Monday, November 5, 2012

Last post

Dear Readers,

The Daily Challenge has been a blast the past couple of years. You may have noticed the pause from posts the past few months - that's because I've decided to expand my writing to include a wider variety of topics. I will no longer post to this blog. In the meantime, I've created The Whole Health Puzzle blog where I'll share stories, resources and tips related to nutrition, fitness, lifestyle and attitude. Many of the topics and ideas expressed in this blog will relate to the content on the new site. I'm excited about the new venture and looking forward to grow the community.

I hope you continue to follow along and share your insights.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Winding down

A personal favorite way to spend Sunday evenings is winding down the weekend with some mellow tunes and scanning my favorite sites and blogs for fun quotes, yummy recipes, or my own weakness - cute puppy photos. I can't resist them! A few of my favorite mellow evening jams include the blusey-style of Johnny Flynn, the harmonious sounds of Local Natives and the raw and catchy mew album from Dr. Dog, Be the Void. Listen in below and let me know what you think.

On another note... the social scrapbooking site Pinterest has exploded in popularity over the past couple of months - a fascinating topic which I'll write more on in a separate post. For now, I'd like to share a few quotes to start out your week which I recently posted to my Pinterest board, well-said.

"Wherever you go, no matter the weather, always bring your own sunshine."
"You cannot always wait for the right time. Sometimes you must dare to jump."
"What matters most is how you see yourself." 
Johnny Flynn, The Wrote and the Writ

Local Natives, Who Knows Who Cares

Dr. Dog, How Long Must I Wait

What are your favorite ways to wind down your weekend?

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Welcome to winter-ing

Ah yes, winter-ing. My favorite season. The lovely in-between period from winter's transition to the blossoming months of spring, when everyone eagerly awaits the day they can bury their peacoat and knit cap far at the back of the closet until next year. (Well, at least us in the Midwest. Not so relevant to you West-coasters!) More importantly though, it is during these months that summer festival lineups are announced - a reason to rejoice and lose sleep if you ask me! As the Grammys were just last weekend, and indie music fans around the globe are gloating the wins of Bon Iver, Adele, (and even Skrillex), and others, lineup announcements ride this wave of excitement and continue boosting the profile of independent and up-and-coming artists from all genres.

Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, Outside Lands and Lollapalooza usually grab my attention first as top sources for discovering a throng of talent in one place. Earlier this week, Bonnaroo announced their 2012 lineup (the others to follow in the next couple of weeks), and I've been in research mode the past few days to pick a couple of favorites. From 70's style soul to folk jams, old school favorites to alternative rock, and even comedic acts such as Aziz Ansari, there is something for everyone to enjoy. A few with star quality that I'm particularly excited about: Fitz and the Tantrums, Needtobreathe, Grouplove, City and Colour, Delta Spirit and Dawes.

However, the best part of the lineup is discovering new artists to follow and share with others. My Bonnaroo 2012 Playlist in Spotify has a sampling of most of the artists on this year's bill, but I've picked a few new catchy faves to share below.

Alabama Shakes, Hold On

The Lonely Forest, Turn Off This Song and Go Outside

White Denim, Street Joy

Kathleen Edwards, Change the Sheets

Trampled by Turtles, Wait so Long

Who on the lineup are you loving right now? Would you pay the $300+ for the four day event?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Three words: Treat your self

As a Parks and Rec enthusiast, I couldn't help but think of this clip from an episode earlier this season in which Tom and Donna celebrate their annual "Treat Yo Self" day. The episode is hilarious but more importantly, brings up a good point. Sometimes you just have to indulge in a bit of TLC to unwind. And honestly, who doesn't love some well-deserved pampering?

This thought actually stems from an accidental occasion last week in which for two days in a row I left my phone charger at work, and came home each evening feeling slightly disconnected and discombobulated with a dead battery and no chance for revival! (Have you ever left your phone at home and felt like you're missing something? It's the strangest thing.) Suddenly the phone calls I had to make and the tasks I'd stored away in my ColorNote app were unattainable, and I was left with no choice but to embrace it.

My unintentional "disconnect" from constantly checking emails, updating my Twitter status, or sending text messages left me with a freedom I don't often experience as I am constantly connected through two Smartphones, a laptop and an iPad - a self-confessed technology junkie I'll admit! In any case, it was with this new found free time that I decided to treat myself to an evening of setting aside the to-do list, turning off the computer and enjoying a book instead, and satisfying my pizza craving with a local award-winning pie that I'd only ever dreamed about trying. It was a relaxing mid-week break and while I typically do enjoy the hustle-and-bustle of the so-called daily grind, the change of pace was welcomed.

So with that, I challenge you to Treat Yo Self this week! Share your stories here.


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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Keep moving!

Every week, Saturday and Sunday come and go and still to (mostly) everyone's surprise, Monday morning arrives. Without fail, the phrases I hear every week include:

"The weekend just wasn't long enough."
"Just a few more days until the weekend!"
"Hooray -it's Friday!"

OK yes, I do love the weekends. It's great to sleep in and have a bit of down time. However, as the other five days of the week take up more of my time - I think focusing on how to make these just as great is really important for having a quality of life. Counting down the minutes until the next weekend is overlooking all of the great things that Monday through Friday have to offer.

So for the past hour as I've been getting things in place for the week, I've played Mr. Scruff's "Get  A Move On!" on repeat and I've never been more eager for a Monday morning! This eight minute song is guaranteed to get you movin' & groovin' and ready to take on whatever this week has to bring. Also, if you're a Spotify user, subscribe to my Good Morning Playlist for additional good-mood-jams.

How do you start your week off stress-free?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Five minutes to re-energize the day

My typical morning routine is timed to the exact number of minutes it takes me to get ready, grab a cup of coffee and a quick breakfast, and head out the door. It certainly is not the most relaxing way to begin the day and I often find myself wishing I had a couple of extra minutes. Herein lies the secret - not hitting the snooze button! It may seem obvious but when in that groggy-half sleep-state of mind, it is easy to convince yourself why you need those extra 300 seconds of sleep, when in fact it probably doesn't do much after an entire night of sleep. A new way to spend those extra five minutes may add an extra burst of energy to your morning which carries throughout the day.

  •  Make breakfast. And no, having cereal in place of an on-the-go  granola bar doesn't count. Try eggs, peanut butter and banana toast, or a protein shake to start the day out right. You may even ward off the 10:00 a.m. hunger to last until lunch! 

  • Pump up the jams. My go-to playlist is Graffiti6 Pandora radio station. I find that leaving it on in the background is a great mood-booster and with favorites from Graffiti6, The Black Keys, Jimmy Eat World, and Cage the Elephant, you'll be ready to take on whatever the day has in store. Today's favorite is "A Little More Time" by Zox. 

  • Catch up with a friend. OK so maybe 6 a.m. isn't the ideal time for a phone call, but sending an email or writing a quick card to say hello may just make their day! 

What adds a burst of energy to your morning?

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

328 reasons to ride

As I begin training for the Pan Ohio Hope Ride and chatting with others about the event, I am struck by the consistently supportive responses from everyone. The unfortunate truth often comes down to many people can relate to the devastating effects of cancer, and its life altering implications. And all I continue to remind myself during the days I am searching for motivation to get to the gym is the millions of lives touched by the American Cancer Society and their phenomenal work. (This overwhelming thought alone is an instant motivator.)

A few people close to me have recently been affected by the disease and I feel more compelled than ever to find a way to support each of them. So I've decided that while I'm no scientist, researcher, or million-dollar grant provider, I can write and share their stories. Three hundred and twenty eight stories, in fact. One to represent each mile along the four-day ride through Ohio.

And to do so, I'll need your help. Photos, quotes, stories, memories - anything you can share. I want to create a community of these inspirational stories as a reminder to "Celebrate Life."

Please pass this along and send your thoughts to

Peace & love.

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