Emilee Speaks

Friday, July 21, 2017

Why I'm eating a plant based diet

I'm not sure if I've talked about my history with being a vegetarian.  I was a vegetarian for 9 years and during an unhealthy relationship I was in, I started eating meat again.  To this day I'm not sure what made me stop being a vegetarian.  Maybe lack of respect for myself and what I put into my body?  It was a very rough time in my life so I think I just stopped caring.  Fast forward 9 more years and here we are.  I don't know why it's taken me this long to get back here.  I guess some times we just have to go through some self discovery and learning.  My body has literally been telling me for awhile now that it doesn't want meat anymore.  I can't eat chicken without gagging, I don't really enjoy red meat all that much, and the only thing I could really stomach is ground turkey.  So what's the point?  

I had my gallbladder removed 18 years ago, and a plant based diet was very beneficial to me and the 'digestion' issues I faced after that surgery.  That was one of my main reasons for initially going vegetarian.  My body is just happier eating a plant based diet.  The previous 2 weeks we ended up having a lot of meat heavy meals and I felt HORRIBLE.  I woke up last Friday and said, "No.  I'm tired of feeling like this!"  I had a long discussion with my girlfriend, who also isn't a huge fan of meat, and we decided to end it there.  I knew things would be so much easier with her on board.  She's never identified as vegetarian or vegan before, yet she's always leaned that way.  She'll eat meat, but she tends to choose vegetarian options when available because she loves vegetables so much.  

It has now been a full week and I felt compelled to write about it for you.  In one week I have more energy, my mood is better (I'm less grumpy), and I've lost 4lbs.  

I've been eating 'mostly' raw.  I say mostly because J could never go fully raw.  She loves cooked veggies, and warm food.  So we have had cooked vegan meals a few times.  Which is fine with me.  I'm not sure I could live without soup in the winter.  I love soup! 

What has my week looked like?  I've got my training wheels on and I'm still adjusting, but since I've been eating mostly raw... fruits, veggies, and nuts.  Not much to say other than that.  I've started every morning with a green smoothie with kale, banana, spirulina, chia seeds, and flax seed with a filtered water base.  

This transition has been incredibly easy and that just confirms that this is what I needed.  Out of all of the benefits I've already experienced, I think the increased energy and being happier has surprised me the most.  I wasn't expecting that in just a week.  It's like a huge fog has been lifted from my brain and weights taken off my shoulders.  It's indescribable.

I'm going to end this by saying: I know that there are a lot of obnoxious people out there that feel the need to dictate what other people put in their mouth.  That's not me.  You'll never hear me judge anyone for their choices for their own body.  I'm doing this for MY body because my digestive issues diminish with a plant based diet.  You do you! 

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Monday, June 19, 2017

6 Affordable Bullet Journal Supplies for Beginners

If you are new to bullet journaling and wanting to get started without much investment, this post is for you!  When I start a new hobby of any kind, I research the most affordable way to get started.  Bullet Journaling was no exception.  I've been bullet journaling for awhile, but I haven't posted on it much.  I love sharing educational and inspirational planning resources.  

Remember: You only need a notebook and a pen to bullet journal.  Anything after that is purely up to you.  I know a lot of people use stickers and even washi.  Not me.  I like a little bit of color in my pens and markers but mostly my pages are black ink.

Crayola SuperTips are GREAT markers for bujos.  They're affordable and fantastic quality.  Great for highlighting things, creating titles, and coloring mandalas/trackers.  I have a large set but you can start small.  I chose a larger set because I wanted the more pastel colors.  I've picked those out here.

The Staedtler Sketch Master template stencil.  This ruler is my absolute favorite.  It's flat and portable so it will fit right in the pocket of your notebook.  I keep mine in the back pocket of my Leuchtturm 1917 bujo.  It also has stencil shapes for perfect precise circles and squares.  I use the circles all the time in my pages.

I've used several black pens over the years.  I'm a bit of a black pen snob.  Hands down my favorite pen for my bujo is the Faber-Castell PITT artist pen F.  It has the perfect sized nib on the end, and the ink quality is superb.  It writes like a dream and is a very bold black.

While we're on the subject of Faber-Castell, sorry Tombow, but my favorite brush markers for the bujo are Faber-Castell PITT artist pens B in pastel.  Tombow dual brush pens are great for lettering, but they're quite large.  These are a great size and the brush itself is smaller.  90% of my bujo is Faber-Castell pens.  I love this brand!

