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Sunday Night Rituals

I know, we aren’t even ready to start thinking about Sunday night yet- it’s only Saturday night! But hopefully this will give you some time to schedule this for yourself and let it help you.

A couple of years ago, I was looking for a way to be more ready to start my week. What kinds of things did I need to do on Sunday so that Monday didn’t suck so much? I found this post  on a blog called Blair Blogs. Boy, did it help! I tried her way now and then for a while, and I did notice myself feeling better about my weeks. Over time, though, I’ve adapted her routine and turned it into my own. Here’s what I do on Sundays to make sure I’m ready for the week ahead.

 

  1. Sit with my planner & make goals

I sit down with my planner, make sure I’ve got all of my meetings, teaching days, etc. scheduled in. Then, I go back in and fill the rest of the days up. When am I going to exercise? Clean my apartment? Do my laundry? Run errands? Take long walks with Penelope? Yes, I write ALL of that down in my planner. I also write out weekly goals- how am I going to get where I want to be at the end of the month? I write it all down.

  1. Ten minute tidy & dishes

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I spend 10 minutes tidying up my apartment, and I make sure all of the dishes are clean. The week starts better when my space is clean. Ten minutes may not seem like much, but you’ll be surprised at what you can get done in that brief amount of time if you focus!

  1. Make sure the laundry is put away. Similar to a ten minute tidy, knowing where all of my clothes are makes life just a little easier. Besides, it clears up the clutter in my bedroom, which I like!

 

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  1. Meal plan/prep for the week. Whether or not I do the actual meal planning on Sunday, I try to spend a few minutes meal prepping on Sunday afternoons. On very busy weeks, this includes bagging snacks for easy grab and go, and all of my meals. If it’s a less full week, just knowing what I’m going to eat when can be enough. Sometimes I spend all Sunday afternoon doing some batch cooking. This makes for a super easy week, and I’m always thrilled to have it done. (check back tomorrow for a how-to post on this!

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  1. Make a weekly to do list. Usually, in fact, I make several of them. Frequently I start by writing down absolutely everything that needs to get done that week, regardless of project or type. Then, I go through and rewrite it according to what project it belongs to: work, personal, blog, etc. Sometimes, I then go through and rewrite those sub lists in order of importance. Yes, I am a little ridiculous about my lists!

 

  1. Take some time to relax. Sometimes that means vegging in front of my TV watching reruns. Sometimes it means a nice long walk. Sometimes it means a nap, or a book, or a marathon cooking session or organizing time. Sometimes I treat myself to a bath and a home mani pedi. Whatever it is, I try to find some time to relax and refocus for the week.

 

And that’s pretty much it! I know it seems like a lot, but the basics can be done in about 30 minutes, and I get so much more than 30 minutes back. Taking the time to build some structure into my life is what keeps my forward momentum ticking, and let’s me focus on how I want my week to go: productivity wise and personally. Having a solid support structure helps me manage everything and live life the way I want to.

 

Superhero action of the Day: What are some of your Sunday Night Rituals? If you don’t have any yet, what are some things that would help make your week go more smoothly? Can you do any of them before bedtime on Sunday?

 

 

Fun and (Mostly) Free Fridays: go for a hike

If you haven’t gone hiking yet, you, my friend, are missing out. The great outdoors is called Great for a reason. And more than beautiful scenery, there’s something about time outside that helps us remember who we are. It helps us reconnect with our instincts, and become… well… superheroes. There’s a reason the Fortress of Solitude is in the middle of nowhere. There’s a reason Bruce Wayne trained on the top of a dang mountain. The reasons are two fold:

Reason number one: physical exertion helps us learn about ourselves. Any time you wear your body out, it teaches you what your limits are. Obviously, this is true physically, but it shows us our mental limits too. And once we know where those limits are, we can find a way to break through them.

The second reason is that the outdoors teaches those same lessons. And when we combine the two, magical things happen. Reconnecting with nature helps us find our basic, biological selves, and teaches us how to grow. When we do that, we are unstoppable.

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We find things we never knew we were missing.

So this summer, I’m trying to do more hiking. And this week, I found myself at George Rogers Clark Park, right outside of Springfield, Ohio.

