One Step Closer

Oh, wow, it’s been awhile.

I’m fine! I’m well! There’s just not much going on in my life right now other than classes.

Fall semester has successfully passed and I did very well. I was able to go home for 3 weeks over break and spend some time with my mother and boyfriend that I desperately needed.

Spring semester the interns start taking their first sort of internship-related class, rather than a degree class.

I’m taking Micronutrients; Workshop in Dietetic Practice; Clinical Care Issues; Nutrition & Physical Activity; and Behavioral & Social Aspects of Public Health. I am also continuing my Graduate Assistantship at the Food Bank. We’ve only been back on campus for 2 weeks so it’s too soon to tell how I’ll like everything yet, but it’s already shaping up to be one whirlwind of a semester!

I’ll actually have a few things to post about this semester! But I’m going to wait until they come to pass to mention anything specific.

I’m continuing to train and just working on building myself up right now. I plan on competing in an NPC Bikini show this fall, so I’m still several months away from starting any kind of heavy duty prepping, but I’ve been working with a coach for the past 3 months who I am very happy with. I’ve never done anything like this before, so I’m excited and anxious to see where all of this takes me!

I hope that everything is well with everyone!

Unleashed, Untamed, Unalterable, Unbreakable


I have exciting news, guys!

You’re looking at the newest promoter for Top Shelf Supplements!photo 2This place is seriously

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Not only do they have storefronts in Illinois, but they also have an online store that will ship anywhere in the United States.

Have questions on supplements? Never fear! They are all over Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to help!

And the best part?


Enter my promo code and get 5% off of your order! Special offer code: topshelf


So what are you waiting for? These prices really can’t be beat.

I feel so blessed to have a location right on campus! This is sure to become one of my favorite stores in town while I’m here for school, and wherever I end up after graduation!

Top Shelf Supplements



Well, I did it. 300+ miles and 5 hours later I have officially arrived to stay in Illinois.

It’s been a whirlwind couple of days. I had my last day at the independent living home on Sunday and was on the road Monday morning. Once I got here I headed straight to campus to finish filling out paperwork for my new job at the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Then I headed to the NIU Bookstore and picked up my first Huskie spirit apparel. I need to adding some red and white into my Spartan wardrobe!

NIU Spirit

I spent the night at the hotel (yes, I’m staying in a hotel until Saturday when I will be allowed to move in to my new apartment and my family is driving down with all of my furniture) trying to unpack what I’ll need for the next 5 days and trying to figure out what all I still need to do before classes start next Monday.

Today, I woke up bright and early to shower and get ready so that I could be at the ID office when it opened to take my picture and get my student ID. Then I went straight to the student rec center to use that ID so that I could get a workout, haha typical. The staff were super nice and even gave me a full tour/orientation when I asked for one. This place is so beyond everything that I’ve been used to up until now. About to be taking my workouts to the next level, yo. Afterwards I went back to the hotel for a hot second to pick up my laptop and went to the library so that I could get on the internet (I was having trouble getting on the hotel’s wifi, it’s fine now). I needed to check on a lot of things and trying to do everything on an iPhone is just way too difficult.

I also picked up some food to eat for the week that I could keep in my hotel room. That der hotel life isn’t easy without a microwave and with just a mini fridge. I got to meet 2 out of 3 of my new roommates and pick up the keys to my apartment. I think that we’ll get along really well this year! I ended the day with a little cardio at the hotel fitness center since I felt like I had a lot of energy and I didn’t really have anything better to do. Plus I like using that time to read (I’m working my way through The Handmaid’s Tale, so good!).

Now that I’m actually at school I am feeling more at ease with everything. I had an actual To-Do list going that has tangible steps rather than just the big, blurry picture that it was a couple of months ago. I have meetings the next 3 days for school and my Graduate Assistantship, so looks like the crazy busyness will be continuing. I guess this is a good thing because Lord knows I don’t want to be spending my life in this hotel room.

By the way, the side door to one of the more popular bars in town is literally right outside of my window in the hotel room. I got to watch them bringing in cases of beer while I was getting ready this morning and could probably have high-fived the delivery men if my window were open. Yeah, that close. Who decided that buildings should be this close together?!

