Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Lately I’ve Been…

Cooking: Pro-oats. Must be this chilly winter weather, but I’ve been craving warm, comforting bowls of pro-oats! For those not familiar, here’s how I make it: 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats cooked in water. At the end, I stir in 2-3 egg whites until nice and fluffy. I pour that into a bowl and top with whatever my heart desires. Usually 2oz fresh blueberries, shredded unsweetened coconut, and 1 teaspoon Buff Bake. It’s quite possibly the most epic combo of complex carbs, healthy fats and lean protein. YUM!
Drinking: Dunkin Donuts Cinnamon Coffee Cake Coffee. This flavored coffee makes me miss coffee creamer just a bit less (WHY must those yummy coffee creamers be SO bad for you?!) And copious amounts of Petite Syrah.
Reading: China Rich Girlfriend (the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians). I started this series with my book club last year and found it hilarious. If you’re looking for an entertaining mindless read, check it out!
Wanting: These super cute headbands. I hate hair in my face during workouts! And they’re only $5!!
Hawaii here we come!
Looking: At pictures of Kauai. I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii – and I’m crazy excited to be celebrating the big 3-2 there in April. Someone needs to take away my Pinterest account..
Playing: Candy Crush. Worst killer of productivity EVER.  To make matters worse, I’m so terrible at it. Ken keeps telling me to “get combos” and I just keep losing. The worst part is after you lose, the game makes you click “Give Up.” Way to kick someone when they’re down.
Wishing: For warmer weather. WHY is it so cold?? I didn’t leave NYC and move to the South for sub 20 degree temps!
Enjoying: Time with my man. Being in my first long distance relationship has opened my eyes to what quality time between two people is all about. We don’t have the option of calling each other and saying “Hey, want to go grab a movie and dinner?” So the time we do have… I soak it in. Every. Single. Minute!  
Waiting: For the second season of Amazon’s show, The Man in the High Castle. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a show told from the perspective as if Germany won WWII. It’s mind blowing and I highly encourage you check it out before the second season is released this year!
Liking: Jesse James Decker youtube videos on how to style your hair and do fun date-night makeup tricks. I need all the help I can get!
Wondering: What my next fitness-related goal will be. It still feels SO weird not to have a goal set in stone. My resolution this year was to have none (ridiculous, I know). So far we’re 19 days into the year and I’m already thinking I’m far too type-A for this shit. The Big Sur Half Marathon in November is sounding pretty sweet. And maybe getting my NASM Personal Training Certification. We shall see.
Loving: My Anastasia Brow Wiz. I have it in Caramel and love the way it lets me fill in my overly tweezed brows!
Needing: More Buff Bake. Have you ever heard of it?! Nectar of the g-ds. Almond butter with added whey protein in crazy good flavors like Snickerdoodle and Cookie. OOOOMGGGEEEE.
Wearing: Lululemon Studio Pants. They’re lined and so cozy comfy. Definitely helpful on these chilly nights!   
Following:  All the hoopla around Making a Murderer. Where is all the blood?!? If he didn’t do it, who did?? If you don’t know what I’m referring to – stop reading this and immediately put on the Netflix series. Proceed to watch all 10 episodes at once. You’ll love and hate me all at once.
Noticing: How many fellow fitness competitors struggle with body dysmorphia. Sadly I couldn't see the forest through the trees while I was prepping, but now I read the posts these girls share via social media and it can be truly heartbreaking. A pound, ab definition, half a body fat percentage. The smallest variances from their show-ready physique spiral them into depression and dangerous habits including binge eating and purging. 
Knowing: I need to stop using “I work from home” to excuse going days without applying makeup and styling my hair. Is winter making anyone else lazy pants?!?!
Thinking: I need to eat more vegetables. Thanks for prepping for my fitness competition last year, I literally cannot stomach the thought of eating asparagus. Or steamed green beans. I’ve since slightly retaliated and began carb-loading for a fictitious marathon I am not currently training for.
Feeling: Grateful. I’m healthy. My parents are healthy. I’m in love. I have wonderful friends. My job is going well. My house is cozy and comfortable. Life is good.
Bookmarking: All sorts of articles on boosting productivity while living a simpler life. This article was particularly good! I’m a sucker for anything that makes me think twice about how I’m spending my time!
Opening: Bottles of wine. Ha! Funny yet true. Some of my recent faves include: Releaf Organic Cabernet Blend, Shatter Grenache, and Petit Petite Syrah by Michael David. If you’re at all into red wines, give em all a try! One is better than the next. 

What have you been up to lately? Read any good books? Try any new healthy recipes or taste some good wine? I want to hear from you!

Monday, January 18, 2016

5 Ways to Create a Life You Love

1.       Consciously create your life. One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone says “You’ll never believe what so and so did to me” or “You’re so lucky, Jenn!” Um no. I’m not particularly lucky. I have the same 24 hours in my day. I don’t have things delivered to me on a silver platter. I work. I hustle. While I wholeheartedly recognize there are circumstances that arise in our lives beyond our control, but we ALWAYS have a choice in how we respond. We have the power to shape our day, our life, how we see fit. You don’t like where you are (physically/emotionally)? Move. You’re not a tree.
2.       Let life naturally evolve. While I certainly do believe we can manifest the life we want, I do think sometimes we have such an intense desire to want something SO badly that we ruin it before it even begins. We over-think. We imagine. We develop expectations. We worry. We doubt. As a self-confessed worry-wart, any time I feel myself worrying about any one particular topic, I remind myself that worrying is essentially like praying for what you DON’T want. Be patient. Good things take time.
3.       Choose to see the good. I don’t care how bad life feels today, there IS something good. Are you choosing to see it? Maybe work sucks. Maybe your relationship just ended. Shoot, maybe you just lost a loved one. It sucks. Your heart aches. I get it, trust me. But here is where things become critical. CHOOSE to challenge yourself in times of sadness to see at least ONE good thing surrounding you. A hug from a friend, a call from a loved one, snuggles from your pup. Whatever it is… there IS good. It’s up to you whether you consciously choose to recognize and appreciate it.
4.       Be kind to yourself. You ate too many cookies. You missed a deadline at work. You skipped the gym all weekend. I used to come down so incredibly hard on myself. I’d find myself in these negative spirals of self-talk saying things I would never dream of saying to a friend, sister, or daughter. Why shouldn’t we speak to ourselves how we’d speak to someone we love? Are we not deserving of second chances? Give yourself a break. We’re all trying our best in this crazy game called life.
5.       Stop waiting for the next best thing to bring you happiness. I’ve been very open about my struggle with “living in the moment” – it’s just never something that came naturally to me. I’m a planner. I’m driven. I have goals. I want to make shit happen. Here’s the thing, though. Sometimes the more we chase after something, the further away it becomes. The next big job, the next city to live in, the next partner to commit to…. Whatever your idea of what’s next is, forget it. Take a moment (literally, right now, take a moment) and look around at the life you’ve created for yourself. Realize that happiness is right here, right now. It’s not once you receive the promotion… it’s not once you fall in love… It’s not once you fit in a certain size pair of jeans... It’s not once you’re on vacation or once you’ve moved into a bigger, newer house. It’s in this moment. So appreciate it – because once you appreciate the smaller, seemingly little moments… you’ll realize those were in fact the big ones. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Where OH Where Has the Time Gone?!

It's been nearly 2 months since my last blog post. Where oh where has the time gone?! I cannot believe it's 2016 already - it seems as though the holidays flew right on by. With my show on 10/31 quickly followed by a week-long trip to Mexico, hosting Thanksgiving for my family in my new home, weeks of back to back holiday parties, and Christmas/New Years celebrated in California, it seems like the last two months have been a complete blur. 

I guess the old adage is true. Time flies when you're having fun. 

I started this blog nearly one year ago - with the thought of sharing tidbits from my life. Sometimes I wrote about challenges I faced: how to live in the moment, how to be present and content without waiting for tomorrow, and how to stay in shape while traveling. I started a weekly series "The time I tried..." with the intent of pushing myself to try new things - from Orangetheory to Meditating. And then I'd blog about my experience to you all. Around May of last year I embarked upon my journey to compete in my first NPC Bikini Competition - and you all were beyond supportive. I'd post weekly updates and the encouraging words I received from all my readers moved me to tears (that may have also been extreme hunger pains, but I'll give you credit for most of it!). 

And here we are. A new year. A new start. This may be hard for me to say - being the extremely Type-A, goal-oriented individual I am... but this year, my goal is.... to have no goal.

Let me explain.

For as long as I can remember in my nearly 32 years of life, I have always had a goal. It's just the way my brain works. I like to have a metaphorical carrot dangling in front of me - to guide me, push me, and drive me towards greatness. Over the past 5 years, some of my goals have included:

  • Run a 5K
  • Join Crossfit
  • Be able to do an un-assisted pullup
  • Compete in Crossfit
  • Travel to a foreign country I've never been. Alone.
  • Get promoted
  • Complete a triathlon
  • Take up trail running
  • Complete a 15k trail run with girlfriends
  • Spend more time alone
  • Try meditating
  • Become a certified Barre instructor
  • Get an actual job teaching Barre classes
  • Stop worrying about what will be
  • Compete in a bikini fitness competition 
  • Sell my condo
  • Buy a single family home

I'm proud to say, I've kicked the crap out of all the goals listed above. Made 'em all my biatch. And it feels amazing. I went to Bali, I've worked my tail off at work, I've come to realize who I am and what I want out of life, I've attacked and concquered some fitness-related goals I honestly never thought I was capable of.... and more. 

So I bet you're wondering - if goal-setting has been so wonderful for you thus far, why stop now? Well, because... I was pouring myself into so many aspects of my life to distract myself from the fact that my heart was missing its counterpart. Despite how successful I was in my career, or how flat my abs were, or how many Delta SkyMiles I racked up... something was always missing. And for the first time in my entire life, I feel whole. My cup runneth over. Career. Friends. Home. Love. Family. Personal. All cylinders are firing and I am beyond grateful. 

So this year, I am flipping the script. No goals. No black and white list of things to accomplish. Will I accomplish some great things? I sure hope so! Maybe I'll compete again. Maybe I'll get back to long distance running. Perhaps I'll keep pushing and go after that VP title that's in the not-too-distant-future. Maybe the man and I will take a new step in our relationship. I don't have a crystal ball - and I don't know what the year ahead has in store for me. And you know what? I'm okay with that. In fact, I'm MORE than okay with that. 

My plan is to have no plan. Keep living in the present moment, continue practicing gratitude, continue to better myself because that's what those who love me deserve... 

When I was unsure of myself and who I was, the unknown terrified me. Now that I finally feel at peace with myself, with my life, I am no longer afraid. I'm excited.