Crop Tops & Kale http://www.croptopsandkale.com Chase feeling good. Wed, 29 Jul 2015 14:47:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Dealing With Anxiety and Fear http://www.croptopsandkale.com/dealingwithanxiety/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/dealingwithanxiety/#comments Wed, 22 Jul 2015 17:56:33 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=3495 I’ve been thinking a lot about fear lately, as the departure date for our three-month, cross-country road trip draws near. Because well, I’m afraid. Last week at a bar in NYC, some dude I’d never met before asked me if… Continue Reading

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Fear

I’ve been thinking a lot about fear lately, as the departure date for our three-month, cross-country road trip draws near. Because well, I’m afraid.

Last week at a bar in NYC, some dude I’d never met before asked me if I was going to bring protection. At first I thought he was talking about condoms and I was confused. I wanted to ask him what his deal was, but then I realized he was talking about a gun.

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if we were bringing a gun, I’d have like, six dollars.

Now listen, I don’t own ‘a’ gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate…

Why would I need a gun? Stop it. You’re giving me anxiety.

My mom’s boyfriend gave me some bear spray. That stuff seems legit. Says it can take out a bear at 30 feet! 30 feet! A bear! I should be good, right? That’s what I thought but, some people don’t seem to agree.

Wait do people really have guns? Jesus.

More than one person has flat out told me that I should be scared too, as if it’s never occurred to me before.

Um, no shit. Thanks. Have we met? Of course I’m scared. Do you want me to list off everything that I am actually, physically afraid of? How much time do you have?

We can start with my legitimate fear of the dark at the age of 32. I don’t know how many times I have to say it but, I’m really not joking. JB bought me a night light alarm clock so that we don’t have to sleep with the bathroom light on anymore. Didn’t work. We still do. Now there’s just a night light on too.

Oh and I just read that New Yorker story about “the big one” hitting the West Coast sometime soon. Yeah, apparently we’re 215 years into a 243 year cycle of epic earthquakes and any day now, boom. Something else to trigger my anxiety, now I don’t even want to go to Seattle.

Regarding our specific trip though, I’m mostly scared of rattlesnakes. I just read Wild. By the way, you couldn’t pay me enough to do what that chick did. Walk around in the woods for months on end all by myself. Sleeping in a tent. In the dark. Alone. Hell no.

I’m also scared of bears. We saw one at my mom’s house just the other night. It was kind of cool but, also very scary.

And let’s see oh yes, your occasional, run-of-the-mill, serial killer just lurking about on open stretches of road in the middle of nowhere waiting for our truck to break down. That’s how most murder movies start, right? In the woods … with a car breaking down … murder.

Come to think of it, we definitely should not have sex on this trip either. Everyone knows that the people who have sex in murder movies are the absolute first to get themselves chopped up, especially the chicks with big boobs. Oh no … You guys … I have huge boobs.

See what I mean? This is legitimately how my mind works if I let it run amok.

JB on the other hand, seems to be scared of very little. Not of the dark. Or bears. Or rattlesnakes. Or even serial killers. He keeps talking about “chances” and “the likelihood” and “percentages of people who actually get chopped up by serial killers”.

Actually, he is scared of being tickled. In fact, the guy is terrified of it. Really doesn’t like that at all.

The point is that my world is inhabited by a decent amount of fear.

And honestly, if something were to happen to JB out there in the wilderness of say, Alberta, I would be screwed. Before I met him, my personal definition of “outdoorsy” was sipping Sauvignon Blanc on the beach. I do have a right to be scared.

All of this being said though, fear is a actually big motivator for me. I’d really, really like to cease being such a giant pansy and I believe that taking action is how to do that.

Taking action in the face of fear is how we overcome it. The more we do it, the easier it becomes and the richer and fuller our life experience can be.

The bottom line is that I’m scared of a lot more in life than I need to be, as I think most of us are. Most of the fear we face is inside of our own minds.

As this trip approaches, fear is rearing its ugly head big time. I am beyond excited but, that excitement comes with a side of anxiety.

It mostly consists of shortness of breath, elevated heart rate, clammy hands and feeling like my throat might close. There are moments when I wonder if I’m making a giant life mistake and want to crawl under my desk and breathe in and out of a paper bag.

As the date comes closer, these moments have become more intense and more frequent but, being the well-trained self-help junkie that I am, I get it. I know what’s going on here.

It’s called a comfort zone breach and I’m steadily approaching it.

My ego is telling me to run along and freak out, chop, chop, go back to where I’m safe with dental insurance and the ecology of my life is not being changed or expanded in any way.

But after much experience and observation, I’m aware that these moments are going to come and then they’re going to go. The only thing to do is press on because, life is about feeling the fear and doing it anyway, amiright?

  • Going on that first date after your last break-up
  • Hitting the gym when you feel like you’re too fat and everyone will make fun of you
  • Making the phone call you’re dreading
  • Taking the chance
  • Asking him out
  • Quitting the job

Whatever your version of this road trip is in your own life right now.

If we’re on this road of growth, expansion and happiness, we know that any experience worth having is generally on the other side of the clammy hands and racing heart. It’s always on the other side of fear.

So, we have two choices. We can either shrink back and stay where we are or, we can feel the fear and do it anyway.

In my experience, most of the fears are unfounded anyway. In my experience, it’s always best to feel it and do it anyway. Ya know?

Here are some great tools to help you move past your own fear, if you’re struggling with it.

Okay. Here we go. I really hope I don’t get chopped up.

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Is ‘The Secret’ A Bunch of Bullshit? http://www.croptopsandkale.com/is-the-secret-a-bunch-of-bullshit/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/is-the-secret-a-bunch-of-bullshit/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 20:32:34 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=3443 My friend Blair stood up at my rehearsal dinner and told everyone that we became close when we first bonded over a book called The Secret. Lots of eyes rolled in the room at that moment. I’m sure of it.… Continue Reading

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My friend Blair stood up at my rehearsal dinner and told everyone that we became close when we first bonded over a book called The Secret. Lots of eyes rolled in the room at that moment. I’m sure of it. I could feel it. I was quasi-embarrased but, I also firmly believe in The Law of Attraction so … as my co-worker Jen would say, “go effya’selves”.

I think most people equate that book, or the better known movie, with the bullshit idea that you can think your way into owning a Lamborghini, living in a mansion or swimming around in a pool full of gold like Donald Duck. Not true. And not what the author is actually saying.

I also think a lot of people were offended by the suggestion that one could think their way out of cancer. Also not true. I don’t agree with that at all. And, like all self-help books, I think it’s best to take what works and leave the rest.

Aside from those two, I think there are a lot of misconceptions about the true lesson in it, though, which is: ask, believe and receive what you want from the Universe with authentic gratitude.

The reason I love the book so much, is because it introduced me to the idea that the way you think dictates your experience in life. If you have an abundance mindset and expect good things, most of the time you will experience abundance and good things. If you come from a place of fear, worry, scarcity and disbelief, you will experience those things instead.

I firmly believe this. Our entire reality and experience in life depends on how we perceive our circumstances.

It’s the Law of Attraction and pretty much every, single self-help, personal development and spiritual text I’ve ever read has repeated this message in so many words. Ask, believe and receive. It’s that simple. What makes it difficult is cultivating that authentic gratitude and truly surrendering to faithful expectancy.

We’re taught to worry. We’re not taught to relax and have faith.

So, let’s discuss what The Secret is actually teaching, shall we? I’ll use an example of my own ‘manifesting’ in life. I use the term ‘manifesting’ while slightly wincing. I’ve tried that phrase on a few times, and it’s still a little short in the sleeve, tight in the crotch, a bit ill-fitting just yet but, I’ll go with it here.

Ask. 

Ask means that we clearly articulate to the Universe what it is that we want. We focus on it. We set a conscious intention that we want whatever it is that we want.

I’ll use one of the many examples from my own life. I wanted to quit my job and attend a month-long Yoga teacher training (not this job, the last one I quit). I wasn’t sure exactly how I would do it or pay for it but, I knew that was what I wanted.

So that is exactly what I asked for. I said “I’d like to quit my job and go to Yoga teacher training in June, please. Thank you.”

Believe.

Believe means to honestly believe that the Universe is conspiring in your favor. That the stars are realigning to give you want you want. We have to have ambition and expectancy. We have to believe that not only is it possible but, it’s a sure thing.

So, after asking, I did a little experiment. Every day on my commute to work for the month before I wanted to quit my job, I pictured myself going to Yoga teacher training without any stress because the Universe had delivered the extra money that I needed to go. I cultivated a big ass smile on my face and a swell of gratitude in my chest as I envisioned randomly coming into a bunch of money. I kept saying things to myself like “See, the Universe provides!” “Life is so easy!” “I’m so lucky and thankful.” Just for shits, I mean, why not right? Yolo.

I decided I was just going to expect it and be pumped about it before it even happened. I literally had nothing to lose. I was going to go to teacher training somehow, it would just be a whole lot easier if I had some extra money. I decided that I was not going to worry about how it happened but just be thankful, as if it already had.

Receive.

This last step can be the hardest part. You just have to relax and let the Universe do its job.

Now, that doesn’t mean you don’t do anything at all but, it means you operate under the faithful assumption that what you want is happening, that the Universe is conspiring in your favor, that it will take care of the how, you just do what you think is right to move yourself forward and know that it’s all coming together.

In the Yoga teacher training case, I bought my new Yoga mat and signed up for the course. I went ahead and gave my notice at work. I told friends and family about my plan. I did not transfer any money from my savings into my checking because I came to fully expect a windfall.

The result….

Wouldn’t you know it, a couple of days before I owed the final balance, while walking to work, I got an email from my accountant. I had assumed he would tell me how much money I owed for taxes because I’d worked for myself the previous year and hadn’t paid a dime. Instead, he informed me that between the New York State Government and the Federal Government, I would be receiving a refund.

Guess how much? $5,027.00.

Guess how much teacher training and living expenses for the month of June cost? $5,000.00

I shit you not, friend. And no, I’m not complaining about the extra $27.00.

Coincidence? Sure, maybe. If you choose to believe it.

But it’s a hell of a lot more fun to think of it as my having co-conspired with the Universe, that I attracted it to myself consciously by asking, believing and receiving.

And guess what? It’s my life and my perception so…

I do what I want

I’ll also say that I believe ‘coincidence’ is a misunderstood phrase. I mean, who do you think is behind ‘coincidences’ in the first place? The big, bad Uni, in my humble opinion.

There are countless other examples in my life where this same process worked as well, from sports to relationships, to apartments to parking spaces. To even just last week when I decided I wanted to be a professional writer and the very next day I got an email from someone who wanted to discuss my potentially writing for them.

No, it has not worked every single time I’ve wanted something but, I’ve noticed that the times when I could honestly say that I got extremely clear about what I wanted, and then cultivated a sense of true expectancy and gratitude, that it has.

It makes me wonder how different life would be if I practiced this more often, instead of just freaking out and worrying. Maybe I could become a real-life, manifesting, miracle worker, like our girl Gabby B. Now, wouldn’t that be something…

What do you think? Have you read The Secret? Quackery or the dumbfounding wisdom of the ages?

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Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas from The Purple Carrot http://www.croptopsandkale.com/black-bean-sweet-potato-enchiladas-from-the-purple-carrot/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/black-bean-sweet-potato-enchiladas-from-the-purple-carrot/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 02:36:39 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=3426 Raise your hand if you went a little hard on the black + blue burgers this weekend. Yeah … same. No biggie, friends. Time to bounce back. If you’re a regular around these parts, you know we’re not big fans of… Continue Reading

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Raise your hand if you went a little hard on the black + blue burgers this weekend.

Yeah … same.

No biggie, friends. Time to bounce back. If you’re a regular around these parts, you know we’re not big fans of cleansing in the stop-eating-solid-food kind of way, but what we do respect, is a good food-based detox to reset the digestive system.

You know what’s even better than a detox? One that comes in the form of ready-to-cook, plant-based ingredients. That’s right, ready to cook. Doesn’t that have a nice ring to it? Enter: The Purple Carrot.

Here’s why this organic meal delivery service is awesome: you get to try fun new recipes, made with delicious, fresh ingredients, and they’re all portioned out! That means no thinking, just cooking. All the meals are vegan and made without GMOs or processed food (hello, detox).

I am a major creature of habit when it comes to cooking at home, and while I love trying new recipes when I have the time to, there are always a few things on repeat (ahem, eggs, greens, sweet potato and avocado). I hate, hate, hate buying new ingredients for one recipe just to watch them go to waste, which happens more often than not during busy weeks. So, when the kind folks at TPC offered to send over a few meals that were pre-measured and came with easy-to-follow recipe cards, I couldn’t give them my address fast enough.

All I had to do was sign up, select a delivery date, choose from two out of four meals, and a few days later, a refrigerated box arrived at my doorstep. I opted for Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas, which I’m going to show you how to make in just a minute, and Cashew-Spinach Pesto Linguine with Burst Tomatoes & Mushrooms. Bonus: you also get ingredients for a healthy snack recipe to last all week long! My order came with the cutest little Cinnamon Apple Energy Bites and oh man guys, these were good. TPC delivers Tuesday-Saturday and ships throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.

Okay, onto the enchiladas – but first: good news. All Crop Tops & Kale readers can get 50% off on their first order! All you have to do is enter the code “CTK” when you sign up. The offer expires on July 30, so hop to it!

This meal was ahhhhh-mazing. Really filling and flavorful, and yup, totally plant-based. I made them for dinner one night and had leftovers for a few days. That’s just the best, isn’t it?

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Makes 8 enchiladas, prep/cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

2 large sweet potatoes

3 cloves of garlic

1 jalapeño pepper

1 can black beans

1 can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon of chili powder

1/2 tsp oregano

2 cups of fresh salsa (1 container of Nola’s Salsa Fresca was included – bomb!)

8 whole wheat tortillas

2 tablespoons olive pol, used in two steps

salt and pepper to taste

Method

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Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse and dry the produce. Chop the sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Toss them with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Lay the potatoes flat on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast until tender, about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

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While sweet potatoes are roasting, wash and dry all produce. Mince the garlic. Remove seeds and mine the jalapeño pepper, discarding the stem. Drain and rinse the beans. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skilled over medium heat. Add the garlic and jalapeño, using as much or as little jalapeño as you like, depending on your affinity for spice. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the beans, diced tomatoes and their juices and oregano and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the roasted sweet potatoes and summer for five minutes. Set aside.

Lightly oil a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with another tablespoon of oil. Spread a thin layer of salsa over the bottom of the dish and set aside.

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Place a tortilla on a flat work surface. Spoon a portion of the sweet potato mixture down the center of the tortilla and roll it up. Place the filled tortilla in the baking dish, seam side down, and repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling mixture.

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Spoon any remaining mixture and any extra salsa on top of the tortillas. Cover the dish aluminum foil and bake in you 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. I had some avocado to use up, so I tossed a few slices over the tortillas when they came out of the oven. Serve hot and enjoy!

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Want five simple steps to feeling really good? Download our free Feel Good Formula.

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Fourth of July Recipe Roundup http://www.croptopsandkale.com/fourth-of-july-recipe-roundup/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/fourth-of-july-recipe-roundup/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 00:23:47 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=3418 The Fourth of July is just the best. It usually involves sunshine (knock on wood) and some body of water or another. A good excuse for a striped crop top, perhaps? Oh man, the food can be tough though. Chips, dips, hot… Continue Reading

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Sparkling-Red-White-and-Blue-Sangria-Recipe-4

via Gimme Some Oven

The Fourth of July is just the best. It usually involves sunshine (knock on wood) and some body of water or another. A good excuse for a striped crop top, perhaps?

Oh man, the food can be tough though. Chips, dips, hot dogs, and lotsa beer.

I’m not saying you should go crazy with the restrictions this weekend, that’s not our style. But most parties or picnics require a potluck-style dish, and guess what? That’s good news. That means you get to control it! That means you can eat your hot dog with a side of spiralized vegetables.

Instead of stopping on the way to your BBQ for a box of star-spangled cookies, why not bring a fun creation of your own? Here are a few easy, feel-good ideas we’re loving for the holiday weekend:

Sparkling Red, White and Blue Sangria, topped with the cutest apple stars from Gimme Some Oven.

A killer cheeseboard (with pickled strawberries and herb roasted cherry tomatoes… drooling) from Half Baked Harvest.

Just about alllllll of the recipes in this spiralized recipe roundup from Inspiralized.

Black + Blue burgers with a side of rosemary sweet potato fries from The Yellow Table. Because burgers, there must be.

Cherry-Strawberry Chia Seed Fool from Oh She Glows, made with seasonal cherries, ohhh yum. The recipe is intended for Canada Day, but it’ll work just fine.

Hope you all celebrate America’s Big 239th in style. Check back after the holiday weekend for a fun offer we’ve got for ya. I’m not sharing any spoilers, but it involves enchiladas and a 50 percent discount. Intrigued? Yeah, thought so.

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How To Figure Out What You Want To Do With Your Life http://www.croptopsandkale.com/how-to-figure-out-what-you-want-to-do-with-your-life/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/how-to-figure-out-what-you-want-to-do-with-your-life/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:16:42 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=3398 When I started on this little journey of internal exploration over five years ago now, I thought I wanted to be a commercial real estate broker in New York. This is hilarious to me now. Like, so so funny. I want… Continue Reading

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When I started on this little journey of internal exploration over five years ago now, I thought I wanted to be a commercial real estate broker in New York. This is hilarious to me now. Like, so so funny. I want to go back pinch my little 25-year-old cheeks and pat my little 25-year-old head and say something like “Aw, you’re so cute.”

Real Estate

I look back now and realize that thinking I wanted to do that with my life was a direct result of having totally and completely lost touch with who I really am.

Since then, I’ve gone through a few iterations:

  • Real Estate Sales
  • Executive Assistant
  • Interior Designer
  • Health Coach
  • Yoga Instructor

And now… are you there, God? It’s me, Dana. Who am I?

JK. Now I know exactly what I want.

I think this happens to the majority of us though. We start out drawing rainbows, trying out for parts in plays, singing and dancing and making things with legos, just generally following our little guts around. We know, clearly, in each moment, what it is we want, what we like to do, what we might want to be when we grow up.

Fuck it, mom, I wanna be a lion tamer!

But as we actually go about the business of growing up, we’re told that we need to be practical, stop being selfish, have a good head on our shoulders and be realistic. Instead of hearing of all the different ways that we could channel our innate passion and interests into a livelihood, we’re told of all the ways we can’t. We’re shown better alternatives, like an accounting degree or medical school. We hear cautionary tails of starving artists, flakes and failures.

We basically learn along the way that not only will it be unnecessarily difficult to do what we love for a living but, we might starve too, oh and people won’t like us.

Worse still, we subconsciously learn that our instincts are wrong or selfish and something to be ignored for the better sense of others.

So we start to say things like “Oh I don’t know, whatever you want to do is fine.” We start to go with other people’s flow. We go to law school to make someone proud or because we figure that they know better. We give away our personal power to each little decision we make without really asking what we want and sooner or later the big decisions are made in the same way.

We wouldn’t actually know what we wanted to do if we bothered to ask ourselves anyway.

So, let me ask you this now. Do you know what you really want? Not just in regards to a profession but, in life. 25-year-old Dana wanted to be a commercial real estate broker, which is a pretty good indicator of how well I could answer that question back then. What’s your version of that story?

We hear a lot of you say how much you hate your job. “Should I Quit My Job” was one of our most viewed posts to date (yeah we can see what you’re reading, sneaky…).

Everyone seems to hate their job. The bosses are dumb and awful, the hours are long, the work is thankless and uninspired but, they don’t know what else they want to do.

So how do we figure it out?

How do we avoid wasting thousands of dollars on an MBA because, I guess I’ll figure it out later and then at least, I’ll have an MBA?

We can start really small instead. We can take back our personal power in every little decision we have to make throughout the day. We can start asking ourselves what we really want in the tiny, unassuming moments such as “What do you want to order for dinner?” and before we know it, we’re back to being like “No, you know what mom, fuck it, I DO wanna be a lion tamer.”

“You start small by recognizing and honoring your own preferences in every situation. When you are confronted with a choice, no matter how small or insignificant, ask yourself, What do I really want?'”-  Jack Canfield 

It’s like blasting your delts in the gym. Each decision you make based on what you really want, builds the muscles of knowing yourself and your preferences. This will lead to further intel on who you really are and what you really want.

It might take a while but, everything worthwhile takes … awhile. At least that’s what Joel always says, especially when things are taking awhile.

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One Simple Rule for Accomplishing Any Goal http://www.croptopsandkale.com/one-simple-rule-for-accomplishing-any-goal/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/one-simple-rule-for-accomplishing-any-goal/#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 14:42:54 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=3354 Sometimes I wonder what my dog walker thinks when she comes to pick Lucy up. I have a giant stack of books on my bedside table and guys, the titles are weird. She’s probably thinking “this chick shouldn’t be responsible for… Continue Reading

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how to accomplish anything you want

Sometimes I wonder what my dog walker thinks when she comes to pick Lucy up. I have a giant stack of books on my bedside table and guys, the titles are weird. She’s probably thinking “this chick shouldn’t be responsible for another being. Seems a little unstable.”

I mean, Without Their Permission? The Magic of Thinking Big? Small Giants? Sounds like what you’d see on the bookshelf of someone plotting a violent coup d’état. Then there’s Clean, The Success Principles, The Desire Map ... Sounds like what you’d find on a pre-rehab required reading list.

