Friday, November 17, 2017

Find Some Breathing Room in Your Life. How to Start in 3 Easy Steps

Look at this woman in the photo.  Doesn't she look relaxed, serene, content? Don't you just want to push her off that cliff?  (That's jealous me talking.)

But I digress....So last week I declared ENOUGH with the Fitbit and other things, and this was the first step in an easier, less stressful life.  But what’s next? 

I've been reading all I can on the subject, and based on that research, here is what I suggest in getting started.

#1 Know  What You Want to Gain  (If you find it difficult to answer these questions, jump to #4, then come back)

You don't have to know exactly, and it's okay to change your mind about things as you go through the journey, but you have a destination that inspires you to action. Take 15 minutes and answer:
  • What does a great day look like to you?
  • What are you doing?
  • Who are you hanging with?
  • How do you feel throughout and at the end of the day? Serene, productive, yet not stressed.  Exhilarated by new adventures you now have time for. Dare I say...happy? 
  • What do you value?
  • Imagine you only had 5 years left to live. What do you want to achieve, learn, accomplish or experience?
Not that I am trying to influence you or anything because this is your journey, but a little food for thought while you are thinking about the answers to the questions below.  Several studies and interviews with hospice patients have all pointed to these three things for bringing lasting joy to a person's life:
  1. Relationships
  2. Meaning
  3. Goals
(If you want to read more on the subject read, "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl.  Very short read, yet one of the most powerful books I have ever read.)

#2 Where are you now? What takes up your time today?

1) Where does your time go on a typical day.  How much time do you spend in the following areas:
  • Personal
  • Family
  • Realtionship
  • Friends
  • Work (This could be actual paid work or housekeeping/ unpaid work.  However you define work.)
  • Community/Volunteer 
2) Write down an approximation of your typical day - all of it.  How long does it take you to get ready, get the kids out the door, social media time, sleep time, etc., in a typical day.  No one is seeing this, so be honest.

3) Graph the pie.  Put the approximate time percentages for each of the categories.  

#3 Compare where you are to where you want to be

Do your daily tasks and pie line up with your stated values and goals from #1? No? So how do you get to where you want to be?

First, realize this is a journey.  This isn't just about getting rid of some clutter, although it could be if that's all you want it to be.

For me, this is about permanently making the time for what I say is important to me.  Things like: 
  • Having the time to really listen to what my children are saying and getting to know and appreciate the person that they are becoming.
  • Enjoying time with the signifiant other instead of waiting until retirement for more time.  There will never be enough time unless I make it happen.  
  • Getting rid of obligations that I don't really want to go to that steal my time from what I do want to do. 
  • Finding a way to volunteer that doesn't make me want to stick a fork in my eye.  A gig that uses my talents and skills.  Not sure what that is yet, but I look forward to finding out. 
  • Learning how to make a quilt. (I don't know why, I just want to.) 

#4 What if you don't know what you want to do?

Lucky you.  Lucky you because you get to discover and that's always fun. Start with what brings you joy, contentment, relaxation, or excitement? 

As you go through your day ask yourself, how do I feel about what I am doing right now? Meeting someone for lunch and sort of dreading it? That's a clue. Working on a project and you just do't want to do it, but you said yes, so now your committed? That's a clue.

Also, notice what you are doing that relaxes you or brings you joy. For me some things are:

  • Organizing my books (or anyone's) brings me joy.
  • Had a great conversation with my 10 year old regarding Hitler and WWII.  Heavy conversation, but how awesome to see how his brain works.
  • Playing Minecraft.  Creating a blank world and bringing order to it. Plus my kids love it so double bonus. 
  • Taking 5 minutes to put on makeup.  It relaxes me.  I often come up with solutions to problems I'm having out of the blue. Don't discount the little things. 
How about thinking about what you liked to do as a kid. Finger paint, draw, read, swim, run, sit outside and stare at the clouds?  Now go back to #1.

That's more than enough for this week.  Remember, no judgments about how you feel about some of the things, people, and obligations in your day.  As I tell my kids (and myself), you can feel however you feel. It's your actions that have consequences, and we are not talking about actions.....yet.

Next week, we begin to identify some items that need to change for us to have the life we say we want.  Don't worry, we are easing into this, and we will start with low hanging fruit/easy wins for now. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

I've Had Enough and the Fitbit is the First Thing to Go.

I've had enough.......

Enough talk about finding "purpose," "meaning," or even myself. Enough aimless searching for what I should be doing and more just being.

Enough wasting time in the pursuit of stuff.  Enough working for that stuff.  More having that stuff work for me.

Enough searching for articles, helpful hints, boxes and bins to organize my stuff.  Less stuff and more gratitude for the stuff I truly treasure.

Enough with my Fitbit telling me what I "should" be doing or how I'm doing.  More enjoying whatever form of exercise I choose to do.

Enough worrying about whether I am parenting the "right" way. More really listening to what my children think of the world and learning from them. 

