Category: Uncategorized

A Universal Lesson…Download It Now

This course is a study in humility. A challenging, often gruesome assignment that is required. We can choose when we want to take it, but the class is mandatory for everyone.

The syllabus is entitled: Healing Relationships 101

Ever wonder what the purpose of relationships are? I do. Sure, love is nice and companionship keeps us from being lonely. Heck, it’s even proven to keep depression away, but companionship can come from friends and we can procreate (technically speaking) without committing to a relationship. So why, on a very fundamental level does being in a relationship feel so important to us?

Here is my thesis statement: The Universe is self-organizing and self-correcting. It is constantly working towards a state of healing and growth. The Universe is also sneaky and clever. We make up part of the Universe, thus, the Universe needs us to work on our own healing. It gets us to do that by hiding our assignments in relationships.

The purpose of relationships is to teach us big lessons about ourselves. Ever realize you date the same type of person over and over again? Like your relationship now is a repeat of your last? It’s because you are not paying attention to the lesson and the Universe is beating you over the head with it. Until you get it, the Universe is just going to keep sending you the same assignment.

Relationships are hard because they magnify our pain points. It’s as if our partner is holding a mirror up to our face all the time. If that doesn’t sound fun, I can assure you it’s not. But it’s necessary if we really want to grow.

I got a hefty dose of humility a few days ago when the chef and I went to visit my family. On the train ride home later that night we got to talking about how my sisters often push my mom’s buttons and berate her for the way she does things. The chef pointed out that I’m not exempt from this behavior. My initial reaction was to defend myself and state that while I may be impatient with my mother sometimes I’m not as bad as my sisters. I stopped myself because I could see that he was right. My relationship with my mother is good, but not great. It’s something I’ve wanted to avoid, but he really made me get real with myself and see that this is an important assignment of mine.

If you come into a relationship thinking that the other person is going to fix you, you’ve got it wrong. The other person is going to show you what needs to be fixed. It’s up to you whether you want to do the work.

Some say that relationships are holy assignments. I agree. A holy relationship carries with it a massive opportunity for healing. Being aware of this opportunity is so powerful. When you recognize your partner as a conduit of your lessons from the Universe it literally feels like a holy download.

What’s great about that is there can be no blame or feelings of personal attack when your partner tells you something that’s hard for you to hear. It may smart for a nanosecond, but then your perception shifts, you realize the assignment and you can get to work on it.

Remember that the Universe always has your back and wants to see you reach your highest self. That means using relationships to deliver the lessons you need along the way.

Send an imaginary wink to the Universe for sending you a hot messenger 😉

 

Xoxo,

Samantha

One Unfailing Exercise for Success

There’s a force at work within a person striving for greatness, something like a drug that keeps her coming back to the field, the studio, the rock, the water.

That force is within you. It’s the same power we all access when we push our limits and it’s easy to recognize. Fear shows up, for one thing. Fear is present and uncertainty is palpable. That’s how you know you’re at the edge. Your heart races and your nerves fire. You’re not sure your going to survive this.

But you do.

You’ve put everything you had on the line and on the other side you’ve discovered new territory. You’re stronger for having given it your all and there’s an exhilarating and humbling knowledge that even after all that, you haven’t yet reached your highest potential.

The professional makes a daily habit out of pushing her limits. It’s not a coincidence that the majority of people doing great work in the world, the movers and shakers we strive to be like, make it a priority to move their bodies every day. They know the secret. They know that the effort they put in first thing in the morning is going to be the effort they work from all day long.

When an athlete/professional pushes herself to the edge she taps into reserves she didn’t know she had. She calls on her Self to finish the task at hand.

She takes that certainty of self into every meeting, every presentation and every interaction throughout her day. Imagine what it would feel like to know that you have your own back. How would it feel to know who you are and what you are capable of? I’ll tell you how it feels: thrilling, empowering, humbling, and satisfying. Now, imagine experiencing all of that before you even begin your work day.

That’s why the professional prioritizes a workout before she hits the office. Because she knows she’ll show up better, more efficient, more creative and focused. It’s not self-indulgent to make time for a sweat-session. It’s for the good of the team, her family and her work.

