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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: Positive Thinking


New Year’s Resolutions. On Ground Hog Day

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It’s a new year. Again.  And now it’s Ground Hog Day. Again.  Just like the Bill Murray movie, it just keeps happening over and over. It’s been a whole month since the parties, the tinsel, the family, the indulgence. I say it’s now down to business.

We hear it every year. It’s time for your resolutions–a time for reflection of ourselves and our lives — present and future. Be better, smarter, happier, stronger, thinner, richer, kinder. It’s what we do after January 1. It’s another one of those, ‘everybody’s doing it’ things, and we follow.  Did you try it?

Now it’s February 2nd, is it too late? Did you fail already? “Oh well, maybe next year,” you say.

HEY.  Don’t be simple-minded.  The “New Year” is not the only time we should reflect and make positive changes. I say start today, Ground Hog Day.

Evaluating your life should not be an annual occurrence.  It should be a monthly reoccurrence. These things should be done on a regular basis, say, every three months re-evaluate. We should call them New You’s Resolutions and make it a habit, regardless of the time of year. Take a quick look at where you are and where you want to be. This is especially useful for diet regimens.

Nonetheless, as mired in tradition as it is, New Year’s (or Ground Hog’s in this case) resolutions, if you are so inclined to jump aboard, can enrich your life and the lives of others around you.

  • What will you change?
  • Will you try to improve?
  • Where will you focus your positive energy?

For the record, I’ve never, EVER shared my resolutions—especially not on such a public platform … for many reasons. Some are simply a level of privacy I like to keep. Others are because I don’t want to be held accountable in case I decide I don’t want to follow through. But this year, I decided the revealing my own hopes, thoughts and goals might cause others to think a bit about their own lives. To better reflect and even, take action.  Plus, it is February 2nd, which eases the Hallmark card pressure for me.

Copying from my paper is OK in this instance. So, in the spirit of it all, here goes. (And don’t judge, not out loud at least).

  1. Go to church each Sunday with my family. I’ll admit I have not been a church goer. But I realize my family and my children need it. Integrity, morals, respect for God and others, a sense of belonging. You get that at church.
  2. Blog twice a month. This is for you AND for me. I need to pin down my thoughts, capture them, act upon them. You can journal your thoughts. Ten minutes is all it takes. It is amazing how cathartic it can be.
  3. Be gluten-free. No exceptions. I know it makes my belly bloated.  I’m 43 and I don’t need to look like I’m four months pregnant all the time. It also negatively affects my mood (both the gluten and the bloated belly). Here are some great tips on going gluten free.
  4. Yoga three times week. I SWEAR this yoga thing works miracles. I find quiet and peace and I lose the achy joints. I FEEL AWESOME. There are different types of yoga. Find one that works for you.
  5. Make a date once a week. This will be really difficult to do, but I need that time, albeit short, to re-connect with my husband. And on the note of reconnection …
  6. Make love to my husband more often. (Here’s that privacy thing). Sex is an integral part of your relationship. It’s a connector, a relationship re-kindler, an actual mood booster. Just do “it.” (Don’t copy this one exactly)
  7. Read more books. At least one will be about self or family improvement. Reading makes you smarter, keeps your brain in shape, keeps you busy and out of trouble. I love humorous and happy books.Recommendations are welcome. Reading Boys Adrift right now.  NOT a funny book but incredibly insightful.  Need a fun one next.
  8. Work for nutritional balance for my children. It affects their mood, their energy, their well-being. Teaching kids early the importance of healthy food can circumvent a lifetime of food issues. I am in awe of the research that supports this.
  9. Walk with a friend once week. It’s either this or $200/hr therapist. Whether intended or not, a good hour talk with a friend can allay a week’s worth of anxiety. Sure you can meet for tea at The GEM, but I like to kill two birds with one stone.
  10. Share my love of disco. Ongoing fun and laughter is something we all need to look for and create every day. Sing, even when you don’t feel like it.

May my ideas spur your ideas! Please share one Ground Hog Resolution or all. I want to hear them.


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.


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.


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.

 


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~


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.