Annual Day of Giving: Nonprofit Love

Image from Big Day of Giving

Image from Big Day of Giving

Since I got introduced to several local nonprofits while interning at a local paper in 2011, they have always held a special place in my heart. It was my time at Vox Sacramento that motivated me to organize a fundraiser for them and blog for them when I could. I loved that I could embrace my love of writing and get involved with my community at the same time.

Of course, my life got kind of crazy in 2012 when I had Cecilia and everything else was placed on hold for a while. Now that she’s nearing two, I’m getting back into the community because it’s something I’m going to encourage when she’s old enough. It makes me equally happy and proud that Sacramento is home to so many different art, education, health and community improvement organizations.

I know how the dedication these volunteers have for their organization/charity and I know that it’s incredibly rare that they are financially compensated for all the work they do. But that’s not why they do it, they do it because there is something pushing them each and every day to give back to their community and help where they can.

The annual BIG Day of Giving is a 24 hour event that takes place from 12 am – 11:59 pm on May 6, where nonprofits can raise an unrestricted amount of money for their organization. Halfway into it, and Sacramento has already raised over a million dollars for various local organizations. Amazing!

I like to do my part by sharing nonprofits that are both local and afar that are shaping an amazing community. You can visit BIG Day of Giving to make your donation for a specific charity, or you can pick from categories like “Arts & Culture,” “Community Improvement” and “Education.”

Here are some nonprofits that make me smile:

Image from 916 INK

Image from 916 INK

Founded in 2011, 916 INK is run by volunteers that get the youth in Sacramento more involved in the literary arts. They hold readings featuring work by children, encourage grade school students to make comics (which appeared at the Sacramento Free Comic Book Day) and also work with Plaid Zebra Films to make short films of the young authors. Pretty awesome work, eh? You can find out more about them by visiting Giving Edge and you can donate to them directly on Big Day of Giving. Check out all the stuff they do and get updates on Facebook.

Image from California Food Literacy Center

Image from California Food Literacy Center

Also founded in 2011, the volunteers at California Food Literacy Center educate the community about food and making smarter food choices that will lead to a sustainable life. They teach classes, partner with other awesome organizations like Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services and Soil Born Farms, and organize events such as the Sacramento Food Film Festival.  Donate to them directly on BIG Day of Giving and connect with them on Facebook.

Image from The GreenHouse

Image from The GreenHouse

Founded in 2002, The GreenHouse volunteers focus on the emotional, spiritual, intellectual and physical development of under-resourced youth and their families in North Sacramento. They encourage active involvement in the community and participate in neighborhood beautification projects. They just renovated their Clubhouse (for which they are holding a Grand Opening on June 13th) and they are hosting Kids at Heart – Community Awards Auction & Dinner – on Saturday, May 31. Donate to them directly on BIG Day of Giving and see more of what they do on Facebook.

Have a favorite Nonprofit you would like to share? Post in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +  and Pinterest!

My Healthy Life: A Journey

my healthy life

With a couple birthdays in one week, it has been a little challenging staying on track with my healthy plan. But, I told myself a long time ago that I would not force myself to be perfect 100% of the time. Sometimes your family will have Mexican food multiple times in one week, and heck…you might feel rebellious and go for the beans and Spanish rice. As long as it doesn’t become a normal thing, and you stay active…you will be just fine. This is preparation for Thanksgiving, anyway. That said, between chasing after my baby and going on weekly walks with my friend, I haven’t seen an increase in my weight. Hooray for that!

Since this is the perfect weather for some soup, I thought I would share a couple healthy soup recipes that I got from Greatist the other day. I love soup so much, and it’s an easy way to stay healthy. The only issue can be making sure you get enough flavor. I’m pretty stoked to give these recipes a try.

Photo from Cookin Canuck

Photo from Cookin Canuck

Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Quinoa from Cookin Canuck – I’m literally staring at my butternut squash that I haven’t had a chance to do anything with, so this would be the perfect recipe for that. I also have some quinoa that I am always trying to hide in our meals, so it’s a double bonus! I have shared a recipe from Cookin Canuck before, so obviously I’m already a fan.

Photo from Relishing It

Photo from Relishing It

Vegetarian Lentil Taco Soup from Relishing It – I must admit, after being a vegetarian for several years (I had to stop when I got pregnant due to some issues I had and now cooking for two meat lovers, I’m vegetarian for 2/3 meals), it can be hard to get flavor out of vegetarian soups. But this taco soup looks delicious, and I think the boys might even eat it, too. Once I saw the jalapenos and cilantro, I knew I would be good. Laurie, who runs Relishing It, is a mama of two, a foodie and an organic cook. She has a lot of good recipes on her blog!

