Sunday, December 4, 2016

hygge during the holidays

I have been loving December in Denver this holiday season. It is so sunny, peaceful, and fun to see the weather change a bit (so far little snow, though!). Lately I've been feeling grateful for the little things that are bringing me joy, whether it's a small shopping treat to myself or the view by a walking path). I also wanted to do a small plug for a couple awesome local businesses. 

1. Holiday Candles
I have about five holiday candles throughout my home right now. Yesterday at the Denver Flea I learned about this wonderful company that makes candles for a good cause: "helping teachers get the classroom supplies they need to spark young minds." I snagged their Apple Picking fragrance which smells amazing. You can learn more about KarmaLit and order some candles for your loved ones here (they make a fantastic holiday gift!).

2. Morning walks
I love morning walks. They are such a healthy way to start your day. They are energizing and reduce stress within minutes. Yesterday I went for a long morning walk around City Park. It was pretty cold, but super sunny and the scenery was awesome. The lake is finally starting to freeze a bit!

3. This scarf/blanket/towel
Yesterday at the Denver Flea I learned about this awesome company called hygge life. They make really practical, beautiful products like blankets, hand towels, and scarfs. I learned from visiting their website that hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is the Danish word that describes "the feeling that comes from finding true joy in life's moments, big or small, whatever the season or time of day." I can't believe how ironic this is - I had no idea at the time of buying the scarf. 

What I love about the hygge life products is that many have more than one use - for instance, the scarf I got can also be used as a towel at home or blanket for the beach. It is 100% cotton, machine washable, and absorbs moisture well. Yay for wonderful, practical, local products!

4. Train rides
This Thanksgiving I took the train to/from Carbondale, CO for the second year in a row. It is so wonderful to relax, read, and listen to music (my latest favorite: Marian Hill) while passing by the beautiful scenery and NOT being stuck in traffic by yourself in (potentially) awful weather. That was a worthwhile run on sentence...

5. Glassybaby everything
I have been a long time fan of glassybaby, a company based out of Seattle. As glassybaby votives are rather pricey, I hadn't bought one since moving to Denver. Last week I bought one as a pick me up and holiday treat to myself in my new home. I had been eyeing the Cozy color for about a year. I also stocked up on their tea lights (they are hands down the best kind you can buy). 

6. Journaling
I bought this notebook a while back and am absolutely loving it. The quality is perfect (ideal weight, sturdy cover, nice lines, two sections, etc) and it's keeping me organized. I've been using it for shopping and holiday card lists, recording my workouts, brainstorming my health goals, and keeping track of books I want to read. I am also a huge fan of the brand and hope to pick out a few other items soon!

7. (Winter) Aspens 
Aspens are known for being extra stunning in the Fall, but really they are beautiful year-round. I have been loving them during this winter season and when I see them, I am reminded of how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful state.

8. Looking at inspiring photos of fitness, yoga, and nature on Pinterest
This is one of my "nerdy confessions." I am not a big Pinterest user, but when I go on there I love looking at beautiful photography. My favorite search on Pinterest is "yoga and nature." Looking at the photos remind me of the happiness that yoga, the outdoors, and health brings me. I also have a goal to visit more beautiful places in 2017. 

I also love saving inspiring fitness quotes that motivate me to challenge myself in my workouts or simply go to to the gym! It's always a good reminder to take care of our health during the holidays. This one (below) is simple but I love it because it's true. I really do feel confident, happy, strong and beautiful when I'm working out. 

What are the little things bringing you joy or inspiring you this holiday season? 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Re-thinking time and priorities

A couple weeks ago, I had a really awesome phone call with my mom. I was telling her how I was feeling a bit down and "off" and she asked me what I was doing to take care of myself and stay happy. At first I responded by saying that I was exercising regularly and loving my gym, but as I mulled things over, I couldn't come up with anything else to say.

Over the past two months, I bought a new home, moved into a new home, sold my home in Seattle, moved all of my belongings to CO, moved (work) offices, went to a wedding in upstate NY, and wrapped up a very busy fiscal year for my organization. My mom shared with me that any one of those "life events" would be good cause to feel a bit worn out, and that I may be running on empty.

My mom then asked me whether or not I am choosing activities that are truly life giving and nourishing my soul. I laughed and said: "curling up to a good show with a great glass of wine may be relaxing, but it's not necessarily energizing." I told my mom that I would take some time to reflect on my health, time, and priorities, and how I might want to approach things in the months ahead.

This week was my work's annual summer closure, and it was the perfect time to relax and think about my priorities. I went hiking, running, shopping, and read a great book. I laughed with loved ones, ate great food, and drank (a bit too much) great wine. While my battery didn't necessary get fully recharged, I did have plenty of time to journal and think about a few areas of my life that I'd like to really embrace and prioritize. To name a few...

I've been saying this for years, but I don't get enough sleep. I also have never developed a consistent evening routine. There are some people that are so disciplined with turning in early and getting a solid 8 hours every night. I have always been jealous of those people - especially the ones who have no trouble falling asleep early and pass out just minutes after hitting the hay (jerks).

While I don't think I will ever be one of those people, I do think that developing a healthy, consistent sleeping routine will really help me. In order to do this, I thought about a few ways I can motivate myself to turn in early and improve the quality of my sleep. This week I got inspired to start reading again and treated myself to a few books I'm really excited about (Presence, The Conscious Cleanse, and Seeking Serenity to name a few). Having a small library in my room of beautiful new books to read is definitely something that I think will motivate me.  This week I also treated myself to some nice beauty products that I can look forward to using as I unwind (including my first Jo Malone purchase!). I fully believe that yummy smells can help build positive associations with happy routines and events. Lastly, I am going to try eating dinner earlier in the evening and cutting back on alcohol to help improve my quality of sleep!

As I alluded to earlier, my week night routine has been collapsing on the couch with wine, watching, TV, checking Facebook, staying up too late, and feeling tired and stressed in the morning. [Note: this usually means I don't end up going to my morning workout and then feel tempted to skip it in the evening.] This month I'd like to try prioritizing more healthy and happy activities on week nights that don't leave me feeling drained in the morning. Some ideas: reading on my roof deck, taking my dog for a walk, using the steam room or pool at the gym, spending time with friends, going to an evening yoga class, or browsing a cute gift shop.

How often does your day start by turning off your morning phone alarm, checking text messages, and checking Facebook (or whatever apps you check)? This is usually my routine, although I don't like to admit it. I would like to try starting my day without my phone, and instead turning to meditation, prayer, or getting my workout gear on right off the bat. The larger point is honoring my mornings as sacred time for myself and my health (before going into work mode).

Since moving to Denver, I have not put an effort into finding a church community. My faith and spirituality is something important to me, but I haven't really made it a priority. I know that my life is always happier and more meaningful when I am a part of a community of faith. Now that I've moved to my new home, I am looking forward to trying out some nearby churches and getting to know new people.

I am a firm believer that we are a product of what we put into our bodies, and nutrition can impact so many parts of our functioning - our sleep, our energy, our weight, our motivation to exercise, and even our emotional health. This year I have been listening to my body more than normal, and seeing how it reacts to various foods and products. A friend of mine had told me about the Whole 30 concept, and removing inflammatory type agents from your body (ex: dairy, alcohol, sugar, gluten). I know that when I limit my intake of these products that I feel a million times better.  I am excited to dive a bit deeper into nutritional planning and even explore allergy testing to see if certain foods are impacting me more than others. The goal for me is not dieting, but empowering myself with knowledge about my body, and the ability to make choices about what I put into my body so that I feel happier and healthier overall.

What are areas of your life that you'd like to prioritize this Summer?

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Awesome moments in CO

I haven't been blogging much since I moved to Denver, but today I felt inspired to do so. I was thinking about my life in Colorado and how much fun I've had since day one. I can't be more excited for the journey ahead with friends, family, Lucy, and new adventures. 2016 has been good to me.

In an effort to provide a recap of my adventures since July 26, 2015 (to be exact), here are some of my favorite moments to date:

1. When my brother and I sat down for a celebratory toast in my neighborhood, just minutes after we arrived!

2.  When my mom, brother, and cousin Robin (and her family) had a BBQ together at my new home the first weekend in Denver.

3. My first official Colorado hike (in Boulder) at over 10,000 feet!

4. My first official big girl day hike (on my own) with Lucy (followed by my first official dehydration episode hours after the hike - don't mess with altitude).

5. Looking out the window during a business meeting in downtown Denver and realizing how badass my new city is.

6. Meeting awesome Seahawks fans like Caylyn who have become part of my football family in Denver. Go Hawks!

7. Reaching the summit of a challenging hike at Golden Gate State Park with my friend Laura, alongside the fall Aspens.

8. When my dog (nonchalantly) came strolling into the kitchen one afternoon, looking like this.

9. When my friends Celeste (Seattle) and Monica (San Fran) each came out to visit me in Denver. Love these ladies!

10. When my Dad and I went to Mountain Toad Brewery (Golden) after a (somewhat disastrous) hike in the snow (sans snow gear).

11. The day Robin and I hiked Mushroom Rock and had the epic kitchen counter incident later that evening (I have never laughed harder since moving to CO).

12. My/Lucy's first snow day in Denver! (November 11, 2015)

 13. Thanksgiving 2015 with my relatives in Carbondale, CO. 

14. Receiving surprise birthday flowers from my mom the weekend before my birthday.

15. Celebrating Jillian's (pictured left) 10th birthday with her sister Anna (right). 

16. Driving by a frozen Sloan's Lake on the way back to my office - realizing I'd forever be in love with this city view.

 17. An awesome visit from my friend Barbara (San Diego) filled with great food, cocktails, theater, laughter, hiking, and the prettiest Wash Park sunset I've seen to date!

18. A ridiculously fun day in Boulder with my friend Jenny (last weekend). I am so lucky to have someone in Denver who's a natural fit for my quirky and goofy side.

As I reflected on these memories, I noticed consistent theme. All of the moments involved time outside and time with the people I love - a good reminder of what matters the most in life! I hope that the rest of your year is filled with joy, peace, happiness, and healthy living all around.