Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Be A Positive Influence

Last week, one of my role models (LeeAnne Locken) posted something great on her Facebook/Twitter account:

"Who you spend time with is who YOU become! If you spend time with people who are always unhappy, YOU WILL be unhappy! If you spend time with people who don't like to work, you will be unsuccessful! But if you look for people who you WANT to be like and spend time with them THAT is who you will become! It is easier for US to either lower or raise our standards then to try and have others adjust theirs! Look around your life today and SEE where you are headed! EVERY DAY there is an opportunity for CHANGE! Make it a WONDERFUL WINSday!!"

I love LeeAnne. She just gets it.

We all have our own role models out there that we look up to, and it's a shame to think that more young people do not look up to more positive influences, like LeeAnne , or many of the other motivational forces out there today. Could you imagine the possibilities if children started looking up to these individuals instead of some of these other "stars" out there? Or here's a thought...what if YOU started looking up to these individuals, and then your children started looking up to YOU. Takes on a whole new meaning now, huh?

How many of us are busy parents? How many of you are so busy with your careers or life outside the home that you almost "forget" that your kids are CONSTANTLY watching you? Now, we have all had a situation (maybe not with our own kids) where we have been sitting around with friends or family and out of nowhere we hear this cute, innocent little voice say, "Aw damn it!" Yep. Your kid picked up one of your bad habits (and sometimes it is SO hard not to laugh!)  Children are like sponges: they soak up EVERYTHING.

I remember one bad habit of my mother's that I imitated when I was 4 years old was smoking. This was back in the 80's, and my mom like many females out there, smoked. Well one day my mom was talking to her mother on the phone and she looked at me walking out of the kitchen with a pretzel rod, you guessed it, in between my fingers like a cigarette..."puffing" away. I said, "Look Mommy! I'm just like you!"  It was at that moment that I think my mom wised up, and began her journey to quit smoking (which she succeeded in doing, by the way). 

Sponges. We know they watch our every move. They are listening when you are talking poorly about others. They are listening when you fight with one another. They are always listening...so imagine...IMAGINE..the possibilities if we all became more positive.

Getting to the point of this post, we are who we surround ourselves with. LeeAnne made that clear in her post the other day...who you surround yourself with is who you will be. When you become an adult, your mind doesn't just magically stop becoming a sponge..it is still there..soaking in your external stimuli.  If you surround yourself with people who do NOTHING but GOSSIP and talk poorly on others, you will find yourself doing the same. If you surround yourself with people who constantly criticize themselves negatively, you will start to do the same. If you surround yourself with positive, upbeat individuals then guess what? Yup! That's contagious too!!

Cutting off the dead weight is a hard thing to do, but we have to realize that changing ourselves is a lot easier than changing someone else. Some people are just miserable; it's all they know how to be! You can try and push them in the right direction, but they are not going to change until they want to...and if that day isn't today, and you feel like changing TODAY, then it's time to cut those ties. Now, I'm not saying not be friends with those people, but become more cognisant of how you are when you are around them. Are you yourself? Do you find yourself lowering your standards in order to be on their level? Becoming aware of those things makes the shift much more simple.  If you can look at yourself when you are around certain people and say, "Ugh..I hate that" then why bother being around them so much? Why put yourself through that? Because remember, who we surround ourselves with is who we become...and then you become the dead weight people are trying to cut out of their lives. That becomes you!! Instead, be that source of motivation or inspiration. Be that friend that is hard to find, but that everyone wishes they had. Be that positive influence in someone's life today..and above it all: make today something special for yourself that you could look at and be proud of someone imitating.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fall Favorites Pt 1

Ahhhh...fall is here :)  The kids are back in school, the leaves are starting to change, and at least here in Pennsylvania we have the "fall crisp" in the air.  Perfect blue sky days mixed with crisp star-filled sky nights are some of the things that I love best about this season. But there are other things too!

Fall is my favorite season. I know many people think that it is summer (since I love the beach) and I will gladly sit on a beach any day, but if I have to choose my favorite season for the Northwest region, it would have to be fall. We still get our warm days, Pennsylvania is full of state parks and woods so I get to be constantly surrounded by the fall colors, and who doesn't love all the fall festivals!!

But one area that I particularly love...fall food. Mmmmm nothing smells more delicious than pumpkin or apple pies baking in the oven. In fact, if you are like me (and probably the majority of the citizens of the U.S.) you almost go into pumpkin overload this time of the year! You want pumpkin EEEVERYTHING. So to feed your obsession (because I think it's a great obsession to have) here are some of my favorite pumpkin recipes. Fear not! More are to come :)

PUMPKIN PANCAKES (oh dear LORD do I love these!)

