A few weeks ago we visited Alsace, a beautiful wine region in the northeast of France. We stayed in the historical...
Last year we visited Iceland, the land of women who seem to be very comfortable in their skin. They are not skinny and, I doubt, they strive to be one. They look strong, healthy and attractive. They walk upright with confidence. The magazine covers show images of normal size women.
As long as I remember, I never felt skinny enough, even at a very low weight. I wonder why the majority of us are so susceptible to the marketing of what women should look like. Who is creating an image of us for us? Exactly, who?
Today, I am more comfortable in my skin than ever. I try to eat healthy, exercise and take care of myself. I am not obsessed and neurotic with a skinny look anymore. I try to listen to my body and balance between of what I want and can.
Today, healthy, fit, strong, attractive, and happy is the image of me for me. I try not to fall for any new diet. We all come with different body types and physiology. One size does not fit all, and I finally I know mine. It all comes to basics of eating healthy, moving my body, and figuring out what works for me.
I was never good at baking. Then, I came across "Love Bake Nourish" by Amber Rose. Suddenly, I could bake, and others could enjoy what I made.
I followed a lot of recipes from this book, and I loved each of them.
If you are into healthy baking, you will love this book.
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Movies are not only about the story and characters, but they also bring a taste of culture, mentality, politics, and tradition. I like hearing different languages and subtitles never bother me. I have always thought that European movies are not better than American, but they are more real. They show the life the way it is...
My parents got married over 50 years ago. The world and approach to family life have changed a lot in these years.
I remember my grandparents who injected values of basics in us: long weekend dinners, family celebrations, fresh and home cooked meals, my favorite lilac in a vase on the dinner table. At that time this was normal and many years later I looked back to recall the precious moments, which almost disappeared in today's society.
Where did they go? I think they went out of the window with the comforts of life, technology, and artificial lifestyle, I remember my grandmothers, with wrinkles framing their faces, smiling while cooking, telling the stories while baking. I am thankful to have had the most down to earth grandparents who valued simple things and moments in life. I am still fascinated by all grandparents who never lost the sense of themselves and maintain family values. I do believe in progress, living longer, looking younger as long as it does not degrade the values. And this couple from the picture is still going strong after more than 50 years. They have changed a little - less hair, more wrinkles, more round - and they are still happy.
There are two sides to the coin. I know which one I value.
When you are falling, catch yourself with a piece of paper and pen. Pause. Look around Make a list of people who inspire you. For me, these people are just around us. They are unselfish. They are caring. They are giving. They say little and do a lot. Keep your eyes and ears wide open, and you will find them.
The Young Lady from our favorite restaurant. She is a single mom of twin boys and two rescue dogs. She works two jobs. I applaud all single parents who do not have good providers, nannies, housekeepers, gardeners, and they still can make things happen by themselves for themselves and others.
Ulla Pedersen, the founder of Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary. For Ulla, retirement was not an option. She founded the sanctuary for senior animals who can spend the rest of their life in a caring home. I applaud all individuals who devote their time and energy for a greater cause.
Farmers Korner Animal Clinic. A devoted team, which shows that passion, integrity, and a big heart can exist in a very professional and fruitful business. I applaud all people who can see that there is so much more in service than just a dollar sign.
My friend David. He is a man with a disability. He turned his disability to the ability to help others.
I applaud all individuals, who despite their struggle, lift the hearts of those in need.
Tracy, co-founder of "TracysDogs". She is just frigging cool. She and her team rescue dogs from high-kill shelters and prepare them for adoptions in different cities around the country. Visit their website here. Watch the adoption videos, which will melt your heart. It is like watching the best movie ever.
I applaud all individuals whose creativity, passion and service make us believe in humanity.
Paula and her Daughter. She was a very young mom, who made it happen for herself and her daughter despite a very rough start. I applaud all women who are doers and achievers. I applaud all women whose ambition and perseverance stood beyond catching just a wealthy prince.
This Special Family. The mom and dad who care for their child with special needs. Their parenthood will never end.
I applaud all parents whose devotion is a never ending story.
All these people and many others lift my spirit. What is your list?
I do not watch TV but I am a fan of Netflix and streaming from Amazon. I get my music from iTunes. I am always amazed by the creativity of people. The creativity never stops and this is what makes this world so special.
Feeling sad, uninspired, stuck? Grab your headphones and listen to Michael Kiwanuka "Cold Little Heart", Hozier's "Better Love" (you may know his other song "Take Me to Church") and Leon Bridges' "River". Music always inspires me. Set your station on Pandora and you are ready to go.
P.S. I hope to attend M. Kiwanuka's concert in the future. What about planning your vacation in conjunction with a cool concert?
In the arena of feel good movies, I do have a recommendation. I did, I really did like "The Legend of Tarzan". Romantic theme combined with the fantasy never fails for me.
If you want to laugh tune into HBO's "Last Week Tonight with John Olivier". You can stream HBO through Amazon.
My almost last recommendation should not disappoint you, "Big Little Lies". This is a dark comedy - drama HBO miniseries on motherhood, second wives, second husbands, no husbands. It sort of sounds familiar nowadays. Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern are fantastic. Alexander Skarsgard is my new favorite actor along with Tom Hiddleston from "The Night Manager". "The Night Manager" is another miniseries you can stream from Amazon. It is like James Bond but better.
I am waiting for "The House of Cards" season 5 with Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, and Chelsea Handler's Talk Show season 2. Both are Netflix shows and should come back in April.
So I do have this resting time far away from traffic, crowds and yes even people. I call it My Retreat Time with the headphones and movie screen. Not bad at all.
How many of us would like to have a crystal ball? I did but do not anymore. At one point I realized that the crystal ball is in my hands and I am the creator of my life. How?
First of all, I try to live in “now” and be less obsessed with the past or the future. Secondly, I got pretty good in knowing what I want. A lot of us struggle to have clarity on what we want.
It took me a long time to understand that clarity starts with a constant awareness. We can watch a movie and see just images or we can engage and understand the meaning of the movie and its characters. In our life we can just sleep walk or we can be aware of what we want and why we do what we do.
For some of us clarity comes with experience. For others clarity comes through intuition.
For me clarity comes when my body is aligned with my mind. This means that I have to take care of myself through proper nutrition, exercise, meditation, yoga, enough sleep, constant gratitude, self-expression, reducing stress and negative thoughts, engaging in community and practicing kindness.
There is no better reward than knowing that you are a conductor of your life. And how fun is that? This girl in the picture is definitely in charge.
This is one of the most engaging books I have read, "The Telomere Effect" by E. Blackburn and Elissa Epel.
Have you ever wondered why some of us stay younger, healthier, and live longer? Is it genetics or environment? Is it nature or nurture? It appears that all are critical.
Today's science confirms that we can influence our genetics. And yes we can prolong our life. And yes our health is in our hands. And yes we contribute to each other's health and well-being. The science is in to explain the importance of right nutrition, exercise, our surroundings, stress management. meditation and yoga.
For me this book is a cross-road between science, Eastern Philosophy and sometimes just common sense.
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