Travel Accessory Must Haves

I am way too excited about this trip! We legit lost power for 3 days. That windstorm was insanely crazy! Once we got our power back, I immediately started laundry and dishwasher. I don’t think I’ve ever been that ecstatic about laundry or dishes.

Little things!

Speaking of being able to do laundry, I packed early this past weekend to make sure we’re on top and have everything we need. The OCD in me says so. I’m sharing with you all my favorite travel accessories and linked them below!

Neck pillows

When you’re on a plane sitting next to strangers and drool on them while sleeping…show of hands if this happened. This neck pillow is so comfortable and super easy to pack. It will also keep you from drooling on someone you don’t know. Not to mention, there’s a button you can push to inflate and deflate the pillow. Totes awesome!


This luggage set is a lifesaver. It’s also super stylish and I adore mine in rose gold! Thanks to hubby for letting me pick out the color. He knows I have good taste. 😉


You can never be too sure if your airline or airport has outlets to charge all your favorite electronic devices. This one was a life saver last year at the Games. I was able to take it outside to use the solar panels on it and charge away while charging the charger at the same time!

Slingback bag

I specifically got this one as my purse. Basically to carry around our passports, credit cards, cash, iPhone and it has an outlet to carry your charger in it while plugging in your phone. It’s perfect to fit an iPad mini inside as well. Sleek. Stylish. Let’s go hike NZ babe!

Compression tights

I wear Virus International brand but any nice quality brand will do. These help you maintain healthy circulation, minimizing leg swelling and dehydration. Great for long flights! Just throw over a nice tunic to stay fancy or sweatshirt if you want to be laid-back. Honestly, no one really cares how you look.

Oh yes, can’t forget the little things here guys! Lysol wipes (I may be a  germophobe but those trays are disgusting), #OMG can’t forget hand sanitizers, face wipes, toothbrush and toothpaste (save those sample baggies from your favorite hygienist! 🙂 ), hearing aid batteries (those things run out fast on trips for some reason!), chapstick, and lastly, MY FAVORITE lululemon scarf (can wear as a scarf or unbuckle as a wrap. Great for cold flights.)

Annnnndd don’t forget Emergen-C supplements…just in case. Stay healthy. Okay?


Does anyone ever have days where working out feels like it’s out of the question? That piece of chocolate looks really good? Maybe skip the gym and sleep in because you worked 10 hours the day before?

We all have those days. I totally feel this way on almost a daily basis. Is it because I work so much? Probably.

I know I’ll feel 100 times better than I did before working out. You will feel 100 times better as well.

I had more time to myself in the past. Before school happened. I was able to train over an hr almost daily. I was younger and in better shape. Life changes quickly and it puts a damper on your body. Whether it’s a new baby, longer working days, new career, going back to school full time, family time, etc. Okay, blah blah blah.

Point is, you can’t forget about yourself. You, is so important. The lifestyle today is go go go, work work work.

It’s never too late to start somewhere. You always have at least 15 mins to yourself.

Many things aren’t equal but everyone gets the same 24 hours, 7 days a week.

We make time for what we truly want. Take the responsibility of getting up earlier, prep the meals beginning of the week. Kid has swim class? Go for a run during that time. Can’t run? Then walk.

It’s the tiniest things you make in your day makes a big difference for yourself. It’s a self-esteem booster too! Life isn’t perfect. Your workout doesn’t have to be perfect.

One day, I’m doing a really hard workout in my garage and the next day, I’m like screw that it’s too cold. This happens more than often. My garage is too cold and I’m too lazy to wait for the heaters to warm it up. In that case, I will probably do glute and core work in my living room while watching Black Mirror on Netflix. (Cool show by the way AND mind blowing.)

Be accountable.

Sign up for the Crossfit Open even if it’s been two years or it’s your first time. Sign up for a 5k or marathon. Go check out a weightlifting meet and see yourself up there in a few months. Join one of the many popular studios out there whether it’s Pure Barre, Orange Theory Fitness or a regular gym. Jump outside of your comfort zone.

Be accountable. Challenge yourself. You never know what you might accomplish.

But dude! Anyone try to avoid walking past those girls scouts selling cookies? I just pretend I’m deaf and didn’t hear them.

Oh wait 😉

Power is out

I’m sitting here in the dark with the power out since 5 am. It’s 6 am now. It’s extremely windy out and school is closed over it.

Not going to lie. This is probably eerily creepy. The garage door is making all kinds of noises like there’s a man with a chainsaw skimming it.

It’s still freaking pitch black out here.

I’ve never seen the dogs go to the bathroom as quick as they did this morning.

I’ve never cared so much about how I’m going to look at work today.

I’m so thankful for coffee my husband had the opportunity to brew before the power went out.

Don’t get me wrong. I really do love living out in the country. It’s quiet. But when you’re by yourself, the dogs better be on high alert!

I’m scared to go to the bathroom and leave “something” when we get home tonight. You’re welcome.

At least, there’s candles. And turning my hearing aids off is a big plus. 😉

Vegan Lemon Blueberry Protein Mug Cake

All this rainy, cold weather lately has been making me wish it were spring already. Mother Nature has been crazy. But let’s talk about how good this recipe is. Who doesn’t love lemon and blueberry together? This one tastes almost just like my lemon blueberry pancakes I’ve made in the past. Talk about a trip down memory lane. It’s so flavorful and really hits the spot. I made this recipe with Equip Foods Prime Plant in vanilla. It is 100% plant protein. But really any vanilla flavor plant based protein will do the trick.

Prime Plants Vegan Protein Powder | A Blend of Hemp Protein, Sacha Inchi Protein, Pea Protein and Pumpkin Protein | (Vanilla)

If you tried the recipe on my last blog  Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Mug Cake you’re going to like this vegan, healthy, low calorie recipe. I’m not a vegan, but sure love eating this delicious treat!

Vegan Lemon Blueberry Protein Mug Cake

Servings: 1

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 1-3 min
1 scoop vanilla plant protein (I used Equip Foods)
1 tbs coconut flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ milk choice or water (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
¼ tsp lemon zest
2 tsp juiced lemon
Small handful of fresh blueberries
1. Grease mug with coconut oil spray (any cooking spray will do)
2. Combine dry ingredients in mug
3. Add wet ingredients with blueberries (save some for the topping!) and mix. Batter should be creamy. If needed, you can add more liquid.
4. Place in microwave and heat for 60 seconds or until center is done.
5. Top it off with some fresh blueberries.
6. Let it cool down a bit. Blueberries will be hot. Enjoy!
Side hacks: If you do not have a fresh lemon on hand, 1/4 tsp lemon extract will work just fine. Careful not to overload on it!


Nutrition Facts: 181 calories, 7.1 g fat, 18 g carbs, 17 g protein

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Mug Cake

The other night, we were catching up on a Netflix show and all the sudden it got super quiet. Justin’s head was in the pantry. My husband was having a sweet tooth and asked me if we had cookies. Now, if you know us, we don’t buy sweets at the grocery store because it would be gone in one day. I had homemade ice cream I made the other day and he still didn’t want it. Really? It’s ice cream dude.

I thought about a lot of things we had before the mice ate all of our goodies a while back. Don’t ask me how. So, I decided on making mug cakes. I’ve seen them all over Pinterest. I thought “they can’t be hard”. I looked up recipes to see what we have that’s in our pantry and started making it. I used cocoa powder, coconut flour, water (I didn’t have milk), and an egg. I wasn’t a fan. It came out okay. I was more worried about it not being cooked. It ended up over cooked, too dry, and too thick. I decided to sweeten it up with melted peanut butter. It was better but by the 3rd bite, I was already full! It was enough for two people. Justin ate his own, all of it, and regret it.

One day, I received Equip Foods in the mail and was excited to use their products. I looked on the back of their protein bags and saw you could use their protein to bake in anything! It sparked my creativity from there and I decided to whip up my own mug cake recipes. It’s super easy! It satisfied my husbands sweet tooth with no guilt! I can definitely make these if I catch him rummaging our pantry again.

