Finding Value: Not the Money Kind

Have you ever had one of those moments where everything that mattered at the moment really didn’t matter at all? I had one of those moments (weeks) recently. It was scary and hard but out of the darkness came light—the beautiful and bright light of perspective.

Quickly I realized that one of things that mattered most was my relationships. I wondered if I truly showed love and interest when I was in their presence. If I were gone tomorrow, would my time
spent with them be memorable and valuable? I really started to wonder, do I add value to their lives and even my own. Wowsas! If that’s not a perspective-building question, I don’t what is.

Value, not necessarily in the monetary sense, but value by way of connecting, loving, providing hope, increasing happiness, or simplifying one’s life, can be incredibly powerful. It can also be an important way of viewing even our day-to-day tasks. Value-based thinking about tasks, self-care, and how we spend our time can help make something boring, challenging, new or scary easier to tackle. Check out my examples…

Cooking breakfast means I have to get up earlier and plan and make more dishes and smell like bacon (ok that’s not all bad :))… If you were thinking about cooking breakfast with a value-based approach, it may sound a little more like this…

  • How would cooking breakfast for my kids add value to their day? Hmmmmm—-fueled better means they may feel better, test better, and learn better.
  • How would cooking breakfast for myself add value to my day? hmmmmmm—fueled better means feeling better, working better, learning better, and having more energy to interact with others.

Working out takes so much time out of my day and I’m just too tired to even think about it. Here goes the value-based stuff…

  • How could adding activity to my day bring me value? I’d feel a sense of accomplishment. I would be maintaining my muscle mass which is so important as I age. I could meet new friends at the gym or listen to a book on my phone while I worked out.
  • How could adding activity to my day bring value to others? A more active me could mean a healthier me for the long haul. A healthier me may mean I can travel and explore with ease when I’m retired.

Those are just two things to look at but there are so many to consider like finding value in journaling your feelings and how it impacts your eating, or the value of reading to yourself or your kids, how about the value of putting your phone down and looking at who your talking to, or what about the value of scheduling time to yourself daily or weekly…

How will you use this value-based way of thinking? I’d love for you to share in the comments. I sure hope you have a valuable week!


The Happy Tune Turnaround

“Because I’m happ-eeee, Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof. Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth. Clap along if know what happiness is to you. Clap along if you feel like that’s whatcha wanna do…”

What could a children’s movie and Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” have to do with anything? Well, few minutes ago, I was distracted and anxious. So, I plugged in my headphones and started my happy grooves. Now, seconds later, I’m in a happier head space.

Just by pressing ‘play.’

Do you ever find yourself worried, sad, or negatively focused? Come on, we all do.

It’s important to remember that thoughts are just that, thoughts. They’re not always truth although they have the power to overwhelm. Whether they’re about health, wealth, or even homework, we have the power to change or redirect them. Recently, I’ve been trying to work on redirecting thoughts have the potential to take me down a negative road. It’s not always easy, but one of the most effective tools I’ve used is music. Music is incredibly powerful. A song can bring up happy or sad memories in a matter of seconds. We can use this to our benefits everyday.

Think of one song that changes your mood to a happier place every time you hear it. Listen to it. Think of at least 3 more tunes that can help you turn it around. Now you’ve got your “Happy” playlist. I’ve actually got my happy playlist on my computer and phone. It can turn me around whenever I need it.

Don’t forget that you can make a playlist for your kid’s as well-what a wonderful tool to have for them (& us). Give it shot and share your happy tune turnaround suggestions in the comments.

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Nat’l Nutrition Month: Focus on the Family Meal

It’s that time of year again. Yep, you guessed it! It’s National Nutrition Month! Woot Woot ;).

I’m all about taking little steps that build up to big change. Focusing on meal planning for yourself, or the whole family, is a crucial step in feeling/fueling well.. Check out my Local Memphis Live segment. Do you have tips that help get the fam around the table? Leave them in the comments.

Dear Star Magazine (& Your Gossip Mag Siblings)

Dear Star Magazine,

Last week I was checking out at the grocery store when the cover of your magazine took my breath away. And not in a good way. I work with people who suffer with eating disorders and danger aheaddisordered eating. This type of media coverage (or lack there of) isn’t the helpful kind. At first glance, one may think your magazine is issuing a statement of concern. A closer glance, which I hope your readers just don’t take, gave me the distinct impression that this was an act of glamorizing a potentially deadly disorder.

Now don’t get me wrong, I really don’t want to ascribe malice where sheer incompetence would suffice (thanks Napoleon). However, I just don’t believe you’re that clueless. I believe you knew exactly what you were doing. Shock value sells products, right? You have every right to sell your product and opinion. It’s part of the beauty of living in America. On the flip-side, I can refuse to purchase your magazine and have my own opinion. I candidly shared my opinion and anger with you in this video last week.

Airbrushed images, along with those glamorizing eating disorders, are simply dangerous. Studies suggest that viewing these types of images even just for a few minutes negatively impact our own self-image. I have a hard time understanding why tobacco, alcohol, and certain magazines are sold behind the counter or in censored packaging yet your current issue, which is equally if not more damaging, remains front and center at the check out counter. We don’t even have to choose to purchase it to be impacted by it’s negative messages. It’s clear to me that your magazine has missed the tips for responsible media coverage so I’ve provided the link here. Please consider the damage that your magazine’s images could cause. I hope that when my daughter is old enough to pay attention to magazines at the check out counter, yours will then be acting responsibly or no longer present. I urge you to consider the potential consequences of these images before you print another magazine like this.


Glamorizing Eating Disorders: This is Not Okay

It’s like a fender-bender on the side of the road. I had to look. I saw the recent issue of Star Magazine and was horrified. Given that next week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I thought, just maybe this could be about awareness. It’s not. We need to stand against those who glamorize eating disorders especially under the guise of concern. The small paragraph giving information about who to call if you or a friend is struggling with an eating disorder is plastered among the two-page spread of unfed, barely clothed bodies. Star Magazine, do you really think we’re that stupid?

At first I was thinking I may ruffle some feathers but that doesn’t concern me. The lives of impressionable young women (& men) do.  If I’m not standing up for what I believe in, am I really standing at all? I’m standing. Will you stand with me?

Still don’t believe how dangerous this is? Watch this quick video as well…

A Sweet Act of Self-Care: Be your own Valentine!

If this quote really makes you cringe, maybe it’s time you invest in yourself…

Now is the time to change it! Could this be your best Valentine’s Day yet? Could you get just what you need? Be your own Valentine and commit to loving activities of self-care. Check out my little video about it.

The South Beach Food Tour – Get out of Your Food Box

We get so comfortable with our surroundings, our couches, our food, our daily encounters and even the bags we carry. Almost every day I recommend that people get more variety with their foods. This weekend I truly pushed myself out of my food box. Even this foodie needs a little guidance and the Miami Culinary Tours South Beach Food Tour was just the ticket!

This actually was my first food tour. The trip-advisor reviews were fabulous and I knew I didn’t have time to research where to get a great churro, classic ceviche, cafecito, empanadas or the perfect gelato. However, Miami Culinary Tours did, and did it very well.

If you go to Miami and you’re capable of chewing, take this tour. I’m going to share a few highlights of the cultural & culinary walking tour through South Beach. It truly was an educational, entertaining and delicious evening. From Cuban windows to sit-down Peruvian to authentic Italian dough and gelato, you will not walk away hungry. Put on your comfy shoes (really, you’re going to be walking several blocks) and let’s go!

Our guide, Ritchie, impressed me at “hello.” He remembered all of our names on the first try and made over a dozen strangers feel comfortable right from the start.

First stop, Ceviche. Quick hint: the cooking method for the fish is the acid from the citrus juice.


Second, sweet, caramel deliciousness in a hot and fresh churro. Like I tell my clients–dessert doesn’t have to be last. The churro snack is often referred to as a Spanish doughnut. My food tour co-pilot enjoying the first bite.

Let’s hit A1A (BEACHFRONT AVENUE!) for some fun facts & Art Deco history. Did you know all of these lovely buildings were once empty and facing demolition? Me either, look at that. The food tour made me smarter too ;).

Since I got to Miami, I kept hearing about the afternoon pick me up coffee. It’s a Cuban coffee (cafe Cubano) called cafecito. I’ll be learning how to make this tiny, sweet and powerful coffee at home. I’m thinking Will Smith must have been drinking a lot of these while working on his song “Miami.” Ritchie explained Cuban coffee and how it’s such a part of the day-to-day routine among the locals. Third stop, cafecito. Okay, okay, I’ve got to come clean. It was not the first cafecito of my trip ;).  (I drank mine before I could snap a picture-oops).

Could a pizzeria have the best pork dish with plantains and yuca I’ve ever tasted? And maybe a glass of Sangria ;)? Oh, and chimichurri sauce? Um, yes. Fourth stop, delicious town.

Moving right along… Mind you, our guide said this is where people start getting full. I was pacing myself and left some bites behind so I could chew the entire experience. Fifth stop, a bakery no stranger to Food Network cameras, served us pastry-wrapped, tender chicken goodness called empanadas. This was unlike any I’d had before. Simply delicious, especially with the sauce I can’t remember how to say or spell.

A trip to SB wouldn’t be complete without some authentic Italian goodness, and boy did Ritchie deliver. Stop number six, a lovely little pizzeria with the one and only “mother dough.” We sampled veggie-packed pockets with a variety of infused olive oils. Delizioso! 

Are you too full of tasty food and culinary facts? Come on, one more stop. Authentic gelato with true Italian ingredients. Those of you how know me, know I loved this. I’m not Italian, but I aspire to be. Not only was the gelato heavenly, their gelato machinery blew my mind. Molto bene!

Have I inspired you to get out of your food box? Let me encourage you to take this particular food tour the next time you visit Miami (or even if you’re a local). On several occasions, our guide told us how important it was to the company’s owner to provide an authentic and amazing culinary experience to the tour participants. Every single bite exemplified this.

If you aren’t traveling soon, take some steps to get out of your food box at home! You don’t have to be traveling to try new and exciting flavors. Do it this week! Feel free to let me know how you’ll get out of your food box in the comments.

***I was not compensated in any way for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.