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Archive for the ‘Things I’m not paid to endorse’ Category

I was talking to Terri from Nature of Beauty and developer of Pit Potion (a natural deodorant I love) about our favorite beauty products. She said if she had to pick one it would be her Clarisonic face brush, and I completely concurred.



It got me thinking of my absolute must-have items.  The things I CANNOT  live without.


I can live without deodorant.  I can make it without mascara.  I don’t need a toothbrush (jk)…


But, I MUST HAVE these 10 things on a daily basis!


1. Lemons


I go through a bag of lemons a week.  I drink warm lemon water in the morning, put lemon juice in my tea, add them to my fresh green juices for flavor and a natural preservative…I just can’t live without them.


2. My Journal


I love going back and reading my creepy dreams.  If dreams are are a gateway to the soul them I am certifiably bonkers.


3. Vitamix


How did I ever blend before I owned this?  I bet I could blend a rock into my smoothies and not tell the difference.


4. Juicer


It’s a love-hate relationship.  If it could just clean itself.


5. Lulu Lemon pants


Otherwise I’d be naked because I wear them most of the day, looking like complete dog’s a$$ with sweat encrusted hair until I finally decided to take a shower about bedtime.   My daughter asks me if I’m going to a party when I wear jeans.


7. Digestive Enzymes


I’ve been using them (relying on them!) more and more as I’ve gotten older. Everything in my body seem to need a little extra help after I turned 39.


8. Clarisonic Skin Care Brush


It’s like a vibrator for your face, people.  It rocks.


9. My Luvsac Bean Bag Chair


It is gigantic and  skwooshy like a love seat-sized marshmallow.  I sometimes curl up on it and take a nap.  Heaven.


10. A cup of hot tea


There is nothing better than wrapping my hands around a warn cup tea and slowly sipping in the flavors. There seems to be tea for my every mood.


What about you? What is ONE thing you COULD NOT live without?


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I have said many times on my blog:


I love people that


a) get over their fear
b) to follow their passion
c) which helps and inspires others


I venture to guess that most of the people reading this post are not pursuing the heart’s desire. Usually the excuses are centered around time, security, failure, and risk. But all are about FEAR. The fear of failure. The fear of the unknown.


When you let go of the fear, magic happens


I sat down to interview Darby Brender, founder of Fusion Fitness, and was struck by her passion and energy. Just like us, she had a dream. Her passion was to open her own boutique fitness studio in a time when big box fitness centers dominated the scene. For years, Darby had designed and followed her own workouts, blending high energy moves with poses from yoga and pilates. She would even hold her own “classes” for people on vacation to help scratch her passion itch. She knew the kinds of classes she wanted to take, and there was nothing out there like them.



(Yes, this is her actual body. Come on, stop looking at it and keep reading.)


Finally, in 2008, with a one-year-old daughter and still being relatively new to Kansas City, 28-year-old Darby took the plunge with friend and partner, Shandy Rooney. The two of them worked tirelessly on innovative workout routines, performing them over and over for each other until they were flawless. After finding the perfect spot in Overland Park, Kansas, the two invested their own money and opened the doors on May 5th.


Just four years later, and Fusion Fitness is THE fitness studio in Kansas City. If you see a good body walking around town, Darby probably had something to do with it. Her classes are intense, results-oriented, and FUN. As she says,

If you want to see a transformation, you have to work hard. I want my clients to see results and strive to give them the best work-outs I can. I am constantly changing the routines so the body doesn’t plateau from getting used to it. I always want to keep Fusion Fitness cutting-edge.”

Something special is going on over there, that’s for sure, because classes are packed and they studio has already had to expand twice. Business is booming and it has been virtually all by word of mouth.


That is what happens when you follow your dreams.


The Universe conspires to assist you along the way. And your passion is contagious…better than any magazine add money could by.


