Note to Self...
Going through the notes on my phone, I recently realized how many "note to self" drafts I have...so, I figured I'd share one! This is from late 2016-- (I honestly don't remember writing half of them).
Most people subconsciously associate eating indulgent foods with moving away from pain.
(Or, in other words, a common solution to upset, discomfort, boredom, discontent, loneliness is eating...and, usually, not the healthiest food.)
BUT participating in this behavior can usually result in the very opposite outcome because most likely, you're choosing food that can cause inflammation, create imbalance, and dilute your ability to feel good— causing pain.
At the end of the day, what feels good to you? What leads you to make one positive decision after another? Once you've found your life's purpose, do what's required to reinforce what is needed to keep showing up each day at your very best caliber. Make sure you're on it! And doing what it takes!!!!
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Don't just go with the flow, go with YOUR flow! Gently enforce (or firmly command) change. By sitting back and letting other people lead, you are essentially giving the blind a steering wheel, leaving you haphazardly along for the ride.
"Maintaining an open mind is essential when exploring the unknown, but allowing one's brains to fall out in the process is inadvisable." - Dean Radin
6 Exercise Tips for Busy People
It takes time and effort to take care of your body. No argument here! But it’s incredibly important to find time to exercise. The benefits of exercise are too important to ignore.
Yet most of us are too busy to even make time for what we WANT to do, let alone find time to create new, healthy habits. It’s not exactly relaxing to start a new exercise routine when you’re already exhausted from work.
Thankfully, there are lots of ways to fit exercise in without having to go to the gym every single day. Doing the same thing day in and day out can get boring, and habits we find boring aren’t habits we’re likely to keep up forever.
Here are six great ways to sneak exercise into your daily routine. Each tip is tested for sustainability, and will make exercise a lot more fun than those one-size-fits-all routines you’ve probably tried in the past.
1. Rethink your seating. At your workplace, do you sit in a normal office chair? If so, consider shifting to a standing desk, which exercises your leg muscles much more actively than you would while sitting passively. Even sitting on an exercise ball forces your core muscles to activate, helping your body exercise to keep itself stable. It may not seem like much, but those efforts stack up to greater muscular strength over time.
2. Rethink your commute. If you’re in a position where you can walk or bike to work, that can be a start to your day that’s both active and relaxing. You’ll walk into the office centered from the movement and time spent listening to your own thoughts. Even doing exercises based around sitting can add up. Some shoulder flexion action during the morning traffic jam can go a long way toward preventing stiffness and tightness in the body.
3. Do what you’re a fan of. Love watching Dancing With The Stars? Take up ballroom dancing or even Zumba. Building your dream team during spring training? Try a few drills that the players are doing next time you’re at the field. By building upon what you already love, you’re setting the stage to have a lot more fun than doing exercise you “have” to do.
4. Recruit your friends. Ever hear the saying, “The more, the merrier?” It applies to fitness, too! Grab a friend or two for a hike, jog, bike ride, or leisurely stroll. You’ll find that the time flies – and you might even find yourself looking forward to your next excursion!
5. Don’t punish yourself for low activity. The body adapts to activity levels, but it also loves resting. Even if you just stretch your body during commercial breaks, keeping your body from growing sedentary is a very good thing. So keep it going to see benefits! You’ll never regret exercising, even if it feels like “not enough.”
6. Look for fitness classes close to work or home. Because my LA commute is so lengthy, finding time to get a solid workout in before or after work is very difficult. So, my current solution: find time in the middle of my workday! I took it upon myself to find something compatible with my time restraints and close to my office so that I can go during my lunch break. I have been taking Barre for a little over two weeks-- which is ABSOLUTELY out of my comfort zone, but I am able to get a full body midday boost. I have these great biodegradable cleansing wipes that allow me to freshen up quickly, change, get back to work, and eat a prepared lunch at my desk!
How do you make sure you get enough exercise? How do you make your exercise work in your routine? Share your experience in the comments!
A Great Reminder...
Energy is never lost or destroyed, only transferred!
SUCH a powerful reminder to physically AND metaphysically use your power for good, not evil. Lord knows there isn’t a shortage of negativity or hurt in this world. Particularly for who like a sense of control: conjure up some joy in yourself and others by simply being kind.
(Take it a step further and be kind even on days when you don’t feel well, have had crap luck, absorb someone else’s bad day, etc. The ripple effect is real and there’s no valid excuse to treat people, animals, and (apparently) plants 😉, less than!)
How to Shift Your New Year
...or “unlucky” in love, money, LIFE. Also, sadly, sometimes people are taught that because God loves you so much, He puts you through situations where you suffer to learn life’s lessons. Don’t get me wrong— I am grateful that through my pain and unfavorable trials, I have been able to help people. It is so good to always look at the bright side of crap circumstances and piece together the positive from life lessons. With that said: no one is supposed to feel like their fate is to not be able to come up for air, be able to catch a break, never fall in love, or accumulate enough money to live without struggle.
How do you make the unconscious conscious? Meditation, visualization, and keeping it real by not playing the victim. Your subconscious holds most of your power (how you function, behavioral patterns, limiting beliefs) so, tap into your subconscious and snatch your power back! If this feels far from reach or is just plain confusing (easy to be unless you know a smidge about neuroscience), contact me for a complimentary 45-minute lifestye asssessment!
Food for Thought
Honoring yourself with proper self-care and healthy boundaries is the only way to truly grow into your God-given capabilities and potential. Imagine you are a plant. If you feed yourself soft drinks, you may stay alive, but will you really thrive? Sure, pop contains water and it may seem more appealing because it comes in a shiny can, it's sweet, and the carbonation makes it more exciting, but it will stunt your growth. Similar to toxic food, people, and behaviors— while they may be alluring, exciting, and make you feel good in the moment, they will also impair your capabilities to reach your optimum height. Toxins reduce your ability to thrive and flourish. So, when you come to a crossroads and you feel your intuition pulling at you, imagine yourself as a plant and remember: you have a choice to opt out of taking in the toxic! You deserve pure nourishment and nothing less— exercise, true love, spiritual warmth, supportive people, clean foods, and the opportunity to reach the sun!
You're Special. (No, but, really.)
Life is made up of decision and circumstances. Some of these things are within our control and some of them are served to us. Commonly, when life gets rough, people can get consumed with thinking, "why me?"/ "doesn't God love me?"/ "why does this keep happening?"/ "why doesn't the universe have my back?", etc. While these are all valid questions to entertain, they will never equate to relief. God DOES love you...maybe that's why you're going through this horrific situation-- only to refine your level of capability, aka "awesome", for something different. I wouldn't ever considered myself a troubled person, but let's just say that struggle is most definitely not a foreign concept to me.
There have been times when people have tried to lend their support by suggesting that I was special and God was allowing these things to happen because He had SO much faith in me. Well, as kind as that is, it didn't jive with me. A majority of the time, I thought that if that were the case, I just assumed God love me a little less so that I could receive a little relief. It didn't feel right. I wasn't being singled out by God and knew I wasn't the "special" student because we're all created equal. I also knew and know that everyone has one thing in common: we all have our problems. Maybe the scale is different, but they're there. So, I did what I do best and I ANALYZED different theories until I exhausted loads of options.
At thirty years of age, here is what I've come up with. I could have been born with an internal quest to seek a life of "normalcy". Let's be real, the closest thing to "normal" is if you're participating in a stream of societal expectations, charged generational ideals, and (I hate to say it because I don't ever want to be misinterpreted for hateful, but) functioning similar to a human robot. You can't blame this ever-growing species of human because it looks like it would be pretty uncomplicated to subscribe to a life of siding with the majority, holding beliefs that don't rock the boat, and living out your days as if your actions don't matter or contribute to the ripple effect in the universe...(selfie stick in hand). I can see the appeal because I am a completely different species of person on the total opposite spectrum. Being a highly sensitive person alone makes me a rare minority. But I am a person who realizes how much of a change one person can make. The ripple effect is real. I was able to see this in action when it was brought to my attention during my schooling with IIN. The longer I was on my wellness journey, the more frequently I would realize that my friend's and family's pantries had become VERY similar to mine, stocking a lot of my favorites. This may seem little, but it isn't. What these people eat means the world to me because it adds years to their lives and if they share it, the ripple effect commences! I honestly think some of it is persuasion, but a majority is through osmosis! (Real quick: again, I am not thinking I am superior to anyone. I honestly look at some people and envy that they are entirely content living their way and are totally unaware of this notion altogether! It can get exhausting being on the other side of it!)
