Healthy Lifestyle

Just another UN-Manic Monday

I had the most wonderful weekend. I am in love with this weather!  (knock on wood) I feel like we are finally having a spring! This weather is perfect weather to get outdoors.

Things are changing! I am as well. I used to dread rainy days and weather. I lived for days of sun and tanning on the beach. No longer. I would much rather spend a day in the mountains taking in the scenes, BUT that does not mean I no longer like the beach. I think I am just a bit “beached out”, possibly from SC? Not sure.

I am not going to give it much thought and just accept that I currently like the mountains and the cool weather…….tomorrow I may change my mind, but for today, I am happy

This weekend I hiked at Trexler Preserve in magical Lehigh County.

I describe it as a 1,108 acre “terrarium”   that was founded by General Harry Trexler as a way to protect endangered bison and elk at the turn of the 20th Century, pretty special!

I really was hoping to catch a bison or two (ok or 50) but no such luck. (Sorry Dad) NO worries, another trip, because I will be back!

Some highlights from my trip….I cannot take credit for most of these amazing photos, that goes to Bill and Dave. They are pretty professional with the iPhone!  I definitely need some iPhone pic taking classes!


One of the many beautiful flowers


So many bridges


The rain felt amazing….
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I felt like a miniature walking around in a terrarium 


Breathtaking views…


Apparently, this is always like this and cars enjoy riding through….




Did you know groundhogs can climb trees and hide from predators? Yup, neither did I until I spotted this little guy……Way to go bud!600_461632154600_461632182600_461632295





Information about Trexler

This blog, puts mine to shame. I give credit where credit is due. Wonderful recap and photos!

What is your favorite place to hike?


Since I began this post with “Change” I want to end on that note. Let’s continue to promote change all around ….lovely post!

I LOVE this so muchI LOVE this so much.  Not only for mothers of boys but for everyone. 


Healthy Lifestyle

Friday Fave’s

Happy Friday and Happy (lllllloooonnnnggg) weekend!

A few of my favorite Friday feelings

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Make yourself uncomfortable!

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Gah, this has worked for me YET again!!  (Suprise)  I have been putting off a book for a while now because I just thought “I will totally  HATE that book because it is so out of my usual”.  My routine. My normalcy.  My comfort.

A small yet significant reminder that I need to do things I do not really want to….like read Kindred by Octavia Butler (first sci-fi written by a black woman!)

Woah.  I thought……. “Sci-fi MEH!” however I am 100 pages invested and am having difficulty putting it down. It is NOT the sci-fi I had envisioned. It is amazing and so, so good! Loving it, and loving stepping out of my comfort zone, even in this itty bitty way



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What an awesome approach to teaching! (Interested? Click here!)  I love giving my students the option to create an infographic to express themselves! (sort of like a graphic novel!)

I love this (feminist) one I recently came across. YES!



Are you up for the challenge?

If you find yourself seeking approval constantly, it may not be a terrible day to do a little “detox” of your own. No judgment, I get it, Its hard!

Sometimes it is so hard to just be in the moment and feel those uncomfortable feelings. It is so easy to distract ourselves from our lives and our challenges, by turning to social media. It is an easy fix, but not doing much for your own personal growth


Still not ready

From the ages of 16-33 I was pretty much in a relationship at all times. Most were unhealthy. I was not at a point in my life where I was able to be myself. I put all of my energy and focus into my partner, and completely ignored myself.

The past few years of my life have been SO freeing. I am finally focusing on myself. It is hard. It is uncomfortable. It is challenging. I have many of my own judgments and misconceptions that I am trying to work through. Many feelings I felt were “wrong” all these years, that I am finding out are NOT. Many areas I am finally starting to accept, whether I like it or not.  I am happy and content just being. Living. Learning. Meeting interesting people and finally allowing myself to be me.  I am also accepting that everyone will not like me and I will not like everyone, and that is OK!



Breakfast. Makes me so happy!  Seriously, it is my favorite meal of the day. In fact, I could eat breakfast foods every day for every meal. Some breakfasts from around the world…..

Russia:  Griddle Cakes

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Poland:  Breakfast spread (don’t forget the fresh bread and jam!)

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France:  MMmmm

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South Africa:  Porridge

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United States:  Pancakes!


Sweden: Droooolllll

Welsh: Cheesy toast 🙂

Thailand:  Dim Sum

steamed buns

Or check out this infographic!


20 Breakfasts From Around the World to show how cultures affects our food choices. Something to use for the provocation?:

Healthy Lifestyle

Saturday Saves

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y!  This week FLEW by! I feel like things are really speeding and going/growing fast.  The weather (Winter to summer, where is SPRING?), the flowers and grass, my hair! 🙂

Here are five of my feelings, finds or fears from the week!


Fear:  I still fear to being….me. Speaking up, being honest, being my TRUE self. What is it that I fear? Hurting others. I constantly put my own feelings and thoughts aside because I worry about hurting others.   Yet, I would be the first to tell others NOT to do this and to put themselves first.  It’s about time I start listening to that smart lady suggesting this….ME!

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My fear stems from anxiety.  Worry about hurting someone else’s feelings or coming off as a ……..b*tch.  Yet keeping my feelings to myself and not getting them out, is hurting more than helping.  I need to continue to be honest with myself and others, no matter what the outcome is!

Something I am currently fearing?  Letting go and allowing myself to be more of my “feminine” self. I have very masculine qualities. And no, by this I do not mean a mustache.  I am very strong and determined. Independent. Direction. Focus. Productivity. Go, go, go. Those are masculine qualities.  I want to be able to surrender more. Flow. Gentle. Affectionate.  Accepting. Emotional. Allow more femininity and softness into my life…….IT IS HARD!  I guess I can start by giving myself some ‘cred.  I have come a long way and really eased up on myself in many aspects of my life.  One example?  Being able to walk away from things at work. Not worrying about others opinions and following what I feel is right and true has really given me peace.

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Read about diffusing your own conflicts at work here .


Wow. How powerful is this?



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Loved it!

This and this


Hated it!




This looks amazing!! Perfect summer dessert


24.  The number of days until the last day of school

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4.  The number of weeks until my parents set off for Alaska

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0 – the number of wake up’s until Tina’s birthday (Happy Birthday!!!)

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5  the number of coffee’s I drank today…#stillnotawake

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2  days to relax

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8  the number of hours I plan to sleep…..


Healthy Lifestyle

7-Up Saturday


Happy Saturday Coffee Chalkers’!  This week has been long and draining, so the fact that I allowed (and listened) to my body and slept until 7 am this morning FELT SO GREAT!


Life is a struggle for us all. We all have our issues and anxieties to get through each day.  We ultimately need to worry and care about ourselves first, although we have been conditioned since birth to feel “wrong” about that.

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So I want to share 7 things I am passionate about this week. What are your 7?



Society sucks.   The pressure we deal with on a daily basis is exhausting and overwhelming.  Every article we see and read tells us how to become the perfect mother, perfect friend, excellent employee. How to have the flattest abs, jiggle-free butt, cellulite free perfection.  Grow our hair, color it , dye it the latest style.  Purchase make up and concelear to hide our flaws.  Join gyms and purchase meal plans to CHANGE us….It is exhausting. Especially when you are in recovery (and who isnt?)  So it was refreshing and inspiring to see this article today, about why diets really do not work.  


Our bodies have a natural set point that they want to be and need to be at.  When we try to change and alter this, we do more damage than good, and end up being miserable!  As a teacher, I already see my students struggle with body image and it makes me sad and want to scream. I also realize that not everyone is ready to accept this and has to learn on their own, as I am and continue to do!  Anyway, check out this article!

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Oh man.  I have 2 or 3 exciting ideas about trips and treks for the next year.  The end of August already is devoted to a few days in nature. Hiking, biking, fishing, reading and relaxing on Lake Champlain in VT.  I found a quaint little water front cabin and I am super excited to relax before beginning the new school year!


Costa Rica

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– yes, thats right. I am looking into spending a few days helping to revitalize a school in Costa Rica,

as well as some adventure for me (surf, hike, yoga, oh MY)  Costa Rica has long called my name. And because monkeys……..

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Native to the forests of Costa Rica are the threatened Central American Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri oerstedii), the White-faced Capuchin (Cebus capucinus), the Mantled Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata) and the endangered Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey(Ateles geoffroyi).

I feel like this opportunity was meant for me. All the things I love (helping others, yoga, adventures, great food) plus the timing is perfect…to be determined…


Trekking in Nepal.  

Image result for trekking in nepalHUGE shout out to my uncle for finding this!  I have been doing my research and an Everest trek in Nepal sounds like such an amazing, spiritual and cultural opportunity…..Definitely a tick on my bucket list!

Top 12 trekking trips in Nepal


Dirty Dancing festival

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 Thats to my cousin Jo for mentioning this, I may actually DO It ! Oh man…a lifting competition….in the lake……….

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“I carried a watermelon”

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Decisions, decsions!  



Books.  I have been reading some really incredbile and different books lately! Not my usual picks but enjoying!  See I can handle change! (Change is SO difficult for me!)

A Walk in the Woods:  I am about ¾ through this book and am loving it!  The only downside is the fat shaming in the book. Several jabs at overweight people. That they are not equal, good enough, and many other nasty judgements.  I understand it is lighthearted and in good fun, but just not necessary.  No wonder our culture continues to bash fat.  We all have it and need it and its sad that we feel we need to put others down.

Anyway, the book has taught me SO much about the Appalacian trial, which I hope to backpack parts of in the near future.  Lions and tigers and ……….BEARS oh my!

Wrong Beach Island by Jane Kelly.  This book choice was for a book club I am in. One of the challenges was to find a book written within 100 miles of your location.  I wanted to read a book about the beach. A local beach. Long beach Island.  I happend to come across local author Jane kelly and since I like suspense and mystery AND LBI, I thought , why not!

Ok.  So I went in not expecting much.  Basically my expectations were met.  It was fluff. It was a beach read. It was light. It was ridiculous, yet it mentioned SO many familiar places (LBI, Loveladies, harvey Cedars, Cherry Hill Rt 38,, Joe Pops)  For those reasons alone it was worth it.

2 out of 5 stars.


Just a few of the books on my current TO READ list:

Eight Bullets: The lesbian victim of a violent hate crime that left her seriously wounded and her partner dead is the story of family and community, the medical system, the police and courts, and the media–and of one woman’s incredible courage. Simultaneous. IP.

The Handmaid’s Tale:  Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now..

I Let You Go:  In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.


Did you know that PA is considered the crappiest Appalachian Trail hiking area? Ha, figures! I can’t and won’t complain. I have never been disappointed.  So why the bad rap?

Due to the expansion and then retreat of glaciers thousands of years ago, much of the Appalachian Trial in PA consists of………rocks!  The rocks and boulders are crazy.  Some are sharp, jagged, slippery, loose.  Great, supportive hiking boots are needed as well as confidence and balance!  Last weekend I twisted my ankle a few times and caught myself in a near panic. Very easy to do with the massive boulders surrounding you!  Luckily I rested and my ankle is feeling much better!

However, I have only really ever hiked the AT trail in PA (so far) So I am setting myself up for some joyous trails ahead! I am going to be well prepared with some strong ankles!  Here are a few pictures from my last hike




Movies.  Those who know me, know that I am not a big movie/television watcher. HOWEVER, if I read the book, I usually see the movie.  I think it’s fun and love comparing the two.

About a year ago I read “The Circle”. I like/hated the book.  It drove me nuts, and I felt myself wanting to strangle the main character, Mae, for most of the book. By the end, I wanted to (or actually may have) thrown the book against the wall.

