I'm Annie. And I haven't always cared about the planet.
I grew up in a normal family. We recycled and tried not to litter, but we also ate McDonald's and sometimes forgot to turn off the water when we brushed our teeth. I grew up like most people my age. Normal.
We had a few pets growing up, but I wasn't a huge animal person. In college, I went to Buffalo Wild Wings so much that the waitress knew me by name. Until one day...
I got a dog. She changed my world (now I understand you crazy dog people!). In 2014, my boyfriend (now husband) bought me a Time Magazine called "The Animal Mind" because it had a cute dog on the front. I read it. There was a section on factory farms. I had some questions. So I Googled "What is factory farming?" And that's the day my life changed.
The images I saw online will never be erased from my head. I was in complete shock. How had no one told me where my food was REALLY coming from? I watched all the documentaries. I read all the books. I turned to social media to find vegetarians who could show me what I should eat because meat was no longer going to be apart of my diet. I just couldn't stomach it anymore.
It turns out most vegetarians on YouTube and Instagram are also vegan. In turn, I learned the truth behind the dairy and egg industries, as well. I gave it up for good in 2015.
Over time, I began to find out more and more about how animals are exploited in the entertainment, cosmetic and fashion industries. I started to rid my life of any products that came from an animal because I just couldn't bear to know that an animal suffered because of ME.
Eventually, and unfortunately, the shock of these images wore off and I was tempted to eat meat again. So I looked to the other benefits of a vegan lifestyle. I was already feeling better, health-wise, but I began to learn of the effects of our waste, our plastic, our pollution on the animals, and the planet. So off I went on my own journey to reduce the waste in my life.
Starting this journey of compassion for the animals has led me to a place where I want to lead a compassionate life for the planet and other people as well. I now try to live my life in the most ethical, compassionate way I know.
While I wish I was a total hippie that just sat around all day, making her own soap from scratch and living in VW bus, that isn't my life. I'm a busy, professional- probably just like you- and I don't have all the time in the world. So I'm on a journey to live life in a simple, compassionate way. I hope you'll join me!
If you don’t understand what “Morning After Back To School Night exhaustion” is.... you probably aren’t a teacher. 😴😴😴
DAY5️⃣0️⃣✅💪🏼🎉 + A GIVEAWAY
•••• I literally cannot believe I have made it HALFWAY through this 100 day bootcamp! 😬 I have worked out before the sun is up. I have worked out after teaching all day. I have worked out in Ireland on vacation. I have worked out when I was sick. I have worked out when I screwed up and had Chick-Fil-A instead of my meal prepped dinner. I have worked out WITHOUT ANY EXCUSE. Literally ZERO excuses. I have shown up for 50 days. I have not missed ONE DAY of working out. •••Not only am I down in weight, more toned, stronger and feeling happier when I look in the mirror, but I have a SOLID morning routine down, which is now my favorite part of the day. I am now an early bird and refuse to start hustling until I take care of myself. I am learning how self-care is something intentional and you will never accidentally stumble upon self-care. You HAVE TO MAKE IT HAPPEN. ••• I feel so blessed to have a body to move. I feel so in love with body because it has carried me for 50 days and it hasn’t let me down once. ••• To celebrate, I am doing a GIVEAWAY! I want to give one of you my morning routine. I am giving away: a Starbucks/Dunkin’ gift card, some of that amazing pre-workout I use, one of those yummy superfood shakes I have for breakfast, a workout from my bootcamp and a personal development book I love and a special personalized surprise! 💕
•••Soooo, here’s the rules
•You must be following me, duh 🤷🏻♀️ •You must tag a friend in the comments •The more friends, the more entries •I will randomly choose a winner on Wednesday at 6 PM EST. •Open to US residents only
YOU ARE SOMEBODY’S VILLAIN ••• I don’t know who, I don’t know why, but someone, somewhere DOESN’T LIKE YOU. Maybe you did something awful that you regret, maybe there was a misunderstanding, maybe you looked at them the wrong way, but either way, you are the bad guy in their narrative. You’re probably thinking of their name right now, or maybe you have no idea that they think this about you. •••
At the end of the day, there’s two truths you have to remember: ONE. You don’t get to write the narrative for someone else. You don’t get to change their story. You don’t get to slip on their skin and see things from their perspective. You may never know why you hurt them so bad, but it isn’t your fault to argue or hold a grudge or slander them. It isn’t your story, even if you are a main character in it. •••
TWO. It. Does. Not. Matter. Let them hate you. Let them talk about you. Let them drag your name through the mud. Let them think what they want. Let them be bitter and unforgiving and holding onto the darkness. You can’t control them. But they also can’t control you. They only have as much power in your life as YOU GIVE THEM. You have the ability to walk away, with your head held high. You have the ability to say “I will not let myself grow cold or hard-hearted because of you.” You have the ability to put space and distance between yourself and their negativity. You have the ability to acknowledge that their hurt is very real in their world, but you will not allow them to treat you in a way that is disrespectful or unloving, because you are worthy of both love and respect. •••
Boundaries are a sign of love. Even Jesus had boundaries. Telling someone “No, you may not treat me this way. No, you may not behave this way around me. No, you may not say those things to me” is a way to call someone into healthier behavior. Set boundaries, wish them well and walk away. But don’t you dare stoop low. Don’t you dare let them make you bitter and jaded. Don’t you dare stop being the beautiful, kind-hearted, genuine, trusting person that you are. Because in someone else’s story....you’re the hero. Find the people that think you’re a hero and surround yourself with love. 💕
7 minute powernap on my carpet at lunch. HAPPY FRIYAY! 💕 #FeetUpFriday
THRIFTED •• so many people asked me where I got my workout outfit in this story and the truth is...all of it was thrifted. 😬 I have a DEEP love for thrifted clothing and I see nothing wrong with pre-loved clothes (especially the discount). Don’t be so scared to shop secondhand- even if it’s athletic clothes! My favorite shops are @savers_thrift @bmoregoodwill and @thredup 💕
You know when it stuck for me? When I went from being IN to being ALL IN? When I went from “yeah, I’m doing this” to “I AM FRIGGIN CRUSHING THIS”? •
Yeah, it was in Ireland. It was when I had spent thousands of dollars on our dream trip. It was when I had the whole world outside my window to be explored. It was when I was jet lagged out of my MIND. It was when I didn’t have weights and had to use water bottles. It’s when I wasn’t able to meal prep anything and was living on the road for 2 weeks. •
THAT was when I went from being in to being ALL IN. Showing up for myself when I had EVERY EXCUSE NOT TO....yeah, that’s when I really committed. Sure, I was pretty sure I was committed on Day 1 but man, there is nothing like having every excuse running through your head- I don’t have enough time, I’m on vacation, work is crazy, money is tight, my kids don’t nap, I’m too out of shape, I don’t feel good, I’m too tired, I’m too overwhelmed- and telling them to SHUT UP AND GO AWAY cause you are doing the dang thing. ✨💪🏼 What excuse do you need to let go of today?
