Saturday, November 12, 2011

Self Care Girl Book Review: Mastering Your Metabolism, by Jillian Michaels

Reading (again):  Jillian Michael's "Mastering Your Metabolism". 

Frankly, her approach on The Biggest Loser kind of scared me, but after reading this book (the first time) my perspective was altered.   I think this book about weight loss, environmental toxins and hormones are spot on!

The science she promotes is not mainstream.   I think this might be one reason why she left the Biggest Loser.  You cannot write a book about the negative impacts of over-processed food, and toxins in our environment (ie: Plastics, pesticides, GMOs)  and still promote Yoplait yogurt or Cheerios as acceptable "diet food" on national television!

Highly recommend!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 10: I Made Some Comfort Food

“Onion soup sustains. The process of making it is somewhat like the process of learning to love. It requires commitment, extraordinary effort, time, and will make you cry.” - Ronni Lundy




Yesterday was a rainy, windy, miserable day here.   Perfect for making soup.   


I love to cook; to try new recipes...to chop celery  and carrots and onion and pancetta and garlic!  I love the smell of good food cooking on the stove top.     And, I also love to eat....cooking engages all of the senses...to me it is just fabulous self care!


If I had more time I would probably start up my food blog again....unfortunately, (or fortunately, if you consider that saying NO to being overwhelmed is just good self care)  I have left my cooking blog long neglected.   I still cook...I just don't write about it. 

 

You can check out my old blog here:  My Home Cook N Blog

 

 

 Did you practice some good self care today (is there such a thing as "bad" self care, really? Hmmm)   Let us know!

 

Day 9: Self Care Girl Stepped Away From Her Lap Top For The Day...

Unplugged.....Off Line....Out of Office....Away...

Photo borrowed from The Unplugged Learning Project:   http://www.unpluggedlearning.org/

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day 8: I Watched An Entire 80's Top #50 Countdown.

Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
Spent the afternoon reliving my teen years.   One of the television music channels was playing an 80's countdown and I couldn't help but get completely roped in.   I love the music of that era!
There are so many memories associated with the songs we grew up with.   I can remember where I was and the various people I was with (who I honestly have not thought of in years) as each music video played.   
My grandmother is one person who I think of fondly during this era.  She was so cool!  I have such great memories of watching MTV with her...we watched Duran Duran, Cyndi Lauper, and Prince together...I remember the first time we saw Boy George and weren't completely sure if he was a He or a She!   I remember my grandmother entertaining us with a very funny Madonna 'like a virgin' impersonation and how wooed she was by the barefoot guitar player in Dire Straits.  
Singing and dancing along to some of this great music is so good for the soul!   My husband and I grew up in different countries (He is English, I am American), but we share a love of the same era of music.   It was interesting to compare notes and hear his perspective and favorites too.
In the words of Don McLean, American Pie "music soothes the mortal soul."  It is just very good self care.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 7: We had a Pajama Party

“Oh no! I should do something....but I am already in my pajamas.” - Farnsworth from Futurama


Fabulous Artwork from Blue Yonder (http://blueyonderranch.com/)

A pajama party was the theme today in the high-rise flat of Self Care Girl and her Prince Charming, Mr Self Care.    The dashing couple decided to stay in today, curled up on the sofa with a commitment to do nothing in particular, but laze about and eat gelato.

 

Self Care Girl was stunning in a fabulous pair of soft cotton pajama bottoms of candy striped pinks...topped with an mismatching, but comfy, adidas t-shirt in a heavenly sleeping baby blue.   She topped her look with her favorite worn "house sweater" and a slightly disheveled "bed head" hairstyle.

Mr Self Care looked absolutely dashing too in his white t-shirt and khaki reebok shorts...not one to really wear pajamas (meowwww!), Self Care Girl was pleased to see that he did attempt to dress for the occasion.    (Also she was selfishly aware that Mr Self Care's attire clearly made him a better candidate for making the all-important gelato run)


Mr Self Care (aka SCG's personal barista) kept the coffee brewing, while SCG compromised on her agenda of chick flicks, in favor of a more man- friendly Bourne Identity movie marathon.   "The important thing is that we are spending time together today" she was overheard saying as she popped in the dvd and curled up next to him on the sofa.

 

The menu of the day was a delivered Pizza and chicken soup (and whatever other munchable faire they could scrounge from their cupboards),  topped off with a delightful scoop(s) of raspberry gelato.


The couple had been feeling a bit puny over the last few days and is hoping that this pajama party will restore them to their good health.


Have you had a pajama party recently?   Let us know!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 6: How to Get Your Self Care In on A Very Hectic Day

The best time to take a break is when you don't think you have time for one! - Unknown


Today was just one of those hectic days where I didn't think about self care until it seemed almost too late to do anything about it.  

Some days are like that.     

I had a good think about this after kicking myself for not making myself a priority.   And then I decided that step one should be to not  kick myself.    I felt better immediately.   You have to do the best you can some days and I really believe I did just that!

  The second step after forgiving myself for being human....develop a list of quick, small tasks I could use in the future to get my little self care fix in.  

