Book It

There are so many things you can do to take care of your wellness. One of my favorite things to do is to escape in a good book! While reading can increase your vocabulary, comprehension, and improve brain activity, reading has physical benefits as well! Reading can reduce stress, lower your blood pressure and heart rate, fight depression, and aid in sleep readiness.

If you’re like me, you’re always on the go and rarely have time to curl up with a physical book. Audbile has come in handy and has allowed me to “read” more books. I listen in the car or while I’m doing things around the house. Currently, I enjoy reading or listening to fiction, more specifically, suspense novels. What are your favorite types of books or novels?

Recently Read:

Piece of My Heart-Alafair Burke, Mary Higgins Clark

Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses-Sage Rountree, Alexandra Desiato

Juror #3-James Patterson, Nancy Allen

Win from Within: Finding Yourself by Facing Yourself-John Gray, Steven Furtick-foreword

The Hate U Give-Angie Thomas

One of Us Is Lying-Karen M. McManus

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks-Rebecca Skloot

The Wait: A Powerful Practice for Finding the Love of Your Life and the Life You Love-DeVon Franklin, Maegan Good

On my list:

Woman Evolve: Break Up with Your Fears and Revolutionize Your Life-Sarah Jakes Roberts

Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day-Jay Shetty

The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex (and You Thought Bad Girls Have All the Fun)-Shelia Wray Gregoire

Unf#ck Your Intimacy: Using Science for Better Relationships, Sex, and Dating-Faith G. Harper

Amazon Health & Wellness Discounts/Coupons June 2021

Sharing Amazon discounts and coupons because who doesn’t love a great deal!? Hope you find something you like!

Resistance bands 50% off-https://amzn.to/3wiGXVi (expires 6/15/21)

Weighted hula hoop 5% off-https://amzn.to/3fFaim0 (expires 6/2/21)

Weighted hula hoop 65% off-https://amzn.to/3i5dpqr (expires 6/10/21)

Adjustable pilates bar 50% off-https://amzn.to/2Sun2nq (expires 6/21/21)

Water bottle 60% off-https://amzn.to/2RI5uEI (expires 6/10/21)

Waist trainer 60% off-https://amzn.to/3uD2pD2 (expires 6/6/21)

Water bottle 50% off-https://amzn.to/3c9RZEK expires (6/20/21)

Resistance bands 70% off-https://amzn.to/3ik21XR (expires 6/7/21)

Booty Bands 40% off-https://amzn.to/3caTTVF (expires 6/4/21)

Water bottle 50% off-https://amzn.to/3pbpyLM (expires 6/20/21)

Check back often for more discounts and coupons this month!

Gym Essentials

You’ve signed up for the gym, now what? It’s important to ensure that you have everything you need when going to the gym as you never want to be unprepared. Below is a list of all the things I have with me in my gym bag daily:

Gloves-If you plan to do any lifting, you should definitely have a pair of gloves as they help to prevent calluses on your hands.

Headphones or Earbuds-I enjoy listening to music while I workout as it keeps me motivated and may do the same for you.

Waist trainer-When doing cardio workouts, I usually wear a waist trainer to ensure that I keep my abs engaged and it helps me sweat more.

Barbell Pad-When doing squats, lunges, or hip thrusts using the bar, be sure to use a pad so the bar doesn’t sit directly on your neck or your groin.

Ankle straps-Used for donkey kicks or abductors on the cable machine; most gyms have them but I enjoy using my own.

Weightlifting belt-Use this when you are lifting heavy with squats or deadlifts for back support.

Barbell clamps-Not essential as gyms have their own clips, but, I like mine because they are pink 😉

Booty bands-Definitely a must if you are trying to build your glutes! Great to use as a glute activator before starting a leg/glute workout.

Resistance bands-Use prior to an upper body workout to warm up the muscles.

Training shoes-Use these shoes if you are doing squats or deadlifts

Running shoes-Use these shoes if you are running or doing cardio. These are my favorite running shoes! I get a new pair almost every year.

