New Year.. New Health.

IMG_3211

Me and Mike on New Years

Welcome 2015,

I am sure you all have been inundated with new blog posts, articles and videos with “resolution ideas” for 2015. As a self-help junkie, every year I can not wait to start thinking about the new resolutions I will take on. However, this year is much different: I have no interest in resolutions at all…

About a week before New Years I felt very sick: I was incredibly lethargic, my skin looked terrible and I had trouble falling asleep. Unfortunately, this is the usual for me, except this time it was a bit more extreme.

I had spent the day at my Uncle’s beautiful dinner party filling up on my favorites: baked mac n’ cheese and various sweets. I came home and could barely stand. It wasn’t that I was full, I had sharp pains. I recalled these pains from when I was only 13 years old in Middle School. At that time it became clear to me that I had a weak immune system and most likely had what my nutritionist called Candida. Ever since then I have been researching nutrition immensely and have learned quite a bit.

Since there is an unbelievable amount of information, I tried to keep it simple for myself: my body does not want gluten, dairy or sugar. I knew this due to various health issues I had and the inflammatory issues these foods caused. And believe me I tried everything. I went to various doctors who offered treatments and medications. These would only work temporarily- if at all. What I did notice was I would feel immensely different when my diet changed. However, I knew the only way I could do this was by completely cutting out all the foods I loved (pasta, bread, cheese, chocolate, chai, and even rice). I wanted to beat all of my issues and wipe them out completely for optimum health. The nutritionists I spoke to said it was possible- but I needed to eliminate the foods 100%- at least for a prolonged period of time.

This idea scared me a lot– I felt there was pressure always in the back of my mind. I could eat healthy all day, then screw up at night and it was ruined. Not to mention in school I was so exhausted that I thrived on instant yummy foods and the energy the sugar rush would give me. I always knew it was horrible for me- but I just could not push myself to quit the bad foods.

Flash toward to last week, I remember waking up in the morning. I believe it was the 27th, I started journaling again and wrote down 10 things I was grateful for. This is something I don’t usually do, if I am being honest. That whole day I felt at peace with my body. I didn’t crave wheat or dairy or any form of sugar. But I also didn’t pressure myself, that night I wanted a hot chocolate and instead of stressing myself out, I allowed it. The next day it was a lot easier for me to continue my healthy eating. Why is this? I sort of have an explanation..

I am a perfectionist. I know this because I have been told multiple times. Not in an OCD kind of way, but I expect myself to do the best and sometimes try to be the best. This can be incredibly stressful. I have a mentality that life is tough, so you got to be tough right back. Everything needs to be thought out, planned and executed perfectly, or you will be a step behind someone else. I am a 5″3, privileged female living in NYC with a dream to be a well-respected actor and to help others. I don’t have the mental capability to not be a perfectionist. I truly believe my dream is attainable, it is possible for me (even though I look like a million other wanna be actresses), I just have to be one step ahead. And this is exactly how I have gone about my health. It needs to be perfect. If I failed, oh well, just curl up in bed eating pretzels and watch The Office all night. (That show always makes me feel better about my current life circumstances.) ALTHOUGH, I have begun to realize this not only detrimental for my mental health, its purely unhealthy and I will never succeed at curing my health issues.

I said above that I do not have any resolutions- this is true. If I have a resolution for myself I will not be able to expect anything less then perfect- and you know where I am going with that one. Down, down hill to failure-town. Every year I have resolutions that I write down and every year I look back and say, “oh wow I didn’t keep any of these resolutions, shocker”. I have decided for 2015 I will gradually, at my own pace, begin to break my bad health habits. Now this does not work for everyone, but not only does it loosen pressure for myself, it makes me happy at the small progress I make throughout each day, which encourages me to try harder. In a way its like I am tricking myself.

So that’s that. I will try my hardest to refrain form gluten, dairy and sugar. I think the best way for me to do this is by finding delicious, alternative recipes online. I am really excited for the New Year. I have a lot of new ideas, hopes and dreams for myself. I want to stop thinking and start doing. What about you guys?

Happy New Year,

Olivia xx

How To Get Happy and Succeed in Spring

Image

Well….. almost Spring..

Its still freezing in NYC, and apparently its snowing tonight! WTH? Its almost April. But it must mean that with such a rough winter.. will come a beautiful Spring. I am so excited for Spring!! Its the season of renewal: flowers bloom, the sun comes out. Winter was a time to conserve energy and with Spring we must detox and fill ourselves with happiness once again !

And I don’t know about you, but this was a pretty rough winter.. So I have come up with some ideas to get you back in track and feeling amazing!

1.) Get a Haircut.

It may sound simple but getting a haircut makes such a huge difference in how you feel and look. I always feel like I can take on the world with a new haircut !

2.) Make Goals and Act on Them.  

Its hard to get things done when its cold out. And with little sun you become vitamin D deficient. With Spring coming around there are so many brilliant ideas out there to help act on goals.

Here are some of my favorites:

Mindbloom – a creative way to track and make life improvements.

Learnvest – a powerful website that will set you up with a financial plan- for free!

Clear – (app) I love this app! It is so simple, easy  and fun to use.

Lift – (app) This app has helped me out immensely. You can input accomplished daily goals and interact with the apps community.

3.) Express Gratitude. 

I can’t say it enough: gratitude is everything. Did you see Matthew McConaugheys best actor Oscar speech?

Heres some things to remember about gratitude :

806852c7493fbd7b3e8dc22d40ba8cce4.) Gain Energy

 I am a firm believer that happiness comes from energy. When your tired or feeling sick, do you feel happy? Probably not! Here are some tips on keeping your energy up ..

  • take an epsom salt bath- this helps detoxify the body
  • get acupuncture – yes, it can be expensive, but it will help you immensely.. even once every two months.
  • eat healthy and especially green food. – cut back processed foods, wheat, dairy and sugar.
  • exercise regularly- even if its a small walk, especially around nature!
  • take vitamins- find out which would benefit you.
  • meditate- at least once a day.
  • sleep– nuff said.

5.) Don’t Be Hard on Yourself 

90bd63df69606e01754dec7d9f53922e

Success can only be defined by ourselves. This Spring I encourage you to be kind to yourself. Save up and go to a spa, take regular walks in the woods, maybe even take a road trip. When we do the things we love, we have more love for ourselves- creating success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope everyone is having a lovely week!!

 

xx Olivia

Bring Some Gratitude to Your Life by Donating to This Amazing Cause!

Image

 

 

Hi everyone,

I am firm believer that when you give you get back.. 

Recently I really needed a job, but it seemed nearly impossible. My schedule is absolutely crazy while in college and basically my only free time is on the weekend. However, living in NYC is not viable without making an income. I felt bad needing to borrow money from my parents.

Instead of stressing about it, I decided to patiently wait and just check craigslist everyday. I had no luck..

My roommate Susan is very good at getting what she wants. When she needed a job, she got it the next day. So I thought maybe Susan would be able to find the job for me, and of course right when she goes to look for one we find the perfect job: a weekend-only hostess position and a very well-known restaurant and the pay was great. I have never worked in a restaurant before, and getting a job in the food service industry in NYC without experience is highly unlikely. But regardless, I showed up for an interview. From what I heard they were considering 3 other people. So I decided I would be grateful for the opportunity, and I gave some money away to a few homeless people I see regularly in the subway stop. Long story short, I got the job! With absolutely no experience! And I was certain I didn’t have it because it took awhile for them to get back to me. But now I am making consistent money and having a blast.. 

So with that, I decided I really wanted to give back and create a campaign called Water for Life.

By donating, you are funding clean water projects. Everyday 5,000 children die from water-related illnesses. Can you imagine that?

Image

 

 

It would be amazing if my awesome 200 followers could donate a few bucks for this cause! I promise you, it will bring some positive vibes to your life. 🙂

Hope you are all having a beautiful day.. 

NYC has been warmin up ! 

Check out Water for Life !

Image

xx Olivia

 

The Treehouse in Costa Rica!

IMG_1946

My Dad went through this strange phase a year ago where he wanted to be more adventurous.

My family loves to travel, I have been fortunate to travel since I can remember. However, our trips have never been exactly venturesome, due to the fact that they consisted of us getting around on a boat and having everything taken care for us (Royal Caribbean).

I love my parents, but they are getting to that point in time where they find everything to get on their nerves. They just want to lay on a beach and do absolutely nothing for the entire vacation. Which is understandable at their age.
Now why did my father – whom hates to do anything strenuous- decide to put a payment down on a treehouse in the middle of the rainforest? That is a question I still ask myself.

Well the time had come and the day after Christmas my sister, brother, mom and dad caught a five hour plane to San Jose, Costa Rica.

From San Jose we had to catch a tiny 10 person jet for an hour to a small town called Puerto Jimenez. The jet ride was scary but amazing, so many great views.

The treehouse was incredibly designed. It was four stories high- wrapped around a beautiful, large tree. It had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen. Everything was wide open, except fortunately the bed rooms were screened in. There was no TV, and the wifi wasn’t working.
Our days consisted of being woken up by 20 titi monkeys at 6 am every morning (they would bounce around the trees right next to us!) Then we would wait for breakfast which our lovely caretakers made for us every morning….

IMG_2079

Then we would take a half hour walk to a very clean water river where many locals use the mud for facials and search for gold…

IMG_2087

Then most of the day we would just lay around and read.
IMG_1929

They also had a large garden growing nearby with lots of fruits and veggies growing. I picked up a cucumber everyday!

My dad did not want to drive into town because the roads were so dangerous. However, I also got to go zip lining and that was riveting. It looked terrifying, but it was liberating being able to do it. We were very high up in the rainforest going 60 mph.

One of the most exciting trips is when we decided to take a boat to the animal reserve. On the boat ride we saw a thirty foot whale shark, hundreds of dolphins, and the second most poisonous snake in the world!

IMG_1996

We then arrived to the reserve, apparently they filmed some of Jurassic Park there.. I am not surprised!

