Cupcake Tasting at Sweet Tooth Cakery *Giveaway*

Sweet Tooth Cakery. This place already knows me oh so well. I have always had a big sweet tooth. Cookies, cupcakes, cake…gimme gimme!

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So when I had the opportunity to participate in a cupcake tasting at Sweet Tooth Cakery in Tampa, I was all. over. it.

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Yes, indeed.

Our purpose of the night was to taste test three new cupcake flavors that Sweet Tooth Cakery was thinking of adding to their menu. We were given rating cards so that we could rate each cupcake for it’s taste and presentation.

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As soon as we walked in we were greeted with a special treat to start off the night…a birthday cake milkshake! So glad this was mini…if it was any bigger I would have slurped the whole thing down and had no room for cupcakes.

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We took our seats and the treats started to flow.

Cupcake #1: Kahlua Biscoff Crunch

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This was my favorite right off the bat. Full of chocolate flavor and the icing was rich and creamy.

Cupcake #2: Sweet Potato Pie

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This was the main favorite of the rest of the group. I was looking for a bit more sweet potato flavor, but overall this was still delicious. The icing had a marshmallowy texture and taste, making it reminiscent of a beloved Thanksgiving side.

Cupcake #3: Chicken and Waffles

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By far the most creative cupcake flavor I’ve ever had. This one was a little too sweet for my taste, but with the maple flavor of the cake and frosting, plus the bacon and piece of fried chicken they definitely pulled it off.

After the cupcakes we were told that there was one surprise dessert in store for us. And as we waited we were treated with a S’mores Iced Latte…delish!

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What was the surprise dessert?

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A cookie cup!

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The first cookie cup in Tampa Bay to be exact. Served with almond milk, this was mmm mmm good.

As if that wasn’t enough we were given one more dessert to take home. Bourbon Banana Pudding Cheesecake. This was amazing!

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We were also given a parting gift of a tub full of goodies! This place was like the Oprah of bakeries.

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I am fully in love with Sweet Tooth Cakery and this is definitely going to be one of my new favorites places to stop by for a sweet treat or for a special occasion.

sweet tooth cakery

sweet tooth cakery

They have a variety of cupcakes, cake pops, cookies, ice cream and more.

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They are also know for their milkshakes and flavored lattes. You can basically create your own latte with any flavor they have…think red velvet, almond joy, hazelnut…anything!

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You guys HAVE to check this place out. And to make sure you do, I’m giving away a $20 gift certificate to the Sweet Tooth Cakery in Tampa. Perfect if you have a celebration coming up, or are just in the need for a sweet treat.

To enter, leave a comment telling me what your favorite sweet treat is. I will announce a random winner on Thursday, August 21, 2014.

Good luck!

Edit: The winner is Tammy! Congrats Tammy! Please email me your address at afullplateblog@yahoo.com and I will mail your gift certificate to you.

 

 

My Orangetheory Experience

So what am I doing now that I’ve hoped off the CrossFit train? Orangetheory!

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I have heard about Orangetheory quite a bit over the past few years and have always wanted to try a class, but just have never gotten around to it. Once I knew I was serious about switching up my fitness regimen I finally walked into my local Orangetheory to get the full low down.

The staff was very nice right off the bat. They walked me through the studio and gave a full explanation of how classes and membership work.

For those who are unfamiliar with Orangetheory it is an hour long class that combines cardio and strength exercises. They equip you with a heart rate monitor and have a screen set up in the studio so that you can see your current heart rate and what percentage of your heart rate you are working in. There are four zones: blue, green, orange and red. Blue is low, green is moderate, orange is high performance and red is all out. For the majority of the class you are encouraged to stay in the green and orange zones. Green is your fat burning zone and orange is your performance zone, where you’ll build up stamina.

After being walked through the studio I signed up for a class. When I came back for class I was given a heart monitor strap to borrow (you’ll eventually want to buy one) and my assigned heart monitor for the class. Since it was my first class I watched a quick video, which outlined what to expect in a class. Then I met one on one with the coach, who took me around and explained how to use the equipment and the flow of the class.

The class itself was awesome. For my first class we did what they call a “26/26″, where half the class spent 26 minutes on the treadmills and the other half of the class was doing strength exercises. Then we switched. I dreaded having to use the treadmill but we did intervals the entire time so I had no time to get bored. When it came to the strength exercises we did a variety of exercises using weights and our bodyweight. There was a good variation and we also hoped on the rowers in between sets to keep our heart rates up.

