An Open Letter to The High School Graduate | My 3 Notes to The c/o 2017

As you start your journey, the first thing you should do is throw away that store-bought map and begin to draw your own. 

-Michael Dell

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On this day one year ago, I made one of the best decisions of my life. The store-bought map I clutched onto all my life was finally trashed, burned and forgotten. Since I made that decision to create my own way on May 27th, 2016, my life after high school has been a blessing. The first year of college is done, and I hope you have the time of your life in your next endeavor because I know I am!

Here’s to the high school graduate. Congratulations, you did it!

*Cue High School Musical 3 Track* 


1) I HOPE…

I hope you cherished the final moments you spent walking the hallways of your high school. Never again will you see the same faces passing by, or even the teachers standing outside their door. Your friends will no longer be down the hall after 3rd period waiting for you at “the spot” like they used to everyday, and you won’t need to get a teacher’s signature on a pass just to use the bathroom…things are changing now, but it’s for the better. 

I hope you understand that your friends will always be there for you, no matter the distance. I was 5+ hours away from some of my girls and if anything I think that going away to college made us stronger. We got to embark on our own adventures and when we all came home we had the craziest stories to tell. If things change and rearrange with your friends please trust me and know that’s okay too. It’s happened to me, and it doesn’t mean the world is ending. You’re heading towards the best four years of your life! My first year of college I don’t think I’ve laughed and enjoyed being a teenager so much in my entire life. You’ll fall in love with so many people and where they come from – and I mean that in the best way possible. 

Screen Shot 2017-05-26 at 3.05.40 PMI hope you enjoy the final moments of it all… If you’re an athlete I hope you played, cheered, or danced your heart out on that field/court. You won’t be in that uniform again chanting the name of your school. You won’t  have to dread long practices anymore and you won’t be able to get in your favorite line-up next to your best friend. The sound of the whistle during the final football game or even hearing the loud crowd over sounds of shoes screeching the basketball court will only be a memory. Jumping and screaming in the student section while you make fun of the other team is the epitome of Friday Night Football! Each game was a different theme, a different outfit to put together with a whole lot of memories not too far behind. I hope you enjoyed what was right in front of you, because it won’t be the same…

Just a thumbs up: Tailgate and sporting events in college are INCREDIBLE. The best is yet to come!


2) Say “Thank You…”

If there’s any word you shouldn’t get tired of saying it’s: Thank You. First and foremost, to your parents or whoever has given you a roof to live under. Our guardians are the reason we are still alive and well. If you needed lunch, or forgot to bring an assignment to school they were there. When you had your first game or were stressed with your ACT because you were only a few points away from your goal; they were there. You may not appreciate them now. They can be overbearing, picky and sometimes it seems like they don’t understand. The thing is, they do. We’ve never been parents before. We have never been 30,45 or 60. BUT our parents have been our age. They know what’s best. They’ve sacrificed more than you’ll ever know just to see you to walk across that stage. They raised you and 15+ years from now you just might have the family of your own and you’ll want the same hopes and dreams for your child.

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Say thank you to your teachers. Please do it. Senioritis is real and we all know that, but it is not easy being a teacher either. Appreciate the men and women who have taught you all that you know in order to prepare you for the future. Say thank you to the teachers who were more like a mom or dad to you. To the ones who let you stay in their classroom, use their microwave or even their printer when you procrastinated on an assignment. Love on your coaches, or even your boss from your first high school job. 

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3) TURN UP! (Jk)

Get Excited for your future

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If you got accepted into your dream school, GET EXCITED FOR YOUR FUTURE! 

Even if you didn’t and had to take an alternate route, trust God’s plan for you. I didn’t get into the college of my dreams and at first I felt defeated. Please know that it.is.o.k. The road doesn’t end here and it’s up to you on where it will lead you next. 

Rep your schools colors, show off your mascot and definitely check out Pinterest for the cutest ideas on ANYTHING collegiate. (Guys, this includes you too. You’ll be amazed at the wonders Pinterest holds.) Be ready to focus. Because college is not all about partying, cool roommates and sorority rush week. This isn’t high school. Books and classes aren’t free. Your teacher’s don’t care if you have a 79.2% and wanted to get all A’s and B’s for your first semester. Be excited for memories, but also be excited to spend hard nights in the library. #TRUE

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Don’t Blink

If you thought these four years of high school flew by, just wait. 

Leave your mark – don’t take no for an answer – DREAM BIG. The only person in charge of your future is YOU.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CLASS OF 2017! 

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Turn your tassels and don’t forget to turn the page into

the next chapter of your life. 

