Get Your Head Right

When I say the word “future,” what comes to your mind?

A scary, hairy monster that gives you goosebumps and paralyzes you with fear?

Or a peaceful, mountain meadow that fills you with joy, excitement, and happiness?

It’s all in how you decide to approach things.

The right mindset, so to speak.

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The future used to terrify me.

Back in high school, I was distraught with fear when senior year came around and I had to choose a college, choose a major, and basically choose the life I wanted to pursue without anyone telling me what to do or how to do it.

I was a ball of stress. I was so focused on fear, my priorities went down the tube. I lost a lot of weight, gained a lot of anxiety and parted ways with some friends. Once I decided on a school, I eventually just had to take a semester off to re-evaluate my long term goals and rediscover Alexandra.

Taking time to breathe turned out to be the “pause” I needed to jumpstart my life.

That “pause” gave me mental clarity and the tools I needed to cope with my fear of the future. God has a perfect plan for our lives and I just needed to RELAX and trust His timing. After attaining my Bachelor’s in marine biology, the future doesn’t seem so scary.

I have big dreams in both bodybuilding and the marine science field and I don’t plan on half-assing either anytime soon…

Bodybuilding-wise, my long term goal is to compete in Women’s Physique, and in order to do so, I need to put on a lot of size. While I’d love to compete again sooner, I know what has to be done. I’m absolutely LOVING the offseason and learning to maintain balance, consistency, and the daily routine. The stage will always be there, and I don’t want to sacrifice long term goals for short term pleasure. I’m in it for the long run!

Marine biology- wise, I haven’t told many people, but next February, I plan on pursuing my Master’s (and eventually PhD) in Marine Sciences from the University of Otago in New Zealand. Yes, it’s a long way from home, but I’ve always been one for adventure, travel and new experiences, and I’m not afraid to branch out! Aaaaaand the University has an incredible program and an absolutely awesome location for research.

I wish I could go back and tell high school Alexandra that everything turned out just fine. Sometimes, I still get anxious about the future or feel like I should have my life more together, but I quickly slap myself and say, ” You’re in your 20’s, you DON’T have to have your life all planned out. God’s got that all worked out for you. That’s what makes life exciting, enjoyable, and amazing.”

YOU are in control of how you interpret life, the future, and your dreams.

When you decide to make “getting your head right” a priority, everything else just seems to fall in place, and the future no longer has its fear-gripping power.

Where’s the Beef?! (No Cow Bar Review)

Hey everyone!! Long time no blog!

It feels like an eternity since I last posted, life got pretty busy with competition prep, work, and grad school applications. But I’m back!! 🙂

Competing in my first figure show was a whirlwind of an experience, I actually placed second in my class! It got me even more addicted to the sport of bodybuilding than I ever thought possible. I’m currently taking a long offseason to add some quality size to my frame…EAT ALL THE THINGS! 😀

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Since my diet isn’t as strict during offseason, I can fit some treats into my macros. Additionally, I have two free meals a week that go untracked. So, when I stumbled across D’s Naturals No Cow Bars towards the end of my prep, I made sure to bookmark their website to try out there stuff as soon as offseason began.

What makes No Cow Bars so unique? They have the macronutrient profile of many other high fiber protein bars on the market, but they’re made without milk products or whey protein! They’re soy free, dairy free, vegan, gluten free, and high fiber. Perfect for plant-based, vegan athletes or people just trying to grab a healthier snack.

I contacted the company and they graciously sent me samples of their three current flavors: blueberry cobbler, peanut butter cookie dough, and mint chocolate chip!

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So without further ado, here’s a taste review! 🙂

(Note, I was not paid or endorsed to say anything about these bars. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are solely my own.)

Taste: Blueberry Cobbler: I gave this bar to my mom as a snack for work (hence no picture). She said it tasted very fruity with major emphasis on the blueberry. The little freeze dried blueberries in the bar provided a lot of flavorful zing! 

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough: Reminded me of the powdered peanut butter PB2 in flavor. Sweet but not overpowering, tiny chunks of chocolate and peanuts, more peanut buttery than chocolate.

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Mint Chocolate Chip: IDENTICAL to a thin mint Girl Scout cookie. Little mint chunks in the bar really added to the overall flavor. I got kind of tired of the flavor by the time the bar was over though.

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Texture: Each flavor was VERY soft, almost dough-like. The peanut butter cookie dough was a bit grainy, but not bad. The mint chocolate was probably the softest and best texture. All had tiny chunks of chocolate, fruit or nuts in them. I didn’t try them heated, but I bet they’d taste like fresh baked cookies.

Smell: Blueberry Cobbler: Grandma’s fresh pie 🙂 Peanut Butter Cookie Dough: A brand new jar of peanut butter or a Reese’s cup! Mint Chocolate Chip: Thin mint cookies all the way!

Price: $29.99 per box (Store locator on their website, may be able to find them cheaper locally)

Nutrition: 20-21g of quality plant protein, 25g carbs (19 of which fiber), between 2.5-5g fat, 2g net sugar, and roughly 200mg sodium.

Ingredients: Blueberry Cobbler: 71BNi2mG2LL__SL1300_

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough: 

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Mint Chocolate Chip: 71wmnY10r0L__SX522_

Overall: I probably would buy again and highly recommend them! The texture was a lot better than other high protein bars on the market and they digested well. The only thing I’m not a fan of is erythritol since it has the tendency to upset my stomach, but I had no ill-effects from these. I can’t wait to see what other flavors they come up with!

Thanks again D’s Naturals for allowing me to do this review!!

If you’re interested in learning more, don’t hesitate to check out D’s naturals’ website, Facebook page, or Instagram (@DsNaturals)

Updates, Adventures, and Skydiving

Dang it!

I keep telling myself I’m going to start blogging on a more regular basis again, but I either a) get too busy b) get too lazy or c) totally forget!

So what’s been going on? Not a WHOLE lot, life has been awesome (minus a flat tire haha) and I’m savoring it!

I guess I owe an update on the homefront! 🙂

  • BIRTHDAY: I’m officially 23 as of Feb 12! 22 was an epic year, but I feel like 23 has a lot of potential to surpass it! Bring on the fun times!!
  • SCHOOL: Well, it was looking promising for the program I’d been pursuing at Universty of Arizona, but state program/project funding has put a damper on things. I’m not sure if they’ll get projects approved by this fall, so I’ve started applying to other schools and investigating new programs. I won’t get into details as of now, but it’s looking like BIG BIG AMAZING things could be happening…abroad.
  • WORK: Still loving my part time job at Vitamin Shoppe. I’m learning so much about vitamins and supplements, meeting new people, and laughing a ton with my awesome co-workers. It’s just a fun atmosphere to be a part of!
  • WEIGHTLIFTING/FITNESS: Since this fall may be chaotic, I decided to pursue one of my biggest dreams…I finally signed up for my first figure competition in May!! I’m working with my awesome coach from INOV8 elite performance whom I’ve been with for about 1.5 years and prep has begun. I’m so excited for this new journey and cannot wait to hit the stage! Now to keep practicing walking in my heels haha
  • BUCKET LIST: For my 23rd b-day, my parents surprised me with an indoor skydiving experience!! It was SO fun checking that off the bucket list!! And in March, I’ll be checking off another big dream item — attending the Arnold Expo in Ohio!! BEYOND excited for that!!

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Well that’s about it, not a whole lot of stuff, but exciting things are brewing! I’m just stoked to see what 2015 holds, it’s gonna be an awesome year!! 😀

Thanks again to anyone still reading! Be on the lookout for a long overdue Wanderlust Wednesday post! 🙂

Life Updates

Whoa! Sorry for my random “fall-off-the-face-of-the-earth” absence; it’s been awhile since I’ve made a post here. I promise I’m still alive!!!

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Life has been fantastic. Busy but fantastic!

I feel like I owe anyone who’s still reading a few updates on the homefront:

WORK: I snagged a part time job at local Vitamin Shoppe and have been LOVING every millisecond of it. My co-workers/managers are awesome, I’m learning a ton about supplementation as well as interacting with people, and I feel so accepted among friends who share similar goals. I wouldn’t trade it for the world! God’s timing is truly perfect.

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SCHOOL: I’m still focusing on going to grad school next fall and have a phone interview next week with the professor I’ve been talking to for the past 6ish months. So excited to hear about the available projects he’s got lined up! 🙂 After taking time off from academics, I’m ready to get back to learning and being a fish geek haha!

