Tag Archives: Smile

The Healthful, Happy, and Loving Project …

BullEye

March Goals:

  • Take a 5-minute walk down the block, every morning between shower and work. SLOWLY.
  • When I’m sad, stop thinking of the future. Just smile and try to make that moment happier.
  • Chose a day of the week to talk to each parent and sibling. Like I do with Gran.
  • Read this list every day.
  • Remember to be happy when I succeed.

These seem like some pretty specific goals right? How did I arrive at them? Well …

HappinessProject

There’s a really awesome book a friend sent me. It’s called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Instead of being all preachy and general, she chronicles the details of finding her way to happiness. She lays out a list of what she wants to improve and then divides that list into manageable parts. It’s basically a book about baby steps.

I’m finding it very inspirational so I’ve decided to do the same. Every month I’ll lay out my goals for you all to see.ย I’m not doing this because I’m particularly unhappy. I just have so much awesomeness in my life and I think I could appreciate it better. If I’m not 100% content when everything is hunky-dory, what will happen when life isn’t so nice? I want my happiness to be strong enough to withstand even the hardest challenges.

The questions I’m asking myself:

  • What makes me feel good?
  • What makes me feel bad?
  • Is there any way in which I don’t feel right about my life?
  • Do I live in a way that encourages growth?

My answers to solve these questions – 2013 Goals:

  • Stop being so concerned with the future (haha, does the list of goals act against that?).
  • Learn to switch off work and relax.
  • Be outdoors more.
  • Wake up more energized.
  • Pay off my credit card bills.
  • Invest in quality cooking and cleaning tools – then use them to their full potential.
  • Communicate more regularly with friends and family.
  • Improve our nutrition (eat more raw, nutrient-dense food and cut out all dinnertime grains and sugars).
  • Remove toxins from our food, personal hygiene, cleaning products, etc.
  • Learn to enjoy riding my bike again.
  • Stop putting so much pressure on myself.
  • Remember to be happy when I succeed at these goals.

Things I don’t want to change:

  • My commitment to exercise.
  • My love of healthy cooking.
  • The strength of Mike and My relationship.
  • The strength of my ties to my family.
  • My plans for travel.
  • My thankful heart.
  • My cleanliness and organization.

Happy

My Commandments:

  • Just because it’s fun for someone else, doesn’t mean it’s fun for me.
  • Me is the perfect person for me to be.
  • It’s NOT “doing nothing,” it IS “active relaxation.”
  • Life is play, not an endless stream of work.
  • A true smile and laugh can change a whole conversation.
  • Want what I already have.
  • I don’t have to be good at everything.

To that end, I will let you know, each month what my focus goals are for that month. I’ll pick as many or as few as I think I can handle. Some of them may be focused on for multiple months, some may be much easier than that.ย Since March is 1/3 of the way in, this month’s list is relatively short. But there’s no better time to start than today!

Does anyone want to join me in this? It can be as big or small of a project as you like. Let me know!

Love and a big smile. – Ash

 

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Tasty Tuesday: Steak and Potatoes

I don’t really love steak. I’m not a big-slab-of-meat kind of person. But when I asked Mike what his favorite meal was and he replied, “steak and potatoes,” it became the dish that I cooked for him for our “date” this past Saturday. I entered into the situation with a little bit of trepidation because I’ve never cooked steak before but I’d say it turned out pretty well.

I knew I would have very little time on Saturday so I prepped everything the day before. I put the grass-fed steak in this awesome Zesty Dijon Marinade (I found the recipe here):

1 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup Dijon mustard (we didn’t have any so I used honey mustard)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/4 tsp salt

2 garlic cloves

Mix it all together, add the meat, and refrigerate concoction for 3 to 24 hours.

Then I cut up all the potatoes and stored them in a plastic bag for the night.

When Saturday came, I took him pottery painting (haha. more on that later) and then came home and popped the potatoes in the oven with a little salt and pepper (I added some garlic cloves and chopped red pepper at the last minute)

and then threw the steak on my new iron skillet (5 minutes for each side of a 1 inch steak).

And voila! It was pretty delicious. A little overcooked but I’ll get better at the timing thing. Also, it’s important to mention that I completely disregarded my stomach’s dislike of red meat with this recipe. I haven’t been experiencing any negative symptoms from the grass-fed beef so I thought I’d be fine. I think it was the sheer quantity of beef that did me in but my stomach was a little grumbly and stubborn for about 24 hours after this meal. And of course, Mike was fine.

I hope you’re all having wonderful days. It’s not Monday anymore. YAY!

๐Ÿ™‚

Motivational Monday: The Power of a Smile

Any of my regular readers know that I follow almost every post with a smile. I’d like to explain myself. I spent the weekend in Orlando, FL with a lot of very healthy, very motivated, very image conscious people. Basically, they were all gorgeous. Now I have no issue with confidence. I have it, a lot of it. But it took me a long time to get this way, and every once in a while, my resolve and internal buoy just plain fails.

Saying I felt like an outsider this weekend would be an understatement. It was my first work conference and I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of information and the level of dedication that the rest of the attendees had. Also, I have a different belief system than the company as a whole and it made things very uncomfortable at times.

With that as my base, I decided that I would use the three days to learn as much as possible to apply to my own life but also to connect with as many people as I could in a genuine way.

So I just started smiling and talking. I walked up to strangers, many of them and told them things that I truly believed. I smiled at one girl and told her that I absolutely loved everything she was wearing, because I did! I would have stolen the clothes right off her back if I could. I talked to the IT guy because he looked so fricken bored up there moving the spotlight. I asked him what he really thought of the conference: he had learned a lot but also thought some of it was crazy (it was) and it was SO nice to connect with the outside world for a just a few minutes.

Leaving Orlando, I realized that I had learned more than just the value of chiropractic and great nutrition, I learned what it takes to brighten people’s day even in an uncomfortable situation. You just have to smile! Not only does it make their day happier, but it starves those negative thoughts that might otherwise fester in your own brain.

So just smile! It works I swear ๐Ÿ™‚

Freedom Friday: Axccepting Imperfecshuns

I was talking to a patient the other day and, after reading my blog for a few weeks, she told me a that she is a perfectionist like me. I had always thrown that term around loosely, knowing that I have a tendency to focus on things that cannot be fixed, but I’d never truly thought about it. Being a perfectionist means never accepting when you’ve made a mistake or can’t do something as well as you’d like to. Boy am I a perfectionist! But it wasn’t until she pointed it out that I realized how useless it is to be this way.

The truth is that none of us are perfect. Stop. Think about it. Really think. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT. None of us are even close. Everyone has their cravings and addictions. Everyone has an area of life that they wish they could be better in. I am terrible at being single (I need love 24/7) and I can’t locate Hong Kong on a map for the life of me. Some people need to eat fries on a regular basis, others can’t compute the square root of 144. It’s ok!

 

 

^ There it is! (photo credit)

You can’t overcome your fear of imperfection until you understand it. So next time before you start beating yourself up for doing something silly, catch yourself and think, “It’s ok, no one is perfect.” Once you have a list going of things you would like to make better, pick one and concentrate on it. And this is where the baby steps come in. Take baby steps. Right now, I’m taking baby steps to eat much less sugar and to get off of my evening-time addiction. Each goal could take me months but it will probably take years. That’s ok, as long as I recognize it, and have a plan to progress. To reach the next place in my life as an even better person.

One more thing, sometimes the imperfections turn into happy things! Like the fact that I’m terrible at dancing and have learned to just not care. How liberating and fun! It means that my dancing makes people smile and maybe do their terrible dancing right along with me ๐Ÿ™‚

Ok, that is all. I hope you have a great Friday and a wonderfully imperfect weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now tell me: What is one of your imperfections?

 

Wednesday Workout: Two Things to Remember

Well hidey ho there blogosphere neighbors! Yesterday I led another great workout class. It was a 12-minute workout, just like last week but I remembered to tell the class about my Two Basic Rules.

Rule #1- BREATH. I learned this from lots of weight training and lots of yoga. Make sure you establish a breathing rhythm right along with your perfect form. If an exercise is a huge challenge for you, focus on (imagining) that you’re breathing into that part of you body. Better breathing means more oxygenated blood and muscles=better workout.

Rule #2-BRACE. Ok, put your hand on your lower belly, now flex it. Flex it so that you feel like it’s reaching back to your lower back. It should sorta feel like you’re (excuse my language) pooping. If you can hold this position throughout your exercises, especially when they get really difficult, then it will support and strengthen your back, belly, and the entire rest of your core.

Now that we have those out of the way. Here was the workout we did yesterday.

– 20 seconds on/20 seconds rest

– each exercise 3 times

– total of 12 minutes

– if you don’t push yourself, this doesn’t work. if you do, holy cow it’s amazing!

1) Side Hop – jump over something, or just step side to side as fast as you can.

2) Good Morningsย – do it without a barbell, just with your hand on your head

3) Push Ups – plank position or on your knees or even on the wall if you have shoulder problems

4) Crunches – don’t bend your neck! Just lift your head and shoulders towards the ceiling

5) Plank – with speed kicks if you’re extra awesome

6) Frog Squat

‘Twas another great workout with so many people! I beginning to love teaching this class.

What workout will you do today?ย 

๐Ÿ™‚

 

Thursday Thirst: Chicken Stock (15 min prep, 4 hrs cook time)

 

Ok, I know this recipe sounds really boring but hear me out! Chicken stock is the liquid that makes everything taste better and cheaper! I make my own every time I roast a chickenย and end up using it for the next few weeks.

Before I give you the VERY EASY recipe, here are some ways you can use chicken stock:

1.When cooking rice, replace the water with chicken stock or do a 50/50 combo.

2. Stick it in your crockpot instead of water or cream or whatever.

3. Replace the water with it when steaming veggies.

4. Use it to make soup.

Basically just use it instead of water to make any savory dish SO much tastier.

Ingredients:

chicken carcass (Everything including the skin, bones, and stuffing. Gross I know)

chopped celery

chopped carrots

diced onion

any other veggies that are on their last legs

salt and pepper

garlic (optional)

Instructions:

Pile everything into a big pot and fill with water up to the top of the carcass (the more water the more stock).

Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 4 hours. I left the house for errands then did a bunch of chores, you don’t really need to watch it. Every hour or so use a small cup to skim the foam off the top (I didn’t have any foam at all).

Turn off the heat, let it cool then freeze it! I use jars that I recycled to freeze mine but you can really use anything, including Ziploc-type baggies.

 

Now I have a freezer full of stock that I can use whenever. I just thaw a few a week and use them whenever the recipe calls for water (BOOOOORRRING).

 

Ashley Life Update:

On another note, I have been sleeping terribly lately because I’ve been trying to train myself off a bad pre-bedtime habit. I’ve been trying to drink a glass of wine before bed the last two nights but quickly realized that it’s a stimulant (whoops!). I used the bad habit yet again last night because I just plain needed sleep. Once I’m caught up, experimentation starts again.

I can’t tell you how guilty I feel about this habit because I just don’t want to rely on something besides my own body for something as simple as sleep! But Katie and I were talking this weekend and I think I just need to forgive myself for being imperfect and keep on pushing for my goals, it may just take a while.

Also, a new phone/camera is high on my Christmas list this year so the photos WILL get better! I swear. I hope you’re all having great days. Your challenge today: smile at everyone until you get at least 3 smiles back.

๐Ÿ™‚

 

Motivational Monday: How Could You Not Smile At This?

 

Happy Monday everyone! I know Monday’s are a slow day for most people so I thought I would post something to quickly boost your spirits.

You no longer have an excuse not to smile today.

Some tips for a great Monday:

– Smile and nod at everyone you see today. The smiles will be spreading by the end of the afternoon.

– Set goals for your day and for your week so you know the kind of effort you’ll be putting in for the next 5 days.

– Make plans with friends for tonight and the rest of the week. Give yourself a light at the end of the tunnel.

– Remember how lucky you are to have what you do. You guys are one of my happy things ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you all have great weeks ahead of you!

 

Questions: What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this week?