Motivational Monday #5

Today’s #MOTIVATIONALMONDAY is going to be a little different, but in a good way! My past quotes have been focusing on pushing yourself to go farther and reach your goals…because I mean that’s what inspiration is supposed to do, right? This Monday, I wanted to share something I found that I really like, that all women can learn from and use–no matter your situation your life, your goals, etc. It’s called “The Kickass Woman’s Manifesto For Sparklicious Living”. Now, am I crazy about the title? No, not too much. BUT, the message is fitting and perfect; one that every girl, teen, woman should hear, understand, and apply in her own life.

I love this because it truly makes you reflect on your own life and realize  just how strong, worthy, beautiful you really are. Oftentimes people, especially women, can get caught up in their mistakes, failures and other plans-gone-wrong that they don’t stop to realize just how far they’ve come; and just how far they can go. This set of phrases, this mantra is meant to instill confidence in yourself as you read it and truly believe it. It may take time for you to feel it, to feel the confidence stirring creating the feeling that you are unstoppable, that you are simply amazing…because you are! But, it’s okay because we have time. It is important to take this time to read this and realize it’s true about you. All the crazy obstacles, failures, tragedies, etc. that you have been through has made you strong and worthy, despite any imperfections you see or others may point out, you are perfectly you!

That is why I love the last line of this: “I AM ME. I thought I was lost and alone, but now I realize that I was always with me.” You are the only one capable of making your dreams a reality, your goals the truth. Now, don’t get me wrong, support from family, friends and loved ones is great and a huge helping factor. But, at the end of the day, no matter who doesn’t believe in you or who leaves you or who doubts you, YOU are with you. YOU are powerful enough to push through, YOU are strong enough to overcome obstacles, and YOU are a kickass woman.

Have confidence in who you are and what you are doing because that is being Beyoutifully Healthy!

The Power of Yoga

For those of you who know me, you know that I am, and always have been, very inflexible. And for those of you who don’t know me, believe me when I say that. I mean I would stretch after a workout or when I was sore, but it was never something I really focused heavily on (and something I still need to work on). That’s why, during summer and winter break, I started trying out the yoga class almost every Friday morning at my local gym, and I would do use a yoga DVD when I was away at school. I enjoyed the class way more than doing it along with the DVD, but either way, I found the power of yoga.

Now, when I say “power”, I don’t mean like magical powers that some people believe yoga can do. It’s great that some people believe in it because it works for them, but I never have been that much of a believer. I did, however, find it to be very beneficial for my mind, body and the connection between the 2 (especially important when overcoming my disorder and image issues). I also found it to be helpful in controlling my breathing, stress, and calmness. But, most of all, I loved the feeling of power over my body (and all the amazing things it was capable of) that yoga gave me! There are a lot of different types, or schools, of yoga, but they all provide so many great benefits, a few of which I will highlight.

Physical Benefits

Increased flexibility

This one is an obvious benefit, but still very important. For someone who couldn’t touch their toes (and probably still can only on a “good” day), yoga really helped to stretch my muscles and become more flexible. Increased flexibility leads to a lot less injury in sports, working out, and other daily activities.

Increased Muscle strength/tone

Yoga is exercise just as cardio or weights is. All the exercises require that you use your bodyweight to hold yourself up and twist/move your body into certain positions–all of which will help build/tone muscle. Some of the common core areas that yoga targets are the shoulders, triceps, abs, and legs.

Helps Your Posture

You may not think that posture is too important, but it is! Today, so many of us slouch or slump without even realizing it (either due to imbalanced muscles, sitting all day, natural slouch, etc.) which can put strain on your spine and joints. Moving your body and the stretching that you do in yoga can help to loosen your body and create better posture. This is important because poor posture can cause other injuries such as back, head, and neck pain.

Improved Respiration and energy

It may seem counterintuitive that laying down and doing yoga in a calming environment would give you more energy, but it’s so true! Every session, which ends with lying down, very still, in “corpse pose”, gave me more refreshment, vitality and energy! Something about the way you move and warm up all the joints and muscles in your body just kind of gives you that kick of feel-good energy that you will feel leaving class!

Mental Benefits 

Helps You Manage Stress

A major part of any yoga class is honing in on and focusing on your breath and the movements of your breathing–feeling your chest rise and fall as air flows throughout. These not only help calm your heart, body and mind, but they are also great learning tools to use outside of class too. These same breathing techniques can be used whenever you’re in a stressful situation and need 5 minutes of relaxation/alone/able-to-breath time. Also, yoga generally makes you a calmer person which will help you manage your future stress easier and better.

Makes You Happier

A study showed that consistent yoga practice lead to increased serotonin levels, which can make you feel happier. Also, the feeling of calm, peace and revived energy–all things you receive from yoga–can help somebody’s mood and feelings as well. While yoga isn’t an instant cure, it does help you become aware of your everyday life and what things really make you happy.

Increased Mental Well-Being

Regular yoga practice creates a sense of calm and relaxation as well as increases your body awareness, centers your attention and sharpens your focus/concentration. All of these things help create your mental well-being because it gives your body a chance to relax, take a break and really focus in on remaining calm and aware. Being aware of your surroundings, life, body, etc. is healthy mentally because instead of regretting the past or worrying about the future, your mind is focusing on the here-and-now and not stressing out as much. Your mental well-being is just as important as your physical body!

Mind/Body Connection

This is probably the biggest one for me, but it also can be hard to learn/feel–sometimes it’s there and sometimes it’s just not for me. However, when I really focus on each pose, the movement of my body, and relaxing my mind by bringing focus to the breath, I feel vibrant and energized! That connection between your mind and body is huge in yoga and it’s really cool because your mind gets to see just how strong and awesome your body physically is. I think this element is super important too in those recovering from distorted body images and other disorders because you get to truly feel and see how powerful your mind and body can be! Yoga allows that feeling of power to wash over you once you start  practicing!

So, there you have it: the power of yoga! I know yoga may not seem like the most fun or best exercise, but it can be a big and important part of a healthy lifestyle. If you haven’t tried it, I would suggest that you do, so you too can have the benefits of yoga!



Food Review: Lunch and Dessert

So, my last blog post on Food Review seemed to be pretty popular, so I thought I would go at it again. Plus, who doesn’t love food and sharing the deliciousness? (On paper that is…not so much in real life).

Recently, I have had 2 amazing desserts and 1 delicious lunch from 2 cafe-style places. While the desserts are nowhere near being healthy, they are so delicious that I have to blog about it and the lunch was an amazingly delicious, and pretty healthy, salad. My mouth is watering just thinking about them so let’s get to it!

The first place I’m going to talk about is the famous (if you’re from, heard of or know the DFW area) Emporium Pies! (P.S. this place was also on my Fall/Winter Bucket List so I’m killing two birds with one stone (post).) We went to the one in McKinney and it was the cutest little cafe/shop! When you got there, they had their pies out on display to look at it and their menu of which pies they were offering at the time. Being a pie-fanatic, and seeing all their choices, I knew it would be difficult, but I also knew I couldn’t go wrong! There were a bourbon pecan pie, peppermint pie, buttermilk pie, berry pie, coconut pie…I was in heaven. The one I ended up ordering was Lord of The Pies: aka deep-dish apple pie with cinnamon streusel. It was perfect. When my piece came out, it was huge and very much so deep-dish. The apples were fresh, the streusel crumbly and the crust flaky. (Side note: when your order you choose if you want your pie heated or not–highly recommend heating. You also can pay more for a la mode with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I skipped this, but my friend had it and said it was delicious with her pie!)

I also tried a bite of my friend’s pie who ordered the Smooth Operator: french silk chocolate with a pretzel crust. It was very rich, but also very good. I was amazed at how prominent the pretzel crust came through in the taste, which went perfectly with the chocolate. I would highly, highly, highly suggest you go and get yourself a piece of pie at Emporium pies, you certainly will not regret it! Plus, check out the cute little to-go containers they give you!!

