Monday, May 26, 2014

DIY:Chocolate Protein Bars

When I started a healthy lifestyle, it was a challenge finding protein bars that I liked! Until I found a quick and simple recipe on Body Building and started baking my own. Homemade protein bars allows for creativity with ingredients and provides comfort in knowing exactly what your eating.
All substitutions are in parentheses


Video Article: Jamie Eason's Chocolate Protein Bars


Jamie Eason Chocolate Protein Bars Ingredients:
1 cup oat flour
4 egg whites
2 scoops of vanilla protein powder (Jillian Michael's Whey Protein)
1/3 cup (or less) Stevia in the Raw (Brown Sugar)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz berry flavored baby food (Apple Sauce)
3 tbsp baking cocoa 4 oz water (Almond Milk)
1oz Walnuts (optional)


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the following together in a large bowl:
- Oat Flour
- Protein Powder
- Baking Soda
- Salt
- Baking Cocoa


3. Mix the following together in a small bowl:
- Egg Whites
- Stevia in the Raw
- Baby Food
- Water
4. Combine the ingredients from the small bowl into the large bowl and mix together.
5. Spray 8X8 dish (I use Pyrex) with non-stick spray & add batter to the dish.
6. Bake for 20-30 minutes in oven.
Makes 16 squares
Serving size = 2 bars
Macros:
Calories: 96
Fat: 1.4 g
Carbs: 12 g
Protein: 10 g
OK Tips: Get creative! Add your favorite nuts and/or fruits!  Once the protein bars have cooled, separate them into Ziploc bags or Saran Wrap so you can grab-and-go! You MUST store these in the refrigerator or freezer as they will spoil because they have no preservatives!
Enjoy!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

5 Life-Changing Ways to Invest in Yourself!

After reading The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness and completing baby steps #1-#3, I dreaded the start of baby step #4: Investing! The fear of stocks, bonds, and IRAs felt like falling off the edge of a cliff. Ignorance was bliss, but I could no longer avoid the inevitable.


Side Note: I have no faith in the "deferred life plan", term adopted from Timothy Ferris's The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated). The deferred life refers to, go to college--->debt-->work job ---> buy a home-->debt--> work more--> 401ks--> work 40+yrs-->stop working--->start living (around 65-70) !?!?!?

I digress........

Last month, I attended an amazing finance seminar held by Mind, Body, and Soul Atlanta.
Clyde Anderson, CNN Contributing Finance Expert


I was seeking a parachute a.k.a information for investing. With sweaty palms,  I approached the 3 person panel (felt like judgment day) and asked, "I'm debt free, where should I invest my money?" Speaker Clyde Anderson, CNN contributing finance Expert, replied, "invest in yourself!"  Wow, what an AHA Moment!
Those three words changed my life! Here's how...


1) FOLLOW YOUR PASSION (s)



What do you love to do? What would you do even if you didn't get paid to do it? Not only ask the question, but have confidence in the answer! Believe in yourself! I love to write and serve! I created this blog to share my life experiences to empower others. Take a class! Sign-up for seminars and/or workshops in your area. Download free apps, Coursera or iTune U, that offer FREE college courses from universities such as Harvard and Yale. Discover what your strengths are and invest time, energy, and effort to make yourself better! 

2) READ A BOOK !
 So many have gone on soul searching journeys before you and have lived to write about it! Many breakthroughs and revelations happened in my life as result of reading a book. Uncertain about what your passionate about? Reading will help you discover and perfect your passions! Here are a few that changed my life:

As a Man Thinketh
 The Tao of Health, Sex, and Longevity: A Modern Practical Guide to the Ancient Way (Fireside Books (Fireside))
Do You!: 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success

Seeking a mentor can be one of the best investments you can make into yourself! Think of who in your circle inspires you or is living the life you desire to live. When I came to a crossroad in my life, and needed guidance, I asked for help!  Church, School, Work, and the Internet are good resources for finding a mentor. I found a great life and relationship coach, Christopher "Doc" Reid on YouTube! I have several mentors that have shaped my way of living and success.  Some paid for others didn't cost a dime though their advice was invaluable. This is what investing means and what better product to invest in than you!

4) INVEST IN YOUR HEALTH! 

“So many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.” 

What good is wealth and success if you're too sick or tired to enjoy it!  You are important! You  should be your #1 priority. Nothing matters when your health and mental wellness is at risk! An active lifestyle and proper nutrition is paramount to investing in yourself. Its a long term investment with 100% return. At 25 I was 30lbs overweight, and suffering from high cholesterol. I decided at that moment I was going to make a lifestyles change! It wasn't easy, but the hardest decision was making the decision. As a result of hard work and commitment I lost 20lbs in 2 months, lowered my cholesterol below 200, look 10 years younger, have 10x more energy and stamina, and feel great!
Do something for 30mins a day 4-5x per week, avoid simple carbs like bread and pasta (at least 5 days per week), eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, drink at least 64ozs of water per day, don't eat past 7pm or 3hrs before going to bed, get at least 6-8hrs worth of sleep, and give yourself at least 1-2 free days per week to eat whatever you want!  Invest in a personal trainer and/or nutritionist. Eliminating  eating out serves a two-fold purpose....save money and lose the calories!

