annual retreat: one word, year two

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Last year's annual retreat was to the most beautiful, dreamy cabin in the woods. This year, we've been traveling so much that we decided to hold our annual retreat at the one place that we knew we'd focus, be comfortable and open to discussing our deepest and most personal selves. At home, with our pup at our feet and plenty of hot coffee warming our bellies and keeping us alert.

We started off by making breakfast, coffee (duh) and watching the TED Talk "Adam Grant: The surprising habits of original thinkers." We talked about the idea of procrastination (Lyndi does, Justin doesn't!), the appeal of not reinventing the wheel and how terrified we both are of not trying to make something extraordinary of our lives together. Maybe we are Originals and maybe we aren't, but the idea that we could strive to be or think like one put us on the right track.

Next we reviewed our goals from last year and discovered that we each only accomplished about half of what we set out to do in 2016. Ever feel like your lofty choices in January don't hold up after a few months? Us too. We discussed why these goals weren't met, we realized three common threads weaved through each goal:

  1. We didn't check on our goals. Not once. We even had to search for the notebooks where we wrote them down! This made it impossible to be held accountable.
  2. We didn't clarify our goals. We wrote everything down and didn't discuss why we chose them, how we planned to achieve them or what they really meant to us.
  3. We didn't set the right goals. We accomplished so much in 2016, but we didn't seem to have them written down in January! Our goals were too focused on the present, fleeting moment and not on the many facets of our lives.

We're not kicking ourselves over this, because like we said, we accomplished a ton in 2016! It doesn't have to be written down in early January for us to feel great about that. But we're also realistic in that if we don't make a concerted effort to discuss some of our biggest ambitions and put them into manageable chunks, they may never happen. Sometimes it's as simple as a goal to be in the right mindset to create, maintain resilience and reach for those stars.

So this year we are ditching the term GOALS. The concept of timelines and checking things off of a list seems unrealistic to human nature. After all, we are human and that means we are constantly growing and changing, and our lives and decided achievements are growing and changing as well. Instead of goals, we are focusing on INTENTIONS for 2017.

We've decided what we want out of our year, and while some of our intentions are extremely specific, others are qualitative and ambiguous, and we are okay with that. To help guide us in reaching our intentions, we expanded them to include all facets of our lives and for each of them to embody our WORD for the year, both collectively and separately.

Based on this article from the guys over at Live Better, we chose to set intentions under five categories: Relationships, Personal, Business, Physical and Nutritional. We also made sure we each had a way to check back in with ourselves weekly and with each other quarterly.

But before we did this, we had to choose our WORD for the year first, which meant plenty of wordsmith-ing, thesaurus-searching and honesty with ourselves and each other. We are excited to finally share our WORD for each other and for us as a couple!

JUSTIN: BALANCE

When I chose DEPTH as my word for 2016, I was scared. I was scared that sharing aspects of my life with friends and family was going to make me vulnerable. And it sure as hell did. But, once I ripped off the bandaid, it felt amazing. I was longing for deeper relationships and realized sharing is a two way street. People were never going to open up to me if I didn't open up to them.

When thinking about words for 2017, I wanted something powerful but not aggressive. Something that could be considered daily and in the grand scheme of things. That's why I chose BALANCE as my word for 2017. I believe that life can be so much more gratifying when you are balanced. For me, balance is all-encompassing. It includes my physical, mental, and emotional well-being, as well as my daily routine and lifestyle.

In the past I have noticed how easy it is to neglect certain aspects of my life and have it completely throw off everything else. So, this year is all about making space for everything that's important to me. Just because I'm traveling doesn't mean I have to eat like crap. Just because I'm busy woking at a desk doesn't mean I don't have time to work out or stretch. And just because I'm living a healthy lifestyle, does not mean I'm not going to indulge in a chocolate chip cookie and cocktail when the mood strikes.

Here's to a year of balanced nutrition, relationships, fitness, work habits and all around lifestyle!

LYNDI: BRAVE

Last year I chose CONFIDENCE as my word, because I knew I needed to learn the balance between arrogance and confidence. Being proud of yourself and shining bright doesn't mean you aren't capable of humility and gratitude. It was a beautiful lesson in practicing that balance rather than believing it in theory, and the more confident I feel, the more I've been able to express my gratitude towards those around me.

This year, I chose BRAVE because I tend to hold back when I begin something new. Ever make your to do list for the day and then instantly find a way to procrastinate? Yeah? Me too. In fact, that's my M.O. for most daunting tasks. Eventually everything gets accomplished, but not without a healthy sense of fear of the unknown.

