Posts tagged ‘friends’

December 6, 2013

MEET OUR DECEMBER COVERGIRL FAN WINNER!!

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Last month we had a social media contest for our Healthy Housewives fans. We asked the fans to write in and tell us why we should choose them to be on our Healthy Housewives magazine cover. They had to have a high res image that we can use to be our cover. We had a ton of entries with women from all over the world that shared their stories and sent pictures, we were so overwhelmed on who to pick.

 

After a week of rereading and looking at which candidate would be the next cover girl, we decide on 2 women. Then we changed our entire 2014 year, to the year of fans. Without the fans, we wouldn’t be here. So, for 2014 we are picking 12 women to grace our cover. If you want to share your story and send in hi-res images that you would like to be featured as our cover, please email covergirl@healthyhousewives.com. We would love to hear from you!

 

Let me introduce our December covergirl Laurie Strough Smith. She is inspiring women out there with her positive attitude. She is over forty, fit, and raising five kids! Go Laurie!

 

Meet Laurie:

http://www.healthyhousewives.com/testimonial21.html

 

Her video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUdcdQTNMxg&feature=c4-overview&list=UUqDn2t3viH7Vn7uzB7jFl3A

 

We can’t wait to hear from you!

Marzia Prince

Creator of Healthy Housewives

December 4, 2013

Keep It Moving…

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Where’s the healthy options tray?

We hosted some of my family over the Thanksgiving holiday, and although I spend majority of the year coaching clients on best nutrition and exercise practices, I enjoy sharing meals filled with holiday favorites. Everything in moderation–even candied yams.

So, how do I emerge on New Year’s Day without weight gain or illness? I supplement. Say what you want about nutritional supplementation, but America’s disease stats aren’t selling me on the whole “you can get all your nutrition from food” practice of the past.

Before Thanksgiving week, I had just completed a 30 Days to Better Health detox program. Heading into the holidays, I knew my body’s systems were functioning optimally, so I enjoyed a few of my holiday favorites throughout the weekend.

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Be sure you know what is in your supplements and how they are made.

One of my favorite (and most beneficial) supplements is fiber. Your quality of health begins and ends in the digestive tract. Furthermore, the higher the quality of input, the higher performance you’ll receive from your body’s systems. Around holiday time, I commit to a daily fiber drink that contains 10 grams of a blend of soluble and insoluble fiber. This convenient packet travels with me, can be mixed on-the-go, and tastes great at any hour. You want a mix of both types of fiber in your system, and here’s why:

            Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.

            Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes, are good sources of insoluble fiber.

Now I know most of you just made a mental note of certain foods listed above that you can’t eat. The reason I choose to supplement for health elements such as fiber, is because I rarely have the chance to consume high fiber foods. My life moves at a speed more conducive to nourishment on-the-go, and on those rare occasions we gather around the dinner table for a well-planned meal, most people don’t make recipes with high-fiber ingredients. Go figure.

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My advice for navigating through the holiday season? Supplement with quality fiber (and I don’t mean one mixed with a bunch of synthetic nonsense) and a probiotic for the duration to keep yourself satisfied and to keep the not-so-healthy-options (and toxic debris) moving through your digestive tract before they cause damage.

Here’s my usual morning meal during the holiday season:

Advocare’s Meal Replacement Shake (berry) mixed with Advocare’s Fiber drink (peach). Drinking this, post-workout, makes me feel like I can take on anything the day brings me.

Here are some other benefits of a high-fiber diet that nobody will discuss at the cocktail party:

            Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may also help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool.

            Helps maintain bowel health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon. Researchers are looking at how this may play a role in preventing diseases of the colon.

            Lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that fiber may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.

            Helps control blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, fiber — particularly soluble fiber — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

            Aids in achieving healthy weight. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you’re no longer hungry, so you’re less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.

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I took a separate piece of luggage to the Mrs. United States Pageant in Las Vegas for my supplemental nourishment and workout gear.

I know fiber isn’t a glamorous topic, but neither is disease, obesity, and low self-esteem. There is a way to stay on track with your health goals, and enjoy your holiday season.