I loved being able to look up at the screen and see which zone I was in. It was a great motivator if I was lagging behind and a good reminder to take it easy if I was going too hard.

At the end of the workout the coach instructs you to check out your results on the screen and reminds you that ideally you should have spent the most time in the green and orange zones.

My results after my first class:

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I’ve taken two classes since and have burned more calories each time. The class is definitely a calorie scorcher!

What didn’t I like?

I get heart palpitations every now and then and even though they are infrequent I still like to inform people about it before working out at a new place. I noted on my intake form that I get heart palpitations and I was surprised that no one seemed to read over my form and inquire about them. It worried me a bit in case anything should ever happen to me.

The atmosphere isn’t the same as CrossFit. CrossFit truly feels like a family as soon as you walk in. Our coaches would have us say hi to each other before each class and reminded us to introduce ourselves to new people. I always loved this because we got to know each other easily and it further enhanced the family feel. At Orangetheory I did not meet one person officially and barely said a word to anyone. It was weird.

You have to sign up for classes ahead of time. I’m so used to just walking into a class when I know I can fit it in. My schedule can be hectic and all over the place and I’m not always sure if I can make a certain class time. And if you sign up for a class and aren’t able to cancel within a certain amount of hours you forfeit that class. Kind of sucks, but I can definitely see why they do it. So I have just been signing up for classes at the last minute.

Regardless, I decided to sign up for a membership. The price was comparable to what I was paying for CrossFit and overall I really liked the class. My goal right now is to try Orangetheory out for a few months and see how I like it and if I see positive results.

Have you tried Orangetheory?

Why I’m Breaking Up With CrossFit (For Now)

Yes, it’s true…after 1 year and 10 months I am cancelling my CrossFit membership. But not forever. I still love CrossFit and this has been a hard decision for me to make. This truly feels like a break up! “CrossFit, it’s not you, it’s me…” Why the sudden change? Here a few of my reasons.

I’m not getting the results I want

When I first started CrossFit I saw results. My muscles were becoming more defined. I felt stronger. I felt faster. I felt amazing. But about a year in I started to plateau and I stopped noticing changes. Especially after I took a break from running after my half marathon in November. I know that there are other factors that are playing into this, like needing to clean up my eats more (where did you go metabolism, where??). But I’ve also realized that my body needs more cardio. I’m already starting to add more cardio to my routine on my own, but also would like a workout that incorporates cardio as well. CrossFit can be strength heavy in their workouts and I don’t feel like I’m getting enough cardio.

I’m afraid of hurting myself

Let me preface this statement by saying that the coaches at my CrossFit box are FANTASTIC. They are extremely knowledgeable and are always making sure our form is correct. However, weightlifting is weightlifting and I’ve been feeling lately like I need a break from putting this kind of strain on my body. And when you’re in the middle of a WOD that includes lifting a certain amount of weight as fast as you can you inevitably compromise your form. I try to be as careful as I can, but it’s always a thought in the back of my head that maybe one day I could lift wrong and hurt myself.

I just plain need a change

Before I started CrossFit I went to a regular boot camp for about a year. I loved it and saw great results. But eventually I felt like I needed a change. And that’s how I’m feeling right now. This very well could be my MO, where I need to switch fitness classes every year or two. And I’m ok with that. I think it’s important to switch it up every now and then and keep your body guessing. There are SO many forms of fitness out in the world, it’s not a bad thing to explore them.

Like I said, this was not an easy decision. I’m going to miss my CrossFit classes a lot, but am excited for the next chapter of my fitness journey. I credit CrossFit for my new found confidence in my fitness ability and the ability to test my limits. And I will most certainly be taking that with me into my new form of fitness. Most of all I will miss my coaches and the amazing atmosphere CrossFit provides. It definitely feels like home to me, but I know that I’ll return eventually.

Have you changed up your fitness routine recently? 

Gourmet Hot Dogs and Applegate’s Weinervention

*Disclaimer: Applegate graciously offered to send me their Weinervention kit. I was not asked to blog about the items, but want to share how awesome Applegate is! I was not compensated for this post.

As much as I love to eat healthy foods, I also love my comfort foods. And when healthy meets comfort? I’m so there.

So when I got an email from Applegate asking if I wanted to join in on their Weinervention and receive their Weinervention kit I replied with a resounding YES. I have always been a fan of Applegate products. I buy their bacon regularly and love their breakfast sausage. I couldn’t wait to try their hot dogs!

Yes, Applegate products are delicious, but what do I really love about them? They’re CLEAN. No chemical nitrates or nitrates added. No artificial ingredients. No fillers. No GMO ingredients.

ag Applegate’s Weinervention is all about introducing people to a cleaner weiner. So when I received the kit I asked Jon if he wanted to have some friends over so we could cookout and have some good ol’ fashioned hot dogs. He was in and our friends, Kyle and Jesse were in. I leave for work and by the time I get home Jon has taken good ol’ fashioned hot dogs to gourmet hot dogs. Hey, I’m not complaining!

ap2 My kit included:

  • Applegate Naturals Beef Hot Dogs
  • Rudi’s Hot Dog Buns (White and Gluten-Free)
  • Annie’s Organic Ketchup and Mustard
  • Rick’s Pick’s Relish
  • Applegate Apron
  • Grilling tool set
  •  Frisbee
  • Mini Applegate Cooler
  • Susty paper straws and napkins

Unfortunately, the grill outside of our condo complex wasn’t working so we had to nix the cookout and make the hot dogs over the stove.

photo 2 Still good! photo 3 Jon made two plates with different toppings so we could top our dogs with what we wanted. The first plate had Bahn Mi toppings (shredded carrots, shredded jicama, jalopeno, cucumber, cilantro and a siracha cream sauce). The second plate had pate, bacon, garlic paste, sauerkraut and sautéed onions. We didn’t really have a name for this one so call it what you will. We just called it delicious! My favorite was the Bahn Mi though since I’m a big fan of Bahn Mi. photo 1 The hot dogs themselves tasted wonderful. They were full of flavor and went perfectly with the buns and toppings. I have never tried gluten free buns before and was pleasantly surprised at how soft and fluffy they were! They tasted just like regular buns. I was not a huge fan of the whole wheat buns though. I usually love whole wheat bread, but these were a bit too dense for my taste. photo 4 For sides I picked up some Publix homestyle potato salad and made this corn and tomato salad, which was very tasty. photo 5 We had a great time making our gourmet hot dogs and I’m happy that I still have another pack of hot dogs waiting in the freezer. I’m having visions of cut up hot dogs in mac and cheese a la elementary school. photo 6 Thank you Applegate!

Have you tried Applegate hot dogs or any other Applegate products? Comment below for a chance to win your own Applegate Weinervention Kit! I’ll announce a winner on Monday, July 28.

**UPDATE: The winner of the Applegate Weinervention Kit is Scotty S.! Congratulations Scotty, I have emailed you with how to redeem the kit. Enjoy!

My Favorite Places For Healthy On The Go Meals

One of the major changes I needed to adjust to with my new job was my eating schedule. I’m either at home or I’m out and about going to meetings, events, visiting with coworkers, etc. I’ll often find myself out around lunch time and the inevitable question presents itself…where should I go get lunch?

Thankfully, I’m highly turned off by fast food (i.e. MacDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King). Also, thankfully, I’ve found that there are many places where it is easy to stop in and grab a healthy meal.

Here are some of my favorite places to go and grab a quick, healthy meal. Convenient doesn’t have to be bad for you!

Panera

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This one is probably the post obvious, but who doesn’t love Panera? With an array of soups, sandwiches and salads your taste buds can never get bored. I also love how they list their calories on their menu. I’m a big fan of the You Pick Two and my new fav combo is the Roasted Turkey Avocado Sandwich and the Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad. I highly recommend getting their rewards card for freebies and discounts!

Little Greek

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Even though this place is a chain it’s my favorite Greek place in St. Pete (there’s not a lot of options). I haven’t even had their gyro because every time I go I can’t help but get their Greek salad. Their grilled chicken is amazing! It has that grilled taste and really makes the salad.

Chipotle/Tijuana Flats

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I’m a burrito bowl lover and both of these locations offer an awesome, fresh tasting burrito bowl (in Tijuana Flat’s case it’s the Noritto Bowl). Rice, beans, meat and salsa. Can’t go wrong with that.

Rollboto

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This is a local eatery that serves up sushi at a fast pace. Think of Subway but with sushi. You can choose from one of their signature rolls or create your own. You can even substitute brown rice! They also have lots of healthy side options such as miso soup, seaweed salad and cucumber salad.

Publix/Whole Foods/Fresh Market/Rollin’ Oats

I love Publix for when I want a freshly made wrap. It’s also easy to grab healthy snacks like fruit bowls, veggies, etc. Whole Foods has an awesome (albeit costly) salad bar and I love that I can grab a pre made juice/smoothie. Fresh Market also has freshly made sandwiches, salads, sides and sushi already ready to grab and go. Rollin’ Oats is one of my favorite grocery stores in St. Pete. They also have a grab and go area with freshly made sandwiches and salads. Or you can order off their menu at their café. I also love getting a fresh juice or smoothie here as well.

