Celebrate: International Handstand Day

Guest post by Vanessa Newton // Instagram: @vlnewt // Twitter: @vlnewt

It’s June 24th, and do you know what that means??

It’s International Handstand Day! Like most holidays, why this holiday was created who knows? But I am active participant in anything that means I get to stand on my hands. I started out tumbling as a little kid and have kept it up as a “grown up” by taking adult gymnastics classes. The feeling of flying through the air and finding the perfect balance in a handstand is like none other. (If you are struggling, might I recommend doing handstands against a wall and then finding a nice open space. When you go up, squeeze your abs to help keep you stable…really squeeze all of your muscles!)

To participate in International Handstand Day, post photos or videos of you doing a handstand and tag #handstandday in your post! Here are a few of my favorite places I’ve done handstands…

My Kentucky friends and I went and hiked the Pinnacles in Berea, KY and we got this amazing shot!

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​​When I lived in #LFK (Lawrence, Kansas where Kelsey and I worked together), I was an active member of the Lawrence Trailhawks and on this night, I was named Tumble Hawk!
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​If you are going to be at the #data17 Tableau Conference, look for me there! I’ll probably be doing this…
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And finally, on the rooftop of my old apartment here in Rochester, NY…
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Go out and celebrate International #handstandday today and continue celebrating everyday! Spending time upside down and, remember, doing tumbling isn’t just for little kids! If you are interested in taking up adult gymnastics classes, I highly encourage you to try. Both of the gyms I’ve found simply by googling “adult gymnastics classes” and adding the city I’m living in. Adult classes are loads of fun because you have some people in the class that are advanced and others who have never done a flip before in their lives. But, hey, we all come together to learn and have fun (and hopefully keep injuries at a minimum)!

You can follow my tumbling and handstanding on my Twitter and/or Instagram! I’m @vlnewt on both #selfpromo.

Fresh Veggies Day à la Summer Solstice

In perfect summer fashion, last Friday marked Fresh Veggies Day. Admittedly, I enjoyed a few of my vegetables on pizza that day (I’m loving SPIN! Pizza’s Melanzane pie with roasted eggplant, caramelized onions, and goat cheese), and I’m still keeping the spirit of this everyday holiday alive in both my home cooking and restaurant dining this month.

In the kitchen, specifically, I’ve been challenging myself to make do with what I have–to avoid excess grocery store trips, while boosting my culinary creativity. With a fabulous farmer’s market less than 100 feet from my front door, I’m attempting to make a weekly practice out of finding what’s fresh and what’s available, then cooking at least one meal without preconceived prep time or recipe-following.

It’s no secret I veer on the type A side, however, I found myself in the kitchen without a plan recently. So, I turned to one of my pantry go-tos: Annie’s pasta…with a twist. For me, this “twist” came in the form of some farmer’s market veggies that I sliced and froze the week before (see previous “type A” comment).

If you’ve never tried any of Annie’s pastas, they are basically organic variations of classic mac and cheese. Very good and super easy! Recently, I’ve found that these pastas make a great base for layering additional flavors and ingredients–resulting in pretty tasty, pretty balanced meals in a pinch.

For this dish, I made the pasta according to the directions on the box and, while boiling the noodles, I sautéed my frozen veggies with garlic, cumin, and red pepper flakes (I used a few chipotle peppers in adobe sauce and fresh veggies the next time I made the dish). Cue “these are a few of my favorite things!”

The chopped leak provides a nice, subtle grounding to the dish, while the squash just feels fun and summery. Because there are so many ways you can “spice up” Annie’s, please share your experimentations below!

Some suggested options:

  • Pea pods
  • Black beans
  • Feta cheese
  • Carrots
  • Dill
  • Eggplant
  • Chipotle peppers in adobe sauce

Have fun and avoid the grocery store…for at least one more day. Happy (Belated) Fresh Veggies Day and Happy Summer Solstice!

Spicy Annie-Pasta

A little play on “anti-pasta,” although fully pasta, this recipe is dedicated to my fellow cupboard scrapers out there.

Time: 15 minutes / / Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Annie’s shells and white cheddar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small or ½ large zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • ¾ cup frozen corn
  • 1 medium leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded (optional)

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a clove of garlic, followed by the veggies. Sautée for 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through. Add cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper

To the skillet with veggies, add the milk and enclosed cheese packet, followed by the drained pasta. Stir well.

Serve warm and with Parmesan cheese if desired!

*This site has no formal partnership or agreement with Annie’s, but their boxed shells and white cheddar is my personal favorite!

 

Don’t Call it a Comeback

It’s been three years.

Holidays were celebrated. Merriment was made. And, dare I say, a few balloons were unfurled.

At some point during this time, I decided to sequester The Everyday Holiday into the secrecy of “private” mode on the interwebs, leaving the site to collect virtual dust.

