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It's week three of my 'never' confessions. There's something cleansing about admitting to the reversal of some NEVERS. Today's never is big for me. This one still blows my mind. While I know countless people who choose this option every single day, the mere thought of it had me digging in my heels.
‘NO WAY’. Couldn't do it.
The back story behind never number three:
Matthew and I met at the soft opening of a fine-dining banquet facility. I was the event coordinator and he was helping out as a bartender. I spent the evening watching him work and growing more smitten with each pour.
Several months later, we fell in love over red wine and Grand Marnier.
I slowly developed a taste for Negronis and the occasional Frenet Branca.
We honeymooned in France… sipping Vin de Table with every dinner.
I tagged along as Matthew travelled the globe in search of wines to add to his brand’s portfolio.
I fell hard for the warmth of Amaro in a villa outside of Siena.
In the years since we met, we’ve shared countless Champagne toasts and raised thousands of glasses of wine in celebration… or for survival depending on the circumstances we were facing at the time.
Our last house had an elevated deck off the master bedroom. We spruced it up and dubbed it the 'Whiskey Deck'. We’d regularly escape under the stars after a long week to enjoy a short whiskey.
We reminisced in Mexico for our 20th wedding anniversary... drinking margaritas on the beach and Havana Club in our casita.
I feel warm and fuzzy as I write this post:-)
I’m nostalgic for all of the delicious adult beverages we’ve shared throughout the past 23 years... and the amazing experiences.
I bet you can guess where I’m going with this.
Matthew’s desire to qualify for the Boston Marathon = he’s going to stop drinking alcohol while he trains.
This announcement came last December. I cautiously did a little calculating.
No alcohol from January 1st until March 18th?
Okay. I’m in.
The first few weeks were hard for me. Not the type of hard that I imagine a recovering addict feels, but I missed the ceremony of a having a glass of white wine while we made second dinner.
And I missed a bit of whiskey in my glass while sitting under the stars wrapped in a blanket on chilly nights.
I maybe mentioned my withdrawal. Okay, maybe I mentioned it a lot.
I wasn’t training. I’m a grown up. I knew I could drink.
But I chose not to… I’d committed to the challenge and I was all in! (I have a history of sometimes caving on commitments to myself... so this was a personal challenge;-)
Then one night… we decided to have a glass of wine with dinner. Honestly, it didn’t taste all that great. I didn’t even finish it.
We’ve also had whiskey or Amaro a few times… and each time Matthew and I both felt that it wasn't the same.
We genuinely don’t miss drinking alcohol. Again, I cannot even believe I am writing this.
But the truth is, we feel amazing!
It think the biggest benefit is the sleep! We are sleeping so much better! And we’re saving money! Chamomile tea is much less expensive than wine:-)
This series of posts was inspired by my complete surprise at how simple it actually was to do a few things I never thought I could or would do. I'm continually amazed at the resilience and adaptability of humans. Our minds create such resistance... and often we resist changes that would actually be incredibly beneficial if we could just shift our thinking.
I was hesitant to change how we ate and drank because both elements had been such a huge piece of our history. I'd been responsibly enjoying alcohol with Matthew for over 23 years. Food and wine were an important part of our story. A dry, vegan lifestyle didn't seem to jive with the people we were.
And I suppose that's the mystical humor in all of this... we aren't the same people we were.
We continue to evolve. We're striving to be new and improved on the daily. So it's only fitting that our habits should be evolving also.
How about you? What do you currently do that you never thought you could do?
IN OTHER NEWS:
I’m hard at work finishing up Find Your Simple… my new course designed to help you discover and create a life that feels simple, authentic and beautiful. I’m so excited to share it with you!!
Want more info about Find Your Simple, just drop your best email in below! You'll be the first to know...
Have a truly incredible week. Thanks for being here.
This is week two in a four part series on stuff I said I’d never do. You can find week one, here.
Now that I’m exploring my ‘nevers’, I’m finding that there are actually quite a few of them! I sincerely hope I'm not alone. Please tell me you do things you said you’d never do!
I don’t consider myself a hypocrite. I always try to be honest. Yet, it seems that I’ve amassed a pile of overturned nevers.
Never number two...
"I’ll never stop eating eggs and cheese."
This has been a hard and fast never in my world.
I always applauded vegans for their commitment, but I knew I could never be one.
Side note: Until January, I took an egg and cheese sandwich to Anthropologie for lunch every single day for over four years:-)
My diet has usually included some meat. There have been a few periods of my life when I’ve eaten a completely vegetarian diet. During these phases, I happily omitted meat.
I’ve honestly never been much of a meat eater. My steak was always the last one on the grill. I lost my appetite for chicken during my first pregnancy and I’ve preferred veggie burgers to beef since they were invented;-)
While I usually craved sushi about once a year and I rarely turned down a bite of chicken cheesesteak… eating meat-free wasn’t ever difficult for me.
Cow’s milk was the first non-meat, animal product to go. I loved milk! I swore I’d never give up milk.
Ice cold, skim milk with cereal, a cookie or piece of cake? Yes, please!
Then, an amazing functional wellness doctor urged (more like insisted) that I stop drinking cow’s milk immediately.
So, I did.
I began substituting a homemade blend of almond, soy and rice milks. In less than a week, I knew I’d ‘never’ go back.
So strange how we adapt… even when we’re sure we can’t.
I stopped drinking cow’s milk in early 2007. In truth, I have made a few exceptions when traveling and there wasn’t another option for my coffee:-) Now, I think I'd simply go black.
Late December, 2017, my husband Matthew was preparing to train for his first marathon. He chose a Boston Qualifier because he wants to run the Boston Marathon while our daughter is there for college.
Always the researcher, Matthew began reading books on ultra runners and elite athletes. He discovered that many (if not all) of the athletes he studied are vegan.
As he shares his findings, I can tell we’re headed for a change.
I busy myself eating lots of eggs and cheese.
January 1, 2018, Matthew officially adopted a plant-based, whole food diet as part of his marathon training. I wasn't training for anything, but in solidarity and out of cursiosity, I decide to go along for the ride.
Initially, we figured that we'd likely revert to our previous eating plan after March 18th (Marathon Day).
But as we moved through our first ‘vegan’ month, I could already tell we weren't going back any time soon. (I certainly know enough to not say ‘never’.)
Matthew and I met in the restaurant business. We based our honeymoon around culinary experiences in France. He’s an excellent cook and enjoys preparing delicious meals.
We love to eat really good food.
Even though our diet was already largely vegetarian, I couldn’t imagine eating only plants!
No omelets? No fish? No cheese? No bacon?
I was concerned that eating would no longer be fun.
The pleasure would surely be lost if we adopted a strict vegan diet!
Well, Matthew’s first marathon is in the books. I can report (with a chuckle of utter disbelief) that we won’t be reintroducing animal products any time soon.
We feel better than we have in decades!
Specifically... more energy, clearer thinking, improved sleep, zero bloating, and at least one of us runs faster:-)
And thanks to Matthew’s newly discovered cashew cheese making skills… I’m not even missing cheese!
If you’re intrigued by a plant-based diet and want to know more about the benefits, I'm happy to share what's working for us. But I'd suggest you turn to the experts. There are lots of compelling documentaries and podcasts available. As well as countless books on the subject of plant-based eating.
Here are a few that helped seal the deal for me…
What the Health
From the Ground Up
Forks Over Knives
(If you only click one of the links above, let it be Rich Roll. You'll land on his YouTube channel. There you'll find find links to his podcast, fitness journey and cookbook! He is proof that humans are utterly incredible!)
Come on… your turn.
Please don’t let me be the only person who’s reneged on some 'nevers'!
What ‘nevers’ have you welcomed into your life?
Or... what's your feeling about a vegan diet?
Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I love hearing your thoughts and stories.
Are we friends on Instagram? If not, please pop over and follow along.
I've recently committed to showing up on IG more frequently and I have lots of news to share this month!
Weekly Updates... right here.
Have an amazing week!
P.S. In case you're wondering... Matthew ran his very first marathon in 3:17:04 and he qualified for Boston! He's a rockstar!
P.P.S. If there's a topic or problem you'd like me to cover in a blog post... please just let me know! Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Someone asked me recently if there are things I swore I’d never do… but actually ended up doing. The initial question was posed in reference to parenting, but the conversation quickly grew to include all areas of life. I realized there are plenty of things I said “I’d never” about over the years… but then actually did. Do those things count as hypocrisy or evolution? I suppose it depends on your outlook.
Since the start of 2018, I’ve done a complete 180 with four previously deemed 'nevers'.
I’ll be sharing my upended nevers over the next four weeks. A blogging mini-series:-) This post is Part One.
If you’d asked nine months ago about the chance of me making the changes I’ll share, I’d have said less than zero!
Slim to none! No way!
However, here I sit. Smack in the middle of some incredible newness. Laughing at the inevitability of change and the beauty available in shifting. And loving that when it comes right down to it, humans are pretty damn adaptable.
Usually it’s our own mind (and the story we've created) that prevents us from embracing a fresh perspective or habit.
The older (and hopefully wiser) I become, the more I realize that there’s truth to the phrase...
Never is a very long time.
Today’s never: Use olive oil to wash my face.
Sounds disgusting, right? I agree.
Guess what? I wash my face with olive oil.
You read that correctly. Every single night, I wash my face with olive oil. The exact same brand I put on my salads.
