A Special Father’s Day Post

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there! I thought I’d share some lessons my Dad has taught me over the years. But first a little background: He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, ran a family owned restaurant, worked as the Chief of my grandfathers Country Club and is a semi-retired successful businessman.

How to cook pasta-this something he learned growing up and passed down to my siblings, nephews and I earlier this year-See the post I wrote about here: How to make fresh pasta

The fun of cooking-When I was growing up he would cook me pancakes with an A in the center!

He can always tell you what the weather forecast is!

A love for cooking for family and community-During the holidays he cooks a prime rib dinner and Italian soup, and chicken and burgers for the annual family summer picnic.He works the church dinners which serve hundreds of people.

How to be a good sport-He danced with me during my senior year dance recital to I’ve Had the Time of My Life. He and my Mom dance every Friday night with friends.

He’s shown the work it takes to be a successful businessman which is long hours, dedication and partnerships.

A love for his home-He always does a beautiful job with the landscaping around the house, he has a garden and has hanging flowers on the front and back decks.

He has an incredible knack for knowing directions! Wherever you are, he can tell you exactly what roads lead home.

Love you, Dad!

Motivational Monday: Body Positivity

Last week, I posted a picture of me on my Instagram at Pure Barre, ready for class and received a lot of positive feedback so I thought I’d share more today. Here’s what I wrote in the comments on IG:

“I’ve found the best way to be body positive is to be mindful of the workout I’m doing rather than focus on my weight or giving up during class. I know the more classes I attend and the healthier I eat my body will adjust to being tone.

When you find a workout you’re passionate about it’ll make wanting to workout easier.”

Many people found the message inspiring and I hope you do too! I’ve learned that every time you enter the doors of a gym, studio or decide to workout on your own-you’re far from giving up. I’ve also learned that there’s a difference between giving up from exhaustion and giving up mentally. You need to fight the mental saying of “I can’t” and keep going because if you’re in a class, the class doesn’t stop so if you stop because you tell yourself you can’t do something you’ll only stop to get back up. But if you stop from exhaustion it’s okay to give yourself a break.

As far as weight goes, if you’re attending classes regularly and eating healthy the weight will come off, just be patient.

How do you deal with body positivity?

Tips for Weekly Meal Planning

If you’ve made yourself a weekly food budget, you know how important it is to stick to it. The question is: Are you making the right decisions when it comes to buying food based on how much you eat per week? Do you under or over buy? As I mentioned in other blog posts, I’ve realized the importance of buying freezer meals-they last longer than fresh food and you don’t have to eat it all at once. Also, buying food in bulk can save money in the long run. When it comes to fresh food, you need to decide what meals you’ll be eating the food with or else it will go to waste (I’ve been guilty of this!). This all comes down to weekly meal planning.

Make meal planning easier by knowing: Exactly what you’re going to eat every meal, how much food you need to buy, the cost of the food and what foods will last the week or longer.

Tip: It’s also helpful to know what you already have at home that can go with your meals, so it’s best to make a list at home. I’m guilty of making a mental list of what I need and spend way too long at the grocery store trying to remember what I already have at home.

Basically, the longer your food lasts, the farther your money will go. Personally, my meal planning is about 50/50 with fresh and frozen/pantry items. Because I know what fresh items I need to buy each week, it will save time on meal planning. I can incorporate the fresh foods into weekly meals without over planning on what to eat. This also saves me from buying extra food-like if I want a small dose of something but don’t plan to incorporate it into another meal then I’ll wait until I plan an entire meal around that specific food.

What are some tips you have for meal planning?

Motivational Monday: Make Use of Your Time

What would you do if you had all the time in the day to do anything you wanted? Would you start a new hobby or work on one the one you’re currently doing, travel, workout, spend time with loved ones.

Did you know that we spend our free time doing exactly what we want (within our means)? Whether we need a break to just watch a movie/TV show or scroll through social media. But what if you could turn that time around and spend it doing something that will make you really happy? What if you spent that time doing one of the things mentioned above and it inspired you to start something new?

Sometimes when we take a break, it will inspire us to be more creative. Thoughts will come pouring in about what we should be doing. All we have to do is listen to them and then take action. Whatever that thing was that came to mind was there for a reason and it’s telling us that this is what we want. Maybe it’s to travel to another country, go visit a friend in another state, join a group that interests you, start a new career or move to new state.

