Motivation Monday: How to become a productive morning person

20160229_122936000_iOSMondays: One of the most dreaded days of the week. How can we go from enjoying a weekend to hating our lives with the sound of one word: Monday.  a LOT of people ask me how I’m  so chipper in the morning, or how I can even get my butt to the gym in the mornings on a Monday. Sometimes I never really even realize that I act that way, so I’ve decided to compile a few of my own tips on how I personally manage to get up, get going, and get productive!


  1. Going to sleep early: everyone makes fun of me for being a 21 year old with a “bed time” but once 8:30pm hits on a sunday I’m usually throwing on my PJs and getting ready to ease into sleep. Although many studies find that using electronics can zap your ability to sleep, I used the last hour of night curled up in bed to scroll through pinterest or my kindle. It’s a nice, unwinding ritual I have. Getting to sleep early definitely helps you wake up earlier.
  2. Setting music as my alarm: Nothing better than waking up to an upbeat alarm versus that obnoxious wailing sound of beeping! I keep my phone on my nightstand and around 3:30-4am it’ll go off with some pumped up alarm. Hoodie Allen woke me up this morning but occasionally T Swift or Justin Beiber makes a guest appearance.
  3. Making a to-do list the night before: Knowing what you desperately haveeeee to get done for the day instead of waking up thinking: oh sh*t, what was I supposed to do today? Makes my morning so much easier. I usually use the note app on my phone to jot things down, but a pen and paper works well too.
  4. Having my coffee and pre-workout prepped, oats ready, and gym bag packed: Waking up and grabbing my pre workout from the fridge already portioned out thanks to the Jay Cutler shaker bottle I got from GNC (for free!) makes my morning easier. I usually do my AM workouts fasted, so waking up, grabbing my gym bag, chugging my pre workout and heading out the door is simple. When I come home, my oats are already measured out (I do this the nigh before) and my coffee is prepared waiting for me to click brew. Making mornings easier by prepping is my key to having a successful morning
  5. Exercise! I cannot tell you how many times I decided to workout after I get home from my 7am-4pm job and just have my day ruined! Putting off my usual 1.5-2 hour gym day to after work eats into my relaxation time at night. By doing it in the morning, I have the ability to come home from work, relax, unwind, and get some to-do tasks out of the way.

Those are all my personal ways to have a successful Monday, what are some of yours??


Weekend Wrap up #1: Children’s Hospital, Bikini Shopping, Fuller House

Starting a new “weekend wrap up” trend! Because of how busy people can get, sometimes blogging EVERY day just isn’t feasible, especially when you are a 21 year old grad student trying to work and save the world all while attempting t pay bills and possibly having a social life…


but anyways let’s back it up to Friday:

20160226_165804430_iOSFriday February 26th: DESSG Meeting in Pittsburgh at the Children’s Hospital. Here my fellow interns and I learned so much regarding childhood nutrition and nutrition-related diseases, such as PKU and Cystic Fibrosis. Lunch wasn’t catered (and when it is, it’s usually salad with some white bread rolls and chicken followed by chocolate chip cookies), but there was a beautiful café with plenty of food options. Because I was completely unsure of what would be served, I had to pack my lunch. Packing a meal when going to unfamiliar places is KEY to staying on track! If I hadn’t had packed my overnight oats along with my chicken, sweet potato, and spring mix salad, I would have easily caved on pizza and “healthy” sandwiches (and by healthy I mean 700 mg of sodium & half of your days worth of calories on white bread). This means taking some time the night before and ensuring you’re meal is ready to go so it’s a quick grab on the way out the door. One of the interns I work with even asked me how to meal prep and what exactly I do! Very heart warming to know people notice my hard work.

Overall the presentation was entirely informative and although we got lost and parking was so frustrating (it’s the city, what do you expect?), the experience was definitely worth it. When we got back to town, I trekked over to the gym and just wasn’t in the mood: You know those days where you feel completely awful about yourself? I was having one of those days. Mirrors are heartbreaking at times, but we can’t let it effect our mood.

