• search

  • blog lovin'

Posted by & filed under Life & More.

Happy Friday y’all.

This week felt long and cold. Temperatures fell into the teens here in Georgia. I”m thankful there was no precipitation. I don’t like driving on black ice since I had my first accident on it five years ago.

I have decided to get back to doing Friday Favorites again. I feel like I’ve come across so many things lately that I would like to share.

Sizzlefish 

On Black Friday, I purchased my first order of Sizzlefish. I like the variety of fish and shellfish included in the pack.

SF.thegreatdanaj

My entire order of Sizzlefish. I ordered the Paleo Prime option. The sale price was $61 for Black Friday, original price is $91.95

I like being able to have different types of fish throughout the week! It’s nice to not have to buy and prepare the same protein that I have to eat for days! I can remove the fish that I want from the freezer and eat it within three days. So, it’s okay if I change my mind. SFMeals.thegratdanaj

Two of my Sizzlefish meals! On the left: salmon, Brussels sprouts, and honey roasted parsnips

On the right: Fish in a bag cod, slow cooker collard greens and black eyed peas (post New Year’s)


Gilmore Girls

gilmore

I just finished watching the entire 7 seasons on Netflix. I forgot how great Gilmore Girls was. I stopped watching when Rory went to college, so it was nice to watch that part for the first time. I caught so many messages that I missed when I was younger. Lorelai was an amazing mom who really instilled hardwork and independence in her daughter. I didn’t like how it ended though. I knew Rory wasn’t going to go for being engaged to Logan. I thought that somehow Jesse would come back into the picture. I felt Jesse was really the best match out of all of her boyfriends. #TeamJesse Her mom knew Logan proposing wasn’t the best idea too. It was glaringly obvious that Lorelai never wanted to get or be married, so that one was understandable. I also enjoyed reliving the often tense but loving relationship between Rory and her grandparents. It made me remember my grandparents back when I had one on one time them when I was very young. I really miss them!

Erin Condren Life Planner

This is my second Erin Condren Life Planner. I loved the one I purchased for 2014. I even purchased one of her address books for my mom’s birthday last summer.

IMG_0019

The Erin Condren address book that I purchased for my mom.

 

My 2015 planner

I like the fact that there’s tons of space in the planner to write down everything! The planner is not too big or too small.

480px-Jessie_Ware_Tough_Love (1)

Jessie Ware – Tough Love

I’ve been discovering new artists on Spotify recently. One of my most recent favorites happens to be Jesse Ware. I really love her CD Tough Love. It’s R&B easy listening. The album is about relationships and love. If you’re into that kind of music, then I highly recommend it. I love listening to entire albums when I’m writing or hanging out around the house. Spotify is free!

 

What’s new in your world?

Posted by & filed under Life & More.

Happy New Year folks! My new year started with a four mile Resolution Run. Yep, I am that person who woke up on New Years Day to run a four mile race after champagne at midnight.I finished with a time of 42:12. My mom signed our whole family up for this race. There were at least 5 different hills and it was tough. I had a quick stop for a stretch and water, but outside of that, I pushed through!

 

 

Starting the year with a run first thing got me motivated to get back on top of my goals for the rest of the year. In fact, after I had lunch with my family and came home for a nap, that’s exactly what I did. I started thinking about my plan for the next year towards the end of 2014. I’m happy to share that I’ve made significant progress so far. I made my vision board and plan to hang it up in my bedroom. There are four specific changes that I plan to share, for now:

4Goals

1. Three new hairstyles – I feel like my hair hasn’t changed much over the last few years. I want to change the style up three different times in 2015. New color, styles, and maybe a cut. We will see!

2. Work style – I worked from home and was a contractor for some time. Now, I work in an office with a laid back dress code. This has caused my work style to slack off. Just because the dress code says I can dress down, doesn’t mean I should. I want to get out of the rut of wearing leggings and get back to dressing up. I like my work wardrobe and want to put more effort back into it.

3. Four Weekly Workouts – Over the last few months I have been working to get four workout days in consistently each week. I plan to continue sharing that process.

4. Two new books per month – Since I decided to get back into reading in November, I’ve finished three great books. I miss blogging about book reviews here too. Make sure to follow me on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn for details about what I’ve been reading.

 

What resolutions have you made for this year?

Posted by & filed under Life & More.

It’s really easy to pretend that the holidays are holly and jolly and merry and bright. But sometimes they aren’t. It feels like a season full of worry and stress. It takes work to keep a positive vibe going. Earlier this month, I went to an EFT class. EFT stands for emotional freedom technique. During the class, everyone went around talking about the top motivators of stress during the holidays. When it comes to stress, it is easy to feel like we are all alone, but in all honesty we aren’t. So many people at the class talked about different areas where they feel stressed most during the holidays.

– Financial
– Family
– Purchasing the right gift
– Weight gain
– Depression
– Bad memories of holidays past
– Loneliness
– Traveling

There were more. Trust me. With twenty of us in the room, we all had our own areas and then there were some that we could identify with. This holiday season, I have been working on keeping my stress levels to a minimum. Here are 7 tips on how to prevent being a Grinch this holiday season.

 

TheGrinch.thegreatdanaj

1. Essential Oils – I’ve been adding essential oils to my showers and laundry. I put lavender in with my sheets and towels. Jasmine and eucalyptus work well inside the shower. The scents help me relax.

2. Exercise – I really made it a point to increase my exercise. Over the last couple of weeks, I have incorporated Piyo into my routine and increased my weekly mileage. Today, I started a new weight training routine! For me, I love early morning workouts. Right when I wake up in the morning at 5 AM. I notice a huge difference in my energy levels throughout the day and my mood as well. Usually around mid afternoon I feel drained but when I do the morning workouts, I feel much better! I have worked my way up to 4/5 weekday mornings with Saturday body pump and Sunday long runs. I also really like long walks with the right playlist.

3. Reading – I have made it a point to start reading everyday. I set a goal to finish out a book I started a few months ago called The Gifts of Imperfection I made it a goal to finish the book before the end of the year. I take the book everywhere I go and it keeps me off of my phone and focused on reading.

4. Resolutions – Focusing on your vision for the future helps. I feel like I’ve been working on my resolutions and vision for the past couple of months. Especially after Refresh Summit. I’m more than okay with focusing on that and not being in a bad mood.

5. Pump up the music – I have been making new playlists and listening to music outside of my comfort zone on Spotify. It’s fun to have new playlists to rotate during workouts. I also have themed lists that work well when I’m relaxing or at work. Right now, I’m trying to get as much play as possible out of my holiday playlists.

6. Eat well – Since I set a goal to make most of my meals at home, I try to make healthy options. I like being able to have citrus foods and fruits daily. I also try to get lots of produce in and limit sweets. This helps balance out all of the sampling that I do at parties and the sweet treats that we have been having at work.

7. Have a relaxed schedule – I made it a point to start my holiday shopping in November. So, I haven’t felt the holiday stress or rush at all this month. I have tried to avoid the traffic and crowds at all cost. Traffic is stressful, and I really appreciate not having to be bothered with it in order to shop.

 

These are my seven ways to stay full of holiday glee. So, how are you guys holding up against the holiday stress?

Posted by & filed under Life & More.

I don’t want a lot for Christmas. However, because my birthday falls just after Christmas day and just before New Years, if I ask for nothing I run the risk of missing out. For most of my life, I’ve received Christmas/Birthday gifts which comes with the territory when you have a December birthday. I get it now that I’m older and I’m super thankful to get anything at all. I enjoy shopping and picking out thoughtful items for other people now.

Here are a few items on my wishlist for this year’s Christmas/Birthday:

Gifts2014.1

 


Steve Madden
Tocean bootsGarmin VivofitAlex and Ani Trident braceletJ. Crew Masterpiece tray
There Was a Little Girl – Brooke Shields Henri Bendel Hot Buttered Rum candle
BosuAthleta Striped Strength hoodieBose Soundlink

Posted by & filed under Fitness.

A few weeks ago, I saw a post on Instagram from Refresh Summit promoting one last spot. On a whim, I responded. I’ve been following Bobbi’s blog for years and I’ve wanted to go to a conference like Refresh for some time. After some reflection time, I registered.

The drive up wasn’t so bad. A little over 4 hours from Atlanta. I arrived at Deer Run Retreat just before dark:

deerrun.thegreatdanaj

I’m so thankful that I took a leap and took a chance on going. For the first time in 2014 I jumped out and started living completely on my own. I’m still getting used to the silence and the quietness that comes with it. For a time, I couldn’t really enjoy or embrace it. At Refresh, I realized how much more comfortable I have become with embracing that silence as stillness. There’s beauty and knowledge in those still moments that I’ve been avoiding.

Let me just warn you guys, I didn’t go to Refresh to “be engaged, plugged in, or on”. I love social media, but because it’s part of my job and I have a blog, sometimes I just want to be “off”. I just want to disconnect from it all a little. I didn’t plan to document the entire experience on social media channels. I never saw it as that sort of conference. I saw Refresh as a time to get away from it all. A time to reset my thinking before entering into the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. The whole thing was intimate and the close quarters of the lodge really made us all connect even more.
Favorite Refresh Summit Moments:

– How to Read the Bible – I really enjoyed this session with Amia explaining how to read the bible. She told us to think of the bible as a letter from God to us. I never looked at it that way.

– PiYo – I tried it first time during the weekend. I’m officially a fan! I’ve been searching for an Atlanta class to join. Reina was a great teacher.

piyo3.thegreatdanaj

I’m on the pink mat with the bright shoes! Photo from my roommate Jolene

– Group zumba – I’m always down for a zumba class. All of us danced it out to a couple of songs including “No Place I’d Rather Be” and we ended things right with “Shake it Off”.

Zumba.thegreatdanaj

– Sleep – I slept so peacefully there. It was deep, deep sleep that I haven’t been able to have in a long time. I spent many nights up late writing/brainstorming and working on my eGuide prior to Refresh. It was nice to sleep without noise and vivid dreams. It was wonderful to wake up refreshed instead of tossing and turning through the night.

–  The Stories – Getting to know new people and listening to everyone’s story. Many of us are going through some of the same challenges. Emotional, physical, and spiritual challenges. Refresh Summit allowed us to share those challenges and relate to each other freely. That doesn’t always happen in day to day life.

worship.thegreatdanaj

– Food Prep – I picked up some great tips from Brittany during the food prep session. I’ve been telling you guys how I really want to get better at prepping my food for the week in advance. I appreciated Brittany’s tips, creative preparations and her knowledge about nutrition.

I won this book by Jeremy Scott. It’s on my fall reading list now:

makesucces.thegreatdanaj

 

I left Deer Run full of gratitude. I’m so thankful for this group of people. For all of the prayers, conversations and understanding. I’m thankful for Heather, who reached out and made me feel welcome right after I registered. For the opportunity to attend and for our amazing sponsors who donated food and products that I am still using! Attending Refresh made me focus on what’s next and preparing for 2015.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Posted by & filed under Fitness, Food.

Happy Monday! I had a great weekend with my family. On Saturday, we all did the Serenbe Hill Country 5k together.

 

A photo posted by thegreatdanaj (@thegreatdanaj) on

I cannot lie, the hills were tough. My legs are still sore. I tripped and later came down on my ankle funny. Fortunately, I wasn’t hurt! My brother and I were able to keep up with each other and my parents navigated the hills together. It was really fun to get an action shot or two of them finishing out the race.

Before we jump into the Thanksgiving feast later this week, I wanted to share that November just happens to be National Peanut Butter Month!

Lately, I’ve become a huge fan of Peanut Butter & Company’s White Chocolate Wonderful. I like White Chocolate Wonderful in my smoothies and on a teaspoon when I need a taste of something sweet after dinner ;). Lately, I’ve had an over abundance of sweet potatoes. Here’s one of my favorite fall smoothie recipes with peanut butter:

IMG_2221


Sweet Potato Peanut Butter Wonderful Smoothie

1/2 cup Almond Milk

1 tbs Peanut Butter & Co White Chocolate Wonderful

1 tsp Organic Burst Baobab

2 small Sweet Potato (more if you want it thick, I used 2 small ones and my smoothie was thick use 1 if you don’t like yours as thick)

Pulsed in my Nutri Ninja blender until smooth

IMG_2222
Here are a few fun facts about peanuts! Enjoy:

PNBInfographic

 

Posted by & filed under Marketing & Social Media.

It’s been two weeks since Blogalicious in San Antonio, TX and I’m still feeling inspired and excited.

My Blogalicious journey started earlier than the conference. I was asked by the Blogalicious team to create an eguide for my millennial peers. From there, How to be Great at Social Media for Millennials was born!

I wrote an eguide!

Many of my girlfriends have asked me how to successfully build influence online and this eguide is my very detailed and fun answer to help take them to the next level. More on what you will learn from the guide and how to save money on it after my recap!

blogalicious14.thegreatdanaj

From L-R: Photo 1: Opening day: Stacy Ferguson, the Chief Curator for Blogalicious welcomes us all to San Antonio! Photo 2: Opening Keynote Speaker: Derreck Kayongo inspired us with his story. He’s a visionary and the founder of the Global Soap Project. He even got us on our feet to sing a song in Swahili. It was a really beautiful moment. Photo 3: Comedian Aida Rodriguez from “Last Comic Standing” made us laugh the night away, literally, with her stories about being a woman of color on a majority male field and throughout her personal life.

After Aida, we had the opportunity to see an advanced screening of Beyond the Lights at AMC Riverwalk.

beyondthelightselfie

Theater selfie 😉

I talked about how great the movie was in my last post!

Day 2 started with a wonderful workout sponsored by Coca Cola!

A photo posted by thegreatdanaj (@thegreatdanaj) on

I really enjoyed this time. I love working out in the morning and it gave me life to last the rest of the day after the late night at the movies! Our coaches were friendly, but they didn’t take it easy on us! We did bootcamp, Zumba and ended things with a deep stretch! I stayed hydrated with Dasani and we also had an assortment of Vitamin Water flavors to choose from. This was one of my favorite parts of the conference!

Blogaliciousday2.thegreatdanaj

 

From L-R: Photo 1: Warming up for a great workout with Zumba. Photo 2: An excellent panel on branding from Domain.Me happened on Day 3. The panel featured Danika Kombol, Shenee Howard and Jeanette Kaplum. They offered valuable insight on building a personal brand. It really motivated me to focus on finding my authentic voice online n 2015. Photo 3: A great break out session at the B-Link bar with Beatrice Clay on creating sweeter DIY posts. I discovered new ways to leverage Instagram photos and how to create great DIY photos for Pinterest.

The weekend was pretty jam packed with learning, networking and discovery. I met so many wonderful people. Most importantly, I was inspired by the theme encouraging us all to be great. From the speakers, I learned that all of us face resistance when it comes to becoming our best selves. After I left the conference, I promised myself that I would get out of my own way and start doing all the things that truly scare me. It made me want to dig deeper to really discover my passion and what drives me.

Oh, about my eguide How to be Great at Social Media for Millennials.

I’m beyond excited to share some things I’ve learned on the journey here getting my blog started. I outline:

– How to work with brands

– How to build your influence

– How to measure your influence

– New and emerging platforms you should consider

For all of my millennial peers out there who are interested in pushing themselves to the next level of greatness, the Blogalicious team has given me a coupon code for all of you to check out my new eguide How to be Great at Social Media for MillennialsUse the code: EGUIDEDANA to get 10% off when you get ready to buy. The great news is – it’s priced for all of us balling on a budget plus the code will help you save even more!
Let me know what you think after you check it out. I wrote this for you guys and I’d love your feedback: email dana {at} thegreatdanaj.com comment or tweet!

 

Have you been to any really inspiring events lately? What did you learn from them?

Posted by & filed under Reviews.

Last week, during the first night of Blogalicious, we had the opportunity to see the new movie Beyond the Lights followed by a Q&A session with writer and director Gina Prince-Bythewood. I heard about the movie from a commercial and the previews had me convinced that it piqued my interest. The movie comes out today! Here are four reasons you need to check it out:

 4. The cast – The movie features a great cast! From Nate Parker to Danny Glover and Minnie Driver. This was my first time seeing a movie with the lead actress, Gugu Mbatha-Raw. She’s gorgeous and a great actress and singer. I even rented Belle from Redbox one night this week and she was great in that too (hooray for text marketing campaigns that push for mid-week movie nights ;)). Plus there are cameos from Big Sean, Emelie Sande, Lily Allen, Deborah Lee (BET President), Don Lemon and Rocsi. I’m sure there are more that I missed.

3. Gina Prince-Bythewood – She’s the writer/director behind the classic Love & Basketball. Plus, she also directed the film adaptation of The Secret Life of Bees. I read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and I truly believe she was able to capture the essence of a beautiful story of sisterhood on screen. Hearing the story of how this movie came together made it even more special to me. It was a struggle and she kept it real with us about the realities of making a love story with a predominately black cast. She told us that there’s an assault on black love in media. That statement felt so real to me. I’ve seen so many romcoms that feature predominately white casts. I can appreciate any film out there that does a great job telling a story, but I truly appreciate when films feature diversity in a positive way.

beyondthelights.thegreatdanaj

Gina Prince-Bythewood telling us about the process of getting a film made. I never realized how difficult it is from start to finish. The creative writing process, turning writing into a script, followed by casting plus the campaign to get funding. It’s a journey! She was passionate and believed in the film and that’s what kept her going.

2. The music – Writer, producer, and artist, The Dream was involved in putting together the music for this film. I am a big fan of The Dream’s first solo album. I will never forget jamming out to the songs on Love/Hate. I’m also a fan of his songs written for other artists including Rhianna’s Umbrella, Nivea’s Complicated, Beyonce’s Single Ladies and 1+1. The music is a huge part of this movie and it added value to the story.

1. It’s not a sappy love story – For me, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a good old fashioned love story.I really appreciate how in line this movie was with reality. It’s a story about the realities behind the scene of the music industry and it’s the story of two people with real problems getting together and trying to make it work. Together they bring out the best in each other. It’s in line with reality.

If you’re headed out on date night, girl’s night or even a solo matinee (often my favorite type of movie going), go see this movie!

Come back and let me know how much you liked it 😉 Take a look at the preview here before you go.

Have a great one y’all!

Posted by & filed under Life & More.

Sorry for the unintended hiatus! Life got the best of me for a bit.

I’m back on schedule now. I am still doing well with making all of my own meals during the week. I’ve been having fun trying out new recipes. I’m also back on my workout schedule. Over the past few weeks, I’ve figured out that doing morning workouts helps me stay focused throughout the day! This week:

Sunday – AM: 30 minute walk

Monday – PM: Trying a new trainer

Tuesday – Rest – might be sore from new trainer

Wednesday – AM: Spin class

Thursday – Kettletoning

Friday – AM: 30 minutes cardio PM: Halloween – I got a fabulous costume that I can’t wait to share.

Saturday – Body  Works + Abs w/ Workout Halloween wear (fun, fun, fun)

 

Over the weekend, I had Delicata squash and Kabocha Squash. Both turned out fantastic. Here’s the Kabocha:

A photo posted by thegreatdanaj (@thegreatdanaj) on

I’m going to share all of my favorite fall recipes soon. I have been spending way more time on Snapchat and Vine lately. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had insomnia. Vine is fun to watch during those waking hours. With Snapchat, I made my very first story over the weekend. It’s a great way to give people insight into what you are doing throughout the day. If you are using either site, let’s connect! I have the same username on both: search thegreatdanaj on Snapchat, and Vine.

Are you using Snapchat and Vine?

Any big plans for Halloween?

Posted by & filed under Marketing & Social Media.

Plants have always been a fixture in my bedroom. I always believed that they make things a little bit brighter and help me breathe a little bit easier. I didn’t know that flowers had similar benefits when you have them in your home. Makes sense why people are always giving flowers in the midst of hospital visits and baby births. The benefits exceed just appearances. Indoor flowers are linked to wellbeing. Plus, the smell of floral scents is linked to helping us feel less anxious. Here’s a great article about the mental health benefits of flowers from Huffington Post.

Have you ever heard of The Bouqs? I learned more about them during BlogHer this summer. The Bouqs make it easy to order flowers online. They make it happen in three easy steps. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to order flowers through other websites but the process is lengthy, annoying and tedious. I end up quitting before I get to the end. Check out all of the bouq love on Twitter.

I received my first bouq for review and it brightened up my place for 2.5 weeks 🙂 The bouq arrives in a box with easy unwrapping and care details.

 

Bouq.thegreatdanaj

My bouq ended up fitting into two vases. I used a mason jar for the second vase and kept one on top of the fridge and the other on the bar.

bouq1.thegreatdanaj

 

I’d love to budget in a bouq once a month or so. I enjoyed just looking at them every day. It was calming. They were so beautiful. This month, The Bouqs has a few great autumn and National Breast Cancer Awareness month themed specials. Purchasing one of the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Power of Hope bouqs gives 5% of the purchase to Susan G. Komen LA County.

bca.thebouqs.thegreatdanaj

 

I was given a bouq at a discounted price for review purposes. As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed are all my own.