You owe it to yourself to find out what you are capable of. Then you owe it to yourself to find out again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. I promise you will feel scared, and spent, and sore.

You will also feel powerful, alive, and beautiful.

I recently found this Facebook status I wrote way back in 2011:

“Last night while rock climbing for the first time in a long time I was doing fairly well on my first wall. I was about 10 ft from the top, my arms ached a bit and I said to my belayer, “I think I’m done. That’s good enough.” I looked up, reconsidered and said to myself “Hm, maybe not.” I gave myself a boost, climbed a little higher and touched the bar at the top. The lesson I reminded myself of: Don’t settle for “Good Enough”. When you make up your mind to do something, do it to completion. It’s so easy to stop where everyone else does and say that’s Good Enough. Right past the point of Good Enough is Exceptional and Exceptional is always worth the effort.”

 

It’s so important for me to warn you about this. Once you decide to push it, there’s a sticky spot you’re going to hit called the mediocrity point. When you get to the point of unfamiliarity, you’re ego is going to become uncomfortable and your mind is going to play with the idea of loosening the slack just a little. It’s going to tell you that stopping here is good enough. Everyone else stopped here. You put in your time. You deserve a break.

You’re job is to recognize this trick and override it. Be stubborn. Don’t let it push you around. The mediocrity point is where most people stop. Don’t let it stop you. You’re smart. You know there’s no pride in a job done half-assed and you know you are worth more than “average”.

Past the mediocrity point is where the professionals play.

So, get in there and have fun.

 

Xoxo,

Sam

Hi Loves,

Now, I know this blog is supposed to be full of healthy recipes, but it’s also about the real-life day-to-day things I do. Once in a while those things include full-fat ice cream, bacon, or chocolate for instance. And sometimes those things might include all of the things.

All the things.

All the delicious things made more delicious by being combined with other delicious things.

Yes? Yes.

I think that’s enough rambling for now. My point is that this ice cream is so worth it and sometimes you just need the real deal. So how about some coffee ice cream with chocolate covered bacon and cocoa nibs!?IMG_0954

Now I will preface this recipe by letting you know this is by no means a low fat treat. (Duh)

And I will also say that I was dying to tweak it to make the base a lot healthier, but it was the first time the Chef and I attempted to make ice cream and he wanted to go traditional with a creme anglaise base which includes milk, sugar and egg yolks, so we compromised. He got his creme anglaise, but I insisted on organic, local everything, hormone-free eggs, rBGH-free dairy and humanely-raised bacon. If we were going to use milk, dairy, eggs and meat this is the only way I would agree. If you are unfamiliar with any of these terms or just want a refresher, here is a breakdown and why they matter to me:

Organic: Foods produced without the use of hormones, pesticides and antibiotics.

  • Pesticides, antibiotics and synthetic hormones wreak havoc on the immune system and build up toxins in the body.
  • Studies show that organic foods have more nutrients and antioxidants than their non-organic counterparts.
  • Organic is better for the environment, better for our bodies and tastes better.

Local: I love to support local farms and businesses in my area. Keep in mind that we vote with our dollars. I feel better knowing my dollars are going towards local, often organic food from people who care about quality and sustainability.

Hormone-free: It is standard practice in the food industry for farmers to administer artificial growth hormones to their livestock. The increased hormones cause the animals to grow larger than they would in nature and at an alarming rate. Elevated estrogen and testosterone levels are a concern, but no conclusive studies have been done to see what effect this could have on humans.

Researchers are concerned that artificial growth hormones could be linked to:

  • Breast, vaginal, prostate and colon cancer
  • Reproductive and developmental complications
  • Early puberty in girls

rBGH: Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone or Artificial Growth Hormone. Monsanto and other such companies manufacture this hormone to forcefully extend milk production in dairy cows. Due to unnatural constant lactation, many cows develop mastitis-inflammation of the udders. If the affected milk gets into the food supply this becomes a matter of public health. Because mastisis is so common in cows treated with rBGH often times higher levels of antibiotics are administered.

Possible Health Risks Associated with rBGH:

  • Increased rate of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers
  • Increased rate of fraternal twin births
  • Antibiotic resistance in humans
  • Here is a great resource if you want to read up on all of the controversy surrounding rBGH.

