Friday, February 7, 2014

Acts of Kindness to Restore "Karma"

It has been quite a while, but I'll try not to dwell on my neglect of this blog. Instead I will skip straight to the incident that inspired this post.

While talking to a few third graders I work with, I shared something embarrassing that happened to me. One student told me, "Mrs. W, that was karma. You must have done something bad to have that happen." Now, I really don't think my clumsiness (walking into a post) was karmic retribution, something else happened recently that made me think I might need to restore the balance.

The other day, I was pulling out into traffic and I got stopped by a police officer. I was speeding. (Allegedly 11 miles over the speed limit. I disagree, but that's beside the point.) It was a construction zone. That means whatever my fees would have been for going 10-15 over are now doubled. Now, I am not arguing against the justification of the ticket. The circumstances were just... altogether unfortunate. So, I will pay my fine. (Bye bye, tax return!) But I also feel that I need to pay something else back to get rid of the icky feeling that speeding tickets tend to leave.

Also inspired by this particular classroom, I am vowing to do 100 acts of kindness. BY MYSELF! (Well, I will include my daughter, but an almost-two-year-old can hardly be held responsible for such things.) Since I spend about as much time on Pinterest as I do eating and breathing, I gathered a few pins and plan to compile my own list. As I cross them off, I'll post my progress. (SOMEONE PLEASE HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE FOR THIS! LOL.) In the meantime, check out my "Acts of Kindness" board and feel free to send me your own ideas and inspirations!

I think these will be my first 5, since I can do them this weekend:
1. Leave a dollar bill and bag of popcorn on a Redbox. (This is one of the first ideas I saw. So easy!)
2. Donate towels and blankets to an animal shelter. (It has been FREEZING here in central Texas! Those poor babies must need some warmth.)
3. Leave a dollar bill hidden in the toy section of the dollar store. (I can only imagine the excitement of a little kid who finds it and gets to pick out a toy!)
4. Donate clothes to a women's shelter. (Don't get me wrong, Goodwill is a great organization, but I prefer to donate clothes directly to the people who will be needing them.)
5. Give a gift to a neighbor. (An elderly widow that lives at the end of our street is the ONLY person who has introduced herself to me since we moved here three months ago. I think I will try to cook her a meal or leave her a gift basket of cold weather comfort foods after we go grocery shopping.)

Good to see you all again! Can't wait to share more updates. :)

Do you have any favorite acts of kindness? What have you done to make someone's day?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

5 Things You Need to Start Getting Fit

     You've decided to make a change in your lifestyle. You want to get in shape and start eating better. That's great! Now you check Pinterest and some healthy chick blogs, but there is so much out there! Where do you even begin?

1. Find Your Baseline. First you need to know where you are in order to decide where to go. Track your daily eating and activity with either a journal or an online tracker* like My Fitness Pal or SparkPeople. Once you know how many calories you are consuming and burning, you will have a better idea of what needs to change.

*I only suggest using these as a guideline, as they accept user input for calorie counts which are not always accurate. 

2. Have a Goal -- a measurable and reasonable goal! Saying, "I want to lose weight and tone up" is not measurable. Likewise, trying to lose 50lbs in two months is unreasonable and dangerous. A good rule of thumb for weight loss is 1.5-2lbs per week for a beginner. So, a reasonable goal would be working to lose 10-12lbs in 6 weeks.

3. Have a Plan. With a trainer and/or nutritional coach, determine how many calories you need to consume and burn to reach your goal. For example, you may find that you need to engage in 5-7 hours of activity per week. That does not necessarily mean that you need to spend each of those hours in the gym. Be sure to include strength training and cardio into your plan. Cardio can be playing in the park with your kids or jogging around the block with the dog or going for a bike ride. Strength training doesn't have to include weights, but it should.

4. Have the Appropriate Equipment. Ladies! Buy the right sports bra! As a petite woman rocking DDs, I know the trauma of bra shopping. My suggestion? Go to a store that specializes in sports apparel, find the ones that offer the most support for your size and chosen activity, and try it on. Don't look at the price until you find one that fits. $50+ may seem like a lot of money, but consider it an investment. Keeping those puppies in place will help you stay focused on your workout.
Shoes are even more important. When you go into a store to buy a pair, let the salesperson know what activity you will be doing in your new shoes. Walking shoes are not running shoes are not hiking shoes are not lifting shoes, etc. If you plan to run and lift, buy different shoes! Again, this is an investment. They provides different amounts of support in different places depending on the intended purpose.

