JOIN OUR FREE COMMUNITY: Resource for creative thinkers, action takers and dream makers!


Amber's 2018 Reading List

One fun factoid about my hubster is his amazing ability to spit out truth bombs when you least expect it (or want to hear it!).  I bring this up because we were talking about our 2018 goals, one of which is to read more books.  Insert his truth bomb:


Love, if you want to serve others, you need to stay up on your material.  Consider reading a new book every few weeks to staying in the 'know'.  

- Hubster


{ boom }  

Right!?!  Yet he is spot on!  However, with all the items on my "Ta Da" list already, WHEN am I suppose to find time to read?  Then it hit me:  if it's important to me, I will find the time. 

Finding time = giving up on my Netflix series binge watching (most nights). 


But what TYPE of books did I want to read... business strategy? spiritual? personal development? chick lit?  documentaries?  nutritional books? cookbooks? 

I figured let's simplify things a wee bit and narrow...



fun factoid about rosemary... Shakespeare wrote something about it in Hamlet a few hundred years back.  something like, Rosemary it helps with remembrance.   (obviously, completely paraphrasing that little nugget for you).  but how cool, right?   

anywho.  we planted this little bugger in our herb garden two years ago... and has been thriving.  one of the most fascinating things about rosemary (to me, anyways) is where it thrives.  

rosemary is a plant which grows in damp climates which tend to have cooler temps... um, we live in the hot state of Texas.  so how this little guy is thriving in our garden is astounding.  but, here's the fascinating part. 

this plant aids in healing illnesses which are associated with cool and damp environments.   

*** and as my dear sweet aunt reminded me, this herb's history originates from the Mediterranean region... which is not cool or damp.  so.  I'll just...

Bananas Are So Versatile From Pancakes To Heel Salve


Bananas are a weird fruit to me... you can mash it up to make pancakes.  Freeze it to make smoothies. Blend with a few ingredients and get non-dairy version of "ice cream".  Carry it in a tote for a quick snack (without it getting mushy or ruined).  

It's so versatile.  

And, of course, the hubster dislikes the texture of bananas.  

{ face palm } 

Good news for me, though.  Our twins LOVE bananas and will actually eat a banana while mama is making a meal.  For instance, last night, I was whipping up dinner.   The little miss comes into the kitchen asking, "Mama, can I have a nana?"  

Before I could answer, the hubster says "Honey, mama is working hard on dinner.  Let's wait to eat then, Okay?"  (Sweet, right? But not the response I was hoping for from him.)

Dumbfounded.  I stare at this man who is looking at me like he solved the world's greatest problem.  

"What?" he asked.  "Well, you...

Pumpkins: From Body Scrub to Pancakes

Here's a few things you should know about me... things that I love: 

  • Autumn.

  • Everything having to do with autumn. Period.

When you think about autumn (or the fall), if you are like me, your mind goes to... football games, local parish fairs (I'm from Louisiana, we have parishes, not counties), cool temperatures which let you stay outside later and not swat at mosquitoes, bonfires with roasted marshmallows, flannel shirts with your favorite pair of boots... and pumpkins.  

How can you NOT like fall, right?  Plus... my birthday is in the fall, just sayin'.  That's awesome.  

With fall peeping around the corner, I busted out with my FIRST pumpkin spice latte at the "Bucks of the Star" coffee shop while heading to work.  (sometimes, vet life calls for coffee).  

Wow.  I am sharing ALOT about myself in this blog... I'm a Louisiana girl.  Autumn birthday.  Veterinarian.  

{ BOOM }  

But enough about me... let's get...

Matcha Green Tea

Matcha Green Tea came into my life about 3 years ago... I was browsing along in the nearby mall when I stumbled into a tea shop.  The saleslady asked if I'd like to take a sample of the "tea du jour".   um, yep.  I pretty much don't turn down samples :)  

for the next few minutes I watched in awe as she poured and whisked the green tea powder into a frothy mixture.  when she handed me the sample, I thought I was in love... until I sampled it- literally, tasted like I licked a lawnmower.  I gagged.  I retched.  it was awful... thinking I was not a novice tea drinker, she apologized and sweetened the tea with a wee bit of honey.  

now we were talking... I loved it (with a bit of sweetness). and as she explained all the benefits of matcha green tea... I fell more in love and purchased on the spot.  the saleslady was good... but so were all the goodness in matcha green tea.  check it: 

How to select Matcha Green Tea? 

