Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday To-Do List

It's finally snowing here and I'm feeling inspired to pen my Holiday To-Do List!

Here's what I'm dreaming of this holiday season...

* Sipping a hot beverage while driving around looking at Christmas lights
* Decorating the Christmas tree & listening to Christmas music
*Taking a trip to Menne Nursery to look at the trees and choose a new ornament for our tree
*Baking cookies with my grandma and sister
*Focusing more on presence and less on presents this season
*Sipping some Bailey's fireside with my husband on Christmas Eve
*Resting in the incredible joy of being with my family during the holidays
*Loving every minute of my week off from work
*Lots of time for reflection on 2011 and planning for 2012
*Snapping a gazillion photos to capture all of the goodness

More than anything I'm aspiring to stay connected with my intention of being present and finding joy during this time of year! And you, what are you dreaming of this holiday season?

Monday, November 28, 2011

What exactly is it that I DO?

For over a year now I have been struggling with describing what it is that I "do."

I've been taking online classes and buying up every product that promises to help me gain clarity on the subject. It's pretty straightforward to say that I am a psychologist or I am a yoga teacher or I own a wellness center but those titles don't truly convey what my life's work is all about. I had settled on the following description, "I inspire women to create more wellness in their lives." But every time I tried to spit it out it felt awkward. When I really examined this phrase, it came up feeling very safe. And playing safe is just not for me anymore.

Then yesterday in what felt like a very sudden revelation (but I'm sure has actually been brewing beneath the surface for quite some time) the answer came to me.

All of the work I do and every program that I create shares one goal: to help you magically transform your life from good enough to GREAT! My inspiration comes from my own life experiences, particularly my relationship with my inner self and my life's work.

In what feels like a lifetime ago but in reality was only 2008, I attended a yoga retreat that transformed me. At the time I had what I describe now as a good enough life. I had a good job, a beautiful home, a loving partner, and I was surrounded by wonderful family and friends. But I wasn't fully, authentically showing up in my life as ME. This retreat was the first time that I asked myself, "What do I really want?" Like so many of us, I had been caught up in doing what I thought I should do and spending too much energy worrying about what other people might think. There was no room left for honoring my true self. Nothing was really wrong but nothing was REALLY right either.

Since that retreat in 2008 I have completely transformed my life on the inside by nurturing my relationship with myself and on the outside by pursuing my dreams. My own journey parallels what I see as my life's work: helping women to reconnect with their true self and honor her by authentically showing up in their lives.

This is the thread that connects all of my work. Whether I'm teaching a yoga class or working with a therapy client or writing a blog post or creating workshops, my goal is always to inspire an authentic awakening so that you too can magically transform your life!

Last January I was interviewed by the local paper about my Dare to Live Your Dreams Online Circle. The last line from the interview was, "I just want everyone I see around me to be loving their life as much as I love mine.
" This might sound super cheesy but it is absolutely true. That's why I do what I do.

Thank you for sharing this journey with me,


Friday, November 11, 2011

November/December Dreams

Scenes from October

It's hard to believe that November is almost half over! Since I'm a bit behind on my Monthly Goal Reflection, I've decided to combine my November/December Dreams. Let's begin by reviewing October's Dreams...

October Dreams:

  • Attend Buffalo Women Entrpreneurs ROCK! meeting: YES! Had a great time reconnecting with these inspiring women!
  • Stop in at local La Leche League meeting: YES! Loved connecting with these like-minded ladies!
  • Savor Fall weather and go apple picking with my sister and her family: No, but my husband and I did drive to a local farm and buy apples.
  • Baby shower for an old friend: YES! It was wonderful to see my old grad school friends!
  • Girls Night with my YaYas: YES! These nights sustain me :)
  • Celebrate Halloween with fun festivities at my mom's house: YES!
  • Drop another 5lbs: No, down a few but not quite 5...
  • Move every day (yoga, walking, maybe a gym jaunt): Mostly! Feels good to move every day!
  • Get a Pedicure (in desperate need!): YES! Monthly self-care must for me!

November/December Dreams:

  • Go to a yoga class!
  • Lose 6lbs to put me at my next big goal.
  • Write! Spend more time blogging and journaling.
  • Find joy and presence during the holiday season. Stay focused on what really matters.
  • Enjoy a week off in December.
  • Spend some serious time reflecting on 2011 and envisioning how I'd like my life and business to look in 2012.

What are you dreaming of as 2011 comes to a close? I'd love for you to share in the comments so we can support each other's dreams!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October Dreams

September Dreams:

So I was a little over zealous with my September Dreams :)

Adjusting to life with a new baby requires lots of flexibility so I've adapted many of the goals I dreamt up last month. Let's review....


  • lose 5lbs (still working on that baby weight) - YES
  • walk 3x/week - YES, as long as 10 minute walks with Lainy in the Baby Bjorn count
  • check Spinning class schedule at YMCA - NO, but I did day dream about going to Spinning class...


  • take a yoga class - YES, Melaina and I went to mommy & me yoga 2x
  • read an inspiring book - YES, for all of 10 minutes :)


  • save 25% of my earnings this month - WORK IN PROGRESS
  • donate to beloved charity - YES, a small donation but still counts!


  • brainstorm ways to give back locally and globally - NOT EXACTLY, but an opportunity presented itself to me & it is in progress


  • clean off the buffet in our foyer, empty boxes in my home office - WORK IN PROGRESS, again spent about 10 minutes working on these areas but definitely did not finish

  • re-establish morning ritual, take 15 minutes of "me-time" daily - WORK IN PROGRESS (life long work in progress really)

Life's Work:

  • assess current schedule/activities and brainstorm next steps - YES, I've already adjusted my schedule and things are going more smoothly


  • blog 2x this month - YES
  • art journal - NO
  • vision board for remainder of 2011 - NO

October Dreams:

This month is all about connection for me. I'm excited to spend time with friends & family and meet up with like-minded peeps at a few local gatherings!

  • Attend Buffalo Women Entrpreneurs ROCK! meeting
  • Stop in at local La Leche League meeting
  • Savor Fall weather and go apple picking with my sister and her family
  • Baby shower for an old friend
  • Girls Night with my YaYas
  • Celebrate Halloween with fun festivities at my mom's house
  • Drop another 5lbs
  • Move every day (yoga, walking, maybe a gym jaunt)
  • Get a Pedicure (in desperate need!)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The 1 minute Yoga Challenge

I have been feeling guilty that my home yoga practice is basically nonexistent right now. Then something a student said to me this week gave me an idea. She said she tries to do just one yoga pose before bed. That got me thinking, can one yoga pose, one minute of yoga per day make an impact? So I'm challenging myself to practice 1 minute of yoga every day of October. I can certainly find 1 minute in my day for yoga! I'll be posting my pose of the day on the studio Facebook page and I'll let you know how it's changing my life with updates here on the blog.

Are you interested in crafting a home practice? New to yoga and looking for a way to bring some poses into your daily life? Follow along with me on our Facebook page!

Friday, September 16, 2011

I promise myself...

This was my first week back to work. Today I realized that I've spent so much of this week wishing things were different that I've stolen precious time from myself.

I've been wishing I didn't have to work when I could've been appreciating having work to do that I love & feeling grateful for the flexibility of being an entrepreneur.

I've been wishing Melaina would sleep through the night again when I could've been soaking up her precious baby cheeks or giggling at her awesome hair.

I've been wishing I could "just get something done" around the house when I could've been basking in permission to relax and enjoy my time at home.

So now I promise myself that I will not steal any more time wishing my life away.

It's time to return to acceptance of how things are and let go of struggling to change.

It's time to return to the present moment and let go of anxiety about the future.

It's time to return to trusting my heart and let go of doubting myself.

I will do this by breathing deeply, approaching my life from a place of love (not fear), seeing with grateful eyes and recognizing all the abundance in my life, and letting go of the expectations & judgements that have been hanging around my head. Finding peace with the present moment doesn't mean letting go of my aspirations for the future. It's a balance of effort and surrender, as well as discipline and contentment.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September Dreams

I recently had a long overdue date with my art journal. During my maternity leave I have not been posting my regular Monthly Goal Reflection. Since it's been more than three months since I've pondered my goals, I decided to start with the Living Wellness Lotus activity. This is a visual tool I created for assessing the state of several areas of one's life.

Play along at home! Rate the following areas of your life from 1 (time for major change) to 10 (things are going great): creativity, spirituality, physical, relationships, finances, service, environment, self-care, and life's work. Next, draw a flower to reflect your ratings. Use bigger or longer petals for higher ratings.

After taking a look at the current state of these areas of my life, I jotted down some goals for each one.

Physical: lose 5lbs (still working on that baby weight), walk 3x/week, check Spinning class schedule at YMCA

Spiritual: take a yoga class, read an inspiring book (just ordered this one and this one)

Finances: save 25% of my earnings this month, donate to beloved charity

Service: brainstorm ways to give back locally and globally

Environment: clean off the buffet in our foyer, empty boxes in my home office

Self-Care: re-establish morning ritual, take 15 minutes of "me-time" daily

Life's Work: assess current schedule/activities and brainstorm next steps

Creativity: blog 2x this month, art journal, vision board for remainder of 2011

My next step will be to find an inspiring image, tape it into my Planner Pad and jot my monthly goals there so that I am reminded of them daily.

Carve out some time for reflection. What areas of your life need attention? What small steps can you take toward your ideal life? What are you dreaming of this month? Did you know people who share their goals with others and write them down are more likely to succeed? Feel free to share your dreams in the comments and we can support each other!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Emerging from Maternity Leave

I'm slowly emerging from the sweet, warm cave of maternity leave. These past three months have been filled with countless hours of blissful baby gazing, tears of joy as I marvel at the abundance that is my life, oohs and aahs watching her grow, and much, much picture taking as I try to capture every moment and slow down time! Of course there have also been the dark moments of exhaustion, fear, and self-doubt that tend to accompany major life transitions. I want to remember it all.

This past week I facilitated a workshop I had signed on for before Melaina was born. It was my first big chunk of time away from her and although I held back tears as I left, it felt good to get back into the groove of working. I'm just starting to plan my return to teaching at the studio and seeing therapy clients. I had my first date with my planner pad and highlighters today. I broke out my glittery gel pens and started outlining the final quarter of the year. It feels good to get back to this part of myself that has been lying dormant these past few months. I'm excited to move into this next phase of my life where I plan to spend the bulk of my time at home while continuing to evolve my businesses. I have no idea how exactly it will unfold, but I look forward to the journey and sharing it here with you.

It's easy to see how I spend my days staring at her, isn't it? She is the cutest! And she has already changed so much. Just today she figured out how to use her hands for the first time and really grab onto her toys. Watching her grow every day is amazing; it blows my mind how much change occurs in this short time. I want to savor every minute.

Having a teenager and a newborn is actually pretty awesome! It really makes me appreciate how quickly life goes by. It's like a daily, in-your-face reminder to be present and soak up all the goodness right in front of me. It has been an amazing summer and I'm overflowing with gratitude for this gift of time focused solely on my family.

PS I love my iPhone and the fabulous Instagram app that I used to edit all of these pictures!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Baby Cuteness!

Hello Lovely Readers!

I am working on some posts to share soon, but in the meantime here is some baby cuteness to hold you over :-)

Melaina Frances (caputured via Instagram - love this app)

Post-bath hair do :-)

Contemplating life...

Just relaxing...

Sound asleep...

Thanks for your patience as I find my footing as a new mama (again). More coming soon!


Sunday, June 5, 2011

She's arrived!!!

Melaina Frances 8lbs 6ozs

Born June 3rd at 8:18am

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Uber-Pregnant Yoga

Butterfly, Warrior 2, & Tree Pose at 36.5 weeks

I'm now 10 days past my due date! I'm still practicing yoga and thought I would share just what that looks like at this stage in the game! (Please note this is my personal experience and not meant as medical advice. Always check with your doctor before engaging in any exercise program, especially when pregnant.)

Before my practice today I took a walk to get warmed up. Typically in a Vinyasa yoga class we begin with flowing yoga poses to heat the body and prepare for holding postures and more deeply stretching the body later in our practice. Since it is pretty challenging for me (and not recommended at this stage of pregnancy) to move quickly enough to warm up my muscles with Sun Salutations or the like, a walk helped me warm up safely.

I started my yoga practice with some Diaphragmatic Breathing in Child's Pose (with my knees wide to make room for my belly). Then I moved through some Cat/Cow (one of my favorite poses for pregnancy). I briefly went into Downward Facing Dog (I don't recommend any more than 3 breaths in this pose, especially in the last trimester) and then a Standing Forward Fold (with a big bend in my knees to keep the lower back safe). Next I rose up to Mountain and then into Squat Pose with Mula Bandha (another highly recommended pose for pregnancy). From my squat, I gently rocked back onto my seat and moved into Butterfly Pose, taking a gentle forward fold (being mindful to use an inhale to lengthen the spine and an exhale to hinge forward from the hips). I spent several breaths here, letting my hips open and focusing on relaxing into the pose. I finished up with some variations on Wide-Angle Seated Forward Fold to continue opening my hips and a seated meditation, using a bolster for support.

A very gentle and slow moving practice and it felt good! Did you practice yoga during your pregnancy? What was your favorite pose? Feel free to share in the comments or on our studio Facebook page.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Top Five Fabulous Things About Being 41+ Weeks Pregnant

Megan and I on my due date

I've been on maternity leave for two weeks now! My due date (May 21st) has come and gone and still no sign of baby making his or her arrival into the world! I'm working on relaxing and being patient while enjoying every last moment of pregnancy! Sure there are lots of challenging things about being SO pregnant, but let's focus on the positive!

Me at 40 weeks, 6 days

Top Five Fabulous Things About Being 41+ Weeks Pregnant:

1. It is physically impossible to rush around. Seriously, being this big there is no way I can "run" anywhere or hurry through anything. I'm finding it's much easier to savor the moment when I'm moving so slowly.

2. Zero expectations. There really is no "making plans" at this point in my pregnancy. It's impossible to have an agenda of any sort. Any moment could be THE moment that things get going so that means every day is wide open with possibilities. It's beautiful to wake up every morning and think, "Hey, I'm still pregnant! What should I do today?"

3. Celebrating small accomplishments. Today I blow dried my hair! And put on make-up! I went to the grocery store! I folded laundry! Whooo - hooo!!! The littlest things feel so big to me now that I have no expectations of myself.

4. Wide open space. So much free time! Something I am not used to at all, but I am loving it! Yesterday I spent hours just sitting on my grandparents' patio chatting and watching birds - what a lovely luxury! My husband and I were joking that we've seen each other more in the past two weeks while I've been on maternity leave than we have in the past two months. Unscheduled time truly is a beautiful gift! Especially when it is guilt-free!

5. Infinite lessons in patience, trust, and surrender. Waiting to go into labor is unlike any other kind of waiting. There is so much hope and excitement and worry and frustration and discouragement and joy and just about everything else one can imagine! Combine all of that with intense hormones and you've got yourself one wild roller coaster ride! But really, what can you do about it? Nothing really! I mean of course I have tried every labor-inducing thing I've heard of, but none of it has made any difference. I might as well sit back and relax into my situation instead of trying to fight it!

As I read over my list I see that all of these ideas can be incorporated into our daily lives. Being super pregnant may make it easier to choose to slow down, let go of expectations, celebrate the small things, savor unscheduled time, and practice patience, trust, and surrender, but it is not necessary to wait until something forces you into doing these things. So I challenge you today, whatever you current situation might be, to think of one small way to include one or more of these ideas into your daily routine. Maybe you will turn off the television while you eat dinner tonight. Or stop and look into the eyes of the person talking to you instead of continuing to check your phone or computer. Maybe you'll try letting go of expectations during your yoga practice. Or making a list of all the things you've accomplished so far this year - big and small. Maybe you will block out an hour in the upcoming week to do nothing. Or plan a vacation for this summer. Maybe you will use the "off" button on your cell phone. Or let it go to voice mail. Maybe you will shift your mindset to trust that everything is happening exactly as it is meant to be happening. Or you'll surrender into what is right now in this moment, without trying to change anything. Whatever you choose, I would love to hear about it! Please leave me a comment or send me an email at!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bonjour Maternity Leave!

39 weeks along & getting ready to teach my last yoga class before maternity leave

Bonjour Maternity Leave!

Here is how I envision spending this week (or so) before le bebe arrives:

Sleeping in

Setting up the nursery

Getting a massage & pedicure

Physical Therapy session

Finishing up a bit of work, preferably from bed

Daily naps

Going to yoga class, even if I may just rest in Child's Pose for the hour

Heaps of fresh fruit (addicted to pineapple lately)

Writing in my journal

Working on my belly cast

We'll see if the baby is on board with the plan or if s/he has other ideas!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Belly Casting!

I'm SO excited to be getting my belly cast on Friday!
I've been searching for ideas and thought I'd share
some of the gorgeous images I've come across!

image credit

I think this one is my favorite! It combines two of my
favorite symbols - the Tree of Life and the lotus!
Absolutely gorgeous!

I was thinking I would just do my breasts and belly,
but now I'm loving the idea of including one or both
of my hands! Either way, I'll be sure to share some
pictures after the experience!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Do Yourself a Favor - Let It Go!

I once read a story about a Zen master and his student. I can't remember exactly, but it went something like this: They were walking and came across a very grumpy and rude woman who demanded the Zen master carry her across a puddle of mud so that she didn't get mud on her shoes. The Zen master happily obliged and then he and his student continued on their way in silence. The student looked extremely annoyed and when the Zen master inquired his student furiously asked, "Why would you carry that awful woman across the mud? She was mean and ungrateful!" The Zen master replied, "I put her down miles ago, why haven't you?"

I thought of this story this morning. I was rushing to get ready to leave the house on time for my physical therapy appointment when I received a text message from my daughter. She forgot a basket that she needed for a gift that her and some other students were preparing for their long-term substitute teacher. Today was his last day in their class. The text said, "I need that basket!!!!!" I replied that I would bring it later in the day after my appointment and another meeting I had scheduled. She asked, "Can you bring it soon?" At which point I felt myself getting extremely angry! "No I can't bring it soon," I thought. "I have an appointment and a meeting to get to. It's not my fault she forgot it. She should be more responsible." And on and on, but still I replied to her,"Fine I'll just be late for my appointment." There's that lovely mommy martyr coming out!

After a few moments of this train of thought and the associated aggravation, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that it is rare for her to need me to bring something to school and that all-in-all she is a very responsible person and that really this was about her and her friends doing something kind for their teacher. I reminded myself that I certainly didn't have to bring the basket right then or ever. I could say no, but I was choosing not to. So if I was choosing to run out the door with wet hair and no makeup on so that I could deliver the basket as soon as humanly possible, then it was time for me to let go of my frustration and martyrdom and all that other good stuff I was holding onto!

By breathing deeply and reminding myself that I was choosing to risk being late to my appointment because I wanted to help my daughter out, I was able to do just that! I drove calmly, I entered the school serenely, and I continued on to my appointment in peace. Believe it or not, I actually got there early and sat in the parking lot applying my makeup! I know that my morning would have gone a lot different if I had held onto my initial anger. Worst case scenario I could've been hurt or hurt someone else by driving around in a mad rage. Best case scenario I'd just be irritated on the inside and my stress response would activate, elevating my blood pressure, interfering with my digestion, and making me more susceptible to illness, amongst a host of other negative physical and emotional side effects. To me, it is SO not worth it! If you choose to carry a grumpy, ungrateful lady across some mud, do yourself a favor and truly put her down the moment you reach the other side.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Dreams

Happy April! We (finally) have no snow left on the ground here in Niagara Falls and I'm hopeful that soon enough Spring flowers, like the gorgeous ones from the Botanical Gardens shown above, will be blooming! As the seasons change, join me in reviewing the past month (or even past three months if you prefer to work with quarters) and planning for the upcoming days, weeks, and months.

Some tips for making the most of your dream/goal reflection:

  • Grab your journal and set aside at least 30 minutes
  • Find a quiet space where you can ponder your dreams without interruption
  • If you have previously created yearly goals, reflect on progress made so far
  • When considering your dreams/goals, think of all the different areas of your life (i.e., physical health, home environment, life's work, service, self-care, creativity, spirituality, relationships)
  • Be specific (i.e., rather than "get in shape" try a goal of "go to the gym 2x/week")
  • Write your dreams down and consider sharing them with others (research has shown this makes it more likely that you will reach your goals)

March Dreams:

  • Attend fabulous continuing education course on the role of yoga in healing trauma. Further ponder group for women affected by violence that incorporates yoga. DREAM COME TRUE! I loved this workshop! It was awesome to learn about all of the scientific research supporting the psychological benefits of yoga. I felt so refreshed after spending the day with other like-minded professionals! It really reminded me of the importance of connecting with other people in my field, especially as a solo-preneur who works alone day after day.
  • Fun night out with my mom at Art by You! DREAM COME TRUE! We had a blast! I highly recommend visiting Art by You for a fun and creative excursion!
  • Signed leases in hand for additional offices at Living Wellness of Niagara. DREAM IN PROGRESS! I'm hard at work exploring ways to find and connect with other holistic health professionals so that I can choose the right people to share our wellness center space with.
  • Savor a solo weekend away to attend continuing education course on Yoga Anatomy & Alignment. DREAM COME TRUE! I'm not sure how much I savored it though... I missed sleeping in my own bed and my pregnant body was beat after the 4 hours in the car and 18 hours of training! This is the event that prompted me to (sort-of) accept that it is time to slow down and be more gentle with myself.
  • Attend fabulous new workshops at Tree of Life Yoga Studio: Dance on the Wild Side & Prayer Flag Creating Experience. DREAM COME TRUE! I adore Christina and Chris who lead us through the Prayer Flag workshop and I had a great time being a participant and chatting with the other attendees!
  • Continue preparing for baby's arrival with first class at Care Connection. DREAM COME TRUE! It was a great class! I have the hubby and I signed up for two more classes in April!
  • Save 40% of my earnings toward my maternity leave. DREAM COME TRUE! Yay for saving money!
  • Paint BIG! DREAM COME TRUE! Read more about my thoughts on BIG here.
  • Write! DREAM IN PROGRESS! I've been journaling a lot and blogging here and there, but I haven't dedicated any real time to my books in progress.
  • Read another Martha Beck book - I'm thinking The Joy Diet. DREAM DEFERRED. I'm focusing most of my reading on books about birth and parenting, but I'll get back to Martha soon enough!
  • Continue to care for my pregnacious body by practicing yoga, going to physical therapy, swimming, and getting regular massages. DREAM COME TRUE! I have been keeping up with all of my promises to care for my body. I am deeply thankful for the amazing medical professionals that are guiding me through this challenging time and helping me nurture my physical self.

April Dreams:

  • Celebrate with friends and family at a baby shower in our honor.
  • Ponder ways to bring more mindfulness into my daily life at the Creative Mindfulness Workshop.
  • Enjoy a week's vacation to visit my husband's family before le bebe arrives.
  • Continue to paint BIG and think BIG!
  • Host diaper shower for my brother's girlfriend in honor of my soon-to-arrive niece.
  • Celebrate with my YaYa's at diaper shower for a dear friend also expecting a baby next month.
  • Save 40% of my earnings during my last full month of work before maternity leave.
  • Clear some clutter in preparation for baby's arrival.
  • Slow down... more naps; permission to do nothing; less striving to achieve/produce, more acceptance and enjoyment of the process.