What are your favorite on the go places?

Ugly Smoothies and Easy Weeknight Meals

Smoothies are another one of my favorite breakfasts. I’ll usually have them if I work out in the morning as the second part of my breakfast. I’ll have a KIND bar or almond butter and fruit pre workout and a refreshing smoothie post workout.

Can any one explain to me why the yummiest tasting smoothies are the ugliest?

Exhibit A

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Ugly icky color, but it was good!

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Strawberry Banana Ginger Smoothie

1 banana

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 handful spinach

1 tbsp. ginger

1/2 cup almond milk (I use unsweetened vanilla)

1/2 cup greek yogurt

Blend on high. Pour. Try not to let the color get to you. Enjoy.

My mornings seem to always be more low key than my nights. I seem to have time now to wake up, decide what I’m in the mood for and whip it up without having to worry about being somewhere at a certain time. Most days any way.

But as the day goes on, there’s meetings, emails, working out, taking Maddie to the dog park…before I know it dinner time is near and I have NO clue what to eat.

I’ve started to gather some go-to recipes that are tasty, healthy and most importantly EASY to make during a hectic work week.

Copycat Chipotle Burrito Bowls

Rice, beans, chicken, guac…what’s not to love? This is a great recipe when you’re in the mood for Mexican, but want something that won’t leave you feeling like you need a siesta after.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

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There are simple roasted pork tenderloin recipes all over the internets. I learned from Jon to sear it on all sides until it’s browned before putting it in the oven at 400 for about 10 minutes. You can make a simple pan sauce with butter, flour, wine and chicken stock. I most recently used this one. Serve with roasted potatoes and your favorite veggie.

Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

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Oh. My. Goodness. I can’t rave enough about this recipe. It is not only simple, but it is absolutely delicious and one of my favorite dishes to make. Best served with white or jasmine rice and your favorite veggie.

What are your favorite easy weeknight meals? Feel free to share!

 

Currently Loving…

Dogeared Rings

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This was a Nordstrom Rack find. Originally $42(!) but I got it for $19. They have initials, but I couldn’t find a K. I fell in love with this one instead. I love the look of all of their jewelry. So delicate and simple…definitely my style!

Abound T-shirts 

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Another Nordstrom Rack find. These tees are soft, comfortable, fit well and are only $10! I am such a jeans and t-shirt kinda gal…I have 5 of these tees now and hoping they last.

This Buzzfeed Article

Anyone who knows me well knows I have an addiction to the Real Housewives on Bravo. I can’t help it! This article had me in hysterics…the gifs perfectly describe what a marketing department is like!

Heads in Beds

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I picked this book up awhile ago and just started reading it. I love memoirs and I thought I’d really enjoy this one since I worked at a resort for 5 years. I’m loving it! I’m flying through the chapters. The author has great humor and I can’t believe some of his stories!

Burlesque 

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A few friends and I had a girl’s night out recently where we went to see a Burlesque show. It was my first and unfortunately it wasn’t the best. I thought there’d be more dancing, but it was more of a cabaret style. It still made me excited to see my next show. I’ve heard Suicide Girls are really good.

This Announcement

The Sundial is a landmark in downtown St. Pete that everyone has been waiting for. They are finally starting to announce store and restaurant openings. Including the opening of this farm to table restaurant and market! I can’t wait until this opens in the fall.

Bacon Peanut Butter Banana Honey Oatmeal

AKA Elvis oatmeal.

I’m not sure what sparked this thought, but last night I was thinking about bacon, then peanut butter, then breakfast. And all of a sudden it was like a neon sign flashing in front of me. “Bacon and peanut butter…in…oatmeal. Oh, and let’s throw banana in there too! Mmm I can’t wait for breakfast.”

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I love oatmeal. It’s one of my standard go to breakfasts. So simple. So easy. So filling!

I start with a 1/2 cup of Publix rolled oats. Then a 1/2 cup of almond milk (I use unsweetened vanilla). To add some sweetness I add a tablespoon of honey.

Mix it together. Pop it in the microwave for about 1:30. Voila!

Now for the toppings that were dancing in my dreams…

Mmm bacon…

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I sliced half a banana on top (ate the other half while I was cooking the bacon). Then a tablespoon of all natural creamy peanut butter. And then…the bacon.

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Take a pretty picture, then swirl it all together for delicious mush.

