reformation

Dear Swagsters,

I, Jenny of Tofu Swag, do solemnly promise that moving forward I will blog on a regular basis. It won’t be every day. But it will be at least once a week.

There. I said it. No take backs.

In the time that I’ve been away, I’ve been doing a lot of self-work. (Read: A LOT OF YOGA.) Sometimes you just have to prioritize and make sure you’ve balanced the most important things in your life before you can spice it up with some of the other stuff. My hope is that I’m finally getting there. The beginning of autumn has been a whirlwind, and sometimes so much change can be overwhelming, especially for a girl like me (and maybe like you!).

Remember that old tv show “Out of This World”? (Hello, I’m dating myself right now.) So, if you don’t remember, it’s this girl named Evie and her dad is from outer space or something like that, and he talks to her through this glowing prism that she keeps in her bedroom. The fun thing about Evie is she has this special power where she can put her fingers together and time stops:

What I’m saying is, to all things that I could do this to, I did. (Also OMG why isn’t TV this good anymore?!)

Anyway.

I missed you guys.

So I’m amidst a reformation. But really it’s more like I’m getting back to me. I have learned a big lesson this autumn and it has a lot to do with priorities, motives and honoring Me by releasing myself of “should.”

I’m going to save you the long drawn out thing, but the point I’m moving towards is that part of my struggles with maintaining this blog is that it wasn’t exactly Me. It was what I thought Me “should” be. Blech. Sustainability comes purely from your center. You can keep up a farce for a while, but when the going gets tough, you’ll lose the energy to put on a show. And that’s what happened to me.

So I have some big-ish plans for this here little bloggy. It’s all in the works and details remain to be ironed out, BUT, my sincerest hope is that what I’d like to do will come to fruition and I can begin sharing with you all a very special part of what I believe is my life’s purpose. ๐Ÿ™‚

In the mean time, as previously stated, I promise to be a more regular presence here. So keep checking back!

See you soon!

Jenny

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how to get results

Swagsters-

How many ways can I say “thank you” before I feel like you understand the depth of my gratitude?

Thank you so much, again, for all your love, well wishes and congratulations. I feel like this has all come at such an amazingly, stars-aligned time for me. I had been questioning myself as a blogger, questioning my purpose and direction, and wondering if I even had pertinent things to share. Then suddenly things seemed to explode with positivity and affirmation, and I feel so much more founded in the belief that wherever this goes, I’m on the right path. So thank you all, again, for your encouragement. I literally wouldn’t do this if it was for me alone- I seek connection, community and even companionship from this venture, and having that returned to me is outrageously affirming.

Addressing “The Question”

During my recent 15 minutes of fame, right after all the love , I received the following question several times over: “What are you doing to get those results?!” After meditating on it alone and consulting with my best/blogging friends/resources, Heather and Cait, I figured out how I felt I could best answer this inquiry.

If you’re sticking around to hear me tell you exactly what I eat, and what I do for workouts and how I devote every living, breathing minute of my day to this endeavor, then you probably don’t want to read any further, as I am not going to be telling you that.

But, why not?

The truth is, my life does not revolve around those things alone. The truth is… J’adore La Vie.

I am devoted to creating a life that I am proud of, a life that I love and a life that suits ME. I am devoted to upholding mindfulness and intuitiveness throughout my days. It’s the devotion to these things that yields me results, physically, mentally and spiritually.

What does that mean?ย 

It means that I eat foods that honor my body and make me feel good. It also means that when my friend comes to town, we share a tub of SoDelicious ice cream and literally almost eat the entire thing while watching Fashion Police. It means that some mornings I workout hard, and some mornings I eat breakfast first and other mornings I am gentle with myself or I skip a workout all together.

It means that sleep is a major priority in my life. Well-rested Jenny is a happy Jenny and, subsequently, a happy world around me.

It means that I meditate most days. It means that I spend time blogging and, if so inspired, I will journal. I take solace in the quiet parts of my day, reflecting or reading or just allowing myself the opportunity for aural detox. I take a minute every day to give myself praise for a job well done, big or small. I make space to give myself love.

It means that I make time for my most uplifting friends, doing things that make us feel good and proud and nurtured.

It means that I take care of the practical side of my life. I’m working on my budget and finances and trying to get myself in a more comfortable place. I’m going back to school to give myself more opportunities to find a job or a career that I love and that fulfills me.

