Do you have a home away from home? That place where you can always find peace, where all of your cares are gone and you can just rest.
When my mom was 14 years old, her parents bought this little 3-room cabin. Every summer since that time, our family has taken trip after trip to this cabin. It’s my favorite place in the world. That one place where you can go, take 3 naps a day, eat way too much food, read books, play cards, tube down the creek, go for a hike, star gaze, bike, play, and rest and not feel a tinge of guilt about any of it!
This is what it looks like today. Still a work on progress – still my favorite place in the world. During our most recent trip to “Hidden Paradise,” I decided to research a bit of the history of Long Pine, NE. I found a website with loads of old pictures that make me wish I was alive in the early 1900s. Some of them date back to the late 1800s! Take a peek.
Now do you understand what I mean? I’ll have to share more pictures sometime soon. This doesn’t even begin to cover it. At least now, you’ve gotten a glimpse of paradise!
Photo Credit: Suni Danielle Photography
Today my wife Lindsay and I celebrate our two year anniversary. Two years ago, we tied the knot and took the plunge. Two years ago, the cutest girl in Indiana was taken off the market! Two years ago, we launched the beginning of the rest of our lives. Two years ago…
And after two years, there's no hiding behind the dinner-and-a-movie façade of dating life any longer.
I’ve been thinking about this idea quite a bit lately. I may often struggle with my job and not necessarily be in my ideal location (in a small Nebraska town…living with my parents), but our environment is what we make of it. If we choose to find the positives in life, if we really invest in those we love, and make the most of the opportunities we have – our environment will reflect that attitude. If I expect that my 8-hour visit today is going to be incredibly long and awful, then it probably will be. If I expect that my weekend will be boring and awful because nobody lives in this town, then it probably will be. Instead, if I choose joy; if I choose to invest in the people here and make the most of the free time that I have (and will probably never have again – grad school!), then I think life will be a lot more enjoyable.
So today, I choose joy. I choose good books, long walks, good conversation, great time with family, and healthy living. I choose to make my environment a healthy, fun, restful, happy place where others are welcome.
Make your environment, don’t let it make you.
Let’s just be honest: I have always struggled with being consistent with exercise. However, since I’ve moved back home, I’ve become more consistent than ever before. In fact, two (sometimes three!) times a week, you will find me rolling out of bed at 4:45 a.m. to attend my 5:15 a.m. Body Pump class. You get that? 5:15 IN THE MORNING. Before the sun comes up, this:
…is me. Well…close. Okay, not really. I also find that when I’m pumping (yeah, it’s a thing) consistently, I am more consistent in doing other types of exercise as well.
Never heard of body pump? Basically, every three months they come out with a new track. For each song, you do multiple reps to exercise a different body part. So, after the warm-up song, we spend one song doing squats, then another song doing chest, back, shoulders, triceps, etc. You get the point. By the time you’re done, you’ve done about 800 reps and gotten a full body workout! Interested? You can find out more about the class here. On that same website, you can type in your zip code and find where classes are being taught in your area!
Little factoid: you will actually continue to burn calories after the class is over – it’s called the “afterburn” effect.
After the first class, keep in mind that you’ll probably be sore for about a week, so I recommend trying it out at least twice. Don’t worry – you’re never as sore as that first time if you keep it up!
I’m so sad that there are no Body Pump classes in the area where I’ll be moving and I’m seriously considering getting trained just so I can keep doing it! Anybody have any other weight training classes that they love? Maybe it just means it’s time to switch it up!
I’m excited to announce that my friends, Crystal Davy and Melissa Taylor, have a new music project and play! Please consider backing “Sincerely, Dorothy.” You can check out more information below:
If you’re not familiar with Crystal’s previous work, check out her solo album, “Immigrants and Strangers” here:
They’re both incredibly talented artists and I can’t wait for this new project! Check it out for yourself.
I almost always do better when there is competition involved.
For example, a few weeks ago I started this “Health Trek” competition in my town. It’s a brilliant idea. Anybody in town can compete, and usually people team up with coworkers for the challenge. Everyday you get points for doing (or not doing) various things. You get points for buckling your seat belt every time you get in the car, flossing everyday, getting enough sleep, drinking 8 glasses of water, doing various types of exercise, etc.
Let’s just say, I never used to floss – and now I floss everyday; sometimes twice a day. I also have never been very good at making sure I drink enough water. Now I carry a water bottle with me everywhere I go. Competition. It works.
So, my friend Lauren just came home after she finished her finals for school. She and I met the other day and realized we both had a few extra pounds we wanted to shed before summer (and let’s face it – bikini season). I knew that I needed a little extra push to make this one happen, so Lauren and I decided to make it a competition.
Whoever can lose the most weight (healthfully – neither of us plans on starving ourselves) at the end of four weeks, the other person has to buy them dinner. Simple. Yet, effective. I woke up this morning and had a fruit/spinach smoothie for breakfast – case in point! This is what I sent Lauren to get us started with a little motivation (sorry if the swear word offends!):
The other day at work, my clients ate hamburgers for dinner while I watched them in envy. I kept thinking, “How on earth am I going to resist cravings like these once I completely give up meat?” So as soon as I got home, I found a recipe for black bean burgers to try out. One of my friends came over and helped me make them. WOW were they good. I would eat these any day over a hamburger. I highly recommend trying them out sometime!
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 7 tbsp olive oil (I didn’t use this much)
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 (15.5 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (I actually didn’t have any cilantro and it was still delicious!)
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp hot sauce (I left this out, as well)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp Creole seasoning (I made this myself!)
- The homemade version of Creole seasoning: 2 1/2 tbsp paprika, 2 tbsp salt, 2 tbsp garlic powder, and 1 tbsp each black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, and thyme.
1) Cook onion with 1 tbsp olive oil and saute until lightly caramelized. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Set aside to cool.
2) In a bowl, mash beans with back of a fork until smooth (or blend in a food processor – much easier). Stir in cooled onion mixture, cilantro, egg, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and hot sauce (don’t like it hot? me either. leave this out) . Mix well.
3) Shape into patties and dust with flour and Creole seasoning.
4) Heat remaining oil in a nonstick skillet. Cook patties until golden on both sides.
5) Optionally, top with tomatoes, sour cream (I used plain greek yogurt, instead. I’m a sour cream fanatic and I like this just as well!), or guacamole (avocado veggie dip does the trick). I also added some pickles and a little bit of ketchup. Use whatever you like for the toppings and enjoy!
My music obsessions, as of late. Enjoy.
I know I’m behind the times with this one a bit, but oh.my.gosh. Such an amazing song and I love Bon Iver’s cover. I could watch him play this all day long. I actually bought the sheet music for this and have been playing around with it a bit. I’ll never be able to perform it as well as him, though. If you are really obsessed with this song (like…me), check out Adele’s cover as well. Or, you know, kick it old school with Bonnie Raitt’s original version.
I could add like 10 more videos of recent song obsessions, but I’ll stick with these emo ones for now. I promise I listen to happy songs, as well! And when I find those happy songs in…awhile…expect another post.