Pull up bands-If you are working towards being able to do a pull up (this is one of my goals), definitely get you a set of bands so you can gradually decrease the amount of support you are getting from the band.

I believe that’s all the equipment I take with me to the gym daily. In addition, you’ll want to have some supplements as well. Currently, I drink BCAAs during my workout from my shaker bottle and then have a protein shake post workout on my drive home.

What are your must haves for the gym?

Best Plant-Based Protein

Nowadays, people are looking for non-dairy alternatives to replace their current whey protein. Plant-based proteins are great for everyone, but especially great for those who are vegan, vegetarian, lactose intolerant, or simply trying to eliminate dairy from their diet. Research shows that plant-based proteins are lower in calories and fat than animal proteins. Also, plant-based protein is higher in fiber. Therefore, switching to a plant-based protein will help you reduce your caloric intake and increase your nutrient profile.

If you are interested in switching to a plant-based protein, I have the scoop on the best one to try! Over the years (well, the last 5), I have tried a variety of different plant-based protein and I have finally found the one that I like the best. Personally, I enjoy a protein that tastes well when mixed with water, one that’s low in carbs, and one that mixes well in general.

Orgain-doesn’t taste well when mixed with water; higher in carbs; used for smoothies so it wouldn’t go to waste

Vega Sport-not a great taste when mixed with water; great carb to protein ratio; great with blended smoothies

OrganIQ Eats-doesn’t taste great when mixed with only water; higher in carbs; great with blended smoothies

Sunwarrior Protein (Warrior Blend)-tastes ok…tolerable when mixed with water; great protein to carb ratio; great with blended smoothies

Vedge nutrition-doesn’t taste well when mixed with water; chalky; received as a free sample so I didn’t have to use it up with blended smoothies 🙂

Planta Protein-mixes well with just water; tastes great with just water; most flavors mix well. Favorite flavors (in order)-Chocolate caramel candy bar (like a twix), Banana Maple French Toast, Peanut Butter Banana, & Peanut Butter Cup. I have tried Sprinkle Cupcake and Blueberry Scone and I was not a fan of either flavor profile.

If you have tried any of the proteins mentioned, have any other recommendations, or if you give Planta Protein a try, please let me know!

Iced Caramel Coffee

Love coffee drinks from your favorite coffee spot but hate all of the added calories? Me too! We’re both in luck because I found a way to have my iced coffee and get some extra protein, and now, you can too!

Ingredients

24 oz cup (currently using Venti reusable Starbucks cup)

4-6 oz Coffee of your choice (currently using Starbucks Honey & Madagascar Vanilla)

11 oz Protein Shake of choice (currently using Premier Protein) *I have made this recipe with caramel, cinnamon roll, & cookies & cream. My favorite is cinnamon roll.*

1 tbsp caramel (currently using Torani sugar free caramel sauce)

Ice

Directions

Brew Coffee

While coffee is brewing, prepare your cup. Squeeze approx 1 tbsp of caramel into your cup. *Feel free to get creative with a design.*

Fill your cup with ice

Pour in your desired amount of coffee

Pour in your protein drink

Stir

Enjoy!

Calories-200 Protein-30g Carbs-8g Fat-4g

*If you enjoy Starbucks, you can order this drink by asking for a double shot of espresso over ice in a Venti cup; add caramel drizzle. Pour your protein and enjoy!

If you give this drink a try, please let me know what you think!

Amazon Health & Wellness Discounts/Coupons May 2021

Sharing Amazon discounts and coupons because who doesn’t love a great deal!? Hope you find something you like!

