CORONAVIRUS CAR INSURANCE REFUNDS  | Is This A Real Thing? | Coronavirus | Covid-19

Coronavirus car insurance refunds? Let’s look into this together during the Coronavirus. Thanks for watching. 

Look At The Products My Family And I Are Using During The Coronavirus: 

https://www.amazon.com/shop/raphaelalaurean?listId=WKA9L9PDFTXO&ref=idea_share_inf 

USA Today Car Insurance Refund Article:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2020/04/16/coronavirus-relief-how-get-your-car-insurance-refunds/2990448001/

 

Thanks for visiting.

XO

Raphaela

Do It Yourself ‘Kind’ Protein Bars? Yes please!

Homemade protein bars.

Yeah, yeah, I make words out of my food. It also happens to be super delicious. Homemade Kind-Like Protein Bars. #yummy

Hey Everyone,

When we went grocery shopping at our local Costco last month, we purchased a rather large box of Kind bars, because they are so tasty. I thought that the whole box was dark chocolate and sea salt, wrongo. I grabbed one the other morning on my way to a meeting. It was one of those dreary, rainy, cold New Orleans mornings where your breakfast is the only comfort that you have for this terrible weather. When I stopped at the red light, I unwrapped it. I took a sip of my warm coffee and thought, “Best combination ever-the dark chocolate, almonds, and coffee.” Then I lifted the kind bar to my mouth, took a bite, and ………..

It was like a slap in the face. I was betrayed by my own breakfast. What was this thing in my mouth? Where is the chocolate? Where are the chunks of sea salt bouncing off of the sweet honey and raw almonds? Yuck. I quickly turned that little wrapper over and there it was staring back at me, as if to say, “Read the box next time sunshine.” The label read Madagascar Vanilla Almond. I don’t care how fancy you make it sound, this protein bar was like having happy hour with your Tax Accountant….boring and unpleasant.

Needless to say, my tummy was growling during this meeting, because their was no way on God’s green earth that this thing was making a second run at my mouth. No way. Hello circular file. I will be donating the rest of these to my church, because they love to put out snacks on Sunday. Hopefully someone there does not have my discerning protein bar palette :-).

Anywho, onto the homemade protein bar journey. I did what any red blooded American with Pinterest would do, I created my own and took pictures. I originally made them for my husband and I, but while I was cutting one for him to take and try as breakfast, the kids asked to try. They freaked out! They each wanted their own. I knew that I had to share this immediately, because if you can get children to voluntarily eat, this is Breaking News! Here is the text from my hubby after he ate it while driving to work.

"Best protein bar I've ever had! Thx."

“Best protein bar I’ve ever had! Thx.”

Yup, my protein bars bring all the boys to the yard, because mine are better than yours. 🙂 Sorry, I got a little out of control there for a second. I am sure your protein bars are delicious too.

So here is the recipe;

Step 1: Grab a 5 x 9 cooking dish and spray with cooking spray.

Step 2: Mix all of these dry ingredients together.

-1/2 cup Oat Flour (I just took oatmeal and put it in the blender for a few seconds-voila oat powder)

-1/2 cup Quick Oats (not the regular kind, but the kind in the little packets or anything that cooks up super fast)

-1/2 cup Rice Krispies (I just used a box of chocolate rice krispies that the kids voted off the island last month. Haha, I win. I got them to eat it anyway. I am so sneaky 🙂 )

-1/2 cup Vanilla Protein Powder ( I personally have an obsession with BSN Vanilla Ice Cream protein powder, but anything works. If you want to use the same protein that I did, you can grab it here: http://amzn.to/1IiobhB)

**Optional, but I added:

-1/4 cup Pistachios (shells removed, unless you are trying to break your teeth)

-1/4 cup crushed Raw Almonds (take almonds, add to ziplock bag, think of someone who frustrates you, attack bag violently with hammer, rolling pin, your fists, whatever. Don’t judge me.)

Stir all of this together and set aside.

Dry DIY protein bar ingredients

Dry DIY protein bar ingredients

 

Step 3: In a small pot, gently melt;

-1/3 cup Raw Honey

-1/3 Peanut Butter or Almond Butter

-1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Step 4: Gently fold the honey, peanut butter, vanilla mixture into the dry ingredients.

