Go To Your Happy Place

Mike & I were both on vacation for the week of the Fourth so we went to our favorite beach, Jeness in NH one day. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Not a cloud in the blue sky, a slight breeze to keep comfortable and the sun shining in every essence. It shined on my body, my soul and my mind.

I needed a day of peace and sunshine. A day to listen to the waves and chatter of families and friends. I needed a day to rejuvenate my mind as lately I’ve been feeling like I’m running on empty. Small things have upset me, my feelings are easily hurt and I send myself into a state of sadness too often. Life is good. But I’ve been having a hard time remembering that lately. Too much time spent checking off “tasks” that seem important during the day but when I take a second to think about it, aren’t actually that significant. I haven’t given enough time to keeping my mind in a positive, healthy space and it shows thru my rollercoaster of emotions. It’s easy to forget, but keeping our minds healthy takes some time and effort.

The beach always helps me press the reset button, however. It helps me slow down and appreciate the beauty of the day and the life I’ve been given. It helps remind me of the respect I have for our great Mother Earth. It helps remind me of how grateful I am for having Mike in my life and how excited I am to marry him in 13 days (ahhh!!). And it also reminds me of little things in life that I’m grateful for too, like the fact that it’s a blessing that I live in a country where I have the right to go to the beach and swim in the waves in a bikini!! The beach is my place to help disconnect me from the “world” and in turn, it connects me so deeply to what’s important in my life and the real world that surrounds me. 

I hope that you take the time to go your happy place more often- to go wherever it is in the world that helps you reconnect to the important things in life. Because, taking the time is important.

Love & light,

Jessy 


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Bacon Avocado & Feta Salad

After a long weekend full of food and drinks, this always seems to be what Mike and I end up googling….

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So, in an attempt to find a recipe that was healthy but also not boring, I went to where I always go for food ideas… Pinterest! After a few minutes of searching, I found the perfect combo of satisfying and sensible. Plus, it was simple and quick to make which is always preferred. Totally something you could do on a week night and unlike many salad recipes, we were both surprised how full we still were later that night. Anyways, hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Bacon Avocado & Feta Salad 

Balsamic Dressing
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water (or more oil if you wish)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to your tastes)
Salad:
  • 5 ounces |150g bacon, diced and trimmed of all fat
  • 8 cups chopped Iceberg and Romaine
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cucumber, chopped
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • extra Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Whisk together the dressing and if you’re going to add grilled or seared chicken, use this as the marinade as well. Once dressing is made, refrigerate. Fry bacon to a crisp so that it can be easily crumbled. As the bacon is cooling on paper towels, prepare salad fixings and add all together, crumble bacon atop and toss with dressing. Serve and enjoy!


As I mentioned, you could easily grill chicken to add protein or toast up some Sourdough bread as a side.

That’s all for today! Hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday! Half way thru the week, yippee!

Love & light,

Jessy

Breathe Easy

take a deep breath

I don’t know if it’s the steriods I’m on that’s making me feel like this, but I can’t stop thinking about all I have to do. Life, in general right now, is busy. Work’s picking up, I have personal obligations that I need to complete, I’m trying to take my first online class on Coursera, there are trips I need to research and schedule (which is fun but takes a lot of time!), I want to read this, write that, schedule this, plan that, prepare for this or that. All of a sudden there seems like a pile of tasks to check off the list. So today, this motivational Monday is just as much as it is for me as it is for all of you. I need to remember to breathe. The tasks will slowly come off the list– and if some have to get postponed, that’s okay. Today, I need to remember to BREATHE. To inhale all the good that’s in my life, take a big beautiful breath of positive energy, close my eyes and see the light and exhale any negative thoughts or feelings that don’t serve me well.

There are so many benefits to deep breathing — beyond just helping to calm your mind, but physical benefits that can truly make a difference in your daily health.

Make sure you’re doing it correctly, however, to gain the best benefits. First inhale through your nose, expanding your belly and filling your chest. Count to 5. Hold and count to 3– feel all your cells filled with golden, healing, balancing Sun light & energy. Exhale fully from a slightly parted mouth and feel all your cells releasing waste and emptying old energy.

So trust in the fact that you’re where you need to be today, everything that is meant to happen is happening. Breath the certainty in and any worry out that you may have. Today is a good day.

Lots of love & light,

Jessy

For more information on the benefits of taking time to do some deep breathing, here’s a list of 18 physical benefits from the One Powerful Blog:

1. Breathing Detoxifies and Releases Toxins
Your body is designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing. If you are not breathing effectively, you are not properly ridding your body of its toxins i.e. other systems in your body must work overtime which could eventually lead to illness. When you exhale air from your body you release carbon dioxide that has been passed through from your bloodstream into your lungs. Carbon dioxide is a natural waste of your body’s metabolism.

2. Breathing Releases Tension
Think how your body feels when you are tense, angry, scared or stressed. It constricts. Your muscles get tight and your breathing becomes shallow. When your breathing is shallow you are not getting the amount of oxygen that your body needs.

3. Breathing Relaxes the Mind/Body and Brings Clarity
Oxygenation of the brain reducing excessive anxiety levels. Paying attention to your breathing. Breathe slowly, deeply and purposefully into your body. Notice any places that are tight and breathe into them. As you relax your body, you may find that the breathing brings clarity and insights to you as well.

4. Breathing Relieves Emotional Problems
Breathing will help clear uneasy feelings out of your body.

5. Breathing Relieves Pain.
You may not realize its connection to how you think, feel and experience life. For example, what happens to your breathing when you anticipate pain? You probably hold your breath. Yet studies show that breathing into your pain helps to ease it.

6. Breathing Massages Your Organs
The movements of the diaphragm during the deep breathing exercise massages the stomach, small intestine, liver and pancreas. The upper movement of the diaphragm also massages the heart. When you inhale air your diaphragm descends and your abdomen will expand. By this action you, massage vital organs and improves circulation in them. Controlled breathing also strengthens and tones your abdominal muscles.

7. Breathing Increases Muscle
Breathing is the oxygenation process to all of the cells in your body. With the supply of oxygen to the brain this increases the muscles in your body.

8. Breathing Strengthens the Immune System
Oxygen travels through your bloodstream by attaching to haemoglobin in your red blood cells. This in turn then enriches your body to metabolise nutrients and vitamins.

9. Breathing Improves Posture
Good breathing techniques over a sustained period of time will encourage good posture. Bad body posture will result of incorrect breathing so this is such an important process by getting your posture right from early on you will see great benefits.

10. Breathing Improves Quality of the Blood
Deep breathing removes all the carbon-dioxide and increases oxygen in the blood and thus increases blood quality.

11. Breathing Increases Digestion and Assimilation of food
The digestive organs such as the stomach receive more oxygen, and hence operates more efficiently. The digestion is further enhanced by the fact that the food is oxygenated more.

12. Breathing Improves the Nervous System
The brain, spinal cord and nerves receive increased oxygenation and are more nourished. This improves the health of the whole body, since the nervous system communicates to all parts of the body.

13. Breathing Strengthen the Lungs
As you breathe deeply the lung become healthy and powerful, a good insurance against respiratory problems.

14. Proper Breathing makes the Heart Stronger.
Breathing exercises reduce the workload on the heart in two ways. Firstly, deep breathing leads to more efficient lungs, which means more oxygen, is brought into contact with blood sent to the lungs by the heart. So, the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to deliver oxygen to the tissues. Secondly, deep breathing leads to a greater pressure differential in the lungs, which leads to an increase in the circulation, thus resting the heart a little.

15. Proper Breathing assists in Weight Control.

If you are overweight, the extra oxygen burns up the excess fat more efficiently. If you are underweight, the extra oxygen feeds the starving tissues and glands.
16. Breathing Boosts Energy levels and Improves Stamina

17. Breathing Improves Cellular Regeneration

18. Breathing Elevates Moods
Breathing increase pleasure-inducing neurochemicals in the brain to elevate moods and combat physical pain – See more at: http://www.onepowerfulword.com/2010/10/18-benefits-of-deep-breathing-and-how.html#sthash.yKZxzcMv.dpuf

Fall Fiesta

When it’s cold outside, and we’ve been cooped up inside for days, remind me of days like this…

When I woke up and headed to a corn maze with three of my favorite people in the world.  And sipped on delicious hot apple cider.  

And then picked pumpkins that we’ll carve into jack-o-lanterns and continued to use my selfie stick to capture the moments (best purchase ever, no shame here). 

    
 And then came home and thought, what better day to go for a run!? So I strapped on my yoga pants and sneakers and headed down to the good old Mystic River in Somerville. I decided to take a new route and found a great, long path right along the water. I feel so happy when I’m near the water, doesn’t matter what kind, even if I have the highway to my left, as long as I have the river to my right, I feel a little more at peace than typical. And then as I continued to run I came along a three story lookout tower that I marched right up, did some sun salutations, looked out onto the Boston skyline that I love so much, felt the sunshine on my face and felt so grateful for the moment that was upon me. Healthy enough to be running again, strong enough to climb flights of stairs and in a good enough place mentally to be able to feel the sunshine on my face, totally alone and realize how lucky I truly am. And okay enough with myself to laugh at how crazy my hair has become. 

   
   
Then I picked up some fall essentials to decorate our front steps, because honestly a decorated house is a happy house. And a happy house is a happy me. 

   
 
Now I’m sitting in my Brady jersey & sweat pants, with pulled pork on the oven (thanks to the best boyfriend in America), and a good old O’Doules in hand with my snuggley guy. 

  
Fall is a special time of the year in New England. 

Life is good today. 

Remind me of this day in January. 

Lots of love & light,

Jessy 

Sweat & Smiles

The beauty of yoga is that it truly is YOUR practice. It can be mindful, humbling, spiritual, physically difficult, but it also can be fun, and silly and happy! To me, it’s about being in the moment, whether that moment is a serious one or happy go-lucky one. Yesterday, I needed to make my heart feel good. After a  stressful day at work, and more importantly a draining day on my mind as I was of course worrying about my Grammy’s surgery (which by the way, thank you all for your positive thoughts and vibes, she came out of surgery and is recovering now at the Brigham. Thanks to you all, we all so appreciate it!) So yesterday, I needed my practice to be fun. I needed my practice to lift a load off and just let me be silly in a pretty serious day. So on went the upbeat music so I could get in some poses that would challenge me physically but also allow me to snap my fingers, shake my rump, roll my shoulders and shake my head like a dog! 20 minutes of sweating it out and smiling and I was feeling like a different lady!

I hope this video makes you laugh or smile. Happy Tuesday loves!

Lot of love & light,

Jessy

Body Thoughts

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I’ve been trying to work out a lot lately, eat healthy. do yoga, take the stairs. And as much as I’d love to say it’s all for my overall health, a lot of the motivation has to do with my body and how it looks. Knowing I’m going to be in a bikini next week stresses me out. I’ve been thinking about it all the time. Every time I go to get in the shower, I look at myself in the mirror and think “ugh.” Now I know what you’re probably thinking, “oh shut up Jess, you’re a small girl.” I hear it all the time and I get it. But I also know how I feel. I also am allowed and entitled to feel unhappy with my body if that’s the way I honestly view myself. It’s always really irked me when someone scolds me for complaining about how I look because they think I’m being ridiculous. I’m a petite person, I know this, but I also have flaws that I don’t like and I struggle with feeling good about myself. The reason for this blog post, however, is not to rip on people that “shoooosh” me or tell me to be quiet when I talk about my weight. But instead, it’s to vent about why I even feel this way in the first place. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and it really makes no sense. Why do I care that I have a roll when I bend over? Or that the lower portion of my belly sticks out a little bit? Those factors really don’t affect my actual life yet it affects my mental life. My body has done incredible things this year. My body has rid itself of a horrible disease called leukemia. My body has overcome pancreatitis, on multiple occasions. My body has taken round after round after round of toxins to help the leukemia never come back. Yet, somehow, when I think of my body, I think it’s not enough? If I’m being honest, that’s seriously effed up.

I really don’t know if there’s anything that can be done about this but it’s something that makes my mind move. It interests me that the brain works like this. That I logically know that having a “pooch” is really unimportant, but emotionally, I can’t seem to shake the fact that I absolutely hate it and want a flat stomach. Emotionally, I’m jealous of the tall (long haired) girls with lean legs and a flat stomach rather than maybe someone who’s short and stalky but brilliant and a doctor. When I really stop and think about it, I’m jealous of that doctor. I truly wish I could be a nurse or doctor but I spend more time fantasizing about having Candace Swanepoel’s body. I spend more time idealizing someone for having a nice stomach rather than someone who’s saving lives. That’s a sad fact.
I think we’re all guilty of this, however. Even the Candace Swanepoel of the world. And I don’t think it makes us bad people, it’s just who we are as humans. It’s the old “you always want what you can’t have” and having a better body always seems to be on the list. But I’ll tell you something, as much as I say I want it, I don’t know how much I truly do. Because, unlike the Candace’s of the world, I like my burgers. I love nachos. And beers. And pasta. And cheeeeeeeeeeeese. Good food makes life good. It’s an activity. It’s a part of life and one that I would never give it up just so I could attain that 6 pack abs look. Because “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” is IN-FRICKEN-ACCURATE. Buffalo chicken pizza tastes WAY better than a flat stomach would feel.
Till the next random rant.
XOXO,
Jessy
p.s. I hope this didn’t come off as “woe is me” or a back-handed way to get compliments, because that’s not what I’m looking for. I just wanted to openly talk about how I feel about my body image and body thoughts in general.

Dancing Yoga

Sometime’s when you just can’t decide between dancing around your living room or doing yoga, you should mix the two together for a workout that’s fun but still makes you sweat!

So that’s what I did. Turned up my Beyonce Live CD, rolled out the yoga mat and grabbed my 5 pound weights. Mix the three together and my worries were long gone, smiling as I shook my rump, and peaceful as I got my namaste on. What a perfect combo!

Happy Saturday everyone!

XOXO,
Jessy