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George Rogers Clark Park is a VERY interesting place to begin with, featuring a house you can tour (which, apparently, is haunted, if that’s your thing). There are also a bunch of cool old (or old style, truth be known I’m not sure) buildings- a fort with a log cabin, and a Native American village. The hiking paths are not too long, but there are a fair number of small hills, some lovely water features and lots of beautiful woods. The trails are very rugged and rustic. There were hoof prints in the mud, too, so apparently horse back riding happens there too.

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We hiked almost four miles, and although it was a little bit muddy, it was a lovely, lovely morning adventure.

And then, of course, we had post hike ice cream.

If you’ve never gone for a hike before, you may find these helpful:

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-if you’re going alone, tell someone where you are and make sure you have a map, even if you think it’s no big deal

-wear comfortable shoes, and dress for the weather. I prefer leggings and layers of shirts, a hat and sunglasses. My personal rule is no jeans! If you get wet, they take forever to dry, and they have a tendency to chafe.

-I always bring a pack with a water bottle, collapsible bowl for Penelope, a couple snacks, sunscreen and bugspray, just in case. This also gives me somewhere to put my car keys!

-take note of the weather and the trail- if it’s been rainy, expect mud, etc.

-leave no trace! This is ALWAYS a good idea when you’re outside, but it bears reminding. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but tracks.

Superhero Action of the Day: Spend some time outside today- even if it’s just 15 minutes, enjoy the world today.

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10 Products I’m loving for June

Happy June 1st, superheroes!

It’s Summer time! I know, I know, it won’t actually be Summer for a couple of weeks yet, but the weather is warm, the days are long, and schools are out!

Today, I’ve got a list of some of my favorite products that can set your Summer off to a great start.

Disclaimer: as of now, I get no money from anyone for talking about products I like. These are honestly just things I like and I think maybe you’ll like them too. Links are not affiliated to me at all, they’re just convenient! Cool!

  1. Tarte Tarteguard SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion

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I got this in my Sephora Play! Box a month or so ago, and I have to say, I really like it! I’ve used it the last couple of times I’ve been out hiking or outside in the sun (I’m really pale, and it doesn’t take much!). It’s nice and light on the face, it doesn’t feel greasy, I haven’t broken out, and it’s giving me some good quality spf! Also, I don’t notice that it smells, which is an added bonus for me!

2. Tory Burch- Love Relentlessly Eau de Parfum

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I LOVE THIS SCENT. This is another one I got in my Sephora Play! Box, and I am crazy about it. I mean, first of all, the name is excellent! Love relentlessly is one of my personal mottos- SO superhero. Also, the scent itself is wonderful, light, spicy, complex, seriously, I like it. It balances notes of pink pepper, patchouli, amber and, rose. Individually, those are scents I’m not always fond of, but somehow, this manages to be sweet without being nauseating, spicy without making me sneeze and sexy without being overbearing.

 

3. Dollar Shave Club

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If you are still buying razors like a regular person, I hate to say it, but you’re doing it wrong. These blades are awesome, cheap and consistent. Every month, I get four new razor blades mailed directly to me. You can also get them every other month, which is handy. This comes in VERY handy when you’ve got a last minute pool date or you want to wear a sun dress without warning. (Of course, you should do whatever you like with your body hair, but I like shaving, personally)

 

4. Plantain Chips

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I Love Plantain Chips. Salty, crunchy, delicious. They’re a staple on my grocery list. I love them so much, in fact, that I gave them up during my Whole30 because sometimes I can’t stop eating them. A perfect addition to your beach bag, road trip, or boring old work day!

 

5. Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey

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Another Sephora Play! win. This lip color has become my go to daily color. It feels great on the lips, and the shade is a nice pinky red without being opaque. It’s also not sticky, which is a huge thing for me and lip colors. It doesn’t last as long as I would like, but it also doesn’t leave anything behind, like some lipsticks, so I don’t even mind that very much.

 

6. California Dreaming OPI nail collection

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I love fresh nail colors to go with the season- and these bright colors remind me fo a beachy sunset- perfect for this time of year. Also, I’m always California Dreaming, so these got my attention right away. I’m in love with the This is Not Whine Country and the Sweet Caramel Sunday colors especially. Yum.

 

7. Pineapple corer and slicer

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I love, love, love fresh pineapple. On everything. Pizza, tacos, heck, even ice cream sometimes. Pineapple hot sauce, barbecue sauce, juice with my club soda… getting the picture?

