Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Mindful Life




My last semester of graduate school I took a mindfulness and health class. Some of the principles I’ve learned have been really helpful on my healthy journey. One comment my professor made that really stuck with me was rarely do we work on a task and give it our complete attention. Our mind is usually juggling a million other things that we have to take care of. Do laundry, wash hair, go grocery shopping, edit that paper. It eats away at our time. We don’t fully exist in the present moment because we’re so busy planning for the next ones. When she said this I could totally relate. As students especially, you have so many responsibilities to take care of that it seems crazy to not multitask. What I realized though, was that she was not saying don’t plan ahead or think about the future. In fact, she was encouraging that we do. Create a list of things that you have to do, prioritize the list, and focus on tasks one at a time. For the sake of full disclosure, I’m still working on this one. Why? Because it’s hard! It’s easy to get sidetracked, and I don't know if I’ll ever "master" it. I have noticed though, that when I am able to give a task my undivided attention, I complete it much faster. This week, choose one task on your to do list, completely focus on that task until it's completed, and see how much faster you’re able to complete it. It may surprise you!
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ready for Fall




Top, Vest, Skirt: Forever 21, Shoes: Bakers, Purse: American Threads, Watch: Asos, Leather Bracelet: Charleston City Market, Sunnies: Dolce & Gabbana



The names of some of the dishes we sampled. The souffle and the salad were both delicious as well!  

I’m SO ready for fall, particularly fall fashion and fall food. Yesterday, I went to a tasting event at Panera Bread where I got to sample a few of their new fall menu items. My favorite was their autumn squash soup with toasted pumpkin seeds. It was like Thanksgiving in a bowl! I also got to sample some of their popular classics like their broccoli cheddar soup and fuji chicken apple salad, both of which I had never tried. They were super yummy. They sent us off with a Panera tote, a freshly baked baguette, a chocolate chip cookie, and a recipe card for one of the items we sampled. While I have given up virtually all fast food, Panera is the reason why I have to say virtually. I love Panera. Although, technically they’re considered fast food, I think they’re in a league all their own. They use fresh, quality ingredients, and their food is delicious. Plus with the caloric information listed on their menus, it’s a lot easier to make smarter food choices. What are some of your favorites from Panera? Tell me in the comments!

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Safari Style


zebra top forever 21



Top: Forever 21,  Jeans: Kohl's, Shoes: Topshop, Bag: Asos
On Sunday I decided to take a little break from working on PhD applications, and went to Target with my sis to see if I could snag a few items from the Phillip Lim for Target collection. Fall is literally nipping at our heels so I wanted to soak up the last few official days of summer with this breezy, sleeveless almost crop top from Forever 21. By the time I got to Target I could definitely tell that the collection had been picked through. Although, I’m not sure this particular Target had the collection in its entirety to begin with. The designated Phillip Lim space was quite small and I know he had well over 50 pieces in his collection. Anyhow, I managed to find one of his sweaters (the green and blue one) in my size. I was in like not in love so I decided to leave without it, but I did find another great sweater that I loved for half the price…score! Of course, I also had to check out their shoe selection. They had a lot of cute options but one unlikely pair stood out to me. First, let me say that I am not a big sneaker person. I admire them on other people but for some reason I’ve never really liked how they look on me. Despite this, I’m trying to give them another chance. I found some really cute wedge sneakers but I wasn’t 100% sure if I’d actually wear them so I decided to think about it and come back if need be. We’ll see if they make an appearance later. I hope you all had a great weekend!

Finishing touches make the outfit! Giraffe studs and an elephant cuff both from Forever 21.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Slow and Steady Wins the Race


There’s a lesson to be learned from the tortoise and the hare, besides the fact that trash talkers rarely prosper. It’s that making small consistent steps towards a goal will eventually lead to accomplishing that goal. When I decided to improve my diet and regularly exercise, I was focused on sustainability. I wanted to make changes that worked for my lifestyle and that I would be able to maintain long-term. The key to sustainability for me was small, incremental changes. In fact, I had been making small changes to my diet since 2009. First it was switching to whole wheat whole grain everything, then came cutting out virtually all fast food and red meat, only drinking water, reducing my sodium intake, and increasing my intake of fruits, vegetables, and fish.
Don't mind all of the labels!  I've heard too many horror stories about sleazeball companies searching for before and after pics on the internet and then using them to try to sell their products.  I don't want to become one of those stories. These pictures are close to 5 years apart. It takes time but change is possible if you're consistent and persistent. 

My diet today has completely changed from what it was 4 to 5 years ago. The good thing is because I introduced changes one at a time, I gave my mind and body the chance to get used to those changes. When I started regularly working out at the beginning of 2013, I wanted to apply the same principle. I started with 3 days a week, adding an additional day after each month until I got to 6 days per week when I did Insanity. I’ve since come back down to 5 workouts per week and that works well for my lifestyle. What I hope you take from this is that you don’t have to make Goliath-sized leaps to accomplish your goals; small steps can be equally effective. We live in a society obsessed with instant gratification, which can affect virtually every aspect of our lives. Often with physical health, instant gratification very rarely leads to sustained gratification.  Apart of my healthier lifestyle is that I now value the latter much more than the former. 

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Developing Your Inspiration Stream


We all need to be inspired, so it’s important that we have places we can go to soak up some inspiration or positivity. So what exactly is an inspiration stream? Great question. An inspiration stream is a collection of sources (read: anything) that you can turn to for inspiration. Yes I made that up! The idea is that you don’t have to go digging for inspiration when you need it most. You can turn to the sources in your inspiration stream and let inspiration find you. Developing an inspiration stream is as simple as taking note of the people, places, sights, and smells that inspire you and drum up your inner artist. You can keep this list on your phone, iPad, or whatever the latest techno gadget is so it’s always with you and can be easily updated when you find new sources. To help you get started crafting your own inspiration streams, I’ll share a few sources on my list.

Inspiration can come in the most unlikely places or forms. These are a just a few items that I've come across and found to be fun and inspirational.

Some of the sources in my inspiration stream:

Taking long drives by myself – I love the time alone to think about my future, specific goals I’d like to accomplish, and ideas for pieces that I want to write.

Sitting outside on a sunny day – There’s something about a perky blue sky that gets me excited. Possibilities seem endless and the world seems like a happier place.

Music – I imagine this one is a source of inspiration for many people. Music is such a powerful force. It can get us moving, change our mood, and restore faith. This is a pretty broad source but there are a few songs I immediately think of like Moon by Emily King or Clocks by Coldplay.

Books – I saw a quote on Pinterest that said “Warning: reading inspires genius” and I completely agree with this! So often when I read, I find myself putting the book aside for a second so I can jot down an idea the book just inspired. No wonder I’m a slow reader!

Do you have an inspiration stream? If so, what are some of the things on your list? Tell me in the comments!

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Google MD


We’re all guilty of it. One day you’re not feeling well so you decide to google your symptoms and uh oh. What was a simple sore throat has transformed into a rare form of esophageal cancer leaving you with only 6 months to live. Google can really do a number on your psyche. A week later when the doctor tells you it was in fact just a sore throat you realize you wasted the entire week trying to decide who would get your collection of vintage tees. I’ve done this to myself countless times, and somehow Google always produces the most devastating results first.  In these instances, I felt like I had to know and once I did I panicked until a doctor told me that everything was, in fact, going to be okay.


When I was feeling under the weather a few weeks ago, I decided that this cycle needed to be broken. I desperately wanted to google “fatigue” and “dizziness,” to see what diagnosis Google would give me, but I resisted and went to see a doctor instead. The doctor ran some tests and told me that it was just dehydration, and to get plenty of water and rest. Per his orders I did just that and have since been feeling much better. The lesson here: resist the urge to be an internet doctor and go see a real one.

Caveat: Trust your gut. If you feel like something is seriously wrong and requires immediate attention call 911.

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