Mother Knows Best

This is a picture of Chloe. Chloe sits in a chair in my mom’s living room – I am often startled by her when I come around the corner. I forget she is there and yet when I remember, I smile. She is an over sized stuffed doll, book in lap and glasses perched high on her nose. I think she has a Spirit.

I was visiting my mom this weekend and spent a lot of time around Chloe. Mom and I sat in the living room, playing with the new iPad I bought her.  It was as if Chloe was learning along with mom – she sat and listened intently to every detail.

It was a gift to be able to give my mom something so modern and to teach her how to use it, so that the distance between us could more easily be bridged. I miss being around her. She is really a smart and funny woman. Kind, generous and always spouting something political that makes my eyes roll, we teach each other.

My mom has always had a lot to say and has usually been ahead of her time. As a kid, she led a crusade to have all the junk food removed from the cafeteria in my elementary school and fed us Tigers Milk bars instead of candy.  She shopped in the natural foods store when it really was a natural foods store and not a Whole Foods store. She wanted to create a curriculum called Life 101 to teach kids the details of living life with money. Now they are every where. As a kid I was embarrassed. As an adult, I am eager to hear what she has to teach.

So this trip, when she told me I could rinse my hair with leftover coffee to tone out the gray, I laughed as usual, but listened. I actually asked for other tips. Then, I wondered if that was what Chloe had in the book in her lap: Tips from Mom.

Wherever they come from, there are some good ones. In the spirit of  Chloe and E (my mom), I pass them along. You can laugh. I do. But give em try and then remember, sometimes mother really does know best.

Coffee Rinse: Take a cup of coffee that’s left over and cool it down. After you shower, go to the sink, bend over and carefully pour the coffee through your hair. Use an old towel to blot it dry (as it will stain). As mom says, “it doesn’t cover it, but it tones it down.”

Coffee Scrub: Mush a few coffee grounds in with your soap and gently scrub your face. It will draw out impurities and bring out a little color in your cheeks. Rinse with cool water.

Lemon Scrub:

1 tsp Honey

1 tsp Lemon Juice

1 TBL Almonds ground or chopped up oatmeal

Zest of a lemon

A little Olive Oil

Mix it up and use as an exfoliate. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

Lemon Nail Brightener: Soak in lemon juice for 5 minutes. Rinse in warm water

What natural tips did your mom MindFULLY share? Let us know!

Back In Focus

I love MindFULL Mondays. They encourage me to reflect on what fills me up, especially when I can slip into focusing on what drains me down.

Today’s reflection reminds me that I am one lucky person. I have had the good fortune of crossing paths with some incredible people. People who inspire me. People who leave me feeling the better for knowing them. People who leave a colorful mark on my Spirit.

Its important to remember this when I know better and still waste precious time perseverating on something silly, like let’s say…people who can’t return an email in a timely manner or without the words (every time) “sorry it has taken so long, but…” Or…or…or…

How do we change our focus? Change our lens!

And how do we do that? One way is simply in recognizing the g-dwink moments that show up to remind you that they are here.

I had one of those moments last month. Actually, it was my birthday and I was thinking of all of the things I wanted this year to be about. One was to re-learn how to use my camera. Two years ago, I received a beautiful camera from my family. It was meant to replace the two fabulous cameras I had received from one of THE creative muses in my life, K. James Kropp.

“Jim”, as he was known in my younger days, was a Creative Director in my first agency. Friendly, willing to teach, open to possibility and breathtakingly creative, Jim blessed me with his friendship as I moped over to the Account side and really longed to be on the Creative. When we both left the agency, we stayed friends and for years, talked and inspired each other. When I graduated from The Ed School at Harvard, Jim came to Cambridge and gifted me with his two old Canon cameras. One for B&W and one for Color. We walked the city (OK,  I walked and he rollerbladed) and he taught me how to use the cameras. Months later, when I was visiting him in Chicago, with my new eyes I took a series of city shots that rest on my mantel, today.

