2016 Non Resolutions

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Happy 2016!

So I’m a little late to the punch on the New Year wishes around here, but better late than not at all, right?

For the past eight years now, instead of joining so many of the masses and making grand statements and lists of Resolutions, I’ve marched to my own drum and made up a list of Non Resolutions.  Okay, so you might say, “but isn’t that still a different kind of pressure, one that you were trying to avoid by making a list of things you claimed to do in the new year, by making a list of things you will try not to do?”  And yeah, it is kinda/sorta the same thing, but to me, the different spin on it seems to make a little more sense.  If I don’t win on one of my Non Resolutions, then for whatever reason, to me, it doesn’t seem like as much as a big fat fail as if I don’t accomplish a big ole’ regular Resolution.

You with me?

So, here I go again.  But before I make my little list of things I resolve not to do this year, I have to say that 2015 has been good to me, and to my loved ones.  I celebrated weddings and engagements with dear friends, welcomed new babies into the world with other friends, ran a handful of races, worked to make our new house feel more like a home over the past year we have lived here, drank some really good beers on sunny patios and decks throughout the warm months, traveled a little bit here and there, nurtured friendships and my relationship, delved deeper into a meditation practice, and most recently, 2015 was the year we made little baby M&M and shared the news that he or she will be making their debut May of this year.

It’s been a good year overall, with many highs and a few lows (to keep the balance in check over here seeing as how that is the theme of this blog and all).  I feel blessed and grateful for what has passed, and excited for what’s to come.

Without further blabbing on and on, here are my 2016 Non Resolutions (some have made the list eight years going strong)…

In 2016 I resolve not to:

  • Get sucked into worry.  Every year this one has made the list.  I know, deep down the vicious cycle of worry I can get myself wrapped up in if I let myself, and I know even more, so much of worry has to do with choice.  I can choose to dwell, or I can choose to try to just be, try to live in the moment and have faith, that things will all work out as they are meant to.  Easier said than done, 95% of the time for me, but it is still something I can continually work on.  And resolve NOT to get sucked into, over and over.  I’ll share my favorite quote by Michael J. Fox as I have done in past years…

“If you get caught up in the worst case scenario and it doesn’t happen, you’ve wasted your time. And if you are caught up in the worst case scenario and it does happen, you’ve lived it twice.” 

  • Let things pile up as much.  This includes, but isn’t limited to:  laundry, junk mail, worry (ahem), chores, and clothes I need to put away.
  • Interrupt.  Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m doing it, and truthfully, I do it more out of excitement rather than thinking what I have to say is better than what someone else is sharing.  It’s an annoying habit and it’s something I want to be better about (still- second year in a row for this one).
  • Think too much about what other people think.  (Unless it really counts.  Like it obviously matters what my boss thinks if I show up to work late every day.)  But other things- things like following my gut and being true to myself and then not overanalyzing what others think of my decisions.  This year I want to really embrace the mentality of being true to me, doing what’s best for me, and knowing in my heart that if that’s what’s ringing true to me, then what other people think shouldn’t matter.
  • Go a week without meditation, or yoga.  Both make me feel wonderful.  It’s lame to let a week go by without doing one or the other.  No excuses there.  It’s a must!
  • Go a week without exercise.  This one should be easy, as I can’t remember the last time this has happened anyway, but I know that with a little one on the way, excuses might come easy, but it will be a priority of mine to make some sort of movement on the regular.
  • Lastly, be so hard on myself.  (Again, a regular on the list.)  Life is tough, and it’s easy to be hard on ourselves.  I want to be kind to myself, as kind as I would be a dear friend.  Nicer self talk.  Less judgement.  More self compassion, less comparison.

I think that’s a good start.  Would you care to join me in sharing your Non Resolutions for 2016?

Friday balance…

TGIF!

As I log in over here (and have to get an email reminder with my log in password), I’m reminded how quickly time flies, and how it’s been a while since I’ve spent some time here in this space.

