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Journal

The Shutdown + Food

The Shutdown + Food

We love getting Food Tank's e-newsletter, as they highlight important issues related to our food systems that one doesn't normally think about...read below for a powerful and insightful article on how the government shutdown is affecting food safety, soup kitchens, farmers and more.

"In the United States, this week marks the second missed paycheck for furloughed federal workers. Now on its 34th day, the shutdown’s effects are permeating beyond the lives of federal workers, as farmers, food banks, and food companies encounter reductions in government loans, assistance, and services. And as talks between Congressional leadership and President Donald Trump continue to stall, the food system is placed at higher risks as many partially-running programs start to reach shutdown funding limits in the coming month. 

Food Tank is calling attention to six ways the government shutdown affects the food system, from federal workers to farmers and food banks: Food and Drug Administration food inspections decline, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) meat plant inspections remain incomplete, Farm Service Agency Temporary Closures Pressure Farmers, the USDA leaves farmers in the dark, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program releases early, and food banks feel a new surge.

To support initiatives feeding federal workers, you can donate to organizations like World Central Kitchen, which is donating free meals, or Capital Area Food Bank, which is setting up free pop-up markets for employees in the D.C. area.
To support a general relief fund for furloughed workers, you can donate to a fundraiser started by Deepak Chopra and GoFundMe that directs funds to nonprofits including World Central Kitchen, the National Diaper Bank Network, Feeding America, and the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund.

Read more about the government shutdown’s effects on the food system and share this article by CLICKING HERE."

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How to be Happy

How to be Happy

One Hundred Words by J.D. Roth

Breathe.
Self-care comes first: nurture your mind, body, and spirit.
Be optimistic.
Choose happiness.
Don’t take things personally, and don’t make assumptions.
Be good to people.
Foster friendships.
Be vulnerable and love passionately.
Trust others.
Trust yourself.
Always do your best, but embrace the imperfections.
Refuse to let fear guide your decision-making process.
Act, even when you’re afraid.
Ask for what you want.
Collect opportunities, and create your own luck.
Explore.
Try new things, and keep an open mind.
Be present in the moment.
Share without reservation.
Do what you love — do it often.
Cultivate gratitude and joy.
Try new things, and keep an open mind.
Be present in the moment.
Share without reservation.
Do what you love — do it often.
Cultivate gratitude and joy.

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Back in the Swing

Back in the Swing

Hi friends...I'm working on getting my groove back after a sensational break from technology and the internet for 10 days...I heard a lot of meaningful Rumi quotes at the meditation retreat and am still digesting the wondrous experience, so here are some of his mystical words and I'm looking forward to reconnecting with you all!

Enough Words? 

But that shadow has been serving you!
What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.
You must have shadow and light source both.
Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.

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Unconscious Storytelling

Unconscious Storytelling

Brené Brown is an expert on personal growth and a huge source of comfort to us. Check out this enlightening excerpt from her book, Rising Strong.

"Storytelling helps us all impose order on chaos—including emotional chaos. When we're in pain, we create a narrative to help us make sense of it. This story doesn't have to be based on any real information. One dismissive glance from a coworker can instantly turn into I knew she didn't like me

Our stories are also about self-protection. That's what human beings tend to do: When we're under threat, we run. If we feel exposed or hurt, we find someone to blame, or blame ourselves before anyone else can, or pretend we don't care.

But this unconscious storytelling leaves us stuck. We keep tripping over the same issues, and after we fall, we find it hard to get back up again. But in my research on shame and vulnerability, I've also learned a lot about resilience. For my book Rising Strong, I spent time with many amazing people—from Fortune 500 leaders to long-married couples—who are skilled at recovering from setbacks, and they have one common characteristic: They can recognize their own confabulations and challenge them. The good news is that we can rewrite these stories. We just have to be brave enough to reckon with our deepest emotions.

In navigation, dead reckoning is how you calculate your location. It involved knowing where you've been and how you got there—speed, route, wind conditions. It's the same with life: We can't chart a new course until we find out where we are, how we came to that point and where we want to go. Reckon comes from the Old English recenian, meaning "to narrate." When you reckon with emotion, you can change your narrative. You have to acknowledge your feelings and get curious about the story behind them. Then you can challenge those confabulations and get to the truth.

I'll walk you through it. The next time you're in a situation that pushes your buttons—from a breakup to a setback at work—and you're overwhelmed by anger, disappointment or embarrassment, try this practice.

Engage with your feelings.
Your body may offer the first clue that you're having an emotional reaction: for instance, your boss assigns the project you wanted to a colleague, and your face begins to feel hot. Or your response may involve racing thoughts or replaying the event in slow motion. You don't need to know exactly where the feelings are coming from: you just have to acknowledge them.

My stomach is in knots.
I want to punch a wall.
I need Oreos. Lots of them.

Get curious about the story behind the feelings.
Now you're going to ask yourself a few questions. Again, it's not necessary to answer them right off the bat.

Why am I being so hard on everyone?
What happened right before this Oreo craving set in?
I'm obsessing over what my sister said. Why?

This step can be surprisingly difficult. You're furious because Todd got the project, but it may feel easier to steamroll over your anger with contempt: Todd's a brownnoser. This company's a joke. Getting curious about your feelings may lead to some discoveries: What if you're more hurt than you realized? Or what if your attitude could have played a part? But pushing through discomfort is how we get to the truth.

Write it down.
The most effective way to become truly aware of our stories is to write them down, so get your thoughts on paper. Nothing fancy—you can just finish these sentences:

The story I'm making up...
My emotions...
My thinking...
My body...
My beliefs...
My actions...

For instance, you might write, I'm so peeved. I feel like I'm having a heatstroke. She thinks I'm incapable. I want to hurl a stapler.

You can be mad, self-righteous, confused. A story driven by emotion and self-protection probably doesn't involve accuracy, logic or civility. If your story contains those things, it's likely that you're not being fully honest.

Get ready to rumble.
It's time to poke and prod at your findings, exploring the ins and outs. The first questions may be the simplest:

1. What are the facts, and what are my assumptions?

I really don't know why my boss picked Todd. And I didn't tell her I was interested in the project—I figured she knew.

2. What do I need to know about the others involved?

Maybe Todd has some special skill or she has me in mind for something else.

Now we get to the more difficult questions:

3. What am I really feeling? What part did I play?

I feel so worthless. I'm failing in my career. And I don't want to ask for anything because someone might say no.

You may learn that you've been masking shame with cynicism, or that being vulnerable and asking for what you want is preferable to stewing in resentment. These truths may be uncomfortable, but they can be the basis of meaningful change.

Figuring out your own story could take 20 minutes or 20 years. And you may not make one big transformation; maybe it's a series of incremental changes. You just have to feel your way through.

If you're thinking this sounds too hard, I get it. The reckoning can feel dangerous because you're confronting yourself—the fear, aggression, shame and blame. Facing our stories takes courage. But owning our stories is the only way we get to write a brave new ending."

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Twenty Nineteen

Twenty Nineteen

Happy New Year friends! Here's a heartwarming poem to start your 2019 right...

The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voice behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life that you could save.

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2019 = Appreciate the Grind

2019 = Appreciate the Grind

For me, this time of year is heavy...usually I’ve procrastinated for days allowing myself to take the pedal off the metal to enjoy the holiday season with my friends and family. But then suddenly, seemly out of nowhere, the new year is looming and I feel a weight of anticipation all around me, as if I’m shrouded in a daze, akin to a massive hangover. Thoughts emerge incessantly right about now, and I begin obsessively planning, plotting, projecting and devising for the year ahead, in addition to an uncontrollable urge to heap loose ends from the previous year on top of all this.

I believe this all has to do with how I can be “better” in the new year and “improve” upon what’s already transpired. I have a powerful call within to succeed. But truthfully, I have no idea what that means. Granted, I work quite hard, but this dedication is to get somewhere not to necessarily to enjoy the process. I know this about me because when I reach a goal, I never slow down to celebrate it, instead I ask myself “what now?” and start spinning out on reaching a new summit.

So for 2019, my only steadfast scheme is to start learning how to celebrate my everyday journey. I would like to find a way to appreciate “the grind.” To kick this off, I’ll be offline for 7 days and sequestering myself at a meditation retreat.

It’ll be my 5th retreat and I’m still scared of how much my mind will nag me with millions of thoughts; it will no doubt be overwhelming, but taking some time off the grid will clear my slate and allow for a fresh start. I love the quote, “One day you will look back and see that all along, you were blooming…” and I’m excitedly seeking a new path that will allow me to appreciate my “bloom” on a daily basis…

Happy end of the year, I hope you have New Year’s Eve plans that make your heart happy!

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Everything is Changing

Everything is Changing

"Think about your life situation in this moment: the good and the bad, and the ugly. Whoops! Now it’s different. While you were thinking, everything around you got a few seconds older.

What we think of as “my life,” stable and solid, is in fact a flowing river. The banks may look the same, but the water is always changing.

The river of our lives flows away from some things, right into other things. Each present moment is the point where time intersects with eternity. There, all experience is present, because the whole river of time flows through eternity. All memory, all perception, all presentiments of future, everything we have ever loved or will ever love is intimately available—but only In.This.Moment.

As my life flows, as your life flows, we can tune into presence and find connection—not flimsy, mind-made, let’s-pretend connection, but true oneness. That’s the reality we like to call “magic,” although it’s far more real than the losses we seem to suffer."

Excerpt from Martha Beck's wonderful blog.

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Merry, Merry

Merry, Merry

"It is possible, indeed almost too easy, to be eloquently sentimental about large groups of assorted relatives who gather for Christmas, for Thanksgiving or some such festival, and eat and drink and gossip and laugh together," M.F.K. Fisher wrote in her 1954 classic, The Art of Eating.

While my hubs and I will have a very small gathering with my mom in Austin, the eating, drinking and gossiping rules still apply!

Merry Christmas to our friends that celebrate this particular holiday! XOXO

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Recipe | Chocolate Turtles

Recipe | Chocolate Turtles

I had a lovely Chinese Aunt who used to always give my brother and me chocolate turtles when we visited her, thus they hold a special place in my heart.

When I saw that Sarah of My New Roots posted a healthier recipe to craft these treats at home, I book marked it! While I won't have time to make them before 2018 ends, I have a feeling I'll be making them in January, when I'm jonesing for a sweet snack.

Pic and recipe: My New Roots' Healthyish Salted Caramel Turtles

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Early Gift

Early Gift

At times we work away not knowing if or how we're impacting the community we're seeking to connect with...then if you're lucky someone will share their thoughts and you see exactly why you are driven to do what you do.

One of our Loyale Ambassadors, Nafisa posted a lovely and touching blog entry about her experience working with Loyale and it made all of our hard work over the last year for the LA Team program feel worth it:

Why I'm Forever Thankful to Loyale

"When I started this blog back in May 2018, working with ethical fashion brands was a long-term goal. I didn't think I would be able to partner with a brand until I had at least a couple thousand followers. I was wrong. When Jenny reached out to me in June, a month after I started blogging, I thought she must have made some mistake. I remember thinking, "Loyale was interested in partnering with ME?"
Jenny took a chance on me when I was just getting started with about 300 followers, and I am so thankful that she did. Working with Loyale has been one of the best experiences I have had and I have her and Instagram to thank for that. The group of girls who are Ambassadors along side me are so empowering and supportive of each other and it has made me so happy to see us all grow.
Because of this platform, I have been able to connect with so many different brands that all serve an important purpose and give back. Loyale is the first of many and I am forever grateful that Jenny gave me the opportunity to represent this amazing brand."

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