Recommitting to losing stomach fat

Mid-week mantra: If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up!

I have to remind myself of that a lot lately. Getting to the gym has become increasingly difficult- we’re so busy in the evenings that getting to bed so a 5 AM wake-up call doesn’t kill us, is proving impossible. Plus our bed is so comfy and the 12 minute drive to the gym (and the fact that our gym isn’t really all that great) just adds to the daunting nature of the task.

Every morning I try to remind myself- you always feel better when you do, something is better than nothing AND come next week, when the real estate classes start, you’re going to find that you’re not going to be able to get into the gym like you want. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. I need to make it easier to make time to work out in the evenings if I am forced to skip the morning session. I’m trying- I really am. Any tips??

Refocus on your goals. What are you really trying to achieve? Are you trying to lose 20 pounds? Get a 6 pack? Run a marathon?

I’m trying to lose fat and gain muscle, specifically in my midsection. It’s not my weight I’m concerned about- I want muscular toned arms, legs, butt and stomach (I’m not trying for one of those creepy body-builder 6 packs though). Adding up these tips and tricks we’ve discussed can help- but I know I need to be doing more. Which is where getting into the gym consistently comes in. I’m going to look up 5Ks in the area- even a small race can help me stay focused and make sure I commit to some cardio every week, but I know I need to ramp up my strength training more.

Quick reminder about a simple tip that we’ve already discussed & that is very easy to do and really does make a difference but many people still neglect it:

  • WATER! I drink a lot of water during work- at least a gallon. But I am also going to start carrying water everywhere I go. I will fill up my S’well bottle before I get in the car to run errands, road trip out to a friend’s house, whatever! I hate being thirsty and it really can stave off hunger.

Now for a new tip:

  • Color your plate. Every time you eat a meal or a snack there should be COLOR (beige and white or cream are not colors just as an FYI). Hummus and pita chips? BLAND. Add carrots and/or peppers. Chicken and pasta? BLAND. Throw some spinach into the pasta or put the chicken over a bed of sauteed spinach. Cheese and crackers? BLAND. Add some sliced tomatoes. Every meal or snack needs to have a bright color- you’ll automatically be making a healthy choice that way.

Yesterday’s food journal

Breakfast- 3 egg omelette with 2 Laughing Cow cheese wedges and smoked salmon

Coffee

Late morning snack- Apple & peanut butter

Green tea

Lunch- regular salad

Mid-afternoon snack- carrots & cucumber slices with sundried tomato hummus

Pre-dinner snack- cashews and 2 dried dates 

Dinner- Pork cutlets with roasted broccoli and homemade crispy breadcrumbs (made from panko & parmesan cheese). Pineapple for dessert.

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Caffeineeeee

Gimme it! All the time- except after 2 PM because then I will NEVER go to sleep.

If you’ve wondered why I have even a little bit of coffee before my morning workout, it’s because it helps me push myself harder and longer, WITHOUT ME EVEN REALIZING IT. So my tip is to drink something caffeinated- coffee or tea- 30 minutes before a workout. It’s also great for stimulating your digestive tract to get things moving to ease bloat (you all know where I’m going with this right? It makes you poop!)

This is one of the many reasons why morning workouts are best for me- I’m usually so tired by the end of the day after work and if I had caffeine then, I would never get to sleep as I am fairly caffeine sensitive. So give this trick a try and let me know if you see any difference in your workouts.

 

Friday’s food journal

Breakfast- 2 eggs and English muffin with peanut butter

Coffee

Mid morning snack- Greek yogurt with strawberries and flax 

Lunch- salad

Green tea

Mid afternoon snack- Clif bar 

Dinner- we ate at the airport. I had three mini brownies at the Admirals Club then we went to a restaurant where we shared “dirty Mac and cheese” with pulled pork (I totally forgot it was a Friday) and then split a turkey sandwich and a burger. I only ate half my fries on the side. Then when we got into the city one of my best friends had gotten Magnolia Bakery banana pudding and chocolate banana pudding so I had a bowl of that, 3/4 of a bottle of champagne and two glasses of Chenin Blanc. Didn’t feel too great the next day.