I realized that in order to accomplish some of my bigger intentions for the year and continue to dream big, I need to push past that fear. Paraphrasing from Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, I have to let that fear sit in the backseat and not in the driver's seat. I know it's there, and it's ok to coexist with fear. But no, it cannot even choose the music on my journey because 2017 is going to be a big year for me, and I refuse to listen to Metallica. For obvious reasons...

Unlike last year's proverbial caution tape that I initially wrapped around my word, this year I feel more excited than ever to see where this word takes me! Let's do this!

THE REARDENSTEINS: PAUSE

We chose this word with reckless abandon and an intense longing. We don't think the word even fell from our lips before we both said "YES!" With 2016 being our biggest travel year yet, we felt exhausted and exhilarated at the idea of slowing down. Last year sent us across 7 countries, 25 cities, and approximately 36,829 miles. Did you know it's "only" 24,900 miles around the earths circumference? While we loved every minute of it, plain and simple: it wore us down. The idea of PAUSING was sounding pretty great to us come January.

The word PAUSE isn't really about less travel, although that seemed to be at the forefront of our minds at the moment. The more we discussed this word, the deeper it expanded into our vocabulary and the more meaning it began to hold. PAUSE is about smarter and more intentional choices. To us, it's more about holding on to a feeling in the moment, taking time to be kind to each other and the people around us, and making more of an effort to say "yes" to the right things and "no" to the wrong ones.

One of our most substantive intentions around this word is the idea of being present, with each other and with those we love. This means putting phones away during meals and in bed, and more focused time with friends (think: one on one, in places where real conversation can happen). Another essential intention is holding ourselves more accountable for what we purchase and constantly asking if it adds value. We defined value as bringing joy, beauty or utility to our lives. We hope this year's word teaches us more about PAUSING so we can more intimately focus on the people, places and things that mean the most to us.

Did you set a word for the year? Set your sites on something you're excited to accomplish this year? Share below, we'd love to hear it!

whole30, whole nu(tritious) year

This year we decided to start off 2017 by getting back to our routine. We've been working hard and traveling a ton, and sometimes that means eating out more often, occasionally enjoying a cheese plate instead of a real meal and drinking wine instead of water. And while that's totally fine in moderation, it doesn't always feel great when it becomes a regular occurrance.

We believe in a balanced lifestyle, and while wine and cheese is delicious, so is a kale salad topped with grilled salmon and a coconut La Croix.

For us, Whole30 is about the opposite of dieting, eliminating and depriving. We remind ourselves to nourish instead of fill up. To eat based on desire rather than boredom. To prepare and be intentional about our food choices, and to enjoy each bite of delicious, healthful food.

We decided it would be fun to share our weekly meal prep and all of the links to our go-to Whole30 approved recipes! Below is our grocery list, what we prepped ahead of time and what our week in meals looks like.

A few notes before we get on with the good stuff:

  1. We have done Whole30 before and loved it. This time around, we are doing things a bit differently. We've recently chosen to also take on a pescatarian lifestyle after reading How Not To Die, by Michael Greger and Gene Stone, so you won't see any chicken, pork or meat options in our preferred menu. Any of our fish options can be substituted with your preferred protein source!
  2. The grocery list, prep and weekly meals below are all pretty standard, go-to flavors. These are our tried and true, quick or on-the-go options that we turn to when we know we have a busy week ahead or just don't feel like cooking. That said, a few nights a week, we love to try out new recipes from our favorite food blogs or create our own. If you'd like to try out some more creative options, we have a few of our favorite Whole30 recipes listed at the very bottom.
  3. Whole30 is supposed to be a learning process, and it takes time to find what works for you. You may not love what you see below, and that's totally OK! Keep trying out new foods and new ways to cook them. We're happy to answer any questions or make more meal suggestions if you need it.
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WEEKLY GROCERY LIST

FRUITS

  • Satsuma tangerines
  • Blueberries
  • Avocados
  • Apples
  • Grapefruit
  • Meyer lemons
  • Bananas
  • Pomegranate
  • Dried dates (no sugar added) 
  • Oranges 

VEGGIES

  • Lacinato kale
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Purple cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Delicata squash
  • Cabbage head
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Tomatoes (canned if not in season)

