Not only is homemade breakfast müsli delicious, but it also keeps me full and focused throughout the morning. I have been asked about this recipe a few times, so I figured I would share it with you all today! ☺️
What is müsli even? Besides a word with a weird looking u? Müsli is a breakfast food with raw oats at the core. What else goes into it is up to you. Nuts, seeds, cornflakes, granola clusters, whatever your heart desires! It is a popular breakfast food here in Germany and is easily found in the supermarket or just as easy to make yourself.
But what makes müsli my go-to breakfast?
It is very versatile. As someone who loves sweet, but healthy, breakfast foods, I can make this to my liking. Which is why I like using maple syrup to create some oat clusters and cocoa nibs for a touch of chocolatey goodness. But, if someone is keener on savory breakfast food, then they can easily add in nuts or seeds instead! You can also serve it several ways. With almond milk is my favorite, but you can also mix it with greek yogurt, quark, kefir or any other yogurt of choice.
It is quick and easy to make and prepare. Making a batch takes at the most, 30 minutes. On a daily basis, it takes about 3 minutes to prepare. I love overnight oats, but I always forget to prep them the night before. Müsli is quick to prepare and definitely tastes just as good.
It gives me energy and satisfies my hunger. My biggest problem with an always-on-the-go lifestyle is I am always hungry! 🙈One second I am sitting content in the library studying, the next second it sounds as if an earthquake hit because I am hungry… So I am always on the hunt for foods that keep me fuller longer, but give me energy! Müsli is perfect for that, for me! I learned that carbs are what I need to consume early on in the day to feel full and energized and oats hit the spot.
So müsli is obviously great, but why don’t I just buy it at the store?
I did for quite some time! But there is one thing sweet breakfast foods all have in common… lots and lots of sugar. While my recipe is by no means sugar-free, I do have several great whole ingredients that balance it out and I do not have to fall victim to the brutal mid-morning crash.
I also have a sensitive stomach in the sense that I bloat very easily. I find that when I prepare food myself and know exactly what it contains that I have far fewer issues. This is definitely a personal preference. I like to be aware of what my food is made out of and prefer my trusted ingredients.
No matter what, I prefer my homemade müsli over store bought because I can make it exactly to my liking! Typically, I just toss in my ingredients and use my eyes to measure, but I got out some measuring cups this time! This batch will easily last me 4 weeks. I use my handy-dandy portion fix container from my meal plan to portion it out every morning, cut up a banana, and pour over some almond milk.
Just like that, I have a delicious, filling, and healthy breakfast to start the day! 😋I hope that you enjoy this recipe. Let me know if you try it or create your own based off of it! Guten Appetit!
Just about 2 weeks ago I went on a 5ish day trip to Hamburg, Germany and I liked it so much that I did not want to leave!
This trip has a little backstory! For those of you who do not know, I was born in Hamburg, Germany and lived there until I was 5 years old. After that, my family moved to the Michigan and 4 years ago we moved to Stuttgart! Throughout 17 years since we moved away from Hamburg we have been there sporadically to visit our dear former neighbor, Mosi. But I was still far too young or the trip was far too quick for me to get an impression of the city from where I come from. Since we have been back in Germany Mosi always said I was welcome to come visit, but I never found the right time… until now! In early September I texted her and asked her how the month looked for her and within a few hours, my train tickets were booked!
Today, I wanted to relive my trip with you, so let’s go!
If you just want to see all of my raw, unedited photos, check out this album!
Wednesday, September 27th – DAY ONE!
When my alarm went off at 5 a.m., I was less than enthusiastic to get up, but I had a 5.5-hour train ride ahead of me, so it was really important to me to get in a quick HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout 💪🏼 Afterwards, I showered, got ready, ate breakfast, and finished packing! I was out the door by 8:15 with a backpack and suitcase in tow. Off I go to catch the bus to the local train station. From there I took the subway to Stuttgart’s main train station and then got onto the high-speed ICE (intercity express) train to Hamburg, Germany!
I arrived in Hamburg at about 2:30 and Mosi was already on the platform waiting for me! Our first step was the visitors center in Hamburg’s main train station to get a public transportation ticket for the next couple of days. Hamburg has what is called the “Hamburg Card” which allows you to use all public transport in Hamburg’s network (which is huge). It is geared toward tourists as it also gives you several discounts on local museums, sight-seeing tours, among several other things. 10/10 recommend picking up on of those tickets for your own Hamburg trip!
We spent the rest of the day taking it easy. We went and got a bite to eat, went grocery shopping and spent the evening planning what all we wanted to do in the next couple of days. Prior to the trip, I did spend quite a bit of time on Pinterest getting inspiration of what I wanted to see on my visit. But, I totally relied on Mosi to show me everything that she found necessary. When I was little she would take me along to visit her mom, run errands, or I just spent a ton of time in her apartment! She knew everything that I did back then, thus she knew what places we needed to visit.
After a long day of travel, I was zonked but excited for the coming adventures! It was time to catch some shut-eye! 😴
Thursday, September 28th – DAY TWO!
At 8:30 I heard Mosi starting a pot of coffee in the kitchen and peeled myself out of the cozy covers and joined her in the kitchen. She was already preparing the breakfast spread – jam, lox, crabs (can you tell I was visiting a port city), meat, cheese, and toast. We had a long day ahead of us and had a lovely hearty breakfast, got ready for the day and out the door we were!
On today’s agenda: Speicherstadt, Elbphilharmonie, Miniature Wunderland.
The Speicherstadt is the world’s largest and historic warehouse district. It is a series of brick buildings situated at the side of several canals that served as transportation for goods until the container was introduced in the 1950’s. Nowadays, the Speicherstadt is UNESCO World Heritage, home to offices, hotels, shops, museums among other things!
Our first stop was the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg’s most controversial construction site in the past several years. Construction finally came to an end earlier this year. The result? An incredible piece of architecture formed to look like waves or a hoisted sail. A perfect fit for Hamburg as it is a vital waterway and port city! Visitors do not have to pay anything to go to the viewing platform and see the foyer. But for the concert halls itself, well good luck getting tickets 😂
After that, we spent the morning wandering through all of the buildings until we made it to the Wasserschloss, a favorite photo motif! First, we had a delicious lunch with a great pot of fruit tea in the Wasserschloss and afterward, it was time to get the shot that I had been dreaming of!
