Traveling Abroad: When the honeymoon phase of the BIG decision starts to wear off

Ok here it is... I am finally telling someone! We are leaving to travel the world!! Quitting our jobs, pausing my education in my graduate school program, and becoming minimalist to free ourselves from the chains of modern society. I can't settled down yet. I can't sit in an office from 9am-5pm, Monday thru Friday, waiting for the weekend. I want to live ALL the time, to just for the weekends. I want to learn how to be happy, authentically, from the inside out. I want to discover my purpose in life. Why am I put onto this planet? I want to understand other cultures and other people. When I die, I want to leave the world as a place filled with less hate and more love. I don't know how to do that. So in order to figure that out, I need to understand people. What causes them to hate others? What are their fears? What is their purpose in life... or do they know? What makes them get out of bed in the morning? I want to explore this world and the ginormous variety of humans that live in it.

So we've made the decision to just go. There will always be "a better time". We could always save more money. There will always be a plethora of reasons why NOT to do this. And it is for that reason that we have decided to just rip the bandaid off. We aren't getting any younger. The plane tickets are purchased. Most of the big expensive gear is purchased. We have told our immediately families. We have a plan for our dog. Holy shit.

Things we still need to do... tell aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and friends. Tell our jobs that we are leaving. File a leave of absence form for school. Sell our cars. Sell other small useless crap. Consultation with the travel clinic. Doctors appointments galore... gynecologist, dentists, regular MD, psychologist. Order remaining essentials. Plan second portion of trip. The list goes on.

Every day, sometimes every hour even, brings about a range of emotions. Some days I am so happy and excited. I feel so lucky to have a partner who is willing to embark on such an epic journey with me. Other days, all I can think is "What the f*** am I doing?!!!" I am quitting a job that I love, taking a break from my graduate school program that I am highly passionate about, temporarily parting from my beloved fur babies (who I hurt being away from for just one week.. much less a whole year!). Am I incredibly stupid? Incredibly brave? Ugh. I can hear my therapist voice now and the many DBT sessions we have had. Perhaps, I am both. At the SAME TIME. I am stupid, I am brave, I am happy, I am sad, I am excited, I am scared.... again, the list could go on. It is a tumultuous cocktail that has me reeling from one side to another and then every other point in between. I am exhausted yet feel so energized. Why so many dichotomous feelings! That definitely leads to feels of insecurity... and... well, the best way to say it is still... "what the f*** am I doing??!!!!!!!!"

Yet, when I think about the flip side, I know with 100% certainty that I can't stay where I am if I want to grow into a stronger, better, smarter, more well-rounded person that I want to be. I absolutely love my job. It is one of the more painful parts about this decision. It would be easier to to this if I hated my life and just wanted to escape. But I don't necessarily want to escape... I want to grow. I want to learn. I want to expand. So I have to gently remind myself, this is not a permanent thing. I plan on coming home. If I still want my old job back, I am very confident with my work there that I could go through the necessary hops to be considered for a job. Nothing is permanent. Change is the only constant. Why is that lesson so dang hard to remember!!?

The other piece of this whole decision that absolutely breaks my heart and IS WITHOUT A DOUBT the MOST DIFFICULT part of this, is leaving our fur babies. We have two amazing kitties and the most perfect boy dog. They are my everything and constantly give me joy, unconditional love, and entertainment. My life would not be the same without them. In my perfect world where I got everything my way, the kitties would go live with my sister and her husband. I know them and love them, and most importantly trust them. But we have yet to hear their decision. While I want the kitties to live with my sister and brother-in-law, I DO NOT want the kitties living there if it is going to inconvenience them at all. The would breed resentment and would cause more damage than good. Hopefully, they will be honest with their decision and we can all do what is best for everyone. I will miss the kitties more than anything. I honestly can't think about it for too long because I start to cry, and I just can't start crying yet! Our boy dog is going to live with the hubby's parents because that is where he grew up and they love the pup SO MUCH! It will make them very happy. That's all that I can say about that at this moment.

 

But since that mostly likely can't happen... I would love for the kitties to go live temporarily with my sister and brother-in-law. I know them and love them, and most importantly, trust them. But we have yet to hear their decision. While I want the kitties to live with my sister and brother-in-law, I DO NOT want the kitties living there if it is going to inconvenience them at all. The would breed resentment and would cause more damage than good. Hopefully, they will be honest with their decision and we can all do what is best for everyone. I will miss the kitties more than anything. I honestly can't think about it for too long because I start to cry, and I just can't start crying yet! Our boy dog is going to live with the hubby's parents because that is where he grew up and they love the pup SO MUCH! It will make them very happy. That's all that I can say about that at this moment.

Well this is all that I have for tonight. I am emotionally exhausted from writing this. But thanks, internet, for letting me get my thoughts out. Soon I am going to write about the loss of my therapist. It has hurt more than I ever anticipated. So without her in my life now, I need an outlet to put my thoughts. This is it.

-e

 

Woman of the Month - April: Clare Gallagher

Woman of the Month - April: Clare Gallagher

April’s Woman of the Month is a local Colorado athlete out of Boulder, who has recently made her debut into the Ultra Running* World. At only 25 years old, she has accomplished more than most do in a lifetime, all while keeping the most humble and down-to-Earth attitude you could imagine. Running is what she’s most known for, but this woman has inspiring dreams and is giving back to her community in outstanding ways. So without further ado, meet Clare Gallagher!

Ghee! The Better Butter

Ghee! The Better Butter

Simply put, ghee is pure butterfat. When butter is simmered for a period of time, the proteins (casein & whey) sink to the bottom of the saucepan while the milk solids (containing impurities and lactose) float to the top in a froth. The frothy top-layer is scooped off, and the proteins stick to the bottom leaving this middle layer of beautifully gold and fragrant butterfat.

Happy First Birthday, FemTribe!

Happy First Birthday, FemTribe!

There are days over this past year that I have wanted to quit. Throw FemTribe out the window and never look back. There have been days when I felt on top of the world! Determined to overcome all obstacles in my way to making FemTribe a success. I have been angry, I have been scared, I have been happy. I have NEVER been bored. 

DIY: Sprouting Seeds

Author: Ali Fifer

 

While it’s barely Spring, you can still grow all sorts of greens in the comfort of your own kitchen window sill. It’s super easy, fun, cheap, nutritious, and only takes about 30 seconds a day for a week or so!

Here are instructions for sprouting your own micro green sprouts!

Step 1: Gather your materials. You’ll need a glass jar (mine is quart-sized), a lid that allows breathing (this can be as simple as nailing holes in a metal screw-on top), and your seeds or beans! I used broccoli seeds from Natural Grocers.

 

Step 2: Add just enough seeds to cover the bottom of your jar, about 2 tbsp for a quart jar. Add a couple inches of room-temp water to cover the seeds. Put the lid on, and store out of sunlight overnight (~12 hrs).

Step 3: In the morning, drain the water from the jar. Rinse with fresh, room-temp water and drain again. I try to roll the seeds around the side of the jar so they don’t pile up too much and receive equal amounts of sunlight. Place the jar in a window sill where it will receive the best sunlight.

 

Step 4: Repeat this rinsing and draining of water each morning and evening. If you’re afraid you’re not draining it enough, you can leave it propped upside down so it breaths and mold doesn’t form.

Step 5: When the sprouts turn green, you can start to enjoy them on salads, omelettes, soups, sandwiches, in smoothies… any way you’d like! When you want them to stop growing, simply store in your fridge up to a week in a breathable container and use the jar to start your next batch.

Day 7 – Ready to eat!

 

Optional Step 6: I like the crunch that the seed shells add, but if you don’t want these, you can put your sprouts in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water. The seed shells typically sink and the sprouts float (or vise versa depending on the seed). You can easily scoop out the shells and compost/discard them

Health Benefits of Sprouting:

  • Cancer protecting benefits – tons of antioxidants (especially broccoli sprouts due to their sulforaphane content)

  • Great source of fiber – improving digestive processes

  • Great source of amino acids, proteins, and enzymes

  • Great source of Vitamins A, C, K, and most B’s

  • Great source of minerals – manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium

  • Great source of omega 3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory effects)

  • Higher nutrient content and higher bioavailability of these nutrients (your body actually absorbs more nutrients)

  • Prevent anemia by increasing iron intake

 

Other seeds, beans, or nuts you can sprout:

Seeds: Alfalfa, Broccoli, Chia, Celery, Clover, Fenugreek, Radish, Kale, Onion, Pumpkin, Sesame, and Sunflower.

(AVOID: any nightshade seeds like eggplant, hot peppers, sweet peppers, potato, or tomato. They’re potentially poisonous.)

Beans: Adzuki, Chickpeas, Green Peas, Lentil, and Mung

Nuts: Typically if a nut is “sprouted” this just means it has been soaked for 2-12 hours to make the nutrients more bioavailable. This neutralizes phytic acid or enzyme inhibitors.

Have fun experimenting!

*There are many different ways to sprout, this is simply the easiest I have found and takes up the least amount of space and time.

*The temperature of your house may slow or speed up the sprouting process. In the winter time, if your window isn’t insulted, it can take much longer than a week. Try a counter space farther from the cold window that can still reach some sunlight.

 

Sources:

“Benefits of Sprouting” - https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/seed-and-nut/sprouts.html

General Reference and “Benefits of Sprouting” - https://draxe.com/sprout/

“This can be as simple as nailing holes in a screw-on top” - http://www.verticalveg.org.uk/6-easy-steps-to-sprout-heaven/

“Other seeds, beans, or nuts you can sprout” - http://www.thekitchn.com/beyond-grains-sprouting-seeds-nuts-and-beans-204708

 

Four Ways I Incorporated Mindful Breathing Into My Daily Routine

Our lives are incredibly busy. From demands at work, stress at home, attempting to have a social life AND trying to take care of ourselves... sometimes it just seems that there are not enough hours in the day to get it all in! This is an incredibly overwhelming feeling, but the good news is: you're not alone. Despite all the stress we place on ourselves, our bodies are incredibly resilient to the stresses of our daily life, such as skipping meals because we’re too busy, sitting at a desk for hours at a time, or opting to watch Netflix instead of hitting the gym - all typical choices a person may make over the course of a week. (It’s not just me, right?) But where does that really leave you? What if you gave yourself a few minutes to check-in with yourself? How could your life improve if you could lessen the amount of stress you experience in your daily life?

 

On average, a person at rest takes about 16 breaths per minute. This means we breathe about 960 breaths an hour, 23,040 breaths a day, 8,409,600 a year. Do you think about your breathing on a regular basis? Perhaps the better question is how often do you forget to breathe?

Since I’ve been lifting weights for the last two years, my awareness about my breathing has become a priority for my daily health. Focusing on my breath during lifting weights got me thinking... I forget to breathe all the time! Both inside and outside of the gym.  Don’t worry – it’s not in any real dire sense, like I’m going to pass out or send myself to the hospital, but in small, significant ways that add up.

 

I wish I could be more mindful about cultivating my meditation practice (woohoo! I’m up to five minutes without squirrel brain!), but there are very few times in my day where I’m consciously focused on something as simple as my breath.

Therefore, I decided to consciously pay attention to my breathing throughout the day, for an entire week, to see where it led me. To see if I could relieve some stress and tension from my life.  Let me tell you, it’s harder than it sounds. So with this, here are my four takeaways that I found beneficial, and I encourage you to give them a try for yourself. 

 

  1. 1. Create and Maintain a Morning Routine - I start each morning with a writing meditation. While doing this, I make sure that I get my coffee intake and sit down to eat breakfast. Not only do I make sure I am fueled for the day physically, but mentally I’ve taken time for myself thus creating intentions for the day. In addition, I choose an affirmation or mantra that will help me refocus on my intentions when I am having a particularly stressful time at work. If I can leave you with anything - it’s meditate and eat well to kick off your day. Don’t just take my word for it, experts and other professionals agree as well.

 

 

2. Take Five... (or sometimes 30) - During the day when I am not walking my dog or spending an hour at the gym, I am glued to my computer. It’s sad to say, but when I’m not at my computer, I’m on my phone checking emails and updates. I’m even that person that eats lunch at their desk because I’ve got so much to do and not enough time to do it. But guess what? This is not something to celebrate. Not only is this unsustainable, but it’s actually not good for you. Take a break. Eat lunch outside or with a co-worker. Stumped on a project or can’t figure out the language you need for that sensitive work email? Then go for a walk, meditate, or read a book. I promise it will make you feel happier, less stressed, and more connected to the present.

 

 

3. Stretch - We hear it all the time, “you need to stretch more!” I know that I should stretch before and after a workout, but here’s the truth. I’m guilty of not stretching enough. I try to do some stretches at my desk or even take a phone call while I am rolling around in happy baby. But the reason I have a hard time doing it is because I can’t slow down, be patient, and breathe through the pain. Anyone else been there? Not only does breathing help, but I actually come away with more energy. Don’t believe me? Try these 6 simple stretches at work. 

 

 

4. Unplug… (especially before bed)  - Step away from the screen. I repeat. Step away from your screen. You can’t let go of the day if you’re constantly checking your social media feed every six minutes. Instead, try cooking a meal, talking to your significant other, read a book, or pick up that crafting hobby you’ve been meaning to try (for me, it’s coloring and illustration). Relaxing and destressing before you hit the pillow is crucial to helping you get better sleep. I put my phone on airplane mode so that I can still use it as an alarm clock, but no one can interrupt my sleep.

 

Remember being conscious of your breath isn’t only about breathing in and out. Take the time to purposefully incorporate a few deep breaths over the course of your day to help relieve stress and connect with yourself. This will help you be present in the good and bad of your daily routine, while having techniques and tools to help get you through it. Life’s not always the easiest, but when you start paying more attention to your breathing, you might be as surprised as I was about what you learn about yourself.

 

 

 

I run for ME

I have always been extremely competitive - even when it doesn’t really make sense. For example, I like to compare my fitness level to my very-naturally athletic, and tall fiancee. While I am fairly athletic myself, I have much shorter legs and a less-fit body, making the comparison between him and me unfair. Yet I still am so hard on myself when he runs faster or can go further. It really did not make sense to judge myself based on his accomplishments but I did so readily.

 

 

Unfortunately, this made our workouts together rather hard. I was always pushing myself to the extreme to keep up when I was not in the shape to do so. Honestly, I was lucky I did not end up with an injury. It was hard for me to watch as he bounded ahead of me with ease and energy, whereas I was huffing with every step. Did I care that he had longer legs, and therefore had a longer stride? Did I care that he was a natural runner? Nope. All that crossed my mind was how I ran more often than him but that he could still outrun me, and I was filled with negativity.

 

One day as I watched him gracefully and handsomely bound ahead, I had a huge realization. The thought hit me like a truck. Here I was promoting this business that encourages people, particularly women, to love themselves and to use workouts as a way to express that love, but I was not practicing it in my own routine. I thought I was practicing what I preached, but when I saw my adorable fiance out ahead of me, the real truth came bubbling to the surface. I was not exercising out of love. I slowed down because I was losing the imaginary race between me and my fiance, which showed me my thoughts were negative and ugly. I was not practicing the fundamentals of FemTribe, I was belittling myself.

 

For the rest of the run, every time I began to have a negative thought about myself, my running abilities, or how I should be better, I replaced it with the simple phrase “I run for me.” Trust me, I had to say it A LOT.

I run for me. Four little words that changed the rest of my work out. Four little words that changed how I saw myself. Four little words that worked.

 

The transformation was astounding. I was suddenly strong. I remembered that I loved to run. I breathed in the freedom that running allows. My stride suddenly grew, and my breathing was not as labored. Four little words gave me pride.

 

It was a complete 180 degree turn. I went from being discouraged, and wanting the run to end, to feeling empowered, feeling that I was healthy, and knowing that I was running FOR ME.

 

I could feel satisfaction in myself, without the need to beat my much taller running mate. I did not - and could not - catch up to my fiance, but I was happy and finally enjoying my run.

I was helping my body get stronger, and I was doing it at my own pace. It felt amazing.


I encourage everyone to repeat the phrase “I workout for me”. You do not work out because you dislike yourself, and you do not workout because your friend can run farther than you. You workout because it makes you happy, gives you energy, and is good for your body. You workout for YOU. It is as simple as that. It is tempting to feel discouraged when you see some hunk lifting 60 pounds when you’re struggling to lift your 8, but if you’re working out for you then your satisfaction could be even greater than his. You won’t feel the unrealistic pressure to be perfect, or to do something your body is not ready to do. Leave others out of the equation - work out for you. Besides, as my gal pal Mother Theresa said, “It was never between you and them anyway.”

Self (ish) Love

 

Self (ish) Love

With the excitement and craziness of the holidays all around us, it can be hard to zero in on what’s truly important. Gifts to buy, parties to attend, vacations to plan and time with family- the list goes on and on. Amidst all this, I’ve got a challenge for you, Tribe members.

This holiday season (and beyond): I want each of you to BE SELFISH.

Hold up. When has that ever been okay? Well, I’m arguing that it’s more than okay- that it’s actually healthy and frankly, incredibly NECESSARY to live the full life that you’ve been dreaming of.

Recently, I’ve been trying to practice self-love in every element of my life. I’ve been attempting to tune into my intuition, listen to my soul and do what “feels” right- regardless if I understand the reasoning behind it.

Sounds easy, right? Wrong.