Gallon water bottle 60% off-https://amzn.to/3ym1LNg (expires 5/20/21)

Air purifier 10% off-https://amzn.to/3v0fo2K (expires 5/23/21)

Leggings 15% off-https://amzn.to/3os4kJj (expires 5/24/21)

Indoor cycling bike 70% off-https://amzn.to/3oBnmgs (expires 5/29/21)

Resistance bands 50% off-https://amzn.to/3wiGXVi (expires 6/15/21)

Booty bands 70% off-https://amzn.to/3oxxK92 (expires 5/25/21)

Personal/Portable fan 18% off-https://amzn.to/33X0Xk7 (expires 5/30/21)

Pull up bar 30% off-https://amzn.to/3tVoWuA (expires 5/22/21)

Weighted jump rope 70% off-https://amzn.to/2Sbdbmu (expires 5/31/21)

Jump rope 50% off-https://amzn.to/3v5iBhj (expires 5/24/21)

Adjustable dumbbells 40% off-https://amzn.to/3v5iBhj (expires 5/28/21)

Row machine or cycling bike 70% off-https://amzn.to/3hEvueD (expires 5/23/21)

Motivational water bottle 50% off-https://amzn.to/3wvBWso (expires 5/27/21)

Weight bench 40% off-https://amzn.to/34clUYp (expires 5/25/21)

Weighted hula hoop 5% off-https://amzn.to/3fFaim0 (expires 6/2/21)

Arm blaster 10% off-https://amzn.to/34afhpl (expires 5/28/21)

Leggings 55% off-https://amzn.to/3yBsllB (expires 5/29/21)

Booty bands 55% off-https://amzn.to/3un1TJu (expires 5/30/21)

Hydration backpack 40% off-https://amzn.to/3wIixVx (expires 5/31/21)

Motivational water bottle 50% off-https://amzn.to/3wtfoIJ (expires 5/31/21)

Pilates bar kit 10% off-https://amzn.to/3yC8bbe (expires 5/30/21)

Jump rope 70% off-https://amzn.to/34mSRRP (expires 5/31/21)

Weighted hula hoop 65% off-https://amzn.to/3i5dpqr (expires 6/10/21)

Adjustable pilates bar 50% off-https://amzn.to/2Sun2nq (expires 6/21/21)

Adjustable dumbbells 50% off-https://amzn.to/3voJvkz (expires 5/30/21)

Water bottle 60% off-https://amzn.to/2RI5uEI (expires 6/10/21)

Balance board 20% off-https://amzn.to/3oWO03t (expires 5/31/21)

Pull up bar 80% off-https://amzn.to/3fs1XTQ (expires 5/28/21)

Water bottle 50% off-https://amzn.to/3hTWZ3W (expires 5/31/21)

Battle rope 20% off-https://amzn.to/34kJulO (expires 6/1/21)

Check back often for more discounts and coupons this month!

Does Muscle Weigh More than Fat?

How many times have you heard someone say, “don’t worry about the scale, muscle weighs more than fat?” I don’t know about you but, if I had a dollar for every time someone said that, I’d be rich by now! So, let’s answer this question once and for all! Does muscle weigh more than fat? If you said “No” then you’re right on the money!

One pound of muscle = one pound of fat, which also equals one pound of cotton and one pound of rice. Get where I’m going this? One pound = one pound regardless of the material. Muscle, however, is more dense than fat, which is why there is a misconception that muscle weighs more. Muscle will take up less space in your body, which is why many people add weights to their workout regimen. If you are not already doing so, consider adding weights or resistance bands to your workouts as well and watch the changes that your body makes as you build muscle; and please let me know how it goes. I’d love to see your results!

If We Were Having Coffee: January 26, 2021

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that so much has happened since the last time we had coffee almost five years ago.

Since the last time we had coffee, I have earned two degrees! I earned my Master’s degree in Nursing Education and I earned my doctoral degree, Doctor of Nursing Practice.  I am now officially Dr. Smith!  Both degrees definitely came with their own set of challenges, tears, and many sleepless nights; not to mention, the last 2 1/2 semesters of my doctoral degree occurred during the pandemic!  I’m excited to see where my career path leads.

