A Fit-at-Forty Check In

00407391 It’s 2 days before my 40th birthday – the perfect time for a Fit-at-Forty check in. It’s been about five months since I undertook my $25-a-week healthy food challenge. For those not in the know, I began the challenge after watching an Oprah episode which featured the documentary, Food Inc. That show got me to watch the actual documentary and led me to ask the question, can a single, 39 year old woman eat consciously on a $25-a-week budget? You can read all about my great 4 week adventure here. My goals were to eat consciously and healthily on a $25 a week budget, and lose weight in the process.

Five months after officially ending the challenge, I have (for the most part) stuck to healthier, more conscious eating habits. The $25-a-week budget looks more like $35 now, but still, the end result is that I’m much more mindful of what’s in the food I’m eating and where it’s coming from.

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WAF’s Five for Friday – The Father’s Day Gift Edition

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 20th and in honor of all the fathers and father figures out there, I thought I’d dedicate this week’s Five for Friday to five really cool gifts for the men in our lives…

bodum fyrkat 1. For some men, grilling is a religion. The Bodum Fyrkat Portable Grill ($50) turns it into religion with style. Available in colors like orange, green and yellow, it’s not only practical, it’s ultra cute and modern too. Ok, maybe the cute part is more for us…

2. If your man’s got World Cup Fever he’s going to love the Umbro World Champions Collection.  The collection of shirts celebrate the history of the World Cup with jerseys from the seven countries that have won a world Cup including Brazil, England and Italy.

3. For the guy who’s always carrying his laptop, notebooks and everything else in a raggedy old bag, the Archival Clothing Rucksack ($240) offers a stylish alternative. This rucksack features a taller, leaner design that’s great for laptops, two outer pockets, and long-lasting waxed cotton twill fabric.

Continue reading WAF’s Five for Friday – The Father’s Day Gift Edition

Trusting your gut

red flags Editor’s Note: This week we’ve spent a little time talking about regrets. And while many of us say we don’t have many and that the mistakes we’ve made make us the women we are today, I’m guessing there are a few of us who’ve said at least once, “If only I’d have listened to what my gut was telling me!” In her article Trust your gut, Esther reminds us of the importance of minding those reg flags – all of them – and listening to that voice inside of each of us when it warns us that we’re about to do something we might regret later… (photo credit: vindoe40’s)

Recently, I had the incredible opportunity to be interviewed for a Canadian women’s magazine for an article on “Women’s Intuition”. I was honored and delighted to share my thoughts on this timely and important topic and I thought I’d share with you gals what I came up with in this September e-zine.

The whole concept of “women’s intuition” may seem somewhat medieval and goofy to some of us; but I believe there’s a good reason that this concept has stuck around for so long without being discarded like so many frivolous ideas of the past. And after working with so many women and hearing countless stories of “gut feelings” or an “inner knowing” usually not listened to or taken seriously, often with disastrous consequences, I think we may be able to gain something by revisiting the topic.

As I am apt to say over and over again:
WOMEN OFTEN DON’T LISTEN TO THEMSELVES AND TO THEIR OWN INTERNAL WISDOM.

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On Loving Regret

tricia butterfly tat When I was twenty eight, I got my first tattoo. I had spent months thinking about how I wanted to celebrate my new understanding of my life. I was recently separated from my husband and finally enrolled in a college that I would graduate from. This was a completely selfish goal, one that I had brought into my marriage but had failed to meet. Married to a Marine, I had moved from New York to Florida to California and back to Florida, leaving myself with a resume of three attempts at earning a degree at three different colleges. It was as a student at the college from which I finally graduated that I came to understand that literature and writing were my only true passions, the only ones I would ever be able to pursue.

I designed the tattoo myself. It was one word in my own handwriting, with blooming vines wrapping and climbing among the letters. Beloved. This was the title of the book that had ten years earlier planted the seed of desire to study literature and to do what that author, Toni Morrison, had done and was continuing to do. Touch other spirits with words. Incense, incite, inspire. (Photo: Tricia’s butterfly tattoo) Continue reading On Loving Regret

No more Mr. Nice guy, errr girl…

Businesswoman.

I wrote this last year after the nature of a few of my relationships changed. I realized that it wasn’t the other person that changed, it was me. I’d decided I no longer wanted to pretend to be ok with the way things were, and as a consequence, I was probably no longer considered  by them to be very nice. Welcome to my “new nice.”

A friend recently released a children’s book called Nice to be Nice. She’s also a blogger, so we frequently find ourselves discussing the nice and not so nice behavior of the people around us. Whether it’s the mother allowing her toddler to scream his way through the grocery store, or it’s the man who, tiring of the display, smacks the kid square in the mouth, something’s just a bit off in society today. I think some adults have forgotten, and many kids just don’t know that it really is nice to be nice. That said, as I get older I find myself embracing a different kind of nice.

In my twenties, being nice meant having conversations with people I knew were lying to me, and not calling them on it. It meant being so concerned about hurting someone else’s feelings that I allowed them to hurt mine. It meant being aware of people’s negative attitudes but pretending to be ok with it anyway. And it meant doing things I didn’t want to do, even when I knew doing them wasn’t right for me. I did all of those things because I wanted to be nice. I didn’t want to rock the boat, and I wanted to avoid having certain conversations with certain people, at all cost.

But I had a light bulb moment almost ten years ago. I wrote about it last week, in the best advice I ever got.  It was during this conversation that my friend asked me why I got so upset when she did and said the things she did and said. The same things she’d been doing and saying for years. She was absolutely right to ask the question. And for years, I’d been too “nice” to tell her that many of the things she’d done had hurt me deeply. To preserve the friendship I let those things slide. As a result, I grew to resent her, and more importantly myself, for not thinking enough of myself to end a friendship that had become toxic. I vowed then, never again to be “so nice” that I lose myself in the process.

For the most part, I’ve kept my promise.  While the 20’s me would ignore my spirit telling me “girl, now you know something is wrong with this picture”  the soon to be 40 me has a BS meter so finely calibrated that I can spot a crock while it’s still being formed in someone’s head and shut it down before it has a chance to do damage. It’s a great skill to have.  Having it means that sometimes I stop BS-ers dead in their tracks. As a result, BS-ers do not think I’m nice. Neither do people who always want something for nothing, people who take others for granted, nor do the married men whom I immediately shut down when they, wedding ring securely on ring finger, “just want to holler at me for a minute.” These people don’t think I’m nice, and I don’t want them to.

Over the years, I’ve lost sight of my “new nice” a few times, but these days it’s much easier to be me, even if it means someone doesn’t like me. I help old people cross the street, offer rides to friends in need and genuinely wish real joy and success for everyone who crosses my path. I celebrate when the underdog wins and I’m frustrated when the greedy seem to prosper on the backs of the weak.  I’m as nice as the next guy – or girl. But I’ve tempered my niceness with a bit of wisdom. My mother would call it discernment. I call it my “new nice.”

Have you redefined your nice? How? Share your definition of nice in the comment section, on our Facebook Fan page or on Twitter @womenatforty.