Operation: Back To Brianna

Oh hey there! It has been a minute!

I have been thinking about this little website of mine for quite some time now, and I have felt called to bring it back. I don’t think it’s an accident that the word “resurrection” has been on my mind seeing how it is almost Easter, and resurrecting this blog is exactly what I want to do.

It takes me back to my roots. The place I started creating content online in the first place. I feel called now more than ever to look back on things I used to do in an effort to spark something in me that I feel hasn’t quite been there lately.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been trying. For the last 2 years, heck, maybe even since I moved to Minnesota I’ve been trying. No matter what I try, I find myself burnt out and not finding what I’m clearly searching for, and the more I try, the quicker it happens.

I honestly believe that I’m languishing. Have you seen that article? The one that came out at the end of 2021 after we’ve been knee-deep in this pandemic for longer than we anticipated? Here’s an excerpt that pretty much sums it up.

At first, I didn’t recognize the symptoms that we all had in common. Friends mentioned that they were having trouble concentrating. Colleagues reported that even with vaccines on the horizon, they weren’t excited about 2021. A family member was staying up late to watch “National Treasure again even though she knows the movie by heart. And instead of bouncing out of bed at 6 a.m., I was lying there until 7, playing Words with Friends.

It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing.

Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.

NY Times Article

This pretty much sums up what I’ve been dealing with perfectly. It’s not depression, but it certainly isn’t good. The more time passes, the longer uncertainty and craziness goes on all around the world, the more I feel called to figure out how to pull myself out of it. The Instagram post I wrote the other day sums up where my head is at.

So…what now?

Read more

I Tried Weight Watchers Personal Points

Wow… it has been over a YEAR since I last posted on this little blog! 😬 Today feels like a great day to post something special:

In case you missed it, I am now 1 exam away from having 4 different nutrition certifications. I’ve spent the last year learning all about calories, nutrition, macros, and the healthy, sustainable way to lose fat and keep it off!

I tried the new WW Personal Points plan just as an experiment. I wanted to see if, using the knowledge I have now, could I stay on track on this new WW plan and still hit what would be healthy sustainable fat loss macros.

The experiment was technically a success, but going back to a WW plan after all of this time definitely brought up some feelings as well. I filmed a whole video of my experiment.

Since this blog was a place of WW content for so long, it felt right to share it here.

If you somehow still manage to find this little place on the internet, thank you so much for being here. Spoiler alert: I want to resurrect this blog in the new year, so hang tight.

xoxo,

Brianna

October 2020 Goals

It is the final quarter of 2020! Can I get a HALLELUJAH??

Anyway, welcome to October! A new month means new goals, but a new quarter in my Cultivate What Matters Powersheets means it’s also time to refresh my big picture goals for the year. So here’s the thing, I didn’t so much as refresh them as I did scrap them and start fresh.

Don’t judge me. It’s 2020…

Here are my 8 refreshed goals for the last quarter:

  • Complete my nutrition certification course
  • Marriage goals: Have 2 outings for dates (apple picking, etc) as 2020 turned most of our date nights into ordering in and doing things at home. This is fine and dandy, but a little bit of change would be nice.
  • Health goals: Complete a cut (period of being in a calorie defict for fat loss) and reverse diet into maintenance mode. End 2020 in maintenance.
  • Diva and the Divine: Upload 2 videos & 1 blog post each week from now until the end of the year. Set up my 2021 content planner. Learn how to implement a Batch Week for content creation.
  • Home: Declutter my office and do a kitchen/pantry audit.
  • Music: Become proficient at 2 songs on the piano and actually read through 2 theater books on my theater shelf
  • Personal Development: Reading, become a “finisher” (use up my skincare, things in the pantry, etc)
  • Spirituality: Daily devotionals and prayer time.

I’ve simplified, but accomplishing these goals would be huge for ending 2020 on a high note. Now let’s take a look at my action items for the month of October specifically.