A final thought for you… based on several different studies I’ve researched, the average daily fiber recommendation for adults is 35 grams for males and 25 for females. With all the processed foods and drinks out these days, a little extra wouldn’t hurt us.

August 15, 2013

HEALTHY HOUSEWIVES EVENTS AND UPDATES

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“So what’s happening with the Healthy Housewives?” I get asked repeatedly everyday. Don’t worry, I am not irritated by this question, I embrace it. To answer your question “ALOT!”  🙂

I am very grateful that you keep up with us and our updates. We work hard to inform you with our health and fitness expertise. You can keep up with us on our blogs and social media. Between the five of us, we sure do have a lot going on between career, family, fitness, and a social life, we manage to cram it all in. That is what life is all about right? 🙂

Another question I get  a lot is “Where is the next event I can meet you?” We love when our HH fans come up to us at events, take pics, and enjoy some fun conversation. You guys motivated us. So if you want to know what our calendar looks like, this is what we have on the books so far…

Sunday, Aug 25th at 7 pm: VIVA GLAM Magazine Party at the W Hotel in Dallas (we will post deets soon, we just found out.) www.vivaglammagazine.com

Saturday, Sept 14th at 7:30 am-5 pm: SHAUNTERVENTION at the Frisco Embassy Suites. Shaun T is coming too town for a HUGE fitness event. The HH will be a sponsor for this event and would love to meet you! http://shauntfitness.com/

Healthy Housewives Ad Campaign Shoot: We will be shooting new ads for our brand soon and watch out because these will be bad ass!!!  Can’t wait for these ones!

Also, be sure to check out our individual FB pages for more updates, tips, and getting to know us!

Me: https://www.facebook.com/MarziaPrinceFitness

Kathy Hamilton: https://www.facebook.com/LiftPilatesExperience?fref=ts

Danielle Hinson: https://www.facebook.com/fitandfunkywithdanielle?fref=ts

Brooke Berryhill: https://www.facebook.com/brooke.fugitt?fref=ts

Lacey Pruett: https://www.facebook.com/LaceyFit

Thanks for your support and love!

Marzia

 

 

July 3, 2013

Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes!

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“But Lacey, it’s scary to change the way we eat.” These are words a great friend spoke recently at a catch-up lunch date. The words resonated with me long after I cleared my plate of fabulous quinoa salad and hummus. (You do not have to clean your plate, Lacey… repeat!) As we chatted life, kids, work, fashion, and yes, nutritional advice in the sunshine on the patio at Nick and Sam’s Grill in Dallas, Texas, I didn’t immediately hear the fear in my friend’s voice. I figured that, like most people, she was sharing that her hurried life, differing preferences and personalities of family members, and list of professional and personal obligations left no room for preparing healthy food at home.

For the sake of time, I’ll share that the lunch date came and went without any action plan or new revelation to make implementing healthier choices easier or more convenient.  The evening, I finally heard my friend. She called a little after 8:00 p.m. to share that her evening was filled with yelling, crying, and bitterness, all stemming from a meal she prepared, with love, for her family. Something can’t be right… so much anger and fearful emotion over food? Are we making things too difficult? I stopped my inner-questionnaire and listened to her story.

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She was four weeks into a new fitness plan, and became interested in the way I balance my nutrition. As her coach, I saw much improvement with our workouts simply because, before our work together, she didn’t workout at all! This is a passion of mine—to get sedentary people moving. Success! Once she saw the difference in her physique, she wanted more. She became eager to see what her body was capable of if she fueled it with optimal nourishment. Heck yeah—I’m excited to show her! Full speed ahead… until the evening of the somber phone call, that is.  Her words; her story:

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After work, I made a quick stop at Sprouts (a neighborhood farmer’s market shop) to grab something to make for dinner. I got the good chicken, the good bread, and the organic produce for a nice salad. I even got hummus and the good crackers for an appetizer, I thought we could enjoy as dinner finishes cooking. I even got a bottle of organic wine, which we never opened because the evening went south. I got home and got to work in the kitchen. The kids weren’t letting me concentrate, so I got short with them a few times.

They started bickering the minute (her husband—no names necessary) walked in. He put his things down right on my salad prep area and asked, “what the heck is going on here?” I didn’t love his tone. He grabbed a light beer before I could even show him the wine. Frustrated I went back to the appetizer tray. I proudly called everyone to the table and presented the appetizers, but nobody was interested. Strike two in my book, after the chaos my husband walked into. When we sat down to dinner, everyone’s facial expressions summoned tears to well up in me that I sucked back in time to ask, “What?”

Dinner looks boring… where’s the gravy… is this it… comments and questions shot out like bullets. I was done. I told everyone they didn’t have to eat it if they didn’t want to but that I wasn’t making anything else. The kids disappeared, and (her husband) asked why I was making such drastic changes.

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It occurred to me that we all find our “nutritional ah-ha moments” at different times, and that pacing change is best for long-term success. A former business leader comes to mind when I reference The Golden Rule: Treat others we you would like to be treated. Who wants to immediately and abruptly change what you eat and drink? Who wants to be told they can’t have something? My friend was trying to make too many drastic changes all at once, too quickly, and without any notice and very little helpful resources. I would have definitely given her my copy of, “How to Make Your Family Read Your Mind.”  Although her heart and intentions were in the right place, her delivery needed some work, and she needed a sprinkle of my creativity dust to encourage the household transformation along in a positive manner.

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Together, we realigned, reorganized, and re-energized her effort and excitement for implementing positive nutritional changes for herself and her family.  I want to share some of my favorite tips, in case you find yourself in the same spot as my friend, or if you’re ever the recipient of a good-intentions-meant chicken breast with a side of not-a-chance-I’m-eating-these kale chips in the future. Enjoy, and remember to find your own happy pace with a fit and fun lifestyle.  –Lacey

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  1. Make it fun! Implementing nutritional changes (or any changes) has to be fun, or most won’t be interested, much less excited. For example, add a fun salad side or a favorite dish made with a healthier recipe. No need to announce until everyone mentions how yummy it was.)  Decide to have a vegetable at every meal and let a member of the family choose the veggie each night.  If you’re going out, announce that everyone will be sharing, and ask them to pick a buddy to sit next to and share with. Use your imagination and tailor ideas to your family’s personality.
  2. Make it Flavorful! Use spices, herbs, and healthy oils to create flavorful sauces, dressings, and toppings. Seeds add a crunchy punch to veggies and meats. Trying to pass off mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes? Adding Italian herbs, garlic, or Greek yogurt and sea salt can help your effort. Who knew how yummy cinnamon is on spinach!?  (Simply shake spinach, a little olive oil, sea salt, and cinnamon in a freezer bag and POOF!)
  3. Communicate! Send your family members an email, text, Tweet or Pinterest board of options for dinner and ask them to select three favorites. Implement these into dinner so they have an investment in the change. Special note to moms (and step-moms): I’d refrain from posting anything on their Facebook wall, or sending photos of food options to Instagram, or otherwise communicating with them in public, on public forums… even if you think you’re hilarious, which, I’m sure, you are.
  4. Take it Slow! Implement healthy options a few times a week, then have a healthy meal each day, and soon you’ll be able to incorporate healthy options at every feast. We have appetizer night to reduce portions, make creative finger foods, and have the freedom to take dinner outdoors or to eat while playing a game together. Celebrate each week’s healthy changes!
  5. Theme Days! Who doesn’t enjoy a great theme party or costume party. A great way to introduce chickpeas, new greens, alternative protein options, and other healthier alternatives is to make it “Mediterranean Night” or “Asian Evening” or by enjoying another culture’s fare. What a great way to share the world with your family and educate them on other countries and foods. Did you know that breakfast in Egypt is often purchased and consumed at a street stall, and that it’s usually bread wrapped around assorted fried vegetables: eggplant, beans, tomatoes, and peppers? (Nobody would know if we grilled ours…) Also, according to folklore, pretzels were initially created as a gift to children who recited prayers correctly.  The pretzel shape was supposed to signify arms folded across the chest in prayer. One or two with almond butter could make for a great incentive for young children!
June 12, 2013

Nailing Down Common Health Concerns

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Happy nails equal healthy YOU!

I recall having coffee with a coworker senior to me, when she looked down at my hands around my mug and said, “no moons.” Excuse me?  Up to that point, I didn’t know that you could tell a person’s B-12 levels by whether or not they had half moons on their nail beds. Go ahead; take a look at your nails… I’ll wait…

I was surprised that my coworker looked past my uneven fresh-out-of-acrylics short nails to observe my half moons, but we were discussing my lack of energy, chronic fatigue, and loss of memory that had transpired that year. I was a historically active, fit, energetic person about three years into my corporate career when I started feeling less energetic, and becoming frequently fatigued throughout my day. I couldn’t put my finger on the issue, but she did!

ImageLooking back it makes perfect sense. In college, although I was committed to my running and indoor cycling workouts, a proud regular of Bodyworks gym in Lubbock, Texas where I got my body in competitive shape for both Miss San Antonio USA and Miss Lubbock USA, I did not eat well. I shiver looking back at the mounds of canned fruit and vegetables I ate. Hey, I was on a college-kid’s budget, and canned food kept well for a long time. (That should have been a hint it wasn’t nourishing.) I cringe when I think about the bowls of cereal I ate for dinner. After all, whole grain cereal promised sweet dreams at the end of a long day, and milk warms the soul right? It was the perfect “go-to, readily-available” meal. Reek! I’m certain that four years of college and three years of making a name for myself in the corporate world (and in the Dallas, Texas social scene) didn’t leave me nourished, and the lack of vitamins and minerals probably started taking its toll on my body.

This same coworker directed me past the inadequate and “cheaper” supplements on store shelves toward Advocare nutritional company, headquartered north of town. High-quality supplementation and a nutritionist that I still credit to this day for my healthy relationship with food have allowed me to reverse any past damage and to propel my health and wellness into a place where I can flourish. We should all set ourselves up to flourish in life!

So, how do your nails look? For my acrylic nail-wearing glamour sisters, don’t despair. Simply take a look the next time you’re in for your “soak off.” If you don’t see half moons, let’s chat about how to get that B-12. Healthy levels of vitamins and minerals exude beauty through your skin, hair, nails, and attitude. You’ll have folks stopping and gasping in no time saying, “WOW—look at the vitamins and minerals on that girl!”

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Internal beauty shines brightly!

What are your nails trying to tell you?

Pale Nails: This could be a sign of impending anemia, congestive heart failure, liver disease, or malnutrition

White Nails: If the nails are mostly white with darker rims, this can indicate liver problems, such as hepatitis.

Yellow Nails: Hello, fungal infection! This can also be an alert to a more serious condition such as severe thyroid disease, lung disease, diabetes or psoriasis.

Blue Nails: Breathe, my friend! This is a sign that the body isn’t getting enough oxygen. This could also indicate an infection in the lungs, such as pneumonia.

Rippled or Pitted Nails: This may be an early sign of psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis.

Dry, Brittle Nails: Check out your thyroid if you have nails that frequently crack or split; However, cracking or splitting combined with a yellowish hue is more likely due to a fungal infection.

Finally… one close to my heart as a former nail biter: Biting your nails could be a sign of persistent anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Alas, good things can come out of the not so good, and I learned about ways to relax and create calmness through guided meditation and breathing exercises. I hope to visit with you more about ways to nourish your mental and emotional wellness with future posts. If you simply cannot stop biting your nails (or cuticle skin), it’s worth discussing with your doctor or wellness practitioner.

Since low Vitamin B-12 levels are common these days, here are other ways you can tell you may be low on this important vitamin:

Tingling hands and feet

Numbness

Memory problems

Feeling exhausted

Depression

Sensitivity to noise

Lots of brown spots

Bleeding gums

Burning sensation (possibly on thighs)

Legs hurt and “jump” at night

Pain, including bone pain in legs

Balance problems

Heavy menstrual bleeding or nose bleeds

P.S.: If you’re wondering why it was important that I mention my coffee shop friend was older than me, it’s because lately I’ve found those senior to me fascinating! I encourage everyone to get to know the senior citizens around them. They have the best stories and you could learn a thing or two from someone who’s been around the block a few times.

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My Grandma Lucy and I. She’s a hoot!

Joyfully and in health, Lacey

May 12, 2013

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO PET OWNERS!

MY POMERANIAN PACK

MY POMERANIAN PACK

What if your kid is furry and has more than 2 legs? Whether you were blessed with children or not, let’s not forget the moms who take care of our pets at home. It is still a nurturing job. From feeding, to walking, to playtime, to love, it is still a job that a pet mom still needs to be recognized for.

Rockstar and Paris

Rockstar and Paris

I personally don’t have children of my own due to major fertility issues, so I have the next best thing: dogs. My sweet little pets are treated like my children. I have 3 wonderful loving little Pomeranians named Playboy, Rockstar (Rocky for short), and Paris. I call my Pomeranian pack the Doodles. I love my doodles so much they make my heart jump for joy when I see them. I love how they always put a smile on my face.

We always dress them up for Halloween!

We always dress them up for Halloween!

These happy little creatures are so spoiled and demand a lot of attention and I am guilty to catering their every little need. I love how they communicate with me! The let me know if they need to go outside, when they are hungry, when they want to be picked up, when they are scared, and when they want to play. Believe it or not, all 3 communicate differently and I love their unique personalities.

Paris hamming it up for the camera

Paris hamming it up for the camera

We got Rockstar and Playboy first about 8 years ago. Rockstar and Playboy are from the same litter. These 2 brothers are always competing to see who is pack leader on a daily basis. So funny to see them compete against each other yet team up when they need each other. Rockstar is my little side kick. He follows me everywhere on the house. Watching my every move, he is very aware where I am at all times. Playboy could care less. All he cares about is lounging on the spiral staircase watching people walk by and when his next treat is. Playboy prefers his space. He will come to you when he needs something, otherwise, leave him alone.

The Doodles with Santa!

The Doodles with Santa!

Paris came a couple years later after we had the boys. My husband saw her and fell in love with her and we had furry family member #3. She is such a sweet pea. Probably the biggest lover out of all 3. She has those puppy eyes that make your heart melt, therefore she gets whatever she wants whenever she wants. It’s like having a 3rd child who is the baby of the family and gets a little more special treatment than the first 2 kids. My husband and I are guilty of spoiling her a little more than the boys. Don’t ask us why. We love them all very much, but there is something about her sweet little nature that we never say no.

Paris as a young pup and her Daddy Doodle!

Paris as a young pup and her Daddy Doodle!

So to all the pet mom’s out there who treat their furry family members like kids. Happy Mother’s Day! I know that they appreciate everything that you do for them especially love them!

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!

Marzia

March 18, 2013

Birthday Love and Gratitude

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Hi, Everyone! It’s Brooke here. So, this is the time of year when my fellow Pisceans come out to play—we really couldn’t ask for a better time of year to celebrate. Early spring in Texas is beautiful. The mornings are still a little cool, the tulip trees and daffodils are blooming in their purple and golden glory, respectively, and all the critters are actively rejoicing in the close of the bitterly cold winter. This year, my birthday fell on Tuesday, and to tell you the truth, I was kind of disappointed it was going to be a workday. Internal thoughts: Really? How festive can Tuesday be? What a drag. Blah, blah, blah. Anyway, first Monday came along, and my heart was quickened by a few early birthday wishes from my friends at work. Then Tuesday arrived, and sweet wishes arrived throughout the day from people in all parts of my life—kind acquaintances, dear family members, and precious friends. Many of these kind thoughts arrived online, and as I set about replying to each of them, something magical happened. As I typed each little note, I reflected on my relationship with each sender, thankful for the connection tying us together. Then I sent my warm wishes back from whence they came. I spent all day doing this, except for several intervals of actual work, and what a wonderful day it was!! I felt absolutely bathed in a steady stream of love from sunrise to after dark. I so hope that each of you experiences a day (or lots more!) like this in the very near future. It does your heart a world of good.