Saturday’s food journal 

Breakfast- we went to Ess-a-bagel, arguably one of the best bagel places in NYC. I got a whole wheat bagel with herb cream cheese and lox and then we split a cinnamon raisin bagel with strawberry cream cheese- totally unnecessary. I had a coffee in the hotel room and then we went to a coffee shop where I had a coffee with skim milk and Splenda.

We started drinking around 1 PM- it was cold and snowy/rainy and we weren’t in the mood to go to a museum so what else are you supposed to do?! Not sit in the hotel. We got bloody Marys at Lexington Brass then went to La Cava for their All you can drink brunch drink special- I had three bellinis, half a Bloody Mary, and a sea breeze. 

Dinner- we went to The Smile with two other couples. We got some starters to share and then I had a roasted vegetables with quinoa entree. Two cocktails with dinner. Then three glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and a shot of tequila  at the bar afterwards. It’s really embarrassing to write all these drinks down- I feel like an alcoholic and I’m ready to give it up for awhile. 

 

Friday Favorites 3.17.17

Another week is over and what a doozy! Work has been crazy and I have made more moves to talk to real estate groups in the area to make sure I’m marketable once I get my license- I’m really excited to take back charge over my career and the sky is the limit! We leave for NYC tonight to see friends and eat amazing food and partake in the great culture of the city- I just wish it wasn’t going to be so cold and slushy! I dropped off my precious pup with the sitter this morning and she just breaks my heart- she literally whines like a dolphin’s squeak when I start washing out her water and food bowl. I brought down her carrier and she laid in it all morning next to her stuff while I got ready- it was so sad 😦 I already can’t wait to be reunited with her on Monday! Now onto my favorites:

Bota Box

Guys, don’t knock boxed wine. Just because we had exposure to Franzia in college doesn’t mean that all boxed wine tastes like super sweet fruit juice. Bota Box is my personal favorite- there are many different varietals, they taste really good, and it’s only $16-18 a box which is the equivalent of FOUR BOTTLES! It’s less wasteful and you don’t have to pick up a bottle every week. It stays fresher longer as well so you don’t have to feel pressured to finish a bottle once you open it.

Old Navy Workout Leggings

Lululemon is amazing. Truly. But my ass just cannot afford their clothes anymore. So one day I was in Old Navy, and I saw they had a sale on Activewear bottoms. I bought two pairs. And, guys, lemme tell you- they are the BEST. Their prints remind me of Lululemon and they fit tight to your body so you don’t have to worry about sagging or looseness but they also suck everything in to give you a great silhouette. They have crop styles, ones with mesh panels, ones with cut-outs, ones with reflective tape, hi-rise styles, super-pretty patterns and colors- god, I want to go run out and snatch up 5 more just talking about them! And the best part- none are over $30.

A Made Bed

I’m the worst at making beds. I never remember and I’m not very good when I do. But thanks to my OCD BF, I get to see a hotel-worthy bed every day and climb into one every night. How good are his skills??

 

And a not so favorite-

St. Patrick’s Day.

TBH, I’m a little wary about going out tonight in NYC. St Patty’s Day just brings to mind images of rowdy guys drinking green beer and taking Jagerbombs. No thank you. Like most holidays, the reason for the season has been lost and I’m kind of over it. I’d rather hunker down in a wine bar away from the “March Madness” if you will.

Alternative desserts

Has everyone cranked up their spice factor?? I dumped a bunch of Sriracha on my stir-fry last night and I definitely felt the burn!!

So today, we are going to discuss an alternative to eating chocolate every day. Let’s be real- while it is definitely something that fits in with a healthy lifestyle, sometimes you need to do just a little bit more to ditch those last few pounds or to supercharge your weight loss in the beginning. Even just cutting 10 calories a day can add up to weight loss, so this is an easy swap. Also, now that you’re (hopefully) only treating yourself with that chocolate at night, your cravings have gone down for other desserts! This is all part of the plan 🙂

So what can you have after dinner instead that will still satisfy that sweet tooth? Fruit! Fruit naturally is high in sugar and has that sweet taste that many of us desire after a meal. But because it’s a fruit and not a processed sweet, it also has beneficial uses to our body like fiber and potassium which helps us lose bloat by flushing out excess sodium and reducing water retention. Certain fruits, like pineapple and papaya, have enzymes that ease digestion by breaking down proteins so it moves through your system faster, which can also decrease bloating- all the more reason to end your meal with them! I have a feeling that once I get back from NYC I will need all the help I can get, so I will be switching out my chocolate stash for a fruit one!

It’s almost Friday everyone- what do ya’ll have planned for the weekend??

Yesterday’s food journal

Breakfast- oatmeal made with unsweetened almond milk topped with a spoonful of tahini, two chopped dates, some pecans, cinnamon and a tsp of maple syrup

Coffe

Mid-morning snack- apple & 2 tbs peanut butter

Lunch- salad

Mid-afternoon snack- Greek yogurt with strawberries & flax

Dinner- pork, broccoli, cabbage and zucchini stirfry, half the 180 cal dark chocolate bar and 2 glasses of Pinot Noir

 

 

Likes it hot and nice and spicy!

Oh I love Cheap By the Dozen (you did recognize that quote right??) It probably stems from my quiet only child life and how I dreamed of having siblings. Now though I recognize how blessed I am to have been an only child (non-only children are also blessed- just differently) and I wouldn’t change anything about it. I definitely take after my dad’s penchant for spicy foods- my mom doesn’t even like pepper in her dishes.

And it turns out that’s a great thing! The natural substance in peppers that makes them spicy helps you use more calories, even when you aren’t doing anything. So stir red pepper in your tomato juice, use fresh peppers or seasonings in your meals, anything to crank up the heat and thereby, boost your metabolism! It’ll help cut your calorie intake but you won’t feel deprived. I find I can’t eat as much food when it’s spicy but I’m not hungry after- it just slows down my eating and makes me feel more satisfied. That’s why I put something spicy on my eggs in the morning! Every little bit counts.

I could have used a little spice this morning- it was IMPOSSIBLE for us to get to the gym. I don’t know what it is but it just seems that 5 AM is just not a normal time for us. Our bodies are not getting used to it. The worst part is if we wake up and then “snooze” until 6:30 we feel EVEN WORSE because we haven’t gotten a full sleep cycle in. I feel so much better when I go to the gym and I just need to keep reminding myself of that. It was brutal even getting up at 6:30 this morning- and it doesn’t help this is the coldest morning we’ve experienced yet in Charlotte. I feel like maybe if I could wake up at 5:30, get into work at 8:30 and leave at 5:30, my body wouldn’t reject it so hard but then my schedule would be off from the BF’s and as my gym buddy, we can’t have that happen!

I’m determined to get in tomorrow and Friday- NYC awaits and I plan on splurging on some sweet treats. Hey, vacation treats are allowed! If it was going to derail me completely- like I had 25 pounds to lose- maybe I wouldn’t plan on splurging as much. But this is my treat-yo-self weekend and I cannot wait to be back in the city I love!

 

Yesterday’s food journal

Pre-workout coffee

Breakfast- almond milk vanilla protein shake & 2 eggs with hot sauce

Coffee

Mid-morning snack- Greek yogurt with strawberries & flax

Lunch- regular salad

Green tea

Mid-afternoon snack- almonds

Late-afternoon snack- Clif bar

Dinner- leftover jambalaya, half a 180 calorie dark chocolate bar (bought from a coworker for his kid’s school fundraiser) and a glass of Pinot Noir

Graduation song

Monday is back again and I would normally say GO AWAY MONDAY but that means this week has started and I am one day closer to being in NYC! Although it’s supposed to be cold and we may have 2 feet of leftover slow to slog through- that part I’m not so excited for. That also means I have to crush it in the gym this week to make up for all the good eats I’ll be chowing down on! One day down- 4 more to go.

When I say “Graduation song”, what do you think of? Hopefully, the singer of it, Vitamin C. And Vitamin C is also a key component to weight loss! Exercisers who do not get enough vitamin C burn less fat during workouts because it helps produce an amino acid that helps you use fat for energy. If you’re not getting enough vitamin C, your body uses carbs or protein instead, which reduces the amount of fat you burn and also makes you feel tired quicker. So definitely get your vitamin C in daily! Great sources include: strawberries, red pepper, oranges, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, grapefruit, and guava. Looks like I know what I’ll be picking up at the grocery store today! I like to mix strawberries in with my yogurt (see yesterday’s post) and top it with flax for fiber and you’ve got a three-for-one punch. I include roasted red peppers in my salad but maybe I’ll switch to regular raw red peppers diced up for a change. Raw veggies retain their nutrients more than cooked veggies do. If you’re cooking these foods, the less water, the better, as water can cause the nutrients to leach out faster. Heat also causes nutrient-depletion. I prefer roasting my vegetables- it’s at a high heat but with minimal to no water. I also think they taste better than boiling or steaming.