Okay, so the second cafe I went to was Lekka Cafe off of Preston Road.They call themselves “South African Cafe”, but they have a good mixture of foods from appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches, and tramezzinis. I’ve been here once before with my dad and we both ordered the Asian Chicken Salad. This time we went, as soon as the waiter came over we were ready and both ordered the same thing again…it’s that good!

This salad is topped with toasted almonds, sugar snap peas, crunchy rice noodles, and deliciously grilled chicken. Served with a side of peanut soy dressing which really makes the whole salad! I just drizzled a little bit on my salad (a little is really all you need) and mixed it all in. Each salad was also served with a side of sourdough bread. The salad is a bit bigger, but it fills you up nicely! This time my dad also insisted we order and split a dessert (they are really known for their desserts) and I hesitantly agreed. And although it was unhealthy, it was totally worth it! We ordered the german chocolate cake and it was rich, but so moist and tasty. The icing had a great mixture of coconut and chocolate and walnuts were stuffed in the slice of cake. One of the best slices of cakes I’ve ever eaten. The only note about dessert is it changes daily so they won’t always have the same choices offered, but I’m sure any of their desserts would be a great choice!

P.S: the reason I don’t have a picture of the cake is a) it was too good, I had to devour it first and b) when I was taking pictures of my salad, I knocked my fork on the ground trying to be artsy and I didn’t want a repeat of that (#foodbloggerprobs).

Overall, if you’re looking for great desserts either of these two places would be a big hit–I suggest you try both! While at Lekka, also stop in for one of their entrees too. These are two cafes you definitely don’t want to miss out on!!

Motivational Monday #4

Happy #MOTIVATIONALMONDAY everybody! Get excited and be motivated!! Okay, but real talk, I know it’s hard to be constantly motivated  24/7 because, well, life happens. We may wish we were all positively inspired energizer bunnies all the time, but the truth is, that’s just not the case. For anyone. Quotes really inspire me because they make me feel something deep inside, like a fire has been ignited in my heart. But at the same time, we’re humans, which means we often need reminders. My suggestion would be to have a quote of the week (whether that be my #motivationalmonday quote or one of your own) and place it all around you–next to your bed, on your mirror, in your car, on your phone screen saver–anywhere that will help remind you throughout the week to keep pushing and moving forward. Another thing is to not just read the quote and go this is nice, this can be me, but to actually go out and make it you! Go out, embody the quote, however that may look in your life with your goals, and just do it! (Thanks, Nike) This will make more sense with today’s quote…so, let’s get to it!

I once had a volleyball coach that would often quote the definition to insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It makes sense in the volleyball world, but also in life too. Too often I think people try to reach their goals, fail and quit, and then a little while later resume what they were doing in the past that led them to quittingt. People say they want to change (their bodies, their relationships, their attitude, their habits, etc.) yet they stay stuck in their mundane routine that probably isn’t getting them where they want to go. That is why I love this quote, and the fiery passion for improving it invokes.

If you want to change, to make a difference, see results and have a different tomorrow, then it all starts with what you do differently today. We’re going to have good days and bad days, but those bad days do not mean you give up on your goals. If you have a bad day, all you can do is improve the next day, and get better. For example, if you’re trying to eat healthier and yesterday you over-indulged in desserts, don’t feel upset or guilty or like a failure. Instead, determine that today you will push harder to fill your body with key nutrients and good-for-you foods than you did yesterday, which will lead to a new, different tomorrow. Now, I know it isn’t that immediate. Worthy results take time. But, that’s just it! The results will be so worth it; your “different tomorrow” will speak for itself.

So just remember when you feel like quitting or giving up, dig a little deeper, find a little more fight to push harder towards your goals than you did yesterday. I promise you will see results in your future; you will get your different tomorrow. Because at the end of the day, when push comes to shove, it’s those little extra bits of efforts that make the world of a difference, that make us reach our goals and become just a little bit stronger!