It’s no secret that I’ve been in editing hell, I mean heaven, for the past few weeks. Needless to say, I’ve neglected my blog a tad. In the spirit of writing, it’s only fitting that I REBLOG a super cool post on poetry. Enjoy!
Kristina Rienzi’s Blog
Complicating things is my forte. I love to over analyze and problem solve all the live long day. (I actually ‘over analyzed’ the spelling of the phrase ‘over analyze’ to confirm if it was one word or two words. I found support for both and settled on two words.) Lately, I’ve figured out the majority of the stress in my life comes from the one place I never expected. Me.
I’m like everyone else and have a laundry list of things to do, most of which get pushed off until it’s triage time. Then, I find myself gravitating toward the things I can’t get off of my mind. Writing’s always there of course, but sometimes the pile of junk on the dining room table is screaming louder than my current work in progress and I must silence it. Before I start doing the screaming.
And then there’s all the stuff. Everything from clothing to nail polish to magazines. I simply have too much of it all. There are times I run around the house with a garbage bag and start getting rid of said items in bulk. Things, particularly too many of them in a small space, unearth a dark anxiety deep inside of me.
This week I began a massive purging initiative. And like any initiative, I took it seriously. I had a high level plan (nothing is safe) and a desired end result (less stuff). From room to room, I filled bags and boxes of items to donate and garbage to toss.
Yet this was no normal purging of items. Yes, it partially included getting rid of things I don’t need or want, which is a given when cleaning house. But it also included my new ‘non-toxic living’ motto. One I feel I’ll be working on perfecting for years to come.
On the heels of my terrifying health scare, I’ve decided to make some changes. Over time, I’ve slowly started incorporating items labeled ‘organic’ and ‘GMO free’ into my diet. Slowly. I’m not perfect and I screw up on this A LOT. But, I’m trying. And quite frankly, I don’t eat a tremendous amount of food, and with the exception of some guilty pleasures (Evil Twizzlers!), I’m a pretty healthy person. However, I know it’s not good enough. So with food, I’m cautious and digesting carefully.
My bigger issue, as any of my friends will tell you, are my products. Oh boy, am I product junkie! The worst kind. With almost 100 nail polishes in my collection, I never fail to buy another. In fact, I have one coming from Amazon this week. Zoya, non-toxic, if you were wondering.
Amidst the make up, nail polish, and lotions galore, my bathroom is practically a sci-fi chemical lab in training. Breaking Bad has nothing on my medicine cabinet. Seriously though, it’s really scary when you actually read labels. As I found when I spent my Tuesday night deciphering nail polish labels with a magnifying glass. Oh, yes, I went there.
That is, after I did my internet research. The terminology is mind-boggling. Claims of ‘3-free’ and ‘5-free’ are all over, and I can’t remember all of the chemicals I’m supposed to be avoiding. Studying websites like the Environmental Working Group and GoodGuide helped a great deal. Even the app, Skin Deep, was useful. Granted, it took me hours on my laptop, but I’m comfortable now with what I’m looking for – specific brands.
And, I have a good idea of the brands that are safe for me. For now. Especially since I’ve heard proclaimed natural products like Tom’s of Maine and Burt’s Bees are being purchased by mainstream companies. I’ll have to watch to see if anything changes there because I’m a huge fan of both.
The way I see it, at least I have a road map. With any road map, I may need to update it from time to time as construction happens. I’m okay with that. It’s better than doing nothing. At least I’m trying to navigate this toxic product world. While I may be spending a little more money on each item, I’ll have less of them in my cart as the products I find acceptable to buy diminish.
I will say the purge did me well. My closets are lighter and I feel lighter too. Happier, really. Since I know stuff stresses me out, I’m going to reduce my stress by reducing my stuff. And I’m really excited about it. I can’t wait to live with less and fill my home with positive energy instead of things.
I’m smart enough to know I’ll never live a completely simplistic life. Because, as I mentioned, I always find a way to complicate things at home. But this will be my personal challenge: to purge, detox and simplify life. One product at a time.