DRINKS

  • Coffee
  • La Croix
  • Califia Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk
  • Califia Betterhalf creamer (unsweetened)
  • Coconut water (Whole Foods 365 is the cheapest) 
  • Hot teas (usually Celestial Seasonings)
  • Apple cider vinegar (unfiltered, with mother)
  • GT's Trilogy Kombucha 

PROTEIN/FATS

  • Wild caught tuna fillet
  • Wild caught cod fillet
  • Wild caught salmon fillet
  • Tuna fish (white meat canned in water)
  • Eggs
  • Almond butter
  • Ghee
  • Olive oil
  • Tree nuts (pistachios, cashews, pecans and walnuts)
  • RX Bars

FIRST WEEK PURCHASES

  • Nutritional yeast
  • Chia seeds
  • Ground flax seeds
  • Turmeric
  • Coriander
  • Cinnamon
  • Dill
  • Frank's hot sauce 
  • Rosemary
  • Sir Kensington's dijon mustard
  • Coconut milk (canned, full fat)
  • Ginger root
  • Vegetable broth 

 

 

SUNDAY PREP

  • Rice cauliflower head in food processor, heat for 7 minutes in a pan with 2 Tbsp ghee, salt, rosemary and turmeric. Cool and store in tupperware in fridge.
  • Peel and cut carrots into sticks (cross sectionally, then into 5" spears) and put into tupperware or single-serving plastic bags
  • Cut peppers into strips and put into a tupperware
  • Devein kale, put into gallon bags for storage
  • Rinse fruit
  • Dice half of the sweet potatoes, season with olive oil, salt and pepper, bake at 400F for 30-40 minutes. Let cool and store in tupperware in the fridge.
  • Hard-boil 6-12 eggs.
  • Prep quick breakfast option: we love this sweet potato crusted quiche, sans cheese and miso. We tend to modify this recipe to taste (or to clean our fridge of veggies that are about to go bad)!
  • Prep avocado dressing. Combine following ingredients in food processor until creamy: 1 avocado, 0.5 cups coconut milk, 3 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp lime juice, salt & pepper to taste. Store in mason jar in fridge. 
  • Prep carrot & butternut squash soup. We love this soup recipe, but use 0.5 lbs. of carrots and 0.5 lbs. butternut squash.   

WEEKLY MEALs

SUNDAY

  • DINNER :: Riced cauliflower with toasted pecans and garlic, cod fillet seasoned w. salt, pepper and coriander.
  • DESSERT :: Satsuma tangerine, vanilla cinnamon hot tea

MONDAY

  • BREAKFAST :: Two - three eggs, half an apple w. 2 Tbsp almond butter, black coffee
  • LUNCH :: Kale salad w. blueberries, almonds, avocado, sweet potatoes, topped w. lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast
  • SNACK :: Banana, pistachios, coconut water
  • DINNER :: Tuna fillet (seasoned with dijon mustard, lemon juice and garlic), roasted sweet potatoes and asparagus

TUESDAY

  • BREAKFAST :: Two - three eggs, a grapefruit, sautéed kale, coffee w. Califia creamer
  • LUNCH :: Egg salad (three hardboiled eggs mixed with dijon mustard, avocado, salt and pepper), carrot sticks
  • SNACK :: Half an apple w. almond butter topped with chia and ground flax
  • DINNER :: Veggie bowl (riced cauliflower topped w. roasted asparagus, broccoli, carrots, two poached eggs on top, and (you guessed it) nutritional yeast

WEDNESDAY

  • BREAKFAST :: Pre-made quiche and black coffee
  • LUNCH :: Leftover tuna filet sandwich w. massaged kale and avocado dressing, using two toasted sweet potatoes as bun
  • DINNER :: Pre-made carrot & butternut squash soup with sliced avocado and wilted kale

THURSDAY

  • BREAKFAST :: Sweet potato toast, mashed avocado, two - three eggs, black coffee
  • LUNCH :: We love this green smoothie recipe; we have had success with spinach or kale 
  • SNACK :: A satsuma tangerine, coconut water
  • DINNER :: Baked salmon, roasted delicata squash w. pomegranate seeds, roasted broccoli

FRIDAY

  • BREAKFAST :: Pre-made quiche and black coffee
  • LUNCH :: Cabbage wraps filled w. tuna salad (mashed w. avocado, dijon mustard, lime, salt, turmeric) and chopped carrot sticks
  • SNACK :: RX Bar, hot tea
  • DINNER :: Tomato soup, kale salad w. seared salmon, blueberries, toasted pecans, sweet potatoes, topped w. olive oil, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast
  • DESSERT :: Turmeric milk, modified as necessary to fit your preferences 

