3 Life Lessons I Learned from a Rollerblading Accident

I recently took a tumble. This tumble involved me, rollerblades, the pavement and not enough protective gear (according to my 5 year-old nephew). I’ve always had an obsession with rollerblades. As a kid I was convinced that living on hills with bumpy roads that made your jaw jiggle as you rode down them was not a good enough reason to not rollerblade. Instead, I tentatively, slowly weaved myself down the hills then clunked back up the hill to do it all over again. You would think that all of this practice rollerblading on hills would translate into me being a fairly functional rollerblader on flat roads. Well then, you would be wrong.

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Since my body and running don’t get along, I recently got the spark to try rollerblading again. I love being able to just put on shoes and go for a run, but my hips and knees don’t get the same rush my brain does. According to a physical therapist I saw, it’s because my wide hips were made for giving birth not for running. Personally, I would like to think my hips are made for much more than giving birth, but that’s neither here nor there. Needless to say, I didn’t go back to see him again. In my logical mind, rollerblading was a great substitution for running. You know what I didn’t take into account? Falling on rollerblades hurts way more than falling while running.

A couple weeks ago, when the weather finally dipped below 100 degrees, I decided it was an ideal time to strap on the blades and hit the pavement (literally what I did).  With the help from Kevin, I made it out of my front door and decided it was best to walk down the grass instead of the slightly downhill driveway, safety first. The last words I heard Kevin say were, “call me if you need me to pick you up” and I laughed at him because why in the world would I need to be rescued?!

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Back when I aspired to be bad ass rollerblader

Then this happened… I was cruising down the bike lane praying no cars were at the four way stop, because I realized I had 0% confidence in my ability to stop. Phew, no cars, let’s try to slow down. “Ah you’re leaning back and are going to eat it, just roll through.” I seemed to be getting into a rhythm and my glutes were starting to burn. I felt like a semi-legit rollerblader. I was approaching the park, so I looked up to see the view. BIG MISTAKE. I should have kept looking down to see the crack that was clearly waiting to destroy me. Boom. Just like that my knee banged the ground, then my chin, my head and apparently every appendage on my body hit the pavement in some way. Of course, there was a car full of people nearby to witness my YouTube worthy tumble, but none of them had their phones out ready to record and make me go viral. For about 30 seconds I considered rollerblading home, then I had to suck up my pride and call Kevin to come rescue me.

In the two weeks since my rollerblading disaster, I realized that I learned the following life lessons from this debacle:

It’s OK to Fail

As I stood there laughing at myself for falling and trying to push down the frustration, I seriously considered rollerblading back home. Why? Because I didn’t want to admit that I failed. Looking back on it, rollerblading home would have been incredibly ridiculous. The reality is that I tried rollerblading and it didn’t work out. Do I need to try it again and “not give up”? Not if I don’t want to. Honestly, I’m planning on selling the rollerblades. I’ll stick to walking and biking. I tried it and failed, that’s OK.

I don’t feel like we are taught to fail or even how to handle failure. Rather, we are taught to not give up and are rewarded for succeeding, but not always for taking a chance on something. It took me a whole year to get the courage to start this blog, because I was worried it would fail. Finally, I realized that it didn’t matter if it failed, but it did matter if I passed the opportunity to do something I enjoy in fear of failing. Imagine how many opportunities we let slip by in life because we fear that we won’t succeed. Instead of trying so hard to avoid failure, let’s shift the focus to improving how we react to failure. Life is an experiment, let’s learn from it.

You can’t force healing (physical or emotional)

As I sit here typing this post, two weeks post-eating-pavement, I am still experiencing pain. My chin still has a knot on it and is sensitive to touch. I can deal with that though, I don’t need a chin to be active. However, I do need my hips to function and it seems like I pulled something in my hip when I fell. Awesome.

