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5 years

Bluegrass THREADS is thrilled to be celebrating 5 years!  Five years feels momentous—we’ve made it!

This blog has been a source of personal inspiration and growth during the first five years of my son’s life, the loss of my father, job transitions, big moves and many of the other changes (good and bad) over this half decade.

centerpieceimage by Desarae Anderson Photography

To celebrate and commemorate this milestone, I want to highlight these top 5s—the most read and shared stories of the past 5 years:

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taste of spring

BGT flower box

These mild and sunny bluegrass days are giving me a taste of spring.  Here are a few of my favorite spring things:

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getting rid of january blues

321Cake!image by dthoskins

Since I adore the holiday season, the fact that Christmas is over can send my mood plummeting.  Gray days seem to loom ahead during January and February, so it is very necessary for my to actively work against the gloom.  These are a few of the ways that I try to beat my January blues:

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pick-me-ups

bouquetbgtimage by dthoskins

Unfortunately, I have been battling illness for the last month (3 doctors  visits, 2 antibiotics), so my kick-off to summer has been less than smooth.  The usual excitement I feel for the start of the summer season simply hasn’t been there.  My sweet family has been great about trying to provide some pick-me-ups while I’m on the mend.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • Fresh flowers: I love having fresh flowers around the house!  An arrangement on the dining room table.  A small vase placed in the bathroom on a silver tray.  I’ll take them anywhere!  Summer lends itself to bright color palettes.  The bouquet my mom brought me is so vibrant and lush,
  • A bath: I love a steamy bath with any LUSH products and lit candles.  I especially love soothing bath time meditations.
  • Fragrance: Those that know me well know I love perfume!  Spritzing some on, even on these days I’ve barely left the house goes a long way to improving my mood.
  • Exercise: A little walk or a quick workout can certainly be a boost.  Even when I didn’t feel up to it at the time, a walk to our neighborhood park was just what I needed.

What are your favorite pick-me-ups?

katherine Greene

deadlift

weightsbgtimage by dthoskins

If anyone were to ask me today what single exercise that I think that everyone should be doing on a regular basis, my answer would definitely be the deadlift.

Of all the resistance training exercises that I have done, the deadlift has had the most noticeable impact on both my physique and my overall health.  Great for the buns, hamstrings, and especially the lower back, this exercise mimics movements used in everyday activities such as BENDING OVER AND PICKING SOMETHING UP.

I decided to incorporate this exercise when I began to hear a loud groaning noise every time I bent over followed by a gasp when I stood back up.  Sound familiar?

There are two types of deadlifts that you can try.  The first is the Romanian deadlift which is described below via weighttraining.com:

  • Step 1: Start with the barbell in front of your feet and bend over and grab the bar about shoulder width apart.
  • Step 2: Bend slightly at the knees, lift the weight upward to your waist.
  • Step 3: As you lift the weight to your waist thrust your hips forward.
  • Step 4: Lower the weight down to mid-shin level and repeat exercise. You should not lower the bar to the ground.

The second type of deadlift is the stiff-legged or straight-legged deadliest.  It’s important to note that the stiff-legged deadlift can cause injury if done improperly.  Here is an excerpt regarding the stiff-legged deadlift from a most excellent post by Krista of stumptuous.com:

…There are some important lessons here.  First, never do this exercise as a maximal lift. Do not test your 1 rep max, do not go to failure, and do not use a 100% effort. Treat it as a light endurance and conditioning exercise only, rather than a go-hard-or-go-home movement like I did.  Focus on using the glutes and hamstrings to drive the movement. And if you have a history of back pain and injury, especially a disc herniation, pass on this movement. There are many other options for glute and hamstring training.

Note that she is referring to the stiff-legged, not Romanian deadlift here.  The whole article is great and was one of the first things I read when I became interested in weights.  I strongly encourage you to read her full article on deadlifts HERE.

That’s a lot of info, but don’t get overwhelmed!  Just practice the bending motion with no weight to begin with and slowly add as you gain confidence.  Also, if you’re at the gym and you see someone deadlifting (with good form) ask them to watch you.  Maybe you’ll find a training buddy!

Remember to always check with your physician before starting any new exercise regime!

start the new year off right

greensmoothiebgtwimage by dthoskins

  • This green smoothie recipe is one of our favorites.  We promise that it is simply delicious (Katherine’s son calls it his “monster smoothie”!)
  • Reduce cellulite and reveal glowing skin with a dry-brushing skincare routine.
  • Need help with organization (don’t we all), try these tips and tricks.
  • Diana swears by this HIIT regimen—doesn’t take any time to get your cardio in!
  • Sometimes eating healthy is best accomplished by having food prepped—we love these recipes here, here and here.
  • This stress-busting yoga moves are sure to get you on the right track!

What are your plans to start the new year off right?  Remember one small change can make a HUGE difference!

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thanksgiving faves

Moreheadbgtimage by dthoskins

Today marks one week until one of our fave holiday gatherings—Thanksgiving!  These are a few of our favorite things about this festive holiday:

  • You can’t beat this delicious stuffing recipe—a wonderful New England nod!
  • We love this holiday table setting with a beautiful, muted palette.
  • Wondering what to wear?  We love this autumn color palette.
  • Looking for something fun to do with holiday company?  Try a fun hike or bike ride to work off your holiday feast.
  • Don’t like turkey, this is a festive alternative.
  • This yummy side dish is sure to please a crowd.
  • These lovely hostess gifts are winners every time.
  • Delicious yorkshire puddings will go fast on your holiday table.
  • Place cards are a wonderful addition to your tablescape—in our opinion, they are a must!

What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions or must-haves?

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transitions {guest post by Meredith Swim}

Super thrilled to have a guest post today from the insanely sweet Meredith Swim about transitioning to the fall season.

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Fall

Summer gives a dramatic, sparkly bow, leaving me a bit sun-dazzled as Fall sweeps onto center stage. The early bloom of a new school year marks an official end to carefree summer frolics, setting in motion a change in routine and signifying a time of transitions.

Though I am not returning back to school, I still feel the familiar flutter of nerves and excitement for a new unfolding chapter. Fall is ripe and ready for creating and implementing a new routine, or spicing a mundane one up to inspire and nurture. My beloved coffee shops fill up with studious college kids and the presence of their textbooks and stuffed backpacks makes me eager to work a little harder. The arrival of the Virgo ruled months plucks me from summer daydreams and pushes me to concentrate on turning those wishes into a reality, so it’s time to buckle down, sweat a little and take care of the practical, nitty-gritty details.

Transitioning. As earth-beings we are in the midst of a seasonal transition. The transition from summer to fall is bittersweet. There’s a tender sadness that accompanies Summer’s bon voyage and the debut of Fall. I’m sensitive to the disappearing sunlight and the too-soon fading splendor of the leaves. As a person prone to daydreams, it’s easy for me to get swept up in the winds of change. I can feel ungrounded and overwhelmed by the longer to-do list.

I lovingly acknowledge my sensitivity to transitions, so I’m adding a few self-care essentials to the to-do list. I’m intending to take time to center and create small, comforting rituals to help me ground and weather this transition with grace and ease. I’m sharing some suggestions, perhaps one will resonate and feel like a big YES.

*Let’s begin with the breath. During the day, if I’m stressing over the future or in multi-task, super-woman mode, my breath becomes quick and shallow. Just bringing awareness to the breath will invite it to naturally deepen and lengthen. Take the time to breathe mindfully, knowing that pausing and having a moment of non-doing will actually create more space and clarity for purposeful action. I use my inhalations to welcome and fully be in the present moment. Fall in Kentucky is vibrant and gorgeous, so as I inhale I bear witness to the unfolding beauty of leaves. As I exhale, I envision sending the out-breath down my legs and out my toes, rooting into my feet and feeling less scattered and more grounded in my body and in this moment.

*Rituals can also be incredibly comforting and grounding during a transition. My mornings always begin with a few mindful breaths and a yoga practice. No matter where I am and no matter what mood I awake in, I commit to that time in the morning to be with my breath and to be with my body. This ritual travels with me and has kept me connected to self as I’ve embarked and undergone transitions. This ritual can simply be sipping coffee and reading the paper, journaling, or taking a stroll after dinner. Decide and commit to having a ritual that grants satisfying “me time.”

*Go easy, too. A wild and wide variety of emotions can appear during a transition: excitement for pursing passion, or fear of the unknown to name just a few. As the Sufi poet Rumi says about emotions, “Welcome and entertain them all for each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” Breathing mindfully and having a ritual allows for emotions to be acknowledged. Let this inner listening be one freed of any judgment. There is no right or wrong way to feel. Just be with the feelings present and let them be invitations to better understand self. If there’s need, take action or just be aware. Be gentle during this time. Maybe even be a bit indulgent and fully relish and savor those indulgences, a pumpkin cookie from a local bakery or a new stellar purchase to rock out Fall fashion.

Transitions can be smooth and easy. They can be a time of great self-discovery and a beautiful opportunity for growth, a shedding of the old and radiant emergence. Take it one breath at a time. Be present in the unfolding journey.

 

 

Meredith

Meredith Swim is a sparkly daydreamer who adores heart shaped sunglasses and impromptu dance sessions. Passionate yoga instructor, free-spirited writer, a Gemini on a life-loving quest for self-discovery and radical self-acceptance.

**All images were provided by guest writer**