Positivity: A How-to Guide

I’ve been sitting on this blog post for a while. I’ve seen lot of friends posting that they want to be more positive and I’ve had a lot of friends ask me how I do it. I’ve wanted to write a blog about it but until now I don’t think I had all the write words I wanted to use. I am not even sure I have all the right words now, but I have some good ones, and everything I am going to write about is stuff I’ve changed for myself, and I’ve collected a bunch of memes/quotes and I think I have some good answers to the one main question… “How can I live a  more positive life?”

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Think about it for a second. Did whatever happen today really ruin your entire day? Or are you deciding to dwell on it all day and let it keep bringing you down? Now I know what you’re going to say, “Chrissy, I wrecked my car and I can’t get to work now.” But are you alive? Did you make it home to your family? Are there other ways for you to get to work? The answer to those are probably YES, especially the first one because you’re sitting there reading this right now and you wouldn’t be able to if you were dead. My point is, there are always things to be thankful for in a crappy situation.

Let’s look at something less dramatic though. Your boss overlooked you and gave credit to someone else who didn’t deserve it. Totally a mood ruiner right? Totally! But the whole day? Not necessarily. There are a ton of ways to fix the situation if you want to. Again, if you want to. If you want to sit there and cry about it and not do anything, you’re not going to ever make it better. But if you speak up, change the situation, calmly of course, your mood gets better, your day gets better, and you move on.

I honestly cannot remember the last full on bad day I’ve had. I have bad moments, I have shitty moments, I have down times, but I always look at the positive and turn my mood around. I let it go. I move on. This is not how it always was for me. I used to hold grudges and let things bother me and get stressed and angry. And then one day I quit. I was tired of it. I was tired of fighting with my husband over dumb shit. So I stopped. When we got into an argument I would make myself stop and think about what good it was doing. When I realized it wouldn’t do anything, I would stop and laugh. It’s hard to argue with someone when they are laughing. Eventually the arguments and bad attitudes stopped happening because I would tell myself there was nothing to be negative about. Of course this isn’t just about fighting with your spouse, this can be about anything that brings you down or gets you mad. Assess what’s happening and find the positive. Even if the only positive thing you can think of is that you are breathing. Be thankful that you are still alive to have those emotions. You are a living, breathing, person.

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You can literally tell yourself to have a better day.  You can choose to be happy and positive. Adopt the habit of starting off your day with something positive. Write yourself a love note. Smile. Do something for yourself that brings you happiness. Seek out positivity in your daily life rather than dwelling on things you don’t enjoy.

If you feel a negative thought coming, immediately switch it to something positive. Don’t start a sentence with something negative. If you have to be negative, start with that but end with something positive. Example… “I had a shitty day.” Change that to, “I had a shitty day, but now I am home with my family and looking forward to (fill in the blank).”

STOP posting negativity on social media.  I cannot stress this one enough. The moment you put something negative online, other people are going to latch onto it and help you be more negative. Misery loves company. And some people love the drama that comes with other people’s negativity. You posting something negative on social media immediately puts that energy and vibe into the universe. And not only are you putting that vibe out for yourself, you’re putting it on everyone who is reading your stuff.

If you do choose to be negative on social media, I have two things you should never post about. Don’t ever post negativity about your spouse. I see it every single day; the passive aggressive posts…

“Of course my husband would choose today to be an asshole when he got home from work.”

“It’s always so nice when my husband takes his sweet time coming home from work.”

This goes for husbands posting too but it’s usually the wives. Sorry, ladies, but it’s true. And what are you getting out of this? I’ll tell you exactly what you’re getting. You’re getting your other lady friends to hop on the husband-bashing train and now you aren’t the only one being negative. You just recruited a whole batch of other people who are going to be negative too. And then when your spouse comes home, what kind of mood are you in? What if the reason your spouse came home late was because he decided to stop at Starbucks and bring you a Trenta Hibiscus Refresher? But you don’t know this so you’re an asshole to him when he gets home and you’ve already posted all that hate and negativity all over Facebook. You can’t get that back. It’s out there.

Next, Don’t ever post negativity about your kids. I am not talking about the stories about your kids that you tell as satire to make people laugh. We all love those and we know you aren’t really going to “sell the kids on ebay or etsy.” (Have you seen that meme? I love that one). I am talking about the same passive aggressive stuff like I said above. And I am talking about stuff that you should really just keep to yourself. I’ve seen so much negative stuff about some of my friend’s kids that if you asked me about those kids, I would only be able to tell you bad things. What does that say about those parents who are posting? It just puts out more negativity into the universe and you can’t take that back. You called your kid a little shit and at least 10 people saw that before you decided to delete it. Just stop. Make it a point to only post positivity about your kids.

One other thing…so 3 things you shouldn’t do… Don’t over-share. It kind of goes with the posting about your spouse and kids. But social media doesn’t need to know EVERYTHING, especially if it’s negative.

