On Living in the Moment

I think it’s obvious that the best part of my 2014 had nothing to do with this blog, fitness, food, or work.

Engagement in Gloucester

Engagement in Gloucester

July 4th 2014: Cake

Engagement BBQ: Girls

Engagement BBQ: Me and Tim

Tim and I got engaged smack in the middle of a year we’ve dubbed as our year of weddings. Even though we had 6 weddings in 2012 and 7 weddings in 2013, we had 8 in 2014 (one was in Missouri that only Tim could make it to). So much of last year was spent celebrating eight amazing couples, including some of my best friends in the whole world. It got a bit crazy at times, and I’m still not quite sure how we did it, but I wouldn’t change it. We are lucky to have so many wonderful friends in our lives, and we created so many memories during all the showers, bachelorette and bachelor parties, rehearsal dinners, and weddings that filled our latter part of the year. I’m only sad that I didn’t have the chance to recap each wedding and wedding related event how I would have liked to on F&F!

2014 Bridal Showers

2014 Bachelorettes

Weddings 2014

Weddings 2014

Aside from all the wedding fun, some of my other favorite parts of last year include:

winter weekend getaway with Perfect Vermont,

Perfect Vermont: Tim and I

my April trip to Chicago with Ashley and Jen,

Chicago Bike Tour2

tons of other gym friend fun,

Gym Friends Hike

Gym Friends at BoMa

Gym Friends at Jen's

Gym Friends Pink Party

Mango Porch Friday

Studio Empower

running my first obstacle 5k,

AHA 5k Heart Challenge 2014

a Memorial Day getaway to Falmouth,

Falmouth + Memorial Day 2014

multiple New Balance Girls Night Outs with blog friends and all the other fun blog stuff I got to do this year,

New Balance Girls Night Out

New Balance Girls Night Out

going to the Boston Magazine health and wellness retreat,

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat

having a week off over the 4th of July to spend at home with each other,

Staycation: Kayaking

Staycation 2014: Wingaersheak Beach

becoming an official wellness coordinator at work,

Wellness Coordinator

spending my 29th birthday in Newburyport,

29th Birthday in Newburyport

picking our wedding venue,

Zorvino's

and spending some time in our happy place.

Maine Vacation: Cape Porpoise

That’s what comes to mind first.

The time spent with Tim.

Valentine's Day 2014: Snowy Seaport

Homemade Pretzel Night

Hopster's Brews and Boards

Apple Picking 2014

Tim and Me on a Fall Hike

Somerville Harvest Fest 2014

Five Year Anniversary

The Lion King

Portsmouth NH 2014

Christmas

The time spent with all our friends.

Reuniting with Jess and Eileen

Erins 30th Birthday

Matt's Birthday

Jeff's Birthday

Boston Marathon 2014

Wilmington Friends

Coach of the Year

Harpoon Brewery Tour

Staycation: Geoffs 30th

Staycation: Pool with Slesh

Gather Boston

Halloween 2014

Wes's Baptism

Cate's 30th Bday

Thanksgiving 2014

Shannon's Christmas Party 2014

Wally World Christmas 2014

NYE 2014

And the time spent with family.

Layla's 5th birthday party

Papou's 85th birthday party

Greek Easter 2014

Mother's Day 2014

Gregs 15th Birthday Party

Red Sox

Father's Day 2014

Engagement BBQ: Lexa and Layla

July 4th 2014: Summer Shanty

Dads 60th Birthday

Oaktoberfest 5k Race & Taste

Thanksgiving 2014

New Bedford Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014

The things that DON’T come to mind right away when I think about last year?

–The nights worrying about getting everything done

–The time spent feeling anxious about my messy apartment

–My type A to do lists

–All the stress and frustration from work

–Feeling like I *should* post something on F&F every day

You guys get the idea. And yet, I know that I wasted so many nights just worrying, worrying again, and then worrying some more. I get so wrapped up in this idea of perfection, being able to do it all, and being able to do it all RIGHT NOW. It’s crippling sometimes. When you look at someone else’s highlight reel and think they must have their shit so perfectly together and organized, let me tell you, it’s not always the case. So many people ask me how I do it all, and you know what? I don’t. I make sacrifices. I have bad days.

I mess up. 

So many of the pictures from last year capture the feelings we were feeling at the very moment the camera went off. They show us living in the moment. And I want to do more of that for the rest of 2015. I want to stop thinking about the next place I have to be, the next meal I need to prepare, and the next thing I have to do. I don’t want to feel bogged down by too many commitments, emails, and too many people asking me to do things. I want to put my phone down. I want to leave work undone if it’s too stressful at the moment. I want to leave the dishes in the sink and a let a blog post go unwritten.

I want to create more space and just enjoy being present. 

I want to plan our wedding and actually relish in the experience together, not rush it.

But I know I can’t have everything and do everything at the same time. 

I just need to remind myself that when I look back like I enjoy doing around this time each year, it’s not all the time spent worrying I’m going to remember.

Engagement in Gloucester

What I’m going to remember are all the times truly spent living in the moment.

Readers, let’s chat! What are your tips for being present and living in the moment? How do you control endless worrying or always thinking about what’s next on your to do list?

You Can Do It All, But You Don’t Have To

This post is sponsored by Whole Foods Market Arlington. All opinions are my own.

I was walking into Whole Foods for my weekly grocery run the other day, when a little sign in front of the store caught my eye.

Whole Foods Market Arlington: You Can Do It All

“You can do it all, but you don’t have to.”

This is the ongoing battle I have with myself, day in and day out, week after week.

Full time, I run a corporate wellness program. And you want to know what programs I want to offer? All of them.

Part time, I teach fitness classes. And while I only teach two classes a week, I want to teach more. Oh my God, how I want to teach more.

Part time, I blog. Even though I consider blogging a hobby and something I do for fun, it’s starting to provide income for me. Fitness & Feta is growing, you guys. And it’s awesome and makes me really excited for “someday.” But someday isn’t today, and today I have all sorts of posts I want to write, all sorts of projects I want to do, and all sorts of events I wish I could attend but can never make because I’m trying to run a corporate wellness program and teach fitness classes. And strength train. And food prep. And have a social life. And clean my house. And spend time outdoors. And plan my wedding. And finish my wellness coaching certification. And start my Christmas shopping. And do all those returns that have sat in my car for weeks now. And read. And think about what to make for Thanksgiving…

I am someone that tries to do it all.

Muscles

The holidays are right around the corner (can you even believe it?!), and this is a time of year that usually sends people like me right over the edge. Sure, they can be a time of joy, relaxation, and cheer, but that’s usually if you are not the one responsible for all the cleaning, cooking, baking, planning, decorating, hosting, wrapping, socializing… right!? Sound familiar?

If you can relate (cough, cough all my fellow Type A friends and readers), I want you to ask yourself something. What if, for one year, you stop trying to be superwoman (or superman)? What if instead of “getting through” November and December, you took the time to truly enjoy these months? Do you ever stop and think that our “I can do it all” attitudes are probably the true culprits of so much stress and anxiety?

I ask myself this all the time.

This holiday season, I encourage you to try to create more space in your life. Even if you want to do ALL THE THINGS, remind yourself that having those margins to breathe is just as important as crossing off everything on your to do list.

Instead of trying to survive, thrive.

Delegate.

Ask for help when you need it.

Give yourself permission to say no or do something differently.

If a tradition stresses you out, change it.

Whole Foods Holiday Menu

As I continued my grocery shopping last week, I realized that Whole Foods actually offers a pretty awesome solution for changing things up. If taking the stress out of your holiday meal isn’t a great starting point, I don’t know what is.

Whole Foods Thanksgiving Menu 2014

After browsing through the 2014 Whole Foods Thanksgiving menu, I realized you can order pretty much anything for your holiday meal. The menu includes turkeys of all kinds, signature sides, relish and gravies, breads and rolls, tons of hors d’oeuvres, fresh fruit, cheeses, soups, desserts, and more. Basically anything you need for your holiday party you can get through Whole Foods. I love that the menu also features Health Starts Here options, caters toward any allergies, and offers Meal Deals for families of 2, 4, 8, and 12. You can even get flowers and candles to decorate with!

Interested? Just visit the Whole Foods online ordering site, select what you want, and pick your items up at your local Whole Foods store. Easy as pie, except easier because you won’t have to make it. Some Whole Foods stores will even have a holiday ordering table set up with a team member taking orders right on site. Look how festive the Arlington store table is!

Whole Foods Arlington: Holiday Food Menu

No matter what you choose this season, whether it be catering your holiday meal from Whole Foods or simply turning down an invitation to a party you don’t want to go to, own your decision. Don’t feel guilty about it. Maybe you get some snide remarks from a crabby relative, but who really cares if you spent three hours trying to make a Pinterest perfect dish? Is that a non-negotiable to you? Probably not. Show yourself some compassion, and accept your decision as important to you.

–Let’s chat–
Are you someone who tries to do it all? How do you accept that you don’t have to? What are your tips for approaching the holiday season with a stress free mindset? Have you ever ordered off the Whole Foods holiday menu before?

P.S. Whole Foods Arlington is also offering some pretty cool cooking classes geared toward preparing for Thanksgiving this month! I might check out the centerpieces and hors d’oeuvres class next Tuesday, but the one on brining and roasting a turkey sounds pretty awesome too. That would totally get me out of my comfort zone! Both classes are free, but you have to sign up online, and donations will be collected to support the Feed Four More foundation.

Boston Magazine’s Health and Wellness Retreat

Last month, my friend Erin invited me to go with her to a health and wellness retreat presented by Boston Magazine‘s Hub Health. The event was advertised as a day of rejuvenation, relaxation, and integrated wellness for women, so of course I was very appreciative of the invite to something so up my alley. Plus, it gave us an excuse to have a girls day at the Ritz-Carlton in Boston!

Boston Magazine Health and Wellness Retreat

Our day began with a fresh breakfast while we heard from Melissa Malamut, Boston Magazine’s Hub Health editor, and Carla Tardif, the executive director of Family Reach and our host for the day. After the opening remarks, the general manager of the LA Sports Club attached to the Ritz led us through some stretching to get our blood flowing for the day ahead.

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat

After our stretch, it was time for our two morning seminars. Erin and I first went to a session called “Your Exercise Personality: Get Your Best Body and Best Life by Tapping Into the Power of Your Exercise Personality.” It was presented by Helena Collins of Life In Synergy, who I thought was funny and presented with a lot of energy. We spent a lot of time talking about how different personality types carry their stress in different areas. For example, as a “decorator,” I tend to be stuck in management, trapped in perfection, and I feel the best when valued (um, HELLO accurate). I learned that because of this I carry my stress in my shoulders, I need to work on posture to keep my shoulders back, and supermans are a great exercise to help strengthen my weak areas. While I really enjoyed learning the psychology aspect of this session and how certain key exercises can correct imbalances, I did not necessarily agree with Helena’s fitness outlook in general since she really knocked the gym, and well, I love the gym.

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat - Helena Collins

Breaks were held between each session where attendees could mingle, chat, and help themselves to the snacks and drinks set out for us. We could choose from Kind bars, cucumber water (my favorite!), Zico coconut water (not so much my favorite), and Dasani sparkling water.

Boston Magazine Health and Wellness Retreat

For our second session, Erin and I went to Bianca De La Garza‘s seminar called “Sexy, Sleep Deprived, Superwomen.” This was one of my favorites of the day, as it was geared toward women who do so much that they run on empty and stretch themselves thin. Bianca shared her secrets to maintaining immunity, keeping productivity high, and removing negative energy from our lives. We talked a lot about saying goodbye to people who zap us, making mindful decisions about whether we are doing things out of obligation or out of joy, and realizing that we just can’t do it all sometimes. Something Bianca said during the session was to “never play for safety because it’s the most dangerous thing in the world.” This quote totally speaks to the power of getting out of your comfort zone to grow, so you guys definitely can see why this session resonated with me so much.

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat: Bianca De Le Garza

At this point it was time for lunch, so we headed back to the main ballroom where we were served a farm green salad with grilled chicken. There was also a mixed berries crème fraîche for dessert. Delicious!

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat

As we ate, we heard from our keynote speaker, Janine Driver. She presented a session called “You Can’t Lie to Me: Advanced Body Language Techniques and 9 Dangerously Powerful Communication Strategies to Lead Your Best Life.” Her presentation was AMAZING. It was hilarious, informative, and emotional all at the same time. Oh, and interactive too. Check out Erin and I helping Janine right up front!

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat[source]

After lunch it was time for Rebecca Pacheco’s “Summer Detox Without the Diet” class. I was excited for this session because I really enjoyed Rebecca when she taught the yoga class at Fenway I went to last year. Aside from some of the different breathing exercises we went through, my favorite part about this seminar was that we did not talk about juice or diet detoxes at all. Instead, we talked about detoxing as an acronyn: Don’t buy the hype, Embody how you want to feel, Take time each day to move, breathe, listen inward, concentrate, study or learn, and honor your spirit, Observe your thoughts, and X out junky foods, self-talk, behaviors, and people who don’t nourish you. This is where I learned the phrase energy vampires that I wrote about in this post not too long ago.

Boston Magazine Health and Wellness Retreat: Rebecca Pacheco[source]

Finally, the last class of the day was totally NOT up my alley at all. It was presented by Dr. Leonard Miller, the director of the Boston Center for Facial Rejuventation. I thought he droned on and on about skin and different facial procedures, and bleh. This session seemed so random amidst the rest of the day’s topics, but I guess I can’t love them all.

After the day’s seminars were over, everyone headed over to the LA Sports Club where we got to choose between a few different classes to take. Erin and I opted for a yoga class called “Sweat and Surrender,” and it was nice to just breathe, stretch, and lay in silence for a bit.

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat[source]

After class, Erin and I were hoping to sneak into one of the fifteen minute head/neck/shoulder massage slots, but all the times were booked. Instead, we explored the fitness center for a bit, including their roofdeck! We got some great pictures of the city from up there. It was gorgeous out!

Health and Wellness Retreat: Boston

Health and Wellness Retreat: Me & Erin

Health and Wellness Retreat: Boston

Health and Wellness Retreat: Boston

Finally, the retreat concluded with a celebratory cocktail hour! We freshened up in the locker room and then enjoyed some hors d’oeuvres and wine. I love when days of wellness or fitness end with a good adult beverage.

Boston Magazine's Health and Wellness Retreat

Boston Magazine Health and Wellness Retreat: Me & Erin[source]

After the cocktail hour wound down, Erin and I wanted to continue our night, so we headed down the street to Teatro, where we ordered a salad and a flatbread to share, and got another drink. I had such a wonderful time catching up with my friend after a day of being immersed in my passion. Thank you, Erin, for inviting me as your guest to the retreat! Hope we can go again next year. 😉

–Let’s chat–
Have you ever been to a health and wellness retreat before? What was it like? Which session of the ones I described do you think you’d like the best?

Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start! Make sure your week ahead includes something for YOU.