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Kiki Reflects - Page 3 of 3 - one woman's struggle to answer her calling

Kiki Reflects

one woman's struggle to answer her calling

10 Tips to Get Your New Year’s Resolution Back on Track

How’s that New Year’s Resolution going?  92% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions never keep them. If this is you, here are 10 ways to find your motivation.

1. Limit the Amount of Resolutions You Have to a Single Overarching Goal

If you have 25 different New Year’s Resolutions, it can be difficult to focus on just one.  Instead, choose just one.  This will increase your focus, and therefore you determination.

Once all of your efforts are streamlined into one main goal (which can be broken down into smaller, shorter-term goals; more on that later), it will be easier to achieve.

2. Talk to the Resistance

Ask it, “Why.”  Find out why you haven’t started or haven’t continued. For example, if you made a resolution to go to the gym, but you haven’t yet made it there yet, try to figure out the reason.  Is it because the gym is too far away?  Or maybe because you’re evenings are full of preparing meals and getting the kids ready for school the next day?

Once you find the reason why, you can make small shifts in your routine to remove these obstacles and accomodate your goals.

3. Break the Resolution Up into Smaller, Manageable Goals

Losing weight is the Number 1 New Year’s Resolution.  Yet, many folks are still struggling with this.  Try breaking down your resolution into smaller, more manageable goals.  This gives you “little wins” along the way, allowing you to recover and maintain your momentum.  Those goals need to be concrete and measurable, which brings us to our next recommendation.

4. Make Your Smaller Goals Concrete

For example, if your goal is to lose weight, your smaller goals could be 1.) Walk for 20 minutes after dinner three times per week.  2.) Cook healthy meals at least three times per week.

Giving yourself something to measure makes it easier to be successful, and therefore stay motivated.

5. Give Yourself a Deadline

Give yourself a date and mark it on the calendar.  If you tend to procrastinate, make it a “start by” date instead of a completion date.  For example, “I’ll start writing my first book within the next month.”  Often, just beginning a project brings enough momentum to keep you going.

If you find that deadlines work well for you, create the next one after you’ve met your initial due date.

6. Go Public With Your Goal

Use Facebook and other social media to your advantage.  Post about your desire to change, or start something.  Not only will you receive feedback on how to reach your goal, but your friends will hold you accountable.  This goes well with the next tip.

7. Enlist a Friend’s Help

You’re more likely to go to the gym if your friend is meeting you there.  If you’re trying to eat healthy, team up with a coworker where you take turns bringing healthy lunches into the office.  This way, you both win.

8. Reduce the Negative Self-Talk

I see negative self-talk a lot when I teach yoga.  In the a middle of a yoga class, a student will say something like, “I can’t get into that pose, I’m just not flexible…”  You’re defeating yourself before you even begin! This can kill your motivation.  Instead of being critical of yourself, talk to yourself with kindness.  Pretend you are your own best friend.

9. Reduce the All or Nothing Attitude

Okay, so you didn’t make it to the gym yesterday (or for the past month). That doesn’t mean you can’t exercise today.  Okay, so you had a slice of seven-layer chocolate cake when you were out with your coworkers.  That doesn’t mean your entire diet is ruined. Or even the whole day. For dinner, eat something healthy.

I remember when I was trying to lose weight, I would say to myself, “aw man, I ate that cupcake for breakfast, now my whole day is ruined. Might as well pig out the rest of the day, because I’m going to start eating right first thing tomorrow.” You know what? Tomorrow never came.

The problem with this thinking is it’s all or nothingness. There is NEVER going to be a time when you’re going to give up ALL sweets (or some other food you love). It’s much better for you to accept what you ate, and decide to eat healthy for your very next meal. Stop beating yourself up for it.

10. Don’t Think So Hard

Often, folks look at their goals as one, huge, unsurmountable task.  If you’ve broken up your goals into smaller, more manageable (as mentioned earlier), just take each task one at a time.  Eat that elephant one bite at a time.


One Last Note: Pretend it’s the end of the current year.  Looking back, what will you be proud you accomplished this year?  Most likely, you’ll never say to yourself, I wish I had spent more time watching TV.

Do you guys have any more tips? What gets you motivated? Leave your comments below!

Easy & Delicious Vegan, Gluten-free Veggie Fried Rice

Easy Delicious Vegan Gluten-free Veggie Fried Rice

Easy & Delicious Vegan Gluten-free Veggie Fried Rice

My husband and I have a goal of becoming debt-free by August 2015.  This means we’re trying to save money wherever we can!  One of the ways we’re doing this is by shopping at Aldi.  We looove Aldi, like, we wanna marry it (jk).  We love the price and the quality of all of the groceries we buy there.

However, I also prefer to eat veganish and gluten-free (gf).  A lot of vegan gf recipes on the internet have somewhat exotic ingredients that are difficult to find at a typical grocery store (although this is changing).  This means they’re usually at the more expensive stores.

We are doing several things to save money while still eating vegan gf meals.  We: a) keep vegan, gf “staples” in our home (e.g. brown rice and tamari soy sauce); b) shop at Aldi for as many items as we can; and c) use recipes that have mostly inexpensive products in them.

Last night, I made this easy veggie fried rice, adapted from Aldi’s “Spring Veggie Fried Rice” recipe.  It definitely got our vote!  It makes great leftovers too!  We bought most of these ingredients from Aldi. One exception is the tamari soy sauce, which we had gotten previously from Whole Foods.  Enjoy!

Easy & Delicious Vegan, Gluten-free Veggie Fried Rice
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (if you're in a hurry, you can use Aldi's instant brown rice)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 6 asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces (we defrosted some frozen spears from Aldi)
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
  • 1 cup frozen sweet peas
  1. In a medium saucepan, cook brown rice according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onion, carrots, asparagus and red pepper flakes. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute.
  4. Add rice, tamari and peas to skillet; cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and toss well before serving.

Easy Delicious Vegan Gluten-free Veggie Fried Rice

Easy & Delicious Vegan Gluten-free Veggie Fried Rice


A Few Things I’m Grateful For

Beautiful Autumn Leaves

Beautiful Autumn Leaves

I took this holiday challenge where we had to list what we were grateful for (Day 3 I believe), and bless someone’s life.  As I started to think, I got inspired:

Beautiful autumn leaves against a wispy sky,

The scent of oak as the wind whistles by,

Sharing with my mom a warm cup of chai,

Laughing so much a tear falls from my eye,

These are a few things I’m grateful for this nigh’.

Good friends I can email and call,

With a warm heart and reassuring words, tell me to stand tall,

Long talks with my aunt and grinning at her love of baseball,

Looking at my husband, and realizing we have it all,These are a few things I’m thankful for this fall.

A sister who makes me feel special and unique,

Jogging with my husband on the path by the creek,

Love of family is what makes life sweet,

These are a few things that are wonderful to me.

My grandfather stepping on my dress as we walked down the aisle,

The eyes of my husband and stepson when they smile,

Together at Cathy’s, sitting and cuddling by the fire,

These are a few things I find worthwhile.

Remembering why I’m so thankful for this life,

Honored and grateful to be a friend, daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, sister, stepmother, and wife.

Happy Thanksgiving!

How We Created a Yoga Room in a Rented Apartment, and Made Money in the Process

Our New Yoga Room

Our New Yoga Room


If you’re serious about yoga, you’ve probably considered having a dedicated yoga space in your home. (This also makes sense if you’re trying to save money, because going to a yoga class easily costs $10-20 per lesson.)

A quick internet search told me that creating a home yoga space is “easy.”   However, after seeing photos of beautiful, lush, wooden-floor, high-end home yoga rooms, I thought to myself “Sure, it’s easy… if I had a million dollars, owned my own home, and could put in whatever kind of flooring/decorations I wanted.” Instead, my husband and I have a mostly carpeted, two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment – ~1000 square feet in size.

Discouraged, I stopped the search… for a while. My husband and I continued to practice yoga in our living room. Because of our carpeted floors, a few months ago, we purchased two LifeBoards (~$120 each from Amazon).

The LifeBoards were great – completely worth the money. (Especially considering we reduced taking expensive lessons at the studio.) That said, every time we wanted to do yoga in our living room, we had to push the coffee table aside, put the life boards down on the floor, and slant the TV towards us. Not a lot of work, but enough to make us skip a practice or to because of the trouble.

About a week ago, when we were in our then-guest room/office, my husband said to me: “Why don’t we make the guest room into a yoga room?” At first I said no, but the more I thought about the idea, the more I liked it… and I finally agreed. Here’s how we did it:

1. Decide whether you really want to dedicate a whole room to yoga. If it’s your guest room or your office, consider how often you use the space and whether you would use the yoga space more often. Would it benefit your health, well-being, or sense of peace? For us, it was a no-brainer. We only have stay-over guests once every couple of months, whereas we do yoga multiple times per week. Plus, we planned on keeping the Ashley sleeper chair; it would just now be in another room. We also had a very nice air mattress that we occasionally used – that was always an option for guests.

2. Figure out which furniture/stuff you’re going to get rid of (or move to another room). For us, the guest room had a digital piano I was no longer using, and a sleeper chair we do use occasionally. However, we also had a chaise in our living room that was taking up a lot of space, but wasn’t very functional. We decided to sell the piano and the chaise on Craigslist, and move the sleeper chair to the living room. We chose to keep the desk in the corner of the yoga room, because we still would have plenty of space for yoga, and we will probably still use that desk in the future.

3. Sell your bigger stuff on Craigslist. I prefer Craigslist for bigger items, because I don’t have to worry about shipping. (We originally sold the piano, but then had to refund the money because it turned out to be broken. We did make money from selling the chaise though.)

4. Remove clutter and stuff you don’t need from your yoga room. Sell or donate smaller stuff. For us, we had a small plastic filing cabinet that we moved into a closet. Take the time now to vacuum/clean the floor.

5. Add desired items to the yoga room. Since we had been doing yoga in the living room, we simply moved our LifeBoards, yoga mats, blocks, straps, containers holding these items, etc. into our yoga room. Also, we decided to move a TV we weren’t using from our bedroom to the yoga room. We used the Ikea piano bench we already had as a TV stand.

6. Stand back and look around! Once I had a dedicated yoga room, I felt like a boss. My first yoga practice in our new room felt wonderful and peaceful. It was also great to not bump into anything.

Good luck!! I would love to see photos of new yoga rooms posted in the comments below!!

By the way, does anyone have any tips for doing yoga in an efficiency/dorm room? I’d love to hear your ideas!

Namaste 🙂

Mom’s Wake-Up Call

Last Wednesday at 3am, I awoke to my cell phone ringing. I instantly felt dread in the pit of my stomach. Good news rarely arrives in a 3am phonecall. I had a feeling it would be bad news.

Unfortunately, I was right.  My sister was calling to tell me that Mom was in an ambulance on her way to the hospital.  She had been experiencing pain in her chest, left arm, and jaw.

What worried us the most, however, was that Mom said she felt scared.

Let me talk about my Mom for a second.  Three months ago, Mom retired from 48 years of nursing (she’s been a nurse since 1966!).  She retired as the Administrator of a nursing home and assisted living center (Administrator=boss lady by the way).  She’d seen it all in her career, having worked in hospitals and doctor’s offices.  She had even been a school nurse.  She’s easily seen as one of the top nurses and Administrators in her area.

So, for Mom to say she was scared and nervous about her chest pain was a big deal.

Mom has Type II diabetes, and so does her sister (my aunt). My aunt also has had multiple heart procedures in the past, including stints and bypasses. Therefore, we were all scared that Mom was having heart trouble.

Later that morning, I drove the two hours to the hospital near Mom’s house.  I was greeting by a room full of friends and family. I got there to see Mom before her scheduled cardiac catheterization.  A cardiac cath is where a catheter is inserted into an artery and threaded through blood vessels to the heart.  In this case, it was inserted into Mom’s thigh.

About 45 minutes into Mom’s procedure, the doctor came out to the waiting room to talk to me.  He said that she had no blockages in her heart.  In fact, her heart looked fine.

I exhaled an immediate sigh of relief.  Which was followed instantly by me asking, “If it wasn’t her heart, then what was it?”  The doctor answered that it could be acid reflux, stress, or even some form of arthritis that you can get in the chest.  At any rate, it wasn’t her heart, which was great news.

About an hour later, I was signing the paperwork to get Mom released from the hospital.  She had to take it easy for the next day or two: no driving, no lifting anything over ten pounds, etc. The doctor also told Mom that she needs to lose weight, and to try to get rid of her diabetes.

I stayed with my mom and aunt until yesterday.  We had several long talks while I was there.  Mom told me she saw this experience as a wake-up call.  Her second chance.  She said she wants to live a heathier lifestyle and try to lose weight.

We went food shopping and prepared healthy meals (easy steamed corn in the microwave, delicious lemony cauliflower, and an eggplant parmigiana recipe found on theglutenfreevegan.com — which they loved!).  Mom and I watched a documentary on Netflix called, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.”  Mom is now researching the best way to incorporate juicing into her diet.

Since I left, Mom has continued to eat well.  In fact, Mom told me today that she has lost six pounds in the past week; she was very excited and surprised about that!

My vision for this blog is to be a source of inspiration for people like my mom, those striving to live a healthier lifestyle.  I hope others can benefit from what I’ve learned.