Down with Negative Thinking!

Whew! Is anyone else feeling like time just needs to SLOOOOOOOW DOOOOOOOWN?  I can’t believe it’s already March (even though it still feels like January, brrrr). I sort of feel like I’m constantly waiting for life to slow down, but it never does.  Busy is the new normal?

Let’s get through the housekeeping first! We’re about halfway through the DOU Pinterest Challenge, so follow the board and I’ll invite you to start pinning the recipes you’ve tested!  (C’mon, we need each other for quality control – sure those recipes look good, but are they? Here’s our chance to join forces and find out!)

Mardi Gras 2012
Mardi Gras 2012

Next up – Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler!  Today is Mardi Gras! Fat Tuesday! Faschnaut Day! Pancake Day! Carnivale!  Whatever you call it, and whatever you do to celebrate, I hope you were able to indulge today!  (I know I’ve had one too many snacks to honor the occasion.)  I think it’s my duty as a good Catholic to be either gluttonous, drunk, or lecherous on Fat Tuesday.

Alas, with the indulgence of Fat Tuesday comes the asceticism of Lent.  When I was a kid, I was taught that you should keep your Lenten sacrifices to yourself – you know, “don’t let your left hand know, what your right hand is dong” – because if your making yourself a martyr it kind of defeats the purpose.  People aren’t supposed to tell you how wonderful you are for the sacrifices you’re making.  That said, a solid 80% of my Facebook newsfeed today is an announcement of what will be abstained from for the next 40 days – and yes, I’m amused by all of it. Best of luck to you all, and for the love of life, if you are giving up cheese or chocolate, stay away from me until Easter!

I haven’t decided if I’ll “give anything up” for Lent (I’d like to give up cold weather, but ya know), but I will definitely be conscious of squashing negative thinking during this mindful time of year, and I challenge you to join me!

So, when the person in front of me is walking sooooooo sloooooow as I’m scurrying to catch my train, I’m going to remind myself that contrary to my initial thoughts, they’re not the worst person on the entire planet, take a freaking breath and patiently make my way to work. There is probably a very good reason why they are moving so slowly, and it’s not helping anyone for me to shoot the evil eye into their skull as I stew silently.

And when I catch a glimpse of my larger than average thighs in the mirror, I’m not going to think about how terrible I am for eating dessert six days last week.  I have a healthy, capable body, and though it doesn’t look exactly the way I want it to, there isn’t anything wrong with it.

I’m going to try and be more mindful of the times when senseless negativity takes over my thoughts, and squash that beast.  I won’t be suffering, but I think I’ll learn something, and I’m pretty sure that by Easter I’ll be a happier, more centered individual.

What did you do to celebrate Fat Tuesday?

A change of focus and my holiday gift guide

Would you believe it’s been almost 2 months since I last posted something!?  Reading my most recent post, I would have told you that it happened two weeks ago, but time has been FLYING up in here.  I work for a theatre company, and we’ve had three shows running this fall which means, three times the emails to draft, three times the events to attend, and three times the fun!  (It also means I’ve been exhausted, but I love what I do, so I can’t complain.)

As soon as my work schedule slowed down, suddenly Thanksgiving was upon us.  I hosted – and cooked my first turkey – if you have spoken to me in the past month, follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, I’m sure you are bored of hearing about it, so I’ll spare you.  (But just in case you didn’t hear, I got the turkey straight from Violet Hill Farm and it was the happiest, healthiest, most delicious turkey I’ve ever cooked.)

In spite of everything, I really could have found time to blog, but I haven’t been able to commit to writing about one thing.   So many things are drawing my attention lately that I can’t focus.  To name a few (in no particular order): Women’s Empowerment/Girl Power/Feminism; Families – and how amazing they are; Poverty – how do we fix it???; Responsible Consumerism – relating to the environment, and fair trade practices; Volunteerism/Giving back; the lack of personal finance education in our schools.

Now, I know this blog is about living a healthy lifestyle, but when a community flourishes, so do the individuals!  In the end, I think that working to improve the world we live in is part of a healthy lifestyle, so I’m going to start incorporating some of these larger world issues into the mix.

Don’t worry, this place will still be a stew of workouts, fitness goals, and healthy eating adventures – I promise to bring you more amazing stories from amazing people with the Rockstar Series – I’m just putting it all in a bigger pot.

So, to start it off, I want to talk about a few great holiday gift ideas that give back!  If you’re on my Christmas list, read with caution, you may ruin the surprise :).

1) Soap Box Soaps – think TOMS, but soap!  Basically, you buy soap, they give soap to someone in need.  They even have this great donation map on their site to show you where  they send soap and donate funds for clean water projects and more!

Soap Box Soaps

2) Grounds for Change – Fair trade, organic coffee, grown in the shade (which is important for migratory birds), AND they take extensive steps to operate sustainably. This is one company that’s good for coffee growing communities and the environment!

fair-trade-coffee

3) This gorgeous tee designed by a handful of kicka** bloggers that gives 100% of the profits to LEAP (Ladies Empowerment and Action Program).  I read about it on Meals and Miles – an AWESOME healthy living blog – so you should check it out while you’re at it.

4) I live in NYC, so space is at a premium.  I love getting and giving Charity Gift Cards, because they give me all the same warm fuzzies as a regular gift card, without me having to worry about where in the world I’m going to store whatever I bought.  You can find great ones at Global Giving.

5) If you’re not the gift card type, you can give anything from anti-malaria tablets to storybooks to a community in need at the UNICEF store!  This one’s another space saver :).

6) Any one of the BEAUTIFUL fair trade items on sale at Ten Thousand Villages including this Tamarind Casserole Dish made in Indonesia.  The company is a “global network of social entrepreneurs works to empower artisans in developing countries,” and was an honoree as one of 2013’s Most Ethical Companies!

Ten Thousand Villages

That’s all I’ve got for today, hope you enjoyed it!

Things to smile about on Monday

Welp, it’s a rainy Monday here in Brooklyn. Since Mondays can be kind of a drag, I thought I’d share a few things that are making me smile today.

1) My apartment is SO clean right now.

IMG_0902I resisted all impulses to make plans and go places this weekend, because I have desperately needed to do some housekeeping (literally and in my brain). The apartment is looking orderly and spiffy and it is bringing me so much peace!

2) These cute bins I found at Target to stash all my workout tech/goodies.

OrganizationI have been wanting to get something to hold all my resistance bands, my running hydration packs, key holder, road ids, garmin, etc. I found these cute metal bins on sale yesterday, and I am THRILLED to not have a pile of “exercise related things” shoved into my windowsill. A place for everything, and everything in its place!

3) This Gerber Daisy I picked up for $2 at the grocery store.

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Sometimes your pile of unopened mail and unfinished books needs a little color! This was such a great little mood-lifter for me when I bought it, and now everytime I see it, it makes me smile. It’s always the simplest things right?

So, after a week of lackluster marathon training and some general life frustration last week, I’m ready to start this Monday on the right foot! My run this morning was interrupted by some IT band pain, but it’s ok. Last week it might have gotten me to throw in the towel and go back to bed, but this week it means I do 30 minutes on the bike trainer, foam roll the problem areas, and stretch my poor neglected hip flexors. Things don’t always go the way I want them to, but I can always control how I react to them. On this rainy Monday, I’m going to keep looking for things to smile about.

Friday Night Confessions

ImageSooo, it’s been a rough week.  That’s life, though.  Sometimes it feels like you’re on top of the world, and other times it feels like you can’t get anything right.  I’ve been stressing for over a week, but I’ve decided it’s time to let it go.  I make mistakes, other people make mistakes, and sometimes things don’t go as planned.  C’est la vie.

So this Friday night, I’m watching the History Channel with a glass of wine, catching up on reading all my favorite blogs, and relaxing.  While I’m sitting here (having a riveting evening OBVIOUSLY), I’m going to share some truths about me that you may not have known.  If you care to know what I’ve “confessed” before check out this post.

1) I’m a people pleaser- It reallllly stresses me out when I upset someone, so I avoid it at all costs.  I also avoid conflict.  Unless I have very strong feelings about something, I keep my opinions to myself, and I try to communicate them a way that is as inoffensive as possible.  Sometimes this works in my favor, and sometimes it drags me down.  I’m working on a happy medium.

2) I want to be GREAT at something.  I often feel like a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. I’m good at a lot of things (and really awful at others), but I don’t feel like I’m truly great at anything.  I sometimes feel like I’m constantly looking for that one thing I can be great at.  Maybe I’m too drunk on all the opportunities out there? (har-har, pun intended)

3) I drink wine by myself, and I don’t feel bad about it.  My roommate/boyfriend and I have different drinking styles.  I’m into having a glass of wine, or a beer- as dessert, or with a meal, and I can sip one glass for hours.  He’s more of a -have a few drinks on Friday night (also shot dice)- kind of guy.  So I often find myself with a glass of wine, drinking alone, while doing freelance work on a Tuesday evening. I like to think I’m channeling Tami Taylor.  I’m ok with it.

4) A small part of me still believes I might be President of the United States one day.  Obviously, this is not a realistic thought- I’m not in politics, I find campaigns to be super icky, and frankly it sounds like the worst job on the planet (so much stress – no matter what you do, someone will be angry with you)!  I just grew up with very supportive parents who told me I could accomplish anything if I worked hard enough at it. Soo- I believe a little bit that if that’s something I decided I really wanted to do, and worked my petootie off to accomplish it, I believe it’s possible someone might elect me for POTUS.  Maybe I need to see a therapist for delusions of grandeur?

So that’s what I’ve got for you folks!  How about you- got anything you want to let off your chest?  Maybe a belief in the extraterrestrial or a fondness for cotton candy you want to share with the crowd?

Lookin sporty

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When I came home from my bike ride today (14.66 miles woot woot), Charlie told me I was “lookin sporty!”  I guess a bike helmet and tech tank will do that to you.

<—- Just dressing like a triathlete over here.

It got me thinking about how much more “stuff” is necessary for training for a triathlon than there is for a running race.  I’ve been feeling a little under-teched for this sport, especially when I get lapped by cyclists with tricked out bikes at the park.

Even though I’m doing a pretty bare bones approach to my first tris, there are quite a few necessities.

Shall we take a look?

Must Haves
Bicycle
Bicycle Helmet
Running Shoes
Swimsuit
Goggles
Swimcap
Access to a pool/safe open water

Things that aren’t completely necessary but would be hard to do without
Bike pump (best investment I’ve made!)
Tech bike shirts (they have a back pocket that is AMAZING)
Access to a bike trainer/treadmill for bad weather workouts
Flat tire kit
Garmin (btws I’ve been using my Garmin on my bike and it just thinks I’ve become an Olympic caliber runner overnight)

So in addition to the things I’m already working with, there are a million things that more seasoned triathletes utilize, like clipless pedals and bike shoes, tri suits, wetsuits, aerobars, specially designed tri bikes, the list goes on!  In fact, it’s the list of “stuff” that kept me from trying a triathlon for so long.

Unlike running, triathlon really isn’t accessible.  Anyone can run- all you need is a good pair of shoes and the will to move forward.  Triathlon requires something of an investment, and I feel very grateful to have the access and resources to be able to partake; even if I don’t have the most advanced gear.  I’m still looking sporty!

Triathletes -and all Athletes – out there, are there programs that make more expensive sports available to athletes without the funds?