Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wild Woman Wednesday

I have started training with kettle bells for my certification the end of January. Talk about wild! Tonight after coming home from the gym, I had to use my foam roller for myofascial release on my legs, and my thera-cane for trigger point therapy on my shoulders and back. What was I thinking?!?! This is intense!!! I watch the other trainers (most of whom are young enough to be my children), and they are so full of energy and stamina. But what is great is that they are so supportive and willing to share their knowledge with me. It’s such a blessing to be working with these people.

Today find your courage muscle and step up to that dream you have been holding for so long. Are you ready to make the commitment to your body to have better health? Have you always dreamed of running a 5K and just been afraid because it seemed too big? Wanting to go back to college and finish that degree? What’s your dream?

You know, I sat on my butt for a lotta years until I got sick and tired of being sick and tired, and finally began my own program to lose weight and get healthy. That gave me self-motivation and courage to go back to dancing, and to college. Now, five years later, I’m 50 pounds lighter, in the best shape of my life, back in college, go dancing most weekends, earned my personal trainer and life coach and Pilates certifications, and I’m still reaching for the stars for as long as I'm able. Please understand, I’m sooooo NOT trying to blow my own horn here – all I’m saying is that YOU CAN DO IT!! Take the first step, don’t be afraid. Like working out, it takes hard work and some sweat and pain. But YOU CAN DO IT! You achieve a baby step, then another, and another. It is SUCH a SWEET feeling of accomplishment. Just take that first little step…

YOU ARE A WILD WOMAN FILLED WITH PASSION AND COURAGE!!! What are your dreams? Jump in, girl, and get started – life is not a dress rehearsal – LIVE JUICY!!!!

Linda (Live Juicy poem by SARK)

My Advent Invitation

I would like to invite you to join me at my blog entitled MY LITTLE CHRISTMAS BLOG beginning December 1st. It's my way of offering to you my version of an advent calendar, filled with daily devotions, Christmas music, recipes, Christmas film clips, a holiday movie poll, Lots of links and trivia, and if you scroll to the bottom, you can watch my all-time favorite movie, "It's a Wonderful Life" in it's entirety! Just click on the title above!

May you enjoy counting down the days with me!


Top Twelve Tuesday

I am a Christmas movie freak. I unabashedly LOVE Christmas movies. There’s nothing like snuggling up on the couch, grabbing a bowl of (air-popped) popcorn (hold the butter and salt, please), and getting all sloppy and sentimental. I admit, I can sing along to any of the songs on Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol (… with razzleberry dressing…). I feast my eyes, ears, and soul and just lose myself in the classics. I become 8 years old again whenever Rudolph is on, and I want to hug the humble bumble before I die.

Now I know these are fantasy escapes, and there’s usually no way to solve all the relationship and world problems within a two-hour time span. But watching George search for Mary, and hearing a bell ring knowing somewhere an angel got her wings, always chokes me up. What can I say? and who doesn't need a bit of an escape during the stress of holiday preparations?? I just love watching all the classic TV specials (Rudolph, Frosty, Jack Frost, Rudolph's Happy New Year... the list is endless).

So, here are my top 12, dandy dozen favorite Christmas movies of all times (in order). Always get the original black and white versions if possible!!! During the course of the next month, may I suggest you exercise your sloppy sentimental muscles, get together with family and friends, and watch a few? There’s sure to give you a case of the warm fuzzies! I hope this list will take you down a happy holiday memory lane walk! I would love to hear your comments as to your favorite holiday movies or TV shows, or if you have a favorite memory with one of the movies I mentioned!!!


1) It’s a Wonderful Life – we all have probably seen this one. George Bailey learns what it’s like if he’d never been born. Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed are great together! I even have the soundtrack!

2) A Christmas Carol – must be the one with Alistair Sim as Scrooge. Others are good, but this tops them all.

3) Miracle on 34th Street – again, must get the B/W original with Edmund Gwynne and Natalie Wood as Susan.

4) White Christmas – A staple for the holidays – love Rosemary Clooney’s dress and performance in the torch song “Love, You Didn’t Do Right by Me”.

5) The Bishop’s Wife – Now don’t get me wrong, I also can watch Denzel and Whitney in the remake over and over, but there just ain’t nobody like Cary Grant!

6) Christmas in Connecticut – Move over Martha Stewart! The premise here is that Barbara Stanwyck is the ULTIMATE homemaker/wife/mother writing a column each month for a women’s’ magazine – only to find out she can’t even cook. Then she has to host a veteran for Christmas dinner, and it’s hysterical what happens next.

7) Heidi – I have been watching Shirley Temple’s classic for years and years, and it just gets better each time.

8) Come to the Stable – a little known classic Christmas movie with Loretta Young (from the Bishop’s Wife) and Celeste Holm (the original Philadelphia Story, All About Eve) as nuns. I actually had the joy of meeting Celeste Holm once – I gushed like a teenager!

9) Mr. Magoo’s Christmas – I grew up with Mr. Magoo cartoons, and this wasn’t shown for years on regular television. When it finally came out on videotape I was overjoyed. It just wasn't Christmas without it!

10) March of the Wooden Soldiers – I can remember being a little girl, decorating the Christmas tree in my grandparent’s home, and watching this on television. It always makes me want to buy tinsel and hang it on the tree – I usually put this one on when… yep… I decorate our tree!

11) A Christmas Story – my favorite character is the father played to perfection by Darrin McGavin, and the FRAGILE line still doubles me over with laughter.

12) A Charlie Brown Christmas – I have worn out a CD playing the soundtrack over and over every holiday season. You have a stake of holly in your heart if you aren’t moved by Charlie and his little tree. This is a theological wonder – listen closely as Linus explains the true meaning of Christmas!

TV Specials Honorable mention:

Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas – back in the 70’s HBO put this “muppet-y” Christmas special out, and it is just so sweet. Unfortunately, it’s fairly expensive to get now, so be sure to see if you can find it on YouTube or borrow a copy. A real cuddle fest.

