Little Known Fact….

I do a lot of reading about financial health mostly online but intermittently I will read a book or two. One of my favorite blogs is Daily Worth which is a financial blog that is geared towards women. I am no guru in investing in fact I can barely define the word. I am also no big time money maker….I mean I am a nurse for gosh darn sakes. What I am good at though is saving money. I can save money like my life depends on it!!! Anyways, this is besides the point. Over the past month in my readings I read a lot about gratitude and wealth.

These articles tout that the more grateful you are in life the more money that you will make! I am not sure that I buy that but what I do believe is that changing how you think about the world and your life no matter how slightly towards the positive will open you up to opportunities that you did not see before.

I think it is easy in life to get caught up in what is not going well or what you do not have. In reality we are far luckier then we know, it is all about what we choose to focus on. I unfortunately fall victim to the glass is half empty instead of half full more often then not.

I know for me my job is a big point of contention. I am an ER nurse in a busy city hospital. I get to see both the best and the worst of humanity….unfortunately I tend to see more of the worst of what we have to offer as humans on a daily basis. I am underpaid, under appreciated and often overwhelmed. Being in this environment has taken a toll on my outlook. Before I tell you about what I am doing this year to change my outlook on others and life I would like to share with you something that very few people know about me.

One thing that I have always done even as a kid that has helped me feel both grateful and loved is that I have saved almost every single card that has ever been given to me. Now a days in the world of email, text and Facebook I find cards that I receive even that much more special. To me it is someone that cared enough about you that they took the time to buy a card, write something thoughtful and either mail or hand deliver to you. I have boxes upon boxes of cards that I have acquired over the years. Last year though I decided that being able to see the cards on a daily basis would just make me happy and it does. Every time I look at all the cards that I have received over the year I just feel loved and happy.

cards

My card display that is on the back wall of my bedroom. Can’t you feel the love!!

As part of my new year’s resolutions I have decided to start a gratitude journal where I write down one thing I am grateful for everyday. They say it takes 21 days to build a habit. I have coffee every morning to start off the day so I decide that the first thing that I would do after sitting down with my coffee is to write in my gratitude journal. I figured the easiest way to build this habit is just to add upon something that I already do on a daily basis.

Shortly, after starting this task my sisters also started their version of a gratitude journal. It is called a 100happydays. This is a free program where you submit a picture of something that makes you happy everyday. It can be anything!! Meeting up with friends, your morning cup of coffee. All you have to do is take a picture of it and then post with the #100happydays. You can be as public or private as you want to be. You can post the pictures to Instagram, twitter or Facebook. If you choose to be more private about your happiness you can just email the picture to the group running the 100happydays program!! I was excited about this for two reasons. For one because my sisters were doing it and the other because it is easier to keep your goals and build good habits when you know that someone else is counting on you.

So I challenge you to shift your outlook on life by writing down or taking a picture of one thing your are grateful for each day for the next 30 days. See how starting your day off in a more positive way affects the rest of your day. You have absolutely nothing to lose honestly…except being a little happier for what you have and where you are going.

Thanksgiving in Pictures……

With my job I have to work lots of holidays. To add insult to injury my husband is a firefighter and he also has to work holidays. I always try to work the same holidays that he works but it doesn’t always line up. Anyways I was supposed to work Thanksgiving and I signed up to work that day but miraculously I got the day off. I worked the day before and the three days after so there was no chance of us going to see family for the holiday. Ironically, I was able to weasel my way out of working Thanksgiving last year as well and it was the first time in my adult life that I have ever cooked a turkey. I thought this year that since it was just my husband and I, that we would give the Paleo Turkey Day a try. Here is our thanksgiving feast in pictures!! Enjoy.

IMG_0694

My day started out by receiving beautiful flowers from my husband…”just because”…..nice way to start out the day

IMG_0662 IMG_0676

Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce (so good!!! Just like the can 😉 Not really, but one year my mom spent hours making homemade cranberry sauce and when we all tasted it she asked if it was any good. Within the next breath she was like, does it taste like it’s from the can? So it has been a running joke in our house.