Monthly Action Items

  • Complete chapters 9-13 of my nutrition course
  • Deep clean the office
  • Create my Powersheets content for the 2021 release (coming 10/14! Stay tuned!)
  • Finish my CMT day in the life video
  • Make an eye doctor and PCP appointment
  • Go apple picking
  • Read Girl on Fire
  • Read The Slight Edge
  • Read half of Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix

Weekly Action Items

  • Meal plan/meal prep
  • Upload 2 videos
  • Publish 1 blog post
  • Spend time at the piano
  • Study time
  • Date night

Daily Action Items

  • Meet my macro target daily
  • Get up early and don’t hit snooze
  • Check of at least 80% of my habits on my tracker
  • She Reads Truth Bible study and 100 Days to Brave devotional
  • Read

I’ve kept things super straightforward and simple, and I even left some lines blank. I’m tired of having wild ambitions for my tending sheets and then getting so overwhelmed I don’t do any of it (which happens to me a lot). Instead, I decided to leave a few spaces blank in an effort to cut out overwhelm. I’m doing enough, and I will feel incredible if I can get all of these things accomplished this month.

I’m looking forward to working hard and actually leaving 2020 better than I came into it, despite all of the madness that 2020 brought.

My “Get Pumped” Playlist

Music is a powerful thing. This is a fact I’ve known my entire life and a tool that I don’t use to my advantage nearly as often as I used to. It has the power to make me feel every single emotion, and there are days that if I start down the rabbit hole of listening to specific songs, you can consider me gone the rest of the day because I get wrapped up in all of the joy and wonder that music brings me.

Remind me again why it is so hard for me to sit down to find time to sing?… 🤔

Anyway, one of my favorite ways to use music is as a tool for energy and productivity. The way I do this is with my “get pumped” song or playlist. This list is songs that psych me up and give me the energy I need to conquer the day. Today I wanted to share that with you. These songs bring me joy and a motivational kick in the rear that I need. I use this in the morning to jazz myself up or as a mid-afternoon pickup to dance around for a few minutes to bring the energy back. Either way, it works.

What songs would go on your “get pumped” playlist?

3 Points Plus Sausage Pizza

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A kitchen creation from a die hard pizza fan.  I was really craving pizza the other day, so I looked around my house and found 4 ingredients that make a killer sausage pizza for only 3 Points Plus, and I’m going to share the awesomeness with all of you.

 

Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 Mission Carb Balance soft tortillas (small)
  • Canned tomato sauce
  • 1 oz Fat free shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 a serving (1/4 cup) Jimmy Dean turkey sausage crumbles
  • Spices of your choosing (I used oregano and basil)

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The Points breakdown is 1 Point for the tortilla, 1 Point for the cheese, and 1 Point for the 1/2 serving of sausage.   The tomato sauce and the spices are 0 points 🙂

-Preheat your oven to 400 degrees or so and build your pizza.

-Spray your cookie sheet (or pizza pan) with a little nonstick olive oil spray ( I find it helps crisp the tortilla a bit)

-Once your oven is hot, pop this baby in the oven for 5-7minutes, until the cheese is melted and the tortilla starts to crisp

Then remove and enjoy!

This is a great way for me to curb my pizza craving in an extremely guilt free way.  If you’re craving more, two of these end up totaling 7 points plus.  The two tortillas end up equalling 3 Points Plus.

Delicious!

Song of the Week: Reach (Olympic Theme from 1996)

 

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This week’s song of the week is in honor of the 2014 Winter Olympics starting up.  When I was in Jr. High school, my chorus teacher had us learn the song that was the theme for the 1996 Atlanta’s games. I remember really loving that song, and forgot about it until I was thinking about the Olympics this week.

Check it out on iTunes here

 

 

Food Find: Panera Bread Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl

 

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Major food find here my friends!

Meet the Panera Bread Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl with Roasted Turkey!

Breakfast at Panera will never be a guilty pleasure again, just pure, guilt free pleasure.

This huge bowl starts with a generous serving of warmed fresh spinach with some roasted red peppers tossed in there.  Hello, flavor!  Then you get two servings of their egg whites as well as a nice serving of antibiotic free turkey.  All of this is topped with a pinch of pepper and a delicious basil pesto.

