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GUEST POST: Sobering Moments of Commitment

 

Sobriety for any defined period of time was a foreign concept for me. I’m a single, thirty-something year old event coordinator living in the heart of Richmond City. Let’s be real. In addition to the fact that I was raised in a family of unabashed drinkers, part of my job is keeping a pulse on local talent and night life. In all fairness, slamming a few cocktails at the local hot spot while scouting the latest band could almost be considered “field research”. You know, par for the course. No really – I’m just that dedicated to my work.

When my friend, Peter, decided to hop on the wagon for 90 days, I was impressed. Impressed by his will power to resist a drink when offered, but also impressed with this idea of making a commitment to himself and seeing it through. When was the last time I fulfilled a commitment to myself? I make and keep promises to others all the time, but when did I last make a promise to myself and actually keep it? The truth is that I’m pretty bad at it. Monday’s declaration to eat healthy and work out for the week would usually end with Friday’s acknowledgement of two days at the gym while I patiently wait for the delivery guy to show up with my pie.

My neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia.

 

No alcohol. Maybe I could do this too. I considered my lifestyle. It wasn’t that I drank every night or that I felt like my drinking had become a problem, but alcohol was always an option. It didn’t always have to be a blurry night of shots and dancing. Disclaimer; those are always super fun. It could just be a glass of wine at dinner or an invitation to happy hour with a group of professionals. Why say no if you don’t have to, right? This wasn’t about depriving myself of something that I felt like I needed. It was about having a goal, defining a period of time, challenging myself and seeing it through. Three months seemed like a bit of a stretch though. (I’m a realist.) I settled on 30 days of no alcohol.

I’m not going to bore you with my own version of the blogs that we’ve all read before – “I stopped drinking alcohol and this is what happened”. Instead, I am just going to give it to you straight. After just two weeks, my skin was glowing, I was sleeping soundly through the night, I had tons of energy during the day, I was feeling svelte in my clothes and I was super focused.

I think the most difficult thing to convey is the comparison of one’s state of mind when alcohol is removed from the equation. I wasn’t an unhappy person before this experiment began, but boy was I feeling on top of the world these days! I always considered myself to be hyper aware of my surroundings, tapping into my natural intuition and easily navigating through intense social situations or conflicts at work. The sober me felt like a superhero! My senses were heightened, my instincts were sharper and finding resolution to conflicts was a walk in the park. Everything was so much clearer! Had I been living in a permanent fog before?

 

Perhaps the biggest take-away was realizing that the very “medicine” that I had used to cope with my anxiety was in fact causing my anxiety or at the very least, making it much worse. Years of suffering with waves of anxiety were often treated with alcohol. Feeling down? Have a drink. Stressed out with work? Have a drink. It’s no secret that this method only offers temporary relief and often makes the symptoms worse the following day. These feelings didn’t stop from surfacing completely, but committing to no alcohol forced me to actually process what was making me anxious and get over it, rather than drowning my feelings out with a swift tilt of a glass. I was resolving my own problems! Simply put, you don’t need alcohol to cope when there’s nothing with which to cope.

My notes from a transformation class I took earlier this year.

As the holidays approach, we are faced with over indulgence and temptation, only to be met with the idea of resolutions and the promise of a new year. We tell ourselves that we’re going to be different. That, this year we’re going to change. I’m going to work out every day. I’m going to eat salads for the next six months. I’m only going to drink on the weekends. These goals that we set for ourselves aren’t always in line with our lifestyles and are often laced with the unrealistic staples of perfection that would be difficult for anyone to attain. It lasts for a little while, but we give up pretty easily. Then, we so effortlessly slip back into the lifestyles that make us comfortable. We make excuses for ourselves so that we don’t have to be accountable. I don’t have time to go to the gym today. Only 20 minutes for lunch, so it will have to be the drive-thru. I was so stressed with work, happy hour turned into ‘last call’. We do this because we need to feel okay about letting ourselves down.

 

 

Fulfilling my 30 day commitment to not drink alcohol didn’t result in a major lifestyle change and it didn’t magically turn me into a demi-god, but it taught me some fundamental things that can translate to my day-to-day life. I can make a commitment to myself. I value myself enough to see it through. I’m worth it and I can be proud of my accomplishment. If we are culturally predisposed to a cycle of over indulgence and setting unrealistic goals that lead to lies to justify our failures – all just so that we can feel okay – I think it’s paramount to tell you that the benefits of fulfilling this small commitment to myself have made me feel so much better than just okay.

 

 

As we reflect on this year and enter into a new, let’s take a hard look at what we’re really committed to. Are we really committed to the betterment of ourselves? Or are we simply committed to being noncommittal? In this new year, let’s set realistic goals for ourselves. Let’s love ourselves enough to follow through. Let’s compare all of the major personal gains to the small sacrifice that we’ve made. Let’s challenge ourselves to be committed to commitment.

Jo-Elsa Jordan

 

“So are you like, a fortune teller?”