If we were having coffee, I’d let you know that during our time apart I became a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200)!  Yoga has truly kept me grounded in the midst of the pandemic and while earning my degrees.  If you have never practiced yoga, I encourage you to find a local or virtual class to attend.

When we last had coffee, I told you that dating in your 30s is hard…dating in your 30s is still hard…and that’s all I have to say about that!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m excited to restart my blog and have coffee together from time to time.  Over the years I have learned so much in regards to health and wellness and I can’t wait to share with you all!  If you’ve checked out the site, you’ll see that I’ve uploaded many posts from my old site.

If we were having coffee, what questions would you ask me?  What thoughts would you share?

If We Were Having Coffee: April 3, 2016

Originally published April 3, 2016

Greetings! I recently stumbled upon some interesting blogs all beginning with the statement, If we were having coffee. I found the posts to be quite interesting and decided I would give it a try. It was originally started by a blogger, Part-Time Monster.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that today is the last day of my Spring Break and tomorrow it’s back to reality.

I’d tell you that I’ve enjoyed my time off. I didn’t get as much accomplished as I would have liked, but I did manage to get a few things done during my time off. There never seems to be enough hours in the day, even when you don’t have to work.

I’d tell you that I have NOT worked out my entire vacation 😮

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my daughter has enjoyed her time away from school and dance. She does however miss all of her dance friends. I took her and one of her friends to Sky Zone, a local trampoline park. They had a blast!

I’d tell you about First Friday. It’s a local event held on the First Friday of the month at the local Children’s/Art museum. My daughter enjoyed all of the hands on children’s exhibits and I have to admit, I did as well :-). There was a live band and an open mic contest. Also, Friday was the reveal of the new MLK exhibit! What many don’t know is that Martin Luther King, Jr gave his I Have a Dream speech in the small city of Rocky Mount back in 1962 prior to giving the speech during the march in Washington, DC in 1963. What rich history to learn about the small city of Rocky Mount!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about the professor from NC State who was able to locate the speech that was given in Rocky Mount and have it restored. I’d tell you about the book that he has published that describes the correlation between King’s speeches and Langston Hughes’ poetry.

I’d probably go on and on about the subject of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and all of the history that I’ve learned, but you’d probably get bored and start rolling your eyes at me.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve decided to move to a self-hosted site! For my non-blogging friends, that means I’ll be able to monetize my site without all of the red tape. It’s all mine! I’d ask for your blessings and support.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve been having allergic reactions all week! My face has swelled, my eye has swelled, my hand and my wrist. Benadryl has been my best friend this week. You’d probably ask me if I’ve been to the doctor. Thousands of dollars later and an Epi-pen prescription, I have no answers as to why I experience swelling.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that dating in your 30s is way different than it was in your teens and early 20s.

If we were having coffee, you’d probably ask if I’ve found “the one.” I’d sip my coffee, smile and tell you to stick around for a while and maybe you’ll find 😉

If we were having coffee, what would you share?

Til next time…

Best Protein on the Market!

Originally published March 16, 2016

Over the years, I have tried lots of proteins, but only two of them have been deemed the best protein shakes for me.

What do you look for in a protein? I like my protein to have the necessary nutrients, of course, but I also like my protein to taste good and mix well. There are many protein powder shakes on the market with the necessary nutrients but taste awful!

It has taken a lot of trial and error (several bad purchases) to find the best protein on the market that I truly enjoy. This protein not only has the proper nutrients, but it tastes awesome and mixes well.

This protein (Vanilla) is only 100 calories and 3 grams of net carbs. It has a protein blend which contains whey and caesin for a total of 22g per serving.

Another cool thing about this protein is that you can cook with it as well. I can’t wait to try some of the recipes! I’ll keep you updated on the recipes that I try.

It comes in a variety of flavors, including strawberry, vanilla, cookies and cream, and many more. I’ve tried both the vanilla and the strawberry. Both reminded me of having a milkshake. Tasty!

Have you tried Quest protein?

What’s your favorite protein?

What do you consider the best protein on the market?