1) Be gentle with yourself  (no kicking or beating yourself up about it!)
2)  Make a plan for next time you find yourself in the same circumstance
3) Create a "done" list in your head or on paper - give yourself credit for what you have accomplished!
4) Take 10 deep breaths
5) Do only  what needs to be done...and nothing more.  (I like to clean house before I go to bed, but I really  needed to just go to bed)
6) Have a piece of chocolate, a cookie or some little treat.
7) Stop and get yourself something to drink...refocus your eyes and stretch
8) Grab some lotion and massage your hands, arms...feet, legs. 
9) Name 5 things you are thankful for
10) Ask for help.   

Got any other good, quick self care remedies?   Let us know!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 5: Booked A Vacation Home

There is no place like home!  - Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz




Yesterday I booked a flight home for a 2 week holiday.   I am quite looking forward to getting home and sleeping in my own bed, cooking in my own kitchen, seeing my friends and family and driving my own car.  

I am blessed to have my current job.  It is allows me to see the world, spend my days doing what I love and meet some really wonderful people.   I have not been home since early June, though.   That is a long time to be away. 

While I was gone, Mr SC had rooms painted, finished a huge renovation to put in french doors out to our back deck and had the exterior trim and garage door touched up.    I missed seeing my roses bloom, blueberry season and the first crop of apples on our little apple tree.  

Going home is going to be great self care!

Did you do something good for you today?   Let us know!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day 4: I Ate Chocolate...Lots of Chocolate.

Don't wreck a sublime chocolate experience by feeling guilty.  ~Lora Brody
 
 
I ate two of these wonderful slices and a chocolate bar.   
 
Why?  Well....Because they were there.  
 
And I confess that if there had been more chocolate available to me, I probably would have devoured that too!   I simply could not get enough chocolate in me.     Tell me you've never  had one of those days!

Recently, I read that you can curb your chocolate cravings by eating bell peppers.   When you crave chocolate your body may be lacking in magnesium.    Apparently Bell peppers are a more healthful option for getting that all-important nutrient than chocolate.   

Bell peppers are lower in sugar and calories and higher in Vitamin C.   From a dietary perspective, they are much better for your body than chocolate is (although raw dark chocolate may be a contender here.) 
 
But in my opinion why in the world would anyone in their right mind choose a bell pepper over a decadent piece of chocolate?   Peppers don't taste as great as chocolate does and they do almost nothing for one's soul.    
 
The official Self Care Girl position on this:  If Chocolate makes you happy,  don't opt for a stupid bell pepper!  
Being happy is good self care!   

What did you do for Day 4?  (Note:  It is not to late to have a piece of chocolate)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Day 3 - A Hot Bath with a Mani-Pedi

"We start to realize that there are anodynes in life that help us through the day. I don't care if it's a walk in the park, a look out the window, a good bubble bath - whatever. Even a meal you like, or a friend you want to call. That helps us solve all this stuff in our head." - Al Pacino


This is not my first post on bubble baths, nor will it likely be my last.   There is simply nothing more soothing than a good hot soak when you have had a long day using your body and brain muscles. 

I like my bath full and scented with lavender.   I like the lights dimmed, a candle or two lit and the sound of water running gently.    Tub time may very well be the most inexpensive, most simple and most beneficial form of self care available to those of us who possess bath tubs.

For Day 3 of the 31 Days of Self Care Challenge, I had a bath and gave myself a much needed mani-pedi.   I was a nail biter for most of my life.   However a few years ago I remedied that with a proper manicure.  It is like most things in life- a little extra attention to one small thing can make a world of difference.  Smooth nails are less likely to be nibbled.     I love to go to the salon, but I have found that a simple manicure here in Australia is quite a bit more expensive than I would spend in the States.    Fortunately manicures are easily performed at home. 

The best time to give yourself a mani-pedi is after a nice hot bath.    The soak will soften your nail and make them easier to work with.    Clean your nails with a good nail brush then trim and file them.  Gently push back the cuticles, (I learned recently that you should not cut your cuticles!) and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.   Previous experiences with painting my own nails have not been positive- so I skip that.   I am perfectly happy with clean, neatly trimmed nails and soft, smooth hands. 

For your feet, I recommend getting a good brush and pumice stone.  Scrub out the rough spots.    Trim and file the nails and then spend some time giving yourself a luxurious foot massage.   I like the invigorating effects of a minty foot lotion.   Coat your feet with lotion and then cover them with a soft pair of cotton socks.   Your body heat will enhance the moisturizing effects of the lotion.
 
Home spa products can be a great self care treat and a new lotion or potion will definitely inspire a little pampering.    However, you can find lots of beauty recipes on line using products you may already have in your home.  What I have found is that the most important element of the home spa experience is not the products you use, but the actual time and attention you spent on YOU!    

Did you give yourself some quality time today?   Let us know!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day 2 - Take a Hike!

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.  ~John Muir




I laughed when I saw this picture.   


I walk a lot...in fact, I think I could be a walking "expert"....this picture is the most ridiculous thing I have seen in a long time.  


If you are going to start walking and must look for a pictorial representation related to walking- for crying out loud- search Google maps...search for good shoes...search for charity walks.   The last thing you are going to need is a picture of someone showing you HOW to walk.   If you have reached adulthood and walk from say...your living room to the fridge...your bed to your bathroom...well, you can rest assured that you are more than capable of figuring out this walking-just-about-anywhere thing.   It is not complicated.  


Mr Self Care and I were walking about 5 miles a night when we were both home.    Today, we are just getting settled in to our new temporary home in Melbourne, Australia and really feel the need to get back into that routine.   We love walking!


