My secrets for a GREAT Salad

My secrets for a GREAT Salad

Can you believe it’s Monday already? And we’re already in February!

How was your Super Bowl Sunday? I only watched the halftime show, and I thought Katy Perry and Missy Elliott did a great job. Oh, and Lenny Kravitz was great too, but I’m all about girl-power, so I really enjoyed watching two beautiful women creatively express themselves in such a strong, powerful way. What an amazing show!

And I don’t know about you, but Monday morning came too soon, eh? Although I’m not a sports fan, I was busy all day yesterday. While Greg enjoyed the game, I got some household chores done, did some self-care, and even knocked out a couple of chores in my home office. I probably overdid it with the vacuuming – my back is sore, and in big need of some massage therapy!

But still, it was a really good weekend. And now it’s Monday morning, and I’m excited to get back to work, as I’ve got some exciting projects lined up for this year.

Well, anyway, back to the purpose of this email. I wanted to disrupt your Monday with a healthy recipe. It’s similar to the ones in my 28 Day Jumpstart To a New You program.

I love to make this recipe, and this is one of my family’s all-time favorites. And guess what? It’s 100% HEALTHY, EASY and DELICIOUS!

BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE

Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 handful frozen or fresh organic wild blueberries
    1 banana
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 tablespoon hemp seeds
    1 tablespoon chia seeds
    1 pinch of cinnamon
    ½ cup to 1 cup hemp milk, almond milk, oat milk, or coconut water as your base
  • Optional: Stevia, or 1 tablespoon raw honey if you need to sweeten it. Add more water if it’s too thick.DIRECTIONS
    Put all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until creamy (1-2 minutes).

AND…I didn’t forget about that salad.

My Secrets for a GREAT Salad

Here’s my secrets for making a GREAT salad:

  1. The trick to making a great salad is to always use FRESH, organic ingredients when possible.
  2. If I use organic pre-rinsed salad mix, I still rinse it again 2-3 times. I’m picky like that, but do what feels right.
  3. I never use pre-washed spinach – the chlorine water gives it a gritty texture that sticks to my teeth when I chew it.
    If you prefer spinach, grab the unwashed spinach, and when you get home, put it in a bowl of water and add a splash of veggie wash. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then agitate it with your hands to loosen the dirt and sand. Do this as often as you need, until your spinach is clean. I have been known to rinse my spinach 5-6 times, if it’s really caked with mud. And I love it when my veggies still have the dirt from the ground on it, it means it came straight from the farm to my kitchen!
  4. Rinse loose leaf greens in cold filtered water and use a salad spinner to discard excess water.
  5. Place loose leaf greens in a large bowl, and drizzle it with about 1-2 Tbsp of good quality organic extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil.
  6. Add a pinch of sea salt flakes. I prefer Maldon Sea Salt.
  7. Using a large wooden spoon, stir the salad until all leaves are well coated with the olive oil.  THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT – NEVER SKIP THIS STEP!!!
  8. Now you’re ready to add all your other salad fixings. I like to put my salad toppings in little serving bowls, and let my family members build their own salad.

Salad Fixing Suggestions:

  • Grab olives from Whole Food’s olive bar. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with anything there, but make sure to skip the olives that aren’t pitted. Your teeth will thank you.
  • Diced cucumber (peel off the skin first).
  • Diced green apple
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced heirloom tomatoes, topped with a finishing sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, thinly sliced basil, drizzled with olive oil
  • Thinly sliced red, yellow and orange bell pepper (seeds and stem removed)
  • Orange slices (peeled, remove all seeds, pith, and skin)
  • Fresh chopped herbs like mint, basil, or cilantro
  • Chopped watermelon (goes well with mint and balsamic vinegar)
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Steamed peas, chickpeas, or black beans
  • Sliced avocado (my substitute for cheese, as I am lactose-intolerant)
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Splash of fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice

Enjoy!

 

5 Reasons You Should Meditate

5 Reasons You Should Meditate

Do You Meditate?

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Fall is here, and I’m reflecting on things I’m grateful for.   I’m thankful for my loving husband who takes such good care of me.  I’m proud of my sons, who are both making strides in their growth and personal development.  I’m excited that business is thriving and my personal relationships are strong.  I’m also happy that I made the decision to take the entire month of September off to rest and recharge.  That was a tough decision, as I feared I would lose momentum that I’ve built up since relaunching my business last November.  But after a fateful day in August, which should have been the worst day of the entire year for me, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as I got the message loud and clear from the Universe that it was imperative that I slow DOWN.

I’m sure you’re wondering…what happened in August? Well, here’s the short version:

I had a 3 day business travel planned in the last week of August. I had it planned several months in advance.  I arrived at the airport well in advanced, got my bags checked, made it through security, and made my way to the gate, anticipating a good hour of down time before catching my flight.  However, I quickly found out at my gate that there were several flight delays due to mechanical failure, and ALL connecting flights were cancelled due to a bad storm. I’ll skip over the several trips I made, running (with an injured back) back and forth from my gate and Customer Service, trying desperately to  catch another flight.  I ended up stuck in two airports all day, and ended up having to cancel my whole trip. By the time I was got back home, it was after midnight, with my luggage lost somewhere (I finally received my luggage that following Sunday). When my husband picked me up at the airport, I broke down and cried a few minutes from sheer exhaustion, then slept the whole ride back home.

Again, I won’t bore you with the details, but if you’ve ever experienced being stuck in an airport due to bad weather, and faced being stranded overnight in a different city without your laptop or luggage, I’m sure you can imagine the stress and strain this can put on your body. My neck and back ached, I was hungry, tired, and I could FEEL the cortisol overload in my body:  I felt TOXIC, tense, and like I wanted to explode.

The next week was a blur.

I had no energy, my thoughts were cloudy, I had trouble remembering simple things, and I felt like molasses in December. It wasn’t until I had an energetic reading/chakra healing session and a subsequent personal life coaching session that I realized my problem: I had adrenal fatigue, my root and sacral chakras were blocked, and my energetic boundaries were blown wide open from that travel fiasco.

As an Empath and HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), I am very sensitive to being in crowded, public places beyond what I can normally stand, which is a about a couple of hours, depending on the vibration level.  That travel day sucked out all my energy, and I was left depleted.  I realized the experiences from that day pierced my energetic boundaries. It felt like my auras had gaping-wide holes, like the flood-gates to my spirit had been forced wide open, and all sorts of uninvited energy freely flowed into my personal space.  This is what if feels like to an Empath to be surrounded in a public place for an extended period of time: at some point, the senses become overstimulated, and it’s on a subtle energy level, it’s like too much white noise. My emotions were raw, and I just needed to turn the white noise all the way DOWN, and get some space and distance from everyone and everything.

So, the minor setback to my back healing progress aside, with this new information that my adrenals were worn out, my cortisol was through the roof, my chakras needed re-clearing, and my energetic boundaries needed sealing, in lieu of unconsciously plowing through the month of September and delaying my healing further, I decided to TAKE A BREAK.

During the month of September, I did several things to help me get back on track. I did a 21-day version of my Renewal Detox (and gained energy, and lost 10 lbs by accident).  I took herbs such as maca and stress-relieving essential oils to nourish my adrenals. I continued my reiki  energy healing, resumed my weekly chiropractic sessions (and my back and sciatic nerves improved a bit), I added weekly acupuncture sessions, and I also threw in a couple of professional reflexology and deep tissue massages sessions for good measure. All of these things helped me tremendously, but what I feel helped me the most is meditation.

Meditation

Meditation Saved Me from Spiraling Out of Control

Meditation enabled me to block out the external world, draw within, hit the RESET button, and get the distance and space I needed, even in the midst of everything around me.  Spontaneous meditations, ranging anywhere from 5-15 minutes, helped me keep my balance and avoid going over the edge, especially after low vibration emotions of anger and frustration hit me like a brick with each new announcement of another yet another flight delay.

5 Reasons You Should Practice Meditating Every Day

If you are new to meditation, and are interested in making it a regular practice to help manage stress in your life, I hope the following reasons to meditate inspire you to get on board:

1.   Meditation lowers your stress “set point”.

Stress in the bodyOur body has wisdom and it remembers. When you get really stressed to the point of boiling anger, your body remembers that and bookmarks a “set point” of what you deem as acceptable levels of stress.  Repeat exposure to high levels of stress lead you to become programmed to respond to certain triggers, and like a domino effect, it initiates a downward spiral of negative thoughts, low vibration emotions, and behavior that goes along with it.

Meditation can serve as a stop-gap, to remind you there are other ways to handle a situation, such as take deep breaths, walk away and cool off, and fully process information you receive from your emotions. This helps you observe and “check-in” with yourself before making a conscious choice to react or act in your highest and greatest good, rather than take action fueled by low vibration emotions such as anger or frustration.

