Bulu box: Christmas every month 

When I got the chance to try out a month long subscription to bulu box, I was thrilled! I used to get the box years ago, but let it lapse. I completely forgot how much fun it is to get a box of surprise goodies every month!

I opened up my March box and found a TON of fun new things to try:

When I saw that the box included a daily dark chocolate supplement, I was sold! Of course I had to share this with my dad, and he gave the mini bars two thumbs up!

A great iron supplement for sensitive tummies:

My favorite gummy vitamins–Smarty Pants! I love the taste and texture of these vitamins, plus the name is fantastic. You know that $2 coupon will come in handy 😉

I wasn’t a huge fan of the cleanse product, but it’s still fun to try a new brand! I’ve heard good things about Shapeologist. 
I cannot wait to try Crave Crush! This product sounds kind of like a mint when you are just feeling peckish, but not really hungry. I have the tendency to mindlessly snack so much before dinner that I’m not even hungry when the meal is ready–this could be a helpful solution!

I have seen tons of other fiber supplements, but I’ve never seen a liquid quite like this. I can’t wait to see how it tastes; I’ll be sure to keep you posted. 

I always make sure to have these mixes on hand! A perfect solution to help with leg cramps–I notice I get them when I’m not getting enough electrolytes. I love that it’s naturally sweetened to boot!

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Have you ever tried a subscription box? Which product sounds the best to you?

Ted Talk Friday: Feats of Memory Anyone Can Do

I have been so lucky to TA for an amazing class focused on the intersection of rhetoric and neuroscience. During the class, we have discussed the five pillars of rhetoric: Invention, Arrangement, Style, Memory, and Delivery. I knew very little about rhetoric coming into the course, but I have loved learning about it and the endless connections it has with neuroscience and the human condition. In a recent class focused on memory, we focused on the method of loci or “memory palaces,” which is an ancient technique of memorization. It is an amazing tool for memorizing just about anything–from a speech to content for a test. Watch the Ted Talk by Joshua Foer to learn more!

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Do you struggle with memorization? Had you heard of memory palaces before this video?

Queen Bey Likes Popcorn 

I used to always be the party host in high school, but after coming to college I let go of that role. I loved it, but I can’t say it was always easy. The host has to plan, coordinate, invite, which is all fun, but also comes with a lot of responsibility! If you forget someone, you hurt their feelings. If you forget chips, the guac gets lonely. If you’ve ever hosted, I’m sure you understand! I’m a host of imperfection, and you see past all that (Beyoncé, 2006).

Now this imperfection bothers me less so when one of my good friends at college and I came up with a brilliant party idea, I knew it was time to bring back my host identity. And the planning for a baby shower for Beyoncé’s newly announced pregnancy began. We made sure to plan a few things ahead of time, but a lot of it was kept very low key. We divided the tasks and she generously offered her apartment for the venue. It could not have been easier or more fun!

Our guests were welcomed starting at the front door:

Obviously we also had plenty of (spiked) Lemonade

Blue(berry) Ivy Lemonade


When I learned from an article that Beyoncé LOVES popcorn, I knew that had to be on the party menu. Luckily, Live Love Pop was happy to provide some delicious popcorn to fuel our night of Beyoncé. Our snacks in formation:

 

Live. Love. Yoncé.

A bowl of my favorite salt and vinegar flavor, which was followed by getting down on the dance floor…

Get it poppin’

 

I love sharing my love of Live Love Pop–thank you!

And an even bigger thank you to my first college friend and fellow Beyoncé lover, Naomi:

“Freakum dress out my closet, Yoncé filling out this skirt I look damn good, I ain’t lost it.” (Beyoncé, 2013)


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Are you always the host? What’s your favorite party theme?

Ted Talk Friday: The Power of Self-Belief

I am a firm believer in the power of self-belief, but I think it is often brushed aside as hokey. It is not simply a ploy used by motivational speakers, but it is something that truly matters. How we perceive ourself and our abilities has an impact on who we are and how we perform across numerous areas of life. Think about the concept of growth-mindset vs. fixed mindset discussed in The Power of Believing You Can Improve. It is the same idea, but more specific to learning. I really enjoyed this talk from Layne Beachley; she is so personable and expresses herself so clearly. I hope you like it!

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When do you most doubt yourself? I doubt myself in performance-based tasks, like presentations or interviews….but I am working to change that!

Crossing Paths with Bursts of Light

I remember meeting this woman and being immediately engulfed by her warmth.  She has dedicated her life to working with young children being raised by their grandparents, specifically through early childhood educational in-home interventions through a non-profit; while early education is critical, she also realized that many students were not able to cover the costs of college, even if the only cost was $300 to purchase textbooks. As a result, she also founded a scholarship for local high school students who had been raised by grandparents. Beyond the scholarship money itself, she also explained that a scholarship means someone is rooting for you—supporting you.

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Her passion for her work was so obvious. She coordinated special events for families and stayed late not because she necessarily had to, but because she wanted to. I remember one event when she had to leave to go practice for an upcoming  fashion show raising money for charity. While she was certainly busy, she wholeheartedly loved what she did–from the fashion show to the extra programming.

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Whenever I see someone like this, I wonder how they do it. After becoming Facebook friends with her, I noticed how many friends she had and the obvious love she shared with her husband. She is the type of human being who challenges me to follow what gives me that spark.

This woman, as the title suggests, is a burst of light. While I don’t know if our paths will cross again in the future, meeting with her even just briefly for one summer will remain with me and serve as a beautiful example of a life being lived truly well.

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Have you had similar experiences? Do you think about people like this often?

