Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Redirecting the critic....

So normally when I teach yoga, I'll give a quick scroll through my phone and see what appropriate quote pops up and resonates with me in that moment to read to my class.  99.9% of those quotes are perfectly motivational.  (examples here, here, here & here)  But last week that .01% found me when I was scrolling and landed on this one:

Image result for criticize myself viciously
This one certainly resonated, but not in a perfectly motivational way.  Rather it hit me with a big thud of "UGH," remembering how I used to view my life several years ago.

You see, THIS particular quote used to be my calling card.  My signature stamp.  I used to believe this 1000% and believed it was not only THE way to make myself 'a better person,' but also my 'excuse' for judging others so harshly.  Because maybe I was horrifically judgmental of others, BUT I was ALWAYS a zillion and one percent more critical of myself....even though not many saw that side.  This was the reason.  This was my excuse.  But this is how we're suppose to be, right??

WHY do we think this is a way to better ourselves??

WHY do we think this is how we need to be??

WHY do we think this is the norm??

From someone who's lived & died a thousand deaths from this quote, I can tell you one thing I now know:  IT'S NOT.

It's what we're taught.  It's what we think we need to do in order to 'achieve greatness.'  We're supposed to NEVER be satisfied with 'enough,' right?  We HAVE to be perfect.  We HAVE to want/have ALL THE THINGS to be happy...and until we HAVE 'all the things,' we have to criticize, judge and be unhappy until then.  
The perfect body.  That last 10/20/30 pounds.  That perfect house.  The perfect family.  

Sound familiar?

The irony was as soon as I began to let go of that incessant NEED to 'be better,' to desperately 'want BETTER' and, in turn, STOPPED criticizing myself so intensely, the part of me that judged others (a side I despised) slowly began to fade away.
I discovered the moment I stopped beating myself up, everything naturally became brighter.  Peace with yourself and gratitude in what you have can never be undervalued.  In a world where we're taught WE ALWAYS NEED TO TRY TO BE BETTER, finding peace in how we are TODAY can be the breath of fresh air we've been desperately looking for and/or didn't even realize we were missing.

And I know this all sounds like some sort of 'new age' fantasy, but from someone who's BEEN THERE, I can tell you change is possible.  "The way of the world" should NOT be criticizing.  It should be PEACE.  All of the magic of the world happens from peace.

Image result for you have no idea what I'm talking about I'm sure but don't worry you will someday

So the next time you find yourself becoming self-critical or criticizing others, here's some tips to get you from that critical moment to a more more peaceful one:
-try to figure out what is the source.  Are you just having a bad day?  Feeling insecure in the moment?  You got looked over for a promotion?  All valid reasons to have upset feelings, but....

-try to find a moment of stillness in your day (yes, that fancy 'new age' meditation😉) acknowledge those feelings, feel the emotions and then try your best to let them go  (easier said then done, I know.  But it DOES get easier the more you try it).  I also know the world tells us we need to be DOING THINGS at all times and yes, we're ALL insanely busy.  But if you can get a MINUTE out of your day, ONE MINUTE that is peaceful vs.'ll begin to see a shift.  And then work your way up to that 5-10 minutes on the days you can.  WE ALL have 10 minutes or less in a day.  I KNOW stillness is hard.  I KNOW.  But ya know what else is hard??  Being so hard on yourself all of the time.  
(and I'm not even gonna allow you an excuse for this one😉  Skip that scrolling of social media for ONE MINUTE and you'll have found that one moment of peace in your day😉)

-REDIRECT your thoughts.  This is CRITICAL when that self-critic arises.  The second you hear your mind chatter "maybe you're not good enough," immediately STOP it.  You don't have to turn it into rainbows and sunshine in that moment if you're not feelin that zippy (not many of us every are in that moment😉).  BUT, you still don't have to engage in those thoughts.  You don't have to BECOME those thoughts.  You can just change the direction of your thoughts onto something else and keep it movin.  The more you do this, the more that critic tends to disappear.  

Oh, it still rises occasionally.  It always does.  But the more we redirect our thoughts, the more we find stillness vs. that endless loop of self-critisim, the sooner we can find the place where we can hear that VERYYYY quiet voice that will ALWAYS tell you 'you ARE good enough.'  THAT, my friends, is your true self and it ALWAYS wants the best for you.  

