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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


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~


You don’t have to be sick to get better!

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You don’t have to be sick to get better.

Sage advice coming from my recent dude ranch, yes dude ranch, orientation. (Which, believe it or not, was an incredible experience. I want to plan a trip next summer with a bunch of families.  It would be SO SO much fun. I swear.) Allow yourself to be immersed in your environment and come away with better perspectives, drop a little excess baggage, renew your joie de vivre.  Trust me, a week in the Colorado mountains can do that.  I did ride a horse for the first time.  Never thought I would, but I loved it. They’ve called me to be the next Horse Whisperer.  I was that good. Ok, back to the story.

To have diamonds on your inside, it isn’t just about eating right. It is about balance in all aspects.

As I started thinking more about it, I realized there are so many things we can make better with the right frame of mind–it’s all how you frame it really. You have to consciously tell yourself to look for the positive.  Perhaps that sounds like one of those self-help books written by some over enthusiastic cheerleader that will show you how to walk over coals.   Nope.  Just me.  I had my head pulled from my lower half by an angry s.o.b. named kancer.  I no longer allow the toxic relationships and thoughts into my mind.  It’s the new JUST SAY NO campaign.

Transform it:

Attitude.  Tell yourself to be happy.  It helps.

Perspective.  Frame it differently. Seriously.

Health.  Change one thing a month to be and eat healthier. Wait til I write about meat glue.  Yikes!

Relationships.  Boundaries–use them.  Don’t allow the bad ones to suck you in!

Stay cool, my friends.


Think happy, be happy.

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These last weeks have been an emotional, sad, yet remarkably thought provoking experience.  My sister-in-law, Brandice passed away last week.  Tragic.  A lovely life cut too too short.  I had the privilege to be with her and my brother (really cousin) for her final days. How can something so sad be so inspiring?  You must search for positives even in the dark days.

Support.  We have amazing friends and family that will do anything for us in a time of crisis.  Many will be there for you morning, noon and night.  Even ONE friend like this is an amazing blessing. Think about it.

Love.  There is someone, probably many, who loves you unconditionally.  Be grateful for them.  Tell them.

Every moment is a gift.  Celebrate it.  Before you go to bed at night, think of 3 good things you are thankful for.  FIND the happy in it.  Revel in the moments you have, not what you don’t.

Strength.  Everyone can dig deep to find it.  Exercise strength by taking control of your perspective in life.  It makes for a healthy one too.

Think you aren’t happy?  Part of your problem is just that.  Focus on thinking about happiness.  It just might work!  Take a look at the video below.  Happy thoughts, happy bodies.


Be that Glow

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Be that glow.  It starts from the inside.

I am 4 weeks into my nutrition program studies and learning just about everything under the sun–every diet, every vitamin, many ailments brought on by diet.  What is most interesting is I am learning that a healthy person comes from a healthy lifestyle.  That means–body, mind and spirit.  If those things are not in balance, things will remain askew.

What I also am coming to believe whole heartedly is the idea of the 90/10 diet.  This promotes eating healthy foods most of the time (90% of the time) and eating less healthy foods on occasion (10% of the time). There is no set plan to this diet, and it is easy to follow and hard to fall off!  No one should ever be completely denied of Louie’s pizza.

Foods to increase: water, whole grains, sweet vegetables, leafy green vegetables, varied forms of protein.  Duh.  If you eat lots of these things you can ‘crowd out’ the less healthy things.

Things to increase: home cooked food, enjoyable physical activity, enjoyable work, spirituality, and healthy and supportive relationships.  Fun, social, happy.

Foods to reduce: meat, dairy, sugar, chemicals, caffeine, tobacco.  Most of this we know–we just can’t always do what we know is right.

Things to reduce: toxic relationships, unhealthy habits, and stress.  Those are 3 REALLY IMPORTANT FACTORS IN A HEALTHY LIFE.  That sh*t causes kancer.  If it ain’t good, get rid of it.

Loving the learning…


The start of a new me and you

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It’s never too late to reinvent yourself.  At least that is what I am going with.  After the truly life altering experience of super-sized, full kancer meal deal, I have found lots of new passions.  First and foremost, and sounding a bit sappy and Dr. Feelgood, is my passion for living every day to the fullest.

Hey, it’s my blog, so I am going with it.  Before you change the channel, hear me out.  What I want people to take away is that life is good.  Fragile, but good.  So live it large. Don’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy your world–all the good stuff. That means appreciating what I’ve got. It means never letting a chance go by to throw a party.

My next newest passion is nutrition. I think it is another key to a happy healthy life. I think your nutrition can make you well and it can make you sick. You choose. With that intro…I have enrolled in an Integrative Nutrition program that begins in 2 weeks. It is a year long program–and I will learn how to help others lead a more healthy lifestyle. One of the first things I’ve learned is that one size diet does NOT fit all. So don’t worry. I won’t make all of you eat sprouts and kombucha.  I do, however, want everyone to wear diamonds on their insides–so you  can shine from the inside out.

So I plan to keep a journal of sorts about the next chapter of my very long novel.  Somewhat quick wit, food tips, health insights, funny observations, and shocking revelations are no charge.