Wednesday, February 29, 2012

10 Hints That Say You Aren't Being True To Yourself

Do you know who you are? Are you comfortable with who you are?  When we aren’t being true to ourselves, stress ensues. We get pissy, irritable, cranky, and downright unpleasant. This is because we have a deep disconnect within ourselves. We feel that nothing in life is right or works out how we want it to. We feel like no one understands us. We feel alone.  It truly makes life so much harder than it needs to be. Take authority over yourself and be true to YOU. It doesn’t matter if you fit it or don’t fit in. You will be a happy, effective person in the world. Your light will shine and this is what speaks louder than any megaphone you can scream into!

10 Hints That Say You Aren't Being True To Yourself:

1.       Going through many phases in life
This is reminiscent of my high school years. Ugh! I didn’t have a clue who or what I wanted to be. There’s the drug phase, punk-rock phase, country phase, ghetto phase, party phase, sports phase, bad-girl phase, goodie two shoes phase, goth phase, preppy phase, glamour phase, etc. I didn’t go through all of these phases but you name it, most people have experienced pretending to be something they’re not. If you find yourself dressing or acting a certain way to “fit the part” of whatever charade you are pulling off this month, chances are you’re lost. Drop the act and spend some real time soul- searching to find out who you really are and become that.

2.       Morphing into some other version of a person to win over the guy/gal you like
Do you like the cowboy? Do you all of the sudden listen to country music, wear cowboy boots, and drive a big truck? Meanwhile, you hate dirt, being outside, farm animals, and have the dinstinct urge to punch the nearest person in the face when listening to Garth Brooks. Maybe you like the gal that’s super smart and she’s at the top of her game in academics. She’s a cute, little bookworm. You try to impress her by borrowing a copy of Earnest Hemmingway’s, The Snows of Kilimanjaro from the public library yet you have never turned a page in your life. Give it up. Find what it is you really like, become proficient, and impress your crush that way.
3.       Lying about what you spend your time doing
Do you tell people you just got done making the best dinner of your lifetime and your husband raved but it was nothing more than a grilled cheese with a side of chips? Perhaps you sliced a pickle into the shape of a fan. Maybe you deserve some credit for that. ;) If you exaggerate your accomplishments people will catch on. They pick up on this because they start to realize that no one is tooting your horn louder than you. Be honest with your successes and failures. A good rule of thumb, be modest and let someone else sing your praises.

4.       Copying off of a friend that you think is really cool
Okay, this doesn’t make you cool and it’s a surefire way to annoy the crap out of your friend. It’s one thing if you genuinely have similar interests, styles, and pursuits, but it’s quite another to have absolutely no individuality. Being a copy cat is desperate. Soon enough everyone will be able to tell who the cool friend is and who the desperate friend is. Oh how I feel sorry for the desperate friends. Same rule as number two. Find what you really like and become proficient. If worse comes to worse and you’re not sure what you like, at least don’t buy the same sunglasses as your friend or pick up all the same hobbies. I would rather error on the side of coming across as having no style before seeming desperate.

5.       Changing your manner of speech depending on who you are talking to
This one is tricky. Of course you’re not going to cuss like a sailor in front of your mother-in-law or the super conservatives, but you don’t need to pretend to be Susie sunshine if you’re really sarcastic Sally. You don’t need to cuss like a sailor just because you are on a ship full of sailors either though. You see, it works both ways. Of course you will discuss different topics with different kinds of people. Sure, you’re going to be more sensitive with the crybaby of the circle of friends. That is called being smart. Just make sure you aren’t talking with a southern accent just because you are visiting the south. Don’t talk like a black girl if you were raised in a small white town. It just shows the world that you are confused and don’t have a clue who or what your roots are. Just be you.

6.       Social climbing
This one can be spot from a mile off. Sometimes this one encompasses all of the other 9 examples. Social climbers are fake, fake, fake! They are quick to tell anyone who’ll listen how much their watch or purse cost, what expensive vacation they are planning, what prestigious school they went to, what celebrity or cool chick/dude they know. They’ll pretend to be on some higher level when really they came from humble beginnings. Trying so hard to be in the “in crowd” or being popular reads desperate just like #5. Give it up! Even if you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you still need to realize that no one is above or better than anyone else.

