Fall Bucketlist

It is Fall here in the United States, so I have compiled a list of my favorite Fall activities. It’s only the middle of October & I’ve almost checked everything off of my list. What are your favorite Fall things to do?

  • Decorate your home with Fall themed decorations (leaf garlands, pinecones, burlap ribbon, wreaths, pumpkins, etc.
  • Light Fall scented candles (my favorite is pumpkin vanilla)
  • Drink some hot apple cider
  • Go apple picking
  • Make yummy desserts with said apples
  • Go to a pumpkin patch
  • Carve pumpkins
  • Watch scary movies all cuddled up in blankets
  • Go on a hayride
  • Experience a haunted house
  • Run/bike a trail and take in the beautiful changing leaves
  • Rake leaves & then jump in the pile
  • Take a walking tour of all the Halloween decorated houses in your neighborhood

Birthday Post

As I turn another year older today, I wanted to reflect on my past year. A lot has changed within these 365 days. 25 was a pretty defining year in my life. I fell in love, met amazing new friends, traveled, changed jobs, bought a house, grew my fitness training, and started this website!

Love

I had an amazing relationship and lost it, but have found a new love who is even better. I truly believe that God has a hand in everything. While I might not know his master plan, he always brings exactly what I need into my life.

Friendship

I met so many new friends through Kayla Itsines’ BBG Community. These girls started as fitness motivation but have turned out to be confidants and lifelong friends.

Travel

Since my last birthday, I have traveled to Phoenix, Nashville, Sedona, Columbus, Oahu, Maui, San Francisco, Yosemite and Denver.

Job

Though I am still teaching at my same school, I have changed positions. I am so excited for this new change.

House

Well if you’ve been following my blog, you already know a ton about this!

Fitness

I have completed BBG numerous times and even began lifting! For a girl who had never been to the gym, I am so proud of all the strides that I have made.

Looking back on this year, it is amazing how much has changed. I have met and surpassed so many goals. It’s definitely looking like 26 is going to be the best one yet!

 

The Sunshine Award

I was nominated by the beautiful and inspiring Amber of What Makes Me Amber for the Sunshine Award. She tagged me to answer these 11 questions about myself. I have also linked you too 11 other amazing bloggers who I have nominated for this award. I love learning more about this wonderful community!

1.) When you aren’t blogging, you are…

When I am not blogging, I am most likely at work or at the gym.

2.) Where do you find inspiration for your blog posts?

I find my writing inspiration from every day life. I wrote about my struggles and successes so that my readers can learn from me.

3.) If you were to move far away from where you currently live, what are some things you’d miss?

I would definitely miss summertime in the city. Chicago only has nice weather for about 3 months of the year, but those 3 months are glorious. Chicago is full of amazing museums, parks, beaches, and concerts.

4.) Do you have any plans for the summer?

As mentioned in my previous post, this summer will be full of weddings! I also just purchased a house, so I will be working on renovations all summer long.

5.) When you were a kid, what did you aspire to be?

I always wanted to be a teacher and here I am!

6.) What is your drink of choice when you’re at a restaurant?

I never drink pop, soda, etc. It’s usually a coffee at brunch, water with lemon, or a nice glass of red wine.

7.) Do you speak any other languages?

I don’t speak any other languages. Learning a new language never came easy to me.

8.) What is your favorite cuisine to cook and/or eat?

I love all types of food. I will eat anything and everything.

9.) Are you a reader? If so, what is your favorite book?

I love reading! I breeze through books. I don’t have a favorite book, but my favorite author is Lisa Scottoline. I had the pleasure of meeting her a couple weeks ago, and she is even more outstanding in person!

10.) What is something fun that you’ve done recently?

Something fun that I have recently done is tried out Soulcycle. I would highly recommend it to anyone!

11.) What do you do/where do you go to relax?

Relaxation to me is being in nature. Sitting by the lake with a good book and my dog is an ideal day.

Now I nominate the following bloggers:

Dailey Runs

Ash From Scratch

Sustain, Balance, Wellness

Chuckleberrytalks

Vegan Miche

Whole Heart Bliss

Baby to Bikini

Coffee Toffee and Fitness

Becky Runs Backwards

Beauty Butter

Inside Kel’s Kitchen

Here are your 11 questions! Answer and then nominate 11 other bloggers.

  1. What is your favorite vacation destination?
  2. How did you get started blogging?
  3. Which post of yours is your favorite?
  4. Where are you from?
  5. What is your favorite food?
  6. Do you have any pets?
  7. What is your favorite hobby?
  8. What is the last book that you read?
  9. Who is your role model?
  10. What paint color is your bedroom?
  11. Who is your favorite blogger to follow?

 

California GoPro Footage

I got this GoPro for my birthday about 9 months ago. I opted for the original Hero because it was the least expensive, and I didn’t want to be greedy. I also had never used a GoPro before and wanted to test it out before I opted for an updated version. All in all, I love it! It is super easy to use, and I love the wide lens effect. It doesn’t take the best quality pictures or videos, but that’s why I also bring my Canon 60D with me on every trip. I hope you enjoy the video!

Yosemite

As you can tell from the pictures below, Yosemite was absolutely breathtaking. The weather was perfect, the sites were beautiful, and the people were friendly. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I have listed details of my trip and my gear below. Please feel free to drop a comment with any questions that you have.

We stayed in the Upper Pines Campsite in the national park. It was $26 a night and they sold out very quickly. The site comes with a fire pit, bear lock box, and parking spot. Upper Pines has numerous bathrooms with toilets, sinks, and water stations. If you want showers though, you’ll have to travel up the road to another site. The campsites are located in a forest, but you are very close to your neighbors. We didn’t mind because all of our neighbors were very welcoming. There is also a little grocery store in Half Dome Village for any last minute things (like wine). We hiked Mirror Lake, Bridalveil Falls, and Upper Yosemite Falls trails. Upper Yosemite Falls was by far our favorite site in the whole park. It’s a long trail but well worth the views. Next time, I will definitely be bringing my bike to ride around within the park. All of the trailheads are easily accessible, and you don’t even need a car once you’re in the park.

I packed all of my belongings for the entire trip in my Ospery Aura 50 AG backpack. My Marmot Limelight 2 person tent, REI Lumen 25 Youth sleeping bag, a week’s worth of clothes, and my Canon 60D and GoPro Hero cameras all fit in this bag. I would highly recommend all of this gear to fellow travelers. All pictures shown below are shot with my Canon 60D. I will be uploading GoPro pictures & videos soon!

 

Liebster Award

leibster

I was nominated for a Liebster Award by Healthy and Psyched and Chilli Bitten 28 ! Being new to blogging, I had no idea what this meant. So for you fellow newbies, it’s a way for bloggers to learn more about other bloggers. Basically a blogger asks you a series of questions, you answer, and then you nominate other bloggers to answer questions.

I wanted to give these two a huge thank you! I am so excited that people are reading my blog and interested in my content. Without further ado, here are my responses to their questions

Questions from Healthy and Psyched

Blogging-
1. How long have you been blogging?

I have been blogging for a little over two months. This blog is definitely still in its newborn stage.
2. Which post are you most proud of and why?

I am most proud of my workout video posts. I have had many women approach me telling me that they went to the gym and tried out my exercises. I love teaching women that lifting is a great way to build strength.
3. Who would you like to interview for your blog?

I would love to interview Heidi Somers. She is my personal fitness role model. Not only is she strong, she is such a kind and driven person.

Food-

4. What’s your favourite fruit or vegetable?

I love fruit! All fruit! I am not a huge vegetable fan though. I need to be better about eating my veggies.
5. Do you use superfood powders? If you do, what’s your favourite?

No, I need to look into that though! Send me your suggestions!
6. What’s your favourite treat food?

CHOCOLATE! AND PIZZA! AND PASTA! AND SNACKS!

Okay, I love all food.

Lifestyle-
7. How do you keep active?

I keep active by lifting. I am currently lifting 6 days a week with little to no cardio. Right now, this is my favorite way to work out. Do what you love best, though. Exercising shouldn’t be punishment.
8. What do you do in your spare time?

I don’t have spare time! Hahaha it’s sad but true. I work a full time job, hit the gym almost every day, blog, run numerous social media accounts, am currently buying/renovating a house, and constantly traveling. I wouldn’t live my life any other way. We only have so much time on this earth, I want to experience everything.
9.If you could go on a tv show which would it be?

I know this show ended, but I absolutely loved Parenthood. If I could go back in time, I would definitely want to be on that show.

Bonus round-
10. Show me a selfie! (If you’re too shy you can post a picture of your pet instead).

IMG_2574

I know this isn’t exactly a selfie, but I just got home from Northern California and have been editing pictures all night. I can’t wait to share them with you all!

 

Questions from Chilli Bitten 28

  1. Which do you prefer tea or coffee?

    Coffee! But I drink both.

  2. What is your favourite colour?

    Yellow! I have a yellow bike & a yellow house!

  3. Favourite reality show?

    I don’t watch much tv.

  4. Are you right handed or left handed?

    Right!

  5. What is your favourite cake?

    All of them! I have such a big sweet tooth.

  6. How do you like your eggs?

    Egg whites on smashed avocado toast is my go-to egg dish.

  7. What’s on your bedside table?

    My kindle, a candle, and flowers.

  8. Which season of the year do you prefer?

    Summer!!!!!!!!

  9. What is the one song that you love to sing at the top of your lungs when you hear it come on the radio?

    Anything by Justin Bieber. No shame in my Bieliber game.

  10. What is your  hobby?

    I love working out!

    I hope you loved learning more about me! Here are some blogs that I nominate for the Liebster Award and questions for you to answer!

    Why did you begin blogging?
    What is one word that you would use to describe yourself?
    What is your favorite place that you’ve ever traveled to?
    How do you relax?
    What are you most proud of in life?
    Who is your favorite musician/band?
    What hobbies do you enjoy?
    Who is your biggest inspiration?
    What is a book that you would recommend to others?
    If you had to go on vacation and only bring a backpack, what essentials would you bring?

    A Piglet Abroad

    Passports and Pigtails

    Baby to Bikini

    Tiny Kelsie

    Fat Girl to Fit Girl

     

 

Keep in Touch as I Explore California

I will be exploring San Francisco and camping in Yosemite for the next week. I am traveling with nothing more than a backpack, so no computer and no blogging. You can get your healthy dose of Flourishing Mel by follow me on social media.

Instagram: Flourishing Mel

Personal Instagram: Melissa_Fit.Life

Snapchat: Flourishing Mel

I will be taking many pictures & videos so stay tuned! When I come back I will be doing a full gear review. Until then, I’ll see you on social media.

Fitness Expos

This past weekend was the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio. It is a huge fitness expo that contains events, competitions, and an unimaginable amount of booths. This is my first time ever going to an expo, so in true Mel fashion, I planned ahead. I spent about an hour trolling internet forums for any information about the Arnold. I am so glad I did! If I hadn’t read ahead, I would have been totally unprepared. After attending the expo, here is my advice on how to plan ahead.

  1. Bring a backpack, tote, or duffel. As previously mentioned, there are tons of booths at fitness expos. They range from supplements, to clothing, to magnetized phone cases that help you selfie at the gym. Many of these booths pass out freebies, so it’s best to have a place to store them. My duffel bag was LOADED by the end of one day.
  2. Bring a camera. There are sure to be many famous athletes, YouTube stars, and Instagrammers there. If you have a solid camera on your phone, that’ll work just fine. Be prepared to wait in line to meet anyone famous. I waited over 2 hours to meet Heidi Somers. *worth it*
  3. Don’t plan on having cell service. When there is so many people packed into a confined area, cell service is sure to go out. If you’re going with a group of friends, stick together or pick a meeting place.
  4. Bring cash. Most booths take cards, but if there is no wifi or cell service they cannot run your card. You don’t want to miss out on deals just because you don’t have the cash.
  5. Pack a lunch and bring water. There may be places to eat near your expo, but the food is likely pricey. I threw a sandwich, apple, and water in the duffel bag I brought, and I was set! I didn’t have to miss out on the fun to find a place to eat.
  6. Do not have your tickets at will call. If possible, print your tickets at home or buy them at the event. We got there before the expo even started and the will call line was already wrapped around the venue.
  7. Uber or have a friend drop you off. Parking is likely pricey and limited. There is almost always traffic to get into these lots as well. Getting a ride to and from the venue is definitely the way to go!
  8. Get inspired! There were so many amazing athletes at this weekend’s expo! I left the event feeling motivated and uplifted. I will definitely be returning to the Arnold next year. I’m already looking to see if there are any local expos coming up soon!

Denver

I just got back from a weekend in Denver with my girlfriends. There are few things better in life than best friends & mountains. Here is a re-cap of our stellar weekend!

Denver’s airport is so far from the city, but I hear that a train running from downtown is in the works. Though we hit Friday rush hour traffic, we still made it for some of Lala’s 3:00-6:00 happy hour. We indulged in many appetizers (mostly various cheeses) and glasses of wine. Glasses of wine were only $5 during happy hour and many foods were discounted. I love traveling on a budget. We were lucky enough to stay for free at one of my friend’s apartment. Though I slept on a loveseat the entire weekend, it beats paying for a hotel.

Saturday was a beautiful 64 degrees F, so we decided to go on a hike. We grabbed delicious biscuits from Rise & Shine and ate them on the road. We chose a hike in Eldorado Canyon State Park. It was an $8 entrance fee, but there was a lot of stuff to do. Though it was warm out, it was still February and paths were covered with snow & ice. We had to be very careful as we maneuvered along the trails. I saw many people rock climbing, and I was so jealous! I definitely need to go back and do that! After an exhausting hike, we headed to Joyride Brewery. Though their beer is delicious, the best thing about this place is that dogs are allowed. This indoor-outdoor brewery is filled with adorable pups & happy patrons. They are also opening a rooftop deck this summer!

After a busy Saturday, we decided that Sunday was going to be filled with relaxation. We started the morning at Crema. We filled our souls with lattes & breakfast burritos. Denver has so many vegetarian options, it makes my heart sing. We then watched many episodes of The Great British Baking Show and cooked a lavish dinner. We spent the day prepping for an amazing Burrito Bowl Buffet for dinner. We made lime cilantro rice, spicy beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, sautéed peppers & onions, chicken and beef (for the meat lovers) and a cheesecake and key lime pie for dessert! We then ate our body weight in Mexican food and enjoyed each others’ company. Food & friends: the perfect pair.

Monday morning, we stopped at Jelly Cafe for breakfast before heading to the airport. I ate a delicious vegetarian eggs benedict and grabbed many little donut bites. I then headed back to the airport & back to real life. This is the first time in about 8 months that I don’t have my next trip planned. Where should I go next? I’m thinking California!