“Falling” Deeper in Love

Cumberland Falls- Corbin, KY: January 2018

Guys! I am so excited to share this post with you all today! Last weekend, Derek and I visited Cumberland Falls to take our engagement pictures and I cannot express to you how magical the entire experience was. I was literally left speechless from the enormity of our love, from the incredible talent of our photographer, and by the absolute magnificence of the falls during winter. I myself had never visited the falls before but I cannot imagine a better experience. I was initially nervous to take our pictures because I’ve never been comfortable in front of a camera, specifically a professional one that easily picks up every flaw on me. When I got there though, I was so comfortable and happy that it all seemed so effortless. Even our photographer was amazed at how comfortable Derek and I were in front of a camera and she was gushing at how perfect the pictures already were. So, without further ado, I want to share with you all the beauty of Cumberland Falls during the winter and our wonderful engagement pictures. I could not be happier with how they turned out and it makes me even more excited for our wedding! P.s. I may or may not have tears in my eyes looking at these pictures again!

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I could not be more in love with this man or these pictures and I cannot wait for round 2 today! Thank you for sharing these special moments with us!

Love,

The Traveling Brunette

My Biggest Fitness Tips!

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While I don’t consider myself an expert, I’ve certainly been dedicated to health and fitness long enough that I’ve picked up some great lessons along the way. I’ve had the numerous ups and downs of someone traveling along the journey of making their health a lifestyle rather than a short-term goal, although I’ve definitely had those too. Since I know fitness is on a lot of people’s resolutions for 2018, I thought I would share some of my biggest tips that have helped me along the way.

1. Don’t dwell in the “downs”– This is one of the hardest but most important lessons I have learned. When making health and fitness a lifestyle, you are inevitably going to experience some slip ups or moments of stagnation; everyone does. I spent years being so unbelievably strict, working out for 2-3 hours every single day, never even eating a bite of “bad food”, days of not eating anything and guess what? I was miserable AND I didn’t get a single step closer to bettering my health. These habits weren’t good for my mind or body. It’s taken years but I’ve finally learned to embrace the slip-ups. They’re an important part of my journey. They DO NOT mean I have failed, they DO NOT mean I am unworthy, and they certainly DO NOT mean I will never reach my goals. It’s quite the opposite actually because it means I am human and I’m going to come back stronger than ever tomorrow!

2. Drink more water– I know this one is such a cliche but, man, is it true. I think all of us know that we need to drink more water, but we really don’t make an active effort to do it. And for awhile, I had to force myself to carry around a huge liter of water so I remembered to drink it but I cannot tell you how many benefits my body has experienced! I get less migraines, I’m way less bloated, my skin has started glowing, my hunger has decreased, and so much more! It’s so important to stay hydrated, so find ways that makes drinking water more enjoyable for you.

3. Find the workouts you truly enjoy– First of all, there isn’t one kind of workout that is miraculously going to give you your dream body. It’s important to switch it up and try new things to keep your muscles guessing, to keep away boredom, and to make the greatest gains possible. I used to think running was like the holy grail of fitness, but I hated it. So, I either forced myself to run and dreaded it or I would find excuses not to do it. I didn’t get any closer to my goals and my body did not change. I tried so many workouts and found that I love HIIT and strength training the most. Not only does my body respond to these but I truly love doing them. The most beneficial workout is the one you are actually going to do! So experiment and find what you love and switch it up. Maybe it’s walking with a friend, swimming, weights, kickboxing, Zumba, whatever it is embrace what makes you happy and I promise you’ll start to see the changes much sooner!

4. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet– Unfortunately, we can’t all keep our hyper-active teenage metabolisms. So, making healthy choices is vital in making fitness a lifestyle. Try following the 80/20 rule: pick whole, nutritious foods 80% of the time and indulge in your favorite treats 20%. Not only will it help you shed the pounds, it will improve your skin, help fuel your workouts, give you more energy, and much more. Also, stop labeling foods as “bad”. There is no such thing as a bad food. Those are labels we create ourselves. Just try to fuel your body with nutrient dense foods MOST of the time and stop stressing. I used to put ridiculous labels on foods to the point I refused to eat any food I didn’t cook and I didn’t shed a single pound. Now that I am much more balanced and way less stressed, I’ve lost 30 pounds and never felt better. There’s no miracle diet either. You lose weight by being in a calorie deficit, so any eating style that does that will help you lose weight. Also, don’t use exercise as a punishment for indulging. Work on forgiveness and start over tomorrow. Having a healthy relationship with food is so important!

5. Self-love changes EVERYTHING- Finally, this is my most important tip. It’s so sad for me to say but I literally spent my entire teenage years HATING my body. I viewed it as disgusting and unworthy for not looking like my petite best friend’s or like the girls I saw on magazines. I longed for a naturally petite body, but that’s not what I’ve been given. I have an hourglass figure and naturally muscular build. I will never have a petite or Victoria’s Secret angel’s body, and that okay! I was desiring a body that was literally impossible for me to have. Of course I have fitness role models, but I’ve made sure they have similar builds as me so I can be realistic in my goals. Also, I don’t punish myself for not looking like them anymore. We are all in different parts of our journey and I will never look exactly like someone else. I constantly have goals I want to meet but I’ve finally learned to love my body in every stage of the process. I’ve come so far and even though I want to go further, I worked so hard to be the woman I am today and that’s worth celebrating!!

I really hope you’ve found some comfort and inspiration from this post. Like I said, I’m no expert but I know how lonely and defeated I used to feel on my journey and I don’t want anyone else to feel that way. Remember, to love and have fun before anything else. I will always regret the holidays that I was too busy obsessing over my body to enjoy the love and family around me. Enjoying life is so much more important than being shredded, so find your balance and love every step of this journey!

All my love and support,

The Traveling Brunette

“A Love Beyond the Stars”

Original Poem:

 

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I am the moon.

Quiet, full of mysteries, never discovered.

I am covered in craters of insecurities, imperfections.

They run deep and cover me.

 

He is the sun.

Warm, bright, radiant.

Brilliant.

No one can deny his presence. He lights up the world

And all can see and marvel as he shines. Burns.

 

I am the moon, ever-changing, ever-present.

Present in the light and darkness.

He is the force that makes me shine

An altogether brighter being.

I glow from his magnificence.

 

Every day a new goodbye as he leaves to go light the world.

The world is envious of him but I bask in his brilliance.

Ever-present though hardly ever seen.

He burns bright, steady while I glow, change.

I guide his way back home.

 

The sun and the moon

Awaken. Awaken with your star-crossed love.

 

-GT

2018 Resolutions!

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Hello, 2018!

Wow, I can’t believe that 2017 is actually over and 2018 is here. So many amazing things happened in my life this past year including: finding help and healing, getting my two fur babies, traveling across the world, and getting engaged! Even though 2017 was full of so much love and adventure, I know 2018 is going to be even better: getting married, turning 21, traveling to Scotland for our honeymoon, graduating college early as a double major, and so much more. This year I wanted my resolutions to truly reflect my desire to soak up every single moment, work hard for my dreams, and to focus on all aspects of my health. So, without further delay, here are my 2018 resolutions:

  1. Live in the moment– I have an incredibly bad habit of wishing away the present in order to fast forward to a future I somehow believe will be better, but the truth is, my present isn’t what I want it to be because I’m not putting in the effort to make it positive. There’s nothing more depressing than constantly wishing that you were somewhere else. This year is going to be one of the best years of my life so I want to soak up every single minute of it and that includes taking breaks from social media, focusing on myself and my family, and finding the positive in the negative situations.
  2. Focus on all aspects of my health- I know one of the stereotypical resolutions is getting fit, losing weight, etc. and there is nothing wrong with these resolutions if you are doing them for the right reasons. For years, I struggled with a toxic body image and it poisoned every aspect of my life. I refused to go out to eat or to any event that I did not know exactly what food would be served, I never took a single bite of what I called “bad foods”, and I overexercised myself every single day. When I met Derek, he truly helped me enjoy life and stop focusing on my body. When I actually started having fun, I ironically started losing all of the weight that I had worked so hard on losing before but never had been able to. Last year, I finally reached my ideal body with the definition, speed, and strength I had always wanted. However, after years of overtraining and unhealthy health habits I had completely burned myself out. I literally took off an entire month of any activity because I was so sick, exhausted, and I lost my former “ideal body”. So this year I want to focus on balancing all aspects of my health: physical and mental. Never sacrifice your joy in life in a desire to reach a fitness goal. Find the balance. If your life starts revolving around the gym and unhappiness sets in, reevaluate and find what’s really important to you.
  3. Be more open- What is it about our current social media-obsessed society that has trained us to only reveal a highly edited version of ourselves to the world while we fail to actually open up to anyone? I used to be one of the most reclusive people I had ever met. However, finding love and genuine friends helped me start breaking through my shell. I still struggle being open sometimes, even with those closest to me. Sometimes its out of fear and sometimes it’s just out of habit. Either way, this year I plan on focusing on being open.
  4. Travel every chance that I have– Being the Traveling Brunette I obviously thrive on traveling. I honestly think that I will go insane if I stay in one place for too long. So this year, I really want to focus on traveling, even if that’s just a weekend trip to the state right next to me. There’s something about even the slightest change of scenery that is truly revitalizing to the soul.
  5. Finally, shower others in love- In 2017, I was full of toxic energy due to constant comparison with others, refusal to release the past, and feelings of jealousy. When you hold onto those toxic energies for so long, it truly poisons your mind and body. I became so sick and it has taken me a long time to recover and for what? What did I actually gain from any of that comparison and refusal to forgive? Absolutely nothing and I never would have. So, this year my final resolution is to finally let go of that negativity and just radiate love. I know it will still be difficult sometimes but honestly it is so unbelievably freeing to love, even if others may not deserve it. Do it for you.

I wish you all the very best of luck with your 2018 resolutions and I can’t wait to share this wonderful new year with you!

Happy New Year, everyone!

-Traveling Brunette