PRODUCT REVIEW: Mushroom Coffee!

Um, hello! Could anything sound more disgusting but taste more delish? Answer: NO!

First off, let me say I’ve never been much of a fan of the ‘shroom. The texture, the taste…the smell. However, I know that certain varieties of mushrooms are incredible from a health standpoint, so when I heard about this awesome thing called “Mushroom Coffee” from Tim Ferriss’ podcast, I was just too curious to resist!

Four Sigmatic is made up of some buddies from Finland who have developed easy, tasty ways to enjoy mushrooms, the “super food” that was a super food before super foods were all the hype 🙂  After perusing their website, and trying to decide what to try first, I saw an awesome sampler box that held everything I wanted, one dose at a time!

20160922_104315.jpgSo, although I originally thought I would put together a video about these goodies, I decided there are plenty of awesome videos if you get on YouTube or the Four Sigmatic website and check them out. However, I would like to share my take on each of the “flavors” I got to enjoy…and the one that I didn’t. Here’s my spin on things, in order from my most to least favorites:

  1. Mushroom Coffee w/ Cordyceps: “Stimulation without jitters” Guys, this stuff tastes amazing!!! It smells like coffee, tastes like a zesty instant coffee, and made me feel ohhhh so good! The company promised this good stuff as stimulation without the jitters and that’s exactly what I got! I didn’t feel a jolt or a crash, just a nice, steady, delicious ride through a sea of productivity.
  2. Mushroom Hot Cacao w/ Cordyceps: “Energize & feel good” I don’t know that this would pass as hot chocolate with my kids, but it’s still a truly tasty, chocolaty treat without the choco guilt, milky mucusy gross, or heaviness of the real deal. This hot cacao has a spiciness like a fancy Mexican hot cocoa, and is rich, delicious, and still gave me an awesome pick-me-up on a cool autumn morning!
  3. Cordyceps Elixir: “Energy boost & recovery” So, clearly, I like the cordyceps! I didn’t even know what it was before this sweet sampler box, but I’m officially a FAN! Apparently, this magical mixture helps support adrenal glands and maintain constant energy levels…no wonder I love it so! All I really know is that this elixir tasted as good as the mushroom coffee and hot cacao recipes which include the cordyceps, and it offered a great boost for my day.
  4. Mushroom Coffee w/ Lion’s Mane: “Increase productivity” This coffee, while still delicious, smelled like mushrooms…or feet. I still got all of the feel-good benefits from drinking this cup of hot deliciousness, but enjoyed it much more once I put it in one of my lidded to-go cups so I wouldn’t have to smell it. I know Lion’s Mane is a great addition to my health regimen, and I love the nutty flavor of this ‘shroom coffee…as long as I don’t have to smell it 😉
  5. Mushroom Hot Cacao w/ Reishi: “Melt away stress” There’s just something special about hot drinks; they’re cozy, they’re soothing, they’re something to be savored, they’re meant to take a little time to enjoy. This mushroom cacao is soothing like that. Also nutty with a creaminess that hints at chocolate, this is just a really wonderful, hot cup of yummy.
  6. Chaga Elixir: “Bulletproof immunity” With this elixir, I begin the downward slope of my list, but I do it with this caveat: I drank these on their own, mixed only with hot water. I understand that there are many wonderful ways to enjoy these elixirs, herbs, mushrooms, etc. that may taste more delicious, be more palatable, and even boost the nutritional pow…but I wanted to find out my thoughts on the individual packets before venturing down that path. The chaga was good, and I knew it was good for me, so I enjoyed the warm cup and dreamt of future cuppings which may include some coconut oil, almond milk, or some other variation.
  7. Lion’s Mane Elixir: “Brain power” I even referenced drinking this in one of my “Get Ready with Me” videos! I enjoyed the flavor of this elixir, but similar to the mushroom coffee that included the lion’s mane, it definitely has a distinct odor. Tastes great, made me feel good, but gives my teenage son’s feet a run for their money!
  8. Reishi Elixir: “Relax & sleep deeper” Guys, gotta be honest here. I couldn’t even finish this one. It tasted so bad to me…I don’t know if I got enough into my system to help with sleep or relaxation because I likely only swallowed about three sips. If I ever have an opportunity to try this one again in a different form, or added to some base that would mask the reishi taste, I would like to. I could definitely use the hormonal regulation and lowering cortisol levels that reishi is known for, but straight with hot water isn’t happening again.

