Happy New Year! One of my New Year’s resolutions is to live more mindfully, which is something I struggle with. Dr. Shauna Shapiro is a speaker, author and Professor of Psychology at Santa Clara University… More
I’ve missed blogging so much over the past few months! I had not realized how much joy, reflection, and connection it brought my until I stopped writing. These past few months have flown by. I moved away from the Bay Area to Louisville, KY to begin a PhD program in Counseling Psychology at the University of Louisville. I transitioned from being with my partner all the time to making it work long-distance (plus a three hour time difference). I’ve started building a new community virtually from scratch (again). I also spent a few weeks fostering some ADORABLE kittens to help me feel a little less lonely…
The kittens were certainly a handful, but they brought me so much joy! 🙂
All of these changes have been challenging, but I’m surprised by how well I’m doing. I’m an anxious, change-averse person by nature, so I was expecting the first few months in Louisville to be an emotional rollercoaster of stressors. Shockingly enough, I’ve taken most challenges in stride and feel unexpectedly calm and well-balanced. During my four years in college, I was overcommitted, overworked, and overstressed. I chose that lifestyle and it took me all four years to understand the powerful toll it took on my mental and physical health. I was so burnt out by the time I graduated.
I learned a lot about letting go and cutting myself slack during my time in the business world. I worked interdependently and oftentimes I had to let go of issues of problems that arose because they were simply out of my control. Working at startups, I also learned that there is always more that can be done, but that should not mean it should be done. The most helpful piece of advice I received from my first boss (a female CEO and mother to a newborn at the time) was, “why do today what you can do tomorrow.” I remember how strange this sounded to me at the time, but I quickly started to see the wisdom. There is always so much to do, but we also have to decide when to let ourselves take a break and enjoy life a little bit. Even if you absolutely love everything about what you do, we all need time to unwind or do something a little different.
While my PhD program will certainly be more demanding than undergrad or my past jobs, I can also be more demanding of myself to set boundaries, know my limits, and learn when to say no. Sadly, I’ve said no to writing on this blog for the past few months. I’ve devoted more of my time to reading journal articles, meeting new friends, and FaceTiming with my boyfriend.
That’s what I’ve needed these past few months and it is more than ok. I am excited to get back into writing here! I have a few new recipes to share, some Ted Talks to post about, and many more ideas to explore with you.
Thanks for sticking around!
My mom send me an article from brainpickings that featured this cool Ted Talk. It’s easy to get caught up in life and forget about the magic that is happening around us in nature. I loved this short Ted Talk that describes that hidden, and highly intricate, world of trees. I hope this talk gives you the chance to take a moment and appreciate the complexity of Mother Nature.
Did you know about the hidden communication network that trees have?
I’m not usually in the loop with trending memes, but when my boyfriend started watching this Ted Talk I was immediately intrigued. This man has become a key star in some of the most popular memes around the world and hearing his take on his experience, and his attitude was so interesting! Watch on to learn more about “Hide the Pain Harold” aka Andras Arato.
Were you surprised to hear his story? Did you expect him to be a professional stock photo model?
I decided to drive down to Southern California with my boyfriend this Fourth of July! We live in San Francisco so it’s about seven hours to get to the Los Angeles area. My aunt lives in Redlands, CA so we decided to spend some quality time with her over the holiday. We drove down around 8am on July 4th and made just a few pit stops on the way. I had been dying to try the Taco Bell-exclusive Mt. Dew flavor since I heard about it so (shamefully) we stopped on the way.
I kept hearing how good it was on social media and I must say it lived up to its (artificial) expectations! I don’t drink soda too often, but it is fun to indulge during a summer road trip.
After an early dinner at my Aunt’s house, we went to a local ice cream shop before heading off to the Fourth of July festivities. This was not an ordinary ice cream shop…check out the flavors: Chocolate Lavender, Olive Oil Vanilla Bean, Beet & Goat Cheese, Avocado!
We were so torn on what to order, but ended up splitting the chocolate lavender flavor. It had honey and cacao nibs on top and the ice cream was delicious!
If you’re in Redlands, you must visit A La Minute! Next up, we headed to the fireworks show!
We did not know what to expect, but I think we were both surprised by how amazing the show was. It started out with skydivers and a live band, and the finale (the fireworks) was incredible and lasted for about thirty minutes!
