As a verb, balance is defined as: “to keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall”. As a noun, balance is defined as: “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.” When it comes to my new series “A Balanced Life” I have chosen a few lovely ladies to feature that I believe embody what it means to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle. These women inspire me to keep buying organically (even if it is more expensive and some people just don’t get it), to keep working out (even if it is the first time in my life I am getting fit in a healthy way) and to keep up the positive attitude and energy.
Ladies (and the very few gentleman that read my blog), I bring to you my seventh Balanced Babe, my dear friend, Annie! She is my first real and honest blogger friend here in Boston and definitely inspires me everyday. She is always bouncing around here and there (check the insta hashtag #Anniesdayoff), exploring every corner of Boston and snapping beautiful shots along the way. When she’s not exploring, she is the awesomely witty voice behind @shopthestreet during the day and a proud Cape Cod-er any chance she gets (during the summer, it’s VERY often). Although she is younger than me, she is wise beyond her years. I think that’s what drew me to her at the foodie meet-up in Panera two years ago; it also could be the fact that she is my height (us shorties gotta stick together)!
1. What does a Balanced Life mean to you?
I’m still trying to figure that out. Between long days at work and attempting to keep my room clean at home, it can be difficult to find balance sometimes. Some days I just want to completely ignore the dirty dishes in the sink and crawl into bed at 9pm and some days, that’s exactly what I do. Right now I think a balanced life is all about keeping your heart happy and your mind healthy. I keep my heart happy by leaving space in my schedule to catch up with friends and by spending time with my family on Cape Cod. I keep my mind healthy by making time for a stress-relieving, endorphin releasing ride at Turnstyle a few times a week and by listening to music, reading Joy The Baker’s Let it Be Sunday posts, and allowing myself some anti-social ‘me time’ every now and then.
2. Do you have an AM and PM routine that contributes to your balanced life?
Over the last few months, Turnstyle spin studio has been a huge part of my AM/PM routine, It’s the first work out that I’ve tried that I really, truly, 100% enjoy (and can afford) and for the first time, I feel like I’m getting myself to that basement studio in Back Bay for no one else but me. So whether it’s a 6AM ride or 6:35PM ride, I try my best to make it there as much as I can, and the rest of my routine sort of falls into place around it. I’ve also given November Project a try, which is proving to be a pretty worthwhile addition to my Wednesday and Friday morning routine. It’s a butt-kicking work out and it took a solid year for me to finally wake up and make my way towards Harvard Stadium at5:30am but last week I decided I’d just show up and I’m so glad I did. It’s all about sweating and strengthening and meeting new people, pushing yourself and encouraging others to do the same, which is exactly what I need right now.
3. What is your definition of self-love and positive body image?
Defining “self-love” is tough. Let me get back to you on that. As for a positive body image, that’s tough, too. I go back and forth between loving my body and feeling frustrated with my body. I look at girls waiting for the T or walking down Newbury St. and I think about how amazing it would be to have, not even long legs, but just slim, regular length legs (I’m forever 5ft tall), to be able to swipe a pair of pants off the rack and have them A. successfully surpass my muscle caves and thick thighs, B. button comfortably at the waist and C. not leave a trail of 5-6 inches of excess fabric at my feet. But then I make it up a 4 minute virtual hill during a ride at Turnstyle or I run 19 section of Harvard Stadium steps and I’m so thankful for and amazed by my strong legs and all that they’re able to accomplish for me, even if they making shopping for pants a living nightmare. I think that’s self-love; when you can take those little frustrations, acknowledge them and ultimately, appreciate them; when you can have your pity party but eventually pick your head up and tell yourself, enough is enough. Sef-love is about accepting your whole self; your mind, body and soul. Our bodies are just one piece of that puzzle that we too often become so preoccupied with. It all goes back to balance; if you nourish your mind, your body and your soul, self-love will come easily – at least I like to believe that anyway. For me, self-love is when you truly believe that, while it may not be your first choice to have a booty that makes most dresses NSFW, that booty looks pretty darn good on the dance floor and for that, you are thankful.
4. What are some ways you stay active and foods you eat to achieve a balanced mind, body and soul (favorite workout routines, favorite healthy dish/ snack etc.)?
As mentioned 100 times, I spin a lot. I also walk a lot, which is a great way to stay unintentionally active, if that makes sense. I don’t have a car in Boston, so on a daily basis I’m walking about a mile to my office each day and another mile back. When the whether is nice, and sometimes even when it’s not, I typically opt for the “long way home”, bypassing the Boylston, Arlington and Copley MBTA stations and walking as far as my legs will take me (it usually depends on the shoes I’m wearing and whether or not I have to pee from the Iced Coffee that’s likely in my hand). I’ve been in Boston for about two years and still consider myself pretty new here, so any chance I get, I’ll wander around connecting neighborhoods and exploring new parts of town by foot. Some of my favorite snacks include popcorn (stovetop > microwave), pretzels (I believe a handful of pretzels can solve any problem, ever), string cheese, wasabi peas, pineapple (the fruit) and Sourpatch watermelons (the candy). I like to eat so it’s rare that I miss a meal and it’s quite likely that I’m thinking about lunch by 9:30AM on most days and dinner by noon.
5. Words to live by/ favorite quote that has to do with positivity, good vibes or positive body image?
There are SO many!! Good Vibes Only and Que Sera, Sera come to mind but right now I’m particularly loving this one by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “We must be our own before we can be another’s”.
Navigating this world can be tough sometimes, we wear so many hats and we’re constantly being pulled in different directions, between roommates and coworkers, friends and family, and significant others (or in my case, lack-there-of), but before all of those things we need to place ourselves at the top of the list. I’ve kissed far too many fr…assholes and I’ve tried to be someone I’m not, I’ve morphed to meet social norms and I’ve held back to blend in. All of those things have helped and continue to help me figure out who I am and have helped me become more and more comfortable in my own skin. They’ve all been integral steps towards becoming my own person and in turn, integral steps towards becoming another’s.
Come on! How can you not be inspired by that smiling face? Follow her on Instagram for beautiful scenic pictures and to never miss an #AnniesDayOff post again!
Stay tuned for my next Balanced Babe!