After taking over the business when her partner moved, she went right back into innovating. Her next dream was an exercise video. Not just another exercise video…something that has not been done before. Where you feel like you are actually in the classroom. Clients across the country wanted to be able to take her classes anywhere they went.


Darby says deciding to make the video was

One of the scariest things I have done. Much scarier than opening the studio. I really had to work through that fear and ask my supporters to help me keep on track

The project had a huge time committment and much greater financial risk. But, she followed her dream, got over the fear, and went for it.


As with any intention you put out there, if you focus on it, things start falling into place. Darby serendipitously realized a client had a film production company and would be able to produce the video, a friend hooked her up with the perfect music producer, and actual Fusion Fitness customers agreed to star in it. The results are magical.


The first 500 videos have already flown off the shelves, and you can see why…



Not only is this exercise video amazing enough to go crazy viral, I venture to guess it won’t be the last one you’ll see from Darby. She has “trainer to the stars” quality, and that, coupled with her passion, is contagious. She is truly a special spirit who wants nothing more than to help women’s health.


When you follow your heart’s desire, success is inevitable


Check out her website and blog, and if you want a reall a$$-kicking, treat yourself to her video! (disclaimer: every time I have taken her class, I can barely move for 2 days. You won’t be disappointed!)


Start following your dreams, readers! And while you are, let Fusion Fitness get you into shape!


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I have a thing about shoes.


I have a thing about people that give back the the communities that help them succeed.


Put those together and you get UWEZO.



Alexis Hefley spotted these hair-on-hide shoes in a Ugandan market during a visit with her Dallas-based charity, Empower African Children. They were a hit back home, so she helped rebrand the shoe line, now called Uwezo (ooh-WAY-zo), and came up with a business plan to bring them to the States.


That is cool enough alone. I LOVE hearing amazing stories of women who CREATE. Who go beyond the “thought” the “idea” the “hunch” and go for it. (Remember Chooz-y shoes???)


But, Alexis didn’t stop there. The company sends a portion of sales back to Ugandan children through scholarships and reinvesting in their communities.


I WANT TO DO THAT! So, how about you all send my blog all over the world, I’ll figure out a way to make money from it, and give a portion to help WOMEN FOLLOW THEIR DREAMS. There are too many of us out there sitting on talent and mind-blowing ideas that need the encouragement and funds to make it happen.


Until that happens, just buy some shoes and feel good about it 🙂


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It’s that time of year again: teacher’s Christmas gifts! I’m always hunting around for good ideas that are unique, fun and Dalai-like. Here is a great assortment of inexpensive gifts any teacher would love to get!


1. DYI Cookies in a Jar




I have done this super easy DYI project several times: just put your favorite easy recipe, like these Oatmeal Toffee Cookies from Cooking Light, in a 24oz mason jar. Add a bow and the directions (the wet ingredients, oven temp and cooking time) and your teacher has a health(ier!) indulgence when they have eaten all the other Christmas goodies.


2. Eco Friendly Lunch Box



There are many wonderful eco-friendly lunch boxes, like this stainless steel bento box from www.ecolunchboxes.com. Your kid’s teacher can bring their own healthy lunch to school in a safe BPA-free container and no need for sandwich bags!


3. Chemical-Free Hand Sanitizer



Keep your teacher healthy with Clean Well’s patented hand sanitizer formula that kills germs without hurting cuts and drying out the skin like traditional chemical sanitizers do. And, you both can have a laugh at the “dirty kid” reference…especially if they are wiping snotty noses all day.


4. DYI Microwavable Hand Warmers



If you live in colder climates, your teacher will appreciate these hand warmers – especially when they are outside supervising recess. No pattern needed, just fill your shape with things like rice, dry beans, flax seed, buckwheat hulls and/or herbs and essential oils like lavender, cloves, peppermint oil. Check out TipNut for more details.


5. BPA-free Water Bottles













These cute eco-friendly water containers will be a hit. The Copco 24 oz insulated, “stir and sip” cup comes in many colors and make taking sips throughout the day easy. You can find them at Amazon, Target, Walmart, K-Mart, and Bed Bath and Beyond, just to name a few.


I love these Lifefactory glass water bottles wrapped in a cool silicone sleeve for protection. No worries about leaching plastic and the super wide mouth makes it easy to fill. Drugstore.com has a buy one, get the second 1/2 off and free shipping.


6. Natural lotion from Indigo Wild



My go-to lotion because I love the convenient pump. Frankincense and Myrrh is my FAVORITE smell. All of Indigo Wild products are natural and chemical-free, so your teacher can keep their winter hands soft without any of the bad stuff.


7. Essential Oils



Did you know certain essential oils like lavender, chamomile, ylang ylang, rose and mandarin help calm the nervous system by actually changing the brain waves?


Your teacher can use Aura Cacia’s oils as “perfume” on the body or package it with Aura Cacia’s car diffuser. They can even use it in the classroom with an inexpensive vaporizer and watch the kids moods shift!


What is the Dalai Family giving this year? I couldn’t decide, so each teacher is getting a little something different: cookies in a jar, Capco tumblers, LifeFactory water bottles, and a Cleanwell sanitizer basket of goodies.


Some of my friends might be getting the same thing too…if I don’t keep them for myself!


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I’m a bit shocked that I’m standing. (actually, I’m sitting at the computer typing – and I’m equally surprised I can do that)



Never in the history of my life have I ever gone 3 days without solid food. Except for the first 6 months of life, but that hardly counts.


Have I told you how much I love food?


ALL FOOD: brussel sprouts, beets, kale, queso, steak, donuts.


I could never be a vegan because I believe all food groups have the undeniable right to self expression. Like, when I’m mad, I like to express it over ice cream.



For someone who loves food as much as me, these cleanses are more of MY MARATHON.


As much as I love the feeling of being light, energetic and rejuvenated, I GET STOKED TO SEE IF I CAN ACTUALLY DO IT.


You train for an Ironman, I live on mung beans for 5 days. You like to complete the NY Times Friday crossword, I enjoy counting poop stones.


We all have our thing…



Enough already! Here is the skinny on the Blueprint cleanse (some more info here and here)


1. I LOVED IT. I kind of thought the price tag would end up being a waste, but I loved not having the hassle of juicing myself. It was so easy and they were delicious. The Green Juice was so mild and tasty, I almost wondered…don’t things have to suck to be worth it?


The PAM (Pineapple, Apple, Mint) was like a dessert. So yummy. When was the last time you allowed yourself to drink 16 ounces of fruit juice? Slurpalicious.


I adored the cashew milk, although one of my cohorts in this thought it was too pulpy and wanted it to be smoother. The other agreed with me and thought it tasted like ice cream.


My middle-of-the-road cleanse did not inclue the “Cab #5” which contained beet, carrot, apple, ginger and lemon juice. This is only included in the first level cleanse. But, my good friend doing this with me let me try it and I LOVED IT! She was ho-hum… little to “beety”. But apparently I love the taste of dirt.


The spicy lemonade was fine, but a little too watery for me. I can make my own lemon water, thank you very much. I want something a little more “meaty” please…I’m dying over here.


All-in-all, I thought they drinks were lovely. Maybe too many non-green juices? Hummm…it would have been hard to give up that PAM, though…



2. IT WAS MEDIUM HARD. Which surprised me. I think having it all done for me took the stress out of it, making it outstandingly easier.


Was I hungry? Sometimes. Especially when I smelled something! I wasn’t as hungry as I was weak at times. From around 3-6 (right when the kids get home. Lovely) I was dragging. Then I perked up. And by 11pm when I went to sleep, I was starving. Sleepwalk for Oreos starving.



3. IT WORKED. On so many levels.


First, I dropped six pounds in three days. I know, I know, its water…but I was feeling so bloated, I’m happy to get rid of it!


Second, I totally had B.O….OMG, stinky. That has never happened before. I nearly ralphed over my smell after hot yoga. Clearly, I was getting rid of some old toxic nastiness.


Third, my breath was wretched. All my children made independent comments about it. I NEVER have bad breath. So, I used my tongue scraper to help it along. Yuck. Again, another way my body was eliminating junk.


Fourth, my skin initially had a little break out. Just couple babies, but obviously tied to my body letting things go. Now, it looks fabulous – a little extra glow from the phytonutrients and super hydration.


And lastly, because I know my long time followers know I WILL GO THERE. The answer is NO, I didn’t have crazy #2 experiences. I just peed a ton. This type of cleanse is to give the digestive track a break from hard work and allow the body to use that energy to clean house. There is just nothing to poop out, guys. If it was a cleanse of all raw vegetables, you better believe I would have some stories…


Here to the weekend and SOLID food! Have a great one!




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Sweet Jesus, the box weighed a ton of bricks. I couldn’t wait to open it…



Ahhh, gorgeous bottles of juice.


I have to be honest, this wasn’t my first impression. No. I panicked.



I thought I was going to get a box a day, so I feared I had screwed up my order and somehow clicked for three people, not three days. Images of how I was going to convince my husband and children to drink the excess juice flashed before my eyes.


Nope, they just ship up to three days at a time since they can guarantee the juice for that long.


Phew!



I have got to say, the packaging and correspondence from this company has been awesome.


Just look at these pretty bottles…



They have been preparing me with great, funny emails full of information and tips.


One of which was to do a “pre-cleanse” to prep my body for three days of pure juice.



But, on the day of Halloween, I had other ideas. Like eat candy.



Oh, and pizza. Did I mention chocolate-peanutbutter Rice Krispie treats?



I’ve always been a rule breaker. Truly. My teachers felt genuine disgust for me. Ask my mom…



And if the “pre-cleanse” offense wasn’t enough, I broke the cleanse before I even started it. Not kidding.



It wasn’t that bad. Just an apple.


My juice hadn’t arrived by the time I was to leave to play two hours of tennis and I didn’t want to faint on my partner. COMPLETELY VALID EXCUSE.



So, I finally tasted my first juice at 12:30 and had my last at 7:00.


How has it been? Not bad! I’ll tell you more tomorrow, but I had to get these pictures out of my system. You HAD to see the pretty packaging before I go and dink it all.


I am fully obsessed with these cool bottles, can you tell?




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I told you I had murderous squirrels in my yard. Did you doubt me?

 

 

Only SIX days after I put my jack-o-lanterns out – they were totally mauled and left for dead.

 

 

Remember, in my last pumpkin post, I said I was going to try four different squirrel deterrent methods: craft lacquer spray, ammonia, hot sauce, and vaseline.

 

I think you’ll be surprised at the results…

 

 

#1

 

 

 

 

 

#2

 

 

 

 

 

#3

 

 

 

 

 

#4

 

 

 

 

 

#5

 

 

 

 

 

#1 Ammonia. Pathetic. I think it merely cleaned the pumpkin up right nice for the little critters.

 

#2 Lacquer Spray. Shocker! I would have bet my best Jimmy Choos that lqcquer was going to win. Clearly squirrels like the crunchy coating. Like an M&M, I presume.

 

#3 Natural. I believe the hairy criminals were rather disappointed by the bland texture of the natural pumpkin after the excitement of the lacquer.

 

#4 Hot Sauce. Worked surprisingly well, especially considering it rained two days. The smell and hot oils must have penetrated enough. They did nibble off the teeth, though. Poor pumpkin looks like he lost his dentures.

 

#5 Vaseline. Unbelievable. HANDS DOWN WINNER! Squirrels must hate the sticky substance. And, the best part is, Vaseline is cheap and doesn’t wash off in the rain. I lathered it up with quite a good coating and it worked like a charm.

 

You better believe I’ll be lubing up all my pumpkins with Vaseline next year!

 

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