Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tickle Me Tuesday

Hey.. Hey! Step away from that feather, I wasn't being LITERAL about tickling! Although, a good ticklefest with your kids (or inner child/loved ones)is always a fun treat for all!

From time to time, I like to share something that will help cheer you, encourage you and/or feed your soul and spirit. It's not a commercial or anything like that. Simply put -- you know when you find something you really like and you share it with you gal pals? It's that kind of idea. This could encompass anything that tickles your fancy.

I saw this product recently and just fell in love with it. It's an acorn locket that opens to reveal a secret message. Yes, I was one of those kids who loved creating special codes that only my friends could read, and sharing secret messages (you know, "A=1, B=2...). I'm the romantic who loves to tuck a love note in that special someone's pocket, or leave a note in your child's lunch box to encourage them, etc. So how cool is this?

Imagine giving it to a friend or a special female in your life with an itsy-bitsy note nestled inside that means something to both of you? Or a favorite quote? And hey, buy yourself your own flowers and Valentine's day gift and tuck a favorite Scripture verse or love note to yourself in to wear close to your heart! Wild women don't stand on principle, you know! Are you flying solo? Be your own Valentine! Okay, that's a whole 'nuther blog....

Anywhooo, the main thing here is that I thought this was a beautifully hand-crafted gift of love to yourself or another. I also embrace the symbolism of the acorn. It can represent human potential, strength, the small idea that can grow exponentially, how something that seems to die can rebirth and flourish. The crazy side of me also is tickled by what blogger Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman blog (which I highly recommend - click HERE to surf over) suggested about putting in the message "I'm nuts about you!"

And since I'm nuts about all my readers, I wanted to share this with all of you. Exercise your gifting muscle today, and consider blessing yourself or someone else with this expression of love and friendship today. Click HERE to go to www.etsy.com to read more or purchase. Be sure to swing by Bella Beads Studio as well to see other amazingly beautiful creations! Click HERE to visit!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mom's Birthday Monday

Today I want to pay tribute to the most amazing woman I know – my Mom. It’s her birthday today, and I would like this opportunity to sing out her praises.

She is a VERY active member of Curves gym, and has well over 1,000 visits in the last few years. All you have to do is ask her to show you her guns, and that sleeve is up and bicep curled!

She has a heart “as big as the all outdoors” (as my Grandmom used to say). She is loving and giving, and is a tigress when it comes to her family. She is our matriarch.

Her faith in God never fails, and she is a prayer warrior.

Her life hasn’t been easy, but you’d never know it from her cheerful disposition. Mom’s sense of humor is funny, zany, warped and wonderful – I call her my “Crazy Old Broad”. She plays practical jokes on me, and sometimes we get to laughing so hard I cry.

She’s wise, and always ready to listen and not judge – I know her love is steadfast, even when I’ve messed up oh-so-many times in my life. She’s got the best Mom-hugs in the world! She is my biggest cheerleader and always supports me, even if she doesn’t always agree or understand.

She’s also an incredible Grandmother, and her nickname is “Gooma” – so of course we call her “The Goom”, The Goomeister”, “Goominator”, and I call her Momma Pajama or MPJ for short.

She’s the only person I’ve ever heard of who actually ran away and joined the circus! (Oh am I gonna pay for letting that out!) Yep... yep... My Mother IS the ORIGINAL wild woman!

I have the honor/blessing/privilege of having her with me since her home burned down about a year and a half ago. She walked away with nothing but quite literally the shirt off her back, and yet she has always looked at the bright side and counted her blessings. Mom doesn’t hold “things” tightly – her family and friends are her greatest treasures.

But let me tell you, Mom is our family’s greatest treasure. She is gutsy, courageous and strong, and is always there when we need her. She is my hero, my inspiration, and my love and respect for this woman knows no bounds. Truly, the words haven’t been invented yet to describe her.

So happy birthday, my bestest friend and Crazy Old Broad Mom. You are the absolute best Mom E-V-E-R, and I love you and thank God every single day that He blessed me with you. Here’s to another year of love, laughter, good health, blessings and all the happiness your beloved heart can hold.

Psalm 31:28-29 – “Her children arise and call her blessed; many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Trade It Thursday

Awhile back I was watching a home decorating show on HGTV, and the woman was decorating a room because two sisters were having a swap party, and wanted their room and atmosphere to feel like a high-end boutique. They had organized the party by asking each woman invited to bring 10-20 items they would like to swap. The more items they brought, the more tickets they would be given to use as “money”. Naturally, the items had to be in great condition, neat and clean and ready to be used/worn. Every item was brought to the event the weekend before so the sisters would have time to evaluate the “cost” of the item, tag it, and display it appropriately. Well, at the end of the program their room was beautiful, the women had a wonderful time, and nobody laid out one red cent!

Okay, I love this idea, and think it would be such fun. Not only could you swap out stuff like they did in the program, but what about skills? I could offer one hour of personal training or Pilates, and maybe that would “buy” me an hour of learning a new language, or personal organizing. The more I write about this, the more jazzed I get, and I think this will definitely be something on my 2012 goals. Getting together with some of the FABULOUS WILD WOMEN I’m blessed to know, shopping, swapping, laughing and just having fun for F-R-E-E! It just doesn’t get any better than that!

Interestingly, no one brought husbands or children to exchange… isn’t that nice???

So crank up those trade it muscles, get together with a bunch of your best gal pals, and have a swap party! If you do, we’d love to hear about it, so email your comments and photos!


Wild Woman Wednesday

Wild Woman have vision!

Today I want you to exercise your creativity, your inner spark, and your inner athlete. There was a great article about Vision Board creation on the website www.athleta.net that I’d like to share with you today.

A vision board is a collage of things you want to do, be, create and achieve in your life. It’s fun and doesn’t cost a penny! You can focus it on one specific area of your life (this article highlights your inner athlete), or you could create one that encompasses every area of your life.
There’s no rules, no boundaries, and I encourage you to color outside the lines to your heart’s content!!! Use crayons, markers, paints, anything that represents YOU and YOUR DREAMS.

