Beyond the Mirror.


Something that’s been on my mind a lot lately is the process of getting healthy and the end result that drives us to the finish line.




For a long period in my life, I would consider the final product of a health journey as achieving a certain look.  Most of the time I had a celebrity or role model that I would compare myself to and the ability to have a body like them was synonymous to what I deemed as a successful result. Mind you, this was when I was younger probably around high school.  I soon realized that no matter how many planks I held I would not have the Beyonce behind or the washboard abs of Blake Lively.  Each one of us is effected differently in the way we exercise and eat making every individual body unique.  Although, I came to terms with this concept I still associated success with looks rather than how I felt.

I look back at my old self and say “Wow, I don’t blame you, I see why you had that thought process.”  It was everywhere: the magazines, TV commercials, clothing ads, I was taught at a young age that looks were of the utmost importance.  As a society, we are getting better at showing different body types on media platforms, but we still have a long way to go.

When I decided to take my health into my own hands most recently, I decided to call it my health journey rather than a weight loss journey.  Weight loss made me feel like I had to reach a certain number and that I would look a certain way once I got there.  A health journey is constant and that is what your health should be, a long term commitment!  Instead of looks, I now focus on how I feel!


After incorporating daily exercise and eating healthier foods I FEEL great.I have found success in the amount of weight I can lift, the energy I maintain throughout the day and the endorphins that come from finishing a hard workout.  I found that once you start to embrace how you feel, those feelings will manifest into a positive body image.  I still struggle and there are days where I find it hard to focus on how I feel vs. how I look, but I know at the end of the day the physiological emotion of feeling good is much more satisfying and promotes positive self-care and self-esteem.  I challenge to those reading to focus on how you feel for success rather than how you look.  After all… that’s what is left after you take away the mirror.



-The Mod Maven.

Small Town…Big Beach.

So here’s the deal. My fun-loving kooky clan decided to take a family road trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama for a six day vaca. We thought it would be fun to try someplace new since Florida is usually our go to vacation spot. Why Gulf Shores you ask? It seemed like a place where we could enjoy the beach, but without the hustle and bustle of a big city.


It ended up being six days of pure relaxation and after coming back I feel completely rejuvenated from our little adventure! So let’s recap shall we?!


My sister, my boyfriend and myself endured the 12 hour drive down to Gulf Shores with a pit stop in Kentucky at one of our favorite restaurants. When I was younger my family traveled quite often, and one of the places we loved to visit was Kentucky Lake. Right off the interstate there is this amazing restaurant called Patti’s Settlement with THE BEST southern comfort foods. I am pretty sure they invented the fried pickle because I have yet to find a place that does it better. Another staple item is their flowerpot bread with homemade strawberry butter. YUM!  If you’re passing through the area I highly recommend stopping by, you do not know what you’re missing!

patti's 2


After a long day in my car we made it to Alabama where we met up with my mom, dad, brother, sister in-law and my niece. Most of the houses were built on stilts to avoid any water or storm damage.  Our condo followed this common beach house design. It was interesting to have the ability to park your car under the house.  The best part?  It was only a five minute walk to the beach!


houses GS

Our days were spent lounging on the beach, playing board games, visiting the zoo and enjoying the local shops and community. While at the zoo, I found that the goats in particular were very photogenic.  See featured selfie below.


goat selfie GS


All silliness put aside, we really enjoyed this magical small town where the beaches stretched for miles.  My boyfriend and I enjoyed a little parasailing excursion on our last full day.


air shot 1coca cola shot 1water shot 5


When you are on the boat it is loud and you feel the movement of the waves, but once you are up in the air it gets so quiet.  Both of us had a profound moment where you realize just how small you are and how beautiful the world is from a different point of view.

shrimp GS

This was the delicious meal I had on our last night.  The shrimp tasted like it was caught the same day.  So good!  My family went out for dinner to celebrate my parents being married for 31 years.  Way to go parental units!

On the way home my boyfriend and I stopped in Mattoon, IL for his stepbrothers wedding, and what a beautiful wedding it was!  As cheesy as it sounds, we love celebrating love.  Congrats again Katlin and Quinton!  We had a great time.

wedding GS

Overall, it was a wonderful week and a half spending time with loved ones.  Thanks Gulf Shores for making it so hard to leave and thanks to our families who made it a memorable trip!

“TRAVELING.  It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”


-The Mod Maven