Their protein doesn’t have whey and tastes just like brownies. But don’t worry I do enjoy plant based protein and am working on a recipe for my vegan friends! Just you wait. The recipe can also be vegan friendly, please see note below. This one is particularly one of my favorites. I LOVE peanut butter and chocolate. The pumpkin will keep the cake moist. You won’t even taste it. Don’t have it? Use unsweetened applesauce. Not paleo-friendly enough? Just don’t eat the peanut butter. You’re going to love this high-protein, low-carb, healthy, guilt-free treat!

100% Grass Fed Beef Protein Powder, Paleo Friendly, Packed With Collagen and Gelatin, Nothing Artificial, Only Three Ingredients, 2 lb (Chocolate)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Mug Cake

Servings: 1
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 1 min
1 scoop chocolate protein (I used Equip Foods)
1 tbs coconut flour
½ tsp baking powder
1 lg egg
¼ cup milk choice or water (I used water)
1 tbs 100% puree pumpkin
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peanut butter (for topping)
1. Grease mug with coconut oil spray (any cooking spray will do)
2. Combine dry ingredients in mug
3. Add wet ingredients (except peanut butter) and mix. Batter should be creamy.
4. Place in microwave and heat for 60 seconds or until center is done.
5. Top it off with melted peanut butter
6. Enjoy!
Sorry about the peanut butter mess, I got too excited!
Vegan notes: You can use plant protein in this recipe. Omit the egg and just increase the milk til it’s a creamy batter.

Side note: My protein was already sweetened with stevia. If needed, you may use 1/2-1 tsp of sugar depending on kind.

Nutrition notes: 307 cal, 15 g fat, 11 g carbs, 35.5 g protein (I used Equip Foods Prime Protein, water, not milk and peanut butter is included)

Pity Or Compassion?

I realize most of my blog reflects on my past life and struggles. Thing is, I don’t ask for sympathy. But why do people pity me? Or is it compassion? I know most of you show compassion, I really do. But, then the other half is giving me a pity party. What’s going on?

Compassion is sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

Pity is the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others.

Ummm, well I don’t really know….Most of my success I’ve had is due to my own hard work. Everything it took in my own power to get where I am today. Let’s face it. You’re sorry I had to go through all that? I’m not. Ever hear “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” Like…duh?

Okay. Having moments of insecurities and struggles doesn’t mean that you’re weak. In any way, shape or form. I may be trying to change the stigma behind disabilities but being kinder, being you will take you on a higher road.

The world is a better place when we lift each other up.

One more thing, don’t help people if you expect something in return. Kindness has its own powers. However, if I hold the door for you and you don’t thank me, I’ma slam the door right back at ya.

Have a great day everyone!

PS: I’m all ears for questions. Don’t be afraid to ask. Leave them below or private message me on Facebook or Instagram.

Homemade Dog Treats – No Bake PB Pumpkin Balls

You guys! I seriously love baking. Give me donuts. Cupcakes. Ice cream! (Not really baking but I do make homemade ice cream.)

I scroll through Pinterest constantly looking for homemade dog treats that they would love. This one tops my Pinterest finds. My dogs love these peanut butter pumpkin balls so much. Let’s be real. Anything that involves peanut butter is the best! You can make it in different size balls to accommodate your dogs. It’s so easy and you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry anyway.


  • 1 cup canned purée pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbs honey (can omit this)
  • 2 1/2 cup oats. Save 1/2 for coating. (I used 1 minute quick oats)

Just mix them all together, roll into a ball, cover with oats and viola! No baking needed. You have your easy healthy treat for the pups!

This can be stored in an air tight container for up to a week in the fridge or freeze for 2-4 weeks.

PS–Always check with your vet!

That Deaf Jersey Girl…

Meeting my husband was one thing I thought would never happen. I was at the end of my NFL cheerleading season, a bad break up, and swore to myself I would be single for a while. Well, look what happened. A year and half long distance relationship, which led to a move to VA, a marriage, 3 moves, two homeownerships, two careers, 3 dogs later….no, let’s not talk about kids yet. Please…go away.

One night, a girlfriend and I thought it would be fun to attend a calendar release party in DC. Sure, let’s get all dolled up and enjoy the night to ourselves! Nope! Ran into this guy who introduced me to my now husband. Long, long story short, after a cab chase to get my number, this guy was mine. Until then, I was forever dubbed the jersey girl this, jersey girl that…

Ladies, if a guy wants to fix your broken 5 inch heel, you let him!

We decided to give that dating life a try. He was in VA and I in NJ. We had never done a long distance relationship. This was all news to us. He had never dated a deaf girl either. Alert alert! He was from New England. This guy had every phrase in the book with an accent. Ok dude, you need to speak English. That was tough. I really liked him as a person but his English was like, okay excuse me, let me jump off the cliff really quick. Have a drink. Your lips move better when you’re happy. Eventually with time, he learned how to use his darn English. We mostly texted and Skyped to stay in touch. Weekends consisted of watching his rugby tournaments in the DC area and going to the bar for a drink or 10. This was 2010.

A year and half later, it was time for that move. We ended up living outside of Old Town Alexandria. He had rescued a dog who we named Jameson in the beginning of our relationship, I had my Charley. I think these two had a lot more to adjust than Justin and I did!

6 months later, one night, we went to dinner at our favorite restaurant Rosa Mexicana in DC and somehow ended up in a hotel that we met. Can you guess what happened? He finally put a ring on it! (Cue Beyonce “Single Ladies”)

I’ll always be that Jersey Girl as long as he continues to pump my gas for me 🙂

Us in a nutshell

Thing is, somehow we just make it work. Communication, communication, and communication. Don’t forget laughter and trust is also key. If someone makes you feel unworthy because of your disability or who you are, stand up and walk away. When you find your person, keep your person. Laugh at the tiniest mistakes you both do. Travel and go see the world together. Do the things you two enjoy and talk about all the time. Do projects around the house. Find a new hiking spot. Those 5 years of marriage went by so fast. Blink and time is gone. Live a little and enjoy it all in the process. Take lots of pictures in the meantime too!

“I’m Sorry, What?”

This is a common saying. They’re talking to you. You know they’re talking. Sometimes being in a group conversation can put a damper on your night out. Everyone’s laughing and having a great time. There’s background noise at the restaurant and you’re trying to listen to your friends. There is now technology that can minimize the background noises but you’re not catching every word your friends are saying. You can read one persons lip but another person on the other side of the table is saying something and guess what? You miss it.

There are apps out there that can translate speech-to-text on your phone but most of it requires that your friends having to download that same app. They’re wondering why and you have to explain it to them. Another way to put a damper on your night, right? Our lives are always about explaining silly stuff that normal people don’t have to deal with. Cheers?

Sometimes we throw the cards, just laugh when everyone is laughing and nod when everyone is nodding. Secretly, we have no clue what’s going on.

But! Have you heard of this new and upcoming technology called SpeakSee? You guys really should check it out. SpeakSee

They are coming out with a technology that will help you follow conversations in groups. A device with a microphone each person would wear that will transcribe speech-to-text directly to your phone. Also, for Bluetooth compatible hearing aids or cochlear implants, the technology will stream audio directly to it minimizing background noises. It’s really cool, interesting stuff. Follow their Instagram. Go visit their website. Sign up for their newsletter.

Imagine being able to enjoy dinner with your family at home or even in your favorite restaurant that is extremely loud without having a headache. Now, I can cheers to that!

That Deaf Student…

I went to school differently than most students of a disability do today. Back then, the Americans with Disabilities Act was on the forefront. Some doctors would advise that we be sent away to a boarding school for the Deaf or “solitary” you say. Just because no one knew exactly what to do with us. Remember, things were waaaaay different back then.

I owe a ton to everyone who fought for me to be as normal as everyone else. Teachers, teachers aides, audiologists, speech pathologists, Family, and mostly I owe all this to my mom. Okay. My mother was the real backbone behind this whole story. Huge deal here okay?

At first, it was at a catholic school called Archbishop Ryan School for the Deaf in Philadelphia. I was probably there for about 5 years. I would arrive in the morning, they’d make me take my personal hearing aids off, put it in a safe place and put the classroom “hearing aid” on. I wore this old school box strapped in the front with strings attached to an extremely hard ear mold that either hurt my ears or fell out constantly. It was connected to the teacher’s mic and the whole class would hear the same thing. Classes were taught in sign language and speech. I remembered it mostly being sign and reading their lips with no sound. It was a blur. I mostly remember the smiles on the teachers faces and felt really safe being around other deaf or hard-of-hearing students. The endless school trips and that one amazing day trip to Disney World. I still come across some of my former deaf classmates to this day. (Facebook is amazing.)

Did I mentioned my single mother drove across the Walt Whitman bridge from work in Philadelphia after a night shift, got me dressed all pretty for school, drive back to Philadelphia from our home in New Jersey, drop me off at school, slept in the car all day long, only to do it all over again. At the time, the school was in a rough neighborhood too.

Few years go by, I’m finally in a public school system closer to home. This time, I’m the only deaf student. The classroom hearing aid technology improved. This time I didn’t have to take my hearing aids out but use those snap on that connected to it and the teacher wore a mic. I was set back a grade behind. I constantly had to be taken out of the classroom to attend speech lessons and all these psychological tests. The kind of tests that would blow everyone out of the water because I’d score higher than most students, even hearing students. I probably acted excited every time but the truth is it killed me inside. I hated the idea that kids were snickering at me and learning new things behind my back. I was also behind on grammar and reading. Comprehension exams were so brutal. Trying to listen to the teacher was like being in a trance because it is effing overwhelming. I had countless in class aides sitting by my side. All I want to do is go home and sleep.

I hated being told “Did you hear that?” “Are you getting all this?” “Come with me now, we’re going to a private room.” “Sorry we don’t have captions.” “Is this loud enough though?” “You need to listen.” And all I hear is blah blah blah! Headache! Poke my eyes out! Everyone wants to patronize you. Daily. Because you’re this small. Tiny little peanut.

It was one reason I look forward to dance at the end of the day. Just dance and dance and dance. Peacefulness and the music is on. Just move and no one is in your face. Therapy all night long.

This went on through high school. The No Child Left Behind Act was just being passed. I didn’t go to my public high school. This high school was a different kind of school. When I was attending, it was still so new they only had a full time dance, drama, business and transportation program. This was a college prep slashed performing arts high school. The kind you have to take some sort of exams and audition to get in. This was a small class we graduated with. It was perfect. I got to dance every day and take regular academic classes. Ever see “Glee”? Sort of like that but without the football team and slushies in your face.

Students accepted were from all over South Jersey. Truth is, I was still made fun of. It was still hard trying to be a part of the hearing world and finding your place with everyone as best as you can. Text messaging was just coming out at the time and I only could use this TTY phone technology where there’s an operator typing up your conversations. Ugh. Still hate those. Always had trouble and constantly got hung up. If I tried calling a credit card company using CapTel phone or InnoCaption app (a newer form of TTY today), I’m still hung up. You people suck so bad. Take note losers.

I was doing pretty well academically, honor rolls almost every semester, college was in my future. I joined a swim slash diving team to look good on my college resume. By Junior year of High School, I really got sick of those IEP (Individualize Education Program) meetings. I constantly had those meetings. Ever since I was in grade school. It was all about how well I could or couldn’t hear, how well or poorly I was doing on certain subjects, always felt like I was a lab project. Being picked on, always had to be that perfect deaf student in my opinion. I pretty much denied speech lessons by then and wanted more independence that I stopped those teachers wearing the “mic thing”. I needed the independence. I needed to learn all this school thing on my own. Everyone was quite nervous and I constantly had paperwork being filled out. Pffft. Burn that shit.

For some reason, I wanted to leave the state. I definitely wasn’t ready for it but how do you know that? I really really got sick of all this so called “rat race” they had me in that I just wanted to leave town and be on my own. College rolled around and we settled on attending Towson University in Maryland which was only two hours from home. Two states away but not too far not to close, just perfect.

I probably took the SATs a million times and could never get that perfect score. We didn’t even have the written portion at the time. Remember what I said about comprehension exams? Awful. My math and english sucked balls. I was never getting into college! I auditioned for the dance program and was waitlisted. What is going on?! Is this for me? How does this deaf Honor Roll student who excelled in almost everything she did not get into college? I applied to several others as well. Can you guess? Rejected! I really wanted to go to Towson University because of how diverse it was and the type of program options they had. I had no idea how hard getting into college would be. There was absolutely no way I could go to a community college. I just didn’t see it in myself. I knew I was way better than that. Yes. Call me selfish.

I eventually got in TU with my mother’s never ending tireless support and help. Both academically and dance. Now I was in for a crazy ride the next four years. Of course, I had to register myself with the disability service. In order to get “help” in classrooms. Roll eyes. At the time, the kind of help was a note taker. This person would be taking the same class but I would have the “privilege” of using this persons notes. They get paid at the end of the semester. For giving me their notes. Teachers had to provide closed captions for videos. Some of the videos they show were very old school that didn’t even have closed caption technology at the time. That wasn’t the worst part. Professors would be from different countries and their English wasn’t very good. Honestly, I almost cried every day. Some don’t even move their lips. I wasn’t going to be the only student calling them out on it.

I switched majors 3 times. I knew what I wanted but didn’t really know what I want to do. Make sense? The medical programs were super hard to get into, even my 3.4 GPA didn’t cut it. In the end, I decided to graduate with Psychology. The kind of degree that was flexible in my chosen career at the time. I even had almost enough credits for a biology and dance minor but honestly, I was done with this school shit. So done. I was even inducted in the International Disability Honor Society. Go me.

Fast forward, almost 8 years later….I went back to school to become a Dental Hygienist. It was probably the hardest thing I ever did. I cried almost every single day. Up until I got my email from the boards that I’ve passed. My poor husband probably had enough tears shed on his shoulder, enough to cause a flood.

But this time it was different. The hands on stuff? Everyone wore a mask. What did I get myself into? I knew this would be a challenge but it was even more of a challenge to explain why they need to be removed when you’re speaking. Especially TEACHING. I get the asepsis stuff. I do.

The classroom stuff was pretty rigorous as well. There was newer technology this time for me. I would bring my laptop in, teachers would wear the mic that’s Bluetooth connecting to this person in another state, another time zone, listening to everything they say and type up word for word. I’d read everything live and get a copy of the transcript at the end of the night. After two semesters of this, I gave up. It was more work for me because this person would be yelling at me to tell the instructors to slow down. Their power is out. Their dog died. They’re sick. They forgot? Ecetera, ecetera! I started realizing everything I needed to learn was in the text books and PowerPoints. Duh. Gave everything back to Disability Service and never looked behind. Peace! And my grades went up. Magic how that happened.

I would usually get in a study group and go over a lot of the stuff anyway. Study groups can be difficult when you’re in a group of 5 or 10 and everyone is yelling at each other. Small groups Amanda! I learned better that way. 3 is good and you’re still learning. I used to be there everyday from 7 am to 7 pm at night. It was always eat, sleep (barely), caffeine, study daily.

Clinical days got better. At first, no one understood me as a deaf student. It was hard enough to explain yourself and the minor need for mask removal was a task. I was constantly judged in front of classmates and patients. They’ve never had a deaf student. That was understandable but again, still faced with the adversity. It was tough. I cried. A lot. I’m pretty good about having a thick skin but some days the cards have been dealt. This time there was no dance class to attend. Crossfit was there. Best stress reliever.

It’s hard enough because when you talk about these things to a hearing person, all they tell you is to stand up for yourself….No one will ever dare walk a mile in your shoes and tell you that again. No one will ever understand and will never be able to really. We have senses that are heightened in other areas and can almost read how cruel a person can be in ways a hearing person doesn’t. Again, gotta be in my shoes.

While technology has improved so much these days, there’s still classroom discussions you miss, everyone talking at once, mouth being covered, while those things seem so minor to you, it’s a huge deal for us with hearing loss. Someone once told me, if it’s not scary, you’re not really going after your dreams. It has been scary all my life!

And you’re faced with a ton of adversity daily…Don’t forget that it always makes you a stronger person. There is always someone in the world in a worse position than I am. There is always going to be crazy anxious thoughts. There is always going to be setbacks. Keep going. Fight for what you stand for. Fight for others who don’t have the same power as you. Believe.