Life and Living with Crohn's Disease

Life and Crohn's

Running Tips and Fitness Advice

Let's Talk Running

Coach Suz Training

Work with Me!

Lyfe Tough Talk

Holiday Survival: Perfect 5-Ingredient Recipe

Before I begin, I would like to say thank you to all who have served and do serve our country or support those who serve our country. We all contribute to the greater picture, to the greater freedom. And it is also the perfect segue into this post, which is about the larger picture in life, the most important things in life.

Holiday Survival Kit:

Birthday Dessert at One Midtown Kitchen.

Birthday Dessert at One Midtown Kitchen.

I think there is a perfect recipe for the holidays, and life in general. Now, you know that I don’t really ascribe to recipe following, you know that I like to improvise and do my thing (you can’t hold me down).

So, in the spirit of a typical Suzlyfe recipe, I am going to list ingredients and give general amounts, but the real measure is up to you, your taste/preference, and your kitchen (ie world). Use what you have on hand, what you love, and respect your body (and mind)!

5 Ingredient Recipe for Holiday (and Life) Happiness:

Build your crust

1)  Grace and Respect

montrose harbour suzlyfe

Life is filled with potholes. People will trying to bring you down (as discussed in the post on Shaming earlier this week). Events will fall short of your expectations, for yourself, your body, and others. So build your foundation out of grace and the ability to rise above. In the marathon world, Meb (in the past), Kara Goucher, and even our friend Tina, these are all elite athletes that have set certain expectations for themselves and found a wall that they run straight into. Last weekend, I encountered a wall with the instructor’s comments. I ran into a wall that I knew I wasn’t going to be able to bring down. So you know what you do? You find a way around. You acknowledge that wall, strategize, and then figure out your reaction. You  cannot control the majority of your life–from the wind on the avenues of New York to the behaviors of others. You can only set yourself up for success and control your reaction to whatever you find.

“Things” don’t always go your way. Grace and the ability to be flexible will enable you to deal with whatever comes your way because what comes with grace is perspective.

Fill with:

2) Love, Philanthropy

It's her fault. All of it. And I should thank her for it everyday.

It’s her fault. All of it. And I should thank her for it everyday.

Love for yourself should engender love for others. You should love yourself enough to share what you love about yourself with others. Love brings us together, binds us, keeps us humble. Growing up, I volunteered a great deal–community service was a huge part of my upbringing as a result of my mom. But you have to have a foundation of respect and grace upon which to build this. Otherwise, your base will fall apart and the flavors won’t work.

You should love yourself enough to take care of yourself. Because by taking care of yourself, you can put yourself in a position to help others. If you need a little help, starting with a virtual charity fundraiser like the Team Challenge Turkey Trot is a great first step–it is no pressure, but gives you something to work towards. Or simply donating goods to the food bank. Use apps like Charity Miles, simply make a pledge, track it yourself, and get your friends involved.

3) Laughter, Beneficial Strategic Selfishness

dr cox not caring

Joy and laughter help support the love, philanthropy, respect, and grace in our lives. I support my health, help find my joy, by taking care of myself physically. Sometimes that means a run, sometimes (like yesterday?) that means not exercising and instead resting and enjoying my treats. I surround myself (selfishly) with people that make me laugh, that brighten my day, and I spend less time on the relationships that don’t contribute to that. But in so doing? I feel like I am able to give the world more of myself. You don’t need to be rampantly selfish, but laughter and pleasure give spice to life–like cinnamon or red pepper flake.

4) Willpower and Determination


This is the binder to life. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the concept of willpower in the comments on Jenni’s blog. She did something amazing and turned it into this banner. I am so glad she did, because it made me come back to what I had said.

Willpower and determination are the eggs, the fats, the guar gum etc in gluten free recipes, that binds everything together and gives your creation structure, not just flavor and substance. These qualities keep the cookie from crumbling, so to speak. And it comes in different forms. Sometimes you need the big guns, and other times just a pinch will do.


5) a dash of Badass Unicorn

badass unicorn

This is the seasoning. The finishing salt, the balance. This is the wild card ingredient. But it is the dash of YOU. The dash of personality, that ingredient to situations that only you can contribute. Your sassitude, your genuine care, your sensitivity, your ability to withstand any forces of nature. But make sure that you never forget to add it–otherwise, that recipe will never be complete.

What would you add to this recipe? What is your “icing” on top?

Previous Post Next Post

Have you read these gems?


  • Reply Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

    Haha, I love this! Very good 😉

    November 11, 2014 at 5:36 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you!

      November 11, 2014 at 1:57 pm
  • Reply Michele

    Definitely seems like a pretty perfect recipe for happiness for me! Admittedly numbers 1 and 2 can be tough for me.
    Michele recently posted…6 Ways To Forget the Holiday Weight Guilt (Without Gaining!)My Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 5:42 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Baking is tough–but working at it helps you learn to perfect that crust !

      November 11, 2014 at 1:56 pm
  • Reply Pragat // Simple Medicine

    Kindness. Sprinkle that shit on everything. Great post, per usual 🙂
    Pragat // Simple Medicine recently posted…The Travel DiariesMy Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 5:44 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thanks friend 😀 and you know that I love sprinkles!

      November 11, 2014 at 1:55 pm
  • Reply Sara @ Lake Shore Runner

    Another kick ass post Susie! You know I always love all of your analogies. I am definitely going to keep these 5 ingredients in mind when the going gets tough, especially during the holiday season. As for the icing this kind of goes with all 5 already but one of my fav sayings is: “You DoYou.” Be yourself and be proud of it! Don’t let anyone of anything change that. I like to remind myself of this 🙂
    Sara @ Lake Shore Runner recently posted…Tried It Tuesday: Trainology Fitness Review #ClassPassMy Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 6:07 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You have to think about others, but you have to do it authentically, otherwise, what are you getting at? When you find something that makes you happy, it helps you spread the happiness to others.
      And you know I love a good analogy. I have a problem.

      November 11, 2014 at 1:55 pm
  • Reply Linz @ Itz Linz

    love this!
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted…7 month old baby WilliamMy Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 6:10 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you! Have a badass day!

      November 11, 2014 at 1:53 pm
  • Reply Katie @ Daily Cup of Kate

    What a cute and awesome post! I love the last unicorn ingredient…but only if its a badass unicorn of course! 🙂

    November 11, 2014 at 6:16 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thanks! and let’s be honest–all unicorns are badass!

      November 11, 2014 at 1:53 pm
  • Reply Annmarie

    Love your recipe ingredients and I think it all makes perfect sense! You certainly need all of those main ingredients to make the sprinkle on top that much more special!
    Annmarie recently posted…Choco-Berry Blast Smoothie + Giveaway!My Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 6:19 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Exactlyl–build your base, and then it is all goodness regardless of the flavors and ingredients

      November 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm
  • Reply Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    I love all of this, but especially #1. Its so true that there are going to be obstacles in life but we can find ways to overcome them and rise about any negativity we encounter!
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…Think Positive & Conquer Your Negative ThoughtsMy Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 6:36 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And we marathoners know that for sure

      November 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm
  • Reply Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner

    Great list! Maybe add friendship-really helps me get through the hard ones. Have a great day:)
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Celadon Spa-Relaxation & RecoveryMy Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 7:03 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I was thinking that friendship and love would go together, but I totally agree!

      November 11, 2014 at 1:46 pm
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    You got me. I was looking to read a fabulous pie recipe, but this is so so so much better. Good reminders as we go into the crazy holidays.
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…Vegetarian StuffingMy Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 7:16 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Yes! Glad I fooled you 😉

      November 11, 2014 at 1:46 pm
  • Reply Lindsay

    the last one is the best! dash of unicorn, you know it!!

    November 11, 2014 at 7:43 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I mean, you can never beat it 😀

      November 11, 2014 at 1:46 pm
  • Reply Lacey@fairytalesandfitness

    Well this goes along with respect and love but be kind to one another. Acts of kindness are huge. And a little goes a long way!
    Lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…How to have the BEST MassageMy Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 7:51 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Exactly, you just have to start somewhere. And the good will spread.

      November 11, 2014 at 1:45 pm
  • Reply Rae

    This is an excellent recipe. I might also add “patience,” because nobody can push my buttons quite like my family. Sometimes I need to take a deep breath and remind myself that they’re not plaguing me on purpose, and I really love getting to spend time with them, even if they make me crazy.
    Rae recently posted…Manic Monday – 11/10/14My Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 7:57 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      So true. Patience and grace go hand in hand–we have to learn to take the deep breath, count to 5, then hug it out.

      November 11, 2014 at 1:46 pm
  • Reply Ursula

    This is such a great post. I hate how we all start to beat ourselves up, hate our bodies, gossip, shame ourselves and each other….oh the list goes on. The holidays should be about all the things you’ve listed and being with our families, and maybe this recipe should be mandatory! I will be sure to make a conscious effort to live by it this time around
    Ursula recently posted…Why At Home Waxing is an Awesome Way to Save MoneyMy Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 8:12 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      OMG will you make me a sign for it??

      November 11, 2014 at 1:45 pm
  • Reply Sarah @pickyrunner

    I. Love. This.
    Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…Workouts 11/3-11/9My Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 8:18 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I LOVE YOU

      November 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    Beautiful post. Love it!!
    Sarah recently posted…Why Do You Race?My Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 9:01 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you my dear!