I was convinced that I’d be able to return to my normal workout classes a week after the fall. Where’d I get this time frame from? Oh, I just made it up. One week sounded like a decent amount of time to heal. Well guess what? Two weeks have gone by and I still haven’t returned to my normal workout schedule. It’s incredibly frustrating, but I’ve realized that we cannot force physical or emotional healing. We must give ourselves time to heal and respect that we can’t rush this process. In the grand scheme of things, these 2 weeks that I have been out of commission are such a small amount of time in my life. ”It’s not a big deal, be patient. It’s not a big deal, be patient. It’s not a big deal, be patient.” This phrase is currently on repeat in my head, so I stay sane.

Sometimes you need to rely on others for help

Guess what makes life easier? Leaning on your support system and asking for help when you need it. Guess what isn’t always easy? Asking for help. It’s OK to need and request support. We don’t have to do this crazy thing called life alone. Knowing when you need help and actually requesting it can be difficult. We can’t expect other people to read our minds and know what we need. We need to communicate. As I was lying on the ground in our living room icing my knee and my chin, feeling all sorts of frustrated, I had a 30-minute conversation with myself about making dinner. I had something delicious planned and didn’t want to lie on the ground for the rest of the night, but making dinner at that moment sounded miserable. Finally, I asked for help. Of course, Kevin didn’t actually expect me to make dinner. But in my head I was letting us both down until I came to terms with the fact that making dinner just wasn’t on the table, so I asked for help and the world didn’t come crashing down. Life lessons man, they even happen when you’re lying on the ground cursing the rollerblading gods. Speaking of which, do you need some rollerblades? I think I know where you can get some used ones (with no bad luck attached) for a good deal 🙂

My Wellness Vision

I’ve almost completed the certification process to become a Health and Wellness Coach and finally did something I was supposed to do at the beginning of the class. I am typically not a procrastinator and cross items off my to-do list a little too enthusiastically.  The problem with this task, developing my Wellness Vision, is that I haven’t been inspired by my own vision.

To be honest, I also don’t have that great of an imagination. I wasn’t the type of kid that loved “pretending” and it’s even harder for me to do it now. Believe me, I wish I had that playful, fun side, and could enjoy acting like I’m a dog and crawling around the floor. I swear kids always want to pretend they are dogs. Since imagination isn’t second nature for me, the thought of imagining what my Wellness Vision could be was quite intimidating. Do you want to talk about your wellness vision? Let’s do it! I could help you brainstorm all day, but please don’t ask, “Well what about you?”

Needless to say, the fact that this task has been hanging over my head since December was driving me wild. I didn’t want to just write something to say I did it though; I wanted it to be meaningful and applicable to my life. I’m delighted to share that I finally wrote my Wellness Vision. What finally inspired me? My computer wouldn’t let me log on at work Monday morning.

As I sat there staring at my computer screen, wondering why Monday hated me, I thought of my Wellness Vision and my brain finally kicked into gear. At work, we use the 8 Dimensions of Wellness model to explain to students how to find balance in their lives. I realized that I needed to combine the 8 Dimensions of Wellness and my favorite word “intention” to develop my Wellness Vision. Once I got a pen and pad of paper, the words began flowing and my terrible handwriting couldn’t keep up.

This vision contains reflects my current stage in life, but I imagine my Wellness Vision is fluid and I will edit it as life changes. I encourage you to explore your own Wellness Vision (even if it takes 8 months). As uncomfortable as it can be, internal reflection does wonders for our health and wellness.

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My Wellness Vision

I am living my life with intention in the following dimensions of wellness:

  1. Physical
    • I am nourishing my body with foods that give me energy and make me feel good.
    • I am positively recognizing my body for what it can do, not how it looks.
    • I am choosing to do exercise that makes my body and mind feel good.
    • I am engaging in preventive behaviors and seeking medical advice when needed.
  1. Emotional
    • I am honoring my feelings by giving myself time to recognize, understand and work through them.
    • I am seeking peer and/or professional support when necessary.
  1. Spiritual
    • I am actively exploring what’s meaningful to me.
  1. Occupational
    • I am satisfied, happy and challenged by the work I am doing.
    • I am working to live, not living to work and have boundaries set between my work and personal life.
  1. Financial:
    • I am consciously spending my money and focusing on experiences rather than material items.
    • I am making financial decisions that positively impact my family and my future self.
  1. Social:
    • I am choosing to have connections with individuals that add value to my life.
    • I am regularly engaging with my social network while also dedicating alone time for my mind to rejuvenate.
  1. Environmental:
    • I am spending time outside and disconnecting from technology to reconnect with nature.
    • I am embracing the mantra “outer peace=inner calm” by only keeping items around me that add value, I have an emotional connection with or use regularly.
  1. Intellectual:
    • I am engaging in situations and discussions that challenge my internal and external biases.
    • I am keeping an open mind and always seeking new information.

My motivators are my health, well-being, family and friends.

The strengths I can draw on to help to realize my vision are my self-awareness, intrinsic motivation and passion for self-improvement.

My challenges are external influences, the desire to do too many things and living in the future instead of the present.

My strategies that will help me realize this vision and meet the challenges are revisiting my Wellness Vision regularly, developing short and long-term goals and sharing my vision with my support network.

 

 

 

Kale, Bell Pepper and Bacon Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Earlier in our relationship, Kevin and I read the book, The 5 Love Languages. If you haven’t read it and are in a relationship, I highly recommend it. Actually, you should read it even if you aren’t in a relationship, because it teaches you that everyone has different ways of feeling and showing love. I bet you didn’t think that this post titled, “Kale, Bell Pepper and Bacon Stuffed Sweet Potatoes”, would get so deep so fast huh?

I learned that “acts of service” is my main love language. I show people love by doing acts of service for them and I feel most loved when I receive acts of service. Basically, Kevin now knows that vacuuming the house is the way to my heart. God I love those clean carpet lines. I also learned that you are supposed to tell people thank you and show appreciation when they do acts of service for you. Since acts of service are so innate to me, I never thought much about recognizing the acts themselves.

Clearly, recognizing feelings and emotions isn’t my strongest trait. Instead of outwardly showing my emotions for you, I’d rather do something for you. Usually the way I do that is by cooking. I love to cook for people. Are you celebrating something? Let me cook for you. Are you going through a rough time? Let me cook for you. My friends think I am crazy for this, but I’ve very willing volunteered to cook for large bachelorette parties for my closest friends. This is my way of showing my appreciation for them and you could say letting them know I love them, but let’s not get too mushy gushy here.

I made these breakfast sweet potatoes during the most recent bachelorette trip. I wanted to do something simple that would keep us full for hours, but not make us feel bloated. These breakfast stuffed sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein and complex carbohydrates…and bacon, cause, well, I’m still human. You can easily swap out ingredients and change the flavors completely based on what you have on hand. These also reheat really well, so they would be great to have on hand during the week! This recipe is more like a guide and the measurements are very approximate. I was cooking for 12 girls and winged it based on what sounded good in my head. If you want more cheese and less veggies, make your own adjustments. You do you.

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Kale, Bell Pepper and Bacon Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 small sweet potato per person (adjust based on the size of your sweet potatoes)
  • 5 eggs per person, whisked
  • 1 slice of bacon per person, chopped
  • ¼ cup kale per person (ribs removed, thinly sliced)
  • ¼ cup bell pepper per person, chopped
  • ¼ cup onion per person, chopped
  • 1/8 cup cheese per person, shredded
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste
  • Oil, whatever you have on hand
  • Optional
    • Chopped cilantro
    • Chopped green onions
    • Avocado

