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Are You Available?

Neighborly Love, Part II

Journal_March6_TurqTable

Point to Ponder:
Do you live at a pace that makes you available to those around you?

iGnite Neissa

Neissa Brown Springmann

Last Friday morning we, iGnite, launched our first of four, Friends & Fitness at the Turquoise Table neighborhood workouts. In case you are unaware of what the Turquoise Table is, it was originated by Austinite Kristin Schell, as a meeting place for neighbors, friends, and even strangers, to hang out and do life together in the front yard. The table has spurred a front yard revival in neighborhoods all across the country and has become a welcome place to gather and love.

As hoped, our Friday morning workout around the table was nothing short of beautiful. Set in the front yard of iGnite member, Melissa Morrow, and centered around her turquoise table enhanced with spring flowers, snacks and iGnite’s favorite and healthy Cranberry Water beverage, the weather was flawless and the morning was filled with invigorating exercise, conversation and laughter. As described by Melissa Morrow, it was a “Friday morning party.

With fellowship being our purpose we were delighted in the outcome, however a spontaneous perk was birthed from simply being in the front yard and around the turquoise table. Following the workout, as everyone gathered around the table to engage in conversation and snacking, a curious neighbor walking his dog stopped to inquire about the front yard gathering. Excitingly, this was a neighbor Melissa had never met and for a few minutes he stayed, talked and nibbled on the snacks. He even encouraged Melissa to let him know next time she had another front yard turquoise gathering because he would attend. How cool is that?!

In conjunction with the turquoise table movement, last spring I began reading The Art of Neighboring. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish it so I have started reading it again, however while reading last year what impacted me the most were the words of the former mayor of Denver, who said “The majority of the issues that our community is facing would be eliminated or drastically reduced if we could just figure out a way to become a community of great neighbors.” WOW!

Currently, as I continue to read the book and attempt to finish it, the following comments and questions have caused me to pause and evaluate how neighborly I am as well as the changes I need to make in order to be good neighbor to my physical neighbors: “Our purpose in life is to love God and love others. Living a hurried, frantic lifestyle is the opposite of what God wants for our lives. Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible. Love always takes time and time is the one thing hurried people don’t have. Ask yourself this question: Do I live at a pace that allows me to be available to those around me? When we create the right kind of margins we can live with a level of peace that allows us to be interruptible, which gives us time to know our neighbors.”

Unfortunately, our home in San Diego does not have a front yard, so my sweet turquoise picnic table that was incredibly useful in helping us get to know more of our neighbors in Austin is resting in the garage. I am hopeful that one day I will be able to bring it out again, however it’s safe to say that despite not having a front yard or turquoise table, that should not hinder my efforts in getting to know my neighbors. Our neighborhood is designed in a way that we live very close to one another, with ample sidewalks and people out and about. It would be a breeze for me to sit on my front porch and meet my neighbors — I just have to make it a priority, make myself available, be approachable and be engaging. For me, this means being intentional with scheduling the time outside, on my front porch and not having my head buried in my iPhone or computer (the book labels these as “time stealers”).

Despite our busy schedules and all of the many distractions that prevent us from getting to know our neighbors, knowing and loving our neighbors is a vital part of a functional, stable, healthy, compassionate and loving community and world. There are many wonderful community and global efforts that help and save people in need, but equally as important are our physical neighbors. As a result, this week I encourage you to spend time in your front yard with the goal that you get to know one of your neighbors. Or, if there is a new neighbor on your street, somebody you haven’t met yet, or you don’t live close to anyone, make an effort to introduce yourself. Drop off a note or knock on their door to say hello. Ultimately, we don’t have to become best friends with our neighbors, but the first step in becoming a community of great neighbors is getting to know who our neighbors are.

Action Item:

Spend time in your front yard with the goal that you get to know one of your neighbors. Or, if there is a new neighbor on your street, somebody you haven’t met yet, or you don’t live close to anyone, make an effort to introduce yourself. Drop off a note or knock on their door to say hello.

