General Reflections

Kindness Benefits the Mind and Body

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It should go without saying, but it’s more important than ever to look for ways to help each other out in our own neighborhoods and globally. Look for ways to lift each other up when possible -even if its simply a kind word and approach things with the best intentions. And, sometimes we need to remind ourselves that most people in our lives try to act with the best intentions even if they annoy us. And above all — BE KIND. Kindness Matters always. 

Health Benefits of Kindness

Kindness Benefits the Mind and BodyDid you know there is scientific research that proves being kind and generous is actually good for your health? When you do something that makes you feel good, your body makes Oxytocin, which then releases nitric oxide which dilates your blood vessels and reduces your blood pressure!

Research has also shown a link between being kind and your body releasing dopamine, which helps with your mood and aids in giving you a sense of euphoria and eases anxiety.

Here’s some good info on Why Being Kind is Good for your Health to drive the point home even more…

On a related note, I do not share much related to religion here, however, this was a story and a lesson about kindness and support that should resonate with us all, especially now as we are seeing an increase in hate crimes and mean spirited politics…

 

“Let me tell you the secret of Judaism. When you warm other people’s hearts, you remain warm yourself. When you seek to support, encourage and inspire others; then you discover support, encouragement and inspiration in your own life as well. That, my friends, is “Judaism 101”.”

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No Mediocre

Fitness is Rented and Needs to Be Paid Every Day

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Where have I been? What’s been going on? I wish I could share some exciting details or news, but the truth is I have been lacking inspiration and motivation the past few weeks. Maybe it’s the election results, or the change of seasons- whatever it is, it’s been affecting me big time.

Fitness is RentedNow that the holiday season is here, most of us will be out socializing a lot more than usual. I get invited to a ton of Holiday Parties and Happy Hours in December and if I’m not careful, I start to slip back into old eating habits. I’m sure I’m not alone.  Last week, during one of my Body By Wayne training sessions, I was bitching about how hard the workout was (something I do regularly). I asked Wayne why it’s so hard to stay lean and healthy. How come there isn’t a pill I can take to keep this way? I workout all the damn time –hard workouts, that challenge me in many different ways, but yet each time I go, it’s a mental and physical challenge once again.  It’s not freakin’ fair, but the truth is — Fitness is rented. You have to pay that rent each and every day. And if it’s important to you, then you will do it.

What keeps me motivated to stay fit?

Here’s some insight into how I think…

  1. I have seen far too many older people become immobile and unable to take care of their most basic needs without help. For some, it wasn’t something under their control, but for the vast majority – if they moved their bodies and paid a bit more attention to their overall health when they were younger, they wouldn’t be that way.  When I start to lament about having to workout, I remember this.
  2. When Scotty was sick with colon cancer, we spent every other Tues at Georgetown Hospital getting his chemo. I saw and met a lot of very sick people. Exercising is one of the best ways to prevent many cancers — and it’s an hour of of my day.  One friggin hour! And if you can’t do a full workout – then just go for a walk. MOVE YOUR BODY. I remember our time getting Scotty well and the people I met. 
  3. I live in the suburbs and I am seeing more and more, people my age ignoring their health. We are at the cusp of “no, we aren’t old” and “no, we aren’t young” and so many of take little time to take care of ourselves. We know how important it is – but tend to get wrapped up in everything else. I remind myself how important it is to take time for myself to take care of myself. Not only for my own well-being, but as a good role model for my kids.

After thinking about those three important things, how can I really not go and workout? Those aren’t trivial reasons and I have no real excuse to skip. Not to mention that I love the feeling I have after a good workout and the great people I have met through my fitness journey. Hopefully, the insight I shared will help motivate you to stop waiting and begin…

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Determination is your responsiblity

Election in America: Pulling up the Bootstraps

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Election in America: Pulling up the BootstrapsToday I am choosing Happiness. I am willing to accept the outcome (like I have a choice or anything) and will be figuring out how I help. For me, it was important to take time yesterday to feel what I was feeling. I am seeking to learn about the perspective of those that voted for Trump. I want to understand – really I do. One of the most shocking things to me about the election was the realization that I didn’t even know how a huge number of people were feeling in this country. I like to think I am a caring, smart, well-read person, so for me not to even know the disillusionment and anger that a huge percentage of people are feeling — it rocks me to my core.

