How to Be a Champion (A Story from the Sochi Olympics)

The key to being a champion is simple:

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Or, another way of putting it:

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{Photo from my Instagram feed – taken last November}

Never give up!

I wanted to take a moment to share a story from the Olympics because it really resonated with me. For those newer to TCL, part of the reason I really related to it is because I trained for ten years as a figure skater. I wanted to share my perspective on the story and how I think it is a good example for a real life lesson.

You may have heard about or watched US figure skater Jeremy Abbott’s short program in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. If you haven’t, you can click here to watch it. Jeremy opened his program with one of the most difficult moves currently done in skating competitions – a quadruple toe loop. Unfortunately, he hesitated going into the jump causing the rotation to be short. His toe picks hit the ice and launched him into the air face-forward, throwing him onto his hip, and straight into the wall behind him. I couldn’t help but gasp as I watched everything happen. Falls like that are not normal – not in practice and especially not in competition. As he laid on the ice for over 10 seconds, I feared he was seriously injured and not only wouldn’t finish his program but would need help getting off the ice. As a former figure skater, even though I never reached the same level of competition and jumping ability, I couldn’t help but feel like I was right there on the ice with him. But, just as I was wondering what would happen next, something miraculous happened.

Jeremy began pulling himself up the wall and stood up. And as he did so, the crowd cheered behind him, encouraging him to keep going. And keep going he did. He found his place back in the music, and roared down the ice to complete a beautiful triple lutz – triple toe loop combination. And he didn’t stop there. He completed a triple axel (the hardest of all the triples) and went on to finish to the loudest ovation from the crowd. What a wonderful and supportive crowd they had in Sochi that night!

Were I in his skates, I’m not sure if I could have done the same thing. After you have a rough fall, it shakes all your confidence from you. As you speed down the ice for your next jump, you have to fight the demons in your head telling you that the fall you just experienced is going to happen again and that maybe you just shouldn’t try it. You have to keep your composure because to execute the jumps, spins, and footwork, you need precision and self-assurance. Those are two things that are sometimes hard to have on a good day, let alone after you just busted your rear in one of the biggest competitions of your life.

I once had a bad fall when I was working on my double flip jump, and it was nowhere close to as bad as Jeremy’s fall. I made both rotations, but when my foot hit the ice, it somehow slipped right out from under me, and I hit the ice (WHAM!) on the full side of my right leg with a giant SMACK! The fall was so hard, it literally stunned me. After taking a minute to shake it off, I tried to go for the double flip again. I skated speedily down the ice, and as I approached the take-off, I couldn’t get the fall out of my head. I popped jump after jump after jump. The fear got to me. I was finally able to land the double flip jump again, but I never forgot that fall. In skating, and in life, things are more than just physical – they’re so mental, too.

And that’s why Jeremy’s performance was so spectacular. He got up, shook off the fall, and skated the rest of the program like a champ. He dusted himself off and got up and went for it. And he skated beautifully.

You know, I think my personal story has always been about perseverance and always getting up when you fall. So maybe I’m not Olympic champion, but if nothing else I can teach the world that. ~Jeremy Abbott

What happened in Sochi was an amazing show of what it means to be a champion. But, it’s also a wonderful metaphor for life. If you fall down, you have to get back up. You have to remember to never give up.

Thank you, Jeremy, for showing us how to be a true champion!

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Oh, and one more thing. If you heard Jeremy’s interview following his short program, he said that the crowd really cheered him on to keep going, and that he felt very motivated by them to finish. It helps to have your own little supportive crowd in life, too. Remember to surround yourself with people who will help life you up when you fall down.

Lift Others {Quote}

A thought to start your week…

We Rise Quote

{re-posting from @cleaneatingmama – get more great quotes by yourbeautifullife.org}

Everyone is going through something. What if we spread happiness and positive words to help counteract the negativity out there? Share a smile. Help make someone’s day better. Lift those around you. Choose happy.

Changing the World for the Better

If you haven’t already watched this today, you should:

I couldn’t possibly capture all the greatness of Martin Luther King Jr. in a single post, but obviously the man is a legend for good reason. I’ve been thinking today about how he literally helped change the world for the better. How many people can say that? Sometimes we think we don’t have the power to do much, but I think we all have the ability to do good.

“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

I would like to think I’ve been able to make (and will continue to make) a difference with my life, even if only in small ways.

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

I’m not perfect, but I do strive to put out positivity in my actions and words. I do want to have an impact, and I do want to help change the world for the better.

“But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn come to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best.” ― Robert Baden-Powell

I fully believe that even small changes towards the better can have a lasting effect.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Something to think about this week: What can you do to leave this world a little better then you found it?

Choose Happy

I thought it would fun to turn one of my photos from Kiawah Island into a quick graphic to share to start this week.

This is a short saying that I’ve focused on in both times of stress and in times of happiness – “Choose Happy.” It’s interesting how my thoughts about it change depending on my state of mind.

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When you’re stressed, trying to think positive seems almost impossible. “Easier said than done!” is what I used to think, my sarcastic side kicking into high gear. And it isn’t easy to do, but it does help if you try. I encourage you to start this week with the intention to choose happy. Look at the bright side. Focus on the positives.

I found another great quote to share along these lines:

“Thoughts Become Things… Choose The Good Ones!” ― Mike Dooley

Hope you all have a great week!

Peach Blueberry Breakfast Crisp + Reid’s Preview

I didn’t get a lot of movie suggestions on my previous post (Liv did say: Love and Other Impossible Pursuits), but I keep hearing (via the blog, Facebook, twitter and friends) that the Something Borrowed book series is really good. It must be if everyone keeps saying that! Maybe I need to read them next?!

On to Sunday…

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I’ve been having fun cooking for my sister since she keeps requesting things she’s seen on the blog. Yay for family reading your blog!

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On Sunday, she requested a breakfast crisp.

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Since I had just picked up some fresh peaches at the farmer’s market, I decided to do one of my fave combos – peach/blueberry!

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Peach Blueberry Individual Breakfast Crisp

Peach Blueberry Crisp taste just like summer! I love using farmer’s market fruits in this simple breakfast dish. Unlike dessert crisps, this one is lighter on sugar and oil/butter. It’s also heavy on the oats so you get a decent grain serving. And did I mention this is an easy way to work fruits into your daily eats? Oh yes. I do this for you, dear reader. ;) Bake this for breakfast tomorrow! The dish mixes together quickly and you can finish getting ready for the day while it bakes away.

*Vegan if you use vegan substitute for the butter*

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 peach – cleaned, pitted, and chopped (I used fresh, but frozen should work)
  • 1-2 tablespoons blueberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp sucanat (or brown sugar – optional if you want your fruit mixture sweeter than the natural sweetness of the fruits)
  • 1/4 tsp tapioca starch (or corn starch)
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp flour (I used spelt, but any will do)
  • 1 tsp sucanat (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • pinch salt
  • dash cinnamon (optional)
  • bit of butter (about 1/4 tsp – optional)
  • sprinkling of chopped pecans (about 1 tbsp)
  • non-stick spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prep baking dish with non-stick spray (I used a 4″ round ramekin).
  2. In a medium bowl, mix peaches, blueberries, sucanat (if using) and tapioca starch. Pour into baking dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix oats, flour, sucanat, oil, salt, cinnamon (I rinsed out my mixing bowl and reused it for the topping – one less dish = easier clean up!). Pour topping over berries.
  4. If you’re using it, dab small pieces of butter over topping and sprinkle nuts over topping.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until top is lightly browned and peach/berry mixture just bubbles at the sides.
  6. Enjoy!

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Breakfast Crisps are a great and delicious way to get fruit and whole grains in your breakfast.

By the way, here’s a recipe for a mixed berry version!

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After breakfast, my sister and I headed out to meet some girlfriends at the pool. It was glorious soaking up the sun, enjoying the cool pool water, chatting it up with the girls, and just relaxing. I forgot to take photos, though…doh!

I did manage to take some iPhone photos of our next couple of adventures – lunch at a must-see Charlotte restaurant and a preview of a not-so-new “grocery store.” Read on for dets…

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I took my sister to The Cowfish since it’s awesome and I had a Living Social deal for the place that was about to expire.

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Sis and I both got unsweetened mango teas and they were perfectly refreshing since we were dining al fresco.

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We also tried the chicken satay. The app was great, but if you’re visiting Cowfish, I suggest getting one of their more unique appetizers. You can get chicken satay almost anywhere! But you can’t get ahi tuna tacos or deconstructed crab rangoons as dip.

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I got my usual – the bento box.

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I never thought I’d like sushi and burgers in the same meal so much, but it’s a match made in heaven.

As always, lunch and service were wonderful.

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And for dessert on the hot Sunday, we hit up Yoforia. I got tart and pomegranate with strawberries, kiwi, blueberries, coconut and my now must-have topping – mochi!

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And since we were in the neighborhood, I thought I’d pay a visit to the newly opened Reid’s Fine Foods. Reid’s used to be open uptown, but closed awhile back. Everyone was very sad as the place was a beloved establishment for the locals. But now, it’s back in business!

Inside, they had lots of fresh produce, a small frozen foods section, a small refrigerated foods section, plenty of locally made products and fancy imports.

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They still have their famous butcher shop (I spotted Grateful Growers products in there!).

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Plus, they have a nice selection of prepared foods.

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They also have a large selection of cheeses and wines.

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And they now have a wine bar. You can order wines by the glass here. They have half off glasses on a couple days of the week (I think Monday and Thursday, but don’t quote me!). In addition, they have wine tastings and cooking classes!

I’m so glad to see Reid’s back in busines, and I hope they and other small, local businesses continue to thrive. Go local!

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While we were waiting for our lunch table to be ready, sis and I visited Crate and Barrel. Sis bought me these 2 mini bowls. Aren’t they cute?

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She also got me a fun new food ingredient – Sweet Potato Butter! I’m thinking this is going to get mixed into some oats pretty soon. Yum-ee!!

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Inspirational quote of the day:

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” ~Oprah Winfrey

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Next time on The Chic Life – homemade BBQ sauce experimenting, Bailey and the “sprinkler”, and a June Challenge preview!! :)

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Like this post? Please consider clicking the Facebook-Like button to let me know! ;) Thanks doll-face!

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Reader question #1: How do you support local businesses?

Reader question #2: What’s your favorite fruit to eat for breakfast? Do you think it would taste good in a Breakfast Crisp?

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