have courage & be kind



no matter what circumstance, let your courage be unshakable.


a large part of growing up is finding your voice.

Never forget that your heart matters, your opinions are valued and even if you feel forgotten, you’re not. Don’t abandon your beliefs just because others have abandoned theirs, don’t silence your voice just because they aren’t popular words and never conform yourself to the situation you’re put in. You were beautifully and wonderfully made, designed for a purpose, and God is cheering you on, wanting you to embody who he created you to be. So please, don’t forget your worth and be courageous even when it’s hard.


lately I’ve been lucky to work with some very talented friends who are actively pursuing their passions (photography & videography). And let me tell ya, it’s inspiring. It reminds me to do what I love and to do it well.

This was a fun little fall photo shoot I did with my friend TJ (@tylerdooghan) right in our backyard (literally, lol). I am so in awe of his creativity and absolutely loved how these turned out. Color tones, artsiness, uniqueness… so good.

I know how easy it is to see a picture of yourself and immediately criticize each aspect… but I challenge you to take a close up picture (or have someone take one) of yourself and admire your beauty.

Trust me, when I had bad active acne, I was my own biggest critic. I would stare at a photo of my face and literally hate so many things about it. But let me be the first to tell you, that is so unhealthy and unproductive. It would just lead me to further unhappiness.

You are beautiful, so do not believe differently. Don’t believe the lie that skin or any other superficial issue defines you, because it doesn’t. You are defined by your heart and your actions. So be courageous💛 and love yo self, you deserve it sista

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How to be Healthy When You’re a Student

Work, school, study, repeat

With it being the third week of fall semester, my days have been full. Trying to balance being a student, a part-time employee, and having a social life is nothing short of challenging. Maybe I’m the only one, but one of the first things that I sacrifice when life gets hectic is taking time for myself and focusing on my health. When I have to be at work at 7 it’s hard to eat a filling, healthy breakfast unless I wake up extremely early. Then only have an hour between work and class makes it very difficult to pack a lunch and usually leaves me grabbing something quick. Not to mention, with a packed schedule that demands late nights, early mornings and focus for school work, it’s very easy to become best friends with caffeine. Oh, and working at a coffee shop doesn’t help very much.

Can anyone relate?

For a second there I forgot to spend any time working on myself, and I’m the type of person that if I continue to forget about bettering myself for more than two weeks I start drowning. I won’t even notice it sometimes until subtle things become apparent and I have to stop and realize that the cause of them are from neglecting certain aspects of my life. You guessed it, the first place I see a negative change is my skin… whether it’s from stress or cheating slightly in my diet, I notice direct correlation with breakouts.

Just this past week I looked in the mirror, and all at once, realized wow, when was the last time I did something for me? Mind you, I suddenly became aware of this because of a breakout that gave me a flashback of the years I struggled with acne. I slowly had been losing sight of my health and skincare roots. For the first time I felt as if I could relate to everyone who’s told me their countless excuses as to why they don’t eat a clean diet- “I’m too busy” “I work too much” “School is hard and I can’t worry about that” “My schedule doesn’t allow for me to eat good”. So, if you’re in the same boat as me, rowing down a fast-paced river with lots of rapids, I want you to know that you can still eat clean, but don’t stress about being perfect.

My best tips to live healthy while being busy

1.Make the best possible choices

It’s okay that you’re not super woman and don’t have time to meal prep every single meal seven days a week, and it’s okay that you want to sleep in the extra thirty minutes instead of cooking a full breakfast spread. I understand that life is busy and unpredictable and sometimes you don’t want to worry about working a full day and then coming home to cook dinner. However, what you do have control over is choosing healthy restaurants to get takeout from, and picking the best options when it comes to food. Opt for gluten free whenever possible (almost everywhere should have at least one option nowadays), ask for the dairy free option, and try to go away from processed, sugary foods. Start ordering coffee with honey instead of a sugary syrup sweetener, or switch out cream for an alternative milk like coconut.

2. Have healthy snacks on hand

Trust me, I know how tempting it is to eat the quickest thing while you’re running around town doing errands, studying or find yourself hungry at work… but one of my best recommendations is to always keep quick, healthy snacks on hand for those times when you’re in a pinch. Some of my favorites are RX bars, macro bars, lara bars or perfect bars. Fruit, or trail mix is a great choice, or even hummus and veggies is simple to pack as a snack. Instead of getting fast food, plan ahead and stock up on healthy food when you’re at the grocery store, so that you have healthy options within reach.

3. Drink water

Of course this one should be a no brainer, but for some reason I know that when I’m non-stop busy, I forget to stay hydrated. There are so many benefits to drinking water it’s crazy: clearer skin, increase energy, flushes toxins from the body, aids in weight loss (just to name a few).

3. Get healthy sweets

If you’re anything like me I have the biggest sweet tooth, like ever. So, I think I would die if I didn’t have healthy sweets available to me. Sometimes we need to be rewarded- whether it’s for a hard day at work, or school, or  you’re on your period, or maybe you just feel like eating chocolate and watching the office… you deserve it. But instead of indulging in overly sweet, fake, or processed sugars I recommend opting for the alternatives (and yes, they still taste great, I promise!).

Chocolate: Lily’s Chocolate, Evolve chocolate

Simple Mills cookies– these are the best cookies ever- sweetened with coconut sugar, grain free, and freakin’ delicious

Coconut Bliss ice cream: better than regular full dairy ice cream… this stuff is addicting and only sweetened with agave nectar. What the heck!

4. Invest in yourself

Take time for yourself. Take a bath, put on a face mask, watch your favorite show or listen to your favorite music, light some candles and remember your worth. I find it much easier for myself to stay in a healthy mindset and continue to pursue goals when I practice self care. I love to read the bible and write in my prayer journal. We have to remember to love ourselves and be kind to our bodies because they’re the only ones we have. Don’t be so hard on yourself: it’s okay if you eat chocolate or have something other than a salad, just listen to your body.

5. Be thankful

Count your blessings. From personal experience, I know that I am most happy and healthy when I remember to be positive and have a grateful heart always. If you let negativity creep in it can be easy to lose sight of health goals and caring for our bodies- inside and out.

thank you for the support, and thanks for following me.

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read my previous blog post: The Unknown

 

The Unknown

What is God’s intricate plan for my life?

 

I find myself wondering this a good amount throughout my days. Job opportunities, school, family, travel, relationships….. what is God asking of me?

I want to be His servant and say yes to His plans for me. All I can do is knock on the door and see if it opens. In this season, I need to have the virtues of patience and trust. For his grace is more faithful than my own…

If you’re at a crossroads and seem to be faced with tough decisions, I encourage you to be a faithful servant and listen for the truth God is speaking into your heart.8EDC731F-F356-4617-BEA1-7D04414D5986B3F95D02-3754-4F83-A91F-71BE626BA679Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with c8 presetProcessed with VSCO with c8 presetProcessed with VSCO with a4 preset

Simple Paleo Lemon Blueberry Muffins

 

Let me tell you, these muffins did not last long in my house.

Just yesterday I went blueberry picking with my mom and best friend, and when I came home I couldn’t resist not making something with the berries . So that is what I did with my Friday afternoon. I made these very simple, healthy and yummy blueberry muffins. They are such a great snack.

I am starting to incorporate more eggs back into my diet, and I feel like this is a great way to make the slow transition. These muffins are full of protein, good fats and fiber. I love to stick them into my toaster oven to get nice and warmed throughout and then put some butter on them. So good.

4 eggs

½ cup full fat coconut milk

6 tbsp raw honey

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Zest of 1 small/med lemon

3 tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

⅔ cup coconut flour

¼ cup tapioca flour

1 tsp baking soda

⅛ tsp salt

¾ cup fresh blueberries

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line  muffin tins with cupcake liners and then spray non-stick oil into liners (I failed to do this and mine stuck pretty bad to the liners).

In a large bowl combine all wet ingredients using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer.

In a medium sized bowl combine all dry ingredients. Then slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients just until incorporated (don’t over mix).

Finally, hand mix in the blueberries until thoroughly dispersed. Scoop batter into muffin tins and fill about 3/4 of the way, leaving room for them to rise. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely to store, or enjoy warm with butter. Yum.

Thank you for reading, if you try these out I’d love to hear how you liked them. xoxo

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Read my previous blog post: Beachin’ it 🌴 // Best Oahu Beaches

Beachin’ it 🌴 // Best Oahu Beaches

Lanikai Beach

One of my favorite beaches, located in Kailua, is Lanikai beach which is beautiful and perfect for all types of beach-goers. The weather isn’t always the greatest, but the scenery and rolling waves always make for a fun time. Famous for the two small island peeking out of the ocean, with its white sand and barely crowded shores, I would highly recommend visiting this beach. 

Sandy Beach

My #1 favorite spot. Where all the locals go and where the waves can be scary big. You will have a true Hawaiian experience when you visit this body surfing beach. Personally, I love watching the brave surfers and body surfers here, and although I don’t do either at this beach I have the most fun swimming in the big surf. If you aren’t a strong swimmer I’d suggest just sun bathing on the beach, but it’s still worth it to check this one out. 

Cockroach Cove

Located right next to Sandy Beach, Cockroach cove is a fun little destination spot. After walking down the rocky path you’ll find yourself in a pretty cove where you can swim in the small waves, explore the rocks on either side (where we jumped off) or even venture into a cave that goes under the road above. It’s a mellow beach, but can easily get crowded because of how small it is. 

Haleiwa Angel Wings

I know this one isn’t a beach, but I felt like I had to include it! If you have an Instagram I’m sure you’ve seen these pretty wings. Located on the North Shore, they’ve become a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

Kaimana Beach

You can find this one in walking distance to Waikiki beach. However, Kaimana is much less crowded, the water is cleaner and you won’t be suffocated by tourists. I think this beach was once known as a gay beach, but over the years has lost that reputation. You can surf out to the left of the channel, snorkel over the reef or simply relax in the shallow, calm water. This beach is close to town, but still beautiful and doesn’t feel too much like you’re in a big city. 

Want to see all of my travels in real time? 

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4 Amazing Hikes on Oahu 

I recently visited the breathtaking island of Oahu with my sister and three of our close friends. I always joke that when we go on vacation it’s not the relaxing type… it’s the go go go type. I think there’s just too much beauty to miss out on when you’re only on the islands for 10 days, so our vacation consisted of a lot of hiking, swimming and eating. And today I’m sharing 4 of my favorite hikes with you. 
The Ehukai Pillbox Hike

This one is seriously one of my favorite tropical hikes ever. It’s short and sweet, with some intense inclined portions. I love getting to experience several different sceneries within this one hike. First you weave through a rainforest-like atmosphere, then you go through a dirt path that is interwoven with tree roots and slippery from mud, next you walk through a serene path that is lined with delicate hanging trees that are light in color… and finally you make it to an opening where you see the ocean and the first abandoned military pillbox. You can even go inside of it where there is graffiti and a view of the shoreline. Make your way down the trail a bit further and you’ll run into the second pillbox where a peace sign is painted with the word “peace”- making for a great photo op. This is located on the Northshore, overlooking the famous Pipeline beach. 

Pali Puka

I will warn you that this had a “Do not enter” warning sign at the start of the trailhead. So honestly I’m not sure if it’s illegal or just frowned upon. My sister and I bravely began this hike on a windy, overcast morning. Luckily we didn’t know what to expect… because sometimes it’s better not knowing and just going for, it if you know what I mean. 

I am pretty scared of heights, so this one was one of the most challenging hikes for me. But nonetheless, the views were definitely worth it. It is a short, but steep hike. You begin by gradually climbing a muddy path where there are ropes to help you out on the sides. Then you make it out of the trees and find yourself on the side of a very steep mountain ridge, which you slowly walk along (and hope you don’t die) for a while. Finally you will find yourself right above the famous hole in the mountain face where you’ll have to climb down to. I am probably making this hike seem scarier than it is, but that’s just because I’m afraid of heights and had a few mini panic attacks. But I made it and I’m happy that it pushed me out of my comfort zone. Couldn’t have done it without my sister, who is fearless when it comes to heights! 