When I decided to make bold moves by going to FIDM and then, going to IIN, there was something stirring inside me. I couldn't accept the status quo and get a job that didn't make me feel like I was REALLY living. Like I was REALLY being of service. My saying this doesn't mean that almost every profession on the planet doesn't have a very necessary place in this world. We need people who are passionate about ALL vocations...otherwise our society would experience imbalance/ lack. For me, personally, this is just quite essential. God placed this specific mission inside of me. Living against the grain isn't easy-- it brings up all sorts of things that make life feel sort of like an uphill climb. It makes "safe" feel unsafe because while I know it's the cozier choice, I still feel the urge to choose the risk. It's sort of like on Disney's Beauty and the Beast when Bell is on horseback, trying to find her father and she comes to a fork in the road. One route looks pleasant and promising and the other looks dark and dangerous. Regardless the appearance, Bell chose the less obvious choice. This decision resulted in her being held captive and at this point, many people (including her), could have sat and asked "Why God? I listened to my gut and I'm just trying to help-- so, why is the universe doing this to me?" Well, her time at the castle wasn't always easy, BUT it resulted in her "happily ever after". I know I really took that fantasy scenario and ran with it, but it's very similar to my point...if I ever get to it!
Again, life is made up of decisions and circumstances. It's all about perspective, following our intuition, and making sure we make the best of situations we find ourselves in. Your story can impact your life in a big way. You can blame the world for your circumstances, or you can sit and see the lesson in it. You can use these pages in your life as the fuel that will drive you to success. If life serves you sad, make sure you embrace happiness that much harder. When life sends you unpleasant people, appreciate gracious people that much more. If you find yourself in a downward spiral, stop and dream up a better outcome for yourself. See yourself in a different life and take the action steps that will lead you towards that direction. Maybe you are someone who feels like you're at a dead-end and don't have the resources to get out-- sit and write out baby steps and focus on the things you DO have control over. Decide to make a shift, own responsibility of your life, and the universe WILL open up doors for you. Again, it's all about perspective. When you're looking for it with positive intent, it will present itself to you.
SO, for those of you who have felt like you've had it rough: if you're someone who lives an alternative lifestyle and feel drained or like you've missed out on what life has to offer, know that you're not alone. You ARE a special breed of human and it's SO great that you're not content with living like the majority or within the confines of common. It's not that God doesn't love you OR that God loves you more, it's just that He has sent you on a mission that takes a certain person with your special traits and life experience. A person with tenacity, with heart, an imagination, and PASSION. Some of these things could be the very characteristics people have judged you for or have told you that you need to be more practical or take it down a notch. B-o-l-o-g-n-a. That's only because those traits aren't relatable to them-- so, it doesn't make sense to them, which can sometimes make people uncomfortable. Why life could seem like it's against you is because this current world isn't really cut out for you. (My mom would say, it's like how lefties feel in a predominant right hand world.) BUT, even though, the world doesn't really accommodate our kind, it desperately NEEDS them. So, when life feels hard and you feel stuck, keep moving forward. See the beauty in your struggle because with struggle comes lovely things like breakthrough, personal evolution, and progress!
So, I have to go ahead out "out" myself. Particularly because of the last few blog posts. Not only were they posted in MAY, they were also on the topic of self-care. While that has continued to be a running theme in my life, I have to confess that I haven't earned many gold stars in this area as of late. I could definitely get gold stars for worrying about not getting enough self-care, but actual implementation: nope.
When I moved from Oklahoma to LA, I felt like I was in a storm/ time warp/ twilight zone/ hell. I was very consciousness that this time of my life would bring inevitable stress, but trying to alleviate it sort of felt like trying to meditate and get in enough exercise while there was literally and figuratively a flood happening. Everything that I knew well-- every routine, familiar face, my grocery store, squeezing my nieces (my self-regulation vices) all of it sort of got swept away. This is by no means me feeling sorry for myself because this was entirely voluntary/ self-inflicted because it was my choice to move, but the multitude of change that I had just brought on was (and still is) extremely uncomfortable.
Before I go into some of the things that have gotten me through this in one piece, I suppose I could give a little insight to the subtext as to why this was/is "uncomfortable". (Please note: I am speaking from my personal point of view and while I am absolutely sure non-HSPs probably feel a very similar way being put in these positions, I am just giving a little insight to my experience in my "special" body.) Being a highly sensitive person, my nervous system is extremely receptive to sensory/ nuance/ energy...meaning, my fight or flight mode/ sympathetic nervous system is a little trigger happy. Change in my environment means a lot of "potential danger". The more you become acclimated to a person, space, etc., you are able to process those "features", deem them safe (or not), and you are then able to come down a little and not feel so uptight and/ or irritable. Which, again, is how most humans function, but, for HSP’s, it’s all intensified.
Within the first few months of being back in LA, I acquired a fast-paced job, moved into a new apartment...after three intense weeks of searching, had someone I've known for a long time show their true (murky) colors, and found myself in a very tight schedule with very little free time. All the while, I am trying to give myself grace as I try to process, self-regulate, and come back into my body more than not. (..And keep a social life, try to maybe date, and not starve my little elderly pup, Eloise, of deserving TLC.)
I felt led to accept an exciting job where I travel half of the month and while I am unclear if this is my premature death sentence or a potentially valuable challenge, it gave me the idea that I can share my journey to staying mentally sound, physically fit, and well-- all while traveling for work (and play)! I will go more into this exiting content later, but today I am going to chat about some of the things I have done that have been extremely instrumental to making a healthy/ stable transition. Yes, I do feel that if I didn't implement these steps, the stress would have been significantly more brutal.
First, some obvious “symptoms” and red flags to look out for that might indicate that you may be living at a pace/ mind space that could be detrimental your spiritual life, personal life, and literal lifespan: when you’re feeling a little out of body, unfulfilled, tense, you have a hard time connecting, OR you find yourself looking back on previous days and can't quite picture the details and the days seem vague. Any of these sound familiar? Here are some significantly useful habits you can implement to make you feel a little more sound, secure, and present.
1. Find Time to Breathe. Like, really breathe. Those great diaphragmatic breaths where you breathe in and your stomach expands and when you breathe out, it goes back down. (Reading this description could sound elementary and instinctual, but until I studied "basic breathing" in school, I didn't realize that my body didn't do those things until I started practicing. I would force my stomach to push out, even though, air wasn't actually filling my lungs and continue until I caught a full, natural breath. To this day, I still have to frequently check in with myself and make sure I'm doing that.) REAL breathing is a great way to signal to your body that you're not in danger. You could be safe on your couch watching Netflix, but if you're taking shallow breaths, chances are, your body is still in fight or flight mode. When you're functioning with your sympathetic nervous system, or "fight or flight", you're in survival mode. Your body doesn't care about secreting regulated hormones, repairing damaged cells, digesting, etc. It's purely functioning to survive, releasing cortisol. This is why when you’re stressed, you’re maybe a snacker or don’t have an appetite at all-- due to your bodies' inability to release the proper amounts of your "full" and "hungry" hormones, leptin and ghrelin. Another popular repercussion is having overly active bowels or your elimination is slowed down (or off altogether). One of my favorites is looking haggard— which is how your friends clairvoyantly ask you if everything is okay because they can see it on your face— your cell turnover rate has lulled. So, this cliche tip to breathe is actually THAT important because you want to trigger your parasympathetic nervous system, “rest and digest” mode, so your body functions like it's supposed to..
2. Find a Not-So-Guilty Pleasure...or two. One of my very favorite scenarios is to cook while listening to uplifting movies or music, accompanied by chilled wine glass of KeVita (fermented coconut water). This originally became a habit because I wanted to "come down" after work by drinking something without alcohol when I quit drinking for a year. I now prefer this ritual because it contributes to my health and is still an extremely effective way to relax. So, I'm not saying go grab yourself a KeVita, but take inventory of the things that really give back to your body and allow you to feel at ease. Whether that's evening strolls, drawing, crossword puzzles, ANYTHING--- so that if you find yourself out of your comfort zone, you're able to come down, without compromising your health.
