Ted Talk Friday: The secret to living longer may be your social life

I have posted talks on this topic in the past, but I don’t think the importance of social interaction can be emphasized enough. Pinker doesn’t just talk about social connectedness, but she also compares social connectedness to the impact of other health factors. I hope you enjoy.



Do you make the time to maintain relationships? Do you think you will be the happy or the grumpy old man? 😉

Miraculously Stuffed Eggplant

I’ve been living life on the fly a lot recently. For the past decade (or longer) I’ve planned every moment down to the second. Planning certainly has a lot of perks, but it makes our brain think in binary, rigid ways sometimes. In an effort to break out of this more, I’ve been actively trying to seek out spontaneity and go with the flow. I found eggplants on sale the other day, so I bought a few and just decided I would let an idea come–and if not, just chop and freeze them! I think living life without a guide, without a plan, without a recipe can be a great asset when you find yourself getting bogged down in and stressed by the arbitrary details.


-1 eggplant

-1 bag prepared @miraclenoodle rice

-1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped

-2 tsp olive oil

-1 cup cherry tomatoes

-1 tsp minced garlic


1. Combine tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, & garlic in a skillet and let simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.


2. Cut eggplant in half length wise and roast at 350 for 10 minutes.


3. Scrape out inside of eggplant and mix the pieces of eggplant “insides” into your skillet of veggies. .

4. Add prepared @miraclenoodle rice to veggie mix and continue stirring.


5. Stuff both halves of the eggplant with veggie/rice mixture.


6. Return stuffed eggplants to oven and roast for 7-10 minutes at 375.


7. Enjoy! Feel free to freeze or use the leftover veggie rice in another dish or as a side dish.

This month use code HANNAHFEB18 for a discount when you order from miracle noodle 🍜

The Dangerous Power of “Productivity”

I believe we have started a dangerous cult this country–I don’t know how far it extends, but I’ve noted almost all of my peers have a constant desire to be productive. Anything that is not productive is not worthwhile. How sad is that?

I understand this mindset since I had it for at least four years. During college, I would not do anything if I did not see its purpose:

  • Going out for dinner? No, a waste of valuable study time.
  • Taking a weekend trip? Nope, I won’t have time to work ahead.
  • Hanging out and watching a movie? No, I need do x, y, z unfulfilling “productive” activity.


After graduating, this led to me completely going off the rails without action items that needed to be done. My parents took me on a trip to the beach after graduation and I could not even take one day off. I would sneak back from the beach to our hotel room and look through potential jobs on LinkedIn–yeah, that’s nuts. But it’s not just me…it’s a lot of people.

Over the past six months since graduating, I’ve been actively working to disengage from certain routines that make spontaneity difficult (I don’t always have to go to bed early, I can ask to reschedule). In addition, I have been forcing myself to be just a little bit lazy…I might just lie in bed for an extra ten minutes in the morning. Today I woke up without a plan and drove to the beach–no plans, nothing productive in store. I laid down on the sand and just read my book. Afterwards I spent the day wandering around the area, going into local shops and people-watching.

I don’t want to diss productivity too much–it gave me a solid GPA, amazing experiences, and it’s an inherent part of who I am. At the same time, it can’t be all I am; there is a high price for living a life that constantly prioritizes productivity. For me, it sacrificed the things that matter most: relationships, mental health, and physical wellbeing.

In sum, I think it’s knowing when to prioritize productivity, and when to let it go and enjoy life for all it is–the fast, the slow, the mundane, the powerful.


Do you prioritize productivity? If so, at what cost?

Ted Talk Friday: My failed mission to find God — and what I found instead

Anjali Kumar does a wonderful job explaining her experience; as someone who feels spiritual but still checks the same “none” box, it is refreshing to hear someone’s journey on the path of finding spiritual community. She sprinkles in plenty of humor for a topic that is often so serious and difficult to discuss. I hope you enjoy!




Do you consider yourself spiritual? Have you experimented with other religious communities?

Going with Your Gut with GLG

If you’ve been in my life during the past 6 years, you might know I’ve struggled with a lot of GI issues. Without any clear answers, the various doctors I saw decided it must be IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), which has no real cures. The symptoms are highly varied and flare ups can come at any time. I’ve learned that my trigger is often times of high-stress, but I’ve also learned what foods I can use as tools to keep my gut happy.

