Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thursday's Thriving Thought - Strength

Women are truly unicorns. Face it, we do some pretty amazing things not only with our bodies but just by living every. single. day. Motherhood anyone? Yeah, that is not for the weak.  

Aside from daily stressors, we are all going to face challenges and struggles that are unimaginable. They will knock us down and try to keep us down, but there is always that little flame of strength that will slowly grow to be a beautiful fire. We often don't even know it is in there until we have to pull ourselves together day after day and live. Whatever you are facing today Thriving Wives, know that you are stronger than you think. You are a beautiful, mystical creature that will survive anything thrown your take that strength and slowly but surely get back to that thrive.

Strive to thrive, 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How to Combat Procrastination

The P word. The one that is constantly standing in your way of success, making it difficult to get anything accomplished while also keeping you feeling scattered and lost. Yes, that horrible, awful mental beast...procrastination.

His best friend is dilly-dally and he is easily manipulated by his rotten cousin laziness. Once you entertain him for even a second, suddenly you are stressed, racing to get things done and wishing you had just tackled the task in the beginning. 

Now as long standing member of the APTF (Anti Procrastination Task Force), I can assure you it is possible to battle this pesky hinderance and get ahead. It took me a good chunk of my life to figure it out (18 years to be exact), but once I hit college and was able to completely control my priorities, I became a master at fighting procrastination.

As I learned in college, it is better to get things done far in advance then wait until the last second. While my roommates/sorority sisters were cramming for exams and trying to bang out papers at all hours for the night I was always sittin' pretty. I wanted to "get it done" as my Geena always said and preferred to knock out as much as the syllabus for each class as humanely possible from day one. I prepared for midterms weeks in advance and got a jump on every assignment only so I could discuss my drafts with my professors.

Go ahead, let your eyes roll and call me a brown noser...but I was the one who was getting straight A's and still managing to kill it on the social circuit. And it was all due to my ability to work as hard as I played...starting with my non-procrastination skills.

Now, let's see how to get started...

  • Get organized.  Figure out what you need to do. Closets having a hard time closing due to massive amounts of crap? Take note. Emails piling up so fast you can't respond? Take note. Anything that needs to get done should get noticed and noted.
  • Write it down. All those notes you just took? Write them down. I tend to appreciate a nice stationary, but if you are more of a scratch paper/day timer girl, then great. Whatever works for your brain, just make that long as it may be...
  • Prioritize. What needs to get done right away? What can wait a day but is quickly approaching. I always did this with assignments and continue to do it with my daily tasks/professional commitments. If you prioritize what needs to get done in immediate order in addition to evaluating time commitments, it is easy to start knocking things off the list. And boy, does that feel good. 
  • Tackle the small stuff. Isn't it amazing how all those tiny, five minute tasks add up and make you feel like the walls are closing in on you? This is my life. Laundry needing to be folded, yet another load folded but needing to be put away. Dishes in the sink from snack time, mail on the counter gone unopened. My stomach hurts just thinking of that scenario. This is the point where you could walk away, or pull up those big girl panties and get 'er done. In about 15 minutes or less you will have all those little clutter-causing activities behind you and ready to tackle a bigger, more time consuming doing your blog posts for the week...
  • Make a plan. Once you have the small things done and are ready to take on bigger tasks (yes, I am talking to you, the one glancing at that guest room door that always stays closed as it has become a dumping ground of clutter) the time is now. Brainstorm what you need to get started. Storage bins? Buy them. Garbage bags? Grab them. Playlist for motivation? Create it. Whatever it is you need to get the job done, get it out, in plain sight and pump yourself up.
  • Get off your lazy butt and do it. There is an excuse for eeeevvvveeerrryyyttthhhiiinnnnggg. "Oh, I am so tiiired" (say in a whiny annoying voice). "Oh, there is just too much to do right now", "Oh, Oh my, I just can't". Get it alllllll out. All those reasons why you can't, go ahead and purge yourself. Visualize how great you will feel when it is DONE. All the time you will have to dedicate to things that you want to do rather than be bogged down with things you need to do. The hardest part is getting started, but go down that list, put a huge LINE  through everything you get done and watch that list get smaller and smaller until it is only filled with things being crossed off. 
  • Rejoice in your victory. You did it! Even if it is something super tiny, rejoice. You made that happen. Now..on to the next one, on to the next. When something comes your way that needs to be done get started right away before it grows into that big, scary, unapproachable beast that only seems to respond to you pushing it out of your mind...letting that even worse monster procrastination take hold. Neeevvaahhhh!!!
It's a new year and the time is now. So, what will you tackle today?

Strive to thrive, 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Recipe - Vegetarian Chili

I absolutely love a piping hot bowl of chili with a side of cornbread on a cold day. With all the storms finally bringing some winter weather to So Cal, I knew the time had arrived to whip up a batch for the fam. 

While most chili recipes call for all sorts of meaty ingredients, I of course skip all that and stick with veggies and lots and lots of beans. I also add in a spicy SOY-rizo to give trick my carnivore husband and not lose any of that yummy chili-ness.

I tend to like my chili with an even ratio of saucy to chunky. If you prefer one over the other just adjust your beans/tomato sauce ratio and you will be good to go.

Now, to get started, dice the bell peppers and onions and sauté in a large pan or skillet over medium heat.

Allow those to cook 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often.

Once they have cooked for a bit add the green chiles.

Let those tasty flavors meld together for an additional 5-10 minutes, then add the SOY-rizo.

Now, SOY-rizo tends to stick together, so do your best to break it up and move it around the pan to cook evenly, another 5-10 minutes. 

Once your veggies and 'rizo are cooked evenly, take them off the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, drain and rinse your beans, dump them in a large pot over medium-low heat.

Next, add in the tomato sauce.

Then, take your pan of bell pepper, onion, green chile and SOY-rizo and add it to the beans and sauce.

Lastly, add your chili seasoning. If you are using a pre-packaged one, great. If you are making your own ( I use the seasoning my Magical Aunt B makes - 2 parts McCormick Taco Seasoning, 1 part Aromatica Organic Garlic Pepper, 1 part Kirkland Organic No-Salt Seasoning) add 1/4 cup or more depending on what you like.

Give all your ingredients a good stir and let cook for 15 minutes on medium-low heat. Then, switch it over to low (simmer) and let it continue to cook, stirring every ten minutes or so.

As with most tasty pot recipes, the longer they cook, the better they taste. I typically let mine cook at least two hours so all those delicious flavors have time to emerge and blend together.

When it is eatin' time, grab some of your favorite homemade cornbread (recipe on that to come soon), scoop up a bowl and top with cheese and sour cream.

Is there anything better on a cold day?! I think not.

What are some of your favorite winter recipes?

Strive to thrive, 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

7 Ways to Create a Home Fitness Space


For most people, insert a loud, UGH.

For me, insert a loud, HELL YES!

I am fully aware that I am one of the people that make up the small percent who love exercise and cannot get enough of it. I am constantly thinking about when I can fit it in, how I can make it happen and what to do instead if I cannot for some reason do it make it happen. I do not run from it, avoid it or make excuses as to why it can't be done. For me, it is a part of life I cannot be without. It drives me, keeps me sane and I brings me incredible happiness.

Now the hard part....making you feel the same.

Try as I might, I know that each person needs to take this fitness loving journey in their own way in their own time. But, trust me when I say, the mind and body are a powerful thing to waste. If you really dedicate yourself, make the time and focus in on how you feel after....slowly but surely it will click in your brain: I need this.

Getting to the gym is the hardest thing to do and the easiest to blow off. I know from my own experiences that if I didn't go directly from work it would never happen. If I allowed those poisonous lazy thoughts to infiltrate my brain (Golly, I am soooo tired today. Man, today was horrible, I just want to go home and sit on the couch. Yikes, I have so much to do at home, I better go straight there and skip my workout....) then it was over.  I would quickly rationalize why I couldn't go, skip it and then hate myself for it every second following. So not worth it.

With a bit of planning and the constant reminder of the post-exercise effects, I very rarely miss my opportunity...especially now I have three little ones running around.

Some may say, "Three kids?! So young and close in age?! My, my, that must be a workout in itself"...and they are right. But for me, it isn't enough. I need to be able to mentally get in my zone, sweat like a beast while pushing my body to the limit. Chasing my kids around, doing squats with the baby and bench pressing my boys is just what I do for fun...

For me....
For guests...just a quick fold of that treadmill and a close of the one would ever know!
I knew I needed to create a space at home for me to get in my exercise. All the preparation and travel time to and from the gym is not in the cards for me right now, so a quick trip downstairs was the only solution. I needed to create a space for my fitness equipment and where I could teach classes for well, one.

If you too feel the pressure of getting to and from an exercise location, then start small. You don't need too much, most of it is your mindset.

  • Make room. Whether you have an extra room do dedicate or you can designate a corner, do it. Even the living room is fine as long as no one will be around to distract you when it is game time. Locate a spot for your fitness fun and visualize yourself there each day doing an activity and of course...smiling. You need enough room to move, so make sure you remove all furniture/clutter that may get in your way.
  • Gather necessities. Your fitness space may not require anything more than just to move. However I suggest somewhere to play/listen to music. If you have portable speakers, great. If you are more of a headphone person, get what you need. Make sure you have the proper beats to keep your mind busy and body motivated as you get through your workout. I would also suggest having access to a timer, even if only on your phone. My favorite workouts are fast and furious and most need a timer to signify it is time to switch the exercise.
  • Determine tech needs. Are you more of a TV person? Prefer home workout videos? Get organized. I have a TV in my fitness area to put on if I am doing a strength training session (I have gotta keep up on my Housewives of course) but stick mostly to music otherwise. However, I do love a good cardio/dance video every now and then. If you have a collection of your own, make sure you have a computer/TV to play them on. If not, you can easily subscribe to a number of different fitness programs these days. For example, the Daily Burn is only $14.95 a month and allows you to stream TONS of at home workouts...way cheaper than a gym membership and you won't get bored. Plus, you can try it free for 30 days. 

  • Decide on equipment. If you have some great, if you don't no big deal. If you are just starting out on your fitness journey you may want to hold off buying anything until you have adopted this new lifestyle and are consistently being active...unless you think it will motivate you, in that case, do it. The goal would be to have a set of heavy weights (anywhere between 5-10) and light weights (between 2-5). You can use these for all sorts of different activities and there endless workouts available to help you get started.  I also use hand wights that attach around my wrists when running or walking uphill with the baby on my treadmill. Bands are often more affordable and can achieve the same results using resistance rather than weight, it is up to you...just aim to add something to your space.
  • Keep it simple. There is no need to set up a serious at home gym like yours truly. I have the space, passion and desperate need for physical fitness. Not to mention I am a personal trainer and plan to train clients from my future home I gotta try it out first!  But I know that isn't everyone. So, start out small and make sure to set yourself up for success. Even if it is just a small area of your bedroom with a yoga mat and plug for your phone, that is a great start. There are so many workouts you can do that require no equipment at all, just your body and mind. Stick with the basics and take it one day at a time. 
  • Record it. Notebook, calendar, mirror, poster board, whatever works for your brain, use it. Note the date, the workout and the time interval you accomplished for the day. Nothing is more motivating than watching those entries pile up to keep a visual reminder of your progress. 
  • Enjoy it. Make the time to do you. 15 minutes is all you need to refresh your body and mind, so once you carve out that time, enjoy it. Remember it is all a mindset, so if you continually tell yourself you love it, you will. If you dread it, complain about it and are a full blow Negative Nancy, then guess what, you will hate it. So, teach yourself to accept it and learn to love it. The heavy breathing, the sweating, your playlist, the way your muscles are burning, the way your heart is beating pumping fresh oxygen to the body....oh good.
If you need to tell yourself it is a new year to get motivated, go ahead. But the truth of the matter is, it is a new second and there is no better time to put your health and wellbeing first, starting now. So, go searching for your special space and let's get moving!

Strive to thrive, 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

6 Questions to Set Intentions

Hopefully you visited us Tuesday and got organized to set your intentions (hey, maybe that even was one of your intentions!). If you aren't quite sure where to start, here are 6 questions to get you thinking in the right direction...and our answers too!

Feel free to share your answers in our comments so we too can support you this year!

What experiences do you want to have in 2017?

Em - To immerse myself in the twin's education and make some local mommy friends.
Nic - To travel with my family more (specifically, HAWAII!)

What is a relationship you want to focus on deepening in 2017?

Em - The one with my husband.
Nic - Same as Em, with my husband.

What is one way you would like to get out of your comfort zone in 2017?

Em - Slow down and welcome daily meditation into my life.
Nic - Being bold and marketing my birth business to people I'm intimidated by!

What is one way you want to show care and love to yourself in 2017?

Em - Release guilt and focus on being confident in my decisions.
Nic - To really schedule in more self care like yoga, massages, etc. 

How do you want to be feeling exactly one year from now?

Em  - Fulfilled and confident.
Nic - Successful and balanced.

What is the word or phrase for your year in 2017?

Em - Be present.
Nic - Balance.

Well, we are feeling off to a good start! We were positive, realistic, wrote it, shared it...and now we are off to think on it!  Looking forward to sharing your intentions and starting off 2017 with a Thriving BANG!

Strive to thrive, 
Nic & Em

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

5 Suggestions to Start Setting Intentions in 2017

Happy New Year!!

2017 is here, which is both eerie and quite exciting. It seems like 2017 is such a "futuristic" sounding there should be robots roaming the streets...yet here we are, living it and striving to thrive in it.

This week we are all about resetting and refocusing to make the year ahead the best one yet. While resolutions are typically on the to-do list before the start of each new year, this year, it's all about setting intentions.

Topics to think about - How do you want to live? How do you want to interact with the world around you? How can you get the most out of life? How can you change your attitude to commit to those intentions? To have intentions is to have focus on what you want for your immediate and long term future.

An intention is different from a goal in that it is a mindset in which you are willing and proud to dedicate your focus.

If you haven't already set your intentions for 2017, we are here to help you. Use these 5 suggestions to help you get started. Later this week, we will share 6 simple questions to help you get more specific...and share our answers!

  1. Make it positive.   Always keep your intentions positive. To think positively is to attract positive things, so see the good and strive for it.  
  2. Be real. The idea, "go big or go home" does not apply here. Set your intentions for success by keeping them simple and small. Even just waking up each day and setting an intention is a great way to start. 
  3. Write them. Whether in a super cute notebook or pad of post-its, write them down and read them aloud. Refer to them often and remain focused on your intent.
  4. Share them. Have you noticed the more you talk about something the more likely it is to happen? Sharing your intentions with others creates a feeling of accountability in wanting to create success and also creates opportunities for support.
  5. Think on it. Take a few minutes each day to clear your mind and focus on your intention for the day. If you are already meditating...then good for you. If not, then add that to your list of intentions...I did!
So here is your jumping off point. Start thinking ahead to make a plan for success...this is your year!

Strive to thrive, 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Letter to Juniper - A Home HypnoBirth Story

It's almost a new year and what better way to ring in 2017 than to share a beautiful story of a 2016 birth?!

Nic had the great fortune of being reconnected with her little sister from Alpha Phi at San Francisco State when her midwife sent an email asking if she could help get another client's home birth reimbursed by insurance. She couldn't believe the coincidence and immediately arranged for a play date as they both had toddlers born in the same month. Of course the conversation quickly turned to birth, and Krystal decided to take Nic's HypnoBirthing class since her first birth had been a traumatic and medicalized hospital birth so she was hoping to learn some better coping skills. A friendship re-blossomed as Krystal's belly grew and the two met somewhat regularly for playdates and saw each other in class. 6 months after the birth of her little Juniper, Krystal wrote the most beautiful birth story so we couldn't dream of keeping it from you as it's just amazing! Read on to see for yourself, and grab some tissues while you are at it! 

(All photos taken by Krystal & Nic's amazing midwife Lindsey Meehleis.)