Saturday February 27th: Waking up and deciding to sleep in and skip the gym so I could snooze until 5AM before I had to head to work. Luckily it was a short day and I was able to get out of there, head to the gym, and get home and start some work. Saturday was used as a catch up day: catch up on my bills, errands, cooking, cleaning, the typical boring adult tasks. I do feel fairly accomplished though, now if only I could get my car washed that would be a huge task completed!

I left to Shawn’s later that night and we watched the new Netflix series “Fuller House”. LOVE it! Although all Shawn wanted to do was talk, my eyes were glued to the screen hahah sorry Shawn! Seriously, if you have the option to watch Netflix, definitely give the first two episodes a shot!




I also ended up buying my bikini for my competition! AHHHH. Let’s hope it fits. The color will be revealed sooner than later Winking smile


Sunday February 28th: I sit here eating my egg white omelette w/ spinach as I get ready for another day at work! I got my first session of cardio in this AM and am about to head into work, chop up some fruits and veggies, and kill another session of cardio tonight. Lots to do:

homework, lesson plans, workout, *breathe*, pay more bills, *breathe*


Did I mention breathe?? Sometimes life gets super overwhelming, so I have to (literally) tell myself that everything is going to be okay.


Happy Sunday Smile


Protein Powder Cookie Dough???

20160222_130016114_iOSSometimes I am DYING for a sweet treat. And yes, there is absolutely nothing wrong with indulging on oreos (cinnamon  bun oreos = heaven!), a slice of cake, or maybe some Chex Mix muddy buddies actually. BUT who doesn’t want to indulge in a treat that not only TASTE delicious, but fuels their body right as well?? Probably my mom actually since she always tell me that she would rather eat the full fat delicious treat than some knock off ‘substitute for applesauce’ type of treat…..but that’s beside the point! My roommate Christyna and I got creative with Dymatize’s  Iso-100 whey protein in birthday cake flavor. As an undergraduate in the food and nutrition program, I was always fascinated by food substitutions and food science and making healthier alternatives to our favorite meals. Currently my diet is limited….and making and eating healthier meals is hard, but luckily my roommate’s diet isn’t as limited hehe. Here is what Christyna and I ended up doing:






  1. 1/2 cup of greek yogurt (we used Walmart brand vanilla)
  2. 1/4 cup of coconut flour
  3. 2 scoops of cake batter flavored protein powder
  4. as many sprinkles as you would like!

Mix all of those up and put it in the refridgerator and BAM! you have yourself a nice, creamy treat for whenever your sweet tooth is calling your name. Literally took us 5 minutes (and probably 15 minutes to take all of these photos). This is also great after a workout. Spread on top of a cinnamon raisin slice of bread and you get your carb + protein fix instantly!


Anyone else try concocting a delicious protein powder recipe?




Weekend Wrap Up: Phipps Conservatory and Dry Rub Recipes!

20160221_111849000_iOSSometimes you need a little fun in life right? Well after this long weekend of presentations for my nutrition program, a great weekend was needed! On friday we had transition day from 7:30AM-4:30pm, and that was simply just learning about the masters programs, taking exams and giving presentations about our management experience. After being on campus alllll day I had to wake back up and do it again the next day, luckily only until noon. At about 12:30pm Shawn and I decided to spend the wonder 60 degree day in Pittsburgh exploring Phipps Conservatory! I’m really not a city person….and by that I mean I really hate crowded areas and the hustle and bustle of things, but this gardening location was BEAUTIFUL! The demonstration that was going on this month was a fairy tale theme train set. Each garden was a different fairy tale, it was beautiful. The tickets are only 14 dollars for a student (gotta take advantage of that student discount hehe) and the café and gift shop were both really nice. At first I was just rushing through every single greenhouse room at the conservatory, and Shawn was like Tabitha slow down why are you rushing this?


Again…there I was RUSHING a good time with Shawn. I am ALWAYS rushing things. That’s something I need to spend more time being aware about: rushing for no reason. I think the fact that there were so many people really bugged me, but hey that’s pittsburgh. After the garden trip, we walked down to Primanti Brothers. Shawn got several calorie laden meals, such as the Pittsburgher and the cheese fries with sour cream, chili, cheese, and jalapenos. I purchased a cajun rub chicken salad, which got me thinking: How can I make my own spicy rub?? I pondered that while enjoying my cajun style salad and watching the cheese and sour cream overflow the boat of fries infront of me. After we finished I grabbed a tanzanian coffee from Café Mocha and we headed back to our little college town. Sometimes it’s nice to get out of your comfort zone of netflix and sweats and actually throw on a pair of jeans & try something new! Next adventure? Rock climbing!!

