Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What Makes Me Happy Right Now - Morning kisses, multinational music, & Jersey tomatoes.

Want to destroy that nasty, nagging ego of yours?  I sure do want to squash mine!  The best way is to celebrate feelings of gratitude each and every chance you get.  Our egos unfortunately will never cease, but we can at least calm or shush them.  Here's my trying today.

Today I'm ever-so-grateful for:

1.  Netflix.  Well, technically my brother's Netflix.  Teehee.  Because of it, I'm able to catch up on all of the documentaries I can dream of while on the treadmill.  So I'm doing two things at once - working out  and doing my body good while feeding my mind with information that helps make me a better health coach.

2.  The yummy peppermint tea that my boyfriend bought for me in the wee hours of the morning today.  We have a very similar commute and sometimes when we time it just right, we meet at the Sunoco Chock Full O' Nuts in Fort Lee for a quick kiss.  The hot peppermint tea that he hands me is always a sweet treat - but a big hug and kiss from him is even sweeter!  I sip this tea all day long here at the office, as you can see.

3.  Adanowsky - Amador.  He's a multinational, multilingual pop singer and actor who was taught how to play the guitar by George Harrison and taught how to dance by James Brown.  Pretty lucky.  This album features tracks in Spanish, French and English.  It's sweet, folky, soft and playful all at the same time.  Amador has been on my iTunes, looping for days now.

4.  This inspiring thought:  Summer Jersey tomatoes = the universe's way of reminding us that good-for-you food tends to be delicious!  I love dicing an organic, garden fresh cucumber, mincing fresh basil from my herb garden, then coring and thinly slicing fresh Jersey tomatoes into a bowl.  I grind fresh pepper, sprinkle sea salt and toss with some extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar).  A garden fresh salad with tons of Italian flavor for your taste buds, tummy and soul!

5.  My pedometer!  I invested in a more expensive pedometer last month ($40, Brookstone) and it was the best thing I could have done.  The pedometer accurately tracks my steps each day keeping me energized to move around as much as possible each day.  My daily goal is for at least 6,000 steps.  Yesterday I went all out and it was a 10k+ day!  It's 9am and after being up since 5 and working out, I'm already up to 5,500.  I highly recommend purchasing one for the fun (and health) of it!

Take THAT, Ego!  What are you grateful for today?

Back in March of 2012 I decided to do these posts because it's really easy to be suckered into negative thoughts when we're surrounded by stressful media, unhappy people and whining Facebook status updates. My guru, Swami Vishnudevananda says that for every negative thought you have, replace it with 2-3 positive ones. I love this concept and practice it regularly. I usually find the most effective way of climbing out of a negative attitude is to think about something that I'm grateful for. Feelings of gratitude really lift you up. In honor of this concept, I'm starting a post with this same theme and will blog it regularly. I'll list a few things that make me happy, lift me up and keep me smiling! Let's face it, world peace is something that will never happen. However, I can create my own little world of peace and happiness in my mind through my thoughts! Please give it a try as well and share how it affects you.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

CYH's Show of the Moment: Roger Waters The Wall!

It was September of 1993, I was 13 years old and getting ready to start Linwood, our middle school in North Brunswick where I grew up.  I HAD to wear something cool, but beyond that had to BE cool because you know, it was 7th grade.  It was my top priority.  So, I trotted down the block, two houses down to my 2 older cousin's house, Greg & Keith, for some guidance.

Greg is my oldest cousin, and was born with the music gene that comes from our Forney blood.  He is primarily a drummer but played keyboards professionally in a band (Dislocated Styles) out west in Arizona for years.  As a kid, I admired my older cousin as I watched him smack at the drums or pound on our family's piano.  Their house would vibrate with noise since he was always practicing with his high school bands in my Aunt & Uncles basement.  I probably damaged my precious developing eardrums by watching so much of his practice in that basement, along with years of following his most recent band, Temporary Grace, that he has since retired from.  Anyway...

