Tag Archives: inspiration

Have Some Confidence People!

 

Wow. All I can say is thank you guys so much for all the feedback yesterday. I want to reply to every person that commented but you basically all said that my blog is awesome, I’m awesome, and that I’ve helped you in some way. You guys just gave me the biggest flippin’ boost of motivation. I didn’t even know some of you read it! So all I can say is I am sending a big, fat THANK YOU and a huge hug and kiss (oh yeah) to all of you everywhere.

This encouraged me to write, today, about confidence and having oodles of it. Today’s post is pretty much a way to balance out this post about setting realistic expectations. Anyway, I have a friend who happens to read this blog and also happens to suffer from an utter lack of confidence (you know who you are). She is one of the most inspiring athletes I know as well as being kind, caring, and really fun to party with. She just all around awesome and has NO IDEA.

I know that she isn’t an isolated case. I have other friends and actually read some blogs (like this one) who are similar to this particular friend and just have no idea how amazing they are. I don’t care what your IQ is, what you look like, how many friends you have, or what special skills you have, every person has a special something that makes you worth “it.” “It” being a stranger’s time, a second glance, or just respect from the people you know and love.

Anyway, I don’t want to ramble so, just never underestimate yourself. Find your specialness and capitalize on that s**t! You will always get further in your life by strengthening your strengths rather than working on your weaknesses.

 

^ This is me at my first every mountain bike race. I knew I could handle a bike so I traveled with the mountain team that weekend, rode a mountain bike for the first time for 3 hours in the morning and then raced it! I had such a good time and accomplished one of my life goals of playing in the mud 🙂

Also, and this is important so listen up, if you are one of the people who already has the confidence of a guido in Jersey then help some others out! Tell each of your loved ones and coworkers something special about themselves every day. Only stuff that is true. It’s ok to repeat stuff, it helps drill it into their heads. Compliment at least 3 people every day and you will find that they are drawn to your positivity and will start to think of themselves in a better light.

Ok, that is all. Thank you again for reading and writing all those lovely comments. You are all very special to me .

🙂

 

Recipe Thursday: Simple Roast Potatoes

Happy almost weekend! Thursdays are my cleaning mornings and I’d like to procrastinate that very much and so, let me post a recipe.

For whatever reason I’ve always been terrible at making potatoes. Their thickness and readiness to burn without cooking on the inside are a source of endless frustration for me. Ok, that may be a bit dramatic but it does annoy me. So I decided on Sunday that I would conquer the potato, and I did! Also, I made a huge batch of these so we could have them for lunch during the week. This is a great way to cut back on prep and cooking time when you don’t have any spare minutes during the week.

Here are the ingredients but I can’t stress enough that if you don’t have everything, just improvise. Smell the food then the spices you have and pick out which ones you think would go best. That’s why cooking is awesome, it’s based simply on your senses.

Ingredients:

potatoes, peeled and cubed (any kind of potato works)

olive oil

garlic

jamaican all spice

salt

pepper

Instructions:

Heat oven to 475°F. Get out a shallow baking pan. You don’t need to prep the pan (awesome!).

^ Quickly mix the oil and all spices in a large bowl.

^ Dump in cubed potatoes and mix it all with your hands. This is super messy, fun, and perfect to do with kids. (I know I look skeezy in this photo but Mike took it and I didn’t want to test his patience, he was already helping me peel potatoes).

^ Spread the potatoes on the baking sheet. Slide it into the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes, turning occasionally to brown on both sides.

^ And this is the result! Ours were a bit too oily but still SO DELICIOUS. And so easy to make.

*My mom makes the most incredible roast potatoes. Same recipe but she uses red potatoes, keeps the peel on, chops them in bigger chunks, and adds rosemary. Also, SO YUMMY.

I hope you’re all having great mornings. We’re getting so close to the weekend 🙂

Workout Wednesday: Passive Exercise

 

So this morning I was awake by 6:15am and have to be out the door by 6:45. Usually I budget at least an hour and half to wake up, workout out, shower, write this lovely little blog, then eat. This morning, no way! So I will be coming home at lunch for a quick workout and shower, but for those of you who have had the workout time squeezed out of your schedule on any given day, here are a few passive workout tips.

These should never be substituted for a real workout but should be daily rules to live by so that you don’t feel so bad when you just literally don’t have the time.

1) Always take the stairs. Always. When you get off the train and see that massive, daunting set of 12,000 stairs, look at it as your mini goal for the next 5 minutes and go for it!

2) Park far from the store entrance. If you’re in a hurry, even better, that mean’s you’ll power walk to and from your car.

3) Carry your groceries rather than bringing the cart out. There have been days when I have so many groceries in my arms that people think I’m insane, BUT I also have very sore arm muscles by the time I get to my car.

4) Do calf raises while standing in line. Again, you may look kind of weird bouncing up and down but after a few reps, people stop looking and after a few minutes, your calves are workin’ hard.

5) And this is less workout and more just something to live by, stand up straight! Always! This not only tightens your core and makes you more stable in your real workouts but it’s so good for your current and future spine health to have great posture.

Ok time to brush my teeth and head out! I hope you’re all having fantastic days.

Smile 🙂

 

Monday Advice: Set Realistic Expectations

Alright, I’m calling myself on my own bull crap. About a month ago I posted on sleeping soundly. Skim it over here. It basically maps out a bedtime routine to make sure that you sleep soundly. Each of the activities work together to help your brain and body settle down but never have I ever done all these things, in a row, in the same night.

While I believe that a bedtime routine is absolutely necessary, this post is bull crap! Setting aside an entire hour for a pre-bed routine? No way Jose. No one has that much time, including myself. So, I herby promise to never post any kind of advice that I don’t do regularly and with success. Scouts honor.

This leads me into my tidbit of advice for the day: set yourself realistic goals. If you have a big goal in mind, make sure it’s far enough in the future to break it down into little, reachable, daily goals. I find that setting the bar at a height that I can stretch to reach is a great way to motivate myself and to make sure I don’t have any excuses.

^ This is me! Thanks for sending me this pic Ma.

How could you not smile at those baby buns?

Friday Advice: Do Not Be Intimidated, Get Informed

I just got back from a spectacular bike ride with a new friend! Yes, I made a new friend. Her name is Sara and she rides bikes, moved here from Northern California, and is in nursing school. This is the third time I’ve met up with her and we never fail to have something to talk about. Aside from my excitement at meeting someone that I actually connect with, I’m pretty stoked on the routes she’s been showing me. Yay!!

Anyway, today was s short ride but we spent most of the time talking about the flu shot. Haha. I know it seems odd but we’re both at different ends of the medical/health spectrum. While both of us are healthy, we have differing opinions on how to prevent and treat different ailments. I won’t go into my opinion right now (save that for a later date) but we managed to have a fantastic debate over the effectiveness and worthiness of the flu shot.

This has started happening more and more in my adult life where I am being challenged by  other people’s opinions and, instead of backing out and say “I don’t want to argue about it, I don’t have enough information to defend my opinion,” I’ve started learning from what other people have to say. I started reading and listening to people I greatly respect and then finding the science to back myself up. Instead of being intimidated by other people, I’m coming to realize that it only takes a little bit of information to get on their same level. AND when you start talking to them, debating them, you learn more about how to defend your side of the argument. I am getting smarter just by talking to people that think I’m wrong! Sweet!

So this is kind of a rambling post but the meat of it is: Don’t be intimidated by people with strong opinions, just make sure you know why you believe in something and start the debate! You may learn something.

There will be more on this later but I don’t want to bore you all right now. On a happier note, last weekend, I FINALLY learned to ride my bike with no hands! After trying repeatedly for 3 years, I realized that you just have to take both hands off at the same time and lean back. I was so excited that I asked Mike to take a picture.

 

Do any of you readers have an opinion that you’d like to be able to defend better? Maybe it’s time to dedicate an hour to researching it. 

Thursday Recipe: Build-a-Salad

 

*to those interested, birthday update at the bottom of the page

Whenever I mention healthy eating, people’s automatic reaction is, “I hate salad.” Let me share something, me too. The typical restaurant salad is cold, unsavory, and wholly unsatisfying. But I’ve recently determined that they’re doing it wrong. As I’ve mentioned before, my current lifestyle goal is only eating grain for lunch and restricting carbs at dinner. This is not to lose weight but to prevent a haphazard insulin spike right before bed. So “salads” have become my go to dinner options and I’ve realized, they’re not all that bad!

To build a great salad just replace whatever carb you were going to use (pasta, rice, potatoes, etc) with dark leafy greens (I prefer spinach). This means that you get the healthy without sacrificing the hot and savory.

Recently, in the vain of cooking a big portion of one thing, I made cooked a big batch of lentils and steamed some extra veggies I had lying in my fridge. Here is the result:

^ Start with the leafy green base. Don’t worry, it will be covered up soon.

^ Add whatever warm veggies you decided to cook. I have zucchini, red bell peppers, and eggplant.

^ Pile on whatever protein you want. I made lentils but you could do any kind of meat or legume.

^ Top it off with a healthy fat like goat or sheep cheese (pretty much lactose free) and some oil based dressing like balsamic or italian. And enjoy!

* Final note: My birthday ended up being quite wonderful. My coworkers remembered and even gave me gifts. I got so much love through this blog and facebook and texting and phone calls. AND Mike came home from his business trip early! He surprised me at work with flowers, a bottle of wine, and a Gap coat that I’ve been eyeing for months. What wonderful people I have in my life. Thanks everyone 🙂

Today, just smile.