Humanely-raised: I made the choice to eat vegetarian mainly because I was made aware of the horrific conditions of the standard livestock industry in our country. I became extremely interested in meat industry practices and did a lot of research on labels and what each one meant for the quality of life for the animal. Most didn’t completely satisfy me until I came across the label “Certified Humanely-Raised”. To adhere to Certified Humanely-raised standards farms must provide nutritious feed free of antibiotics and hormones, shelter and adequate roaming space and the ability to engage in natural behavior. Most farmers adhering to these practices care deeply about their animals and the environment they live in.

A paragraph from HumanelyRaisedMeat.com:
What does humanely raised mean to us? It means that all animals are pasture based and raised as close to nature as possible; no one is ever caged, or confined to a barn with a concrete floor. Chickens do not get their beaks clipped, or their combs dubbed. Roosters roam with the flock, protecting their hens from predators, and calling them to tasty morsels that they scratch up. Pigs do not have their teeth or tails clipped; their noses are not rung, and they farrow on pasture rather than being confined to a farrowing crate. Ducks are free to raise up their clutches of ducklings, and to teach them how to preen and swim. Cattle are never fed anything other than grass, hay and water, and they are not separated from their calves. All this takes a little more time and effort, but we feel this is the right way to raise livestock, and we would not do it any other way.

<3 This is a highly personal choice, but if I am going to purchase meat I feel immensely better supporting a farm with this level of care, passion, responsibility and respect for the animals and the environment used to sustain them.

Okay, I think I’ve said all I want to say for now. How about that ice cream!?

Coffee Ice Cream with Chocolate Covered Bacon and Cocoa Nibs

Coffee Ice Cream Base:
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla or half of a scraped vanilla bean
Pinch salt
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup crushed coffee beans (use your favorite and crush just enough to open the bean)
Add-Ins:
1 package bacon
1 bar high-quality dark chocolate (I like 70%)
1/4 cup cocoa nibs
In a saucepan over medium heat combine all ingredients except eggs.
In a bowl whisk egg yolks.
When cream mixture comes to a boil remove from heat. Whisk small amount of hot cream to egg yolks. Pour yolks into saucepan and whisk until smooth. Return to medium heat and cook, stirring, until mixture coats the back of a spoon. At this point, follow directions on your ice cream maker.
In the meantime, place bacon on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, checking for desired crispness every 5 minutes thereafter.
Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Break up bacon and add to chocolate. Coat pieces and lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until solid.
When ice cream is 12-15 minutes from being done add in bacon and cocoa nibs.
Eat!

 

 

 

 

Best. Day. Ever!

Hey loves,

Working in a restaurant, I have unusual hours. I usually go to work around 3pm and don’t get out until sometime after 12am. On the bright side, I avoid rush hour and enjoy supreme flexibility with my schedule. I try to coordinate my days off with the Chef’s, which is generally only one day a week for him. Because of that we try to make it count. At some point during the day, even while doing the simplest things together I declare that it is the Best. Day Eveeeer! I totally mean it, but it’s become a silly joke between us :)

Our day is usually Monday so this is how we ended our Sunday night:IMG_0926

What can I say? We like to get a head start. Overachievers 😉

And here is my idea of the perfect start to our day off:

IMG_0927

We trekked through rainy ice pelts to visit my friend at the coffee shop he works at. I call him The Coffee Whisperer. Seriously, any espresso machine this man touches turns out the best cup I’ve ever had. His soy latte was enough to make braving that weather totally worth it!

A morning latte isn’t complete without a sweet treat. We enjoyed a maple glazed scone that was light, flakey and vegan! It’s always a bonus when I find a treat to satisfy the Chef’s sweet tooth and my nutritional standards.

After coffee we wandered around the neighborhood, stopped in cute shops and a really cool liquor store. All of the bottles have a tag around the neck featuring unique tidbits about the spirit inside.IMG_0928

A new Whole Foods opened up a week ago so you know I needed to check it out. While exploring, we came up with the best idea! I’ll be sharing the recipe in a few days, but for now, I’ll give you a hint:

IMG_0932

Looks like breakfast ingredients, huh? Nope, not even close :b

We finished the night with some dinner and vino that I picked out at the liquor store.IMG_0943

Twas loverly :)

Now off to bed. Have a great night, friends!

xoxo,

Sam

…after writing this post I realized the whole day pretty much revolved around food and bev. Anyone else think good food and drank is essential to a good day. Or…OR…The Best. Day. Eveeeer!?

Too much?

:)

New Year, New Blog

Happy 2014 friends!

I spent the morning revamping the blog. It’s still got a ways to go, but I’m super excited to have a clean, functional space to write. It makes such a difference!

Since I woke up to a sparkling city blanketed in snow, oatmeal seemed like the perfect breakfast. My all-time favorite trick to sweetening my oats is microwaving half a banana until it gets gooey and caramelized and then adding it to the pot. I will share my go-to oatmeal recipe with you all soon.

What I REALLY want to share with you today is this delicious lunch

photo(4)

My dad’s from-scratch manhattan clam chowder soup! I brought some back with me after visiting my family for the holidays. By “from-scratch” I mean he cooks and chops the clams, makes bacon, chops that up and adds it to the pot with the cooked clam water, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes and some other magical ingredients. He only makes it once a year for my sister’s birthday, but it was so good this year he promised he would make it more often. Yes, please!

Alongside my soup, I enjoyed a few pieces of socca. I first discovered socca from the Purely Twins girls. It’s delicious and super simple to make.

Basic Socca Recipe:

1 cup chickpea (garbanzo) flour

1 cup water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Any herbs/spices you like

*I added turmeric, paprika and cayenne to mine

Heat a skillet on medium high. Add your choice of oil to the pan. (I used coconut)

Whisk all ingredients together and pour into the skillet.

photo(2)

photo(3)

Check after 10 minutes and flip when golden brown. Cook for 5 minutes on the other side.

Done!

photo(5)

I also like to add lemon juice over mine when it’s done. It adds a nice brightness to the savory socca.

Well that’s it for today friends. I’m going to grab an afternoon cup of coffee and get ready for work at the restaurant. I’m always surprised to see how many people venture out in the snow to eat. I guess to some New Yorkers snow ain’t no thang. This New Yorker prefers her nice warm apartment and a bowl of soup 😉

Have a happy Friday!

xoxo

Sam

 

The 20-Something Panic Attack!

Hey My Lovelies,

I began this blog to speak to my 20-something sisters; those of us who feel stuck or anxious or even panicked about the decisions we are making, the careers we are choosing and what we believe is going to make us successful in life. (Btw, what the hell is “success” and how do we know when we have it??? That’s a juicy one I will dive into in another post…cliff hanger!!!)

Lately, I keep running into a phrase that is striking fear into the hearts of 20-somethings all over this freaking city-The. Quarter-Life. Crisis. Duh duh DUUUUUUH!

It seems that this is the point in your life where you look around at where you’ve ended up and decide that you are nowhere near where you thought you would be, that your life is a complete mess, you have no direction and that time is running out! Where is the man, the house, the career and the babies!?!? And if you have some of those things, or even all of those things why don’t they feel right!?

This is where I jump in with a big idea to calm your nerves, my loves.

This generation is something extraordinary. Older generations were expected to have it all figured out and settled by this time. There weren’t that many choices. The 20′s were typically for finding a husband and putting into practice the domestic exercises you were groomed for as a young adult.

But, this is a new generation, ladies.

We have soooo much more available to us now and that is amazing! The challenge is that we are living in a paradox. We want to have it all figured out because we want security and we want to feel established, but we want to have it all and live the life of our dreams. We have endless possibilities and tremendous freedom to CREATE the life that we choose, so naturally that is going to take a bit longer.

Today, our teens are for learning and exposure. We cram all the information we can into our little brains so that when the time comes, we can make (hopefully) informed decisions. Our 20′s are for implementing those lessons and EXPERIMENTING. Now is the time for us to try on those careers that, in theory sounded interesting to us in our teens, to try out this guy and that guy and see what we really want in a partner.

