Our One Year Florida Life Anniversary

On Saturday, June 10, 2017, my two year old daughter and five year old son, and I, took an Uber to Newark airport!  We were closing on our home in Florida that Monday, June 12th, and it was time to go.  The movers were coming in a few hours, and our entire home, was going to be heading south.  My husband and bonus child were staying back for a week to finish work commitments and last week of school.  It was just my two musketeers and I, breaking new ground.

I get anxiety about pretty much nothing.  I just push through, and nervousness catches me at times, but it’s rare, and the older I get, I know how to prepare better.  I rarely find myself in what feels like completely uncharted waters, and therefore I live in as calm and peaceful world as possible (at least in my head and day to day life).

But that entire weekend, just THINKING back to what was going on, I still get completely teary eye.  We get out the Uber, we get on the plane, we have a mostly uneventful ride, except for the fact that my daughter doesn’t want to sit through the two hour plane ride, but instead she wants to walk the aisles.  Kind strangers entertain her, hold an iPhone with videos up for her, and help this mama out in a huge way.  We get off the plane, and our bag did not make it with us.  The airline lets us know the bag will be here in a couple hours.  It is taking the “next” flight down.

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Washing our hands in JAX Airport as soon as we arrived!

I rent a car, and we head over to the hotel I rented for us for the next two days.  I wanted to make sure it had a pool, so that the kids really start to feel like this is an awesome vacation, and any anxiety I may have from now until we get into our new home, is completely unbeknownst to them.  I don’t like using that word anxiety, because I believe it is really a true debilitating condition, so maybe I should say nerves.  I was smiling, but my stomach was in knots and I was just pushing ahead for these two little humans looking up at me.  My son just finished a year at Catholic school, and he colored this beautiful photo of Mary.  I folded up that paper and I took her with me.  The entire weekend, I kept opening up this photo of her, and just kept asking her to take care of us and this entire process.  I would not consider myself a religious person, but it felt right to speak with her and ask her for help.  I now framed this paper and it’s hanging in my office, still watching over us.

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We head over to CVS to get some little snacks and water for our hotel room.  I want these kids to have anything and everything they need!  I notice that my son isn’t looking good or feeling well.  He’s a bit lethargic and not the energetic boy he usually is.  His forehead is hot, and my mama instincts kick in and I know I have to take him to an urgent care.  Thank G that these things exist and are everywhere in Jacksonville.  We first head to the airport to pick up our lone bag (and swimmies), and head straight to an urgent care spot.  At this point, I haven’t figured out if they take our insurance or what the dilly is, but I do know I need to get him checked out. He’s not complaining, but I know that a burning forehead is not a good sign.  An hour later, he has an ear infection and strep throat.  Even though this wasn’t how we wanted to start off our new life here, my experience at this urgent care space was wonderful.  Kind people, and quickly taken care of (as quickly as I could fill out the paperwork).  We then forged BACK to CVS pharmacy and filled up the prescription.

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Sunday, I needed a ton of fresh air and new life breathed into me, so we went to Hanna State Park. It’s a beautiful area, that was close to our hotel, with natural beaches, and a splash park, and a zip-line for the kiddos.  As soon as we walked into the ocean, and it was warm and inviting, it was home.  It was my aha moment, that we’re here, we made it, and life was good, and that all was going to go according to plan.

 

The morning of our closing, I was waiting for the mortgage people to give me the go ahead for the closing appointment. If you ever closed on a mortgage, it’s pretty much the worst experience of one’s life.  And I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but as our family kept expanding, we have closed on a few homes in the last decade, and each experience was worst than the previous one.  Perhaps, because of the bubble bursting, new rules and regulations went into place to protect the market from being able to receive mortgages without enough positive financial evidence, but needless to say – it is four to six weeks of torture, and only gets worst the closer you get to your closing date.

We arrived at the closing appointment, and had to wait another hour plus.  At this point, my father (who was moving us), was waiting outside our almost home, with a moving company.  He was hours late for where he had to be, and if there is anything that I dislike more than the mortgage process, it’s inconveniencing other people.

Finally, we were ready for signatures.  Because my husband was not in Florida just yet, and still in NJ, I had to sign for him.  And it was full names only and my full name and his full name are mighty long!  At this point, I didn’t care if my hand was going to fall off,  I was determined to get through this process, and FINALLY HEAD HOME!  Another two hours later, we were on our way!!!

It was pouring rain (June in North Florida, it rains almost daily for a few minutes each day, and then stops), we SPRINTED OUT OF THE MORTGAGE PLACE!  It was me and my two little people and we were going home!  They were excited to get out of a tiny room, and I was excited because I knew we did it!!!

We got into our car, were completely soaked, and had about 6 miles to go.  The longest 6 miles of my life. I ran 10Ks that went by quicker!

At last, we arrived, and I met and hugged my dad, and it was time to UNPACK!!!  The movers were amazing (because they waited for us for two hours), and through a lot of rain and sweat, we got everything into the home.  It was absolutely chaotic – but it was done and it was fun!   We owned the home (well the loan), and everything we worked for in the last few months (and perhaps years and years) got us to this point!

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I share our story, because knowing and remember the tough details now, I’m not sure I would have signed up for the same.  But looking back at this entire last year, every single annoyance, and ridiculousness, and nuance was completely and utterly worth it.  I would have done it again over and over again, with half the help, half the resources and triple the nerves if I had to.

Reminiscing back on each month since our move, we have done so many cool things.  Nothing exciting enough to re-tweet about, but really cool tiny little things that we are so proud of, and so happy about.

We had some amazing and wonderful and loving visitors from the north.  We adopted two new pets that have grown our family without growing our health insurance bill.  We purchased a golf cart, that we use on the daily and love it so much!  We love shopping at Publix, and this is pretty much the only shopping we do, because it’s so much damn fun going to a grocery store full of happy and helpful people!  We went to Vegas and even though this has nothing to do with Florida, it was SO. MUCH. FUN. I booked that trip while we were still living in NJ months before, so it was a little accomplishment for ME, to actually see a goal and a plan become a reality!  We made two of the rooms in our home our office spaces, so we remodeled already a bit.  My kiddos started three new schools, and a new camp – all that have brought us so much joy.  We have met so many awesome friends and neighbors and new colleagues.  This by far is so amazing, and feels so right.  We have gone to the beach each month this year.  We even experienced a cold and chilly winter!!!  This made me thrilled because I did bring down most of our coats, hats and gloves and we used them all!  We have officially celebrated every birthday in our new home, and every major holiday:  Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Easter!  How cool is that!  We have gotten into plant life, and especially saving plants that others are tossing away!  We have used our amenities center so much: the pool, the water slide, the gym!

Overall, our goals for moving here were to increase our quality of life, by living more of that semi-outdoor life.  Our daughter loved being outside, and I wanted to give that to her, regardless of the month of year.  We wanted to reduce our tax bill a bit, and we wanted most days to be sunny.  Simple, easy, breezy goals, that weren’t too unrealistic, yet it took some planning to make it a reality.

 

I remember when we got off the plane, the warm humid air hitting me and it felt so good.  It felt so warm and freeing and happy and exactly what we were looking for.  It was my hello, and we were home.

Cheers to YOU, and your goals, and making them come true in the every possible way.

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Should you move to Florida too?

And when I say Florida I mean YOUR destination of choice.  It may also be Florida, or it may be California for you.  Or perhaps somewhere in the mid-west, or maybe the north, or maybe Canada, or another country, or maybe Europe or Asia, or if you are already in Europe or Asia, maybe another country in Europe or Asia, or anywhere your heart desires, anywhere it feels really good to think about.  Anywhere that may feel like HOME to you.