We have decided to use our car only to get to work.   We live in a very walkable community.   It takes about 20 minutes to walk to our favorite market and less than that to reach 3 different outlet malls.   There are paths all along the waterfront, to parks, to the beach....there is really no reason NOT to walk. 

Day 2 of our 31 days of self care challenge we made this commitment to each other:  we will walk as much as we can.   We grabbed our grocery tote and headed to the market this sunny spring morning.  
 

Walking is good self care for many reasons:  

  1. It is fabulous low impact exercise. 
  2. It is a great way to think things out
  3. It is one of the best forms of transportation for the environment
  4. It is a great way to connect with someone you love. 
  5. It is a wonderful way to get fresh air and see sites that you might not otherwise see. 

Did you do something healthful today?   Let us know!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Day 1 - Let the Self Care Festivities Begin!

“As a rule, the mind, residing in a body that has become weakened by pampering, is also weak, and where there is no strength of mind there can be no strength of soul.” - Mahatma Gandhi (....who apparently has never experienced the soul enhancing properties of a good hot stone massage!)

 

 


Mr Self Care and I started off our 31 Days of Self Care in a big way yesterday.   We had a couple's hot stone massage at Body Freedom Day Spa!

The cold and rainy weather outside was completely miserable, but this is actually PERFECT weather for lying on a massage table all bundled up in warm blankets with a row of hot stones running the length of your spine.

In a hot stone massage, the therapist uses the smooth heated stones to warm and then work the kinks out of your muscles.    For a whole hour and a half, Mr SC and I were pleasantly pummeled into jello-like beings.   I caught myself falling asleep at least 3 times.    It was heavenly!

The worst part of a hot stone massage- and any relaxing spa treatment, really- is the end...when the therapist says in a low whisper..."okay, that is all for today...take your time getting up...stretch a bit...there is a glass of water here for you...." 

I heard our therapists leave the room....and then complete silence.      No movement from Mr SC's table next to me.   And I was thinking "I just want to lay here....like ALL day." and I know that my dear husband was thinking the same thing.   I half expected to hear snoring...but eventually he did stir and I had no choice but to follow suit.

I have seen massages advertised for as low as $50 an hour in the U.S.    You can often find coupons on the internet or get last minute specials when a spa is looking to fill a slot in their calendar.    Check your local massage school too - massage therapists are required to put in a minimum number of hours to get licensed.   You can often get treatments at half price this way.

To get a free massage, I suggest you add this to your wish list for Christmas, Birthday, Valentine's Day, or other important holiday or celebration day and let those people who really care about you know that an hour or so of pampering would be just perfect!

Did you start Day 1 off  in a fabulous way?   Let us know! 

Friday, September 30, 2011

31 Days of Self Care

“What is genius, anyway, if it isn't the ability to give an adequate response to a great challenge?” 

- Bette Green

 

 

 

When was the last time you spent a full month doing nice things for yourself?  

 

This month Self Care Girl wants to help you change that.   For the month of October we are launching the 31 days of Self Care Challenge!   

 

Each day of October I will post simple, inexpensive, and indulgent ideas to help you incorporate a little self love into your daily routines.     Your mission- if you choose to participate- is to commit to doing something- anything-  nice for yourself each day.    Follow my suggestions,  or create your own- the key is to just be good to yourself.    

 

Sounds pretty easy?  I hope you will share your experiences and ideas too! 

Take Good Care!






Sunday, September 18, 2011

Swap it, don't Stop It

The Australian government has started a new healthy lifestyle campaign that encourages citizens to become "swappers" not "stoppers".    I think this is a great self care philosophy for making lasting changes.   





So often our attempts at adopting better habits fail to launch, or quickly fall by the wayside.  If you are like me, the minute something is determined to be bad and in need of elimination, the cravings for it multiply exponentially!

In a nutshell, this campaign promotes moderation and  encourages you to find ways to stop doing one thing by replacing it with something better.   I have personal experience with this.   When I was about 18, I stopped drinking colas and began drinking sparkling water.   While my orthodontist is still not happy with this swap (the carbonation erodes tooth enamel), I have cut a huge amount of chemical and sweetener from my diet. Which is a very good thing.  I may indulge in one or two cola drinks a year now, but I find them too sweet and can rarely finish a full can. 

One more note....the campaign provides many examples of swaps you can make toward creating a healthier lifestyle.  I think information is valuable, but I think these examples should come with another message that encourages changing one thing at a time, rather than changing every bad habit you have immediately .   Lasting change takes time and focus.  A concentrated effort on one or two changes will increase the likelihood of your success.

A few more effective ideas for making lifestyle changes:

  1. Write down a specific goal.  Small, incremental goals are best.
  2. Plan ahead - it is easier to eat healthy, if healthy food is available!
  3. Focus on health and the way you feel.   Your weight is only a number- it reflects more than just body fat!  It also includes bones, water, vital organs....
  4. Celebrate small successes.  
  5. Be specific about where and when activities will take place ("after work, I will do one lap around the park", "when my alarm goes off in the morning, I will spend 30 minutes on the treadmill" etc...) 
  6.  Do not deny yourself the things you love.  Allow these things in moderation.   
  7. Pair up with a friend to support and encourage each other
  8. Keep a journal of your activity and diet.  This will help you to be mindful and serves as a good record if you find what you are doing isn't working for you. 
  9. Find activities that you enjoy and be mindful of keeping your body in motion
  10. Develop routines.   A piece of fruit at 10am.  Get up from your desk at 1:30 for a 15 minute walk.
   