-Aa

P.S: If you’re reading this and are graduating from my old high school… Go Knights! STAY GOLDEN.

Bye Bye, Bad Cravings! | Eat all the right things.

Bye Bye, Bad Cravings!

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Let’s face it, we all could probably live off of junk food, or anything sweet and salty for the rest of our lives! However, it’s probably not the best decision.

I hope this blog post helps you figure out how to work your way own bad cravings! I’m going to help you get three steps closer to a healthier you.

1. Drink more water

 

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This is probably the most important tip there is and you’ll soon figure it out when you add this to your routine! Our bodies can confuse hunger with thirst ALL the time. So, if you’re ever craving food…yes it means your body is telling you something, but it doesn’t always mean the body is telling you it’s hungry. Try drinking a bottle/cup of water and then see how you feel! It’s important to drink a lot of water, and if you’re not a big fan of H20, try adding fruit into your water.


 

2. Plan your meals

1000-meal-prep-marek.jpgMeal prep is probably one of the best things invented since Chickfila! It’s fun preparing my meals, and it makes me feel even more organized. When you meal prep, you have everything ready and waiting for you. I’m less tempted to go out to a restaurant and spend more money when I already paid for all of my food for the month in groceries! Eventually there will be NO possible way for you to crave bad foods when everything is laid out for you!  If you really have a habit of bad cravings constantly: HIDE.THE.FOOD, or throw it out. When I started preparing for my first pageant, I hid all of my candy/junk away in a low cabinet; and overtime  I forgot all about it.


 

3. Find the substitutes

 

Here are some of my favorite sweets. You can still eat everything you love, just find a better alternative. I love chocolate, buttery popcorn, and anything covered in cheese. I changed up what I typically crave for these healthy trades and I am still satisfied! They’re absolutely delicious – and EXTREMELY and beneficial for your body! Think about the things you constantly eat, and reverse it into something that is low in sodium/calories and high in fibers/protein!

My ultimate favorite thing to grab when I’m craving chocolate is Nestle’s Semi Sweet Chocolate Morsels. They’re to die for! 


Turn your bad cravings into healthy cravings and do your body a favor!

You’ll thank us both later. (:

-Aa

 

Let’s Go, GNO: Girl’s Night Out? Easy Photo Booth idea

What’s a night out on the town if you don’t have your best friends by your side?!

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With a quick trip to the store, a few dollars in my pocket, and a few swipes on Pinterest I was able to be the perfect hostess of my friend’s 19th Birthday party. So, the next time you plan on going out with friends or if you’re planning a celebration put together a little Photo Booth.

Thank me later! 🙂

1. Here’s what you’ll need…

  1. Paper – (scrapbook or card stock if you want to get a little artsy.) I went to Walmart for mine, but the craft store, dollar store, target, etc. should have what you need!
  2. Sticks – I’ve seen popsicle sticks being used, but you can also get others at the following stores above!
  3. Backdrop – I got mine from Walmart for about $3. Can you believe it?! Head to a fabric store, or browse the fabric section of a store and see what they have. Really focus on the length of it because you want it to be wide/long enough for all of the photo fun!

2. Now for the fun part: Crafting

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You’ll need a mix of the internet and your creative mind to make the coolest props. Sure, the typical arrow, heart and silly faces are cool but think about what makes the group of people coming to celebrate so special! Use insiders, phrases, and ideas that would make your group laugh and truly have a good time because it’s all personalized.

Here are the ones that I made:

Check out my Pinterest board: We like to Party for some ideas! From birthday’s to other events when you’re planning an event, it should help you get started.

3. Time for the photoshoot! 

 


Putting this photo booth together was so much fun, and it all paid off when I saw the looks on all of the girls faces! It was fun, and really got everyone excited for the night.

10/10 Recommend you guys.

Get crafty!

-Aa

Meal prep with me IN THREE STEPS | Why, and how I do it!

 

What’s cookin’ good lookin’?

I wan’t to let you in on one of my favorite things in the whole world: FOOD. Specifically meal prepping! When you start meal prep, you cook enough food to last a week and divide them up into containers for each day. Just because you meal prep, or being to eat healthy doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself or eat nasty things. (Trust me, or I wouldn’t be so hooked on it!) Meal prepping saves money, is very efficient and IT’S FOOD – IT’S BOUND TO BE DELICIOUS!

Let’s chat a little bit about meal prepping! Follow me into the kitchen to find out why I meal prep, and exactly how I do it! It’s as easy as 1,2,3.

