The 4th Quarter is here!

It is officially the 4th quarter! Wow! I don’t know about you, but it’s like I blinked and missed 5-6 months this year. But here we are, in the The 4th quarter where it goes down! Not in a bad way, but 4th quarter is where you put the nail in the coffin. Think about sports and how intense that 4th quarter is. Sometimes you’re not sure what’s going to happen and it’s not until that final buzzer sounds. Or being in school and knowing that the last quarter was leading to all types of summer fun! The 4th quarter is an ending and beginning, and it happens whether you are ready or not.

The 4th quarter happens in everyone’s life. Think back to those New Year’s resolutions. Where are you now with them? Did you reach your goal? What milestone are you at? You still have 3 wonderful months left and can accomplish a ton. Do you have a game plan to finish it out? If it’s the same one you had in the beginning of the year, has it worked out good for you? If it hasn’t, it’s never too late to change it. And this doesn’t apply only to a New Year’s resolution, you can start a goal right now and still kill it.

The 4th quarter is representative of so many things in our life. It is that moment right before the end, but also before the beginning. That moment where you should be giving it your all, because this is all you have left. Don’t stop and say this is it, I’ll start over next year. No, we’re moving forward even stronger at this point. The 4th quarter you should be so much stronger and better than the 1st quarter version.

Keep going and let this be the motivation for next year, where we will be aiming for even more. Start right now by creating habits that can only lead to success in whatever it is that you’re planning. If you’re not already planning for next year, you are so far behind that you have to get up and get moving. We have 89 more days of awesomeness, to do extraordinary things. So let’s kick it in full gear and finish out our goals.

Back to School or Back to Standardized Tests?

 

Well today was the first day of school for my boys and I am happy! I know that some kids don’t generally share that same feeling, but I thought that my youngest might just a little. His summer wasn’t quite the normal due to there not being any kids for him to play with at home. After camp ended there wasn’t much play time with his peers so I was certain he would be happy to get back to his friends at school. I asked him Saturday if he was happy about returning to school and his response was “No, because I’ve never taken the STAAR test”.

 

The STAAR test is the standardized test given here in Texas. It broke my heart to hear my 8 yr old even thinking about a test of this nature. The test isn’t even administered until the late spring, but theyhave embedded into our children so much. Is that all that school has become now? A test that is given once a year in certain grades, is now the holy grail for students. Instead of going to school to learn, is the focus now greater on preparing to take these tests? Are all of the life lessons, education, character building, etc being clouded by test preparation? School for me was so much more than those standardized tests. If anything, those Friday spelling tests gave me life! When did this change happen?

 

And let’s be honest, it’s really not just the students who are nervous or even afraid. The teachers and principals are as well. Teachers seek out this profession because they want to teach. They want to reach these young hearts and minds, help mold them into wonderful human beings. They want to help prepare for life, not standardized tests. There was a survey done by the National Education Association that showed nearly half of teachers considering changing careers due to these tests. http://neatoday.org/2014/11/02/nea-survey-nearly-half-of-teachers-consider-leaving-profession-due-to-standardized-testing-2/.

 

I thought about ways I could make this easier or better for him, but they all seemed to go right along with making the test the main focus of his 3rd grade life. In school they’re going to pound him with it, then I would do the same at home. Continuously talking to him about it, consistently giving him prep tests and on and on. No, while some is fine, I’m not okay with having to make this his life. It’s bad enough that his school year will most likely be solely focused on it, I however can not support that at home. I’m going to continue to nurture and teach him, while instilling in him that he is not a test score. Here’s to him having a great and fun 3rd grade year!

Stop Placing Blame

 

I have seen the meme going around that says “Your salary is the bribe they pay you to forget you dreams”. While it’s nice, catchy and will make you think, let’s be honest; it’s not really the truth. Are there jobs that have contracts prohibiting you from working for a competitor or starting your own business in that field? Absolutely, but they are far in few. This is nothing more than placing blame for our shortcomings.

 

We are payed a salary to do a job. Unless you are working 24rs a day, 7 days a week then it is your own fault that you are not working on your dreams. You can go home and still work 2, 4, 6, 8, hrs a day on your dreams. I don’t want to hear the excuse I’m too tired, because that’s all that is, an excuse. If your dream is being an entrepreneur, guess what, it’s not easy. Entrepreneurs have a lot of sleepless nights. A lot 2-4 hours of sleep at night because it’s a hustle and grind. If your dream is to get a degree do a poll on how many students have to pull all nighters. It’s life and you have to get it done!

