With my computer transition behind me, I can finally focus on other things. It’s incredible how preoccupied I can be when things like a new computer, the holidays and my girls’ basketball schedules consume my attention. Over the past two months a lot of things fell by the wayside; most noticeably – diet and exercise.
Diet – The Whole30
As far as eating and drinking go, I really went all out during the holiday season. While I enjoyed every minute of fun and frolic, it’s time to dial it back. Just after the first of the year, I joined a group of friends to tackle the Whole30. If you’ve not heard, the Whole30 is a nutritional program designed to get you on a healthy track by eating clean foods for 30 days. No sugar, no alcohol, no grain, no dairy and no legumes.
I actually just started getting serious about it this week. Seeing I have felt constantly full for at least a month, it is actually nice to remember what a pang of hunger feels like.
Typically, diets like this (oops, I should say “programs or lifestyles”) are not my thing. But, let’s face it, any lifestyle that doesn’t involve bread, cheese, martinis and the occasional glass of wine is not one I can sustain.
Also, the idea that elimination diets like the Whole30 or Dukan, Atkins or Paleo, often result in the participant gaining weight back when normal eating resumes, seems pointless. But sometimes, it’s more about cleansing than losing weight.
So, I’m approaching the Whole30 from the perspective that a protein and veggie diet is a good thing. Fruits are also OK on the Whole30, which makes it even more appealing.
After the pure gluttony of the holidays (I ate so much bread it was insane), it is now time to detox, deflate and push the button for a hard reset. We are what we eat, after all.
Exercise – 30 Minutes
Now, onto the Plus 30 part of this post. I have decided that instead of wasting two or more hours of my day running back and forth to the gym, I am going to commit to just 30 minutes a day on one of the three pieces of cardio equipment I have at home. I will eventually get bored with this, but if the past month of no gym time at all is any indication; it’s this or nothing.
30 minutes is better than no minutes at all!
My attempt at healthier living this January is not a resolution, just something I want to do to feel better and get some energy back.
But I won’t lie, I’m going to miss my 3 Olives & a Twist martini. Let’s see if I can hold out.
Are you doing anything new to undo holiday damage?
I love bling! At one point when my girls were little, my motto was “Everything’s Better with Glitter.” I’m pretty sure I wrote that on a chalkboard in our entryway for all the world to see. Interestingly, I’m not much of a jewelry wearer. I love admiring all types of unique jewelry on other people, in store windows and in catalogs, but more often than not; you’ll find me sporting my wedding rings, a pair of earrings and not much else.
Unique Jewelry by Stella and Dot
That is, until I discovered Stella and Dot. Several years ago, a friend invited me to a Stella and Dot trunk show at her house. I was happy to support her event not only because I had heard good things about the unique jewelry line, but also because I’m very comfortable getting my shop on; no matter where I am. I never worry whether or not I’ll find something I like. I just go, have fun and nine times out of ten, I walk away with something I love. OK, who’s kidding who? Ten times out of ten, but really who’s counting? Hopefully not Tony.
Needless to say, finding something at my first Stella and Dot party was a non-issue because there were many shiny, pretty things that caught my eye. Add to that a reasonable price point and I was pleasantly impressed. What I most liked about shopping Stella and Dot’s jewelry collection was the wide variety of choices. There were many delicate options I could see myself wearing on a day to day basis, as well as dramatic, statement pieces ideal for a night out. Seeing that I don’t accessorize with jewelry as often as I’d like, I found myself drawn to the daintier, more subdued selections.
This simple, gold and silver Eternity Necklace was the first Stella and Dot piece I purchased and I absolutely love it. For $59 I have well-worn my money’s worth for that purchase.
Here’s a look at a few more favorites from my personal Stella and Dot collection. While not all of these are still available, there are many similar items from which to choose. I should mention that the gold Bridge Bracelet (shown and still available) was purchased for my oldest daughter. I thought it was the perfect blend of simple sophistication and funky flair. For $44 it made a great gift. One that has found its way onto my wrist more times than it’s been on Julia’s. Sorry kiddo! I just love that cool chain. And it can be detached if you’d rather wear the bracelet on its own, but I never do. Many of the Stella and Dot pieces are versatile and can be worn several ways. I love that flexibility.
Jewelry and Beyond
While I initially thought Stella and Dot was just about unique jewelry, I now know they also offer a great selection of sunglasses, stylish bags, scarves and more.
New to Stella and Dot
Also new to Stella and Dot, as of September 2016, is their Covet line featuring real diamonds, 14k gold and fine leather accessories.
Where and How to Buy
There are so many great looks at Stella and Dot, I could go on and on about the quality pieces I have and the ones I plan to buy. And while I’ve made my purchases at trunk shows hosted by friends, that’s not the only way to buy. You can also shop online through a Stella and Dot stylist. Michelle Simoes is my personal stylist, StellaDot.com/MichelleSimoes, and is happy to answer any questions you may have or talk to you about hosting a trunk show or becoming a stylist yourself.
Whether you already know Stella and Dot or are new to brand, be sure to check out what’s new in bling, baubles, bracelets and more this holiday season.
It is a process by which one or more participants meditate in response to the guidance of a trained practitioner or teacher, either in person or via written text, sound recording, video, or audiovisual media comprising music or verbal instruction, or a combination of both.
What is AMP?
AMP stands for Active Meditation Practice; a program offered by Daring Spirits. It includes eight recordings of guided meditation that will transform what’s happening in the here and now. Unlike “traditional” meditation that teaches you to get out of your head and transcend your body. Active meditation empowers you to be here, now. This powerful practice changes how you experience things by teaching you the skills to integrate spirit into your mind and body.
Meditation and Me
I’ve considered incorporating meditation into my life for some time, but only recently got around to it when I connected with the founders of Daring Spirits, Elizabeth Guilbeault and Barbara Holbrook. I first met Barbara and Elizabeth after they discovered my blog and asked me to be a Daring Spirit of the Week. I was flattered and really liked what they were doing with Daring Spirits. I then asked them to guest blog at 3 Olives & a Twist.
The more we spoke, the more I felt Elizabeth and Barbara were very tuned in to me, as a person, and my impassioned goals for 3 Olives & a Twist. During one conversation, they were so on point with their assessment of my relationships and life direction – I got chills. In addition to providing guided meditation, Elizabeth and Barbara are energy workers – they are clairvoyant and mediums. They, along with other members of their team, offer readings (card, energy, past lives) and healing sessions.
The more we spoke, the more I wanted to share what the Daring Spirits were doing. We collaborated on a pilot, 3 Olives & a Twist blog event which was successfully held last week.
Together, with a group of about 25 women, Barbara and Elizabeth educated us on AMP, the value of meditation and how to fully engage in our own lives. Many guests also enjoyed a card reading with Daring Spirit, Alicia Joy Stiles.
My Journey with AMP
I have since purchased AMP and am truly enjoying the experience. The first guided meditation of the eight that I tried was called “Calling Back Your Energy.” This couldn’t have been more suited to me. At about 4:00pm every day, I feel so drained I could fall asleep on the spot. Not a good thing since I’m likely driving a teenager somewhere at this time of day. I have to admit, the brief eight minute, “Calling back your Energy” meditation has given me just the boost I need to get through my day. I don’t know if it’s simply stopping for eight minutes to focus on myself or if it’s the energizing visual of a golden sun that the guided meditation suggests you channel, but I can attest that I feel better having done it.
Here’s what I really like about AMP- The meditations are short, ranging from six to fifteen minutes. You can do them anywhere, anytime. You don’t have to be in yoga clothes, sitting on a mat in a quiet room surrounded by candles. You can meditate while sitting outside school waiting to pick up a child or while sipping your morning coffee or while sitting in front of your computer. Active meditation can and should be a part of your normal day.
I also love that AMP is guided meditation. I have downloaded the eight recorded files right to my phone (I used a simple, free App called Zip Viewer) and now I can listen to them wherever, whenever and I don’t have to remember what it is I’m supposed to do. I just hit play on my meditation of choice and let the gentle voice of Daring Spirits lead my way.
It is a wonderful way to gain clarity, focus, energy, a sense of calm and purpose. I believe that our brains are like an underutilized muscle. Many of us spend a lot of time training the muscles of our body to be stronger and leaner, so why not train our brains to achieve what we are looking for in life?
If you agree and are interested in AMP – you can purchase it here.
If you are interested in collaborating on a blog post and event, contact me via email – Bethdaigle13@gmail.com.
There’s nothing I find more fabulous than ambitious, self-starting young people. I’ve had the pleasure to know this up and coming fashion designer since she was a little girl. Lexi Lowrie may have just turned 18, but she has been designing clothes for as long as I can remember. She does so with passion, confidence and an unwavering drive to realize her dream. To date, she has a portfolio that any aspiring fashion designer would be proud to call their own. Be sure to check out Lexi Lowrie Designs on Instagram. While I’ve known Lexi for many years, only in the past two has she driven my oldest daughter, Julia, to and from school. When a school assignment came up for Julia to write about someone she admired, she chose Lexi. Upon reading the finished piece, I was impressed; with both Julia’s writing and her subject; the talented and tenacious, Lexi Lowrie.
With truly no friend or family bias, I offer you today’s guest post written by Julia Daigle, 15, in March 2016.
A Fashion Designer in the Making
Written By: Julia Daigle
On Saturday, March 19, 2016, multiple clothing boutiques will showcase their collections in a fashion show to benefit cancer research. The show will take place at Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The models are students from Central Catholic High School who have volunteered their time for this fundraiser. Over the past 8 year, this fundraiser has raised over $195,000. Lexi Lowrie, a junior at North Andover High School, will participate in the show. She has designed 9 pieces and is the only student designer.
Lexi’s fashion journey began at age 7 when she first showed interest in designing. Although she is young, her designs are just as sophisticated and developed as other, more experienced, fashion designers. Lexi learned to sew from her mother’s seamstress, Laura Diblasi, who lives in North Andover as well. Although it was Laura who taught Lexi to sew, the seamstress can’t take credit for being Lexi’s inspiration, however Laura allowed her dream to become a reality.
Lexi first went to Laura at age 11 to gain more experience designing. She went on to take lessons for 2 years. Although she only took lessons for a short amount of time she quickly developed into an amazing designer. ”I’ve had a few students over the years, and I don’t think any of them have reached what Lexi has in designing,” says Laura. Lexi has reached new heights in her time, working with Laura. Not only can she sew, but her creativity allows her to take her ability to another level. Laura recalls, ”I think designing and creating new stuff is her area. I can sew, but I need somebody to tell me exactly what they want.” Lexi’s persistence and creativity is exactly the reason why she is now going to work for Laura, after so many years of being her student.
Realizing her true passion was just the first step for Lexi. Next, she had to bring it to life. Lexi recalls that at a young age she wanted a sewing machine. ”I was really upset one day, and my mom came into my room. She asked me what was wrong,” Lexi shared. “I told her, I can’t afford a sewing machine because I only have three dollars.” She was afraid that her allowance of a few dollars a week wouldn’t cover the cost of a real sewing machine. Despite that, Lexi knew she wanted to create clothes, and managed to buy a sewing machine. She then was well on her way to becoming an inspiring designer.
In grade school her designs were as flawless and chic as they are now. She would make her own dresses for father daughter dances that left other girls envious of her talent. She began drawing designs in first grade. She recalls, “My models used to be little boxes.” Not being able to draw very well didn’t stop her from achieving her goals. She now begins her design process with a well-crafted silhouette of her model. She then will start to draw the outfit with pencil, gradually moving over to charcoal. If it’s a “good day,” the outfits will be colored in with a colored pencil. Once the idea is formed on paper, she builds the outfit starting with a pattern. She creates this pattern on muslin fabric, then cuts it out. Next, she sews the pieces together to produce an elegant and stylish piece of clothing.
Although, she makes it sound easy, it takes time to master the art. She explains that designing a piece can take minutes or hours, “I made something with style lines out of velvet that probably took me a grand total of twelve hours.” However others take her about half an hour to make. No matter how simple or complicated the piece is, she puts her all into every one. Each is one-of -a- kind. Emma O’Neil, a model for the upcoming fashion show shares, “I love the designs.” Her words are sweet and simple, just like Lexi’s clothes.
Although the show is a month and a half away, Lexi has a lot of work to do. She began work on the designs in November and has already made two outfits with seven more to go. She is dedicated knowing that people look forward to seeing her hard work pay off on the night of the show, as well as in the future. Looking forward, she plans to have her own label as a fashion designer and will continue to pursue her amazing talent. It took time, diligence, and hard work to get to where she is now and for people out there who want to design as well she says, ”Go for it, never stop drawing, even if you don’t know how to make them, you can always find someone to help you.”
Thank you to Julia and Lexi for sharing their work. Currently, Lexi is in the process of applying to fashion design schools across the country and in England. As part of her submission portfolio, she asked Julia and Ally to model some of her designs.
Lexi Lowrie’s future as a fashion designer is bright and, undoubtedly, well- dressed.
In my case, the “out ” preceded the “in,” because, as so many have reported, summer 2016 was out of control with regard to eating, drinking and socializing. It was bad, really bad! I don’t know if it was the never-ending string of warm, dry weather or the fact that we, as a country, are looking to drown our sorrows as we face one of the worst elections in American history. Either way, and I speak for myself, I ate and drank with reckless abandon and now it’s almost October and I’m just getting around to undoing the damage.
Folks, this is not my first time at this rodeo – I do this all the time. I’m always trying to get back on track after having fallen off the healthy horse. Back in March, I blogged about this very thing and crossed my fingers that I would stay on track (Back on Track, 3/2016). Oh well!
So here I go again, looking to get motivated. First things first, I need to cut back on the cocktails. I actually don’t even drink very much, but what little I do really slows me down. I’ve committed to be alcohol free until Halloween. Halloween is random, but I chose it to give myself some structure and also, I don’t have that much on the calendar for October so I thought it was doable. I love Halloween so that seemed a reasonable end date and an opportunity to celebrate what I hope to be good behavior for a month.
Next up – stop eating everything in sight. No fancy diet this time, just dialing back my general consumption habits -bigtime. I once had a facial by a tiny, adorable Swedish woman who told me the best way a woman can lose weight is to “shut her mouth.” OK, I’ll give this a try.
Finally – back to the gym. I don’t know what I was thinking this summer, but I didn’t exercise at all. This was probably the biggest contributor to my downfall.
Thankfully, I’m motivated once again and I’m at a new gym that happens to offer some good Spin classes. I’ve always liked Spinning, but my old gym didn’t have classes that worked with my schedule. Now, after just a few Spin classes, I’m remembering why I like it.
Benefits of Spin Class
It’s a great workout – I sweat like crazy and, for me, that’s a good thing. I totally appreciate the cleansing factor of a good sweat.
The Spin classes I’m doing are 45 minutes long. This is genius. I’ve always done hour long classes and I can’t get over how quickly these 45 minutes classes fly by.
The new Spin bikes have a display that shows RPMs (rotations per minute) and the instructor calls out the exact RPM you should be striving for at each interval. It’s really nice knowing if you should push harder or back off.
Spin class puts me in control and there are days when that really matters. Spinning is an activity that allows you to progress at your own pace without everyone in the class knowing when you aren’t keeping up.
Finally, Spinning is easy on my back and joints – after Spin class I don’t feel quite as achy as I do after higher impact activities. This really helps me to keep going back.
So for now, I spin, I sweat and I swear I will try to keep this going, at least until Halloween. After that, I’ll re-assess -we’ll be closing in on the holidays after all.