Even as I write this it seems absurd to me!
I was intrigued by the idea of using oil as a facial cleanser after I returned home from NINE Revolution last September. NINE's founder strives to live a Zero Waste life and shared that she uses olive oil to cleanse her face.
Now, I should mention that she’s absolutely fabulous! The kind of fabulous you dream of absorbing and copying and becoming. But even that wasn’t enough to make me want to wash my face with olive oil!
I mean, everyone knows that oil on your face causes breakouts, right? Why would I ever consider slathering the stuff on my face. From my kitchen, no less?!
I certainly wasn’t oblivious to the ‘facial oils’ craze. I saw them appearing on the shelves of Ulta, Sephora and drugstores. We were even stocking luxury face oil cleansers at Anthropologie.
But I still wasn’t buying it.... the concept or the product. Have I mentioned that I tend to fall into the Late Adopters category with regards to trying something new? :-)
Last fall, I did go so far as to mention in a post that I was ready to give coconut oil a try for washing my face. I had been happily using it as a moisturizer and low SPF sunscreen for a few years.
I used coconut oil to ‘wash’ my face for a month or so, never really loving it. My skin looked and felt fine, but not amazing. And honestly, it was a pain to dig the solid ‘oil’ out of the jar and a nuisance to warm it up to liquid form before using.
So, I did what any modern woman does when seeking solutions… I turned to Google.
I wanted to see what others had to say about using household (or luxury) oils for face washing.
Olive oil was everywhere!!!
Okay. I’d reached my tipping point...
Three months ago, I decided to give it a go.
WOW! Who knew? Well, besides NINE founder and a zillion other women on the internet:-)
Benefits of using olive oil as face wash:
Clean, soft skin- Skin that actually feels dewy and moisturized... in dry Colorado, this is no small feat. And my skin feels clean in a no-chemicals-or-junk kind of way.
Saves money- A bottle of olive oil is much less expensive than the equivalent in actual foaming face wash or fancy luxury oil. You only use a small amount, so it lasts for ages.
And the very best perk of all…
Longer, darker, fuller eyelashes!!!!!!
Note: I tried using Castor Oil (yep, the same one pregnant women drink to induce labor) on my lashes and sparse brows for a few months. Apparently, castor oil easily penetrates the lash line and gets to work nourishing the follicle. This produced noticeable results, but honestly, it was a pain to apply. The oil is super thick and it was one more step… I want simplicity!
Well, it seems that olive oil must also penetrate the lash line and nourish lashes. It does! Google it for yourself and see!
In the current climate of 'how long and lush can a girl’s lashes be?'… I wanted some of that, but I didn’t want the trouble or expense of lash extensions!
Olive oil face wash = clean, soft skin + better lashes! BONUS!!
I am a huge fan.
In case you’re wondering…
No, I haven’t experienced any breakouts or negative side effects.
If your skin tends to be oily, you can mix 1 part Castor Oil with 3-4 parts Olive Oil.
Castor Oil has incredible cleansing properties.
Learn how to properly cleanse with oil at The Oil Cleaning Method.
I also use olive oil as my body moisturizer... sometimes I mix it with some regular lotion.
Okay, your turn…
What are you currently doing that you said (maybe even swore) you’d never do?! I’d love to know!
Tune in next week for another 'never'… it's a big one!
Weekly Updates right here.
If you're observing... have a lovely Easter Sunday. And/or an amazing weekend!
P.S. No paragliding for me. While this is a common activity in Boulder, I'm content to watch them soar as I run beneath them on solid ground.
Large or small. Saggy or perky. Boobs are a part of being a woman. Some want them bigger. Others want them reduced. But I think it's safe to say we all want them healthy. This post is a Public Service Announcement. Last week, I learned that a dear friend of mine has breast cancer. It’s Stage 1. Hasn’t spread. But there is some family history, which makes things a little scarier. She plans to undergo a double mastectomy.
As she shared her story, this beautiful soul spoke calmly and with gratitude.
In keeping with her always sunny outlook, she’s viewing this as a “life-saving diagnosis” and not a life-threatening one.
Nonetheless, it sucks and it’s terrifying.
During our conversation she explained that she’s been tracking a small lump in her left breast for about four months.
It's about a knuckle’s width from the nipple.
When she first discovered the lump, she told her doctor.
She had it checked out.
Her concerns were easily put to rest because her lump was all the things we’ve heard breast cancer lumps are not.
Her lump was painful to the touch.
Her lump was not attached to the breast tissue… it moved when palpated.
Her lump was not irregular in shape.
Yet over the past four months, her lump grew from the size of half a pea, to that of a whole pea... to that of a Lima bean.
She and her doctor decided it was time to look further.