As Elvis would say, “Ahummana hummana”.

baconpeanutbutterbananahoneyoatmeal

Serves 1

Ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup almond milk

1 tbsp. honey

Half of a banana, sliced

1 tbsp. peanut butter

1 piece of bacon

1. Cook one piece of bacon on medium high heat in a skillet. Place on plate, blot excess grease with a paper towel and set aside.

2. Add oats, milk and honey together and mix with a spoon until incorporated. Heat in microwave for 1:30. Stir.

3. Add banana slices, peanut butter and bacon. Mix together. Enjoy!

 

 

A Letter to My Birth Mom

Happy Mother’s Day! I love being able to celebrate my mom and tell her how extra special she is to me. We had a pretty low key day. We got our nails done and I made a yummy dinner of baked ziti and chocolate cream pie (her fav).

Unless you know me on a very personal level, or it has happened to come up in conversation, most people don’t know that I am adopted.

It’s not something I bring up a lot. Not for any particular reason…being adopted is a part of who I am, but it’s not solely who I am. It’s just a simple fact to me now, just like saying my eyes are brown. I was adopted as an infant and I always knew I was adopted. My parents and I always had open conversations about my birth mother and their story of how they adopted me.

I cherish my mom and my late dad for giving me such a wonderful life and raising me how they did. I do hope to one day find and meet my birth mother. I am curious to see what she looks like, to see if she is anything like me or if I am anything like her, to learn about her and her life. And most importantly, to say thank you.

Every Mother’s Day my mom and I always toast to my birth mother and send her well wishes. In honor of Mother’s Day here’s a letter to my birth mother.

Dear Birth Mom,

Thank you.

These are the two words that I have wanted to say to you for years. Twenty seven years ago you made what was probably the hardest decision of your life. I have often pictured you, holding me in your arms, wiping away tears as you go back and forth on the pros and cons of your decision to put me up for adoption. What it would mean for you. What it would mean for me.

I want to let you know that you made the right decision. I have had a wonderful life and have been loved by two of the most loving people in the world. They cared for me and supported me. Enrolled me in a variety of activities such as soccer and jazz. They set up piano lessons and voice lessons for me. They got me a math tutor and made sure I always had the best tools to succeed. I went to sleepovers and dances at school. We went on family trips, where many memories were made. But most of all they loved me. Which I know, for you, was probably the most important thing you could have asked for.

To me, you are the bravest person I’ve ever known, even though I have never met you. I have thought countless number of times what I would do if I had been in your position. And each time it pains me to even think about the confusion, frustration, anger and hurt that you must have been facing.

I hope to one day meet you and to tell you all of this in person. But for now I will continue to send you well wishes and hope that you are living the life that you always wanted to live.

Love,

Katie

How to Control a Full Plate

I have always loved having a full plate. I’ve always said I am never happy unless I have a million things going on at once. I love multi tasking and being a part of something. But lately, my plate runneth over…and I’ve recently realized that some things just have to give. Prioritize In October, I started a new job, which I absolutely love. It’s a great fit for me. My job entails me to do a lot of local traveling and I am always on the go. And I love it! Soon after, I accepted a Brand Ambassador job with KIND. It was a part time position and I thought it would be easy to fit into my schedule and a great, fun way to make some extra bucks. On top of that, this year I was on the Junior League of St. Petersburg’s board as Communications VP. This position entails overseeing our three communications committees. Eventually, I started to get burnt out. As much as I loved being busy every day and every night, I was longing for a simple night at home, where I could lounge on the couch with Maddie and watch some TV and just RELAX. I was also finding it difficult to make time for friends and my mom, both of which are really important to me. Something had to give. What was most important to me? What could I cut out? That’s when I decided that as much as I loved my new job with KIND, I just didn’t have the time for it. Having time for friends, family and myself was much more important to me. And as our League year comes to a close, for the first time in my League career, I have chosen not to take on a leadership role. I can still be involved without taking on a potentially overwhelming position. I’m on the Education and Training committee this upcoming year and I’m excited to see what the year will be like! With my time with KIND ending and Junior League taking a back seat, I can already feel the stress melting away. I’ve realized that part of being healthy and happy is to sometimes take a step back and evaluate what you’re involved in, how it’s effecting you and your life and adjust accordingly. I have also always been a “yes” person. As in it’s very hard for me to say no to things that I might not necessarily want to do or have time to do. I have tried to fill every minute of every day. And that’s not a good thing. I’m learning to prioritize within my life and say “no” to the things that can wait. Are you like me? Do you have trouble saying “no”? Do you fill your plate with too much?

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