Over a year ago, my husband and I were winding down one chilly Sunday night in December, and he told me his friend Pat, who lives in Florida was out on his paddle board, after seeing the same on FB.  I couldn’t fathom being out on the water!  We used to take our beach vacation the absolutely LAST week of August to guarantee warm water, and sometimes we had warm water, and sometimes not.

At the same time, my daughter, who was just two, wanted to be outside all the time.  We used to come home from school, and she would run out to the playground a few feet from our town home.  My husband would push her on the swing, and she was so happy, but also so frozen.  Her little nose was always running, and her hands were freezing, and finally I would beg her to come home, or just bring her in while she was crying because she wanted to “play more”.

She’s an outdoor baby.  She wants to be outside, in the sun, in the warmth, playing like the little wild and adventurous girl she is.  How could I deny her this?

Then, shortly after the Florida wheels began turning, it snowed.  We shared a walkway with our neighbor.  And she shoveled just her side.  A normal sidewalk, half shoveled.  That was our sign, and we needed to move.

We wanted more space, a slightly bigger home to house our family of five, and more outdoor time.  Once you decide, the Universe really does everything in it’s power to make it happen.

Coincidentally, we both started working from home instead in an office, which made moving and getting a mortgage possible and easier.  We already upgraded and remodeled and maintained our town home, so putting it on the market involved washing the curtains the day of our open house and quickly handling anything that needed fixed or managed.  It sold to the first people that walked through the door!

My husband and I took a trip to Florida in February of that year, to explore, and get familiar with the area (as this was my FIRST TIME EVER IN THIS STATE).  We chose to move to north Florida because we already had a connection here with my husband’s friend, and because the school district where we decided to live, is one of the best in the state.  We also got very lucky, because we didn’t give ourselves a lot of time or money to explore and research the WHOLE state, and instead decided on north Florida and just made it happen.

On my second trip to Florida, which I took in April, my best friend accompanied me.  I flew to Myrtle Beach, and together we drove 5 hours south to Florida.  We met with our realtor, and had a plan to see about 27 houses in two days.  We drove into a new development and we saw a really beautiful home!  But they could not guarantee it was going to be finished and ready for move in by June.  The site agent said:  “Well, I have a house with a really nice lot, but it has only 4 bedrooms, and a den, and it’s already all finished.”

And then I walked into our dream home. Our current home.  Our forever home for a very long time.

It had everything!  The right size, the right lot, the right layout, the right school district, the right street, the right neighborhood, the right community and enough palm trees in the neighborhood to make me feel right at home in my new home state.

We put an offer in, it was accepted, and we went into moving mode on high speed!

I won’t bore anyone with the details but moving is a pain.  Getting a mortgage is a pain.  Moving out of state is a tiny bigger pain, but I viewed everything as something that had to get done, and we just got it done.  Once we decided on the house, and we were under contract on both properties, I already saw myself living in FLORIDA!

I saw or imagined nothing else.  I used every ounce of positive energy and law of attraction and saw my babies running through the door of our new home, and checking out their bedrooms, almost on the daily.  I even booked tickets for an event we were attending later that summer, as if we were already THERE!

My husband is organized and can do those mentally challenging things I can’t do – like get things fixed, and get contractors to the house, and negotiate this and that.  We split up all tasks, and kept moving forward.  Thinking back, its hard to not tear up, because it really did feel like at times it took an army to get down here.  Between both sides of realtors, and my close friends who knew and were always supportive, and so caring and wanted nothing but the best for us, and our work, and families and everyone in between, we made it happen, but not without everyone else.  The whole thing was an experience, and the only way to get through something that is unfamiliar and often challenging, is to just keep going.

I moved with my family from Poland to NJ in 91, and then off to college at the University of Pittsburgh, and my husband went to the Army in Alaska, so neither of us were completely foreign to the idea of picking up and starting over, so the unfamiliar felt at times familiar, and exciting and exhilarating, and because we already knew what we wanted in our home, and in a neighborhood, and community and LIFE IN GENERAL, it made it easier.  We knew this was going to be our final and forever destination (at least for the next two decades, while the kids are students), and it all just felt right.

I remember the morning of our flight to Florida, I put my two babies in an Uber, and we headed to Newark Airport.  They were excited to get on an airplane, and I was excited to start our new adventure, but it almost felt at times, as if I was standing on a cliff, and I wasn’t sure how the jump out was going to turn out!

Would it be difficult, or really fun?  Or crazy or just completely weird?  I knew I wanted a great view, but was I going to see it and feel it and live it right away?

In these photos, we are in the Uber, and then int he airport in JAX.  I am a little bit dying of fear and excitement, but at the same time I had to be super strong for my little people.  I wanted them to experience this adventure with happiness, because when they get older, and they have to do hard and awesome things – it should be mostly FUN and little FEAR.

As soon as we landed, I rented a car, and realized we didn’t have our bags did not make it from NJ.  We drove to the hotel and checked in, and washed up the best way we could.  I realized my son had a massive fever, and we found an urgent care.  He had an ear infection, and we had to get antibiotics and thankfully, almost immediately he felt better.  We drove back to the airport to pick up our luggage, and back to the hotel.  We hung mostly at the hotel pool for those two days, and explored some beaches until Monday morning and our closing.

The pool and hotel was our home for the first two days, and the warmth and water and fun welcomed us in.  It breathed LIFE into me, exactly what I needed!  Seeing my babies jump in and out of the pool, with the humidity and warmth and weather love surrounding us – I knew we made the right decision.  I knew that going with our gut, and doing the work for this move was worth it more than I ever realized.

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My husband and bonus baby stayed back so she could finish her freshmen year!  My husband stayed back to finish his DJ commitments and to clean our home once the moving truck pulled away and finalize everything at the closing!  It was going to be just one week until we saw him again, and I couldn’t wait.  I’m also very used to doing everything together, so going to Florida with two of the youngest kiddos, and sans him was a tad bit scary!

The morning of our closing it was pouring rain.  Pouring hot rain so hard that once I had the keys in my hands, I could not see the road.  I was six miles away and it took me about 20 minutes to get here, but once I arrived, it was pure heaven.  My dear father was waiting for us, with everything from NJ in a big truck, and a moving company we hired were patiently waiting, and then it was go time.  In pouring rain and flip flops, I got to work.  We unloaded that truck, while the kids ran through the home happily screaming and checking out their bedrooms. It was my dream and vision and everything come true.

It felt like when you finally give birth, and the tears can’t stop coming!  So much work, and here is the sweet reward!

I will write more about our first year in Florida, which is coming up, in an upcoming post.

Cheers to any and EVERY adventure you can create and execute for yourself and those you love most.
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How to EAT IN!

The post about how to stop EATING OUT was quite popular.  Now, let’s figure out a plan on how to eat in, more often.  And most importantly, how to enjoy it 1000% more than we usually do.

A lot of times we go out to celebrate some fun events, but OFTEN it’s because “there’s nothing to eat here.” Or nothing FUN to eat at home.  Or we have nothing prepared, and we don’t want extra work in prepping food, and then having to clean it up.  Or perhaps we like to eat out, because it’s entertainment and “something to do” on top of the food.  If we ate out more often, it would be because everyone in our family can get something different to eat, without me having to prep five different dishes.

But these are all excuses, and if you really want to EAT IN more often, let’s get it done, and let’s put together some easy strategies to STAY in and enjoy it even more than a meal out.

Recognize that eating out may be eating at your health.  I have done plenty of eating out, and I am not here to hurt the restaurant industry (because I know that the billions of dollars we are all spending eating out is not going to stop), but know that staying in and eating your own food, is so much better for your body & mind.

Many restaurants (and more every single day) are amazing, and they do everything they can to source the best products, the best ingredients, from the most responsible vendors – but many do not.  The amount of high fructose corn syrup or antibiotics or hormones, or farm raised animal products are only on the rise.  If your sauce needed to be made with an egg, it’s very doubtful it’s an egg from a chicken that was pasture raised, and raised hormone free.  Most of the time, it was a chicken who has never seen the light of day.  We are what we eat, and the more we eat at home, the more control we have over what we put into our bodies.

If you make your very own spaghetti and meatballs, you may not be adding mass amounts of salt and sugar to this meal, but a restaurant, which wants everything to taste delicious might. Often, when eating out, we don’t even realize half of everything we are ingesting, just because we aren’t the ones preparing it.

If you make your own fries, you aren’t frying those fries in an oil that’s been out there for a few days frying other grub.  Usually, you are making fries for a single family serving, and that is it and usually using the least amount of oil and salt possible, or what you need to make it taste good.

Celebrate by eating in!  Because we work from home, eating out for us would not be convenient, but even so, every few days, we make a meal and celebrate something.  I know it’s corny, and hard to imagine how it can be special, but it’s fun!  Perhaps we’re celebrating something silly, or fun, or maybe we’re celebrating a FUN and cool meal we’re having.  The kids love TACOS, so TACOS are always a celebratory night.  Maybe it’s burgers, or maybe it’s a meal the kids helped create – boom, another reason to celebrate and make us all feel special, by eating it.

Leftovers  I love leftovers.  I’m part of the camp that believe food really does taste better the next day.  So even if you aren’t a fan of cooking and cleaning up EVERY single day or night, you can make a bit more and have for the next several days.  I don’t meal prep technically, since we are often home, but meal prepping is a great idea for so many.  Make a ton of grub on Sunday, and have a fridge or freezer full of options.  Then, during the week, you can eat what you’ve already made, or you can make limited foods, without giving yourself a ton of work.

As the days go on, I am starting to realized more and more about the importance of having a constant INFLUX of GREEN RAW GRUB into our bodies.  So, this means, that there is always a salad, or a big Tupperware full of cut up raw grub in the fridge.  Yesterday, for lunch I had the last bowl of my salad bowl which included:  romaine lettuce, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, and broccoli.  I took it out of the fridge, and put feta cheese on top (because Feta cheese is LIFE), and added some Cesar dressing.  I took my salad to our lanai, and started munching on this amazingness, that took 3 seconds to plate.  The best part about this was that my little peanut butter of a daughter, wanted all the bites.  She decided she wanted just the romaine lettuce, and ate everything I had in there, which was SOOO FREAKEN AWESOME.  I hope this is the START of her eating romaine lettuce and greens each and every day.  (Of course she woke up this morning and asked for a Starburst, so win some lose some.)

It’s fun eating IN, because that’s all she knows and hopefully something she will look forward to as she grows.

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Create super easy meals for yourself and family.  Because eating out is 99% of the time not an option for us, I have a ton of easy quick fast meals I can put together for the kids and I.  Whether it’s pierogies, or pasta, or we have frozen chicken, or I can quickly make a rice stir fry, or even waffles or eggs for breakfast OR dinner – having access and the ability to put together really fast meals is fun and makes eating in so possible.

Shakes.  My kiddos love the shakes, and they are SO EASY, and a nice change for the palate.  Whether they are having for breakfast (my son 90% of the time, and our 15 year old 100% of the time), or eating with dinner, shakes are a nice way to get a ton of nutrients, and protein, and good fat, and just vitamins in the body.  Everyone has at least one per day, which means 1 or 1/2 a meal is taken care of without any extra work!  Last night for dinner, my son had two of them, with his noodles and olive oil.  He was both thirty, and hungry, and it was awesome tat so quickly he could get quality protein into his body.

Buy those extra groceries.  So I’m the first one to preach about eating through our cabinets, and fridge, and freezer, but if you are committing to EATING IN and not EATING OUT, plan out some fun meals, and do buy those “extra” groceries you usually say no to.  This might mean that you will make an awesome burger night, or lasagna, or a grilled veggie evening, or maybe even some beautiful wild caught fish evening – – – whatever it may be – buy it from the grocery store, and assemble it yourself.

For us, if I’m going cray cray at the grocery store, it’s either an Indian meal I want to put together, or for my husband, it’s some sort of jerk chicken dish – or any meal that takes more than 5 minutes to put together.  But we then KNOW it’s special and rare, and a real TREAT.

This is my daughter making keto grass-fed & organic lamb & beef meatballs last weekend (a special treat, meat from Aldi) and here she is making bread (that we turned into cinna-buns) yesterday!

I’ve never subscribed to the Hello Fresh or any of those grocery delivery systems, BUT I have cooked plenty of those meals (because my neighbor would bring over Blue Apron and we would all cook together) and those are SO MUCH FUN.  It was always a learning process, and full of new ingredients, and a nice way to STAY IN, but with also that element of SURPRISE.  If you want to invest in such a system, especially when stating out – it’s a great idea.

If you and your kiddos are always on the run (which is legit the life for so many people), make a plan of how to create travel and food packs, and bring everything with you.  Between freezer bags, and lunch bags, we can pack whole day of grub, and make sure we bring with us, so that we aren’t utilizing those super convenient nacho stands.

BRING FUN FOOD TOO.  Eating in isn’t always about staying 100% on your diet plan, or never eating something you would consider an eating out meal.  Recreate some of your favorite plates from your favorite places.  This way you get to engage all of those senses of luxury, and fun, and food freedom, BUT still stay in!  When I travel, my favorite thing in the world is eating restaurant fries.  With a bit of mayo and ketchup, and I’m in heaven.  I haven’t traveled in a while, BUT if I’m really ready and craving some fries, I”ll make them myself and go all out.  It will be FUN to indulge, but still better than actually GOING OUT, and spending the cash on store bought and restaurant fried fries.

If you do want to go out, PLAN IT.  Often, many people end up eating out or driving through the drive through, but they didn’t plan on it.  It just happened, or it was late or easier, and boom, $75 later and a full fat/sugar/carb meal later, everyone feels a bit sick.  PLAN a nice meal out, at a special restaurant, and enjoy the WHOLE process.  Eating out is certainly convenient, but make eating IN MORE convenient than anything else, and eating out a REALLY SPECIAL treat.

If it’s too hard to make meals, make small meals.  I’m often and always assembling meals that restaurant wouldn’t have on their menu.  I’m mixing and matching and letting my children eat a variety of things.  Maybe it’s a bit of pasta, and some left over chicken, or a turkey roll up, and some pineapple, or a cut up apple, or maybe some banana over milk and cereal.  Don’t think you have to create super elaborate or luxurious meals.  So many of us already have ENOUGH on our plates, we have to keep it simple, and we should never complicate it further by eating out too often.

Make your own plan. You know what works best for you and your family,and you probably already know deep down in your heart what you WANT and NEED to do.  Create your own schedule and system, ones that work best for you – and then adjust from there.

Cheers to YOU beautiful people, and cheers to staying IN eating IN and making it the IN thing to do!

 

 

 

 

How & why we must always have a good day.

For a long time, I always thought that having a good day depended on how it went.  If everything at work went great, if everything aligned itself well, if I ate well, if I worked out, if I did everything right – I would have a great day.  If others treated me right, if everyone was fair, if business deals went well.  And then, I grew up a little, and realized that I can’t be dependent on external factors, for internal happiness and peace.

Certainly, it’s MUCH easier when all falls into place, but what if it doesn’t?  Does that mean that we have to walk around upset all day?  Does this mean we have to be gloomy, or grouchy, or think that we’re depressed?  What if it all falls apart, and nothing goes well for a long time?  Should we just give up and slide down into a deep hole, with no bright light in sight?

