7 Reasons Why You Need To Try Taekwondo

I have done every workout ever. Aerobics, step, spin, kickboxing, cross fit, tae-bo, personal training, running, walking, yoga.  Like I said; name it and I have most likely done it.

Throughout the years, I have gone through fitness phases, falling in deep like with different things. I have always been active, playing basketball, rollerblading, bike riding. (And walking the beach always kind of centers me.)

I was introduced to taekwondo about 5 years ago when my 2 oldest boys began taking classes. I fell in love then. I loved the instructors. I loved the discipline. I loved the fact that it focuses on the whole person, not just the two hours per week you are in class. Taekwondo taught my children about strength, perseverance, respect, dignity and how to give back. Good grades are expected at school when you are a taekwondo student and so is good behavior.

Two years ago they started offering parent classes. I felt a little silly to be quite honest. I am a rather large 42 year old woman in a white martial arts uniform! Then class began and I fell even deeper in love.

7 Reasons Why You Need to Try Taekwondo…..

1. A distracting challenge!! I don’t know about you, but I need a distraction. If I am counting how many pushups I am doing, my brain starts to spit curses out at me, telling me how bad I stink and that I should stop now. You will be so distracted by the language, the precise kicks, blocks, and punches, that you will forget you are working out! These workouts are intense, but you won’t even notice! I need and appreciate the distraction. Classes fly by and I am usually sad when they are over.

2. It is both physically and mentally challenging. Having to memorize forms (a series of kicks, blocks, punches, and stances orchestrated in a specific order) while focusing on having your foot pointing in the right direction, while having your leg at the right height, while simultaneously remembering to chamber. It’s a LOT to remember, it strenuous and hard work. I get so excited when I feel I have mastered a move, only to learn there are 10 more layers to that move and I have only mastered the first one.

3. Taekwondo will center you. After you get to know your forms you will come to rely on them to bring peace. I got a root canal last year and to calm my anxiety, I closed my eyes and went through my form in my head over and over. It really gave me some peace.

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4.  You get a prize every few months!!! A new colored belt to mark your higher rank. It may sound silly, but trust me you will wear that belt with pride and count down the minutes until you get your hands on the next color!

5.  You get to wear a comfy uniform (that looks super cool!). There is no stressing out about wearing the cutest tank and black spandex, no competition amongst anybody. We all look the same in class, except for the belt which distinguishes rank.

6.  You get to work out your frustrations on a bag, pad or person (with pads on). I frequently walk in to tkd all stressed out and leave a whole new person with a whole new perspective.

7.  You get to break wood! How cool is that? Who would have ever thought that I would be breaking wood with my  heels of steel 🙂 in my forties?!?! 🙂

 

Oh yeah, I broke this :-)

Oh yeah, I broke this 🙂

I am so grateful to have found taekwondo.  See you in class! 🙂

 

 

Jennifer Ormond is a Boston based entrepreneur, author, radio personality, blogger, mom to 4 amazing kids and wife. Lover of business, coffee, writing, children and parenting. Queen of sarcasm and eternal optimist! Connect with Jenn at mommybusiness.net, coffeebreakcafe.net, or jenniferormond.com ,@jennormond and @mommybiz7.

Obsessed with squash!

Yes I am taking pictures of food, make fun of me if you like but I can’t help it on this one! I can’t get enough of this super simple, delicious, healthy recipe! I needed to share.

I get giddy inside when I know I have made a batch of squash within the past few days. I eat this for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack! LOVE!

Most of my veggies come from South Shore Organics, they deliver a box of local veggies once a week. When I am out I often go to the grocery store and grab any kind of squash or pumpkin they are selling. I don’t even care what the name of it is or if I have ever had it. As long as it is meant for consumption and not decorative purposes I will grab it.

Recipe and directions:

Pre-heat oven to roast 420
Wash the squash/pumpkin whatever you have.
Split it in half.
Scoop out the seeds.
Place de-seeded squash on a sheet pan.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Salt, pepper, and cumin. (I like crushed red pepper flakes but it depends on your likes and tolerance levels for heat)
Throw them in the oven for 20-40 minutes. These took about 40 minutes, I like them nice and roasted through because I like to eat the whole thing, skin and all!
Enjoy!! 🙂

Broccoli, peppers, carrots, cauliflower and sweet potato go REALLY well with this recipe as well. Thank you M.K. for this recipe- I use it a few times per week!

Thanks for reading, happy squash season 🙂
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Life is full of firsts….

