Great Outdoors

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olivemepost great outdoors

Like many of you, I am recharged by the outdoors and am grateful I got the chance to get away to the Sierras this past weekend. Far from cell service, traffic, and a crazy schedule, I slowed my thoughts and took in God’s creation. It had been far too long since I’d lost my breath over stars, the freezing temperature of a lake, or power of the rain and wind. I know these experiences are gifts, but when you’ve gone without, they can also feel like needs. John Muir said, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”  I agree. I needed to come home with chapped skin, knotted hair, and a little pee on my shoes. I needed the reminder that for all man’s accomplishments, nothing has come remotely close to matching the beauty God has created.

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.” Psalm 19:1

Photo by the Fireman
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30 Days of Pure Barre: Part II

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It’s the second part of my challenge! If you missed the first part, read here.

 

Day 16: My friend Keturah joined me for the first time today! Also, I’m sooooo tired. All the time.

 

Day 17: I’ve figured out Newton’s strategy. She comes late to every class. I do mean every. She only grabs part of her equipment, and since it’s kept in the back next to the good spot, when we go to stretch she goes for her equipment and then stays in the prime spot! #Genius #Evil #Imontoyou

women are evil

 

Day 19Pure Barre now feels like a habit. Working out has gone from an “if” question to a “when” question. They say 21 days makes a habit and for me, it’s proving true. I can tell my muscles need a break but I’m determined to make it to day 30.

 

Day 20: My friend Amy tried out PB for the first time, along with Heather and Jody!

 

Day 22: The 30 day challenge has meant I’ve had to schedule everything else around class. So far, this has been mildly annoying. Today it became very annoying when my brother and sister-in-law invited me to stay with them and their friends for free in a Vegas suite! It worked with the fireman’s schedule. It worked with mine. Oh wait, no it didn’t. I can’t leave the state or be gone for longer than 23 hours b/c I have to “work out.” I AM NOT THIS GIRL.

 

Day 23: Guess who cut me off in the parking lot? You guessed correctly. Newton.

 

Day 25: I’m enjoying the challenge. It’s been hard at times, but I’ve loved feeling fit and making it part of my life. The instructors work with you and push you to not give up. (Even when you’re begging to take your own life;) Also, the girls who come regularly look amazing…it’s good motivation. My plan after the challenge is to take a day or two of rest and then continue going 5-6 days a week.

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Day 26 Today I learned the hard way that Pure Barre and wine do not mix. A friend came over while visiting from San Francisco and we had wine with our lunch. Nothing crazy. An hour later, I discovered that blood circulation is quite real and quite powerful. Never again.

 

 

Day 27 The natural conclusion is that I have somehow ended up in an alter universe episode of Seinfeld and Newton is my Newman. Today, she forced me to hold the bathroom key for her. Just put it in my hands and walked off without a word. As I stood there, holding the key in disbelief, my annoyance turned to slight admiration. Does she have special powers? Does she always get her way? Tell me your secrets!!!

 

Day 30 (Text Exchange)

Fireman: LAST DAY OF PURE BARRE!!! I’m so proud of you!

Me: Thanks!! It’s true!… I actually feel kind of sad, though. Haha …Somewhere along the line I started looking forward to the Pure Barre  part of my day! I don’t want to take tomorrow off… Never thought I’d say that!

pure barre grip socks

 

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I’m Yelling Tinder

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Mindy Kaling Tinder Review #MindyKaling #Tinder #dating #single #christian #christiansontinder

Dear Ted,

(Ted is a fictitious name for a very real Christian friend of mine, age 30)

Hope you are well! I enjoyed our conversation about Tinder the other day and thought it might make for a good post. In a nutshell, you think it’s superficial and leads to hook-ups. I think I met an amazing fireman, who happens to be the best guy I’ve ever dated, thanks to Tinder.

(For those of you readers who don’t know what Tinder is, it’s a free phone app where you have one chance to view 5 photos, age, and general location of a person. You have to immediately decide if they are attractive or not. If the attraction is mutual, you then have the opportunity to text through the app and start a conversation. At any point, you can easily block a person forever.)

(If you are a single female with any reading retention skills, what you’ve learned is “THERE ARE FIREMEN ON TINDER.” If you have any life skills, you have stopped reading this blog and are busy signing up for Tinder)

Back to you, Ted!

So you are not pleased with Tinder and don’t think it’s the kind of thing a Christian girl should do. Here are my thoughts.

Should Christians Go On Tinder?

I’ve read a few blogs that feel Christians should not go on Tinder. One blog I read said, “Tinder says sex is disposable…and is reducing people to looks.”

To this I’d like to say, RELAX. Stop weirdly reading into things. Tinder isn’t good or bad. It isn’t saying anything. It’s like money, power, or sex. Sometimes we humans use these items for good, and other times for bad. You don’t have to use Tinder as a hook-up app, but you can if you’d like. You don’t have to only try to talk to the hottest of hot people. It’s up to you. And let’s be clear, people can use others for hookups and be extremely superficial in how they date at church just as easily as they do online. Personally, I found it much easier to spot and avoid these types on the app than in real life, too;)

Is Tinder Superficial?

I’m assuming it’s the idea that you only decide to move forward with a person based on pictures that has you concerned. People refer to this as a game of “Hot or Not.” This is actually one of my favorite features of Tinder. Why? There is a word for people we connect with but are not attracted to- FRIEND.

Friends are great.

Friends are not for dating.

If you think dating is superficial, take it up with God. He created the whole attraction system.

Personally, if I somehow found out that someone I was dating said or thought something along the lines of, “I wasn’t attracted to you at first, but I liked your personality and pushed through.” I’d be hurt and embarrassed. I would certainly not be impressed or proud of him.

A few Words About Why it Worked For Me…

Fast, Free & Fun.

Tinder is my only experience in online or non-traditional dating. Taking on sites like Match and eHarmony felt like too big a step and a lot of work and money. I think Tinder is a baby step that feels easy to try.

Casual

I liked that Tinder didn’t feel like a big deal. It was funny and entertaining. I understand and support people who prefer the serious and intentionality that sites like eHarmony and Match can provide. People simply don’t take Tinder as seriously and that will frustrate some. For me, this was a strength. Tinder was something easy to try for a few days. A Huffington Post article said, “People don’t think of Tinder as online dating, they think of it as a game.” I think Tinder draws in a new crowd of daters the other sites weren’t reaching and I’m glad both option types exist.

Natural

Uniquely, Tinder feels most like how dating works in the real world. People compare it to a digital bar or coffee shop for a reason. If you are attracted to someone, you still have to approach him or her, or respond when they approach you. In every dating scenario, it takes more than physical attraction to get something off the ground. With Tinder you have to have some kind of spark or connection when you talk via the app or it goes nowhere.

Private

No one knows anything about you on Tinder. Not your job, school, hobbies etc. I liked that when I went on my first date, it felt like a real first date. We didn’t show up for that first meet up with a whole profile on each other. Instead, we had to take get to know one another’s likes and dislikes over time like in traditional dating. It felt like a very “normal” first, second, and third date.

So, Ted.

Deciding to online date is a thing. It just is. Every unmarried person I know thinks about whether they will or will not online date. Is it worth the effort? Am I ready to admit I’m online? Is it giving up? Are my kind of people on there? Personally, I think everyone should be encouraged to do what they feel fits them without judgment.

I’m not saying Tinder is for everyone. I was on it for a few days and met someone. And while that won’t happen to everyone, according to ABC News, it has led to more than 15 million matches and Cosmopolitan says over 1000 engagements. It really is working for some people beyond the superficial hook-up. Many of my friends are on it and are encouraged by all the prospects. Browsing all the guys posing with tigers, in handstands, and embarrassing selfies is a delightful bonus.

Finally, if you’re like me, deep down you don’t want your love story to be that you met your someone online. I get it. I’m a writer for goodness sake. Did I go on Tinder expecting a serious relationship? No. Was it fun and worth it? Absolutely! From our first exchange, he stood out and there was a spark. It was fun and exciting and I wouldn’t change a thing.

I’ve had lots of great meet up stories in my life. I’ve met someone on an airplane, while traveling abroad, and even once while buying matching humidifiers during cold season. But guess what? All those great meet up stories had bad endings. The great meetings were never helpful indicators of how the rest of the relationship would go.

At this point, I’m way more interested in meeting the right person and creating a great life story together. That’s the important story.

Whatever you do, I wish you all the best and a bit of luck.

Sincerely,

Cindy

 

Photo by buzzfeed.com
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30 Days of Pure Barre: Part I

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try pure barre for 30 days LTB 30 day challenge!

