2015, August 25

Play like you’re a little girl or a boxer

The assignment for last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly was to Play.

My friend Stephany and I were just talking about this the week before, when we met up in London. We talked about sooo many things, and then about how not much has changed since we were kids. We got along just as well, it was like she never moved away to New Zealand.
She told me how tough it was on her to move away. We used to go out in the streets around our houses with the kids around the neighborhood and play. Hopscotch, French hopscotch in snail layout, jump rope, tag, hide and seek, and so on. She said kids in New Zealand didn’t do that much where she lived (they preferred staying inside), and it was a big adjustment for her.
However, now at 26+ years of age, we both feel that we don’t play enough anymore. We came to the conclusion that we’re doing far more stuff that we don’t necessarily want, than the stuff we’re passionate about. I was so happy to be there with her, and implicitly to take her out of the house and her usual routine so that she also relaxed and could unwind after work and everything else she has on her plate.

I’ve recently bought a jump rope to add to my evening exercise routine.
The conversation with my boyfriend went something like this:
– I want to jump rope, too. Mine is in the attic somewhere. Do you happen to have one at your dad’s?
– That’s a good idea. No, I don’t have a jump rope.
– Why? Didn’t you have one growing up?
– No. Because I wasn’t a little girl or a boxer…

Anyway one of the first thoughts I had after jumping rope the first evening, right after wondering “Oh my god, how did I last doing this for hours on end when I was a child?” while trying to catch my breath, was that it’s great and I’ve forgotten how much fun I used to have!

On the other hand, I was so busy and felt so scattered that I nearly said I didn’t play last week. But in truth, I played Ice Age Village on my tablet, read on the train and goofed off with my boyfriend on the train/on the road, we drove into the next town over one night before going home just for fun because we love the new car, and I played with Pixel every day.
I wonder why the tendency to dismiss small things like these exists in us instead of focusing on them, especially when we’re having a hectic week?

For week 34, the assignment is to Photograph the stuff you love. Here’s what j said about this week’s assignment in the 52-52 guide:
“There is something about a camera, or rather there is something about looking at the world through a camera’s lens. You notice things you didn’t notice before. You appreciate the beauty of things you may never have seen as beautiful before. What you choose to capture has innate importance; it says something about you and the world you live in.
This week, take pictures of the stuff (places, people, food, activities) you love. Put them in an album. Share them with someone who loves you.”

I look forward to it! I am still posting beautiful London pics on Instagram, but will surely photograph things in my immediate surroundings every day. I’ll share them here in a collage, next week.

How was your week? Did you play? Do you usually incorporate that into your day because you have kids and play with them? If not, did you visit nieces, nephews or grandchildren? Or did you play just for play’s sake without wanting anyone else around to prompt it?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, August 18

My “Songs to be belted” playlist

For last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly, the assignment was to Make a “songs to be belted” playlist.
j said that for her, collecting songs for such a playlist was fun because not every song she likes is a song she loves to belt, and I completely understand that. Some songs are just for yourself, to belt any and every single time you hear them.

Below is my “Songs to be belted” playlist, or at least the playlist I thought of this week. It could easily change depending on my mood.

  • Uptown girl; Bop bop baby; Us against the world; The reason, by Westlife
  • All out of love, cover by Delta Goodrem and Westlife
  • Just Give Me A Reason, cover by Luke Conard and Helena&Maria
  • Back to December, cover by Luke Conard and Ingrid Nilsen
  • Spirit in the sky, by Norman Greenbaum
  • Anyone of us, by Gareth Gates
  • Right here; Goodnight Moon; Louder than words, by HeyHiHello
  • B-e-a-utiful, by Megan Nicole
  • Love me like you do, by Ellie Goulding
  • Friend of mine, by Treble Charger
  • What makes you beautiful, One Direction
  • Never let it end, by Dancs Annamari
  • Woke up this way; Break free from silence, by Antal Timi
  • On Road 67, by Republic

The assignment for week 33 is to Play. Here’s what j said about it in the 52-52 guide:
“Play /plā/ Verb:

To engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.
Recently I was talking to a friend and she said she’s forgotten how to play. She said she’s noticed that when she plays with her children, she feels awkward, overly aware of herself.
I don’t think she’s an anomaly, though I wish she was. I think a lot of us forget how to play over time. We get older. We run less (and almost never for the sake of running). We don’t twirl at the drop of a hat, spinning about like tops until we’re too dizzy to stand. Our time gets filled with the stuff that pays our bills, and we forget how interesting ants are, how exhilarating it is to skip a stone across a pond, how awesome the view is from the branch of a tree.
In my opinion, there needs to be more colored chalk in our lives, more games of tag, more Crazy Eights, more cupcake eating – no hands.
This week, take every opportunity to play.”

I’ve recently bought a jump rope to add to my evening exercise routine. And one of the first thoughts I had, after wondering “Oh my god, how did I last doing this for hour on end when I was a child?” while trying to catch my breath, was that it’s great and I’ve forgotten how much fun I used to have! Let’s see how this week goes when I’ll deliberately incorporate play into my daily routine.

How was your week? Did you make a songs to be belted playlist? Do you usually sing along when a song you love comes up on the radio? Or are you not a singer, no matter what?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, August 10

Partake in salad alchemy

For last week, the assignment in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly was to Partake in salad alchemy. I’ll copy below what j says in the 52-52 Guide, so you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about.
“One year on my birthday, my friend Andrea sent me the coolest little e-book. It’s called Salad Alchemy. It’s written by Meg Worden of Feed Me, Darling, and it’s so special and different that I’ll steal the words from her site to describe it:
Salad Alchemy is 7 lovely, life shifting salads, with ingredients that hold in them legend, story, nutrients and energy to transform your body and belief system about food.
This is not your ordinary cookbook or recipe book. This is seven story-centric salad recipes that serve to guide you into a deeper understanding of how pleasurable the preparation and consumption of food can be. It can be an ecstatic experience, even if you’re eating salad. Salad! Who knew?
I loved it. The seven salads are named Creativity, Power, Genius, Transformation, Stability, Beauty and Love. Meg writes about each one beautifully, linking food, myth, science and soul. I loved making the salads, reading Meg’s words, thinking about them as I tasted. It’s not a book so much as an experience.
This week, I’d love you try Meg’s salads. You can download the book here. It’s only $8.95, but if you can’t afford that, this week, live as though you believe the adage, “you are what you eat.” Be good to your body. Eat fresh, raw, and close to the earth. Eliminate preservatives and anything with unpronounceable ingredients. Enjoy your meals from prep all the way through clean-up. Your body is an astonishing biological miracle. Slow down. Appreciate it. Feed it soulfully.”

I couldn’t buy the book right now, but followed j’s advice and ate as healthy as I could, and played with having salads nearly every day.
On Monday I made grilled squash. On Tuesday I had a salad with hard boiled eggs in it. On Wednesday I took a salad to work for lunch and added the left-over squash into it. On Thursday I made Eggplant Spread. On Friday I added a can of tuna to my salad. On Saturday I sautéed mushrooms to go with lunch. And on Sunday, I had a yummy salad from Pret, in Kingston.
I also did my best to have fruit nearly every day, like bananas for breakfast, apples after lunch and melons as a treat, and I had yogurt and muesli, too.
And to tell the truth, I look forward to eating in London this week. I ate healthy last time I was here as well, so it’ll be nice not having the temptation of chocolate, chips and other such things around me (we have quite the extensive stash of treats in one of our kitchen cabinets at home!) ;)

In case you’re looking for new salad ideas, here are a few salad recipes I posted on my blog before. I still love making them on a regular basis!

For week 32, the assignment is to Make a “songs to be belted” playlist.
j said that for her, collecting songs for such a playlist was fun because not every song she likes is a song she loves to belt, and I completely understand that. I will be making a playlist for myself, and share the titles with you here, next week.

How was your week? Did you partake in salad alchemy? Or at least ate healthy things too, every day? Or a couple of days maybe?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, August 3

Trying something new, every day

In the year of loving ourselves fearlessly, last week the assignment was to Try Something New Every Day. Here’s something I just loved from what j said about it in the 52-52 guide: “these days absolute presence is hard to come by. With all that we have vying for our attention, it’s a wonder we’re able to focus at all, and when it happens, when you feel yourself caught up completely in exactly what’s happening RIGHT NOW, it’s ordinary magic at its extraordinary best.
This week, try something new every day. Drive a new route to work. Eat something pickled. Visit a new restaurant. Go to a movie alone. Paint a canvas. Send a love letter written in crayon. Revel in your now.”

The new things I’ve tried this week, are as follows:

  1. Had oven fried chicken with corn on the side for dinner, that my boyfriend cooked. I loved it!
  2. Started using the Expense Manager app, for Android.
  3. Had lunch alone.
  4. Started writing a travel essentials article – will keep you posted when it goes up on Milliver’s Travels.
  5. Drank/will continue drinking cappuccinos in the mornings, until the new coffee maker arrives. I chose all different flavors, like Vanilla, Caramel, Mocha and Milka Chocolate.
  6. Decided to stay for an extra three days in London on my upcoming work trip.
  7. Enjoyed a cup of tea on the balcony, listening to crickets and marveling in the full Moon.

For week 31, the assignment is to Partake in salad alchemy. I’ll copy below what j says in the 52-52 Guide, so you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about.
“One year on my birthday, my friend Andrea sent me the coolest little e-book. It’s called Salad Alchemy. It’s written by Meg Worden of Feed Me, Darling, and it’s so special and different that I’ll steal the words from her site to describe it:
Salad Alchemy is 7 lovely, life shifting salads, with ingredients that hold in them legend, story, nutrients and energy to transform your body and belief system about food.
This is not your ordinary cookbook or recipe book. This is seven story-centric salad recipes that serve to guide you into a deeper understanding of how pleasurable the preparation and consumption of food can be. It can be an ecstatic experience, even if you’re eating salad. Salad! Who knew?
I loved it. The seven salads are named Creativity, Power, Genius, Transformation, Stability, Beauty and Love. Meg writes about each one beautifully, linking food, myth, science and soul. I loved making the salads, reading Meg’s words, thinking about them as I tasted. It’s not a book so much as an experience.
This week, I’d love you try Meg’s salads. You can download the book here. It’s only $8.95, but if you can’t afford that, this week, live as though you believe the adage, “you are what you eat.” Be good to your body. Eat fresh, raw, and close to the earth. Eliminate preservatives and anything with unpronounceable ingredients. Enjoy your meals from prep all the way through clean-up. Your body is an astonishing biological miracle. Slow down. Appreciate it. Feed it soulfully.”

I won’t buy the book right now, but I will follow j’s advice and eat as healthy as I can, and play with having salads every evening for dinner.

How was your week? Did you try something new every day? Or a couple of days maybe?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, July 27

Banning “I can’t” from my lexicon

Last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly, the assignment was to Ban “I can’t” from our lexicon. As j said: “I can’t” is easy to say and rarely true. Or, if it is true, it’s only half the story (and I would argue it’s not the most interesting or important half). It leaves off where the real you begins, the one who is afraid of being imperfect, the one who’s been hurt and doesn’t want to get hurt again, the one who struggles with boundaries, or priorities, or confidence. Whatever the reasons you say, “I can’t” (and we all do), this week will be a challenge; you’ll have to figure out a different way to say what you want to say: “I don’t want to,” or “I’m not interested,” or “I’m not ready yet.” 

It didn’t turn out to be the challenge I thought it might be. Apparently I like explaining myself and being as clear as possible ;)
Instead of saying “I can’t”, I said the truth: “I don’t like peanuts”, “I’m reading, so maybe later”, “I’m unsure about it”, “I don’t like talking on the phone”, “I have a meeting in ten minutes”, “I don’t know how to do this, will you help me?”, “Having the AC below 21C is bad for me” and “I’ll see you tomorrow, instead.”

What I noticed is that after clearly stating what you’re feeling or the reason you don’t want to do something or try something, people might follow up and when that happens, fun and meaningful conversations arise as a product of it. Of course this wasn’t always the case, but I do like the chances better than if I’d be saying a flat out “No” or “I can’t”.

The only sentence I left and used “I can’t” in?
It was: I can’t wait! As in, “I can’t wait to see you again”, “I can’t wait to get home”, “I can’t wait for you to arrive”, “I can’t wait to have dinner and climb into bed” and “I can’t wait to see London again”.

The assignment for week 30 is to Try Something New Every Day. I like this idea! And I’m already wondering what to try over the course of this week.
Here’s what j says about this assignment, in the 52-52 guide: “Here’s what I know about trying something new, no matter what it is: you are, in that moment of experimentation and adventure, absolutely present. It’s true whether you’re bungee jumping, or learning to swim, or writing your first poem, or running your first marathon, or role playing with your lover, or tasting for the first time chocolate covered insects. It’s true whether you love or hate the new thing you try.”

How was your week? Did you manage to ban “I can’t” from your lexicon? How easy was it, or did you have a hard time with this assignment? And, were there many thing you couldn’t wait for?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, July 20

Unplug

The assignment for last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly was to Unplug. It was such a good reminder!
In today’s world, it’s so easy to feel that one needs to keep up constantly with text messages, e-mails, Instagram and other social media since we are inundated by information at all times. And it’s good to separate from that!

Even though I couldn’t exactly unplug for good, given that my work requires a turned on laptop, I did my best to keep my online presence, well… online, only during work hours this week. I limited the times I checked FB, Twitter or my e-mail and what ever else after I got home. The most I “used” my laptop at home was to watch an episode or two of “Murder, she wrote” with my boyfriend before going to bed.

A friend of mine, really wisely might I add, reserves time for herself in the morning. She’s definitely a morning person, unlike me. Ever since she started working after college, she has seen it as “her time”. I love that phrasing!
For her, mornings are this cushion of time where she doesn’t have any distractions, and she wakes up really early so that she can focus on the things she loves. She puts on her makeup, does her hair and cooks herself breakfast. She enjoys her breakfast at her little coffee table set up on the balcony, people watching.
After she’s done with all of this, she grabs the remainder of her coffee, gets cozy on the couch and reads a book.
And what I love most about her morning ritual? All the while, her phone is turned off! It’s her way of making sure she has no outside distractions, no temptation to go online, no looking at any social media. It’s her time to disconnect, to unplug every single day.
By the time she turns her phone back on, she’s feeling ready to go, energized and content because she got her me-time in and no matter how the day turns out by night time, she has had a really awesome start.

If you’re not a morning person either, set aside some time in the evening, or do what my friend j does and “steal some time”. She reminded me this week, that even on the busiest days, there are pockets of time that suddenly become available. So, she highly recommends this method for basically anything, but especially for filling one’s soul.

Using her method, last week I read for 20 min while waiting for a friend to arrive, called my grandmother on my father’s side while waiting for the BF after work, did some mid-week cleaning and tidying up, read a book before bed since my boyfriend fell asleep early, took my break every day at work instead of cutting it short or working through lunch and enjoyed meaningful conversations with my friend from work, I enjoyed a back massage, worked out a little, and played and cuddled with Pixel.
I also stayed offline for most of the day on Saturday and Sunday. I wrote five love letters (you’re not too late if you want to join in), did some journaling which I’ve been neglecting, and wrote this blog post with my internet connection turned off.

For me, the weekend is that time when I do the most things which bring me joy.
On Saturdays, my boyfriend usually goes to help his dad with groceries shopping and etc., so I stay at home and do some cleaning and some cooking. You probably know by now that these activities really help me relax (I’m definitely that person who starts de-cluttering at 10pm, if annoyed for some reason), but I also try and add in some reading and writing into my Saturday or Sunday mornings. I have always found writing to be very therapeutic for me, I can release what ever it is that I am feeling, or completely dive into a different world while reading a book I love.
Sundays are usually reserved for us-time with my boyfriend. We cook together, or watch a movie, play with Pixel, go for walks and sometimes meet up with friends. It’s the most chill-paced day we both have in the week and enjoy each other’s company to the fullest. Doing what I love over the weekend really refreshes me for the week ahead.

I think that it’s important to do the things we love, no matter what time of the day it is. It makes a huge difference in one’s overall fulfillment and overall joy in life!

For week 29 the assignment is to Ban “I can’t” from your lexicon.
I really love the way j has phrased it in the 52-52 guide, so I’ll share an excerpt: “I can’t” is easy to say and rarely true. Or, if it is true, it’s only half the story (and I would argue it’s not the most interesting or important half). It leaves off where the real you begins, the one who is afraid of being imperfect, the one who’s been hurt and doesn’t want to get hurt again, the one who struggles with boundaries, or priorities, or confidence. Whatever the reasons you say, “I can’t” (and we all do), this week will be a challenge; you’ll have to figure out a different way to say what you want to say: “I don’t want to,” or “I’m not interested,” or “I’m not ready yet.” 

How was your week? Did you unplug? Do you regularly have time in a day set aside to just be present and do something you love which doesn’t involve having an internet connection or even a turned on phone?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, July 13

Say Yes!

Last week’s assignment in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly was to Say Yes. Yes to an outing even when you feel like you’d rather go straight home after work, to helping someone with what will take you ten to fifteen minutes instead of the hour it might take them, or most especially say yes to that wild, inadvisable dream you have.
And as j explained it in the 52-52 guide, the most important thing during this week and this exercise is to “question every no. Understand where it comes from. Understand your reasons. If they’re sound, go ahead. If they’re based in fear, stop. Take a deep breath.” and say Yes.

Lately, I like the fact that I can say No more easily. Sure there are still obligations I can’t get out of, or the usual compromises that every relationship has, be that with either family, romantic or with friends, but it has gotten easier to say No when I don’t want to do something, or go somewhere.

I think that it’s important to know when to say Yes or No, because if we just mindlessly said No to everything, or Yes to everything our lives wouldn’t have too much meaning… (like in that movie where the guy says Yes to everything and things go well for him, but then ends up realizing that too much of a good thing can be bad, too.)

Last week I’ve said Yes to a couple of things and realized that I’ve said No to more things. However, the things I said No to, have freed up time for me to rest over the weekend.
I listened to my tired, achy body and decided to work from home on Thursday and Friday, felt like cooking and experimenting with new recipes so I baked some Apple Crisp and made yummy Squash Fritters, and one evening when the BF came home later instead of watching a movie or getting lost online, I read a book.
We went to a house warming party we couldn’t get out of, but didn’t stay too long, so we could get up earlier and go out to a friend’s cabin in the mountains nearby. We had a lovely walk, some yummy grilled food and just plain had fun.

unnamed (1)

I guess by saying No to several things over the course of the week, I actually said a silent Yes to others.

For week 28, the assignment is to Unplug. 
j says, we try the following: “This week, take a hiatus. Turn off your computer, your television, your game consoles. Fill your time with things that don’t require an outlet. Plug yourself into your physical life; engage all your senses for a day. Or seven. Make some space, then fill it with the real, 3-D you.”
And while I can’t exactly unplug for good, given that my work requires a turned on laptop, I will do my best to keep my online presence, well… online, only during work hours this week and limit the times I check FB, Twitter or my e-mails and what ever else. Maybe even go for walks, or jogging after work?
I’ll try to read, and play and get out of the house more, and, every day this week I will take my one hour lunch break (and maybe go for a walk, when the weather is cooperating) instead of working through lunch.

How was your week? Did you say Yes to many things? Or have you also found that by saying No to the things you didn’t feel like doing, you made more time and had more energy for the things you really wanted to do?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,384 other followers

%d bloggers like this: