Get in shape in 11 healthy ways

If you are like most people, you have made a New Year’s resolution to get in shape, eat healthy, and change your lifestyle.


This is a common resolution that most people never follow through on; gym memberships and diet meal plans are purchased, but nothing ever is completed. For a couple of months the gyms get packed and it seems like people are beginning to take their health seriously. Then March comes along and the gym starts to look bare again.
To start a healthy lifestyle change and to get in shape takes a few steps.


  1. Get at least 6-9 hours of consistent sleep a night
  2. Eat a hearty breakfast
  3. Drink water…a lot of it
  4. Be the change that you want to see
  5. Find an accountability partner
  6. Forget fads, make a change that will be consistent with your lifestyle
  7. Consume herbs/foods that prevent bloating: pineapple, Greek yogurt, peppermint/ginger tea
  8. Consume herbs/foods that aid with digestion: papaya, oatmeal, ginger
  9. Consume herbs/foods that prevent water retention: quinoa, parsley, sea salt
  10. Exercise! Take a Zumba class, walk, swim, go on the elliptical, jog, lift weights. Be active for at least 40-60 minutes about four times a week
  11. Meditate and visualize your goal
With a few simple adjustments, your New Year’s resolution can last for the entire year and beyond!


What were some of your resolutions for this year? Do you have any tips to add to the list?



An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.

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Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre

Don’t throw away Mother’s Day flowers

Stop! Before you toss your Mother’s Day flowers or any bouquet of flowers into the garbage can, get crafty and reuse them.  Creating potpourri is easy, simple, and has many variations. I have made potpourri from scratch using items in my home.  Potpourri makes a great gift or decoration/air freshener for a home.


Basic Potpourri Recipe (I do not have measurements, because I just toss things together)
Fresh or dried flowers
Orris root, calamus root, oakmoss, or tonka bean
Allspice, cinnamon sticks, cloves, dried lemon/orange peels (optional)
Essential Oil (depends on your desired scent- floral, spicy, etc.)
Storage container
Sachet or decorative bowl/glass


1.      Gather desired flowers. If using fresh flowers, dry flowers by hanging them upside down. Flowers/leaves are dry when they begin to feel brittle, but not crumbling.
2.      Chop desired root
3.      Place remaining ingredients into a storage container
4.      Add chopped root and mix
5.      Leave the covered storage container in a dark place for two to six weeks
6.      After the two to six weeks, transfer  mixture into a decorative bowl or sachet
7.      To prolong the life of the potpourri or add more scent, just sprinkle essential oil


Aromatherapy Scent Choices
Sage, Geranium, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Lavender, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Chamomile, Tangerine, Grapefruit, Lemongrass, and Sandalwood.
Refreshing and Invigorating
Basil, Vetiver, Cypress, Tarragon, Thyme, Rosemary, Coriander, Peppermint,  Atlas Cedar Wood, Lemongrass, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Eucalyptus, and Cypress.
Warm and Inviting
Cardamom, Ginger, Nutmeg, Clove, Elemi, Vetiver, Cedar Wood, Pine, Patchouli, Sage, Geranium, Eucalyptus, and Lavender.
Geranium, Vetiver, Elemi, Davana, Ylang Ylang, Lemongrass, Chamomile, Petigrain, Grapefruit, Tangerine, Lemon, and Bergamot.


Do you make potpourri? What are your favorite scent combinations?




An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.

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Photo Credit: Palindrome6996

Mom- An enigma wrapped in emotion

I am forever spring cleaning. That is what I do best. I am always cleaning my room and attempting to reorganize my belongings. By sheer serendipity, while sifting through all my papers, I found an old newspaper clipping that fell in line with Mother’s Day.


Having lost my mother at a young age, Mother’s Day is an awkward time for me. I am grateful to have many adopted mothers; these are women who love me just like I am their own daughter. However, despite all these wonderful women in my life, I can’t help but sometimes feel a little indifferent about Mother’s Day. Yes, on Mother’s day I do  acknowledge those who are mothers or even fathers who take care of children. Yet, this time period is a constant reminder that while I have many mothers, I can no longer see, feel, or speak to my own blood mother. Normally, during this time period, I am bombarded with advertisements for flowers, chocolates, dinners, and more. This week all I could see was the Time’s magazine article cover with the statement “Are You Mom Enough?” I have yet to read the article, but it seems to be about attachment parenting. The statement “Are You Mom Enough?” along with the image of a young child breast feeding is an obvious marketing ploy to grab individual’s attention.


