2013

It’s that time of year…Christmas is over, New Years is around the corner, and it’s time to once again make “New Year’s Resolutions!” Whether or not you officially make new year’s resolutions, the start of a new year seems to inspire most everyone to a fresh start in some way or another. We all love the idea of turning over a new leaf, making good decisions, setting goals and achieving them, and feeling accomplished! The new year seems like a great time to evaluate not only the year ahead, but also the one that is coming to a close.

20121231-085534.jpg

In the week between Christmas and New Years, I love to do a review of the past year, thinking about the major events that happened in my life, the things I accomplished, the lessons I learned, and how I grew as a person. I tend to do a lot of journaling around this time, as well as jotting down ideas and goals for the new year.

I’m most definitely a “list person” and I get a crazy sort of high from crossing things off a checklist. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Therefore, I LOVE to make goals so I have some sort of vision for the year ahead. For me, these goals aren’t typical new year’s resolutions like “lose weight, make more money, clean out my closet, buy a house.” Instead, I like to make more “holistic” goals that encompass all areas of life:

Relationships:

Some of my goals are about relationships that I want to invest in more in the coming year. Friendships that I want to devote more time to, and ways that I want to connect more fully with loved ones.

Hobbies and Interests:

Some of my goals are about new hobbies or activities that I want to try. For example, in 2013, I want to complete one of the infamous “mud runs” because I think that would be hilariously fun! Last year one of my goals was to take up swimming because I’d literally NEVER learned how to swim laps in a pool. I bought a one-piece suit, goggles and a cap, and had a friend teach me the basic form. I’d taken swim lessons as a kid but definitely needed a refresher. Now, 9 months later, I can confidently jump in the pool and swim over 1600 yds for fun. Love it! It’s these kinds of things that make life more enjoyable…taking up new interests and passions just for the fun of it! Not because you have to or to impress anyone else, but just to enjoy the discovery of learning something new. ๐Ÿ™‚

20121231-085554.jpg

Personal Growth:

Another portion of my goals are about spiritual and emotional development. I usually write down some areas of my life that need growth or character traits that I want to develop more in the year ahead. This includes things like: patience, loyalty, joy, good listening skills, more generosity, etc. Another great goal for this area would be to watch less TV/movies and do more reading!

Health Goals:

I also love to think about some health goals for myself that will help me live more joyfully, enjoy each day fully, and have more energy for life! These goals include things like: get to bed earlier, take more walks outside, drink less coffee and more tea, and eat more leafy, green vegetables. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Again, it’s not about a crash diet or a resolution to lose weight, but instead it’s about taking care of my body, in order to live a energetic and passionate life. ๐Ÿ™‚

20121231-085610.jpg

As you can see, my goals aren’t exactly the traditional “New Year’s Resolutions” but they’re definitely good ways for me to enter the new year with purpose and passion! Even if you’re not a goal-oriented person like me, consider setting at least one or two goals for 2013 that will help you grow as a person and enjoy life more fully! Think about a relationship you want to invest in more fully or a new hobby you’d like to learn…and then go for it! What do you have to lose?

Happy New Year!!

Finally, Some Snow! …and a couple at-home workouts!

SNOW!!

Yes, good ol’ Saint Louis got some SNOW last night! We were predicted to get a little bit on Christmas Day evening, which never really came. Fail. However, we got a beautiful couple inches of it last night, which wasn’t really predicted at all! The temperatures hovered right around 32 so it could have gone either way. I’ll take the gorgeous snow! The roads weren’t bad at all this morning because it was just enough to make things pretty. ๐Ÿ™‚

I woke up around 7 this morning and did this short Youtube yoga workout in the comfort of my bedroom where it was nice and warm. It was a very relaxing and refreshing start to my day! Then I leashed up the beagle for a short walk in the snow. She is such a wimp and acted like her paws were going to fall off, as she daintily picked her way down the street. Makes me laugh, that one.

20121229-125947.jpg
After my cheeks and nose were sufficiently numbed, I came inside and enjoyed a mug of warm lemon water while chatting with my mom.

BASEMENT WORKOUTS!

A few weeks before Christmas, my mom started bringing up the idea of getting in shape and having me design some workouts for her. My mom has always been a very active woman and loves to hike, bike and walk with my dad on their vacations. She’s not by any means overweight but wants to get more “toned” and build some muscle. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We joked back and forth for a few weeks about me being her “personal trainer” but it wasn’t til the day after Christmas that we finally got down to business and got our sweat on together. My parents have a fair amount of workout equipment in our basement, including a treadmill, elliptical machine, bench with bar/weights, and numerous free weights.

On Wednesday, I created a short and sweet (and sweaty!) abs and core workout for Mom to do. I was a little nervous because:

1) I’m a Holistic Health Coach, but NOT a personal trainer! Although I’ve done TONS of research about workouts and love to create workouts for myself, I’m not officially qualified to train someone.

2) I know what works for ME, but I don’t know how to evaluate someone else’s fitness level and create an appropriate workout for THEM.

Well, it must have been a success, because Mom said her abs were on fire the whole time and the next day she definitely felt it! Win!

Here’s the circuit workout I created for her; you don’t need any equipment except a big stability ball and a weight to hold for the Russian twists.

20121229-131003.jpg
On Friday, we decided to tackle the legs so I designed a simple but effective workout for her that focused on basic exercises like squats and lunges. Since my mom is just getting back into working out, we did most of the squats and lunges with light weights, but she plans to continue increasing the weight over time to get even better results!

Here’s the leg workout I designed for Mom, along with some extra notes about improving stability and balance, which are areas she wants to work on:

20121229-131222.jpg
When it’s cold and dreary outside, I tend to opt for at-home workouts so I can stay in the comfort of my own home. Even if you don’t have a lot of equipment in your home or basement, there are tons of bodyweight exercises you can do that will definitely have you sweating! Think pushups, lunges, squats, mountain climbers, tricep dips, etc! If you intersperse some cardio bursts (jumping jacks, fast feet, jump squats) in between the exercises, you’ll really get your heart rate up!

I’m off to drink some Gingerbread Spice tea and start a new book!

Ready for Christmas!

It’s beginning to *feel* a lot like Christmas…

1) Christmas shopping is done!!

I finished up the last of my Christmas shopping this afternoon. Yes, I know, I cut it very close this year! I don’t really have a good excuse, except that December seemed to fly by even MORE quickly than usual this year. And I’ve never really been one of those people who starts picking out Christmas presents for people in July. ๐Ÿ˜› I’m not a procrastinator in most other areas of life, but when it comes to Christmas shopping, I’m almost always squeaking in at the last minute.

I still have some wrapping to do tomorrow (Christmas Eve, yikes!) but at least everything is bought!

2) Amy and I went on a “Christmas Lights Run” on Saturday evening around my neighborhood, in order to enjoy the bright, colorful displays. Of course, we talked for most of the run so we didn’t really notice the lights a whole lot, but it was still a festive activity to do together. ๐Ÿ™‚

3) Christmas cookies have been baked!!! These are just one of the numerous favorites we bake each year. I baked these on Wednesday with a friend, while listening to the Christmas station on Pandora. ๐Ÿ™‚

20121223-204236.jpg

4) The “Wild Lights” display at the St Louis Zoo! Friday night, I headed down to the zoo with a few friends, as well as my sister and brother-in-law. Although it was bitterly cold, we lasted about an hour (thanks to thick scarves and Hot Hands!) and enjoyed walking through the huge lights display at the zoo!

20121223-204305.jpg

5) Watching Christmas movies! On Thursday night, I had a friend over for dinner and we watched A Christmas Carol – the Jim Carrey version, which I had never seen before. I liked it; the CGI stuff was really impressive! I’ve also watched White Christmas and A Christmas Story over the past few weeks, but I have yet to fulfill my annual viewing of my favorite Christmas movie, It’s A Wonderful Life!! I guess that will be happening tomorrow!!

6) Treasuring time with family and friends:

Because my sister and brother-in-law will be with his family on Christmas Day, we decided to have a special family celebration TODAY that lasted all day long. Since my best friend Amy is practically family, we invited her to join in the festivities too. ๐Ÿ™‚

20121223-204314.jpg

We started off with church at 11am…our church always does an amazing Christmas service and they definitely did not disappoint this year! The message was really good and the music was incredible. They sung my favorite Christmas song, O Holy Night, which always gives me goosebumps.

After church, we visited with friends for a little bit and then headed over to TGIF’s for a delicious lunch. We have a family tradition of eating at TGIF’s on the Eve of the Eve every year (the 23rd). I ordered the cobb salad and also nibbled on some of Amy’s sweet potato fries. Love me some sweet potatoes!

20121223-205540.jpg

After lunch, Amy and I finished up my Christmas shopping and then met my family back at our house for some games and relaxation. We also gave our presents to my sis and brother-in-law and opened theirs in return. Around 6pm, everyone started to get a little hungry and Mom brought out some smoked trout, cheese and crackers, cocktail shrimp, and other munchies for us to enjoy. Then we migrated into the family room to watch A Christmas Story, which I had never seen before! It was definitely a very unique movie…not my favorite, but it did make me laugh several times. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Amy just left and now we are relaxing some more and watching football. ๐Ÿ˜€

So excited that Christmas Eve is tomorrow!!

I hope you’re enjoying these final hours before the holiday! ๐Ÿ™‚

Muddy Trail Run for the Win!

How is it already December 18th?! This season has flown by so quickly! Christmas parties are happening, cookies are being baked, and presents are being wrapped! I still have some Christmas shopping to do, as well as several other “Christmas activities” I want to squeeze in before the 25th! I have yet to do a “Christmas lights run” or go to any drive-through lights displays. I haven’t watched nearly enough Christmas movies or gotten tired of Christmas music yet. I need this month to sloooow down!

This week I’ve been dogsitting for a family friend while they are in Florida! I’m staying at their house, which happens to be 2.80 miles from a beautiful state park! I know this because I ran there on Sunday morning before church to explore! However, I had just down P90X Plyometrics the day before and my calves were pretty tight, so by the time I got to the park, I was pretty tired and decided to turn around and save the exploring for another day. My route back was a little bit longer so I ended up with exactly 6.00 miles when I got back to the house! We’ve had crazy-warm weather here in St Louis lately, considering it’s December, but I’m not complaining! I love being able to take off on a run without 5 layers of thermal shirts and leggings. ๐Ÿ˜›

20121218-132725.jpg

This morning I headed back to the park to tackle the trails! I had such a great time exploring the cliffs and bluffs and jumping over tree roots and rocks. Every time I do a trail run, it makes me wish I had access to more trails near my house! Trail runs are a great way to get out in nature, enjoy the peace and quiet, and disconnect from phones and computers. I always feel so refreshed after a trail run, I love it!

20121218-132942.jpg

About a half mile into my run, I spotted a beautiful doe just 20 yards ahead of me on the trail! The trails were hilly and muddy, winding through the woods and ravines. I felt adventurous and free as I powered up the hills and flew down the other side.

I’d accidentally left my earbuds at home so I didn’t have any iPod accompaniment on this run, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I also didn’t use my GPS watch at all, so I had no concept of pace or time. Amazing. I need to unplug more often for “naked runs” because it’s always so cleansing and relaxing!

20121218-133112.jpg

When I did finally make it back to my car, I was covered in mud, but happy and content. Settled. Peaceful. Refreshed. Is it possible that a simple run in the woods can do all of that for me? I’ll take it! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m off to study for the afternoon with a doggie on my lap and a mug of Candy Cane Green Tea beside me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Merry Christmas!

20121218-134022.jpg

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

The Christmas season is here in full force! Every year, December flies by way too quickly and this holiday season is over before I know it. I wish there was some way to slow this month down…there is so much to do and so much to enjoy!

Here are my Top 5 Favorite Things about the Holiday Season this year:

5)ย Christmas music everywhere! I’ve never heard a Christmas song I didn’t like. Oh wait, I take that back…Santa Baby. ย Haha, never been a fan of that one, for some reason. ย  ๐Ÿ˜› As much as I do enjoy the holiday tunes, I don’t usually start listening to them until after Thanksgiving, because I like to give each holiday it’s allocated time for celebration. ย ๐Ÿ˜‰

christmas1

4) Looking at Christmas lights displays! There’s something about glowing multi-colored displays of Christmas cheer that I can’t resist. I love to drive around nearby neighborhoods in the winter evenings and look at all the lights, and I also try to visit at least one drive-through lights display at a park each year…

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

3)ย Baking Christmas cookies! Although I haven’t baked anyย officialย Christmas cookies yet this year, I did whip up a batch of theseย Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookiesย a few days ago, for a dear friend of mine. I didn’t try any (hello, gluten!) but the ones I left at home for my family didn’t last long at all, which I always take as a good sign. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hopefully in the next week or so, I’ll get around to baking some legit Christmas cookies, likeย theseย guys!

2) Sharing holiday cheer with random strangers! I love how everyone seems to be in such a great mood in the few weeks leading up to Christmas. In stores and restaurants, people strike up conversations about their plans for the holidays, their Christmas shopping, or share a “Merry Christmas!” greeting with each other. I’ve even caught a few people humming Christmas songs in the check-out line at Walgreens! Love it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Loved playing carols today on this beauty!
Loved playing carols today on this beauty!

1) All the special little things that make up this season. Sipping hot cocoa by a roaring fire, singing Christmas carols around the piano, cutting down a tree at the Christmas tree farm, celebrating with out of town relatives, taking walks inย the snow (really hoping we get some this year in St Louis!), attending Christmas productions like The Nutcracker, exchanging gifts with loved ones,ย and having an extra excuse to get together with friends!

Andy Williams truly got it right with his song…It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I hope you’re enjoying this Christmas season! ๐Ÿ™‚