From there we walked back to one of Germany’s most famous sights, the Miniatur Wunderland, translated “miniature wonderland”. And it is exactly that. It is home to the worlds longest model train railway and is built within the buildings of the Speicherstadt. It is such an impressive place to visit. The people behind it do not skip a single detail. Whether it’s being able to push a button to watch little German men raised their beer steins or finding the couple having sex in the middle of a sunflower field… it is all there in the tiniest form possible! Landscapes of several countries have been interpreted in miniature form, they have created their own imaginary country, have a model airport, and also a few historical elements.
After walking through the Miniatur Wunderland for a few hours, we faced the 55ish degree, cloudy weather covering Hamburg and walked through several streets before hopping back onto the bus to head home to spend the evening chatting, eating, and laughing.
Friday, September 29th – DAY THREE!
Hamburg is known for not having the best weather. Rain and clouds are common and I came entirely prepared for cooler, fall, wet weather. But, we were checking the weather app frequently and praying for the weather to hold up. The forecast for Friday called for sun, but it was not until I woke up to spots of blue sky poking through that I believed I would actually have a sunny day in Hamburg! We had another hearty breakfast, got ready and headed to the Landungsbrücken, translated “landing bridges”, of the Hamburg harbor.
The first sight of the day was the Old Elbe Tunnel. The main waterway through Hamburg is the Elbe River. There is a tunnel that connects one side of Hamburg to the other that runs underneath the river! Nowadays there is a “new” tunnel where you only notice that you are driving under the river if you read the signs. This is the tunnel we take when we drive to Sylt! But, the old tunnel is still in use. It is special because drivers, bikers, and pedestrians take an elevator down, go through the tunnel and on the other end get in an elevator to go back up. The tunnel is beautifully tiled and seemingly endless.
We took the steps down and found ourselves in a perfectly tiled, seemingly endless tunnel. We walked a bit and turned back around as we did not have plans for the other side of the Elbe River, and took the elevator back to daylight. ☀️
Being that Hamburg is a very water-rich city, they actually have a ferry system built into their public transportation system! How cool is that?! We hopped on one of the ferries and it was almost like a tour of the entire harbor as we floated (at a pretty dang good speed) past the famous Hamburg Fish Market, Dockland, modern ship loading ports and more. We got off at Övelgönne, which is a harbor for museum ships! Here you can either look at the dock or board some of the ships and explore them on your own. We went on the Stettin, an icebreaker that was built in 1933 and calls the museum port home!
After exploring the ship, we found a restaurant serving Apple Strudel and couldn’t resist. Mosi and I both LOVE to eat! We ended up walking back a good part of the route that we had taken with the ferry earlier, all the way to the Dockland. The Dockland is “just” an office building. Architecturally though, it is built to look and feel like a ship. You can take the stairs up all the way to the rooftop, which I did, in order to get one heck of a great view of Hamburg. Dockland is also one of the ferries stops, so we hopped back on it to get back to the Landungsbrücken before heading into the Portuguese Quarter of Hamburg for a late lunch of grilled fish.
After a very tasty late lunch, we were off to the Krameramtstuben and the St. Michaelis Church. The Krameramtstuben are among the oldest residential homes in Hamburg. Back in the day, a guild for grocers built these apartments for the widows of deceased grocers as an incentive for them to leave the shops in order to welcome new members into the guild. Now, they are home to tourist shops and restaurants. One apartment remains in original condition though and serves as a museum. It was eye-opening to see how little it was and having to imagine those little old women living there many years ago.
The St. Michaelis Church is one of 5 churches who’s steeple marks the sky of Hamburg. It is the most famous of the churches and is most definitely a landmark to visit. Not only is the inside of the church beautiful, but the view from the top of the tower was incredible! And since the weather was so good, it was perfectly clear! For a peek at its distastefull thanksgiving decor, though, take a peek at my photos!
After leaving the church, it was time to get back onto the bus and zip through the streets of Hamburg and head back home. It was the most beautiful day that I could have asked for!
Saturday, September 30th – DAY FOUR!
I woke up to the pitter patter of rain and was bummed that the lovely weather disappeared so quickly. But like my mom says, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!” We had another wonderful breakfast and quickly got ready because it was time to go grocery shopping! And on a Saturday, that means heading to the grocery store AND the farmers market!
My first order of business: find the juice bar! Trips and abnormalities often cause my body to feel run down. Knowing this, I made it a priority to dress for the weather every day and get enough sleep. But, a fresh pressed juice surely wasn’t a bad idea. I walked into Mad About Juice and quickly set my eyes on “lemon boost”, a juice made of lemon, mint, spinach, and apples. It was SO good and definitely gave my body the boost it needed. Off to the grocery store!
After getting the few groceries we needed, it was off to the farmers market! Fresh veggies, fresh fruit, fresh fish, fresh flowers – you name it, it was there. It was the most beautiful farmers market I have been too and it was so fun meandering through!
We made a quick pit stop at home to stow away the groceries. The forecast called for rain, so we dressed appropriately and headed back out!
The first stop was the Chilehaus, a building built in the 1960’s to replicate a ship. It is an impressive piece of architecture and certainly does have many ship like aspects to it! Sadly, it started raining on us as we stood admiring it. At the same time, we both agreed it was time to find somewhere to eat. Just around the corner, we found an Asian restaurant! There were almost only Asians eating there, so we figured the food must be authentic and gave it a shot. The food was AMAZING! So good that I totally overate, but I loved every single bite. Now we were ready to continue to the town hall and the Alster!
The Hamburg Rathaus (town hall) is a majestic piece of architecture situated near the Alster. Its construction was completed in the late 1800’s after the original town hall burnt down in the 1840’s. Sadly there were no tours being offered, so we could only go into the main foyer. But I presume that that was only a snippet of the beauty contained in this amazing building!