2 c. pancake mix (or you can go with a healthier option and combine my protein pancake ingredients in with the following ingredients, eliminating the need for the pancake mix all together!)
2 large eggs
1 1/4 c. milk ( I used Almond milk..personal preference)
1/2 c. Libby's Pumpkin Pie filling
2 TBSP sugar ( I went w/Truvia)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder (this is my own addition)

Mix everything together and make pancakes as usual. I topped mine with some sugar-free syrup and mmm! They were delicious!

PUMPKIN SHAKEOLOGY (pumpkin pie in a glass!)

1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
1/2 c. Libby's Pumpkin
1 c. Unsweetened Almond Milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Handful of ice

Put all of the ingredients into a blender, blend, and tadaaa! All the deliciousness of a slice of pumpkin pie without the fear of eating the entire pie (if you're like me..this happens from time to time) and no guilt! You just got all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for your day and you're having a tastey treat! Want to know more about Shakeology? Click Here!

WHOLE GRAIN PUMPKIN BANANA MUFFINS (found this one on cooks.com)

2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1 can pumpkin
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup Splenda
1 cup white flour
1 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup golden raisins (optional)
1/2 cup pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix bananas, pumpkin, and eggs in food processor (or blender)
Mix those wet ingredients with honey and oil.
Mix all dry ingredients separatelyStir dry ingredients slowly into the wet.Fold in raisins and pecans.Spray muffin pan with Pam or other baking spray. Fill each muffin tin 2/3 full.Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Put on a baking rack to cool.Makes up to 24 muffins.

STARBUCKS PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE (it wouldn't be fall without it!)

 There's really no recipe for this one, but if you are watching your calorie intake, then ask for the "skinny" version. If you get these once in a blue moon - then hell, go all out with the regular version...but if Starbucks is a daily or weekly trip for you these calories can add up quick! So make it skinny!

Friday, September 7, 2012

KEEP YOUR SANITY! during any life challenge

Life challenges us on a daily basis.  From where we have to go, to who we have to meet, and right on down to what we have to eat - every day is a challenge. But what happens when the cosmics don't align, your stars are all out of wack, and there is not heads nor tails being made of everything? We give up. We join the spiral and rather than just spinning out of control, we spiral downward. We go back to negative ways of thinking ("There's no way I'm EVER going to get this all completed today"), poor eating ("Just call for a pizza"), and just flat out neglecting and punishing ourselves for things that might be out of our control.

The good news is, it doesn't have to be that way! Now, I'm not saying that  following these five tips are going to just turn your day right on around, but they are going to help to take some of the weight that you are feeling off of your shoulders, and help you get through your most stressful periods one day at a time.

Tip #1: Time Management - I have done a couple various posts about time management, but I cannot stress its importance enough. Yes, I know that there are going to be times where it doesn't matter how much effort you put in to your time management, you are still going to feel out of wack, control, and like there aren't enough hours in the day; but, if you feel like that after utilizing time management skills, imagine how you would have felt had you of never utilized them at all! That thought alone should be enough to prove to you that time management works.

 Tip #2: Be Your Biggest Fan - Don't go looking for a pity party, suck it up! Yes, I know you are beat. Yes, I know you haven't gotten much sleep lately. Yes, I know you feel like you are giving it everything that you have left inside of you..but don't ever tell yourself that you can't. Keep telling yourself that you can. Even if your are tip-toeing to the finish line, it is better than just sitting there doing nothing.

Tip #3: Surround Yourself With People Who Lift You UP - Those people who constantly rag on you, tell you what you "should" be doing, tell you that you aren't doing enough, or just like to constantly look down on you - remove them from your life. Easier said than done, I know, but it is possible. Start gradually by just steering clear of them, and eventually they will become a complete non-factor in your life. Instead, hang around positive people who will keep your spirits and your mood up. We feed off of each other's moods, so naturally it is best if we are around those who have a more positive attitude

Tip #4: Commit to Something New- I know, right? Like you have time for that..but you do! Think of how many times you have found yourself in a stressful situation and you let it get the best of you; now this time get the best of it! Imagine how you will feel afterwards when it is all over and you are either still on track with your life, or even better than before.  Maybe throw in a new workout program (plenty listed on this site), go for a short walk each day, or commit to eating better (which has mood boosting capabilities on its own). You will thank yourself for it later.

Tip #5: BE YOURSELF - that person hiding under all of your stress is DYING to come out and play! Let them out! Be the person that you want to be. Be happy. Be fun. Be loud. Be crazy...do not let this situation take away your personality. Continuing to be yourself throughout a particularly stressful situation, is a great way to overcome the situation.

Always remember...take life one day at a time. And if that seemse like too much, take it one step at a time. Good luck!