My Inner Shakti Turns 4 + Snapshots

Happy 4th birthday to my blog!

How has it been four years since this post?  CRAZY!

When I first started blogging, I had absolutely no idea this little space on the internet would bring me so much joy.  I knew My Inner Shakti would be the creative outlet I needed to ramble on and on about the things that interest me.  However, I never thought about the opportunities it would afford me.  And I most certainly never thought about all the amazing people it would bring into my life from all over the world.

Thank YOU for everything!  Every single comment, social media interaction, email, etc. brings a smile to my face and fills my heart with gratitude.  As cheesy as that sounds, it’s the truth.  Lots of love to each and every one of you!  I hope our internet friendship continues for years to come!

Snapshots

Not sure why this seemed fitting for today, but I thought I would share some snapshots from my Tuesday.  Perhaps it’s because sometimes I feel like I only stick to topic blogging and don’t really share much from my everyday life.  Perhaps it’s because I love it when bloggers share the bits and pieces of their lives that resemble my own and I want to do the same. 

Anyway, here are some pictures from a regular old Tuesday in the My Inner Shakti household.

I definitely reset my alarm twice this morning!  Thank goodness I live walking distance from the office.

Alarm clock 
I’m going to share more about the Deliver Lean meal plan service I’m trying out this week in a much more detailed blog post.  In the meantime, let me say this – the meals are so delicious and so filling.  More to come!

Deliver Lean Breakfast
I decided to use the first 30 minutes of my lunch hour a little differently today.  Instead of going home, making lunch, and watching TV, I decided to go for a walk!  This will likely become a regular thing.

Lunchtime walk 
The last 30 minutes of my lunch hour were spent eating this delicious salad, drinking this juice (it was surprisingly refreshing), and browsing the internet a bit.

Deliver Lean Lunch 
My new favorite pants (the Sloan fit) from Banana Republic were delivered today.  More to come on these soon because they are amazing and I think everyone should at least try them on.

Banana Republic

Vishnu and I walked over to the new Whole Foods before dinner (this could be trouble!).  I’ve been wanting to check it out ever since it opened on January 14th, and we finally got around to making the short trek over.  You guys, it’s such a beautiful store!  My two favorite things about it are the coffee bar and the hot foods bar – sooo many options!

Whole foods 
Well, that pretty much sums up my day.  Nothing glamorous but just the way I like it!

If you’re a blogger, how long have you been blogging? 
What are your favorite everyday activities?

Par’s Picks – 21

Happy Monday!  I thought I’d change things up a bit and share some of my favorite recent reads.  I try to save ‘Par’s Picks’ for Saturdays but didn’t get around to putting this post together in time.

Anyway, pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy!

LIFE:

7 Things Only People Who Suffered From Acne Understand – YES to all of these!  Those of you with clear skin have no idea.

Do These 5 Things Before Bed & Wake Up Happier – Love all of these rituals, especially #5.

The 5 Best Jobs You’ve Never Heard Of – Such cool opportunities!

This could be good. This could be bad. Fact is: You are free to choose.My favorite piece from the week!  Beautiful words!

12 Ways to Turn Your Wounds into Wisdom and Strength – Easier said than done but great points to keep in mind.

Life Lessons From Tina Fey – Love her!

2 Unexpected Lessons I’ve Learned Since Changing Careers – Lesson #1 is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.  Love how her explanation.

10 talks you won’t be able to stop thinking about – Can’t wait to sit down and watch all of these!

15 Life Lessons Learned From Primatologist Jane Goodall – All things we know but oftentimes push to the back burner.

LOVE:

10 Quotes From Vladimir Nabokov’s Love Letters That Will Make You Pine For An Old Fashioned Romance – AWWW!

BLOGGING:

Blogger Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Photos You Don’t Own on Your Blog – A must read for all of my fellow bloggers.

HEALTH & FITNESS:

A Total-Body Strength-Building 5×5 Workout I will definitely be adding this to my strength routine.

The Workout You Need For 2015: Full-Body BurnerA great 30 minute total body strength video.

Vegan Pumpkin Sauce (Recipe)

I’m pretty sure every time I say the words vegetarian, vegan, or dairy-free, Vishnu’s heart skips a beat.  And not in a good way.

That’s why I sometimes don’t tell him what I’m making until after he eats a few bites.  Depending on what he has going on, this tactic can work in my favor or not.

When it works in my favor, I get a, “This is good, Par.  What’s in it?”  And when it doesn’t…well, take this past Sunday when I was making a Vegan Pumpkin Sauce recipe my coworker shared with me…

Dairy-free pasta sauce

I start the cooking process by chopping up an onion.  Vishnu asks if he can help me in any way.  I smile, say no, and tell him to go watch TV and relax.  He gives me a weird look and goes away.  I continue cooking.  About three minutes later he comes back, pokes around a bit, and asks if he can help.  This time I tell him to open up a can of pumpkin.  He gives me a strange look.  And then the questions start.

“What are you making?”
”Why are you being so secretive?”
”Should I make some meat to go with this pasta?”
”Why are you putting pumpkin in the sauce?  It tastes gross.”

I do my best to ignore him.  After adding the finishing touches to the sauce, I plate our food and we sit down to eat.

After taking a few bites, Vishnu says, “This is good, but you know what would have made it even better?  Some meat!”

GAH!  At least I got a “this is good!”

Anyway, I LOVED this sauce and found it to be unique and quite delicious all on it’s own.  It’s one of the simplest things I’ve ever made and took less than 30 minutes to throw together.  And the best part is that you can put whatever creative spin you want on it – different spices, different/additional veggies, etc.  And you can’t even tell it’s vegan.  I promise!

And don’t listen to Vishnu.  It’s great even without any meat!

Dairy-free pasta sauce 2

Vegan Pumpkin Sauce

1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 of a medium onion, finely diced
1 pint of grape tomatoes, pureed in a food processor
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 sage leaves, cut using the chiffonade technique
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

Heat the oil in a large pan.  Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until the onion is translucent.  Add the tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes.  Add the garlic, salt, and pepper.  Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes.  Add the sage, oregano, red pepper flakes, almond milk, and pumpkin puree.  Whisk everything together until pumpkin is well incorporated into the sauce.  Cover and allow to simmer for 7-10 minutes.

While I think of this as a pasta sauce (because that’s how we ate it), it would pair well with rice, quinoa, and even meat as Vishnu pointed out!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Half Marathon Training (Week 11) + A Full Body Strength Circuit

I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! January 25th honestly can’t come fast enough. As much as I’ve enjoyed training for this race (well, 95% of the time), I’m ready for a new challenge. One that involves a little bit of cardio and lots of strength training.

While this week wasn’t a total bust, I definitely didn’t get a lot of mileage in thanks to my cold. However, I did manage to complete my long run this week! 11 miles done and done! AND I ran each and every mile!

With that, here’s what week 11 looked like:

Monday: 2 mile walk
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 3.5 mile run
Thursday: Full Body Strength Circuit + 2 mile run
Friday: 4.5 mile run
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 11 mile run

This week’s long run was a beast, but I did everything in my power to ensure that it actually happened. For one, I ran at 6 pm instead of 8 am. I also made sure to eat a substantial lunch and drink a lot of water throughout the day.

Only one more long run to go…eek!

 

Fitness Buddy App + A Full Body Strength Circuit

Vishnu recently introduced me to Fitness Buddy, an app that houses tons of workouts with step-by-step instructions, animations, etc. I haven’t tapped into the app’s full potential yet, but I love what I’ve seen so far.

The built-in workouts are my favorite feature, and I can’t wait to use this app to shape my strength routine after the half. I tested one of the workouts on Thursday and wanted to share it because I think most people would benefit from a little Fitness Buddy in their life!

*Full disclosure: I am not a personal trainer. Please adapt this routine to your current fitness level and/or consult with a professional before attempting.

FB Strength Circuit

A few notes:

  • I used 10 pounds weights to complete 10 reps of each exercise for a total of 3 sets.  If you are new to strength training, I recommend starting with 3-5 pound weights and increasing slowly.
  • Complete all eight exercises back-to-back with no rest.  However, be sure to rest for 1-3 minutes between sets.
  • *For the body weight plank, I did a 30 second plank followed by 10 seconds of rest followed by 30 more seconds of planking.
  • To challenge yourself further, follow this routine with 20-30 minutes of cardio (running, elliptical, Stairmaster, etc.)

An example of each move:

What’s your favorite way to exercise?  Please share any strength training apps/tools/resources you use!

And in case you’re interested, here are links to my weekly recaps:

Week 1 Half Marathon Training
Week 2 Half Marathon Training
Week 3 Half Marathon Training
Week 4 Half Marathon Training
Week 5 Half Marathon Training
Week 6 Half Marathon Training
Week 7 Half Marathon Training
Week 8 Half Marathon Training
Week 9 & 10 Half Marathon Training

A Lesson in Conflict Management

The absence of a message is a message.

When my coworker said this during one of our weekly calls, I didn’t quite understand what she meant.  And then I visited our neighborhood post office…

Conflict management
(Source)

I should mention that our post office is known for poor customer service (per Google reviews).  Not only have I experienced it for myself, but I’ve witnessed postal workers snap at customers for no reason at all.  Hostile USPS alert!

During my most recent visit, I remembered my coworkers words and adjusted my attitude accordingly.  Let me explain further.

*PW = postal worker

Me: Good afternoon!
PW: How can I help you?
Me: I would like to mail these two packages via Media Mail.
PW: These packages only contain books?
Me: Yep, only books.
PW: What kind of shipping would you like?
Me:  Ummm.  Media mail…?
PW: That’s not a kind of shipping. –> This is when I knew how the interaction was going to play out.
Me: Regular shipping is fine then. –> Dumb answer, I know.  But I really didn’t understand her question.
PW: There’s no such thing as regular shipping. –> Said as she mockingly laughed.
Me: Blank stare.
PW: Do you mean standard shipping? –> Said in the most condescending tone ever.
Me: Yes, please.  That’s fine. –> I wanted to snap right back, but instead, I took a deep breath and used as few words as possible.

PW weighs packages, I pay, etc…

PW: You’re done.
Me: Thank you.

Just because I didn’t snap back doesn’t mean I didn’t want to say more.  Trust me, I did.  I also wanted to “accidently” knock all the boxes and envelopes off the shelves as I walked out, but I didn’t.

As annoyed as I was, I came to realize that by not responding to the PW [the way I wanted to], I still sent a message and learned something in the process.  Not every situation warrants a reaction.  Sometimes people are going to unkind/rude.  This has everything to do with them and nothing to do with you. 

The absence of a message really is a message.  Even if you are the only one who really gets it.