Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My sick week revelations

I've been sick for about a week.  After another day at home, feeling like crap, I'll be honest in saying that I am SO SICK of BEING SICK.  Common now, can we just move on?!

The good news: when you're sick for a long time, you get to spend a LOT of time sitting around and thinking :).  This week I thought a lot about my health and how I spend my time.  I was sick enough that getting outside, running errands, spending time with friends, exercising, eating normal food, or getting things done at home were all NON options.  For the icing on the cake, the weather was so beautiful.  I felt trapped inside, thinking of all the things I could be doing outside in the sun.

This week I thought about how often I take my health for granted...how often I look outside and think "it's a great day for a run" and then decide not to...how often I eat an unsatisfying or unhealthy dinner instead of taking the effort to go to the grocery store...how often I say I'm going to clean up my room and then throw my clothes on the floor instead...how often I sit on the couch instead of taking my adorable dog for a walk (poor Lucy).

It's weird how when something isn't available to us how much more we want to do that thing.  I've had so many chances this month go for a run, get back into my gym routine, clean out my closet, grocery shop to prepare healthy meals, and go for walks outside.  Why don't we take advantage of these opportunities when we have them?  Being lazy, distracted, nervous, tired, etc. are all common excuses, but it's weird how easily we dismiss these privileges when we have the opportunity to execute.

So, what's the take away?

Point 1: I will never be able to (and shouldn't) master one task perfectly - that is for sure.  There will always be the days where I stay at home instead of working out, or grab happy hour instead of cooking in.  It's the reality of being human.

Point 2: Despite #1, I want to make a commitment to going for it more often.  There are the times where I know (deep down inside) that saying "yes!" is the only thing I need to do to make things happen.  People always say that the hardest part about running is putting on your shoes.  I believe this is a popular saying because it's true.  Things get done once we make them a priority and decide to just go for it.   I hope to have more of these moments for the rest of this year.

Christmas (tree) in January

Last Christmas (as in 2012) was not exactly my favorite.  One of the reasons why was because I didn't manage to stop, relax, and enjoy the present.  Part of enjoying the present (for me) means enjoying the little things that make me happy during the holiday season - including (but not limited to) my Christmas tree. 

My memory of my Christmas tree last month was lugging my tree (yes, artificial) and decorations upstairs from my storage unit, throwing everything together in an hour, and calling it a day.  I don't even remember sitting down one night by the tree with a glass of wine and looking at the tree itself.  How sad!

After the New Year, I decided that I wanted to ignore all "rules" and extend my Christmas tree time.  Yep it's January 22nd and it's still up - loud and proud!  Ironically, I've been sick for about a week so it's given me plenty of time to curl up on the couch, watch a few shows (Parenthood is my latest favorite!), and look at the tree.  I've been reminded how thankful I feel to have a home that gives me shelter and keeps me warm.  While I'd rather be well, this extended down time has been a great way live in the now.  I can now look back at Christmas and say "it was a good one."

When was the last time you broke the rules or did something unconventional to enjoy the present?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

More yoga! (are you surprised?)

The other day I went to a yoga class at my gym (they have an awesome yoga studio, unlike most gyms) and there were only four people there!  The class was perfect and so relaxing.  I was so happy I went.  After class I went into the sauna and took a shower (also amazing).  Once again, I thought "why don't I do this all the time?"

While going to yoga class every day is a bit unrealistic, I do think that making it a part of my weekly routine is well worth it for my mental, physical, and emotional health.  Also as an added benefit, I'm finally seeing the fruits of my labor after practicing regularly for several months.  I'm feeling a lot more toned and strong.  Yay!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Latest favorite: hint water

The other day I bought a new drink at the store called hint water.  Their tagline is "drink water, not sugar," which I love.  You could also replace the word "sugar" with "artificial crap" in my book - I just am not a fan of the way artificial drinks make me feel after drinking them...not to mention the whole putting chemicals into your body factor. 

I first tried out the pear flavor and am excited to try more.  The ingredients are only purified water, [pear] and other natural flavors.  This water was so refreshing and a nice alternate to plain drinking water.  You can visit the company's website to find out what stores sell hint.  Enjoy! 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

30 day happiness challenge

Today I received an email with an invitation to take a 30 day happiness challenge through a free program (Gaiam).  You get an email a day with an idea on happiness.  Of course, I signed up for it right away.

Today's challenge is to "STOP. LOOK. LISTEN," by asking yourself what makes you happy, and what' you're passionate about.  Not a bad idea!

