Saturday, September 24, 2011

Organic Homemade Sports Drink

Water is what my eight-year old son and daughter consume 99% of the time. Fresh, purified water from our eSpring system.

However, now that they started the Fall soccer season, and are on a field much larger than before, they are sweating up a storm. And I'm concerned that they don't have enough carbs and electrolytes to keep them going.

But for a variety of reasons, rather than buy pre-made sports drinks, I've decided to make my own.

The benefits:

*organic ingredients
*natural ingredients
*no high-fructose corn syrup
*no artificial sweeteners
*no artificial colors
*no plastic bottles to recycle--the more eco-logical strategy: reduce
*less expensive--about 25 cents per pint
*fresh, clean taste

It's ridiculous how easy and fast it is to make this sports drink. The whole process, including heating the water, takes about seven minutes. I usually double the recipe to make a quart, fill their reusable water bottles, and chill them in the fridge, ready for service.

Here is the recipe to make 16 ounces:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup hot water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 1/2 cups cold water

In a pitcher, dissolve sugar and salt with hot water. Add juices and cold water. Mix.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jan Severn: Amway Legend Dies

A thoughtful obituary has been written for Jan Severn.
(Jan Severn obituary)

So rather than try to duplicate something that accurately captures her essence, instead I just want to say "Thank you" to her and her husband, Dave Severn.

I know Dave and Jan Severn through the Amway business. They are considered legends with Amway, known by many around the world, particularly because of Dave's classic "Pigs Don't Know Pigs Stink" talk.
I have been fortunate enough to have them in my specific "line of sponsorship" spending dozens of hours with them over the years.

Jan was a gem. A lovely woman. She had a kind and gentle spirit about her that was instructive to this not-as-kind and not-as-gentle woman.

Jan, I look forward to seeing you again someday.
And Dave, I lift you up in prayer for comfort. Your overflowing love for and commitment to your wife of 42 years was awe-inspiring.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cash In The Mail: What Would You Do?

I almost tossed the envelope without opening it.

Chicago Magazine  with the help of Ipsos Mendelsohn sent me a survey to fill out and a $5 bill.

Looking at how long the eight-page document would take to complete, the five dollars doesn’t motivate me. Nor does the carefully worded letter saying I'm "part of a small, carefully selected sample..."

But the fact that they offered me the compensation, in cash and upfront, regardless of whether I filled out the survey, fascinates me.

Would you fill it out? Why? Why not?

If not for $5, how much money would it take? Or would something else push you to do it?

Would you have any guilt enjoying a double-scoop ice cream cone with that five bucks if you simply tossed the survey in the recycling?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ARTISTRY Intensive Skincare Renewing Peel: Video Dynamically Captures Its Face Value

For years, I've been a passionate believer in ARTISTRY products. But that doesn't mean I've checked my skepticism at the door.

That's why, when I began using ARTISTRY intensive skincare renewing peel in April, I applied the product only to the right side of my face.

I wanted to see if the twice-a-week applications would create a noticeable difference.

Over the first several weeks, every time I examined my face in the mirror to try to decipher any improvement, I grew increasingly bummed. I really wanted this product to work, and yet week after week I was disappointed by the apparent lack of results.

That is, until a few days ago.
Sony bloggie Touch

I was playing with my new tech toy, a Sony bloggie, by taking a bunch of quick videos throughout the day. After my family grew weary of being my guinea pigs, I turned the camera on myself. And when I watched those clips, I was taken aback by the difference between the left and right sides of my face.

So dramatic was the contrast that I marched into the bathroom and immediately started using the renewing peel on my entire face, hoping the untreated side would "catch up" soon.
The reflection of light off your face plays a major role in your skin's appearance. Moving pictures dynamically enable you to see how light hits your face at different angles. Therefore, video and film more accurately capture this product's results than a flat medium like a photo or peering straight into a mirror.
So why did I want to use this product and how does it work?
As we age, we need a little help. Exfoliation, or the sloughing off of old dead skin cells so that the new healthy ones can rise to the surface, slooooows down. The result: dull, drab skin.

A peel resurfaces your skin, and makes it smoother, fresher, younger, more vibrant. 

I wanted these results, but I wasn't interested in spending a small fortune (professional chemical peels can run up to $350 a pop). And frankly, I'm scared of any invasive procedure, particularly on my face.
That's why I chose ARTISTRY's renewing peel.

At the 3:12 mark in the news program clip below, Kelli Miller, ARTISTRY Brand Manager, explains how the renewing peel works.

She says the renewing peel uses a gentler exfoliation ingredient (mushroom enzyme instead of acids) and "knows" via your cells' pH level which ones to exfoliate (the old ones) and which to leave alone (the new ones). This minimizes the risk of overpeeling or irritation.

I like the simplicity of ARTISTRY's renewing peel:
*convenience--use at home, any time
*one product, rather than other brands that require two
*fast--eight minutes
*no worries about over-exfoliating (I know someone who sleeps with this product on at night)
*price--less than one-third the cost of clinical peels

If you're a skeptic like me, I encourage you to do only half your face. But learn from my experience and don't rely on the mirror. Videotape yourself, moving your head from side to side. Allow six weeks of application, two or three times a week, to see the effectiveness.

Lastly, if you aren't happy with the results, ARTISTRY products, like all products exclusively from Amway are backed by a 180-day money-back satisfaction guarantee. Love that!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Counting The Cost: Bandwagon Marketing Versus Authentic Core Values

I broke down this week and am now a card-carrying  Costco Member. Yep, these gas prices have risen to such a point, that Costco's lower prices have lured me in.

So after I became a "club member" I thought I'd venture through the store to see their offerings. My seven-year olds were with me, and thought it was fabulous that they both could fit in the honkin' huge cart. I sat for a few minutes in a Brady Bunch style lazy boy chair. I wasn't seriously thinking of spending 300 bucks on it, but my decision was definitely a "no" when my son got his leg caught between the chair and the footstool.
After two hours, I escaped with spending $63.10 and for the first time, I questioned the term "organic."

I bought ten packs of organic butter, which was about a buck fifty cheaper per pack (pound) than Whole Foods Market, my main grocery store for perishables. I calculated a $78 annual savings. I was going to buy a bunch of frozen organic vegetables, until I saw that the country of origin was China. I don't know...that just doesn't sit well with me...from Costco.
And I had three dozen organic eggs in my cart---for about fifteen seconds. I was calculating the $400 annual savings (we eat a lot of eggs) we would have by shifting our dollars to Costco. But there was something about the carton. As I examined the packaging, I realized that there wasn't the informative story on it like the ones from the Amish and Mennonites of Farmers' Hen House sold at Whole Foods.

Where's the info about these eggs being from cage-free hens, allowed to go outside, not treated with antibiotics? I realized that for me, being "organic" was not just about the animal's feed being grown without pesticides.  I want them to be well-cared for. I want food to come from real farms, worked by real farmers, and not industrialized factories by folks who could care less about what we put in to our bodies and what we do to the earth.
Have I been duped by good marketing?
Or is there really a difference?

As a Whole Foods shopper since the first store opened in Chicago in March 1993, I know that organic is not a marketing buzz word for them. It's a core value.
Same thing goes for my supplement company, Nutrilite, whose organically grown plant-based supplements have been at its foundation for 77 years. Optimal health and excellent environmental stewardship-- their core values before those phrases were coined.

And the company that bought Nutrilite in the '70s,  Amway, is where I get my laundry and cleaning products. They've been "green" since  they started in 1959 with their first product, a biodegradable soap. They aren't just now getting on the Green Movement bandwagon. The idea of taking care of the earth and not poisoning it and its inhabitants,  is a core value.

I want to support companies whose core values are in alignment with mine. While it's tempting to save $500 a year buying butter and eggs from Costco, the question I must ask myself is: at what cost?

Friday, May 27, 2011

OK, This Is Pretty Darn Cool...

What I've always loved about "show business" is this idea that I was a tiny part of something bigger than me. That a bunch of small contributions could add up to something huge.

This video...
*the storyline,
*the choreography,
*the camera moves,
*the props,
*the people,
*the outfits
*the coordination,
*and other things that I don't wanna mention so that I don't spoil it for you.

What a moving experience to see this community come together, and in such a creative way.
Great job, Grand Rapids!

(video doesn't show up in feed. You have to click through to actual blog)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Breathing Is Underrated

A few years ago, I noticed that I had gotten out of the habit of breathing. I mean, really breathing. Taking in this life-giving substance called oxygen, fully and deeply and regularly.

In my early years as a child and then as an actress in tune with her “instrument” I had been a good breather. As I’ve gotten older though, no longer in the environments of voice, acting and dance classes and performing, I’ve forgotten to breathe.

I noticed this couple of years ago. One day I was at my kitchen sink washing dishes like I’ve done a thousand times before, and I noticed that I was stressed—physically, emotionally, mentally. And I thought, “Why? What could possibly be stressful about washing a pan?”

And what I noticed was that I had stopped breathing, that I was holding my breath. “Hmmm, how long has this been going on? How often throughout my day does this happen,” I wondered.

And why? Was I stressed and stopped breathing, or did I stop breathing and become stressed?

Both. Creating a vicious cycle of blocked energy. Around and around we go. And it happens dozens of times throughout the day.

We have something amazing called a body, that moves and stretches and breathes, and is more than an apparatus to carry around our minds.

Take a breath. Take a deep cleansing breath. Allow yourself such a gift…multiple times a day.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How's That Working For You?

I've been possessed by Mrs. Kravitz for the last week. Sure I can blame it on being sick for an unusual extended period of time (four days instead of my 24-hour annual bug). Or the blizzard that brought us two feet of snow and sub-zero weather. Or the 67% state income tax hike. Or...whatever.

The point is that I became so cranky and grumpy, that I started repelling my own self. Kind of hard to get away from the problem when you are the problem!

The turning point was when I heard my own voice yelling out my window to a stranger doing something of which I didn't approve. Now okay, what he was doing wasn't right. But my shrill voice was so...horrible. As I'm hearing myself, I'm thinking, "Who are you? Have gone mad?"

"Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" ~God

Self awareness is good. It is the first step to change.

And the how to change is not the hard part. There are plenty of resources on how to change. Everybody and their mother has got a book, a seminar, a this or that, on how to change every aspect of one's life. And all those are worthless if you don't have a passionate desire to change.

So do I want to change? Are there things that I'd like to be different? Do I want to be different?

I'm practical when it comes to personal growth. No fancy explanations or deep character analysis. I have a simple question I ask myself to determine if I'm fed up to the point of being willing to do things differently, and to be uncomfortable as I re-work those deep grooves called "habits."

How's that working for you?

How's that working for you being a Debbie Downer?
How's that working for you seeing all the obstacles and none of the possibilities?
How's that working for you complaining (out loud or in your head) about everything and everyone?
How's that working for you talking poorly (out loud or in your head) about the people you claim to love?
How's that working for you not working out consistently?
How's that working for you not going to bed at a reasonable hour?
How's that working for you not being prepared?
How's that working for you being someone that you don't want to be around?
How's that working for you having a pity party?
How's that working for you not healthily feeding your soul, your mind, and your spirit?
How's that working for you _______________________________________

When I answer "IT'S NOT WORKING FOR ME,"  is when things get moving in a different direction.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Debunking A Money Myth: The Only Way To Get Out Of Debt Is By Making More Money

Last week I was asked my opinion of a business opportunity of a company I’d never heard of. My simple answer was, “I don’t know anything about them.” I did end up doing some very little digging, which included going to their website and viewing a three-minute recruitment video.

It was a typical video of happy anonymous people talking about freedom. And then there were the testimonials which included some money figures, with significant amounts of debt that some of them had paid off. The implication was that the money they were making from this particular business opportunity is what they were using to pay off those bills.

The truth is that this company offers its distributors a plan to get out of debt. I think it’s great that the company offers a debt-elimination plan. The video though is misleading because the debt was paid off not necessarily because these people were making any money with this particular business.

