Party Fails and Killer Cocktails

Something happens to me when the seasons change. Maybe it’s something in the weather, but I get a sudden stroke of inspiration and I need to throw a party. I cherish my time with friends and family and I love making my home warm and welcome to everyone, but if I’m going to be completely honest, I often just need a bunch of people to eat my food, drink my cocktails and in general, use as guinea pigs for my party ideas. Somehow I don’t think they mind ๐Ÿ˜‰

So this past weekend I threw a Fall-themed party. On the menu: Lentil soup with chicken sausage and chili fusili, crusty bread with lemon thyme butter, smore’s with homemade marshmallows and assorted flavored chocolate bars, and bourbon apple cider cocktails. I envisioned us all huddled together on the roof deck warming our hands around our bowls and dunking crusty bits of bread into the soup, sipping cinnamon-laced apple cider libations and licking marshmallow fluff off of our fingers after toasting them over our (my landlords) firepit.

That all happened, mind you. Well, more or less.

My sisters called me when they got to my door, but my phone never rang, so after 20 minutes of standing out in the cold they left for a bar across the street. When their call finally came through, they gave me a hard time and said they would be over after they finished their beers. Fair enough.

It was too windy to eat outside so we settled for my couch and a football game.

The soup was everything I dreamed of and the chef had the brilliant idea to put out balsamic and truffle oil cut with olive oil on the table with the thyme butter. A mason jar of maldon sea salt completed the spread.

014

Because it was so windy outside, the fire pit wouldn’t light. We did get to huddle together though. We huddled around my stove to toast our marshmallows over the gas burner.

Moral of the story: Throwing a party is tougher than it looks. You try to plan your ideal scenario and more often than not, it doesn’t go the way you hoped it would. That doesn’t mean the party is a failure. It really just means you have to be willing to go with the flow and laugh at the things that go wrong.

That said, I’ve learned a lot through trial and error and I’ve figured out a few secrets to throwing a great party.

  • I always like to make a signature cocktail. It’s a great conversation starter and your guests will feel like you went to a lot of work for them. Also have beer and wine available for variety.
  • Pair your drink options with the food you will be serving. Because it would be weird to offer margaritas with Italian food. When in doubt, red or white sangria goes with most everything and can be made ahead in large batches.
  • If your guests ask if they can bring anything never say no! They will feel obliged to bring something anyway and will now have to guess what you might want or need.
  • Take care of the main course and dessert and let your guests handle the appetizers. This goes with the tip above. Have a friend who makes killer guacamole? Ask them to bring it and have someone else supply the chips.
  • Have one interactive element to your party. This time I had smore’s for dessert where everyone chose their flavor of chocolate and assembled their own treats. At a recent brunch party we had a DIY mimosa bar with different juices and garnishes like blueberries and peaches. It adds a wow factor and something fun for your guests. Get creative!

My Fall-themed party was a lot of fun regardless of a few things not going according to plan. One thing that went over better than expected, however was this cocktail!

021

Bourbon apple cider! If you haven’t guessed already my favorite season is Autumn and this drink is perfect this time of year, what with the cinnamon and the apples. You know you have a winning cocktail when you’ve just finished passing them around and the first person you gave one to asks you for another because they’re already done. Oops!

This bourbon apple cider cocktail was such a hit, I’m sharing the recipe with all of you. A delicious cocktail recipe is reason enough to throw a party, right?

031

Reason enough for me!

 

ย Bourbon Apple Cider Cocktail

1 part bourbon

2 parts apple cider

2 parts ginger ale

3-4 drops angostura bitters

3-4 drops lemon juice

1 apple slice for garnishing

1 pinch of cinnamon for garnishing

Optional: pomegranate arils or cranberries

Combine the bourbon and apple cider and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. When ready to serve, add ginger ale and pour over ice. Add bitters and lemon juice and garnish with an apple slice. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Notes to take your cocktail to the next level:

  • Buy your apple cider at the local farmers market if you can. The fresher, the better.
  • Use a good ginger ale with pronounced ginger flavor. Try not to use a generic soda brand.
  • Don’t stress if you don’t have bitters. They enhance the cocktail, but they won’t be missed.
  • Grating fresh cinnamon over the cocktail will impress your guests and give it an extra special touch.
  • Sprinkling pomegranate arils in your cocktail gives it a festive flair. Take it one step further by making pomegranate or cranberry ice cubes and adding one to each drink.

