In Pursuit of Positive Energy (Plus Tips from Preston Smiles)

One thing I’ve realized about myself over the years is that, despite my best efforts, I am indeed very influenced by other people. Whether that’s someone else’s bad mood killing my good mood, a negative comment on social media setting off a flood of anger, or a criticism from a coworker cutting into my confidence, there are far too many times where I make choices and feel feelings based on someone else’s energy.

It’s been something I’ve been working on especially hard since entering the working world, but it wasn’t until recently that I felt like I made any great headway (even though there’s still progress to be made). I’m currently entering a time of great transition in my life. A career transition that has set off something inside of me that’s made me realize what’s truly important in life, and has forced me to reevaluate my hopes, dreams, goals… My purpose. To get there, I’ve been spending a lot of time brushing off the pressures and expectations of the outside world, and that effort has started to pay off.

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If You’re Having a Case of the Mondays: Robert Waldinger on What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

Having a case of the Mondays? Or maybe you’ve just been doing some thinking on how you can be happier. Feeling unfulfilled, lonely, stressed out? You need to watch this TED Talk.

What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you’re mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

Books to Help You Achieve Your Goals

We’re now at the end of February (!) which means that those New Year’s Resolutions have probably fallen by the wayside. About 66% of people break their resolutions in a month or less, while 80% of people don’t make it longer than 3 months. But never fear! The good thing about resolutions is that you can always start them back up again! While the first of the year is a great jumpstart, any day is the perfect day to start marching towards your dreams.

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But what if you need a little kick in the pants? Luckily, there are some very smart people out there in the world who have written amazing books to get you out of your funk.

Here are a few recommendations, ranging from practical to spiritual approaches, for every type of person and goal.

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Easy Recipes for Sunday Brunch

This year for Lent, Josh and I decided to give up eating at restaurants, and while I won’t get too much into the “whys,” it has been both more and less difficult than I anticipated. The tough part is that I absolutely love the experience of going out to eat, and I’ve realized how often we typically would have hit up our favorite spots – or tried new spots – already in the past week and a half. However, the nice part about it that I’ve been forced to start cooking more (something I love but have been too lazy to do lately with my crazy work schedule). This means that I’m eating more healthfully, since I know exactly what’s going into my food, and am saving a ridiculous amount of money.

My Black Forest Ham, Muenster, and Sautéed Spinach Crepes 

Like, a lot of money. This month, we’re actually set to spend HALF of what we spent last month. Crazy. And also awesome!

Anyway, we love brunch. If you don’t love brunch, you should. Here are 11 reasons. And another 10 reasons. Plus a whole set of GIFs. But since we’re not currently able to visit our favorite Denver brunch spots, like Linger, Jelly, Snooze, or Root Down, it’s time to get cooking!

For when you’re feeling brunch, but not quite like leaving the house, here are 10 easy, delicious recipes (that are mostly healthy-ish) for you to whip up at home.

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Workout Like a Model: Pilates

One of the best things about ClassPass is that I can finally afford to do Pilates! Frequently touted by supermodels as the way to get long, lean limbs, I had always wanted to make reformer classes a part of my routine (if you don’t know what that is, check out this post for a little run down), but didn’t want to spend the extra $$$ required. Advocates of Pilates include Karlie Kloss, Candice Swanepoel, Alessandra Ambrosio, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Izabel Goulart, and countless others.

But why is this workout so great for getting that model body?

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ClassPass Review: Hot Mamas

Yes, at first I was apprehensive to go to a studio called “Hot Mamas.” Was it one of those places where moms bring their kids to class? What exactly was “Sexy Sweat?” Would a place with a class called “Skinny Jeans” really be that challenging? I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but after a glowing review from one of my friends, I decided to give it a try.

And let me tell you, yes there is childcare, and yes there are some – and sometimes lots of- mamas, but this is NOT your typical “mom” workout. These classes are HARD! My first hint really should have been that their website literally says, “If you’re looking for easy, you’re at the wrong place.” I can get through most classes at most studios without taking any extra breaks, and a lot of times even do the more advanced modifications, but I have yet to get through a class at Hot Mamas without stopping in one way or another. (Don’t let that scare you though! There are people of all fitness levels in every class. It is a very welcoming studio!)

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How to Cultivate a Fulfilling Career with Levo, Maxie McCoy, and Latham Thomas

via Levo

Today’s millennial workforce is looking for more than just a steady paycheck, they want careers that matter. Which is why I was so excited to host Levo’s “7 Practices to Jumpstart a Gratifying Career” webinar last week! 

Adam Smiley Poswolsky, author of The Quarter Life Breakthrough, found that young professionals are “asking what their purpose is now, and they’re determined to find the opportunities, organizations, and companies that share their purpose.” But is it worth it to rock the boat of your comfy corporate job? It just might be. FastCompany found that cultivating meaning in your career can be even more important to personal satisfaction than happiness alone. Plus, it is one of the best ways to increase your productivity, engagement, and performance at work!

Maxie McCoy and Latham Thomas both yearned for gratifying careers – and they made it happen. Maxie coupled her talent for inspiring with her experience in professional development to launch her very own brand aimed at unlocking spiritual and emotional intelligence. Latham used her nutrition and lifestyle expertise to transform the maternal wellness movement by founding Mama Glow, which has since helped women like Alicia Keys find true joy in their pregnancies.

So how did they do it? In this webinar, Maxie and Latham talk about their 7 essential practices to bring more satisfaction, purpose, and gratefulness into your career.

Watch the webinar here!

The Fail-Proof Way to Happily Head Back to Work

This morning, after almost two glorious weeks of rest and relaxation, I woke up, made my morning tea (which is much more luxurious after my Christmas gift of Emperor’s Clouds and Mist green tea from Teavana), and stared at my computer, trying to convince myself to start working. I absolutely love what I do, but I think something would be a little wrong with me if I didn’t have an urge to just sit on the couch and start another Sherlock marathon. I knew I needed to clear the cobwebs out of my head somehow – so I went to Omvana to see my good friend Vishen Lakhiani.

Whenever I need a little extra happiness/motivation/soul-searching, I head straight for the 20min 6 Phase Meditation (as I’ve mentioned before). If you need an extra kick in the pants, are feeling stressed about all those holiday emails, or just want to boost your 2016 resolutions with some positive energy, I highly suggest you take just 20min to sit with yourself as Vishen guides you through relaxation and visualization of your perfect future. Download the Omvana app on your smartphone or listen to the YouTube version below!

2016: Good, Better, Best

Today, as I sit here on the first day of 2016, I’ve been thinking a lot about the past. I started this blog a little over two years ago as a way to bring some joy back into my life after the most challenging year of my life thus far (thanks, 2013). I was stuck in what I perceived as personal and professional failures – which reflected with the gift of perspective turned out to be incredible learning lessons – and I needed a way to get myself out of that funk.

Izabel Goulart
The abs I never achieved from last year. (via Izabel Goulart’s Instagram)

In my 2014 resolutions post, aside from talking about my obvious love for goal setting, I said that, “The new year is the spark I needed to relight the fire within, the passion for life that 2013 stomped out just a bit.” I was clearly at a low, searching for a way to pull myself up and get back on track. My resolutions: Be Happier. Be Healthier. Be More Chic. I made it okay to invest in myself and to admit that I wasn’t happy. That the Facebook-ified version of me wasn’t quite my reality. I went back to my core values and found that with a little effort, I could overcome the sorrow of my circumstances and create my own happiness.

In last year’s resolutions post, I was clearly back on the right track, but still didn’t feel like I fully hit my stride. I was itching to keep pushing forward. My resolutions: Live in the Moment. Get Fit. Get Hobby-ing. Like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I’d finally met my baseline requirements for feeling like a productive, loved human being and was ready to take my self-actualization to the next level. In my quest for happiness I moved from escaping depression to appreciating my blessings. For my health, I moved from healing sickness to improving aesthetics. And as for general self-improvement, I went from the make-over show like basics of wardrobe enhancements to Renaissance (wo)man like skills enhancements. I think maybe that means I’m growing up!

So where does that leave me for this year?

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Happy Thanksgiving!

If there are two things my family loves, it is eating and finding ways to be grateful, so clearly Thanksgiving is one of our favorite days of the year! Aside from spending hours chowing down on the feast that my dad spends 3-4 days cooking, we also like to decompress with each other over TV specials, like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, National Dog Show, football, and as kids (mostly…), cartoons.

One of the specials I VIVIDLY remember from my childhood was the above cartoon in which two kids shrink down to mouse size, hangout with dancing food, and then battle a yeast monster. I’ve been searching for it for years and finally found it! It is more depressing now that I’m older and understand what it means for the two children to be living through the Great Depression… but that’s just another reason to be grateful for what we all have, right?