Wednesday, December 27, 2017

IDEA #3829 - Avocados in glass jars...

I don't really know if this is idea number 3829, but I feel like this one is worth numbering, and not to toot my own horn, but I've had a lot of great ideas over the years - as I"m sure you have too. Getting back to the reason I started writing this blog - insights, inventions, and ways to make life easier, simpler, smarter - this idea was a particularly OMG kind of a-ha moment for me. And it's truly simple.

Where do you put your half-eaten avocado? Typically, we would just leave it open in the fridge and cut off the brown when we wanted it the next day, or at worst, two days later. Sometimes it would be all brown, and we'd have to throw it out.

But last week I didn't have my own fridge, and I didn't want to just leave it out in the open. And the only thing I had at work was the cleaned out jar I'd had my breakfast smoothie in. So I threw the avocado in there thinking, "that's weird but whatever." 6 hours later is was still green. BRIGHT green. And it dawned on me... no air, no oxidation, no browning. GENIUS! I mean, most good ideas are just accidents right?

So next time you're looking to save your half of something... try it. It's better than plastic (which breathes), better than plastic wrap (which isn't sustainable), and better than just leaving it out in the open.

You're welcome. 😛

Sunday, February 12, 2017

How to live without sugar - 10 tips

Living without sugar is still a daily challenge for me. I've covered this topic often because going sugar free helps me so much, but it SO isn't easy, so I hope these posts help you, too. Especially around Valentine's Day. But let's face it, every month of the year has at least one holiday that's infused with sugar.

A February free of... - 2/1/17
Raw, vegan lifestyle isn't just for crazies anymore - 3/11/16

30 days of "no" sugar - successes and challenges, and moving forward - 2/9/16

30 days of sugar free: Kicking the Addiction - 1/28/16

30 days Sugar Free: Switching date sugar - 1/11/16

Committing to 30 days without sugar - YOU will hold me to it - 1/10/16

Partying with a restrictive diet - yes, it can be done! - 3/24/12

Healthy Living 2: Healthy Eating - 8/5/10

Healthy Living 1 - Read the Label - 7/28/10

Bottom line, I know I feel exponentially better without it - sugar gives me headaches, tummy aches, joint aches, throat aches, and fatigue.
And I know that if I go without it, I no longer crave it. And now that I've done this many times I definitely don't crave it even when I'm "off the wagon" like I used to - donuts, gummy bears, coffee with cream and sugar, sodas. But still the occasional sugar sneaks into my diet if I'm not vigilant - and it's mostly when I forget to read the label or go back to something I know I don't need. Or walk by the chocolate aisle when my hormones are spiked (which is rare, but it happens).

Once I go 3 days without it, I lose the habit of needing a chocolate treat after dinner (which keeps me from sleeping soundly anyway, so why bother). Once I go a week, I've practically forgotten all about it. And once I go 21 days, my taste buds have all regenerated and any small amount of sugar makes one bite feel like an entire funnel cake flooding to my brain.

Honestly, if you haven't tried it, do. It'll change the way you look at life. 21 days without sugar - GO!

But we're human. I mean, come on. When I commit to a month of sugar free, I have to set myself up for success and pull out all the stops to help me block something that might derail me.

Here are 10 tips to removing sugar from your bloodstream, one date at a time: 

1. Tell everyone, especially your family. This will act as an accountability system first and foremost, but also I find that telling my husband what I'm doing is paramount. "Don't bring any of that junk home!"  Yeah, surprise chocolate bars aren't good.

2. Stock up! Stock the fridge with berries, fruit, healthy snacks, and especially dates and date sugar - it's not real sugar, it's just called that because we Americans are addicted to the stuff. It's finely ground date powder, and it works in recipes just like sugar. I only use it when I'm making something for a party - because I don't want to feel left out of the dessert course. [grin]

3. Read every label. As stated above, it's hiding. In your ketchup, granola, yogurt. And learn the aliases - high fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, invert sugar, molasses, sucrose (or any word ending in "-ose"), brown rice syrup, honey, and maple syrup are all sugars that will affect your body poorly.

4. Try unsweetened. If you drink tea, non dairy milk, 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

10 things I learned in 1997, and the 20 years it took me since then to truly learn them

I was in a book store in Oregon, about to embark on a journey across land and sea, when a book fell off the shelf and dropped to my feet. I looked around to see if someone had pushed it - the shelves were the old school library kind, where books were backed up against each other on metal shelves between narrow aisles. But no one was there. I was 23 and a little jumpy. I bent down to pick up the green book and read its unsuspecting, all-text cover. "The Celestine Prophesy," it read. Hmm, prophesy, I thought, that's cool. But what's a Celestine Prophesy? 