All of these books are weird and awesome and important, but if I’m being honest, sometimes they just overwhelm me.

There are so many varying philosophies on health, wellness, personal development, business, happiness and success that it’s difficult to keep up with every idea. At times I’ll decide I agree with one theory and then I’ll read a new book that totally changes my mind. And, I mean, that’s okay. It’s part of the process of learning and growing. There is no right or wrong here, it’s really just about what works for us in our own lives. But, once in a while, it sure would be nice to come across a simple, straightforward rule to follow.

Well, I stumbled upon one the other day and it blew my mind with its simplicity:

“The only person I have to cheat is myself.”

Let that sink in for a minute. It’s so simple, but so good. “The only person I have to cheat is myself.”

I found this little gem on Brad Feld’s site – he’s an entrepreneur with a rocking’ blog that I’d recommend to anyone building a business, but this mantra actually comes from a guest post by web strategist and author, William Hertling.

This rule can apply to everything you want to accomplish. Career goals, financial goals … even things like time management and increased productivity but, let’s take weight loss goals, for example.

Nobody really cares how much you weigh (or what you look like for that matter). Okay, maybe coworkers are going to notice if you walk into work with a huge stain on your shirt. And if you drop 30 pounds, will your friends make a comment? Most likely, yes.

But nobody really cares if you’re 10 pounds heavier or lighter. So when you’re debating whether or not you want to have a piece of cake at the office party, nobody gives a shit if you eat one or not. When you’re deciding whether or not to go to happy hour or go to the gym, some people may ask why you’re not going or say “ah, bummer” when you decline an invite, but are they really going to be torn up over your decision all night? Definitely not. Nobody cares if you actually turn the resistance up on the bike when the instructor tells you to during a spin class, that’s your call.

Hertling argues that the agonizing, internal struggle over reaching for the cake or turning up the resistance is draining and unnecessary. He suggests that instead, you shortcut the process by choosing not to spend the mental energy trying to rationalize one small piece, what the effect might be, and whether you even want to lose weight. If this is a goal that’s important to you, you’re only cheating yourself if you don’t focus on achieving it. No one else is going to step in to take responsibility.

Forget willpower, forget expectations, forget whatever else you think may play into weight loss. When you make a decision that doesn’t serve you, the only person you’re cheating is yourself.

And why would you want to cheat yourself?

I’m thinking that if we want to accomplish more of our goals in life, it might make sense to start reminding ourselves of this rule more often.  

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Healthy Weeknight Meal: Stuffed Sweet Potato http://www.croptopsandkale.com/healthy-weeknight-meal-stuffed-sweet-potato/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/healthy-weeknight-meal-stuffed-sweet-potato/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 02:46:07 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=3378 Simple, easy meals that make you feel good, that’s what we’re about around here. Don’t get me wrong, we love a good dinner party, and would rarely pass up a four course meal at a fine dining establishment. But if… Continue Reading

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Simple, easy meals that make you feel good, that’s what we’re about around here.

Don’t get me wrong, we love a good dinner party, and would rarely pass up a four course meal at a fine dining establishment. But if you were to ask what really revs us up? We’d tell you fresh ingredients and real, whole foods. The stuff everyday menus are made of.

The key to weeknight cooking is stocking your pantry. It just makes it easy, and easy is good when it comes to eating healthy. Hitting the grocery store or farmer’s market over the weekend to grab whatever produce you need is a good habit to get into. That way you’re not scrambling on a weeknight or stopping on the way home and reaching for whatever processed food looks good when you’re hungry.

Sweet potatoes are always on my list, and I eat them in some form every day. I feel like I talk about sweet potatoes a lot (see here, here, here and here), but I just love ’em. Probably because they’re so versatile!

Here’s one of my go-to weeknight sweet potato meals. This recipe makes two halves, and sometimes I have one half for dinner and I’m good (it’s pretty filling). Other times I’ll have a half with steak or chicken, or a side salad. My apologies for the slightly terrible photo. We’re striving for simple here.

image1-4

Simple Stuffed Sweet Potato

Serves two

Ingredients

One large sweet potato

1/4 red pepper

1/4 red onion

1/4 avocado

One tablespoon olive oil

Two teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon honey

1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried cilantro (unless you have fresh on you, in that case definitely go for fresh)

Black pepper & sea salt

Optional: 1/2 cup cooked black beans

Method

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Poke the sweet potato with a few holes and bake for 30-35 minutes or until tender inside and skin is slightly crispy.

While that’s baking, chop the avocado, red pepper, onion, cilantro and optional black beans and mix together in a small bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, cayenne, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.

Once the potato is tender, remove from the oven and slice in half. Using a spoon, scoop out the center of each half and transfer the fleshy insides (yikes, sorry for that terminology) to a cutting board. Cube the insides and add to the vegetable/liquid mixture. Stir this thoroughly.

Divide the mixture in half, and add into the scooped out portion of each potato half. They will be overflowing, and that’s okay. Top with a little cilantro and enjoy!

 

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Three Simple Ways to Control Your Thoughts http://www.croptopsandkale.com/three-simple-ways-to-control-your-thoughts/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/three-simple-ways-to-control-your-thoughts/#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 20:54:57 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=3359 “We come to realize that our thoughts, more so than our circumstances, sabotage our freedom and success.” – Brendon Burchard My sister-in-law will be graduating from her doctoral program this summer. After ten, long, hard, expensive years, she’ll be a… Continue Reading

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Shitty Thoughts

“We come to realize that our thoughts, more so than our circumstances, sabotage our freedom and success.”

– Brendon Burchard

My sister-in-law will be graduating from her doctoral program this summer. After ten, long, hard, expensive years, she’ll be a clinical psychologist.

She and I have spoken many times over the course of her program about life experience. She, studying human psychology and behavior in the most formal and legitimate of ways, and I, studying personal development, self-help and happiness in the most informal of ways, agree and disagree about a number of things.

There is one universal truth to all of it on which we agree though, and that is: our entire life experience happens inside of our own heads.

I’ve said this before but, I will say it again. The way we think and talk to ourselves creates our life experience. And what is beautiful about this fact is that we can control the way we think and talk to ourselves, hence, controlling our life experience.

You can decide that you are going to think positively, or you can just fall victim to your ever-changing moods, environment and circumstances.

You can decide to talk to yourself in a kind, supportive and loving way, or you can fall victim to the bitch inside your own head who tells you that you’re fat, worthless, undeserving and not good at stuff. (And we all have that voice.)

Either way, the choice is yours.

Why not choose feeling good, right? Yolo. Even if you don’t believe it’s possible yet, make the choice to give it a shot.

Here are three simple ways to start:

  1. Stop & observe and correct & re-frame
  2. No, this is good because…
  3. State an intention in the morning

Let’s take a deeper look at each step:

#1. Stop & observe and correct & reframe 

Here’s how it works: You call yourself fat. You stop. You observe that you just called yourself fat. You correct yourself, saying “No. I am not fat. I am beautiful.” (Even if you don’t believe it yet, just say it.) Then you re-frame it: “I am getting in the best shape of my life because I’m taking really good care of myself.” (Even if you don’t believe it yet, just say it.)

Seriously, it’s that easy.

You start to do this once a day, then twice a day, then all day, then all day every day, until it just becomes natural. You stop having shitty thoughts about yourself all the time. You start to actually believe that you are beautiful. Your confidence increases, you start making more and better changes in your life, taking risks, really going for it. You’re happier and achieving more than ever before. You feel fantastic. You take your top off and run around naked. You see how that works?

#2. No, this is good because…

“No this is good because….” are five words that go a long way in turning that frown upside down in most seemingly shitty situations.  Try it the next time you find yourself in an annoying situation, even if it’s just the long line at Starbucks.

Say to yourself, “No this is good because… it’s giving me a break in my hectic day to just stand here, take a deep breathe and shamelessly stalk ex-boyfriends on Instagram”… or something.

Making a habit of this will have you searching for the good in every situation. Yeah, searching for the good in every situation, like a motivational poster. You’ll love it. You’ll be one of those positive people you used to roll your eyes at, you know, the ones who share inspirational quotes on Facebook. It’s going to be awesome.

#3. State an intention in the morning 

I know, I know. Just do it, okay? So many times in life we’re cruising on auto-pilot, going through the motions, floating along with the tide. We don’t have what we want, we don’t feel the way we want to, and we don’t know why. We don’t realize that if we stopped and made a conscious intention to do things differently, it might be all we need to make massive shifts for the better.

When you get up in the morning, declare to yourself that today is a day when you try very hard to think positive thoughts. If you slip up, you’ll just use #1 above to get back on track.

Decide how you’re going to talk to yourself each morning. Ask yourself in the mirror, “You gonna be nice to me today or what!?” And then get in the shower or brush your teeth or whatever. You’ll start to live more intentionally. You’ll start to get more of what you want. You’ll start to feel good.

The bottom line is that you can control your thoughts. If you don’t think that that’s possible, it’s because you haven’t started trying yet. Try just one, for just one day, and see how it goes. Here they are again:

Three Simple Ways to Control Your Thoughts

  • Stop & observe and correct & re-frame
  • No, this is good because…
  • State an intention in the morning

Which one will you try?

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We Just Have To Decide http://www.croptopsandkale.com/we-just-have-to-decide/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/we-just-have-to-decide/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=3305 My maid of honor said something in her speech last weekend that really struck a cord. She said “A long time ago Dana decided that she was going to be happy.” Although that’s what I did, I’d never thought of it like… Continue Reading

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My maid of honor said something in her speech last weekend that really struck a cord. She said “A long time ago Dana decided that she was going to be happy.”

Decide

Although that’s what I did, I’d never thought of it like that before. I have to say, it was nice to see it through my best friend’s eyes. It felt good to be recognized for having made the conscious decision to do so, for being held responsible for my own happiness.

I now realize the power in it and as I looked back over the past few years, I realize that I consciously decided to make a lot of other positive changes, too.

I decided:

  • To put the pain of losing my dad behind me
  • To quit smoking
  • To get really good with my money
  • That I was worth taking really good care of myself
  • To lose the twenty pounds
  • That this really is a friendly universe
  • To quit my job and do yoga for a month because, YOLO
  • To start a new business
  • That I like myself

I decided on these things and then I made them happen and it’s empowering to acknowledge those decisions.

But a lot of times we don’t decide, do we? (Myself included.) Sometimes we kinda-sorta say we want things, that they would be nice. Sometimes we give it a try instead. We think about it. We whine. We pray. We consider. We make a vision board or something, but we don’t actually decide.

Because deciding is scary and means that we mean business.

Deciding is a declaration of intention and it leaves us vulnerable, lacking in excuses and responsible for the outcome. It could set us up to look like the world’s largest dope, a failure, an embarrassment, a really big, fat, loser.

So if we never decide, then we’re off the hook. We’re safe from looking like a fool. But, if we never decide, we’ll also never make any changes. We’re really just saying that we agree to give it a shot until … we get tired, or scared, lose money, feel disappointed, embarrassed, uncertain or it gets too hard.

A lot of us want to change things in our lives, be it losing weight, getting rich or being happy. We see others doing these things. We know that they’re physically possible. But we just don’t change. And why not?

I believe that we really can have, do or be anything we want, we just have to decide.

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Our Summer Reading List http://www.croptopsandkale.com/our-summer-reading-list/ http://www.croptopsandkale.com/our-summer-reading-list/#comments Sat, 13 Jun 2015 22:53:08 +0000 http://www.croptopsandkale.com/?p=3319 I woke up this morning and thought, “I really just want to read all day.” So I did. And it was glorious. How often do we take the time to sit and read for an extended period of time anymore?… Continue Reading

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kindle

I woke up this morning and thought, “I really just want to read all day.” So I did. And it was glorious.

How often do we take the time to sit and read for an extended period of time anymore? I love reading. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and I think it’s important for our mental health, but these days time allotted for it seems limited to my commute on the subway and maybe a few minutes before bed if I’m not out, or begging Lucy to lie down and then playing dead so she doesn’t get up again.

This summer, I’m committing to slowing down a bit and reading more. I have a big ol’ stack of books lined up, and hopefully more days like today to spend reading them.

Here are a few titles we either recommend, or are on our personal lists to get to. Some are new releases, some are bestsellers, and some are old favorites. The three of us are always chatting about new reads and would love to hear what you’re loving right now. Any suggestions? Leave ’em in the comments below!

Fiction

The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

Nonfiction

Personal Development

The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

The Tao of Dating by Ali Binazir

Not Fade Away by Laurence Shames

We Learn Nothing by Tim Kreider

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

Wellness & Nutrition/Cooking

The Beauty Detox Power by Kimberly Snyder

Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore

Brain Maker by David Perlmutter

Food 52 Genius Recipes by Kristen Miglore

Deliciously Ella by Ella Woodward

Education & Business

Without Their Permission by Alexis Ohanian

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

How to Fly a Horse by Kevin Ashton

Dead Wake by Erik Larson

Small Giants by Bo Burlingham

 

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