Playlist: How Are You Spending This Moment?

I wasn’t sure how I reached my destination but I recall the feeling of Summer whirling through my long wavy locks and the sounds of the traffic whispering by while the sun was setting on the city skyline. For a moment I felt weightless.

This weekend I took a little time off work to evaluate and reflect. I read a lot of success stories and dream very big so it’s nice to sometimes come back to reality and appreciate what I’m doing today rather than always looking at the future – waiting for the next amazing memory to happen. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about where my life will be in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, or more (and then I start online-shopping for wrinkle cream) no really… and I just have NO idea. I suppose that’s the beauty of today. You never knew what will come but at least you can always make this day, this moment, matter the most. How are you spending this moment? 

The next time you find yourself dreaming of all the places you’ll go, things you’ll see and memories you’ll laugh about later… remember that it all starts with today. Smile. It makes life easier.

Now I leave you with the playlist that is in the background of my thoughts during my early morning jog.

Sunrise Run (on Spotify)

  1. Caught Me Thinkin – Bahamas
  2. Warrior – Kimbra
  3. Fading Flower – Yuna
  4. I Am The D.J. – Neon Trees
  5. Young Love – Mystery Jets
  6. Jumanji – Glass Towers
  7. Next In Line – Walk The Moon
  8. One Day – Matisyahu
  9. Blue Jeans (RAC Mix) – Lana Del Rey
  10. Simple Girl – Dale Eanhardt, Jr. Jr.
  11. We Own The Sky – M83
  12. White Nights – Oh Land
  13. Lakehouse – Of Monsters And Men
  14. Hardest Of Hearts – Florence + The Machine
  15. NYC – Interpol

 

3 Day Juice Cleanse Challenge: Revealed

I participated in a juice cleanse challenge hosted by Piece of Chic and it was honestly one of the hardest tests I’ve had to endure. I tracked my progress through a journal and wanted to share my three-day journey to a more purified body and mind.

The Benefits:Kick start your metabolism, nourish your body, beat sugar cravings and drop some pounds!

The Rules:

  • Drink 8 oz. of juice every hour for 8 hours for 3 days.
  • Drinks lots of water and decaf herbal tea.
  • One small protein + veggie meal for dinner and
  • Regular workout routine.

DAY ONE

Ingredients: 6 apples, 6 beets, 7 carrots, 7 celery sticks, 4 cucumbers 3 lemons.

8AM: I’m just getting started on my first day of juice! I decided to start my day with a 3 mile run followed by a short walk with my dog. The juice is dark maroon and tastes like a sweet beet. Although I’ve never had a beet before, I know this is the strongest flavor in the juice. This is certainly not something I would blend up for myself, unless I could add coconut flakes, bananas and strawberries. Maybe I’ll just imagine this juice is a mixture of it all.

11AM: It’s almost lunchtime and I’m craving my mid-morning mixed nut snack. I usually have oatmeal in the morning (some days with pecans and some days with ½ banana) then around this time I enjoy a small handful of mixed nuts or an energy bar. For lunch I generally have a salad, ½ a turkey wrap or something similar. Right now all I’ve had is juice. Just heavily beet-contained juice. It’s as if all I do now is drink beets.

2PM: Time to take the dog to the groomer, work on some projects and drink juice along the way.

5PM: It’s an hour until dinner time, my beet juice is gone and I’m really not that hungry now. It’s like my body has just forgotten all about the hunger. That’s nice. I turn on my Kimbra album and start preparing dinner. Chicken, zucchini, squash and onions with a dash of salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes wrapped up in an aluminum foil pocket. Only 20 minutes on the grill and this dinner will be in my belly. I sat on the balcony awaiting my delicious meal and as the steam rose from the aluminum pocket, all I could think of was how divine the veggies smelled. Normally I would be thinking about where the closest froyo shop is. Seriously, I love froyo.

8PM: Upon finishing my meal I felt slightly unsatisfied at first but then slowly became accepting of the portion I had.

CONCLUSION: I’m hopeful that this cleanse will help me regain control of my portion sizes rather than just eating as much as America puts in front of my face. When you  travel to other countries, it seems that they are only giving small snacks as a meal but then you look around and the locals are thin and energetic. It’s no wonder America is about to topple over from obesity. It’s time to make a change. If this cleanse does nothing more than help my mind believe in honest healthy food, that would be enough for me.

DAY TWO

Ingredients: 6 apples, 7 celery sticks, 4 cucumbers, 3 handfuls of Parsley, 3 handfuls of raw ginger, 3 handfuls of Spinach

7AM: I woke up from a restless night with my hipbones popping out and my tummy grumbling. I’m definitely feeling skinnier from dropping so much water weight yesterday but I was dreaming about food all night. The juice today is very green and has an extremely strong ginger taste.

12PM: Around lunchtime I decided to turn on 90’s music and jam. It is very hard to concentrate today and I have a slight headache. I keep thinking about how I am not really enjoying this green juice but I know I only have one more day after this. That’s not too bad. If I can get healthy and rid all of the toxins in my body and blood stream by sacrificing a little flavor, so be it.

3PM: I just finished a great weightlifting workout at my gym focusing on upper body and abs. I felt completely energized and ready to get back to work!

4PM: My last 16oz of juice was pretty difficult to swallow but I promised myself that after I finished today’s juice, I get to have hot herbal tea. Yeah, how’s that for a little bribe? Well, it worked and I’m actually enjoying the taste of something other than the well-described “spicy grass” as Erika put it.

7PM: For dinner I had an omelet with tomatoes, onion, green pepper, chicken and a dash of salt and pepper. It was everything I dreamed it would be.

CONCLUSION: Most of the day I was thinking about what I would eat when I was finished with all of this. It’s a weird feeling when you can’t focus because your mind and body is craving something that it’s lacking. I felt like my entire life was revolving around this challenge. The time flew by pretty quickly but I had a hard time trying to stay on task.

 

DAY THREE

Ingredients: 6 beets, 7 carrots, 7 celery sticks, 4 cucumbers, 3 handfuls of ginger, 3 lemons, 4 handfuls of lettuce, 3 handfuls of parsley, 4 handfuls of spinach. (no apples!)

7AM: I awoke with energy and excitement… that it’s my last day of juice. After getting ready in the morning and hanging out with my puppy, I went to the fridge to shake up my juice and it was a little bit frozen still. I thought for a couple minutes about giving up but then opened the container and took a big gulp. DIRT! It tastes just like I cupped a handful of mud and grass and shoved it in my mouth. Yeah… it was thick and dark purple and just yuck. I started panting afterward as my eyes watered and I just thought to myself… “Fight through it Janine, this is the last day.” I convinced myself that once I choke the last couple bottles down, I will feel my body become purified and will crave the taste of raw vegetables and fresh organic protein. Let’s do it!

10AM: Choking down dirt juice.

12PM: I want cupcakes.

2PM: While running through the city for a quick 2.5 miles, I thought about the juice. Why couldn’t it just have a couple apples in it? Then maybe it wouldn’t be so dreadful. What is it that I’m supposed to be thinking about? Not food? Food? I don’t get it. I’m hungry. Ooh look, a poster with $3 burgers on it. Wonder when that starts? I don’t even like burgers. They probably wouldn’t taste good anyways….

5PM: The day passed rather slowly and I was having a really hard time drinking the muck. I finally made it to the last 16oz, chugged what I could and had to pour the finale down the drain… seriously, a finale of stringy beets and roots were settled at the bottom making me really want to cry. So there you have it… all of the juice is done. I did it! 

7PM: My tummy began to flop around most of the evening. I had a little iced tea and then for dinner I enjoyed trout, broccoli and green beans. To my surprise, the green beans were striking with flavor. Almost too much flavor.

 

THE DAY AFTER

After a night of full restful sleep, I awoke to a sliver of sunlight beaming through my curtains. It’s going to be a beautiful day. Before getting out of bed, I thought to myself about how I quit smoking three years ago and it was just like a switch, one morning I woke up and I was a non smoker. Today I felt a similar connection. My body just went through an emotional and rigorous challenge and I knew from this point forward, my outlook on artificial food and sweeteners would be forever changed.

Last night before bed I tried a salty Club cracker and it tasted like a shortbread cookie, then I tried a bite of green pepper with cucumber dill dip and I could immediately taste the artificial flavors in the dip. It’s almost unreal that only three days of training my body and mind to undergo a juice cleanse would change the taste of the food I’m consuming. Not only the taste but also the portion size! This is exactly what I had hoped I would achieve in this challenge.

As I was curling my hair this morning, I couldn’t help but think about how healthy and fresh I feel and then I honestly had a craving for juice! Before work I picked up a Naked – Green Machine because I figure with all of the fruit in this juice, it’s going to taste like Chiquita Banana Party compared to the muck I’ve been drinking the past couple days.

This challenge sure had it’s ups and downs but by sticking with it, I know that I am now on my way to healthier eating habits, a new outlook on cooking, eating out and lower sugar/carb consumption in general. Thanks to The Chic Chicks for putting this together and for the support throughout.

What a wonderful experience for my body and mind. XOXO.

 

The Best Things I Have Ever Done For Myself

  1. LASIK Eye Surgery: Before I got LASIK, I couldn’t even imagine my life without glasses. I had glasses for 15 years and never wore contacts. It was a part of who I was and I was scared to let the comfort of that go. It’s been 1.5 years now since I had the surgery and I couldn’t be happier. Every couple days I remember my glasses and feel so much better now that I don’t have them holding me back from running faster and swimming further.
  2. Get a Puppy: The joy that I get from my Golden Retriever when I walk through the front door each day is something that cannot be replaced. I remember the sunny afternoon that I got him, I was smiling so big that the tingle in my jaw turned to a sharp pain. He is such a bright star in my life.
  3. Start My Own BusinessAlthough this one is a little more stressful than a pile of cupcakes, I am proud that I can say I’m doing it and making money. Now it’s time to keep pushing; the hardest is yet to come and I’m ready for it.
  4. Complete a Race: This year, I completed my first quarter marathon and it was an incredible feat! I loved all of it, from the daily training, uphill routes, race day event and the champagne toast after crossing the finish line.
  5. Make Time for Family: It’s easy to say that you are too busy with other obligations but it is so important to not let that be an excuse. This year, I made a resolution to spend more time with the ones I love and it has proven very successful for my mind and my heart.
  6. Hire a Personal Trainer: I have always been very athletic and didn’t really know how a personal trainer would benefit me until the day I set up my first lesson. I learned more in a 45 minute session than I had in months on the cardio equipment. Learning the proper way to workout to achieve optimum results has really set a new standard for my goals and I love it!
  7. Laser Hair Removal: Oh yeah! I am all about being efficient. This is a total time-saver in the long run.
  8. Travel to Europe: Traveling makes me feel completely free; the girl I am without worries. My recent trip to Europe changed the way I think about many things in my life and that is unforgettable.

The people I surround myself with are the ones that truly add to the pleasure and joy I get out of life and I know that there are more unbelievable moments that have changed me for the better, but these are certainly top of the list. What are some of the best things you’ve ever done for yourself?

 

Quit Talking And Begin Doing

Quit talking and begin doing

You should take a minute this week to appreciate yourself, how far you’ve gotten and discover what it is you need to do to get exactly where you want to be. That’s what I’ll be doing.

I name this second half of the year… INNOVATE

I remember when I was in first grade, my plan was to grow up to be a princess, live in a castle and own a cruise line. Then I started a magazine company in my bedroom by snipping articles from other magazines to come up with fashion trends, crossword puzzles and basically anything that would be interesting enough for my mom to purchase. At the point, I knew I would be a magazine editor. Until the day came when I opened the grilled cheese and macaroni and cheese restaurant. Mom and dad were my only customers but they tipped well. I loved designing the menu every Saturday morning before they woke up, running to the kitchen to prepare the cheese dishes and then choosing the music, setting the table and serving my meal. I imagined my dream job as a waitress. Now, that dream did come true and it surely wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I went through phases during high school where I thought I would be a fashion designer, interior designer and my favorite career path was to be an actress. This was my ultimate dream – until my theater teacher burst my bubble right before the Spring musical.

The point of my rambling is this: Where did all of our imagination go? Why do we have to be so certain – so sure that whatever it is we are doing now is what we will be doing forever? Now it’s time to… MOTIVATE

  • I want that childhood ambition again.
  • I want to try 10 things, fail at most and win big at one.
  • I want to live my life knowing that my dreams kept me going and my heart kept me grounded.
  • I am a believer and although sometimes things get hard and I worry about the risk turning to failure, I’m still doing it and to me, that’s better than sitting back wishing I would have.

Morning Happiness Techniques

Wake up with a smile and improve your attitude! Here are a few of my happiness techniques each morning that I do in order to have a more fulfilling and enjoyable day.

  1. Listen to music while getting ready – Turning on a little Norah Jones or even NPR helps me tune out the anticipatory stress of work and focus on a fresh start.
  2. Open the windows – Birds chirping, cool breeze, sunshine beams – the signs of a perfect day.
  3. Stimulate your mind – Take 30 minutes to sit down and do something you really enjoy first thing in the morning whether it’s reading a magazine, watching the news or browsing your favorite blogs on your iPad.
  4. NO Rushing – Wake up a little earlier. Make time for breakfast. Stop rushing. It truly will make a difference.
  5. Morning miles – Some of my best days start out with a refreshing jog in the morning fog.
  6. Think of 5 adjectives that you want to feel and strive to be that way throughout the day. Some of my favorites: innovative, cheerful, fortunate, charming, creative.

Life can be full of I don’t want to’s and mundane routines. If you don’t love something in your life, change it. There are too many other opportunities and exciting adventures out there waiting for you. You just need to have the right attitude about yourself and your future.

Do you have any favorite techniques or ideas to start your day off with a smile?