What I know about debt-reduction programs is they have little or nothing to do with increasing your inflow, and everything to do with decreasing your outflow.

So the hook for this particular business opportunity is that you can become debt-free. It’s a good hook. Debt is a serious problem. People, in general, are lousy money managers. And because the crazy amount of credit that people have had access to the last decade, people drowning in debt has become an epidemic.

Here is the good news: You can get out of debt. And you can start the process today. There are so many resources, and so many free resources to help you. One of them is Dave Ramsey.

I am late to the party, since I only recently heard of him. But when I mention his name to some folks, they start fawning about how great this guy is. I ended up checking out two of his books, Financial Peace and The Total Money Makeover, from the library and reading them just to see what all the fuss was about. And I gotta say I like how he thinks, what he says, and his plan for ridding oneself of debt and for building wealth.

My husband and I are debt free. We became debt free before we knew of Dave Ramsey, but using the same principles. And he’ll be the first to say that there is nothing revolutionary in what he says. So what sets him a part from others out there?

First, he’s been there. His story of, in his words, the idiotic choices that he made, and all the feelings of fear and stress he felt, makes him empathic and passionate about helping people.

Second, he doesn't sugar-coat the truth. He tells it like it is, and tells us what we need to hear, such as to "Grow up!"

Third, he challenges people to get angry about their debt. He knows that it is emotion, not logic, which moves people. So while his plan for debt-reduction and wealth building is very methodical and logical, he is good at lighting a fire under people to get them thinking differently, and moving them in the right direction.

Fourth, and maybe the most important, he has created a community (live and virtual) of folks who are in the process of, and who have succeeded at, ridding themselves of debt and changing their thoughts about money. It's a community where people can get encouragement and support, just by the mere fact of knowing that they are not alone.

Monday, January 10, 2011

"Future Tripping" Is Not Allowed

Tonight was the first time I "future tripped" about my children. I had a flash, a realization, on an emotional level, that they were going to some day be too big and not interested, in flopping around our home with me.

It was a few minutes before 5:00 pm, their daddy was going to be home soon, dinner preparation could wait a few more minutes. The three of us were sprawled this way and that, on one of their twin beds, as I read from a book I happen to grab off the floor.

I then flipped on to my back and looked over at my daugher lying next to me. I then looked at my son who was lying in the opposite direction as he sat up.

I looked at his innocent little seven-year-old face. I stared actually. Attempting to remember every detail.

"What mamma," he asked.

"You are not allowed to grow up," I blurted.

"Huh," he looked confused.

"No really. This is it. You are not allowed be more than seven years old."

"But I want to get older," my daughter announced.

I took a deep breath. I smiled, squeezing and kissing them, which grounded me and brought me back to the present moment, the present gift, the present joy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Life is a Theatre...Invite Your Audience Carefully

When I started realizing the powerful effect the people with whom I hang have on my life and my future, I became purposeful about my association. Not an easy process. Certainly sometimes painful. Just the same, necessary.

I came across this anonymously-written piece over a decade ago. And perhaps because of my theatre background, it is in language I  understand. Of how and why I must be intentional about where I let people "sit" in my life.

~ Life is a Theatre...Invite Your Audience Carefully~

Not everyone is mentally healthy enough to have a front row seat in your life.
There are some people who need to be loved from a distance.
It is amazing what you can accomplish when you let go of - or minimize your time with - those draining, negative, incompatible, 'not-going- anywhere' relationships or friendships.

Observe the relationships around you.
Pay close attention...
Which ones lift, and which ones lean?
Which ones encourage, and which ones discourage?

Which ones are on a path of growth uphill, and which ones are going downhill?
When you leave certain people, do you feel better or feel worse?
Which ones always have drama, or don't really understand, know or appreciate you? 

The more you seek quality, respect, growth, peace of mind, love and truth around you, the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the front row, and who should be moved to the balcony of your life.

Ask for wisdom and discernment, and choose wisely the people who will sit in the front row of your life.
You cannot change the people around you, but you can change the people you choose to be around.
Who is in your front row?