AM I BEHIND? ••• I often wonder that. I was one of the first friends out of the group to get married, yet I still relate so much to single girls who feel like they’ll never find anyone, cause that was me for yearsssss. Now that I’m married and settled, I see everyone around me, having babies, progressing in their careers, going to grad school, finding their things. And I’m just like “yeahhhhh, that’s not me” I don’t get all warm and fuzzy over babies. I don’t daydream of the day I’m pregnant. I don’t have ambitions for grad school or climbing the ladder. I don’t have a “thing” that I can claim my own. I feel like the only grown up thing I do is pay taxes and make sure I schedule a dentist appointment on time. And sometimes, that can feel really isolating. Sometimes, I look around and see everyone finding their thing- whether it’s pregnancy, motherhood, grad school, career advancements, moving away, starting businesses- and I think “hey, guys! What’s the rush?! Why am I left behind, feeling irresponsible and a little lost?” I don’t want babies. I don’t want a Masters. I’m just not that girl. I don’t really know what I want, so until I figure it out, I’ll remind myself that I am not falling behind or running late. And neither are you. 💕
SURPRISE! 🎉3️⃣0️⃣•• Thank you to everyone who showed up to surprise Brandon on his 30th birthday. We didn’t get nearly enough pictures of all the amazing people that showed up, but just know that you being there meant SO MUCH to both of us. Brandon is such an amazing person with a huge heart of gold and so much love for other people. He is fun, funny, and will be the first person up to bat for you. He will be the person that wakes up at 3 AM to pick you up from the airport, or change your tire on the side of the road. He love his people and yesterday, he was shown how much his people love him back. THANK YOU! 💕🎉 Love you, Donnie!
NO BEGINNING IS TOO HUMBLE ••• I read earlier this week how Moses, a giant of faith, was abandoned in a basket as a child. And he went on to live in a palace and do amazing things for God. ••• These are my basket days, too. These are my holes-in-the-walls, electric-is-not-hooked-up, stepping-over-power-tools, uneven-paint-jobs days. These are my plastic-chairs-in-the-yard, sitting-on-the-floor-cause- we-don’t-have-a-big-enough-sofa, sorry-our-house-is-ghetto, I’m-sick-of-a-torn-apart-house days. These are my humble beginnings, left-in-a-basket days. But I see something greater. I see friends gathered around a bonfire, years down the road, laughing and looking at how far we’ve come. I see a dinner table, full of food and surrounded by people of all walks of life. I see foster babies running in the yard. I see a home where everyone knows they are welcome. I see a guest room, where you can stay at the drop of a hat. I see this house becoming a pillar in our neighborhood, providing light and friendship and love to all our neighbors. These are my basket days, but my amazing days are coming. 💕
One week down. 41 weeks to go. 😭😬 #feetupfriday #anniesteacherlife
We used to live on $2,500 a month. We lived in a crappy apartment. I drove a 1999 Totoya Corolla for four years (I now drive a 2006 Camry...💁🏻♀️ #upgrade) We had $150 for groceries a month. If it wasn’t Aldi, it wasn’t happening. We gave up our greatest passion of traveling for three years. We cut up all of our credit cards and said “screw the Southwest points”. If we weren’t paying IN CASH (like actually cash dollar bills), we weren’t buying it. We refused to use our debit card because psychology shows that you spend more when you swipe than actually use cash. We didn’t buy any new clothes for two year, unless it was a gift card. We said no to going to weddings, vacations, birthday parties, concerts, events, day trips, work events, happy hours, date nights and coffee dates for two years. We had rice and bean most nights (and actually kinda loved it). We cut up our cable. We cancelled our gym membership. We sold our sofa. I sold my clothes. I babysat and cleaned for people on the weekend. If it was an odd job, we worked it. If we didn’t need it, we sold it. Before we bought it, even gas or a pack of gum, we asked the other person first for accountability. If it wasn’t free, we probably weren’t doing it. Were we the coolest or the most fun for the past 2 years? Nope. Definitely not. Was I jealous a lot of the time? Yep. Definitely. Did we pay off $45,000 of debt in two years, save for a down payment on a house, replace a car, refuse to go into any more debt by paying for emergencies out of pocket and saved $15,000? Yes, yes we did. Just you know I AM A TEACHER. Society deems us as unimportant so I make crap money. My husband has hopped from job to job, with varying levels of income. But we aren’t rolling in the dough over here. Sometimes, all you need is a determination, hard work and self-control. We still have a long way to go but at least we took the first step. ••• Blog post is up on how I do my monthly budget! Most requested blog post EVER 😊
Missing Northern Ireland today. 💕
37 days in and coaching a bootcamp of 13 girls (plus a few husbands, fiancés + boyfriends) has been so much fun. I started this 37 days ago to get me out of a rut and I had no idea there would be a ripple affect of people wanting to better themselves. I have been so humbled and encouraged to see my friends and total strangers join this little community and workout every morning with me. We text constantly, we check in on Facebook, we swap recipes, we laugh about how intimidating our trainer’s giant biceps are. 😳 But it’s just good fun and I am just loving this journey. I amazed at how these people show up every dang day and rock it hard core. 37 days ago, it was me. By myself. And here I am surrounded by community and encouragement. A lot can change in 37 days, huh? 😊 Where will you be 37 days from now? Stuck in the same place? Or 37 days into a journey of bettering yourself, 37 days of people cheering you on and having your back, 37 days of learning how to authentically and genuinely care for your incredible body? What’s stopping you? 💁🏻♀️ #AnniesFitLife
Tomorrow marks the first day of my 4th year of teaching. May my classroom be a place where you are loved, welcomed, and challenged. May my classroom be a place where mistakes are expected and respected. May my classroom be a room of LAUGHTER, with no fear of the future. May my classroom be a place where the underdog wins, the cool kids are the kind kids and nobody gets left behind or forgotten. 4th year, LEGGGOO! 💪🏼 #AnniesTeacherLife
No matter how much we grow up, I’ll always remember us young. 💕
She LAUGHS without fear of the future ••• My Bible verse for the year was Proverbs 31:25 and my goal this year has been to take a dang chill pill and stop the anxiety and worry and LAUGH. Going back to a job where I feel completely unfulfilled has been stressful and stupid. Working full-time, while having your house torn apart while renovating, while trying to figure out what you want to do in life does not make me want to laugh. It makes me want to dig a damn hole and climb inside. While I was unpacking my new classroom this week, I pulled out this plate a student gave me years ago and I literally laughed out loud. Not so subtle, God. So, as I walk into another school year, unsure of where I’m going or what I’m doing, burnt out and unfulfilled, I’m going to laugh. Laugh with the kids, laugh with my co-workers, laugh at the stressful, stupid things that make me want to scream, laugh with the parents. Lord, make my room a room of laughter. 💕
I was a financial disaster about two years ago. No money, no financial goals, no job, no plan and A LOT of credit cards + student loan debt. The first thing I did before I even started a budget was to figure out what my financial goals were. I used to think financial goals were for old people...but then, they changed my life. My first goal was to get $1,000 in savings. Then, $3,000. Then, pay off a credit card. Then, another. My current goal is to add $2,000 more dollars into my savings and pay off 2 more student loans before the end of 2019. ••• I wrote a whole blog post about financial goals and WHY YOU NEED THEM. Click on the link in my bio and then, come back and tell me what your financial goals are! 💸
I like shiny things but I’d marry you with paper rings. 💕💍
YEAR 1️⃣ vs. YEAR 4️⃣ OF TEACHING ••• I wish I could look baby brand new teacher Annie and tell her “You’re in for a ride but stop feeling like you need to save the world. Speak up. You can be the nice teacher while being the strict teacher. You have something to give so stop being so dang timid. Stop thinking that you need to be THE TEACHER that saves these kids’ lives. Take care of yourself first before trying to pour everything out for everyone else. You won’t feel alone forever. You’ll find community that will squeeze you and not let you go. You are seen and known. Respect yourself. If it’s the right thing to do, but no one else is doing it, do it anyways. Stop being so hard on yourself. Let the lamination sit on your desk, uncut. Don’t answer a parent email at 10 PM. Be present. Love life. Treat yourself well.” Here’s to all you teachers back to school this week. Take care of yourselves. 🍾
I could sit here and say that I don’t like how my stomach looks...or I could sit and say “DANG LOOK AT MY BICEPS” 😍 It’s all about how you see yourself and flipping the script. Look for what you love, put in the work....the rest will follow. 😘