Vitamin C doesn’t just help with weight loss- it also contributes to healthy immune function, great skin, and reduces your risk of stroke. So to boost weight loss and be healthier overall, keep up your vitamin C, fiber, and healthy bacteria intake!

Yesterday’s food journal

Breakfast/lunch- coffee, piece of whole wheat toast with 2 tbs peanut butter & banana with honey, 3 scrambled eggs

1 cider & 1 beer at two different bottle shops around town

Dinner- The BF and I went to Bang Bang Burgers (recently featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives) because he had a gift card. We shared two burgers- a single Pimento cheese burger and a double Elvis burger which was on special as well as a side of fries. At home, I had half of a 180 calorie dark chocolate bar.

 

Chug, chug, chug!

What a week- and it’s only Tuesday! Today, I am a breathing, walking example of why you need adequate sleep. I keep making dumb mistakes at work and I’m starving all the time!! I hope everyone is still keeping their food journal- for me, it makes the biggest difference. It makes me think twice- am I really hungry or am I just grumpy? Do I really want to write this down? I think it’s my favorite tip!

Another thing that makes a big difference? Water! There are about a gazillion opinions on how much water you should be drinking a day- the most common recommendation is 8 8-oz glasses or half a gallon. I easily clear that- I have a 24 oz Tervis tumbler on my desk I fill up at least 3 times a day. So my new challenge is a gallon of water- just at work! And at least a glass before and after. That means I need to fill up my tumbler 6 times. If I fill it up every other hour (or so), I’ll get there. So that’s my daily add-on goal!

The best way to tell if you’re hydrated enough is by the color of your pee. You want it as pale as possible- almost clear! I struggle the most on weekends when I’m not confined to a desk. But I’m going to start carrying a water bottle everywhere I go so I never have an excuse! I have a great big S’well bottle that’s perfect for the car and keeping things cold.

Water doesn’t just affect weight loss. When you’re dehydrated, you tend to also have less energy, constipation, headaches, and cramps. Drinking water flushes out toxins in your system, improves your skin complexion, and boosts your immune system- best of all, it’s free! It can really cure a variety of ills so before you do anything- even eat!- drink water first.

Yesterday’s food journal

Pre-workout half cup of coffee

Breakfast- 2 scrambled eggs with Sriracha, 12 oz almond milk w/ vanilla protein powder

1 mug of coffee in the office

Late morning snack- apple & peanut butter

Lunch- standard salad, no grape tomatoes

Mid-afternoon snack- low-fat Greek yogurt with strawberries

Dinner- Crockpot Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bolognese, 2 squares of dark chocolate (my last of the French chocolate!)

I went over my friend’s house to watch The Bachelor & Women Tell All. I had a glass of red wine and her mom, who was visiting, made us “Strawberries and Blackberries Romanoff” which is the fruit topped with an “adult whipped cream” made of cream, sugar, and brandy. Yum!

Friday Favorites 3.3.17

So there is so much more going on in my life than attempting to lose a few pounds and get back in shape. I’m on a pretty tight budget, especially as I prepare to make the real estate plunge, but I also love shopping (shoes, jewelry, shoes), organizing and crafting (easy things), putting our new home together, cooking & baking, playing around with make-up and hair, and I love learning random new tricks that DON’T have to do with weight-loss! So this is where I will share all of that with you guys on a weekly basis.

EBATES

Oh my goodness, where do I even start with my love for Ebates. It is FREE MONEY. Actually, even better, it is money you get PAID TO SHOP ONLINE. I always knew about Ebates but I would forget to log-in. Now they have this super handy tool bar add on so that whenever you are on a website that offers an Ebates rebate, it pops up to remind you and you can just enable it then and there. I currently have over $30 sitting in my account from doing online shopping that I would have done anyways. If you want to give it a try, just sign up here. I have gotten cash back from the most varied places-the expected places like Kohl’s and Macy’s but also the unexpected places like Etsy and Expedia. Even Groupon and Hilton offer cash back!

JEWELRY ORGANIZATION

I am a fairly visual person. So if something is out of sight, it’s also out of mind for me. That goes with men, clothes, jewelry, etc. So when we moved, all my jewelry ended up jumbled in boxes. It took me a while but I finally found some great pieces that go with any kind of decor (2% cash back at Michaels through Ebates) to display on my dresser so I am reminded about that certain necklace or get a nudge to wear my cocktail rings more. I finally feel like I’m getting wear out of some of these pieces that were once relegated to sitting around day after day!

FIXER UPPER INSPO

My first job in NYC was working under the umbrella that owned such networks such as Food Network, HGTV, DIY Network, Cooking Channel, and Travel Channel. I was obsessed with Food Network and recipes and felt meh towards the home sites. My, what a change that can happen in 5 years! Now, all we watch are HGTV shows (we still watch a healthy dose of Food Network as well, don’t get me wrong). Our favorite (yes, even my BF is obsessed) is Fixer Upper. While her farmhouse aesthetic isn’t 100% my style, there are definitely pieces I pick up on that I love and can build off of. One of those pieces is the white ceramic pitcher that you see in almost every one of their flips. Except it is rarely used as a pitcher- it is normally used as a vase or centerpiece. I happened to find an exact replica of one at Target (1% cash back through Ebates which adds up!) and now it is the center piece of our kitchen island. I put fake white hydrangeas in it because girl on a budget cannot pick up fresh flowers every Sunday, even the $10 Trader Joe’s bouquets.

PRO ICE PACK

The last time you needed an ice pack, what did you do? Did you fill up a Ziploc bag with ice cubes that never really molded to the area? Did you melt your frozen veggies? As someone who sprained her ankle 4 times in a 5 year span, this is a lifesaver. It’s super simple and you probably already have what you need in your house. Check out the blog post I discovered this amazing life hack here.

WINE COLORED PUMPS

Before it becomes officially spring, I need to give a shout-out to these shoes for several reasons. #1- the color is so perfect for fall/winter and it provides a small dose of color to what could be an otherwise blah or staid outfit and #2- they are Comfort Plus by Predictions from Payless (this should probably be my real “Favorite” thing but I digress). I have been a Comfort Plus fanatic since high school and let me tell you why- these shoes are under $30, they come in a wide range of styles and colors and they are so comfortable I can stand in them all day and possibly run a mile in them. God’s honest truth. I get so many compliments when I wear them (I have them in minimum 4 other styles) and I am quick to tell people where they can get them. Also, if you beat them up, step in a street grate, or get beer spilled on them (#college and #adulthood), they’re really not that bad to replace. Currently I own the pumps in a black round-toe matte, black patent pointy-toe, nude patent pointy-toe, red patent round-toe, white matte pointy-toe, cobalt blue suede pointy-toe, and now these wine suede pointy-toe ones. Snatch them up quick because the colored ones go with the seasons! Currently this pair is on sale so go, go, go!

THIS JOKE

Two drums and a cymbal fall off a cliff. Duh dum chh.

 

 

Housewarming!

As another weekend starts, I am finally able to recap the last one. It’s a vicious cycle.

Last weekend was a good one. Friday night was spent watching Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (finally a movie I’ve seen that the BF hasn’t!) and then Saturday we got breakfast tacos at El Chilito before prepping for the event du jour- our housewarming party!

Our housewarming was basically an excuse to show off our new digs to all of the BF’s friends- and to cook even though I knew most people would be coming from dinner. I made watermelon cups with feta and mint (they were a little hard to scoop out without destroying the cube and tasted a little bit meh) and chocolate vodka soaked strawberries (which were a big hit).

Watermelon with feta and mint Chocolate vodka soaked strawberries

But the biggest hit (and something I would highly recommend making) was the Carolina peach sangria. It was polished off by the end of the night- and I doubled the recipe!

Sangria

The biggest bummer was that since our apartment’s management office hadn’t put us in the call-box yet (after 3 requests) the BF kept running up and down escorting guests into the building. But all in all, it was a great night and we ended up at Violet Crown Social Club with their $4 frozen creamsicle drinks (delicious).

Check the napkins (Charming Charlie’s)

Sunday, we got brunch at Arturo’s Bakery & Cafe- a hidden gem on UT’s campus that has delicious migas and eggs benedict (and I will be back to try their French toast!) Then we stumbled upon the BarkHappy Charity Doggy Ice Cream Social right next to our apartment! It was an event benefiting Austin Pets Alive! and Service Dogs Inc. For only $10 per person there was free craft beer (which made the BF happy), a dog ice cream eating contest (which Moxie did not participate in but she did enjoy the free dog ice cream from Amy’s Ice Cream), a K9 agility course, free dog treat buffet, free nail trimming, games, raffles, food trucks, a photo booth, temporary dog tattoos and more! Of course the amount of people and Moxie’s patience limited the amount of things we could do but all in all it was a cool event.

Happy about the grass

Since the humans didn’t get any ice cream, we stopped by Lick for the first time. I got a delicious two scooper of PB&J and Pecans n Cream. Both were to die for but a little icy. I’m eager to get back to try more flavors.

Not sure when I've been more Insta-basic
Not sure when I’ve been more Insta-basic

Posting tomorrow the review of VOX Table where we went for our anniversary. (Spoiler alert: it’s amazing!)

Settling In ATX

Needless to say, I’m overdue for a post. But I can’t say the last couple of weeks haven’t been difficult.

Two weeks ago, my saint of a father drove up a 16 foot Penske moving truck from Baltimore to NYC and professional moving helpers (shout out to Feel Good to move- they’re amazing!) transferred everything I had packed up in my apartment into the truck in AN HOUR. Then my boyfriend, my dog, and I hit the road; destination: Austin, TX.

New lives starting
New lives starting

The drive was nerve-wracking at first- BF drove the whole whole way so he had to get acclimated to the size of the truck and guide it through the Lincoln Tunnel and all the tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike. The total trip took 31 hours (approximately 25 hours of driving plus stops), 2 Burger King stops, 2 bacon, egg & cheeses each, 1 Subway stop, and 1 Sonic stop. We stopped in Nashville the first night at an Aloft Hotel (they’re dog-friendly and don’t charge any extra fees plus BF could use Starwood points!) and the second night we made it to our apartment. Since the bed was too far in the back of the truck, we ended up sleeping on the floor- not comfortable, but cheaper!

Sunset in Tennessee
Sunset in Tennessee
First night problems
First night problems

After a few breakfast tacos, Monday was disastrous- the moving helpers met us at BF’s old apartment to move his stuff into the and then move everything into the new place. It took them 2.5 hours and they broke an ottoman. It was really disappointing at how slow and inefficient they were and they were very unapologetic about any damage. Definitely won’t be calling Sunwest Moving again. Since we had totally missed lunch, we woofed down a pizza from Spartan Pizza- definitely a dangerous thing to have close by because it was delicious.

Tuesday was mostly unpacking (plus a trip to Shake Shack- so I was pretty confident I had gained 6 pounds by this point). Wednesday, BF went back to work and I could feel like myself again- went to the grocery store so I could cook healthy meals, continued unpacking, got to the gym, arranged for Moxie’s dog walker, made a trip to the drugstore.

First home-cooked meal in the new place! With complementary wine glasses.
First home-cooked meal in the new place! With complementary wine glasses.

Thursday, I was back at the office and Friday kicked off Labor Day weekend- I spent my half day off from work with the cable/internet technician. We had it installed on Tuesday and had been having issues ever since. It’s now 12 days from the installation, we’ve had 6 techs come out, and I am still greeted with blinking red lights on the modem. We are both incredibly annoying and frustrated- and frankly, at a loss for what to do.

Labor Day Weekend was exhausting- a mix of fun and new apartment things. Rainey Street, farmer’s market, brunch at Taverna, Hops & Grain brewery, Art of the Brew, several home stores, BF’s family bbq, and more unpacking and organizing – but, as of Wednesday, we finally are done! Patio furniture is put together, wall art is hung, and even decorative towels have been bought.

Moxie's first ATX brunch
Moxie’s first ATX brunch

Now if only the damn Internet would work…

These diary-like posts will stop soon and more fun cooking & lifestyle posts will be up next! Can’t wait to finally get a roll on this thing.