I got home and started organizing all of my new binders, folders, and agendas for my new rotation, which involves counseling people, athletes, and teaching FDNT classes!! Smile 








You know how I asked myself the question on how to make a dry rub? Well that was today’s task!



20160221_210039941_iOSI gathered:

  • 1/3 cup of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun Perfect Pinch
  • 1 teaspoon Southwestern Perfect Pinch
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • dash of sugar!


Threw that mixture all over my chicken and BAM! New flavor. The red pepper flakes really add heat to it, but I’m not a baby when it comes to spice. I’ll be looking more into how to change up the rub and how to add flavor. Any recommendations?








Weekend Festivities

20160213_142429761_iOSThe Cold Hands Warm Heart 5K event was a success! My booth was dedicated to healthy fats and we were able to run out of our sunflower butter samples. Many people really liked them and stated how it tasted like natural crunchy peanut butter! Although it was bitterly cold for the runners, plus the ice rink that we were located in wasn’t too warm itself, I did manage to enjoy myself and network a bit. The gym I go to had their own booth so I was mingling there for a bit, plus my room mate has her own booth for the gym she works at so I was over there hula hooping at one of the stations (hula hooped for thirteen minutes! until some young girl walked into me and ruined my time ugh). What I have to say that really bugs me is the fact that I stepped on a body weight analyzing machine and it stated how I was at 18% body fat (my coach tells me I’m at about 11%) plus I was three pounds heavier than I was that morning!!

I know, I shouldn’t get so worked up about it but it really was a buzzkill. I came super cold and exhausted and fell right to sleep….and woke up two hours later at 4:30 pm and immediately began working on my management portfolio that’s due in a week! It’s crunch time and it’s the most anxiety ridden time for me. I cannot wait until the end of this rotation and to be in the clear!


I skipped my morning gym session for some sleep before my 7-3:30 workday on valentines days! I decide to go after work and that was a bad idea…I’m not used to dealing with people at the gym with my new morning time. Plus I’m used to having my evenings free but instead it was jam packed with the gym, cooking, cleaning, grad work, blogging, and now I’m off to shower and watch some movies. Let’s hope I can get some relaxing in at some point this week Sad smile


Super Bowl Sunday Snacks: Healthy Tips

20160126_103952000_iOSIt was one of those mornings where my alarm went off at 3AM and I don’t remember hitting snooze (luckily I’m that girl who sets five alarms are random increments such as 3:00, 3:04, 3:12, etc. to ensure I will eventually get up lol). I ended up waking up to the 3:12 alarm which made me desire to lay there and question why I was going to the gym this early before work. I laid there for about seven minutes and was in tht “now or never” mindset. I knew I was awake, I wasn’t miserable or exhausted. So I threw on a pot of coffee and managed to get my butt over there. I went out to my friend Matthew’s house last night for a few hours just to say hi and that I didn’t completely fall off the planet due to lack of communication. Sometimes when I get super stressed/overwhelmed/involved with projects, I tend to “fall off the face of the earth”. I’ve been becoming more comfortable being social and being a bit more spontaneous lately, which is a huge milestone in my life. Although everyone was drinking last night, I had absolutely no urge to and at first they were the typical college boys who were coaxing me to just “take a sip”. Disgusted with the lack of maturity in men, I was like mmm no although I love how I am when I’m drunk and I do have fun, I think I can manage to survive tonight without the absorption of alcohol. After I told them why I wasn’t drinking they were all about asking me questions on what I eat, what I lift, and all of that. So in the end, things did go smoothly.

Boys: When will your maturity kick in? Where are the men that prefer one beer at dinner reservations versus shot gunning a beer at a frat? Sometimes I feel like MY maturity decreases around college aged kids. 

