Saturday, March 11th, 2017

Hypermiling is Sexy.

by Kristen Suzanne in Meditation, Minimalism, travel
 

Bring it on! 77.6 MPG!

 
Remember when I told you (yesterday) my awesome story of downsizing our car by trading in the minivan for a Prius? 
 
Well, something else happened as a result of driving a Prius.
 
I not only saved money on the car and the gas it uses (because it’s a hybrid and smaller), but I started saving even more money through hypermiling.
 
What the heck is hypermiling?
 
It’s basically driving mindfully as f*ck to use less gas (and save money! yeah baby!).
 
Or according to a quick google search:
hy·per·mil·ing
the practice of making adjustments to a vehicle or using driving techniques that will maximize the vehicle’s fuel economy. 
 
My use of hypermiling:
  • I don’t speed. 
  • I use air conditioning and/or open windows wisely.
  • I pay attention to all cars and what they might do so as to plan my own speed/braking accordingly.
  • I’m slower to accelerate whenever I can.
  • I eliminate wasteful trips and plan multi-destination outings.
  • Walking when possible.
If we all hypermiled, then we’d have fewer car crashes because it really makes you pay attention at all times. For example, the second I look at my GPS I realize that, dammit, the light ahead turned red and I should’ve already been coasting! 
 
High-Five for the Prius in teaching me about hypermiling, because a Prius makes it easy to hypermile. The gauges let me know how many miles per gallon I’m using at all stages of driving so I can make smarter choices in how I accelerate and brake. I also get to see when my car is running on just the battery which saves gas.
 

Oh yeah! 52.4 MPG.

 
I wish I could get a picture of my dashboard featuring my hypermiling in action, but well, that’d take me out of hypermiling mode and um be dangerous. We’ll settle for post-driving pics.
 
Yes, it takes me a tiny bit longer to get everywhere. Yes, people aren’t pleased when I’m a bit slower to accelerate after a red light (not dangerously though, duh). Yes, people would prefer I go beyond the speed limit and break the law.
 
But you know what?
 
Fuck ‘em. I’m hypermiling and hypermiling is SEXY! I think of the money and lives I’m saving by doing this. A richer ($) and better driver? Sign me up.
 
And, as I mentioned before, it amps up my mindfulness muscle. As a person who meditates, I’m all over that.
 
As mentioned earlier, a tip for hypermiling that I practice: Combining trips for things. (I use to suck at that, but now I’m a pro.)
 
There was a time not too long ago, that if I ran out of eggs, I would just drive to whole foods. It was only 6 miles away. Big deal (or so I thought). I didn’t think twice about it. You know what though? It is a big deal. It allllllllllll adds up (time, money, wear on the car, gas, risk etc).
 
Nowadays, I stretch out the time between trips as long as possible. I create a list of places and things I need to do and when it gets to the point where I gotta go somewhere, then I strategize to make the most of my trip. Silly to some, but when I realize I can go somewhere and hit two (or three – gasp!) spots in the same trip… well., I jump up-and-down, clapping my hands while squealing. 
 
Cuz that’s a win!
 

That’s how I feel hypermiling.

 

(I’m still trying to talk Greg into selling the Mercedes.)

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Monday, January 23rd, 2017

I’m Nicer Now That I Meditate :)

Taking time to smell…

 
 
Meditation has profoundly changed me in many great ways… 
 
I’m ridiculously more calm, which is good for everyone.
 
I don’t freak out as much, and, if I do, I quickly stop myself before it gets out of hand. (Mindfulness in action.)
 
Food tastes better.
 
I feel like I’m “flowing” more through life. More “in the zone” moments. 
 
I smile a lot more.
 
I laugh more.
 
I sleep better.
 
I embrace aging (most of the time).
 
I’m nicer to other people.
 
I’m nicer to my self.

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Monday, January 16th, 2017

My Favorite Meditation Book

by Kristen Suzanne in longevity, Meditation

Ralph.

I’m glad I started meditating a few years ago, BUT, I wish more than anything I’d had Dan Harris’ book, 10% Happier, when I started.

Frankly, the whole meditation thing would have been a lot simpler.

During my few years of meditation, I had my share of struggles. I sometimes wondered if I was doing it right (or well enough) in spite of the benefits I was experiencing. 

I bought things to amp up my meditation “powers” like crystals, frog statues (see, Ralph, above), meditation pillows, and salt lamps. Lots of salt lamps. 

Crystal power

Surely a salt lamp sets the mood for better meditation.

I thought by having these things around I’d be better at meditating or my meditation would be deeper and more profound. I even tried meditating a few times balancing a crystal on my head. Yes. I did that.

Then, Dan Harris’ book, 10% Happier, came across my path. 

I opted for the audiobook because he narrates it, and I love audiobooks. 

This audiobook is so good!

Man, was that ever a great choice. 

Hearing Dan Harris tell his story in his own voice made the journey through his book better, funnier, and just more enjoyable. I can’t speak on the experience of reading the book, and I expect it’s also pretty great, but I tell ya… the audiobook was special. 

The reason this book is my favorite on meditation is because he broke it down! 

Meditation Demystified!

By the end of the book, I knew everything I needed to meditate (which actually wasn’t much, funny enough), and it didn’t require crystals, uncomfortable seated positions, or super deep breathing. 

I just had to sit (anywhere and in any position). Close my eyes (if desired). Breathe normally. And, every time my mind wandered, I simply had to bring it gently back to feeling or hearing my breath.

What I didn’t realize when I was learning to meditate in years past… was that the whole issue of “I can’t keep my mind from wandering” is actually part of meditation. Yes, it’s part of it.

Every time the mind wanders, and our minds all do, you notice it and bring your awareness back to breathing or feeling –> that’s meditating. 

The back and forth of thinking and non-thinking is indeed meditating. 

It can happen many times in a single 5-minute session and that’s many times you’re building your meditation/mindfulness  muscle just like doing a bicep curl for the arm when building your biceps.

Huh. That’s simple. 

10% Happier taught me this, along with the really entertaining story of his life including experiences with Deepak Chopra and Eckart Tolle that left me in a fit of giggles.

I can’t recommend this book enough whether you’re a seasoned meditator, an excited newbie meditator, or scared of meditating. It’s for everyone.

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Friday, April 22nd, 2016

My 5 Year Old Teaching You How to Meditate

by Kristen Suzanne in kamea, kids, Meditation
My little girl. :)

My little girl. :)

My five year old daughter, Kamea, was visiting my mom for the night, and they surprised me with this video that she made about “how to meditate.” Glad to know that all of my meditating is rubbing off on her.


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Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Using a Timer Changed My Meditation Practice

by Kristen Suzanne in Meditation
A timer for meditation makes a difference.

A timer for meditation makes a difference.

Most of you know that meditation has been a top priority in my life for the past couple of years. Thank goodness I followed my intuition in pursuing it. I wish I’d done that sooner but as with many things, you gotta be open and ready. Yoga was like that for me, too.

Back story: Life was nice and all a few years ago, but I had too many rules in life (probably still do), which created too many stresses. I had too much passion for health related topics, which, too, created too much stress.

Then, after some thought, I figured I could eat a fairly crappy diet, but, if I meditated, then it might even keep me healthier than if I ate a pristine diet and didn’t meditate.

The self-created stresses in my life made my body (and mind) screamed for meditation to calm them down, and that’s why I made meditation a priority. It was so important that for a couple of years it was the only goal for my new year’s resolutions. Fast forward to today, and wow, life is so much better.

But… it’s a practice. I’m still learning and growing my meditation practice, which brings me to my point today.

I started using a timer with my meditation sittings, and it dramatically improved my experience.

Wish I’d done that sooner, too.

Here’s the thing, if I didn’t use a timer then I was too often wondering how much time had elapsed (most often just a few minutes!). The moment I started using a timer, I started with 15 minutes, and I knew it’d let me know when the time was up so I could empty my mind of time. It also helped me meditate longer in a sitting.

Sounds simple and it is.

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Monday, December 21st, 2015

9 Tips to Hack Stress. Instantly.

Feeling gratitude for my husband, Greg.

Feeling gratitude for my husband, Greg.

It’s been a couple of years now that I’ve had a focus in my life on meditation so that I could calm my mind, body, and soul.

In fact, two years ago it was the only goal I set for 2014 because it was THAT important.

I even felt it was probably more important than my healthy eating habits or exercise, because stress wreaks havoc on a body.

I figured if I could reduce stress and just go with the flow more and chill the f#*k out, that I would probably increase my longevity … more than all the best eating or exercising I could ever do.

That said, I knew a combo of:

  • Healthy eating
  • Exercise
  • Living a calm life …

THAT would be the ultimate.

Well, I pretty much dialed in the healthy eating bit, eh? And exercise and moving? Heck, we got rid of our dining table and couch -> embracing the “furniture free” movement. Check!

Next, I needed to focus on calming my sh*t down.

I’m proud to say that I’ve come a loooong way and I’ve learned a lot the past few years including this post detailing how and why my family meditates, including our daughter (she’s 5 now).

Meditation has changed my life for sure. It’s helped me react less to stressful times. But, I found ways to cope when those stressful times still reared their ugly heads.

That’s what this post is about! I came up with nine ways to instantly chill out. Seriously, they work.

Oh.. And. This past year I found Taoism – WHOA – but that’s for another post.

In the rush of the *sometimes stressful* holidays, these are extra important. Warning: my mouth runs a bit foul in this post. 

Here are my top 9 ways to immediately hack your stress and get calm. 

The next time your feathers get ruffled, try one of these ideas and see how it instantly calms you. Over time, the more you do this, the more natural it becomes and the more calm you feel ongoing.

Read More »

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Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Get Zen In Your Kitchen For The Ultimate Cooking Experience And The Best Food Ever.

by Kristen Suzanne in Kristen Suzanne, longevity, Meditation
Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

I strive to live a life that is Zen (mindful, non-judgmental, and in the moment).

And… I’m a work in progress.

To tell you the truth, I started thinking about this stuff about 7 or 8 years ago, but didn’t become serious until a few years ago, when I made meditation a top priority.

Fast forward to today, and I’m pretty damn Zen. Most of the time.

I create a mindful presence in the kitchen as often as possible, because it makes for the best kitchen experiences.  And, would you believe? It helps me create the most delicious food ever. You’ll hear a lot of people talk about putting “love” into their food. I try to create “calmness” and infuse that into my food. (I put some love in there, too.)

Here are some tips to help you quickly get Zen in your kitchen starting today.

Read More »

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Friday, October 16th, 2015

My Life: Naked Dolls, Qigong, Lemon Water, Matcha, Hot Yoga

Lemon water did more than I realized.

Lemon water did more than I realized.

Here’s a day in my life.

700 am Wake up naturally. Sometimes I oil pull at this time.

715 am Drink some spring water with organic lemon juice squeezed in. I’ve heard about people doing this forever. I never got into it… til now. I read recently that drinking it on an empty stomach does something to help digestion, which helps you better absorb nutrients from your food later. Interesting. Okay, I’ll try. (The rule is that it’s on an empty stomach and you don’t eat for about 30 minutes.)

717 am Rebounding to start moving, getting the kinks worked, blood flowing, and because it’s fun. (Bellicon is the best rebounder.)

740 am Brew Upgraded coffee in my groovy Technivorm coffee pot. While that’s brewing I get other ingredients ready to make Greg’s and my Bulletproof Coffee (Greg likes his in a cold shake form), or I grab my Bulletproof Frozen Cubes.

745 am Make Kamea’s breakfast (usually gently scrambled eggs – something like this)

Read More »

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Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Experiment in Non-Sedentary Living: Moving All Day vs. 1-Hour in the Gym

Hikes are becoming routine to increase our movement.

Hiking for more movement.

In spite of going to the gym for an hour a day, most days, I feel like my life is missing more movement. But, how could that be? I go to the gym almost daily. Surely that’s adequate.

Or, is it?

I took a look at our lives recently and realized there’s just too much sitting… whether it’s eating food at the table, working on computers, playing video games, watching TV, or reading, I had to admit that we’re members of the species homo sedentarius.

Sitting this much just doesn’t feel right. And research says that “sitting is the new smoking,” meaning deadly… even for people who exercise daily! Yikes.

So, on a whim I suggested to Greg that we get rid of our couch, which would make us move more. It was just an idea that made sense to me.

He wasn’t buying it. I mean, who doesn’t have a couch?

Well! Turns out, I’m not the only one to think about this. Apparently there is a movement (pun intended) known as “furniture-free” and I can’t help but be intrigued. There’s even experts on the topic. When Greg heard Katy Bowman, ummm, an expert, he realized it wasn’t just a crazy idea of mine – people are doing this.

Long story short, we got rid of our couch. (Gasp!)

Read More »

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Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

A Day Without My Kid – What To Do?

by Kristen Suzanne in kamea, Kristen Suzanne, Meditation, Motherhood
Mom's Secret Zen Garden - a place for play, imagination, or meditation.

Mom’s Secret Zen Garden – a place for play, imagination, or meditation.

Mom is taking Kamea for the night, which really means I get all day today, all night, and most of tomorrow to be child-free. Kamea loves going to mom’s sort-of citrus orchard, especially now that they’re creating a zen secret garden of it  – statues, wind chimes galore, and hummingbirds a plenty.

So, what shall I do today? My list is long with much that I can blast through… things like…

  1. Blog
  2. Follow up emails
  3. Make new recipes for my maybe new book
  4. Make kelp capsules
  5. Go to Trader Joe’s
  6. Make liver pate
  7. Qigong
  8. Yoga
  9. Meditate
  10. Read about qigong, yoga, and meditation
  11. Clean
  12. Shower and blow dry my hair
  13. Dinner alone with Greg

OR

I could just lay lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling for 30 hours.

 

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