fabulous friday #8

Happy TGIF, friends! It’s been a beautiful sunny week in the Bay Area, though the weather has been drier than ever — which means wildfires are a very real danger. Please send your thoughts & prayers for rain!

Here are 5 things I’m loving right now:

1. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on January 20th. I can’t think of a better way to remember Dr. King than a national day of service in his honor. I’m excited to get involved with a community service project on Monday. Here’s a wonderful link about the Day of Service with a helpful guide to find projects happening your area! Or, do an act of kindness!

2. Morning yoga. I’ve started going to a yoga class that meets every Tuesday & Thursday morning. I may not be the most talented yogi in the land {a not-so-nice instructor once told me, “You are the least flexible young person I’ve ever seen!” Ummm, thanks? At least I’m trying!} … but I always feel way energized and refreshed after yoga class. And I’m improving, little by little, day by day. I’m even contemplating adding a morning Saturday yoga class to my routine!

3. Big ol’ salads. {Which always makes me think of this Seinfeld episode!} One of my health goals for this year is to eat a salad or a green smoothie every day. My body just feels better when I feed it good fuel. Right now I can’t get enough of crunchy toppings like fresh bell pepper, celery and edamame. YUM.

big salad

4. My aunt’s two poodles, Lucy & Rocca. This week I’ve been writing at her house during the day to keep her dogs company so they don’t get too lonely. Mr. Mur-dog will always hold the key to my heart, but these two dogs are pretty dang sweet and adorable, too! {Just don’t tell him I said that.}

poodles

5. This “revamp my spirit” playlist by Heather Waxman. My current favorite playlist, guaranteed to start my day off on a great note! I especially love the first track, “Riptide” by Vance Joy.

Now, your turn:

  • What are you loving right now?
  • Any fun plans for the weekend?
  • Are you going to participate in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on Monday?

my 3 fave ways to use chia seeds

chia seeds

In the past year, thanks to some of my favorite bloggers {I’m looking at you, Julie and Lindsay!} I’ve been introduced to a nutritional powerhouse: chia seeds! In just one tablespoon of chia seeds, you get six grams of fiber, three grams of protein, and 2.9 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Here are three of my favorite, no-fuss ways to use chia seeds in my daily life:

1. Smoothies. Just sprinkle some chia seeds on top of your fruit and ice and blend away! A smoothie combo I’ve been loving lately is strawberry + banana + mango.

smoothie

2. Salads. I love adding a tablespoon of chia seeds on top of my favorite healthy chicken salad.

chicken salad lunch

3. Baked goods. Stir a spoonful of chia seeds into your muffin or bread batter — or hey, why not even try some in brownies, cookies or cakes? I just made a batch of chocolate-chip banana muffins with some chia seeds added in!

banana muffins

When the weather cools down a little, I know I’ll be switching out my breakfast smoothies for a warm bowl of oatmeal — another great dish to sprinkle chia seeds on! I’ve yet to try overnight oats but I’ve heard chia seeds are a crucial ingredient in helping the oat mixture thicken overnight. This and this are both on my “to try” list of recipes!

Have you ever tried chia seeds? If so, what are your favorite ways to use them?

weekend fun {+ trying to stay cool!}

Happy Sunday, friends! Hope you are having a joyful, relaxing, rejuvenating day!

It has been H-O-T here in Southern California, and especially in my little beach community where few of us have air conditioning, this weekend has been all about trying to keep cool! I have been downing Gatorade, homemade iced tea, and smoothies.

As I mentioned the other day, I have been all about the smoothies lately! I am a little late to the smoothie party, and I don’t know why it took me so long. I think I was intimidated by the blender {and blender clean-up} but it really takes me all of five minutes to assemble my smoothie, blend it, and wash the blender. A smoothie has become my go-to breakfast! I normally blend some fresh or frozen fruit, a couple spoonfuls of greek yogurt, 1/2 cup of coconut water, a handful of baby spinach, and ice. Here are a few of my favorite fruit combos:

– strawberries, banana, pineapple
– peach, strawberries, blueberries
– mango, peach, blueberries
– raspberries, strawberries, banana, blueberries

Also, if anyone is like me and feels a little wary about adding spinach, trust me: you really can’t taste it! It’s a great way to get a little more green into your diet.

On a more decadent note, I also made these chocolate butter cups which are currently chilling in the freezer … I will let you know how they turn out!

me beachin

Yesterday I spent the afternoon at the beach with my dear friend Patty and her family, who were sweet enough to invite me out to their beach house. It was a beautiful day at the beach and the nice ocean breeze cooled things off a little!

