Quarantine Reads!

Quarantine has really given me a lot more “free time” than I’m use to.
And with the overwhelming amount of negativity, political and biased information filling social media… I’ve found myself spending less time scrolling through facebook and instagram, and more time reading!
Typically I enjoy reading scientific or non-fiction books; However, after reading those for about a month straight I decided I also needed to include some “lighter” fiction reads too!

Here is a little collection of books that I’ve made it through during the past couple months of Quarantine.

  • The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
    This is my current read. I’m enjoying this fictional love story that takes place in Alaska! A city-girl from Toronto is given some pretty devastating news about her father, whom hasn’t been apart of her life for the past 20 or so years, and decides that it’s time to rekindle their relationship by flying out to a very remote town in Alaska. If you’re looking for a fun, romantic, and heartwarming read this this is a good one for you!
    PS. The library in our hometown is currently not open, however they are doing “E-Book” rentals, which has been super nice; That’s is how I’m reading this book!
  • Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
    Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite fictional writers. I really enjoy her writing style of going back-and-forth between the present and the past; It helps to really develop the plot and characters. This book is defiantly going to throw you off and is filled with so many twists and turns! It’s a drama, mystery, love story that takes place at the crime of a High School school shooting. Like all the other Jodi Picoult books I’ve read, I found this one hard to put down!
  • Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
    This was a “re-read” book for me. Rachel Hollis is an inspirational speaker/writer who really knows how to light a fire under your butt! If you are in a little funk, give her two books a try..or just follow her on Social Media where she gives great advise and motivational lessons. During this time of quarantine, Rachel and her husband-Dave- also released a FREE 90 program, that helps to keep you in a positive mindset and challenge you to be the best version of yourself. I’ve really been enjoying the weekly lessons they release! Check it out here if you’re interested.
  • Expecting Better by Emily Oster
    The pregnancy world is pretty crazy and overwhelming with the amount of information available to new mommas! This book did a phenomenal job of touching on all the major topics of pregnancy, birthing and early parenthood and really simplifying it all. I would highly recommend this book to any new mommys!
  • Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardacke
    A recommendation from a friend and well as my doula; this book has been super helpful as well! I don’t know about most people, but I’m actually looking forward to the “birthing” process and going through labor. I’m hopeful that I can have a natural/unmedicated labor, and this book it filled with great tools to help me achieve this! Topics include meditation, yoga pre-labor and during labor, communication techniques for mom and partner, and more!
  • Mama Natural. The Week-By-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Genevieve Howland
    This book is a “Week-by-week” book that I read every Sunday (my change date!) I’ve been enjoying learning about what baby girl is up to, as well as the changes to my body as well. Genevieve is a wealth of knowledge!
  • Nurture by Erica Chidi Cohen
    Like the book above, this is more of a book to read “Trimester-by-Trimester” and I’ve found it super helpful as well. It’s filled with scientific information, but broken down so that anyone can understand the information being presented. This book is definitely more of the ‘Holistic’ mindset oriented, but y’all know that I’m all about that!

Hope you and enjoy, and if you’ve got any book recommendations LET ME KNOW(:

Annual Trip To The UP…AND WE SAW TWO BEARS!

Yup you read that right, TWO BEARS! Don’t worry, both were within reasonable distance away…but still pretty cool! Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is pretty chuck full of wildlife and it’s especially noticeable this time of year. With animals coming out of hibernation, and the lack of leaves on trees to hide things in the woods; You’re chances of seeing something on a hike are very high!

We weren’t uncertain to whether or not we would even be able to make this annual trip of ours to the cabin (due to COVID and the stay-at-home order here in Michigan.) However, when Governor Whitmer loosed the restrictions allowing people to go to their second residences, we ran for it! Obviously following all necessary precautions- wearing masks at gas stations, bringing in all our own food from a grocery store around home, and only going to the cabin!

The trip was nothing short of amazing, per usual! In fact, because Kwin doesn’t have to be at work currently we were able to stay longer than ever… 6 days! Whew, that’s a long time staying at a primitive cabin with no running water, electricity, or cell phone service. But man, it was much needed during this time of craziness!

We spent lots of time hiking (averaging 8-10miles per day,) reading, doing chores around the cabin, fishing, searching for the biggest White Pines we could find (we found one with 14ft circumference) and spending quality time with each other!
Would you believe me if I told you there were still HUGE snowbanks? Welp, there was! The currently melting snow resulted in REALLY high water levels in the rivers and HUGE waterfalls, I had never seen them pumping so much!

Kwin and I enjoy and look forward to this trip so much!
With the sprouting tree buds, the chirping birds, muddy terrain, and sunny days…It’s a true sign that we’ve made it through another Michigan winter!
I hope you enjoy the blog and are getting outside during this beautiful spring weather yourself!

PS. For anyone who cares, baby girl did great with all the hiking and activity this past week! I cannot wait to bring her up to the cabin with us and make a whole bunch of new memories with her(:

Current Recipe Favorites

Hey guys! I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite recipes that I’ve been making lately, as well as some of my favorite cookbooks!
I’d like to say start out by saying that I’m definitely not a recipe creator by any means… so I can’t take credit for “creating” any of these delicious meals! But they’re tasty, and for the most part on the healthier side.
I hope you enjoy!

  1. Banana Blueberry Muffins– Looking for something sweet and easy to grab? These muffins are delicious! They’re easy to make and have become a staple in our fridge lately.
  1. Vegan Eggplant Lasagna– I love this recipe because it’s dairy free (which my GI system appreciates) and it’s also just a “healthier” twist on one of Kwin’s favorite meals. Using eggplant for the noodles instead of zucchini (like most recipes call for) is SUPER BENEFICIAL because it it’s as watery as zucchini! I also usually still put in shredded vegan mozzarella between layers to give it more of a cheesy taste.
  1. Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce- This is from an Ebook that I purchased written by Ellen Fischer. I was a little hesitant to try this recipe at first, but let me tell ya…it hits the Creamy Alfredo Sauce craving right in the butt!
    • Ingredients: Big head of Cauliflower, 4 garlic Cloves, 1 C. SOAKED cashews, 1/2 C. Nutritional Yeast, 1 tsp Onion Powder, 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1.5 TBSP Cornstarch
    • Recipe:
      • Steam cauliflower for about 10 minutes, or until tender
      • Blend Cashews with 3 cups of water on a high speed blender, until smooth like cashew milk
      • Add cauliflower to blender with cashews and the rest of the ingredients listed above. Blend until creamy smooth
      • Transfer sauce to a large pan and heat on medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Taste and add appropriate seasons- This is where I usually will add some oregano, basil and other spices to give it more of an authentic Alfredo sauce taste!
  1. Copy Cat Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs– Oh man, I made these for Easter and they taste exactly like the OG Reeses Peanut Butter Cup! Just a little “healthier” twist on them! Rachel Devaux is always creating a “healthier” twist on so many classics. These guys are Dairy Free, Gluten Free, and Refined Sugar Free!

Favorite Cookbooks or Websites For Recipes!

Being stuck at home is not always a bad thing! In fact, it has allowed me extra time to get creative in the kitchen and try some new recipes that I previously wouldn’t have tried.
I hope this sparked your taste buds and got your mouth watering.
Use this is a resource of inspiration; And maybe it even gave you that kick in the butt you needed to get in the kitchen yourself and get creative too!

Feeling On Top Of The World, 2nd Trimester!

I can’t believe how fast time goes when you’re pregnant! I mean it feels like just yesterday that I was secretly taking the positive pregnancy test in my bathroom, and now I’m finishing up 2nd trimester! I think it helps that throughout the entire pregnancy I’ve felt 100% normal, despite my body physically changing, not too much has changed.
I will say, most people said that 2nd trimester would be the best; I’d get my energy back, the minimal food eversions I was having would be gone, and I would just feel on top of the world. Well, thank you everyone for the positive words because YOU WERE ALL CORRECT.

A lot has been going on for Kwin and I during this trimester, as well as a lot going on in the world. So lets’ dig into the good stuff!

My Symptoms

  • Ligament Discomfort: Around week 18 I started experiencing some pelvic discomfort, most notable after being on my feet all day at work, or after a long walk/hike. The discomfort is not unbearable, just more of an annoying feeling. To help with this I’ve been seeing a Chiropractor weekly (shout out to Dr.Darnell at Torch Lake Chiropractic) as well as stretching everyday and incorporating Yoga into our workout regimen more.
  • Winded easily with high cardiac activity– This hasn’t gotten any worse than it was during 1st trimester, but still gets in the way of hiking sometimes! I do know that it’s important not to get my heart rate up too high during pregnancy, so I’m taking the winded feeling as more of a sign to “slow down!”
  • Feeling baby girl kick all the time– This isn’t a bad symptoms at all; In-fact, it’s my favorite thing nowadays! Even if she wakes me in the middle of the night with a kung-fu like kick in the bladder, her movements give me the greatest feeling in the world. I’d say that I started feeling her around week 18, but was kinda uncertain if what I was feeling was actually her. It wasn’t until our 20 week ultrasound that it was confirmed! What I was feeling was indeed her; that’s because we caught all her movements on camera(:

My Cravings

There is NO DOUBT that this child is Kwin’s (Inside joke.) One reason I say this is because ALL of my cravings and eversions are Kwin’s favorite foods to eat and foods he could care less to eat. It’s so interesting how that happens, but in all honesty I don’t mind at all (and neither does Kwin…we’re eating his favorite foods for dinner all the time!)

  • Pasta or Pizza– I’m usually the type of person looking to “health-ify” everything we eat, and this includes pasta (can you say spaghetti squash or zoodles!) But lately, I’ve wanted the FULL gluten, drenched in pesto sauce pasta, or a good pizza.
  • FRUIT– Similar to my 1st trimester, if I could eat fresh fruit all day then I would! Especially the sour/citrus fruits- like pineapple, raspberries, oranges, mango’s, berries.
  • Cranberry Juice– Again, not something I usually fill my glass with; but one of Kwin’s favorite things!
  • Big Salads– I do still love me a big salad filled with lots of veggies. If I’m not craving pasta/pizza, I’m wanting a salad. It’s all about balance, right?
  • NOT A CRAVING, but I don’t have much of a pallet for sweets anymore…and if you know me, you know I’m a sweetaholic!

My Favorite Investments I’ve Made

  • Lulu Lemon leggings– The Align leggings are a gift from the heavens! The high waist band on them allows for your belly to continue growing, without cutting into it or making you feel suffocated. If they weren’t so darn expensive, I think my whole wardrobe would consist of these leggings!
  • Bamboo pant expanders– I’ve been very fortunate to really only be “gaining weight” in my stomach region. I fit in most of my pre-pregnancy pants still, except having a hard time buttoning now. For this reason I was trying to find some good “pant expanders” that wouldn’t show under the shirt I would be wearing. These guys past the test! Super happy with this purchase and will even be able to use them with my shorts this summer.
  • Bamboo nursing bra– Having sore and growing boobs has made me reevaluate my bra situation. I refuse to buy new bra’s because I know this is only a temporary thing…but guys these bra’s are the comfiest things I’ve ever worn! I wear it 99% of the days!
  • Lotion for my growing belly to help prevent stretch marks– I understand that stretch marks are almost inevitable, but if I can try and prevent them in anyway, then I will! I’ve been using lotion from Primally Pure, or just coconut oil on my stomach twice a day! So far, so good!
  • Apps I’ve been using to help track my growing baby:
    • What To Expect- Weekly updates on what baby girl is doing, how big she is, and what my body it going through too! Another nice feature of this app is that I am included is a forum with other momma’s who are also due in July 2020. It’s nice to see what other women are going through as well!
    • The Bump- Similar to the one above, except it doesn’t have the momma forum. I like both apps as they usually share the same information…but maybe a few different things!

COVID-19 And It’s Impact On Us

I’ll be honest, I was kinda a mess at first when the chaos of COVID-19 came around. All the uncertainty of the virus, plus the uncertainty of how it could impact pregnancy and my growing baby…to say I was scared is an understatement. Especially being a nurse, where I am still required to work (lucky for me, I work in the Oncology world and feel very safe around my patients!) After much research, discussion with my OB, and other momma’s going through the same things… I started to feel better. WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!
-COVID-19 has had some negative impacts on our daily lives. Kwin is NOT allowed to go to any of our pre-natal appointments with me right now, I’ve had to cancel/ postpone baby girl’s baby showers, and we weren’t allowed to travel anywhere for spring break!
-COVID-19 has also has some positive impacts on our daily lives. It has allowed Kwin and I to spend a lot of quality time together before baby girl joins our family. We have also accomplished A LOT of chores around the house that have been put off for the past 5 years (basically since we moved in,) and lastly we started working on her nursery!

Adventures

  • Due to COIVD-19 being around for most of my 2nd trimester, Kwin and I were not able to travel much for adventures. However, this time allowed us to explore new trails and old favorites close by!
  • Some of our favorites are: Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, Brown Bridge Quiet Area, Maple Bay and just around our own house!

I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse of what we’ve been up to over the past couple months!
Stay home. Stay safe. And stay healthy during these crazy times!

Our Next Adventure, 1st Trimester

Man, I’ve been waiting since I was a little girl to write this!

KWIN AND I ARE GOING TO BE PARENTS!

Woah, did I really just write that?! That was actually a little intimidating…but at the same time gave me butterflies from the excitement(: Anyway, lets get into the dirt of how the first trimester of pregnancy went for me.

I’ll be honest, getting pregnant was NOT EASY for Kwin and I. In fact, it took a lot longer than we anticipated (I fully intend on writing a blog on the whole process)…but everything happens for a reason and now our little Miracle baby is finally on her way.

I get asked this questions basically in every conversation I have nowadays “How are you feeling” or “How horrible was your first trimester?” Well, I’m happy to report, but my first trimester of pregnancy was actually great! I had no morning sickness, no nausea, and no major food eversions. I’d definitely say that I was a lucky one!

My symptoms

  • Extreme Fatigue! Once 2pm hit I was ready to be in bed and could probably have slept until the next morning.
  • Getting winded doing the simplest activities. Now I know I’m an active person, so maybe someone who doesn’t do all the activities that Kwin and I do on a normal basis would have said no change…but when we were hiking on some of our trips, or even just up our driveway, I would be really riding the struggle bus.
  • Not an extreme food eversion, but vegetables did not appeal to me like they usually do.
  • Sore and tender breasts! Phew, not only were my boobs tender but they also grew at least one cup size (Kwin’s favorite thing yet.)

My Favorites

  • My Favorite foods were: Avocado toast for breakfast. ALL THE CITRUS FRUIT- especially clementines, pineapple, mango and raspberries. CARBS…pasta, wraps, etc.
  • Sleeping…yes I would go to sleep at 6:45pm almost every night.
  • LuLu Lemon Align leggings, they have no compression effect on the bloated and now growing stomach!
  • Lemon water. For some reason tap water would make me nauseous sometimes, so I found that freezing lemons and putting them in my water would help prevent that.
  • My home doppler ultrasound that I purchased on Ebay. This might easily be the best purchase EVER! At around 11 weeks you can start to pick up the baby’s heartbeat, and being able to listen to her whenever I wanted was such a sense of relief. It’s almost torture sometimes waiting between your appointments, especially when you’re early on and can’t feel any movement/don’t feel pregnant sometimes. (Side note, I am a Nurse and do have some education regarding human anatomy and knew what I was looking for.)

Adventures We Did During First Trimester

  • Fall UP Cabin Trip. This trip was technically during the “two week wait,” however, I had this strong feeling that I was pregnant the whole time!
  • Detroit for Thanksgiving. This was a pretty fun trip for us. It’s when we told my whole family (McCormack side) and some of my closest friends back at home. We also did our annual 5K run on thanksgiving morning, which yes was a little bit more difficult this time.
  • Sedona Arizona. Man, what a trip this was! We were planning to make our “Facebook” announcement while on this trip as I had finally made it to the 12 week mark! We also found out that we were having a beautiful baby girl while hiking! It was such a fun and memorable trip for us(:

Training and Other Activities

I’ve been very fortunate to feel good during my first trimester and still able to do most of my normal activities. My mindset has been- If I feel good, then just keep going. But if something feels off at all, then just stop. Pretty simple.

  • Detroit Turkey Trot 5K and Farmland 5K
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Weight Training
  • Barre classes
  • Hiking

Pregnancy has been such a fun and fulfilling journey so far! I know I’m lucky to have felt as good as I have…but I really feel that taking care of myself before pregnancy and being in such good health really helped! I hope you all enjoyed getting a little glimpse of this journey so far for me and I can’t wait to share how this journey continues to go for us!

Final Stretch- Bozeman, Glacier National Park, Roosevelt National Park!

Life is meant for spectacular adventures. Let your feet wander, your eyes marvel, and your soul ignite. 

Two weeks down, and one week to go before heading back home! We’ve already seen some pretty amazing things while in Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons and Yellowstone; but knew we still had some great things to look forward too! 

Here is the final week of adventures!

Bozeman, MT 

On our way from Yellowstone National Park to Glacier National Park we decided to stop in Bozeman, MT for a couple days. National Parks are great, but one downfall is that our dogs [aka our children] aren’t allowed to hike with us.  We had also heard so many great things from friends that grew up in the Bozeman area, so we figured that we definitely needed to check it out.

Camping- We stayed at the Langohr Campground, a quaint campground located about 10 minutes south of downtown Bozeman. The location of this campground was PERFECT! 

No phone service + Creekside + Located right near a bunch of biking trails. 

Hiking- Bozeman is located amongst the mountains, so one would only guess that the hiking is unbelievable.

  • The ‘M’ Trail: A 1.2 mile trail, that has two routes (hard or easy route) ending at the famous ‘M,’ which I believe represent Montana State University. We obviously took the hard route [when hiking with Kwin, it’s pretty expected] and let me tell ya, the views are spectacular! 
  • Baldy Peak Summit: A 9.6 mile trail, rated at hard. We did about half of this tail, due to time constraints, but it was awesome! We saw so many active people [mostly locals] and had the best views of Bozeman! Mountain living is crazy … while hiking two storms split us, allowing us to watch as the storms, on-top of a mountain, as they passed through.

Biking- From our camping spot we were able to jump on some of the mountain biking trails, and like the hiking, the trails were pretty awesome! This was the true definition of Mountain Biking! We pretty much started from the bottom of a canyon, and biked about 2500 feet UP HILL before being able to descent again! It was exhausting to say the least.

Dining- When we are traveling and camping mosts of our meals are eaten and cooked at our campsite. Seriously, who doesn’t like cooking over the campfire? But after two weeks of doing this, we were pretty ready for a little “treat.” Bozeman reminds me of Traverse City, Michigan in so many ways [obviously minus the Great Lakes, and add Mountains.] There were a ton of great coffee shops and dinner places too! 

  • Mackenzie River Pizza: Now, I’m not usually a person who would order pizza, but I’d like to report that the pizza here was AMAZING! Plus the atmosphere was really inviting. If it were up to Kwin, we would have eaten here for every meal. 
  • Plonk: A recommendation from James, Kwin’s high school friend who currently lives out in Bozeman! The drinks were phenomenal, the food was phenomenal [and vegan friendly,] and the atmosphere was so fun! 
  • Bozeman Community Co-Op: I LOVE going to Co-Op’s! This place had a wonderful salad bar, as well as hot food bar.
  • Wild Joe’s Coffee: One of the best Matcha Latte’s I had the entire trip! 
  • The Daily Coffee & Eatery- Northside: Quick coffee, with great breakfast food selections [gluten free and vegan options available!] We hit this place bright and early before hitting the road to Glacier National Park. 

Glacier National Park 

Going into our trip, this was one spot I was most excited for! It’s not everyday that you get to see and hike to glaciers. Plus, if you didn’t know, the glaciers found in Glacier National Park are the only ones left in the United States AND they are receding fast! Infact, researchers are estimating that they may be completely melted within the next 50 years! 

So our original plan for this National Park was to go to the western most part of the National Park, drive the famous “Road To The Sun” through the park and then end up in Waterton National Park (the Canadian side) for a couple days. However, plans don’t always go as planned. When we arrived to West Glacier, we found out that YOU CANNOT DRIVE VEHICLES LARGER THAN 21 FEET ON THE ROAD TO THE SUN! Yup that meant we couldn’t drive through the park while pulling our camper [18foot camper + our truck is bigger than 21 feet.] So we decided to forgo Waterton, and instead to two days on the west side of the park, then drive around to the east side and spend a couple days. We were still able to drive part of “The Road To The Sun,” which was crazy beautiful!

Camping- We decided to stay two nights on the west side of the park, then two nights on the east side of the park, that way we could experience a little bit of everything! 

  • Apgar Campground:  Located right at the entrance of “The Road To The Sun” on the west side of the park. Apgar has a campground and a little village too! Not only is it at the entrance of the famous road, it’s also right on Lake MacDonald- a BEAUTIFUL glacier lake! It was our favorite campground of the two we stayed at.
  • Many Glacier Campground: Located on the eastern side of the park. This area was definitely more primitive than the western side. A tip for anyone planning to camp out here is to ALWAYS check how the wildlife is. This campground had a lot of bear activity, so they did not allow soft top campers or tent camping while we were there. 

Hiking- While in Glacier we obviously wanted to hike a glacier, but that wasn’t the only awesome thing we got to see! 

  • Apgar Lookout Trail: a 7mile, rated difficult hike. This was a great hike to warm the legs back up from a day of driving. It was beautiful, however the summit was starting to get a little overgrown by trees and other vegetation; affecting the view of Lake MacDonald at the top.  
  • Highline Trail: a 14.7 mile [one way] trail, rated as moderate. This was probably one of my favorite hikes! Despite it being long, the views were freaking amazing! When reading all the reviews on ‘All Trails’ they recommended that we park at the bottom of the hike, take a shuttle to the top, and then hike down. That’s exactly what we did! Hiking alongside the mountains gave spectacular views, plus there was so much wildlife along the trail too! 
  • Iceberg Lake Trail: a 9.3 mile [out and back] trail, rated as moderate. This one was my favorite hikes on the Eastern side of the park! A family friend of ours recommended that we do this trail, and I’m so glad we did! PS: If you stay in Many Glacier campground, you can start most of the trails right from campsite. It was pretty windy that day, so unfortunately all the icebergs had been pushed to the far side of the lake, but the crystal blue water was still breathtaking. We also saw two bears while hiking! 
  • Grinnell Glacier: A 9.5 mile hike, rated as moderate. Given it was mid July when we were there, most of the snow on the trail was melted. However, there were signs all over the trail advising people to “proceed with caution” because of the ice and snow that commonly covers it! Fun Fact: the trail actually ends at two different glaciers- Grinnell Glacier and Salamander Glacier. 

Paddle Boarding- Have you ever paddled a glacier lake at sunset? Yup, neither had we… Until Lake MacDonald! You guys, this paddle was so spur of the moment, and it was absolutely amazing! Shout out to Tahoe SUP for the amazing inflatable paddle boards that we take EVERYWHERE with us!

The mountains in the background + crystal clear and glassy water + perfect sunset!

Horseback Riding Megan [my sister-in-law] really wanted to do some horseback riding while at Glacier, so we did! This was only my second time horseback riding, and it was a lot of fun. We rode around Lake Josephine, another glacier lake located in Many Glacier. The two leaders were super knowledgeable, funny and made the trip very enjoyable.

Roosevelt National Park 

After parting ways from Megan and Tommy, we started our journey home. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do a ton of hiking while here, but we did bike around the cute town of Medora and watched the sunset at an overlook in the park! Roosevelt is sometimes known as the “Northern Badlands,” which I can totally see why! It had a lot of the same rock formations as the Badlands in South Dakota, but this definitely had more greenery. 

Another really cool thing about this National Park, was the abundance of wildlife. I’m talking wild horses running around so majestically, buffalo herds of 100+ and prairie dogs popping out of the ground everywhere you look. 

Ballard Lake, Wisconsin 

Our final stop of the trip! Thanks to our good friends, Mark and Janna Goethel, for inviting us to their family cabin! We had so much fun with the whole Tucker family boating, hiking, swimming, paddling, and lots of drinking. Neither Kwin or I had ever been to this part of Wisconsin, but it was so beautiful! It reminded me of Northern Michigan is so many ways. Wanna know something crazy? The cabin is only 1 hour south of our cabin! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed following along on Kwin and I’s road trip! If you haven’t already, check out Kwin’s video he made of the trip HERE. Also make sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 of the blog series for our road trip! 

We sure do love traveling, but there is nothing like being home.

The Great American Road Trip, Part 2. Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks!

And the road trip continues! 

If you missed my last blog, check it out HERE.

July 2, 2019

Start– Gros Ventre Campground-Jackson, Wyoming

Destination– Signal Mountain Campground, Grand Tetons National Park 

The trick to getting a good camp spot in the National Parks is to GET THERE EARLY! Living in Northern Michigan, we are part of the Eastern Time Zone; So one of the perks of traveling out west is the time change. Waking up at 6am is more like 8am at home…so it’s kinda like sleeping in, am I right? Not only does waking up early help with getting a good camp spot, but being able to see the sunrise in the mountains is pretty beautiful too! 

Kwin and I were both very excited to be going into the Tetons! Of all the parks, this was the one that most people told us would be our favorite. 

-We’d heard it was less crowded

-There were mountains everywhere

-And there would be lots of hiking, biking and paddling 

Our morning started out again at the cute coffee shop in Jackson, Cowboy Coffee, and then we hit the road! Pulling into Signal Mountain Campground promptly around 7:30am with a train of other campers having the same intentions as us. Luckily, we were able to snag the BEST spot in the campground [well in our opinion at least] right on Jackson Lake.

After setting up camp we decided to do hike Taggart Lake Trail: a 3-mile, rated easy hike, but with spectacular views! We both agreed that it was one of our favorite hikes in the park. 

In the afternoon we did a nice long paddle across Jackson Lake using our inflatable Tahoe SUP paddle boards, and let me tell you …it felt like we were paddling with a green screen in-front of us! I mean just look at those mountains, plus the crystal clear blue water!

Funny story, Kwin and I set up the tent while cooking dinner because we thought it would be fun to sleep under the stars. We didn’t put the rain fly on, that way we would be able to see the stars while going to sleep. Before bed we both wanted to do some reading, so we sat in the camper …. and well we both fell asleep! Around 12am we woke up to the sound of torrential downpour rain! We were dry …. but our tent, sleeping bags and other camping gear wasn’t.  

July 3, 2019 

Start– Signal Mountain Campground- Grand Tetons National Park

Destination– Signal Mountain Campground- Grand Tetons National Park 

Once the rain stopped, around 8am we got coffee at the Signal Mountain campground store and then hit the road to our first hike of the day. Grand View Point Trail: a 5-mile, moderate ranked trail, that definitely fit its name perfectly! The trail at the beginning was pretty wet, thanks to the rain from the night before, so the mosquitoes were bad! However, once we got up to a higher elevation they seemed to disappear. The top of the trail had a beautiful view of Jackson Lake, along with the Tetons in the background! Again, I felt like I was looking at a green screen! 

Our second hike of the day was definitely more busy than the first, Jenny Lake Trail. Despite there being a lot of people, it was still a really nice hike! About 7 miles in length, and I would rate as Easy. 

July 4, 2019

Start– Signal Mountain Campground- Grand Tetons National Park 

Destination– Norris Campground-Yellowstone National Park 

I mentioned this before about getting to campsites early if you want to get a spot in the National Parks. Another helpful thing is this website here: https://www.nps.gov/index.htm it’s a great source of information regarding camping, or really anything in the National Parks. There is an area that lets you know when the campgrounds in the parks had been filling. 

Our number 1 campground choice was Norris Campground, due to its central location. We saw that Norris Campground was usually full by 9:30am…so we got there at 7:30! After two hours of waiting we finally got a spot, set up camp, and then went for a nice bike/hike to Norris Geyser Basin (about 1 mile from our campground!) FUN FACT: one of the largest Geysers in Yellowstone is found at Norris Geyser Basin- Steamboat Geyser– and it erupts every 4-8 days apparently. While we were standing in line waiting for a campsite, it started steaming and showing an increase in its activity. The ranger pointed it out to us all, and said it was due for an eruption! Unfortunately, it didn’t erupt while we were there…but it was really cool to see the activity of Steamboat! After a quick hike we drove out of the park to Gandier, MT to meet up with Megan and Tommy- Kwin’s sister and our brother-in-law! We got groceries for the next couple of days, then went back to the campground and did the same hike we had already done, that way Megan and Tommy could warm up their legs for the upcoming days! Megan and Tommy were planning to stay with us for the remainder of our trip!

July 5, 2019

Start– Norris Campground- Yellowstone National Park 

Destination– Norris Campground- Yellowstone National Park 

Alright guys, not only do you need to wake up early to get a good campsite….but while in any National Park you’ve also gotta wake up early to get to the most popular hikes! We had heard horror stories before going to Yellowstone, saying there could be thousands of people standing around ONE SINGLE GEYSER! I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a recipe for claustrophobia to me! With this being said, we decided to get to one of the most popular geysers in the park, ‘Old Faithful,’ bright and early! This geyser is the most predictable of all the geysers in Yellowstone, and erupts about every 60-90minutes. I can’t compare the eruption to anything else, because it’s the only geyser we saw actually erupt, but it was pretty cool in my opinion! It shot up about 50-75ft in the air and lasted about 5 minutes. We were very fortunate to be there with only thirty or so people [compared to the thousands that can be there later in the day!]

 After that we went to probably our favorite hike in all of Yellowstone! The Mystic Falls & Geyser Basin: a 3.5-mile, moderately ranked hike WITH AMAZING VIEWS! It’s about two miles away from the ‘Old Faithful Geyser Basin,’ so when we hiked to the overlook point we were actually able to see all the geysers there! If you look closely in the picture below you can see all the steam coming up from the different geysers! As the name says, there was a waterfall as well: Mystic Falls. All of us really enjoyed this hike for the views, the waterfall and also the bring blue/sapphire colors of the geysers were pretty awesome! 

We managed to get in another hike this day and did a highly recommended hike Mt.Washburn. This was a 7-miles, moderately ranked hike that ended on top of a mountain overlooking the entire park! In-fact a functioning firetower was at the top. For those who don’t know what that is, a park ranger lives in this fire-tower, which was built in the early 1900’s, from June through October and is constantly monitoring for forest fires! 

June 6, 2019

Start– Norris Campground- Yellowstone National Park

Destination– Norris Campground-Yellowstone National Park 

Our last day in Yellowstone! Our first stop was the ‘Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.’ Now I’ve never actually been to the Grand Canyon, so I can’t really compare it to anything, but man was this beautiful! There were two waterfalls- The Upper and Lower Falls- and then beautiful rock formations lining the actual canyon. By the time we were leaving the parking lot was nearly full-mind you this was about 8am. So get there early folks! 

Our next hike of the day was a “spur of the moment” hike called Elephant Back Mountain Trail. This hike was about 3.5-miles, most of which was uphill! Kwin and I really enjoyed this because we could “feel the burn,” and once you finally got to the top you had a beautiful view of Yellowstone Lake. 

We ended the day by biking the ‘Osprey Falls’ trail- it’s one of the only bike friendly trails in the park- and then got dinner with Megan and Tommy in Gandier, MT.

If you’re planning to stay in Yellowstone, I would highly recommend going to visit this town. It’s located at the Northern entrance of the park, and has so many unique stores and restaurants! You should definitely make sure to stop in and check out Yellowstone Wildlife Galleries too. The store owner is a phenomenal wildlife photographer and has a store full of beautiful pictures!  

Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park were truly amazing! We loved both parks for different reasons. But if I had to choose, I would definitely say that Grand Tetons was my favorite(: 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog, and I can’t wait to share about our time in Bozeman, MT, Glacier National Park and all the stops we made while traveling home!

The Great American Road Trip, Part 1. Michigan’s UP to Jackson Hole, WY And All The Stops In-Between.

“The Mountains Are Calling”

A quote I’m sure most people have heard of or seen while scrolling through Pinterest. I love this quote, like a lot, and have ever sense visiting the mountains for the first time five years ago. It was a spontaneous trip out to Colorado and The Rocky Mountain National Park with Kwin and my cousin Jenna. I remember falling in love with the mountains; the views, the wildlife, and the sense of freedom that radiates out there.

Kwin and I drive through the mountains almost every year on our trips out to Moab, Utah. We make comments about how cool it would be to explore this land a little more, and experience what the mountain life would be like. That’s when the idea arose… we could totally do it, a month long road trip!

Three years, yes three years of planning. We knew that we wanted to be in the mountains and see the Western United States; Like Wyoming, Montana, Washington and Oregon. We also really want to explore Western Canada, like British Columbia, Jasper, Banff and Waterton. So much to see, yet so little time!