 

NuNaturals Earth Day Giveaway! (ends 04/08)


NuNaturals is one of my favorite brands on the market. The company truly feels like a second family and their products are of the highest quality. When I received word that NuNaturals had new products out, combined with their amazing Earth Day campaign I was delighted to partner with them again, “During the month of April, NuNaturals will support the “CANOPY PROJECT” partnering with the Earth Day Network by donating $1.00 for every online order received through our Corporate website of  www.nunaturals toward the purchase of trees to be planted by www.earthday.org  Our pledge of a minimum of $500.00 will provide 500 trees to this worthy project promoting sustainability and environmental stewardship to protect our common home, EARTH!”
They just sent me some of their new products to try and I was blown away…their new ginger syrups are the perfect combination of spicy and sweet. I poured the ginger vanilla syrup on a Western Bagel  and it became a gingerbread bagel…aka HEAVEN! You’ve got to try it.
Delicious products AND an eco-friendly company? This is a major win-win. I am obsessed with their stevia, cocoa powder, and oat fiber. I just posted a recipe using the cocoa powder–it makes a super rich, decadent chocolate protein shake.
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I love these products so much and am so excited for the opportunity to co-host a giveaway with NuNaturals with FOUR winners! Winners will receive one bottle of the Vanilla Alcohol Free NuStevia Liquid, a bottle of our NEW SUGAR-FREE COCOA SYRUP, & a package of the NEW COCOA POWDER, PLUS a 50 pkt. box of our NuStevia NO-CARBS Stevia Packets.  In addition, each winner will also receive a FREE BONUS  item. The total retail value of each package is $ 70.00. Click the link below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

If you don’t win the giveaway, don’t fret! Use discount code of “BLG0616” and you will receive a 15% DISCOUNT on your entire order. This discount remains effective until June 30, 2016. Online ordering customers will also receive FREE shipping to the continental U.S. on all orders exceeding $35.00 after discounts. OR (even better) during the month of April if you order from the NuNaturals website and enter the special earth day discount “EARTH20” you can receive a 20% discount on your orders. Enter the code at the checkout page! GOOD LUCK!

Ted Talk Friday: Balancing our Adams

Most of the Ted Talks I post are about fifteen minutes long, but here is a shorter talk that still packs quite the punch. David Brooks gives a great five minute talk on two types of virtues; the dichotomy he describes between Adam I and Adam II really rang true for me. I constantly catch myself caught up in my Adam I virtues–striving to get into this or that program or wanting to get a certain grade. While Adam I certainly has a role in our lives, it is important to respect and nurture the virtues of Adam II in order to live a truly rich, fulfilling life. I plan to do a more in-depth post on this in the future, but for now…here is the amazing 5 minute Ted Talk!

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Can you think of moments where one Adam takes over in your life? How do you handle those moments?

Ted Talk Friday: Ending the pursuit of perfection

So many people live their lives pursuing perfection, I have addressed this topic in depth before, but believe it is worthy of endless discussion. One of my good friends passed this Ted Talk on to me after we chatted about the value of self-care. I love this talk’s approach to self-love through self-care practices; the notion of self-love can often feel so abstract, but thinking of it in terms of self-care is very helpful and concrete. This talk touches on so many issues–body image, social media, relationships–so fluidly. I hope you enjoy!

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Do you think of self-care as self-love in action? Do you agree with Iskra?

The Questionable Science of Nutrition

We know that nutrition plays a large role in our health, but in all honesty, I don’t think we truly know much more than that. What about nutrition science, you ask? Well, it’s not simply science. It’s also a lot of lobbying, policy, Dr. Oz, and business interests. For example, the dairy industry has convinced us that milk is a necessity for healthy growth and bones, yet there are few real, reputable studies to back the claim. Large scale studies have shown that female milk drinkers even face an increased risk of fractures later in life. Keep in mind that milk is not necessarily related to the increased risk, but it certainly shows that drinking milk may not have the protective power we are told it has.

milk

This problem extends far beyond “Got Milk?” campaigns; there are so many misconceptions surrounding nutrition, especially when nutrition is so heavily influenced by business interests. Since March is National Nutrition Month, I thought this was the perfect time to share my thoughts on the current state of nutrition. And it’s a mess.

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While I am not a nutritionist or registered dietitian, I do consider myself a scientist and strive to be an informed consumer, but being an informed consumer is FAR from easy. Those nutrition articles in Shape magazine, or even in reputable news sources or some research journals, are not always accurate. Those clinical studies shown on websites may not be factual. Many companies hire an external group to conduct studies, which means that many of those studies are funded by the brand and designed in a way to produce the most convincing results to support the product’s claims.

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Mark Twain said it first.

I feel like this post has been a bomb of negativity, but I think it is so important to address. My advice for you is to always look for scholarly sources (peer-reviewed medical journals) for information, and make sure to read the note on any potential conflicts of interest the study or researchers might have. Beyond that, listen to your body. All of the nutrition advice in the world can’t compare to the specific ways your body functions. I think this is part of the challenge in the field, everyone’s body is different. We process and metabolize foods so differently depending on genes, the bacteria in our gut microbiome, or our past dietary choices. Keep this in mind, and take those nutrition articles with a grain of salt–something that may not be so bad for you after all.

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References:

Michaëlsson, K., Wolk, A., Langenskiöld, S., Basu, S., Lemming, E. W., Melhus, H., & Byberg, L. (2014). Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies. Bmj, 349, g6015.

 

Ted Talk Friday: Flow

Now I am a self-proclaimed Positive Psychology addict, but this Ted Talk by researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi gives information that everyone can appreciate. The idea of flow is that moment when you “lose yourself” in something you love; it is a combination of skill and a challenge that extends a little further than we were able to go in the past. As a college student thinking about the next step I want to take in life, I am thinking about what activities put me into a state of flow and how I can find a career to match.

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What activity puts you in flow? Has it changed over time?