Simply put, I lost perspective regarding what I was doing and why I was doing it. I felt like I could create and celebrate in other ways, and so I did. I changed jobs, I got married, I traveled abroad, and I switched cities of residence, in no particular order, all over the course of 1,000 days. While enjoying many wonderful, landmark celebrations, the practice of noting the small, everyday holidays seemed to shift to my personal back-burner. But lately, I’ve been missing it. Missing the connections, missing the celebrations, and missing the fun.

Slowly but surely, I’m planning to release new content in this little corner of the world. I’m holding my breath and my proverbial pen, unsure of what will come. I’m okay with the uncertainty, however, because new endeavors, paired with simple expressions of creativity, are something to embrace. Whether it’s an eventful or seemingly mundane phase of life, I believe the moment is always ripe to rejoice. So, I’d like to rededicate my time to sharing joy across all seasons of life, emotions, and experiences.

“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.” – Bill Moyers

As a first step, I will be updating The Everyday Holiday Calendar function (housed under the “celebrate” tab), so y’all can add some interesting, zany days back into your lives—or at least to your Google calendar. In addition to adding a few new posts here and there, I also plan on sharing some of my process as I brainstorm what The Everyday Holiday could look like in terms of printed cards, party planning tips, and simply, easy-to-follow recipes.

In sum, stay tuned, and stay thirsty (for celebrations), my friends,

Kelsey

 

Celebrating Heritage

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The three generations who came before. Thankful for a heritage of joy, affection, and voluminous hair. Remembering my dear G.G. (stage left) who passed away four years ago yesterday and lived with more fervor and flair than any woman I’ve ever met.

And though death brings mourning, there is comfort for those who bear sorrow, a legacy to carry on in light of loss.

…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor (Isaiah 61:3).

G.G., Nani, and Mom, “I love you more than tongue can tell.” Thank you for the ways you’ve strengthened my roots, filled me up, and inspired me to gaze upward.

Taking Risks Will Ruin Your Life (In a Good Way)

Guest post by John Weirick 

Years ago, when I was a college freshman living happily in a comfortable Minnesota life, I stepped into one of the biggest risks I had ever taken. I agreed to join a team of complete strangers, drive around the country for two months, and work at events to connect students with local churches.

My introverted self was terrified. But something about it inspired me.

Before that whirlwind of a summer hit, I walked through the Minneapolis airport alone, except for my guitar and luggage. I wondered if all the big changes in life felt like a movie, accompanied by some grand soundtrack to emphasize the excitement of the moment.

I was taking a risk into a new and very different adventure, far from the people I knew and the places I was familiar with. With nervous energy, I put one foot in front of the other until I stared down the jet bridge, sensing it was not just my next flight, but a portal through which my life would be changed forever.

It was not easy to leave the familiar behind. Through that summer of travel and new places and new people, I gained perspective I would never have gained otherwise. I watched fireworks over Houston’s skyscrapers, heard the stories of students with big aspirations, learned what it felt like to be a foreigner when I set foot in Canada, and watched endless deserts and mountains of evergreens unfold before me in the great American West.

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Escaping the Status Quo

My normal life of school and work and routine was ruined. The risk of venturing into the unfamiliar made me realize that there was more in the world I wanted to experience, and staying comfortable in the status quo was no longer an option. I vowed to travel and explore more, to see and taste more, to do and learn more.

Taking that risk allowed me to learn something. My passion to travel and explore grew far more than I expected it would. That risk gave me confidence to travel more the next summer and the next after that. It gave me the willingness to move across the country for a job in Oregon, where I didn’t know a soul.

Instead of fearing risks, I learned to embrace them. I entered the risk of romance and got to know a woman who would become my wife. And when I sensed the seasons changing again, I looked and found that the next risk was to go to a place I never thought I’d live, doing something I never thought I’d get to do for a living.

Risks built my life story. Risks are how I got to where I am today.

I’d be willing to bet that you owe some of the greatest things in your life to risks. Because of taking chances on something, you got to where you are.

If you’re in a relationship, you’re taking a huge risk.

If you’re pursuing a career, you’ve made some sacrifices and rolled the dice.

If you’re dreaming about making a bigger impact in the world, you’ll have to take more and more daunting risks.

In short, your life is more about risks than you think.

You Can’t Escape Risk

Humans are creatures of habit who seek the most sustained comfort. However, risks welcome and even seek out disruption in the cycle, while inviting us to escape from the status quo. That is why they are so dangerous; that is why they’re so essential.

The beautiful and terrifying thing about taking risks is that they are inevitable.

To be alive is to take risks. We simply choose which ones we’ll take on and how we’ll handle them.

We can try to use all our energy to avoid conflict, take the easy route, and stay away from anything that seems too dangerous or different. But all the while, risk is a creature lurking in the shadows. It will relentlessly stalk us until we finally face it.

