I came in NUMBER 1 in the Murph Challenge! Did you hear??

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I WON! ... but before I get to that... let's talk for a minute about this incredible event.

There was a lot of buzz around The Murph Challenge this Memorial Day.

For those of you who may not know, it is a Crossfit workout done in honor of a fallen Navy Seal, LT. Michael Murphy who was an amazing war fighter and a truly inspiring athlete. All of the proceeds from those who formally signed up for the challenge went into a scholarship fund in his name.

The WOD done in his honor is a workout that he did on the reg like it was no big deal... it consists of: 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, 1mile run-- and the prescribed version is to complete the entire workout with a 20lb vest or body armor.

"The ’MURPH’ is more than just a workout, it is an event that helps push us, humble us, and dedicate a bit of pain and sweat for those who have given so much! " -excerpt from www.themurphchallenge.com

It's so much more than just a workout.
This is why so many people go crazy to do this excruciating workout on Memorial Day-- that tiny bit of pain that we inflict on ourselves helps us become stronger, more appreciative Americans.
When you take the time to dedicate a personal struggle like this to such an amazing person it really lifts you up and reminds you that the world does not revolve around you.

So many men and women have given their lives to protect our freedom, and for those of us that find this sort of physical torture fun and inspiring, there is no better way to spend a holiday weekend.

So... that leads me to my big news!! I CAME IN 1ST PLACE! 

crossfit murph michael murphy challenge fitness health workout wod winner first place america memorial day patriotism freedom sacrifice

Alriiiiiiiiight... I didn't actually come in "first place"-- as in... I didn't actually get the fastest time compared to all the other humans that completed the WOD throughout the weekend... BUT I STILL WON.

I won because I am my only competition.
I won because I asked my body to do things yesterday that it had never done before, wasn't sure that it could do, and I succeeded!

We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with things that are "better" than what we already have... with people who are "better" than we are... and it is time for that to STOP.

After I signed up for this challenge, I made the mistake of looking into what "normal" times for completion were... or what "good" times were and it got me really down. 
There was no way I was going to be able to do all of that work in 40 minutes-- and definitely not with a weight vest.
I felt so bummed as I watched these men and women bust out the workout like it was nothing! And it made me feel like it wasn't even worth me doing it because I wasn't going to be competitive with their results.

And then I sat myself down for some real talk
A little over a year ago, I couldn't even do one single pull-up! Seriously. 
The fact that I was even considering doing 100 in one workout was crazy! Not crazy because I didn't think I could do it, I knew I could... but crazy that I thought that I should be comparing myself to people who have been Crossfit athletes for yearrrrrrssss. 
I had no appreciation for the amazing journey that my own body had been on the past year! 
Isn't that sick? 
But it is a common pitfall-- especially for people who want to get into the fitness world but get hung up on what other people's abilities are.

The fact is: we all started from somewhere, even those people who can bust out weighted pull-ups like it ain't no thang. They couldn't do that the first time they tried either!

expert beginning beginner work hard workout fitness health perspective progress comparison

And it's impossible for me, even as a fairly physically well-rounded woman to be at the same level as a dude who played collegiate football. Or a girl who has been lifting competitively since high school. 

What they can do has no bearing on what I can do. They are not better humans than I am because they can do those things... and I am not a worse human because I have no desire to do Olympic lifts.

That's what we all need to realize-- your abilities do not define you.
That applies to everything in life.
We get so caught up in worrying about what everyone else is succeeding at that we often times forget to focus on what WE are succeeding at in our own lives.

The Cliff of Comparisons is a dangerous one... we get so focused watching where everyone else is going that we forget to pay attention to our own lives, and before you know it you've slipped and fallen off the cliff and you've found yourself smashed into pieces at the bottom of a valley that you can't get out of.

be yourself work hard workout change progress comparison big girl grow up focus fitness health beachbody

That's not your life. Get over it. 
Put on your big girl pants, grow up, and focus on making your own life great! 
You CAN, and you WILL if you just learn to focus on yourself!

It's not selfish... it's necessary. 

