Friends and Growing Up

My mom has taught me a lot about constructing a positive, healthy social world and it has allowed me to nurture positive relationships while consciously neglecting negative relationships. She once explained it perfectly in a metaphor of a rose bush. The real, true friends are the blooming flowers, but sometimes you need to prune some of them to allow the healthiest to flourish.

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The element of time investment relationships is difficult nonetheless, especially in a world with a mantra of “time is money.” Personally, I struggle to make the time to maintain and grow relationships. I always say I am “too busy,” but I’ve found the more time I make for friends, the better I feel and more productive I become. There is a book called “Never Eat Alone,” and while this book focuses on networking and business, it is a good lesson for personal wellbeing and friendships beyond the context of business. The main gist: never eat alone when you have the option to eat with a friend, acquaintance, or even stranger. Social connection matters.

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As we age, we improve our sense of self and emotional regulation; these two shifts are critical in the changes that occur within our relationships over time. We begin to know ourselves better, which means we can find friends who align with our own values and beliefs. The improved emotional regulation allows us to develop relationships despite disagreements and learn how to manage conflict. I have had conflicts with all of my closest friends, but those conflicts improve our communication and lead to a deepened mutual understanding.

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In my opinion, a true friend is someone who provides support in all the different spheres of life–a cheerleader who roots for you to succeed and find happiness. Finding those friends can be hard, but it is always worth the sting of thorns. Those are “forever friends” as I like to call them, and they truly make life worth living.

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Have you noticed changes in friendships as you’ve grown up?  What characteristics matter to you most in a friend?

 

Pancakes, Friendship, and Positive Framing

I recently got a shipment of delicious pancake mix from Silver Fern Brand. I love any excuse for a get together with friends, so I decided to coordinate a pancake-thesis writing party! I am currently a senior in college and many of my friends and I are in the midst of writing honors theses, which means we often feel stressed about the writing process and the long-term nature of our projects. Instead of dreading a day of research and writing, I proposed the idea of turning it into a fun gathering–I positively framed the situation!

 

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Now the pancakes certainly helped, but positive framing is a tool that can come in handy for anything you might be dreading or lacking motivation to do. Life is full of things we don’t want to do…taxes, homework, taking out the trash…but it’s all about the mindset we have.

My friends and I chatted, enjoyed making the pancakes together, and each ate a delicious chocolate-chip studded stack, and by that point we did not mind getting down to business to work on our papers.

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Look at that maple syrup drizzle…

I also discovered a new favorite maple syrup….Nature’s Hollow sugar free maple syrup is so good! It was a perfect topping that didn’t lead to a horrendous sugar crash. I highly recommend this over traditional maple syrup if you’re wary of your sugar intake, which we all should be–check out this article for more info.

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I think it’s safe to say our party was a major success–many pancakes eaten, many paragraphs written!


If you want some Silver Fern pancake mix, click the link to order: http://fmtc.co/3b0bc56a?sid=98.677

If you’re interested in learning more about decreasing your sugar intake and improving gut health, check out Silver Fern’s Elevated Plan: http://fmtc.co/089b5be6?sid=98.677


Next time there’s a task you’re dreading, try positive framing! What’s something you hate and how do you motivate yourself to do it?

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Facing Failure

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I’ve started to think of life as constant cycles; there are so many phases, but there are often themes and trends that happen over and over again. Failure is one of those themes. On the bright side, this provides us with so many opportunities to learn from our mistakes, grow, and make better choices. As a senior in college, I feel like I am a senior in high school again–facing failure, uncertainty, and fear.

I am proud to say that I am a different person now; I am not letting my fear of failure impact my mental health or my courage to put myself out there. I have applied for countless competitive scholarships, with a rejection from every one so far. I have failed, but more importantly, I have tried. I have put in the work, expressed myself, and learned more about who I am than I ever would have expected.

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Every essay, every terrifying interview…they have all taught me lessons. I learned to tell my story and share my purpose. Telling your story is one of the most important skills I will ever learn. Creating a coherent narrative of who I am, why I am, and where I want to go has empowered me to believe in my personal mission and has given me a sense of direction in a sea of endless choices.

While every rejection still stings with a knot in my stomach, a sigh, and watery eyes, I have reached a point when these effects are secondary to confidence and joy I’ve developed through the process. I am so glad that I have learned this lesson so early and know that every time I make myself vulnerable, I also open up to possibility for new opportunities and experiences.

If you’re curious about vulnerability, I highly recommend you check out Brené Brown’s Ted Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability”:

Gluten-Free Ginger Pear Bread

I absolutely love a baking challenge. So for this recipe, I noticed we had a ton of Harry and David Christmas season pears sitting around going soft. This got the cogs turning in my head. Plus, I just won a giveaway hosted by Kate and NuNaturals that included a new-to-me flour–organic green banana flour. I also had some leftover “Unpumpkin Pie Spice” from  Raw Spice Bar. If you’re curious, Raw Spice Bar is a spice subscription box that delivers freshly ground spices to your door every month–the mixes have been so much fun to use, plus you can taste the difference when you compare to stale, store-bought spices.

All of the ingredients on hand sounded like a great match so I gave it a shot and was thrilled by the results! A soft, tasty loaf that you would never expect is gluten-free and low in sugar.

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Ingredients:

1/4 c pumpkin
3/4 c nunaturals banana flour
2 eggs
2 medium pears, finely chopped
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
1/4 c packed brown sugar blend
Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Combine wet ingredients and mix until well combined.
3) In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated.
4) Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and mix until batter is smooth.
5) Pour batter into a greased and floured loaf pan.
6) Bake for 28 minutes or until bread feels firm to the touch
7) Let cool for 10 minutes in pan then flip the bread out onto a cooling rack.
8) Enjoy! This would taste delicious with a dollop of almond butter on top!
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Do you like throwing random combos together? How do you decrease waste in your kitchen?

My Probiotic Experiment

I am an advocate for health, especially gut health! I have been following research on the gut microbiome for years, but I still had not found the right supplement for me. While there are hundreds of brands on the market, few supplements actually have research backing. I took Align (one of the brands with solid evidence) for three months, but I still did not see the results I hoped for.

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While I don’t often share tons of personal health information, it’s important you know that I’ve always had funky gut issues resulting in the catch-all diagnosis of IBS. I mainly have flares during times of high stress, but it doesn’t usually get in the way of everyday life.

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Given this, I feel like I am on a endless mission to find just the right combination of supplements, eating routines, and self-care practices. A few weeks ago, Silver Fern Brand reached out to me about their new Elevated Plan, which includes a Probiotic supplement. I have been taking the supplement for the past two weeks on a trial run. This has been such a crazy time of year–full of holidays, family, and deadlines! I have been surprised by how calm my gut has been. As a research-oriented student, I can’t say that the supplement entirely caused my improvements, but I can’t explain it with any other reason. With the support and the medical team behind the development of this supplement, I am not surprised!

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I will keep you posted with any updates as I continue to take the supplement! Do you take a probiotic supplement? Have you had a good experience?

 

Brownie Review (+ GIVEAWAY 01/03)

I received some products from Silver Fern Brand to try out and I am so pleasantly surprised! I am always suspicious of health conscious baked good mixes…they are either too dry, have a funky flavor, or include questionable ingredients.

NOT these, my friends! I went with the German Chocolate Brownie Mix in celebration of New Year’s Eve. The mix looked dry at first, but as soon as I tasted the batter…lovestruck. It is full of coconut pieces, pecans, and chocolate.

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Oftentimes gluten free treats taste a little off or different, but you could not tell at all–the texture was exactly like a regular brownie. The batter is definitely a bit thicker, but it only took twelve minutes to bake!

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The finished product:

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Now I don’t often rely on boxed mixes, but with only forty minutes until my New Year’s Eve guests arrived, this came in handy 😉 I would highly recommend this brownie mix, and I’m happy to share that you have your own chance to win a box to try for yourself! In addition to the baking mix or your choosing, you will also win a meal replacement shake mix. Click the Instagram link below for details!

Good luck! Do you rely on baking mixes? Or, do you prefer to go the homemade route?