On a more somber note, I guess that I am now officially a member of the LDR crew. We’re both committed to making this work as he finishes his final year at State and I’m here in Illinois. When we thought about it, this would be even easier than if/when he gets deployed for the Army. If you want something bad enough, you find a way to make it work.

Anyway, I hope to be able to fill you guys in more with how grad school and my dietetic internship goes this year and for the next 2.5!

Anyone else out there in a long-distance relationship? How do you keep it working?

Anyone else getting ready for the new school year to start?


Fudder Mucker


It’s official. I am one Tough Mudder. Say “hello” to the mighty mighty Swole Mates. We are few in number but large in spirit, enthusiasm, and drive. These fellas I had actually never met before that day, although we did get put onto a team together on Facebook through mutual friends. I don’t know if I could have gotten through all of the 20 obstacles and 12 miles without their support. Literally and figuratively.


We ran Tough Mudder Michigan on the first day, Saturday. It began raining right when we were getting our pep talk before the starting gun. The first half of the race was all in rain, and it increased the muddiness of the event immensely. I don’t think that they mean for the ENTIRE course to be muddy when they call it a Tough Mudder, but it was. It slowed a lot of people down and resulted in many people getting calf cramps. The guys were both having trouble coping with the distance combined with the mud, but I was fine. I walked when they needed to walk. We were finishing together.


Let me tell ya, I smiled throughout the entire race. Through the army crawls under barbed wire, through underground tunnels, and through underwater tunnels. Through jumping off the highest platform of my life, having my heart stopped by freezing water, and getting electrocuted in the forehead. Through the sunburn, the bruises, and the scrapes. I smiled. I laughed. I had an amazing time.


One of the guys’ girlfriend came along and took pictures at several of the spectator positions, which are all of the pictures that you see here. I should be getting official pictures sometimes this week. I can’t wait to see what kind of faces they caught me making! Especially since I don’t remember seeing the photographers.


I don’t even like beer, but, damn if I didn’t drink my free celebratory Dos Equis lager. Well, most of it anyway.


I got dirt and water in every crevice of my body, and I couldn’t be happier. This was truly a great experience. Yes, it was outside of my comfort zone, and I wish that I had enough upper-body strength to have been able to complete some of the obstacles without any help. But that’s one of the beautiful things about Tough Mudder. There is such camaraderie, everyone is on the same team and willing to help. People of all ages and fitness levels are Mudders.

Will I ever do another one? It’s too soon to tell. Maybe given the right teammates and location. But for now, I’m okay with not getting electrocuted again for awhile.


Forever a Spartan

Guess who graduated!?


Me, duh! I officially have completed my Bachelor of Science in Dietetics with a specialization in Health Promotion from Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Honors College with Honors.

Here are some pictures from the big day:

My friends Ashleigh and Colleen and I

My friends Ashleigh and Colleen and I.

Cake :-).

Cake :-).

Decorated my cap in true Chivette fashion.

Decorated my cap in true Chivette fashion.

My fellow Dietetics majors who were walking.

My fellow Dietetics majors who were walking.

And now some other pictures from the past two months:

Got my Athena tattoo finished. In love.

Got my Athena tattoo finished. In love.

Dietetics bar crawl. Only a fraction of the group we had.

Dietetics bar crawl. Only a fraction of the group we had.

Time for some sun on this pale skin!

Time for some sun on this pale skin!

Visited my new school, NIU.

Visited my new school, NIU.

Speaking of NIU, there are still a lot of things to work out in the next couple of months and the next year (before my rotations begin), but I’m trying to make headway on my checklist.

I signed a lease for an apartment in DeKalb a couple of weeks ago right before my birthday (I’m 22 now, baby!). It’s not fancy, but I’ll be living with 3 women who I think I will get along with fine for the next year. All are focused, my age or older, and the location is perfect. I can literally see the football stadium (pictured above) from my building and the walk to my classes will be comparable to what I have been doing for the past 2 years at MSU.

In the fall, I will be taking Educational Statistics I, Research Methods, and Macronutrients. Is it weird that I’m most excited for my stats course because I miss doing math so much? I’m also hoping to get a Graduate Assistantship, but I’m not quite sure when I will find out about that one.

Since I graduated a month ago, I’ve mostly just been working more at the retirement home, working out, and trying to read and see friends more. I started following the LiveFit workouts (not the diet plan, I’m doing my own thing for that part) and am already done with Phase 1! I will be doing Tough Mudder Michigan in 3 weeks time, so I have also been doing one long run a week to keep my endurance up, but other than that I have not been running at all, choosing to focus on building strength. I know that I can finish the race and I’m not trying to finish in a certain time, this is just for fun and to be able to say that I did it. I am signed up to compete as part of a team, so hopefully that will help when the day of the race comes.

Well, I think that’s it for the most part for now. At least the major stuff.

What have I missed in YOUR life!?

What do you want to hear more about from me?


RD2Be: Match Day

The day finally arrived. The day that Dietetics seniors nationwide fear and countdown to. No, it’s not their graduation day, it’s Match Day. The day where we find out if and where we will be doing our Dietetic Internship at which is required for us to complete on our way to becoming Registered Dietitians.

After an hour and a half of trying to log in to the system, I was finally able to click that scary button entitled “Match Results”.


Northern Illinois University!

In a few months, I will be moving 300 miles away from the town that I not only was born and raised in, but went to college in as well. It’s even in a different time zone!

It was quite an emotional evening in so many ways and for so many reasons.

But, I cannot express how fortunate I feel that I got matched in the first round. I know a lot of very talented and qualified people in my program that didn’t get a match (which the way the system is set up could really just be a matter of applying to too many of the wrong schools and ranking them a certain way). Luckily there is still the second round for those peeps!

I’m going to not only be completing my internship at NIU, but I will also be earning my Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics there as well.


For my first two semesters I will just be taking graduate courses. Then, in the proceeding semesters I will be starting my rotations and completing more coursework. All together this will take me 6 semesters to complete (3 falls, 2 springs, 1 summer) before I can eventually call myself Ellen Ratliff, MS, RD (once I pass the RD exam… and maybe even CSSD one day).

There are quite a few possibilities for my Community and Lifecycle placements that I look forward to maybe doing, like working at the campus REC center and a sports nutrition practice located in Chicago. There will be a LOT of driving involved once I start my rotations, but I know that the experiences will be worth it and will help me further decide what I want to do with my credentials and maybe even lead to a future career. I mean, the Chicago area’s not that bad of a place to be for a young professional, right?

My mother and I are planning on visiting the campus this summer (May I think?) to visit the town and see the campus. Yes, I applied to programs without visiting them first. So sue me. But, from the pictures that I’ve seen it looks like a decent campus.


I’ll be receiving more information in the next week once all of the interns confirm their positions, and I can’t wait to share with all of you. I really do want to document this entire process (yes, all 2.5 years of it) for you all and especially for the future RDs out there so that they can see my experience and hopefully it will help them make their own decisions about internships, graduate work, and a future career as a Registered Dietitian.



Wow, I guess it’s been longer than I thought since I last posted! My school just got back from Spring Break, which means that the semester is halfway done and I’m less than 8 weeks away from getting my Bachelor’s degree! So crazy to believe that this 4-year adventure is almost over.

Well, I guess I owe you guys a recap, right?

Repping Plagued Fitness Apparel in the gym with my "Lift That Shit" t-shirt.

Repping Plagued Fitness Apparel in the gym with my “Lift That Shit” t-shirt. Oh, hey booty! Glad to see that you finally decided to make an appearance.


Worked my through the Superhero Fat Loss program by Roman Fitness.


Taking progress pics up the whazoo now.


Formal dress that I got to wear to the Military Ball with my boyfriend.


Sweat baby sweat. Posting fitness inspiration almost daily! Moved on to training for Tough Mudder Michigan this summer by using another Roman Fitness program.


Delicious cupcakes over Spring Break on Hilton Head Island!

These pictures only show you a fraction of the things that I have been up to the past 8(ish) weeks. For a more detailed overview, go and find me on Instagram and look through my posts! I try to post at least once a day. It’s mostly been workout pictures so far, but I’m starting to post more outside of just working out and will be adding in a lot more nutrition and other healthy living tips in the near future as well! Instagram has become my new form of blogging.

And, yes, that’s right. I am registered with a team to do Tough Mudder Michigan this summer. Also, scary exciting, but Match Day is in only 27 days! Fingers crossed that I get my first choice placement for dietetic internships! Can’t wait to share that with you all next month.

Don’t forget that you can follow me on Instagram for daily workout and healthy living inspiration! Plus a little bit of fun 🙂