Elliptical Cardio + Free Hand Weights and Booty Band (#2)

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When Aunt Flo visited two days ago, I had to take a day off from my workouts. This is a time during which some women actually feel best picking things up and sweating it out, but this time, I just needed to use the holiday to its full allowance and stay in bed a little extra.

By the time yesterday morning came around, my body really felt the effects of not having been exercised, and I could almost feel the pent-up energy in my muscles calling me to change into my workout gear and begin. I didn’t have a particular plan for what to do. I knew a good sweat and muscle resistance training would do the job of helping me to feel good and balanced once again.

Once I was ready and had drunk as much of my cup of coffee as possible, I headed for my workout. Even as someone who loves to exercise, I still face that nagging feeling that calls me to procrastinate on some days. Sometimes, if I’m going outside, it’s cold, or sometimes, if I know the workout will be hard (as yesterday), a little bit of dread creeps up.

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Floor Barre Ballet to Destress (#1)

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Yesterday, I needed to sit down for a few hours to write a take-home school exam. It wasn’t anything I couldn’t do; I had studied all of the material already. I knew what I was getting into and how much I was supposed to write, and the questions for the exam were not tricky. I was supposed to choose one of the three question options and write an essay response. But I couldn’t shake the nerves that had built up a bit of tension in my muscles in the time I had waited to get started.

Luckily, the exam was not timed. I decided to use that opportunity to destress by getting out of my mind and releasing some of the tension that had built up in my muscles through a workout. Focusing on exercise, especially movements that require control and mental focus, has been an effective way for me to change my train of thought and get out of my mind. When I am focused on keeping good form while performing different moves, it’s easier to let go of anything else that might be vying for my mental attention, and it becomes possible to just be in the present moment.

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Blogging: How to Stay Inspired

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Daily blogging is one of those things that appears deceptively easy, especially for a “generalist” blog written without much specific expertise in the field needed, which is often the case for lifestyle blogs—but that’s true for many others as well, such as personal finance or hobby-specific sites. However, what you’ll find, as I did, if you actually try to put up quality content every day is that staying inspired with enough ideas to create posts that will genuinely interest you and your readers each and every day requires great time management, planning, and a strategic plan just to stay inspired.

Yesterday, I opened my WordPress editor to find that there was absolutely nothing left in my “inspiration tank.” I had already talked about most of what was a current lifestyle inspiration to me, and the other things I’d tried recently weren’t noteworthy.

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Is The Tone It Up App Worth It? Studio Tone It Up App Review and Why I Quit

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In the last few years, online fitness programs and subscriptions have become very popular. They offer a level of convenience that is higher for some people than going to the gym or taking classes, and they’re usually more affordable, as well. Studio Tone It Up is one of those subscriptions. It is a fitness mobile application with free and paid options offered by the creators of Tone It Up, Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott.

Tone It Up is the fitness empire that was started by the two women in 2009. I have been involved with their work on-and-off since about 2011. I’ve done many of their free Youtube workouts, and I even purchased their nutrition plan in 2013 and their “Beach Babe 4” workout video bundle a couple of years later.

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Book Chat: 5 Lessons I Learned From “26 Marathons” by Meb Keflezighi

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Seeing as I have just gotten back into running and was desperately in need of some refreshing and inspirational reading material, I started reading Meb Keflezighi’s book, “26 Marathons: What I Learned About Faith, Identity, Running, and Life From My Marathon Career.” It is authored alongside journalist and running writer Scott Douglas. The book turned out to be both of those things, refreshing and inspirational, in addition to easy-to-read and well-written to boot.

Meb Keflezighi is an Eritrean-born, American distance runner. He’s a four-time Olympian for Team USA, he participated in two World finals, and he has won prestigious races such as the Boston and the New York City marathons. He is practically as “elite” as a runner can get.

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Goodbye to All That: Toxic Spirituality & Mental Health

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Spirituality is an important part of my life. I like to know that this isn’t everything there is, that there’s more than what meets the eye in this world… It brings me peace. My spirituality is something I turn to even more anytime I am going through something difficult.

