December 2011 / Carmen Varner // Lifestyle Blogger & Social Media + Blogging Coach


Eat Well, Feel Well

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year! This is going to be the best year ever! I have some great health and wellness tips for you. We are going to be happy and healthy. The fight against obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer and various diseases of affluence can easily be won by eating the proper nutrients. A good portion of a person's health lies in their diet and generally, a healthy person is a happy person. It's easy to feel glad if your body and mind feel good too.

Don't spend your year pointing out all your flaws in the mirror, feeling self-conscious, or being unhappy. Take an active role in your health. This is your life. Your health and happiness are in your hands and nobody else's. Use these health and wellness tips for your advantage. Live your best life this year. Whether you want to drop a few pounds, lean out, or simply eat better, here are some totally simple tips to follow. Feel better from the inside out. Eat well, feel well 2012. Let's do this! 

Veggies first- Ever notice how you can munch through four baskets of french baguette and still be hungry for dinner? The reason you're not getting full is because there is no nutritional value. Start off your meal with veggies. Fill at least half your plate with greens, salad, or vegetables. This type of food will actually fill you up, so you won't end up overeating and regretting it later.


Eat out less- Don't go out to eat, make your own food at home! Not only will you save yourself a boatload of money, but you'll spare yourself from a few pounds. As a vegetarian, I have to ask an obnoxious amount of questions and it pretty much solidifies my belief in going out to eat as rarely as possible. What is the food cooked with? Where did the food come from? What's in it? Who made it? Is it smothered in butter, lard, grease? Was it cooked or shared with other food?

Use natural foods- When I say to incorporate more natural foods into your diet, I mean the less processed the better. This is especially relevant if you follow the health and wellness tips of most trainers, health foodies, etc. Choose fresh items rather than frozen or packaged foods. If you have to microwave it or "just add water," chances are that it's not your best option. Go to a farmers market or even a local grocery store and buy fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, legumes. Eating healthy never tasted so scrumptious; there are so many options once you change your perspective.


Check the ingredients- If you do happen to use packaged foods, always look at the nutritional information before you buy it. How many ingredients are in there? How many of them are natural? How many of them are chemically made? For instance, rather than buying a box of cookies, bake them yourself. At least if you make cookies at home, there are only a handful of ingredients. It makes a difference.

Snack wisely- So you're hungry, but not hungry enough for a full meal. This is health and wellness tip #1. Snack on something yummy: make a fruit salad, eat some mixed nuts, chomp on a couple stalks of celery with peanut butter. Veto the cookies and chips. If you do find yourself tempted, which is totally natural, limit yourself. Have a handful of chips then move on.

trail mix

Everything in moderation- Continuing on the topic of limiting yourself, the same can be said about any food. If all you eat are apples, you're also not getting the right amount of daily nutrients. Maintain a well-balanced diet with a variety of foods. If you do want to eat something that you know you probably shouldn't, just eat a little. What's the point of living if you can't have fun once in a while?

Try new things- What's tofu? What's tempeh? What's quinoa? What's spaghetti squash? What's a parsnip? Look up a recipe. Then go down to the grocery store and find out. This is a brand new year, try brand new things. You just may end up loving it!


What is time, anyway?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holy barnacles! It's almost 2012. Where did the year go? What did I do? What am I doing with my life? Is it true that time flies or is it all in my head? Sometimes time goes by so frighteningly fast that I feel as if I've been robbed of precious life. Then there are those days that go by so achingly slow, I cannot bare to be conscious. What is time, anyway? How is it that there are minutes, days, hours, and years, but each one varies every single time? One year to another year cannot be compared. 

The main lesson I've learned when it comes to pondering about time is to simply enjoy every second. Live. Love being alive. Use the 24 hours you're given in a day. Hey, you're alive, right? That's a plus. How is it that a day off work or school can go by so rapidly? You wake up sometime near 11 a.m. You spend the next couple hours waking up, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, making breakfast. Next thing you know it's afternoon and all you've done is roam the internet. Since the sun depressingly departs at around 5 p.m., there's no point in going out. Then it's time for some Netflix and dinner. After that, you call it a day. Nothing was accomplished. Nothing was learned. Nothing occurred. 

Then there are those days that you have to be up at 6 a.m. for work. You're off at 2 p.m. and you already have a few hours of work under your belt, which obviously means you earned yourself a little bit of money. How productive! After that you do the laundry, go to the thrift store to obtain some Christmas gifts, and go grocery shopping at not one, but two stores. Then to wind down, you meet up with a couple of friends and splurge with a couple bottles of Andre Peach Passion Champagne. Sounds like an eventful and fruitful day.

What I'm trying to say is this: there are always 24 hours in a day. What fluctuates is how you utilize each moment. At the end of the day, when you're lying in bed trying to fall asleep, you don't want to think: Damn, I did nothing today. Don't waste anymore time. Learn something. Go somewhere. Call someone. 

Life is only as amazing as you make it. I'm trying my hardest to make my life extraordinary. Are you? 

16 Things To Do Before 2012

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Life is short. Sometimes it seems to just pass by. Before you can get a grip on reality, a month has already come and gone. Thanksgiving is over. Christmas is coming. Then it's on to the new year. There is no way to know what the future will hold. The only thing we can do is enjoy the present. After all, the present is a present. It is a gift to be alive in the first place.

Let's enjoy this time of festivity, giving, and thankfulness! Take full advantage of December with this list of 16 things to do before the year ends. Cross out one each day or spread it out. Just do it and have fun! Life is short and so is the rest of 2011!

1. Go on a barefoot walk or hike - Get back into nature. Stick your feet in the earth. It's liberating to feel the sand on your feet as you walk on the beach or the dirt  between your toes as you trek on a trail.
2. Donate your clothes - Tis the season of giving, right? Assess your closet. Donate the clothes that don't fit well or you haven't worn in a while.
3. Go on a picnic - Take it a step further and go on a picnic. Don't forget your wicker basket and checkerboard tablecloth!
4. Jump on a trampoline - Come on. When was the last time you did this? It'll make you feel amazing. It's an adrenaline rush, a natural high. 
5. Go stargazing - It's cold, but take a blanket and do it. Find a dark place and just look up at the stars. It's so beautiful.
6. Meditate outside - You can do this in the day or at night. It doesn't matter. Find somewhere that you like, sit down, close your eyes, and try your best to quiet your mind. Sit there until you feel an overall sense of calm. 

sense of calm
Sense of Calm, itscarmen

7. Go on a night walk - A night walk is vastly different than a day walk. There are different things to see. Take a stroll through your neighborhood or somewhere safe. It gets pretty chilly so bring a coat and perhaps a friend to keep you company.
8. Hug a friend - "In a world that has grown more complicated, more fierce in the demands made upon our hearts and pocket books, there is one easy, free gift left. The power of touch." Kathleen Keating Schloessinger
9. Watch a childhood favorite film - It's December. Take a break from your hectic life to relive your youth. Which movie will you choose?
10. Forget Facebook - This may be hard for some of you, but be social network free for a day. Eliminate Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or anything non work or school related. Get back to basics.
11. Read a book - There are no excuses. Reading stimulates your imagination, your vocabulary, your mind. Get smart!
12. Bake something - Bake a cake, brownies, cupcakes, bread. Get your hands in that mixing bowl and make something for yourself. There are so many recipes so just search something that sounds good!  There's a sense of accomplishment in eating something that you baked yourself.
13. Pick a wildflower bouquet - Do it for yourself, your sweetie, your mom, etc. It's an art to create an arrangement out of all the wild flowers, leaves, and other random shrubbery you collect on your walk.

Wildflower Bouquet, itscarmen

14. Make breakfast for someone - Do an act of kindness and make breakfast for someone. It can be your roommate, your parents, your friend, your neighbor. From oatmeal to pancakes, there are so many breakfast options. Need an idea? Try Soyrizo Surprize.
15. Tell someone you love them - Yep, I went there. Be happy. Spread the love. Tell someone you care about that you love them. You have no idea how beneficial it could be.
16. Jump in a pile of leaves - How many years has it been since you've done this? Rake 'em up, then jump in 'em. Simple as that. It'll make you feel like a kid again!

2012 here we come!

I did something worthwhile

Monday, December 05, 2011


ice cream

marble statue

July 2, 2010

Today we had breakfast then started our day. We went to the National Archaeological Museum; there were ancient Greek things--statues, pottery, even a skeleton. To be honest, it definitely wasn't the most exciting museum I've been to. My favorite parts were the jewelry. I wish they were mine. We had spanikopita for lunch. We walked toward downtown where all the tour shops are. We hopped into a place that formerly was a post office and at one point someone's house. It was lovely.

Since it was 1,000 degrees out, we barely did anything before we stopped for an ice cream break. At least it cooled me off. By this time we had to head back to my uncle's apartment, as they invited some people over for dinner. There was so much food. Greece has been relatively low key, we spend a lot of time in the house.

July 3, 2010

Today was a good day, I finally felt like I did something worthwhile. I went to the Acropolis, which consisted of the Roman Agora, Ancient Agora, and the Parthenon. I simply loved it. We got off to a late start, but when we got out, it started raining...I mean pouring. But it only lasted about 15 minutes.


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