Four things to do when you move to a new city

I have moved four times since graduating from The Ohio State University in May 2014. Each time, I have gone to a new city. Three of the four I never actually visited before moving there! A while back, I blogged about my largest move to Nebraska. Now that I have moved again (this time in Atlanta, Georgia), I’ve done some thinking on the trials and tribulations relocating can create. I think it can often be easier to do than we think.
Below are four things I recommend doing when you move to a new city. BONUS: I discuss one of my favorite healthier alternative ingredients to use when creating baked goods.
  1. Get acclimated with the area
When moving to a new place, especially a large city, it can be very intimidating. The first thing I like to do is pull up Google maps and see what the surround area, towns and roads look like. Then, hit the road. It serves you well to drive around, take in the local businesses and get a feel for your surrounds and directions. I even allow myself to get lost. Usually, that’s how I find new coffee shops, backroads and fun places to explore. When I lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana for my first job territory, I found a neat coffee shop called Firefly Coffeehouse. The more comfortable you can become, the more quickly the “new” factor will wear off and you can normalize your area.

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Healthy Foods Creating Healthy Relationships #10: create flexibility for fun

This is the tenth article of the series, Healthy Foods Creating Healthy Relationships. See the ninth article now.


If you’ve read through the past nine articles, it might seem like eating healthy and living a more simple lifestyle can be stressful, complicated or boring. This is not the case, nor should it ever be! What is life if we are not enjoying it?

This last installment of my series is focused on the most important part of learning new foods, creating healthy habits and experiences with loved ones.

Make it FUN.

I am turning 25-years-old in about two weeks. For about three quarters of my life, I have lived pretty seriously. I never drank until going to college. I never really disobeyed rules (besides speed limits here and there). I never placed an emphasis on having fun.

That has been one of my biggest learning curves up to now. We must make time and create flexibility for fun.

Whether or not you are in a relationship, creating this balance is a necessary priority. If not, the following negative results can happen:

  • Increased stress
  • Decreased motivation
  • Loneliness
  • Narrowed mindset
  • Depression
  • Binge eating or undereating
  • Inconsistent sleep habits
  • All work and no play

Do you believe the point of life is to enjoy it? I’m finally making that a priority. I just went with my boyfriend to a boat party to celebrate someone’s birthday. The gentleman happens to be in his mid-50s. And he loves life! He works hard but balances time for fun and health also.

You can do this too. David and I knew we would be attending this party and planned most of our meals that day and both enjoyed a few drinks. We have since gotten back on track with healthy, nutrient-dense, macro-friendly foods. It can be done. And I want you to feel confident that you and your loved ones can do it too!

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Healthy Foods Creating Healthy Relationships #9: how to reinvent snacking

This is the ninth article of the series, Healthy Foods Creating Healthy Relationships. See the eighth article now.


I love snacks. I remember growing up always munching on them… chips, crackers, cookies, pretzels, carrots, celery, grapes, slices of cheese, trail mix, beef jerky, popcorn, you name it! It almost seems like an American past time is snacks. Go anywhere and there are “snack-type” foods. The biggest issue I’ve found with snacks is that they are easily over-consumed and often the ones eaten have less nutritional benefit.

Let’s change that.

This week, I have been away from home at a national sales meeting. If you have ever experienced corporate America, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Sit in the same room for hours on end. Lots of caffeine. Heavy meal options or no option but what they get you and the group.

When meeting lunches look like this, you can choose the healthy options. For me, I ended up eating pre-packed tuna and veggies because even the salad was drenched in dressing.

And in the room (or right outside of it) are the unhealthy snacks. Sure, there is sometimes a few healthy options, but not often! Do you succumb to the traditional caffeine and sugar and salt? What if we reinvent snacking?

Although I’m not competing for a bodybuilding show in quite a while, I am now in a habit of choosing healthy foods. My taste buds have adapted and so has my digestive system. When I eat less healthy things, I tend to regret it in a few hours or the next day. Whether you are snacking away from home or with loved ones, don’t let the same old foods loaded with hidden calories take over.

How to reinvent snacking

The first thing to do is identify the healthier foods you and your family enjoy. Here is a great list of healthy snacks compiled by Notice some of the items that you may see at meetings? Fruit and nuts are one! You just have to be cautious of portion sizes, as they can add up quickly.

Many of these foods can be purchased in travel size portions or bought in bulk and separated into individual serving sizes for you and the family. It’s easy, grabbing the whole bag of peanuts and just eating straight from the bag, right? But if you took a few minutes to portion out servings into little Tupperware containers or baggies, you can save calories and time later on when you are in a hurry and need a quick bite. Fruits and veggies can be cut an stored in individual containers also. Keep it simple. Do what works for you all!

My fit travel consists of whole foods, supplements, vitamins and some healthy baked goods and prepackaged snacks. It’s time to reinvent snacking in a good way. 

You don’t have to always resort to raw foods. Like to bake? Make homemade snacks! Pinterest has tons of ideas. You can modify them to your liking. Making homemade snacks is a good way get others in the family involved and try new things. You can consider alternative sugar sources, whole grain ingredients and the most “fresh” you can get. I love making protein oatmeal bars for my breakfast on trips. They usually consist of egg whites, egg, banana and some other flavors from whey protein, powdered peanut butter and Greek yogurt. If you are making something sweet, I like to incorporate more natural sources of sugar like honey, agave, maple syrup and coconut palm sugar. Did you know coconut palm sugar is one of the healthiest plant-derived sweetener options? See why here.

Homemade healthy blueberry muffins for an on-the-go snack.

Maybe you aren’t a baker. You can certainly make alternative snacks for all with appetizer-like foods such as dips, breakfast muffins and more. Homemade guacamole with pita chips is a favorite for me. You can control the amount of spices added, as well as little to no additional sugar.

Last but not least, scout out healthy snack items online, in your local healthy foods section of your grocery store and sometimes at gas stations and airports. I am keen on reading the nutrition label and ingredients before buying. One snack that is my current fav is Eat Enlightened Roasted Broad Bean Crisps. They are more addictive and tasty than chips. They also have a good protein and fiber content with various flavor options. Use code “STRONGSWEET20” online for discount because let’s be honest, I love them. They also just released Crispy Marshmallow Treats that I am dying to try.

What other ways do you plan to reinvent snacking for you and your loved ones? Hope you enjoyed this ninth article. I’m planning on one more entry for this series. Subscribe and share and stay tuned for the last one.

Healthy Foods Creating Healthy Relationships #7: Subscribe to Simplicity

This is the seventh article of the series, Healthy Foods Creating Healthy Relationships. See the sixth article now.

Let’s be honest, we as a society prefer simple. We want efficiency. We desire quick solutions. With busy schedules, simplicity becomes even more critical for your personal happiness and that of your family. Lucky for us, there are many ways to do this with healthy foods.

Recent marketing research shows consumers prefer 24/7 simple access instead of full ownership and rights of responsibility. This is where companies like Spotify, Pandora, Adobe and others have stepped in to say, “we will offer you more with less hassle for you”. I see this evolution also happening in health.

We can subscribe to our health in multiple ways. Smart watches and health apps are the start in tracking sleep, what we ate, how long we worked out, number of steps taken each day and more. There are apps to research workout tips and meal plans. But the ultimate luxury has come with food ordering and subscriptions. We can store coupons, order food online, have it shipped and pick it up from a store of choice. Things like Kroger’s ClickList can simplify a grocery trip. We have subscribed to simplicity.

One of my 8-week challenge participants asked me the other day ways she can save time and have healthier options with a hectic schedule. The first thing that came to mind was just “meal prepping”. However, I know this is sometimes even a challenge. But, there are alternative solutions!


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Healthy Foods Creating Healthy Relationships #6: Meal Prep Managed through different cooking methods

This is the sixth article of the series, Healthy Foods Creating Healthy Relationships. See the fifth article now.

Now that you are ready to start your habit, you need get your “meal prep managed”. Does anyone else love Harry Potter? I read through the entire series in my teens. When Harry first came to public bookshelves, he and his crew were about my age. I grew up a Hermione wannabe. And for quite some time, thought boys just speak of rubbish. This is still true but I’ve just learned to accept or ignore some of it. 🙂


We might think our partner or family is speaking “rubbish” when they critique how we make our food. It can be frustrating when you want to cook and the ways of working just aren’t working anymore, for either you or someone else. Here is where improvisation and creativity take charge!

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Set your theme in 2017

2016 was a year of much change, opportunity, tough choices, sadness, happiness and transitions. After reflecting over 2016, one thing is certain, I have learned much and have much more I desire to learn!

Do you ever think back to yourself, have a long sigh, and ask, “is this really my life?” I have. But I have realized it is not the most effective approach to take. Rather than turning my thoughts to a depressed, negative spin, I am reversing the typical mentality.

Is this really my life??? AWESOME, go get it, girl!

I accomplished a large amount of my goals in 2016. Some highlights include:

  • Competed in one local and one national bodybuilding competition (see results here)
  • Read 19 new books, from a mighty goal of 30
  • Optimized this blog, with new developments to come this year
  • Visited 4 new states (Colorado, South Carolina, Nevada and New Jersey)
  • Purchased my first hand gun and had a membership at a shooting range
  • Joined a new bible study (BSF)
  • Started minimizing my possessions for a more minimalist lifestyle (just got rid of my tv!)
  • Have dedicated more time to family and friends
  • Accomplished individual goals in sales territory

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