CREATURES OF LOVE

It’s Monday!! It’s Monday!! It’s Monday,which means my 12 Days of Kindness is in full swing!! NO WAY, like yaaay!!! SO, I got THE cutest story to tell you guys today and I mean like on a scale of 1 to totally adorable, it’s off the charts, like beyooond adorable and yes, this issss possible! Alright, I don’t have much time to tell you guys this story (because I’m exhausted), so lucky for you (aaand me), it’s not that long!! Ready?? Here we gooooo:

Yesterday marked Day 1 of my kindness thaang and um, it was totally memorable. I purchased a Starbucks gift card (earlier in the day) while I was slurping down my (yes, vegan) soy mocha frappuccino with no whip cream (and yes, double blended of course). I held the gift card close to my heart (well, actually my fancy, yellow purse did) in anticipation of handing it to someone in the grocery store (later that day). Call me crazy, weird, or whatever you like (go ahead, I don’t care), but I love spreading cheer in grocery stores. Ha, sorry, but I DO! There’s just something about grocery stores that make me wanna tell people (myself included) to sloooow down and smell the roses…or the cupcakes, candies, or what not!! Seriously though, doesn’t it feel like everyone in grocery stores are crankily (P.S., that does not sound like a real word) rushing around? Huh? Huh? 

{Insert blah-blah-blah} Hooray, Sunday was a fabulous day with lots of well, blah-blah-blah*ing, so now that you’re caught up on my day (Sunday), allow me to set the next scene:

It’s 5 pm and I’m in Farm Fresh (picking up a few items for myself) when I pass this lady (with my ever so stylish black, woven hat on may I add) sipping on her Grande Starbucks coffee (there’s a Starbucks in Farm Fresh). I follow her for a couple steps (eeeek, not tryin’ to sound creepy here) and instantly decide that she’s the one (that I’ll give the gift card to). She looked sad and honestly, I felt bad for her. {Note: Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you that I have this sixth sense.}

Anyways, I called out to her (I think I said, “Ma’am” or something), she turned around, and I explained what I was doing (12 Days of Kindness). No lie, she looked terrified. I wasn’t sure she’d accept the gift, but then it became apparent that she didn’t know what to say (that she was at a loss for words). In this order, she took a step back, looked into my eyes (as she put her hand over her heart), and then gave me THE biggest hug ever. My heart melted into the floor as I handed her the card. She told me (with tears in her eyes) that NOTHING like this had ever happened to her.

Truly, I’ll never forget this moment. It was just so beautiful. Two (complete) strangers bonding over kindness…

Thanks for listening!! You guys are the greatest!! Have a fabulous week!! XOXO

-Kristin

THE 12 DAYS OF KINDNESS

Happy Weekend Everyone!! Join me this holiday season in spreading a little (extra) kindness!! It’ll make you, plus SO many other people feel all warm and smiley (like fo sho)!! Here‘s where I got the idea!! Of course, I put my own, little twist on it, y’all!! Yaaay for showing true holiday spirit!! It’s not about getting everything YOU want (although that’s awesome, too), instead, it’s about giving 100% of your heart to your family, friends, and even strangers in need!!

Welcome to The 12 Days Of Kindness, which will start tomorrow and end on Christmas Day!! Who’s psyched?? Ummm… MEEEE (and I hope you are, too)!! Ready or not FUN because here WE come!! Woohoo!! Have a fabulous weekend and PLEASE let me know if you take this list out for a spin (a.k.a. if you decide to participate)!! I’d LOVE to hear about it!! Smooch!!

Here we go!!!! Feel free to sing along!! Tehehe!! 

On the first day of kindness,

I will do this:

Pay for someone’s coffee!!

On the second day of kindness,

I will do this:

Bring my neighbor a gift basket!!

On the third day of kindness,

I will do this:

Surprise my yoga teacher with flowers!!

On the fourth day of kindness,

I will do this:

Write a thank you note!!

On the fifth day of kindness,

I will do this:

Make a special cake!

On the sixth day of kindness,

I will do this:

Give my hairstylist a gift!!

On the seventh day of kindness,

I will do this:

Bake firefighters cookies!!

On the eighth day of kindness,

I will do this:

Hand a stranger a gift card!!

On the ninth day of kindness,

I will do this:

Send a hand- written letter!!

On the tenth day of kindness,

I will do this:

Donate to the SPCA!!

On the eleventh day of kindness,

I will do this:

Buy a person in need dinner!!

