Ted Talk Friday: Don’t try to be mindful

Long time, no see! Sorry for the weeks of quiet (again). I have been living life and working hard in grad school, which has been so wonderful. I feel so lucky to have this opportunity to learn for a living for the next 5 years! In one of my courses, the professor assigned us this Ted Talk on mindfulness. Surprisingly, I had not seen this one yet, but I absolutely loved it! It might be my favorite mindfulness-focused Ted Talk to date.

I hope you enjoy this talk as much as I did!

Catching Up: Big Changes, Kittens, & Growth

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…

IMG_7336.jpeg

IMG_7328

The kittens were certainly a handful, but they brought me so much joy! ūüôā

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.

FullSizeRender

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.

59063943832__5BFDB329-31C3-4D03-84CD-2B8C6E5D43D9.jpeg

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!

Ted Talk Friday: The secret language of trees

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?

Ted Talk Friday: The Hidden Network That Makes the Internet Possible

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: Do’s and Don’ts

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.

candy-color-creative-54633.jpg

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.

abdomen-casual-close-up-1415554.jpg

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!

Screen Shot 2019-06-23 at 3.03.08 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2019-06-23 at 3.03.01 PM

***

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.

Ted Talk Friday: The lies our culture tells us about what matters — and a better way to live

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?

A Short Trip to the Grand Canyon: Part II

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.

img_5433-1081700317-1557247643825.jpg

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?

 

Ted Talk Friday: Why we ignore obvious problems–and how to act on them

Michele Wucker’s talk is a great way to start thinking about how we all ignore seemingly obvious problems in our own life. It is easier to understand this talk as Wucker talks about larger issues like economic downturns and climate change, but this same principle also applies to our personal lives.

As Wucker describes, “We pay attention to what we want to see…” and we typically avoid issues when they feel mysterious or too difficult to handle. She leaves us with the advice on how to make changes for both society and for ourselves, and acknowledges the role of vulnerability when taking on major problems.

***

Do you agree with Wucker? Can you think of problems you’ve ignored in your own life?

A Short Trip to the Grand Canyon: Part I

A few months ago I was talking to my boyfriend late at night when I had the idea of going to the Grand Canyon. I suggested it, flights were booked, Airbnbs found, and a few months later, the trip was coming up fast! It was completely uncharacteristic of me, but I did not plan too much for our trip. During the two weeks before we left, I scrambled a bit to try and book tickets for a few different sites. Unsurprisingly,¬† most tours were completely booked; the tours of Antelope Canyon were full and we had little chance of going. In case you don’t know what Antelope Canyon is…you’ve likely seen it as a screensaver at some point:

antelope-canyon-arizona-beam-33041.jpg

While I was disappointed we couldn’t score tickets, I would not change a thing. Antelope Canyon is about two hours North of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon so if you are short on time, this is one place to cross off your list. I like to think that everything happens for a reason–so I’m pretending we simply were not meant to go to Antelope Canyon. We were meant to have a great time with the little time we had so without further ado, I’ll share a play by play of our trip!

Day 1: Friday

We woke up in the middle of a night to a notification that our flight was delayed by 13 hours–perfect.¬†Luckily, we both stayed upbeat, called our airline and rebooked for an afternoon flight so we would leave only 7 hours later than our original departure time. We spent the day lazing around, enjoying brunch, and, most importantly, not working.

Our flight landed in Phoenix around 5pm and we were on the road in our rental car by 6:30pm. It was a full flight and I was amused by the two (adorable) tiny companions by boyfriend ended up seated next to!

We enjoyed a quick dinner in the outskirts of Phoenix, stopped for snacks, then continued our drive to Flagstaff to our Airbnb.

Day 2: Saturday

We both crashed as soon as we walked in the door, but the next morning we woke up to this beauty.

The Airbnb had a skylight so we woke up to lots of natural light as well. We were a short 1.5 hour drive from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and we were easily out the door by 8AM. We chose to stay in Flagstaff so we could enjoy more of our day at the Grand Canyon and it was definitely the right choice for us! We beat the crowds (more or less), snagged a great parking spot, and hopped on the bus to go to our stop for our hike on the South Kaibib Trail. After getting off the bus, we took tons of photos before even beginning our hike…

Then we began our trek. I was shocked by how chilly and how windy it was during our hike. We made it to the Ooh-Aah point which is only about 1 mile into the canyon, but the insane winds, small rain showers, and sand in our faces made us to decide to turn around and ascend back to the rim.

img_5344

We decided to go straight to the top during our ascent, no stopping, and we made it to the top fairly quickly (even if we were huffing and puffing). After our short trail hike, we decided to walk around the rim (~2.5 miles) to get a better look at the Canyon. We strolled leisurely around the rim and I was struck by how empty it felt; we came at a great time and it was unreal to see such a beautiful site in complete silence. We made it back to the visitor center, where I was suckered into a National Parks membership, and then we decided to explore other areas of the park by car.

We started out driving towards the Desert Watchtower and we stopped at a number of different places along the way. We pulled over at Grandview Point and caught some amazing views, plus we saw two elk!

After Grandview, we continued on to Tusayan Museum and Ruins. There were only a few other people there, but it was a wonderful (free) museum to learn more about the communities that lived by the Grand Canyon in the past. The ruins were definitely worth checking out too!

Afterwards we headed to our original destination: Desert Watchtower. The Desert Watchtower was designed by a female architect, Mary Colter, and was erected in 1932. It is in the Ancestral Puebloan Style and it is absolutely stunning on the inside and it offers  some beautiful views of the Canyon and the Colorado River.

By this point it was around 4:30pm and we were both exhausted. We made the drive back to our Airbnb, got cleaned up, and headed out for dinner. We ended up eating BBQ in the basement of a shopping complex–it was definitely a novel experience!

After dinner, we drove back to the Airbnb and took a few minutes to admire the night sky. Arizona is known for its dark sky, and Flagstaff is actually the first certified “Dark Sky Place.” It was breathtaking; I had never seen so many stars in my life!

Read more about our Grand Canyon trip next week…

 

Ted Talk Friday: An honest look at the personal finance crisis

I found this talk to be a fascinating look into the challenges of personal finance. This talk shares the new experience of aging, retirement, and financial security–with a dose of humility. I was lucky enough to take a personal finance class in high school, but no amount of education can address the challenges so many individuals face today. I live in the Bay Area, which is one of the most expensive areas in the US, and it is incredibly difficult to save–even as a young, unmarried professional with no dependents. I have actively tried to save for about a decade now, but it’s not easy…and it’s far from linear. Luckily, the younger you are, the more time you have to start saving–even if it’s putting 1% of your paycheck away each month. White breaks down the challenges we all face and provides action steps for those who are closer to retirement.

 

***
What do you think of White’s talk? Do you think about personal finance regularly?