‘My fear is my only courage’ – bob marley

no fear

I recently heard one of the most inspiring speeches I’ve ever heard. This inspiration has fueled me even more to follow my dreams. Sounds trite, you might be thinking. But I challenge all of us to examine whether we’re really doing something we love. When we finally decide it’s OK to do what drives us, what makes us feel alive, we’re true to ourselves and are who we’re really meant to be. No mask. No facade. No compromising to please someone else.

We have to unbecome what we are to become our authentic selves. This art of unbecoming may be uncomfortable, scary and spark all sorts of emotions, from happy to sad. When we believe our dreams, rather than doubting them or running scared from them, we become free in our own skin. There’s a freedom in our soul that energizes our being so we can do more, be more and give more. The destination will be there. If you want it badly enough, you can count on that end result ready to greet you. It’s the process, the journey, that counts. That journey isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. The hiccups we face only make us stronger. We have the power to reach the top of the mountain. And just think: The top of any mountain is the bottom of another.

Keep reaching.

Cheers!

Join me: Be an informed consumer

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This image makes me giggle. For various reasons. First, I’m looking forward to a Halloween-themed event I’m hosting with my mom this weekend. I also laugh because when some people hear about a new endeavor I’ve taken on, they say, “You got a master’s degree and now you’re selling lipstick?” Technically, yes, I have the ability to sell lipstick. But it’s so much more than that. I can supply you with all the beauty products you might need or want, but I’m also building a foundation for myself, building new relationships, boosting my confidence and uplifting others.

Why did I choose Arbonne? It’s the perfect marriage between botanicals and science. A Scientific Advisory Board comprised of leading professionals in science, medicine, health, wellness & nutrition help develop, implement and assess the products and the informational content on each item. Products are made without animal by-products, mineral oil, petrolatum, parabens and other potentially harmful chemicals. That fact is very important to me these days as I’m focused on reducing my exposure to unnecessary chemicals every day.

Another reason that photo resonates with me is I’ve realized our beauty industry has spent millions (thanks to our hard-earned money) to advertise and over sell us products – filled with all of those items mentioned above – that may not really benefit our skin, and in turn, our bodies. I’m on a mission to help others streamline their personal care products. We all have drawers full of makeup, lotions, potions and creams that don’t serve us – they’re piled up in those drawers for a reason!

I’m offering an opportunity to “bury” those items and start fresh. I respect your choice to use any product you choose. I just encourage all of us to be informed consumers and know what we’re putting on and in our bodies and not simply trust the celebrity who got paid a lot of money to sell us that lipstick.

Note to self: I give you permission.

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A segment on entrepreneurship happened to be on the air today while I was driving along. This part hit me … the “crazy” doesn’t begin with the idea. It begins after you give yourself permission to follow your dreams and in the midst of the doing part. The biggest hurdle we all face is that mass between our ears – our head and the debilitating thoughts that stop us in our tracks. The timing of this radio interview couldn’t have come at a better time. The same theme was touched on during a meeting I attended this week.

“Give yourself permission.” I love that statement. So many of us grow up with the idea that it’s best to follow the status quo. We don’t know any differently. Go to college, get a good job, save what you can, retire. I followed that path, and I as a full-time writer, I enjoy what I do. Living paycheck to paycheck, though, I needed a change. And I realized I couldn’t wait for that raise or “perfect” job that would offer me more money. I had to make it happen. I’m giving myself permission to acknowledge what’s been brewing inside for a long time – my passion for health & wellness and the desire to share it with others. I realized this opportunity is the vehicle that will allow me to pursue other dreams, such as the publishing company that I licensed two years ago.

The other night I met with my Arbonne team in the comfort of one of our Regional Vice President’s home. I became an independent consultant in April to share the pure, safe and beneficial products. Friends and family were asking me about the nutritional supplements I had been using on the clean-eating challenge, so I figured I might as well sign up and be compensated for my recommendations and enjoy a healthy discount. The business plan looked intriguing, but my fears set in. “Oh, that’s good for other people. Sure, she did it, but I don’t think it’s for me. What will people think of me? What if it doesn’t work? I don’t like selling things. I don’t like standing in front of people.”

I still face those fears daily, but my belief in what I’m doing and sharing keeps me going. After signing up in April, I simply kept talking about my favorite products or would recommend something relative to casual conversation. I’ve been honest. I’ve been real. And guess what? I just promoted to the next level – District Manager! I was recognized at the meeting and also asked to give my “Why”.

IMG_7109The five ladies pictured with me above have inspired and supported my journey soooo very much in their special ways. I’m so grateful for their friendships and belief in me. My mom (camera-shy mom) is my biggest cheerleader. She wants this venture for me so badly and does whatever she can to help.

As I reflect on the past four years since my divorce (which left me with a lot of debt to take on), I realize I had been missing four major needs: choice, freedom, connection and flow. All four of those things are back in my life since discovering Arbonne. I feel and look better. I have more confidence. I’m learning new things every day about myself and the world of health & wellness. I’ve made new friends and work with women who support me. We believe in each other and praise each others’ successes. My life is flowing more naturally, and I’m feeling more grounded in all facets because I’m sharing my light with others. Fear of rejection used to have a leading role in my life. I have faced rejection a lot over the past six months. But  the “yeses” and connections with people who I never dreamed would see the value in what I’ve taken on far outweigh those rejections.

I have no idea where the journey is leading. But, as I know to be true in yoga, the unknown is a beautiful thing. Each time you step on the mat, you never know what you’ll learn, see and experience. As long as I continue fueling my health & wellness interest, I can’t go wrong. Same goes for you. Thoughts and over-thinking are what kill our dreams. Do what you love and I believe your individual life’s journey will present itself just how it’s meant to be.

Health & wellness, what I love

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I was reminded today that you can’t run from what pulls you, what you’re passionate about. You can try, and maybe you’re not even consciously running from it, but for some reason, doubt sets in and you feel distant from that passion.

One of my biggest passions is my health & wellness business I discovered back in the spring when I was doing the Arbonne 28-day clean eating challenge. I had a beautiful Arbonne launch party last month. My whole life, it seems, has led me to this point as I’ve found myself leaning toward a more natural, less materialistic way of living. When I see an article about making homemade non-toxic sunscreen or the potential harmful effects of genetically modified foods, I can’t help but stop and read them. This habit doesn’t make me popular in many circles. I hear the sighs and see the eye-rolls. I often get caught in the self-doubt tunnel. But the urge to pursue my interests and learn more always returns. I can’t always eat organic and non-GMO foods. I’m exposed to toxins. I’m human. But I can choose what I put in and on my body. Knowledge is power. And that’s why I keep reading and learning about these things.

Last weekend, I came upon a recipe – grain-free, dairy & sugar free banana pancakes. Two simple ingredients: eggs and a banana.

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The process was simple. Blend the two eggs and one banana in my NutriBullet, spread coconut oil in the pan and make your cakes. They didn’t turn out pretty or perfect – so much so that I couldn’t even take an after-photo. ;) But they tasted good. Before the clean-eating challenge, I would have seen this recipe, maybe tabbed it for later, but that later would never come. Now, I see a recipe and I give it a go. Like these pancakes, the recipes usually turn out far from picture-perfect. It’s the simple steps of accomplishment and trying something new and different that keep me coming back for more.

That clean-eating challenge was so much more than physically life-changing for me. It gave me a renewed confidence and opened the door to a business so I can share health & wellness – my passion – with others.

A Gorge good time : running, clean-eating (and wine ;) included

Outdoor fun, good food, music and friends – another fabulous Labor Day weekend at the Gorge is in the books!

I live in a hilly neighborhood and got in several runs before my trip, so at least I was somewhat prepared for my traditional hike/run down the Gorge to the Columbia River and back up. The trail starts along one of the roads at Cave B Winery & Inn, where I have the pleasure of staying for the long weekend. A “Caution: Beware of Snakes” sign greets you at the head of the trail. An acquaintance passed me going the opposite direction after I made it down the steepest part and through a patch of sage grass. She said she and her friend had just seen a rattle snake and she could hear other rattlers nearby. I ran till I reached a mile, and as the brush got deeper and trail rockier, I decided to turn around and head back up to our little slice of civilized life in this wild west domain.

photoI was sad to see the water level of the Columbia River down so much from last year. Still, the grand landscape and majestic beauty of the Gorge and Cave B were just as captivating as always.

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cavebwaterOn Friday, Saturday and Sunday I spent my evenings next door at the Gorge Amphitheater, where it was all happening, even dinner. I made a stop at Whole Foods in Seattle on Friday before my trek through the mountains up to the high desert. I got almond milk for my Arbonne protein powder shakes (yes, of course I travel with my pea protein! :)), fruit and other healthy snacks for the daytime. Dega Rock ‘n’ Roll Catering prepares homemade meals every show day for bands and their crew. They get there before anybody, scout local food sources and obtain the finest ingredients to create the most bountiful, healthy meals for the hardworking folks. I’m amazed at what Chef Fiona and her team come up with each time. And the catering spaces are even decorated for a nice, homey feel. I’m lucky to partake in the meals – primarily dinner.

gorge3menuThere’s always a meat, fish and vegetarian choice plus delicious sides and first-course options, such as soup or salad. It is definitely not difficult to follow my clean-eating habits with a Dega buffet before me!

I thought this was really neat … They post the local farms they work with to obtain fresh produce and meat.
degafarmsAnd they do this in every area the bands they work for are traveling. Talk about supporting the farm-to-table movement! I talked briefly to Chef Fiona, telling her how impressed I was that she cooks such magnificent dishes for so many people. She said, “It’s really not that much harder than cooking at home. You just have to make more.” What an inspiration! Next time I don’t feel like cooking, I’ll keep her and her traveling kitchen in mind ;)

Monday was an off day. With no show, that meant no schedule or time constraints. Jerry and I had fun exploring Cave B. I had never been to the winery and tasting bar, so we played tourist for the afternoon.

cavebfunWalking under those vines (top left photo) was so refreshing! The sweet smell of grapes, the breeze, that view … oh, and picking a few white grapes for the tasting. Turns out the rose wine is my favorite. It’s not too sweet but dry and crisp – perfect for a warm, sunny day.

That night, we were invited to a special dinner in Cave B’s Tendrils restaurant. I was in the company of some of the most interesting, kind people I’ve ever met.

cavebmenuI chose the grass-fed beef and king crab combo as my main course. There are no words to describe how fabulous all of these items tasted!

I’m so grateful for these genuine times of adventure, good food and friendship. I always learn something new about myself and others in this world we share. You know, those moments that make us smile and those awkward moments that connect us as humans – all the things that make life worth living.

 

Naturally dealing with chronic pain

I receive lots of PR emails in my work inbox. I don’t have anywhere to place this worthy article in my magazine. But I can share it here! Painkiller abuse is a BIG deal that we need to discuss. I’ve personally seen the bad effects from those little pills. Opening up to more holistic ways of dealing with chronic pain and evaluating your lifestyle (which more than likely is the reason for that chronic pain) and what you put in your body is the key to relief, I strongly believe.

From the experts…

Roughly 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain lasting more than six months, according to a report from the Institute of Medicine. Throughout the past decade, the use of painkillers such as Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin has soared by 300 percent. For many – 17,000 people per year, or 46 each day – the treatment is worse than the pain; those are the number of users who die from the medicine, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

For every person who dies from the use of painkillers, 30 more are admitted to emergency rooms due to complications.

“Those figures are appalling,” says Dr. Frank King, a doctor of naturopathy, president of King Bio natural medicine company, and author of The Healing Revolution (www.kingbio.com).

“Death is just one of the many side effects of heavy-duty pharmaceuticals, and researchers unanimously agree that addiction to painkillers has risen drastically in recent years. People are so focused on pain that they miss the fact that it is a signal of deeper health problems. Don’t shoot the messenger! Listen to the pain, and it will lead you to the root causes.”

With decades of experience helping patients, Dr. King offers four natural suggestions for pain management.

•  Identify the root causes of pain. Pain is a signal of deeper problems, similar to the warning light on the dashboard of your car. You can mask the light with duct tape, which is what prescription drugs do with pain. You can cut the wires, which might symbolize a surgical approach. Or you can look for the root causes, which is what our more natural, holistic approach seeks to do. Address the problem, and the pain will subside.

•  Make good choices. Most chronic conditions are caused by bad lifestyle choices. Try walking more, eating and sleeping better, eliminating stress and bad habits from your life, and watch pain decrease and health increase. It’s that simple. Moreover, surround yourself with a healing community of like-minded “healing buddies” who support your healthy choices.

•  Explore natural healing techniques, and if necessary, see a natural healing practitioner. You are your best doctor, on call 24/7. I developed many self-healing techniques that address the needs of every aspect of mind-body health. These techniques are free and easy to implement at home, on the job, and wherever you might be. You might also explore meditation, yoga and other approaches for filling the holes in your wholeness.

•  Look into homeopathy. Homeopathy predates modern medicine. Homeopathic medicines are safe and effective, with no known side effects or negative drug interactions. They target the root causes, not the superficial pain. I have personally seen homeopathy dramatically raise the quality of life and happiness for countless of my patients.