Ok ok REAL topic of the day: eating at parties. Tailgates, parties, celebrations, holidays….all of these tend to revolve around one main thing: FOOD! In my opinion, society seems to revolve most social gatherings around food. And while that’s great and can be families and friends togethers/have a positive effect on people (eating together has been linked to lower depression, drug use, and suicidal tendencies in adolescents), WHAT we are putting on our plates is key. Here’s a few tips/tricks I think can help curb your caloric intake at tonight’s game!

  1. Eat before hand—I know I know, the whole point of parties is the FOOD. But eating lunch/dinner before you go, even something light like 1/2 a sandwich and a piece of fruit, can help reduce your intake. If you show up at a party STARVING, chances are you will eat absolutely everything and anything.
  2. The veggie platter is your best friend here. Start here and fill 1/2 of your plate up at this station. Take a reasonable amount of dip if necessary (2 tbsp) Feel free to come back to this station often Smile
  3. Steer CLEAR of the bread/dips. Many parties carve out a bread roll, fill it with a high calorie cheese dip and use the bread as dippers. Yeah, pass on that. There will be plenty of healthier carb choices for you
  4. Skinless, boneless, wings are always a great choice as well. High in protein to keep you satisfied. Just watch the amount any time of dip you might use (ranch, blue cheese, etc)
  5. Nuts—yes, they are healthy. But a palm size portion is all your need! Measure out a palm size portion of almonds, walnuts, pecans (those are the best for memory function!) and put them on your plate. Mix them with a handful of pretzels and you have a nice sized trail mix.
  6. Limiting your soda/alcohol intake can save your several extra calories that won’t be going to use. Sticking to water is key. Personally I would bring some crystal light packets or a Mio just to make it more fun and tasty.
  7. Chex mix is fairly popular at games, but it’s all refined carbs. It’s not a bad choice butttt there are plenty of other things that are better. If you’re dying for some then toss a handful on your plate and add your handful of nuts to it!
  8. Need something crunchy like potato chips? Aim for the popcorn,baked chips, or salsa and tortilla chips!! And stick to a handful.
  9. Candy: skip. If you’re looking for a treat, I would rather have a cookie or brownie versus digging my hands in peanut m&ms or hershey kisses. If you’re craving a dessert, split something. Or if they have mini cookies or mini brownies stick to one. It’s totally okay to treat yourself, but don’t go overboard.
  10. Bring your own healthy dish—that way you KNOW there is something you can consume.
  11. Put down the fork and socialize!! Get your mind off of the food and turn this into a SOCIAL event Smile



Things I would fill my plate with:

  • veggies and a little ranch dip
  • boneless wings
  • 2 crackers and 2 slices of cheese
  • Salsa and a handful of Tortilla chips
  • Seconds of veggies if I’m still hungry Smile

Leg Day and Overworked

20160204_114758386_iOSYesterday was BEYOND the longest day of my life. After my super early morning gym session, I went to work and was there only 8-1:30pm since the dietitian had to leave for personal reasons. After that I headed to the grocery store which was PACKED, went home to eat (I was starving all day….like it was unexplainable. I’ve never been that famished before!!) and attempted to cure my insane headache which failed miserably. I was only home for an hour before I had to leave t go back to the store and purchase 250$ worth of food for the event we are holding tomorrow. The afternoon seemed to have been going well. I ran into Roddy’s father and that always makes my day. Talking to him always puts me in a pleasant mood!

After Patrice and I purchased the food for the french toast bake, yogurt parfaits, and trail mix, we had to pre some of it. We thought it would only take a few hours but we were there 4-10pm….

and of course I would lose my car key…and find in 3 minutes later but still! The fact that it set me back three minutes was miserable. The hard work we put into half of the prep last night was worth it. I’ll post the recipes after we finalize if they are a hit with the staff or not Winking smile

I still managed to wake up at 3AM, hit the gym, and come home and get ready for work. But because of my late night yesterday I didn’t have time to prep my chicken for today….so I did that this morning while doing the following:

my hair

the dishes

taking out the trash for trash day

eating my oatmeal

andddd checking my emails. Pro multi-tasker if you ask me!