 

You choose to forget your dreams. You choose to be too tired and whatever other excuse you come up with. It’s a choice that only you can make. There are countless numbers of degrees that have been attained while working a job. There plenty of million dollar companies that have been started while working those same jobs. We want easy and easy doesn’t always get the job done. You’re going to have to sacrifice that tv, social media, girl’s night or whatever else it is.  Until you accept that it is your choice, you’re going to continue to have nothing but a dream. Let’s stop placing blame, own our crap and get busy working on our dreams!

THINKING SMALL, YOU WILL REMAIN SMALL

Last week I attended a trade show and I must say it shifted my perspective. That is what these trade shows and workshops are supposed to do, aren’t they. Out of all of the information there, all of the wonderful workshops, it was the single most common sense thing that hit me the hardest. One of the speakers seemed to be getting irritated by the audience’s goals and things we were working on and she said “If you think small, you are always going to be small”. Say what!!! For a second I was like “Lady who are you talking to?” She startled a lot of us with that comment. Lady we are telling you our hopes and dreams, we’re excited. How dare you say something like that? But I let it sink in, and it has been on my spirit since then. If you think small, you are always going to be small.
That’s not rocket science, it’s not scholarly verbiage or some new and profound quote. It’s just plain and simple truth! It really made me take a look at my goals and the time line I have set forth. There are things that I have set for 2019 & 2020, and I had to question what am I waiting for. The answer was that I didn’t think I would be ready sooner, I had to take baby steps. I’m not sure if it was fear that was causing me to make the original decisions, or I simply thought it was logical and made sense. Those “baby steps” which is just “small thinking” has no place in my being, my space nor my manifestation!
The area of my life that I’m speaking of is in regards to business, but I see this in so many things. When speaking to people about losing weight I often hear “I’ll never be that size” or “I’ll never be that size again”. Why? Not because you’re not capable. You are not willing to do the work. You believe that since you haven’t before, you can’t now. Sometimes when I’m speaking with people about certain monetary goals, I hear the “Nobody in my family has ever” or “It’s too late now”. It’s too late for what? It’s never too late to grow, to work on goals. There are plenty of noted people who did not start their endeavors until upward of 40 and prospered. It’s the thought process that will get you there, and thinking small won’t do it.
So I have revamped my timeline and in doing so I have added new things! I am on to bigger and better things, and I am excited! There is so much out there to get, as well as so much I have to offer. But thinking small will not get me there! Are you ready to do big things?

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I’ve Gained Back 6 lbs!

 

So today is my Wednesday weigh in and it’s not as bad as I thought. I had lost 17 lbs and was under the impression I’d gained it all back. The scale revealed this morning that I have gained back 6 lbs only and this is since 5/11. So in a matter of 7 weeks I have gained 6 lbs.  While that’s still bad, I will admit I was happy to see that the number was not as much as I thought.

Since last week I have started making small moves toward losing the weight. Definitely nothing to brag about because the bad far outweighs the good. My goal for next Tuesday is to lose 6 lbs which is basically a pound per day. I know that is a lot and probably not okay, but I’m still going to shoot for it. Most 1st week weight loss plans yield more due to water weight, I know that, I get it, but it still looks good on the scale. This will be my plan:

  1. No sweets/added sugar

  2. 1- 1 ½ hrs of walking/jogging daily

  3. Six bottles of water daily

  4. Green smoothie 1-2x daily

  5. Three reps of 7 with a 10 lb dumbbell

  6. Five meals/snacks

Outside of the green smoothies my meals will consists of a salad or a lean cuisine meal. I am going to give a review and feedback on the lean cuisines because I know there are some who are frowning on them. But hey, I have them, I paid for them, I’m going to eat them. My snacks at this time will be cucumbers, carrots, grapes and peanut butter. I am not going to fully count calories and this could be a problem. A lot of times we tend to “think” we didn’t eat a lot, but we’re not as conscious to portions and weights as we should be. But since my diet will consist of mostly fruits and vegetables I don’t feel there is a need to count calories.

Can’t wait to weigh in next Tuesday!

Transformation Tuesday, ehhh

My ideal weekend is spent with a cup of coffee and a good book. 