Step 5: Press into the bottom of the pan. I mean really press it down, because this is how you guarantee that you are going to get that thick, dense, protein bar consistency.

*Step 6: Optional, but I did it. Melt dark chocolate squares in the microwave, roughly 1/3 cup, for 30 seconds at a time until it is smooth and creamy. Drizzle over bars, smooth with spoon, sprinkle with sea salt.

Step 7: Cover dish with wrap and refrigerate overnight.

DIY Protein Bars

DIY Protein Bar Cake Getting Ready to Chill

Step 8: Using a pizza cutter, cut flattened protein cake into 8 bars.

World's Most Awesome Protein Bars.

World’s Most Awesome Protein Bars.

Step 9: Bag individually and stick in the fridge. If you want the little bags that I used, get them here: http://amzn.to/1yw0Mcu. Dirt cheap 1000 bags for $16 with Amazon Prime.

Step 10: Grab on your way out the door in the morning, and know that you are freakin’ awesome! Seriously, you are awesome because you totally made your own breakfast bar, and there will be NO more surprises at the next traffic light when it hits your mouth.

I honestly can not express to you how delicious these are. You can mix up the ingredients and add anything that you want; cranberries, flax seed, anything you want. It’s your breakfast, so go crazy!

Thanks for spending a few minutes with me. I would love to see your creations or hear what you think of this recipe when you try it. Enjoy!

XO

Raphaela

Homemade protein bars.

Wrap into little bags. Enjoy!

 

 

Blackhawk Helicopter Crash in Florida: We Wait

Good Morning Everyone,

I woke up today, like any other day, and checked my phone before reaching for my water bottle. It was every military wife’s worst nightmare. There was a CNN Update and it read ’11 Missing after Blackhawk Helicopter Crashes in Florida’. I couldn’t even breathe for a minute. My throat felt tight and I felt the tears welling up inside of me. Anyone who reads that kind of a thing will feel deeply saddened, but for military members and their families around the world this kind of news is devastating.

I want to remain hopeful, as the news is only reporting that they have found debris. They say that the 11 are presumed dead, but nothing is confirmed. My thoughts switch immediately to the families of these service members. What are they going through right now? They sit, and they wait, because that’s all that they can do. They are powerless and broken at the same time. The thoughts that race through your mind are is it my Marine?, is it my Soldier?, if it’s not, do I know their wife, their children?

They wait for a knock on the door that they know will likely come. They know what they will see and it will be like some terrible nightmare, but it will happen in their homes. Those uniformed men and women will come. These brave people have to deliver that kind of news with honor and dignity, and they have to be very strong while they are delivering the worst news imaginable.

They will say those words that no one wants to hear. They will tell you that today your life is changed forever. They will be the people whose words confirm your deepest fears. They will be the fingers that walk up and put their thumb and index finger over the flame of hope that still burned inside of you when you heard about this crash. They will put out your hope. They will confirm that your loved one was among the missing, and is now confirmed dead. They will confirm your terrible thought, you are now a widow.

You will have to deliver this news to your children, and you will have to be strong until family arrives to help you because you likely do not live near your family. You live at your spouse’s duty station, and that is almost always no where near home. The families of these service members will receive this news. The moms and dads, sisters and brothers, and friends will all hear this devastating news today. That brave service member who everyone assumed was safe, because they were in the states, is gone. No one is prepared and so it hits you on an entirely different level.

The words will come, then the tears, denial, grief, the funeral, and then life will just go on for everyone else. Your story will not be in the headlines anymore, but your life will still go on. Your broken, gaping hole in your life will just have to keep moving forward. You will have to be a single parent, a widow, and people will talk about your ‘deceased spouse’ whenever you leave the room. That is your new life.

You may be wondering why I am writing such a post. The answer is simple. I am a military wife, and today all military wives are heartbroken. We wait together. In these moments, we make no distinction between branches of service. We all feel the same thing today, sadness. We are reminded today that we have to stand together, or we will fall apart. We are all asking ourselves what we can do to help, because those ‘sisters’ of ours are going through the worst day of their lives. We are reminded that tomorrow that knock could be on our front doors.

I have sent my husband on many deployments; Iraq and Afghanistan repeatedly. He flies Cobra Helicopters for the Marine Corps, so this crash hits me on a very personal level. We all feel this false sense of security when they are stateside that they are safe, and today is a reminder that this is a lie that we tell ourselves so that we can sleep at night. What else do you do? How else could you kiss your service member goodbye in the morning to go to work and know that you may not see them again? Service members, police officers, firefighters and probably others that I am overlooking right now, we all share that common thread.

Let us stand together today as military wives, husbands, family members, and patriots and support these families. No amount of money can ever put their dad in their living rooms on Christmas ever again. No amount of money can walk their daughter down the isle on her wedding day, or teach a son to grow up to become a good man like his daddy was. Lastly, no amount of money can hold those wives tonight as they realize that their spouse will never lie next to them again, never. They are gone.

I asked myself what I would want if it were my door that was getting knocked on today, and I would want a memory. It wouldn’t be about money, or help, because those things will come as a natural progression of this event. I would want a memory. I would want something that I could watch with my children, play at holidays, and share with my grandchildren about the man that was lost, the person we buried, my husband. That is what I would want.

The reason this occurred to me was as a result of the recent movie ‘American Sniper’, which is of course a heartbreaking account of one family’s loss. The reason this movie was so moving to me was not just how it documented the life of Chris Kyle, but how it offered his children a look at their father. They will have something to show who he was, how he was loved, and how he was mourned.

The next time you see a service member, be sure that you are mindful that they, and their families make sacrifices every day to prepare to defend the freedom that you enjoy. Our families are prepared, though perhaps not ready, to pay the ultimate price as patriots and supporters of this wonderful country that we live in.

With a very heavy heart and the utmost respect,

Raphaela Laurean

Choosing Your Blog or Business Name: Why I Am Changing Mine

Run, To, The, Bikini

Was RunToTheBikini.Com. Now It’s RaphaelaLaurean.com

Ok, so, I finally did it. Did what you ask? Simple. I decided to simplify my life and change the name of my blog. I chose the name Run To The Bikini when I started this blog last year. I did so as a way to document my progress towards my bikini bodybuilding goals. However, over the course of the last year, I have also decided that I have a lot more to share than just that.

I frequently found myself wanting to share things, and then trying to massage the subject matter so that it fit onto my blog, formerly known as ‘Run To The Bikini’. I still really love that name and the concept, but for me, it was and is just too narrow of a topic to continue to be interesting to me, much less my readers. I know that this is going to sound crazy, but I literally spent months agonizing over the decision about which ‘identity’ to write my ideas under. If you have ever tried to pick a business name, then you know what I am talking about. I thank God for flash cards, or I would have to start donating to Green Peace to apologize for the amount of paper that I would have used sorting this out.

There are so many areas of my life where I want to share what I have learned, but I also have a very strong business rule about not casting the net too wide (aka, being really good at what you do, and not trying to cover everything). But that’s when it hit me. I am not writing this blog as a business. I am writing it for me, and for you, and for whatever comes of it down the road, so I should just be me. So, that’s why I am changing my blog name to http://www.raphaelalaurean.com.

Pros: 

Reason # 1: It’s Just Plain Easier

Easy to find me and all of my other social media profiles, because it’s all the same name. I will list the links at the bottom of this page, as an example of what I am talking about, and as a guide for you to follow when setting up your own ‘identity’. If you type my name into Google (the people who really run the world ), you will find my youtube channel, blog, twitter account, etc.

Reason # 2: Sky’s the Limit.

I can write about pretty much anything now. I mean, I have it organized now so that the reader can find what they are interested in, but it gives me the freedom to share all of the areas of my life, not just one. This is something that I am really going to enjoy. A perfect example is this very post. I could never have done this post on my former blog. Well, I could have, no internet police would have come for me, but it may have caused Botox inducing wrinkles on my face (and I promised myself that I would wait until 40 🙂 ), because I would have felt anxiety about the fact that it didn’t belong on that kind of a blog, or that I was not providing my readers with the content that they were looking for.

Reason # 3″ Consistency is Key.