After lots of research and talking to many different people [and maybe stalking strangers instagram accounts] we finally decided that hitting it all in one 4-week long trip probably wasn’t going to work. However, dividing it up into two summer trips would be the best idea [oh yeah we’re already planning next summers trip!]

The Great American road trip.

So what exactly was our route going to be?

Kwin and I decided to stay in the United States this summer and hit up

  1. The Badlands National Park (South Dakota)

  2. The Black Hills (South Dakota)

  3. Jackson, Wyoming

  4. The Grand Tetons National Park (Wyoming)

  5. Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming)

  6. Bozeman, Montana

  7. Glacier National Park (Montana)

  8. Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

When planning our trips we like to create a “back bone” of places we want to go and things we want to see. This allows us extra freedom to add or subtract points of interest. Some people might think we’re crazy and get anxiety from not having every second of our trip planned, but we love the “going with the flow mentality.” Going about our trips this way forces us to talk to other travelers and hear about their experiences, as well as diverge into the local communities [because let’s be honest, the locals always know the best trails to hit up, especially if you’re trying to avoid the big crowds.]

Life is crazy, and there always seemed be something holding us back [hence why its taken us three years to plan our trip.] I’ve learned first hand this past year that life is precious and can be taken from you in a second. Neither Kwin nor I wanted to waste anymore time and regret NOT doing the trip we’ve both always wanted to do. Well I’d like to report that the trip was amazing, and I’m so glad that we finally just did it!

I’m going to break up our trip into a couple of blog posts, just because I don’t feel like one blog would do any justice. We had some many great memories that we’ll both forever look back on.

 

June 25,2019

Start: Home Sweet Home

Destination: Porcupine Mountains-Our Cabin

We hit the road, finally! Pulling our A-Liner camper and a truck filled with all the camping goodies. Our first destination was going to be Michigan’s UP! We absolutely love Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and thought what better way to start our trip than with a couple days there.

Marquette

  • We stopped in Marquette, MI and did some great mountain biking at the South Naquemanon Biking trails. If you’ve never been to them I would highly recommend going! I would consider myself an intermediate rider, and I love these trails! We did one of our favorite trails ‘Gorge-Ous’ which rides downhill and along the Carp River, ending right on the Lake Superior shoreline. In true Megan fashion, I started off the trip with a couple cuts and bruises thanks to flipping my bike….in my defense, there is just so much beautiful scenery to look at that I may have gotten side tracked a little bit(:

  • From there we got a delicious dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Iron Bay. Not only do they have great tasting food, but the environment is awesome too! Tables made with parts of the Mackinaw Bridge, menus on old Marquette newspapers, and pictures that tell the history of the town. Such a cool place to eat that’s right across from the Ore Dock on Lake Superior!

Canyon Falls

  • A hidden gem about an hour west of Marquette. We like to stop here anytime we’re heading to the cabin to give the dogs a nice hike PLUS there is a waterfall that kwin enjoys jumping into.

  • The mosquitos were pretty bad, and it stared pouring rain on us…but neither of those stopped us! It was raining so hard that by the time we got back to the car you wouldn’t have been able to tell who jumped into the waterfall and who didn’t.

June 26,2019

Start: Porcupine Mountains-Our Cabin

Destination: Porcupine Mountains-Our Canin

Have you ever been to a place where you wake up and hear nothing but the sound of birds chirping and a creek running by? Well that’s exactly what we get at our favorite little escape, the cabin! We decided that it would be fun to stay here for a day and really be present in what we were about to embark on. Our goals were to do some hiking (getting our legs ready for all the hiking we would be doing) as well as help Kwins’ dad with some chores that needed to be done. I love the cabin, however, I greatly dislike going during late June and July! The bugs are HORRIBLE. Imagine millions of mosquitos plus deer flies constantly buzzing around you; and no matter how much bug spray you apply they still keep coming. Needless to say, a bug suite is 100% necessary. I tell myself every year that I’m not going back up there when the bugs are nasty…and well…kwin always seems to sweet talk me into it. Okay, no more negativity. Despite the bugs, we still had a great time that day. Hiking, swimming in waterfalls, doing chores, and just getting ready for our big adventure!

June 27,2019

Start: Porcupine Mountains-Our Cabin

Destination: Sioux, South Dakota-Big Sioux State Recreation Area

Our FIRST day of new territory! We woke up early and hit the road. Now because our road trip was planned to last 3.5 weeks we didn’t feel rushed about having to be anywhere at any certain time. Man, it felt so good to have a trip like that finally! We didn’t have any set in stone plans, instead we planned to just go with the flow of things. We took the northern route for our trip, because we figured that staying north would be much faster, more scenic, and less traffic!

Superior, Wisconsin

We stopped at a cute coffee shop, The Sandbar, AND a perfect place to paddle. The water was glassy, so why not!

Duluth, Minnesota

Next we both were interested in stopping in Duluth because we’d heard great things about that town. It’s settled in along the western Lake Superior shoreline, and man were we both surprised and how cute this town was!

  • We got breakfast at ‘At Sara’s Table Chester Creek Cafe’ and it was so delicious! Something I try to do when looking for a place to eat is: make sure it’s NOT A CHAIN RESTAURANT, if it’s organic and locally based ingredients that’s a HUGE win, and it’s got to be somewhat healthy.

  • Duluth has this nice paved trail that goes for miles along the Lake Superior shoreline, and we decided to do some roller blading. It was a great way to get some movement in for not only us, but the dogs too. We made it back to the car with seconds to spare before a crazy storm hit!

Sioux, South Dakota

The rest of the day we spent in the car determined to make it to South Dakota…and we did! We set up camp in ‘Big Sioux State Recreation Area,’ and lucky us it had a ton of paved trails for us to bike and roller blade with the dogs again. It was a beautiful place that Kwin and I would love to return to someday.

 

June 28,2019

Start: Sioux, South Dakota- Big Sioux State Recreation Area

Destination: Badlands National Park-KOA

Like most mornings on our trip we got up bright and early and hit the road, because as the saying goes “The early bird gets the worm.”

Badlands National Park

Our first National Park of the trip! Kwin had been through this area before, but it was a first for me. It was breathtaking and like nothing I’d ever seen before. The sandy colored mountains with intense formations all over the place. Honestly, it was completely different than I thought it was going to be (but I really didn’t do too much research on it to begin with either.)

  • We hiked the Castle Trail, Notch Trail and Door trail. Shout out to AllTrails for helping us throughout out our entire trip! I’ve got the app downloaded to my phone, so I can easily find hikes around us at anytime. All of the trailheads are pretty close together because believe it or not, the Badlands is not as big as most other national parks I’ve been to. Besides the handful of backcountry hiking trails, there was only 4-5 shorter hikes in the Park.

  • We did catch an amazing sunset on one of the peaks though! The sunset on the mountains created such a picturesque moment, painting the sky in pink, orange and yellow hues.

While watching the sunset we ran into a really nice family from Indiana and started sharing our plans. They encouraged us to stop at ‘Custer State Park’ on our way through the Badlands because it had some Great Lakes we could paddle in. Given we had already hiked most of the trails in the park we decided to head out a day earlier than originally planned and instead do a whole day in Custer/The Black Hills.

 

June 29,2019

Start: Badlands National Park-KOA

Destination: Casper, Wyoming-KOA

Our morning started off at ‘Dunn Brothers Coffee’ in Rapid City, South Dakota. This town, was alive! Lots of active people all over the place; There was a 5K race going on, lots of people out biking, and it just felt like a fun place to be. We didn’t get to spend much time here besides getting our coffee, but we would love to go back here in the future!

Mount Rushmore

Again, a place that’s Kwin’s been to before, but not me. I’ll be honest here, I wasn’t expecting to be blown away when I saw the carvings in the rocks…but it was so cool! I mean just the history behind this sculpting, and the fact that people were able to chisel such a beautiful and articulate sculpture out of the side of a mountain is pretty unbelievable.

Custer State Park and the Black Hills

We saw our first buffalo! Pretty much right when we got into the park, we saw the monster of an animal just lingering around in its habitat. It’s crazy that he didn’t seemed phased at all that there were multiple cars pulled over taking pictures of him. The winding roads lined by tall pine trees (giving it the black appearance in the distance, hence why the settlers called them the black hills) was such a beautiful ride!

  • Legion Lake and Stockade Lake- Custer State Park is filled with not only rolling hills, mountains, pines and animals…but also a ton of lakes! Honestly, after three days in a row with 90+ degree weather and NO WATER TO JUMP IN (we’re lake people and really need water) swimming and paddling was all we wanted to do.

June 30, 2019 and July 1, 2019

Start: Casper, Wyoming-KOA

Destination: Jackson, Wyoming-Gros Ventre Campground

If you can’t tell by now, Kwin and I have really enjoyed waking up early and starting our day off at a coffee shop then hitting the road to make up some miles. While in Casper we stopped at ‘Java Jitters’ where the barista was super nice and gave us some great tips about Jackson Hole…our next stop! The drive from Casper to Jackson was really pretty in its own way. Most of Wyoming is grass and prairie land, which was not anything like I expected. However the closer you go to the Grand Tetons and Jackson, the more mountainous it got. In fact, just before we got into the National Park we saw our first grizzly bear! Like the buffalo, it was just strutting through the mountains and grasslands, not phased by the cars and numerous people taking pictures of it.

Jackson Hole

I was super excited about this town from the moment we pulled into it! A cute small mountain town with a river flowing through it, plus tons of active people all over the place! To say kwin and I were in heaven is an understatement.

  • We hiked ‘Josie’s Ridge Trail’ which was about 4-miles and a pretty steep incline. After sitting in the car as much as we had, it was tough…but so worth it for the views at the top! Since this trail is in downtown Jackson, it’s dog friendly…huge win in our books.

  • After the hike we decided to mountain bike in the same general area, because there was a nice spider web of trails right in the center of town. Like the hike it was tough! When we were finishing we actually noticed a lot of people taking the ski chair lift to the top and riding down….we tried to ride them from the bottom up, so that tells ya how hard it was! We biked around town a little bit before heading back to camp and fell in love with the town even more.

  • Our second day in Jackson didn’t start out as planned. After getting coffee at ‘Cowboy Coffee‘ we had to take Kanyon to the vet [Thank you to everyone at VCA Spring Creek Animal Hospital!] Unfortunately she got Giardia while in the UP and had been up all night with diarrhea the past couple days. Once everything was all cleared up, we hiked ‘Ski Lake Trail,’ which again was dog friendly and about 4 miles in length. Definitely not as strenuous as our previous hike, but so beautiful!

  • Jackson, like most of the towns we visited outwest, had a great paved trail mostly used for running, biking or roller blading. We definitely did some miles on that!

  • Our last hike in the Jackson, Wyoming area was ‘Blacktail Butte Trail.’ It was a strenuous 7-mile hike, but beautiful at that!

Man, if you think the trip sounds amazing so far..just wait for the rest of the blogs! Grand Tetons and Yellowstone will be up next, followed by Bozeman, Glacier and the pit-stops on the way home! Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Sauna’s and Ice Baths-The Best Immune Boosting, and Injury Preventing alternative to Western Medicine!

I’ve got a question for you all. What would be your FIRST reaction if someone told you that they do Sauna and Ice Baths?

-Is this person crazy?

-What kind of sick joke is this….

-Sauna, yes. But What was that second part?

Three years ago, Kwin and I made a pretty big investment and got a barrel sauna for our backyard! We had heard so many great things about saunas from podcasts (Joe Rogan, Laird & Gabby Hamilton, Aubrey Marcus, etc.) and figured why not, we love a challenge! Having struggled with Raynauds- which is a circulation problem that causes my hands and feet to turn white/be very painful whenever I’m cold– I love the heat and was obviously all in for the sauna part. But NEVER did I ever think that I would jump in an ice bath willingly.

Functional health and wellness is a huge part of Kwin and I’s lives, and finding ways to improve our overall health is fun to us! So I’m sure you’re all wondering, what exactly are the benefits of a sauna? How about the benefits of adding in an Ice Bath rotation?

Sauna Benefits

  1. Helps Improve Circulation– The heat from the hot sauna has a vasodilation effect (basically means that your blood vessels dilate, which can cause your blood pressure to come down!) In fact, HERE is a pretty interesting article I read a while back about how saunas can help with lowering an individuals blood pressure in the long run! The dilation of your blood vessels helps to make sure that different parts of your body are getting the proper amount of oxygen that it needs.
  2. Increases your resting metabolic rate– If you think about how many calories you burn when playing a sport, or riding a bike…this is partially in part to your heart pumping at a faster rate (otherwise known as sinus tachycardia.) Well in a sauna, your heart is also beating at a pretty fast pace! With your heart pumping and your brown fat cells working hard your overall core body temperature rises, resulting in more calories burned while at a resting state.
  3. Detoxifies your body– This is a pretty simple concept. 180+degree temps is going to make you sweat….A LOT! When sweating, you loose a lot of water and toxins. These are typically from what you ingest on a daily basis, as well as anything that you may be exposed to without even knowing it. Unfortunately, the world we live in is full of endocrine disrupting chemicals and toxins. So riding them from our body is a pretty good idea! You may notice the next morning a few more zits than normal, but it’s just your body getting rid of junk! ALSO I would advise drinking lots of water after a sauna session to rehydrate all the water lost.
  4. Increases recovery time after a workout– As mentioned above vasodilation allows for more oxygen to be delivered to muscle cells. With more oxygen being delivered to your muscle cells they are able to rest and recover at a faster pace!

