Practicing Mindfulness: Take the Challenge

Mindfulness. What does being mindful mean to you? To me, it means focusing on one thing at a time. I used to call myself a “Master Multi-tasker.” Over the years, I have shed that title, and have learned to immerse myself into one task at a time. I have less stress and truly enjoy experiencing all of the different sensations and aspects of my task at hand.

Riley from the Spirit and Soul Blog, and I have collaborated on blog posts and a 5-Day Mindfulness Challenge! First, read my five tips for becoming more mindful, then head over to Riley’s post. Sign up here with your e-mail address to take our 5-Day Mindfulness Challenge where we will instruct you on integrating tips and tricks for becoming more mindful in your everyday life.  

So, we begin…

Mindful Eating

Clear your table. Turn off the TV and phone. Prepare your food on your plate. Sit down comfortably. How does it feel to sit? Take ONE bite. How does your food taste? Is it hot or cold? What’s the texture like? Chew slowly and thoroughly. Swallow. Put your fork down. Take a deep breath. Savor your food.

My husband and I used to read bills, text whoever was pinging us, and watch the news. Now, we have a no distraction zone at our dining room table. We sit together, without external resources and devices, enjoy each other’s company, and taste our food.

Mindful Eating

Mindful Exercise

Have you ever gone to a yoga class and the person next to you is on their cell phone? Whenever I enter the gym, I find it comical to see a bunch of zombies walking around with headphones blasting and mobile devices in each hand.

I used to be both of those people. Now, I leave my cell phone in my car during my yoga class. At the gym, I go without my headphones and cell phone. It is so easy to zone out on an elliptical; I want to be present in my workout. I want to feel my body’s movements and be more aware of what’s around me. I learned that I like the gym’s music, too!

Mindful Exercise

Mindful Mornings

My alarm would sound and I would fly out of bed like a bat out of hell. I would begin checking my e-mails, text messages, and calendar. Now, after I turn off my alarm, I sit at the edge of my bed, and take a few moments to acknowledge, and give gratitude for, receiving another beautiful day.

This allows me to be present in the moment.

As I sit on the edge of my bed, I do a full body scan. How do my neck and back feel today? Do I feel well rested, or am I still tired? I take deep, cleansing breaths. I meditate. Now, I am ready to begin my day.

Mindful Grooming

I don’t have an intense grooming routine. I brush my teeth with doTERRA’s On Guard Whitening Toothpaste, floss, and use mouthwash. I run a brush through my hair and affix a messy bun. Simple, right? Try using your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth and hair. What happened? How did you do?

Slow down your grooming routine. Taste the toothpaste and mouthwash. Feel the sensation of the bristles on your teeth and scalp. Look at yourself in the mirror. Take time for you.

I love my showers. Showers can become a sensory experience, inducing feelings of peace and happiness. As you enter, feel the warm water rush over your body. Take a moment to enjoy the scent of your shampoo and body scrub. I love feeling the texture of the body scrub and smelling the aroma of the essential oils. My skin feels so soft and lovely afterward. I love seeing the dirt from the day wash away. I meditate in the shower and take the time to focus on myself, completely surrendering to moments of self-love.

Mindful Driving

During yoga class, an instructor asked, “For those of your who drove, what was your experience like getting here?” Answers ranged from, “Same as always.” “Listened to the radio.” “Rushed.” “Got stuck in traffic.” She proceeded to ask us how we sat in our seat (were we in good anatomical alignment?), whether we had both hands on the wheel (with arms engaged?), and if we practiced Uddiyana Bandha (abdominal lock and breathing technique). We proceeded to review how to integrate mindfulness into driving. These techniques I still use today.

I learned to sit with good alignment, practice breathing, and abdominal holds, have both hands on the wheel, arms engaged, and to turn off the radio. Turn off Bluetooth. Let your call go to voicemail. Pay attention to the road. Let thoughts enter and exit. If the weather is acceptable, roll down your windows. Open your sunroof. Feel the breeze. Do you notice a difference from your normal routine?

