This is the time for New Year’s Resolutions. And next week we will have forgotten all about them (or is it just me?) I’m not against resolutions, per se. There is nothing quite like a new beginning to inspire change in your life. However, I have found that I’m not so good at keeping resolutions. Often times we make them too specific or too grandiose, and in the end, we give up on them. We focus on outcomes instead of action,
There are many alternatives to the resolution. As a matter of fact, you can always try a couple to see which works best for you. Just keep them simple and focused so you don’t overwhelm yourself into failure.
1. In January, I am starting another bookclub/workshop session on my book 90 Days to Holistic Wellness. The book walks you through making 1 small change each week for 12 weeks. The changes are small and manageable and cover many different aspects of Body, Mind, Heart and Soul. After 3 months, you’ve made many improvements to your lifestyle on which to build upon.
If you aren’t close enough to join the group, simply work through it on your own. That was the actual intention of the book anyway. You can get a copy HERE.
2. Word of the Year. Choose one over-arching word to inspire you and keep you marching in the right direction. The word can be anything that has meaning to you or that you want more of in your life, such as: Compassion, Love, Self-Love, Abundance, Passion, Creativity, Acceptance, Strength, Hope, Health, Family, Friendship, Mindfulness.
Choose a word that resonates with you. Then, journal about it, meditate on it, write it on a postit and put it on your frige…and let it inspire and lead you all year long.
3. Set weekly mini goals, based on balancing your Body, Mind, Heart and Soul. Decide each week what you want to accomplish that week, to feed these aspects of self. I use my bullet journal to keep track of these.
4. Pick up a copy of Gretchen Rubin’s book “The Happiness Project”. It's filled with great ideas and inspiration for creating a better version of yourself throughout the entire year. You can get a copy HERE.
5. Make a list of your top 5 life priorities. Post them on your refrigerator, write them in your calendar and make a point every day of prioritizing these things. When you give them your attention over time wasters like TV, FaceBook or whatever else tends to steal your time, you will see positive change in your life.
The concept of a New Year’s resolution is simply to identify a priority and set a goal toward it. What ways do you have of identifying your priorities and making sure you meet them? Feel free to share in the comments.
Happy New Year – may 2017 be wonderful!
It’s that time…when I like to take a few moments to ponder the previous year.
What went right in 2016? So much!
Simplification has been a key theme for me in 2016. I continue to fight the battle against stuff, finding inspiration in minimalist blogs and podcasts. I have no intention of living in a sparse, tiny house. However, I find that when I am more intentional about the stuff I allow in my home, I end up living in a home that is truly me, rather than in a space full of stuff.
My daughter started her Senior year of high school, got her license and started her college search. If this isn’t a growth opportunity for mom, I don’t know what is. The idea of my baby becoming an adult and leaving the nest is crazy to me and brings about so many emotions! Happiness, sadness, pride, fear, etc etc. Thank god for time in meditation to sort it all out!
My business is growing and changing as an idea took on a life of its own! After a few conversations with a new acquaintance, the universe shoved us along until we partnered up and opened Holistic Hub. HH offers yoga, meditation, nutrition/wellness coaching, wellness and creative classes and more. It’s been (and still is) a whirlwind ride and I am so excited to be a part of it! And, I am so grateful that I have a loving husband that has been supportive and understanding about it all.
I have reconnected with my favorite hobby. I always loved to read, but as life gets busy, reading was one of the easiest things to let go. I did still read, but not as much as I would have liked. Then I stumbled upon a podcast that inspired me to head to the library and grab a book! Since finding “What Should I Read Next” in June, I have read so many books I can hardly believe it. And not because I cleared my schedule and suddenly had nothing else to do. I simply made it one of my priorities…and that is all it took! You find time for what you prioritize. (“Instead of saying ”I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels.” – Laura Vanderkam)
I started a bullet journal, which I have found to be a great tool for scheduling, planning and keeping track of things (like books to read). This tool has a lot more potential, which I hope to harness in 2017.
What went wrong? Luckily nothing too big!
Relationships, sigh. I'm not the best at making time to nurture relationships. I had told myself I was going to be more intentional about reaching out and connecting with friends and family in 2016. I did not do as well as I had hoped. As a matter of fact, I almost failed. Not to say I didn't connect with friends at all...I did. And I did have lots of fun in 2016. But in the end, I didn't make the soulful, personal connections I had hoped for because I didn't truly make it a priority.
I may have made time for reading, but another passion that I have been ignoring is writing. I had intended to spend more time writing in 2016, even if it was simply writing thoughts in a journal. I didn't write even a fraction of what I had hoped to.
A new year brings new opportunities to grow and expand, I can't wait to learn what 2017 has in store for us. But before it gets here, I highly recommend that you spend just a few moments contemplating 2016. Then, thank it for all the lessons it offered, and set your sights on 2017.
Here's to 2017! May it be the best year we've experienced so far!!
~ Namaste ~
A few months ago I stumbled upon a wonderful podcast…about books. While it might not sound like the most interesting topic, the first episode I listened to had me hooked. The discussion was great and I finished the episode with a post-it note list of 3 books that I wanted to read. The next episode left me with a couple more and after listening to the entire archive I have added almost 100 books to the list. Listening to these episodes helped me rediscovered my love for reading. I used to read all the time, but I had reached a point in my busy life in which I was not prioritizing reading.
Have you experienced this? Finding yourself so busy you don’t make time for something you love? If you know someone that is passionate about something, you know that they will prioritize it and find time in their busy calendar to fit it in. So, I started to do the same with reading. I would carry a book with me to read any time I had a moment. I started listening to audio books and using my kindle. Often I find myself reading 3 books at once (one paper, one kindle, one audio). While I’m still busy (I work full time, run my own business and have a family & home), I have managed to read over 40 books in the last 6 months!
This time of year we are especially busy. Holidays can really over extend our to-do lists, but I urge you to make time for yourself and things you enjoy. Prioritize what you love, what you enjoy, what makes you happy. If you make something your priority, you will find the time for it!
Oh, and that podcast? Modern Mrs Darcy's What Should I Read Next….give it a listen and make time for something you enjoy this holiday season!
I am spoiling myself this December, which I try to do every year. So many people find this time of year stressful; and it can be, if you don’t start early and make an intention not to stress out!
Every year, I schedule vacation time around the holidays. Sometimes a few days before Christmas, sometimes it’s the time between Christmas and the New Year. This year it’s both! I find having a little down time, to relax and spend time by myself really sets me up to enjoy a stress free holiday season…which allows me to really cherish my time with friends and family!
I am currently sitting by the Christmas tree, drinking a cup of tea, listening to Christmas music and writing this blog. I can’t tell you how happy and spoiled this makes me feel. During this time off, I am being productive. I am doing laundry, blending tea for customers, working on my business plans for 2016 and more; but I am doing those things in between reading a good book, watching cheesy Christmas movies, journaling, meditating and doing yoga. I have this time to myself because the final gifts were purchased and wrapped days ago, the only task left is to grocery shop for Christmas dinner, which I will do tomorrow.
Do I feel a little guilty sharing this with you? Absolutely not! Because if you are one of the many people who are stressed out and feeling overwhelmed, I hope that I inspire you to do something different next year. It’s not difficult, it’s all about planning. The holidays come every year…it shouldn’t be a surprise. Don’t wait until they are upon us before you start to prepare.
I wish you the best for the remainder of this year and I am looking forward to all the possibilities 2016 will bring!
People often ask me for healthy and simple meal ideas. One of my favorites is Nicoise salad, because it is mostly plant-based, easy to throw together with just a little forethought, it’s filling and easily modifiable.
Let start with the classic version:
Greens, dressed with a simple mixture of lemon, white wine vinegar, mustard and olive oil.
Boiled egg, sliced or quartered.
Small boiled potatoes.
Blanched Green beans.
Olives and/or radishes.
As is, it is a delicious salad, full of veggies, protein, a little starch and a lot of deliciousness. However, for those of us who like to push the rules, there are several variations you can make within these basic guidelines of this delicious salad. Here are a few suggestions:
Greens – get creative. Why use just one lettuce type? You could use green leaf lettuce, bib lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, beat greens, kale, romaine, arugula or any combination of these.
Egg- it could be hard boiled, soft boiled, poached or even fried (over easy or sunny side up).
Boiled potatoes – use left over baked potato, saute some with onion or use cubed sweet potato.
Beans – try blanched asparagus, broccoli or snow peas.
Tuna – good canned tuna will work, or you could use slices of seared sushi grade tuna or even some leftover salmon.
Tomatoes – quartered or chucked tomatoes are the norm, but you could use grape tomatoes or a yellow heirloom variety.
Olive/Radishes – there are lots of varieties to choose from for both of these. You could also slice cooked beets, or use sliced raw turnip.
For the dressing you can zest it up with garlic, thyme, parsley, basil or use lime juice instead of lemon.
I bet you already thought of some other options I didn’t even mention. Any combination of these will create a similar, but unique version of this classic salad; all very healthy and delicious. Try one this week and let me know what you think about it! Inspire me!
Here's to healthy and delicious meals!!!
I find that people over-complicate making changes to their lives. We forget what healthy eating is and instead turn to processed food or a diet gimmick. We often, at some point in our lives, get out of balance. We forget that it is important to nourish all aspects of ourselves. I wanted to help people get past all this. I wanted to inspire people to make healthier choices, not just today, but in a way that would transform their whole lifestyle.
This idea was the founding concept of my business, Holistic Wellness with Tracy. I teach classes on various topics around holistic wellness, I help my 1:1 clients identify small changes they can make to improve their level of health and wellness…but something was missing. How do I reach more people? How could I coach people I’ve never met into making their lives healthier and happier? The answer was through a book.
For years there has been something in the back of my head…something I wanted to do, but put off because I was afraid. I was afraid of the work involved, afraid of criticism, afraid that maybe I couldn’t really do it, afraid of putting myself out there and yes, I was even afraid of success. What was I so afraid of? I was afraid to write my first book, but I was drawn to write it before I even knew what I really wanted to say.
When the concept of 90 Days to Holistic Wellness – balancing your Body, Mind, Heart and Soul came to me, it brought with it a bunch of insecurities. Could I really do this? I don’t know! I’m typically a confident person, but did I really want to take on this project and risk failure (or success)? I was paralyzed at first. I had this idea, but I was afraid to act on it. So I procrastinated. I let the idea simmer. Then one day it hit me! Follow your own advice, silly!
I believe in small changes, in baby steps. So that is how I started my book. I worked on an outline to see if I could design a complete book concept. Once I was happy with that, I wrote chapter 1. Hmm, that wasn’t too bad. So, I wrote chapter 2. Then I wrote chapter 3. You can probably figure out what came next. Yep, chapter 4…and so on and so forth. Eventually I had the book pretty much finished, except for a lot of editing. I had an almost completed book, now what? Fear started up again. I needed a publisher, but had read horror stories of rejection letters and feelings of failure. The thought of that sounded horrible and I really wanted this whole experience to be as positive as possible. So while I could have pushed through that fear and sent proposals to 25 different publishers, I didn’t. I chose instead to use a self-publishing company, Balboa Press.
This of course brings up a whole different set of fears. Putting up the money myself to publish the books, and hope that I can recoup enough to pay myself back, let alone maybe actually make some profit. This fear was actually a little more comfortable than facing the fear of rejection…proving to me that sometime you just have to pick the better of two evils and push ahead!
So now, I am so excited to say that my book is available to the public! I still have a couple more hurdles to jump through – like 2 book signing celebrations! Yes, I’m a little nervous no one will come or no one will buy my book; but in the end, I know that I did something that was meaningful and fulfilling to me. I pushed through my fear to create something that I hope will help people…and of that I am extremely proud!
If you are in the area, please consider stopping my one (or even both) of my book celebrations. Books will be available for purchase, we will have refreshments and giveaways, as well as raising some money for local charities. Details on these events can be found on my website, under EVENTS.
