Create your balance. Design your life.

Unexpected Places

Unexpected Places

Feb 17, 2015

Three weeks ago I was living in suburban, rural almost, Florida. Now, I find myself and my family living in the middle of Manhattan in the city of all U.S. cities. In the winter. In the snow. As I pushed my daughter in her flimsy umbrella stroller, through this blackish snow-mush that collects anywhere a human might want to cross the street, I had to pull over. My girls complained, my face felt like frozen meat, and that familiar pinch of anxiety crept into my chest. Then I looked down the street. The view was surreal. Monumental buildings lined the street, just like in the movies. How the Hell did I get here? After one of the most emotionally difficult years of my life, everything tailspinned into a completely different set of circumstances. Just as I was inching myself out of a deep hole, I find myself starting all over. Again. The bottom line: we find ourselves in unexpected places. If we allow it, we can start again. I never pictured myself in New York City. It was never on a list of places I even wanted to vacation, much to my friends’ surprise. Yet, here I am. We all have choices, even if it doesn’t seem like much of a choice. That’s it. That’s the wisdom. You might find everything you were “working for” completely uprooted. You might find yourself having to make a decision between career and family, comfort and the unknown. And just maybe, THAT unexpected place is EXACTLY where you are supposed to be. Who knows, right? Since the WLBPA focuses on balance, the protection of sanity, and life experience, this column will reflect the new direction I have taken in the last few weeks. I’d love for you to come with me on this journey of “who knows what,” as I learn to live in a tiny apartment, in a humongous city, with a toddler and a kindergartner in tow. photo credit: America: this is a place where dreams can still come true via photopin (license) Share this:RedditPinterestFacebookLinkedInTumblrTwitterGoogleEmailLike this:Like...

From Busy to Delicious

From Busy to Delicious

Feb 13, 2015

I’ve been burning the candle at both ends the last couple of weeks. Apart from a bump here or there, I have been feeling generally resilient. How do I do it? I’ve come up with a multitude of recharging and recuperating strategies. The busier I am, the more I amp up the self-care. At a certain point, the ‘busy’ and the ‘self-care’ build to a crescendo, one or the other has to go. I make the choice to ease my foot of the ‘busy pedal’. I haven’t always done this. I used to give up the self-care for another item to get done, and I ended up burnt out and miserable. It took time, practice, and creativity to change that habit! Want to try? Here’s a baker’s dozen of tips to stay sane in your busy life, and recharge your engine the more it runs (and since I mentioned a baker’s dozen, here’s a photo of some cupcakes to inspire you): For every errand you squeeze into your schedule, find a way to take a twenty minute walk (such as, to the store to do the errand). Continually assess and reassess your priorities. Drop what’s just not that important. Do more of what IS important to you, and of what you like. Make sure that how you feel, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, is included in that assessment in item two. Many people talk about not multi-tasking while eating. Try not multi-tasking while preparing food. Waiting for water to boil will create more space in your day than everything else on this list combined. Take a bath. Stay up late to do it if you have to. Throw in some epsom and/or sea salt. Make real food. Don’t let a hurried schedule send you to the drive-through. You’ll end up tired and feeling yuck-o. If you don’t feel like putting in effort, do something easy, like salsa, beans, avocado and tortillas, or cereal. See a friend. Step away from the computer, and read a book (or draw, or paint, or other favorite hobby of choice), even if it’s only for ten minutes. Pleasure and ease are cumulative. Take a ten minute nap! Find somebody to hug....

Upcycling in the Kitchen

Upcycling in the Kitchen

Feb 6, 2015

Have you ever gotten home from a long day wanting healthy and delicious homemade food, with tired feet and an aching brain, and absolutely no desire to cook? I certainly have. What usually follows is either cereal or delivery. How about the next day? You hit snooze an extra time (or five): how can eat a healthy and sustaining breakfast, and make the train…much less make lunch! I too have rounded out vending machine peanut butter crackers with microwave popcorn. Well I say, “No more!” No more underfed, undernourished, short-for-time meal skipping. No more overly-sweet and overpriced food from the one place that delivers to your address. Your brain and body need real food! So I bring to you, Upcycling in the Kitchen. You’ve heard of “upcycling”, haven’t you? If not: “Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upcycling) Although you’ll probably save some styrofoam containers, the concept of Upcycling in the Kitchen isn’t about saving the environment, but about your health, your wallet, and your time. Without further ado, here’s how it works: The key to Upcycling in the Kitchen is to have on hand a small variety of prepared food ingredients. If you’re like me, you don’t want to eat the same dish day after day after day. So instead of making a vat of one thing, prepare food simply and separately, and then reincorporate the already prepared items, into new dishes such as stir fries, fried rice, soups, salads, and even lovely entrée meals. You will need to do some cooking, or at least purchasing. Cooking prep can be minimized by buying things like pre-cut vegetables, or pre-cooked meats. Keep in mind that when someone else cooks your food you have much less say in what goes into it, and how fresh it is. Don’t overlook a salad bar as a place to find washed and cut veggies or simply cooked chicken or tofu not available at other places in the store if you just can’t deal with doing it on your own (and applaud yourself for being resourceful, while you’re at it). Consider...

Growing Pains

Growing Pains

Feb 3, 2015

This column was inspired by the movie “Foxes” (1980) and contains spoilers. This is one I hope you share and discuss with your teenagers. You may want to view “Foxes” first being it is an “R” rated film and only you, as a parent, can determine what is appropriate for your kids to watch. Jeanie, Annie, Madge and Deidre are best friends. They are trying to navigate through the world of high school with each other for support. The personalities of the four girls are distinctly different and creates a beautiful balance within the group. They are no longer children. They are not quite adults. Like many of us did, these friends are trying to grow up too quickly. The girls want to be treated like grown-ups. They finally get the chance to act like adults and everything will go horribly wrong. What starts out as a small dinner party (in a house that is not theirs) gets out of hand as uninvited people begin showing up and becomes a catastrophe. This event will change the course of their lives forever. This is a story of friendship, love, loss, the chance for redemption and new beginnings. The movie is “Foxes” starring Jodie Foster. Let’s take an individual look at each of these girls. This may bring back memories of your own high school days and your own friends. You may remember lessons you learned or may learn some new ones. For all you moms with teenage girls, this could be a good movie for you and your daughters to share and discuss. There is nothing that seems more difficult than being not quite a kid but not yet an adult and just wanting all the adults around you to realize you are growing up. This is Movie Bad Girl of the Week, and this week you get 4 for the price of one. Read this column, watch the movie with your kids and discuss the topics I am bringing up.   Jodie Foster as Jeanie Jeanie is the most mature of the four friends portrayed in the film. She sees things in a very realistic manner and is the glue that holds the group...

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