If you decide to move forward with your thoughts, make a plan to execute, save money if needed and see where it takes you! Once you get there, write down your thoughts from how spending this time doing what you wanted made you feel and recognize if it’s something you’d do again.

How do you make use of your time? Has something inspiring ever come to you where you listened to it and it changed you? Please let me know in the comments!

Lessons I’ve Learned While Blogging

Blogging is a never ending journey. It’s a place to always learn and create and always have lessons to share. So, here are some of the lessons I’ve learned so far after five months of blogging:

Consistency-I know this one of the things bloggers struggle most with (and I have too in the past). So, how I’ve found to combat this is to pick a day or two to write my posts. For me, those days are on the weekend. If I have a weekend with no plans I’ll spend the morning running errands, working out either in the morning or early afternoon, cleaning, laundry and then in the early evening I’ll sit down to blog. Because I’m mindful of knowing that I’m going to blog on the weekends, in the evenings when the house work is done, it helps my mind to be calm. I can focus on getting my blog content written and know that anything I still need to do can be done another day.

The other thing that helps with consistency is to know what I want to write about. I have my week planned out based on the topics such as: motivation, food, shopping, lessons or blogging. I then pick a day for each of those topics and write the article (this is where a content calendar would come into play). Within each topic I’ll think about a post I want to write. Sometimes I’ll write down what I want to say on paper and then transfer it over to the laptop-transferring makes the process fast because you’re just rewriting everything without thinking too much (just be mindful of errors or changes you want to make). Otherwise, I’ll write the post on my laptop.

Put the phone away-I have a rule when I blog and it is to leave my phone in another room. This helps to keep distractions limited because my phone’s social media and email notifications go off all the time. When this happens I normally click to: read the email, see who liked my post, who is now following me, etc. I also leave the phone on silent which really helps from having no distractions.

Be positive-The best part about blogging for me, is to show people a positive message in the world. I love to share that it’s okay to struggle with things as long as you come out of it with a positive message to say that something was really hard but this is how I made it out of that time in my life.

The blog is yours-I realized today that the reason I love my blog is because it is mine. I don’t have someone telling me, you should do this or change this to read like that. I love being able to choose my own topics and have others be interested in the same subject as me. Blogging provides a space of freedom for anyone looking to embrace their talents, let other’s learn from you and you learn from others. I never thought I’d love learning as much as I do from reading blogs, listening to podcasts and writing my own blog content. The best part is to make it your own, show who you are and help others.

You can choose your environment-During the spring/summer/fall months I write at a desk surrounded by pretty flowers, my favorite blogging mug, notebook, pen and a nice message written on a chalkboard to motivate me. During the winter I’ll write in my living room with the TV playing music to help motivate me. I also love working from coffee shops, being around other people motivate me to do work.

New blog post ideas-When I have an idea for a post my mind never stops thinking about it until I’ve written it. Normally, my ideas are titles for posts and then one or two ideas of content. I’ll write these in a notebook and come back to them when I’m ready to write. Once I begin writing the post all comes together and the ideas start flowing. I’ll stop either when the post is complete or when I need a break. Sometimes it’s good to come back to content either a few hours later or the next day to read from a new perspective.

What are lessons you’ve learned while blogging? I’d love to know! 🙂

 

How to Resist Foods-And Why I’m Giving Up Chocolate for the Month of June

Here’s why I decided to take on this challenge-I want personal growth of not relying on chocolate to be the only satisfying food in my life. Immediately after dinner I’ll want chocolate and it doesn’t matter if I’m full from dinner or not, I just want it, so I’ll eat it regardless. However, I’ve realized that the foods you don’t have in your home means you can’t eat them. It’s been YEARS since I’ve walked down the cookie and soda aisle to pick up a box of cookies or bottle of soda. I realize now I can incorporate this same method into buying healthier items instead of something chocolatey for after dinner-like ice cream, chocolate ice cream sandwiches, etc. Last year, I realized that every time I bought a regular size tub of ice cream I’d devour it in a LESS THAN A WEEK. Once I caught on to doing this, I stopped buying it, again, I didn’t walk down the ice cream aisle.
I’m not saying I’m never going to buy or eat chocolate again. I’m doing this experiment to see how much will power I have to go without chocolate for one month and to make myself eat healthier options after dinner and on the weekends as a snack.
Here are my tips when it comes to self-resistance of chocolate or any food you’re trying to avoid while shopping at the grocery store:
1. Have a positive mindset-Tell yourself that you’re taking on this challenge for a good reason. Decide what you want to substitute chocolate (or any food) for. For me, this is fruit-raspberries, grapes, blackberries or blueberries. While I know fresh fruit can be pricey, it’s also substituting for the chocolate I’m not buying, which ultimately costs the same price.

