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30 Things That Got Me To 30

 

This year started out 14,000 ft. above sea level on the mountain top of Mt. Bierdstadt and ended with a blackout (ok, 98%) solar eclipse.

 

Just to review, here are the 30 things that got me to 30.

 

  1. Just show up.
  2. Good food is meant to be shared.
  3. God gave me a sister that’s totally different than me to challenge me and help me see the world in another way.
  4. Pay attention to the little things.
  5. Eat your fruits and veggies.
  6. Don’t hide the mess, we all have them.
  7. Do what makes you happy.
  8. Be kind.
  9. Get out of your comfort zone.
  10. Laugh often.
  11. Let yourself feel.
  12. Find your people.
  13. Be generous.
  14. Bring people together with food.
  15. Organization will make your life easier, but disorganization can leave you gems.
  16. Celebrate everything.
  17. Be the kind of person your friends would kill for.
  18. Rest doesn’t mean you’re lazy.
  19. Be fearless.
  20. Don’t exercise to be healthy, do it because you love to live.
  21. Local is always better.
  22. Wake up to watch the occasional sunrise, just because.
  23. Stand up for what you believe in.
  24. Even when there are no words, prayer is always there.
  25. Make good work friends, it’ll seem less like work.
  26. Travel often and bring a buddy.
  27. Go out of your way for someone.
  28. Share your love and light for life.
  29. Family is forever.
  30. God can change everything.

 

But there are also some things I can’t put into words. Like how much my friends mean to me, especially my friends that are family. Hard things happen people, make no mistake. Let’s have coffee or a drink if you want to talk about it. But it’s the experiences and the joy that comes in every moment of being alive and sharing my life with y’all that makes me definitely want to be here for 30+ more years.

 

Noms to Oms

Noms to Oms: Flourless Chocolate Cake

 

CorePower Yoga just opened by my house. There are several ways to guarantee I will be obsessed with what you’re offering: Offer an exclusive membership, remember my name, and bring joy to my life. They’ve been open less than 2 weeks and I plan on being a lifetime member.

 

This obsession also allows for me to eat this addicting flourless chocolate cake from Gimme Some Oven.

 

It’s so rich and easy to make, perfect for gatherings of people with a sweet tooth and gluten intolerances. You’re only excluding vegans and people who don’t like chocolate (I like you alot if you don’t want to eat this cake and I’m still friends with you).

 

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Tiff Tips

 

  • I use Pound Plus Trader Joe’s chocolate – 60% dark chocolate, 40% milk chocolate (you can play around with the ratio depending on your audience).
  • Always keep it in the fridge and take it out right before you serve it because it’ll lose it’s shape and firm texture. You can also freeze it if you’re making it ahead of time.
  • Share. I dare you to eat the whole thing, but I would guess it’s impossible. Bring some joy into the lives of your neighbors and coworkers.

 

Features

5 Reasons Why You Should Questival

 

Dream of conquering the world or just your fears? Questival is probably the activity for you.

 

I sent a group of my friends the email to join me, and to be honest, I didn’t think I would have to convince people to pay $40 (less if you sign up earlier) to forget about life and just adventure. Shout out to Travis, Emily, Stephen, and Bek for joining Team Donut Resuscitate. And no one judges you if you’re there for the backpack.

 

 

24 hours before it began, we were emailed the overwhelming challenge list of 241 tasks we could complete for points. The categories: Sports and fitness, community and culture, camping, food, adventure and quirky, service and environment, social media, hiking and travel, and check-in challenges. The hours leading up to start time, we strategized in a team, blew up each other’s text messages, and google became our best friend.

 

We drove in from Charlotte for The Triangle Questival. And we made it just in time for the llama dance. Yes, Cotopaxi’s mascot is a llama, and while it’s completely terrifying, it’s also hilarious and lovable, so just embrace it.

 

 

And from there, the 24 hour Questival countdown began. I tried new foods and mailed a sweet potato. In total, we completed 116 challenges and finished 121st out of 458 teams. We rocked it as a group, and we sorta slept. Yes, I camped, and I can’t say I’m going to do it again soon. Other participants judged our videos. We laughed until we hurt, and sometimes our muscles laughed at us.

While I can tell you all the things we did, these are the reasons I would do Questival again.

 

Creativity is everything.

My daily job doesn’t require a lot of creativity, unless you count justifying a vancomycin dose as creative (basically, it’s not, there’s math behind it…my wording might be creative). I’ve always envied marketing/advertising TV shows and how they volley back and forth to come up with a creative pitch. This was my opportunity and it was so fun to see how my friends’ brains worked and what ideas we could come up with together.

 

Being tired is a state of mind.

