Vision it

I finally got around to making a vision board! I started it with some friends earlier in the week and completed it today. I simply went with my gut (after all, much of our serotonin – the hormone that makes us happy – resides in our gut. The gut is a good thing to listen to) and cut out images and words that spoke to me.



Travel. Freedom. Opportunity. Harmony. Love. Water. Mountains. Meadows. Light. Living. Doing. Being. Pretty cool how our intuition reveals itself.


Believing is seeing: how Arbonne changes lives

I’m not a particularly peppy person. That didn’t matter.

I don’t particularly like being in a crowd. That didn’t matter.

I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve yet sometimes have a hard time expressing when I feel an overwhelming sensation of happiness or sadness. I had no problem freely letting my smiles shine and my tears flow.

The scenarios I describe above happened at the Arbonne Global Training Conference (referred to as GTC) in Las Vegas. Last week at this time, I was tired and probably sleeping on the plane ride home from Vegas after four days in the city that never sleeps. We had late nights followed by early mornings. My feet hurt. I never felt fully rested. I wouldn’t change it for anything. Having my always reliable Arbonne supplements – energy fizz sticks, digestion plus & immunity booster – made the packed days more doable. And that de-puffing eye-cooling gel – thank the skincare and scientist gurus at Arbonne for that!

I came back a more proud, more confident Arbonne Independent Consultant. This company is top-notch, friends. I’ve never been around a more professional, genuine, transparent, honest, do-the-right-thing corporation. Since making one of the best business decision of my life a year ago by becoming an independent consultant, I’ve listened to recorded calls and trainings from professional and open-minded women and men in the business who have made a hugely successful career out of Arbonne. I came to GTC expecting to see more of this professional culture. I didn’t expect to be blown away.


Being among nearly 18,000 fellow Arbonneites (as I like to say) from around the globe – the UK, Canada, Australia, Poland and launching in Taiwan soon — was electrifying. We believe in the vision that Arbonne founder Petter Morck established 35 years ago. His pure transformation mission lives on today. Pure transformation can mean different things to different people, but I love this description: “Body, mind, spirit, friendship, community, earth. Wherever you decide to start, one change leads to another … and then another. Over time, many little changes can equal one total transformation.”

For me, this transformation started with body. I fell in love with Arbonne’s vegan nutrition supplements when I accepted the healthy living challenge last year. That physical transformation soon began to transform my mind and spirit, and I gained new & inspiring friendships. I now am part of this community of like-minded women and men. We’re caring for each other and the earth. We’re lifting each other up, and as we help each other grow and flourish, we individually grow. It’s a beautiful thing. I love that Arbonne means “beautiful tree.” That image is so symbolic of what happens when you see and experience the Arbonne advantage.


This photo pretty much sums up what I’m saying. Breezy, my yoga instructor, re-introduced me to Arbonne. Together, we’re growing together. And just like when we take tree pose in yoga, we sway, we fall down, we lose our balance. But we get back up because we can and we know the journey is so worth it.


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.


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.


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!


Happy holiday weekend, everyone!



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.


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.


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


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 …



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. 😉


Jetpack anyone?

Southern Star Dolphin Cruise time!

Southern Star Dolphin Cruise time!


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



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


Till we meet again!

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






Road trip!

I recently had the fortune of taking a week off from my hometown life and venturing out on the road.

Jerry picked me up in Cleveland, we played around at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, ate a divine meal at Morton’s, and then journeyed across the upper Midwest, making our way to Chicago. Jerry drives a custom coach for a living. Riding in it for a couple days when he’s not obligated to his regular job duties is one of the best ways to see the countryside. It makes for the best view around.

Lovely view from way up in the air on my way to north.

Lovely view from way up in the air on my way north.

Some of my favorite sights at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Some of my favorite sights at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Two musical greats!

Two musical greats!

On our way out of Cleveland, look what I discovered!

On our way out of Cleveland, look what I discovered!





Then we parked in Sandusky, Ohio – this beautiful little shore town full of history. I was so impressed at the landscaping work in and around the town square. And of course, I couldn’t resist snapping a shot of the above homage to the First Amendment. Once a newspaper girl, always a newspaper girl.

After exploring Sandusky, the plan was to do a little outlet mall shopping in Indiana, grab a good dinner and then make our way to the Sand Dune Park along Lake Michigan, just on the other side of Chicago. Shopping and dinner (at Timbuktoo’s – this different restaurant that definitely stands out in its hometown) were achieved. Jerry mentions Timbuktoo’s in the book we published about his life on the road. We chatted with the owner and gave him a complimentary copy. He was thrilled!
Because of a severe storm and downed trees, we didn’t make it to the park for final resting that day.


We did, however, catch a pretty cool lightning storm over Lake Michigan in Michigan City just before the storm hit landfall. We sought shelter in the bus until the storm’s strength dwindled some. I wasn’t so calm as the bus shook a little from the high winds and I looked out the window to see toppled over port-a-potties. But I knew I was in good hands.


The next morning, after crews got the trees cleared, we made our way to the sand dunes. Now that’s some calm after a storm.


Hello, Chicago! Duty called Jerry away to Milwaukee for a day, so I stayed back in Chicago and enjoyed the city! First thing I did was go on a guided bike tour through the city and Lincoln Park. This was our first stop – the tour guide’s favorite view of the city. I met a neat family from Napa Valley, saw where Oprah resides and rubbed Abraham Lincoln’s shoe in Lincoln Park for good luck. It was a good day!


I especially enjoy walking around Chicago and taking in the architecture and old homes.

I especially enjoy walking around Chicago and taking in the architecture and old homes.



I love that skyline. The week ended with a couple of concerts with good friends. I couldn’t have asked for a better week and way to celebrate July 4th!