Today is transformation Tuesday but I am going to do it a little bit different than the norm. This isn’t a transformation of weight loss but of weight gain. I have been very adamant on not taking pictures as a way to hide my weight gain. Now don’t get me wrong, I have shared with you that I have gained weight, even admitted to gaining 50lbs last year. However, I have not shown pictures because while I have no problem with verbally revealing it, I have not been comfortable visually revealing it. In all honesty I still am not comfortable but I decided to put my girl panties on, literally, and do it!

Last year between February and August, I gained 50 lbs! People always say “You didn’t gain it overnight”, ummm yes I did! Fifty pounds in 6 months is a lot, just a whole lot! I know a lot of it had to do with stress and having a lot on my plate. The beginning of last year I took on a new position at my job which not only added stress it simply made me miserable. I was already working on an exit strategy, but took the promotion for financial reasons and just being comfortable. I was also planning a wedding which was added stress, time consuming and didn’t even take place. There were business endeavors in which I was working on and I was also taking my Real Estate Class. I was completely all over the place, meal prepping and exercising were non existent.

 

I was let go from my job the end of September and since I have been hustling and grinding, time still is not on my side. I start and stop with getting the weight off and do not know where I am at this point. I was doing okay and actually lost 17 lbs. That was a little over a month ago and I have been doing horrible since then. Being totally honest, I am writing this while eating my 2nd Klondike bar of the day, I also had a King Size 3 Musketeers and a Little Debbie cake this morning. I have been eating out almost everyday, fried foods, for the past 3 weeks. I haven’t exercised in 3 weeks or so as well. I am lucky if I get in 2 bottles of water a day.

 

At this point I am going to assume that I have gained all of my weight back. I have not gotten on the scale and have no plans on doing so until Next Wednesday 6/28. I’m not going to start tomorrow, I’m going to start today. I have promised myself that I cannot continue with the yoyo-ing. I’m too old for it and it’s going to get harder and harder to get rid of it the older I get. I put on 50 lbs in 5 months last year, I’m committed to getting rid of it all by 12/8! See you at the finish line!

Financial Literacy Month: Custodial Brokerage Accounts

April is Financial Literacy month and I have decided I will make Fridays, Financial Friday. Today I want to discuss custodial brokerage accounts, the accounts we set up for our kids to begin investing in the stock market. These can be a great tool in financial education as well as wealth building. You can open an account on your own with a brokerage and make the investment decisions yourself. You can also find a broker who will guide you and make these decisions for you.

My son turned 13 last month and this is something I gifted him. He was not happy with it because in his mind there were a million things he could have done with that money. I assured him he will thank me later, hopefully. As parents we tend to want more for our kids and give them things we didn’t have. I was not educated on  the stock market at a young age so this was something I wanted to give my son a jumpstart on. I want him to have an opportunity at wealth building that was not afforded to me.

April is Financial Literacy Month

I wanted to get him involved so I attempted to teach him about the stock market and how to look at a company’s financials to decide on whether to invest or not. I’m almost positive it went over his head, but I won’t give up, we’ll keep working on it. I do plan on contributing regularly and will have him sit with me and go over the statements. I want him to be prepared when he does take over the account and continue investing wisely. Since he did not grasp the education on it I told him let’s start with companies he’s familiar with and like to shop with. His choices were okay, I believe we ended up with 5 stocks in his portfolio.

You can open an account on your own and make the investment decisions. You can also find a broker who will guide you and make these decisions for you. One thing to keep in mind with these accounts are the tax considerations. A tax return will need to be filed on the investment earnings. The first $1050 is free, the next $1050 is taxed at the kiddie rate, and starting $2100 it’s taxed at the parent’s rate. The account must be turned over to the child once the child reaches 18 or 21, depending on the state. Whether they are responsible or not, the money becomes theirs. Do they make 18 and 21 year olds who are responsible?  

I have links below for options on opening an account.

http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/investing/accounts_products/accounts/college_savings/custodial_account

https://www.tdameritrade.com/account-types/education.page

https://www.fidelity.com/open-account/all-accounts

https://us.etrade.com/what-we-offer/our-accounts/custodial-account

My fruit smoothie of the week!

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When I am on the ball with things, smoothies have become part of my normal regimen. I sometimes fall off track, but I do love making vegetable based smoothies as well as fruit smoothies. To me you can’t go wrong with fruit so I have had no problem with finding the right combination for taste. Some people consume fruit smoothies because they have a hard time consuming fruits or at least the suggested servings. I don’t have a problem consuming fruit but their are certain fruits I just don’t like, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries to name a few. Making fruit smoothies allows me to get the benefits from fruits I otherwise wouldn’t eat. The smoothies also give a different texture, a kind of fun way of eating them.

I am sharing my Fruit Smoothie of the week! This is the smoothie I will be drinking this week, most likely everyday.  I simply package them in zippies and make them every morning. They are already cut and portioned so I can simply drop them in the blender. I don’t have the time to continuously run to the store, so I get the items on the weekend and Sunday or Monday morning, I prep everything.  These are the contents of this week’s fruit smoothie and the benefits of the items.

 

Strawberries:

     Antioxidants-Vitamin C, Anthocyanins, Quercetins

     Folate-Great for the colon and heart, helps with cholesterol levels, reduces risk of stroke

     Manganese- Helps assist metabolic activity and the digestive track

     Fiber- Helps with bowel movements, cholesterol levels and blood sugars

     Magnesium- Helps with constipation, muscle building and heart health, increases energy

   

Bananas:

      Antioxidants-Dopamine, Catechins

      Vitamin B6- Key factor in the metabolic process, helps with energy

      Fiber- Helps with bowel movements, cholesterol levels and blood sugars

      Potassium- Metabolism, water balance, muscle strength, healthy heart

 

Oranges:

      Vitamin 6-

      Fiber- Helps with bowel movements, cholesterol levels and blood sugars

      Folate- Great for the colon and heart, helps with cholesterol levels, reduces risk of stroke

      Potassium- Metabolism, water balance, muscle strength, healthy heart

      Vitamin C- Healthy skin, immune system

 

Chia Seeds & Flax Seeds:

      Manganese-  Helps assist metabolic activity and the digestive tract

      Magnesium- Helps with constipation, muscle building and heart health, increases energy

      Phosphorus- Helps maintain PH balance, energy, digestion

      Fiber- Helps with bowel movements, cholesterol levels and blood sugars

      Protein- A macronutrient that is important to every cell in your body

       Calcium- Helps the heart and muscles function, strong bones

    

 

 

       

Meal Prep…….. well kind of, sort of

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So I have been wanting to get back into meal prepping, but have not buckled down to do so. And as you can tell from the photo, I pretty much still haven’t. But hey, gotta start somewhere, right? I have not done much this year towards reaching my weight loss goal and I have got to get focused. I was supposed to have lost roughly 15lbs by now and I haven’t. Honestly I haven’t lost anything. I have had so much going on, all good things, that I simply have not made it a priority. Well not only is summer right around the corner but I also have a cruise next week. I am so disappointed that I have not lost any weight, but I am here and ready to get the ball rolling.

I purchase these neat little prepackage salads from the grocery store. The calories per container falls between 240-340 each. Most of them have things in them I have never personally used for a salad, barbecue chicken & dressing, edamame beans, tortilla strips etc, but would consider it for the variety. I also purchased Lean Cuisine, which everyone is familiar with. I know they might not be the healthiest but I feel that they are a good short term alternative. I made smoothie packs with bananas, strawberries, kale, spinach and will add the protein powder. I have never used a protein powder before as I normally add grains for my protein source. I also added in between snacks of carrots, grapes and cucumbers.

This is where I’m starting in regards to losing the weight. My meal preps will most likely look like this for the next few weeks and I am hoping to see results. I won’t say I’m expecting a lot but this meal prep is far better than what I have been consuming, so weight loss is bound to happen.

 

Now to tackle my water intake

40 by 40!

40 by40 (1)

 

In December I had the pleasure of turning 38, yaaayy! A few months before my birthday I decided I would start working on a 40 by 40 list. This is a list of 40 things I plan to do by 40 and most are things that I have never done.  It may be by my 40th or sometime during that year. It came about because I started thinking about if I was living the life I wanted to. What were some of the things I had envisioned doing but hadn’t? You know how you can sit and daydream, picture yourself doing things and leave it at that? Well I don’t want to do that anymore. If I can envision myself doing it, I should start acting on it. And these are not all grand things, take over the world things, but just simply a little part of life. Those little things that can make make me happy, put a smile on my face, laugh a little. I don’t want to simply exist anymore. I don’t want to keep living day by day for everyone else around me. It’s okay to carve out a little time for myself outside of working. I want to be just a little bit selfish with myself. I have attached the list and will check back in when I accomplish things on the list. It’s just all in fun, and I plan on having plenty of it! What are some things you want to do but haven’t? Something you want to learn? Somewhere you want to go? Let’s get moving and enjoy those things.