Living Without Regrets, Including an Abusive Ex

by: Danielle Ternyila

There was a time in my life that I certainly felt like I could be doing better, like I could be in a better place, in better shape, even with a better a partner. My best, as hard as I tried, was no where near “good enough”. Some days I couldn’t get out of bed, most I walked around an emotionally-drained robot going to work then bed again, but I could never shake the feeling like I needed something better. I needed happiness in my life.

I had this whole idea of what my life should have been like instead, blamed myself for the consequences of my own choices, and subsequently carried a lot of guilt. There was a whole support system I knew I could lean on, but I was embarrassed by the version of myself I had become. How could I return to my parents and admit to the mess I made?

These regrets mostly surrounded a naive relationship gone wrong where I let too many red flags slip by, letting the bad boyfriend feed me his excuses and blind me with seemingly innocent young love. I actually met him through church in high school and had been close friends for several years before our love story took an unexpected turn down his rabithole, but he had me convinced we’d live happily ever after, rather than blogging my how to get over an abusive ex memoir today.

While I was determined and ambitious in my early college years, my ex spent his time digging himself a hole he’d quickly suck me down too. Friends and family noticed I was no longer around much. I gained a lot of weight. I lost my drive and motivation, while he seemed to get off on cutting me down, making me feel weak, and hurting me. He knew just the right things to say to keep me from noticing just how bad it was until it was maybe “too late”.

When I lost myself during these “dark times” as my old college friends refer to it now, there was an a-ha moment when I realized just how dangerous a situation I had put myself in, fought my way out to my car, and drove home to my family. It was the hardest decision for me at the time, and it was one I had tried to make countless times before, for fear of being alone or what he might do to me if I tried to run. On this one and final night with him, however, I decided I’d rather be alone than be the girl he beats down to feel high, and I rathered face the humility of having let it go on so far and ask my family and friends for help and safety.

That decision felt so easy that night, but once I got out of that toxic relationship, I actually felt even more lost and barely recognized the woman in the mirror anymore. So I took it day by day to start pulling my life back on track and getting to that “better” life I had envisioned for myself, even if it meant being on my own. I wanted happiness, and I was determined to find that for myself.

I had to do a lot of work on my mental health again, and the biggest thing I learned was to just do my best, taking it day by day; some days you’ll wake up on the right side of the bed, and on others you may need to sleep in and cry it out a little. I didn’t pass every course during the unfortunate semester aligning with the demise of my dangerous love affair, but I made it through some of those classes with a passing grade, which was the best I could do at the time. The following semester, feeling lighter without an angry controlling man with a drinking problem in tow, I doubled my course load to graduate with my class and old friends, and with time to study abroad too, because that was the best I could do. This makes me proud, knowing I have done my best and continue to.

If you do just your best, then no matter the outcomes, you will feel confident in that you did everything you could, and when things seem to go so wrong like losing a job or being dragged down someone else’s destructive path, there is still a lesson to be learned that will help you grow and do better next time. I learned my worth and who truly deserved my attention; I learned how strong I am, and I used this to skyrocket myself into the next and best version of myself, focusing all of my time on myself, my health, and my needs before anyone else’s. With that, I can’t say I regret any if the darkest parts of my past because they made me the person I am today, and I’ve just been doing my best since.

It’s too easy to get caught up comparing ourselves to where we should be or how our lives should feel based on what we see online and around us, but the only actual measurement of your success is the growth from where you were yesterday and where you are today.

By doing just my best and holding myself accountable only to what I can do, I hold no regrets when I look back. I don’t compare myself to others or the idea of where I should be because I know I am doing my best in my life, my career, my family, my business, and my love life. Be the best version of yourself by waking up every day with the confidence that you are going to do your best. When you are doing your best, you won’t have any regrets.

The Weightloss Trick the Health Industry Hides Well

by: Danielle Ternyila

There are so countless diets and weight-loss programs that promise you the best results, but they all have the same bottom-line: it only works if you do. Don’t you think it’s odd that there has yet to be a magic weight-loss fix that doesn’t have this clause?

The secret is out! Commitment, discipline, dedication… Mindset is the trick to losing weight, and you have more than enough tools to do it. If you want to see results, the biggest challenge you face is your mind. It doesn’t want to do new or hard things. Your brain likes routine, pattern, and all the addictive junk food chemicals you eat because that’s easy and what it knows, but that’s not what you want; you want results and change.

Losing weight is hard, and I know that because I did it. I lost 60 lbs in a year but that was not without 100% dedication to getting healthy in 2017. I was tired of the health issues I was already dealing with, and if I could at least be healthy and avoid as much additional illnesses as I could, I was finally willing to do that. By the time I powered through, I began seeing improvements in my health; I suffered plantar fasciitis that made it hard to stand and walk, but that has not been an issue in such a long time now!

The mindset was a constant struggle, but I knew that would be the biggest battle. I had to remind myself every day and change the way I thought about my health. Gym visits are as important as work meetings. Junk food cravings that last 20 minutes aren’t worth it. I learned how to detect the excuses I’d make for myself, like not having time, lacking healthy options, not sleeping well, feeling crampy, and so on… Some days I showed up at the gym for a 10 minute ride on the bike, but I was still committed and didn’t give up. On days when I was sick, I did squats at home because I won’t give up on myself. It was a decision I had to make for myself and must continue to decide on every day.

The funny part, if you have a twisted sense of humor, is the correlation between our physical and mental health. When we are doing better physically in good shape and good health, we also feel better mentally. Exercise alone is known to improve so many parts of our health and lessen the likelihood of disease, but the most astounding change I found in losing my weight and creating a healthier lifestyle was the instrumental impact on my anxiety and depression. Prioritizing my health was important to me because I wanted to manage my health as best I could; no longer experiencing chronic panic attacks and sleepless nights has been the greatest gift of all that came from my journey.

If I had known the secret was believing in myself a few years earlier, I could have avoided some serious injuries and rough times. If you have been failing different diets or new fitness routines over and over, start work on your mindset. Inspire and motivate yourself daily, keep your goals and dreams top of mind, and do not go easy on yourself when you wake up wanting to quit. Show up, even if it’s the most half-assed workout of your life. Consistency is key!

Just Your Best Facebook group is open to new friends who want to meet like-minded individuals ready to change their mindset and conquer their health goals. Feel free to pop in and be a fly on the wall or jump into the conversations and inspiration!

Printable Planning Pages for Your Best Year Yet

by: Danielle Ternyila

As we turn this next page onto a new and bright year, these print-outs can help you hit your goals and on track to do your very best. The best thing you can do today is set yourself up for success tomorrow!

I’ve created these print-outs to reflect over your last 365 days and begin planning for your best future! These templates can be printed out or downloaded on your phone to fill out or just read and think through.

The best way to stay on top of your goals is to priotize them and plan your path to success. I use trackers like these to keep myself going all year, every month, week and day! I put time on my calendar every week for the gym and my other goals, just like I schedule meetings at work. These pages help me make plans in advance so that I wake up prepared for success every day; 365 days is a long way to go, so I hope these help you achieve all your goals too!

A Year In Review Print-Out

Before any of the other handy planner sheets we have here, this tool is great for reviewing some of the most important parts of your last year and the lessons you should be taking away from them. As you look over your annual highlights, successes, and wins, you can also consider what you need to do different next year for bigger and better results. After all, you just want to try your best!

Your Best Month Calendar Printable

Pop this one out of the printer and fill it in with the next month as you begin looking ahead again. You can use one every month to keep yourself on track and organized, as well as focus on your biggest priorities. Print 12 now to get a jump start on your year! Don’t forget to make action points for yourself towards your 3 goals, whether they’re personal, career, or family-related.

Your Best Weekly Health Tracker

This template will help you track your diet and fitness, as well as all your successes throughout the week! In your Bests column, you can record things you did for your self-care, good deeds, good jobs, and things you did that contributed to your daily happiness. This is especially useful in tracking how different foods and activities make you feel. Rate your meals and snacks from 1 star for not so great to 3 stars for the best!

Daily Goals: Wins and Best Practices

Set yourself up each month with this page to remind yourself of your goal and track it daily. Whether it is making the bed every day or working out, you’ll feel so proud every time you mark off a circle. I also like to write in an inspirational quote of the month. This page can also be used at the end of the month to review your best practices and how to conquer any challenges that came up, like perhaps an injury or lack of scheduling, which you can note too along the side throughout the month.

2022 Vision Board Template

Use this document to create your own vision board in words. A vision board helps you compile all your goals for the year into one place and keeps you aligned on what is most important to you from day one. Is your goal to be healthier? Lose weight? Pay debt? Organize or redecorate your home? Put it on paper and why it matters to you!

2021 Lessons Learned Template

With 2021 in the rear view, let’s not forget the lessons we learned and anything else we can take away to set up ourselves for the best year yet. Who made you happiest this past year? What makes you smile now looking back? What do you want to keep doing or make more time for in 2022?

How to Succeed: Planning, Ideas for Unique New Year’s Resolutions

by: Danielle Ternyila

If you’re doing things right, you’re starting the new year off with a resolution and the decision to stay determined towards your goals for the next 365 days. A resolution can be a lot of things, whether it’s a very specific goal, picking up a new habit or kicking an old one. However, you need to enter the year prepared to achieve all of these goals you’re setting for yourself.

We have compiled some of the most unique and challenging New Year’s resolutions to improve your self-care and create balance in your life and home. To stay on track throughout the year, we also have a Facebook empowerment group to inspire and motivate each other in our community of positive, encouraging, and supportive online friends. It’s meant to help us lift each other up on all of our own journeys towards happiness, health and success.

Over the years I’ve heard some really awesome New Year Resolutions, tried some myself, and have some tips to share on getting through them. Remember, it only takes 21 days to make a habit, so the first month is going to be the hardest. Knowing that, prepare yourself for success and don’t be the one who gives up a few weeks in.

#1 – Make the Bed Every Morning

Learn discipline and it pays off. By making your bed each morning, you are doing several things to positively impact your mental health. As soon as you wake up in the morning and make that bed, you’ve accomplished your first goal or task for the day! That rewarding feeling will set the tone for your whole day, making you more productive, and by the time you’re home and getting ready to rest, you’ll enjoy a better and deeper sleep. Talk about waking in on the RIGHT side of the bed!

This is a really easy resolution for the new year, and it is primarily focused on discipline and consistency. At first the hardest part will be making a habit out of it, so prepare yourself by hanging a reminder next to your bed or setting one on your phone just after your alarm.

#2 – Never Go To Bed With A Messy Kitchen

Similar to making your bed every morning, this is something you will learn to appreciate quickly if you aren’t one who does this already. Be your most prepared for the next day, starting with a clean sink to fill up your coffee pot in the morning and a tidy counter for prepping your breakfast. It will give you a sense of accomplishment before heading off to bed and reduce your stress levels throughout the day, knowing you are not behind and have a clean kitchen to work with from the get-go.

Make it a point every night this year to clean out the sink, whether you do your dishes all together to get it done or you toss them in the dishwasher overnight. Wipe down the counters and put away all the stuff that piled up throughout the day on your counters. Don’t forget to set reminders for yourself in the beginning, but as time goes on, it will become habit, and you’ll feel better for it.

#3 – Say YES to New Opportunities

With your best judgement, make it a point to say yes to every new opportunity that comes your way. Mind you, keep your health and happiness priority and do not make any reckless or dangerous situations with this “Yes” mentality. However, when someone invites you to dinner, go for it. If your colleague invites you to lunch, join them. If a recruiter reaches out and asks for a few minutes of your time, say yes, even if just to hear about something new you might not have ever heard of.

Prepare for this by being flexible and opening up your schedule, as well as your mind. You just may be invited to a restaurant you’ve never tried with an unfamiliar menu or to partake in a volleyball game you’ve never practiced for in your life. If you tend to be on a tight schedule, stick to the same old habits, or don’t socialize much, this is a great and challenging resolution for your new year. It will be hard sometimes, and you might notice your default to most invitations and opportunities is rather negative. So start answering more phone calls, responding to texts, and putting yourself out there.

