colorful autumn leaves

The energy of summer keeps many of us moving. Sometimes I almost get the sense of being a little bit scattered. Imprinted memories of unstructured childhood schedules in the months of June, July and August sometimes make me feel like I can say yes to every fun and crazy opportunity. Once that slight hint of Fall chill hit’s the air, I sense an inner shift. I notice that year after year as the energy of autumn comes in I begin to feel more centered inwardly, and a ‘return to self’ occurs. I find myself wanting to cook more, nest a little and feel grounded.

Feeling grounded to me means I am spending more time at home, cooking more, practicing more yoga and walking in the woods. It means becoming laser focused on completing projects that have been nagging at me. Over these past few weeks I have enjoyed making fabulous healthy muffins, soups and dinners and getting things done around the house. Staying grounded means really looking at the schedule and planning the activities and experiences I really want to have on my calendar. Minimizing travel plans can become important – because I love being in the Bay Area during this season. (However, fall is a beautiful season in SO many places so I do schedule a few fabulous trips).

When a harnessing of my energy takes place, I notice I become more centered. From this place, I feel it is easier to reach out and reconnect with family and friends and I am able to move into the holiday season with greater ease. Feeling centered inwardly always enables me to connect better outwardly. The peace comes from within.

I also think of Fall as a great time to reconnect with gratitude. My husband and I had a great discussion about this a few nights ago. Feeling grateful for all the things that we do have in our lives, even in the midst of all of the chaos in our every day living. We have a wonderful app we recently recommitted to using each night before bed called Gratitude Journal, a simple journal for uploading pictures and memories recording daily gratitude’s to easily refer back to when those reminders are most needed. Gratitude is obviously a year round practice but I realize how easy it is to disconnect from it, as our lives become busy and more complicated while we are trying to solve day to day issues.

I am grateful for all of the wonderful memories of Summer and for my favorite Fall season – and for feeling grounded as I walk this path, with renewed energy. Happy Fall!

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IMG_0228Although most people would probably think of me as a suburban gal, I also have an affinity for the country– and a more laid back relaxed lifestyle that is reminiscent of my childhood– which included time spent on my grandparents ranch in the California Central Valley. I loved long lazy summer days, picking vegetables from the garden and warm soft dusty dirt squishing between my toes while strolling through fragrant peach orchards.  I recall being intrigued by the big dark barn that stood on the property, housing much of the ranch equipment and tractors. These countryside buildings were always of interest to me.

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Each time I travel to Montana my love for barns is rekindled, and I almost feel like I’m on a treasure hunt as my mom and I drive through picturesque country roads searching for my favorite barns. I’ve snapped so many beautiful photos over the years, which may actually land in a coffee table book one day!  I visited Montana this summer, and later, Virginia and Tennessee where my barn-seeking goals were further realized. I’m not sure why I am so attracted to the structure of the barn — often the aesthetic is peaceful and calming, and seems to represent a coming home.

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Someday I’d love to have a barn, as an inspiring place to host events, or a cool converted live/work space (and you are all invited!). I have seen and heard about so many different conversions and uses for the  beloved barn. I recently attended a wedding at a venue where the centerpiece of the property was a beautiful rustic barn which had been re-purposed into a charming gathering space for drinks and dancing…magical.

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Quiet buildings set against endless fields of green and gold…even the color palette is dreamy. Whether freshly painted, traditional red barns or the old, rickety, barely-standing structures, barns evoke a sense of connection to the land and a simpler time. What’s not to love?

 

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Theater-Hamilton-Cast-Album 2When I joined my son Brian in New York City in the middle of his cross-country trip, we saw Hamilton. And now I get it. I get why everyone raves. I get why it is a cultural phenomenon. I felt a little late to the party, as so many friends had seen the show and were singing (or rapping!) its praises. My friend Karen had been three times and inspired me!  I was incredibly excited to finally make it to the Richard Rogers Theater to experience the sensation myself.  Touted as “The most exciting musical of the decade” which swept up 11 Tony Awards in June, this was certainly one event where Brian, Bert and I arrived early to take our seats!

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It is an amazing show that adds a level of patriotism, education, and fun one doesn’t always expect from a Broadway Show. I was completely overwhelmed by its brilliance, and was so fascinated to learn more about the beginnings. (I was glad my friend Michele recommended listening to the soundtrack in advance — very helpful, as the show is a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton, and having some familiarity with the music made it even more enjoyable!)

After the performance we were intrigued by the history, and wanted to delve further into the life of this Founding Father. My dad recommended Ron Chernow’s biography, which was the inspiration for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s stroke of genius – and led to a musical which could surpass $1 billion in ticket sales in New York alone (according to the NYT Magazine)!  I really wish I’d read this terrific book before I saw the musical, and highly recommend this. Hamilton was an awesome way to celebrate my son’s cross-country adventure, and we then drove (listening to soundtrack and  book) from NYC to Philadelphia — from Hamilton on Broadway…to Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were adopted. I get it! If you have the opportunity, see the show!

“Don’t be shocked when your hist’ry book mentions me51P1c42DyLL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_
I will lay down my life if it sets us free
Eventually, you’ll see my ascendancy

And I am not throwing away
My shot
I am not throwing away
My shot
Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwing away -My Shot”

– Alexander Hamilton, My Shot

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Modern Women Making Waves: Kristine Carlson

I am always thrilled to connect with Kristine Carlson, the bestselling author who actively lives the advice she and her late husband Dr. Richard Carlson made famous in the popular series of books: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.  Kris’ life mission expands upon the phenomenal success of their  work in the (“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” series). She continues his legacy of peaceful and mindful living through her own bestselling books, including the most recent, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms, An Hour to Live, an Hour to Love: The True Story of the Best Gift Ever and her memoir, Heartbroken Open. Over the past two decades, Kris and Richard have sold more than 25 million books. She has been featured on national radio and television broadcasts, including The Today Show, Good Morning America, The View, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

I love Kristine’s calm, beautiful presence and positive messages, and she brings inspiration to so many (including me!) through her books, gatherings, blog, podcast and speaking engagements. Her message of waking up to life with more joy and gratitude is one that resonates with so many women I know. Sometimes I need to be reminded of the full title of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff . Kristine’s mission is a welcome reminder that so many of our daily concerns are often the small stuff we shouldn’t sweat! She lovingly prompts all of us to “Live the Big Stuff!”

You can learn more about Kristine here

More on her best-selling books here

 

Good advice is a gift — what is the best advice you’ve been given?
The best advice I’ve ever been given came from my late husband, Richard. He said, “When public speaking, stick to what you know. Don’t go into areas that are new for you. Just speak what’s true from your heart.” I think about this every time I stand on a platform to share a message.

What is on the top of your bucket list?
Oh my gosh, I’ve lived so much of my bucket list. I guess I’d have to say, an African Safari or traveling Thailand.

Who would you invite to your ideal Girl’s Night?
My ideal girls night has a psychic or Tarot reader invited as we sit in circle together.

What is your go-to piece of clothing?
Definitely yoga pants and a sports bra with an oversized T or sweatshirt.

What do you sing when you are alone in your car?
Without the radio on? Probably “row, row, row your boat gently down the stream.”

What was the best compliment you have received?
By far, the best compliment has been “You are kindest person I’ve ever met.”

How has your life been different than you imagined?
That’s easy. I never imagined being single in my fifties.

What is your most-used word? (And what word do you wish everyone would stop using?) I use the word “life” a lot. I wish people would stop using the word “like” this or that the way we used to say, “Um.”

Who is your celebrity crush?
I really think Gerard Butler is hot.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Watching Outlander and Parenthood on Netflix.

What is your favorite museum?
MOMA in San Francisco. I also really appreciate the Museum documenting the 9/11 Memorial.

What is the first thing you notice when you meet someone?
I notice their energy through their eyes and their voice. It’s really true that the eyes are the windows of the soul, and the voice gives me a feeling about how authentic they are.

 

 

 

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It’s In the Bag – 5 Travel Essentials I Don’t Leave Home Without  (Besides my iPhone of course)

 
1.  Sisley All Day All Year– This is my mainstay sunscreen. I love Sisley’s all natural botanical products. This one is anti-aging, hydrating and acts as a protective shield against UVA-UVB rays, free-radicals and external aggressors. Definitely a splurge, but a little goes a long way and unlike other products I’ve tried it has a light, comfortable texture and can last all day. I like to buy Sisley at their in-store counters where I have a relationship with their knowledgable reps- they are more than generous with travel samples and can send me products and keep me informed on new technology in natural skincare as well. (Saks, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus) Read more here

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2.  EO Lavender Wipes – One of the things I always SEEK out are products providing the purification and germ protection naturally- without slaying the healthy bacteria on your skin…and these hand-sanitizing cleansing towelettes smell divine, thanks to pure Lavender essential oils. Sugar Cane Ethanol is a disinfectant that does no harm when absorbed into skin or our ecosystem. 99.9% effective against most common germs. I love the individually wrapped wipes and the easy resealable 10-pack and I keep them in my purse and car. Available at Whole Foods or online.

 

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3.  Mophie Phone Charger. This external battery is an absolute must when I am on the go all the time. The Powerstation ‘all in one version’ with plugs attached is the easiest. I have tried the phone cases but they seem to provide too many pieces for me to keep track of- and one always seems to get lost. I plug this little charger pack in at night alongside my phone and it gives me a few extra charges on those days when I need it. If not me, there is always someone with me who seems to need a boost! All Mophie Products available here.

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4. Chanel Ultra-wear Lip Color. I call this a “secret weapon” that I discovered about 7 years ago. This is actually a stain that lasts for hours and includes a  lear gloss on the other end for shine. If nothing else, I have time to apply some in the morning to make me look alive- and it lasts nearly all day…through coffee, through meals, through hikes or workouts. I have a natural shade for everyday wear and a darker one for when I need to dress it up! It does not dry out my lips or feather. I have converted a number of people to a (healthy!) addiction to this one…give it a try. Available at department stores and Chanel online.

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5.  Host Defense (by My Community) My favorite immune boosting supplement to keep me healthy when I’m traveling. This product has been recommended by several of my naturopathic doctors and is great to have around for plane travel or when you feel that first sniffle coming on. Harnessing the power of immune building mushrooms (yes!) these capsules have helped me and my family avert viruses on countless occasions. Available at Whole Foods, Local Health Food Stores and online.

 

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