So, as I thought about learning how to use my (sorta) new camera this year, I sent a hello to my old friend. Of course, as creative sparks often happen with Jim, he told me in his return note about his new book, “Capturing Beauty with Your Camera – 10 Tips To Taking Better Photographs” ( and sent me a copy as a birthday present. It is delightful. In 10 easy tips, Jim teaches you how to look through a new lense, using the scenery of his cruise on Le Ponant to Sicily and Italy in October, 2009. He fills the pages with pictures and a few simple points that bring clarity and insight to the reader and doer.

I don’t know which has had more of an impact. The fact this man and his book showed up (again) when I was longing for a teacher or the fact that this man and his book showed up when I was longing (again) to change my focus.

It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they did and so did I. I think you will, too. Even if you aren’t into photography, go online and check out his website, Allow him to transport you to far away places. And just maybe, when you return, you too will have a new focus on the moments that matter. And you can delete those that don’t.


How do you  MindFULLY change your focus? Let us know!


MindFULLY Reading

It’s Labor Day. A funny name, for I think few labor on this day. Nonetheless, it marks the end of summer and beginning of Fall. And the beginning of Fall marks a soon to be Winter.

Having spent the last year in the pursuit of all things outside of myself, I am ready to turn my attention back to my mind. Some days I feel like I am losing it. I think one of the best ways to keep it sharp  is to pick up a good book. Colette would say it is by playing Words With Friends and learning all the two letter words she claims are real, but that is a post for other time. This Fall and Winter, I have committed to reading one Classic per season. However, there are so many. Where to begin? Pondering this notion over our usual glass of wine one evening, Erica shared a Classic Reading List from a friend of hers. I am sure there are many “must-read Classic Reading Lists” out there. But, in the spirit of “pick one and get reading”, I am using this one. I am starting with #26. It has always been on my list.

Maybe something on this list will strike your fancy. On this day of supposed ease, maybe there is an hour embedded for you to put your feet and get started. No matter your choice, may you find inspiration, stimulation and satisfaction. And may the Winter months pass easily with each page turned.