You can not lead a fulfilling life for you, and your spouse, and your family if you are so concerned with what Susie McSuperRich has... or how fit Jenny McLiftsAlot looks. 
They have their issues too, I promise. Don't envy them for the pretty package they put on the outside for the world to see. 
Chances are, you'd take your issues back in a heart beat if you knew what's hiding behind their pretty facades.

I'm not saying you shouldn't strive for more, or that you shouldn't let other people inspire you to work harder... but that's what it should be: inspiration. 
Not adoration. Not jealousy or envy. 

So what should you do to make positive change that you desire??
Start reaching out to people who exemplify qualities that you want to improve in your own life, that are good at things that you want to be better at, and learn how they do it.
The more time you spend with individuals, the more their qualities start to rub off on you.
Choose to spend your time connecting with people who inspire you! 
Make friends with people who like the things that you like, who have goals that are similar to your goals. 

Stay positive. 
The energy that you send out into the Universe every day multiplies and comes back around... 
let's get those positive vibes flowin!


Memorial Day: So Much More than PBR and Hotdogs

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Did you know that Memorial Day was originally called "Decoration Day"?

It was established in the late 1800's as a day to honor those who have given their lives in service to this country by visiting their graves and decorating them with flowers as a sign of gratitude.

Honestly, I didn't know that either until about 5 minutes ago when I looked it up.

Memorial Day patriotism freedom america soldier marine seal navy pilot death honor gratitude respect love
Arlington Cemetery

Do you know anyone who plans to visit a cemetery on Monday?
I bet not.

While most people in some way recognize this weekend's significance in honoring those fallen warriors, it is usually by wearing their trashy American Flag tank top (I own multiple, and plan on proudly sporting one on Monday) or using their 'Merica beer coozie with their PBR while they float around some body of water.
This day marks the beginning of summer, the end of the school year, and the freedom that summertime brings.  But let's not forget what we are really "celebrating" on this day.

In America we are a nation of optimists, of dreamers, and of people who can make the best out of any situation... so it is only fitting that we choose to celebrate these men and women who gave their lives for us with a clink of the glass and a rowdy party (that's what they would have wanted anyways). It's funny to consider, though, how this day could also be interpreted as a national day of mourning.
It could be day of mourning for all those hundreds... thousands... millions of men and women throughout our history-- many of them not even old enough to enjoy a nice cold brew with you-- who have sacrificed their own lives, their own freedom so that you and I can can live our lives to the fullest.
But that's not how we work in America. We celebrate and honor the courage and the unconditional love that these brave humans showed to us without ever setting eyes on us.

memorial day party drink red white and blue patriotism america flag alcohol celebrate

I am willing to bet that if you could reach beyond the grave and ask those who have died in service to our country one simple question: "Would you do it again?" every single one of them would give a resounding "Abso-fuckin-lutely!" They wouldn't him and haw over it... they wouldn't take a few minutes to consider their other options... they would give a resounding yes.

Isn't that incredible? These people had families. They had friends. When they left this earth they left people who cared about them behind.... a lot of them. But they understand that sacrifice when they sign up, and they face it with head held high because THEY know that freedom is worth it. They know that one man can and does make a difference... because they all add up to the giant sum that is American Freedom.
I only wish that I had a heart that big. I don't. My husband does. It baffles me, it really does... it takes such a special person to have the ability to be that selfless.
I am so grateful to be surrounded everyday by people who truly know what the price of freedom means. I have learned from these amazingly generous people that you can take nothing for granted. Tomorrow isn't a guarantee, but our freedom as a nation is as long as these heroes continue to exist.

It is a direct result of these amazing men and women that we have the freedom to enjoy this weekend however we see fit.

memorial day weekend boat party america patriotism proud celebrate hero flag

All I ask of you is that you take a moment this weekend to send some gratitude out into the Universe to these incredible people. They deserve at least that much from us.