Stage 1 breast cancer.
Please know that I’m sharing her story with her permission.
She said… “If we can reach just one person and save their life- it’s all been worth me getting diagnosed with booby cancer”.
Yes. She’s that cool in real life, too.
A few days before talking with my friend, I had another conversation about boobs.
I had an appointment with my hormone doctor. She asked about my most recent mammogram. I'm due soon. It's scheduled for April.
She mentioned that the new 3D mammogram machines are causing a bit of fuss. Apparently, the use of more advanced technology is resulting in lots women being called back for additional images.
It seems that the new, more sophisticated imaging capabilities have created a need for new baselines. This is because doctors are now able to see much more detail in the breast and don't have equivalent previous mammograms for comparison.
My doctor wanted me to be aware that false positives are very common right now. Especially, if you haven’t yet had a 3D mammo… which I have not.
All this talk about breast health, made me acutely aware that I’m terrible at performing actual breast exams. I have been doing daily breast massage for the past six months, but not a true exam.
So, if you’ve been slacking also… let’s make a pact to practice Breast Self- Examinations at least once a month!
I know it would make my friend very happy! As well as, your children, and spouse, and parents… and friends!
Click here for an easy-to-follow guide.
I have no doubt my girl will be a survivor!
Her breast cancer was caught early. And for that, I’m incredibly thankful.
Taking charge of your breast health isn’t hard, but it's something you might overlook until it's too late.
Have regular mammograms (expect that you might be called in for more images).
Do monthly breast self-exams.
Don’t ignore a lump or any change in your breasts.
If you have any information that might be helpful to other women… please share it in the comments below. Your tip or story could make a difference to someone.
Thanks for reading.
Weekly Updates every Friday. Don't miss out!
I'm old enough to remember life before email. At my first few jobs, the only inbox was a wire basket on the edge of my desk. The struggle to keep my inbox empty was a paper game. Now it's an online game that often requires the skill of teenage guy who's prolific at Fortnite (are there any who aren't?).
I've grown to love the ease and efficiency of being able to communicate by email. However, there were times when I felt like a slave to my email inbox. Similar to the laundry basket... the dang thing was never empty for long!
Please understand that I'm hardly a techie. On the technology front, I'm a very late adopter... so I rarely share life hacks in this category. But today, I'm sharing an app that has truly changed my relationship with emails. (Note: it's available for your phone, but I just use it on my laptop... so maybe it's not even called an app ;-)
I’m not sure how I lived so long without using this incredible tool.
I first learned about this little piece of genius from my roommate at NINE Revolution.
(Forever grateful to her in so many ways. Did I mention that NINE is life-changing? Did I mention that I'll be teaching at Revolution 2018... there are still some spots;)
I was intrigued. I longed to feel like I was winning the inbox game. So, I signed up.
Here are the simple details:
Unroll.me gives you the opportunity to 'round up' some or all of your email subscriptions.
The free service collects your subscription emails so they don't appear in your inbox when they are sent. Instead, Unroll.me holds all the emails you select and then it delivers them to you once a day in a tidy email.
It’s completely free.
You log in with your email account info.
(Some people worry about sharing this information. I get it. My feeling is that our information is already 'out there' and for me, the benefit of a cleaned up inbox is worth having Unroll.me have access to my emails. To date, I haven't faced anything suspicious.)
Once you’re connected, all of your online subscriptions will be listed in alphabetical order. Even the blogs you have no recollection of since you signed up ten years ago!
You’re given three options for each subscription:
Simply click: keep in inbox, roll up or unsubscribe for each website.
You select the time of day that you’d like to receive your round-up.
Mine hits my inbox in the afternoon. The email from Unroll me includes a snippet of each email I’ve chosen to roll up. If I choose, I can click on the preview to read the entire email and/or be taken to that company's website.
My daily Unroll.me email also includes any new subscriptions they’ve found. Giving me the option to easily manage what happens to new subscriptions... keep in inbox, roll up or unsubscribe.
Honestly, my inbox has never looked better.
During the first few weeks, I kept hitting refresh.
I’d reload my inbox several times each morning. Why did things look so different?
Where were all the fluff emails? Why wasn’t I being bombarded?
Ahhh, that's right. I rolled them up:-) Slowly, I settled in to a new, healthy relationship with my inbox. So nice.
Now, I understand that what I've just shared might prompt you to include my Weekly Updates in your roll up or possibly to unsubscribe altogether!
But, my hope is that you'll allow me to remain in your inbox:-) I promise I always strive to share relevant, pertinent, inspiring topics. If I'm missing that mark, please don't hesitate to reply to this email and tell me how I can do better. I always welcome your feedback.
Thanks for reading. Wishing you an incredible weekend!