  1. Crime and Punishment – Dostoyevksy
  2. Brother’s Karamazov – Dostoyevsky
  3. Ulysses – Joyce
  4. Native Son – Richard Wright
  5. Passage to India  – E.M. Forester
  6. Of Human Bondage – Maugham
  7. Henderson the Rain God – Bellow
  8. 1984 – Orwell
  9. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  10. The Great Gatsby – Fitzgerald
  11.  Lord of the Flies – Golding
  12.  Lolita – Nabakov
  13.  The Sound and the Fury – Faulkner
  14.  Light in August – Faulkner
  15.  To the Lighthouse – Virginia Wolf
  16.  Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce
  17.  Invisible Man  – Ralph Ellison
  18.  Pride and Prejudice – Austen
  19.  The Catcher in the Rye – Salinger
  20.  To Kill a Mockingbird –  Harper Lee
  21.  One Hundred Years of Solitude – Marquez
  22.   The Grapes of Wrath – Steinbeck
  23.   East of Eden – Steinbeck
  24.  Brave New World – Huxley
  25.  Madame Bovary -Flaubert
  26.  Anna Karenina – Tolstoy
  27.  Slaughterhouse Five – Vonnegut
  28.  In Cold Blood – Capote
  29. The Sun Also Rises – Hemingway
  30.  Sons and Lovers – Lawrence
  31.  The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – McCullers
  32.  Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  33.  An American Tragedy – Dreiser
  34.  Remembrance of Things Past – Proust
  35.  All the Pretty Horses – McCarthy
  36.   Dune – Herbert
  37.   Stranger in a Strange Land – Heinlein
  38.  Death Comes for the Archbishop – Cather
  39.  My Antonia – Cather
  40.  The Moviegoer – Percy
  41.  Ender’s Game – Card
  42.  The Alexandria Quartet – Durrell
  43.  Angle of Repose – Stegner
  44.  A Room with a View – Forster
  45.  Sun Also Rises  – Hemingway
  46.  The French Lieutenant’s Woman – Fowles
  47.  Native Son – Wright
  48.  Brideshead Revisted – Waugh
  49.  I, Claudius – Graves
  50.  White Noise – Delillo
  51.  Beloved – Morrison
  52.  The Remains of the Day – Ishiguro
  53.  So Long, See You Tomorrow – Maxwell
  54.  The Day of the Locust – West
  55. The Bell Jar – Plath
  56.  Babbitt – Lewis
  57.  Howard’s End – Forster
  58.   One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Kesey
  59.   The Color Purple – Walker
  60.  Of Mice and Men – Steinbeck
  61.   A Farewell to Arms – Hemingway
  62.   On the Road – Kerouac
  63.   The Call of the Wild – London
  64.   All the King’s Men – Warren
  65.   The Jungle – Sinclair
  66.   The Age of Innocence – Wharton
  67.   A Clockwork Orange – Burgess
  68.   A Good Man is hard to Find – O’Connor
  69.   Cat’s Cradle – Vonnegut
  70.   Look Homeward Angel – Wolfe
  71.  This Side of Paradise – Fitzgerald
  72.   Middlemarch – Eliot
  73.   Gone with the Wind
  74.  Catch 22 – Heller
  75.  The Lord of the Rings – Tolkien
  76.  A Clockwork Orange – Burgess
  77.   For Whom the Bell Tolls – Hemingway
  78.   Frankenstein – Shelley
  79.  The Big Sleep – Chandler
  80.  Go Tell it on the Mountain – Baldwin
  81.  Heart of Darkness – Conrad
  82.   Night – Wiesel
  83.   Rabbit Run – Updike
  84.   The Day of the Locust – West
  85.   Goodbye to all that – Graves
  86.   Pride and Prejudice – Austen
  87.  Jane Eyre – Bronte
  88. Wuthering Heights – Bronte
  89. The Stranger – Camus
  90. A Tale of Two Cities – Dickens
  91. A Mill on the Floss – Elliott
  92. The Good Soldier – Ford
  93. Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Hardy
  94. The Scarlett Letter – Hawthorne
  95. The Iliad  – Homer
  96. The Odyssey – Homer
  97. Their Eyes were Watching God – Hurston
  98. Brave New World – Huxley
  99. The Metamorphosis – Kafka
  100. The Woman Warrior – Kingston
  101. Magic Mountain – Mann
  102. Moby Dick – Melville
  103. All Quiet on the Western Front – Remarque
  104. The Crying of Lot 49 – Pynchon
  105. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Solzhenitsyn
  106. War and Peace – Tolstoy
  107. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Twain
  108. Candide – Voltaire
  109. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Wilde
  110. Charlotte’s Web – White
  111. The Old Man and the Sea – Hemingway
  112. Schindler’s List – Kenealy
  113. Mrs. Dalloway – Woolf
  114. Jazz – Morrison
  115. Cat’s Cradle – Vonnegut
  116. The Wings of the Dove – James
  117. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Adam
  118. Naked Lunch – Burroughs
  119. The War of the Words – Wells
  120. The Naked and the Dead – Mailer
  121. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas – Stein
  122. The Wind in the Willows – Grahame
  123. Dead Souls – Gogol
  124. Great Expectations – Dickens
  125. Cry the Beloved Country – Paton
  126. The Man and His Servant – Tolstoy
  127. The Lover – Duras
  128. Ethan Frome – Wharton


 What will you MindFULLY choose to read this season? Let us know!

Exceeding Expectations

A few weeks ago, I was on a business trip to Boston. It was one of those trips where I had gotten in the night before, started working the next morning at 7:30am (5:30 Denver time) and finished in time to catch the last flight home that night. Only this time,  I missed the 8pm flight. It had left at 8am.

Yes, I had booked my ticket and hit a.m. instead of p.m. What a knucklehead. Or was I? Perhaps I was meant to wait 5 hours for the next flight…

It was a Thursday night and tons of flights were canceled or delayed due to the severe weather. So, giving in to my mistake, I headed for the concourse brew pub. As luck would have it, I got the last bar stool; the place was packed with weary travelers trying to make the best of a tiring situation.