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stab sweet potatoes with a fork a few times and lightly rub with oil, salt and pepper then place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until you can easily pierce them with a fork, about 35-40 minutes. Flip halfway through baking.
  2. While sweet potatoes are cooking, heat a large pan to medium heat and cook the chopped bacon. Spoon the cooked bacon out of the pan and set aside. Leave 1-2 Tbsp. bacon fat in the pan.
  3. Add onion and bell pepper to pan and cook until soft but not mushy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the onions and peppers to the reserved bacon.
  4. Add kale to pan and cover pan to wilt kale. Once kale is softened, add the bacon, onions and peppers back to the pan. Dump in the whisked eggs and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook until eggs are just about done, but not all the way there (they will continue to cook in the oven)
  5. Cut cooked sweet potatoes in half. Use a spoon to scoop out some of the inside so each potato half becomes a boat for the egg mixture.
    1. Tip: Save the cooked sweet potato you scoop out to mix into oatmeal or smoothies, make brownies with, freeze for a future use…basically just don’t throw it away!
  6. Place sweet potato boats on a baking sheet, skin side down. Evenly distribute the egg mixture into the sweet potato boats. I like to pile my eggs pretty high, but it’s up to you. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Place back in the oven until the cheese is oozy and melted.
  7. Sprinkle with optional cilantro, green onions and avocado. Devour!

Savoring Summer

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned with age (besides the fact that hangovers get worse as you get older) it’s that time seems to move much faster. The last month and a half has been an absolute whirlwind. In my mind, we are still in the first week of June. Considering my favorite holiday, 4th of July, is coming up next weekend, I clearly need to wrap my mind around this whole “June is over” idea.

We spent the end of May and early June traveling around Europe then I came back and got to spend a weekend in Lake Tahoe with some of my closest friends for a bachelorette party. Please don’t think I am complaining. I love traveling and new experiences. I just didn’t realize how fast time flies when you are eating, drinking and playing all day. It makes the work day go by sooo slowly. Do you think there’s any way I could get paid to always be on vacation? Side note: I aspired to be a trophy wife in middle school, no joke. It just made the most sense to me and infuriated my teachers, so I figured it was a great idea.

Back to real life, I am not a trophy wife. But, like my younger self, I do still love everything about summer. After some work travel this weekend, my schedule will open up and I am looking forward to slowing down and savoring summer. In an effort to act like I am still a kid on summer vacation hanging out at the pool all day and eating popsicles, I am hoping to take on fewer responsibilities this summer. Instead, I intend to experience this season and soak it up every day, because we all know summer will be over before we know it.

In an attempt to be less depressed about having to come home from our adventure in Europe, my husband and I made a list of the summer activities we want to do during the next few months. I don’t want to find myself saying, “Man I wish we would have done that this summer” once October rolls around. Of course, there needs to be a balance. I can’t say yes to everything, so I plan to be very intentional with my time and hopefully slow down to enjoy these fun activities our joyful, vacation loving selves deemed essential for summer:

  • Go to Picnic in the Park
  • Float down rivers
  • Go to Rivercats game(s)
  • Go Camping!
  • Visit Clarksburg for wine tasting
  • Go to Tahoe
  • Visit the Yuba City River
  • Grill oysters
  • Check out local breweries
  • Buy a vespa
  • Enjoy picnics on the Greenbelt
  • Fish
  • Beach days
  • Invite friends over for BBQ’s
  • Golf
  • Pretend we are in Italy and eat meat and cheese plates for dinner
  • Get local produce at the fruit stands
  • Go to $5 movies on Tuesdays to escape the heat
  • Have a water play date and sleepover with our nephew/niece
  • Go on the boat (waterski season!)
  • Make ice cream
  • Check out new locations to hike

What’s on your list of activities for this summer? I’d love to hear about them below!

3 No Equipment Required Workouts

I absolutely love being in gyms.  I’ll be the first to admit that a gym full of clean, up-to-date equipment gets me feeling absolutely giddy inside.  But sometimes we don’t always have access to a gym or maybe we aren’t in the mood to leave the house and make the trek to the gym.  That’s OK! Not having access to a gym does not mean you can’t workout. Our bodies are one of the best “machines” we have for exercise! Keeping a few bodyweight workouts on hand can come in super handy and increase the likelihood that you will challenge your body with a workout, despite the obstacles life might throw at you.

