There is nothing like waking up on one of your busiest work days and being excited to get in your car, drink some coffee, turn on your car oil diffuser, and listen to the newest episode of your favorite podcast while you get ready to spend the day problem solving. Here are my go-to podcasts:
-Brooke Castillo’s “The Life Coach School Podcast”- I would consider this a self-help podcast that is also super motivating. She talks about money, well-being, state of mind, work, systems, organization, and living productively.
-Gary Vee’s “Audio Experience” Entrepreneur who addresses topics on growing your business, digital marketing, social media, working with others, education, and motivation. He puts content out multiple times a day and is very entertaining.
-Rachel Hollis's “Rise” -The famous author of Girl Wash Your Face and Girl Stop Apologizing. She is motivating, empowering, and inspiring all at once. This is for the stay at home mom all the way to entrepreneur and everything in between.
-Malcolm Gladwell’s “Revisionist History”- A journey through the overlooked and the misunderstood. Every episode examines something from the past and asks whether we got it right the first time. This guy is brilliant. You will notice when you get to my book section of this post.
-“Our Americana”- A rich exploration of the current landscape of American society. Interesting stories from Millennials in small town America. Yes, I still keep up on millennial life since I work with so many (and I might be considered one; but I’m actually a Xennial).
-“Paychecks and Balances”- Two amusing Xennial men talk about money. I like it when they bring on guests or talk about investing.
-My guilty pleasure; any true crime podcasts such as "Crime Junkies", "Cold Case Files", "Criminal", "Up and Vanished", and "Unconcluded". These are not motivating or inspiring, but they take my mind off of productivity and efficiency. They also keep me alert and safe😊
Yoga: I do yoga at a studio one to two times per week. Kacey and I do yoga together at home about three times per week with Adriene on YouTube or through Beachbody on Demand. I could go on and on about the benefits of yoga, but until you try it about five times, or incorporate it into your routine for a month or two (once a week), you won’t understand. Yoga is a different experience for everyone. To me, yoga is a combination of therapy, spirituality, mindfulness, and toning. I am by no means an expert in yoga, but I practice enough where I can share what I’ve learned with others who are thinking about starting their yoga journey. Here are some of my favorite practices:
- Vinyasa Flow-My favorite!!!! I especially enjoy the 75 minute classes. This practice leads you into a flow where you are moving into specific sequences several times in a row while synchronizing moves with your breath. It builds confidence in your practice while also building heat and toning your muscles.
- Hot Yoga- Tests your mental strength but is amazing. The rooms are set to 105 degrees with lots of humidity and you sweat like crazy. My heart rate never really goes down during the session. My first hot yoga session was 90 minutes long; not quite sure what I was thinking, but in the end, I was hooked.
- Barre- My 2nd Favorite!!!! Barre is a mix of yoga, weights, and infused with ballet moves that focus on small muscle movements in your legs, arms, and abs that create big results. I love Barre class. I love it even more when there is extra time built in for yoga and meditation.
- Ariel yoga!!!! So fun! You use different muscles and energy, and the cocooning at the end is the best.
- Yin-You hold poses for long periods of time (think 5-7 minutes in pigeon). I don’t feel like yin gives me a workout and the stretch is a little excessive, but it does make me sleepy/calm by the time I come home. I am thinking this practice is great after running and for people who want to test their mental strength and patients.
- Restorative and slow flow- too slow for me and makes me tired and bored. Nuff said. Kacey loves this type of yoga, so I sometimes do it with him.
My favorite studios are: Northern Edge (Plymouth), Hot Yoga Pressed Juice (Blaine), and Live True Yoga (St. Michael). I go to CorePower here and there, and I think they are great, but I don’t feel as calm and clear as I do at the other two studios. At Northern Edge, often times it is just me and the instructor or one other student and they run killer fall and summer deals. I have to give a shout out to Elyse Rozina (Northern Edge); she’s taught me almost everything I know about yoga. She is absolutely amazing, patient, and has a calm presence. Her guided focus/meditation is hard to beat. If it weren’t for all of those impromptu 1:1 sessions, I would suck. I also enjoy Jillian and Nicole at Live True Yoga; Nicole doesn’t mess around with her practice, and Jillian is a ray of sunshine that brightens your day, even when you think you are having an already awesome day. She also runs a killer kids yoga session too. Speaking of kids yoga, Veronica (Live True Yoga) leads a fun older kid/tween yoga. She runs a mother/child Mother’s Day yoga session and yoga sessions for young athletes and teams. I’ve also enjoyed time at the Fire Within Yoga studio. The owner, Lindsay, will run series on the lake and Ariel yoga sessions. I would go there more, but Buffalo is a little bit out of the way for me. Pressed Hot Yoga and Juice is my favorite hot yoga studio and they have killer smoothie bowls. They also have kids yoga on Sundays. Pictures below: Ariel Yoga at The Fire Within Studio in Buffalo and the bottom picture is Northern Edge in Plymouth.