      November 11, 2014 at 1:39 pm
  • Reply Jen @ Bagels to Broccoli

    I love the way that you tied this altogether in a creative way! I definitely agree that having grace for yourself and others is a great ‘recipe’ for success ;).
    Jen @ Bagels to Broccoli recently posted…Lessons From My Job SearchMy Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 9:53 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you. I think it just has to do with the fact that everything in my life comes back to food.

      November 11, 2014 at 1:40 pm
  • Reply Farrah

    I love this post. :] And although the first four in the recipe are definitely true and vital, I gotta say, the dash of badass unicorn is my favorite ingredient. ;P
    Farrah recently posted…November Blog Challenge (#8-#11)My Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 10:10 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Mine too 😀

      November 11, 2014 at 1:31 pm
  • Reply Suzlyfe's mommy, Clare

    OK, you got me here! Even I can cook up a recipe like this—and not in the kitchen!

    This is a great post–really one of your very best!

    I’d add a dash of “open-all your-windows-and-doors-ness” the see-what-comes-in when you least expect it!
    It may be joy, or an opportunity, a realization of an AH-HA moment, something completely new, or something that has always been there just waiting for you to see it.
    I think of Cinder, our wonderful B/W springer spaniel whom we got when she was 6. She knew I needed her, but I wasn’t ready to let myself get attached to her. So, she patiently waited until I was ready to receive what she had to give.

    ………and the bad-ass unicorn?–he is standing in the pasture waiting for you to come see him.

    love you,

    November 11, 2014 at 10:19 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Definitely–you have to be open to the world.
      I honestly considered making a meme of Brian as the bad ass unicorn.

      November 11, 2014 at 1:29 pm
  • Reply Alysia @ Slim Sanity

    Love the positivity in this post! will and and determination are what I need most this time of year!
    Alysia @ Slim Sanity recently posted…Cakey Chocolate Chip BrowniesMy Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 10:45 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You said it–we are coming to the end of the year, the midnight snacking time, the I’m crabby and want to go home time. And we could all use some positivity then!

      November 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm
  • Reply Kate @ Baking in Yoga Pants

    What a great list! I would say my 5 would be faith, laughter, love, joy, and inspiration 🙂
    Kate @ Baking in Yoga Pants recently posted…Sometimes…My Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 11:14 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Love it 😀

      November 11, 2014 at 1:23 pm
  • Reply cait @pieceofcait

    love this! great reminder for the holidays coming up!!! unicorn FO’SHO!!
    cait @pieceofcait recently posted…Treat yourself.. that one hour of blissMy Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 12:10 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Family can drive you crazy, but they are what make like worth living–we just have to figure out how to deal with them sometimes 😀

      November 11, 2014 at 1:23 pm
  • Reply Jill

    Oh this post was wonderful. Not only the literary ingenius of it but the content as well! You are a wise soul Susie. Love & agree with all your points. Now I am not the greatest cook, but I will try my best to stick with this recipe 🙂
    Jill recently posted…(Nearly) Wordless WeekendMy Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 1:03 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      That’s what I think is great about it–you don’t have to be a good cook or a baker, you just have to start somewhere. You’ll make mistakes, but you get to try again the next day.

      November 11, 2014 at 1:22 pm
  • Reply Tiffany @ The Chi-Athlete

    Bless. This post made me smile so very much.

    Also, Dr. Cox from “Scrubs”. 🙂 Talk about a great day!
    Tiffany @ The Chi-Athlete recently posted…It’s Coming…! And So Much Random.My Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 2:54 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Yay 😀 That was its intended purpose. And anything from Scrubs is a good idea

      November 13, 2014 at 10:03 am
  • Reply Sarah @ Sweet Miles

    Love this, a little willpower and determination can go a LONG WAY!!!
    Sarah @ Sweet Miles recently posted…Pretty Leaves + Getting Up at the Crack of DawnMy Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 3:35 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I know–so crucial!

      November 13, 2014 at 10:04 am
  • Reply Kirtley @ The Gist of Fit

    Hahahahah!!! Oh man, I want to print that unicorn poster out! You always make me laugh!
    I love what you said about loving yourself enough to take care of yourself. Sooo true. We all need to remember that and do it! When that’s your driving force–love–life just seem easier and happier.

    You’re awesome!
    Kirtley @ The Gist of Fit recently posted…Overcoming the many forms of negative self-talkMy Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 7:17 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you! It was a concept that I had to come to terms with in way that was healthy for myself and also for others.
      And always the badass unicorn

      November 13, 2014 at 10:05 am
  • Reply Amber

    and THIS is why I love you, your blog and what you stand for. Simply awesome and amazing all at the same time, i got all excited thinking this was a pie recipe (food is always on my mind) but was even happier when I saw THIS feel good type of recipe. An ingredient I would add: a positive perspective, it is HOW we see the world that shapes how the world treats us. Bad things WILL happen to us good people, but it is our reactions to these bad events that will shape us
    Amber recently posted…Pumpkin Pie Protein PancakesMy Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 7:43 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I was hoping to sucker people in 😀 And I know that you know all too well what I mean by learning to handle life’s hiccups with grace and a positive perspective. You don’t need the wool pulled over your eyes, to have no idea what is going on in life, but you need to be open to finding the good in situations!

      November 13, 2014 at 10:07 am
  • Reply Ariana

    This is a great recipe!!! I’ll do my best to put it to use many times these upcoming months 😉
    Ariana recently posted…Guest Post – Making a CommitmentMy Profile

    November 11, 2014 at 8:11 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I hope so! Best thing about it, also: NO CLEAN UP!

      November 13, 2014 at 10:07 am
  • Reply Amber l Bold Fit Mom

    I absolutely love this! Especially number 4. Hehe.

    November 11, 2014 at 11:23 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you! I just wanted to help people take a little bit of different perspective for the season 😀

      November 13, 2014 at 10:08 am
  • Reply Lauren @ ihadabiglunch

    Well aren’t you just the cutest 🙂 I agree with taking care of yourself. I think that’s the foundation to taking care of others and living the best life. It’s not in a selfish way – it’s allowing for the best version of yourself to be present in all things so then you can do a better job of helping other people. Love it!
    Lauren @ ihadabiglunch recently posted…South of the Border FrittataMy Profile

    November 12, 2014 at 10:51 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      There is definitely a fine balance- but allowing yourself to be your best (within reason) also means that you can give people the best of you. Don’t take advantage, but use the best of your to give the best to others.

      November 13, 2014 at 10:09 am
  • Reply Sarah

    Sneaky, sneaky! I thought you were going to give us a pie recipe! But instead you gave us useful life advice…almost as good :p.

    I really agree with all of the ingredients you have listed, and there are definitely a few that I wouldn’t have thought to add, but make so much sense. Beneficial strategic selfishness? Yes, Please – to quote Amy Poehler’s new book.

    I think I would add empathy (I see it hiding in the layers but not explicitly stated) since I find that my empathy really helps me communicate better with the people in my life. And the icing on top would be just that. Icining. Vanilla Buttercream.
    Sarah recently posted…KettleToning and I Just Realized I’m in a CultMy Profile

    November 12, 2014 at 12:19 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      heheh I am veddyveddysneaky 😉 Empathy is a great addition–accepting that other people are having feelings that you can relate to–it doesn’t mean that you take away from their experience/what they are going through, but it means that you can take a deep breath when you see how they are nervous for the same reason that you were in a certain situation.
      Mmmmmmmm buttercream. I can empathize with that.

      November 13, 2014 at 10:11 am
  • Reply Kammie @ Sensual Appeal Blog

    Gotta love a dash of unicorn magic 😉 haha
    Kammie @ Sensual Appeal Blog recently posted…5 key mindfulness principles to breathe space within yourselfMy Profile

    November 12, 2014 at 7:25 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe


      November 13, 2014 at 10:12 am
  • Reply Happy Dance and Class Pass Referral Discount (Thinking Out Loud) - Suzlyfe

    […] Speaking of hints, I’m glad I had so many of you fooled by my teases for the Tuesday post. True story: I am an amazing flirt and tease. I am merciless. Even before Alex, when I get into […]

    November 13, 2014 at 5:27 am
  • Reply Shawna

    this is nice. you bring up some great points. you’re nice. 🙂 i love the unicorn (fave animal). i agree with a lot of this “life foundation”: love, respect, grace, joy, humor. i’d add kindness, compassion, and dancing. because we all need to let loose. 🙂
    Shawna recently posted…Marvelous in my MondayMy Profile

    November 13, 2014 at 7:52 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Especially if it is a shake n bake!!! I’ll shake, you bake 😉

      November 13, 2014 at 10:12 am
  • Reply jill conyers

    Love love the analogy! Holiday happiness [and stress free] is my goal for the holiday season 🙂
    jill conyers recently posted…Recovery With a Detox BathMy Profile

    November 17, 2014 at 8:58 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You just gotta find a way to enjoy what you have!

      November 17, 2014 at 1:13 pm
  • Reply GiGi Eats

    If Ryan Gosling showed up at my door and said: GIRL YOU CAN DO IT….. OH YOU BETTER BELIEVE I WOULD — NOOOOOOOO willpower there LOL!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Cozy Up With A Bowl of Johnny DeppMy Profile

    November 22, 2014 at 9:14 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Girl, I think even Ryan Gosling would do whatever it was if he was the one providing the encouragement!

      November 24, 2014 at 10:38 am
  • Reply The Suzlyfe: Grab Your Nightly Ice Cream, Put On Some Compression & Let’s Chat! | Undiscovered Kitchen

    […] Suzlyfe: Life & Balance: […]

    January 7, 2015 at 2:41 pm
  • Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge