A Matter of Balance: A Woman's Quest for Health, Harmony & Kick-ass Heels

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Making progress and making bread.....

Last week I was overwhelmed with a capital 'O'.  I won't go into the gory details but they involved a bunch of other unappealing 'o' words like...overextended, overtired, over scheduled. 

I met with my Mastermind pals on Friday and as usual, they set me straight.  "DON'T take on another thing!" they told me.    Another friend echoed the same message, "MAKE some time for yourself and don't forget to USE your friends as a safety net when you need to.  Look at your priorities, and MAKE time for what's important!"

The next day I was asked to volunteer for something.  It was something I'm sure I'd really enjoy doing and most definitely a worthwhile activity.   I could hear the voice of my Mastermind gals in my mind and I graciously declined. Progress!

Also throughout the week, each day seemed to bring some upsetting or sad news from friends and family.  I was buzzing buying sympathy cards, get well cards, and assisting people with a variety of tasks that seemed to need immediate attention. Then I learned my next door neighbor passed away.  I don't know the couple well, but still, I thought I had better do something, or as a good Italian would say, I'd better cook something!   After a quick look in my pantry and I figured I'd throw some ingredients in the bread maker and whip up a loaf at 6 am before flying out the door. 

After seeing the loaf of bread on the counter for almost a day, I decided this afternoon it was time to make a visit next door.  Could I just leave it on the doorstep?  I mean there are a lot of items to be crossed off my list and after all I didn't really know Sydney well and maybe his wife doesn't really want company.

Instead I rang the bell and ended up spending an hour with Rhoda, most definitely the longest conversation we've ever had.  She told me about her 68 year marriage, her grand kids, places she's lived and of course some juicy neighborhood gossip.  We talked about how and the sense of community in neighborhoods has been lost over the years and how much people really crave it.

The words of my friend echoed in my head, look at your priorities and make time for what's important. 
Turns out making bread is making progress.  The items on the list will be there tomorrow.  They can wait.  Doing the right thing, the thing that's most real and compassionate, that can't wait.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Do something you love to do....

A few of the books on my pile - to read or already read!

TGIF, right?  So why not do something you love to do today?  I just came back from a trip to the library.  Love the library!  Did some browsing and checked out three fun reads.  I've got a good mystery for the car ride to and from Jersey on Sunday. 

Kick off your weekend with something you love to do!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

There's an app for that.....

I must admit I'm somewhat obsessed with my iPhone. My husband, the Apple fanatic, will be happy to hear me admit it publicly.

I'll confess to surfing the app store and finding interesting (mostly free) apps to play around with.  My current favorite is called Gratitude Rock.  Now I'm an off and on with my journaling and I have gone through many phases writing down things I'm grateful for, but not always sticking to it.  I think I first read about this practice years ago in the cult favorite, Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance.  Around the same time Oprah jumped into the action and still recommends recording five things a day.

Well, since I've downloaded Gratitude Rock, I've been on a roll typing in five things every day for the past six weeks or so.  I mean I'm fiddling with the phone a lot, I might as well put it to good use to express gratitude and put some good vibes out into the universe.

So I'm happy to say I'm using my technology for GRATITUDE!  Hey, whatever works.  And if you have a favorite app that's creating positive change in your life, I want to hear about it! I've got my phone handy and I'll be sure to check it out.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Let's hear it for the girls!

A customer of mine passed this along recently.  It tied right in with what we had been discussing at our Happiness Project Book Club. 

I thought it was definitely worth sharing!   And speaking of girlfriend time,  I have a great Girl's Night Out planned at our studio tomorrow:  What Not To Wear  - wine, girl talk and great information about how to dress with less stress and more style.   So according to this info, we're not only doing something good for our health, but for our appearance too!

Some girl time last summer - Becky, Tressa & I

Hello Kristen,
A friend of mine just sent me this....Very interesting...we talked about this at our book club.

They Teach It at Stanford

"I just finished taking  an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture was on the mind-body connection - the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head  of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman, whereas for a  woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends.

At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Women connect with each other differently and  provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult  life experiences. Physically this quality “girlfriend time" helps us to create more serotonin - a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being.  Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a   buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes.  But their feelings? Rarely.

Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very good for our health.  He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.

There's a tendency to think that when we are "exercising" we  are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged—not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other women is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking!

So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! We are indeed very, very lucky. Sooooo let's toast to our friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it's very good for our health."

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Just for the fun of it

On Sunday I participated in the largest recreational bike ride in the country, the Five Boro Bike Tour.  It's 42 miles through the five boroughs of NY (hence the name) and about 35,000 people come out to take the ride.

Several people asked me questions about the ride. Are we riding for charity?  How long does it take and are we going to beat our time from last year?

To be honest, this is something I do just for the fun of it.

Since we're on year three, we've developed a routine.  One of the great things is that  I get to spend time with my friend Joe, a friendship that's spanned about 28 years now.The night before we go out for our favorite Fairway turkey burgers with avocado & cheese.  We treated ourselves to dessert (since we knew we'd be biking 42 miles the next day). And although we have always had almost identical taste in food, Joe opted for chocolate ice cream and I went for the cupcake.

But wait it's not about the food, the real fun is the ride itself.  There is a TON of energy, riders of all ages, crazy outfits (like the gal who rides every year in pumps and fish nets), people cheering us on from the sidelines, gospel singers in Harlem and more.

Two of our teammates, Tim & Chip, make it a point of trying to say hello, and if possible,  high five, every bystander.  I'm not kidding!  I told them we are now not only the Checkered Flag Team but  Team Congeniality as well.  It's so much fun to see them try to connect with as many people as possible.  I tried as to join in as much as possible, but was careful to avoid getting high-fived right off of my bike!

The weather was gorgeous, the atmosphere is electric, the gang I ride with is fun and crazy.  It's all just for the fun of it. 

The 2011 Checkered Flag Team