Doing research online can be daunting and confusing. I’d much rather hear from those who’ve gone before me. If you have any recommendations or feedback, please share it in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
Stay updated on Kristina’s book releases, contests and giveaways by signing up for her email list.
I’m a helper and having a blog puts me in the unique position of being able to support others through social media promotion.
I’ve decided to mix things up a bit and periodically feature some very talented and inspirational people on my blog. These are people I know personally. They’ve faced great challenges to realize their success and have never given up. They each have something special to share and their stories are truly worth reading.
It’s only fitting that the debut guest blog post is my beautiful niece, Ashley Trawick. Ashley talks about her journey to supreme health and fitness and her desire to improve the lives of others. I believe in her for so many reasons, and after you read her story you’ll believe in her too.
Maybe you’ll even be brave enough to take her up on her challenge, one shake at a time. Her results prove that you won’t be disappointed.
Stay healthy, my friends!
Changing Your Body and Your Mind
This year while prepping for my bikini competition, I realized I’d completely fallen in love with fitness and how it changes not only your body, but your mindset and lifestyle. I have been tiny my entire life, however I wasn’t really healthy at all. Eating anything and everything lead me to be what I call “skinny fat.” When I was 17, doctors diagnosed me with IBS/Colitis. I was slowly starting to understand why my body never responded to weight gain and exactly what needed to be done to get healthy.
If wanted to change my lifestyle and lead a healthier life, I needed to educate myself on healthy eating habits, proper nutrition and fitness. Fitness is not only about looking good. It truly makes the body feel great.
Fitness: It Does a Body Good
Over the last two years I’ve really gotten into the fitness side of this lifestyle. Considering I HATE cardio, I had to find different ways to change my body. My progress pictures over the last two years show the difference, and yet even these two years haven’t made me “bulky” in any way. Lifting makes me feel strong and powerful and, to be honest, since I have a tiny body type, muscles actually add curves to my frame and give it a fuller look.
On June 7, 2014, I competed in my first NPC Bikini competition and got 6th place! I couldn’t have been any happier with what I brought to the stage and was so proud of my accomplishment. I worked tremendously hard for 18 weeks day in and day out for the competition and it was definitely worth it.
Competing actually inspired others around me to want a healthier lifestyle as well, and I wanted to be the one to give advice and help them achieve their goals. That’s why I became a BeachBody coach. Although I just started on July 1st and am obviously still learning the trade, I’ve already helped so many people.
Now, I’m I doing a fitness challenge group on July 21st for anyone interested in trying BeachBody’s new program called PiYO!
- It’s a Pilates / Yoga mix but fast paced with cardio added. It’s a great program for anyone looking to lose fat and tone/sculpt lean muscles.
- No bulking and no harsh or exerting movements.
- It’s ideal for any body type, age and fitness level and for both men and women!
- With this 60-day program, you will quickly see results, feeling stronger and healthier.
- 3 DVDs, 8 workouts from 25-45 mins each. No equipment is necessary but it is easier to do on a yoga mat.
For the rest of July ONLY, PiYo is on sale for $140 as a challenge pack, which includes your first 30 days of Shakeology FREE!
Shakeology is your daily dose of dense nutrition. It’s packed with prebiotics, probiotic, antioxidants, amino acids, super-greens and so much more. A delicious nutritional protein shake that comes in four flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry and Tangy Greenberry! Vegan shakes are also available.
What to expect with Shakeology…
- Improved digestion and regularity
- Reduced junk food cravings
- Lose weight, especially if used as a daily meal replacement
- Increased energy and stamina
Are You Up For The Challenge?
My challenge is hosted on Facebook, but I can individually email anyone privately to check on progress and answer any questions.
- PiYo Challenge: 3 DVDs, 30-day supply of Shakeology, 60-day Lean meal plan recipe book and workout calendar.
- A 30-day trial BeachBody membership where I can exclusively be your coach!
Click on this link for more information on PiYo and feel free to contact me with any inquiries: http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/atrawick?bctid=3627630334001
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me at any of the below places:
Let me help you transform your body and achieve your fitness goals!
As the holiday weekend disappears behind me, I’m faced with the fact that while summer is half over, I’m still not at the halfway mark of my current manuscript. With a fully booked life outside of writing, my writing goals are increasing while my free time is decreasing.
The businesswoman in me isn’t about to change these goals, so the only sensible thing to do is to shift my day. I can wake up earlier to hit the keyboard, or maybe skip my evening ritual to get those words in.
Though the more I contemplate rearranging my schedule, I reflect on my choices yesterday and realize my dilemma is less about time management and more about energy management.
Time Marches On
Time is an interesting concept and there’s no shortage of ways to follow it, whether it be via the watch on our wrist, cell phone digits or a standard wall clock. Yet, there never seems to be enough of it to go around. We book ourselves solid then wonder why we feel like we can’t breathe, running from one appointment to the next – be it business or personal.
And then there are those points during the day where sensory overload forces us to shut down and drift off into our own heads. Maybe we’re sitting in front of our computer reading emails but really thinking about the vacation we need to take. Or we’re zoning out during a meeting as we consider what we’ll make for dinner and tally our food shopping list. Overwhelmed with too many things on our minds, we aren’t in the present.
Sadder, we don’t even see the precious moments in our life going down the drain. We’re losing opportunities to connect with each other and to learn more about ourselves by merely living. We’re on to the next thing, and then the next and before we know it, we’ve missed the fun along the way.
Time management could never solve this problem. The only resolution is to get control over our focus and our energy.
For the Love of Writing
My energy has been all over the place lately. Life’s been pulling me in multiple directions these days and I’ve been checking out of the present moment more than usual. This is particularly inefficient when the ‘to do’ list keeps growing by leaps and bounds and plans continue to fill my calendar months in advance.
I know I’m blessed in many ways, but I often struggle with the notion of doing what I want versus doing what I must. I’m a strategic person and spontaneity, quite frankly, stresses me out. I need a strategy to deal with such dilemmas, as I know they’re never-ending.
When choosing between laundry and a rendezvous with friends, friends always come first. But it’s not so easy with writing. Not because writing is more important than my people. Quite the opposite. I’d set my manuscript on fire for the sake of my coveted relationships. Truthfully, writing is something I both need and want in my life. I’m just miserable when I’m not writing and that isn’t good for anyone.
So I pick my battles. When my heart is pulling me toward the laptop, I go. Because to ignore that desire is to ignore my energy. I know my energy well and it won’t redirect itself anywhere else. I’ll just end up drifting off from the present to fantasize about the words I never typed. And it’s not fair to be anywhere other than with the people who share their precious time with me. When I’m with them, I have to be all in.
I’m like the next person and don’t like saying no or turning down an invitation. It’s an honor to be asked to participate in someone’s life. I never want to be that girl who opts out of everything because she’s busy. We’re all busy. We all have responsibilities. But for me, just being there isn’t good enough. I want to be fully there, in the moment and making memories every chance I can.
So when I can’t share all of my energy, for whatever reason, then passing on plans is what I must do – for everyone’s sake.
My Perfect Storm
This weekend I received an email from my publisher saying I’d be getting feedback on my debut novel, CHOOSING EVIL, from my editors soon. I was thrilled, to say the least. Every part of the publishing process is so exciting to me. A dream come true. Really. I’m looking forward to reveling in each step, no matter how difficult.
Yet, I panicked a little too. I’m working on another novel I intend to self-publish, unrelated to the publisher’s manuscript, and was hoping to have it to my freelance editor by fall. It’s not an unreachable feat, but something I need to be committed to if I’m going to meet my goal.
Coincident with the email, one of my best friends invited me over for ‘Sunday Funday’ with a group of our closest friends. Sun, pool, barbecue and drinks sounded amazing to me.
Until I remembered… I was getting ready for my publisher’s edits and I was behind on my current work in progress. My perfect plans turned into my perfect storm. But, how could I say no to the prospect of a perfect summer day?
My dilemma had arrived.
Instead of panicking, which is what the introvert in me does when a social invite overlaps with my writing agenda, I came up with a plan. A focused writing session until I reached my desired word count, and then I’d reward myself with a day of sun and fun with friends. I have to admit, not having a predetermined time to shoot for made it a heck of a lot easier to handle. And, thankfully, my friends understood I’d be a little late.
In the end, I exceeded my word count expectations and had a fantastic day getting tan and making memories with my favorite people. I was even home in time for my guilty pleasure, “True Blood.” Spoiler Alert! Even though I had no idea it was the end for Alcide. Sniff, sniff.
If I’d time managed the situation, I’d have been watching the clock and likely only written two hundred words versus my two thousand. Worse, I’d have been thinking about my low word count all day at the pool. Instead, I was fully focused on my story, not allowing any distractions. And then completely present with my best friends later on. I even made a tropical champagne punch and I’m happy to say it was a hit! We all agreed it tasted like Hawaii.
Energy management worked for me. It could work for you too.
Truth is, we can’t add any more hours to the day but we can control our presence of mind and focus on the here and now. Life is now, not in the past or the future. We don’t get a final curtain call. This is it. We need to enjoy it as it’s happening, not only in retrospect.
So put your cell phone away at dinner. Have a conversation without multi-tasking. Listen. Live in the present moment and get the most out of it. If you do, you may find there’s plenty of time in your day to do it all.
Time marches to the beat of its own drum, so why can’t we do the same?
Stay updated on Kristina’s book releases, contests and giveaways by signing up for her email list.
In the wake of a health scare, I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in years. Mainly because the scare was, well, just a scare. And like all scares, it did its job. It terrified me into appreciating life and reminded me that I have no entitlement to tomorrow.
With my characters, I don’t know exactly how they’re going to react until a situation presents itself to them. Yes, it’s a situation I created. But as all writers know, it’s as surprising to us as it is to our readers how our own fictional people respond. Some are weaker than we expected, some stronger. And if the scenario is stressful enough, it’s sometimes the very thing that changes them altogether.
That’s how I’ve felt over the last few weeks. I’ve changed. Maybe not in the way I show myself to the world, but definitely in the way I feel inside. And as we all know, our thoughts affect our feelings, which impact our behavior, and so on.
In my heart, I’m thankful for the scare. I needed it. And I never want to go back to just going through the motions in life.
The hardest part for me now is watching others live without having had my same epiphany. I want them to see what I see, even though I know it’s impossible. You can never truly appreciate what you have until it’s almost taken away from you. Not even when you see it happening to someone you love. You can empathize, sure. But, you can’t really understand.
I don’t wish health scares (or any scares for that matter) on anyone. But I do wish for something amazing to happen to each of us so we learn to embrace life in its entirety.
Life is funny. I started writing this blog to connect with people and talk about “embracing the unknown” in life, like I do in my fiction writing, specifically in the paranormal genre. Yet I have a new understanding of what it means to embrace the unknown as I learn to love my life in unexpected ways. I try not to fight things as much, but let them be what they are. Let people be who they’re going to be, even if their choices aren’t my cup of coffee (not a tea girl!). Instead, I disagree respectfully and move on. I can’t control anyone or anything but myself. And so I do.
In addition to all of the heartfelt emotions I’ve had these past few weeks, not knowing if I was healthy or about to embark on the fight of my life, I’ve confirmed and validated my pure, unadulterated love of writing.
Writing, like any love, releases butterflies in my stomach. My heart skips a beat when I think of click clacking away on my laptop keyboard, even if I have no idea what I’m going to say. Like these blog posts, which I spew from the heart quite quickly, writing stirs a melting pot of wonderful feelings inside of me. Some bursting to emerge and others I have to reach down deep inside to retrieve.
No matter what’s going on in my life, I can count on one thing for sure – I’m happiest when I’m writing.
And I vow to do it more often. I may need to say “No” to other things, but I’ll say “Yes” to myself. If I’ve learned anything from my recent ordeal it’s that happiness is contagious. If I’m going to be good to others, I must be good to myself first.
There’ll be more hurdles. I’m positive of it. But overall, life is good.