We got home and promptly fell asleep. I worked for part of the next day, but was excited to spend time with my aunt. She is an EXPERT thrift store shopper and knows all the best spots. By the end of the day, I had accumulated some amazing items! A new swimsuit, 4+ shirts for my boyfriend, silver plated spoons for crafting, and this:
After our afternoon of thrifting we threw together a delicious, colorful dinner.
We finished up around 8pm and my aunt and I went for a nice walk. Upon our return, my uncle told us there had been a 7.1 magnitude earthquake just minutes after we had left for our walk. We had felt nothing! I was a bit bummed I missed the experience, but glad it meant I was completely unscathed.
We had a very lazy Saturday morning; my aunt and I indulged in season 2 of the show “Big Little Lies” and we enjoyed every minute of the first four episodes. I met up with one of my amazing college friends that afternoon and we made the drive into LA. We went shopping in so many cute stores on York Street and found so many cool things. We ended our shopping spree with a stop at Donut Friend:
So beautiful, delicious, and vegan! After our donut stop, we began the 6 hour trek home.
All in all, we had a pretty amazing (and eventful) Southern California holiday!
Working in tech, I feel there is so much I don’t know about basic technology. I was talking with my coworker about a major internet gateway in New York and I suddenly realized that I did not realize that there were gateways like this. I immediately wanted to learn more to understand how these gateways work; of course, there’s a ted talk for that! I hope you enjoy and learn something new.
Did you know about this hidden network? Did you learn something new with this talk?
Gut health is front and center all over social media and in the news. Everyone talks about the “best” things you can do for gut health, but I’m here to tell you something different…they are almost all wrong, because nutrition and gut health is unique and personalized. There is no one solution for everyone; sure, there are best practices and suggestions, but it all comes down to your own lived experience.
My first tip is simple: listen to your body. Take note of how different foods make you feel.
- Do you get a stomachache after your morning bowl of cereal and skim milk? Try a plant-based milk instead.
- Do you feel queazy after a cup of tea on an empty stomach? Hold up on caffeine before eating.
- Do you have trouble falling asleep? Try having your last snacks either earlier in the evening or closer to bedtime.
It sounds trite, but so many of us listen to the typical routine of three square meals a day or not eating after a certain time or getting stuck with our preferred habits.
Second tip: experiment! It is not normal to always have stomaches or bloating. If you are experiencing those things, try something different. That might mean working with a nutritionist on an elimination diet, adding new supplements into your routine, or simply keeping a food journal to track how certain foods make your body feel.
I used to suffer from bloating, stomachaches, cramps–you name it, I had it. These symptoms impacted my life quite a bit. I would hesitate to go out with friends at night, was nervous about trying new foods, and would often just want to sleep through my pain. Over time I learned more and more about what triggered my stomach pain and bloating, and I’ve had way fewer problems since! I still experience symptoms occasionally, but nowhere near as severe or frequent.
I’ve been trying natural supplements for prevention and to help ease my occasional discomfort. For the past month or so, I’ve been using Quality of Life Supplements Probiotics and Peptisol supplements. I have been taking probiotic supplements for years, and it can be really difficult to discern what’s working and what’s not working. I’ve been taking ProbioPure for the past month and have been really happy with the results. The ingredients are simple and they have the research to back up the effects. There are a ton of probiotics out there that have little clinical evidence so choose your probiotics wisely!
The Peptisol supplement is one that both my boyfriend and I take if we feel indigestion or any kind of upset stomach (usually this happens around dinnertime for me). It’s made with ginger root, artichoke leaf extract, and GutGuard DGL. Ginger has long been used as a stomach soother across traditions and GutGuard has significant research showcasing its benefits.
These might not be the right supplements for you, but again…it’s all about experimenting and listening to your body! If you do want to give these a try, use code HANNAH10 for 10% off your order at Quality of Life Supplements.
I am a big David Brooks fan and hearing his vulnerable ted talk made me an even bigger fan. He is down to earth, honest, and shares his darkest times during this talk. His description of loneliness and disconnection is something that resonated with me very deeply. Listen closely to the part of the talk focused on how freedom is a double-edged sword. His beautifully described conception of what connects us and what matters gave me a bit more hope and gave me a larger perspective on how we exist in the world.
Are you a David Brooks fan? Do you agree with his assessment of freedom?
I have struggled with poor sleep for a long time. Growing up, it was normal for nearly everyone in our household to have trouble falling asleep, wake up frequently during the night, or feel unrested in the morning. I have always been a morning lark–waking up at 6AM or earlier from a young age (what fun for my parents ;). After starting college, I started to wake up more and more often during the night. While I might have slept for 8+ hours, that sleep was interrupted at least 2-3 times.
After my own issues staying asleep, I began looking into techniques and tools to improve my sleep quality. There are a few common practices suggested by the CDC, National Sleep Foundation, and a number of other reputable sources out there:
1. Consistency is key: Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. It’s tempting to stay up late on weekends and sleep in, it can throw off your body’s rhythm. This is a tough one when you’re in your 20s, but I try to limit to late nights of partying to 1-2 times a month so my body isn’t thrown out of whack as often.
2. Ambiance: Very little light, a colder temperature, and white noise. These little tweaks go a long way! I always scoffed at white noise machines until I tried one myself six years ago and have been using it ever since. Whether you live in a loud dorm or a bustling city, noise machines (or a white noise song on repeat) can be a real life saver.
3. Screen Shutdown: This one is tough. I was much better about this during college, but set a time that you shut off your screens every night. I used to turn my phone on “Do Not Disturb” at 10pm and wouldn’t check it again until I woke up the next morning. My life is much less structured now and I definitely don’t follow this rule anymore, although I do try to stay aware. I highly recommend the computer app called f.lux — it’s a free tool that customizes your screen’s blue light to the time of day and when you go to bed. It decreases the blue light as you approach bedtime so you can use your screen a little later with less negative effects.
4. Caffeine: Stop drinking caffeine early in the afternoon. My cut off time is 3pm; I’ve played around and learned that this is the time that works for me. Drinking caffeinated beverages any later has a noticeable effect, but it’s likely different for everyone! I’ve read that holding off on caffeine starting anytime between 1pm and 5pm is best.
5. Melatonin: Melatonin is the hormone your body naturally produces when it’s time to go to sleep; it is responsible for regulating our sleep-wake cycles. My dad has been using melatonin for over a decade! I started using it in college when my sleep issues started and I’ve only found a few brands/types that actually work for me. I’ve recently been trying out Quality of Life Supplements Melatonin-SR. The melatonin has micronized, sustained-release, which means that it is made to release over time to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. Research suggests that you should take melatonin about two hours before you want to fall asleep. I find that if I take it much later than that, I have trouble getting up in the morning. I’ve been taking QOL Melatonin-SR for the past 2-3 weeks and can really feel it helping–it makes it easier for me to fall asleep and stay asleep longer. I will definitely continue taking it!
Use code HANNAH10 for 10% off your order at Quality of Life Supplements! Stay tuned for my review of their digestive health products.
I have been feeling in a rut with my meal prep, but I felt inspired while shopping at Sprouts! I picked up some beautiful red cabbage and felt like making English-inspired meals for the week. It’s a pretty simple recipe and many of the ingredients are anti-inflammatory like the red cabbage, olive oil, cauliflower, and turmeric. I don’t frequently meal prep with meat, but I was excited to try a new brand of turkey sausage; you can easily replace this with a vegan sausage or other meat alternative. This recipe makes 2-3 servings.
-1 8oz bag chopped red cabbage
-1 tbsp olive oil
-6 cloves garlic (or 1 tbsp minced garlic)
-2 cups riced cauliflower
-1 bag Miracle Noodle rice🍚
-1/2 tsp turmeric
-1 tsp rosemary
-2 tbsp Braggs liquid aminos
-1 box Jones All Natural Turkey Sausage (can easily swap for a vegan friendly alternative)
1) Put olive oil and garlic in a large skillet on medium high heat and after 2-3 minutes, add entire bag of red cabbage. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer.
2) Prepare @miraclenoodle rice according to instructions on the bag and place the rice in a separate skillet with the cauliflower rice, liquid aminos, turmeric, and rosemary. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes.
3) Prepare turkey sausage according to instructions on the package (I was lazy and cooked them in the microwave) and add them to skillet with cabbage. Continue simmering for 15-20 minutes.
4) Serve cabbage mixture with sausage over rice mixture and enjoy!
Use code HANNAH for a discount when you order from Miracle Noodle!
This is the second post in my two post series on my trip to the Grand Canyon this April! It was a short trip, but we did quite a bit in a few short days. Read on to hear about our adventures in Sedona and Phoenix!
Day 3: Sunday
Since we woke up early and had a busy day on Saturday, we treated ourselves to a lazy morning. We did not sleep in since our Airbnb was filled with natural light when the sun came up, but we did relax in bed reading (and watching YouTube videos) while enjoying cups of tea. After our leisurely morning, we packed up our stuff, said goodbye to our beautiful Airbnb, and hit the road to explore Sedona.
We did not have a solid game plan for what we wanted to do, but I stumbled on a great guide book in our Airbnb that gave us a few good ideas. We wanted to check out Red Rock State Park; there are a few popular, tourist-filled spots that we initially planned to check out. Luckily our guide book provided a few other, and arguably more interesting, ideas.
We decided to explore Soldier Pass Trail. Parking at the trailhead was a pain, but that was the only negative aspect of this trail! The area was quite quiet and we ran into a few different groups, but it was not crowded at all. I loved that there were so many interesting stop-offs on the trail. Within just a few minutes of hiking you stumble on to Devil’s Sinkhole:
The sinkhole initially formed in the 1880s due to a cave collapsing. The hole grew even larger in 1989 after an earthquake.
After we checked out the sinkhole, we kept on walking and we quickly arrived at the Seven Sacred Pools:
The Seven Sacred Pools are a series of natural pools within the rock. Supposedly, there is always water in the pools, even during drought.
We had a great time exploring and climbing around in this area. We even spent some time rock balancing, which is how I learned that I am even less patient than I thought.
We had gorgeous weather all day–hot, dry, and sunny. After our adventures, we made our way back to the car and grabbed lunch at a local Sedona restaurant Pisa Lisa. We both ordered large salads, which was a perfect choice when you’re feeling hot and sweaty after a hike.
After eating a late lunch, we swung through a Farmer’s Market then started our drive back to Phoenix. Luckily my boyfriend and I travel well together so even after hours in the car together we were still laughing and singing “On the Road Again” in harmony with Willie Nelson (I’ve left the video out to save your ears from my singing).
We arrived in Phoenix at our Airbnb, and we were exhausted! We got cleaned up, lazed around for a bit, then made our way to TopGolf! We ate dinner there and one of my boyfriend’s friends joined us there for a few games. The food was surprisingly good! I was on a goat cheese kick so I ordered the cinnamon goat cheese and candied pecan salad with grilled chicken and it was delicious (despite the poor photo quality). Also, check out the hilarious margarita glasses–you even get to keep the cups!
Unfortunately I didn’t take many pictures while we played TopGolf, but I can assure you that it is a ton of fun! Even with the advantage of being sober while playing, I was still pretty bad at it, but it was a blast nonetheless!
Day 4: Monday
We stayed out pretty late at TopGolf, but we both had to work on Monday. Luckily we rallied and were working from our Airbnb for most of the day. Our Airbnb host was gracious enough to let us stay late since no one else was checking in that evening (thanks, Ginger!). We took a quick break over lunch and went to Taco Guild since we had to get some good Mexican food while in Phoenix. The restaurant caught my eye because it was actually a converted Catholic church! The atmosphere was really neat and the food was great, even if the service was a bit slow. I loved the fun selection of different salsas that came at the start of the meal.
My boyfriend ordered a smothered chicken burrito:
I ordered three Mahi-Mahi tacos in lettuce cups and when you order three tacos you get a free side so I ordered a salad (getting in fresh foods while traveling can be tough).
These tacos were so good! Marinated Mahi-Mahi with a mango lime slaw–perfection. After lunch, we worked for a few more hours, packed up, and headed to the airport to return back to reality (aka San Francisco).
We had such a great trip! In an ideal world, it would’ve been a few days longer, but we made the most of our time and enjoyed every minute.
For a full recap of the trip, check out this amazing video my boyfriend made:
I feel so lucky that we both love to document our trips, which means we have both videos and blog posts to remember all the fun we’ve had!
Have you been to the Grand Canyon? Have you been to Phoenix?