Sunday, December 22, 2019

Book Club Is Back! 2020 Edition







In July we take a book club vacation!






Cheers to a year of fabulous reading!

Monday, April 8, 2019

A Book Review for My Mom: The Path Made Clear By Oprah Winfrey

Rarely do I write a post about a book I haven't finished... but here I am, writing about Oprah's latest. I'm not even halfway through it yet, and I can tell already it's one I will want to leave on my nightstand to revisit again. If you get it, definitely buy the hardback version-- it's a beautiful book filled with images and stories and quotes by Oprah and many others. This book I will treasure, I know.

I love books. I love words. I read a lot. But it is rare for me to read something on a page that I've thought of so many times, spoken by another.

Page 39 stopped me in my tracks.

Vice President Joe Biden's conversation with Oprah:

Oprah: I read that ever since you were a little boy, you had a picture in your head of the kind of man that you wanted to be. Did you live up to your own expectations? Did you fulfill the vision or exceed the vision?

Vice President Joe Biden: By and large I believe that I have ended up being the man I wanted to be, but it wasn't in terms of accomplishment. Because people usually translate that into, As a young guy, I kew I wanted to be a senator. Or, I knew I wanted to be president. But that wasn't true. What was true was I wanted to live up to my parent's expectations. And I wanted to be that person that met my mother's standards. Being defined by my courage. I wanted to be that person who, no matter what happened, just got back up and kept going. I wanted to be that person who was loyal to people who were loyal to him. 

"What was true was I wanted to live up to my parent's expectations. And I wanted to be that person that met my mother's standards. "


I was an adventure as a child.
I was not an easy daughter.
Typical Taurus. So stubborn.
I look cute enough here in my pink Dittos! Right?

That stubborn 70's girl has grown into a strong and sometimes still unsure of herself woman. And there are many times when I am faced with a tough decision, or don't know what my next step should be, I ask myself,

"Would my mom be proud of me?" 

And the answer will point me in the right direction.
Thank you, mom, for believing in me always.
I treasure your guidance and am so grateful that you support me no matter what.

Happy birthday, Mom! I love you.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

These are a few of my favorite things

 In 2019, I'm working on getting healthy and organized! As I am getting rid of things and clearing out clutter, I'm trying to focus on having less STUFF. It's not so much about getting rid of everything, but rather having and keeping things that bring you joy. 

For several years I have been inspired by Marie Kondo's book: 
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and now a seres on Netflix.  
I love her ideas around surrounding yourself with people and things that make you happy.  
Like holding a puppy happy!

Here is a little list of some things I just LOVE. 

First, I thought the only Smart Watch was an Apple Watch. I wasn't sure I even wanted one--I love my Fitbit Surge, but it does just look like a boring fitness watch. And actually, I think the Apple Watch is kind of plain, too... And then a few days before Christmas I stumbled across this blog post by Rachel Hollis -- Five Business Trip Essentials and I discovered that Michael Kors makes smart watches that are beautiful! This watch will still tell me if I am getting a text or phone call, and can send notifications from other apps, too. I find that having the other notifications on means the battery lasts a shorter time, so I have them off. It looks like jewelry. AND you can change the watch faces! Also, I'm back to wearing my little Fitbit Flex on my other wrist just so I can still be in the fitness challenges :) I got my watch at the Michael Kors outlet near me-- my Christmas present from Sam!

iLife Robot Vacuum Cleaner $159.99 
Amazon Link

I love this gift from my daughter Hope! I have two dogs who shed CONSTANTLY. I can not keep up with the fur! But this little robot picks it all up and I no longer see any. It even goes over different level floors and under coffee tables. It is amazing. And it motivated me to keep everything else clean :)

Lola didn't like it at first :)
On sale for $22.00 -- lots of fun colors!
These Fleece-Lined Old Navy Jeans Are the Winter Essential I Never Knew I Needed --post from Oprah Magazine

These are SO comfortable. You're welcome.

Sugar-Free Orange Creme Sparkling Water
Eating healthy but still want to enjoy a sweet dessert taste? This flavor is my favorite. This is the Raley's version, but most grocery stores seem to carry a drink like this. 

I love not having to decide what to make OR shop two meals a week. I've tried Hello Fresh & Blue Apron, and I have decided that Blue Apron is my favorite! I also like that I get to make things I wouldn't normally make. My menu was getting kind of boring! Message me to try it for free!

Recipe card pic

My version
The Fitness Marshall
My Playlist
( FYI --I had to google how to embed a playlist just to get this in here!)
This is a list of 11 of his videos that I really have fun with-- dancing in my living room and driving my dogs crazy. Trying to avoid hitting the ceiling fan -- hello 8 foot ceilings! I think Starships might be his first video ever, and I discovered it when my friend Petra was doing a dance elective class at our school with some of the 4th and 5th graders.  His videos are so random, sometimes in a gym or studio, sometimes in a park, outside a fancy house, or even in an alley. I think he is hilarious.

Fitness, fashion, and food. These are a few of my favorite things!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

5 to Thrive for 2019 #everyday

Inspired by Rachel Hollis, I'm on day four of 5 to Thrive for 2019! Although I'm familiar with this as part of the #last90days challenge for finishing the year strong (which I did not do), I'm super excited to start the new year off in this way! I LOVE the mix of health and mindfulness in this little list and am loving doing these 5 things every day. ***Updates 1/13/19 in italics

  • Get up an hour earlier than you normally do – use this time for YOURSELF.  
    • Since January 3rd I have been doing this every weekday-- waking up between 4:45 and 5 am. I'm writing in my gratitude journal, and my Start Now journal (it has space for gratitude and goal setting) and I love the quiet in the morning, snuggling with my dog and enjoying a cup of coffee. Note: I am NOT a morning person. And, today is a Sunday and I woke up automatically at 5:55. Just enough time to write and see the sunrise!

  • Work out for at least 30 minutes. 
    • I have done this EVERY day since January 3rd, some days walking as much as 13 miles, and most days just a quick 30 minute loop around my neighborhood -- usually in the dark :) I look forward to this each day!
I love taking pictures on my walks :)
  • Drink ½ of your body weight in ounces of water. Take the amount you weigh, divide it in half and whatever number that is in ounces is the amount of water you drink every day. 
    • I have been drinking 96 oz of water every day. I bought a 32 oz bottle with ounces on it so I can really know how much I am drinking. Some days I am chugging at the end of the day. I don't love it, but I know it's good for me. 
  • Give up ONE food category you know you shouldn’t be eating. Do it for at least 30 days.
    • Bread. I don't miss it. I only had bread one day on a Subway sandwich at school when I forgot to pack my apple for lunch. I was so hungry I could have eaten my arm. But other than that day, I have not had bread! Croutons don't count, for the record :)
  • Write down 10 things that you are grateful for. 
    • I'm writing at least eight every day. One journal has a spot for five, the other has three. I love this and have so much to be thankful for!

Grateful. #oneword #saysomething 2019

Each year for about the past five years I have enjoyed thinking of one word to be my focus for the year. I think it started when I saw a tweet by Jon Gordon and had never really thought about January in that way-- I was used to making the typical list of resolutions that were largely forgotten in a few weeks, or months, and rarely was I successful. I know this because I can't remember any of them.

I love having one word to inspire me all year long, and if I think for a minute I know I could remember them all. I write about my word. I look for a piece of artwork to hang in my office to remind me. Sometimes I can find a shirt or a piece of jewelry with my word. I love having visible reminders to help me focus my mindset.

I even love the process of just thinking about all of the possible words, and which one fits. It usually takes a week or two. For 2019, I choose grateful. This word wraps up many things for me-- for several years I have been working hard on practicing gratitude, and trying to find little and big things to be thankful for each day. Every day there is something! And I am also grateful for hard things, trying to find the lesson to be learned through struggle that will make me a better person at the end of it.

I had been thinking about my word, still undecided, when I read a Facebook post by my friend Cassidy Butler about her experience with Rachel Hollis' #last90days challenge and I was so inspired! Her entire post is included below, but she kicked it off like this:

"Beginning October 1, I started Rachel Hollis’ 5 to Thrive challenge for the last 90 days of the year. While I didn’t do it perfectly, I stuck with it through the end of the year. This is the first time in my life where I rolled into January 1 with a consistent exercise routine and eating plan. It feels amazing to enter the new year with so much momentum.
This year I’m setting goals based on where I want to go in life, not based on regret for how I lived my life over the past year." 

Rachel Hollis & Cassidy at St. Francis HS
I had been lucky to hear Rachel Hollis speak in October and loved her book "Girl, Wash Your Face." But I didn't know about the 5 to Thrive challenge. When Cassidy posted it, I loved it! And I started the next day.

Cassidy's post gave me a plan that seemed doable, but it also got me thinking about where motivation comes from, especially for me.  Most often, I am moved to do, to act, by words.

They come from many places. Books. Blog posts. Tweets and Instagram posts. Even songs. I love it when people say something inspiring! Speaking of songs, one of Justin Timberlake's new songs is called Say Something! A coincidence? I think not. I love the words. You're welcome.

I am grateful for authors who #saysomething by telling their stories. I read these four books this year and I can't stop thinking about them. Themes that run through each in different ways:

Am I good enough?
We are here to lift each other up.
Being strong isn't easy. But do it anyway.

As much as I love books and music, I am most moved when people take time to #saysomething , to reach out with word of encouragement, checking in, saying hello. It might be a text or a vox,  a note, a twitter message, or phone call. I am so grateful for friends and family and all of the little and big things you do and say each day that inspire me, make me think, and help me to grow and learn and be a better person. And I am grateful for the technology that connects me to people near and far - I had no idea how much power a sweet text or thoughful vox could have. 

Cassidy's FB post below is just one example. It fired me up for the new year, and inspired this post! (And at the end of this post I've included a few other links that might inspire you, too!)

Beginning October 1, I started Rachel Hollis’ 5 to Thrive challenge for the last 90 days of the year. While I didn’t do it perfectly, I stuck with it through the end of the year.
This is the first time in my life where I rolled into January 1 with a consistent exercise routine and eating plan. It feels amazing to enter the new year with so much momentum.
This year I’m setting goals based on where I want to go in life, not based on regret for how I lived my life over the past year. 🎉

Here’s what I accomplished in the last 90 days of 2018:
1) I drank enough water to float a boat. When you’re drinking that much water, the thought of consuming other beverages on top of half your body weight in water is not desirable. Consequently I cut my caffeine, alcohol and soda intake substantially without even trying.
2) I exercised most days for at least thirty minutes riding my Peloton and joining Club Pilates in Natomas. Some days I exercised both morning and evening.
3) I wrote down 10 things to be grateful for EVERY SINGLE DAY. In the process I discovered what an amazing life I lead. At first you think 10 things to be grateful for is a ridiculous amount, but once you start looking for reasons to be grateful throughout your day, it’s actually a very small number.
4) I gave up sugar and half n’ half. It was brutal at first but once I learned about carbohydrates impact on blood sugar, it became much easier. Now if I eat too many carbs in one sitting, my brain becomes foggy, my body aches, and I can’t function.
5) I established a morning routine based on Hal Elrod’s book Miracle Morning. This was the last change I implemented and the one I resisted the most. Getting up an hour early to do something for myself seemed absurd. After all, I had a codependent relationship going with my snooze button, and I was good with that. Ironically, getting up with my alarm to take care of me and my goals has been the new habit that has had the greatest bang for the buck. I discovered that I love mediating for 10 minutes after I exercise. If I’m going to exercise my body, shouldn’t my brain get the same love as well.

None of these lifestyle changes happened over night. I think I was only implementing two or three of the habits in early October. But I kept at it and was able to integrate all 5 into my life. I’ll be keeping these habits going into the new year!

Cheers to a fabulous 2019!  ~Jennifer

I also love the Shine text app! Every day at 6:30 am I get a little inspiration and motivation.

Here is a post from Shine about choosing your one word or theme for the year!