2.  Meditation lowers cortisol and blood pressure.

Doctor holding a heartI was told by my doctor years ago that stress is like an explosion inside your body.  Many people live with high levels of stress  for long periods of time, unaware this is a dangerous lifestyle choice. The good news is,  you can quickly lower your cortisol when you are triggered in a stressful situation.

According to Christopher Bergland in The Athlete’s Way:

“Any type of meditation will reduce anxiety and lower cortisol levels. Simply taking a few deep breaths engages the Vagus nerve which triggers a signal within your nervous system to slow heart rate, lower blood pressure and decreases cortisol. The next time you feel yourself in a stressful situation that activates your ‘Fight-or-Flight’ response take 10 deep breaths and feel your entire body relax and decompress.”

Whenever I feel the stress spike my cortisol, I have trained myself to immediately take a quick ten deep breaths. I also ask myself why am I triggered, and what my physical reaction means. I scan my core values, to see if they have been compromised in the stressful moment, and I intuitively make a decision whether to respond or just keep observing the moment. Then, as soon as I can, I mentally white out every stimuli, and clean my mental plate, until it’s clear or white in my mind. I do this until I feel more calm, or until my stress and cortisol intuitively feels at an acceptable or healthy level.

3.  Meditation empowers you.

Emotionally strongOne of the things I love about meditation is that it gives you control over your mind. It’s a good thing to be inspired by others, and to have positive influences.  However, without meditation or some similar form of healthy, temporary mental isolation, it can be tough to have soul clarity, to make clear decisions, without questioning if that decision was made from yourself, or if it was due to an outside influence. This is especially true if you are people pleaser, or if you are easily emotionally manipulated.

In my youth up until my late 20s, I was both. I unconsciously took actions to make others feel good at my personal expense, not just because it made me happy to see them smile, but on a deeper level, because I sought love and acceptance.  Meditation increases your awareness of what your soul craves, what your body needs, enables you to have clarity; clear mental thought processes. This in turn strengthens your intuitive decision-making decisions in both your personal and professional life, so you are empowered to take action for your highest and greatest good, in the midst of outside influence.

4.  Meditation activates your feminine side.

Feminine DivineWe live in a fast-paced, stressful society, one that doesn’t cater to nourishment of the body, mind, and soul. Working in Corporate America, the high cost of living, work deadlines, societal expectations, all these things and more can pull you away from your feminine side, and give you the illusion that you should be more masculine in order to survive.  If this is against your nature, meaning, your alchemy and personality is more feminine energy, you will be unhappy, because your life in not aligned with your authentic self. Meditation helps you be gentle, and less aggressive, with yourself.

The act of meditating is one of the most gentle form of self-care you can engage in. It encourages you to stay connected with your feminine side, to explore the parts of you that beg to be explored, expressed. It increases your awareness of what is inside, in a gentle, non-aggressive way.

5. Meditation bridges the Body + Mind + Spirit connection.

WWomen on Vacatione learn so much from watching our parents, our elders. Growing up, I learned from watching the women in my family that in their own way, they used prayer as a way to reconnect the body, mind, and spirit. But they didn’t just use prayer, they connected their body, mind and spirit in traditional pastimes such as family camping trips (think beach tents, camp fire, boat fishing, log cabins, etc.), Sunday family dinner, a modern-day tribal ritual of sorts, where women congregated in the kitchen and talked about everything, and Saturday girl’s beauty nights, where we all washed our hair, and everyone took a turn getting their hair either braided or their scalp rubbed and treated with a hot oil conditioning.  The physical routines are a meditation in itself. The endorphins from the physical contact on these special occasions rival a high-priced professional massage at a luxury spa. There’s no better feeling than letting your guard down, and immersing in a routine or fun-filled family activity, being surrounded in a stress-free, safe, loving, high vibration environment. To me, this is a form of meditation because rather than being mentally/emotionally checked out, you are fully present, fully engaged, fully aware of all your senses, and it makes you feel connected, grounded, alive.

Do you meditate? How do you benefit from meditation?  I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

5 Ways to Feel Like Beyonce Everyday

5 Ways to Feel Like Beyonce Everyday

Don’t let the media fool you. Not everyone needs to know what Beyonce wore to dinner last night, what brand shampoo Katy Perry washes her hair  with, and where Jennifer Lopez vacations. (Well, I might be only vaguely interested in the vacation part – wink.)  This is not valuable information when it comes to our lives, our values, our happiness, and how we feel from day to day.

