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“Kick In The Face” Lessons In 2013

via Danielle Griffith-Jones – AVAC

I know, I know, the title of this is so cliché, even I flinch when I read it and I wrote it. But 2013 has been the first year to serve me some real “kick in the face” lessons or maybe this was the first time I had truly stopped to reflect on my year. It is due to this reflection, I have learned what I will say are some pretty hard core life lessons. I feel the need to share my lessons just in case someone else out there is feeling like me at the end of 2013. These are the lessons I learned that got me through:

Appreciate your family, friends and support system in general.
And when I say appreciate them, I don’t mean appreciate what you think they are or what you think they should be or do, just appreciate them as they are, for who they are and what they bring to your life – if you can’t think of a reason to appreciate a person in your support system then maybe they shouldn’t be a part of it. This lesson came to me in multiple ways this year, whether it was an unexpected cancer diagnosis for my madre or losing our first “baby boy” Simba or watching my sister struggle to let a friend go – it was these “kick in the face” experiences that made me truly appreciate the support system I have in place. Those people who lift me when I am not strong enough or leave me alone when they know I can’t emotionally manage a sentence. It also helped me to identify and eliminate those who do not bring anything positive to my life. This lesson showed me the people who appreciate me for who I am and what I bring to their lives. It is with loss or the threat of loss that you reflect and take inventory of those special people. So take some inventory and keep the ones who count and you can count on. Let them know you appreciate them and what they bring to your life.

simba

Allow yourself  to feel what you feel
I found it easy in this year of chaos to get lost in the logistics and “turn off” what I was feeling about the challenges the year had provided me. I found it very easy to get caught up in focusing on my moms treatment, checking in on her daily, getting lost in late night work, trying to be strong for others, and making sure I was doing just about everything possible to avoid feeling anything about what was going on in my life.  The sadness/stress/anger would bubble up from time to time and I would have these epic crying sessions where everything I was trying to turn off, would come flowing out of me, usually in the form of tears. It was during one particularly epic shower crying session where I realized in my attempt to not feel sadness, I was also making it impossible to feel other things that bring joy to my life. I had turned it all off. I made a decision, I was going to feel what I was going to feel, experience it, let it come and then let it go. It was when I decided to do this that I started to feel true grief for the loss of Simba, Shana’s loss of a friend and for the loss of our life ever going back to the way it was before my moms’ diagnosis. It was with this sadness though that I also allowed myself to feel, joy every time our baby boy Wyatt moved in my tummy, see the amazement in the eyes of my son and nieces when they saw something for the first time, laugh a real soul-warming laugh with a friend or loved one.  When I stopped using the excuse of “busy”, I got to feel some real feelings, with sadness or anger also came love, happiness and wonder.

grandma's

Be thankful
This lesson by far is the most generic. I mean I start with a cliché of a title and then end with “Be thankful” – what kind of blog is this???? I know it is another cliché but something I know without a shadow of a doubt I was not doing until this year taught it to me. Jeff, my partner, made me realize that I need to be more thankful. When everything was coming down around us, he would vent and then say; “it could be worse” or “at least we are a team and can get through this together”. Without actually saying it, he made me see I needed to be more thankful.  Even when everything was falling apart around us, he would be thankful because it REALLY could be worse and it wasn’t… at least not yet any way J. Once I realized I wasn’t as thankful as I could be, I started to notice the things I often took for granted; time spent with my mom, the 8 amazing years we had with Simba, Shana’s life being touched by an amazing person. I started to discover I often wasn’t thankful for things that truly bring meaning to my life. It was this “kick in the face” lesson – amazing moments with friends, family and loved ones can be fleeting and overlooked as the day to day – you just can’t allow it become day to day because one day it won’t be anymore. Be thankful.

griffith-jones

So here’s to saying farewell to 2013 and to welcoming a new year of lessons! I hope if you have faced adversity through 2013 that this testimonial at the very least, provides you with the comfort that someone else out there struggled too and survived. It is during this struggle, I found the depth of my strength, the amount of love and support I have in my life and finally to be thankful for the struggle because it makes you more aware of who you are and what you have.


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28 Clever Products You Need To Get In Shape For 2014

via Peggy Wang – BuzzFeed

1. Cloudrunner trainers are the shoes you’ll want to go running in just as an excuse to put them on.

Cloudrunner trainers are the shoes you'll want to go running in just as an excuse to put them on.

According to makeup artist to the stars Lisa Eldridge, “It’s like running on bouncy clouds.”

2. The next best thing: Thorlo Padded Running Socks

The next best thing: Thorlo Padded Running Socks

They give that extra layer of comfort and cushion. From Nordstrom.

3. The HapiFork tracks how you eat.

The HapiFork tracks how you eat.

It vibrates if you’re eating too fast. It’s real, and it’s $99.

4. For mid-winter runs: Athleta Polartec Leggings.

For mid-winter runs: Athleta Polartec Leggings.

Get them here for $79.

5. A roll-up water bottle that takes up virtually no space in your bag.

A roll-up water bottle that takes up virtually no space in your bag.

It’s $9 here.

6. For swimmers: the waterproofed iPod Shuffle swim kit.

For swimmers: the waterproofed iPod Shuffle swim kit.

Get it for $154.95 from Waterfi.

7. The Slide Effect lets you do pilates in a small apartment or hotel room.

The Slide Effect lets you do pilates in a small apartment or hotel room.

You only have to do it for 15 minutes a day, you can try it out for $14.95, and I officially sound like an infomercial. Get it here.

8. A fruit-infusable water bottle will make hydration more enjoyable.

A fruit-infusable water bottle will make hydration more enjoyable.

Get it here for $20.

9. A motivational tank top for stressed out mornings.

A motivational tank top for stressed out mornings.

$34.99 from Skreened.

10. Stella McCartney’s yoga bag is a versatile way to carry your mat.

Stella McCartney's yoga bag is a versatile way to carry your mat.

And when you’re not going to yoga, it still serves as a nice, stylish everyday bag. Get it here for $70.

11. The Luana Pocket Sports Bra lets you run hands-free.

The Luana Pocket Sports Bra lets you run hands-free.

Get it here for $35.

12. Under Armour’s moisture-wicking underwear will keep you super comfortable during workouts.

Under Armour's moisture-wicking underwear will keep you super comfortable during workouts.

Get them here for $12 apiece.

13. This convenient citrus juicer fits over standard water bottles.

This convenient citrus juicer fits over standard water bottles.

$5 from Umbra.

14. The Stunt Dog leash lets you go running with your dog more easily.

The Stunt Dog leash lets you go running with your dog more easily.

Get it here for $44.

15. The Trailheads Ponytail Headband keeps your hair perfectly out of your face.

The Trailheads Ponytail Headband keeps your hair perfectly out of your face.

Get it here for $25.

Also comes in beanie version for colder climates.

Also comes in beanie version for colder climates.

Buy it here for $28.

16. Yoga Tune-Up Therapy Balls will help you further de-stress during your yoga sessions.

Yoga Tune-Up Therapy Balls will help you further de-stress during your yoga sessions.

Get them here for $29.99.

17. The Fitbit Flex has been updated with a sleek new bracelet look.

The Fitbit Flex has been updated with a sleek new bracelet look.

During the day, it tracks steps, distance, and calories burned. At night, it tracks your sleep quality and wakes you silently in the morning. Get it here for $99.95.

18. And if you already have a FitBit…

And if you already have a FitBit...

FitBit’s wifi scale will upload your stats automatically. Get it for $129.95 fromAmazon.

19. The inMotion Elliptical Trainer is awesome for small spaces.

The inMotion Elliptical Trainer is awesome for small spaces.

Get it here for $99.

20. This totally masochistic alarm clock forces you to do 30 reps before it shuts off.

This totally masochistic alarm clock forces you to do 30 reps before it shuts off.

Give this to someone you LOATHE. Get it for $35.

21. The Contigo Water Bottle has a compartment that holds your necessities.

The Contigo Water Bottle has a compartment that holds your necessities.

So put that fanny pack away. Get it here for $21.

22. Get the HVLO headphone + headband set for your morning runs.

Get the HVLO headphone + headband set for your morning runs.

They keep your earphones in place and the sweat out of your face. Buy them herefor $54.

23. The Activyst gym bag has a compartment for EVERYTHING.

The Activyst gym bag has a compartment for EVERYTHING.

You can also use the shoe compartment to keep your damp swimsuit away from everything else. Buy it here for $138.

24. Gaiam’s Toeless Yoga Socks let you do yoga anywhere.

Gaiam's Toeless Yoga Socks let you do yoga anywhere.

Buy them here.

25. This adorable exercise book will make you want to keep your goals.

This adorable exercise book will make you want to keep your goals.

Available here for $8.

26. Every climber should be using a Gripmaster to strengthen hands.

Every climber should be using a Gripmaster to strengthen hands.

$9 from Amazon.

27. Hickies elastic lacing system ensures that your shoelaces will never come untied on a long run.

Hickies elastic lacing system ensures that your shoelaces will never come untied on a long run.

They come in crazy colors, too. Get them from Brookstone for $19.99.

28. The Black + Plum Bento Box is perfect for bringing homemade salads to work.

The Black + Plum Bento Box is perfect for bringing homemade salads to work.

It has separate compartments for dressing and croutons. Buy it here for $19.


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Fruit For Health

via Daily Infographic

Most fruits are packed with many vitamins and fiber necessary for a balanced diet. Instead of spending money on vitamin pills, a yummy way of getting your required amount of vitamins is to eat them straight from the food source!  Living on a clean, raw diet that includes fruit can have it’s perks that include weight loss, increased energy, and better health overall!

Today’s inforgraphic lists the benefits of 20 different fruits for a healthy lifestyle. It is amazing to see the healing properties many of these little fruits contain! However, beware if you are diabetic. While fruit is packed with important vitamins,  it is also packed with sugar that can be harmful to a diabetic’s body. Therefore, eat fruits in moderation and seek an alternative method of receiving the daily required amount of vitamins. [via]

fruit


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Cinnamon Ginger Fruit Salad

via Healthy Crush

cinnamon-ginger-fruit

We all know that the holidays are filled with pies, cakes, cookies and other sugary treats. Something that can be equally as delicious, though, to go along with the other goodies, is fresh fruit! This fruit salad is refreshing, sweet and doesn’t skimp on the holiday spice.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chopped apples, any red-skinned variety
  • 2 chopped pears
  • Seeds of 1 pomegranate
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Toss chopped fruit with the lemon juice to prevent browning.

Stir together orange juice, maple syrup, ginger and cinnamon. Pour over fruit and mix well. Transfer to bowl and serve!

*This can also sit for awhile in the fridge and soak up the flavors even more!