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10-Day Reboot: Payton’s Day 3

iGnite 10 Day Body Reboot

by Payton Merriman

by Payton Merriman

My first iGnite experience was participating in last Spring’s Reboot. I really enjoyed how I felt after the 10 days and was able to make some changes in my diet and exercise routine that I desperately needed.

Lunch: a salad from Trader Joe's

Lunch: a salad from Trader Joe’s

Well, after the summer vacations, playdates, and eating out of the summer schedule I was ready to get back on track and excited to participate in the Reboot again.

I woke up feeling very refreshed after a good night’s sleep and even felt a little less “foggy” without my morning coffee.  Coffee is probably one of the things I miss the most during the Reboot. There is just something about getting lunches packed and kids out the door in the morning that is a little better with that cup of coffee in hand!  I have replaced the coffee with my hot lemon water and ACV.

Snack: rice cracker with peanut butter and apples

Snack: rice cracker with peanut butter and apples

My on-the-go snack of almonds

My on-the-go snack of almonds

One aspect I have definitely had to be more prepared for is making sure when I leave in the morning that I have snacks on hand to take with me. I found that I was eating a good breakfast and then would head out on the day’s errands and would not eat until much later in the day and was overeating because I was so hungry due to the amount of time between meals.

My kids have also enjoyed the new food choices in the pantry and refrigerator.

My son Weston enjoying an avocado for breakfast

My son Weston enjoying an avocado for breakfast

This morning for breakfast I had scrambled eggs and avocado, and my 6 year-old asked if he could have some avocado also. I was glad to cut one up to add to his meal. Again this morning as we were having a snack of hummus and carrots, my 3 year old ate almost the whole bag of carrots while he was playing — he kept coming back and asking for one more!

The most difficult aspect so far has been not being able to make it to an ignite workout this week. My kids have been home sick this week, so I have not been able to do much exercise. I hope that everyone makes it to school tomorrow and I will be at Molly’s kickboxing class.

My son Weston and I sat outside and did homework and had a snack together

My son Weston and I sat outside and did homework and had a snack together

Overall I am enjoying this experience and look forward to finishing out the next 7 days!

Ending the day with an Epsom salt bath

Ending the day with an Epsom salt bath

Our 20 Habits for Feeling Our Best

20 Habits for Feeling Your Best

As a group of health & fitness professionals, the iGnite leadership team uses a number of habits to keep ourselves feeling our absolute best.  And since we all love hearing new ideas, tips & tricks for living our best life, we thought — better to share them!  So, here are some of our team’s tips & tricks for feeling our best — hopefully you’ll find they enhance and improve your life in body, mind and spirit, too 🙂

1. Prioritize Sleep

Catherine Sanderson

Catherine Sanderson

“The thing that has made the biggest difference in making my body feel its best and healthiest has been prioritizing SLEEP.  Yes, that means over working out(!), over late nights of squeezing in that last to-do followed by early mornings, over my favorite tv shows, over … lots of things! I’ve found that I am a completely new person when I make sure that I get around 8 hours of sleep.  The idea that you will be ‘healthier’ if you skimp on sleep in order to exercise more is just plain wrong.  Your body needs sleep to heal and rest before it can perform exercise well and in a way that is helping your body more than hurting it. The second I accepted this and prioritized sleep for health above all else, my energy, mood and ability to take on other things skyrocketed.
I’ve learned that that workout/errand/to do list item/television show can wait.  Making sleep #1 and then scheduling in an exercise routine that allows me to get the zzzzzz’s our bodies so crave is my feel-great secret!”  

2. Prepared Healthy Snacks

Amy Younkman

Amy Younkman

“I always fave a variety of cut-up veggies in the fridge so I’m less apt to reach for crackers to dip and munch on.”

3. Regularly Getting in the Water

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker

Dunking myself in any water, anywhere, anytime is something that I crave and that makes me feel rejuvenated.  Studies have proven that if you are in, on or near water you are 90 percent happier!  I don’t think there is anyone around who does not feel rejuvenated when jumping in a pool, river, lake or ocean.”

