are you choosing what kind of person you are?

You are an amalgamation of your choices. There are, of course, aspects of yourself that weren’t chosen by you (sex, height, eye color, genetic disposition, etc). But your depth of character and how you live are determined by you. You can argue this statement for days or you can own it, you can argue any statement for days if you’re passionate enough and can go for long periods of time without snacks. We are largely a fleshy, energetic being made up of stories and priorities.

Our stories are the things we say about ourselves so often that we believe them to be true. They can even stem from things other people say about us. If we believe what we hear and someone else thinks we are (fill in the blank) then we must be (fill in the blank). Your thoughts are the largest influencer of your story. Just because we think a thought does not make this thought a fact. For example, one of my stories (we all have many) used to be that ‘I’m always late’. I was always late - I was too cool to show up on time or I packed in 67 errands before I had to be somewhere. Because I told people I was always late, I justified that as being okay. When I thought about why I was always late it factually came down to the fact that I didn’t respect other people's time. That feels gross to say out loud, but it’s true my time was more valuable than theirs. Because I no longer wanted to be someone who disrespected the time of others - I changed my story. I’m certainly not one of those people who show up early for everything (or anything) but I’m 99% more on time than before.

We spend so much time in our heads. Our ego feeds off of the thoughts that run on a loop inside our big, beautiful, messy cerebrums. Just because you have a thought, does not mean you have to give it attention. You can acknowledge that thought and simply move on or replace it with version 2.0 - a bigger, better, less buggy thought. It’s worth repeating - a thought is just a thought, it’s only as real or valid as you allow it.

Don’t let the stories other’s have about you creep into the definition of who you are. What they think isn’t any of your business. You cannot control the thoughts or actions of another person so any time spent thinking you can is wasted energy. Direct your energy and thoughts toward the version of yourself that you strive to be. What you tend to grows. Feed the positive characteristics and water your desired traits. Maybe even set your strengths out in the sun for some vitamin D. You have a choice to believe what you want to believe. You have a choice to become what you want to become.

Priorities are the things that you feel are important enough to spend your precious Earth minutes doing. What do you care about enough to put in the work? We are all busy - this is true in the sense that we are all constantly doing things. But we get caught up in the story of being busy and use it as an excuse to steer clear of doing the things that are hard. It’s really easy to scroll Instagram for an hour, but it requires a significant amount of effort to exercise, build a website, have an uncomfortable conversation, or examine why you do something (like the real why). There are only so many hours in the day but if you get honest about what you really want and what you say you want - there may be some wiggle room. To determine what your priorities are, you should first decide what you want. What do you want in this life? What type of person do you want to be? Then set up priorities that align with these goals.  Maybe these priorities involve a little more reading or working out and a little less Netflixing. Maybe they don’t! It’s a choice that you get to make!

Does your day to day living match up with your endgame? Do your daily actions show what you value? Do the characteristics you possess feel good to you? If not, you have the ability to change all of this. How you spend your day is your choice. Yes, we have jobs and responsibilities - but you get to choose your job. Confidence is a choice. Power, strength, the way people treat you, liking yourself, whether you’re a good person, and capability are all choices. If you don’t like your job - get a new one. If putting in the time and work to find a new job are not a priority to you then you can prioritize finding more things that satisfy your needs in your life outside of the office. If you don’t like the way people treat you - fix it. You teach people how to treat you, but first you have to treat yourself with respect and grace. If you don’t like the fact that you feel unhealthy or tired or sludgy all the time - prioritize moving more and eating better. We over-complicate things. Change is not easy, but when you break it down into those small, daily choices you can initiate change pretty quickly and comprehensively.


How to Feel Grounded

What does it mean to be grounded? From a psychological perspective it means to feel stability and be down to Earth. For me, it means to be mindfully aware in the present moment, which makes me feel calm and centered. Feeling grounded is synonymous with feeling whole or consciously alive. Chances are you’ve felt ungrounded many times in your life. This can mean feeling unstable, anxious, or just off.


When you’re grounded you are in control of your cognitive and emotional self. When you are in control of yourself, you are less likely to feel influenced by others - like shiny Instagramers with seemingly perfect lives or Debbie Downer in the neighboring office. You may feel lighter and be able to focus more clearly once you’re energetically in balance. You are fully in charge of you and all of the decisions and responsibilities that go along with what it means to be you.  


There are many ways to get grounded, but these are my personal top six!

  1. Find the Nature - If I go for too long without being among trees or putting my bare feet in grass, I definitely do not feel like myself. When I am near water, I need to be in it and the moment I’m in water I feel like a new person. Hiking and kayaking are ideal (for me). But it can be as simple as taking a walk, touching a flower, watching a sunset, or letting the sun touch your nose. Find nature and get all up in her business.

  2. Drink Coffee - It’s partly the ritual but also the fact that the liquid is warm. Warmth is comforting. Of course if you’re not a coffee fan tea is always there for you. Or hot water with lemon or matcha or bone broth or a half-caff-double-lavender-fairy-magic-latte. Find a small act that can bring you back to you after a stressful meeting or gets your day started on the right foot.