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

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I cannot stress this one enough. I am not sure if I mentioned in other posts, but when I lived in Arizona I lived in a black hole of negativity. And it was so easy to get sucked in. I actually lost quite a few friends because I would choose to stay out of the drama and just stay home. I was constantly around people who would take something good and immediately turn it into something bad. The very first day I was at my brand new house, a lady drove by and said, “Oh you’re new? Welcome to Hell.” This is the kind of negative vibe I am talking about. She put that on me. I was so excited to live in a new place and she immediately put a bad taste in my mouth within the first 10 minutes of me being there. Obviously we never became friends, lol.

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Evaluate the relationships you have. Are your friends constantly negative? Do they like to bring you down? Or are you friends with people who love to have fun and smile and make you happy? It’s a hard task, trust me. When you start to really look at people in your life, sometimes it ends up that your closest friends are not the people you want to be close with anymore. Some of those people even end up being family members. But are you happier without them in your life? Yep!

 

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I am not saying you need to learn to meditate, although it wouldn’t hurt, but take 3-5 minutes and just breathe. Lock yourself in a closet and breathe. Making yourself take a break can work wonders for your mind and change your mood. Close your eyes, don’t think about anything negative, and just breathe. Try it. For me.

If you take one thing away from this, let it be that YOU can make yourself positive. You have that power. You just need to do it.  It won’t be the easiest thing you do, but it will be the most rewarding.

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Small Changes Equal Big Results

Because it’s the new year, a lot of people are jumping on the health train. As a person who has been doing the healthy thing for a while now, I am always nitpicking at images of what to do and what not to do. There are all kinds of them floating around; the lists of things to cut out, the things to stop doing, the things to start doing. The problem I find with these lists is that they are a massive change for most. They are setting people up to fail. One of my favorite things to tell people is that “small changes equal big results.” You don’t have to change your entire diet to see results. You don’t have to give up EVERYTHING to see change. And you definitely don’t HAVE to take on an entire list of changes all at one time. Start small and start slow. In this post I am going to take the time to dissect a very popular post I’ve seen lately.

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No chips: I can get on board with this one as far as just cutting chips out completely. But if you are a chipaholic, I have a suggestion. Just change the type of chips you eat. Start looking at labels. Hold up a bag of Cheese Doritos next to a bag of organic corn chips and look at the difference. I don’t know exactly what’s in Doritos but I am pretty sure there is a ton of fake stuff, chemicals, and things you and I cannot pronounce. In a bag of organic corn chips there are usually 3 ingredients; corn, salt, and oil.

No potatoes: Another one that I don’t think is the hardest, but again, can just be modified. First, if you eat taters as a side for dinner, how about eating a smaller portion. Eat half a potato rather than a whole one. You could also change the toppings of your potato. You could opt for plain or just a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Instead of going for the loaded tater with butter, sour cream, and bacon, try adding some broccoli and a little sprinkle of cheese. Another suggestion, rather than having a potato as a side dish, only eat the potato with the broccoli on top. Changing your portion sizes will work wonders.

No Ice Cream: A lot of people eat dessert every single day. Stop that! You don’t need dessert every day. Save dessert for special occasions. And I don’t necessarily mean birthday parties, but maybe on a Friday or when you go on a date. Next, stop buying ice cream at the store. If you don’t have it in the house you won’t eat it. I cannot tell you how much that helps me. If I get into one of those moods where all I want to do is eat junk (yes, it happens to me too), it helps that I don’t have junk in the house to eat.  There is also the option to opt for healthier ice cream. One of our favorite frozen treats is frozen bananas, almond or peanut butter, and a splash of yogurt or almond milk, all blended. It isn’t the candy and sugar-filled ice cream you’d get a Baskin Robbins, but it will quench that urge for something sweet and cold.

No Fast Food: Again, just change where and what you’re eating. Stop eating fake meat at McDonalds. If McDonalds is the only thing you have time for, maybe eat one of those chicken wraps without the dressing. Don’t they have salads? Try one of those without the dressing too. But if you have other choices for fast food, opt for a healthier fast food. Chipotle is my absolute favorite. The portion sizes are ginormous, but you don’t have to eat the entire portion. At least if you do it’s something healthier than a quarter pounder, fries, and drink. Another fast option is a grocery store. Tons of them have salad bars or you can grab pieces of a meal from all over the store. One time in a pinch I grabbed a plastic container of mixed greens, a small thing of hummus, a fork, and an avocado. Boom! But if you do decide to cut out fast food, meal prep needs to be your new best friend. That way you don’t have to decide which fast food place to go to, you already have your lunch.

No Fried Food: I don’t really have a load of suggestions for this one. Maybe don’t eat fried food while you’re out. Here’s a good reason why…you’re french fries may be fried in the same oil as the fish sticks. And you have no idea how long that oil has been used and then reheated the next day. So if you’re going to eat something fried, eat it at home and use fresh oil. You can also opt to use a healthier oil like coconut oil. Most of the time the coconut smell and taste is not there so you don’t know you’re not eating the vegetable oil you’re used to.

No Chocolate: 2 words… Dark Chocolate. I know, I know, it doesn’t taste the same and you’re used to milk chocolate or the fake stuff they use in candy bars. Seriously, check labels with this too. Sometimes what you’re eating is chocolate “flavored” and doesn’t really have any chocolate in it. Try dark. Start with something that has a lower percentage of cacao, like 50% rather than 80%. I love the kind that has mint in it as well. What I notice about dark is that I can’t and don’t want to eat a ton of it. A little bite here and there is enough to satisfy the want. So you won’t eat the same amount you’d eat if you choose a Snickers bar.

No White Breads: I agree with this one. Most white breads have no nutritional value; they just taste good. Go for whole wheat or whole grain. There are even breads that have no flour in them at all. Those are the best kind. Just wholesome goodness. Also check labels with your bread. Try to find wheat bread that has no added sugar and has only a handful of ingredients rather than a long list.

No Soda or Juice: I’ll back the giving up soda 100%. I haven’t had soda in 4 years. Stop drinking that poison immediately. You do not need that shit in your body. Maybe instead of giving up both soda and juice, just give up soda. And instead of eliminating juice completely, only drink a glass with breakfast. Start drinking more water. That should really be the number one thing you decide to do. Add more water into your diet. Instead of soda and juice, drink water and tea. Even coffee is better than soda.

No Cakes, Donuts, Cookies, and Candy: I lumped all these together because they are all so similar. The biggest thing in this list is sugar. You don’t need the added sugar. But here’s the thing about this list again, sometimes these items are eaten on a daily basis. That’s where eating certain foods becomes a problem for health. Eating a piece of candy isn’t going to kill you. Eating a handful every time you pass by the candy jar is not a good thing. Eating a cookie won’t kill you. Having 3 with lunch and dinner isn’t great. Eating a donut on a Sunday morning is a fun treat. Eating one for breakfast every day is not good.

The common theme I see in this list is giving up sugar. Once you start reading labels, you will see that there is sugar in almost everything you eat. So I would say that instead of giving up everything on this list, and instead of giving up sugar all together, give up things with ADDED sugar. This means that natural sugars like what you find in fruit or juices and other foods is okay, but try not to eat the foods that add more sugar. Like in bread. When I started buying wheat bread I thought all wheat bread was created equally. Not the case. A decent amount of breads with the words “100% whole wheat” have added sugar. Why? Peanut butter is another one. Even the ones that claim to be the healthy kind still add sugar.

Even if you only take one thing away from this blog post, I hope it’s this… you do not have to give up everything to live a healthier life. You don’t have to give up everything to lose weight either. Just modify. Eat smaller portions. And make small changes. You can still eat the same types of food but with better ingredients. Stop eating fake stuff. Read labels. Make better choices one small step at a time. “Small changes equal big results.”

I ate Vegan and Survived! YTT Part 2

When I started getting more into yoga, I started to follow a lot of yogis on IG. I quickly noticed that a good number of them were vegan but I never understood why. I thought it was kind of like Crossfit and Paleo, they just go together. It sort of is that way but there is a little more to it. I didn’t understand it until I went to the ashram.

When I found out that I was going to be eating vegan for about a month during my yoga teaching training I was super excited. I’ve never gone that long without eating meat or dairy and I was very interested in what it would do for my body. I suffer from acne so I thought this would be an awesome test to see if that would change. I normally eat a LOT of chicken so I wondered what would happen if I stopped eating it. And then just in general, how would I feel?

The first 2 days I was gone I had terrible headaches. That was the detox period. After that, smooth sailing, easy peasy! The easiest part was that someone was cooking for me and I didn’t have a choice in what I was eating. But if I had to say anything negative, and believe me this isn’t even really negative but I figure I have to have a down with my ups, it would be that I didn’t have a choice, LOL! There were a handful of days that we had the same food and that just got a little boring. But I ate it, and I was never hungry, so really not so much negative, just something that wasn’t 100% positive.

The acne didn’t go away. Actually, it got worse. This could be for a couple of reasons. One, I was surrounded by women the entire time and that meant hormone disruption the entire time I was gone. That said, I was getting zits in places on my face I don’t usually get them, so I don’t think it was all hormonal. Two, it could have been detoxing, stuff coming out, but I don’t think it should have lasted the whole time I was gone. So I am going to say that dairy does not have an effect on my skin. I think it’s time to see a dermatologist.

When I would tell people I was going to eat vegan, the number one response was, “You’re going to lose weight.” I sure didn’t want to. But I was interested to see what would happen so I took some measurements before I left. The only thing to really note here is that the two weeks before I was at the ashram were go crazy eating weeks. I was in California, I went to Disneyland where they have the best churros ever, and I wasn’t eating as clean as I normally do. So I started out about 5-7 pounds heavier than normal. So when I got home from the ashram here’s what happened weight/size/feeling wise. I felt bigger. I felt bloated the whole time I was gone. My clothes (yoga pants) still fit for the most part, but you could see it in my face. I actually had a friend tell me she’s never seen my face that round before. I did lose weight though, sort of. I lost the extra weight I had gained prior to going but nothing more. I was eating fabulous food, but I was eating a SHIT LOAD of carbs. My body is not used to that. So I think that is where the “side effects” came from. When I got home and went back to eating less carbs, the weight in my face fell off! The same friend who saw me and said my face was round saw me only a week later and said I was back to usual. Other people who see me regularly said I didn’t look like I had lost weight but I looked more toned. That surprised me because I wasn’t exercising like I usually do.

So to sum up, I learned that my brand of acne is not from food, and I should continue eating minimal carbs so I don’t feel bloated. But other than that, vegan eating was awesome! Oh, and the part about yogis being vegan? It all comes back to Ahimsa, non-harming/non-violence, the first of the Yamas and Niyamas, aka Yoga Rules. To sum that up without going into great detail. don’t kill anything, which would include animals for your food. Pretty basic stuff.

You’re probably waiting for some photos. So here are a couple of my favorite meals!!

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On the left is a frittata made with chickpea flour. Soooooooooo effing delicious!! On the right is a 3-bean salad. Also major yum! But really, that frittata!

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I have absolutely no idea what is in that patty, but it tasted like a burger and was amazing!

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Quinoa stuffed zucchini! This is something I would normally do at home already so it was great!

 

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MEXICAN FOOD!!!! Beans and spanish quinoa! YASSSSSS!!!!!

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Something I NEVER thought I would eat…palm hearts and okra with green beans. Delicious! Just weird because it was very new.

The next photo is the thing we ate, in my opinion, too often. Mung beans in various forms. If I never eat this yellow bean again I will be okay. I get it, it’s quick and it can be mass produced for a large group, but it wasn’t my favorite.

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The day I rebelled and decided to eat whatever I wanted was day 21. It wasn’t because I missed meat, it wasn’t because I was craving meat or dairy, I was just wanting something different. And so breakfast at a diner was the way to go! And I did it right! Eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, toast, and pancakes. And I ate it all!!!!!

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Since being home, a couple things have happened. At first, I went back to eating like I normally did. Clean and healthy, meat, low carb. And I felt just fine. No adverse effects from adding meat back into my diet. But as of a little over a week ago, my family and I are now vegan/vegetarian. It wasn’t just the ashram that made us make the change, I will blog about all that separately, but living it for a month helped sway me for sure. #ChangeIsGood!

A Month of Firsts: YTT Part 1

It’s official! I am a 200 hour yoga teacher training graduate!! HEYO!!!!

I spent a month living at an ashram, a”forest school”, learning everything that is YOGA! I slept in a dorm with other yogi ladies, ate vegan food, chanted, and walked away with so much more than a certificate.

I have a ton to write about but it would be a gazillion pages long so I am going to try to break it up into categories the best I can. I’ll start with this one, a list of my “firsts” from this trip. Being in my 30’s it kind of seems weird to be experiencing things for the first time, but there is definitely a list so here goes…

My first time graduating after high school. After I graduated high school I started at San Diego State. I was a year in when my boyfriend joined the Army. So I quit school, started working full time to save money, got married, and never went back. I am not at all sad about it. I wouldn’t ever take any of it back.

Since then I have always had people wonder if I’d ever go back to school. My answer has always been no, I don’t want to have to go through all that, but if I ever did it would be for something specific. I guess I lived up to that. I went back to “school” to be a yoga teacher.

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My first time to Pennsylvania. After getting married I have frequently traveled along the southern states. For quite a few years, the DC area was the farthest north I had ever been. Now I can add Pennsylvania to my list of states visited.

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My first time to New Jersey. Sure I only visited the edge of Jersey that borders Pennsylvania, but I was still there. One of the last evenings at the ashram a group of us drove to an amphitheater in Jersey to see Alice Cooper and Deep Purple.

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My first time walking through a river. This one might surprise you. It sure surprised my friend who watched me walk in the water like it was normal. Sure I’ve swam in lakes but only ones that were highly populated for recreational purposes. This river was not one of those types.

On our first day off, a new friend and I ventured into town to do laundry, eat lunch, and go on a hike. We happened upon this great river area that had a walking trail, a giant covered bridge, and just all around great scenery. My friend is a seasoned river-goer so in we went. Of course I did yoga!

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Sticking to the theme here… First time jumping in a swimmin’ hole via a rope swing. On another day off we ventured to this great little town called St. Peters that sits along French Creek State Park. We nicknamed it the “Spirit Village” because it was just that; a quaint little village with yoga classes, a gem shop, and all around spirit, nuzzled up next to hiking trails and a river. I came here twice, the first time just for hiking, but found that this spot in the photo is where all the families hang out to swim and swing. So the second time we went I knew I had to get in and see what the fuss was all about. I guess you could say I am kind of adventurous. What an exhilarating experience! And yes, the water was cold.

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First time eating (almost) all vegan. I came into this really eager to see what eating vegan was all about. Having someone else cook it for me was definitely a plus! I plan to write a whole post just about this so I won’t say much but I will say this… I survived! LOL! I ate vegan breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a total of 20ish days. I even stuck to it when I went out in the real world. It was pretty great! I didn’t miss meat or cheese. I now have quite a few ideas to incorporate into my regular life. But around day 20 I was tired of eating the same thing everyday so I staged a revolt and went out to eat breakfast complete with eggs, bacon, and pancakes. I am not sorry!!