#4 – Try a New Recipe Every Week

It’s great to have a solid routine, but you also don’t want to eat the same thing over and over again. Pick a foodie-friendly New Year’s Resolution by making it a point to try 1 new recipe every week. You’ll hopefully pick up a few new favorites as you go that will give you even more meals to plan for in the future when you’re tired of the same old thing.

When you do your grocery shopping, be sure to plan for the new recipes in advance. This will help prepare you so it is not such a big hassle in the week to gather ingredients. If there are ways you can prep the meal in advance too, especially if you aren’t a big cook, that will help you keep on track. One new recipe a week is pretty doable, but be sure not to set yourself up for failure by thinking you can cook something new every night, or waiting around until the weekend!

#5 – Get In Shape/Lose Weight

This weight-loss resolution can be tricky, so it is especially important to plan ahead for this one and be careful how you set your goals. This is an incredible resolution to plan for, and I’m so excited for you if this is the journey you are finally choosing to take, or at least to finally make it a priority. It can be a challenging and daunting task, which requires endless discipline all year-round.

Joining a gym is a simple first step, but make sure you’re joining one you will like, based on the available equipment, hours, location, and community. Visit it a few times, scope out the drive and see what times of day will be best for you. Also, don’t be intimidated by how busy it might be at first. Sadly, many of those will drop out over the first few weeks, which should serve as more purpose for you. You aren’t going to quit this time. You’ve got this!

Weight-loss isn’t just about the gym though; a major part is diet and nutrition, so prepare for that too. Make realistic changes, don’t change a lot immediately, and forgive yourself on the days it doesn’t go right to plan. There’s a lot more tips on how to prepare yourself for your weightloss journey on the blog, too.

#6 – Do Not Apologize

We spend more time than we should apologizing when we should be thanking people instead, accepting feedback, or appreciating something new. Take the time next year with this resolution to take note of this in yourself. Whenever you find yourself saying sorry, ask yourself what else you could say instead, then do that. If an apology slips out, just reflect on how you could have handled it differently.

We are all all imperfect people, but the important thing is to learn from our mistakes. Accept that you can make mistakes and keep moving forward. Be more thoughtful in these moments when you feel an apology is due. Use more words than “sorry” to demonstrate your growth and self-confidence in any situation where you may feel feel blame.

#7 – Daily Acts of Kindness

I’m a strong believer in what goes around comes around, and so a year of kindness is never a bad idea; it would be especially fun to do with the kids and challenge them to find a random act every day. Of course, it also will positively impact your view of the world around you, your mental health, and your community. We can only hope that every day this act of kindness is paid forward.

This resolution can be accomplished by donating your change in the tin at the register, holding the door for someone a bit further behind on a rainy day, or even complimenting someone on social media. An Act of Kindness a day will make you feel greater than any other resolution could. It is easy to accomplish when you set your mind to it, and you’ll never regret any of these acts.

A Shopping Spree Under the Tree: Gift Cards That Aren’t Lame

by: Danielle Ternyila

A gift certificate may not feel very genuine, but when there’s thought put into it, you’ll be the talk of the season, if at least to the gift card recipient! When you don’t know what exactly to get someone, it can be so easy to just hop over to your local convenience store for a Visa or big-chain gift card. Instead, be more thoughtful in your decision, even if it’s kind of last minute!

In reality, the cash gift cards you typically grab when you wait until the last minute are going toward gas, a grocery trip, or dinner out for one forgettable night. The perfect present should remind someone you are thinking of them, and so your gift certificate selection should reflect that, too. If you know your recipient has been itching to redecorate, it’d be thoughtful to get them a gift certificate to a home store so they could treat themselves to something of their choice. You also eliminate the chance they’ll have to go wait in line to return something you tried picking out instead that doesn’t match their aesthetic or fit right.

Danielle Ternyila | Zyia Active Independent Rep, repping from the gym to the office, the airport, and back for the holidays

If you aren’t sure what your recipient would really like under the tree, consider introducing them to a new brand to treat themselves on something they ordinarily wouldn’t have. Everyone loves to be spoiled sometimes, and a new pair of pants or fresh blouse can be the perfect little gift, so long as it’s in the form of a gift certificate so they can pick exactly what they want!

Here’s a few people who might be on your shopping list to consider a Zyia Active gift certificate for, and the reasons it could make your gift the most unique and special this year, even if it’s last minute! As your Zyia Active Independent Rep, I’ll make sure they get the most perfect piece and know who to thank when they’re done using your gift certificate.

  • Your Neighbor, the Busy Mom, Your In-Laws, and the Teachers…
  • To Your Friend Who Lost Weight This Year
  • To the Friend With Big Dreams to Lose Weight Next Year
  • For the Professional One on the Go or Always in the Office…
  • Your College Kids and Grandkids
  • The Nurses in Your Life

Zyia Active is an active lifestyle brand that serves every body from women and men to juniors and kids. This versatile collection of active and athleisure wear help me go from the gym to the office, a flight to a corporate meeting, and date night to Disney World. With countless styles sizing from 2XS to 4XL, there is something for everybody’s needs and cover way more than just the basic wardrobe essentials.

This eco-friendly, versatile, quality brand supports women around the world who run their own businesses, whether it is a part time side hustle like my own, a full time gig, or just a title for personal deals. As your rep, I’m not only here to help you buy your gift certificate and print it out. I’m your shopping buddy and personal stylist! When your recipient wants to claim their gift card, I’m available to help them with sizing and finding the best fit, and any potential returns/exchanges that come up. You aren’t giving just a gift certificate, but a shopping experience, to say the least.

Give a gift they might not have ever gotten for themselves.

Gift Certificates available

Maybe you are unsure what to buy someone who goes to the gym often and loves working out. It’d be tricky to buy them workout equipment, and even more risky to attempt buying gym clothes for someone else. A gift certificate to a fitness-inspired business that allows the recipient to pick their own goodies could be a unique and genuine present for that special someone.

To someone who doesn’t treat themselves enough during the year, someone who has gone through a weightloss transformation, or the busy bee in your life who is always on the go, introduce them to a new brand with a gift certificate to shop the boutique online and choose what they like or want most! Get them something they weren’t expecting. Give a gift they might not have ever gotten for themselves.

We offer gift certificate options online, and as your Independent Representative, I can personally provide a printable or digital copy of the gift certificate with the shopping code to make your life easier upon request.

Let me know the details for a custom card, print it at home or at a local printer, and watch their face light up this Christmas when they see you bought them a Shopping Spree!

What better gift than the gift of shopping? Purchase gift certificates before you forget, and have the code emailed to you so your gift is ready to go for the holiday.

Maintain Your Diet During the Holidays With Moderation

by: Danielle Ternyila

Moderation is your health hack for the holidays if that’s what you’re looking for. That is the most important trick to staying healthy throughout the holidays and across all the gatherings and get-togethers filled with homemade meals and baked treats.

People get so caught up in trying to stick to their diets and programs during the holidays, and even worse, you end up feeling so guilty when you cave or stray just a little from the usual. You can’t lose weight or stay healthy with a negative attitude, and so it’s especially important to forgive yourself and indulge in moderation instead. Allow yourself to take a break and live in the moment, enjoying all the corn bread pudding, stuffing, and cookies you deserve to enjoy!

Just indulge in moderation. Think if it as a cheat meal and not a cheat day or even month. You don’t want to set yourself back or make yourself sick, which is easy to do when eating unique seasonal meals or overindulging. If you don’t normally eat a lot of sugar, dairy, gluten, or other things you find on your table on these special days, your body isn’t necessarily going to appreciate the overindulgence.

My normal diet is pretty simple and nutritious. I don’t eat much gluten because it causes nausea and bloating for me, and I am also lactose intolerant, so cheese is not usually in my fridge either, as 2 examples. However, I can’t make it through the holidays without my family’s stuffing or all the homemade cookies! Instead I make my choices on the buffet line cautiously. I choose vegetables and steer clear of anything that’s not worth breaking the diet for, and help myself to small portions of my few favorites to enjoy.

I’m still able to enjoy the things I look forward to all year, but I keep it balanced and light so that I don’t wake up the next day with a food hangover, as I like to call them. It’s also never a bad idea to offer bringing a dish of your own, so you can have a healthy alternative guaranteed at the table; for smaller get-togethers with friends as we count down to the New Year, I’ll be baking my own vegan chocolate chip cookies for exactly that reason!

Eat in moderation. Listen to your body, allow it time to digest your meal before you go in for seconds. A fun little trick is using a smaller dish for your food so your plate looks more full than it is, and don’t forget you have 20 minutes until your stomach sends those signals up to your brain that you are full, so eat slow and enjoy the meal.

What meal or recipes do you look forward to most at the holidays, and how do you fit it into your diet?

Let’s talk about it in the Empowerment group!

Treat Yourself Like You Treat Your Bestie

by: Danielle Ternyila

Do you talk to yourself the same way you talk to your best friend or even your kids? When your bestie is talking about how fat they feels or unsuccessful, you aren’t going to go, “Yeah, and you haven’t even been putting in any effort.” You would tell them how beautiful they really are, how much they inspire you, and you could even rattle off countless compliments…. Imagine how you would feel if you spoke like that to yourself!

We all have our own flaws, our weaknesses, and things we don’t like about ourselves, but you are your biggest critic. What you think may be a flaw, someone else may be truly jealous of or even adore you for it. If there is something you don’t like, talk about what you will do about it instead of what you didn’t. Next time you hear negative thoughts about yourself sinking in, take a moment to think of 3 things you do love.

The same goes for those awkward situations you will internally live over and over again, regretting every way you handled the situation or even just something you said once. If you want to be more confident, you have to exert that energy. Don’t get caught up in the past and focus on the “next time” instead. You learn from every thing you do, so turn it more positive by focusing on the things you did right or will do next time, then remind yourself how great you are, just like you would for your bestie when they’re feeling down!

Remember to talk positive with yourself. It’s all about mindset, and if you talk yourself up, even if it’s just in front of the mirror, in the shower, or in the car, you’re going to feel more positive. Stop judging yourself, critiquing your every decision, and making yourself feel bad. You are perfect, and there is no reason to think otherwise. After all, you’re the only YOU there is in this world; there’s nothing that can compare!

Positive self talk is a game-changer. Do you have any self mantras you share with yourself, or is it new to you? Give it a try, and you won’t regret it.

Once Upon a Time She Was A Strong and Independent Woman

by: Danielle Ternyila

Disney can sometimes get a bad rap for setting unrealistic expectations when it comes to relationships and happiness, but hear me out! Despite Cinderella’s traumatic childhood and home life, she woke up singing everyday with her animal friends, just like Snow White and Rapunzel too. As sad as it may have been, she made the most of it and did what she needed to make herself happy. She didn’t depend on anyone else to do that for her (although let’s be honest, her evil stepsisters and stepmother certainly didn’t care).

Your happiness should be your focus over anything else, just like Cinderella has shown us. She surely felt defeated after leaving the ball but seemingly accepted that she would not be with her true love. If you ask me, it was this confidence and self assurance that led her to her happily ever after that we all know today.

Now having seen this, we all still fall into these patterns trying to find “the one” as if that is going to complete our lives. What if, humor me, you loved yourself first? It is never bad to have a support system for yourself, much like friends and family, but this idea of needing to be married or locked down in a Facebook-official commitment for that support only sets unrealistic expectations for yourself and others.

You can be successful on your own, and you can be happy. It can feel so hard to turn off the dating apps, walk away from a bad relationship, or give up on the crush you’ve been chasing for so long. I promise, though, that no one will put you first if you don’t.

A big thing that can often stand in our way of happiness is stress, and you will only feel lighter when you let go of the pressure to have a date for the next wedding, a significant other for the holidays, or to just be married by a certain age.

Surround yourself with people that make you happy, do things you love, stress less, control what you can, and work hard. No one will argue that Ariel the Little Mermaid was happy as a clam in her search for freedom, not a man. She learned to walk with the people and dance on the street, and in the end, the prince was just an exciting bonus along her journey for happiness.