Pair this bad boy with a quality cup off coffee and even the worst mornings will have a little more sunshine.  Delicious, healthy, power food heavy sunshine 🙂

I checked the Points Plus on here and checked again because I didn’t believe what I was seeing.  With only 4.5g of fat, and only 5g carbs, 1 g fiber and 28g of protein (bam! Protein power baby!) this breakfast clocks in at only 4 Points Plus!

Yup..you read that right. 4 Points for this generously sized breakfast at a fast food (ish..I don’t know if Panera is considered “fast” food or somewhere in between) restaurant.

 

It’s delicious, filling, healthy and an amazing food find!

 

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Monthly Favorites: January 2014

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Happy February! I’m going to start up my monthly favorites again!  I’m going to try to keep them from being a huge list, and make sure they contain a variety of things, as opposed to just beauty favorites, because my favorite things are a lot more than what I put on my face 🙂

1. MAC Pro Longwear Foundation and Concealer

I discovered this foundation and concealer thanks to my amazing makeup artist for my wedding, Jacqui.  My skin is one of my biggest insecurities, so I tend to like heavier, stay all day foundations and concealers for days that I need to look good all day long.  This stuff is perfect!  The concealer work great at covering both my blemishes/discoloration and my dark circles, and the foundation looks natural, controls oil, and doesn’t break me out! Hallelujah!  Thank you Jacqui for enlightening me.  Even beauty bloggers need their go-to people 😉  The foundation is $31 for 1 fl oz (comparable to many others I use, so I’m fine with this), and the concealer is $19 for .3fl oz, which is cheaper than what I’ve been using!  Win!  I use the shade NC 15 (apparently I’m more pale than I thought I was).  You can find these wherever MAC is sold; Mac stores, Department stores, and of couse on their website.

2. Eboost Acai Pomegranate Energy Powder

I am hooked on this stuff.  Seriously…and not just because Jillian Michaels is a fan of it either.  Being the caffeine addict that I am, the major sell for me is the 110mg of caffeine (via green tea leaf extract and a bit of green coffee bean too) right in the powder.  I’m used to popping a caffeine pill (200mg..I know, I know, shame on me) but since I’ve had a hard time finding them lately, I decided to give Eboost  a try.  This is a healthier alternative anyway, since there’s also a rather large punch of important vitamins (C, D, B6 and B12, along with other goodies) in addition to my energy boost.  I love the powder because it makes me drink an extra glass of water, tastes delicious, and I get to marvel at the insane hot pink color of my drink.  As you know, I love color! Seriously, the picture above is not an exaggeration.  I’ve found Eboost online and at the Vitamin Shoppe.

3. Teavana White Chocolate Peppermint Rooibos Tea

It’s exactly as it sounds; this tea actually has little shavings of peppermint flavored white chocolate in it.  I bought a little Teavana holiday teas gift set for 75% off when I went to the mall in January, and this happened to be one of the teas in there.  The taste is light, but it is flavored enough where it takes care of killing off my sweet craving.  It’s an excellent rescue on days I want to eat my entire kitchen.  I’m trying to get back into tea drinking again, and this certainly helped jumpstart my desire to do so.  Head to Teavana (or their website) to pick some up before it’s gone.  They now accept Starbucks gift cards!  Awesome!

4. Thomas’ Light Multi Grain English Muffins

With  8g Fiber, 5g protein, and only 100 calories in each of these babies, I have been using them for everything lately.  I love making eggs and spinach, melting cheese on them and making an amazing breakfast sandwich, toasting them up and putting homemade tuna salad on them, or even toasting them and throwing them in my favorite Progresso Hearty Tomato and Parmesan soup.  The possibilities with these are endless (I sprinkled cinnamon on it this morning) and the best part? They’re considered a Weight Watchers power food and are only 3 Points Plus of whole grain, healthy carb goodness.  Find them at your grocery store or the big pack at Sam’s Club.

5. Soap and Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick in Nudist

This has been my most used lip product this month, hands down.  It’s a beautiful pink-beige shade, making my lips look natural, but with a little something more.  The formula is super moisturizing which means it feels wonderful to re-apply throughout the day, and the size and shape of the product makes reapplication really easy and convenient.  This gives the chapstick in my purse a break.  The vanilla flavor is delicious as well.  Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick  is $16 at Sephora.  I got mine in a gift set around Christmas time that had this stick and a full size lip gloss in it for $20, so keep your eyes peeled for any limited edition stuff.

