A Mish-Mash, a Makeup Review and Buddha

Here’s a bit of a mish-mash of things from this week that I wanted to tell you about. It’s a mish-mash, truly. Enjoy!

This is one of my favorite snacks and it’s so very easy to “make.” In fact, all you do is put the ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. In this bowl, I have:

  • creamy almond butter – my body protests peanut butter every time I think, “Maybe this time…” and I try it and I regret it. So I just don’t go there with the peanut butter.
  • coconut oil
  • trail mix of some kind – this one came from here.

This was the perfect pre-workout snack as I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it until supper without something in my stomach while I exercised. I needed some energy and a little bit of good fat to tide me over. Enter, the above mixture.

Tidbit of note: It also will double as a decent “dessert” because it’s satisfying and delicious and has just enough chocolate in it to make you think you’re having dessert.

The good folks at Influenster sent me the above products to try for free. The one on the left is a liquid liner with a nifty tip so you can make your liner thick or thin. Whatever your little heart desires. And the other is a nice, black mascara. First, let’s chat about the eyeliner. It goes on smoothly and it’s waaaaaay easy to apply. I thought it came out a little fast, but I think that’s because I’m used to pencils, and those take a little more effort to apply. The liquid flows easily and smoothly out of the pen. I tried the thick side of the pen and the results were satisfactory. I want to try the thin side next! I should also note that I’m not very good at applying eyeliner, but I’m practicing! Now, the mascara…the brush on that thing catches every.single.lash and makes it longer. It covered my lashes well and I felt like it held up well the entire day. It also didn’t flake, which I appreciate. Both products will go into my makeup rotation. Thank you, Influenster!

My mom sent these words she found on an Etsy print to me earlier this week and I had to make it my own. It’s the truth. How can I expect to get stronger if I don’t change my exercise habits? How can I expect to become healthier if I choose to eat foods that lack nutritional value? How can I expect change if I’m not actively choosing to do things or eat foods or be the person I want to be? Change isn’t for the faint of heart, and sometimes it seems like it isn’t that much fun {saying no to grilled cheese sandwiches isn’t awesome, but eating those won’t help me attain my fitness/health goals}, but if I want to meet my goals for my life {I use life because it’s such an all-encompassing word. It includes my health, fitness, spiritual, emotional and personal goals.}, I have to choose to change.

Oh, and this:

This once I saw on Facebook and I loved it. Buddha can’t have said it, as I don’t think “homie” was in his vernacular, but it’s funny and it’s true. I hold on to so much stuff {both emotional and just belongings} that isn’t even worth holding on to. Time to purge the excess baggage, actual stuff and emotional baggage and anything else that isn’t serving a purpose!!!!

Question of the Day
What’s your favorite mascara?
How do you let go of your stuff? Emotional stuff? Physical stuff?

Share in the comments!

Thoughts on Catharsis

Catharsis [kuhthahr-sis]
noun, plural catharses [kuhthahr-seez] 
  1. the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions,especially through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music.
  2. Medicine/Medical, purgation.
  3. Psychiatry.
  • psychotherapy that encourages or permits the discharge of pent-up,socially unacceptable affects.
  • discharge of pent-up emotions so as to result in the alleviation of symptoms or the permanent relief of the condition.

Everyone has a way to release emotion. Some people run or do some other form of exercise, some people write, some people walk on the beach, some people meditate, some have ways of releasing emotion that aren’t healthy. It varies from person to person.

My parents sent me this card some years ago and I’ve kept it in my cube at work, or up on my cork board at home, to serve as a reminder to not bottle my stress with the stopper on. It’s okay to bottle and compartmentalize for a few hours until I am in a space to release it, but not for days or weeks or years.

For me, writing has always been cathartic for me. I remember writing in journals as a young girl, though the writing bug never really caught me until I was in high school. In high school and into my adult years, it seemed like I couldn’t write enough. I still feel that way, though sometimes I shrink from putting pen to paper because I’m afraid of what the words will say. It’s like I know that writing is good for me, but I don’t want to do it because then I actually have to take steps to come to terms with whatever I’m feeling or thinking or worrying over {that last one is usually my main beef}. For some reason, I much prefer to sit in stressed limbo. Snort.

“Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them – we can love completely without complete understanding.”
Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

I am the loved one who is in need and I sometimes don’t want the help I have to give myself. If I can look upon my loved ones and offer them help, why can’t I do the same for myself? Rather than saying that I want to learn to take better care of myself, I am learning to take better care of myself.

Getting my nails done is another way I show myself some love. I feel so much more put together and myself when I do get them done. No, these aren’t my real nails. My natural nails don’t grow much past the tip of my fingers without ripping.

I’ve been practicing more forms of stress release, other than writing, though that still comes out to play more often than not. Exercising, taking baths, getting at least eight hours of sleep a night and using essential oils have all been options I’ve explored recently. You know what? I feel more at ease and at peace and a little out of my league, but I’m learning how to navigate this self-love and stress release thing.

Question of the Day
What’s your favorite form of catharsis? Leave a note for me in the comments!

More Time

Doesn’t everyone always want more time? More time to do what they want or to get everything they feel obligated to do done? The short answer is more than likely, “Yes.”  I do. I want another few hours in the day to get a good exercise session in, to read a book, to go for walks on the beach or in the hills. These are the things that take a back burner when I have to shift my priorities. Or, I think I have to shift my priorities, anyway. Sometimes, I think I’m far too accommodating towards others who probably don’t warrant the accommodation. That’s probably a topic I need to discuss with my journal before I write about it here.

This weekend has been so relaxed. I’ve basically done whatever sounded good at the moment and I didn’t feel like I had an obligated agenda to get a list of tasks done. I went for a walk on the beach on Friday night and then got nachos for supper.

It was a gorgeous sun set that night. The company {Cowboy’s, of course} was fine and the plate of nachos we shared was delicious. I often think that it doesn’t get much better than that…sharing food and conversation with loved ones.

Then, on Saturday, we had supper with some dear, dear friends. They made these for us for supper.

The best thing about dinner with friends is not the food or the wine, though both are always delicious. The best thing about dinner with friends is the love, the laughter and the conversations. You can’t put all of that on a plate or in a glass and you can’t buy it at the store. It’s rare, folks, and I count myself extremely fortunate to have the friends I do. They love me and push me to become a better person, a person who is more herself, and a person who is stronger and wiser and has a heart full of good things. I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

As usual, the boy found friends of the canine variety. Tula is on the left and Piper is the puppy on the right. It took the the three of them to get comfortable and situated, but once they did, they were all sawing logs.

The boy absolutely adores dogs and they, in turn, love him. It’s kind of like Where the Red Fern Grows all over again, except none of the dogs the boy meets are his and very few of them are coon hounds. That will change in July, as Cowboy has two dogs. Stay tuned for pictures of teaching Jezebel to fetch. Schultz is 16 and is not of the fetching mentality. He will sniff out pigs for you all day long, but fetching isn’t his forte. I’m pretty excited to have dogs again! We always had dogs growing up and I’ve missed it.

This morning, we went to breakfast at one of my favorite cafes here in town. It was so nice to linger over a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon and coffee. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and I love going out to eat it. I also like to cook it at home, but sometimes, spending time in the kitchen on a Sunday morning is just not the name of the game.

This little jar of flowers was on our table and I just thought it was the perfect breakfast  companion. It truly is the simple things in life.

I came across this quote last night from one of my Instagram friends. I thought it bears repeating here.

be easy.
take your time.
you are coming
to yourself.

— the becoming | wing

I’m of to go watch a shoot ’em up bang bang movie with the boy. Enjoy your Sunday evening, lovelies!

How to Open Your Hips

Folks, I have the tightest hips in the history of woman. Okay, perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but truly, truly, my hips are tight. Squatting is difficult, pigeon isn’t easy, and let’s not even talk about one of those yoga poses where you end up with your feet behind your head. It’s not going to happen. At least, not yet anyway.

The thing is, I spend most of my time at a desk. Aaaaand, I keep my stress in my hips {and between my shoulder blades and in my neck, but that’s another topic}. So, the combination of sitting and stressing is not awesome for my hip flexors.