  3. Cooking - Creating is paramount to my personal wellness. If I’m not creating something I get stuck in a rut. Cooking is one of my favorite ways to create. Each step takes time and thought. Purchasing the goods, finding a recipe or making one up, and immersing myself in what I’m doing help me feel present, accomplished, and calm. Annnnnnd then I get to eat it!

  4. Mindful Breathing - You can call it anything you want - meditation, quiet concentration, brain break, taking a pause, or hiding in the bathroom… but being mindful and intentional with your breath is an incredible tool for helping you feel good in your body and mind. Your breath keeps you alive. It’s powerful af. It’s also your superpower to control the way you feel. There are breathing techniques to cool you off, wake you up, heat up your body, and relax your mind. Meditation changed my life and there are a million ways to do it you just have to find one that works for you and be consistent.

  5. Listen to Music - If you can get to live music - do that. The way music vibrates and resonates through your body is therapeutic. If you can’t get to live music put something on that feels like a little bit of magic. Sometimes grounding for me is listening to the Rolling Stones laying on the floor. Often I listen to classical or opera and open all the windows. And almost daily I throw on some hip hop or girl jams and show myself my best moves. Music connects people and connects us to ourselves.

  6. Move It, Move It - I love to move. Sweat is medicine to me. Because I do many, many types of movement I work hard to pay attention to what my mind and body are asking for. Somedays I know I need to get to my yoga mat while other days I need to run up a hill until my lungs say enough or ride a bike until my quads are noodley. I like the challenge and focus that comes with lifting weights and the subtle, minuscule shifts that make me realize that my yoga practice isn’t nearly as strong as I thought! Find something active that you enjoy and do it. Do it because it feels good and because you are lucky to have the ability to do it.

These are 100% not the only ways to find grounding and balance. I do know that my top six are fairly popular choices and work for many people so go ahead and try them and if they aren’t for you then keep trying until you fall into that sweet spot where you feel exactly like yourself.



Body Love vs. Body Respect

Body love can mean whatever you like it to mean. While I certainly do love my body for all that it does for me, even when there are things I’d like to change (there always are), I’ve recently shifted into finding a deep respect (which you can argue that respect is a requirement for a loving relationship with yourself or another) for my body’s hard work and resilience. It does what I ask it to do and responds to the way I treat it. She’s got my back and I’ve got hers. It took us three decades to get here, but we did it.

Body love can feel impossible at times, but it doesn’t have to. It took me a very long time to learn to love my body and that definitely does not mean that there aren’t things I’d like to change. The first step productive step I took on my path to body love was body respect. Take a look at all of the things your body is able to do. It’s actually a machine that’s purpose is to keep you alive. I’m impressed by this on a daily basis. When I ask my body to run, she runs… it may not be the breeziest miles we’ve ever had, but she’ll do it. When I ask her to work 15 hour days, she does it. When I need her to be up and on for teaching a class even though she's exhausted af, she gives me her best shot and silliest dance moves. She, in turn, reminds me that not everything I want can happen right away and also, if I’m asking for things she needs to be treated a certain way to keep up and deliver.

Respect doesn’t happen overnight. You have to first establish a genuine trust and sense of empathy. As someone who has struggled with disordered eating and body issues (physical + emotional) it can be really hard to trust that things won’t go back to the way they used to be. Real talk: I do trust my body, but it’s something that comes up every now and again and I have to work through all the murky doubt to get back to blue-green trust. I trust that she’ll tell me what to eat, when to rest, how she’s feeling and in return I will work hard to listen. Empathy is a necessity in any solid relationship. To understand what is happening and communicate from a place of kindness is a way to build the trust that leads to the respect that leads to the love.

A loving relationship does not mean that everything is going to be perfect and happy with dancing fairies and gluten free avocado toast every minute. But if there is ample respect, trust, empathy, and kindness you’ll be more likely to tap into that love when times feel tough (like when the toast is not gf - joke). My body and I have been up and down, but eventually we got tired of not trusting or listening to each other. So, we put in the gritty, not glamorous work, went to couples counseling (for real though!), and little by little found out how to work together because I am she and she is me.  

Living Well and Mental Health

We all experience feelings of depression and anxiety on some level just as we all have different ways of coping with these aspects of our mental health. Exercise and nutrition are important components of mental health. We tend to think of our minds and bodies as separate entities when really we are all one, giant pile of vibrating stardust - ok but for real, your mind and your body are equally part of what make you you. Exercise and nutrition can help heal and manage stress, anxiety, and depression.

Exercise is a natural drug. You can load up your adaptogen arsenal, rub CBD oil on the soles of your feet, and sprinkle rare Aztec-blessed dried flowers in your bath, but moving your body is a wonder drug that is instrumental for feeling good. The effects of increased blood flow from exercise run the gambit of boosting your brain to glowing skin to muscle and joint health. Not to mention that it's mood elevating super powers can help lessen your stress, increase the quantity/quality of your sleep, up self esteem, and help decrease those feelings of anxiety and depression.

When you move your body we all know that serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine are released which give you that juicy, good buzz. But neurotrophic proteins are also released which stimulates nerve cells to grow and create new connections which can help lessen feelings of depression. The hippocampus is a part of your brain that houses memory, emotion regulation, and learning. Studies continue to prove that exercise directly affects hippocampal neurogenesis. Also, simply focusing on the sensations in your body while exercising forces you to be present instead of worrying about what already happened and what is to come.   

I believe that inflammation is the root cause of most disease. This being said, I’m not a doctor, nor a scientist, just an obsessive wellness researcher. We need a healthy level of inflammation it is our body’s immune response to infection. Too much or chronic inflammation is where we start to develop symptoms of disease. Your immune system is largely housed in your gut and because our brain and gut brain are in constant communication our gut health affects our mental health. I could talk about this topic for weeks, the science is still newish and people are finally starting to catch on, but I without a doubt believe that we can control our mental health (to a degree) by our nutrition.  When we are exposed to more toxins both environmental and dietary we are likely to have more inflammation. Does your mind feel clearer after you spend a week eating clean, whole foods or after you’ve eaten processed food on the fly for convenience (hello brain fog)? There are certainly foods that have been proven to cause inflammation, but every body is different and everybody is affected differently which makes this topic even trickier. To be clear, I think there is a time and a place for medication and also a time and a place for some less than perfect eating, but if we are in tune with our body we are able to pinpoint foods or lifestyles that do and do not work for our specific needs.

To create a lifestyle, you must create a habit. Your life tends to be a sum of your habits. Creating a healthy habit doesn’t have to be a life changing event from the get go. Make small changes. We live choice to choice. Start making choices that support the habit you want to create. Day after day keep making these choices to lead you in that direction. Remember how accomplished it feels when you succeed in these choices. For example, you want to start working out in the morning. Each day when you wake up you choose to move. Maybe starting small at first and then eventually getting to the gym or taking a class. But the more you do it the more it becomes ingrained in your day. Tell yourself that you’re one of those people who bang out their workout bright and early! It’s the new you, it’s now the way you choose to live as long as it serves your needs. When you fall off that wagon, hop back on by remembering how good it feels to start your day with a sweat, not to mention you may be inspiring people around (looking at you Karen from cubicle 10) to create healthy habits too!

To take care of our mind is to take care of our body and vice versa. Our thoughts feed our health and our healthy choices enhance our mood. The more in tune you become with your mental health the better you will feel. It’s not easy, it’s a journey - an often frustrating one at that but anything worth having requires time and commitment and you are your best investment.

It's Summer Slaw Time!

I don't like to brag, but I fancy myself a pretty decent salad maker. Salads are one of my favorite things in the whole world because there are no rules and you can literally throw anything in, toss it up, and likely feel healthy about it.

In the summer, I'm all about the slaw. I bring it to picnics, parties, and eat it more than three times a week. It's fast, easy, and you don't have to turn on a stove or oven to make it.

Here's my slaw of the moment, but get creative and make your own! You can eat it as a meal with some protein on top, as a side, or heap it on some tacos. No rules.

Asian Slaw

Garlic/Ginger Powder

Green Onion

Shredded - Cabbage (purple & green), B Sprouts, Carrots, Kale (any green I have on hand)

Coconut Aminos

Toasted Sesame Oil

Black Sesame Seeds

Mince Garlic and mix with Powdered Ginger. Add Toasted Sesame Oil and Coconut Aminos. Stir it up.

Shred your Veg: Seriously, I use any and everything I have.

Mix in the dressing and throw some green onions and sesame seeds on top.

Pairs well with: Salmon, Chicken, Pork, an IPA or a crisp White Wine 

 

This salad is an excellent way to create a light meal, clean out your fridge, and pack tons of veggies into your day.

 

 

34 Things in 34 Years

Each year I like to write a list of things that I’ve learned in as many years I have lived. This list is purely for me, but I think it can offer some lessons or inspiration for others as well. Usually, I look back on my previous years but due to a shuffleboard incident (oooor a weird, random thing that happened when I moved my website from one platform to another) I’ve lost all of my writing. Losing something you’ve put years and tears and heart and soul into is tough BUT it leads me to my first (in no particular order) of 34 things I’ve learned in 34 years.

 

  1. Let Shit Go - Let go of the old, dated, stale, trite, negative stuff. Let go of the good stuff too if it’s not truly serving you. Old stories, ideas, shoes, relationships, or anything that is taking up space can go. Clear it out, pack it up, walk away - this isn’t an easy process but it’s healing allows more space for newness (and room for activities, of course).

  2. Seriously, nothing is personal - Nothing other people do is because of you, it’s because of them. If you take this seriously, you are free.

  3. Lead with Kindness - For most of us our first reaction toward someone else is often judgement or annoyance. Make your first and every interaction a kind one. This can change the way you communicate in total.

  4. Eat the freaking cookie - If it’s warm and fresh and chocolate chip and you want it - eat it. Don’t talk incessantly about how or why you shouldn’t eat it, just enjoy every bite.

  5. Don’t forget to have fun - If you’re like me there is always a work thing to be done or a pile of sweaty spandex to be washed or an inbox overflowing but create space for fun every day.