5. Have patience (and find support.) Lifestyle changes don't come easy. You may fall off the wagon. You may struggle with workouts. You may not lose weight as quickly as you'd like. Stick with it! Remember that you are doing this to be healthy and you are investing in your future. Get people on your side. Let your spose, friends, children, and co-workers know about your plan. They can help encourage you when you are feeling down and get you back on track when you are feeling weak. True story: During my sugar detox, I was eating lunch in our break room and said out loud, "Man, I haven't had a Twix in forever! I really want a Twix." And a co-worker I had been talking to earlier in the day about healthy eating habits just so happened to walk by and without missing a beat, she said, "But think about how it will make you feel after!" And with that, I snapped out of it. When you have a cheering section, you can push through the tough spots with a little bit more grace. :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Busy Summer with NYR Organic

As you know, I've been taking a break from blogging for a while now. I am the type of person that likes to give things 100% of my attention, and if I can't, I put them aside. I had hoped to become something of a professional blogger but I couldn't put nearly the required effort into promoting, learning about SEO, coming up with original blog posts, and taking pictures, so I quit.

Well, I can't promise I will have 2-3 new posts every week, but I will post whenever I feel so compelled. I'd rather have 1-2 posts that I put my heart into every month than 2-3 every week that I feel rushed and obligated to put together. Cool? Cool. :)

I perpetually have my irons in too many fires. Taking the kiddo to play dates, story time, Kindermusik... Keeping house. Shopping for new houses. Working out. Studying for my CFT exam. Starting a new job at an elementary school. And my latest endeavor as an organic skincare consultant. I have done direct sales in the past, but again, I couldn't find the passion for the products or the company, so I quit. This time, this company is right in my wheelhouse. I truly do believe in the philosophy and the products themselves.

Full and complete disclosure, any and all links to information and/or products in this post will direct you to MY sales website. Obviously. ;)

 About NYR:

Our Philosophy

We're passionate about transforming people's lives, educating and empowering them on how to live more healthily through the power of nature.

Our Vision

To be a world leader of natural health and beauty, enabling people to live more healthily.

Our Mission

To improve the quality of people's lives by sharing our expertise and encouraging a more natural, holistic way of health, beauty, and well-being.
They are active in spreading awareness of the benefits of organic and harmful effects of GMOs and chemicals on our bodies and the environment. They provide incredibly high-quality products without sacrificing ethics or integrity. Here are a few of the awards NYR has received recently.

* * *

The company has grown so much in the US over the past four years and I am so grateful to be a part of it. Honestly. Most cosmetic and skincare companies in America leave something to be desired in the ethics department. Not sure if you have seen Johnson & Johnson in the news lately... But they are not the only ones who use questionable ingredients in their products.

If you have time, take a look at the differences between the US FDA and governmental bodies in Europe and Asia responsible for regulating skincare. We are much more lax about quality control and restricting harmful ingredients than most. This should scare you! At the very least, it should motivate you to do your OWN regulating.

So, maybe you're convinced by my oh-so-persuasive writing to change your life and toss all of your cosmetics and skin care products. But... you can't afford to replace it all, and you certainly can't afford to replace it with anything ORGANIC. (Gasp!) Trust me, I can totally relate. I will tell you something very personal for the sake of transparency. My household hovers near the poverty line, even with two incomes. So, it was absolutely not realistic to switch to organic EVERYTHING cold turkey. We are in a stage of our lives where "Make do and mend" is a bold, repetitive theme. So here is what you do:

1. Replace the products you use the most first. (For me, this was shampoo, deodorant, lip gloss, face wash, shower gel, and baby soap.)
2. Replace products as they run out.  (I still have half a huge bottle of Nature's Gate conditioner in my shower because I don't use a lot.)
3. Search for ways to spend less on organic. (For me that meant hosting NYR parties for discounted and free products, and then becoming a consultant. As a consultant, I not only receive discounted products, I also profit from and make bonuses off my sales. If I held 4-5 parties per month, I could make a significant income from my business--at least as much as I'm making as an instructional aide.)

I'm not going to pitch you on joining my team or buying from my store, at least not today, but I will say that NYR has provided me with incredibly helpful resources and education about not only organic vs. conventional skincare products, but the benefits of herbal remedies, supplements, and aromatherapy. I want to touch on this more in a future post, because I have learned (and experienced!) so much about safely and effectively treating some of my personal issues (like anxiety and insomnia) naturally. 

I hope this didn't sound like one long infomercial. Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or criticisms! I do plan to post a comparison between NYR and Arbonne, Melaleuca, and DoTerra. (NOT to bash other companies! Simply to show how we are different and clarify several common questions that I have personally been asked.)

How do you feel about organic products? What do you think about GMO?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Brushing off the dust.

Hey, y'all! It has been quite a while, hasn't it?

I can't guarantee I will be updating with any kind of frequency, but I had the urge to post today. There has been a lot of change here in the MM household.
Baby J is in daycare now since I am working at a local elementary school with the special education department. She is doing amazingly well! She's adjusted to her new sleep schedule and made new friends right away. I am so proud of my baby doll. Two things that haven't changed: We're still breastfeeding at 16 months! (Mostly her idea... lol.) And we're still co-sleeping. I don't mind either.
I am finishing up my Elite Personal Fitness Trainer Certification. I have about a month to complete my exams and then I'll be official! I've learned so much about fitness and nutrition. I can't wait to apply some of this knowledge to real life clients.
I am also giving the 21 Day Sugar Detox a second shot. I have my first week planned out. *Maybe* I'll post my food diary tomorrow night. If I'm not dying from lack of sugar...
We are moving into a new home in November, and now that I'm working outside the home, I don't have a lot of time for exercise. So my plan is to keep up with 3 days a week of P90X strength training DVDs and one cardio DVD until we are moved in and our home gym is usable again.