But cutting a fresh pineapple, that’s the WORST. Until this thing. If you can open a bottle of wine, you can use this thing. Just cut the top off the pineapple, and twist this thing down through the pineapple until you get to the bottom. Then wiggle the tool back out, with your fresh pineapple cut in a spiral on top. I’ll never do this another way again.

Get you one.

 

8. Traveler Grapefruit Shandy

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I’m declaring this the Summer of Grapefruit Shandy. Shandy is the perfect Summer brew, always. Sweet, but refreshing, casual, fun… and this citrusy spin on it? It’s wonderful. Even if you’re not normally a beer drinker, you should try one of these. They’re wonderful.

 

9. Cat Eye Sunglasses

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Cat eye sunglasses. They are SO cute. Dramatic, feminine, funky, retro. They’re the perfect blend of ridiculous and fun hearted. They’re perfect for summer. I just picked up this pair of cuties are at Target for only $16. Score!

 

10. Krave Chili Lime Beef Jerky

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This is my other go to snack. Road trips, quick lunch, afternoon energy punch? This is your friend. It’s sweet and spicy, tender, not tough, and completely addictive. Try it, you won’t be disappointed!

 

So there you have it! Ten products to kick your summer off right. Get out there, live big- and bring these things with you!

 

Superhero Action of the Day: What are your go to products? I’d love to get your recommendations!

Too Much is Just That

This April, I bit off more than I could chew. I decided to do a whole30, a burpee challenge, an arm work challenge an abs and squat challenge… and work through Artist’s Way.

I consider myself a highly, highly capable person. I am very efficient, have high energy, and I’m incredibly stubborn when I set my mind to something. It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to do all of this.

I wasn’t. By the second week, I stopped pretending I was going to keep up with Artist’s Way. It’s still sitting on my bedside table, and I have every intention of picking it back up, but I just couldn’t do it. I just really could not.

In week 3, I found myself three days behind on the exercise challenges. That day, I did 100 burpees, 120 pushups, almost 6 minutes of planks, 250 situps… it was absolutely ridiculous. And I was exhausted for three days afterward.

Not to mention, I didn’t think through how much of my day those exercise challenges were going to take up. Literal hours. I got to the point where I was splitting stuff up into rounds, but one round sometimes took about ten minutes, and if I had 5 or six rounds to do… well. Not that an hour of working out is insurmountable all of the time, but it is, sometimes, to our schedules. And I was walking and boxing on top of this stuff.

I was very ashamed of this failure on my part. I had told people I was going to do this! I can’t believe I’m not going to finish it, not going to do all 50 of those burpees on the last day! What about the 60 pushups? The 230 squats? I was angry and disappointed with myself. And I was exhausted. I looked at my 6 rounds of exercise… and I legitimately rolled over and took a nap.

Here’s the thing, though. On Monday in my boxing class? I did 30 burpees. About at number 20 or so, I realized that a month ago, I wouldn’t have done the second set, I’d have done squats or something instead. When we did pushups in that class, I did them from my toes, not my knees like usual, and I knew I could do them. And finally, when a 90 second plank was called? I relaxed into plank stance and stayed there. And although it was hard, I didn’t want to die.

So did I really fail? I guess, in some ways, yes. I set out to do these challenges, and I did not complete them. I did, however, get stronger and more confident. My arms are more defined. My waist slimmed. I’m not flat bellied, nor do I have super sculpted arms (yet!), but my abs and arms and shoulders are strong. And they are much stronger than they were a month ago.

Busy, busy, busy

There’s a more important lesson here though, and it has to do with the shame around my supposed “failure”. I learned so much about myself this past month. And one of the things I learned was one of my limits. If I had taken on just ONE of those challenges, instead of being a greedy gus and wanting them all, I could have nailed it, and I would have felt better and been less stressed. Instead, I took more than I could handle, and not very much of it got done to my satisfaction. But even though it wasn’t 100% done, I still made progress.