I’ve discovered some lovely stretches to help open up those hips and I have committed to myself to do them at least three nights a week. I’ve even set up a reminder on my phone, because I know I’ll forget if it’s not right in front of my face at some point during the day.

So…want to know what stretches I’m going to do? Of course you do, otherwise you wouldn’t have read this far down!

Pigeon Pose

Runner’s Lunge

Thread the Needle

Goblet Prying Squat

The top three are ones one that I really like and I know they stretch my hips, glutes and hamstrings rather well. The goblet prying squat is a new one for me, and I’d like to see if I can get my feet flat on the ground in that pose. Maybe not within a month or a year, but if I keep working on it, I’ll get there!

Would anyone like to come with me on this hip opener journey? Let me know in the comments! We can connect somehow!

Promises to Self

Last night, I went for a walk with a lovely friend of mine. We walked and talked comfortably through the streets of her neighborhood, her dog trotting next to us and the boy ambling on behind by about 20 paces. After we got back to her house, she and I sat in the sun and drank a glass of red wine each. And then, we all ate ice cream. It was all glorious. I realize that’s a rather big, heavy word for something as simple as a walk, a glass of wine and some ice cream.

Truly, though, it is glorious. It is the simplest things in life that are the most important. And sometimes, for some of us, they’re the hardest to come by because we get so busy with things. Since I sometimes get preoccupied with worries that aren’t an issue at all, I decided last night that I’m going to promise myself that I’ll go for walks whenever they present themselves. I’ll also take the initiative to present those walks to others. I’ll drink the glass of wine at the end of the walk, or in the middle of a movie, or while I’m cooking supper {keep in mind that I’ll not become a lush}. I’ll eat the ice cream, thoroughly and slowly enjoy every single bite, and I’ll not feel guilty about it one iota.

Why? Because taking care of myself is good for my soul, my heart, my brain and my body. It’s just good. Plain and simple good. The wine, the walk and the ice cream are just three examples of taking care of myself. And taking care of myself is very good for my soul. My self requires it.

I did try to ignore my self for a very long time. Trust me when I say that it didn’t work out well. Not a little bit. Not at all.

Question of the Day
How do you take care of yourself? How do you show yourself some love? Let me know in the comments!

So much change…I don’t know what to focus on first.

Before I begin, I’m going to warn you that this will be a bit random. Enjoy.

Well, sheeeeeeesh. How was everyone’s Easter holiday {If you celebrate}? I had a great time celebrating with my future in-laws. They’re good people and I am so very fortunate to have them. Cowboy’s sister gave us so many leftovers that neither of us will have to cook for the whole week. I love leftovers :-)

I’ve decided two things:

  • Sunflower seed butter is not as awesome as almond butter.
  • Coconut milk is wonderful to cook with, but it’s not my favorite thing to put in my coffee or black tea.

I have been slacking off on my exercise and I can feel it. I feel fluffy and fatigued. I know I’ve been trying to get rid of my head cold, and I almost have, but I think it’s time to get going again. I certainly haven’t been very good about getting my 10,000 steps in either. I bought a Jawbone Up! Move about 10 days ago and I love it. It’s made me realize that I really don’t move very much during the day. That’s just one of the perils of having a desk job. I need and want to move more.

In an effort to reduce stress…or, rather, find a different way to alleviate stress {other than EATING. ALL. THE. THINGS.}, I have begun coloring the coloring books that I got for Christmas. It helps…sort of. Though, if I actually allowed it to become a habit, it would help even more.

Plus, it’s pretty. In addition to coloring, I also want to switch my focus from eating when stressed to writing or coloring. My mindset has been to run immediately to food when I feel stressed. I’ll be honest here: I’m having a rough time with getting out of that mindset.

Another way I’m working on self-love and self-care is by taking care of my skin. I bought this:

I don’t regret it. As much as I like using coconut oil on my skin, it gives me white heads. Tell me that’s attractive. So, I decided to splurge and I just went for it. And you know what? I don’t care if it’s paleo or not. I wanted something luxurious, so I got it. The end.

I feel a little scattered, like I don’t know what to do first. Things at work have been full of change, and then let’s not even think about the change coming up in July {aka, the wedding, which also means a move to a different town and a change of schools for the boy}. Truthfully, I’m feeling a little unraveled and tense about everything. So, let’s color more and write it all out! Oh, and walk and exercise! And stop eating ALL THE DAMN THINGS! And drink more water. I know what to do, I just don’t do it and I fall back into those old habits almost immediately. I think I need to go back through all of my Intuitive Eating stuff {previous posts here, here, here, here, and here}. I need a different stress reliever. Pep talk of self, over and out.

Okay, so, are you still with me? I hope so! Stay tuned for more posts from crazy-land!

Fun Friday Five! {An Intimacy Edition}

I came across a video on Facebook the other day and I fell in love with it. So, I thought I’d do an intimacy edition of Fun Friday Five since I can’t stop thinking about how we don’t have enough person-to-person contact in our lives this day in age. I know you’re reading this from your side of the screen too, which makes it kind of funny that I’m writing something about person-to-person conversations with eye contact and the whole shebang. But hey, if I try to implement more person-to-person conversations and such in my life because I watched these videos, then maybe you will too! Enjoy!

How to Connect with Anyone {this is the one that made me feel all squishy and gooey inside <3}

The Power of Compliments

The Secret to Intimacy | The Science of Love

The Science of Happiness – An Experiment in Gratitude

The Science of Happiness – Forgive and Forget

After watching all of these, I realized that I want to say more and talk less. I want to tell people how I feel about them more often, not just occasionally. I want to be more forthcoming with my emotions, thoughts and feelings.

Which video did you like best? Why?

The Easiest Green Beans Ever

I love green beans. Green beans are one of my favorite vegetables. In fact, I would hazard to say that they’re my favorite veggie. They’re a great source of fiber, vitamins {especially B12, B6, B1 and C), carotenoids {like zea-xanthin, which is thought to provide antioxidant and protective UV light filtering functions in the eyes}, folates {folates, combined with B12, is one of the main components of DNA synthesis & cell division. Eat your green beans, pregnant ladies!} and minerals {like iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese and potassium).*

In addition to all that, they taste GOOD! Sounds like a win-win in my book.

I will buy fresh beans every so often, but the ones I really prefer come from Trader Joe’s. For $2, I get 1.5 lbs of beautiful frozen green beans that cook up in about 10 minutes. Every time I’m at TJ’s, I get a few bags to keep on hand because they’re great when I find that my fresh veggies have gone south. Embarrassingly, that happens often.

Here’s my favorite way to cook them!

The Easiest Green Beans Ever
1 bag Trader Joe’s French Green Beans
1 T ghee {I use Tin Star Foods}
Your favorite seasoning blend {I like 21 Seasoning Salute}, to taste
salt and pepper to taste

In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, add your green beans. Stir them around a little and let them thaw. Once they look about half-thawed, add the ghee and let it melt. Add the spices. Stir them around some more and let them do their thing, still stirring occasionally. When they are flexible but firm, pull them from the heat. They’ll be slightly crunchy, but not raw. If you like them less firm, then just cook them for a few more minutes. Adjust seasonings if necessary and eat.

I also cook frozen broccoli and cauliflower or any other frozen vegetable blend the same way. It takes about 10-15 minutes to cook these and they’re great when you need a meal on the table in 30 minutes or less. I make the whole bag at once and use the leftovers for lunches for the next couple days. Food prep done!

Another thing I like about these is that they go with almost anything. They go with pork, poultry, beef and seafood. And…if you got really brave, you could throw in some cooked and crumbled bacon!

Question of the Day
What’s your favorite way to cook frozen vegetables?

* Source.

CDF Struggles – Part 2

I wanted to follow up on my previous post {here} about my struggles with feeling like my CDFs don’t fit with who I am. As a Desire Mapper, I’m a member of the private Desire Map Facebook group. It’s wonderful to have a group of like-minded people to bounce ideas off and commiserate with when things aren’t going well. They’re a wonderful group of uplifting and inspiring people and I’m so blessed to have that community.

While I was going through my struggles, I posed the question on the Facebook group and boy, did those ladies come through!

Here’s what I asked:

What do you do when how you want to feel seems to be the opposite of who you are? For instance, I want to feel Sensual, Relaxed and Calm. I want to Flow & Glow through my days. But…I feel like these feelings are the opposite of who I am. I’m more logical and methodical and…well, I just don’t think I have it in me to be sensual, relaxed and calm. I do hope I’m wrong! Has anyone else struggled with this?

I’m going to paraphrase what the responses were, because I didn’t ask if I could copy their quotes directly. Here’s the gist!

  • If I want to feel a certain way, I can! Do little things to start manifesting those feelings. Slowly, these things will start to become a bigger part of my life. Example: Relaxed = Shut off the phone and take a bath. Calm = Go to an out-of-the-way coffee shop and read a book.
  • Since it seems I’m great at expressing the more “masculine” side of myself, I may need to nourish the feminine side so I can feel more feminine. If I desire it, it’s there!
  • “Maybe just step toward the feminine and fearless and see what rabbit hole you wind up in!”
  • Make a list of things that have made me feel relaxed, calm and sensual and instill more of those things in my life.
  • Check out The Queen’s Code by Alison Armstrong.
  • Schedule time to do what I need to do and what I want to do in my day.

And this is where I start to make excuses about not having enough time. There are only so many hours in a day, and I feel like most of my hours are lived for someone else {that person is not my fiance or the boy, by the way} and that I don’t have much time to do what I want to do.

But, rather than sound like a whiny single parent {I’m rather certain any parent can commiserate with me saying I don’t have a lot of time to myself}, I choose to change my perspective. So, here’s what I’m going to do.

  • Drink a glass of wine on a weekly basis. It’s something I really enjoy and I’ve missed it since I did my first Whole30. I find it really relaxing and enjoyable.
  • Schedule that massage like I said I was going to do.
  • Take more time off work. Even if all I do is go to a local coffee shop and read, that’s fine. Lord knows I have enough PTO! I think maybe one day a month would be fine.
  • Continue to get my nails done. I feel so much more confident and feminine when I do, which is silly. I like having well-cared for hands. I am worth the $50 a month to do it!
  • Go for more walks. Walking is by far my favorite form of exercise and I have a hard time fitting it into my days. Consider getting a pedometer for the challenge and inspiration {I’ve had a FitBit, but didn’t like it. Can anyone recommend a different one?}.
  • Maybe find a combined journal and planner to get my stuff together. Currently, I have a planner, my Desire Map journal and then my other journal…it’s just too much and I find it overwhelming sometimes. I’d love to have it all in one place. I’ll finish out 2015 as is, of course, but I’ll look for something for 2016.
  • Read The Queen’s Code. I read the first chapter online and I just had to order a copy so I could finish it. I’ll give an update when I’m done!

That ought to get me off to a good start! I’ll update again in a few weeks and maybe I’ll even have some photographic evidence for you!

Sniffles, Mouth-Breathers and Me

It appears to be head cold season at my house. The boy came down with it last week, as we were on our way up north to a couple of birthday parties. Excellent timing, but he had fun and he wasn’t too bad. A week later and he just has a runny nose.

Yours truly, on the other hand, started with a sore throat a few days ago and now I’ve migrated on to a runny nose, headache, and mouth-breathing.

I don’t know about you, but I loathe mouth-breathing. I detest it. I’ll do nearly anything to breathe through my nose like a healthy person. I have a full arsenal of essential oils, hot beverages and OTC stuff to kick this thing out of my body and it’s working. I’m also remaining well hydrated and I’m sleeping a lot. I feel alright, I just sound horrible, which, I’m sad to say, is par for the course.

So, I’ve been feeling a little abstract lately and I blame it on the head cold fog. The few pictures I’ve been taking have reflected that. Do please see below.

I hope to be back in the swing of things in the very near future. Until then, here’s a picture of a cute little dog to tide you over.

World, meet Bella. Bella, meet World.

I take care of here when her owners are out of town. She’s a sweet little thing and loves to go for walks. And she loves to eat. She and I have a lot in common ;-)