  6. Allow people to take care of you when you need it - Sometimes, it’s ok to let someone cook you dinner or hold your hand or drive you through a snowstorm on the day your father dies. We are all here to help each other, it’s okay to allow it.

  7. Stop saying yes when you really mean no - If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no. Don’t spend your time putting in a half-effort here and a wishy-washy effort there.

  8. When you let your freak flag fly you allow yourself to play on the next level - Get weird and wild if that’s who you are. Authenticity is the name of the game and we’re all just trying to get to King Koopa’s Castle. But seriously, why spend your time trying to be a lesser version of someone else? Go big, go weird!

  9. If a compliment pops into your head, say it out loud - One tiny, nice thing can make someone's day better. Don’t hold it in.

  10. Everyone and everything can teach you a lesson - In every person, animal, and situation there is a lesson to be learned. Put on your sleuthing trench coat (I see you Carmen Sandiego) and learn as many as you can!

  11. The way timing situates itself is unreal - The timing of all the things that happen in our lives is relentless, brilliant, and fucking hilarious. It may take some time and space to see the brilliance or humor, but it’s there.

  12. Empower people - Give them the confidence and tools to be the best versions of themselves. Lift people up with you and support them. Empowered people undoubtedly empower people.

  13. Your stories belong to you - You’ve created these stories and told them repeatedly until they’ve become (in your mind) who you are. You can rewrite your story any time you want.

  14. Be still - You don’t always have to do. It’s ok to just be. Be still until it’s no longer uncomfortable to be still.

  15. Be silent - You don’t always have to speak. I have a lot of opinions, but something I’ve been practicing is before speaking, I ask myself if my words will add value to this situation. Will my words add more beauty than the silence that fills their space?

  16. A reset goes a long way - Sometimes I reset my nutrition or my fitness or my sleep schedule but also I reset the day if it’s going wonky or the week if it’s not been a great one. All you have to do is pause, collect your thoughts, think of what you can do right now to improve the situation, take a deep breath, and reset.

  17. Change is inevitable - Nothing stays the same. Respect what you have good or less than good because it probably won’t last forever. This statement can elicit alllll the feels, but that’s the most comforting part, I believe.

  18. Failure is inevitable - I fail daily. Big fails, little fails - fail, fail, fail. It ain’t no thang. The more you fall, the faster you get up. When you get good at standing up the fear of failing isn’t so great. Just know that we all fail all the time.

  19. Spend time alone - Take time to learn who you are just as you are. Not who you are as a daughter, partner, parent, bestie, dog dad, or lumberjack but who you are as you exist on this planet at this time in this body.

  20. Beliefs are like an Instagram filter for your reality - Don’t let your beliefs completely inhibit your truth.

  21. Always choose yourself - If you’re not true to you then you can’t be the person everyone near you needs. You have to do what’s right for you don’t just hop on any old bandwagon… unless it’s headed to the donut store then ride for a little while but don’t stay longer than necessary.

  22. Practice empathy not sympathy - Try to understand how or why others are feeling the way they are instead of just feeling sorry for them. The better we understand each other the more we can support each other.

  23. You can always be grateful - No matter what is happening there is always something to be grateful for. Write it down, say it out loud, or make a mental memo - practicing gratitude is a game changer.

  24. Everybody wants to be loved - Can you think of something you value more?

  25. Make choices based on love - Don’t make choices out of fear, envy, guilt or anything that is not whole-heart love.

  26. Nobody knows what they’re doing - We are all winging it. If nobody truly knows whose to say there is a right or wrong or better way to do something. So come get in the deep end with me (and everybody else) we’ll all flail about together.

  27. Resistance is necessary - I teach cycling - on a bike you have to add resistance to support yourself so you can stand up. In life when you face resistance it means it’s time to stand up. What you resist, persists. Likely wherever you are experiencing resistance is a place where you need to grow and learn.

  28. Meditate - When I’m not meditating I can tell I’m not meditating. There are a million ways to do it, but all you have to do is be still, breathe, and notice without judgement the movie that your brain shows you.

  29. Rituals are grounding - My morning routine is pretty nonnegotiable. It helps me set a rhythm for the day and usually allows for more productivity and also creativity. I believe in energy in before energy out so I do things that help me feel well. Rituals are great any time for touching base with yourself and bringing you back from wherever you may have drifted.

  30. Consistency is key - Consistency builds routine and momentum. Health, business, and relationships thrive when you’re consistently putting in time and effort.

  31. Your words matter - The words you use are powerful. They can crush spirits, open minds, and pump people up. Choose yours wisely.

  32. Be flexy - Things will not go as planned, stay flexible and open to adapting your vision.

  33. Get uncomfortable - Do things every single day that make you uncomfortable. All the really good stuff lives outside your comfort zone.

  34. Your health is everything - Your physical and mental health dictate your life. Sweat, eat real food, and take inventory of your emotions every day.

 

Another year is a gift and I feel the luckiest for all the good, bad, funny, hard AF, absurd, and crazy shenanigans that go along with the journey.

xx.

