The Book of Extraordinary Things

magiclibrary.jpg
"We do not need magic to transform the world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have power to imagine better." - J.K. Rowling

I so, so excited to share with you a project that I have been working on for the past 6 months. I have actually been sharing a little over on Instagram and the LWW Facebook Community but I also wanted to make an official announcement here on the blog.

I have created a daily journal called “The Book of Extraordinary Things” (BET) with prompts to inspire self-awareness, positivity, and well-being. The BET was made for the introspective adventurer and was designed to evoke a sense of wonder about our daily lives. I was personally inspired by the fantasy tales of ordinary individuals accomplishing extraordinary feats and the books and scripts that hold these tales.

The Book is extraordinary because we, as humans, are extraordinary. The book is alive because we are alive. Each high and low, victory and defeat, and all the spaces in-between are opportunities for the author to decide how their story will be written.

magicjournal.jpg

Journaling has always been a habit that I’ve wanted to include in my daily routine, but, even as a creative, I have been overwhelmed with how much time it may take. I personally wanted something that I could use that would have prompts built in and also include some free space. Structure for guidance and flexibility for creativity. It was also important that this project be aesthetically pleasing to my right brain- the result being something that you might find in a rare books collection, on a shelf at Hogwarts, or in the well-worn bag of an explorer. 

The first section of the BET is comprised of a set of exploratory questions which were designed to support the author in creating a detailed picture of where they are beginning their quest. There is also a blank space to bring visons, goals, and dreams to life. Following the self-reflective questions, there is a section for short, medium, and long-term goal setting. These questions ask the author to describe what they might like to be celebrating in three months, six months, and one year.

The daily journal pages are composed of three parts. First, there are a series of 5 prompts that are based around the PERMA model in positive psychology- Positivity, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Achievement. Although there is not a specific prompt for Vitality, there is blank space to create a tracking method for physical metrics such as water intake or daily movement. Below the prompts is a space to track your mood. The daily journal pages are intended to last for three months. On a page facing the prompts there is a blank section entitled “Field Notes.” This space is for authors to use for drawing, writing, collaging, or tracking. Below the “Field Notes” there is a structured “To-Do” list. The “To-Do” list area is made up of the top three most important quests of the day and subsections for AM and PM tasks. The final section of the BET consists of several blank “Field Notes” pages for authors to use for notes, projects, artistic endeavors, to-do lists, or anything else for which they might need room to create.

I firmly believe that there is a kind of everyday magic in both the ordinary and extraordinary. I hope that the BET can be a container for this magic and a creative outlet for the authors who wield it.  

                                                                                                                                     the book of extraordinary things 1.0

                                                                                                                                     the book of extraordinary things 1.0

The book is currently in a prototype phase as I work on final content edits and layout adjustments. In addition to the journal, I am developing stickers to enhance creativity and Quest Cards- a deck of cards with small, additional quests to build courage, confidence, curiosity, hope, and resilience. The final version will have a black vegan leather or linen cover with gold foil. It will also include a ribbon and pocket in the back cover (perfect for holding your Quest cards, receipts, pictures, etc.) In order to bring the BET experience to life, I will be running a Kickstarter campaign sometime during the fall of this year (September/October). For more information and updates on the Book of Extraordinary Things, you can follow me over on Instagram, Facebook, or sign up for the Living Well and Wild Monthly Newsletter.

 

 

3 Meal Planning Tips for Beginners

3 meal planning tips for beginners.png

As a wellness coach, meal planning is something that comes up quite often with my coaching clients. Most people want to make healthier choices and figure out how to set themselves up for success. Planning and its big sister prepping are intended to be strategies to help streamline the decision making process and cut down on time spent on meals during busier days. 

That being said, there is an incredible amount of information on this topic out there and as with anything else, too much information, or strategies that are too complicated can lead to an effect known as "analysis paralysis"- there is so much information that you don't know where to begin...so you don't.

Meal planning has many benefits and for me, the most important one is saving time in the evenings. If I have a busy day, I don't like having to decide what to have for dinner at the last minute. Chris, my husband, is really talented at throwing ingredients together, but I don't have as much practice. (Did I mention how lucky I am to have a partner who cooks amazing vegan food?!) It makes it much easier to have a plan and be prepared with all of the ingredients I'll need. In addition to saving time, I believe that meal planning saves money. Cooking at home is usually much less expensive than eating out. If I have a meal plan and the ingredients, I am much less likely to go out to eat. (And see Tip #2 below if you find yourself running out of time to cook due to a varied schedule)

The three tips I'm sharing with today are extremely basic- and this is the point. To give you a place to start if meal planning is something you're curious about.

Tip #1- Break Up The Week

In my experience, it has always been easier to meal plan for a few days at a time, rather than try to look at the whole entire week all at once. If I'm meal planning on a Sunday, I will usually meal plan through Wednesday evening. Then Wednesday, I will plan through the weekend. Fridays are usually the "takeout" night in our house (with delicious vegan Chinese food as the default) so that helps break up the planning even more. Breaking up the week into 2 sets of "mini-planning" makes the process a lot less overwhelming. It does require a potential second trip to the grocery store, but you aren't buying as many things, so hopefully you're out more quickly.

paper-3249925_1920.jpg

Tip #2- Have an Easy Backup Plan on Hand

Sometimes I will plan on these awesome dinners where I am trying a new recipe that might take a bit longer than usual to prepare. I also know that there are days where plans go awry, schedules get changed, and suddenly you don't have the hour you had set aside to make dinner. This is why I always have easy meal ingredients like pasta*, veggie burgers**, and salad fixings on hand. As I mentioned above, this will help to prevent an unplanned trip out to eat.

* I like the Organic Black Bean Spaghetti from Explore Cuisine- 25 grams of protein/serving!

** Another household favorite is the Morningstar Roasted Garlic and Quinoa burgers

pasta-2610765_1920.jpg

 

Tip #3- Leftovers are Your Friends

99% of the time I plan on leftovers for lunch. It's so much easier to make a little extra of dinner the night before and pack it up in a container to grab the next day. Whether you work from home, in an office, or out in the field, it's really helpful to not have to worry about cobbling something together for lunch. Sometimes Chris will also take leftover quinoa, rice, and/or veggies from a previous meal to make a nice stir-fry with tofu. Using what you have in your fridge also reduces food waste and saves money.

salad-498203_1280.jpg

Do you have any meal planning tips that have helped you to be successful?

Getting Back on Track

road-red-street-sign.jpg

As a health and wellness professional, there is always a low-level of pressure that I put on myself to make sure that I'm "walking the walk" so to speak. I would say I try my hardest to live by example- making sure that I get enough movement during the day, eating fruits, veggies, and whole grains (promoting a vegan lifestyle), and allowing time for self-care.

Lately though, I've been feeling a little off track with my physical fitness. I'm lucky that I fence 2-3 times a week and walk with my dog every day which usually helps me meet my 10k steps. However, I set a goal at the beginning of the year to be consistent with a strength training program and there have been a lot of bumps in the road.

I've been giving it some thought over the past few days (thanks to my fellow CAPP-sters for coaching the coach) and I came to a few realizations.

  1. I'm very hard on myself. This is something I'm working on. I'm trying to appreciate my body in its current state and being thankful for all of the things it allows me to do.
  2. I keep trying to stick to a "program" of some sort instead of just allowing myself to do whatever works for me on a particular day/time. I already get a lot of cardio with fencing and walking with my dog so I really wanted to have a strength training routine to complement those things. The program I was doing at home used weights but wasn't the heavier lifting I was looking for.
  3. I need to spend a bit more time in the preparation stage- making sure my workout clothes are clean and laid out, having shoes that are comfortable, and keeping my workout area clean and tidy.

I know how important physical fitness is and I'm a pretty motivated person. I actually like working out if you can believe it. It was challenging to figure out what was getting in the way of my success and it was really helpful to pick apart the process. When all is said and done I don't care if I start and stop a hundred times with a hundred different workouts, as long as I never stop permanently.

The reason I'm sharing this is because the road to well-being is rarely a linear path. There may be bumps, curves, and obstacles that get in your way. The important thing is to never lose sight of where you are going. Pull over if you need to, re-orient yourself, and enjoy the journey.