So I flipped it over and read the summary of a man on a journey to find an ancient manuscript. It felt somehow connected to the journey I was embarking on. I wasn't headed to South America, but it didn't matter, I had been delving into the depths of myself with my first metaphysical teacher for a year and was ready to dive further. I was headed to Scotland, and it was cold and dark and raining there. Perfect conditions for reading.

I bought the book. Little did I know it would become the syllabus for my life.

If only I'd taken those 10 celestine insights to heart and lived them like a code, I might not have needed the following two decades for them to sink in. (But where would be the fun in that?) The shift I went through that year in Glasgow, commencing with the celestine insights, affected my mind so profoundly, that I wrote my 3rd book of poems based on it, including one that summed up the insights:

What I learned from James Redfield's Celestine Prophesy in 1997:

1. Talk to strangers. 
Carl Jung's Synchronicity Theory suggests that there are no coincidences. That every connection has a purpose, a meaning, and a message. So taking that to heart, I began to talk to strangers - something that I was warned against growing up. It took me 20 years to get here, but now I know that every stranger on the plane next to me has a message, a connection, and a purpose. So I talk to them.

2. Know your history. 
If you don't, you'll likely repeat it - and the worst parts of it to boot. I loved studying genealogy early on, but what I didn't realize back then was how deeply connected to it I was. This circles back around in insights 4 and 6.

3. Get into the woods. Often.
We have the same xylem and phloem that plants do - our energy ebbs and flows, and is intrinsically connected to everything. This is the quantum field. We gain much more than oxygen from plants, and vise versa. We are connected on a deep level, and the more we notice the beauty and magic of nature, the brighter and lighter we become.

4. Release your story. 
We are programmed from birth to use one of Jung's four core personality dramas to gain energy from each other. These four dramas play off of each other, and the instant we learn to let them go - to release our "story" - we begin to draw energy from the true source, and begin to step into our natural joy. Otherwise known as "let go, and let God."

5. Love is the answer. 
After we've let go of our story, we can begin to have compassion for everyone else's. Instead of taking someone's traffic violation as a personal offense, we can think, "wow they must be having a bad day," and send them some love. What we put out comes back to us ten-fold. So put out love.

6. Clear the past, and all for a reason. (A two-for-one) 
Connecting this to #2 and #4, clearing your drama even further by letting go of what has transpired - the past is behind you, leave it there - and start to get curious about what is the real reason you chose the parents and family you were born to. How have all of those dramas made you into the person you've become? And why?

7. Engage the flow. 
Learn the true meaning of flow. Go with the flow. Allow the flow. Surrender. All of these things mean, on a deep level, to follow the breadcrumbs that the universe sends you. Combine this with #1 and you're golden. Synchronicity + Surrender = Success.

8. Raise the bar (vibration).
Using #3 to tap into nature, and #7 to allow the flow, your energy and vibration can maintain a constant, higher state, that you can in turn then help others raise their vibration. Be the positive force in the room. Connect to your higher self and do what you came here to do. Uplift.

9. Study Agape. 
When you focus on the world's beauty and light, you begin to live in a state of awe - or agape: true, one love. This is connection to source. It can be synonymous with enlightenment. Chase the rainbow.

10. Live full out.
The first time I heard that line it gave me the vision of full-throttle, pedal to the medal. And now I know that's not quite right. "Living full out" is using up every minute of every day like it's your last, but not to the point of destruction - to the point of fulfillment. Fuel your engine right so it'll run all day and sleep all night. Give back to humanity not so you'll be remembered, but because you can. Live with intention and BE the lighthouse so lost ships can find their way.

It's these 10 insights that Redfield's taught me that have put me on a course to teaching this to others. Tomorrow starts the 5th year that I've taught Manifesting with Synchronicity, based on the Celestine Prophesy, and I feel honored to facilitate his message, helping others find their way. It is in this way that I have learned to LIVE Synchronously. With nature, with my path, with my soul circle of friends and family.

Be the light. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A February free of...

Welcome February! I am embarking on a month with the theme of free. I have tried gluten free. Dairy free. Grain free. Sugar free. Alcohol free. Caffeine free. But I rarely try them all at once - I like the old adage "everything in moderation," although there are times when I do adopt all of that. At once. For months. I know, that's crazy talk. But I felt amazing. I was pain free. Insomnia free. Worry free.

So now is that time again. After the holidays, and then another month of "I'm kind of being good" with my diet (not the weight loss kind of diet, but my clean eating regime) while on the road, I figured February was a good (short) month to get back on track.

