Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Simple Changes Take Simply Changing

With the new year came new promises: A pact with myself to change a few old habits into better ones. Health, as always, is at the top of my list. Eating better, cleaner, less. Money management is another; making grocery lists and sticking to them, tracking my monthly budget better, and avoiding impulse buys. And of course there are the (empty) promises to keep the house cleaner and more organized. These are not resolutions, mind you - don't do those. Just gentle suggestions to myself. Habits to break. New tricks for an old dog.  This year, I'm going for real and sustained.  I'm going for what matters.  And, I'm keeping for simple.

Changing behavior simply requires the replacement of one set of responses, or habits, with another set of responses. Making something habitual, quite honestly, requires repetition. Especially with those things that don't come naturally. Repetition takes deliberateness. Keen, unwavering, kick-your-butt-into-gear deliberateness. Taking my "half-mindless" daily activities and making them more "fully conscious." When I catch myself, remind myself, bite my tongue, push myself to try a bit harder, then I am working on living with a bit more deliberateness. The hope is that one day, everything that feels deliberate will become reflexive.

My health is important to me because I am an "older" mother.  As someone who waited (due to circumstance not choice) until later in life to have children, I find myself stressing about the age I will be when I am a hypothetical grandmother.  Instead of having a panic attack over it, or worrying about something I can't prevent, I can care for my body and soul in the best way I know how to be as active and healthy of a future grandma I can be (oh, and my children are only 15, 6, 4, and 3, so this is a long way off!). 

I am starting by making small changes, simple changes.  The worst thing one can do is "set oneself up."  If you bite off more than you can chew (no pun intended) then you usually set yourself up for failure.  I have started with three simple changes with my health:  Writing down what I eat, taking a mulitvitamin, and drinking more water.  I replace all but my morning cup of coffee with with water.  As an avid diet soda and coffee drinker, this small task is an enormous feat, but because I am not overburdening myself with too many health changes at once, I am finding it doable.  Since I'm focusing on health rather than numbers on a scale or outward appearance, I don't feel like I'm frustrated or berating myself but rather challenging myself to live a healthier lifestyle. 

The other change is keeping an eating journal.  The mere act of writing down what you consume is enough to change your behavior.  Mainly, because now you are making "mindless eating" deliberate and being more cognizant or portion size.  Suddenly, there is accountability and that in and of itself creates behavior change.  Slowly, as I get each simple change under my belt I will add things like exercise and replacing unhealthy food choices with healthier ones, but this is a paced process to ensure real changes in habits, not a two week "resolution" that fizzles as quickly as it started.  A string of simple changes add up to one big change. 

What is most important to me, however, is not how much I exercise, or what number I see on the scale. What matters most to me is taking myself off "autopilot" and bringing myself fully present in the day. Present with my kids, with my choices, with the moments that I can not get back. As my husband says so often when appreciating a moment; "I'm taking a picture for my heart." I need to fill my heart's album.

So often, I let the gears of the day grind and roll me forward on this conveyor belt, and I sit, half-mindless, following where I am lead. I sail in the direction the wind blows. Life acts, I respond. All the stupid little things that fill my day become more important than the things that actually are. Is doing the dishes and sweeping the floor and returning emails more important than having a Michael Jackson dance party at 2:00pm in my 6 year old's room? I think NOT!
With deliberateness, I can take myself off autopilot and I can consciously chose the responses I wish. I can anticipate, adjust, sail my own course. Or, I can go in the direction the wind blows me and just take better care to notice the beautiful scenery, the light on the water, the smells in the air as I travel.
I can be more deliberate in what I say and how I say it. In reaching out to a friend or family member. In spending quality time with my little girls. In taking care of my needs and my health.  In giving daily thanks. Deliberateness creates habitual behaviors and habitual behaviors soon cease to be "behaviors" but simply become woven into who you are.
Next thing you know, deliberateness turns into effortless. Next thing you know, you begin to live the most effortlessly fulfilled life you've ever imagined. Or at least, this is my theory.  And when it comes to theories, I like to err on the side of simplicity.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Simply Orange® blogging program. If I am one of the first 65 blogs received by SocialsMoms, I will receive a $25 Target gift card and a gift pack that includes a Simply Orange® cooler bag and logoed fleece.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blogging Out Hunger Campaign