Pomegranate or Cranberry Ice Cubes

Boil water in a tea kettle or sauce pot. Let water cool. Add 6-8 pomegranate arils or 2-3 cranberries to each cup of an ice cube tray. Fill with water and freeze. Use one cube to top each cocktail.

*Boiling the water removes impurities and creates clear cubes better to see the garnishes through.

 

Do you throw parties for reasons other than holidays or birthdays?

Would you like me to post my lentil soup recipe next week? It was pretty phenomenal if I do say so myself ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a great Thursday everybody!

 

 

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

Love Your Flat Sexy Stomach

Hey there my loves,

I have a treat for you today. I’m going to share with you my number one way to get, and keep a flat tummy!

But first, I have a question for you…

How’s your poop?

Lol, so this obviously isn’t going to be a heartfelt post about loving who you are, but it is going to be about something that will make you feel really good about yourself.

Come on now, be super honest. Don’t you feel great after a good poop? I do. No shame. I poop every day and I can tell you, I get super cranky if I skip a day.

Kidding aside, paying attention to your poop will tell you everything you need to know about your digestion and your digestion is the key to your health and getting a trim, tight tummy you feel confident about.

So how do you improve your digestion, you ask?

There are many ways, but to keep it simple I’m going to focus on an easy, effective method that’s going to give you immediate results.

Eat. Fermented. Foods.

Fermented foods should be a part of your diet just as much as fruits, veggies, and lean proteins. They are full of gut-healthy probiotics and good bacteria that keep your intestinal flora balanced and maximize the absorption of nutrients in your food. Fermented foods should be an every day requirement.

There are so many different kinds of fermented foods, you can really pick your favorites, or like me, make sure you have a bunch of different kinds in your fridge at one time for variety.

Here are some of the most common types:

Sourkraut

Kimchi

Pickles

Yogurt

Kefir

Miso

Tempeh

Kombucha

All of these fermented foods will deliver good-for-your-tummy probiotics, but my top three for ease of use, effectiveness and taste would have to be kimchi, saurkraut and kombucha.

Kimchi

Kimchi may seem intimidating, but once you taste it I think you will change your mind. Kimchi is made from cabbage so it has a great crunchy texture and a pickled, spicy, slightly garlicky flavor. Any kind of egg dish topped with kimchi is delicious. You can also add it to sandwiches or stir-fry. You can find kimchi in any specialty grocery store or Asian market.

Saurkraut

Most people grew up eating saurkraut on their hotdogs or alongside pork chops, but did you know you were eating something super healthy!? Well, almost. Commercial, processed saurkraut isn’t the good stuff I’m talking about, but look no further than good ol’ Trader Joes to find raw, naturally fermented saurkraut. A great sandwich topper and slaw-enhancer, I’ll be completely honest-I snack on saurkraut straight out of the jar while making my eggs in the morning. The chef thinks it’s gross, but you only need 1 tablespoon a day so I’m not shoveling it in, and I prefer to do my bathroom business in the morning so it works great for me :b

Kombucha

Probably my favorite fermented food, you don’t have to figure out what to do with kombucha. You just drink it. Easy, peasy.ย  Kombucha tastes like a tangy, effervescent slightly sweet tea, which is exactly what it is. You can find kombucha in most bodegas, grocery stores and markets nowadays, but a typical 16oz bottle will run you about $4. I prefer to make my own homemade kombucha. That way I can make multiple jars that end up costing pennies.

008

Making kombucha at home is a pretty simple process as long as you follow a few rules:

1. Make sure your tools, jars and anything coming in contact with the tea and scoby (the culture used to ferment your tea and turn it into kombucha) are clean and sterile.

2. Only use wood or plastic tools. Metal will weaken the kombucha and it won’t ferment properly. I learned this one the hard way ๐Ÿ˜‰

3. Most people are afraid of brewing their own kombucha because they are afraid it could go bad or moldy without them knowing. You will know if your kombucha is bad! You will see blueish green moldy spots on your scoby. If that is the case, throw out the batch and start again. In all my years of brewing, I’ve never made a bad batch of kombucha.

You can find a scoby on the internet or sometimes at farmers markets. I got mine on Etsy. The scoby was free with $6 shipping. Pretty sweet if you ask me! The scoby itself was organic, thick and the seller had great reviews.

Once you have your scoby, you can get to brewing!

1.) Start by boiling 10 cups of water. Turn off the heat and add 1 cup of sugar and 8 tea bags to the water. Any plain black or green tea works. I use Lipton black tea. Simple and cheap.