Koko Head Crater @ Sunrise

Koko head is a well known hike located in Hawaii Kai. It consists of 1,048 steps to the top of a large mountain. It was my fourth time doing it, but my first time attempting it at sunrise. My sister and I started around 4:30 when we needed flash lights to see where we were going. Luckily it was much cooler than hiking it during the day, but that didn’t stop us from dripping sweat and labored breathing (lol). Even if you think you’re in good shape, Koko head will kick your butt on the way up. But man is it worth it when you make it to the top… especially at sunrise, the feeling and the views were unreal. I love the feeling of being up before the sun, the anticipation before it rises and the stillness you experience on the top of a mountain when the skies are painted with pinks, blues and purples. 

The Makapu’u Tide Pools

You will find this hidden gem on the way to the Makapu’u Lighthouse hike. I don’t know if it’s actually considered a hike, because it is basically just climbing down the side of a rocky mountain. Nevertheless, once you make it down the make shift path you’ll find yourself in awe of the clear, emerald water and serene closeness to the powerful crashing waves. There are multiple large tide pools that you can swim and snorkel in- so bring some goggles. I would recommend going at high tide (which was 11 am while we were there) because the tide pools will have more water in them. Be careful of large sets that crash on the rocks, you don’t want to be swept into the ocean at that location. 

I hope my hiking suggestions were helpful for anyone traveling to Oahu. If you want me to write about places to eat or beaches to go to, please leave me a comment below and I’d be happy to make another post! 

Thanks for reading, xoxo 💛 

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Adulting with Maddie

As I sit here contemplating my existence in a hipster coffee shop I can’t help but count my blessings today. 

I think it’s way too easy to fall into routines and forget to take those precious moments to recollect good memories and allow your heart to smile. I have to remind myself to slow down and find my happiness. 

My life has been nothing short of crazy lately. Crazy in the best way possible. I have three and a half days left of school, I graduate in 10 days and I leave for my Hawaii grad trip in exactly two weeks. Not to mention that my summer plans are all being pinned down… including multiple concerts and trips. Ahhhh, I get butterflies in my stomachs just thinking about the good times to come. 

With so many fun things looming in my future, I have been buckling down and working non-stop before the craziness and vacations begin. Working doubles, covering shifts and not getting a day of for a week straight has been the norm for me… but I am beyond blessed to have the opportunity to make money and have a blast while doing so. I don’t think I’ve said it enough, but I love my job. I’m so lucky to work for a company that makes me want to go to work and put in the hours (because many times it doesn’t even feel like a job). I know many people that can’t say that about their work, so it’s important for me to express my gratitude in that aspect. 

I will be finishing my associate of arts degree this upcoming fall (I only have two more classes to complete it). After that, I my currently planning to take a year off (because I have no clue what I want to study) and see what opportunities come my way. I am usually the type of person to stress about large life decisions like that, but right now I’m content with the uncertainty of everything. 

I cannot begin to express how genuinely happy and secure I am with the people who I’m surrounded by. Family and friends included, I find myself to have a constant smile on my face and a soar stomach from laughing uncontrollably. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you’ve met the right people. 

Overall, I just wanted to give you all a little life update from me… I may continue this “Adluting with Maddie” series if I so choose. Thank you for the constant support and encouragement in all that I do. 💛 

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My Favorite Healthy Snack Bars

I don’t know about you, but I am constantly on the go.

I find my biggest struggle to be keeping my body and mind nourished when my schedule barely leaves time for me to get a bite to eat. But my favorite, and easiest way I’ve found to fuel my body fast is always keeping snack bars on hand.

Today I’m sharing three of my favorite healthy snack bars with you, and they don’t even taste healthy.

The three main elements I look for in healthy snack bars: refined sugar-free, gluten free and dairy free. All of these bars meet these requirements with only slight exceptions.

