Present

January 14

It’s 4 pm on a no-snow snow day. I was not expecting any snow at all (part of my new less-Facebook-time mission means that I am losing out on a large part of my regular news, though I personally think the balance of getting more work done makes up for it) and was surprised enough by the 5:30 am phone call that I just let the computer finish its work and went back to bed.

Present has 2 meanings, right? There is present as in “GIFT”. As in jump around, package under the tree, box wrapped in cool-paper-that-gets-ripped-to-shreds. The kind of present that you shake a little, maybe, where the anticipation is more than half the fun.

And there is present as in NOW. HERE. Point to the ground you are standing on grounding.

Which was today?

I’m of 2 minds about it. I mean, who doesn’t like an unexpected day off? (I still had to work, mind you, but since my kids are old enough to stay home and fend for themselves, that stress was gone.) And scheduled exams didn’t happen, obviously, giving more time (theoretically anyway) for studying.

The thing is, though, that those exams got moved to Friday or next Tuesday. Friday we will be out of town, headed to our belated Christmas gift of a weekend in New York City. And Tuesday was supposed to be a day off from school. All in all, since there was merely a dusting of snow? I think all of us would have preferred to get the day done.

Still the sleeping in, for all of us, felt like a present. The breathing room around schedule, even though it pushed a different schedule tighter, felt good today.

In a way, though there was no anticipation, today was almost about both kinds of present. That’s a pretty good deal for a random snow day, don’t you think?

Want more inspiration on how to be present and give yourself and your loved ones that ultimate gift? Contact me by leaving a message here, find me on Facebook, or seek out my YouTube channel. Together we can make every day into a present.

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SLEEP! (the 2015 version, anyway.)

IMG_0267 (everyone sleeps)

January 13

Sleep. 9 hours. 8 hours. 7. 6543. It’s so easy to get caught in the “ooh I never sleep” trap, and somehow it has become a badge of honor in this nutty American culture of ours to brag about not needing much sleep.

BS.IMG_0318 (everyone sleeps)

Excuse my language, but we need sleep. Our bodies use sleep to recharge. To process. To rejuvenate and rest and just chill out. To push those benefits to the side just to be able to brag about how productive you are? Not so beneficial.

There are a zillion resources out there on this. Mythbusters did a show that showed that driving tired is as bad as driving drunk. Forbes magazine (that bastion of hippy frou frou) has published a piece or two on the importance of sleep. The Huffington Post runs a regular column (and other pieces as well), and Fox (and maybe others) routinely has a sleep expert on their news.

IMG_4766(everyone sleeps!)

Why am I posting this today?

This morning, my alarm went off at 4:55 as per usual. Only this morning, I got up and changed it to 5:45. Yes, I still have a workout to do (and I totally do a better job if I get it in first thing), but last night I did not get into bed until after 10. It was 10:30 before I turned out the light. And that’s just plain not enough sleep for me.

2015 goal – in bed by 9 pm, with lights out no later than 10. If I don’t get that done, then I can’t get up at 5 to get all sweaty.

Besides. If I do an Insanity Max:30 workout later in the day, I can be as loud and as poundy as I want – there’s nobody else’s sleep pattern to disrupt.

I’d love to help you learn to prioritize your sleep. Email me, leave a comment, find me on Facebook or on YouTube. No more tired driving!

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Sunday Monday. Or Sunday Funday. Or Sunday putter day. You decide!

January 12

The weekend was a plug and chug one. I had a blast on Saturday, starting with a gathering of local Beachbody coaches at a quarterly event where we share stories, learn about new offerings from the company and hear training, and get inspired about this amazing company we are a part of. Gives me chills to know that the work we do truly changes lives.IMG_7788 (pic from Super Saturday last October.)