3. Get Moving. I can't tell you how often I've blogged about or told clients this somewhat obvious, but under utilized little gem. You might hear it a lot because the stats are right-- working out is one of the most effective stress relievers, a great way to pump your endorphins, and press the reset button. When I travel or find myself in a state of stress, I run. I bring my running shoes because I know the consistency of working out is so healing for me. No matter where you're working out, if you're able to become centered, it will trigger that same state/ mindset, no matter where you are (literally and figuratively).
4. Implement Routine. To some, this could seem very boring. I'm not saying shut down your spontaneous side, but routine can be a great way to bring familiarity to an unfamiliar place or time in your life. While I love supporting local, independent shops, one of my best travel tips is: the second you touch down at the airport, map a Whole Foods. You can find one in most major cities, either near the airport or your hotel. Since most layouts are fairly similar, choosing a grocery like Whole Foods will actually end up saving you time— not to mention the obvious perks of having healthy snacks handy when you’re on the go. I know when most people think of Whole Foods, they don’t exactly think “budgeting”, but this little routine will also end up saving you money! Grabbing some quick $3 breakfasts (like superfood oatmeal cups by Vilgilant Eats and Purely Elizabeth), $1 bottles of spring water, transportable fruits like apples, pears, plums— not only allows you to stay on a healthy path, it also reduces the temptation of grabbing a $4 acidic SmartWater from your mini fridge or a processed snack from a vending machine or convenient store. I also highly suggest grabbing a green drink, low in sugar (4ish grams a serving), to alkalize your system and help combat travel stress.
During my move, I have loved discovering new places, but when I'm feeling a tad overwhelmed, you have no idea how comforting it is to walk into somewhere like a Sprouts-- anywhere I can go to avoid unnecessary stimuli.
In order to master these tips, you must first challenge yourself to devote time to be still. Time to check-in and pay attention to what does and doesn't work for you: activities, foods, etc. By doing this, I was able to find the very things that bring me to a state of homeostasis. (And, also, things that lead me to the brink of spiraling.) This custom “wellness formula” is invaluable when you're entering a time of stress, change, upheaval. Take inventory of the things that help you self-regulate and feel whole and authentic... and do what it takes to make sure that you’re living on that level. It’s the most self-honoring thing you can do!
Do you have any self-regulating routines?! Please share in the comments section below!
Self-Care: Part 2!
I recently dropped one of my tried and true philosophies...and paid for it! Even when (especially when) you're overwhelmed and busy, self-care is imperative. These videos are slightly tricky to follow because they're from my Instagram stories and I usually lose my train of thought because the videos stop after 15 seconds SO, I will fill you in...
I have been desperately been trying to adopt a much more simplified lifestyle when it comes to STUFF. I can't even call it "minimalism" just yet because I attempted it before my move and I failed miserably. I ended up having two garage sales, sold stuff on Craigslist, and Facebook marketplace, gave things away, and donated two trucks full of decor and home goods! YET, somehow, that still didn't get me to the point of reaching "minimalist". Why? 1. Apparently, I'm not cool enough. (Totally kidding, but, really, I'm going to have to redefine the term and make it my own...I'm a stylist. I can't own three pairs of jeans and I'm not sorry.) 2. Because it took me three solid days of moving and three trips in a small U-haul van to clear out my house. This eventful topic will be a blog post on its own because I want to share my tips and lessons learned for those of you who are looking to shed some pounds...not on your body this time, but in you home and consciousness!
During those three days, plus the previous days I prepped for my move after working full days, I didn't really invest the necessary TLC in my honor...and I felt it. Without going into too much detail, it probably took me two full days before I came back into my body. No bueno.
Anyway, I frequently hear people plead their case as to why they haven't tried daily meditation, cleaner eating, or just fit in that warm and delightful "me" time-- and it's usually because work has been crazy, their kids have a lot of activities, they've been traveling, etc. The reality is, the more hectic your life is, the more imperative self-care is! Being mindful of balance and being mindful of just being mindful is HUGE when it comes to health, happiness, and genuine wealth.
Similar to why flight attendants instruct you to put on your oxygen mask BEFORE helping a loved one, you cannot give from an empty cup...or in the context of the airplane, you cannot save someone else's life if you yourself are incapacitated!
As always, I must close by saying that this is a constant evolution. Do I meditate, exercise, oil pull, call my family, spend time with friends, and cook 3 balanced meals each day? Nope. But opening up your consciousness to these truths each day is everything and will allow you to slowly reach a new spectrum of balance and ease!
A Life Lesson Served Warm...with a side of self-awareness, seasoned with self-pity
First of all, I laughed out loud when I wrote this title because even though it's extremely dramatic, it's not too far from the truth! In my quest to get my 30's off to a good start, I decided to go full tilt into my consulting business without much of a doubt. I had a strong strategy in line, I had a keen feeling LA was my future, and I pursued my dreams. Well, as most of us know, "we plan and God laughs". I will not go into a spiral story about how hard my life is because that's just ridiculous, but I also wouldn't say my life has been a bed of roses. For the sake of authenticity, I always speak my truth-- even when it puts me in a slightly vulnerable state...especially considering the social media world we live in where we show the public our "highlight reel" (most of which is staged). Well, that's just not my jam because I don't think that serves anyone. So, my personal preference is to keep it real and the wiser I get, the more I really want to air that all out. (Especially in my line of work-- I feel like our primary goal is to encourage others. SO, I don't think it's very productive to paint a perfect picture of yourself for people, simultaneously saying you're going to help them tap into their true, authentic self!)
So, on to my story, in the attempt to build a bit of a financial cushion, gain more exposure, and do something I love dearly (style), I recently got a job at Saks Fifth Avenue. I first have to say that the inner workings of this corporate company is quite impressive. Second, I have to say that by taking this position, I was able to learn A LOT about myself. Exposing myself to a once extremely familiar environment made me see just how much I've changed over the past few years. Actually, not only that I've changed, but that I've been able to really get to know myself, truly. Just being in that job role for a short period resulted in old anxieties coming up and with them a pile of food cravings (particularly my blast from the past, tried-and-true comfort food: Chinese take-out).
At first, this irrational behavior totally caught me off guard and I almost resented the feeling that I'd lost contact/control with my centered-self, but looking at it now makes me realize that by having this experience, I am able to relate to my clients that much more. There is value in remembering what it was like to feel like I sort of "needed" to eat/ drink __________. I was also watching myself opt out of daily forms of self-care! WTF was going on?!
One thing that didn't waiver was my ability to check-in. I felt off, fuzzy, disoriented, and far from myself so I was able to stop and ask myself what was going on. Apart from the obvious (working in retail and doing my consults meant I was working every single day), I realized that it was my intuition and basic human needs that were crying out. I had lost focus on what really matters and that is being a Lifestyle Consultant. I know that without a doubt helping people optimize their everyday by way of clean living is my calling.
I was so consumed with getting to point B that I had lost sight of the reason why I was wanting to have that cushion-- to be doing what I LOVE doing: helping people...and in order for me to do that, I have to be in my right mind/body/soul. I do still wholeheartedly believe that assisting people with their wardrobes does help them by making them feel a level of confidence, getting the most out of an evening or an event, being able to self-express, but there is a fine line. Absolutely! (Click here for a more in-depth entry on this topic.)
I also realized that to support my highly sensitive self, I really shouldn't overwork and in the process of overworking, I shouldn't decide to skip out on taking care of myself when it is the most opportune time to do so! Another whammy: I should honor my unique traits by opting for a more supportive work environment...one that is a little more controlled. P.S. If you're interested in more on the subject of Highly Sensitive People and finding the right workplace, this book is great!
Going into this situation, I could have told you what would happen, but I thought it could be an exception...maybe. Sort of like when you think drinking that third or fourth drink THIS TIME will be okay.... when is it ever okay?!
So, in conclusion, this experience was a wonderful opportunity to really FEEL these life truths:
1. It is never an okay idea to drop self-care. You need TLC in many forms: exercise, being in nature, good magazines, pampering, etc.
2. Cravings for foods that don't contribute to your health, also don't contribute to your goals or self-esteem. They are signs that you are out of balance and that you want a pacifier (a hug, a jog, a different job, a nap). The urges feel SO legitimate because they really, really are. Your serious life upsets that cause silly cravings are as legit as it gets. The key is to focus on the serious life upsets. Until you do this, your wires will get crossed and you'll think that they're "serious" cravings and your solution lies in indulging in that food when, really, it's never the answer.