However, the question at hand almost perfectly fell in line with the two newspaper columns I found. I tried to Google search the citation for these articles, but I could not find them. However, I do have the author names and article titles.


Love too late is a mournful thing
Ann Landers Column 
“Dear Ann: I had a marvelous mother who loved, sacrificed foor and helped me in ever way she could. All my years of growing up, through college and eventually marriage, my mother was at my side. When I needed help with my little ones she was right there for me.
Today we buried that wonderful woman. Can you imagine how I felt when I returned from the services and found this poem?
The Time is Now
“If you are ever going to love me,
 me now, while I can know,
The sweet and tender feelings
Which from true affections flow.
Love me now while I am living.
Do not wait until I’m gone
And then have it chiseled in marble,
            Sweet words on ice-cold stone.
If you have tender thoughts of me
Please tell me now.
If you wait until I am sleeping,
Never to awaken
There will be death between us
And I won’t hear you then.
So if you love me, even a little bit,
Let me know it while I am living
So I can know and treasure it.”
Now she is gone and I am sick with guild because I never told her what she meant to me. Worse yet, I didn’t treat her as she deserved to be treated. I found time for everyone and everything, but I never made time to visit Mom just to give her pleasure. The time we spent together was when I needed her. Never once was she too busy to come help out.


Mom lived nearby. It would have been easy for me to drop in for a cup of team and a hug, but my friends came first. Would any one of them do for me what she had done? I know the answer.


When I called Mom on the phone our conversations were brief and hurried. I feel ashamed when I think of the times I cut her short with, “Sorry, I have to run.” I remember, too, the times I could have included her and didn’t.


Our children loved “Grandma” from the time they were babies. They often turned to her rather than me for counsel and comfort. She understood them. I realize now I was too critical, too short-tempered, too stingy with praise. My goals for them were unrealistic. Grandma gave them unconditional love.


The world is filled with daughters like me. I hope many of them will see this column and profit from it. For me it is too late and I am sick with regrets. I’m signing my letter
Guilty and Heartbroken


Dear Daughter: Here is your letter – on Mother’s Day. I was deeply moved by it and am sure others will be, too. Bless you for sharing.”


Mom- an enigma wrapped in emotion
Erma Bombeck Column
At Wit’s End
1985 Los Angeles Times Syndicate
“Mothers, you’ve met the ones today on the greeting cards surrounded by roses whose very name rhymes with “no other.” The perfect ones with the saintly smiles and the gentleness of a water softener.
But in reality, who is she?


She’s an enigma who is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a gold American Express car, and able to leap three cars at the drive-in to order you home before 11.


Is she really life set to poetry?
“My mother was Genghis Khan in drag. When she lived with us the world stopped while she napped.”
“Mother drives me crazy. I’m 60 years old and she still pours me half a glass of milk and tells me not to spill it.”
“You wanta talk guilt? I even apologized for having emergency surgery on her birthday.”


She’s an awesome force who has a hold on you that no one can explain, even if you never saw her. She is also a bundle of contradictions.
“Answer me right now. And don’t talk with food in your mouth.”
“I know you love him, but dump him. I want you to be happy.”
“You have got to start standing on your own two feet and being responsible for yourself. You can live at home while you’re doing it.”


She has a scray quality for knowing what you do when she doesn’t see it, what said when she doesn’t hear it, and what you mean when you don’t say it.


You spend a lifetime trying to please her and become what she wants you to be. Just when you think you’ve pulled it off, she pulls in the string, nearly choking you to death.


You can’t seem to sort of the motions you feel for her—fear, apprehension, disappointment, anger, frustration, love.