This has been been one of the toughest decisions to stick with. I’m often confused by my desires, hesitant with my direction and doubtful that I am following my true path. I’m sure a lot of you feel that way pretty often, and it can be a very confusing time. As for me, I’m currently living semi-nomadically with a storage unit and a car full of skis. My weeks never look the same, my clothes sometimes smell and I’ve eaten more frozen burritos than I’d care to admit. I’m skiing as much as I can, cooking when and where I can, and plowing through books. I’m flaky with commitment, vague with my plans and spontaneous in my decision-making (even more so than normal).  Over the last few months, I’ve frustrated my friends, accidentally broken some promises and been wildly unpredictable.

But you know what? I’m more alive than I’ve ever felt before. The secret? I’m being selfish- but for the right reasons.  

All my life, I’ve been taught to be self-LESS, to think of others more often than myself, to put my beliefs / wants / needs on the back burner. I was told to never demand too much from any situation, person, relationship or job.

Being selfish was not tolerated in my household growing up, nor is it a socially acceptable quality now. I am an only child, and as a kid I was hyper-aware of speaking up for myself. I worried that vocalizing my needs would be dismissed as being “spoiled” or because I have “only child syndrome.” We’ve all met people who live up to the “only child” reputation, regardless of whether or not they actually are. I grew up (and still deal with) bratty folks every day who are demanding, impatient, narcissistic and self-absorbed. I knew from an early age that I couldn’t let that be me- WOULDN'T let that be me.

So over the years, I’d bent over backwards, accommodated others’ needs to the point where “compromise” became my middle name. I became a “yes” girl, following orders, others’ expectations and the pre-determined path society laid out for me. I had a hard time raising my voice or saying “no,” for fear of disappointing friends or family (though maybe I wanted a quiet night at home instead of going out, and that I actually hate coffee and prefer tea any day of the week).

It became so bad that I would get such anxiety if I thought I’d made a friend angry, and wouldn’t be able to let it go until I had scrutinized every conversation and possible outcome to see where I’d erred. I had trouble carving out “KK days,” just for myself, where I did nothing but what I wanted for an entire day because I’d be racked with guilt that I flaked on friends, or worried I was being too anti-social (though I actually enjoy being alone).

So 26 years later, I decided I was done.

I made a change- a mindful adjustment that has dramatically altered my life and opened up a world of possibility. And now, I challenge you to do the same.

I’m not suggesting it’s easy or necessary to drop off the grid, walk out on your commitments or erase your life and start fresh. I’m aware and so incredibly thankful that I am able to live like this, though I know it's not a forever thing. At this time in my life, I’m blessed with good health, great friends, flexible jobs and minimal commitments. I can answer to my own beck and call, and have found such a strong sense of empowerment from doing so. I believe each and every person is entitled to an incredibly free and joy-filled life.

So how do you get it? Three “easy” steps (that are some of the hardest to do):

1. Start by taking inventory of your life and identify what doesn’t serve you anymore- a relationship, a job, your diet, a routine, hairstyle, etc. Trim the fat. Become a minimalist. Less is more. Quality over quantity. These cheesy one-liners are around for a reason. Check in and decide what stays and what is okay to change, and then… LET GO.

2. Become more forward-facing.  Set goals. Push yourself to learn a new hobby or skill. Start a new workout routine. Learn to cook an exotic dish. Get out of your comfort zone. It’s incredibly rewarding when you realize you’re not bound by anything or anyone. Yes, you may have a family or a job or a mortgage, but zeroing in on what’s most important to you allows the surface crap to fall away. You will have more energy and chutzpah for the relationships and experiences that actually matter in life.

3. Get out there and F***ING do it!!!  Again, arguably the hardest and most challenging step. Get your butt moving and GO. I understand it’s not easy, but nothing ever worth doing is easy, right? If you want it bad enough, it won’t be easy – and in fact, thank goodness it’s not! The experience is much more worthwhile knowing it was not handed to you.

Being selfish for the right reasons is a game changer. How can you share your love and kindness with the world if your needs are not met? If you don't care for yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually, etc- then how can you expect to lead a fulfilling life and inspire those around you to do the same? It’s time to stop “talking the talk” and actually start “walking the walk.”

So, stop reading this article and GO. NOW. Move forward with gratitude, and open mind and the courage that you’re about to live the life you deserve. If you’re feeling nervous, go sign up for some FemTribe classes to jump-start your self-confidence and get back in shape (2017- New Year, New You whadduppp).

Enough reading- now go kick some ass!

Peace, (self) love and lots of chocolate,
KK