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This is a tough one… First time dealing with the loss of a pet. About half way through my time away, my husband had to make the choice to put down our boy Simon. It was a bit easier for me because I wasn’t around to witness it and I am also a bit more level-headed in situations like this. But that may be what made it harder for me; I couldn’t be there for my husband when he needed someone. I had the support of my new “family” while he only had the support of one of his best friends. Thank goodness for that one friend.

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Simon smiling on his last day.

Last but not least..My first time doing something totally alone, for myself. I got married when I was 19 and since then have been doing EVERYTHING with my husband. I have a 9 year old daughter, so the last 9 years have been spent doing almost everything with her as well. For me, doing things all alone involve me being alone at home or going grocery shopping. This was yet another road on my journey that I never expected.

I spent 24 days without my husband or daughter. I spent them in a “foreign” place. I shacked up with 7 other ladies in a dorm. I lived with 15-20 strangers for 24 days. I drove 6 hours in the truck to and from the ashram (I think I’ve topped out at 3 hour drives). I lived and survived on my own for the month. That’s the gist of it really. I elected to live away from my family and go on this crazy journey and I had to problem with it. I jumped in head first and it was AMAZING! I could easily say that being a military kid and wife prepared me for such a road, but I like to think that I am just awesome to be able to handle this kind of thing. 😉

What a trip!!

Stay tuned for more exciting posts coming soon!!

From Guide to Teacher #NamasteTuesday

I became a yoga teacher a little over a year ago. And I know that even though I am not certified, I am still a teacher. But when I tell people that I teach I sometimes use the word “guide” rather than teacher because I am not certified. I tend to get self-conscious about using the word “teacher” because I have never been formally trained. I have attended classes, but I am mostly self-taught. I have never been taught how to teach, I just gave it a try and found out I am pretty darn good at it. And while I feel confident as a teacher/guide, there are still some aspects of teaching a class that I could use a bit more confidence. Well…the time has finally arrived.

I am going to officially get my 200 hour yoga certification next month! WOOO!!!!

I have been talking about doing it for a while. Not only to be more confident when I teach, but mostly for myself. There is only so much that you can teach yourself. And there is sooooooo much more that I have to learn. But there have always been obstacles. First of course is money. It ain’t cheap to get your certification. The second obstacle has been scheduling. Although I don’t work and you would think I have all the time in the world, I don’t. Especially on the weekends. And yoga cert classes are not on YOUR schedule. Most of them are only one weekend a month; Friday evening, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday. Even though that’s only one weekend a month we have to work around, that’s a lot of work. And we only have one car and a kid. So making sure my husband is going to be home on time for me to drive for an hour and make it to class, and then if my daughter had somewhere to be on the weekend…you get it. One weekend can really mess things up. We were, of course, going to make it work, but it was going to be tough. Until the Kula Kamala Foundation popped up on our search.

One other quick thing that was going to be tough with the other classes, a lot of them required that you go to their studios at least once a week to attend a class. Again, I would have to really rework my schedule to be able to do this. Oh, another thing, it seemed to me that a lot of the classes are also geared towards getting your certification so you can turn around the find a job as a teacher. I don’t need that. Sure, in the future my certification will make it easier to get a job, but at this point I am not looking for ways to market myself. So….

There were a couple classes that I was going to settle for. We were going to make it work. And then Kula Kamala came up. I don’t even know how my husband found it because it isn’t local. But this was THE one. This one has everything I was looking for and more. First, it’s not as expensive, and let’s be honest, that is always a plus. Second, it’s all done in one month. One super long, intense month, but no big schedule changes. Including not having to find child care because my daughter is on her own vacation until school starts. Double win! Third, and this is the pretty cool part, I am going to live and be fed at the school for the entire time, and that’s part of the tuition. And four, this class seems to be more about the spiritual side of yoga, while also teaching you how to guide others. This is going to be so crazy and awesome!

I have never done something like this. I have never lived on my own. I have never done something like this where I leave the family for an extended period of time. And I’ve never imagined I’d go off to live in Pennsylvania with a bunch of other yogi weirdos (I’m definitely one of those so I am not making fun of anyone) for a month. It’s going to be fantastic. I am going to be mingling with my people. I am going to be completely immersed in yoga for a month. And I get to experience a ton of things I have never had the chance to before.

I am also going to be vegan for the month. The food served is all local or homegrown at the school and it’s all vegan or vegetarian. I am honestly not sure what there will be that is vegetarian, (milk?) so I am going to assume that it will be almost 100% vegan. I am pretty excited about this too. When I think about eating a vegan diet I always say, “That would be great…if someone else made the food for me.” You want to cook vegan for me? Perfect. I have to prepare everything and buy new things and learn new recipes? No thanks. So the fact that I will be eating this way because it’s what is being put in front of me is going to make it a helluva lot easier to try. Not like I’ll have a choice, LOL! But I am honestly excited. I have not, until now, realized that most of the yogis I know or follow online are all vegan. So it will be interesting to see what it does for my mind. I am very eager to see what it does for my skin, if anything. I suffer from acne and cannot figure out what the hell causes it. Maybe it is something in animal products. I have read about it being caused by dairy but I do not eat a ton of dairy. But you never know.