This pertains to the rest of our lives too, you know. When we do too much, we lose track of what is really important to us. And at the same time, we undervalue the success we do reach because we are so focused on an unrealistic goal- something that may never come to be! That’s NOT living life like a superhero. That’s living life like the police captain we love to hate. It’s no fun. It’s stressful. And you never get to soar under your own steam. Instead, how much better off would we be if we learned to slow down, add one new thing on at a time, and be patient? How much better can we live in the long run if we get the right training under our belts? Batman wasn’t trained in a day, you know. Embracing our human limitations doesn’t make us any less of a superhero, it’s just a fact of life. It helps us live fully, when we don’t try to over commit to something we really can’t do well. Find what you do well. Do that. Do that superbly.

Super hero action of the day: make a list of all of the things you do or are involved in. Take a hard look at them. Work, exercise, dates, partners, friends, clubs, hobbies, commitments, kids. Are all of them bringing you joy? Or are you holding onto something that not only isn’t getting your superhero self, but is leaving you feeling run down and ragged? How can you fix that?

Batten Down the Hatches

What to do when life storms around you

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In the last 6 months, I’ve lost my job, started a new one, dealt with two deaths in my family, gone through a sort of a break up, broken up with a friend, and dealt with pretty major amounts of stress and upheaval in one of my other jobs. My dad was diagnosed with some skin cancer (after a diabetes diagnosis last fall), I’ve done 7 major work projects, and my best friend moved to Utah. It would seem that the ocean of my life is pretty stormy right now.

And that’s…difficult. How could it not be? Change, although good for us, is by its very definition, uncomfortable. And my poor system has gone through a lot of change in the past six months. Even more if you look at the past year. Some of it has been amazing. That new job? It’s the best… except when it’s the worst. All that upheaval? You guessed it. But losing my 27 year old cousin to cancer? There’s no good way to say it: that kind of pain sucks.

So how, when everything is crashing down around our ears, do we rise? How do we look around at our situation, our change, our stress, and find the upward motion? How do we calm the ocean of our lives and right the ship?

I’ll never claim to have all the answers. But here’s some ideas about what works for me:

-find your net. When the storms start to rage, find the people who will catch you and pull you back. Your friends, your co workers, your family. Your dog. Your gym buddies. Find them. Lean on them. Let them love you and take care of you. Let them take you to dinner. Let them text you to ask how you’re doing. Reach out to them when you can’t and let them comfort you when you can. The night I found out we’d lost my cousin Blake, two of my dearest friends, who live thousands of miles away, helped me organize an impromptu long distance movie night. We went and got snacks, and we each started the same movie at the same time so we could watch it “together” on facebook messenger. Silly? Maybe. But I loved every second of it.

-Use your systems. We all have them. I meal plan, make obsessive schedules and lists, check my calendar every night, and try to do a chore before I get in my bed. Am I perfect at these? No. But when everything is a mess, some structure- any structure- can be helpful. Develop your habits during times of calm waters so when the storms come you can rely on them.

-Move your body. Go for long walks, take a lot of yoga, stretch on the living room floor. Do anything, so long as it gets you moving. I truly believe the best cure for an anxious mind is a workout so difficult you can’t think about anything else. It’s brutal, but very, very effective.

-Let yourself off the hook. Sometimes, you’ll need more sleep then you’re used to. Sometimes you won’t be able to focus as well. Sometimes you’ll have a short temper. When you’re going through those storms, let them be scary. Give yourself permission to take extra naps, say no to things that will stress you further. Indulge in as much self care as you can handle.

-Don’t lose yourself in the storm. Don’t throw in the towel on your food plan, or your workout plan. Don’t spend 36 straight hours bingeing Orange is The New Black. Do your best to take good care of yourself which means staying active, eating good food and leaving the house.

-Take it one day at a time. It can be easy, in the storm, to think ahead. Well, the next time I’ll see the people at this funeral will be at the next one- that’s sure to be Grandma. Those kinds of thoughts are not helpful. Try to think instead “it’s nice to see all these people. I’m glad we could all be together today, even though we are all grieving.”

-put your shoulder against the wind and remember it will be over eventually. Nothing lasts forever, and this season will pass too.

Storms are a part of life. But we can whether them. And when we come out, we’ll be stronger, and happier. In the meantime, chin up, my lovelies. And soldier on.

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Superhero action of the day: If you’re in the middle of a storm, find a way to ground yourself today. If you know someone in a storm- reach out and see if they’re looking for a lifeline and don’t know how to ask.