I started this blog as an outlet, where I could visit and chat and vent and share, with like-minded people about the nitty gritty of real life happenings.  With many highs and lows of daily life, my goal has been to write about attempting to maintain a sense of all around balance in a life that can so often feel hurried, and frantic, and overwhelming at times.

Balance is important to me, and it’s funny how something that I consider such a priority is also something that can be a struggle at times.  Do you notice the same?  Things that are at the top of our list are sometimes those that we have to devote the most thought, and effort towards.

Here’s how I have been trying to maintain some balance in my daily life as of late…

  • With all the summer cookouts and excuses for beer and burgers and ice cream, I’ve made a commitment for the past twenty one days to exercise daily.

1381489_1552512508312621_2282268715550206855_n-300x300Balance is about working hard, and enjoying the little things…

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S’mores on our patio. #getinmybelly

  • We love to cook at home, and especially in the summer, grilling is one of our go-to’s.  Sometimes, on a Friday, we’d rather sit for drinks on a patio and have someone else do the cooking.  And we’re so pumped about one of our new favorite places not far from us, where we can bring our pup for dinner while dining alfresco!
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“Gimme that sangria, Mom!”

  • Summer cookouts don’t always have to be unhealthy!  Brought a little balance to the table a few weeks ago with this yummy app:
Strawberry Ricotta Bites

Strawberry Ricotta Bites

  • Reading.  I love to get lost in a good book, and with hot summer days lately, we’ve taken to cooling off in our finished basement and catching some Netflix shows.  I’m also trying to balance out the TV watching with some reading.  I feel like it’s easy to lose hours of the evening getting sucked into episode after episode of OITNB, or our new one, The Americans, but at the same time, I feel like I should be balancing things out with something more stimulating for my brain, like getting into a good book.  What are you reading now?

The bottom line is that balance isn’t always easy.  It seems like a good idea, and easy enough, but it can take some work!  It might not always look perfect, and some days will feel more balanced than others.  My goal is to try to focus on little ways to bring balance to my daily life, making small adjustments in my routine, taking the time to slow things down a bit and giving myself permission to not always having things exactly perfect.

How are you adding some balance to your life lately?

 

Treat Yourself Tuesday!

One of my favorite bloggers lately linked up with another new-to-me blogger, Becky, for a fun idea that I can totally get behind: Treat Yourself Tuesday.

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The idea is to be kinder to ourselves each day, and take time out of our busy lives to do something nice for ourselves.

We’re all about balance around here, and one of the things that helps us feel balanced on our insides is doing nice things for ourselves.  Doing nice things for other people is really awesome too, but today is all about the self love, and I think self care is so important, because if we can’t nurture ourselves, how can we be fully present and give our best to others?

A couple of ways I treated myself today included…

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A hazelnut iced coffee from Bruegger’s.  I LOVE Bruegger’s coffee- especially because the beans are flavored, rather than adding in artificial sweeteners that I generally dislike.

Another treat included a really good workout this evening.  And soon I plan to treat myself to some down time on the couch with my husband catching up on some DVR’d shows, and a little reading.

How about you?  How did you treat yourself this Tuesday?

Because, oatmeal.

It’s no secret here how much I dig oatmeal.  Oatmeal for breakfast, oatmeal in my smoothies, oatmeal on the go muffins, oatmeal and wine…

(It could work, no?)

This recipe is a bit of a game changer.  Mostly because it’s so simple to make, only really two ingredients, and it feels like a treat, but it’s healthy!

And oatmeal!  More oatmeal.

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Two Ingredient “Cookies”

Ingredients:

  • Two ripe bananas (the browner the better!)
  • 1 cup of oatmeal

Additions:

Just making these cookies with two ingredients is perfect, but you can (and as seen above, I DID) add in a couple other fun things!