This uplifting morning continued into the afternoon, when I had the privilege of participating in a health and wellness fair at our local Whole Foods. This store in Charlottesville is an absolutely amazing community member, not that I think corporations are people in any way shape or form. But Whole Foods here works to support the community. I know when I went in asking if I could film for Tasty Thursday, thinking the answer would be ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I was very pleasantly surprised by “yes.” (after they checked out the channel to see if I was legit. Fair enough.) They routinely offer fundraising for local non-profits, and they are extremely generous when approached by said non-profits about donations. On Saturday this weekend, they had a “fair” with local providers of health and wellness offerings scattered throughout the store. IMG_9097 (my display)

There were representatives from local gyms. People who have started healthy food offerings (superfood smoothies, anyone?) in their homes. A cooking demonstration of gluten-free, vegan Indian cooking with fresh-ground spices that smelled so good I had a hard time concentrating on my display. People stopped and talked to me and a couple even tried a few workout moves.

IMG_9099 (me and my display. I was right up front!)

What a fun way to spend a Saturday!

And then on Sunday it was fill in the blanks. Do laundry. Tidy all the “stuff” that migrates around the house. Think about what needs to happen all week. Write thank you notes, and condolence notes.

IMG_9105 (some of the cards I keep on hand)

Package items to be mailed out. Make bread and change the sheets and just DO.

It’s amazing how having that day to just putter makes my whole week more centered. Do you have a day (or an hour) like that?

I want to help you find the small things you can do to center yourself. Contact me by leaving me a message here, connect with me on Facebook, or find my YouTube channel. Together we can start every week RIGHT!

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Friday Fight

January 9

IMG_9068

The workout this morning was called Friday Fight (round 1), and in the preamble Shaun T talks about the fight between your body and your mind. Basic point? Your body will want to give out but your mind thinks you can keep going, or the other way around – and the challenge is to get the 2 working in sync.

The structure of this particular workout is slightly different than the rest of them so far. Instead of 20 or 30 seconds of work and then either a “rest” or a switch to a different exercise, this is one solid minute of the same exercise, then immediately switching to the next one. You do get water breaks, but only 2 of them in this workout (as opposed to one every 5 minutes).

A minute is a really long time. Just in case you were wondering.

I can’t say that I did a fabulous job with my fighting. I was looking at the clock and deciding how long I was going to go before I got there (although my first decision said “8 minutes!” and I made it to 11:26) as opposed to going all out until I basically collapsed, which is the general idea. I caught myself twice, once during the tricep dips and once during the plank punches, and made myself go 2 or 3 reps longer than I initially wanted to.

But it made me think. So much of life is like this – a struggle between our minds and something else. I know I felt victorious when I did ONE MORE REP after thinking I needed to stop – my body beat out my brain, and my brain will know next time.

Isn’t that what we need to do to succeed and to grow? To try things we initially think we cannot do, make them work, and then have a new baseline? We are so good at doing that work when we’re kids – think about learning to walk, for instance, or learning to ride a bike. Somehow, somewhere along the line, we lose it. That sense of daring-which-isn’t-daring-except-to-outsiders.

Maybe it’s because kids never think they can’t do something. The world is POSSIBLE to them.

It’s possible to us too. We just need to push beyond what we think we can do, prove we can do the next level up, and keep reaching.

Happy Friday!

I want to help you with your fight. Contact me by leaving me a message here, connect with me on Facebook, or find my YouTube channel. Together we can reach the stars!

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Caramelized onions and mindfulness

January 8

Today’s Tasty Thursday is all about caramelized onions (and I’ll write the description at the end of this blog), but as I wrote the title for this I realized that there are similarities in the slow cooking of onions to transform them into something completely different and the act of slowing down enough to understand what you need.

This morning, my alarm went off at 4:55 am as usual. I turned it off and thought for a moment, realizing I needed more sleep than I needed to get up to jump around with Shaun T. So I did.

And when I got up for real at 5:45, I realized my body was not ready then either. My schedule is a little flexible today, which means I CAN get in my workout later on (not always the case) So I posted in my group that I had a “need a different morning” morning, took my shower, and bustled about the day.

It felt great. Great to acknowledge my mental state. Great to be aware of the “want” and choose that over the “should” – a word that is fast approaching “stupid” as one of my least favorite words ever.

Both caramelized onions and being mindful take some time. They take patience, and an appreciation for what might come. In the case of this morning, for me, it was understanding why I am feeling this way (too little sleep, too cold out, among other factors). In the case of onions, it’s just that it takes time to break down those crunchy layers and reveal the dense sweetness inside.

Go for it. You might be surprised at the transformation. And yes, I’m talking about both. J

IMG_9087CARAMELIZED ONIONS

  • Slice 2-3-5 yellow or red onions VERY thinly.
  • In a sauté pan, heat up 1 TBS olive oil and 1 TBS butter (or 2 TBS olive oil, or coconut oil, or . . .) over medium high heat.
  • Add in onions with ½ tsp salt, and stir. Then leave them alone for a little bit, so they start to release juice. Stir again, then turn the heat down and cook for 25-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions have melted down and are gooey and soft and silky and MMMMMM.

Bonus?

  • Remove onions from the pan. DO NOT CLEAN THE PAN!
  • Add in a little more oil, then toss in a pound or so of sliced mushrooms. Splash a little wine, or balsamic vinegar, or water or stock, then stir all the delicious goodness up from the bottom of the pan.
  • Cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are starting to brown.
  • Stir in 1-2 cloves of minced/pressed garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic starts to smell unbelievable. Remove the mushrooms from the pan.
  • THEN deglaze (which is a fancy way of saying splash liquid of your choice into the pan and stir until the browned bits are picked up) the pan for a quick pan sauce which you can use on WHATEVER. Mmm. Onions. Mushrooms. Sauce. Yes. Just YES!

I’d love to help you find the time to listen to yourself. Email me, leave a comment, find me on Facebook (Badass Chronicles). This transformation stuff is pretty powerful!

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Flexibility

January 7

Sometimes it’s a good thing to go with the flow. When a family member needs attention, for example, that trumps the “planned the night before” schedule.

And that I was asked for attention makes me happy. Happy is badass.

IMG_7488(this has nothing to do with my post. I just like the picture.)

Happy Wednesday!!!

I’d love to help you with your flexibility, both the physical and emotional kind. Email me, leave a comment, find me on Facebook. Together we can make everyday a day to let out your inner badass.

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Preparation

January 6

I’ve fallen in love with my planner. As much as I try to go to an electronic system, as much sense as it makes in this world of waste and STUFF, I find I need the reinforcement of pen to paper (and yes, I am very particular about the kind of pen I like. Pilot G-2 gel pen, in blue ink. Fine point or medium point is less critical, though I prefer the fine point. And do people in your house take your pens too? I digress.)

This is my planner, which you can find at savorthesuccess.com IMG_8256

What do I like about it?

  • I can tell what day to start the week on.
  • Each day has a complete page, plus a spillover page to doodle or make notes.
  • I get to create my schedule. No 15 minute blocks. Just a blank spot called “water cup.”
  • There is a place at the start of every week to BRAIN DUMP, with a reminder that some of this can be delegated and a space to write down that delegation. IMG_8268
  • There is a spot for FROGS (things that HAVE to be done each day, or at least if you get them done you will feel accomplished and victorious.) Three of these.
  • There is a spot for SHIPS, things that you send out into the world not quite knowing whether they will come back, and if they do what they will bring. I can directly attribute my TedX Open Mic talk last October to this section of this planner.
  • There is a reminder on every day to SAVOR something. Talk about a reminder to be grateful! In my planner!!!

planner pic

I’ve been using this for about 4 months now, and I’d say my success rate is close to 90% in terms of using it. That’s a whole lot more consistent than I’ve been with any planner before.

So what’s new? This year, all 6 days of it, I’ve gone to writing down the next day’s Brain Dump, Frogs, Ships, and Water Cup (that would be To Do list, “GOTTA GET DONEs”, “Oooh reach for the moons”, and schedule) at night, before I go to bed. This helps in so many ways, not the least of which it means I have only to look at my list when I get myself going in the morning, instead of working to gear up to think about it all.

Plus it means I have dumped all the “Man, you better remember THAT” onto paper before I go to bed, which means (so far) fewer sit-bolt-upright-in-bed moments. (and if those come? I’ve got my planner next to me, with a pen, to write them down!)

Preparation. Those few minutes the night before mean less hassle and worry in the morning and more peace of mind in the evening.

I’d love to help you with preparation, planning, and execution. Leave a comment below, get in touch with me on Facebook (Badass Chronicles), or subscribe to my YouTube channel!

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