Choose your Super Team

It takes a whole team of people to support a super hero. Whether it’s Felicity Smoak, Pepper Potts, Albert, Jimmy Olsen, or Wally West, every superhero needs a whole team of sidekicks to keep them in tip top fighting shape. How do we make that a part of our superhero living? Well, let’s dig deep.

First of all, often, a super hero’s team often has different strengths from them. Or at least, complimentary ones. Computer geniuses? Drivers? Archers? Pilots? Superheroes can’t do it all- we need a team of people underneath us, helping us and teaching us.

So, the next question is this: who’s on your team?

Still working it out? Me too, but maybe my list will give you some ideas.

I’m very lucky that the first members of my team are my parents. From listening to my hare brained ideas to cautioning restraint to telling me, over and over and over again that I can do it, my parents are the most supportive, wonderful, kindest people on the planet. I don’t know what I would do without them.

Similarly, my brother is definitely on my team. He’s my business advisor, and a rock solid support.

From there, the team includes a lot of people, of course, but the day to day people are my sister and about five very sweet, very supportive friends. People who are with me every step of the day. And people who have been with me through the highest of highs and the lowest, lowest, lowest of lows.

If you read my post The Origin Story the other day, then you know that the way to become a superhero hasn’t been smooth for me. And I have needed the people on my team to keep me going. When I was struggling with the second hard bite of my disordered eating, my sister was there, googling, researching, threatening and cajoling me to eat. My mom has listened to me for hours on end as I process things out loud to her. Every time I have screwed something up, my dad has been there, and met me with grace and peace and wisdom. My friends and family have cleaned my apartment, walked my dog, done my laundry, insisted I stop working, taken me out, sat on me until I relaxed.

And when I have felt like my life was ending, when I was sure that nothing would ever be the same again, people from all over the world were there. Finding the spare pieces of me and shoving them back into place until I felt whole again.

But here’s the crux of the matter: you have to have people on your team. But if your team is in place, you have to let them help you. You have to. You don’t get to pull the “I’m cutting you off so I don’t hurt you” card that so many of our superheroes pull. You don’t get to cut them out. You don’t get to kick them off of the team for their own good. I’m not saying you can’t kick people off the team ever- we’ve all done that. Or we’ve had people quit the team. Or people who found they didn’t have time to be on the team. And that’s ok- and a whole different post. But you don’t get to kick people off the team to protect them.

Because you’re on their team too. See, unlike comic books and tv shows, we’re ALL superheroes, if we want to be. And maybe that sounds cheesy to you. I don’t care. We all have that potential within us.

So as much as you need someone on your team to support you, to love you, to teach you, to have your back? The people in your life need that from you too. The people in your life need you to love them. Protect them. Support them. Teach them.

This is how we build a superhero network. This is how we get better. This is how we live out Superhero Living. By being the best version of ourselves- and helping others to fly.

Superhero action of the day: reach out to someone on your team and thank them for their role on it. And then ask them how you can be a better team member for them.

The power of being silly

Maybe it’s just me, but do you ever spend time thinking about what super power you would have if we all suddenly developed powers? Not which one you’d LIKE to have, but what your personality and strengths lend themselves to?

Just me?

Well, that’s alright. I still haven’t landed on a solid answer to that one. Maybe telepathy? Maybe something else. I’m not sure. Regardless, I think there’s one superpower that is liable to get overlooked during this self-examination: the power of being silly.

We all know someone with this superpower. My grandfather was one. That man could make a funeral look silly. In fact, when he died, we talked about all wearing funny hats during the service- he would have loved it. Games, silly songs, toys, junk food, he never, ever, ever grew up.

I went to a friend’s birthday party this afternoon. This is a friend who is in his early 30’s, and has, for time immemorial, had a squirt gun fight at his birthday party, in his parent’s lawn. And today was no different.

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I’ve participated in that squirt gun fight before- it’s a riot. A bunch of grown adults, chasing each other around the yard, screaming and shooting each other with water guns. is a sight to behold.

Today, however, I didn’t participate. I had things to do after the party, and I had Penelope with me, and she doesn’t much care for being squirted, so I decided to just watch. And as we were standing there, watching my friends fill up their guns and take up positions on the opposite sides of the yard, I found myself smiling in anticipation. And when the fight began, I was laughing along with the rest of them.