There you have it, folks! The quality of all of these handy-dandy packets was so great! Each powdery mixture dissolved like a dream in my hot water, without chunks or anything gross. The packaging is so creative and top-notch, and the natural elements of knowing this is an environmentally friendly operation made me feel extra good purchasing and drinking their goods. When consumed as I did, all of these dual-extracted mushroom mixtures are vegan and paleo-friendly. For every box, Four Sigmatic will use part of the revenue to donate mushroom kits to cancer patients! AND, as an added BONUS, HERE IS A $10 COUPON FROM FOUR SIGMATIC TO USE TOWARD YOUR FIRST/NEXT PURCHASE!

If you have tried this or similar mushroom super food products that you love (or hate, for that matter), I’d love to hear about them! What should I try next? Do YOU love Four Sigmatic??  What helps give you a pick-me-up that also is doing good things for your body? Thanks for sharing!!!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

If You’re Counting Down to Quitting Time…

Do you count down to quitting time every work day? Do you dread Monday mornings with a sick passion? Are you always wishing for a little more vacation time and a little (or a lot) less work time? I’m here to encourage you to create a life you don’t need to take a vacation from.

If you hate your current job then you can’t shine at your job. If you don’t shine, you don’t feel that happiness, pride, and sense of accomplishment that makes you glad to be there, working, and earning. There are plenty of other people who would love your current job, and there are plenty of jobs you would love that would also financially support your life and family.

If you hate where you are, get the heck out of there and find the money-making source that feeds you, where you can feel necessary and critical, and that you don’t need a vacation from!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,
Mari!yn

Where Do You Sit?

I had a PolySci professor who would bellow again and again and again, every single class, “Where you sit is where you stand!” It was a call to action. It was a call to the realization that even NOT taking action is also an action. It was a call to the reality that even a non-decision is a decision unto itself.

He didn’t want us to just go along with the status quo. He wanted us to continue to challenge the “this is the way it’s always been done” of life. And, although he an I were on opposite sides of the political fence, he felt as if he had done his due diligence by making sure I stood somewhere, that I chose to stand for something.

I don’t remember much from that class except that prof allowed me to spend an entire semester studying all there was to know about Arnold Schwarzenegger for my semester project, and this phrase the he would repeat. However, I do remember that line A LOT. I remember it when I am challenged or when I’m unsure. I remember it when I am indecisive or calculating. I remember it when I don’t feel like creating a #DAILYCHEER video for my YouTube channel but then hear that phrase in my mind’s ear and always remember that optimism and energy and motivation and problem solving is what I stand for.

So, where do you sit or stand today? Even in this presidential election year, this isn’t actually meant to be a classically political statement. It’s more of a statement to encourage you to live the life you believe in, one that you are proud of. Allow yourself to be heard, realizing that sitting back and just allowing life to happen to you is making it’s own statement. Don’t allow yourself to be relegated to the back of the bus on issues you find important. Stand up.

Where YOU sit is where YOU stand!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

BOOK REVIEW: 2 a.m. at the Cat’s Pajamas

I’m writing this review in the middle of the night, by the bright glow of my phone screen in the otherwise pitch black room, sipping on an imaginary glass of whiskey to properly set the tone for 2 a.m. at the Cat’s Pajamas, by Marie-Helen Bertino. It just feels like the only way to do this book justice.

Books like this are among my favorites in the fictional writing category; the tale of several characters where the lives and storyline intertwine in the most eloquent of ways. Centered around a young girl and the many people (and animals) that she interacts with, this book is delightfully entertaining for a quick and easy read.

Set in the crisp of the winter season, this brash girl is left to fend for herself after her mother’s death and the resentful disconnect of her father. It takes a village, however, and Madeleine Altimari has a village! The hair dresser, the little old cafĂ© owner, the concerned teacher, Madeleine is surrounded by people who love her special type of person in their own special way.

This book would be a particularly great read over winter break from school or work, and would be a fun gift for the reader in your circle.

{Mari!yn Rating: 4 out of 5 Rock Stars}

FTC: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Dare to be Great!

“To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” ~Aristotle

Being great at something costs greatly. It costs your time. It costs your effort and your concentration. It costs will power and the humility to fail over and over again until you succeed. It costs your ability to truly care what others’ opinions are about what you are accomplishing.

If you give others’ opinions rule your world, you will never gain anything of your own.

Dream big. Dare big. Own your successes!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Everything That Glitters

We want, we want, we want, but when we get what we want…was it really worth it? The time, the effort, the money? So often in my own history I have falsely desired some thing, some happening, some person, just to win and then as soon as the new wears off I begin to wonder why that was so critical to me in the first place. The older I get (and this is a lesson I wish I would have learned much earlier), the more I see that accumulation is not the answer to my happiness. Depth of character, self-awareness, and loving myself and loving others the way the greatest teachers in the universe have taught throughout time, these are the answers to our desire for more.

Instead of an upgraded phone, more opportunities to connect with those around us in a meaningful way.

Instead of a new boyfriend, more practice at appreciating your own likes and dislikes, more time “finding yourself” in the midst of everyone else’s opinions swirling around.

Instead of a new job, more thankfulness for getting paid for what you do, for the excellent work you put into your current job, and the ways you contribute to the bigger organizational picture.

Everything isn’t better on the other side; everything that glitters is not gold. True story.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Digging Deep

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My son was born a cyclist. He was born the year Texan Lance Armstrong started winning overall accolades at the Tour de France. He was born the year this generation of America realized cycling existed. Morgan is 17 years old, now. He’s a senior in high school. He has only been interested in reading cycling books, and since there are very few cycling books, he re-reads those that exist over and over and over… He has only been interested in endurance sports for the sake of improving his cycling. And, when it’s his turn to pick on Family Movie Nights, it will inevitably be a cycling documentary or movie.

Even with all of this passion and focus, even with the combination of determination and pretty gifted athleticism, this past weekend Morgan gained his first official podium spot! Silver medalist and so happy!

He has won medals and trophies before–mostly in cross country and other distance running races–but he always saw that as cross training for cycling. Watching him take his 2nd place podium spot this weekend, was different. It was the culmination of 12 years of training. Bicycles and broken bones. Trying to find cycling jerseys to fit his little kiddo frame back before there were little kiddos obsessed with cycling and looking official every time he jumped on his bike. Trying to find some obscure cycling-based book or movie for holidays because there aren’t that many to choose from. Trying to afford gas and lodging and food and time for rides and races that are virtually never close to home.

I would love to know how many hours Morgan has racked up on the bike so far in his lifetime. Lots of kids ride their bike, my son does it differently. He doesn’t ride his bike as a means to a destination–he’s not getting on it to ride over to Ben’s house to play football or soccer. He’s on the bike because that’s exactly where he wants to be, for hours most days. I would love to know how many hours Morgan has racked up studying and planning and strategizing.

All this being said, as his #1 passion for his entire life, just now achieving that 2nd place finish may not sound all that impressive. You may be reading and wondering why he didn’t focus all of that energy on running, since he has had much success in running. You may be reading and wondering how he can compete in race after race, year after year, and never give up. The reason is simple: each race was a step in the journey, not the destination. Morgan analyzes his performance and bases his wins and losses on his own history and expectations. For this reason, I’ve seen him as happy with a fifth place finish at the end of a multi-day stage race (where there are multiple races of different kinds over the course of multiple days), as he is when he gets a flat tire at the critical end of a fast race where he’s dominated but ends up not even finishing the race.