HOLIDAY SEASON: Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming….ummmmm WHAT?! I’m in the biggest time warp in the history of ever. I’m just now getting used to the fact I have swap my shorts for pants when I go outdoors. It SNOWED here earlier this week. WTF TEXAS?!?! Also sorta started the Christmas shopping process, but I’ve been a major slacker haha

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VOLUNTEERING: There’s a cool wildlife refuge/museum near my neighborhood, so I signed up to volunteer with animal care and special events. I’ve only been able to go once due to my work schedule, but it was cool! I look forward to going when I get more down time.

GYM: Training has been AMAZING. I really feel like I’m becoming more in-tune with my RPE as well as my mind-muscle connection. My mental state is better than it’s been in eons and I couldn’t be more appreciative to my coach for helping work through negative thoughts that occasionally try to creep in my noggin. A lot of those thoughts stem from getting frustrated at myself since it’s been hard putting on weight (I mean heck I’m maintaining on 575g carbs a day). Celiac probably doesn’t help, but I officially have the metabolism of a 9 year old boy. By focusing on my overall progress rather than tiny snapshots from month to month, I’ve been able to keep a lot of negativity at bay. (Sorry for the picture of me in my skivvies). Just gotta keep eating hard, training hard, and resting hard to get to the stage *hopefully* at the end of next year.

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So that’s about it, nothing too crazy exciting. I wish I could say I got abducted by aliens or was a stunt double in a movie or something haha! I’m just eager to get back on the Wanderlust Wednesday train 🙂 I still have some hikes to recap from Arizona, so be on the lookout for new posts soon!

Thanks to anyone who’s still reading! Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving! 🙂

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Time of Discovery

So, I have a confession to make.

Something’s been eroding away my confidence and happiness lately. The thoughts that have been filling my mind aren’t friendly–they are filled with fear. Anxiety. Confusion. Guilt. Each thought desperately tries to sabotage my progress by whispering words of doubt in my ear.

What is the source of this stress?

Graduating college.

It’s thrown me for a loop.

I’ve always centered my life around my education and I’m having a hard time coming to grips that it’s all finished. I devoted 110% of myself into my schoolwork; my summa cum laude degree on the wall proves that. People assume I’m going to continue my education with a Master’s or PhD, but I don’t want to go back. I’m done. Burned out.

It’s time to live in the real world, but I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

I feel guilty when my classmates and peers post online about already having jobs…while I’m still looking and applying like mad. I know it’s only been 2 months since I graduated, but I feel like it’s been longer. I don’t want to be a burden to my parents. I don’t want to have to rely on them; they’ve already provided me with so much.

So I guess it’s safe to say, I’m in that post-college, “what-now?” phase of life and it’s a lot harder than I imagined. I don’t know what I want to do with my life. I’m thankful to have a science degree to allow me to have more job opportunities, and thankful I have no student loans to pay off, but I’m at a stand-still with what I want my life to become. I have to realize that it’s okay not to know RIGHT NOW.

But, I do know a few things…

I have dreams. Big dreams. I want to make a mark on the world. I want my life to have meaning and impact.

I love weightlifting, the gym, and bodybuilding.

I love the outdoors and hiking.

I love nutrition and fueling my body as an athlete.

I love meeting new people and seeing new cultures.

I love traveling.

I love animals of all shapes and sizes.

I love fighter jets.

I love biology and taxonomy.

I love writing.

I love Egyptology.

I love photography, even if I’m not the best at it. 😉

I love reading and learning new things.

I know what I like and what I don’t like. These dreams make me who I am. In the past, I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing what I love for fear of mockery or judgment. But that’s the past and I like the person I’ve become. So, it’s not a matter of finding myself or passion, it’s more like…the difficulty of deciding which passion to pursue.

I’m thankful for my parents for allowing me to have this time to think and pray. I know God has a plan for my future and I’m excited to see what that entails, but sometimes I get impatient. I want it to happen on my timeline, but I have to have faith that He is in control. I know I’ll make mistakes along the way, but I’ll get back to the path and plan He’s set in place.

I want to live my best life.

So although I don’t know what I want to do right now, I’m excited to see what unfolds.

Life isn’t a race. It’s about finding yourself, being imperfect, embracing the confusion, channeling stress into something productive.

This post is all over the place, but basically, my plan of action for this confusing phase of life is to #1 keep praying and trusting God #2 travel as much as possible to learn more about myself #3 continue applying to jobs and #4 RELAX. And until this phase is over, I’ll use my present actions as a weapon against my anxious thoughts about the future.

It’s time for me to embrace the now and relish this time of discovery.