Then, last night my mom and I kept cool in the air conditioning: we went to a local restaurant and saw my amazing friend Lauren Sexton in concert! She is such a talented songwriter, singer and guitar player. She just released an album and the concert was a celebration. You can check out her music on her Facebook page — two of my favorites are her songs “In the Morning” and “The Highway.” Her music is beautiful and I was so proud to be there last night! Congrats, Lauren!

lauren sexton concert lauren sexton

This morning began with a smoothie, the Sunday comics, a slobbery doggy kiss from Murray, and a beautiful sermon at church. Today’s sermon was about delighting in the abundance and joy of the summer and taking time to relax and recharge your batteries. After I got home, I’ve spent the rest of the afternoon sprawled out on the couch reading a great book — Abide With Me by Elizabeth Strout. {I love her! Her novel Olive Kitteridge is another great read!}

As I’ve written about before, sometimes I feel this pressure to be go-go-go all the time, like constant busyness makes my days more worthwhile, but I’ve found it’s really quite the opposite. On those rushed, forced go-go-go days I typically climb into bed feeling depleted and frazzled, like my gas tank is on empty. Not a good feeling. I’m learning to give myself permission, especially on Sundays, to just relax and savor this amazing life I’ve been blessed with. There was nothing I felt more like doing today and curling up with a book, and it has been a delightful Sunday.

What are you doing to relax and recharge your batteries? What are you delighting in this summer?

year of kindness challenge: week 22

year of kindness button

Happy Wednesday, friends! I made my first smoothie of the summer for breakfast this morning and it was fabulous! I just threw a random assortment of fruit that I had in my fridge into the blender: a handful of strawberries, some honeydew, some cantaloupe, a small container of blueberry greek yogurt, ice, spinach, and some coconut water to get things movin’. It tasted delicious! Definitely going to be making a lot of smoothies this summer! I’d love to hear some of your favorite smoothie recipes — please share in the comments below! 🙂

There has been SO much kindness happening in my world this week! The thing about kindness is, once you start to notice and pay attention to it, you see kind acts everywhere! That might be my favorite thing about this #yearofkindness challenge: becoming more aware and attuned to kindness in the world around me.

Here’s just a sampling of kindness I noticed this week:

  • I saw many doors held open for people — at the bank, at the grocery store, at a restaurant. Proof that chivalry {and kindness} are alive & well!
  • I spoke and taught writing workshops at my alma mater middle school, and two students wrote me very sweet, handwritten notes of gratitude. Made my week!
  • Many, many friends and acquaintances, in daily life and in the blogosphere, have preordered copies of my dad’s new book WOODEN & ME … I can’t even tell you how much your support means to me and my family!!
  • My friend and mentor Tania took the time to talk about a painful recurring dream I was having … with her compassion and guidance, I was able to work through some things and come to a place of healing. I am so so grateful for her friendship!
  • On a recent walk on the beachfront path in my town, I noticed an older couple walking along with a trash-bag and one of those trash pick-up gripper sticks, picking up litter all along the beach.

I also loved this Huffington Post piece by Marlo Thomas recapping some random acts of kindness that popped up in the news! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marlo-thomas/12-acts-of-random-kindness_b_3312193.html?utm_hp_ref=tw#slide=more298511

The Week 22 Kindness Challenge is to do an act of patience. This could mean staying calm and not getting upset when someone cuts you off in traffic; or letting someone go ahead of you in line; or politely telling that telemarketer, “Thanks but no thanks” instead of saying something rude. Maybe it means patiently reading your child their favorite book three times in a row, or patiently listening to a friend’s long, drawn-out story on the phone without interrupting. Approach these acts of patience with an open heart and thoughts of kindness, and what once seemed like a chore might turn out to be surprisingly enjoyable — perhaps even full of grace.

As always, blog about your experiences and include your links in the comments section below, or feel free to send me an email at dallaswoodburn <AT> gmail <DOT> com.

Have a wonderful week!
Dallas

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year of kindness archives:
– week 1 challenge: donate items to those in need
– week 2 challenge: leave quarters & note at laundry machine
– week 3 challenge: write & send a kind handwritten note
– week 4 challenge: give hot chocolate to someone outside in the cold
– week 5 challenge: do something kind for a neighbor
– week 6 challenge: deliver valentines to a nursing home
– week 7 challenge: donate to a food pantry
– week 8 challenge: donate toiletries to a shelter
– week 9 challenge: post a kind note in a public place
– week 10 challenge: do something kind for a child
– week 11 challenge: thank someone in a genuine & meaningful way
– week 12 challenge: deliver baked goods to a fire station
– week 13 challenge: give someone flowers
– week 14 challenge: donate books
– week 15 challenge: reach out and spend time with people
– week 16 challenge: smile at everyone you meet
– week 17 challenge: pick up litter/trash
– week 18 challenge: write a kind note to a mom figure in your life
– week 19 challenge: leave an extra-generous tip
– week 20 challenge: donate blood/join bone marrow registry
week 21 challenge: visit a cemetery and pay respect