While I was on Greatist’s site, I found a Here’s to Healthy contest, that you can enter right now. All you have to do is follow Greatist on Pinterest (done) and pin things that inspire you on their #healthyishappy board (um, done). Click on the “Here’s to Healthy” link to enter!

Are you ready to take this pledge with me? To include healthy and real ingredients in our food and to remain active – no matter what the activity is? I would love to get this healthy party going. I will be sharing more and more healthy recipes, workouts and yoga routines that I feel are worth sharing, and introducing more real food bloggers. If you would like to join me on this journey, I would love to have you. Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and share your journey with me by using the hashtag #myhealthylife or tag me in the post.

My Healthy Life: A Journey

my healthy lifeSo, today is my birthday! Hooray! It’s also my goal date for my weight loss, and I’m about 14 lbs from it. Obviously, I’m not going to lose 14.5 lbs today, but that does not mean that I’m not proud of what I have done. Although I have cheat days, I focus on eating whole, clean food that makes me feel good when I eat it. I have started a yoga routine, and sometimes I’m even able to fit in a work out.

I’m able to wear some of my old clothes, and I was able to store some clothes that were just too big, and that feels so good. Sometimes when I’m showing Cecilia herself in the mirror, I catch a glimpse of myself and I’m comfortable with what I see. So even though the scale may not be showing the results I was hoping for, I can already see the improvement in my confidence and personality.

And it’s not just the weight loss. I feel a lot healthier than I did before. I can chase my daughter all over the backyard and not feel winded. I have learned how to bake and cook because of this journey, and I have saved my family a lot of money because we don’t go out to eat all the time like we used to. I have done it all just by eating better and working out. I did not take a magic pill, or limit myself to shakes. No crazy diets…just eating better and remaining active.

Wanting to step up my game a little, I decided to take a Core Strength Yoga Class from Sadie Nardini. Let’s just say that it was a 30 minute class, and I lasted 15 minutes. I was happy to hear my daughter cry when she woke up, so I could pretend that’s why I had to stop. If you want a yoga class to make you cry, check her out. I’m pretty sure I threw my back out, but I’m going to try it again this weekend to see how far I can get without injuring myself.

Photo from Sadie Nardini. Talk about a badass yogi

Photo from Sadie Nardini. Talk about a badass yogi

Yesterday, I wanted to find a low-impact workout since I was still feeling messed up from that yoga class and walking over 2 miles to find the Sacramento Antique Fair (one could say I really love antiques), so I found a good pilates class…and I think I’m in love. The class was a 15 minute beginner class so it was perfect for me, and it’s through Pilatesology. You can sign up for $19 a month and can opt for a 10 day free trial if you want to test drive before you buy.

Photo from Pilatesology

Photo from Pilatesology

I also made this pumpkin turkey chilli from The Gracious Pantry, but used potatoes instead of turkey. I added a couple cups of water to help soften the potatoes, but that is really up to you. I absolutely loved the way it turned out. My soups usually lack flavor, but not this one. The coconut milk was perfect for this recipe, and added a lot of spice and flavor. Next, I’m going to make it hotter by adding some chili peppers.

DSC02668

And finally, I wanted to share something I found on Greatist yesterday. It’s a list of 50 bloggers making a difference in fitness, health and happiness…and it’s definitely worth checking out. The bloggers are all listed by category and you can click on their names to be directed to their site. I’m going to go through the list and will share some of the bloggers that I find inspirational and awesome.

Image from Greatist

Image from Greatist

Are you ready to take this pledge with me? To include healthy and real ingredients in our food and to remain active – no matter what the activity is? I would love to get this healthy party going. I will be sharing more and more healthy recipes, workouts and yoga routines that I feel are worth sharing, and introducing more real food bloggers. If you would like to join me on this journey, I would love to have you. Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and share your journey with me by using the hashtag #myhealthylife or tag me in the post.

My Healthy Life: A Journey

Well, I’m exactly one week away from two things I have been looking forward to – my birthday, and my goal date for my weight loss. They happen to fall on the same day, and that is no coincidence. I was hoping to reach 130 by my 31st birthday and kept assuring myself the whole time that I could most definitely do it. And I probably could have…if I locked myself in my room with a mini fridge filled with only the healthiest and best food, and my only activity to do during the day was to exercise.