On the twelfth day of kindness,

I will do this:

Deliver police officers donuts!! 

THANKS FOR YOUR LOVE!!!! XOXO!!!

-Kristin

Acceptance

Welcome to Sunday and welcome to the holiday season everyone!!! Whether you enjoy this time of year or not, it’s heeere, roaring its ugly head (i.e. holiday traffic, crowded stores, etc.), BUT I got some great news for you and it goes a little bit like this:

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE MISERABLE!! The next time you’re in the mall, feeling a tad bit squeezed, maybe even a little claustrophobic (standing next to that millionth person in line), remember to smile. It’s amazing how far a smile can carry you aaand I don’t mean out the door; although, who knows, maybe walking out the door would be the best thing for YOU and your sanity. Sadly, this time of year, people get so stressed out shopping for that perfect holiday gift that they miss out on all the true beauty of the season. The crisp, winter air, the warm, cinnamon scents, the movies, the fun, friendly gatherings are all part of this wonderful magic!

WHAT’S UP WITH ME? IN SUMMARY:

#1- I just got over the flu (I hate the flu!!!)

#2- I just got done with 16 hours of yoga teacher training this weekend (I love yoga!!!)

#3- I’m a vegan now (My body feels amaaazing!!!!)

#4- I start The 12 Gifts of Christmas Saturday (and I can’t wait!!!)

#5- I feel sublimely happy (through acceptance, I’ve found myself!!!)

Well, I feel a little bit like Alice in Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole in search of something greater. Lately, I’ve been trying to piece (or peace) myself back together (wow, this is quickly turning into Humpty Dumpty). Over the past few months, I’ve really transitioned my train of thought towards myself. It’s great to hold doors for strangers and to make connections with others, but it’s equally great to show self love. There’s so much in this world that we can’t control, that when it comes to something we can control, we usually do, but that’s not always a good thing. I’ve put down my reins of control and have accepted myself. It’s a freeing feeling.

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STEPS TO ACCEPTING MYSELF

1} IT’S OKAY TO WANT CHANGE. Change is a part of life. Without change, I can’t evolve.

2} I’M NOT PERFECT. I make mistakes. That’s part of life.

3} MY EMOTIONS ARE MINE. Why should I hide them? I have a right to feel how I feel!

4} PEOPLE ARE ENTITLED TO THEIR OPINION OF ME. I can’t control how others treat me, but I can control how I respond to them.

5} THIS IS MY LIFE. I make my own decisions. I live accordingly.

“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” Amy Bloom 

Have a great Monday everyone!!! Hugs and kisses!!!

-Kristin

THE POWER OF WORDS

WOW, is this still MY blog, or what, huh?? Not only have I completely revamped it (hence, changes galore), BUT I haven’t posted in 2 weeks! WHAT???!!! Walk of shame in progress!! WALK OF SHAME IN PROGRESS!! Watch out for flying frowns!! Geez, talk about a walk in the clouds or better yet, a walk across hot coals. Can ya see the smoke? Seriously though, I’ve missed you guys SO much!! DID YOU MISS ME….??? (…nervously, Kristin waits for an answer…)

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Well, OK, although I haven’t been walking on hot coals per se, I have been burning rubber, so-to-speak (Wait, did I just use another idiom?), that is, going in a million + 1 directions ALL at the same time and OH, by the way, I leave for vacation tomorrow!! WATCH OUT, Orlando, Florida because HERE I COME (+ my family, which = DOUBLE TROUBLE)!!! Tehehe!!

GOOD NEWS!!! MY NEW HALF MARATHON PR IS 1:35:53!!! YEP INDEEDY!! I RAN RICHMOND HALF THIS PAST SATURDAY AND HELLO, 2 minute drop! Although I won’t necessarily be recapping it, I WILL be sharing some KIND THOUGHTS that I had along the way, that is along my half marathon way which by the way, is a loooong way (I don’t see how you marathoners do it…y’all are tough!!)!! I also rocked out a meet (the weekend before Richmond), tryin’ to get that 100 fly zing back AND will be runnin’ a 5k AND swimmin’ another meet in less than a month (OH and in the same weekend)! Action packed weekend here I come!!

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NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF KIND WORDS!! THEY CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS (or maybe even move you to the finish line)!

