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getting real

Tonight the husband and I got a serious hankering for some diet coke.  So, we decided to take an evening walk down to the grocery store before dinner.

It is quite ironic that we have three (yes, three) cars, yet we walked to the grocery store.  But I love our walks.  With the husband working evenings on our business, we don’t have as much time for them as we used to.  I miss them.

Once we got there, I sat outside with Olive, while he ran inside for the goods.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about contentment.  I am the world’s worst about getting in too big of a hurry all the time.  While I love the idea of slowing down and enjoying life as it is now, I don’t practice it very often.  I’m always wishing for the next thing. Always thinking that things could be just a little bit better if only…

Lately I’ve really been struggling with this, and the last couple of days I’ve actually been able to recognize how detrimental this is to my life.  I count myself very blessed to be in the stage of life I’m in.  I’m so thankful that Jon supported me in leaving my job so that I could pursue what I’m passionate about. And I’m tired of surrendering to discontentment and allowing fear to defeat me.  I’m slowly starting to realize something about myself – I’m afraid of being successful.  I think that part of my discontentment at this phase of life is due to not allowing myself to succeed.

I allow three things to defeat me on a daily basis: procrastination, being paralyzed by fear and making excuses.  I’m still diligently trying to figure out why I allow these things to interfere with my goals and dreams, but I’m working on taking steps toward overcoming them.

The other night Jon and I laid awake for hours, him letting me hash out every angle of this struggle.  I’m so thankful that he pushes me to challenge myself, to take myself to the next level, and most of all to believe in myself.  I don’t know why he believes in me as deeply as he does, but sometimes that’s what keeps me going. Before we went to bed that night, he walked me into our office and made me put down my new commitment on our chalkboard closet door.  Everyday when I see it, it reminds me that I really am stronger than I think I am.

side note – the coloration on this pic is way off.  Our walls are not bright yellow:)

It’s so normal in the blog world to always focus on the positive, and I really don’t want to be a downer, but surely I’m not the only one who struggles with this?  Am I alone in being my own biggest obstacle to achieving everything I want for my life?  Sometimes I just ask myself “why are you procrastinating on the things you care about most?” “Why are you not focusing your intentions on the things that are most important?”  “And why do you spend more time wishing for things in the future, rather than living in the present?”

So that’s me lately.

And so as not to leave on a dreary note, here’s some amazing fall food that has been warming me through and through:)

Making homemade pizza crust

The best thing about this crust was the process of making it.  There’s something therapeutic about making homemade bread.

Unfortunately it was a total fail.  I used too little yeast and didn’t let it sit long enough + I used all spelt flour when I probably should have incorporated in some white flour.

Even with leftover veggie spaghetti sauce from the other night and shredded vegan cheese, it still tasted terrible.

The side of broccoli saved the day!  Sprinkle on a little sea salt, and you’ve got yourself heaven on a plate.

I also used that same leftover homemade spaghetti sauce in a mix with kidney beans and sauteed swiss chard.  All piled on a tiny bed of pasta.  The sauce was definitely the star of this show.

Oh wait.

I take that back.  The kabocha squash ruled again!  I seriously cannot get enough.  I actually bought a whole ‘nother one this afternoon.  I’m thinking maybe soup this time…

Yes, I think soup could be just the thing.

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let’s clear things up

Hello!

This morning…I juiced.

But before that I went on a 3.5 mile run.  It was a decent run – not the best I’ve ever had, but certainly not bad.  I love those moments when I hit a high in the middle of my run, whether caused by my current tune, something to do with the scenery or just a good strong and steady stride, it’s just so sweet.  We didn’t make great time – I think we finished in about 38 minutes, but I’ve just been less worried about time lately.  I would honestly rather just enjoy running than be super worried about how fast I’m going.

Anyway, so I came home and showered and then got to juicing.  I know I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had switched cleansers to Burt’s Bees because I wanted to start using all natural skin care.  I’ll be doing a full review on it later as I want to give it a little more time before I form a final opinion.  One thing I don’t think I mentioned before is that I felt like it was a good time for me to make the switch because I was having some serious breakouts on my face.  I haven’t had a problem with breakouts since high school, and I’m not really sure what’s going on.  But I figured since my face was already broken out, it would be a good time to change my skin care system, since switching can often trigger a breakout. Might as well get it all over with at once.