3. HONOR YOURSELF. When you hear that sweet voice in your head and feel that pitter-patter in your heart, and the flutter in your gut-- that doesn't mean you are doomed! Get quiet, listen, validate, and make a change. (Or make steps towards making a change...do what you can, now.) You are more than worth it. If you feel as if you've lost yourself in the mix of life and stress, do whatever you can to evoke that real you. For me, it's classic cinema, words of inspiration (particularly lectures from IIN), listening to Elvis, meditation, reading about my Myers-Briggs personality traits...anything that you can immediately identify with, that will allow you to breathe, and make you feel validated.
Stay-tuned for more brutal honesty about my exciting life adventure! The goal is to get to LA by spring and I'm not going to assume it's going to be easy or simple, but I know it will be eventful! And that's exactly the desire God has put in my heart! xo
What Inspires You to Be Better?
My love for fitness has not only been a gift to stay in shape but, more so my mental health! I can be feeling stressed, overwhelmed, heartbroken, angry, etc. and exercise has been my go-to to dissipate unwanted emotions. It's my reset.
When I get the opportunity to travel, I make it a point to bring my running shoes (or rollerblades). People usually think, "why would you exercise when you're on vacation?" and in my mind, I think, "why wouldn't you exercise on vacation?" It's the ultimate form of self-care and the perfect opportunity to site-see! When you run in a new/ different city, you get to see it in a different light. Some of my fondest vacation memories were spawned from me taking the time to workout. When I went on a cruise in high school, I ran on a treadmill in the gym that was at the very front tip of the boat. Just when I thought it might be a silly way to spend my time, I saw dozens of dolphins racing alongside the ship. It was beautiful. My mom and I recently decided to walk the river bridge and all of a sudden, a bald eagle swooped so low and flew right in front of us. When I lived in LA, I was close enough to run down Wilshire and Rodeo to regularly take-in the revolving window displays. None of which would have happened unless I was inspired to keep moving.
These photos were taken during my workouts just within the past few years. I prefer exercising outside because of all of the beauty that you can come across...THIS is what keeps me moving. Even when the weather isn't right for an outdoor run, some of my most exciting mental breakthroughs and visualizations come from exercising indoors. It's so much more than the sense of accomplishment, mental clarity, and physical benefits, but you get all of that in conjunction with ALL of the beauty you get to take in!
If this concept seems foreign to you or maybe even unrealistic, the new year is the perfect time to change your character for the better. Just decide that YOU are now opening yourself up to loving a good workout too! You can do it! The power IS within YOU! Want some motivation and accountability? Click here to set up a complimentary 45-minute phone/skype consultation!
*P.S. Real talk: I have to add something. I didn't always have this healthy mindset when it came to fitness. When I was younger, I used to workout because I had body image issues. I thought I needed to compensate for the indulgent foods I ate to stay trim. Even when I went to the lake for a few days with my friends in high school, I made sure I treaded water or ran. At the time, I probably didn't realize the other benefits because they weren't my focus and I was too busy trying to reach "perfection". Growing up, I would actually run on my parent's treadmill while watching the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue "Behind the Scenes" Special that I had tape recorded and played on repeat. Which is pretty funny to look back on, but, also, SO sad! I am hardly 5'2" and I could run for eternity and still never reach that place because it's not realistic! I'm not saying having inspirational images is bad, but I urge you to find someone with your body type to look up to! I actually find encouragement from looking at pictures of myself when I was at a really fit point or look to someone like Kourtney Kardashian because she and I have very similar body types and it's a healthy, realistic goal.
Moving forward, I want you to realize that finding a source of inspiration or motivation that goes beyond "image" is SO imperative. Doing this allows you the opportunity to avoid feeling discouraged since you're doing it purely because exercise makes you live longer, slows down the "deterioration process", gives you a sense of accomplishment, it increases endorphins that give you a state of well-being, and connects you to your body, mind, and soul. Weight loss and muscle tone just happen to be a bonus!
One of My TOP Wellness Tips...
The activities we partake in each day have a huge impact on our health. Feeding our souls with newness keeps us learning, evolving, and getting inspired....which ends up empowering us to become who we're meant to be. That is why going on field trips is actually one of my TOP wellness tips! Exposing yourself to beauty and exploring is SO important to your development. When we become stagnant in our lives, that's when negative talk can trickle into your brain, you feel less energized, and you use food for entertainment to fill that "lack". (What mindset we're in-- happy, sad, stressed, actually affects the way we metabolize/ assimilate our food and if it has an inflammatory effect on our bodies or not! Studies show that you could be eating healthy, but if you're stressed, it could cause just as much inflammation as someone eating poorly!) So, I suggest you get out and go to the museum, the library, the park, anywhere where you can absorb some culture and breathe in some life!
Some of My Favorite Holiday Recipes
Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without a little tradition and FOOD! One of the most common things I hear this time of year from clients is that they sort of see December as a "cheat" month because people gift them with goodies, they have their traditions, and/or they feel the need to accommodate their family. While I can understand these justifications, it honestly is just a tragedy to think that people will practically destroy their hard work and health by falling "victim" to tradition, family, and food! I'm sure "tragedy" seems a little dramatic, but if someone uses this type of justified thinking during the holidays, they're probably going to use it every holiday, family gathering, or in times of stress-- and it is MORE than unnecessary considering the vast options out there!
Recreating traditional recipes or craving whims is one of my favorite things to do because you're honestly not missing out. Not only do you get satiate that craving by getting partake in the tradition of still eating xyz, you also get that bonus satisfaction from the fact that you're not eating foods that make you susceptible to weight gain, illness, inflammation, and disease. I realize how good "conventional" holiday treats can taste, but at the end of the day, it really and truly is so much more about the emotions that food evokes than the actual food itself. It's a placebo effect. Daily, people are putting their life on the line (quality and longevity) for what? FLEETING moments of bliss and/or mindless eating. Because? As humans, we just want to feel good. So, if it means grabbing fast-food or eating Christmas cookies, we think it's worth it at the time because, again, we just want to feel good. But what we don't stop and realize is that food is just a short-term patch. A patch that will last an hour or so...until we feel back to where we started, OR worse because we're feeling guilty about what we just ate.
I just challenge you to go to the source of your discomfort, pain, or sense of dull and see what it's REALLY about. Usually, in my program, we touch on "Primary Foods": relationships, career, home environment, creativity, spirituality, finances, etc. These are the things that give us our primary source of energy, not food. When we're high on life and full of soul-food, ingestible food becomes an afterthought. SO, try thinking of ways you can elevate your sense of self without food-- realizing that we've built an emotional relationship with food that usually never ends well. TAKE YOUR POWER BACK.
One way to do this? When you want some indulgence via food, opt for healthier options/ alternatives. Trust me, they're out there! I would also like to highlight that while it isn't always easy-- it's also isn't always hard! When I first started this change, I had moments of withdrawal, but, now, someone couldn't pay me to eat most conventional treats/ foods. I don't see value in it-- not only because I now see the light and know that you can eat healthy AND delicious at the same time, but because that food just isn't appetizing when I know the harm it could have on my body, energy, and mental health....and what it's really made of. (Hint: it has just about as much real food in it and/or health benefits as eating a Christmas ornament.)
IF you would like some support and assistance in making this transformational transition, contact me for a complimentary 45-minute consultation....now, ENJOY THE RECIPES BELOW!
Basmati Rice Pudding
This is by far one of my favorite new food traditions! I do suggest making double because it's amazing right out of the oven AND eaten chilled the next day for breakfast...SO good. (The video above is from my Instagram story I recently posted.)
- 2 cups water
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 cup white basmati rice (rice with the lowest GI)
- 1 - 14 oz. can organic coconut milk
- 2 raw egg yolks only, beaten (the most nutritious part of the egg! Contrary to popular belief, studies show that yolks can actually lower your chance of heart disease!)
- 3 Tbsp + 1 tsp lakanto, xylitol, erythritol, or brown coconut sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut, optional garnish.
- for added "holiday" flavor, omit the 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon and nutmeg and use 1 1/2 tsp of premixed pumpkin pie spice- or, just add allspice, cardamom, clove, etc. You can also add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or Frontier's vanilla flavoring before baking.
