Ted Talk Friday: Want to be more creative?

I have been facing a lot of creative challenges at work recently. Some of these challenges have pushed me far out of my comfort zone so I’ve been interested in exploring why some of these creative tasks have been so challenging for me. I love creativity and coming up with new ideas, but recently I’ve been forced to get creative with tight deadlines…which means I’m likely not giving myself the time and space to come up with good ideas. I enjoyed the practical tips in this Ted Talk and plan to put them to work in the coming weeks! Plus, there’s the added perk of getting more steps in each day!

 

***
What do you do to get creative? Will you try Oppezzo’s tips?

Book Review: The Deepest Well

I bounce back and forth between reading non-fiction related to my academic interests and more fun novels (like Where’d You Go, Bernadette). I’ve been on a non-fiction kick recently so I can keep up with the research I’m most interested in, and I wanted to share one of my recent reads with you.

I am passionate about adverse childhood experiences, particularly experiences of trauma, and The Deepest Well is all about how adverse experiences influences our lives in ways we never could’ve imagined. Not only does it lead to increased risk of a number of different mental illnesses, but it also leads to increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many other diseases. It is not an issue that only effects those of low socioeconomic status, but it can effect anyone. If you had a parent with a mental illness or had a family member go to prison, your risk goes up.

Screen Shot 2019-02-11 at 9.38.21 PM

A higher ACE score means higher risk the board; it’s a dose-response effect. ACE scores don’t dictate your health, but those scores provide insight and can indicate you might be at higher risk.

The author, Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris, describes her work on ACEs and her creation of a non-profit in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood in San Francisco. I live in San Francisco so Burke-Harris’ descriptions of the wealth disparities, and health disparities that accompany them, hit close to home. Two neighborhoods, defined by zip codes, in San Francisco can have an average life expectancy difference of 22 years. Twenty-two years.

Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 10.40.20 AM

Facts like this blow me away and strengthen my dedication to research and making positive change. Change does not mean we can eliminate adverse experiences, but we can help build resilience, educate parents, and provide positive interventions to minimize the negative impact of those adverse experiences.

ACE scores do not tell the whole story, but it provides powerful evidence and a simple, tangible metric for us to understand how early experiences influence us for the rest of our lives–both mentally and physically. I highly recommend The Deepest Well if you’re interested in learning more about chronic stress, adverse experiences, and health outcomes.

***

Have you heard of ACE scores? Does the correlation between ACE scores and heath outcomes surprise you?

 

 

Plant-Based Tomato Garlic Noodles (+ a secret ingredient)

First off, I have not been posting as much as I would like. I am going through some exciting changes in my life–details to come soon–so I have not devoted as much time to this blog. Luckily, I still make time to cook so today I’m bringing you my newest recipe!

I was so excited when I saw jack fruit on the shelves at Trader Joe’s. I have been dying to try it for a few years. I have seen quite a few fake prepared jack fruit-based BBQ mixes at the grocery store, but I wanted to play with jack fruit from scratch. I decided to experiment with the ingredients I had on hand and ended up making a delicious tomato garlic mix.

img_4359.jpg

Ingredients:

-3 tbsp tomato paste

-1 tbsp olive oil

-1/2 c marinara sauce

.-1 can jackfruit, drained and chopped

-12 oz zoodles (2-3 medium zucchini)

-12 oz cauliflower rice

-3 tsp minced garlic

-1 bag Miracle Noodle fettuccini

Directions:

  1. Prepare Miracle Noodles according to instructions on the bag.
  2. Combine all ingredients except zoodles in a large pot and let simmer on low-medium heat for at least thirty minutes. This is a very important step to make sure all the flavors blend.
  3. Add in the zoodles and stir the mixture well. Let cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.

img_4358.jpg

4. Remove from heat and enjoy! This recipe makes 3 large servings and 4 smaller servings.

img_4364.jpg

 

Don’t forget to use code HANNAH for a discount when you order from Miracle Noodle!

Ted Talk Friday: You Don’t Need an App for That

I really enjoyed this talk and I think it speaks to so many misconceptions about what innovation looks like and where it comes from. Working in the Bay Area, people assume that it is the hub for change and growth, but Shapshak does a wonderful job of explaining why that is not necessarily the case. I think so many of our assumptions about technology is based on who we see is being advanced and what areas are seen as sources of advancement. As Shapshak describes, these misconceptions showcase our prejudices and clearly show how often we misunderstand how invention comes about.

 

***
What do you think of Shapshak’s talk?

Southern Made Healthy: A Cookbook Review

 A dear friend of mine works for an amazing publishing company and recently reached out to me about a new cookbook her firm is publishing on Southern cooking. Given that I was born and raised in Nashville, TN, I have a love for Southern cuisine, but unfortunately it’s often pretty unhealthy. Luckily, this Southern cookbook is full of healthy changes to make Southern classics taste good and feel good. I had a chance to interview the author, Lara Lyn Carter, and I learned a lot about her approach to cooking and health. 

Tell me about yourself:

“I am a 48 year old mother of three boys ages 22, 16, and my after 40 surprise is 5. My husband and I have been married for almost 25 years. I love to read historical fiction novels and was a trained dancer when I was young.”

 How did you become interested in cooking?

“I don’t remember not loving to cook. I think because both my mother and grandmother loved to cook and I was always in the kitchen with them that it was just part of me. I absolutely love to cook!”

Why do you care about healthy eating? What prompted your interest in health?

“Just a few months before my 47th birthday I was the heaviest that I had ever been and I was having issues with sleep, acid reflux, stomach problems, etc. I knew that I needed to lose weight and “clean” my body. I also knew that if I did this that it would have to be a lifestyle that I would need to maintain my health. I also was struggling with my youngest sons allergies and trying to figure out how I could help him. I cut out gluten, refined sugars, “bad” carbs and started seeing results in how I felt and my weigh immediately. I also began pushing myself as a chef to create new healthy recipes and reinventing the classics that I love in a healthy way.”

What is your favorite food?

“My favorite foods are anything with pecans in it. I am an absolute nut about pecans. And seafood, particularly crab!”

Doesn’t this crab dip look amazing? Find the recipe in the Skinny Southern cookbook!

What is your favorite southern dish? 

“My favorite Southern dish is definitely fried green tomatoes with Remoulade sauce!”

 What is your number one health tip? 

“I think the best thing that anyone can do for their health is to avoid processed foods and most of all doing away with gluten!”

 Do you have any resolutions for 2019? Any tips for achieving a New Years resolution? 

“My resolution for 2019 is to take more time to just breathe and take a moment to myself. We all stay so busy and attached to social media that I think we don’t take time to just be still and breathe and relax.

The best tip I can give anyone is make whatever your resolution is part of your lifestyle. Just like the way I eat is my lifestyle not a diet. Whatever someone wants to incorporate into their life needs to become part of their life not just something they do once in a while.”

In addition to speaking with Lara Lyn, I had the chance to try out a few recipes from her cookbook! My favorite was the Lemon Blueberry Muffin recipe.

I made it with my boyfriend and we shared a few with his roommates. It was such a simple easy recipe that turned out perfectly. Everyone loved the muffins–common responses included:

  • “These are super delicious”
  • “How are they so moist?”
  • “I could eat so many of these”

Needless to say, these were a hit! Plus, no one could tell they were healthy and gluten free.

Muffins fresh out of the oven!

I can’t wait to make these again and try out more recipes from Skinny Southern.

Look for Lara Lyn’s book on Amazon and in stores near you!

img_4162

Ted Talk Friday: What makes a superhero?

I have been learning more about superheroes and their general appeal in the past few months. I was never interested in superheroes growing up, but I’ve recently become more and more curious. I have never fully understood the dedication and love people have for these characters, but Lee’s talk drew me in and gave me a new perspective. I hope you enjoy!

 

***
Does Stan Lee’s talk make you understand the mass appeal of superheroes?

Ted Talk Friday: America’s pursuit of happiness and why it’s gone wrong

This title caught my eye; Western culture is particularly obsessed with feeling happy and constant self-improvement so you can feel happier. Listening to this talk gave me a different perspective on how happiness is incorporated into our culture all the way down from the founding fathers, but not in the way we might think…watch the talk to learn how we’ve confused our country’s mission!

 

***

Do you agree with Dr. Winterer?

 

Seeing My First Snow: South Lake Tahoe 2018

Since I’m from Nashville, seeing snow is a rare occurrence for me. Sure, every few years we would get a few inches on the ground for a few days, but nothing over six inches and nothing that would stick around for long. I moved to the Bay Area about a year and a half ago and have been dying to go to Lake Tahoe during the winter time. I don’t ski or snowboard, but I just wanted to see the beauty.

My boyfriend (J) and I decided to go for a nice weekend getaway to Lake Tahoe and we spent hours looking for the perfect Airbnb. We went in with few criteria, but quickly learned we were pickier than we thought! We ended up choosing a beautiful one-bedroom guest suite about ten minutes from downtown South Lake Tahoe (plus it had a hot tub!).

We left San Francisco on Friday evening around 5pm, with a quick Chik-Fil-A stop for dinner on the way. My favorite Chik-Fil-A pick: market salad–it’s full of flavorful grilled chicken, chopped fruit, nuts, and they have great dressing options.

img_3777-1.jpg

We spent about four and a half hours on the road, which is not bad considering the notorious Tahoe traffic we were told to expect. We arrived around 10:15pm and checked out the place before crashing into bed.

The next morning we both woke up around 6:30am just in time to make tea and coffee and watch the sun rise from our back porch.

