Being Grateful

gratitude

A special friend and I have been writing down in a gratitude journal for the past week. Each day, we write down things we are grateful for and we tell each other what they were during a phone call at night. I have to say, it has been the coolest experience ever so far.

I am grateful for a lot of things…

I mean, I knew this already. I am a lover of the simple things in life. But, when you write them down and you talk about them. Whoa.. life changing! You instantly realize how blessed you are.

We did not decide to do this because of the holidays approaching, but I love the coincidence of it. I am vowing to do this every day for the rest of this year (and possibly even continue after that). The happiness that ensues after reading these lists is contagious. I won’t want to let that go. I encourage you to try it for a week and see what happens. Maybe even find a gratitude partner as well like I have. You may even find some common interests you didn’t realize you had.

Like us, for instance. We both are realizing how kick ass nature is and how much we need it on a regular basis. I connect with my spirit when I am outside. I connect with everything around me when I am outside. I LOVE being outside. Not sure how much clearer I can say that to myself. I have always known that I love the outdoors, but what I did not realize until this past week is that I NEED the outdoors. And I deserve that time outside daily, if even for 10 minutes. So now I will make much more of an effort to take that outdoor break when the urge strikes instead of pushing it off for more work or to do’s.

What is one thing you are so incredibly grateful for today?

WTEW: Anything from the Crockpot!

crockpot

‘Tis the season for crockpot recipes. October is the perfect month to start busting out your favorite soups and stews. I love crockpot recipes for two HUGE reasons.

  • {Reason Number One} The whole darn house smells like a Thanksgiving feast whenever you arrive from a long day of work.
  • {Reason Number Two} You don’t have to labor away at the stove after you come home from laboring away at your desk.

I think we should all do a crockpot recipe exchange. If you feel compelled, please share your favorite recipe in the comments. And no worries, whether you really will participate or not, I will share with you one of my recent faves. You really can’t go wrong with it and you know how I feel about herbs and spices. More galore!

So the crockpot recipe I have enjoyed making lately is the easiest ever. I like simple and this is definitely that. It is Taco Soup! I have no idea who gave me the recipe or where I found it, but all I know is I really like it. And so did my parents and brother when I made it for them Sunday.

Taco Soup

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey (brown it first)
  • 1 can black beans, undrained
  • 1 can kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 28 oz can crushed tomato
  • Other spices you like (maybe sea salt, garlic, etc.)

Mix all of the above in the crockpot. Set to low and your dish will be ready in 4-6 hours. You can put cheese on top if that is your thang!

I also made a Tuscan Kale & White Bean stew today. It was delish! I tell you what, adding fresh rosemary to a soup or stew is A-okay in my book. But enough about me. What about you? What is your favorite thing to cook in a crockpot?

Eat well, friends!

What my past has taught me…

We are digging deep today, people. I am linking up for the Fit Dish with Jessica and Jill. Today’s hot topic is, “What has your past taught you about living today?”

Processed with Moldiv

I have learned a TON from my past, but of course will focus on the health-related items. So, let’s get to it…

never say never

{Lesson One:} Never say never. Growing up, I didn’t enjoy running so I thought I wasn’t cut out for it. I thought only certain types of people find enjoyment with running. And I definitely did not think that I would EVER run a half marathon (or even want to). But, I did. I gave it a shot and I ran a half marathon earlier this year. I even enjoyed the training… for the most part.

  • I have the ability to hold myself back or push myself forward. I know my limitations and strengths. I will give just about anything a try, because there may be joy in a new adventure or goal. Never is no longer a word I subscribe to.

oreos1

{Lesson Two:} Fat-free Oreos are a joke. Well, fat-free anything is a joke. If a food company is taking fat out of a product, more than likely more sugar is going into the product making it just as unhealthy as it was before.

  • I followed the fat-free bandwagon for awhile. In fact, I thought it was cool that I could buy a container of fat-free graham crackers, eat the whole box, and not eat any fat. No joke. Good thing my metabolism was on fire back then. Fat-free and sugar-free and now gluten-free are all labels. They can trick your mind so be sure you know exactly what you are getting yourself into whenever you are buying a product or eating more if it just because of the words displayed on the label.

{Lesson Three:}The scale is not your friend. It is not your enemy either. It is literally a rectangle of junk that you step on and it shows you a number. That number does not define you and it is not what you are worth. That number is simply a number. Don’t judge yourself by it.

  • I spent way too much time in my past trying to reach an arbitrary number. Numbers do not matter nearly as much as the way you feel. And for me, eating well and moving more help me feel bad ass!

Rules are meant to be broken!

{Lesson Four:} Rules are meant to be broken. I was a rule follower growing up or a goody two shoes if you will. It’s no wonder that I also fell into the nutrition and exercise rules. Eat this, not that. Do this, not that. Blah. Blah. Blah. I tell you from experience that the BEST way to a healthy lifestyle is to carve your own path. Make your own rules. It makes sense too.. only you know the nuances of your body and taste buds. Right?!

  • There are many fitness and nutrition professionals with good intentions, but I think there is way too much misinformation out there. Listening to everyone else’s advice can drive you crazy and keep you away from listening to the most important expert on your body, YOU. Take what makes sense and forget the rest. Experiment and try things out for yourself.

well-being

{Lesson Five:} There is no perfect workout. In fact, just working out is AWESOME and worth the kudos. Doesn’t matter if you lifted a car off the ground, ran around the block, pushed play for a Turbofire workout, or even connected your mind and body with a little yoga. Movement is good. And doing more of it is great.

  • It’s easy to think that you will get a dancer body by doing this workout or get a killer 6 pack of abs by doing this other workout. The fact of the matter is that your body is different than your neighbor’s body and his/her body is different than another neighbor’s body. Striving for the body that has been photo-shopped will probably lead to disappointment. It is best to focus on goals that have less to do with a picture perfect body and have more to do with overall health and well-being. (Side note: I can almost guarantee that you will LOVE your body if you focus on overall health and well-being too. Consider it an added bonus for focusing on the good stuff).

Lots of words on this post. More than any other post I think. We covered a lot, dear friends. But, before I go… answer me this… what is 1 thing you have learned over the years and would like to share with others?

Shake It Off

Yes, I am talkin’ Taylor Swift up in here. I had a funny moment today… I was reading a magazine, chilling downstairs, when I heard the song, “Shake It Off.” Only, I didn’t hear it on the radio. The radio wasn’t even on. Someone was singing it. And that someone happened to be my classic rock loving dad. It made me laugh. I didn’t think he even knew who Taylor Swift was.

Side note worth mentioning, her songs are like jingles. They just get stuck in your head no matter who you are and what your taste in music is.

Anyway, after getting a good laugh out of that, I was reminded of two things. First, sometimes Taylor is right and you just need to shake it off whatever “it” may be for you. Second, it is SO good to laugh daily. Laughing is good for the soul and I really do think it is good medicine. If you haven’t laughed today, perhaps this crazy picture of me with a pizza hat on will help.

Shake It Off

Do you laugh daily? I seem to laugh on the regular. But, there are quite a few things that REALLY make me laugh. Sharing is caring so here are my list of things that make me laugh regularly (in no particular order):

  1. Funny voices. I love it whenever someone does an impersonation. Gets me every time!
  2. Farts. Yikes, I said it. Farts are hysterical to me… unless they smell. And then I just run the other direction from whoever dealt it. I grew up with two brothers. Enough said.
  3. Nostalgia. I love it whenever a family member or friend will tell a funny story from our past. I get instant nostalgia and can picture myself in that moment all over again.
  4. Comedy shows. It doesn’t matter if it is live or I am watching stand up comedy on TV, I almost always crack up. My favorite comedian to see in person has been Kevin James. I laughed the whole entire time.
  5. Someone dancing funny, whether on purpose or not. There are some GREAT dance moves out there. And then there are some HILARIOUS dance moves out there. Dancing and laughing… man, what a damn good time!
  6. YouTube videos. If you ever need an instant laugh, find some funny YouTube videos. In honor of Halloween coming up this week, here is one of my favorites…

What about you? What makes YOU laugh daily?

Cha cha cha changes

changes

I have been going through a ton of changes this past week. It is almost as if my life flipped upside down and then kept spinning. But, that’s okay… life does that sometimes. So, needless to say, the blogging went out the window for a little over a week. Other things did too. But, I am back. And that is what is important. Right?!

I don’t know about you, but when I go through a difficult time or huge changes, my regular schedule and normal patterns do not seem to fit. I get uncomfortable. I do not like being uncomfortable. Does anyone?! So, I turn to meditation and/or a little yoga. I reconnect. I focus on my breathing. And I get through it.

The healthy habits return, but perhaps in a different way. I focus more on what my mind, spirit, and body need rather than what I think they should need. There is a huge difference usually. Lately, I am…

  • Finding that I need a good mixture of activity. Some days I can’t wait to do yoga, but other days I really feel the need for a more intense workout.
  • Excited to get outside most days and take in the fresh air on a walk, either with my sister dogs, by myself, or with someone else.
  • Looking forward to these meditation CDs that I have. I do not listen to these daily, but a good 20 minute meditation here and there is doing wonders for me.
  • Growing more interested in Ayurveda. In fact, I plan to meet with an Ayurvedic Health Practitioner sometime this week. Perhaps I will blog about it a little?! We shall see.
  • Interested in finding 10 recipes that I absolutely love. I want to have go-to recipes that I can turn to whenever I have nothing else on my mind to cook. I am hoping that others also like these recipes since I rarely cook for just myself. And, I have to admit, I love the crockpot so at least a few will be crockpot recipes!
  • Eating way too many chocolate chip cookies. I absolutely love cookies, especially when they are homemade and warm. Yum! I have to admit that Chick-fil-A actually has some realllllllllly good cookies. It kinda stinks that I know this now, because my taste buds get excited when I drive by any Chick-fil-A now. Perhaps I need to find a healthier, but just as tasty option at home. Any ideas?!
  • Desiring more outings with friends. I love my friends and can always use more friend time. Aren’t friends the best?!?
  • Thinking positively. Even when life hands you lemons, we know what to do with them. Life goes on. And every moment can still be enjoyed! Here’s to living in the moment and being grateful.

Speaking of changes, I also want to change up this blog a little. Maybe the look?! If any of you have any ideas or think I should versus should not, please let me know. I am not the best at making decisions. Hah!

Happy Sunday, friends!

Festive Friday Fun

I just wanted the title to be all F words. Good thing I didn’t choose the bad F word- that would have really changed the tone of this post. No, I want today to be all about festive and fun! It IS Friday after all.

What are you up to today? After work, my boyfriend and I will be making our way to the Texas State Fair. The fair is the same every year, but I always love walking around for at least a couple hours. He wants to try a funnel cake flavored ale. I am really feeling a caramel apple on a stick this year I think. Can’t tell you the last time I have had one! We also want to see the car shows, animals, and maybe play a few games. I am not a fan of the rides so could do without those, but we’ll see. Should be fun!

Tomorrow I have a wedding to go to for one of my college roommates. She is going to be a beautiful bride and I cannot wait to see her walk down the aisle. I am taking my brother with me so that he can enjoy some Houston sites a bit after the wedding and on Sunday morning. Should be festive!

And since it is Friday, I want to share some fun pics from this past week. Hope you enjoy!

I had to share this video first, because it is of my cat, Cali. She cracks me up! For those that do not know, Cali is the only pet I can truly call “mine”, but I do care and love for others just as if they were my own. Anyway, enjoy her being funny in a Dr. Pepper box…

This pic is of Junior. I found him with this odd black mark on his face. He always does the cutest poses too so naturally I name this pic… Junior as Marilyn!

Junior as Marilyn

Junior as Marilyn

This picture is of the fun run from Wednesday that I held for the company I work for. I love everything about wellness, but one of my favorite things is when people come together for a fitness event. We all inspire each other to live a healthier life.

GPA BeWell Fun Run

GPA BeWell Fun Run

My boyfriend and I went to Broken K ranch last night. It was a beautiful fall night! I saw at least 10 deer and we fed the horses, cats, and dogs.

Broken K Ranch

Broken K Ranch

WTEW: Nothin’ but a honeycrisp

honeycrisp

Love the name. Love the taste. I will admit, I am an apple fan in general. I don’t hate or discriminate, but I tell you what… Honeycrisp apples are SOOOO good. I am talking do-the-Carlton-dance good. You know he is happy every time he does that dance, almost like he just took a bite out of a Honeycrisp. And just since I mentioned it, I leave you with a little gift…

Okay, Carlton aside, Honeycrisp apples are not only tasty, but also good for you. Of course! They are an excellent source of fiber, plus are one of the sweetest apple varieties available today. Perhaps they can satisfy that sweet craving of yours. 😉

Ready for a random fact about Honeycrisp apples? They are Minnesota’s state fruit. Who knew states had fruits?! I know the state bird and the state flower, but that’s about it. Anyway, I learned something new today and of course that made me want to look up what the state fruit for Texas is. It’s grapefruit. Another good choice.

You can eat Honeycrisp apples by themselves. That’s how I role with them. But, you can also use them in some delicious recipes. Five of my picks that I hope to try soon are below. Just click on the name and you will be taken to the site for that recipe. Enjoy!

Are you a Honeycrip fan? If so, what is your favorite way to eat one?

