Mindfulness lesson of the day: Live like tomorrow is not guaranteed

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Today, I feel great, also a little jumpy, but overall swell. I love Uber, but my cab driver last night almost had me and my boyfriend smushed because he assumed a speeding oncoming car was going to stop at a yellow light so we could make  a left-hand turn. The car didn’t stop and we watched as the car almost T-Boned us before it swerved out of the way. I realized a few things last night:

1. Never assume that something, or life for that matter is guaranteed.

2. Appreciate moments of happiness that happen every day because other people are probably suffering more than I am in the same particular moment.

3. I have ninja “fight or flight” reflex skills, my fetal position was on point last night as I was preparing for the potential end of my life.

4. ALWAYS wear a f****ing seat belt.

 

As much as I was pissed at the driver, pissed at myself for not wearing a seat belt, pissed that my stomach was in knots, I’m extremely appreciative of this revitalized passion for my life today, so I’m going to continue this mindfulness and get more inspired about life from the following quotes. Cheers!

  • “When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.” -Paulo Coelho
  • “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” -Paulo Coelho
  • “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore, Dream, Discover.” –Mark Twain
  • “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” –Steve Jobs
  • “The mind is everything. What you think you become.”  –Buddha
  • “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing.  That’s why we recommend it daily.” –Zig Ziglar
  • “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “I didn’t fail the test. I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.” –Benjamin Franklin
  • “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” –Vincent van Gogh

 

A bunch of these quotes can be found on Forbes.

Some habits to keep a relationship from going stale

Disclosure: This is my own opinion from my own relationships, relationships of peers and family, and light reading on relationships… so, yeah.

When the oogly-eyed smitten feeling in the beginning of a new relationship has subsided, that shouldn’t stop two people from making an effort to feel good about each other or make one another feel special. Being comfortable with someone is fine, but being bored with a relationship is not. People shouldn’t stay together because it’s always easy or comfortable or they are worried how the other will feel if a breakup happens. People should stay together because they’re passionate about the other person, they believe their lover is a remarkable human being and they want to make the effort to keep things fun, alive and spicy. People should stay together because each person in the relationship is creating value for the other, as selfish as that sounds- i.e. because my lover is making ME a better person, is pushing ME to move past boundaries to because successful, makes ME feel amazing like I’m magic (re: Frida Kahlo brilliant quote), is supportive through the highs and lows and is there in spirit even if miles away and even if just for a moment through a text.

A lover is someone to admire and be proud of, and have immense joy from his/her accomplishments and empathy in his/her struggles. Being comfortable with someone is so important to a healthy, honest and communicative relationship. That however, is not to be confused with habits that stem from a mundane routine of a relationship- which I think people often confuse with being “comfortable.” A mindless, thoughtless routine is not a comfort, it is a habit (re: The Power of Habit or 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). Just like brushing my teeth is a habit (it’s automatic, almost mindless or thoughtless, it’s engrained in my head to brush my teeth). However, that habit of brushing my teeth creates a fulfilling outcome- the comfort of having clean, white and healthy teeth. As such, if the mindless, thoughtless routines of being in a relationship  turns into habits, the outcome of that relationship routine of habits will be based on the inputs of the relationship.

To put it in context, if a routine habit, a.k.a  “being comfortable,” equates to  not flirting, not supporting, not striving to push each other to dream and fulfill passions, basically being anything not worth doing anymore because the relationship is at that “comfortable” stage, then you will probably not have a comfortable result of a relationship. It will be an unfulfilled, strained, maybe even sex-less relationship. That’s not very comfortable, is it? Take out the omfortable and replace with rappy. (Crappy).

So moral of the story, even after the initial flame is burning a little less, don’t give up on it if you adore your partner. Put in the effort and time to fulfill your own needs and support them in being the best person he/she can be. It’s a team effort, as some would say. And if it is a one-sided effort by a single team member and the other just tries when it’s convenient for him/her, then the relationship I think is safe to say is just a booty call with a title, “being comfortable.” (Unless you’re not getting booty at all, then it’s just a housekeeping call.) So change the course of your relationship on those rough waters of love that you’re trying to navigate and start with some simple, good habits to strengthen a happy and fulfilling relationship.