Healthy Holiday Beverages for Every Host

by: Danielle Ternyila

Your holiday get-together does not need all those store-bought sugary drinks. In fact, those drinks will only make your guests feel tired and sluggish, which will not make for any fun rounds of games. At some point everyone will just be waiting around for Secret-Santa or White Elephant so they can go home!

Refresh your guests with beverages they won’t regret next time on the scale, which of course includes yourself. If you have soda and wine or other goodies out, you are much more likely to indulge despite your weight-loss goals and everything you told yourself about behaving for the diet. Use water to turn your hosting skills up a notch and ditch the sodas and fruit punch – not just any water though! Add flavors, calorie-free!

Fruit Blends for Water

Water is, as we all know, the most healthy thing we can consume, especially compared to some of our other favorite holiday and adult beverages, but instead of throwing out a handful of water bottles or tap water, let some cut up fruit infuse in your pitcher of water so guests can enjoy delicious and calorie-free drinks. Try these favorite combinations:

  1. Mint, Cucumber & Lemon
  2. Raspberry, Lime & Mint
  3. Orange, Cinnamon & Clove

Infused Teas

Iced tea is another easy drink to pull out, but this time don’t go reaching for the sweet-tea powder mix. Instead, use tea bags (add more than you would for hot water as it’ll need to brew stronger to serve iced) and a few simple ingredients to add some unique tastes:

  1. Black Tea with Cinnamon and Orange
  2. Green Tea with Mint & Lemon
  3. Black Tea with Cranberry & Mint

These drink recipes barely contain any calories (and if they do, it’s from the fruits and other flavors you’re adding!). It is so important to stay hydrated during the holidays because it will help you feel more full and help prevent any overindulging when it comes to your big dinner plans.

Gift Ideas to Support Small Business Friends

We’ve spoken before on the blog about the growth and opportunity in direct sales and all your friends who have begun their own business in some way over the recent years in this digital era of multi-level marketing. Now that the holidays are approaching, it’s a great time for you to support those friends or other local small businesses for thoughtful, unique gifts.

Explore a collection of gift ideas on this list of small businesses, so you can find something just right for everyone on your list! Shop small this year, or check out how can even save more money on these gifts by contacting your representative or local consultant. Despite another rough year of quarantines and pandemics, many small businesses are still standing strong, including your friends on Facebook.

There is no reason to get stuck out in long lines this year when you can support local and small businesses run by hardworking people you may even know.
In collaboration with as many small businesses I know, we have compiled our [almost] complete list of gift ideas! Who are you shopping for? There is something for every one on your list here.

For the Chefs & Bakers, New Home Owners, and Your Favorite In-Laws

Whether they’re always hosting, always cooking, or just opening gifts, treat someone to Pampered Chef goodies because who doesn’t love some Pampered Chef? Quality and unique kitchen products anyone can appreciate, and it’s only a click away!

There are some incredible tools for quick dishes, the most reliable cookware, seasonings, and even monthly recipe subscription services to keep up with meal prep goals. Pair a bottle of wine with an entertaining piece, or a jar of hot fudge with the famous Pampered Chef ice cream scoop for a simple and thoughtful gift.

For Your Friends with Style, the Ladies In Need of Pampering, and Secret Santa

One all-time hit Christmas gift in years past for me has been these convenient, simple, DIY manicured nails by Color Street! Don’t waste any more time considering the perfect gift and snag some sets of hassle-free press-on nail art designs.

Snag a few sets and combine with a nail file for a unique and fun gift she will absolutely love! For more tips on how to apply, I recommend you pop over to Jillian’s Nail Bar on Facebook and explore the styles and reviews, too!

For Fit Friends, Busy Moms, or the Whole Family

I am a proud Zyia Active Independent Rep and truly love the mission of this active lifestyle brand: to inspire and uplift by making activity a fun and essential part of life. There is a wide variety of quality items that your fit friends would love, as well as incredible versatile pieces that can be worn in the office, on the go, to sporting events, or the typical workout, and I’m sure you’d get bonus points for picking out something truly unique and one-of-a-kind through my online boutique, where we have new releases coming out every single Wednesday and inventory is always changing.

You can’t go wrong with a pair of classic light n tights from your favorite Zyia Active Independent Rep, that’s me! Runners, ladies who lift, or even those who dance, do yoga, or just “mom” it up will love the compression of these leggings that some call the magic tummy-tuck leggings, and they’ll always stay put! Fit true to size from XXS to XXXXL! The real secret here, though, is that these leggings provide an on-the-spot tummy tuck, too! These are just one of the many incredible things this boutique active lifestyle brand flaunts.

Join my royalty club on Facebook to explore our women’s, children’s, and men’s clothing; we have everything from leggings to office chinos, shorts to winter jackets, and sports bras that double as swim tops!

For the World Traveler and College Students

For the loved ones always on the go, and perhaps giving you a little anxiety traveling the world on their own, Damsel in Defense is the perfect holiday gift for peace of mind! This company offers a variety of self protection tools for travel or just the everyday. I don’t ever want to be a damsel in distress, so I’m prepared with shielded pepper spray when I walk my dog, a tactical pen when I fly off toward my next adventure, or my roadside kit always handy in my car.

For Those in Need of Pampering, Grandparents, and Hardworking Teachers

Consider a self-care kit for those who have been by your side, virtually or not, over the past year and deserve a little treat! Find Kerry, an independent rep for Perfectly Posh, on Facebook to help you craft the perfect gift set. Pair a refreshing body scrub with a handful of bath bombs, lip balm for the cold weather, and be sure to add in any of their delicious hand and body lotions!

For Your Aunt, Uncle, and the Coworkers

Have you smelt the delightful fragrant wax melts by Scentsy? If not, Tiffany’s VIP group is the best place to start! Reach out to Tiffany to learn more and get her expert help in picking the perfect scents! They have a variety of different options beyond just wax melts to give your home or a friend’s sweet smells; there is a scent for everybody!

Shop Small and Save

Now that you have found some gift ideas, we can talk about how you can save even more. Have you ever considered a virtual shop event? With the help of company representatives, like myself (Zyia Active Independent Rep), you could receive half-priced, discounted, and even free items! We can set up a virtual party for you and your friends, which is where you can earn all these rewards for your Christmas shopping?

Never heard of this before? I can walk you through it. As your Zyia Active Independent Rep, you would start by simply reaching out to me and choosing a date for your event. I’ll create the party on Facebook, then you invite your friends and family. From there, you won’t have to do anything else because I take care of it all for you! When all is said and done, you and I can touch base so I can help you use your host rewards in the most optimal way.

For example, when your party orders total $600 or more, you would receive 3 half-priced items of your choice and an additional $65 to spend on more goodies. With this, you could snag 2 high-quality leggings and a jacket at the lowest price you can get with those 50%-off coupons, and then you can use the $65 credits towards 2 bras to match those leggings, plus some accessories like our crossbody bags, backpacks, head bands, or even a set of resistance bands!

With my company, host rewards kick in with at least 3 orders and $200 total, and these rewards continue to increase; with a $2,000 total, you can actually earn a $300 gift card to use, along with the 8 half-priced items you’d get too. Now that is a great way to get your holiday shopping done on a budget! And the best part is you’ll have me as your rep, and I will be your personal (virtual!) shopping buddy and style guru. I can help you find the right sizes, right style for you, and get your order entered for you, so you can just relax, enjoy your virtual gathering, and save!

Contact me to book your own party with your favorite new Zyia Active Independent Rep, or I can also direct you to consultants for the companies discussed above!

Practice Gratitude Year-Round

by: Danielle Ternyila

Time and time again this simple method of gratitude has gotten me through the hardest days. I try my best to practice gratitude every day, but especially on the worst days. You know, those days or sometimes weeks when you just dont want to get out of bed in the morning, the day lags on miserably, or perhaps you’re most stressed at night as you recap your awful day. Maybe it’s just winter in general and the cold!

Instead of giving into those negative vibes, remind yourself of all the good. Ask yourself, “Well if this isn’t particularly going well, what is doing me good?” If you can’t think of a single thing or person you’re thankful for, for any reason whatsoever, then you aren’t trying hard enough.

Reflection is so important for us and our growth, especially mentally. Gratitude grounds us and finds the light in the darkest places. Next time you’re stressed, start listing what you are thankful for that day, including the driver who moved over for you when you were rushing to work, the woman who held the door when your hands were full, or that you had a filling breakfast.

Be thankful that you woke up early on the weekend and could spend more time enjoying your coffee or get ahead on your day. Be grateful if you slept in and got rest you needed. It’s like looking at a half-filled glass of water. Is it half full or half empty? You decide.

Ways to Implement Gratitude in your Life:

Journal! Take a moment each night to list 3 to 5 things you’re thankful for. Doing this will reinforce gratitude and keep you thinking in the future about what you’re thankful for!

Redirect Negative Thoughts! When you’re feeling particularly negative, pause to think about what you are grateful for instead, like an opportunity you’ve been given, a lesson you may be learning from a challenge, or the person you can lean on through it.

Thank Others! Make it a point to thank someone every day. Not only will you feel good, but it will reinforce gratitude in others as well, making those around you feel appreciated too.

By practicing gratitude regularly, you will learn to appreciate the little things, which will help in balancing your mental health in the long run. The longer you practice this, the easier it will be to recognize the little wins throughout your day.

Why All Your Facebook Friends Are In Direct Sales

by: Danielle Ternyila

Among many awesome and sometimes unusual things that have derived from the internet, direct sales companies and multi-level marketing (MLM) opportunities have grown fast and for good reasom! It is rare anyone can scroll Facebook anymore without seeing a cousin selling this, an old colleague selling that, and your best friend even “starting her own business”.

First off, let’s talk about that phrase: start your own business. That’s actually what direct sales is all about and one of the reasons they are growing more popular every year. One of the most attractive qualities of an MLM opportunity is the chance to be your own boss. And trust me, a new monthly deposit in your bank account is never a bad thing!

Benefit 1: Your Own Second Income

I have worked full-time in my industry since I graduated college, but the thought of added income didn’t sound half bad, a back-up source of funds “just in case.” So why didn’t I get a second job nearby? That was just out of the question. I loved my job already, and with it came a lot of travel, which meant minimal free time for a bartending gig or something on the side. I couldn’t sacrifice the small free time I did have left for that extra income.

Introduce: Pampered Chef, my first MLM experience! I got invited to a party (a Facebook party, that is!). I had never been in one, but it was fun to break up my week with some fun online with friends, and I started asking the consultant questions. She too worked full time and joined the business for the extra cash for her family. What intrigued me the most, though, was her schedule. She got to make it! She put in 2 hours some weeks or 10-20 others. She was her own boss!

Benefit 2: Make Your Own Schedule

There’s no arguing that the internet is changing everything, including the customer experience. Remember all the old in-home tuper ware and Pampered Chef parties your mom went to? Yeah, the internet got them too! Now you can really run your own business at your own speed, in your own time, and with scheduled posts (but keep that secret to yourself!)

The MLM business is booming, and you’re crazy not to take advantage. What attracted me most to these companies was the flexibility to work anywhere and anytime I wanted. My fulltime career has given me the opportunity and fortune to travel the world, which leaves minimal evenings and weekends available for extra shifts.

Benefit #3: You Work Anywhere You Want

A huge benefit for any direct sales business is the flexibility. Work anywhere, anytime, and anyway you are comfortable. With this, I’m able to focus on my small business in my down time and put it on the back burner when I need to. I can put in 3 hours a week, or 10. I can work every weekend, or take every weekend off. It is my business, and I can run it however I want. And because this is just  a side hustle, I don’t have any pressure to sell when I want. I am my own boss, and I fully support myself no matter how I run my business!

More times than not, I’m getting my business done in the gym on my phone! It’s that easy. I can tune in anywhere now, and there’s no reason you couldn’t either!

Benefit #4: Be Your Own Boss But Not Alone

Like I said, I am my own boss! I am not reporting to someone else, I don’t have to abide by a manager’s rules, and I can take off at a moment’s notice! You may be scared to run your own business and become your own boss, but most of these companies actually provide you so many resources and leadership contacts that you will never truly feel alone, even if you’re running the show all yourself!

When I worked with Pampered Chef, I had a huge support system online, and I received tons of marketing materials from the company that made managing my business that much easier. Now that I am a Zyia Active Independent Rep, I have a whole new community of fellow reps to help me too, as well as my upline and team leader. Although we are each running our own businesses, we still have team groups on Facebook and talk regularly.

Benefit #5: Meet New & Like-Minded Friends

Lifelong friends come with the job! When you are using the communities your company has in place for you, you are sure to meet new friends. I have met some incredible ladies that I continue to stay in contact with strictly because we’re friends, not because we work together and have to play nice. Especially in a company that you are passionate for, you are sure to meet plenty of others who feel the same way.

Your small business could just connect you to someone else who shares similar values, desires, and passions as you! Who doesn’t want to meet more people and make more friends? That can be a real daunting task as an adult, but this is a great way to make new friends that encourage and support you!

Benefit #6: Discounts and Free Procucts

There’s a lot of ways to save money for yourself by becoming a rep for your favorite MLM. I was able to stock my entire kitchen with 50%‐, 60%‐off deals, and free items! Not mention they really like spoiling their reps, so I got a free Deluxe Air Dryer as a PC consultant!

Becoming a Zyia Active Independent Rep was an easy decision for me, just based on the company’s mission and 4 pillars: Light, Uplift, Activity, and Community. The best part,, though, has been the free and super discounted items I get. I’ve scored myself 20% off for life by becoming a rep, so my closet is stocked with quality comfortable items.

We walk around all the time wearing designer and brand names written all over it, basically promoting to the world that they should wear Nike, Nautica, or what have you. We do this, but do we actually pay much attention to the company though and what they are doing for the greater good? For me, I’ve never liked that, wearing any clothes with a brand written all over it, but as a rep now, I’m actually getting paid and given discounts to promote the company, which is making impactful changes; they’ve provided 10s of thousands of jobs to reps around the country, they have a recycled line and use recyclable options whenever possible, fundraising campaigns for local communities, and more.

How Do I Choose the Right MLM for me?

When I first started Pampered Chef, I decided it was the best choice for me since I was familiar with the product line, I loved baking and cooking, and I was sure I could find customers, considering everyone needs to eat, then requiring some Pampered Chef!

Fast forward to my next direct sales venture that I started in early 2021. This active lifestyle brand hits home with me. I enjoyed Pampered Chef and was able to put a small dent in my student loans (which is actually a big accomplishment), but I decided to part ways with my apron and focus on my real passions: motivating and inspiring others to live healthier and more fulfilling lives, so I love being a part of a company with these same passions.

I love helping others feel their best and most confident, and so this side hustlez which truly markets to all body shapes and sizes with the high-quality cute clothes we deserve at the price points we’d rather compared with other name brand activewear. As an independent representative, I serve as your personal shopping buddy who has all the answers to your questions, size charts and comparisons, and

Although I have lost more than 60 lbs by now, I still hate seeing so many clothing companies not considering all body shapes. Plus size never has cute bras, flattering leggings, or designs made for these real body types. That’s what makes me love being a representative now for Zyia Active, a company that truly  caters to all body types.

There are many different ways to join me here. You can take on the business fulltime and hit the ground running to give you more time with your family at home. You can go part-time and make it an important part of your finances, or work it as a side hustle like me!

Finally I will tell you, we are always looking for brand ambassadors, so score some great deals and on your new favorite active and athliesure wear brand!

A Meal-Prep Solution for Everybody

Meal prepping can actually be accomplished in a number of ways, despite what you may have assumed. Every one has their own style in the kitchen, so why should we all meal prep the same? There is a meal solution out there for everyone, no matter what kind of cook you are (or are not!)

If you aren’t meal prepping yet, consider one of these ways to help yourself each week in the kitchen depending on how you need to optimize your time and days!

The “All-In” Prep Queen

You thrive on preparedness, and so it is essential that you have all your meals prepared in advance, even if it means buckling down over the weekend and getting everything ready to go for the week. Lunches are planned and organized for easy grabs during the week. Dinners too are well-prepared in advance to optimize your time at home during the week. It’s not a bad idea to freeze full meals in tin trays that can be easily reheated in the oven. Breakfasts are easy to plan for in advance with granola bars and fruit, but you might also enjoy blending an overnight oats for some additional nutrition and flavors, while still being something you can grab off the shelf easy.

The “Easygoing” Prep Queen

You don’t struggle finding time during the week to cook your lighter meals, but not having to cook a full dinner on your own every night is certainly a load off your shoulders. Cook a few simple meals in advance that freeze well and can be reheated in the oven, or at least marinade some meat and vegetables so they are ready to go when you’re ready to cook.

Sometimes this is me. I’ll cook full meals in advance to steam or reheat in the air-fryer for dinner. At the end of the day, especially a long one in the office, the last thing I want to do is cook dinner. By freezing something in a tin, dinner is on the table by the time I get home because I call my man on my way to just put it in the oven to reheat! Learned this trick from my mom, calling us on her way home from work to turn on the oven for her turkey or vegetable lasagna dinner! (Don’t worry, we were older by the time she entrusted us with such a task… just once we were able to walk!)

The Prep-Prepper

Your pantry is already organized fairly well, but now you take it a step further and prepare the preparations, so prep the prep! When you’re putting the groceries away, you’re doing your best to keep your recipes together so it’s all there and easy to grab during the week. You waste no time with efficiency.

The List Lady

You thrive on lists. You love nothing more than checking something off, whether it’s “pick up groceries” or “cook steak”. You are better off writing your meal plan for the week and tacking it to the refrigerator. Afterall, you have plenty of time to cook dinner since you manage the rest of yours so well with your lists and agendas!

There is nothing wrong with a good list. At the very least, a list on the fridge of all the healthy snacks and foods in the cabinets is an awesome tool to make healthier choices. Sometimes the unhealthy thing you reach for all the time is just the easiest thing, like muscle memory. Have a list in your face reminding you about the apple sauce, pretzels, fresh fruit and frozen yogurt in the kitchen is a far greater tool than any other to keep yourself focused. Better yet, move all these healthy snacks to the front of your cabinets and fridge!

Health Tips for Holiday Feasts and Festivities

by: Danielle Ternyila

It’s about to become the most sugary time of year, and not just because of the sugar plum fairies dancing in our heads. We all know with the holidays comes junk food, delicious treats, and too many side dishes. Losing weight, or maintaining, can be incredibly challenging for these reasons, as well as all the additional events and celebrations. Spending more time with family and friends often goes hand-in-hand with overindulging.

Since my weight loss journey began, I have held myself accountable even during the holidays. After a few years of giving it my all, I have a few lessons to share that can make your life easier and your plate lighter. Whether it is just making smarter decisions around the table or putting in some extra effort, your health can get through Halloween candy, Thanksgiving dinners, and all the end-of-year celebrations unscathed (somewhat).

1. Pack It Up

The first rule of eating healthy out is to just bring your own food! It can feel really “extra,” but there are a number of smart ways to do this! I get it; why cook your own dinner if you’re going out to eat with your friends or family? It is, however, the easiest way to avoiding the extra calories and fats.

For smaller scale events with friends, I will pack myself my own meal if there are plans to eat dinner together or such. Yes, that means awkwardly walking into a party with my own Tupperware (I recommend glass for easy reheating in the microwave!) and eating my chicken, rice, and veggies while everyone else enjoys the big pot of pasta and garlic bread. Do I ever look back and regret not eating that pasta though? Nope!

Instead of bringing your dinner plate, you can also bring your own desserts! I have a problem with gluten, which is typically the main ingredient in most treats (brownies and cookies and cakes, oh my!). To avoid these temptations, I bring fruit with a dip most of the time. My go-to is pistachio dip, and by bringing this or some gluten-free cookies along, I’m not only a great guest, but I’m doing great at prioritizing my health too!

2. Bake Smart

The internet is a beautiful thing; it gives you access to some incredible recipes, some thousands or millions of them, that is! Search for healthy recipes, and you will find plenty to scroll through. However, there are some simple swaps you can do with most recipes to make it healthier without having to reinvent the wheel.

Have a cookie recipe you just love? Swap the flour for some almond flour. Consider replacing eggs with apple sauce in a recipe to lower cholesterol, fat, and sugar. Use dark chocolate instead of milk or white, and research sugar alternatives; stevia, for one, is a natural sweetener without all the calories, emphasis on natural!

3. Greek Yogurt Is The New Cauliflower

This is the most genius food to hit supermarkets, if you ask me! I always have some in my fridge because I use it regularly, and not to just eat with a spoon. I’ll freeze my favorite flavors for a yogurt-based ice cream, or I’ll scoop a dollop onto my tacos to act as sour cream. It is easy to substitute for many things, and when you’re using the right flavors, you will never taste the difference.

Did you know? You can use Greek yogurt to replace butter, sour cream, heavy cream, and mayonnaise in most recipes? Paired with the right food, you would never notice the difference. It’s like cauliflower – we’ve replaced pizza crusts, chicken nuggets, and even pasta with this super healthy alternative that takes flavor of whatever is mixed with it. Greek yogurt is just as versatile!

I have swapped out some key ingredients for Greek yogurt and served it to friends and family. I’ve replaced the sour cream with plain non-fat Greek yogurt without them knowing the wiser, used it in chicken salad to replace the mayo, and even baked it into desserts; this should be a whole food group of its own with all the possibilities that come with it. My favorite recipe lately is to use it for 2-ingredient bagels! (All it takes is Greek yogurt and self-rising flour, or a gluten-free alternative flour with yeast!)

4. Talk Yourself Up

This sounds superficial, but there’s a method to the madness. Tell your family and friends about your diet, your journey, your successes and failures. Brag about your health accomplishments as much as you brag about your child doing something hard. Make it known that you are conquering your health goals. When you do, you’ll be much less tempted to indulge because everyone will be watching you; you told them all you’re behaving on your diet, so why would you want to be caught cheating an hour later?

It’s also really nice to have a support system behind you, which is why you should be telling everyone about your journey, or your closest family and friends at the very least. The more people you tell, the more there are to hold you accountable. Even if they don’t say anything, you will think twice about picking up an extra slice of pie because you don’t want to let them down now either since telling them your big plans.

5. Make Realistic Plates

If your holidays are anything like mine, you and your 40 closest family members will be jumping in line to wait for all the delicious food, and you all will fill your plates to the brim! Be realistic. You only need so much food for 1 meal, so it’s super easy to overindulge this time of year, especially after waiting so long on that line to finally get in front of the stuffing and mac-n-cheese!

When I finally get here, I make a realistic plate for myself; I don’t put anything on it that I know I won’t enjoy; I avoid “empty calories”, which is what I call foods that don’t provide any real nutritional-value. At my holiday parties, that’s usually the dinner rolls, pasta, fried mozzarella sticks, and all that deliciousness. Next, I focus on vegetables and meats and fill my plate with those first, then I’ll see how full my plate is before I add anything else. I stick away from anything fried or coated in cheese, and I eat it all slowly once I sit down.

Why eat slow? Your body can’t break down food as fast as you’re chewing it down, and it hardly gives you the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate your meal. You should also give yourself realistic time between helpings, too! Going back for seconds? Give your body 20 minutes to digest what you just ate first because by then, you might already be full! We tend to eat faster than our stomachs, and that leads to overeating.

6. Get Active First

I don’t regret any of the Christmas or Thanksgiving days that I started in the gym, as much as you think you might. Some gyms have limited morning hours to plan around, but even if you just go for a jog in your neighborhood before the festivities or take your dog to the park for a bit, you’ll feel great, you’ll feel strong, and you will not feel weak when the treats come out.

