Love yourself, Valentine!

Love yourself, Valentine!

On this day, February 14, 2017, traditionally known as Valentine’s Day, it is customary to express our love and affection for our significant other and those who are of importance to us. We give each other flowers, candy, jewelry and other expressions of that love as an outward testament of our affections.

Prior to marrying my husband several years ago, I spent a very long time as a single and spent many a Valentine’s Day alone and without someone to share the day and special moments of love. At first, Valentine’s Day was tough and even a bit depressing. I wondered why it was that everyone else I seemed to know had someone special to share it with but me. As the years moved on, I came to realize that Valentine’s Day was not defined by who loved me or chose to show they affections toward me, rather, it became a time for me to take one special day to love and recognize myself! What a revelation.

I learned to really take a moment to appreciate who I was, what I had accomplished in my life and would appreciate me for the woman I had become. I did not need to have a man or person in my life to hand me a box of chocolates and flowers to validate me. I got so excited about my newly found love for myself that I would make myself a nice dinner, have some wine and even buy myself a gift..I worked hard all year so why not. Sometimes it was a great opportunity to invite other friends over to celebrate our friendship or to go out for the evening and celebrate each other.

So, on this Valentine’s Day, I would like to encourage you to spend the day loving yourself. Regardless of whether or not you are also celebrating with your significant other, do something nice, something special today that is just for you. It may be a trip to the nail salon, it may be an extra long walk or yoga class, it may be a quiet hour to read a book or meditate. Whatever you chose to do, make some time that is just for you to be able to appreciate who you are and what you do every day.

I learned this exercise during my studies at IIN and it has stuck with me over the years. Look at the photo below and review the signature strengths that are listed. Think about all of the strengths on this list that you posses and use every day. Think about some new ways you can use those strengths in your life to show your love for either your partner, your family, your job and then commit to using your strengths in that new way for the next week. Get yourself a notebook and keep track of the strengths you use and how implementing them affects you. Share the experience with someone you love or for something you love and see what happens. ENJOY!

Winter is Still Here….

Winter is Still Here….

There are still 39 days, 6 hours and 17 minutes left until Spring 2017 is officially here. So, that means we still have a lot of time to deal with winter in many parts of the country.

I’m very fortunate to be living in Texas where it is 86 degrees and sunny so I already feel like spring has arrived. But, that can change at the drop of a hat around here and I know that in places like Chicago, Minneapolis and in many other cities, it is cold, blustery and the rhythms of winter are still if full force.

How do you stay balanced through the remainder of winter? What can you do to make the most of the season, protect your health keep from getting the winter blues for the next 39 days? There are some great Ayurvedic techniques you can adopt that will help you throughout the winter season and help you to flourish and not just cope with the days ahead.

Ayurveda blossomed thousands of years ago when the world was much different than it is today. People functioned more closely in tune with nature and their surroundings and slept and were awakened by their circadian rhythms and not by terrifying alarm clocks signaling the time to get up for work!

Ayurveda is based on the notion that there are three main doshas, vata (the energy of movement), pitta (the energy of digestion or metabolism and kappa (the energy of structure and lubricatio). The practice also says that every human body is in tune with one of these dosha and they correlate to the seasons with vata being winter, pitta being summer and kapha being spring.

That being the case, winter is the cycle of vata and by standing in harmony with the natural cycle of winter, you can help to build your health, energy and the ability to fight off cold and disease during the winter. How can you do that? By adjusting what you eat, the type of exercise you are doing or any type of herbs or supplements you may take can affect the way you feel during the winter months.

Here are some hints to make the remaining part of winter a bit easier to handle!
* Wake up a little bit later than in other seasons (extend your sleep by 30-60 minutes if possible)
* Have a warm cup of water with lemon first thing in the morning to get your digestive system moving
* Treat yourself to an extra long shower and towel scrub before work
* Add in some yoga or meditation before getting the day started to open the chest, throat and sinuses
* Eat a nutritious breakfast of oatmeal or grains like quinoa and add cinnamon for heating but sweet spice
* Drink tea instead of coffee and add 1/2 tsp cinnamon and a pinch of clove to increase digestion
* Exercise regularly to increase blood flow and circulation when we naturally tend to be more sedate in the winter
* Get some sun! If you don’t want to walk out in the cold, sit by a nice window and soak up some rays. The vitamin D helps with mood
* Eat foods that are warming and nourishing like homemade soups, steamed veggies and add spices to them.
* Avoid dairy as it increases mucus and congestion which can already be a bother in winter when we are closed indoors
* Enjoy a glass or two of sweet or dry wine with dinner to help with digestive fire, improve appetite and circulation
* Get plenty of vitamin C, add ginger to tea if you feel a cold coming on. You can also add to a warm bath along with baking soda
* Use natural saline solution in your nose to keep your nasal passages moist and clear during the dry winter months
* Bundle up! You really do lose more than half your body heat through your head so wear a hat and keep warm.

The other thing I love to do is get out a calendar or print one out from your computer. Keep count of the days leading up to Spring’s arrival and plot out all the things you would like to get done prior to then. We all know that “Spring Cleaning” is on everyone’s list so begin with yourself and write down all the things you would like to “clean out” before

2017 Promise to Myself

As 2016 came to a close, I started to think about what it is that I want to accomplish in 2017. What is it that I want to do, experience, thrive at. What kind of impact do I make on the world next year. Sometimes, I tend to overthink things. I am sure that many of you may do the same.

I have a credo hanging in my office that was shared with me when I was a student at IIN. This is credited to Marilena Minucci from QuantumCoachingMethod.com. I love the sentiment in this credo and I have decided that for 2017, I am going to adopt the wisdom from this credo into my daily life and really live it!

I have never been a big believer in the concept of New Year’s resolutions as most of them get broken. I prefer to make a promise to myself of something that is tangible and meaningful. What is your promise to yourself for 2017?

“In this moment….

I choose to lighten up on my path to enlightenment,

I choose to not add one more thing to the burden on my shoulders

I choose to not say I am not good enough one more time

I choose to say I am doing the best that I can and

that I am perfect in my imperfection.

I choose to let in the light…and know that every way in which I thought I was broken is in fact a blessing that will bring in more light…that to be creaked wide open is the way to late in as much light as I can.

I choose to accept that it is my right to be here not because of what I do or produce but just because I am. God and the universe need nothing more from me than simply to be me. I choose to give back all the negative vibes and critical thinking that keep me small. It is an illusion I once bout into but no longer.

I am over being small and know I deserve to dream big because I am a child of the universe.

And I choose to stay connected to the energy and light of those that journey with me and who hold me to my highest.

And on days I may falter…I will remember this light and energy and the promise of all that is to be received and is on its way to me now.”

I hope that your 2017 is off to a great start and that you will accomplish all you set out to do this year and in the future.

Delicious Thanksgiving Cookie Recipe

iced-pumpkin-cookies
It has been a while since I have posted a recipe as I have been caught up in some other projects the last couple of months, so I am sorry to have been a slacker on that front! Today, I needed to make something for my husband to take to work to a Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner they are doing for the staff tomorrow. In addition to my famous Spinach Balls, I was to make a dessert and decided on a pumpkin cookie.

I’m not one to create a lot of recipes on my own but I love to modify others that I find to make them gluten free and dairy free. This recipe I found on Allrecipes.com and this was developed by Gina. I made it with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour and with organic coconut milk (instead of regular milk) and Earth Balance spread (instead of butter). I hope you love them!

Iced Pumpkin Cookies (made gluten free/dairy free)

2 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Earth Balance soy spread, softened (can use real butter)

1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons coconut milk (can use real milk)
1 tablespoon melted Earth Balance
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon Allspice

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze with fork.
To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners’ sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter,allspice and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.

The cookies are light and airy and have a subtle pumpkin flavor to them. Can leave the icing off completely if you want to eliminate that sugar element as they are delicious naked and would be great with a hot cup of tea! ENJOY…

National Grab Some Nuts Day

Mixed nuts

Today we celebrate National Grab Some Nuts Day! It is a cute little holiday that no one is really sure of its origin. So, we will just go with the fact that nuts are good for you so, why not grab some for a great afternoon snack?

I love nuts and usually have some kind of nuts sitting at my desk when I feel a bit hungry but do not want to eat a full meal. Today’s nut of choice is the Blue Diamond smoked almonds! I know, they have a lot of salt on them, but i don’t eat that much sodium throughout the day so the small handful that I have of nuts won’t be harmful.

Here are some health benefits of nuts:
* Packed with protein
* Rich in unsaturated fatty acids (good for your heart – lowers the “bad” cholesterol)
* High in Omega-3 fatty acids
* High in fiber, vitamin E, plant sterols and L-arginine (makes arteries flexible and helps them to
be less prone to developing blood clots)

Nuts are relatively inexpensive and easy to pack and take with you anywhere.

Some nut are a little better for you than others. A good portion size is a small handful or about 1 1/2 ounces of nuts or 2 tablespoons of nut butter. Roasted chestnuts have the least amount of fat at 0.6 grams and dry roasted macadamia nuts have the highest at 21.6 grams. Try some of the nuts in the middle of the road like cashews, almonds and pistachios…all somewhere between 12-15 grams of fat.

nut-butter

Want to make a super easy nut butter? Here is how you do it.

1 cup of toasted almonds
2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of honey
Dash of cayenne pepper

Pop the almonds in a food processor. Process on high until the ground almonds begin to form a dough-like ball. Don’t be alarmed if your food processor gets overheated. When it seems like your processor may be getting taxed, stop for a few minutes and then begin again. Slowly drizzle the oil over the almonds and then add the honey and cayenne pepper. Continue the process, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. If you do not want the honey and pepper, you can leave them out. If you need a bit more oil, drizzle in a little more until you get a nice smooth consistency.

Store it in an airtight container and I put mine into the fridge to keep it a bit longer. It is best when eaten within a week. Great to dip with apples or celery and also nice on a rice cake or some gluten free bread! You can follow the same recipe and process with many kinds of nuts so experiment and see which one you like best. ENJOY

Celebrate National Girlfriends Day!

Relationship and Life Coaching Houston Humble Texas TX

“I don’t know what I would have done so many times in my life if I hadn’t had my girlfriends. They have literally gotten me up out of bed, taken my clothes off, put me in the shower, dressed me, said, ‘Hey, you can do this,’ put my high heels on and pushed me out the door!” — Reese Witherspoon

Today is one of those days that is so much fun to celebrate and I only wish that I was in Chicago right now to be able to spend time with my best girlfriends to celebrate!

Although this day is not a “real” holiday but more of a holiday generated by social media, it is still a great excuse to celebrate all of the women we love and those who get you through the best and worst times in your life.

The quote from Reese Witherspoon resonated with me as I have seen some challenges in my life and it has been my girlfriends (and some of my best guy friends) who have pulled me out of the darkness and back to reality. Most of the time with a stiff martini or a shopping spree but always with lots of love and support.

Did you know that having great girl friends in your life can actually help to relieve stress, boost your self-esteem and even help you to live longer? Having those kind of strong relationships with other women can provide you with supportive, nurturing and empathetic love. When you are lonely, you are more at risk for developing health issues and things that can turn into serious illness with prolonged loneliness. Having the support and love of your gal pals can make you feel happy, loved and fulfilled which helps to strengthen your body and soul and keeps you healthier.

I have been so blessed over the years to have great girlfriends in my life. Some I have known for more than 20 years and some are new in my life. All are relationships that I cherish and you know, there are some friendships that just pick up where they left off even when you don’t see each other for years.

So go out today and call your girlfriends, send them an email or, better yet, schedule happy hour and celebrate all of the bests in your life!