Weekly Updates... every Friday, for free, right in your cleaned up inbox:-)
Here's to a simplified inbox!
I sometimes these words from Benjamin Franklin ring in my ears..."Don't put off until tomorrow what can be done today." Ahh, procrastination. I have a lifelong relationship with this subtle human tendency. Abraham Hicks defines procrastination in the following way... "Procrastination is the opposite of momentum. Procrastination is the wisdom to not try to force something that you’re not vibrationally ready for.” I quite love this definition. Not because it lets me off the hook, but because it makes so much sense. This is exactly how procrastination feels to me.
This definition makes it clear that when I’m stuck and stalling… I’m obviously not in the right frame of mind to begin.
I need to check in with how I’m feeling about the task I’m avoiding.
In order to move forward, I need to identify my resistance and uncover what’s holding me back.
Discovering this truth was a eureka moment for me!
There were (still are:-) times when I’d wait and putter and wait. Making zero headway. Completely dragging my feet.
And then, for seemingly no reason… I’d launch into action! Feeling alive and ready to face the task with enthusiasm, I’d move the needle quickly to completion.
I now understand that the secret is in the alignment.
Get into the groove and the task seems effortless.
The cosmic takeaway?
If you do the necessary energy work and shift your mind… it’s more likely you’ll find yourself jazzed to begin.
How do we shift from completely disinterested and unmotivated, to being excited to take action?
For me, procrastination occurs when I have too damn many things to do. If I'm overwhelmed with jobs, chores, to do's, instead of choosing one to start with… I shut down.
Frozen and uninspired.... flopping on the bed for a 30 minute Instagram scroll would win out every time.
But since I discovered Abraham Hicks' interesting way to view procrastination… I actually get more done. I shift gears faster and more easily. I find that I’m less apt to wallow in my ‘on deck’, ‘not quite ready to begin’ state.
Do you struggle with 'snapping out of it' when you're in the comfortable groove of procrastination?
Here are the quickest ways I’ve found to move yourself back into the zone. You’ll know you’re there when you feel a gentle nudge to get moving on a task you’ve been avoiding. It's like a soft beckoning breeze… okay, that might be a stretch but you get the idea:-)
Get quiet. Do nothing. Meditate. Opt outside. Settle in to stillness and the ideas will begin to flow. The next right step will often become crazy obvious. It's as if the Universe guides the way... which I basically think it does:-)
-Truly examine the task you’re putting off
Does it actually have to be done? Let's be real, so often we put things on our list that don’t really need doing. If that’s the case, cross it off the list!
On the other hand, if it’s truly important or urgent, start small. What one bite-sized action could you take towards the end goal? Do that.
Baby steps. Maybe it’s a phone call or finding a resource. It could be chopping an onion or decluttering a drawer.
Use the Law of Inertia (A body in motion tends to stay in motion) to your advantage. You'll be delighted by the momentum that takes over after you make the first move.
-The Five Second Rule
This is a method I’ve been practicing lately. Honestly, it does create some resistance in me because it feels a touch like someone is forcing me to take action. However, in the situations where I’ve used it… I have seen amazing results!
Mel Robbins (creator of this simple plan) is a rockstar, in my opinion. I love her no BS approach to helping people change their lives.
Anyone can do this. Any time. Any place. Simply count backwards from five. Exactly like a rocket launch… then spring into action.
Science shows that this method works because it prevents your mind from having time to talk you out of ‘the thing’ you don’t really feel like doing. It's a sneak attack that gets you moving before your mind can object.
I’ve recently used 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 to accomplish the following…
Change light bulbs.
Replace smoke detector batteries.
Trim and file my fingernails.
As basic as the Five Second Rule appears, it actually works. Try it! And it’s highly addictive, or at least habit forming. Once you discover what an absolute badass you can be when you simply count down from five… you’re kind of unstoppable!
Mel Robbins recently released The 5 Second Journal.
I’ll be honest, I purchased this journal and then I returned it. While the concept is cool and I love the idea of it… I’m a recovering journal junkie! I finally have a handle on my compulsion to buy all the journals. So, I said, 'No'. And in the process, I realized that I actually love my Bullet Journal so much that I don't feel the need for another journal. It's only taken me 20 years to arrive here! Woohoo!!
If you're using The 5 Second Journal, I'd love to know what you think! Please share your thoughts in the comments. Just please don't make it sound too good, because then I'll be tempted again;-)
Have a topic you wish I'd dive into? Name it. I love exploring the subjects that matter to you.
Thanks for reading. Have an amazing week! And, if you live where it's a thing, don't forget to spring forward on Saturday night before bed. It's Daylights Savings Time! I love me a later sunset!
Weekly Updates right here.