To Cook Rice: In a medium saucepan bring 2 cups water to boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 30 minutes until rice is tender.
To Make Pudding:
1. Combine coconut milk, sweetener, egg, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
2. Combine liquid ingredients with cooked rice. Mix well.
3. Fold into a baking dish or casserole dish that has been coated evenly with quality butter or coconut oil.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes.
5. Serve warm or chilled! This dessert/ breakfast is delicious when topped with shredded coconut, berries, pumpkin seeds, and whipping cream, if desired.
- 1 can of organic coconut cream
- 1 - 2 Tbsp of sweetener (optional)
1. Using an electric mixer or hand help blender, whip cream and healthy sweetener of choice at highest speed until stiff peaks form (approximately 3 minutes).
2. Store in an airtight container for at least 4 hours (best overnight).
Mini Egg Casseroles
For this easy crowd pleaser, measurements really all depend on how many people you're cooking for! My mom and I have separately made these a handful of times without an actual recipe and we've both eyed it and it came out pretty much the same.
- Eggs, organic and pasturized is best
- Almond milk, unsweetened
- Additions: chopped zucchini, spinach, bell pepper, onion, beef or turkey sausage, quality, goat cheese, tomato, shredded red skin potato-- really anything that you might desire in an omelet! Also, it's fun to have at least few different options to appeal to larger groups. Maybe one meatless and/or cheeseless.
1. If you're using meat, onion, zucchini, bell pepper, or anything that takes a while to cook through, first, cook in a pan. I prefer sauteing onion, zucchini, and my peppers a little before baking to ensure that they're tender. Also, partially brown any meat before baking!
2. Mix all ingredients into a bowl. Add a splash of almond milk. For approx a dozen eggs, maybe 1/4-1/2 cup of almond milk. Add salt, pepper, etc. to taste preference.
3. Evenly pour into lightly oiled muffin tins (ghee, butter, olive oil) or paper liners (they do stick a bit to the paper, but it does make serving a little easier)
4. Bake at 375 for approx 18-20 minutes.
Pairing suggestion: these taste great with piped whipped avocado! (Sort of like a frosting. You just blend avocado with a little bit of olive oil to make it smooth and creamy. Then, add the mixture to a ziplock bag with a tiny corner snipped.)
This recipe was a fun one to create because I have always had a LOVE for ginger cookies (especially the giant ones at Whole Foods), but in the persuit of eating foods that align with my body, I don't choose to eat gluten or refined cane sugar-- SO, this delicious cookie was created! Pairing suggestion: Hallmark Christmas movie ; )
- 3/4 cup organic palm oil shortening (Nutivia has a responsibly sourced option that doesn't harm the orangutan's natural habitat)
- 3/4 cup packed brown coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup amber coconut nectar (Big Tree is a good option)
- 1 egg
- 2 cups brown rice flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea/pink salt
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves or pumpkin pie spice
- 1/8 cup xylitol (optional garnish)
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a large bowl, mix together shortening, brown sugar, and nectar.
3. Whisk in egg. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients (minus xylitol).
5. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture and blend until fully combined.
6. Shape dough in small balls (approx 1 1/2 inch...a little smaller than a golf ball) and gently press dough on a plate of scattered xylitol.
7. Transfer to baking sheet 1" apart.
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
9. Let cool for 5. Then, transfer to cooling rack.
Seasons Greetings and Happy Eating!
LA Eye Candy
During my client sessions, we consistently touch on what fuels them. It's so imperative to pinpoint the activities that bring you joy, energy, and keep you moving. These very things are what belong in your personal "manual". When you're not feeling your optimum self, they're your go-to's to replenish, inspire, and bring you back to life. One of MY personal "weapons" in my arsenal is art. Almost any art or creativity will do, but some of my favorite art happens to be housed in The Getty Museum in LA. Not only is the artwork stunning, but the actual museum grounds and gardens are masterpieces alone. Here is my afternoon at the museum.
C'mon Get Happy, If You're Happy and You Know It, Because I'm Happy...okay, you get it
There has been something weighing heavy on my heart the past few days so, I figured I should write it out. If you're like me, you regularly come across inspirational quotes and literature stating that happiness isn't something that can be acquired, but is simply a frame of mind or a decision. One of the more common quotes by Abe Lincoln states just that, "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be". While I absolutely agree with this, I also feel a bit guilty for being one of those people who posts these things on social media, making it seem like being happy is so simplistic.
When I read these motivational quotes, depending on my mood, it can either help me immediately snap out of a rut or it just pisses me off. Some people require a little more than a change of tune or getting up on the "right" side of the bed. As a highly sensitive person, this is something I've dealt with my whole life. Since I was a small child, if I was experiencing internal hardship, which usually resulted in my acting out or falling into a slump, people would frequently tell me to essentially get over it or, my least favorite, "this too shall pass". This coffee cup advice seemed to work for so many people that I began to think that I was a defected human because I just couldn't shake it that easily.
Sometimes, if we are experiencing an imbalance, it isn't so easy to just snap our fingers and get happy because there is a correction that needs to be made. While this imbalance can inconveniently get in the way, it is wise to shift your perspective and be so grateful for it because it's your body's way of saying, "there is an area of neglect"! If we avoid this area or dumb it with a vice, it can manifest into a lot of mental and physical burdens, ten times its multitude. While it isn't always easy to get to the land of happy, it is SO important to point out that it is possible to get there and rise above!
During my 6-month program, my clients and I focus on goals. One of the most common things discussed is their goal to achieve a state of well-being, peace, and happiness. It's always a difficult subject, only because there are so many components to this weighted issue. Happiness is a product that has to be broken down into the many actions that we identify this feeling/ emotion with. Perspective is absolutely everything because while newlyweds think financial freedom brings "happiness" and think they will acquire joy by way of money, the single entrepreneur who is sitting on a large sum of money and has a comfortable cash flow thinks they could achieve happiness, if only they could get married. The interesting part of all of this is that through many studies, one Deepak Chopra performed, it has been proven that the amount of money someone acquires does not improve long-term happiness. The only time money does affect long-term happiness is when you worry about not having enough of it, which then reduces your state of well-being.
Touching on this point a little deeper, while being goal-oriented is invaluable, there are some people who are constantly focusing on their horizon/ future. "When I reach this level of success, I'll be happy." I think big picture goals are great, but if you don't make note of daily and weekly accomplishments and celebrate the mile-markers, you are selling yourself short. By the time you get to your end goal, or "destination", you won't get to reap the oh-so-nourishing sense of achievement because being a "future seeker" means you will already have your sites set on that new horizon. Being in the present will allow you to see your success and enjoy it. Staring at the horizon means you will keep going and finally stop once you've "arrived"... when you're dead.
I recently listened to an amazing lecture Deepak Chopra gave about something called the Happiness Formula. I found this extremely interesting and probably the soundest self-help I've come across. This formula is: H = S + C + V.
"H"- happiness, "S"- set point in brain that depicts if you're happy or not, stemming from how you received loved and were cared for in the first three years of your life, which can be changed with some mindfulness (50%), "C"- economic conditions of living/ how often you think about money (12%), and "V"- voluntary choices you make every day to receive pleasure (38%). Not only does this formula go much deeper in detail, Mr. Chopra has also developed a "well-being test" that is said to be a very solid predictor of what's going to happen in your future. The results are based on the calculated scores in areas of well-being including: social, career, physical, financial, and community.
So, on to rounding about this jumbled mess I've created. For anyone experiencing days of sadness, depression, fear, or, "analysis paralysis", please know and consider that there are things that you can do to alleviate this pain that doesn't come in a prescription bottle. While I am not a doctor and don't aspire to be, I have seen countless founded studies and have personally experienced the outcome of the many actions humans can take to rise above a rut and diagnosed depression.
So, is achieving happiness as easy to receive as simply subscribing to it? Yes and no. I think making a decision to make the necessary steps to obtain happiness is the golden ticket. What steps am I talking about? The ones Deepak Chopra touched on, the "primary foods" that are emphasized throughout the teachings at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I received my certification. Not only has exercise proven to be hugely effective in fighting depression, diet is the ultimate whammy in the world of rebounding from mental and physical ailments, along with meditation, proper sleep, and spirituality/ religion. Supplementation like omega-3's, L-5-MTHF, and SAMe are gaining a lot of popularity and acceptance, even in the medical field, in assisting to help alleviate depression. There are also a handful of amazing authors, specialists, and doctors who have created some lovely soul food in the form of books! Please know that you aren't defected because bumper sticker "words of wisdom" aren't enough for you.