003

2.) Let your tea come to room temperature before adding it to a 1 gallon glass jar. Add the scoby and the starter liquid it came packaged in. The scoby may sink to the bottom or float on top. Either is perfectly fine.

3.) Cover the opening with a paper towel or cheesecloth and a rubberband. I like to write the date with a marker on the paper towel so I can keep track of how long my tea has been fermenting. Find a dark place to keep your brew where it won’t be disturbed.

4.) Check the kombucha after 7 days. There will be a baby scoby floating on top by now. It should look like the momma, but it will be a little thinner. Use a plastic spoon to taste the brew. If you would like it stronger, leave it for a few more days and check again. Keep checking until you’ve reached the flavor you want.

5.) When you like your brew, transfer it to glass jars and seal with lids. Save 2 cups of kombucha and submerge your scoby in it to keep it for your next batch.

6.) One more step! Place your kombucha back in it’s fermenting spot and leave it for 1-2 days. This develops carbonation so your kombucha will be refreshingly fizzy :)

009

There you have it! I like to throw away the oldest scoby after 2-3 times, but you can reuse the baby ones or gift them to friends. Maybe make sure they know about kombucha before handing them a bag of liquid with a beige thingy floating around in it, haha!

I hope I cleared up a few things about fermented foods and maybe encouraged you to give them a try. Eat them on the regular and I know your tummy will thank me :)

Do you already eat fermented foods?

Which are your favorites and how do you like to eat them?

Anyone else going to admit they feel great after a good poop? ;D

 

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

The Truth about Fat Talk

What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? ~Mary Oliver

Will you count calories?

Will you poke yourself in the stomach when you’ve had too much to eat?

Will you spend an entire afternoon trying to find an outfit that doesn’t make you feel fat?

I’m going to lay down the facts here, my love. You have one life. The timer began when you were born and it’s going, baby until you die. What you chose to do in that limited time is up to you, but I think you would want to do something useful with it.

Fat-talk is a distraction. It’s a way to ignore the real work that needs to be done. You complain about your muffin top, the fast-food you ate last night, anything to avoid the real issue at hand. You feel unlovable.

As long as you keep complaining about your physical body, maybe no one will notice how unlovable you are.

But they notice, darling._DSC6301

They notice that you are scared shitless.

Only when you pry your fingers from your eyes and are willing to really look at yourself will you be able to see the truth. It’s terrifying and extremely uncomfortable to look at yourself with no judgement, but that’s what you have to do. You may realize that you’ve never looked at yourself without something harsh to say. I urge you, desperately to try it. The quality of your life depends on it.

Are you willing to see things differently? If you said yes, I first have to arm you with some facts that you may not want to hear.

~You are made of Love. Babies die if they are not loved because they are made of Love and need a constant source of it to grow. Your life force, your very essence is Love. So how can you be unlovable if it is the very thing you are made of?

~Every person put on this earth has a purpose. There are no obsolete people. Your responsibility is to find out what that purpose is. It is not your responsibility, however to force anything. If you force, you block. Leave yourself open. Trust that it is coming. Be patient and pay attention.

I have a practice that I stumbled upon one day that I use as a gentile yet firm reminder that I am loved and I am being guided. I had just finished watching a movie on my laptop. I was sitting on the floor of my tiny apartment bedroom and I noticed that the sun was flooding my room with light. On a whim I sat up, closed my eyes and began to meditate. I don’t know how long I sat there and I didn’t do any special breathing or mantras. I just felt like my mind was cluttered and I wanted to sit still for a minute. When I felt I had meditated long enough, I was just about to open my eyes when I had a peculiar impulse to place my right hand over my heart. I thought it was strange, but I was willing to go with it. As I lifted my hand I felt a magnet-like force drawing my palm to my chest. As soon as it made contact I was surprised at how strong and rooted my hand felt over my heart. I heard a voice from the deepest part of myself say, “I’ve got you. No matter what happens I will always be here for you. You will always be all right.” As soon as I heard those words I felt Love flood my body. It was the most overwhelming feeling I had ever experienced. It subsided after a few minutes and when I opened my eyes I took stock of what happened. I felt grounded and strong and more sure of myself then I had ever felt before. And this at a time when I had no idea what I was going to do with my future.

Now any time I feel unsure, or unsteady I place my hand on my heart and I feel a flicker of reassurance. I know that I am being guided and I know that I am worth so much more than I think I am.

download

I’m sharing this with you because it’s so powerful to know that the deepest part of yourself has your back. It’s like having a safety net below you at all times. It frees you to do the things you are afraid to do and, by the way, the things that scare you the most are the things that will lead you to your purpose.

