Things I LOVE Thursday: Self Care Edition

Tis the season to be jolly, but some times it feels more like Tis the season to be exhausted and run off your feet! Am I right?! So, this calls for a little self reflection on self care.

Self care can be about those little indulgences we do for ourself but at its core self care is about making sure you are truly taking care of yourself inside and out. Lets talk about that a little bit before I give you the self care “extras” that I LOVE.

I am no expert, but what I do know is that it is often the case that we are putting those around us ahead of ourselves. I liken it to the instructions the flight crew give you before you take a flight; please remember to fasten and secure your own oxygen mask before helping others. This is true on so many levels. If we are putting everyone else first, we are neglecting our health in every respect; physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. I hope that you are able to take a beat, step back and say “where do I fall on my own scale of what I deem important?”.

I like to take a few moments to myself to reflect each day, formally in a journal or informally (like right before I fall asleep) to think about how I treated myself that day. If I am particularly short tempered, tired or cranky, I like to take a moment to ask my self why? It is only then that I can really evaluate where I am falling on my own internal scale of importance and in the words of GI Joe, knowing is half the battle.

As far as my own self care goes, I like to remember to take a bit of time and do a few extra nice things for myself occasionally, to remind me how much I love me! This includes reflection and journalling but also a bit of pampering. Here are a few of my all time favorite self care indulgences.

  1. I like to have a “self care” time out box on hand with a few of my favorite things inside. I haven’t made myself one since I have been here in California, but this is definitely something i will get to in the new year. In it I like to have a tasty treat, an activity (like an adult coloring book, a magazine, a puzzle/puzzle book), maybe a few affirmations or positive quotes, a bath bomb or some nice lotion and potentially a mini bottle of wine. This little box is easy to grab when I have an evening to myself after the kids are in bed and hubby is away on training or out for a guys night. Its also great to have on hand when I have had one of those days (or weeks) and need to give myself a little time to recharge.
  2. Another fun self care activity is to stash away a $20 bill or a gift card – take yourself out for coffee, a movie or do something little with less guilt because you already budgeted for it. One of the biggest excuses people make for not indulging a little is that they don’t have the money when they want to do something. Plan ahead if you can and take that guilty feeling out of your YOU time.
  3. Be mindful. A wise friend once told me, mindfulness is as easy as washing the dishes. She said really be in the moment while washing the dishes and appreciate the feeling of the water as it runs over your hands, the fresh smell of the lemony soap. Feel the satisfaction of starting and completing a task. Look out the window at the tress swaying in the wind as you run the cloth over each plate. It may sound silly but focusing on being in the moment can alleviate stress and really allow you to be present. Also you may want to do a simple guided meditation. There are so many of these 2-3 minute mindful meditations on youtube and they are free. they can feel uncomfortable and forced at first but mindfulness takes practice. allow yourself these moments to reflect and reset your mind. I LOVE this type of meditation but forget to practice it as much as I would like!
  4. Dance it out! Thats right! Turn on your jam. Turn it up and dance your tail off! For me that means so 90’s hip hop and a whole lot of bad rappin’! Hell yes, it may include some booty shakin and twerkin even! This is fun, it burns calories, it makes us smile and it releases some of that pent up stress and negative energy! A few of my favorites to turn up include: Push It – Salt N Pepa, Strip That Down – Liam Payne, Baby Got Back – Sir Mix Alot, Bitch – Meredith Brooks, Everybody (Backstreets Back) – BSB, Castle on the Hill – Ed Sheeran, Jump Around – House of Pain, California Love – Tupac, or anything Eminem. But honestly guys, this is one of my favorite ways to recharge, remind myself to have fun and to make me smile!!!
  5. Last one for today, but definitely not least, is to grab some quality time with my family members. How is this self care you ask? Well for me, its like getting off the hamster wheel that we tend to run on most of the time to get from work and school and homework and extra -curriculars. Its a pause to say hey, “I know you and I like spending time with you!” This quality time together allows me to recharge as a mother, wife and daughter. It reminds me to slow down and enjoy the moments, as time really does move so much faster the older we get. Make some memories, have some laughs, share a tear, eat the cheese cake or whatever works for you, but ENJOY each other.

 

Thats my take on self care these days folks. These things work for me, but I’d love to know what works for you! Im always looking for new ideas! Share with me in the comments or on instagram! Have a fabulous Thursday friends!

Heres a list I found on Pinterest from Thirteenthoughts.com. I thought I would share!

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Enjoy and take care of you!

~M~

Support… And No, I’m not talking about bras.

Ok friends, we need to talk about support. No, this is not a post about my latest find in the sports bra department, or at Victoria Secret, but maybe a topic for another time.

Let’s face it, we all need support in our lives. We need to get support from those around us and equally important, we need to be sources of support for those we love. In my opinion, we forget about that last bit being important, more than we should.

I read this incredible quote on Pinterest this week and it really resonated with me,

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My inner Oprah is embracing this as an A-Ha! Moment! We lose absolutely nothing as a people, by just lending support to those around us. In fact, all we have to gain is more warmth and more light.  And here is the kicker, it is really just human decency to be supportive.

Why the hell am I talking about this? Honestly, I think it is because I see and feel and have so much support coming at me from literally all over the world, that it has made me wonder if I am doing enough to support those in my life. I don’t mean that in a self deprecating way, but I really want to take time to celebrate my “supporters” and evaluate my own supportive nature.

Here in Southern California there are thousands of people currently impacted by wildfires & the other day at a local store I was asked if I would buy a toy for $3.99 or less to support animal shelters that are overwhelmed as a result of providing wildfire support. Of course I said yes, because I can afford to and because I felt it was the very least I could do. A customer in front of me was asked the same question and they proceeded to basically tell off the employee for even asking. Now I am not judging their lack of monetary support because maybe it wasn’t something they could do in their budget but I was definitely judging the way they mistreated the employee and wondered how many times that day the same thing might happen. Everyone has a story, so maybe they were having a terrible time, but everyone deserves respect.

After reading and rereading the draft of this post I feel like I am babbling a bit so I will try to wrap it up coherently! (I write how I talk 90% if the time so you really are getting the authentic me)

Having and being pillars of support is crucial to a fulfilled life in my opinion. You need to give and get on this one but not equally at the same time usually. There are times of struggle where we need our tribe to help lift us up. In the times of strength and stability we lift up those who need us.

Support the ones you love in the best ways you can. Support those you don’t know by being kind and respectful. Support yourself with positive self talk, encouragement from within and by surrounding yourself with people who will help lift you up.

In my own personal reflection of support giving, I feel like I’m doing ok, but there’s always room for improvement. So, I go back to practicing gratitude. Daily, I will make my best effort show kindness and respect as our gifts to the world. I will make my best effort to show empathy and understanding to others. That is all we can really do.

For those people who show me their support always, I hope you know how much you are appreciated. I likely don’t say it enough, but thank you.

Be kind. The world needs more of it.

~M~

Things I Love Thursday! Holiday Prep Edition

The holiday season is upon us and if you celebrate Christmas you may have already started trimming the tree and hanging the lights, if not, chances are you’re getting ready to!

Sitting by the tree last night I was thinking about what I love about the lead up to the Big Day! Thus, this edition of TILT (Things I Love Thursday) was born!

First of all, I love love love being able to really change the look of my home decor for this one beautiful season! Adding in poinsettias as a pop of color with their beautiful red hues. Twinkling lights in places that are normally just a part of the everyday structure. Sprigs of holly, pine cones and personal momentos from the holidays we collect each year.

Adding to the full on transformation of the regular is the addition of beautiful Christmas tree (or trees) ! The ambiance of the lights, coupled with the fresh smell of pine lingering in every crevice of the house instantly triggers Christmas spirit for this girl! I love trimming a tree with my girls with all their fun ornaments and ones that were mine in my youth as well. Their anticipatory excitement and joy as we reminisce of years gone by or debate who gifted who which ornament. It’s the hot chocolate moustaches and candy cane kisses that make this mama so happy!

Next, I love the “fancy tree”. There tree that I get to decorate in ribbon and beautiful bulbs and the most treasured ornaments. The one that is the centrepiece of my holiday decor. The one that allows me a little OCD in the midst of the merriment and chaos. The one I sit in front of, with a glass of red, and wrap presents with my hubby. I LOVE that tree.

I also love the sense of community during this time! Tree lighting ceremonies and holiday parades! Children’s Christmas concerts and holiday parties! We are given so many opportunities to connect with our friends, neighbours, coworkers and families. That is a gift in and of itself! I love that people who we think of often but hardly speak to send cards and letters and we do the same. I love the warm fuzzy feeling I get in my whole heart when I open a card or an email from a friend.

And lastly, what I love most about holiday prep is knowing that in just a few short weeks, we will all be enjoying time with family. Not just a few minute or an evening, but serious, quality time with the people we love most. We will make memories; Eat too much food; Drink too much wine. We will laugh until we cry and we will cry for those we miss or who are no longer with us. We will have lazy mornings and bustling evenings! So really, what I am saying is that what I love most about holiday prep is the beauty of the season in general. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Things I Love Thursday : Disneyland Edition

It’s Thursday again and I am back from vacation, ready to share with you my LOVE for all things Disney! More specifically, Disneyland California because to do a list about Disney as a whole would take a LONG time and I’m not sure I’d be able to narrow it down !!

Last week we had our first visitors from home and we had a helluva week! But we kicked off our family vacation in style with two days at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure!

One of the things I Love most about Disneyland/California Adventure is that they are quite literally in the same area! With Park Hopper passes you could literally go back and forth all day long! It’s just a hop skip and a jump across an open ticket purchase area (also a great place to see the fireworks) and boom! You’re in the other park! This makes it convenient to be on Splash Mountain one minute and Seeing Elena of Avalor make her Grand Arrival right after!

My next favorite thing about Disneyland was that we got to meet Moana!!!! Ok so, she may make appearances at Disneyworld as well, but when we were in Florida she wasn’t there yet! This made my girls over the moon excited!! Heck, I even posed for a photo with her I was so pumped!!!

Another Disneyland exclusive that I LOVE is the fact that you can actually explore Sleeping Beauty’s castle and relive her infamous story as you go! I loved this! It had an old school feel but the fact that I was “in the Castle” was tremendous!

Speaking of the castle, can we talk about the Christmas Lights?!?! This Castle was exquisite at night! It looked as though Elsa had worked her frosty magic on Sleeping Beauty’s home and it was absolutely breathtaking! What a backdrop for the amazing fireworks show at night! Beyond beautiful!! And heck, it even snowed!!

Another ride that I LOVED all decked out for the holiday season was Its A Small World! This ride is definitely not usually on my “must do” list but holy moly it is spectacular all lit up for the holiday! I have never in my life seen that many Christmas lights in one place! Disney does Christmas right!!! They mean it when they say “the holidays start here”! Just wow!!!

A Disney staple, no matter which park you’re at, is the Dole Whip! Pineapple soft serve deliciousness!! I literally had one for breakfast on our second day there! Yummmmmy!

California Adventure has its own fun for all ages! But one of my favorite parks of that park is the fact that you can have an adult beverage while you walk around!!! Yes friends, beer, wine, spirits! Cheers to some adult fun! I had a Mimosa Flight for the evenings water spectacular show and it was sooooo good! The best part, no one seems to take it too far and the adults can enjoy a bit of grown up fun or take the edge off a busy day!

And speaking of the nighttime entertainment at California Adventure park – the water spectacular set to music is stunning! It is a breathtaking display of classic Disney images on hundreds of water “spouts” that shoot into the air up to hundreds of feet high!! It was beautiful and even brought me to tears at one point! Kids and adults both loved it! Pro Tip: get a spot on the bridge facing the Ferris wheel if you can – it will be worth the wait!

And last but not least, my favorite ride this time had to be Grizzly River Run! A wild trip in a tube for 8 people down a river rapids was both fun, exhilarating and we laughed so hard we had tears!!! All of us thoroughly enjoyed it and the best part was that we all got to do it together!!!

So that’s it guys, my round up of favorites from Disneyland and I will carry the memories from this last trip with some super special Friends who are Family, for the rest of my life! And that is truly magical!

Have a magical day!

~M~

Things I Love Thursday

This week has been full of house cleaning, kids with colds, packing for vacation and did I mention kids with colds ?!? So no big blog post from me this week but I cannot let the week pass without a “Things I LOVE” post!

This week I have also been on a DIY roll making shirts for our #halitocali #friendswhoarefamily trip to Disneyland! That being said, the first thing I am loving this week is my CRICUT!

This machine can make everything from cards to iron on “decals”, wall art, and personalize your decor! It cuts multiple types of fabric, paper and vinyl and you can create pro quality items all from the comfort of your own home! The best part … they are completely customizable! I’m not the craftiest of mamas but this machine keeps my DIY game strong!

The next thing I am LOVIN’ on this week is one of my favorite TV shows of all time, This Is Us. I know I am one in a bazillion people who LOVES this show, but honestly I am moved by it in so many ways. Lets go back to the Pilot episode…FREAKING EPIC?! Am I right? I was blown away but the entire thing and just when I thought it couldn’t get any better for a Pilot…BOOOM! The end twist was beyond words! I rewatched it recently with my hubby who had never seen it and it was torture not to tell him the big ended and to watch his reaction was priceless! He was floored and never saw it coming!

The shows writers and creative team are incredible and impress every.single.week. And while I could go on an on about all of the episodes I LOVE, I am particularly  loving the show this week because not only was it moving and heart wrenchingly beautiful, it continues to address challenging topics and gets people talking about them. This is the part of the show that almost makes it hard to watch. In my life, my husband and I lost a child at her birth, and the episodes that address this topic are so honest, that I almost don’t want to watch, but when I do, its almost therapeutic as it allows us to have healthy conversations as a couple and with our peers about the hardest thing we have ever coped with in our lives. Others may feel that way about the topics of racism, alcoholism, obesity, love, relationship, family dynamics, and so on and so forth. If it isn’t obviously already, I LOVE this show and each week I laugh, I cry, I am forced to think and reflect, and I am ultimately entertained.

Lastly, this week I’m gonna show some love to the beautiful people we are so thankful to have in our lives. Facebook, FaceTime, Skype, SnapChat, Insta, emails, texts, Whats App, are allowing us to feel close to home when in fact we are so so so far away. THis weekend we have some of our closest friends visiting for a week and this week we also booked  flights for my mom and step dad to join us for almost 3 weeks at Christmas! This is so exciting! We will be able to show people where we live, a little peek at our day to day here in Cali. We will also be able to make some amazing memories and spend quality time with people we love! Cherish the time you have with people, it is precious and priceless. Live in the moment, laugh so hard it hurts, and show love to those who you love. Embrace kindness and dish it out endlessly. And finally, allow yourself to be happy and fulfilled. Thats what makes life beautiful, people.

Have a wonderful week!!!

 

~M~

Things I Love Thursday: MilSpouse Edition

In light of Remembrance Day & Veterans Day, I am feeling all the love for being a military spouse. I always feel UBER patriot and BEYOND proud of the work my husband does as an Active Duty Military Member. I was also reminded today to be proud of the “work” I do as a Military Spouse (MilSpouse). And let’s be honest, some times it is “WORK”, damn hard work to be a Milspouse.

That being said my friends, I dedicate this weeks Things I Love Thursday to the things I LOVE about being the spouse of a military member.

I’ll start with the light stuff. I LOVE my “man in uniform”! Daayyyum! The Dress Uniform specifically is always a sight for sore eyes. But honestly, I enjoy the daily uniform as well. There is something innately sexy about the uniform. They way my spouse carries himself in uniform, the underlying “hero” aura that it gives, and I think I may have had a crush on GI Joe as a little girl. Walking on the arm of my spouse in uniform, is an amazing feeling! So, it may sound like its all about vanity or whatever, but in all honestly,  that is definitely one of my favorite  things about being a MilSpouse.

Lets dig a little deeper though. I LOVE the adventure. I love the idea that the military can take us, our family, anywhere in the world and we can see and experience different parts of our country and our globe as a part of this grand experience. Guys, I’d definitely not be living in Cali without this lifestyle. Is it hard to move? Hell yes! Is it hard to be away from family? 100%. But what is worth it, is the bigger experiences we are having as a couple, as a family, and the opportunities our kids are being given. My kids have seen and done things that I only dreamed of up until now. Being a MilSpouse and a MilFamily makes those things possible.

I Love having friends all over the globe. LITERALLY. I have supports, friends and amazing people that I know all over the world. Canada from coast to coast, USA, France, Italy, England, Scotland, Australia, Japan. It is overwhelming and AMAZING to think about all the love and connectivity we have globally. These are people, friends, who I would not have met without being a part of the familial military community. What a gift! That’s something to be grateful for right there.

I LOVE that military members, historically, are the heroes of our free world. I Love having my little stitch in the patchwork that is military history. My spouse has been away for some lengthy periods of time but we haven’t had to really deal too much with anything “scary” in terms of deployment, yet. But I am thankful for those who have fought for us and those who supported them.

As a military spouse, I am  in awe of the families who were left behind waiting for letters, hoping they came. No phone calls, no FaceTime, just nothing. And, lets be frank, that wasn’t that long ago. I have NOTHING but respect for those family members, and am fascinated by the history and evolution of the military spouse/family.

I LOVE being a military family and a MilSpouse because while I am presented with many challenges unique to this lifestyle, there are supports in place to help me navigated this unique world. How freaking incredible is that?! I mean not many other careers offer the familial support and understanding that the military families see, and I can really only speak for Canadian military, but I am seeing it here in the US as well. Military Family Resource Centres are a grass roots organization that was initiated by  the needs and efforts of MilSpouses in Canada who proved that “you signed up for this” isn’t a good enough answer.  I celebrate the efforts of every single solitary military family member who continues to advocate against that mentality. I have benefitted from the supports of MFRC’s, I have worked for them for most of my career, and I am a cheerleader and advocate for the critical work they do in the efforts to keep the families healthy and thus, our military members ready for duty.

I LOVE the personal growth I have seen in my friends who are military spouses and the growth I have seen in myself. This lifestyle comes with inherent challenges that include moving, deployments and often feeling alone. But guess what? These challenges, coupled with supports ,both formal and informal, continually help me to grow as a woman, as a mother and as a human being in the global community. I AM RESILIENT. I AM STRONG. And when I am not feeling that way, there is support to help me further my resilience and strength. Support from the Wing, Base or Unit my spouse belongs to. Support from the MFRC’s. But mostly, from that Global family we have built as our supports from posting to posting.

Lastly, the thing I LOVE most about being a military spouse, is the sense of pride I have wearing my yellow ribbon, my red on Fridays. The pride I feel when I can support a friend through a tough deployment. The love I feel when the same friend supports me through a challenging posting. I love the pride I feel when I finally feel settled into a new home, in a new country. I love the pride in my children’s eyes when they see their daddy in uniform. The tears in their eyes when he gets off that airplane after a long deployment. I LOVE that first kiss after months of separation. Mostly, I just love the hell out of my military member.

This Remembrance day, thank a member for their service. Remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. And, if you have a chance, give a big hug or a high five to a MilSpouse you know.

They serve too.

 

~M~

“Things I LOVE” Thursday 

Let’s talk things about a few things that I love that help motivate me to go out and crush my workout!

Gotta start with an outfit that makes me feel gym ready! There are a few pieces I cannot live without!

On the bottom, my favorite leggings are the “Align” crops by Lululemon! I MUST have them! These pants come in a high waisted option and are so soft and comfortable you will barely remember you’re wearing pants!!! If you prefer something with a little more compression, these won’t be your fave for workouts, but they feel incredible for everyday atheleisure wear!!!! Also, you will likely have to size down in this crop, pretty fab right? Like AMAZING!

Sports Bras – I’m doing all kinds of different work outs from yoga, to HIIT, to running and kickboxing. I of course have a few different bras and varying levels of support but my #1 go to is again a Lulu product – the Energy Bra! Comes in a variety of colors, fits true to size and looks amazing under a tank!

Speaking of tanks, I’m a huge fan of fun tank tops for working out! I love them to have inspirational quotes, cheeky sayings, or powerful mantras! These can be found everywhere from Target to Kohls, TJ Maxx and Lululemon. If you’re crafty you can even make your own!!! Here are a few of my faves in my “collection”.

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So aside from the outfit, you have to got have good shoes! I’ve tried everything from Nike, ASICS and New Balance, but NOTHING compares to my Saucony Rides! I’m currently wearing the Ride 9s and am in love! Why do I love them so much? They are cushiony soft the have the perfect support for my neutral foot and they work for everything I like to do including running &  kickboxing! If you’re not sure what show is best for you, get professionally fitted at your local Running Room!

For workouts, I like to get in a good sweat sesh so Cardio for me is my happy place! When I am not running, I look for cardio workouts at the gym or at home. Right now my favorite workouts are Les Mills BodyCombat classes that are offered by MANY local gyms. It is an amazing total body workout and makes me feel energetic and empowered!

For working out at home, I have TWO must haves. First is if you’re into yoga and you aren’t already aware of Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, you MUST follow her and do her workouts. She is amazingly motivating, knowledgeable and has yoga workouts for everyone and every body! I suggest trying one of her 30 day programs like 30 Days of Yoga or Yoga Revolution. These are FREE! It just doesn’t get any better than that!

Also, although I am not a Beachbody coach, nor do I use Shakeology or 21 Day Fix, I so have an annual subscription to BeachBody on Demand. For $99 for the year you get unlimited access to their workout programs, cooking show and all of the supporting information that comes along with their programs. My personal faves currently are Clean Week and Core De Force! I don’t always have time to get to the gym, so no excuses here, I can workout whenever and where ever!

For a post workout snack, I like to get in some protein and when I am on the run or in a hurry, QUEST bars are my protein of choice! Ok, so I know that actual, non processed foods are a better choice but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do on the go! My all time favorite flavors are Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Mocha Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie. You guessed it, I LOVE chocolate! These bars have good ingredients, 20g+ of protein and less than 1g of sugar! Whats not to love? Also, ProTip – heat them for about 15 second in the microwave and bam they are other level yummy!

Lastly, you have GOT to stay hydrated, and personally I love a fun water bottle to keep me motivated to get my 3L in every day!. I found a few fun ones at Winners/TJ Maxx and Amazon. I have also had them made and am working on making a few myself but here are some fun ones from my collection!

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The thing about working out is that usually the hardest part of ANY workout is getting your butt out the door! Am I right?! So maybe having some of your favorite workout “tools” on hand will help get you motivated and help you achieve your goals!

 

Lets do this! Lets set some serious fitness goals this November, and CRUSH them! Who’s with me?!

 

~M~