  1. The RXBAR

High in protein, packed with flavor, and best of all, filled with ingredients that will fuel your body for an extended period of time. I have yet to try a flavor of the RXBAR that I even slightly dislike. Yes, these ones do contain egg whites, which are usually not a key component in my diet. However, lately I have been trying to reintroduce eggs by slowly adding them back into my eating habits. So far it has been going fantastic, and I haven’t noticed any negative effects of doing so in small quantities. I would 10/10 recommend these delicious snack bars for anyone looking for a clean pick-me-up. And can we just talk about how adorable their packaging is? I love how clearly they market their bars to only have a few wholesome ingredients, and of course no BS.

2. Go Macro Bars

Also high in protein, packed with healthy plant-based nutrients, vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free. Shop these vegan nutrition bars here. What more can you ask for? Plus, they taste like a treat. My favorite is the coconut and granola… so yummy. I definitely look forward to snacking on these throughout my day.

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3. Square Organics Protein Bars

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With each bar containing an average of 12 grams of protein, you can’t go wrong with these sustaining snack bars. The only downside to them, is that the chocolate coating on the outside has a small amount of dried cane syrup, which I normally try to avoid all together. I try to limit the number of bars I eat because of the sugar, but I don’t feel like it’s bad to have them once in a while. I love the variety that square organics offers, and the unique flavors like mint and cherry coconut. If you’re looking for a great alternative bar to one like a Luna or Cliff Bar (that are packed with sugar and processed ingredients) I would highly recommend Square Bars.

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If you’re like me and constantly need quick fuel for your busy lifestyle, then my biggest word of advice is to always keep healthy snacks on hand when those moments of hunger or cravings hit. Bars are some of the smartest ways to keep your body nourished in a pinch.

I hope my snack bar recommendations were helpful… I plan to do more of these healthy snack food posts in the future. I would love to know what healthy “snack” foods you eat, so please leave me a comment💛

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Read my previous blog post: “You Can’t Afford a New Pair of Jeans?”

“You Can’t Afford a New Pair of Jeans?”

I like to call these my “You can’t afford a new pair of jeans?” jeans. Ya know, since every time I wear them, I’m asked that about ten times. People nowadays, let me tell you, they are just so original, it cracks me up.

Here’s the story of this outfit choice…

I spent my Saturday running around; working in the morning, going to my cousin’s birthday party, doing errands and getting a facial treatment… then before I knew it, it was already time to be at the restaurant where my Aunt’s surprise party was being held. And it’s pretty important that you’re not late to those types of parties.

So, my sister and I rushed home, and I quickly changed my shirt (I had already been wearing the jeans all day), threw on my favorite hat since I hadn’t washed my hair in about four days, slipped into my new sandals, grabbed my makeup and ran out the door. That was all in the course of about five minutes.

No, if you were wondering, we were not late. We made it just in time.

My point is that you don’t have to spend an hour picking out an outfit for a special event. Just choose clothes that make you feel beautiful and confident. I didn’t care that my look was mix matched and bold. I think it’s really important to take fashion risks and to wear things that might not be in your comfort zone, because lots of times, the best outfits are ones that not everyone is brave enough to wear.

Sandals- Steve Madden

Jeans- Pacsun

Shirt- Elodie

Hat- a gift from New Mexico

xoxo💛

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Read my previous blog post: Improving my Low Energy

Improving my Low Energy

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I’m a doer. I don’t enjoy being unproductive; I like to be busy, whether it’s creating something, spending time with others or working towards a goal.

But it’s extremely hard to be productive when you’re energy is drained for no reason and you constantly feel like you need a nap.

I usually have a packed schedule… go to school in the morning until early afternoon, go to work, then either hangout with friends or work out (occasionally.. ha). And normally I have no problem going, going, going (until I absolutely need a day of rest). But what I’m getting at is that I’m young and it’s typically not hard on my body to be busy.

