Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Mind & Body by Samantha Nichole

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

This evening is the first time I am posting in my blog since May. Crazy! Things in my life have been a little crazy in general, despite the fact that I have slowed down and have less activities than before. I tried using Tumblr as a platform a couple times, but I couldn't help but remember about this ol' thing.

My last post in here was about a biking experience that ended up being a spiritual experience. Well, tonight is New Year's Eve. Happy New Year! I have been the kind of person who sets goals often, so instead of setting specific goals, I am going to share my bucket list with you. I'll put an asterisk next to the bucket list items I plan on doing in 2013. I encourage you to do the same! Share your bucket list with others so they can encourage you, give you pointers, or--who knows--maybe laugh at you.

  • Visit Italy again
  • Write a novel
  • Write a novella* (In the works!)
  • Publish a book (self-publish or otherwise)
  • Go skydiving
  • Mountain bike on an actual mountain
  • Have my own business, officially* (Plans are set, now we/I need to put them in action)
  • Swim in the ocean
  • Take a surfing lesson
  • Snowboard on an actual mountain
  • Participate in the Solstice in Times Square free yoga event* (June, 2013)
What are some of your bucket list items? Do we share any? Let me know! Again, Happy New Year, and be safe.

Photo Courtesy of: http://inherheart.blogspot.com/2012/12/happy-new-year-2013.html

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Racing the Rain & Why I Love Biking

This evening I decided to ride my bike to the gym! It looked like it was going to rain all day, and I heard that there were supposed to be isolated thunderstorms, but I didn’t believe it. I hopped on my bike and took my sweet time getting to the gym. When I arrived, the clouds looked only a little bit darker, so I figured I had enough time to do some quick core and arm exercises. About halfway into my gym session, I lost all enthusiasm to be at the gym. I wanted to go home, and I wanted to ride my bike as fast as I could home. I quickly packed up my things and powerwalked out the door.

As I was riding, I looked to the west and I saw ominous clouds. Needless to say, I decided to pedal my little heart out.As I approached the Root River Parkway, I saw lightning out of the corner of my eye. The lightning became more frequent within moments, and the temperature dropped. I passed runners, walkers, and other bikers who had also (I’m assuming) increased their pace. We were all stealing glances at the approaching storm, and we accepted the challenge to race it.

 When I finally reached my front porch it had already began to drizzle. I went inside, shut the door, and sighed. What a relief! As I poured a glass of water, I heard a low rumble of thunder, and within two minutes, literally, the rain began to pour, and strong gusts of wind punished the trees in my front yard. How lucky was I? I can assure you that I wouldn’t have gotten the kind of workout by staying at the gym.

 Aside from trusting my gut feeling to leave, I think there is something spiritual and special about biking. I don’t actually bike on the streets most of the time. In fact, I don’t have a road bike, I have a mountain bike. With the exception of riding mostly on the streets today, I have recently been taking my rides to the woods. 

I’ll tell you all the things I love about riding. I love the fact that you can’t completely predict the weather, so that can factor into your ride; I love that you can connect with nature by using a manmade contraption that jumps over roots, maneuvers through tight tree-corridors, and makes you fly headfirst over the handle bars when you hit a rock just right. All those things appeal to me.

 In the simplest form, I love the way biking makes me feel. I’m able to connect with nature, and I have moments to myself where I can think about what the clouds are saying to me. Biking challenges me physically, but it also challenges me spiritually. Riding makes me pay attention to the storms approaching, and I think God challenged me to a race today. He let me win this time.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Books for Inspiration

Dear Readers, One of my ultimate-favorite leisurely activities is writing. I love writing fantasy stories and daily in my journal, but lately I have been stuck! I haven’t been able to get past this section of my novella where my main character (a demon killer) is in a relationship where her boyfriend (a vampire) is obsessively controlling. Basically, she’s in an abusive relationship with this evil being, and she needs to find a way out, but a part of her doesn’t want to. There is also another sexy man involved who happens to be her partner in the whole demon-killing thing. That’s fun. So, to cure my writer’s block, I decided to pick up a couple books to burn through. Maybe these will help. I grabbed The Faith of a Writer by Joyce Carol Oates, Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose, The Virginia Woolf Writers’ Workshop by Danell Jones, and A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. I’m hoping these will give me the edge I need to bust through this rut! Actually, while I was writing this I just had an epiphany of what should happen in the story! Horray! (Not kidding at all.)
The Faith of a Writer (On Amazon Kindle) Reading Like a Writer The Virginia Woolf Writers’ Workshop (On Amazon) A Room of One’s Own (Wikipedia)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Rituals: Mine and Importance

It happened again. I was sitting at my computer thinking about the fact that I needed and wanted to work out, but there were two major obstacles I had to conquer. #1: Getting out of my chair, dressed, and out the door, and #2: Getting in my car and driving to the gym. As I was getting ready, I twisted open the blinds and peered outside. There was an overcast, it was drizzling, and after opening the window I discovered it was also cool. For whatever reason, I was inspired to jog outside. 

I ran on a trail scaling the marsh and discovered birds, other wildlife, trees, and the flowers while soaking up the fresh mist of the morning. When I got home I was tired and drenched with sweat. My left upper-shin or knee (I’m not exactly sure which) ached in pain, but that short 5 mile jog left me wanting more. After coming home I decided to try a ritual. I have been reading the fabulous Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life. 

In a nutshell, the book is a practical guide to harnessing your creativity. In chapter two Tharp writes about rituals. Tharp’s ritual is getting into a cab every morning in order to hammer out a 2-hour workout at the gym. My ritual is practicing yoga after a run and writing after yoga. I moved around the furniture in my living room, and I cleaned up. (I can’t practice yoga when the room is messy or cluttered.) I picked a sequence out of Yoga Journal magazine, changed up a few of the postures to make it my own, and ended with a 10 minute savasana. After completing my yoga practice, I vowed to sit down and write, whether that meant working on my novella, journaling, or writing a blog post. Sitting down to write was easy once I released endorphins, which in turn opened the door to my creative self. 

 In today’s world it’s difficult to find the time to engage in rituals. Many people juggle work (full-time, part-time, and multiple jobs) and kids, they struggle to balance family time with work, and often forget to pay attention to their own physical, social, and cognitive needs. Rituals are important for anyone! Young, old, middle-aged, rich, poor, or middle-class. Rituals help people find balance among the mind, body, and spirit. I may not have time to practice yoga after a run and write after yoga every day of the week, but I can take my practice and ritual slow by starting off with waking up 15 minutes earlier for work, engage in a short yoga practice, and vow to sit at the computer and write a paragraph every day after work. 

With that being said, I am challenging you to create your own ritual! Not sure what to do? Think about these questions: What are my hobbies? What do I want to do more of? Where in my day am I lacking energy? What are my strengths and weaknesses? How much time to I have to start devoting to my ritual? Next, tell your friends and family about your ritual via word-of-mouth, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or whatever floats your boat. Telling others that you’re setting a goal to create a ritual will help you keep it. Your mother, grandmother, or bestie will probably ask you how your ritual is going. You can even use the ritual to strengthen your relationships with them! 

Regardless of what your ritual is, finding time to do something you love and something that’s healthy for your body and mind is beneficial. People fail to recognize their own needs when they have the world sitting on their shoulders, so create some goals, engage in a ritual, and tell the world about it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Here's a Drink to Try!

Pinterest is addicting. I found this on a Tumblr blog called Lets Get Started.

According to the post, this is what it is, how to make it, and what it does...

Green Tea (boosts metabolism)

Tangerine with a chemical composition that increases sensitivity to insulin and stimulates genes that help burn fat

A mint, calorie-free flavor enhancer

In a large pitcher, combine 8 cups of brewed green tea, one sliced tangerine, a handful of mint leaves, and stir this up at night so the flavors combine together. Drink 1 pitcher daily for maximum results.

Clear Your Space & Clear Your Head

Yesterday I spent most of my Saturday morning cleaning and organizing my kitchen. Only my kitchen. In the end, I was very pleased with the results. All my tupperware containers are ready to go, so I can easily grab a container of whatever size I need, stuff my leftovers in it, and put it in the fridge for my lunch the next day. I organized all my cookbooks and flagged new recipes, I found out what I had too much of, what I needed to donate, and what I didn't have.

The Kitchen

Real Simple is probably one of my favorite online resources. The article 24 Smart Organizing Ideas for your Kitchen says to have a Lazy Susan (pictured below.) I know many people who have this and they really enjoy it. I keep all my spices in a cupboard above the stove; I like to keep my supplies where they make the most sense.

The article also suggests to keep your cookbooks away from the stove in order to avoid grease and heat damage. I strongly agree. Some of my older cookbooks are looking a little sickly these days. I keep mine on the end of my serving counter next to where I store my crock pot. (You can see that in the first picture of this post!)

The Bathroom

Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of having drawers in my bathroom, or a mirror that opens into a medicine cabinet! I am limited on storage and space, so it's really important for me to keep organized. I like to organize my bathroom by keeping all like items together. For example, I keep all my makeup in a portable caddy, and my everyday makeup is stored in a smaller makeup bag. I keep those next to each other under the sink.

I keep all my medicine in the hallway closet. (It's a really good idea to go through your medicine regularly as it does expire.) It's also a good idea to invest in a rack that will hold extra bath tissue. It's never a pleasurable experience when you find yourself, or your guests, without proper...necessities...EEK!

This is a wicker tissue roll holder from Target.


Keep your bedroom open and free. This room is supposed to be for rest and rejuvenation; less clutter equals relaxation and a quiet mind, so make sure you have a hamper for your dirty clothes, and decorate in moderation to make the space a safe haven.

Living Room

I searched around for some fun articles on living rooms. This article had two key points, and I agree with them 100%.

Rule Number One: Keep Flat Surfaces Clutter Free. (I say you avoid doing this by keeping furniture around that has storage compartments in it, like an ottoman, and keeping a separate room for books such as a study.)

Rule Number Two: Control Out-of-Control Cords. (You can use zip ties to restrain them, or purchase items with multiple outlet plugs. Make sure you keep the cords behind something like an entertainment center.)

A Room of Your Own

Make sure you have a space to retreat to. I know this is hard because not everyone has the luxury of having more than one or two bedrooms, but if that means setting down a meditation or reading pillow on the floor by the window, so be it.

"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library."

--Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Friday, March 23, 2012

Crispy Apple Cake Recipe

Hey Readers!
So, this may not be the healthiest snack option, but I'm a firm believer in the idea of everything in moderation. I experimented with making an apple cake, and I changed some of the ingredients to make it my own! Here is my official Crispy Apple Cake Recipe.

What You'll Need

2 Eggs
4 Apples, peeled and cut up
2 Cups of Sugar
1/2 Cup of Olive Oil
2 Tsp of Cinnamon
2 Cups of Flour
2 Tsp of Baking Soda
1 Tsp of Salt
1 Tsp of Vanilla

Beat eggs. Add sliced apples and eggs together. Add sugar, cinnamon, oil, flour, baking soda, salt, and vanilla into a bowl and mix. Spread the mixture into a greased pan (or glass baking pan) that's 9 X 13. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 55 minutes, or until you can stick a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean. Once you take out the cake to cool, sprinkle some sugar over the top (or another topping) to sweeten the crust.

Other topping ideas: Nuts, Chocolate Chips, and Cool Whip!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Post-Work & Pre-Workout Food!

Turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, cheddar cheese, light mayonaise; vanilla yogurt with blueberries; hot green tea; one daily energy multivitamin.

I usually eat something like this after work and before a workout; I'm less likely to gorge myself during dinner, and I have enough stamina for my workout. Try to eat more often (in moderate amounts of course) rather than 3 large meals per day. I eat 5-6 snack meals per day.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Three Successful Women

What is Success?

There are many different definitions of success. Some believe success is how much money one earns, and others believe it’s how many people you know. I believe that success is finding what you love and being able to do that thing as a way of living. Often times this is found in entrepreneurship. Dancers may open dance studios, artists might start non-profit art galleries, and fashionistas could start their own clothing lines. The list goes on and on!


As an individual who believes in the power of goals, being an entrepreneur has been at the top of my list since I was six years old and living behind a coffee shop. (At the time I thought I wanted to be a barista and have my own Stone Creek Coffee!) Today my goal for what kind of a business I want has changed, but my drive to achieve happiness and independence has never faltered.

Success, Entrepreneurship, and Women

I am usually inspired by powerful women. I find it easier to relate to women, and I have had the rare opportunity to be surrounded by some the strongest, most intelligent women in the world throughout my existence. Although I know many close to home, I have also learned about powerful entrepreneurial women through the grapevine of the internet. Below you will see a list I have made of the top three successful women who inspire me. You will notice that each woman is very different, and their businesses are very different, but they have three things in common: A vision, goals, and the balls (so-to-speak) to make it happen.

#1: Audrey Kitching

I find her inspiring because she’s an individual.

Audrey is a clothing designer and fashion journalist. She has three different clothing lines: Tokyolux, Lazy Bones Vintage, and Coco de Coeur. She was discovered in public when she was younger, thus becoming a model before launching her lines.

I am inspired by Audrey because of her individual style! The fact that she has mostly-pink hair is the least of it. Her clothing styles are unique, and they often have to do with cats. Maybe that’s why I love her so much…

#2: Michelle Phan

I find her inspiring because she has amazing work ethic.

Michelle Phan is literally the most-watched female video blogger on the net. She is an artist and has her own makeup lines. Michelle is constantly working on something, and that’s why she is an inspiration to me as well. I enjoy staying busy, and the fact that Michelle is as busy as she is, while being successful, is a good sign for me.

#3: Kimberly Wilson

I find her inspiring because of her education.

Kimberly Wilson is a yogi, author, and eco-fashion designer among her other trades. She is the owner of Tranquil Space in Washington D.C., and she has written two books thus far. She is an extremely creative individual who embraces wellness. Kimberly has a master’s degree in Women’s Studies and she’s studying social work currently.

Kimberly's education is what inspires me the most about her. It's interesting to me that she studied women's studies, and I am also intrigued that she is continuing her education farther than a master's degree. Kimberly is a great example of a lifelong learner who loves to try new things. She definitely is driven.

The women I listed above are all hard-working entrepreneurs. Audrey is a unique fashion designer, Michelle is an outstanding makeup artist, and Kimberly is a tranquil yogi-scholar. Although they are each very different from each other, something they have in common with one another is their shared work ethic and the desire to fulfill their dreams. In my eyes, these women are fabulously successful, and I am inspired by their successes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Making Your Visions a Reality

As much as I adore my Amazon Kindle Fire and Pinterest, there is something about organizing my interests and reading tree-books and magazines that still intrigues and soothes me. I have decided to show you how to organize some of your interests in order to make your interests and visions a reality! You can put these collections on your bookshelf, in your kitchen, and even in your bathroom. Note, this is different from simply making a collage. Here is what you will need:

Construction paper (regular paper is fine, but I prefer the durability of construction paper)

A pair of scissors

Some of your favorite magazines

A sharpie and other drawing supplies if you want to decorate

Glue stick and/or tape


First decide what some of your interests are. The ones I initially chose were makeup, fashion, and wellness, but that changed later to cooking, beauty, and wellness. Find some of your favorite magazines to get the images from; I chose Allure, Self, and Yoga Journal.

I pasted the pictures onto the corresponding construction paper and put them in the folder. I also found some perfume that I really liked, so I cut the strip out of the magazine and wrote the name of the perfume on the sample. I tucked those strips into the beauty folder for future use. The cooking folder was very fancy, so don’t feel like you need to buy Betty Crocker binder. I placed the new recipes I found in the book and I now leave that in the kitchen. Finally, I found a lot of how-to articles in my Yoga Journal and Self magazines, so I took those out and put them in a folder that allows for me to stick a legal pad in there. I'll bring that to the gym to record my workouts and progress.

I hope you all find your interests, make folders, and take advantage of images! Cooking, working out, and getting ready in the morning can all be a little easier because you can organize your how-to content. Digital portfolios are very fun and intriguing, but there is simply something about paper, cutting out what you want, and physically handling and seeing what you want to achieve. Happy folder making!

Friday, January 20, 2012

5 Gym-Free Methods I Use to Stay Healthy

Today it is snowing profusely, and I am stuck in my humble apartment, dancing around in circles, cleaning, and thinking about thinking. I don’t want to go to the gym because the roads are pretty dangerous, and I don’t need to leave. The truth is this: I am no Jillian Michaels or Tracy Anderson, but over the years of being a college student and workaholic I have learned a thing or two about staying in shape without hitting the gym (even though I love going to the gym for the social aspect and group classes!) I’m inspired to tell you all how I stay in shape, so here are 5 Gym-Free Methods I Use to Stay Healthy.

1. I was lucky enough to win an XBox 360 in 2009 from the Mountain Dew/Skate2 Sweepstakes, so that has truly been a blessing. Not only can I use it to stream my movies and TV shows, but I can also use it to play music and, most importantly, hook it up to my Kinect. The Kinect has been my best friend since last winter. When I am have time, and I’m looking for something fun to do, I put in one of these games: Dance Central, Dance Central 2, Kinect Adventures, or Your Shape: Fitness Evolved. It’s a fun way to game, and it’s so easy to get off the couch and enjoy yourself—with or without company! There are other fun gaming systems and games out there, so do some research and find what’s best for you.

2. The second way I stay in shape is by dancing around…in my kitchen and living room. I purposely put on workout clothes when doing housework, and I dance around throughout my apartment cleaning or reading books (which I often find isn’t a good idea, especially when I’m grabbing my foot in pain because I stubbed my toe.) You are probably thinking, “How can that do anything?” The truth is that any activity will burn calories, so embrace it.

3. I also take the stairs when I can. When I am working at the college I always take the stairs to get to wherever I need to go. Also, because I also work in downtown, my car is parked in a lot a couple blocks away from work. Even though these Wisconsin winters are brisk and brutal, I bundle up and endure the pain.

4. My college years were the hardest for me to stay in shape. I was stressed out and I had so much classwork to complete! Rather than staying up late and risking not getting enough sleep, I woke up early to complete simple assignments and spent my afternoons between classes working on other things. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain—when you are asleep your body is actually burning calories, so use that resting time to rejuvenate your body.

5. Finally, the 5th method I use to say in shape is by snacking and staying hydrated. Snacking throughout the day is healthier for you; it helps speed up your metabolism, and you won’t gorge yourself during meals (PS- I also eat to the point of being satisfied, but not to the point of being full.) Because I keep snacks with me throughout the day (Note: Healthy snacks such as clementines, bananas, yogurt, trail mix, etc.) I am less likely to stop at a fast food restaurant as well. Every busy person knows what I’m talking about! One should also drink plenty of water because people often confuse hunger with being thirsty. Think about how much less food you would have to consume if you simply stayed hydrated.

I truly hope these 5 methods will help you become healthier! Use every opportunity to get up, walk around, and stretch your legs. Be sure to stay hydrated and snack when needed. Finally, if you have an XBox or other gaming system, use it for exercise as well! There are awesome games out there that will help you stay in shape while having fun.

Stay Fit and Good Luck!
XoXo Samantha Nichole