Monday, September 23, 2013


im·per·ma·nence (ˌ)im-ˈpərm-nən(t)s, -ˈpər-mə-\

not lasting or durable; not permanent

impermanence is an undeniable and inescapable fact of human existence.

whether you are reading the Webster dictionary or reading up on buddhism (i would like to state that i am NOT buddhist), impermanence is the nature of life. nothing in this world is fixed or permanent. everything is subject to change and alteration. life is comparable to a river, a progressive movement, a successive series of different moments joining together to give the impression of one continuous flow.

some days i go to yoga for a workout, some days i go for perspective. last night, i walked into the studio looking for a good sweat after being out of town, but instead got the latter. during the 75 minutes of class, the instructor continued to refer to impermanence and finding comfort in it. reflecting on my drive home, i realized that impermanence can bring comfort in hard times and gratitude in happy times. currently, impermanence fits in every aspect of my life:. relationships, work, health, financial status, even where i currently live.

i find comfort in knowing that my financial status will hopefully improve as time goes on - my loans will get smaller, my income will get bigger - i will become more established. i find comfort in knowing that drew and i will eventually move into a bigger place, share less space with others and take 'the' next step, celebrating with others will turn into celebrating us.  i find comfort in knowing that long days of working 2 jobs will come to an end. i find comfort in knowing that while i cannot run, i have found new passions.

i find gratitude in knowing that i am more established now than i was last year. i find gratitude that i am able to manage my responsibilities. i find gratitude in the home where we currently live, what this space has meant to us and the help that we have received to make it ours. i find gratitude that we live close to (almost) everything we love. i find gratitude in drew's companionship, creating our own timelines, and following our own rules. i find gratitude that i have the opportunity to impact 3 little boys' lives so their parents can have a break. i find gratitude that i can move and control my own body.

i find gratitude that i will be able to look back 5, 10 years from now and know what i have at this moment is special, unique and essentially, carefree. where i am right now is exactly where i am meant to be.

find comfort in impermanence, find gratitude in impermanence because this moment, whether it is difficult or joyful, it will come to an end - either hang in there or cherish it.

always striving for more,
dee b.

Friday, September 20, 2013

.:green smoothies:.

green smoothies are becoming a 'health staple', something that you hear about more and more. it's a great way to sneak extra veggies, especially greens, into your diet and let's be honest, with the cold weather upon us, it is always difficult to incorporate greens when the warm, comfort, carb-loaded, holiday foods are calling out to you. also, green smoothies can be intimidating and deceiving! my girlfriend recently texted me to say that she got a blender and is excited to try out new smoothies. when i mentioned green smoothie recipes, her response was, 'ugh, i think i need to work my way up to that'. i get it. the green color isn't all that appetizing and the thought of drinking spinach or kale would probably make some people gag.

well, i drink several green smoothies a week and i promise i have never gagged, so let me give you a few pointers on exploring with green smoothies!

choose a green base:. if you are just starting out, spinach is great! the taste is easily hidden and it blends really smooth. thanks to the Farmer's Market, i have had heaps of kale around the house, so i mainly use kale which can have a bitter taste if you aren't used to kale. another simple option is romaine lettuce which has a lot of water content and also can be easily concealed.

add protein:. while greens are great, most of them lack protein. i  add greek yogurt (plain or vanilla to avoid sugar overload). i typically add protein powder for an extra boost - Garden of Life Raw Protein in Vanilla - because of its 'chalkiness', i would never use this type of protein for after a workout, but throwing it into a smoothie is a great way to mask it.

add fruit:. while some of you won't believe me when i say this, but it does not take a lot of fruit to hide the 'green flavor' - i PROMISE! when adding fruit, please be mindful that you are also adding SUGAR, mostly natural sugar, but sugar nonetheless. i have added several different kinds of fruits and they all work great - fresh apples, peaches, bananas, frozen mango and fresh or frozen berries. i have also 'acquired' the taste of grapefruit (blah!) because it has a high water content and is a great metabolizer (friendly note: grapefruit actually tastes better when it is stored in the fridge, it helps with the bitterness). choose something that you like and play around with ratios and flavors. i started with the basic strawberry and banana, but my new favorite is blueberry and mango.

add boosters:. my go-to boosters are chia seeds and oats, but you can make almost anything work - avocado, peanut or almond butter, cucumber, flax seeds or maple syrup. again, you will be surprised by how well fruits and avocados and even almond butter and kale work together.

blending - i have gone through a few blenders in the past few years, but there are plenty of options that work extremely well. i started off with a Hamilton Beach single serve blender - you can find it at Target for around $15, it is great quality, but only comes with one blending cup. after almost 2 years, the cup (filled with my smoothie) fell out of my backpack as i was biking to work - i am fairly certain i teared up when i saw my breakfast shatter on busy Snelling Ave and i could nothing, but keep biking. after that tragedy, i bought a GNC blender set - this comes with an insane amount of cups, different sizes, shapes, tops and even a big pitcher. i splurged $30 for this one, i love it and still use it as my back up, but have most of it stored away since there are SO many attachments. drew recently decided that we needed a nice blender (he was thinking malts, not green smoothies), so one night after i worked and nannied, i came home to a Ninja blender (things can get dangerous when i am out of the house for 14 hours). i have to give it to him, this spendy blender is pretty sweet. it came with a large pitcher, as well as 2 single serve sizes and this is now my go-to. I believe Ninja blendors range from $100-$200 depending on the model and can be found at most retailers like Target, and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

i have a technique where i blend my greens, grapefruit, yogurt and chia seeds first - then with the rest of the space left, i fill it with the protein powder, boosters and fruit. it allows things to mix well without overworking the blender and it also forces me to use more greens than fruit.

sound like a lot of work? well, its not, but if your mornings are similar to mine, check this out: fill up your blender the night before, but don't blend it! if i want a green smoothie for the next morning, i fill it with my greens, yogurt and grapefruit (i would hate to spend my busy morning cutting and
peeling grapefruit), then i put it in the fridge over night, pop it on the blender and throw in the 'easy' stuff in the morning. you may have noticed that i haven't mentioned ice, but that's because i don't use it (most of the time). i feel like the single serve blenders are already limited on space, so i'd rather fill it with other stuff. however, if i am biking to work or heading to yoga and know i won't drink it right away, i will put a few ice cubes in after its blended - i think of it as a morning happy hour, kale on the rocks! i haven't had an issue with things separating too much that a simple shake won't fix. you can blend and throw it the fridge/freezer overnight and grab it in the morning, but i like to know the ingredients were freshly blended (nutrients not exposed to air) and i have a thing with patience, i don't want to wait for it to thaw to drink me high maintenance.

the ingredients that you use in a green smoothies can be extremely beneficial to your health and nutrition and will keep you glowing even as our arctic season approaches. green smoothies are also a great way to 'sneak' veggies into your significant other's or kids' diet - they MAY notice the color, but they certainly won't notice the taste.

green smoothie with my morning Americano :)

what do you put in your green smoothies? i am always looking for ways to change mine up!

always striving for more,
dee b.

Friday, September 6, 2013

.: supplements - are they worth remembering??? :.

i have held off writing this post simply because taking supplements on a regular basis has beendifficult for me - i mean, who doesn't struggle remembering to take them EVERYDAY? firstworld problems, i know! anyway, i have finally remembered to take my supplements for severaldays in a row for the past several weeks and i definitely see and feel a difference so i feel confident sharing with you which supplements i take and why!
i take 4 supplements on a regular basis - i feel like i should truly strive to get most of my nutrients from food versus supplementing for a lack of nutrition. also, it is very hard to know the appropriate time to take vitamins in order to maximize the uptake - i, for one, cannot afford expensive pee, so i would like to actually absorb what i am taking.

probiotic - i really should bold, highlight and italicize this because this has literally been a life-changing supplement for me. probiotics are getting their well-deserved time in the limelight lately, but mainly in the forms of yogurt, kefir, kombucha, etc. well, i have been a regular kefir and kombucha drinker as well as yogurt-eater, but nothing can compare to taking this as a supplement. i buy Garden of Life probiotics for Women, it is available for $40 in the Whole Foods refigerated vitamin section - there has never been a time where Whole Foods hasn't offered a $5 off coupon right on the front of the bottle. this is the most expensive supplement that i take and i would donate plasma to afford this bottle of 90 capsules and yes, it must remain refigerated. i decided to start taking this after my 'get balanced' workshop this spring because even after eating completely clean for 15 days, my digestion did not improve. at all. the ladies behind Prescribe Nutrition suggested a probiotic and i haven't looked back since. not only are probiotics good for the obvious, digestion - indigestion, heart burn, bloating, but also for your immune system. did you know that 80% of your immune system is actually located in your gut?! 80%!!!!! even with germs while working, nannying, gym, yoga, kickboxing, etc., i literally have yet to get sick since starting (knock on wood!). healthy gut, healthy you! once i started talking to people about how awesome this probiotic is, i learned that a lot of ladies have turned to probiotics to help with their digestion - they feel the same way as i do! while alot of ladies i know take the popular-known 'Align', feel free to do research on what probiotic you need. aim for something that has 10 billion cfu on packaging and try to take it right away in the morning! the serving suggestion on my bottle is 3 capsules morning and night, but i almost always just take 2 capsules with a glass of water in the morning and that seems to be enough. depending on how i feel, i may take 3 in the morning.

fish oil - many people take fish oil because it is cheap and has always been a highlighted supplement.
fish oil does cover a lot of ailments and help your body run like a well oiled machine, but let me give you a few reasons behind all that. in the typical American diet, we do not get enough Omega 3's from fish, cod liver oil, etc. - our diet just isn't based around fish/seafood! Omega 3's is an essential fatty acid that is great for many things such as fighting free radicals and decreasing inflammation. fish oil helps offset all of the damaging Omega 6's that we eat on a daily basis (typical ratio of Omega 6's to Omega 3's is about 16:1....recommended is MAYBE 3:1, yikes). we can partially thank the uptick in diseases such as cardivascula, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases to this out-of-control ratio. fish oil also aids in digestive and adrenal health, as well! while you can get  Omega 3's naturally from (responsibly raised) tuna, salmon, cod liver oil, fish, etc. i have been trying to 'acquire' the taste of salmon and tuna, but to no prevail, i resort to my daily fish oil. i buy a large bottle of the Whole Foods brand fish oil which is from Cold Water Fish. i take 1 fish oil per day, but am considering on upping this to 2 per day.

glutamine - i wouldn't be surprised if this supplement makes it way into the spotlight soon as i continue to hear more and more about it. glutamine was suggested to me by a personal trainer - i was having issues recovering from my workouts. the more i dug deeper, the more i realized that glutamine is a great supplement for people who regularly workout - drew even said that he doesn't buy protein powder unless it has glutamine in it (well, duh!). glutamine is also know to help with sugar cravings, an added bonus for me! i will take 1 glutamine per day, but don't hesitate to take an extra one on days that i really get my butt kicked (kickboxing class). drew will also take a couple after a hard soccer game or lifting session to help make getting out of bed the next day easier. again, i buy the Whole Foods brands.

biotin - this is known as a 'beauty' supplement. i didn't really believe in taking this, but it is pretty inexpensive and a couple of girlfriends swore by it and now i do too! i mainly starting taking biotin to help my nails. as a recovering nail-biter, i needed something to make and keep my nails strong and less prone to break or split. not only have my nails benefited, but also my hair! my hair has gone from the awkward, 'i'm trying to grow it out' shoulder length to well below my shoulders and beyond in the last 4 weeks! i actually got it trimmed the other day becaues i felt like i had a couple inches to spare. it's kind of funny because after a few weeks of taking it, i got several compliments about how great and healthy my hair looked (and i swear i wasn't soliciting for compliments!). a few people have asked me if i noticed an improvement in my skin - i have been blessed with great skin, so i can't attest to less breakouts or oil, but i have noticed my face being more hydrated and less in need for face lotion (i am sure the upcoming MN winter will give it a true test). i started out with taking 2 biotin per day, but switched to 1, i didn't need my hair growing that quickly.


when i start to tell people about the supplements that i take, they instantly dive into how they can never remember to take them and they end up being a waste of money. here are a few tips that i have found work for me!

>> set an alarm - use it as a reminder, an appointment to take your vitamins. set as many as you need!

>> take them the same time everyday, have it become apart of your daily routine. it didn't take long for me to remember to take the probiotics everyday - as soon as i felt the benefits, i didn't need a reminder! i take the rest of my supplements right after lunch. i fell into a routine of flossing, drinking a mug of green tea and taking my supplements right after lunch. i feel out of tune if i miss it....

>> get a cute vitamin holder! who wants to carry around big bottles of vitamins or even little baggies of vitamins looking like a distributor? the last time we were at the Vitamin Shoppe, we got a freebie vitamin case. it's kind of stupid how easy this case makes it! it allows 6 days to fit in a case as big as a credit card - i like that it keeps the days separate since the biotin and glutamine look similar. i am able to keep the vitamin case on my desk all week without looking like a drug addict and it is in my face all day reminding me not to forget. at the end of the week, i can easily throw it in my purse for the weekend and restock for the next week!


what supplements are you religious about taking and why? how do you remember to take them everyday?

always striving for more,
dee b.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

.:cheap memories:.

based on my recent Instagram posts, many of you know that drew and i took up camping this summer! we decided that it was a great way to take advantage of the MN weather, be active, see different places and make memories all under our budget. as i have mentioned many times before, we definitely take pride in keeping ourselves on a tight budget, but we also need (and deserve) to spend time together away from it all.

my family used to go camping when we were young, so i knew what i was in for, but was still unsure how comfortable i was being out in the wilderness as an adult. drew, who is mr. research and Google, started looking into things that we were going to need (and things that he thought we needed). we also spent a couple evenings walking aimlessly around REI talking to the experts. one trip to REI and we discovered how awesome their co-op membership was. for those of you don't know, it is a $20 LIFETIME membership fee and it offers coupons, special member shopping opportunities, a percent refund for every $ you spend and access to their incredible outlet store!

while we were very anxious to get started buying stuff with our new membership, we spent a few days browsing the online outlet store as it is updated every day with new stuff. the research paid off! we ended up finding a fabulous tent originally priced over $500 for $180 all because it was a 2010 model and someone had returned it because 'it was too hard to assemble'. meet Agnes.


yes, that is a 'garage' the extends beyond our tent and also acts a rainfly - how great is that?! after we bought the essential component to camping, we were able to get everything else and still stay under budget. we splurged on a North Face down sleeping bag - it is a 'couple' sleeping (precious, i know), but it has been awesome at keeping us plenty warm and honestly, worth every penny. drew also found it necessary to spend a little extra on a nice cooler. we (mostly him) decided on a Coolman cooler that latches and seals completely shut making it racoon and bear proof. this has been worth every penny as well - having full ice cubes still leftover after 3 days in heat and humidity, pretty awesome. after that, everything else kind of fell into place - my parents gave us their old air mattress and Coleman lamp. we bought a battery operated pump (worth the extra $5 to avoid having to connect it to the car everytime).

other 'essentials':.
>> grill grate - if you stay at State Parks, the fire rings come with a grill, but i guess we needed it nonetheless
>> batteries - bring an extra set for everything!
>> s'more sticks - no explanation needed
>> flashlights - we bring more than necessary because i am an adult who is afraid of the dark
>> bug spray - get the Deep woods stuff
>> bear mase - your insurance card out in the serious woods
>> pillows - thank goodness we have stored old pillows! i also bring an old fitted sheet to put on the air mattress, call me high maintenance
>> firewood/lighter - most of the State Parks sell it out of their office otherwise, you need to buy it from 'approved' sellers. my advice is to check the park's rule and regulations about wood before - you may also want to bring lighter fluid in case the wood gets damp
>> Scrabble on the go - i could have killed drew when we made room for this on our latest camping trip, but i will admit it was a pretty awesome stow-away game. plus, after hours in the woods together, you tend to run out of stuff to talk about...
>> utensils - we brought plastic to avoid have to store and clean them every time
>> towels - paper towels and regular towels
>> hand sanitizer
>> moisture wipes - if you can't shower or fully wash your hands for days, these will become your best friend!
>> garbage bags - bring both big garbage bags that tie and old Target bags, they can be use a garbage bags or protect stuff from getting wet

hmmm....i think that is pretty much it or at least all that i can think of. i didn't forget about food and water which can get kind of tricky depending on your camping plans. for simple overnight camping trips, we stopped at a local sub shop and pick up 2 sandwiches - they are massive and have definitely lasedt us long enough. we also bring snacks like beef jerky, granola bars and fresh fruit (mainly apples or oranges). on our most recent, more serious trip we had to get a little more strategic. for breakfast, we brought bagels and cream cheese. for dinner, i made a crockpot of beef stew (thank you to our CSAs for delivering all the necessary ingredients, it couldn't have been more perfect timing!). the beef stew was full of vegetables, beef chunks and water which was great to help us rehydrate and fill up on protein and nurients. it ended up being very simple to bring in a sealed container and heat up over the fire - can you tell that i am proud of this one? while we were out hiking between breakfast and dinner, we filled our backpacks with beef jerky, apples, oranges and Clif bars. we obviously end each night with s'mores :)

water - planning for water can be crucial for camping since you are being active and it is most likely hot and even more crucial if the site you are at doesn't have running water. while we haven't needed to buy a filtering system yet, we are careful about planning water. we always freeze 3 Nalgene water bottles to put in the cooler for multipurposes, ice when they are frozen and drinking water when they thaw. again, during the simple trips, we just bring several big bottles of water to put in the cooler. during our recent trip, we bought 4 gallons of water and kept them in the car. when we were running low, we just walked back to the car to fill up and keep moving - we actually came home with 1 gallon of water, but it is obviously way better to have more than less!

i hope you find my rookie tips somewhat helpful. it can take a lot of time and planning to get everything and plan trips, but we have had so much fun taking on this new hobby! it has been great to take a long weekend away from the Corporate world and unplug with drew. while camping is FAR from romantic, it is quality, undistracted time that we get to spend together. plus, MN is a beautiful state to live in and even more beautiful when you get out there and see it. we are excited to keep improving and expanding our camping memories, hopefully to other states!

stay tuned for my reviews on our camping trips at local State Parks!

always striving for more,
dee b.