I recommend getting active before you celebrate for several reasons. You’re going to feel happier, lighter, and more confident by working in a sweat before the day begins. Exercise boosts your metabolism, so you can burn more calories during the day. It enhances your self discipline, so you really are more likely to stay strong against grandma’s cookies. It sets the tone for a healthier day!

More than that, a 30-60 minute workout is sure to give you more energy throughout the day, which is never bad on a busy holiday! Regulate your hormones and appetite with a little activity. That’s only 2‐3% of your day! It is too easy.

7. Love Yourself First

All-in-all it is most important to put yourself and your health first, but it’s just as important, if not more, to love and forgive yourself. We all mess up. No one is perfect, and if you slip up, eat bad, or overindulge on your Halloween candy and turkey dinner, remember you are human. Tomorrow is always a new day to begin again!

Take Advantage of Our Unemployment Crisis: Find Your Passion

by: Danielle Ternyila

If you asked my younger self what I wanted to do when I grew up, I don’t think I truly knew the answer for a long time, but I did know one thing: I wanted to love whatever I did.

I paid a lot of attention to the adults in my life and their careers. It was a horrible fear that I would one day get sucked into some tireless job that I couldn’t stand. Think about it: 5 of 7 days a week with the same people from morning to sundown… If you get yourself stuck somewhere you’re unhappy doing something you have no passion for, how is that good for you mentally? It sounds so draining, exhausting and miserable. I never want that.

How can you avoid this? Do hard things! Whether you apply for a completely new job to see if it’s the one for you or you take a local or online course to test the waters first, the only thing standing in the way of where you are now and where you want to be is yourself. You cannot take the easy way out, you have to do hard things, like start over, learn something new, or take on a new commute.

You have to work hard to get to where you are your happiest. It doesn’t come easy, but it’s worth it to wake up on a Monday and think, “Yay! Back to the Grind!”

Not everyone knows what that “perfect job” for them is, which is okay. It’s not easy to find that perfect piece right away, sometimes you have to try on a couple shoes until you find the one for you. A job interview, however, is not much different than trying on that glass slipper.

Job interviews are your key to finding what you’re looking for. Already have a job? Good! Then you risk nothing with a quick phone interview about a potential new career choice. Walk into that interview, for whatever gig you applied for on Indeed or LinkedIn, knowing you already have a job, and ask questions to determine if this open position is a good fit for you. While the interviewers want to know if you’re right for the role, it’s also about you and whether the role is right for you.

The pandemic has caused major issues in employment around the country, which can make this an opportune time to give something new a try. Put yourself out there, and you never know what you could find. If you don’t, you’ll be stuck in the same place ten years from now, sulking on a Sunday night and daydreaming of better days.

It’s not easy, but you should never stop fighting for your happiness, especially in your career. If you have the flexibility to take a risk, do it! Apply, try something new, interview for jobs you may have never dreamed of. Ask friends and those around you about their careers. What do they do? What do you find interesting?

If you don’t have the flexibility to just jump ship for a new career, then ask questions instead and take it slow. Interview for some different positions, but make sure you ask your questions – ask what the job requires, what the day-to-day looks like, the company culture, what the team is like…. If you already have a job, you have nothing to lose in a 15-minute phone interview, so ask all your questions. That’s what an interview is for after all – finding out if you’re a good fit for them and if they’re a good fit for you.

You don’t have to hate the one thing you do the most – if you invest in yourself and take the time to truly find something you love in a company you appreciate, you will feel happier in the long run. I didn’t want to say it, but I might as well: do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.

And I hope it goes without saying, but you can do anything you put your mind to – follow through with action, discipline, and hard work, there’s no telling how far you go.

Halloween Tricks for Parents

by: Terry Ternyila

Making traditions makes memories. Halloween doesn’t have to be all about the candy. We have so many memories of pumpkin farms, carving Jack-O-Lanterns, decorating the yard, and making spooky or funny costumes. Halloween should be a fun holiday for kids and parents. Here are some tips that my family has found useful:

Encourage Creativity

Encourage kids to think of costumes that are original and something they can make on their own or with you. Some of our best Halloweens were when we had the one-of-a-kind costume, like using a box as a Rubik’s cube or yarn, a hat and glasses to make Cousin It from the Addams family.

Come up with a family theme – see if you can get the whole family involved in the idea and dress up. We love to find ideas that get the whole family dressed up and include the dogs too, like Wizard of Oz or Pirates!

Go Out with Friends, Ghouls and Spirits

Plan to go out with friends.  It doesn’t have to be all about the kids; it can also be fun parent-time to walk around chatting with friends while the kids run door-to-door. A little travel cup with “spirits” in it always makes the night better too.

Kids Are Unpredictable

If you have little ones those bags get heavy or sometimes they just need a little break, bring a wagon to put stuff in or just give a little ride if you need to. By the end of the night I know half of the costumes have come off. You can bring jackets or a blanket with you for those chilly nights.  You can bring water with you and maybe even the dog wants to come along. It is better to be prepared for whatever happens, and the wagon certainly makes it easy.

The Real Treat Is Giving

It doesn’t always have to be about collecting candy, either. Kids have just as much fun giving out candy, and some may be less interested in all the walking around or costumes. We have always had dogs, so the door knocking can just be a lot. Set-up some chairs out front for your kids to sit and watch all the people walking dressed up. Let them hand out the candy and enjoy the fun of giving too!

Party in the Front Yard!

This is also a good time if you want to sit with your neighbors out front to chat while you hand out candy.  Pull the grill out front with some chairs and cooks up some burgers. Maybe you have a fire pit table or portable fire pit.  Make it a fun night to catch up with friends or family. Invite the grandparents over to watch.

Introduce: the Buy-Back Candy Program

The kids love going door-to-door, but they usually end up with more candy than any of us would like them to consume.  Once we got home the kids would always dump out their candy and sort it.  They would do some trading for favorites.  Then we would offer to “buy back” candy. We had a 2-cup measuring cup, and we would pay $1 for every 2 cups they would dump back in our bag for the trick or treaters.

The kids would go through their candy and pull out what they didn’t really want and what they were willing to part with and we would give them the cash to spend on a toy or save for something they wanted. This became very popular in our house and really cut down on the loads of sugary sweets they had, and it even gave them a little lesson on the value of a dollar.

It’s unlikely you’ll have enough trick or treaters to take all of these candies in your Buy-Back Program, you can check local shelters that will take the donation, or otherwise candy never fails to disappear when left unattended in a breakroom.

Although adults now, my 3 kids still look forward to doing these traditions long after growing out of the trick-or-treating phase, and those are some of my favorite memories. No matter how you choose to celebrate the day with your family, make memories and traditions.

Happy Halloween everyone!!

10-Week Holiday Cleaning Challenge

by: Danielle Ternyila

The holidays always come up quick, and you never believe me until it happens. Don’t let these next 2 months slip by! Plan ahead using this simple 10-Week Cleaning Countdown to the Holidays! Each week, take on just one task, which you can get done in one weekend or dispersed over the course of 7 days.

By the time the holidays are here, your home will be clean and clutter-free. How amazing would that be? Think of it as a little holiday gift to future-you, from past-you! Isn’t past-you the best?

Week of October 17 | Purge Day!

It’s time to let go, let go of everything you and the fam haven’t touched in a long time. Look in your closet and toy bins (but don’t worry about clothes for now!), think about those books and games collecting dust. “Grab a garbage bag and start tossing,” as my mom says. Take out the bag and check out all these hiding spots around your home and throw out as much as you can.

If you can’t let go of everything, you could also make a storage pile. Pick up some boxes or totes and pack them up for storage. Either way, get it done this week to begin your holiday cleaning countdown.

Week of October 24 | Donation Time!

It’s time to rip through the closets and dressers to see what clothes you don’t need anymore. Sort through it all, and start tossing it all in a garbage bag again, this time everything you haven’t worn or can’t think of where to wear again.

I told you to skip clothes last week, and that’s because those are easy to donate! If you have clothes in decent shape, there’s nothing to lose (and if you’re like me, I’m sure you have a few unworn pieces with tags someone else deserves after all this time in your closet). Find your local donation bin or organization. If you have children under 10, consider looking into a local mothers group for the clothes your little ones don’t fit in any more! Many organizations are always in need of clothes for kids, like Moms Helping Moms Foundation.

Go through your summer clothes too! Now that you are done with them, add in your bag all the pieces you really never wore. They’re just wasting space, anyway! Sift through the winter clothes and toss any jackets that won’t fit this year in the bag. Leave no article of clothing left unquestioned! You’ll really be thankful for all the closet space in the end.

Week of October 31 | Car Clean Out

Before the weather gets any colder (and perhaps after all the candy and Halloween parties this week), get outside to clean out the car. If you’re the kind of person who has their sh!t together and their car is spotless, good for you, but I’ll be tossing all the old water bottles and gum wrappers, collecting hoodies lost in my backseat, and vacuuming all the dog hair this week.

I tend to collect a lot of stuff in my trunk over the summer between all the road trips and beach days. Now is the time to get all of that stuff out, make space for transporting gifts around, but especially for all the upcoming holiday shopping that comes first!

Week of November 7 | Toy Swap

This is such an important one for the families with kiddos! The swap is simple: put some toys away in storage and keep a few others out for the kids. With the holidays approaching, it makes room for the new stuff, then in a few months you can swap out some of these with ones that have been in the closet a while. You don’t want to overstimulate the kids with too many options, and it’s easier for them to just have a few to pick from at a time.

This is also great for when you have bored children on your hands! After a while when that first set of toys is boring, throw it in storage (toss everything broken or that has missing pieces), and take out the other bunch of toys you tucked away. They’ll look shiny and new all over again, trust me!

Week of November 14 | Bathroom Scrub

Three priorities in the bathroom when you clean this week: medicine cabinet, makeup drawer, and soap bottles.

Take some extra time this week to declutter your bathrooms from top to bottom. Don’t forget to check out old prescriptions, empty bottles, the toothbrush holder, and the mascaras and eyeshadows you don’t use any more. Some things can get thrown out, some things cleaned. As long as you do a little each day, you won’t have to waste too much time each day this week in the shitter!

Week of November 21 | Pantry Clean-Out

Your pantry, snack cabinets, the fridge and freezers…. Chuck everything old, expired, untouched, and undesired. They’re just wasting space, and your fridge will be full of cookies and big meals before you know it! If you have canned goods, it is easy to find a local organization to take the donation. At this time of year, cans are in great need!

You can also use this week to organize any of these areas as you need. After I declutter and free up space, I will reorganize everything to keep everything in order for the holidays. Future-Me will appreciate this! Yours will too.

Get back in the kitchen this week, and clean this time. I’m talking about the stovetop, the oven, your fridge, the spice rack… Get a deep clean in now (and after the big feast of Thanksgiving) so you have a lot less to stress about next month’s end!

Week of November 28 | Deep Dive in the Kitchen

Again, don’t go crazy and try to fit it all in in one day! You have the whole week, so make your to-do list and check things off as you go! Make realistic goals for yourself, like deep clean stove one day, instead of deep clean the stove, toaster, air fryer, sink, and dishwasher. You can’t always be Super Girl!

Week of December 5 | A Little Pixie Dust!

Time to dust and make this place shine. The holidays are coming, after all! Break out your feather duster and Swiffer. Dust everything and everywhere in your home, and take a few extra minutes to clean the windows around the house too. Break out the glass cleaner, and you’re almost to a completely mess-free home for the holidays! 2 weeks left.

Week of December 12 | Laundry Week!

This week, take some extra time to do some extra loads and get ahead before next week. You know it’s about to get so busy, so wash the linens, flip the mattresses, and power through! Don’t forget to separate your whites and colors.

Week of December 19 | Finals – it’s crunch time!

With less than a week now, let’s get those last-minute jobs done! Vacuum the house and the furniture, mop the floors, wipe down the counters and bathrooms… Quick tip! Try writing down what you need to get done this week and try checking off more and more each day. It’s never a bad idea to split things up so there is less stress on you each day. Plus, you won’t worry about getting it done at the last minute.

Treats with a Healthy Twist for Your Fresh Picked Apples This Fall

by: Danielle Ternyila

Burn some calories exploring your local apple orchard picking some fresh fruit to use in some of these great apple recipes. There is far more, and much healthier options, than apple pie!

Whether you are looking for a dessert, snack, or even an app, apples are a great fruit to add and can be so easy to pair with when you have a few recipes, like these! Benjamin Franklin once coined the phrase, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” With the antioxidants and immune support, and even fiber among among so many other nutrients, we all know apples should be a part of our diet, so there is no reason to argue with Ben.

1. Apple Chunk Guacamole

Next time you’re making fresh homemade guac, chop up some apple into bite size chunks and mix it in with your other ingredients! My sister gets all the credit for this delicious recipe, but but feel free to try what you want with it. What I will say is: don’t knock it till you try it.

Ashley’s Autumn Apple Guac: 2 ripe avocados, 1 apple, ½ small red onion, 1 garlic clove, ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, 1 lime, and a pinch of salt. Dice, chop, and mash these ingredients as you normally would for your homemade guacamole, then cut up that apple into small bite-size chunks to mix in too. It will add unique and sweet flavor to this classic party recipe.

2. Apple Dessert Nachos

This is a favorite no one can turn down! Slice your apples into thin wedges like chips, drizzle them with nut butter (this will get you some protein, too!), and top with coconut shreds, dark chocolate chips, and cinnamon for a delicious and healthy apple snack. If you want to keep your apple slices fresh, use a little lemon juice to keep them from browning.

3. Apple Oatmeal for Breakfast

Add apple chunks to your morning breakfast for some added seasonal flavor! Oatmeal is a great source of fiber, and there are plenty of options out there now if you need breakfast with more protein or less sugar. You can also add some apple chunks to a new overnight oats blend to get in all the fall flavors early and get you excited for the day!

My favorite combination for apple overnight oats include almond milk (always my preferred milk!), apple chunks, nonfat greek yogurt, cinnamon, and some almonds or walnuts for a crunch!

4. Apples in a Sheet-Pan Dinner

This is a favorite autumn dish for me! I’ll add in chunks of apple with unique dishes some might normally not consider. Much like my sister’s incredible guacamole, some sliced apple adds a unique taste to your dinners. What I love about a sheet-pan dish is I can cook it all at once!

Brussel sprouts, sweet potato, apple and chicken is a delicious combination, or try sausage, potatoes, and squash. Skip the same boring dinners and apple pie desserts; combine apples and some simple dishes, or even in a skillet dish, and you’ll find some delicious new meals to add to your weekly rotation of recipes!

5. Bake with Homemade Applesauce

Use those fresh handpicked apples from your local farm to make some homemade applesauce, which can also be used to replace eggs in most recipes, providing a vegan alternative even considering other ingredients in the dish. I make most of my cookies now with apple sauce for the sake of a few vegan friends, and the convenience of not having to run to the grocery store when I’m out of eggs. This can be especially helpful with too many apples on your hands after a fun day out this fall! Consider your favorite chocolate chip cookie with apple sauce.

Which recipe are you dying to try now?

True Facts About Cravings We Don’t Talk About Enough

by: Danielle Ternyila

You don’t understand though, I am craving it. It’s easy for you because you don’t like this food. Easier said than done. I don’t care, I just want it. I can start over on Monday. You don’t know how hard it is to say no. You have it easy, you can afford organic foods and have the time to go to the gym.

These are all the excuses I have heard over and over again. Let me tell 10 different people that I lost weight through changing my lifestyle and diet, and I guarantee I’ll hear one of these excuses, if not multiple. My favorite excuse has always been, “I’m Italian!” We say this with pride, as if we are born with bread and pasta in our bloodstream and it’s a sin to ever turn it down.

I grew up in a proud Italian household, so if you think it was easy for me to cut out pasta dinners, pizza, and all my other old favorite foods, you’re so wrong! It is still something I battle with mentally, so don’t tell me “It was easy for you.” I gave it all up for a healthier life and the peace of mind that my body is at its strongest for anything life throws at it. This was a choice I made, but it is a never-ending struggle.

Healthy Changes Begin At Home

Changing habits in my family was an important steppingstone in my health journey. I craved pasta and garlic bread, fried chicken, mozzarella… Once my parents (who I lived with at the time) began eating healthier too and stopped having these foods in the house, it became easier, for the same reason they tell you to throw out all the junk food in the house! Out of sight, out of mind. The hardest part now is when I go out, whether it’s a restaurant, a party, or my grandmother’s.

I know exactly what a craving is when I see one, and it feels just as challenging to overcome today as it was 5 years ago when I started this journey. The difference between my cravings and yours is that I refuse to feed that hunger. The cravings only get stronger the more you cave. When you choose the health and body you have wanted for a lifetime over the meal or snack you’ve been craving for 5-10-or-60 minutes, you are getting stronger. I won’t tell you it’s going to be easier every day, but take pride in conquering cravings. Be stronger that your cravings, and you won’t regret it. I’ve never once looked back and thought, “Man, life would be different if I had that slice of pizza at the party that one time.”

Avoid Addiction

Think of sugar for what it truly is: a drug. It’s addictive, and that’s why when you give into your craving, you are more likely to overindulge. Sugars and fats may make you feel good in the moment, but I’m sure after you eat the 2 cookies per the serving size, you aren’t stopping there. By indulging in these foods, you stimulate the “feel-good” hormones in you, which trigger you to eat more because you’re “feeling good.”

If you have a lot of changes to make to your diet, I recommend weaning things out slowly. No one quits smoking cold turkey for a reason – the same reason that you will fail at cutting out all the crap in 1 night. Slowly take out new things every day and week until you are in a healthier place.

Get Enough Sleep

Similar to the “feel-good” juices that flow through you when you treat yourself, you’re going to experience all different emotions when you don’t sleep right. Lack of sleep can affect your hormones, and those hormones lead to an increased appetite.

Choose Water

Thirst can easily be mistaken for hunger, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Make sure to drink the right amount of water every day to avoid this confusion and overeating. I also enjoy drinking hot water when I know I’m not really hungry (say, I just ate an hour ago); I mix it with lemon or just make some black tea, and it helps to quench cravings!

Don’t Let Your Excuses Win

You can use these excuses, these crutches, to support your decision to keep making unhealthy choices, but it is up to you whether you are OK telling yourself lies like these. There is no reason, no matter who you are, that you can’t become a healthier person. Whether you think you can’t because you’re too overweight, too busy, or too stressed, or maybe you just think it’s just not in the cards for you, you are making that decision yourself. If you choose to believe these excuses, believe that you can’t take care of your health (the one body you have!), that’s on you. When you turn that mindset around and tell yourself you are stronger, you’ll see that was the only missing piece.

Disassociate with the excuses of your life, and every time you hear yourself saying one of these negative mantras, remind yourself instead that you are strong and can do anything you set your mind to, even saying no to all the bad food you’re craving.

What would you choose: the snack you’ve craved for 10-20 minutes, or the body you’ve craved for a lifetime?

Your body is a reflection of how you take care of your health and your self. It is up to you to make the change. No one is going to do it for you.

Here’s the Deal With Your Junk Food CravingsCleveland Clinic Health. December 14, 2020.

Grounding Method: Count Down to Stress Less

by: Danielle Ternyila

Experiencing anxiety is not new, and you’re not the only one feeling like a bundle of stress ready to explode nowadays. No matter what it is you are going through, the best thing you can do is to take care of yourself. Instead of “accepting defeat” against the anxiety and whirlwind of emotions consuming you, focus your attention on things you can do that will help instead of hurt.

Make a conscious decision to do what you can to control yourself and these emotions; ground yourself. Trust me, it sounds so impossible and hard. If you’re thinking “No, I can’t turn it off, the anxiety will never go away,” then take another step back. You can’t think that way or things will never change. Negativity follows negative vibes. To take control of your stress, you first need to accept that you do control this. You have the power to make things better in your life, no one else; they’ve got their own lives to take care of after all.

To gain control in a stressful situation, you can count down with these simple steps, a tried and true coping mechanism for panic attacks and anxiety. Use your 5 senses, counting down from 5, to calm your mind. Your mind may be racing, thinking and worrying over so many things, and I feel you! Now, you can’t turn your brain off, but why not shift gears? Give your mind a new task to clear your thoughts.

Grounding Technique for Stress and Anxiety

5. See – In your head (or out loud if you’re alone and can!), find five things you see. My hands, blinds on the window, a desk plant, blue walls, and a yellow pencil, for example.

4. Touch – Now find four things you can touch. The cotton drawstring on my hoodie, the wooden desk, rubber keyboard protector, and condensation on my water bottle, perhaps.

3. Hear – Name three things you can hear: the air conditioner, birds outside the window, and the neighbor’s car just started

2. Smell – What are two things you can smell? Coconut candle and lemon tea

1. Touch – Finally, think of one thing around you that you could taste (not saying you have to actually taste it). An apple?

It’s that easy! When you go through these simple 5 steps and count down through your senses, you will be able to clear your mind. Whether you’re just a little worried or under stress in a tough situation, this anxiety grounding technique will help you come back to the present and focus on what really matters.

Closet Refresh: Fall Capsule Wardrobe Essentials

by: Danielle Ternyila, ZYIA Active Independent Rep

You deserve a wardrobe that makes you feel your most comfortable and confident! With a new and chilly season upon us, there are a few essential pieces you might be missing from your closet.

Fall style has and always will require layering, which is why it’s important to refresh your look with a few staple items every autumn wardrobe needs. Don’t get caught without one of these and visit the boutique to check out all of the best styles in athleisure wear – well, I like to call it everyday wear!

I’m an independent rep of Zyia Active, and I’m excited to share a few essentials that can take you from the office to the gym, and even out for date night too. Need help with sizing? We carry sizes XXS to XXXXL, and I’m available any time to assist in finding yourself the right size. Consider me your personal/virtual shopping buddy with all the answers!

Soft N Snug Leggings

No one can resist the soft hug of our Soft n Snug leggings! While there are only a few select colors and patterns available, they all scream “fall fashion”. These offer a mildly compressive fit similar to our well-known Light n Tight line, designed with the same sweat wicking, adaptive stretch, anti-chafe seams and materials of our Light n Tight line. Even though it isn’t as form-fitting, the Soft N Snugs include a mid-rise waistband that provides gentle support to your shape so you can wear these feeling your most comfortable and confident. Who doesn’t want that?

Style them up or style them down. They also come in 2 different lengths: 24-inch and 28-inch inseam. Myself being 4’11”, the 24-inch length is the perfect ankle-length for me, but I’ll rock the longer style now and again with a scrunched bottom or tucked in my boots.

Pictured: Black Heavenly Long T with Black Mosaic Pocket Soft n Snug Mid-Rise 7/8 24″

Black Heavenly Long T

This classic black long-sleeve tee with thumbholes is light weight but so so soft too with our famous four-way stretch material! This fall top is sure to flatter any body with a subtly ruched seam between the shoulder blades and a more relaxed fit with a slightly longer back.

Everywhere Pants

These pants, as you might assume, are designed to go everywhere with you! Both water- and wrinkle-resistant, they are great for travel, but you can also dress them up with a pair of boots or heels and a blouse for the office or night out. You can even sport our everywhere pants at the gym with sneakers and your favorite tank!

Take a close look at the band, too! Unlike those less comfortable office slacks, you won’t have to deal with nasty zippers or buttons anymore with our flat no-roll waistband that adds stability (without bulk!). Overall, the fabric is lightweight and cool, ideal for the “in-between” fall weather. The olive everywhere pants are the perfect fall color, but the black and navy deserve attention too!

Pictured above: Maroon Swirl Tank with Olive Everywhere Pants

Swirl Tanks

These versatile cotton-feeling tank tops are great for dressing up and down but especially layering! The back features a unique swirl design that rests at your lumbar, which makes for a stylish twisty hemline that is just clingy enough to hug you during a plank but not accentuate your stomach or hips like a fitted top would. As most of our products, the swirl tank too uses sweat-wicking four-way stretch material, so it is truly designed for everyone, business professionals looking for something to layer under a blazer or cardigan, athletes needing an extra layer over their sports bra, or anyone looking to add a simple touch of color with a top that is flattering on any body type.

Oh So Soft Hoodie

Choose between a zip-up or pullover version of this hoodie to keep you warm this fall. A few reasons to love this collection of women’s hoodies: thumbholes, 2 pockets, and they fit true to size, although I recommend sizing up 1 for a looser fit in the zipper hoodie! It is designed with a more fitted look, same cozy warm sweatshirt that you’ll want to stay snuggled up in forever!

Explore these looks and more in my online boutique. This brand is all about versatility, and the clothing is designed to fit every body! Plus size or petite, our clothes are sure to flatter. Coming from size 18 once (now down to a 6 with hard work and dedication!), it is important to me that clothing brands strive to compliment every body, not just the 2’s and 4’s of the world! It took me a long time to find a brand that truly catered to all and doesn’t separate plus-size or petite looks from the “regulars”.

Don’t shop alone! Find me in the Royalty Club to send me a Facebook message or shoot me an email and we can start talking. My favorite part of repping this incredible brand of active and athleisure wear is to help others find the perfect pieces for them! Call me a personal shopper, virtual shopping buddy, or just your rep! Let me give you the best virtual shopping experience you’ve ever had!

Zyia Active | Independent Rep Danielle Ternyila

Confessions of a Coffee Addict

by: Danielle Ternyila

I consider myself a true coffee-lover. For as long as I can remember, my days begin with brewing myself a cup or pot. On the off-days I don’t do this, you can guarantee I’ll be in the Starbucks drive-thru or QuickChek line instead – and none other, because I have coffee-standards!

Coffee is celebrated every day in my little world, but its grounded pleasures are especially recognized October 1 for International Coffee Day. In honor of this day, let’s talk about some of our favorite caffinated beverages sometimes confused with true c-o-f-f-e-e!

We are all familiar with the wild assortment of drinks Starbucks, Dunkin, and other coffee shops offer. If you’re an avid customer, you’ve enjoyed your share of frappuccinos, lattes, and machiattos. After a few years working in one of my favorite coffee shops in college, I learned more about these and all the other goodies we love – including how they are made and what exactly we are consuming.

Don’t assume the milkshake-like consistency is any less caffeinated than the other menu items, but it is not coffee-based either. It can vary where you are ordering it, but one thing that remains is the large amount of fat, sugar, and calories. All the flavors are sugary syrups, then you add whole milk into that and you’re over 25-85 grams of sugar depending on your flavor of choice.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need that many calories for just 12 ounces of coffee.

Lattes and macchiatos are among the most popular espresso drinks you can grab, but these vary in a lot of ways. Depending on the flavors and milk options, you can be consuming anywhere from 180 to 600 calories.

There is more to keep in mind than caffeine when enjoying these too. I know what to expect with these drinks: small latte gets 1 shot espresso, medium 2 and large 3, but if they’re iced, they each get an extra shot, and that large-iced is probably going to get 5 shots, which is an extreme amount of caffeine for 1 drink consumed within an hour. If I add in a flavor, I expect anywhere from 3-6 pumps of liquid sugar, whether it’s a simple syrup for sweetener, caramel, vanilla, or pumpkin.

If for some reason you’re in a rut where you can’t access true coffee, the best bev hidden on the menu is an americano. It gets its name from years ago during WWII. American soldiers were often caught pouring hot water in their espresso to water it down so it was more like the coffee they were accustomed to.

The best part about an Americano is the lack of calories! Similar to coffee, a black cup of coffee or espresso can have as little as no calories. When you add in creamer and sugar, it will vary, but if you can wean off those to black coffee, no sugar or creamers, you will be golden!

Tip! Slowly substitute out the less healthy add-ins with alternatives like almond milk and stevia. Add less and less now and then to get your tastebuds used to the simple pleasure of coffee on its own! If you really want to add a little flavor, consider mixing in some of your caramel protein shake. [Visit us in the Empowerment group on Facebook to learn more on this tip!]

One last thought to share on coffee. It can be a really great boost in the morning, but you still don’t want to overuse it. Coffee should be drank in moderation, which is another reason to shy away from some of those fancy espresso drinks. Caffeine has also been linked to anxiety, and so you should be mindful of how you feel and consider that when you pull up to your local drive-thru.

Decaf coffee can still be an alternative, and one I lean on when I know I’ve had enough caffeine but I still need something to sip to get me through the end of a long day. I don’t allow myself any caffeine later than 4pm as well since it’s effects can linger for several hours after consumption (potentially up to 10 hours or longer depending how much you consume). Just some food for thought!

Cheers to Our Dogs, the Ultimate At-Home Support System

by: Danielle Ternyila

My life became a mess when I lost my dog, to say the least. In fact, the whole world ended, or at least shut down. We parted ways as she crossed the rainbow bridge just 2 months before I would come to work from home as much as she always dreamed when the pandemic hit. After 13 long years with that beautiful husky mutt we rescued when I was a kid, we said goodbye and I started a life without her, in perhaps not the best of times either.

Turns out life without a dog sucked. The pandemic certainly didn’t help by adding in new layers of stress and nightmares to live through. Things never felt right, until I met a new furry friend.

We rescued Clyde, a 4-year-old shepherd mix, almost a year later, and I can’t believe how much in my life has changed. In a way, I’m getting “back to normal.” My angel kept me together at times I didn’t even know I was tearing at the seams. She gave me something to look forward to at home every day, but more than that a reason to wake up, literally.

There is something just so pure about the love a dog has for its human. They will love you endlessly no matter what. You never feel ashamed or judged by your dog, you can trust them with everything. They provide company so you are never truly alone. They help you to feel safe and protect you.

My dog was my other half, and I took that for granted. Without her my anxiety spiked, I was less active, I had a harder time getting out of bed in the mornings, and I even ate a lot worse by falling off routines I was primarily on for her sake.

Moral of the story is, you can never lean too much on your dog (well, mentally unless you have a very large dog)! Whether or not your doctor warrants it, your dog is your emotional support system, your buddy, your protector. Next time you’re feeling stressed, alone, or just confused, take the fluff ball out for a walk or to the park. You’ll both feel really good after burning some energy, even just a walk around the block.

It is never easy to lose a pet, but find solice in knowing your dog will feel better when you get someone new by your side again to take care of you as they had. If you’re fortunate enough to have a second dog, know the baton has been passed and there is plenty of space in your heart to love more.

This is my shameless plug to remind you all: Adopt Don’t Shop! I’m a proud rescue mom. With love and care, you can’t notice the difference between a rescue and breeder-dog (except the health risks that are associated with dogs from breeders!) You’re not perfect either, and so you should consider doing your research through the many available websites and apps now to find the right furry mate for you among the 70 million homeless dogs in the country.

Control Your Reaction in Stressful Situations

by: Terry Ternyila

One lesson I wish I had learned earlier in my life is that the only thing I can control is my reaction and truly how impactful it is on my mental and physical health. 

Usually if I am in a stressful situation, my emotions normally take over. I would either be snappy or upset which just seems to fuel the fire of anxiety and stress for sure.  I would let that energy take over me and I would feel defeated. It also would provoke a reaction from whom ever I was with in a negative way as well as they are feeding off my energy, so as a mom this usually left a negative environment for the whole family.

I feel like I have to practice mental yoga in order to process the situation in a calm manner, to really think about it before I react.  I need to weigh out what is the “worst case” scenario in my head. I need to try to communicate through it without the emotion and let go of the things I cannot control. It’s something I have to practice every day. It doesn’t come natural and sometimes I fail for sure. I feel like the little voice in my head has become my therapist to talk through situations before I react.

I had to learn to let some things go. When I am frustrated it’s like a magnet, then everything bothers me. Once I am in that negative head space, I feel more things would bother me and just keep sticking to me, making me even madder as time went on until I erupted.  The negative feelings would just keep the ball rolling…if I was having a bad day I just carried it with me all day and left a wake of destruction behind it as I was reacting to it all day. It just triggered me more.

But I can say my life has improved so much just by changing my reaction to things that happen. I can see how it has changed my relationships with my husband and kids. They play off my emotions so I am setting the tone. Being more calm with my reaction has set that tone with them as well.

I can also see how much it helped me in my journey for a healthy lifestyle. Not letting my reaction derail my progress for sure. You are going to stumble along the way, my reaction would usually lead me to feel like a failure. It would lead to more bad decisions until I gave up all together.

I can honestly say by just controlling my reaction, I feel better and lighter as I go through the day. Give it a try this week, instead of giving in to frustration and yelling. Try to control your reaction, be more patient, calmer and focus on the positive.

Achieve Your Health Goals Like a Pro

by: Danielle Ternyila

I wish I was the kind of person that meal prepped. I wish I liked salads and healthy foods. I wish I could afford organic ingredients. I wish I had time to cook better meals. I wish there was enough time to go to the gym.

No, you’re not the only one thinking these things and struggling to take back your health for reasons like these. These wishes sound so hopeless, but telling your self any of this is NOT going to make things happen for you. Your health should be your number one priority, above anything else you do, and there is no reason you can’t.

No one is born to meal prep or cook specialty meals. Those people who do, though, actively choose to live that life. They don’t wish for things to happen, they make them happen. And if you have been struggling to get past the wishing and daydreaming, start acting.

We’ve all heard it in so many ways: actions speak louder than words. This is true even in achieving your goals. Telling yourself you can’t do it with these petty wishes and “Debbie Downer” thoughts will never will it to life. You set yourself up for failure every time you talk down about yourself, whether it is in the privacy of your mind, your car, or in a rant to a friend.

The only thing standing in the way of achieving your goals is the excuses you allow yourself to believe. At the end of the day, it is all just that. You don’t like salad is an excuse to eat bad instead. You don’t have time is an excuse to get out of 30 minutes at the gym. You can’t meal prep “right” so you stick to your old unhealthy habits.

Make the decision to follow your dreams. Do what you need to do make them a reality. Go the extra mile, put in the time even when you think you can’t, and tell your mind to “shut up” every time it tells you another excuse.

You can’t just wish for it. You have to work for it. And it never gets easier, you just get stronger!

Conquer the Stress of Back to School

September for most of us is a reminder: back to school!  With that brings a lot of stress for parents. All the extra expenses of school supplies, new clothes and backpacks, getting the kids up early and out the door while still getting to work on time. Add into that the daily fights for homework, showers and bedtimes… Here are some tips for conquering the “Back to School Stress” from a mom who has survived it, 20 years in a row.

The one part of back to school that I enjoyed was the organizing. I am a nut for organizing, and although my kids were not all as enthusiastic about it, I know it made their lives a little easier.  

  • Calendar – One trick I learned was hanging a dry erase calendar in the kitchen. Each family member had a different color marker so we could track activities and appointments, then later as they grew: all the work schedules. There are apps that also will do this and share electronically to all members if that works better for you, but having everyone on board to see what is going on is great.  Often with after school activities, one parent is running around with the kids, so it’s good to be able to look to see where others may be at and when you will get home.  You can also plan in advance when you know days are going to be crazy, so plan an easy dinner or set up a carpool schedule to help.
  • School supplies – The schools have at least gotten better about giving you the list before school begins so you can bargain shop before everything is out of stock. Nothing was worse than the night after the first day of school, everyone is in the store fighting for the last 5-subject notebook.  I know when I would see deals on 1 cent notebooks or dollar store composition books I would buy them to keep for the next year. After school starts if you see the sales, pick up some extra supplies and keep a box in a closet. You will always need extra. 
  • Color coordinate – I would try to color coordinate notebooks & folders for the same subjects for each kid…green would be science, math would be blue, etc. It made it easier for them to grab in their lockers. 
  • Inbox – Have one spot in your home for all papers that you need to see and complete. If you have more than one child, perhaps a wall box with folders for each kid that they can put papers for you to sign and you can put back for them to put back into their bags.
  • Routine – Setting a routine is key to sanity. Setting the expectation with kids is also important. Each kid was different when it came to needs. Some needed more hand holding and some were very independent. So not all routines and expectations are the same. Have a time that homework needs to be done by. My oldest liked to get it done and not think about it about it but my youngest needed down time after school and was better if she did her homework later. A slower schedule, especially if you have more children, will help keep the peace. My youngest, since she was slower in getting ready in the mornings and prefered to sleep as late as possible, would be on a night shower schedule. Right after dinner she needed to get in and get it done, as she also did not like going to bed early so she would drag it out.   Finding what each child needs and how to build a structure for it will make everyone’s lives a little easier.
  • Lunches – One of my least favorite things was the lunches, so everyone knew I would make their lunch with resentment. And it showed.  Since I did not like to prepare lunches, my husband would take that role over for me. He enjoyed making their lunches special by cutting their sandwiches funny or leaving notes for them with a joke or an “I love you”.  This task did not bother him so it worked out better that he would handle that. The key here is to prep the night before instead of waiting for the morning, or delegate.
  • Communication is key – Talk about what is overwhelming you and find a solution. You don’t have to just keep feeling that way. It’s good to talk with the kids on what they can do to help you. It’s also good to talk to them to see if they are feeling overwhelmed and if there are things you can do to help them out too.  Some routines just need adjusting until everyone is in a good place. When something isn’t working, change it up.  Work as a team. There were days when I did not have the patience for the homework sit-down and my husband would take over.  Some tasks were more stressful for me than him so we would work that out.
  • Life/work balance – Set aside some time for yourself, walking with a girlfriend or going out for coffee to just have some “me” time is crucial to the life/work balance. Because let’s face it, being a mom is a full time job so you have to make sure you give yourself time to yourself.

I don’t miss the days of the busy school mornings, shooting like a drill sergeant every morning, get up, get dress, get your shoes on, get your lunch, grab your backpack…lets go out the door. 

September, as I see it, is a time to get back to a schedule. Even though my kids are all adults, I still look forward to getting organized and back on a routine again. We are more than half way through the year, we just made it through the summer. Time to regroup and focus.

Never Underestimate the Power of a Sticky Note

by: Danielle Ternyila

A brief reminder hanging on the door has really saved the day a number of times for myself, and there is no shame in the sticky note game! But do you use these to the fullest to continue motivating you and keep you on track for your goals? If not, you should consider putting pen to the pad and writing down your goal right now.

There is something to be said for putting pen to paper when it comes to your goals. It makes it feel real, and when you have that reminder to drop 10 lbs before Christmas hanging on the fridge or that you are stronger than you believe taped next to your coffee pot, you are doing yourself the favor of being your own accountability buddy.

I use sticky notes to keep me on track with my goals, and they’re actually so helpful. Sometimes I make challenges for myself, like I want to plank every day for a month. I’ll stick the note right next to my light switch as a reminder to get it done. It’s also the perfect place because it’s guaranteed I’ll be standing up and walking away from something else when I see it, and so I’m usually able to take a minute and get down to do it before I head out.

I keep these little notes in places where I will not only see them but also most likely in a time when I will be able to fill through on the call to action. Reminder to buy more dog food on the front door, a note to listen to a new podcast I heard of hanging on my purse for my next car ride, or that little yellow paper can sometimes be found next to the TV remote telling me to get up and drink some water!

These notes don’t always have to be bulleted items that you need to get done. I’ll hang them here and there with words of affirmation, motivational quotes, my goals, and other things that keep me going throughout the day or week. I have one up in the kitchen as we speak reminding me of an upcoming wefigs in 8 weeks and a beautiful dress in my closet that I hope fits. Keeping this note where I can see it in the kitchen every day ensures I am always keeping my goals in mind, especially when I enter the kitchen because that can sometimes be my biggest weakness. I update it weekly with the next countdown too, so I never get tired of seeing the same thing.

Do you leave yourself reminders or words of affirmation on sticky notes? You can use these to help create healthy habits, concentrate on what’s most important to you, and boost your self esteem. Leave yourself a note on the bathroom mirror with a new inspirational quote, or tape one up by your night stand to remind you to do self care and relax properly before bed. “Future You” will appreciate the reminder and thoughtfulness!

If you want to take your notes a step further, check out our Inspired corner where you can find a few different printable sheets to keep you on track for maintaining your goals! I use these and even make up my own with a piece of printer paper and a pen. During my weightloss journey, my favorite tool was coloring in circles for every pound I lost. It made it fun, and it was great to see a visual display of my accomplishments taped onto my dresser I go in every day.

You Were Born to Grow

by: Danielle Ternyila

You choose the life you want to live, and if it is unachievable now, you work to reach all those dreams and goals anyway. If you don’t like your life, then you should change it. Change is good, it helps us grow. We were not born to stand still.

Your career plays a major role in the life you live, so needless to say, you shouldn’t waste your time doing things you don’t like. You spend 40 hours a week surrounded by the same people, taking directions from the same managers and doing the same thing 5 days a week until you take vacation, which you may not even do if you’re more of a workaholic than others [whether by choice or too much overtime].

I’ve worked jobs I was terrible at (I still have night terrors from my waitressing days spilling pasta and drinks on most guests), I’ve worked when I was miserable on the job (cue weird bosses and horrible hours), but if I didn’t enjoy it, it did not last long because I would not waste my time doing something that made me feel any less. When I was unhappy and finding less and less pleasure in my every day, I opened myself up to new opportunities instead of letting it ruin my quality of life.

I actually started college as a Psychology major, but after a semester I realized that wasn’t what made me happy, as much as I did enjoy the things I learned. I couldn’t do it for a living though, and so I swapped that for a minor and majored in Writing Arts. Writing is what I love, and I wasn’t even completely sure it was the career path I wanted. It was direction though, and I took other courses and certification classes along my way to boost my resume. More importantly, I kept myself open to new possibilities, took on new jobs out of my comfort zone, and finally got myself to a point where I enjoy my every day.

This will never happen to you, though, if you dont make changes. Change is hard, and I’m the first to have your back when you say change sucks, but you have to do it anyway. You have to do hard things, otherwise you only settle for what’s easy, whether it’s 4 years of education you hate because you think it’s too late, a mind-numbing job that stresses you out but you don’t want to go through the daunting process of starting somewhere new, or maybe you just can’t bare the goodbye to some long-standing friendships you no longer enjoy…. You have to change, or it won’t ever get any better.

Things probably could have been easier at times when I think back over the choices I’ve made to get to where I am today, but I continue to look forward and do what I need to make myself happy. Regret can’t do anything. We cannot live in fear of change when we were born to grow.

My Weight-Loss Journey: It’s All Mom’s Fault

by: Danielle Ternyila

From the moment I started my weightloss journey, my mom couldn’t have played a more vital role; she was my workout and accountability buddy. My biggest fan, cheerleader, constant therapist and the greatest role model a girl could ask for, Mama has been by my side through it all, including countless sweat sessions in the gym.

She herself had started her own journey around the same time I started mine, which was a real wake up call for myself. If mom could lose the weight, what was my excuse? She lost 90 pounds following a weightloss surgery, known as the sleeve, and major changes in her lifestyle. Getting myself to the gym every day was a daunting task, but she was there every step of the way, which was sometimes all the motivation I needed to keep myself on track.

She came to the gym with me every single time I asked. She tried new things with me and showed me new workouts or machines in the gym. Having her by my side, even if just to have someone to laugh with me when I fell off the treadmill or used a machine wrong, made it that much easier for me to go. With your workout buddy by your side, you feel like you can conquer anything, even the terrifying gym filled with fit athletes and big meatheads.

You may not even need an actual “workout” buddy more than you need an accountability buddy. Tell someone your plans, your goals, and your aspirations. Let them keep you in check, ask about your progress, and always be open and honest. The only person you’re hurting by lying is yourself.

They say it takes 21 days to create a habit and 90 days to create a lifestyle. I started hitting the gym with Mama in late September of 2016, and I went every single day the rest of that year, all with Mom’s help. When she couldn’t go with me to the gym herself, she still kept me in check. She asked me if I worked out, she gave me suggestions when I was trying to figure out a busy day’s schedule, and I can’t ignore all of the awesome videos and motivational quotes she shared with me. Even on the days I had to bare the gym alone, she was still always there in some way, holding my accountable.

Just a year before we started our health journeys, the 2 of us made it to Disney World together, and we had a hard time sharing photos of those adventures. We were both in such unhealthy places, every picture seemed to highlight our double chins, and so many photographs from this incredible trip were shared only between us.

Now several years and a pandemic later, feeling free of the weight that once held us down, we got to enjoy a trip to Hawaii together. This time, I made sure to splurge on a photographer to capture these memories. I didn’t have to sit and take breaks throughout the day because I was out of breath, I didn’t have to call it early some days because my feet were in so much pain, and we didn’t feel as guilty eating donuts for breakfast this time around either. Being able to share this journey with someone, whether it’s a friend or you own parental unit, makes it that much more enjoyable in the end.

With your best friend by your side, you can conquer the tallest of mountains and all of your dreams. If you need to lose weight or get healthy, don’t try to do it alone. Tell your friends, tell your mom, ask for help, or at the very least tell them to check in with you! It holds you accountable, and having the support of your bestie as you go makes it all that much easier. If you’re as lucky as I am, there will be lots of laughs too. My mom is the best buddy I’ve got, and I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today, mentally and physically, without her support.

Don’t forget to pop in our private Empowerment group on Facebook, where there is a whole group of us ready to cheer you on and support you as you try to take back your health or lose weight.

Coping With Our New “Normal”

by: Dianna Yphantides

“Should we get the vaccine or not get the vaccine? Should we wear a mask or is it okay not to wear a mask? Should I plan this trip? Should I see this friend? Should we social distance? Should we push off our birthday parties, weddings, dinner plans, and our lives?” 

Hi, my name is Dianna Yphantides. I am a licensed clinical therapist, and these are only a few of the many questions, fears and complications that I have been hearing from many of my clients over the past year and a half due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  COVID-19 is a virus which, like it or not, has changed the way every single person on this planet has lived the past year and a half.  This virus has caused the death of hundreds of thousands of people, caused strains on relationships due to different belief systems, and caused extreme deficits on the mental health and wellness of people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, and age.

There is not a single person who hasn’t been affected by the roars and decimation of this virus today.  There are countless memes, jokes and jabs at COVID-19 to help keep our world laughing instead of crying.  What I have witnessed in my line of work comes down to 2 things: the fear of the unknown and the difficulty people have been dealing with of not having control of what is happening in our lives.  People have lost the capability to socialize, hug, connect and simply be with people that they love due to fear of this virus.  People have lost the right to feel safe going to places like the grocery store, a restaurant, and the gym, which previously we had taken for granted. 

The isolation of quarantine alone for people has had insurmountable mental health consequences on people.  As human-beings, we are social creatures who crave affection, attention and unity, and the divide this virus has implicated on us all is not something that can be cured overnight.  I have patients who are fully vaccinated who come for in-person sessions with five masks on and I have patients who still have yet to leave their homes since March 2020.  This is not the quality of life that we are used to living.  Children are missing out on extremely imperative socialization and quality learning years and elders are missing opportunities to see their grandchildren grow up, and there is no timeline to tell us when we are going to feel “normal” again– or what normal will even look like after this.

As a therapist, my takeaway from this past year and a half is that it is okay not to be okay.  It is alright to feel lost, fearful, angry, confused and sad sometimes.  This virus is not something that any one of us could have predicted.  Give yourself the privilege and the right to feel your feelings–scream, yell, throw something– do whatever it takes to express yourself, and most important of all, be kind to yourself.  Take a long bath, read a good book, watch a comedy on Netflix, take a walk, meditate.  Do things for yourself which help fill up your cup since the overwhelming nature of this pandemic has most definitely left it depleted.  Remember that it is okay to feel overwhelmed right now.  Do things for yourself; big or small which help you to remember that you are human, you are fallible, and it is acceptable to not be okay in such an uncertain time.