2. Do not walk down the grocery aisle that the food you need to avoid is in-This is simpler than it sounds. If you’re trying to avoid eating cookies, don’t walk down the cookie aisle. IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE FOOD IN YOUR HOME, YOU CAN’T EAT IT. This is why it’s important to make substitutions instead of going cold turkey. Because I’m use to eating chocolate after dinner, my rule is to either make dinner portions big enough so I’m full or subbing chocolate for fruit.
**If for some reason you have to walk down this particular aisle, be mindful by telling yourself not to stare at the items and keep walking.

3. Give yourself a timeline-Make this sustainable-not too long or too short. You want to give yourself enough time to really explore how you feel about the challenge. Do you have cravings or is the fruit you’re eating keeping you satisfied?

4. Think about the benefits of why you’re making this change-Mine is for health and mindfulness reasons. After graduating college, I received my first cavity. I was convinced it was from two things, becoming older and years of eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. During college I drank lemonade (hello, sugar overload!) like it was my job. Once I got that cavity filled, I only drank water. I switched my mindset of allowing myself to ONLY drink water. I also want to be more mindful of what I’m putting in my body and knowing when to stop after being full from dinner. I started a workout routine and since then I’ve noticed my body tells me when it’s time to stop eating. Also, the healthier foods you put in, the more energized your body will be!

5. Don’t give up-If you’re going to commit to a challenge for a certain timeframe, make sure to stick to it! Tell your loved ones too, so they won’t tempt you with the foods you’re trying to avoid.
Any of these tips can be useful for changing your lifestyle in many different ways. Create goals and timeframes to accomplish what you’ve set out to do and they’ll become a positive way of life.
What food would you give up for an entire month? Have you ever used any of these tips to accomplish your goals? Please let me know in the comments below!

Motivational Monday-Start Mindfulness Now

Being mindful starts with having a clear mind. So, how do you achieve a clear mind? By making time to do so and by not thinking about what is bothering you but rather acknowledge it and do something mindful for a while. Mindfulness is also being present of your surroundings and of your own self. If a situation you’re in is difficult-a hard workout routine or a difficult time in your life-try to remind yourself you’re going to get past it by remembering that it won’t last forever. In the end whatever you’re going through is a lesson and will make your mind stronger.

You can achieve mindfulness by telling yourself that you’re going to do an activity at a set time. This should calm your mind down from any stress you’re currently having.

Some of the things I enjoy doing to clear my mind include: taking a walk, working out, listening to podcasts, reading books or blog posts. While all of these do clear my mind of stress or negative thoughts, I’m also learning along the way. Listening to a podcast while doing a mindless task like washing dishes means I can focus on what the podcasters are talking about.

I know that some people love working out in the morning and I can totally see why, it’s a great way to get energized for the day (I do this on Saturdays)! I’ve always loved working out at night because I go directly from work to working out. This means I can focus my mind on things like: what the teacher is showing me to do, what everyone around me is doing and what I’m doing. The workout routine is difficult, but being mindful that it won’t last forever and that the results will show my hard work helps to keep my mind positive. Working out helps to clear my mind of work stress that I would have otherwise carried with me on the drive home. For the nights that I’m not working out, I’ll come home and put on a podcast to listen to, to relieve my mind from work or stress.

Any way that you can become more mindful of your current situation is going to make you have a stronger will power to get through anything. When this happens, you’ll be more determined to take on new challenges.

How do you stay mindful? Do you have any tips on being mindful or what you enjoy doing to clear your mind?