6. “Say Goodbye to Survival Mode” by Crystal Paine

Crystal Paine is the woman behind the blog www.moneysavingmom.com, which helps moms (and non-moms, like me) with finance advice, coupons, and everything in between.  She recently released her book “Say Goodbye to Survival Mode,” and I was so excited that I ordered a copy right away.  The tag of the book is “9 Simple ways to stress less, sleep more, and restore your passion for life.” Now I know that’s what I’m looking for in my current state of super stressed out, striving for superwoman, newlywed whose husband is so busy it’s like I have no husband that I live in right now.  I’m stressed about something (or 6 things…) constantly, and it makes it very difficult to do anything with my days except trying to survive until the next one.  I’m sure that’s how many women feel, moms or not, which is how she got the title for her book.  I’m only halfway done, but I love everything she has to say.  Crystal uses her own story of barely surviving and how she turned her life around to guide her advice to the rest of us.  It’s simple, it’s clearly defined, and I’m sure it works. I haven’t sat down to do the work that it wants me to do yet, but I look forward to having time to do so soon.  Want to check out how to stop living in survival mode?  Check out her book here.

There you have it!  A few of my all time favorite things from January.  February brings the continued chilly weather (the entire country has been having a beast of a winter this year..), the Super Bowl, and Valentine’s day.
What were some of your favorite things this past month?  Comment below and let me know!

Song of the Week: “Let It Go” from Frozen

 

This week’s “Song of the Week” (and the very first of my “Song of the Week Series” is none other than “Let it Go” from Disney’s latest and greatest motion picture “Frozen.”

First of all, Idina Menzel plays the character of Elsa, who sings this song.  Anyone who knows me knows that this is a huge sell for me.  I adore her and long to belt like she can (some days I feel like I’m getting close!).  The scene in the movie has a great message about accepting yourself for who you are, even if you are different, and embracing it rather than trying to hide from it.  Story of my life!

If you’re a Wicked the musical fan, you will notice some striking similarities between Elphaba’s empowering moments and Elsa’s moment here.  In the movie theater with my in-laws and hubby, which was my first exposure to this song, I got that goose bumpy, giddy, emotional fulfillment from a song that I hadn’t felt in quite some time.  It was nice to have that feeling back.

Most of my weekly picks won’t have this long explanation, but I felt this song should, because I love it for so many reasons.

 

Click Here to buy the song on iTunes

 

 

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Create Your Amazing Year: Life + Biz Workbook Review

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As you know, for 2014 resolutions I got pretty big on goal setting and improving myself.  I happened to stumble upon this book thanks to someone in an Erin Condren fan group with me and was intrigued.  I decided to dive in further and discovered the author, Leonie Dawson, has this entire website and list of products geared specifically toward women and helping them set and meet their goals.  Needless to say I was intrigued, so I decided that (after reading tons of positive review and thanks to an Amazon gift card I had) I would pick up the “2014 Create Your Amazing Year Workbook.

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Right off the bat you can see the unique text and the bright colors.  It is like this the entire book! There are fun doodles, lots of colors and some things that even look handwritten, which definitely makes this more of a workbook/journal than some mechanical feeling goal setting textbook.  I am a huge fan of color, so this was a really fun thing to discover.

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Now let’s dive right in.  I got the book that combined the Life workbook and the business workbook, but each of these can also be purchased separately as downloadable PDFs which you can write in on your computer or print out and bind yourself.  I went with the print edition because I like to go all-in like that, and my husband would kill me if I decided to print an entire book in color from our printer.

First up was the life planner.  You start off with a “Celebrating 2013” ritual and work through a few pages reflecting on last year. Some of the things it asks are:

  • What beautiful things did I learn about myself in 2013?
  • I let go of…
  • What beautiful lessons did you learn?
  • What do you need to share/rant/express about to feel COMPLETE about 2013?

and so many more.  She really gets you to sit and reflect on the year you had, both good things and bad, but even the bad things are spun in a very positive way.