Greg happened to be home that night and I told him about my dilemma.  He said two things to me before going back to whatever else he was doing:
1.  These are my CDs.  You can look through all of them and take any that you want.
2.  These are my clothes.  You can look through all of them and take any that you want.
I'll never forget the moments of this night!

I started with the CDs.   There were stacks of Led Zepplin, the Jackson 5, Allman Brothers, Rush, Guns & Roses...all bands I had known.  However, I was drawn to his LARGE stack of Pink Floyd.  I had never heard their name before, but felt like I had known them all of my life.  Without even a thought, I grabbed the large stack of his Floyd discs (ok, maybe some Jackson 5 too).  I'm telling you, from the moment I saw that name and looked at their album covers it was love at first sight.  I was ever-so-certain that I LOVED them.

Then I rummaged through his clothes and snagged a few things.  (Umm, to this day I still wear some of those clothes as PJs - HAHA!)  He noticed that I took his stack of Floyd so he pulled out this huge, old, paint covered Pink Floyd T-shirt and said I could have it.  It's still in my possession, and you bet it was exactly what I wore on my first day of middle school (can you imagine?!).

I had a brick wall running through my teenage room.
My mom was awesome enough for me to do whatever I
wanted (creatively) in it, so the first thing I painted on it
was this in 1993.  Following this was the Dark Side prism, the
Division Bell sculptures, and a whole Joni Mitchell mural!  
Anyway, I go home and am anxious to dive into these new discs.  I start with, The Wall.  I put it in my CD player and In the Flesh? abruptly begins scaring the absolute crap out of me.  I remember shuttering from the drums, horror raced through my body as I stood there in fear, my eyes bulged and then my body gently shook.  I stood there and listened, frightened, but with an intrigued smile.  Another Brick in the Wall came on and I realized I had known who Pink Floyd was all along.  The album continued.  It was dark, loud, eerie, beautiful, ever-so-strange and I LOVED it.  So I did what I always did when I liked a disc that wasn't mine, I taped it!  HAHA!  Dark Side of the Moon disc was next, Wish You Were Here disc after that, Animals, and so on.  I was overwhelmed with LOVE.  They (Pink Floyd) were my IT.  And since that night, they still are!  Thank heavens for Greg's awesome music taste and generosity because in that one summer night my life was enhanced with sweet noise.

August 6, 1999, I was able to catch Roger Waters on his In the Flesh tour at PNC Bank Arts Center.  It was a little slice of heaven for me since it was the closest to Pink Floyd I'd ever get.  About 28 or so songs of the show were all Floyd, the other few songs his own (which I don't care for very much).  It was one of the happiest shows I've ever been to.

So this past weekend, the beau and I caught the 2nd night's show of Roger Water's The Wall at Yankee Stadium (July 7, 2012).  Holy cow.  Unreal.
Check out this youtube video of the start of the show, In the Flesh?:

Roger Waters looked his best EVER, was super energetic and did SUCH a fantastic job.  The weather was dark and clouds were rolling over us but somehow it didn't storm.  Perfect Wall weather!  I am not going to lie, when the more "David Gilmour" songs were played, there was a small part of me that was praying (begging, actually) for him to come out and play instead of his stand ins (which did NOTHING for me, no matter how talented of a guitar player or singer you are, NO ONE except my beloved Gilmour can play/sing like him).  Period.  Gilmour joined Roger in London during one of the last shows of The Wall tour in May 2011.  The crowd went wild, everyone sang along and it was ALL over the news.  Of course, London is a lot closer for Gilmour than the states, so I understood why it didn't happen.  (Sigh...and tear)  If I witnessed this, it would be one of the best experiences of my life. However, I'll continue to gleam from Roger's awesome spectacle the other night!!!