  1. This may seem obvious, but if your relationship isn’t a platonic one and it’s more than just a fling, then *ahem* HAVE SEX. If the sex is boring, change up the position! Do some role playing, say something you wouldn’t normally say in bed (granted, that it isn’t hateful or weirdly S&M abusive, unless that floats both your boats then so be it). Shoot a sexy text or photo or do something out of the ordinary habits that you’ve run into that are not measuring up to the type of outcome you want in your “sensual” relationship.
  2. Given that relationships aren’t all about sex, make some other habits that are positive. If you want more honesty and open communication in the relationship, talk more! Be mindful of how the relationship is going, how communication happens. Does it happen enough, not enough? Is there some overreacting on both ends or biased opinions on issues that arise? If there’s a disconnect, connect back together and talk honestly and openly. I find that when I’m honest and strive to be mindful of my own insecurities and check and balance my bitchiness/whinyness, the conversation can go quite well.
  3. Do something fun together. When people get into a downward spiral of a routine that isn’t bringing anything to the table in the relationship & not allowing someone or both people to learn, grow, dream, have stellar self-esteem, it’s probably not fun. So do something fun, if cooking a cool new recipe is fun, do that together. Go enjoy some live music if you both love that, or share music with your lover that you’re passionate about. Go on an adventure somewhere, on a hike, to a groovy new restaurant you’ve never been to before, out of your comfort zone and on an excursion of sorts that is their hobby and you know not jack s*** about. Do something active together (besides the sexytime). Whether it’s a workout at the gym, a bike ride, a run outside through nature, etc., the endorphins will make you both feel happier, both people’s self-esteem will be improved because you’re working out that hot bod of yours (or the hot bod that you’re achieving, slowly but surely in my case), you’re making your partner a better person because you’re supporting them and pushing them to be a better version of themselves.
  4. Scratch the surface of your emotional and intellectual compatibility and talk about trends, issues, dreams, ideas, concerns that you have about the world. Sharing with someone what your innermost desires are for the world and people in general is a pretty intense and daunting thing that a lot people shy away from. To share that and learn about your lover’s big-picture thoughts can shed some light on the type of person they are and help you appreciate him or her as a human being caring about other human beings and important stuff like world peace, science, future of tech, sustainability and not just for appreciating your fab sense of style and impeccable taste in comedian lineups. 
  5. Have away time from your beau and don’t forget to spend time with the other people in your life, like family, friends, friendly colleagues, etc. Don’t neglect your happy relationships with other people by being wrapped up in your own whirlwind of a romantic relationship. Having fun and getting insight about life and love from others can help you step back and get a different perspective on how you’re living, even if you don’t agree or practice what they be preachin’. Be appreciative that there are other people in your life that you get good vibes from and also make you want to be a better person. 
  6. Have alone time, with yourself. After years of being an extroverted, loudass chatterbox, I’ve settled down a bit and learned to love having those introverted me, myself and I parties- at the gym, reading a book, teaching myself something new, watching movies on my laptop alone, listening to music alone, glass or two of wine, the list goes on. More importantly, no matter what the solo time you choose, do it for you, because it makes you happy, and be mindful of those moments that you give to yourself. A majority of our time is devoted to catering to other people’s needs, at work, friends, family, relationships, so don’t forget about yourself. This is the one life we get to live and it is as great as we believe and make it to be, in whatever relationship or no relationship that find ourselves in. 

Good habits mean good outcome, mindful and proactive love for another person and yourself will make each moment in a relationship a happy one. Do you, beau.

Fiber Meatballin’

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I made some bomb beef meatballs this week! I had saved the pulp from the vitality juice recipe to add some extra fiber and mixed the pulp along with spices and seasoning in the ground beef, rolled it up in 6 balls and put them in the oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. I also cut up some Brussels sprouts and zucchini from my local farmer’s market sprinkled with olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and pepper and threw into the oven too. Meanwhile brown rice is boiling in water for about 30-45 minutes. Slowly sautéed tomato sauce, water, mushrooms, basil, garlic powder, and pepper to pour over all the components of the dish! Definitely making this one again it was goooood.

Ingredients:
1 whole pack Trader Joes organic ground beef
1 cup brown rice
8 organic Brussels sprouts
1 organic zucchini
1 small can of tomato sauce
8 organic mushrooms
Pulp from vitality juice (kale, apple, lemon, carrot, cayenne)
5 organic basil leaves

Cleansing Vitality Juice

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I wanted to make a breakfast that would rev up metabolism, cleanse the body, and bring in nutrients so I tried to make a green smoothie in a blender. And I failed epically, it was slushy and grainy and not very appetizing to drink. I don’t have a juicer, but I was still determined to get my juice on! I put a strainer over the glass and slowly but surely poured the blended contents, watching as it dripped into the cup. Once the strainer was full with pulp, I packed it with a spoon to get the juices out. Bam!! Makin’ it happen!

Now let’s talk about why the juice is cleansing and full of vitality. Kale is high in fiber (detoxifying), full of antioxidants, has vitamin A (helps with vision), C (immunity booster!), and K (cancer-fighting, kapoww!). Lemon has vitamin C, antioxidants, is a natural cleanser, and diuretic. Carrots has vitamin A and beta carotenes, being the notable vision support veggie. Apple not only is super sweet and yummy, but full of fiber and vitamin C. Studies have shown that apples can help with weight loss, preventing heart disease, and preventing diabetes. Cayenne pepper can help with preventing heart disease, boosting metabolism and fat-burning, and reduce blood pressure. There are scientific implications that eating raw, nutrient-rich plant-based food, in its most natural state does wonders for preventing, halting, or even reversing diseases like diabetes and cancer.

Plus, it was refreshing, sweet, and had a nice kick to it to get my day started!

Ingredients:

  • 4 Organic Kale Leaves
  • 1 Organic Lemon
  • 9 Organic Baby Carrots
  • 1/2 Organic Apple
  • 1/4 cup Vanilla Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • Dash of Cayenne Pepper

Great Resources:

  • Benefits of eating raw foods

http://www.raw-foods-diet-center.com/raw-foods.html

  • Kale

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4408/Top-10-Health-Benefits-of-Eating-Kale.html

  • Lemon

http://www.livestrong.com/article/522937-what-are-the-different-kinds-of-health-benefits-of-the-lemon/

  • Carrot

http://www.naturalnews.com/034511_carrots_juicing_health_benefits.html

  • Apple

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eatingwell/health-benefits-of-apples_b_966110.html#s364108&title=Nutrition_Straight_Up

  • Cayenne Pepper

http://www.livestrong.com/article/381298-cayenne-pepper-benefit/

Fitness Symbiosis: Nature and Technology are dating ;)

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I was feeling sluggish on Easter Sunday, and wasn’t excited about going for a run outside. But I knew that getting some exercise would make me feel rejuvenated and accomplished. After I pressed the start button on my Polar FT60 watch to track my heart rate and calories burned during the workout, I started the Nike Running App on my phone to track time and distance, and then put on my buddy’s new Dj mix on the Soundcloud app. My feet rhythmically started hitting the pavement, the breeze was hitting my face, eliminating that sluggish feeling, the sun was peeking through the clouds, and I snapped a photo with my phone. As I was running, my mood was elevated just by being outside, looking at the trees around me, awed by the vibrant flowers growing on lawns, the overwhelming hugeness of the sky, and the variability of the weather as it was getting more and more overcast.

I know I live in a built environment with pavement and tech gadgets, but I had a sense of connection and appreciation for nature and its beauty, and it allowed me to enjoy my run from beginning to end, which is not always the case for me on the treadmill. I believe that exercise outside can improve physical endurance and mental well-being. There are countless scholarly articles and media posts about the health benefits of exercising outdoors too. The ability to use GPS on my phone to track my distance, pace, and time is such a cool feature to maximize fitness effort and utilize the outdoors as an exercise playground! The Polar watch was equally beneficial, showing how many calories burned and level of exertion based on heart rate. I was able to keep track of my changing effort when I started and ended my run around the neighborhood, and when I cut into the nearby elementary school parking lot and dashed between the curb blocks (HR 182!! Pumpin’!).

Below is the gist of this nature and technology “ahha” moment I had regarding this phenomena.

My Benefits of Exercise/Running Outdoors Using Tech Stuff

  1. Didn’t drive my car. I saved gas, saved money, saved a threatened natural resource, and emitted less emissions. Not driving sparked a renewed sense of proactivity since my lazy butt didn’t rely on the car to get me to my objective.
  2. No treadmill. I saved electricity, reducing my Carbon Footprint. I had the GPS and HR monitor to guide the workout so didn’t need no stankin’ treadmill!
  3. Being outside. It’s aesthetically pleasing, nature’s elements lifted my mood, I felt calm and had a clarity of thought. The big sky reminded me of bigger perspectives to focus my energy on.
  4. GPS. It told me how far I was running, but the sensory stimulation of being outdoors was a nice distraction that kept me from over-thinking how far I needed to go.
  5. Polar Watch. Its heart rate monitor technology changed the “entropy” and lack of order of running around outside to a precise account of fitness and my energy exerted, voilà!