Well. Some things never change. This is exactly how I felt during the movie. I wanted to jump out of my (comfy, reclining seat) and run as fast as I could. The relationships in the movie (and book) were very awkward and uncomfortable and did not feel authentic.

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So I barely made it through the movie. If it weren’t for those comfy seats, I would have darted much sooner

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I would like to take my mom to see “Snatched” for Mother’s Day weekend! 

John Russo


Two of my favorite things. Together ❤

Carrot Cake Cheesecake

This Carrot Cake Cheesecake Cake recipe is a showstopper! Layers of homemade carrot cake, a cheesecake center and it's all topped with a delicious cream cheese frosting!


Healthy Lifestyle

Friday Five

Sunny day, warm AND Friday! Wow life is good!  Five great things from my week:

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This book is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Attached.

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I first heard it mentioned by blogger, Maddy Moon, Whether you are in a relationship or not, I highly recommend reading it!  It dives into the different attachment styles (anxious, avoidant or secure), how we interact and handle our relationships, as well as some great tips to make things better for yourself AND your relationships.  I love being able to look back at my relationships and pin point so many different things!  Definitely eye opening! It can help you if you are currently in a relationship (new or old) OR if you are searching for someone you can tolerate 🙂

Which one are you?

  • ANXIOUS people are often preoccupied with their relationships and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to love them back
  • AVOIDANT people equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimize closeness.
  • SECURE people feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving

    Take the quiz to find out (and comment below!)



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I am super excited that I am going hiking tomorrow!! I am headed out for my longest hike yet, a bit nervous but also excited for the view!!  Supposedly one of the most scenic hikes in PA!

This hike from Lehigh Gap to Bake Oven Knob is one of the more scenic in the state, although the scenery varies considerably – from hawks floating on mountain updrafts to the stark and stunted landscape caused by a century of zinc mining and smelting at Lehigh Gap. At the top of the Blue Mountain ridge, where Bake Oven Knob Road intersects the AT, the trail passes through Pennsylvania Game Commission parking lots and onto a rocky mountain road impassable by any vehicle this side of a military Humvee. Sandstone and quartzite rocks are the obstacles, and the trail climbs through piles of them.

I really need some hiking gear!

Love this ** Trekkie Shortie | Athleta:



Summer dresses

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Oh how I have missed these ! This week I wore dresses TWICE to work!! It was so comfy and amazing, although my white legs probably caused a scare.  I forgot how much I love the ease and comfort of dresses!


Sailing anyone?

cute and comfy

Another BLUE

love love love

so pretty

I would LOVE to have somewhere fancy to wear this to

ps- shoes, are another thing…..I have some major blisters from heels!! I think my feet have become SUPER sensitive over the years. Any slight change and I get blisters!

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Yoga. My practice. My leg. Me.  All of these things are getting SO much stronger!! I love it and I love that my leg (tore my hamstring a few years back) is finally starting to feel good and strong again!



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Social media “Diet” 


Healthy Lifestyle

30 things I learned in my 30’s

My 30’s have, and continue to be, such an amazing experience. I am FINALLY finding myself. My 30’s have been a time of self-discovery. Sure, it would have been nice to “find” myself in my 20s, but I am so grateful that  am finding myself now, rather than my 40s, 50s, or NEVERIMG_3485

I would love to share 30 things I have learned/am learning in my 30s with YOU!


  1.  10 Things You Should Never Say to Someone Who Doesn’t Drink.   This has more to do with who I am.  I PREFER to stay home on a Friday/Saturday night.  I used to feel ashamed about this, but no more.  That is my preference. That is what makes me happy!  I really do not like or enjoy drinking, although it does not bother me much anymore in my 30s, the link has some GREAT tips on what NOT to say….seriously read it!

  2. You only have a problem, if you convince yourself it is a problem!  I spent many years thinking my choices and decisions were WRONG. From job choice to food choice, I was so impressionable.  It only led me to misery. When I have finally begun to accept I am who I am, eat what I like, do what I want, am I able to be FREE from the problems I was always TOLD I had

  3. No one is smarter or better or more knowledgeable about me than me!IMG_3373

  4. Being fat is not bad, wrong, shameful,(Insert any misconception here).  Fat is fat. We all have it. There is nothing wrong with it and we really need to start sharing that message more (Check out A Letter to Myself From My Body)Image result for love all bodies

  5. Society wants us to be miserable. There are so many mixed messages out there. From magazines to television, we are being told to be beautiful and thin.  Nope. Sorry, it is not realistic or possible to live up to unrealistic expectations of what beauty should be. Check out some entries from my Favorite blogger, Summer Innanen, right HERE!Related image

  6. People have different types of “attachment” styles. That is why we are drawn to similar types of relationship and why they fail or are successful. What is your attachment style?ABCS of Attachment Styles - Does your partner act out when things go wrong in the relationship, or even threaten to leave? A partner may engage in protest behavior to get the other to pay attention and later regret things they said or did. This behavior may be typical of an Anxious attachment style.:

  7. I can only do the best I can. I do NOT need to be perfect.Image result for perfect just the way i am

  8. Home will always be New Jersey for me

  9. I love to travel solo. Check out my recent travel adventures here.

  10. I need to take risks, even especially when I am scared

  11. I can be single and happy AND enjoy it.

  12. I can think and feel one way today and COMPLETELY change my mind tomorrow

  13. I can say NO when I really do not agree with something or want to do something

  14. Others do not need to accept me I just need to continue being true to myself and those around me.

  15. The only control I have is


    myself.  I can not control anyone else, HELL sometimes I can not control myself!

  16. Some days I will eat too much, so days I may not eat enough.  It is ok.

  17. Take risks. If I don’t I may never know…..

  18. I am jealous of others at times. I am childish at times. I am selfish at times. I am difficult at times. I am many things, but I am not wrong or bad for having these feelings.  My Shadow Self

  19. Admitting shame, guilt, fear is healthy and good for me, and even though at the moment I feel there is NO POSSIBLE way it would help by sharing those thoughts/feelings, it does…..every single time

  20. What is right for me may not be right for you (and vice versa)

  21. There are MORE than one way to do things

  22. I am no longer a “beach girl”.  Sure I love and enjoy a visit and vacation, but I do not want to spend my days and nights on a beach.  I need change and seasons, and cold!IMG_2554

  23. Minimalism is extremely appealing to me. I do not need a lot of things or space to live and feel fulfilled.  Love this articleImage result for tiny house

  24. I do not have to do anything I do not want to do (This is HUGE and something I need to constantly remind myself of)

  25. Dressing up and being fancy is NOT ME AT ALL and I do not have to feel guilty about that

  26. I can be proud of my accomplishments and strengths, without worrying that others may think I am “showing off”. (This is still very difficult for me. Working towards owning things and not feeling guilt or shame or like I need to “dumb” myself down)

  27. It is ok to not like everyone. It is also ok to not be liked by everyone.

  28. I can and will make mistakes. I will learn from them

  29. Reading really DOES make you more worldly and smart (It’s not just something teachers used to say to get you to read!! ) check out some of my reviews here

  30. I want to look back on my life and KNOW I have made a difference.  This is something I keep in my mind each time I allow little thoughts or worries to creep it.  I ask myself “If I look back at my life, will this be important?”  If not, I need to let it go and move on

  31. * This is

    an extra:

     It is okay to feel everything. Happiness, pain, worry, sadness,


    , guilt, etc, etc…..Without ALL the feelings we can never appreciate the wonderful ones

Your Turn

  1.  What have you learned about yourself or others THIS year?
Healthy Lifestyle

Un-Manic Monday

Happy Monday!  If you are off this week or a few days, enjoy! (Lucky)  I am grateful that I had off a few days last week, but it is back into the swing of things this week…..

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Some ways to make my week (and your week) UN-Manic:


Reading is healthy! (Duh!)

Last week I finished my first Tana French book, The Secret Place, which I really, really loved!  I already started another, The Likeness.

I also finished up The Most Dangerous Place on Earth on my trip to Boulder (ahhhhh airport reading!) Wow. I loved this so much. Being a teacher, this hit really close to my heart. I felt SO many of the same emotions and feelings as the teachers in the book, and was really able to relate to those icky moments of “self doubt”.  I really enjoyed this, especially wth how social media played into it…….if you have kids. Read it. If you are a teacher. Read it. If you are human. Just read it!  You can read my review here


IEP season definitely has my head spinning. I love these tips and reminders from Autism Classroom Resources on How to Make Your Next IEP Meeting Start Off on the Right Foot


What are YOUR thoughts on the new Victoria Beckham line at Target? I am totally buzzing over this top


Letting go.

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Something I am learning, practicing and constantly reminding myself. LET IT GO.  Every day we experience so many big and little things. Jealousy, envy, sadness, anger, hate, blame, (Insert YOUR emotion here)  Life is filled with feelings. What matters is how we look at them and how we choose to live our lives.  Life is too short to feel all those negative things. When we do? We accept it, tell ourselves it is a temporary FEELING and it will pass. Those feelings do NOT define us.  One way I find easiest to get through painful moments and thoughts are:

  1.  Say it out loud. TELL SOMEONE. When I am feeling jealous. I tell someone. When I feel ashamed or wrong, I tell someone. When I feel happy and proud. I TELL Someone. It is so important to get our feelings out in the open instead of keeping them inside ourselves all the time. Those bottled up feelings turn to shame.  Shame will never feel good.Image result for tell someone
  2. Ask yourself “How is this serving me”  This little phrase has been SO helpful. Whenever I get worked up over something, upset, sad, angry, envious. I ask myself “How is this serving me?”Image result for jealousy between women  Usually, it is not.  I am a very determined person. Sometimes this can be extremely beneficial and get me great things out of life (For example, moving to a new state and trying it out, determining it was NOT for me) If I did not have the courage or motivation to actually do it. I would have never known how much I miss “home”.  Other times my determination can be harmful to me. For e.g., my eating disorder. It is the perfect storm of how something that CAN be good can also get you into serious trouble.  So next time you are angry with your spouse or friend, ask yourself HOW IS THIS SERVING ME.  Is it really helpful to get angry at your wife (dad?) for wife leaving sauerkraut out on the counter?Image result for sauerkraut Probably not.  That is your wife. She has been that way for 40 years.  She will most likely not change her ways. She has MANY other wonderful qualities. If it really bothers you, put it away and move on.  Life is too short to be angry over things that do not benefit us!  Next time you feel jealousy over the girl that got the promotion, new car, travel opportunity……. Ask yourself, how is feeling this way benefiting me?  Trust me, these few little words WORK.Image result for how does this serve me
  3. Stop comparing yourself.  You are unique. You are special. You are YOU.  Stop comparing yourself to others. You do not know what goes on behind closed doors, and going back to number 2. HOW IS THIS SERVING YOU?  It’s probably not. Only getting you worked up, jealous and upset.  Be proud of who you are, your quirks, imperfections. Those are what make others love us. Striving for perfection only leads to disappointment, because there is no such thing.  Society has such a skewed outlook on taking your money so that you can work towards PERFECTIONISM. It is a scam. There is no such thing or place.  Own up to who you are. Who cares what others think. I prefer quiet nights and vacations alone. That is what makes me happy, and who I am. To others that may see odd, weird, or like torture. To me it’s bliss. Image result for you are perfect just the way you are

Your Turn!


  1.  What are you reading?
  2. What are you currently stewing over? Tell someone!
  3. Tell me about something you recently bought?