I am committing to cutting all of those things out, while adding in a daily workout of any kind (from just walking to cross country skiing), a morning and midday smoothie with my Complete protein
Today's smoothie:
Pumpkin, cranberry, soymilk,
flax, hemp seeds, and Complete
powder, a dinner prior to 6pm with mostly vegetables, 90 ounces of water, a daily reflection (journal, meditation, yoga), and asleep by 10pm.

The root of this practice comes from our company's commitment to health, and Dr. Mitra Ray's creation of the Transform 30 program. The millennials condensed that to a 10 day version (Shred10), and our health coach team commits to one Shred10 per month. This always helps me stay on track because I know I'm getting at least 10 days a month with a good system. If you want a group to join and start some healthy habits with, comment below. Our mission is to #takehealthyback with our #healthylivingrevolution, because we're sick and tired of seeing people sick and tired.

I know personally when I commit to this healthy regimen I feel so much more alive and ready to take on the world! I hope this inspires you to do the same! 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Is alcohol really serving you?

Over 5 years ago I made the choice to give up alcohol for good. It was no longer serving me. I'd had a long journey to this decision, mind you. I'd taken as much as a year off from drinking here and there, and often times, even throughout my long bartending career, I'd go days, even weeks, without a drink. It wasn't something that called to me, beckoned me, taunted me. I wasn't addicted. So my disclaimer here is if you feel that alcohol is something that has a hold on you, seek professional help for that, because you deserve it, you'll need it, and it's out there for you.

But if you're one of those people who like me wondered why you bothered after you had a few - especially the next day when your body was angry - then I urge you to take a look at whether it serves you, your health, your vitality, your relationships, your mind.

Even if you're one of those people who drinks "just a glass" of wine per night because you like the taste of wine, or because it's what your friends do after work, or because you were told it was good for you, reconsider.

I'm not saying this from a soapbox. I'm saying this because our society has a social connection to alcohol that's worth looking at. And if it's no longer serving you, I urge you to have the courage to give it up. Even for a week, or specific days of the week, or better, a month or even as long as Lent (March 1 to April 13, 2017). Because anything we do out of habit or because someone else does it or because someone said it's good for you shouldn't be the reason you do it. And getting in touch with your inner knowing, your body, and your mind are more important that happy hour. Think about why you do go for that drink (or two) a day - is it stress? Can something else be changed in your life as well to help alleviate that need for the drink?

You know there are many things that happen to the body, mind and spirit when we drink. It has long term negative affects on the mind, the liver (and therefore the skin), even the heart (although we are told that a glass of wine helps the heart, a bowl of vineyard fruits would be better) and it oxidizes the body faster (potentially causing cancer).

But do you know what happens to the body when you quit drinking? You sleep more soundly, you eat less at meals, you crave better foods and less sugar, (and subsequently you lose weight), your skin clears up, your savings account increases, your relationships improve, and your connection to source energy sharpens.

So if any of those reasons appeal to you, try it. You might like it.

I know many of my friends have said that it would be too hard to go out and watch everyone else drink and not have one. But I find that just isn't so. I have tea, or a mocktail, and don't care if everyone else is having gin and juice or a microbrew - at the brewery I always order their root beer and several people always want to try it. So throw out those social excuses and tell your friends you're turning a new leaf. And true, a lot of those friends who at first gave me shit for not drinking are no longer in my weekly circles, I gradually found friends to do healthier things with like hiking and snowshoeing and afternoon tea.

It's not hard. If you want to make this one simple change this year, do. Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The quest for the perfect 2017 planner

I have taken this quest very seriously - the quest for the perfect 2017 planner.  It has been a serious matter because of the purpose - no, focus, of this planner and the intentions around it this year....  but let me back track. I have been a Google Calendar convert (from Outlook) for over 10 years; I live by this organizational genius on computer, phone, and tablets. Before that, I used a written planner for most of my life, and I've scoffed at the idea of going back to one.

But that shifted for me in April last year when a millionaire told me that's how she made her fortune, and why it worked for her (perhaps I'll tell you that story another time). That encounter got my wheels turning.  And it took me all summer to marinate on this major switch - what, to me, almost seemed like a regression backwards, against technology and convenience and simplification.

But I have locked in on a vision to go big and I need a different organizational tool to get me there. One that helps me not only track and organize my at-home work week, but to hone in on discipline, focus, and persistence to achieve what I want to this year - to be promoted to National Marketing Director with the Juice Plus Company. I need something inspiring, organizing, on-track-helping. I need the perfect planner. So allow me to share my quest to find one...

For starters, the network marketing industry is far different from my previous lines of work - I've worked both at home and at an office over the last 15 years, and I'm far better about staying on task at home these days than I used to be. But in this industry, my "daily method of operation" is multi-faceted, so I can easily get distracted if I let myself, and I need a planner that is a little bit of a lot of things:

  • Spiral, so it's flexible, open, mobile, and lays flat 
  • Smaller than 8.5x11, like 7x9 is ideal to fit into any bag but big enough for a page of notes
  • Has both a week view for daily planning, and a month view for bigger events and tracking
  • Has spots for those multi-facets: goals, lists, meetings, calls, notes, mantras, you name it
  • Creative and inspiring, not just a lined notebook or just black and white,but with alternates, like lined pages, no lines, grid lines for varying ideas and tracking and inspiration

So on to what's out there (in the order of which I found them, not preference):

Erin Condren: Many of my friends swear by this line, so I looked at this line first. The plus is that these are very customizable (any size, any cover, spiral vs. bound, monogrammed, stickers, inserts, etc.), the downside is it's the highest sticker on the market ($55 and above). It's a mix between professional and creative, with inspiring, motivational quotes and colorful inserts. If I were to go with this line, the Life Planner would be the one for this quest. But let me continue...

Rituals for Living Dreambook: When it comes to goal-casting and intention-setting, this one seems to take the cake. The imagery is inspiring, has simple black and white pages, with a lot of thought-provoking text (too much?), and may be more for goal setting than business but it's very cool with sections for the true life-balance intentions.  It's bound, and of smaller size I believe (no where does it say size, except the printables, which are 8.5x11), and the lotus's for dream casting are quite unique. Prices start at $17 to print your own, and go up to $45 for the bound version. 

Your Freedom Planner: Created by a fellow Network Marketing woman, this planner has a lot of the right sections I needed, is spiral, it's of the smaller size (I think - the website says 8.5x11 but when you see it in her hand you know it's smaller?), and it's got lines for inspiration as well as sales tracking. But it's pretty basic for the cost - $45 for just 90 undated days (yes that means you'd need 4/year).

Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte: Are you familiar with this woman? I wasn't, but what an inspiring website and mission she has. Her planner is no different. This one has monthly intentions, is sustainably wood free (a perk to me), weekly or daily editions, spiral bound, with fun pockets, is 9.5x7.5, has to-do lists and a gratitude section and a cool "soul prompt" section as well as "new habits", and the inside is colorful. There are also very organizing habit tracker worksheets to print, an app to download, journals, sermons sign up, and even an audio selection to listen to. This could be your one stop shop for changing your world this year. $44, 2 cover choices.

Tools for Wisdom Planner: The covers felt very Condren-esque to me, colorful, and inspiring.  The inside is black and white, but has a lot of sections - from monthly to weekly normal planner pages to the more mindful stuff - Mindmap, personal growth, goal pages, to do lists, it's spiral bound, it's 6x9", and you get "77 printable planners" with purchase, which could be a nice addition if you don't mind printing your own. This one also has a really affordable price, at $22.97. 

Inkwell: These are classy to say the least, with a higher-end price tag ($50+), but a lot of great features, flexibility, and style. All are 9x7", with two "classical" (vertical) or "flex" (horizontal) styles, with quality heavy paper, a variety of inspiring covers and 4 inside pastel themes to choose from. Pages include months, weeks, goals, habit trackers, pockets, grids, even a bill tracking section. This one definitely will get your entire life in order if that's what you want. The other journals offered at Inkwell are great too - meal planner, exercise planner, journal, and quarterly planners too. And if you really want to get it together, there are video tools for a Live Well, Eat Well, Be Well kind of shift. 

Passion Planner: This one has a simple leather bound cover - 4 solid colors to choose from, two choices of size (8.5x11" or 5.5x8.5") and dated or undated option  which is nice, if you happen upon this post or choosing to start planning mid-year or are using it for academic purposes.  It has pages for week and month planning, goal planning, a positive-focused gratitude section,  as well as blank and grid lined pages. This one has a reasonable $35 tag to it as well. 

Uncalendar & Franklin Covey: If all of this is simply too much for you, these two are the primo of the basic, plan-everything kind of write-in planner. The former has a simple cover, the latter has a variety of very professional, fancy, re-usable leather covers. 

I've seen several images on Pintrest I like too - grids for tasks, inspiring drawings, others' blogs, etc., that might inspire you either print your own or design your own. Here are some of those crafty images: 

My Pintrest board for Biz Savvy might be helpful for you.

And... drumroll please!  What journal do YOU think I landed on, based on my preference? Comments welcome... I'll share with you after I've gotten it in my hot little hands!

May you create the best this year - I wish that for you!