The Spirit of Christmas - if you grew up in the Philadelphia area in the 60's, chances are you saw this growing up. It was originally a half-hour Christmas special put on by Bell Telephone, and features the Mabel Beaton marionettes. There are two segments - the first is the retelling of "The Night Before Christmas", and the second is the telling of the nativity (in the Bible, Luke 2:1-20). It is simple and so beautiful.

The Snowman - narrated by David Bowie, this animated Academy-Awarded nominated short film is a charming tale of a young English boy who finds his snowman has come to life, and takes him on an overnight adventure. The illustrations and soundtrack are gentle and beautiful.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Multi-tasking Moratorium Monday

Whew… it’s Monday, and we’re one holiday down. How are you today? Happy? Exhausted? Glad to get back to the office and have the kids back in school? Already looking forward to getting family/friends together for the next holiday bash? And so begins the Christmas countdown… and your next endless list of things to do, get, prepare, etc.

There’s been a LOT of hype for years now about multi-tasking. You know, put on your makeup and drink your coffee and talk on the phone (using a speaker, of course) and listen to your audio book all while you’re commuting! Let me tell you, I am an expert at putting on mascara/blush/lipstick without even looking in the mirror. Eyeliner… hmmm… not so much. I see it at the gym: on the treadmill, reading, earphone in one ear listening to music while clandestinely chatting away on their cell phone, since you’re not supposed to use a cell phone on the gym floor). I see it at the office: speakerphone on (but muted) attending a conference call meeting, two screens up with different projects while the desk is covered in paperwork, while talking to someone else in the office. We all do it at home: meal cooking, helping one child with homework, while tracking another as they try to share the dog’s food, while the laundry is going, and the phone is ringing… Wait, I’m exhausted just reading this. And even when we’re not physically multi-tasking, we’re mentally multi-tasking, switching topics at a nanosecond – the noise in our heads invades each thought until we’re unable to focus on any one thing.

Today, let’s begin exercising our FOCUS muscles and put a moratorium on multitasking. A recent study showed that multi-tasking isn’t a good thing, and that switching mindsets creates exhaustion and mediocrity or even failure at the multiple tasks you’re trying to complete. (See the three links below for the articles and the study itself).

For today, instead of trying to do ten things at once, first write out a list of all the tasks you wish to accomplish today (just today). Then begin – but give everything you’ve got to the task at hand – focus only on that task until it is complete. Once done, go on to the next task on your list, and repeat. When you are speaking to someone today, whether by phone or in person, be fully present and give them 100% of you. Instead of thinking of all you need to do, when you walk to your car or take a walk or wait in a grocery line or doctor’s office, be totally in that moment. Notice the colors, the sounds, the smells, the textures. Give yourself over to that particular point in your life, because it will never be there again.

I’m going to be doing this with you, because I’m a multi-tasking freak myself. The other night I was on the phone with a friend, laptop beside me, TV on, and painting my toenails. Trust me, I barely remember half of my friend’s conversation, little of the TV show, and my little piggies look like a “Jungle Red” slaughterhouse!! Did I do all these things at once? Sure! Did I do ANY of them well? Nope.

I suspect that if we develop our ability to be less multi-tasked and more “I’m in the here and now giving this task/person my full attention” tasked, not only will we become more productive, but perhaps even a little more at peace, enjoying each moment a little more. Would LOVE to hear your comments and results!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Flock to the Shops till You Drop Friday

So, did you stay up past your bedtime last night going out to the pre-black Friday bargain opportunities at 10pm or midnight? Did you get up at half-past dark-thirty to join others $eeking to $ubstantially $ave big bucks before most of us even thought of our morning coffee? I wonder how many calories you burned today in your battle against the mall madness to find the Holy Grail sale?

Personally, I took the opportunity of having today off to get some extra sleep and take advantage of some down time to watch an old movie or two and catch up on some studying and homework assignments. Then I went out tonight and celebrated my friend’s birthday with her. It was an unusually relaxing day, for which I am thankful. I also found myself not wanting to eat a lot of food – I kept things light. While I didn’t pig out yesterday, I still did eat more than I normally do on a given day, so I wanted to “detox” a bit.

How about you? Are you tired? Feeling overfed? Wondering when you will find a bit of rest and relaxation this long weekend? Friend, let me suggest you exercise your “time for me” muscles over the next day or two. Whether you have been battling the crowds while shopping and overspending, dealing with relatives or stress by overeating, or generally just overdoing it, it is time to slow down a bit. Perhaps you can find 15 minutes to walk outside by yourself, taking time to breath, admire the beauty and healing nature provides, and just the peace and quiet a short walk alone can give you. If you are like many other women, the demands of the preparation and clean-up of the Thanksgiving meal, and the associated visits and guests, along with the demands the rest of the weekend will bring, can leave you feeling as tired as a wrung-out dishrag, as my grandmother used to say.

For the rest of the weekend, be sure to eat smaller meals, within your caloric range, and hydrate often with water. Stick to more veggies and fruit, and resist the temptation to eat past the stage of satisfaction. Walk away from that second piece of pie, and eat slower so your body signals can tell you when you are truly full. Thanksgiving is not permission to become the gluttony goddess!

May the rest of your holiday weekend bring you blessings and joy and healthy eating!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wild Woman Thanksgiving

It is now 9:30 at night, and I am finally settling down to watch my traditional “Miracle on 34th Street” movie. The dish washer is finishing up the second load while the pots and pans dry are nestled in their drying rack. Every piece of Tupperware is now in use, either in my refrigerator or in the containers taken home by family and friends. That’s one of my post-Thanksgiving tricks – give all of it away, so you don’t wind up eating too many leftovers! You know how easy it is to talk yourself into overeating: “Oh, I ate waaaay too much on Thanksgiving, so I might as well just eat myself into a lost weekend and start all over again on Monday. If you overindulged today, just start fresh now.