Staying solely focused on one thing takes a certain kind of mindset. It takes an ability to see past surface victories and ripples on the water. It takes the determination to dig deep and take everything into account. When you see your life goals as a puzzle, each training ride, each book or clinic, each recovery practice, each meal choice, each purchase, each race is a piece of this puzzle. Every piece has a part to play, each piece is important.

Next year, Morgan goes off to college. One of his puzzle pieces is to gain a place on a university cycling team, and every school he’s interested in has one. As his mother, of course I wish that for him, as well, and think any team would be smart to welcome this kid with such heart, such determination, and such depth to their team. But…I’m his mom. Realistically, I don’t know if his track record is strong enough. However, I’m not worried. College team or no college team, I know Morgan’s cycling dreams won’t be deterred. He’ll continue to race, and he will continue to earn his stripes and move through the cycling point system ranks. He will continue to study cycling from all sides, and he will study it even more in-depth as his goals are to study the body and it’s performance through his university years, from a medically-based standpoint.

Everything is a part of this great puzzle, and to accomplish the goals we set for ourselves requires some depth. Goals are just pipe dreams if we’re not willing to do the work.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

When the Silence Deafens

Separation is hard, whether it be you’re going off to college, moving away from friends and family, leaving a marriage. Even if what you’re doing is exactly what you want most, the people and place connections still keep that rubber band wrapped around you that tempts to snap and pull you back. The flip side is true, too. Leaving a bad situation, a caustic marriage, or an emotionally or physically abusive relationship, it is actually tempting to gloss over the heaps of negative elements and see only the smiling pictures and good memories when you feel alone and lonely.

When everything you’re leaving is still happy and healthy, the people love you and are wonderful friends and family and the place is home and comfortable, separating from those people and that place can be extra tricky. What you leave behind becomes idealized to the maximum degree in the quiet moments when silence becomes deafening.

Missing your parents, your friends, the relationships you know, can easily snap that rubber band and tempt you to regret the move forward you’ve always dreamt of making. Even the grandest dreams seem crazy when you are alone and the separation anxiety gnaw at you. The new people and place look a little tarnished.

I am here as your #1 encourager that even difficult changes can be great in the long run. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, focusing on the destination, the goal, while making the most effort to enjoy the journey!

Until I see you again…
Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

The Social Media Trap

My beef with social media is simple: I follow people I know, people I like, people I look up to, and people I aspire to inspire across social media platforms. I then become frustrated to see the same posts across all social sites.

A picture of a sunset or a product or a person that is perfect for one market is not perfect across the board.

A picture of a sunset or a product or a person that is modified in hopes that it will be perfect across the board still is not.

I will un-follow someone very quickly if everything they post is a mirror of all I’ve seen from them on every other social media platform, and every time I un-follow someone for this reason it actually pains me. I want so badly for them to post unique, site-specific content that gives me a full picture of the person, product, company.

If I’m following a juice company, I’d love to laugh as someone chugs the juice down as quickly as possible on Snapchat. Meanwhile, on Pinterest I’m reading great smoothie recipes with one of their juices as the base. Instagram would present their juice in an ice-cold glass sitting beachside, and Facebook presents an informative yet still visually pleasing picture of the product in full display with the health benefits of this particular kind of juice and this particular brand. Twitter would share news and retweets of folks enjoying this juice all over the world, and YouTube might show a range of professional and amateur videos of people living and loving this brand of juice. This would be a company I would follow across all platforms, and as new platforms presented themselves, I would seek this company out every single time.

This same rationale applies to people, too. Every Snap is not meant for Facebook. Every blog post is not meant for LinkedIn. Every Insta pic is not meant for Twitter.

If you are interesting, followers will seek you out. We don’t have to try so hard for people to like us, they like us because we’re us. Maximize each social media platform for what it is, and enjoy the long term benefits of retention and presenting a broader picture of your life, your brand, and your world.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Only The Strong Survive

The strong don’t survive because they are lucky.

The strong survive because they know they must survive.

They plan to survive.

They anticipate successes and failures.

They see the big picture, making the small details all make sense.

They work day and night.

They hustle and grind.

They get back up every single time.

They live in offense mode.

They don’t accept any other outcome.

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Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn