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The Green Glow: Day 8 – Mango Madness…again

Yup!!! I’m at the point of the challenge where I’m making repeat smoothies. The point of this 10-Day challenge is not to follow the plan exactly, but to add one healthy habit to my day. It doesn’t matter which green smoothies I drink, what matters is that I drink a green smoothie. And I have been indulging in these DELECTABLE healthy combinations every day.

The journal of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. -Lao Tzu

The hardest part of most things is getting started. Once you get going, then you wonder why you hadn’t started sooner. You just need to get over the wall in your mind that’s keeping you from your goal(s). Just start. Just do it. Then you’ll be fine.

What steps have you taken towards your 2020 goals?

Plaque on my office wall. LPC
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The Green Glow: Day 6 – Cream Machine

Didn’t I tell you in a previous post that healthy habits beget more healthy habits? Well, it’s true. Day 6 is almost gone and I’m more than half way there. This has been a fun 10-Day green smoothie challenge! I LOVE the different flavor combinations. Today’s smoothie was DELECTABLY CREAMY and smooth due to the addition of the avocado and banana.

Not only did I drink my LUSCIOUS green smoothie, I also made a vegan dish; hence, another healthy treat. Participants in the challenge received a few bonus recipes.

Simple Green Veggie Bowl with Coconut Sriracha Sauce. LPC

I was off work today and decided to make one of the bonus recipes and I’m so glad I did. Not only did I have a healthy portion for lunch, but I have lunch portions for the next two days. There’s nothing like that Sriracha Sauce. It’s better than I imagined.

Veggie bowl LPC

I substituted green beans for asparagus and maple syrup for honey in the sauce. The recipe also called for walnuts which I did not have. I used all frozen vegetables too. I’m not afraid to role with the punches. After all, I’m an experienced home cook. The dish still came out AMAZING and will definitely be a regular on my meal rotation schedule.

About to drink up the Cream Machine after my morning work out. LPC

It’s much more beneficial and productive to focus on adding the positive things to your life rather than focusing on what you need to remove (but you can’t get rid of). This experience makes me appreciate I’m taking the time to do this for myself. This is what I call self-care. It actually feels indulgent to be fueling my body with these beautiful and healthy foods. I’m here for all of it!

If you’re interested in learning more about how to sign up for this 10-day green smoothie challenge. Read my Day 1 and Day 2 posts in the The Green Glow series.

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The Green Glow: Day 5 – Mango Madness & other things

I’ve never done this before! This is the 5th day in a row I’ve posted to my blog. I attribute it to my excitement and enjoyment of sharing my 10-Day green smoothie challenge with you. Check out my earlier posts to see how you can join. This whole experience has been EASY BREEZY!

I’ve also been sharing some light lessons on successfully maintaining healthy habits and goals in general. It occurred to me how important it is to assess your progress periodically.

As a breast cancer thriver, about 30 minutes prior to every 6-month appointment with my oncologist, I get blood work done. In December, I had been anticipating my blood work results because I wanted to know if my iron deficiency anemia was improving. I didn’t think so because of the symptoms I was having. I also wanted to know if my glucose level was decreasing.

The benefits of seeing my oncologist so frequently is that he addressed the anemia right away by prescribing medication. That was about 6 months ago. I was concerned about my glucose level because my primary care physician told me about a year ago that I should avoid the “bad” carbohydrates because my glucose was getting high for me.

My anemia has improved as my numbers are in range, but my glucose was higher than it was 6 months ago….still within range, but not where I want it to be.

With doctors, perspective really matters because my oncologist’s focus is on the cancer; whereas my primary care physician is focused on the big picture. She identified an upward trend in my glucose level. My oncologist has never said anything about my glucose. From his point of view, my numbers are within range. In the big picture, I need to prevent any future illnesses if I can.

This is a wake up call that I need to rethink some of my food choices, including reassessing my green smoothie healthy habit. Granted, the holiday season just ended and I tend to eat more sweets during this time. In fact, I’ve yet to post about all of the baking I’ve done. Whatever the case, I inevitably get back on track after the new year.

For the green smoothies, I will complete this challenge. Afterward, I will continue to drink green smoothies, but will focus on low glycemic fruits like berries instead of the ones that tend to be higher on the glycemic scale like the features of the Day 5 smoothie – Mangos, oranges, and banana (some of my favorites). Update: I did a search since typing this post and the three fruits in this smoothie actually are not high glycemic fruits. Oranges are low, bananas are low to medium, and mangos are medium….so Not bad.