5) MEDITATE/BE THANKFUL

 In order to be the best you, you must free your mind and be grateful!! Often we are burden with the vicissitudes of life and forget to stop, breathe, and focus on what's important. Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace, and balance that benefits both your emotional well-being and your overall health. There's several meditation styles such as Qi gong, Tai Chi, Mantra meditation, mindful meditation, and yoga that provide many health benefits such as stress reduction.There are a plethora of books (refer to #2) and resources available on how to meditate! I keep it simple. Every morning or evening I find a calm space in my home (my bathroom once served as my inner sanctuary when the kids were smaller), select calm meditation music on Pandora,  and for 5-30 mins I take slow deep breathes counting every inhale and exhale to keep my mind from drifting. Initially I couldn't do 1 min of meditation without my mind drifting off to looming deadlines and to-do checklist. With practice I've gotten better and I'm at peace before my day starts. I thank God for health, sanity, wealth, and my beautiful family. Especially this little one

In the words of Russell Simmons, DO YOU!  And watch God return many blessings unto you! You Only Live Once, make it count!
✌️&❤️
Sapphire Starr



Thursday, May 8, 2014

How I saved 20,000 in 15 months!

"If your goals don't feel impossible, then you should create new goals."~Sapphire Starr

Saving money can be challenging but if you're committed, willing to make temporary sacrifices, and invest in yourself then you can live your best life ever!

Be SMART!

S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for the 5 steps of specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based goals. It’s a simple tool used by businesses to go beyond the realm of mundane goal-setting into an actionable plan for results. Recently, I came across this pic on a vision board I created back in 2012
Hmmm, sounds like a SMART goal to me!  You may not want to travel the world, but whatever your goals are, be SMART! I want to save 20,000 in 15 months to travel the world! Or I want to save $500 in 4 months for a new laptop. My good friend set a goal to save 30,000 down payment in 3 years to purchase a beach home in the Florida Keys. I challenge you to search your heart's desire and start planning today! As a man thinketh, so shall he be! Not sure what you want to do? Create a vision board, surf the net, and start brainstorming ideas. I thought traveling the world would be super expensive until I researched and stumbled across this blog Travel the World for 14,00 per year!

Get out of debt!

"The borrower will be slave to the lender" 
~Dave Ramsey The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

It took 3 1/2 years to pay off 33,000 worth of debt. Once I became Debt-Free
the money I was paying toward debt, I was now paying myself! It's very easy to get distracted with this "free" money, but I remained focused. If you haven;t paid off debt, still create a habit of saving. Saving $1 per day for 1 year is a whopping $365 dollars that can be used toward a dream vacation!



More Mula Baby!

I'm not  a lil Wayne fan but hopefully this gets your attention and laughter! Now that I got your attention, 
the more cash you stash the sooner your dreams can become a reality! I was fortunate enough to have a second job that offered flexibility and income. My entire second income went toward savings account. Working two jobs can be hard, but it's just a season! There are a variety of ways to generate extra income ie, search craigslist for freelance work, cut grass, sell  pizza, baby sitting, blogging, etc. Tap into your passions, you could be sitting on a gold mine!

Cut spending! 

Budgeting  is essential and if you cut spending by 40%-50%, you can generate funds for your SMART goals. I cut eating out from  $200 to $100 per month, Blow money (woman impulse disorder) from $200 to $100, and Groceries from $350 to $200. I saved $200 per month in gas by moving across the street from my employer. Disconnect cable or call for current discounts. Once I called Comcast threatening  to disconnect cable service and they not only upgraded my internet and cable package, my bill was reduced from $79.00 to $54.99 for one year. I discontinued gym membership and started using gym facility in apartment complex.  Also Fitness Blender offers over 200 different workouts for free on YouTube! Lastly,  I switched cell phone carriers from Verizon to T-Mobile (no contract) and monthly bill was reduced from $100 to $50 per month. Clark Howard offers great resources on how to save money, spend less, and avoid scams.


Get A Roomate
This may not be your cup of tea, but it's worth considering. If you can live with another human being without going to jail, then this would be worth it once your sailing on a gondola in Venice! Seek out family members and friends for familiarity or check out sites such as Craigs List, Roommates, and Roomster


Be Adventurous

You don't have to sacrifice your social life to the savings gods! I LOVE hiking, biking, and running which are free and inexpensive (bike initial investment was $165.00) ways to meet people, save money, and stay fit. I joined We Love 2 Hike Atlanta
at MeetUp.com for free! I also roller skate weekly that only cost $8 dollars! 
We Love 2 Hike

Set it and Forget it! 

Once I had the extra cash, I created a separate savings account ("see the way my account is set-up") with Capital One 360 (fee-free, no minimun, online banking) and designated account Round the World (RTW). I linked account to my personal checking account (easily managed through capital one app) and set savings on autopilot! Every 1st and 15th of the month, $500 was autodraft into RTW account.  If I had extra money at the end of the month,  it went to savings account. For example, if I had an extra $100 at the end of month, $600 would be transferred on the 1st. After 15 months,  20,000 saved!  

See ya in Paris!


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