Letting ourselves be silly is a form of vulnerability that can be a little scary for us to display. ‘What if they laugh at me?’ or ‘That’s not very grown up!’ can be common deterrents. It can be scary to put aside our fears and inhibitions and take off running across the yard screaming and firing a squirt gun into the chest of a friend or acquaintance.

But if we can learn to master that fear, a couple of magical, superhuman things happen.

  1. We reset ourselves. When we do something and immerse ourselves fully into it, it causes an emotional and spiritual reaction. We lose track of time, we relax, our worries and anxieties drift by the way side. When we’re finished with whatever it is, we often feel drained, but refreshed too. When we immerse ourselves in something silly, it often means that we will spend a lot of time laughing, and laughing has about a million and ten benefits, everything from lengthening our lives to making us more likable. This helps us to reset spiritually and emotionally.
  2.  We boost our productivity. Sure, it may not feel very productive in the moment, playing games, or riding a skateboard through the office, but in the long run, we can focus better after having a little bit of fun.
  3. Silliness boosts our creativity. And I don’t just mean that’s true for us artsy types. Every person on the planet is born creative. Maybe you’re a brilliant painter. Maybe you have a way with words. Maybe you can create systems and tables to show and analyze data. That is creativity. Humans are better when we can be creative. And silliness is a great way to open up those floodgates, especially if they’ve been closed for a while.
  4. Silliness promotes better relationships. This is true of all kinds of vulnerabilities, but silliness is pure fun. When we allow ourselves to be silly in front of the people we care about- and with them- it lets us open up to them and it creates trust with them.

So let’s not overlook the superpower of Silliness. Maybe we can even dare to practice it a little bit.

 

Superhero Action of the Day: find something that feels a little silly to you. Do it. Maybe that’s throwing a solo dance party while you put away laundry. Maybe it’s saying hi to a stranger. Maybe it’s trying out the slip and slide. Whatever it is, do something silly for yourself today.

Saturday Adventures: Yoga On Tap

Happy Saturday, all!

Did you get to do something that fed you today? I hope so. How are you living out Superhero Living this weekend? I want to hear all about it! I’ll start.

Today, I tried something brand new to me. I went to a yoga and beer class. I don’t know about you, but it seems like there have been a LOT of these popping up on my radar recently. Brewasana classes, stretch and sips, yoga on tap- whatever you call it, it seems like there are lots of options to go to a bar or restaurant, do some yoga, and enjoy a favorite beverage. I’ve been wanting to try one for a while now, and today, at long last, one fit in my schedule this morning- so off I went, yoga mat in tow!

The specific class I went to is called ‘Yoga on Tap”, and is hosted by a Dayton pizza place called Old Scratch Pizza. If you’re a local and you haven’t been there yet, it’s worth a trip, yoga or no. It’s gourmet, Neapolitan style pizzas and craft beer. They have some great salads and appetizers too. It’s a very fun, casual spot, right in downtown.

Anyway, Old Scratch also does a lot of philanthropic work, and they host one Saturday morning yoga class a month. For $15, you get an hour of yoga and a pint of beer afterwards. Every now and then, the proceeds from the class go to a worthy cause. Today’s cause? Honor Flight Dayton.

If you aren’t familiar with Honor Flight, let me begin by assuring you that it is a very worthy cause. Honor Flight’s mission is to get as many US veterans as possible to Washington DC to see the memorials dedicated to the wars they served in. My grandpa got to go a few years ago, and I saw first hand how meaningful that experience was to him.

So: an hour of yoga, a beer AND I get to support a cause I really and truly believe in? Absolutely, I’m there. Win-win-win!

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I would say I’m at an intermediate level as a yogi, but going to a new kind of class is always a little nerve wracking. The tables were cleared away to show the bare floor of the restaurant. I signed in at the counter, and found a spot for my mat. A few minutes after 10 (when class was due to start), Stephanie, the instructor, called us to order. She told us a little about Honor Flight, and a woman in the class spoke a little bit about her personal experience with them.

Stephanie told us this would be a “heart centered” practice, which are my favorite. The class itself was gentle. It was cool in the room, and I barely broke a sweat. That was fine with me. We worked our way through Sun Salutations, Warrior Sequences and some lovely heart openers.

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The one glitch in the whole process, for me, was that at the end of class, we all got in line to pay for class and claim our pints. This resulted in waiting about 10 minutes to get through. That was fine with me, but it seemed a little overwhelming to a few lunch customers who had a reasonable expectation of the place being pretty empty. No big deal, and certainly not a deterrent to me returning for another class.

I then had the great pleasure of talking with Stephanie and another class member over our beers. One of the reasons I love going to places alone is that it helps me to meet and get to know good people. Talking to these two women was a true joy, and I left feeling like this was $15 well, well spent.

So, if you’re looking for something new to do, I would encourage you to look into these kinds of classes- they’re light hearted, breezy and fun. They draw good people. And if you get lucky, they might even support a good cause.

 

Whatever you did today, I hope you did it to your very fullest. I’d love to hear about it!

 

Superhero action of the day: Ask the people around you what they did today. Ask questions and gain a new experience through them. Enjoy your day!

50 fun and (mostly) free things to do

It’s Memorial Day Weekend!

Do you have time off work? Are you celebrating the end of the school year? The beginning of Summer? Or are you just thinking about trying something new this weekend? Well! I have a list for YOU!

 

Money is tight for me this summer, so I thought it might be fun to look at all the different things we can try to do for cheap or free- regardless of where we live. So, without further ado, 50 things to do, Memorial Day Weekend style:

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  1. Go for a hike! Grab a friend or a dog and look up some local hiking trails. Penelope and I like to eat ice cream afterwards, but that’s optional.
  2. Take a picnic and sit in the park to eat.
  3. Go to a neighborhood you find interesting and explore it
  4. Find an outdoor performance and enjoy it
  5. Check your local park service and see what they have going on- mine has free yoga classes sporadically this summer!
  6. Go for a bike ride! If you don’t own a bike, a lot of cities have places you can rent them for pretty cheap
  7. Go to a nearby small town and wander through the downtown area. Explore.
  8. Go fishing! Parks often have poles to rent.
  9. Go birding- there are free apps to help you recognize what you see
  10. Grab a blanket and drive a good long ways out of town at night Sit in your blanket and look for constellations
  11. Go to the library and pick out some new books to love!
  12. Take a long bath
  13. Give yourself a home mani pedi.
  14. Go to a museum and enjoy
  15. Clean out your closet. Make a game out of it!
  16. Do a home decorating project
  17. Rearrange a room of your home
  18. Look through old photos and upload some fun ones to facebook for laughs!
  19. Plant something green- indoors or outdoors!
  20. Revisit your itunes collection and rock out. Get really wild and dance around!
  21. Invite a few friends to bring snacks and have an old fashioned movie night
  22. invite a few friends and have a board game night! Ask them to bring snacks!
  23. Arrange a clothing swap with some fun people- take your old stuff and trade them for their old stuff!
  24. Volunteer somewhere. All kinds of places need helping hands, and you’ll be surprised at how fun and fulfilling this can be!
  25. Try a new recipe and throw a dinner party
  26. Have a photo shoot! If you don’t like photos of yourself (you totally should) find cool things around your home, neighborhood or city
  27. Think and journal about your short term and long term goals, and think about your dreams
  28. Look up a youtube video on something you want to learn, whether it’s figure drawing or calculus, and watch a few videos about how to do it
  29. Wite a letter and mail it old school to a friend or loved one
  30. spend some time coloring!
  31. Move your body! Try a youtube video or go to a class
  32. Try a new restaurant
  33. Plan your dream vacation
  34. Spend some time writing
  35. Find someplace to swim (if its warm enough!)
  36. Have a squirt gun fight!
  37. Put away all the evidence of winter in your house (boots, coats, etc.)
  38. Go to a sporting event of your choice (minor league, major league, or just for fun leagues)
  39. Work on a jigsaw puzzle
  40. Find a public garden and explore it
  41. Get on the water! Go kayaking, canoeing, tubing or boating- there are lots of cheap places to rent in a lot of places
  42. Find a local festival and go go go! Festivals are great for an afternoon or evening of fun!
  43. Go to the farmer’s market- enjoy looking, at the very least!
  44. Find a u-pick farm and enjoy picking your own produce
  45. Go camping! Some outdoor stores rent gear for reasonable rates
  46. Find a beach and play on it! Even us land locked folks often have some lakes we can play in and around
  47. Check out a local play or musical- many companies have cheaper matinees, and lots of cities have some cheap or free outdoor options!
  48. Go to a local cemetery and think about what memorial day is all about
  49. Attend a parade in honor of the weekend! There are lots of local parades, and they’re cheesy, but fun!
  50. Spend time with the people you care about, whether it’s a barbecue with family or a night out with friends

 

I hope this gives you some fun ideas to look at on this long weekend! Whatever you decide to do- enjoy it!

I’m hoping to make Fun and (mostly) Free Fridays a series- so stay tuned!

 

Superhero action of the day: what fun and (mostly) free things do you enjoy? Let me know in the comments and hopefully I can check it out!

 

Bravery in the face of fear

People tell me pretty regularly how brave I must be. You’re so brave, going to Europe by yourself! You’re so brave going to events alone! You’re so brave, walking the dog at night! You’re so brave, making this leap in your career! I wish I was as brave as you are.

 

And you know, I used to kind of brush those comments off- no, I’m not brave, this is easy!

 

And then one I day, I thought about it. I took a minute and really thought about it.

I think we have a bad perception of what the word ‘brave’ means. I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word ‘brave’, I get impressions of sword fights, suits of armor, dragons and billowing hair. And I suppose that is one definition of the word, right? Brave Sir Galahad, saving the fair maiden from the dragon? Sure, I’ll buy that. That’s brave.

But there is another definition, and one that I think we can relate to much more easily in this computer addicted, routine loving, safe feeling world. Brave. Brave means determined. It means having a dream and refusing to give up. It means running full out, dead sprinting towards something that makes you feel alive… or away from something that is slowly killing you. Or maybe it means having the courage to be the person your friends need, not the ones they want. It means telling them, nicely, gently, with love, when they’re losing themselves somewhere along the way. It means sticking to that, even if it costs part of your relationship. It means learning what you believe in and then planting yourself and saying, “no, you move.” It means waking up in the morning and staring fear, or depression, or anger, or resentment, or hopelessness, or worry, or pain in the face and telling them to get out of your way.

 

And it also means learning to take a long, hard, objective look at yourself and say to yourself “you screwed that up.” It means learning to take responsibility for your triumphs and your failures. It means being able to take a hit as well as give them out. That’s what brave means. And if that’s our working definition of the word brave, then being brave is what Superhero Living is all about.

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And if that’s our definition, those people that tell me I’m brave? They’re right. I do seem brave. But every ‘brave’ decision I’ve made has come from a place of deep and abiding fear. I was terrified to go to Europe, stay with people I’d never met, go to a country where I knew none of the traditions, language or culture and stay for three weeks. I have had full out anxiety attacks on my way to an event I’ve been looking forward to, simply because I’ll be showing up alone. I’ve had nightmares about making ends meet because maybe I am not making the right career choices. I’ve spent hours and days walking with Penelope, afraid that I’m making the wrong decisions, afraid that I’ll lose people by being myself, afraid that I’m lost somehow.

 

And I’ve moved forward anyway.

 

Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Do one thing everyday that scares you”. And every time I think to myself “no way, you can’t do that” I take a deep breath and I think hard about doing it anyway. Because a lot of the time, something you’re afraid of doing is exactly what you need to do to help yourself grow. And being a superhero means growing. It just does. It means finding that tiny seed inside yourself and helping it to sprout and grow.

 

If I can do it, you can too. I promise.

 

I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying that you’ll wake up tomorrow and suddenly be able to boldly make decisions that will change who you are, your relationships, and your life. But I AM saying it is possible. And I’m saying you should TRY. Find one thing that scares you. And do it. Find another thing tomorrow. And do that too. Make the first phone call. Write the first chapter. Make a difficult move. Lean into that fear. There are two ways out at this point: fear either paralyzes or motivates. Whatever you do, don’t get caught in the “paralyze” pool. It’s easy to do. But don’t let it suck you in! Find the motivator in there. Think about how upset you’ll be if you never write the book. Discover within yourself the desire to help your spouse alter a damaging habit. Then wade into the fray, sword held high, and slay. That. Dragon. You’ve got this. You’re brave.

 

Superhero action of the day: identify three things that scare you, whether they’re personal, professional or something else. Take the first step on conquering that fear. Today.