I didn’t spend my time yesterday insulting anyone. I spent my time thinking about what happened and seeking clarity on what exactly happened. If you don’t understand what caused this outcome, than you can’t do much to fix it.

I am finding it difficult to understand some Trump supporters reasoning’s though. When asked about how they reconcile Trump being ok with having the KKK support him, I’ve read that “it’s a Democrat conspiracy”, even when presented with a tweet from David Duke himself. It seems that some of his supporters are fine with simply ignoring some of the dirtier aspects of their candidate while magnifying those of HRC.  I am truly trying to understand because I don’t.

However, I did read a really well thought out post yesterday from Alex Young that put some perspective around this whole thing for me and suggested a coherent game plan that we all need to get behind…

I am concerned about what Trump’s win says about us a country. We are really broken — and yes, we are America and will pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and fight against injustice. It’s in our blood. I trust in the great document that we live and die by created by our founding fathers. It has stood the test of time. But, this is a big shift in our country and a wake up call for each and every one of us. Yes, politicians come and go. Yes, I woke up today and have the same responsibilities to my family as I did Monday.  But, none of us should forget we have a responsibility to our country and to each of its citizens. We can’t grow and prosper without taking care of one another. And that’s what I am going to focus on.

Election 2016: Grasping for Clarity

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Struggling for ClarityWoke up to the news — I’m sitting here speechless, in tears thinking about how scary the reality of what has been done. My kids have to grow up with a leader who has been honest about his lack of respect for women, minorities, anyone not in his camp.

He has no plan, doesn’t do his homework, is unkind and disrespectful and lacks any self control. He gets to help pick a SCOTUS. He has Omarosa as one of his advisors.

This is America? This is not the America I want – and I’m sitting here thinking about how I’m not sure what to do and how to change it.

Someone this morning on FB mentioned not understanding the tears, that life goes on. I thought about that — Why am I crying? Why am I feeling scared? Do I lack faith in my country or fellow man? Do I not believe in kindness above all?

My tears are coming from a place of sadness, fear and anger that our great country is this broken and that people are so divided. It’s not about woe is me. The problem arises when you keep crying, unable to see clearly and get stuck long after today. Having to tell my kids that this man, who has said and done some really terrible things publicly, will now represent us globally is unsettling. Appreciation of our lives, knowing that life does indeed go on and stopping to feel whatever one feels are all ok.

How can anyone forget the KKK publicly backed Trump. He did not publicly say No Thanks which any decent person would have done. I’m trying to make sense of what happened last night. I am still in disbelief. I am struggling to understand how this happened? I am grasping for clarity…

Get Out There and Socialize

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Halloween Party 2016I went to two get-togethers last weekend — I had so much fun. I was told quite a few times how in shape I looked.  It was a much needed affirmation that the hard work I’ve put in has been working. I’ve found, at least for women- we need visual proof before we really believe that we lost weight or toned up. Well – the pic on the right gave me the visual proof that I needed to see my results. (and that’s my friend Tank with me!) And, make no mistake — it’s been tough. Varied training 5-6 times a week and watching what I eat. Could I be even more careful with what I am eating? Yes – but I need balance, so it will have to do for now. I’m not training for the Olympics or anything. It’s important to keep your perspective in check.

Live Fit and Sore -FriendsI also was reminded that I need to make sure to spend more time with friends. I get so focused and busy with work, kids and ‘life’, that I tend to brush off plans friends try to make with me. I know it’s shocking but I think I am an extroverted introvert when it comes down to it. I really do love being around people but it drains me –so I also love spending time alone so I can recharge.  And Napping – napping is my favorite. But I felt so happy and loved being around friends. So, I’ve made a commitment to step outside of my comfort zone and accept more invites to hang out with friends. It’s so easy to decline –so I’m not going to go the easy route. It’s a lot less fun.

Halloween

And of course Halloween was yesterday! Here are my kids’ costumes. Each year, HB makes her own and this year was the best yet. She was a pineapple!! And I’m sure you can guess what Nate Dogg was…

Halloween 2016

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Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Stop Fearing Fear and Use It To Your Advantage

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I had no idea when I mentioned how my boxing place was closed for a death in their family, that would mean that they would close permanently but I got the notice a week or so ago that indeed they are closing their doors. I’m pretty bummed about it but can you imagine in the course of a few weeks the life shock that family has gone through? My heart breaks for them as they figure out how to adjust to their new life. With that said, I have to figure out another cardio/strength option now that there are no close by boxing places for me to move on to….

Change is good

Boss: ‘Change is good!’ Employees: ‘Who’s getting fired?’

And change must be in the air because it looks like my long term contract that I had is probably coming to an end early December. It’s been a great experience, and my original boss was awesome. She taught me so much, was fun to work with and had perspective about the work we were doing. But, she left this past spring and as usual, with new management and changing of the guard – they want to bring in their own people. So, come end of the Fall, I will be looking for more consulting work. I’m not going to lean into the fear though. I have sent out some emails — and have some meetings already set up. And, I keep repeating to myself —what’s the worst that can happen? to help keep the fear at bay and get perspective.

Don’t Get Stuck in a Fear Loop

In this article about using fear to your advantage, they suggest reminding yourself that most of your fears are irrational, that you will get through the situation that is making you uncomfortable, and most times getting through it will make you stronger.  A while ago, I shared some info about Tony Blauer’s fearloop, and how you need to be aware of how it works so you don’t get stuck in it and become paralyzed by fear.

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Ordinary People

Life is Damn Short and Fragile

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Here I am at 530a sipping on my coffee – My plan was to head to a boxing session at 6a but just found out that my boxing gym is closed until Monday. The owner died unexpectedly. I didn’t know her well. We met just a few times. She was the mom of three grown boys and one of the boys ran the gym, so she wasn’t in the place all that often. I’m not sure why I’m sharing it — other than she was a mom who in my mind, was the glue that held her family together and now she’s gone. My heart breaks for them. And it’s another reminder how short and fragile life. None of us has tomorrow guaranteed. Do what it is that you need to do today. Share how you feel, reconcile with those you love, demonstrate your affection – you never know what can happen and you miss your chance.

 

Life can change in the blink of an eye

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Do what Makes You Happy

Life: Are you Recording or Experiencing It?

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Back to School 2016With each new season or yearly benchmark (back to school), I tend to take stock of things in my life. You know, breathe and see where I’m at.I’m in a really great place.  Things are humming along quite nicely, but there is always room for change and growth…

Career wise – one thing I want to really focus on and work towards, is finding work that has real meaning and makes a difference. My new found relationship with St. Jude has confirmed to me that making a difference in people’s lives is the type of work I want to do. I want to know I am making a difference in the world, even if it’s in a small way.

Personally – I want to record my life less and live my life more. The past few weeks I’ve been around people who seem to be connected at the hip to their devices.  The past few weeks, I’ve been focused on experiencing what’s going on around me instead of focusing on recording it. The art of creating real relationships is dying. Talking to people without a device at dinner or during a meeting seems to be rare and quite frankly, I find it rude.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a social media and marketing consultant after all. A big part of my job is being online, engaging and sharing information so I’m not going on a fast or anything. I am just going to be more conscious of using my device and not just automatically go for it.

Stephanie Hoaglund -Live Fit and Sore: Boxing Health and Fitness – My boxing instructor, Alex, took some pics of me boxing this past weekend. I have been feeling like I haven’t seen any actual physical differences since I lost some weight and added in more focused weight training. These pics tell a different story for sure. I’m so glad he took them! I see a big difference which means the varied training I have been doing combined with being more conscious of what I am eating is working. It’s sad there is no special pill we can take to get in shape — but there isn’t so we all need to focus and put in the work.

My advice to those in the same boat – force your friend/spouse/kids to take your picture even if you don’t want them to. Seeing is believing when it comes to weight loss. Remember, we don’t always see things the way they are!

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Are you experiencing life or too busy recording it?

Keep on Keeping On

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Summers are hard on working parents. Now that my kids are older, it’s hard to find camps to occupy their days and it’s even harder to figure out how to get them to the camps that are available. So many of them are only half day – and I am left wondering how am I supposed to work and get my kids to and from camp during the day? I am lucky at least right now in that I have quite a bit of flexibility with my current work situation and can handle what needs to be done but there are days when I feel less than adequate.  Like today:

HB is trying out for volleyball and I forget to get her forms handled completely. I made an assumption that she could use a different form and it would be ok –and last night in a mad scramble we realized it was not going to work, so I had to rush to the Medi-Clinic at Target to get her a sports physical. Thank goodness it worked out but it was another reminder that this parenting deal is hard.  Then Nate had a dr appointment that we had to rush to — and then I had to get HB to the actual try outs. I’m not sure how this would all workout if I was not an independent consultant and able to work odd hours of the day. It wears me out physically and mentally and I actually have it pretty darn good overall. I can’t imagine being a single parent trying to keep up with all of the parenting demands.  It’s been a very trying week or so…

Fitness/Health Progress Update

I’m down another pound – so total loss is 13#s and even more body fat, although I’m not sure how much. I’ve been told by quite a few people that there is a noticeable difference in my arms and shoulders. They look leaner and strong! It’s been hard to keep focusing on eating right all the time, but I have been doing pretty good. Before I would say I was 90% true to eating clean. Now, I would say 75-80% true to it. It all comes down to planning and focus. I’ve been feeling stressed out and crunched for time – two saboteurs of progress. But -I will get there.

 

Beauty and Wellness

Kat Von D Lock It Revolution

Thanks Influenster Vox for my box of Kat Von D Lock it Goodies! 

I don’t spend a ton of time on the blog talking about beauty products, but I do think looking your best is a huge part of living well.  For the ladies, as we age – we should make sure we keep up with the latest skin care products, treatments and techniques. I’m lucky that HB, who is 14, is heavily interested in fashion and makeup because she helps me stay current. There are a ton of really great beauty products out there that do amazing things that weren’t available when I was in my 20’s or even 30’s. I’m not talking about contouring and thick costume-y make up either.  I’m sure on some people those styles work, but for most of us – Just NO!  Can you imagine walking into work with blue lips and a fully contoured face? I can’t and unless you work in a business that is all about that –you shouldn’t either. So, I was recently sent some Kat Von D Lock It products via a program called Influenster Vox.  I had never used her products before — and they aren’t cheap but I have to tell you, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the concealer. It is lightweight, covers what it’s supposed to, and lasts. That along with the Lock it setting powder — I am sold.  If you are looking for a high quality concealer – head over to your local Sephora and try it.

 

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Don't Settle

 

Focus on the slow and steady

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Lani One evening last week, I went to dinner with Lani, a dear friend of mine. I didn’t want to go out –It was a weekday. I didn’t sleep well the night before. I got up at 5A that morning to workout at 6A. There were a lot of excuses in my head. But, I have not seen my sweet friend in a while, we both have a lot going on, and a good friendship requires being present, so I kept our date. And sure enough, we had a lovely dinner, caught up on life since we last spoke, and was able to spend some time outside walking.

As we were rounding the corner that led to her apartment, I looked around, feeling confused. Um, where’s my car? My car was gone. Gone, gone. Not the where did I park gone-but GONE.  Turns out that even though there were no obvious signs stating parking with a decal only, my selection of parking spots was included in that rule. Not even 20 mins after we left her apartment, they had me towed! I’ve never been towed before, and there was no number listed to call. We eventually found out that you call the local police and they can confirm the status of your car, give you the location of your car and the number to call. After waiting on hold too many minutes, I found out where my car was and how much $$ it was going to cost me. Man, my friend is a very expensive date!  I paid the exorbitant fee and got in my car and drove home. It was a very long day to say the least.

As we were driving to retrieve my car, my friend Lani said that she thinks this happened for a reason. Whether it be to keep me from harm’s way or to lead me to something–whatever it may be. It got me thinking about unexpected things that happen in our lives. Are they really supposed to happen -the path we are supposed to take to prevent something bad from happening? I don’t know the answer but it’s an interesting way to look at certain events that happen in our lives for sure.

As for my training, I’m down about 12.5 pounds so far. It’s slow and steady and hard work. You really can’t lose focus – it is so easy to fall back into hold habits. But – with that said, I feel so much better and the weight loss is noticeable.

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How Exercise Shapes You, Far Beyond the Gym

You Asked: How Many Calories Does Strength Training Burn?

Transformation Requires Change And That Is What Is Holding You Back

Be Inspired

Say No to things that stress you out

Kindness Matters

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