You know how it is. You find an incredible dress on the rack of your favorite store. You’re so excited! You try it on, look in the mirror and it looks nothing like it did on the hanger. Do you throw it on the pile and burst into tears because that was the perfect dress and it didn’t fit!? …Maybe, if you are on your period….but, no! Ridiculous! You keep your eye out and eventually find one that is even better than the one you thought you wanted.

I grew up thinking that I had to figure everything out as quickly as possible and steer my life with an iron grip. Like, once I made those major life decisions I had to stick with them till death-do-us-part or I was doomed. What a fucked-up, enormously pressurized way to live! Not to mention that doesn’t sound very fun. (Obvious not-so-much-of-a spoiler alert: It wasn’t.)

I’m going to say it one more time to summarize and hopefully drive this point home. Our teens are for learning. Our twenties are for experimenting. You know what happens when you loosen your iron grip and start experimenting? Opportunities open up for you. A little crack emerges and a little light is allowed to shine through. The universe is dying to get in and direct you to your ultimate life. We think we need to work so hard to steer our lives, but life flows whether we struggle or not. In fact, struggling will make the journey that much more difficult.

We need to give ourselves permission to live some experiences. If living our dreams is so valuable to us then let’s give our experiences the time they deserve to figure out if they are worth committing our lives to. And I promise you, you have plenty of time once you figure out what you truly want, to make those dreams a reality. My 30-something ladies will attest to this ;)

I usually begin my posts with a few quotes. I only have one today and I’m going to leave it with you here, at the end:

“Don’t you worry child, see heaven has a plan for you.” ~Swedish House Mafia

Boo ya ;)

Keep it real my 20-something sistahs,

Sam

How You are Blocking Your Own Wealth and What to Do About It

“What you give, you get. What you keep, you lose” ~Coach June Jones

Money.

You would think we all just want a heck-of-a-lot of it, right? But, it’s definitely not that simple.  There are a lot of feelings that even just the word brings up for us.

To some it’s dirty. To some it’s something illusive. Some use it to hurt others and still some use it to do tremendous good in the world. Money, sex and food have one thing in common: We all want it and we all pretend that we don’t want it. Admitting our desire seems greedy or taboo.

Why all this shame around money-talk? Money is something that’s not spoken about freely, but maybe it should be. Maybe if we opened up the discussion about money we could start to see money in a different light. I want to talk about money, and this is my blog, so I’m going to talk about it.

Money is just another form of energy. What we choose to do with it, our intention behind money is what makes it good or bad. Financial traders can easily make a fortune and pocket their wealth, or they can follow the example of Paul Tudor Jones, one of the top ten financial traders in history who is also one of the most influential philanthropists in the world. Jones provides over $1.45 billion dollars in grants and initiatives to the poor through his Robin Hood Foundation. Intention is way more powerful than money itself.

Money used to scare me. The fear I felt around money was one that a lot of people feel: it had to do with not having enough. The way I dealt with this feeling of scarcity was saving obsessively. I made a big deal about spending any little bit of money, and while this may not seem as bad as throwing money away, I can tell you it is just as debilitating.

My sister can attest to this. A few years ago we went on a trip to Cabo to celebrate her 40th and my 25th birthdays. While we planned and saved for it, once we were there I realized that I underestimated how much I would spend each day. That, coupled with not earning an income for 10 days and rent being due upon my return caused me to Freak Out! Mind you, I have a savings account. I could easily have transferred money over and I would have been fine, but I didn’t want to hear it. I felt overwhelmed and went a little coo-coo. (sorry sis!)

Hind-sight is 20-20. I returned home, paid my rent and realized that my fear about money put a big ugly splotch on my vacation! Not cool at all! I decided then and there to face my hang-up and here is what I’ve realized:

Money can be such a powerful tool, but that’s all it is, a tool. Your intention is what gives money power. What if money meant fullfilling your dreams? What if money meant fullfilling someone else’s dreams? Money has the potential to do a lot of good in the world, but it is up to you to use money in the right way and that begins with how you think about money.

Thinking of money as evil, or greedy does two things. One: you repel money away from yourself, so you will always feel that you don’t have enough. Two: whatever money you do receive will feel so meager that you will clench it with an iron fist and never feel like you can use it on anything other than yourself, even if you want to.

I didn’t like the way that felt so I changed my perspective. I decided that I don’t need to hold onto money with a death grip. I decided to relax so that it could flow freely into and out of my life. And out is not always a bad thing…

Just recently my sisters and I surprised my mom on her 65th birthday with a 10-day trip to Paris and Rome for her and my father. It has been her dream since she was a little girl to go to France, but I knew she would never make it happen for herself, so I decided to make it happen for her. I let the money go freely because I was funding a lifelong dream and it felt amazing!

I can also say that I seem to be attracting more money to myself than ever before. I broke down those blocks I had about money and now it is flowing towards me effortlessly. Go figure!

So what are your hang-ups about money?

Do you squander it like I used to? Are you a shop-a-holic? Do you avoid looking at your finances because you feel your bills are too big and scary?

We all have our issues. The only way to change them is to take a hard, honest look at them. They are ugly. They are scary. That’s why we avoid them for so long. Change that today! Face them! Savvy girls don’t hide from their hang-ups. Savvy girls face them with a warrior stance and kick those money-fears in the face!

Let me know what your hang-up is and tell me your plan to conquer it in the comments below.

xoxo,

Samantha

The Question You Have To Ask Yourself NOW If You Are Serious About Achieving Your Dreams

When I was three years old my mom enrolled me in dance school. The first day I remember hanging on the barre like a little monkey and chattering away with all the other little girls in the class. I was so excited for new friends and ballet shoes with pretty bows on them! I was also excited to learn how to dance. Well, the first thing we learned was not how to point our toes. We learned to stand quietly until the teacher began class. We learned to pay attention and to always look presentable, and we learned how to properly end class by walking up to the teacher one-by-one, curtsying and saying, thank you.

I have a great respect for my teachers and always have. I would even go as far as to say I love the traditions of reverence that have been in place since ballet began, but I also always wondered when I would finally be allowed to choose the color leotard I wanted to wear to class.

Errgh? “What’s she talking about!?”

From my first ballet class to my college graduation I was expected to adhere to a dress code. In college I remember all of us complaining that we still had to wear the same color leotard when real professionals could wear anything they wanted. It may seem like a small thing, but to us, not being allowed to dress like a professional felt like a denial that we were ready for the professional world. It felt like we were not good enough and looking back, I can see that it totally affected how I perceived myself.

Even if you have no dance training, you are familiar with the teacher/student relationship. We identify ourselves as students for 15-20 years of our lives. We learn and grow from those who have come before us and, of course that is an important relationship, and one we should respect.

If we want to be successful however, there comes a time when we have to decide to go Pro.

I heard a phrase recently that completely changed my game. It was a phrase that gangsta marketing genius, and (personal girl-crush) Marie Forleo said changed her game, so you best believe my ears perked up when she dropped this sparkly diamond :

“How would you behave if you were the best in the world at what you do?”

When I heard this my world stopped. And while I was waiting for it to start spinning again, I had ample time to think about how that question applied to me. For me, that question meant,

Are my daily habits supporting my dream?

Am I being an example and a leader in my field?

How am I conducting myself around the people I want to work for?

I realized that I was stuck in the student mentality and no one is going to hire me if I don’t act like a professional.

Going Pro means taking FULL responsibility for your life and actions. It’s a subtle shift with major results.

I made the decision to behave as if I were the best in the world at what I do and guess what!? People are taking notice, namely a certain future employer 😉

Now a call to action. There is no quicker way to manifest change than by putting things in writing.

I want you to imagine you are an expert or a professional at your chosen field. Write down what that looks like. Be as detailed as you want. Have fun with it. Next make a list of all the daily/weekly/monthly things you do to keep you in tip-top form.

Mine include:

Take 2 ballet classes and 2 modern classes per week

Yoga and pilates as crosstraining

Quarterly massages for injury prevention

Anti-inflammatory, nourishing food

Seeing shows regularly for inspiration

Declare how you are turning Pro in the comments below. What steps are you taking to stay at the top of your game?

I’m looking forward to reading your comments!

Until Next Time Lovers 😉

Sam