Learning to Commit to Myself

Random photo for fun

Random photo for fun

I have a problem with following through with things. Not all things rather goals or challenges I set up for myself. I just can’t commit to myself .I don’t know what it is but when it comes to committing to myself I start a task and tend to lose steam about 25% of the way in and by the half way point I give up. At least I can say that I follow through 90% of the time (hey I’m only human) to commitments that I have to others.    

I finally came to terms with this a few months ago and have been making an honest effort to follow through. The first challenge I had for myself was my DietBet* challenge. I did this because I wanted to get myself back on a healthy path. I knew I couldn’t lose the 4% body weight  healthfully while nursing but I did know that I could get myself into a better place and I did it. I followed through and while I didn’t see a big drop in the numbers I did in the way clothes fit.

My second challenge to myself has been to participate in the #Elf4Health challenge this month. I love having the connection with other participants and my own elf and I have committed to giving daily updates on my Facebook page regarding each of the tasks. This has been such a great challenge to participate in and I’m so glad I opted in and have followed through. I have made more time for myself, focused more directly on my health and fitness and have made connections with others. This challenge is not over but with only a few days left I can say that I already know that this is a success.

My third challenge is one that I did because Neil decided he wanted to do a juice til 4 cleanse. Now I did not juice til 4 with him due to the negative side effects that a cleanse can have while nursing but I did agree to challenge myself to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables I ate and have no coffee, gluten, processed foods, or alcohol for four days with him. I did it! But even more notable is that HE DID IT! My husband spent the last 4 days doing a juice til 4 cleanse and I have never been so proud of him, okay maybe I have but still this is huge, if you know my husband you might know his will power to pass up free treats is low and he is notorious for being one of those “well I worked out so..” type do people and yet he did his. 100% committed did it. He feels great, isn’t craving the crap that he was and just overall is feeling like the restart button has been pushed. I feel better too and just like him cut the cravings for processed food and sweets. 

What Have I Learned? Committing to myself feels good. I have been feeling successful and healthier both mentally and physically. That being said I am thinking that monthly challenges for myself might be a good thing to try. I have done this in the past and they have helped me out a lot but I also have learned that I do this better when I can do it with others. So that being said who wants to take on some monthly challenges with me? I am thinking starting January doing a monthly health or fitness challenge would be fun. I know that incentives help so I am thinking a giveaway at the end of each challenge for those who finish a challenge might be a fun addition. That being said who is interested and what kinds of challenges would you want to participate in? 

*For full disclosure I made $0 off the entire game after deducting Neil’s entry into the game. 

Happy Holidays with UncommonGoods

UnCommon Goods- Merry xmasUnCommon Goods-stockingWe are just a few days away from Thanksgiving which for us is the big kick off to the Holiday season.Can you believe that it’s almost December? This holiday we are really focusing on spending time doing special things as a family and with friends. While we will be exchanging gifts we are are limiting our gift giving to five gifts each and a stocking. Besides putting a cap on the number of gifts we give each other we are also requiring that 75% of the gifts purchased come from local shops and/or ones that give back.

One shop that we will be supporting this holiday season is UncommonGoods a Brooklyn based;privately-owned;retailer that features unique designs and handcrafted gifts created in harmony with the;environment and without harm to animals or people.

I had the joy of searching through theUncommonGoods site and choosing some gifts from their suggest Christmas gifts, stocking stuffers and personalized gifts. I ended up shooting the photos of all of these items while Edith and Alder were napping because there a few fun things that I just can’t wait to give them. Luckily they don’t know how to use the internet yet, although Edith is getting there, I can share them here with you in this post. Neil on the other hand is very experienced with using the internet so instead he gets a few of these gifts before Christmas and some will be given to friends and family who just might be reading this right now.
UnCommon Goods food faceI can’t believe that Alder will soon be eating solid foods so in anticipation of that and Edith’s love for playing with her food I chose these fun Food Face plates. Honestly I think I should have picked out one for each of us because how fun are these? Oh and these Animal Hands will be perfect for Edith’s stocking and since she is so little I think Neil and I might get to play with them too.
UnCommon Goods potlicker beer jelly UnCommon Goods mustache & beardFor the man/men in your life you might like these two fun gifts. The first is a selection of beer jelly’s that are actually made in Vermont (my home state!). UncommonGoods sells a four pack that includes four different types of jelly’s for the beer lover in your life.As a stocking gift you might be interested in this mustache and beard comb especially a great gift for those who have been participating in Movember! Neil has already tested this out and it’s now permanently in his pocket.
UnCommon Goods relaxing tub tea UnCommon Goods eye pillowLastly we have some relaxing gifts for the ladies. I’m not going to reveal which lovely ladies in my life will be receiving these but I hope that they use them and feel relaxed. Both the bath soaking tea and the eye mask smell so amazing and would be perfect as a combination gift or even as stocking stuffers.

UnCommon GoodsA few reasons that we love this online retailer:

It is aB Corp: B Corporations use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. As a B Corp UncommonGoods meets rigorous standards on a wide range of issues, including wage levels (the lowest paid seasonal worker starts at50% above the minimum wage!), environmental impact, and giving back to our community.

TheirBetter to Give Program: With your purchase UncommonGoods is proud to donate $1 to the non-profit of your choice. Since starting the program 12 years ago they have donated over $300,000 to charities around the world!

The Products:Half of what UncommonGoods sells is handmade, most are created in the USA and 1/3 are made from up-cycled or recycled goods.

Visit UncommonGoods to find the perfect Christmas gift for everyone on your list.

Make sure you check out all of the gifts on UncommonGoods that you can have personalized.

Oh and don’t forget UncommonGoods impressive selection of stocking stuffers.

Lindsay & Neil’s 5th Annual Pumpkin Beer Tasting

Please enjoy this post from my hubby Neil. 

Every year around this time, Lindsay and I have a pumpkin and seasonal beer tasting party. The size and format of the party has changed just about every year with our first party was just the two of us and it was a healthy mix of pumpkin and seasonal beers. This year we had six adults taking part in the tasting, two observers and a slew of children playing together and having a good time. One thing that is consistent is that we’ve always had some form of rating system for the beers. 

Sourcing the beers to taste is one of the fun (and sometimes tedious) parts of the process. This year, we started collecting beers to sample early on in the season and have been acquiring a beer here and there when something catches our eye. This year was probably the first year that the selection was entirely pumpkin as well. We managed to find a healthy mix of local beers, imports from the East Coast and even a cider. 

Pumpkin Beer Tasting 2014 - 11 Beers

With such a wide selection of beers and a large number of guests, we needed to find a way to adequately supply tasting glasses for everyone.  Early on in the shopping process for the tasting, we had noticed Target had a beer tasting party collection designed by graphic designer and blogger Kate Peters of Wit & Delight. The suggested price of the products was a bit on the expensive side for disposable goods but as the party grew closer, Lindsay was able to find the beer tasting cups and cards and a few other party items for half off in stores. On each tasting card was four different spots to grade the beers you are tasting. The options were “Another” or “Never Again” with some of us adding a third option equated to “I’d drink it for free, but I wouldn’t pay for it.”

Pumpkin Beer Tasting 2014 - Place Setting

Pumpkin Beer Tasting 2014 -places

After some appetizers, we got the tasting under way. We poured four beers at a time and took the time to discuss what we thought of each beer as a group.  The nice thing about pumpkin beers is that they come in an ever growing variety of styles. Love it or hate it, it wasn’t too long ago that it seemed that all of the pumpkin beers on the market were sweet, pumpkin pie spice bombs. It’s nice to see some more balance and moderation in flavor and styles. 

Pumpkin Beer Tasting 2014 - Beer As we made our way through the beers, we had a great time discussing what we thought of the beers and what specifically we liked and disliked about them (as well as giving those who like the least popular ones a hard time of course). 

The results of the voting weren’t really all that surprising. The breweries at the top are known for making great tasting and creative beers. I know my personal favorite was the Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. Punkin managed to fall into the “pumpkin pie” style of beer with out being overwhelmingly sweet or spicy. Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale has consistently been in our top picks for our favorite pumpkin beers since we started doing the tastings. I also enjoyed the New Belgium Pumpkick. The spices weren’t too heavy and the addition of the cranberries in the beer was a nice touch, giving it a slightly tart taste.

The East Coast wholly embraces Autumn’s seasonal beers and why shouldn’t it? Fall in New England is arguably the best season of the year. That being said since moving to the West Coast  we have struggled to find many of our favorite pumpkin/Autumn beers. However there is one brewery that we’ve enjoyed and have found really embraces pumpkin beers on the west coast is Seattle’s Elysian Brewing Company.

Elysian brews up a number of different pumpkin beers every fall and even host a pumpkin beer festival. Their beers have done really well in both of the tastings we’ve had since moving to Portland with Night Owl coming in third this year and first last year.

Elysian’s pumpkin coffee stout Punkuccino (not officially part of the tasting) was Lindsay and my personal favorite this year. It’s made with Stumptown Coffee cold brew, cinnamon and nutmeg. It was incredibly smooth and was basically a pumpkin spice latte in beer form. (Lindsay jumping in here- seriously the best pumpkin beer ever and I’m bummed we couldn’t locate another bottle for our tasting). 

Pumpkin Beer Tasting 2014 - BeersNow on to the losers of this years tasting. The two huge disappointments in the lot were the Burnside Brewing The Dapper Skeleton and the Woodchuck Hard Cider Private Reserve Pumpkin Cider. The Dapper Skeleton just fell flat. The description was just so enticing with the chillies and cocoa nibs but in reality they didn’t add much to the beer.  In the opinion of all but one of our tasters, the Woodchuck Pumpkin Cider was terrible. I don’t think a single person was able to even finish their two ounce pour. I know I took only one sip before dumping it. 

Below is the tally of our votes:

Pumpkin Beer Results 2014

This was our biggest pumpkin/seasonal beer tasting to date and we look forward to carrying on with it for many years to come.  We’re also planning to host more seasonal and themed tasting parties as well as beer pairing dinners in the future. 

What seasonal beer or drink do you look forward to most?

If you like coffee, beer and babies follow Neil on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Also keep an eye out for his new blog Life Brews launching December 2014.