As I laid my head on the counter and whispered, “IPA”, the guy next to me said, “long day?” “Oy Vey”, I thought, “please don’t talk to me. I have just spent 10 hours intensely listening to people talk…I’m going to cry…” But instead, I looked at him and laughed. “Is it that obvious?” He just smiled. Turned out, he was going to Vegas with the other 5 guys at the bar. His day was just beginning.

“So, what do you do?” he asked. “Market Research” I softly responded, hoping he’d think I had no personality and would leave me alone. “Oh, cool! I looove to hear what people think – I work for Apple!” and at that point, whatever personality I was trying to sit on bubbled up and I said, “Really? I happen to have a not-so-happy feeling about Apple at the moment” and proceeded to pull out my iPad and give him my story.

Long story short, I didn’t like that Apple launched the  iPad 2 right after the holidays, when all one could buy was the iPad1. Why not launch 2 before Christmas, not after. In 2 weeks, my new toy became an old toy. Not a satisfying feeling.

“Not too worry. Here is my card. I’ll be in the office on Monday. Call me and let me see what I can do for you.” Poor guy had no idea who he was sitting next to. The following week, I called and left a message. Within a day, he called me back, chatted about my situation and then sent the following email:

Hey Robin, It’s ___ from Apple Business! Great talking with you today and thank you for following up with me after our impromptu/amazing meeting at the Boston Beerworks in terminal C. After you told me about the way you felt about Apple after our unintentional wrongdoing that impacted you, I felt as if I had no other choice but to win you back as an Apple customer once more. 

 At Apple, the satisfaction of the people that own our technology is by far the most important element of our industry leading customer service model. Being a provider of technology, it is inherent within our business that technology will change quickly and often times right when we don’t want it to. It is not the job of our users keep track of this, because people like yourself have far more important things do. 

The story that you shared with me speaks volumes to the topic above. Again, I would be happy to take back the product that you have, in exchange for the newer model of iPad 2. (Example: 16GB AT&T iPad 1 for a 16GB AT&T iPad 2)That being said these are the things I need from you…

WOW! I was stunned. And delighted. You see, in a nutshell, my job is to get consumers to talk about how they feel about a product or service. Then, the Client that hires me takes what they hear and uses it to deliver a better product or service. That’s’ exactly what this guy did. In a nano-second, he turned me from sour grapes to wine.

And…what are the chances that I was working on a technology company project at the time  and that I had just spent the  week interviewing folks about computers and that I would miss my flight (which I have never done) and that I would end up sitting next to someone having a reverse conversation? Talk about being in flow and meeting people at the right time…

So, dear readers, if you live in New England and have any thoughts about upgrading/changing or exploring new IT solutions for your business, then let me know and I will put you in touch with this young, old soul who exceeded my expectations. Actually, no matter where you live, I am sure he can help. His philosophy can’t be beat:

“My job at Apple focuses around business to business sales. As you know, the team that I belong to is based out of Boston, MA area and we work with people all over New England. One of the best parts of my job is that there is no commission on anything that we do here. Our role in the businesses that we work with is to provide honest, accurate and solid Apple solutions that an existing business can pickup, implement and get working.

 We like to say, “More work. Less labor.” Meaning, more of what your business does best and less of the technology becoming a barrier in what you love to do on a daily basis. Whether you come into store, call on the phone, shoot an email or setup a meeting; our pledge is to gather all of the information that we need to create a unique solution that will fit the NEEDS of your business.

Apple has come a long way over the past 10 years. We have listened to our customers, and if business is what they want, we plan on doing business better than everyone else.”

I’d say he is a very good listener.

How has someone MindFULLY exceeded your expectations? Let us know!




Where There’s A Rut, There’s A Way

The other night, as laid with my daughter before sleep, she proclaimed she was “utzy” and couldn’t put her finger on what was under her skin. Luckily, she is pretty quick at getting to her emotions, and sure enough, 20 minutes later bounded into my bedroom and proclaimed, “I’m in a rut!”

Join the line.

We talked about what “rut” meant to a 13 year old (this Friday) and she spilled her thoughts. Gratefully, nothing major. And yet, everything we all bump up against at this time of year. It’s Spring and I sense from lots of conversations, that folks are ready to get moving again.

We brainstormed ways to get re-juiced and agreed to tackle what we could. The rest we could use as fuel for the days to come. Here are our top 10 favorites:

  1. Update your iPod with new music. Can’t think of what’s new and fun? Then just buy the soundtrack to Grey’s Anatomy. They have great songs by new artists all in one neat package. Plug it into your speakers and let it be background music to your day.
  1. Don’t laugh, but buy a few new pairs of under garments. I ripped out an award winner from Real Simple last week ( and threw out everything that had a hint of gray to it. Way easier to suck your stomach in when the band on your panties isn’t broken.
  1. Employ a few Feng Shui (pronounced Fung Shway) techniques. One of my favorite books to help you do this is The Western Guide to Feng Shui: Creating Balance, Harmony, and Prosperity in Your Environment. There are a few simple things you can do that will make all the difference, like moving around 22 objects in your house. You can do that yon your way out the door.
  1. Move your body. Try on running for size.  Here’s the link to the “Couch to 5k” Training Plan. I have NEVER been able to run, but I made a date to start next week. I need to do something new and this seems like a simple and easy way to just get my butt in gear. I’ll let you know…
  1. Make a list of everything rolling around in your brain. By a colorful marker to cross it off with.
  1. Buy one new plant and place it in a daily visible spot.
  1. Download Arthur on Netflix and take yourself back a few years. When you return to today, you’ll feel lighter, for sure.
  1. Add some lavender to your bedroom. Whether it is a misting spray, real springs or washing your sheets in lavender water, it will help promote rest. And with a little rest, things always feel better.
  1. Think about one thing weighing on your mind and deal with it. Face it. Tell the person who needs to be told. Get it off your chest. Hard to do, easy to wonder “Why didn’t I do that sooner?”
  1. Pray. Really. Get a bowl or a box and write down something you need help with. Then fold it up, put it n the container and let it go. Ask whatever higher source you believe in to help. Then step aside and do one nice thing today. Pay attention to what you begin to see.

Sure enough, after just cleaning out her bathroom (her idea), moving the hamper from the closet to a new space that makes it easier to use and putting the garbage can under sink, she looks better, feels lighter and is wearing things she forgot she had.

That’s the best part – remembering what we have. That alone can help us move forward. Gratitude. It’s the best fuel in the world.

How you MindFULLY get yourself out of a rut? Let us know!

Bring Back Boredom

Children learn from, and are changed by, the media they use. It begs the question, how many of you have any idea of the number of texts your kids send or how many hours a day they are truly involved, on-line, in some way? Have you really played their video games with them? Would it surprise you to know about a recent study showing that 8-18 year olds use media for 7:38 each day? With multi-tasking, they are exposed to 10:45 of media content each day. “That’s alot o’ screen time, Lucy…”

These facts, and other insightful observations, came to me Thursday night, when I had the honor of attending a speech being given to Denver Pediatricians by Dr. Michael Rich, Director of Center on Media and Child Health (CMCH), at Children’s Hospital Boston. Dr. Rich is a Hollywood writer, turned Pediatrician, who has become an expert on the health effects of social media on adolescents. CMCH studies the environments kids are growing up in and the acquired health risk behaviors as a result of screen time. Michael’s work inspired me years ago, when I was fresh out of graduate school with my Masters in Technology in Education.  The way we met is hysterical, but the way his work has influenced my life as a parent is profound.

How kids take in information and what they do it with it, is not for the faint of heart. Norms are shifting in our culture because kids are not paying rapt attention to what they are doing on-line; they multi-task and information filters in. Kids brains don’t turn off and what they are playing, or barely watching, gets absorbed. Take video games for example; the more time kids are exposed, the higher the correlation to violence. Just look at the huge bullying epidemic in schools today. Virtual violence desensitizes kids and can bring on violent behavior, fears, nightmares and even PSTD.

Entertainment media is the #1 way kids get their information.  As such, it is so important for us, as parents, to understand the media world and to ensure that our children are “Media Literate”. Teen sex urges and curiosity, plus clueless adults, plus no executive function or future thinking capabilities for adolescents, spreads the perfect storm. Information moves fast today and it is important for all of us to understand what it is made of and how to manage it.  One way to do that is talk with your kids about what they are watching on TV (shows and commercials), at the movies and on-line.  5 questions Michael suggests using to engage in Media Literacy at home are:

  1. Who is really the seller and what are they selling?
  2. What techniques are used to attract your attention?
  3. What lifestyles values and points are they presenting?
  4. How might different people interpret the message (other races, cultures, orientations)?
  5. What is omitted from this message?

He also suggested that another way to engage with your kids is to STACK the deck you are using to understand what’s going on:

Share media you love with your kids

Think about what the media is teaching, not just the content but in the relations it is making

Advise on and discuss what they learn

Control content and time

Know and teach media mastery

So much time spent glued to tvs, computers and phones, puts us all in jeopardy of  losing our ability to let our minds wander and create new ideas. Studies show that kids (and adults)  spend more time inside and less time playing outside. And yet it is so necessary to watch the clouds pass by, the ants build a house or bang around in nature for the afternoon. Down brain leads to innovation and inspiration. Bring back boredom. Bring up awareness.

Check out the CMCH Website at It’s full of amazing tips and advice for navigating this new world. You can also join CMCH on Facebook and “Ask The Mediatirician” at – Michael is the Pediatrician behind the screen and will answer any questions or concerns you have (i.e., “My kid used to be so social and now is withdrawn and listens to his iPod all day”).

Lucky for us,  we have access to helpful information. If you have a question, it could take weeks to get into see your kid’s Pediatrician — and I saw some of Denver’s finest at the lecture. Dr. Rich is where they are getting their advice – and it’s where you can get yours,  too.

How do you MIndFULLY navigate media with your kids? Let us know!

Pilates 9-5

Today’s MindFULL Monday Musing finds us pondering what we can do when we we hit the mid-afternoon lull. Lamenting my 3:30pm tiredness last week, my muse and Pilates instructor, Alison Franco of  Pilates with  Alison& Friends , mentioned there are a few quick moves I could do that might help give me the energy boost I am looking for.  You can do these NINE Pilates moves  almost anywhere, in just FIVE minutes! Read on for a  few of her favorite mid-day refreshers demonstrated by Susan Ely, friend of the studio and avid Pilates practitioner. Although not a ‘belly buster’ series, these movements do call on and develop core strength, while their key benefits and concentrations are varied.

(For those of you who live in Denver, you should check out Alison’s studio in Wash Park ( ).  It’s in her basement, which is delightful and  inviting. I love being down there. Peace washes over me and I am filled with inspiration, on all levels. One level of inspiration is how good my fiend Kim looks after working with Alison for the last few months. Go Kim! That vision alone gets me there when I am dragging…)

I hope the simplicity of the moves below will  inspire you to take a few minutes to be good to yourself today. You don’t have to put on your exercise clothes. Just take off your shoes and hit the floor —  a few of Alison’s moves will help keep you from being scraped off of it.


Short & sweet version of the classic

Pilates ‘Hundred’  – increases blood circulation, oxygenates your entire body, core focus.

Lie flat on your back with knees at chest, hands palm down  at your side.  Roll head and shoulders up – gaze goes to center-thigh.  Extend legs long at a 90° angle, or slightly lower (small of back stays connected to mat – do not go lower than 45°s), and lift arms a few inches off of mat extending them long at

REPEAT entire set 5 times – or until you’ve completed “50” arm pumps.  Focus on core, abdominal control, and ‘scooping’ the belly in, suction cupping navel to your spine – especially as you exhale. May also be modified to table top leg position shown in second photo.


Improves flexibility (lower back, legs/hamstrings), spinal flexion – and it feels ohhh so good!

Lie flat on your back, spine against the floor, hands reaching overhead.  INHALE as you slowly roll up off of the floor one vertebrae at a time, reaching hands forward over your feet, creating a C curve or a horseshoe shape in your lower back.  EXHALE at exertion, and as you deepen stretch.  INHALE as you being to roll back down, ‘lead weighting’ the small of the back to the mat, followed by each successive vertebrae, EXHALING as your shoulders touch the mat.  REPEAT 5 times.

3) SINGLE STRAIGHT LEG STRETCH Great leg stretch/lengthener, cardio component if down briskly. Lie flat on your back with both legs extended long, feet up to ceiling.  Grasp the back of your right calf with both hands, lower left leg to 45° angle.  Lift head/chin to chest, roll shoulders up off of the mat.  Widen elbows tugging right leg back towards you, pulse it twice.  Switch legs, pull left leg towards you and pulse twice.  REPEAT 5 sets/times.  Breathing pattern is long and controlled, INHALE SLOWLY as you pulse pulse right, pulse pulse left.  EXHALE SLOWLY pulse pulse right, pulse pulse left.  Pace is brisk, this one should warm you up!

4) SOFT TOWER AT WALL Wonderful lower back opener Lie on back hands extended at side, with rear end snug against base of wall.  Legs extend up the wall, soles of feet rest on wall hip distance apart, knees are softly bent.   INHALE as you slowly begin to curl  your pelvis inwards, lifting it from the mat.  Continue rolling up to neutral bridge position – mindful not to arch lower back. EXHALE as you slowly roll down to the mat.   Timing  = 8 count to roll up, 8 down.  REPEAT 3 times.


Lateral extension/stretch, obliques. Sit upright facing side of mat – both legs curled at your right side, knees and ankles stacked on top of one another.  Hold right ankle with right hand, left hand reaches up to ceiling, overhead.  INHALE as you stretch right, up and over your legs, EXHALE to deepen.  INHALE, lift posture upright as you windmill arms overhead, left hand to mat at your left side, right hand reaching overhead stretching to left, EXHALE to deepen stretch.  INHALE back upright (engaging obliques to lift) beginning the stretch to right side.  REPEAT 3 times, change sides, REPEAT 3 times.


Spinal rotation, stretch.

Sit upright and tall on mat with legs and arms extended long in front of you, heels glued together.

INHALE as you rotate to the right opening your arms to a T position, growing taller, twisting further – be sure your heels don’t slip – keep them firmly connected.  EXHALE back to starting position.  INHALE as you twist/open left, EXHALE back to center starting position.  REPEAT 3 times.

*Not advisable for anyone with active back pain, instability, or injury.

7) SWAN *

Extension of spine Lie face down on mat, hands palm down directly under shoulders, legs zipped together and extended long behind you, forehead to mat.   INHALE as you reach forward with crown of head, engaging abdominals to support spine, slowly lifting yourself off of mat in an arch, widening chest.  EXHALE as you reach forward with head/neck, slowly lowering back down to mat.  This should not be felt in lower back, as abdominals are engaged to support – discontinue if you feel any lower back discomfort.  *Not advisable for anyone with active back pain, instability, or injury.

8) Child’s Pose Low back release, complimentary to Swan.

After completion of Swan, sit back on your knees, resting buttocks on or near heels.  Place forehead on or near mat, arms extended out long in front.  Breathe deeply, at least three deep breaths, relax.

9) Plank – Tendon Stretch

Stand upright at one end of your mat, facing the length of mat, with feet in a soft external rotation/heels together.  Lift arms overhead.  Keeping tail/bum tucked, slowly ‘pour’ down the front of your body like a waterfall, until your hands reach the mat – keeping slight softness in knees.  Walk your hands out the length of the mat, until you reach a plank or push-up position, supported on hands and balls of your feet/toes.  Be sure to engage abs, creating a ‘sheet’ of support for the lower back, no sagging in lower back – if you need to, elevate hips slightly.  Lift your right heel off of the mat high towards the ceiling, stretch your left heel down towards the mat, then return left heel to neutral position and lower right foot back down to mat.  Switch legs and repeat.  Walk hands back in towards feet, slowly roll up the front of your body until you are standing upright again.   REPEAT sequence twice.

Upon completion of  second set, while standing upright, reflect on your posture.  Engage abdominal ‘scoop’, roll your shoulders (up, back, and then down- maintain the latter  ‘down’ position, this is good posture).

Take note of how you feel.  Better than five minutes ago, right?  Hopefully lighter, more supple, invigorated, and maybe even a little taller!

How do you MindFULLY get a mid-day energy boost? Let us know!

New Uses

In the spirit of looking for new uses for old things, I bring you a link to Real Simple magazine. I love this magazine and always find something to rip from the pages.

Since I am away this week, I’ll let the folks at Real Simple do the talking. They have 50 things to say. I hope one of them resonates for you!

What have you MindFULLY learned to that you can add to Real Simple’s list? Let us know!

Game On

While I usually post on Mondays (check in tomorrow for how you can make a difference this week), I had to pop this off to you today. Last week, I wrote about re-purposing clothes (and life). I figured with all  the football games on today, some of you may be looking for something to do with your hands while you watch.

One of my favorite creative musends (a friend who is also a muse), Colette, sent this picture to share with you on the sweater she made for herself (she is the friend who helped me make my sweater and skirt that I showed you last week.) Check out what she did for herself. This was a turtle neck cut “A Symetrical” with a button added. How cute is that!

So, today make it a game to look around and see if anything in your closet could become a new favorite by cutting it up , sewing it differently and adding a little something extra (buttons, felt, ribbons). Not only will you be watching to see who wins a spot at the SuperBowl, you’ll be a winner, too!

What did you find to MindFULLY re-purpose today? Let us know!

MindFULL Repurpose

How many bags of things do you have to give away after last Monday’s posting? Wait! Before you get rid of the clothes you moved to the right, take a peek at how my friends Colette and Susan Kramer inspired me to look at my old clothes with new eyes.

Both women find old clothes, take them apart and put them back together again. Colette finds sweaters at ARC and does it herself at the kitchen counter with a sewing machine. Susan Kramer finds amazing skirts and dresses at Good Will and takes them to the Russian tailor and turns them into show stopping and classy staples (Her secret? Pearls. She wears them every day – either on her ears, or multiple strands around her neck, or on her wrist – but more on the Kramer later).

Yes! You can take that old sweater and make a new one. Cut the granny skirt into a short  skirt you can wear with tights and boots. Lose the bows on the back of the back of a dress and make it into a jumper. All you need s is a needle and thread or a good tailor.

The sweater below is a favorite example. It was a typical black Lands End Cotton sweater. Boring. Colette inspired me to change it up. So, I popped off the buttons, sewed both sides under and ironed them flat. Then with thick thread, I hand-sewed on Felt leaves. Felt anything is easily found at Michaels or Joanne Fabrics. Now, I wear this sweater all the time.

The skirt is from Good Will. $4. It went to the floor. Colette cut it off and sewed it right above my knee. I wear it with tights and my sweater. So cute!


But the crowning glory of my creative repurpose is a black dress I got on the Back Rack at Loehmanns for $10. I looked terrible in it – sleeveless and straight is not a good look for me. But I couldn’t pass it up. So, it hung in my closet til last week, when I saw it through new eyes. I cut off the bows and covered up the leftover threads with a sweater. My favorite scarf, a pair of fun tights and black boots gave it a fresh and contemporary look. I wore it twice this week and am taking it to work on Tuesday. It’s my new uniform.

So, now that you are moving things in your life to the left and MindFULLY beginning to think about what you are moving to the right, ask yourself how you can repurpose what you have. Maybe you look at a sweater, a relationship or a kitchen pitcher with new eyes. The sweater gets bedazzled, the relationship becomes a resource vs a confidant and the pitcher turn into a colorful flower vase.

And be of ease and remember,  if what you are looking at doesn’t fit, no matter what you do, then thank it and pass it on. One person’s Good Will bag is another person’s  ball gown.

What can you MIndFULLY repurpose in your life? Let us know!