Check-Out Hunger is celebrating the 20th anniversary of their highly successful fundraising campaign for the Community Food Bank of NJ. Last year, The Community Food Bank of NJ donated 35 million pounds of food to people in need in 18 of New Jersey's 21 counties. With the recession, food banks shelves are becoming bare as less people are donating and more of our community is in need.  Take time to give a little.

Here’s how you can help:

· Right in your own neighborhood:  Look for the display of Check-Out Hunger donation slips at the checkout aisles in participating local food stores.  Participating stores include:  ShopRite, Wawa, Wegmans, Super Fresh, Pathmark, Kings, Foodtown, A & P, and Food Basics. 

· Right from your own home. Give a monetary donation through the Check-Out Hunger in New Jersey website.

Because no one should ever go to bed hungry.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

...and the winner of the Dunkin' Donuts Gift Card is


Congratulations to Sandra who won the Dunkin' Donuts Spooktacular Giveaway.  Enjoy your coffee!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dunkin' Donuts Spooktacular Halloween Giveaway

Yes, the world DOES indeed run on Dunkin'.  How I love their coffee!  If you love it too, here is a great giveaway offer.  Dunkin' Donuts is giving one lucky "Planet" reader a Halloween pack worth about $40.00. 

Included is a great gift card to D2 for $31.00 You could drink some SERIOUS coffee there... and remember they also have tea, lattes, smoothies, donuts and yummy flatbread breakfast sandwiches! Or... use for the upcoming holidays. 

They will also include 2 cute Dunkin' Donuts Trick or Treat bags and one pound of their delicious coffee for brewing at home. 

To throw your coffee cup into the ring, just leave me a comment with your email address.  (email ONLY used to contact the winner- will not be sold off or used to spam you). 

If you are (or become) a "follower" of  my main blog, Welcome To My Planet, you'll get another chance thrown in!

Contest closes at midnight EST on Sunday, October 24th. I'll notify the winner on Monday October 25th.  Good Luck!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

M'Chic Jeans: No More Muffin Top!

Most things that are too good to be true are simply that... too good to be true. Or, at least that is what I thought when I heard there was a sexy, comfortable pair of jeans out there promising to slim the dreaded "muffin top" area. Well, someone who knows the plight of most American women stood up and said "Muffin tops are for eating, not wearing!" and created M'Chic jeans carrying that very catch phrase.

M'Chic (pronounced mmmm sheek, similar to saying "magic" with a french accent) is a company run by women who understand women's bodies. If you have had kids, you know what I'm talking about...no matter what size or shape you are, pregnancies take toll on your body. Unless you are blessed with phenomenal genetics and/or work out like a fiend (in which case we all hate you right now) you likely experience some degree of "muffin top." You know, the bit (or in my case, lots) of smoosh and goosh that hangs over the belt. This is especially difficult to cover in today's style of snug, fitted tops and low rise jeans. The result, unsightly bulges from all angles or low rise jeans smooshing everything up and out and showing your undies every time you bend over.

Now, there are certainly products out there that can be worn under your clothes to smooth and slenderize, but let's face it... is it really comfortable to be all layered up especially under a pair of clinging jeans?  M'Chic had the brilliant idea to create a revolutionary jean by combining a belly band and cute jean together in one! So no more feeling like you're wearing underwear and some type of girdle or biking shorts contraption layered under your clothes. All you need to slim and firm is all in one!

How does it work?  M'Chic jeans have an attached, breathable,non slip belly panel to fit all torso lengths. It can also be "rolled" or adjusted to different heights guaranteeing your utmost comfort and results. The belly band will just look like a cami if your shirt comes up, unlike other embarrassing things peeking over your low rise jeans.

Featured on Good Morning America, Good Day Sacramento, NBC San Antonio,and KNTV Las Vegas, and reviewed in the LA Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and on Iconoculture.com, M'Chic jeans are proving to be every woman's dream come true! They flatten the belly, reshape the "rear," and the stretch denim sculpts your entire lower body.

Jeans come in your choice of washes in either skinny or straight leg for $49.00. Capri jeans are $39.00 and M'Chic Fashions even began a line of Tankini Swimsuits - keep in mind for next summer, as these suits are designed with the same slimming material.

Order online or find a boutique selling M'Chic jeans in several states across the nation. Click HERE to see if a boutique is near you, try them on and see just how comfortable and slimming they are!

Note:  I was not paid for this endorsement, but I was given a pair of jeans to wear
in exchange for an honest review of the product.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Diamond Jewelry and DiamondEarrings.com

Every girl should receive a little red velvet, heart-shapped box in the mail.  Especially if it has a pair of diamond earrings cradled inside. 

Okay, faux diamond earrings but can anyone aside from a jewelry REALLY tell the difference?  DiamondEarrings.org understand that we all want to look fabulous on a budget.  Sure, it would be great if everyone could afford a pair of diamond studs but honestly, we all can't. But we love the look. And quite honestly, I can't deal with the stress of expensive jewerly with the way I loose things.  Faux diamond earrings are perfect for busy moms like me that want to have bit of bling on their ears without the high cost or worry. 

I began wearing my complimentary pair of diamond studs this week and have received many compliments!  They have a slight heart shape which make them very feminine and sweet.  My little girls are all ga-ga over them...and they can wear them too since the price is right! 

DiamondEarrings.org are running a limited promotion... go onto their website to receive a FREE pair of diamond earring studs (remember, they aren't REAL diamonds, just made to look like them).  All you do is pay $3.77 postage/shipping and they promise no strings attached.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Book Nook: The Award Winning "Heading Home With Your Newborn"

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Pediatricians, moms and authors, Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP offer a wealth of "parent-tested, pediatrician-approved" advice in Heading Home With Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality, Second Edition (American Academy of Pediatrics, September 2010). Available on the American Academy of Pediatrics official Web site for parents, HealthyChildren.org. Also available in bookstores nationwide.

The following is an excerpt to help you navigate those first crucial weeks of parenthood and caring for a newborn:

To Bathe or Not to Bathe:
Contrary to popular belief, babies do not need to be bathed every day--especially as newborns. As we enter parenthood, we should all consider ourselves fortunate that we are given a few months in which to become comfortable with our baby-bathing duties before our children effectively figure out how to make themselves truly messy.

It's really not until babies start crawling around in dirt, sandboxes, or even just on the kitchen floor (depending on how dirty yours is), and begin to explore baby foods--routinely ending up with more smeared on their faces than in their mouths--that they warrant frequent full-body washes. Until then, however, you have the practical option of focusing your attention on a relatively limited number of parts.

Your primary area of focus predictably will be the diaper area--and, of course, the surrounding areas, the size of which will depend on whether your baby has taken to having blowouts. Other areas to pay particular attention to: around the mouth and anywhere there are skin folds.

While some of you may be looking at your newborn and thinking to yourself that there are few, if any, skin folds to be found--rest assured that they will soon appear. The present-from-birth and all-too-often-neglected arm-pit and groin folds are likely to be joined in mere weeks by double chins and thigh folds. If you make a habit of regularly spot-checking these hot spots and cleaning them as needed using a wet washcloth, you really won't have to bathe your baby every single day. In fact, bathing a couple of times a week is often enough.

*Book excerpt from Heading Home with Your Newborn (Second Edition/Copyright 2010/American Academy of Pediatrics).

The Heading Home with Your Newborn excerpts are sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer's Network.