Stop Going At It Alone.

The beauty of Instagram can be seen superficially from curated feeds. But the real beauty comes from the tribes we find. It still seems amazing the number of women I connect with from being a member of this community. I've found a small tribe of women whose posts resonate with me and help me realize my own truths. All it takes is using our power to fill our feed with inspiration and joy instead of making it a place where we fall into the scrolling comparison trap.

My dear friend Jenna has the best way with words. An example? This post from a few months ago...one which still rings true for me today.

Hey you! Stop going at it alone. You weren't made to be an island. It's time you join others in your dream chasing pursuits and open yourself up. Sure, you're awkward, you're worried you'll say all the wrong things, and that you'll never measure up. But here's the thing: you have this incredible gift to offer the world, there is a way you can serve others, and the more you go it alone, the more you forget that simple fact.

Dream chasing can leave us feeling alone, but I've been there and done that. I don't want you to make the same mistakes I did or fall into the same "I'm not enough" traps that held me captive for way too long. In fact, I won't let that happen to you because I care about you. Our paths crossed for a reason, okay?

And isn't it true?

It is necessary to stop and remember the amazing people who are ready to give their support. Each day I continually find inspiration and happiness through blogs and through Instagram. It is helping me to realize I don't have to go at it alone. We are all worthy of finding our tribe. We are all worthy of working through the process of learning who we are.

I'm still working to find 'my place' with blogging. And that is okay.

Putting stress on it only has the power to take it away from me. I need to put in time working on me, on finding why, at times, my creativity feels completely blocked. It hasn't been easy, but I'm ready for the challenge.

When the days unfold where I doubt myself and think blogging isn't for me, I find strength in other bloggers. They share content with inspiration and stories to fall in love with and help you realize you are not alone. They are going through similar struggles.

No one is 'perfect' in this world; bloggers still are humans who have tough days and life struggles.

So thank you.

Thank you for your support. Not just for me, but for all of us bloggers.

cloudsoverwater.jpg

10 Reasons Why I Chose Rest.

REST.

I've spent years thinking I needed to do it all. 2016 came, and I made the decision to honor more rest. I'm happy to report there has been more rest and taking necessary downtime for myself. Currently, I'm in the midst of a month-long break, and embracing every moment.

Little did I know, towards the end of 2015, I was in full burnout. So it has been my goal to restore myself back to someone who appreciates living in the moment every day. I am working to remove the idea of getting caught up in the past or stressing about the future.

If you are finding yourself in the midst of crazy, which is becoming more important in our hyper-connected lives, here is some insight on why I chose to rest, and why you may need to as well.

1 / I felt the warning signs.

After finding this last month, I knew I made the right choice. Being able to nod my head at each sign was a clear indicator of being on an unhealthy path for my emotional and mental health. The biggest red flag for me was feeling lethargic - each day seemed to drag on and the fact I couldn't help but fall asleep in the living room almost every night showed itself loud and clear. My body was in a constant state of soreness, a level I knew wasn't normal.

2 / To focus on unplugging more.

By not jam-packing my schedule, I have found more downtime at home. I am starting to savor this feeling more and more. On top of that, I am being more intentional about unplugging, even if just for the evening. I used to have a constant state of stress in my mind of tasks to be done. Where once my planner was used to make obscene to-do lists, it is now a place to be more intentional; sometimes, I even take a step back to see if it is something worth writing down, or if I would be better off just doing it.

3 / My eating had gone out the window.

And not in the junk food way you may be thinking. I was only craving sweets and simple carbs, which is an indicator to me of being in a prolonged, stressed state. Since starting on a path of intuitive eating, I was doing my body right by honoring those cravings. I also knew I needed to find the trigger on why only cookies sounded good for dinner. As I started accepting more time for rest days, my body began craving better meals. I found motivation to make new dinners and was back in a place of more than just sweets and simple carbs.

4 / I had less gratitude.

The mind funk was heavy, and I found myself focusing on the positive less and less. All of the energy put into positivity was starting to get dominated by negativity and the littlest annoyances. The resolution? Setting a phone reminder to write down five things at the end of each day I am grateful for. Even after a tough day, doing this before bed lets me reflect on the good in the day. This is a habit I've made from January 1, and I can't wait to be able to look back on this at the end of 2016.

5 / Happiness was low.

Don't get me wrong, there was happiness in most days. But there were also days where I let stress take over, and happiness was pushed aside. After that lightbulb moment, I knew putting a focus on what made me happy was exactly what I needed. Finding what makes us happy again after feeling like it has been lost means going to the core of ourselves to find those simple moments of happiness, which went hand-in-hand with more gratitude.

6 / There was no time.

When you wake up in the morning and feel like you rush through the day until your head hits the pillow again, but don't feel like you've had a moment to breathe and do something for you...that's when I really knew. I had to find what mattered most at my core, and focus on only that. First and foremost, it was me; if I couldn't do that, there was no way to connect with the people who mean the most in my life. Self-care can be severely underrated in a society where always being busy is praised and applauded in most cases.

7 / Society made me believe it was okay.

Unless we bring more awareness into our lives, we can blindly live each moment in the eyes of society. Instead of doing what we want and what we crave, we fall into society's trap. What I saw around me was people doing it all, getting little sleep and saying "I'm busy" all the time. My mind was tricked into believing it was all okay. But it wasn't. And it won't ever be okay. I know now how bad it is to rely on 4.5 hours of sleep, how exhausting scheduling out each moment can be. After dropping society's pressure, I found people who weren't living this life. And that was what I wanted for myself.

8 / I needed to give myself permission.

Permission to rest, to miss a workout here and there, to honor my cravings, to enjoy doing nothing. My close friend Julianna covered it all perfectly. I had let guilt get the best of me when it came to resting, and I needed to start giving myself permission for what my mind needed. Giving the okay to myself to take a month off was difficult initially, but the days to follow were filled with multiple points of confirmation I was doing what was right for me.

9 / My sense of self was foggy.

My mind still has a light fog over it, but nothing compares to what I was feeling at the start of 2016. If anything, an extended amount of rest and more focus on self-care is helping to lift this fog. The fact I can get back into blogging and wake up with a strong pull to do the simple things to bring me happiness has helped immensely. Even taking the opportunities to hold and work through each emotion has removed so much of this fog.