Pure Barre is an incredible workout I was introduced to two years ago by my friend Amy, who teaches at a studio up in Seattle. I’ve been going back in Orange County since, sometimes 3-4 days a week and sometimes not at all. Don’t get me wrong- I love it! I just also love making excuses not to work out and it is on the expensive side. When my local studio offered a deal- go 30 days in a row and get a month free, I considered it. When I realized summer was here and I could no longer hide my winter sins behind sweaters, I knew it was the right thing to do.

You can read the details on Pure Barre’s methods and philosophy. Just know you work out until you shake and it burns and you can’t handle it anymore! Their motto is, “lift. tone. burn.” And it does. I can’t say enough about the results and the talented instructors at my local Pure Barre studios in Newport Beach and Mission Viejo.

 

Day 1 This is the beginning… I’m gonna die. The only thing I’ve done for 30 days consecutively is drink coffee, and Pure Barre is no cup of tea. (Does that joke work?? I’m not sure.)

 

Day 2 The thing is, I felt so proud of myself for working out yesterday that it seemed oddly cruel to go again. Already, if it wasn’t for the challenge, I would have skipped. I’m coming off a pretty long break and having to start all the way at the bottom. I can’t make it through parts of the routines that I used to be able to do:(

 

Day 4 My BFF Heather joined me and tried out PB for the first time! Having her there made all the difference.

goal weight work out

 

Day 7 I do not own enough proper yoga clothes do to this every day. I do not own enough money to purchase said proper yoga clothes.

 

Day 8 This lady, I’ll call her Newton, totally broke studio etiquette! Since I like to workout in the back left corner, I arrive 20 minutes before class to secure my spot. WELL, Newton strolled in ten minutes late (that’s a solid 30 minutes after me btw) and during a stretch, dropped her equipment in the, no joke, TEN INCHES between me and the back wall. I tried to stay in my spot and she gave me attitude about not giving it up. Killed my whole workout.

 

Day 9 Nothing motivates like results! I already notice improved muscle tone, particularly in my legs and I can now make it through the 90 second plank during warm-up. Yay!!:)

 

Day 10 I figured out, while putting my hair up for class, that my part is actually amazingly better going right than left. My whole life has been a lie.

 

Day 12 Jody tried out PB with me today! She loved it as well!

eat anything stay thin

 

Day 14 Newton strikes again! Unbelievable.

 

Day 15 Heather has been coming every day since signing up! I used to keep to myself in class, but with a wingman, we’ve managed to make a few new friends. You know how it goes at these places- there are the people who seem to belong, and the rest of us who fake it. I’ve been coming off-and-on for over a year, but truly committing myself has made all the difference in this area. I totally feel at home now.

 

 

 

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Cindy vs. Morning

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Hello there!

It’s been too long… As I berated myself for the hundredth time for never blogging, the fireman suggested I just start and not worry about coming up with something amazing. Then he sent me a blog idea- an entire blog devoted to coffee! I’ve reposted her Coffee vs. Tea post below:)

Will this post change your life? Ehhh..probably not. But it’s fitting since I’m starting at the beginning. What gets me out of bed every day? It’s not family, love, God, or my passions. I hopefully live for those things, but truly the one thing that gets me up is coffee. In my head, I make the same deal every single day- if I get up, I can have coffee. It’s my one tried and true habit.

I try to make it at home to save money, but some days end up at Starbucks to save time. At which point I regret my decision and silently curse the folks in front of me ordering decaf lattes, or worse- frappacinos. Don’t they understand 6am-9am is about survival? This isn’t Treat-Yourself-Time. It seems reasonable that they should be allowed in past 10am.

Anyway, below are the benefits of drinking both coffee and tea. Don’t you just love anything that tells you your daily vice is good for you?!

P.S. My favorite mornings are when the fireman surprises me on his way home from shift with a coffee delivery.

Not kidding.

What gets you out of bed?

coffee_tea

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Cinco de Mayo Margarita Recipe

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A little birdie, by the name of Courtney, told me her family uses a margarita recipe from none other than Matthew McConaughey. I figure I trust him with my abs, why not with my drinks? He calls it the Just Keep Livin’ Margarita.

Ingredients

Ice
1/2 cup tequila 
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
1/4 cup citrus soda (recommended: Orangina)
1/4 cup tonic water
2 tablespoons cranberry juice
Lime wedges, for garnish

Directions

Fill 2 lowball glasses with ice. Divide the ingredients, except cranberry juice, evenly among the glasses, and stir to combine. Top each drink with a splash of cranberry juice, garnish with lime wedges, and serve. (Recipe serves 2 margaritas) 

For all my

Preggo and Non-Drinking Readers- a Virgin Margarita Recipe 

Fancy Readers- a St. Germain Margarita Recipe

Calorie Cutting Readers- 10 Skinny Margarita Recipes 

 

photo by freutcake.com
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Easter Dress

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7b64e5262ac1a134534a1b86f0cd29beOne of the best ways to celebrate Easter is finding a new dress! Shopping for one with my mom is my favorite tradition. It should probably be church, or family dinner, or something of that nature. But it’s not. It’s always been about the dress for yours truly. And besides, I feel it should count for something that I’m putting in so much effort for the big day.;)

There are lots of good ones out there this year! Here’s a few of my window shopping favorites:)

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Whatever you celebrate the day in, I hope you feel loved and beautiful!

XOXO

Cindy

Photo by: rekitanicole.com , Lover Chelsea Shift Dress, Victoria Bekham Silk Midi,  Flounce Layered Shirt Dress, Rebecca Taylor Colour-Block Lace DressSkytop by Lauren Moffatt 

 

 

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Mouth in the Dust

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Good morning.
Mondays…Ugh.
Between the items I didn’t get to on my weekend to-do list, and the ones I already know I’ll miss or mess up this week, I feel frazzled. On my commute, I tell myself I’ll  do better and this week: I won’t skip workouts, neglect friends and family, and fail at writing. All my planning berating only reminds me just how behind I’m starting off today.
There’s a picture of the person I want to be in my head and she takes a lot of time, effort, and work. (She of course makes it look effortless) She has time for everyone in her life and for herself. If she only gets up earlier, tries a little harder, and learns from her mistakes, she can be real.
Today, as I exited the freeway and parked in front of my office, I remembered a verse someone read in church yesterday that I wanted to look up. I figured it would be a good idea to start there before doing anything else. I opened my computer and looked up Lamentations 3:20-29
“Surely my soul remembers, and is bowed down within me.
This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.
It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man that he should bear the yoke in his youth.
Let him sit alone and be silent since He has laid it on him. Let him put his mouth in the dust, perhaps there is hope.”
Here’s what stood out to me this morning-
-His lovingkindness and compassion never fail. They are new every morning.
Every Monday. Every day, I get to start over and He isn’t disappointed or frustrated with me and my shortcomings from yesterday. He looks at me with kindness, no matter how unkind I am to myself.
-The Lord is my portion. All the stuff I think I have to do and achieve to secure the life I want are not what I am actually sustained by. He is my portion and He’ll give me what I need to do. Bonus- He’s portioned controlled. If I take on only what He’s asking, I won’t have more or less than what I need.
-Wait, Seek, Be Silent, Mouth in the dust. I love that image! Mouth in the dust. It’s like the writer is shouting “JUST STOP AlREADY AND BE QUIET!”  People like me need that:) Why is it so hard to just stop? Why do I start ever week thinking I can get to everything if I rush? If I just wait, seek, be silent, and literally put my big overused mouth to the dust, He’ll help me handle the things I’m trying to control. Then, and only then, do I have the hope being the person I believe He wants me to be.
Ahhhh….That’s better. Monday. Mine feels a little more manageable. Hope yours does, too.
XOXO
Cindy
Image by Lyrics And Life
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Sara Lindsay Music

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Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 6.20.33 PM

Hey! Please allow me to introduce you to my lovely, talented, and warmhearted friend Sara. She leads worship in Long Beach and has just written her own full length worship album. She has a few days left on her kickstarter if you’d like to help support. I mean really… couldn’t we all use more quality worship albums by women?!:) Give her website SaraLindsayMusic a visit and check back to see when her album is available!

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 6.19.38 PM

 

 

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#IShouldveKnownWhen

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Thank you for your feedback on this one! I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing your horror stories. Below are 10 “IShouldveKnownWhens sent in by YOU!

1. Less than 20 min. into the first date, he asked me to train with him for a 1/2 marathon and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

2. He said he often forgets to eat breakfast. And lunch. Oh, and dinner, too. Huh??

3. He shared a bedroom with his sister.

4. He showed up to our date on rollerblades

5. I found out he was born in the 90′s.

6. Sent me a shirtless selfie.

7. Takes shirtless selflies.

8. Said he couldn’t drive at night b/c saltwater and sunlight had ruined his eyes

9. He told his friends we were together after our third date.

10. LOVED vikings. And told me about it.

Send your stories over:) Or use the hashtag #IShouldveKownWhen

XOXO

Cindy

Photo by We Heart It

 

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