Because we did so much of the prep yesterday, today should be short and simple: prep the french toast and let it soak overnight and fill the yogurt containers. Should be in and out easily. Well, let’s hope.


20160204_014019000_iOSToday’s 3:30AM workout: 30 minutes of cardio, Abs, and legs. I’ll probably head back in later to finish up some legs because I was a little rushed, but I feel fairly content with everything I put in this morning. I truly enjoy when no one is at the gym, I feel better squatting that way hehe.

Problem: Aside from sodium and dairy, what can cause you (or someone you know) to bloat? I woke up and felt excessively bloated, full, and uncomfortable and CANNOT put my finger on it!


Off to work at the hospital! wish me luck with tonight’s events!


Ps: making this trail mix with fancy bags took us four hours….lets hope people appreciate them!!


Way Too Early Workout Wednesday!

20160203_103044000_iOSBEING BUSY is awful. Because you feel as though you’re in a time crunch, and I can honestly say that is one of the most constricting feelings of them all. Yesterday for example this is how my mind went:

Okay, so if I get out of work at 3, I’ll commute home and get to the gym at 3:50 and then workout until 5:30, and then I’ll head to the store and grab just a few things, make it back to eat and then head to Roddy’s for a little and make it home to shower/cook/etc….

Like how crazy does that sound? and this was at around noon…like could my life be any more planned?

But for today and tomorrow, it’s going to be quite hectic. Patrice and I are incharge of cooking for 100 staff members of the IUP campus, so today we are grocery shopping and prepping ahead of the game (prepping baggies, shopping, etc), while tomorrow Kate and Tiffany are helping out in the cooking part. Then Friday morning at 6:00AM we are all reporting to campus to start the deliveries. As fun as it truly is, I’m already excited to get this week over with!! With how hectic tonight and tomorrow night will be, that means the gym has to come in the morning….3:00AM to be exact. Last night when I planned this out I knew I was going to be exhausted, but when I woke up it was SO easy for me to grab my cup of coffee and head into the gym…I was like, wait is this a miracle or what??? KILLED shoulders and chest, and settled for 20 minutes of cardio because I needed to get my butt out of the gym if I was going to make it into work on time!! Hopefully today is a smooth (and short) day because I need to get to campus and start prepping with Patrice.


Time is a struggle, but I think I’m working on it.

Another thing I will paraphrase that Roddy told me that I  think will forever resonate (and hopefully sink into my thoughts): we are always waiting to get work over with so we can shop and get that over with so we can get home and have dinner and get that over with.

How I interpreted that: Why are we trying to get EVERYTHING OVER with? Why can’t we just sit and enjoy the now? Me personally? I think I’m too afraid to let the future come without planning for it. I’m afraid of ‘not knowing’.  We are constantly moving onto the next thing and rushing for the next thing. more, more, more. One day I’ll find peace & let’s hope it’s not too late!!


Lazy Mornings & Eating Disorder Events

20160129_135735000_iOSFamily Day wasn’t a hugeee success yesterday due to the time slot (11AM on a friday? When people work?) But nonetheless we had some good conversation with the families that attended. On days like yesterday where I was able to wake up and relax for an hour instead of rushing into the gym, I sipped my two cups of coffee from my handmade monogrammed mug (sharpie + dollar store mug = great deal Winking smile) relaxed in my oversized hoodie and planned my day out.


When 1:00pm hit, I was able to leave, drive my hour commute home to my hometown gym and workout….not realizing I was going to be working out for over two hours! Some days I never want to step foot in the gym, while other days I have more motivation than I could fathom. Lacey gave me some great shoulder workout tips (supersetting plate raises with busdrivers, incorporating snatches, etc). Like I’ve stated in my previous posts, it’s always great to have a friend at the gym who is “competition” or at least on your skill level to push you harder and give you advice. And man my shoulders are on fiyaaaaah!

As I was leaving the gym, the owner actually offered me a preworkout: Muscle Pharm Asssault in Lemon Lime. I’ll have to review that for you tomorrow and see how it goes after my afternoon workout today!

