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):

And another great site:

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 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.   

Monday, May 9, 2011

Taking Self Care on the Road

“Not all those who wander are lost.” - J.R.R Tolkien

My mind is pre-occupied lately with travel.  I am currently on a short business trip; I will shortly be preparing for a 3 month assignment in Australia, and many of us are patiently awaiting our summer vacations.   

Even though the aim of most travel is to obtain some rest and relaxation, travel can be an exhausting and stressful exercise.    We often place ourselves in unfamiliar settings, have our sleep patterns disrupted by jet lag, allow ourselves to temporarily indulge in unhealthy food, and if we travel to popular destinations via public transportation we expose our immune systems to an assortment of germs and bacteria.    Inadvertently, many of us create the perfect environment on our holidays for getting ill- and heaven knows there is nothing worse than saving for a dream vacation only to arrive and come down with the flu.
Listed below are 10 little healthful tid-bits that I have gathered from my own extensive travel experience.

  1. Be mindful of germs and wash your hands often.  Airplanes and public restrooms are petry dishes of germs and bacteria.   I was reading an article in Natural Health magazine on my flight yesterday: the article cited a study that found influenza, staph and MRSA germs on airline seat back trays and the highest quantities of E-Coli bacteria in airline lavatories.  (Ew!)  Wash hands and be mindful of these surfaces!
  2. One awesome tip I learned recently.  Direct the air valve located above your airline seat to blow at your face- any airborne germs from other passengers will be kept outside of that airflow (do I sound like a complete germ-o-phobe now?)
  3. The food and beverages they serve on airplanes is the worst things you can eat when traveling by air.  The number one important thing you can do is hydrate yourself fully before, during and after you fly.  Drinking caffeine or alcohol dehydrate you.  Foods high in salt and sugar are also detrimental.   I recommend water and bring your own healthy alternatives: fruit, energy bars etc...
  4. Scope out healthy options at your destination.  Getting a room with a kitchenette can help you to not only eat healthier, but it will also save you money on your food bill.   By all means indulge a little, but eat for energy and health too! 
  5. Plan time in your schedule - the first day after you arrive -to just rest.  Sleep in, lounge by the pool, leisurely peruse your sightseeing options, take a walk on the beach.   Most importantly keep the day unscheduled.   This will allow you to charge up a bit and then respond to whatever you feel you need that day- instead of being forced to comply with a hectic tour or schedule. 
  6. Be sure to be in the moment when you do engage in an activity.   Mr Self Care and I once booked a date on the local dinner train.   The couple next to us had flown in earlier that day from Chicago.  They  spent the entire experience pouring over site seeing brochures instead of enjoying the scenery and romance of the moment.  
  7. Wear sunblock...and repeat.   Nothing worse than getting a bad sunburn when on vacation.  
  8. Find activities that provide a little exercise.   We stayed at a resort a few years ago that had free water aerobics classes and stretching in the morning.  It was a great way to start our active day!
  9. As I have gotten older, I have found it really beneficial to give myself a full day at home after returning from vacation before going back to work.   This gives an opportunity to ease back into the normal routine without having to rush about.   Yes, it may mean one day less at a glamorous location, but for us it means that we return from our vacation without feeling like we need another vacation!
  10. Take your vacations.   Even a stay-cation- where you vacation at home- can be an important opportunity to recharge and refocus.   Don't work your whole life away!
 Take Good Care!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Self Care Girl Is Leaving On A Jet Plane Today

The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious.  And why shouldn't it be? - it is the same the angels breathe.  ~Mark Twain, "Roughing It"
Self Care Girl is up,up and away from her laptop today.  Flying from Seattle to Charleston, S.C. to finish a project there. 

I am wishing a very Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's out there.   It is the toughest and MOST important job there is!   I encourage you to take really good care of yourself - you are a VIP and people count on you- So do everything you can to be the best you can be! 

  • Take time for yourself regularly - visit friends, exercise, sleep!
  • Talk nice to yourself - you ARE special and perfect just the way you are!
  • Do something nice for yourself - little things like a bouquet of tulips or a new bubble bath can have huge impact.
  • Hug your kidlets - Human touch is good for you and them!
  • Eat healthy- it will not only make you healthy, but it sets a good example for your children. 
Take Good Care!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Self Care Girl Likes...