I’ve really been struggling with exhaustion (as some of you know). See also, my New Year’s Resolution (sleeping more). I’ve contemplated asking for medication. Y’all, adventure is so energizing.

Magical things happen when you’re all tired and and it’s time to rally.

As they say, we were too inspired to be tired.

 

Life is all about leaping.

Not every life decision can be carefully thought out. Sometimes it just takes saying yes to a friend. And yes, there’s the whole friend aspect. You choose your team of 2-6 and these are the people you commit 100% effort to for 24 hours. If we weren’t friends before, we’re friends forever now.

 

When you’re with friends, you’re already winning.

We obviously didn’t win, but we felt like we had won.

 

 

 

Find adventure every day.

Questival has #QuestivalDaily challenges. It reminds me that every day is adventure. Every day is another day to make a difference and create a legacy. It’s another day I’m alive. An adventure a day keeps the boring away.

 

So Cotopaxi has found a genius way to get people to rep their brand. Good for them. Good for us for finding a company that brings out to the good in people. The world needs more good.

 

Are you interested in participating in Questival? Just sign up and think about it later. Follow along on social media (Instagram/Twitter/Facebook) to participate in Questival daily challenges.

 

Features

Carolina Forever

 

I’m taking a break from our regularly scheduled posts to bask in the glory of my UNC Tar Heels winning ANOTHER National Championship. I know, you’re tired of hearing it, and while technically, I don’t care, I’ll leave you with this. Enter in your sports/school/dog/whatever of choice, and you’ll get it.

 

http://www.goheels.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=3350&ATCLID=211546890

 

We don’t have to leave. We get to enjoy this one, buy the t-shirts, and then come back next October and do it all over again. We get to meet new Tar Heels, agonize and rejoice with them, cry after heartbreaks and celebrate after wins.

We get to do Carolina basketball tonight and tomorrow and next fall and forever, and we’ll get to tell stories about this year’s Tar Heels, who may have taken years off the end of our collective lives, but it was so, so worth it. We’ll get to remember where we were and who we were with and who we hugged.

Lucky us.

– Adam Lucas

 

 

Detroit – 2009 National Championship

Friends

10 Simple Ways to THRIVE Each Day

 

 

 

At the end of each day, do you feel like you are surviving or thriving? Are you exhausted and just looking forward to the weekend? Whether you stay at home or commute to work, I know everyone’s days are busy. It seems that everyone in America is busy, right?

 

Well I want you to THRIVE each day and settle for nothing less; Simply because life is too short and we are never guaranteed tomorrow. At the end of each day, I want you to look back and say what a great day!

 

So here are 10 SIMPLE ways to thrive every single day.

 

  1. Wake up with 16 oz of lemon water every morning. Although it is important to drink water throughout the day, starting your day off with adequate hydration will help with digestion, energy, and can even help your skin GLOW.
  2. Move in the morning. This can be anything from taking your dog for a walk or doing 10 push-ups before you shower. Movement helps with circulation, energy, and brain health. Best way to start your day!
  3. Eat breakfast. I recommend eating within 1 hour of waking. Aim for a healthy, well-balanced breakfast to prevent blood sugar spikes and drops. Examples of good healthy breakfast include: avocado toast, scrambled eggs, plain greek yogurt with berries and walnuts, or protein shake with spinach or kale.
  4. Remember you are only one person. Make a list of what you want/need to accomplish that day. Start with the items that are most important because chances are something will come up and you will not get everything on your list done and we, as a culture, need to be okay with that. We need to work smarter not harder. Long workdays with minimal breaks will only exhaust you and decrease your work productivity.
  5. Be present. Don’t dwell on the past or stress about the future. We know that excess stress can cause insulin resistance (from high cortisol), high blood pressure or heart disease, inflammation, anxiety, interrupted sleep, food cravings, and poor work performance. When you are present:
    • You are able to complete the task at hand more efficiently.
    • You are able to actually listen during meetings (rather than going through everything in your mind you are going to do when you get out).
    • You are able to engage with others more effectively and actually listen to the person you are talking to.
  6. Pack a lunch or eat at home. Limit going out to eat to a couple times per week. We know restaurants use more sugar, salt, and serve larger portions than if we were to pack our own food. Choose whole foods and avoid processed foods. Read labels and if you can’t pronounce an ingredient chances are your body won’t know how to process it either.
  7. Give somebody a compliment. People in general like recognition and validation. When you give somebody a compliment, you are adding positivity to their day and your own. Don’t underestimate the power of genuine kindness.
  8. Share a meal with someone you love. Family (and friend) dinners are so important. Make it a priority to share dinner with somebody you love at least 3x per week. Turn electronics off and focus on each other.
  9. Keep a gratitude journal. Write down at least one thing you are thankful for each day. It is so fun to go back and read all the good things that have happened in your life (especially when you have had a terrible day, we all have them!)
  10. Go to bed at a reasonable time. Our bodies need at least 7.5 hours of sleep per night. This is our body’s time to recover and rejuvenate for the next day. Adequate sleep helps with hormone balance, our body’s stress response, physical energy, and longevity.