The beating yourself up DOES NOT have to be you.  The key is CHOOSING for it not to be.  So many people believe it's just their nature, 'it's the way they are.'  I would have said the EXACT same thing 5+ years ago.  But believe me, follow those few tips with diligence and consistency and before you know it, you'll start to find that glimmer of calm peace.  Start with that ONE MINUTE today.  Just ONE.  That one minute can start the path that leads to great things❤

I'll end this post with a quote from one of my VERY favorite movies.  One that spoke to my soul the very first time I saw it almost 20 years ago (before I even really knew what the hell my soul even was😉).  It feels extremely appropriate...esp. that last line😉
American Beauty - the ending to this iconoclastic classic of American moviemaking is poetry - sheer beauty. see the movie and then try to EVER scrub these words out of your soul.:

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Monday, May 8, 2017

A colorful wrap up...

Soooo....mornin, folks!  Sorry I've been a bit MIA the past couple weeks, but roll insanely busy mixed with feeling LOUSY almost all of last week and the days just get away from me.  And on top of that, I wasn't very diligent with taking photos the past couple weeks or even remembering what the hell I DID each day, let alone what I ate...hahahahahaha😉. Lately anyone asks how I'm doing and my response is "Just swingin from vines", since that's EXACTLY what it feels like day-to-day😉  I'm sure, um, ALL OF YOU understand that feeling😉  Sooooooo...instead of a weekly recap, I'll just share some of my favorites from the past couple weeks and maybe a few I'm REALLY excited to try as Summer is quickly approaching.  Which...

A.- 'scuse???  How the hell did THAT happen??


B.- I'm FAIRLY excited for.  Double 'scuse.  I still don't even know who I am anymore...but we've already been to visit the beach a couple times so far this spring and I. JUST. CAN'T. EVEN. DEAL with all the gorgeousness and how happy the kids are just to BE there.  
(and humidity, if you could stay away the ENTIRE time??  THAT'DBEGREAT)

Some of my fav meals:

Quickest dinner that felt 'fancy':  One-pot puttenesca
Throw everything in one pan and end up with a dish where each bite brings a new taste of ZINNNNNNGGGGGG???  Yes, yes and yes please.

The 'pardon the photo on my stove grate' meal:  BUT this picture makes me super happy because Katie was SO EXCITED to invite a couple of friends over for our first cookout of hot dogs of the season that she actually helped me clean almost our ENTIRE back porch (all while singing "I just can't wait to be King"...which was ADORABLE)...weeeeee!  Not to mention:  CLASSIC summer fare...
Pasta salad recipe from Pioneer Woman, which I made last summer and have thought about ever since.  It's THAT perfect😉

We also made THIS PIE for the cookout and um, also PERFECT...
No Bake Pina Colada Cream Pie

What will probably become a staple recipe:  Lauren Conrad's Easy Enchiladas
Lauren Conrad's Easy Chicken Enchiladas:
My love for all things Lauren Conrad and her perfectly filtered life runs deep, so it was no shock that her absurdly easy enchilada recipe was not only easy but PERFECTLY DELICIOUS.  Poaching the chicken in the salsa kept it super flavorful and extremely tender.  I upped my game just a bit by finding a small loaf of premade cornbread in the freezer and stuffing it with said enchilada chicken.  My photo does NOT do it justice for how PHENOMENAL THAT was😉

My current breakfast & lunch obsession:
Coconut Cream Yogurt | #WIAW | Keep it Real Clean
+ strawberries + chopped almonds (or peanuts) + ground flaxseed + a sprinkle of granola.  This used to be my spring-y/sunshine staple (how is that blog post from SEVEN years ago???), but haven't really had it in YEARS.  And, just like most things, I get reacquainted and then get re-obsessed and have it a million times a week😉  I've had both the nonfat & whole milk variation of the yogurt and honestly can't say I notice much difference once you add all of those toppings.

Other meal-prep lunches:

BBQ Chicken & Roasted Sweet Potato Bowls are a hearty and healthy dinner idea bursting with bold flavors and nutritious vegetables. This easy recipe is perfect for meal prepping lunches for work or a quick weeknight meal.
Both made on Sundays, portioned and set for the week ahead.  And BOTH were delicious!

Healthier indulgence:  Chocolate Orange Chia seed pudding
Chocolate Orange Chia Pudding | whipped together in a pinch and is perfect for breakfast and dessert alike. | Paleo, Vegan, Low FODMAP
So ya'll know my LOVE of chocolate on MOST days of the week, which I obviously think is FINE...BUT here's a great way to satisfy that craving while staying a LITTLE bit more on the healthy end of things.

Favorite Workout:  Tone it up Sandy Sweat HIIT
Tone It Up Sandy Sweat Free HIIT Workout
I'm so obsessed with this one at the moment that I COULDN'T WAIT to get back to it after recovering from feeling lousy.  15 quick minutes + I'll throw in 15 minutes of dance and it feels like a full body, excellent muscle/cardio combo.

And a few things I'm excited to make with the Summer on the way!

Show your patriotism with this Firecracker Cake! The red, white, and blue runs inside and out!! Great for Memorial Day, the 4th of July or any occasion you want to share a little American pride!
This picture makes me straight up giddy.  
Further making me question who I'm becoming😉  But it's just so purty!

Red White & Blue Strawberry Cheesecake Bites
How perfect are these??  I might just be able to get behind the whole 'fruit for dessert' thing with these adorable little babies!  Plus, I'd love giving these to the kids.

I can't even DEAL with how adorable this is...PLUS we are a dirt cake lovin house and Katie will FLIP for this adorable variation, I'm sure😉

So while Googling the above recipe for Pioneer Woman's macaroni salad, I also stumbled on THIS one...and if she's saying THIS is the best??  Well, YOU KNOW it's worth trying!

Well, that's a colorful wrap!  I'm planning to DEFINITELY be back on Wednesday since I have two current 'mental weight loss' topics that I'm dying to discuss.  Here's to finding time to bang out these keys😉 (hold me...😉)

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Weekly wrap-up...

And maybe some dinner/lunch inspiration for you for this week...or at least that's always my hope when I post these😉

Weekly recap:

My answer to 'we need a lot of veggies, but I don't feel like having salad'😉

It wasn't a Christmas cookbook, but Eating in the Middle IS one I just LOVESOMUCH.  Probably because her eating philosophy has been one I've been following since I began this healthier lifestyle journey AND the foods are ones I really like to eat!  I'd say at this moment, it's the book I've probably cooked from the most!

Wednesday:  Surf Taco + Coney Waffles, Belmar, NJ
Mmmmmm....a trip down Belmar signified my friend's very 1st trip to Surf Taco and oh yum, was it DELICIOUS!  The highlight is everything tastes SOFRESH!  I had a regular ole beef (I know =boring...but it was what I wanted!) and a salmon taco...but my friend gave me a bite of the Coconut shrimp and mango salsa variation that she ordered and holy hell was THAT good!  Definitely kicking myself that I didn't order it...BUT a side order of shared nachos will make anything better😉

After tacos, we headed down to the Belmar boardwalk and a stop at the Instagram-famous Coney Waffles.  Coney Waffles brings to the Jersey Shore the NYC Black Tap Brewery photo worthy mega-stacked milkshake trend, which are so much fun!  But give me waffles, or give me....well...waffles😉  And if you're offering one filled with cannoli cream??  Well, done deal!
We attempted to enjoy said waffles on a bench overlooking the ocean.....butttttt, it's just not a 'night beach' moment just yet😉  Brrrrrr....


Friday:  Brooklyn pizza from Divine Pizza
You know you're livin lucky when you decide to order pizza for the night and there are not one, not two, but THREE places WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE to order pizza that you know will be excellent.  And oh gosh, I forgot how FABULOUS Divine's Brooklyn pizza is.  Chunky tomato, gooey cheese and a thin crust that almost tastes deep-fried (in a good way)...I was so excited to dig in that I didn't even THINK to take a photo before diving in.
And on the subject of ordering pizza- We had other dinner plans, but I could NOT shake my VERY SPECIFIC craving for Brooklyn pizza that night.  So we ordered EXACTLY what I wanted and I enjoyed it SO much with no guilt.  AND I told Scott that I swear pizza tastes better when you order it BECAUSE IT'S WHAT YOU WANT VS. a default 'there's nothing else to eat' moment.  I've been really honing in on how EMOTIONS of food makes things tastes different (example = eating food that you just bought and having it fresh 'in the moment' vs. the food you bought to stash in the freezer 'for later' that sometimes turns into 'let's just eat this to get it out of the freezer.'  One is excitement and one is BLAH.  These things are interesting to me...cause I'm weird.  I'll be the first to admit it😉)

Sooo, ummmmm, it was a good thing I had a fairly filling lunch on Saturday because I don't think I ate more than 1/2 a meatball (and a slice of cake!) at my friend's daughter's 50's themed 5th birthday.  NOT because there wasn't a TON of delicious food!, but because these party animals were up and attem....and I was either chasin the little one around hoping she didn't run outside😉, or jammin with the older one...😉

Sunday:  Buffalo Hummus Chicken + Broccoli
We had this a couple weeks ago & I couldn't wait to have it again.  This time with a side of that buttermilk ranch dip (see Tuesday) that was just soooo cool with the mildly spicy chicken.  Plus it's flavored with fresh diced DILL which I just HEARTSOMUCH.

Other yummy bites this week:   

So we've put the quinoa cups aside for a bit and now we're all about the BOWLS for lunches lately.  Last week we had:
  • zucchini, tomatoes and diced chicken roasted with PESTO
  • a handful of diced fresh mozzarella
  • about 1/4 cup of brown rice
  • a couple handfuls of torn spinach
Scott ate these cold, while I microwaved them for 2 minutes and they were SO GOOD!  The thing I liked the best was the first bite wasn't really anything exciting, but by the time I took the last bite it seemed to satisfy ANY & ALL cravings and it was just what I needed.  I'll be making these again soon. (Bonus= EASY!)

The week prior we made these Greek Bowls, which seemed a bit more labor intensive....or I just put off making these all day, so rushing to make these WHILE I was making dinner seemed a bit much😉


And in the Sunday Breakfast category:  we had THIS Sweet Orange Cinnamon Pull apart bread (OK...not that EXACT one😉  OF COURSE mine was NOT that photogenic😉)
sweet orange cinnamon pull apart bread I
2 things I will admit:  
  1. I totally cheated and used Trader Joe's pizza dough (beacuse yeast?  It just exhaustes my soul😉) and I just kneaded in some orange zest to 'catch up' with the recipe😉 and it was still SUPER delicious.
  2. I ate a decent sized 'serving' for breakfast...and then walked in the door after teaching a sweaty Vinyasa yoga class and proceeded to eat yet ANOTHER serving cause I was STARVING (ummm...did someone say sugar crash??)  WORTH IT.

Andddddd the exercise to wrap it all up:

Tuesday:  Taught Vinyasa yoga and gentle + TIU Full Body + 1 mile

Wednesday:  Taught gentle 

Thursday:  Taught Hatha + Dance & Weights
Dancing courtesy of a wild DANCE PARTY in our house😉  Once I realized how much of a sweat I had worked up, I threw in a set of weights and called it a workout😉

Friday:  Taught gentle + Walk/Jog

Saturday:  Taught Hatha & Vinyasa + Walk/Jog + MORE DANCING (see Saturday)

Sunday:  Taught Vinyasa (and then ate cinnamon bread.  Balance😉)

Have a great week!!

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Thy middle name is hope...

Welcome to Friday, folks....ahhhhh, sweet bliss❤  And thinking about how I was going to leave you some peace here today to kick off your weekend, I realized I would be remiss if I don't mention the latest (FREE) Deepak Chopra & Oprah mediation series that is happening now and it is just GLORIOUS.
Oprah & Deepak 21 Day Meditation Experience
I'm just wrapping up the first week and this one just speaks to MA SOUL.  If I'm nothing else in this life, I'm definitely HOPEFUL and I just FEEL every word of this wonderful series.  Give it a try, if that's your sort of thing😉

And now the rest of my little inspo for you...
I really like this quote, but I don't think this would truly take just one day. You'll have to fight for much longer, survive for much longer, persevere for much longer. And the truth is some of us won't get there. The world is too unforgiving for that. However, I do believe that even if we never reach a position where we can stop caring, friends and family will be the comfort you need.:

Favorite gratitude quote hold tight to gratitude especially during the times when you feel you have lost all hope...:

#yoga #inspiration:

"Ego says, “Once everything falls into place, I’ll find peace.” Spirit says, “Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.”" - Marianne Williamson:

And this one just resonated SO DEEP, realizing how much we take all these little wonderful, joyful moments for granted....
Image may contain: text
The more gratitude we have for these simple gifts, the more gifts we tend to receive.  
And the more gratitude and joy you radiate out to the world, the world pays you back with an abundance of those gifts.

Have a great weekend!

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