We wandered the streets of Hamburg and in and out of shops for a while. As the second largest city in Hamburg, it is also home to all of the stores a girl could want. Chanel, Lululemon, Apple, Calvin Klein, just to name a few. We went into several stores, but I did not buy a thing (even though I totally wanted too)! Being a frugal college student is beneficial sometimes!
From our window shopping, we walked to the Jungfernstieg, which is a docking spot for several tours of the Alster. The Alster is a tributary of the Elbe and runs through the midst of Hamburg, which I love! There were so many people rowing, sailing, paddle boarding or boating even on a cool cloudy day! But this also gives this hustling city such a lovely vibe. Something very important to me is living in a place near water and nature. Hamburg definitely fulfills that all while having everything such a large city has to offer!
We took one of the Alster ferries to the dock closest to home and from there we decided to go sit in a cafe. We ended up at Kafaya’s, a cafe we visited in May when we stopped in Hamburg to meet Mosi for breakfast. It is the cutest little corner cafe! It is so cozy and certainly serves all of the food and sweet treats that my heart loves. I don’t think any Hamburg trip will be complete until I stop by there! 😋
And from there, we headed home for the night and spent the evening watching movies and chatting!
Sunday, October 1st – DAY FIVE!
My last full day in Hamburg… it was cloudy as I woke up, but cleared up into the most beautiful day! Mosi’s sister came over for brunch and then we took a nice walk in Hamburg’s beautiful city park. There were people running, biking, playing soccer, walking their dogs and even playing QUIDDITCH!
We took a loop around the playground that I used to frequent and on our way home we stopped for coffee and cake. After bidding Mosi’s sister farewell, we went home and spent the afternoon quietly enjoying some rest. In the evening Mosi cooked us up fish and potatoes and then we had a great fruit salad. Balance people 😉We spent our last evening together watching cheesy TV romance movies and Germany’s Ninja Warrior until well past midnight. It was great.
Monday, October 2nd – DAY SIX!
For my final morning in Hamburg, the weather expressed exactly how I was feeling. It was raining cats and dogs. My train left at 11:30 so we had plenty of time for one last breakfast together. Before I could even get on the bus to the train station, an important stop had to be made. My dad would be SO sad if I did not bring him home fresh Franzbrötchen. These are a sweet pastry, sort of like a croissant, made with butter and cinnamon. They are delicious and 4 just had to make the trip home with me.
Off onto the bus to the main train station we go. The train came, Mosi and I bid each other farewell, but have a big to-do list made for my next visit, already. The ride home was easy and relaxing. I had gotten a sandwich at the bakery and also had to eat one of the Franzbrötchen along the way.
Upon arriving in Stuttgart I ran to make the regional train. My mom was waiting for me when I got to our town so I did not have to walk home in the rain. Right after getting into the car I told her that I would lie to my dad when I got home and tell him that I ended up not having the Franzbrötchen anymore, knowing that would devastate him. And it did… I told him I gave them away to hungry travelers on the train and he was sad and I think he actually believed me… until I pulled them out of my backpack. That was my last chance to even grab a bit because by the next day they were gone! 😅
My trip to Hamburg was unforgettable. It was so lovely getting to know the city that I am from better. Especially with Mosi since she toted me around as a child and knew exactly where my little feet had walked before. I so look forward to my next trip there, whenever it will be. For now, I will continue to peruse my photos, that I have put in an album for you all to see here and continue to dream about this magical place. All of the photos are raw and unedited! And for my favorite snapshots, be sure to follow my personal Instagram and for all things life-related, follow my “blog” Instagram!
Hamburg, you have my heart! I hope you enjoyed taking this trip with me! ❤️
It’s been a hot minute since I have posted… 😬I figured there is no better time than now to give you a little life update! Nothing crazy is going on, but enough to keep me rather busy and fighting for balance in life!
This year has been very different. Not bad different, but different enough that it has thrown me for a loop at times. Finding balance is something I am still working on!
The biggest change this year has been starting at a new university! I posted in my previous life update I gave you the low down as to why. But I have been really liking it! The school is great, the people are kind, and I just feel a lot more comfortable there. At the same time, it is challenging, which duh… it is university! I finished my first semester in July and while several grades are still not posted, I do have a relatively good feeling about things!
The biggest change at my new university was realizing that I have time to have a life outside of studying! So, I quickly decided to look for a job. I spent the whole semester searching but did not end up being successful until July. I took a job as a receptionist at a marketing agency, but life had some other plans for me.
First of all, I badly sprained my ankle the weekend before my third week at this job. The sprain forced me to stay home for a week, which was not at all what I wanted to do. Then, in week four, I got a job offer from a different company. I was forced to be selfish and make a pro-con list for both jobs, and in the end, the job offer won. Thus, I had to have the uncomfortable 2 weeks notice conversation with my boss. Thankfully, she was very understanding, along with the rest of my coworkers. I preceded to work at that job for the new 2-3 weeks and in the days before my last day… I got sick.
Never before have I felt SO uncomfortable to have had my body fail me twice within such a short period of time! Of course, everyone was super understanding and reassured me that life happens, but I was really disappointed in myself to leave such an impression at a place I worked at for such a short period of time. I did not do this on purpose, obviously, but I still felt awkward! Thankfully, there were no hard feelings whatsoever and I left that job on great terms with everyone. I have since started my new job!
It is a Corporate Communications job at a publishing house. My tasks vary from social media to blogging and other communications tasks. It is super challenging, but I think this is exactly what I need right now. I needed a little push out of my comfort zone. The team is small but fun, and I do really think that I have a lot of growth potential in this role and look forward to all of the challenges I will experience there!
I also continue to be a virtual health and fitness coach! It is a great way to hold me accountable, but I also love that I can help others make healthy life changes or help them start their own business too! It is such a flexible job since all I need is my computer and some small chunks of time throughout the day. Which is great, because I am doing a little traveling before my semester break is over!
Next week, I will be visiting Hamburg, Germany for about 5-6 days! This is actually where I was born. We moved away when I was 5, so I do know the city at all! I will be visiting our old neighbor and she is going to show me the city. It will be good to get away from Stuttgart for a little bit and get to know the place I am from better. I also would love to go to the Black Forest for a few days. I will have to see what time will allow me, but I am very keen on exploring a little bit before the craziness begins again.