But, let’s face it. Real life happens…and sometimes your best intentions fall short. I will say that I am proud that I have not only lost all the weight gained during my pregnancy, I am between five – ten pounds lighter than I was when I got pregnant. Sure, I still have 15 lbs to go before I reach my goal weight, but I have had the willpower to turn down fast food and soda, when both are so easy…and sometimes so good.

I have put myself on a workout regimen, and sometimes I actually stick to it. But sometimes I don’t, because I’m freaking tired after chasing around my daughter, and sometimes I count mopping my floor (so what if my mop is actually a Swiffer) and doing laundry as my workout for the day.

18ac2a84412a11e3b44322000a1f92df_8My morning walk with my daughter. My favorite workout routine

So, I’m going to make a proclamation for myself, and if you would like to join in, I would love your company:

  • No more following websites that have the word “Skinny” in them. I don’t want to be skinny. I just want to wear my old jeans. Not the jeans I was wearing before I got pregnant. The jeans I wore when I was at my most comfortable weight. Sure, my hips have expanded. Babies will do that to ya. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. But damn did it feel good to put on a pair of jeans I have not been able to wear in over a year.
  • While on that note, no more pinning “Skinny” recipes on Pinterest. If you haven’t heard this before, most of the skinny ingredients are worse than the real thing. Look at the ingredients and decide if you really want all of that in your body. If you do, go for it. If not, put it down. It ain’t worth it in the long run.
  • Follow bloggers and recipe developers who use real ingredients for all of their food. They don’t do a diet version, because they don’t need to. You don’t need a diet version of granola – it’s granola! A good site I just found today is A Sweet Spoonful. Her recipes have real ingredients in them, and most of them aren’t crazy. Check out these pumpkin spice muffins (you know how I feel about pumpkins). She also has a book called Whole Grain Mornings – I think the title says it all – that will be available on Dec 31. You can pre-order it now through Amazon, and it will be perfect for your New Years Resolution, if you’re about that.
  • Remain active. Even if I can’t get a workout or yoga session in, I remain active. I sit at my computer to write blog posts, and do some work. But I take a break after every project I work on to go walking with my daughter, to play with her, or to clean my house. It keeps her entertained and happy, and I stay active. We hardly ever sit down to watch TV until after dinner. Because that’s my family time, and that’s how we like to relax.

I’m still going to work on my goal, but I’m not going to hate myself if I don’t get in that 15 minute yoga session, and then 15 minutes of bodyweight workout, and then 15 minutes of yoga at night. Because sometimes I’m just tired. And I have other stuff going on. But I will (attempt to) drink all of my water, and I will cook real food for my family. Because not only do I want to look good in my jeans, I want to feel good, too.

2b58fe7e3ff311e38f8522000a1fb838_8Homemade apple butter on wheat toast with banana. Breakfast is served.

Here is my promise to you, and this is one I can stick to. I will continue to share sites with you that I feel good about sharing. I will continue to show you new recipes that incorporate real, healthy food. I won’t ever share anything that has the word Skinny in it. Unless I have checked the ingredients and they are all real. That’s my only exception.

So, to start things off. Here are some of my favorite sites that embrace whole foods and healthy living:

The Gracious PantryIf you have read my blog just once in your life, you probably know how deep my love for this site runs. Tiffany not only shares a whole bunch of clean eating (the elimination of processed foods in your diet) recipes, she also advises on healthy food substitution, like the sugar substitution chart, and she loves pumpkin, too. My kind of girl.

Healthy Aperture – Healthy food photo sharing site. A good way to find recipes that you will love and continue to use, and you can also find new healthy bloggers to follow. If you find yourself liking a bunch of recipes from one poster, maybe you should check out their site and see what else they have. There’s also a blog with healthy tips and recipes.

Attune Foods Blog – This is a new one that I found today, through Sweet Spoonful. It’s a healthy recipe sharing site, and you can also join the FitClean community, which focuses on incorporating both fitness and clean eating in your daily life.

Are you ready to take this pledge with me? To include healthy and real ingredients in our food and to remain active – no matter what the activity is? I would love to get this healthy party going. I will be sharing more and more healthy recipes, workouts and yoga routines that I feel are worth sharing, and introducing more real food bloggers. If you would like to join me on this journey, I would love to have you. Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and share your journey with me by using the hashtag #myhealthylife or tag me in the post.