Mondayitis

MondayChrsitmas

You totes thought I had forgotten about being a moaning b**ch every Monday right? Well no, unfortunately the taste of halitosis combined with double shot espresso greeting me across my daily catch up of Perez Hilton (.com) is still, somehow, so much worse on this particular day of the week. So, instead of being a normal human and just instagraming a hilarious (or not) quote about how much I miss the weekend, I will write an exceptionally long posts about how much better my life would be if I had [insert materialistic item of awesomeness here]. Oh, and I also do the Instagram thing too. Duh.

This Monday my list is pretty long. Considering I’m professionally trained and paid to be an “editor”, when it comes to culling down the list of things I want right now I would be better labeled a “inability to prioritise-r” or maybe even “demanding”. (Who me?! Never). It goes a little something like this…

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A Normal Right Leg. Can someone please fix my knee? Seriously. Not only does it hurt like hell when I both bend AND straighten it, it has rendered me unable to do exercise (but, oddly, not unable to eat large quantities), but MOST importantly, it has swollen up to the point that I can’t fit in my new pineapple skinny jeans. So I need that to not be happening.

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A Wallet. More specifically, this wallet. Preferably with large wads of cash in it. The truth is, three weeks down and my coin purse (that was oh-so sweet and handy through out Asia) is now stuffed with one and two pence pieces (grumble, grumble, pointless ruddy coins, grumble), half filled coffee cards from Pret, and receipts (that I’m attempting to keep so I can start budgeting – ha). This bright, happy-making number has space for all those cards, a coin compartment, it opens out to fit all my pesky receipts (and large wads of cash), whilst being bright enough to spot in the bottom of your bag AND small enough to pop in your fave clutch when you head out for a drink. It’s totally more of a necessity than a want. Totally. (Stop rolling your eyes mum.)

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All Ruby Everything. I always talk about my love for this incredible kiwi brand, Ruby. It must be so boring for you. Because I actually have a super international readership (hey all you lovelies from all over the world) and you know what? It’s hella expensive to get Ruby shipped to anywhere but NZ. I know because I’ve looked. I’ve looked, I’ve weighed up the options, and I’ve decided its worth it. (Then I put down my wine glass and went to bed). No, but in all seriousness I miss this brand a lot; the quality is great, it fits me perfectly, I love the current collection and I seriously love the next collection. I’m pretty bloody upset that I no longer live nearby. Can someone please send me this? Oh and this? Maybe these too? Hell, just one of everything. (Told you I was grand and this “editing” business).

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The Petite Kitchen Cookbook by Eleanor Ozich. This girl is incredible. She’s a blogger who turned to wholefoods and general clean eating to help her daughter (who suffers from Gut and Psychology Syndrome, read her story here). She also went to my high school and I still get this weird how-can-someone-who-sat-opposite-me-in-maths-be-doing-so-freaking-well-at-life feeling every time I look at one of her recipes. Eleanor is one of the original inspirations behind the way I (try) and eat and I think her recipes are wonderfully simple, easy to achieve and always scrumptious. When the boy and I score a cute little London pad (cough, cough), the first thing heading to my kitchen will be this book. (Well, actually it will probably be boring crap like knives and forks… but you know… this is a close second).

I will stop now, even though I could go on forever. I’m starting to feel like I’m writing a letter to Father Christmas, and if I go any further with this fantasy I might start expecting things under the tree.

I’m pretty sure I’ve been a good girl this year Saint Nicholas, so please cure my Monday morning blues and…. give me all of the cool stuffs. Ta.

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Icy mornings, bung knees and strokes. Lots of strokes.

Running

I once heard someone say “as long as you actually get moving, it doesn’t matter what you wear. Exercise, and all its benefits, can be achieved as long as you just go and do it”.

Well kids, that person was a big ol’ liar. For the last two weeks (since arriving in the UK) I’ve been trying (important word that, trying) to get back to my previous fitness level. With another half marathon to work towards, I’ve been strapping on trainers and heading out into the FREEZING London streets as many mornings as I can muster the courage (not many).

I’m pretty sure it’s the eight weeks of doing very little and the sharp change in temperature from my normal training that’s contributing to my… well.. diabolical running ability. But I also think that it’s because I’m in all the wrong gear.

You’ve heard me harp on about my love affair with Skechers. The GoRun is just a perfect match for me (and probably you too – seriously, give it a go). You can read my in-depth reviews/love letters here and here (I’m smitten). Unfortunately, with the boy watching over (aka lording over) my packing for our South East Asian adventures, they didn’t make the cut. A 10 year old, overused and muddy pair of Nikes did. With the convincing reasoning behind the boy removing my fave trainers from my pack being that “I wouldn’t mind if the others got lost/dirty”. All through our intrepid journey, the boy was right. But now I am here, and my runners aren’t, I’m in huge distress.

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Two weeks of shockingly mediocre runs with bad shoes (featuring none of the right support), and my knee has actually given in, I’ve strained my ITB (google it, its far too boring for me to explain here) and I am now BED RIDDEN*.

Luckily, my one true loves are slowly making their way to me via a shipping container full of other stuff that we deemed important enough to send to the other side of the world. I imagine (upon arrival) I will probably look at the painstakingly selected items in disgust, questioning why on earth I chose to spend actual money, time and energy sending it… all except my beautiful Skechers. I will caress them. Cuddle them. Love them. And yes, I will prob even give them a little stroke. (Stop judging me).

I’m pretty sure, once reunited with my GoRuns, I will be able to whiz through my training. Right? Yeah. Its definitely the shoes and not my lazy butt. For sure.

Gulp.

*Okay, so I’m not ACTUALLY bed ridden. But walking is tough, going up stairs is tougher and if I want to get any sympathy (and maybe breakfast in bed) from the boy I have to say things like “bed ridden”. Ok? Cool. Glad we’re on the same page.

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Life lessons, Brazilian business men and all the clothes (at once).

Foods

So its been a while. Like a really long while. And I kind of feel like a kid who’s dog ate their homework (because that totes really happens), full of excuses, a little bit of regret and a tone of catching up.

I have successfully landed in the world of Percy Pigs, endless cups of tea and stupidly cold temperatures (aka London), but for the last few weeks India has been my home. Although rich with colourful saris, motorbikes and cows (oh so many cows), what it lacks is wifi. Like seriously India, how’s a girl meant to blog? More importantly, how’s a girl meant to check her Facebook?! After my www-detox I’m back, and excited to start my post-adventure adventure along side some old friends (hey guys), and to share all that deep and meaningful crap I’ve picked up along my way around the world. (Think Eat Pray Love minus the Brazilian businessman).

So, lets start with the biggest lesson I learnt while traveling. Drumroll please…

I am happiest, and my body feels, looks and acts its best when I fuel it with clean, lean and fresh things.

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Do you feel let down? Like almost a year into writing health blog I should probably have figured this out already? Yeah, me too. But then again, putting the opposite of this personal mantra into action over the last 57 days proved to underline, highlight and completely scream its importance. The ramifications of taking even the smallest of health related back tracks completely shocked me. Even more shocking however, is the thought that there are people (and heaps of them) who live everyday feeling as tired, deflated, down and uncomfortable as I did – and it’s their choice. There is nothing like a hike around the world to make you reevaluate personal priorities and remind yourself of what really matters (to you). To me, it is health and healing myself through food.

Food was a huge part of our adventure. It was often the sole reason for stopping places (armed with scrappy handwritten lists of famous dishes). I attempted to eat healthy, to stick to my paleo ways, but so often that little voice in my head would mutter “oh but you’re on holiday”, or “how often will you be in Cambodia?” etc.

Damn that voice. Because I got sick.

Like hospital-visits-in-the-middle-of-the-night-trying-to-sign-language-symptoms-to-a-Vietnamese-doctor sick.

To put it simply, I learnt that no amount of special occasions, tasty sounding food or even ‘once in a lifetime’ trips are worth risking my health. And further more, that what I put into my body is the key to feeling great, and you won’t enjoy said occasions, food or trips if you don’t feel great.

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After two months of clogging up my delicate (and kinda temperamental) body with rich creamy curries, oodles of noodles and spice filled delicacies (can we say “bloated”), I’m seeing this next phase in my life as a chance to cleanse. To fill my life (and my stomach) with the right choices and get back to the energy levels, clear skin and healthy, happy feeling that I was striving for in New Zealand.

How many times do you (even when you’re not on holiday) head for a treat? Excuse bad health with the pre tense of a one off event? Well, from now on, for me, I have decided it isn’t worth it (and hopefully I can inspire you to do the same). Friday night? Well, I will think a little harder about Saturday morning. Going out for dinner? I’m yet to find a spot that doesn’t either have some scrummy veggies on the menu, or isn’t willing to swap things around to add some. Craving a treat? Load up with some toasted cashews (straight from the oven of course). Lets take this seasonal, whole food journey together. Lets explore recipes and celebrate ingredients together. Lets whinge about how hard it all is whilst looking smugly at those chowing down on Maccas… (you guessed it)… together. You and me baby – I can’t wait.

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But first things first, I’ve just arrived at my grans semi-detached cottage (down a leafy London lane – bliss) and I’m having myself a cup of green tea and a ruddy salad.

Oh, and putting on a jumper. And a pair of socks. And coat. Scarf. Gloves. Yes, I am indoors.

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The month that was.

April

April was a blur of fantastic sights, exotic food and complete exhaustion. For the last 57 days, I have traveled across 20 destinations and through 7 counties. All while snapping up a storm (and not finding much wifi…argh). Now it is back to reality, back to primal living and back to you guys (yay).

Follow me on Instagram here for what has been a hub of adventure selfless, and what will continue to be full of food, fashion and (maybe) some fitness.

The month that was.

March

March has zipped by and I’m still not quite sure how I fitted everything in. Six different cities, eight modes of transport, one family reunion and (as always) way too much food. Follow me on Instagram here for what will continue to be a sneak peak of my adventures around Asia and India. With lots of food. Like lots.

Pimple cures, ego deflating and my (new) bestie.

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You know that phrase, the one featured in like every sappy 90s love song (or any love song at all for that matter), the one about not knowing what you’ve got… ‘Till it’s gone? Well I’m suffering from that a little right now. To friends and family back home – you can stop that head of yours getting any bigger, because I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about lemons.

Yup. Do you know how hard it is to hunt down a damn lemon in Asia? I don’t know if I’m looking in all the wrong places (and yes, I looked in fruit shops, supermarkets and even asked at restaurants), but I could barely find any. This doesn’t sound like much of a drama right? Well, I guess it’s not on the scale of life events (weddings, children and lemon draughts will probably make my obituary), but it has made me realise that lemons are one bloody brilliant fruit.

For the last 12 months in NZ I’ve been consistently guzzling a glass of water with the juice from half a lemon and a tablespoon of Apple cider vinegar every morning (except a few hungover occasions that we won’t talk about). To be honest, I didn’t really understand the good it was doing me. I just kind of did it, because (like any good blogger) I read somewhere online that it’s super duper for all things digestive and helps out your skin too. (And yes, if the internet told me to jump off a bridge, I probably would do that as well).

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As much as I wanted to squeeze 9 weeks worth of lemons and ACV into my luggage, the boy had already been lenient with my packing quoter (he double checked the necessity of each item in my bag and even let me keep the third pair of shoes), so I decided to test my life – lemon free. Well, you know what? My life is oh-so much better with a little acid in the morning.

Even just a few days in from my morning ritual hiatus, I notices more spots. A week in and my skin tone was hella blotchy, and food was aching my tummy (this could also be because I’m traveling south East Asia… Or, you know, lemons are magic). Three weeks in and I’m reminded of my sixteen year old self, and not in a good way (in a hormones expressing themselves through my pores sort of way).

As well as doing wonders for your skin, lemons claim to boost your immune system (with all that tasty vitamin C), balance out your PH levels (aiding healthy digestion and knocking out toxins) and even reduce inflammation in joints!

So, when I stumble upon these citrus fruits on my journeys around the orient, Im buying as many as I think will stay good, and strapping them to the side of my already overflowing pack. I’ve even started using the juice directly on a pimple to clear it up quick (when I’m done drinking it obviously).

To all you people who are spending up large on fancy name skincare brands that promise to rid you of acne for life, save a buck or two and go to your local grocers* to pick up some lemons. Maybe some apple cider vinegar too – but that’s a love story for a different day.

*unless your in Asia, then good luck to ya!

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Wet therapy, tiny spaces and the worlds least active human.

Workout

My family and friends are still in disbelief that I actually write a blog with an element of exercise to it. I’ve gone from being the worlds least active human (when I was a teenager) to being addicted to running, boot camps, bikram and anything else that likely to make me sweaty (get your mind out of the gutter). I completely love it all. Exercise not only plays a role in my physical wellbeing, but a huge role in my mental wellbeing. It’s like therapy (wet therapy). So, traveling around, going from backpackers to small hotel rooms, has left me without my usual variety of incredible running and workout back drops! But I would never let that stop me – no, no, no.

I created myself a series of ‘small place friendly’ workouts before I headed off. So, if you find yourself in a tight spot – here are a couple of workouts to help you keep moving.

Indoor Cardio Booster

Cardio can be one of the hardest things to tackle in a small space. When there isn’t a gym full of treadmills or a vast open space to run around, people tend to just skip the heart rate rising cardio set. But you don’t have to! Try this workout… the key is to do each round as fast as you can and only rest when indicated. If you are competitive (like me) time yourself and try and beat yourself each round.

  • 10 x burpees
  • 10 x star jumps
  • 10 x mountain climbers
  • 10 x high jumps

30 SECOND REST

  • 25 x burpees
  • 25 x star jumps
  • 25 x mountain climbers
  • 25 x high jumps

30 SECOND REST

(Repeat both sets again, then follow with a nice stretch out.)

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Body Weight Strength Session: 10 to 1

Mix up that awesome cardio set with some strength training on alternate days. Don’t worry, no dumbbells needed… just you and your body. This one is super easy to change up depending on what you want to do. Fancy a full on leg day? Why not do squat jumps and lunges or kick backs and side raisers. Abs need a workout? Give v-sits and leg lowers a trial. Play around with it and have fun (very sweaty painful fun).

  • 10 squats – 1 push up
  • 9 squats – 2 push ups
  • 8 squats – 3 push ups
  • 7 squats – 4 push ups
  • 6 squats – 5 push ups
  • 5 squats – 6 push ups
  • 4 squats – 7 push ups
  • 3 squats – 8 push ups
  • 2 squats – 9 push ups
  • 1 squat – 10 push ups

To add an element of cardio, inbetween each set either sprint the length of your hotel room (if its long-ish) or do 10 x star jumps.

(Finish up with a nice stretch out.)

Top Travel Tip: One thing I made sure I found a wee bit of space for in my pack was a skipping rope. It’s not huge, it packs up small and its a great one for getting that heart rate up! Either break up one of the above work outs with 20 second skipping bursts or just go hard out for as long as you can – just you and your jump rope.

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Goodbyes, celebrations and the tart that has it all.

Tart

The other week the boy and I had a party to celebrate our impending departure. We filled our house with beautiful fresh flowers, picked up some incredible cheeses (the most important guest at any good party) and had bubbles all round. It was a beautiful night with beautiful friends.

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You know what else was beautiful? These super cute mini “cream tarts” I made. They were paleo (duh), raw, sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free orange and rosewater tarts – who knew one tart could be so many things!

Recipe makes 12 mini tarts

Ingredients

Almond Case

  • 1 cup mejdool dates
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup almonds

Cream Filling

  • ⅔ cup cashews (soaked overnight)
  • ¼ almond milk
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tsp rice malt syrup
  • ¼ tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 tsp rose water essence

Instructions

Get started on the nutty casing first by adding all of the ingredients into a blender and processing until roughly combined and sticky. I like mine to be fairly chunky and “rustic” (aka lazy), but finer is just as good.

Once you’re done with the base, line a mini muffin tray with glad wrap and split your sticky mixture into 12. Push your 12 pieces down into the individual muffin moulds until a tart case is formed. (You could also opt for larger muffins and this recipe would make 6.)

Then pop your cases into the freezer to set, whilst you get on with the cream.

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For the orange and rosewater filling, put the soaked cashews into the blender and process for a few minutes. With the processor still running, add the juice of an orange, almond milk, rice malt, rosewater and vanilla. Keep all this yummy-goodness blending away until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy.

Once you have the desired consistency for your cream, pull the tart cases out of the freezer and fill each tart to the top (with the cream). Then put these into the freezer for a few hours to set. Your tarts can be kept in the freezer until serving (let them defrost for 10 minutes or so for cream to soften).

We popped some raspberries on ours, but anything you fancy could go on top. Seasonal fruit? Hell yeah! Toasted nuts? Yum! Cacao nibs? Why not! All of the above? Even better!

Enjoy.

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Breakfast picks (caveman style).

PaleoBreakfast

One of the biggest things to change when I went paleo was my breakfast routine. Mostly, however, because I didn’t really have a routine to start with.

Breakfast hasn’t ever been a thing in my parents house (mentally slaps mothers wrist). They are definitely a pair of (dare I say ‘overworked’) individuals who’s morning routine almost always revolves around coffee. Despite growing up around this, mum has always tried to encourage me o stuff something quick in my face before the day begins. I used to flick between oats, toast or All Bran (which should be more aptly named cardboard). These options are actually some of the healthiest out there, but still down’t sit well with a paleo diet (or my recently diagnosed gluten intolerance).

Once paleo hit in, I realised there was no point in attempting to find anything for breakfast actually in the breakfast food aisle at the supermarket. I don’t care what healthy looking branding they are wrapped it in – every single item on those shelves is loaded with artificial crap and mountains of sugar. It is probably the worst place in the grocery store for processed food (ok, ok, maybe the chocolate/lollies aisle, but this is a damn close second).

Over my recent food journey I’ve tried my hand at many different wake up calls to get me bounding out the door (and looking like Miranda). I have noticed that, with a bit of thought and prep, breakfast has easily become my favourite meal.

So, here are my top 5 hits at the caveman breakfast table.

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Chia Pudding By far the easiest (although needing a little forethought) a chia pudding is a great option for those with a quick schedule. Simply pop it in the fridge the night before and bam – a tasty break is waiting for you in the morning. Above is a super simple vanilla chia pudding with a banana sliced on top.

How to make it…

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1 tsp rice malt syrup (or your preferred sweetener)
  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut
  • Banana to serve

Chuck all the above (except the banana) into a jar or airtight container and give it a little mix through to make sure the milk is covering all the seeds, then pop it in the fridge overnight or at least for a couple of hour until the seeds have absorbed the liquid. When you’re ready to enjoy, slice the banana on top and voila! 

Any other fruit or spices work too. In winter I quite like pairing mine with stewed apple and cinnamon – yum!

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Poached Egg Slightly more complex (unless, like me, you have an amazing boyfriend who has mastered the poaching art) a poached egg is a classic but a great paleo option. Here I have paired it with asparagus and an avocado and salmon stack.

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Paleo Muesli See my muesli recipe here for a great on the go, chuck-in-a-bowl-and-chow-down-on-some-goodness meal. I always make mine in huge batches and store in an airtight container. Serve with a small handful of berries and some almond milk for a filling breakfast.

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Spanish Eggs Great to warm up a winters morning, this one looks complicated but actually isn’t.

How to make it…

  • 3 Eggs (use however many you want, this recipe is for me and the boy so has 3)
  • 250g canned tomato
  • 1/2 and onion (sliced)
  • Fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (for frying)
  • 1 tsp paprika (or spice of your choice)

Pre heat your oven to 120C. Fry the onions with the coconut oil in an oven proof pan. Once softened add the tomatoes and paprika – stir well. Once this has warmed through, remove from the heat, take a spoon and (in the tomato sauce) create three small wells. Crack open an egg in each and pop the whole thing in the oven for about 10 minutes (depending on how well you like your eggs done). Once out of the oven, sprinkle with parsley and season to taste. 

Often the boy and I add churizo too, but only if we can find a great quality one with no added sugar.

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Sweet Potato Hash This is my go to breaky before a big workout. When I was training for the half marathon I would chow down on this baby every Sunday to keep me going through a 15k run. To create the hash simply grate as much sweet potato you desire and remove the moisture (I put mine between two paper towns al squash like hell). Then form into patties, sprinkle with salt and pop in the oven (on 180C) until they start to brown. You can top these with anything your heart desires (except not non-paleo desires because that would defeat the purpose of attempting a paleo breakfast). Here I’ve gone for a good old poached egg, salmon and peas.

Other honourable morning mentions include a simple seasonal fruit salad with some toasted nuts/seeds and scrambled eggs (paired with avocado, tomato and fresh herbs).

Being a bit of a foodie, I like to spend hours trawling the internet for great new recipes, but I always come back to these guys because they just taste so damn good. And coffee. I always come back to coffee.

Why are you still reading? Go eat!

One foot in front of another (then an arm, elbow and thigh), aka serious running fail.

RunningFail

Running and I haven’t been the best of friends this last few weeks. 

A month or so ago I started following fit_trio on Instagram. I’m pretty sure the boy thinks I’m having a full blown affair with this woman abs. I mean have you seen them? They are better than Ryan Gosling’s face. (Yeah, I said it.) After asking the fit-spiration account how exactly she got the way she did… among other things it turns out she runs… a lot (think everyday for like an hour). Now, I don’t have time for stuff like that. BUT, in a effort to get my mid section more like the above and less like I had too much lunch (even though I probably did), I decided to commit to between 20-30 minutes of running every other day. It seemed reasonable, and when I was training for the half I was doing way more than that.

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Mostly I’ve stuck to it (read: mostly). Unfortunately running and me don’t seem to be the friends we used to be. Between bouts of sunstroke, sun burn (damn sun), dehydration and near misses with cars, no pavement pound has been easy (or particularly fun). Then, as the cherry on top of my paleo ice cream, on Saturday I had an epic fall. Think (literally) somersaulting down a main street. It left me with huge (super attractive) bruising and grazes down my entire left side. I may have to crack out the Thin Lizzy for my upcoming leaving do.

Basically it’s being really hard to get out the door. Each day, if the hot and muggy weather doesn’t hold me back, the fear of tripping over my own feet does. So blogosphere, I put this out to you – how the hell do you muster motivation? Because I need me some.

Like right now.

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