LINKS I LIKE 10/27

1. Lee from America's Facebook Live about her PCOS journey. Anyone who is remotely interested or struggling with polycystic ovarian syndrome can learn a lot and feel at ease knowing they are not alone. Lee's sweet and fun way of being shines through as she details her journey as well as gives tips. Scroll down the link and see the saved video. 

Photo credit: Lee from America

Photo credit: Lee from America

2. Do you also dig pumpkin this time of year? If so, check out Sprouted Kitchen's Almond Meal Pumpkin Muffins. "Gluten free, dairy free, maple sweetened but most importantly, really good!" to quote the creator, Sara, herself. 

Photo credit:Sprouted Kitchen

Photo credit:Sprouted Kitchen

3. I made these delicious buns earlier this week. Sarah B is totally rad and her recipes are nutritious and creative to boot. Give 'em a try! To me these, toasted and with butter slathered on, taste like cheese grits. Weird I know but yum!

Photo credit: My New Roots 

Photo credit: My New Roots 

4. Looking for a workout program you can start anywhere? I started this one in Thailand and have continued it in Copenhagen.  Jillian Frein of Like A Girl Fitness has got it going on and has got you covered. She is strong, smart, and totally fit! 

Credit: Jillian Frein   

Credit: Jillian Frein

 

Any links that caught your eye this week? If so, please share them with me - would feel happy seeing what you like :) 

Recent Reads

So. The last few months I have been become a total bookworm. I finished Love Warrior in three days. (UH OKAY!) So if you are looking for a good read, I recommend checking out the below. The links are affiliated. 

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Breaking Vegan by Jordan Younger 

A memoir based on her experience descending into and rising from orthorexia. Orthorexia is the coined term for the eating disorder that develops when someone has obsessive thoughts and behavior about eating healthy. The line is crossed between mindful, healthy eating when the person experiences symptoms from anxiety and might even accompany other eating disorders. Jordan's playful voice sets the tone for a smooth and insightful read. 

Let It Out by Katie Daleabout

A learn-by-doing book where Katie shares her journey through journaling, recovering from an eating disorder, and coming home to herself via self-love and self-acceptance. She details over fifty tools that y-o-u can utilize in your journal so light a candle, grab a cup of tea, your fave notebook and pen, and get writing! 

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

Heart-wrenching memoir about Glennon's experience thus far in life. She experiences infidelity, has suffered from alcholism, and bulimia, and is living proof that you can recover and make the most of your deepest, darkest struggles. Her writing is thoughtful and at times humorous as I laughed out loud a few nights in my bed as I read before dozing into sleep. 

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield 

Lent to me by one of my fave amiguitas, this book was an interesting read. I quote Wikipedia on  the alt, this "1993 novel by James Redfield that discusses various psychological and spiritual ideas rooted in multiple ancient Eastern traditions and New Age spirituality. The main character undertakes a journey to find and understand a series of nine spiritual insights in an ancient manuscript in Peru. The book is a first-person narrative of the narrator's spiritual awakening as he goes through a transitional period of his life."

Since I finished those I am currently on Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham.

Have y-o-u read any of the books mentioned? If so, did you like? Or? 

 

Happy reading my friends :)

 

P.S. - Do you have any book suggestions for me? If so, comment below. 

Six plant based cafes to check out in Copenhagen, Denmark

One of the first things I do when I find out I am going to visit a new town is scan the plant-based (okay, solely vegan!) cafes.  Whether it is the neighborhood green smoothie joint or the hole in the wall that serves the most delicious and creative plates each day, I am down to trying any and all. You never know what you might be introduced to and who you might meet! 

Recently I was visiting with a friend and she asked me if I knew of any yummy, primarily veggie, vegan cafes in Copenhagen. I  replied with an enthusiastic y-e-s! and starting spouting out names and characteristics of cafes I am known to frequent. Below are just a handful of plant-based cafes to check out in Copenhagen. !Que disfrutes! And be sure to report back as well as share with me the names of new veggie places I can try and add to my list. 

