Tuesday, January 17, 2012

You Can't Build on Broken

One of the best experiences of my life was volunteering with TEDxHouston last year. Some of my best friends - the Culture Pilots! - are the curators of this independently organized TED event and boy do they do a bang up job.

This was my favorite talk from 2011. Neighborhood Center's Angela Blanchard talks about bringing communities up by building on what they have, not on what's broken. I dare you not to tear up.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Check in Monday - 1/16/12

Last week was a whirlwind, but I still managed to get some of my goals on track - how'd you do this week?

  • Walking/Working Out: walking was on like Donkey Kong this week; I walked 4 of 5 days! I made it to one yoga class, which was a bummer, but my goal this week is 2!
  • Eating at Home: We ate a home a decent amount this week, but ate out more then we wanted to because of some craziness. This week the awesomest friends ever made it possible to eat at home almost every meal, thanks to the fact that they cooked Ryan and I a week's worth of dinners! Thank you Erin and Christina!!*
  • Meditating: Just like last week, I whiffed it. Not one session on the cushion. I have signed up for a meditation class at the Houston Zen Center on Thursday evenings. I took this class in 2010 and really enjoyed it, now it's time for a refresher to get me back in the habit of sitting! 

*Note: Does not constitute a legit thank you. Real thank you coming soon!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Life as a Practice

I have been running into the concept of life as a practice a lot lately and something about that really resonates with me. The more you do certain behaviors, the more they become habit - who you are is drawn each day by the things you do over and over. It's so simple and so powerful - we all have a chance to remake ourselves every day!

Great post on this topic at Zen Habits!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Now is Now

If you have yet to read the Happiness Project blog, hop on over and check it out. She has such a wonderful way of summing up big, epic truths in life with a casual, humorous voice. 

One of my favorite things about this site (and the book!) are her simple truths in life - things she has learned in her life that seem to apply universally. In this post, she talks about staying in the present using a scene from one of my favorite movies, Before Sunrise (don't judge! I grew up in the 90s - Ethan Hawk was dreamy then!). 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Recipe: Brussels Sprouts a la Amelie

On a recent trip to New Orleans, we dined at an AWESOME place off Royal St. called Cafe Amelie. There we had an appetizer - made with Brussels sprouts -  that I have craved daily ever since; here's my attempt at recreating it! Not as jaw droppingly amazing as their version, but it's close enough to tide me over until our next trip. Enjoy!

Clearing Out Clutter

Found this awesome guy here. Great post on mental clutter!

"A comfortable home is a great source of happiness. It ranks immediately after health and a good conscience."  Sydney Smith (Thanks Happiness Project!)

Clutter is a big part of my life. I seem to have tons of it - a cluttered craft room, a cluttered coffee table (much to Ryan's chagrin) and a mid full of racing, cluttery thoughts. Clutter, clutter, clutter. Say it enough and your skin starts to crawl. Clutter. *shiver* Yuck.

My cluttered life isn't for lack of trying to be non-cluttered. I recycle, clear out spaces, purge my messes, donate items and toss stuff regularly, but like a tsunami it creeps back in one yard of fabric or one cookbook at a time. I try to focus on not buying new things in X category or for Y area, but it keeps coming like a wave of zombies

I don't know what happened this January, but I had enough. "Clutter - GET OUTTA HERE!" My brain said. I cleared out my fridge, my pantry, my closet and my office. I took clothing donations to the Salvation Army and all my extra craft supplies to an awesome after school program that needed them. I uncluttered my schedule and decided to have some time for myself to exercise. Goodbye clutter!

With so many surfaces in my home and in my life clear, I feel good about what's starting. My mind is opening up and my chest is less tight from stress. I can find things I'm looking for and not have that "Awww damn!" moment when you pour expired spaghetti sauce into your freshly made pasta. Now my shelves are stocked with fresh stuff and for once you can clearly see what's in the fridge. Victory!

When my home is clear, I'm clear. What about you? Do you need to clean your kitchen before you start a project or scrub the bathtub before doing your taxes? How do you clear your messy surfaces, physical or otherwise?

Need help getting there in 2012? Zen Habits has you clear and uncluttered!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Check in Monday - 1/9/12

I'm not a prize fighter and it stresses me out to focus on numbers instead of goals, so 

is now

Instead of spouting off how much I lost - or didn't lose - the last week, I'm going to do a status check on my goals for month!

How things are going so far:
  • Walking/Working Out: decent progress! I walked twice last week and hit up yoga once. This week, I hope to get 3 walks in and 1 - 2 yoga classes!
  • Eating at Home: I whiffed it on the goal setting - I should focus on how many meals I can eat out rather than how many I eat at home so it's easier to keep track. New goal - eat out 3 times (or less) this week. Last week I ate most meals at home, so yay for that!
  • Meditating: Whiffed it. Not one session on the cushion. Goal for this week - hit the mat 4 times, working up to 7!
Conclusion: Progress has been made in many areas; room for improvement in others!

How are your goals going so far? 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Vinnie Jones and Stayin' Alive!

Recent research has shown that the chances of surviving a heart attack double if the person helping you does continuous compression CPR. Vinnie Jones, the badass from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, shows us how it's done.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pumpkin Oatmeal!

Lots of lovely oatmeals - thanks A Beautiful Mess!

I'm a breakfast gal. I just don't do well without something in my tummy first thing in the morning. While I LOVE donuts, scrambled eggs and bacon, I know that having something more balanced will set a better tone for my day. Enter oatmeal!

Oatmeal is magical! It's good for you (most types have more than 3 grams of soluble fiber - the cholesterol lowering kind! - per serving) and the complex carbs digest slowly so that you don't want to cut someone for a Snickers bar by 11 a.m. Most importantly (to me) it's diverse: you can get super crazy flavors at your local grocery store or add delicious things to plain varieties (My favorites are Irish Oatmeal and Quaker Rolled Oats). Plus, what other breakfast food has a hilarious comic site named after it? Not so fast Raisin Bran.

Today after my walk (HOLLA!) I whipped up a bowl of Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal after seeing the recipe on A Beautiful Mess.

I tweaked the recipe a bit with what I had on hand - here's what I did:

"How long did that take, Sarah? I don't have all day!" This entire process took about 5 minutes - so no longer than making a bagel or something (definitely less time than frying bacon!) So BOOM - better breakfast in less time!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Saying the Right Thing

We all have trouble finding the right words sometimes. Some of us even seem to NEVER be able to choose the right words at all or stay silent, as to not cement the fact that we are fools. Regardless of our particular issues, the ability to open your mouth and insert your foot seems to be the great human unifier, while the ability to be cool about someone else's traumas, foibles or faux pas is divine.

I remember reading a good story about Cary Grant. He was filming a movie with Audrey Hepburn (maybe Charade?!? That was a good one!) and they decided to take a break at a local cafe to enjoy some wine. Audrey, gesturing wildly, knocked the bottle all over him, ruining his jacket. Not missing a beat, he continued the conversation while removing his jacket and putting it on the back of his chair. He didn't say a word, but his message was perfect. 

Check out this post on the Happiness Project about some other simple ways to say the right thing. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Raging Pinterest Addiction

Holy bananas y'all - I'm addicted to Pinterest like crazy. It's a rabbit hole of lovely things to discover and the perfect place to bookmark things visually so that you can reference them later. Haven't checked out this awesome site and are wondering what the heck I'm talking about? Pinterest allows people to create "boards" on a variety of topics and "pin" items to those boards for their followers to see. It's both a bookmarking site and a social tool, which makes it super fun because you can discover new things through your friends and help other people find neat stuff too!

What's this? Why it's something I found (and subsequently found the awesome blog it's on) on Pinteres
One way I have really enjoyed using my boards to archive recipes I find on the web. My old way of doing it left much to be desired - I either bookmarked it in my browser (all you see is a link name!) or printed it out and promptly lost it in the kitchen (wastes so many trees!). With Pinterest, I can see the items and select based on picture and name what I'll make tonight. It makes keeping up with healthy recipes so easy! 

Do you have any favorite recipes from around the web to share? Leave one in the comments or pin it and link back here so I can stalk you via Pinterest!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Weigh in Monday - 1/2/12

My first Weigh in Monday of the year is kind of a cheat - the last time I weighed in seriously was in October and thanks to the stress of having a critically ill dad, I lost a decent bit of weight since then. So instead of being like "I lost 8lbs MOFOS!" (see what I did there? BAM) I'm just going to start over with my goals at this new weight. 

  • Lose 5lbs by my birthday in March
  • Walk 4 days a week
  • Start workouts again (slowly! I pulled my back in November and have to watch it!)
  • Eat at home for 10 meals a week
  • Meditate 7 times a week
What are your "get healthy" goals for this year?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hello 2012

While I am a firm believer in the "any-day-above-ground-is-a-good-one!" philosophy, I have to say I was so very ready to say goodbye to 2011 and welcome a new year with open arms. Hello 2012.

To start the year off right, I'm going to take a break from Facebook (my biggest time suck!) and Twitter (less so, but still something I tend to log in to way too much) for the month of January. Instead of sharing my craziness via status updates and tweeting about what I ate for lunch, I will focus on getting healthy again, cooking at home, and blogging here.

Please bear with me while I get back to posting this month - it will take a while to get back into the groove!