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Living the life superlative
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FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2011

Have You Considered That Your Priorities May Be Out of Whack?

I’ve noticed that often others around us have opinions about our business. “You should really consider this… or that…”
In most cases, we unwittingly solicit their opinions by engaging in less than confident conversations that “open the door” for their advice. But the truth is, only you know for sure what your priorities are at any given moment and taking charge of what you already know is key to your success. I call it “tapping into the knowing part of ourselves.” 

Here’s an exercise that will get you there: Refer to a responsibility in your life that gives you little angst: It could be a meal you know how to prepare, a child routine that is set in stone, a workout that’s second nature. Start with the feeling and work backwards. You know what it feels like to know what you have to do first, second, third, in order to achieve a result. Use this same “feeling of knowing” and apply it to your business. What you might notice first is the difference in how you feel in one realm versus the other. Keep working through it, keep pushing for the feeling, and eventually the rest should fall into place. What I mean by this is, you will begin to wade through the many possibilities to come up with a list of “must-do’s now” to get to “desired result in the future.”

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One Little Text Message Number that will Change Your Life... Permanently

If you haven’t discovered the life altering impact of Google Texting
for everything from getting the weather delivered instantly to your inbox to obtaining phone numbers and addresses of restaurants, hotels and retail establishments in any city in the world, then you are truly missing out on one of life’s fabulous shortcuts.

The magic number is “46645.”

How does it work? Simple. Plug this number into your cell phone contacts under the name “Google”. Once you’ve stored it, you can “text Google” anytime with the requested information. If you want to know the weather, simply type in “weather new york” (or the desired city). If you want the phone number or address of a retail location, simply type in the name (or what you think the name is) along with the city and state it is located in. Almost instantaneously, you should receive a response from Google with the desired information. This simple Google texting has saved me hours of storing contact information or feeling like I have to carry it with me. I use this tactic to do everything from call for directions, get information on hours, and make or confirm reservations. To say it has been a life changer is an understatement.

And don’t forget to share this tip with your friends!

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Mining the Style Vibe... in Santa Barbara

My business trip to Santa Barbara, CA? I really didn’t know what to expect, not to mention what to wear, or where to dine.

Conclusion: Santa Barbara is that rare fusion of “low key” glamour that somehow perfectly mimics its natural environmental combination of mountains, beaches and beautiful sunsets.
So, what are they wearing? Not the flamingo sorbets of Florida. A different kind of beach chic. Not the blacks, metals and animal prints of LA. Rather, a different kind of California style.

Here’s what I observed (my first trip to this beautiful place):
Baggy sweaters combined with rich cashmere scarves and Birkenstocks seem to take precedence. If you’re looking for cutting edge fashion, you won’t find it here. But you will find “artisan fashion”—meaning creative, original accessories that are at once hand-crafted and high-end (check out the shops in Montecito; current favorite: Angel).

As far as the Santa Barbara personality is concerned, I would say this:
The people are as down-to-earth as the style—laid back, friendly, open and unpretentious. The dining experience? You really can’t beat fireplaces overlooking the ocean against a backdrop of mountains and delicious, varietal cuisine. A couple faves include the Four Seasons Restaurant and Cava (yummy, authentic Mexican). And then, of course, don’t miss out on trying Santa Barbara wines, which takes the experience to a whole other level. I’d rate this place a 10, meaning, I’d go back in a heartbeat!

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Discovering the Spray Tan

I recently discovered the spray tan and my life is forever transformed!
What I love about this beauty treatment (done by a practitioner with experience) is that it is fast and cheap—and a surefire way to camouflage exhaustion with a fresh and vibrant look. I’ve found that this treatment provides a psychological lift that has the unparalleled effect of tricking your brain into thinking you indulged in a beach retreat, even if you’ve been chained to your desk.

Here are some quick tips to keep in mind when considering a spray tan:

· Find a practitioner who is knowledgeable and experienced: The key to a great spray tan is equal and balanced distribution of the “spray” on your body, and the right “color” fit with your skin tone.

· For best results, spray tans usually require staying dry (meaning no showers or sweat inducing workouts) for 8 to 12 hours. When scheduling appointments, keep this in mind.

· Set appointments when they are perfect for you, bearing in mind that spray tans last anywhere from 3 to 5 days. I usually opt for Thursdays or Fridays, preferring to start the weekend off with a great glow!

smell better and have higher quality results than others. Be discerning and ask your practitioner what the differences are.

Most of all, have fun!

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My Latest Beauty Trick: Fake Eyelashes (but not too many)

Have you tried Latisse? Tinting? Fakes or Thick Mascara?

Are you trying to achieve the long, luscious eyelashes that are both low maintenance and “eye catching”? After lots of trial and error, and admittedly, a mild obsession with long lashes, I think I’ve found the secret that works—it’s affordable, maintenance-free and fun!

Here’s the catch: You need a practitioner to do it but it’s worth every penny and the research involved to find a good one. Tell your practitioner that you want just a few fake eyelashes towards the outer top edges of your eyes. Subtlety is key not only to achieve a natural look but also to assure you are comfortable (too many lashes can feel weighty and irritate your eyes). This is one of my favorite beauty secrets because it eliminates the need for daytime mascara (you’ll still want to enhance at night). Find the balance that works for you and enjoy the au natural freshness of “less is more.”

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Discovering the "it sauce."

When you have a great dipping sauce, blanched vegetables go from tasty to divine. For years, my demanding work hours and overwhelming family obligations (including sick children, grueling school schedules, extracurricular activities and frequent business travel) were so intense that I would often forget to eat, then later binge on unhealthy foods. Although the calories I consumed were ultimately not excessive, my erratic eating habits translated into lower energy levels and a waning metabolic rate, causing me to feel physically drained and unhealthy overall.

I finally disliked the way I felt enough that I decided to change my habits and incorporate better food choices throughout the day. It wasn’t easy. A “foodie” at heart and easily bored, I developed a series of tricks that are easy to implement as well as satisfy the desire for flavorful, diversified eating. Here’s a simple practice that you can incorporate right away:

Start the week off by preparing a variety of blanched (lightly cooked) vegetables. Some of my favorites are asparagus, long-stemmed carrots, yellow and red beats, and zucchini sticks. Steam and salt them. Then prepare (or buy) a favorite dipping sauce. (See recipe below for my “it sauce” of the moment, from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck). The dipping sauce adds interest, variety and flavor , which are key to the enjoyment of this snack. Snacking on these vegetables throughout the day is very satisfying and you never have to worry about overdoing it. (Note that slightly cooked as opposed to raw vegetables also adds another dimension of flavor and enjoyment—you are more likely to want to eat them if they are partially cooked). For extra efficiency, if you are responsible for family dinner, incorporate these into your meal planning as well. My children love them, especially the range of choices.

My New Fave: Mint-Soy Vinaigrette Dipping Sauce

Easy Recipe and Wolfgang Puck original

In a food processor, blend the following:

2 large egg yolks, beaten

¼ cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon soy sauce

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ cup regular or roasted peanut oil

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

bon appetit

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Getting Addicted to Thai Yoga Fusion: Warning: Habit Forming

As many of you know, I’ve been a devout yogi, practicing anywhere from two to three times a week for one hour or more per session. Through the years, yoga has provided me with a sense of calm, taught me to breathe, and helped replenish my energy. I’ve latched onto different yoga phases at different life phases: From Power Yoga to Bikram, Ashtanga to Restorative, every yoga phase has brought new and perfect gifts fitting perfectly into my life at the time of their emergence.

Which brings me to my latest new obsession: Thai Yoga Fusion. Thai Yoga Fusion is so cutting edge that it may not yet be considered “official” or even available depending on where you live (but keep looking).

What is Thai Yoga Fusion?

Thai Yoga Fusion is best defined as an integrative yoga practice that combines Thai massage with the practice of yoga, and is typically customized on a per individual basis. Thanks to my wonderfully skilled and committed yoga teacher who recently became additionally certified in Thai massage, I have been able to integrate this breakthrough therapy into my life. Here are some fundamentals to keep in mind when considering this practice:

• Thai yoga fusion is typically conducted via one-on-one sessions. Different from yoga, Thai massage requires that the practitioner use her body weight to manipulate you into stretching and flexibility enhancing positions.

• Thai yoga fusion is conducted fully clothed on the floor using three adjacent mats. There is no need for massage tables or spa attire. I have found that a well-heated room is preferable for maximum comfort and results.

• Make sure that your practitioner is certified in both Thai massage and yoga. Also, make sure that you communicate needs, problem areas and expectations to your practitioner so that you make the most of your time.

• Block a minimum of 1.5 hours, preferably 2 hours, for this practice. Even then, you will want to be very clear about specific areas that you want to target and focus on.

• Keep in mind that both Thai massage and yoga shift the energy in your body, opening up other wise blocked energy zones and offering both physical relief from tightness and inflexibility as well as emotional healing, including new ways of thinking and perceiving the world to achieve higher levels of success.

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Taking a Giant Hair Treatment Risk: Brazilian Blowout

Many salons boast various hair treatments that promise to straighten curly hair, remove frizz and add silkiness. Through the years, I’ve been tempted to try them all, but have refrained for various reasons, including fear of “hair volume loss” and fear of “hair damage.”

After many conversations with friends and one trustworthy salon later, I finally decided to try the Brazilian Blowout, a treatment that claims to strengthen hair and add shine without volume loss. I could NOT be happier with the results. For anyone who is tired of fighting permanent frizz and battling it out with the blow dryer, this treatment really does what it claims to do, really. The best part is that the latest treatments allow you to customize, meaning you can request to start lower than the root to maintain more volume if you would like.

As we approach summer and higher levels of humidity, you may want to consider the Brazilian Blowout. I knew I’d made the right decision when my freshly washed hair dried naturally into salon styled tresses, the likes of which I’ve never seen normally without product or salon tools.

A brilliant discovery, not to mention time saver for any launching lady!

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Celebrity Incognito is a Look

Have you ever thought it might be fun to get “is she famous?” stares?
  Whether trudging through the airport or watching a kid’s soccer game, spice up your life and give the “celebrity incognito” look a try.

Here’s my take on it: Layer a short tie dye hoodie over a slightly longer wife beater tank (black anything works too) and pair with Lulu Lemon sweat pants, flip flops (ugh slippers work too) and over sized shades. Oh and key is “no makeup, fresh hair”.

If you’re looking for some fun, it’s worth a try for desired effect! :)

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Victoria's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

For years I’ve searched for a chocolate chip cookie recipe that combines flavor, texture and chocolate with some nutritional value. I’ve experimented with many recipes, substitutes and whole grains only to be underwhelmed by cardboard results and below average satisfaction.

I take my cookie cravings seriously and there’s only so much applesauce puree in lieu of butter and maple syrup in lieu sugar that a girl can take before childhood delight morphs into adult debacle.

After years of trying and one cup each of oat and spelt flour respectively later, I think I finally stumbled on healthful perfection. What launcher doesn’t need a little robust decadence, whole grains included, to get through the tough times? See below for a chocolate chip cookie recipe that produces delectables even the kids will gobble up!

Semi-healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

A little less than 1 cup oat flour
A little less than 1 cup spelt flour
½ cup salted butter (must be salted for best flavor)
1 brown, organic egg
¾ cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 bag or a little less (to taste) semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven, mix and bake according to Nestle Toll House recipe.

KEY: Under-bake the cookies. Best when served warm. Enjoy!

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