Archive for November, 2012

November 30, 2012

How I Accidentally Nurtured Myself . . . And You Can Too!

 

Ok, so I’m going to let you in on a dirty, little secret. I’ve been a massage therapist for 4 years, and I can count on maybe one hand (possibly part of another) the number of massages I’ve received over the years. I know it sounds bad. It IS bad! Not only is it a crime how knotted my rhomboids and traps are, but spending my days encouraging all I meet to enjoy the benefits of massage and not going myself is just plain fraud. In the past, if one of my clients would ask me how often I got massages, this standard refrain would ring out inside my head, “Me get a massage? You must be joking. I don’t have time to relax! Now, you there on the table, just close your eyes and breathe deeply. Relax . . .” Can you feel the hypocrisy dripping right off? Wow.

Fast forward to a particularly stressful and horrendous week, when I felt like the juggling act that is my life was not going well. I reached my breaking point when I just had to surrender and call in reinforcements. “Help me, please!” I cried to my favorite therapist. My massage was heavenly and profoundly healing, as I knew it would be. And I made that secret promise to myself (again) that I would come back on a regular basis, and then floated out the door. I swear that the grass and gardens I passed going to my car glowed vibrantly greener, and my view seemed more panoramic than before. Remember Brad Pitt’s character in Interview With a Vampire, when he wakes up in the garden after becoming a vampire and stares up at the angel statue, every sense heightened, as if he can feel everything “living” in Technicolor around him? That’s how I felt as I melted homeward.

Public domain image, royalty free stock photo from www.public-domain-image.com

A calm hush had fallen over my weary spirit, and it was so long overdue that my heart just wanted to cry. I needed to nurture myself, as I would anyone I love. So, once home, I put on a comfy shirt and my favorite, butter-soft jeans, and then finally took the time to do a scrub and ultra-moisturizing mask while I (gasp!) sat still. Then I gathered the ingredients for a wonderful green smoothie. I’d never had one before, but it just felt right. Like I needed to cleanse and heal my insides as the massage had done for my outsides. My favorite recipe right now is modified from the Glowing Green Smoothie from Kimberly Snyder’s The Beauty Detox Solution:

  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 head organic romaine lettuce, chopped (I use ½ package of Power Greens—kale, arugula, chard, and spinach)
  • ½ head of large bunch or ¾ of small bunch organic spinach (I use a large handful of bagged organic spinach)
  • 3-4 stalks organic celery, chopped
  • 1 organic apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 organic pear, cored and chopped
  • 1 organic banana
  • Juice of ½ organic lemon (I don’t use this because I like my drink sweeter)

In a blender, add the water and chopped greens, and mix until smooth. Add the celery, apple, and pear, increasing the speed as you go. Add the banana last, and if you like your smoothie thicker (and colder), add some ice cubes. This recipe makes about three or four 10 oz. servings, and you can store any unused smoothie in the blender in your fridge and re-blend when ready. Super easy!

green smoothie banana

I took my smoothie and my books and curled up on the couch, contemplating how to take better care of myself. I even took a lot of very deep breaths. It was a lovely afternoon that brings me peace even now as I remember it. Since that afternoon, I’ve been trying to do better, be kinder to myself. I’m a work in progress, as we all are. But I wish you lots of joyful pampering of yourself and your family during this busy holiday season. You are wonderful and you deserve all the happiness and help you give to others.

XO, Brooke

November 30, 2012

FINDING INSPIRATION

The Healthy Housewives with Lauren Scruggs

The Healthy Housewives with Lauren Scruggs

Inspiration comes in different forms for me everyday. Sometimes it is a quote that I read, sometimes it is an act of kindness from someone else, this week it was from watching the E True Hollywood story on Lauren Scruggs.

I had heard about Lauren Scruggs last year on the Dallas news when she had gotten in a horrbile airplane accident. After going on a flight to see the Christmas tree lights, she exited the wrong end of the airplane and walked into the propeller. She was lucky to be alive. She lost her left hand and eye. It was one of those unexpected accidents that you think that will never happen to you.

That winter I was talking to our beauty expert Shelly Mac and she said she knew the Scruggs family. She had known them for some time now and does Lauren and her mom’s beauty services. Shelly had told the Healthy Housewives that Lauren will be on a book tour and that she will be in our neck of the woods. I was excited to meet her in person since I had heard nothing but great things about her from Shelly.

Shelly Mac and Lauren Scruggs

Shelly Mac and Lauren Scruggs

This week on the E Channel they had played the Lauren Scruggs story. Interested in learning a little more about her I watched it. It was very tragic how her life changed in a blink of an eye. In just one year, she has decided to make a negative into a positive and write a book about her experience. Just watching her amazing story I was so inspired that she was so strong to keep going. It touched my heart. She is definitely a great role model for us.

Lauren Scruggs Heart Felt Story

Lauren Scruggs Heart Felt Story

The Healthy Housewives and I went to her book signing. She was absolutely beautiful and radiated positive energy. She chatted with us like she had known us forever. She had the most amazing prosthetic hand. It looked life-like and she even had ner nails painted. She was very open about her hand and when she talked to us and moved her arms, it looked very real. If you didn’t know what happened, you couldn’t tell.

Lauren Scruggs talking to Healthy Housewives Brooke about her nail polish color.

Lauren Scruggs talking to Healthy Housewives Brooke about her nail polish color.

She made everyone feel welcome in her presence. I found out that she is having another  book signing and talk about her path to healing. If you live in the DFW area and would like to meet Lauren in person, she will be at the Barnes and Noble across from North Park Mall this Saturday, Dec 1st at 2 pm. I encourage you too meet this beautiful person!

Check out her beautiful penmanship!

Check out her beautiful penmanship!

I hope you guys get to meet her and if you don’t, please read her book. Thanks for reading my blog.

Yours in Health,

Marzia

November 30, 2012

Gifts That Give: UNICEF Jewelry, Salvation Army and even Your Closet!

With the Holiday season well under way it’s time to start thinking about gifts and giving.  I always love to give gifts that have special meaning and can give back in some way especially to children. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in over 190 countries to save and improve children’s lives.  UNICEF provides health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more to children all over the world.
The UNICEF jewelry is beautiful and very affordable and would make a lovely gift for a loved one or even yourself.  The UNICEF website is filled with many other gift ideas as well as holiday cards all benefitting children.  And while thinking of giving don’t forget about those who are less fortunate in your town or city.  It’s a great time to clean out your closets gather old, small or outdated clothing especially warm coats, gloves and scarfs and donate to the local homeless shelters and women and children’s centers in your area.  Every winter season my daughter helps me go through her last seasons clothes and we donate whatever doesn’t fit.  It makes her happy knowing she will help another child and I hope will instill a life long passion in her to help others.  Even a small gesture can go a long way.
Another great way to give and help bring happiness to children and those less fortunate this holiday season is the Salvation Army  Angel Tree Program.  In Dallas/Ft. Worth the Salvation Army will collect over 55,000 gifts from 9 area malls to distribute to children in our region.
I know there are many other fantastic programs that give so if you know of one please share with me and others who may read this.  Lets all try to reach out and help as many as people as we can in any way possible even if it’s small.  It wont be to someone else!
Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I’ll be back next Thursday, my regular blog day! Yours truly, Kathy – Fit Fashionista
November 28, 2012

Eco-Friendly Holiday Decorating

So here we are already…. Almost December! Who has their Christmas decorations up? That ‘s our family project this weekend! I have a personal rule that Christmas decorations don’t go up until after December 1st! I swear I saw somebody with Christmas lights up the day after Halloween! Did they forget there’s a holiday in-between! Well hopefully our lights will be shining bright by Saturday or Sunday evening! Over the last few years I’ve been trying  to get a little more eco-friendly with my holiday decorating. I want to share a few of my earth friendly  holiday ideas with you.

OH CHRISTMAS TREE, OH CHRISTMAS TREE   One thing that I have to have is a live tree, I usually buy a living tree that can be planted in the ground after the holidays, but if you don’t have the space or desire to do that and want a cut live tree make sure you take it to a recycling yard where it can be recycled for wood chips, and mulch for landscaping. Most of the live trees are raised on tree farms so don’t be worried you are hurting natures surplus of evergreens. Or if your ok with an artificial tree that’s very eco- friendly of course.

HOW LOVELY ARE YOUR BRANCHES! A natural wreath, swag or garland can be made from tree branches, just make sure to ask for them when you have the trunk of the tree trimmed and they will give you extra if you just ask nicely and smile 🙂 or gather some from your own backyard. I just saw a new idea this year I want to do, at the grocery store they had hanging plants made from evergreen trimmings! How great  would that look hanging on the front porch! Evergreen branches on the front with a few red ornaments can add color to existing planters or urns that otherwise might be empty during the season.

ALL NATURAL DECOR Another great way to add an organic touch to your decorating is to use fruit, nuts, and pine cones (my favorite) to your inside holiday centerpiece or fireplace mantle. Simple ornaments strung with dried citrus, pine cones and cinnamon sticks will look great on your Christmas tree. Stick cloves into an orange to cover the surface. This simple natural decor will make a room smell great! Kids will love  stringing popcorn and cranberries or dried fruit to make garlands. Both can be disposed of outside naturally and  birds will enjoy  a treat as well!

NEW LIFE TO THE OLD Redo and reuse some of your old holiday decorations that are worn. Give them new life by repainting or recovering. They can be used on wreaths or garlands. Be creative and get the kids involved in this project. Kids come up with great ideas, just be sure to let them know they are helping reduce waste and doing mother earth good.

GREEN TWINKLING LIGHTS  Well last but not least,  if you haven’t already the best thing you can do to be a little more earth friendly is to switch over to the new LED Christmas lights. LED lights use less electricity, which right away makes them more eco-friendly and economical! , They also last thousands of times longer than regular bulbs, which means they produce less waste – and LED Christmas lights also stay cool to the touch, making them less of a fire hazard. The new LED light are now available in all the colors and patterns and priced comparably to th e traditional holiday lights. Well tis the season to be Merry! Enjoy your holiday decorating and entertaining and try to add a few of these eco-friendly ideas to your season! ~ Sandy C. 🙂

November 27, 2012

Where do I begin….

How many times have you heard the excuse (or even used it yourself), I just don’t have time for that. “That” whatever it may be, doesn’t get done, due to lack of “time”.  Yet, we are all given the same 24 hours within a day…so how come some people can make it happen, and others can’t? Time management is a skill that a lot of people struggle with, but with a few simple tips, you can make the most use of your time and get “that” and other things done. Time is what you make of it!

Let’s start by getting out a fresh piece of paper or starting a new note on your phone.

1. Set a goal . What do you need to achieve or get accomplished? This will be the title of your paper in big bold all capital letters. For example: WORKOUT AND EAT CLEAN

2. Set a deadline  and a measurable goal. When do you need this goal to happen by. Goals without deadlines are typically missed opportunities. Write the deadline beside your goal. For example: WORKOUT AND EAT CLEAN: Lose 7 lbs by December 31st.

3. Write an action plan. Come up with five to ten simple steps that can help you achieve this goal. Write these underneath your goal. For example: 1. follow the Healthy Housewives blog and facebok page 2. schedule my weekly workouts in my calendar 3. rid the pantry and fridge of unhealthy food items 4. start using myfitnesspal app to track food intake 5. carry a water bottle with me to ensure I always have water.

4. Follow through with the action plan and create a daily to do list. For example: To do: download app, input food, go to Whole Foods for groceries, post on HH Facebook question about juicing, do scheduled workout…..

5. Find an accountability partner. Find someone who you can share your goal with who will check on you to make sure you are following through with your action items and to do list.

6. Get social….use social media  to post about your workouts, your food, your struggles, your successes…there is great accountability in numbers!

 

Hopefully this will give you a place to start. This can be done with any goal, just not weight loss related. When in doubt, ask us…that is what we are here for…to help you make the most of your life so you can be the best YOU for your family!

 

A great free resource on habits, time management, and being the best you that you can be is

http://www.chalenejohnson.com/30daychallenge/members/

November 26, 2012

Shopping Cruelty-Free

Shopping for cruelty-free products can be rewarding, but often overwhelming. Several companies label their product as “cruelty-free” when, in fact, animal testing or animal cruelty is involved in the production. So how do you know when a product is truly animal friendly?
WHAT DOES CRUELTY-FREE MEAN?
This seems to be where the standards of companies differ from the standards of consumers. According to the Group for the Education of Animal Related Issues, in order for a product to truly be “cruelty-free” it must:
1.Not have been tested on animals
2.Not contain ingredients that were tested on animals
3.Not contain animal ingredients

Unfortunately, although many companies do not always meet these standards, they still place a “cruelty-free” label on their product anyway. Products wear labels that read, “This Product was not Tested on Animals” when in actuality the ingredients themselves were tested on animals.
Keep in mind that a “cruelty-free” company does not necessarily employ a cruelty-free supplier.

A product that is truly animal friendly will not use ingredients from animals. However, many companies do, in fact, use animals ingredients given that they are usually cheaper and more accessible than synthetic or vegetable-derived ingredients. Before purchasing a product that claims to be “cruelty-free,” read over the ingredients to be sure of its contents.

LOOK FOR THE LEAPING BUNNY and DOWNLOAD THE CRUELTY-FREE APP
There are no laws that govern the labeling of cruelty-free products, so exercise caution when shopping. Companies can put “cruelty-free” on their products in order to appeal to the masses without having to meet any standards. This is because there are no laws that enforce a company to meet real cruelty-free standards.
The CCIC is a group of eight animal protection groups that came together to create the Leaping Bunny logo. They are one of the most trusted organizations fighting for animal rights. If you see the Leaping Bunny, it means that no animal testing was conducted by the company or its supplier.However, the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) completes in-depth, on-site audits before certifying a company as being “cruelty-free.”

Common Animal Ingredients to look for are:
◦Amino acids
◦Beeswax
◦Benzoic Acid
◦Collagen
◦Lanolin
◦Stearic Acid
◦Triglyceride

click here to search for companies that don’t test on animals, cruelty-free companies by product, companies that DO test on animals, and companies working for change.
http://www.peta.org/living/beauty-and-personal-care/companies/default.aspx

Now I’m gonna go hug my dog.
Cheers,
Shelly

November 24, 2012

THANKSGIVING OVERDOSE? UNDO THE DAMAGE!

Jeans too tight?

If you started the holidays with good intentions, but couldn’t stop yourself from feasting, don’t panic. It happens to the best of us. Don’t start going on a crazy crash diet or go to any type of extreme measures. There is hope! Here are my top tips to getting rid of the bloat and loosening up tight pants.

  1. Get back on your regular foods. Instead of eating Thanksgiving leftovers for the next few days, this will only add to the bloat and weight gain, go back to eating your regular foods you were eating back before the holiday.
  2. Choose healthier food choices. We all know that most holiday foods are high in fat, sodium, and calories which cause inflammation to our bodies. By eating real whole foods with anti-inflammatory properties like fruits and veggies, you will start losing the water weight and bloat within no time.
  3. Drink more water. You have to drink water to lose water. Flushing your body out with water will help flush out the toxins and junk that you ate over the holiday. It will help all the systems of your body function faster. So drink some H20!
  4. Get active. You overate and now you feel sluggish. Time to get moving so you can burn those extra calories. By getting back to your regular exercise routine, you will feel back to you pre-holiday state in no time. It may take a couple exercise sessions, but keep with it and you will feel great again.
  5. Stay positive and patient. If the extra calories aren’t coming off as fast as you like, stay positive. It takes a few minutes to eat hundreds of calories and a few hours to burn it. You can eat a lot of calories within minutes and it takes hours to exercise it off. So be patient and positive with yourself. You will get it off. It just takes time.

Follow these simple tips and you will feel back to you in no time!

Have a healthy weekend!

Marzia

November 24, 2012

Savor the Moment

Hi there! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. My holiday was joyful, slightly stressful, kind of relaxing, mildly active, and over too quickly. This description seems to fit a lot of my days lately, and I’m not sure I like it! I try my best each day to enjoy every moment, to savor tastes and experiences, to remember the details of things, the feel of loved ones’ hands and hugs, and my soul’s ebb and flow as these gathered pieces are documented inside my memory. I never know when I’m going to need these pieces again, but I continue to gather them and store them within reach. I’m a noticer of things and a writer. Often these identities are interchangeable. However, you don’t have to be a “writer” to be a noticer. You just have to pay attention.

Life moves so quickly, and as a productive member of society, you are expected to accomplish a ton of things—make a living, feed your family, pay your bills, maintain your relationships as well as your Facebook status, get enough exercise and adequate sleep, and—oh, nurture your inner life. Sometimes I get so busy with the grind of daily life that I look back at the week and I can’t even remember what happened! The very worst part is that I’ll be trying to survive day by day, thinking that I need to check in with my friends and see how so-and-so is doing, and suddenly there’s NEWS. A close friend is suddenly pregnant . . . or getting a divorce . . . or has just lost a parent . . . or is finally getting married. And I didn’t even notice. I feel like I’ve missed an important piece of their life, and I have! I try to avoid this terrible fix by slowing down and paying attention, checking in with my peeps and scanning their horizons for situations that I should be attentive to. This always involves stepping away from my life and breathing in air less manic than my own. One of my very favorite ways to gain some perspective is to crack open my well-loved copy of Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.

I discovered this book when I was in college, and I fell immediately in love with the whole thing. First of all, it’s a pink book, for goodness sake—who wouldn’t love that? But the inside really got me. It’s organized into daily entries, each beginning with a quotation. And if you haven’t noticed yet, I love quotations. The book celebrates the sublime magic found in everyday life by encouraging the reader to notice even the smallest moments in her surroundings. It introduced me to the concept of a gratitude journal and invited me to write down five things I was grateful for each day. It gave me small doses of its message to savor the world and inspired my creativity. It’s no coincidence that this time in my life was happy, full of possibilities, with a gleam around the edges. I realized that by my noticing small wonders, time seemed to slow down and my friendships glowed.

So, when you find yourself getting super busy and start to wonder where the time has gone, be aware that you may be missing some monumental moments in your or your friends’ lives. If this bothers you, I hope you will stop and breathe deeply. Gaze around you and drink in the view. Be thankful for your blessings and the fact that you have this day to do just that.

XO, Brooke

November 23, 2012

Slenderizing Dresses

Hi! Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I don’t know about the rest of you but I had a turkey hangover this morning! I was careful to watch my portion control so I could enjoy a few bites of dessert 😉 but i still felt a little blah…today probably all the test bites that go with cooking!  So of course this morning I put on my comfy jeans which have a little give (we all have those right?) for days like today.  Well I have an event to go to tonight and I can’t wear jeans so I started thinking about my dresses and what would be some great options for days like this and this is what I would like to share with you.
1. The contrast panel dress or illusion dress:  dark shades minimize the size of body parts.  Dark shades on the outside narrow the hips and waist.  Dark shades down the middle slim the tummy. A vertical line down the front in any shade is also slenderizing.
2.  Print dress:  An all over print dress will distract the eye and camouflage problem areas.  Think the busier the better!
3.  Color block dress:  A light shade on top will draw attention to the bust area and darker shade on the bottom of the dress will minimize the hips. I really love color block dresses, you can play with different tone on tones as well and still achieve a flattering look.
Since jeans are not always an option, next time you are out shopping (hopefully not today…crazy out) buy a comfortable slimming dress to wear when you need a little extra wiggle room! Until next week! Kathy

Floral tea dress
topshop.com

A L C zipper dress
matchesfashion.com

Givenchy print dress
matchesfashion.com

Print dress
cyfashionc.com

Print dress
sheinside.com

Lipsy print dress
$64 – lipsy.co.uk

Stella McCartney zipper dress
$1,340 – net-a-porter.com

Givenchy red party dress
$710 – stylebop.com

Warehouse black body con dress
$96 – johnlewis.com

Pencil dress
$105 – houseoffraser.co.uk

Narciso rodriguez
$815 – farfetch.com
November 20, 2012

Giving thanks!

My daughter came home from school on Friday with a turkey place mat and some things she was thankful for on each of the feathers of the turkey. They read a story in class about the Pilgrims and Native Americans and the Thanksgiving feast. But…I got to thinking….do most kids really know what it means to be “thankful”? Do they get that they should be thankful for the blessings everyday, not just one day of the year? Do they understand that Thanksgiving goes beyond just a week off from school and eating a ton of food? If you were to ask your kids a simple question of,”what do you want to give thanks for?”…could they answer that with a little more meaning then their Xbox and Ipod?

 

In a world where so much is handed to our children, its hard for them to really grasp the meaning of being thankful for all they have. If you were to ask my 11 year old daughter, she would tell you she is so unlucky because I won’t allow her to have a cell phone yet. “But all the other kids have one mommy. This is so unfair.” In my personal opinion, she does not need, nor will she get a phone until she goes to middle school, and even then it will be for contacting me purposes only. My child is sweet and loving, don’t get me wrong…but I think its become a hard concept for the children of today to realize that there are people out there less fortunate then them and that we should really give thanks for all that we have in our life, not be sad for things we are missing.

 

Sit down with your children this Thanksgiving season and really have a conversation. Talk about all the wonderful things in your family life that they should be thankful for. Take the opportunity to really express gratitude for one another and the love and warmth your family possesses. Then, moving into the holiday season, choose something charitable that you can do together as a family. Go volunteer in a food kitchen, get an angel off a tree, buy the extra grocery bag at the grocery store that feeds a family, do a charitable fun run together,  go to a clothing drive, toy drive, etc. Take the time to teach your children the meaning of giving…its a lesson that will last them a lifetime and will trickle forward through further generations.