Friday, December 31, 2010

We Are All Healers.............

For the past several months, I have been spending three hours of my precious time every Wednesday night in a doctor's office. For anyone who really knows me, you know I have very little patience for this sort of thing and can think of better ways to spend my time and my hard-earned money.  I don't even really like doctors and try to avoid them at all costs.  There comes a time in all our lives that we must submit to the "powers to be", suck it up and just get through it.  That's what I am doing now.  This is not a life-threatening situation (but it would have become one had I continued to ignore the warning signs). 

To say I was dragged to this place kicking and screaming is understatement.  I did not want to be here. I cried, I yelled, I stomped my feet.  I pulled out my checkbook and asked " How much do you want? I will give you everything I have if you just let me out of here!" Nothing worked. Eventually, I accepted defeat and submitted. I changed my attitude and began to look at everything differently. I could make this a good experience or a bad one.  My choice. Now I go every Wednesday expecting to give and to receive.  In retrospect, this is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Why? I have met some truly beautiful people who are all struggling to find the same things I am- hope, peace, and healing.  We are connected by one common thread and we are healing each other.

It's amusing, really. This major inconvenience has become an opportunity to share my experiences and my passion for health and healing. I talk to every single person there. The doctor I see has a list of questions about food, nutrition and weight loss to ask me every Wednesday. My ideas, thoughts and suggestions are things he has never heard before. He applies my tips and advice to his own life and shares them with his other patients in an effort to help them heal. Some people think I am crazy to give away this information for free.  I should be charging him. After all, he is charging me a fee, isn't he?  Quite a large fee, in fact, that I am paying in cash because my insurance will not cover it.  I don't see it that way.  If something I share helps just one person, there is no price I can ever put on that. You can't put a price on healing.  I believe with all my heart that whatever I put out there will come back to me in some way, shape or form.  What I will receive is my own healing.

I am a healer. When I say that, I don't mean the type of healer who lays hands on people and casts out sickness and disease. I wish sometimes, I did have that gift.  I would travel the world making sick people well--no charge. We are all healers, every single one of us.  We all have something deep down inside.  Some of us know this, others live an entire life-time and never realize it.   Those are the ones I want to reach--the ones who don't know.

We all have the gift and ability to heal. We all have something to give. It can be a smile, a kind word, a helping hand, information, or an area of expertise that we can share with someone else. Sometimes, the most insignificant, utterly ridiculous thing is pure healing to someone else. This reality is what keeps me going.  It is what inspires me to keep sharing, writing, blogging, teaching, learning, trying, failing, and trying again.  This is why I am up at 4:30AM every morning, searching for encouraging, positive, and funny comments to post on Facebook for others to read.  If something I share touches or helps just one person or puts a smile on their face, I have done my job.

You can continue to muddle through life wondering about your true purpose and if you really have one. You have one and it is very simple. You are a healer. Right now. No special training or Ph.D required.   Just use the gifts you have and be an inspiration to everyone you come in contact with.

I wish you all a very happy, healthy, prosperous New Year!

And this is my Daily Cyn...........

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter Survival Essentials

Yes.....winter is here. With a bit of a vegence.  Here in New York, it has been unseasonably cold for this time of year with temperatures of 19 degrees and colder. We were just hit with a blizzard that is taking days to recover and clean up from. The LIRR was suspended and still not running on or even close to schedule, cars are abandoned on major highways and side-streets, people have been trying to stay warm without heat or electricity for days.  It's a nightmare for some people but eventually, it will all be cleaned up, melted, and forgotten until the next snow storm.

Depsite the cold, despite the snow, ice, and slippery conditions, life goes on.  We must go to work, to the store, drive our cars, and stay warm.  I commute daily for work and like thousands of other people, must stand outside in the elements for long periods of time waiting for a train that is always late, regardless of whether we are in the midst of snow storm or if the sun is shining brightly. Freezing does not even describe it.  Ten minutes out there feels like hours when your teeth are shattering and your knees are knocking in the bitter cold. The cold gets right into your bones and it takes forever to get warm.  It is exhausting. 

Regardless of how you get to work or even if you are lucky enough to stay home and only venture out once a week to get your grocery shopping done; you need some Winter Survival Essentials.  These are "must-haves" as far as I am concerned and will help to keep you warm inside and out as you brave the frigid temperatures.

A Big Puffy Coat

Toss vanity and a sleek, slim look to the winter wind, ladies and gentlemen.  I sadly abandoned my long, gorgeous, Banana Republic military-style coat for one of these ridiculous looking, artificial-down-filled  puffy coats. Why?  My puffy coat is the most amazing garment I have ever owned.  It blocks the 50mph winds, is waterproof, and has an enormous hood. Remember the movie Hunt for Red October? When I pull that hood up over my head I look just like a big black submarine with a periscope--a periscope trimmed in faux fur! I shiver as I see young girls standing on the train platform dressed in tiny little light-weight coats that don't even cover their equally tiny little hineys. Yes, they look good, but at what price? They are so frozen, they can barely move.  I don't care that I resemble a big fat tick in my huge puffy coat.  I am so toasty; I could stand outside for hours. A fashion tip-- buy it in black.  Black is slimming.  This coat in white is gorgeous but unless you really don't mind looking just like the Michelin Tire Man, say yes to the black.

A Scarf as long as a Cobra Snake
Find a long, warm scarf you can wrap around your neck at least ten times.  If you can pull it over your head and wrap around your neck, even better. Use it as a face mask to keep your mouth from freezing shut (a tragedy for a non-stop talker like me).  I just know people are profiling me as I walk down the street, completely covered in black, my eyes the only visible feature. I don't care. I am warm!

Hand Warmers

Little disposable packets of pure ecstacy! These are the best little things I have ever discovered.  Skiiers use them to keep hands and feet warm for hours.  I buy these by the case and stuff them in my pockets, my gloves, my boots, and in between layers of sweaters.  They last for 8 hours or more.  Take them everywhere with you.  Keep them in the glove box of your car, too.  You never know when you are going to need them.

Faux-Shearling Boots

I hate that I can't wear my sexy heels in this kind of weather but I really don't enjoy slipping and sliding down the train platform steps and certainly don't want to risk twisting an ankle while dashing across a patch of ice. Warm, sensible boots are a must for this type of weather.  Forget about glamour-- think comfort and warmth. Pack your heels in your tote-bag if you must. I am a vegan and will not wear anything from an animal so these boots are absolutely perfect. Slip a handwarmer in each boot, and your feet will be snug and toasty for hours.

Good Skin Care and Body Cream
Guy and girls-you must protect your skin in this rough weather. Lather on the cream. The richer and more emollient, the better.  It will protect your delicate face, hands and body   Pay special attention to your face. The wind burns and a good skin cream will protect it from chapping, flaking, and drying out.  Take care of your skin religiously or you will look like old leather catcher's mitt come spring-time. Don't forget your lips, too. Use a good lip-balm.  Burt Bee's makes a great one.  Put in on everytime you go outside and reapply it often.

A Blanket in Your Car 
When I bought my first car, my father told me to keep a blanket in the trunk at all times.  This was the best advice he ever gave me. In the winter, cars always break down.  Batteries die.  We get stuck in snowdrifts.  Go put a blanket in your car right NOW!! The next time you are stranded without heat, you will thank me. And if you have those handwarmers in your glove box, you can wait for hours to be rescued without freezing to death. And....for those impromtu trips to beach in the summer, you will always have something to lay on. :)

A Warm Body to Snuggle with at Home
Always make time to snuggle up with your sweetie, your dog, or your cat.  Nothing will ever keep you warmer than the comfort of someone you love and who loves you back. A warm heart will keep you going even in the worst weather conditions. 

I wish you love and warmth this season. 

And this is my Daily Cyn...........

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year's Revolutions

2011 is just a few days away. How quickly this year flew by. 2010 was a year of mixed emotions for me.  I experienced failure, success, personal tragedy, and victory.  I lost a few friends and made some new friends.  I spent much needed time by myself, figuring out what I want for my life, and learned to be content with staying home once in awhile rather than always being on the run. I moved my private practice to a new office, rekindled my love of writing, discovered the art of blogging, and found a true avenue of self-expression.  All in all, it has been a very good year.

I have no resolutions for the coming New Year. I prefer New Years Revolutions! As a nutritional and life consultant, I am revolting against the lies that we are spoon-fed in this country about true beauty, self-esteem, health, and weight-loss. This is not just for women--it is for men, as well.

I revolt against:
1. the lie that we are not good enough just the way we are
2. Quick Fix Weight-loss Schemes
3. Starvation
4.  Countless hours spent at the gym
5.  Deprivation
6.  the ultimate goal of fitting into a size 0
7.  the lie that we can never be too rich or too thin
8.  Tasteless, unhealthy, fat-free food
9.  the belief that doctors are always right
10. the idea that we once we make our bed, we must lie in it
11. spending ridiculous amounts of money on fad diets
12. the idea that combining or avoiding certain foods will miraculously result in weight-loss
13. diet pills, appetite suppressants, and carb-blockers
14. Hollywood setting the stardard
15.  that every man wants a Victoria's Secret model
16.  that every woman needs a man with a body like David Beckham
17. Breakfast and lunch from a can and then a sensible dinner
18. the lie that once you lose all your weight, you will be happy, find true love, and have the life you want
19. the lie that beauty can be found in a jar of $300 face cream or at the hands of a plastic surgeon
20. the idea that carbs, sugar, and salt are the enemy

My vision, my goal, my hope, is that we will all enter 2011 with a new attitude toward health, healing, happiness, and life.  I pray that we finally accept and love ourselves the way we are,  improve that which we are able to improve, make peace with the things we cannot change, and learn to work with what we've got!

I am here to help.  I am available to be your guide, your consultant, your cheer-leader, and your biggest fan.  Call me, write me, email me, Facebook me!

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy, Productive, and Prosperous New Year!!

And this is my Daily Cyn...........

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Tribute to Pets

I often wonder how boring my life would be without my crazy little cat, Sambo.  He has been my companion for about two years now.  Yes, I complain now and then about him.  He gets into all kinds of trouble, makes a mess, and I am forever tripping over his toys in the middle of the night.

I have been living alone for a few years now. My son is grown and on his own, I have no husband or live-in partner.  I suffered from empty-nest syndrome for quite some time.  I hated coming home to an empty house so I would stay out--ALL the time.  I would go to my job earlier than I actually needed to, stay at the office later than everyone else, and then stop on the way home and shop, visit friends, or hang at the local bar until I was so exhausted I would come home and fall into bed and pass out until morning.  I eventually realized how unhealthy this was for me.  I needed to rest, eat good, home-cooked meals, and just stay home once in awhile. Not to mention, I was spending so much money and accumulating all this stuff from hours spent at the shopping mall. I needed a reason to come home at night.  I wasn't about to share my home with a room-mate ( I like my privacy) or have a man move in (I don't want to be controlled, owned,  forced to surrender my TV remote, or HAVE to come home and cook and clean for anyone).  Someone suggested I get a dog but I just don't have time for a dog. Dogs need to be walked at certain times every day and demand a certain amount of attention that I just can't give.  I spend too many hours away from home and it wouldn't be fair to the dog.

Sambo was a friendly, black, ball of fur who won my heart in a matter of moments.  He was in need of love and because I couldn't bear the thought of him possibly being homeless, I took him in.  He made himself at home in my place in about an hour, taking over my spot on the couch and stealing my pillow from me in the middle of the night.  He sprawled all over my white chairs, completely covering them with little black hairs.  I am forever walking around with a lint brush. He has more toys than a young child and they are scattered all over the house. He jumps up on counters no matter how often I scold him, attempts to take the food right off my plate while I am eating, and tracks litter all through the house.  I can never leave food out for more than a minute or a dish in the sink. He comes running the minute I open the fridge or if he hears me programming the microwave. I have no need for an alarm clock.  At 5AM every morning he wakes me by wacking me in the face with his paw because he wants breakfast.  We have our little rituals. He eats while the coffee brews and then sits in my lap as I sip my coffee in the morning. Like clockwork every night at 9PM he joins me on the couch and demands love, hugs, and kisses. He's a creature of habit and a bit of pain-in-the-neck, but I love every minute of it.  He gives me a reason to come home every evening, is always happy to see me, has specific times he wants and needs love and attention, and then he just leaves me alone to do what I want to do.  He's the perfect mate.

You might think I am just a little crazy going on and on about my cat.  I have always been more of dog lover and never really had much use for cats but in all honesty, Sambo has been my salvation in many ways.  This is not the first time a cat has saved me.  Many years ago, I was suffering from major depression.  I was under a doctor's care and had lost all hope and my will to live. A neighbor knocked at my door one morning with a tiny cat in her arms. She told me this cat was wandering the neighborhood and needed a home. The minute that sweet little cat's eyes met mine, she leapt into my arms. I gave her a home and she became my companion for years. She never left my side and contributed greatly to my healing and my journey back to wellness. I wept for months when I left my husband years later and could not take her with me. 

I am an animal lover and always have been. I can't imagine my life without Sambo. We are the perfect pair and I need him as much as he needs me.  If you don't have a pet, I highly recommend you get one.  If you do have one, take a minute and give your cat or dog an extra hug, a belly rub or a treat today. They are wonderful companions. They love us unconditionally. They seem to sense when we are happy or sad and are always there when we need them.  As humans, we like to think we have rescued them when it's really the reverse.  They rescue us and fill our lives with joy and laughter. We can scold them, ignore them, even mistreat them, but they always love us and desire our company and our touch. 

This week, we mourn the loss of Benny, the most wonderful dog in the world.  Benny was my brother, Joe's, companion for years. In his lonely hours, Benny was there.  I know there were times that Benny was my brother's only friend.  Benny needed to be loved, fed, and cared for.  My brother took on this responsibility and no matter how tough it got, Joe cared for him.  In exchange, Benny gave Joe his unconditional love. 

The photo I posted here is of Benny and Joe.  I am thankful I had the opportunity to get to know Benny and spend time with him. He truly was a wonderful and amazing creature and now he is in a place where he can run free forever, a place without pain or suffering. 

We love you, Benny. Thank you for being a wonderful companion and the joy you brought to my brother's life. We'll see you soon...........

And this is my Daily Cyn.....

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

When my brother, Joe and I were little, our mom would take us to Swezey's Department store right before Christmas. We would walk through a magnificent indoor Winter-Wonderland and get on line behind dozens of other kids and wait.  On a throne fit for a king, sat Santa Claus.

In those days, it was perfectly safe for mom to just leave us there so she could get her shopping done. The longer the line of children waiting to talk with Santa; the more time she had to accomplish her tasks.  My brother and I didn't mind when mom left us. We were in good company.  We were in the presence of Santa and our mission was to sit on his knee and rattle off a long list of everything we wanted him to bring us for Christmas that year. I still don't know how my mother did it; but everything we asked for was waiting under the tree on Christmas morning.

One year, I remember we were both very sick and couldn't get out to see Santa in person. Joe and I were so upset. We sent Santa letters in the mail, but what if he didn't get them in time? What if the mailman lost OUR letters? We were so certain there would be nothing waiting for us under the tree that Christmas. Our parents tried to reassure us that Santa knows all, sees all, and he understood we were sick and would still bring us what we wanted. Nothing would convince or console us but Santa heard our cries and called us up on the phone! Years later we learned it was our beloved Uncle Charlie who disguised his voice and wrote down every little thing we asked for.

My folks always did the whole Santa-Thing really big! They would have a Christmas Eve party at the house every year.  My brother and I would leave a snack for Santa.  It was never the traditional milk and cookies--it was port wine cheese, crackers, and a bottle of scotch.  We listened to continuous updates of Santa's whereabouts over the radio.  As soon as we heard that Santa and his reindeer-driven sleigh were flying over New York,  we would race upstairs, hop into bed, and pray to fall asleep immediately. We knew if we were still awake, he would pass right over our house. What a way to get kids to go to bed early!  What we didn't know is that our parents were dragging out all the presents they had been hiding for months, wrapping gifts, and assembling bikes and Barbie-doll houses. Even with all the last minute chores and details, my father still managed to climb up on the roof and ring bells to let us know Santa was very, very close. We were too terrified to even think about sneaking downstairs to catch a glimpse of the jolly fat man laying gifts beneath our tree.  Imagine if we saw what was really going on--my father sipping scotch, cussing and complaining as he tried to assemble some crazy toy contraption we just had to have, and mom feeding him cheese and crackers to calm him down.

Of course, we no longer believe in Santa Claus.  We became adults and too smart for such "foolishness".  A few years ago, Joe and I went to see the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall. We sat beside each other and wept like babies. We  realized that something died inside us the day we lost our innocence and our belief in miracles and magic. We wanted so much to believe again.

The whole legend of Santa is totally ridiculous when you think about it.  A man who loves Christmas and children so much that he travels the world delivering toys?  It's impossible for eight tiny reindeer to draw a sleigh through the air with a huge man and enough gifts for every single child in the world, but we believed it.  It was faith.  We didn't see it, we didn't hear it, we didn't understand it, but when we woke up on Christmas morning, the miracle was waiting for us.

We lose something precious when we make the transition from child to adult.  We experience pain, heartache, disappointment and loss. We lose our child-like faith. We become cynics and critics and the simple things that once brought us pleasure are now silly, un-necessary, and inconvenient. Even Christmas is a bother--all the shopping, cooking, wrapping, cleaning.  We agonize over all the butter and sugar in the Christmas cookies and refuse a cup of eggnog because it's just too fattening. Once we dreamed of a White Christmas but now we hope it doesn't snow because it's such a mess to drive in and so darn cold.

My prayer is that I would always see things as a child does, not just at Christmas, but all year long.  Whether I am rich or poor, may I never lose my peace, hope, or joy.  I ask for the faith to see that miracles really do occur every day.  I certainly don't believe in Santa anymore, but I don't ever want to stop believing the true message of Christmas.  The greatest gift of love was given to all man-kind and in return, we are simply asked to share that gift with others.

From my heart to yours, have a very Happy Holiday and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

And this is my Daily Cyn.......

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

A Few of My Favorite Things:

Big economy-sized bags of frozen veggies
My coffee pot with the automatic timer set to brew at 5AM every morning
Baked Lays Potato Chips (for when I just have to snack and nothing healthy will do)
Securing a seat on the train on the long ride home
The nice LIRR maintenance guy at the Hicksville station who always stops to say "good morning" as I wait for my connecting train in the frigid cold
Vanilla scented candles that make my house smell like I have been baking all day
Warm, fuzzy socks
Those hand warmer packets that skiiers use - I stuff in them in my gloves, boots and cleavage to keep me warm in the mornings
Felt-tip pens
Hair Dye (so no one knows how gray I REALLY am)
The daily 6AM " Good morning, I love you" text message
The owner of the chinese restaurant around the corner who knows my number, my address, and exactly what I want to order by heart AND delivers in ten minutes flat!
My cat Sambo who does back flips as I walk in the door at night and is always genuinely happy to see me
Concealer (to fake a well-rested look and to cover a multitude of sin) ;)
Sparkling Pomegranate Water

And this is my Daily Cyn............

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Beach Body Ready???

Yes....I know it's winter. We are cold, bundled up, and able to hide in big, bulky sweaters. But............ summer is right around the corner. The time for beaches, BBQs, tank tops, shorts and .......the dreaded swim suit!!
What do we do in the cold winter months? GET READY FOR SUMMER!!!!

Imagine being 'beach-body" ready without agonizing over every ounce of fat and every single calorie you eat? I can help you........Togeher we will work from the inside out to get your body, mind and spirit into the best shape ever!  No more hiding, no more covering-up, no more saying no to invitations to the beach or pool parties!

Isn't it time?? 
Contact me here, on Facebook, or send me an email at

I look forward to hearing from you!!!

And this is my Daily Cyn............

Monday, December 20, 2010



To have love, you must give love.  It won't work any other way...........
And this is my Daily Cyn...........

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gifts from the Heart............

This is the season of giving.  We shop, we spend, we give, we receive. This has been a financially difficult year for me and I didn't have as much money to spend on presents for the people I love.  This forced me to be a little creative in my gift-giving.  Yes, I did buy some lovely things but I could not afford to go overboard as usual. And who knows where I will be next year?  I might not even have a job, let alone money to spend on Christmas presents.  That got me to thinking--if I truly had very little or no money at all, what could I give away at Christmas to show my loved ones how much I care?

Here are some suggestions of gifts from the heart.  Some will just cost a few dollars, others cost nothing at all..... but they will be priceless to the ones who receive them.

A song that you personally sing. Out loud. With music, without music. Doesn't matter how you sound.  Who wouldn't want a love song sung to them? I know I certainly would. Or a copy of a favorite song- yours or theirs.  How about a compiliation of several different songs on CD?  Each time they listen, they will be reminded of how much you love them.  One year, my son gave me a collection of all his favorite rap songs on CD.  I was so touched that he took the time to record all those songs and share a piece of himself with me. We had great fun dancing around the house to it or listening in the car on road trips. Another great idea: print out the lyrics to a treasured song, glue it onto a piece of wood and shellac over it.  Or, put it in a lovely frame.  No money for a frame?  Dozens of beautiful picture frames can be found at the local thrift or second-hand store for a just couple of dollars.  Perfect.

It really doesn't cost much to have a photo enlarged.  It can be a photo of you and your sweetie, a picture of family, a recent outing or a favorite place.  You can put in a frame, or not. You can make a collage of photos. Just glue them onto poster board.  Decorate it with pine cones, bits and pieces of this and that, and captions you write out by hand in ink or colored markers. You can also make a slideshow of photos and copy it onto a CD. A friend of mine did this for her boyfriend. She didnt have much money and agonized over what to give him as a gift. She took all their photos from their years together, set it to music and made the most beautiful slideshow for him.  Her lack of funds forced her to be creative and she produced something that the two of them will have forever.  No item bought in a store, no matter how expensive, could ever compare.

A Tree.............
I saw this idea in a craft magazine and thought it was absolutely perfect. This is wonderful gift to give to a nature lover.  All you need: glass containers or jars (large mason jars are perfect), potting soil, water, and pine tree saplings.  You can purchase these at your local nursery or at  Just plant the little trees in the potting soil in your jars, add water, and wrap with beautiful ribbon. I love this! The smell of pine and mini trees displayed in a window or on the table.  The best part: you get to plant them and have a tree forever!

Gifts from your kitchen.........
Do people rave about your home-made chicken soup or your marinara sauce? Why not make big batches and give them out as gifts? Pour into glass Mason jars and tie ribbon around them.  I am giving everyone in my family jars of my home-made "unchicken" noodle soup. You can bake loaves of banana bread.  Add chocolate chips to the mix for a special sweet surprise.  Wrap them up in pretty colored cellophane paper. Gorgeous.  How about cookies, spiced nuts, homemade candy, or flavored popcorn? These are simple and inexpensive gifts you can make and will be loved and appreciated.

Yes, I know it's a bit corny but who wouldn't want a booklet of coupons? They can be love coupons or coupons for your mom or dad loaded with chores you will do on any given day.  Or you can make a booklet of blessings or affirmations--messages of love, hope, and encouragement.  Whether you choose to print them out on your computer or lovingly handwrite each one on colored paper, this can be fun and only costs pennies to create.

A basket of pine......
Do you have a collection of old wicker baskets gathering dust? Pass them on. Go out into your yard with clippers, cut several branches from a pine tree, arrange them in the baskets.  Add some holly berries, a few pinecones,  tie a bow around the handle and VIOLA! You have a gorgeous hostess gift, the perfect present to give to someone who lives in a tropical climate, or for a friend who lives in a small city apartment.   The pine clippings will last for weeks and the fragrance encaptures all the beauty of the season.

Home-Made Body Scrub.......
This is so easy!! If you can find clear plastic, wide-mouth jars, all the better. Glass jars will work but they can be hazardous when used in the shower.  Look on-line or at your local craft store for the plastic jars.  You will need almond oil, fine sea salt and a few drops of scented esssential oil.  Pour almond oil into the jar, filling about half way.  Add the sea salt (about a 1/2cup or more depending on the size of your jar), stir with a wooden chopstick or other wooden utensil, add more almond oil to top off, and then a few drops of your essential oil (for fragrance), mix again.  You can get so creative with the scents.  Mix a few together for your own "trademark" fragrance. You can find scented essential oils at your local health food store and a tiny bit goes a very long way. Cover tightly and tie a pretty ribbon around your jar.  If the almond oil is a bit too costly for you, you can also use baby oil.  It's just as lovely and much cheaper if you plan on giving out several jars of body scrub. 

Christmas shouldn't be about who can give the biggest and most expensive gifts. How often we fall into that trap. We lose sight of the whole message of the season.  Great love was poured out upon all man-kind. In turn, why not pour all your love into your gift giving. 

And this is my Daily Cyn..............


Friday, December 17, 2010

Edamame Hummus

'Tis the season of holiday gatherings, office parties and chips, dips, and cheese and crackers to munch on as you mingle, drink, and celebrate! You are hosting your own get-together or need to bring some kind of snack type food to a friend's party. 

It's so easy to just run to the store, pick up a container of ready made French Onion Dip, and dump it in a bowl. It's so hard to resist. It's rich, it's creamy, it's salty!  It goes perfectly with greasy potato chips! Oh...yeah! I could stand there all night and just keep dipping chip after chip into a bowl of dip! I could make a meal out of it.'s also loaded with fat, calories, preservatives and artificial ingredients.

Here's something rich, creamy, a little salty and HEALTHY!! Edamame Hummus.  It's the perfect dip to serve for the holidays.  Edamame is naturally green (no food coloring needed).  Top it with a few strips of red bell peppers, and you have a gorgeous, festive, snack food everyone will love. The side benefit--it's packed with protein! Serve it with whole wheat pita triangles or raw veggies....

1 bag (12 oz) frozen shelled edamame
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 large red bell peppers, cut into 24 strips

Bring edamame to a boil in a medium sauce pan with enough water to cover, cook, stirring occassionally about 3 minutes.  Drain in a colander and run under cold water.  Pulse edamame, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, oil, salt, cumin and pepper in a food processor until it is the consistency of guacamole.  Add 1 tbsp of water at a time if it is too thick. Cover and refrigerate until party time.  Serve with baked pita chips and the red bell peppers for dipping.

And this is my Daily Cyn............

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Amy Grant - Grown-Up Christmas List

No more lives torn apart
that wars would never start
and time would heal the heart
Every one would have a friend
that right would always win
that love would never end.........
This is my Grown-Up Christmas List

And this is my Daily Cyn.............

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Every Gift........

Every gift, though it be small, is in reality great if given with affection. ~ Pindar

And this is my Daily Cyn.............

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Take a Look............ truly love and understand someone..... you must take a look at where they came from.
And this is my Daily Cyn................

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Christmas Wish List.............

"What do you want for Christmas?"

Here is my Christmas Wish List (if I really had the nerve to ask for what I really want)......and what will most likely be waiting under the tree this year for me, instead. 

What I want......
Would you expect anything less than something this grand at the top of my Christmas Wish List?  I want the little cabin in the woods with in walking distance of the beach (I would even settle for a lake nearby, if I must). A girl can dream, can't she?  Oh! And it must have a commercial stain-less steel kitchen and a fireplace.  That's it! If I could have this, I would never ask for anything else as long as I live. I would even stop asking for that penthouse in the city...........

What I will get......
It's already been decided.  This is what my guy wants to buy me for Christmas this year.  My little place is so cold and I am always complaining.  Leave it to a man to think practical, but--truth-be-told--I love this idea.  I can come home from work, flip a switch and have an instant faux fire and blazing hot heat!  I can just pretend I am in my little cabin in the woods and hang a picture of the seashore right above this little heating unit.  How is that for visualization? And just think--no chopping wood, no stoking the fire, no cleaning up the ashes and soot!  It will be so toasty warm and so romantic, perhaps my guy will spend a little more time at my place!

What I want...........
A cashmere robe. Is there anything more luxurious? How I would love to come home from my long commute after work and slip this on.  I can sit in front of my faux fire, sip tea and read my books.  What a lovely gift but with a price tag of $350-- I doubt anyone I know could actually afford to buy me something this extravagant! And the minute I take it off, you know Sambo the cat will be all over it.  It will be full of pulls from his sharp claws and covered with  black cat hair. 

What I will get...........
Cashmere gloves! A small indulgence. Not too expensive. Lovely, stylish and warm.  My hands are always cold.  These would be perfect! I would absolutely love to receive several pairs of these. I am always losing gloves or leaving them on the train.  Somehow I always manage to lose just I definitely need back-ups. 

What I want...........
A gift certificate for a day of beauty which would include a Breathe of Milk and Honey pedicure at Jin Soon Hand and Foot Spa, NYC.  Imagine immersing tired, aching feet in hot milk and honey, having them gently rubbed with a sugar scrub, massaged, and then wrapped in a hot steamed towel.  It would be like dying and going to heaven. This is a lovely, tranquil, asian-inspired little spot in the East Village but of course, this girl can never seem to find the time to go or the extra cash to indulge in such a luxury as this. Jin Soon Hand and Foot Spa

What I will get...........

A "Ped-Egg"! A "Foot Pod"! I don't care what you call it but it's fantastic. It's like a cheese grater--for your feet! And, it works. It's about $5.99 and makes rough heels as soft as a newborn baby. I don't always have time for regular pedicures so that little callous-buster is a lifesaver. I am sure I will receive several of these this year!  

What I want............

 A Course in Miracles author, Marianne Williamson, has written a must-have book on Weight Loss.  Since I read her novel, A Woman's Worth, years ago, I have been a follower. I am a Holistic Nutritional Consultant with a focus on body, mind, and spirit so I know I need to read this book! I just haven't gotten around to ordering it.  Unfortunately, my family does not share my passion and high opinion of Ms. Williamson so this book most certainly will not be under the tree for me this year.

What I will get............

Everyone in my family is a Sarah Palin fan. They absolutely love this "good-ole' gal" from Alaska.  If she ran for President, they would vote for her. Her husband would certainly be a hoot in the White House with his denim shirts, baseball cap and shot gun! Everyone is trying to convert me to a Palin fan, as well.  Most people have strong opinions of Miss Sarah.  I don't love her or despise her--I just don't agree with all of her politics. If I do receive a copy of her latest book, I will read it. I am fascinated by how this country bumpkin soccer mom became such an important, influential woman.  

What I want.............
Manolo Blahnik Something Blue Satin Pump. These are the most gorgeous shoes I have ever seen.  But my name is not Carrie Bradshaw and my life  definitely is not Sex and the City so at $945--these are fantasy shoes for sure.  If there is a Santa, I would need to be a good girl for several years before he would even consider bringing me a pair of these! Besides, when I am living in that cabin in the woods by the beach, I won't need shoes. 

What I will get..........

     Christmas wouldn't be complete without a pair of slippers under the tree. I understand some people want them and actually wear them but I never do! They're still a good idea, however. They are perfect to bring with me on vacation so I don't need to walk barefoot in my hotel bathroom, to keep just in case I need to stay overnight at the hospital, or when I didn't have time to do my "Ped-Egg" pedicure and don't want anyone to see how dry and cracked my heels are. And--these are slightly glamourous in black satin!

All joking aside, no matter how simple or extravagant the gift, what matters most is the love and kindness behind it.  I am very aware, this year more than ever before, how very blessed I am and how there are so many who are not quite so fortunate. 

My Real Christmas Wish-List:
to have enough to give to those in need
to have the faith to give even when I don't have it to give
to be surrounded by my loved ones
to laugh, cry, and rejoice together
and.... the promise of another year

  And this is my Daily Cyn................

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Weight Loss Secret

If I had to offer only one weight-loss secret, it would be this................
Find something you are passionate about and then do it!

And this is my Daily Cyn...........

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Gift of the Magi.............

One of my favorite stories and a beautiful tale of love and sacrifice....... I do hope you take the time to read it.........


by O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young."

The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling--something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: "Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie."

"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.

"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it."

Down rippled the brown cascade.

"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

"Give it to me quick," said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?"

At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please God, make him think I am still pretty."

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

"Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again--you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice-- what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you."

"You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

"Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?"

Jim looked about the room curiously. "You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

"You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you--sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with sudden serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?"

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year--what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!" And then Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

"Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it."

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

"Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on."

The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

And this is my Daily Cyn...........

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Few of My Favorite (and Necessary) Things.........

I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite and necessary things and tell you why they are my favorite and necessary things.  Perhaps a few of them will become yours, too. Maybe you will even get some great gift ideas to give to someone you love...( I added some links for you).

Here they are:

1.  Lipstick...........
Nothing perks up a look more than a great shade of lipstick.  I am forever applying it for two reasons--my lips tend to get very dry AND I am a bit on the pale side and need a little color.  I prefer natural, earthy shades of lipstick. You can run out of the house without a stitch of makeup as long as you put on your lipstick.  It instantly brightens your whole look.  You can even blend a bit into your cheeks for extra color.  Just be sure to use a natural brand.  I wear Ecco Bella Flower Color Lipsticks.  They are made from all natural ingredients, are vegan and cruelty-free.  Ecco Bella Cosmetics
2.  Coconut Oil...........
Coconut Oil is amazing.  It's the best thing you can use to moisturize your hair, skin and nails.  I apply it as soon as I step out of the shower every morning and it keeps me feeling soft and silky all day.  I also massage it into my cuticles every night before I go to sleep.  My long, curly locks tend to get very dry and  just a little dab of the oil tames the frizzies and give my hair a glorious shine. The fragrance reminds me of sunny summer days at the beach.  It's the perfect pick-me-up during winter months.

3.  Success Boil-in-Bag Whole Grain Brown Rice......
Probably the only convenience food you will ever find in my pantry.  This box of rice is a life-saver when you just don't have the time to wait.  Just boil water, toss in the bag for a few minutes and VIOLA! Perfect rice every time! Buy it! You won't be sorry.

4. Frozen Edamame..........
I keep bags of edamame in my freezer all the time. Edamame are soybeans in their pods. They are delicious, nutritious, and packed with protein.  I eat edamame when I am in the mood to munch.  I take a handful, put them in the microwave for about three minutes, sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy! Sometimes I dip them in Goddess dressing.  So much better than to snack on than chips and pretzels.  I only buy the Non-GMO SeaPoint Farms brand. 

5.  Trader Joe's Frozen Grilled Vegetables...........
Luscious slices of tender, perfectly grilled and marinated eggplant and zucchini in a bag! I suppose this is considered convenience food but I don't care.  I must have a bag or two in my freezer during the winter months. Take out what you need and cook them in the microwave for a few minutes.  Bake them in the oven and top with cheese until it melts. Pile layers on sliced italian bread for a delicious veggie sandwich. The possibilites are endless. A little tip: they can be a bit oily after you microwave them. Dab off the excess oil with a towel before you bake or serve them.

6.  Fresh Limes............
I hate water but I know I need to drink it.  I keep fresh limes in a basket in my kitchen, slice them up, and add them to plain filtered or sparkling mineral water.  Limes add a nice citrus flavor and extra vitamin C.  I sip my water with lime from a wine glass.  It makes me feel like I am drinking something other than just plain old water. 

7. Candles...........
I burn candles in my home all the time.  They are part of my evening ritual.  I come home from work, feed my cat, Sambo, and light my candles.  I sit and chill for a few minutes (sipping my water with lime from a wine glass) before I start preparing dinner.  I need that time to decompress after a stressful day and a hectic commute.  Candles bring peace to any environment.  I even burn them in my office at the Wellness Center.  Scented candles fill your space with gorgeous fragrance.  Light an Apple Pie or Chocolate scented candle to help satisfy your cravings for sweets.  Sometimes the delicious aroma is all you need.  The most ordinary meal becomes romantic when you dine by candlelight.  I recommend you use unscented candles at the dinner table.  You might not enjoy the scent of lavender filling the air while eating your Fettucini Alfredo. 

8.  Yoga Pants............ 
Some people like sweats.  I prefer yoga pants.  They are soft, breathable, slightly tight but never constricting.  They are flared at the bottom so my legs look long and lean.  I always wear black yoga pants but they come in all different colors. Yes--they are made for yoga ( and I use them for that) but they are also perfect for running errands or lounging around the house.  They look great with a cotton tee or tank top and sandals at a casual gathering.  When I am not at work or out on the town, I live in my yoga pants.  

9. Eco-friendly, reusable cotton shopping bags...........
Yup!  I am one of those people!  I bring my own bags to the market with me when I shop.  I hate the idea of plastic bags. When I know I am stopping at the store, I make sure I have one or two bags with me.  You'd be surprised how much stuff you can pack in them.  And they won't tear or break while carting your groceries into the house.  I also use them as tote bags to carry my breakfast and lunch, umbrella, and paperwork back and forth to work every day. You can toss them in the washer and dryer and they look as good as new.  Invest in a few of these bags and do your part for the environment!

10.  Books.........
You can tell an awful lot about a person by what they read.  I love to read.  I devour a novel or two a week.  I can't read enough.  I am always reading three or four different books at the same time.  I read for entertainment, education, inspiration and self-improvement.  I love libraries and randomly picking books from the shelves that look interesting.  I can spend an entire day in the bookstore and a shop full of used books is  heaven to me. If you invite me to your home, I will be checking out your bookshelves.  I am always fascinated by what people read.  Although it would be the perfect gadget for a commuter like me; I am not and never will be a Kindle-kind-of-girl.  I don't care how convenient they are or how many classics are right at my fingertips ready and waiting to be down-loaded in seconds flat.  Please don't buy me one for Christmas because I would miss that feeling of anticipation, excitment and suspense as I turn the next page of a book.  No Kindle for me, thank you. I'll continue carrying my five pound, 800 page novels with me everywhere I go. 

And this is my Daily Cyn................

This is my favorite time of year.  I know I complain now and then about the cold weather, the shopping, the never-ending to-do lists, the presents I need to buy, the gift-wrapping, and all the cooking, baking, and eating.  There is magical, wonderful spirit in the air that makes it so worthwhile. It is after all, the season of peace and love.

Every Christmas Eve, my living room is over-flowing with gifts. They are under and around the tree, up against walls, and piled high on  couches and tables. There is barely enough room to walk. We all gather together, sit at the table for an enormous feast of all our favorite foods, and then make our way through the obstacle course of beautifully wrapped boxes, overstuffed gifts bags, and toys and trinkets to begin opening our presents.  The gift exchanging ceremony takes several hours.

Business did not prove to be as profitable for me as I had hoped this year.  Money is tight.  Most people I know are in same position.  I had suggested to my family that we not go overboard this Christmas and consider buying just one really nice gift per adult and concentrate on the kids.  Our family is growing and we three new little additions.  There is nothing more exciting than the squeals of delight as little children tear open their packages.  Not to mention, I despise wandering aimlessly through the mall trying to find gifts for everyone that are bigger, better, and more fantastic than what I gave the year before. I thought I had a great idea.  It would take the pressure off my aging parents and my sister and her husband who are adjusting to one income now.  None of us are really in the financial position to spend large amounts of money this year.  My suggestion, however, was not received well.  How could I be such a Scrooge?  After much debate, I reluctantly agreed to buy too much and spend more than I can afford this year to keep everyone happy.  This frustrates me but how can I give just one present to someone who is piling dozens of gifts in my lap on Christmas Eve? 

I had a conversation yesterday about this with a  friend.  He told me that holidays were not always happy when he was growing up.  His family never knew if they were going to have dinner, let alone presents under a tree. While all the other kids in his neighborhood were counting the days 'til Christmas, he was praying the local Catholic church would remember his family and deliver a turkey and perhaps a few toys for his brothers and sisters. Thankfully, the church always came through when his mother could not afford to do so.

One particular Christmas stands out in his memory.  He was about thirteen years old. There was no tree, no turkey, no gifts, no last-minute knock on the door from priests delivering food and presents.  He chopped down a pine tree from the yard, dragged it inside, and set it up in the livingroom.  There were no ornaments so the tree was decorated with construction paper cut-outs and pinecones. It was the most ridiculous looking Christmas tree they had had ever seen but they loved it. They ate scrambled eggs for dinner and thanked God they were together.  They celebrated the true meaning of the season. It was not about big dinners or gifts, or sparkling ornaments hanging on a tree.  It was about hope, love, laughter and family. It was the best Christmas they ever had.

I cried like a baby as he told me this story.  I have always been so blessed, so fortunate, so spoiled.  I have never gone without a Christmas dinner or any meal for that matter.  There were always dozens of presents wating under a beautifully decorated Christmas tree for me and I never expected anything less.  As I get caught up in the stress and the joy of the season, I don't want to ever forget there are those who have nothing more than a few handmade paper ornaments, pine cones, and scrambled eggs.  Some people don't even have that much.

I felt so selfish complaining about having to buy too many gifts after hearing my friend's story.  I would have never know this about him had he not shared it with me.  He is always the one donating a turkey or two to the local church or buying extra toys or canned food to drop in those big collection boxes in front of grocery stores. Now I understand why.

I stayed awake last night thinking of ways to celebrate the spirit of giving this season without going into debt.  I decided I will stick with my original suggestion of buying one lovely present for each member of my family and then distribute other gifts as well.....treasures from my heart and made with my own hands. These kinds of gifts won't cost much more than a little extra thought, time and effort.  I want the people closest to me to know how much I love them. That is something that can never be bought in a store or measured by how much money I spend or the amount of gifts I give.

I sincerely hope each and everyone of you is surrounded by family, friends and loved ones this season.   Regardless of our faith or what we believe, may everything we do be done in a spirit of love. I hope the love we give comes back to us a hundred-fold.  I also pray that we never forget those less fortunate.  It doesn't matter if we have too much or too little this year.  We always have something to give that will touch the lives of others.

And this is my Daily Cyn.............

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Stitched together

I am like a patch-work quilt......little bits and pieces of mis-matched, unwanted, useless scraps all stitched together to create something unique and beautiful.

And this is my Daily Cyn.........

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Vegan Transition- One Month.......

If you have been following me on Facebook or reading my blogs, you know that I recently made the transition from vegetarian to full-fledged vegan.  For those of you who don't know; a vegan does not eat or use any animal products whatsoever--no eggs, no cheese, fish, milk, butter, mayonaisse, etc.  A true vegan also will not wear or buy leather, suede, fur or use skin care and cosmetics that contain animal derivatives and most certainly never anything that has been tested on an animal.  I have always tried to adhere to that second set of rules regardless of my diet, but I do confess falling prey to a great pair of leather boots on sale every now and then!  Not anymore! I will sit on leather couch  if I must, but I would never, ever entertain the idea of having one in my home no matter how sleek and classy it looks.  And.......back in my biker days I did wear a leather jacket.  When you are thrown from a motorcycle at 60 mph and rolling in gravel--a denim jacket just won't cut it.

I will tell you this.....being a vegan is not easy.  It is a total commitment and takes time, preparation and dedication.  It means ordering a tossed salad, steamed veggies, and a baked potato sans the butter or sour cream when everyone is enjoying steak or seafood, creamed spinach or cheese quesadillas when dining out. You must carefully read labels and ask how certain foods are prepared.  A simple dish like pasta with broccoli at your favorite Italian restaurant is often flavored with chicken broth. You also must say no to that mountain of freshly grated cheese on top!  It means you must avoid the big bowl of mashed potatoes made with mik and butter. It means carrying your own food with you when you go out. You will  be criticized again and again by those who disagree or don't understand.  You will explain a hundred times why you won't have just a little scoop of ice cream with your apple pie.  Most of your family and friends will never "get it".  You will need to make new choices, cook your food a whole new way, and shop in different stores if you cannot find what you need at the local market.  It is a big adjustment but after awhile it all becomes like second nature. 

Why on earth would anyone want to eat this way?
Well.... after a month of being totally commited to being vegan (back-sliding only once on Thanksgiving when I tasted a tablespoon each of green bean casserole and corn pudding and totally caved to a tiny sliver of homemade coconut custard pie), I have noticed some genuine and wonderful benefits.

Energy Level.....
Through the roof! I am already a pretty energetic person, require less sleep than the normal person, and usually never stop.  Now I have truly become the "Energizer Bunny"!  I have energy to spare. This is a great thing because now I am able to do my morning exercise rather instead of sitting on my couch at 5AM in the morning like a zombie waiting for the coffee to kick in.  I come home from the work, straighten up the house, and cook myself a marvelous dinner every night.  Chinese-takeout or a couple of slices of pizza for dinner is history as well as ordering breakfast and lunch from local deli when I am at the office.  Fringe benefit-- more money in MY pocket!

I  hate to sleep (because I am afraid I might miss something) but I know how important it is to rest. Sleep is healing and absolutely necessary for good health. I slip under the covers at a decent hour (for me that's around 11pm or midnight). Now I am actually able to read several chapters of a book without nodding off after the first sentence.  In one month, I have already read three novels and am looking forward to a beginning new one tonight! I am sleeping soundly, no tossing or turning or waking up in the wee hours of the morning.  I am awake every morning by 5AM without an alarm and I am well rested and excited to start my day.

My skin............
Gone are the blemishes that erupted during my first week as a vegan (those were all the toxins) and now my skin is clear and radiant.  No dry patches, no flakiness, no redness. My skin looks healthy and I barely need any foundation.  I also noticed that the dark circles under my eyes that I have had all my life have diminished greatly.  No need to camoflauge them with tons of concealer. Yesterday we had almost hurricane-like weather conditions and I was stranded at the train station for hours because of delays.  I finally arrived to my doctor's appointment straight off the train totally drenched and exhausted. Everyone told me I looked fantastic and that my skin was actually glowing! Hmmm.....

My hair.........
It's shiny and soft and feels good to the touch.  It looks healthier.  Each time I washed my hair I would lose handfuls of it.  Some daily hair loss is normal but I was beginning to think it would only be a matter of time before I was completely bald! I noticed today in the shower that I hardly lost any hair at all. I am still using the same hair products I always have.  I believe it's my diet.  Amazing!

My nails..........
Long and strong! No chipping, breaking, or splitting. They are hard as.....NAILS! My cuticles which are always rough and shredding (my poor manicurist deals with them the best she can because I refuse to let her cut them) are now gorgeous.

My clothes............
Too BIG!! How wonderful is that? I don't own a scale so I have no idea how much weight I lost but my jeans certainly show it.  My body is giving up what it does not need and any excess fat is slowly melting away. My belly (not exactly abs of steel but I am working on that) is flat. No bloat. No discomfort! This is great!!

My cravings............
Gone! Cravings for chips, sweets, crappy carbs, pizza oozing with cheese--- zilch, nada, zero, zip! I don't miss any of it!

My attitude.......
Positive, hopeful, joyful, peaceful.  I feel clean, healthy and light.  I love the fact that no animal is killed, harmed or mistreated in any way to provide nourishment for me.

You might think I am crazy! Can all these wonderful benefits really be true? Well... they are for me. I am doing it correctly, I have studied extensively the advantages and the disadvantages--not to mention the fact that I am actually a well-trained, practicing nutritional consultant.  If this diet was not working, I would be the first to admit it's not for me. Some times we need to experiment and do a little trial and error to see what works best for us. 

I am not here to convince you to become a Vegan along with me.  I won't even push you to stop eating meat if you don't want to.  We are all fearfully and wonderfully made.  We are each unique with different needs, lifestyles, and health histories.  I function very well as a vegan. You might not. 

I just feel so fantastic that I must share it! I also want to offer my assistance and my professional services if you are curious about nutrition.  Are you interested in becoming a vegan or a vegetarian? Do you want to eat healthier but are not quite certain how to begin ? Perhaps your doctor told you need to start omitting certain foods from your diet or you are just sick and tired of unsuccessfully investing time, money and energy in every fad diet that comes down the pike.  Whatever your concerns, issues or questions; I am here to help.  Please feel free to contact me here, on Facebook, or send me an email at   I would love to hear from you!