Current Faves

For snacks: These pre-sliced organic apples from Costco are everything. Like most things from Costco they come in a ridiculously large quantity for an obscenely low price, rendering you useless in the battle of “but will I eat them all?” But they’re good for you and individually packaged (sorry Mother Earth) and they complete me.

apples

For #momlife: Oh Jessica Alba, as if we didn’t already love you enough, you’ve gone and made the most lovely toxin-free home and beauty products and this spray makes toddler bath time just a delight. Because Lila totally needs a haircut but I will slay you if you try to trim those sweet baby curls. Until then, this will get us by just fine.

detangler

For the fitness: Hammer & Chisel is the newest program from Beachbody, and while I was flat-out convinced I’d never like anything as much as the 21 Day Fix, I’m kind of obsessed with this one. I’m such a brat about giving new programs a chance when I have one I like, but this one’s been awesome. Very much my style of fast-paced lifting and strength training, with unique moves and tons of different approaches.

hammer-and-chisel

For spontaneous dance parties: I’m sorry, have you not heard this jammy? I dare you to listen to it and not get at least a little head bob going, but my money’s on you really getting into it. I am straight GANGSTER when this comes on, you know, in my 2007 Volvo sedan, driving to my corporate job.

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For germ blasting: This is the oil that got me interested in oils in the first place, because it is the most amazing immune system booster ever. EVER. I diffuse it in the air, use it topically on me and Lila, and when I feel a cold coming on I drink a tea made with a drop of it. I cannot get through winter/cold season without it. My friend Jennelle is the oil guru who introduced me to this. If you want it, find her.

Thieves

For drinking: I’ve developed a slight infatuation with chai lattes, for two reasons. One being that they are delicious, and I can make them in our Keurig, and two being that I finally have something to order at Starbucks which, for years, has been a cause of great angst. I don’t drink coffee, and I like tea but don’t, like, need it. So every time I go to coffee I have this paranoia of having to order something I can’t figure out in a foreign coffee-talk language. Thank you chai latte for sounding fancy and tasting wonderful. PS Dunkin Donuts (my special place) will make them with almond milk.

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For the fact that it is awesome: We just got new carpet in our bedrooms, and the padding it made from recycled Nike shoes (it’s a material called Nike Grind). As you can imagine this is wonderful because it it super cushiony and good for the environment, but also, when I work out in my bedroom now it really ups the home-gym vibe. My floors are Nike, friends.

carpet

 

From baby to toddler

At 17 months I’m tempted to start saying, “she’s a year and a half,” verses “17 months.” I’m not quite ready to commit to years though — too soon.

Your vocabulary is growing and your emphasis on certain words is pure enthusiasm. 
“SHOE!” 

“NO!”

“HIIIIII!”

You’ve certainly mastered shaking your head when something isn’t to your liking, and sitting or laying down and throwing a fit when we take away something you still wanted or attempt to corral you in a direction other than your desired one.

You are fascinated with the outdoors and love exploring in our backyard and walking around outside. Picking up rocks, putting them back. Pulling leaves off plants and handing them to us. Marching triumphantly to the mailbox.

You’re incredibly agile and strong, often catching yourself before you fall in precarious situations, and somehow landing on your feet at the bottom of the slide. You love to climb things and sit in chairs, and play in your kitchen.

You give hugs and kisses upon request and wave hi and bye. You are an excellent night sleeper but aren’t a big fan of long daytime naps. 

You are so genuinely happy and inquisitive. Animated and chatty. You are pure mischief at times and it’s hard to reprimand you without laughing, even when you pull my hair or throw carefully chopped organic food on the floor by the handful.

What a joy it is to parent you. There’s no other way to describe it. 

I feel guilty quite often that I’m not with you during the day while I’m at work, especially when you have a tough day or don’t feel well. I imagine no matter what a mother chooses, the guilt will always lurk like a quiet shadow. My hope is you will look back on these choices as us always doing our best for you. That we always tried to achieve the intangible balance parents seek. 
Lila we love you. We are so blessed by the way you’ve elevated life to new meaning.  
  
  
  
   

  

Whatcha doing Monday Night?

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If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you likely know that last year when Lila started daycare and I went back to work fulltime, she got sick. And then sicker. Holy germs, batman.

She had five ear infections in four months, plus RSV, Roseola and too many colds to count. Oh, and the boogers…

I was exhausted, and kind of looking around wondering, is this really going to be my new normal? I was taking care of my own health with Beachbody products and Shakeology, but I didn’t know how to help my family. I was in a low place and couldn’t really see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Fortunately I have this friend, this caring thoughtful and generous friend Jennelle. She gets me, and loves me even when I’m a mess. She saw me hurting and lost with my sick kiddo and drove 40 minutes across town to quietly drop off a care package of essential oils, specially blended for each person in my family, plus some other Young Living products and a diffuser to help my family get back on track.