If you can’t make a book signing but are interested in reading the book, you can order your copy at
or from Balboa Press, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Thank you to everyone that has supported me in this project, especially my husband Andrew, my daughter Paige and my friend/unofficial editor, Diane
I recently went on a lovely, week long, tropical vacation with my husband and a couple of our dearest friends. Before I left, I promised myself that I would spend the week in the moment or in a good book. No mindless internet, minimal email and absolutely no Facebook. Why was I so adamant about this? Because more and more, I find myself filling every down moment cuddled up with my smart phone. Standing in line? Better check my phone. A lull in conversation? Better check my phone. Sitting at a stop light? Better check my phone. You get the pattern here, right? I bet you do, because I see many of you doing the same exact thing!
I realized awhile back that this pattern was becoming my new normal, and I didn’t like it. So I started paying attention and realized I turn to Facebook every time I get a spare moment. All the time! I find this rather funny (in an odd way), because I love quiet and solitude. Why would I fall into a habit of avoiding it?
Truthfully, I have no idea why. There is just something about the constant contact that is addictive…maybe it’s the fear I might miss something “important”. But it really doesn’t matter why…the point is that I decided to take a break while I was on vacation. But I was seriously concerned that I wouldn’t be able to do it.
Are you wondering if I was successful? Are you a bit curious? Did I struggle or cheat? What did I think of it? You probably know the answer already...It was awesome! I checked for emails once a day, twice if I thought there might be something from my daughter. But I did not open Facebook, despite several emails from them. Facebook quickly became aware of my absence and started emailing me…to be sure I was aware of the growing number of notifications I was missing out on. LOL. I was pretty sure none were too earth shattering!
Vacation came to an end and we returned home. A day later, I finally logged in to like something I knew my husband had posted. I didn’t care to look at anything else, so I didn’t. The next day (2 days after return) I logged in to acknowledge a post I had been tagged in, but I didn’t care to look at anything else, so I didn’t. 3 days after my return I logged in, did a quick 5 minute scan of my notifications, liked a couple pictures people posted for Father’s Day and that was it. I am really loving less Facebook in my life. Over a week later, I am checking Facebook 1-2 times a day, for 5-10 minutes. Does this give me time to see everything in my newsfeed? Nope…and I’m okay with that.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think Facebook has some wonderful qualities!! I love seeing pictures of friends and family I can’t visit often enough, I love my friend’s inspirational posts and I love some of the funny ones as well. I love learning of new books from my favorite authors, meditation programs offered by my mentors or herbal tidbits posted by other holistic practitioners. All of this stuff is great! Luckily, I have made it a habit to unfollow people that post things I don’t really appreciate, so my newsfeed tends to be pretty positive and happy, but it still seems like many of us are falling into the trap of confusing Facebook with real life.
So I am making a commitment to myself, to increase my mindfulness…and the only way to do this is to decrease time spent in mindlessness. I am committing to minimal Facebook. I encourage you to do the same. Maybe your Facebook isn’t your thing. What is your mindless poison? Too much TV? Twitter? Pinterest? Instagram? Snapchat?
Could you spend a little more time being present in the moment rather than reaching for your computer, tablet or phone every time you have a moment to yourself? Maybe instead, just sit and enjoy that moment of peace. That is certainly what I’ve been doing, and loving every minute of it.
Here in the U.S. we have a holiday weekend coming up. Consider putting social media in timeout for the weekend…to just relax and enjoy living in the moment. Try enjoying real, live socialization with friends and family, or get out in nature for a solo walk. Enjoy some introspection, read a book or watch some fireworks. Often, life is better when you live it unplugged!!!!
Enjoy the peace!
Some include outerwear, some don’t…usually PJs and workout clothes are not included. Some people include jewelry and sunglasses, some don’t. Bottom line, the “rules” of a capsule wardrobe can vary a lot, as do most things “minimalist”. It is always best to personalize them. You are unique, after all.
There are a couple reasons I like the idea of a minimal wardrobe…
1) When I was first bitten by the minimalist bug, I did a pretty severe pruning of my wardrobe. I donated a good 1/3 of my wardrobe.
2) Decreasing my wardrobe was awesome, because after the pruning, everything I pulled out of my closet looked good on me and made me feel awesome.
3) Because of reason 2, getting dressed in the morning was much simpler. None of that putting something on, deciding it didn’t look good and hanging it back in the closet. If I didn’t think it looked good, it was no longer in my closet to begin with!
4) Just like reason 3, getting dressed in the morning was much simpler, because there weren’t nearly as many choices.
My wardrobe is fairly minimal in comparison to that of many of my friends and even what it used to be. However, I find things have a way of sneaking in…that great sundress you found for a steal at $5, the skirt your friend gave you because it didn’t quite fit her…the sandals you found buried in the hall closet that you forgot you owned. New stuff comes in, stuff gets worn and decisions need to be made on what stays and what goes. Committing to a capsule, means you are less likely to shop, unless it is to specifically replace something in the capsule. Ex, if you are committed to only 33 items, you will shop less and think long and hard before buying anything new.
It seems like a capsule wardrobe would be fairly easy if you live in a consistent climate. For myself, thinking of a spring wardrobe, I’m reminded that today I am wearing shorts and a tank top, while just 4 days ago I was wearing long pants, a sweater, wool blazer and 2 pairs of socks. This makes planning a capsule wardrobe a bit difficult. I worry that the concept is too rigid. I wouldn't want to exclude clothes I love just to hit an arbitrary number. However, because I love the idea, I don’t want to poo-poo it. Maybe I just need to remember that my goal is not minimalist…it is enoughalist.
What would I put in my Spring capsule? Without looking in my closet, I did a quick listing of pants, shorts, capris, long sleeve shirts, sweaters, t-shirts, tank tops, dresses/skirts, jacket, shoes, scarves….my quick and dirty number is 60. That seems like a respectable number considering that I have to dress for 40F – 90F, work and casual. I’m sure I’m forgetting about awesome pieces of clothing that I will want to include, but that’s okay. I think I will take a look and see where I am now…and then decide where I want to go. I'm sure I'm currently above 60 items, but maybe some of those need to go? I shall see...
Do you own so much you feel like you never have anything to wear? I challenge you to check out one of the blogs or books below and take a closer look at what’s in your closet. And please, share your thoughts on the size of your wardrobe in the comments below.
Wild Orange is my favorite essential oil. To me, it is energy in a bottle!
This time of year, as I’m opening up windows (when the weather cooperates) and doing my spring cleaning, I love to infuse it. It makes my whole house smell fresh & clean.
Why am I bringing this up? Because, if you are like me, a clean house just isn’t enough. Don’t get me wrong, I love an uncluttered and clean environment. As a matter of fact, I thrive on it. But it’s not enough to just know it’s clean… I want it to smell wonderful, fresh and homey. There is something perfectly comfy about walking into a home and having it smell amazing. Many people go about this with plug-in air fresheners or with sprays such as febreze or glade. Have you ever considered what chemicals are in those sprays or what it does to your body when you constantly inhale them?
I prefer more natural methods! Here are just a few suggestions:
I often diffuse scents in 2 ways – on the stove top in a pan of water or using an electric or candle heated tart warmer (you know, for the wax tarts). Instead of using the wax tarts, I just add essential oils and water. You can also get fancy and use a diffuser specifically made just for essential oils.
Some of my favorite essential oil combinations:
-Wild Orange, Lime, Geranium
-Wild Orange, Lavender
-Lime & Chamomile
Not an essential oil user? Don’t despair. Try one of these options:
In a small saucepan, add about a cup of water and…
-Zested Orange peel, Vanilla extract (smells like a creamsicle)
-Lavender or Lilac flowers
-Lemon juice and zested Lemon peel, Cardamom
-Pumpkin pie spices
-Rosemary and Peppermint leaves (tea)
-Lime juice, zested Lime peel and Spearmint leaves
-Chopped apple, Cinnamon, Cloves
Bring almost to a boil and remove from heat or lower to very low flame. Keep an eye out so as not to burn off all the water. Worried about forgetting about it on a flame? Put ingredients into a crockpot.
As you can imagine, the sky is the limit. I could sit here all night listing off great scent combinations. I encourage you to experiment and find the exact combination of scents that smells like home to you.
I wish we could do a scratch and sniff blog! My nose is looking to experience one of these, so I’m heading off to blend something up. What one are you going to try?
Tracy Martorana is a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, Meditation Instructor and Herbalist...hoping to inspire you to live your life from a place of Holistic Wellness.