SATURDAY

  • BREAKFAST :: Sweet potato hash, two eggs, sauteed kale (w. lemon, olive oil, salt) and black coffee
  • LUNCH :: Egg salad (three hardboiled eggs mixed with dijon mustard, avocado, salt and pepper), carrot sticks
  • DINNER :: Cod fillet seasoned with lemon, garlic and dill, pre-made carrot & butternut squash soup with sliced avocado and wilted kale
  • DESSERT :: Blueberries, turmeric milk

SUNDAY

  • BREAKFAST :: Sweet potato hash waffle topped with fried eggs (instead of sour cream suggested in recipe), coffee 
  • LUNCH :: Whole Foods salad bar, since you will already be there doing your weekly shopping! Read ingredients carefully!

OTHER RECIPES YOU SHOULD TRY

Shakshuka by Stupid Easy Paleo

Veggie Sushi Rolls by Nutrition Stripped

Spicy Tuna Cakes by Nom Nom Paleo

Almond Ricotta by Heather Christo

Butternut Squash Chicken Mash by The Healthy Foodie

Plates in Portugal: A Culinary Guide to Lisbon

Lisbon reeled us in slowly, then all at once with vibrant, fairy-tale like facades curling up around intensely blue skies overhead. Like walking through a children's coloring book. A few beautiful, tile-adorned walls spotted around our neighborhood (Alfama) gave way to rows of baroque-style architecture, narrow passages of tile and stone, painted doorways and slick, patterned stones below your feet. If you were up high enough, and that happens often on these hilly streets, you can look down along rows and rows of red, clay tiled roofs and bright splotches of graffiti on those few walls untouched by tile.

One of our cab drivers, born and raised, described his city as one full of happy people, who ended a dictatorship with red carnations. Hardly a shot fired. Despite not knowing the history firsthand, it was no surprise to us, as we instantly noticed the Portuguese were good natured, full of generous smiles and fabulous hospitality. And we did spend a fair amount of time chatting with amiable folks over meals. Which brings us to our favorite subject. The food.

Lisbon's food scene is growing rapidly and we were lucky enough to find several hidden gems spotted between neighborhoods old and new. Since dining out in a fairly touristy city can be hit or miss, we wanted to capture a few of our favorites. Some are local hotspots and some are classically, and reasonably touristy.

Taberna da Rua das Flores. Hands down our favorite place to eat. In Lisbon, and quite possibly in the world. This is exactly the type of restaurant that you fly across the globe to enjoy. Over the years we've adjusted the way we travel. Itineraries in the past were set in stone, and we wouldn't dare go back to a place twice in one trip, for fear of missing out on something else new and possibly better. We have since thrown those notions out the window, and we're grateful we did. When we sat down at Taberna on our second night in Lisbon, we knew we were somewhere special; it was love at first sight and we knew we'd be back before we left for Porto.

The menu here changes daily, not seasonally, to focus on whats freshly caught or purchased at one of the many mercados. This daily menu is written on a blackboard that the servers bring over to your table. On each occasion, they take their time asking about allergies, preferences, and make their way through the menu, describing each immaculate dish to us. It's a little like food porn if you ask us. Jokes aside, it's because they care about the experience and you can tell with each move they make. They don't want you flipping through pages of a menu, looking down instead of enjoying the company you keep. And don't bother asking to see a wine list, because there isn't one. They'll ask what you prefer, and then like magic they bring out the perfect bottle of wine. Their Portuguese inspired tapas menu offers classics with a playful twist. Anything from fresh ceviche over seaweed, radishes and cherry tomatoes, to grilled octopus with crispy plantain chips, to more hearty meat dishes such as lamb with cucumbers and dill yogurt. Everything we ate was worth a second, third or fourth glance. If you're in Lisbon, don't walk here. RUN. It's that good.

Manteigaria. If you know anything about the pastries in Portugal, you've certainly heard of the famous pastel da nata. It's a beautiful little thing, and bigger than you'd expect. A layered, flaky shell holds an eggy, creamy custard. And it's served alongside two shakers: one filled with cinnamon, the other powdered sugar. If you want to look like a local, sprinkle a fair amount of each on top before biting in. We tried several places, but Manteigaria was our favorite. Much like the cafesito stands in Miami, you walk in and order (one espresso, one nata), and you stand alongside a small countertop and enjoy your treats, listening to locals and tourists joke and laugh with each other in all languages. Don't forget to order a second nata to-go when you pay, you're going to want it later.