Josh's RainbowFirsts are so much fun when you have a baby. First smile, first time rolling over, first belly laugh, first steps, first day of pre-school.

We keep records of these. They go down in our pediatricians files to make sure kids are on the right track. Now with social media, we share them with friends and family, far and wide. Sometimes, we even prepare, searching Pinterest for creative signs for kids to hold- think first lost tooth, first day of 3rd grade- so cute!

Sometimes, firsts are not so great. On July 7, 2014 my very dear friend, Melissa Kaye, lost her 8 year old son, Josh, after a 13 day fight against E-Coli. Since then, she has experienced a whole new series of firsts. Heart-wrenching, can’t breathe firsts. He died in July, his birthday was in August, his first day of fourth grade would have been in September, first Halloween without Josh in October, first Thanksgiving in November, and the upcoming holiday season. Every day without him is an unimaginable first.

Our children were friends and went to the same school, where they arranged for a grief counselor come and speak. She was wonderful. She spoke about the different ways our children may grieve, and what we should look for and how to react. It helped.

Something the grief counselor said that night stuck with me. She mentioned that a lot of parents lose friends after losing a child. Their friends are usually parents who have children the same age as the child who died. The parents of the living child often have survivor’s guilt and that is beyond uncomfortable. But to lose your friends in addition to your child is just not right.

I can see why this happens. It is definitely easier to avoid situations that make you feel uncomfortable than to face them. This is a first for me. To witness my close friend’s loss, the loss of a child I knew well, but I have faced those feelings head on with my friend, her husband and her daughters. I am there for them regardless of how heart-wrenching life can be for them with all of these new firsts.

The first few months after Josh passed, I felt as though I didn’t deserve to be happy. Why should I get to enjoy my children when this wonderful, loving family cannot enjoy their son? Everything I did, I felt guilty about. It is such a desperately low, dark, and painful place to be. The loss of a child is just unthinkable- unacceptable. But time goes on and the days keep on coming even if you aren’t ready for them. I wanted to rewind time. These raw, emotional days happened over the summer, when I was surrounded by my own four children all of the time. I have never been as grateful for them as I was this past summer. I felt as if I was living in slow motion and really started to see life as it should be. I spent the extra time reading bed time stories. I paid attention to sunsets and rainbows, and really listened. I allowed myself to cry in front of my children and accepted hugs.

I don’t ever want to experience anything like this again. However, I have been shown just how beautiful life can be, even in the midst of the ugliest thing I have ever experienced. I cherish each and every moment I get with my children, even if I am yelling at them (which still happens more frequently than I care to admit). I take stock of all the good in my life a few times per day now. I count my blessings and the Kaye family is one of them. I am a changed woman, for the better. Josh’s death is still unthinkable for me; I don’t understand it. I do understand that the small bullshit things that used to bother me just don’t matter anymore. It may sound cliche to tell you to try and be more present with your life and give hugs when you can, but I have to say it anyway.

The night before I did something I never thought I would do.

I am a 44 year old, overweight mom to four children who started taekwondo two years ago because I have watched my children love this discipline for 5ish years and I, too, have fallen in love with it .

Taekwondo is good for the mind, body, spirit. My body is doing things I never imagined it doing. Two years ago I couldn’t jump. My breasts were too big, my feet hurt, back hurt, got shin splints, you name it- I couldn’t jump. Two years later, I jump 3-4 times per week. Two years ago I couldn’t do a proper lunge, squat or plank. Now I can do all of the above and it doesn’t kill me to do it.

I am stronger, I am happier, but I am not smaller. I am not sure why, because I do all of the right things, but my body just isn’t there yet. I am currently undergoing testing to find out why I work out so much, eat right, and my pants size hasn’t gone down.

Tomorrow, I am competing in a taekwondo tournament. This means I have to get up in front of a gazillion people and demonstrate my skills as a martial artist. I do not think I am strong enough to do this, but I made a promise to my 8 year old daughter that if she ever decided to compete in a tournament, I would too. She has always been completely against competing, not sure why because she is good and omg-so adorable. She had a dream two weeks ago that she competed and won a gold medal, so she decided to see if her dream was real.

I didn’t expect her to remember my promise, but she did. For the past two weeks, I have worked really hard to get good at my form (a series of kicks, blocks and punches in a set formation)   Each belt has a different form you need to learn and get tested on to move on to the next color belt. Each belt color is more advanced and so are the forms and kicks you need to learn to move on to the next. This blue belt form that I am on now is really physically strenuous and I am not quite strong enough to look good doing this form. I have made peace with that.

I think the stress and pressure is really starting to sink in. For the past two weeks I have begun to doubt everything I do, Taekwondo in particular. I feel like an idiot doing this tournament. I keep telling myself how ridiculous it is to be parading my gigantic body out there for all to see just how weak I really am. Then I think of my beautiful, intelligent 8 year old daughter who is so EXCITED that Mommy is competing with her.

I also think of my 13 and 11 year old sons who are beaming when we talk about me competing. My 6 year old is the only one in my family who doesn’t do taekwondo at the moment, but he is excited that I am competing as well.
I also think of the other parents from taekwondo who have rallied behind me and shown me so much support. They have told me how proud they are of me that I am going to get out there and do my form instead of sitting in the stands, watching.

Then I think of the story of the kid who won a gold last year doing his form because he didn’t have anybody to compete against. He didn’t feel good about that gold medal because he felt like he didn’t earn it. A few weeks later our instructor was informed that the student wasn’t feeling great about his medal so the instructor told the student he absolutley deserved that gold medal because he was the only one who had the nerve to get up and compete- he earned it. I love that story.

As of right now, I am full of anxiety, but trying to swallow it down.

I plan to write tomorrow night how I feel about the tournament after.

AFTER.

I ignored my anxiety all day and focused on each of the kids competing, cheered them on and took pictures. Every now and again I would be reminded that I would be competing soon, but took that anxiety and swallowed it down.

My age and rank were called finally; my heart raced. I got up on the mat, waited until the judge said to go and I did my form. I completely tuned everyone out, focused on each move and didn’t mess up. I came in second place and was pretty darned proud of myself. It was over in about a minute. I stressed for months over this. I allowed myself to doubt every singe thing I do because of stress and anxiety over something that was over in a minute!

My kids were so proud of me and so was everyone else. It was exhilarating to face my fears and just do it. I would and will do it again.

When I turned 40 I decided to no longer live my life in fear. I decided that if something gave me a pit in my stomach just thinking about it, then I was going to go for it. I live outside of my comfort zone as much as possible and really feel the difference in my quality of life….. Well I must go now, I am off to that hip hop class I have been dying to take!!

Jenn

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5 Things to Think About Before Slamming a Business on Social Media

Social media is awesome- you can vent about life, politics, post pics of family, post inspiring quotes, right your wrongs and air your dirty laundry. Since Yelp and Google came along, everybody is a reviewer of everything. Business owners need to be on their toes at all times because if someone sees something wrong in your business, they are snapping a pic and blasting on social media about how badly you suck.

I am a small business owner. I am a mom to four kids, a wife, a daughter, niece, friend and person. I have feelings. When you blast my business on Yelp, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, wherever- I read that and it hurts. Sometimes the bad reviews are justified because I make mistakes and so does my staff. Bad reviews also help me to grow and change. How can I correct something that is wrong if I don’t know about it? A lot of times the reviews are just anger and hostility coming from unhappy people.

So many people log onto Yelp or another review site or their FB account while angry and just vent about what happened. Some complaints are major, some are minor. I am here to say- please take a moment, calm down and think before you put it out there. Once it is out there, it is out there for good. There is no taking it back; even when you think it is deleted, it isn’t. If you saw something that could harm the public, by all means, post away. If you are about to rip apart a business for something that may not be so bad, stop and think before you write.

Here are 5 things to think about before slamming a business on social media out of anger…

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1. Be sure you really hate that business. Your words could put them out of business. Business owners tread a fine line sometimes, going months, sometimes years without getting paid, but making enough money to just stay in business in hopes that it will pay off some day. A few bad reviews could truly affect the business and perhaps send them over the edge.

2. Be sure you don’t work in an industry that could be affected by your blasting. Let’s say, for example, you work in the hair industry and you need clients in order to make a living. Let’s say you log on to Facebook and blast the coffee shop down the street because you got a shitty coffee and you say you will never be back , that place sucks. Let’s also say that about 100 people copy and paste that and send it to the owner of that coffee shop. Guess who sees more people in a day, you or the coffee shop owner? Guess who is going to let people know where they shouldn’t go to get their hair done?

3. Be sure, before you blast that business that you won’t EVER need anything from that business….EVER! Do you have kids? If so you will be involved in a fundraiser of some sort. You might be expected to ask for donations from the local businesses. You might also need a job, or have a friend who needs a job or who knows what you might need. Remember- social media has your face and name on it. The business will remember and so will its employees.

