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February 28, 2016

5 Hidden Benefits of Blogging

Today marks our TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY of blogging! As I take the time to reflect on why I started and what I wanted to gain from blogging, I am humbled and grateful of what this hobby has done for me personally and professionally.

So, why did I start this blog? After years of working in the digital media industry, I become a digital guru in all things SEO, SEM, content marketing, html, digital advertising, etc. I was a marketing arm and marketing planner for numerous corporations in West Michigan working on the back end of sites to makes businesses more 'findable' thus more profitable. I had a wealth of knowledge in my back pocket and was completely Google certified; however, I never personally practiced it. I figured I might as well see what it's like to own a site, manage a site and optimize it for performance. So, voila, here it is!

Let's dive in a little more to the hidden benefits of blogging that no one ever talks about. Here are the Five Hidden Benefits of Blogging that I have learned over the last 2 years.

1. Your Creative Outlet: I often hear from my best gal pals that they want a more creative job or they are looking to get into more hobbies - I always tell them to start a blog. Blogging is a phenomenal way to get your thoughts, ideas, photography, design and stories beautifully arranged in a digital canvas. This platform has allowed me to create without restriction and without anyone telling me it's incorrect. After I publish a blog post I feel fulfilled and accomplished and no longer ache for that creative release.

2. Your New Network: You don't realize how many bloggers are in your community until an organization or local blogger throws an event and bloggers from all over your city get together to network. After being invited to blogger events and conferences, I have joined a network of very talented men and women who share the same hobby as I do. I have connected with these bloggers, teaming up to do photo shoots, write, collaborate and share ideas with one another have gained new friends. I feel much more connected to the community because of it.

3. Boost Your Resume: If you're a blogger and your blog is not listed on your resume, you're missing an opportunity. A blog can project talent such as marketing, branding, creative writing, design, photography, collaborations, partnerships and so much more. It also shows your future employer that you have hobbies and that you engage in your community.

4. Discover Yourself: Creative writing takes the mess in our heads and lays it all out there. I continue to learn about myself with each post I write. Through photographs, design, concepts and collaborations, I am also finding my sense of creativity and personal style.

5. Gain Confidence in Yourself: Blogging has completely pushed me out of my comfort zone and continuously challenges me to put myself out there for anyone to view and judge my life. I compare blogging to an artist (of any kind) that creates. You will constantly challenge and push yourself to be better, to get noticed and create what comes naturally. You will always gain confidence from creating.

I love this hobby and obviously love to talk about it. If you have questions about getting started or the direction to go with your blog, just ask and I will gladly help!

February 15, 2016

6 Benefits of Morning Workouts

I never considered myself a morning person until just recently. I blame / thank all the "New Year's Resolution'ers" (since they crowd my normal 7:00 pm gym time) for helping me become a morning person. For about two months now, I have been going to the gym at 5:00 am Monday - Friday and 8:00 am Saturday and Sunday. By making this simple switch from evening workouts to early morning workouts my results in the gym and day-to-day life has dramatically improved and here is why:
  1. More Focused: When I workout out first thing in the morning, my mind is not wandering about what happened during the day or what I am making for dinner that night. I am focusing on every rep, my form and my goals. By focusing on every movement I make I am pushing myself more.
  2. Better Sleep: Since I am waking up at 4:30 am every morning, I am exhausted by 8:30 pm and asleep by 9:00 pm. I fall asleep instantly and stay asleep. I no longer waste laying in bed reading, watching TV or Pinterest'ing before I can fall asleep. Overall, my sleep has dramatically improved.
  3. Eating Better: Try walking into work and grabbing a donut after an hour+ workout, you won't do it. I have found it's much easier to say no to sweets and junk food because of all the hard-work I have already put in. Post workouts, I want to nourish my body with the best food to make sure I get results from the work I put in.
  4. Less Distractions in the Gym:  There are very few people in the gym at 5:00 am so you're able to access the equipment you need in the order you want. I am also guilty of watching other people workout either secretly critiquing them or learning from them. This is obviously a big distraction of mine that is eliminated by working out in the morning. 
  5. Avoiding the Better Offer:  I believe we are all guilty of saying we are going to workout after a long day's work but then receive a better offer to do something fun or get lazy and don't want to leave the couch. By working out in the morning you can hang out after work with friends or be lazy on the couch, at least it's guilt-free because you already got your workout in.
  6. Enjoy Better Days: After my morning workouts, I am energized and ready to take on the day. I get into work earlier and am much more productive in my 9-5 job. I am happier, more upbeat and get much more done. The same can be said for my weekend workouts. I enjoy my days more and am guilt-free and knowing I have dome something positive and healthy for my body.
I encourage you to try this one day this week. Wake up and be awesome! Feel the difference that working out in the morning will do to you mentally and physically. I swear, you will get addicted too and quickly become a morning person. 

February 13, 2016

Perfect Post Workout Smoothie

Nourishing your body properly after a workout is the only way you are going to see results. Making sure you are consuming enough proteins, carbs and fats is essential to building muscle and feeling your best. For the past month I have been making this delicious, high protein Chocolate Almond Butter Smoothie that is too good not to share. It's quick, simple, clean and has everything your body needs after a killer workout.


  • 1 scoop of Chocolate (Or vanilla or peanut butter) Quest Protein Powder
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp oats
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 banana
  • 5 ice cubes
Place all the ingredients in a Vitamix (or blender) and blend until smooth.

Everyday, I track my protein, carbs and fat. Here are the nutritional facts for this delicious Post Workout Smoothie:
Protein: 29 g.
Carbs: 40 g.
Fat: 11g.

Try this smoothie for yourself after your next workout and enjoy the taste of good health and sweet muscle gains.