June is the first month I attempted a Mood Mandala.  I was always afraid of it because I'm not a great artist.  I decided to give it a go for June and I love it!  I doodle on the Mandala when I'm feeling stressed, and it's so relaxing.  There are awesome stencils to help you create Mandalas and I'll likely invest in one soon, however, nothing beats a good basic cheap compass.

If you're familiar with my planner posts, you know I've had this set of Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pens for awhile now.  They're still in my top 5 favorite pens.  I love the organization of their container, and how flat it is for portability.  With a 0.3mm nib, these are great for smaller handwriting.  I use the black one for my timelines.  I really only use the colored ones for weekly summaries and goals to color code.  You of course can purchase the black pens separately.  I started with a 4pk of black Staedtler Triplus Fineliners before I purchased the 10pk.  I love the colors in the larger packs, but I'm just not a colored ink pen user.

I hope this post was helpful for you.  I know it can be overwhelming getting started with bullet journaling.  There are some really creative bujo'ers out there and it can be intimidating.  The beauty of bullet journaling is, it's yours.  You can do whatever works for you and whatever makes YOU happy.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

My first South Dakota experience - not what I envisioned!

[Badlands National Park]

Last summer my in-laws took us all on a family road trip to South Dakota.  I have such beautiful pictures from this trip and in my effort to bring Emilee Speaks back around to a lifestyle blog, we're going to revisit this trip today.

On June 1st, 8 adults loaded up into a 12 passenger van and we took off for South Dakota.  We had about a 9hr drive ahead of us.  I love a good road trip!  We listened to music, visited with each other, read, slept...  While I love road trips, I'm a very anxious passenger.  I drive 100% of the time in our day to day life, so not having that control is hard on me.  

My in-laws are superb travel hosts.  They thought of everything.  We had every snack and refreshment you could hope to have for the drive.  I don't eat while traveling, but I definitely enjoyed many Diet Pepsi's!  I feel like now would be a great time to include the disclaimer: I have a terrible memory.  My friends even jokingly call me Dory.  It's bad.  So I'm doing my best to recount this trip from almost a year ago!

[My son at Badlands National Park]

Before we even arrived to our hotel, we stopped off at Badlands National Park.  The badlands were beautiful.  We walked all around and even climbed a bit.  Felt great after being in the car for so long.  They had a great visitor center where we stopped first for bathroom breaks and souvenirs.  If you're unsure of what the badlands are, here's a snippit from wikipedia:
Badlands National Park (Lakota: Makȟóšiča[3]) is a national park in southwestern South Dakota that protects 242,756 acres (379.306 sq mi; 98,240 ha)[1] of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires blended with the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the United States. The park is managed by the National Park Service.

[My son at Crazy Horse]

Day 2 we really went for it: Custer State Park, Crazy Horse, and Mount Rushmore.  Custer was so much fun.  We saw so many animals and they would come right up to you.  You should search "Buffalo Custer State Park" on YouTube.  There's so many videos of buffalo charging vehicles, it's crazy. 

Crazy Horse was an interesting experience.  They have a neat little museum with a theater that tells all about the history of Crazy Horse.  Then we loaded up in this bus tour that drove us down close to the memorial.  They let us collect rocks if we wanted that had fallen from being chiseled from the mountain.  It was a BEAUTIFUL day as you can see from the photo.

[Mount Rushmore]

We're getting to the end of this post and I bet you're wondering where the title comes into play.  "Not what I envisioned".  I waited until Mount Rushmore to explain this to you.  My father in law is a Superintendent and history buff.  I'm not a history buff.  I'm the girl that can't keep her eyes open after 5mins in a history class.  When my in-laws announced where we'd be going for our vacation, it honestly couldn't have been more perfect.  I was excited!  I love going anywhere I haven't been and knew I'd see some pretty gorgeous famous landmarks of the United States.  However, I wasn't prepared for it to take my breath away.  I was not expecting to get emotional the first time my eyes caught a glimpse of Mount Rushmore far off through the trees.  There's this road that goes through a tunnel, and when you come out on the other side, you get your first magnificent look at Mount Rushmore...

[Mount Rushmore through the windshield exiting the tunnel]

We spent a lot of time at Mount Rushmore.  In fact we went twice.  We went back at night for the illumination ceremony.  Patriotism was strong.  It was thick in the air.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry several times.  The illumination ceremony was so moving and powerful.  I searched for some YouTube videos of this ceremony, and while you get an idea of the experience, it's no where near the same.  If you find yourself in South Dakota please take the time to go to the illumination ceremony.