Click HERE to read the article. I would love to see some of your results, so feel free to email me a scanned picture and I’ll post it here to inspire and encourage your wild woman sisters.

Too Much Tuesday

I’ve done it again. The second half of January through to the end of the month my calendar is so jam-packed I may not have time to shave both legs until Valentine’s Day, and all I dream about and crave is a 24-hour nap! I have a confession to make. I’m the queen of too much. I take on too much and think I can do it all and then have some time left over so I schedule something ELSE. It is a habitually problem that I‘ve been working on for years, and this month was, shall we say, not my shining moment of victory?

Between work, school, teaching, working out, going for my pilates reformer and kettle bell certifications, and finding time to dance, hang out with friends, and do the other small million or so other things that we all have to do in life, I am just exhausted. I’m burning the candle at both ends and feel like I’m about at the end of my rope.

One goal for February is to build more margin into my life. Keep a lookout for the Book of the Month I will be featuring in February on margins. That will surely be the book I will be reading in February. That is, if I ever get done of January’s book!

I know each and every one of you reading this knows exactly what I’m going through right now. Let’s all exercise our margins muscle and try to build a little time for ourselves in the coming days, shall we? Time to renew, refresh, and restore our weary wild woman bones? Well, I’m off to daydream about a lovely little nap…zzzzzzzz


Motivated Monday

I just came back from an amazing weekend of being trained on the Pilates Reformer. I currently am a certified Pilates mat instructor, and because I’m so passionate about Pilates (because it transformed my body), I wanted to go further and get my certification on the Pilates Reformer.

I had the privilege of being trained by Frankie Puglisi, owner and Educational Director of The Pilates Institute of America. She was such a warm, fun-loving personality – and she specializes in offering the best in Pilates teacher training. If it has anything to do with Pilates, she knows about it! I encourage you to visit her site to learn more about Pilates by clicking HERE.

The others students ranged from beginners to seasoned master instructors who were refreshing their skills, and the energy in that room helped inspire me to be the best I could be, both as a health professional and on a personal level as well. I can’t wait until the end of April to attend Pilates Reformer II.

It’s been over five years since I made the decision to begin my journey of better health, losing 50 pounds, and pursuing my passion of helping other women be their best in every area of life. If you had told me then where I would be today, I don’t know that I would have been able to envision that. But it just takes the first step. So please, start today. Work your baby step muscle and get out there to begin your own journey to the life and dreams you have in your heart, soul and spirit.

You’ll never know what’s around the corner until you take the first step!


Friday, January 20, 2012

For Real Friday

I am a big fan of Paula Deen. She just cracks me up with her lovable and bold personality, and I enjoy watching her on the Food Network. She’s spunky, funny and can cook up a storm. I respect her journey and think she’s got so much good goin’ on. However…

I am very sad to hear that she is not using her celebrity platform to teach people how to cook more healthfully, especially after hearing that she has Type 2 Diabetes. There is an excellent article on CNN.com today from well known doctor and health expert Dr. Andrew Weil that says it so much better than I could, and I want to share that with you today – click HERE to read it.

When I hop on the treadmill or elliptical at the gym, I always turn the telly to the Food Network – oh yeah, run and sweat while you watch Paul and Ina, The Barefoot Contessa (and get hungrier by the moment). I shake my head as they plop down sticks of butter, slather gobs of bleu cheese over a steak and use white flour and white sugar to create decadently delicious and deadly desserts. While I am a firm believer that there is no bad food (as long as you’re not allergic or have medical reasons which limit it from your menu), let’s get real, ladies. Surely you could find little alternatives here and there to design a more healthful version of these beautiful but dangerous meals. I’ve been known to stop in the middle of my stride and talk out loud to the screen, “What?!?! Are you kidding?!?!”

I love love love me some yummy divine food, believe me I do. But when you find you have a disease like diabetes, you need to take it seriously, and not simply pop a pill and figure that’s it. You need to adjust your lifestyle with better foods, more exercise and whatever you need to do to own your best heath. Life is too short not to do everything you can to keep your body/soul/spirit at your personal best. Imagine how much Paula Deen could impact, inspire and help her diabetic fans! Maybe a new show, “Dishin’ Diabetic Delights with Paula Deen!” You are an amazing wild woman of fun and food, and we love you – we want you healthy and strong and showing others how to be the same!

So, like Dr. Weil says, “It could start with you, Paula Deen.” And hey, can I get that shrimp sauté’ recipe, Dr. Weil. It sure sounds like bliss… and healthy!

Blessings for a wonderful weekend,

Tribute Thursday

Today I’d like to pay tribute to a woman I knew from my church – Daveida. She went home to be with the Lord on January 12th, and Thursday I attended her funeral, more appropriately called “a celebration of her life.” She was only 41, but had battled breast cancer for the last six years. She left behind three children, an 8-month old grandson, and uncounted family and friends who will miss her dearly.

I met Daveida about 18 months ago as she was going through a battle with this horrific disease, and even then she had so much courage, strength and faith in her Lord. She was a soft-spoken, calm woman with a great sense of humor, and there was a peace whenever you were in her presence. She rallied back from that battle – the doctors really didn’t expect her to make it through Christmas last year. But she did, and then some, living more than a year later. It was only in the last several months that yet another battle began, and it moved swiftly.

Even with the physical ravages she encountered, Daveida was beautiful and had a smile that would light up the room. Yet this beauty was overshadowed by the beauty of her heart and soul. She would reach out to others even from her hospital bed to see how they were, how she could pray for them, and what could she do for them.

There were literally hundreds of people at her life celebration service, which was a heartbreakingly sad yet joyful remembrance of this inspirational woman. We are sad and mourn for our loss, yet we celebrate her and thank God for the incredible privilege of having shared in her life. I wish I had gotten to know her better, but I will forever be changed by the moments we did have together. She taught us how to live, and how to die.