IMG_2016

I got to see monkeys, parrots, sloths and lots of birds. The woman that worked there was sweet.. I can not believe she lived there by herself.

IMG_2022

IMG_2060

IMG_2074

The scariest part of this whole trip was not the fact that everything went black at 5:45 pm every night, or how there were 8 bats living with us in the treehouse, or even how one night I was cleaning the dishes and a huge rainforest animal- called a kinkajou– jumped into the kitchen, stole my fruit and ran off. The scariest part of this trip were the roads. Here in NJ we got pretty nicely paved roads. Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica has the most terrifying roads I have ever been on. The road leading to the treehouse took us 20 minutes. It was completely made out of dirt and on the left side there was a huge trench you could not get out of, on the right side was a cliff. You fall off you die. We had to do this anytime we wanted to get to the treehouse, or get to the town. This made it very difficult to go anywhere. Even when we wanted to go to the beach it took an hour and a half on very bumpy roads and at times we were driving through rivers and going up cliffs!
It was worth it though…

IMG_1953

On this trip I was able to have bonding time with my family as well as eat healthy and read a lot. I really felt it was the perfect place to spend the New Years, right in the middle of nature. Every morning I woke up the beautiful jungle, and every night I would go to sleep terrified, but it was a great experience.

IMG_1947

Heres some extra pics if you guys are interested in what it looked like. I highly recommend taking the trip if you can. Heres some info on it if you would like!

IMG_1918

IMG_1920

I hope you all are having a lovely week. And any Jersey/New York folk are staying safe in this crazy blizzard. It looks beautiful outside!

Soon I will be uploading me and Mikes 2 year anniversary trip to NYC!

xx Olivia

Loving Life

Image

How is everyones 2014 so far? I started off the New Year living in a tree house in the rainforest in Costa Rica..

Yes it was crazy. I have so many pictures I can not wait to share. It truly was a life-changing experience. I came back with complete positivity and a sense of peace. And that has been my resolution for 2014- to find a sense of peace within myself. 

Every year its the same resolutions…

  • work out everyday 
  • no soda
  • no cursing
  • read books etc…

I find that these resolutions honestly just stress me out. There is always this lingering pressure starting out the New Year. To the point where I am just like ugh I don’t even want to try anymore.

And yes they are important to incorporate into life.. but I find that the pressure is not beneficial to my life.

My important words for 2014 are

  • Gratitude
  • Peace
  • Love

Because without these three things how is a happy life achieved? 

For gratitude I decided to keep a gratitude journal. Every night, or the nights I can, I write down everything I am grateful for that happened that day. It has been going very well!

For peace I decided to turn off the news. No more CNN, USA Today, etc. Although current events can be important, I was constantly checking the news all day everyday purely out of boredom. And I just kept getting hit with more and more bad news. It really started to drag me down in 2013, and give me a pessimistic outlook. So far I have been detoxing from news I actually have a much brighter outlook on life I have to say. I plan on volunteering my time to give back to the community as well.

For love I decided to start giving more loving attention to my family and friends. I felt this past year I really just blew people off for my own personal time. Now everyday I try to talk to friends I barely contact and I have conversations with every family member. I am trying to be a lot more loving and less judgmental. 

 

Resolutions can be hard to keep so my motto is just to take it day-by-day. I know there will be plenty of times this year where I find it difficult to stick to these three words, but there is always tomorrow. Don’t let yourself get stressed because it will all work out, especially if there is gratitude involved! And most importantly treat yourself well.  

I hope everyone is having a wonderful, safe January. 

xx Olivia 

 

Living For the Weekend and A Short Film!

tumblr_mvu6wk6u9S1rve8s6o1_500

JACK from Grace Jackson on Vimeo.

How is everyone? I have been so busy at school, but learning a lot.
Lately I’ve realized how grateful I am for the weekend. Resting after such a hectic week is very much needed.
Some of my favorite things to do on the weekend include…

-discovering new tea
-window shopping
-napping all day
-discovering new music
-reading a great book
-writing in my journal
-watching my favorite TV shows
-eating my favorite food
-discovering new parts of NYC

above you will see I posted a short film called Jack that I stumbled upon on tumblr. What I love so much about this video is how happy this man is, and how simply he has lived. It reminds me that you can live without much and still have a great life. I hope you all enjoy it too.
And as we speak, NYC has just gotten its first snow fall of December!

Trip to a Farm

This passed week I had the pleasure to stay at one of the most peaceful places I have ever been, Whistlewood farms in Rhinebeck, NY. It was truly a treat and I can not wait to go back. The woman who owned the little house is an artist and decorated her place with charming pieces of artwork, charming rustic furniture and beautiful antiques. And when we woke up in the morning she had prepared for us a delicious breakfast ! On our trip we also got a chance to stop at the CIA (culinary institute) to eat at one of their restaurants  The food was absolutely delicious! I would definitely go again.

I am officially on my spring break. And most of it has been spent with me worrying about college. I have started getting the rejection letters but I am trying to keep my spirits up. Hope you are all well!

 

IMG_1222 IMG_1224 IMG_1230 IMG_1229IMG_1261One of four of her huge cats!