But a couple months back I began noticing that I was so mentally and physically exhausted by mid-morning when I still faced a list of to-dos for the remainder of the day. At first I thought that it could be normal, and I was just over-exerting myself, but after I continually felt like I was a zombie, I decided it was not normal. I would literally go to bed around 11, wake up around 7, feel fine in the morning while I got ready, then I would get to school and my energy would literally crash around 10:30 everyday. And I don’t mean just the type of tired where you yawn once and then five minutes later you feel fine. I mean the type of tired where it’s almost painful to keep yourself awake, but then imagine that feeling lasting for a couple of hours sometimes. So obviously trying to be a focused student or good worker is difficult when you feel like death 24/7. I started to get frustrated that I didn’t have enough energy, and then not having any energy would put me in a bad mood. It was a terrible cycle.

I finally reached my tipping point when I went to lunch with my family one day, after going to school for a half-day. I met them at the restaurant, and not five minutes into our “hellos” and conversation, my mom said to me, “Mads, are you okay? You seem so out of it.” At that moment I realized how badly my energy was affecting my life, and I’m happy she pointed it out to me, because that was the first time someone else reassured me that I wasn’t myself and that I wasn’t crazy for thinking I had to fix this problem.

I decided to meet with a nutritionist who recommended ways in which I can improve my diet to boost my energy levels. Here is what she said…

Start your morning with an adrenal gland tonic. Supposedly, your adrenal glands play a large role in the amount of energy you have, so this morning drink is meant to kickstart your day and naturally fuel the body. Plus, the mollasses has a large quantity of iron which is perfect for me since I’m anemic.

1 Tbsp. Blackstrap Mollasses

Juice of a whole lemon (or 1/2 the juice depending on preference)

1/8 tsp. himalayan salt

Simply dilute all ingredients in hot water, and then top it off with about 12-16 ounces of cold water, which should make for a room temperature beverage. I drink this with my breakfast, and continue sipping on it throughout the morning until it’s gone. There’s no need for it to be drank fast, and my nutritionist recommended having it in a large quantity of water. I would say start with a small amount of salt, and build yourself up to more, and if it’s too sour with using a whole lemon, simply add as much as you’d like.

Before trying this drink, I was skeptical of the taste, but now that I drink it every morning, it has really grown on me and I don’t mind it at all. Not to mention, blackstrap mollasses has other great health benefits, such as healthy hair, skin and nails.

The nutritionist also emphasized incorporating more protein into my diet and having a higher healthy fat consumption, since your body burns fats at a slower rate than carbs, and will keep you energized for a longer amount of time. She told me that a large contributor to my energy crashes could have been from eating a lot of natural sugar early in the day, which elevates your blood-sugar, and then causes a drop during mid-morning.

I started implementing this by starting my day off with a high-protein, high-fat meal that has low sugar. For example, I’ve been cooking a lot of sausage/veggie stir-frys topped with about half an avocado and trying not to eat as much fruit in the morning.

I have been cooking at home a lot more often, which is good because I can incorporate healthy fats, such as coconut oil, into every meal and control exactly what I’m eating. This differs from eating out at restaurants where they could sneak in less healthy additives and ingredients.

Throughout the day I have been trying to choose snacks that will keep me full and satisfied for longer, such as coconut cream, or coconut manna, by the spoonfull. I am also doing my best to eat three balanced meals a day, which all include protein, at relatively normal times throughout the day.

Other tips include:

I do my best to drink as close to a gallon of water as possible when I remember. I no longer drink coffee, and the only times I drink anything caffeinated is green tea or matcha. I consistently take my favorite gelatin collagen which I have raved about 1000 times now. I opt for healthy, whole-food snacks, which satisfy my hunger and my cravings. Look out for an exciting upcoming blog post where I share my favorite healthy snacks.

With just these small dietary changes I have noticed a world of difference. I have been eating this way for about a week and a half, and only found myself to have low energy once. I am ecstatic with the results, and I can’t get over how rewarding it is to see the direct connection between eating a clean, specialized diet and the overall improvement of my health. It’s so obvious that food can completely alter your state of mind and physical performance. How amazing.

Thanks for reading. Do you have any life-changing tips on how to stay energized naturally (through food or miracle products)? I’d love to hear about them, or your experience if you’ve ever felt how I was feeling when I had low energy. xoxo

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Read my previous post: How to Get Long, Healthy Hair