Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Who we are = what we're capable of doing

"Maybe who we are isn't so much about what we do, but rather what we're capable of when we least expect it." — (Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper, Source)

ove this!

Yoga Finding #3: Friendship

Love this pic! Something to aspire to...(Photo Source)

Yesterday I went to yoga with my dear friend, Monica. I have been friends with Monica since high school when we tried out for volleyball freshman year. In less than one week, Monica will leave for London, where she'll live and work for at least one year! I am sad as I count down the days until Monica's departure, but I am so excited for what the future (and London) has in store for her.

Rarely do I get the chance to go to yoga with a friend. Most of my friends either do not do yoga or do not go to the same studio as me, so I typically go alone (and let's be honest - you never know how "interesting" fellow yoga class attendees will be in Seattle). Yesterday, my time with Monica allowed us to spend quality time together, get exercise, and walk away from class in a great "state of being." We both agreed how relaxing the class was, and were able to debrief over my famous Cucumber Spa Water after class.

Monica and I at the photo booth at our friend Andrea's wedding last Summer.

I learned that it's great to go to yoga (or any exercise class, for that matter) with a friend. You hold each other accountable and can share your experiences/findings with each other after class. I've done morning runs, weekend walks, outdoor boot camps, and various gym classes with friends, and it's always the most fun way to workout.

Thanks, Mo! Love you :).

Monday, July 18, 2011

WebMD: The Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep (17-20)

We've arrived at the last four tips from WebMD on getting a good night's sleep!

I hope you've found a couple of these tips to be useful. Last night I tried sleeping without my lap top in my bedroom and turning on my humidifier for white noise. The nix-laptop method worked, but my humidifier was way too loud. Tonight I'm going to try out a small fan instead.

17. Keep Pets Off the Bed

Apparently your pet's movement during the night can prevent you from getting into a deep sleep. Also, pets may cause allergies due to all the stuff they bring inside!

18. Free Your Mind at Bedtime

I love the idea of creating a night time routine about an hour before you go to bed. Also great to make a list of to-do items or things that you're worried about so you can close the file(s) before falling asleep.

19. Use Caution with Sleeping Pills

Good to know!

20. When Insomnia Means Something More

Most certainly it's good to observe when your sleep loss is a chronic vs. intermittent type deal, and to seek professional help if it will not go away.

Article Source

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wellness Diva #8: Megan (The Optimist)

I am so incredibly excited to introduce our 8th Wellness Diva: Megan Saulsbury.

I had the pleasure of meeting Megan when we were bridesmaids together in our friend Andrea's wedding last Summer. Andrea had told me that her and Megan were best childhood friends, so I knew this gal would be awesome and a treat to hang out with.

When I first met Megan, we were getting pedicures and manicures the day before Andrea's wedding. Everyone had sat down to get pampered, except for Megan, who started serving everyone champagne and fruit! She was so excited to give to others and be a part of the day. I could tell within minutes that Megan was a cheerful, fun, loving, beautiful, and happy person (and that we'd have a blast that weekend!).

Megan "relaxing with a fabulous banana daiquiri, truly allowing myself to just be and enjoy life."

The morning of Andrea's wedding day, Megan and I took a walk to Starbucks while everyone was getting their hair done. I learned about Megan's business (Canyon PR) that she started on her own, as well as the kind of woman Megan was and how she lives her life.

What I appreciate the most about Megan is the constant positive energy she carries with her, both individually and in her relationships with others. Megan is an optimist. She is thankful for each day and inspires others to live life to the full - these are two core values that Megan and I share (so naturally, I'm biased :).

Megan with her niece and nephew, Sophia and Preston ("I LOVE being an auntie!")

That being said, I wanted to highlight Megan's optimism, which I find incredibly powerful and inspiring. So, enough with the details - let's hear from Megan!

1. What makes you an optimist? Where do your core values stem from? Were they something you were taught at an early age, or did you realize certain things along the way?

Over the past few years I've grown so much as a woman and am constantly working on enriching my life and bettering myself to live a healthy lifestyle, and hopefully, impact the lives of others. What I think is the biggest tool in helping me to do so is embracing each day with an optimistic attitude. Life truly has so much to offer and the possibilities and opportunities we're blessed with are endless! When you tweak your mindset to viewing life in this manner, you can't help but embrace each day with an optimistic attitude. I strongly believe that if you're handed a challenge or obstacle in life, be grateful for it and stay positive about the end result. After all, you're only given what you're strong enough to handle.

2. Are there conscious things you do to help you maintain positive thinking, optimism, etc? What are things in your life that make your happy and help you live a balanced life?

One habit I've incorporated into each day is saying "Thank you" right when I wake up. Is there a more positive way to start your day, haha?! I love waking up in the morning with a sense of excitement - "What's going to happen today?!" "What am I going to do?!" "What's in store?!" Life is the best gift we could ever be given, so I try to focus on noticing, appreciating and being grateful for everything and everyone in life. I also think it's important to note that your create your own happiness. You can't depend on others to make you happy. That's one thing I used to struggle with, but over time, I realized by living a positive lifestyle and appreciating the little things in life, I've found happiness in myself. Sure I love going out to fancy restaurants covering myself in sequins and glitter, but I also LOVE staying in and watching a classic old movie with a take-and-bake pizza and some wine. Life is what you make it, so why not make the most out of everything!

3. When you run into a challenge in your life, what do you do to enact a positive approach to addressing the issue?

To be honest, I freak out for a few minutes, haha, but I allow myself to embrace each emotion! Then I focus on controlling my emotions and simply tackling the challenge at hand. It can be difficult for some, but I think it's important to welcome every challenge brought our way. You're going to learn things about yourself and/or life you never knew! And ultimately, you're going to be a stronger person after having overcome your challenge. I think it's all about your mindset and believing in yourself. We're all capable of achieving so much in life, but you need to believe and trust in yourself.
4. Do you have any favorite quotes, books, etc. you'd like to share?

A few that I live by are:

"Living the good life is not a matter of counting the days, but a matter of making the days count."

"Keep calm and carry on."

"Power through it."

"Give yourself back to the world each day."

"Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are."

“Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence.”

I also love reading books from Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra and Dr. Wayne Dyer. Let's be honest, I love a good Danielle Steel romance as well:)

5. Anything else you'd like to add? Do you have any advice for our readers?

I'm in love with the word "Faith" and all it entails. I think having faith in yourself, God, life, possibilities, etc. is the key to living a beautiful, happy, peace-filled life. We all encounter moments where we doubt ourselves or maybe question why something happened, but when it boils down to it, it happened for a reason. We need to be accepting and embracing of what comes our way and have faith that everything will work out as it should. It always does!!!

Megan living on the edge with her friend Kandis :)

Thank you, Megan!
Megan - thank you for making my day better, and for being an inspiration to many! :)

The greatness of morning runs

Note: I hope to look like this in upcoming months... (Photo Source)

Last month, I decided to get back into running again. I made a plan to run just once a week, and go from there. Amazingly, my plan has not backfired, and I've been running twice a week since mid June. Most weeks have been 1 week day morning run around Greenlake and a weekend run around the Discovery Park Loop Trail.

This morning I went for a run around the lake, followed by a trip to Diva Espresso. I am continually reminded how great I feel when I start my day with a run. Exercise is immediately checked off my to-do list for the day (which means I don't have to squeeze in an evening workout) and I start my day doing something for myself that doesn't involve work or any stressful obligations.

Now with a month of running under my belt, my plan is to add a longer run to my week starting next week. I am excited to continue the adventure and see where things go!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Little treats for self (Kiehl's Olive Fruit Oil Hair Pak)

Recently I discovered a conditioner made by Kiehl's: their Olive Fruit Oil deep conditioning treatment. My friend Erin (our Service Diva) is a HUGE fan of Kiehl's products, so I decided to give it a try.

Let me just say - I love this stuff. You only need to use a small amount once a week (even less). It's gentle, smells great, and my hair has already improved in just weeks of using it. If I sound like an advertisement, well - I guess I am!

ABOUT: Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Repairative Hair Pak

Formulated for dehydrated, under-nourished, and damaged hair, our repairative masque provides intense conditioning, helping to repair severely weakened hair fibers by restoring its moisture content. Our formula contains the latest in haircare science with molecules that mimic the natural oils which coat healthy hair. We blended enriching Avocado Oil, Lemon Extract, and Olive Fruit Oil-inspired by traditional home recipes-to create a deeply nourishing treatment that moisturizes and strengthens hair as it restores shine and a healthy appearance to even severely parched hair. Consistent use of our Deeply Repairative Hair Pak will prevent future damage from environmental stresses and other external abuses. Ideal for hair weakened by overexposure to sun, chemical-processing, or excessive heat styling (Source).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Yoga Finding #2: Stress Relief

In April, I started a Wellness series about Yoga and a 20 class adventure at 8 Limbs Yoga in Seattle. Unfortunately that idea was put on hold due to sheer procrastination, but today I got back on track...

Tonight I went to a yoga class with Megan at 8 Limbs. It was the best decision I've made in weeks. The class was incredible. It was basically an hour of breathing, stretching, relaxation, and meditation all in one. I appreciated that it wasn't too intense (otherwise I would have suffered through class - not going to lie).

When class ended, I told my friend (who I ran into at class): "That was the best way to spend my Monday evening, period!" I left class tonight feeling completely de-stressed. It was exactly what I needed!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WebMD: The Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep (13-16)

We're onto the next 4 tips for a good night's sleep - thank you, WebMD!

TIPS 13 - 16

13. Stop Sipping After 8 pm

Web MD says: "Treat yourself like a child: Nothing to drink within two hours of bedtime."

14. Lower the Lights

Web MD says: "Starting two to three hours before bedtime, dim the lights around the house and put aside any work, arguments, or complicated decisions. It takes time to turn off the emotional and intellectual "noise" of the day."

15. Neutralize Noise

Web MD says: "A dripping faucet, a child's cough, or a barking dog can add up to big-time sleep loss."


16. Skip the Smoke


Article Source

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lemon Water in the Summer

Tonight I got in bed with a glass of iced water with lemon. It was truly refreshing after a long day in the sun and post 4th of July activities. It may sound nuts, but I find lemon water (hot or cold) to be totally cleansing - kind of a spa at home scenario.

I decided to do a bit of digging around online, as I was curious about potential health benefits to drinking lemon water. Sure enough, there are! (according to a few sources)...enjoy!

Can Drinking Lemon Water Help With Weight Loss?

Posted by Jessica Oxford on Friday, September 26th 2008

Can the lemon help us out with weight loss and keeping our body’s healthy? It’s often used as a garnish, an addition to flavor to a meal or as a hot drink to sooth a sore throat but the lemon can be a great source of vitamins, healthy sugars and can help to balance out the body’s pH levels.

Does it really help with weight loss?
Lemon water can act as blood sugar stabilizer that keeps metabolism up and weight loss moving along. Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning upon rising can stimulate the body’s natural cleansing and detoxifying processes. If you replace a drink that contains a lot of calories such as fizzy drinks or artificial fruit juices with lemon water that has no or very little calories, you will be doing your body a lot of good by cutting out sugar and preservatives and increasing your daily water intake.

The average westerner’s diet is high in sugar, wheat products and processed foods. These all affects our pH balance and can leave the body acidic. This can lead to us easily getting infected with virus’s and our immune system being weaker. Our immune system works optimally at a middle pH level and can’t combat viruses by themselves with an over acidic pH. So the other great thing about lemon water is that it is alkalizing. Despite being perceived as acidic lemons are actually alkalizing and such can help to bring your body into pH balance. The lemon juice will lift the alkalinity of the water so that you can make your normal glass of tap water pH neutral.

Other Benefits of Lemons

  • Lemons are antibacterial
  • Lemon water can help with digestion, heartburn and bloating
  • Lemon water can cleanse and revitalize the liver and kidneys
  • Lemon juice contains calcium, magnesium and potassium and can cleanse the skin
  • Hot Lemon water can relive cold and flu symptoms and provide Vitamin C

How to prepare a lemon water drink
This is pretty easy; it’s basically water with some lemons added in. First get a glass of water and after that cut some slices of lemon and add them to the drink. You could also squeeze some of the juice into the water. I prefer the water a little bit cold, however some people believe that room temperature or even lukewarm is better for you.

In addition to increasing vitamin C intake and helping weight loss, lemon water may just encourage you to drink the important 6-8 glasses of water each day that your body needs.

**If you’re going to leave the skin on the lemons make sure you wash them well otherwise pesticides and chemicals could leach out of the rind and into your water if they are left soaking for too long.


A Wellness Weekend in Bellingham

Random fact: Bellingham is my favorite city in Washington State. My love for Bellingham developed when I first attended Summer camp at Camp Firwood in 3rd grade. I was a camper for 8 years and then ended up Counseling at Firwood during my college years.

Lake Whatcom (Photo Source)

I love Bellingham for many reasons. Here are my top 5:

1. Bellingham is a beautiful city, situated on the Bay and just a short drive from Vancouver, B.C.
2. Bellingham is a smaller, "calmer" version of Seattle that still has tons of great stuff to do.
3. Bellingham is home to the Woods Coffee (my favorite coffee shop ever) and the Boundary Bay Brewery (gotta love their beer sampler).
4. Bellingham is home to Lake Whatcom, Lake Padden, and Lake Sammish - three of the most beautiful lakes I've ever seen.
5. Everytime I go to Bellingham, I feel completely at peace and go home feeling 10x better.

Link The Chrysallis Inn & Spa (Photo Source)

Last weekend, I decided to treat myself to a weekend in Bellingham at the Chrysallis Inn & Spa, my favorite hotel. My two days consisted of outdoor exercise, trips to the Woods Coffee, shopping in downtown Bellingham, wine by the waterfront at Fino Wine Bar, reading, writing, praying, sunshine, sleeping, several trips to the steam room, and NO internet use. I also was able to see my wonderful friends, Sarah and Heidi, who I worked with at camp many years ago.

Sarah and I at dinner on Sunday evening - so much fun!

The walk from my hotel to the Woods Coffee - not too shabby.

I am so glad that I was able to get away this weekend. As much as I love my family and friends at home, it became clear to me (after no breaks or vacations since mid April) that I needed to get away and do something for myself: A Wellness Weekend.

The outdoor patio at Fino Wine Bar - lovely.

If you feel like you've been on overload these days and could use a break from life, I'd highly encourage you to start thinking about a trip for yourself. Purchasing a plane ticket isn't even necessary! My drive to and from Bellingham took just over an hour, and I felt like I was far away from home. If you're the type that can't be alone for extended periods of time - bring a friend or significant other with you and split the cost! I've tried both options and it's always a great time.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Friday FB highlights

One of my favorite parts of Facebook is seeing positive and entertaining status updates from my friends. Today, I woke up to a beautiful Friday morning in Seattle - which means you can expect very happy status updates throughout the day....

Case in point - here are some of my favorites from this morning (note: it's not even past 10:00 am!)

"Happiness is a sunny Seattle morning, the sunroof open, the radio blasting, and singing at the top of my lungs. :)" –Becky

"And so begins the best month of the year!!" –Julie

"Woke up feeling super motivated! Lets see what I can accomplish today!" –Sarah

"Four day weekends are the best." – Galen

"The world is better on Friday." – Jabez

Thank you, friends, for the positive energy! Have a great Friday and 4th of July weekend!