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Being a college student, I try to focus on three things when it comes to food:

  1. Do not by any means gain the “Freshman 15”
  2.  Do not spend money on fast food daily/more than once a week
  3. Do not spend forever cooking food each night

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a Chick-Fil-A and a Chipotle on every corner. Living in a college town I AM SMOTHERED IN FAST FOOD.

However, I always like to remind myself that $7-$10 on a meal from your favorite restaurant could be $7-$10 spent on a 5 pound bag of chicken to last you up to two weeks!

Food for thought! (I know – that pun wasn’t funny. Just had to get it out!)


Food Inspiration – My Pinterest Board: Eat Up!

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It wouldn’t be an Aa List blog post without Pinterest! From smoothies, to healthy snacks and meals to keep you energized throughout the day this board is perfect for foodspiration!

Alright students, pen and paper ready? Here we go!


Step 1: Choose your main dish!

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I buy my Boneless Skinless Chicken Breats from Walmart! I put them in a Ziplock bag and let them sit in warm water so they can thaw out.

I’m not Chef Boyardee just yet, so I like to keep it simple: Chicken. (However, just this week my dad helped me make Salmon for the first time!)

1)Alway’s put Olive oil on your pan before cooking

2) Don’t forget to check the middle of the chicken to make sure it’s fully cooked!

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3) SEASON. I love to use Mrs. Dash’s seasonings. The two I have right now are Southwest Chipotle, and Chicken! Yes we’re still eating healthy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t play around with flavors. Add some spice into your life!


 Step 2: Pick your sides!

If you remember one thing while figuring out how to meal prep:

  1. FILL your plate with greens. I love to eat spinach, asparagus, and broccoli. It’s super important that you’re eating vegetables.
  2. Add some brown rice and sodium free black beans into the mix as well!

Step 3: Prep!

If you haven’t already, make your way to The Dollar Store, 5 and Below, or Walmart because Tupperware is your new best friend!

Simply place everything you cooked into a container. I like to cook enough for the whole week! This way after a long day I can reach into the fridge and wait 2 minutes for a hot meal.


BONUS!

Step 4: Enjoy (and take photos)

Wether you meal prep for lunch, snack, and/or dinner, I know you’ll reap the benefits of meal prepping! Enjoy everything that’s on your plate.

Items in photos L to R:

1. Brocoli, chicken, and black beans.

     2.  My “Chipotle.”

If you love Chipotle as much as I do, you can prep it right at home! Of course, keep everything healthy. I made a chicken bowl with: black beans, brown rice, fat free mozzarella cheese, and lettuce.

3. Salmon, brown rice, and asparagus


I do reccomend playing around with new foods, seasonings and using your meats in various platters so that you never get tired of eating the same thing! It’s really easy and neat to see how many different meals you can make with just a few items.

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See you around!

-Aa

My top 5 EASY Pinterest Inspired Smoothies!

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Question: What’s one thing that’s sweet AND healthy for you to drink at anytime of the day, and helps detox and cleanse your body?

Answer: A milkshake!

… * A smoothie.

Of course, you guys know I can’t live without Pinterest. So, here are my favorite easy smoothies to make all from one app! If you want more ideas, just check out my Pinterest board: Eat Up!


Blueberry Mango Smoothie : Pinterest link

What you’ll need…
1 banana
1/2 small lemon (peel it!)
1 cup of mango
1 cup frozen blueberries

I don’t always do 1 cup of everything. Honestly I just add whatever fits in my blender!


Strawberry Orange Sunrise Smoothie: Pintrest Link

What you’ll need…

1  or 1/2 banana, peeled (optional)
1-2 cups strawberries, stems removed
1 orange, peeled (or ¾ cup orange juice)


Very Berry Smoothie: Pinterest Link

What you’ll need…

1 cup rasberries

1 cup blueberries

1 cup strawberries


Raspberry Apple Smoothie: Pintrest Link

What you’ll need…

1-2 bananas (optional)
2 cups apple sliced, (1 large apple)
1-2 cups raspberries


MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Smoothie: Pinterest Link 

(Yes, I said chocolate chips!)

What you’ll need…

An obsession with peanut butter. like me.

A love for chocolate chips

(You can mix them into your smoothie or sprinkle a few on top!)

1 large banana
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter


Add these items for fun:

Spinach, Ice cubes, Almond milk/water, protein powder, and Greek yogurt!

Adding these items can benefit the taste of your smoothie! Although there are certain measurements for the smoothies, I usually always try to add an even amount of everything! The blender that I have isn’t too large, so whatever works for you is great!


 I like to prep a few bags of fruit and stick them into the fridge so if I’m running late in the mornings or even in a rush throughout the day, I can grab and go with a health, engird boosting drink!

Stay fruity! img_6697

-Aa

My Spring Workout Plan | Getting Back into Shape

New year new you? Well, it’s possible! 

One thing I always try to remember is that you DON’T have to wait for a disco ball to drop at midnight to wait to start switching up your lifestyle. Tomorrow; NOW or even later today you can begin to make minor changes.

Always remember to take your own pace. Don’t worry about the person working out next to you and how much they’re lifting. Workout for you. Enjoy it!

Need a little help and motivation to get started? Follow Me!

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Reminder: I am not a personal trainer nor I am a professional at this subject. I’m just like you! Following guru’s and fitness channels through YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.

Need workout inspiration? Click the links below!

Let’s get Physical: My Pinterest board for workout inspiration

Eat Up!: My Pinterest board for healthy snacks, meals, etc.

I’m on Pinterest every five minutes (trust me), so you can definitely keep track of what to eat, and what to do right along with me! I always try to mix it up based on what I have on my Pinterest board. You don’t want your body to get used to the same routines. Always try to mix it up!

For the workouts below, I like to stick to 3 sets of 12 for everything I do, or I’ll do each exercise for one minute.


Cardio

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I always try to do 30 + minutes of cardio six days out of the week. 20 Minutes of interval running, and 10+ minutes on an elliptical machine or bicycle! Interval running is easier for me because 1) I hate running. 2) I push myself harder = more calories, sweat and fat is burned!


Arms

This part of my workout is the biggest challenge for me. I mean, have you seen my noodle arms?!  Wether you’re lifting 5-10 pounds like me, or 20 pounds, what’s important is that l you feel the burn and that you’re ‘re pushing as far as your body can handle; the results will come. For the basics, I like to do some of the examples above. (3 sets of 12.)

Here are some others:

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  1. Bench press
  2. One arm dumbbell row
  3. Lateral raises
  4. Tricep kickbacks

Legs

Ah, my favorite! I could go on and on about legs, but I’ll keep it pretty simple! Here are some of my favorite exercises to target the lower body: (3 sets of 12)

  1. Squat variations (lunges, jumps, etc.)
  2. Calf raises
  3. Hamstring curls
  4. Abductor push outs

Core

If you’re really looking to tighten your core, rid of “muffin top”, love handles, or gain a six pack – these moves will become your best friends! Do 3 sets of 12, or if you want a challenge, do it for one minute:

  1. Sit-ups (This is a little insane, but I usually do 3 sets of 100.) DON’T PANIC
  2. Plank variations (side planks, plank dips, etc.)
  3. Legs pull-in
  4. Table top sit-ups
  5. Windshield Wipers

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Toned core, stronger legs, and more leaned arms here you come! Each day you set aside to do at least a little exercise will leave you feeling refreshed, upbeat, and confident. I promise!

Keep striving!

-Aa

5 Ways to Kickstart your morning | An Updated Routine!

Drink lemon waterwater-drink-fresh-lemonsI never knew there were so many benefits to this! Lemon water makes me feel awake, and fresh. You can drink it warm, or cold, but I prefer for it to be warm because it wakes me up. All you have to do is squeeze,juice, or slice half of a lemon in \to your warm water. Making lemon water apart of your routine has an abundance of benefits: it boosts your metabolism, revitalizes your skin, and has so many vitamins and nutrients that will overall help you kickstart your day!

Make a to-do list

pen-and-paperThe night before or even while you’re sitting drinking your lemon water, make a list of things you need to get done that day, or even plan out your week! Being able to go through your day without worrying or forgetting anything will give you a great sense of organization. Always being prepared will never hurt in the long run!

Clean

Not that you have to completely sanitize and disinfect your room, but even I’ve made it a habit to make sure my room is clean each morning before I start my day. It wakes me up by getting me to move about the house, and I can always come home to a clean room – which might be weird, but it makes me happy!

Eat a great breakfast

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Sounds super cliche, right? Well, eating a good breakfast does help you kickstart your day. Grab a bite of your favorite breakfast foods, and cook it if you can! Wake up a little earlier than normal and make yourself pancakes, or even an omelet. It’ll make you feel a little more proactive! Always take water with you to drink throughout the day as well and keep snacks handy.

Read Affirmations

You can’t kickstart your morning off with a negative thought process! As soon as you get up and set your feet on the ground, you’ve started a brand new opportunity  to accomplish a new task. Read affirmations or positive messages in the morning to get your mind running in the right direction! I even have a Pinterest board to keep me motivated. Check it out: Life Quotes/Tips


Thanks for reading!

-Aa