Tag Archives: New Year

How to have a kick-ass 2016


I knew that having a child was going to provide ample distractions and make it challenging to stay focused. That said, I didn’t fully realize the magnitude of perpetual disruption on how connected I would feel to myself and my life’s path. It’s taken two years, but I am finally refocusing and recentering myself for this coming year. For me, it will be a year of reclaiming myself independent of my role as a mother and integrating Mother with Self so that I can operate from a more authentic place and honor who I am in this next phase of my life. While my clients have demonstrated the difficulty of self-care in the face of motherhood, I now understand it at a much more profound level than I did pre-parent and am even more committed to helping mothers reconnect to themselves so they can have a fulfilling life.

This plan is a work in progress, but I invite you to join me in taking the time to do this important work. I would love to hear from you throughout the year on how it is going, what you are discovering and what works and what doesn’t. You can share by commenting below or by sending me an email. I will be sharing my experiences here throughout the year as well.

[Tweet “Without further adieu, here’s how to kick ass in 2016!”]Screenshot 2015-12-30 16.22.27


STEP ONE: Get clear on your intention for the year. 

This is best done not as a goal, but as an essence. As I had no clear sense of what direction I wanted to go earlier this month I went back to an exercise that has been very helpful to me in the past: Jade Teta’s Totem Word exercise. This exercise reliably brings me back to my values and core mission for my life whenever I lose sight of it.


STEP TWO: Make It Juicy!

Leonie Dawson
is a goddess of Juicy Living. Her niche is helping hippie artist-types find success in their artistic passions, but her messages and products are really useful for anyone
in business or those wanting to bring more creative, right-brained habits to life. This year I am using her 2016 Create Your Shining Year in Life to outline what I want more of and how I am going to get there. This notebook begs for markers, stickers, collaging, and play; something I am betting most of us can benefit from! [Tweet “WARNING: if you hate hippies or are especially allergic to Woo-Woo types this may not be for you.”] Leonie can push my woo-woo tolerance but her message is really grounded and practical and has always benefitted me when I have utilized any of her programs or products. While starting the workbook at the new year gives you the most time to get results, the reality is you can pick up this workbook at any time of the year and use it as a tool for clarifying, outlining and planning the next phase of your life (or business if you get the business workbook)

STEP THREE: Record it where you’ll see it daily!

I’ve started using a passion planner and am really enjoying it as a resource for tracking my actions that are connected to my overall intention for the year. At the beginning of the planner are some exercises to help you get focused on your year ahead so you have a reminder on hand daily. The planner itself offers a weekly focus, space for notes, to-do lists, and quotes and challenges to keep you connected and growing. You can check out these planners at passionplanner.com

Inside of the Passion Planner, available at Passionplanner.com

I’m also trying a new service this year, “One Little Word”. I’ll be getting monthly writing prompts on the word that I have chosen to serve as my totem word for 2016. I believe there will be some opportunity for crafting as well, which is something that I have wanted more practice with all of my adulthood.

What are your big aims for 2016? I would love to hear your totem word or intention for this coming year!

The Importance of Mindfulness

I set this to post while I am away meditating. It seems appropriate, as meditation is an act of creating mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a key element in successfully maintaining weight loss, determining which foods work best for your body, and for staying healthy and balanced in all areas of life. With countless external cues creating an environment suited to overindulgence, vigorous attention to our body’s cues is perhaps the most effective tool for health available — and it costs nothing!

We can all agree that what we eat has a huge impact on our health and energy, but what is less commonly known is how what we eat affects our appetite, our moods, and our thoughts. With hectic, busy lifestyles, we are no longer aware of the impact that our food choices have on our level of functioning, and many have lost sight of what high level functioning feels like.

[Tweet “When we begin to pay attention, our entire world becomes possibility for change.”]

By noticing how the foods we eat affect our body, we empower ourselves to make different choices. One of the key things clients who work with VIBRANCE experience is a greater connection between food and body wellness, and a greater understanding of the language their unique body uses to communicate with them.
When we begin to make different choices based on how our body feels, we capitalize on the body’s ability to restore and heal itself and experience a greater sense of wellness and vitality.  [Tweet “When it comes to weight loss, mindfulness is mandatory for sustained success.”]

When I first started setting everything aside to enjoy my meal, I found it boring. Painfully so! I wanted to rush through my meal so I could get back to whatever seemed more pressing at the time.
Then I slowed down even more, focusing instead on the food that was in front of me — the gloss of the dressing on my spinach leaf, the sensation of biting into a crisp bite of apple or celery, the feel of different textures and tastes in my mouth as I chewed. I became aware I only chewed about 6 – 10 times before swallowing, so I tried to quadruple that and I found I needed to take smaller bites. Then I noticed I was full long before my plate was empty.

So I started putting less food on my plate…  You can see where this is going.

Multi-tasking is registered in the brain as stress; inducing a fight or flight response because the brain is divided between important duties.  The adrenaline kicks in to increase our attentiveness, but ultimately this has negative impact on our short term memory as well as our overall health and well-being.

When we multi-task while eating, we do not pick up on the very food cues that initiate digestion. The smell of food, even the thought of food starts our systems preparing for digestion and assimilation. Chewing begins the process of tearing down a meal and key enzymes located in saliva are responsible for digesting carbohydrate.  The sight of our meal cues the hormonal cascade that lets us know we are full 20 minutes after we begin eating.

[Tweet “When stressed or distracted, our digestive system takes the back seat.”] The body isn’t interested in extracting vitamins from an orange when it’s white-knuckling it through a stack of emails or preparation for a board meeting.  Consequently, digestion is impaired and stomach troubles, fat storage, and blood lipids increase while the ability to detoxify, extract vitamins and minerals, feel full and be satisfied decreases.

Simply sitting down, looking at your food, and paying attention to how it feels will make you feel more satisfied. Make it a habit and you’ll likely drop some weight, improve your digestion, and you may even find out you don’t actually like the convenience foods you’ve been eating all this time. (it’s happened before!)

Give it a try for one meal a day for the next 10 days and let me know what the effects are.  I’d love to hear back from you.

More information:

The Pitfalls of Multi-tasking

Why Being Mindful Matters

Recipe: Hoppin’ John

Traditionally, Hoppin’ John uses ham hocks or bacon to add a smoky flavor to nutrient-rich beans. In lieu of this, I’ve used chipotle powder to add spiciness and smokiness to this traditional Southern New Year dish. Eaten annually on the first day of the New Year, Hoppin’ John is supposed to ensure good luck. It certainly worked for me last year!

  • 6 scallions
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1 small bunch collard greens or kale, chopped
  • 1.5 cup dried black eyed peas, cooked (or 2 x 10 oz package frozen black eyed peas, thawed and rinsed or 2-15 oz can, thoroughly rinsed)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1 tsp. chipotle powder
  • 1 T chopped garlic
  • 12 fl oz vegetarian broth or bean liquid

To cook dried peas, place in a small soup pot and cover with water – about 2″ over bean line. Soak overnight, drain, rinse, and cover with water again. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering until tender, about 2 hours. Drain.

Trim scallions. Remove the dark green tops and set aside. Cut the white and light green sections into 1/4 inch thick slices.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the carrot and stir well to coat with oil. Add the white and light green sections of the scallions and the celery, reduce heat to low and saute for 2 minutes. Add the kale and bell peppers and saute for about 3 minutes or until the carrot begins to brown. Add the black-eyed peas and stir well. Saute for 1 minute. Add the bay leaf, salt, black pepper, chipotle, garlic and broth. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid is almost completely absorbed – there should still be about 1/3 cup sauce.

Thinly slice the dark green scallion tops while the mixture simmers. Then stir in half the scallion greens. Ladle the hoppin’ john over a bed of cooked rice and sprinkle with remaining scallion greens.