We will be gallivanting through Europe for two weeks, so I’ve been thinking about different bodyweight workouts I can do while abroad. At the moment you may be thinking, “You are going to be on vacation, why are you thinking about exercise?” Well, you see, I need to sweat. First of all, I enjoy it, a lot. Second of all, I need it for my own mental clarity. I notice a significant change in my ability to think, handle stress and my happiness levels when I don’t exercise.  I am not saying I will be doing hour-long workouts every day, but I know that I am way more likely to do 10-30 minute workouts while on vacation. We also plan on walking and biking as our main forms of transportation, so I will get lots of movement in that way. Here are three total body workouts you can do anywhere without any equipment except your body!

Workout #1

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  1. Burpies
  2. Jump Squats
  3. Push Up to Side Plank
  4. V-Ups
  5. Lunges (split reps between each leg)

Workout #2

10 minutes AMRAP (as many rounds as possible in ten minutes)

Workout #3 (about 30 minutes)

Tabata (20 seconds of work, 10 seconds rest x 8 rounds each exercise)

  1. Jumping Jacks
  2. Squats
  3. Hollow Rocks
  4. Lunges
  5. Superman Hold
  6. High knees

Apps I plan to use while traveling:

  • Sworkit
  • 7 minute workout
  • Cards WOD
  • Seconds
  • HIIT Timer

What are your favorite bodyweight workouts? I’d love to hear about them below!

It’s Okay to Like (Even Love) Yourself

Last night I had the privilege of joining one of my colleagues for a presentation on body image and eating disorders. The presentation was for Residential Advisers living in the freshmen residence halls, so it mainly focused on recognizing the signs of eating disorders and how to intervene using CAREfrontations. At the end though, my colleague led a 10-minute meditation focused on self-love and body acceptance. While our eyes were closed (and as I was trying my hardest not to lie down and fall asleep) he told us to silently tell ourselves 5 positive things about our body. He then proceeded to say, “It’s okay to like yourself”. After, we discussed how much easier it would have been to say 5 things we didn’t like or wanted to change about our bodies.

Let’s all say it again, “It’s okay to like (even love) yourself.” My brain stopped going at a million miles per minute after he said this, and I just sat there dumbfounded. The silence in the room made it seem like everyone else felt that way too. Let’s just say it was a drop the mic moment. How often are we actually encouraged to like ourselves rather than constantly search for something to change or improve upon? When’s the last time you thanked your body for something it did (maybe even just getting you through the day) instead of wishing something was different about your body? I’ll be the first to admit that my default is the latter. I have to actively try to turn off the negative body talk switch in my brain. It’s not easy and I’m not always successful with it, but I’m aware of it and that’s a step in the right direction.

I don’t believe, in our culture at least, we are taught to like our bodies. Yes, I’ve come across plenty of people that are overly confident in themselves, but that does not necessarily mean they like (or even love) their bodies. The diet industry and the media are constantly reminding us that we could be better. We could be stronger, thinner, faster…whatever the latest fad is. What would happen if a company released a “learn to love your body in 30 days” plan instead of a “get shredded in 30 days” plan? I’m sure this has probably happened, but it didn’t catch on like fad diets do because loving yourself is so much harder than trying to change yourself. It’s simply not encouraged or supported in society. I once read a quote that said, “If you talked to your friends the way you talk to your body, would you have any friends left?” As a teenager constantly being sent messages about how my body should look, this really hit home for me.

I’ll be the first to admit that self-improvement and change are great. In fact, I crave self-improvement and actively seek it out. However, there needs to be a balance. It’s essential that we are still kind to ourselves and express gratitude for what we are now, in this moment. It’s still crucial to like (even love) ourselves while we are pursuing change. It’s a fine line to walk and can be very difficult. For some it’s very easy, but I would guess it takes frequent reminders and work for most people. A simple post-it note on your mirror with a positive affirmation can keep you from engaging in negative self-talk and boost your mood instead. I recently downloaded an app called Productive that helps you develop daily habits. I downloaded it to help me develop the habit of flossing my teeth (yes, I’m still working on that). After the presentation though, I added a daily habit in the morning and the evening to tell myself something I like about myself. It’s only been one day with this reminder, but it was extremely refreshing to take a few moments this morning to say something nice to myself and helped set my mood for the day.

