What is a Resolution?

I know what many of you think when you hear New Year Resolution…they don’t work. It is pointless to think of them, and maybe its even pointless to try them. You start off strong the first Monday of the new year going to the gym or you go to the grocery store and buy a bunch of fruit and throw away all of your chocolate cookies (I mean one shouldn’t really waste a chocolate chip cookie), only to give up or fail with in the first week or two of the new year.

Thats pessimistic isn’t it?

Why do we even try? What is the point of getting ourselves all amped to follow through with this resolution, only to be disappointed in ourselves.

The problem is the term “Resolution”. Resolution can be defined as taking a course of action, a formal expression of intention made, or a process. Creating a resolution is a positive thing, but for many it doesn’t have the gusto to be a long lasting action.

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Instead of a sticking to your resolution, change your resolution to a change in lifestyle. A life choice. Do something to better yourself for the rest of your life not just the life you plan to live in the new year.

Here are some ways to make your life style change stick:

1. Make a reasonable goal

Say if you want to focus on eating healthier foods, don’t say you’re going to eat a highly intensified all green food diet for every meal or say you are going to cut sugar out completely. Honestly, that may be setting yourself up for failure. Instead try saying you are only going to have 1-2 desserts a week and you are going to add a leafy green into 1-2 of your meals a day. Making you’re goal reasonable is only going to help you become successful and help you make a healthier and better adaptation for your life. Also, having a goal that is specific is better then having a generalized one.

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2. Say something you’re going to do instead of something you are giving up.

Instead of saying I am giving up Netflix and being a couch potato, change it to something you will do. For example, I will go to the gym for 45 minutes 4 days a week. Adding something into  your  daily routine and giving it a positive spin makes you more eager to accomplish it, and you don’t have to completely give up something you like to do.

3.  Have a reason

Give yourself a reason for making this change. Have someone or something in mind to help better yourself. If there is a cause that you are standing behind in order to complete your goal, then it is going to be more personal and you are going to have personal drive like you’ve never had before. Don’t be afraid for that person you have in mind to be yourself. Doing something for yourself is just as important as doing something in honor of your grandma, mother, or brother.

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4. Be confident and Be positive.

The final tip I have to give is to just in general be confident in your abilities to accomplish what you wish to change in your life, and try your best to be positive about it even on the hard days. I know change can be scary, but sometimes in order to have the life that we want, and the life that is best for us we have to be confident in ourselves to make that change and to be positive that what we are doing is best.

 

Enjoy every day of this New Year and the many more to come!

❤ RK

 

 

 

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Gifts That Keep Giving

As the holiday season comes upon us, we are all scrambling to find ways to show our loved ones appreciation, and to spread the holiday seasons cheer by giving to others.

I know for me personally this year has been a hard year to find Christmas presents for my family and friends. I have indeed hit the shopping wall. When I give gifts, I like to really think about the person and what they like, want, and need. Sometimes I feel like plain old “stuff” doesn’t work.

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I’m a big fan of finding gifts that “give back” or “gifts that keep on giving”, and I know that those around me appreciate the thought of giving to others with them in mind.

So, if you’re stuck in your holiday shopping, here is a list of organizations that will not only put a smile on the face of your friend, but will give back to the world around us as well.

  1. Love Your Melon      love-your-melon.png

    1. Love your Melon is an organization dedicated and run by college students all across America. Love your melon has a unique buy one give one initiative. Buy a hat made in the United States, and one is then donated (in person by people dressed up in superhero costumes) to a child who is battling cancer. This is a great way to spread hope, support, and of course great hats.
  2. Heifer International Heifer-Logo.jpg

    1. Heifer international is something that I have given to multiple times for various charity projects and celebrations. The mission of this organization is to help aid in the process of ending world hunger, poverty, and to help protect the earth. “Heifer links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. Our animals provide partners with both food and reliable income, as agricultural products such as milk, eggs and honey can be traded or sold at market” (heifer.org).
  3. Pencils of Promisepop-logo.png

    1. Pencils of promise is an organization dedicated to providing children all over the world with a chance to receive education. The donations go to building schools, developing programs, and creating a global community. 100% of your donations goes straight to the programs and school building. If you have the chance I recommend checking out the story of how the founder got started… it’s pretty awesome!
  4. Wounded Warriors Project$_35.JPG

    1. The wounded warriors project has a simple mission of empowering and honoring our wounded warriors. They provide awareness and give back to those who selflessly put their life at risk. WWP is dedicated to adjusting and creating programs and aid that fit the needs of any and all wounded warriors. They also have great ways to get involved outside of a donation, so don’t hesitate to check those out as well!
  5. World Wildlife Foundationwwf-50-Years-Conservation_153.jpg

    1. The World Wildlife Foundation has the goal of protecting the lives of endangered species and landscapes that are crucial to the balance of the ecosystems all across the globe. Donations could help sponsor an animal or help preserve land!
  6. Hope For Justice hope4justice.jpg

    1. Hope for justice is an organization who aids in the fight against human trafficking they state “We secure criminal and civil justice for victims and advocate for access to housing and health services and the cancellation of debts created by traffickers” (hopeforjsutice.org).

There are many of other great organizations out there to take a look at as well! Take the chance this holiday and give a gift that keeps on giving!

Happy Holidays

❤ RK

A Day to Open our Hearts and Forget Our Strife

As Thanksgiving is right around the corner it is time for that classic be thankful thanksgiving post. However, I feel at this time being thankful is taking on a whole new meaning… At least it is for me.

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There is a lot of strife, hurt, anger, stress, and uncertainty all over the world. The masses are scared of what the future holds. The suffering that occurs on all levels is immeasurable, depressing, and it leaves many without hope.

It is not a single incident that has left many feeling helpless, but numerous and it is impossible to name them all. There is terror in the streets of Paris, Beruit, the Middle East, America, and in so many other places. The world is packed with fear. There is stress, fear, and uncertainty among those trying to make the best decisions for their countries, for those seeking refuge, and for those who are searching for ways to create safety for all. There is helplessness and fear among the physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. There is loss and mourning among many every day. There is bullying. There is stress to be perfect, to be successful, to be the best.

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Depressing Right?

With every bit of suffering there is hope in this world. There is always someone who cares. There are people all over trying to find solutions, giving aid, and fighting against the hurt. There is hope among the fighters, those who go against the odds, and those that don’t ever give up. Where ever there is hate there is someone around the corner waiting to give love. It is important to remember that amongst all of this hurt and strife there is  good all around us, and there are those that really do have the best of intentions.

What does this have to do with Thanksgiving?

Everything. Thanksgiving is a time to spread joy to the world. It is a time to focus on what we DO have instead of what we don’t. Embrace what is important to you. Recognize and appreciate what keeps you going and what keeps you strong whether it is family, friends, faith, something else, or all of the above.

Thanksgiving is the day we step back and remove ourselves from the strife and pain. Forget the stress for the day. It isn’t about the materials you have, how clean your house is, or how well seasoned the Turkey is. Just relax and take in the joy of being around those you love. Do something for someone else, find the beauty in the world around us. The beauty is there even in the bleakest of times.

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If it is just for this day then at least for this day put aside your strife, uneasiness, stress, pressure, anger, and sadness. Instead for this one day open your heart and mind, and see the hope that this world has to offer us.

❤ RK

 

Laugh Often

“I love People who make me laugh. Honestly, I think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person” ~Audrey Hepburn

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As our busy schedules get underway for the fall and activities are in full swing it is easy to become overwhelmed and feel a little down. You may not feel the stress just yet, or you may have felt it full force! Perhaps you are starting to be forced out of your comfort zone and that thought has you absolutely terrified! Whatever situation you may be in currently, it is important to remember to smile, relax, and laugh.

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It takes more energy to frown then it does to smile, so don’t do more work then you have to! Let the smile lines and laugh lines form! They look much better then frown lines anyway!

Laughter is an important part of life, and there are many benefits to it! We may not be able to force ourselves to laugh, but it is important to surround ourselves with those that make us laugh and smile. It is even more important to be able to laugh at ourselves and to be comfortable enough in our own skin to laugh and smile at our mistakes, goof ups, and good times. Enjoy your life with yourself and with others through the communication of laughter.

Laughter is a natural phenomenon! So why wouldn’t we laugh? Not only that, but there are tons of medical benefits to laughing, smiling, being happy, and having a good time.

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  • Laughter is great for your immune system. Some studies suggest that Laughter increases level of anti-bodies that fight infections.
  • Laughter can help relieve pain in the body due to the fact that the body becomes relaxed and produces a type of natural pain killers
  • When the going gets tough… the tough get laughing. Laughing is a great way to deal with hard situations. The term “laugh it off” is actually beneficial when it comes to relieving stress in certain situations.
  • It can even Enhance/stimulate your heart, lungs, and muscles by breathing in rich oxygen!

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There are many benefits to laughter physically and mentally. It is a way of connecting with others around the world and it can just make the day a little brighter.

So, don’t forget to take the time to laugh!

❤ RK

Keep Your Summer Spirits Up!

FALL IS HERE!

Summer is coming to an end… That is a terrible thought to have. It is time for all of us to get back to our busy lives and packed schedules. Soon we will have to put away the swimsuits, pack up the shorts, and break out the sweaters and heavy jackets.

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However, The coming of fall doesn’t have to be a depressing sensation! In fact there are opportunities, events, and changes to be excited about when it comes to this beautiful season.

1.Sometimes there is nothing better then the summer sun, sandy beaches, and just warm weather. But in my opinion almost nothing can beat the colorful leaves, the sound of them crunchy underneath your feet, and a warm cup of tea on a crisp fall morning.

2. Fall Vegetables are everywhere. There is nothing like home-made meals made with fresh vegetables like sweet potatoes/ yams, cauliflower, kale, carrots,  butternut squash, and of course umpkin! A bonus that comes along with fresh pumpkin are all of the pumpkin flavored extras during the season such as pumpkin spiced lattes and pumpkin seeds!

Fall-Fruits-and-Vegetables4003. Going right along with the food theme are the holidays! There is nothing better then gathering with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving. Let’s not forget the fun night of dressing up and eating candy on Halloween!

4. Fall fashion is also something that I always look forward to when the season comes around. For me there is nothing better then throwing on a big comfy sweater  over a pair of leggings and completing the look with some fall boots and a colorful scarf!

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5. Although the days may be a little cooler, being outside doesn’t come to an end! There is nothing better then getting out on a local walking trail and going for a brisk walk, bike ride, or run! The crisp fall air and the beautiful scenery will have you off the couch and enjoying the day!

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There are many great things the fall can bring! So don’t be sad that summer is coming to an end, instead be excited for the change and the start of a new season!

❤ RK

That Moment When You Remember You Love Running……

Running is stupid and Runners are crazy.

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That is a true statement to those who don’t run, and even to those who do. Running can be a painful experience. Sometimes you’ll hit a patch during training where you simply don’t want to do it anymore, and going out for that run is a forced and un-welcomed experience.

I have a love-hate relationship with running, and I would say that a lot of my team mates feel the same way as I do. However, you always remember you love something when you can’t have it. For example, I’ve had an injury this summer that has taken me out of my training program for about a month (This hasn’t been my first walk around the injury block), and when you can’t run you realize how much you actually like it. You feel a different kind of appreciation for it.

Well, once you’re on the running scene again and you feel great it is logical to think that from then on you are going to love every step you take in those running shoes… well in my experience that feeling lasts for about a week. That is when the negativity starts creeping in…. “I’m out of shape” “I’m never going to get to the level I want” “Why do I even do this?” “This really isn’t fun for me right now” Those thoughts are so discouraging, and it is incredibly hard to turn them off. Fortunately, you keep going out for those runs everyday because you have a connection to the running and something inside you just can’t stop.

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Like I said earlier, I have a love hate relationship with running. Long distance doesn’t always come easy for me, but I like to work at it and I like to see myself get stronger and stronger each week. Getting back into my routine and training the past few weeks has had its ups and downs .However, something magical happened the other day… something inspiring.,,,

I set out for my longest run of the summer. I put my headphones in, set my watch and after the first few steps I was in the groove. It wasn’t until the trail I was on came to end did I realize how far I had already gone. I hadn’t looked down at my watch, I hadn’t tried to talk myself out of the distance, I hadn’t stopped and I didn’t want to. It all clicked. I felt great, and not a single negative thought entered my mind. I think I was even smiling. I had gone farther and faster then I thought I could have managed at the time.

The feeling I had at the end of that run was something unexplainable, but something I have felt before. Most runners probably have. I was tired, exhausted, and overjoyed. I felt like a runner again.

I am positive that I am going to have runs that make me feel mediocre and slow, and I am going to have runs that make me feel like I am on top of the world. However, its the runs that make you feel connected to the yourself and the world around you that truly keep you going. Those runs are the ones that make you put the shoes on everyday. Those runs are the runs that help you remember that you love running, and I look forward to having many more of them.

At times running may be stupid and call me crazy, but I don’t think I will be giving it up for a while.

When things get hard don’t give up, find a way to get stronger. Find away to fight through the negative thoughts and all of the doubts that creep into your mind. I promise the strength is in you to keep going, and at the right time that blissful moment and the feeling of accomplishment you long to have will find you once again!

RK

The Secret of Cooking with Oil

I’m not much of a baker or chef in the kitchen myself, but recently this summer I have started to dabble in those arts a little more then I have in the past. Again, I am no expert but my goal has been to create meals, desserts, and snacks that are  not only pleasing to taste buds, but that are as healthy as possible.

One of the easiest ways to make a meal or baked good healthier is to choose the correct oil to cook with. Some of these cooking oils and butters are just filled with ingredients that can take away some of that nurtious value we try to create in our foods.

So why don’t you want to smother that pan with tons of butter lard or shortening? Simply put, those types of cooking oils are filled with unhealthy fats. We all need some sort of fat in our diet, but not the fats that are considered saturated fats. Saturated fats have been linked to high cholesterol, and increased risk of heart diseases. It is a true statement that some dishes taste better when cooked in butter and I am not suggesting that we should rid our diet of it, but limit when you can, and using other cooking oils in your dishes and baked goods is a great way to do that.

So what oils should be used instead? Oils that contain polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats are the way to go for your daily uses of cooking and baking. Polyunsaturated fats can be used to help improve heart health and can be used for anti-inflammatory reasons. These poly-unsaturated fats/ oils are packed with the benefits of Omega-3 and Omega-6. Monounsaturated fats are also great for promoting heart health. They have been proven to help improve blood and cholesterol levels. Sometimes however, it is hard to know which oils work best for certain types of dishes. Whether you cook and bake often or infrequently, your kitchen should be packed with a variety of these beneficial oils so you’re never stranded without the proper one!

Variety of 10 different edible oils

Oils best used for cooking: These oils below are best used when cooking in high heat

coconut Oil

Red Palm Oil

Avocado Oil

Almond Oil

Oils best used on medium heat:

Extra-virgin olive oil

Sesame Seed Oil

Walnut Oil

Peanut Oil

For Baking:

Coconut Oil

Palm Oil

Sunflower Oil

Canola Oil

Take a chance and experiment! Try using these oils to create tastier and healthier foods to enjoy with your friends and family!

Say goodbye to stressful mornings!

Monday’s can be hard. Tuesday’s can be hard…. In fact just about any busy day can be hard. Getting up at 6:30 in the morning, getting your work out in before you have to be at work at 8… AND you still have to remember to grab your lunch, that check you have to deposit before the bank closes, a change of clothes for activities later in the day, get the dogs out….

The list could go on and on… and it could be even more stressful depending on your life style or the time of year.

So how do you make mornings, sometimes the worst part of the day, more enjoyable and less stressful?

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1. Know your schedule

This tip may seem like common sense, but with the busy lives we all live it can be easy to get our days, commitments, and events all mixed up! Knowing and understanding what you have going on the next day can really help your morning be less stressful. Don’t be afraid to write out a general time schedule the night before and put it by your bed. That way you can go to bed with your mind at ease, knowing that you have a plan for the following morning. I have a daily planner that I write in, and I always check it the night before to make sure I know what I have going on the next day.

2. Pack your bags the night before

Just as you would if you had an early flight leaving for vacation…pack your bags a head of time. If you plan on getting up and going to the gym in the morning before work or class then pack all of your essentials the night before (that might also help you feel more accountable for getting up and going)! If you need to pack a lunch or bring your own water bottle have it all ready to go in the fridge, just don’t forget to grab it the next morning.  Also, another thing to keep in mind is if you make your coffee in the morning or make breakfast have everything in an easy to grab area of the fridge or counter. Knowing the location for all those morning essentials can help you have an easy transition into the rest of your day!

3. Set your Alarm

I know what your thinking….duh set your alarm if you have to get up. However, sometimes its hard to get up in the morning, and that leads to shutting the alarm off and not actually getting out of bed. Which in turn causes sleeping in, being late, and being stressed. Double check to make sure your alarm is set, and set early enough so if you do hit that snooze button it will go off again in plenty of time for you to get up. Depending on how hard of a sleeper you are it could also be helpful  to have multiple alarms set. It makes it much harder to ignore if that loud ringing or jingle is going off every three minutes!

4.  Get up earlier

This tip may not work everyone. It truly depends on what kind of morning person you are. If you are the kind of person that likes to relax and take their time in the morning then make sure you set that alarm for 10 or 15 minutes earlier. Take your time getting out of bed or give yourself a chance to sit and sip that caffeine. By making sure you have plenty of time in the morning to get ready it can really help you relax, make your morning less chaotic, and help your day be less stressful!

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5. Go to bed in a clean environment

Sometimes when we fall asleep in an environment that is messy and unorganized we can feel a little overwhelmed, and when you wake up in the same environment those overwhelming feelings come back causing a stressful morning right away. I can always tell when its time to do laundry and clean my room because I wake up, look around at the mess I’ve accumulated and I am instantly in a bad mood and stressed out. Also, if you go to bed overwhelmed and stressed then your sleep quality will go down, leaving you tired and frustrated the following morning! So don’t let the mess from the night before ruin the next day!

It is important to start your day off right! Sometimes mornings can be hard, and when your week is already rocky a stressful morning can really make or break your day.

Hopefully these tips will help you begin your day in a positive way, and help you get through those tough days!

❤ RK