Once we take a risk, we realize the outcome isn’t as frightening or disastrous as we thought it might be. We can gain confidence from the clarity that comes on the other side of taking risks, because we’re forced out of our normal comfort zone and usual perspective to see what we couldn’t before.

Simply in considering risks, we’re able to take the first step in dealing with the issues that often drive our lives.

We don’t need to skirt around, waiting until we have permission from someone to do something. To summarize a popular sentiment from famed poet Henry David Thoreau, go confidently in the direction of your dreams and live the life you’ve imagined. Risks are waiting for us, ready to take us in the direction of the life we wish we had. But don’t equate taking risks to achieving exactly what you’re hoping for. The very nature of risks is that you may or may not get the desired results, but it is worth the attempt regardless.

When you find yourself in a position to take a risk, abandoning boundaries and entering the unknown, I hope you take it. And in embracing that risk, I hope you find risks take you much further than you could go on your own.


Author Bio:

John Weirick is a writer and adventure seeker living in Greenville, South Carolina. He writes regularly on faith, culture, and intentional living at newspring.cc and johnweirick.com. His first book, a memoir, is in the works, and he procrastinates by curating way too many Spotify playlists. Say hello on Twitter or Instagram (@johnweirick).

How Little Questions Lead to Big Changes

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Some days, I feel a little noisy—a bit like an inquisitive, four-year-old child. More or less, I make a living out of asking questions. Who, what, when, where, why, and how combine to form an infinite roadmap of exciting possibilities and deep-seated truths.

I am a career coach. From reviewing resumes to interpreting career assessments to troubleshooting job search campaigns, I help people of all ages, primarily college students, identify where they want to go and how they plan to get there. I also seek to make weighty terms like passion, calling, and purpose more accessible. Through strategic sleuthing, I help my clients bridge the gap between inaction and meaningful change.

Some days, I only have to ask a few questions. And tears come. Motivation is unearthed. The light bulb illuminates. Other days, I prod and poke with equal parts persistence and care, but revelation is slow to come. The wheels aren’t turning. Ambivalence is too deep.

Gradual Revelations

Some days, revelation comes in bursts, some days in slow trickles. The latter was true for Deb (name changed, as I was unable to ask for permission during our impromptu heart-to-heart). I met Deb on a recent airplane ride from Kansas City to New York City and immediately connected with her about career and calling. She, too, was a writer of sorts. Deb had actually written two books, but never published either. While composing these unpublished manuscripts, she continued to work in corporate public relations.

And then, one day, she was done. She was finally ready to move her passion project from a side hobby to a full-time gig. Deb and her husband downsized their house, and she quit her salaried position to start a brand-new work of science fiction.

Crazy, right? I admit, that’s a close-ended question, not ideal for career coaching. But the thing is, Deb’s not crazy. She simply took stock of the cues, hints, and hunches around her and started trying it out. She started writing on the side, honing her craft one day at a time. Her decision to eventually quit her job was far from knee jerk reaction—in reality, she was slowly pulling away for years. For Deb, small, daily action steps paired with continual questioning led towards big, life-changing outcomes and ongoing revelations.

The Importance of Inquiry

Every day, it’s important to question. Whether you’re in search of talent, flow, motivation, interest, or purpose, there’s likely a question that will get you one step closer to recognition.

Here are a few of my favorite questions to help people discover something about themselves:

  • What do I do so naturally that I find it challenging to explain my process to others?
  • What gives me an instant kick/high after I practice, complete, or talk about it?
  • What do I find myself daydreaming or talking about, unprompted?
  • What are recurring themes in the books I read, the movies I watch, or the leisure activities I enjoy?
  • What causes would I be willing to invest my money in or put my neck out for?

Without spoken or unspoken inquiry, we remain stagnant. Socrates’ famed saying rings true: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Without questioning, we stop exploring. Without exploring, we stop discovering. Without discovering, we stop celebrating. Without celebrating, we stop living fully, joyfully, and wondrously.

Question: Where do you go and what do you do to get inspired?

An Impromptu Song

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In the middle of a massive, potentially foreboding city, my mom and I discovered a slice of unadulterated joy…at the Times Square Starbucks, no less. After artfully navigating through a sea of people, we finally reached the front of the line for coffee, pastries, and trinkets. As I gently passed over my souvenir mug to the cashier, a slow bass melody started to fill the establishment. The cashier looked at the others and, within moments, a store full of Starbucks baristas started singing “My Girl.” Without hesitation, my mom and I joined in. (Yes, I used to voluntarily take part in a rousing cover of The Temptations’ classic at family gatherings of old.) And, in a moment, joy replaced fear; calm overtook stress; peace beat agitation.

As I continue to traverse the bustling streets of the city that never sleeps, I’m keeping the Times Square Starbucks in mind–the setting for an unexpected, Everyday Holiday moment.