Centered Self May 2014

Happy Monday. I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was very nice aside from my normal GMAT angst. I’m sadly just not doing well in the practice exams anymore. I excel and make huge progress in the practice questions every night when I study for 2-3 hours, but not on the exams I take Saturday. I think, and I know it may sound like I’m ‘opting-out’, but that I may just stop taking the full length practice exams now that there is 1 month till my test. They do not help me confidence wise nor do they help me focus on my ‘weaknesses’ I seem to do poorly/strongly in a new subject each week – making it so nothing is consistent. I’m gonna try for this approach since my 8 weeks of weekly CAT exams have not seemed to help me. I realize that I am rushing, because once I ‘get it over with’ I can actually enjoy my weekend. Honestly, it’s going to come down to that day of the test. All I can do is keep practicing out of my OG book 2-3 hours a day and pray to God and to all the underdog stories of all time that I will pull a decent score out of my ass on May 31. But, worst case scenario I take a formal course with Manhattan in the late summer.

le sigh. Aside from that I had a really nice reflective weekend. I have to marvel at how much I have grown in the past 9+ months mentally and physically. I am able to do things and experience emotions I would have never thought I would work through and make work for me. Mentally, I concurred my anxiety and overcame the insecurities that plagued me for most of my adult life. I am able to accept my faults and to gain strength from my successes. I’ve kicked the negativity to the curb along with all the people that facilitate negative thoughts and actions for me. Living a life without being brought down by others is marvelous. I have never been so free in losing myself in what I love. I finally have found what true security and self-love means.

Plus, I am so lucky to have a strong support group, that only wants to support me and see me succeed. Likewise, I have found immense happiness in inspiring others and trying to infuse a positive support system from myself to anyone I talk to. That doesn’t mean I still don’t have emo or bad days, but I sure as hell snap out of them more quickly and find myself engaging in more meaningful ways of coping with ‘the blues.’ I do have a hard time with expectations, but honestly my core group of friends and family always exceed any expectations that I would have. I’m truly blessed to have people that genuinely care for me and want to see me succeed and be happy. On the physical side of things, I have never been more strong and motivated. I can run like the wind! Well an 8-10 mile an hour breeze, but still that’s GREAT! I also have achieved my handstand goals and now can do unassisted handstands for 30seconds – 1 minute. I’m working on movement poses, but with a curious unnamed kitten – being upside down and trying to switch pose positions is quite difficult. I have to say I really enjoy knowing that I am strong from the inside – humble confidence radiates out of me these days.

I also made this ADORABLE geisha girl from Benartex Panel Prints. I got mine here and it actually took about 2-3 days to receive her! I had a blast putting her together at my friend’s house (duel sewing machines!) and then hand stitching at home (which I still need A LOT of work on).

Last weekend I decided to plant some kitchen herbs and I was so excited to see that 3/4 have already germinated! I’ll have Basil (pictured), Oregano (still waiting on it to germinate), Cilantro, and Rosemary in a few weeks! I also bought an organic Mint plant from Wal-Mart on Saturday and made virgin-zero calorie-full fun juleps/mockjitos with some lemon-lime soda water and stevia. ūüôā

I also will admit my favorite treat are those super cheap ice cream cups from Wal-Mart. They have a birthday cake one that is so so tasty. I have friends that help me eat it. *note I was done eating it – I am not that gross to share food with the cats.

I attempted to ‘sun-proof’ and thus heat-proof my living room this weekend also. I used some of those emergency thermal blankets, as I read a HOW TO HERE. Boris was the foreman for this job and inspected my work. I don’t know if this is gonna last/work. The crinkly noise is kind of annoying. TBD. If this <$5 experiment does not work I may splurge and get these real thermal black out drapes. Or I’ll buy those car window black-out foam things and suspend them… God things are getting weird at my house.

This might explain what’s up.

xxx
GFK

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LET’S GET ALL SQUISHEE.


At the beginning of March I made a little ‘to-do’ list and I just wanted to revisit that and set some new intentions for Spring now that we are really getting into some wonderful weather.

1. Go to the dentist. I did it! After what seemed like decades of bad news at the dentist, I finally received an ‘outstanding’ review and found out more about my options for dealing with my 15 year old root canals. Since the integrity of my teeth is really great, the dentist told me I would have these ‘dead-teeth’ for a long time and could go with a ‘less invasive’ method of crowns for fixing the color issue I have going on. CUTE! I know right!? Anyways, maybe prepare yourself for the panic stricken dental posts that will begin to show up as I embark on this endeavor in the next six months.

2. Cheapskates are the BEST skates! Well my cheapskate lifestyle is really gaining momentum. I’ve managed to stop consuming new clothing and housewares items. I’ve cut my shopping bill to reflect a sustainable, yet low amount each week. I’ve even gone so far as to price compare at several store and online for the items I consume regularly. I signed up on Amazon’s FREE Subscribe and Save plan for several reoccurring items that I use such as face wipes, wet ones for the cats, allergy medicine, floss, toothpaste, vitamins, Vega protein powder, and lotions. The great thing about the subscription plan is that you can save up to 15% off each item and you can choose the frequency of how often you’d like to receive the item. Then you receive all your monthly subscriptions on the same day depending on your frequency selection. PLUS you can cancel or opt out of it at any time. It’s really a great program and there are quite a few discounts/coupons floating around that take 30% off your first Subscribe and Save enrollment. I even called up my current satellite and internet providers and negotiated new cheaper plans – and somehow got SHOWTIME and STARZ for FREE!!! (for three months). Cut my monthly bill by $30 calling on both! ūüôā

3. Lent. Going strong with my GIANT reduction in froyo. Thank goodness. Adios frozen yogurt. I’ve only had it twice all of Lent. However, now is probably not a good time to ask me about all the Easter Candy and limited edition sugar I’ve consumed in place. SAY SUMTHING!

4. Positive Energy. In this goal I have made the most improvement. I really did kick the negativity to the curb. Both in my personal and professional life I’ve made immense efforts to be positive. Don’t get me wrong I’m still emo as hell sometimes and will readily drop a UGH MY LIFE IS OVER in jest (well mostly jest), but I’m not focusing on the negative. Life is wonderful right now and the fact that I am rocking it, is just glorious. I worked really hard to get here – I’m healthy, I’m sober, I’m busy, I’m creative, I’m excited and most of all I’m able to love myself and the great family and friends that have my back. I owe a lot to PMA and to my support group. I’d also just like to give a huge kudos and squeeze to my ‘heterolife mate’ and life-seester Tannith – she has been my sounding board and a great friend in all these changes despite being such a stupendous wife and mother to her own family!

For some new intentions I really want to find a balance in fitness. I love working out – for the physical results, but also for the mental benefits. I rejoined an online Yoga site to practice some things at home and so far I’m loving it. There is deep twisting for detoxification and wonderful work for tight shoulder (because the chiropractor visits are few and far between) and hamstrings. I think keeping with my existing cardio regimine but adding yoga to the mix will be splendid. Further, I really want to focus on being a leader and student in my health, crafts, and relationships. I’m so grateful I have this moment to be proud and look at all the gifts I’ve given myself.

See I told you I’m all squishee.

BARF RAINBOWS.

XXX
GFK

Yogi Goal

the littlest yogi
the littlest yogi

gee whiz. I have to say I’m pretty pleased with all the goals I’ve set and attained over the last half year, but since this is a health challenge prompt I think I’ll make this goal fitness orientated.

Drum roll please…..

My goal is to practice yoga 3 times a week. I really enjoy yoga and it makes me feel calm and invigorated. Plus I really need the deep stretch and poses – especially after I am all hunched over crafting for so many hours. Not to mention I gifted myself four new pairs of workout pants that are perfect for yoga practice. So it is my goal for the remainder of the month to practice a simple 3 times a week at home.

This will not be hard especially since I have Kathryn Budig’s DVD (my favorite) and Jillian Michael’s yoga DVDs are on Amazon Prime free to stream. I have no excuse!

GOAL SET!

XXXX
GFK

Relax and Practice?

For years I have been anything but consistent with my fitness regime Рat times I would be seeing a trainer all while still going out every weekend and having a few too many libations, or I would be eating well, but not exercising.  Either way, my body was not in sync and I felt unmotivated and unbalanced.  It has taken the last year, mostly with the responsibility of school and taking care of my grandmother to fully realize what makes my body and mind feel good consistently.  Of course, we are not all granted this time or space to focus on ourselves, but I was happy to finally see the things that wreck havoc on me and the things that make me feel great. Of course, I still am no angel and some weeks are better than others, but I thought I would share what I do to relax, de-stress, and nourish my body and mind.

Yoga

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I know what you’re thinking ‘Oh yeah well if only I had extra money/time to go to a class that’s stuffed full of shakra huffing/tree hugging yuppies then I’d go too.’ ¬†Well personally I dislike group yoga practice – a lot. ¬†I know sometimes my form might not be the best because I am practicing alone, but I am not doing insane yoga. ¬†My bone structure and height make most poses difficult that are ‘moderate’ so I don’t see myself doing handstands in the living room anytime soon. ¬†All that being said – I found a yoga website that is great. ¬†YogaGlo¬†has been my go-to for a while and it has many different instructors to choose from. ¬†Which is GREAT! I personally love Kathryn Budig¬†from the “Aim True” DVD series by Gaiam. ¬†For me she is the perfect balance of calm and fun, without all the bizarre ‘yogi’ teacher behaviors I have witnessed when I did drag myself to the yoga studio. ¬†The site which is $18 for a month (well worth it even if you do 2-5 ‘classes’) plus there’s a free 15 day trial to see if you really like it or click with the instructors.

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Yoga whether more meditational or physical (or both!) really does benefit me beyond words. ¬†My heart opens and any anxiety (I’m in graduate school), anger (again I’m in graduate school), doubt (see previous), or frustration (duh!) literally melts. ¬†I am by no means a ‘practitioner,’ but I do hope to go to the Hanuman Yoga Festival this spring in Boulder to try to be social and hopefully meet Kathryn and get to practice with her.

Think Thin Products

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I love this meal/snack supplement line.  The bars taste great and really satisfy a sweet tooth and protein craving.  I find they work the best a few hours before being active and give a must needed boost to get through the day.  I use the bar as meal supplements, but they also have snack bars for in between meals that I love.   Plus they are organic and make it so much easier to stick to a healthy living plan and not stop by the Panera Drive-Thru when my blood sugar drops.  I like putting them in the freezer and then chopping them into pieces (be careful doing this), which makes the bar seem like it takes longer than 1 minute to eat.

Melatonin

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I have been taking Melatonin ever since a friend when I was working at Aveda mentioned it to me 4 years ago.  Normally it serves people who have sleep pattern difficulties Рthink folks who just went on the night shift/day shift or someone suffering from mild insomnia.  However this little supplement does great things for the average person who feels run down and tired despite regular pattern sleeping.

WebMD says it best and I don’t want to paraphrase and mis-lead anyone:

Melatonin¬†is a¬†hormone¬†made by the¬†pineal gland, a small gland in the¬†brain.¬†Melatonin¬†helps control your¬†sleep¬†and wake cycles. ¬†Your body has its own internal clock that controls your natural cycle of sleeping and waking hours. In part, your body clock controls how much melatonin your body makes. Normally, melatonin levels begin to rise in the mid- to late evening, remain high for most of the night, and then drop in the early morning hours.”

So since the sun/light has something to do with this process and since I try to avoid the sun because of my fair skin, I think this supplement gives me that extra help in fulfilling my optimal melatonin level. ¬† A safe dose for adults is 2.0mg to 20mg (depending on use) – I take one 3mg pill a few times a week before bed and find that it makes sleep more restful. ¬†Of course with any supplement ask your doctor and make sure there are no drug interactions (although melatonin is already in your body so I don’t foresee that being an issue). ¬†Further it can be safely taken for ‘short-term’/’long-term’ periods. ¬†Plus it is not an expensive supplement averaging around $5 for a 90 ct bottle.

Of course if I’m balanced with all three of these things I feel great, but no one – especially me is perfect with routine so like I said some weeks are much better than others. ¬†These are just a few of the things that get me through a hectic day or week. ¬†Maybe there are things that work for you that you would like to share?