Happy March! I must admit, I'm excited that it’s March. Where I live we begin Daylight Savings Time in two weeks and spring will officially start in three. Can’t wait! However, in Colorado we also deal with the possibility of snow until at least early May. Last spring, our final snowfall was on May 18th!!
All this to say, while my desire for spring’s arrival is strong… the weather outside isn’t quite there yet.
If this is your circumstance, there are a few things you can pull out of your closet (or invest in) to help you look and feel like spring, but not be accused of rushing the season!
While I wear stripes all year long, they are a certainly a classic harbinger of spring! Slightly nautical and always French… wear a striped tee with a cardigan or blazer for warmth. Your mood will lighten. And so will the mood of everyone you pass! Stripes = spring!
Begin working cotton sweaters back into your wardrobe. Big, chunky wool sweaters start to look feel tired and extra as we peek towards spring. A thick cotton knit will keep you cozy, but bring to mind dinner al fresco or an evening walk on the beach. A simple, but effective transition for your wardrobe.
Top off an otherwise neutral outfit with a pop of color! You can drop it in anywhere. Lipstick, jacket, blouse, bag, shoe. Pick a shade that makes you think of spring! Go bold or pastel, either works.
I just wore my white jeans to work this week. With a black sweatshirt, leopard belt and brown oxford shoes. I almost changed before I left the house. 'Too soon', I thought. But... I went for it! And I loved the freshness (and the rebel yell) of wearing white before Labor Day.
I'm finally convinced that this style is here to stay. I avoided it at first because I felt like a 1970’s flight attendant… but I’ve changed my tune. I have several neckerchiefs now. They provide a splash of color. They’re easier to wear than a traditional scarf since they take up much less room. And… they camouflage a neck that might be a little saggy:-) Just sayin'.
On days when the roads are dry and the temperatures climb a bit past freezing, ditch the booties! Grab a pair of flats and rock them! With socks, if needed, to keep your feet warm:-)
Need some inspiration?
Here's a post I wrote a while back that includes four more ways to bring spring into your wardrobe.
I'd love to know how you pull spring from your closet in the final weeks of winter.
What's the first spring piece you reach for as winter winds down?
Thank you for reading. Please let me know if there is a topic you'd like me to cover. Happy to oblige.
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Have an amazing week!
I credit the 'camera-flipping' icon found in several apps on my iPhone. I believe it was the accidental bumping of that button that first made me sit up and take notice of the current state of my own face.
Here’s the scene… You’re preparing to take a photo with your phone. Erroneously you tap the button that reverses the camera so now you have a CLOSE UP of YOUR FACE!
What the wrinkled, saggy heck?!
If you’ve had this experience (and you’re over 37), then you probably know what I’m talking about. Yikes!
The first time this happened to me, I think I almost screamed out loud. I was utterly shocked to see what my face looked like from that highly unflattering angle. It was not good. Frightening, in fact.
I recall quickly flipping the camera around so that it properly focused on the subject ‘out there’. I then let the wincing subside and got on with my day, trying to put the saggy, haggard image out of my mind.
Not long after the initial phone incident, I caught the reflection of my unaware self in a large store window. There’s that woman again! Is that what I look like to the world?
I guess what I saw is commonly referred to as Resting (Middle-Aged) Bitch Face.
And honestly, it’s terrible.
I started to freak myself out, and then I thought... 'Grow up, Kristen'.
It was simply time to get real and come to terms with my very own face.
I’ve said it before, aging isn’t for sissies.
It is for the privileged.
I’m thankful to be aging. Some people aren’t so lucky.
After considering the situation a bit, I realized that I’d become a bit delusional about my own face.
Here’s a story that explains how I think it happened… stay with me.
Many years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a special event with my father. The keynote speaker was General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. The general shared something I will never forget. He was referring to being a leader, but the concept seems relevant in the case of me not recognizing my own face.
Schwarzkopf explained how Grizz, his "wire-haired Dachshund who weighs 15 pounds and looks like a dust mop," is the "undisputed leader in the Schwarzkopf household," and his other dog, a 90 pound well-bred German Shepherd, is not.
"Grizz has never looked at the mirror," he joked. He explained that Grizz acted like he was every bit as big and strong and scary as the German Shepherd. He didn’t know any better. The image Grizz saw daily was that of his 90 pound cohort. Grizz simply assumed that he was also a 90 pound German Shepherd.
"It doesn't matter whether you're tall or short, or whether you're brilliant or not"... if you look at a 90 pound German Shepherd every day, it’s only natural that you’ll think you’re the same.
That's it! Exactly!
I work with younger women, I follow younger women on social media, my business mentors are younger women, I live with a younger woman.