Ice Bath Benefits

  1. Helps Increase Immunity– The initial shock of getting out of the HOT sauna and into a FREEZING tub is exactly the shock the body needs to fight any intruders that may be in your body. Think of it this way, your body is going from somewhere that is close to 200 degrees, to being submerged in something close to 32 or less degrees! Jumping into an ice bath activates the body’s natural healing powers that can promote a sense of health and well-being. If you’re able to do it on a regular basis, they can even provide long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems! If you don’t have a large tub laying around, jumping into a lake or pool is always a good option. A lot of Naturopathic Physicians have started offering a treatment very similar to this (Hydrotherapy.) Check out THIS article for more information!
  2. Allows you to stay in the sauna longer– How many times have you been in a sauna, but only been able to stay 10-15 minutes MAX because it’s just so hot? Been there, done that! Well the ice bath provides you with a sense of relief, so that you can stay in there for closer to 30-45 minutes! The longer you are able to tolerate the saunas heat, the more health benefits you’ll get out of it.
  3. Increases recovery time after a workout-Going along with what I mentioned above, the ice bath helps to decrease your inflammation that individuals usually accumulate after workouts! After all, working out causes micro tears in your muscle fibers, which causes generalized inflammation! Recovery is so important for athletes!
  4. The Mental Challenge– I’ll be honest, my first couple times of doing the ice bath I defiantly did the “Bird Bath” technique. Meaning I didn’t actually submerge in the tub, but rather splashed myself. I slowly worked myself up to getting into the bath, and now I can’t imagine doing a sauna without it! The exhilarating feeling of being in an ice bath is so empowering!

The sauna/ice baths SAVE US during the winter! It helps to get rid of the chill after being outside in the frigid cold. Plus as you can see in the picture above, the ice bath actually has large chunks of ice in it, which Kwin usually has to chop through with an axe. We average about 2-3 sauna sessions a week during the spring, fall and winter months. When the summer comes around though, it definitely drops down to about once a week!

I hope you all find this information helpful and even try out a sauna/ice bath session in the future!

Things Are Getting Serious…Recovery is Real!

Alright, never did I EVER think I would be writing this blog. But truth be told, I’m feeling really confident today and have had this overwhelming feeling like telling my story will not only help me continue in my recovery, but may help others too! So here goes nothing…

Growing up I was an active young girl. I played competitive soccer and volleyball, I ran for fun, swam in my backyard, biked with all my friends and well pretty much did anything outside! I ate when I was hungry, and stopped when I was full. One could say, I lived a pretty “normal” childhood. I had great friends and family; whom always supported me and provided nothing but encouragement and a positive environment to grow up in.

It wasn’t until the summer going into my senior year of high school that things began to change.

  • I was being recruited to play collegiate soccer (stressor #1)
  • Changing soccer teams [this meant leaving the team I had played with since I was 8 years old] and going to a team that would help prepare my for the collegiate level (stressor #2)
  • Dealing with some friendship issues (stressor #3)
  • Rebelling out against my mom [She was the best mom I could have ever asked for, but we clashed heads a lot. Especially in my high school years] (stressor #4)
  • I was letting my perfectionism get to the best of me-especially regarding school grades (stressor #5)

So all of this added up and I felt like I had completely lost control of my life. UNTIL….I found that I could control what I ate! This meant how much, what kinds of foods, etc. I took this and ran with it! So from June 2011 to about January 2012, I had lost a significant amount of weight. Because I was only 17, I was still considered a minor. So my parents decided to do what was best for me at the time, and get me some help! This meant going away to an inpatient hospital program for about 1.5 months to fully recover. While there I was able to gain all the weight back that I had lost, but never truly learned how to control WHAT CAUSED THE PROBLEM IN THE FIRST PLACE! I graduated the hospital program and a couple months later graduated from high school too!

Fast forward a couple years, I was now in college and living the best life! The summer of 2014 I got accepted to work [as a Nurse Tech] at the hospital I ALWAYS wanted to work in when I graduated Nursing school. So I packed my bags and moved in with my wonderful Aunt and Uncle for the summer! Not only was I finally living in my dream town (Elk Rapids, Michigan) but that summer I also met my now husband<3. Life was going great and I was truly living the dream!

Until that following spring….my papa, whom I was very close to, lost his battle with Dementia and passed away. I was lost, HOW could he be gone? This is when things went downhill again…

 

  • My papa passing away (stressor #1)
  • Nursing school, which is incredibly tough! (stressor #2)
  • The societal ‘norms’ of having a perfect body (stressor #3)

I went back to my controlling habits. This time it wasn’t only food, it was also over exercising! From June 2015-February 2016 I was eating MAYBE 1000 calories a day [being VERY strict about counting calories, and habitual about what I ate.] I had to get in ATLEAST one seriously demanding workout a day, usually about 60 minutes in duration + running all the time! Phew, just writing that is giving me anxiety again!

By the time February came around, my husband [boyfriend at the time] was threatening to leave me, I had become incredibly antisocial, had lost a ton of weight again, and was depressed. With the encouragement of my husband and family I seeked out help. This time I went through an outpatient program [that way I could finish out Nursing school…especially because I was graduating that April.] Man, I’m so glad I did! The difference between this program and the previous one was night and day. The counselors actually dug deep into WHAT the problem was and WHY I was acting the way I was. They helped me to learn to balance my eating habits, and good coping mechanisms for stressful times. I “graduated” from the outpatient program at the same time as Nursing school and truly felt like a new women!

Fast forward again to now! I’ve been “recovered” since May 2016, but I say recovered gently. I still have days where I feel crummy about my body, where I want to restrict food, and compare myself to others. But I use the tools I learned on a daily basis to keep me from going into that dark place again. What I put my body through was absolute hell, and the fact that I’m still here and able to do all the wonderful things I do [like bike, run, workout, yoga, cook, etc] is a true testament to how strong the human body can be. I am mentally, physically and emotionally stronger than I’ve ever been! CHEERS TO THAT!

Today’s society has some pretty harsh ‘norms’ which can be misleading and devastating to the younger generations. Praising the skinny, lean models and bashing the fuller, curvy women. Its so wrong! Not only that, but all the “quick-fix” diets that are around too…ugh it just disgusts me! One thing I’ve learned from my past experiences is that being present and appreciating the things in life that you DO have are what makes life so amazing.

To this day, I’m still struggling with some of the long term effects of having an eating disorder….but that’s for another post. I hope this helps anyone who is currently struggling! Just know, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. BUT YOU HAVE TO PUT THE WORK IN TO SEE THE BENEFITS!