JG's "Shake What Ya Mama Gave You" Recipe

Lammer drinking his "Shake What Your Mama Gave You" before a late
morning surf session outside of our place in Nicaragua.
Before Lammer & I headed to the house we rented in Nicaragua for the week (this past spring), we loaded a cart full of delicious, ripe, colorful fruit and veggies.  Thank heavens there was a blender where we were staying to blend cold shakes on the hot, hot days.  This was one of the shakes Lammer threw together in between surf sessions.  The beauty with shakes is that there is no right or wrong  of whatever you're putting in it (just be mindful of how much sugar is going into it).  You can always taste test while throwing something together and add more of something when you need it.  He used lots of already chopped up fruit just sitting in the fridge for this one.  It came out so refreshing!  Keep in mind, this shake is loaded with sugar...and I only splurged on it because we were on vacation.  However, if he made this while at home, I would have froze them for smaller portions of ice pops!  Moral of this blog post - experiment on your own!

juice of some oranges (slice in half and squeeze juice into blender)
apple (with skin)
ice cubes

Blend until smooth.  Pour into glass and enjoy!
*Tip:  If you end up making a little too much, freeze the rest in freezer pops for a yummy treat later!

Please note, this shake above is more of a refreshing and fun shake.  If you needed to make more of a meal out of this, add some protein and healthy fat like hemp powder, a teaspoon of your favorite nut butter, or just nosh on a handful of nuts/seeds to compliment this drink.  An easy way to add healthy fat to a shake (beyond the good fat from the nuts/seeds) is to add a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon coconut oil, a squirt of flax oil (or ground flax or chia seeds), or a sliver of some avocado.  Remember, spirulina powder (blue green algae) is an excellent source of vegetable protein that may turn your shake green, but sure does vamp it up.  Highly recommended!

Still at a loss for shake ideas?  Check out IIN's 47 Smoothies for Summer post (featuring another one of my shake recipes under "fortify" Lauren's #1 Green Shake) for more healthy and delicious inspiration!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"Releasing" Weight

New mantra: I release my weight, 
I release my weight...
We can't pick up a magazine or even get through an hour of news on TV without something being said about WEIGHT LOSS.  I am eager to read the new book by Deb Cheslow and Angie Flynn, Release: The Simple Success Solution for Real and Permanent Weight Loss.  It goes into depth about how the achievement of our goals depends on the state of our self-image.  In other words, you can force it all you want but the self-image always wins. Self-sabotage is rooted in the incongruency between the self-image and our goals.  I totally love the concept that they introduce about the actual words, weight loss.  

Think about this:  When you lose something, what is your first reaction?  To FIND it!  So all this talk about weight LOSS is actually counterproductive.  All of our thoughts and the way that we think directly impact the way we live.  If we say to ourselves "I'm going to lose weight" maybe we will, but we'll most likely put it back on because after we've lost it, our body will actually search for ways to put the weight back on!  Make sense?  I thought so.

TRY THIS:  Think about the word R E L E A S E.  Ahhhh.  I often use this word while I'm teaching yoga classes because of how lovely the word is and how positively liberating it feels.  Take a moment right now.  Sit up tall and begin to deepen your breathe.  Inhale deeply and as you exhale silently say to yourself, "RELEASE."  Do this slowly, for a good 3-5 breaths...

How does that feel?  Good, right?!  You may feel more relaxed or even lighter.  You've just let go of something through the powerful use of that word, RELEASE!

Now every time I catch my mind saying, "I'm going to lose weight this bikini season" I quickly change the thought to "I release weight to look slammin' in my bikini this summer!"  I confidently repeat it a few more times with a smile on my face and instantly feel awesome!  I also replace any negative thoughts about my body image with a few positive ones (but that's a whole other blog post in and of itself!).  I encourage you to give it a try sometime.

Check out their book, Release, when you have a chance and give yourself some love today!!

This blog post was originally posted on Live. Breathe. Grow.'s blog. I'm an Inspiration Nation blogger for them, and so proud of it!