I am far more likely to post regularly because I don’t have to try to ‘package’ the information a certain way to fit the blog topic. I read a really important article on this, and I wish I could remember where so that I could give them credit. Basically, the writer said that your audience is smart enough to figure out how to read the information that they want, and ignore the other stuff, so long as you organize it properly. Shout out to you, whoever wrote that article….what what..you Rock!

Cons:

Reason # 1: 30 Seconds To Get Their Attention

I have to be so lovable and interesting that people will read my blog, because I have no catchy phrase or brand to hook them with. For example, if your into fitness, and you land upon a blog that called ‘Run to the Bikini’, you are far more likely to keep reading, then if you land on one called ‘Raphaela Laurean’. WTH is Raphaela Laurean, right? Anywho, once I let go of that fear, it didn’t really matter to me. I am not trying to take over the world with my blog, just share my life. There are some that will find that interesting, and there are some that will say, um, no thanks. I am ok with either.

Reason # 2: Lack of Anonymity

I will say that I have been the kind of person that has really gone out of my way to preserve and protect my anonymity pretty much my whole life. I was raised in business that you must keep your business and personal life separate to maintain some status quo. I think that I really believed that for a very long time, because I think that it was true up until a few years ago.

Today’s consumers want to know more about who they are doing business with. It wasn’t always that way. People used to associate big brands and corporations with credibility and trust. Enter Twitter, Facebook and the like, and now customers want a more personal connection with the people and companies that they let into their lives.

I am just at a point in my life where I don’t want to be the magician behind the curtain anymore, and me writing this blog is sort of my way of removing that thought process from my life. I want people to know who I am now. I want them to see who is running the company that they choose to spend their money with, and how hard I work for them. I also want them to know that I am a real person, just like them, with a family, hopes, dreams, etc.

Reason # 3: Ability to Grow

For me, I love the thought that I can develop and grow with my blog, and that my readers will enjoy that. If I had chosen RunToTheBikini, and then decided to give up bikini bodybuilding, I would have lost a lot of readers in that transition. This way, my readers will read my blog because they want to see what I am up to, not just to look at one subject. I hope that makes sense.

 

Small Business Tip Summary

So, as you can see, there are pros and cons, big surprise, not! What am I really saying here? I suppose if I had to summarize from a business perspective, I would say it like this;

Niche Topic: Examples; Weight Loss for Women Who Just Gave Birth, Golfing for Divorced Guys over 40, Raising Triplets on Less Than 36K Per Year

If you are writing with one specific topic that you think that you can find enough about to consistently engage your readers and yourself, then go with that. It will be very easy to monetize (aka…make money with) because the subject matter will be so narrow that you could become a very credible source for that subject.  People would trust your product recommendations (please keep it real people, don’t do sponsored reviews for crap products). You could evaluate all of the events in your niche topic, associations, trade shows, new product releases, best places to buy, etc. If you love one subject like that, then get in there and get to work.

Lifestlye Versus Topic Blogging; ABeautifulMess.comIGoByKatie.com,

These blogs, as well as my own, are more of a candid look at the lives of these people, which can not be compartmentalized so easily. If you visit their blog, what you are sticking around for is them, sort of a blog celebrity reality show. They will tell all and you can read what you want and ignore the rest. These kinds of blogs can also be monetized as they grow, if you are interested in that. You can do exactly the same thing as the niche blog, but you just have to be very careful to organize everything really well, because your readers are busy, and they want what they want. It’s your job to make sure that they don’t have to search for it for very long.

As promised-

Disclaimer: This is not a shameless plug, it is meant for you to see how nice, clean, and easy it would be for your followers if you did something like this for your business.

♥ MY VLOG CHANNEL
http://www.youtube.com/raphaelalaurean
♥ TWITTER!
http://twitter.com/raphaelalaurean
♥ FACEBOOK
http://www.facebook.com/raphaelalaurean
♥ PINTEREST

♥ INSTAGRAM
http://instagram.com/raphaelalaurean
♥ BLOG
http://www.raphaelalaurean.com
♥ EMAIL
info@raphaelalaurean.com

I hope you found this helpful. If you take one lesson from this post, it should be that you should just get started. You can change on the fly, so just stop stressing out about it and start writing. More often than not, this will be the true test of how you decide what your blog will really be about.

Gratefully,

Raphaela Laurean