 

Check us out at www.stat-wellness.com and on Facebook/Instagram @statwellness.

 

In good health,

Features

3 Tips for a Successful Party

 

I love hosting parties. The more obscure the theme, the better. It’s one of the reasons why I loved sorority life. As an adult, there’s a gap between calling it a party when someone brings over chips and dip and a candlelit dinner party. Neither are wrong.

 

3 Tips for a Successful Party

 

Choose a Theme.

Even if it’s a soft theme, like “Chili Night”. It streamlines your vision and gives people parameters to contribute if they want.

 

Choose your guests wisely.

I have a hard time not inviting everyone. I’m an inviter, that’s what I do. I secretly hope most people will just tell me they’re busy. But I’ve realized, I’m friends with a lot of people that can’t say, “No”.

 

I’ve resolved to have a maximum of 2 parties a year with >20 people. It’s a lot harder to manage and host. These parties leaves me exhausted. The magic number is around 10 people. It gives me time to work on the little details of the party while making sure everyone feels included.

 

I’m still working on this one, but you have to have fun at your own party as well!

 

Don’t be afraid to play with your space.

I know you like your furniture in a certain orientation. But when I figured out I could rearrange my furniture in my living room, it opened up a new flow to the room.

 

…along the same lines

 

Figure out a way to move people away from the kitchen. I know people want to be close to the food, but honestly, the living room is so much more comfortable.

Features, Good Eats

Nutella Latte

One of the things I loved about Italy was how cheap the cappuccinos and espressos were at cafes. Well, when you drank it at the counter (the sitting fee is no joke). While, I know I will never be able to make coffee quite like they did, I sure can try. I typically drink my daily french press coffee black, but #TreatYoSelf.

 

Enter in the nutella latte.

 

  1. Lattes are delish and some what nutrish? Maybe, for those of us who don’t drink milk unless it’s with our coffee it could be nutritious…maybe not.
  2. Nutella.

 

FACT:  You CANNOT carry nutella onto a plane. Nutella is a semi-solid aka a liquid to TSA. When my sister and I were coming back from Paris, we tried to carry on our huge vat of nutella (snacking and safety purposes). Security made us throw it all away. It was one of my top 10 saddest days ever. So unless you want your heart broken, check your nutella.

 

Here’s the recipe I used.

Ingredients: Espresso, soy milk, nutella.

It takes about 28 minutes for the espresso to brew in this espresso maker. (I timed it on medium heat.)

I tried both 1 spoon and 2 spoonfuls of nutella. Ok, I personally didn’t, because I do want to sleep tonight. But the 1 spoon only had a hint of nutella and the 2 spoonfuls ended up being a little too much. So the perfect amount is 1.5 spoonfuls.

Your milk can be almond, soy, coconut, or real milk (what is that…).

Here’s the frother I used.

 

Happy caffeinating!

 

Features

Bucket List Tips

 

I keep my bucket list in a note on my phone. That way, it’s always handy in case I check something off by chance.

 

What is a bucket list? I’m sure everyone has their own definition. This is my catch-all list; the things and places I want to see and do before I kick the bucket. It’s my massive goal list that I try to check at least one thing off every year.

 

I love lists, so the act of checking something off makes me feel so accomplished. I currently have 4 things checked off my list: climb a 14’er (August 2016), hot tub in the snow (December 2015), ride a camel (February 2016), and Burano, Italy (February 2017).

 

I easily forget things I would like to do on a daily basis, so this is a great way for me to remember, I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights.

Tiff Tips:

 

Don’t delete, just check things off

At one point I was deleting the things off my bucket list…I don’t remember what those things were. If you want to add notes or dates, it might help you remember how epic it was!

 

Add more than just places you want to see

Do you want to renovate or build a tiny house? I do!

 

Be very specific

Is there something you want to see in the winter, does a festival only happen once a year? This will help when you’re planning to check it off your list.

 

Talk about your list

Everyone has at least an abstract form of a bucket list. It’s a great conversation starter and someone else could give you ideas for more things to add.

 

Set goals to complete things on your list

Don’t let it just be another to-do list. Do something about it! Experience life 🙂

 

Don’t cap the list

It’s never ending. Never stop living life while you can.

 

Happy bucket listing everyone!

