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The Official Blog of The GEM.

Diamonds on your inside. That’s what we want. Don’t you? This blog is a place to visit for guidance, humor and wit about healthy, happy lives. We only have one life. Make it count!

Category Archives: Happiness


Kick it to the curb: Eliminate The Toxins

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Toxins make us sick — our bodies AND our mind. They are not just in the air. They are all around us–even where you would never think.

Toxins are also in our:
- Food
- Cosmetics
- Relationships
- Habits

Toxins weigh us down, make us sick, cause depression, limit our horizons. Why do we allow toxic people, habits, chemicals, poor eating habits, and situations to make you sick, fat, angry, sad, self-conscious?

Back to the Just Say No Campaign. The question then is, how do you eliminate toxins out of your body?

These things are bad for your health–both mind and body:

  1. Toxic people: You know the ones. They see everything half empty. They say and do things to make you feel inadequate (that is your insecurity, too, which is something you need to work on). Some of these people are also known as Energy Vampires. You have to set boundaries and keep them on the periphery of your happiness. A brilliant guide to setting these is aptly named, Boundaries, by Cloud & Townsend. Check it out.
  2. Toxic Habits: Looking for the bad, instead of the good. Is your juice glass half empty? “Why does this always happen to me?” Two reasons: A) You are looking for it. B) Your aura invites it. **Look for the positive. Make it the focus.** What else No body movement. Yes, exercise. The kind that stretches and pushes your body. Brisk walks and stretching seem like nothing but will make a huge difference in the way you feel. Try it. I dare you. Simple yoga exercises and eventually group classes are life changers! Group Pilates can be SO MUCH FUN!
  3. Toxic Chemicals: Toxins are in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the shampoo we use. There are ingredients in many of your household products that have been proven to cause cancer. And, let’s be realistic, we cannot avoid all of these. We can, however, do a better job of selective elimination. Eliminate: conventional air fresheners, lotions, shampoos. There are many all-natural, non-carcinogenic products available–and not just available at Whole Foods. There ARE natural cleaning products that work, even some you can make yourself using inexpensive things like vinegar and lemon.
  4. Toxic Foods: You knew this was coming. There are toxins in your foods. However, there are two ways I want you to think about this. You don’t have to do this all at once.First, crowding out. Start by simply ADDING more vegetables and fruits into your day. That way, there is less room for the bad. When you start your day with good food choices, the rest of your day will follow. Organic is best, but just considering the “Dirty Dozen” and purchase accordingly.Second, diet drinks, fried foods, sugary breakfasts. Believe it or not, the properties of these foods affect your brain, your mood and how you perceive your day. These foods also make you feel like shit. Oh, and all of those toxins sit in your fat cells and liver for long periods of time. They actually make your body hold on to fat and junk you really don’t want. Read: helps you lose unwanted adipose tissue. Stock your kitchen with healthy snacks you can feel good about!

In the words of my mafia friend, “If you have a problem, eliminate it.”  I think that is BRILLIANT advice–sans the concrete shoes, of course.


Crown me Kale.

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Learn to love it. It will love you back.

Kale is the leafy green everyone really cool is talking about.  This emerald beauty has found it’s way into the nutrition spotlight and is even referred to as “the new beef.”

WHY should I jump on this VEGGIE HUGGER bandwagon?” Kale here to stay. No longer the garnish on the Denny’s breakfast plate so get used to it.

Nine SUPER FINE reasons to eat more KALE:

1.Immunity Booster. “Super Kale” super charges your immune system with high levels of vitamin C, A and manganese.

2. Bones. Strong ones. Kale is loaded with calcium, it actually has more calcium per serving than milk. The calcium in kale is also absorbed more easily by the body than from dairy products making it the better choice for strong bones. And your skin will glow.

3. Anti-Inflammatory. Kale is strongly anti-inflammatory as it has an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, over 45 different flavonoids. Trust me, this means good stuff.

4. Vitamin K. Contains tons of it. (1300%of your RDA in just 1 cup). K helps reduce the body’s inflammatory response and supports the nervous system. Prevents calcium buildup in our tissue. How much of my RDA?

5. Alkalinity. Kale helps the body maintain an alkaline ph. When your system is alkaline, diseased cells cannot survive. Uhh, thats all you had to say for me!

6. Kicks cancer’s ass. Anti-cancer properties of kale are off the chain. Glucosinates help prevent many different cancers.  So do alkalinity and anti-inflammatory characteristics above.

7. Smooth Operator. Fiber: it keeps our digestive system running smoothly so we can absorb the maximum number of nutrients. Fiber also acts like little scrub brushes cleaning out toxins from out body.