IMG_0672

Can’t have turkey day without a turkey!!!

IMG_0675

or stuffing for that matter. This no bread allowed stuffing was delicious. I have never been a stuffing fan but I could eat this all year round!!

IMG_0679 IMG_0681

And there were veggies. My husband made the green beans with feta and I made the roasted broccoli with crisp prosciutto and balsamic vinegar. Both were yummy and the green beans tasted even better as leftovers.

IMG_0684

Yum!!!

IMG_0663   IMG_0673

Of course I couldn’t let Thanksgiving end without my favorite meal of the day…DESSERT!!! What you are looking at here are two incredible desserts that are more or less pretty darn healthy. To the left is paleo pumpkin, coconut & maple custard cups (which by the way came out amazing…just like pumpkin pie but better) and to the right I have chunky monkey “ice cream” bon bons. I was amazed at how easy the bon bons were to make. The “ice cream” is just frozen pureed bananas. Genius.

All of my recipes with the exception of the stuffing came from nom nom paleo. I was in awe at how easy the recipes were to follow. Each recipe had step by step instructions with pictures!! I highly recommend checking out her website and new cookbook.

And what holiday is not complete without dressing up your dog……

IMG_0666

She loves it…..I swear 😉

Water, Water everywhere but not a drop of it I drink

I am pretty sure that I have been consistently dehydrated since I was 10 years old. I have never liked drinking water and I am not sure if I ever will. I remember as a young gymnast filling up my one gallon jug water bottle religiously before every practice and then dumping it all out when I got home. I hardly ever drank more then a couple of sips. I do not ever remember being thirsty despite never drinking wanter. I just remember the more water I drank the more I had to pee which seemed like a rather large inconvenience to me so I just chose not to drink water.

I have followed along this path of abstaining from water ever since I can remember. In fact the few times I ventured out to drink more water I was welcomed by more thirst. This seemed absolutely ludicrous to me. This was probably my body rejoicing in joy at finally being given something it had craved for years. I would have merrily gone on my way abstaining from water as much as possible until two daily life events collided: Nursing and CrossFit. I have never been so dehydrated in my life since I began a career in nursing especially in the job I work now which requires rotating shifts. This picture below pretty much explains why I am dehydrated 24-7:

nurse_survival_on_front_of_mug

I used to be a morning person but having to switch my work schedule around from mornings, evenings to nights and then back has confused my body so much I am not sure what “time of the day” person I am any more. I never used to drink coffee ever….unless you count a white chocolate mocha with a generous helping of whip cream from Starbucks….pretty sure that doesn’t qualify as coffee. Anyways, when I began night shift I was afraid that I would fall asleep on the job so I would drink as many cups as possible before the shift to the point where my hands were physically shaking. I didn’t even like the taste at first. I would fill about half the cup with cream or milk and like a pound of sugar to make it tolerable. Now a days  I drink coffee with coconut milk and no sugar.  Each day I drink at least two cups prior to any shift I work. I have always had aspirations to drink water at work but it never happens because it is always so crazy. Somedays  I am lucky to get a lunch break. On the abnormally crazy days my arrival home  is followed with a large glass of wine. A couple of work days in a row and it is easy to see how and why I might be living in a dehydrated state.

Insult to injury is my new fitness regimen of CrossFit. I work out on average 4 times a week sweating more then I have ever sweat in the past. All of these things combined have led me to feel cotton mouthed during several workout over this last couple of months. You would have thought that feeling like I was in the middle of a Sahara desert for half the week would have motivated me to drink water, but you would be wrong.

The thing that has gotten me to drink more water is my competitive spirit!! I learned in the book “Becoming a Supple Leopard”  that “being dehydrated by even by 2% can cause a decrease in VO2 output of 5% to 10%.” What!! I am not doing as well as I could just because I am not drinking enough water!! For me to be only 2% dehydrated would be a miracle. It is funny how most of my life I have told myself “I should” drink more water but when I realized how much it was affecting my performance it became “I must.”

I am a goal setting nerd and I figured that the only way to get myself to drink more water was to set a goal. Of course there are applications now a days for everything so I downloaded the “Waterlogged” application. It is a free application that allows you to set your “water goals” for the day and then track your progress throughout the day. The goal is to fill up the water bottle for the day. I find it strangely satisfying and motivating to record my water for the day in order to fill the water bottle on the application. This is definitely an example of how setting measurable milestone will help you in reaching your overall goals.

waterlogged

And with that I think I will go have a glass of water……………..

Lesson Learned

Everybody makes mistakes. The goal is not to be free of making mistakes but to try not to make the same ones twice. Each time in life when we come up short of our expectations there is a valuable lesson. I have often felt that the most gains that I have made as an individual both personally and professionally have not been when my life has been going well but rather when it was going anything but. In my experiences, individuals rarely chose self-reflections or make drastic changes when life is going well. Why would you?? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!!

This past two months I have chosen to work extra hours at my job.  Mind you this not a job that I love. I do not hate it but I do not love it. The reason that I chose to work these extra hours is in the hope that I may make a little extra money so that I can some day turn my focus fully to figuring out what I love and making that my career.

While the extra hours looked great on paper, living them has been anything but. Not only have I not saved any extra money but I have been miserable in the process. Due to the fact that I have been working extra hours I have not had as much time to cook so I have been eating out more. (There goes all the money that I thought I was going to save). No food that you buy at a restaurant is going to be as healthy as the food you cook.   I am tired all the time. I have not been able to do the things that I enjoy doing: cooking, spending time with my husband, catching up with friends, working out and so on and so forth.  A job that I normally feel neutral about has become more then a chore. Lastly, I am no close to reaching my goals then I was before this decision.

I think that there is a time and a place for working your butt off. Hard work is definitely one of the keys to success but I think that you just have to be careful that what you are working so hard for is what you really want and that you are enjoying the process. If you are dreading every minute of it…is it worth it???

It has been almost like an epiphany that if I want to change the course of my life then I am going to have to take some risks. There was a quote that my dad loved to tell me as a kid. “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got”. I am ready for something different. At the end of this month I will go back to working my normal hours and mid-november I decided to cut my hours. I have done this so that I can take more opportunities to do the things I enjoy and take some risks in hopes of finding what it is that I love to do!!

This has been a hard lesson learned and one that is still being etched into my memory as I continue to work through my schedule this next month. Hopefully, I have learned this lesson for good!!

declaration_horz

The five emotional stages of every CrossFit workout

I find every CrossFit to be an emotional challenge mostly because I always some how think that the workout is going to be easier then it is. You would think by now I would have learned my lesson that each workout is a balls to the walls sweatfest that leaves you on the ground gasping for air. Below are the five emotional stages that I go through on every workout without fail

1) Denial – I always look up the WOD (work out of the day) before I go to the gym but the first thing that I do when I get to the gym is look at the WOD posted on the board and the previous times/weights for the day. I am always thinking the same thing: 3 things, 10 min AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) — how bad can it be? Boy, the last group looks pretty damn tired. But I mean its only three things for 10 min…..it can’t be that hard. I can do that. (This is as I look at all the people with six packs gasping for air laying on the floor as soon as time is called — I some how convince myself that not only am I equally but some how more fit then they are)

2) I got this Sh*T – This normal happens sometime during the first thirty seconds of the workout. Like I thought….I got this shit. Only 9 min and 45 seconds left.

3) Oh Crap  – Um…this is hard. Um…how are there 9 min. left, did someone reset the clock. That is what must have happened. How can only three things for 10 minutes be so hard. I wonder if I leave now if anyone will notice…I mean they all look pretty focused on what they are doing anyway , surely they wont see me slip out or notice my abandoned equipment. Damn….what the hell did she have for breakfast…she is killing it. Well if she can do it….I can do it. (I love the motivation of having others busting their butt around me. It definitely pushes me to be my best and push my limits. This is one of the things that I love about CrossFit. If I was doing these workouts by myself I would somehow convince myself half way through that I had worked hard enough for the day and that it was ok to stop the workout half way through)

4) I think I am gonna make it –  This normally happens during the last thirty seconds. Yeah!! I am gonna finish!! I usually find a small burst of energy to push through to the end

5) Pride – As I lay gasping for breath after each and every workout I am always proud of myself. I am proud that I did not quit and that I kept pushing myself.

I love CrossFit because it is hard. It pushes you each and every time to see what you are made of. The only person holding you back is you. How bad do you want it? How hard are you willing to push yourself. I also love to sweat. Im not talking about some wetness under the arms of your shirt. I am talking sweat that is dripping off your face. It is kind of like your body’s acknowledgement that you are busting your butt and that you are in fact a badass.

Beaches and Box Jumps

st lucia beachThis is a picture of the beach at St. Lucia during my honeymoon

I have loved the beach ever since I can remember. I love the salty air, the waves, sand, sun and even those pesky Seagulls.  Generally speaking, the beach just makes me happy.  I made my background photo a beach scene because it makes me smile inside but also to remind me of my goal. I hope to one day live at the beach. I think saying your goals out loud is the first step in making them come true. So I am saying it out loud: One day I will live at the beach!!

and now on to box jumps……

So I have always had a healthy fear of box jumps…and I have to say it is the box jump that kept me away from CrossFit for so long. As a an ER Nurse I have seen more then one victim of the box jump. The tell tale horizontal lacerations on one or both shins. I normally just look at them and say box jumps and they nod their head simultaneously with pride and embarrassment. The most horrifying box jump injury comes from non-other then my mom herself.

Box jump fail

My mom’s gnarly box jump injury

.fixed box jump

 All stitched up……

Now my mom is a pretty tough cookie. Not only did my my mom not freak out when looking down at this gruesome injury (I know I would have) but she went home and got kids ready for school before getting stitched up. I am proud of how tough my mom is and also hoping that some of her toughness has been passed down to me. Now that I have undertaken the sport of CrossFit I know that endless box jumps are in my future. I have actually grown with time to love them!! One thing is for sure, this picture of my mom’s injury flashes before my eyes every time I am  at the end of a workout that includes box jumps. This image some how always motivates me to  jump a little higher and move a little faster. I refuse to be the next box jump victim……

NotForTime

So what is with the title “notfortime”. What does that mean and why did you pick it? Since CrossFit is the main thing that inspired me to write this blog I wanted the  title of the blog to be CrossFit inspired. My originial idea for the title of the blog was “The SandBox.” This was an awesome title combining my love for the beach and also the word “Box” which is what Crossfit gyms are called. Sadly there is a Crossfit gym in Florida called The Sandbox. I wanted to be original and creative, so started the search for a new name. I settled on NotForTIme for two reasons. For one it is a CrossFit word, but it is kind of an ironic CrossFit word.  Almost everything in CrossFit is timed one way or another but every now and then you do a set number of repetitions of a skill that is “Not for Time”.   What sold me on the title is that I think a lot of my frustration with myself on not finding a career that I am 100% passionate about on the first or second try is that I feel like I should have it  all figured out by now. “Notfortime” reminds me that life is a journey and that life is well… not for time…..Nobody is standing there with a stop watch timing how long it takes me to figure out my true passion. There is also no big brother watching and judging what path I take to get there.  P.S. is if there is another blog or CrossFit gym called “notfortime” — don’t tell me. I am kind of attached to the title at this point.