I’ve been taking some form of gelatin nearly everyday for the past 3 years and I’ve recently started incorporating collagen as well.


I have been taking it for a few weeks now, and I’ve heard it takes a bit longer to see and feel all of the benefits that come with collagen supplementation. There are numerous benefits beyond gut health: skin elasticity, joint health, and bone health, to name just a few. Collagen is shown to create measurable improvement in skin hydration and elasticity. [1] There is evidence that collagen can help repair the lining of the intestines, which can improve overall gut health. [2] I am curious to note whether or not I experience any changes in my joint health, although I am lucky enough to have few joint-related issues.  It is full of necessary amino-acids (the building blocks of protein) that keep our skin, hair, nails, joints, and bones healthy.

As a fan of functional foods, especially as an alternative to prescription drugs for treating my IBS, I’ve been pleased with my results from incorporating gelatin into my diet..so I have high hopes for the benefits that come with hydrolyzed collagen! If nothing else, I will have incorporated more healthy proteins into my diet. The regular collagen powder can be mixed into just about anything–your morning cup of coffee, your oatmeal, a smoothie, soup, etc. The cherry-flavored Collagen Endurance product has been a ton of fun to try out as well…

One of my favorite recipes reminds me of little gummy candies–they are my energy gel bites! These are a great pre-workout snack with B vitamins for natural energy and a good dose of protein for satiety.


-1 scoop Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Endurance
-8 grams gelatin
-1 cup water


1. Combine Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Endurance and gelatin with 1/2c boiling water and stir until dissolved.
2. Stir in 1/2c cold water and pour into a lined baking loaf tin.
3. Place in fridge for 4-6 hours or into firm.
4. Cut into small squares and enjoy!


While many companies have recently started popping up promoting their own collagen supplements, I love Great Lakes; the company has been around since 1922 and does research to evaluate the real benefits, not simply hopping on the trendy bandwagon.


Use code GLGLife20 for 20% off Great Lakes Gelatin products. This code expires March 15, 2018.

Disclaimer: Great Lakes Gelatin & Sweatpink sponsored this review, however this post represents my honest thoughts and opinions

Sources (because when I make claims, I base them in science):

1: Choi, S. Y., Ko, E. J., Lee, Y. H., Kim, B. G., Shin, H. J., Seo, D. B., … & Kim, M. N. (2014). Effects of collagen tripeptide supplement on skin properties: A prospective, randomized, controlled study. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy16(3), 132-137.

2: Graham, MF. Collagen Synthesis by Human Intestinal Smooth Muscle Cells in Culture. National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3792777>.

Ted Talk Friday: You aren’t at the mercy of your emotions — your brain creates them

I am always attracted to any Ted Talk focused on psychology or emotions. Feldman Barrett breaks down how we feel and what emotions truly are. She truly dives into the double edged sword of our own emotions–they are not hard-wired, and they are malleable. Curious how our brain fills in the blanks to create emotion? Watch the video below to learn more.


Do you agree? Where do you most often fill in the blanks?

I tried Orange Theory–will I ever go back?

I love a good workout and trying new things, but I have actively avoided Orange Theory classes for years. I heard horror stories of coaches yelling and the competitive nature of the classes, both of which are things that do NOT jive with who I am. I know two things about myself with great certainty:

  1. I hate being told what to do when it comes to physical activity–especially when orders are given in a forceful manner. (I once walked our “mile run” in protest during elementary school…)
  2. I do not thrive off of competition with others. I am incredibly competitive with myself; I am passionate about getting better and better grades or meeting new goals, but not when I compare myself to those around me. It’s not about being the “best” in my mind, it is about being my personal best.

I only went to this class because a fellow SF SweatPink friend posted about it, so I saw it as an opportunity to meet other fitness-centered bloggers in the community.


Sonya and I glistening with sweat post-workout

The class started with a loud, high intensity atmosphere–I was already feeling regret. Everyone wears a heart rate monitor, and your heart rate & calorie burn is projected on a large screen throughout the class. The workout was interval-based and divided in half. Half of the time was spent doing circuits utilizing a rowing machine, free weights, and a bosu ball. I enjoyed this half and could feel my heart rate getting higher than it has in quite a while. I enjoy using a rowing machine and it certainly stayed interesting as we incorporated different moves with the weights with low to moderate reps. I think that the instruction was not always sufficient for the quick pace; the instructor could not fix everyone’s form with such a rushed pace, and I’m sure that worsened my form as I felt the pressure to move on to the next exercise.

The next half of the class was not my favorite…anyone who knows me knows that this means a treadmill was involved. I see the treadmill as the epitome of what is wrong with how we approach fitness as a society. A little dramatic maybe, but I truly am not a fan. Few people enjoy the treadmill and it forces us into the idea that running nowhere in a state of misery is what it means to workout. Working out should be an enjoyable way you want to use your body everyday–if that is the treadmill then more power to you, but I think a small percentage of the population enjoys treadmill workouts while so many of us actually do them.

Back to Orange Theory–the next half of the class was treadmill intervals with options for power walking, jogging, or running. I just stared ahead at my sweaty face in the mirror counting down the minutes until it ended. At the end of the class, we looked at the heart rate screen together and I could feel myself becoming self-conscious about how many minutes I was in the “highest intensity” heart rate zone. I also personally have zero interest in the number of calories burned–in my opinion, it’s an unhealthy and inaccurate way to judge a workout. I could definitely feel the soreness settling in after the class ended, but at a cost of $59 for 4 classes, I don’t plan to keep going.

If you are motivated by competition and the group atmosphere, then this might be a great fit for you. You definitely feel accountable and there is a team atmosphere to the class, even with the competition.

After the class ended, we all gathered outside the class and got some tasty snacks and signed up to win a free mattress from Mattress Firm.

I also ended up getting a free pillow–it was one of those cooling gel-based pillows and I am BEYOND excited (who doesn’t love a good pillow?)

At the Mattress Firm store, I also got the chance to meet Shannon, the girl behind Cali Girl Gets Fit. She is such an inspiration and hooked me up with some delicious Bounce snacks and Organic Girl pressed juice.

I had such a fun day–meeting new people and trying a new, different class. While I may not go back to another Orange Theory class, I certainly enjoyed trying it out and pushing myself in new ways.


Are you adventurous in your workouts? How do you feel about treadmill workouts?

Braving the Wilderness

I’ve been reading Brene Brown’s book Braving the Wilderness and the message resonates deeply with me. I’ve recently moved to a new place and have been establishing a new rhythm–friends, jobs, activities. I have always felt like I don’t fit the mold of having a set group of friends; I usually never fit a set group, but rather seek out individuals from different groups. I love the breadth of interests, experiences, personal backgrounds, and opinions this generates among those I talk and spend time with.

This minimizes gossip, leaving others out, and everything else that comes with a friend group, it also makes it harder to hold big group gatherings and feel that sense of belonging we all crave. I had this in high school. My group of girlfriends; we would sit together at lunch, have sleepovers, get ready for dances together…I cherish those memories. The memories I don’t cherish include the snide remarks or petty fights that inevitably come with an intertwined group of five people, let alone five tween girls.

Brown speaks to the mixed emotions of these friendships beautifully and encourages us all to create our own personal sense of belonging. We fit in with ourselves and love ourselves just as we are. No matter what happens–a move, a falling out, a hardship–we have our sense of grounding in numerous places with numerous perspectives.

Beyond friendships, the Maya Angelou quote:

captures a feeling I’ve been unable to pinpoint since leaving Home in Nashville for college (in Atlanta, GA). I spent summers in a range of places–Alpharetta, GA, Detroit, and the UK–and felt that certainty of where I belong and fit wane. Since moving to the Bay Area six months ago, that certainty of where I belong has grown even fuzzier. So perhaps the answer lies in Angelou’s words: I “belong no place–[I] belong every place–no place at all.”

I’m not one for New Years resolutions, but if anything I want to become even stronger in braving the wilderness.

Ted Talk Friday: Are emotions contagious in the workplace?

I saw this talk in person in the Spring of 2016 and fell in love with Brandon Smith‘s work as the “Workplace Therapist.” I found his ideas fascinating before working in an office, but now that I work a regular 9 to 5 job I see his theory in action. I am lucky to work in an office that has contagious emotions, but contagious emotions of almost exclusively the good, productive kind. It is common knowledge that the mood and outlook your friends have rubs off on you, but the same goes for your coworkers. Choose wisely!


Have you experienced contagious emotions in the workplace? How do you handle negative people?