After you reflect you consider 2013 done and now it’s time to move on.

Then we move into 2014 with her first question asking what you want to experience this year, and following along those lines she asks how you want to feel, what you want to experience and everything in between.  Basically this allows us to think of our goals in a different way.  Usually when people set goals like “make more money” or “lose 25 pounds” they don’t put it in terms of “I want to feel successful” or “I want to experience feeling comfortable in my own skin.”  I think that imagining the emotions and feelings and experiences help excite and motivate to reach the goal that will get you there.

 

I think my favorite pages in the whole book is the list “100 things to do in 2014”

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Thats literally all it is; 3 pages with a list of 100 blank lines (all written in different, fun colors) with a few adorable doodles mixed in.  Leonie emphasizes that these things can be “silly, fun, joyful, big, creative..” and I’m striving to do just that.  I don’t want to sit and make a list of 100 major resolutions like “get back in shape” and “go to the gym 6 days a week.”  Those are great, but a list of 100 items like that would be a little much. The first thing I wrote on my list was ” 1. Drink a fancy latte.”  You know, those beautiful, photo worthy lattes with the foam art on the top?  I’ve never had one, and being the coffee addict that I am, I SHOULD have one.  So that’s one thing I want to do this year.  A few other things on my list:

  • Have a for real Harry Potter weekend (watch all 8 movies)
  • Complete a planner (rather than using it for a month and letting it gather dust the other 11)
  • Try a Pure Barre class
  • diet down a new baking recipe
  • Try the Advocare Herbal Cleanse (currently in progress)

Sure, some of these things (like complete a planner) are larger, but in general I’m shooting for experiences, and littler goals that would be a great thing to do this year.  I have only managed to fill out 17 so far (I figured as ideas come throughout the year, I’ll add them to the list).  I want your opinion, friends; what should I add to my list of 100 things?

Moving on..  Leonie then has you writing things like a “List of things to do when things get sucky” and affirming messages, and planning some ritual days. Then she has you set goals for in each typical goal eating category:

  • Financial
  • Body
  • Business
  • Creative
  • Persona
  • Family/Friends
  • Spiritual
  • Etc…

There are also several pages with her own mantras, ideas, and advice tossed around in the mix, including instructions on how to create some of her most used resources.  There’s talk and reflection on habits and time management (how you’d like to spend your time versus how you actually spend it) and so much more, This workbook is literally filled with goal setting gold, but it doesn’t intimidate you as you do it.  I found it fun and relaxing to sit down and work through this book. It gives you an amazing way to think about and write down what you really want to get out of life this year.

The Biz (Business) Edition is laid but very much the same way.  The difference here is rather than focusing on your life as a whole, you focus solely on your business.  You do the 2013 closing ceremony the same sort of way, and then she walks you through your vision for your business as well as specific goals (how many Twitter followers do you want? How many new products will you release or new posts will you make? etc..).

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Bottom line: I think the 2014 Create Your Amazing Year Life + Biz Workbook is a fun, colorful, laid back and productive tool to help women plan the amazing year ahead.  I thoroughly enjoyed working my way through this book, and plan on looking back at it, referring to it, and adding things often.  It’s purpose is to be a productive tool in helping you make your dreams come true and help you meet your goals.  Anything that can help keep me motivated past January (which is why I got a beautiful, slightly pricy but amazing Erin Condren Life Planner..read about that here) is a good thing, and I think this will help me do just that!

Want to get your hands on a Create Your Amazing Year Workbook?  Go ahead and click here and you can browse the options for yourself.  There are 4 different ways to get your hands on a workbook.  You can buy the PDF ebook and print it out for the Life Edition ($9.95), the Biz Edition ($9.95), both together ($17.90 10% savings!) or you can get the printed and bound version that I have which is on Amazon for around $30 (I think I got mine for $27).  As I said, I guess you can type right on the ebook format if you don’t want to print it out, but personally I’m a big fan of dolling it up with colored pens and doodles of my own 🙂

Disclaimer: I purchased this product on my own (thanks to a gift card from work) and all thoughts and opinions are my own.