And while I don’t for one second actually think I’m a younger woman, I guess I'd begun to assume (clearly failing at The Four Agreements) that I had the skin of the younger women I see or at least the skin of my younger self:-)
I’ve since shifted my thinking. I’m now keenly aware of the actual state of my face.
I’ve found that honest awareness is always the first step to acceptance. And the ultimate dream is to move gracefully towards true appreciation and authentic admiration of our whole self.
I’m good with my face. Wrinkles, non-Chicklet teeth, splotches, spots, rogue hairs and all.
How are you with your face?
Which of the following sums up your current feelings?
No mirrors, ever!
Doing all I can to keep things in place!
Letting everything hang, sag and wiggle, and loving it!
Here are my suggestions to help you love your aging face...
1. Follow some incredible mature accounts. Robin Wright. @robingwright Maye Musk. @mayemuskMaye Bobbie Brown. @justbobbiebrown
2. Spend time with contemporaries. Ditch your younger friends for the day and hang out with those who truly understand your issues. Or bask in the clarity and profound beauty of the elderly. Someone 20 years your senior instantly offers a perspective shift.
3. Remember that everyone ages. For a quick reality check, I just Google the young faces I grew up admiring. Elle Macpherson. Cindy Crawford. Brooke Shields. Julia Roberts. While they all look amazing, they also look older.
(Side note: Just don't Google Halle Berry. She defies nature. At 51, she still looks 31:-)
4. Know this, you are BEAUTIFUL exactly as you are. Your amazing human form only gets one go-around. So look in the mirror and smile! Start today. Embrace your face! We'll work on the body later...
Who do you love following? Please share!
I'd welcome a few more seasoned women in my IG feed.
Thank you for reading. I’m so grateful that you’re a part of this community of kindred souls.
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Have a magical week!
In an effort to keep it real... here's my face today.
Know what? The forward-facing camera isn't quite as terrible when you actual smile:-)
Today I’m sharing a story. It’s a tale that I hope will remind us all of the magic of generosity and the power of pure goodness. This story includes a little bit of manifesting, a dash of serendipity and a big bunch of friendship.
Once upon a time...
I saw a friend rocking an amazing top in her Instagram story. It was everything I dream of in a piece of clothing… navy blue, simple shape, European-vibe, interesting fabric. Timeless classic.
Just one glimpse of the top and my wardrobe wheels began turning.
I’d been feeling like my style needed a wake-up call. I’d been pondering it, but not all that seriously.
Seeing my chic friend in that navy top served as a springboard.
That garment became the ‘imaginary’ anchor point of my yet to be created new wardrobe.
It embodied the look I was craving. Effortless. Sophisticated. Unique. And always navy blue.
I texted her and asked where she scored the incredible top. She thanked me and explained that she'd acquired it years ago in Japan, in an underground subway shop. We agreed it was a great shirt and that was that.
In a strange departure from my usual self, I did not obsess over where I could find that exact top. I considered it a rather mature decision since that obviously seemed impossible.
Instead, I allowed that special piece to serve as inspiration. A sartorial nudge.
I began to imagine my new wardrobe.
Knowing the power of ‘what you feel, you attract’, I pictured a similar top hanging in my own closet and felt the joy of my new wardrobe coming together before the fact.
I was ready to begin a personal style renovation. My friend had launched a rocket of desire without even knowing it...
Three days later, I arrived home to a small, soft package from said friend. I figured it was a t-shirt for an upcoming event that she’s included me in.
Curious… I open the envelope. As I peek inside, my breath catches.
I see the familiar, interesting navy fabric. It can’t be. I pull the folded fabric out of the package. It is neatly wrapped in a length of simple string. No note. No explanation needed. This is kindness in its purest form.
Literally, giving me the shirt off her back.
The tears come fast. I’m laughing and crying at once. It’s only Monday, but my week is already made. I feel so much love radiating from the beautiful hand-me-down top. The ultimate zero-waste gift.
Those of you who know this treasure of a woman, won’t be surprised by this selfless act. In fact, you likely have a piece of her already in your own home. I’m keeping her anonymous since I don’t think she’d want the extra attention;-) But she is the rarest form of human. Selfless in a way that makes you take notice. Genuine in a way that makes you want to try harder.
I share this story to remind all of us how simple it is to be nice.
Kindness can be found in the smallest gesture.
This week, I’m challenging myself in two specific ways…
First, I’m going to notice the kindness of others. I’ll tune in to witness everyday goodness. Small kind acts that I might otherwise miss… when someone allows another to merge in traffic, when I hear a compliment being given, when someone receives a tender embrace, when someone holds the door… you get the idea.
Second, I’m going to look for ways to spread my own simple kindness daily. How? By doing some of the things mentioned above; and giving my time without hesitation, offering a hand before I’m asked, being present when I would ordinarily be multitasking…
You with me? Let’s do this.