During Richmond Half, I carried with me a piece of crumpled up paper that didn’t look like much, but honestly, meant the world to me. Inside this lousy note were words that infested my soul with inspiration. This past Saturday, I was one with the road and to be truer than true, I was one with MYSELF. I’ve never felt better at a race! It felt easy and smooth, as though I were free falling over a waterfall! I was excited, yet nervous! I was a kid in a candy shop, yet totally focused. I was inspired, yet totally overwhelmed with so many different emotions!! In summary, I WAS THANKFUL for the opportunity to get out and move my body in the way that I wanted to move it! There’s just nothing better than that!

RUNNING AND SWIMMING MOVE ME IN A WAY THAT NOTHING ELSE CAN! Think about it, why do YOU do what you do? Why do you hike or bike or run and have fun?? Well, because you like how it makes you feel! Being grateful for the things that we CAN do is so important because in these very things, we find peace and love and so much joy and even touch the very places that need to be touched (i.e. our hearts). Pulling on our heartstrings creates beauty that’s transparent. It’s a way that we relate to ourselves and to the world. Alright, soooo….

Inside the shagged out paper were these very thoughts:

(Note: During the race, when I needed a pick-me-up, I unfolded my piece of paper and read these very words.)

“Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic.” – Tim Noakes

“Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about.” -PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

“Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?'” – Peter Maher, Canadian marathon runner

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“I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.”-Arthur Blank

“During your pains and efforts and belabored breaths, remember the pains and belabored breaths of the dying who, at this very second, fight for every last second of life. Then suddenly, the real reason for the race gives you strength.”

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Re-read the bold words above and remember, that every gasp you make towards the finish line is a miracle in and of itself. WE’RE ALIVE! Your finish line might look different than mine (maybe it’s not a race at all), but we can’t lose sight of the fact that we are living and breathing and healthy! Seriously y’all, let’s LIVE and BE HAPPY!! XOXO

-Kristin

CHANGES GALORE

Welcome to my new life chapter titled, unadulterated happiness! Well first, Hey Everyone!!! It’s nice to be back blogging, especially with a new perspective. Hint: My blog will be changing. It’s probably no secret that I’m obsessed with analyzing my life, setting lots of physical goals (running, swimming, etc.), and feeling the need to keep surpassing my own self, BUT these last couple of weeks, I’ve been doing lots of soul searching, and have found that I’m no longer happy with where my blog is going and where my spiritual (for lack of a better word) life is going. I want to talk about issues that will inspire others to no, NOT keep pushing themselves into oblivion (like I’ve been doing with running and swimming), instead, I want to inspire others to be happy with where they are. 

You see, I’m SO tired of being soooo scared to race for fear that I won’t reach my own personally set goal, which will THEN lead to me being upset, which will THEN lead to me having a bad day, which isn’t fun at all. I’m tired of having that same transaction with myself time and time again and to be honest, all I end up with IS a lonely feeling of wanting more (even when I reach my goals), which just isn’t me. Aaaand guess what, there’s WAY more to Kristin than swimming and running, I promise.

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My very first day of yoga teacher training, we had to partner up and share our answers to the following three questions:

#1- What is something that everyone knows about you?

#2- What is something that very few people know about you?

#3- What is something that you want the entire class to know about you?

Well, I partnered up with this lovely lady and of course, we discussed the above questions. She’s a great gal and we’ve been partners ever since!! Smooch on her!

My answers:

#1- Everyone knows that I’m a competitive swimmer and runner.

#2- Very few people know that I’m terrified of snakes.

#3- I want the class to know that yoga has changed my life! 

Anyways, after getting home and pondering on the questions (yep, I’m THAT analytical), I realized that I wasn’t happy with my answer to the first question. When I die, I want to leave a mark that can’t be erased, you know, something that far exceeds my physical self. Of course I’m still “taking my mark”, swimming, running, and the like, BUT I will no longer be talking about that side of my life very much. It’s something that I do and that I enjoy very much, and that of course I’m very passionate about, but it’s something that I know longer want to talk about here.

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My blog will be more about kindness, which was my original theme anyways and I’m really happy about this decision. Let me end by saying that YOU guys inspire me to the nth degree! After all, there are so many metaphors for life and y’all cover the spectrum!!

MY ADVICE? NEVER stop being YOU and talking about what makes you blossom. It just so happens that I love running and swimming, but I’d rather write about other stuff, like kindness galore.