Probably one of the largest factors that influenced my personal journey was learning about the importance of gut health and the major role it plays in your body's ability to cope and create your "happy" hormone, serotonin. "Gut bacteria creates 95% of the body's serotonin." To read more about gut health, Donna Gates is an amazing source of knowledge. Another enlightening condition that can affect your state of well-being full tilt is adrenal fatigue, which can be caused by something as ordinary as excess caffeine, but can result in depression and/or very similar symptoms to depression.
So, in conclusion, if you're trying to acquire happiness, I am a firm believer that you can achieve it because it is already within you. While state of mind IS everything, sometimes, it isn't as easy for everyone. We are all built differently, we all require different levels of self-care, and supplementation. Lifestyle plays a HUGE part and so does being mindful of the way we listen to and nourish our bodies. Please entertain the many holistic ways you can actively work towards tapping into your internal happy. Again, while it isn't always easy, it is within your power.
My Birthday Therapy Session
Working with my clients is by far one of my favorite things to do. To see these wonderful people get some relief from having the opportunity to sift through their thoughts for an hour every other week is truly such a gift for me. There have been a handful of occasions where it was obvious that I, too, would benefit from the very same attention. (I think everyone on the planet would benefit.) Usually, when I have a problem, I will walk through the steps in my head when I'm trying to resolve something inside of me. I also have a few wonderful women online whose podcasts and articles I seek out, but, sometimes, a quality conversation is the best medicine in the world!
During my recent birthday trip to Los Angeles, while it was truly wonderful, I was having a slightly stressful time. It was a pretty jam packed four days. I drank a little when it's growing clear to me that I shouldn't...which will come later in another blog post, I was visiting an old friend whose vibe I was having a hard time gauging; sometimes, I can't tell if what I'm feeling is actually me or the other person...that's why communication and feedback is EVERYTHING to me. Otherwise, I tend to shut down a little because I get caught up in "analysis paralysis". Another chunk of stress was weighing out the pros and cons of potentially moving back to LA.
On the actual evening of my birthday, my friend and I had experienced a series of unfortunate events, leading to a really late dinner.* While we were getting ready, she asked me what I wanted to manifest-- what celebrity I would want to see or if I wanted a group of gorgeous men to show up. (She knows me quite well and realizes how I do this on the regular to get myself excited.) I thought about it and said that I wanted to run into someone who would totally lock in to me...tell me I'm wonderful and beautiful, and totally hone in on me all night. I said this all laughing, but who wouldn't want some quality, unwavering attention? Hysterically honest, I know. But if you've read any of these blog posts, I clearly put honesty before ego for the sake of an authentic story!
We got to dinner. It was a rocky start, but then a familiar face walked in, Cuba Gooding Jr., (I always enjoy seeing the stars, but wasn't exactly star struck). Only, there was something different about the night and him. I got up from my seat to visit the ladies room to powder my nose and decided: I had no control over the unfavorable circumstances that had led up to that evening, but I did have control over putting myself out there to upgrade my night. (Mr. Gooding had said a few nice things to me from across the bar, so I also figured the odds were in my favor that he wouldn't have anyone escort me away or anything...so, I wasn't being crazy/brave.)
Well, long story short, he ended up making my birthday evening. He bought me a drink, walked me to the patio right on the ocean, gave me his jacket, and gave me some amazing life lessons. One of which was a reason why I wanted to go to LA in the first place. I wanted to shed this internal hesitation I had somehow adopted. Almost an internal dilemma about putting myself out there: posting cooking tutorials, dating, speaking my truth, etc. I know my value and I have a deep-rooted knowledge of who I am and, more recently, acquired the very purpose of why I'm supposed to be on this Earth. So, why the hesitation? Cuba saw that in me. He honed in on me and for about three hours devoted all of his time in rectifying something inside me that needed a little TLC. (He's also an empath, if anyone was wondering.) He actually referred to me as a beautiful bird. I was strong and unwavering on the inside, but it couldn't be detected from the outside because I appeared to be frail. He asked me (paraphrasing, of course) to think of something that I did on a daily basis. Something that I was good at. I said cooking. He asked what was something that I could cook, without really even thinking about it. I said eggs. He said, "okay, so, if I told you if you could cook some eggs to the best of your ability, I would give you one million dollars, what would you be thinking about?" I quickly replied, knowing it was probably the wrong answer, "I would be thinking about the million dollars!" and he said "Wrong. You would think about taking one step at a time to that fridge to get those eggs. Now, once you held those eggs in your hands, what would you be thinking about?" Answering truthfully, I said, "still, the million dollars!" He said, "Wrong. You would just need to do your thing. Make those eggs like you would normally make them and forget about the million dollars." This conversation was quite a bit longer, but it really opened up the skies for me. Instead of fixing my mind on the outcome, I needed to intuitively act, without hesitation. This was all very serendipitous in more ways than one because on the airplane, I began reading a book called "The Power of Serendipity: The Simple Ways to Get Anything You Want..that no one talks about", by Joshua Rosenthal. The book also talks about how "the key to getting where you want to go is not waiting too long to take action". There's thinking of an idea or feeling an urge and, then, there's taking action. Anything in between is where you can get into trouble.
The lesson in all of this is to take one natural step at a time. It's difficult to be a details person, but also a big picture person. You can waste time getting stuck on the details, but you can also lose time getting overwhelmed when considering the big picture. This is why I always tell my clients to not get too crazy with their to-do lists, plan each day at a time, but still keep your big picture in the back of your head, only using it as a reference to make sure that your actions contribute to your big picture ideals. My mom frequently tells me that I need to practice "shoot, aim-- not aim, shoot" because I will miss the plate if I focus too long on aiming just right.
So, I came to some serious conclusions on this trip that I am going to take a leap of faith. I am not going to over analyze it or prematurely plan, I am going to focus on what I can do right now: the things that I know are genuine to my God-given nature and just put one foot in front of the other. By getting in this authentic rhythm, without thinking of the risks, judgments, and varied outcomes, I will inherit that "million dollars" in the form of a life pass-- to just do what feels natural and true, without hesitation. Apparently, this is a lesson I was supposed to REALLY learn because if you read one of my previous blog posts, this is the exact epiphany I came across...which lets me know that I am on to something big-- a new, exciting chapter!
Have you ever experienced synchronicity or serendipity? Please share below!
*I want to underline that my birthday was phenomenal and these undisclosed events were/are pretty comical because most of them were beyond our control-- so we did a superb job just rolling with the flow. Sometimes, you need these things in order to gain much-needed perspective on life and people!
Be weary of people who use you as a doormat. Your role in their life may not be so clear, to you or them, especially if they're good at maintenance. They may put in the energy to clean up mistakes, maybe even make you feel special by showing you off, or, even, apologize when you feel as if you've been walked all over. If you see yourself as playing the role of a fixture, a convenient accent in someone's life, and you give them credit for rising to the occasion for regular maintenance-- I'm sorry to point out: a doormat is a doormat. Even if they treat you with the utmost care to preserve your grandeur, YOU ARE NOT A DOORMAT TO BEGIN WITH. So, get off the floor, dust yourself off, and get the hell out of there!
How to Energize Your Workout 101
First of all, I am proud to say that I am now done with school at IIN! So, I will be able to fully devote myself to making these blog posts a little bit more consistent. (Yay, God!)
With the spring weather as amazing as it has been, I have done everything in my power to spend as much time outside as I can! I can honestly say one of my favorite times of the day is when I go on my outdoor run. There is little to no persuasion needed to get out and go-- because on top of the sunshine, nature, and endorphins, I am really loving my current playlist!
I think it is so important to be mindful of your thoughts during exercise. You generate so much energy when you're creating movement, so why not channel thought into that energy and put out something wonderful? Adding a little musical assistance to your workout is sort of like adding a soundtrack to the (hopefully empowering) movie you're playing in your head! Here are some of my current (and past) loves. I know, it is a little all over the place-- but there is consistency in the fact that they're all upbeat!
Now, get moving!