Mental Health - Let's Talk about it

May is mental health awareness month. We’ve been taught how to take care of ourselves physically. We stay active, eat well, throw on a mud mask occasionally, and pop a few vitamins when we remember. But talking about how to take care of our mental health is still glossed over or spoken about in hushed tones so no one will ever know that *gasp* we all have sad, mad, stuck feelings on the regular.

We all feel the ups and downs of the day to day. Sometimes the ups feel uppier and the downs feel… oooooof. We all experience feelings of depression and anxiety and I wish that people would talk more openly about their experiences to help each other know that it’s normal and okay. Our thoughts and mindset affects every single thing we do.

Taking care of your emotional and mental wellbeing is SO important so that you can be the YOU you’re supposed to be. Without conserving and tending to your own energy it’s nearly impossible to be the best version of yourself which translates to the kind of mother, daughter, friend, partner, teacher, breakdancer, or dog parent that you are!

These are Ten things that I do to keep my mind right, my emotions in check, and my wheels from flying off. They may help you, they may not, but let them inspire you to do things that work for you.

  1. I eat whole, real foods. This is huge one for me, if I’m eating too many carbs, processed food, sugar, or alcohol I start to feel anxious, my energy plummets, and my brain is foggy AF.

  2. I have a morning routine through which I practice energy in before energy out. I start the day by doing things that ground and feed my wellbeing instead of hopping on my phone or laptop. I soak up some good juju by meditation, reading, and writing before I check my email or start scrolling.

  3. I sweat almost every day. Moving my body with exercise, a walk, or a dance party is so important to keeping my headspace clear.

  4. I don’t wallow. I feel the feeling, allow myself to be sad, mad, feel blah for an hour or a few hours (sometimes a day) and then I move along. I use all my feel good tools to climb out of that wallowy bog.

  5. I say no. I continually work on setting boundaries and not feeling guilty about having them.

  6. I prioritize sleep. Sometimes I stay up too late and sometimes I go to bed embarrassingly early but I always aim to get enough rest to refresh and recover.

  7. No comparison (especially for other women), judgement, gossip, mean girl vibes allowed. These things are nonproductive and hold us back. This negative speak goes for myself as well, self-talk that elevates is the way to go.

  8. I realize that failing is part of the journey. I fail many, many times a day. I like to ask myself the question ‘if this doesn’t goes as planned what’s the very worst thing that can happen?’ and usually the outcome is not that bad.

  9. I talk about my feelings. I no longer hide them or pretend like I’m fine if I’m not fine. I love to have real, meaningful conversations and sometimes this involves talking about the shitty things.

  10. I trust my gut. If something feels unsettling or off I jog, skip, burpee out of there!

Taking care of your mental health translates into the way you do everything else. We all deal with feelings, challenges, and obstacles of different types. The more we talk about OUR shit, the more we make it okay for others to talk about THEIR shit. Take care of yourself and be kind, so kind to those around you.



 

Consistency in Fitness

Fitness is fun! Fitness can also be a lot of work. The key to finding harmony with making fitness a lifestyle is to find a way to enjoy the work. Consistency in fitness is about loving the means not just the end.

Fit people enjoy the work. You can’t be a dedicated twerker-outer if you don’t find some love along the way. Here are five parts of the process with which you can fall in L-O-V-E. You may not love all five all the time, but you can mix and match and blend and twirl a few together.

Loving the Actual Exercise

Find an activity that makes you feel great. If you don’t love to run, don’t! Find an activity that you look forward to like dancing, kayaking, Pilates, lifting weights, or yoga with bunnies. There are more choices now than ever before. Do it alone or do it with a friend, but get out there and find something or some things that bring the fun with the sweat.

Loving the Results

What IS your endgame? Do you want to lose weight, get stronger, look leaner, manage stress, sleep like a baby, or age well? Moving your human meat suit can aid in all of these things. I’m sorry about the human meat suit reference, but not sorry enough to delete it. Once you put in some time in the sweat zone you may start to notice a toned tricep here and a stronger core there. This can be hugely motivating for many of us. I’m all about body love as you are/body neutrality, but I also won’t deny that I like the way booty looks when I’m putting some extra time in.

Loving the Community

The people! You love the people that get to see you looking like a hot, sweaty mess making your derpiest derp face. Having a workout crew automatically gives you a tribe with a shared enjoyment or at least peeps to commisurate with! Having a love of fitness can connect you to strangers and help you make connections outside of your sweat space as well. Have you ever bumped into someone with twin hand calluses and give the you lift, brah head nod? When you walk down the street and notice someone's posture and body awareness and think to yourself that they probably do the yoga? Or when you see Nancy at the office squat down to pick up a dropped TPS report with perfect form you know that she MUST be into fitness. Community and connection are something we all crave.

Loving the Grind

You love the push, the discomfort, the inner drive, and the push. You love pushing your mental and physical boundaries. Getting in the zone can be a happy place for some not dissimilar from meditation. Many of us also get addicted to the grind. How far we can push while still being safe can satisfy the inner athlete with a competitive drive.

Loving the Highest of Highs

Dopamine! The euphoric rush, the runner’s high, and the walking on air feeling you get from feeling the post workout effects dopamine (neurotransmitter that activates the pleasure/reward centers). Working out in the morning can set you up for a better day by riding that high vibe cloud. Working out when you are stressed can help bust through the ick and get that good juju flowing. Training can make us feel happier, lighter, healthier, more calm and that feeling alone can be enough to keep you coming back day after day!

If you can find a way to let one or many of these motivate you you will be much more likely to make fitness a lifestyle! It can be fun, I promise.

Ball So Hard

Once upon a time, not so long ago I became obsessed with balls. I love a good ball at the end of the day… or in the morning… or a quick nooner. Chocolate, cherry, vanilla, nutty… almost any kind will do.

Wait, what are we talking about again? Right! Protein balls! I recently had a yoga and ball making workshop for a local mom’s group and it was a blast. We yoga’d, we made balls, and we exhausted every ball joke there ever was. But this workshop reminded me how much I love healthy treats and how easy they are to whip up and pop in your mouth (sorry, not sorry).

Here’s my current favorite ball recipe!

Chocolate Cherry Balls

1 cup Cashews

1 cup Pecans

½ cup Frozen Pitted Cherries

½ cup Almond Butter

2 tbsp Cacao

1 tbsp Maca powder

½ cup pitted Dates

Splash Vanilla Extract

Pink Sea Salt

Canned Coconut Milk

I like to pulse the nuts in a blender or food processor first and then add everything else. Mix until a doughy consistency adding a little coconut milk as needed. Roll into balls and stick in the fridge or freezer. Ball hard.

I get asked a lot about the products that I use. I’m obsessed with Foods Alive brand Cacao and Maca right now. I use several of their products because they are super high quality and delish. I also only use coconut milk from a can as most milks in a carton have carrageenan in them. I only buy nut butters that have nuts in them. No palm oil or sugar! Medjool dates are consistently the best to use as a sweetener (or to eat dipped in almond butter standing over the sink).

Get creative with your ball making. You can essentially mix almost anything using this general template together and it will taste good! Sometimes I roll them in shredded coconut or add chocolate chips.

3 Ways to Power through the Heavy Winter Months

I’m not good at wintering. Never have been, likely never will be. I definitely get SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and have to take extra precautionary measures to keep my energy and mood in check during the long, cold, grey months. The fact of the matter is that our hormones change seasonally and winter takes its toll on our healthy thyroid hormones and adrenals. Many of us have lower serotonin (happy hormone) levels in our brains which results in feelings of depression and lethargy.

I do a lot of self care and habitual things that I know make me feel good but these are my top three! And they’re simple!

 

Get the D

Yup, get as much of it as you can! Vitamin D (specifically D3) can be gained from sun exposure, but when this is not an option we can up our intake by eating more fatty fish like sardines, salmon, tuna, or eggs. If you’re not a fish fan grab a high quality supplement to soldier through winter. I also make sure to up my intake of Vitamin B and Magnesium.


Sweat it Out

Obviously, my first choice for a good sweat is via exercise, but any sweat method will do. The act of sweating is like therapy for your hormones and level of stress. Find a sauna, take a hot bath, or pretend you’re on the wrestling team and wrap your body in trash bags and run laps around the high school gym (probably don’t do this!). Sweating all year long is my therapy, but in the winter I try to sneak in an extra spin class, track down an infrared sauna, and buy some fancy bath salts and sweat out the SAD blues.

Add Greenery

Eat green foods. Plants need sunlight to grow and when you eat them you are taking all the D, plus phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Green foods increase your energy levels! Grab a green juice or make a big ass salad on the regular. I literally get goosebumps when I drink green juice. Is it mental? Maybe! But who cares. It makes sense that we feel more alive when we eat foods that are also alive. Also, get some plants!

Mustardy Sprout Recipe

1 lb. Brussels Sprouts

Cooking Oil (I use coconut or avocado)

2 cloves Garlic

2 tbl Grainy Mustard

Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

Balsamic Vinegar

 

What to Do:

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.

Trim and halve sprouts. Toss in a bowl with oil, chopped garlic, a few pinches of pink sea salt.

Spread onto a pan and roast at 400 for 20 - 30 minutes.

When cooked to your desired crunch level toss back in the bowl and add mustard and stir until evenly spread.

Finish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Enjoy!


Try these tricks, but also find things that work for you. Life is short and we don’t have time to suffer, so make the best of each season any way you can!

What's So Important About Getting Sweaty?

I know, you know, we all know that exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But why? Of course it can help with weight loss, put you in a better mood, combat disease, help you age with more ease, have better quality sleep, and the list goes on. But what’s the real knit and grit behind why moving your body is foundational to health? Our mind and body are so entwined as far as intelligence and emotion. To be well in one it is necessary to be well in the other. To physically move your body is an expression of creativity and mindfulness. Yep, that sounds a little woo but think about it. The feeling you get from doing something physical that you enjoy like dancing, lifting, hiking, swimming, the sheer satisfaction from yard work is akin to meditation or being in that sweet, sweet state of flow. We exercise not only to be healthy, but to feel empowered, confident, and awake in our body.

 

The ability to move your body is a gift and something so many of us take for granted. Our bodies are designed to move! Our ancestors were always on the go and now we live sedentary lifestyles with heads bent, scrolling on our phones looking for the newest, trendiest quick fix for weight loss (or dog memes).  Moving feels SO good! We feel invigorated after a great sweat session, a day of yard beautification, or a climb up a mountain. When we move we produce endorphins that make us feel oh, so fabulous and allow us to ride that rush long after we’ve finished. Strength means something different to everyone and it can also vary from day to day. To me, strength used to mean squatting 250lbs and working 50+ hours per week. I feel much differently these days. I find empowerment and strength through sweating and moving in ways that bring me joy and fun and will hopefully keep this body healthy for my lifetime. A strong body can help heal a weak mind. The way we train our bodies translates to the way we train our minds. It’s all connected. To me, there is no greater sense of empowerment than being physically and mentally strong and capable.

 

Exercise is a way to get to know your body. You learn the way your body feels when it moves and makes shapes. You learn how your squirrely knee feels when you overtrain. You learn how to dig deep when you’re tired and ease up when it’s time. I’m obsessed with bodies and not just my own. Watching them work is incessantly fascinating. Some bodies glide with ease and some move carefully with intent and some do their own dance their own way. Training my body taught me how to live. Yes, it is my job to take care of me, so I can serve and show up for others, but I genuinely love feeling my body ride a bike or roll through a vinyasa (even on days when chaturangas feel like shit). Through sweat is how I find myself, it’s how I get into my head and use my brain or shut off my brain if that’s what needs to happen. Even on days when I don’t feel like putting on my shoes and moving, I know how I like to feel and exercise is a surefire way to get me there. You are your longest relationship so spend some time getting to know how you look and feel in total and get comfortable with you. Become aware of how you work and embrace it.

The Top 5 Ways I’ve Upleveled my Wellness Game.

While I’ve always been into health and fitness I haven’t always practiced what I preached. We often know what’s good for us, but knowing and doing aren’t the same thing. Also, committing and half-assing are not the same thing. Committing often requires getting uncomfortably truthful. For me, I had to get really honest about if what I was saying was aligning with what I was doing.

Here are my top five personal game changers.

 

Eat Real Food

I’ve been all across the board regarding food. I’ve been a vegetarian (10 years), emotional eater, paleo lover, keto wannabe, and gone on the red wine in a to-go cup diet (thank you New Orleans). The only time food felt easy is when I focused on food that is real and did it mindfully. I feel amazing when I eat what I want when I’m hungry. I don’t always need to eat breakfast, or refuel every two hours, and I’m certainly not going back to the days when I used to weigh each gram of protein or carbohydrate. I’m not training for the Olympics, (although in my humble opinion, I’d make an excellent Taylor Swift backup dancer should that ever become a category) I’m just training to live a happy, healthy, sustainable lifestyle. I eat food that is real which means it was once living and not created in a lab, I eat tons of veggies especially the green ones, and I eat what my body tells me it needs. This intuition didn’t happen instantly. It was a process that still isn’t foolproof and needs regular upkeep, but it gets easier the more in tune you become to your body. I still eat cookies and drink wine and my last meal on Earth would be a giant cheese plate with crusty Italian bread but I eat to feel good so that I can do all of the things I love for as many years as I’m given.

Create a Morning Ritual

Most of my life I’d never been much of a morning person. I’d lay in bed until the very last second then rush out the door in haphazard dervish with toothpaste on my shirt. Somewhere along the way I learned the art of easing into the day with reading, writing, meditation, and a hot beverage. It sets a calm and relaxed tone for the rest of the day. I now wake up extra early to allot a few hours (yes, hours) of quiet time before I face the world. I look forward to this every day. There is something magical about peaceful, early mornings, drinking coffee, and doing something you enjoy before the hustle takes over. My recommendation is a morning ritual, but I think the real importance is in having some sort of daily routine that you do solely for yourself to invite pleasure and peace. Not something that you have to do, but something that makes you better.

Relentless Vulnerability

When I was young I was very private and showed little emotion. Having one sister with a disability and one who was extremely sensitive forced me to be the ‘tough’ one. I think there may have been a three year span during my late teens where I didn’t cry at all. Through lots of ‘work’ I’m now very comfortable expressing, talking about, and writing about my emotions. I feel that by being open with mine invites you to be open with yours. I now life in a space of vulnerability at all times it has taught me how to have confidence and be brave, it’s also taught me to have the hard, uncomfortable conversations that generate meaningful human connection. I invite you to open yourself up to living in this space. Seriously, we are all just winging it and there are few things we know for certain so if we can all act accordingly we level up our daily living.