4. Take Probiotics

Betty Cunningham

Betty Cunningham

“One of my stay healthy secrets is Ortho Probiotic.  I used to suffer from dry mold allergies every fall.  I was congested from October into November, and I had a constant cough.   The Ortho Probiotic has made a huge difference.  I take one in the morning on an empty stomach before I run.”

5. Planned Date Nights

Amy Younkman

Amy Younkman

“One thing that helps me feel my best is my Friday date night with the hubster at Fonda San Miguel here in Austin – we hit happy hour followed by a quiet evening at home.”

6. Get Regular Massages

Jill Watts

Jill Watts

“I get monthly massages at Massage Envy, it’s reasonably priced and a sure way to get yourself a relaxing massage once a month! I really enjoy it — they have great therapists for all types of massage and the monthly fee is only $59.99. Plus you get other perks and discounts being a member and you can go to locations all over the U.S. if you want to get a massage while traveling.”

Molly Daniels

Molly Daniels

“I make sure to schedule a 60 minute massage quarterly, if not more often! I have been to several places in Austin, all varying in price, including Mecca Gym and Spa, Massage Harmony in Westlake and Foot Massage in Northwest Hills. With how much I am on my feet during the week, I make this a priority to help me feel good!”

7. Morning Prayer

Amy Younkman

Amy Younkman

“I make sure to pray before I get out of bed in the morning.”

8. Juicing

Jill Watts

Jill Watts

“I bought a NutriBullet about a year ago and I absolutely love it! I try to have one a day, and it’s a perfect way to get a healthy boost without spending $8 on a green smoothie.
I just pop in 1/2 greens (I prefer spinach), and then 1/2 fruits, (whatever I have) and then a boost like flax seed, chia, almonds, etc.  Then you just add water, so no added sugar!
It takes a few minutes to extract all the healthy nutrients from those veggies and fruits. You can put any type of veggie and fruit in. It’s quick, easy and healthy!”

9. Calming Pet Time

Cary Fyfe

Cary Fyfe

“My go-to for nurturing my emotional self is to sit down — that’s the key part, sitting down — to pet my dog, Sam. Within seconds, I feel my heart slow down, my brain quiets and a smile comes across my face — no matter what weights I’m carrying that day. Then the icing on the cake is when all my other animals hear the “love-rubs” happening, and here they come! It’s a guaranteed drop in blood pressure…and, really, what is better than a dog-smile?”

10. Homemade Skin Care

Alli Phillips

Alli Phillips

“With ingredients most of us probably already have in our pantry and fridge, I create lotions, scrubs, and occasionally masks, to supplement my skin-care routine. I have a few “must-have” skin-care staples, listed below.  And when I have time to treat myself to a full “home-spa-day” I’ll experiment with more “complex” recipes.

Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil
Instead of store-bought moisturizer and body lotion, I use coconut oil (unrefined and organic) on my skin. I apply it daily after I shower/bathe to both body and face, and I also use the excess on my hands as a “leave-in conditioner,” running my fingers through my hair after applying to my face and body. (Also, although I don’t wear make-up very often, I discovered coconut oil is a great natural make-up remover.)

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Organic Brown Sugar
About once a week I make a body-scrub using EVOO and brown sugar. I don’t follow a recipe, I simply mix the two ingredients together adding more or less of one or the other until I get the consistency/texture I want, depending on the exfoliation intensity needed/desired (coarse for feet, legs, hands, and arms; medium coarseness for torso; light coarseness for neck and face). This scrub is very gentle and leaves the skin feeling amazing.

In a quick online search of “home-made skin-care” you’ll find countless recipes that include nourishing yet simple ingredients like oats, honey, almond milk, peaches, avocado, pumpkin, cucumber, lemon, and even coffee and cocoa(!) to name just a few!”