7.       Relying on others to make decisions for you
If you can’t be the leader of your own life than you most likely don’t know what it is you like and dislike. Depending on everyone else to get the ball rolling or make the plans is a clear indicator that you are not in control of your own life but are merely along for someone else’s ride.  Sure, it’s nice to take a break from being the head honcho and let others figure it all out, but I’m talking about doing things just because someone else is. You may not even enjoy shopping at the flea market but you pretend it’s your favorite thing in the world if your friend loves it. Let your friend find someone else to go with if it makes you that miserable. Now if you are doing her a favor so she’s not alone then more power to you. At least you’ll know that is your reason for being at the darn flea market.

8.       Having the excessive need for attention and approval of others
Little zaps my energy more than being around someone who is relentless at sucking all the fluidity out of relationships by making every single moment about themselves. These people are leeches. They tend to talk a mile a minute and don’t stop long enough for anyone to get a word in edgewise. They need everyone around them to praise them for everything that’s great and cute about them. These blood suckers are hard to get away from too because they hardly give you a chance to say, “gotta run!” They don’t care what’s going on in your life. They don’t want to hear about what you have been working on or have accomplished. It’s ALL ABOUT THEM! If you are this person, it’s hard for you to be aware of it because you don’t care enough to pay attention to people’s body language. You don’t stop long enough to listen. Here are some clues. Do you call your friends on the phone and rarely get an answer? Do you ask to hang out with your friend and they are always busy? Do people tell you that you talk too much? Do people seem engaged when you speak or are they just being polite? Think about it. Stop. Pay attention.

9.       Trying too hard to conform
Fitting in with the crowd is not the worst thing that could happen. After all, they are probably the majority for a reason. However, fitting in just to fit in is not conducive to evolving yourself. If you fit in with everyone else because you are just the average, everyday, run of the mill Joe Schmoe, fine. No harm or fault in that. Just be sure you stop long enough to do some individual thinking on why you do what do, want what you want, and like what you like.

10.   Trying too hard to be different
Being genuinely different is a beautiful thing. Knowing why you don’t agree with the crowd and having a valid basis to back up your views is awesome even. However, being non-conformist just for the sake of being different is just as silly as #9. You all know the type. They disagree with everyone they know. They are argumentative. They have outlandish ideas and thought processes just so they can portray to the world that they are unique. They will do things against the grain just to be opposite of the crowd. Everyone is sitting in a chair; they’ll be standing. Everyone is having a good time; they’ll be bored. Everyone is bored; they’re having the time of their life. I think that most people like this just have an obsession with being the center of attention. They think that their value lies in everyone’s eyes being on them and wondering why they are different. Meanwhile, there is no real depth to the reason why they are different; they just want to do the opposite of everyone else so that others see them as special. Do the same thing as #9 if you fall into this category. Do some actual critical thinking to form a basis for your unusual stances.

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A little word of encouragement if you feel lost and are not in the place you would like to be. Don't heap coals of fire on your head if one or more of these hints applies to you. They are simply red flags that say, hey! Stop doing this and instead do this. All of these hints are actually just stepping stones that will eventually get you to the place of being exactly who you want to be and loving every bit of it! All of our fa├žades that we portray to the world might fool some but they aren't fooling everyone. You may even get away with fooling yourself for awhile but soon enough you'll have to work on figuring it all out. It's all about soul searching. And I'm here to tell you that you can and you will figure it out! You are loved, you are perfectly made, and as my sister always tells me - you are exactly where you are supposed to be at this point in time!


Be true to YOU,
In the words of a mother


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

25 Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar


Apple Cider Vinegar should be a staple in every home. It has a wide variety of uses and you can’t beat it as far as low price for health care!  ACV is anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial.

To aid internal health make this:
2 Tbsp ACV, 2 Tbsp Honey, 1 Cup Water
Drink 1-2X/day for two weeks on, two weeks off. Then maintain by drinking 3-4X/week thereafter. This is just what I recommend because I’m a believer in too much of anything isn’t usually the best.

1.       Prevents flu and stomach illness
2.       Dissolves kidney stones
3.       Detoxifies the body of heavy metals and toxins
4.       Regulates pH balance in the body
5.       Helps relieve nausea
6.       Helps relieve heart burn or chronic acid reflux
7.       Helps relieve asthmatics
8.       Helps relieve allergies
9.       Helps relieve gout
10.   Helps lower glucose levels in diabetics
11.   Helps weight loss by curbing appetite and breaking down fat
12.   Helps relieve migraines
13.   Helps relieve sinus pressure and infection
14.   Lowers blood pressure
15.   Lowers cholesterol
16.   Kills cancer cells or slow their growth
17.   Reduces inflammation, relieve arthritis

To aid external health:
Mix 50/50 ACV and Water
Appropriately apply with cotton ball, soak, or spray on affected area

18.   Gets rid of buildup on scalp
19.   Conditions hair and detangles
20.   Gets rid of fingernail or toenail fungus
21.   Works well to clear up fungal, bacterial, viral rashes
22.   Soothes bug bites
23.   Gets rid of warts (put ACV on cotton ball, cover with Band-Aid, leave on over night for 1 week)
24.   Balances pH in vagina, relieves yeast infection (douche with 1 tsp of ACV mixed with 2 cups water) Must rebalance good bacteria
25.   Helps reduce/prevent acne (don’t get in eye)

Drinking this recipe is a little like drinking beer or coffee for the first time. It’s an acquired taste. I love it now and enjoy it just as I would a cup of herbal tea. Applying ACV topically on infected areas can burn so be careful if you use on children, but don’t be scared to try it if diluted properly.
There are many more uses for Apple Cider Vinegar including pet care, garden care, bathroom, kitchen, and laundry care, and even automotive care! Get yourself a bottle or two or three so you always have it on hand. I buy Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar. It is organic and contains “the mother” which is the powerhouse inside the bottle!

Cheap Health and Happiness,
In the words of a mother


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How To Make Stir Fry




Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes for Rice
                      5-9 minutes for Stir Fried Veggies

Total Time: 30 minutes
Feeds 4 people

Main Ingredients:
-          1 cup of Brown Rice
-          ½ small head of Cabbage (chopped)
-          4 or 5 Mushrooms (sliced)
-          1 Bell Pepper (any color, sliced)
-          1 cup of Sugar Snap Peas
-          3 or 4 leaves of Kale (ribs removed and chopped)
-          1 cup Green Onion (diced)
-          1 Tbsp. Garlic (minced)
-          2-3 Tbsp. Peanut Oil
 (Peanut oil can handle high heat and has the best taste for Asian cooking)

Note: You can use any Veggie you want and even add water chestnuts or roasted cashews

Spices:                                                                 

-          Salt
-          Pepper
-          Oregano
-          Marjoram
-          Squeeze of Lime

Finishing Sauce Ingredients:

-          ¼ cup of Vegetable Broth
-          1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
-          1 Tbsp. Corn Startch
-          1 Tbsp. Sugar

Cooking Instruction:

-          Rice in saucepan and add water (Follow package instructions for cooking rice)
-          While Rice is cooking, chop, slice, dice, and mince all Veggies
-          Prepare finishing sauce and set aside
-          In a Wok or skillet with large surface area pour 1 Tbsp. Oil and heat on high
-          Add Garlic and Green Onions, cook through
-          Then add 1 or 2 Tbsp. more Oil
-          Add the rest of Veggies, cook for 5 minutes or longer according to tenderness desired
-          Put Rice and Veggies on plate, top with Finishing Sauce, add more Soy Sauce to taste

Enjoy!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

10 Ways to Improve Your Emotional IQ

We all know the significance of one’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ) but what about our Emotional Intelligence Quotient? Some argue that emotional intelligence is even more important than IQ. What would life be like if you are a whiz in quantum physics but don’t have a friend to speak of because you are such a vile person? On the other hand, you could have tons of friends but can’t pass a test and therefore never reach the heights you dream to reach. It’s easy to see that if you score high in both areas, you are set up for a better life. 

Perhaps you can’t do much to improve your IQ, but certainly there are plenty of things you can do to improve your EIQ. Study these 10 ways to improve your life by raising your Emotional Intelligence Quotient!

1. Be open-minded.
Having a narrow view hurts others and actually hurts you too. If you are constantly preaching and pushing your views and ideas down the throats of others, they’ll be hurt that you don’t accept them or value their views and you’ll be hurt because your relationships will have a hard time developing into a deep, mutual respect. 

We must understand that we are all intrinsically the same i.e. human with certain unalienable rights but we are not cookie cutter images of each other. Tolerance is key if we want peaceful relationships and especially if we dare to dream of having a peaceful world.

2. Be authentic.
This one is a no brainer. Right? Well, you’d be surprised at how many people are living in a skin that they hate. Hate might be a strong word but unfortunately many don’t like themselves very much. This has a lot to do with not knowing who they are and appreciating it. 

Getting to know your self can take some time. Usually time with age is just the ticket. But if you are 35 and still act like a chameleon around different groups of people, chances are you are not authentic. Perhaps you didn’t have parents to take the time to tell you what is great about you as an individual and so you’ve been struggling to gain approval from darn near everyone ever since. Hmmm? Do some digging.

3. Control your urge to react to the negativity of others.
YOU ARE SUCH AN IDIOT! HOW COULD YOU EVEN THINK THAT WAY?! THAT’S RIDICULOUS! WHY DON’T YOU DO EVERYONE A FAVOR AND KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT! YOU MAKE NO SENSE! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?!

Ahhhh…say any of those sentences out loud and that is the sound of a clanging symbol, my friends. Just typing it seriously created pressure in my temples and I swear my heart rate slightly elevated. 

All too often we encounter people that just seem like a waste of air. They complain, nag, lie, disrespect others, think they are right about EVERYTHING, etc. She might be that gal in the office that everyone knows and hates. She is the one that people whisper about and give her the nickname “Beast”. She is completely clueless. Everyone is in agreement that she is pretty much the dumbest person around with the biggest mouth which gives you the distinct urge to put her in her place. You think you might get an applause from the office audience and instead you get the sound of crickets chirping.This is because engaging with that kind of person is a very bad idea! Someone once told me, “Don’t let anyone catch you arguing with an idiot because no one will be able to distinguish between the two.” What a wise old owl that person is! 

I’ve been caught red-handed behaving like this. It ain’t pretty. I end up feeling and looking like the jerk. Take it from me, don’t react and have some self control.  In the words of someone else very wise, “Put a cork in your cakehole!”

4. Live a life of autonomy.
What makes a nation a great one? In American it is the idea that we are sovereign. This means self-governing. Being autonomous within yourself is sort of like being your own nation, your own little America if you will. Not at all that you isolate yourself. We know that no man is an island, like the poet John Donne said. Rather you are ruled by what you feel is truly right for you. 

You are not a puppet or subservient to any form of dogma that floats around. You are totally clear-headed and capable of making your own decisions based on your knowledge and experiences without the oppressive need to conform to the model of a person someone else thinks or hopes you to be. When you are autonomous you can proudly take full responsibility for those decisions.

5. Listen twice as much as you speak.
When you slow down and stop thinking in your head what it is you want to say next, you will find a world of many different thoughts and opinions that might be quite valuable to you. Albeit, not everything will be particularly useful but how would you know otherwise if you don’t stop to listen a bit? Not to mention, someone that never shuts up is bona fide annoying!

6. Follow your intrinsic motivations twice as much as your extrinsic motivations.
Following your inner voice is the basis of intrinsic motivation. Born out of intrinsic motivation is doing what interests you and making decisions that line up with your values. It gives you a great sense of autonomy when you are true to yourself. This will help you with step 4!

Extrinsic motivations are the outward things that motivate us. These include recognition, reward, money, attention, etc. In fact, being coerced or even controlled to do something can be an extrinsic motivation. If you are constantly living a life or even have a career led by extrinsic motivations you will not be very fulfilled in life. Remember what Confucius said, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

7. Deal with the root of your emotions.
Are you angry or are you hurt? Are you genuinely offended or are you too sensitive? Are you just or are you self-righteous? Are you mad at that man or do you have daddy issues? These are just a few questions you can ask yourself when you experience extreme emotion. 

Recognizing the root of negative feelings will greatly aid you in working through these little (or sometimes huge) hang-ups. They will give you a better grasp on controlling your emotions. There is no need to get all bent out of shape just because someone said your favorite band sucks. Similarly, there is no need to walk around like a basket case because someone has different opinions on parenting, politics, religion, lifestyle, etc. 

If you find yourself struggling with these setbacks, search your heart and really work to find the root of your emotions. 99.9% of your negative emotions are directly correlated with what is going on inside of you rather than what the jerk on the street said or did.


8. Understand the importance of relatedness.
The need to relate to others is essential. This is what makes interdependence far superior to independence. When we are working together in a friendship, family, community, country, and world, we are moving towards more understanding, more harmony, and more compassion. We relate so that we can work together towards the greater good. When truly understanding and appreciating relatedness we will have more symmetry and reciprocity in our relationships.

9. Change what you can, forget the rest.
Have you ever read the prayer of serenity? Have you ever prayed the prayer?  Perhaps you should. Part of that prayer goes like this, 

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

This is such a handy little tool to pull out of the bag when you are so frustrated with someone and so desperately want or even need them to be different.  In short, you can only change yourself. You can try to be an example and inspire others but you can’t change them no matter how hard you try. You can however, obtain a more positive version of others when you accept them right exactly where they are. I love the phrase, “I’ll do me, you do you.” Possibly a more fitting phrase would be, “Live and let live.”


10. Take responsibility for all of your decisions, actions, and words spoken.
I’d venture to say that the majority of people make excuses or place the blame elsewhere. This is sadly a cyclical problem because each time one fails to take responsibility they compound the notion that they are the victim. Not only does this victim mentality spill over into every aspect of life i.e. relationships, work, parenting, health-conditions, and more, these people actually seem to attract more bad circumstances into their lives. In reality it is simply the laws of the universe. 

If you fail to take responsibility and fix the problem, those undesirable outcomes will keep playing out over and over again until the day you die. It’s like a car with bad breaks. If you never fix the brakes, you will likely rear-end people on the road, jacking up enormous expenses on your end and frustration for others. These “accidents” (in reality they are avoidable consequences) will never stop happening until YOU fix the problem.

Cheers to EIQ Growth,

In the words of a mother

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

10 Questions for Valentine’s Day

1.    Just for fun, who would be your favorite celebrity valentine be?
Robert Downy Jr. 


2.    Do you like Valentine’s Day to be extra special or do you prefer to treat it like an ordinary day? 
Ordinary day

3.    If you like it special, what do you like to do? 
 If I were going to make it special, I'd cook a nice dinner at home with candlelight, rose petals, no kid, music, and wine. Maybe a pallet on the floor, watch a chick flick, and of course, have some fun on the pallet.
               

4.    If you are single, do you get jealous of those “happy” couples? Heck, if you’re not single, do you get jealous of those “happy” couples?
No, I'm happy when others are happy. Always have been that way, even when I was single.

5.    Do you prefer flowers, candy, jewelry, or something unique as a gift?
Chocolate covered strawberries get me every time. 

6.    Do you like to give traditional gifts or a unique gift?
I like to give unique gifts.

7.    Is your partner romantic?
Not particularly :/

8.    If you could go on a spontaneous, romantic, weekend getaway, where would you go?
Bora Bora in a hut that is built over the lagoon! Or a cozy cabin in the mountains of Colorado with a wood burning fire crackling!

9.    What was your best Valentine’s Day ever?
My first date with Sean (now hubby) Val Day was our first date and we went to The Spaghetti Factory on the landing in STL. We took the metro over too and it was freezing He gave me his jacket. What a great date and Valentine's Day!

10.   What was your worst Valentine’s Day ever?
I think some guy in high school gave me some cheesy stuffed animal or something once. I wasn't even into him. 


Please indulge me and share your answers in the comments!