You Are Beautiful.

I finally had a chance to watch this video by Dove that has been popping up all over Facebook.  If you haven’t seen it yet, please take a few minutes to watch it today and remember, you are more beautiful than you think ❤

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Back to Center: Health & Fitness Updates

Hey friends!  Oh boy, how time does fly…

I’ve really missed blogging – the problem is, the more I put it off, the less I feel I have to blog about.  That being said, I gotta start somewhere with a new post, because I miss y’all, and I miss my little blog.  So here goes – my health and fitness update (with a little bit of spirit thrown in there for good measure).

I’ll start by saying that 2013 is turning into a year of self-realization for me – and we’re only 3 months into it 🙂

I’m not sure exactly when the turning point happened, but earlier this year, I realized that I haven’t really been living up to being my authentic self.  I’ve been reeeally good at acting like the girl that I imagine people think I should be.  I want to go further into this thought in another post, but for now, I’ll just say this:  I’m coming to realize that I don’t need to be anyone other than ME.  And I don’t need to do things just because I feel like others expect me to do them.  In fact, those perceived expectations are all just in my own head.

So, I’m making conscious choices to spend my time doing things that I truly enjoy and that nurture the real me; not because they are a chore, or a challenge, or because there’s some kind of prize waiting for me at the finish line.  This applies to my health and fitness choices too, as you can imagine.

That’s why I quit the gym.

What, what!?!  Well, technically I froze my membership.  And here’s why:

  1. I love, love, love getting fresh air, walking my dog, and being outside (and dammit, it may be freezing outside here in PA, but spring will be here soon, I have faith!).  I want to start running and walking outside more as the weather gets nicer.
  2. I’m trying to get myself back on track with my budget (that’s a whole ‘nother post) and I want to save a few bucks.
  3. I really haven’t been inspired to hit the iron like I used to.  It just doesn’t seem like where my heart is right now.

Instead of the gym, I’ve been getting up really early in the morning and doing a short session of yoga before the sun comes up.  It feels glorious.

And, get this:  I’ve been meditating.  This is probably the most centering, enlightening thing to have happened in my life in years.  It’s amazing, seriously:  15 to 20 minutes a day of sitting in silence and quieting my mind has helped me to feel calm, centered, and confident for the rest of the day. The daily routine of meditation is allowing me to gain the clarity and focus that I’ve been craving.  It makes my spirit happy 🙂

*Note:  If you are interested in starting a meditation practice of your own, I highly suggest that you jump on the tail end of the free 21-Day Meditation Challenge for Perfect Health, hosted by Deepak Chopra and Oprah.  Amazing.  Trust me 🙂

Also on the fitness front, I’m excited to start TurboFire soon – I ordered the set a while back and am anxiously awaiting to get it in the mail!  I think it’s going to be a great way to get my booty moving and to lean out in time for summer.  The reviewers of TurboFire all say it is so fun  and I can believe it – Chalene Johnson is such a ball of energy!

*Another note:  Chalene wrote an amazing book called Push: 30 Days to Turbocharged Habits, a Bangin’ Body, and the Life You Deserve.  I love this book!  In fact, it was the inspiration for this blog!  It’s written with a health focus, but Chalene so clearly outlines how to set and achieve goals that I recommend it for anyone looking to achieve a sharper focus in that area.

And the final thing, that’s not so related to fitness but is related to health, is that I’m planning to go off the pill.  NO, WE ARE NOT TRYING TO GET PREGNANT!  However, I am ready to stop taking synthetic hormones, which have been in my system for the better part of half of my life.  Crazy, huh?  Again, this experience will probably deserve its own post or two, so if you’re interested in my journey as I get back to living as the authentic “me,” sans fake hormones, let me know 🙂

*Final note:  I’ve been reading a book called Taking Charge of Your Fertility, which is full of information and support for women wanting to take a natural approach to birth control (or getting pregnant).  

So…that’s where I am.  I guess I had a lot more to chat about than I thought I did 😉

To anyone who may still be reading this little blog, please let me know:  Have you ever entered a period of your life where you had a shift in perspective?  Where you realized you were neglecting your authentic self?  How did you get back to center?

xoxo (missed you)

Thanksgiving for Two

No need for a bird this big!

This year, my husband and I will be relaxing at home on Thanksgiving, just the two of us.  It’s a little strange – every year of my life since birth, I’ve been surrounded by a big group of family members on turkey day.  But it will be nice to relax at home with my love and my fur kids.  Plus, it will be my first chance to have a hand at cooking Thanksgiving dinner from start to finish!

However, a party of two will clearly not need to roast a 20 pound bird and cook up 5 pounds of potatoes.  Most traditional Thanksgiving dishes serve 10 – 12 people – yikes!  But the best part of Thanksgiving (in my opinion) is the leftovers, so I wanted to find traditional Thanksgiving foods in smaller portions that would give us a day or two of leftovers to enjoy.

So, I’ve come up with the menu and thought it would be fun to share.  I searched the ‘net and found some relatively easy-to-prepare dishes that serve 2 – 4 people.  I haven’t prepared any of these recipes before, so I can’t vouch for how they will turn out, but I’ll follow up with another post-Thanksgiving review!

Click here to view our Thanksgiving Menu for Two, as well the full recipes for each dish.  (available on Google Docs)

And just because I’m a total weirdo, I thought it would also be fun to share my shopping list, which I’ve put into an excel spreadsheet.  Each ingredient is listed, along with the quantity needed, the recipe that it is used for, where I can find it at the grocery store, and if I can buy it in advance.  I’m planning to shop once this weekend and once next weekend for our Thanksgiving groceries.

Click here to download my Thanksgiving menu shopping list. (available on Google Docs)

And to give credit to my sources, here is where I found each dish listed in my menu:
Spiced Pecans
Brined Turkey Breast
Apple Sausage Dressing
Turkey Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Sweet Potato Casserole
Spinach Cranberry Walnut Salad
Maple Pots de Creme with Praline Topping

Please let me know if you try any of these recipes!

Anyone else having a non-traditional Thanksgiving this year?  Please share!

(and have a fabulous weekend!)

Status Check on Goals: November

(Also known as the longest blog post everrr)
OK, I realize it’s been forever since I’ve checked in on my goals – well, at least officially checked in on the blogosphere.

However…I really have been diligently working towards achieving each of the goals that I listed back in January on this blog!  Aaaand, I’ve even put some thought into my goals for 2013 😉

It’s hard to believe there are less than 2 months in 2012.  Crazy, right?  Since we’re getting so close to the end of the year, I thought it would be good to do a little recap of where I am to date:

{ Health }

Goal:  Partipate in a fitness competition
I really wish I had given myself more than one fitness goal to achieve in 2012.  Particularly because I really felt lost after I completed my fitness competition back in April.  I’m still a little lost, to be completely honest!  But, I’ve been getting my booty to the gym and have basically just been in maintenance mode for the last several months.
Health Goal:  COMPLETE, baby

{ Habitat }

Goal:  Organize my house
The goal of organizing my house has probably been the most time-consuming out of all the goals I listed.  Every weekend, I’ve spent a little time organizing areas of my home, and in all honesty, it’s about 90% complete!  Yaaaay!

There are a few embarrassing spaces left to be organized.  Namely, our garage and our basement.  They are not small projects to complete so I’ve been putting them off until the end, which of course has delayed their completion.  Now that we are getting into the colder months (I’m looking at snow falling outside my window as I type this!), the garage project may be delayed until next spring.  However, I hope to finish the basement before the end of 2012.

Side note: Would anyone be interested in seeing an “organized house tour” series for the spaces I haven’t shown yet on the blog?  Maybe I’m a voyeur, but I love seeing how other people organize their homes.  LMK!
Habitat Goal:  In Progress, Nearly Completed

{ Happiness }

Goal #1:  Train Pickles (my doggie)
Pickles is definitely a work in progress, but her behavior has improved tremendously in recent months.  I have been taking her on loooooong walks and listening to Cesar Milan’s audio books on my iPod while we walk.  I really believe in his approach of “exercise, discipline, and affection, in that order.”  I think this has really helped improve our little canine maniac’s disposition.  I also discovered that our little dog is the BEST running partner!  She just runs and runs and runs and never tires out.  I plan to continue running with her!
Happiness Goal #1:  Complete!

Goal #2:  Go on vacation with my husband
We had such a nice vacation to Riviera Maya earlier this year.  It was exactly what I needed at the time, as I was transitioning away from my former job and really needed some mental relaxation.  I’d love to travel more in 2013, even if it’s a short weekend getaway.
Happiness Goal #2:  Complete!

Goal #3:  Make 5 new friends
This may sound like a silly goal to most people.  I’ve struggled with meeting new friends since moving to PA years ago…let’s face it, the older you get, the harder it is to meet new people, particularly when you don’t have kids (that seems to be how most people I know expand their social circle).  That being said, I feel blessed to have met so many great people this year and to have strengthened relationships with people I know.  And I consider anyone reading this post a friend, so you can add yourself to the list 😉
Happiness Goal #3:  Complete

Goal #4:  Make more money
This is such a point of frustration for me.  I used to make pretty decent money, then I made a career change a couple of years ago and have been playing catch-up ever since.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever get back to the salary level where I used to be, which is just so annoying.  Money isn’t everything, but I work hard and dammit, I want more money!  I will say, I am making more money now than I was at the beginning of 2012, so for now I’ll consider this one…
Happiness Goal #4:  Complete

{ Hobbies }

Goal: #1  Take better care of my skin
I really think this one deserves its own blog post.  In recent months, I have been suffering from annoying skin issues, and I’m not sure if they are product, environment, or hormone related.  Who knows.  I did just start a new skin care regime which I will try to post about later this week, if anyone’s interested.  I’ve also decided to go have my skin checked for any possible skin cancer issues.  Overall, I’ve taken much better care of my skin this year but this could definitely be improved.
Hobbies Goal #1:  Work in progress

Goal #2:  Pursue my hobbies
I didn’t clearly define what my hobbies are when I set this goal, which I guess is why I didn’t make too much progress with this one.  I did start taking ballet, which has been an adventure 🙂  I’ll be re-evaluating this goal for 2013.
Hobbies Goal #2:  Work in progress

Goal #3:  Become more involved in social media
It’s pretty pathetic that I work in marketing and create clients’ social media campaigns, but I can’t even bother to keep up with my own Twitter account, right?  I have definitely become more involved in social media this year, but there is room for improvement in 2013.  (By the way, connect with me!  The buttons for my social media pages are right over there to your right –>)
Hobbies Goal #3:  Complete

…and finally, the “Push Goal,” to start my own business.
This is still hands down absolutely something I want to do.  The stars just need to align for things to work out for me.  I haven’t forgotten about my push goal, and I still feel like it will push me towards achieving all of my goals and more!
Push Goal:  INCOMPLETE (for now)

I’d love to hear about goals you have achieved in 2012 so far, and if you’re already thinking about 2013 the way I am.  I’m a big believer in making your goals public – so ‘fess up!!  😉