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Dancing In The Rain

8 Aug

Many of my most significant life events have happened in the rain.

I came to this realization on a particularly stormy bike ride yesterday. I was trekking up a steep hill, wind and rain hammering my face, clothes clinging to my soaked skin. I was consumed by a mix of panic and hastiness that rain provokes. And then I remembered that just over 2 months ago I got married in the rain. And not just rain- black clouds, vicious lightning, and clapping thunder. In a long white dress. Suddenly, feelings of true joy washed over me as I pedaled up that hill. My drenched ride became playful, laughable, and… enjoyable. I felt more alive, more plugged in to the moment.

Why do we allow a little rain to shift our perspective so much? In life, it rains. Not only does it rain, but it storms, hails, tornadoes, tsunamis… Think of all the joyful moments you might be missing because you choose to cry along with the rain instead of dance in it?

It rained the day James proposed to me…

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It rained the day we got married…

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It rained the day I graduated college…

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It rained the last time we moved…

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It rained the day I ran my first marathon…

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It rained the first time I summited a mountain…

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I handle life’s rainstorms pretty well. I credit this to my belief that we are the masters of our own experience. We get to choose how we experience and remember each precious moment. I was surprised by the number of people who complimented me on my calm and happy demeanor the day 100 of our nearest and dearest gathered under a gazebo during a downpour, soaked and soggy, to watch me and JWD honor our love. To me, it was an easy choice to take it in stride. I didn’t see a rainy day, I saw a day on which my heart was overflowing with love and gratitude for JWD, our families, and our friends.

I think rain is good for us. It teaches us that perfection is highly overrated and is, in fact, something to reject rather than strive for. It teaches us that the imperfections are what make life exciting, make us feel truly alive, and connect us with each other. It conditions us to stop sweating the small stuff and to stop waiting for the sunny days to smile. 

A positive outlook is not just good for your soul, it’s good for your health too. One study found that hospital patients with a positive outlook were 58% more likely to live longer than their glass-half-empty counterparts. Aside from longevity, positivity is also linked to better heart health, strong immune systems, and less stress. Those who are positive tend to be exercisers, which is also proven to boost mood, health, and lower stress.

As everyone filed out of the gazebo after our wedding ceremony into the then sun-drenched park, one of our friends said the most incredible thing to me. He said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.” So dig deep and create your own sunshine. It’s not always easy, but it gets easier the more you practice.
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We’ve all been rained on (both literally and figuratively). Do you cry or do you dance?

 A song from our wedding day…

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Beat Boredom Gym Cardio Workout + Life Lessons From My Yoga Mat

8 Jan

Hello my friends! Hope you are having a great week so far. Mine has been pretty low-key: working, studying, and a good dose of self-care 🙂 Today I want to focus on a few recent workouts.

I am such a baby about the cold. My standard state in our apartment in the winter is a giant sweatshirt (with the hood up of course), fuzzy socks, slippers, wrapped in a blanket, with a mug of hot tea in hand. JWD is a gem for putting up with this 🙂

The only thing worse than sitting inside when it’s cold is thinking about exercising outside. It takes all of my willpower to make this happen. So, when the outdoors looked less than appealing on Saturday I ventured to the gym to knock out my cardio. I get bored pretty easily on gym cardio equipment, so I came up with this workout that mixes things up by utilizing 4 pieces of equipment:

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This workout is easily adjusted to the time and equipment you have available. Short on time? simply cut out one of the 10 or 15 minute machine segments to meet your needs. Don’t have all the equipment? Do the same prescription on a different machine. The 50 minutes flew by and I had fun bopping around to the different machines.

Now on to the second workout. Yesterday I took my favorite hot yoga class. This class challenges me like no other workout. I am always amazed by the growth that happens and the lessons that I carry off my mat and into my life. Before class I came across this article that I shared with my Facebook friends today. (read it, it’s short and sweet!)

Why Being Uncomfortable Is A Sign You’re On The Right Track

Being Uncomfortable

The lesson this article teaches us is priceless. There is enormous power in learning to stay calm in the face of discomfort. To feel it, acknowledge it, and just let it be. Because just beyond this discomfort is where the magic happens. It’s where you grow, change, and get to know the best you you can imagine. I think it’s human nature to avoid discomfort at all costs. We do it everyday- when we decide to go to the same old restaurant because what if the new place isn’t as good? When we stay in a job we hate because finding a new job would mean putting ourselves out there for others to judge. When we avoid trying something new because what if we fail? When we travel the same routes everyday because what if we get lost on the new route?

I am such an introverted creature of my comfort zone (hence the hoodie-socks-tea routine), so being uncomfortable is.. well, very uncomfortable for me. Over the past 5 years I’ve changed cities once, schools twice, college majors three times, homes four times, jobs five times, completed a 10 month internship that required me to immerse myself as an employee at a new site every two weeks, and went through the divorce of my parents. Talk about uncomfortable. I think I’ve lived most of the past 5 years outside my comfort zone. BUT I’ve also grown, achieved, and discovered and fell in love with my “true self” over the past 5 years.

So I take this idea of “getting comfortable being uncomfortable” onto my yoga mat and practice it. I acknowledge the discomfort, I focus, and I breathe through it. I remind myself that no matter what happens, I will be okay. During last night’s class my teacher asked us to practice kicking up into our handstands with both feet at the same time. This is challenging for me because the comfort of having one “safety” leg near the floor is gone. You are literally “jumping in with both feet”. I acknowledged my fear of falling, my fear of knocking over one of the yogis next to me, my fear of failing, and my fear of looking silly. And then I did it anyway. It doesn’t matter whether I succeeded or not. If I fall, I grow. If I succeed, I grow. All that matters is that I allowed myself to feel the discomfort and breathed my way to the other side of it. And that, my friends, means I’m on the right path 🙂

This week I challenge you to jump in with both feet and face discomfort head on. Do one thing outside your comfort zone, big or small, and take in the gifts that wait for you on the other side.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Healthy Snack: Crispy Roasted Edamame

3 Dec

Monday is certainly NOT my favorite day of the week. When my alarm goes off and I realize that the weekend is over and a full week stands in front of me, the sadness/grumpiness sets in. This is an ongoing goal of mine- to start the week on a positive note and schedule my weeks so they are a little more bearable. I have a bad habit of cramming as much as I possibly can into 5 days and then completely crashing on the weekends. This way of life does not serve me well! Recently, someone gave me the analogy of the safety instructions that are given on an airplane. They tell you to put your mask on first before helping the person next to you. Why do they tell you to do this? Because you are are much more capable of taking care of others when you take care of yourself first. This really resonated with me and is something I need to work on! Anyone else suffer from “caretaker syndrome”?

Lately my Sundays have focused on pressing the reset button, self-care, and getting myself in the zone for the week ahead. I started yesterday with a very challenging hot yoga practice. We spent the first 10 minutes of the practice doing back-to-back core exercises. My abs were screaming in pain for the remaining hour of the practice! Savasana with wide open windows completely made up for the torture. Still can’t believe the windows were open on Dec. 2nd!

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I followed up yoga with oatmeal chocolate chip pancakes. I was ravenous so pictures did not happen 🙂

The rest of the day was spent situating our Christmas tree,

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Veggies for our tree!

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getting work done, and spending some time in the kitchen concocting snackage for the week!

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Roasted Edamame

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag frozen shelled edamame
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste

How-To:

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Thaw shelled edamame and spread on towel to dry.
  • Toss shelled edamame with olive oil and seasonings and spread on a baking sheet, lightly greased or covered with parchment paper.
  • Roast for about 40 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  • I like mine extra crispy, so I turned off the oven at 40 minutes, but left the edamame in the warm oven for an additional 20 minutes to continue to dry out.

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The perfect high-protein snack to keep you on track and energized this week.

Take care of yourself this week! Thanks for reading 🙂

Transitions

11 Sep

Historically, this time of year is always chockfull of transitions- with this year being no different. I’ve always had quite an adverse reaction to change, just ask my mom. She would tell you stories of anxiety ridden first days of school, tummy aches on the way to summer camp, and teary phone calls every time a curveball was thrown my way. It recently dawned on me that I’ve actually gotten better at the whole change thing- it takes quite a bit to shake me up these days. Between new jobs (that I’ve yet to tell you about, but definitely intend to!), new graduate classes, a new home, and a new daily routine, transition is in the air. I’ve been so wrapped up in settling in to my “new life” that I almost missed the first glimpses of my favorite season.

The first signs of fall are revealing themselves at our house.

Sure, the endless prattle of the return of Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes clued me in to the changing seasons, but I prefer signs of different sorts.

The AC has been banished and the windows are wide open, with a crisp breeze blowing in- perfect for afternoon napping.

Check out my second favorite room of the new nest. A study complete with french doors, giant windows, original stained glass, and delicious hardwood floors. Obsessed.

You didn’t actually think I was referring to myself napping, did you? C’mon, you know me better than that…

Greens are sprouting on the windowsill.

Another signal of fall- the smells. Today the apartment is filled with the smell of roasting butternut squash…

…waiting to be turned into this:

Blend roasted squash cubes with sautéed onion, garbanzo beans, soy milk, curry powder, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and a dash of cinnamon in a food processor or blender until smooth. Simmer on stove until warm throughout. 

I enjoyed my soup with a grilled {goat}cheese fold-over for dunking.

I also know that fall is looming because hot tea and Emergen-C on the rocks are my cocktails of choice. I have the sniffles 😦 …a sure sign the seasons are changing.

Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice tea is a fall staple for me. There is something so romantic and special about opening the tin, releasing the smell of sweet and spicy cinnamon, and plunging one of the silk teabags into your mug. I’ve only had two tins of this tea- the first given to me by my mom and the second given to me by JWD. I tend to savor it because thinking of the givers when I drink it makes it that much more special. In a strange way this tea is comfort food to me, hence it making an appearance when I’m feeling under the weather.

Now it is time to rest. Workout plans were cancelled for the day in favor of recharging. I am already posted up in bed  for the evening with no plans of moving. Check in for a fun recipe later this week and a peek at my first favorite room of the new nest!

Thanks for reading 🙂 

The ABCs of Me

1 Jul

The other day I asked a friend for her opinion on how to make Running on Sunshine better. I am in a better place in my life right now to be able to give more and want to amp things up around here. Her answer was simple and something I kind of already knew: get more personal. I tend to be a tough shell to crack- I’m introverted, private, and pretty guarded. But I want you all to get to know me better. We’ll kick it off with a fun game that has made its way around the blog world: “The ABCs of Me”

The ABCs of Kayli

A. Age: 3 short months from 25. This is my first experience with the concept of a “scary age”.

B. Bed size: Full.

C. Chore you dislike: It used to be cleaning the blender until I learned this trick: fill the dirty blender halfway with warm water and a squirt of soap. Put it back on the base and whirl away until it’s clean. It’s like creating a little dishwasher inside the blender. Now, my least favorite chore is putting away clothes. You’d think this would deter me from shopping, but it doesn’t…

D. Dogs: No dogs, just two seriously adorable cats.

E. Essential start to your day: Coffee, oats, and social media/blog/article catch-up on the iPad.

F. Favorite colors: Turquoise.

G. Gold or silver: Love them both, but I tend to wear more gold.

H. Height: 5’4’’

I. Instruments you play(ed): I took guitar lessons in high school. I can play one Nirvana song 🙂 I hope to pick it up again someday.

J. Job title: Blogger, soon-to-be dietitian and personal trainer, and graduate assistant in the Nutrition Department at SLU.

K. Kids: Not any time soon 🙂

L. Live: St. Louis, MO- where the food scene is highly under-rated. Come visit me, I’ll blow your mind.

M. Mom’s name: Corrina 🙂

N. Nicknames: Kay, KP, Kaybear.

O. Overnight hospital stays: Never!

P. Pet peeves: Grammar, incorrect use of homonyms, when people aren’t true to themselves, bad listeners. I’m sure JWD can add to this list 😉

Q. Quote from a movie: Hmm… not a big movie watcher (can’t sit still that long), so I’ll give you my favorite yoga mantra: “I have enough, I do enough, I am enough.”

R. Righty or lefty: Righty.

S. Siblings: A beautiful older sister!

T. Time you wake up: Usually between 6am and 7am. I love mornings.

U. Underwear: I said I wanted to get more personal, but I have to draw the line somewhere!

V. Vegetables you don’t like: I honestly can’t think of one! Maybe frisee lettuce, not crazy about the mouth-feel.

W. What makes you run late: Uh, anything and everything. Much to JWD’s dismay, I am always running late.

X. X-rays you’ve had: Stress fracture in my foot from back-to-back half marathon training.

Y. Yummy food you make: I would like to think most of it is pretty tasty! Some current favorites: Sunshine Smoothie, homemade peanut sauce, homemade black bean burgers, and banana pops.

Z. Zoo animal you like: I’m not crazy about the zoo, but I do like the lions. They remind me of my cats.

It’s been a great Sunday over here. Some of today’s eats so far:

Cereal! I’ve been on an overnight oats kick, but cereal always sounds good before yoga on the weekends. Plain cereal usually doesn’t hold me over for very long, so I always jazz it up: Trader Joe’s Flax Cereal, Greek yogurt, 1/2 a peach, 1/2 a banana, almond milk, and a sprinkle of oats and walnuts.

Lunch was much-needed after hot vinyasa yoga and some pool/sun time with JWD.

A veggie and egg scramble, toast, and watermelon while prepping for a BBQ later tonight. I’m off to finish up the veggie burgers before we leave!

Happy July and thanks for reading 🙂

Workout of the Week and The Best News of My Life (so far…)

11 Jan

I can’t believe we are already 11 days into 2011! And I can’t believe I still have a whole glorious week of winter break left to enjoy.

It will be filled with a lot of this:

Cooking, reading, and organizing my recipes.

And this:

Yep, that’s a GRE book. I have to take the GRE this week. sigh.

But I won’t let THAT little hurdle ruin my last week of vacation.

I am going to live it up. JWD and I have embarked on some early spring cleaning to make room for our ridiculous amount of Christmas goodies.

Something else I started on my last week off is the Frostbike rides. A big group of girls get together every weekend to do a 11.5 mile bike ride through the city. Last Sunday was our first ride and it was chilly (14 degrees to be exact)! But amazing 🙂

Laura and I enjoying our free coffee and beignets after the ride.

I am a little rusty on my bike, so needless to say I was feeling a bit stiff Sunday night. The perfect cure: a little yoga practice.

The first official Workout of the Week is a DVD review of my go-to yoga practice: Body by Bethenny.

I’m sure you all recognize Bethenny from the mind-numbing Bravo show Real Housewives of New York City. (Confession: I am occasionally a closet Real Housewives viewer. It’s like a car accident…). But unlike some of the other housewives, Bethenny actually has some credentials. She’s a natural foods chef, she’s cooked for many celebrities, and she’s the author of the diet book Natuarlly Thin. Not to mention, she seems like a pretty cool, down-to-earth girl.

Anyway, back to the DVD. Body by Bethenny is a 40 minute yoga workout with a 10 minute free-weight session and 5 minute booty workout at the end. I’ve never done the weight portion, but I’ve done the yoga portion countless times. The yoga practice is lead by Kristin McGee. Kristin is a certified personal trainer, Pilates and yoga instructor, and has trained many celebrities.

The workout is a perfect mix of flowing, strengthening poses, and stretching. It includes all of my favorite yoga poses (tree pose and pigeon pose to name a few). The best part about this workout is anyone can do it! No matter what your fitness level, you will enjoy this workout. It aligns with my philosophy that fitness, nutrition, and health should be accessible to everyone. Bethenny is very relatable- she wobbles right along with you throughout the practice.

I love to turn on this DVD post-run, when I’m feeling tight/sore, when I’m short on time, or right before bed. DVD’s are especially great in the winter when the weather is icy and gym motivation is low. I just roll out my mat, open my laptop, light a few candles, and get my yoga on right in my living room. JWD has even been known to join me (shh… don’t tell him I told you)

(note the wonderful Lululemon Manduka yoga mat I got for Christmas. LOVE this mat)

Body by Bethenny can be purchased on Amazon.com for about 10 bucks OR you can download it instantly on Amazon for 10 bucks. That’s what I did. Instant gratification 🙂 I highly recommend this workout DVD.

Oh yeah, and about that news…

First a little background info- You already know I am studying nutrition and will graduate in May with a degree in nutrition and dietetics. But that’s not the end of the road for an aspiring dietitians. To become a registered dietitian, you must pass an exam. To be eligible to take the exam, you must complete a certain number of supervised practice hours in the form of a dietetic internship. The internship application process as well as the actual internship is a stressful and competitive part of a nutrition student’s journey.

Last week I was so thrilled to find out that I got accepted to SLU’s dietetic internship! I am so excited to continue my nutrition education at SLU and can’t wait to share the journey on the blog.

Thanks for reading 🙂

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