Speaking of this afternoon….my friend Eric and I are getting together to plan for our Eating Disorder Awareness event. My coordinator asked me to do two showings!!! February 16 and February 24 are right around the corner, so coffee shop date to get the ball rolling is a MUST this weekend. Can’t spoil all of our plans but I can already tell that two passionate people coming together will only make this event even better.Any suggestions on what YOU would want to see if you came to an event regarding this topic?



The dietitian that I have been working with the last 3-4 months stopped by my house last night to drop off a goodbye gift. Yesterday was my last day as the nutrition consultant at the preschool for a few weeks due to the end of my “management” rotation for the internship. I will now be starting to work at a long term care facility in PA. She stopped by all casual and seemed so disappointed I was leaving, and her gift made me cry. A coffee mug, a bag of starbucks coffee, and a wonderful note.


20160129_231238648_iOSYou all know how much of a coffee addict I am right…???? So did the dietitian!! It’s the small things that truly make me excited to do what I love in a career Getting feedback on your performance, getting a pat on the back, and being told how appreciated you are can truly make a difference.   Off to work to cut up some fruit at the supermarket!!


Breakfast + Supplements Explained!



So after literally pushingggg myself into the gym, quitting early (yes…I will be heading back later),  I came home and made my delicious post workout meal:

  • 1/4 cup of oats mixed with 1 scoop of protein
  • 1 cup of liquid egg whites
  • 1 delicious cup of coffee.

These morning carbs ALWAYS put me in a better mood! Carbohydrates are huge when it comes to a person’s mood. Have you ever seen someone on the Whole30 or someone on the Atkins who is Ms. Cranky Pants??? It’s the lack of carbs! Consuming carbohydrates is actually related to the regulation or the hormone serotonin, which is a mood hormone. Keeping a balanced and consistent carb diet is critical in a healthy, happy mood Smile


Yesterday I discussed the vitamins and supplements I take on a regular basis, and I wanted to touch back on that today and kind of break down why I personally take them and the importance behind them for my goals of building muscle and living a healthy lifestyle


Protein: SUPER IMPORTANT FOR STRENGTH TRAINING!!! I used to workout with weights and go home and not eat anything because I thought that’s how I would lose weight…wrong!!! To build muscle you need a supply of protein, and timing of your protein intake is important to muscle growth. After your strength training workout, aim for a serving of roughly 25 grams of fast acting protein (whey or egg protein) within an hour or hour and a half. This is the perfect time threshold for your body to repair rapidly. No need for two scoops or 50 grams of protein due to the fact that your body can really only digest about 30 grams of protein in a time period.

BCAAS: branched chain amino acids. long scientific name for the basic building blocks of protein. The main ones in the BCAA powders and pills are leucine, isoleucine and valine. BCAAS, like I said, are the building blocks of protein and can aide in the prevention of muscle breakdown as well as stimulating anabolism of protein (the building of the protein).  I use this as a water enhancer since I drink a gallon a day. I’m still debating on how crucial they are to my diet.

Pre Workout: I like the tingly, jittery, getmegoing type of feeling when I work out, and a cup (or three..) of coffee just never does the trick! Preworkouts high in beta alanine seem to be better for me. beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid (meaning our bodies just produce it naturally) that helps with endurance, delay in muscle fatigue, and can potentially increase strength.

Multivitamin: this is a little self explantory, but I felt it was necessary to touch on! The average American does not get 100% of every tiny micronutrient that they need, so a multivitamin is important, in my opinion, for all humans to take. If you are on a blood thinner though you may want to check which kind you by (watching the vitamin E/K intake). Since my current diet lacks a lot of fruit, I may be missing Vitamins A, C, magnesium, etc. Using a multivitamin is a great backup!

Vitamin C: It’s cold and flu season, first of all, so taking this as a preventative method to ward off any pesky diseases is great. Higher intakes of vitamin  seem to have been linked to preventing your body from going into a catabolic (muscle break down) state, which is great for those who are looking to build muscle!

Vitamin B Complex: I was a vegetarian for 11 years, and I was borderline anemic, always cold, thin and fragile hair/skin/nails, whathaveyou. One vitamin can’t act alone though. The benefits of vitamin C is greatly increased when taken with a B complex.



Off to the gym!!! Smile