  • ...



this little powerhouses of sunshine seriously make my day.  I love the fact the scent reminds me of summer and the amazing properties they hold.  plus, they are so versatile.  we drink fresh lemon juice... shave lemon rind into baked goods... add drops of lemon essential oils into cleaning products... and even use lemons for beauty products (like our sugar lemon scrub).  AMAZE-BALLS!  

my love affair with lemons began about 3 years ago, when I actually WON a lemon tree at an Arbor Day festival... YES.  I WON A TREE!!!  I literally have won TWO things in my life... 1) a lemon tree  2) an old-smokey BBQ pit 

*I won the Old Smokey in a raffle at a High School Conference*  

anywho. let's dive a wee bit deeper into the lands of lemons. 

How to select the right one? 

  • Always opt for the vibrant, yellow one with a little shine. It should be a wee bit heavy and semi-soft.

  • We avoid the hard, dull and wrinkled ones....

Adding Healthy Fats to Our Plates: Avocado


it was not love at first sight with these little green powerhouses... (gasp of horror).  but truthfully, it wasn't.  growing up, I wasn't a fan of avocados or even guacamole.  more of a chips and salsa kinda girl.  

yet. somehow along the way, I realized all the amazing benefits of avocados... and started to incorporate them on my plate... in my smoothies... and even in my beauty routine!  


so. let's dive a wee bit deeper and learn more about these amazing fruits! 

How to select the right avocado? 
This is something that seems to trip people UP on... and here are a few tips I have learned along my way! 

  • ripe avocados will be slightly soft when you press on them

  • ripe avocados will be dark in color

  • firm avocados will ripen in a couple of days

  • you want to avoid ones that are cracked or have sunken spots

  • you also want to avoid ones that are dull in color

How to store your avocado? 
Here's the...


almost two years ago, we started using coconut oil in the Gillies’ household and I’m not a HUGE fan of coconuts.  so this was a HARD step for me. * honesty alert *  

but when you hear that coconut water is known as Mother Nature’s sports drink you try to deep your toes into liking coconuts.   and as we dove into the world of coconuts… I fell in love! 

yet recently, it’s been getting a bad rap and I have no idea why.  

do I think it’s the bees knees… yes.  

do I think coconut oil can cure anything and everything… um, no.  

and no.  I don’t apply it to everything like the dad in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” does with Windex.  Well… maybe I do a wee bit.  

but here’s the thing… coconuts are freaking amazing!!!  loaded with antioxidants, fatty acids and known to have anti-inflammatory properties.  we use the coconut “meat” in our...

Comfort Zones + Sahara Desert

this picture below brings a certain memory to my mind... 

I remember sitting in Large Animal Medicine lecture class while a classmate was talking about running a race- an ultra marathon to be exact across the Sahara desert. 

she mentioned the end of the race would have you running the last 5 (out of 150) miles right in front of the pyramids. 

everybody was ohh'ing and ahh'ing with a few people telling her she was nuts... that's when I said those words, you know the ones... the words that make you cringe yet excited at the same time... the words that in the future you curse yourself for saying out loud... 

I simply stated "I'll do it". 

I didn't have ANY marathon training let alone ultra-marathon training... 

I was basically weak and pasty from being in vet school and studying 24/7 so my body composition was basically a skeleton (to me anyway) since I was living off of rockstar energy drinks and fireball candies... 

(yep, not the healthiest point...

The word: Transformation

when you hear the word, transformation... a few people think about a weight loss journey. some think about a mindset shift.

for me... I think of a butterfly emerging from a cocoon - battle scars, memories of the obstacles overcome and a beautiful new beginning.

and when I think of my OWN transformation. my own journey. it's literally a hot mess. literally. and I am in love with it.

it's not just about the POUNDS lost, but about the strength GAINED.
it's about the mental toughness and the relationship with God that became stronger. 
it's about the PEOPLE who rallied with me and those who picked me up, lent me support, provided me with a roof over my head or a kind word in the darkness. 
it's about the knowledge learned...

and most importantly, the truth I have found about myself.


for instance. 
I've overcome eating disorders... strict caloric restrictions. 
I've been a size 16 and a size 2.
I've been able to lift 100lbs and not even lift myself out of...


Join the Wait List