Currently I am….

energy

reading The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary D. Chapman, this has been an amazing read so far. It really gives insight on how to be a better partner to your significant other and determine how to best meet their emotional needs.

watching New Girl starting tomorrow. I’m so pumped! Other than that I don’t have cable so I don’t watch much other than movies.

trying to learn Spanish by November 13th. At least the basics. Duolingo and my new book are coming in handy. Any other suggestions?

eating Marie Callendar t.v. dinners. I really need to start waking up earlier and making tastier lunches to bring with me to work

pinning photography help. I have agreed to photograph a friend’s wedding in October and I am very out of practice. How do you turn this thing on again?

tweeting about how to afford travel! Check out my twitter @hazardouskys.

loving being more focused on goals and planning out my days. I have noticed a major increase in productivity since I have started writing out my goals and ideas.

discovering the amazing things you can accomplish when you overcome your fears of failure and just going for it!

enjoying being out on my own again and having my own place. It really has improved my self esteem to have my own responsibilities to take care of again.; despite the bills that come with it.

...thinking about how my new business ventures are going to turn out with opening an e-commerce and what all I need to do to get me to the next step.

feeling very exhausted after a weekend filled with loud noises (anyone else’s boyfriend buy Destiny this weekend?) Apparently it’s very addicting.

hoping for great things to turn out with everything I’m planning in the future. I can hope for the best as long as I’m willing to work for it, right?

listening to Vance Joy, Riptide. I am so in love with this song right now. It’s so calming to me.

What are you currently getting into?

What Makes You Happy?

Hello blogosphere! It’s been far too long. My life has been crazy the last few months, or 5. I’ve lost a very beloved family member, rekindled an old romance, moved yet again and started some other great ventures.

goodday

Image Source : Mouche.com.au

Now that you’re all caught up, I’ve decided to regain my passion for blogging and get my literary brain ticking again by doing the #blogtember challenge outlined here. I am about a week and a half late but I just figured I would catch up and only do the topics that interest me. It may seem lazy to some but I like to call it selective. I see no point in writing about topics I’m not interested in, wouldn’t you skip those too?

Starting with Sept. 2nd. What makes you happy?

What Makes Me Happy (in photos)

bestfren
Having a good laugh with my best

breakfast
Saturday morning breakfast w/my mom

pupp2
Kayaking with my fur baby

scuba
New adventures

 friends
My girls

travel
Travels

What else can a girl ask for? What are some of the things that make your day?

6 Steps to Pay Off Debt

Over the past few weeks I have made the mistake of using my credit card *shrill*. I have been planning some upcoming trips and using my card to go ahead and purchase everything I’ll need in advance but with it has come that terrifying bill in the mail. I did plan ahead and already have worked out how I will quickly pay it off but it made me sit down to consider what I would do if I did have major debt looming overhead. Here are a few tips to help anyone pay off debt.

6 steps to pay off debt

Image Source : Images Money flckr

1. Pay off your credit cards
There are plenty of sites out there that will talk about credit card churning for the points and for the benefit of improving your credit. I agree with them for the purpose they serve but there is also a danger to doing so. If you are not someone who immediately goes home and pays off your credit card you are likely to end up paying interest on those charges. Once you have a decent amount charged up on your card and it starts taking the interest hits your debt can go spiraling out of control. Take charge of your charges and get them paid off as quickly as possible. My suggestion if you have multiple is to pay off the card(s) with the highest interest rate while paying the minimum and then roll all of the extra money you were paying off the initial one to the next one until you have them all paid off. This is a Dave Ramsey method and has worked for tons of people.

2. Lower your monthly payments
Do you have car insurance? A phone bill? Cable? These are all bills that you could potentially have lowered in order to put towards debts that you cannot. If your contracts are running out soon, call around or skim the internet for better prices. If you are adamant about staying with your current provider call them and ask to speak with a manager and tell them you’re a loyal customer and would like to see if they have a better rate they can offer you. The savings from doing so for any of these contracts can be used to pay down your other debts.

3. Make more money
There are a multitude of ways to bring in additional income. You can go get a second job at a store or food establishment you like. Doing so would not only benefit you in bringing in additional income but also save you money on purchases you would have already made thanks to employee benefits. Any additional money you earn could be automatically deposited into your savings or you can make an agreement to yourself to pay at least a portion of your additional earnings towards getting rid of debt.

