Vibrant Food: Beautiful and Unattainable

I love to cook. I love using fresh, locally-grown ingredients that are colorful and tasty. When I saw Vibrant Food by Kimberly Hasselbrink as an option on Blogging for Books, I got SO excited – I obviously had to order it.

Let me just tell you – I received it in July, and I still haven’t made anything from it. The book itself is absolutely gorgeous. The photography is beautiful, and I LOVE the simple layout and design. I also appreciate that it is divided by seasons rather than by type of food. I’m quirky like that.

The only problem is, the recipes all use ingredients that I can’t easily find here in Springfield, MO, and when I have been able to find them, they’ve been rather expensive. I frankly didn’t want to spend the money on ingredients that I would only use once or twice. Don’t get me wrong, the recipes look delicious, but they seem better suited for people with more time – and a bigger budget – than I currently have.

Even though I haven’t made any of the recipes yet, I’m definitely holding onto it. I’m sure I’ll find something to make from it eventually. It’s just not in the cards for right now.

*Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.


Measuring Success

I recently read Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, by Arianna Huffington.  Sound familiar? I’m sure you’ve been on The Huffington Post once or twice.  Arianna Huffington is the cofounder, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. She’s also a wife, mother, philanthropist, and she has authored fourteen books. She’s kind of a busy lady.

In her book, Huffington explores a different kind of success – one that isn’t based on power, money, and status. Instead, Huffington’s success focuses on being a healthy (both mentally and physically), well-rounded  individual who is able to unplug from work.  In order to avoid burn-out, Huffington also encourages readers to embrace meditation in order to be in touch with one’s inner-self. She offers up a myriad of examples of companies who attempt to help their employees take better care of themselves. For instance, her own company has nap rooms for employees to utilize, and Google has a printed dog policy that allows employees to bring dogs to work with them.

Thrive compelled me to think about my personal definition of success. I tend to carry work-stress around with me, and this book made me think of new ways to keep work from seeping into my personal life. It also made me resolve to keep practicing my current methods of “unplugging”:

  • I refrain from checking my work email when I’m at home or on vacation. I’m probably in the minority, but I don’t have my work email account synced to my phone, so checking it while I’m away from the office is a very deliberate process. Of course, rules are made to be broken, and sometimes I find myself logging into my account(s). I always try to keep it as brief as possible though.
  • I use my lunch breaks for actual breaks. Sometimes, it’s pretty tempting to work through my lunch – especially when I’m focused on a project. I think it’s more important, though, to take a break during the day. I try to eat lunch with friends, walk around the beautiful campus I work on, participate in a wellness class (like yoga), or read. It really helps to get away from my computer screen for an hour.
Today's lunch view.

Today’s lunch view.

  • Office Yoga. Okay, I know I look ridiculous when I’m doing office yoga (which is really just a series of stretches), but it feels soooo good! A couple of times a day, I move away from my desk and do stretches for about five minutes. I usually rub on some Mental Clarity and do some deep breathing, too. If you have a desk job, I highly recommend checking out these “secret exercises” and the Washington Post’s work workout.

Have any of you read Thrive? What were your thoughts? Do you have any tips for keeping work at work?

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.