As cheesy as it sounds, and especially because I was not brought up Christian, I can always count on stories of individuals choosing good over evil, overcoming through humility and God’s grace and forgiveness that characterize much of the Bible to lift me up and rejuvenate my spirit. I don’t think the Bible or religion are the only sources of spiritual health, and I know there are other options for spiritual fulfillment.

However, I do want to share my negative experience with a type of spirituality that is basically a scam. And more so, it can very easily turn toxic to our mental health. It’s a spirituality of complete autonomy, based on the idea that we are not only responsible for what we do but also responsible for everything that happens to us. There is no empirical evidence for this, of course. But then again, there isn’t any for a benevolent God wanting the best for us either.

If you’re going through this, you’re not alone. What is referred to as Law of Attraction, which informs this type of thinking, has taken over so much of our culture, and it’s based on a couple of compelling but false claims.

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Recipe: Vegan Cowboy Caviar Quesadillas With Pepper Jack Daiya and Guacamole

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I have been on a Mexican food kick lately, as you’ll know if you read my attempt at recreating Sugar Taco’s vegan beef tacos. Well, I was looking at one of my favourite food blogs (Budget Bytes) and I was inspired to make a quesadilla version of the Cowboy Caviar, the classic southwestern bean “dip.”

Well, I made them, and they turned out beautifully, which is why I’m sharing here. They are super easy to make and great with a little bit of guacamole! Scroll for the recipe and some process photos (these really help me when I’m cooking).

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Easy 5 Km Jog and Trying Orgain Plant-Based Organic Protein Powder

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This morning, I woke up an hour before my alarm, at about 7:45 a.m. That’s still about an hour later than I usually get up, but after a day filled with two exams, I wanted to set myself up for a good day today and get a ton of rest.

I knew I’d be going for a jog this morning, even though I hadn’t decided on the specifics. I’ve just gotten back into running with the warming April weather, and so far, I’ve played it by ear each time I’ve gone, setting a goal for myself based on how my body feels within the first minute or so of the jog.

I had a few procrastinate-y thoughts as I got up and sat in bed, thinking about the chilly 5-degree weather (41 degrees Fahrenheit, for reference) waiting for me outside. And things got even (a little) more challenging when I started getting dressed and realized, after digging deep into my closet, that I’d have to wear knee-length pants/shorts because all of my workout pants (I don’t own many) were in the laundry basket.

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Running and Tacos — How Everything Gets Better

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A few days ago, I was feeling a little bit down. I had been going through a job recruitment process that tested me in a way that well clarified my intentions and desires in terms of the kind of employment relationships I want to create in my life. That is, I desire an employer that values my time just as much as they expect me to value theirs in the recruitment and interview stage.

During the interview stage, if I took a day to think about something, I would let these people know. If I had to create a sample of work for them, I had a deadline to follow. In return, however, I was given no timeline or expectation for when I would hear back regarding their decision. In the days following, I received many Linkedin notifications of the same two people from the company looking at my (empty!) profile multiple times without any contact to give me any type of feedback. I decided it was enough and withdrew from the process.

Part of the experience is due to the fact that I cared so much about this job. I was really excited. Before choosing to submit my candidacy for the role, I took time to research the firm and really think about whether I could see myself doing the work. I could—really well!

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Chewy Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies (Take One)

Is this what these are supposed to look like?

Every so often, I engage in the aspirational hobby of perusing recipe books and websites. I dream of what could be. Bean cassoulet with biscuits? Pumpkin chipotle chili? Seitan simmered in mole sauce? I look, I read, and I savor—with my mind’s tongue, that is.

A few days ago, I thought to myself, isn’t it a shame I haven’t ever cooked my way through a recipe book. It wasn’t a question; it was a predicament I found myself in. And so I picked up the only physical cookbook I own, from which everything I have ever made has been fantastic: Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

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Now, a little backstory. I’ve had the book for going on a decade, and I started with high hopes that I would cook my way through it. I even placed a dainty dot beside each recipe I tried, convinced that my zest for domesticity would find me opening the crisp pages of the hardback to a dot beside every recipe title in The Contents. Mind you, there are about 250 recipes in the book, and no amount of zest can carry you through that much cooking from one place… It takes discipline, but that wasn’t what I thought.

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