I started my day by going to the gym for a new class. Can I tell you how packed the gym was? The studios were filled with people stepping, spinning and sweating. Now my gym is a big, beautiful place, and still every treadmill and elliptical was movin’ and groovin’. This is called paying the calories forward. Burn it now, eat Thanksgiving dinner with no guilt! It was impressive. The minute I got home I began all the food preparations, so truly this is about the first time I have had to just sit down. I know many of my wild woman friends out there are feeling the same way.

Now I know, I could be driving to some mall store right now to start my shopping early. I must admit I crack up watching that crazy woman in training for the Target store sales. But… I cannot think of anything on earth that I want badly enough to go shopping tonight, midnight, or 5am tomorrow. Bless the hearts of all you dedicated shoppers out there, and remember to consider all that walking your cardio!

As you finish up your day, I encourage you to count your blessings, and as the song goes, name them one by one. The holiday madness begins tomorrow, but don’t think about it just yet. If this wasn’t a happy day for you, I am sorry. I’ve had some lousy Thanksgiving holidays myself (including two hospital stays), and they’re not easy to cope with, but try to think of one thing for which you can be thankful, even just that your heart is still beating and tomorrow you can start fresh.

Wild women, may you rest your weary heads tonight, may your heart overflow with blessings.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Take a Moment Tuesday

Several weeks ago, as I drove home one evening, I saw at least two houses in my neighborhood that had already decorated for Christmas. I mean full-out, lights and music and all the ho-ho-ho every electric socket could muster kind of decorating. Within the same area, two other houses still had all their Halloween decorations up – bizarre orange/black lights glowing and seeping into the street. What an odd combination.

It seems we have lost Thanksgiving (on many levels). We begin getting ready for Halloween practically at the end of August, then slide right into Christmas. Even the traditional day after Thanksgiving “black Friday” has now started weeks earlier in advertising, in stores, and on the internet. We’re driven by culture and media to move faster and faster, go-go-go towards the holidays, and run that hamster wheel life into the ground. And let’s not forget, it all has to be absolutely perfect (as if Martha was going to come in, inspection ready in her white gloves).

In the 80’s a fitness motivator was famous for her phrase “STOP THE MADNESS!” Today, let’s take her advice. Exercise your put on the brakes muscles, and take a moment to enjoy the next few days. Don’t think about Christmas yet. Put aside all things Christmas and focus on your day today. Enjoy the sights/sounds/smells/feel of your immediate moment. If you are in the grocery store shopping, watch other shoppers. Look at the colors, the fresh veggies, the smells as you go past the bakery (because they’re probably fanning out the baking pie aroma to entice you). Listen to all the sounds around you, from the piped-in music to the funny conversations at the check-out line.

Purposefully cultivate a thankful spirit as you prepare your home and heart for Thanksgiving. Begin your blessings list that you can share at the table. Is there anyone else you can invite that would be blessed by spending Thanksgiving at your table? A single mom with her kids? A single person who may be alone this Thanksgiving? An elderly person you may know? As you go through your pre-Thanksgiving preparation, be hyper-aware of each moment, and be thankful for it. If it’s cleaning, be thankful for the roof over your head. If it’s laundry, be thankful for clothes to wear. You get the idea. Begin thanks-living.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Moderation Monday

Moderation -- balance, within reasonable limits, without excess.

As we approach the one day of year that seems to always focus a majority of time and effort on food and eating, I’d like you to exercise your moderation muscles starting today. The Thanksgiving feast offers foods that bring with them great emotional attachment, those comfort foods that you grew up with as a child, the hot gravy and mashed potatoes, and of course the pies! It’s all good, and yummy, and NOT outside your eating boundaries. When I lost my 50 pounds, I didn’t give up any food that I really enjoyed. That’s right, not anything. HOWEVER… I ate within my caloric daily intake, and in moderation.

Did you know that many Americans eat between 3,000-5,000 calories on a holiday? That’s two-to-three times your daily healthy limit!!! No wonder we groan as we push away from the table and literally our stomachs ache after “the big meal”.

Here’s what I recommend doing -- you know that on Thanksgiving Day there will be a very large temptation to overeat, and by that I mean eating too large a portion, well past your hunger limit. Everything tastes so good, you are busy talking and laughing around the table and don't even realize how much you're eating, etc. This week, until that meal, eat a bit lighter, and watch your calories a little more closely. First off, you will be easing up on the overall weekly calorie intake. Remember, one pound is 3,500 calories, and if you eat 500 calories more than you burn every day, you will gain one pound in a week. Do the math. Secondly, your tummy may just get used to eating a bit less and you won’t want as much food on Thanksgiving.

Additionally, plan out what you want to eat on Thanksgiving. Use a smaller plate. Fill one half of your plate with veggies, one fourth with your carb (mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc.), and one fourth with your protein (turkey, ham, etc.). Be VERY sparing on the gravy and butter. I’m not saying don’t eat any, but don’t slather it on that hot roll, and don’t drown the meat and potatoes with it. One trick is to keep your salad dressing or gravy on the side, and dip your empty fork into it before taking a bite of food. You’ll still get the taste of the dressing, but without all the extra calories. Take smaller portions. Give yourself permission to go back and have seconds if you are still truly hungry, but chances are you won’t be, since you will have given your stomach ample time to tell your brain you’re full (it takes 20 minutes for that to happen). Using the half/quarter/quarter measurements above, if you do go back for seconds (after waiting for 15 minutes to ensure you are still hungry), keep half the plate for different veggies, and a quarter for a different carb, and a quarter for a different protein. By eating carefully, with mindfulness and moderation, you can still eat a little of everything without stuffing yourself sick.

Start today – think, plan, and know how you will handle your holiday meal.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Thoughts Thursday

The countdown has begun – T minus seven days until Bird-day! Whether you’re having turkey, ham, pasta, a grilled cheese sandwich, a tofurky (a tofu turkey) or a turducken (a chicken stuffed into a duck, stuffed then into a turkey – don’t ask – who thinks up these things???)… you’ll probably be eating at some point in the day. As I said in yesterday’s post, the holiday can be a blessing and still be stressing!