Some ideas:

  • Cinnamon!  I love cinnamon, and always add it into my oatmeal, so this one is good here
  • A dash of vanilla
  • Um, chocolate chips (as seen above).  Because chocolate chips and oatmeal, how can you go wrong?
  • Peanut butter, or PB2
  • Hazelnut butter
  • Raisons
  • Nuts
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Chia seeds

Super Easy Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Mash up the bananas really good.  Add in vanilla here if you are going to be crazy and go for that addition.  I suggest it!

3. Add in the oats!  Mmmm oats!

4. Throw in any other additions you feel like here.

5. Put these babies on a baking sheet, however big or small you’d like to make them, and bake for about 10-12 minutes until a little springy to the touch.

And enjoy!  These “cookies,” with the two ingredients are probably about 400 calories for a whole batch. One afternoon, my husband and I split a whole batch, which is a healthy afternoon snack, or could be a really easy grab and go breakfast, or just a little something to nibble on before a work out for some energy.  Adding in the chocolate chips feels decadent and it’s still something you can do and feel pretty damn good about because the base of the “cookie” is healthy and clean, with no added sugar or fat.

Try these babies out and let me know what you think!  Super easy and so yummy.  You’re going to find yourself willing your green bananas to go brown fast!, just so you can whip a batch of these up!

Do you have a recipe for a healthy sweet something, that sounds like it would be not so great for you, but actually is?

 

Holidaze

Well it wasn’t my intention to start a new blog and go almost a month between posts. Between work, traveling, visiting family, getting ready for the holidays, getting ready to move, and a hundred and ten other things lately, writing hasn’t really happened.  I guess you could say while trying to balance my crazy life lately, this space has been put on the back burner.

But here’s the thing about balance that’s so cool.  You can get a little off track, you can lose your way a bit, but your body inevitably craves some sort of center, a kind of baseline balance that we want to get back to, and naturally steer towards.  Sometimes it’s easier to get back to our balance, back in a good groove, and sometimes it’s really freaking hard.  Like when it’s Thanksgiving and then it’s all of a sudden December and it’s the hectic holiday season and oh, you just happen to be buying a home amongst all this busy-ness, and then Christmas is coming and at the same time there’s work parties, and cocktail parties with friends, and there’s baby showers, and packing (lots of packing, and procrastination!), and there’s trips to NYC, trips to Pennsylvania, family pets dying, babies being born, new haircuts!, Zumba classes with one of your favorite co-workers, shopping, more packing, less running, more takeout, less healthy choices, and then you realize: holy hell, I need a moment to just breathe. 

And that right there is where I’m at right now.  I have a pretty full plate at the moment, most of it all really good things, some of it just regular stuff, and thankfully nothing really unfortunate to fill the plate, but none the less, this plate is piling over!  I have so much going on right now that some days I honestly don’t remember what I went into a room for, what my workout was the day before, if I fed my cat, or took out the trash, or where I put the Christmas present that I got for my mom two weeks ago.

When life hands you a ton of shit at once like this, even if the shit is good shit, it’s important to remember to breathe.  So simple yet sometimes I feel like with a big whirlwind, days go by and it can be easy to just keep going and not really taking time to be present in the moment.  For me, there’s a few things I’m doing to try to maintain some sort of balance during this busy time…

  • I’m going easy on myself.  I’m being kind to myself.  I’m doing what I can, when I can.  Instead of putting pressure on myself to PACK! ALL! THE! BOXES! right this second, I’m doing a few boxes at a time.  And instead of being hard on myself for missing a workout, I’m focusing on really making the workouts and runs that I can get in be effective and on point.
  • I’m trying to get enough rest.  This one’s hard, because for me, after a long, hectic day of crazy-ness, what I really like to do is veg out in front of the TV, catch up on Mob Wives, pin recipes on Pinterest, and watch YouTube videos on how to master a handstand.  I could do all of this until 1am, every night, but I’d be a nasty grouch and not productive because of it.  Also, when I don’t get enough rest, it ends up getting everything else out of whack.  I crave unhealthy foods and drinks, I’m apt to want to do more lazy things, I end up being harder on myself because I’m sleepy, and I’m a cranky and all around don’t feel good.  So, I’m trying to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep a night.
  • I’m enjoying small pleasures and indulgences.  This is a regular one for me, as I really do try to practice moderation on a regular basis, but especially at this time of year, with opportunities to eat yummy treats, drink seasonal cocktails, go on mini weekend excursions, maybe do a little shopping for ourselves while shopping for others, I’m trying to enjoy it all.  The key here for me is that I’m trying to practice it all with a solid sense of moderation.  I’m really trying to ask myself, “is it worth it?” before I go in for seconds, or before I splurge on a 300 calorie drink, or decide to go for an eight mile run in the cold when I’d rather sleep in- I ask myself if what I want is worth it, and if the answer is at least more than 50/50 tipping towards yes, then I usually do it.  And I’m trying (trying real hard) not to have any regrets.  If I decide it’s worth it, then I’m really truly trying to be okay with my choice, and not complaining that I wish I slept in longer instead of running, or that I feel guilty that I ate the third cookie at a friends house.  If it’s worth it, it’s worth it, and I want to enjoy it.
  • Lastly, I’m just going with it.  There’s lots of planning that’s happening right now in my life between the holidays and visiting family and traveling and holiday parties and planning to move into a new home, but at the end of the day, I just need a break from plans, so I’m mostly just going with the flow. What’s that really mean?  I like balance, I do.  And I strive for it, but at the end of the day, life isn’t about lists of how to achieve the perfect balance, or planning out how to feel more centered. What really matters is enjoying the moment, going with what feels right, being kind to ourselves and one another, and taking good care of ourselves.  I think that right there is what really makes us feel balance in the long run.

What about you?  How are you staying balanced during this hectic season?

The thing about balance…

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So this idea about balance?  With post number one on this site, I’m here to admit: finding balance is not always easy.

There are many types of balance.  The actual, physical kind of balance that helps us stand up straight, take a nice, brisk, fall walk, or run a PR in a half marathon.  There’s the physical kind of balance that helps us to invert upside down, engage our core, and rock an unassisted headstand without totally wiping out and ending up with a permanent bruise (not that I would know anything about that!).

There’s emotional balance, the kind that helps to keep our highs and lows in check, aiding us to getting in touch with what makes us feel good, what freaks us the heck out and causes anxiety, and points out how much of something we can handle before feeling like we are reaching our emotional tipping point.

Then there’s the balance we can have in the health and wellness realms.  Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating the kinds of foods that energize you, steering clear of too much of a good (or bad) thing, and finding the healthy middle ground of “just right.”

This balance thing, it’s tricky.  Some days, it takes actual, serious, put your mind and your thoughts and your conscious efforts into it hard work. But sometimes when you’re lucky, and you’re in a good place, stars align and things work in a such a way that balance just comes as second nature. Some days, you are able to get right up into that handstand, and actually stay there for several long, deep breaths, without smashing your body into a coffee table.  Lots of times, you get in a good groove, eating what feels good inside your body, and it in turn responds in a happy way, giving us the energy and stamina to make it through a long run or a killer kickboxing class.  And then, there are many times during our hectic work days where we are able to find small moments or frames of time where we can take a deep inhale, think about your full emotional plates, the big decisions and small ones too that we are dealing with, and we can find a way to feel (mostly) at peace with the here and now, gently reminding ourselves that things usually have a way of working out as they should at the end of the day.

I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t have the whole balance thing mastered by any means. I do, however, try to find a semblance of balance in each day.  Some days are wins and I hardly have to think about it; other days end up being not so much of pretty picture of balance, and I realize I feel a bit off inside.

My goal is to find small ways to nurture myself each day, to capture small doses of balance that help me to feel grounded, give me energy, make me feel healthy and positive, all that ultimately make the best version of myself shine on.

How do you win at finding balance in your everyday, and where do you struggle?