An Invitation to Live Fully

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow, what a ride!'”  Hunter S. Thomspon

explore

This is an invitation to live fully. It’s an invitation to explore, investigate, travel, find adventure, and live with intention.  Yes, we need to take care of ourselves, protect ourselves, and be wise. BUT, we should not be so cautious, so hesitant, so careful, that we miss the opportunities to LIVE.

This winter, the doctors found a pre-cancerous mole on my back and they had to do surgery, which left a GIANT two-inch, bright-red scar in the middle of my back. However, the main reason my wound scarred so badly was because right after my surgery I moved to Mexico and it got completely infected. I could have been angry and frustrated about it. But my friend Jessica, who was living with me in Mexico and cleaning my wound twice each day, read me this quote by Hunter S. Turner (above) and she told me, “You know, it’s kind of like a free tattoo. And you’ll always have a story to tell.” Instead of being angry about it, I decided just to accept it, because life is not about arriving safely in a well-preserved body. It’s about skidding in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a ride!’

Don’t be afraid to live. Don’t be afraid to travel, explore, and adventure in unknown places. If your body isn’t perfect, who cares? It’s evidence that you’re living, that you’re taking advantage of your time on this earth.

Kelsey’s Notes: April 24th, 2014

Today’s Challenges:

  • Be patient with border control. (I’m leaving Mexico today and driving back to the states!)
  • Drive carefully, blast some dang good music, and enjoy the sun!
  • Enjoy every moment with my grandparents in Arizona.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Onesimo, my host dad, who fixed the hole in my tire and changed my oil this morning!
  • Yoga felt SO great this morning… (last time doing yoga in my little Mexican casita!)
  • Bananas, because they are delicious with peanut butter.

 

Advertisements

Be MADLY in Love with Yourself

inlovewithyourself

“I am my own biggest critic. Before anyone else has criticized me, I have already criticized myself. But for the rest of my life, I am going to be with me and I don’t want to spend my life with someone who is always critical. So I am going to stop being my own critic. It’s time that I accept all the great things about me.” -CJC

Criticism is a choice. It’s a mindset. We choose how much or how little to criticize ourselves. CJC had it right, YOU HAVE TO SPEND YOUR WHOLE LIFE WITH YOURSELF. Sorry to be the barer of bad news, but you’re kind of stuck with yourself.

None of us want to date or marry someone who is extremely critical of us, do we? Well, why then, should we allow ourselves to be critical of ourselves? Wouldn’t you want to date or marry someone who LOVES all the things about you? Someone who makes you feel GOOD? So doesn’t it make sense that we should treat ourselves in the same way? Recognize the greatness inside of you. Love your heart and love who you have been MADE to be.

One more challenge: Try to love your BODY just how it is. Sometimes it’s easier to recognize the good things inside of us than the good things outside of us. The media has brainwashed us, telling us we need to look a certain way. (Which makes me really mad!) But who cares what they say? You don’t have to look like a Victoria Secret model. And if you think that’s the only way you’re going to get men, then you’re probably looking for the wrong kind of men. Just LOVE your body and accept it how it is. Yes, we can always work to make our bodies healthier. But you are NEVER going to achieve your goals if you are constantly critiquing yourself. Just let go and recognize that you are a LIVING, beautiful human being. And if there’s a little pudge on your tummy, well, there is more to love!

Kelsey’s Notes: April 23, 2014

Today’s Challenges:

  • Say goodbye to all my favorite people in Mexico. (I’m leaving the country tomorrow! Que triste.)
  • Eat some amazing tacos.
  • Enjoy driving through the Mexican country-side.

Today I am thankful for:

  • The three amazing months spend here in Mexico and all the wonderful people I have met.
  • The owls in the palm trees.
  • My soy chai tea candle.

Be Careful of “Natural” Advertisements

advertisements

Just because companies advertise their products as NATURAL, does not mean that they are natural. Yes, maybe they stuck in a few drops 100% pure Lavender Essential Oil, but that does not make their product natural or safe to use.

This morning, I received an email from Sephora. The title was “We Love Naturals” and the first line in the email said, “Kelsey, celebrate Earth Day with natural beauty finds.” They were promoting their line “Origins” which uses “potent plant ingredients and 100% natural essential oils.” I opened the email and this was the advertisement…

image

So what did I do? I went to the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database and typed in Sephora’s line called “Origins.”

Well the first product I found, the “Origins Smarty Plants CC Skin Complexion Corrector, SPF 20” had a grand total of 7 out of 10 in OVERALL HAZARD. On this awesome website, it lists all of the ingredients in the product of your choice and the temporary and long-term effects of each ingredient. Although Sephora added some 100% natural essential oils, it does NOT mean that this product is natural, chemical-free, or safe to use. Take a look at the chemicals it contains.

image

Educate yourself about the beauty products you are using. “Going natural” is a “trendy” thing these days and the beauty industry will use it to market their products. However, they know what their make-up is composed of and they know it’s not natural. They just want your money.

So please, KNOW what is inside the products you’re using. KNOW what you’re buying. It doesn’t take long to log onto the Environmental Working Group’s website and type in the products you use.

Awareness and education are two key components to living a healthy life-style.

Overcoming Criticism

inyourHEART

A lot of us are people pleasers. We want to make other people happy by the things we do and the decisions that we make. Not only that, we desperately seek approval from others and live in constant fear of judgment. And this obsession for approval quickly begins to control our lives.

However, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt had it right. Criticism is inevitable. This world is made up of people with outrageously different views and beliefs. We have radical conservatives, radical liberals, and everyone in between. And unfortunately, people are never going to agree. Personal experiences shape the heart and mind of an individual and no two people can live their lives through the same lens. Another reality: as much as we want everyone to believe the same things as we believe, debate and disagreement will always exist in this world.

So why do we so often seek approval from others? Why do we so often feel guilty if we are disappointing someone else? Accept the fact that you cannot satisfy everyone. The reality is, you will never be able to live up to the standards that other people set for you.

Freedom is found when you can let go of the fear of judgment and critique. Be free. Listen to your heart. Stay strong and firm in what you believe. Don’t allow the judgment of others to hold you back. Because you know what? The unfortunate reality is: for whatever you decide, someone will disagree with your decision.

 

Kelsey’s Notes: April 20th, 2014

Today’s Challenges:

  • Enjoy Easter in Mexico! “He has risen, he has risen indeed!”
  • Sit outside.
  • Watch the sunset.

Today I am grateful for:

  • My family!
  • My three-month Mexican adventure. (It’s almost over!)
  • My awesome camera.
  • The fulfilling and encouraging words in the Bible.

A Chemical-Free Body Lotion

So for those of you who are making the switch to go chemical-free in your beauty routine, you may be wondering, “What is the best alternative to store-bought body lotion?”

Well the answer is… COCONUT OIL!

Any organic coconut oil will do the trick. Just make sure it’s 100% pure. The great thing about using coconut oil as lotion is that it is 100% natural, moisturizes your skin, and lasts forever! I bought a small jar of Dr.  Organic Coconut Oil and it lasted me months! Every time I get out of the shower, I just scoop a little (dime-size) of coconut oil and spread it all over my body. I love the feeling of it on my legs and arms. It takes a little bit to soak in, so don’t put your clothes on right away! Otherwise, your clothes might get a little oily.

If you live in a cold climate, your coconut oil will probably be solid and firm. But as you rub it into your skin, it will soften and soak in. If you live in a warm climate, your coconut oil will be liquid. Solid or liquid, it works exactly the same.

I use Dr. Bronner’s Organic Coconut oil and I absolutely love it. I love all their products, so if you want other organic, chemical-free products, I would highly suggest any of their products. You can get their products online here, or you can buy them at your local organic store.

coconutoil2

This mason jar of Organic Coconut oil is about $10.00. It may seem expensive when you are buying it, but I promise you, it’s worth it! It will last so long, it leaves a wonderful, coconut smell on your skin, and it’s ten billion times better for your skin than lotion composed of chemicals.

I would stay away from using Coconut Oil on your face, because it might cause your skin to break out. The skin on your body and the skin on your face are very different, so we have to treat them differently!

ENJOY! And please, don’t forget to tell me what you think!

Do What You Love

“Ambition and interest are two different things, are they not? If I am really interested in painting, if I love to paint, then I do not compete to be the best or most famous painter. I just love painting. You may be a better painter than I, but I do not compare myself with you. When I paint, I love what I am doing, and for me, that’s sufficient in itself.” J. Krishnamurti

What do you love doing? Hiking? Painting? Traveling? Writing? Cooking? Fitness? What is it that truly interests you? If you could just do something all day, what would it be?

Why do we so often turn our interests into competitions? As soon as we compare ourselves with others, we lose the freedom and the unique beauty of what we are doing. For me, I love yoga. And yes, I want to continually learn and grow in my practice. However, for me, yoga is not about twisting farther than the person next to me. It’s not about doing a head stand longer than someone else. Who cares who can do a head stand the longest? It’s about the freedom that I find when I’m doing something I love.

If we allow competition and comparison enter the equation, we reject freedom, exploration, and creativity.

Just be you and do what you love. Find that one thing that gives you freedom and allows you to be creative. If you love what you’re doing and allow yourself to be content with your abilities, you will be fulfilled.

What is something that you love and wish you did more of? Inspire me!

Kelsey’s Notes: April 17, 2014

Today’s Challenges:

  • Enjoy the sun
  • Drink an ice-cold smoothie
  • Play the guitar

Today I am thankful for:

  • Fresh and cheap vegetables at the market

 

Authenic Mexican Flour Tortillas

tortillas

There is seriously nothing better than a freshly-made, flour tortilla. And I’m not talking about the crap tortillas made in the good old U S of A. There is NOTHING better than a freshly-made Mexican flour tortilla. I have never eaten tortillas like this in the states, not even at the best Mexican restaurants. I have lived in Mexico for almost three months and I finally learned the secret recipe. And I’m going to be honest, it’s not easy and it takes a lot of practice.

The first secret, key ingredient: FLOUR FOR TORTILLAS. One of these two flours will do the trick. But you cannot use regular flour from the United States. I have seen “Flour for tortillas” at Wal-Mart. So that would probably work. If you see one of these types of flours “El Rosal” or “Bonfil” in your local Mexican grocery store, buy it!! Or if you go to Mexico, bring a bag back with you.

IMG_2689

Okay, start by pouring 8 cups of flour into a mixing bowl.

  • Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of salt.
  • Add 4 cups of boiling water. (KEY: It has to be BOILING water!)
  • Add 1/2 cup of canola oil.

Knead and mix the dough until it feels like Play-Dough. The key is to go by FEEL. It must feel like Play-Dough. It must be as soft as possible without sticking to your hands. If it needs a little more water, add a little more water. If it needs a little more oil, add a little more oil.

This is what the dough should look like after kneading and mixing.

IMG_2693

Cover the dough with a light layer of canola oil. Just pour a little onto your hands and spread the oil all over the dough. Then place a towel over the bowl and let it sit for at least five minutes. Start warming your pan on the stove. You want your pans very hot before you start heating the tortillas.

Next, make little balls out of the dough. Flatten the balls and round the edges.

They will look like this.

IMG_2716

Then add sprinkle some more flour (flour for tortillas–the same flour you already used to make the dough) on top of the flat dough balls.

IMG_2719

Next, throw some more flour (flour for tortillas) on the counter. Gently roll out the tortillas. Use a PVC pipe. Roll gently twice up and down, flip tortilla over and turn the direction of the tortilla. You are now going to roll twice, the other side of the tortilla in the opposite direction. Roll until the tortilla is thin and round.

IMG_2723

Once the tortilla is flat and round, its ready to put on the already-hot pan on the stove. Do not use any oil on the pan.

Flip the tortilla three times. About ten seconds on each side. The third time the tortilla will probably start to poof. Use the spatula to press down on the tortilla in the “poofing” areas, so the air is spread evenly in the tortilla.

IMG_2727

Place the tortilla in bowl or plate with a cover on top. The tortillas will soften as they are in the enclosed, warm space.

And Walla, you have an authentic Mexican flour tortilla. And your house will smell incredible too.