Warm up/ Cool down/ Reps:
It's Tricky - Run DMC
Bullet - Chelsea Lankes
Love Train - The O'Jays
Hold On - Wilson Phillips
Wannabe (Radio Edit) - Spice Girls
Tell Me If You Wanna Go Home - Keira Knightly
Breathless - The Corrs
Fight Song - Rachel Platten
Backbeat - Dagny
Hide Away - Daya
Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap
Young Folks - Peter Bjorn and John
Uma - Panama Wedding
What's My Name - Rihanna
Bang My Head (feat. Sia & Fetty Wap) - David Guetta
Burning Love - Elvis Presley
Heroes (we could be) - Alesso
Run/ Fast-paced Exercise
Kiss the Sky (feat. Wyclef Jean) - The Knocks
Celeste - Ezra Vine
Wild Ones (feat. Sia) - Flo Rida
Live Young Die Free - Fletcher
The Show Goes On - Lupe Fiasco
Spotlight (feat. Usher) - Gucci Mane
Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It! - Kishi Bashi
Can't Stop the Feeling - Justin Timberlake
War Paint - Fletcher
Say Geronimo - Sheppard
Dude (Looks Like A Lady) - Aerosmith
Just Dance - Lady Gaga
Pretty Girl Rock - Keri Hilson
Push It - Salt-N-Pepa
Tambourine - Eve
Somebody Loves You - Betty Who
The First Single (You Know Me) - The Format
Turn Me On (feat. Nicki Minaj) - David Guetta
Forever - Chris Brown
Try Me (feat. Jennifer Lopez & Matoma) - Jason Derulo
2 Heads - Coleman Hell
Love Myself - Hailee Steinfeld
I currently subscribe to Spotify and it really is worth every cent because you're able to create your own playlists with their endless library of song selections, listen to their pre-made Workout playlists like "Cardio", "HIIT Hop", and "Fun Workout", AND one really cool feature is their group of Running playlists because you start running and the music matches your tempo. So, as you slow down or accelerate, the song transitions to something that has a beat that matches your stride.
While I love my list now, I'm always wanting suggestions-- so, please tell me what your favorites are in the comments below!
As the temperature has started rise, so has my excitement for spending some much-needed quality time with good ol' Mother Nature. I really think most people underestimate the power of the great outdoors...I say that because even though I continuously experience the amazing impact it has on me (mood, clarity, sense of peace, energy), it's strangely sometimes a little difficult to come around and commit to an afternoon outside. This is why the second it's warm enough, I take the initiative to exercise in the open air.
I could go on and on about the science behind the Earth emitting certain ions & positive vibrations, the sun serving us nice hot, heaping servings of vitamin D, and the multitude of studies that show how healing nature is (anxiety, depression, etc.), but I don't need to because a majority of the population has experienced the "feel good" for themselves!
All of the Blue Zones (where people live the longest, have less illness and health disorders, and have a much shorter period of compromised quality of life, due to deterioration) have quite a few common threads. One of the consistencies is that these people spend a lot of their everyday outdoors! The only Blue Zone in America actually devotes part of their week to spending time with nature, as part of their religious practice.
So, this isn't an informative blog entry as much as it is a persuasive one. GO OUTSIDE AND BREATHE. Stroll, run, play a sport, take your dog, take your kids, have a picnic, paint, or just sit outside and think of all of the things you have to be grateful for! All of these things: togetherness, exercise, conscious breathing, creativity, giving gratitude- are all activities that have been proven to promote health and well-being. For those of you who have periods when your head is a little grey (or closer to doom and gloom) and this suggestion sounds kind of awful...YOU are the perfect candidate for this little excursion! It's the perfect remedy. Drag yourself outside.
So, this week, schedule a date with Mother Nature- she's generous, vibrant, nurturing, and best of all, she's cheap! ; )
What ways do you enjoy being outdoors? Share below!
Whether you have rosy memories of your childhood or (sadly) poor ones, there is one thing that every adult can benefit from. This little thing is something called "self-parenting"! As adults, we are responsible for making ourselves our own priority. Like a parent cares for a child, we must make sure we are properly fed, clothed, and loved.
My first easy example of this: packing snacks for yourself when you know it's going to be a hectic day. I love keeping tea bags, a giant water bottle, stevia packets, and treats like Bulletproof Collagen Bars and Mary's Gone Crackers in my work desk.
Another thing I do for myself is always carrying a cute little pouch labeled "Girlie Stuff" for...you guessed it, girly stuff! It is sort of like the equivalent of an adult diaper bag. I make sure it's properly stocked before I leave the house each day and just throw it in the purse I'm using. Tweezers, tissue, stevia packets, tea bags, lip balm, moisturizer, tiny deodorant, roller fragrance, hair tie, and other lady products. This may seem silly and slightly elementary, but I can't tell you how many times I've thanked myself for carrying it with me! It frequently comes in handy and it's just a really thoughtful way of showing yourself that you follow through, you are loved, and taken care of. It also allows you to avoid unnecessary stress. You obviously don't need a fancy pouch, but I have found that the cuter it is, the more I enjoy carrying it. (For my male readers, trying filling a pouch with some of the items mentioned above....maybe add a pocket knife to the list and store it your glove box or desk drawer.)
A very important role of self-parenting: dress properly for your day and always bring a jacket. This regards to the temperature, but, also, looking put together. When we feel polished and invest some time on our appearance, it's more likely that we'll go the extra mile-- feeling good about stepping out, being seen, and getting things done! Another bonus: having the opportunity to say, "yes, I can meet up immediately after work for dinner." We need to show ourselves that we're worth the time to look our best and be seen!
Last, check-in. I talk about this quite a bit because it's so very important and I feel like it's worth being reminded. When a child seems irritable, the parent's role is to try to figure out what's wrong. Do they need a new diaper?, are they hungry?, do they need a nap?, do they feel well? The same goes for ourselves. When we're short tempered, lethargic, weepy, or stressed, we need to ask ourselves, "What's going on? How can I alleviate xyz for you?" Sometimes, it's as easy as realizing we're overwhelmed and maybe a bath or a balanced meal needs to be on our evening agenda.
Like a child, this type of supervision can prevent burnout, illness, and breakdowns. Make Y.O.U. your utmost priority. Without you being your best you, your family, profession, and social circle will be short changed. So, ask yourself, "What types of self-parenting do I currently practice and how can I improve?" If you feel comfortable, answer below in the comments section!
For more tips on how to be an excellent parent to yourself, read my other self-care entries below!
Success at Its Best
Up until you CAN do something, you can't. Success and failure aren't at two separate crossroads- they're both on your path to growth and becoming more than you were in the moments before your current reality. ✌🏼️ Inspired by the amazing "Manifest Success" lecture by Catherine Collautt
Valentine's Day is around the corner so, I thought this form of self-care would be appropriate. Although, we should be doing this on the regular! Getting and giving hugs and affection.
Did you know that lack of physical affection can actually kill babies? If babies aren't touched, rocked, and loved on enough, they don't grow or develop at a natural, healthy rate-- increasing their chances of illness, disabilities, and mortality. So, why this grim information? Development doesn't end at infancy or, even, the age that we reach our max height. We continuously keep developing, therefore, this touchy-feely business pertains to ALL stages of life.
As humans living in this kind of society, most of us are touch-deprived. This particular article is specific to caring for elderly, but I think the information and techniques are actually very useful to apply to your everyday interactions with anyone. Whether we live in a household full of people, a dorm room of one, or a condo of two, it really makes no difference...you might be one of the majority who is lacking touch. The good news: giving affection is just as useful to you as getting it. It's definitely one of those two-way streets where whoever is on the receiving end makes no difference-- you're still getting affection...and what's even better, potentially supplying someone's life-altering deficiency.
What do you do if you're a single person living in a city of strangers? Various spa treatments like massages, facials, scalp treatments, and delux mani/ pedis are great options. On a tight budget? Giving yourself regular hot towel scrubs is an awesome way to reap the benefits of touch. Intimacy comes in all shapes and forms. Getting a little lovin' from a spouse, partner, grandparent, masseuse, or yourself is all good!
Lastly, sorry, but I HAVE to add this-- There are some (mostly in my generation) who assume that sex is the primary solution for alleviating the urge for affection. Sadly, this could very well be someone with their wires crossed. Sometimes, those people seeking/ craving "passion" from randoms only continue this unhealthy cycle because they can't seem to feel fulfilled; when, really, you might just need a prescription of giving/getting 3 hugs a day! Poof, the craving dissipates! The same goes for foods. Most of the time, when we think we need sugar, we really need to unwind or indulge in a life activity. When you crave intimacy (or chocolate excessively), try having a deep conversation or get a massage (preferably from someone you care about)-- get creative!
So, TRY IT! This week, try hugging your loved ones. Spend time with a friend frequently and you don't greet with a hug?...boost the quality of your relationship and HUG them! xOxO!
Mind Your P's and Q's!
This particular post (and form of self-care) will be very short and to the point: be nice to people. By being polite, mindful, gracious to other people, you are causing a ripple effect that will surely come back to you. We all have experienced some unpleasant situations when we are just the innocent bystander caught in someone else's bad day. Take it from Taylor Swift, it's best to shake it off! Give your feelings validation if something hurt you or made you mad and then, do the unthinkable: try to correct them with kindness. I don't mean shake your finger at them, but lead by example.
If a stranger is abrasive towards you, you don't know what they're going through (which doesn't justify their attitude), but, sometimes, you have to just feel compassion for individuals who don't have the harnessed strength you may have. It's actually very sad that they let external affairs inflict and burden their day to such an extent. Turning the other cheek can be one of your most powerful tools. Like attracts like so, do everything it takes to avoid dampening your positive vibrations. No one is deserving or important enough to steal your joy and opportunity to have a great day. My dad has always said, "be a thermostat, not a thermometer" and I think it's great wisdom to put in your back pocket each morning. By being nice to people, we are allowing others to do the same.
Need some bonus inspiration? Watch Disney's Pollyanna. This movie molded me at a very young age and is definitely the most impactful piece of cinema I've seen! I'm completely serious, it will change you.
If you want to get involved and make an even bigger impact, join the "DUDE. be nice." movement...really great cause and really cool t-shirts.
Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, the early bird catches the worm, and Benjamin Franklin once said, "The early morning has gold in its mouth." For years, people have tried to figure out what makes a businessman a "tycoon", a mom "super", or an athlete a "champion". A lot of these answer seekers have come up with one hypothesis: it all lies in their morning ritual. So, for today's form of self-care: create a morning routine!
There is so much opportunity in the early morning. You are able to get your head on straight, feed yourself some nourishment that will successfully energize you, and tie up any loose ends that could potentially dampen your day. Many successful people have thing in common and it's that they start their day early. This isn't so much me challenging you to wake up at 5:00 every morning, but to make sure you're giving yourself enough time to prep for your day, before you step out the door in the morning, and, also, that this time is quality time.
In my opinion, I don't know that it's so much that these successful people are getting a competitive advantage because of the extra hours, I think it must have to do with the fact that just as soon as you wake up, you are much more in-tune with your subconscious, or "superconscious". Your subconscious is said to be the part of your brain that holds your "geniusness". If you are able to harness the power of your subconscious mind, you could access all of your most creative, feasible ideas...and, even, where those lost set of keys are! I don't like to rewrite what's already been written well so, if you want the full lowdown, this is a great article explaining it here.
Now, to the self-care part! Whether you like to read, exercise, or find it practical to do your food prep in the morning, I suggest you pick a healthy routine that works for you, keeps you as calm as possible, and stick with it. One of the lecturers at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition boasts the benefits of writing in a journal first thing after you open your eyes. "Morning pages, created by Julia Cameron, are an empowering tool used to cultivate creativity and personal transformation. The idea is to wake up and immediately write a few pages about anything, simply transcribing your thoughts. The purpose of writing in the early morning rather than the evening is significant, as it allows you to capture your thoughts before your ego is awake and your usual defenses are in place. Your vulnerability in the early morning allows you to write truthfully and purposefully. Morning Pages are like a tough love friend - they encourage you to face your aversions and urge you to take action on your own behalf."
Prayer, meditation, visualization, and affirmations are all things I try to rotate in my routine. They are a great way to reinforce priorities and stay mindful of your intentions. Visualizing a successful day before you have it is such a valuable tool; especially if you have a big day ahead of you with potential stressors like a big meeting or proposal you want to excel at. Many athletes and businesspeople swear by this technique.
Some of my other A.M. loves: starting my day with a tall glass of water, brewing a cup of tea or making a delicious Bulletproof coffee in the morning (if I'm needing to be particularly productive or peppy), and getting/ giving love to my dog, Eloise.
Your mornings hold so much powerful potential! Do you fill that time with meaningful or nourishing activities? Do you have a morning routine, an early riser ritual, or crave a new change? Let me know in the comments below!
When I decided to start eating clean, I never realized the domino effect that would take place. Once you being eliminating nonsense from your diet, your body begins slowly cleansing itself from built up toxins. The first time I really noticed a difference, other than the immediate gift of amplified energy and not having to diet anymore, I kid you not, was when I went for a run along the river. I was honestly amazed. The colors where SO much brighter than normal...it was a mind-blowing distraction during my entire run because I kept wondering, "what in the world is going on?"! Then, I finally traced it to my lifestyle change. I think it had to do with multiple factors. One, it was a little bit of a meta-physical outcome-- a change of perspective and a brighter outlook. Two, by eliminating chemicals and faux food from my diet, my senses were amplified and I sort of became superhuman and capable of seeing in technicolor! Some of the other things I experienced: balanced mood, reduced stress and anxiety, clearer skin, no more brain fog, memories, ideas, and words were much more accessible, and no more 4:00 slump!
Sadly, this is how all humans should function, but most of America is cheating itself because we've slowly began feeding our bodies "matter" that contains more engineered ingredients than real food. (This is actually what has gotten many companies to legally not be able to call their chicken "chicken", beef "beef", and cheese "cheese"...I'm talking to you KFC, Taco Bell, and Kraft!) Eating is a means to nourish and replenish your body with supplementation. Pure and simple. I used to think that by eating "healthy", I would have to eat lettuce and string beans...void of any lovely flavor or enjoyment. Or, if I wanted to lose weight, I would be "healthy" by eating 100 Calorie Packs, Lean Cuisines, and Subway. Now, I just call that eating "skinny". There is nothing really healthy about it. I learned that the hard way.
I began deteriorating a little over three years ago. From the outside, I'm sure I seemed fine. I worked really hard to keep a trim figure and stayed VERY active at the gym. But, I started feeling all sorts of unfavorable symptoms across the board. These symptoms became so debilitating that I no longer felt like myself and I was so desperate that I gave up all of the foods I cherished...so I thought. After an interesting and eye-opening few years, I learned A LOT. I learned that these "frankenfoods", sugar, and processed carbs had caused my body to have system-wide inflammation, which caused me to accumulate an auto-immune disorder. That's why my body started to malfunction. My life was forever changed. The most exciting thing of all is that I realized, in order to get and stay slim, you can eat PILES of delicious and flavorful food! You don't even have to stray far from what you're used to. Eat steak, butter, muffins, pasta, cookies, casseroles, and, even, gummy bears! BUT and this is a HUGE but, you have to pay attention to the quality and the ingredients. Where food is sourced, what it was raised on, what it is treated with, etc. ALL plays a massive role in either contributing to your health in a positive or negative way! Your body metabolizes one hamburger completely different from another. One could actually contribute to your health and one could contribute to your early demise.
So, what exactly is "eating clean"? Eating clean, to me, is eating food in its purest form, free from anything man made in a lab. Some of the words not associated with clean eating are GMOs, heavy pesticides, processed, refined, hydrogenated, high fructose...I could go on and on. Also, keeping in mind, if you can't understand what's on the label, your body isn't going to understand it either. If someone had to create a name you can't pronounce for it, it's probably not real food. Another tip: if the item you're buying is something as pure as coconut milk and there are four ingredients on the label, that's unnecessary. Just keep it simple.
Please note: I am not suggesting you throw out your pantry or never eat fast-food again, but I am going to challenge you to start reading food labels. NOT the calories or fat, but the actual ingredients! The only thing I do suggest gazing at is the sugar content, which will eventually be in a blog post of its own.
I realize, this may be a heavy post because it is challenging you to consider switching things up a bit so, I'm offering Tulsans a little loving treat! Sign up below to take a complimentary grocery store tour. January 16th at 9 AM. (I will email you with more details.) If you don't live in the Tulsa area but would like some pointers, contact me for some free resources!