I also plan to reduce my intake of high carbohydrate foods like white pasta, white rice, and white potatoes.

Pasta alternatives

I purchased a couple of boxes of what I’ll call “pasta alternatives” months ago because I vowed to be on a low glycemic diet. These versions have more protein and fiber. It’s funny that the boxes indicate “Product of Italy”. Do they makes pastas like these in Italy? I just asked my husband, Bryan, who lived in Sicily for two years and he doesn’t think so.

Tonight, I used the pasta made with pea flour to make macaroni and cheese. I did not like the taste of the pasta itself after I boiled it. However, combined with my delicious cheese sauce and some time in the oven, it wasn’t bad. And to my surprise, my husband and kids enjoyed it. I also plan on using my spiralizer more for vegetables as an alternative to pasta altogether.

Reassessing your goals is important to make sure you’re staying on track. You don’t have to beat yourself up. Just do an honest self-assessment. No shame, no blame. Readjust if needed.

How are your 2020 goals coming along?

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The Green Glow: Day 3 Pineapple Dreamcake

Happy Friday everyone! I’m energetic on the third day of 2020 and my third day on this 10-day green smoothie challenge. Have I told you how much I LOVE tropical fruits like pineapples??? Today’s smoothie features pineapples beautifully with cherries, a banana, almond milk, and spinach. I added ground flax seeds and a small knob of fresh ginger, which took it over the TOP! Scrumptious!

In order to maintain any healthy habit, it’s key to set yourself up for success. For example, with this challenge, I did some things ahead of the challenge to ensure I wouldn’t have any excuses not to reach my goal of completing the 10-day green smoothie challenge.

Although the instruction manual divides the shopping into two grocery trips (likely to be spaced out by a week), I completed all of my shopping for the challenge in one weekend.

Most of my fruits are frozen, so I don’t have to worry about them spoiling. One tip I did to ensure my fresh spinach doesn’t spoil is I immediately froze some of the fresh spinach. Trust me, I’ve been doing this for a while, so frozen, fresh spinach works great in smoothies. When I’m ready to blend, I just let my frozen fruit thaw a bit in a measuring cup on the counter.

It’s essential to set yourself up for success in maintaining any healthy habit, or any goal, for that matter. Preparation and planning will help get you there.

What are some of your health goals for 2020? How will you set yourself up for success?

Smoothie prep LPC
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The Green Glow: Day 2 – Pink Flamingo

Pink Flamingo Smoothie is a Winner! LPC

Happy Thursday! Today is my first day back to work in 2020 and I’m feeling FABULOUS! I prepped today’s smoothie recipe last night and it was more “pink” last night than this morning. It was more of a greenish brown by the time I drank it, but still DELICIOUS!

Pink Flamingo LPC

I suppose the strawberries, combined with the mango, spinach and almond milk would make a “pink” hue; however, I substituted strawberries for mixed berries. The hue came out to a shade of pink, which may not be very reflective in the picture. To this smoothie, I added ground flax seeds. I forgot to add the knob of fresh ginger, but it was still YUMMY. Each recipe serves one, but I always end up with a little extra. The jar to the right is about a half a cup. I’ll drink that up as a snack before dinner.

I want to share a tip on acquiring a collection of mason jars. It’s really simple. Don’t ever throw away used jars such as spaghetti jars, jam jars, coconut oil jars, pickled pepper jars, salsa jars, spice jars, etc. I remove the labels by soaking in hot water and then BOOM, I have a new jar in a different size. I have a cabinet full of purchased and re-purposed mason jars I use for my smoothies.

If you’re interested in adding this one healthy habit of drinking a green smoothie to your day, check out the website at https://simplegreensmoothies.com/ for more information.

Cheers to our health!

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The Green Glow: Day 1- Beginner’s Luck

Hi friends from across the globe!!! Happy 2020! Today marks the first day of my participation in a green smoothie CHALLENGE. As promised, I will post my daily progress for 10 days. The challenge itself should be a piece of cake. After all, I’ve participated for the last 3 or 4 years. Listen, I don’t need a challenge to make me drink a green smoothie because it’s an everyday healthy habit I’ve done for a few years now, but who doesn’t love a challenge??? It helps remind me of my health goals. I want to encourage you to add at least one healthy habit a day.

I’ve been enjoying green smoothies, cleanses, and vegan recipes from https://simplegreensmoothies.com/ for years now. Almost more than drinking the green smoothies themselves on this 10-day challenge, I love the names of the smoothies. Today’s smoothie is called Beginner’s Luck. I’m not a beginner and I don’t believe in luck, but this smoothie is like a tropical themed party in my mouth. It features some of my favorite fruits – mangoes, pineapples, and a banana. Once the spinach is added, the result is a scrumptious, creamy, beautifully green smoothie. I think anyone new to drinking green smoothies will be hooked after trying this one.

These smoothies are nutritious as is; however, I add extra boosters to amp up the nutrition factor. For Beginner’s Luck, my liquid was brewed organic green tea that I chilled instead of plain water as the recipe indicated. I also add flax, chia, or hemp seeds to all of my smoothies. And for good measure, I add a small knob of fresh ginger.

If you’re interested in this challenge, check out the web page https://simplegreensmoothies.com/ to find out more information. It’s free join…you just need to purchase the ingredients.

Here’s to health, happiness, adventure, joy, success, and love in 2020. May the light lessons you face along the way help you reach your goals. Cheers!

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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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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to my WP friends from all over the world! I was up super early after a night of repeatedly getting up to use the restroom. Serves me right for drinking a glass of water close to bed time. You’d think it was a gallon.

Of course, my cats heard my movements, so I could hear the purring from out in the hallway. My husband, Bryan, and I were on our cell phones. Then, my son, Caleb, walked into our room. Soon after, I heard my daughter, Elise, come out of her room. They were ready to open gifts. I’m tickled that my kids still feel the excitement even though they’re getting older.

Beignet and Cannoli Carr with their gifts – LPC

Everyone was back in bed by 8:00 a.m. I’d been exchanging texts with family and friends most of the morning. I spoke to a dear friend for a while. I exercised on my step board my husband got me. I was so excited I had saved one of my old step aerobics DVDs.

I burned some serious calories on Christmas Day! LPC

I plan to have a quiet day at home. My real purpose in this post is to send a special message to those of you who may be struggling this time of year. Whether the struggle is financial, grieving a lost loved one, loneliness, isolation, weariness, homelessness, illness, etc., the reason for this season is to celebrate Jesus’s birth. It’s not about the consumerism and materialiam that we’re bombarded with daily.

There’s peace, joy, generosity, good will, gratitude, and love in the air that I hope permeates your soul today and every day.

Merry Christmas!

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To all the badass women leaders

Oh dear! This is the last Christmas Eve of the decade! Listen, 2019 has tried to WHOOP my behind and I mean TRIED, but I have a second wind. I’m percolating with ideas and enthusiasm. I’ve been laying low and recharging my battery, particularly my spiritual battery. For anyone in a similar situation as me, we can end 2019 with a BANG, or at least with the acknowledgment that we did the best we could and we’re still standing to tell our story.

My lovely boss gave me an early Christmas gift and I’ve already begun diving into this book. I know I’m a badass and I don’t doubt myself like I used to. In fact, the older I get, and the more experience I gain, the less I doubt myself. However, sometimes the obstacles of life can make you doubt your path, BUT I’m here to tell you to keep going. Obstacles, challenges, disappointments, disasters, and defeats come with the human experience. Don’t bother asking, “Why me?”.

If you’re not in a struggle now, you’re coming out of one or are headed that way in the future. But don’t fret! It strengthens your muscle, and which muscle being strengthened (character, spiritual, resilience, emotional, mental, financial, intellectual, integrity, professional, parenting, friendship, etc.) depends on what lesson you’re meant to learn.

Intermingled with the obstacles in 2019, are some definite wins. This is why it’s so important to take time every so often to reflect on your life. The end of the year, or decade for that matter, is a great time to reflect. It’s important to review your goals, assess your progress with achieving them, and determine what other work you need to invest to reach them. It’s also important to acknowledge and express gratitude for the things working well in your life because there’s something to acknowledge, no matter how small.

I want to spend a little time doting on the badass women leaders I know. I’m fortunate to work in a environment with a diverse group of exceptional women leaders. I’ve known this already, but it really stood out to me last week. The strongest traits I see in them that I admire are articulating thoughts precisely, saying the hard things, encouraging others, providing constructive feedback, taking the time to learn, adjusting, and bravely making hard decisions on a daily basis. These are just my current colleagues. I’ve had examples of strong, badass women leaders my whole life.

My mom, Solange, was a package of strength and vulnerability. I was perplexed by this combination for a long time. She raised 4 children on a meager salary on her own for years (before she married my stepfather when I was 16). I don’t know how she did it when I learned how much her salary was. I think I made more money than her in my first full time job and that job wasn’t much.

Solange was strict and had high standards. She passed her work ethic down to all of her children. I believe the work ethic she instilled in me is responsible for why I’m in a leadership position. My work ethic is responsible for why I push myself so hard….I’m an overachiever. Overachieving comes with some drawbacks as you’ve seen me blog about previously. I’m in a constant battle of doing and being okay with not doing. I have to tell myself to “chill out” sometimes.

The other badass woman leader example I grew up with in my own home is my older sister, Gina. Growing up, she was the one everybody called “bossy”. Naturally, most people have a problem with the “bossy” ones because they don’t want to be told what to do. However, she was practical and had an organized sense about her.

As it turns out, people who are bossy make great managers and she’s been in leadership roles at various jobs starting at an early age. I’ve always admired Gina’s ability to speak with confidence and articulate what she meant. Gina was frank and honest. I’m grateful she’s one of my resources for feedback in managing certain personnel matters at work.

Then there was my older cousin who is so smart. I’m purposely not typing her name. There’s a lot of pressure in Haitian culture to do as your parents have set out for you. Our parents’ generation had some relational tactics that I found were controlling and manipulative. As the middle child, my cousin, from my perspective, learned to be a great neutralizer and negotiator in the family. In fact, I think Gina, also has these traits as she is the middle child.

My cousin maintains relationships with everyone even if those individuals don’t get along with each other and some don’t. She’s the common denominator. They all get along with her. I’ve also watched her achieve her goals and meet high standards she set for herself and standards her parents set for her.

I could go on, but these are just some of my examples. If you’re a striving to be, or are a current badass woman leader, surround yourself with other badass women leaders.

The traits I admire in women leaders such as articulating thoughts precisely, saying the hard things despite the audience, constantly learning and adjusting, negotiating, managing personalities successfully, offering constructive feedback, bravely making and standing by hard decisions, managing work and family life simultaneously, don’t come easily to many of us. Women are raised, or at least used to be raised, counterintuitively to what makes a great leader (please everyone, don’t say what you think, be nice, etc.)

2020 is right around the corner and I plan on being even more BADASS than I already am. And BADASS for me does include taking the time out for myself doing the things I most enjoy. I’ll share some of my goals in the coming weeks.

As a jump start, I started my Christmas break doing something I love…dancing. I was one of the instructors at a Zumbathon benefiting a shelter for women and children.

LPC leading a song at the Zumbathon 12-21-2019
Zumbathon 12-21-19…badass instructors and students who remained to the end. LPC

We normally attend Austin’s Trails of Lights spectacular, but we opted to go more low key and small town this year. Therefore, my husband, and I, went to the small town of Buda’s Trail of Lights. It was seasonably cold.

Peace..more of this in 2020 – Buda Trail of Lights 2019 LPC

Then, yesterday after I spent the day preparing a feast for my husband’s birthday, we went to our church to hear the amazing Annie Moses Band play Christmas music. Their performance was so beautiful, it left us speechless.

Annie Moses Band LifeAustin 12-23-19 LPC

I hope you all have an AMAZING Christmas and holiday season! I know this time of year is difficult for many due to financial stress, missing a loved one who is deceased, and loneliness, to name a few. The biggest misconception is that you’re alone. The reason for the season is Jesus’s birth and He is with you. Please take comfort in Jesus’ sacrifice for you.

Now it has just occurred to me, I’ve repeatedly used the same curse word throughout this post, and yet ended the post writing about Jesus. I’m not perfect, but I know the reason for the season. I plan to curse less in 2020, but in all fairness the book started it!

What wins have you had in 2019? Who are the positive examples in your life? How do you plan to spend the last few days of the decade?