You may not know anyone personally who has lost their life in battle, or in training, or in a humanitarian aid mission, [edited for 2016 to include] or by ISIS rocket fire... but for those who do, there is a gaping hole in their lives.
There is a hole that no amount of patriotic celebration can fill.
It is a hole that freedom shines through and their tears fall through, especially on days like this.

Be grateful, and enjoy the weekend!


Perception IS reality, plain and simple.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Right now I'm reading "You are a Badass" by Jen Sincero and it's totally rocking my world. 

Her ideas aren't revolutionary... I'm sure they are ideas that can be found in many other similar books, blogs, seminars, whatever... but it's the way she presents her ideas that totally rocks.
She doesn't sugar coat anything, and I love it.

Chapter 11: Your Brain is Your Bitch is where my bookmark currently resides, and I've found myself reading and rereading sections of this chapter for a couple of days... because it's freaking AWESOME!

It's so true... our perceptions of life ARE our realities... because that's all life really is anyways, right?? My reality is different than your reality-- not because we live in two different dimensions or planets, but because the way that I see the world and you see the world can not possibly be the same. 
We may not hold opposing viewpoints on everything, but our experiences have shaped our perceptions and expectations of the future.
Some perceive injustices in all things, and some perceive opportunities in all things. 

Think about it. 
Do you know anyone who is so resoundingly happy in their life that you envy them for it? They've probably had some struggles... maybe even some really big, terrible, fat, in your face failures or tragedies but they still carry on with a smile and a genuinely gracious heart.
On the other side of the spectrum, do you know someone who seems to have everything they could ever want or need and yet all they do is complain and reach for more?? Terrible to be around, right?

What's the difference here? It's all mindset.

You are what you believe you are. Plain and simple. 
If you believe that you are blessed beyond measure, then you will be. 


The past couple of years for me have been a battle in believing in myself. 

I graduated from college, got married, worked full time and felt totally purposeful and content with my life. We had an awesome first year of marriage where we shared the household duties, spent our evenings and weekends together or in the company of good friends.... and then with the snap of a finger (it seemed) we were flipped totally upside down.
My husband started his training with the military and we moved away from our families for the first time.
I went from bringing in half of our family's income to bringing in none of it... from doing some of the household chores (but really, honestly not that many because my husband is wayyyyyyy better at it than me) to doing ALL OF THEM. 

housewife chores cleaning fulfillment love life happiness thoughts belief military spouse stay at home

"I don't want to be a housewife." 
"I am not good at cleaning."
"I'm the Queen of Clutter."
"I don't have any friends here."
"This is f-ing terrible."
These are the negative thoughts that were pounding inside my head for a solid few months.

And I tell you what.. they all came true. I couldn't keep our house clean to save my life, my crap was ev-ry-where, I would cry on the phone to my friends from home about all of the above, and I was adding stress to my husband's already overly stressful days. It wasn't fair to him and it DEFINITELY wasn't fair to me. 
So I changed my mindset. 

After I spent about 3 months wallowing in self-deprecating thoughts about how terrible it all was, I realized that I was the only one who could change it. 
There certainly wasn't a magic fairy who was going to come out of the walls and make it happen for me. 

I accepted the fact that at this time in our life, I need to be a housewife. This is my role on our team right now... So I better be damn good at it. 
I made charts with what days I would clean different parts of the house (I meeeeean I didn't always stick to them, but at least there was a plan). 
I made lists of what I would make us for dinner each week, and it gave my husband and I something to look forward to during long days of training.
I would spend 10 minutes a day trying to get my clutter under control-- sometimes that literally just meant shoving it all in the back of my closet, but who cares? 
And you know what... as I started to change my mentality about these mundane tasks that I thought I hated, I began to feel like myself again. 
I enrolled in a program to become a Personal Trainer, because I needed to invest some time in developing myself and my own interests.
I got a cat, because GOSH DARNIT if I couldn't find any human friends I was absolutely going to have an animal friend ;)
AND THEN YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED??? I made one of the most amazing friends of my whole life. 

Taking silly selfies in the Commandant's house... we knew it was meant to be at this point :)

It's incredible what can happen for you when you simply open your mind and allow possibilities to present themselves to you.
I was finally happy again. I was taking control back, and it all started with my mindset! 

Change didn't happen with the snap of a finger, and I am absolutely still a work in progress... but since I have changed my mindset and become open to that progress, I have found my daily life so much more rewarding.

What negative energy are you holding onto right now?

Is there something in your life that you could interpret differently if you just would allow yourself?

If you can begin to view every struggle as an opportunity to grow and improve yourself, you will be amazed at how much better you will feel. It takes such a weight off your shoulders!

There will always be things in life that you can't control.
What you CAN and MUST control is your reaction to those outside forces. 

Do you want to be a pillar of joy or sorrow?
It really is that simple. Make the decision now. 
And consider your thoughts carefully as you move throughout your days.

Your thoughts become your reality... choose wisely.

Cooking: The beauty in your day or the bane of your existence? Recipe One...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Mmmmmmm.... food is interpreted in so many different ways by us humans. 
It's really sort of phenomenal.

Somehow we have all developed our own senses of what is "good" or "bad" and "too spicy" or "too bitter"... 
We pair food and alcohol together as if the fate of our species depends on it.
We feel the need to defend our preferences as if they effect anyone else (to be clear, they don't. What you order at dinner will not have an impact on what I order at dinner... unless of course we're being tacky and splitting plates)
The pressure to indulge in-- and LOVE the first time you ever try-- the new trends in the craft beer world, the dessert on a stick world (etc.) is insane.
The discovery and enjoyment of cheese varieties is a more than a side hobby for some people (cough.. me.. cough)

The list could go on.... 
But here's my point. 

There is all this truly amazing food out in the world for us to taste, debate over, drink through, and to take the time to share each others' company while enjoying.

As I continue to share my life with you through this blog, you will find that cooking plays a huge role in my life. I cook to stay sane, to provide us with healthy nutrition to fuel our bodies... but most of all I cook because it is a beautiful experience.
Sometimes it's ugly and you nearly catch the kitchen on fire, sometimes it's mediocre and you feel that your energy was completely wasted... but sometimes, when you least expect it, you blow yourself out of the water. Every once in a while you sit down to a meal that you have no high hopes for because every other recipe this week has failed you, but when you take that first bite it is almost an out-of-body experience because you feel such an overwhelming sense of happiness.
THAT, THAT RIGHT THERE... that is why I love to cook. That simple overpowering joy. 
A lot of times it's just "okay"... but for those times when you really hit it out of the park, it is so beautiful. That meal can take you away from anything and everything that came at you during the day. It's amazing. 

The fact that we have the ability to appreciate flavors in ways that can change our moods and our attitudes about life is so incredible... I love to eat really good food. So, as a result, I had to learn how to make really good food.

Cooking doesn't have to be hard, or elaborate, or have one million ingredients to be good or to bring you joy.
And meals don't need to be fried, covered in sauce, smothered in bacon, or stuffed with artificial crap to taste good. 
The simpler, the better in my book. 

I hope that I can help you learn to appreciate the process of creating a home cooked meal if you don't already.
For those of you who love to be in the kitchen, I hope to offer up some new ideas!

Let's get cookin!

Lamb Lovin'
Serves 2
prep time: 10 minutes
cook time: 10 minutes

greek dinner lamb garlic clean eating tomatoes pita healthy fitness meals meal prep
So simple, so good!

3/4 lb lamb loin chops
2 lemons; halved and then sliced
1 red onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
4 cloves garlic, sliced lengthwise (2-3 times depending on size)
cherry tomatoes (10-20)
dried oregano
dried parsley
kosher salt (or you can use some other kind, but this is my favorite)
whole grain pita bread
Tzatziki (Trader Joe's makes a excellent version)

greek dinner lamb garlic clean eating tomatoes pita healthy fitness meals meal prep
Easy ingredients that everyone can keep in their house!

1. Remove the bone from the chops... slice in delicate swipes-- don't carve at it. The meat will come off the bone pretty easily. Cut the lamb into about 1.5 inch cubes (doesn't need to be precise)
2. Use your dominant hand to hold the spices and your other hand to rub the meat (no need to get raw meat all over both of your hands)... sprinkle with kosher salt, massage into the meat. Sprinkle with oregano, rub into the meat. Sprinkle with parsley... you got it... rub into the meat.
3. String the lamb, sliced garlic, sliced lemon, cherry tomatoes, and sliced onion onto a metal skewer. Make sure to have garlic or onion on either side of the lamb so that the flavors can mooosh together :) 
**I like to let the meat sit at room temperature for a while at this point (I will usually leave it for 30 minutes to an hour... sometimes more if I get distracted) but that way the flavors of the herbs can work their way into the meat a little :)
4. Turn grill on med/high and let it warm up for 5 minutes. Grill skewers on one side for 3 minutes, turn over and grill for another 2 minutes. Move them to the top rack and toss pita on grill for 1 minute, flip if desired. 
5. Remove everything from the skewers and serve it up!

Enjoy with lightly dressed salad, half a pita with some hummus, and a tablespoon of tzatziki for dipping the lamb! 

nom nom nom! 
Happy Eating!

Who am I? Why should anyone care to read my blog?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Who am I? 
Great question, right? 
For starters, I'm just a normal girl trying to figure out how to live the fullest, most beautiful life that I can. 

I value my family, above all else. 

My husband and I have 2 fur babies, no human babies as of now-- and I'm sure you will get to know them through some of my later posts, because I'm sort of obsessed with them (in the way that only people who don't have human babies can afford to be).
We live far away from our immediate families, which can be heartbreaking at times. We miss a lot of events, holidays, and all of the mundanely wonderful things that go on in our families' homes. 
We tell ourselves that it is okay, because we are making our own adventure... and it is. We love this crazy journey that we're on, but it doesn't make it any easier to miss out on those other pieces of our life. 

fitness health well-being confidence family friends military love pets workout clean eating
2014's Christmas Card photo: fur babies Harvey (giant) and Bruce (teeny)

We have learned to appreciate our community and the friends that we have made throughout our (seemingly constant) moves with the military as a new kind of family... they are the kind of family that knows exactly when to bring over a bottle of wine because it's been a long week. They are the kind of family that will drop everything to make new friends feel included. They are the kind of friends that have their children call you "Auntie" because really, that line between friends and family is a thin one in this community. 
It is a beautiful thing to be blessed with the kind of open arms that we have found on this journey, and I am so grateful to have a bigger "family" than I ever could have imagined. 

beach friendship love family confidence personal development values clean eating
Sharing the horizon view this winter with a new friend who has quickly become a pillar in my life.

I value my health, and my ability to physically do what I want when I want to do it. 
I am so grateful that I have been blessed with the ability to release my stress through exercise.
Because let's be real... life ain't always butterflies and rainbows. 
I love to run. I love to lift. I love Crossfit. I love my Beachbody programs... and I hope that through my example and the resources that I have to offer I can truly have a positive impact on the way that other people lead their lives.

I have recently begun diving into the world of personal development and self help resources (a post for another day)... but it has truly opened my eyes to that fact that the only person holding me back from the career of my dreams, the physique of my dreams, the personal fulfillment that I have always wanted is... wait for it... MYSELF!
I have never felt so empowered to take control of my own life as I do now, and I want to share my experience and knowledge with all of you!

beach friendship love family confidence personal development values clean eating
I would recommend this book to anyone who desires to lead an inspiring life. Self-confidence comes first. You ARE a badass... time to take control :)

I am in the business of becoming my best self... inside and out.
I want to aid you in becoming YOUR best self too. What's holding you back? 
We only have one life on the earth, and it would be such a shame to live it at less then our full potential.

Is your life perfect? 
If it is, then I guess this really isn't the blog for you.
But if you have some areas that you are looking to become a little stronger in, I hope that my posts will help you :)

I'm ready to set the world on fire. 
Who's with me?

Proudly designed by | mlekoshiPlayground |