4. Remember that behind every business is a person, a family, a community. Know that the owner of that business has feelings, friends, parents, brothers and sisters, children and a life. They also eat out, get their hair cut, go shopping, go to fundraisers and speak to a lot of people. They are people like you and me, who are not perfect and make mistakes in life and in business.

5. Most business owners want to hear what they are doing wrong and right, that is how we grow and improve ourselves. If nobody ever told me the mistakes I made, I wouldn’t still be in business 18 years later. If you really want to let the business know what they did wrong and perhaps help them in the future, speak to them directly. Whether you email, private message on a social network, call them or see them in person. Tell THEM your feelings.

I was blasted pretty badly yesterday because we increased our prices by a dime in the past 6 years. A post about ten pennies made me be a bad, cranky mom, wife and boss. It kind of sucked, so I thought I would share my thoughts on social media reviews. I can be reached at info@coffeebreakcafe.net or jenn@mommybusiness.net

Nobody likes B.O., right?

Since my children were a thought in my head I have been grappling with how to be the healthiest I can be and how to get rid of all the chemicals I ingest or use like as in shampoo, soap, lotion, makeup, cleaning products, over-processed food, etc…. My biggest struggle has been deodorant. I don’t want to stink and I don’t want my children to be the “smelly kid” in school. It is bad enough that my oldest (12) is the only one at his lunch table that uses a re-usable bag for his sandwich and re-usable water container, thank goodness he doesn’t care all that much…..

I have experimented with deodorants over the years…. I grew up with Secret, and boy oh boy do I love Secret. There are so many scents to choose from and I don’t ever smell bad when I wear it. But I remember becoming concerned when I accidentally purchased their “clear” line and it just didn’t wash off. I felt like I had a thick layer of rubbery plastic under my pits…. for days…. I hated it and stopped using it. But it got me thinking about exactly what am I putting on my freshly shaved, open pores, right next to my breast tissue and directly on my arm pit….

I am not a scientific person at all and usually don’t retain the large words that I can’t pronounce of the ingredients of products I use (unfortunately). Aluminum is the key word that I do remember,look for and avoid. I also recall reading an article about women in America having a much higher rate of breast cancer than women of other countries. It had been linked to the fact that women in America shave their armpits and then put chemicals directly on that freshly shaved skin that cause cancer. Makes sense to me. Also scared the crap out of me and thus began my search for deodorant that would help me not smell like an Italian sub (love Italian subs, just not the smell btw) and not put large quantities of chemicals in my body. So I have been on a mission on and off for a number of years and I think I have finally figured out the answer….

I have tried every single all natural and chemical name brand deodorant out there. Nothing works like antiperspirant with chemicals. I can work out and sweat all day long and still smell like fresh flowers…. Some of the all natural products actually make me smell worse before I even sweat!! This past week I was determined to find a winning all natural deodorant and I think I did. I put the chemical antiperspirant under one pit and the all natural under the other every day this week…. I varied the all naturals based on what I thought did a good job keeping me smelling clean :-). By the end of the week, I just wore my new favorite winning all natural deodorant all by itself and really worked my butt off at taekwondo on Wednesday night and then worked out on Thursday morning WITHOUT showering and you know what??? I didn’t stink…. I even made my husband sniff me… Yeah whatever, he doesn’t mind 🙂

The winning deodorant is… drum roll please…. Crystal, I have two; one is Crystal Body Deodorant Spray and the other is Crystal Essence Mineral Body Spray. They are basically water and mineral salts and they really, truly work. I prefer the Pomegranate scent but my son and husband prefer the plain…

Jenn's deodorant :-)

For the record, I am not being paid to speak about this, nor have I been sent a sample (feel free to send me samples btw :-)), this is just my opinion on something that has been bugging me for years. I love solving problems and I think I have solved this one, for me by the way… Upon further investigation this deodorant has two ingredients, one is purified water and the other is natural mineral salts (Potassium Alum). Alum? Isn’t that short for the word I am trying to avoid??? Argh!! I have read some more about this and the belief is that Potassium Alum is a much larger molecule and not very absorbable through the skin which is different from Aluminum Chlorohydrate which is a common ingredient in chemical deodorants. From what I have read, this is the winning deodorant for me.

On to finding the right chemical free shampoo, suggestions please!!!

Here is the link to my new favorite deodorant…. http://www.thecrystal.com/product_information.cfm

Jenn