At times, awful things happen to us, to those we love.  We have challenging days, challenging times, and even really unfortunately years.  We can’t control it all.  We are unable to control the people in our lives, the ones we know well and those we don’t.  We can’t control much, except how we react, what we take in, and how we use everything that happens, to build our future and current emotions.

Everything that happens – is good.

But only when we use what happens, that doesn’t initially seem good, as motivation to grow.  We can take what we’ve been given, and go into a demise, or we can rise up!  How amazing is that?  But, this takes a lot of talking through, thinking through, and positive action – especially if it is not yet natural for you.

I had a former VP always tell me that he thought I was the most positive person he’s ever known.  And it seemed silly that he thought this about me, because for me, it’s just the EASIEST way to live.  I could complicate life, or blow small and big issues up, but then I had to deal with not only what truly did go wrong, but with the consequences of my emotions and frustration and disappointments.  And no one has time for that!

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Always have a good day.

If we surround ourselves with people who don’t have a bright, positive or grateful outlook on life – regardless of what’s going on in their lives – our lives start to get a bit morose.  If things are never good enough for those closest to us, or our family members or our coworkers, and it’s very tough to be around these types of people and stay happy and positive.  I wish nothing more than for others to always see everything with a glass full, and then use what isn’t perfect, and build upon it and improve daily.  Otherwise, what’s the alternative?  Constantly being upset, and using those emotions to cause more drama and problems?

If we break it down, the day always has its ups and downs.  It’s impossible for every single day of our lives to be a shining beautiful rainbow.  But, how do you choose to see the ups?  How do you react to the downs?  What are you going to do about both?

Always keep moving on.

This is probably my number one rule in life.  That, and knowing that everything I need, I already have.  Because if you can’t keep going, keep moving, keep changing, and keep getting stronger and better, what’s the point?  We can certainly never be done growing, and learning, and investing in ourselves.  Regardless of the trauma of what’s happening, it’s much easier to keep going, than to stand still or sink.

When I was a teen, I watched a lot of Oprah on TV, and Oprah and her guests really drilled positive thinking into my head.  Then, as a teen, I remember reading Chicken Soup for the Soul, and reading some of those stories which were heart wrenching.  Some people really suffered tragic events!  The stories were about how so many rose, and grew and became stronger because of those events.  Reading that book taught me that we as humans are able to handle so much.

Ideally, it’s not about suffering, but to move out of it as quickly as possible.

It’s usually the little things that upset us the most, things we actually have the most control over.  If you find yourself upset over this or that, and these tiny things and events aren’t life threatening events, then you must stop.  It’s time to put an end to constantly raising your blood pressure, or stress, or worry or anxiety over anything that isn’t a lion chasing you as their prey or something similar.  We’re all usually upset because of TINY LITTLE THINGS, that we make big.

The worst part about being upset about tiny little things, is that they tend to build up.  It may be a TON of tiny little things that always go wrong, and things that you are so used to being unhappy about.  Maybe it’s your commute, or the people in line for your coffee, or the news-feed with the wrong political story, or it’s a passive post from a relative, or it’s this and that, and this could get endless.  So by the time you get to work, anything and everything will set you off.  What if you did actually have to handle a real emergency in life?  How could you handle it well, when your foundation for handling the little stuff, is so out of wack?

We must get stronger, and we must get more positive, and look at every single obstacle as an opportunity to do our best, and to use it to build our experience and strength.  There’s nothing that can ever set us back, if we choose this way of thinking and way of life.

It’s most important to always practice looking at the good of it all, and being grateful for every incident and event.  Eventually, with weeks and months and years of practice, you may not even recognize anything that could upset you or frustrate you.  Because you have been so busy finding the bright star of every event and life change.
Can you just imagine living a life where it’s all good?  Where you are determined to help yourself gain more knowledge, and strength, and therefore positively impact those around you – to do the same?

Imagine your friends and family and most importantly – your children – also being positive, happy, grateful and peaceful.  They are able to handle small problems and big problems, and get motivated if and when they fail?  Imagine being able to look at situations and know that it may feel like a step backwards, but automatically see them as leaps forward.

Often, hindsight is 20/20, and that’s the greatest gift in life.  Yet, when we know that we’ll be ABLE to see the past CLEARLY in the present, that is when we can peacefully resolve what feels unsolvable, almost immediately.

Cheers to YOU, Strong Humans!  Stay happy, positive, and may the BIG and LITTLE things, always make your day better.

 

 

 

 

Simplify to meet all of your goals.

We tend to complicate a lot.  We tend to complicate so much.  And when it comes to setting goals, we have to keep it simple:  We want X.  We must figure out the bare minimum process, and simplify and get it done.

We want to get healthy.

We want to get fit.

We want to save money.

We want to make more money.

We want to be happy.

We want to live in peace.

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Simplicity is the secret.

And then starts the complication process.  We need this and that, we start building up this wall of requirements before we realize that to get EVERYTHING we want, we must instead, simplify it all.  Everything.

I too have grown up in this era, and I have for a long time complicated the process towards my goals.  Until recently, when I realized that it’s so much easier to just simplify, and keep it extremely simple, and to keep moving on.

Goal:  Sleep Better

Complications:  We need perhaps some supplements, and maybe better sheets?  And a different job, and less stress, and if only we had a sleeping mate that wasn’t so loud.

Keep it simple:  Get to bed an hour early.  Turn off or put away your electronic device.  Shower, or take a bath, so you are so fresh and so clean between your sheets, and close your eyes and go to bed.

Now, I’m not saying THIS IS ALL.  But I’m saying, let’s find that middle ground between what is currently preventing us all from reaching our goals (overthinking, over complication), to making it so extremely simple and easy.  Simplify until you get to your goal.

Diet.

For a long time I complicated my diet.  And I still am trying to always perfect it and make it both extremely nutritionally sound, but also a diet that works for me, and everything I know about my body (which somehow always continues to change).  This can get extremely complicated, and if you aren’t keeping yourself positive, it can also get very frustrating.

But how can we simplify and keep our diet and food choices and goals simple?  Drink a lot of water.  Drink more water, so that you are hydrated.  Eat as many green vegetables as possible. If you can eat green veggies for or with breakfast, then lunch, then dinner – you’re 10000% further than most of your friends and family, and then – more water.

Yesterday, for lunch I had a salad of broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, romaine lettuce and tomato, with a few homemade keto meatballs, and some balsamic dressing.  I didn’t measure anything, or weigh anything, or calculate much.  I just made sure that MOST of my plate, and MOST of what I had was raw vegetable.  I know that water and live green food fuels our bodies and our cells, and therefore it’s all about keeping it extremely simple.

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Simple Salad

If you want to save more money, just stop spending it.  We can get apps, and books, and we can listen to a ton of videos and read some really great stuff, but at the end of the day, we have to keep most of our hard earned income, or else, we aren’t saving it.  Stay home, relax, clean, eat through your cabinets, and then just truly enjoy what you already own.  It’s so freeing, to keep saving money and building financial wealth simple, that it is almost funny.  Cancel anything and everything that doesn’t suit you, and live in peace.

Stay happy.  Happiness, and contentment and living in a state of peacefulness and calmness, and gratefulness is by far the best when we simplify and keep it easy.  Write out a ton of reasons you are grateful to be alive, and everything you have done so right in your life, and read them daily.  That’s it.  There’s absolutely no secret to happiness, except to realize and acknowledge, and accept the fact that you already are.  We have everything we need to take a deep breath each day and say thank you for all we have, and go on with our lives.