In a nutshell, what I have done to get results in my life is to take control of my life. It is mine, and for all I know, it is the only one I get. In the grand scheme of things, we, as humans, don’t have time to waste. If you want something, tell yourself you deserve it and go after it.

Now I don’t mean that I tell myself what I “should” be doing. I mean that I check in with myself, I strive for authenticity and I do what feels good and natural.

And this, my friends, is how I get the ultimate result, to say, ” J’adore La Vie.”

J’adore La Vie is a campaign that was originally launched by (the previously linked and mentioned) Heather at For the Love of Kale. I want to be an ambassador for this campaign and I want you to join me!

I challenge you to devote your life to authenticity, peace and self-love. I challenge you to make your life yours. Eating a clean healthy diet and exercising are merely a fraction of this equation.

If you want results, tell yourself you deserve results and then go after them!

What are you devoted to in your life?
What makes you say, J’adore La Vie? (tell the world on twitter with #jadorelavie)

speechless gratitude

Swagsters, yesterday was OUT OF CONTROL.

I got a wild hair yesterday morning and decided to send a progress photo to my trainers over at Tone It Up!, Karena and Katrina. I’ve been following their plan since March, and I love it. They taught me how to eat in a healthy way, in a way that I could be proud of and in a way that left me feeling sure I was properly nourished. They also inspired me to get off the cardio machine and start weight training. And last but not least, the community they have built has brought so many amazing people into my lives. I’ve honestly never been part of a community of women that is so supportive and inspiring in my entire life. I swear to you, nothing has been the same since I joined this plan. Every part of my life has become more enriched thanks to them. I highly recommend joining the team to any girl who wants to manifest a happy healthy life for herself!

Okay, off my soapbox. (Disclaimer: This is my own opinion of K&K and the Tone It Up! plan. They did not ask me to review or opine in anyway. I’m just that happy with these ladies. โค )

So the picture. I decided to send it not because of the physical side alone, but because I was proud enough to do it at all. Does that make sense? I didn’t want accolades for the physical changes, I was just so pleased to be willing to share. The physical changes mean nothing if I hadn’t grown strong enough mentally to appreciate them and my hard work.

So I sent them this picture via Twitter and Instagram:

woohoo!

And much to my surprise, and pleasure, my trainers tweeted me back!

*starstruck*

I was so excited that they were as proud of me as I was. What a blessing!

The rest of my morning was mostly spent responding to encouraging tweets from this wonderful community. I felt very lucky and blessed. The sun was shining down on me.

That afternoon I was off to work. Shortly after I got there, my phone started blowing up. I had texts and missed calls and facebook messages and tweets like crazy. What was going on?! I thought. When I read the first text I got, I was directed to this:

say whaaaaa????

My trainers had featured me on their facebook page! And they mentioned my blog!

I was floored. I wanted to run out of my job immediately and spend all night tweeting and facebooking my appreciation and gratitude.

And last night I looked at my blog statistics and saw this:

average day?

Oh you know… from 50-something views to over 800. NBD.

Now, the next day, I am still riding the high of gratitude. This journey would be nothing without the support of my trainers and this community. This is what makes it fulfilling. The encouragement, support, love and kindness from everyone that responded to these posts yesterday is why I keep doing what I’m doing. When I’m feeling impatient, unmotivated and down, I can always turn to this community and I will immediately be uplifted.

I wish words could even do justice to love that has filled my heart right now. The love that came from you all. The love that I’d like to give right back.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

In the yoga world, there’s an exclamation that is used to celebrate something with lots of love: Jai!

That’s what my heart is screaming right now. Jai! Jai! Jai! Namaste! Jai!

Much love to all of you, my Swagsters. You’ve really given me new life, new purpose, new affirmation, and I owe you everything I have.

life on the wagon

Swagsters!

I forgot to tell you about a very important event yesterday!… I bought my books for school!

Classes begin in exactly 3 weeks, and I can’t even explain to you how excited I am. This is really the start of something new for me, and for Markus for that matter. Once I’m finished, we’re really going to be on our way. ย There’s so much to be excited about. I really have this feeling that the world is ours for the taking. ๐Ÿ˜€

Nerd Alert

So, in case I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m going back to school to get a degree in Economics. This first semester back I’ll be taking two Econ classes and two Geography classes (I’ve decided to minor in Environmental Geography). I was planing to take one more class, but have recently decided to stick to four classes, as I will still be working full time. Anyway… outside of the cost, buying school books is one of my absolute favorite things in the world. I love looking at the required reading and getting a peak at what we’ll be covering over the semester. Like this gem…

*swoon*

I wish I was joking about how excited I am to dig into this book. I just find it all so fascinating and pertinent. I sincerely cannot wait! My anticipation reassures me that I’ve made a smart choice by going back to school. ๐Ÿ˜‰

But let’s get serious for a second…

I’d like to switch gears and share something with you all that I’ve kept quiet for a while. Sure, some people in my life know about this, but tonight I felt like I was ready to go public, as what began as a sad situation has transformed into a source of immense pride for me.

Swagsters, as of today, I have not had a drop of alcohol in 25 days.

Through the course of the last few years, I struggled a bit with over indulging in beverages of the alcoholic persuasion. While I wouldn’t say I was an alcoholic, I would say that I had problems with moderation when I did chose to drink. I know that there were times, many of them, that I drank alcohol as a way to cope with and escape from my life.

Over the years I’ve usually been able to catch myself before things got too out of hand, but recently, I realized that I was spending too many nights saying to myself, “Tonight is the night I prove to myself that I can drink with moderation.” And then I would proceed to get drunk. The next day I would feel ashamed, embarrassed, depressed, bloated, uncomfortable, tired and just generally ill.

25 days ago, I hit a low. 25 days ago I finally awoke to the realization that even though I enjoy the taste of wine and beer, I could no longer put it into my body. I realized that, for me, the consumption of alcohol was pure poison to my body, mind and spirit.

(Side note: This does not mean that I think no one should drink. I mean to say that I, personally, should not drink.)

The first few days after I quit, I was glad that I had done so, but I was still left with the lingering guilt, gastrointestinal discomfort and body dysmorphia that drinking brought into my life.

But then, the clouds started to lift away and the sun began shining down on me. I remember thinking for a while beforehand that I always felt like there was a cloud hanging over me, and I was beginning to think I might actually be depressed. But as the days of sobriety wore on, I finally began to realize: that cloud was laced with booze. Slowly, but surely, I started to find happiness again. My heart began opening up and I started to see the real beauty in the world around me.

This week, I have really been noticing the changes. Body dysmorphia is nearly a thing of my past. In fact, I’m growing immensely proud of my strong, healthy body. I’m reaping the benefits of my clean eating and exercise, instead of nullifying them with alcohol. (I’m starting to see abs, y’all.) I have more energy. I don’t need naps. My mood is more stable. I am able to better focus. Without the cloud of guilt and shame, my spirituality has been set free.

Today, I was truly struck with pride. 25 days ago I was as close to hating myself as I could possibly be. Yet, instead of hating myself, I chose to see the open window of opportunity. The universe was offering me a chance to make a change, and I took that opportunity.

And I am so proud of myself.

I have never felt this level of pride for something I have done. I suppose I wanted to share this all with you because it explains the place I’ve been in the past few weeks. It explains why I have spent so much time examining myself, my authenticity, my Truth, my Me-ness.

The Real Jenny is stepping up now, and showing herself.

That being said, I hope you all will stay this journey with me. I feel conflicted because I do not know what direction this blog will take. It will be transforming into it’s authentic self right alongside me. I worry that people won’t like what I say or write, but I am going to keep plugging along, in the hopes that my purpose will reveal itself.

What do you say Swagsters? Dive in with me?

mighty me

It’s Tuesday, and if you’re reading this you survived Monday, so HOORAY FOR EVERYONE!

My good mood and positive outlook are still with me today, as you might be able to see, even though the sun is not exactly shining today.

My morning routine was a little scrambled today, as I had an appointment to get to after taking Markus to work. So instead of going right into my morning workout, I woke up and did an 8 minute mediation before heading downstairs to breakfast. I decided I would workout after my appointment, when I had more time. Plus I had a big idea that I would go for a run today. I’ve signed up for the Rhythm Race on August 18th, so I figured I might as well prepare myself by, um, running.

My workout started with the Whistle Workout from BodyRockTV. I love this work out. It’s 16 minutes instead of 12, and those extra 4 minutes are killer.

I’ve done this workout 3 times now and I’m so glad that I started writing down my reps because today I saw some improvements I was not expecting! Check it out:

Here’s a list of the exercises. It’s 24 rounds of 10:30. (For full explanations of exercises, see the link to the video above.)

1. Surfer kick-outs
2. Alternating upright row with a twist
3. 5 high knees + 1 half burpee
4. Back lunge with kick (right)
5. Back lunge with kick (left)
6. 5 star pushups + 1 burpee
7. Ninja jump tucks
8. Exploding pushups

The first time I did this workout my reps looked like this:

1. 7/7/6
2. 15/15/15
3. 5/5/5
4. 13/14/13
5. 13/14/14
6. 2.5/2/2
7. 7/7/7
8. 8/14/13 (I ended up doing these on my knees after the first round so I could maintain form)

Now, after doing this workout 3 times over the span of a month, my reps looked like this:

1. 11/10/10
2. 15/14/15
3. 8/7/8
4. 12/13/13
5. 13/13/14
6. 2.5/2.5/2
7. 8/8/8
8. 14/12/13

I highlighted my notable improvements. ย I was SO proud of myself when I saw this. It felt so good to see that my hard work is paying off. I’m getting stronger and faster. A lot of my (and most people’s) fitness adventure is kept alive on faith and trusting that changes will happen, aesthetically. That’s well and good, but sometimes we (myself included) forget about the changes in physical strength. It was a good reminder to me of what happens on the inside. Plus, having tangible results every now and again is just so inspiring! And I couldn’t not pat myself on the back. Not even my little negative voice can deny that I’ve made improvements!

After I caught my breath a bit, I hit the pavement for that aforementioned run. I have a little almost-2-mile path that I do in my neighborhood and I decided I’d go with that default run today. For not running very consistently, it went really well! I even went a little farther, since the run ends at my front door, and I wanted a chance to walk and cool down a bit.

woop woop!

Today’s been one of those days that reminds me why I actually work out. Not just to have toned muscles and a strong, healthy body. But to pat myself on the back, to build confidence. To stop and say to myself, “Wow, Jenny. That was impressive.” “Wow, Jenny. You are strong.” And to mean it. To see how hard I work and push and then see how I survive it. It becomes a metaphor for life. It’s how I get my swag and take it into my real world.

I can do anything. I am Mighty Me.

Have you done anything lately that makes you feel mighty?

Are you running any fun themed races soon?ย 

Lyman Orchards

Heyyy Swagsters.

I wasn’t sure I’d have time to update while my friend was in town. However, I woke up at 5 this morning and couldn’t fall back asleep, so lucky (?) for us, here I am. ๐Ÿ™‚

And here’s what’s been happening!

Holly’s here!

choo choo!

Holly, who is getting her PhD in Missouri right now, happened to be in Boston for a conference, and once she was finished there, she took a train into Hartford so we could have our little reunion. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, Holly is one of my best friends from college and life has kept us apart for the past 3 years, so our time together this week is long overdue!

We relaxed for a bit after I picked her up, and then we headed over to Blue Back Square for dinner. We ate at one of my favorite places in the area: The Counter Burger. They have, hands down, the best veggie burger I’ve ever had at a restaurant and I love the way you get to customize your burger any way you want.

in the belly, you go!

Usually I opt for cranberries, avocado and balsamic glaze, but today I was feeling the tex mex thing. So I ordered a veggie patty over lettuce with jalapenos, black bean and corn salsa, scallions and guacamole. Yum! And don’t forget the massive order of fries that we got as an appetizer. (So big it still looks untouched when we got our dinner!)

After dinner, Holly and I had some time to kill until Markus got off work and it was a gorgeous Saturday evening, so we sat outside and listened to the live band that was playing in the square. I won’t give their name, because I don’t have anything, erm, positive to say about them. But they gave us lots of laughs after we overcame our initial confusion. Sometimes you just gotta give up, take stuff as it is, and find the humor in this crazy life.

huh?

Sunday: Lyman Orchards!

Sunday was another beautiful day in CT so Holly and I made our way to Lyman Orchards for some peach and berry picking.

beautiful view from the orchards

beautiful berries.

this haul would easily have cost me $10 at the grocery, but i spent just under $3 to take them home. /swoon

I love, love, love picking fruit at the orchard. It reminds me of being young and going out with my sister and parents picking apples and having family time. It brings back a feeling of so much love. Every time I go, I’m always grateful my parents took us to do that kind of stuff. I feel like I appreciate it so much more as an adult now and I savor those memories. (Love you, Mom and Dad!)

Holly and I were sad to see that most of the peaches weren’t ripe enough to pick yet, because we love peaches but also because we’d had plans to put them in a cobbler later. However, once we hit the Orchard’s market store, we realized they’d pretty much brought all the ripe peaches in to sell in bunches, so we were able to snag a couple for our upcoming dessert.

After the Orchard, we went to Whole Foods to get dinner supplies and then came home to make this bad boy:

peach and blueberry cobbler!

making my kitchen smell divine and my tummy rumble in anticipation!

fresh outta the oven

The recipe for this cobbler can be found here. It turned out delicious. Not too sweet, tart from the fruit… basically the perfect summer cobbler. It would be great with some vegan vanilla ice cream or vegan whipped cream on the side. It would (and will!) also make a yummy, super healthy breakfast!

Well Swagsters, that was my Sunday. Staycation is about half way over! Time flies when you’re having fun, right? I continue to be grateful for this time with my friend and the time to relax and enjoy the summer a bit.

Today’s activities are up in the air, we were supposed to have a beach day but it seems that it’s going to be a rainy Monday! Time to get flexible and creative!

Did you do anything fun this weekend? What’s your favorite summer time activity? Is there an activity you love doing today because it reminds you of happy memories from your youth?

And don’t forget your Proud-of-Me lists! Have you been keeping at it? It’s easy to make excuses and say, “Oh, I’ll just do it tomorrow.” In fact, I’m guilty of that one night this week. But I am back on track and reminding myself that it only serves to make me love myself more. Plus it only takes a couple minutes! Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to give yourself love. YOU DESERVE IT!

What are you proud of yourself for doing this weekend?

 

pride for days

Hey hey! We’ve made it to Thursday!

Last night I worked and it was wayyyy busier than I thought it would be. But that meant more $$$ than I was expecting so that was a total bonus. After work, I went to Cuvee, a martini lounge around the corner from my work. It was my friend’s birthday, and I wanted to make sure I popped in to say hi. I sipped on water…

sober fun is still fun!

…a most welcome drink considering it was ridiculously muggy and humid last night, and socialized with my friends until about midnight, when Markus and I headed home.

I was exhausted! ย I’m almost NEVER up that late. I think I might have actually fallen asleep before my head hit my pillow last night. Since it was such a late night, I allowed myself a lie-in this morning. I woke up close to 8:30 and decided to head straight to the coffee maker instead of to my workout room. In general, I prefer working out right when I wake up, but I knew I had time today, and it’s just another way of listening to the body when it says, “ummmm can we hold off for a couple hours, please?”

When I did make it to my workout, I was excited to get moving. Since yesterday was yoga day, that meant today was back to BodyRocking! I warmed up with this Lite workout, before hitting up this bad boy: Whistle Workout. This ended up being one of those workouts that made me want to vomit, cry, quit, runaway and never come back. But because I’m a Swagster, and we are such badmamajamas, I finished it and I felt like a champion!

right after bodyrocking… you can still see the fear of death in my eyes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

sweaty shoulder blade stains after lying and panting and recovering

The rest of my day is a mixture of noms and cleaning. I’ve never been so excited to clean my apartment. All the fun visits from friends happening this weekend has me riding an anticipatory high!

After my workout and my first round of cleaning, I needed lunch!

leftovers!

I finished off the last of my refried beans with some guacamole over greens and sweet potato frites on the side. So yummy and satisfying! I’m so glad the heat wave finally broke! My body thrives on warm food and it felt good to put some in my belly!

Mid-week updates!

Let’s check-in with each other, swagsters! How are you doing this week? Have you been keeping a list of reasons you’re proud of yourself? I know it can be awkward at first if you aren’t used to it, but it’s such good practice! If you’re having trouble with this at all, allow me to share some of the things I’ve applauded myself for this week:

1. I make yummy recipes that people appreciate/want to try/have tried and love.
2. I laugh at myself for being klutzy instead of telling myself I suck.
3. I asked for what I wanted from my doctor instead of standing by while she made choices for me.
4. Even if I get off to a rough start at work, this week I’ve been able to turn my attitude around.
5. I went out with friends and stayed sober, proving to myself I am in control of my actions and I can have fun without drinking.
6. I listened to my body and adjusted my workouts appropriately.

Easy, peasy! It can be a big deal or a little deal, but all that matters is you take a moment to say, “Job well done, Self!”

Feel free to share with me in the comments any of your goals, even if it feels awkward. This is the judgement-free zone, Swagsters and if YOU’RE proud, I’M proud.

I’ve gotta wrap it up now, some more cleaning to do, laundry, my daily meditation, maybe a nap and then off to work for the night! See you tomorrow!