If magazines, social media, and the internet were any indication of where we put our values, it would seem we’re all obsessed with the extravagant lifestyles of celebrities, or the rich and famous. I can’t remember the last time I scanned through Facebook or Pinterest, or even CNN, without some mention of a famous celebrity – who’s getting married, who’s having a baby, who’s breaking up.  What is the fascination with celebrities?  And more importantly, how does it make you feel? Do you find yourself fantasizing about how celebrities live, or do you find yourself comparing their quality of life to yours? How is comparisonitis (a fake word I just made up, for the act of constantly compare one’s self to others) working out for you?

There is a better way.

Instead of obsessing over the glamorous lifestyles of movie stars and models, and feeling like your life is shitty in comparison, try the following ideas on how to feel good about your life.  Once you incorporate this new perspective in your life repeatedly, you may even begin to feel like you’re the superstar of YOUR life, every day! Soon you’ll stop comparing your boring, drab life to celebrities, because you’ll be completely engaged in your life – you are the “Beyonce” or “Lady Gaga” of your world!

1. Clear the White Noise
Ditch the social gossip websites, unsubscribe, hide, delete, block – whatever it takes to disconnect from the white noise that feeds into the hype and lures you into comparisonitis. Stop reading gossip magazines, and instead, visit the Self-Help or Spiritual section of the bookstore. I’ve curated a selection of great books that inspire your inner Modern Goddess.

2. Identify Your Core Values
 Get clear on your core values. What is the absolute MUST HAVE for your complete happiness? What are the base requirements and nice to haves (think Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs meets Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map)? Write them down, post them on a wall where you can see them every day.

Sample core values and desired feelings: abundance of money/joy/time/love, clear mind, relaxed, calm, excitement, authenticity, empowered, aligned, connected to the present, freedom, spontaneous, feminine energy, generous, gratitude. I’ll share a few of my core values:  for my complete and sheer happiness, and for me to feel like I’m a superstar of my life, I must feel immersed in beauty (I love the beach, mountains, the forest, pink and white decor, a clean home, fresh flowers, uncluttered office space), be able to luxuriate in my five senses: smell, taste, touch, sight, hearing (I play jazz music when I cook, and use fresh herbs and produce when I cook), and I also have a portion  of unstructured, spontaneous time in my day to get quiet, meditate, and tap into my 6th sense: my intuition. I give myself reiki energy healing everyday to keep my chakras clear, I use essential oils, candles, and incense to enhance my meditations experience and really dial up the intensity of indulging in sight, smell, etc.

Hint: core values isn’t something you DO, rather, is something that you FEEL or something you want to BE.
Tip: Speak them loud and clear. Make them your mantra to live by. Decide they are your birthrights, and you don’t have to earn them, you have a right to feel this way every day of your life. Expect to attract these things, places, or feelings in your life.

3. Protect and Defend
Get clear on what your core values are, and refuse to compromise them. If having 6-8 hours of sleep is an absolute requirement for your health and happiness, let nothing stop you from getting the rest you need. If you know you get cranky in noisy, crowded places, or if you’re an Empath like me, and you know certain people (I call them Energy Vampires) drain your energy, avoid them at all costs. I have certain “friends” and family that I keep at a safe perimeter of my life.

I’ve chosen to love them at a safe distance, because their energy is such an energetic drain to me, and I value having a high level of positive, high vibration energy.
Other core values might be reciprocity in relationships, trust among friends, integrity in business dealings, peace, moments of solitude for meditation. Think about how you want to feel on a day-to-day basis. What feelings are non-negotiable for your base level of happiness? Now turn up the volume on this level of happiness you’re willing to accept in your life. This could give you insight to your core values. Protect and defend these core values just like you imagine your favorite celebrity would if it were them!

4. Make Everyday Special

We feel down when we feel like we have no control to change what is our life. We feel happy when we feel empowered to change and make things better. You CAN change your life, instantly! Here’s one great way to feel empowered immediately and feel like a celebrity in your life: Don’t save the expensive perfume, wine, fresh flowers, outfits, or jewelry for certain times of the year like holidays or birthdays. Make every day special: wear your BEST outfits like today is special. Why? Because when you look great, you send your brain a message, and your brain then tells you that you FEEL GREAT. When you dress in old gym sweats, granny panties, and ugly socks, I guarantee the way you’re dressed is sending your brain mixed messages, and you won’t feel great! So Dress UP like TODAY is a SPECIAL DAY, even if no one else will see you. Rinse and repeat every day! Take time for you with a chapter of a good book, enroll in a fun class like yoga, cooking, art, break out the good china, nice tablecloth, use the special wine glasses, even for plain water. (Or make plain water special by adding fresh cut fruit or herbs like mint or basil.) Everyday, decide THIS day is special, and treat it as if it were a special day, because it is…it’s the PRESENT, a gift to you!

5. Don’t Be A Martyr

Somehow, somewhere down the road of life, something bad or even devastating happened like a bad romance, losing a friend, or death in the family, and in some way, you may have accepted pain or misery as a part of life. In some ways, this is true: pain is a part of life. A part of the human experience is to feel pain and suffering, because like TEDTalk public speaker and author Brené Brown says on Oprah’s Super Soul Sundays, pain is the best teacher. For some reason, we learn life lessons best after experiencing things we DON’T like, like a heartbreak after a romance ends, a car accident, or an embarrassing moment. But I believe we also have the power of choice, and we can CHOOSE to experience life, for the most part, through a graceful flow of ease, happiness, and joy. I believe we can also learn our life lessons without pain, that we can CHOOSE happiness over sadness. I believe emotions are a choice.

Brene says on Spirituality & Health Magazine:

“The overwhelming message in our culture today is that an ordinary life is a meaningless life unless you are grabbing a lot of attention and you have lots of Twitter followers and Facebook fans who know everything you know. I use the shame-based fear of being ordinary as my definition for narcissism. I definitely see it in younger generations, where people fear they are not big enough. No matter how happy and fulfilling their small, quiet life is, they feel it must not mean very much, because it’s not the way people are measuring success. Which is just terrifying.” – See more here.

You Can Decide to Live a High Vibrational Life

If one day you wake up sad, Brene would have you accept that sadness as vulnerability. She writes and speaks about the power in giving ourselves permission to be vulnerable. I agree with her that there is strength in being vulnerable. I also feel at that moment, we must also take decisive action when we feel low vibration emotions (like anger, jealousy, sadness) – we must recognize the emotion as low vibration, and decide in that moment to CHOOSE a higher vibration emotion, like joy, love, gratitude, and take decisive action to support that positive emotion.

Then watch as the domino affect happen in your life – instead of choosing to be a marty and suffer in life, you choose to live your life like a superstar, what that image represents for you, in terms of your core values. Then as you begin to make the shift towards deciding to BE happy and indulge in your core values, you attract MORE of the same: you become a magnet for more love, more joy, more abundance, more freedom, etc. You become the Beyonce of YOUR LIFE. No need to compare, no need to keep track of what celebrities are doing, because your life is holding all of your attention, and your needs are being fulfilled. Your life holds meaning, and your full attention.

I’ll offer myself as an example:  I am a native Texan. I grew up in Houston, TX, but now live in Cypress with my husband. I love Texas, and I think Houston and Cypress are great places to live. The cities have a lot to offer for growing families. Our two sons went to school here, but have now grown up and moved away.  Although my husband and I enjoy having an empty home here, we are entertaining the idea of selling the house and becoming Digital Nomads, moving from place to place until we find a new city to settle in and call home. For me, that means LOTS of time near clean beaches, or natural lakes with crystal clear or blue water. 

Until then, I still deal with things I don’t love. Summer heat and humidity. Mosquitos. Restaurants that love to put cheese and bacon on everything (I’m extremely dairy-sensitive and I don’t eat pork). Bad hair days. (Thank you The Dry Bar for helping me stay cute!) In spite of these things, I still make it a high priority to live like a Modern Goddess, an ideal which represents living gracefully through life, empowered, with gratitude, feeling beautiful, feeling my divine feminine energy, and taking positive action to support, protect, and defend my core values in this lifetime. We travel whenever we can, or at least take weekend trips when possible. I cook (dairy-free, gluten-free, pork-free) at home as much as possible, I use essential oils and take a raw Vitamin B to keep mosquitoes at away, and I do whatever it takes to make my remaining time here enjoyable. 

I am mindful of what I expose myself to on social media, with my social circle, and even music I listen to. I refuse to listen to music with lyrics (especially a lot of pop or rap music) that I feel are low vibration or are demeaning to women. I strive everyday to keep my eyes on my path, and not compare myself with others. I avoid people that always complain, so that low vibration energy doesn’t rub off on me. I protect and defend my core values, even if it means doing a social purge, letting certain people, places and or things go. I make my happiness my highest priority, because I can do more in life from a place of happiness, than I can feeling down and unempowered.

So, I’d love to hear from you. How do you live in a celebrity-obsessed world, and maintain balance by avoiding self-comparison? How do you protect your core values? What do you do to be the superstar or Modern Goddess in your life?