Please share your own tales of kindness… given or received.
I’d also love to hear what you've manifested lately? I’m pleased as punch to report that I manifested an incredible navy blue top:-)
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Thanks for reading. And sharing.
Streamlined resolutions. Lots of people are ditching their list and instead selecting a single defining word at the start of a new year. I’ll be honest, I’ve never chosen one word as my focus for the twelve months to follow. I kept hearing this was a ‘thing’, but it wasn’t my thing. I’ve historically been a bit washy washy when it comes to goals and decisions, so I wasn’t too jazzed about locking myself in with one specific word.
That said, this year I actually found myself intrigued by the idea of picking one word as my anchor for 2018.
I’ve been plowing through some major life tweaks lately. So, I decided to keep rolling with the changes and become a person who chooses a word.
Yes, I'm a little late to the game since it’s already February, but I didn’t want to rush this choice. I carefully consided lots of words. I sorted through a bunch… pausing often to see if I’d found ‘my word’.
Truth is, I kept avoiding the word that repeatedly popped up. I didn’t want that word to be my final choice. It seemed far too simple. Trite, even. There had to be a better, more fitting, less basic, more interesting word.
Yet, the harder I tried to find a different word, the clearer it became that my word had already been decided.
My youngest and my dad. I still can hear the sound of their laughter.
Pure and simple. Deep and soulful.
What I crave more than anything else in my life right now is JOY.
Somewhere in the daily grind of the past decade, I’ve lost touch with my automatic internal joy.
This discovery came slowly at first. I didn’t want to believe that my life was lacking joy. More specifically, I shuddered to think that I wasn’t a joyful person.
There was a time when I was that girl who was always happy.
People would regularly comment about my consistent good mood and my contagious positive energy. I know that girl still exists inside me. In fact, I can usually spot her when I’m out in public.
I’ve determined that my lack of joy is most evident when I’m in my own home, surrounded by the people I love fiercely. I find this both embarrassing and depressing. I should certainly feel joyful at home.
I've come to recognize that the stresses of adult life and parenthood sapped my sparkle. When I’m home, I find myself bogged down with unrealistic fears and unnecessary worries.
The real truth is, I have so much more to be thankful for than to worry about.
Yet, I notice that sometimes when walk through my front door and I’m quickly pulled back into my own head. I begin to stress about the future based on worries I drag in with me from the past.
I’ve been in the process of letting go and moving beyond the old stories and habits for a while now.
I’ve made huge headway.
I’ve shifted a lot.
But honestly, it’s taken long enough. It’s time to speed things up. I’ve reached the tipping point. I’m done.
So, my word for 2018 is JOY.
Simple and straightforward.
This three letter word will remind me of my goal for this year.
Seek, experience, share, offer, invite, nurture... JOY.
A compass of sorts, leading me back to what matters. A nudge to keep me on track to bring more joy into my everyday life. Every single day.
I guess I was a little premature with the whole one word thing.
Apparently, I will have two words to guide me this year.
I find it fascinating how the Universe has a way of getting our attention, even when we’re cruising along... basically oblivious.
Recently, this single word kept popping into my head. Over the span of a few days, I felt the increasing presence of this word. The sensation was odd, yet I couldn’t shake it.
I shooed it away, assuring my mind that I was good. I’d already chosen ‘my word’ for this year.
Yet, it kept appearing. Waiting to be noticed.
I became curious about how it might help me. I decided to examine this common word.
I researched the actual definition of the word LIGHT.
As I read the long list meanings, I smiled and nodded to the Universe.
Okay, I thought. I get it.
LIGHT needs to be part of my year.
Here’s a sampling of what LIGHT means...
the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible.
"the light of the sun"
an expression in someone's eyes indicating a particular emotion or mood.
understanding of a problem or mystery; enlightenment.
spiritual illumination by divine truth.
make (something) start burning; ignite.
of little weight; easy to lift.
gentle or delicate.
free from worry or unhappiness; cheerful.
Those snippets of 'light' are woven into many things I'm currently striving to include in my life.
Most specifically, I'm seeking to be lighter in my mind and my heart. To 'lighten up', if you will.
And I'm deeply invested in allowing my light to shine. Brightly and without the filters that were previously in place.
Turns out, LIGHT is the perfect reminder for me in so many ways. Clearly, I needed to include this word in my 2018 theme.
So, that’s exactly what I’m doing. I'm letting two words be my litmus test.
JOY AND LIGHT will be my checkpoints as I navigate the creation of my very best life.
Okay, your turn!
Do you pick a word, words or phrase to help direct the flow of your year?
If so, please share your word and a bit about why you chose it.
I believe we all benefit from the experience of others. I’m so thankful that you’re here.
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Have yourself an amazing week!