Tuesday, September 30, 2014


In an effort to add a little more color and beauty into the world, every week on Pinterest I pick one of my favorite things and create a a new board to house all the images I find. On Tuesdays I make a blog post devoted to the theme.


This warm and positive color is associated with physical need and will to survive. Red is energizing, exciting emotions in us and motivating us to take action. It symbolizes the spirit of leadership, ambition and determination. It gives confidence to those who lack it. It stimulates passion in both love and revenge.

Follow my Red board on Pinterest.

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How to Wake up Early to Workout

Busy schedules sometimes mean waking up earlier just to get a workout in. I know it's hard, it was hard for me to wake up early just to write about waking up early to workout. But there are some benefits to getting a workout in before you really start your day.

  • Morning exercises "jump start" your metabolism and kick your body into overdrive, helping you burn more calories throughout the remainder of your day.
  • Doing something good for your body in the morning energizes you for the day.
  • Studies show that working out in the morning helps brain activity for four to ten hours after exercising. Harness your new super power toward good, not evil.
  • Regular exercise leads to better sleep quality meaning you won't need as much and it'll gradually be easier to wake up earlier. You might not even need an alarm some days. It's a cycle of good health.
  • Keeping a consistent exercise schedule regulates your bodies endocrine system and circadian rhythm. This means your body will start to recognize a pattern. It won't be confused by different wake times and will start to regulate various systems in your body.
  • Working out in the morning leads to healthier diet choices throughout their day. Endorphins tend to suppress appetite.
  • Exercising in the morning gives you an opportunity to plan your day, pray, or just be alone with your thoughts.
  • If you "get it over with" in the morning, your fitness goals are less likely to slip through the cracks of a busy life.
I hope you're convinced to give morning exercise a try. Here are some helpful tips to help you get up earlier and get moving.

If you're running out of workout ideas, check out my printable workouts here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall-ing for Autumn

In an effort to add a little more color and beauty into the world, every week on Pinterest I pick one of my favorite things and create a a new board to house all the images I find. On Tuesdays I make a blog post devoted to the theme.

Autumn Equinox

Yesterday was the Autumnal Equinox. The word equinox comes from the Latin words for "equal night." At the fall and spring equinoxes the hours of daylight are equal to the hour of darkness. This happens because the Sun crosses the celestial equator. Autumn is a time of change as leaves change color, days grow shorter and temperature begin to drop.

Why do leaves change color? The bright pigments carotene (yellow) and anthocyanin (red) you see so vividly during the fall are actually present all year. They are simple masked by chlorophyll (green). When the temperature starts dropping, a barrier forms between the twigs of trees and the leaves preventing sugars from exiting and nutrients from entering the leaves. This results in the chlorophyll breaking down, leaving behind these other pigments.

Follow my Autumn board on Pinterest.

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Friday, September 19, 2014


It's time to get to the bottom of this gluten free business. It's clear that it's not just going to leave stage right. I'm finally going to investigate gluten and living gluten-free.

According to the Mayo Clinic "A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)." The mayo clinic describes the purpose of a gluten-free diet as, "a treatment for celiac disease."

Apparently Peter Gibson is the originator of the idea of gluten intolerance. He published a study in 2011 which found gluten to cause gastrointestinal distress in patients without celiac disease. This study was one of the strongest pieces of evidence to date that gluten intolerance is a condition.

Like any good scientist, Gibson was unsatisfied with these results and proceeded to conduct an even more rigorous study in 2013, where he found that subjects reportedly worsening gastrointestinal distress with each meal. Gluten wasn't the cause, the cause was likely psychological and Gibson stated, "In contrast to our first study... we could find absolutely no specific response to gluten."

Source: Gluten Free Club

It seems that going gluten-free is largely market driven and not based on any scientific evidence. Manufacturers, large and small, are jumping on the band wagon labeling products as gluten-free to appease the masses. But is it really good for us to adopt a diet sans gluten if celiac disease does not ail us?

Here's my "professional" opinion: Of course you will feel better when you stop consuming all the pastries and cookies and crackers! It's logic. Don't replace these gluten-filled items with the gluten-free products that have come out. These are often even more processed and pumped with extra sugar and fat. If you HAVE to adopt a gluten-free diet, adopt a generally healthier diet as well. If you cook more at home using real ingredients, cutting out more processed foods, you will feel better! Regardless of the presence of gluten, so stop vilifying one food group... please.

Eat more vegetables and fruit. Eat more real ingredients and less processed items. Allow yourself a treat every once in a while. Donut, ice cream, whatever your vice is, everything in moderation.

Source: Flour Advisory Bureau

One good thing I've seen coming out of this fad is that gluten-free products are more easily available and less expensive for people who actually do have celiac disease. And that's a win in my book.

Further reading

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Family

Today I want to express my love and gratitude to my supportive family. They've helped me through every stage of my life. Even now, when I'm so far away, I know that they are thinking of me and I am always thinking of them.

Old family photo - from left to right: Dad Charles, Me, Sister Erica, Mom Debbie
Thank you family!

Think about the individuals in your life. Who do you turn to for support? It's never too late or too early to communicate how much you appreciate a person.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Treadmill Workout

Do you look at the treadmill and think, "Treadmill...? More like DREADmill," and then laugh at your own cleverness? Do you fall into a mind-numbing boredom ball while using the conveyor belt of monotony? This high-intensity interval routine will challenge your body and keep you brain engaged, boosting your fitness level as the minutes fly by. Interval training is the best when it comes to cardio conditioning.
Find the downloadable pdf here, and discover literally dozens of downloadable workouts here. <3

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hot Air Balloons

In an effort to add a little more color and beauty into the world, every week on Pinterest I pick one of my favorite things and create a a new board to house all the images I find. On Tuesdays I make a blog post devoted to the theme.