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Self Care Girl Goes To The Day Spa

As a reward for losing almost 60lbs, I opted to celebrate by getting a hot stone massage and spa mani-pedi last weekend at Body Freedom Urban Spa Retreat
 

The spa is located in South Melbourne, just a few short tram rides from my apartment in the Docklands.  The spa has a very warm, peaceful and welcoming feel to it when you walk in.





Body Freedom is product conscious- they use and retail product lines that are free of harmful chemicals.      For me this is an essential ingredient of a good spa.   The aim of going to any spa is to take good care of yourself, so the products need to be good for you too.

The Body Freedom philosophy:


Hmmm....sounds a lot like the Self Care Girl philosophy....I like it!

I arrived a bit early for my appointment.  I was greeted by Fiona at the counter and after taking a few pictures and browsing a bit in the shop, I was welcomed to a cozy little room to wait for my appointment. The waiting area was soothing.  It is wintertime in Melbourne and a nice fire was burning in the fireplace and a pot of herbal tea was brewing.   It was a great way to transition into "spa mode".




Julie Ann greeted me when my appointment time arrived.   She escorted me upstairs to a lovely treatment room which also boasted a fireplace.   The spa aims to create a completely relaxing experience, so a conversation at the start of your appointment takes place to ensure the practitioner is up to speed on any concerns, issues or needs that you may have and then conversations are kept at a minimum during the course of the actual treatment.   I really liked this approach.    It kept the focus on the luxurious experience at hand and allowed me to get absolutely relaxed.

A few pictures of the cozy spa room:








 
Really loved the decor...especially the fabric used on the bedspread below and the pillow above


After the massage, I was brought to another room with a fireplace where two other women were getting pedicures and manicures.   This was also a pleasant experience.   A bit more social but also luxurious.

I had a nice conversation with Julie Ann about her self care philosophy.   She is a vegetarian and passionate about yoga, health and learning.   She is very knowledgeable about self care. 

One self care tip she shared:  Mornings should be peaceful times.   She is concerned that many people get up, turn on the television or radio and rush about completely oblivious to the positive energy that exists at this time of day.   Practicing yoga and meditation are just some of her suggestions for harnessing that morning energy and getting your day started off on the right footing.

Overall, I believe this was one of the best spa experiences that I have.   I enjoyed it so much I scheduled a couple's massage and will be back at the spa for more pampering (with Mr SC) later this week. 

If you are ever in Melbourne, I encourage you to check it out!

Take Good Care!
Self Care Girl

Monday, July 11, 2011

3 Important Ingredients for Success


Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.  -Unknown



I am currently working on a pretty complex project in Australia.   The project really interests and excites me- it is all about taking an old way of doing things and transforming it into a new and better way.    Being able to collaborate with the people who do this work and help to improve the quality of their work life makes this project even more appealing to me.   I am all about building teams and improving morale.

My confidence level does not necessarily match my enthusiasm.   I am effectively feeling my way around in the dark here- having to rely heavily upon the experts to understand work flow and a lot of high tech processes- like fabricating composite parts etc etc etc...and the project isn’t just one little section of this factory, but includes the entire factory and quality department.  

I have found over the years that three things are important when expanding into new, uncharted territory:   Be gentle with yourself, Surround yourself with positive, supportive people and take baby steps.

1) Be gentle with yourself.   Allow yourself some flexibility, including permission to fail.  When you are doing something new, you cannot always expect to be perfect the first time around.   You need to learn, and this is often best achieved by finding all the wrong ways first!   Permit and accept the possibility of failing up front and it makes the task seem not so daunting.   Ask questions, take in the ideas and feedback that others offer, and be sure to listen to your gut.     

2) Surround yourself with positive supportive people.  I cannot advocate this enough.   I have a great management team that I am reporting to here.   Today, I expressed my approach to this project and was told, “Great- that sounds like the right thing to do.”  My confidence was raised ten-fold.  

This is also a good reminder to be that positive, supportive person to others.  If you have knowledge, share it where it is needed.   Don’t shoot down ideas that may be different from your own.  Be mindful that there is always more than one better way.  New ideas deserve consideration and support. 

3) Baby Steps…Sometimes thinking of the whole picture can be debilitating.  Focus instead on the little steps to get to the end of your goal.   I was asked today by the same manager above if I was comfortable with the project- it is a big one!   I told him that right now I felt I was moving in the right direction.   If a few steps down the road I don’t know what to do, I will ask for help.   You only have to worry about one moment at a time.   Make the best choice you can when each moment presents itself and you will do marvelous!

 Take Good Care!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lessons From My Weight Loss


When we lose twenty pounds... we may be losing the twenty best pounds we have!  We may be losing the pounds that contain our genius, our humanity, our love and honesty. 
~Woody Allen
My Before & After pictures:  The picture on the left was taken in November 2010. The picture on the right was taken last weekend

I am not a big fan of Woody Allen, but I do love that quote! 

This weekend, I anticipate celebrating a huge milestone.  I am on the brink of having lost a total of 50 lbs!
 
I am not sure how I will celebrate yet - but I can tell you I will not be having cake or pizza or a cheeseburger.  I was thinking a nice bouquet of flowers and a massage, maybe a manicure and pedicure would be nice.    I am still actively losing weight and adhering to the strict HCG food plan for another 3 weeks..  I will not be swayed by celebratory cheeseburgers!!  No way!  No how!
 
But I do have a few weight loss tips to share.  Just a few tid-bits that were important in helping me get going and stay the course:

1) Just do it.   I made excuse after excuse-and quite frankly I felt that my crazy globe-trotting job was a pretty good one! (Its hard to diet when you travel!)  I was waiting for the right time to begin to get healthier until my fabulous cardiologist gave it to me straight "You know, you have been coming here for over 2 years now...I remember you were in grad school...it wasn't a good time for you to make lifestyle changes...then you had a big project you were starting at work....when I saw you again you were headed off to Italy...and then Australia....and then Japan...I think you might want to consider that the time might never be just "right" to start making improvements...it might be time to just decide to make them anyway."   He paused and waited for my response.  Which I didn't have.   What could I possible say?   He was absolutely right.

2) Talk to your Doc.   I went in specifically to talk about my weight.   I had been walking miles each night after 2 months I only lost 2lbs.   I ate really healthy food 95% of the time.  She referred me to one of her colleagues, who helped me find the right plan for me.   One benefit of the HCG diet is that you get good results fast.  Continuous progress served to reinforce my commitment to the diet each day.  

3) Set a Goal.   My first goal was to impress my cardiologist by getting off of the blood pressure medication.  My second goal was to reach 199.   My current goal is 175.   Celebrate milestones.

4) Plan ahead and set routines.   I would have failed hundreds of times if I didn't have a plan.   Having a good routine helps too- the less thinking you have to do, the better.  I buy groceries once a week with my plan in mind.   Whatever I make for dinner I have for lunch the next day.  My day starts with a cup of coffee and ends with a cup of tea.   I eat an apple or fruit throughout the day to stave off hunger.   There will be lots of temptations: Pizza Day was held in my office last week.  Smelled fabulous! I brought in my ground beef in a tomato sauce on lettuce leaves- it was seriously good (didn't miss the pizza at all!)

5) Get creative.   Spice things up - try some herbs and seasonings  that you haven't had before.   Modify a new recipe to make it  more diet friendly.   I have made an HCG version of pizza, burgers and tacos just by changing the seasoning and using lettuce instead of bread.  The possibilities are endless.

6) Focus on flavor.   Sweet strawberries,  my morning coffee,  Crisp apples.   These have become real treats for me as I appreciate their simplicity.

7) If you fall off the diet, immediately start again.   You don't have to do it perfectly.  Forgive yourself and get back on it.   Set backs don't have to be failures.   Just begin again from where you left off.

8) Clear away temptations.   It is a good idea to get the bad for you foods out of your house.   And stay away from bakeries!  (Bakeries are diet kryptonite!)

9) Celebrate your milestones and achievements.   Reward yourself with non-food items.   A bouquet of flowers, a manicure...

10) Social occasions are about connecting with people...not stuffing your face.   I have survived a handful of parties and gatherings and avoiding temptation is tough.  Go to these with a commitment to focus on the people there.  Eat before you go.  Drink water, tea or other healthy beverage while you are there.

11) Get a good night's sleep!  There is a correlation between how much you sleep and how much you can lose.   Your body needs time to recover from your busy life.  That recovery process burns calories.

12) Belts are your friends...I wore a pair of pants today that was way too big,around the waist.   A good belt made it possible to get one more good day out of those favorite pants!

13)  When you grow out of clothes, donate them

14) If you are actively losing weight, consider buying clothes from your local thrift shop.   I've got two really nice pairs of pants this way and they were $2.99 each.

15) Recognize that you are beautiful and valuable and lovable no matter what your size.   Losing weight should be about getting healthy so that you can share your gifts with the rest of the world for as long as possible.  Love yourself!




Take Good Care!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

25 Things That Really Suck...


"Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud; Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun, And loathsome canker lies in sweetest bud.  All men make faults" - William Shakespeare

Contrary to what you may think, this is not a negative post. 

Knowing what you don't like is just as important as knowing what you do like.  In fact it is very good self care, because once you've identified what what makes you tick and what ticks you off, you can start to change or avoid those things quite successfully.

Sometimes when you are not sure what you want, identifying what you DON'T want can help you navigate through the endless list of options.  (ie:  I don't want criticism! =  I want support!) 
There is nothing more self-reinforcing than knowing what you want and refusing to settle for less! It is just a very good self care habit to get into.

So without further ado....lets get to my list (in no particular order) of 25 things that really suck :

1) Closed minded thinking.  (I am guilty of this sometimes too- but we limit ourselves so much when we do this)

2) Comments on my Blog that link to porn sites (rare, but vile)

3) Cantaloupe (I keep trying it...I keep not liking it)

4) Being told what to do.  (If I don't ask, I don't want to know...share your ideas, make suggestions, but telling me that I have to do something in a particular way is the surest way to make me rebel)

5) Those little bottles of shampoo and conditioner they give you in hotel rooms (on a few rare occasions I have been surprised by a good brand, but rarely are these acceptable to me)

6) Bureaucracy - I prefer simple solutions to simple problems.

7) Party Politics - If you step back and take a neutral view you will see that neither side is better (or better behaved) than the other.  How can so many people possibly fit in two different parties anyway?

8) Bank of America, Citibank (insert other large heartless banking institution here).  - Too big and impersonal; pray you never have to deal with these in an estate situation.

9) United Airlines - The flight experience was bad...the customer service experience was the worst I have ever encountered.  Just see how they treat people who have complaints on the United Airlines facebook page.  It is ridiculous.

10) Processed food.  Nothing tastes better- or is better for you -than homemade. Everything processed contains either corn, soy or wheat in addition to salt, sugar, chemical flavorings & colorings, preservatives and other unnatural ingredients.  Eat REAL FOOD as much as possible!

11)  Emotional Vampires.   (Twilight vampires, excluded)

12)  Being apart from my Husband.

13) Not being able to access my Netflix or Pandora accounts in Australia

14) Jealous, non-supportive people.   (There is no reason to not be happy and celebrate the successes of others)

15) Cell phone use in public bathrooms

16) Arrogant doctors.  Answer my questions- I am paying YOU!

17) Power trips

18) Company politics

19) TSA  and the airline security theater - Travel the world for a moment and understand that no where else in the world would security have confiscated my small, unopened container of yogurt.  (Customs is a different story, but security?)    Also had one agent on input side of scanner tell me to leave IPAD in my bag..then agent on output side of scanner chastised me for leaving it in.  (They REALLY suck)

20) Cancer.   (I hate it)

21) Plastic soup-style spoons- the ones that are slightly deeper and rounder than regular plastic spoons.   They cut the corner of my mouth.

22) School lunches - how can anyone think that feeding our kids this crap is acceptable?

23) Child abuse.

24) Artificial Sugar substitutes.   First of all- they taste nasty.  Second of all there are plenty of natural sweet alternatives that will satisfy your sweet tooth and are way better for you.  

25) Not practicing regular self care!

One more note about things you don't like..It is okay and essential to have opinions about things.  Your opinions- even the negative ones- are an expression of you and your unique experiences and perspective.   My dislike for cantaloupe does not mean that cantaloupe is terrible.  It simply means that my experience with it has never been positive.   Putting together a list of things you can't stand is kind of fun.  I had a difficult time thinking of 25, although I am certain that I have a lot more I will think of later!  See how many you can come up with.  Then from that list identify an alternative. 

Your comments about things that suck are very welcome below!

Take Good Care!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Official Self Care Girl Guide To Being Queen

“It's all to do with the training: you can do a lot if you're properly trained.” - Queen Elizabeth



This weekend is the celebration of Queen Elizabeth's birthday.

Her actual birthday is in April, but a June date was selected centuries ago for this regal affair, supposedly, to increase the likelihood of blue skies, sunshine and bird's singing.    All should be right with the world on such a momentous occasion, afterall.

This is the birth date held by whomever the reigning English monarch is.   Commonwealth citizens around the world will get a three day weekend (although I learned yesterday that different Australian states celebrate the birthday on different dates.  And I cannot confirm this...but I highly suspect that the Queen - wanting to be celebrated multiple times throughout the year, may have had a hand in this).

At any rate, pomp and circumstance will reign in London and 3 day weekends will abound and certainly, the Queen will be enjoying a full agenda of celebration, a nice meal, a new outfit, a present or two…and maybe even a nap. 

To commemorate this important day- the birth of a monarch- we are declaring that all Self Care Girlfriends everywhere should also be celebrated as Queen's on this day as well.   Being treated like the royal being you are is just very good self care!

Now, to ensure that this declaration is easily carried out (We "Queens" shun all things tedious, afterall)   Self Care Girl (your Fairy Godmother Extraordinaire) has put together this simple Queen guide to ensure a seamless transition as you are transformed from "awesome everyday woman" to "most regal and revered Birthday Queen."


The Official Self Care Girl Guide to Being Queen:

The Very Secret "Transformation To Queen" Step:

The first step in being Queen, is to believe -with all your heart-that you are capable and deserving of that title.   (and YOU ARE because being Queen IS a birthright!)  Look in the mirror, raise your head high, adopt a proud demeanor and give yourself a regal and approving nod!

There you go.....You are Queen!  And now you are ready to go about planning your royal day....

One Very Important Rule for being Queen for A Day:

1) There are no rules...well, none that aren't put forth by her majesty anyway.

That being said….You may prefer to celebrate in any way you choose.  You may choose, and then exercise your Queenly perogative to change your mind half way through if a particular decision no longer suit you...and then- without a fuss- choose something completely different.

If you don't know quite where to begin...well, we have a guide for that too! 

10 Very Queen-Like Activities for Queen's Who Don't Quite Know Where to Begin

Making royal decisions all day can be exhausting work, so I have ordered a compilation of 10 very Queen-like activities to ensure that YOU are properly equipped to celebrate your important day.
  •  Buy yourself a cupcake…buy one for yourself and one for your best friend (or daughter…or sister...or mom).  Let them know that you are celebrating you and them and Queen's everywhere.  
  • Procure a tiara.   Nothing says "Queen" like the right piece of headdress bling.     
  • Practice your wave…then wave away all domestic duties goodbye  (That sink full of dishes…that pile of laundry.  Unfortunately these WILL all be here tomorrow, but there's no need to allow these trivial things to mess up OUR royal day.)
  • Refer to yourself in the plural.  "We" and "Us" are appropriate pronouns today.  These convey consensus; agreement;  full backing of your decisions; (Believe me, no one will even question that your minions of supporters are imagined).  Practice this and see how effective it is. (to anyone in your home who will listen:) "WE will not be doing (insert mundane household task here) today!",   (to your spouse:) "No dinner is being prepared tonight, but WE do hope you will join US for dinner at (insert fancy restaurant here)",  (to your manicurist:)  "WE will be having a French Manicure today…and perhaps a very regal shade of purple on OUR toes"  (to your child) "Today WE are only going refer to mommy as 'Our Queen Mum'"   
  • Buy that bouquet of flowers…the pretty ones
  • Wear your best jewels.
  • Bring out and utilize any special china, flatware, crystal glasses etc...that you have stashed away with an edict to use only for special occasions.   (If this is NOT a special occasion, then I don't know what is!)
  • Do not allow anyone to treat you poorly today (even that little negative voice inside your head should be SILENCED!) 
  • Take a nap if the urge strikes you.
  •  Recognize your "Awesomeness" throughout the day.  This can be a simple statement to yourself quietly, but it is most effective if you proclaim it loudly when you do something marvelous. (and be sure to use that plural pronoun!)  "WE are marvelous today, aren't WE?",  "WE did that well, didn't WE?", "WE are so proud of US" etc...
If you have any additional ideas in support of celebrating in a royal fashion, please add to the comments.

WE hope that YOUR day goes marvelously!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Self Care Girl Likes....

Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive.  And then go and do that.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.  ~Attributed to Howard Thurman



Self Care Girl Likes:   People who follow their passions.


When our only son decided to drop out of college (3 classes shy of his AA) we were really disappointed.    

He is an intelligent kid, academically gifted, and so very capable.   We were not so concerned about what professional field he should pursue, we just wanted him to get a degree.   A degree would lead to a respectable career.  A respectable career would help him achieve independence, and Mom and Dad could then sleep at night knowing that their parental duty to launch a productive citizen into society had been successfully fulfilled.

Our son now plays bass full time in a country rock band.  


We spent last weekend in Boise, a quick visit to see him play at a bar there.  We were blown away by two things.   His good bass-playing skills have gotten even better (the new band is very good!)...and he had a lump on his neck the size of a gumball.  

So the better part of this last week was spent chasing down a cause for this lump.   They took blood, did an ultrasound, scheduled him to see a specialist.   We googled the possibilities (a little knowledge is power...and dangerous) and we became increasingly concerned that he had all the symptoms of Hodgkins Lymphoma.     Suffice to say, this really was one of the worst weeks of our lives.

We were told on Thursday that he has an infection in his lymph gland - looks like he had a bout of mono recently.  They want to see if a round of antibiotics will cure it.   The specialist really believes it isn't cancer.  

My blood pressure is lower.  I slept better the last two nights.  I am getting ready to re-book my business trip to Australia (I was supposed to leave last Wednesday for 3 months).    But most important, I have a new perspective on my son's career choice.   

Life is fragile and short.  Don't waste it.   Find a way to make a living doing what you love to do.   Just do it.


My son plays bass in a country rock band.  It took a lot of courage for him to stand up to us and choose his own path.  I am so glad he did that.  Now is the best time for him to pursue his dreams- he is young and he is fostering his passion.   I have never seen him happier and I couldn't be more proud.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Givin' In To Your Inner Whim: 10 Ideas For Self Compassion


Cultivating an attitude of compassion and developing wisdom are slow processes. As you gradually internalize techniques for developing morality, concentration of mind, and wisdom, untamed states of mind become less and less frequent. You will need to practice these techniques day by day, year by year. As you transform your mind, you will transform your surroundings. Others will see the benefits of your practice of tolerance and love, and will work at bringing these practices into their own lives. 
- Dalai Lama


10 Things You Can Do Today To Increase Your Self-Compassion:
  1. Listen to Your Inner Voice and Heed Its Call- Sleep if you are tired, Eat if you are hungry, Everything you need to know about taking good care of yourself today lies within you!
  2. Be Gentle with Yourself.  Speak kind and encouraging words.  Do not speak to yourself in ways you wouldn't speak to a friend!
  3. Nurture your body with fresh, unprocessed foods and exercise.
  4. Take Some Deep Breaths of Fresh Air
  5. Put your whole heart and Soul into a Few Hugs Today
  6. Buy a Bouquet of Flowers to celebrate You and Springtime!
  7. If you haven't had a physical or a good dental cleaning, make those appointments today!
  8. Dream Big- Where to you want to be in 1, 5 and 10 years?   Send the message out into the universe by writing it down!
  9. Make a Joy List - Try to Think of 100 things that make you happy (Hint:  heed your senses here- favorite smell, sound, taste...)
  10. Say No and make No Excuses.   "No" is enough, but you can follow with "I don't want that" or "I can't fit that in" if you need to clarify your response. 
Take Good Care!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Self Care Girl is Saving Honey Bees Today

“The pedigree of honey Does not concern the bee; A clover, any time, to him Is aristocracy.”  

- Emily Dickinson



I am away from my computer today...if you need me, you can find me in my garden...doing my part to save the Honey bees!

 

At the end of the month I am heading to Melbourne, Australia for a work assignment.  As I won't be here for summer, I have changed my plans about having an amazing culinary herb garden.

 

Instead- Plan Bee (heheh) - I am on a mission to save honey bees by planting bee friendly plants- catnip, lemon balm, lemon mint, borage, cilantro, bachelor's button, phacelia, and purple cone flower- in my raised beds.   Did you know that honey bees are becoming endangered?   I feel that this is one small way that I can show my appreciation and hopefully help these little creatures along.  


Here is some great information on the bee situation  (includes some good news about the bee situation):  beehaviour.com


And another great site:  savehoneybees.org


Here are 5 good things you can do to save the bees:

  1. Educate yourself on this issue

  2. Plant Bee Friendly plants in your garden

  3. Reduce your use of pesticides

  4. Support your local beekeeper and companies that support bees: Good Companies

  5. Avoid those companies that threaten bee populations: Evil Companies


 I hope you will consider supporting this important cause with me!

 

Take Good Care!

 

 


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Self Care Girl Likes...

“As long as there's a few farmers out there, we'll keep fighting for them.” - Willie Nelson




Self Care Girl Likes:    Her Local Farmer's Market.


The Market season is here!



Mr Self Care and I were driving home from work on Thursday discussing what to have for dinner.  We had some organic chicken sausages, but we were completely out of vegetables.   Both of us had just returned from business trips and we hadn't had a chance to replenish our healthy food supply.     We were tired from a long day at work too, so neither of us were in the mood for grocery shopping.  

It dawned on me as we pulled into old town Snohomish that it was "market day".    Every Thursday evening from May to October, local farmers, bakers, beekeepers, soap makers, spice mixers, florists, artsy-types, etc etc etc...come together to sell their wares at the farmer's market.    We stopped in, grabbed some asparagus (grown in my hometown on the other side of the mountains- yey!), browsed a little, and then went merrily on our way.  The dinner problem was solved!

When you visit a farmer's market, you not only support your local farmer, but you get the freshest, in-season, food your money can buy.   

The fabulous website culinate.com has a great little search tool to help you locate your nearest market.

Take Good Care!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The First Step In Improving Any Situation

"Change may come to you in trinkets and I hope it adorns your life gracefully."  ~Dodinsky



Visualize the ideal state.

I have slowly been making my way through a book about effecting change called "Switch" by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

One important technique that this book offers in taking a step toward addressing any problem is to ask yourself the question:

"If tomorrow you woke up and your problem was gone...what would that look like?"

Provide a lot of detail as you devise your answer.   How do you feel?  What is the first thing you do to start your day without the problem?  What is the second?  What else is different about this day?  Who do you spend your time with?  Where?

Once you establish this ideal picture of your life, decide how you can make one small change toward achieving it.  Maybe you take the first action that you envisioned above- behave as though you have already reached your desired state.  

Very often it is a small-seemingly insignificant- step that provides the momentum to get you on your way to big change.  

If something is standing in the way of your happiness, this exercise can help you realize it.  Visualize to realize!  All the answers you need to lie within you!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Does Anyone Ever Read These Posts?

Silence is a text easy to misread.  
~A.A. Attanasio




I don't think I am the only blogger to ever wonder this.    

The post on the Self Care Girl blog with the highest number of hits is one I wrote over a year ago about the importance of celebrating a regular Date Night with your significant other.   It didn't take me long to realize that the traffic to that post was solely directed by the photo I chose of Disney's Lady & the Tramp.   I would like to think that an occasional wayward surfer actually took a moment to read my blog, but judging by the comments on that particular post  (zero comments), I cannot gauge inspiration, exasperation nor apathy.
In the beginning it is thrilling to find that someone found your blog interesting enough to "follow" it or leave a comment.   Nobody has to know that the one friend who likes your blog is your Mom, or your sister, your best friend or YOU personally, for that matter (if you write under an alias).  

And this is true of most posts, really.  More often than not I get what I optimistically refer to as "silent applause."
Occasionally, I will receive a sign that a particular post touched a nerve (a direct comment on the blog or on the link I place on facebook).  Often I will speak with someone who out of the blue tells me "oh- that post on (insert topic here)...I could really relate to that!" or, "I love your blog - it really reminds me that I need to take care of myself better".  I have had a few posts re-posted by others, and an invitation to provide regular content on another very inspirational site.    This kind of feedback is always encouraging.
However, I think it is important to keep blogging in perspective.   I started this blog for many reasons:  to inspire other women to take care of themselves;  to practice my craft (I love to write); because I am passionate about my own self-care; to explore my own interest in social media; to provide something positive and selfless to the world.     

The point of this post (and I do have one) is that the feedback you receive (or lack there of) should not silence your purpose or your voice.
  
Putting yourself out there- expressing your thoughts and ideas- takes courage.   Not everyone will agree with you and there will certainly be people who just don't care enough about what you think to comment.  This is okay.  It does not reflect your worth as a human being...or the value of your thought.  

So far, no one has attempted to silence me....sometimes that IS the best you can hope for!  (Although I find the idea of expressing some dangerous and earth shattering idea somewhat alluring...hmm...)
In my opinion, there is nothing more worthless than a thought NOT expressed.  (The caveat -of course- is that you should aim to keep damaging thoughts under some control here).   What goes on in your head is of little consequence if it is not expressed or transformed into an action.   Sharing ideas allows us to connect with others.  It allows you to express your existence.  And, quite frankly, your opinion matters more than you may think it does.