Running: I think running is a quick and easy way to get a workout it with big results while listening to good music and gaining clarity. I do some of my best thinking when I am running. It’s motivating to sign up for races and have something to train for. Some of my favorite races are: Autumn Woods Classic (Maple Grove), Get Lucky (St. Paul), and the Monster Dash (St. Paul). I am looking forward to running the Apple Cider Hustle Half Marathon in October and the 10K Brewery 10K (Anoka) in June. Sometimes Kacey will treat me and put on a scenic walking tour of Paris on YouTube that I can watch while I am running on the treadmill. The best running app I have found is Nike Run. It is fun to look back at your pace, total time, the map of your run, and when you were slower, and when you were faster throughout your run.
Beachbody: I love Beachbody On Demand (BOD). I completed 80 Day Obsession last spring (love waking up at 5am to workout with Kacey before the kids would wake-up). The workout incorporates cardio, weights, butt, leg, and ab work. I am in round 3 of Liift 4- which is a 4 day a week weight lifting and Hiit series; think intense weights and intense cardio all in one. Beachbody even has several yoga series. My other favorite Beachbody workouts are Shaun T. Week, Shift Shop, and 21 Day Fix Extreme.
Go to breakfast: Green pancakes (from 80 day obsession recipes/Beachbody). Here is what I put in my bullet blender: 1 cup of spinach, 1/3 cup of cottage cheese, 1 full egg and one egg white, and 1/3 cup of rolled oats. You get a large glob of “pancake batter” that makes 4 pancakes (1 serving). Top with 1 Tablespoon of natural peanut butter and enjoy! I like to roll mine up and eat them with my hands.
Go-to snack: HUMMUS!!!! I am addicted. My coach, Amy, recommended mini sweet peppers and now that is my go-to veggie to dip in my hummus. I am picky about my hummus and have tried dozens. My favorite one is from Cub. It’s a Mediterranean style hummus by Culinary Circle. One more go-to snack is hard boiled eggs. I just love those things and could eat like six of them a day.
Go-to Meals: FISH! I especially love the fish packs from Trader Joe’s. They are cheap, quick and yummy. My favorite fish is Sea Bass. On a busy night, I’ll just grill some fish with oil, salt, pepper, tequila lime seasoning from Cabela’s, and fresh lemon. My other go-to meal would be almond lemon crusted chicken from Fixate. You take 6 raw chicken breasts and tenderize them a bit, and then dip them in an egg mixture (1 egg and ¼ cup of water beaten), then roll around in 1 cup of almond flour and 1 whole lemon zested with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Then you sear them on a grill pan with olive oil (4 minutes each side) and bake them at 425 degrees for 10 minutes in a shallow baking pan.
Go-to healthy splurge meals: Slow Cooker Enchilada Soup with some Ashley variation. Put the following ingredients in the crockpot: ½ cup of chopped onion, 2 garlic cloves minced, 3 cups of veggie broth, one 8 oz. can of tomato sauce, one 15 oz can of rinsed and drained black beans, one 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes, 2 cups of frozen corn, ½ teaspoon of Italian seasoning, 1Tbsp or Cumin, and 3 cooked and shredded chicken breast added in the last three hours of cooking. Keep on low for 8 hours. Top with a spoonful of sour cream, a sprinkling of cheddar cheese, and some blue corn tortilla chips. Turkey Chili- put 1lb of cooked ground turkey in the crock pot with the following veggies chopped: yellow onion, any color bell pepper, minced garlic, 1 Tbsp of chili powder, 1 cup of frozen corn, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 2 8oz cans of tomato sauce, and one can of chili beans. Top with a few corn tortilla chips crunched up and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. Add cheese if you wish, but I typically don’t.
Go to Supplements: Lemon Energize (mom crack), and Shakeology from Beachbody. I drink the energize 30 minutes before my workout and drink Shakeology for breakfast or lunch. I also like Focus powder in my shakes (from Beachbody).
Go-to Tea: Honey and ginger loose leaf green tea from Dunn Brothers with a squirt of raw honey. It has a little bit of caffeine, but I still drink it before bed and sleep just fine. I also like the seasonal peppermint tea from the Mad Hatter Tea House. It has sort of a buttery Christmas like flavor.
Oils: My favorite oil hands down is Mental Clarity (I buy mine at Cobern’s or through the Pure Vida website). The other one is Chill Pill (Target). I wear both everyday on my diffuser bracelet (from Vitality Extracts) and use it in my diffuser when I am working from home (ps-I love my work from home days; they are sacred and a partial key to wellness). I also like Inner Peace by Vitality Extracts. I swear by RC from Young Living when you have a cough; I add it to my diffuser or rub it on my kids’ chests. Some other obvious good ones are Thieves, Peppermint, and Lavender. My favorite diffuser is from target. It is made out of clay, looks great, and has a timer. I also have a car diffuser that I use daily from Vitality Extracts.
Journaling: I think I have about four daily journals I use. One is for my thoughts (I am really bad about writing in this one until I was gifted the 5 Minute Journal), one is to track my meals, workouts, physical health, one is to track my three good things that happen in a day, I have a gratitude journal, and the other is more of a work to-do list and accomplishment list. Honestly, The Five Minute Journal can take the place of at least three journals. These journals are all just as important as my daily planner that I review about 10 times a day. It’s important to write things down and track yourself. If you write it down, it is more likely to happen and you conduct your day with intention.
Reading is the cheapest form of education. You should always have a book going, whether it is an audio book you listen too in your car or when you are putting laundry away, or a real book that lays by your night stand. My girls always have a book going and have their own personal book lights that they use every night when the lights go out. We have Kindles, but real books are so much better, and it cuts down on the screen time before bed. There is something to be said about having a nice display of books that have highlights or post its marking impactful information. In the summer time and on weekends during the school year, I do book club with the girls where we all read our own books with our favorite drink outside on the deck and then stop every 20 minutes or so to discuss what is going on in our books. I also use story sandwiches the kids fill out while we are reading (I fill it out too in order to model the process). They write what happens in the beginning, middle, and end of their story. The middle of the sandwich is where the key details of events occur. It is my selfish way to squeeze in reading time during the day, and also to get the kids reading more. There are also so many bookstores that run summer reading programs and give books as a free reward. Barns and Noble and Half Price Books are my favorite programs. I LOVE non-fiction books and rarely read fiction. Here are some of my recent favorites:
If you haven’t read Malcolm Gladwell, you are missing out! He is brilliant. Malcolm also has a podcast I am just getting into and several TED talks. He is an author that makes you think about History and the world around you. Any History or Social Studies Teacher NEEDS this author in their life. Here are two of his books that I’ve read and couldn’t put down.
-Outliers -The story of success and opportunity-its not just about talent
-Blink -The power of thinking without thinking-the focus is on the first few seconds or minutes when you make judgmental calls about people, objects, or situations
Other good reads:
-You are a Badass -I read this in January and it was a great pick-me-up in the winter months. Favorite Book of 2017
-The Power of Habit -Talks about habits and routines and how they are vital to success. Favorite Book of 2018
-Choose the Life You Want- Great daily inspirational reads to get you in the right mindset for the day!
-13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do -Good things to put into practice if you are a parent or work with children
-Behind the Beautiful Forevers- Talks about a trash collector in India; eye opening about how people survive
-Grit- Talks about how perseverance and hard work are more important than intelligence. Favorite book of 2019
-Before They Were Yours- Historical fiction about the adoption crisis in Tennessee and the evil Georgia Tann who stole children
-Perfect Daughters- If you are an ACOA, you need to read this. Favorite Book of 2016.
On my list to read:
-Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell)
-David and Goliath (Malcolm Gladwell)
-Brain on Fire
-The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
Good Fiction reads (on the rare occasion that I read fiction)
-The Immoralist -I read it because it was on Jimmy Fallon's summer book list. 4 young siblings get the date they are going to die from a fortune teller and each one lives their life according to that news; super interesting read
-Into the Water- Thriller, from the author of Girl on a Train
-The Couple Next Door- Thriller about a missing baby and a couple next door
-Rush, Fever, Burn Trilogy- Naughty read
As summer approaches, professional development turns more into personal development and time is gifted to some; take advantage😊