Revisiting The Primal Blueprint

2014-05-14 13.25.19

I’ve mentioned in a few posts recently that I’ve been reminiscing about living in our first apartment in Jupiter, how it has me homesick for Florida and the life we had there. Without getting all philosophical and emotional about the past and present and blah blah, I will say that I’ve been doing a little soul-searching to figure out why things feel so different now and guess what came up for me repeatedly? A major – and I mean MAYY-JORR – contributing factor to living the vibrant, healthy, happy life we enjoyed there was – SHOCKER!! - our diet and workouts. You’d think as a yoga teacher and nutritional therapist, this would be old news to me, right? I mean, duh, Erin. Duhhh.

SO, long story short, I thought back to when I first started getting into fitness and healthy eating, and decided to revisit the first book I ever read on the Paleo diet/lifestyle – that changed the way I looked at food and working out, might I add: The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation.

primal blueprint book

Okay, ignore the cheesy cover – this book is legit.

I first found the book by poking around the internet googling something along the lines of “eat like a female bodybuilder”… I KNOW, I know, make fun of me now, I’m fine with it. I had started working out more (Tim was traveling a lot and I was only working part-time so it became something to fill gaps in my day) but I wasn’t noticing much change in my body. I didn’t actually want to be a body-builder, but I knew my body type was muscular (aka, I was not designed to look like a super-skinny VS model) and I wanted to see what I could do with it. But I was still weak and knew it probably had something to do with my diet because, at that point all I knew of nutrition was the mainstream low-fat, whole grain nonsense… I was clueless (like the majority of the population) about feeding myself for optimal wellness and in this case, athletic performance.

ANYWAY. In my google search, I came across this article, which I could totally relate to… and which led me to this article, which broke down the Paleo diet so I could understand it… which then led me to Mark’s Daily Apple, Mark Sisson’s website. After poking around a bit on his site, I downloaded the 21-Day Total Body Transformation and, as I said above, my life was changed.

Tim and I implemented the lifestyle immediately. I was already getting an organic produce share every week, so my grocery trips to Whole Foods and sometimes Costco meant stocking up on quality meat and fish, healthy fats like organic coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil, and a variety of spices and primal-friendly pantry staples like coconut aminos and almond meal.

20120911-180834.jpg

20120918-114033.jpg

The mother load.

I continued my workouts and noticed changes in my strength and endurance in the first week. I was adding weight to my sets consistently and feeling strong and energized at the end of my workouts instead of depleted and dizzy.

20120926-113847.jpg

HA! Nice face. Remember this?! Check my guns, yo!

We followed the advice of the book and started enjoying exercise more by finding things we liked to do outside the gym, participating in group beach workouts and going for bike rides together.

20120916-124312.jpg

20121001-154259.jpg

Six days a week, we ate every meal according to the primal blueprint guidelines, enjoying a glass of red wine here and there, a square of 90% dark chocolate almost every night, and one night a week, usually on the weekend, we’d enjoy a meal at one of many local favorite restaurants. While we tried to stick close to primal blueprint guidelines when we ate dinner out, we knew we couldn’t control what was going into the dish and we didn’t obsess about it. And sometimes, we didn’t stick to the blueprint at all. We were crazy fit, healthy, energized, and happy! Life was seriously our oyster and we were eating it right up… because those are allowed, heyyyy.

Enjoying a burger, fries, and beer (off-meal) after a long bike ride on the beach... and, from the look on his face, also enjoying ESPN on the bar TV. ;)

Enjoying a burger, fries, and beer (off-meal) after a long bike ride on the beach… and, from the look on his face, also enjoying ESPN on the bar TV. ;)

IMG_0306

Eggs (in one of many forms) and veggies for breakfast were ARE the new norm.

***

SIDE NOTE TIME! Now, I will admit that being pregnant has me a little more body-conscious than normal right now, (and that my current total weight gain of 6lbs feels like 20 on my 5’3″ frame) but this isn’t about that. It’s about getting back the energy, the clarity of mind and body, the zest for life, and preparing myself not only for the delivery of a healthy baby, but also for my rebound into a successful run with breast-feeding and optimal post-preg wellness for both me and the babe.

So that is what inspired me, a couple weekends ago, on the way home from our road-trip to Raleigh, to take the 4.5 hours in the car as the perfect opportunity to revisit and refresh my memory of the Primal Blueprint. So that A) I could get re-motivated to clear my kitchen of any lingering first-trimester junk food and replace it with healthy primal-friendly stock, and B) so that I could share with YOU the basic gist of the Primal Blueprint and perhaps persuade you to look into trying it for yourself. (I promise, you won’t regret it!)