 

Friends

Jesus-Like Generosity

 

Several months ago, I heard the noise that no car driver wants to hear: the crunching of my car frame against metal. FUUUUUDDDDGGGGEEEEE, I thought to myself, “A Christmas Story” style. Fudge, fudge fudge.  

 

I had been pulling into a parking space at the gas station, desperate to relieve my teensy bladder after a long drive up the interstate. I had seen the metal pole that marked the space. I just didn’t realize how close I was to it until it was too late.

 

Maybe it will just be a small paint scratch, I thought. Maybe just a penny-sized ding.

 

Turns out, I had quite a large dent (read: CRATER) going up the entire length of my grill and hood, exactly in the shape of that pesky 4-foot high metal pole.

 

We know deep down when something like this happens that it’s not a big deal. No humans were injured. It’s just a car. And yet…it’s something more than that for some of us. That was my beautiful, brand spankin’ new, makes-me-feel-like-James-Bond car. My vanity and pride came running and screaming, calling for that dent to get fixed NOW. Find the money, ’cause leaving that horrible awful dent in the front of such a beautiful car that makes me look freaking fabulous is NOT an option.

 

I took my sad little Mazda to the body shop for an estimate, and the honest owner fed me the truth: The dent and paint scratches were cosmetic only. No chance of rust developing; no safety systems compromised. It was just a matter of whether or not I wanted the hood to look brand new or slightly crunched. My prideful, image-conscious self was all but throwing my credit card at the body shop owner.

 

But, that’s when God came running out waving her arms and calling a time out. Just a few months before my tragic incident at Sheetz, I read the most life-changing book of my life: 7 by Jen Hatmaker.  As I sat there, prepared to fork over what some people on this earth would consider a small fortune for cosmetic-only damage on my car, a certain part of the book came flooding back to me. This is a lengthy quote below, but SO worth reading:

 

“What if wealth and indulgence are creating a polished people rotting from the inside out, without even knowing it? Is there a reason Jesus called the rich blind, deaf, unseeing, unhearing, and foolish? Jesus never utters a positive word about the wealthy, only tons of parables with us as the punch line and this observation: It is terribly hard for us to receive His kingdom, harder than shoving a camel through the eye of a needle. That’s really hard. If this is true, then more than fearing poverty or simplicity, we should fear prosperity.

 

Shall we stop imagining these sad, sorry rich people belong to a different demographic? A brave believer admits, ‘He’s talking about me.’ Look at our houses, cars, closets, our luxuries; if we are not rich, then no one is. If we aren’t swept up in entitlement, indulgence, and extravagance, then Jesus is a fool, and let’s get back to living. If tithing the minimum and consuming the rest is okay, then we can dismiss Jesus’ ideas and act obsessed about other stuff He said.

 

But what if?…What if we are camels, on this side of the needle, dangerously content with our fake gospel and avoiding the actual Christian life described in Scripture? What if the number of Christ followers is a fraction of those who claim to be? What if only some have ears to hear and eyes to see, and Jesus was not exaggerating when He predicted few would choose this narrow path and folks will be shocked on judgment day?”

 

Mic drop, amiright??

 

Y’all, I’m not going to lie. Despite knowing that Jesus would always, always choose to use money to feed the poor versus making his whip look shiny and sparkly, deciding whether to fix my cosmetic-only dent was H-A-R-D for me. I knew what the right answer was, and I knew God was trying to teach me a lesson, but I still struggled so hard against it. “I want to be a good steward of my resources, my car being one of them.” “It’s not like it’s actually going to cost that much to repair in the big scheme of things.” “It’s not bad to want to fix our mistakes, right?”

 

But, Laura, think about what that money could be used for instead. Do you believe in the lessons Jesus taught? Yes? Then it’s time to act on it.

 

Ultimately, after several weeks of trying to find a way out of it, I let God convict my selfish heart about that dent. I took the money that it would have cost to repair my car, and I donated it to a nonprofit that was on my heart at the time: Miracle Messages, an organization that helps homeless individuals attempt to connect with their loved ones via social media.

 

The weight that lifted from my shoulders after I pressed the “donate now” button on that website was extraordinary. As hard as it is sometimes to pull the trigger, doing the right thing always, always, always feels better than doing the selfish thing. No more anxiety about that dent. No guilt. I still have a long way to go when it comes to conquering my own vanity and selfish ambitions, but this one small rebellious act was such a victory.

 

And you know what’s funny? With each passing month, that dent seems to look smaller and smaller. I now see that enormous, offensive crater for what it really is: a small, non-consequential blemish that few will ever notice and that will have no bearing whatsoever on anyone’s soul or well-being.

 

xoxo Laura

 

For more posts written by Laura, follow her blog, Très Belle!