My Top Healthy Living Tools

The Fit Dish link ups on Tuesday are quickly becoming a favorite of mine. I link up with The Fit Switch and The Fit Pepper every Tuesday for a fun fitness topic. Today’s topic is healthy living tools. I will share with you some of my top tools…

But first, ARE YOU READY?!?!? (to be said like this guy…)

My top tools, in no particular order, include:

  1. Fitbit Flex. I used to have a Fitbit zip and raved about that before, but I have recently upgraded to the flex and love it. It helps me stay active throughout the day. I have a desk job so it is essential that I move throughout the day even if I had a morning workout. I love the app that comes with it as well. I can add friends and we can compete if we want. I can also track my sleep. I don’t use the nutrition part of it, but you can track your food intake if you want.
  2. Favorite fitness DVDs. It is important to have a library of 3-5 fitness DVDs that you just love. There are plenty of days that I do not want to go anywhere to get my workout on. I love being able to get a good workout in at home. My DVDs of choice are Insanity, PiYo, and TurboFire.
  3. Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. I love yoga, but do not live too close to a yoga studio. I have fallen in love with the youtube series, Yoga with Adriene. She is a phenomenal yoga teacher and if I teach yoga someday, I hope that I do it with as much love, grace, and authenticity as Adriene does. Oh and the healthy humor she has is great too. Love it!
  4. Tone It Up on YouTube. I clearly like to mix up my workouts. When I need a quick workout, I will sometime tune in to a Tone It Up workout on YouTube. My favorite is the Love your body with HIIT.
  5. Keeping nutrition essentials on hand. So the top 4 tools are for fitness, but nutrition is just as important. I keep my kitchen stocked with essentials. I always have fresh fruit and vegetables in my fridge that are easy to grab. I love apples and carrots for that reason. One of the previous Fit Dish topics was about healthy foods I wouldn’t want to live without. I listed 10 of my favorite essentials!
  6. Awesome smelling candles or essential oils. These help me with stress management. I love a good scent and quite frankly, I believe in the power of aromatherapy! I am still learning about essential oils, but currently love the smell of Eucalyptus.

Those are my current top tools. I know I am probably forgetting something, but 6 ain’t bad. What about you? What is your top healthy living tool?

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What is your Why?

KNOW YOUR WHY

 

What is your why? This may sound like a simple question… and it is, really. But, the simplicity of the question should not take away its importance. It is a VERY important question.

Your why is what will MOVE you to creating goals and not giving up. Your  why is what will MOTIVATE you when the going gets tough. Your why brings purpose and passion.

 

So what is it for you… What is your why? Why is healthy living important to you? It can be different for everyone. My why for healthy living is so that I can be the BEST me. I feel at my best when I am moving more, nourishing my body with lots of fruits & vegetables, sleeping well, meditating, kicking stress to the curb, socializing with my friends/family regularly, giving back to others, giving love to my pets, and the list goes on. My list for living a healthy, happy life. I am sure you have your list too.

This topic was on my mind over the weekend as I was making a video for the company that I work for. I do not make videos as my job and I think I would shoot myself if I did. Video creating and editing is tough work. I got so frustrated SEVERAL times. But, pushing that aside, I created a video with some of my co-workers “why”. I had surveyed my co-workers last month and asked the very question, “What is your why?” I loved the responses I received! It was so overwhelmingly encouraging and motivating. I share it with you on the blog in hopes that perhaps one or two may stick out to you. It may motivate you to create your own why.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Comment below what your why is or why you think having purpose is important.

Last Sunday Social

SocialSundayNew4

It is officially the last Sunday Social. Talk amongst yourselves, I am feeling verklempt. (Cue SNL skit here). No, but really, I am a little sad that this is the last Sunday Social. I will have to find a good replacement.

Grab your coffee or tea and let’s get to it…

  1. How did you come up with your blog name? My best friend helped me come up with the name. Thank you, Marcena! I told her I wanted to start a health and wellness blog. I came up with some “farm” type name… I think it was The Chicken Coop. She told me it sounded too dirty and gross. So, she helped me come up with the name Simple Delights after I told her I wanted it to be a blog with a goal of keeping wellness tips simple and fun. Plus, life really is about the simple things. Isn’t it?!
  2. What is your favorite thing about blogging? Connecting with new and pro bloggers. It is like a whole new world on the blogosphere- so many supportive and encouraging people. I love it!
  3. What is one thing you have discovered because of blogging and now can’t live without? Really cool fitness brands with positive messages like Lorna Jane and Six02. I am a huge fan of both!
  4. Facebook or Twitter? Why? Ehh neither. I am way more interested in Instagram than Facebook or Twitter. But, if I have to choose one, I guess I will say Facebook. But for my personal page and not my blog page. That one is SO hard to grow! I like my personal page so I can keep up with family and friends, near and far.
  5. If one celeb read your blog who would you want it to be? Tough question. I guess Sandra Bullock because she is such a bad ass. I would love to be her friend too.
  6. What is something you want people to know about your blog? I strive to help others find and refine their own tools to healthy living. I will never sell you on a fad diet (did you know diets fail you and not vice versa?!?), force you into a crazy intense workout, or tell you that you MUST do certain things to live healthy. I encourage others to find simple and fun ways to live a healthy, happy life. I really hope I do that and am always trying to improve the blog to ensure that I meet that goal.

Now I turn it over to you.. what is YOUR favorite social media outlet- Facebook, twitter, or Instagram? Why?