Europe Trip 2018

I love traveling and this past summer was no exception. If you read my past blog posts, you can see that I did some traveling within the US but my big vacation this year was going back to Europe to visit family. We try to go back every 2 years and we’ve been very fortunate that we have been able to do that! This trip was definitely my favorite trip to Europe. We got to travel to other countries other than France (which is an amazing trip by itself) and we also got to spend so much more time with family and I also got to meet some of my husband’s family members that I’ve never met before!

First stop was Belmont to meet some of the family I’ve never met before. It was such a fun 3 days filled with hiking, food, and WINE. And I mean lots of wine. It was great 😬

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Belmont in red 🙂

I obviously took WAY too many pictures but restrained myself from posting them all 😅 But how beautiful are the views? And of course a quick snapshot of my sweet sweet french family ❤︎

After Belmont, it was time to go to PROVENCE!!! I have been wanting to go to this region forever and this year was the year to go! We had a whole week there! Yes, we saw the lavender fields (duh), sunflower fields, more food, more wine, more hiking and family time! This region is so so beautiful! If you ever have the chance to visit France, please make a point to visit the Provence region!

While we were in Provence, we took a day trip to Nice since it was only 2 hours away. We wen to the beach, explored the city, and ate such good vegan food.

After Provence, we went to SWITZERLAND!! My brother in law and his gf lives in Vevey and we had the chance to stay with them for a couple of days. And man, this town is so beautiful!! Literally no words to describe it, you just have to see it for yourself. And yes, I had fondue (NOT VEGAN!!) but I just couldn’t pass it up!

After a couple of days in Vevey, it was time to say goodbye to Switzerland and hello to Belgium! My other brother in law and his gf lives in Brussels so of course we had to go stay with them too, it was only fair 😜 And you guessed it: food ,wine, family time!

After Brussels, it was on to the last leg of our trip: Paris ❤︎ Seeing the Eiffel Tower will never get old to me!

After Paris, it was time to go back home and back home to the dogs! But you better believe I’m already thinking about our next trip back  ❤︎

What about you?? Did you travel anywhere this past summer? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

xoxo, susel-6

Vegan DELICIOUS Banana Bread!

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YOU GUYS. This banana bread recipe is insane. I didn’t add any type of sweetener- no sugar, agave, maple syrup, honey, NONE OF THAT, but it was still sweet enough and oh so delicious! I could’ve probably eaten the whole pan but I had some sort of self control 😅 Who said banana bread couldn’t be healthy?? So without further adieu, here’s your new favorite banana bread recipe 😜

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 tablespoons chia pudding (2 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 3 tbsp water or almond milk)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite nut butter
  • 1 cup oat flour ( I made my own by using 1 cup of Trader Joes GF oats and making it into a flour using my magic bullet)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts (optional)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven 350 °
  • Mix all ingredients except walnuts in a bowl
  • Pour mixture into a 9 inch banana bread pan
  • Top with walnuts if adding
  • Bake for 50 mins
  • ENJOY and try not to eat the whole pan in one sitting 😝

Let me know if you make this recipe!

 

How I pursue my legend

I wrote this piece for my gym, Alchemy, after going through their A101 and Masters program (not to be confused with a masters degree lol).  But I thought that I would share on my personal blog because it really explains me and my two passions in life 🙂

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(pic by Alexa Kay https://www.instagram.com/alexakay/)

“There is nothing wrong with loving the crap out of everything.  Negative people find their walls.  So never apologize for your enthusiasm.  Never.  Ever.  Never.”- Ryan Adams

Have you ever heard of the 5 languages of love?  Well, if you haven’t, go ahead, google it.  I’ll wait.  Now that we all know about the 5 languages of love, I wanted to inform you that mine is Words of affirmation.  It’s probably why I started my PYL story with a quote.  I am all about quotes.   And that quote resonated with me as soon as I saw it.  When I love something, I REALLY love it.  I’m vocal about it.  I’m unabashedly enthusiastic about it.  And there are two things I am unabashedly passionate about: my love for animals and my health.

Let’s first talk about my love (really an obsession) for animals.  I LOVE ANIMALS.  I am that weirdo that will squeal whenever I see a dog or the one who would rather hang out with the cat at a holiday party than socialize (let’s get real, I socialize plenty but if there’s an animal in the room..).  My ultimate dream scenario would be to have my own island where I could have all my rescued animals with me.  But since that’s not happening any time soon, I pursue my legend by volunteering with local animal rescues and being on the board of a local non-profit that assist animals in need by providing resources to animal rescues.  It feels so good to give back by providing love and be the voice for our four legged friends.

My health is also extremely important to me.  Being healthy to me means eating right (that would be another topic) and exercising!  And that is where Alchemy comes in.  Alchemy is my fitness transformed.  Ever since taking my very first A10 class at Crossfit Minneapolis, before Alchemy even opened their NL space, I was hooked!  I remember the moves included pull-ups and telling the person next to me that I wasn’t going to do that because I never would be able to do a pull-up.  But the coach (I think it was Brigitte!) was not going to let me off the hook!  She showed me other ways that I could participate in class by modifying the move for me.  And that’s when I knew that NEVER would NEVER be a part of my vocabulary again when it comes to Alchemy.  Every single class is always a challenge but it’s a challenge that I meet head on, knowing that I am there to embrace that discomfort, like I did when I attended my first A10 with those pull ups.

I would like to end my PYL story the same way I started it.  With a quote.  (it’s my love language after all)

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life.  If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed.  Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all, become passionate about it.  Lukewarm is no good” – Roald Dahl

So there you go my friends, the author of THE BFG said it best, go pursue your own legend whatever that means to you!

ESFP

Have you ever wondered why you are the way you are?  How was your personality shaped?  What does your personality say about you?  What are your strengths? weaknesses?  Why one thing could be such a big deal to someone and not a big deal to you and vice versa?  Whoa that was a lot of questions #sorryNotsorry :p

I swear I was going somewhere with that…

So speaking of your personality, have you ever heard of the Myers-Briggs personality test?

The purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in people’s lives. The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment.

I am always down to take personality quizzes and tests so of course I had to find out my personality type.  I remember taking the actual test years ago at my old job and wanted to know if I would still get the same type now.  So I googled.  Because even though I wanted to take it, I was not willing to pay :p  I found 16personalities.com and took that quiz there.  and lo and behold, I did indeed get the same personality type as I did years ago according to this quiz.

Apparently, I am an “ESFP” Extrovert, Sensing, Feeling, Perception.  When I read how they started the description of this type, I knew that it was not a mistake.

If anyone is to be found spontaneously breaking into song and dance, it is the ESFP personality type. ESFPs get caught up in the excitement of the moment, and want everyone else to feel that way, too. No other personality type is as generous with their time and energy as ESFPs when it comes to encouraging others, and no other personality type does it with such irresistible style.

If you know me in real life, you know I’m always singing and dancing… randomly.. embarrassingly sometimes.  But hey, it’s just my ESFP ok!!?

Here are some other points about this personality type that I thought was dead on about me:

ESFPs are known for their irrepressibly social and excited attitudes. They don’t internalize much of anything, sharing it all with their extensive circles of friends with wit, style, enthusiasm, and optimism. ESFPs are explorers of the pleasures of life, and they take particular pleasure in sharing those experiences with others. For ESFPs, there’s no point in living if you can’t feel alive.

I’m loud, outgoing, and enthusiastic about everything.. what can I say? :p

Conflict-Averse – ESFPs sometimes ignore and avoid conflict entirely. They tend to say and do what’s needed to get out of such situations, then move on to something more fun.

ME TO A T.

Poor Long-Term Planners – In fact, ESFP personalities rarely make detailed plans for the future. To them, things come as they come, and they rarely bother with taking the time to lay out steps and consequences, with the belief that they could change at any moment – even with things that can be planned.

um yes.

Making new friends isn’t a problem for ESFPs though – they use an alluring combination of blunt truths and disarming openness and charm to keep things moving. Where ESFP personalities falter is in keeping the friends they already have. In their excitement and focus on here and now over history, ESFPs too easily exhaust the adventure one person has to offer, moving on once one person’s novelty has worn off.

That last sentence.  So true about me.  It’s something that I’ve realized about myself the past couple of years.  I think that’s why I don’t like to hang out with the same people too much because I don’t want to “easily exhaust the adventure”.  But I also have those friends that I’ve had for years, where we might not see each other for a while, but then get together and it feels like nothing has changed at all.  Strange, right??

It’s uncanny how reading about this personality type makes me gasp and say “Omg that is so me!”  If you would like to see what personality type you are, check out the quiz here: https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test

Let me know which one you get in the comments, kk?

optimist

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I feel like my life is always on the cusp of a great big change lately.  One week, I want to be  yoga instructor, the next week not.  One week I want to quit my job and move somewhere brand new with my husband and animals with no plans whatsoever, the next week I chide myself on daydreaming that I can just pack everything and leave.  But no matter the day or the week, I never stop dreaming!  My husband teases me on how I am always daydreaming and sometimes I will forget that I’m daydreaming.

For example, and this is kind of embarrassing, I was driving on 494E and saw a billboard on the powerball.. I think it was some insane amount of gazillion bajillion dollars that you could win.  As I’m driving down the highway, I start thinking about what I would do with that amount of money.  And I get lost in my daydream , as usual.  I call my husband and tell him all these things that we were going to do with that money and he had to (kindly) remind me that, no, Susel, we don’t have a gazillion dollars to spend on a private island for abused animals (dammit!)

But I actually really like that about me and I never want to lose my optimistic, day dreaming, can do anything, side of myself.  And I think because I am surrounded by other people who have the same mentality, I keep on planning and dreaming and searching.  And here are some things that I have control over (unlike the powerball..)

  • go back to school to get my MBA : for the longest time, I thought I wanted to be a counselor or a social worker.  So I went to school for social work.  8 years later, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to be a counselor or a social worker.  I want to be in marketing, social media, or something where I can use my outgoing personality to my advantage.  Unfortunately, my resume does not show my personality (too bad!).  And I want to learn more, I want to learn about business, I want to learn about marketing, I want to be an actual boss so I am exploring the notion of going back to school.  First step:  meeting with my director at work this week who obtained her MBA at Carlson School of Management and learn about her experience.  And I already met with another director at work about her experience at St. Thomas.  Like I said, surrounded by amazing people always.
  • have a financial advisor: stocks? bonds? CDs? mutual funds? index funds? savings? checking? WHAT DO I NEED TO DO WITH THIS MONEY?? (not gazillion dollars unfortunately ..)  *in process*
  • start a family?? : who knows…if my dad had his way, he would have 5 grandchildren already LOL

 

What about you?? What’s on your immediate bucket list?  Anything that you’ve been thinking about lately? Tell me what it is!  And I SAY GO FOR IT!

 

pre-fall oats ♥

If you know me at all, you know that I am obsessed with breakfast.  Savory or sweet, I am all over that.  It’s really nice to find friends that loves breakfast food just as much as I do.. and that’s where Emily comes in.  Or at least I think she likes breakfast food as much as I do? ☺

Today, we whipped up a fast and easy oatmeal recipe that is so easy and so savory that it might turn non breakfast eaters into … breakfast eaters? ☺ We made a big enough batch that should last you the whole week! (If you’re reading this today, Sunday 09/11, check out our instagram stories for even more fun when we were preparing this ☺ I will link our IG handles below!)

So I think I will call this … pre-fall oatmeal bowl?  just a thought.. the name needs work.

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pre-fall oats

 

Base Ingredients:

2 cups of gluten free oats (we used Trader Joe’s brand!)
1-2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
1 cup of cut up plums
1/2 cup of cut up black figs
2 tbs of chia seeds
2 tbs of flax seeds
1-2 tbs of cinnamon (If you’re Emily though, she will try to put a whole container of cinnamon in there ☺)

  • Add the oats and almond milk into a pot and bring to a boil.. then stir!
  • lower heat down to a simmer // add plums and figs
  • stir until sticky consistency (5-7 mins)
  • add chia seeds and flax seeds
  • add cinnamon
  • serve into a bowl
  • VOILA!
  • p.s. I didn’t claim to be a recipe maker ok??  ☺
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with all the toppings!

You can top your bowl with whatever toppings you want!  The possibilities are endless!
Emily topped hers with:  coconut shavings, almond shavings, and “a little bit of cashew butter”.  I topped mine with banana slices, blueberries, almonds, coconut shavings, more chia seeds and a dollop of cashew butter.  The green stuff in the previous picture is the Amazing Grass Green Superfood that I sometimes add to my oats too just not this time around.  Scoop up the rest into mason jars and you are set for the week!

Ok leave me a comment if you try this recipe or just leave me a comment letting my know your favorite oat toppings.  Or just leave me a comment to say hi!  I would love to hear from you ♥

Emily’s social media links:
Blog: Embodied Wellness
IG: @embodiedwellness

How to rock your morning!

I know there are some people that are just not morning people.  It might be because they work weird hours, likes sleeping in, hates breakfast, etc.  Whatever the reason is, I am here to convince you that YOU, yes YOU, can also be a morning person like me!

  • Get enough sleep! – Sleep is so important and don’t I know it!  My body just does not function the same way when I am sleep deprived.  I work regular hours (8-5) so if I even have half a prayer of getting a workout in before work, I need to get to bed in a decent hour.  I’m talking being in bed by 8 or 9 pm sometimes!  I mean, really, where am I going to go on a Monday night anyway? I’m old yo.
  • Speaking of exercise … – Get your body moving in the morning!  Even if it’s a quick 10 minute workout ( walk, HIIT, run, jump , just move!), it will wake your body up, get those endorphins flowing, and hopefully will start your day on a positive note.  Personally, I am a fan of group fitness classes.  I love Alchemy, a local Twin Cities gym, that combines power yoga + HIIT in a less than an hour class.  The workout changes every day so you never know what you are going to get (well, unless you check out the website where they post the workout the night before.  But sometimes I don’t for a pleasant surprise ☺)  If you’re in the Twin Cities area and have never tried Alchemy, talk to me yo!  I’ll take you for your first free week☺  I also love CorePower Yoga for Yoga Sculpt or their C2 classes.  They also offer a free week so if you are ever curious about yoga, take advantage of that!

 

  • BREAKFAST – Have you ever heard that saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day?  IT’S BECAUSE IT IS!  I legit go to sleep at night because it’s a time machine to breakfast.  Breakfast food is my favorite probably because 1) it’s my first meal of the day 2) There are so many options to choose from – oats, pancakes, avo toast, I WANT THEM ALL!  I cannot stress enough how important it is to eat breakfast.  It fuels my morning and it makes me happy because it tastes so damn good.  Is your excuse that you don’t have enough time the morning to make breakfast?  I call bullshit!  I have the solution for you:  Make it the night before! ☺  One of my absolute favorite go to breakfast meal is my overnight oats.  Go ahead, google overnight oats.  You will find 100s of amazing recipes and you will have the need to try them all.  Don’t like oats? What’s wrong with you? I kid I kid.  But if oats isn’t your deal, there’s still other things you can make the night before to grab and go in the morning.   Check out Minimalist Baker

 

  • Coffee.  Enough Said. ✌

 

What about you?? Any morning tips, workout tips, breakfast tips, to share?? Leave me a comment so I can try out your tips too! ♥

 

France

I am typing this up as I am still fighting jet lag but I know that I wanted to write about my France trip sooner than later. {edit: wow that jet lag was worse than I thought!  This post has been in my draft folder until now oops ]

My husband is french and we try to visit our family in France every couple of years.  This year’s trip is a little different as I stayed for my usual 2 weeks but my husband stayed 2 weeks more as he is working of the U of M for the last 2 weeks.  So for the next 2 weeks, we are a long distance couple, once again ha.  (2 weeks is nothing compared to the whole summer which was the case when we first started dating!  And grad school.. let’s just say we are not strangers to long distance!)


We spent the first week with his family in Fontcouverte, a little village about 6 hours south of Paris.  We visited places that I haven’t visited before.  We visited Cognac, Bordeaux, Quimper and the rest of the Bretagne region, and spent a day in Brugge, Belgium.


And of course, you can’t talk about France without talking about their food! My mother in law is an amazing cook and baker and my father in law always made sure my wine glass was never empty :p. My mother in law also made vegan dishes and desserts for me when the main course wasn’t vegan. ❤

We were in Paris the night of the final game of the Euro Cup and was able to swept up in the excitement of watching France play in the finals.  And excitement it was!  People on the streets, watching the game from a tv in a bar, cars not able to go through, people climbing light poles to see,  it was all exciting SAFE fun.  [ except they lost 😦 ]


I am so thankful to have the privilege of seeing the world like this.

What about you guys? Where are your favorite vacay spots?  Let me know in the comments!

#squad

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Hello, my name is Susel, I’m 31 years old, and I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  Society seems to think that I’m an adult (over age 18 and all.. sometimes even acts like it! lol) but I feel like I’m still finding out new things about myself all the time and still don’t know what I want to do with my life, career, hell, I don’t even know where I want to be in 6 months, in 1 year!

With that being said, I am so grateful to have met a group of women who encourages me, and each other, to dream big, whatever that dream might be. Whether it’s  something small like encouraging each other during a work out ( ok yelling at each other) or something big like encouraging me to find out how much my effort and time are worth when being a brand ambassador for companies.  I feel like I learn so much from strong women I call my friends and in turn, learn more about myself.  Sounds so cheesy I know, but I feel like my early 30’s is my time for self-discovery.

And yes, I do want to be that kind of woman that makes other women want to up their game ❥

 

 

for the animal obsessed.

If you couldn’t already tell, I am a HUGE animal lover.  I will be the one that will stop strangers on the street so I could pet their dog, the one at a party in the corner hanging out with the pet, ya know, normal things.

So when I saw that Alexa, a local Twin Cities chica that I started following on Instagram because I loved her photos, started an etsy shop selling cute animal related t-shirts, ya know your girl had to get on that!

Her mission is “to raise awareness for animal rescue and advocacy groups”.  I mean, how perfect is that?  And I also love that 10% of the sales will go to an animal rescue group.  This especially tugged at my heart since I sit on a board of a non-profit whose mission is to assist animals in need by supporting animal rescue groups.

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I chose this shirt in particular out of her designs because I feel like the bold letters and the message could start conversations.  I love talking to people about the importance of adopting instead of “buying” their pets at pet stores.  Whatever breed, size, age, cats, hamsters, dogs, you are looking for, I guarantee you that you can find a rescue group that you can adopt from.  So if you see me around town with this shirt on, stop me and let’s have a conversation 🙂

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DON’T SHOP.. ADOPT!

 

So do me a solid and check out Alexa’s etsy page!