2014-05-05 16.06.24

SO, without further rambling (geez, I know, sorryyyy, that was a long intro), here it is.

The Primal Blueprint is about getting the greatest health and fitness benefits you can with the least amount of pain, suffering, and sacrifice […] Today, my goal is to look super fit without having to follow an exhaustive, time-consuming exercise regimen, [and] enjoy the heck out of my meals without the slightest hint of deprivation.  – Mark Sisson

I’m going to outline the key concepts for you here. You can find more information about the lifestyle by visiting Mark’s Daily Apple, or of course, by getting one of the many books he’s written on the Primal Blueprint. (Nope, I’m not being paid to say that.)

Out with the OLD

The Primal Blueprint involves changing your lifestyle, but let me just say this once: IT IS NOT HARD. So get it out of your head that it is. For starters, here’s what you can leave in your past:

  • Grains, sugars, sweetened beverages. All of it. Processed carbs drive insulin production which can lead to inflammation and fatigue among other issues.
  • Hydrogenated oils. There’s the obvious heavily processed snack foods and packaged baked goods along with deep-fried foods, but this also means no more margarine or “spreads”, canola, corn, or vegetable oils either. All this stuff sets the stage for cancer and heart disease, no matter what it says on the label about being heart-healthy, so pitch it! You’ll have plenty of other primal-friendly options in terms of healthy fats that will leave you way more satisfied.
  • Beans and legumes. These babies are just hard to digest, period. They can mess with your gut big time and therefore your immune system and health in general.
  • Dairy. You don’t haaave to get rid of it, but here’s the thing: most commercial dairy isn’t good for anyone. It’s loaded with hormones and other impurities. If you’re lactose tolerant, opt for organic, pastured butter and heavy cream. YES, that’s right. BUTTER. And HEAVY CREAM.
  • Chronic exercise. I’m talking to you, chick on the elliptical. Time to reject your hours spent in the gym and the idea that reaching a certain number of miles, hours, or weekly workouts is the key to fitness. It’s not.
  • Sedentary patternsNow I’m talking to you, chick in front of the computer. Google “sitting disease” and tell me what you find. How about a lot of fat storage, elevated risk of heart disease, joint pain, muscle weakness, and lack of energy? Get up and move.
  • Poor sleep habits. Just go to bed already. Leave the phone plugged in downstairs, use a real alarm clock, and “shut down” at least an hour (preferably more) before climbing into bed.
  • Somber, spartan approach to lifestyle transformationGet it out of your head that you have to count calories, have rigid portion control and specifically timed meals, limited menu choices, guilt, or binging cycles. Does this sound familiar? Well, it’s over. There’s no strict workout regimen, no struggling, and no suffering. Like I mentioned before: IT IS NOT HARD. You’re welcome.

In with the NEW

Is this starting to sound like something you might be interested in trying? Sound too good to be true? It’s not. It is that good. Here’s what you can look forward to with  your new primal lifestyle:

  • Primal foodsMeat! Fish! Poultry! Eggs! Veggies! Fruits! Nuts! Seeds! High-quality fats! Eat it up and love your life! Guess what else? You can even enjoy your red wine and dark chocolate, too!
  • Primal eating philosophyEat as much of your primal foods as you want, when you want, however often you want. You’ll begin to notice you’re satisfied with less, after meals you don’t feel stuffed or bloated (you feel amazing), and you can indulge sensibly without having the urge to binge because you’re able to enjoy life guilt-free. If you’re anything like me, this will be HUGE for you.
  • Increase daily movementNotice this doesn’t say, “do this exercise five times a week”. Nope. Did you not read that part above? NO MORE of that. Do what makes you happy. Do what you enjoy. Walk more. Use stairs. Take frequent breaks when you have to sit for a long time (i.e., at work, etc). Basically, get off your behind and move around.
  • Brief, intense workoutsThis may be a curve ball or something new to some of you but give it a shot – it’s essential for maintaining high energy levels and a healthy heart and lungs at any age. Go harder but less often and for less time. So, like a 30-minute (or less) strength workout. Sprint intervals for 15 minutes (or less). That’s all… it’s easy, and you don’t have to do this every day.
  • Calming evening rituals. Like I mentioned above, wind down at night to prepare yourself for a healthy night’s sleep. Turn off the tv, put away the technology, dim the lights, use candles, read, chat with your loved one, take a slow neighborhood stroll. You get the idea.
  • FUN approach to lifestyle transformation. This is your chance to explore exciting new foods, recipes, and establish new eating practices. (Side note: I will never forget the first time we tried sun-chokes or kale… and how my cookbook collection expanded to include what are now some of my favorite recipes of all time!) You’re going to start exercising for fun and energy, and best of all – NO MORE OVERTRAINING! You’re going to PLAY more! And probably best of all, you’ll start to enjoy life more with your loved ones, because you’ll be inclined to be less “connected” and more appreciative of spending time with your family and friends. This really does happen, people! (This is the part where I could go on a tangent about diet and digestion and protein and fat and related neurotransmitter production and mental wellness… but I’ll spare you.) ;)

erincastle

20120913-005431.jpg

20120913-230726.jpg

What to expect…

So aside from the energy levels and new zest for life you can expect to experience by going primal, what are some other benefits from adopting this new way of life? So glad you asked.

  • Anti-agingI can’t explain this as well as Mark does here.
  • AppetiteYou won’t overeat anymore. You just won’t. Adopting the Primal Blueprint literally cured me of my binging tendencies.
  • Blood markersExpect to see some improvement in your cholesterol. But how can that be, eating red meat and butter?! I’m rolling my eyes at you right now. Get your head out of the low-fat-high-carbohydrate-garbage diet myth you’ve been fed for years and start doing your own research.
  • Body fatYou will lose body fat. Can I say that any more simply?
  • Diminished cravings. People don’t believe me when I tell them I just didn’t want grains, junk food, or sweets any more. Sure, I indulged on occasion, but I didn’t miss them in my daily life. Don’t believe me? Guess you’re going to have to experience it yourself.
  • Digestion. If you didn’t already know, your digestion is probably impaired… yours and nearly 90% of Americans’. The Primal Blueprint follows the guidelines of the diet I recommend as a nutritional therapist for optimal digestion, and optimal wellness. Period.
  • Drug-free. This can mean so many things… you’ll soon be ready to ditch your OTC antacids and pain relievers, then, with your doctor’s support, you’ll be able to work toward eliminating many if not all of your prescription meds, too.
  • Immunity. This goes hand in hand with digestion: healing your digestion leads to optimal immune system function. You’ll probably notice getting sick less often and recovering more quickly if you do happen to get run down.
  • Measurements. If you happen to be keeping track, you’ll see these change, too. Your clothes will fit (and look!) better and looser as you decrease body fat, reduce systemic inflammation, and get rid of the bloating and water retention! Where will you see this first? Tush, hips, thighs, waist – the primary storage areas for fat. (YAY!)
  • Muscle mass. Increase or maintain and sculpt muscle mass while dropping body fat. Um, isn’t that basically ideal and what everyone wants? Awesome.
  • SleepYou’ll fall asleep faster, sleep better and more soundly, and begin to awaken naturally (without an alarm), refreshed and energized. No joke.
  • StressDiet alone affects the way our body and mind respond to stress. The Primal Blueprint will help regulate this and reduce fatigue, burnout, and dysfunction that seems to go hand in hand with a hectic modern life.
  • Total fitness. The Primal Blueprint involves functional exercise and a diet that develops and supports a balanced physique and broad physical competency. See that picture above, the one of me doing my best meathead impression and taking selfies in the gym? Ha. Okay take a close look at the picture of me standing. For most of my life, carrying most of my weight around my hips (like many people), I never used to look like that… even and muscular and balanced from head to toe. And I’ll never forget my mom’s reaction when I carried a huge la-z-boy recliner up a flight of stairs by myself. Simply put, you’ll look good, and you can do more – physically – without risk of overtraining or injury.
  • Optimal wellnessEverything listed above and more. Improved bone density. Glucose tolerance. Insulin sensitivity. Improved blood pressure. Hormone balance. How will you know about all of this if you’re not being tested for it? Simple. You’ll feel the best you’ve ever felt.

So… wow. There you have it. Man, I don’t know about you but revisiting this book has me totally reenergized to get back to that lifestyle.

And you? What are you waiting for?! Get the book and join me!

xx

e

P.S. Nope, I wasn’t paid for writing this. (Sadly!) My opinion is legit. I really do love it and recommend it with all my heart. Go for it.

Weekend FOODIE Recap… and What’s in Store This Week!

