certainly not saying you need a cleanse. You’re wonderful and beautiful right now. But if you think it would be beneficial for you, your mindset, your body, then I encourage you to go for it! I’m here as a resource, so if you have any questions I’m happy to help!

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July 2018 Round Up

July 2018 Round Up

This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.

Does anyone else feel like summer is flying by!? I feel this way pretty much every month, but time just keeps moving faster. We’ve been staying busy with many new and exciting things so that makes sense and we certainly can’t complain. Lets round up July!

3 things I’m excited about

  1. My promotion at work: More to come about this in the future I’m sure, but I got news July 16 that I earned my promotion. Eeeekkkk!! It became official on July 20th and I’ll be starting in my new role on August 1st. That’s wonderful news to receive the Monday after vacation. This year has honestly been blessing after blessing and I’m so grateful. I work with an incredibly supportive team — it’s amazing to be a part of it. I started working for M/I Homes June 2017 as a Sales Assistant with the goal of being promoted to New Home Consultant in about a year give or take. Goal accomplished! I’m excited to fully step into this role and give everything I have.
  2. Whole30 round 2: Eric and I have mentioned in passing doing Whole30, but it’s actually happening in August. I completed my first round earlier this year in February (you can read about my experience here) and then attempted a reset (that flopped, read about it here), but Eric has never done it. It’s going to be challenging, but I think having his support and partnership in it will make it easier as well. He works in an ice cream shop 6 days out of the week, so he’s going to need some extra will power. I’m excited to see how it goes!
  3. Dip powder manicures: It sounds vain, but I appreciate feeling put together. It’s amazing how much of a difference nails can make! I’m never going back. My manicure lasted for a month! A whole month yall! It stayed perfect aside from my nails growing out, which drove me crazy at the end, but that’s okay. My nails feel so strong and even when they removed the color to change it, my nails were not damaged. Instead of usual nail polish, they use powder. They put a clear coat of polish on your nail and then dip it in the powder and repeat. My experience is they repeat 3-4 times, so it doesn’t take very long. If you’re someone that enjoys a good manicure, I highly recommend giving this a try!

Quote I’ve been meditating on

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Yes, yes, yes! This verse speaks into every area of my life. There are times I feel timid and unsure of myself, but this reminds me that the Spirit God has given me is not in alignment with those feelings. It’s okay and normal to feel them, but I shouldn’t dwell there because I’m made for more.

Power.
Love.
Self discipline.

This spirit allows me to accomplish anything. Isn’t that amazing!? God thinks of everything and He has it all under control. That takes the pressure off me and gives me the space live like I believe it’s truth ❤

Who or what I’m adoring

Primally Pure — I have finally found natural products that work AND use great, clean ingredients (that are also organic and fair trade). It can be so hard to find a product that meets both criteria. I’ve tried products before that have awesome ingredients, but they don’t work so well, specifically natural deodorant.

I was hesitant to give another brand a try, but I’m so glad I did! I started with their Starter Kit because I’m a sucker for a good bundle deal. Plus it gave me the opportunity to try many different products. I fell in love with all of it, but mostly the lip balms and deodorant. It’s the first natural deodorant I’ve used that actually works all day. It’s hot here in North Carolina so I was nervous to make the switch, but it’s been no problem. It neutralizes odors, so I don’t still smell like deodorant at the end of the day, but I just don’t smell like anything. No body odor, no funk. It’s amazing!

Favorite memory from July

July is such a sweet month. There’s something fun and exciting about the middle of summer. It’s challenging to choose just one memory! Independence Day, our anniversary vacation in Cancun, moments with friends, and lots of sweet memories in between. Can I just say the whole month was my favorite!? I suppose I can cause I’m the boss here 😉

But really… one day sticks out to me: July 19th. It was a busy day, but it was oh so good! Eric and I both had the day off, but we didn’t really spend time together until it was time to tend to our commitments. Our church, Hope Community, features different stories and testimonials through interviews and we were asked to share ours. So at 2:00pm we met with the team and shared our hearts. We were nervous, but we’re excited for how our story will impact someone else!

After our interview we had some time to use before the event and it happened to be Starbucks Happy Hour, so the waiting place was obvious. I wrote a blog post (this one) and Eric worked on content for Vida Dulce’s website. Productivity at its finest!

We spent the rest of our day at a grand opening party for a sweet local business, Gather Goods Co. We sold popsicles and got to meet many incredible people. It was so special to me that I was able to work alongside my husband and witness him in action. He’s so good with people, dearly loves his company, and serves his customers well. Opening a business is not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth it.

A good lesson I learned

Just go to bed earlier. 

I’m slowly, but surely becoming a morning person, but that means I have to break up with my late nights. Usually I’m not up late doing anything important. Probably just scrolling Instagram, doing some last minute chores, or watching Netflix. All things that can totally wait until tomorrow. Eric works late, so I would try to stay up for him. That isn’t always what’s best for me. Of course, I want to spend time with my husband, but many nights I found that time unproductive in connecting. We were both tired with short patience, so you can imagine our conversations weren’t always the best.

I’m a better wife and person when I get enough sleep. I’ve started doing 6am Pure Barre many mornings due to my schedule so that means I need an early bedtime. I’m still working on it, but I’m getting so much better! Old habits die hard. I need to remind myself that pretty much anything can wait until the next day — a good night’s sleep is worth it.

In August…

I’m saying no to: excessive mindless scrolling.

I’m saying yes to: time blocking so I can be fully present.

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My Whole30 Reset Flop

My Whole30 Reset Flop

I thought about just letting this go and not actually sharing it. I technically “failed” with my Whole30 Reset, so why talk about it? Shouldn’t we only share things when they go perfectly? Well, of course, the answer is no. At least for me. I definitely want to share about things that go well, but I also want to be transparent with you. I think we can learn from any type of experience if we’re open to it and take the time to reflect.

So lets talk. 

My original plan was to start my Whole30 reset Monday, April 23rd and stick with it for 9 days. Easy enough, especially since I’ve completed a full Whole30 not too long ago. 9 days would go by in a flash.

Things were different with this reset than with my first ever full round. It was a lot easier to plan since the whole concept and guidelines were familiar to me. I was able to get into the swing of things much faster and had an easier time making purchasing decisions in the store. I had missed the structure and built in “choice system” of the program. When I’m doing Whole30 I automatically know certain things are a no-go. This makes it a lot easier to resist and say no. Unless you’re not fully committed. Which happened to be my problem. I think since it wasn’t a full round, I was easily convinced to go against the plan.

Everything was going well. I was hungrier the first few days, but had compliant snacks ready if needed. I wasn’t thinking about food 100% of the time like I did during my first round (yay!) I wasn’t feeling the full on positive side effects yet, but I was feeling good.

It was all good until Thursday night. There was a delicious chocolate and strawberry triffle being served at small group and I rationalized ‘I’ve been doing well with this reset, so a little bit wouldn’t hurt.’ That threw me off because it confused my mind and body about what we were doing. This was supposed to be a time where I was fueling my body with whole foods and giving it a break from all the carbs and sugars. Whoops…

It pretty much fell apart from there. My brain is too good at rationalizing what the ‘dark side’ wants. Added sugar, french fries, dessert. I’m totally not against those things in moderation, but my moderations had gotten out of control which was the reason for my reset. Those things don’t fit into a Whole30 Reset, but once they made their way in, it was tricky.

So it wasn’t a wonderful reset by any means. I felt a little guilty when I flopped, but then let that go. Guilt doesn’t do any good especially when it’s in our relationship with food. Life happens outside the walls of a perfectly planned program. Sometimes we get it “right” and other times we don’t. It’s not an all or nothing kind of thing.

What did I learn?

I have the choice. I don’t need a particular program to make a change. It can be helpful to have a program if I need the guidance or the extra push, but ultimately every moment is a chance for a better choice. When I look at each moment as independent of each other, it helps me stay out of the mindset of one misstep blowing the rest of the day. I’m sure we’ve all been there — one bite turns into a whole weekend and then you feel crummy. Ican be empowered to make the right choices for my own body and health.

Be gentle during crazy stressful times. On the scheduled last day of my reset, Vida Dulce had their friends and family celebration and set to open to the public the next day. In retrospect, this probably wasn’t the most ideal time to do a reset. My focus was all over the place and treats were on the brain. I think it’s beneficial to treat your mind and body especially well during crazy times, but putting too much stress on it can cause an adverse effect. Maybe during that time relaxing a bit in the food department would have allowed more breathing room in other areas.

Buy the good things. Only buy the things you want to eat. This seems pretty obvious, but isn’t always done in practice. If you want to eat the veggies, buy the veggies. It’s easier to just not buy something than to rely on your will power.

Consider the WHYs. When bumping up against something that I “shouldn’t” do, I can consider the why. Why do I want to do this? Why do I feel like I shouldn’t? Those answers can help guide my choices and actions. Maybe that something is a big dessert. I feel like I shouldn’t because it’ll make me feel sluggish and bloated later. If I feel like I should because its been a long day and I need a treat, it’s best to avoid it. If I feel like I should because it’s cake to celebrate my sister’s college graduation, that’s a special time and I can enjoy a smaller piece. The why behind it makes a difference.

Keep accountability. I enjoy keeping accountability with myself through a journal and with others through honest conversations. Journaling helps me work out the deeper layers of a situation. It helps me uncover patterns and missing pieces. Health is important to me and I have close friends that feel the same — these are the people I share goals, struggles, and victories with. The best part about being vulnerable with others is often times they have been there too and can help you overcome the struggle! I don’t know everything and can learn so much from the experiences of the people in my life. Take comfort in knowing you are not the only person who has ever gone through that situation.

What now?

It may be a while before I complete another round or reset, but that doesn’t mean it’s back to my treat yoself daily ways. Once in a while, yes, because #balance. While it’s still a crazy season, I think it’s best to take the pressure off. I want to enjoy fueling my body with whole foods, but allow some space for flexibility. It seems like everyone has been sick (I haven’t been feeling so well myself), and I know rest and food are our first lines of defense.

So if I put a label on it, maybe it’s a loose Whole30. Which is itself an oxymoron, but I think you get the point, yes? There is a time for everything. Right now is the time to take what I have learned and nourish myself — mind, body, and soul.

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