We spent the morning relaxing and headed out to brunch around 10am. We ended up eating at A Cup of Cherries and the food was delicious; I might’ve eaten the best omelette I’ve ever had there (tomatoes, mushrooms, and basil). J ordered an egg plate with a side of French toast. We left feeling stuffed and ready to conquer the day.

img_3801

After buying gloves, which we both forgot, we headed off to go snow tubing. We arrived at Heavenly ski resort and learned that snow tubing was not available yet–they said it was too early in the season, which I found baffling given the amount of snow on the ground ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Even if we couldn’t go tubing, we decided to take the gondola up to the top of the mountain anyways to soak in the good views.

img_3797.jpg

Pretty unbelievable right? We thoroughly enjoyed the gondola right up to the top and explored the basecamp, saw skiers skate by, watched toddlers teeter on snowboards and then we headed back down. We walked around the shops in Heavenly village and went back to the Airbnb to recharge before dinner. I ended up napping, which is not something I normally do, but was much needed after our adventures.

South Lake Tahoe has dozens of BBQ restaurants so we picked one of the top rated places  (Sonney’s BBQ Shack Bar and Grill) and headed over at an astonishingly early hour–5:30! We enjoyed a great meal of pulled pork, ribs, and classic BBQ sides:

img_3799.jpg

I don’t eat pork very often, but this absolutely hit the spot and left us feeling exhausted (again)! After dinner, we made our way back to the Airbnb intending to use the hot tub, but we ended up watching “Chicken Run” and falling asleep early.

The next morning was low-key with a later wake up. We enjoyed our coffee and tea in the hot tub, which was a wonderful experience! I have never been in a hot tub in freezing weather, but it was a fascinating experience–getting in was the hardest part by far. We both read or worked on side projects for a few hours enjoying the cute mini fireplace and sipping hot cocoa. Around 11, we started packing up our bags to head home. We made a pit stop for lunch at Verde Mexican Rotisserie and the food was delicious:

Cauliflower Rice Bowl
Chicken Taco

 

Chicken Torta

My favorite was the cauliflower rice bowl I ordered–cauliflower sautéed with peppers, onions, greens, and tomatoes. Topped with organic spring mix, chimichuri, avocados, and grilled mahi-mahi. I could hardly finish the bowl!

img_3813.jpg

The ride home felt a little longer, but the four hours flew by with good music and conversation. We made it back to the Bay Area by 5pm with plenty of time to get organized for the work week ahead.

For the full video experience of our trip, click here.

***

Have you ever been to South Lake Tahoe? Any tips on learning to ski?

Ted Talk Friday: Using happiness to evaluate a company’s success

I work in the workplace wellbeing space so this talk’s title immediately caught my eye. I love her logical reasoning behind why happiness is such a valuable metric of success. I have not heard of the happy planet index, but I am definitely going to read more about it.  I see this play out in many companies I work with; HR often cares so much about employee wellbeing and happiness, but it hard to convey its value since happiness is often seen as a “fluffy” concept. After listening to this talk, it certainly doesn’t sound fluffy at all:

 

***

Can you imagine a world where the happiness index is listed by stock prices?

 

Holiday Gift Guide 2018

It is insane that it is already December! I looked at the calendar last week and nearly fainted; where did the year go?! I have a really great feeling about the year to come, but 2018 flew by in what feels like an instant. This year has been FULL of big changes for me–some positive and some negative–but I am beyond grateful for all of the good that has come into my life. I love the holiday season because I love any excuse to give gifts–my love language is gift-giving (although I personally prefer to receive words of affirmation).

I often have a hard time thinking of gifts on short notice, so I tend to buy things throughout the year as I think of people. There have been years when I had all of my shopping done by October!

For the normal people out there who likely haven’t gotten their shopping done, here are a few of my top gifts for 2018:

  1. Tabio Socks: These are an amazing gift for both fitness fanatics or fashion-obsessed friends. I love my Tabio socks for pilates and barre classes especially, the signature run socks have great grip on the bottom and are super cute (my favorite color is lavender). Use code HANN20 for a discount when you order!

Screen Shot 2018-12-07 at 4.05.09 PMScreen Shot 2018-12-07 at 4.04.42 PM

2. Quest Nutrition Bars: These make my list every year. Someone recently asked how I haven’t gotten tired of this brand after six years of eating their products. First off, I love all the flavor options and convenience of a healthy, satisfying snack on the go. Second, I love this brand. The company is based on the principles of positive psychology, self-improvement, and growth–all of which resonate with me.

Screen Shot 2018-12-07 at 4.08.55 PM.png

3. ActivMotion Bar: I recently posted a full review of ActivMotion bars on the blog, but these are definitely making the gift guide as well! This is a great gift for your fit friend who already has all of the basic fitness products; it’s definitely a unique workout and is a great tool to improve balance!

Screen Shot 2018-12-02 at 2.47.58 PM

4. Satin pillowcase: This is a nice gift for anyone you know who wants to add a bit of luxury to their bedtime routine (and who doesn’t?!).

Screen Shot 2018-12-07 at 4.15.57 PM

5. Orb Sleep Complex: I’ve made so many people try this and everyone falls in love. It provides such a restful sleep without any heavy drugs–it’s an all natural mix of ingredients like melatonin and lavender oil that eases you to sleep with time-released B12 to help you wake up feeling refreshed.

img_2058

 

***

When do you normally finish up buying gifts?