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This year was the big 3-8 for me. Yikes!! When did I get to be within spitting distance of 40? And more troublesome, why was this bothering me? In years past, I’ve always loved birthdays—what better way to celebrate the day that a loved one entered this wonderful world? Also, because there’s nothing we can do to make time go backward, we might as well embrace its inevitable forward movement with joy rather than dread. Now, the tiny thought teases my brain that those sentiments are easily expressed by people basking in the prime of their youth, with their facile optimism—but what does one say or think as the years creep along? Really what I’m wondering is what has my life been up to this point and what shall its purpose be going forward? Something about 38 seems so . . . serious. So grown up. Like I should have my crap figured out by now. Darn it!

What I’ve decided this means is that I need to slow down (for a little while), be still, and reflect on what my goals are for the future, rather than living each day frantically trying to meet obligations, deadlines, and expectations. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with balance and wanting to live a radiant, authentic life, despite the busyness of each day. But thankfully, on many days, and one day especially last week, I was reminded that my life is full of joy and love all the time; that if I’m continually thankful, my sights will be set on powerful, positive things; and despite occasional evidence to the contrary, this is a beautiful world.

Give thanks for a little

I’ll leave you with the “Desiderata,” one of my favorite poems that I keep close to my desk. I’ve spent many idle moments pondering its message of peaceful living amid a chaotic and sometimes discouraging world. I repeat it silently in my head like a rosary or a mantra, checking for relevancies in my life as I go through each line. And two things happen every time—my eyes tear up as my heart recognizes these same truths and my soul is soothed. It’s literary Xanax. Purrrrrrr. Have a blessed week!

With love, Brooke
desiderata

January 25, 2013

For Our New Friends . . . Hello!

Mongoose heelo

Happy Friday to our Healthy Housewives family! My name is Brooke Berryhill, and I am your go-to gal for Health and Wellness as well as Animals (specifically, Pets). I’m really excited to be a part of this group of amazing women—each of us is blazing our own trail in healthy living as we lift each other up and hopefully inspire you along the way! I’ll share a little bit of my story, and I look forward to hearing from you as well.

I’m an East Texas girl, having grown up in the beautiful Piney Woods of Longview. If you have had the good fortune to pass through Longview, you’ll appreciate how very lovely it is. I went on to Texas A&M University, where my love affair with iced coffee drinks and staying up very late really took hold. Then I was blessed to meet my husband, John, and life became even sweeter. We’ve been married for 14 years, he makes me laugh every day, and thankfully he shares my love of animals, P.F. Chang’s, and America’s Next Top Model—really, what else could you ask for in a husband?

My love

My love

I graduated with a degree in English and proceeded to spend the next 10 years as a copyeditor, providing the grammatical spit and polish to everything that I could get my hands on—science textbooks, advertising copy, medical test-prep, and romance novels (my favorite!). Then, after spending years combing the written word, I felt called to nurture people more than manuscripts and became a licensed massage therapist. And what a beautiful gift massage therapy has been for me! As a therapist, I can provide a nurturing and safe place for people to rest, to heal, and to feel more peaceful than when they walked in. I also love educating my clients on how to take better care of themselves. As the Wellness Director at a lovely retirement community, I get to do this every day as I create brand-new health and wellness programs for our staff and residents.

Pretty Lucy

Pretty Lucy

Something else that brings me (and you too, I hope) great joy are animals. I love all animals! Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to rush out and hug a snake or anything—but I will be the one rushing past you to the nearest door as I rescue that scary spider or tiny pink gecko (by holding a well-placed cup and sturdy envelope, of course)! My love of animals is deep and abiding, and it led me to become a vegetarian many years ago. I strive to live compassionately toward people and animals, and I’m always looking for fabulous products and fashions that are created cruelty free. Now, truth be told, if I could shelter and protect all the animals in the world, I would. But since my house is not quite big enough for that, I will introduce you to my current furry family members: Lucy (snow-white, very smart, snuggly, and has lots to say);  Tiki (brown-ticked tabby, ultra affectionate, very mischievous, and wheels-off crazy); and Bit Bit (small golden-orange tabby, Tiki’s brother/partner in crime, unbelievably sweet, and cute as a bug).

Happy New Year to Tiki

Happy New Year to Tiki

Bit Bit wants more toys!

Bit Bit wants more toys!

That’s my story for now. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and see you again next week!

Brooke

January 5, 2013

A Fresh Start With a Little Help From My Friends

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Hello! It’s Brooke. So, the holidays are winding down and life is returning to its normal, non-sparkly self (sigh). Now what? New Year’s resolutions, perhaps? Hmmm—I’ll pass, thanks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for aspiring to be a better, more loving, dependable, and successful person. And not just at the start of the year, but every day! My problem with resolutions is following through with them. I love to dream up ideas and plan clever things, but implementing them is another thing entirely. I have many theories about my personal shortcomings, which include my difficulty with follow through, but I will spare you the bulk of this list. I tend to make my goals too general, without breaking them down into manageable steps. Also, I have a very hard time completing a goal that is not personally meaningful for me. So, my trick for dealing with myself is creating small, easily achievable action steps that either make me happy or bring me closer to something that is really important to me. As you can see, this annual plan of vaguely listing “things I’d like to do this next year” is not a helpful exercise for me. But in planning our NYE party, which turned out to fulfill a past resolution of ours to host more parties, I discovered a fun little game that did not go as planned but proved helpful all the same.

New Year’s Resolutions Lite

This party game, which I found on Real Simple.com (http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/more-holidays/throw-easiest-new-years-eve-party-ever-10000001693331/index.html), is a variation on making New Year’s resolutions and look—small, easily identified and personal goals. Eureka! We printed the four “cards” out for everyone, and as people arrived, they finished each sentence on their cards anonymously. Then we shuffled the cards, and, had this game gone according to plan, we would have had one person read out each card and its answer, and we would have tried to guess whose answer it was, gaining thoughtful insight into everyone’s character. But lots of gaiety and alcohol ensued, and as midnight swiftly approached, we got distracted and forgot to read the cards. So, I’m going to share the NY resolutions of my dear friends with you now. Maybe they’ll provide you with some inspiration (or giggles). Enjoy!

Lisa, me, Sondra

My good friends Lisa and Sondra with me (center)

Card #1: The skill I want to learn this year is:

  • play banjo
  • sew
  • learn HTML coding and website design
  • how to make a tamale
  • play piano
  • how to make $1 million and not tell my girlfriends
  • statistics and accounting
  • rap
  • surviving in the wild
  • DJ-ing
  • distilling
  • French, Spanish, and yoga

Card #2: The good deed I want to do this year is:

  • serve others, do good, and do no harm (even to Sooner fans)
  • give homemade blankets to homeless people
  • none—I don’t do good deeds (!)
  • pick up someone who needs a ride
  • fill more needs as they present themselves
  • volunteer with a charitable organization
  • be more neighborly
  • talk with my mother more
  • eat veggies
  • share more of God’s blessings with others
  • charity work at an animal shelter
Ok, so the photographer had some champagne too! (me and Marzia)

Ok, so the photographer had some champagne too! (me and Marzia)

Card #3: The person I want to be more like this year is:

  • Jesus (x2)
  • King David
  • Lisa M.
  • Martha Beck
  • my grandpa
  • my friend Jessica, who knows how to not worry and to take one day at a time
  • the guy from the Dos Equis commercials
  • Brooke (thank you, sweet friend, whoever you are)
  • Thomas Paine
  • James Bond meets Walter White, but in a good way
  • Warren Buffett
  • John Wesley

Card #4: The bad habit I want to kick this year is:

  • picking eyebrows
  • tequila
  • slouching
  • drinking too much
  • road rage
  • staying up soooo late that I’m dead and tired the next day
  • waiting until next year to kick my bad habits
  • using the “F” word
  • messiness and lateness
  • procrastination
  • my messy room

Card #4 (write-in revision): The good habit I want to form this year is positivity and belief that I CAN!

What a great way to end! Isn’t that what resolutions are all about anyway, whether we make them officially at the beginning of the year or constantly, incessantly every day? Good luck to you in your dreams and aspirations in this new year, and may you find blessings and joy around every corner.

My sweet husband, John, and me

My sweet husband, John, and me

XO,

Brooke