With the appalling death toll due to pharmaceutical pain medication, natural solutions like homeopathy are our safest, brightest hope for the future of pain management.

 

On the road again

The title of this post might have you humming the Willie Nelson song, dreaming of a road trip. While I love a good road trip, I’m talking about road running here. It’s been a while … okay, according to my Garmin, it had been nearly two months … since I’ve woken up, laced up my running shoes and hit the streets for a morning run.

I’m sorry to admit that my running had been sporadic even two months ago. I’d maybe go once a week. The past two weeks I’ve stepped into an old habit. And it feels good. I’m not running long distances (no more than 3 miles) and that’s okay. Maybe the pressure I put on myself to run at least 4-6 miles on each run is what pulled me from one of my favorite hobbies because running that much didn’t interest me at the moment. I’ve realized running even 1 mile is worth so much. In these hot, humid (so very humid!) August days it doesn’t take long for me to work up a good sweat. I had forgotten how good it feels to start the day with a run. The endorphins, the morning dew, birds chirping, sun rising – all that corny stuff – feel good. And to think fall is just around the corner – my favorite season to run outside.

I’ll be spending Labor Day weekend at the high-desert utopia that is the Gorge. I plan on taking my yoga practice to new heights and going on a run down to the Columbia River. Ooh, that means I’ll have to come back up! Good thing I’m used to hills in my hometown!

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Happy holiday weekend, everyone!

 

Falling for Clean Eating

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Spring is typically associated with rebirth, renewal and starting fresh. For me, fall represents those things. It may be because my birthday typically lands on the first day of autumn, but I always feel refreshed and ready to declutter my closets and mind when the leaves start to fall and the air becomes crisper.

This fall, I look forward to continuing my clean-eating journey. Since first doing the challenge in April, I’ve pretty much stuck to the plan, filling my plate and belly with organic/non-GMO foods and steering clear of refined sugar and processed junk. But it’s the summer and I’ve enjoyed vacations. Inevitably, I’ve indulged, drank a little too much wine and enjoyed delectable desserts. I’ve seen the difference in my skin and energy levels. When I follow a cleaner diet (and one free of dairy, gluten, refined sugar and soy), my skin is clearer and energy higher. And I sleep better.

As an Arbonne independent consultant, I’m leading the 28-day challenge that began on Aug. 4. I’ve enjoyed inspiring others to lead a healthier lifestyle. They are on Week 3 and I’m so proud they’ve stuck it out this long! Along with them, I’ve prepared “clean” meals and supplemented my diet with the detox-worthy and gut-bliss promoting Arbonne products. Naturally, I’m enjoying the benefits of a cleaner diet.

The other day a friend asked me about another diet in which health professionals advocate consuming only 500 calories per day. This plan floors me. It seems any qualified nutritionist would know that drastically cutting calories can put the body into starvation mode. Metabolism slows down and blood sugar levels can plummet. Hormones in the body react, and cause your body to store fat. Keeping blood sugar levels stable is key to any weight management program. That’s why I’m such a proponent of Arbonne’s pure, safe and natural approach. The program touts eating real food that’s not processed or that comes in a box. It encourages buying from your local farmer and cooking in your own kitchen. I used to hold onto to the story I had been telling myself for years – “I’m not a good cook.” Because of this 28-day challenge, I found I am a good cook and am perfectly capable of preparing a meal with multiple ingredients and steps. Such a freeing feeling.

The next challenges start Sept. 8 and Sept. 22 (my birthday!). What a birthday treat it would be for me for you to join me on this life-changing journey! :)

#Emeraldcoasting

The email had me at “coast.” Working for a local magazine that covers a range of topics, my email is flooded daily with pitches, advice and story ideas from public relations execs and advertising agencies. This subject line caught my eye: “INVITATION: Press trip to Experience the Emerald Coast.” A fully-funded trip. This was too good to be true. It had to be.

emeraldcoast_fourpointssheratonHard to pass up that view, don’t you agree?

I forwarded the email to my team. We run busy schedules so it can take a while for these things to be considered. After a week or two of kicking it around and dreaming about the trip, my boss came in my office, suggesting I represent the magazine on this “girlfriend getaway” adventure!

I gladly accepted the invitation from Margaret at Peter Mayer Advertising in New Orleans. She coordinated the press weekend and kept us on task while there. I packed my beach towel & sunscreen and was ready to enjoy a complimentary flight and long weekend stay at the Four Points by Sheraton. During the jam-packed weekend (Aug. 7-10) exploring Fort Walton Beach, Destin & Okaloosa Island with remarkable cuisine and beach activities, I had the privilege of meeting and learning from other writers and professionals. We shared every meal and excursion together. We shared laughs and sang songs together in our fancy ride for the weekend – a top-of-the-line minivan. I will never hear the 1980s version of “Puttin on the Ritz” the same way, thanks to Misty of Girl Will Travel. ;) I’m amazed at how spending a few days with strangers can turn into lifetime memories.

emeraldcoast_ajs_emeraldgrandeThis photo encompasses the camaraderie we established in just a short time. After a delightful lunch at AJ’s World Famous Seafood & Oyster Bar on Saturday during which we were spoiled by the restaurant’s marketing director (and history buff extraordinaire!), he was gracious to transport us by golf cart to our next stop. The Spa at Emerald Grande is on the Harborwalk, where AJ’s is located, but it was hot & humid, and after a two-hour adventure with standup paddle boarding, we happily accepted the ride – albeit a bit overcrowded. We giggled along.

The spa experience – ahhhhh, what a relaxing hour. I melted into the massage table and afterward felt like one of the jellyfish I had spotted the day before at the Gulfarium.

The Gulfarium (right next to my hotel resort, turns out) is where we experienced up-close-and-personal encounters with dolphins. I know aquariums and zoos can spark controversy, and I’m no animal/marine life expert, but I can say the animals at the Gulfarium seem happy and cared for in the most humane and proper way possible. We talked to one knowledgable trainer who most definitely cares about how animals are treated. That warmed my heart. The child in me was giddy over the dolphin encounter. I’ve been fascinated by them since I can remember.

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emeraldcoast_gulfarium_dolphins4Our group of three (me + Nathalie from Chattanooga and Tyler, the social media guru from Peter Mayer) played with Cosmo, who’s 10.

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Hope he didn’t mind having his tail held and or his belly rubbed. I sure enjoyed it :)

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One of my favorite views at the Gulfarium was this elevated spot.

IMG_6678What a perfect view of the green water, sugary-white sand and beach life.

Other highlights of the trip were a visit to Destin Commons and Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl & Grill, candlelit meal at Cuvee Bistro, standup paddle boarding in Harborwalk Village, another fabulous meal at Jackacuda’s Seafood & Sushi and a to-die-for-brunch at Clemenza’s. I could have stayed and talked for hours with Clemenza’s owner, Dom Damiano – the real Italian deal. He’s brought so much history and richness from his Chicago upbringing to this uptown bistro (sister restaurant to his Fat Clemenza’s pizzeria).

Pictures tell it best so here goes …

Fruit plate greeted me upon arrival at Four Points

Fruit plate greeted me upon arrival at Four Points

Under the pier

Under the pier

emeraldcoast_blackpearlOur sunset view during dinner at the Black Pearl. Thanks to Kendra Moore – our helpful, fun and very knowledgable tour guide – with the Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, we were alerted at the perfect photo-op time.

My first meal – seared tuna (double yum!)

My first meal – seared tuna (double yum!)

Super neat bowling alley/grill

Super neat bowling alley/grill

Underwater theme inside the bowling alley/grill

Underwater theme inside the bowling alley/grill

Handpainted murals and carefully crafted props give the underwater illusion

Handpainted murals and carefully crafted props give the underwater illusion

After our bowling alley tour and warm welcome reception from the Destin Common folks, we dined at Cuvee Bistro. We were met with fireworks.

emeraldcoast_cuveebistroWell, not really fireworks, but sparklers!

Sunrise ...

Sunrise …

Our SUP adventure begins ...

Our SUP adventure begins …

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emeraldcoast_SUPWe stood up once we reached the other side of the harbor. SUPing is a recreational activity (and great workout) I can’t wait to do again! You’re practically standing on water. Doesn’t get much better than that!

Hmm … maybe paddle board yoga is in my future. ;)

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Jetpack anyone?

Southern Star Dolphin Cruise time!

Southern Star Dolphin Cruise time!

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emeraldcoast_sunsetcruiseSunset over the Gulf. The moon was just as impressive that night.

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 Sunday came too soon. I set my alarm an hour earlier so I could take one last walk on the beach.

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Till we meet again!

In the meantime, girlfriends (or boyfriends), get your crew together and go #emeraldcoasting!