Otherwise, I am looking forward to a fun fall/winter! I have a few other weekend trips that I would like to take and Jonathan is planning on being here for Christmas. And… if I can scratch lots of pennies together, I will be joining him in New Zealand in February for his work conference.
What does all of this mean for the blog? Well, be prepared for some travel related blog posts coming up soon! I also have some recipes that I will be sharing soon, and otherwise, I want to hear from you! What would you like to see more of? I tend to overthink this whole blogging thing way too much and create my own writer’s block through the pressure I put on myself! So, I am trying to alleviate the pressure a bit and want to focus on creating fun, interesting, and useful content! So don’t be shy, share what you would like to know more about with me and I will get it out there for you!
Well, ladies and gents… I’m back. I hope you enjoyed a little insight into what has been going on in my life lately! I hope you are all having a great September thus far and are happy and healthy!
Happy Monday, friends! 🤗 For my Americans, I hope that you are having a lovely Labor Day Weekend! I had a nice weekend myself, but am ready to tackle this new week!
Motivation, room tour? How does that fit together?
Well, it is relatively simple. I believe your space is a huge component to your level of motivation. That is why I wanted to share my room with you all today, as I have experienced this space = motivation problem myself.
When my family moved to Germany exactly 4 years ago, we moved into an apartment that was temporary… so we thought. Here we are in the same apartment 4 years later. It is small rather small, but we make the very best of it! 🤗
I have been in and out of this apartment. For about a year, I lived in another city and had my own apartment there and then I spent a long time living with my boyfriend in the states. Upon returning to Germany and switching universities, I moved back in with my parents.
Also, sidenote: Yes, I am 22 years old and I live with my parents. Big whoop. I live a simple 35-minute train ride away from my university and a 25-minute train ride away from work. It would never make financial sense to find myself an apartment in the city center AND for my parents to have an apartment in the area we currently live in.
For the first stretch of time that I lived at home, before moving into my own apartment, I did nothing special to my room. I picked out a new bed and closet that matched. The rest of my furniture came from my bedroom in the states which was very different from what I have here. My desk became a place to pile things on. Laundry, shoes, dishes, you name it. I was just trying to overcome this temporary living situation that we all thought this apartment was.
Then, I moved out into my own space due to my previous university being too far away to commute to. It was little, but it was mine. My mom and I went apartment shopping and my parents helped me set up the apartment, just how I wanted it!
This is when I first noticed how having a space you love around you makes a difference in your productivity and motivation.
Then, I moved to the states for 8 months and lived with my boyfriend in his bachelor pad… While I loved being near him at all times, it was super clear that in the future we need to make some compromises to how we want to decorate. The darkness of his house was super cozy which led to me never being super productive at home, plus it hindered me from creating the content I wanted to because the bright, natural light was missing.
This resulted in me really wanting to create my space upon moving back home. And that is exactly what I did!
Immediately, your eyes are drawn to my bed. It is a full-size bed with 4 drawers underneath for storage. Then, you see my workspace and sitting area.
My bed sets the tone for the room. It is white, but also has the natural wood elements that you will see throughout. The “box” you see at the foot of my bed is my hamper, within which I can presort my clothes for laundry day.
The bedside area is home to my IKEA shelf, all of my binders, and other random things. The stuffed animals on top have followed me throughout various stages of my life and are too special to stick into a box. My TV had no other home, but the window sill. It is also not properly hooked up, so all I can do is watch DVD’s, which is actually super handy!
Next up, my workspace. My desk is where all of the magic happens. Whether I am studying, blogging, doing my health & fitness coach duties, or just a sudoku puzzle, this is where I sit! My dad built it to sit on top of 2 filing cabinets which house all of my knick-knacks and paperwork.
The desktop itself is usually pretty clean and I try to make it pleasing to the eye. A monthly calendar that I downloaded from emmastudies.com lists all of my to-dos. The postcards on the wall all contain motivational quotes and the succulents give the desk some life. And I would not be able to work without plenty of writing utensils, especially my Stabilo pens!
MY SITTING AREA
When I moved into my apartment, my mom suggested we find a chair for me, as my apartment was too small for a couch. And we found this lovely wing chair! It is SO comfortable (I am sitting in it right now) and cozy. I can just reach up to the shelf above me and get some reading material, or I can grab something from my desk to work on as well. I have a power strip right between my chair and my desk that keeps all of my electronics charged and ready to go.
MY “GET READY” SPACE
What you don’t see right away when you walk into my room are my wardrobe and vanity! My wardrobe matches my bed and my vanity was a gift from my grandparents, several years ago. All of my clothes are in my wardrobe and the top of the wardrobe is great for some extra storage, even though it looks kind of cluttered.
My vanity is home to the majority of my beauty products. The stool I sit on it actually the ottoman for my chair. My grandpa made me a matching stool for it, but I needed something that could slide under the vanity when I wasn’t sitting there and a way that the ottoman would not be in the way in front of my chair – and it just so happened to work out perfectly!
YOUR SPACE = YOUR MOTIVATION?
Yes, my friends, it does. If you do not feel good in your space, I doubt you will be cranking out tons of great work. And when you feel good in your space, I find that it is easier for me to concentrate on the task at hand.
I also believe you need to reevaluate your space often. Working in your room can provide a lot of distractions, so it can be helpful to find a café nearby or a library to work in as well. Creating the right atmosphere with the proper decor, good playlist, and some snacks to keep you full enable you to be super motivated and productive to check off all of your to-dos!
Especially to those of you who are just moving into your new space for the fall term, take some time to create the right vibe for you to get the most work done. It may seem like you are over-doing it, but I promise, it will make you feel 10x more comfortable and motivated!
What is one change you can make to your room to help up your level of motivation?
Bye, bye classic beautiful watches and hello to sporty, little technological wonders that measure every fiber of your being.
Since Christmas, I am one of those people who have traded in my nice watches for this little powerhouse of a fitness tracker, specifically, the Fitbit Charge 2. But, is it really worth the hype? Keep on reading for my honest opinion!
A fitness tracker falls into the category of wearables and it needs to be exactly that – wearable! At about 3/4 of an inch wide, the Fitbit Charge 2 is chunky, but not nearly as large and chunky as other trackers on the market. The wristband with which the tracker comes is made of a flexible, sporty rubber. You can choose what color you prefer, but any additional bands, say a leather or metal wristband is to be purchased separately.
The first couple of days of wearing my Fitbit it felt chunky and awkward. The heart rate sensor is a little deeper and is meant to push into your skin and that felt uncomfortable. BUT, after 4-5 days, I was totally used to it! I learned to wear it a little tighter when working out and to loosen it a notch afterward. Keeping it clean is also really important. I use the clarifying lotion I use on my face to wipe it clean along with the skin typically underneath my Fitbit.
THE VERDICT: it takes getting used to! But after a couple of days, it won’t feel any different than wearing any other watch. Due to the tightness during a workout, you NEED to clean it, which is super easy to do! I love being able to change my wristbands to fit in with my setting. Now, if I am going out or dressing up super nice, then I trade it in for my nicer watches.
The Fitbit Charge 2 has some GREAT features. There are so many that I simply chose my top 5 to share with you!
Step Tracking! I love seeing how many steps I take each day. It is such a simple way to show whether I was active throughout the day, or not!
Exercise Tracking! I really enjoy working out and feeling great afterward for accomplishing it. The exercise tracking feature allows me to track the specific kind of exercise I am doing and it measures everything from the length of the workout to the intensity through the use of the heart rate tracker. This really helps me optimize my workouts and pushes me harder.
Sleep Tracking! If you choose to wear your Fitbit at night, which I do, it tracks your sleep. This has really been eye opening for me as I put my body through a lot with little sleep.
GPS Tracking! My mom and I go on a lot of walks together. We use the GPS Tracking feature in order to measure the distance and save the route that we walked!
Motivation! What I mean by this is that your Fitbit cheers you on, reminds you to move, and celebrates your accomplishments! When you reach your step goal your Fitbit vibrates and shows fireworks on the screen. When you reach certain lifetime milestones you receive fun badges. They’re such little things, but it keeps me moving throughout the day and that is exactly what I want.
THE VERDICT: these are only my 5 favorite features. You can track your weight, food and water intake, heart-rate, go through breathing exercises, join little challenge groups, post in the community, etc. There is so much that you can do with this little guy and I love it!
THE FITBIT APP
To use your Fitbit properly, you need to create an account. This account allows you to see your personal data graphically on the app or online. These portals are very easy to use, are customizable, and quickly sync with your Fitbit.
The one tip for this is to turn off the All-Day Sync feature. This will drain your phone battery to the max. This means that your Fitbit will only sync when you open up the app.
THE VERDICT: the app is very easy to use, simple and streamlined, and allows you to dig deep into your own personal data. I love that it is a one stop shop to see all of your stats without having to dig for them.
Lastly, I thought I would answer some of the questions I had previous to receiving my Fitbit out of my own experience!
Is it worth its price tag?
At about $150 the price is steep. But, I find that it has totally been worth the money (my dear boyfriend did get me this as a Christmas gift). The features are great and I can honestly say I am more active.
Is the Fitbit Charge 2 accurate?
I would say it is about 85%-95% accurate. I have observed inaccuracies with step tracking and sleep tracking. With step tracking, it tends to be more movement tracking sometimes. Say your punching a punching bag, each of those movements are recorded as “steps”. The same is with things like hanging laundry. I am actually not moving my feet, but I am bending down to pick up the next clothing item to hang on the line. With sleep tracking, it seems as if you need to get up and immediately move a fair share for it to understand that you are no longer sleeping. My morning routine involves sitting for 30-60 minutes writing my gratitudes, affirmations, and setting my mind up for a good day. This is done whilst sitting so my “wake-up” time isn’t recorded until 30-60 minutes later when I start my workout.
The inaccuracies do not skew the data dramatically though. So I still think it is a worth while investment!
How long does it hold its charge?
I tend to get about 5 solid days out of my Fitbit. It warns you at 10% battery that the battery is low, but those 10% can hold on for a while. Some of the features, like sleep tracking, do not do that great on that low of a battery though. Heed the warning that the battery is low and charge it before you lose out on some of the features. I do not feel that the charge has worsened over time either.
Does it really make you more active or are you more obsessive?
I was interested in getting a fitness tracker out of pure self-interest in how active I really am. Wearing it daily gave me quite the wake-up call because I realized that I was moving a lot less than I thought. In that sense, my Fitbit has really helped me truly be more active which in turn boosts my happiness.
You can easily get out of hand with tracking your every move though. I simply encourage you to take breaks from wearing it. While I love seeing all of my goals fulfilled at the end of the day, if I have a bad day I won’t allow a silly watch to guilt me into fulfilling them. Since my mom also has one, we often compare our data points. This can really piss me off sometimes, but here too, don’t let it control your life. Use it as the tool it is meant to be and if it’s stressing you out, take a break.
Does the Fitbit Charge 2 qualify as a smart watch?
No, it does not. BUT it does have the ability to vibrate when you get a call, a text, or set a calendar alert. It does not send out smart alerts like Facebook or WhatsApp notifications.
Do I need a small or a large wristband?
This is super hard for me to answer as I have tiny wrists! If possible, go to your local Target or Best Buy and try it on! I think the small is good for the average wrist. There are lots of notches on the band that makes it really easy to adjust. But don’t hold me to it! 🙈
THE FINAL VERDICT | Sooooo should I buy one?🤷🏼♀️
Is being cognizant of your health activities worth $150 to you? Then yes, go for it! The Fitbit Charge 2 is a great tracker for “average” person. There are several other options on the market with higher price tags and more features that cater to competitive athletes and other sports. Those were not relevant to me though. I am very happy with mine and will be wearing it as long as it allows me too!
Do you have a fitness tracker? If so, how do you like it?
And shout out to the best boyfriend for gifting me my Fitbit Charge 2. You rock 😘
Lena Marie 💕
*This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing from these links you will not be charged more or less, I simply receive a small commission. For more information, please see my disclaimer.
You have the choice. The choice to be happy or sad, smile or frown, progress or plateau. Do you realize how powerful having the choice is?
Let’s ease into this.
Not too long ago, I watched an episode of Darren Daily called “Stop Trying to Find Yourself.” I read the title and was offended. I am a 22-year-old college student, what else am I supposed to be doing? But I clicked play anyways and was plastered about how wrong my mindset was. The gist of the video was, you don’t find yourself, you create yourself. This means, that I, Lena Marie, have the choice.
Life is a series of choices. Choices that make and shape us.
This seems like such a “duh” moment, but look into your soul for a second and be honest with yourself. Are you taking the power of having the choice seriously?
I was not.
I find excuses and shove blame onto others or circumstances without even batting an eye. But, what good does this do? The guilt is shoved on those excuses in that moment, but when I understood this lesson, the guilt was so heavy on my shoulders because I realized that I consistently have the choice to overcome something difficult, but instead, I choose the easy way out.
And that is not who I want to be.
I want to be strong, unwavering, and accomplished.
So here are a few examples of how I am taking charge of having the choice in various parts of my life.
Health & Fitness 💪🏼
I LOVE being healthy and fit. It makes me feel amazing and so confident! But, I am SO quick to find excuses in this area of my life.
My body feels tired and sore? Then sounds like I need a rest day. Obviously, you need to listen to your body and know your boundaries. But, I give into the “listen to your body” thing way too fast and use it as an excuse not to get a workout in.
There is chocolate in the cupboard? Well, it’s food too and should not be wasted! Of course, I need to eat the whole bar now! Yes, we deserve a treat from time to time and balance is key, but I regularly go overboard. If it’s in front of me, I eat it instead of practicing self-control.
I choose to take control of my health and fitness habits. Only when I take care of myself, can I take care of others too.
School & Work
After a long hard road of soul searching to understand what I am passionate about I am finally pursuing a media degree. I am lucky enough to have stumbled upon some amazing opportunities that can get me somewhere in life. All too quickly I allow laziness, fear or imaginary stress swoop in and take charge.
YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, oh my! What a welcome distraction to the hard, hard work I am putting in, I deserve a break. And off I go swimming in the black hole of the internet losing precious time that could be spent creating my own little empire. Yes, we all need breaks, but we can choose how long they are and not let them overtake everything. That is why I enjoy the Pomodoro technique and often use it when I am working on difficult tasks.
I recently had to make a tough job choice. Basically, I had to choose between plateau or progress. It was either stay in a role not totally relevant to my future or face the hard conversation of giving 2 weeks notice and take the role that seemed to be full of potential. It was hard, but I chose the latter!
I choose to overcome distractions and excuses when it comes to my educational and professional path. Only then, can I rise to the level of professionalism that I dream of reaching.
Life happens and we have to roll with the punches, but we can choose how to react. And this my friends is where I have the most work to do.
I got a cold and I JUST healed my ankle. I just had a cold! Why me again? Can’t it find someone else to bother? I have to work, I have a to-do list! And boom emotional breakdown. I am the victim of a FREAKING COLD! Obviously, it could be much, much worse. But instead of accepting the situation, I chose to be the victim.
Time is never on my side. I get up early enough and all of a sudden I have to leave in ten minutes! I’m still just wearing a towel, my hair is sopping wet, I didn’t eat breakfast, I don’t have a lunch ready and CRAP, I need to get gas! Poor me, why me?! Ugh, why does this always happen to ME?! Again, I am the victim. Hadn’t I chosen to watch all of my Snapchat stories, scroll my entire Facebook feed and take a long shower, none of this would have happened.
I choose not to be the victim. Again, life happens and we have to roll with the punches, but we can choose how to react. I choose to react with positivity, even when it’s super hard.
A phrase that has quickly become one of the most powerful in my vocabulary. On this Monday, I want to empower you to make the choice to become who you want to become. Definitely, listen to the words of others along the way, but most importantly, listen to your heart. Your life is in your hands and in your hands alone. Let this serve as a nudge to get out there and chase your dreams.
Pardon me if I am the bearer of bad news, but it’s Monday! I doubt I am the only one waking up with the Monday blues this morning. BUT, I do know that I can make today a great day. And step one to doing that is getting organized.
Exactly that is what I am here to talk to you about today! Whether you are headed back to school for the fall term, in need of overcoming the pile of work on your desk or just feeling lost within the day to day to-dos… I have your back!
There are 3 steps to getting organized. Yes, just 3. Follow them and you will be on the path to being the most organized person on the block!
STEP 1: Find your method.
Are you a lover of the digital age? Or do you love the feeling of a pen rolling over paper? Or do you prefer a mix of both? Whatever you like, choose it and stick with your method!
In today’s highly digital world, there are SO many great organizational tools at your fingers tips, literally. Whether it’s Apple or Google’s version of Calendars, they are both intuitive and sync among devices. The same goes for apps such as Evernote. You can create notes, checklists, vision boards, and much more that you can sync and easily have access to on your computer or phone.
We also are in the midst of the era of bullet journaling and creating the perfect planner. Whether you purchase the classic Leuchtturm 1917 notebook to create your own bullet journal or configure your own Erin Condren planner, get a pen that you love and use it!
Or, do a combination of digital and paper. I personally fit into this category myself! For events and appointments, I use my Calendar app on my iPhone. It is just easier for me than carrying a notebook around everywhere, let alone writing every event in it! But, when it comes to my to-dos, a notebook and nice pen need to be at my disposal.
Point is, pick a method and stick to it. If you notice that you might be better off with another method, then switch it! But don’t waste your time pimping out your new bullet journal if you will never touch it again.
STEP 2: Brain dump.
Ok, you have your method chosen, right? Now it is time to dump the contents of your brain. Chances are you are are either running around like a chicken with its head cut off, or you are close to it. All of the things you have to remember are driving your crazy!
This is the perfect time to sit down with your notebook, laptop, or both and start jotting everything down. I find this the most relaxing exercise ever! Slowly, my mind clears up, but at the same time, I still have all of those thoughts captured.
Figure out a way to categorize your thoughts. How do they belong together? For me, I categorize my to-do’s into school, work, coaching, blogging, and life! Several little categories help me not get overwhelmed! This is about finding what’s right for you. So, maybe one big list is all you need!
STEP 3: Make it a habit.
Ok, step 1 and 2 have been fairly simple, right? Well here comes the doozy. Making this a habit… This is your make it or break it moment. There are plenty of studies of how long it takes to make something a habit, but here is my advice to you. Use that phone to your advantage and set a reminder! Every day, take 5-10 minutes and have a mini brain dump! And over the weekend, take a bit longer to brain dump, set some goals for the week, and plan ahead!
So there you have it. 3 steps to being organized. Sounds easy, but it’s far from it. It takes hard work, just like everything else in life. And really, this is just getting your thoughts, priorities, and to-dos organized, this doesn’t involve actually doing them!
But this is the start. The start of being motivated to tackle your tasks. The start of completing those tasks and gaining more motivation to keep working hard from them!
What are your go-to organizational tools?
Lena Marie 💕
“Clutter smothers. Simplicity breathes.” – Terry Guillmets
*This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing from these links you will not be charged more or less, I simply receive a small commission. For more information, please see my disclaimer.
It was like any other day, just a little bit more special! I worked for a couple of hours. My coworkers sang to me and we had cake! Afterward, my mom and I went to get some sushi to bring home for my birthday dinner. And then my parents and I finished the evening with a family sushi feast, a bottle of wine and opening gifts! Jonathan also surprised me with a bouquet of THIRTY roses! What a lovely surprise that was! Obviously, he’s a keeper! 😘
I figured that this would be a great opportunity to share some facts about me, that you may not know! So let’s get to it!
I am half American, half German! I speak both languages fluently, have lived in Germany 9 years of my life and the US 13 years of my life! My mom is German and my dad is American. 🇩🇪🇺🇸
My parents and I are really close as I am an only child! 👨👩👧
I was born in Hamburg, Germany. So, that means I am a Hamburger. Please don’t eat me! 🍔
I have a knack for really cheesy jokes… 👆🏼
My boyfriend, Jonathan, and I have been together for 4 and a half years. 💑
Tobi is my dog! He is a miniature schnauzer and I got him as a teeny little puppy for my 8th birthday. 🐶
My main hobby, that I have always had, is reading! I love reading. My favorite books are Harry Potter (duh!) 🤓
I don’t like going to the movies! I prefer cuddling up on the couch, not having to smuggle in snacks and being able to go to the bathroom without missing the best part! 🎥
I may be 5’10”, but I did not play basketball, and volleyball only for 3 years. My favorite sport is Tennis. I started playing at age 11 and played competitively throughout high school. 🎾
The saying “sometimes when I open my mouth, my mother comes out” definitely applies to me 😅
Trendy reality TV shows, like the Bachelor, America’s/Germany’s Next Top Model or any others are not my thing at all. I will give you a blank stare if you ever start talking to me about them 😂
99.9% of the time I sleep through thunderstorms or anything else loud and exciting.😴
I’ve never been to the emergency room… until 2 weeks ago (be careful on the stairs!) 💊
Chocolate, ice cream, and cake are the way to my heart over gummy bears, lollipops and anything savory. 🍫
I love having my nails painted, so I have a large collection of Essie polishes to get me through any occasion and every season of the year. 💅🏼
My first ever concert was The Rolling Stones with my aunt and cousin. You could say that set the bar high! 🎼
You can scare me SO easily but, I still love reading mysteries and crime novels and watching crime TV! 👻
Every health problem that I have ever had, which thankfully has only been minor things, I have inherited from my mom’s mom! But she’s 87… so I guess that is a good thing! 👵🏼😂
I hope you enjoyed this little “get to know me” session and learned something new about me! So far, 22 is treating me well and I hope that this year will be a year of health, happiness and great experiences.
Hello and happy Monday to you all! Today marks the first full week of the month of August, so let’s get motivated to crush this week!
Today I wanted to dig a little deeper into the point I mentioned in my first Motivation Mondaypost about staying motivated and that is “find your cheerleaders”.
I listen to Darren Daily. Darren is an author, public speaker, mentor, among lots of other things. But most of all, he is a coach. One of his daily mentoring videos struck a chord with me last week. He said, “you don’t find yourself, you create yourself”.
This lesson holds incredibly true for motivation as well. We all want to “find” motivation, but actually, we have to intrinsically create it. External stimuli will only support the motivation that you have created.
And one of these external stimuli that I find extremely crucial to staying motivated is having your own personal cheer squad. Ironically, I say you should “find” your own personal cheer squad, but really, you create it!
But what does this mean?
This means that you create a group of supporters who:
You trust. ❤️
Through thick and thin, you need to know that these people will be there for you. You need to know that they want to see you happy, successful, and always striving for your goals.
Have your best interests at heart. ❤️
They are honest, critical and compassionate. They want the best for you and will voice their opinions. If you need a push, they will give you one, if you get lost, they will reel you in, if you achieve a goal, they will celebrate it with you.
Treat you the way they want to be treated. ❤️
They give you what they know you will give them. You cannot expect to have a group of cheerleaders when they cannot be sure that you are cheering them on too. Using is abusing. Never use anyone to your advantage or allow others to use you.
Are not afraid to be honest. ❤️
You need to know whether you are doing the right thing. And these are the people who can reassure you or be brutally honest and tell you how it really is. Do they think you are taking the wrong path? Do they think you have more potential than you believe you do? Your cheerleaders are not scared of being honest with you, even if your reaction may be anger or tears.
Love you. ❤️
Your cheerleaders love you. And for that reason, they want the very best for you and will support you in any way they can, forever and always.
All of our cheerleading squads look different. Some are big, some are little. Some are composed of family, some are composed of friends. What matters is that you are confident that they have each of the qualities I have listed above.
My personal cheer squad is made up of family and some close family friends. But, there are 3 core people who I trust, who I know have my best interests at heart, who treat me right, who are not afraid, to be honest, and who love me. That would be my mom, my dad, and my boyfriend. These 3 individuals are people who mean the world to me.
I am incredibly lucky to have such wonderful people so close to my heart, but we don’t all have that! You can find your cheer squad all over the place though. Through accountability groups, like the ones I run for my coaching business, bible study groups or just going out and mingling with people, you can quickly meet people who will be in your life forever.
And there is nothing more special than having a personal cheer squad to share your journey with.
Lena Marie 💕
“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.”
31 days of July later and here I am again to talk about all of the things I loved throughout the month of July! It was a busy month full hot days, stormy days, and a whole lot of rainbows! To see all of the things I have been loving throughout this month, just keep on reading! 🤗
Lately, I have been loving…
My Fossil Emerson Medium Satchel! 👜 After a semester of carrying around at least my laptop, if not more, I am happy to just be able to wear my favorite satchel! I have had this bag since Christmas and really love it. I would say it is a smaller medium, I do wish it had a little more space. But it does comfortably fit my wallet, my “emergency pouch” (lotion, band-aids, kleenex, wipes, etc.), and a glasses case. I typically throw in some sort of snacks too and my lip color for the day!
On my nails, I wore Essie’s Bikini So Teeny and Island Hopping! Bikini So Teeny is a beautiful vibrant summer blue and Island Hopping is a deep dusky pink tone. Both of these are perfect summer hues, just that Island Hopping is a little tamer and professionally appropriate.
By doing Shift Shop, walking, and swimming! Shift Shop is an incredible brand new program by Beachbody that I LOVE. It is a 21-day program. 3 agility days per week, 3 strength days per week. The workouts in week one are 25 minutes long, week two 35, and week 3 45. I love the intense cardio days, but I also love getting my hands on some weights on the strength days. There is also an awesome core workout that you can add on that really burns!
I also have been making it a priority to get my steps in every day. I do this by either walking all over throughout the day or by going for a walk with my mom in the evenings once it cools down a little bit.
And lastly, my mom got me to go swimming with her! We have a public pool 10 minutes away from us that is, unfortunately, the only body of water ideal to swim in nearby. It has been SO hot though that getting into the water was necessary. I am not a great swimmer though. I am actually scared of deep water! Right now I can swim about 600-800m without feeling completely winded or like my arms will fall off. I absolutely love it though and hope to get better so that I can be more confident swimming in open waters.
Plants! I don’t really “use” plants, I more so enjoy them. But I do use them to make my room prettier! ☺️ I could not tell you the names of them or anything really, besides the fact that they are tiny and cute. I believe that 2 of them fall into the succulent category, which is oh so trendy right now. I just find it nice to have some live plants as decor, rather than continuously having to care for fresh flowers. They are small and easy to care for which is great for someone like me who has no green thumb.
No Excuses! By Brian Tracey. I still am not 100% done with this book, but should be either today or tomorrow. It is a great read for someone looking for motivation to get out of their comfort zone and into the zone of success. It has tons of helpful tips for how to confront your fears and improve yourself. I also love that each chapter has a little assignment at the end that you can apply to your own life. It is definitely not the most entertaining book. It can be rather dry in between, but I do still recommend it to those who need a little push.
You are a Badass at Making Money, by Jen Sincero. After reading Jen Sincero’s first You are a Badass book and falling in love with her writing style, I knew I could not pass up this book. The gist of it is how to make more money with the help of the law of attraction. This too is a great motivational read that pushes you to just get to work. But the coolest thing is how Sincero tries to help you change your mindset about money. Money is a very sensitive topic for many people because they have negative emotions tied to it. But Sincero encourages a positive mindset towards money, which I personally really benefitted from.
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. The skinny on this book is basically that Brown is trying to teach you to accept who you are, imperfections and all. She does this well thanks to her background in qualitative research and the countless stories and interviews she has collected over the years. She also had a nice way of summarizing the information within each chapter in a way that you could then apply it to your own life. I particularly liked when she addressed shame, guilt, and fear and it even inspired me to write my own post on shame, insecurities, and judgement.
TO BE GRATEFUL FOR…
Successfully finishing my first semester at the Stuttgart Media University! While I don’t have my grades back yet, I still feel good enough to say that it was a successful semester. I was really weary going into things because of my prior college experience. Thankfully, the people I have met and the professors I have are all wonderful people who try to help you, not hinder you. I am so thankful to have found a spot that I believe I can excel in and build my future in!
THESE 5 MOMENTS…
July 5 & 6. In the midst of exam stress, I really needed to get away from my desk and study elsewhere. One day I went to a lovely little coffee shop called Mission Coffee in Stuttgart and studied together with a delicious iced latte. And the following day I met up with a friend to study at the library. It was great having an accountability partner! Anf, of course, we rewarded ourselves with a lunch out afterward.
July 10. All of the studying paid off and I wrote my last exam! It was on the programming language PHP, web-technology, and databases. Personally, not my favorite courses! But it felt great to finish the exam and I am confident enough that I passed as well!
July 11. I looked frazzled after all of my studying, so today I went and had my hair done! It felt so good to have it styled again and bonus, it smelled amazing. Pampering yourself is always a good way to reward yourself for hard work.
July 24. After my last exam, I still had 3 projects that I needed to complete. Luckily I had most of that time off from work, so I was able to get it all done without being all too stressed. Today marked the due date of the last project and my official freedom until October! AND! I went for a walk with my mom this evening and we were graced with the most beautiful rainbow ever. This was at least my 5th rainbow within 3 days.
July 30 & 31. I definitely did not love these moments, but I wanted this to serve as a reminder that stairs are dangerous! So on Saturday, I had a nice day! We ran several errands and went to a local festival. But I ended the evening by falling down the stairs. Thankfully, my mom was right behind me and was able to help me get back up to our apartment. I iced my ankle for the rest of the night. Upon waking up on Sunday, it was blown up like a balloon and I could barely put any weight on it. My mom saw no other option than to go to the emergency room. Mind you, this was my first time ever going to the ER. I was scared that I had broken or torn something, but thankfully, I did not. It is just a really hefty sprain. I am out of commission for the week as it heals, but am so grateful that it is not anything worse!
And that is everything I was loving throughout the month of July! I look forward to August and all of the experiences it will bring… Including my birthday 🤓
Lena Marie 💕
*This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing from these links you will not be charged more or less, I simply receive a small commission. For more information, please see my disclaimer.