 

Workout Tuesday: Dance Like No One’s Watching

Yes, you should dance like no one’s watching. To encourage you, I’ve decided to make a complete fool of myself and dance while everyone’s watching.

For the last several years there has been a long and arduous debate about warming up before a workout. Some studies show it’s good, some show you’re fine without it. Whatever the case, I know that my body needs to warm up to a workout otherwise I will twist or strain something. But traditional warm ups suck! So I dance!

Dancing at 7am is not only incredibly energizing but it puts you in a great mood for the rest of the day. So just put on a great song (see below) and loosen up. Dancing alone means you can do whatever weirdo moves you want.

I find that this is great dancing AND workout music:

And this was the workout I did with Zuzka today:

And finally, the piece de resistance, my ridiculous dance moves, published and open for laughs. Now you have NO EXCUSE not to dance!

You also now have no excuse not to smile. Have a happy day!

You Are In Control

I keep this written on a couple of post it notes next to my makeup so I see it whenever I get ready for a long day.

We tell ourselves that life will be great when we can buy a more luxurious car, get a better job, buy nicer clothes, or whatever.

The truth is that there’s no better time to be happy than right now.

Your life will always be full of challenges. It is better to admit as much and decide to be happy in spite of it all.

I talk to SO many people who make the excuse of, “life will be great when…” Including myself! Until I started writing this blog, I didn’t realize that every single one of my days holds something awesome just waiting to be recognized. So you better recognize!

Please, everyone that read this post, comment what your happiness is/will be today!

And have a happy Monday 🙂

Braving a World of Junk Food: Packing a Lunch

As I last posted, I’ve been working the Morton Pumpkin Fest for the last several days. If any of you know of the festival, you know it’s full of some seriously delicious junk food; including but not limited to: pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin funnel cake. Everything delicious, in pumpkin flavor!! It’s my own personal temptation hell.

However, it’s so important to learn how to brave these situations and so that you can join the rest of your community celebrating awesome things like Fall!

Some Tips:

1. Choose one thing to treat yourself to and wait until the end of your trip to do it. The buildup will make sure you don’t violate your own rule.

2. Make sure, before you leave the house, that you eat a big, healthy meal. Being full means you’ll be less tempted by anything other than your planned treat.

3. Bring some snacks! This is where dinner leftovers make things quick and easy.

 

Here was mine for an 8 hour shift at the fridge:

– Sandwich – gluten-free bread, sunflower butter, and blackberry jam we found at the farmers market.

– Smoothie – coconut water, 1 banana, handful of frozen fruit, handful spinach, scoop of protein.

– Salad – whatever is in your fridge. Mine was tomatoes, spinach, pinto beans from the chili last week, and humus.

Tools that make it easy:

– Resealable container like a Tupperware.

– Blender bottle for the smoothie. It’s not only easy to drink out of but it has a little spring ball that you keep in the liquid and when you’re ready to eat you just shake it all up.

– Lunch box/ bag keeps things cold or hot and easy to carry.

^ My handy dandy lunch box.

I was full and happy with my lunch and this morning, as a treat for resisting for 5 days, I had a giant pancake breakfast!

Enjoy your Sundays. Don’t forget to smile!

Produce: Where and How…

Happy Saturday! Holy Bajolies this week has been crazy. I seriously can’t believe it’s Saturday already. Saturday morning is my grocery shopping time and I have a full day of work this afternoon so I woke up bright and early (and not too happily), did a quick spot of yoga to loosen up my stiff joints, and headed across the street to Peoria’s best farmer’s market.

 

A few awesome things about farmer’s markets:

1. You know exactly where everything comes from.

2. It’s all fresh.

3. It’s mostly organic too, although you have to check on this one.

4. You’re supporting the local farmers and keeping out the unhealthy, mass farms.

5. You get outside and interact with your community.

6. The food is SO much tastier than the grocery store produce.

7. You’re eating seasonal which varies your diet and provides inspiration in the kitchen.

Some things to be cautious of:

– Keep an eye on pricing, sometimes one or two items can be very expensive.

– Don’t over buy. It can be tempting with all the beautiful colors in front of you. But here’s a tip, go with a certain amount of cash (I take $25) and leave once you’ve spent it.

– Scan the whole spread of vendors before choosing the stands you will buy from, you may get to the end and realize one was much better than another.

Other than that, enjoy! I buy 50% of our fridge stock from our market and it’s made our diet so much better. I’ve come to look forward to it every week.

Check this site out for almost all the markets in the US: http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/

For those outside the US, just google “Farmer market [name of your town].”

^ pretty!

don’t forget —>  🙂