Monday, May 27, 2013

New Life

Today I had the honor of meeting Sloane, Jobi and Phillip's beautiful new baby girl, just minutes after her birth. How amazing it is, really, to be present during their discovery of one another. I've never held a baby so new before in my life (and quite possibly may never again in the future), it was pretty incredible to be a part of their special day.

Jobi, Sloane and me
The entire experience over the past months of seeing my friend find out she was pregnant, through the decisions she's made and seeing her body change as this little miracle grew and now through her birth has been memorable for me. It has made me reflect tonight that maybe it was meant to be for me to have such a place in their lives right now. I've been able to give her support and hold space for calm and balance for her during a period of great change and uncertainty, and for me I think this time has given me something I will never experience for myself and maybe needed to entirely come to terms with more than I realized I still did. And for that gift alone, I will be forever grateful.

Jobi, Savannah, Sloane, and Phillip

Saturday, March 23, 2013

New Beginnings

I guess our lives are truly always filled with new beginnings. Each day is a new one with new experiences. Some are more memorable and perhaps monumental than others.

Tonight is our last night sleeping in our house. Over eight years ago we moved in, riding high on a successful business, full of hope and possibility of what life might bring us. We carefully picked out everything in this house, choosing what we thought would be our dream home we'd live many years in - brick we loved, custom layout adjustments, high-end appliances and granite, beautiful hardwoods, every detail was considered. Then we finished the basement with all kinds of great plans for the future in mind - yet no time to make them happen.We filled our home with family and friends and made great new ones in our neighbors. Holidays, birthdays, several NYE parties, LM Design Team retreats, a retirement party, a going away party, and even a wedding reception all took place here. This is the last home among my family that my Nana had spent time in - we've all moved on now, 7 years later. It's also been host to a lot of stressful times - a lot of work and not enough time to enjoy what we had created. And sadness as well. It's now been 3 years ago this month that we decided that we needed a change - that we would not continue living our lives unhappily (or unhealthily), and that our priorities in life had changed. With the advice of our lawyers and some soul searching, we decided to give up our house and truly start fresh. The weight slowly lifted off our shoulders (and off our bodies!) as the year went on and we knew we'd made the right decision for our future. Living more simply in order to enjoy living.

It took much longer than we'd ever imagined to get to this night - but the timing has been perfect. We are ready now. Even a year ago we weren't really. Now we are ready, and actually anxious, to close the door on this chapter of our lives. I won't lie to you and tell you that there aren't tears in my eyes as I look around me - but it's not the house really (well it might be my gas stove or my big bathtub;)) - it's the memories here that leave me a little sad tonight, even knowing they go with us. On other days I might remind you that all we truly have is the present - but today has been a day of reflection into the past, something both Thad and I needed. Tomorrow is another new beginning!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

First Teaching and Landmark Days!

I knew I had to blog today and mark this day! Today I taught a portion of the Teen Yoga class at Divine Yoga for the first time! Jenn and I are co-teaching the series - last week I did assisting and massage. Tonight I started off class, introduced the theme, got through Integration, then Sun As and Bs before handing off to Jenn. I feel pretty amazing! This was a less intimidating way to start teaching - and I felt so supported and prepared well. The theme we decided on for this class was judgment. I started them on their backs and did some breathing with them. I started talking about judgment and when we have been judged by others and how it feels. Then I related that to self-judgment and how that shows up - being nervous, anxious, hesitant to do things. I talked about the space on their yoga mat being their home. Then I gave them a visualization technique of putting the thoughts that come up into a bubble and picture it floating away. Then we got started! I had a lot of fun, was only a tiny bit nervous and I think it flowed well. :)

Yesterday I also applied for Baptiste Level 1 Training in Sedona in June! Yep, up to BIG things! :)

I looked back out of curiosity on my blog.

Almost 1 year ago I broke my finger falling out of headstand in the middle of the room at yoga. I was reading 40 Days to a Personal Revolution for the first time, working on headstand and anticipating going to Foundations in Action in Toronto in February. I didn't know quite yet that I'd be applying for and accepting a full time job the next month either.

Exactly 2 years ago today I blogged about it being my first day employed by someone else after having owned my business for over 7 years. I had taken a part time job and  was just at the point of being ready to look forward in my life.

3 years ago I was barely beginning my weight loss journey, over 130lbs heavier than I am today, suddenly at a loss for direction and purpose in life.

What amazing perspective this gives you. Who knows what the year will bring? I'm excited to find out!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 - Bring it On!

2012 was an incredible year that brought so many great things to my life that I had not imagined. New job, new friends and new experiences. I began my program at Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a certified health coach, started yoga teacher training, co-organizing a large Yoga Aid fundraising event with Thad, began leading Nourish, a program focused on nutrition at the yoga studio and have found new perspectives on life.

I reflected today on my goals from the past two years. Interestingly, they all start with wanting to lose about 20-30lbs. Is it surprising that that is a goal yet again? I am very determined to get to my goal weight this year!

Other goals:
1. Continue to simplify our lives. We'll be moving into a condo/apartment in the next few months and I actually look forward to having less space to fill and keeping what is important in our lives. Experiences are more important to us than things and I look forward to supporting that with minimalizing our daily life as well.

2. Complete yoga teacher training, go to Baptiste Level 1 and begin teaching! :)

3. Partner with a friend and establish a health coaching practice to bring my passion for health, nutrition and bea part of transformation to others.

4. Be thoughtful about my personal goals and what in my life supports them and what I need to let go.

5. Enjoy life in the moment, spend time with family and friends.

6. Establish a regular meditation practice (even if it's a few minutes once a week), incorporate cardio weekly in my workout routine, and work toward some yoga specific goals - headstand in the middle of the room, kicking up to handstand, holding crow and working on improving my chatarunga.

7. Commit to meal planning and cooking even when I'm busy.

8. Get out on my bike more this year and try out the mountain bike trails with a friend.

9. Incorporate running more frequently! Not sure of specific goals.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Obesity and Personal Responsibility

Of course we are responsible for our own actions. It's one of the reasons we so easily feel guilt. and shame. There may be outside factors and influence of others in some situations that makes us feel we do not have control of our own actions, but I think for the most part we recognize that we have responsibility for ourselves. And when it appears we have failed - there rises the guilt and shame, we beat ourselves up about it and can end up in a terrible cycle of self-hatred - that we can't see until we've broken free of it.

When I was obese I felt a tremendous sense of failure and shame in relation to my weight. When you're over 300lbs you aren't fooling anyone into thinking you are thinner than you are, it's right there for people to see. It can feel like being on stage, being judged, ALL the time. I'd like to think that that was created in my own mind, but unfortunately now being on the other side of the fence I have witnessed too many times people who make comments about obese people, make assumptions, and judge them unfairly. How does anyone know that the person they see isn't working on losing weight and getting healthier - it's not like we walk around with before pictures pinned to us. And then the question goes back to - why does it matter what others think, it matters what WE think and feel about ourselves. And now we're back to the guilt and self-hatred. How do we break free?

Learning to let go of that guilt and shame, letting go of placing value of what others think of us - that is something that is SO hard for us to do. We learn at a young age to want to please our parents, to seek approval, to not disappoint. And it's something that I think everyone struggles with - it may not be about their weight, but everyone has something that comes up for them that makes them feel this way. Letting that go is something we need to work on every day. EVERY DAY. What freedom and peace there is when even a bit of it is found.

I was watching a really interesting video this morning that was shared on Facebook by one of my favorite healthy food small businesses - Good on Ya Bars. They shared a link to a video series produced by University of California called The Skinny on Obesity. The researchers commented that for years society has put it on overweight/obese people as a personal responsibility issue and that it's much greater than that - there are so many factors - obesity has existed for thousands of years, it's not new - but the quantity of the population with it has skyrocketed - not just due to personal responsibility but due to processed foods, the food supply and other factors. I whole-heartedly agree that obesity is so much more than personal responsibility. If more of us could let go of the guilt and shame created by feeling like we've failed with our 'personal responsibility', I really think that's when real change can happen for people. When you stop beating your head against the wall and giving up because you feel such guilt, have compassion for yourself, and look at what around you is also a factor in your being overweight or obese - that is when you empower yourself to succeed, that is when you gain confidence that will keep you going. Learn about the food around you and what will nourish your body, your habits and lifestyle, behaviors and relationships. Learn as a sense of discovery, not as a sense of guilt. Be excited about what you are learning, not beating yourself up for not knowing or doing in the past. Share it with others - it will empower you and you'll find support in that. Have compassion for yourself and you will find freedom in it!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Healthy Herb Potato Leek Soup (Vegan)

We really don't eat potatoes too often here, so when I got a 2lb bag of them with our CSA share this past week along with some leeks, I took their suggestion of making potato leek soup. However I needed a non-dairy vegetarian version and wanted to keep it as healthy as I could. The result was a creamy flavorful soup that tastes as though it were a rich creamy higher fat laden variety, that I can still feel great about eating! The fact that it was made with fresh organic (and mostly local) ingredients made me even happier.

Healthy Herb Potato Leek Soup (Vegan)
6 servings (made about 10 cups)

  • 2 lbs potatoes (mine were small potatoes, possibly Yukon gold variety), chopped into 1 inch pieces, peel on
  • 6 small or 3 large leeks (wash well, only use bottom part-trim off green part), sliced
  • 3 small stalks celery heart with leaves, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 8 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1/2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TB fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 TB fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

  1. Wash and chop potatoes, leeks, celery.
  2. In a large pot on medium, heat olive oil. Add in leeks and saute about 3-4 minutes until softened. Watch heat that they are not browning (leeks are different than onions). Add in 1 cup of vegetable broth and stir. Simmer 3 minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the vegetable broth to the pot, turn to high. Add in potatoes and celery, bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 25 minutes until potatoes are tender.
  4. Crush and chop garlic, chop fresh herbs. Add both to a small prep bowl along with salt. 
  5. When potatoes are ready, remove pot from heat and stir in garlic/herbs/salt mixture. In 2 batches ladle soup into your blender and blend to smooth consistency. (or you could use an immersion blender).
  6. Serve soup with freshly ground black pepper on top. Great to eat with a hearty crusty bread!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yoga Aid World Challenge

It's been so long since I've posted and I need to catch up with all that has been going on in life. SO many awesome things!

For now, I'll share the newest poster for the event that Thad and I are coordinating as local Community Ambassadors. We are so excited, it's coming together!

If you're local, please join us!

If you're not local, find out about an event near you, or help me reach my fundraising goal for Africa Yoga Project:


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Photos from the Mud Run

It took so long for them to get the photos up that they decided to just offer them up for free! Anyway, here's a few more photos from the day.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Who Am I?

There are events in our lives that we know will be memorable. I really didn’t think that today was going to be one of them. I wasn’t nervous, I knew I was in control of what I did or didn’t do, and I was determined to have fun. I never thought Mud Factor would be so symbolic. But it is, and maybe that’s why people are so drawn to the challenge. In a little over an hour you face fears, physical challenges, and a lot of mental ones. The finish line isn’t about your time, or even the race itself, but the accomplishment of having done it. I felt amazing! I could take on the world.

From the old white New Balance cross trainers that had served me so well through a year of weight loss in Jazzercise, to sharing it with a new-ish friend Stephanie who’s on her own journey, today was full of reflection for me of how far I’ve come. I wanted to run between obstacles when others were walking, I looked at a 10x20 flat obstacle on a hill as a challenge and went first, I got excited to head down face first the biggest slip and slide I’d ever seen.  I ran down ravines and then climbed back up the other side.  I swam in a murky creek 5 feet deep when I otherwise never go in water I can’t see the bottom of – because it was part of the challenge and damn it, I was doing it! Perhaps the biggest accomplishment I felt though was the last challenge – climbing a 15ft (or higher?!) cargo net rope wall at a 70 degree angle, going OVER the top and dropping down in 3 foot increments. I have a fear of heights, but somehow, the challenges leading up to it and the camaraderie of my team gave me the confidence I could do it. I also truly realized how much our fears are really just in our minds. Yoga has taught me this, but sometimes I think it’s when real life experiences that show you that truth happen, that you truly believe it in your heart.

Two years ago I never would have done this. Actually last year I probably wouldn’t have either. Three years ago I would have laughed in your face if you’d told me. There’s a reason why - I recently was at a yoga workshop and Zeina’s words have stuck in my mind - We aren’t the same people we were a year ago. Or a month ago, or last week.  How amazing we get to reinvent ourselves, decide who we want to be and create our futures, isn’t it?

At the end of the day, I sit here with a few bruises and a couple scrapes and a little sunburn on my face – still riding the high of the event. I intended to write this post and tell you all in detail about the obstacles, the tips I read before and what helped, getting hosed down and publicly stripping to my sports bra and yoga underwear, maybe talk about the ridiculous traffic jam on I-75 or the amazing salad I had afterwards at Uno’s. Perhaps tomorrow J

Before the Run
Muddy Post Run High

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Nourish: Great Grains

Last Tuesday was the first meeting of Nourish – a healthy eating group I’m leading at Divine Yoga. We talked a little bit about what our goals were for eating healthier and what it meant for us. Then we moved onto our featured theme for June - grains. One of the activities we did was a game to identify the grain dry, and cooked. I gave everyone a list of 11 grains that I had prepared. Some were easier than others!



Red Quinoa


Spelt Berries




Hulled Barley

Pearled Barley

Wild Rice


Here are some of the recipes that were shared:

Blackberry Barley Breakfast Bake

Makes 6-9 servings


· 3 cups cooked hulled barley

· 2 large eggs, whisked

· ½ tsp ground cinnamon

· Pinch sea salt

· ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

· 1 tsp agave or honey

· ¼ cup chopped raw almonds

· ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

· 1 cup blackberries, cut in half


1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray 8x8 pan with cooking spray.

2. Combine all ingredients except blackberries in a large bowl.

3. Cut ½ cup blackberries in half and gently fold into mix.

4. Spread mixture in baking pan. Top with other ½ cup blackberries (also cut in half)

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until barley is set.

6. Cut into 6 or 9 squares. Eat alone or serve topped with yogurt


When cut into 9 squares: 158 calories, 5.6g fat, 41mg cholesterol, 44mg sodium, 157mg potassium, 24.3 carbs, 6.3g fiber, 1.4g sugar, 4.9g protein

When cut into 6 squares: 237 calories, 8.4g fat, 61mg cholesterol, 66mg sodium, 235mg potassium, 36.5g carbs, 9.5g fiber, 2.1g sugar, 7.3g protein


Back On Track Wheat Berry and Bean Salad

By Angela Liddon (Oh She Glows)

Yield: 7.5-8 cups

Salad Ingredients:

1 cup dry wheat berries, cooked and drained

2 cups cooked navy beans (or cannellini beans)

1 English cucumber, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 large tomato, diced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 cup fresh parsley, diced with large stems removed

4 green onions, diced

Kosher salt + pepper, to taste

Dressing Ingredients:

2-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, to taste (I used 2 tbsp)

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp hot mustard (I used regular)

1 tbsp Tamari

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice


1. In a medium bowl, soak the wheat berries overnight in cold water. The next day, drain the wheat berries and place in a medium sized pot, covered in 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour. Drain and cool.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the diced vegetables (cucumber, red pepper, tomato, minced garlic, parsley, green onions). Add in cooked and drained navy beans (or other bean of choice) and stir.

3. In a small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, Tamari, fresh lemon juice). Set aside.

4. When the wheat berries are ready, drain and rinse and then stir into the salad. Add the dressing just before serving and stir well. Now season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Garnish with additional parsley if desired.

5. Yield: 7.5-8 cups.


The Energy Millet Salad



· 1 cup dry millet

· 2 cups of vegetable stock or water with 1/2 tsp of salt (or up to 3 1/2 cups of liquid, read notes below)

· 1/2 cup of raisins

· 1/2 cup chopped almonds

· 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

· 3 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds

· 3 Tbsp raw sunflower seeds

· 1 cup of finely chopped parsley

· 2 Tbsp olive oil

· 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

· 1 Tbsp honey

· salt and pepper to taste

· Garnished with chopped pear and crumbled feta or goat cheese


1. In a medium sized pot, toast 1 cup of millet seeds over medium high heat until they start to pop and become fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat, add the raisins and cover. Allow the steam to continue cooking the millet for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and place in a large salad bowl.

2. On a baking tray, combine all the nuts and seeds and toast in a 375 F oven until golden and fragrant. About 10 minutes.

3. Combine the millet, nuts and seeds together once they have cooled. Add the parsley.

4. For the salad dressing, combine the oil, vinegar and honey together and whisk until well blended. Add the dressing to the salad and toss until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Serve with greens, chopped pear or apple and crumbled goat cheese or feta.

Note: If you’re new to cooking millet you may choose to start with 3 cups of stock and drain any extra liquid that remains, once the millet reaches the desired texture. I find that 2 cups works great, but I also allow the steam to finish the work for about 10 minutes after I remove it from the heat.

Makes 8 cups.  1 cup = 286 calories.


Mushroom & Onion Amaranth

Serves 4


· 1 onion, chopped

· 8oz mushrooms, chopped

· 1 TB olive oil

· Chopped fresh oregano

· 1 cup cooked amaranth

· Salt and pepper to taste


· Cook amaranth – 1:3 ratio, for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and drain well. Rinse if you have a very fine strainer

· Heat oil in skillet on medium heat and add in onions, sauté until starting to get translucent

· Add in mushrooms, mix well and sauté

· When mushrooms are cooked, add in cooked amaranth and chopped fresh oregano. Season with salt and pepper

Makes a great quick side dish!


Lentil Tabbouleh Salad


· 1 cup lentils

· 1 1/2 cup bulgur wheat

· 2 TB olive oil

· 2 TB lemon juice

· 2 TB red wine vinegar

· 1/2 TB honey

· 1 clove garlic, minced

· 1/4 cup parsley, chopped (I used a mix of curly and italian)

· 1 carrot, chopped small

· 1/2 small onion chopped (or 1/4 red onion)

· 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

· 2 TB pine nuts (toasted if you have time)

· handful of spinach, roughly chopped

· sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


1. Place lentils in medium pot, fully covered in water. Cook, covered, over medium heat for 30 minutes or until tender but not falling apart. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

2. Place bulgur wheat in small pot with 1 cup water. Heat until simmering, then turn off heat, cover and set aside for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and drain any excess water.

3. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic and vinegar. Set aside

4. In a medium bowl combine cooked lentils, bulgur, parsley, onion, carrot, cucumber, spinach. Drizzle oil mixture over salad and toss well. Season with salt and pepper (and some Spike seasoning if you have it). Garnish with pine nuts.

5. Chill, covered at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

This recipe could be adapted according to what veggies you have on hand. Add in diced or cherry tomatoes or diced green pepper if you have them. 

Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad

by Whole Foods (recipes shared by Kelly)

Serves 8

Wheat berries are the mother grain from which pasta, bread and flour are derived. Little wheat berries pack a nutlike flavor and are pleasantly chewy. Use a crunchy, firm, sweet-tart apple (such as Granny Smith or Gala) for this salad. From The Whole Foods Market Cookbook


2 cups uncooked wheat berries
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 medium apples, cored and chopped
1 cup seedless raisins
1 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

  1. Put wheat berries into a large bowl, cover with at least 2 inches of water and set aside to let soak for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Drain well.
  2. Put 7 cups water into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add wheat berries, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 50 minutes, or until cooked through. (Wheat berries retain a firm, chewy texture when cooked.) Drain and set aside to let cool.
  3. Transfer wheat berries to a large bowl. Add walnuts, apples, raisins, parsley, vinegar, apple juice, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, olive oil and lemon juice and mix everything together thoroughly.

Per serving: 400 calories (140 from fat), 15g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 11g protein, 61g total carbohydrate (9g dietary fiber, 19g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium

Quinoa and Black Beans


1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 bunch scallions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
  2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes,
  3. Stir frozen corn and scallions into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.

Nutrition Info

  • Calories: 158.0
  • Fat: 2.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 28.8g
  • Protein: 6.8g


And a few more favorite grain dishes I’ve made:


Next Month’s Nourish features a field trip to the South Lyon Farmer’s Market!

Wednesday, July 18th 4:30-6pm
Divine Yoga Company, South Lyon


Join us to talk about eating local, when to choose organic, questions to ask and look for at the Farmer’s Market, and storing fresh fruits and veggies. We’ll share ideas for cooking with vegetables that may be new to us, how to plan meals when shopping the farmer’s market and eating seasonally.