10 / Because my gut said so.

We can all read through the above reasons, and push past if rest is needed. But when your gut is saying rest? You should listen. I pushed past for a good month before using my power to finally honor this rest for myself.

cloudymountains

As I continue to live through this season of rest, I realized it has been a harder journey than I had anticipated. Choosing self-care and rest is tougher than I realized, and has required a different level of dedication to make these changes.

The bonus?

I get to learn more about myself each and every day as I make the choices to make me happy.

 

Giving Myself a Little Rest.

Last Monday, I committed to taking a full month off from CrossFit. While it almost felt like the hardest and scariest decision in one moment, it really wasn't. It made sense and it had been on my mind for a few weeks. Right now, it still seems kind of hard to describe why and also how I'm feeling. In short, it just feels right. It feels so needed in every part of my mind, my body, and my soul.

Right now:

My mind feels clear. A weight has left my shoulders. The time I need for me is there. Little changes I've thought about for months are finally happening. More emotions are coming in and out of my body. I'm looking into myself and learning more about me.

I'm finding more confidence in every decision I make. I am worrying less and less about the opinions of others. My gut and intuition are getting the best of my attention. I finally starting a meditation practice. My heart feels good.

It feels like so much has happened. Four days has felt like two weeks, and excitement for how much transformation and clarity will come in a month. The emotions come and go on whether I made the 'right' decision. But that's just it. In this life, it is hard to imagine we can only categorize decisions between right and wrong. In a matter of a day, one simple decision can waver in your mind as being right, and then pendulum back with the thought of being wrong. It truly comes down to what you know is right in your gut and supporting yourself through all of the emotions.

Each day, there has been confirmation I made the right decision for me. I found an article I pulled out of a magazine about a year ago about overtraining, and needing to take rest. I've had conversations with multiple friends who are being 100% supportive. My friend Madison shared this blog post with me, and it brought tears to my eyes. That's how real this has all been. That's how much this was needed.

Going into what I took away from her post, listening to my gut was the biggest indicator for this time of rest. I just had a feeling it was something I needed to do because what I currently was doing didn't feel right for me. For something with a creative mind, I had nothing in me to create. Since embracing rest, my mind is filling up with ideas and finding inspiration every day.

I knew my gut was onto something.

It came down to figuring out my feelings. As scary as this is to type, before taking this break, I wasn't feeling anything. Because my mind was caught up in waking up early, making sure I got enough sleep and keeping the rest of 'life' together, my feelings weren't getting the attention they desperately needed. In the past few days, I've felt joy and happiness, but I've also been able to let feelings come as they choose. The most random of things in my life have brought tears to my eyes, and I'm embracing it to it's fullest.

The last portion deserves its own space for thought. What it came down to was feeling weak at my core. For me, this meant not letting myself decide what was essential for me in life. Right now, nothing is more important than taking the time to recover my body fully and to make other loves, like blogging, a higher priority. It is hard to explain how much I wanted to be writing, but could never manage to make it essential. My core needs to build upon its essentials to put strength back into my life. Life felt like this:

You see, if we say YES to something that we aren’t really wanting to do, but we feel obligated to do it because of whatever reason, that means in a round-about way that you are saying NO to something much more important to you.

That is what it came down to. I was at a point where my mind felt foggy with everything. I was craving clarity. With where things were at, I just couldn't seem to find it for myself.

And because I decided to give myself a just a little grace (and a whole lot of love), I'm coming out each day stronger. As I said to my dear friend Mary, it feels like I'm standing in and stepping into my own power by doing this. By really truly listening; not only to my body, but my mind & soul as well.

peonies - from roses

Moving Positively Forward.

Have a mind that is open to everything, and attached to nothing

(Tilopa)

Coming from a perfectionist planner mindset, and someone who used to be hyper organized with everything, a quote like this has helped bring in the perspective of being open to what comes up in my life, and also not being so anxious about everything. Learning to be able to detach from negative moments in my life is something I have been striving to work through the past month. While it isn't always easy, it pays off when little steps of progress are able to be made.

When you fully look at our lives each day, you have to decide what will matter in the next year, or in the next five years. We all have those moments where we get a little bent out of shape from what might have gone on that day. Sometimes, we even let it affect us for the days following. But you can consciously ask yourself "Will this day/event/situation be a big deal in the next year?", most of the time we can answer no. And not to say all bad  things aren't worth having hard days over - we need those days as well. Those are the days that will help us grow into who we will be for the next five years. Even looking back on my own life and my own hard times, I would never go back to change them.

Why?

Because they had to have happened for a reason. They had to have happened because the Universe knew it would help to shape me into the person I am today. And that is how I am pushing myself positively forward. I found I don't like who I am as a negative person, and don't like when I find myself complaining, or picking out the negatives in life. It isn't worth it.

Life is worth living, and making the most of whatever may come our way.

treeline

Back to Blogging.

I'm not even going to look back to see when my last post was published. Not because I don't think it matters, but because I want to focus on the now. I want to focus on the fact I can change it in an instant. I've been waiting too long to 'make it happen' and need to let go of fear and just blog. My mind has feed too much into the pressure of being a full-blown blogger, instead of going back to basics. Going back to when I started my first blog: All I wanted to do is write, connect, and express myself in a community of like-minded people.

And I haven't been doing that.

Honestly, I've been letting my insecurities take over. I've let the world around me influence my thoughts too much, which results in me holding back...which means zero blogging.

At some point in life, we have to let go of the fear, and just live. We have to do what makes us most happy and stop worrying about what others might think or might say. If we were to listen to all of that, I'm sure many of us wouldn't be living lives full of joy and happiness. Something I am always striving for is living an authentic life, which I haven't been doing. If this blog will help me to connect with others, help them through a tough spot in their own lives, I need to work every day on becoming more authentic for that to happen.

My belief is strong that everything that happens in our lives, happens for a reason. That every negative in our life does have a silver lining. And in my case, a turquoise lining. I've accepted a rather rough start to this new blog, but know at the same time it is happening this way for a reason. Life somehow manages to give us what it knows we can handle.

flowers

 

 

We Don't Have to be Superwomen.

It's been awhile.  And while my first instinct is to apologize and say 'I'm sorry', I'm trying to get better about not apologizing about everything in life. On a journey of trying to focu on happiness and joy, a crucial part for me has been to stop apologizing when not necessary. So bear with me as I struggled to find the worlds to catch you up, to bring us closer together.

I've truly missed my little corner of the internet during my hiatus, but taking a step back for my mental health was far more important during the start of the year. I had intentions of sharing my word for 2016 on the blog straight away in January...but here we are in the middle of our third month of the year. The turquoise lining? I actually have evidence of how spot on I was on picking my word this year:

REST.

I will confess I had a tendency of filling up my plate, of taking on too much. Come to think of it, I was striving to be a superwoman, which I think many women can agree with. I thought I could handle it -- in a way, I thought it was what I "needed" to do. It served me pretty well throughout my 3.5 years in college, and it only felt natural to keep it going after graduating; I didn't really know anything different. And you know, it went okay for a few years. I felt this was how I was suppose to be living my life.

But then the burnout started to hit. And when it hit, it hit hard. I finally realized I needed to step back from some commitment in life. I needed to take the time to honor the rest my body was craving so so badly.

Our bodies are not designed to live through a constant state of stress and exhaustion.

And it has been, by far, my best decision of this year.

I know so many of us out there are trying to do it all. Some of it comes from the society surrounding us, while the rest seems to come from within. In my own life, I know I was just trying to put everything that made me happy into my life. And it wasn't sustainable. There may have been points where I thought I 'had it', but looking back - I didn't. When I thought everything was amazing, there were inevitably parts of life suffering. I reached a point in 2015 where I was in a severe burnout. The only thing I could muster up with my remaining energy when I came home from work was dinner before I would crash in the living room every night. As that pattern wore on, I knew I had to make a change.

It wasn't how I wanted to be living my life. As crazy and beautiful as all our lives are, there needs to be a balance to where you are still able to enjoy the small moments.

This is me telling you that you don't have to be superwoman, you don't have to do it all. There is a way to step back and simplify down your life. And you deserve it. You deserve to relish in a Sunday afternoon getting caught up in a book, in taking the time to be outside -- in doing what brings you the most joy.

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Blogmas Day 24+25 / Currently: December 2015.

Merry Christmas! IMG_8826

And just like that, the official end of Blogmas is here! It has been a month I am proud of and I can't wait to see what 2016 has in store for the blog. I am planning to take the rest of December off so I can leave time to get inspired for what's to come with the TBP Blog Challenge on January 1st.

Here is a quick little Currently update for December, as promised! I've loved the consistency of these posts, so you better believe they'll be coming every month in 2016.

And remember - take time over the next couple of days to cherish the time spent with family and friends. Without them, this life wouldn't be as sweet as it is.


Current Book: Binge by Tyler Oakley. With my recent YouTube obsession has come down to reading books released by my favorite YouTubers. I've enjoyed each one of them, and Binge continues to bring a smile or a laugh to life when I need it.

Current Music: Troye Sivan. Especially the song 'Youth' from his album 'Blue Neighborhood'. The performance he delivered on Jimmy Fallon was stunning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLKkwQM7uEY

Current [Non]-Guilty Pleasure: Reading books over my lunch break. Best change I've made in my daily routine.

Current Celebration: A long weekend and spending time with family. I may have been a child that only thought Christmas was about gifts and a few family get-togethers, but oh how times have changed. This season brings so much excitement because of being able to spend time with family I don't always see often during the year.

Current Nail Color: I have a feeling this one won't make it into 2016. I'm quite certain if we were to look back at all Currently posts from 2015, not once were my nails painted. Here's to brainstorming a good replacement!

Current Drink: Spark has been a savior throughout this sleepier-than-normal month.

Current Food: There's been a slight obsession of roasted potatoes, either golden or sweet, with a little ketchup. It's been a good pairing with eggs for my breakfasts, as well as an easy carbohydrate to have in my lunch!

Current Obsession: Our new candles from Bath & Body Works, burned at the same time. I just started burning them last night, and I love it. Also, our fairy lights in the office - they bring a magical feeling to our home.

Current Wish: To see my sister and her little family very soon.

Current Need: Right now? I'm content. I can't seem to find anything in my mind that is worth putting down as a need. I have my family, my Matt, my Lumi and my friends. You really can't need anymore than that.

Current Bane of my Existence: Nada. This will be another leaving the currently posts. Makes me put focus on the negatives in life, and that's just no fun.

Current Indulgence: Can I just say this weekend? It isn't going to become a weekend of going absolutely crazy, but it will be one to enjoy. So far, homemade Oreo truffles have been the best indulgence this week. I'll get back to you on what may top it this weekend.

Current Purchase: Other than Christmas presents here and there over the last couple of weeks, and bread for the Yoki Christmas today, the purchases standing out to me are the ones becoming gifts for others. I'd post them here...but you never know who is reading!

Current Procrastination: This post, which I wanted to work on last weekend. Currently, though, getting ready for Christmas Eve at Matt's grandma's. Better get on that soon! Otherwise, I think getting our desk and buffet cleaned off. I'm hoping to use tomorrow as a day to get it all tidy.

Current Confession: I never want this long weekend to end. Being able to spend time with family, as well as have down time with Matt at home has been close to amazing.

Current Blessing: The Yoki Christmas tomorrow at my Dad's.

Current Excitement: Planning a trip to see my sister + nieces so very soon. Since they weren't able to make the trip up here this weekend, I'm hoping to head down there in a couple of weekends to have a belated Christmas celebration with them.

Current Holy Moly: A week from today (the 25th), it will be 2016!

Current Mood: So content with everything. And maybe a bit sleepy.

Current Link: Nothing to put here this month - it hasn't been a month of scrolling through articles.

Current Mantra: Believe in the Magic. Which I guess is more of a quote? My mom sent us a light up decor piece with that saying. It is definitely geared more towards the Christmas spirit, but I truly think it could be applied to every day.

Any suggestions on what to replace the current nail color and current bane of my existence with? 

Blogmas Day 23 / Gratitude of the Past // March 2012

Couldn't think of a better time than to share what I'm grateful for in this beautiful life. Whether it was from almost 4 years ago to 4 days ago to even 4 hours ago, I've learned to find gratitude at the end of the day because there is never a reason to go to bed upset. I will never deny having hard and trying days, because those days can teach us the biggest lessons in life.

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3.1.12

  1. Mac & cheese with hot dogs.
  2. Cold Stone ice cream treats.
  3. Cancelled classes.

3.2.12

  1. New Essie nail polish.
  2. Tie dye socks.
  3. Leftover mac & cheese.

3.3.12

  1. A new hairdo with a slight confidence boost.
  2. Rice Krispies.
  3. Finding the courage & strength to help me through the night.

3.4.12

  1. Great laughs at the Attitudes showing.
  2. Accomplishing a great to-do list.
  3. Sleepy, in-bed conversations with my Matt.

3.5.12

  1. Starting my journey to lululemon.
  2. Mount Royal Fine Foods. =)
  3. Happy days. =)

3.6.12

  1. Sweet potato fries & strawberries.
  2. Piccsy. =)
  3. Gene Simmons: Family Jewels.

3.7.12

  1. A great on-campus workout.
  2. Normative eating.
  3. Water. =)

3.8.12

  1. Feeling sore.
  2. Amazing egg scramble.
  3. Spring Break! =)

3.9.12

  1. Work shifts at Cold Stone with Brody.
  2. Finally having Jade back in town!
  3. Dereck Williams - my amazing hair guru.

3.10.12

  1. Turning in a jar full of change for shopping money.
  2. Target runs - especially with Jade.
  3. Baking...with Jade.

3.11.12

  1. Caribou Coffee to start a road trip.
  2. Brasa & their amazing food.
  3. Having confidence that Matt and I will make it through this.

3.12.12

  1. The MOA. =)
  2. My amazing new scuba hoodie from lululemon.
  3. Puddle jumpers!

3.13.12

  1. An amazing few days with Matt in the cities.
  2. Walks on the Lakewalk in the spring air.
  3. Days filled with more sunlight.

3.14.12

  1. A run on the Lakewalk.
  2. Feeling cleansed inside & out.
  3. My Kindle.

3.15.12

  1. Having a Duluth date with Matt.
  2. Having the courage to try recipes with self-confidence.
  3. Days without a stomach-ache.

3.16.12

  1. Busy days at work.
  2. Mac & cheese!
  3. Long workouts with Jillian.

3.17.12

  1. My amazing mother.
  2. Having friends to vent out to.
  3. A clean kitchen.

3.18.12

  1. The nights I am able to get great sleep.
  2. Snuggling with Matt before bed.
  3. Days when my stomach doesn't hurt.

3.19.12

  1. The great work family at Cold Stone that I am blessed with.
  2. The days where I truly feel I matter.
  3. New frozen yogurt at Cold Stone.

3.20.12

  1. Coffee dates with Matthew.
  2. A good night's sleep.
  3. Rain instead of snow.

3.21.12

  1. Ballet classes with Nancy.
  2. Great friends to help with homework.
  3. Being able to stay busy.

3.22.12

  1. Jennifer Madill Hagen and the studio.
  2. The dance life I have.
  3. Matt. =)

3.23.12

  1. A new love for sushi at Hanabi.
  2. Les Miserables at the Playhouse.
  3. The wonderful people I met through being a part of Cabaret.

3.24.12

  1. Patty's generosity for our crew meeting.
  2. Caribou time spent with Chelsey and Brody.
  3. Busy, busy work shifts, especially those who make it a fantastic time.

3.25.12

  1. Spending some morning time with M.
  2. A good Bob Harper workout.
  3. My mom for giving me rides to Cold Stone.

3.26.12

  1. Relaxation.
  2. Times when I'm healthy.
  3. The motion picture...The Hunger Games.

3.27.12

  1. My "philosophy" class.
  2. Target <3
  3. Going to bed just a little bit earlier.

3.28.12

  1. This wonderful day that my mom was born on.
  2. That Nancy is available in my life.
  3. Healthy groceries. =)

3.29.12

  1. The end of a hard week.
  2. Talking it all out with Matt.
  3. Myself.

3.30.12

  1. Days spent with Matt.
  2. Bedtime in the living room.
  3. An amazing homemade dinner.

3.31.12

  1. Extra hours at work.
  2. Broken cookies.
  3. Homemade breakfast.

 

Blogmas Day 22 / Monday Night Confessions for Tuesday.

Hello Tuesday! I'd bet I'm not the only sitting here on this Tuesday, just waiting for Christmas Eve. Even when the month of December seems to have flown by, the days leading up to Christmas always seem to move a bit slower than the last couple of weeks. Except when it comes to gifts. I felt I was really planned out and would have most of my shopping done with a week or so to spare, but maybe that will be the goal for Christmas 2016.

I'd figure I'd take today to share a few confessions, as normal blog inspiration seems to have disappeared for this week. I attempted yesterday to plan out for the week, but couldn't think of anything for today. I figured any day is a good day for some good ol' confessions.

The Truth Is...

+ Holidays are much harder when your mom is a good 1,000 miles away.

+ Yoki Christmas makes the holiday season a little easier.

+ The mental exhaustion now is unexplainable.

+ I wish Vitamin Shoppe would get the Birthday Cake Lenny & Larry cookies back in stock.

+ We have begun another battle with our dishes (I'm not a fan of walking into the kitchen now).

+ A lot of dreams are being work towards and I can't wait to see what 2016 brings.

+ Cookies and milk make the toughest days so much better.

+ Conversations with my mom are never brief - and I like it that way.

+ Reading has been rekindled as a love of mine.

+ ROMWOD has become the best part of my evenings.

+ I'm reaching a place of peace with my CrossFit training decision.

IMG_8774

 

What truth have you realized this week? 

Blogmas Day 21 / Christmas Survey!

And just like that, Christmas is almost here! More than any gift, I am really looking forward to being able to spend time with family over the long weekend. It has been too long since my dad's family has all been together, so I'm very excited to spend most of Saturday with them! I figured with Christmas being this week, it only seemed right to include a little Christmas survey this week.

+++

Favorite Christmas Movie?

Elf and the Grinch (with Jim Carrey) have always been two of my favorite movies to watch around the holidays - both of which I actually need to buy for myself. 

Favorite Christmas Song?

Carol of the Bells is one of my absolute favorites. I remember singing it in middle school choir, and it has always had a special place in my heart ever since. I actually really enjoy almost all Christmas songs, and am a total fan of the Christmas Pandora stations. 

White or Colored Lights?

I always get torn on this question! I'd have to say both? We had warm white lights on our tree last year, but since we've rearranged our furniture layout in our apartment since then, we have multi-color ones now. Overall, I really do think I prefer either the cool white or warm white. 

Real Tree, Fake Tree or No Tree?

Fake tree! We went no tree for two years, and it never made us feel like it was the holiday season. In the future, I would love to get a real tree; my dad usual has a real tree, and I always love the smell it brings to the house. 

Opening Presents - All at Once or Take Turns?

Take turns, always. I am quite certain we've never gone the other route. It made it more fun because you'd think really hard about what present you wanted to open next, but had to have a little patience as you waited for your turn. 

Stockings - Yes or No? 

Yes! This is the most memorable part of Christmas to me, opening our stockings straight away in the morning. Since my mom moved, I haven't really had one though, so Matt & I are starting a tradition of stockings for one another. 

Christmas Eve Traditions?

With separated parents, traditions ended up being swapped every other year. When with my mom, it would be her siblings at our house. A 'theme' for dinner would be decided, either traditional or Italian. We'd exchange presents with our cousins and then just enjoy each others company. After relatives left, we were allowed to open one present before bed.

If we were with my dad, it would sometimes vary. Some years we would be with his family, while others it was just "us", and we would have fun little snacks and open most of our gifts.

Christmas Day Traditions?

Depending on who we spent Christmas Eve with, we usually headed to the other parent's house during the late morning hours. Both homes were pretty similar in that we opened stockings and Santa presents. At my mom's, we would also open up our gifts from her as well.

I remember always have a special little breakfast at my dad's. And when we were really little, we would wake up super early, go down and grab our stockings and run back up into bed with our parents to open them. This is probably the most vivid childhood Christmas memory for me.

I always liked the little bit of variety between both homes!

How Did Santa Deliver Gifts?

Mom's - Santa used a different wrapping paper and put them underneath the tree.

Dad's - All divided up on the couch, either with or with a sheet over them. They were usually never wrapped. Santa brought all the super fun or special gifts.

Favorite Christmas Cookie?

Pepparkakor cookies, which are my mom's specialty. They are a swedish spice/ginger cookie, and are absolutely amazing. Which reminds me... I should probably attempt to make those soon.

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

Tie for both? I was obsessed with egg nog growing up, but after my lactose intolerance became much worse, I preferred hot chocolate. Now, with almond/soy/coconut varieties of eggnog, I'd say it's an even tie during the Christmas season.

Workout on Christmas Morning or Take the Day Off?

I think it's always been a 'take the day off' day for me, usually because of driving or just wanting to get in as much family time as possible. But considering my crazy, early wake up time, I'll probably end up doing a ROMWOD on Christmas morning.

Christmas Pajamas - Yay or Nay? 

Nay, but it is something I want to change for next year. Zoe Sugg (also known as Zoella) had some adorable Christmas pajamas during her Vlogmas this year, and I really want to embrace that from December 1st to Christmas Day next year. Guess the time to buy them would be after Christmas this year...

When I have kids, I really want to start a Christmas pajama tradition with them.

What Do You Want for Christmas this Year?

Quite honestly, I just want to be around family. And yes, I did ask for a few specific gifts this year, but none of that matters if I don't get to spend the day/weekend with people I love.

Blogmas Day 20 / Sunday.

IMG_8792 Do you ever get it in your head you'll be able to accomplish so much in one day? You even manage to tell others the plans you have for the day ahead, and can see yourself doing every one of them.

But what happens when those little things go undone for that day?

You just move on from it. That's all it takes.

I set the standard high for my Saturday, and by the end of the night, I found nothing accomplished on my mental to-do list. To a certain point, I did feel a little upset about it. But I immediately stopped that thinking and remembered how our minds sometimes need complete downtime. How letting yourself relax and focus on either a movie, show or book can do wonders for the mind.

And as I woke up on this Sunday morning, I could already feel the benefit from letting myself recharge on Saturday. I started my day with a few YouTube videos and going through my email. I managed to get a nice breakfast put together before Matt and I headed out to an 8am (!!) showing of Star Wars : The Force Awakens (we were both blown away with how good it was and I couldn't stop sighing and saying wow as we drove away from the theater).

From there, we headed to Target and Mount Royal Market to get our grocery shopping done for the week - and didn't even have a list! I think because of Christmas this week, it made shopping a little easier since most of our meals are already planned for. A little Starbucks run to brighten up the rest of our morning, and we were home. Matt dealt with our slippery stairs outside and his car, while I put away the groceries, made lunch and sat down to watch the SacconeJolys. Finally managed to get our laundry started and brought the recycling and trash.

Am I surprised it is only 1:53pm now? Yes, yes I am.

See, even when we have those days where we can only manage to recharge and relax, the next day can hold so much in it, as long as we allow it to and let positivity take over.

So here's to you - if you are spending the day getting through your to-do list or relaxing on the sofa with some Netflix on - enjoy it. Enjoy what each day brings and embrace it to its fullest. This life is too short to live in a fog of negativity.

Blogmas Day 18 + 19 / Two for One.

Something I've learned about myself and blogging since beginning Blogmas: Friday and Saturday shouldn't have a place in my posting schedule. By Thursday night, my mental capacity seems to just be "done", so nothing gets scheduled for Friday. Then Friday night comes along, and my body just shuts down and sleeps, so Saturday gets skipped as well. And even when Saturday holds many more hours to work on posts, I usually find myself recharging by either watching Netflix or catching up on blogs. The struggle is real. And while I managed to get caught up with separate posts last weekend, I am deciding to combine Friday and Saturday this weekend since it just makes things a littttle easier. Plus, I want to wrap up some presents tonight.

I'd thought it would be fun to add up the days (18 + 19) and give you 37 thoughts on life or about me!

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1 / Fairy lights always make rooms more cozy.

2 / Early morning hours are my absolute favorite, especially when there is a stunning sunrise.

3 / My mom is my best friend.

4 / I easily get paralyzed because of wanting to do too much.

5 / I hope to get better at slowing down and just doing; now, it comes and goes in waves.

6 / Becoming a life/health coach is my dream and 2016 is my year to start making that reality.

7 / Christmas hasn't really been the same since my mom moved. Missing her a lot this week.

8 / The dirty dishes in our kitchen make me a little crazy.

9 / I'm a little notorious for hoarding links, and never going through them. *adds reminder to planner to go through them soon*

10 / This MacBook Pro might need  upgraded soon.

11 / Socks are one of my least favorite things in life.

12 / Almond milk hot chocolate with caramel, only from Pelican Coffee, is my new obsession.

13 / I'm terrible at remembering to cut my nails when they are long.

14 / I dream of living in Europe.

15 / Pretty much any movie with Jennifer Lawrence is my favorite - especially Silver Linings Playbook.

16 / I've started to feel a little lost at the end of this year.

17 / Sunday mornings are my favorite.

18 / Rekindling my hobby of reading has been the best change in my life.

19 / I have a bad tendency to fall asleep during movies.

20 / I'm a tad OCD and embrace it completely.

21 / Orchids are my favorite flower but I'm terrible at keeping them alive.

22 / The sound of my computer humming irritates me slightly.

23 / I never thought following YouTubers would bring so much inspiration in my life.

24 / We've had our Lumi kitty for one year and a day.

25 / I have this dream of transforming our second room into a cozy space - project for 2016?

26 / I've finally started to consciously save up for my CFL1, as well as an Upstanding Desk for our home.

27 / Minions make me smile.

28 / Right now, All I really want is a week off at home.

29 / I hope to start reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up soon.

30 / Cuddly lap kittens while typing blog posts are the best.

31 / If I could change one thing about myself, it would be being able to digest dairy again.

32 / Notebooks and pens are my weakness when shopping.

33 / I'm becoming better at living with the little bits of clutter.

34 / Sleep has been the most dramatic change for me this year, and I couldn't be happier.

35 / I get an odd satisfaction after fully using a product - shampoo, soap, coconut oil, etc.

36 / I love being left-handed.

37 / Becoming more positive over the last year has been one of my best accomplishments.

 

Blogmas Day 17 / Thinking Out Loud #9

The sleepiness is so strong tonight, so I'm going to attempt to keep this intro short and get right into the thoughts. I planning to get in my ROMWOD session and head to bed. I've made some adjustments in my daily routine, and it has led to reduced stress and increased happiness. Anyways - now on to the thoughts... Thinking-Out-Loud2

[ Thanks for hosting Amanda! ]

1 - With my back being a little off since last week, I've taken it easy for WODs this week in between going to my chiropractor. It's amazing what a little deep tissue massage and a few adjustments can do. My goal is to have an appointment for every month so I don't have any more days/weeks like this. I took rest days on Monday and Wednesday, and both felt so glorious. New plan after talking with my chiro? Monthly appointments to keep everything in check. Is it nerdy to be excited about that?

2 - Duluth finally gave us some snow today, more than halfway through December (by a day)! I hadn't realized how bleak it had been outside until there was a blanket of white snow - a little bit of beauty has finally been restored.

3 - On the topic of snow, I finally went out for a caramel hot chocolate. The day of our first big snow felt like the perfect day for a treat after work. It was from Starbucks, and certainly satisfied the craving, but it didn't compare to the caramel hot cocoa I had at Pelican Coffee. Looks like another coffee date is in my future.

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4 - Seriously counting down the days until Friday after work. After an unusual and abnormal weekend (for me) I need another to recharge. And with our Christmas social tomorrow at work, I know I'll need just a little extra rest as. I'm looking forward to: blogging, watching movies, organizing, and finishing up my Christmas game plan. Better late than ever on the present part, right? Oh - and we may or may not being going to Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Sunday at 8am.

5 - My momma sent me the most amazing early Christmas present. When I read the email from Starbucks about the Dot Local Collection for 2016, seeing the special tumbler for Florida jumped out at me. It immediately made me think of my momma. The bright colors seemed so fitting, as she is one person that helps me find my way back to the bright things in life when I am down. As my mom said "It totally is you".

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Share a thought - any thought!

Blogmas Day 16 / Sleep It Off.

Seems fitting to write about sleep after this last weekend. After two extremely late nights for me (1am on Friday and 2am on Saturday), it seems fitting to elaborate how sleep has changed for me over the last few months. In case you didn't know, insomnia used to have a regular part of my week for the first 4-5 months of 2015. Although it was once, maybe twice a week, it still was enough to throw my schedule off. I always tried to stay positive and find the silver linings, but having to take another rest day (because doing a WOD on 3 hours of sleep would be a little crazy) or feeling completely drained at work, sometimes finding the positivity didn't always have the power to think of insomnia as "okay". It just ended up being one of those little things in life that you get a little upset about, something to just accept in that moment, with the knowledge that the next day/night will be better.

But by putting all my focus on trying to improve my sleep hygiene and nighttime regime before bed, I found the resolution to my insomnia issue. Here's what has become my new normal to get the sleep I need:

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Pure Pharma // When researching insomnia, and trying to find solutions, I read about magnesium deficiency and the connect it has to the insomnia I had experienced. And with plenty of options through supplement stores, I couldn't seem to bite the bullet on purchasing one. That was until I was in Minneapolis for the CrossFit Central Regionals. Pure Pharma happened to have a vendor spot, and I took the opportunity to learn about their magnesium supplement, M3. I was completely convinced it would be life changing - and it has been. From just the first night, and into the first week, first month and up until now, this has been the biggest change when it comes to getting better sleep.

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Caffeine Limit // There have been plenty of learning moments in the past when it comes to me and consuming coffee too late in the day. For me, caffeine after noon is something my body just can't handle. Spark is the only form of caffeine I've found to have the right balance of getting me through the afternoon, while still allowing me to go to bed at night. If I do get a (rare) coffee craving, I either have it straight away in the morning or leave it as a treat for Saturdays. Since we usually don't have plans for Sunday morning, I am able to sleep in if I can't fall asleep.

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Reading // Perhaps one of the best habits I've picked back up. The drowsiness of reading only a couple of pages does wonders on getting me to fall asleep quickly, and gets my brain to stop thinking about either falling asleep or what needs accomplishing the next day.

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Tidying Up // Note - This is never full-on cleaning our apartment. It is simply taking 10-15 minutes to tidy up, which is mostly in the living room. I've found having this place tidy brings some peace right before bed and is totally worth the extra effort before bed. I also make sure to remove any clutter in our bedroom as well, as it has a tendency to make me a little more anxious. I'm grateful for our tiny bedroom, as it has mostly avoided becoming a cluttered space for us.

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5 Things // A few weeks ago, I took up the challenge of finding 5 things I am grateful for at the end of the day. Right before I start reading + falling asleep, I try to make sure to quickly type up my five pieces of gratitude for the day. This really makes me realize how blessed I am for my crazy + beautiful life, and helps me to put happiness and positivity into days that have me down.

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As of lately, these steps have helped me create a sleep routine that suits me, and helps me to get the best night of sleep every night. I used to shake off the importance of sleep, but have since realized the impact it has on so much of my life. CrossFit, work, relationships and my happiness need me as the best version of myself. And sleep will always continue as a cornerstone in making those pillars happen in my life.

 

What does your nighttime routine look like?

How do you cope with sleepless nights? 

Have you considered adding in a supplement, like magnesium, to improve your sleep quality? 

Blogmas Day 15 / Be The Light.

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[ origin / ROMWOD Instagram]

The biggest dream I have for myself is to become a coach, one who holds experience in coaching both health and life. I dream of being able to help others push through their negativity and find the positivity they certain hold within. It just takes realize it's there, and that they have the power to put their focus on the positives, instead of letting negativity take control of their thoughts.

When people have asked me why I want to become a coach, the usual answer goes along the lines of wanting to help others, and wanting to help them make positive change in their lives. I had wished there was a better way of saying it, a way to explain the complexity in being a support for someone.

Finding this quote brought all my thoughts full circle.

 It encompasses what I want my work to involve, what I want to represent as a coach. I want to help build others up and show them the amazing light they carry into this world each and every day. My hope is to teach them how to remove their insecurities one by one, and find ways to show them how worthy they are of having an enjoyable life that brings them joy.

If there is anything worth working for in 2016, it is bringing myself closer to become the coach I dream of being. It means taking leaps into the voids that scare me, and conquering the fears that sometimes paralyze my actions. It means taking steps and finding resolutions to whatever is holding me back.

Life is too damn short to live behind a curtain of fear.

Blogmas Day 14 / Win Some, Lose Some.

After a packed weekend and a late start to my Sunday, I didn't have the chance to get as much done behind-the-blog as I had wanted. But, as the title clearly states - you win some, you lose some. Except I don't see it as losing. It just means life was being lived, which I sometimes forget is the most amazing part of being human. As I sit here on Monday night, trying to get a mini-post up for Day 14, I'm already planned out for the rest of the week. How I managed to get 3 posts ready to go, and get a head start on my ToL for Thursday, seems to be surprising me. At the same time, I'm not all that surprised. I've started to develop a passion for the writing I share and the consistent blogging is teaching me to follow what makes me most happy.

Honestly, that's pretty much it for what I have to share. I'm about to take off my makeup, eating a small snack and get some ROMWOD on before heading into bed. I'm in such a good place in Still Alice, so I'm hoping to make it through a few pages before falling asleep tonight.

I hope you had a week filled with little things that made you happy, and that you continue to find happiness throughout this week.

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Because I know one morning of my week will involve this beautiful almond milk caramel hot chocolate.

 

What was your last 'win some, lose some' moment?

Blogmas Day 13 / Late on Sunday Night.

It's 11:04pm, which means I technically have about 56 minutes to officially get this post done for it not to be late. We will see how this goes.

And this is the first time during Blogmas I have reached a blank when I've started to add a new post. Maybe it's because my back is bugging me, or because I put a lot of energy into food prepping, but I'm finding myself quite exhausted on this Sunday night.

Being a smart athlete, I'm planning to start ROMWOD in the morning, see my chiro after work and get back after it in the gym come Tuesday. I sometimes find it hard to rest, but have become better realizing the benefit a rest day can have - not just on the body, but on the mind as well. I'm already planning out a little bit of my morning so I can have proper time to enjoy it before I head off to work.

After two later-than-normal nights on Friday and Saturday, I think my body is just a little screwed up in regards to knowing when to get ready for sleep. There used to be a time in life where I would get so upset about this, but really, what is that worth? Will it matter in five years that I didn't go to bed early on this one Sunday night?

Probably not.

I know have the mindset to own it, and to really search for its silver lining. In this situation, it allowed me to watch The Day Kennedy Died with Matt and to put some time into the blog and sorting my emails.

Other than feeling I crammed a lot of prep into my evening instead of relaxing, today was a wonderful day. I was able to sleep in a little, spent the morning watching YouTube, and the afternoon just hanging out with Matt. We even managed to get groceries, which we sometimes push to Monday because leaving the house on Sundays is hard. I'm looking forward to next weekend, as it will allow more time for much needed relaxation in preparation for the longer Christmas weekend.

As for the week ahead? Lots of smart rest for my back and more time on the blog. And, as always staying positive and happy. Can't let the negativity get you down. My eyes are now getting sleeping, and sentences are starting to not really make much sense, so I'd say it's time to sign off. Thanks for reading this randomness. Tomorrow should start with more normal programming that should follow the entire week.

 

Blogmas Day 12 / How Do You...

Is it weird to be coming back oh-so-soon for a post, since I just chatted a bit with you around noon? I hope not. As easy as it would have been to just bundle up three days into one post, that wasn't my intention when starting out on this Blogmas journey. I wanted the challenge of getting a post up every day until Christmas, and this is the only way it can truly be done. Awhile back, Duluth Pack posted being desk side with some of the key players in their business. I loved the quirky little survey questions, and it had me thinking about what gets me motivated on my way of doing "work" with my blog and life. And if you are wondering what fuels me when it comes to getting things done, a chocolate mint Clif Builder paired with chilled vanilla almond milk is pretty much amazing for some blogging energy.

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How Do You...

Start Your Morning? On non-CrossFit days, I usually start my day with my tumbler of water, a class of Spark, and kitten snuggles. Then it's checking emails and watching YouTube for happiness and inspiration.

Stay Motivated? I think when you have a passion for what you do, and knowing the happiness it brings to your life, it just comes. There are days where it is hard, and usually I will take a break from trying to create.  As I move towards bigger goals, it then becomes more about wanting to build something amazing to share with the world.

Get Inspired? By reading articles that relate to what I'm most passionate about; Reading blog posts of inspiring women (sometimes one word they say can spark an entire post!); Watching YouTubers that have built up their lives by completely following their dreams.

Challenge Yourself? The biggest way I can challenge myself is by not letting my fears take over my life, and finding ways to live those fears to create a stronger me.

Motivate Others? This doesn't completely pertain to my own blogging, but in regards to some of my blends (bloggers-turned-friends), I believe by supporting them, it can certainly help them stay motivated to continue creating content.

Find Personal Balance? By far, the hardest part of blogging for me, but I believe I am getting better! By blocking out time to work on blog stuff, it helps me fill in those other blogs with what I need to do to stay balanced in life. Whether this means watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix, taking a cookie + almond milk break, or even doing chores, I feel more balanced. Plus, a lot of inspiration and ideas can come in those moments.

Stay Organized? For Blogmas this year, I printed out a calendar of December to keep track of post ideas and when I wanted to get them up. For the rest of the year, I really rely on my planner to get posts up (when I've been able to do a few consistently). In the new year, I am really hoping to put my GTWB (#getttoworkbook) to work, as well as learn more during the TBP Blog Challenge!

End Your Day? I take my Pure Pharma M3, type out five things I am grateful for on my Notes app, set my alarm for the next day and then read. The reading is the most crucial; it has been helping me to fall asleep much easier after so many bouts of insomnia a couple of months ago.

Blogmas Day 11 / Gratitude of the Past // February 2012

Sincerest of apologies for the delay in my Blogmas posts since Friday. I failed to plan any posts out for what became a busy weekend. My goal for today? Get next Friday and Saturday's posts planned out so I don't have to worry when the weekend becomes busier. I felt awesome about being so ready for Monday through Thursday - and then all was lost for the weekend. I wanted to get two posts up this morning/early afternoon, and will be back on schedule this evening with my final post to get me caught up. And while my draft bin is full, there are only a few posts I am able to immediately get ready. I loved finding an old notebook I had used for a gratitude journal back in 2012; it made me think back to what life was like then, and how life has changed in some ways. I am actually planning on starting another one up for 2016 after being challenged to find 5 things I am grateful for right before Thanksgiving. I've kept up with it on my Notes app, but want to transition back over to a small notebook in the new year.

I hope you enjoy!

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2.1.12

  1. A new beginning.
  2. Being able to become closer to my dad.
  3. My health & the health of Matt.

2.2.12

  1. Coffee dates with close friends.
  2. A clean & tidy apartment.
  3. Watching Star Wars with Matt. =)

2.3.12

  1. Having the time to read books that I enjoy.
  2. Late night dinners at Pizza Luce.
  3. My amazing oGorgeous bag from Matthew.

2.4.12

  1. Cold Stone tip money.
  2. Great friends.
  3. MOM.

2.5.12

  1. Having Matt's arm around me and a shoulder to lean on.
  2. Spaghetti dinners with Matt.
  3. Becoming closer with Kim & Chelsey.

2.6.12

  1. Feeling better and working out again.
  2. Matt helping me while I am sick.
  3. An ice cream for all the hard work.

2.7.12

  1. Crazy dance moves with Matthew.
  2. Banana bread.
  3. UMD and all of the opportunities it has to offer.

2.8.12

  1. My loan money that keeps me safe and secure.
  2. The smell of Matt.
  3. The food in my fridge.

2.9.12

  1. Leftovers.
  2. Good laughs with Attitudes girls.
  3. Hot chocolate.

2.10.12

  1. Cold Stone vent sessions in the backroom.
  2. Enjoying Star Wars with my Matt.
  3. The Brewhouse. <3

2.11.12

  1. Morning snuggles with Matt.
  2. My peacock phone case!
  3. Having friends over at our apartment.

2.12.12

  1. Matt & I's little messenger mailbox.
  2. Coming home to clean dishes.
  3. Breaking Dawn! <3

2.13.12

  1. My Matthew - for driving me around and buying me a meal.
  2. The taste of amazing water.
  3. Finding my peacock phone holder.

2.14.12

  1. BOGO at Caribou! And going there with a close friend.
  2. Errands excursions with Matt.
  3. A night of amazing pizza and hot cocoa.

2.15.12

  1. For 20 healthy years of my life.
  2. All of the happy wishes I've received from friends and family.
  3. To the small celebrations that are to come.

2.16.12

  1. Great jokes and laughs at Attitudes.
  2. Mint ice cream at Cold Stone.
  3. Chocolate. Covered. Strawberries.

2.17.12

  1. Days off with Matthew.
  2. My homemade birthday cake.
  3. Bed conversations with M.

2.18.12

  1. Homemade crepes.
  2. A fantastic food spread from the Great American Place - The Duluth Grill.
  3. Breaking Dawn, part 1! =)

2.19.12

  1. My amazing birthday gifts from Matt.
  2. Leftovers! (pizza + Duluth Grill)
  3. My daily blog readings.

2.20.12

  1. Another homemade, AMAZING spaghetti dinner.
  2. New pictures of M & myself.
  3. A week off of teaching.

2.21.12

  1. The healthy food I am able to consume.
  2. My motivation for productivity.
  3. A hot shower after a killer Jillian Michaels workout.

2.22.12

  1. Spending time with my mom.
  2. Having Jade in my life.
  3. My healthy tears.

2.23.12

  1. Hot cocoa with marshmallows.
  2. Amazing YouTube videos of singers.
  3. A good run. =)

2.24.12

  1. Mornings with Matt.
  2. Banana Nut Cheerios.
  3. Movie Night! Complete with candy & popcorn.

2.25.12

  1. Being able to sleep in.
  2. Satisfaction of a clean(er) apartment.
  3. Yummy toast.

2.26.12

  1. Dance. Central. Two. =)
  2. Pizza picnic.
  3. Snow.

2.27.12

  1. The people I work with at Cold Stone.
  2. A comfy bed.
  3. The snuggles I get from Matt before bed.

2.28.12

  1. The nights Matt stays in.
  2. Knowing the night will come fast enough.
  3. That my dreams aren't reality.

2.29.12

  1. A UMD snow day.
  2. A good night's sleep with no bad dreams.
  3. Getting my hair done by the one and only Dereck.

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Three things you are grateful for on this Sunday!