1. Morgenstedet

A cosy veggie cafe in the heart of Christiania known for using new and different, fresh ingredients each day. Go with an open mind and your tastebuds will thank you! If the weather is nice there is space for you to sit outside and if not, feel free to get hygge (untranslatable Danish word for cosy; enjoying life's simple pleasures) indoors. Make sure to bring cash, last time I did not bring any and had to return at a later time - they did not take mobile pay or cards as of June 2017.

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Located: 

Fabriksområdet 134
1440 København K

 

2. 42Raw

42Raw has an array of items on the menu to choose from.  Depending on what you are in the mood for - you might try their brunch (served until 14:00) with banana pancakes w/agave syrup, sweet potato fries, their 1/1 glutenfree bread, avocado & hummus, and granola bowl or their New Orleans juice with beetroot, ginger, and apple. However you decide to order, rest assured that you cannot and will not go wrong - everything is delicious!

Smoothie 

Smoothie 

Located:

Pilestræde 32
1112 København

 

Waterfront Shopping
Tuborg Havnevej 4-8
2900 Hellerup

 

Frederiksberg Centret
Falkoner Allé 21
2000 Frederiksberg

 

3. Simple RAW

I visited this cafe quite often in the spring and I was very happy to see that since I had last visited them (a year prior) their menu was more varied and uber creative. There are bowls (YUM), noodles, and yummy treats to finish off the meal. There is lots of seating and space to feel cosy and comfortable. 

Poke bowl

Poke bowl

Cosy seating 

Cosy seating 

Located:

Gråbrødretorv 9
1154 København K

 

 

4. Souls

I visited this cafe just last weekend and fell head over heels for their viking bowl, picture below. With the different tastes and textures, I felt happy trying something new and totally enjoying myself. It was not my first visit nor will it be my last. They have breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner so feel free to pop by any time. 

Viking bowl

Viking bowl

Matcha latte

Matcha latte

Located: 

Melchiors Plads 3.
2100 København Ø

 

5. The Organic Boho 

Although this cafe is tiny it packs a mighty punch - the menu is colorful, nutritious, and indeed delicious! Whether you go for smoothies and a side of sweet potato fries with your gals or treat yourself to one of the burgers you most certainly will enjoy yourself. And as a bonus, when the weather is nice, you can sit outside as I was doing when I took this picture.

Green smoothie 

Green smoothie 

Located:

Gothersgade 5
1123 Kgs. Nytorv, Copenhagen

 

Prinsessegade 23
1422 Christianshavn, Copenhagen

 


6. Cafe N 

I would be remiss to fail to mention this cosy little cafe nestled in Nørrebro. It is often best to reserve a table if you know you would like to dine there. It is quaint with warm sips, burgers, and even brunch. A must visit!

Enjoying the nice weather with a juice outside Cafe N

Enjoying the nice weather with a juice outside Cafe N

Located:

Blågårdsgade 17
2200 Copenhagen

 

BONUS!!! 

7. Copenhagen Nice Cream

Want to try a delish vegan ice cream option? Look no further than Nice Cream. You can get an ice cream sammie or even a little cup with their homemade seed granola put on top. If you are in the market for vegan ice cream, you will not be disappointed.

Mmm!

Mmm!

Located: 

Enghave Plads 10
Copenhagen, Denmark 1670

 

Elmegade 30
Copenhagen, Denmark 1670

 

So there you have it six, well six plus one veggie/vegan cafes to check out while either visiting or living in Copenhagen. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do and that you keep me updated on your veggie cafe finds around the city too.

Cheers to delicious plant based creativity, nourishment, and continuing to share the deliciousness plant power with friends and family!

One of my sweet gal pals visiting, kombucha in hand!, after brunching at Simple Raw.  Love & light amigos!

One of my sweet gal pals visiting, kombucha in hand!, after brunching at Simple Raw.

Love & light amigos!

Four simple plant-based breakfasts to try this month

Taking the advice of the lovely Elenore from Earthsprout and Wildly Home and who was also the sixth guest on the MNBP (listen here), I have compiled four breakfast recipes for you to try during this month. They are simple, do not take much time to prepare, and the first one can even be prepared the night before! 

 

These recipes are good for anyone experimenting with the plant-based way of life or as Elenore so affectionately refers to it as:

"Greenylicious Living!" 

 

BREAKFAST RECIPE NUMBER ONE (1) 

Overnight Porridge (for 2) by OneGreenPlanet.org 

What you need

1/2 cup chia seeds or muesli
1 1/2 cup non dairy milk
1 tsp honey/maple syrup (omit if no sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup frozen or fresh berries (optional)

To make

Place ingredients in bowl and stir. Leave in fridge overnight to soak. Wake up,divide into bowls, and top with berries.

BREAKFAST RECIPE NUMBER TWO (2)

Whole 30 Breakfast Bowl (for 1) by Bravoforpaleo.com

What you need

1 ripe medium banana
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder
1/4 apple sliced
1/2 tbsp peanut or almond butter
1/2 tbsp dried coconut flakes
1 tsp cinnamon
coconut oil for cooking

To make

Using fork, mash banana and mix it with eggs and vanilla in small bowl. Lumps are okay. Grease skillet with coconut oil and turn to medium heat. Add lumpy batter to pan and with spatula continue to mash it and stir. Once cooked, remove from skillet and put in bowl.  Top with sliced apples, peanut or almond butter, coconut flakes, and/or cinnamon. 

BREAKFAST RECIPE NUMBER THREE (3)

Oatless Oatmeal (for 1 - large portion) by Julie of pbfingers.com

What you need

3/4 cup egg whites
3/4 cup unsweetened non dairy milk
1 1/2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/2 large (ripe) banana, mashed
1/2 zucchini, grated
1/2 tsp cinnamon

To make

Combine mashed nana and zucchini in bowl. Set aside. Combine egg whites and non-dairy milk in small saucepan and stir over medium heat. Add flaxseed and continue stirring until thickens. Add banana/zucchini mixture and stir constantly as it begins to thicken. Add cinnamon, reduce heat, and continue to stir. When finished, place in a bowl and add your toppings.

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BREAKFAST RECIPE NUMBER FOUR (4)

Grain-Free Oatmeal (for 1) by Ashton of somethingswanky.com

What you need

1/2 medium or 1 small apple
1 date (pitted)
1 tbsp unsweetened coconut
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 heaping tbsp almonds
almond butter for topping
splash of non-dairy milk

To make

Chop apple and date. Place them in food processor with chia seeds, coconut, and almonds. Pulse until grainy and oatmeal-like. Spoon into bowl. Top with almond butte and milk. Stir together and eat. 
 

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May this month for you be one of happy days, yummy breakfasts, and spending more time doing what you enjoy with those you love.

 

And remember, if you try any of the recipes out feel free to let me know how you found them. Comment below, use the hashtag #mynaturalbeet, or DM me on instagram. I would love to know how you go!

Besos!

How to keep your cool while you wait for bar results

There are approximately 1.3 million licensed lawyers in the United States (1). Take a moment and think about the fact that, except in a diploma state, each one of them studied, sat for, and waited for their bar exam results. While this might give you comfort or increase your anxiety, I hope it will give you peace of mind that you are not the only one having gone through this experience. On a personal note, I went through the process three times and each time I had to be patient, know that I did my best, fill my time with activities I enjoy, and most importantly, believed it was going to be okay no matter how the results turned out.  If you feel at your wits' end while waiting the final few weeks for the results to be posted, I hope the below suggestions make you feel more at ease.

Be patient. Rome was not built in a day and the exam did not magically appear out of the blue. There was a lot of planning, preparing, and working on your part. Feel calm about where you are in the process and try to stay patient for the results will come.

Know that you did your best. At this point in time there is nothing that you can do. You did everything you could to prepare and to perform to propel yourself forward and place yourself in a position to pass. Feel this in your body and believe it because it is true. 

Fill your time with activities that you enjoy. Make it a point to do more of what you like and in doing so, try to put space between you and the feeling of waiting. The more you enjoy yourself with people that you admire and love and the more you do that makes you happy the quicker the time will pass. You can either spend your time sulking with anxiety or you can make the most of it - it is up to you.

Know that whatever the results are you can handle it. Because you can and you will. Hopefully, you will receive positive news after sitting for the exam. If so, soak in all of your hard work and celebrate your new milestone.  If you receive news that you did not pass either or both parts of the exam, acknowledge all of your hard work - you have made it far! - and take time for yourself. You will know what to do when the time comes. 

I hope these few pointers help you feel more at ease while you wait for your results of the bar exam.  Remember, you are the only one who can enjoy the remaining weeks of waiting. How would you like for your experience to be these few weeks: full of anxiety and dread or joyful knowing you gave it your all? Either way, it is up to you!

1. http://www.denniswpottslaw.com/united-states-attorneys-map/

Post exam, pre result bliss boating with one of my best friends

Post exam, pre result bliss boating with one of my best friends

Hannah's cakes

This recipe is from Hannah, a friend of mine, who recently began her second year of law school.  Her priority of living a healthy lifestyle is on par with her studies. More often than not it is the simple  - little - things that make us feel our happiest and best selves. I hope you will enjoy this sweet recipe Hannah shared with me.

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From Hannah --

These pancakes sort of perfectly symbolize my life: simple yet amazing.  I am somewhat of a homebody, so my "crazy night out" either consists of a reading a good book with my dog sitting next to me, or watching Netflix, again with my dog next to me. Thus, my life is simple
.
I also have a deep desire to educate people on the importance of healthy eating, so anytime I can share any bit of information with anyone, I do. These pancakes allow me to do just that. I started making these pancakes in the spring of 2015, and now I eat them every single morning, unless I physically cannot make them due to lack of Ingredients or kitchen tools. I am incredibly passionate about food and healthy living, and to me, these pancakes embody this. They are 5 ingredients, super healthy, and they just make you feel good.

Overall, life in general should be simple, yet amazing.

Take time to enjoy the little things, like making healthy pancakes, and bask in the moment that you are in right now.


Recipe:

1.5-2 mashed bananas (you want them relatively firm/green)
½ egg or 1tbsp apple sauce (for vegan option)
1tbsp almond butter
Cinnamon (to your liking)
I add blueberries to mine, but you can do any fruit that is not watery, or have them as is. I also drizzle honey on mine, pure but maple syrup is great, or again, as is.

Directions:

Use either grass fed butter or coconut oil to oil the pan.  Mash the bananas first. Mix with the egg (or applesauce) then add the almond butter and cinnamon and mix together with a fork. Add the fruit, if desired, and make the pancakes whatever size you want, but I would start out with small so you get a feel for how they're cooking. They usually need 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on the heat. I use low-medium heat. And the recipe makes about 4-5 pancakes and the consistency of the batter needs to be kind of thick or else it will be a disaster, hahaha! 

I hope this recipe brings you as much joy as it has for me,

Hannah

Y U M !

Y U M !

Are you ready to try these? If so, go for it and let me know how they turn out.  Feel free to use #mnb or #mynaturalbeet so we can see.

Mega love to you and yours and a huge thanks to Hannah for sharing your groovy recipe with my and the natural beet :) 

xo!

 

 

Tips for Feeling Your Best Self as a First Year Law Student 

Starting Law School is an exciting and important step in the direction of your blossoming legal career.  Setting yourself a solid legal foundation is crucial for further success and accomplishments in this field. While class prep, outlining, and your legal research & writing (LRW) course will take up most of your time your first year, below are a few tips for how you can stay healthy, happy, and keep a positive mindset!

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1. Save money by bringing your lunch, snacks, and even instant coffee to school with you. It might sound silly but when you crunch the numbers of your daily visit to Starbucks and Panera Bread it will quickly add up and it might possibly add a bit more stress to your load. I brought my own food and thermos every single day of law school. It felt good to know that I was eating healthfully and not having to spend additional food money each day.  To do it, set aside one day a week, preferably Sunday, and  prepare something that you do not mind eating all week for lunch and that will keep. Most law schools have a refrigerator where you can keep your cold stuff and if not, you can find the right person and ask politely.

2. Make sure to take a LOT of breaks. Whether you get up and walk around the neighborhood or you stand up tall and stretch high towards the ceiling, make sure to change your environment every few hours and give your hard working brain fresh air.  A breathe of fresh air is so good for your spirit and it will even get you outside from the basement of the library.  If you have fifteen minutes between classes, dash outside and take a walk around the school.  Your attention span will thank you in your next class!

3. Exercise / Find your outlet for movement.  Of course, if you were not super active to begin with you might not want to start training for marathon as you first begin law school but ANY sort of movement is encouraged. You might also retort: "I DO NOT HAVE TIME!" You can make time, say 10 minutes a day?, for some sort of movement. Your body will thank you as will your mood and energy level.  Sitting and studying for so many hours a day is tough on the body and can even make you sore so try to find an activity that you enjoy and look forward to each day.  

4. Visualize and Meditate. The stakes can be high and you might feel an immense amount of pressure to be the best law student you can be. This is normal. Visualization helps ease anxiety you might have regarding an upcoming exam. If you can visualize every detail of the exam day (the entire day leading up to your exam, walking to your exam, calmly taking the exam, acknowledging that you might have trouble on a section or two and not freaking out, successfully finishing the exam, and walking out of the exam with your head held high) -- you CAN and you WILL do it! On the other hand, meditation helps you keep a grateful heart and reminds you to stay in the present and not wander too far into the future. If you are new to meditation, you could start by typing in "guided meditation, anxiety" (or what it is you have trouble with) into Youtube and see what you can find. It might seem hokey but it will help you be at ease!

5. Get and Stay Organized. Whether you use an electronic calendar or an old-fashioned planner (like me!), make sure to keep it and to a T. This is a great habit to have and it will keep you out of any deadline trouble.

6. Plan something fun (at least once a week). Whether you make Thursday night take out and movie night with your law school pals or make a date with yourself to see the movie you have been wanting to see, do it. When you are there - fully commit and enjoy yourself. You know the saying, work hard, play hard.

7. Become friends with an upperclassman. I was lucky enough to serendipitously meet a 3L within the first few weeks of starting law school. This friendship was a boost in my morale when I felt depleted at any point during the first year. It was great to have someone who I could rely on, study with on Friday nights, and ask anything law related to.  Not to mention, if they are a true friend, they will give you comments on your LRW paper! SP, I am still grateful to you for the enjoyment of my first year. 

8. And lastly, remember what brought you to where you are in the first place. You would not be in law school if you had not already dedicated a substantial amount of time, money, and effort into yourself and your education. Remember, you are good enough and deserve to be there!

 

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

The title speaks for itself so I will say no more. If you are into de-cluttering and letting go of unnecessary stuff, I encourage you to check out this book.

The "Does this bring me joy?" question is simple yet so practical in more situations than we might initially think ;) 

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PS - Report back and let me know how you find it. 

xoxo

NOURISHING WISDOM by Marc David

Looking for a book that will help you go deeper in your relationship towards your body and your food? Look no further than Nourishing Wisdom!

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"Nourishing Wisdom revolutionizes the way we think about diets and nutrition. This book will change your attitude towards your body, and provide a foundation for developing a healthful relationship with food. Combining the principles of nutritional awareness, personal growth, and body psychology, Nourishing Wisdom provides practical methods for redefining the role food plays in our lives." - Amazon review

Happy reading :) 

Documentary: The C Word

I recently watched the documentary called The C Word and I highly recommend you to watch it.

"THE C WORD reveals the forces at play keeping us sick and dares to ask: if up to 70% of cancer deaths are preventable … what are we waiting for? And, in asking the question, director Meghan L. O’Hara reveals astounding truths that no one is talking about on a grand scale — until now. At its heart are powerful, twin stories: one from celebrated French neuroscientist and cancer revolutionary Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, the other from THE C WORD’s own director, and cancer survivor Meghan L. O’Hara. After braving the journey from diagnosis to wellness, Meghan and David join forces on a wild ride of discovery; including hidden science, the absurdity of the status quo, and a vibrant cast of characters changing the game. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, THE C WORD message is simple, life-changing, radical: we can beat cancer before cancer beats us." - summary from The C Word movie website. 

In watching the documentary, you will become familiar work of Dr. David Servan-Schreiber who wrote the book called AntiCancer: A New Way of Life. The book is a compilation of developments in cancer research. It also details the best tips for what you can do to best fight it as well as how you can best prevent it. The four things pillars are: nutrition, exercise, stress management, and avoiding toxins. 

The film's message is "simple, life-changing, radical: we can beat cancer before cancer beats us."

I am in awe of Dr. Servan-Schreiber's work as well as the entire crew who made this documentary possible. Thank you!

Let's continue to spread their message by staying informed, being mindful consumers, and putting their tips to use! 

This documentary can be found on Netflix. 

Resources

Self-care

Self-care is an essential practice in my life day in and day out.  It is something that has become very important to me in the last couple of years. To me, it encompasses my habits, attitude, activities, and the way that I carry myself. If I feel run down or overwhelmed I am careful to amend my schedule and/or take time for myself so that I can recharge and show up feeling my best. 

Practicing self-care = more self-love

While more and more self-love can be cultivated from self-care we must be aware of our attitude towards ourselves. Whether we are internally criticizing the way X looks or comparing ourselves to others, we must be mindful and not judge ourselves when we are having these thoughts. We must recognize them, like clouds in the sky, and direct our attention towards something else, something that will make us feel confident, strong, and happy.  

Self-love = more confidence, strength and happiness

With this, I hope that you will continue in your natural beet practicing self-care, cultivating self-love, and sharing your inner light and goodness with the world.

May you, 

 

Seattle, Washington | USA

At the beginning of this year I spent a couple of days in Seattle. What was supposed to be the last stop of a San Diego, California > Portland, Oregon > Seattle, Washington road trip, ended up being a travel by plane three day refuge from snowy weather. On the road, a few hours north of Sacramento, it became obvious that it would not be possible to make it by car to Portland and ultimately to Seattle. 

Seattle was fresh and bright. I was given a list of recommendations, thanks Hannah!, and was prepared with warm clothes. On the last evening the Seahawks played in their home stadium. While I am NOT a fan of professional football, the game was on in the background, and of course, I cheered for number 89! 

Included below are a few To Do's, For Funs, and places To Eat.

To Do:

1.  Visit Public Market Center. There are a lot of fresh veggie food stalls as well as fish, cheese, and other specialty products. Walk around and see what goods they have.

2. Take a ride up the Space Needle. Incredible view on a clear day. 

3. Walk around the neighborhood of Ballard. There are loads of cute little cafes and shops to check out.

4. Explore Capital Hill. 

5. Check out Alki Beach. There was a sidewalk just alongside the beach where you can walk and walk.

For Fun:

1. Dandelion Botanical, Ballard. If you are into herbs, ayurveda, apothecaries, and special treasures like these check this place out. I had a great experience. 

2. Olympic Sculpture Park. I  did not have the opportunity to see it up close but I hear it is very neat.

To Eat:

1. Chaco Canyon, 8404 Greenwood Ave N. There are a few locations and I visited the Chaco Canyon on Greenwood. Chaco is a vegan cafe with a lot to choose from as well as an extremely nice staff. At unique, fun-loving cafes like this you cannot go wrong!

2. Athenian Seafood Restaurant and Bar, at Pike Place. The view was lovely and the service was great. Even though it is a seafood place they were accommodating and creative, they even made the Reuben veggie (i.e. sans the roasted corn beef)!

3. Cactus Restaurant, Alki Beach. Delicious Mexican food. I tried the Butternut Squash Enchiladas and had enough for dinner. 

4. Bacco Cafe, Pike Place Market. Recommendation. The steamy black coffee and eggs benedict were delish. 

5. Top Pot Donuts.  It was hard to choose only one donut.

6. Rachel's Ginger Beer. My friend, Alan, introduced me to Rachel's Ginger Beer. I tried the Blood Orange Hoddy Toddy. It was just what I needed on this cold winter day.

May this give you insight into a few neat things to see/do/eat while in Seattle. Of course, I did not have the chance to catch it all so next time I visit - I will try new things. Have you been to Seattle? Do you have any recommendations?

Be well :) 

 

Minimalism

Merriam-Webster defines minimalism as "a style or technique that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity." 

Credit: Pinterest

Credit: Pinterest

To quote, Josh and Ryan of The Minimalists, "minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom" and "minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom."

To me, minimalism is when you have what you need, no más no menos (no more, no less), and when you live in a tidy, cosy space where each item you have is meaningful to you and serves a purpose. I also agree with Josh and Ryan that it can be used as a "tool to rid yourself of life's excess" allowing you the opportunity to focus on what is truly important - to you.

Having lived in different cities and countries around the world and having observed ways of living -  I often ask myself:

  • what is most important to me?
  • how much do I need?
  • what do I want to spend time on?
  • what do I want to spend money on?
  • do I want to spend (so much) time on stuff? and
  • how can I spend more time and energy in alignment with my values and beliefs? 

Don't get me wrong having many items is not a bad thing for I believe each and everyone of us are on our own paths to experience, learn, and share.  However, for the majority of my life I thought being "successful" meant owning and having a lot but my definition of success has changed; I am now creating my own definition of what success means to me - in all forms of the word.

The idea of

owning/living/having less & 

"having what you need and needing what you have"

to quote my dad, has resonated with me and continues to over and over.

The purpose of this field note is to share what minimalism means to me and to express my feelings about "stuff" i.e. owning/having/possessing. I encourage you to ask yourself similar questions...  You never know what it might bring up! 

What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.

To quote Gretchen Rubin who wrote "The Happiness Project:"

What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.

This is one of Gretchen's Secrets of Adulthood and it has stuck with me since I read the book "The Happiness Project" two months ago. It usually comes to my mind when I think of my wellness - particularly food and exercise - habits. 

If you want to feel stronger, move your body more on a daily basis -
remember any minutes are better than no minutes!

If you want to feel healthy/healthier, choose foods in their natural state -
go for color, greens, deep reds, blues! 

If you want to save (more) moolah, put away more than you normally would-
see how you can live with less!

If you want to own less, organize yourself-
part with what no longer serves you.

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And remember - 

What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.

 

You have decided to re-take the bar. What next?

The decision has been made. You have signed up and sent in all of the necessary paperwork for the next bar examination.  You have marked the date(s) of the exam on your calendar and you know that you need to start studying, again, and soon. Everything outside of these two thoughts might seem blurry and potentially overwhelming but I assure you, you have the tools and y-o-u are capable.

Whether this will be your second time or fifth time preparing for the bar, the following is food for thought about how you will position yourself to be in the best possible place to pass and to make your dream come true of becoming the licensed lawyer you worked so hard to be.

1. Take the time to seriously think about and even analyze all of the events, behaviors, habits, and stressors that might have been present in the past. Things happen and thing will happen that you have no control over but you can monitor your daily thoughts, actions, and reactions to those external stressors.  Think about ways, no matter how small, that you can make this time easier for yourself. For example, do you have a housemate who can pitch in a bit more while you are studying in the months/weeks leading up to the exam? Do you have a friend who has once offered to cook for you or watch your children? Take them up on it, they want you to succeed and this is the universe helping you out!

2.  Dive deeper into ways that you can make this time easier on yourself. For example, characterize your "musts" and your "shoulds." Musts are non-negotiable activities that you innately know you must do to pass this exam once and for all. Your musts might include studying, eating, sleeping, relaxing, and recharging in a way that gives you energy.  Shoulds are a bit more nebulous, although I know that you might be able to think of a few on your own. They usually come from external expectations, things that you could take or leave but that are put upon you by those around you.  They might include anything that does not recharge you and that does not positively contribute to your study plan and overall goal of passing the bar exam.

3.  Reach out. Talk to tutors. Talk to with anyone you know who is or was in the same situation. Ask them what worked. Think about ways to incorporate what worked for someone else into your routine, if you think it will be helpful. While everyone has a difference experience, the feeling of not passing is shared. A friend of mine, who was successful the fourth time, shared with me the importance of taking time for yourself because this simple act made all of the difference for him. In addition, he said that creating and sticking with a study schedule was crucial because you know when you need to be focused 110% and your non-study time can be used to have fun and recharge.

4. Visualize, Visualize, Visualize. Picture yourself the day before the exam. What will you be doing? Where will you be? How is your stress level? Are you cramming or are you feeling steady, strong, and confident? Visualize the entire day. Next visualize the day(s) of the exam. Your path to the exam center, how you will feel walking to your seat inside the exam room, etc., etc.. Use your prior exam experience to your advantage, with visualizing, especially since you already know, more or less, how the room feels and what it looks like.  Of course, you will be nervous and you might have butterflies in your stomach. That is completely normal! Learn to accept these feelings, no matter how uncomfortable they are. Practice staying present, staying in the moment. When you can master your thoughts and feelings about the test, you can master the test.

5. Put the time in. There is no substitute for taking practice exams, working practice questions under timed conditions, and quite frankly, immersing yourself in the subjects. Figure out which subjects need more attention and work accordingly. Remember to not underestimate the importance of reading the answer explanation and figuring out as well as understnding why you arrived at the right or wrong answer. 

At the end of the day, do what works and feels best to you.  Are you a morning owl or an evening lark? Is there a difference in your energy and focus when you study at the library or at home?  Figure out when and where you are most productive, make a schedule, and stick to it.  With these insights, you are now better situated to put yourself in the best possible position to pass. While the prep time leading up to the exam can feel uncomfortable - believe in yourself, remember that this too shall pass, and feel in your bones that you can do this!  

 

Simple Daily Practices to Fine Tune Your Mind/Body Connection

The mind and body are inextricably intertwined - even in ways that we fail to yet understand!  Despite being aware of that connection, however, this internal connection sometimes becomes blurry.   We might feel that our heads are running the show 99% of the time and our bodies 1% of the time.  No matter what your individual ratio is at the present moment and from day to day, I am an advocate of “continual maintenance” i.e. touching base with your beautiful self daily by following your breathe, feeling the sensations in your body, and also tuning into your tummy.  Together they can say so much and, properly directed, will bring positive results for your overall wellbeing!

The following practices will strengthen the “pathway” between the mind and body and will naturally leave you feeling more at ease and at peace in your mind and body. 

 1. Find a quiet space. If you are at work, take a few minutes and find a space outside in the fresh air or, if you are to able, even a forward bend in the bathroom stall will work! Find a place where you will not be easily disturbed or disrupted and come to a seated position with your legs and arms uncrossed.  Take a deep breathe in and fill your belly and keep your eyes open or closed. After the inhale, pause at the top, and then slowly exhale. If you want to really let go – exhale through your mouth, counting to 10. Repeat, ideally, for 10 breathes. Imagine your breathe entering in your nose and going down into your belly and alternatively, flowing up your body and out through your nose. 

2. During the day - even if you are busy and especially if you are busy – find a moment to ask yourself: How am I feeling in my body? Am I tense? Am I relaxed? Am I impatient? Regardlesss of your answer, take a moment to reflect on what actions, thoughts, and/or behaviors took your body to this sensation or feeling.  Be sure not to make any judgments about what took you there - good or bad.  The point is to cultivate awareness so that the more you ask yourself/touch base with yourself the easier it is for you to learn by experience and then you will be able to make adjustments in your thoughts, actions, and behaviors so that you can maintain a calming and peaceful presence.

3. Do a few forward bends. Start by reaching up toward the sky, your fingers leading your entire body up, including your gaze. Stretch through your fingertips.  Once you have reached as far up as you can, slowly bend forward, exhaling as you release forward.  Hang there - noticing your breathe and all sensations in your body.  Place your hands on alternative elbows and slowly rock side to side.  Let your head relax completely. 

I hope these simple and loving practices will bring your mind and body into a continuum of calm, peace, and tranquility as they have for me.  

May you...