The moment I accepted my life was a beautiful, chaotic, sometimes a little-messy-but-always-entertaining circus was the moment I felt a true release.

There's no sense in fighting the madness, but I've picked up a few tricks to keep the show going along the way.

I hope they work as well for you as they have [and still do] for me.

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What I Learned from Running

I ran a half marathon on April 27th.  Did I mention I was in training since January? No, probably not. I was nervous about the whole situation. Like really really nervous.  I have never been that big of a runner.  I signed up because both my sister (who IS a runner) and my brother were both running and I didn’t want to be left out. <— I’ll get to that part a little later.

On a whim at 1:30 in the morning on December 31st, I signed up for the St Jude Country Music Half Marathon. It was a solid three and a half months of training…..and let’s just say I picked up a few more things than tighter legs muscles along the way.  Obviously I didn’t mind the health benefits, but what I didn’t expect was the life benefits. Bonus!

And so here it is: My top 5 life lessons I learned from running:

1. Humility is the stuff dreams are made of.  Because nothing puts you in your place faster than passing slower runners going up the bridge, with a slight chip on your shoulder……..and next thing you know a 60 year old man zips past you like a Kenyan rock star. Lesson.learned.

2. Fake it till you make it goes a long way.  Have you seen the movie What about Bob?  It’s one of my favorites. Bill Murray at his greatest.  In the movie he repeats a mantra to himself over and over and over – I feel fine. I feel great. I feel wonderful. – it helps him do little things like leave his apartment in the morning.  Welp, I repeated that mantra on nearly every training run I did. Over and over and over.  When I was hurting, when I was half asleep, when I was on a roll – my mantra was there, pushing me through to the end. Because sometimes you need to fake it until you make it to that last mile. I feel fine. I feel great. I feel wonderful. 

3. You are your own best cheerleader. During the race there’s of course 30,000 of your closest friends running along side you, but when it comes to running – you’re running by yourself. It’s awesome on the race route all the people that were there cheering on the runners. So awesome. But where were they on all those 6 a.m. training runs?? Sheesh.  And so I learned real quick, I was the only one who was going to get me from one mile to the next. I began congratulating myself at every single mile on every single training run.  And it wasn’t just in my head, oh no, we’re talking fists in the air Rocky Balboa style. There was no half assing that one, kids. I made it a point to be very clear to myself how proud I was to make it through these small steps along the way. It made a huge difference in my runs…..and in my life.

4. Stop comparing yourself to others. You don’t know how long that person was running before they shot past you.  You aren’t out there to set a world record.  You barely even call yourself a runner! So why the heck are you (read that as….why the heck am I) comparing myself to every runner around and second guessing everything? That doesn’t make much sense now does it.  Keep your mind in your own yard and focus on yourself. That’s all that matters.

5. Not wanted to be left out of a picture is a silly reason to run 13.1 miles.  (especially when you brother bails 2 weeks before the race)

marathon photo

but it was worth every minute of it.

Post-Cleanse Week 1

So today marks 1 full week since I finished my 28 Day (don’t forget I added the Bonus Week) Clean Program Cleanse. To sum it up in one sentence:

Holy cannoli, I have learned a WHOLE lot!

Here’s the short list of what I’ve learned during this Week 1:

*Please please please keep in mind I’m not a medical expert or nutritionist. These are all things I’ve learned about my body in the week following the cleanse. (If you are experiencing any medical issues, please consult a licensed physician or nutritionist.)

1. READ THE LABELS OF ANY PILLS OR SUPPLEMENTS YOU PUT IN YOUR BODY.

2. My body really is not a fan of excess sugar. Really not a fan.

3. Yea, it’s kinda true what they say, gluten makes ya swell up a bit.

4. When you’ve been on a high fiber diet, jumping off cold turkey isn’t the smartest thing to do. *especially when you are adding in extra sugar. 

5. If it’s not made with real ingredients, like I’m talking really real ingredients, it is probably going to taste disgusting.

6. Pay attention to what your body is telling you.

7. If you don’t know what’s going on, ask someone who would.

8. I never thought I’d like the way I felt better on Clean than I do now being able to eat whatever I want.

……………………………….. now let me explain ………………………………

1. READ THE LABELS OF ANY PILLS OR SUPPLEMENTS YOU PUT IN YOUR BODY.  Right off the bat – day 1 – I learned this lesson the hard way. I was a jittery, shaking mess the entire day. I thought it was the whole wheat english muffin I’d had for breakfast, but couldn’t exactly figure out what on Earth was happening to my body. Digestively – I was golden – blood sugar wise, no bueno. Here’s what happened: On the Cleanse, I had stopped taking my multivitamin. Day 1 off the cleanse I didn’t think twice about taking it again.  It was designed for a woman with an active lifestyle, a “high metabolism”. Makes sense given I work out at least 5 times a week, yes? Well on the advice of my sister, I read the label when I got home. To my surprise and written in bold letters, it clearly stated: This product contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. Ummmmm. Hmmmm. Well that is just not good considering I hadn’t had ANY caffeine in 28 days. Needless to say, I’m no longer taking those multivitamins anymore. Way to learn that one the hard way, JB.

2. My body really is not a fan of excess sugar. Really not a fan. There is something about blood sugar and my family that just doesn’t seem to mix well. On the cleanse my issues with blood sugar had completely disappeared. No shakes, no intense sugar cravings – nada. It was glorious. And now? Well those problems are starting to seep back into my life. Now it’s just a matter of me educating myself more and learning what foods pair well with others to help maintain constant blood sugar levels through out the day. (also, another realization on this one coming up with # 4)

3. Yea, it’s kinda true what they say, gluten makes ya swell up a bit. We have all seen the astounding information that gluten’s a bad bad thug in the world of food. I never really bought into it until I went without for 28 days and then brought it back into my life. Let’s just say I’ve noticed quite a bit extra ….. retention ….. around the waist line that had disappeared on the Cleanse. I’m on to you, Gluten. And you know what? I’m thinking maybe I don’t really need you in my life. So there.

4. When you’ve been on a high fiber diet, jumping off cold turkey isn’t the smartest thing to do. *especially when you are adding in extra sugar.  Fiber oh fiber. We’ve had quite the pairing these past few weeks. First I wasn’t taking enough of you, then I was OD’ing on you, and then I went cold turkey for a few days only to find out 5 days later that I need you in my life.  Boy do I ever! See, I learned that fiber plays a pretty important role in helping your body regulate blood sugar levels. The past two days I’ve reintroduced my fiber supplements back in my diet and although I still have the jitters a bit, it’s being handled much better. Welcome back, Fiber! Never thought I’d say it, but wow did I miss you.

5. If it’s not made with real ingredients, like I’m talking really real ingredients, it is probably going to taste disgusting. Two things I tried this week that I used to eat like it was no one’s business: 1. store bought birthday cake. 2. oatmeal raisin cookie from Target bakery. Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. I could taste the chemicals in the icing, the muted oatmeal-ish flakes in the cookie. I wanted throw up on both of them. I was pleasantly awakened. And I’m ok with this. *The Vegan Oatmeal Raisin cookie from Whole Foods, now that is the bee’s knees right there! Good stuff.

6. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. The whole week I’ve felt a bit off. I still feel pretty amazing coming off the cleanse, but I could tell some of the things I was putting back in my body just weren’t jiving like they used too. (No bad reaction to dairy products – thank Heavens!) You don’t have to eat bread just because you think you want too. If you find yourself craving sugar, (read: debating on whether to squeeze the honey straight into your mouth and not on your bread) that is not normal. Something is off-kilter and you need to sit back and figure out what is going on and what’s triggering all of it. Remember, you weren’t feeling like this just one week ago.

7. If you don’t know what’s going on, ask someone who would. Remember how I told you about the total spaz I was on Day 1? I’ll admit, I was worried. I remembered my Community and immediately sent an email to the Clean Team. Within an hour I had a response with a few helpful hints and suggestions. The Clean Team is awesome. We’ve emailed back and forth a few times after that as I check in and let them know my progress updates.

8. I never thought I’d like the way I felt better on Clean than I do now being able to eat whatever I want. This statement says it all. I’m happy to have some of the items I’ve reintroduced back in my life (cheese? yes sir!), but I’m learning that there’s some things I don’t really know if I want around so much anymore. And having that knowledge and power, it feels pretty damn good.

So there you have it – my Top 8 Lessons Learned in my first week post-cleanse. (should I refer to them as my Crazy 8s?) And this only touches the surface. I haven’t even begin to tell you what the cleanse has done and is still doing for me mentally and emotionally. Big changes there. We’re talkin HUGE.

I’m learning more and more about my body and it’s reactions to food each day. I think the 28 days of Clean were the easy part, now it’s time to really figure out what’s best for myself based on what I feel and see. It’s something that I don’t just need to figure out, but I want to figure it out. I want to learn more about the foods I’m putting in and how they are causing me to react. It’s the only body I get. I want to take care of it. And I finally realize that now.

*spoiler alert: I just told you what my #1 mental / emotional change from the Cleanse is. 😉

Happy Sunday. I’m off to start my afternoon cooking. We’ll chat again soon. But before I go, here’s a few new rules I’ve been trying to keep in mind ever since finding them on Pinterest:

new rules

[ photo via pinterest ]

Until next time……

l&m,

Jennie B

breaking up is [easy] to do.

Sunday was my last day – day 28 – of the big cleanse, however it was only day 2 of the big social media cleanse. Let’s rewind to Saturday….

I found myself lounging in bed at 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning (no judgments, please), scrolling through my news feed on Facebook only to find I had absolutely no interest in 60% of the postings that were showing up. I was already wasting time but wasting time with scrolling through people who have about as much impact or influence on my life as a meter maid in LA? Double whammy.

Fast forward to about 2 1/2 hours later. After 3 rounds of going through my friends list I was 549 “friends” lighter. It was ah-mazing. Amazing. Cutting the ties that held me to past flames and crushes, their friends, their friends’ friends, their family members, their other ex-girlfriends (I mean on those stats alone, I cleared out about 250 “friends” right there. Kidding. Ok maybe only a little.), people who I’d barely had anything to talk about when I did know them, people I befriended just to be nosey, the list goes on.

And then there were the “friends” I would catch myself checking which would only lead to feelings of jealousy, or a decreased sense of self-worth. Yea, those “friends”. Let’s pause for a moment of clarity: why on Earth would I ever want to do that? Am I that much of an emotional cutter at the matured age of 29?? Come on, JB. Time to release and rid the toxins. Adios, suckers.

facebook cleanse

Facebook = Cleansed

Sunday morning I hit the twitterverse. I love twitter. Always have since 2008 when I first joined, but following 1,111 accounts? That’s a bit excessive. I spend more time weeding out the annoying, complaining, self-loathing, mindless-ness just to find the good stuff. Another hour(ish) passes and boom…..that load was 412 accounts lighter. My twitter feed is grateful and my creative urges are more satisfied now that I can find stuff I really do enjoy and find entertaining. Ah-mazing.

twitter cleanse

Twitter = Cleansed

What did I learn from the big social media cleanse? It was a lot easier than I first thought it would be. Breaking up isn’t so hard to do when you stop the feelings of obligation and put your wants and needs first for a change. Getting back down to the basics helped me remember why I fell in love with social media in the first place. (Given it’s about 65% of my day job, that’s a good thing.  A really really good thing.)

So now I’ve cleansed my body – more on that later this week – and my online communities, who knows what’s next in the pipeline. No holds bar at this time & place.

My word, I’m lovin’ this new found cleansing power. How about you? Anything you may need to cleanse?

l&m,

Jennie B

oh Sunday, Sunday

Morning, Campers!

This is where I’m writing you from right now:

sunday morning

That’s right. I’m spending a good ol’ Sunday morning in bed researching, reading, writing, and getting a few things checked off the to do list.  I don’t have any real reason to write a post, but just thought writing one would be good for me as we enter the new week.

If you’re on the site itself, you’ll notice a few changes. I updated and greatly simplified the theme. And without all the fuss, I managed to get this accomplished in under an hour. #winning Let me know what ya think!

I’m proud to say my 2012 taxes are officially FILED. Done and done. Always feels good to get those things out of the way. Besides, I have two plane tickets to purchase (nashville & dallas), so bring on the refund. #baddabing

I’m really really excited about this upcoming week. Like really excited.

My “new year resolution” was to do 1 thing every month that makes me really really happy and 1 thing that I never thought I’d do. (actually I think I may be doing both this week) And so …… I’m take Tuesday off work for a Personal Day. I haven’t done this since I started in Dermatology and it is long over due. I used to absolutely love my Personal Days off work, and now I get to finally have one.

This Wednesday is also Ash Wednesday – one of my favorite Religious days of the year – which is also the start of my favorite Religious Season of the year, Lent. I’m sure I’ll discuss this more down the road, but for now it just adds to the excitement of this week.  It also means I embark on my “spending freeze”. Since I’ve been on Clean, it’s not like I can give up a food vice, so instead, I’m giving up unnecessary spending for Lent. Now this is going to be quite difficult, but I know it will help launch me forward in my financial goals for 2013. My Sister is helping me understand all things finances and savings a bit better.  She helped me get a game plan together in just a few short phone calls! (She’s awesome like that.) So my Lent Challenge is definitely going to put me in the right direction, for sure.  (do I sound silly at how excited I am about all this, yet?)

Annnnnnnnnnnd speaking of Clean ………… today is Day 21. It is supposed to be my last day of the Clean Program. However, I made the decision last week to ADD another week to the cleanse.  That’s right. I voluntarily decided to add an additional week sans-bread, cheese, milk, 3 solid meals, etc. etc. (ding – thing I never thought I’d do) I already feel really great so far, and figure since it’ll probably be another year before I’m this “clean” – why not add on another week and knock it out of the park? Plus I found all new recipes and I’m actually getting more active in understanding the program and what it is doing for my body, which helps make everything seem so much more worth it.

It’s a pretty solid week ahead of me. And now to help get things started off well, I need to pull myself out of bed, get to cleaning and head to the grocery to stock up on Clean food for the week. Before I go, here’s a snap shot of the new flower arrangement I created yesterday to add an extra special touch to the days ~

pretty flowers

l&m,

jennie b

There’s usually a community for a reason.

I think in ancient texts the name Frances (or Francis) might be the equivalent to the word stubborn. This is just an observation, but follow along with me on this one:

So you know I’m on Clean. It’s Day 16 (woop woop!) and ever since about day 8 I’ve been experiencing extreme dry mouth. No clue what it is! I Bing’d and thought it could have been an overdose of Fiber – because I thought I’d ever have that problem in my life – but turns out, pumping the breaks on the fiber supplements wasn’t the solution.

Of course my formerly hypochondriac mind starts going ca-razy as I create the list of possible illnesses this cleanse has mysteriously uncovered lurking in my body which were now rearing their ugly triple horned heads. Tonight as I debated what kind of doctor I would need to see for this dry mouth condition, it occurred to me that I had signed up for the Support Community on the Clean Program’s web site a few weeks back when I was still looking into getting started.  ZING! Lightbulb. Hesitation.

Had I actually participated in said community? No, of course not. Why? Well, I felt a little ridiculous.  It’s a cleanse.  What was I gonna do – chat about what berries I’m using in my morning shakes compared to which legumes are paired with my free range chicken lunches? Exactly. But to be completely honest, another reason I hadn’t checked out this community page yet? I’m stubborn.* I think I can do things on my own. I don’t like to ask for help all that much, especially if I think it may make me feel not so smart.

*It’s really a quality that has done much worse than good for me over the years. It also seems to run in my family. Seriously – you should see all of us get in an argument – no one is backing down. No one. Stubborn may in fact BE our middle names. 

Well. As simple as it sounds, I buckled down, set up my profile, did some searching (turns out dry mouth is quite the common side effect here), posted my question and you know what happened? Within 15 minutes another recent case of dry mouth raised their hand AND a member of the Clean Team came to my rescue with a solution. Fifteen minutes! It took me longer to pick out what scrubs I wanted to wear this morning and they only come in black or blue!

Who’s got two thumbs and feels a little silly she didn’t just join the community and ask her question 8 days ago? This girl. Sheesh.

Lesson learned. If there’s a community or a support group, it’s probably there for a reason. Don’t be so stubborn next time. Asking for help is a good thing.

clean program community

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to switch gears and move the research to wedding texts and ceremony proceedings.  I’ll be marrying two friends come March (did I say that right?), and I don’t think they’ll be too appreciative if I procrastinate on getting their ceremony together.  I wonder if there’s a community for wedding officiants…..hmmm…..

l&m,

jennie b

Dining Room Downward Dog

Ok, I give. I have a confession. I am all about some yoga. If you’ve been reading the ssm for a while you know this was not always the case – remember this post? – but it definitely is now.

Let me clarify that I’m not a crazy, ashram hopeful, yogi obsessed individual. But I will admit I’ve done 4 yoga sessions in the past 3 days. And all 4 of them in my dining room, in front of our bar, next to the kitchen.

How did this all unfold? It’s quite simple ….. Last October I got the wild idea to find a yoga class to take. I had the urge to give it a go one more time. After running across a web site GoRecess, I searched and found one downtown that was only $5. It was perfect. And when I say perfect – I mean PERFECT! Small – only max 7 students – not over the top yogi and the teacher was laid back, cool, and she just gets it. So not intimidating and I found myself not only enjoying the class, but my body greatly appreciated the stretch after all my Krav Maga and Kickboxing classes, and yes – I was able to tap into that finding your center part of it all. It was ah-mazing.

But it was only once a week. Bleh. The more I went the more I had the inkling to go even more. My Sista Sista told me about a web site she is a member of – yogaglo – and that it’s studio quality classes at different levels, styles, times, everything. I signed up last November, went through my 15 day free trial, started paying the $18 a month, and guess what ….. not once did I use a video. (That kids is what we call an Epic Yoga Failure.) Until Saturday morning.

The yoga class I love, that I haven’t been to in weeks, was booked full. Since I had the subscription to the site I figured might as well test it out. I knew my roomie would be out of town for the day so I could roll my mat out in the only location it would fit – in the dining room, in front of the bar, next to the kitchen – and have at it.

So I did. I did a 15 minute class at first just to stretch out a bit. I was hooked. That’s all it took. 15 minutes and I couldn’t wait to get back to the condo to try out another video. Hooked.

Sometimes during my floor poses I’ll feel a bit silly as my arms lay under the dining room table or fall into the kitchen. Then there’s those times when I have to watch out not to knock a wine bottle out of the holder. Minor details. I get it that most yogis would scoff at me for practicing in such a not-sanctioned space of my home, but I mean ….. you make it work, no?

All the little rules and suggestions like that and others which made me stay away from yoga before no longer bother me. I’m not that kind of practitioner and I don’t know if I ever will be. I just had to find what works for me and in my own time.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s getting late and I have a date with my mat, yogaglo, and my dining room floor.

dining room downward dog

What about you? Any similar wonky stories to share?

l&m,

jennie b

hi, it’s me again.

I’m sure you’re surprised to see my name in your inbox or reader. To be honest I’m a little surprised I’m putting it there. It’s been a while. (almost 7 months to be exact) Many have asked (some repeatedly) why I stopped writing. I can’t really answer that question.

Well, I can but maybe at a later date and time.

Regardless, here I am back at the ssm. And while I’d rather not discuss the absence at this time, I will however mention why I’m back. It’s part of a cleanse I’m doing. It’s called the Clean Program.

Today is Day 7 (of 21) for me.

No, this isn’t some crazy water and lemon juice only situation, or a twelve step intervention over here. It’s a legit 21 day program where I eat two liquid meals a day and one solid meal a day of natural, basic foods. The goal is to push reset on my system, get rid of built up toxins and help rebuild my intestinal system. (TMI, yet??) To fully follow the program, it encourages release of emotional toxins as well. Mediation, Yoga, Exercise, and turning to a creative outlet such as art, music, writing (heyo!), or any other hobby are strongly encouraged to reap the full benefits of cleansing body and soul.

Annnnnnd that’s what lead me back to you. Hi. Again. This time I’ll be doing things a little differently. No weekly posting schedule, no facebook or twitter pages for the ssm (take a gander, they’ve already been deleted), nada. Just me and my sometimes chaotic, but always lovingly entertaining circus of a life.

Now, having said all of that, I need to go start cooking and preparing foods for my lunches this week. Clean week 2 of 3 starts tomorrow. #forabetterlife

l&m,

jennie b

p.s. it feels good to be back.