Enough worrying about how my kids appear to others and let's be real - whether or not people think I am a "good" parent, and more accepting that my children will make make mistakes and bad choices, and helping them learn from those mistakes while the consequences are still relatively small.

Enough schlepping kids to too many activities. More unstructured time and more time being bored.

Enough of just me taking on the endless cycle of laundry, dishes and house care alone. More sharing that with the people who live here too.

Enough looking for more time and complaining there isn't enough time. Enough lists that are a mile long and never ending. More of just letting some stuff go. 

Enough saying "yes" to things without thinking or to be nice then regretting it afterwards. Enough worrying about what other people think of me instead of worrying what I think of me. More "Thanks, but no thanks"

Enough comparing myself to others in any way on any venue whether it be a glossy magazine, Instagram or Facebook.

Enough social media.

Enough watching, reading, listening to bad news that makes me feel helpless, angry, frustrated. Just enough of worrying about things I can't control.  More acting on the things I can control.

Enough waiting for someday to read, write, learn to draw, paint, travel. More just doing it now. 

Enough of letting the "should's" dictate how I spend my day and more listening to the "wants" and not feeling guilty about it.

I imagined I only had 5 years left to live.  That's how I cam up with this list, and it's only a start.  Imagine you only had 5 years left to live, what would you change? 

Do you think you would protect your precious time a little more fiercely?

Who would you want to spend as much time as possible with? Would you listen to your loved ones a little more closely trying to learn everything you could about them, genuinely curious about their day, their thoughts, their dreams?

Would you prepare your children now with skills that they will need to live in a world without you?

What would you want to see or learn or do?  What would you want to share with others? What legacy would you want to leave?

Maybe you can't quit your job or start a new dream job (yet) because you still have responsibilities, bills, etc., but what changes could you make if you only had 5 years left to live?

It's depressing and unpleasant to think of dying, and we push uncomfortable things away to deal with another time.  Yet, another time never arrives until it's too late.  If you're over 40, your life is half over.  Half over.  That's depressing.  That's uncomfortable, but its a reality.  Another reality is you may have less time.  Do you know what's even more depressing and uncomfortable?  Regret.

So, I am saying "enough" to a whole lot so I can say "Yes" to the 4 or 5 things that truly are the most important to me. 

I started with the Fitbit. As I was looking at another failed day of not reaching my goal, I just decided that I didn't need one more thing telling me what I should do or grading me on how I am doing.  It's a small step, but after a weekend without it, I already feel better. 

How many other things do I do without noticing?  This one small change lightened a load I didn't know I was carrying.  I can't wait to see what happens as I continue to pare down the crazy in my life.   

To My Fellow Moms: This is Why You Rock

How to Slay a Dragon; A Very, Very Short Real Life Love Story

The Road to Self Care Starts Here

5 Things You Can Do to Start Living Intentionally Today

Is Comparing Yourself to Others Always a Bad Thing

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Allowance, To Give or Not to Give (And When, How and Why According to the "Experts")

I give my kids allowance, but I don't think I do it well.  Off and on, we have tried several different ways, since they were 4.  I want them to learn the value of money, how to save for what you want, and how not to spend my money on some plastic toy you picked up in the checkout line in Target that you will lose or break or forget about in a week.  Okay, I admit it, this was my only motivation in the beginning.

This year, I have a ten year old so I figured I need to get serious about doing this allowance thing.  I figure I have about 7 years to get him in shape before he will be making his own major financial decisions about school loans, cars, jobs, etc., and I definitely don't want my kid living in my spare room because he or she didn't understand how to manage money. So, I've been studying up, and here is what I found.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

This One Thing Can Cause Sadness, Headaches, Forgetfulness and other Woes

As you may remember, I am on a quest to become more of a morning person, and less of a night owl.  I have been doing pretty good for the most part.  I am still experimenting with some things to see what works best for me (as in this is something that I can maintain over the long term).

My research led me to this study on interrupted sleep, and that led me to do even more research on the subject.

The study took two groups of people and over three nights.  The first group stayed up an hour later, and the second group's sleep was interrupted. They found that cutting their sleep by only one hour (from 7.5 hours to 6.5 hours) resulted in inflammation, immune excitability, diabetes, cancer risk, and stress for both groups. However, the Interrupted Sleepers had shorter periods of slow wave, or deep wave sleep than the delayed.

What's so important about the slow wave or deep sleep?  This is the stage that important body repairs and maintenance tasks get done.

Both groups reported declining positive feelings.  While the delayed sleepers bounced back with a full night's sleep, the interrupted sleepers continued to report declining positive feelings including a decline in friendliness and feelings of sympathy.  In other words, even after you get back to having a good restful night of sleep, if you had a couple of nights of interrupted sleep you may continue to have a crappy attitude or remain in a funk, and it may even worsen.  So, interrupted sleep is worse than staying up late to watch Jimmy Fallon. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Guest Poster: Do You Wonder How That Special Needs Kid Affects Yours in the Classroom? (2 Minute Read)

Hey Guys,

Natasha's back with an awesome story.  I read it this morning, and I am inspired to look at my week ahead with new eyes.  I'll be looking for new opportunities to embrace my own and others' "not normal".  (You'll get it after you read it. ) 

Do You Wonder How That Special Needs Kid Affects Yours in the Classroom?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

How to Slay a Dragon: A Very, Very Short Real Life Love Story

We all have that thing or things that you are always trying to conquer like being braver, speaking up, not being a pessimist, not blowing up and losing your shit so much, eating better, not being so judgmental, saying no, not feeling so guilty (about saying no), etc.

In the coaching world, the things that you want to improve about yourself are referred to as your "learning edge".

Your learning edge is the thing you need to conquer or master in order to help you achieve your goal.  Whether your goal is getting promoted at work, losing weight, improving your relationship with a family member, finding a new job, increasing your business, raising good kids, you are going to have to deal with your learning edge or not reach the full potential of your goal.

A very wise woman (my coach) shared this with me during one of our session in which I was

Thursday, October 5, 2017

To My Fellow Moms Who Sometimes Feel Like You Are Failing.....

I caught these two kids helping each other and doing good in the world, so I sent their mom a note letting her know her kids were awesome even when no one was watching.  She sent me an email back thanking me for the note.  She said it came at a great time because she said she was having a bad day that day, and felt like she was drowning and failing at everything, "but maybe in this one area, the best area, she was doing an ok job, but I really can't take credit because my kids are somehow miracles of bravery and tenacity."

I was like, hold up, WHAT? "I'm doing an 'ok' job." "I can't take the credit..."  

This email left me a little dumbfounded because she totally strikes me as brave and tenacious, and I don't even know her that well.  
How could she say "maybe" or doubt her impact on who her kids are?  Then I looked a little deeper and remembered just hours before telling my daughter's teacher that "I wish I could take credit for her behavior but she is just a really great kid."   

Why? Why do we do this?  And by "this" I mean, why do we feel responsible for every mistake that our children make, yet when they do good, when they show that they are good, we say, "Well, I wish I could take credit for that, but they are who they are."  

Who hasn't felt like they were at times drowning or failing? When we've burnt dinner, missed a deadline, forgot to get the poster board for that project that needs to be done tonight, forgot to get dog food (again).  Then your kid gives you a hug or something and you say, maybe I'm doing okay here.  I'm want you to listen to this.  You are doing better than okay.  You are rocking this mom thing.  Here is how I know.....

You say your children are BRAVE and TENACIOUS, and I will add INDEPENDENT, FORGIVING, and KIND. Well, here is how they got to be this way.

You children see that things don't always work out the way you planned or the way you wanted.  They see you stumble, and they also see you pick yourself up and get back to work rebuilding.  They see STRENGTH and TENACITY.  

They see you heartbroken.  They see you disappointed.  They see the world fall apart around you.  They see you grieve for things that did not turn out the way you would have liked, and then they see you put your heart back together and push down your fear.  They see you put on your big girl pants, a smile, and like a boss, get shit done.  They see that you can be scared and not sure of the future, but you move ahead anyway.....That is BRAVERY. 

Oh, they see you alright when you snap at them during a PMS moment, and more importantly they hear you apologize to them and own your own behavior.  They see HUMILITY.  They see you taking RESPONSIBILITY for your actionsThey see you ask for forgiveness, so they learn how to FORGIVE and how to ask for FORGIVENESS, and they see you FORGIVE YOURSELF and they learn how to forgive themselves.

They see a self-sufficient, kick ass, beautiful woman. They see that you have faith in them that they too can be self-sufficient, kick ass beautiful humans, and they emulate you.  They see INDEPENDENCE in action.

The good that I saw that day brings me to my last and the trait the world definitely needs more of today. I saw a child reach out a hand to help someone who needed it, and I saw a child reach up and take that hand.  I saw these little people act with KINDNESS, and just as importantly know when to ACCEPT KINDNESS.  

They see the GRACE and COURAGE with which you go through life.

So, YES! take credit for how your children behave. You earned it. 

And when your kids are buttholes, which every single one of them will be at some point, remember, it is NOT your failure.  It's your teaching moment to remind them that they can do better.  They can be better, and then you will continue to lead by example.  Better an asshole moment at age 8 or 10 then a lifetime of it as an adult. 

Our kids see us because they are looking to us to show them how to deal with life, so don't hide or be ashamed of your failures because your children are going to fail too, and they are learning from you how to respond.  They look at you and they see you can fail and not be a failure, unless you fail to get back up, and I know you won't.  They know you won't, so rest assured they too will get back up when they need to just like you've shown them.

We are preparing our children for the road, because as much as we might try to prepare the road for our children, at some point we will no longer be on that road with them.  That day will come much more quickly than we realize.    

We are teaching them how to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and keep going, and some days that is so hard.  So, for those days girls, I want you to know that as much as you may feel like you are drowning and failing, you are rocking it in all the ways that matter. 

One final thought, we are quick with our judgmental eyes when things go wrong (me too, I'm not throwing stones), so why not 
tag or send this note or a note of your own to a mom (or dad) who deserves to know they are doing a great job?  They just might need to hear that today.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

An Ode to Roasted Vegetables: Making Nine (9!) 15 minute Meals Possible

I hate grocery shopping.  I think I've mentioned that before.  I can't say I really enjoy standing in the kitchen wondering what to cook, especially on those nights where the kids have activities and we don't have a lot of time (or for me energy for cooking).

The last two weeks I tried something new and it worked, so I'm passing it along for all those people like me who stress over "what's for dinner" and/or are short on time some nights, and/or just want some easy and healthy new ideas.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Be a Soldier of Kindness, Monday Morning Challenge

I've found myself getting a little depressed with all the craziness in the world, the hurricanes of mass destruction, The Donald not being able to get to PR because it's an island in big water, ocean water, taking a knee, outcry over taking a knee, the fact that both sides are so busy disagreeing on the knee thing that they have lost sight of the fact that they share one very important goal....they both want everyone to stand up.  Yet, here we are debating about the right to kneel.  I feel like a child being torn in two by fighting parents in the middle of a nasty divorce.  See, I'm falling in the rabbit hole again, and I digress.

I feel like I am so weighed down, and I feel a little helpless to make a difference that will matter at a CNN newsworthy level.  So, I took a timeout and caught up on a little "Arrow" from last season (sorry Stephen Amell, I'm a little behind).

Anyhoo, this character is feeling like a failure, like he just can't do enough to make a difference, and this other character says to him, "Stop worrying about what you can't do, and start doing what you can do." We've all heard something like this before, and I don't know, maybe I needed to hear it in a smart ass city boy accent for it to kick my butt into gear, but something just clicked for me.  I put down the pint of ice cream and got to work.  Just kidding, I totally finished the pint of ice cream, and the show, and the one after that, but I decided I am going to start worrying about what I can do.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

How to Get Your Husband to Empty the Dishwasher and Other Secrets of Life

I think I just had this epiphany.  I like to be right.  That's not the epiphany. Anyone who really knows me will say, "duh" to that one.  Of course, I would argue that they are wrong.  Ha, ha, ha just kidding (maybe not).

Here is the epiphany.  My pursuit of being right, gets in the way of me getting what I want so many

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Road to Self Care Starts Here!

PLUS 44 Other Ideas to Get You Started


Self-Care is the new buzz word.  In fact according to a NPR article, "The Millennial Obsession with Self Care" Millennials make more personal improvement commitments and spend twice as much in the pursuit of self-care than any other generation, especially in the area of workout regime, diet plans, life coaching, therapy and apps to improve personal well being.

The question is...Why?

Is this a problem/solution of our own making or just the solution to a busy lifestyle that often leaves us feeling self neglected?  This is the generation that has grown up in the age of the internet and social media.  It has never been easier to find information on any topic and never have we been so bombarded by images of impossible high standards.  We are no longer keeping up the the Jones'. We are now keeping up with the Kardashians (and a slew of other celebrities).

On the other hand, never has mental illness gotten so much attention, and we are at a point where the stigma surrounding it is at it's lowest point ever (although we still have a loooong way to go), so people are more willing than ever to seek the help that they need.  Self-care is seen as one way to address anxiety, depression and other illnesses or to help guard against them, and the internet provides almost endless possibilities and ideas on self-care.

Friday, September 15, 2017

How Lying to Yourself Can Make You Kinder to Others

You know how there are these little phrases that you've hear all your life, and you nod your head in understanding every time you hear it, then one day when you hear it for the 556th time you suddenly really get it, like as in an honest to goodness 'aha' moment?  I had one of these flashes of insight this morning.

I was mulling over a problem a friend of mine was going through.  A friend who always seems to have their shit really together.  They are funny, smart, successful many times over, in a happy relationship, living in a great place.  In other words, seemingly "perfect".  Yet, not perfect.  They have a loved one struggling, and a family at odds about the best way to handle the situation.  So the phrase "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.  Be Kind - Always" or "Everyone is struggling at something, some are just better at hiding it than others." popped into my head, and I was like "Wow, that really is true."

Every time I've heard it, I've nodded my head "yes, of course" and went about my day.  Of course I "get it", but I don't know if I ever really, I mean really thought about it to the extent that I not only intellectually understood, but I felt it.  Everyone really does have something that they will have to deal with that isn't pretty.  We all have some mess in our life that we are hiding in the proverbial closet.  Some of us have hall closets, and some have that huge room-sized walk-in closet of mess with several sections, that we are dealing with.
Compassion and Empathy
The difference is when I intellectually understood it, I didn't internalize it, so I would then find myself subconsciously (maybe consciously) judging.  For example, you know when you pass someone on the highway, and then maybe you forget to get right back into the driving lane, then you look behind you and see this A**hole riding your bumper, flashing his lights at you to move over? See? Judging - only a**holes drive like that.  Or, the surly checkout person is just mean.  Glad you don't have to work with her.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Project Night Owl to Morning Lark: What Worked & What Didn't Round 1

SPOILER ALERT: I suck at this, but I learned a lot.....

Night Routines
Becoming a Morning Person

I picked this Ostrich because it is neither a owl or a lark, AND this ostrich face just looks like it saying to me, "Ummm hmmm, I know your excuses and I'll have none of them, get your ass out there and try again."  Ok, I'm trying. I really am, yet I just can't seem to get into a groove that allows me to stick to a routine.  Maybe the problem is that in the summer, there is no routine.  I get a little more lax with everything.  I have more than my usual 1 glass of wine.  The kids and I stay up later watching movies, playing Minecraft, and just enjoying the fact that we DON'T have a routine that we are a slave to.  I was starting to get back in a groove when Hurricane Harvey hit and the kids were out of school for another two weeks.  However, Monday is our last day home, then it is back to the grind. Back to a routine, so I will try again.

I was feeling a little down on myself for the total lack of progress, then I remembered this little statistic from Men's Health.  It takes the average smoker almost 30 tries before they finally kick the habit.  I've been a night owl my whole life.  I'm biologically pre-disposed (it would seem), so I'm not sweating it as long as I am learning along the way.  So, here is what I've discovered so far.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Book Review: The Weight of Feathers

2 Stars (out of 5)

I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway, and was so excited to get it. The cover is beautiful and the writing engages with beautiful metaphors and symbolism that are used tastefully and with restraint. The Weight of Feathers is like a classical beautiful woman (or man) you are drawn to because of their beauty and the care they take in their appearance speaks of a certain gracefulness, not like those flashy fake beauties. After a few minutes of conversation you realize that all of their effort has gone into their outwardly appearance and they are about as deep as a puddle.  Admittedly, I have low tolerance for foolishness and spinelessness and this book has that in spades. There is a magical element and everyone's decisions are based on this magical "gypsy" type folklorish superstition, which is one thing. However, the theme is inconsistent, at one time highlighting how superstitions and magic are absurd ways to base decisions on (even trumping love for one's sons and daughters), then explaining everything away with a perfectly non-magical, completely logical explanation that makes everyone look stupid for living 20 years under these superstitions. Then turn the page and someone dissolves into a pyre of ruby feathers that we are off and following into the sunset. While I have a low tolerance for foolishness and spinelessness in my characters, I have even less patience for glaring inconsistencies in plot. I would sacrifice flowery language for plot every single time.  As far as comparisons to "The Night Circus", I can say the prose is very similar in it's beauty and feel. I would say that is where I stop comparing. I was not a huge fan of that book either as I thought the actual plot was weak (i.e. non-existent), but it was more engaging and interesting to me than this read (but maybe not to a teenager because it does have that "but I love him" angst to it). So, I can't say I would recommend it to adult fans of that book because I do believe you would be disappointed.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Tiger Rising: How a Book Helped Me Help My Children Deal with Death

I just recently finished reading "The Tiger Rising" by Kate DiCamillo.  It is a short read, about 121 pages.  I finished it in about an hour.  My daughter who is 7 years old, picked it up on the clearance shelf of our favorite discount bookstore.  She is going through a cat phase right now, and is attracted to all things cat, so the cover (which is beautiful) and the title was irresistible for her.  She brought it home and read it nonstop that afternoon.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Guest Post: Best Underwear for Women (Sexy and Comfortable)

Hey Mommas!  We have a guest poster this week!  

Natasha Brown is one of my oldest friends.  We grew up together.  She recently (like this week) launched her own blog with a couple of her bff's to talk about those things we only talk about with our bff's, the trivial, the embarrassing, the funny, the serious, the raw, and the real, all in a judgement free zone (because best friends don't judge, even when they should/could). Please show her some love and leave some comments for her - well for all of us, and maybe check out her page as she gets it up and going.  Also, she is looking for topics to research and cover, so drop her a line ( ), and her and the bff team with talk it out and post about it.  

My recommendation for the most comfortable, pretty, no panty line showing underwear out there.

I'm 40 and I have had two children.  I just don't want to wear a thong anymore.  I'll take comfort over sexy.  At this point in our lives with two busy careers and two busy children, my husband is just happy if he gets laid semi-regularly.  I don't think he is even paying attention to my underwear.  Looking at my cellulite in a thong doesn't make me feel attractive either.  However, I'm not dead yet, and I want to feel attractive, and comfortable, and I don't want panty lines, so what's a girl to do?

Enter Soma Vanishing Edge series from Soma (
They disappear under your clothes, even the sheerest of summer dresses, and they stay put thanks to these little gripper strips on the cheeks.  They are super comfy too and come in microfiber and cotton.  I have used both.  I don't wear them to the gym though because they are my "fancy" underwear.  

Speaking of gyms and underwear..... underwear under your gym leggings or no?  One of the bff's goes commando, but I just can't do it.  It doesn't feel right.  Like riding in a car without a seatbelt it just feels like something is missing, and I feel vulnerable.  Maybe I have deeper trust issues, I don't know, but until I get those sorted out, I'm wearing undies under my leggings. The undies I've been wearing are Hanes Boyfriend Hipster 3pack briefs. They are cotton, so breathable, and they stay put.  Plus they have a little of this fighter/boxer thing going on, so it makes me feel like I am out there kicking ass Rocky style.  I love them, but you can see panty lines under leggings. I don't care, but if that's an issue for you, skip these.  
So fellow bff's, what's your go to undies?  What other amazing panties am I missing?  Leave your favorites for the rest of us below.

Monday, July 17, 2017

10 Things To Do Right Now to Help You Lose Weight for Good

I have tried a lot of things that didn’t work and were a little too extreme for me. Remember “Stop the Insanity”??? That was insanity. The science behind it turned out to be off the mark with her philosophy of never eating fat, and just eating whatever you want. Never again eating anything with fat in it for me was a definite no go in the long run (really, have you ever tried non-fat “cheese" {shudder}).  When I fell off the wagon, I felt like a failure, and that is when I really started to eat unhealthy, and the weight snuck up on me.  

In reality, I wasn’t a failure, the diet was.  So, when I decided to get healthier, I tried numerous things, many of which I still use in some form or the other, and I am still learning.  

Some of these tips and tools I stumbled upon through talking to friends, reading about eating plans, etc., but what made it successful for me was the fact that I had begun paying attention to what I was eating and why without judgment.  This allowed me to really evaluate whether it would work in my life, and how I would need to tweak it to suit me.  So use what works for you, and accept that it might take a while to figure out what does, in fact, work for you.  Be creative. Experiment.  

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Want to be Happier? Join the 85% Club

Be Happier

Eighty-five percent is a pretty good number.  The older I get to 100, the more I think 85% is perfect. It might not be a A, but it is a B+ and that's still pretty good.

I'm embracing and making friends with the 85% because I just don't think I want to spend the energy chasing the A anymore.  In fact when I was going for the A, I wasn't doing it for me.  I was doing that for other people or to influence what they thought of me (can't let them see I'm not perfect).

Friday, June 23, 2017

Are You the Toxic Friend? 5 Ways to Change It

I stumbles across this old Forbes article about 10 toxic people to avoid.  I don’t know about you, but when I see a headline like this, I immediately open it thinking, “Oh my god, is that me?”  By the way, this is a sign that this is probably not you because if you were a toxic friend then you would be thinking, “Oh my god, how many of my friends fit this list?”  

Toxic Friends
As I was reading through this though, I realized that at one time or another I’ve done some of these things.  My guess is that we all have, so what keeps us from adapting these behaviors more permanently as other “toxic” people have?  

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Project Night Owl to Morning Lark: The Beginning

Night Owl to Morning Person

Ok, so my summer project is to see if I can become an early bird.  This has been a perennial favorite on the resolution list forever, yet never actually achieved.  Why worry about it at all you might ask? That's a really good question.  The fact is, I have kids.  Kids who go to school early.  Life happens early.  There is a lot of literature out there pointing to the benefits of being an early bird or a lark.  As I said, school starts early and I have to drag both of my kids out of their bed, and get them ready for school. They are reluctant early risers as well, except on the weekends...  Hmmm ... maybe I need to look at that a little harder in a minute, but I digress.  The world does seem to favor the early risers.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Two Things You Can Do to Turn a Bad Day Around

I want to introduce the concept of a Reboot.  When my son was small, he used to throw these hellacious tantrums.  If I could catch him before things piled on too much, (you know before the feeling where everything is going wrong) we could usually avoid an epic meltdown (on both of our parts).  It would work like this. I would say, "Do you want a reboot?" He would nod his sad little head, and I would put him back in bed, pull up the covers, shut the blinds, turn out the light, say "I love you Bubba.  See you in the morning," and leave, shutting the door behind me.  Outside his room, I would silently count to 10, then cheerfully open the door and say, "Time to get up, my sweet boy. Time to start the day " Then we would go through our usual morning routine of hugs and tickles.  It would work almost every time.

It works for the following reasons:

Friday, June 2, 2017

Throw Together an EASY Cocktail Party for 25 in Less than 3 hours. No Pinterest Required!

Monica, I and another friend threw our first Mommas and Mimosas (and Mojitos) event as an auction item to raise money for our kids’ school.  The whole idea of a party, at my house no less, is a little terrifying for me. I mean, first of all there is all those people to make small talk with (not one of my strengths), then getting everything ready?? I’m not creative, nor am I crafty or a decorator.  When I do entertain, it is “Come over we’ll have margaritas," and it’s a couple of people that I know (well). Add to that the pressure of knowing that people paid for it….well hyperventilation started kicking in.  
I turned to Pinterest to look for easy ideas I could implement.  What a mistake!!  Pinterest is full of totally elegant ideas with the word “Easy” splashed over it to get me to click on it, but when I actually try to execute said “easy” idea, I come up a miserable failure, if I get past the 100 "easy" steps required to pull it off.  

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

5 Things You Can Do to Start Living Intentionally Today

You need two things in order to change anything in your life and reach a new place.  1) You need to know where you want to go.  What is your end game?  What will success look like for you? And, 2) You need to know where you are now.  Think about it like reaching any physical destination.  If you want to take a trip or move somewhere, the first thing you do is decide where it is that you want to go, maybe the beach, Disney World, the mountains.  

Ok, you have your destination.  You map out the route.  On the way you get lost.  You pull out your map to look to see how to get back on track.  What is the one thing you need to know?  Where are you now?  

How do you find where you are now?  You pick your head up and you look around.  Are there exit signs? Are there other distinctive markers?  Once you know where you are, and find where you want to go on the map, then you can correct your course and carry on.  No matter how off course you may get either by accident or because you wanted to take a side trip on the way, if you know where you are, and where you want to go, you stand a much higher chance of success in reaching your destination.  

Life is no different than that, except that most of the time we don’t establish where we want to go, and we don’t pay attention to where we are until something happens, and then we say, “Oh shit, how did I end up here?”  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Make You Own All Natural Facial Cleansing Oil

Essential Oils facial care
I’ve been using the oil cleansing method for a while now.  You will find many variations on how to do this, but below is what works for me.  I have combination skin (more like oily and normal), and hormonal cystic acne.  I started using Coconut Oil on my face.  This did help some, and fortunately, the coconut oil didn’t clog my pores too badly.  I say “fortunately” because Coconut Oil is high on the Comedogenic scale. It may be good for a lot of things, but cleaning your face isn't one of them (for most people).   

Then I read something about Castor Oil.  Castor oil has been used for eons for all kinds of skin conditions (including eczema) to soothe, moisturize and treat acne.  Most Oil Cleansing recipes call for a combination of Castor Oil and some other oil such as grapeseed (high in anti-oxidants), Jojoba (closest to your own facial oil), Olive Oil, etc. Around the same time I started playing around with Essential Oils, so I decided to combine the two things for my own homemade super cleanser.  

Thursday, May 18, 2017

What If You Could Ensure Your Child's Success in Life? You Can. HOW? Read on.....

Interested?  First what is a "Growth Mindset"?  Thanks to Dr Carol Dweck’s  research (Stanford University, professor of Psychology) there has been a shift happening in how leaning and intelligence is viewed.  Dweck describes Growth Mindset as a belief system that asserts that intelligence can be developed.  Parents with a growth mindset believe that their children can achieve at higher levels - with effort, perseverance, and resiliency (some describe this as “grit”).  Learners (e.g. your children) with a growth mindset believe that they can grow their intelligence with hard work and learn just about anything.  

Conversely, a Fixed mindset is a belief system in which one believes that intelligence is something you are born with - it’s genetic, it is innate, and although everyone can learn new things, you innate level of intelligence can not be changed. (Depressing, right?)

So, last week I talked about Redefining Failure for Kids .  A google + member, Toy Veteran, commented with the quote, “To succeed you only have to double your rate of failure. - Thomas Watson, President of IBM from the 20’s to the 50’s.  I love this because it reminds us that our failures are often the most valuable and memorable teachers.  We can respond to our failures by either giving up, or we can use them to become better and stronger as we try, try again (this is the perseverance and grit stuff).  

One is a growth mindset, the other is a fixed mindset.  I know which I want for my kid (hint: it isn’t the "give up" one).

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Book Review: Sunset Rising (Sunset Rising #1) by S.M. McEachern

Hey Guys, I thought it might be cool to start posting some reviews of books that I am reading.  I like non-fluff fiction stuff (A Prayer for Owen Meany for example), fantasy, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, etc.  

However, I also like total fluff stuff that just let’s me get wrapped up in a simple, exciting story, and doesn’t strain the brain.  If I compared it to movies or TV, I would say I can appreciate and enjoy watching some of the important Academy Award winning films.  BUT, I also really appreciate a good episode (or binge Netflix marathon) of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Not the movie though, the TV Series.  The movie was terrible.   

I just finished Sunset Rising by S.M. McEachern.  This is a "flufff" book, not deep fiction.  First 1/3 of the book is sort of slow.  I feel like there is a lot of telling.  So far the villains are a little cartoonish.  I imagine President Holt with a Hitler mustache.  It’s a dystopian YA with romance.  Girl accidentally gets put into a position to save her world, but needs the help of an extremely attractive man to help her.  Typically, right up my alley.

I typically don’t mind minor grammatical errors because if the plot and characters are engrossing enough, my mind sort of skips over them subconsciously correcting as I fly along.  However, that has not been the case.  I can’t tell you for sure if it is because there are so many of them, or if the plot and characters haven’t sucked me in yet or both.  So far, I’m a little...

And for the rest of the book… it picks up in the 2/3 of the way in, a little.  There is more character

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Redefining Failure

goal setting fro children

I’ve been reading a lot about Growth Mindset theory lately, and why it so important to success in both children and adults.  I’ll post more about that later, but it got me thinking about failure.  Being able to learn from failure, take what you learn and adapt it to a the ‘next time” or a new situation is a critical component of a growth mindset. 

The subject of failure alone is enough to write a plethora of books on, so I won’t tackle it here.  Rather just one aspect of it.  

The flip side of failure is success or the attainment of a goal.  The attainment of said goal means you are successful or you are not.  If you are not successful in reaching your goal, then you feel like you are not a success or as my 4th grader would say, “I feel like a loser.”  This is heartbreaking to hear from your child.  Their heartbreak is our heartbreak, and we also don’t want them to look like a loser, so we do our best to work it so they avoid feeling this way.  We prepare the road for our child instead of preparing our child for the road.  

Friday, May 5, 2017

How I Lost 30 LBS Without Willpower: Phase IV

We don’t live in a bubble.  We live in a system, so real change has to address all parts of your life.  Your family, your friends, your spouse, your work and community.  All of it.  Think about when your plans for improving your health get derailed?  Family events, work celebrations or catered lunches, or your spouse isn’t on board or maybe not aware you are making changes to your eating habits.  What happens?  You eat the cookies you bake with the kids.  You eat the co-workers birthday cake.  You eat the bag of chips with your husband as you watch TV together.  I’m not saying these things are bad, they just are, so be intentional about how you deal with them.  If you want to have the cake, have the cake, but do it on your terms, intentionally, as part of an overall plan. 

Because you live in a system (and not in a bubble), setting boundaries and asking for help and support is crucial for success.  Here is how you do it….

Friday, April 28, 2017

How I Lost 30lbs without Willpower, Phase III

It’s week 3! I would love to hear from you about how things have been going, what successes, disappointments or setbacks you have had.  I hope you are feeling pumped and not discouraged.  In case it is the latter though, I wanted to point out to you the success that you have already had. 

Remember we said that in order to be healthier in our eating habits and lose weight, we needed to do the following things:
  1. Portion Control
  2. Eating more veggies (and fruits)
  3. Eating more “Whole Foods" - as in unprocessed.
  4. Eating less junk
  5. Exercise 
I bet by tracking your food for the last two weeks, you have made better decisions, even if you have not written a thing down.  Just by setting the intention, you are going to have some success.  Combine that with our assignment last week to eat your veggies first, and I bet you have moved even more “bad” foods out of your life, so you are hitting #2 and #3, and possibly #4!  Great Job!!

This week we are moving on to Phase III.  At the end of this post, there are links to Phase I and II in case you want a refresher or are just starting, and want to catch up.  Sorry folks this is a long one because we are starting to move into the nitty gritty action steps.  I hope you find the info enlightening and useful, not just for this, but for any other changes you want to make in your life.

Phase III

First let’s talk about our habits. Habits are our default response to life.  They

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

5 Tips on How to Stop Arguing and Start Communicating with your Child/Tween/Teen

Tired of arguing with your child/tween/teen?  Want to turn an adversarial relationship with your child around and have an actual conversation?  Here are some things that you can do immediately to improve communication with your child.
Communicating without yelling

1. Listen.

Now you are probably thinking that you do listen, and this is about the lamest advice ever, but I would wager that you really don't listen.  Most people don't really listen.  They listen to reply.

Next conversation with someone (anyone), observe yourself.  I'll bet you a mimosa, while the person

Friday, April 21, 2017

How I Lost 30 pounds Without Willpower: Phase II

Healthy Lifetstyle

Quick Review of Last Week:

Last week we worked on awareness and the assignment was to become more aware of what you eat and why you are eating it.  We wrote down what, how much, why are you eating it (no judgment, just an observation), and finally were you hungry?  If you want a full refresher, please click on the link:

Phase II

Losing weight permanently means changing your life style.  This is no easy task.  Food is every where.  Not only do we need it to survive, but we celebrate life with food (or Mimosas 😉 ).  We use food to assuage are feelings of guilt, grief, stress, happiness, boredom, and all other range of emotions. On top of that, sweets and carbs hit the pleasure center in our brains, so we crave the very stuff we aren’t "supposed" to have.  You are undergoing a very daunting task indeed. This is why willpower is not the best tool on which to depend.  Not to worry. You can do this. How? Read on.

Friday, April 14, 2017

How I Lost 30lbs without Willpower - Phase I

Phase 1

Weight Loss
I’ve debated writing about this, because most people who know me now think I am naturally thin, and have been blessed with a great metabolism.  So anytime the subject of weight loss comes up, they roll their eyes at me and say, “but you’re so skinny,” and tune me out.  But alas, I do not come from a family of thin people, except my Grandmother, but that is because she only consumed Scotch (another story for another time).  Despite my trepidation, I decided to write about it anyway, because the one good thing about writing is that I can’t see an eye roll, so roll away, and maybe one or two things might actually help someone out there.  So here goes…..

So like anything worth having in life, and only you can decide what is worth having, and what is not, there is a little bit of good news and a little bad news.  

The good news…. this can be done without depending on your willpower to get you through. Let me clarify, there is some willpower involved, but not on the Herculean level most diets require.  This is not a diet.  This is a mindset change.