Balcony garden {}

I so want a garden this year and the spring weather this weekend that is gone by today got me all inspired. A quick pinterest search and I’m FULL of ideas. People have some quite unique things! Here are a few:

Gorgeous, yes??? How’s that for some Monday motivation full of sunshine and bright colors?

I think this year we’ll start a bit simpler than some of these, since neither of us are experienced gardeners. In fact, I think I’ve killed most things I’ve attempted to grow. BUT. I really really really love fresh green stuff, I want at least an herb garden, and some bright fun flowers would be awesome. Our balcony get’s a lot of direct sun so I’ve got some researching to do.

Any gardening tips?
Have you grown a balcony garden?
What’s you favorite thing to grow – or favorite fresh-from-the-garden food?

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Shameless plug for today.

My lovely and talented–like–crazy friend Casey Voight is looking for parents with kiddos 5–6 (or even up to age 8 or 9) to give feedback on her new children’s books. Here’s a preview ( click on each image to see more details and sample pages from each book):

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As you can see, these are beautifully illustrated. Look through the sample pages to see more. P.S. The Great Unknown is my favorite one – and yes, I’ve had a sneak peak at them all, I’m not just saying that.

“The children’s books I am writing deal with real-life issues. Much like the struggles we all face in life,” Casey says. “I’m going to release these to Amazon, but before I do, I wanted feedback from the audience that matters: the little minds that will be looking at these.”

If you have an e–reader or tablet, Casey will send you books in electronic format to read to your youngins. All for free, of course. She simply requests an email back with feedback from you as a parent and how your kids responded to them.

Don’t have a reader or tablet and you still really want to read them? She can send a PDF that can be printed or viewed on your computer.

Casey and her muse. P.S. Those two paintings in the background? Also hers. She crazy good I tell you.

Shoot Casey an email at!

Don’t have kids and like to read? Good! Casey has written a full–length novel The Dove (paperback or electronic version). It’s the first in a series of five. If you like the Hunger Games or Harry Potter or even Twilight, you will like the book. Go read it.


What is your favorite book or genre?
Do you have kids who love to read?

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Our first and last love is self love. {Piloting Paper Airplanes}

I made a commitment this week: to say something positive to my body every day.

More and more often lately, I make comments to Jon about things I don’t like:

“I wish [blank] was more [blank]” or

“Why can’t [blank] be better?”
and even worse,

“Why does my body hate me?”

I’ve struggled the last few weeks to balance those increasing comments – and thoughts – with something I consider vitally important to overall health: positive self talk. You are what you eat, right? How about you are what you think? Even more, you are what you say

The mental aspect is such a crucial component to health that I worry is too often overlooked. Krysten at Darwinian Fail challenged her readers with the #happyheartproject to change this kind of talk. We want to lose weight, increase muscle, run longer, eat better. Where is the excitement to meditate longer, to praise yourself to yourself, to truly enjoy things that make us happy. (I love to play piano, but I can’t remember the last time I did.)

Dorothy Beal at Mile–Posts wrote this week: “Happiness isn’t a destination as I once thought. Life is rarely perfect, things often don’t go as planned. You have to learn to ride the wave of life and just enjoy it. Don’t worry so much what others think, do what makes you really happy. On that day, last Sunday, running 30 miles on a treadmill made me really happy – SO I DID IT.”

These things are necessary ingredients to good health, too.

Last summer, during all the pre–wedding crippling stress, I was working out too much, eating too little, not taking enough quiet time for myself, letting the stress take over my speech… an all around miserable summer. I was not healthy, physically or mentally. Truth be told, it is impossible for me to hit my physical goals if I am not taking care of myself mentally/emotionally/spiritually (using these terms interchangeably today).

Fellow Sweat Pink ambassador, Caroline, made a telling statement on her blog this week: Health isn’t just about the absence of the negative, but the presence of positive factors. She’s completely right. I need not only to stop telling myself negative things, I need to replace them with positive words.

It is a correction of my thinking. Right now I am fixing numbness and back problems that have limited my running, but in the process, I’ve corrected my running form and increased my speed. I have a metabolism that feels as slow as molasses, but in learning how to eat for my body and metabolism, I’ve learned so many other important things of how food affects our bodies. I am curvy, making me naturally prone to carrying more weight, but I’m curvy with a perfect hourglass shape!

Somewhere on this self–talk journey we discover Casey’s magic web of emotions:

“We are all part of huge web that stretches all across the world. Each and every one of us is linked to that web. You are a vital part of that web. Now imagine if you will that there is an imaginary line drawn from you to everyone you encounter. Every person you come in contact with will take with them a piece of your emotion. (Don’t worry you have endless amounts of this.) Now lets say you are having a bad day. You’re tired, you’re grumpy, you’re uninspired, you’re feeling rather negative. The way you are feeling will come out and attach itself to everyone you meet. (Because we can FEEL emotions). This happens without people even thinking about it. At this point you are not only making yourself feel bad but others as well – yikes.”

Sarah Ogden wrote an incredible post over at Everyday Feminism about this negative talk and body shaming. (Seriously, gals and guys, please read her post). “We have trouble understanding why someone who isn’t a size 2 could love their body,” Sarah wrote. “We exist in a culture that conflates health with thinness.”  I have certainly succumbed to that kind of thinking and my self–talk reflects that. When I say things like “Why can’t I get in shape like that person?” Jon is always quick to tell me that I am in shape and I am healthy.

And he’s right! Looking back to the summer, I am stronger, faster & fitter; I eat more and healthier now; I’m not stressing about workouts anymore; I’m making meditation & prayer a priority.

Sarah is on point: We need to move the conversation around exercise away from weight loss and shift the focus onto health and wellness.

Your turn:
Do you talk to yourself negatively or positively?
How can you improve that part of your healthy lifestyle?

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Megaphone Society

Megaphone Society

Thursday’s workout: 2.7 mile run, 28:00 min. | 100 squats | 3:00 plank
Friday’s workout: 2.3 mile run, 21:50 min. | 140 squats | 70 push ups | 1:00 plank
Saturday’s workout: 3.4 mile run, 37:00 min. | 2:00 plank
Monday’s workout: Rep workout (20 each x 4 rounds: walking lunges, push ups, hanging ab tucks, dips, tuck jumps), 16:49 min. | Jenn’s pilates abs | 100 squats | 20 pike push ups | 2:30 plank….. Sheesh, that’s a lot to write out!

A few weeks ago, my friend and co–worker Casey Voight told me about a crazy idea.

Casey is a new author stumbling her way through self–publishing. (Amazingly, Google failed to have clear answers for questions like “do I need to have a Library of Congress number” or “what are some of the top services for hosting and selling e–books?”)

She had the opportunity to talk with a long–time author, hoping to get some concrete feedback and advice. His conclusion: “Don’t give up, but also don’t expect much.” Casey writes, “The market is flooded with everyone’s little voice screaming ‘Hey look what I did’, ‘Buy my book’, ‘Check this out’. It gets to be a deep–sea of people struggling to be heard, one over the next.”

Being the problem–solver that she is, Casey had a simple idea! Rather than all trying to scream over each other, why don’t we join our voices and help one another? Why isn’t there a community for authors, old and new, who can support each other and share ideas?

*Epiphany moment*

When Casey shared her idea of the Megaphone Society, I was immediately interested. I know how much I appreciate all the #sweatpink ladies, the #imagreatist family, and all my other health and fitness bloggers and tweeps. Though we only know each other through the blogosphere, these people have been an incredible source of encouragement, motivation and help.

People love having a community, a sense of belonging. The Megaphone Society provides just such a safe place for authors to grow and learn from each other. I’m so proud of Casey and all the work she has done finally getting her book out, and I’m really excited to help her start Megaphone. I believe in the power of communities like this.Megaphone Society

And so, I’m thrilled to announce the official launch of the Megaphone Society!

If you’re a writer, look around the site and join the movement! If you’re not a writer but know someone who is, please share the site with them. We have a lot of great things planned, such as author profiles, marketing strategies, Twitter #authorchats and creative prompts called Ink Outs.

That’s enough for me today. I want you to go to the Megaphone Society! Support authors, support a new community, support a movement.

emotional child

Living fully, part 3

emotional sad woman

How often have you been told you’re being too emotional – especially if you’re a woman? Ever have those days that you can barely hold back tears…. or days when you can’t stop smiling?

Today I want to talk about emotional energy, and how it affects our daily lives. (See Part 1 and Part 2 of this Living Fully series).

Dr. Lynn Rossy taught that emotional flexibility is the ability to “bounce back” from tough situations. She said that we have to think about our emotional energy as a limited resource; meaning, we have to replenish that resource as we use it. This is a different way for me to think about emotions, but it really makes sense.

Start by asking yourself this question: “If I weren’t afraid, I would ____.” Does fear keep you from trying new things? Or worse, does it keep you from doing things you love? Challenge yourself, step by step, in these areas of low confidence.

But be aware that fear is an emotion that will deplete your “emotional reserves,” so to speak. Be sure to treat yourself. Rossy suggests taking yourself on a date once a week. This is something as simple as blocking out 30 minutes to read uninterrupted, doing some shopping, go to a movie… whatever you enjoy that can be some you time.

emotional childI know I have a really hard time with, well, life, when I don’t have some “me” time in my week. Hello being a newlywed? It’s certainly been a transition for us to navigate quality time together – and apart.

Lastly, Rossy gave one more really great suggestion: At the end of each day, write down your happiest moment of that day. After 2 weeks of this, look back at your list. You will probably see some consistencies, and these are the things you should devote more priority to.

Some more activities to “emotionally recharge” include:

  • Deep breathing.
  • Read a good book.
  • Visit or call a close friend.
  • Here’s a great one: take a nap!
  • Listen to some music or sing yourself (be aware of neighbors 🙂 )
  • Take a bath, massage your feet, or go get a massage.
  • Be creative! Write, draw, paint, etc.
  • Spend some time praying or meditating.
  • Do a calming activity, such as Pilates, yoga, swimming or going for a walk.
  • Organize your room, closet, office, etc. Give unwanted things away.
  • Laugh! Watch a comedy, read a funny book or talk to a friend who can make you laugh.

Don’t forget to do your “homework.”

Choose one activity to replenish your emotional energy and build that into your regular routine!