8. Iron. Where’s the beef?? Per calorie kale has more iron than beef making it an iron-rich super star. Kale burger anyone?

9. Detox. High sulphur content is essential for the body’s detoxification process.

Dino Kale Rocks The House.

So how do you get this super food into your diet? Here are a few easy ways:

  • Soups: De-stem and cut a few kale leaves before adding them to soups in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • Sneak some in your salad – Massage (yes, massage) the kale with a little sea salt. Add the kale into your regular salad for a nutrient dense kick. OR, come get a life-changing, fabulously yummy kale salad at The GEM.
  • Kale Chips: Yes you heard me, chips! Fall head over heels for them with a little olive oil and salt, bake at 350.
  • Smoothies – disguise a kale leaf at a time into your smoothie. You can’t even taste it!
  • DRINK IT! A Green Glow Juice from The GEM is the perfect starter kit to add more kale in your day.


Be a GEM, Cleanse.

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THE GEM 3 DAY JUICE CLEANSE.  The success of your cleanse is dependent on doing it right. It is important to stress that while you are doing a great thing for yourself by drinking juice in place of meals, however, WE AT THE GEM, cannot do it all for you.

THREE FACETS OF A SUCCESSFUL GEM CLEANSE: WATER, REST, ELIMINATE.

Hydrate. Drink at least 8 glasses of filtered water a day. Wake up with 32 ounces right off the bat. Additionally, take a probiotic every day to keep your intestines balanced and to help replace the good bacteria that your body needs.

Rest. We suggest going to bed as early as possible if your schedule permits. Most people find they get tired earlier than usual.

Eliminate. It’s almost counter productive to do a cleanse if you don’t help expedite the release toxins from your system. Ummmm. We are all friends here, so, colonics or enemas are a safe way to flush out years of built up toxic waste  along with toxic liver bile, gas, and even parasites. Most of us are full of it anyway (insert smile & wink here) and have unnatural substances that take a some extra effort to release, thanks to our modern, not-so-healthy diets. If a colonic scares the sh*t out of you, use an herbal laxative (Traditional Medicinals Smooth Move tea or capsules), to aid in this process.

Other great ways to eliminate toxins:  Dry brush each morning before you shower to shed dead skin cells. Massage can get the lymphatics moving. Meditate (toxins are also in our thoughts). Slow Down. Tone down your usual exercise and keep hard-core cardio to a minimum, but definitely do something each day to accelerate your lymphatic and circulatory systems.

DETOX SYMPTOMS IN MOTION:

Headaches, dizziness, fatigue, constipation, runny nose, skin blemishes and nausea. Maybe one, maybe none, maybe all. Your digestive system gets some much needed time off and your radiant body gets to work on other things: releasing toxins and adjusting to the clean nutrients it is being gifted. There is no need to worry- in fact, although unpleasant, symptoms are often a good sign. If you are experiencing some of the symptoms, drink an herbal tea that can help combat them naturally but DON’T take any over the counter chemicals.Oh, and no gum or mints while cleansing. They promote the release of digestive enzymes and makes you hungry.

Optimally, we suggest eliminating all solid foods, but there is sanctioned cheating by having a few slices of cucumber or apples. If you need something warm and savory at dinnertime, boil some veggies with herbs and a little sea salt and drain the broth into a bowl. This is a perfectly acceptable addition to The GEM Cleanse.

DETOXIFICATION of the body brings…

Clarity, Energy, Well-being

Radiant Skin, Bright Eyes

Significant Craving Loss for caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, sugar, and junk foods. 

Keeping it real from the inside…




The Year of YOU.

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“…and that’s when I get to wondering, what would happen if I told her she something good, ever day?” Abilene, the Southern nanny, wonders about the little girl she cares for in Kathryn Stockett‘s, The Help.

So everyday she tells the little girl, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” We may not have a nanny named Aibilene that tells us this everyday, but why can’t you be your own advocate? Your own self-esteem booster. Your own best friend.

Here’s the plan. I DARE YOU to try it this new year.

Find a mantra and believe it.  Tell yourself everyday that you are kind, that you are smart, that you are important.  Settle for nothing less.

You will need to do a few other exercises to enhance this. You owe it to you.

1. Get up 10 minutes earlier and WRITE down 3 things that you are grateful for. That you feel blessed about. FIND IT>

2. Before you go to bed at night, write down 3 things that were GOOD about the day. Big, small, whatever. Just find 3 positives.

3. Tell someone they are special to you. Ask a friend to lunch, make a visit to someone in need.

4. Take time for your self-to affirm your importance. One hour each week, just for you. Accept nothing less.

You may find yourself rolling into the next year with fresh perspectives and a stronger view of yourself within. It benefits everyone when they have a stronger, more confident you. What do you have to lose??