Whether or not you are able to integrate technology into your workouts, its still awesome to take a walk, run, or workout outside. Get some fresh air, don’t forget about the serenity the outside has amidst all the craziness of buildings and cars and noises. We can still balance nature into our technology-driven world. :)

Resources:

  • NY Times article on running outside

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/21/the-benefits-of-exercising-outdoors/

  • This watch is like my personal trainer

http://www.polar.com/en/products/improve_fitness/fitness_crosstraining/FT60

  • GPS is great for tracking distance, pace, time, estimated calories burned. Essential for race training too

http://nikeplus.nike.com/plus/products/gps_app/

  • Listen to all kinds of music as you get your jiggy on in the gym or outside

https://soundcloud.com/mobile

20 Minute Shoulder, Arms, Legs, Cardio Circuit

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Yesterday I did a quick circuit to pump some iron and burn some calories fast! I burned 202 cals in just under 20 minutes! Usually I split up body parts on different days of the week like Legs on Monday, Back on Tuesday, Chest on Wednesday, Arms/Abs on Thursday, Shoulders/Calves on Friday, and throwing in cardio a couple days a week. But, I have been slacking a little so I wanted to maximize my workout yesterday.

The Workout:

Did 3 circuits (almost identical but with a couple varied exercises in each circuit)

First Circuit:

  • Standing Shoulder Press: (10 lb free weights) 20 reps

Image: ask-the-fitness-pro.com

  • Forward Lunge w/ Bicep Curl: (10 lb free weights) 20 reps

Image: www.womenshealthmag.com

  • 1 Arm Tricep Pulldown: (10 lb) 20 reps each arm

  • Burpees: 20 reps

Image: livingfitoc.com

Second Circuit:

  • Standing Shoulder Press: (10lb free weights) 20 reps
  • Bicep Alternate Hammer Curl: (10lb free weights) 20 reps

Image: pumpjunkies.com

  • 1 Arm Tricep Pulldown: (10 lb) 20 reps each arm
  • Burpees: 20 reps
  • Body Bar Squats (18 lb) 30 reps

Image www.flaghouse.com

Third Circuit

  • Standing Shoulder Press: (10lb free weights) 20 reps
  • Bicep Alternate Hammer Curl: (10lb free weights) 20 reps
  • 1 Arm Tricep Pulldown: (10 lb) 20 reps each arm
  • Burpees: 20 reps
  • Jumping Squats: 20 reps

www.womenshealthmag.com

Great resources with informative how-to’s are available at:

  • Nike’s NTC app! Great for at home workouts and/or the gym avail for iphone/android

http://www.nike.com/gb/en_gb/c/womens-training/apps/nike-training-club

Lemon Chicken and Caprese

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My last few blogs have all included similar ingredients because naturally that’s what is in my fridge right now, but I always try to make something different with those same elements so I don’t bore myself eating the same dish every day.

Today I made chicken sautéed with lemon, Italian parsley, tofu, and seasoning. Then I put goat cheese on top and served with kale and some pita crackers. I also put that Caprese I made the other day as a sandwich but on romaine lettuce and put prosciutto on top too. Gave a nice lettuce wrap spin to it.

On a side note, I have chicken leftovers that I packed away for tomorrow. Often times I will cook a lot of meat and/or a lot of veggies at once and pack them in Tupperware as meals I can take with me on the go. The purpose of doing this saves time in the long run (imagine all those mornings you were rushing out the door and didn’t have time to pack your lunch), I don’t spend a ton of money out, or go nuts on buying greasy food because I’m starving. Packing meals at once for a couple days is pretty efficient and quick, like an assembly line of Tupperware and tossing in each component of my meals. It also helps me gage how much protein/carbs/nutrients I’m taking in during each meal. Sometimes I just save pre-made meats and veggies to throw into an easy but different dish for the next day instead of meal prepping entirely so I don’t get bored eating similar dishes.

Ingredients:
1 tbs coconut oil (I love and always use this stuff!)
1 pack Trader Joes organic chicken thighs
1/2 handful organic Italian parsley
1/2 organic lemon
1/2 pack organic firm tofu
3 organic kale leaves
Salt
Pepper
Garlic

For Caprese:
6 Organic romaine lettuce
1 Organic tomato
1/2 pack fake Mozzarella cheese from TJoes
Italian/balsamic dressing
3 slices prosciutto