Driving Mindfully

Final Thoughts

How are you more mindful? In what ways do you integrate mindfulness into your daily routine?

Don’t forget to sign up for our 5-Day Mindfulness Challenge! It will start July 3!

Namaste.

5 Ways to be Mindful

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Flavored Kale Chips

I love kale. I always purchase kale for my salads and smoothies, so I decided it would be more cost effective to grow kale in my garden this year. I also found that it was very difficult to find a bag of kale chips without artificial flavors and preservatives. Kale chips could also be quite expensive, so I started making flavored kale chips at home. It took a few some experimenting to come up with the perfect recipe.

Shopping List

  • Fresh kale, cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces.
  • Flavored olive oil (I used cilantro & roasted garlic.)
  • Flavored salt (I used garlic.)
  • Side note: Get creative. Add crushed red pepper, minced ginger, black salt, etc.

Olive Oil and Garlic Salt

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Spread one layer of kale onto a baking sheet.
  • Drizzle olive oil over kale. Make sure each leaf has olive oil on it.
  • Sprinkle with salt.
  • Cook in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Watch kale closely. If you overcook, it will taste bitter and burnt. If you don’t cook it long enough, it will not be crunchy and will be slick with olive oil.

Kale on Baking Sheet

The final result…

Kale Chips

Crunchy, yummy, healthy kale chips with a nice flavor of cilantro, onion, and garlic.

Do you like kale? Have you ever made kale chips? 

Share your kale recipe in the comments!

Flavored Kale Chips

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Chomps: A Jerky Stick to Sink your Teeth Into

I am training for my first half marathon. I am also mostly dairy and wheat free, due to intolerances that make my skin break out into a nasty red rash. To prevent a lovely red glow, I stick to a mostly Paleo/Whole 30 diet, which makes me feel great – inside and out.

As an occupational therapist, I work in nursing homes and home care. Sometimes my lunches are in my car, or I am stuffing my face in the hallway before I enter my patient’s room. I work long hours, so eating something that is healthy and fills my belly is non-negotiable when I look for an on-the-go snack/meal.

Chomps

Take Chomps out to the ball game! Peanuts are good, Chomps are better!

Enter Chomps.

Chomps is founded by Pete Maldonado, who knew he struck gold with his homemade jerky snacks.

Chomps

Chomps Sticks

Millennials like me are awfully picky nowadays. We want grass-fed, non-GMO, sustainable food. We actually care about what we put into our bodies. We follow diets like Whole 30, Paleo, and do things like Intermittent Fasting. We like variety, too. Chomps hits the nail on the head…here’s why:

Chomps jerky sticks are:

  • 100% Grass-Fed, Non-GMO Beef
  • 100% Grass-Fed, Non-GMO Venison
  • 100% Free Range Chicken
  • No added sugars
  • No MSG or nitrates
  • No fillers or binders (celery juice is used, instead!)
  • No added preservatives
  • No antibiotics
  • Gluten-Free
  • Whole 30 and Paleo approved

Chomps is sustainable, which couldn’t make me happier. Each Chomps stick has at least 9 grams of protein and is 100 calories (Crankin’ Cran is 110 calories), which makes this a perfect snack for in between meals. A box of 5 Chomps sticks costs $11.25 USD. They can be ordered online through the Chomps website or you could search their store locator.

Chomps

Yours truly with the flavored Chomps

Enjoy Chomps in FIVE different flavors:

  • Beef, Original Flavor
    • Feedback: I love the natural beef taste mixed with the spices. I especially taste the garlic and coriander. I feel good that the beef is 100% grass fed and that there are no synthetic materials. Chomps shows me the beef!
    • Ingredients: 100% grass fed beef, water, salt, encapsulated citric acid, celery juice, black pepper, red pepper, garlic powder, coriander, stuffed in a collagen casing
  • Beef, Hoppin’ Jalapeno
    • Feedback: I am the jalapeno lady. I have a jalapeno plant in my garden. I am constantly adding jalapeno to cocktails and garnishing meals. The jalapeno compliments the beef; it isn’t too spicy, either. My husband LOVES this one!
  • Beef, Crankin’ Cran
    • Feedback: I love cranberries. I often purchase real cranberry juice and add it to my smoothies. I also make one hell of a Paleo meatloaf with cranberries. I love the Crankin’ Cran Chomps stick. It’s like Hoppin’ Jalapenos arch nemesis. This is the sweeter, softer stick. Excellent for a midmorning snack!
  • Chicken Flavor
    • I did not sample this flavor.
  • Venison, Cracked Pepper & Sea Salt
    • Feedback: I love venison because it isn’t gamey and is super lean. Chomps perfects being able to taste the meat, and adding delicious spices to enhance the flavor.
Chomps Sticks

My mom, Anna, loving her Chomps sticks

Final Thoughts

Invest in your health. Sink your teeth into Chomps. You won’t be disappointed.

Namaste.

Chomps

My husband leaving for work with a backpack full of Chomps

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Disclosure: Chomps sent me their product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions within are my own.

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Part 2: Lake Placid, NY – Things to Do

If you haven’t already, take a look at Part 1: Lake Placid, NY – Where to Stay & Eat.

This blog post features some of our adventures during our 4 night, 5 days stay in Lake Placid, NY.

Adirondack Wildlife Refuge

We love animals, so being able to see wolves, foxes, bald eagles, owls, and coyotes up close was really cool. We snapped a lot of pictures! The Adirondack Wildlife Refuge operates on donations, so make sure you leave a few dollars to keep this non-profit organization running smoothly.

Lake Placid Olympic Ski Jumping Complex

I always watch the Olympics. We got at the complex at the perfect time; the Olympians were practicing ski jumping into the pool. We watched them in awe. Then we took an elevator ride to the top of the ski jump. It gave us great views of the complex and high peaks.

Olympic Platform

Olympic Platform in the Ski Jump Complex

Ski Jump, Lake Placid NY

Ski Jump Complex, Lake Placid, NY

Hiking Cascade and Porter Mountain

If you are not in decent physical shape and don’t have the appropriate gear, please don’t attempt the high peaks! This was grueling. It took us six hours to do both Cascade and Porter mountains. The conditions were terrible; muddy and high water everywhere. Jason and I are in decent physical shape and we struggled! If you can do it, I would recommend it. The summits are beautiful and we enjoyed a breathtaking view. There are plenty of easier, shorter hikes if this is too challenging. I would recommend getting outside and on a trail!

Cascade Mountain

Cascade Mountain

Fly Fishing

Jason visited the local fly shop, The Hungry Trout, and had the best day in his fishing career. He fly fished the Ausable River and caught (and released) over 20 brown trout. This is a fisherman’s dream!

Balanced Bodywork and Massage

I treated myself to a 90-minute massage and cupping treatment with Tim. It was one of the best massages I have ever received. I made sure to bring my AromaTouch essential oil, which made me feel super relaxed and calm. When I go back to Lake Placid, I will be getting another treatment at Balanced Bodywork and Massage.

Balanced Bodywork

Inside Balanced Bodywork and Massage

Shopping in Lake Placid

After my massage, I spent the rest of the day shopping in downtown Lake Placid. I purchased local olive oils, salts, dish towels, local brews, and other novelties. Each shop is unique!

Final Thoughts

This is a great trip for families, couples, and singles. There is truly something for everyone in any season. If you like the great outdoors, relaxing, adventure, and enjoy the Olympics, you would really enjoy visiting Lake Placid, NY. We will be re-visiting Lake Placid in the near future.

Have you been to the Adirondack region? What was your favorite thing to do?

Namaste.

Lake Placid, NY - What to Do

 

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Part 1: Lake Placid, NY – Where to Stay & Eat

Lake Placid, New York has always fascinated me. My friends have told me stories about skiing, hiking, the Olympic sites, and the quaint downtown. My husband and I purchased a Groupon Getaway to the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort in Lake Placid, New York for January 2017. I injured my back, and the hotel allowed us to reschedule our 4 night, 5 days stay for May 2017. We were thrilled. We stayed on the fifth floor Marcy Specialty room, which had a jetted tub, fireplace, and private balcony.

Lake Placid, NY

Lake Placid, NY

Here’s why I would strongly recommend staying at the Golden Arrow:

  • Beach access, right on Mirror Lake
    • Canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, docks, plenty of water toys
  • Indoor pool with two hot tubs, a wet sauna, and a dry sauna
  • Fitness Center with locker room and dry sauna
    • Insider tip: use the sauna in the fitness center instead of the indoor pool area
  • Generations Restaurant
    • Happy hour all day when you show your room key
      • $5 house wine, $3 well drinks, $4 select draft beers
    • Free breakfast included with your stay
      • This was delicious!
  • Alpine Mall Shopping attached to hotel
    • Restaurants, shopping, and liquor/wine store
  • Location of hotel
    • Right in the center of Lake Placid, convenient to shops and restaurants

There are two issues with Golden Arrow: parking for a full size truck (even though they have a lot across the street, the parking is terrible during peak season) and the layout of the hotel (could only access the fifth floor from certain elevators & the elevator signage is confusing and varied in each elevator).

Lake Placid, NY Balcony View

View from the Balcony

We would absolutely stay at the Golden Arrow again. This was an incredible resort and we not only enjoyed our room but took full advantage of the amenities.

Where to Eat

Smoke Signals

If you love BBQ, put this on your list. Smoke Signals has indoor and outdoor seating and a fabulous menu that will make your mouth water. We had not one complaint about eating at Smoke Signals. The food was really delicious after a long drive up to Lake Placid.

What we ordered: 

  • Perpetual Pig BBQ Wings
  • Jason: Brisket and Macaroni & Cheese
  • Danielle: 1/2 rack of ribs and Macaroni & Cheese
  • Two local draft beers

Big Mountain Deli & Creperie

After a long day seeing the sites, we stopped here for delicious sandwiches.

What we ordered:

  • Jason: Table Top with chicken and a bag of Kettle Chips
  • Danielle: Algonquin sandwich with a side of potato salad

Big Mountain Deli and Creperie has 46 sandwiches to represent the 46 High Peaks. They also have soups, salads, and crepes. The sandwiches are very filling, great after a hike!

Big Mountain Deli & Creperie

Lisa G’s

Lisa G’s was another fantastic restaurant that had indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating overlooked a scenic waterfall. Everything on the menu is homemade and the drink I ordered, Salty Rikki, was strong.

What we ordered:

  • Jason: Chicken Parmesan
  • Danielle: Crispy Goat Cheese Salad with Chicken
  • Drink: Salty Rikki

Salty Rikki

Honorable mentions:

  • Generations Restaurant (adjacent to our hotel)
    • We ate breakfast here every day as it was included in our stay. The blueberry pancakes were incredible, as well as the special egg concoctions. The Sunny Cove ($2 upcharge) was my favorite. We never had a bad breakfast here!
  • Emma’s Lake Placid Creamery
    • Dairy makes me sick to my stomach but I couldn’t help myself. I got a small maple ice cream. Jason had a scoop each of cookies and cream and double fudge ice cream. Incredible.
  • The Lake Plaid Pub & Brewery
    • Besides the long wait, this had three floors of fun and a store to purchase pint glasses and other keepsakes. Jason enjoyed the Ubu Ale while I imbibed the Golden Ale. The food was hot and delicious. I ordered the Josh’s Fire Fish for dinner while Jason enjoyed the Schulzy Burger.

Final Thoughts

Have you visited Lake Placid? Where did you stay? What was your favorite restaurant?

If you haven’t, what restaurant would you want to try?

Stay tuned for Lake Placid, NY Part 2: What to Do!

Lake Placid, NY Where to Stay and Where to Eat

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