Things Currently Making Me Happy! (Round 2)

I’m back to take another stab at Things Currently Making Me Happy with a round-up of ten things that have got me grinning!

1. Becca and Sammi’s New York Sports Day!

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A virgin to the Garden, I was BEYOND excited to have my first visit with a Knicks victory, friends… and Drake!

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After the Knicks game, it was on to the next one at Yankee Stadium to watch the O’s!

2. Season 4 of The Voice!

Need I remind you how obsessed with singing I am? I swear if I could sing… game over. I am beyond thrilled with the decision to bring on Shakira and Ursher, baby. I love that I get to drool over Adam and Usher weekly and live out my dream in my head of captivating an audience with my voice.

3. Joe Cross

Last night I watched the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  It’s a documentary about Joe Cross, a man who in an attempt to discover a healthy balance and come off medication challenged himself to a 60 day juice cleanse. The first time I tried to watch this I couldn’t make it through the first ten minutes. I thought, “this dude is crazy. There is no way I can relate to his story and no way I could ever do that… this film is not for me.” I am so glad I gave his story a second chance. Joe’s measures to regain control of his health are arguably extreme but demonstrate what will power and a high micro-nutrient diet can do for you. The fan favorite of the story is Phil Staples who Joe converts along the way. It is a powerful and moving story of the dangers of a path towards death by diet and the wonders of food as a healing drug.

4.  This random love note I found in a used book

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5.  This commercial

I have to say as impressed as I am with advances we’ve made in technology I’m partial to paper in certain aspects of my life (see paperback above). This commercial gets me every time!

6.  This short film

Words won’t do it justice, just click and smile!

7.  Teachers – conventional or not, we are all teachers and deserve a shout out!

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“Education is the key to success in life and teachers make a lasting impact on the lives of their students.” – Solomon Ortiz

I was fortunate enough to be able to read for a class full of first graders last week and on my way out I caught the above quote painted on the side of the school building.  We often underestimate the impact we have on other people.  We all have something to teach just as we all have something to learn.  Lead by example and be forever curious.

8.  This blog entry

Wise words and an important read, be your own success story.

9.  My makeshift standing desk at work

That’s right… take a couple of boxes and clear off the shelf in your cubicle and you too could stand at your desk all day!  My back has been bothering me lately and I’ve been feeling a little drained from sinking into my chair for the better half of my day so I’ve propped up my keyboard and taken to standing.  I’ve only made it through a couple of days like this but having the option is definitely helpful!  I’d recommend trying it.

10.  My brother

A couple of weeks ago, I was sorting through some things in my head…. I was feeling frustrated, uncertain, and overwhelmed with a couple of things.  I gave my big bro a call.   My brother is one of my best friends and biggest supporters.  He’s one of my favorite people to bounce around ideas or have a full on bitch session with because he always makes me feel better about myself and let’s me know it’s okay to follow my heart.  24 hours after our conversation, I received the below picture message, proof that he not only listened but that he supports me in whatever I decide.

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Tapping into our Stressors

Well here we are day two into my challenge and I’m already feanin to share one of my reflection pieces.  (That is correct, I just used feanin in a sentence.)

So Monday morning I was fortunate enough to stumble across a link for Gabrielle Bernstein’s May Cause Miracles conference.  I mean how perfect is it that on the day I challenge myself to be more reflective and connect with my own thoughts I come across this free motivational web series?  Took me back to that Swiss Miss quote,

“When things fall into place it is the universe telling you to keep going.”

Gabrielle Bernstein was pinned by none-other than Oprah Winfrey as a “next generation thought leader.”  Author of Spirit Junkie and Add More ~ing to your Life she is set to release her new book, May Cause Miracles this year.  “Gabrielle Bernstein believes that simple, consistent shifts in our thinking and actions can lead to the miraculous in all aspects of our daily lives, including our relationships, finances, bodies, and self-image.”  I mean seriously? This chick rocks.

But you might be surprised to know, Gabrielle isn’t the highlight for tonight’s post.

Meet Nick Ortner.

Nick was the first interview that I listened to from the May Cause Miracles series.  He is the CEO of The Tapping Solution and focuses on EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).  This practice involves tapping parts of your body to achieve a physical release of negative emotions.  Now I’ll admit, I found the whole thing a little funny to begin with but once I got to listening and furthered my research I think there’s somethin to it!

I remembered what I would always say to people when I could sense their stress or anger bubbling, “tap your third-eye 21 times!” I think I picked it up from a Kardashian show or something.  I used to think this exercise was just a calming alternative to counting to ten before you speak.  When counting to calm yourself, you run the risk of staying inside your head (which can be a cluttered and negative place to be) or masking the real problem (leaving the true issue to surface unannounced).  Unlike the counting method, tapping provides connection between your mind and your body so you are able to acknowledge and release your true negative feelings.

This whole “real world” thing has me well exercised in dealing with stress.  I’m always looking for new ways to manage it and create that healthy balance in my life.  Maybe next time I’m feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or stressed I’ll try and tap it out!

Tell me, how do you deal with stress?

B (not so) Easy 6-Week Challenge

I began writing this blog at a time when I felt like I was missing motivation in all aspects of my life. I found myself just going through the motions without connecting thought to any of my actions.

I kept finding myself frustrated with how nothing was changing. There were no significant changes in my health, no rediscovered enthusiasm from my job, no profound educational or eyeopening experience to write home about… I was mindlessly coasting.

I imagine it’s easy to fall into this trap. It was for me. But no more!

Being “good enough” provided me the security to hang out for a little while. But when pieces started to fall from “good” to “fine,” good no longer felt good enough and fine didn’t feel so fine.

“The good is the enemy of great.” -Milton Glaser Well here I am challenging myself to be great.

I’m on an ongoing quest to better myself and establish healthy habits for life. Well talking about these habits and daydreaming about the effect they could have on my mind, body, and overall happiness won’t do me any good if I don’t consciously practice them. So I’ve set up a little challenge for myself for the next six weeks, feel free to join along!

The B (not so) Easy 6 Week Challenge

Basic rules for the challenge:

  • No wheat for the full 6 weeks
  • Must try a new recipe weekly
  • Must eat a salad daily (can be a quinoa or grain based but must include raw veggies)
  • Must be active for 30 minutes daily (yes, every day! “rest day” activities can be a 30 min. walk or yoga, just get movin!)
  • Must stretch every day!
  • Must read and reflect daily (can be an article, a quote, a chapter in a book, just exercise your mind and connect with your thoughts in writing)

At the start of each week I will introduce a physical or nutritional challenge or provide direction for my daily reads and post a reflection on the blog.  So here goes, week 1 starts now!

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This indecision has got me cringin…

Story of my life.

After experimenting with roughly twenty different blog templates only three posts deep I figured it was time I acknowledge my indecisiveness.  Yet another thing I’m working to limit… call it another healthy habit!

Know what you want and put it out there.  

My dad jokes on me because “I don’t care” comes out of my mouth far too frequently.  I recently heard someone say that life is made up of a “sum of choices.”  The words made me ask myself, “Would you rather live a life of choices or reactions?”

Choices.

Indecision can add unnecessary stress … something I’d rather not welcome and can be related to lack of self confidence… something I’d rather not lack!  So starting with tonight’s menu (which I’ve been mulling over and asking for help with since yesterday) I will begin taking ownership of my choices.

Who’s with me?!

And just for fun, I’ve included the song where the title of this post comes from!

Wannabe Yogi

Way back when I used to be flexible…

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Let’s just say those days are gone with my velvet leotards.

Flexibility is something as an athlete I’ve always been encouraged to have.  While there are several debates about the need to stretch, in my experience it’s always been beneficial to have loose legs for running and playing high intensity sports.  That said, I never stretch as often as I should.

Yoga is a world that I had never really explored until my move to New York.  The first time I stepped foot inside a yoga studio I felt way out of my league.  I left feeling challenged, refreshed, and knew I had a lot of work to do before I could effortlessly swing my leg from the back to the front of my mat as the bendy lady next to me did.

I’m embracing yoga practice as one of the healthy habits I hope to lock in for life.

Lucky for me, living in New York means I can take advantage of the donation based organization Yoga to the People.  There is a “free” studio within walking distance from my apartment and a new studio just opened up on my street where for five bucks I can Flow into Flexibility (the name of a class my roommate and I explored yesterday afternoon).

Now believe me, I’ve got a waaaaays to go but I know that’s why it’s called practice!

There’s something I find so cool about yogis.  They just seem to project this energy, don’t they?  And they’re so connected and kind to their bodies… something I can’t relate to as I have a bruise  plum purple on my knee cap from slipping and falling in the street the other day.  There’s a balance they are able to find in their practice and carry to their lifestyle that I struggle to attain.  Also, they have the coolest clothes… I mean really.

Hopefully I find this balance as I strive to bend and better (not break) my body.

My feature for this post is Rachel Brathen.  If you aren’t already following her on instagram, check her out:  yoga_girl

Yeah... sure, I'll try.

Yeah… sure, I’ll try.

Thing Currently Making Me Happy!

I’d like to flatter the ol’ bloggers tradition of posting “Things Currently Making Me Happy!”  So here goes!

1.  Tina Roth Eisenberg

I recently attended a design forum featuring Swiss Miss herself where she delivered an inspiring speech unveiling her “Eleven Rules I Live By.”  I hope to digest the experience and do a much longer post but for now, I’ll let you discover her on your own and leave you with my two greatest take aways:

“Invest your life in what you love, keep looking for what makes you happy!”

“When things fall into place it is the universe telling you to keep going.”

2.  Leaving the office after receiving this text from the roomie:

…then walking in to find this waiting for you

Cheese Plate!

3.  This immersion Blender!

Smoothies, pestos, dressings, cauliflower pizzas… and that’s only in the first week!  I don’t know that i’ve ever been this excited about an appliance.

Everyone’s gotta eat and I love being able to bring people together and make something that everyone can enjoy!

My roommate and I recently began a wheat-free diet, something I’ll elaborate on in later posts, but I have a feeling this blender will be a lifesaver in allowing us to recreate some of our favorite meals minus the wheat!

4.  Committing to a long term relationship with… my health!

In addition to giving up wheat from my diet, I’ve also decided to begin work with a personal trainer.

I grew up in a family of athletes and played field hockey and lacrosse in high school and went on to play DI field hockey at Radford University.  Saints LaxIMG_0303

It was a challenging four years and kicked my ass a little bit but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  After graduating, my body was pretty beat up and I was enjoying not “having” to work out so I took a little break from the gym.

Now that I’m over a year out I’m realizing how important health is to sustain.  Seeing my grandfather in his 80’s still playing tennis was a huge eye opener for me.  I want to be able to hang with the best of ’em when I’m older as well.  So I’m working with a trainer to help lock in these healthy habits for life.

Receiving texts like this from my mom help me know I’ve made a good decision!

Texts from Mama

5. This cake

Bay's Cakes

Last weekend my best friend from home made this rad birthday cake  for a friend’s birthday and through the power of social media got a request to bake another!   You heard it here first, Bay’s Cakes are fireworks of flavor! I mean who wouldn’t want a rainbow gagillion layered cake for their birthday?  So happy for her!

6.  This video… because she’s just too cute

Hey, I’d be concerned with what I was wearing before firemen showed up at my door too!

7.  And this video… because he’s just too awesome 

If I could sing… I swear you’d never hear me speak.  Welcome to my musical!

8.  Friday night’s in

Sushi night

…with sushi and my roomie!

9.  My baby sister celebrating her 18th Birthday!

Little bear

baby sis

10.  This blog.

I’m happy I’ve finally taken the plunge!  I’m excited to see where this takes me 🙂