While I won't be posting each day here, I wanted to invite all of you to take the 30 day happiness challenge with me!

Peace from Photography (ECUADOR)


Recently my friend Angela went on a trip to Ecuador, which happens to be my favorite country.  I spent time in Ecuador during college, and then went back three years later to visit my host family.  It is the most incredible country and I am always blown away by the people, cultures, natural beauty, and diverse geography throughout the country.   I was so excited for Angela when I found out she was going there.

To no surprise, when Angela posted all of her photos from the trip, I spent a lot of time looking at each one and saving my favorites.  I knew I had to share a few here (with her permission). Thank you, Angela!  What beautiful photos.

Photos taken by Angela Bender

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Foods that detox!

If you've read my blog for a while you know that I'm a fan of the word "detox."  I really love the idea of cleansing the body (as much as possible) of certain types of food and drinks that (in excess) really make me feel icky over time.

Today I came across a great article on MindBodyGreen about foods that naturally help the detox process.  The list is as follows:

1. Cauliflower
2. Broccoli
3. Turnip Greens
4. Lentils
5. Grapefruit
6. Cucumber
7. Steel Cut Oats
8. Sunflower Seeds
9. Hemp Seeds

To read the full article, visit: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-6888/9-Foods-That-Will-Naturally-Detox-You.html

More yoga photography!

If I need some motivation for my practice, this just might do!

Respecting your body

Today I came across the above quote.   I really like it because it got me to think differently about why I (try to) exercise, eat healthy, get sleep, etc.   Ultimately, it's because we only have one body, and taking care of that body is showing respect to ourselves.

I also stumbled upon a related article about being "kind" to your body.  I loved the 7 pointers the article recommended, several of which I've thought about in recent months.

The quick list:

1. Remember to relax!
2. Be careful about negative thoughts
3. Choose the right beauty products
4. Be aware of what you eat
5.  Remember to exercise!
6. Listen to your body
7. Remember to breathe!

You can read the full article here: http://nz.lifestyle.yahoo.com/beauty/trends/article/-/14599078/new-concepts-of-being-kind-to-your-body/

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The beauty of yoga


For the past few months I've been practicing yoga regularly (I've practiced yoga for about 6 years on and off).  I can easily say that yoga is one of the most valuable ways I can spend my time, because it's such a holistic practice with so many benefits.  Yoga is breathing, exercise, flexibility, stress relief, fun, meditation, pain relief, strength training, learning, injury prevention, community, creativity, and self compassion all in one.  Sometimes I wonder why I don't do yoga every day!

I also love yoga because it is simply so beautiful.  I find it fascinating to think about what the human body can do through yoga, even outside!  I was introduced to outdoor yoga by one of my favorite instructors, Jessie Elenbaas (our 9th Wellness Diva!) a few years ago.  Jessie holds donation based outdoor yoga sessions during the Summer in Seattle that are so incredible.  They're usually at a park by the water, and every time I go I get such a wave of peace and fall more in love with the practice.

My appreciation for outdoor yoga also lead me to another (nerdy) obsession: outdoor yoga photography (and yoga photography in general).  When I visit Pinterest, I like looking at yoga photos, especially the ones taken outdoors.  They remind me to practice yoga, spend time outside, and take care of my body.  The thought of booking an awesome vacation (think: beach, pool, and hiking) also crosses my mind :)...

Starting the New Year right!

This morning I woke up to the most beautiful weather in Seattle.  It felt so rewarding to start off 2013 with sunshine.  I felt so lucky to wake up and see the beauty around me.  It felt like God was saying: "Welcome to 2013!  Everything is going to be okay, Margie."

I knew right away that I needed to go to Discovery Park, my favorite place in the city (if you have read my blog for a while you have probably heard this and seen photos 50 times).  My friend, Shawna, went with me and we had a great time.  The viewpoints were out of this world!  It was so fantastic to start the New Year with the outdoors, exercise, friendship, and Lucy (of course). 

After the park we went out to lunch and had an awesome, non-rushed, REAL conversation.  We caught up on a number of things, including a few tough experiences we were each going through.  It felt so great to take quality time to share about our challenges and growth over the last few months and talk about our mind frame for 2013.  We both agreed that it won't necessarily be an easy year, but that we are truly excited for the journey ahead and what we're learning.  We both trust that good things WILL happen.   I feel so thankful to have arrived at this place.

How are you going to start off the New Year on a positive note?
It also reminded us how much