Posted in HD You, Motivation, Self Care, Year of Self Love

Week 17: Year of Self Love-Writing Down Your Greatest Accomplishments

Me in Victorian Costume, standing outside the Northern CA Ballet School's window dressing event.
One of my Five: Taking classes at our Classical Ballet School

This week for the Year of Self Love challenge the act is simple. Write down 5 of your greatest accomplishments. Simple in theory, but painstaking in practice. Since announcing it on Tuesday in the Hopelessly Devoted Group, I’ve already had 2 discussions with friend’s who have expressed to me how hard it has been to come up with this list.

Let me give it to you straight, these friend’s are super successful, professional women…who struggle, just like me, with writing down the things they have done they are proud of.

Why is that? Why is it so hard to acknowledge ourselves for a job well done?

Acknowledging what we are proud of doing throughout the day is important to our mental health. When we acknowledge it by putting it in writing we are in a sense, rewarding ourselves, and that feels good. It boosts our mood and gives our brain a healthy dose of dopamine.

Doing it daily results in a measurable history of our progress, which reminds of us of how well we are really doing. Don’t believe me though, Harvard Business School completed a 15 year longitudinal study which revealed that those who wrote down their daily accomplishments experienced all of the above. Calling it “The Progress Principal” it is an excellent motivator for me to start with my greatest 5 and then work into a daily habit of focusing on my progress.

So back to why some, including myself, are hesitant to engage in this good mood inducing activity. For me, I think it comes from a hesitancy to brag about what I have personally accomplished; it’s so much easier to defer to the accomplishments of others. However, I think it’s time to stop that silly behavior. There is a start distinction between taking a moment and privately recognizing a job well done and forecasting it out to the world.

So take a moment and write down your 5. If you feel brave, share it with me. I’d love to celebrate your accomplishments with you.

Posted in HD You, Lifestyle, Travel Log

Let’s Taco-bout San Diego: What a taco a day really looks like

Last week I spent 5 days in the Carlsbad/San Diego area for a work. Most of my days were spent in lecture; however, the lunches and evenings were free to explore. Luckily, I was with co-workers who were as committed as I to eating at least one taco a day (which turned into two taco meals a day on at least one occasion. No judgment here, right?)

A Taco a Day Makes for One Happy Traveler

Now let me be clear. This isn’t going to be a recitation of all the places I ate and what I thought of each delicious one. I literally didn’t find a taco in San Diego/Carlsbad that I didn’t love. The point was that I knew I wanted to experience my favorite food in a location known for it’s AMAZING Mexican cuisine. While I can get good Mexican in Northern CA, it is definitely different down South. For example, I literally watched the tortilla I ate being made in front of me on more than one occasion.

My favorite place by far was Salud, located in Barrio Logan in San Diego. Only 10 minutes away from the San Diego airport. This was the last taco shop we visited before leaving the area. The wait? Over an hour, but oh it was worth it! My al pastor taco was on the best tortilla I have ever eaten AND I also ordered Cerviche and promptly ignored my travel-mates for at least 10 minutes while I ate it (and no I didn’t share).

Also in Barrio Logan was a little coffee shop called Por Vida Cafe. The picture of me with Frida Kahla in the gallery was taken there. Horchata Cold Brew has never been on my radar. But now that I’ve tried it I can never go back. I’m putting this little art district barrio on my “must return” list because there was so much in this area I wanted to see; however the plane was calling.

Other highlights of the trip?

The Flower Fields

Carlsbad is home to this little gem of a location, wedged between Lego Land and the Outlets, that is a must see if you are in the area in Spring. There were so many people there living their best insta-life’s!!! So many photos were taken by me, my friends, and just about everyone there. And how could you resist? The fields of flowers were stunning and provided the perfect background. I’m not going to lie, I’m not sharing the most ridiculous photos here but, at one point, I was pretending to be a lion looking through a field of flowers. In addition to just being able to walk the grounds, you can also take a tractor ride AND get a strawberry dole whip. There is a wedding chapel, large lawn chairs, and tractors. Everything about this location screams, “Come and see me! Take your picture!” I was happy to indulge.

The Grass Skirt

We happened upon this Tiki Bar while looking for more Dole Whip. At first there was mass-confusion by our group on how to get in. We could see that there were people inside enjoying their fruity punch tropical drinks but none of the doors were open. We took to Google and I called the number hoping to be clued in. Simultaneously we heard the phone ringing in the neighboring Poke Bar AND saw another group of individuals disappear into the walk-in freezer.

That’s right, the Tiki Bar had a secret entrance using the neighboring Poke Bar’s walk-in!

I’m not exaggerating when I say I could have stayed at The Grass Skirt all night. The vibe, the drinks, and the mystique was right up my alley.

The Beaches

Need I say more?

Overall my work week was filled with plenty of after hours activities making my short trip to the Carlsbad/San Diego full to say the least. These were the highlights for me and this small taste of the area has left me hungry for more.

Posted in Course Notes, HD You, Motivation, Self Care

Course Note: The Jourse (Week 3)

This week we tackled the the second of our four buckets: the physical. Really, this week was all about shifting your mindset from what your body isn’t, to reveling in what it is. Katie pointed out that you weren’t born hating your body. It’s trained into you over time.

At 13: 53% of girls are unhappy with their body.

At 17: 78%.

At Adulthood: 91% of women are unhappy with their body and resort to dieting.

This week we dove deep into that unhealthy relationship in The Jourse. Katie said that people who are unhappy with their body often also have an unhealthy relationship with food. The trick is to identify the trigger, acknowledge it, and find another way to deal with the problem.

Another way to deal with this issue is to recognize it is a vehicle for being, for giving, for loving, for moving, for feeling. When you recognize this your start to realize you need to take care of your body. Do that by:

  • Regular exercise-get up and move. This doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym. It means walking, moving, playing, dancing and remaining active throughout the day.
  • Balanced diet-This is more than what you eat. It is what you watch, listen to, and who you hang out with.
  • Water-1/2 your body weight in water is needed per day. Most of the time you aren’t actually hungry. You are just thirsty.
  • Sleep-This is different for every person. Be mindful of what your body needs.

It is also helpful to recognize your deficits in this area by identifying the energy you need, rather than the size of clothing you would like to be.

I fall firmly into that 91%. I’m not sure where it came from but I have been unhappy with my body for as long as I can remember. I have also been dieting for as long as I can remember, until recently that is when I started to shift my mindset on this topic from weight loss to nutrition.

It is because of the unhealthy relationship I have with food.

If I get stressed, I eat. If I’m sad, I eat. If I’m bored, I eat. I eat to celebrate. I eat to socialize. Everything I do revolves around eating. It has been a hard shift to think of food as fuel and not all the important parts of my life. One that I am still working on every single day.  Some days are definitely better than others on this one.

Being able to acknowledge what my body can do, as opposed to focus on its limitations was an important lesson for me in this weeks training. Katie had us think about writing a love letter to our bodies just to help us adjust our mindset from that of hating our bodies to one of loving all it can do.

Lastly, she reminded us that our children see how we talk about ourselves and, if for no other reason, we should treat our bodies more kindly so our next generation will to.

Posted in HD You, Lifestyle, Self Care, Travel Log, Year of Self Love

Week 16: Year of Self Love-A case for traveling alone

September 2018-somewhere over the mid-west as I traveled (SOLO) to New Orleans.

I remember distinctly the moment I realized that traveling solo is really a gift. My work had taken me to Anaheim for the week and I had flown down the day prior to get myself situated and well, go to Disneyland obviously; Anaheim is the City that was built by a mouse! My colleagues, to put it mildly, wanted nothing to do with it. I, on the other hand, had an annual pass and Disney well, Disney is my thing. So I decided to get out of my comfort zone and go solo.

I had read on several of the travel blogs that solo Disney is actually not that uncommon of an occurrence. I scoured the internet for tips and tricks, travel journals, anything that would make me feel like what I was about to do was normal. I brought a book (just in case it got awkward standing in line for an hour or so with no one to talk to), my phone, I had earbuds so I could listen to music. Basically I prepared to entertain myself in the event I couldn’t handle being alone.

The day came and I flew from Sacramento down to Orange County, I checked into the hotel and then off to the park I went. I had my purse of supplies and I remember calling my husband shortly after getting in the park because I was nervous about spending 12 hours by myself. We spent 10 minutes or so outlining my touring plan (if you don’t know that that is, send me a message, that’s a entirely different subject) and then, with a bit of trepidation, I set off on my own.

I didn’t need any of my packed-in distractions. Traveling solo allowed me to open my eyes and see what was around me.

Taking the opportunity to go to one of my favorite places in the world by myself let me experience it exactly as I wanted to. More importantly, it allowed me to slow down and just be an observer. My typical role in life is that of a planner. I joke (but it’s not actually a joke) about carrying a clipboard. I will tell people I have a clipboard that outlines my clipboard projects! Disney is no different. When we go, either as a family, or with friends, I tend to plan the day, know the course, and guide the group.

Late in the day on this first solo trip I remember standing in line for Pirates of the Caribbean. There was a Dad and his three boys in front of me. They were rambunctious and rowdy…typical end of day Disney behavior right? One of the boys was particularly worried about me; he must have been about seven. As we boarded the ride, he and his family got in the front row and I climbed in, by myself, in the row immediately behind. When he realized no one else was boarding with me, he turned around, and with wide-eyes asked me, “Are you alone?”

I smiled and said, “Of course. Hanging out with myself is one of my favorite things to do.”

Since then I haven’t shied at the opportunity to travel solo. Usually, these opportunities are tied to a work event or a conference I am attending. Not only do I get to slow down and really take in what is around me, traveling solo also pulls me out of my comfort zone and tests my ability to be social. I’ve made new friends in Ashland, New Orleans, and sometimes, just sometimes, I even chat up people on the plane.

Lastly, by freeing myself of distraction while traveling solo, I have found that I have been able to clear my head. Usually these opportunities come at a time where I am really wrestling with something. I have a decision to make and taking some time to be alone let’s me focus, think, and listen to the inner voice in my head that often gets drowned out by life. Without a doubt, taking an opportunity to be by myself for a little amount of time has always helped me make a decision.

So here comes the challenge, this week, start planning a solo trip. It doesn’t have to be big. Take a day trip to the city. Spend a night at a hotel and have a spa day. Find a weekend conference and book it. The possibilities are limitless but I promise you, so are the rewards.

Me riding Autotopia…all by myself.
Posted in Course Notes, grit and glitter, HD You, Motivation, Why

Course Notes: The Jourse (Week 2)

Life occurs between the ears. You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe.

Katie L. Woods

Week 2 of The Jourse tackled the first of the four buckets we discussed last week (Physical, Mind, Soul, and Relationships), namely our MINDSET and was all about paying attention to the voices in your head.

Katie identified two primary voices battling in our minds: The Critic and The Mentor. When we let The Critic control most of our thoughts we suffer. This is an obsession about yourself when you do so.

You are not your thoughts.

You are the thinker of them but they are not you. Your relationship with them determines your happiness. As an example think of The Critic and The Mentor as two wolves. One is good and one is bad and both are battling inside your head. The one that wins is the one you feed. It is by using self-awareness that you can feed the good wolf.

Ways to Feed the Good Wolf (aka The Mentor)

  1. Feed your mind: help it grow through study and activities your mentor guides you to and that is how you will gain awareness. Shockingly, 50% of people never pick up another book after they are done with their education.
  2. Break Through Fear: First assess the fear. Assess whether it is a real fear or one you have created for yourself. The only way to face those self-created fears is to just do it. Once you just do that ONE thing you fear you will realize you can do it. That will push you to keep going.
  3. Identify your ego: That is your inner critic. Once you can hear him/her speaking to you, you can dismiss it. Remember the death of the ego is the beginning of your real life. (Suggested Reading here: Thinking Big, by Tara Mohr). Pay attention to your jealousy because that is a way to identify something that is lacking in your life (ex. jealous of Beyonce’s legs? Figure out how to get them). This will help you to reprogram your thoughts.

If you hear a voice in you say, “you cannot paint.” Then by all means paint.

Tara Mohr

4. Have a strategy in place: When The Critic comes out change the story in your mind. Ask if the story limits or empowers. If it limits then change it. (ex. tack on the word yet to the end of the sentence. i.e. I am not a ballerina, yet) Shift the story to try and help others, make it about someone else and NOT you.

At the end of the presentation Katie said stop trying to be enough. It might very well be that you are never enough. But that will be ok. You were meant to be something different and the point is to figure out what that is so that you can live the life you were meant to.

Posted in Ballet, family and home, HD Beauty, Lifestyle, Travel Log

Seeing Sugarplums in the City: A Girls Trip to San Francisco

For Christmas, Maizy and I took an overnight trip to San Francisco to go with her ballet school (and mom’s) to see the San Francisco Ballet and a performance of the Nutcracker. It was a magical overnight stay at the Royal Sonesta Hotel right in Union Square. The tree was still up, the macaroons were still available, and the Opera Hall was simply stunning. It was a Passport performance, meaning our young dancers in training received an activity “passport” and were encouraged to explore the venue through a series of stations such as: a historical overview of the Nutcracker, a close look at point shoes and my favorite…locally made, organic marshmallows (only in CA right?). We Uber’d our way through the city, had homemade Rootbeer, and ate giant cast iron skillets of mac n’ cheese (with bacon of course).

The next morning we lounged in the hotel and ordered room service. The room was designed to mimic a California sunset, which led to a beautiful progression of color as it became light in the morning and only enhanced our relaxation in the morning.

It was a leisurely 24 hours in the city. Maizy and I relished every moment of our down time where we got to bring our comfy socks, see an amazing ballet, and spend some quality mother-daughter time.

Posted in Lifestyle, Motivation, Self Care, Why, Year of Self Love

Week 15: Year of Self Love-Learn to say No

Let me be honest, when I saw this week on my list at the beginning of the year I dreaded it. I struggle with saying, “No.” And when I say struggle, I mean S-T-R-U-G-G-L-E. I think it has to do with my upbringing. Now, don’t get me wrong, my upbringing was fine. No major trauma. I don’t feel like I have one of those stories where I’m working though the trauma of my past.

However, I was brought up to be a pleaser.

There was really no way around it. I’m the oldest of 4 children AND the only girl. My childhood memories all revolve around caring for my brothers, helping with the family business, and striving for perfection in my academics, my athletics, my music, and my activities. Add to that a conservative christian upbringing where it was frowned upon for women to rock the boat and say “no” to obligations charged to them by their husbands, family, or God and you have a recipe for a disaster on your hands.

Even today, knowing that “no” is a difficult concept for me, I still struggle with it, but in a different way. Typically those opportunities to say “no” aren’t in relation to unhealthy choices (for the most part); my life is a carousel inundated with fun and engaging choices. As an adult, Jason and I often have extended family in crises who need us, to the detriment of the attention of my little family nucleus. I have a demanding day job where it is often seen as a weakness to say “no” to additional or extra working opportunities provided by management. However, that takes me away from my family, as well as those activities that bring me joy. My part-time business can literally be worked anywhere at anytime and for that reason I am always feeling guilty when I’m not working, or, in the alternative pushing to keep myself active to the detriment of myself. We have an active friend group and with so much fun going on all the time, it feels impossible to say “no” to any of the activities and plans being made.

You see what I mean. These aren’t bad things.

It’s just that sometimes, the myriad of choices don’t support who it is I want to be as a person.

Over the weekend, I listened to a Podcast from Super Soul Sunday (thank you mother Oprah) that hit on this topic so resoundingly that I have listened to it three times now. “Iyanla Vanzant: You Matter”was one of those Aaah Haa moments that I haven’t had in a long time. Here is the basic premise for me:

Developing the ability to say “no” is the only way you are going to discover what you are meant to be.

How you ask?

Because when you stand firm in you “no,” you open space up to live in your “yes.”

Think about that for a minute. By saying “no” to the things that don’t honor, that don’t support, and don’t sustain who you were meant to be you can’t make room for those things that are really important to you. I am SO guilty of this. I feel frustration all the time because I don’t have time for those things that I find most important. In reality, it’s my own damn fault.

Yeah, I said it, It’s my own damn fault.

By worrying about others, by being a pleaser, I have over-committed myself in detrimental ways. I haven’t made space to live in my yes.

So this week, let’s flex that “no” muscle a little bit. We can all make space to live in our “yes’s” and really, that is what is most important.

Additional Resources

Make sure to check out Iyanla Vanzant: You Matter. Available on iTunes. Here is a video link to her full “You Matter” sermon. (Oh and if you don’t think it’s a sermon, watch the whole thing….It will have you saying “AMEN” by the end)

https://youtu.be/fXCXyz8sZPg

Fair Warning: I am an Amazon Affiliate. But here is a link to one of my favorite books right now. Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis.

Her chapter on about the word “NO” is about as life-changing as can be…if you are open to it. 🙂