Sweat Errday

Sweat is my meditation, therapy, sanity, and one of my very favorite things. I love it so much I quit my life of party planning so that I could wear spandex full time and compare sweat angels with other lovers of the twerk. When I say sweat I also mean movement. It doesn’t matter what you do, but do something and be consistent. The best form of exercise is the one you enjoy. Yoga, hiking, rollerblading, marathon training, picking up heavy things, or rock climbing - try everything! Find something that makes you happy and do it. We all know the benefits of an active lifestyle. We know how good it feels to ride the wave of an endorphin high so if you haven’t found that thing you love keep looking. Try all of the things until you find the thing.

Sleep/Meditation

I’m lumping these together because for me, one begets the other. Sleep has never come easily for me, but when I started meditating regularly I noticed a huge change in sleep quality. All the aforementioned factors are at play, but meditation is the linchpin. Simply put, meditation is deep breathing. You can add all the woowoo you want and make it work for you, but taking some time to breathe and slow down your monkey mind is straight juju. I can talk for hours about the benefits of meditation, but it’s remarkably changed my life and the way I view the world. Sleep is still not something that happens with ease, but I’ve prioritized it big time over the past year and I’m a much happier, less reactionary person for it. I notice when I’m taking care of myself physically and mentally my sleep is much better than when I’m flying around frantically getting shit done.


Try one of these! Try all of these! Make your own list that makes you feel good about your wellness, there are no rules.

A New Year and a Blank Page

I’ve learned to welcome upheaval.  When things change there is room for a fresh start, a blank page, and a reboot. It doesn’t mean it’s not scary or frustrating, but it’s all about perspective. I’ve been a writer my whole life. I kept a diary growing up, I secretly hate/loved pulling pre-final exam all-nighters writing the assignments I’d neglected throughout my college semesters (still a regular procrastinator), I love writing letters and notes and slant rhymes and jokes that aren’t that funny. Recently, while shifting and changing my website I realized that I lost all blog entries from the past five years. It was partially my own fault, but partially a conglomeration of random events. I was definitely disappointed (mad thanks to Justin from GoDaddy who talked me off of a metaphorical cliff, and Kathy from SquareSpace who offered to send me her childhood diary entries page by page to soothe my nostalgic soul) but was quickly reminded that I was grossly in need of a reset. I was itching to write new words and let go of old ideas and put the final punctuation on a few obsolescent stories. It’s time to begin again, friends.

 

Our beliefs are the stories we tell ourselves. How many times do you find yourself blindly doing something a certain way only because someone taught you to do it as such? Or believe something that was drilled into you by someone of authority without thinking if if makes sense for YOU in YOUR life? We all do it. Each of us has many stories we tell ourselves on the daily about who we are. Maybe it’s that you’re always late or you’re bad at relationships or your genetics prove a gloomy future regarding health. If you tell yourself these things repeatedly you’ll believe them to be true and end up self prophesying your way into an endless cycle of same old, same old. Changing your mindset and beliefs is one way to take your life to the next level. If we tell ourselves we are always late we are always going to be late because we’ve given ourselves permission. If we shift our belief and tell ourselves we are always on time we will start acting more like someone who is on time. Say and believe who you want to be.

 

Change is an excellent time to shake things up. You get to decide how to rewrite your story once a page gets torn out. You get to rewrite everything your previously knew when your blog is sucked into a cyber black hole. So often we fear change, but if we look at it as a chance to begin again it can be quite exciting. There have been so many times in my life where I knew that I was due for a change, I felt it in my bones but I put it off because I was comfortable right where I was sipping my Bulletproof coffee under my purple blanket. Because I didn’t create change on my own the universe decided to flip me upside down, spin me around, and put me back down forcing the change that I’d already known I needed to make. What is fear anyway? It’s completely self imposed and (mostly) made up. When I start to feel fear or fear in disguise (perfectionism, procrastination, indecision, cynicism) I ask myself what the worst possible outcome could be… and it’s usually not that bad. Change is what you make of it and perhaps it’s time to create new content!

 

High vibes only please! Everything in the universe is made up of energy that vibrates at different frequencies. You, your food, and your coffee table are all made of atoms and all of these atoms are moving and shaking at different rates. A vibration is measured by a combination of regularity, speed, height, smoothness, and power. We can actually measure that when people are experiencing feelings of joy and happiness they are vibrating at a higher rate than when they are experiencing feelings of depression and the drudgery that follows along. So if we can uplevel our vibration by doing things that will make us happy we are emitting a higher frequency. Compare the vibrational energy of a beautiful tomato or head of lettuce that was grown with soil and sunlight to that of Cheezits or a fast food burger - which are likely to have a higher vibration and which are likely to give you the energy that make you want to shoot sunbeams out of your eyeballs (RIP Roald Dahl)? And we know that like energy attracts like energy sooooo the more we ride high on those vibes the more we attract those things back. Just think of those times where someone smiles or gives you a compliment and it instantly puts you in a great mood. Boom! Keep those thoughts at peak performance and share them over and over.

 

Losing my writing definitely sent me into some low vibrational moments. But I vented to some friends, took a few weeks off from writing, and allowed myself to embrace and get excited about some changes just in time for a new year. I encourage everyone to go shake something up in your life. Take that which feels stale or trite and set that shit on fire so you can make yourself a s’more and create space to build something new, something that better suites who you are in this moment which is new and ever changing.