Quite down.  When things don’t always go the way we wish, it’s easy to think that we must talk our way out of an issue, or explain our side, or argue about this or that.  And in fact, we must always do the opposite.  Say nothing at all.  Especially when this is something that is ego driven, and not necessarily MISSION driven.  If this is something that may or may not pass in an hour or a few days, say nothing at all.  Keep the lid on all arguments and fights and disagreements from your side, and keep moving on.  It’s not always our turn to be right, it’s not always the right thing to explain, and defend.  Often, it’s best to say nothing at all.

We are all different.  The amount of differences and dislike for others would plummet, if we just realized we’re all different.  We’re driven in different ways, our genetics make us different beings and personalities and humans.  We can’t help some things we do or think or we can’t often change the way we were raised.  But it’s important to remember this when dealing with others, or especially, when we need to perhaps give our own selves grace.  You and I weren’t build and raised and loved the same, we were disciplined differently, educated differently, and therefore may forever make different choices and decisions.  Understanding this fundamental fact when thinking of others, or allowing yourself some peace – is important.

Keep moving on.  Have you ever met those people that constantly live in the past or even worst: in a painful past.  It’s so tough to move on and get to any goals, because their lives are presently in a part of their life where events have happened or ended.  It’s tough, but the only thing any and all of us can do, to reach our goals, is to keep moving on.  It doesn’t matter what we had, what happened, who did what, it’s our job to keep moving on.  I’m not saying that this is always pretty, and easy, but it must be done.  We must get your feet out of the quicksand and the molasses of mud, and keep moving on .

Nothing is personal.  Your goals are your own, and other people’s goals are their own.  We again, won’t have the same goals and aspirations and determination.  To keep getting to your goals as simple as possible, we must accept the fact that nothing is personal.  People can’t hurt, or sabotage, or negatively impose on your goals and life movements.  Bless everyone with your best intentions, and always send good vibes, and focus on simplifying all of your steps, to get to the next level.  Not everyone will love you, your dreams, or your life, but this is okay, because it’s not personal.

Instead of always trying to figure out complicated and complex solutions, take a step back, and simplify instead.  Keep it simple, and relaxed, and calm, and easy, and see if getting to your destination makes this process better than a previously hard difficult one from before.

Cheers lovers, and cheers goal setters & getters!

 

 

 

Homemade Dog Food & Can we treat ourselves as good as we treat our pets?

Feeding my dog is my life.  It’s not, but I love it so much.  We were out of his homemade doggy food so on Sunday we got in the car to go to Aldi for all of the ingredients (some ingredients I already had.)

Onion

Rice

Salmon

Beef

Eggs

Quinoa

I kept this batch extremely simple.  It lasts exactly two weeks.  He eats 1 cup of homemade dog food + 1 cup of store purchased dog food for breakfast, and the same for dinner.  So in total, I make 28 cups of homemade dog food in the biggest pot I own.

I first chopped up an onion, and added the beef to the pot.  I also add a bit of water, and let that simmer and cook.  Then I took out my kitchen scissors, and cut up pieces of salmon, and threw chunks of the salmon into the beef.

Usually, I would take the dozen eggs and add them into the mix, but this time around, I put all of the 12 eggs into my NutriBullet and blended them up with the egg shells.  I mentioned before that the eggshells contain a ton of calcium which are great for dogs.  Blending them up, I’m sure also tastes better than eating bigger pieces of egg shells.  And I can’t say it was pretty cool to watch the bullet pulverize all of the eggs!

Lastly, I threw in the last of our quinoa and a cup of rice into my rice cooker, and let that cook up.  I originally purchased this beautiful red organic quinoa for my husband, but he wasn’t a huge fan.  And not because the quinoa wasn’t good, but because I just gave it to him as it was (after cooking), and didn’t make anything fancy with it.  And since I already had it, and it was organic and perfect, I figured it’s pretty darn good for the dog as well.

Once all was pretty much done cooking (you don’t have to overcook at all for the dog because they have some wicked and amazing stomachs), I blended up the whole thing, and mixed it together, and then put it into our Tupperware containers.  I froze one, and  I put the other in the fridge, and now it was ready to go for both breakfast & supper time.

It looks grosssy, but it doesn’t smell bad, and isn’t bad (not that I would taste it).  I think the dry dog food is more nauseating, than this deliciousness.

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Homemade Dog Food

My cat eats normal dry food, but lately, every single morning, she’s waiting for that homemade dog food to come out too.  When Artex is eating, she’s on top of the island, getting her share of his food.  When it’s good, it’s good!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Because I’m so interested in my own health, and I love learning how I can better support the health of our family and our gut health, and microbiome and everything in between, it’s been extra fun watching our dog grow and flourish, and watching him nourish.

He’s been an extremely easy dog, without any issues. (Knock on wood!)  We did get him at the shelter, and we were told he was young, because his teeth were very strong and healthy, and we are grateful each day for being able to own and love such a stellar pup.  He sleeps throughout the entire night, doesn’t have any accidents in the house, and does another 30-60 minute walk outside each day.  He hangs out in the backyard (or in the front yard), getting plenty of sunshine throughout the day, and goes to the dog park either each Saturday or Sunday with my daughter.

There, he runs and sprints and gets wild with the other bigger dogs, and I’m sure further builds his health and immunity.  After the dog park he gets a nice bath, and is set and ready to go for anther healthy week.  If we treat our dogs well, and give them all they need, we can maybe treat ourselves better, and give ourselves walks, and breaks, and good food, and time to rest, and engage in activities that relieve stress.

If we took some time and thought about how we treated ourselves throughout our days, would we ever treat our animals this way?  Would you sign your animal up for a long daily commute?  Or would you feed them fast food?  Would you make keep them indoors all the time?  Would you be okay if they slept poorly or had a ton of interrupted sleep?  Would you feed them alcohol or drugs – often?  Would you be okay if they were prescribed drugs with lots of side effects?  Would you want to put a ton of chronic stress on them?

It’s silly comparison, but what if we took a bit of time, and lived more simply like our pets?  What if we gave ourselves more sunshine + water + exercise + real food + sleep = good life.  How would we feel?  How would we function?  What can we do better today, to give ourselves more of a natural life?  What can we do today, to get ourselves outside?  What can we do today, to eliminate or avoid more of the unnatural, or the toxic, and put us in line with the natural?

We do tend to complicate things, and a little is good (advancement), but too much, is stress (disease, illness, sadness).  But we can take more of the control of how we treat ourselves?  We’re in charge of our dogs and pets, and we can really create an amazing life for them, and we can do the same for ourselves.  Not all at once, and not all together, and certainly I am not advocating picking up and moving to the forest, BUT, can we live a bit more green, can we treat ourselves a bit better, can we eliminate a bit more of what we don’t need, to live a lot more healthier.

Cheers to you, and do all you can to be health, happy, free, and put some effort to live in peace and calm.

 

 

Free Fun

Yesterday, I wrote about some strategies to save more and spend less, and one of them included dong as many tings and activities for FREE as possible.  I love this game, and I especially love it as often as possible.  And with the weekend almost upon us, what can you do this weekend, that is totally FREE and FUN and will put you into savings mode?

First, list all of the things that you normally do each day over the weekend or week, that cost you money.  Do you buy out coffee?  Or lunch?  Or do you go on a date?  Do you buy several bottles of wine, or do you stock your fridge?  Do you like to go to the movies, do you like some brunch time?  Do you like museums, or shows, or do you just like to go for long rides, or maybe shopping trips to the mall?  What do you “usually” do? Do you have tournaments for your kids, or do you spend all weekend running errands and buying this & that?

How can you make this upcoming weekend FREE?

How can you make this upcoming week, FREE and FUN?

Are you able to quickly cut out some things that aren’t needed?  Perhaps you can spend a few minutes and make a delicious HOT coffee or tea or an ICED coffee or tea for yourself, instead of buying out?  Can you drink through the alcohol you already have in your house, instead of stocking up and buying more – if you are craving some fun drinks and enjoy relaxing with one?

If you enjoy going out to dinner, can you use what you already have in your house, and make an awesome meal?  I know learning isn’t always fun, but google your favorite recipe, and use YOU-TUBE to recreate an awesome meal.  Maybe it’s chicken parm or eggplant parm, or another country’s favorite dish?  Maybe YOU LOVE lasagna, or are just in the mood for some burgers and fries, and you can do it all.  Maybe you never ever take the time to put together a delicious salad, but how much fun would it be to sit down to one?

Can you get outside – and still spend it out without spending anything?  Can you go to the beach this weekend, can you go to a local park, can you go to a park and just walk around.  Can you be out in nature, as long as possible?  Can you visit with family and friends, and maybe have a potluck dinner or lunch?  Can you invite friends over your house for brunch, or coffee?  Can you physically take a walk to a spot of your choice?  Can you pack up a picnic and tell your family you are going on an adventure, and eat outside?

Can you make it a special movie afternoon, or movie night and pop some popcorn, and make it a really fun experience?  Can you take your dog to a doggy park, or just go out for so many walks with him/her.  Can you put your child in the stroller, bundle them up, if it’s cold, and just walk until you feel your muscles burning with delight?  Can you go to sleep early?  I know that many people love staying up, but going to sleep early is so necessary, and refreshing and so much fun!

Waking up refreshed and ready for the day is everything.

Can you make your bedroom or guest room into a massage room, and give your spouse or partner or best friend a massage, and vice versa?  Can you make each other feel good by really taking the time to have fun?

Can you pick two or three or four comedies and watch them one night?  I’ve been to probably a dozen or so comedy shows in my life, and they are always so fun, and so funny.  If you have older children, can you pick some PG13 ones, and enjoy with them?  Laughing is everything and it’s FREE FUN.

I love buying healthy food, and the last place I want to spend money is buying junk food.  BUT, having some fun grub once in a while for the kids to eat is cool.  So once a weekend, I like to bake, and I’m usually making new chocolate chip cookies or some sort of cake.  When you are the chef or baker you get to control the amount of sugar and sweets, and even how your ingredients were sourced.  It’s a way to make a treat but to make it the healthiest way you can.  Many of my “healthy” treats I’ve tried to make have been major fails.  From “zbars” that taste like dog treats, to cookies no one wanted to eat, but I’ll keep trying until we have a good combo of healthy, homemade and sweet. Again, free activity.

First, decide what YOU WANT TO DO this weekend, and then figure out how to make it completely FUN and then FREE?

If you have tournaments, or already events you have paid for, can you further save, by bringing your own lunches and snacks, or by deciding not to buy any more souvenirs and toys?  Are you able to go somewhere, enjoy it, and come home, without further investing your financials?

If you already have a nice event this weekend, are you able to spend some time ironing the clothes you already have, or googling some cool outfits you can put together with what is already in your closet, and just going with that?

Can you organize your closet, clean your bathrooms, wipe clean all of your baseboards, and de-clutter your home? Can you make your cabinets and pantry super perfect?  Can you clean your fridge?  Can you wash your pet?  Scrub your floors?  Windex your windows and give your home a nice almost spring overhaul?

Can you journal, and read and write, and learn, and just relax.  Can you do nothing at all?  Can you just take a bath, and a shower, and do everything really slowly, to bring you back into much needed peace and calm?  Can you sit back and breath, and think good thoughts, and write out all that you are grateful for and completely relax?  Can you plan an adventure that is free, for the next couple of weeks?

Can you meal prep, and make some good grub for the next week?  Can you share something with a neighbor or friend, can you make your favorite recipe and invite someone over for a taste?  Are you able to connect with others this weekend, without pressure and anxiety and stress, and just enjoy being together?

Spending weekends in nature, and making weekends completely free is not always doable.  But commit to making at least one weekend a month, money free.  Maybe two, maybe three, maybe every weekend can be focused more on relaxation, and freedom, and calm, and turning back the clock on always rushing and spending so much.  I know it’s not always possible, and it’s super exciting and invigorating to do NEW things and NEW activities and NEW adventures – but, what about everything we are missing because we are spending so much on paying for entertainment.

Cheers to you, and this green weekend, and this time, that is yours, and all that you can do to make it so!

 

Saving More, Spending Less, not causing yourself more stress.

Saving money, and spending less is not for everyone.  It’s not everyone’s cup of decaf tea, it’s not necessarily for your neighbor or friend or family member.  Even if you think those in your lives should save more money, spend less money, if it’s not for them, it’s okay to move on and accept this.

For me, it’s like freeing my soul, and giving it wings to fly in forever freedom!  Basically, I’m so incredibly passionate that living on less, brings me so much more, I can talk and write about it all day long.

Yet, we live in a world, where spending large amount of cash or credit is the norm. It’s easy to subscribe there, buy this, buy that again, buy that, need this, and rent that, and buy into that, and just buy buy buy.  And that’s not even including the regular bills, the regular necessities that are impossible to get out of.  I was watching Extreme Cheapskates on TLC years and years ago, and this adorable Asian woman (who I do think had a mental illness about saving money to a certain degree), did not understand why she had to pay a BASIC fee for her GAS bill, even though she was not using her gas.  So instead, she turned off her gas stove and purchased an electric cook-top instead, removing the fee all together.

My family and friends and community save me from turning into one of these humans, because it would be actually really fun to see how LITTLE you could live on, BUT, let’s get back to real life here.

Why is spending less, and saving more – important?

Because it gives us freedom.  Not wanting and not needing more than what we already have is freeing.  We don’t have to work extra, or we don’t necessarily have to work more.  We have freedom to work as we please or freedom to do work that brings us the most happiness.  My son was eating breakfast today, and he turned his head away from a commercial, and said, “You know what mom, I don’t like commercials, they just make you want to buy stuff we don’t need.”

It made me laugh thinking I’m staring at a little young-old man, but he somehow gets it.  Ironically we never really talk about saving money or not spending it with the kids just yet (because they are young), but perhaps he gets it, because he knows the only place we really go to spend our cash is the grocery stores!  And that’s enough for us, for now.

It’s really freeing to wake up each day and know you have all you need.

I’m a regular human wife mom woman and community member and neighbor.  I want the nice stuff too!!!  But, it’s more important to me to not have a new charge on my credit card bill, than brand new flip flops (which would be massively amazing right now.)  I get it, I’m with everyone else and I can appreciate nice and expensive and quality and fancy and fun and beautiful things.  It’s not like I’m living under the rock and can’t see the value you get by spending more on quality things.  But, I would rather not buy something, if I truly don’t need it.

It’s a practice, a practice we can all perfect as time goes on. 

I remember a life, perhaps a decade ago, where I would spend my weekends at the mall.  I would shop Lord & Taylor, and Marshall’s, and Walmart, and buy everything from nice bags, to nice clothes to everything my home needed.  And now-a-days, I spend my weekends cleaning my home, or cooking inside, or being outside with my children and neighbor-friends.

Was I any happier back then?  Did I feel better about myself?  Absolutely not.  If anything, I’m totally digging my life of LIFE so much more now, than the buying and buying I was engaging in nonstop before.

Replace your spending habits. 

We’re all creatures of habit.  We like to do what we do, what we’ve done, what we’ve been taught, what brings us feelings of nostalgia, and fun and love and care, and comfort and security.  But when all of that does not bring us more comfort or security, it’s time to replace our spending habits with habits that do.  Instead of running to Macy’s for a Saturday sale like every Saturday, stay home instead, or go walk at a park.  Instead of buying a brand new dress or outfit for the next event, just wear what’s in your closet.  I know, instantly and immediately, we might get a sense of insecurity.  But what if I don’t look good or feel good?  But what if you do?  What’s more important to you?

We are a society and world who craves and is used to instant gratification.  Credit card companies and all banking institutions that lend us money at a ridiculous FEES are making billions and billions on this phenomenon.  Start living the way we lived in the past: If we had it, we spent it, after we saved, and if we did not have, we did not buy.

If you don’t have $80 right now in your bank account to pay off your current credit card bill, then you don’t need a pedi, or a new pair of jeans, or a meal out.

If you don’t have enough in your bank account to be debt free from all credit card debt, you don’t have enough to plan a vacation, or buy a new pet.

I know these sound like really harsh words, and I know you may be cursing the screen right now calling me a crazy horse, but take a deep breath, and realize that getting in tune with your truth, your goals, and what you have to do, is a must.  The longer we are in denial, the more damage we can cause our financial selves and future.

Because we’re all different it’s okay to acknowledge our priorities.  Perhaps you love spending on yourself at the spa each week, or maybe house cleaning, or maybe with the grub you buy, or the car you drive, or the gadgets in your home, or the books you buy, or education, or hats or bags or shoes or travel.  Whatever it may be, we all have something that we can not or do not want to comprise on.  I’m okay with this.  I think it’s important to have things we are passionate about, but you can’t be passionate and prioritize it all. 

If you love spending on your kids’ clothes, good, but then cut back on your own threads.  If you love your car, cut back on your home, if you love a good bag, then cut back on your shoes.  Whatever it may be, choose 1 item, or 1 category, and start there.  For me, it’s certainly food.  I love buying food and shopping for it, and it’s hard for me to walk away from the $6.29 pasture raised eggs from Publix, and buy organic or cage free ones instead, or even the $.79 ones from Aldi, that are “normal.”  I will buy those ridiculously expensive eggs, because that’s what’s important to me.  Buttttt, you won’t see me out grabbing lunch at a restaurant ever, or dinner, because I know in my head I spend ENOUGH already at the regular store.  And every time I eat an egg or feed them to my children, I think about their value and appreciate them.

But that’s me, that works for me, and that’s what I prioritize right now in my life.  And when I say this works for me, I mean, I have to spend A LOT LESS ON groceries, and continue to EAT through what we already have.  Groceries are always wayyyy toooo expensive and it’s always a budget area I have to get better at saving.

Start off with just tracking what you buy, what you spend, and then slowly cut back and cut things out.  I’ve been tracking our spending in January and February and it’s AMAZING how many things come up.  Birthdays and gifts, and new flag football signup and then a $250 tackle football sign up, and then this and that, and a celebration that requires more grub, and a new water heater, and camp and this and that, and it’s endless.  And that’s ON TOP of regular bills.  I can see why most of us have a hard time making it each month without carrying over a credit card balance.  Add on top of this all the EXTRA and unneeded we buy each month, and we’re buried.  We’re buried, and it’s hard to point to a reason why we’re in this situation except to accept the responsibility and task ourselves with the digging out.

Find pleasure in the free. 

Especially when changing our saving and spending habits, we have to get busy living that free life, and doing activities that do not cost money or do not cost extra.  Can you get yourself out of the house to the beach or to a park one day each weekend?  Can you take your pet to the dog park?  Can you do a lot of things, you used to pay for, yourself?  Can you wash your own car, can you scrub your own toilets (I know this is gross, but it may be worth it), can you eat in or eat out, by making a picnic and taking it to a local outdoor spot?  I know, I get it, change sucks and it’s hard and it’s obnoxious, and it may even feel unfair.

See, we create our own lives.  We don’t create what we have been given, or what we have not been given, but we certainly create the LIFE we want going forward.  It’s not always fair – the financial discrepancy between people – but it’s still okay.

Some of the wealthiest people are unhappy and miserable – people who appear to have it ALL, and then the most impoverished people – are some of the happiest and most free humans out there.  And most of us are somewhere in the middle.  We are healthy, we are smart, we have access to information, we can think for our selves, and BEST OF ALL – we can always reverse the damage, especially when we start today.

Figure out your plan, write it out, and execute.  It’s so much fun.

Cheers Savers!

 

 

 

Schwinn Airdyne – getting stronger with this bike.

I just got off my Schwinn Airdyne bike, and I have been riding that badddddd boy every morning since my hip starting hurting from running.

12 days – Schwinn Airdyne bike

1 day – elliptical

40 days – running 

I am dedicating myself to building up my arse/glutes, and leg muscles, by squatting and doing some dead lifts with dumbbells to hopefully strengthen THAT WHOLE AREA, so I can run again.  The other day I was listening to an amazing video, and in it they said:  running is a PRIVILEGE.  You must first be STRONG, and then you can run.

This really makes a lot of sense to me, because the goal isn’t to hurt myself or run through injuries, but to use running and all cardio to keep that heart muscle strong, and the mind wise.  The weight training is a must for me, and it will be fun to see what happens in the next few months.

Yesterday, after taking my dog for a walk, I got home, and did bent over rows, and shoulder presses and these dead-lifts with my 25lb dumbbells.  I am certainly sore this morning, but I was even more excited to get on the Schwinn this morning.  I love this machine because it’s simple, but it does so much for the body. It quickly gets the heart rate up, but then, because it’s using both the legs and arms to move the Schwinn, it feels like my muscles are growing as I ride. There’s no “going through the motion” on this thing, you must keep pushing and pulling the entire ride.

I purchased this Schwinn for myself as a college graduation gift in 2004.  I believe it was about $600.  I remember dragging it up to a 3rd floor apartment, and then riding it whenever I could.  It made so many moves throughout the years, but thankfully, it still is in good shape.  It uses AIR as resistance, so there’s no plugging in.  The screen still works, which is good, because I would have no clue how to replace it or fix it if it broke, though I having a feeling my husband could figure it out.  I’m sure it’s powered by a simple battery.

My neighbor came by the other day, and she thought it was an antique, because this machine has been around for so long.  She remembered a family member having it years and years ago.  Now they just made them newer, but the whole model is the same, so it does look very old school.  I often see them on the sidelines of NFL games, keeping the players warm and their blood flowing.

The ONLY bad part about this particular Schwinn is that it’s LOUD.  You couldn’t be on it, and not have your ear buds in.  You couldn’t watch TV, while riding it, unless your ear buds connected to the TV.  I listen to YouTube songs or videos, and have no issues, but with my buds in.  I ride it out in my garage, because if I rode it in the house, the whole house would hear it. My son is usually up by 6am, but even if he was sleeping, I’ve made sure that he can’t hear it in his room.   In my first post college apartment, which was on the 2nd floor, I could never ride it, because it caused my neighbor’s 1st floor to vibrate.  So, the ONLY negative about this bike, is that it’s not really condo, or 2nd floor friendly.  Though, my bike is at least 14 years old, and I bet the newer models are much more quieter.

On Amazon right now, I see the prices from $300-$1000, depending on how fancy you want it.  But first, I would check out FB marketplace or Craig’s list, for a used one.  These things are sturdy, so find a local really inexpensive one.  I’m all for saving $, and not spending too much extra, to get moving.  I do like the fact that the seat is super cushy, versus a regular “bike” which will leave your bum sore.

diamond-back-fitness-assault-airbike-upright-3__78645.1411077070.500.500.jpg
Schwinn Airdyne

GET MOVING

Recently, I’ve also been learning about the importance of strengthening our bodies, and growing and keeping muscle, and not just leaning out.  I know that at one point we all wanted to be skinny, but that is so so out, just like fat-free anything.  It’s done and over with, and it’s not healthy.  Be lean, but be muscular.  Or better yet, getting muscular, will help us all get lean.  Having healthy and more muscle, helps us avoid so many diseases, helps us have hormonal balance, and helps digest those treats that we have once in a while.  This is so important for women, and men too.  Weight training helps increase testosterone, a hormone so many men are deficient in, as we grow and age.  And for women, the benefits are even greater.  We must get and be strong.

KEEP MOVING

I’m right in the middle of WEEK 8 of my every morning cardio routine this year.  It was day 53 today, since I started on December 31, 2017.  And as each morning passes, I’m constantly thinking about how I can keep this going forever.  It’s so much more NOW about LONG TERM GAINS.  Whenever we commit to working out, or whenever I committed to a new exercise routine in the past, I was constantly focused on tomorrow, or how I would look next week or the next month.  Now, I’m thinking:  If I can keep this up, and continue to feed my body right, and move it smarter, I can stop that aging and disease, and I can look exactly like this, and feel so good at 45, and then at 55, and then at 65, and at 75, just like I feel right now, at 35.

Is the Schwinn the answer to putting a pause on aging, and building longevity? Yes, it’s apart.  It’s a tiny part, a tiny 20 minutes that adds up well over time. The best part about committing to 20 minutes each day, is that those 20 minutes influence OTHER decisions throughout the day.  What you eat, how you feel, how you react, what you research, read, how you work.  It’s a domino effect, and once we push that first one over, the result is strong.  The opposite works as well. If you wake up and go into the office and have donuts, it’s so much easier to use that high blood sugar to make other poor decisions throughout the day.  Instead, we can choose to make one good decision to positivity effect our whole day!   I wrote this, to help us all get started with a morning routine.

Cheers, Friends, Exercisers, Strong Humans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keto/Low Carb Cheesecake: no flour, no sugar.

There’s more and more evidence about getting sugar or processed empty nutrient carbs out of our bodies, out of the food supply, and out of everything we put into our bodies.  It’s a mountainous task, and will we ever really ever see a grocery store filled with just the right grub, grub that nourishes your bod, versus hurts it?  Grub that is keto and low carb friendly that does not raise our blood sugar and illicit an insulin response? Probably not in my lifetime (even if I live until 150 which is the goal), but maybe just maybe.

The best thing I have heard recently about the ideal diet for all of us, is that none exist, we instead must CREATE what is perfect for us all.  It’s pretty brilliant, and if you take a step back and actually understand the importance of CREATING, with trial and error and research and time, the perfect diet for you, we are only then – on our way to creating the healthiest human we can all be and become.

With so many diets out there in the market place, the obesity rates, diabetes rates, depression and heart disease climbing, we know certain facts.

Facts: sugar makes ya sick.  And the older we are, the sicker we feel almost immediately afterwords.  I can’t have sugar in small amounts (not that I would ever want sugar in small amounts, because if I’m eating sugar it’s in BIG amounts), or else it immediately leads to (personally for me):

binge eating

mood swings

These two are awful for me.  Now, sugar may affect you in different ways, but for me personally, I will be hot one moment and cool the next, excited or sad, angry or super psyched.  It’s amazing that at one point I really thought I may have had bipolar disorder, when in fact, I was just stuffing my face with crap.  And using the word crap doesn’t describe the affects of sugar strong enough.

Recently, and always, because researching nutrition is always an act of LOVE and happiness in my world, I FINALLY got it into my head the dangers of personally ingesting sugar (and I believe for many people) and eating more keto.  I realized once you eliminate sugar from your diet, you will probably start to wake up like a whole new human.

I’ve gotten serious about putting more whole foods into my body, and that of my family, and slowly eliminating the junka.  Creating the perfect diet for you, means we have to incorporate foods and a lifestyle that works for us individually.  What works for me, may not work for you.  You may drink, eat, travel, work, socialize completely differently than me.  Therefore, we will have different schedules, requirements, needs, wants, cravings and nutritional desires.  We all also have different genes, and what effects you, does not effect me, and vice versa.  And that’s what’s confusing, because no one is the same, YET, we all can always benefit from more vegetables, less sugar.

Because I am a social being, I absolutely love a good get-together with good people at least once per weekend.  I started to research some low carb/low sugar desserts for my life.  Now, in the past, I promised myself I would never ever eat dessert again, but that worked as well as high heels on ice.  After a week of amazing eating, one get together and I was eating 8 cookies, 10 cupcakes and a chocolate piece of cake along with endless amounts of sweet wine.  But that’s just me.  So this time around, because when we know better, we do better, I decided to set myself up for some success.

My neighbor was celebrating a 40th birthday party this past weekend, and I made a pretty rad keto/low carb cheesecake for his birthday!  I wanted to make sure I had something pretty sweet and fabulous to eat, and something that wasn’t going throw me off a healthy eating plan.  And if it’s good for me, sharing is caring, so it’s good for others too!

I made the same cheesecake for my husband’s recent 38th birthday, and ALL OF THE CREDIT goes to lowcarbyum.com  You can find the exact recipe here!

I started off with eggs, creme cheese, sour creme and vanilla and lemon extract, and added the sweetener Swerve.  There are a ton of sweeteners out on the market, so do your research about which one is healthiest, and which one is best for you.  I also have been a bit cray about using really good ingredients so you can use everything organic for everything or really well sourced grub, which of course, makes things just that much better.

I used a hand mixer to blend up the above, and then I used the Nutribullet (or if you have a Vitmax), to make it go from lumpy to silky and creamy!  It was EVERYTHING.

I made my crust in the food processor and added sliced almonds, and hazelnuts, and grass-fed butter, and you can add chia seeds, and whatever else would make a delicious crust.  I padded down the crust in my cheesecake pan, and then poured the cheesecake mix on top.  1 hour in the oven at 300 degrees, and BOOM!!!

Decorating this beauty was the funnest part.  I have come a long way, because if you showed me a “cake” with fruit on it, in the past, I would have ran to the closest grocery store for a tiramisu or a carrot cake (my two favorites), faster than a lion chasing their prey, but now, as I get older and wiser, I realize that FRUIT is dessert! We don’t need shitty high fructose corn syrup that raises our blood sugar, and starts us on the road to diabetes, often, if ever.  But we must put the effort in to set ourselves up for keto success.

I used raspberries, and blueberries, and blackberries to top the whole cake without any additional sugar or mix.  It was so pretty and perfect.  The leftover fruit, my son had the next day for a snack.  He loves apples, and pineapple, and strawberries and blueberries, but I was surprised he ate all of the blackberries and raspberries (as blackberries then to be a bit rough).  So double win win, as those berries have some of the highest nutrient content, out of all fruit.

I should have made the keto cheesecake cake the day before and refrigerated it, because it was pretty warm when we all cut into and ate it, but live and learn!

I wish someone sat me down at 20 and said to me:  “You know, sugar can mess you up.  It’s pretty bad for you and your body and your mind and your type.” But, now at 35, I’m learning this, slowly, at times painfully, and other times, beautifully.  I am not saying that SUGAR affects you this way too.  It does for me.  And if I knew the importance of avoiding it sooner than now, I’m curious about the life experiences I would have had.  BUT, we can’t go back, and we can’t regret, we can only forgive ourselves and keep moving forward as best as we can.  I also want to share that the best diet for me does not include Swerve or sweeteners or cream cheese every day.  BUT, there are special occasions from time to time, and when it is that time, it’s nice to have a treat that works IN your diet, and for your body, versus causing instant damage.

Create your ideal diet, and then fill it with what is most delicious for you – of the most natural and best kind.

Cheers, healthy food lovers.