A mother has another mysterious quality that defies explanation. Although your father is often bigger, louder and pays the bills, she is the glue that holds the family together.
“Your brother’s birthday is next week. Be there!”
“See you at Aunt Kate’s funeral. You don’t have to know what she looks like. I’ll point her out to you.”
“Get rid of this stupid answering machine or you’re out of the will.”


Whether she is a good mother or a difficult mother, know that when she dies, nothing will be the same again. Without her, the family drifts. No one can take the place of the eyes that have seen it all, the hands that reached out and healed, the very presence that brought you comfort and stability just by being there.


The greeting card mothers are nice.


But they don’t even begin to capture that complex woman who touches our lives in such a way that when she goes the pain is unbearable.”


I have no idea what newspaper these two column were in, I do know it was on page 12 in section ‘You’ or maybe ‘You’ is the name of the newspaper. Wherever and whenever these columns were published, their wisdom still holds true today.


What are some stories about your mother?



An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.

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Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre

15 must read books while detoxing

Detoxing is not only for the body, but it is also for the mind and soul. While cleansing your body, it is also ideal to surround yourself with positive thoughts. For the past 20 days I have tried to read, listen, and watch positive things. I have been listening to Esther and Jerry Hicks tapes and I also have been listening to Quick and Dirty Tips podcasts. I have been rereading some books of mine that I would like to recommend to you. Click on the book names for more details.

  1. 12 Steps to Raw Food – This book by Victoria Boutenko was the first book I ever read regarding raw foods and health. Excellent book and easy to follow, it really helped me while on my first ever detox 2 years ago. Kindle Edition
  2. Heal Thy Self – Queen Afua writes an excellent book for those of African descent. She speaks about how she healed herself from illness, by changing her diet. Overall a well rounded book that speaks on diet, spirituality, and fitness.
  3. Green for Life – Victoria Boutenko writes about how consuming greens is more ideal for our health. She also talks about how her family was extremely ill, but reversed everything when their diet changed. Kindle Edition
  4. African Holistic Health – This book by Llaila O. Afrika is a great book for those of African descent who are interested in health.
  5. Light Eating for Survival  – This book is a rare find. When I purchased it last year, I was able to get it for 8 dollars used, now I see on Amazon that it is 12 dollars used and 186 dollars new. Marcia Madhuri Acciardo wrote this book in the 70s and was a pioneer in the raw food movement. What I like about this book is that she has recipes for live foods (raw), yet she used simple equipment.
  6. Juicing for Life – I love this book by Cherie Calbom. She provides great juice recipes and also gives the reader juice combination for specific illnesses. Kindle Edition
  7. Ask and its Given – I highly recommend this book and any other Esther and Jerry Hicks books. They are filled with great lessons and inspiration. Kindle Edition
  8. The Alchemist – Paul Coelho delivers with this book, the lesson instilled is invaluable. Kindle Edition
  9. The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle is known for the book A New Earth, but I like the Power of Now better. This book is all about living in the now. Kindle Edition
  10. The Four Agreements – Wow, talk about a quick read that will have you thinking for a long time. Don Miguel Ruiz really leaves the reader with questions about the way they live their lives. I finished this book a few weeks ago and I am always thinking about it. Kindle Edition
  11. Awareness – This book by Anthony de Mello is one that you probably won’t agree with everything he writes, but it will leave you thinking about human nature and awareness. Kindle Edition
  12. Many Lives, Many Masters – I love this book by Dr. Brian Weiss. In this book he documents a past life regression that he performed on a client of his. It is a very interesting book that discusses the possibility of past lives. Kindle Edition
  13. Life After Death: The Burden of Truth – This is a good book for those who are Deepak Chopra fans. In this book he discusses what happens after death.
  14. Energy Medicine – This book by Donna Eden is good for those who would like work on balancing energy throughout the body. Kindle Edition
  15. Poisons in Your Food – This book was originally written in 1969 and then a 2nd edition was written in 1991. It is amazing that the same issues we are facing now were prevalent back then. The author, Ruth Winter, was seen as a sensationalist and now in 2010 it is apparent that her concerns over toxins in our foods were correct.
15 books that you can read while on your detox or just in general. I hope you enjoy!Do you have any books that you would like to add?



An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.

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Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre