Wednesday, April 16, 2014

everyday is a gift

life is a gift. wake up everyday and realize that.

March was a hectic month with crappy weather and some tough life lessons, so when April rolled around it was like a breath of fresh air.  Not only did it feel like a new beginning but the weather instantly got warmer.  Amen!  Even with all the muddy paw prints that have been making their way through my house {thanks Millie}, I can't complain about spring.  April brought a new perspective, as a change of season will do, and I was reminded that I need to treat each day as a gift.

Life can change in a instant and we certainly don't know what is going to happen in the future.  Speaking from my small amount of life experience I can at least say that each day brings something new and everyday we should be thankful for the time at hand.  Dan and I always remind each other not to complain too much about a bad day because right around the corner there could be something really beautiful or really tragic.  Most of the time I float on with life, doing the same things everyday but sometimes something happens that jerks me back into reality and reminds me to appreciate everyday a little more.

I need to do more in love. 
I need to be more kind, more often. 
I need to forgive and forget.
And I need to more than thankful of the days I have been given. 


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

turning twenty nine

On Sunday I turned twenty nine, the last year of my life that I will ever be in my twenties.  I guess that means I will have to make this next year a good one.  I remember the day I turned twenty, waking up and swearing I saw a multitude of wrinkles around my eyes.  Like I had aged over night.  And then twenty five rolled around and I felt the sting of no longer being in my early twenties....again overnight I had somehow found myself in the late twenties category.   But this birthday there was no dramatic turn of events that sent me tail spinning into thinking I was that much older than I was the day before.  For the most part I feel like I am right where I should be in life.

I started thinking about all the things I have done in my twenties, I am down right blown away.  It has been nine years of learning, growing, making mistakes, falling in love, travel, settling down, and of course living my life the best I know how.  My twenties have been nothing close to boring.  And I hope that is true for this next year.  To make sure of that I started making a thirty before thirty list...mostly for fun but I hope it encourages me to do some things I wouldn't otherwise do.  My hope is to always live the next year of my life better than the year before.

So onto the last year of my twenties!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

DIY mustache mugs

About a month ago my cousin and her sweet hubby had their wedding reception.  They had gotten hitched in the fall and waited on having a party until February.  Such a fabulous idea...all the wedding pressure is off and you can just enjoy and have fun.  They had a mustache theme and A LOT of cupcakes.  Cupcakes for wedding favors!  Amen!

When it came time to pick a gift out for these two love birds, Dan and I got a few things off the registry.  But I also decided to stick with the theme and make them mustache mugs.  

DIY Mustache Mugs

what you need:
a mustache stencil or template

Make sure the mug you are using for this project is clean.  I popped mine in the dishwasher and then cleaned the spot I was going to draw my mustache on with alcohol.  Tape your stencil to your mug and then trace the stencil with the sharpie.  Once you have traced the design you can start filling in your mustache with the sharpie.  When you are happy with your mustache, heat your oven to 350F and place the mug in the oven for 30 minutes.  Let the mugs cool before you take them out.

They ended up coming out great!  I few tips for those of you who might give this a try.  I would do at least two coats of marker before cooking your mug.  Also if you are worried about putting the mugs in the oven, you can always place the mugs in the oven while it's heating up and once it gets to the desired temperature cook them for 30 minutes.
Happy 1st day of April!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

think spring

Today is the first day of spring.  Thank God.  About mid February I was really over winter.  My soul hurt from the snow storms and brutally cold days.  Not to mention we had quite a few days that were 50 degrees and sunny and then just like that it would be snowing again.  New England you are such a tease.  Those few warm days made me officially ready for nicer weather.  I want to trade my boots for flip flops and spend entire hot summer days at the beach.  You hear that winter?  No more of you.

Spring is one of my favorite seasons; watching the cold dark winter melt away to flowers and green grass.  New England usually has a muddy spring {especially with sweet Millie} but I'll take mud over ice any day.  So here's hoping that spring is on it's way.  Until then Trader Joe's is going to get a weekly visit from me in order to fill my little apartment with fresh flowers.

Happy first day of spring!

Friday, March 14, 2014

a guest post from my mom: healthy living // stress

I would like to introduce you to my sweet mom, Lana.  She agreed to do a guest post on the blog for my healthy living series.  She is a clinical social worker and provides counseling in all different areas to all kinds of different people.  So when it comes to coping with stress she's usually my go to.  Since she's a professional I thought she could shed some light on how we all can deal with stress a little better in our lives.  It is a must have for healthy living. 

I thought it would be fun to try an acrostic with the word STRESSED instead of writing paragraphs about what most of us already know when it comes to dealing with stress. 
See what you think...

Sleep - You aren't your best for yourself or for others when you are sleep deprived.  Know how much sleep you need and check in - Am I sleeping enough?

Tea - My answer to the need for short breaks during the day - yours may be different!  It's OK  to stop what I'm doing for 15 minutes, relax, enjoy, and think on something mindless, and then I am    ready to tackle what ever is in front of me.  Where and how are you building breaks into your day?

Relax - Know what is "just for fun" in your life and make time for it.

Emotions - Do you get anxious, depressed, or irritable when you are stressed?  Be aware of the early signs and have a plan for addressing it.  Ask yourself - What will help me regain balance?  Then put your plan into action and remember that sooner is better than later!

Spiritual - Don't forget that we are all spiritual beings.  The God who created the universe knows you, loves you and wants you to know Him.  Join the psalmist who wrote "Be still, and know that I am God".

S - Too many S's - I am not going to "stress out" about it - just going to skip it!  You can do that you know.

Exercise - You don't have to go to the boot camp exercise class but you do need to move your body through space - your heart will thank you, your brain will thank you, and all the muscles that are tense with stress will thank you.

Diet - If this is a challenging area for you,  keep it simple.  Ask yourself - Where in my day is the protein?, the water?, and conversely - Where in my day is the sugar?, the caffeine?, the alcohol?

     Hopefully this acrostic doesn't stress you out, we all do some things better than others at different times in our lives.  So pick one thing to try differently -  make a small change, but do it very often.  Before you know it you will be reminding yourself to do it because it makes you feel so much better!

Isn't she just the cutest?!  Thanks mom for shining some light on easy changes we can make in our daily lives!  How do you all deal with stress in a healthy way?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

healthy living // yoga

I wanted to touch on something that is part of my life but certainly may not be apart of yours.  As a avid yoga student and instructor it has been a big part of my story, so I thought I would share a little more about why I think yoga is a great thing to add into your day to day life.

I have talked about some of yoga's health benefits here and here.  Lean muscle, flexibility, and strength, but for me there are so many more benefits than just the physical.  When I started seriously doing yoga I was in college.  I would walk the length of Ala Wai blvd. carrying my yoga mat to a small little gym.  Towards the back of the gym there was a glassed in, hardwood floor room; it would fill up, mat to mat, with people of all shapes, sizes, age, and walks of life.  The instructor was amazing {I wish I could remember her name} and she walked us through two hours of breathing techniques, poses, and meditation.  Always encouraging her students to be present and take modifications and rest when they needed.   

Don't think beyond your mat. 
That is how she would start every class, don't think beyond your mat.  I still repeat it to my students when I teach and I use it as an intention when I am practicing yoga.  For me doing yoga is one of the only times I really forget about all the junk in life.  I don't think about what I am doing tomorrow or what I did that day, nothing beyond that small space of mine on my mat.  It is a beautiful thing when you allow yourself to free up all that brain power that you use to make to do list, keep yourself busy for no reason, or stress about things.  You have a lot of space to do some positive thinking.  Something we should all do more often in life to combat stress, low self esteem, and our overall outlook on life and the world.  Positive thinking is an amazing tool.

{photo taken of Tracy Rodriguez Photography during a yoga shoot}

But even more than that I think the most beneficial thing about yoga for me is cultivating a mind body connection.  Oh I know some of you just rolled your eyes...hear me out.  When I sat down on my mat for that first yoga class I thought I knew myself inside and out...boy was I wrong.  I never had thought about a mind body connection before and what I realized was my view of my physical self was so driven by superficial expectations, how I was suppose to look, how fast I was suppose to run, what I was suppose to eat, what clothes I should wear....not once did I ever really think about what my body actually needed or what it was capable of.  Right then competitiveness, jealousy, and low self esteem were no longer needed in my life.  We shouldn't feel like we need to be something for someone else because we "should" or we are "suppose to".  Yoga emphasizes the process and allows you to be in the moment instead of trying to achieve something greater than someone else. 

When I am teaching a class I often see students look around at everyone else and then finally at themselves.  They lean towards others to take the lead in class instead of doing what feels right for them.  There's no yoga police that's going to show up and punish you for not doing a pose correctly.   The only time an instructor {a good one at least!} would correct you is to give encouragement towards the right direction or to protect you from injuring yourself.  So many of my students, when asked to move their right hip forward start moving their left hand or shoulders or bend their knee.  They aren't making a mind body connection because they are so focused on everything/everyone around them instead of being focused on themselves.  That disconnect between trusting and knowing your body to get you where you need to be is one of the biggest challenges.  This inner dialogue between mind and body is a life long lesson and something I still struggle with daily.

I know yoga isn't for everyone but I encourage you to find something that gets you out of your head.  Being able to take a break from your day and do something that requires a different perspective will only benefit you.  Find a balance between your responsibilities and what you really love to do in life. 
Most importantly be kind to yourself.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

under construction

{something cheerful for your Tuesday}

First off I apologize for not posting more the past few weeks.  I do have a good excuse though, the truth about vinyl and bikini tops has been under construction.  Hopefully this week the new and improved site will come up.  I have been working with the fabulous Chelsea from Bell Lulu Ink on giving the blog a facelift and I can't wait till you see her amazing work.  It was time to make some changes to the blog and there are many more to come I am sure. 

In the meantime I have been working on some great content for you!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

healthy living // exercise

{running with sweet Millie}

Here's a big topic to tackle....exercise.  You either love it or it's just another thing on your to do list.  But along with that healthy diet of yours, getting your heart rate up is just as important.  Not only to stay in a healthy weight range but also to keep your heart healthy.  Lucky for us exercising has gotten more and more accessible to everyone; that also means there is less of an excuse not to get your sweat on.

There are so many benefits to exercise.  Of course the one that usually comes to mind first is looking great in a bathing suit.  As much as we all want to look our best, keeping our weight in a healthy range will also aid in preventing disease; cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure to name a few.  Getting regular workouts in can also improve your mood, can you say endorphins?  And from personal experience, exercise gives me tons of energy {better than coffee!} and helps me sleep better at night.  Plus getting all that blood pumping makes my skin look great.

How much exercise do you need?  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week with two or more days of strength training or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise a week with 2 or more days of strength training.  Again this all depends on you as a person and I would consult with your doctor on exactly how much and what kind of exercise you should be getting.  You have to find what works for you or else your not going to want to get those workouts in.

For me, I try to get cardio and yoga in 5 to 6 days a week and strength train {switching between heavy and light days} at least 3 days a week.  I do a lot of different things so i don't get bored...running, spin classes, Pilates, boot camp, hiking, different kinds of yoga, different fitness classes, etc.  I try to keep it interesting and that way I never want to skip a workout.  With that being said, I workout out for the physical benefits and for the mental benefits.  It is a stress reliever for me and also gives me time to process my day or the day ahead.  It's a life saver.

Just taking 30 minutes five days a week to get your heart rate up is all you need to help prevent disease, weight gain and I guarantee it will make you feel a whole lot better.
 So what do you do to get your heart pumping?

Monday, February 17, 2014

love lately

 {print // the first snow}

In honor of love, I thought I would share about some of the love happening around here.   Dan and I have headed into our third year of marriage.  Each year has been a bit different so far.  This year has been a good one, we are started to look forward with our lives and marriage instead of being blissfully unaware that anything else is happening except being in love.

Honestly, our first marriage was tougher than I thought it would be.  We had to find where we fit in each other's lives a little.  Sharing a home was an experience neither of us had done before, and as exciting as it was, it took a little while for things to shake out.  And as a new wife I thought I had to do everything just perfect, so not my style.  I come from a place where dinner gets made most of the time but there is always something to eat and the house is almost always clean, I keep it just dirty enough so you know it's lived in.  I found out pretty quickly that Dan wasn't interested in having a wife that can do everything perfect but more interested on working together to build our life. 
What a relief. 

There were some really good lessons learned in that first year of marriage.  Lessons I am happy got out of the way after that first year.  Now the second year, that was a good one, we fell into a beautiful rhythm of life.  We added a fluffy family member....sweet Millie.  We also set out to see a lot of New England and do some things that we hadn't done before. 

The third year I have high hopes for and so far it's been just great.  We are at the point where all those endearing qualities that each of you have melted right into the way we live out life.  Dan knows I love to cook but I hate cleaning the stove off after.  So like the good man he is, he quietly {most of the time} cleans it off before the dishes are even done.  I know that Dan will drink black ice coffee even on the coldest days of the year.  Dan also understand my need for fresh flowers in the house and no longer asks me why I buy them.  Oh, and the toilet seat.....well that is properly put back everytime now. 

Love changes. 
I never excepted that, but it does and it grows deeper.  I never thought I would be in this place in my life.  So unbelievably comfortable with who I am and the person I have decided to live my life with.  So comfortable but still so ready for what the future may hold.

So that's what's happening with love in the Hunt household.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

healthy living // juicing and smoothies

One of the big reasons I love both juicing and drinking my smoothies is convenience.  I am on the go quite a bit and to be honest I would rather be sipping a smoothie on the subway than eating a sandwich.  The biggest reason for that is germs.  I don't want to be touching all kinds of things and then touching my food.  When I make something nutritional and filling to drink while I am out and about, then I don't have to really worry about washing my hands before eating. 

This brings me to my next reason.  My job.  I have the kind of job{s} where I am on my feet and busy all day long.  Whether its working at the vet clinic, the aquarium, or teaching yoga, I can't always find the time to eat when I am hungry.  Plus I am touching and working with a lot of things during the day that you don't want on your hands, if you know what I mean.  So again bringing something that I can just sip out of a straw anytime makes my life a little easier.

Besides being a bit of a germaphobe, sipping on smoothies, and juicing {especially juicing} is a perfect way to fit in a ton of vitamins and nutrients into your diet.  Smoothies are great as a meal supplement if your making sure to get enough fat and protein into them.  Most of my smoothies consist of frozen fruits, yogurt {2% Greek}, water or coconut water, protein powder, and leafy greens.  Yes, leafy greens.  I try to get a handful or two of spinach and kale into each smoothie I make.  If you blend it until its smooth the only thing that truly changes is the color, plus it adds a whole dose of vegetables to your day.

Juicing is even better at getting all those fruits and veggies in.  Juicing vegetables fits in all benefits of eating salad after salad in one glass.  When I know it's going to be a day where I just won't fit in all my veggies and fruits, I make sure to start it off by juicing.  I get all the nutrients from that vegetable or fruit and it's so easy to digest because the ruffage has been taken out.  All those vitamins and nutrients go right into your system.  Sometimes juicing gives me more energy than caffeine....honestly, a miracle.

There are a few things to remember when juicing.  First keep in check how much fruit you use, it can add a lot of sugar to your diet.  So I try to make mostly vegetable juices and add a lemon, lime,  or apple for sweetness.  Since all of the nutrients are being concentrated, be sure you're using organic produce.  You don't want to be digesting a bunch of concentrated pesticides.  Last but not least, make sure you still are eating whole vegetables and fruits.  The fiber from them is very important and yes it's a good thing to chew your food!

My Go - To Juice

1 carrot
1 cucumber
1 stalk of celery
2 handfuls of kale
2 handfuls of spinach
1 apple
1 lemon