Goodbye for now, Daveida…

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wild Woman Wednesday

I was reading a health website this morning and came upon an article by health expert Dr. Mercola (www.mercola.com). In the post he said that two recent studies concluded that if you’re over the age of 25, every hour spent in front of the TV cuts 22 minutes off your life!!! (Frankly, between the reality shows, judge whoever shows and commercials I can understand how it could suck the life right out of you)! Additionally, another analysis published by the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested two hours in front of the plug in drug could raise the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease by 20%.

Holy TV Guide, Batman! I knew that excessive television can turn you into a junk-food munching couch potato, but these are frightening statistics.

But there is good news, wild women, so don’t despair! He also finds that exercising only 15 minutes a day can increase your lifespan by three years. So if you must watch CSPAN, be sure to exercise while you’re watching it to increase your LIFE span.

My gym has television screens on each treadmill and many of the upright bikes and elliptical machines. Take the hint – be active while you’re watching the boob tube. Get up and do jumping jacks during a commercial, walk around (and not just around the frig for a snack, either.) Run up and down your stairs. There are many ways to counteract that couch potato syndrome.

However, I highly recommend the best of all choices – TURN THE TV OFF! Go for a walk, get outside, volunteer, clean, do chores, visit a friend… whatever it takes to get out there movin’ and groovin’, sister! Take a Zoomba class! More sweating less sitting! You want less junk in the trunk? MOVE THE TRUNK! Think what a positive role model you will be for your kids or friends. Exercise your brain and read instead of zoning out in front of the screen.

Exercise your willpower – shut the TV off for 24 hours, or I double dog dare you to put a moratorium on the TV for a weekend. Imagine the positive possibilities. Go ahead, girl, grab that remote, and click O-F-F!!!! You can do it – you are a wild woman!!!!! And remember - you will NEVER see a gravestone that says "I wish I spent more time watching TV!"


Source: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/exercise-a-secret-weapon-against-disease.html?page=2

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Touch Base Tuesday

Days turn into weeks… turn into months… turn into years…

It’s been said time flies, whether you’re having fun or not! Our lives are all so busy, each with our to-do lists, our daily chores and obligations. We don’t mean to become so self-focused, but it happens. I know how guilty I am of allowing my hamster wheel to become the boundary marker for my life. And the next thing I know, all my good intentions of keeping up with friends have ended up as wishful thinking sprinkled with a healthy dose of regrets.

There’s a quote from the movie Ferris Buehler’s Day Off that says, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” In the blink of an eye, the people you hold most dear can be gone. You need to make them a priority while you may, and let them know they are important to you, loved by you, treasured and cherished by you.

Before the week is out, exercise your friendship muscles and reach out to someone who you’ve been meaning to call or visit. Drop them a real live snail mail card, or an e-card, or a phone call or text or Facebook post or Twitter – but DO IT! Take ten minutes to touch base with them. As you read this, I’ll bet more than one person has crossed your mind (and heart). THAT’S the person (or people) you need to connect with now.

One of my goals this year is to be a better reacher-outter. I am blessed beyond measure with a loving family and more amazing wild women friends than you can imagine. Each person is unique and special, funny, intelligent and absolutely cherished… and I don’t want to miss one day without somehow making the time to communicate with at least one of these treasured souls. My life is better and richer and more wonderful because of their influence and love and support, and it’s time I made more of an effort to ensure they know that right down to their wild women toes! Each day this year, I will use some form of communication to touch base with one friend. I’d like to leave a legacy of love, where people would say that I made them feel special and important and loved.

That’s my goal – one day and one dear heart at a time. Life is too short – touch base today.



Monday, January 16, 2012

Mood-Food Monday

Ah… Monday – the least favorite day of the week for many wild women. Yet another weekend has flown by, and now we are faced with … go ahead and groan while you say it…. “M…o…n…d…a…y…” You can feel yourself sinking into one of those “Monday moods” like a pit of quicksand. Here’s your lifeline, ladies – mood-boosting foods! In an article on mood-boosting foods (click HERE to read), Leah Zerbe from Rodale Press shares with us a variety of foods that contain all kinds of happy little goodies that change our brain to assist us in having better moods.

Mussels are loaded with some of the highest naturally occurring levels of brain-protecting vitamin B12 on the planet. That makes the mollusk an important food source, considering that a significant portion of the U.S. population is B12 deficient. So what's the nutrient's mood-saving trick? Maintaining a healthy level preserves the myelin sheath that insulates your brain cells, helping your brain stay sharp as you grow older. Mussels also contain trace nutrients that are important to balancing your mood, including zinc, iodine, and selenium, things vital to keeping your thyroid, your body's master mood regulator, on track. An added benefit? Mussels are a healthy choice for you and the environment, which isn't always the case when it comes to fish. Just be sure to look for farmed—not wild—mussels raised in the United States.

Swiss Chard
This leafy green is packed with magnesium, a nutrient essential for the biochemical reactions in the brain that boost your energy levels. According to Dr. Ramsey, some of the first studies on magnesium involved its effect on depression. That could come in handy today, since the majority of Americans simply don't get enough magnesium in their diet. Green-thumb tip: Swiss chard is easy to grow in a home garden. If you plant it, harvest just a few outer leaves—not everything all at once—and the plant will continue producing all season long.

Blue Potatoes
Blue potatoes aren't a common supermarket find, but they're popping up as a unique offering at farmer's markets all over the country. The color in blue potatoes is courtesy of anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that provide neuro-protective benefits such as bolstering short-term memory and reducing mood-killing inflammation.

Be sure to eat their skins, too. The potatoes' skins are loaded with iodine, a diet-derived nutrient essential for life, and one that helps regulate the thyroid, what Dr. Ramsey calls one of our "master mood regulators." And always choose organic potatoes. Nonorganic spuds usually fall victim to multiple toxic chemical sprays that are absorbed into the vegetables' flesh.

Grass-Fed Lamb
Animals raised on grass pastures boast much higher levels of healthy conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA. This happy fat beats back stress hormones protecting brain cells and erases dangerous inflammation-promoting belly fat, Dr. Ramsey explains. Grass-fed lamb is also packed with mood-promoting heme iron, the type that your body most readily absorbs. Iron is vital for a stable mood—its highest concentrations in the brain are located in areas related to mood and memory.

Dark Chocolate
Ever wonder why chocolate makes you feel so good? Sure, it tastes good, but it also provides an instant boost in concentration and mood and even improves blood flow to the brain, helping you feel more vibrant and energized. Skip the sugary milk chocolate blends and go directly for the darkest organic (highest percentage of cocoa) chocolate you can. A recent study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that just a few ounces of dark chocolate a day results in better mood. (We love organic, fair trade Theo chocolate.)

Greek Yogurt
This dairy pick is packed with more calcium than you'll find in milk or regular yogurt, and it can make you happy, too. Proper calcium levels give the "Go" command, alerting your body to release feel-good neurotransmitters. "Disturbances in calcium levels can produce anxiety, depression, irritability, impaired memory, and slow thinking," says Dr. Ramsey in The Happiness Diet. Plus, the probiotics help aid in digestion and can even ward off colds. If you find yourself nervous or agitated for an unexplained reason, try reaching for an organic Greek yogurt from cows raised on grass pastures. Pastured dairy is higher in healthy fats, and, like grass-fed lamb, often contain higher levels of CLA, the healthy fat that reduces the effects of stress on the brain.

This vegetable is one of the top plant-based sources of tryptophan, which serves as a basis for the creation of serotonin, one of the brain's primary mood-regulating neurotransmitters. High levels of folate also add to asparagus's happiness-promoting profile; research has shown that up to 50 percent of people with depression suffer from low folate levels. Like tryptophan, it's a necessary factor for creating neurotransmitters. It's also good to add to the menu if you plan on drinking. The enzymes in asparagus are highly effective in breaking down alcohol in your system, preventing a hangover—and that can make anyone happy.

Eating sugar unleashes harmful free radicals linked to disease—even cancer—inside of your body. Honey—although sweet like sugar—is packed with beneficial compounds such as quercetin and kaempferol that actually help clean up the free radicals and reduce inflammation. "Honey helps reduce inflammation, which is very important to maintaining a healthy brain," Dr. Ramsey explains. "Some depression actually stems from chronic, low-grade inflammation."

Cherry Tomatoes
All tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, a fat-soluble phytonutrient that helps protect vital brain fat, and a nutrient that actually stops the buildup of pro-inflammatory compounds linked to depression. Because lycopene lives in tomato skins, the best way to get it is through cherry tomatoes, whose smaller surface area means you'll eat more skin than if you eat a full-size tomato, explains Dr. Ramsey. To maximize the amount of lycopene your body absorbs, drizzle some olive oil over the tomatoes, and enjoy! Just be sure to always choose organic. Trials at University of California–Davis have found that organic tomatoes have higher lycopene levels.

Pastured Eggs
Dr. Ramsey calls eggs the perfect food. They're loaded with mood-promoting omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, B vitamins, and iodide, and they'll keep you full and energized. The problem is that these days, buying the best egg has become complicated, even for the savviest label sleuth. Egg carton claims promise all sorts of nutrients and living conditions for the laying hens, but many claims aren't even regulated. The best egg for your brain is the kind your great-grandmother probably enjoyed: hens raised on pasture, where they can exercise and eat a diet of grass and bugs, supplemented with organic grains. Look for pastured eggs from local farmers you trust, and rely less on grocery store eggs advertised as "omega-3 enriched" or "free-range," both claims that aren't regulated.

Lemon Macaroons
Sugar is a known mood annihilator, but that doesn't mean you have to completely give up on desserts. The authors of The Happiness Diet devised a citrus-rich macaroon recipe chock-full of brain-healthy coconut, a health food boasting medium-chain fats that fuel better moods. And the lemon provides not just a burst of flavor, but also brain-protecting flavonoids. Give their recipe for Mood-Boosting Lemon Macaroon:
Coconut fat got a bad rap, but that reputation is undeserved. Coconut's medium-chain fats enhance your body's fat-burning capacity and production of ketones, the only other fuel your brain can burn besides glucose. Lemon zest powers these with liminoids aplenty, plus citrus flavonoids that protect the brain.


3 eggs
3 cups shredded coconut
2 tablespoons lemon zest

Make it: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Vigorously whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Using your hands, mix in the shredded coconut and lemon zest. Mold about a tablespoon of the mixture into small balls and place on a butter-greased baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until golden on top.

Makes about 30 cookies, serves 15

So what foods help you have a better mood? Share them in your comments!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Thursday

What cha thinkin'? That can be a loaded question, because those thoughts create your reality, and can negatively impact your day, your attitude and your health. “Toxic thoughts” lead to stress, which affects our body’s natural healing capacities – it wears down the brain and body.

Dr. Caroline Leaf has spent years researching the brain/thought process, and how the science of thought relates to thinking, learning, and renewing the mind, gifting and potential. In a November blog she wrote that much our mental and physical illnesses come from our thought life. It’s a fascinating article, and you can read it further by clicking HERE. Research found that thinking and feeling anger, fear and frustration caused DNA to change shape according to thoughts, by tightening up, becoming shorter and switching off many DNA codes.

In today’s blog by Michael Hyatt, (click HERE to read it), he spoke about keeping a positive attitude. He writes:

“'For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he' (Proverbs 23:7). Negative thoughts deplete your energy. Positive thoughts replenish your energize. Attitude is not something that just happens; you choose it. Even in difficult circumstances, you can choose to have a good attitude. And, it whether good or bad, it will have a direct impact on your energy."

The point I’m making here is that you have so much power in your thoughts. Worrying and anxious thoughts can bleed you like an energy vampire, create physical problems like indigestion, ulcers, blown out adrenal glands and much more. Have you ever gotten upset in the morning and thought, “Well, that’s just going to ruin my day - it's all downhill from here!” Tell me, did the rest of your day meet your expectations? Probably. We set ourselves up all the time by low expectations, a victim mentality and believing wrong information. Were you criticized as a child and still believe those lies? Do you assume you’re going to have a lousy day? Do you expect the worst behavior from people? Do you tell yourself there’s nothing you can do, you have no choice, you’ll never lose weight, never have a good relationship, never this, never that? Sound familiar?