11. Nutritionist Consultations

Molly Daniels

Molly Daniels

“I see Applied Clinical Nutritionist Joseph Strickland of Better Body Clinical Nutrition once every 12 weeks. I began seeing Joseph in May 2012 specifically for allergy issues, hives, and constant fatigue, and after the success I’ve had with him, I continue my visits to check in and see how my body is functioning. I currently take 4 different Standard Process supplements that he specifically recommends for my body that I buy from People’s Pharmacy. I can tell a difference when I miss a day or two, and I know how important they are for me to maintain a healthy body.”

12. Nighttime Technology Turnoff

Amy Younkman

Amy Younkman

“I make sure to turn off the computer at night and crawl into bed with a good read.”

13. Evening Treat

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker

“I always drink a large glass of chocolate milk each evening.  It has been proven by studies over and over again–even by our University of Texas — as the number one muscle recovery drink of all time!  It tastes SO good and truly helps my muscles recover, and I sleep so well.  I love it!”

14. Varied Workouts

Molly Daniels

Molly Daniels

“I make sure to go to different iGnite workout classes weekly. Yes, I know I work for iGnite, but I feel different when I teach versus when I participate. I am “on” in different ways when I teach than when I take a class. I’m able to step out of my ‘teaching brain’ and simply follow the leader’s instructions. I don’t enjoy working out on my own, and in fact, I don’t do it. I appreciate going to different classes, and I listen to my body when it’s telling me to speed up or slow down.”

15. Self-Guided Yoga

Amy Younkman

Amy Younkman

“I make sure to schedule a weekly yoga session with and for myself.”

16. Cranberry Water

Molly Daniels

Molly Daniels

“I always have a pitcher of the iGnite cranberry water in my fridge! I get bored of drinking plain water, and I enjoy this refreshing drink.”

17. Morning Stretching Ritual

Amy Younkman

Amy Younkman

“Kitchen counter stretching and moving my spine in 6 ways first thing each morning while waiting for my tea to steep helps me continue to feel my best.”

18. A Favorite Eye Cream

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker

“My eye cream Olay Total Effects 7 in 1 Eye Cream: I am addicted to it and put it on three times a day!  It has a little glisten to it and it so hydrating.  It truly has helped my bags under my eyes go away that I inherited from my sweet Mom — it is awesome stuff, AND is available at the grocery store!”

19. Body Oil

Cary Fyfe

Cary Fyfe

“My go-to for just feeling pretty and well-taken care of is to spray a few drops of my favorite oil — Caudalie Divine Oil — onto my palms, then I rub it behind my ears, under my nose and on my neck. It smells so quietly fresh, and hydrates my skin beautifully. I sometimes rub a little onto the ends of my hair, and, well, it just makes me feel pretty and fresh!”

20. Bike Ride Escape

Amy Younkman

Amy Younkman

“I go for a bike ride and leave any worries or distractions behind me!”


Although all of these habits are unique to each of us, one common habit we all share (in addition to exercise!)  is that all of us rest and recognize that we can’t have one (exercise) without the other (rest)!  No one can perform exercise to their fullest ability without adequate rest.

So, go ahead — pick out one or a few of these habits and test drive them in your own wellness routine!  We hope they iGnite your body, mind and spirit.

Have some great healthy habits and tricks of your own? Please share them with us by leaving a comment below!  We love hearing your feedback and learning from you.

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Healthy Treat of the Month: Numi Rooibos Chai Tea

Every month, we share the healthy recipe or treat our team is enjoying the most — and this month doesn’t disappoint!

Betty Cunningham

Betty Cunningham

Leader Betty Cunningham shares her current favorite way to enjoy a sweet treat at home, guilt-free.

numio-ruby-chaiLately, I have been trying to reduce my caffeine intake, and I have been enjoying a cup of the Numi Rooibos Chai Tea. It’s organic, caffeine-free and delicious.

I use steamed unsweetened coconut milk with it and a few drops of stevia. It’s actually very good!”

-Betty

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