Flavoring Our Outdoor Adventures

This “Flavor Your Adventure” post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For more snack ideas to “Flavor Your Adventure” this summer, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on their website, Facebook, and Instagram.

If I could spend every waking moment outdoors, I would. There’s just something about the fresh air and sunshine that brings joy to my soul.

Unless it is 40 below….then I’ll stay bundled up inside. thankyouverymuch

BUT, we don’t have to worry about that for a little while here in the Midwest! So, Mr. B and I are doing our best to soak up the lovely Summer.

Hiking to waterfalls.

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Kayaking on the lake.

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Bike riding along the river.

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Fishing in the mountains.

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Camping under the stars.

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Even water balloon fights.

#latergram Our #sundayfunday ended with a water balloon fight. #funtimes

A photo posted by Brooke Birmingham (@babnotonadiet) on

If we can be outside, we are there. Of course all the fun activities require fuel to sustain our energy to do all the things. There a few things we tend to take along with us including fruit in its own package (apples & bananas), granola bars, and nuts.

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Our nuts of choice to flavor our adventures are Blue Diamond almonds. With their delicious flavors and portability, you really can’t beat them. I can throw them in my backpack without adding a bunch of weight, which is key when you’re getting your hike on. Plus with the good fat and protein they’re packed with, they give you energy needed to keep moving through your adventures.

If you see us getting out adventure on outside, you can almost always find a can of Blue Diamond almonds close by. :)

What are you favorite ways to flavor your adventures?
What do you enjoy getting outside and doing?

Things I Learned In My 20s

Tomorrow I turn the big 3-0. I’ve had moments of freaking out over it and moments where I realize that age is just a number. Usually I don’t freak out over getting a year older, but something about turning 30 has really got me thinking.

My 20s were pretty incredible and lots of great things happened. I also learned a lot in the last decade.

Things I Learned In My 20s by Brooke: Not On a Diet

1) Loving who you are is huge. I didn’t love who I was much of my teen year and some of my 20s. Only when I began to be more gentle to myself and give myself the love I deserved, did good things happen to me. I lost the weight, I found the husband, and I lived more fully.

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2) Sharing your story is important. I started sharing my story in November of 2009 when I was 24 and not only has doing so brought me great opportunities, it has helped others in their own lives. I truly believe that everyone has a story to share and needs to do so because there is someone out there who needs to hear it. Stories help others not feel alone in the world.

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3) Face fears. I let my weight hold me back from a lot of things in life. Never did I think I would ride a snowmobile, kayak, or speak at a conference. Sure, they were all scary before they happened, but as soon as I gave it a go, it wasn’t so bad.

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4) Cooking can be therapy. There is just something about being in the kitchen and whipping up something tasty that just brings me so much joy. I now own way too many cookbooks and kitchen tools, but I love it.

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5) It is okay to need someone. I was raised to be an independent woman. (Thanks, Mom & Dad!) I’m the type who much rather do things on my own, without the help of someone. This was a battle when Mr. B and I first met because it was SO hard to let him do things for me. I’ve learned that it is okay to let go of the control and let Mr. B do more for me when I need it.

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6) Don’t give up on the things you really want. There have been many things in life that I’ve started and then gave up on because things weren’t going as planned or were too tough. My 20s I took on a HUGE challenge and didn’t give up. Losing the weight was tough and things didn’t always go according to plan, but I never gave up. I learned to rework things instead of throwing everything out the window.

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7) 90s music will always be my jam. Enough said. 😉

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8) Good food makes me feel good. My diet in my early 20s was crap. I lived off the drive-thru lane and ALL the processed things. Once I began to learn how to cook, I learned to enjoy things that weren’t processed. This made me feel better and more energetic.

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9) Movement is medicine. I was the kid who found any excuse not to participate in gym. I loathed anything called exercise. Once I switched my thinking to it being good for my mind, body, and soul, I began to enjoy it. I also only do things that I truly love. Life is too short to move in ways you hate.

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10) Quit the job you hate. I spent way too long at a job that I did not enjoy, but I stuck it out because I didn’t think I could do anything else. The day I gave my resignation was so liberating and absolutely terrifying. The world didn’t stop spinning, I didn’t end up homeless, and I eventually landed one of my dream jobs.

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11) Living life is better than watching from the sidelines. I let my weight hold me back from a lot of things. It wasn’t until I started to gain confidence with the weight loss that I began to get out and live life. Being on the playing field is WAY more fun!

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12) Beer is delicious. Still can’t decide if this is a lesson I really needed to learn. 😉

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13) Being married is awesome and a lot of hard work. I’m super lucky to be married to my best friend. Most of the time it is sunshine and roses, but there are rough times. It is during those rough times that make us stronger. <3 486583_960490717459_1748807842_n

14) I love to travel. I really didn’t travel until I met Mr. B. I’ve now camped in the mountains, stepped in the Pacific, and enjoyed rum in Jamaica. I love planning out our next adventure.

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15) Connections on the Internet are important. I’ve met some incredible people via blogging. Some that are really great friends. I also found Mr. B on the interwebs.

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16) Ask for what you want. This is a fairly new thing I’ve learned, but the times I put it into play; it has worked well.

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17) Coffee is also delicious. Again, don’t know if I really needed to learn this.

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18) My calling in life. I went to college and changed my major 3 times in the few short years I was there. None of those things were for me and it wasn’t until I lost weight did I figure this out. I now know that I get such great joy out of helping others get healthy. I’m furthering this into getting my CPT and health coach certifications. I cannot wait to see how this grows in the future.

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19) Less is more. This applies to so many areas of my life. I think about purchases and have realized that I much rather have experiences than physical things. I’m also always purging things, which feels awesome.

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20) Everything happens for a reason. I’m such a big believer in this. Even when things aren’t the best, I try to remind myself that there’s a reason it is happening. I can also choose how to feel about things happening. I can be negative and miserable or I can reframe it and tell myself that there is a lesson to be learned.

Boy did I learn A LOT this past decade. I’m sure there are many other things, but that might take another decade to write out. 😉

I cannot wait to see what I learn in my 30s, it will be nothing short of amazing I’m sure!

What lessons have you learned in life?

Scenes From the Weekend: Kickoff to Birthday Week!

If you have been around awhile, then you might now that I love my birthday (July 24th) and I love celebrating it as much as possible. This year of course is no different and it is a BIG one this year…..

I turn 30!

I’m a little freaked out by this, but in the same breath I’m excited to see what a new decade in life brings! The last one has been pretty amazing, so it can only get better. Right? :)

To kick off birthday week, Mr. B and I planned a last-minute camping trip to Decorah, Iowa. Neither of us have been, but knew it really couldn’t disappoint. Decorah promised an 11 mile bike path, trout streams, and a brewery. How could we not enjoy it?

We headed out early on Saturday morning to make the 3 1/2 hour drive to our campsite. We got into Decorah before 11 and set up camp. We had a great spot right near the river.

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We made our way to the downtown area and grabbed some lunch at the Oneota Coop, which was delicious. They make their own chai tea and it was to die for. After lunch we got ready for a bike ride, which included a stop to get me a new tube for my bike. Never a dull moment. 😉

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Our bike ride was a HOT one and while we didn’t make it as far as we would have liked, it was still great. I love getting out on the bike and feeling like a kid again! We ended our bike ride at Toppling Goliath Brewery, which brews a couple of our favorite beers.

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Luckily our campsite was only 2 miles away from the brewery and we made our way back safely. Mr. B got a fire started and we enjoyed some brats for dinner. It was nice to just sit and relax around the campfire. I’ve been reading Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and took whatever chance I could to read it this weekend.

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Surprisingly sleeping in the tent wasn’t as hot as we thought it would be. We invested in a tent fan, which worked quite well to keep the air moving. We woke up yesterday to a gorgeous view from the tent.

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I whipped up some french toast on the camp stove for breakfast. I put the ingredients (eggs, almond milk, vanilla, and cinnamon) in a Blender bottle before we left the house. It was easy to transport and clean up. The french toast was also pretty tasty if I do say so myself.

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After breakfast Mr. B did some fly fishing right near our site and I did more reading. It was just so peaceful! Mr. B wanted to hit up some more fishing spots, so we headed outside of town. Mr. B headed out to fish and I went for a walk along the bike path.

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I walked to the trout hatchery and saw several bald eagles along the way. I also got to see the famous eagle’s next as well. I made may way back to where Mr. B was fishing so we could head back to our site to tear down. After tear down and a shower, we stopped at a waterfall and checked out Ice Cave. Then we grabbed one more beer at Toppling Goliath before making our way back home.

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It was such a great start to birthday week! I don’t know what else the week will bring, but I’m ready for it!

How was your weekend?