More Research Supporting Cheat Meals :)



This article is just a little more science behind why having a “cheat meal” will help you reach your fitness goals all the same.


Strengths Quiz

I recently started reading The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor and I came across a section where he talks about “signature strengths” — or things that you’re uniquely good at.  There was a link in the book to where you can take a free quiz to find out your own strengths.  You do have to sign up and create a user name, and you will be asked if you want to pay for an upgraded service, but there is a completely free version and it me took about 10 min. in all. I think it’s fun to take these kinds of things and learn about myself.

Here were my results:

Character Strength # 1: Love

You value close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated. The people to whom you feel most close are the same people who feel most close to you.

Character Strength # 2: Curiosity

You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.

Character Strength # 3: Love of learning

You love learning new things, whether in a class or on your own. You have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere there is an opportunity to learn.

Character Strength # 4: Hope

You expect the best in the future, and you work to achieve it. You believe that the future is something that you can control.

Character Strength # 5: Kindness

You are kind and generous to others, and you are never too busy to do a favor. You enjoy doing good deeds for others, even if you do not know them well.

Character Strength #6: Judgment

Thinking things through and examining them from all sides are important aspects of who you are. You do not jump to conclusions, and you rely only on solid evidence to make your decisions. You are able to change your mind.

Character Strength #7: Perspective

Although you may not think of yourself as wise, your friends hold this view of you. They value your perspective on matters and turn to you for advice. You have a way of looking at the world that makes sense to others and to yourself.

Character Strength #8: Gratitude

You are aware of the good things that happen to you, and you never take them for granted. Your friends and family members know that you are a grateful person because you always take the time to express your thanks.

Character Strength #9: Honesty

You are an honest person, not only by speaking the truth but by living your life in a genuine and authentic way. You are down to earth and without pretense; you are a “real” person.

Character Strength #10: Perseverance

You work hard to finish what you start. No matter the project, you “get it out the door” in timely fashion. You do not get distracted when you work, and you take satisfaction in completing tasks.

Character Strength #11: Social intelligence

You are aware of the motives and feelings of other people. You know what to do to fit in to different social situations, and you know what to do to put others at ease.

Character Strength #12: Zest

Regardless of what you do, you approach it with excitement and energy. You never do anything halfway or halfheartedly. For you, life is an adventure.

Character Strength #13: Creativity

Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible.

Character Strength #14: Fairness

Treating all people fairly is one of your abiding principles. You do not let your personal feelings bias your decisions about other people. You give everyone a chance.

Character Strength #15: Forgiveness

You forgive those who have done you wrong. You always give people a second chance. Your guiding principle is mercy and not revenge.

Character Strength #16: Spirituality

You have strong and coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe. You know where you fit in the larger scheme. Your beliefs shape your actions and are a source of comfort to you.

Character Strength #17: Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence

You notice and appreciate beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in all domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.

Character Strength #18: Teamwork

You excel as a member of a group. You are a loyal and dedicated teammate, you always do your share, and you work hard for the success of your group.

Character Strength #19: Humor

You like to laugh and tease. Bringing smiles to other people is important to you. You try to see the light side of all situations.

Character Strength #20: Leadership

You excel at the tasks of leadership: encouraging a group to get things done and preserving harmony within the group by making everyone feel included. You do a good job organizing activities and seeing that they happen.

Character Strength #21: Prudence

You are a careful person, and your choices are consistently prudent ones. You do not say or do things that you might later regret.

Character Strength #22: Self-Regulation

You self-consciously regulate what you feel and what you do. You are a disciplined person. You are in control of your appetites and your emotions, not vice versa.

Character Strength #23: Bravery

You are a courageous person who does not shrink from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain. You speak up for what is right even if there is opposition. You act on your convictions.

Character Strength #24: Humility

You do not seek the spotlight, preferring to let your accomplishments speak for themselves. You do not regard yourself as special, and others recognize and value your modesty.

Quick Motivational Reads

Merry Post-Christmas!  First off, I hope you all enjoyed my cookie recipes and that at least one of them was a hit at your holiday parties.  At least for right now I’m going to give recipes a rest, but they’ll be peppered into my future posts for sure.

Since not listening to my all-knowing parents about going to the doctor and relaxing more during Christmas, I am now sick!  However, despite the obvious down-sides of illness, I was able to catch up on some pleasure-reading that I had no time for during my super-busy semester (I get an A+ for optimism).


Instead of tackling some of the epic novels and works of classic literature I’ve been meaning to get around to, I picked up a little book that someone left on my coffee table.  It was called The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz.   It’s a super-easy read — I breezed right through it in a meer 2 hours (not including my snack break).  It’s one of those life-perspective, spirituality, and happiness books that read like obvious information but it seems like it would really work if you actually apply the concepts in day-to-day life… I really enjoyed it so I’m going to give it a try.  After all, the turn of the New Year is the time for promises of self improvement.

Since I still get a rush from reading whole books in single days, I think I’m going to try a few more later.  I have Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson which is less than 100 pages but can give your perspective a boost.  My good friend loaned it to me over a year ago (perhaps 2 years) and I think I read a page but then got distracted by something shiny  but then never picked it back up.  It’s a best-seller that’s really supposed to be a game-changer.

I know that The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a must-read.  A friend of mine listened to the audio version while driving back-and-forth to work; I think I may give that a shot.

I also want to borrow The Happiness Advantage when my mom’s done with it – I think I’m going to be all about that.  It’s been highly recommended to me and I can’t wait to review it for you all.

I starting reading Discover the Power Within You when it was gifted to me a few years ago, but I lost the book without quite making it to the end (I know, I’m the worst) so I’d really like to finish that one – but I probably ought to just restart the whole thing after all this time.

Lastly, my cousins swear by Think and Grow Rich, so I want to check that out some time soon.

If anyone has any positive, uplifting, life changing books, please post comments to share!

Photo credit: I have more books than friends

Excited for Fall

photo credit: Fanpop

Although I’m typically a beach bum who mourns the end of summer, this year for some reason I’m very excited for autumn!  The changing leaves, the back-to-school vibe, bringin’ out the boots and sweaters — everything about it has me amped up. For those of us fortunate enough to live on a latitude that enjoys 4 different seasons, I whipped up a list of my favorite fall activities:

  • pumpkin/apple picking
  • wine tasting
  • horseback riding
  • photography
  • hiking
  • baking
  • shopping
  • having pumpkin flavored everything

Fall is the best!

Star Wars Invades Famous Works of Art….and The Office

Just browsing the “Freshly Pressed” section, I came across this… My inner-geek was delighted.

Star Wars Invades Famous Works of Art….and The Office.

50 best photos from The Natural World

#2 on Time Magazine’s The Best Blogs of 2011 list, The Big Picture is truly an example of some of the finest photography out there… After a bit of surfing around, my favorite was 50 best photos from The Natural World – The Big Picture –

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome!

Wow, my very first blog post on my brand new website… pretty exciting!

More content to-be-released soon.


photo taken from Jessica Schultz