Hot Air Balloons

Learn about the history of hot air balloons on the National Balloon Museum's website.

Follow my Hot Air Balloons board on Pinterest.

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mission Blue

Have you seen Mission Blue on Netflix yet? Go watch it, immediately. I loved it! Here's a trailer:

Mission Blue is part oceanic road trip; part biography; part action adventure story. Fisher Stevens is our guide. His lifelong love for the ocean led him to produce the Academy Award winning film, The Cove, which focused on dolphin slaughter in Japan.

This film expands on the theme of The Cove, weaving legendary oceanographer Sylvia Earle's personal history with the bleak truth about what's happening to our oceans. We follow Sylvia's incredible and unique journey, from her childhood memories discovering and playing in the ocean as a young girl to her adult life as an ocean scientist and beyond.

Sylvia passionately believes that creating a global parks system for the ocean that she calls “Hope Spots” is the best way to restore the health of the ocean. As she travels to the Gulf of Mexico, the Galapagos Islands and the Coral Sea it becomes clear the challenges we face are truly daunting. As a witness to change over the past 60 years, Sylvia is leading the movement to restore the ocean to health before it’s too late.

The goals and passion for change presented in the film are as beautiful and haunting as the imagery. Mission Blue is an alert for all who are dependent on rainwater, clean air and weather cycles regulated by the ocean (yes, that includes you). As Sylvia says: “No blue; no green. No ocean; no us.”

Find out how you can help by visiting the website. Here's a synopsis of the list on the Act Now page.

Everyone can make a difference! I've decided to stop eating fish. I realize now the hypocrisy of not eating turf meats for environmental reasons but continuing to eat surf meats. This will be a difficult change for me because sushi is my favorite food. But for me personally, I believe it is the right thing to do. What are you going to do?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Caprese Salad

Summer's winding down which means an end to my all time favorite ingredient combination: tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and olive oil. Caprese means in the style of Capri, which is an island in west Italy in the bay of Naples.

It's so easy to make too, just chop all the ingredients and mix together in a large bowl. I used garden tomatoes, mozzarella pearls and fresh basil from the farmer's market.

For this meal I also added pasta and balsamic vinegar.

What's your favorite Caprese dish? For more delicious ways to enjoy Caprese here's a Buzzfeed list.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Job

Today, I start training for my new position at the Courtyard Restaurant. That's right! I am no longer going to greet you smiling at the door. I will soon be a server. Yay! Thanks Kennedy School and McMenamins for this opportunity!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I've been doing a lot of self-reflection. For a lot of this journey since I moved to Portland everything was new. I didn't have a usual breakfast place or a bar that never disappoints. I didn't have a hike I knew like the back of my hand. I had but one friend. It was exciting because everything was new. Any person I met had a story I hadn't yet heard. Every restaurant I tried was an experiment. Every place I went, even going to Target, was an adventure. But slowly all these things fell into place. Some of the people I met became regulars in the sitcom that I sometimes view my life as. I started visiting certain restaurants regularly and stopped going to some entirely. I know the routes to get to all the important places I need to visit. All of this happened naturally, I didn't even notice I was becoming a local (can I say that yet Portland gods? Please don't strike me down!)

Source: Yellow Wood Design

And now that the novelty of my new hometown has worn off I've started reflecting on what I've learned. I moved halfway across the country with my best friend to a place I knew no one and had no job prospects. Not only that, I was across the Oregon border before I even knew where I was going to be living! Was this half-made plan everything I dreamed it would be?

So, I've spent a lot of my free time thinking. I'd go on walks and think, I'd listen to music and think, I'd drive around and think. And after a little bit of hard thinking my brain would slip into a sort of nothingness. I realized I had been meditating without intending to. After making this realization I decided to do some research.

Source: Karma Jello

The goal of meditation is to focus and quiet your mind, eventually reaching a higher level of awareness and inner calm. You can meditate anywhere and at any time. No matter what's going on around you, you can access a sense of tranquility and peace.

I've constructed a table outlining some various forms of mediation. I've found that, as a beginner, mantra meditation works best for me. Of course yoga has always been one of my favorite activities as well.
Information from Mayo Clinic

Here's a list of ways I practice meditation day to day. Maybe you will be able to utilize some of these tips.

  • Breathe deeply: Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. What are you feeling?
  • Scan your body: Close your eyes and become aware of the sensations in your body. Can you locate the source of your discomfort?
  • Repeat a mantra: Check out Deepak Chopra Soul of Healing affirmation (free on Spotify and All Music) for an A-Z list of mantras you can try.
  • Exercise: Combine your exercise routine with meditation, focus on each movement. How are you changing?
  • Prayer: Write your own prayers and one written by someone else. What are you thankful for?
  • Read and reflect: Read sacred or texts and poems. What does it mean to you?
  • Focus your love and gratitude: Treat those you interact with throughout your day with kindness. How can you help?


The most important thing I've found through practicing meditation the last of this list. I have realized that I am quick to judge and when offended I jump to conclusions about the other persons motive. By remembering that every person has the right to be happy I realize that they're actions were probably not directed toward me or meant to hurt me, there is something else going on in that persons life that is affecting their actions. 

I am also prone to move quickly and overlook some of the beautiful things in life. Meditation helps me remember to slow down and appreciate what I have and what is right in front of me instead of mourning the things I have lost and yearning for things I don't possess. How has meditation influenced your life? New to meditation? Do you think you'd like to give it a try?