Try this meditation when you are feeling distracted by a sense of uncertainty or self-doubt. Sit quietly for 10-20 minutes, as long as it takes you to still your mind and feel grounded. When you feel yourself coming back to consciousness, place your right hand over your heart and feel the weight and stability of your palm on your chest. Pay attention to any sensations that come up for you. When you feel ready, open your eyes and reflect on what just happened.

Don’t do yourself a disservice. Fat talk helps no one and improves nothing. Your time would be much better spent focusing on your unique talents and what you can offer the world.

Delve into your work and focus on what fires you up. Focusing your attention outward does the most extraordinary thing. It makes you forget about yourself and at the same time gives you the best sense of worth. So, forget the fat talk. It’s just noise distracting you from your purpose. Ignore it and get living. Your one wild and precious life is waiting.

Xoxo,

Sam

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

The Ultimate Protein Pancakes

Hey Loves,

I am so freakin excited to share this recipe with you! I seriously heart these pancakes. I have been making them for years and now I am going to share them with you! They are the perfect breakfast to refuel with after a sweaty workout. You know, when all you want is a filling, indulgent treat because you worked out and you earned it.

Right? Right.rp_075-1024x768.jpg

Well, these pancakes are that, and they’re also healthy. High protein, low fat and filled with ingredients you can feel good about. So you can feel indulgent without your breakfast negating all the work you just did.

Cause a doughnut will. Just saying.

Protein pancakes are made at least once a week in my house. Not only do they make a great breakfast, but they also make a perfect on-the-go snack. Just spread one with almond butter, or any other nut butter you like, maybe add some sliced fruit, roll up and go. So good.

Wait, wait! I’m not done! Just this past week I found a trick that makes my darling flap jacks even better than they already are!

If you’ve ever made some kind of protein pancake before you might have noticed they are denser than regular pancakes. This is fine except when you’re craving a fluffy, light, buttery batch or you are making them for whoever slept over the night before ๐Ÿ˜‰ The chef in my case, who sleeps over every night. We live together. Jeez.

The extra step of whipping the egg whites makes the texture of these pancakes super fluffy!

Healthy, delicious, fluffy.

(Drops mike)

Done.

 

Ultimate Protein Pancakes

Makes 4-6

1 medium banana

2 tbsp ground flax

2 scoops vanilla protein powder

2 tbsp oat flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

5 tbsp vanilla almond milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup egg whites

In a medium size bowl mash the banana with a fork. Add in the next 8 ingredients (everything but egg whites) and mix to combine. In a separate bowl (or in a stand mixer) whisk egg whites until they develop stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Add half of the whipped egg whites to the pancake mixture and stir. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites. Be careful not to over mix.

Heat a non-stick pan to medium and coat with cooking spray. Pour in batter and flip when you see bubbles. Only flip once for really fluffy pancakes.

Top with almond butter and blueberries. At least that’s what I would do ๐Ÿ˜‰

067

THEY’RE SO FLUFFFFYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!! <—shameless Despicable Me reference. I had to.

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

Quinoa Coconut Protein Granola

Do you ever feel like in the course of a day you have to be two, or ten different people. I feel like women, especially find themselves popping in and out of roles depending on what or who they are dealing with. We go from best friend to mother, to boss-lady, to lover and back again. What’s that phrase about wearing different hats? But, I will admit sometimes I feel like wearing different hats. There are days I want to be a fashionista and there are days I want to be a kick-ass workout warrior. And sometimes I want to be a blissed out earth-loving yogi.

I think that’s true on some level for all women.

As I say in my About Page, “I’m a walking contradiction. A mala-bead wearing, Michael Kors-bag toting dreamer with a degree.” I’ll sing the praises of kombucha while sipping an iced latte. I’ll wear Nars cosmetics and moisturize my skin with coconut oil. And you know what?

I like it that way.

IMG_1476

No apologies necessary.

I do what I want. It keeps life interesting and there’s something freeing about one day showing up in a killer outfit with a fun orchid purple pop of lipstick and the next living in stretchy pants and toting my yoga mat everywhere.

Sometimes it’s too much fun being a girl ๐Ÿ˜‰ We have so many options to express ourselves.

One thing you can count on though. You will never catch me in Birkenstocks. Never ever, ever. Never have, and never will get behind those. What’s the appeal? Can someone please explain?

I find that most often I prefer to express my hippy, earth-loving, nature-babe side in the food I like to make.

So a few days ago I was feeling especially hippyish and after checking my homebrewed kombucha to see if it was ready, (true story) I decided I wanted to make granola. I wanted a crunchy, nutty lightly sweetened granola with a bit more protein than usual. I considered protein powder, but the chef hates my Sunwarrior with a passion after an unfortunate over-proteined chalky smoothie incident. I don’t blame him one bit :/

So, next I considered the grains. Could I substitute some of the oats with a healthier, higher-protein grain? Quinoa! Obvious choice. And I’m happy to report it worked like a charm. Not only did the quinoa bump up the protein content, but it also lent the granola even more crunch and texture than normal granola.

P.S. Please don’t be afraid of the high fat content in granola. Nuts and seeds are extremely good for you. They keep you satiated, they make your hair shiny and your skin super soft. The low fat craze is so over. Fats are in people! Yay!

IMG_1506

Did I mention they also make great travel parfaits?!

Quinoa Coconut Protein Granola

Makes 6-7 cups

1 cup quinoa

1 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup almonds, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

2 tbsp ground flax

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut sugar (or sugar of your choice)

2 tbsp coconut oil

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

In a small saucepan on medium heat stir together wet ingredients until the sugar is dissolved and the coconut oil is melted.

Add wet ingredients to dry and toss to combine.

Spread granola in an even layer on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Let cool and break apart to desired sized clusters.

Store in an airtight container.

IMG_1473

Do you also sometimes feel the urge to bounce from glam to hippy?

How do you express yourself? Food, fashion, makeup, hairstyle? All, or none of the above?

 

Happy Monday my loves!

Sam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

Why Death is a Blessing

The only continuous sound in the plaza at Lincoln Center comes from the center fountain. Water bubbles and splashes in a Zen-like rhythmic cadence in stark contrast to the rumbling trains and sharp car horns of the city just beyond. It’s 8am and suits with briefcases are hurrying to get to important things. They pass by the fountain looking down at their watches. It happens to be fashion week and assistants in tight pencil skirts hurriedly weave amongst the crowds with towers of cappuccinos and double skim lattes, willing the threatening brown drops to stay in their paper cups until they reach their destination.

Fifteen minutes pass and the outskirts of Lincoln Center are abuzz with life. Without ceremony, suddenly a drum beat echoes through the courtyard. One is not enough to draw any New Yorkers attention, but the beat continues, growing louder, a low thump like the earthโ€™s heartbeat vibrates underfoot, travels up stilettoed feet and hums through curious spines.

A trickle of white fabric draws eyes to the far right corner of the plaza where young men and women walk ceremoniously toward the fountain. Now the suits have stopped to watch. One hundred dancers step as one to the drum beat and circle the fountain. The air has become solemn and a hush comes over the crowd. The dancers continue their journey with downcast eyes, unaware and unaffected by the goings-on around them. At 8:45 the drum beat stops and the dancers stretch out their arms and raise their chests and faces to the sky. All is still.

One by one people remember. They remember the one thing that we all have in common. Life is a finite thing. As busy as we make it and how many grievances we have about it, one day it will end. For all of us. Some of us go too quickly, leaving the rest of us to lament our loss and wonder why.

Look at life through the lens of death. That is the best advice I can give you. What if your day was tomorrow? What would you do differently? Who would you spend more time with? Would you hold off on your dreams?

Honor those who are gone by cherishing the life you have. Go for your dreams. Your lost ones wonโ€™t be at peace if you stop your life where theirs stopped. Be grateful every day and bask in the knowledge that you are loved. Be patient with others and practice loving kindness, especially toward those who donโ€™t seem to want it. They need it most. Reach hearts and remember to smile. Smiling goes a long way. Learn to love and be loved. Be busy, sure. But be busy with friends and dreams and laughter.

When we were standing there, one hundred dancers with outstretched arms, in the stillness I could hear my heart beating. It beat in time with the dancers beside me. It beat to the drum as we walked out of the plaza. And it beat for those whose hearts no longer can.

Here is what I know: Death is sure, but so is love. Love continues long after hearts have stopped and when ours decide to stop beating, those who have gone before us will be there to embrace us with outstretched arms and even more love than we knew in life.

 

 

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

The Day I Lost My Shit…Or, How To Tackle Your Upper Limit Problems

There was nothing extraordinary about the day. The hot August afternoon was waiting for me as I stepped out of the subway and I began to make my way home to my upper east side apartment. As the cars slowed to a stop, I was about to cross when I felt an overwhelming ball of anxiety begin in the pit of my stomach. As I reached the other side of the street I could barely breathe and the feeling had rushed to my limbs. My heart was racing. I felt baffled and overwhelmed. What the hell was this!? I became increasingly self-conscious and looked around to see if anyone else noticed that I was freaking out. It took every ounce of concentration to breathe normally. I had to figure out what was happening to me, Now.

The day had begun nice enough. I woke up in a great mood because the day before I had gone on a pretty glorious date. We had a picnic in the park. We sipped chilled wine and munched on baguette topped with cheese and fig jam. We chatted all day until the sun went down. Pretty picturesque stuff. He kissed me goodnight and I floated home on a cloud…by cloud I mean I rode a sweltering 6 train back to my part of town.

I had been thinking about him all day. This was something new and I had a feeling that it was going to be something big. For the last two years I enjoyed being single. I dated some nice men, had a few adventures and even kept a friendship with one or two of them but, at the end of the day, none of these guys felt exactly right. It was fun, but often frustrating. I tried to explain to one of them who wanted to move further, ‘We’re like two pieces of a puzzle that look like they are going to fit, but when you put them together they don’t quite work.’ I just didn’t have a desire to date anyone seriously. I thought that maybe there was something wrong with me. Was I being too picky? I spent a lot of those last two years annoyed with myself and totally confused.

And then here came this man seemingly out of nowhere who was right under my nose this whole time.

I remember the first time we had a conversation. We were both standing still and I was close enough to look into his eyes. It was as if my soul said, ‘There you are.’ It took me by surprise, but it also made perfect sense. I was completely at ease in his presence. I don’t know how he did it, but every encounter with him made me want to reveal more of myself. Something told me to remember as much as I could about these early dates because there was going to be a future with this man, a very long one.

So, naturally, I’m having a panic attack.

My mind was clear despite the unnerving freak attack my body was going through and I had an inkling I knew what this was. Just to confirm, when I got home I reached for my computer and Googled ‘upper limit problem’. Sure enough a bunch of articles popped up saying the same thing:

Everyone has an internal thermostat setting that determines the amount of success, happiness and love we allow into our lives. When we attempt to grow our subconscious tries to hold us back where we know we are safe. Upper limits are like adolescent growing pains. Whenever we experience a tremendous amount of growth, we have to bust through our upper limits in order to expand our capacity for success.

You may find yourself in a loving relationship and all of a sudden you pick a fight. You may be having a lot of success at work while simultaneously develop insomnia from worrying about losing your job. You may be enjoying new projects and encouragement from your peers and suddenly become bed-ridden with flu-like symptoms. You go to the doctor and the tests come back negative. All of these are examples of what happens when you reach your upper limits.

Here’s the thing: No one is exempt from dealing with their upper limits. Even the most successful entertainers and CEOs have to contend with them. In fact, they probably had to deal with their upper limits many times to get where they are.

I liken upper limits to stretching. When you stretch a muscle too quickly or further than you are used to, your brain panics and sends a signal to your muscle fibers to contract. When faced with the unfamiliar, your body’s first reflex is to protect itself. However, if you are aware of this reaction, you can relax the muscle, override the panic response and breathe into the stretch. The next time you attempt it, you will find you are able to go deeper into the stretch because you pushed your limits further.

So I confirmed my suspicion: I had reached my upper limit for love. I was in completely new territory and my subconscious was freaking out. I had never experienced anything like this before. I was unprepared and caught off-guard.

Becoming aware of my upper limit was the first major step to override it. I had figured out what this was. Check. Next I had to address the fears that were hitching a ride on Love’s coattails. I got real honest with myself and I discovered something that surprised me; the bottom line was that I was uncertain that I was worthy of this much love. Now that I had said it out loud I could see that my fears were silly. There is no remedy for uncertainty and of course I am worthy of love. Everyone is. I had literally been overwhelmed with love. So, just as with a good stretch, the only intelligent choice I could make was to relax, breathe, and go deeper.

 

Have you ever experienced an upper limit problem? How did it show up? What did you learn from tackling it?

Tell me in the comments below.

 

To busting through our limits Kool-Aid Man style ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh yea!

Sam

 

 

 

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

Mocha Chip No-Bake Cookies

IMG_1401

I’ve never been a big nap person. When given the choice between a nap or coffee ninety-five percent of the time I’ll go for the caffeine. I have a sneaking suspicion my nap-aversion might have something to do with FOMO (the fear of missing out). I cherish my sleep at night, but when it comes the the daytime, I often feel like there’s so much to do I can’t possibly take some time for a nap. And, God forbid I try to nap and end up laying there for an hour without falling asleep! What a waste!

Now I know that naps are thoroughly enjoyed by many and I’ve been told they are even beneficial to my health (which I don’t doubt), but until I learn to fall asleep during the day, I’ll be awake enjoying a little jolt of caffeine from my favorite cookies. Unlike naps, they never let me down ๐Ÿ˜‰

IMG_1394

Healthy Mocha Chip No-Bake Cookies

Adapted from Chocolatecoveredkatie

Makes 14-16 cookies

  • 2/3 cup oat flour (grind quick oats in a blender)
  • 2 tbsp protein powder (I prefer plant-based like Sunwarrior)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp brewed coffee
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Combine first seven ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Add last three wet ingredients and mix to combine. Add chocolate chips and mix to incorporate. Prepare a baking sheet by laying parchment paper across the bottom. Form the dough into small balls and flatten to form into cookies. place on parchment and set in the fridge for 10 minutes. As the coconut oil chills the cookies will firm up.

Notes about ingredients:

  • If you don’t have any brewed coffee on hand you can substitute 1 1/2 tsp instant coffee and add 3 tbsp water to the recipe.
  • Any granulated sugar will do, but I prefer coconut sugar for it’s bonus minerals, nutrients and lower glycemic index.
  • I like to use oat flour because it has more fiber and is gluten free. You can experiment with other types of flour in this recipe, but I haven’t so I can’t speak to the results. I like to grind up a bunch of oats at one time and keep the flour on hand. I use it in most of my baked recipes.
  • Anytime you add protein to a recipe with sugar, it slows the insulin-spiking effects of eating sugar alone. You will see protein powder in a lot of my sweet recipes for this reason.

Let me know if you give this recipe a try! It’s super easy and delish!

Are you a napper of do you prefer an energy jolt?

Any tips for a non-napper? ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Xoxo,

Sam

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

Wanna Know a Secret???

“No amount of self-improvement can make up for any lack of self-acceptance.” Robert Holden

 

As a teenager I was a pent-up bundle of nerves. The pressure of school, fear of fitting in, out-of-wack hormones, little sleep and a tremendous dance school schedule made for a pretty manic little being. It also bred a lot of self-hatred.

What I remember of my high-school years is pushing myself so hard to be better that I was actually pushing against myself. I was in a constant battle with my body, my skills as a dancer, my self-worth and self-image and I found that the harder I battled with myself the more I hated myself.

It wasn’t until a few years later when I could look back with some perspective and conclude that my constant put-downs actually stunted my progress. I was fighting myself so hard! I thought that telling myself I wasn’t good enough would instill fear and panic to be better, dance better, look better. It never worked. I was constantly dissatisfied, frustrated and obsessed. Looking back, I feel bad for the teenager I was. I wasted so many years putting myself down that there was no possible way I could improve.

Years later I could look at the situation I put myself in and see that I quite literally stunted my own growth. I began to grasp that hatred toward myself didn’t help, but I didn’t really understand why, until recently.

We women are so good at beating ourselves up, aren’t we? We do it constantly and I can bet that you do it for the same reason I did it. We think that if we are hard on ourselves today, that we will be better, do better, perform better tomorrow.

Here’s the thing though; Shaming ourselves doesn’t make us change.

You can’t bully yourself into being better.

“No amount of self-improvement will work without self-acceptance. ” Robert Holden

When I changed my tactic and decided to try this self-acceptance thing, everything became easier. I discovered that it’s infinitely nicer to live with a Self that is my best friend than one that is my hated enemy. It sounds dramatic, but the voices in our heads often are dramatic and so was the shift that occurred when I began to practice self-acceptance.

This isn’t a little fluffy fairytale where I learned my lesson and everything is magical from here on out. Self-acceptance is a daily practice. It’s a tuning in to my body, my mind, my spirit and some days, yes, I catch myself in those old negative thought patterns. The difference now is that I chose not to believe what they are telling me. We don’t have to believe every thought that comes into our minds. We can pick and chose the ones that are going to serve us. Ah, the beauty of free will! The key is being aware.

The practice of self-acceptance is extensive, but I do want to leave you with some actionable ways of getting there yourself. These tools are what helped me. My hope is that they help you too.

1. Meditation.

This isn’t some hooky hippy stuff. It took me a long time to try it, but now that I have I can say for a fact that I will be doing it for the rest of my life. Knowing who you are is the first step towards self-acceptance. Think about it, if you don’t know yourself how can you accept yourself? Meditation is the most effective way I know of doing this. You don’t have to sit for an hour, or even 30 minutes. Meditate for 10 minutes in the morning and work your way up if you want to. There are plenty of resources on the Google if you want a little guidance. Trust me, the most profound lessons I’ve learned about life and myself happened on a little chair cushion under my bum on the floor of my room.

2. Movement

I want to preface this by saying movement has nothing to do with weight-loss or trying to change your body. That’s why I say “movement” and not “exercise”. While they do often overlap, I’m talking about the type of movement that feeds your soul, gets you intimately acquainted with your body and stirs your creativity. Any type of movement that leaves you feeling powerful and in awe of what your body can do is good. I urge you to discover your favorite type of movement and practice it regularly. Extra bonus points if you try something you’ve always wanted to do, but were afraid to. Hip-hop.

3. Study the Greats

If you don’t know how to begin to accept yourself, why not learn from those who have made it their life’s work to figure it out!? There is SO much wisdom out there. People have dedicated their entire lives to this subject and they really want to help you! Books, podcasts, videos and websites, no matter your preference there is a modality out there for you. My favorite books to get you started are “A Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson and “Loveability” by Robert Holden. My copies of both of these books are dog-eared and highlighted and totally beat up from constant re-reading. If you prefer a website that sends daily lessons and inspiration to your inbox check out Mastin Kipp’s Dailylove.com . If you want some truly great ladies that I learn from on a daily basis check out Gabrielle Bernstein, Marie Forleo and Danielle LaPorte.

To close, I want to share with you a prayer that I love and say when I feel I’m shifting into that negative space. It always seems to pull me back to center:

“O God, help me to believe the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is.” -Macrina Weiderkher, a Benedictine nun

 

Now I’d love to hear from you. Do you struggle with self-acceptance? Which of these practices are you willing to try and why? Do you have some tips of your own? Tell me in the comments below. You may just help someone else by sharing!

 

Xoxo,

Samantha

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr

How Much Do You Want It???

“Do I WANT or NEED this?”

That’s the question I ask myself any time I’m about to whip out my wallet or click Add-To-Bag. It’s a simple question, yet it’s so effective.

We are all aware, maybe hyper-aware that we live in a consumerist culture. Advertising everywhere is telling us we need the latest clothes, beauty products, cars, toys and electronics. It’s a constant battle, even for me- a self-described dollar pincher (not as extreme as a penny pincher, but still a pretty lean-running lady)

I’ve realized the trick is to learn how to distinguish a Want from a Need.

Do I NEED a new spring outfit, or can I shop last years closet and create some new looks?

Do I NEED to go out for dinner, or can I make something delicious at home? Btw, alcohol in restaurants is EXTREMELY marked up. You can get a great bottle of wine for $20 or less in stores. Yes, my darling friends! This is me advocating drinking at home, preferably with girlfriends or sig others. A lot more fun that way ๐Ÿ˜‰

Do I NEED a new tube of mascara from Sephora? You might, but when you’re there do you also realize you “need” new foundation, a firming cream and new makeup brushes with a free travel case? If that’s the case you’d probably be better off hitting up your neighborhood drugstore.

I realize this advice could seem like it zaps the fun out of spending money, and your partially right. Once you ask yourself whether you Want or Need something, you get really clear on priorities. Oftentimes I find that I can live with a lot less than I think and that’s actually a freeing feeling. I have less clutter and more room to fill my life with things that really matter to me. It also puts more money in the bank which gives me the funds to do things with people I love. No one’s going to notice I’m wearing last years shoes when we’re out having a great time, I promise you that.

Making smart money choices and building a strong financial future is all about the little decisions you make on a day-to-day basis. It may seem mundane, but as you build momentum and see how much those little choices add to your bank account, cutting back can begin to feel like a game.

In fact, I challenge you to make it a game tomorrow. Every time you go to make a purchase, stop and ask yourself, “Do I WANT or NEED this?” Then at the end of the day assess how much money you saved and let me know how it goes in the comments below.

 

Happy Saving!

xoxo,

Sam

Like it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Share on LinkedInshare on Tumblr