Not sure that was the best idea.  I’ve been using Burt’s Bees for about 2 weeks now, and my face has progressively gotten worse.  I honestly don’t think that BB is specifically the problem.  I think there was already a problem, and so far BB just hasn’t miraculously cleared up my skin.  It has gotten so bad, though, that I finally called the other day and set up an appointment with the dermatologist.  I’m seriously feeling desperate!

Anyway, I woke up this morning and was washing my face when it occurred to me that I should really try every natural remedy I can think of before I end up with a prescription cream of some sort that is full of chemicals and most likely expensive on top of that.  After just a little bit of researching I came up with a few ideas that I’m going to begin implementing.

  • Drink a lot more water – I drink water with most meals, but often forget to drink it in between
  • Eat more raw foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds (read: lots of juices, green smoothies and salads)
  • Eliminate (with a few exceptions) refined sugar and coffee
  • More yoga – yes, I think this matters.  It helps relieve stress and tension, which has a positive effect on my skin
  • Not wearing makeup whenever possible - this is kind of a catch 22 because I want to avoid makeup so my skin can breathe and begin to clear up, but I also have more of a desire to wear it because my face is so broke out.  Not sure exactly how to handle this other than I won’t be wearing makeup anytime I’m at home
  • Continue to wash morning and night with Burt’s Bees
  • Use tea tree oil on blemishes
  • Stop touching my face! I have a bad habit of doing this.

I just felt so compelled today to do whatever I can to take care of this problem.

Breakfastleafy greens + 1 beet + 1 carrot + 3 celery stalks + 1 apple + small piece of garlic = one amazing juice

After my juice, I did an hour yoga session.  I’m learning to turn my planning for classes into awesome classes for myself. I pulled out all the stops, even using my lavender scented cloth:)  A couple of hours later I had a snack plate.

Newman’s Own spelt pretzels

natural almond butter

homemade salsa

carrots and celery sticks

And for lunch I opted for a green smoothie.  This contained 2 handfuls of spinach, 1 container of soy yogurt (we’re out of almond milk), 2 heaping tablespoons Vega Shake and Go Smoothie, half a banana, 1 tbsp chia seeds and ice.

For an afternoon snack I veered from raw and ate up a cinnamon raisin Ezekiel english muffin with 1 tbsp almond butter.

Plus I drank lots and lots of water all day long!  Many trips to the bathroom ensued.

For dinner Jon and I grabbed salads from Chipotle on our way to buy groceries.  Mine included lettuce, black beans, grilled veggies, 3 kinds of salsa and guacamole of course!

Overall I already feel much better today.  Even though I can’t tell a difference on my face yet, it feels good to know that I’m going everything I can.  I would love to be able to cancel that dermatologist appointment in a week.

Well, now that I’ve laid out all my problems for the world to see, I must be headed to bed;)

Question: have you ever had problems with your skin, whether acne or something else?  Any ideas for natural treatments?

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perfect pepper puzzle

This morning Jon and I rolled out of bed just in time to head out for a run.  I was absolutely determined to have a good run…which can actually be quite dangerous:)

The weather was decent this morning – in the high seventies with a very light breeze – so off we went.  And praise the Lord – it went well!  I have been feeling so discouraged about our training, even to the point of thinking to myself “why the heck are we doing this?”  Have you ever been there?  Thankfully this morning restored my faith in believing that I really can train for and run a half marathon.

Before we headed out I honestly didn’t have a clue what I was going to do to help matters, but throughout the course of our run I tried several different tactics.

What worked:

Paying extra attention to my form.  Sometimes when I’m running, I find that I sort of hunch over and stoop my shoulders and back.  Today I kept checking in to make certain that my back was straight and my shoulders were down away from my ears.  I used a move that I do in my PiYo classes often: scrunch your shoulders up toward your ears as high as you can, and then release them down and back towards the floor, elongating the neck.  This helped tremendously today!

Break up the run into smaller segments. Not rocket science right?  The thing is that I usually do this with longer runs, but never with shorter runs.  I go into shorter runs thinking “well, it’s short already!”  But I have to say – in certain conditions, three miles can almost feel like a long run.  In fact, I’d rather do a long run over a short run anyday.  That’s anyday…not everyday, mind you. ha!  This morning, however, I kept telling myself things like “only .4 more miles until one mile is left.  You can run one mile easy!”  Sounds kind of silly, but it totally helped my mindset.  And Jon’s.

Frequent updates on mileage.  Sometimes I try to just zone out during a run and not think about the time.  Today, however, Jon and were both starting to struggle, so I was giving updates every half mile, and then every .2 miles towards the end.  I was somewhat doing this for Jon, since he wasn’t wearing the Garmin, but it totally helped keep my motivation and energy up as well.

Breathe.  Again, rocket science I know.  But sometimes I really truly forget to breathe.  I’ll realize that I’m either holding my breath or breathing very short and shallow breaths.  Today I focused on getting frequent deep breaths in, and I didn’t get near as winded throughout the entire run…even at the end.

Stretch.  We all know it’s important to stretch after a run, but what about during?  At about the halfway point, we both agreed that our legs felt pretty much like lead.  So, we stopped and stretched it out for about 30 seconds.  When we took off again, I felt much lighter and faster.

I’m not saying these tactics would work for everyone, but they definitely helped change my game this morning.  We finished in under 30 minutes including a short walk/stretch break.  For us, this was a great improvement!

After our run, I waited awhile for breakfast because I just wasn’t that hungry for some reason.  Very uncharacteristic of me.  When I finally got hungry awhile later, all that sounded good was a bowl of cereal.  I usually shy away from cereal for breakfast because it seems to go right through me, leaving me hungry soon after.  But I decided to go for it anyway.

Kashi Heart to Heart, Peanut Butter Puffins, sliced banana and soy milk

I love cereal so much…I wish it just was a little bit more filling.  A couple hours later I was already ready for lunch.  Jon had to work through lunch today, so I was flying solo.

I decided to throw together a quick concoction – and stuff it in a big bell pepper!

Bell pepper first.  I cut the top off, cleaned out the insides and set it on a cookie sheet in the oven at 400 degrees.

For the stuffing, I decided to start with a grain as a base, and after some inspection of the cabinets decided on bulgur.  Bulgur is one of my favorite grains because it’s easy to cook and so nutty!  Plus, 1/2 cup has only 75 calories but boasts 3 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber.  Into the boiling water it went.

After studying the fridge for a moment, I pulled out some leftover canned corn and leftover chickpeas and dumped them in the skillet.

Protein…check!

Hmmm….I still need some greens.  That’s an easy one.

Oops!  Leaf overboard!

Lastly, I added 2 tbsp of homemade hummus for creaminess and flavor + 1 tsp oregano and a sprinkle of salt and ground red pepper for a little kick!

By the time this mixture was cooked through, my bell pepper was nicely browned and wrinkled.  I carefully (it’s hot!) filled the pepper with the creamy bulgur mixture, stuffing it in deep to make it all fit.  Then I stuck it back in the oven for another 15 minutes or so, turning on the broiler for the last couple.  I just love the broiler.  It soothes my impatient soul.

While I waited, I cleaned up the skillet and cutting board and said hello to this little visitor:)  She’s not dead, I promise.

When the pepper appeared super brown and wrinkled, it was ready to go!

Perfect.

With a sweet and juicy peach on the side.

So, so good.  Sorry dear…you totally missed out on this one;)  The pepper was perfectly soft and somehow the random flavors I threw together fit like a perfect little puzzle.  And I love the way the boiler makes the exposed part of the stuffing a little crispy!

After lunch I decided to book it to the coffee shop.  Without some lunch company, the house gets a little too quiet.  I’ve gotta get some work done and prepare for a call with an Outbox client this evening.

Hope you’re all having a great end to your week – let’s finish strong!

Random Question – what are you most looking forward to about fall?

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gotta love the swag

Friends, I’m in the midst of a crisis.

Since I got my Canon DSLR camera back in April, I’ve been uploading all my photos into iPhoto.  Unfortunately the file sizes are huge, and they are overtaking my macbook!  I’ve finally decided to start uploading to Flickr instead, but I also am going to have to move all my photos over from iPhoto as well.

This process is going to take forever.  I’m just so deep in this hole.  Not only is my computer moving slower than ever, but the process of transferring the photos is going to slow it down even more.  Argh!

Okay, rant over.  Thanks for listening;)

warning: if you aren’t a dog lover, just glaze over this next part:) and don’t think I’m crazy.

First things first – Olive wants to say Happy 1st Birthday to her cousin, Bentley!

We still love you little B, even though you chewed up 2 of my retainers this summer.

This morning has been so productive!  Don’t you just love super productive days?

First, I went for a four mile run.  I planned to go to the gym, but the second I stepped out onto the porch, I changed my mind.  It had to have been about 80 degrees.  And there was even a cool breeze.  I couldn’t pass up the chance to run outside.  Unfortunately my Garmin wasn’t quite as thrilled apparently and didn’t find its satellites until well in the run.  I know I ended up at about 4 miles, but have no idea what my time was.  O’well!

Before I went I had a piece of canteloupe, sans salt and pepper

Once I got back, it was still cloudy and breeze, and our scraggly yard was giving me the eye.  I couldn’t resist the nagging and immediately changed shoes and revved up the mower!

About an hour later I finished, a sweaty, hungry mess.  Seeing as how it was after 10:30, though, I opted for a little snack instead of breakfast to tide me over.

I got this herbal water in the HLS swag bag, and I am now obsessed.  I must find a place to buy these.  They have no added sugars or preservatives, and the water is infused with a perfectly subtle ginger lemon flavor.

These pistachios and dried pineapple are also from the swag bag, courtesy of Oh Nuts.  The pistachios were great, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the pineapple.  I don’t like added sugar on my dried fruit, and this definitely had some.  I don’t know why companies always feel the need to add so much sugar to their dried fruit!

Anyway, I answered some emails and before I could turn around twice it was lunch time.

My sister bought me this garlic olive oil from The Olive Tap.  It gives off just a nice, subtle hint of garlic.  Judging from her description I really wish I could have visited the store too.

I mixed 1 tbsp+1 tsp of garlic olive oil + 1 tsp water to 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp seasoned salt and a sprinkle of ground red pepper.

I filled a gallon sized ziplock bag with sliced sweet potato rounds and asparagus, and after adding the oil and seasoning mixture, shook until I couldn’t feel my arms (it really is an exact scienceJ  I then dumped it out onto a cookie sheet (don’t forget to spray it!) and roasted at 400 degrees for about half an hour.  Don’t forget to stir and flip occasionally.  I actually think the asparagus was a bit too soft, so you may want to take it out after 20 minutes or so.

I toasted a piece of Ezekiel bread and spread it with Earth Balance to have on the side.  Plus, another piece of canteloupe with salt and pepper.

Dessert was an Adora Dark Chocolate Calcium supplement disk from the swag bag.  Love these.  lol. What did I eat before HLS?

I just wanted to give a quick shout out to my awesome co workers from my teaching job.  I stopped by the school for a visit yesterday and loved getting to see everyone.  These people are a huge reason why it was so hard to leave, and I’m going to miss them dearly!

my best friend, Teri, Bryan, and me

two of our awesome librarians!

Meghan taught in the classroom next door to me and was a fellow first year teacher.  This girl is a hoot!

And again, Teri:)

Well, I’m off to get some work done!  I’ll be back tonight with my fourth and final HLS recap!  If you missed ‘em, here is recap 1, recap 2 and recap 3.

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signing off + giveaway winner

Hey!

Today has been busy, busy, but I think I’ve gotten everything accomplished – at least the things that were crucial!  Now I’m scrambling around trying to finish getting packed and out the door.

As promised, I definitely filled up on veggies at lunch.

whole wheat lavash wrap filled with squash, cucumber, broccoli slaw, pinto beans, hummus, sliced pear (why not?!) and balsamic vinegar

Kind of an odd combo, but tasty.  Too bad you couldn’t have seen me eating it – it was an absolute mess, falling apart like crazy and broccoli slaw going everywhere!  I also had a side of leftover roasted brussel sprouts.

Okay, I gotta run.  We have to drop Olive off at a friend’s house for the night and hit the road!

But first I’ve got to announce the winner of the Operation Beautiful book!  The winner was chosen using random number generator from random.org.

PR_Cal

This week has inspired me. I’m going to make some positive changes and would love a copy of the book to help.

My post-it is:
My body relies on me for nourishment, I will be there for it.

Congrats, and I hope you enjoy the book!  Email me (candice@chiaseedme.com) your contact information, and I’ll get it shipped to you!

Thanks to all of you who entered!  I highly recommend picking up a copy of the book if you haven’t already – it truly is a great read.

I’ll see you all in Chicago!  Have a great night!

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