You won’t see a blog from me in a while since I’ll be very busy, but I will definitely find time to journal and blog when I return.

The next time you see me, I should will be able to say with confidence, “I am a yoga TEACHER.”

And for fun, here’s me smiling while inverted. 🙂

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Summer Farmin’ #FarmlifeFriday

Happy Friday, everyone! Since my last post a lot has changed. Let’s start with Frenchie.

She was our hen that was broody, a.k.a got baby fever. Well, her attempt at motherhood failed. It could have been a number of things. It could have been that the garage was too cool. It could have been the fact that only 2 of the 5 eggs were actually fertilized. Or it could have just been how nature intended. She sat diligently on those eggs but in the end, 1 burst, 2 got stinky, the other 2 never hatched, and she ended up abandoning the nest. The good thing is that she was welcomed back into the flock just fine. And she got over the broodiness even though she never actually hatched any eggs.

And now Hagrid is broody!! I have read that it can be contagious. I don’t know if that is the case here because Frenchie wasn’t around the other birds, but in any case, Hagrid is trying her hand at motherhood now. But this time we are not going to move her. We are going to let her do her thing in the coop and hope for the best. She still comes out in the morning to eat and dust bathe, and then goes back and sits on her potential babies. She has 3 eggs, 1 is hers and the other 2 were laid the day after she turned broody, so I put them under her.

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We think she’ll be a great mama so hopefully nature works in our favor this time.

Here’s a couple of the other birds this morning lounging in the tall grass…

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And Carl. He is still such a purdy bird!!

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I didn’t realize until just now that the last post also included a snake. Funny, this one will also include a new snake story.

I’m becoming quite the serpent master around here. And I have to do most of this on my own because my husband is constantly gone for work. Side note, he thinks it’s hot that I can handle this kind of stuff on my own, LOL! Especially because he will admit, he is not “wildery” and doesn’t care for snakes or spiders. Anyway, I was out to dinner with friends and came home around 10pm. I went to the coop to close it up and count the birds. I counted all 8 birds and 1 non-bird.

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I wasn’t quite panicking, but I wasn’t very calm either. The main thing was that I was alone, it was dark, and I only have so many hands. I managed to get the snake towards outside the coop, but then I kind of stopped because one, I didn’t have my boots on, it was dark, and I didn’t have a real idea of what I was going to do after I got him out. I kept scooting him around with the rake and then he slithered out of the door towards outside. Again, no real shoes on, so I was tip-toeing around with the rake and fighting with this snake; he was pretty strong. I have a tarp around the bottom of the coop and he ended up going inside there. At this point I went inside to get my boots and reassess. It’s getting closer to 11, should I just leave him? Should I shoot him? No, not at 11pm. What to do? I got my boots on and went back out. I used the rake and felt around the tarp and realized he was inside the bottom, stuck. PERFECT! I unhooked the tarp from the coop and used the rake to drag him, inside the tarp, all the way to the other side of the yard, still holding my cell phone as a flashlight. I would just have to figure out my next course of action in the daylight.

The next morning I did not have time to deal with snake shenanigans before Reining Hope, so I made sure he wasn’t in the coop and took off. When I came back in the afternoon he was back in the coop, already digesting an egg. I started to attempt to get him out again and realized that unless I planned on grabbing him with my hand I wasn’t going to be able to hold the coop door open and get him out with the rake without another pair of hands. Luckily my friends were coming over. So I waited. When they arrived, my friend held the coop door open while I found the snake’s head. I pushed it down with the rake, switched to me holding the door, and my friend grabbed his tail and pulled him out of the coop. Once he was out of the coop, we switched it up where he held his head with the rake and I took a hold of the snake. This was intense but so awesome at the same time.  All my dreams of being like Steve Irwin came true!!

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I did not plan to kill the snake for a few reasons. These guys aren’t bad. They are non-venemous, good for rodent control, and since snakes are territorial they will deter other snakes, like bad ones. But he couldn’t stay close and threaten the flock and continue to eat eggs. So my friend and I walked him about 2 acres away and set him free. He slithered in the opposite direction of the house so that’s a plus. But if/when he or one of this friends comes back, I’ll be ready!

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The garden is growing like crazy! I haven’t had to buy vegetables in forever and I am giving so much away because I just can’t eat this much. If you follow my Instagram (there’s a link on the right side of the page) you’ve seen all my zucchini selfies. They are HUGE!! And so are the cucumbers. I’ve had to start to enjoy cucumbers. I was never a fan but they aren’t that terrible. They are even better with ranch dip. They just aren’t my favorite but I love eating something that I grew.

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Here’s today’s harvest. I put the cherry maters and eggs next to everything for scale. The maters are just now starting to ripen here and there. But all my plants have green tomatoes. I see a lot of salsa and sketti sauce in my future because again, I am not a mater fan. My husband is though, so as long as he is around, those will be eaten.

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A friend of mine let me borrow a zucchini cookbook, so I found some recipes to try. I REALLY need to because this is getting crazy! I am very happy to share though and promote farm to table.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Happy Summer!!!!

 

A Mama & A Serpent #FarmlifeFriday

Since my last farming post, we have had a couple big events happen over here. The first, Frenchie is still sitting on eggs. By the time you read this, she will be on her 22nd day of laying on the eggs. We never candled them, checked for life, we decided to just let her do her thing and let nature do it’s thing. So it will be interesting to see exactly what happens. So far we haven’t heard any cheeping out there but we still have time.

I caught this photo earlier this week. Frenchie was getting a drink. She was there for a second and then right back on her eggs. We get nervous that she isn’t doing well but when I check on her I’ll notice that she’ll be looking one way and then the next day she’ll be facing the other way. And I know she knows what she’s doing so I shouldn’t worry. But that mama thing kicks in and I want to make sure she’s all good. 20170606_122754

Next up on the farm update…I went to get eggs out of the nesting box the other day and had an unexpected visitor.

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Not a super dangerous little guy, but he was eating my breakfast!! I always go in the yard expecting a snake because I know they are out there, but it is always so startling when you actually see one. This guy was about 4 feet long.

Took the girls about a week to start laying in the nesting box again. We thought they had either given up or started laying somewhere else in our five-ish acres. So I went on an egg hunt the other day with no luck. Then for some reason I was looking in the bottom of the coop and in the way back corner that we can’t see, a huge pile of eggs!! Luckily they’ve gone back to laying in their designated spots now.

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Here’s a picture of all the birds on the porch, just for fun.

And in other ranch/farm type news, I am getting more acquainted with the horses at Reining Hope. (I am linking you to the newsletter page so you can check out the Spring 2017 one if you so wish. Might see a familiar face in one of the articles) I think I’ve said before that I did not grow up around horses and I do not know much about them. But I was around them a couple weekends ago and this particular one, Beau, was very affectionate most the day. Yes, he’s nibbling on my shoulder.

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Hopefully my next post will be about new baby chicks!! Happy Friday!!

 

The Purge! #JTM

I know I already had a Volume 1 of the purge post but this really should have been the first one. The other one I wrote was more spontaneous while this one was more thought out.

As I mentioned, we are slowly working on our journey towards minimalism. As soon as I watched that documentary I immediately started looking around the house at things I didn’t need. The first purge was clothes.

I purge my clothes pretty often. I used to be a clothes hoarder. I would keep ALLLLLL my t-shirts from forever ago because at one point I loved them. Then I got pregnant and most of my clothes never fit me again. Purge. Then I started losing weight and clothes didn’t fit. Purge. But I would still keep a lot. WHY?!? One day I read something about cleaning out your closet and it stuck, and it’s what I ask myself whenever I clean my closet. “Weather dependent, would I put this on today and wear it?” If the answer is no, it goes. It’s really that simple. And you know what? I don’t miss any of those things I got rid of. Another rule someone mentioned that is a good one: if you buy something new, something old needs to go. It really keeps you from frivolous buying. I purge my clothes seasonally and it seems to be working for me.

But I was not the only one purging this time. My husband purged his clothes and I think he had 3 times as many bags as me. While I hoard shirts, he hoards pants. He had stacks of jeans that he never wears. Why? Because he might wear them someday. Would he put them on that day and wear them out? NO? Out they go!!

Here’s our SHARED closet after we were done. Most of our clothes are foldable and are in cube-type storage (Ikea stuff) but this is all that hangs.

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You can see my husbands current pile of pants, lol. He is rotating his clothes so only shorts are out for wearing now. I have to cut him some slack though because he needs more clothes for his job. He can’t just dump everything when he has uniforms and certain clothes for certain jobs.

Next was the craft closet. I say craft because it’s in our craft room but really it’s the “catch-all” closet. The place you put everything you don’t really have a place for. Also where you throw everything you don’t want to see. I wish I took before photos. Grrr! But still, it’s a thousand times cleaner and more organized than it was.

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That white hanging compartment was full of shoes. I think I kept one pair. I even went through all those plastic drawers and organized them. I was putting in work.

Next was the kitchen. This was the next biggest purge after the clothes as far as how much I got rid of. Why did I need 14 dinner plates when we are a family of 3? Why did I need 44,000 plastic cups? Why did I need to start collecting mugs when I only drink out of one? And why did I keep things just for the sake of keeping them? Do you have an answer because I sure don’t.

I kept our one set of 8 dishes; large plates, small plates, bowls, and mugs. I got rid of all the other dishes. If we happen to have a party or something I’ll buy paper plates. It’s really that easy. I kept about 10 mugs that meant something to me. I kept about 10 drinking glasses and a few plastic ones for the child. I went through all the plastic tumbler-type cups and matched them with their lids. No match, why do I have you!?! The biggest part of this purge was getting rid of glasses and cups we NEVER EVER use. The ones you get when you buy the special drink at a restaurant but you never use the cup again. The flasks that were a fun gift because they had a mustache on them but have never been used because we don’t drink liquor from a flask, lol. All gone!! And now I have empty shelves. WHOA!