Gooood afternoon, fair people of the interweb! Can you even believe it’s already Monday again?! The weekend flew by, as usual.

This happened to be one of three weekends we’ve been able to enjoy alone as a couple since moving into our new house mid-March (hard to believe!). Between visitors and travel, we really needed a weekend of quality time to ourselves, and this weekend delivered.

Since Tim was out of town almost all of last week, we enjoyed a much needed date night (Whaaaat?! Remember those!?!!) at a new-to-us and sort-of-new-to-Sullivan’s-Island restaurant called The Obstinate Daughter. It. Was. Awesome. First of all, they had me at atmosphere – from the nautical rope light fixtures to raw wood, rustic-industrial accents with plush seating and perfectly out-of-place Steve Miller Band and other classic rock playing at a volume high enough to make patrons have to speak up to hear each other… it was pretty perfect.  Custom creative cocktails (in which I did not partake, but I did sip Tim’s) and a simple but SUPER TASTY menu loaded with local ingredients and foodie hot-items like ramps, sorghum, and farm fresh eggs (runny), made this local gem rocket to the top of my new favorite restaurants list. We had the Local Lettuce, Clammer Dave’s Baked Clams, and the Old Danger pizza (which rivals a favorite back home – the Sunnyside at Bar Cento in Cleveland – NOTHING will ever replace you, Sunnyside, but Old Danger was preeeetty good). Love, love, LOVED it. YUM.

photo courtesy of Yelp.com

photo courtesy of Yelp.com – click for link.

Side note: get a reservation – we lucked out somehow and snagged a table… they were supposedly booked up til 10pm when we arrived around 7:30. I secretly think the sweet sorority sister hostesses felt sorry for making the pregnant chick stand… umm, totally fine with using the bump to get seated faster.

Saturday we spent painting the nursery, transforming it from its old, dingy, yellow-orangey tan, to bright and breezy Sherwin Williams “Sprout”. I’m not totally done with the transformation, obviously (hellooo, I need a crib in that crib, a not-hideous light fixture [not pictured], and some stuff on the walls!), but here’s a sneak peek. In case you’re curious, find my inspiration for color scheme here.

Orangey-tan walls... gag.  Also, don't you love my cut-in? I forgot to take a "real" before pic.

Orangey-tan walls… gag. Also, don’t you love my cut-in? I forgot to take a “real” before pic.

 

2014-05-12 18.30.02

I love me a good side note: I’m transforming that chair into a rocker courtesy of a tutorial I found on Pinterest… and also, sorry for the sort of dark pic… that window was messing with me.

I had brined some pork chops for the grill that night (still haven’t perfected my pork chop technique, but they were pretty tasty), and served them up alongside an heirloom carrot and parsnip puree, and some lemony creamed chard (easily my new favorite side… I will share the recipe soon!). Tim was so impressed with my plating that he asked if I was going to take a picture, to which I replied, “I probably should” and then promptly dove in fork-first. Bad blogger.

Sunday, we tested out a new church which turned out to be a pleasant surprise aside from our initial reaction to the crowd requiring traffic direction, and followed up the service with brunch at our favorite dive-y spot on the beach, Acme Lowcountry Kitchen. They are super slow when it comes to putting out the food, but the fried green tomato eggs benedict (sans English muffin for me) is seriously worth the wait. I don’t know how, but their poached eggs are PER. FECT. Every. Time. I need to take lessons from the chef. And their fried green tomatoes are probably the best I’ve had since we’ve been in Charleston… and believe me, I’ve been trying them nearly everywhere.

Photo courtesy of Yelp.com - click for link

Photo courtesy of Yelp.com – click for link

This week is going to be a good one. I’ve got some great posts in store for you, some inspired by re-visiting books on my bookshelf, some inspired by questions and suggestions of friends, and ALL of them inspired by my favorite thing ever: FOOD! Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in store:

  • Revisiting the Primal Blueprint – why I’m regrouping and and why you should consider giving it a shot, too.
  • What to Eat – how to look at your meals from a nutritional standpoint to make sure you’re getting what you need, along with some quick and easily customizable meal options.
  • The 21-Day Sugar Detox – we’ve been there before and you know I love it… let me share a few ways it might benefit you and how to set yourself up for success.

So pull up a laptop or a tablet, get comfy, and stay tuned for the good stuff!

xx

e

 

Big Changes on the Home Front

Are you even ready for this mamma-jamma of a post? I don’t know if you are. Buckle up, it’s a doozy, and it’s Monday morning, so if you haven’t had your coffee yet… maybe you should.  I have a few big announcements to share and I figured it best to just knock ‘em all out in one post.  Ready or not…

.