4. Make smart spending choices
Do you really need that latte? If you’re spending $5 a day on a fancy latte that means you’re dishing out an extra $1825 a year. $5 a day might not seem like much but little purchases truly add up. If you were to make the same beverage at home for around $1 or less you would save $1460 to put towards your debt per year!

5. Lower your interest rate
If you have been with a company long enough and in good standing you should have no issue with getting them to lower your interest rate. I say so because I have done so recently. All you have to do is call and ask. The worst they can say is no and you can call back in a few weeks or months and try again.

6. Borrow from your savings
If you only have a small amount built up in your savings I would suggest by-passing this option. However, if you are like me and have a surplus beyond what you would need in the case of an emergency then borrow some of that money and pay off your debts. You are going to earn far less interest in your savings than you will be paying on your debt so pay off your debt first and you will be able to quickly replenish any money you have borrowed from your savings.

Suggested Reading : The Total Money Makeover

Tattoo Tuesday #2

Today’s tattoo is another one of my own. It is a pirate skull with Floridian flowers and butterflies. Florida is my home away from home. I have spent entire summers there and vacationed there my entire life. A good portion of my family is from there and we have friends that we have made over the years as well.

Most of my tattoos unless otherwise stated were all done at Black Cat Tattoo in Panama City Beach, Fl. The following tattoo wasn’t done by my usual artist Darren, but by a gentleman that was filling a guest spot for the time being.

skull tattoo

If you have a tattoo you would like featured for Tattoo Tuesday, please send me an email with a photo, description and background information. My email address is heather@20somethingsyndrome.com

Healthy 2000 Calorie Meal Plan

The following 2000 Calorie meal plan was designed for myself in particular by a nutritionist but it can be applied to anyone with the same caloric needs. To give an example I am 5’8″, weigh 118 lbs and am a 26 year old female who performs moderate workouts for an hour 3-4 times a week. The goal of this meal plan was designed to maintain weight and build muscle. 

2,000 to 2,100
kcal diet template
Breakfast:
 ½ cup oatmeal (150 kcal, 27 g CHO, 3 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 5 g PRO, 4 g fiber)
with 1 tbsp flaxseed (37 kcal, 2 g CHO, 3 g fat, 0.3 g sat fat, 1.3 g PRO, 2 g fiber)
in 1 cup of almond milk (60 kcal, 8 g CHO, 2.5 g fat, 1 g PRO, 1 g fiber);
1 whole large egg (78 kcal, 0.6 CHO, 5.3 g fat, 1.6 g sat fat, 6.3 g PRO)
1 large egg white (17 kcal, 0.2 g CHO, 0.1 g fat, 3.6 g PRO)
cooked in 1 teaspoon of olive oil (39 kcal, 4.5 g fat, 0.6 g sat fat);
1 medium naval orange (69 kcal, 17.6 CHO, 0.2 g fat, 0.1 g sat fat, 1.3 g PRO, 3.1 g fiber)
Snack #1:
reduced fat mozzarella cheese stick (50 kcal, 2.5 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 7 g PRO)
1 large raw carrot (31 kcal, 7.3 g CHO, 0.2 g fat, 0.1 sat fat, 0.7 g PRO, 2.1 g fiber)
Lunch:
 sandwich w/2 slices of wheat bread (228 kcal, 44 g CHO, 2 g fat, 1g sat fat, 6 g PRO, 4 g fiber)
3 oz turkey breast (87 kcal, 3.6 g CHO, 1.5 g   fat, 0.3 g sat fat, 14.4 g PRO, 0.3 g fiber),
1 cup spring mix (7 kcal, 1 g CHO, 0.7 g PRO, 0.2 g fiber), 3 slices of tomato (16 kcal, 3 g                         CHO, 1.5 g fiber),
1 tbsp mustard (9 kcal, 0.9 g CHO, 0.6 g fat, 0.3 g sat fat, 0.6 g PRO, 0.6 g fiber);
1 medium apple (93 kcal, 24.7 g CHO, 0.3 g fat, 0.1 g sat fat, 0.5 g PRO, 4.2 g fiber);
¼ cup roasted unsalted or lightly
salted almonds (207 kcal, 7.1 g CHO, 18.1 g fat, 1.4 g sat fat, 7.6 g PRO, 4.2 g fiber)
 Snack # 2 (pre-workout):
1 Luna bar (~ 180 kcal, 27 g CHO, 5 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 8 g PRO, 3 g fiber) Blueberry Bliss, Chocolate Chunk, Iced
Oatmeal Raisin, Lemon Zest, Smores, or Toasted Nuts & Cranberry or 1
Balance bar (~ 200 kcal, 21 g CHO, 7 g fat, 3 g sat fat, 14 g PRO, 2 g fiber)
Snack #3 (post-workout):
½ cup white rice (121 kcal, 26.6 g CHO, 0.2 g fat, 2.2 g PRO);
1 scoop Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein (130 kcal, 5 g CHO, 1 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 24 g PRO, 1 g fiber);
1 cup frozen mixed berries (70 kcal, 17 g CHO, 5 g fiber)
Dinner:
½ cup black beans (113.5 kcal, 20.4 g CHO, 0.5 g fat, 0.1 g sat fat, 7.6 g PRO, 7.5 g fiber);
small baked sweet potato or ½ large (60 kcal, 13.8 g CHO, 0.1 g fat, 0.1 g sat fat, 1.3 g PRO, 2.2 g fiber);
 3 oz LEAN sirloin steak (156 kcal, 4.8 g fat, 1.8 g sat fat, 26.1 g PRO);
1 cup frozen broccoli & cauliflower (25 kcal, 3.5 g CHO, 0.2g fat, 1.3 g PRO, 1.4 g fiber)
Total Calories: 2033.5 kcal to 2053.5 kcal
Total CHO: 260.3 g to 253.6 g (1041.2 kcal; 1014.4 kcal or51.2%; 49.4%)
*Calories of CHO maybe ~10% lower to due insoluble fiber
Total fat: 55.6 g to 57.6 g (500.4 kcal; 518.4 kcal or 24.6%; 25.2%
Total sat fat: 13.5 g to 14.5 g (121.5 kcal; 130.5 kcal or 6.0%; 6.4%)
Total PRO: 126.5 g to 132.5 g (506 kcal; 530 kcal or 24.9%; 25.8%)
Total fiber: 47.3 g to 46.3 g
Substitutions
  • Egg whites, chicken breast, turkey breast, extra mlean ham, and fish such as chunk light tuna, tilapia, cod, and shrimp are lean proteins and are interchangeable (3 egg whites; 3 oz servings meat)
  • Fattier meats (between 5 to 10 g fat per serving) such as lean ground beef, lean roast beef, lean cuts of steak, pork chops or pork loin, and fish such as salmon, sardines, anchovies, and trout are interchangeable (3 oz servings)
Ø I recommended having more fatty fish per week versus red meat in order to increase Omega 3 Fatty Acid intake
Ø 2-3 times a week for red meat will get you enough iron
  • ½ cup oatmeal can be substituted with breakfast cereals at 3 grams or more fiber per serving (hint: not Lucky Charms, Trix, Fruity or Coca Pebbles, Honey Comb, Captain Crunch, Count Chocula, Boo Berry, Pops, Frosted Flakes, etc.)
Ø Shoot for 10 grams of sugar or less per serving
Ø Pay close attention to serving sizes on nutrition label
  • Fruits such as apples, oranges, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, and kiwis are interchangeable
Ø cherries and grapes too but should be kept at ½ to ¾ of a cup
Ø 1 large banana equals 2 fruit servings
Ø melon and tropical fruit (minus the kiwi) are very sugar dense and so should be treated as 2 fruit servings
  • Berries are all interchangeable and should be had once daily
  •  Light mozzarella cheese stick can only be traded for lactose free yogurt if one daily fruit serving is eliminated (not the
    berries)
Ø cheese has little to no sugar and is thus lactose free but the lactose free yogurt comes equipped with added sugar so watch out
  • 1 large carrot can be substituted with other
    non-starchy brightly colored vegetables such as 1 red, yellow, or orange bell
    pepper, 3-4 mini sweet peppers or 1 tomato
  •  Greens such as collard greens, turnip greens,mustard greens, green leaf and romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, and kale are interchangeable
Ø spring mix contains a variety
  • 2 slices of whole grain bread can be alternated with 1 large whole grain tortilla, 1 cup long grain brown rice, 1 cup quinoa/amaranth, and 1 cup whole grain pasta
  • ½ cup refined white rice for post workout meal can be replaced with ½ cup white rice noodles, ½ cup white pasta, 1  medium flour or corn tortilla, 1 large piece of white bread, 1 small or ½ large Russet potato, 1 small or ½ large Yukon gold potato, 1 small or ½ large red potato, ¾ cup grits, or 1 cup cream of wheat 
  •  ¼ cup almonds can be substituted with ¼ cup of any type of nuts or seeds
Ø sodium can be a real problem here so purchase unsalted or lightly salted
Ø 2 tbsp of natural peanut butter or almond butter can be used on vegetables or on a sandwich in place of nut serving
  • The selected flavors of protein bars above are interchangeable since they were similar in Calories, PRO, and fiber
Ø try and choose those with 5 grams of fat or less since fat is undesirable in a pre and post-workout meal due to it slowing digestion
Ø also think of it as your multivitamin supplement plus Calories; since it’s jam-packed full of added vitamins coupled with lower fiber content, the micronutrients should absorb well
  • ½ cup black beans may be substituted with kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, cannellini beans, etc. (you get the picture)
Ø beans (legumes) contribute a lot of fiber to the diet and you may have some intestinal discomfort at first with this food
Ø it is important as a CHO and PRO source plus it is a good source of iron
  • Small sweet potato or ½ large sweet potato can be replaced with other starchy vegetables such as ½ cup corn, ½ cups peas, ¾ cup butternut squash, 1 cup spaghetti squash, 1 cup banana squash, ½ cup water chestnuts or, ½ cup garlic, 1/4 cup edamame (soybeans; additional 5 grams fat) and 1 cup pumpkin
  • Serving of cauliflower can be replaced with other white vegetables such as 1 cup white cabbage, ½ cup turnips,1 cup white mushrooms, and ¾ cup white onion
  • Broccoli can be traded for any other green vegetable such as 1 cup green beans, 1 small cucumber, 1 cup Brussels sprouts, ½ cup artichoke hearts, 1 cup of any of the above leafy greens, 1 cup watercress, 1 cup bok choy,1 cup arugula, and 1 cup zucchini

Recommended H2O intake
At a 2,100 Calorie diet, and individual should be drinking
2,100 milliliters (ml) of water which equates to 70 ounces (2,100 ml / 30 ml
per ounce [oz] = 70 oz) or 9 cups daily (70 oz / 8 oz per cup = 8.75 cups;
round up to 9 cups)
 
Approved
Condiments

 pepper
Mrs. DASH seasoning
 any herbs and spices (salt free)
mustard
 Stevia
Cautioned
Condiments (add Calories)

salad dressing (including low fat)
 tartar sauce
 BBQ sauce
 ketchup
 mayonnaise
marinades
 jams/jellies
gravies
 artificial sweeteners
Additional Notes

I attempted to decrease the amount of fiber in this diet to closer to the 25 grams per day as recommended for woman but trying to achieve this while maintaining nutritional integrity was a real chore. I did follow up research and learned that there are several individuals (even credentialed health professionals) that follow diets upwards in the 40 to 60 gram range without adverse effects. This seemed to be the norm especially amongst people follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. To prevent any discomfort, it is VERY important that you drink the amount of water daily as stated above. If the amount of fiber is giving you digestive issue, you can decrease it by peeling off the skins of fruits, subtract beans from the diet, get a juicer and juice your veggies, or change to white bread or refined grains (do this last). To maintain nutritional content of your vegetables, steam or use the microwave instead of boiling, pressure cooking, or frying. Vegetables where the nutritional content actually improves with cooking include tomatoes, carrots, asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, peppers, and cabbage. Also, you may have noticed that PRO is well above the 80.5 grams daily that we discussed but it still falls shy of the 30% marker for overall Calories from protein and therefore no big deal (you will just use the excess as an energy source and it won’t strain your kidneys as long as you have a healthy pair). I hope you find the above template customizable enough based on the substitutions list. To prevent burnout on your new diet plan, I recommend that you allow yourself 2 to 3 cheat meals per week (meaning that you treat yourself to something not on the nutrition plan). Now go and put it to good use!


**Disclaimer: These are all my honest opinions. I was not compensated in anyway for this post**