Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The why's of motivation

This morning I went for my neighborhood loop walk. It was incredible. It was such a peaceful, quiet, and happy morning. This was my third walk of the week after having put off my morning walks for a while.

On the way back to my house, I had the following thought:

"If a morning walk makes me THIS happy, why in the WORLD don't I go all the time? What is it that makes it so difficult for me to just get off my butt and go?"

In thinking further (trying to narrow things down), the technical "barrier" is the following: the act of getting out of bed, going pee, putting on my walking outfit, grabbing Lucy's leash (and poop bags) and heading out the door. Literally, that's it.

So - why is that SO hard for me? You'd think that based on my "emotional high" each morning (getting exercise, spending time with my dog, breathing fresh air, and doing something so healthy for myself) that it would be a no brainer. I guess the answer to my question is: because I'm human. Humans get tired, lazy, and make excuses all the time. It's okay to sleep in instead of going for a walk now and then.

However, today's walk was a reminder of a post I did a while back (entitled "Thoughts of empowerment") about the BIG impact that little daily actions can have have on our lives. It got me thinking that perhaps I don't believe in my ability to (more often) rise above and exercise my willpower (that exists somewhere in my being).

Who knows. All I know is that I am proud of myself for getting off my butt today. I can't wait to go on more walks, especially with better daylight and warmer days this Spring! Lucy is a fan of the idea too.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cherry Blossoms in Seattle!

Photo taken by Kristen Thyng

Today my friend Kristen posted a photo of cherry blossoms that I absolutely loved. It made me smile instantly! It reminded me how awesome of a city I live in, especially when Spring weather picks up.

About the photo: "This morning I was running in north Seattle when it was still chilly out. I had just made it up the big hill in Inverness from the Burke Gilman Trail and was still panting when the smell of the cherry blossoms caught my attention. I had to stop and take a couple of pictures since the sun was on the tree just right...I've been inside and underground working most of the day since then, so I especially appreciated getting out this morning!"

Thanks for sharing, Kristen!

Becoming carb conscious


I have never been someone to worry about my carbohydrate intake. In fact, I am somewhat against low carb diets and think that carbohydrates (the good kinds) are an important part of an active and healthy lifestyle.

That being said, lately I've realized that my diet has been a bit out of whack and I would like to be more conscious of what foods I'm consuming. While it's not an area of great concern, I'm realizing that I could scale back in some ways. For example, do I always need a piece of toast with my scrambled eggs? Can I skip the dinner roll? Can I have one beer instead of two? Can I eat a smaller portion of pasta with my spaghetti dinner? Definitely...YES.

For the next few weeks, I am going to try start being simply conscious of my carb intake and scale back when/where I can. When we are eating a reasonable, healthy amount of carbs, we feel better and function best. I believe this type of "quality control" helps us maintain our weight (and blood sugar) as well.

My diet today (thus far) has included a soy latte, scrambled eggs, and a yummy arugula salad with fresh tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and Balsamic Vinaigrette. I'm one happy camper!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Loving pilates!

Recently, I activated a 5 class pass at a studio in Seattle, Pilates on 10th. I absolutely love the facility, instructors, and classes. I've been going to a Friday Intermediate Mat class at noon that has been a great way to finish off the week and take a break during the work day. My cousin Robin is a huge fan of Pilates (she was our Pilates Diva last year!) and I am now seeing why more and more!

I am loving Pilates for many reasons. To name a few:

1. It brings so much awareness to my posture - both during and outside of class
2. It's a great stress reliever during the work day. I've realized Pilates is a pretty relaxing exercise.
3. It is great core work - my weakest muscle group (to my knowledge)
4. It allows me to focus on my breathing for a full hour - so important to do!

If you live in the Seattle area, I highly recommend Pilates on 10th. The studio is lovely, bright, open, and friendly, and the instructors are wonderful and helpful! Visit: pilateson10th.com

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Preparation for the Future


Today my friend Megan shared this quote with me. I absolutely loved it. While I know that the religious element may impact me differently than others, I think we can all relate to the overall message. I like the reminder that we cannot control our lives and what happens to us. Being thankful for the people we meet, what we're learning, and enjoying the journey of life (in the present) is so important.

Thanks for sharing, Megan!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mr. Gibbs on the Today Show

This morning I watched one of the most darling stories I've ever seen on The Today Show about a girl who lives with a dog in order to carry around her oxygen tank. If you love kids and/or you love dogs, you will NOT be disappointed. This is definitely one of my "I'm crying first thing in the morning" days - but all happy tears.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Be yourself, follow your heart

"Just be yourself and follow your heart. That’s why people fall in love with you. A real friend is someone who truly knows you, and loves you just the same. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop. They will be waiting for you when you get comfortable in your skin and lose yourself in doing something that you love." Source: www.marcandangel.com

Extreme giraffe cuteness!

Peace from photography (Hilliard, OH)

Photo taken by Carolyn Kearns

Today I saw another beautiful photo on Facebook that I of course I had to share with you all!

My college friend, Carolyn, describes the scene: "I was on a walk with my 4 lb toy Yorkie, Evie - this is the lake right by my house in Mill Run, Hilliard, Ohio - it's a suburb of Columbus. It is quite possibly one of my favorite places to clear my head, just a little walk and a bunch of sky spins some perspective on things - God is mighty like that."

I love that Carolyn was able to take a photo of a place that brings her happiness, whenever she stops by. I'd imagine that just looking at this photo makes her smile! :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

DO what you believe you CAN

Looking for a tennis ball

It's official. My friend Karin has THE best Facebook profile picture I've ever seen. I have no clue how her family pulled this off, but it's the best. Karin states: "We are all looking for a tennis ball. Guess who won!"

Friday, March 16, 2012

Nutrition: Staying on Track


Today I came across a great article/slideshow from WebMD.com entitled "Best Diet Tips Ever - 22 Ways to Stay on Track." While I am mostly an opponent of the word "diet" I do love many of the pointers and wanted to share with you!

Here are my favorites. To check out the full slideshow, click here.

1. Drink plenty of water!
It's easy to confuse thirst with hunger. Also, water is so good for you!

2. Be careful about night time snacks.
"Mindless eating often occurs in the evening." I like the idea of having a cut off time (ex: 8:00 PM) after dinner so that you hold yourself accountable. This has always been a tricky area for me!

3. ENJOY your favorite foods.
Don't cut things out entirely! Have a treat now and then, but make it a good one, and remember portion control. I'm all about a piece of quality dark chocolate, or one glass of great red wine.

4. Eat protein at every meal.
I like the idea of integrating protein into every meal, within reason/without overdoing things.

5. Stock your kitchen with healthy, convenient foods.
In recent weeks I have gotten a bit behind in my normal grocery shopping routines, but am trying to be better about prioritizing frequent trips to make sure I always have a decent option for daily meals.

6. Always eat breakfast. DUH!

7. Include fiber in your diet.

8. Get enough sleep.

9. Keep a food diary.
When I was living abroad in Scotland during college, I lost 13 lbs in one semester from this method (with a lot of walking as an added bonus!).

What have you found to be your most helpful nutrition method/strategy?
Link

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Exercise your buns!


Today I received a fitness newsletter from an old trainer about butt toning exercises. Awesome.

I also loved the second part of the article about not making excuses for not chasing after your fitness goals (I am the queen of this). John says: "Your excuses for being out-of-shape are getting old. An excuse takes less immediate effort than an action, but in the long run the action taker always has the advantage."

I have been purchasing a series of exercise related Groupons over the past 6 or so months, with the intention of using them after my gym membership expired (earlier this month). This week my fitness goal is to start scheduling my workout time and making use of the opportunities!

The 6 Best Exercises For Your Buns

Here's the article that you've been waiting for – everything you need to know to shape up your booty for swimsuit season.

Don't allow past failures get you down. It can be frustrating waiting for results, but by a combination of cardio exercises, a healthy diet, and the right resistance workouts targeted for the butt and thighs, you will reach your goal.

Here are the essential exercises that target your gluteal muscles to give it the shape and tone you desire.

Exercise 1: Hip Lift
A great exercise to work your glute muscles is the hip lift. To do this exercise, lie on the floor with your back flat, knees bent, and feet resting on the ground. While keeping your arms at your sides on the floor, lift your bottom and lower back off of the floor. Hold for a few seconds, and then slowly lower yourself. Repeat. To work your muscles even more, lift a leg in the air when you raise your bottom off the ground. Lower yourself and then repeat, lifting the other leg.

Exercise 2: Leg Lift
To do a leg lift, lie on your side and prop yourself up on your elbow. Raise your top leg slowly into the air, as high as you can, so your legs make a "V" shape. Hold for a few seconds, and then slowly lower your leg. Repeat 10 times, turn onto the other side, and lift the other leg.

Exercise 3: Banded Shuffle
This is a great exercise to get your heart pumping and work your butt. To do this exercise, you'll need an elastic sports band. Stand up straight with your legs hip-width apart and tie the band around your lower legs. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, your back is straight, and your abdominals are tight. While in this squatting position, take several steps to the left, then several to the right. You may need to use your arms for balance, but your butt muscles should feel a workout.

Exercise 4: Plie Squat
Another form of squat is the plie squat. If you don't have an elastic band, this is the exercise to add definition and shape to your butt. Start by standing with your legs slightly more than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed out to the sides. This is what ballerinas call the plie position. For balance, hold your arms in front of you. While keeping your back straight, slowly squat to the ground until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold this for five seconds and stand back up. Repeat 10 times.

Exercise 5: Lunge
A fifth exercise that targets the muscles of your butt, thighs, and hips is the lunge. Putting one foot out in front of the other, lower your body toward the ground, keeping your abdominals tight and your torso straight. Lower until the front knee is bent at 90 degrees and not extended past your toes. Stand back up and then extend the opposite leg and bend. Perform 10 repetitions. For an increased workout, hold dumbbells in each hand.

Exercise 6: Run or Walk
Running or walking outside or on the treadmill are other great exercises that work your butt while giving you a cardio workout to burn fat at the same time. Make it your goal to exercise 30 to 45 minutes at least three times a week, including walking or running each time.

Burn, Baby, Burn! These exercises are excellent ways to burn extra fat off your butt while adding the definition you desire. Not used to working your gluteal muscles? You'll definitely feel the burn the first few days, but the end result will be worth the effort!

If you're serious about transforming your body then call or email today to set up a consultation with me. Together we will create the perfect program that will quickly get you into the body that you deserve.

Don't wait – call or email today to get started.

No More Excuses

Your excuses for being out-of-shape are getting old. An excuse takes less immediate effort than an action, but in the long run the action taker always has the advantage.

  • Don't skip out on your responsibilities with excuses, instead expect more from yourself.
  • Focus on the big reason why you are losing the weight. Make a list of the benefits you'll enjoy once you achieve your goal, and read them first thing each morning.
  • Remember that you can only have two things in life: excuses or results. Which do you want?

Don't allow excuses to ruin your life any longer.

SOURCE: John Verd
Email: info@seattlebootcamp.com
Phone: (855) FIT-CAMP
Web: Visit My Website

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stress fighting foods!


The other day my friend Anna shared an article with me from mindbodygreen.com which I found rather intriguing: 7 Foods to Fight Stress. Who knew?!

You can read the full article here with explanations of the stress fighting benefits, but here are the 7 findings, in short:

1. Dark Chocolate (hip hip hooray!)
2. Spinach
3. Oatmeal
4. Walnuts

5. Sunflower Seeds

6. Blueberries

7. Salmon

I am happy that most of these foods are in my kitchen/fridge most of the time, especially salmon, spinach, and chocolate.

Thanks for sharing, Anna!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rock the Lips THIS THURSDAY!

Have you heard about Rock the Lips? If you haven't, listen up!

This is an AWESOME event coming up on Thursday, March 8th that I put into the category of "female empowerment." My friend Mariko's company is managing the event, and I am so excited for her to be part of a fantastic movement.

You can view the official Facebook event to get more info and RSVP, but if you're not on FB, here's the details:

ROCK THE LIPS: 3-8-12
Women Rock. And if we can get 1 million passionate, dynamic, creative, intelligent, fun women to wear red lipstick to celebrate International Women’s Day…what else can we do together?

In an effort to support the event, I decided to pull out my favorite MAC lipstick, Viva Glam, and take a few pictures to send to Mariko. YES - lots of laughter (combined with sincere support) followed...

What red lipstick are you wearing on Thursday?!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The little things at home


If I'm ever having a blah day, I've found that it's sometimes the little things around my home that make me smile. Today I thought about things around my home that somehow always seem to make my day better. Here's what I came up with in just two minutes:

My Glassybaby (note: I only have one)

Sex and the City

My ridiculously pink sandals that I wore while I cleaned my home yesterday

Clean sheets!

Mango Body Butter - LOVE.
The sunset

Lucy Goose :)

What are the small things around your home that make you smile?

Furry friends

The other weekend my dog, Lucy, got to meet my friend Katrina's puppy, Frank. The two were SO cute together and balanced each other out quite well. I came across the photos and video I took that day and started cracking up. I believe they're a great pick me up for any day!

video

What being a good friend is all about


Today I've been playing Sex and the City (Season 6) while getting odds and ends done around my home. While watching "The Ick Factor" (when Miranda gets married and Samantha tells Miranda she has breast cancer), I was reminded about the gift of friendship - specifically the definition of a great friend: selflessness. I loved this exchange:

Charlotte: "See, this is what we were afraid of...go back to your people and we'll talk about it later."
Miranda: "You are my people and we'll talk about it now."

I love Cynthia Nixon's demonstration of true friendship in this scene. It's so clear how much she makes Samantha a priority (without even thinking) on her wedding day. This selfless quality is something I truly value in my closest friends. In the end, I think it's what ultimately makes a friendship strong.

Saturday Happiness!


I am so thrilled to say that I had the BEST day yesterday. I am so thankful that I finally bounced back from feeling the ICKs and February blues for such a long time. I think that since I was sick and completely unproductive all week, my body had stored up an incredible amount of energy to utilize once I was feeling well!


I started my day treating myself to a pedicure at my favorite place in Seattle, Spa Envy. Their spa is so nice and relaxing, their staff is incredibly kind, and they always do a wonderful job (I highly recommend going to Spa Envy if you're looking for a new quality place in Seattle!). Spa Envy was kind enough to do a fun "Spa for a Cause" event yesterday for my nonprofit, donating 15% of the proceeds to our organization (can you think of a better time to treat yourself to a pedicure?!) I was in a total pink Summer mood, and so picked my long-time favorite pink OPI color, Pompeii Purple. It turned out great!

I then ended up having the most productive afternoon at home. I was truly inspired to get a ton of work done, including cleaning my bathroom, kitchen, and living room, vacuuming my home, doing laundry, taking the trash and recycling out, changing my sheets, and more! I even decorated my home by adding special picture frames to my bookshelf that my cousin Robin and her family gave to me as a birthday present. Now I smile each time I walk past my bookshelf and see my favorite little cousins, Jillian and Anna.

Part way through my house cleaning project, I looked outside and realized it was one of the most beautiful days my city has had in months! I all of a sudden had an urge to go for a run with Lucy at Discovery Park - so I did just that! Even though I coughed my way through the run, I was so proud of myself for getting off my butt to take care of myself and spend time outside. The energy at the park was great and it was truly a unexpectedly gorgeous day in Seattle.

Later that evening, I went out with my friend Shawna to one of my favorite Seattle pubs, The Market Arms (of course, British :). We also went to a new bar in Ballard, the Urban Family Public House. They had about 20 beers on tap - I couldn't believe it!

I am so thankful that yesterday was fantastic. Being sick all week made me realize how important it is to take advantage of each day, especially when you are feeling well!

Friday, March 2, 2012

The sick STOP signal

This has been me this week (minus the perfect not-that-sick model look) - Photo Source

I am going to complain. I have been sick since Sunday (6 Days of sick = not cool). Normally I get sick one day, crash right away, and bounce back a day or two later. This time was not the case. Headache, fever-ish, cold, overall ick-i-ness - you name it, I've got it. And I'm SICK of it.

Tonight I had plans with my friends Shawna and Shomari. I was really looking forward to spending time with them and going to a fun event. When I told them that I couldn't go, Shawna replied with the following:

"Sometimes our bodies just need to be sick so we STOP."

I loved this point because it couldn't be more true. After weeks of spreading myself too thin and not taking care of myself it finally hit me: I needed to STOP. Getting sick appeared to be the wake up call that forced me to put on the breaks.

AND I'M OKAY WITH IT.

Yes, it's a pain in the rear being sick. My dog is sick of not doing anything, I'm behind with work, I feel AND look gross, and I had to cancel plans with my friends. However, the truth is that this week has made me think about taking better care of myself and knowing when I need to just STOP.

Try your best this week to think about when or if you need to STOP - before you get sick!

Taking control of your boundaries


"Your mind is your private sanctuary; do not allow the negative beliefs of others to occupy it. Your skin is your barrier; do not allow others to get under it. Take control of your boundaries and what you allow yourself to absorb from others."

Source: marcandangel.com

Being ridiculous is FAB.

Focusing on the PRESENT


Lately I've come across the topic of focusing on the present - being proud of how far you've come while enjoying the NOW, instead of worrying about the future or where you're "supposed to" be.

When we worry about where we're supposed to be (for the record: I am the QUEEN of this habit) it can bring us to a sometimes unsettling place. We question our actions, use negative self talk, and forget all the great things we've already accomplished. We then feel overwhelmed and less confident about the future.

What if we got into a habit of saying "Wow, I am so proud that I had the strength and courage to come this far. What can I do today to feel happy and healthy?" Could this line of thinking transform our lives? I imagine that if we made a daily practice of focusing on the present, celebrating small achievements, and doing what makes us happy, it would allow us to live fuller and more peaceful lives.

Some Food for Thought:


“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Don’t search for answers now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything.”
- Rainer Maria Rilke

"What often screws us up the most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be. And the reason so many of us give up is because we tend to look at how far we still have to go, instead of how far we have come. Remember, life is a journey, not a destination. This moment, like every moment, is a priceless gift and an opportunity. Be positive, smile, and make it count. Pretend today is going to be great. Do so, and it will be.
" (Source: marcandangel.com)

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
-Buddha


Happiness Exercises to try starting...TODAY!

Pull out a piece of paper and write down 5 things that you are happy about right now in your life. This could be something recent or something you've already achieved and are feeling happy or proud about today. After reviewing the list, how do you feel? Try to be mindful of this feeling next week and remember those 5 things.

10 Ways to Start Living in the Present

I also came across this article today and LOVE the pointers that the author writes, such as removing clutter, smiling, and practicing forgiveness. How awesome, simple and empowering! You can read the full article here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Remembering how far you've come

"In every mistake and struggle there is a message. Some people miss the message because they’re too busy berating themselves for the mistake, or fretting over the problem. To be upset about what you don’t have is always a waste of what you do have. The happiest of people aren’t the luckiest, and they usually don’t have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes their way. The reason so many people give up is because they tend to look at what’s missing, and how far they still have to go, instead of what’s present, and how far they have come."
Source: http://www.marcandangel.com/