Here is my training plan for the next three weeks:
Monday: Chest/Back & Abs
Wednesday: Shoulders/Triceps & Abs
Friday: Legs/Back & Abs
Saturday: Yoga (wk1), Kenpo (wk2), Plyo (wk3)

*I'll probably skip the recovery week for Phase 1 and start Phase 2 on Wk 4.

Hopefully I'll have more useful information in my next post. I have to reinstall the Blogger app on my iPad so I can post whenever the mood strikes again. ;)

Until then, here is a picture of my munchkin at the Mayborn Museum at Baylor today. :D
Obviously, my child can make objects levitate. Doesn't it look like my husband (who is rocking my Ju Ju Be BFF diaper bag, btw. No biggie.) is telling people to check out her magical powers? lol.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

35 Things I Need to Thank My Mom For

Mom, I want you to know just how much I appreciate everything you've done for me. Ever. Plus, it's not really in my SAHM budget to send flowers and chocolate and I don't think all of this would fit on a card. So, just a quick recap. Thank you for:

  1. Changing my diapers. Especially the poopy ones. And cleaning up the messes that somehow made it out of the diaper and onto the crib. And the walls. And my clothes...
  2. Brushing my hair, even when I complained about it being tangled.
  3. Humoring my inner supermodel as a tot and taking hundreds of pictures of me in silly poses and ridiculous outfits.
  4. Taking me to swimming lessons, even though I was always scared to put my head under water.
  5. Putting up with my impatience while you tried to teach me to write my letters (and then algebra, and chemistry, and calculus and physics.)
  6. Laying with me at night until I fell asleep, especially since I'm sure you had Important things to do.
  7. Making me jelly rolls for lunch. On flat bread. With the crusts cut off. 
  8. Keeping up with my constant flip-flopping on the topic of spaghetti sauce.
  9. Taking care of me when I was sick. Even when I had the pukey kind of strep throat in fourth grade.
  10. Not killing me when I finger painted the whole back porch and thought I could clean it up with my Alex Mack super powers. (Note to readers: I do not have Alex Mack super powers.)
  11. While we're on it, thank you for not killing me when I cut my brother's hair or pierced his ear. With scissors. 
  12. Providing the security of a safe and loving childhood home. I never once had to worry about the roof over my head, the clothes on my back, or the food on our table. Even though I'm sure there were times that you did.
  13. Driving me to cheerleading practice and spending all day every Saturday at the football stadium when Jeremy and I both had games.
  14. Coming to all of my awards assemblies and always encouraging to do my best in school.
  15. Understanding when "my best" wasn't perfect.
  16. Taking us to visit our grandparents every summer and Christmas. We always had the best time.
  17. Giving me more experiences than "things" growing up.
  18. Our family vacations to Disney. It really was the most magical place on Earth.
  19. Always loving my father and hugging and kissing in front of us. I learned what a healthy relationship should be like because I always had you two as an example.
  20. Taking me to see *NSYNC in middle school. I have a sneaking suspicion that you didn't share my enthusiasm for their musical talent.
  21. Not killing me when I hit puberty and became a raging drama queen.
  22. Forgiving me for every time I told you I hated you when I really just meant that I was angry about not getting what I wanted. 
  23. Our family road trip to DC and NYC. Getting to see Rent changed my life.
  24. Being supportive when I told you I wanted to be a Broadway superstar instead of getting a "real" degree. 
  25. Giving me your car so I could drive myself to the theatre. And concerts, even the ones in Orlando and Tampa.
  26. Being supportive when I decided journalism was the way to go instead.
  27. Buying me a car in college even though I totaled it three months later. (I still miss that car!)
  28. Taking care of me when I was sick. Even when I got mono at the end of my last Fall semester in college.
  29. Funding my study abroad trip to Europe. That is an experience I will never forget.
  30. Letting me make my own mistakes. And boy did I make some big ones...
  31. Helping me plan my wedding, but letting me make all of my own decisions.
  32. Being supportive of my marriage and loving my husband.
  33. Being in the delivery room when I was in labor with Josie. I couldn't have done it without you.
  34. Changing her diapers in the hospital and helping me with all of those "new mom" things when I had no earthly idea what to do.
  35. Loving my daughter. It means so much to me that she can have a relationship with you even from over 1000 miles away. 
My mom holding Josie minutes after her birth. May 8, 2012.

Most of all, thank you for giving me life and being the best mother, teacher, nurse, therapist, and friend I could ever ask for.