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I also went through the drawers. Why was I hoarding steak knives when we only use the 4 new ones?

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The top left photo is all the silverware that WAS mixed in in the drawer. I had wayyyy too much. The photo on the right of the drawers is great because previously you could not see the bottom of either of those drawers.

So what did I do with all the other dishes and stuff? Well, I’ll tell you. A lot I put in that huge pile for a yard sale. And some of it I wrapped up nicely and put in boxes for my daughter when she moves out (she’s 9 now). I had a set of China that my abuelos gave to me when I got married. It used to be our normal dishes until I bought something new. It’s a great set with dinner plates, small plates, tea cups, saucers, a platter, a huge bowl, tea pot, and sugar container. It’s really a perfect set of dishes that was collecting dust in my cabinet. So that will be given to my daughter. Basically, my daughter’s kitchen will be fully equipped. She will have all the dishes, glasses, mugs, and utensils. But only the things she will use. And the cool part is that they will all mean something to her. The mugs I chose to give her, rather than sell, are all from places she’s been as well. And if she decides she doesn’t want all that stuff at some point, it will be hers to decide.

Not pictured but another big purge was our movies. Sure we love movies, especially without cable, but there were so many we never watch and probably won’t ever again. I have a giant black garbage bag full of movies to sell. Also not pictured, on Easter my daughter and I purged her room. She’s really good at it. She is a small time hoarder of things “she might play with later” but she still understands and is willing to part with a lot.

I think the craziest part so far is seeing how much shit we had upstairs with us that wasn’t bringing any meaning to our life. I’ll show you this photo again…

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ALL of this stuff for the yard sale was upstairs. I can’t. I don’t even get it.

So now the storage purge continues. After my last post we stopped going through everything because we were headed to a friend’s house, but we emptied 4 boxes. We have a pile set aside to keep, a pile to burn/toss, and then we’ll add to the yard sale pile. It’s a good time going through the stuff because I do keep some really cool things that mean things to my husband even though he had no idea they did. I kept a box full of the letters he received when he was in basic training and overseas. He didn’t know they were still around and he really enjoyed reading some, especially the ones from family members who have passed away. So really it always comes down to that question…”Does this bring me happiness?” Sometimes you find things that truly do make you happy and those are the thing we won’t ever get rid of. But if we have no connection to items anymore, out they go.

Winner! Winner!!

I didn’t eat my chicken for dinner!!! LOL!!! This is not a farm post; it’s a yoga post! I am a yoga winner!!

You know how I am always blogging about the yoga challenges on Instagram? Previously I always thought that the point of these challenges was just to promote, network, and work on yoga. I think I even wrote once that there was really no end game, this was just a way for me to practice poses I may not usually do. And I’ve made a lot of new “friends” and learned a lot from watching all kinds of different people do their own variations of the poses. Anyway…turns out there are winner of these challenges! What?! And guess who won? Yours truly!! Gah!! It was so awesome!

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That’s me up there in the right hand corner!!! Of course as soon as I won I text Isis! Then my husband! I was happy with just being recognized! How awesome! Out of however many different people from all over the world who participated, they chose me as a winner! Awesome!! Then it got better. I learned that I would get a prize! I was totally expecting a gift certificate or a coupon. But no. I won a yoga wheel! No questions asked. (Well, they asked for my address. LOL!!) WHAT?!?!

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This thing is awesome! I had never tried a wheel but had seen them used in various ways. This one is from https://www.shaktiyogawheel.com/ and it’s amazeballs! It’s super strong and durable and has yoga mat all the way around for comfort and stability.

I didn’t even warm up before I used it. I just hopped right into a backbend and ohhhh emmmmm geeee!! It felt soooooooo good! I sighed the longest sigh of comfort!! I never knew I needed this wheel until today.

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Currently doing two more yoga challenges this month. It’s making for a very well-rounded practice having to try all new things. And again, it is so rewarding just to participate, try new things, push myself, and have a blast with other yogis.

And I totally forgot,  I was gifted a new shirt yesterday.  It’s kinda the most perfect shirt ever. #hippiesoul

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Purging Volume 1 #JTM

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I am currently in my basement going through storage stuff and thought I’d share a couple pictures.  This is what the purge looks like.  The photo above is my current garage sale pile.  I’ll post a more in depth post at a later time about exactly what’s in the photo, but that’s just the start.

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This is the side of storage boxes we are currently going through.  So far we’ve gone through about 4 boxes,  made a small keep pile, a huge trash pile, and a burn pile.

Asking ourselves these questions… Does this make me happy?  Is this thing in a box bringing meaning to my life? Will our daughter care about this when she’s older? If the answer is no,  to the trash it goes.

 

p.s. I might be a bit of a hoarder

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