VideoBlog: Life Design – Does Your Home Inspire and Support You?

Hi guys!

In my last post about gaining a few pounds this winter, I mentioned that I was going to do a series of posts going over some little strategies I try to implement in my life when trying to take care of myself better. I decided to call these strategies “Life Design”, because it’s really all about designing a life that fills you up in every way.

Today I have the first of those posts… in video form!

I even added a fun little shin-dig at the beginning. The volume may be a little screwy so I’m sorry if One Republic starts blasting in your office 🙂

Today’s topic is all about how important our physical environment is to our health. Does your home make you feel inspired, at ease and peaceful? Or does it make you feel dull, chaotic and stressed?

Check out the video which explains why this matters so much. And I’d love to hear your thoughts as always. Enjoy!! Xo.

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Does your home/apartment/office support you living a healthy life? What is one change you can make to your physical space to spruce it up and make you feel how you want to feel every day? 

Dear body, thank you for taking on these extra 5 pounds.

This winter, I gained a solid five pounds. Maybe a couple more, I’m not entirely sure to be honest.

Initially, I was kind of upset about this extra weight. But lately, I’ve gained a tremendous, deep appreciation for it.

I talk to women all the time about body image and I believe that our bodies tell a story. When we naturally lose weight, it is typically a result of us being relaxed, happy, and less stressed in our lives. Many women talk about losing weight on vacation when they are chilling out and at ease. When we gain weight, it is usually a sign of something else going on. Stress, boredom, lack of excitement in our lives, overwhelm.

I’m pretty in touch with my emotions and how to take care of myself on all levels, but I have to say that starting a business threw me for a big loop. As hard set I was on keeping some sort of peace, balance and sanity during this new venture, I’ve quickly learned that I have to get used to NOT necessarily having those things right now. I’ve become increasingly comfortable with this, but I struggled with it at first. And I see the reflection of that in my body.

However, when I look at my body, with the extra weight it’s holding onto, I look at it in such a loving way.

When I look in the mirror, I see a body that supported me starting a business from scratch.

I see a body that had my back as I faced a lot of fears and took a lot of risks.

I see a body that was with me through making some of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make with little idea as to how to make them.

I see a body that supported many sleepless nights when my brain wouldn’t stop churning about who knows what.

I see a body that helped me get up after those sleepless nights and devote my full attention to talking to my amazing clients all day.

I see a body that gave me energy to keep my relationships strong, exciting and healthy during times when I felt worn down.

I see a body that took me for runs when I needed to clear my head and let me sleep like a baby when I truly needed it.

I see a body that fueled me to go out dancing with my friends for hours on end when I needed to let it all go.

I see a body that let me eat cereal at 3am to get me through a project I needed to get through, and occasionally rely on ice cream to mentally check out when I just didn’t know what else to do.

When I look in the mirror and see that my cheeks are a little fuller, my thighs a little thicker and my stomach a little rounder, I see a girl who ventured into unknown territory and a new phase of her life and a body that supported that.

I’m not superwoman (dang, wish I was), and although I talk about emotional eating and self-care, I also tell people that sometimes you just have to do the best you can. Sometimes we get thrown curve balls, or we move into a new chapter of our lives and aren’t quite sure how to handle the new lifestyle and challenges that it brings. We need to relearn how to take care of ourselves, how to adjust, and how to grow.

Although I have taken care of myself in the best way that I know how, I’m still learning as I go through a new phase of my life, and I’ve learned that the best thing I can do for myself right now is be understanding, patient, and compassionate with myself. There have been days that I’ve overeaten to comfort or distract myself, weeks when I haven’t gotten enough sleep, times when I haven’t managed my stress as well as I could have, and many days I haven’t gotten outside and stretched my legs as much as I know my body has wanted to.

But I’m still here, and I’m still kickin’.

And I’m starting to get the hang of it. And I know that each day I’m learning more about what I need and how to make this all work. How to balance taking care of myself, taking care of my business, and taking care of everything else.

So for now, here is a little letter to my body…

Thanks for being patient with me and supporting me through so much unknown and uncertainty lately. I look at those extra 5 lbs and I see them as a reflection of everything we’ve pushed through in the last several months. I know I haven’t treated you perfectly, but thank you for being there for me anyway. We’ve accomplished a ton, and I couldn’t have done any of it without you. As I get used to this new life and keep figuring it all out, I know that I will be able to  focus more and more on taking care of you and giving you what you need. Thank you for hanging in there with me.

I want you to look at your body the next time you’re in front of the mirror and thank it for something. For something it has gotten you through. Are those extra pounds a reflection of something you’ve gone through and an example of where your body has taken one for the team? Did you eat to get through something, or stop working out because you were dealing with another area of your life that needed attention? Is that extra tummy roll there because you can’t stand your job but you’re doing it anyway and constantly hitting the M&M jar to get through the day? Are you going through changes in your life and still trying to figure out how to take care of yourself under those new circumstances? Where has your body supported your decisions and kept you afloat? Where has it taken on some physical weight because it was too hard for you to take on the emotional weight? Can you compassionately thank your body for that?

Weight fluctuations are normal. We go through things in our lives and constantly have to adjust. We go through break ups, we deal with extreme joy and pain, we change jobs, we move, we build families. And its normal that as we go through changes, our bodies do too.

So what’s next? How about these 5 pounds?

Well, I’m not too concerned about the weight. I know that it will go away eventually, and my number one job right now is to just keep working on creating a lifestyle where I am able to pay attention to my body in the way it deserves. In these past few weeks I’ve felt like I am kinda sorta getting better at this new entrepreneurial territory I am swimming in, and I am going to continue to just keep figuring out how to make it all work for me.

I plan on sharing a series of posts over the next several weeks explaining what lifestyle changes I’ve been/will be making in my own life in order to take care of myself even better. It will be a combination of what has worked for me in the past plus new strategies that I’ve been trying out lately. It’s going to be a lot of little things, no drastic changes, but I figure I might as well share how I’m learning to take care of myself with a very unstructured schedule and a lot of uncertainty, change and unknown going on in my life right now.

So if you’re interested, stay tuned!

I’d love to hear from you. Regarding the questions above– can you compassionately thank your body for something its helped you get through, even if it has taken on some weight? Do you have any ideas of something you can shift in your life right now in order to create more room for taking care of yourself and giving your body more of what it needs? 

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Meditating through an Ice Cream Cone

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(This is a recycled pic but I got this exact same cone yesterday, so just roll with me here…)

So yesterday I had an interesting experience with this ice cream cone that I’d like to share.

It was a warm day in the city (finally!) and I was coming back from meeting up with a friend in Union Square at around noon when suddenly the thought of having a vanilla ice cream cone with chocolate sprinkles sounded like the absolute best idea.

As soon as I got off the subway, I went ahead and got it. No questions asked.

And let me tell you… this ice cream cone was amazing.

Once I got it, I slowed down my pace, walked really slowly over the three blocks to my apartment, and just basked in the sun and the pure enjoyment of the ice cream. I felt like a little kid again, licking all the sprinkles off first and catching the ice cream as it dripped off and melted.

I was so immersed in the experience. I didn’t notice anything around me, and for the first time in weeks, I realized that I wasn’t thinking about work, or where I needed to be, or my to-do list. My mind was completely present and I was extracting every ounce of pleasure from the experience.

The next thing I knew, I was on the wrong block. I started laughing to myself, because I was literally so involved in the ice cream cone joy that I forgot where I lived and started walking down a different block.

Now if that’s not true “presence”, then I don’t know what is.

When I got back to my apartment and finished the last bite of my ice cream cone, I felt on top of the world. I was beaming. I was so happy. That ice cream cone, although it only lasted a few minutes, gave me so much satisfaction. And I enjoyed, literally, every single second of it.

I’m joking when I say that I meditated through the ice cream cone, but my point is that being totally present and immersed in our food can bring us so much joy, satisfaction and pleasure.

And when we realize how much enjoyment we can get from our food, we don’t need to eat as much of it. Alternatively, if I had walked back to my apartment thinking about a million different things, the cone would have been gone before I knew it, and I would not have even noticed the amount of pleasure I could have gotten from it. Then, I would have been left feeling unsatisfied and wanting more.

So my challenge for you is… the next time you eat something today, try to be FULLY present and extract as much enjoyment as you possibly can from it. Whether you are sipping on a cup of coffee or eating a sandwich off the side of the street, spend at least a few extra seconds focusing on the food. The taste, the feel, the texture, the smell. And see how much more satisfied you feel afterward. Maybe you even find yourself eating less, but that’s not even the point. I just want you to walk away feeling happy and saying to yourself “damn, that was good”.

Have you had an experience like my ice cream cone experience lately? And if you give this a shot today, tell me how it goes! 

Hummus and Veggie Collard Green Wraps

Alright are we ready to be super healthy for a few minutes? This may go down as one of the most healthy recipes on StudioEats.

I present to you….

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Collard Greens.

When I told my Mom I made a Collard Green recipe she didn’t even let me finish my sentence before saying “Ew!!!”

Her memories of collard greens are apparently very unpleasant. She complained about the smell of cooked collard greens that she was around when growing up and I said “yea yea I know what you mean but these are different”.

Eating Collard Greens raw is a piece of cake and much different than eating them cooked. When you keep them raw, they don’t really taste like anything, which makes them extremely easy to use in recipes and very versatile. They are commonly used as a wrap, replacing bread for a health boost.

Want to know some healthy benefits?

– Virtually no calories

– Helps to lower cholesterol

– Cancer fighting

– PACKED with vitamins and antioxidants (read more about the health benefits here)

Ok, so are you willing to try it? If so, here is how you make these cute little healthy wraps.

You want to start with some basic ingredients. You can use just hummus, or shred some carrots and cut up some of your other favorite vegetables into small pieces:

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Then, you want to simply wash the green leaves, cut each leaf in half, and cut out the stem. So you will have two halves, separated. I followed this short video to learn how to do the wrap and roll. I’d recommend just taking a look at this, but you don’t need to worry about steaming the leaves like she does. I just used them totally raw.

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So you take your green leaf, already separated, and you overlap the two halves of the leaves. Then, you just add on your hummus and veggies:

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And then you get rollin’! Fold in the sides first, then fold from the bottom and roll upwards (again, watch video for a very clear description).

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You can keep them in burrito/wrap form or slice them down the middle if you want them to look all pretty.

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What I love about these is that you can create a bunch ahead of time, and wrap them individually in foil. Then, you have all these little mini healthy burritos sitting in your fridge that you can pull out for a snack whenever.

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These are great as a snack, anytime, or if you eat enough of them, for a full meal. You can also get creative in terms of what you put in here. Some ideas:

  • Just hummus
  • Hummus/veggies
  • Cheese/hummus/veggies
  • Beans
  • Avocado
  • Chicken
  • Leftovers from dinner
  • Roasted veggies
  • Refried Beans/Cheese/Guac
  • Edited to add: smoked salmon since so many of you mentioned it… great idea!

I hope you give these a shot if you’re looking to expand your “leafy greens” repertoire. I’m always a proponent of finding new ways to get leafy greens in my diet as they are some of the healthiest foods out there for us. Enjoy!

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Hummus and Veggie Collard Green Wraps

  • Bundle of Collard Greens
  • Hummus
  • Sliced/chopped veggies

1. Wash the greens, and cut them according to this video. No need to steam them.

2. Use the video’s method of overlapping the leaves. Then, layer on the hummus/veggies and roll into burrito form.

3. Eat now or wrap them in foil for an easy snack or meal later on.