Kale Smoothie

IMG_20140127_112230588Kale Smoothie

Well, it’s definitely green, but it doesn’t taste like kale.  To replicate this lovely shade blend chopped fresh or frozen kale, frozen strawberries, a whole banana, a few frozen blueberries, a few pieces of frozen mango, and a healthy amount of orange juice.  Blend well and add an ice cube or two.  I went heavy on the kale since I don’t typically eat it elsewhere and wanted to fit it in my diet.

And yes, my bananas are starting to turn brown.  I know.  I’m off to come up with more smoothie recipes to try… I LOVE raspberries and also pineapple.  There just must be a way to combine them.  Happy smoothie making!

Smoothie of the Week ~ Watermelon Lime

Refreshing Watermelon/Lime Smoothie

I tried juicing and I’m convinced smoothies are a better choice in order to keep in IMG_20140113_123635650all the nutrition rather than removing all the nutritious pulp. So I’ve decided to try a new smoothie each week. This week I tried a watermelon lime, which since I am dreaming of summer weather fits in just perfectly. The original recipe came from Greenlitebites.  You will love this smoothie if you do not like things that are super sweet.  This has a subtle taste which I love and I have altered the recipe I first found!

You will need a blender and the following ingredients:

1. A large handful of cubed/chopped watermelon

2.  A lime

3. A few pieces of cucumber

4. Honey

5. Chia Seeds

6.  Pinch of salt

7.  Ice

A few more things before the instructions… Cooking (and smoothie makin’) have become a whole lot more fun now that I don’t take any of it too seriously.  There is beauty and tasty treats in imperfection!  You do not need a top of the line, brand name blender or cooking equipment.  You can make do with whatever you have.

Take items 1-6 and place in the blender.  Are you wondering how much honey or how many chia seeds?   Go by your taste.  If you LOVE honey swirl some on in there and don’t be shy.  If you are new to chia seeds, you can omit them or sprinkle in a few to try them out!  Have fun with it.  I really love limes so I squeeze the juice of an entire lime – but most people would be happy with one wedge.  Do it up the way you like it.  Blend it up for a bit and then add some ice.  I did about 8 plus cubes… ish… and here is what I concocted.  IMG_20140113_110844113

NOTE:  This could possibly be the start to a fantastic margarita as well ~ just add tequila!

Stay tuned next week when I figure out how to use frozen kale to make a green smoothie.  Hope you have a happy kitchen experiment ~ Cheers!

Let Go of Guilt and Prioritize

For Zen

For Zen (Photo credit: Auntie P)

One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do is let go of guilt and prioritize my life. I used to live a life where I did what others wanted me to do or in a way to look like the perfect wife, mom, or friend. I thought that good moms spent every waking moment with their children and never took breaks or did things for themselves.  I had been convinced that good wives have spotless homes and cater to thankless and downright mean husbands.

I’ve learned that you can not make everyone happy anyway so the self deprivation goes without appreciation or acknowledgment. I spent almost twelve years doing this. I went without an outlet for my writing and creating. I went without an outlet for physical fitness.  And instead I was driven into a place of obsessive house cleaning and trying to meet unattainable expectations.  I was miserable.

“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.”
― John Maed

Examples of letting go of the guilt can be much the same with material items and non-material items.  The process may sound cold and crass, likely because it is an elimination process and most of society teaches us the exact opposite, that more is better.

I kept trinkets and household items because they were given to me as gifts even though they cluttered my space, it was a duplicate item, and/or I hated how it looked.  In other words, it had no use to me, but Aunt Pat would be so disappointed if she found out I gave away the gift she gave me at my wedding shower.  Now whether Aunt Pat would be upset or not isn’t important, it was that I thought she might be therefore I would keep the lamp she gave me for five years through breaks and re-glues and three moves.  I can tell you that feeling the guilt and passing the lamp along would have actually been the easier thing to do.

“Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”  ~ William Morris’ maxim

I kept friends who talked behind my back because a good friend looks past these things…  I kept friends who took my private words and experiences and shared them with others at my expense in the form of gossip.  Why?  Because I felt guilt of getting rid of, and that I needed to always play nice despite any circumstance.  That is how some of us are wired, but it doesn’t mean you need to be taken advantage of.  I was fed up with being a door mat.  I made changes and it was funny to see reactions from those that I typically did for – they flounder, pout, argue, and even get angry and demand to know why your not doing for them anymore.

One Way

One Way (Photo credit: Matt Peoples)

Most people will take you for a one-way ride if you let them.  This is a sad but true statement.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be nice.  You should just save that niceness for the right people.  It also doesn’t mean you have to mean or rude to these one-wayers, just savvy in how you react to them.  Always calmly and thoughtfully protect your self worth.  And always be business like in your interactions – quick, matter of fact, without too much feeling or opinion, because your time, opinion, and feelings should be saved for those who love, appreciate, and support them.

“Don’t ever mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance, or my kindness for weakness.” ~ Carson Kolhoff

Why Simplicity is so Fulfilling

Making Simplicity Work for You

Re-evaluating and making change isn’t hard, but staying in a rut or thinking about changes can be overwhelming and deterring. The key is motivation. If you feel you don’t inherently have motivation (which we really all do), look for motivation in other things both positive and negative. Change is good, healthy, and necessary, so make some!

If you need a motivational push, I’ve constructed a list of simple things worth your consideration. Most are free, will save you money, or replace something you are already expending time and energy on.

8 Simple Changes that Can Be Made in 8 Simple Days

1. Buy Local ~ Instead of buying from a big box store consider a small local business. This applies to both retail and service businesses. Why? Buying locally reduces the need to ship goods and labor, reduces our carbon footprint, and keeps the money for these goods and services in your community.  Community Farmer’s Markets are a mecca for fresh produce, flowers, baked goods, soaps, and even local home-grown music.  Take advantage of how fresh you can acquire goods rather than purchasing goods that have perished in shipping and from handling.

2. Get a Library Card ~ Visiting the library down the road can save on whatever you might be spending now on magazine subscriptions, dvd clubs, or books.  Most of these things can be found at your local library, and they are there for your respectful use for free.  Most libraries also have free or reduced passes to local museums and attractions.

3.  Move ~ Challenge yourself with fitness.  Pick one activity that you’ve done before (perhaps it’s your old standby and as simple as walking) and do it once a day for 10 minutes or an hour whatever you can work into your schedule.  If you aren’t doing any other fitness, start with a 10 minute walk in the sunshine or amongst the raindrops!  There are podcasts for yoga and virtual training sites as well.

Then also pick another activity that you have never done ~ maybe because it costs a lot of money or requires some training.  Then do it!  Break down the fear, save the money, or start training for it today.  Give yourself a chance to make it happen and it will.  Will you be surfing in the next few months or skiing down a beautiful white mountain side?  It’s your choice!

4.  Write ~ Many of you have heard that writing in a journal is a great way to express yourself and look back at what you were thinking or feeling at a particular time in the past.  But if you are not the writing type, you may feel this is ridiculous or a waste of time.  It isn’t.  Start small and you can even keep it small if you choose to, but write all the same.  Maybe you decide your version is your Facebook status.  Update your Facebook status with what you can consider your journal entry and share it with friends and family.  You can write about just about anything and you should.  Another good entry starter is to pick a quote you like, let your mind wander about it’s meaning to you and others and write about that.  Write about experience.  Those are yours and there is no right or wrong!

Leave your significant other a love note.  Make a grocery or to do list with humorous commentary.  Put a note in your child’s lunch box.  Write a thank you card and mail it out.  Do not underestimate the power of words and your ability to use them!

5.  Alter your Perspective ~ Once a day remind yourself, your spouse, your children, or a friend that no matter how bad something might seem there is someone out there who is dealing with a whole lot worse.  Learn to turn negative feelings and situations into positive uplifting ones.  When things are good for you provide for others.  This providing can be monetary but it doesn’t have to be.  You can lend an ear to someone in need of listening.  You can lend your time helping someone move or lend someone your lawnmower because their’s broke.  Honoring the positive will slowly eliminate the negative.  Don’t shun negativity to an extreme because then you are wasting your precious time and energy on it, instead invest all you have in things that bring you joy.  Spend your days surrounded by people who make you smile.  Enjoy your life.  We all deserve that.

6.  Grow ~ Acquire something with roots and watch and nurture it to grow.  Get a house plant or plant a sapling near your home.  Create a potted garden.  You can start from seed or transplant from a friend or neighbors garden.  Go green.

7.  Pare Down ~  You don’t need 20 cleaning products, 20 pairs of pants, 20 checking accounts, or 20 pairs of athletic shoes.  Find something you have way too much of and pare it down.  You will be glad you did.  These extra things take time to acquire, maintain, and use.  Reducing your material possessions will give you more time, energy, and space for things you LOVE.  Chances are you don’t really love having 20 bottles of cleaner under the sink or 20 checking accounts to maintain.  Clutter in all forms clouds what we really want.  It takes up space that could otherwise be used for things that make us feel exceptional and bring a sense of joy.  This also applies to things we put on our calendar.  Clear it out for the things that really count.  You can’t do everything and be everywhere.  You can certainly try as many of us do, but will end up feeling tired and anxious even when you try to relax.  Reevaluate what is important to you and simplify to make room for those special things.  Considering donating anything you are decluttering to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army.  These items can end up in the hands of someone in need.

8.  Do Good ~ Do something for someone or something else.  You can donate your time or money to non-profits and charities of all sorts.  Choose wisely.  Remember to always choose with what you find important and worthy of your time and energy.  If animal welfare is top on your list, consider one of the many rescue groups or local SPCA.  If the arts of particularly important to you, choose  a local program that benefits you community.  You can support whatever you choose.  There are groups and associations from environmental causes to children’s causes to health causes offering support and raising money for awareness for things such as breast cancer or lymphoma.  Fuel your passions!

I’d love to hear from readers who put this into place or have already down things similar.  How has it changed your day to day?  Did you stumble upon any realizations?  I know I did.  I did most of these awhile ago and am still reaping the benefits.

More time, more energy, and more love ~ Less upset, less anger, and less waste!

Sensual Smoothies, Cinnamon Buns, and Sex

“Never trust a woman who doesn’t like to eat. She is probably lousy in bed.”

~ Fellini

The link between food and body can be much more than fuel: it can be quite sensual.  To me the link does not come from eating fried foods or microwave meals (although I indulge in these things too).  It usually comes from eating something with herbs, spices, and vegetables ~ so perhaps my body is telling me something.  Certain combinations while intriguing will either leave you with a bad taste in your mouth or send your mind and body into bliss.  If you haven’t witnessed this orgasmic taste experience for yourself (which is quite different to orgasmic as it relates to sex), you may want to spend some time in search of this touted mecca.

Cinnamon roll buns fresh from the oven.

Cinnamon roll buns fresh from the oven. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To clarify, I said quite different but yet they are very much interlaced.  After all, what other thing can satisfy on so many levels evoking all the senses?  Take the fact that it has been proven with science that the number one smell that sexually arouses most men is the sweet scent of cinnamon buns, and all should become clear to you!  Check out number 13 ~ the others are of interest too.

This tropical smoothie sounds delightful and is on my list to try.  I am going to resist the urge to add rum….

  • 1-1.5 cups of pineapple or mango chunks (a mix of both might be nice)
  • .5 cup of coconut milk
  • .5 cup of OJ
  • 1/2 of an avocado (minus the pit)
  • A one inch piece of ginger grated
  • 1 scoop of your favorite protein powder
  • Substitute a bright orange drink umbrella in place of rum ; )

“Orange is the happiest color.” ~ Frank Sinatra

While you are experimenting, here is a link to 50 additional, simple recipes to try.

I’ve read that some people believe that the American foodie culture is a direct result of sexual dissatisfaction.  This may hold some truth, but I’d like to argue (maybe hope is a better word choice) that one can have both and be in perfect balance.

I believe in using words, not fists… I believe in my outrage knowing people are living in boxes on the street. I believe in honesty. I believe in a good time. I believe in good food. I believe in sex.”  B. Russell

Yummy... watermelon smoothie with mint leaf ga...

Yummy… watermelon smoothie with mint leaf garnish (Photo credit: *Maroon Michelle*)

Here’s another sensual smoothie using watermelon and mint:

  • 2 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • 4 ice cubes

A few foods to consider in recipes while on your journey (they have proven themselves):

  • raspberries
  • basil
  • cilantro
  • asparagus
  • arugula
  • black pepper
  • cinnamon
  • grapes
  • avocado
  • champagne
  • red wine
  • sushi
  • chocolate
  • pasta
  • espresso
  • asparagus
  • ginger
  • cayenne
  • pomegranate
  • truffles
  • mushrooms
  • mussels

Raspberries

Eat, Drink, and “BE” Merry

Run, Swim, Bike, Jump, Lift, Kick, Stretch, Do Good, and Just Be…

~ The definition of yourself is self-created ~

It took me a long time to finally acknowledge that I was a runner.  I remember being asked if I was a runner and I had replied, “oh no, I just run every now and then to keep in shape.”  Even running several times a week, I would never assume I could have taken credit for being a runner.  In my mind, I needed to run at a certain speed or run 5-7 times a week to qualify.  I needed to be some sort of expert before attaining the title.  Then I thought about it differently.  Running four miles slow and steady consistently is better than three miles and certainly better than not running at all.  The truth is we can be whatever we want by incorporating different types of fitness activities into our routines.  I’m a runner, a yogi, and a hiker!  What I know I”m not is a biker or swimmer.  Yet to know I could be if I tried and put in the time and effort makes all the difference.

We often have admiration for all the things we are not.   This is true for an event I have helped out since inception three years ago.  The third annual Nubble Light Challenge (NLC) was held this past Saturday.  It is a great event that takes swimmers 2.4 miles from Long Sands Beach in York, ME through the gut by the Nubble Light House and finishes up on the shore of Short Sands.  Swimming is not my thing.  So, I have the utmost respect for swimmers, especially open water swimmers.  How fantastic it was to watch them prepare for their swim and take on the cold, salty waves.  They were all spectacularly impressive!

Another spectacularly impressive aspect of this event is that the NLC is a non-profit organization that sponsors NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness.  The marriage of a sporting event with a non-profit organization that just does good is a marvelously beautiful thing.  Much of their efforts benefit the local Maine chapter.  Take the time to learn something new and educate yourself by visiting the official Facebook page for NAMI, the nation’s largest grassroots organization for people with mental illness and their families.  One in four adults experiences a mental illness in any given year according to their Facts and Numbers page.  People with mental illness are often given a negative stigma and many are unwilling to seek treatment.  I did not realize that anxiety disorders and depression are considered mental illnesses and affect such a large portion of the population.

From NAMI Maine’s Website:

NAMI Maine’s purpose is to:
  • Offer compassion and provide social/emotional support
  • Advocate for improved quality of services
  • Educate, inform, and provides resources
  • Raise public awareness and promote understanding
  • Promote the importance of peer support
  • Train volunteers and professionals
  • Foster a statewide network of affiliates and support groups

Run, Swim, Bike, Jump, Lift, Kick, Stretch, Do Good, and Just Be…

Try something new.  Your next big adventure in fitness is waiting.  Then once you dig in begin to look around,  find the related organizations that do good.  The ones that do the right thing for the right people.  Connect with them on social media platforms like  Facebook and Twitter.  Then do what you can to participate, donate, and educate.

Run on ~ Accuracy of Fitness Apps

Are you a runner?  Do you want to run?  I love this video ~ I found it very genuine and a great get up and go for anyone who hasn’t run before or finds the idea of running intimidating.

I’ve been using MapMyRun for a while, and just the other day I took the car out to measure a 4-mile route for kicks and came up almost a quarter-mile short….  Now I’m beginning to question the accuracy of many fitness apps that measure distance, time, and calories.  Runners World has an online, ongoing forum discussing this very topic.

The Nike + calibration has also given me major issues.  I’m currently reading the calibration guide for dummies to ensure it is just not user error.

After doing some research online, apparently I’m not the only one.  Fitness equipment calorie counters can also be off by quite a bit and it appears they generally overestimate results.  Good Morning America ran a study with the following results (how depressing):

Treadmill: Overestimated calories burnt by 13 percent.

Stationary Bike: Overestimated calories burnt by 7 percent.

Stair Climber: Overestimated calories burnt by 12 percent.

Elliptical: Overestimated calories burnt by 42 percent.

I am now on the look out for “a few good apps” to try out and see if they might better estimate my distances.  Running Ahead, USA Track and Field, and Daily Mile are a few I will investigate.  Please share your suggestions and experiences ~ I’d love to hear them (the good and the bad).

Exeter is a beautiful town and as you can see from the photos, I don’t mind taking the long way home.  

Freedom

To breathe in and out, going through the motions, is nothing compared to taking each breathe with intention, to feel passion through every vein ~ fiery and hot.  To find a light that has been buried deep is indeed an endeavor worthwhile.


This post is not about fitness or social media.  I’m going to do one thing that scares
me today ~ share a small piece of writing.  I know I can do this, it is only one paragraph!

Thinking about independence and freedom always brings me back to a pivotal moment in my life.  By far it wasn’t the worst moment I’ve ever experienced, the events were quite typical, but my thought process changed.

When you realize the one person who is supposed to love and support you has been hammering you with impossibilities, holding you to an unattainable standard, and all the time belittling your very essence – that is the day you want to act and then want to run away.  That was the beginning of my awakening.  I felt completely righteous and completely helpless all at the same time crouched upon my knees on cold laundry room tile.  With kids asleep always came the onslaught of his disappointment.  That night my silence was replaced with muffled, uncontrollable crying, and then in a quiet upset folded every piece of clothing off that floor and out of that dryer well into the night, checked on each child, brushed my teeth and fell asleep in clothes that weren’t made for bed.

Don’t let anyone steal your smile!