TALK TO YA SOON!!! XOXO

-Kristin

YOGA STYLE

“Yoga does not remove us from the reality or responsibilities of everyday life but rather places our feet firmly and resolutely in the practical ground of experience. We don’t transcend our lives; we return to the life we left behind in the hopes of something better.” ~ Donna Farhi

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The time has come to ravish my yogi self! I’m excited! 18 hours of yogi lovin’ this weekend (starting tonight at 6:30 and ending 2 pm on Sunday)! My journey ahead (RYS200) will be long and challenging (ending in May), but I’m takin’ my new, pink Manduka yoga mat by the straps, slinging it over my shoulder, and singing the tunes of a once lost girl, having now found my true self through yoga. I’m in heaven! Am I nervous? Of course because I’ve spend most of my mat time alone, half moonin’ it solo in my living room with Prince, my doga pup, BUT my mat’s smoothed out, ready to go, and my body is ready to rock it teacher style (with 13 other yoga companions that will be along for the ride). I’ll miss Bryan Kest; although, I’m pretty darn excited because I’ll be poppin’ into one of his workshops next month! Vacationing in Florida (Disney World! Yaaay!!) has its perks, especially when Bryan Kest is hittin’ up the area, too!! Such great timing!!

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3 textbooks is how many I’ve got!! Count ‘em! BAM! Well, THAT was the sound they (i.e. my books) made when I picked ‘em up, browsed through ‘em, and then quickly dropped ‘em, overwhelmed with the info at hand. Lots to absorb! Here’s a bit from my yoga school (Yep, pretty cool I gotta yoga school right around the corner!):

The certification is recognized worldwide and will give you much more than a
certificate. It will be a transformative, individually focused journey shared with others.
We are all on our own path, but that path leads us to the same place.

Training Topics Include:
Teaching Methodology
Yoga Anatomy & Physiology
Philosophy, Lifestyle & Ethics
Meditation Techniques
Prenatal Yoga
Restorative Yoga
Yoga For Seniors & Back Problems
Children’s Yoga
Basics of Ayurveda
Pranayama
Yoga Business & Marketing

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Aaaand after all this, I plan to complete RYS500, which is a year long yoga therapy program!! As you can see, I have lots of yoga schooling in my future (about 2 years worth), but how cool to be a yoga therapist, huh? Wish me luck!! xoxo

Yoga Therapy is one of the fastest growing natural health fields in the US. Science is discovering more every day about the measurable therapeutic benefits of practicing yoga.- Zenya Yoga Academy

Have a GREAT weekend EVERYONE!!!

-Kristin  

CONFESSION SESSION

Okay, confession time! Secretly, I’d love to be an advice columnist (especially for teens), you know like Steve Carell in Dan in Real Life. Um, LOOOVE that movie BTW!! Life advice is just so darn beautiful, don’t ya think?! How could you not take it (i.e. advice) in and (at least) reflect on it a bit? I guess the one thing I’ve always believed in…is to take the advice of others or to at least listen to what people had to say. We’re all beautifully different so why not open your ears, open your heart, and  open your eyes to what could be?

I’m the first person to admit that I’m not perfect (shocking, I know!), but come on, perfection is so overrated… I’ve learned the best stuff (yeah, stuff) from my oopsies. I mean, haven’t you? Being both a swim coach and a writer (visiting schools and interacting with kids), I’m often asked by parents/teachers to sound off advice (i.e. advice that exceeds swimming and writing). Alright, so here we go.

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Teeny-boppers, this one’s for you!! 

#1- Believe in yourself. Believe that you’re capable of greatness all on your own.

#2- You don’t need anyone else to make you happy. Happiness blossoms from within. The aftermath of contentment is self-confidence. Self-confidence breeds friendships.

#3- Alcohol is not the answer. You can be fun and fabulous without the added edge.

#4- When dating, don’t squeeze yourself into an unrealistic mold that looks nothing like you. Stay true to you!

#5- Target your dreams and never lose sight of your goals until you hit the bulls-eye. Never count the fallen arrows, instead, use them as a road map to your final destination.

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#6- Link your head to your mouth and your mouth to your heart: Speak with wisdom and courage.

#7- Indulge in kindness (it’s free!)!!

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#8- Technology is the way of the world, but never forget your roots- to get outside and lavish in the sunshine.

#9- Belittle is to Be little- never stoop to that level! It’s just not nice.

#10- There’s no ugly-pretty, only pretty ugly, and I equate ugliness to unkindness. Put your best foot forward and your best face forward because HELLO, you’re beautiful!

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GOT ANY ADVICE FOR TEENS? I’D LOVE TO HEAR IT!! XOXO

-Kristin