I challenge you to tell yourself 5 things you like (even love) about your body. Then focus on you, as a person. What do you like about yourself? Say it out loud. Just be kind to yourself, because you have the ability to be your biggest fan.

If you tried the exercise and feel comfortable sharing, I would love to hear what it was like for you below!

It's OK to like (even love) yourself.

Experiments in the Kitchen

I recently became very adventurous in the kitchen and tried a few unconventional things. I frequently see photos of food on Instagram and take a screen shot to remind myself to make it, then rarely actually end up making the food. For some reason, in one weekend I broke out of my forgetful shell and made a smoothie with cauliflower rice, a collard greens wrap, homemade mayo and cauliflower tabbouleh. Now, I realize some of those sound a little odd, please keep reading. I wouldn’t share them with you if they weren’t delicious.

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Smoked salmon, homemade mayo, shredded carrots, bell pepper and avocado wrapped in a collard green leaf

Cauliflower Chocolate Smoothie

I began reading about this little concoction about a month ago and was initially very skeptical. Given that my goal in life is to eat as many veggies as possible (kidding, but my veggie obsession might surprise you), the skepticism faded and I was convinced this would be delicious. I shared this idea with my student staff at a team meeting and they looked at me like I had gone off my rocker. This just added more fuel to my fire to join in on this cauliflower smoothie craze.

You may be asking, why the hell would I add frozen cauliflower rice to my smoothie? Well to start with, one serving of cauliflower contains 77 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. It’s also a good source of vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese. Basically, cauliflower is AWESOME. If you need more convincing, it makes your smoothies super creamy. If you are convinced and want to try this recipe, I recommend making life easier on yourself and buying the frozen cauliflower rice (sold at Trader Joes).  If you love washing your food processor, unlike me, you can learn how to make and freeze cauliflower rice here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen coconut rice
  • ¼ cup frozen sliced bananas
  • 1 Tbsp. almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. flax seed meal
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Enough almond milk to make it the consistency you want it

Add it all in a blender and make some noise! Pour it in a cup and ask someone to drink it then tell them they drank cauliflower. Mind blown.

Creamy and Delicious Homemade Mayo

1 recipe makes about this much! This lasted us about 3 weeks.

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Mayo isn’t unconventional at all. Making it from scratch when the grocery store has 5,000 brands and types though? I consider that pretty unconventional.  However, I don’t plan on ever buying mayo from the store again. I am not a mayo person. Aioli? Love it. But plain mayo has never been a condiment I need to have. Homemade mayo has converted me. After tasting it fresh out of the jar, I wanted to put it on everything.

An immersion blender is absolutely crucial and I cannot testify to using the slow and steady drizzle method with a food processor. I can testify to sticking the immersion blender stick into the mason jar, blending for 60 seconds and calling it quits though. My favorite part is probably that you then store the mayo in the jar, so there are no dishes. Win!

We use avocado oil for pretty much everything we cook. Why? Because you can get a massive jar of it at Costco for an amazing price. Seriously though, I would get a Costco membership just to be able to buy this oil. It has a super high smoke point and is very light in color and flavor. Light oil with minimal flavor is important for homemade mayo. If you want to give it flavor, you can totally jazz it up! I’ve seen chipotle lime mayo, garlic mayo, basil mayo. I plan to adventure soon but for now, let’s stick with the original.

Creamy and Delicious Homemade Mayo

Ingredients

  • 1 cup avocado oil
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1-2 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. pink Himalayan sea salt

Add all ingredients in a wide mouth, pint size mason jar. Stick the immersion blender to the bottom of the jar and blend for about 30 seconds. It will come together very quickly. Then push the blender up and down until it all mixes together. It should take about another 30 seconds. Dip your finger in a lick!

What have you been experimenting with in the kitchen? I’d love to hear about it below!

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Cauliflower Tabbouleh on the right. So fresh and light!