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The Green Glow: Coming in 2020

Green smoothie challenge January 2019

Hi WP friends from across the globe. For the past 3 or 4 years (I’m too lazy to confirm) on January 1, I’ve participated in a green smoothie challenge, which I LOVE. I drink green smoothies every day, but this is a treat because I will be doing a LIVE cleanse with people from all over the world. If you follow my blog, you know I’ve written about my green smoothies many times. If you’re curious, you can read a few posts here: https://enlightenedsocialworker.blog/2019/09/28/sometimes-a-vegan/ https://enlightenedsocialworker.blog/2017/04/15/glowed-up/ https://enlightenedsocialworker.blog/2016/11/08/i-love-green-smoothies/

Normally, I post to my facebook page daily when I’m on the challenge (hence, the pictures from January 2019); however, I’m thinking about doing a quick post to my blog site daily. The difficulty with doing a daily blog post is my work schedule, but if I can post to facebook, I can upload a blog post to wordpress.

What I LOVE about doing the LIVE challenge is I get to connect with people from around the world who also want to make better healthier choices for themselves. It just motivates me even further!

Tall, Green and Lean

I am SO looking forward to better health in 2020! How about you? Do you want to join me?

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Forever shopping in my closet

I’ve finally done what I committed to do back in July 2016.  If it weren’t for me rereading my blog post on Closet Shopping, which you can read here, I probably would’ve thought I just recently came up with the idea to take pictures of outfits I assemble with my existing wardrobe. Genius! Yesterday, I spent most of Saturday (7 to 8 hours) getting reacquainted with the clothes in my closet. As I prepare for 2020, I want to let go of feeling like I don’t have enough.  I have plenty!

For clarification purposes, on this recent endeavor, I was focused on my winter wardrobe, which mostly occupies the closet space in my bedroom. My summer clothes reside in my daughter’s closet. With changing seasons, I switch out the clothes.  I grew up in the midwest (Chicago, IL) so changing clothes with the seasons is a habit. 

I didn’t think it would take me 7-8 hours, but time flies when you’re having fun. I had my music playing in the background as I diligently went through my clothes, focusing on the pieces where I tend to have more difficulty assembling outfits.  As the QUEEN of “separates”, I sometimes forget which pieces work well together.  This exercise will help me remember. 

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I enjoyed this outfit at the office earlier in December. I felt extra chic with my black tights and black suede boots. LPC

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At home after church 12-29-19 LPC

Clearly, I’m not a photographer.  After I tried on combinations I liked, I just layed out the pieces on my bed and took pictures with my phone camera.  The lighting in my bedroom is HORRIBLE.  You can see it didn’t capture the vibrant hue of this sparkly blue top. The impetus for assembling my outfits is that I had an epiphany recently.  I spend very little time getting myself dressed because I’m often multitasking, trying to get things done that I think are more important.   

This became apparent to me when I ended up not liking the outfit I put together for Christmas Eve service at church.  My husband and I took a picture together at a display at the church sanctuary, and let’s just say, I didn’t post the picture to my social media.  A complete ensemble consists of not just the clothes, but jewelry, shoes, and a hairstyle.  I have a bad habit of neglecting to spend time on the whole ensemble.  This will change. 

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Golden. LPC

Another epiphany I had is that when I was in my shopping frenzy heyday, I didn’t have a systematic way to shopping.  Unless, there was a special occasion, which was rare, I shopped sales.  This could be another reason why it feels like I don’t have complete outfits, but just a bunch of pieces.  My mom would ask me why I had so many tops, which is still true to this day. I think it’s easier to pick up another pretty shirt.  I didn’t have to put much thought in it.  Over the years, I’ve gotten more strategic about pieces I need (i.e., black dress pants, white shirt, etc.) 

The good thing is as long as my clothes are good quality, I hold onto them for years.  I still  wear some clothes as old as my daughter (she’s 14).  The brown skirt pictured above with the gold shirt is about 13 or 14 years old. I bought the gold shirt and necklace (separate purchases and stores) about 2 years ago.  

My weight has fluctuated over the years, but I’ve lost roughly 25 pounds two years post having my daughter.  I’ve already given away clothes that were too big (except for a few favorite pieces), which is why I probably don’t have any clothes from the time I had my son.  I was heavier then.  Three years ago, I lost more weight and have been maintaining all except 5 pounds. 

In 2020, my goal is to lose 20 pounds.  Although I’m putting shopping on pause now, I will likely need to shop in the future to accommodate my smaller frame.  I need to find a talented tailor for a few pieces I have now and in the future. 

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Pop of color LPC

 

There was a time I had very little black pieces in my wardrobe. I loved bright colors and I still do to this day. Then about 15 years ago, I had a manager who mostly wore black. She used to live in New York City for a period and I noticed she wore black often. She said everyone wears black in New York because it’s chic.  She had me thinking about black, so I added a few black pieces to my wardrobe.

I hope this post encourages someone to stop the madness of constantly buying clothes only to constantly feel like you have nothing to wear.  Why buy things if you don’t take the time to enjoy them.  Spending a whole day in my closet, assembling outfits is a rare treat, but it gave me an appreciation for what I have.  

And what I do have is a whole lot of dresses, especially summer dresses.  I didn’t bother taking pictures of them all.  That will be a future post in the spring.  I’ll have fun pairing them with blazers and dress sandals.  What I’ve learned since living in Texas for 22 years is that you can turn a summer dress into a winter ensemble by simply adding a sweater and some boots. Just like that, I’m able to extend the life of my dresses. 

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Dress is best.  LPC

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Muted hues LPC

I have a small closet filled with clothes and I haven’t even touched the surface.  In my earlier post on Closet Shopping, which you can read here I give insight into how growing up poor contributed to my obsession with clothes. 

Although assembling outfits from my existing wardrobe was a useful and fun experience for me, I want to acknowledge I also felt overwhelmed.  I only touched about 40-50% of the clothes in my closet.  I assembled approximately 25 outfits (not all pictured). 

Earlier in the year, I purged a decent amount of clothes after I watched Marie Kondo on Netflix.  I did the exercise of purging the clothes that no longer served me and I kept the ones which brought me joy.  I think purging should be reevaluated periodically.  It’s not a “one and done” activity.  What brought me joy 9 months ago, may not be bringing me any joy today.  You can apply this to other aspects of your life. 

One light lesson as we close 2019 is I need to purge some “things” from my closet. 

Namely, I want to let go of these false truths:

  1. I don’t have enough
  2. I have to be constantly acquiring stuff to satisfy me
  3. External things define me

The truths I plan to embody are:

  1. I am enough
  2. I have enough
  3. External and materials things don’t define me

How much time do you spend coordinating your outfits? What’s in your closet that you might need to purge? What are you looking forward to in 2020? 

 

 

 

 

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Product junkie

Over the years, I’ve been making a conscious effort to buy products free of harmful chemicals. This was prior to my breast cancer diagnosis in 2016. Since then, I’ve amped up my efforts to live a healthy lifestyle by way of foods I consume and products I use to take care of my body.

On my social media page, I post a lot of my healthy food choices. There’s a push for buying all organic, but that can get expensive. I would love to get to a point where I can buy organic meat, but it’s not cost effective for my family. I find myself considering when I’m at a place like Costco. However, I end up going conventional when looking at my budget. What I do buy organic is produce noted as the dirty dozen. I need to add to my routine to go to a farmer’s market on the weekends. I’ve heard this is another cost-effective option for buying organic.

Dijon dressing ingredients. LPC

I’ve gotten more vigilant about ensuring my physical environment is free from harsh chemicals. In my quest to be healthy, as much as I work to control the things I can, I don’t believe any of us can control everything. Just in our home, it can be overwhelming in considering all the possible places of chemical exposure: carpet, paint, insulation, toilets, new clothing, etc. However, one small thing I’ve done is make a commitment to refrain from purchasing any more scented oil warmers and refills.

Scented Oil Warmers. LPC

I’ve read how harmful scented oil warmers can be for the environment because of inhaling harmful chemicals. I’ve collected so many oil warmers over the years and don’t want to waste them. I found a hack on Pinterest where I replaced the liquid with essential oils, but it hasn’t worked for me. The oils and liquid won’t diffuse, so I may end up trashing all my oil warmers anyway. Bummer!

When I shop for soaps, facial products, and hair, I purchase products free of parabens, sulphates, mineral oils, and other harmful chemicals. I look for products that have essential oils, shea butter, and other healthy ingredients. As part of my self-care routine, I love to give myself facials, so I’m always on the lookout for affordable masks and scrubs. I’m the type of shopper who loves to take my time reading ingredients and touching the product. I do online shopping on occasion, but I prefer to go to my favorite specialty stores to buy what I need.

We’re all going to die at some point, but I don’t see anything wrong with living a good quality of life. In the quest for health, I think we all just need to keep things in perspective, control what we can and let go of what we can’t, and make healthier choices that make sense for our budgets. As my husband says, you’ll either pay for it now or pay for it later in poor health and medical bills. Again, I want a good quality of life, so we’ll do what we can to pay for it now.

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Body image

The other night as I was perusing through a tray on my night stand, I came across an old high school prom picture in a pile of random photos. I’ve been thinking about aging a lot lately. It’s funny how distorted the mind can be. When I was 18 years old, I didn’t think I was pretty, thought I was fat, and was afraid to talk to people. Oh how I’ve grown…literally (pun intended because I’m silly)! Here I am today, wiser, smarter, and the most ALIVE I’ve ever been, and my body is literally changing every day. If I could have my current mindset combined with the body I had back then, I’d be unstoppable! Alas, as fate would have it, life doesn’t work like that.

So at forty six years old, I must contend with this next phase of my life. In the past few weeks, I’ve added to my research: perimenopause, anemia, iron deficiency, and healthy aging. Of all the health issues I’ve had over the years, not one of my doctors told me about perimenopause. I broached the subject with my primary care physician and she didn’t offer much, except to say I was probably experiencing it, but no tests would confirm it…only if I were in menopause. As a breast cancer survivor, my health is my main priority. I put in the work daily to keep myself healthy by exercising, eating healthy, controlling my stress, sleeping, etc. In addition to all of this, I am striving for a healthy body image.

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LPC Summer 2019

I’m glad I can laugh about a recent, real conversation I had with my husband about body image. It went something like this:

  • Me (looking in the mirror, squeezing my stomach & pretending like it didn’t exist): If I didn’t have this stomach, you wouldn’t be able to keep me away from cropped tops. I don’t care about the other parts of my body, I just want a FLAT stomach!
  • Husband: If that’s the case, if I got rid of my stomach, I would never wear a shirt while on my walks, EVER again! (Inside joke: We can’t figure out why most men, no matter their shape or size, or where we are in Austin, jog shirtless.)

I made a deal with myself a few days after our conversation that I wouldn’t be so hard on myself. I will focus on the positive parts of my body I love rather than the parts I don’t. Think about all the modifications we make to hide our imperfections. Think about how much energy that takes. Yes, I’ve had a pouch for 18 years (since giving birth to my 12.2 pound son), and I may never like my pouch, but in the big scheme of things, I have two beautiful children. Instead of looking at myself in the mirror in disgust, I will remind myself of the other parts of myself I love more. I’m hear to tell you, this is hard work, but it’s worth the effort. This may be too much for family members who may read this, BUT did I mention having a pouch hasn’t stopped me from having the best sex of my life? Yup, one of many perks of aging and aging with your love.

My oldest sister told me something recently which made me pause. She said, “You know, you’ve been through a lot in your short life”. Her simple statement rendered me speechless (for a few seconds). It’s true, but because I just move forward, I don’t spend time thinking about what I’ve been through. I focus on how else I want to grow and what else I want to accomplish. And because I’ve been through a lot, I no longer want to beat myself up or waste time thinking about how I look. I definitely don’t want to bring that negative energy into my fifties. We all have imperfections. These imperfections make us beautiful.

I want great health and great body image. I want the same for my daughter. I’m committed to aging gracefully, getting wiser, having a healthy body image, and inspiring others to do the same.

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LPC 7-21-19

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Age is nothing but a number

I’ve heard the expression “age is nothing but a number” at least a thousand times. I have so much going in my life that I don’t usually have time to think about my age; however lately, I’ve been thinking about my age. It could be because I feel more aches and pains in my joints, which can lasts for hours, especially after a good workout. I’ve been more tired due to long work hours and managing my family. I can visibly see the changes in my face: the forehead wrinkles, drooping eyes, under eye dark circles, and smile lines. I also have one gray hair on my right side burn (I’ve had it for years). This is what my 45 looks like sans makeup.

Here’s the thing…I’m not going to lie, I wouldn’t mind having the smooth skin of my twenties. Does this mean I don’t like the way I look now or that I wish I could go back in time or that I don’t want to get older??? No, it doesn’t. In fact, I actually appreciate the way I look now more than I ever did when I had the glorious skin and body to match. I also love my confidence in my forties. In my twenties, I was very insecure and had a lot personal growth to do. In my forties, I know who I am and have learned to care less about what other people think about me.

I’m simply processing how I feel about the fact that there is no mistaking I’m a woman of a “certain age”. What does that mean anyway? For years, I’ve been told I looked younger than my age, which was an ego booster, for sure. I think when people tell you that often enough, you can trick yourself into thinking, “aging isn’t that bad because I don’t even look my age”. However, what about the day when you actually start to look your age or look older? How do you deal with that? I’m not a shallow person. I’m acknowledging my tension with aging is likely because I’ve internalized society’s rules to some degree: beauty equates to youth. The message is everywhere. I need a detox from that message and different definition of beauty.

I intend to age beautifully with a full appreciation for all of my experiences, capabilities, accomplishments, failures, idiosyncrasies, my body, mind, and spirit, and the people who mean the most to me. Some of what I do to take care of myself as I get older are habits I actually started in my twenties such as exercising most days of the week and having a solid skincare regimen. I learned a lot about skincare when I used to sell Mary Kay products. Other things I’ve incorporated over the years are drinking green smoothies daily, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and drinking more water. What I’m working on now is reducing my sugar intake and losing a few extra pounds.

The truth is the voice inside my head doesn’t have an age, so for me, it’s true: age is nothing but a number. In fact, I have to remind myself to slow down; otherwise I’ll suffer the consequences later (i.e. exercising too hard). I strive daily to be the best version of myself I can be. Inevitably, we’re all getting older and sometimes it feels scary, but it’s okay. Here are a few light lessons I hope you embrace:

  • Acknowledge and process your feelings about aging
  • Talk about it with someone you trust
  • Things you can do to age beautifully are:
    • Guard your mind, body, and spirit from negativity
    • Eat healthily
    • Exercise regularly
    • Do activities in nature (ex. walking)
    • Take care of your body (ex. stretch, doctor’s appointments, massage)
    • Practice gratefulness
    • Apply makeup and clothing that accentuate your features
    • Do things you enjoy
    • Learn new things
    • Keep setting new goals
    • Keep in close contact with the people who mean the most to you
    • Laugh A LOT

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