I speak often with my clients about mindful eating – being intentional about our food intake, portion size, and eating when we’re hungry, not just because we’re bored or stressed. I found a great article on that I’d like to share with you today about eating mindfully. I HIGHLY recommend using to journal your food and activities. It’s a free website, and provides not only a calorie count for your food, but also provides a daily grade, info on fat/carbs/proteins, and can track your sodium intake, cholesterol, vitamins, sugar, and your weight. I use it daily myself. Did you know that people who consistently use a food journal double their weight loss chances?

The author of the article is Michelle May, M.D., the author of the book Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. This article is an excerpt from chapter six of that book.

Time to exercise your muscles of intentionality, just in time for Thanksgiving.



By Michelle May, M.D.

While this advice may seem counter-intuitive, this holiday season, experience maximal pleasure from all the wonderful food and special occasions. By eating mindfully you’ll eat less and enjoy it more. The key to mindful eating is to love what you eat. In other words, notice all the little details as if you were writing an article about your Thanksgiving meal for a gourmet magazine. The following tips are excerpted from chapter six of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat.

•Focus on the people you’re sharing your meal with. Engage in interesting conversations, ask questions, and really listen to your companions.

•Before eating, notice how hungry you are. If you aren’t hungry, become aware of the reasons you feel like eating anyway. If it is for social reasons, then be social for a while longer, knowing that there will be plenty of opportunities to eat when you get hungry.

•Decide how you want to feel when you’re done eating. Stuffed and miserable? Or comfortable and content? Then fill your plate (or order) accordingly.

•Mentally describe the table setting and the ambiance. Notice the aromas, colors, textures, and presentation of the meal.

•Before eating, take a moment to be truly thankful about where your food came from, including all the people who invested their time, effort, and talent to get it from farm to plate.

•Choose food carefully by asking yourself what you really want and need to eat. Don’t waste your appetite on cranberry sauce shaped like a can if you don’t love it!

•Put one small bite in your mouth. You only have taste buds on your tongue so the flavors of a large bite of food are lost on your teeth, cheeks, and the roof of your mouth.

•Notice the texture and flavors of the food on your tongue, then slowly begin to chew the food. Breathe while you chew since flavors other than salty, sweet, bitter, and sour actually come from the aromas.

•Set your fork down between bites. If you put a bite of food in your mouth then immediately begin to load your next forkful, your attention will be on the next bite. And if you are focused on the next bite of food instead of the one you are eating now, you won’t stop eating until there are no more forkfuls left to load.

•Sit for a moment and let the flavors and experience linger before you take the next bite.

•Notice as the food gently fills your stomach. Pause for several minutes in the middle of eating to reconnect with your hunger and fullness levels and enjoyment of the meal.

•Food is abundant this time of year (actually, year round for most of us!). Remind yourself that you can eat more later or at another meal so there’s no need to eat as though food was scarce. When you eat it all now, you risk ruining an enjoyable meal by being too full. Mindful eating is a great way to enjoy Thanksgiving and other meals more while eating less. You’ll be thankful that you did!

You can find the article at:

Wild Woman Wednesday

Wild women love life. We are a passionate people, and enjoy family, friends and food! Sitting around the table laughing, talking… and eating. For those of us who don’t have the whole Norman Rockwell ideal Thanksgiving thang going on, we may be facing a difficult holiday… which can also mean eating. Seek out one another, ladies – is there someone who would love to have a seat at your table? I remember being a single mom and my daughter, my mother and I being invited over to a dear family who had quite a number in their group. It was so much fun! As an only child in a small family, I can also remember one Thanksgiving as a teenager being invited over to my girlfriend’s home with a HUGE Italian family. I had a blast, and also tasted many new foods that had never been served in my German home – roasted chestnuts, artichokes -- and pasta on Thanksgiving??? Who knew?!?!

Thanksgivings growing up for me were at my grandparents – the big dining room table had the leaf put in it (only on special occasions did that happen), and the aunts and uncles would arrive, along with my cousin. Grandmom had these barrel-shaped glasses that had a pattern of frosted grapevines on them, and when they were on the table, well, you knew something was special. I always looked forward to the traditional feast, and the pies galore sitting there on the side board all morning, begging me to sneak a taste. But no… we had to wait until after dinner.

One of my Thanksgiving traditions is watching “Miracle on 34th Street” – the original black and white version with Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood. I never get enough of this movie. I also like to open my Bible and read Psalm 100. I’d love to hear some of your traditions – please comment!

Exercise those big, beautiful hearts this year – invite someone over if you can, and if you are alone, do the same! Seek out a seat at a friend’s table – she’ll appreciate a helping hand and your friendship on that special day. Go to your local soup kitchen and serve – there’s nothing like focusing on others in need to make you realize how blessed you are where you are in your life right this moment. Choose to make it a great day.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Take It To The Next Level Tuesday

I have embarked on a new fitness regime, because I’m training for kettlebell certification in late January of 2012. I have been watching some of the other female trainers as they did their certification training, and they went from good bodies to GREAT bodies! Tight, lean and amazing. I am also going to begin training for Pilates Reformer certification about the same time, so I need to commit to getting very serious about my workout, my nutrition, and focusing on the goal.

To that end, I will be keeping you posted on what’s happening with me, and sharing details about the workout, the nutrition, and the development.

I write this to encourage you to begin a program for yourself. Perhaps you already have a regular workout and fitness routine, and you just would like to take it to the next level. Or maybe you have been playing with the idea of starting a workout, but haven’t had the motivation to get it into gear yet.

Okay, wild women, it’s time – let’s do this together. Tell me about your routine, send pix, and let’s do this as a group! It would be fun to run this race together and encourage one another along as we progress. Join me!

Get those gotta do it muscles of determination and motivation flexin’!!!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Magic Monday!

Monday. It’s got a bad rep – “Monday, Monday… can’t trust that day” sang the Mamas and Papas. “Just another manic Monday… sang the Bangles. The alarm clocks goes off, we groan, pull the covers over our heads, and lament the sad loss of the weekend, which has been spent quicker than a kid with a dollar in a candy store! Traffic seems worse, work looms larger, and we begin the countdown to Friday.

Wait a minute! We can change this.

Let’s exercise our optimism and creative muscles and begin looking at Monday in a whole new light. That bad rep is nothing more than a bad rap! This is the beginning of a new day/week of possibilities. It’s the chance to keep pursuing your dreams, a fresh new start. Instead of complaining, how about celebrating?

Now stop throwing things at me via your computer screen and just think about this for a minute. Our perceptions are our reality. So in order to change your reality, change your perception, your paradigm. Look at Mondays differently – as a day to look forward to, a day to begin tackling the world, or your little corner of it.

I don’t know what your week looks like – and none of us truly knows what tomorrow will bring, so just look at today, look at Monday and be thankful and blessed for what you do have in it. Call it Miracle Monday, Magic Monday – whatever will cause you to get a little excited or enthusiastic. Make it a special dinner night – who says you can’t have pizza night on Mondays? (Just don’t get so enthusiastic that you eat half the pizza – remember to be mindful about that one!) What can you do individually, or as a group with family and friends, to make Mondays special? How about a special breakfast to start the day off right? Or make it Movie Night Monday and gather with some friends to enjoy a rental at someone’s home.

Too often we work so hard all weekend at getting all the fun into two days, or being a weekend warrior, or running ragged to finish chores, shop, take the kids to their activities, and who knows what? So maybe settling back into a weekday routine may be a blessed relief for you!

You are a wild woman, and you can make Monday a day that will start the week off with a BANG! Celebrate! Enjoy life. Live Mondays JUICY!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Flakey Friday

While autumn is my very favorite season, I do find that the wonderful brisk chill in the air can begin to dry out my skin as much as those crunchy leaves now carpeting my driveway and lawn. ‘Tis the season for dry, irritated and flaky skin. So today we’re going to exercise our moisturizing muscles to help keep skin smooth, supple and soft – at a major league savings!

I offer a course called “The Secret Spa in Your Kitchen”, which teaches you how to find all kinds of wonderful, spa-like treatments right in your kitchen pantry, for a fraction of the cost of high end department stores and salons. Part of life is about feeling good and saving money, so let’s get started!

Lots of us love luxuriously long, hot bubble baths (with candles, music, a glass of wine or cup of tea, and a good book). Ahhh… you soak, read, relax, and come out looking like a little prune woman! However, hot water robs your skin of its natural oils. It’s better to take lukewarm showers for no more than ten minutes or so. But when you do need a therapy tub treatment, immediately before you towel off grab your favorite moisturizer (or plain old olive oil), and rub that into your skin – THEN towel dry. The oil will trap the moisture in your skin. If you have sensitive skin, be sure to pick up some sweet almond oil, which is the least reactive to all skin types. You can find it at most health food stores, or bigger stores like Wegmans and my very favorite, Whole Foods.

Do your hands feel like you’re wearing cactus gloves? Does your skin crack? Ow-chee-mama! Here’s a solution. You know all those fancy-schmancy (and very expensive) sugar scrubs out there? Put away your pocketbooks, girls, because here’s a scrub that will cost you about ten cents. Grab your white sugar (because you don’t want to eat it ever, so here’s the perfect use for it), and pour in into your cupped hand until you have about ¼-to ½ cup. Pour olive oil over it, until you have a pasty consistency. Begin to massage this over your hands, exfoliating and buffing away all the dead skin cells. It’s the same motion as washing your hands. Second step, just add a little squirt of your favorite liquid soap, keep scrubbing, then add just a bit of warm water and suds it up. Rinse with warm water, pat dry, and then use your favorite hand lotion. The results are terrific, and you can do this daily. Just be sure to scrub GENTLY! You can use this on your hands, feet, knees and ankles – NOT on your full body or face!! For an intensive treatment on your hands/feet, don’t use liquid soap – just rinse off and put on cotton gloves or socks. I recommend you do this before bed.

For an herbal oil bath, run a warm (not hot) bath, and toss in a half-dozen herbal teabags of your choice (I’m partial to chamomile, or the sleepy time teas, and my favorite lavender tea). Add about an 1/8th of a cup of olive oil, and soak for ten minutes. Be careful – the tub will be slippery when you get out!!! Again, when you’re done, use the routine above for moisturing afterwards for a double-dip treatment!

Another tub treatment is to simply add whole milk and oatmeal – oatmeal soothes the skin, and the lactic acid in the milk softens the skin. If you are lactose intolerant you may want to be careful that the milk doesn’t cause any problems – check with your doctor first, or do a test by putting milk on a patch of your arm and see if you have any reactions. Add 1-2 cups of whole milk, and about 1/4-1/2 cup of plain oatmeal (not instant). Oh yeah, be sure to scrub the tub immediately afterwards!!

I hope you’ll make time for yourself this weekend to treat yourself to a silky soft spa treatment. And if you’re in Ewing, I invite you to Central Church where I will be speaking on “Holi-DAZE stress management”, and you can also enjoy a relaxing pre-holiday breakfast with other amazing wild women! It begins at 8:30, and you can find contact info and directions at Have a wonderful, relaxing, silky soft wild woman weekend!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tidy Up Thursday

No, wait; before you decide not to even bother reading this… give it a shot! Try to have an open mind...

Let me be the first to admit – I am not a fan of cleaning. Oh, I always feel wonderful when my home is shiny, tidy and everything is organized and in place. Let’s see… that was back in 1980-something???? Truth be told, when the mood hits me, I feel great about organizing my household. But cleaning, well, let’s just say a maid service is definitely on my “Please Santa May I Have” list! I remember reading somewhere that Old Hollywood movie star Ingrid Bergman loved to clean. I also know some women who, when stressed, go on a cleaning rampage around the house. Anyone who wants to get out their stress, let me just say I would gladly be willing to give you the opportunity to work that out at my place! I know – it’s a remarkably large gesture of love on my part, but hey, I’m there for you, sister wild woman!

Especially with the holidays coming up, our stress levels skyrocket when we think of people coming over to our homes. We imagine them sneaking their little white gloves on and testing our shelves to see if we’ve properly dusted. Are you kidding me? Hey, if I can’t see the top of it, then it doesn’t need to be dusted! You pray they won’t snoop into your bathroom closets to see an unorganized mess. Well, girls, here’s a little trick I learned about curing “Nosy Aunt Mable” on that one – fill a cup with marbles and tilt it forward then slam the medicine cabinet mirror shut. Anyone who decides to snoop will be found out with a LOUD CLATTERING!!! I know, a sneaky move… but VERY effective! Just make sure Aunt Mable isn’t wearing a pacemaker, as we don’t need the “CALL 911” drama!!!

Like any other project, you need to think of it in little bits of manageable time and effort. For example, I’ve mentioned before about setting your kitchen timer for 15 minutes and going gangbusters on one little project. Then, it’s done, and you’ve begun the task. It feels good, and it’s not overwhelming. So let’s think of cleaning in the same way.

My favorite site for cleaning is That’s where the 15-minute timer idea came from, as well as one of my all-time favorite cleaning tips. At night before you go to bed, clean your sink until it shines. It sounds really strange at first (oh, there she goes again, going all “Donna Reed” on us), but it is amazing how great you feel in the morning, coming down to an empty, gleaming sink instead of a icky, sticky, “aren’t those dishes from last week” monster that just screams GROSS at you before you’ve even had a chance to take your first sip of coffee? She has lots of tips and ideas for cleaning, organizing and just making life less cluttered.

Another two sites have helped me – one is, and the sister holiday site They help you plan, organize and get better control over your home and holidays. Now sometimes any of these sites may get a little too enthusiastic for your taste, but just be open-minded and use what works for you. You don’t have to follow everything to the letter. Just pick out a couple of ideas that are manageable/workable for you. Begin with baby steps. Incorporate one idea a day into your routine. If only one or two ideas work, great – all the better to work down that stress level little by little. Do what you can with what you have. As my friend Karla’s tat says, “It is what it is!” One of my favorite sayings!

So exercise those cleaning and organizing muscles, grab your Swiffer, and get started one dust bunny at a time (and you can always adopt the others and name them). Remember to keep your sense of humor and have fun with it!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wild Woman Wednesday

Wild Women weep. We are strong, and most times we try to keep the weight of the world riding high on our shoulders without one grimmace or complaint, knowing we can do it. I know the musical mantra of the women's movement at one time was "I Am Woman", but sorry Helen Reddy, there are days I don't feel like roaring. No, some days I am too tired and overwhelmed, and I feel like weeping and pulling the covers over my head. Those are the days some of the lyrics of Bob Dylan's "Just Like A Woman" are more appropriate:

"She takes just like a woman
She makes love just like a woman, yes she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl"

Crying can be cleansing, a welcome emotional release that "puts it all out there". Sometimes it's just a few tears easily brushed away quickly before anyone notices. Then there are the times when the floodgates open and we are wracked with sobs that feel as if they're going to turn us inside out. Your feelings are your feelings... and your tears are your tears. I can't help but think of how things look brighter in the morning after a cry and a good night's sleep. It reminds me of a Bible verse in Psalm 30:5 "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."

So today, exercise those hold-it-all-back muscles by releasing them. Realize there ain't nuthin' like a good cry sometimes! You are still strong, you are still more than capable, and you are still an amazing wild woman.

Hey, maybe we can start a once a month "Weepy Wednesday" club. Everyone gathers at someone's home, BYOT (bring your own tissues), somebody brings the tear-jerker chick flick, and we all have a good cry together! Who knows, it could catch on!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Think About It Tuesday

I was presented via email with a list of “the best and worst date foods” this morning. My interest was naturally peaked, but as I read down the list, all I really came up with that I would choose was chocolate! As I sat here thinking about it, I came up with my own list of worst date foods:

(1) Egg salad – seriously? For a reference, just check out the 1972 original (not the lame remake by Ben Stiller) version of The Heartbreak Kid with Charles Grodin, Cybill Shepherd, and Jeannie Berlin. Trust me, when you see Jeannie Berlin chowing down on her double egg salad sandwich, you will understand fully why this is on the top of my list! Not a fantastic movie, but the scene is hysterical and pathetic all at the same time!

(2) Spaghetti – I’m not talking about pasta like small ziti, I’m talking mile-long strands of plain old spaghetti in drippy, messy “I will find a spot to splash you even if you’re wearing a lobster bib” sauce (or gravy, as my Italian friends say). Years ago there was this very funny commercial where the man offers the woman sitting at the family table with him some spagetti, and she says, “I’m not hungry, I’ll just pick” and proceeds to spear up some spaghetti from his plate, slurping it all the way from her seat. I can’t find it on You Tube, but it is sooo worth seeing if you can find it anywhere. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the product!! Maybe Ragu? Some pasta sauce? If you know it, please write me in the comments section!!

(3) Lasagna – see Spaghetti for reason number one, but also add strands of melted mozzarella that simply won’t be cut in a polite fashion. No, the only way to snap that bad boy from the slab of lasagna on your plate it to twirl it round and round (and round) your fork, praying someday it will stop before you get carpal tunnel syndrome. Admit it – when we’re home we just grab it with our fingers! Hey, isn’t melted mozzarella considered fun finger food?

4. Onion Soup – see mozzarella/lasagna – ‘nuff said.

5. Escargot (aka snails) – see the movie scene from Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts nearly takes out a waiter’s eye with her flying snail – thank goodness he was a good catch! Love her comment to Richard Gere and table mates – “slippery little suckers!”

Honorable mention – how annoying is it to try and eat salad when the pieces are big enough to use as journal pages to write on about how good (or bad) your date went?!?! You cut and cut, and they’re still fighting to get into your mouth. I swear, they have little invisible hands and feet that grab onto your lips as they scream in little itsy-bitsy baby arugula voices, “I’m not going in – you’re not taking me!” Sooo embarrassing!!!

And the biggest rule of all that is so big it is above being listed as number one – CHEW WITH YOUR MOUTH CLOSED! Mom was right – NEVER a good look, girls!!!!!

So this is for your relationship muscle flex exercise today, ladies. If you want a romantic dinner with a new date, regular date, or the hubs (because the hubs deserves a little romantic dinner once in awhile – keep the spark alive), stay away from these items. And if you have items that you’d like to recommend for date night, or would like to share one of your own funny embarassing "I'll never order that in public again" moments, please add them to your comments here. Bon appetite!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Much-Too-Much Monday

Last Tuesday’s blog addressed the potential stress levels of the upcoming holidays, and I gave some recommendations on how to handle it. However, it occurred to me that many of us are already dealing with much too much. Maybe you have just managed to make it through September’s school rush, then the October halloween fun and corresponding candy overload. Yes, last week I found it impossible to walk by the chocolate strewn all over like autumn leaves on everyone’s desks without eating a piece here and there. Why didn’t I just duct tape it to my butt and thighs?!?!!? And now as of this weekend, the stores have decked their halls and are playing Christmas muzak before the Thanksgiving bird has even had a chance to thaw!

As we plunge headlong into November (is it REALLY the 7th ALREADY?!?!), I’d like you to just exercise your PUT ON THE BRAKES muscles and just stop for 15 minutes. Just 15 little minutes. Go grab your kitchen timer and set it for 15. Now give yourself permission to sit down and breathe – flushed cheeks are cute, blue skin from not breathing? Not so much! That’s right. Good. Okay, now, calmly think about what needs to be done just this week, from November 7th through Saturday the 12th. Write down a list to help you stay organized. Now break that list down into smaller chunks – what can I do each day to accomplish my tasks? Is there anything you can delegate to a family member? Can you tag team with a friend and cook two meals instead of one and trade off so you will save one night of cooking? Can you baby-sit or carpool the kids for a friend one night this week, and have her do it another night? Brainstorm – think of possibilities – maybe they’ll work, maybe not, but if you can find one thing that may save you a few extra minutes or steps, that will be great!

Now, about that candy overload… for myself, I’m planning on eating lighter this week. That means more salads, more veggies, lots of lemon water (both hot first thing in the morning and cold throughout the day), eating “cleaner” to gently detox my body from the excess sugar and junk. Maybe you'd like to consider doing the same if no medical problems exist for you.

How about your calendar? Anything you can eliminate? Move something to the following week? And speaking of calendar events, if you by a miracle have a free Saturday morning (okay, I see you laughing till the tears roll down your face), I will be speaking at a women’s pre-holiday breakfast at Central Church in Ewing, NJ this Saturday morning (November 12th) from 8:30-12:30. It has been designed to be a fun event to usher in gently the upcoming holidays so we can prepare our heads and hearts. I will be speaking in one of the workshops on “Stress Management for the Holi-DAZE”. I would encourage you to take a morning for yourself (and a friend) to pamper yourselves and come join the festivities. If you’d like to attend, call the church office at 609.882.0337, or surf over to their website at for more info.

Finally, I will be posting tips for the holidays periodically as I find things that might help make your life a bit easier and saner as we do the holidaze and holidays together. We can do this, and have fun in the process. Now flash me the best muscles of all – your SMILE muscles! Have a beautiful and blessed day.

Today’s Thanksgiving Tip: Per instructions on, it takes one day for every four pounds of turkey for your frozen turkey to thaw on a shallow tray at the bottom shelf of your refrigerator. So, if you are planning on cooking a 16-20 pound turkey, it needs 4-5 days to thaw – so be sure to mark on you calendar that on Monday, November 21st (if you’re doing the 16-20 pound bird), to TRANSFER THE TURKEY FROM THE FREEZER TO THE REFRIGERATOR TO THAW!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ten Things Thursday

Thursdays – the day you are torn between weekly exhaustion and the exhilaration of the weekend. You’re a tired and thirsty traveler over the sands of Monday through Wednesday, and Thursday is the time where you lift up your bedraggled head and see the glimpse just over the horizon of a town and a waterfall. It gives you just enough “oomph” to get that second wind and keep on going! You’re made it – keep going, you’re almost there!

You probably don’t have enough energy today to tackle your big projects, like major holiday planning, cleaning out the garage, or even just some of the everyday tasks at hand like cleaning, cooking and unloading the dishwasher. Hey, that’s what paper plates are for!!! So let’s go gently into this, shall we, and simply exercise your “Ten Things Thursday” muscles.

You know how good it feels when you can accomplish some task that’s been nagging in the back of your head and giving you a feeling of unease? Do you get a little smile every time you put a checkmark next to that to-do list chore that you can mark off? Well, that’s what we’re going for today. One big bahonkin’ overwhelming chore on my list is to tackle my bedroom closet. Honestly, I lie in bed at night and see an eerie glow from this dark hole in my wall beckoning me to come closer – could it be a wormhole from space? No… because there is not one inch of space left there at all! I admit it, I haven’t seen the floor in weeks, my shoes party till dawn all over themselves, and I swear the clothes multiply when I’m not looking. Know what I mean? Yeah, I see heads nodding in sympathetic support. Trying to plan and find my fashionista ensembles is an Olympic event – the stepping over, the stretching, the grabbing, and the minutes lost forever trying to finding two matching shoes. My goal tonight is to take ten items out of that closet and store them away, give them away, or hang them properly.

Maybe you have the “looming closet from hell” syndrome as well? Or maybe you have a desk that you haven’t seen since January for all the stuff piled on it. Or a project you need to begin. If you have a pile of mail, open ten items and deal with them tonight – whether that means paying a bill, shredding junk mail, or responding to an invitation. If you’ve got a pile of clean laundry sitting in a lonely corner waiting to be put away, just grab ten items and put them away. Get the picture? Sound reasonable? Something you can get a handle on? OF COURSE! The thing is… you are taking little steps towards achieving the goal. And you will begin to feel like you accomplished something, that you have started to undertake something, and you’re moving forward with it – that’s a great feeling!

Uh-oh… my closet is starting to make noises like the one in the old movie “Poltergeist”, so I’d better begin taking my own advice! If you never get any more posts from me, you’ll know it was indeed a wormhole to a planet where I will be crowned “Queen of the Wild Women!” HA!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wild Woman Wednesday

Wild women walk… yes we do, from hither to yon (where the heck are hither and yon anyway?). However, it’s harder to do these days, because inactivity has been engineered into our lives (escalators, remote controls, etc.). In fact, an article in notes that inactivity is the second leading preventable cause of death in the United States, second only to tobacco use. The same article tells us the top reasons for walking are:

 Prevents Type 2 Diabetes – walking 150 minutes per week and losing 7% of your body weight (approx. 12015 lbs.) can reduce your risk of diabetes by 58%!!!
 Strengthens a woman’s heart – reduces risk of heart attack by 35% compared to non-walkers.
 Good for the brain – women walking the equivalent of an easy pace at least 1-1/2 hrs/wk had better cognitive function/less cognitive decline than women who walked less than 40 minute per week.
 Good for your bones
 Helps alleviate depression – walk 3o minutes, 3 to 5 times a week for 12 weeks reduces symptoms of depression by 47%!
 Reduces risk of breast and colon cancer by 18%
 Improves overall fitness and physical function, even when walking in short bouts of three 10-minute walks per day.

In another article from the Mayo Clinic, we also find that walking can help you:

 Lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol)
 Raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol)
 Lower your blood pressure
 Manage your weight

Be sure to check out the article to see how to prep to begin a walking program, including stretching, cool down, and measuring the intensity of your workout. For a few dollars invest in a pedometer, and you’ll be amazed at how much you already walk. The goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day, roughly five miles. Most of the wild women I know are doing almost that just in their day-to-day activities, let alone specifically going for a walk.

Now ignoring the bizarre blizzard we’ve had recently in the Northeast, this is the perfect time of year to get out there and walk! I love the feeling I experience when I’m walking in one of my local parks – being in the beauty of nature, feeling the breeze/sun on my face, the smell of the air, and the way my body feels afterwards. I’m calmer, and there’s a great sense of satisfaction knowing I did something good for me. Walk for 15 minutes at lunchtime (approximately one mile going about 125 steps a minute). It’s free, and you can do it anywhere. If you don’t have anywhere local to walk, go to the mall and walk there – but be sure to step away from the stores and your charge card. We’re exercising our physical muscles, not our spending!!!

So get out there somewhere, somehow, and GET WALKING!


Article #1:
Article #2 :

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Too Soon Tuesday

How many times have you been “surprised” that Thanksgiving and Christmas are “just around the corner”? Granted, Thanksgiving scoots around here and there each year on the November calendar pages, but Christmas is ALWAYS on December 25th, rain or shine. Yet, like a buzzing mosquito, we are aware of its presence in a back-burner kind of way until ZAP! And no matter how hard we swat and scratch, we’ve been bit!

Allow me to be the bearer of ominous tidings -- today is November 1st. You now officially have 23 days until Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 24th), and 53 days until Christmas. That also equates to 30 shopping days between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. Oh dear, I just heard a bunch of thuds, and I fear it was the sound of some of you falling off your chairs, as the rest of you join in a heartrending chorus of “Too Soon! Too Soon!” Sorry! Don’t shoot the messenger!!

Don’t be afraid – now that you are clear about timeframes and dates, you can plan appropriately. Exercise your short-range and long-range planning muscles. Get a November calendar out and highlight the 24th. Now think of the long-range plans – Thanksgiving. Imagine exactly what you need, whether you are going away, having a celebration/meal at your home, working at a shelter, etc. Okay good. Now… the next step is to think about all the things to need to arrange/get/make between now and then. If you’re going away, start looking at airline reservations, or if you’re driving, map things out, figure out travel expenses, etc. Once that is done, determine what clothes you’re going to pack, what you may be bringing if you’re cooking/baking for the event, things like that. Break all that down into bite-sized daily chores. Can you begin packing anything now, just a little each day? What can you purchase this weekend for the trip? Get the idea?

If you are the one hosting a Thanksgiving celebration, begin now by planning your menu. Can you pick up items in the next several trips to the grocery store to spread out the expense, and save on the last minute “give me that last can of pumpkin puree or I’ll hit you with my cart” insanity that plagues every market the last weekend before Thanksgiving. Can you cook this weekend and freeze any items? Again, it’s finding little things each day that won’t overwhelm you. Can you clean one room thoroughly from top to bottom over the next three weekends so that you won’t have to worry about it the actual week of the big event? Plot all this down on your calendar. Plan it so that everything that can possibly be done before the week of the occasion is completed, so you aren’t running around like a whirling dervish screaming banshee woman -- and remember to DELEGATE IF YOU CAN! I have a confession – last year I purchased my honey ham and some of the “fixins’” the day before Christmas – yes, there, I’ve said it. I may be drummed out of the “Donna Reed Wannabe” club, but you know what? It was delicious, easy to do and I spent far less time in the kitchen and more time with family and friends.

As far as Christmas goes, begin making purchases now to save yourself from charging up a storm on gifts and then spending all of 2012 paying those credit cards off! It’s NOT too soon to begin planning for the upcoming holidays, and it’s certainly NOT too late. Start today. You can do it… baby steps!


Oh, and P.S. – if you have any questions about cooking a turkey, click HERE the link to Butterball!