I was touched, of course. But also hugely skeptical. Hugely. You all know I’m a health freak, but I thought oils were for hippies. So, I ignored them.

But a few weeks later, randomly I just decided what the heck, I’m desperate, so I picked them up and started using the oils slowly. I got comfortable and started loving them. And HOLY COW, Lila was HEALTHY.

Flash forward another six months and I now use oils daily for all kinds of things for our entire family. For Lila’s health, for my anxiety, for Jim’s congestion, to clear odors from home projects and to soothe sore muscles. I’m amazed at how much oils help me in my fitness and health. I mix oils into my sacred Shakeology and even use them to help muscle soreness.

Jennelle and I are both passionate about the health products we use, and have teamed up to put together a kickass event for this Monday night to share our passions for these products.

It’s online. You can join us from your living room, your treadmill, your dinner table – wherever you want to be. You can wear sweatpants, yoga pants, work pants, NO PANTS!…completely up to you!

What will this event be? Basically a low pressure way to learn about neat products that mioght help you achieve your resolutions (because I kind of assume most of us resolve every year to be healthier, and last about 8 days…). 

I love fitness. Jennelle loves oils. And there are some amazing ways to use these products together. Come hang with us online and find out how Beachbody, Shakeology and Young Living Essential Oils can help support your health, wellness and fitness in 2016 (and the rest of your life). You will not regret this choice. It is 90 minutes and it will change you. No purchases required, obligation or homework, just shoot me an email if you’d like to join us (jesstaylorfitness@gmail.com).

“New Year, New Me Bullsh*t”

I cracked up when a friend sent me this meme. People love to hate on resolutions, don’t they? I’m the opposite though, I obsess over them and in a sick way I love being held accountable to specific goals.

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When I was a teenager, I got super emo about the new year. Once, when I was 16, my best friend and I drove up this crazy mountain road, early in the morning, where we parked and stared into the sunrise, huddled under blankets, rehashing all the things that seemed SO important over the past year. Author’s note: I cannot remember a single thing we discussed – not one – but I guarantee 98% of it related to boys we liked who did not like us back.

I have no idea why I put so much pressure on this day and my resolutions, but I’ll chalk it up to being an old soul.

Nowadays, New Year’s feels a little different. It’s a time to reflect, sure, but my focus is more forward-facing. Partially because #momlife is exhausting and there’s way less time to sit around just thinking about things (what a luxury that would be!), but also because I’ve learned that you don’t need the symbolism of a special day to make a change in your life. It doesn’t have to be a holiday or a new month or even a Monday, it just has to be your time. Maybe Groundhog Day resolutions are more your thing.

This past year I made a decision to take control of my health. It wasn’t a quest to be skinny or wear a size 2. It wasn’t following a special diet or training for a marathon. It was just a series of small changes and choices that I hoped would help me as a new mom. I was exhausted from sleeping in 3-hour intervals, constantly sick from daycare germs, stressed at a fulltime job and surviving on whatever sugary treat or caffeinated beverage I could find. When I made the choice to change, it was out of legit desperation.

Begrudgingly, I purchased Shakeology and the 21 Day Fix.

Begrudgingly, I started the half-hour workouts.

Begrudgingly, I began following the guidance for clean eating and balanced portions.

And then euphorically I saw the most amazing changes in how I felt. I had energy (without coffee!), my post-partum hair started to regrow. My immune system was back on track. I had new muscles.

ALL THE THINGS happened, my friends. No chemicals, no gimmicks.

If New Year’s resolutions are your thing, then go forth. Ain’t nothing wrong with any road toward positive change.

But if you’d rather skip the pressure and fanfare and just get some amazing results, I’d love to connect you to these products. They’re on sale all during January, they’re simple, and they work. Promise.

It takes a village (to lose your ego, raise a baby, get healthy, etc.)

The older I get, the more I recognize the absurdity of trying to power through things on my own (which I still stubbornly do) for the sake of pride or ego. 

You know that old saying, “If you want to go fast go alone; if you want to go far, go together?” So. painfully. true.

I learned this lesson forcefully when I became a mom last year, starting with the moment I went into labor. My exact thoughts before giving birth were along the placid lines of, “I’ll breathe through it,” “Everyone does it,” and “Whatever, it’ll be fine.”

Oh, Jessica. You sweet, naive little rosebud.

I’d received plenty of offers of birth plans, classes, coaches, etc. and naively poo-pooed it all. “I’ve got this,” I told myself, and I guess I did – in a way – but golly, if I’d been less obstinate and let my guard down to take some of that advice and support, things would’ve been a lot less overwhelming.

Same thing during those first few months of parenting. Even with an outpouring of offers of help, even in the throes of post partum depression and anxiety, I still declined help because I wanted to do it myself. 

This was dumb. 

You know what else was dumb? When I wanted to start working out again after baby, when my whole world was upside down and new, and I thought I could do that on my own, too. I didn’t realize that with the right support, the process would be easier, more effective and FUN. I was fortunate to find this community in the least likely of places (online!) but thank goodness I did.

There’s a beauty in the support we find in the right tribe and community. It creates an environment where we become stronger by showing our weaknesses. We can be ourselves and learn to be brave. That process – the softening of walls we build around ourselves – is vulnerability, and it’s the most amazing thing. 

Today, after all the challenges and wonder inspired this past year, I’m thankful to have the opportunity to guide other women through the process of finding their strength. As a health and fitness coach, I get the awesome privilege of seeing firsthand the magic that happens when we let our egos take a hike and rely on each other. What we can achieve when we come together. That’s when changes happens that we can’t always make on our own. Not because we’re weak, but because we are stronger together.

Every month I lead free, private, online groups full of help, support, accountability and humor. If you want to buy products, I’ll connect you, but no purchase is ever required – that’s not why I do this. 

If you’re wondering if change is possible, let me tell you it is, for all of us.

 I’d love to talk and share more; please reach out if you are interested in joining a group or have any questions. It’s never to late to find your village: jesstaylorfitness@gmail.com 

 

10 Notes to Self for 2016

Whether it’s the dwindling holiday sugar high, or my brainwaves centering to normal after some time off work, these are things I want to remember as we approach the new year.

1. Write more. Without considering the audience.

2. Take lots of walks. Summer will be here before we know it (not to be pessimistic butttttt it’s Phoenix) and I’ll be jonesing for the chance to exist outdoors without heatstroke.

3. Read my own books aloud to Lila. I did this when she was first born but have lapsed. It’s such a win though: quality time together, she hears more words and I get a blessed reprieve from Sandra Boynton. 

4. Listen to way more podcasts. I’m horrified to admit that I just started Serial. WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG? And Unorthodox is just too good.

5. Don’t worry twice. There are some things you plan for and take necessary precautions to prevent. But other stuff will just plain go wrong. Either way you spin it, it’s lame to spend chunks of time idly preoccupied.

6. Use your turn signals. Lately I’ve become an ass in this regard. My bad.

7. Make better eye contact. Ante up, introvert. 

8. Self care. It’s an ongoing and ever-so-important game of connect the dots. If it doesn’t happen, you’re left staring at a speckled page with glazed eyes and no motivation. Maybe it’s a glass of wine, a killer workout in the living room, baking muffins, browsing the aisles at Goodwill or spending the day in yoga pants. Whatever it is, DO it.

9. Be less fearful. Trust your instincts. See # 5. 

10. Do not stress about laundry. Ever. 

  

Gifts that matter.

There’s a big focus on material gifts this season. Lately, my blanket response when asked by relatives what our one-year-old wants, is “Please nothing plastic that makes noise.”

Said every toddler parent ever.

And while I’m still awkwardly avoiding my own shopping list, I do love the generosity the holidays inspire. And this year I’d like to suggest giving a different kind of gift in addition to those we’ll score at Target (where the endcaps get me EVERY TIME).

This month, please consider donating whole blood, platelets or plasma through the Red Cross​ or another local blood bank.

If you’re a regular donor – you’re awesome. If you’ve thought about it but felt squeamish or too busy, let this post be what moves you to be brave. Here’s why:

If heaven forbid, we or someone we love is in need of blood, we kind of just assume it will be available for us. We figure that accident victims, cancer patients and injured service members have plenty so we can pass on this. I’ll be the first to admit there are many things I’d rather do. But guys, sometimes babies and kiddos with cancer have to be admitted to hospitals when there isn’t a ready supply available. Because we aren’t acting. And that kills me.

The bad news is there’s a big ongoing shortage. The good news is this is a totally solvable problem we can all fix, for free!

Chew on this:

  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. Every. Two. Seconds.
  • More than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day.
  • More than 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer last year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.

How many of the 15 million units needed in the U.S. in 2016 might be for someone you love? How many of those did you and your family help contribute?

I don’t say this to bring doom and gloom to a joyous season, I present it as a fast, easy way to save someone’s life. And maybe I am trying to make you feel a bit guilty if you haven’t made time for this, because sometimes that’s what we need to act.

If you need any help finding a place to donate, I’m happy to help and I promise it doesn’t hurt. Plus, FREE COOKIES afterward. I like cookies a whole lot.

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