Here’s to a kinder, smarter, more important 2012.


Is a Goal a Verb?

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One of my very favorite movies is Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts.  In the opening and closing scenes there is a crazy guy walking down the street yelling, “Everybody’s got a dream.  What’s your dream, baby?” Pretty Woman is a modern day Cinderella-style story. Julia’s character, for the most part, ‘falls into’ the fairy tale ending. What luck.  She really didn’t have a plan.  And while she had some sense of a moral compass, the career in prostitution seemed to dilute it’s nobility. Hey.  Wake up. Dreams are for sleeping. Goals are for winning.

In the real world, dreams don’t come to reality without hard work and a plan. Do you have a goal for yourself? For your family? For your career? A goal without a plan is just a dream. Write down your goals. List a first step to achieve that goal. Then add another. Hold yourself accountable, with tangible results and deadlines. Give yourself a real punishment if you don’t accomplish your goal. Punishments such as no chocolate for a year, donations to organizations you dislike, no more shoe shopping–they seem to have profound effects on the bottom-line results of your success.

Draw out your path. It is the ONLY WAY to arrive where you want to go.


Fat Thursday

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No more dry, creepy giant birds and casseroles made with ritz crackers and cream of mushroom soup for Thanksgiving.  For the first time ever, we are going Italian.  Homemade lasagna, chicken marsala, sauteed spinach, mozzerella! angel hair pasta, garlic bread, Prosecco, gelato.  The works!  Some say, ‘What a travesty! Thanksgiving is about turkey and green bean casserole.  Sweet potatoes, marshmallows and 3 lb pumpkin pies.  That is the tradition.’  I say, ‘Hell no!’ Thanksgiving has nothing to do with that 20 pound bird.

What it IS about is…stuffing your face with great food, laughing with long-time friends and family, drinking too many bloody marys in the comfort of people who love you.  The most important thing on Thursday is to STOP AND GIVE THANKS.  Thanks for your health, for your happiness, for your opportunities to make a difference. We all have incredible wealth–that manifests itself in so many ways.  A family that loves you, a family you love (usually).

This Thanksgiving, tell someone who won’t expect it that you are grateful for them in your life. Hug your kids just a little longer. Make the day a little more special. Light a candle for someone you miss. Make your guest tell something big or small that makes them smile. I promise everyone will be better for it.  Cheers to all of you!


More Awesome!

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Remember my earlier post about The Book of Awesome?  I can’t get it out of my thoughts.  So I thought I should share a few more AWESOMES:

Fluff.  With chocolate nut butter.  On a spoon. Too awesome for words.

Hot pink, green and aqua Christmas decorations.  Glitter. Awesome!

Walking onto the Survivor’s Circle stage at the Komen 3Day Walk closing ceremony.  Awesome.

Impromptu girl gatherings in my kitchen for juice and laughs.  The idea of starting a happy place called The Gem, super awesome. (More about that in the coming weeks).Overhearing 4 women talk about my tacky holiday decorations–and then rising above the front porch chair to wave at them–then seeing the looks on their faces…..Awesome!

Dental Floss.  Fluffy socks. Jeans that button easily. 7 minute frosting. Sonic Ice. Awesome!

The disco ball in my dining room.  Awesome.  The new quartz chandelier that replaced it after a year and a half, awesome.

Having happy, healthy friends & family…AWESOME.

What’s awesome for you today?  Live it, love it.

 


Inspire someone. Influence. Motivate. Can you do it?

The Komen 3 Day/60 mile Walk this past weekend brought out many inspiring people. Many were walking because they really wanted to show support for a loved one who was battling this disease. Some walked to honor those who had lost their lives to kancer. Some were ‘Survivors.’ They all felt inspired to make a statement of 60 miles and raised over $7million to prove it. Some of these people had NO business walking 60 miles. Too heavy, too old, too weak. And yet they did it.

One woman in particular stood with me in the Survivor’s Circle in the opening and closing ceremony. Rinni obviously represented some aspect of inspiration to be on stage. She carried the flag of COURAGE. This forty-something woman looked like she was finishing up a chemo regimen. That’s a scary battle that takes courage–one that every woman on that stage had experienced. As we rehearsed the day before the Walk, I learned this was far more that just a round of chemo. This marked the end of her THIRD recurrence. While training for this walk, Rinni’s kancer returned with a vengeance to her brain and liver. Her doctors insisted she drop out. Her teammates, her fabulous friends, however, refused to let her fade into the woodwork. They insisted she take this small yet powerful journey with them. They pimped out a wheel chair in hot pink sparkles and wings and PUSHED HER FOR SIXTY MILES. She had the COURAGE to stay in the game and face this kancer with her head up to be the true inspiration for all of us. She has children. She could have easily stayed home and focused on herself and her family for the rest of her limited days. I must say most of us would shrink into the darkness of fear of stage four kancer. She wasn’t about to. She chose to be out in front, to show others how to live in the face of something so scary. AMAZING. Her flag, no doubt, was the definition of INSPIRATION.

See pathetic photo of me below. Mile 58 of the 3 Day Komen Walk. Not a pretty sight. And definitely not inspiring. Who would take notice if I dropped out? I could easily hitch a ride home and call it a crazy weekend. It wasn’t a race, there were no prizes, I had nothing to gain, really. Nor did the thousands of women out there with me. Thank God I had teammates who motivated me to keep going, that I had a flag to carry,that Rinni was now a part of my psyche, that it mattered.

Sometimes you want to quit. Sometimes you think no one will care anyway. It’s too hard. It’s too much to handle. Well, I call bullshit. Get up, get moving and make a difference. Believe it or not, you will inspire someone else to do the same. You may never even know it. It may seem others have it easier. More than likely, they don’t. They are pushing through their challenges, never giving up. So do something, do anything, that matters.

Energy Vampires?

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Pull out your wooden stakes and garlic, it’s time to protect yourself from the Energy Vampires. And not just because it is Halloween.  These are people who bring you down, who can magically suck the life force from your soul while you sip your latte.  They are never satisfied, never positive and NEVER stop complaining.  They leave you tired, weary and not happy. Do you know someone like this? Even worse, are you someone like this?

Energy Vampires…

  • Are unrelentingly negative. Their negative energy appears continuous. THESE PEOPLE SUCK ME DRY.
  • It’s all about me.  These are the folks that think of no one but themselves.  Reading this, they would have no idea this was about them.  Cue Carly Simon’s “Your So Vain.”
  • Make mountains out of molehills. These Drama Queens can turn a broken nail into a Shakespearean tragedy. REALLY?  It’s can’t be that bad, can it?
  • Complain constantly about their partners, jobs, children, bad luck, the weather, EVERYTHING.  Nothing is EVER good enough. SHUT UP. PLEASE!
  • Debbie Downers. They render a room dark in minutes. Half empty folks.
  • Not me! Blame everyone else for their problems. It is NEVER their fault.

The one that makes me the most crazy is that ‘Woe is Me’ Vampire.  They are always  the victim and the world is always against them.  They can recount every horrible event since they were four.  The next one I come face to face with, I plan on sucker punching them and telling them, “GET OVER YOUR SHIT AND MOVE ON.  YOU HAVE ONE LIFE.  LIVE IT.

Tell them.  Kill them with kindness. Laugh. Create boundaries. But for the most crazy of the Energy Vampires, you may have to disconnect from them altogether if possible.  Life is too important to be around villans such as this.  Surround yourself with happy, shiny people like yourself.  Maybe the blinding light will melt those life force suckers.

As you think of the Energy Vampires in your life, what will your silver bullet be?


Cynics Apply Here.

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Don’t you love it when a simple little thing that happens can be described as “Awesome?”  Even the most sour cynic can attest to a few things that make them honor the little joys in life.  Those that can’t…we no longer have room for you in our world.

Go out and buy “The Book of Awesome.”  Yes.  It really is  awesome.  I implore all of you to get it.  OR even better, compile your own book of awesome.  It reminds us to find a little happy in everything.  Awesome things like:

Having a whole row on the plane.  You can get up a pee anytime you want.  You can rest your arms.  You may even be able to pull off a row nap.  You can imagine you are insanely rich and paid for the extra seats just because.  AWESOME.

Laughing so hard you make no sound at all.  I LOVE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS.

Building and amazing couch-cushion fort.  Squeezing through a door as it’s shutting without touching it.  AWESOME!

When you spill something on your shirt and it doesn’t leave a stain. Finding money in your old coat pocket–or even better, that tube of lipstick you haven’t seen in a year.  The first scoop out of a jar of peanut butter. Licking the cake batter off the beaters of a mixer.  Hitting a bunch of green lights in a row.  AWESOME.

Finding a mix tape given to you by an old boyfriend or girlfriend.  When a cashier opens up a new checkout lane at the grocery store and you become first in line.  Free samples of your favorite food at the store. Seeing someone laugh in their sleep.  AWESOME!

That first early fall morning you walk out the door and need a sweater. Making the perfect margarita the first time around. AWESOME!

Remembering how lucky we are to be here right now. And how focusing on little happy things can make us happier and more enjoyable to be around. UNBELIEVABLY AWESOME.  Come on. Lemme know what your AWESOME was the morning~