[Devils Tower]

Day 3: Devil's Tower, Sturgis, & Deadwood.  Devil's Tower is breathtaking.  Everyone went off on the trail but I stayed back.  I was a little exhausted from the day before.  I sat and visited with a veteran who couldn't join his family on the trail.  I wouldn't trade my visit with this wonderful man for the world.  I was grateful that I had chose to stay back.  Once his family came back, I found a nice spot in the shade under a tree and watched 3 men climb the impressive rock.  

This morning I came across a list of blog post ideas.  One of the prompts was "talk about places you've visited that impacted your life".  I immediately thought of this trip last year to South Dakota.  I knew I had to write about it today while I was traveling down memory lane.

I am eternally grateful to my in-laws for this experience.  South Dakota definitely wouldn't have been a place a would have chosen for myself.  So had it not been for them, I would've missed out.  I'm blessed to have them in my life.  I'm also very fortunate to be a part of this family that truly enjoys just being together. 

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Coffee & Vape Pairings

This post is intended for an audience of adults age 21 and older.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.
. All opinions are mine alone. #CueVapor #VapingMadeSimple #CollectiveBias


I’ve enjoyed vaping for several years now.  My favorite time of day (aside from my nightly routine) is my morning coffee and vape session.  It’s my favorite way to greet the day.  I sit down at my desk with my vape, coffee, and my planner to see what the day will bring.  Vaping is an alternative to smoking, and smells MUCH better!

I thought it would be fun to bring together coffee and vaping by sharing some of my favorite fancy coffee recipes paired with different vape flavors.


||Homemade Mocha Frappuccino||

There’s nothing better than mint & chocolate.  So I’m pairing the Mocha Frappuccino with the Cue™ Vapor System Creamy Mint flavor cartridge.

*1c Ice
*½ Coffee, freshly brewed & cooled
*⅓c Half & Half
*2tbsp chocolate syrup, I used sugar free syrup
*additional sugar if you prefer
Blend all ingredients in a blender.  Add to your glass of choice, I love using mason jars.  For fun you can also top with whipped topping, additional chocolate syrup, and chocolate chips!


||S’more Latte||

When you’re opting for a sweeter drink like the S’more Latte, it’s best to go with a less sweet vape flavor.  I’m pairing the S’more Latte with the Cue™ Vapor System Smooth Tobacco flavor cartridge.

*1c Milk
*½ c Coffee, freshly brewed
*2tbsp Marshmallow cream
*2tbsp Chocolate syrup, I used sugar free syrup
In a saucepan, warm the milk, marshmallow cream, and chocolate syrup over medium heat until melted.  Blend this mixture until it’s frothy.  Slowly pour into your coffee.  I like to top it off with more marshmallow cream, chocolate syrup drizzle, and sprinkled with cinnamon.

||Homemade Cold Brew||

There’s so many different ways to make cold brew coffee.  I prefer making it in large batches, but today I’m going to show you the most simple way possible.  I’ll be pairing the strong flavor of my cold brew coffee with the Cue™ Vapor System Peach Tobacco flavor cartridge.

*3/4c coarsely ground coffee
*2 ½ c water
For this recipe you’ll need a french press.  Put your coffee in the bottom of the french press.  Add your water.  Stir with a wooden or plastic spoon to evenly distribute the coffee into the water.  Put the lid on, but don’t push your french press plunger down.  We need the coffee to soak in the water for 12-24hrs.  Once your coffee is finished ‘cold brewing’ pour into a glass container with a lid.  You’ve just made cold brew concentrate!  Now add it to milk or additional water and flavor as you wish.  I added some concentrate to a glass of ice, added more water, and poured in a small amount of condensed milk.  Super mild with a decadent cream.


Today I used the Cue™ Vapor System.  Cue vapor products are simple to use.  Great for beginners.  It’s Vaping. Made Simple.™  I have a friend that wants to make the shift from smoking to vaping, but she’s intimidated by vape store products.  I knew this system would be perfect for her with choices in flavors, nicotine levels and device colors and using pre-filled, disposable cartridges.  Its sleek and elegant design will help her make the shift to vaping.
The Cue Vapor System is so incredibly easy to setup and start using right out of the box!

The Cue Vapor System can be purchased online and is available at select stores.
For more information you can follow along online.

NOT FOR SALE TO MINORS. California Proposition 65. WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including nicotine, which is known to the state of California to cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. For more information, go to www.p65warnings.ca.gov. WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical. Cue™, the Cue Logo and Vaping. Made Simple.™ are trademarks of Digirettes, Inc.

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