Guys! We are so lucky to have the below Guest Post from the darling and fearless Kessley McCormick Horton. Kess and I have been friends for decades and she is KILLING IT right now with her amazing talent and gift. Read more to find out about what she does, how she can help you, or just invite her to your next girls night for champagne and goddess readings (yes, she does that too)! Thanks Kessley! xx

“So are you like a fortune teller?”

I smile slowly and look around my desk, as I compose my thoughts. My pretty little crystals sparkle in the afternoon sunlight from a vintage glass dish and my ceramic “happy buddha” smiles at me, but there is no crystal ball.

My giggle comes out before my rebuttal and my young client immediately apologizes saying, “I’m so sorry. That didn’t come out right.”

This is one of a hundred requests I get monthly from possible new clients around the country for a complimentary consultation. The session is 15 minutes, 25 max, completely free, and a chance for me to vet out any … shall we say, unstable clients, and also for them to question me about my process. Basically, it’s a time for both of us to make sure we are vibing.

“I really need help with my life. I feel like I don’t even know why I’m here! Can you help me?”

With one eye on the clock and the other on my calendar I assure the young woman I can help. She thanks me for ignoring her nervousness and “that silly first question” and we wrap up the session with her ready to book. I send over her PayPal Invoice and chug down lemon water, wishing it were Rosé. I am obsessed with my job but channeling energy all day can be nerve wracking, not to mention exhausting.

Adjusting my baby pink turban, I get ready for a FaceTime interview with a client in Hollywood. She is not an actress or blogger; she’s a major screen writer and wants to know the details of what I do!

I layer another coat of my signature NYX Shocking Pink lipstick and feel ready even though the bags under my eyes say something else.

A few minutes to spare and I spend them loving on my two Pomeranians who are always in my office. They stretch and roll over, another hard day at work with Mama!

SHOWTIME.

The screenwriter calls 4 minutes past our scheduled time and I act like I don’t care and I only do for 2 seconds because she jumps right in.

She has dark hair and is a natural waif with olive skin. The screen writer sips from a Trenta… the 30 ounce cup from Starbucks and is super hyped.

“So tell me everything!”

Although I tell my story almost every day, I never know where I will begin. Today, I start by speaking about my job as a Respiratory Therapist and the heartache I experienced working in medicine, seeing the worst of the worst, and how my empathy was physically showing up. I had always had vertigo but it had gotten so bad my Primary sent me to the Balance Center. The specialist checked my ears and said the left ear drum seemed a little closed but it shouldn’t be affecting me to the extreme I had described.

And it was. Working in medicine I had to transfer my patients on a ventilator to get cat scans constantly. There’s only one choice in that matter. The elevator. Ugh. It was torture. Long story short, I was literally and physically taking on the worry energy of patients’ family members and the actual patients themselves but I wouldn’t find this out until my spiritual mentor validated this.

My job was super cushy and my husband and I loved living in Virginia Beach; I had no plans of quitting. No, it was the car wreck that stopped me. January of this year. The severity of the accident kept me out of work and in several different forms of therapy almost every day for months.

Only weeks before the wreck I had graduated with my certification as a Life Coach. While recovering from the wreck and after being cleared from my intense concussion by my physician, I began coaching. Business was slow. I used Thumbtack, an app to gain momentum and it worked sometimes but I was barely bringing in enough money for groceries.

Everything changed when I posted a picture in a very popular bloggers secret group on Facebook offering complimentary Palm Analysis. I got an overwhelming amount of pictures of palms and because they were so accurate people started inquiring about my coaching!

Slowly, these clients brought out my special gift of claircognizance, or clear knowing and clairsentience, clear feeling.

I started gathering information about the person I was talking with over the phone, down to every detail. When I would voice them, my clients would freak. My information was shown in numbers, pictures, descriptions, special verbiage, letters or initials, and sometimes ordinary objects.

As my practice grew, so did my clairabilities. The empathy and healing is bizarre but a blessing. I can feel people’s physical and emotional pains and to channel it out I have to rest and pray.

God has given me my abilities to help heal and bring others spiritual guidance for their lives. I now have an international coaching business, a podcast, and in December I am launching a subscription box that will include part healing items and of course some pieces for your wardrobe.

I love fashion.

The screen writers eyes are sparkly and she wants to know if I have any Divine Messages for her.

My laughter sounds foreign and scratchy from all the talking I have done today.

“You will have to book a session to receive those!”

Kessley L. McCormick
The Gypsy Life Coach©
http://thegypsylifecoach.com
http://www.instagram.com/thegypsylifecoach/

Simple DELICIOUS Summer Side Dish

So simple in fact, you don’t need a recipe.

And just in time for your July 4th weekend festivities!

Who doesn’t love a caprese salad?  Am I right?  Super ripe, sweet, LOCAL summer tomatoes with slices of salty mozzarella and ribbons of crisp, fresh basil.  Splash on some good olive oil, maybe some balsamic and BOOM.

I LOVE THIS.

But when serving a crowd (which I do more in the summer when everyone can spread out outside) I like to serve up a chopped caprese with a twist. I add bread to put a little panzanella spin on the salad and spinach so it packs even more of a nutritional punch. Pine nuts give added crunch and texture-which to me is what takes a salad from boring to bright and something people will go back for seconds and thirds!

There is no need to measure, just add what you like in whatever amount. Here’s what you need:

  • Local cherry tomatoes, the more color variation the better. Slice in half.
  • Fresh buffalo mozzarella or burrata cheese. I will be using creamy burrata because it is INSANE. Tear into bitesize pieces.
  • Basil leaves. Either tear into pieces or slice into ribbons.
  • Organic spinach. Same as with the basil, tear or slice for easy eating.
  • Toasted pine nuts or any sort of nut you like.
  • Local, fresh bread from Lorraine’s if you live in Lynchburg or any other clean, whole wheat bread torn into bitesize pieces. Toss with olive oil and toast until lightly browned in the oven.

Put all of your ingredients into a large bowl and drizzle with GOOD, fruity olive oil and a little balsamic if you like. Dash generously with salt and pepper and serve immediately!

Voila!

Happy holiday weekend y’all!

rachel signature

Fit Vine Wine – A Review

photo:fitvinewine

I love wine.  I am no expert, but I love wine.  Did I mention I love wine?  However, I hate consuming all the sugar that comes with it and I hate feeling blah and foggy and ravenous the day after having a little too much wine.  Red or white. Doesn’t matter, I always get the same ugghhhh feeling the next morning (hello mid thirties!).

So leave it to me to scope out Fit Vine Wine.  Guys, it’s awesome.  AGAIN, I AM NOT A WINE EXPERT. But I know what tastes good.  I have ordered two cases so far.  I get six Sauvignon Blanc and six Cabernet.  I think they are both delicious.

A little about the company direct from their website:

How Did FitVine Come About?
FitVine Wine was born when three friends discovered that they could make amazing wines that also fit their active lifestyles. Our team is always on the go, whether we’re doing CrossFit, cycling, running, skiing, paddle boarding, or just enjoying the outdoors. We set about combining our love for wine and fitness with an ethic for sustainability. Our proprietary process delivers high-quality great tasting wine with less sugar, calories and carbohydrates.

Our Fermentation Process
To create wines that are both clean and rich in flavor and mouthfeel, we put our wines thorough malolactic fermentation and perform dry fermentation with no residual sugar levels. In doing this, per 5oz glass, both the Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc have 90 calories & 3g of carbohydrates at 13.4% alcohol. The Cabernet & Pinot Noir have 95 calories & 3.4g of carbohydrates at 13.9% alcohol. The remaining sugar is that which is naturally found in the alcohol which is less than 1.5g per liter.  Furthermore our fermentation process is extended 10-15 days in order to optimize pH levels. Our proprietary process allows us to extract more color and tannins. Finally we filter all of our wines with both diatomaceous earth and micron pads.
Our wines contain sulfites at less than 35 ppm (parts per million). Additionally, at primary fermentation, the SO2 (sulfur dioxide) content is kept at a low level.

Our Grapes
We are very picky when selecting our grapes. We choose only the highest quality grapes from small farmers who focus on quality, not quantity. Our story doesn’t include fancy chateaus or barrels hewed from the limbs of majestic oaks. We’re OK with that and we think you will be too. Because the most important part of any story is what you take away from it and at FitVine, we took away residual sugars, excessive sulfites and needless additives. Just great tasting wine with fewer calories and carbs. If you’re trying to be more conscious about what you’re putting into your body and looking for a wine that champions your active lifestyle – drink clean. Drink FitVine – end of story.

What Does All This Mean
It means that we take the extra time and effort to create wines that are clean and you can take comfort in knowing exactly what you are and are not putting in your body. This is the way that wine is meant to be made: without all the additives, sugars, and impurities that can wreak havoc on our bodies. And the results are in that our wines can have all the flavor, mouthfeel and alcohol as “regular wine”.  We have received high marks from customers and reviewers, whom are thrilled to have discovered FitVine Wine.

I have only ordered through the website which is easy BUT it is an inconvenience to have to sign for it upon arrival (hello, sleeping 9 month old baby, three dogs and the doorbell).  Some Whole Foods Markets are starting to carry FVW so if you’re close to one that does, go get a bottle case and try it for yourself.  Check here to see if they are at your local store.  (Central VA peeps, they have FVW at WF in Charlottesville and RVA!)

photo:fitvinewine

If you don’t believe me, read the reviews.  There are HUNDREDS of them and nearly all positive.  That is what had me order it first, well that and the idea of less sugar, chemicals, and crap in my vino.

They have free shipping when you order a case so it’s sort of a no brainer.  You can mix and match which is great too. They give you a 60 day money back guarantee (that you won’t need) but if that helps some of you pull the trigger, so be it.

Let me know what you think! Cheers to the summer of no hangovers!

rachel signature

 

 

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