A Cevicheria. You know a place is worth the trip when there's a wait at 3:30pm on a Tuesday. A friendly hostess takes your information and offers you to grab a drink while you wait. The liquor laws in Portugal are lax, and enjoying a gin and tonic on the sidewalk isn't uncommon. Once you walk in to grab your seat, you are instantly transformed into a Herman Melville novel, surrounded by nautical tiled floors, pearly grey walls and a magnificently lifelike octopus hanging above your head, it's tentacles sprawling the length of the restaurant above. Below, rows of bottles filled with potions sits to the left, the right with booze, and between the two, an ice bath filled with today's fare. You're immediately ready to devour any or all of the many fresh offerings listed in their succinct yet refined menu. Tuna ceviche with beetroot and tiger milk, scallops with low temp egg and some kind of magic foam. The list goes on, but that's where our bellies took us. To be fair, you can't go wrong, so order pretty much anything (or everything).

Copenhagen Coffee Lab. We knew we were in love the second we saw an iced coffee icon on the menu. Coffee and weather in Lisbon are H-O-T, so it felt a little bit like finding gold. The menu is simple and straightforward. Eggs, Dutch bread with butter, delightful little (and big!) cinnamon pastries much like you'd find in Copenhagen. When you walk in, you're walking out of Lisbon's ornate and decadent walls and directly into a stark, Scandinavian haven. There's lots of English being spoken, and plenty of students meeting up to study. If you're there on a weekend, leave your laptop behind because there's a pretty strict "no work zone" on Saturday and Sunday. It was a refreshing surprise for us to see people sitting, chatting and enjoying each other's company over coffees and pastries rather than hiding behind their backlit computer screen.

Mercado da Ribeira. At first glance, this huge market is overwhelming. Dotting the edges are food stalls with options ranging from classic Portuguese fare to burgers, delicate pastries, and even a place offering beef, fish and vegan tartar. These stalls are headed up by elite chefs, each approved by a board of food critics. Dancing in the middle between rows of communal tables are drink options: think fruity sangria and local wines, your classic gin & tonics, and a tequila bar we wished we'd frequented. Our favorite bites were sushi from Confraria, grilled octopus flanked with wilted spinach and crispy mashed potatoes from Marlene Vieira, and tuna tartar decorated lightly with avocado crema, freshly made mayo and sprigs of sorrel from Tartaria. It would be a sin not to highlight Nós é Mais Bolos, where we devoured a delicious chocolate chip cookie and a decadently fluffy, lime pie. Go here with an appetite, because you're going to want to try everything!

Duque BrewPub. Beware, must climb steps. The walk is intense to say the least. By the time you arrive, you've already earned your beer. There are roughly a dozen craft, Portuguese beers on tap, close to 50 bottled options, and two in-house beers that we didn't get to try. Given that Portugal is largely focused on wine, it was nice to clink a glass full of frosty, craft beer from the region. The decor is pretty straightforward and much like most brewpubs you'll find around the world. Pull up a burlap covered stool and a friendly face will surely help you pick the perfect beer.

Graca do Vinho. Easily the most romantic place in all of Lisbon. If you can imagine, the owner was a knowledgable, lanky fellow in cutoff jean shorts with a knack for knickknacks, wine and wine pairings. He was generous with his suggestions and descriptions of the wines and cheeses, and we really just handed over the reins to him. The first night, we had plans to make it further up the hill to a well-known seafood restaurant, and instead we ended up a few glasses in, noshing on bread and cheese. Before we knew it, it was 11pm and we were full, tipsy and hazy with the glow of the candlelight. When you're in Graca do Vinho, time kind of disappears between wine glasses, conversation and glances between each other and the unique collectibles scattered about the place. We went back a couple days later to relive the magic and get further acquainted with Portuguese wines and cheeses. One unique wine that is stamped into our memory is a vinho verde, a sparkling green wine much like champagne but with a tartness that was much appreciated. It's worth the uphill climb to get here, but good luck not falling under its candlelit spell and sticking around all evening.

Now you know where we loved to eat and drink. We thought it would be helpful to lay out where we stayed, so you can understand the distances we traveled to each spot. We loved our Airbnb location because it was quieter than most neighborhoods and was a pretty stark contrast to the newer neighborhoods that we visited.