You CAN choose to think better. I’m not talking about sickeningly sweet Pollyanna positive la-de-dah life is beautiful all the time fluff. Nor am I saying that when life is hard we just cheerfully sigh and say, “Oh well, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” No, not only will that be unrealistic, but you will be incredibly annoying and most people will either run from you or slap you silly. I had to laugh when I recently heard a revised version of the lemons philosophy – “When life gives you lemons, grab the vodka and make a lemon drop martini!” Hey, at least they’re thinking about positive options! You have to start somewhere!

Seriously, though, you can choose how you are going to think about (and then act upon) a given situation. You can have a great day even if it’s pouring rain and traffic was re-DUNK-u-lous. Even if the situation itself cannot change, how you think about it/deal with it is within your thought choices and your power. You might not be able to change your circumstances, but you always can choose how you are going to think about/react to them.

For example, let's say yesterday you fell off the healthy eating wagon big time. Now you may think, "Oh well, I blew it. No point in trying now, I'll start again next week." You've just given yourself permission to eat poorly through the weekend. Then Monday morning you'll step on the scale, get discouraged, and possibly give up. Your thoughts can change that scenario and give you a whole different outcome. Today instead think positively and say, "Okay, I blew it yesterday. But today is a fresh start, and I'm going to continue to eat healthy." You stay true to your goal, and next Monday you feel better when you step on that scale, and you'll probably see a physical manifestation of your positive choice to keep on track and not give up. You'll feel proud of yourself, which will give you a boost to your mood and keep you on that upward climb. Good for you!

Today, exercise the positives in your thought life (and say NO NO NO to the negatives). Think I CAN instead of I can’t, expect the very best from everyone you meet – they might surprise you! It’s your choice.

What do you think of that?



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wild Woman Wednesday

It’s Wild Woman Wednesday, and time to give yourself the brush off! What?!?!@?! No, I haven’t dropped a kettle bell on my head. Have you ever heard of skin brushing? It’s a great way to help the detoxification of your body. I’ve been doing it for awhile, and I love the way it wakes up your skin!

The skin is our largest organ and responsible for about 10-15% of body elimination. It’s actually known as the “third kidney”. When pores aren’t clogged with dead cells and the lymphatic system is cleansed, the body is better able to eliminate toxins and waste materials. The stimulation of brushing also invigorates the skin, increasing blood flow which brings nourishment and oxygen to the skin.

The dry skin brushing system is simply taking a natural bristle brush (no synthetic bristles – they’ll scratch the skin), and methodically brushing the DRY skin surface of your body, beginning with the soles of your feet, and work your way up – always going towards the direction of the heart. The only area which you won’t brush towards your heart is the abdomen, where you will want to direct your brushing in a circular clock-wise motion (the same path as your colon). Naturally, you don’t want to be too rough – go gently, and then take a warm shower to rinse off all the dead skin cells.

Some of the benefits include:
• Accelerating toxin elimination
• Stimulating blood flow and circulation
• Reducing Cellulite
• Enhancing lymphatic flow
• Helps digestion
• Increases cell renewal
• Exfoliation and removal of dead skin cells
• Anti-aging through cell regeneration
• Stimulating both the sweat and sebaceous glands, thus contributing to the restoration of moist, supple skin.

For the inexpensive cost of a long-handled natural bristle brush (they run a little under $10), you can treat yourself to this spa-like therapy every morning. It only takes about five little minutes, but leaves you feeling rejuvenated, awake and has so many benefits! So grab your brushes, wild women, and brush yourself beautiful!!!


“Detox Skin Brushing: A Swift and Powerful Home Detox” http://www.pureinsideout.com/detox-skin-brushing.html
“Dry Skin Brushing” http://www.healingnaturallybybee.com/articles/treat7.php

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tasty Tuesday

Did you know that January is National Soup month? I am a soupaholic, and I love everything about it – from chopping up the veggies to sautéing the onions/garlic until they’re golden, to the pot simmering on the stove... the smells, the sounds, the bright veggie colors, and of course the TASTES!!!! There is something incredibly satisfying about making a big pot of soup on a cold day. It’s almost healing to the soul (and it doesn’t just have to be chicken noodle)! When cold weather hits, the first thing my dear friend Kasey does is run for her turtleneck sweaters and her soup-cooking gear! I’ve spent many a night sitting in her kitchen sharing laughter and friendship over a steaming bowl of homemade soup.

Today I found a recipe on my favorite food store’s website, www.wholefoodsmarket.com. They’re featuring an array of soup recipes this month, and their Simple Black Bean Soup caught my eye. It’s easy to make, easy on the budget, nutritious, and has only 120 calories per serving and a whopping 7g of protein and 7g of fiber! What’s not to love?!?!?

Another thing I love about soups is that you can easily double or triple the recipe to have enough not only for your freezer for future meals, but to give away to someone you know that needs a meal. Perhaps it’s someone sick, an elderly neighbor, a friend who has a crazy schedule and would love a home-cooked meal, or a single parent. Deliver it with a loaf of bread and a bag-o-salad from the market, and it’s a lovely and thoughtful (and I’m sure oh-so-welcome) treat! I remember when I was a single parent recovering from pneumonia, a woman from our church brought me a hot dinner from soup to dessert for my daughter and I – thinking about it still touches my heart. What a blessing that meal was from that angel in disguise. Imagine how something as simple as a bowl of soup given in heartfelt friendship mayn last in someone’s memory for years to come.

So exercise those culinary muscles, wild women, and stir up some divinely delicious soup for yourself, your family, and someone in need. It will leave a wonderful taste in everyone’s mouths!





Serves 8 (vegetarian, gluten-free)
Cooking dried beans is low maintenance and a great value. Make sure to plan ahead and allow time for soaking the beans. Serve with hot sauce or salsa, if you like.

1 pound dried black beans (about 2 1/2 cups), rinsed
2 medium onions, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 ripe avocado, chopped

Soak the beans overnight or 6 to 8 hours prior to cooking. Drain and rinse.

In a large pot, bring 1/2 cup water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in cumin and chipotle and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add drained beans and 10 cups water. Bring soup to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until beans are tender. Remove 4 cups soup and carefully purée in a blender. Return purée to pot and stir in cilantro, nutritional yeast and lime juice. Spoon into bowls for serving and garnish with avocado.


Per serving: 120 calories (25 from fat), 2.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 15mg sodium, 20g total carbohydrate (7g dietary fiber, 2g sugar), 7g protein

Monday, January 9, 2012

Motivation Monday

Its nine days into the New Year. How are your resolutions and goals coming along? If you are on track, congrats and keep on going strong – good for you!! However, if you’re having difficulty, ask yourself the following questions if you have either already given up on a goal, messed up, or become disenchanted with it:

1. What obstacles are in your way? What is keeping you from either beginning or moving forward with this goal?

2. Along the lines of #1, Seth Godin recommends also asking yourself what got in the way of your accomplishment of that goal? What didn’t work?

3. Are you being specific enough with your goal so that you can track it easily on a daily or weekly basis? For example, if you had a goal to become healthier this year, break it down into specifics of how you’re doing to do just that – I plan to exercise. Well, where and how often? Instead, that might look like: I plan to work out three times a week, twice in the gym after work, and once in my living room with a DVD or home weights. Schedule it in your calendar and stick to it as if it were an appointment with someone special (because it is – YOU!!!)

4. Once you discover what didn’t work, ask yourself what you’ve learned from what didn’t work. For example, if I said one of my goals was to learn a new language, and I was going to do that by getting up an hour earlier each day to study the new language, and I discovered I was falling asleep during my study time (what DIDN’T work)… then what have I learned? I either have to go to bed earlier or perhaps set aside another time to study. Perhaps I could get an audio study CD that I could use in my car on my daily commute.

5. Is that a goal you really wanted, or was it just a goal that you thought sounded good, or perhaps was kind of pushed on you by someone else? You got to want it bad, girlfriend, in order to do what it takes to make it happen. You need to be willing to put in the time, energy, funding and heartfelt passionate commitment to successfully achieve any goal, and perhaps you didn’t count the cost before you committed to it. If you realize you just don’t want it, cross it off the list and realize you were successful in discovering it wasn’t really a goal for you… at least not at this point in the party.

Just because you may have “fallen off the wagon” of your 2012 goals is NOT an excuse or reason to quit. Pull up your big girl panties, think about it, tweak it, resolve it, and get back to it – you’re a wild woman, and you can do it!!!!



Friday, January 6, 2012

Fabulous Females Friday

One of my inspirations and role models is Ernestine Shepard, a 75-year-old body builder and personal trainer from Baltimore, Maryland. She holds the Guinness Book of World records as the world’s oldest personal trainer and body builder. She began trainer at 56!!! Her mantra is “Determined, Dedicated and Disciplined.” You can see her via video on YouTube find out more on Google. One of my bucket list items is to meet this amazing woman!
I found this article on her on strongchic.com by Lori Braun of femalemuscle.com.


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74-Year-Old Female Bodybuilder in Guinness Book of World Records
by Lori Braun; Femalemuscle.com

SHE’S a decade older than the average retirement age, but 74-year-old Ernestine Shepherd has a body and level of fitness that would put the average 30-year-old woman to shame Ernestine, from Baltimore, Maryland, can bench-press 150 pounds and each day runs 10 miles. She’s also earned a place in theGuinness Book of World Records as the oldest professional female bodybuilder.

Ernestine, who goes by ‘Ernie’, lives by the motto “Age is nothing but a number. You can get fit at any age.” She adds: “I feel better than I did in my 50s .“ You do not have to take a lot of supplements, you can do it naturally like me and still look good.” Ernestine says that she is on a mission to both help and motivate people on the importance of being fit and eating healthily.

Inspired by her sister, she said: “My sister and I were invited to a picnic and told that we could wear a bathing suit. When we put the bathing suits on we didn’t look so nice. She began laughing at me, and me at her. “That was a turning point for the both of us and we began working out”. Sadly for Ernestine, her late older sister, who died after suffering a brain aneurysm, was unable to witness her accomplish the dream she so wanted her to fulfil. But she would certainly be proud of Ernestine’s success and perseverance, which has led to her receiving medals and being on TV.

"We kept working and we looked fabulous, but she kept constantly telling me that she was having headaches and she felt like she had water running in her ears. “They put her on life support, which was a shock to all of us, because the day before she was with me at the gym. Without her encouragement this would never have been made possible. “Before she died, she had said to me that I would be in the Guinness Book of World Records, and that I should become a bodybuilder. “Since praying to God, He has kept me focused and helped me to keep my sister’s dream alive,” she told The Voice.

Ernestine is a personal trainer and fitness instructor, and also holds weekly classes at her various churches. Offering advice to older men and women, she said: “I have a group of senior members in my class, and I start off by telling them that age is nothing but a number. I’m not asking them to be bodybuilders, but to be healthy and happy. “One must be determined, disciplined and dedicated to be fit.” The bodybuilding sensation, who is also a model, wants more than just a sexy physique and six-pack abs. She said: “My ministry which God has given me is to help, inspire and motivate people on the importance of being healthy and fit. I go to various churches and I speak, and each time I’m well received.”

The mother of one says that her son and other members of her family have also been inspired by her fitness. “My husband does a lot of walking, and even my grandchild and nieces and nephews are inspired. It’s amazing. My son looks a lot younger than 56. They all look good,” she told The Voice.

Ernestine sticks to a strict high-protein diet; she drinks three to four cups of liquid egg whites, which helps her to burn fat while sleeping. She said: “We all need protein, which consists of chicken, roasted or baked, nothing fried. Tuna fish, roasted turkey and carbohydrates, such as frozen vegetables with nothing in them, and drink plenty of water.”

She added: “I wouldn’t dare crack an egg and drink it because I don’t know what it’s been tested for. I order mine from a special source. “I’ve been drinking it for years and I’m now accustomed to the taste. You can’t acquire a taste for it right away, but I have, and it’s already been tested for salmonella.”

Offering advice to readers, she said: “Decide to be healthy, think about how you would want to feel and look. After you get that in your mind, go for it. You will start feeling better and better. Keep at it; don’t give up at the first hurdle.”

She added: “My aspiration is to make it to ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’. That would be so amazing. Lastly, a strong woman is ageless and everywhere. She’s not defined by her shape or size, but rather by her personal strength. She demonstrates emotional and spiritual endurance, bringing peace and balance to those around her.”

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday

What’s on the agenda for today, ladies? Exercising your mind/eyes by reading. These days it is so hard to find time to sit and relax, and too often when we do we flop down on the couch, remote in hand, and allow the “plug-in-drug” to take us away like a Calgon bubble bath commercial promises to do! (By the way, if you do watch TV and have TiVo or some capability of recording your shows ahead of time, realize that by fast-forwarding through the commercials can save you about almost half time viewing time!) But I digress…

This morning in my email was a wonderful article about reading by Alan Henry on www.lifehacker.com (a website I highly recommend). It’s entitled, “How to Boost Your Reading Comprehension by Reading Smarter and More Conscientiously”. No, it’s not an ad for a speed-reading course, but a thoughtful view of reading, how we do it, and how we can make it better. It can be found at http://us1.forward-to-friend1.com/forward/show?u=251e609e1dba3888b86c21cc8&id=f17b4be4f6.

I have usually always tried to keep some kind of reading material with me at all times – a magazine, book, something that I can pick up whenever I’m waiting for an appointment, or on the treadmill at the gym, even waiting in line at the grocery store. (Sorry, reading the tabloid headlines and sneaking a peek inside doesn’t count as reading). And while I love the fact that we can read so much electronically, in my humble little opinion there is nothing like reading a REAL BOOK. I love the smell of the new pages, and I love writing notes, highlighting, and the feel of it.
Now with the advent of a plethora of e-readers, and with the Kindle feature on my iPhone, it’s even easier than ever. If you’re not used to reading much, start with a magazine, then a short story, then go for the whole hog and read War and Peace… ummmm… okay, perhaps a bit too enthusiastic… just a book will do! Try a chapter a day.

I’m putting together my yearly reading list – I try to read at least one book a month outside my industry readings, class textbooks and Bible. January I am reading Mark Batterson’s “The Circle Maker” in real authentic book format. I want to try and read a wider variety of subjects this year as well, and include at least one or two classics in the group.

Won’t you join me in exercising your reading option this year? I’d love to hear from you – what are you currently reading?


Wild Woman Wednesday

Welcome to the first Wild Woman Wednesday of 2012 – yeeeehaaaaawww! Giddyup, buttercup. What are you doing to exercise the wild woman in you this year? Have you worked on goals? Planning something wonderful? If not, why not? Start it now, girlfriend, begin today!

Wild women are learning to be wise about exercising their choices in life, and today I’m going to ask you to make one of your goals eating more healthfully. A recent study from the University of Minnesota found that people consume 500 extra calories on days when they eat fast food. 500 calories!!! If you eat fast food twice a week, that’s 1,000 a week, or an additional 52,000 calories (yes, 52 THOUSAND calories) a year – which adds up to a whopping 15 pounds by the end of the year. OUCH! Try getting comfortably in and out of your car with that extra junk in the trunk – not a pretty picture, is it? To say nothing of what it does to your heart, arteries, etc.

One way to avoid fast food pit stops is to plan ahead. Yes, it does take some extra time at home but it is so worth it. As you begin cooking more “cleanly”, make enough to bring to lunch the next day, or cook ahead. For example, on Sundays I try to set aside time to cook and “set up” my lunches/snacks for the next few days. I’ll make organic grilled chicken breasts, which I can also take with me for lunches, or cut up into salads, or sty fry for later in the week. Bag up salads in individual portions (hold the dressing in a small snack-size zippered baggie on the side). Boil up some eggs and eat some hard-boiled egg whites in the morning as a side to your oatmeal to add some protein. Doing this will also help you control your portions.

When you shop/put away groceries, take some extra time to wash/cut up veggies and put them in tote-able portions to grab and go. Keep apples and pears in easy access to grab as you run out the door. Keep bottles of water in the car, or even keep a small insulated lunch bag or cooler in there as well, and toss some healthy foods/snacks in as you begin your day or trip or chores around town.

Wouldn’t you rather have that kind of “junk” in your trunk?


Tame It Tuesday

Today we’re going to exercise an incredibly strong muscle in the body – your tongue. How often has your tongue been in overdrive and you’ve blurted out something that you wish to this day you could take back? If you’re like many of us, you can remember things both positive and negative that were said to you from your earliest childhood days. One comment can some days make or break you – it reminds me of the old rhyme (which I’ve revised a bit): “Stick and stones can break my bones, but words… can break my heart.”

One goal I have for myself this year is to continue learning to use my words wisely, to help build up and not tear down, for I know I can be a “verbal sniper”, shooting word bullets at the drop of a hat with a scathing sarcasm of which I am not proud. I want my words to be drenched in love, kindness, encouragement and positive humor. I want them to come spilling forth from my lips dripping with authenticity and hopefulness so that everyone I meet may feel better having spoken with me.

To do that, my lips and jaws need extra exercising – keeping them shut, that is. There is a little Bible verse that I often pray each morning to ask God’s help in doing just this. In Psalm 141:3 it says, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Sometimes I use the Coach Linda revised version – “Oh God, keep my mouth shut and my lips sealed today!!!!” I find that when I don’t say something at the expense of another (even joking around), but remain silent, I never regret it.

Also, sometimes we just need to listen – we only have one mouth but two ears, so shouldn’t we practice listening twice as much as speaking? Do you spend the better part of your conversations thinking about what you’re going to say next? Or do you focus on the person speaking and give them your full attention, waiting until they are done before speaking, instead of stepping on the end of their sentences? Do you interrupt when others are speaking? I clearly remember one time having someone tell me, “Linda, I don’t want you to fix it, I just want you to listen!!!”

Another area that needs to be eliminated is gossip – ain’t nobody gorgeous when gossiping. Steven Covey calls gossip “confessing another’s sins”. A good rule of thumb when “passing along” information about someone else is to ask yourself: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Would I say this if the person was standing in front of me? If you can’t answer every single one of those questions – then shut your trap, sister! Just as no one wants to spill anything to a person with a rep for being a gossip, as you build a character of being known for not saying bad things about anyone, people will be more comfortable around you and probably seek you out.

So as the New Year begins, practice speaking less often, with more thought and love, seeking to foster true communication from your heart. We exercise our bodies to build them up – now let’s exercise our words to build up others. Don’t joke at someone else’s expense. Hold back those snippy verbal cuts and sarcasm, and instead lavish with praise, respect and support. Promote a verbal physique that will be more beautiful that words can say!

(Picture is by Norman Rockwell and is entitled “Gossip”)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Motivation Monday

Welcome to the New Year, and while it’s a very old catch phrase, it’s still worthy of use – welcome to the first day of the rest of your life! Have you worked out your forest/trees/branches/leaves for 2012? (CLICK HERE if you need a refresher).

As you begin your fresh steps towards this new journey, I would like to share with you a blog posting sent to me by a friend from livestrong.com called “The 1-Step Success Plan”, written by Adam Bornstein, Editorial director of livestrong.com. It’s a challenging piece that calls it like it is when it comes to achieving your goals. I love the fact that it calls New Years Resolutions “the health equivalent of pressing the refresh button on your life.” It is a new year, a new month, a new week, and a new day just waiting for you to take action!

CLICK HERE to access the blog and its links. He also wrote another article on “The 10 Rules of Healthy Living” that I also recommend. CLICK HERE to read it.

I wish you love, laughter, good health and more blessings than your heart can hold!


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I’m going to warn you: This might be tough for you to read and you might not like everything I have to say. But if you accept this advice as a genuine solution, you will achieve your goals in 2012.

New Year’s Resolutions are the health equivalent of pressing the refresh button on your life. No matter what you did, a new year means a new you. The process is as basic as it is motivating: Learn from the past and plan for a better future. It’s a safe and effective approach that allows you to reinvent yourself, set new goals, and become the person you want to be.

Unfortunately, if success was that easy you wouldn’t be repeatedly setting the same goals year after year. (after year) You also know that you don’t have to wait until January 1 to become who you want. But there’s comfort in knowing you’re not the only one who fell short of their goals. It’s why so many people jump on the resolution bandwagon. But the timing doesn’t appear to solve the bigger issue: What separates the successful from the unsuccessful? And why do we start each year hoping for the best only to repeat the same failures?

The resolution solution really boils down to one simple factor, and making an adjustment to your approach could be the difference between achievement and failure.

The dirty little secret about resolutions isn’t some complex secret: Those who succeed are unwilling to quit. They want to taste success more than those who don’t.

We all have the desire to be better. In fact, that’s what motivates most people to set goals at the beginning of the year. But after working with thousands of people and hearing countless stories—both of successes and failures—the most common reason for success is the relentless drive to succeed.

This is not a blame-game or a lack of respect for whatever hurdles stand in your way. I’ve failed at plenty of my goals too.

This is a reality check that everyone needs to accept, yet few ever mention. Changing your body, losing weight, gaining muscle, quitting smoking—every goal you desire will be difficult to achieve. At some point, you’re going to hit a bump in the road, be confronted with a challenge, and begin to doubt your ability to make real, lasting change.

When that happens, don’t ignore your frustration. That’s the first step towards failure. Instead, acknowledge your anger. Channel your frustration and ask yourself one simple question: HOW BADLY DO I WANT THIS?

When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe that’s when you’ll achieve your goals.

This isn’t about six-pack dreams, running a marathon, or building bigger biceps. Those are all great goals that are achievable by anyone. I don’t care how far your journey might appear. I know you can make a change. And if you have any doubts, read the stories of those who are just like you. I’m inspired by these people because they do the impossible. And now it’s our job to eliminate doubt and apathy so that you can join in on the success.

This is a gut-check. Or as I call them: Pulse Moments.

Check your pulse and determine if you’re ready for your own challenge.

Are you willing to scratch, and claw and fight for your health? Are you willing to push harder, make yourself a little uncomfortable, and make the adjustments you need to succeed?

Change is hard, and I understand every ounce of hurt you feel when it seems like you can’t lose weight, you can’t eliminate pain, or you can’t become the version of yourself that you so desperately desire. And I give plenty of credit to anyone who takes the first step, looks in the mirror, and says, “I want to be better.”

But that’s just the beginning. You need to remind yourself that this will be a battle. And that the battle should be fun. Make no mistake about it: Becoming healthy will make you smile more, laugh more, and feel better than you could ever imagine. It’s worth every drop of effort you put into it. But making the transition from your current situation to the one you want takes time and includes struggles. It will be difficult, it will inevitably frustrate you, and you have to expect what’s waiting on your journey.

Approach this year’s goals with your eyes wide open. Have hope. Be an optimist. And believe that ANYTHING is possible. And then tell yourself that when you get knocked down, you will pick yourself back up.

Every. Single. Time.

Do it for your family. Do it for your friends. Do it for the people you love. And most importantly: Do it for you.

Once you achieve that mindset, the rest is comparatively easy. Yes—you need to find great information and adapt it to your situation. That’s why we’re here. We’ve aligned an army of experts at LIVESTRONG.COM to help you with every imaginable goal. Ask them your questions and they will respond. Read our articles, use our tools, find your resolution and let us figure out the details.

Your job should be limited to one single focus: Take ACTION and don’t stop until you achieve your goals.

We want to make 2012 the year of success. This is the year where you become UNSTOPPABLE. But change doesn’t start with making a list of resolutions, finding a great workout, or finally settling on a diet.

It begins with a hard look in the mirror and a determination that your health is worth fighting for. It’s time to unleash the limitless potential of YOU. Take the first step, don’t accept failure as an option, and you’ll remember 2012 as the year when uncovered your best.