Friday, January 4, 2013

Just a New Year

Rodney Yee, Lauren, really? My Sister, Christmas Eve 2012

Yes, Rodney Yee still. Yes, my last post. I started my blog with all of the gusto that a newcomer does to any role. I was excited with so much to say and so much to do and learn. I knew I would never be one of THOSE people. You know the kind who are all vim and vigor and die out within a few months. I was in it for the long haul. Well, I can shamefully admit that we are all vulnerable and can let life get the best of us. Admittedly I got really busy and the technical ins and outs of navigating the online world were even more challening than I had anticipated. Sometimes I look at successful people and beyond the luck they seem to experience I wonder how they manage to fit it all in. Do these people never have banking snafus, late nights at work, relationship issues or family drama? How do they manage to keep it all together?

Well, I cannot answer this question fully since I am still working on it. I am guilty of being too tired and letting life overwhelm me. But the purpose of my blog, hence, the name was to just be your best self. It's sort of appropriate after a little blog hiatus plus the decadence of the holidays. Even though I do take pride in the fact that I'm a healthy balanced eater who usually makes smart choices I was taken in by the siren call of the holidays. Wine, Christmas Cookies, lavish dinners and all sorts of things that I don't usually indulge in are a little hard to resist when they are around all of the time. It's easy to adopt a "why not" policy.

We're all human and have our slip ups from time to time in every aspect of our lives. Since it's a new year, we all deserve a bit of a re-start to get back to where we really want to be. I feel like New Year's Resolutions have become a little bit of a joke in the sense that we all know that we will blow it off at some point. I say to examine what you really want and need and make it a priority. The start of 2013 is just as good an excuse as any to give us that nudge to move forward and seize the day.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Just Rodney Yee

"I never laugh until I've had my coffee"...Clark Gable

Coffee and lots of it used to be the first thing I would reach for in the morning. It was a serious addiction of sorts....not that my coffee consumption was that bad except for fact that I could not think about anything else when I first woke up. I still love my java, but I switched to the decaf version about eight or nine months ago. It took forever to wean myself off, and even though I have switched to decaf it is still my go-to first thing in the morning. It goes to show you how ingrained a habit can be. There's literally nothing in my coffee cup now that's going to wake me up and get me going. But I confess, I just love the taste and the ritual of having a hot beverage upon waking.

Well, I digress. A little bit anyway. This morning I hit the on switch on my coffee pot and decided instead of waiting for it to brew I would jump into my morning routine. I have wanted to become a morning work out bee for a while, but it's very hard to get up and going like that in the morning. I haven't mastered a way to throw on my clothes and run out the door to the gym. I feel like it takes me five minutes alone to convince myself snooze is no longer an option. Maybe one of these days I will get there. But I have settled into doing some morning yoga for the past few months. It's not my workout, but it's just something I do to move and get a good stretch in. I have been avoiding classes right now, because I have bursitis in my shoulder and following the flow of movement for an hour has been a little much for me. I do love classes and I hope to get back soon. In the mean time, a girl needs some alternatives. It's also nice to have options to do in your home. It can be a nice way to save some time and money too.

So my recent discovery is Rodney Yee AM Yoga. The routines are twenty minutes which I can manage in the morning and it's just enough to make you feel like you are getting a good start to your
day. There are five separate routines with a different focus: Twists, Front Bends, Back Bends, Open and a Standing Routine. I work my way through the line up and then simply start at the beginning again. Rodney Yee is a pillar in the yoga community and his DVD collection goes on for pages when you browse on Amazon. Literally page after page. Check is out here His instruction is great if you are new to yoga because he really explains the postures and movement thoroughly. I am sure many of his other DVD's are good, but but this is my current fave.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Just Friends

You're such a good friend, Nellie!...Laura Ingalls Wilder

Favorite TV show growing up. EVER. Loved the books, the show and the whole part and parcel. I was the only kid on a elementary school field trip who knew how pioneers carried water. Oh, the things I learned from Laura Ingalls Wilder! This iconic scene has stayed with me over many others. Her "friend" Nellie has duped Laura into thinking that she hurt her leg and caused her to be in a wheelchair. Nellie is actually fine, but using the situation to boss Laura around and get attention. Laura finally gets wise to the whole scheme and pushes Nellie down a hill to show she can actually walk yelling "You're such a good friend, Nellie!" Yeah, right.

I was giving some thought this week to friendships. For some reason, I feel the end of the year and the holidays causes me to reflect upon the past year and the changes it has brought. For better or worse I think change actually has the most influence on friendships and relationships because once you evolve people have a new place or sometimes lack there of in your life. Or occasionally, there is that disappointment or the circumstances beyond your control that lead people to walk out of your life. Sad, but true, but honestly how many of us can really say we have the same set of friends we had 10 years ago? Perhaps in a way this is a positive because I know I wouldn't really want to still be the same person that I was all that time ago. I would have hoped I would have evolved somewhat!

During a recent dinner with a friend from high school, we were both sort of discussing that we were a
little the odd ones out. After all, we're both in our 30s and not married, let alone on the precipice of having children. Almost everyone we know from our age group has a toddler bouncing on their knee in a family portrait on Facebook. Since our lives are so different, how can we really continue to hold the same importance in that friend's life when their priorities have been shifted so dramatically. I think it's less on the radar of the person who is navigating their way through change and causes the person left behind to feel, well, a little left behind.  We can never really stop trying to make new connections since our needs change on a reoccurring basis. Who doesn't have the friend who has fallen off the face of the earth with a new beau only to resurface when the relationship is on the rocks or they are single again. No one wants to be alone but how understanding should you be - there is a certain point when there is a shift from empathetic friend to pushover. I certainly don't have the answers but I think it might be stopping the search for the perfect friend or forever friend and know that people will wander in and out of your life based upon the role you need them to fill. There is not one person to fit every need or circumstance. Sometimes the most random people can become our closest unexpected confidants. Whether we realize it or not, we are always in a constant change. Keep the faith, but know we don't all always meet on the same wavelength. Give until it doesn't feel good anymore then allow the tides of change to take care of the rest.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Just Turkey Pot Pie

Me o my, I love pie....Dorothy, "Michael"

People all have their personal favorites when it comes to pie. It always seems to be people have their "must have" for the holidays be it Pumpkin, Apple or Pecan. After a few days of overeating, we're all left stuck with a random hodgepodge of leftovers after Thanksgiving dinner. This year I ended up with half of a pumpkin pie and a whole lot of turkey. My boyfriend's mother always has turkey or chicken pot pies in her freezer. It's a great way to quickly pull together a lunch or dinner on the fly. Her recipe was courtesy of Pillsbury so I wanted to see if I could create a healthier version.

Healthy Turkey Pot Pie


1/4 cup Earth Balance or Smart Balance
1/3 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 13 3/4 ounce can chicken broth (low sodium)
2/3 cup skim milk
2 cups cubed, cooked or leftover chicken or turkey
1 10 ounce frozen peas, mixed veggies or green beans (thawed)
Pre-Made Pie Crust (I picked up a natural pie crust at Whole Foods)

In a saucepan melt the Earth Balance or Smart Balance. Blend in flour, salt and pepper. Stir in chicken broth and milk. cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; cook 1 minute more. Add cubed chicken or turkey and thawed vegetables; heat through. Divide mixture among six 1 cup casseroles. Top with the pie crust.

Place casseroles on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes. Freezes well and can be reheated from frozen state: same 425 but 40 to 45 minutes.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Just Turkey Day

"Don't you worry about cholesterol, lung cancer, love handles?"...Rita, Groundhog Day

Groundhog Dog always made me laugh. I actually wonder why I haven't watched this movie in a while. Bill Murray is trapped in repeating the same day over and over again and he just finally doesn't care any more about anything. So he gives in to the temptations of smoking, drinking and bad food because it will be like it never even really happened when he wakes up the next day. Yikes, a total recipe for disaster!

Today is the big turkey day and maybe because I always react a little bit to winter weather I have been feeling a little like my life is like Ground Hog day these days. You start to get stuck in a bit of the same routine and get a case of the blahs. Since I got back from Austin and the chaos of the storm settled I have been feeling a little like I work, go to the gym and then go home. A routine is important but it's also good to branch out once in a while. Maybe that is why there is always so much excitement around the holidays. It's the idea of eating different foods and  partaking in a different routine where you get to enjoy giving gifts and socializing more.

I feel like the lesson in all of this is that's important to take time to carve out some adventure once in a while no matter what the season. Plan a vacation, or if that's too much try for a day where you embark on a new activity or try something you've never done before. It's time for an experiment. What do you do when you feel the need for a break from the ordinary? Happy Thanksgiving everyone and enjoy the day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Just Elliptical Hills

"I'll never let go, Jack. I promise"....Rose, Titanic

Oh she let go all right. I honestly can't say I really blame her. Who can imagine how cold it was that night in the ocean? I have not watched this movie in years and I am not sure why it popped into my mind the other night. I was leaving my website design class, and as I ducked out into the brisk winter weather it somehow came to mind. After all, here I was shivering on a November evening in New Jersey. But that night on the sunken cruise ship must have just been the worst!

I am not sure about you, but I have been feeling more cooped up than normal with this cold weather since it makes it very hard to get outside and walk or jog. I have been searching online for new cardio routines to add to my workouts, and as I've mentioned before it is much more worth your while to partake in internal cardio than steady state exercise. I really liked this elliptical routine I did the other night that I found on one of the blogs I follow - Peanut Butter Fingers

Julie, the author of the site, mentioned that it felt like climbing a hill. It really kind of did! It was different than my usual elliptical routines and it's good to mix things up so you and your body don't get bored. Check it out if you get a chance.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Just Thanksgiving

"Oh my exit!"...Cameron Diaz, My Best Friend's Wedding

And so the madness begins. It's the weekend before Thanksgiving and we're already at the precipice.  The holiday decorations are already covering the malls and I didn't check it out personally but I think Santa may have already arrived to hear from all of the children with their wish lists.

Trader Joe's was an absolute crazy scene today as I dodged shopping carts trying to get to the gravy and search out the produce section. How is it possible that Brussel sprouts could sell out? But alas, they did and if they were there I have a feeling that someone may have fought me for them. The atmosphere had that kind of feeling of intensity. It struck me as so ironic that this time of year we search out the presents and make the favorite holiday dishes but somehow it all comes at a price. These traditions never fade but it's almost bizarre to me that we do this every year. We go crazy and spend money that we don't have trying to fulfill the wishes of others and give in to all the temptations of cookies and the like around us only to of course make it our New Year's Resolution to lose the 5 pounds or so we gained. In fact, this may be the holiday where we short change ourselves the most. Within the  next few weeks, you will be able to hear a pin drop in the gym as people forgo that time in order to cook, bake and shop. I certainly don't want to be a scrooge, but isn't there a way to enjoy the holidays without overdoing it? The remorse cannot be worth it.

I was reminded of the scene in My Best Friend's Wedding where Cameron Diaz is totally swept up in her wedding planning that she almost misses her exit and practically takes out a few cars to get off the highway. We get so caught up that we aren't present in the  moment and we're too worried about the to-do list that must be tackled. I say streamline, set budgets and do not allow the small things to become a source of stress. Be polite and kind to strangers who are in the same boat. What we should all remember is the spirit of the holidays. Be thankful, give thanks and remember kindness most of all to ourselves and each other.