"Until man duplicates a blade of grass, nature can laugh at his so-called scientific knowledge. Remedies from chemicals will never stand in favour compared with the products of nature, the living cell of the plant, the final result of the rays of the sun, the mother of all life."
- T. A. Edison
Self Care Girl Likes.....
If you know me at all you know that I am a huge foodie!  I love to cook...and eat...and experiment with flavors.
I have long been a fan of herbs, however I have revisited this passion recently as I work to remodel my diet.   I have lost 33lbs and realize that I cannot continue to eat in the same ways that made me overweight.  Herbs are one way to add flavor and character to food in a way that is not only easy, but very healthy.
You can find fresh herbs in your grocery store produce section.  This has been the best route for me as we are still patiently awaiting spring her in the Pacific Northwest Rain Forest.   My plans for the summer would have included a serious herb garden, however I have an assignment in Australia beginning in June which is winter I will continue to seek out fresh herbs in the market rather than growing my own. 
I have a few books that I have found invaluable for learning about herbs and one little trick to share.
Jerry Traunfeld, orignally from the Herb Farm (one of the best restaurants in the U.S.) and now owner of Poppy (absolutely fabulous!) has two cookbooks that I will be taking with me Down Under: 
and...The Herb Farm Cookbook
One little trick that I have learned when buying herbs in the market is that rather than buying a huge amount of herbs for one recipe, at Whole Foods (where I shop) and some other grocery stores you can find herb "medleys" - a mix of fresh herbs designated for poultry, or fish, or beef.    These provide smaller portions and variety.    I find that less goes to waste.  
Last night I experimented heavily with sage, the night before I had a delicious meal with basil.   I am learning more about the flavors and how they enhance food.   It has made cooking healthier and sticking to my diet much more enjoyable!
Take Good Care!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Self Care Girl's Day Off

“Don't work your life away” -paraphrased by my hairdresser, Teri, who was given this advice by a co-worker before he passed away from cancer.   Teri now spends her days in Hawaii- in shorts and in lots of sunshine.  She is an inspiration!

Let the Friday Happy Dance Begin!

I took the day off today.  Early Sunday morning I fly out for a short business trip, and quite frankly, the thought of spending another day in the office completing paperwork was sending my soul into despair mode.   So I am following my gut today and I do believe that taking a day off is exceptionally good self care!

I have nothing planned, but a list of 10 things I could do:

  1. Get a manicure and pedicure
  2. Fit in a 5.5 walk
  3. Browse the local "antique" shops
  4. Go to the outlet for some clothes shopping
  5. Donate off all the clothes I have grown out of at the local Good Will
  6. Sleep in
  7. Do some yoga
  8. Do laundry and then pack for business trip next week. 
  9. Buy some plants and do some gardening
  10. Meet a girlfriend for lunch.
 I love days like this...filled with all kinds of possibilities and choices...or absolutely NOTHING...the choice is mine. 

When was the last day you had at your own whim?   What would you do if you had the day off?

I implore you to plan one is too short to not take a day off now an then.

Take Good Care!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Self Care Routines

"For pragmatic reasons, I love the routine. I love the structure of it. I love knowing that my days are free. I know where I'm going at night. I know my life is kind of orderly. I just like that better."  -Andrea Martin

The benefits of having routines are many.   I find them very helpful in adding order and simplicity to my crazy, sometimes disordered and complicated life.  
It is true that disorder and complexity create struggle, and from what I have derived from life experience- personal growth happens best when we are uncomfortable.   But, while we may grow better when compelled by discomfort, many of us are paralyzed when we find ourselves in complete chaos.   We need  to strike a balance.   Some areas of our lives need to be stable and safe.   This is where routines come in handy.
I have three favorite routines:
  • Friday nights have always been Family Night in our home.   Now that we are "empty-nesters", Fridays are officially Date Night.   We usually watch a movie, but sometimes a game or two of Canasta or a night on the town happen instead.   We used to eat we usually have steak and salad.   
  • On Sunday mornings, Mr Self Care and I drive over to Whole Foods to do our grocery shopping.  It is a little out of our way, but we love this store.  Shopping here reinforces our healthy lifestyle too.   We grab a coffee and breakfast from the buffet there and sit and visit before jumping into our shopping.  
  • Our newest routine is our nightly walk.   We come home from work- change into our walking clothes and hit the park for exercise.   It is more together time.  We talk, we burn calories, we get some fresh air.   
Routines are also beneficial for effortlessly working in important self-care habits:
  • At night when watching your favorite television show- grab your dental floss. 
  • Once a week - as part of your shopping trip- grab a bouquet of fresh flowers.  I have been picking up tulips lately (3 bunches for $10).  
  • Once a week, create a small spa experience - put on a facial mask and jump into a bubble bath.   Light candles, turn on some soft music and give yourself a little "me" time.
  • Have a set time at work to get up from your desk and take a little stroll- find a co-worker to reinforce the commitment.   I have a friend who stops by my desk at 10am and 2pm each day.   We do a quick 15 minute walk.  
  • My sister has an exquisite chocolat stash.  Her favorite candy is Alpini bars from Thorton's in England.   (My husband travels to England a few times each year for his job, so replenishing her stash for her birthday and Christmas has become our routine!)   She treats herself to one of these decadent bars each month.  
  • Read for a half hour each night before bed. 
  • Get up early enough to enjoy a quiet house and a cup of coffee each morning. 
The real beauty of routines is that they require little thought and -in many cases- little preparation.  

Avoid sweeping changes and routines that feel like a chore- the aim is to reduce stress, not increase it!   Instead, be gradual in your approach to setting up routines; establish one small ritual at a time.  Think about what soothes you.  Think about something healthful and find ways to make the task effortless and pleasant.  
 Take Good Care!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Time Warp...

“What is important in life is life, and not the result of life.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Digital Artwork is "Time Warp" by Chuck Brittenham

In 100 Years...None of Us Will Be Here

Now, doesn't that just put every little thing into its proper perspective?

Whatever is stressing you out today, or making you unhappy, or super duper mad is incredibly small when you view it through the 100 year time warp.     I am not making light of what you are experiencing, but instead of drowning in despair, sometimes it works to take a huge step back and see things from another viewpoint.

The 100 year time warp gives me hope.   I know the world will be a much different place in a century...I hope we keep improving it.    I promise to do my part.

Take Good Care!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Splurge


“I am not a glutton - I am an explorer of food” - Erma Bombeck

Hot Date Cake with Banana Ice Cream, Butterscotch and Salted Pecans.    It was not my birthday, nor anniversary, not a late Easter....or early was just pure gluttony.    An overindulgence.   A visit to my old, not-so-healthy, habits.



We dressed fancy for the occasion.  My one consolation is that my "little-r" black dress still fit comfortably at the end of the night, even though my skin felt definitely tighter around the mid-section.

I had been wanting to visit Poppy for over a year and it was a fabulous meal! Duck, Salmon, herbs, spices...a powerful cocktail...and the Hot Date Cake that I ate even though I was already full...even though I had sworn off sugar and starches...and convinced myself that I could just try one bite.  

I woke yesterday morning at a fabulous 201.8 lbs (less than 2lbs from my 199 goal).   This morning the scale is a stubborn 203.8.   It will not budge...I have checked it 5 times. 


Was it worth it?  Well, I have decided it is....on the one condition that I get right back on my plan today and avoid another occurrence of shear foodie abandon (at least until we have a special occasion to warrant it (June 3rd is Mr SC's birthday).

Here is the deal...I knew what I was doing, and I knew what the consequence would be.   (And here I am- living out that destiny)   I am committed to learning how to balance my healthier lifestyle with these periodic splurges.   I find both states pleasurable- really I do!  I just know that the healthier lifestyle needs to happen 98% of the time.   My foodie side is saying "2%!!!!  that is not a fair balance!!"  but, honestly, I think I can live with that.  


Today's menu:  Salad.  

Today's agenda: 5.5 mile walk around the park.  

It's all good!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Self Care Girl is Cleaning Her Closets Today

Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.  ~Epictetus

Self Care Girl is away from my computer today, cleaning out her closets.
33 lbs and two dress sizes down!   This means that even though the closet is full of clothes,  most of what is in there doesn't fit anymore.      We see a major shopping trip in our near future!

We wish you a very productive and restful Sunday.     Be sure to take some time today to treat yourself or enjoy quality time with people you love.   

Take Good Care!