.

.

Wait for it…

.

.

.

2014-04-18 15.38.07

Holy crap, we’re having a baby! That’s right, I’m a little over 13 weeks and out of the “danger zone” for the most part so I figured now would be a good time to officially share the news with family, friends, and the world. (For the record, most of our family knew this already, and we made the announcement on Facebook on Friday, but now all the distant cousins and what have you can be in on our little peach-sized secret). We are over the moon excited about it, though at times it still seems a little surreal… that is, it did until I was in a fitting room last week and had a moment checking out my profile in a suddenly tighter than usual tank top. Don’t worry, it was a happy moment – I was actually relieved to have something resembling a bump versus looking like I’ve been overdoing it at every single meal (which is how I’ve been feeling I look for the past three months!).  The first trimester has been rough, but not as bad as I’m sure some moms experience, so I count my blessings.  I’m finally starting to feel more like myself which means actually eating real food (more on this in a future post) and not having to take a nap every single day, which is MAJOR progress. Things like registering for gifts and setting up a nursery still seem like… “What? We have to do these things?” right now, so I’m hoping that feeling will fade and we can get busy getting ready. By the end of October, we should have our very own little pumpkin to enjoy! (Cheese, I know.)

i heart charleston

With this little (big) change on the horizon, and with our recent move to Charleston, SC, (i.e., new life phase, new city, turning a page, etc.) it felt fitting to get back to writing more regularly on the Diaries, to revamp a little (again), and to make this blog what I’ve always really wanted… which, I don’t think I ever had completely figured out. I’ve been poring over a lot of my favorite blogs lately to get some inspiration and trying to figure out what it is that makes me love them and keep coming back for more. The common denominator? Personality and real-life-ness (new word I just made up), often combined effortlessly with a little bit of niche expertise. There’s the DIY blog with humor that cracks me up left and right, gives me useful information on how to complete any number of household projects, and throws in a little bit of that real-life-ness (there it is again) with sweet photos of the authors’ newborn baby or posts cataloguing conversations with their three-year-old. Or the fashion blogger or foodie blogger or personal organizer blogger or life coach blogger or crafty-stay-at-home-mom blogger… all of whom provide valuable resources that I have actually pinned and used at one point or another and who also keep me completely hooked and entertained with personal stories about their lives, their families, their wins and their losses.  It’s something I’m striving towards.  I updated my “Meet Erin” page the other day to reflect this evolution of The Heyday Diaries… so when you’re ready, pop on over and have yourself a gander.

facebook breakup

And last but not least (are you still with me, I know this is a lot to take in)… I’m CONSIDERING quitting Facebook. That’s right, you heard me. Insert horror movie screams here. Here’s the deal, when I get on Facebook, it’s usually to actually look for something like an article I read or a link I wanted to send someone, or to find a “Page” in search for more info about a company or WHATEVER – the point is, I usually get on there with a purpose.  And then this madness ensues:
Oh look, a cute photo of someone’s baby, I have to comment/like/etc. [Click on baby photo] Oh look, so-and-so also commented, I haven’t seen her in forevvvver, I wonder what she’s up to? [Click on so-and-so’s photo] Oh look, she posted a funny video, it’s only TWELVE minutes long, I should watch it immediately. [Watch video] Oh look, here’s a link here to another funny video… Four hours later, I’m still in my bathrobe with un-brushed teeth, it’s mid-afternoon, my hot tea is now cold and I have significantly less time to complete everything I wanted to complete in the day, to-do’s get pushed to the next day, and I feel like a worthless blob. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but we’ve all had those moments of self-control, or should I say, lack thereof, with Facebook and to be honest, that is really ONLY reason numero uno for our semi-breakup.  Equally important numero dos is that… well, Facebook just isn’t what it used to be.  Once upon a time, my newsfeed (or whatever it was originally called) was filled with photos of family and friends, and Facebook was a way to keep in touch with loved ones across the state, the country, and even the world.  It was a people-connector.  Now, I have to scroll through dozens of ads and links and articles and “sponsored posts” before getting a glimpse of a friend’s new baby or reading the exciting news that a cousin has just been accepted to grad school.  Sadly, it has just become a huge disappointment, an even HUGER (new word) waste of my time.  The only real reason I feel obligated to keep it for now is because, as obnoxious as it is, it’s still the primary photographic connection to family and friends across the miles.  I’m baby-stepping down from having a presence there (which, I suppose, I already was), and we’ll see how that goes for a while before I cut ties completely. I’ve started by removing the app from my phone and connecting my blog to post automatically to my Heyday “page”… which, is still there for now and will probably be there indefinitely, assuming that “social media is here to stay“, and blah blah, so you can find me there I suppose, but probably more often on other platforms, such as InstagramTumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter… all of which are more for fun anyway and much less time-consuming for me. Oh, and this blog. This is definitely here to stay, so I really, really hope those of you who stumbled upon this post via my Facebook breakup announcement on the actual ‘book will subscribe to receive posts via email if you care to keep up with the Frazees and possibly learn something about nutrition or yoga along the way.  OH, and also maybe we can share a few laughs while we’re at it. I promise I will do my best not to bore you to tears.

That’s all… for now. I think three huge announcements are enough for one post, non? ;)

Stay tuned.

xx

e

 

2014: Living Intentionally

2014-01-07 10.23.46

Hi friends, we’re a week into resolutions… how’s it going?  I’m only one day behind on my gym schedule, so I consider that a win. ;)

If you read my last post on setting goals for the year, you’re familiar with the concept of a 30-day-challenge-a-month-challenge, as inspired by Danne from Twelve Months of Lent.  As a former employee of lululemon athletica, the concept and structure of setting goals is now second nature to me, but what I realized on December 31, 2013 when looking back over the year is that I need a little boost when it comes to accomplishing those goals, particularly now that I’m no longer surrounded almost 24/7 by a support group of people whose culture deep down to their bones consists of setting goals and crushing them… basically killing it at life left and right. 

Let’s back up for a minute.  I did some amazing things in 2013.  In January, I completed 30 consecutive days of yoga in various studios back at the beginning of the year; my head was clear and I seriously felt more aware than I ever had (not to mention my shoulders were lookin’ preeeetty hot).  In June, I finished my 200-hour yoga teacher training… an experience I will never forget and one which gave me my first true sense of community and acceptance and belonging as an adult… wow, I mean, if I had to have a Groundhog Day experience and could choose 3 months to live on repeat for eternity, it would be those!  I rode my bike 17 miles through the Everglades in the middle of the night under a full moon, something I was terrified to do but felt safe and adventurous surrounded by some of the best friends I’ve ever had, and STILL talk about what a cool experience it was – a reminder that getting outside of my comfort zone once in a while is, well… where it’s at.  (P.S. Yes, we saw alligators up close and personal.)  In September, I bit the bullet and finally decided to get certified as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner after looking at the program for over a year, one of the best decisions I have ever made.  Over the course of the year, I made trips to California and Connecticut, and took long road trips to Ohio and North Carolina… all of which served to show me the beauty of other parts of the country and to scratch my ever-present itch to explore.

I’m proud of all of these things and know that I can do even better.  That is why, this year, I’m choosing to live with more intention than I ever have before.  There are things I want to accomplish, places I want to see and things I want to do, and BIG goals toward which I want to start working… starting this month.

I sat down this past weekend with my trusty goal sheet and revised my 10-year vision and my 1- and 5- and 10-year goals (a process I revisit once every few months or more often as necessary).  Then, I opened up excel and got to work creating a calendar for the months of 2014, breaking down my longer-term goals into mini-goals, personal, health and career-related, which I will accomplish each month to make progress toward the BHAGs (ahem, that’s short for Big Hairy Ass Goals - and no, I did not come up with that on my own, people).

So what are a few of these goals and mini-goals I plan on accomplishing in 2014? I thought you’d never ask.

  • I work my way up to meditating 30 minutes every day.
  • I fill in the holes on my website and work up to blogging 5x/week.
  • I complete a 21-day Sugar Detox.
  • I take a month of minimalism – I get rid of 5 things every day and wear the same 6 pieces of clothing for 30 days
  • I become a morning person by sticking to a new evening/morning routine every day for a month.
  • I grow a scoby and make my own homemade kombucha on the reg.

scoby

  • I learn how to climb and take two trips to the mountains with Tim to actually do it.
  • I learn to make my own homemade skincare and household cleaning products.
  • I practice yoga in various studios in our new city (when we move) every day for 30 consecutive days.
  • I take a trip with Tim to Acapulco and teach yoga there at an all-inclusive resort.

las brisas

  • I ride my bike every day for a month.
  • I learn how to operate my camera and use it every day for a monthly challenge.
  • I build a raised bed in my backyard and cultivate an organic vegetable and herb garden.

how to grow a garden

  • I combine and put my creative writing degree and background in wellness to good use and submit articles to Mind Body Green.
  • I re-learn to play the piano.

Seem like a lot?  This is just the beginning.  That’s only 15 things, and if I begin by tackling one a month (hence my spreadsheet mapping it all out), that means I only have to double up on three months.  Besides, setting goals doesn’t mean you have to accomplish every single one.  I like to imagine how great I am going to feel at the end of the year looking back at this list (which I will probably revise, add to and subtract from, more than once over the course of 12 months) and seeing that I accomplished a LOT of the things I said I was going to accomplish.  As for getting started, there’s no time like the present!

I hope this inspires you to get organized with your resolutions goals so that you can set yourself up for success and live 2014 with intention!  Tell me, what will you accomplish this year?

2014… Commitment: ADVENTURE!

i want to be

This morning, unlike many mornings past where I had been quick to snooze the alarm and pull the sheets over my head… this morning, the first of many mornings to come in 2014 and beyond… this morning I woke up with excitement.

Determination.

Hope.

Wonder.

What is to come?  

Tim and I spent a good majority of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day morning dancing around the kitchen to my new favorite song (and quite possibly my newly-claimed life theme song), American Authors’ The Best Day of My Lifeand having New Year’s-y conversations, remembering all the fun things we did this year (like bicycling through the Everglades in the middle of the night, venturing out to SanFrancisco and wine country for a long weekend, and hopping into a car for a random road trip to the Carolinas, among other adventures), thinking about where we were last year at this time (still living in our old apartment, Tim still working his old job and traveling across the country every other week), and of course, talking about all the things we wanted to do, or start doing, in 2014…

Another year, another adventure.  More adventure.

We know this year has a LOT in store for us.  In a few months we’ll be living in a new home in a new state, a new, unfamiliar city with lots to explore and discover.  We’ll be seeing old friends and making new friends.  We’ll likely be home-OWNERS this time around… which means we’ll have lots of new responsibilities, lots of fixing-upping, lawn-mowing, mortgage-paying, and everything else that comes with owning a home.  If it’s in the cards, we’ll probably be having a baby this year, too (insert wide-eyed emoticon here).  That’s a LOT OF CHANGE, and a lot of growing up for the two of us kids-at-heart in their 30s (that’s right, Tim, you turn 30 this year!).

With the potentially mind-numbing day-to-day “grown-up” routine of eat, sleep, work, repeat right around the corner, we both agreed that this year we would COMMIT TO ADVENTURE!  We’re committed to having experiences and to LIVING life to the fullest versus just getting caught in the endless spinning of the hamster wheel.

On the heels of a weekend spent learning how to drive a motorcycle and getting his license to legally do so, Tim has a spark for wanting to learn new things… things like how to play the piano and take golf lessons from a pro.  I’m with him!  I’m ready to learn some new things, too… to SERIOUSLY learn how to use the camera I bought nearly a year ago (and on which I have taken maybe a total of 40 bad pictures), to make homemade kombucha instead of spending a fortune on it at Whole Foods, and to learn to climb, something I said I wanted to do over two summers ago when I really started getting into fitness.

A new year usually brings reflection on the time that has passed, how fast a year can go, the accomplishments that have been achieved in that time, blah, blah, blah.  That’s wonderful.  But nothing is more exhilarating than the idea of a clean slate, a fresh start, the first blank page of the book that is the rest of your life.  Well, get out your paper-mates, pals, because today, we start setting some goals.

During my stint with lululemon athletica, I picked up some powerful life tools that I hold near and dear to my heart, and from which I think everyone can benefit.  Ready?  Here are some of my favorite tidbits from good ol’ lulu that will kick-start your 2014 (follow the links for specific how-to’s):

Write your ten-year vision.  How can you start setting goals if you don’t have an idea of where you want them to take you?  Block out 10 minutes of your day to sit down, close your eyes, and envision what you truly want your life to be in ten years… how you want to feel, people you want to share it with… all of it!  Then, put pen to paper so you’ve got the evidence.

Set some goals.  Lululemon has a specific strategy for creating powerful goals and there’s a reason they take the time to coach all of their employees how to do it.  It’s a great feeling when you can fill out

Fired up yet?  Thirsty for more?  Why not go whole hog and set a goal to ACCOMPLISH those goals… one goal a month for an entire year.  Enter the 30-day-challenge-a-month challenge… an inspiring idea from one lululemon educator that took the concept of goal-setting (and goal-crushing, as the ‘lemons call it) to a whole new level.

Happy New Year, friends.  May your 2014 – and the rest of your life – be filled with joy and laughter and accomplishment and ADVENTURE, one month at a time!

xo

e

 

 

 

Clouds Part Eventually…

20130702-121643.jpg

Yep, still wet here in South Florida.  Unseasonably wet… with few, if any, days of sunshine falling on days that I’m forced to be inside working.  Of course.

Though I can’t complain.  We have a roof over our heads to keep us dry. 

We’ve had a rough few weeks since the move, one thing after another going wrong or otherwise upsetting the balance of our little world.  A faulty lock on the night we moved in, misplaced (important) mail, ordering the wrong furniture, utility service appointments being missed, sick dogs, and multiple more-than-minor inconveniences added to the pile.  I don’t even remember what the final straw was that broke the camel’s back last night, but it resulted in me counting off every single thing that has gone awry, a list that seemed to go on for ten minutes.  My peace and my patience has never been more tested.

Tim stared back and me and smiled, and, as we often do for each other, offered an enlightened perspective.

If we could categorize our complaints, my ten-minute list would fall into the trivial “material” pile, and could be countered with a hearty dose of gratitude for whatever it was we had to complain about in the first place.

Wrong couches? Hey, we have a roof over our heads, a nice solid floor, and a cozy shag rug that will do just fine until the right ones arrive in a couple months.

School books getting mailed to the wrong address? At least we have a physical mailing address… and the luxury to advance our education.

Sick dogs? We can afford a veterinarian, and the unconditional love we get back from these pups is worth any vet bill.

Crappy customer service? We’re so grateful for our own integrity and for those who do provide amazing service… and even more grateful that we don’t have to field those complaint calls! ;)

Once we got into the “gratitude-counter” game, we began to forget the month of complaints all together and started realizing just how many wonderful things had happened to us since we moved here.

We’ve made as many friends, if not more, in a single month than we did in two years of living in our previous city.  We’re already on a first-name basis with staff at most of the local shops and restaurants.

eating house

We’ve spent nights talking until 2am with strangers (now, great friends) who have connected us with even more amazing friends, a church, and teaching opportunities (for me). This past weekend, we bonded with neighbors at the pool and spent the afternoon with them on a road trip to a legendary fruit stand, enjoyed milkshakes and fresh mangoes, and had a hilarious ride home.

Robert Is Here

We are never at a loss for things to do, friends to spend time with, good wine to drink, good food to eat, or laughs to share.  There is so much to explore and so much adventure to be experienced, and we are just beginning!

This week if you find yourself faced with (yet another) cloudy day, just remember that those clouds will soon part, and until they do, there’s always a rainbow somewhere… you just have to be open to seeing it.

xx

e

Rain, rain, go away!

20130611-125011.jpg

It’s been raining for a week.

Sometimes taking care of yourself on a gloomy day means polishing off the rest of that Vosges bar by yourself… just sayin’.

I’ve been absentee blogger as of late but as always, I have a slew of great excuses, the top four being the following:

1. We moved! About an hour and a half south of where we were, to South Miami… which might as well be another country as far as I’m concerned. Wow. It’s awesome though – we love living in a city again and walking everywhere… to get a cup of coffee or a glass of wine or dinner, or to the bookstore, or post office or where ever. It’s all right here and I love saving gas and getting a few extra miles a day in on foot.

2. I graduated from yoga teacher training! The past month had me buried in books and exams and practice teaching, and I’m now officially a yoga teacher! If you couldn’t tell by the changes to Heyday… building my business already!

3. At the end of this week I’ll have another card in my hand: Thai Yoga Therapy. Say whaaat? Get ready.

4. I’ve transferred and started working at the South Miami lululemon store… which is awesome. It’s different for sure, but it’s also very good! Super chill people, summertime vibe, and closing time is two hours earlier… what?! Sign me up! ;) More evening time to spend with my man!

Tim and I are super excited to be embarking on yet another life adventure together… while the move was fast, somewhat unexpected, and has kind of thrown a kink in our routine for the past few weeks, we’re finally feeling more settled and ready to dive into this next chapter of our lives together. I can’t wait to share it with you, too!

xx

e