Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why Are My Abs So Sore?

My abs are killing me!

 I rolled out of bed this morning and noticed how much they hurt.  They hurt yesterday, too, but today it's even worse. They are sore, aching-- but a good kind of ache.  A healthy kind of pain.  You know what I mean.  Not an "OMG, I think I just pulled something!" kind of pain. It's more like I have discovered some layer of muscle I didn't know I had and if I keep on doing what I am doing, it will bring me one step closer to looking great in a bikini when and if summer ever arrives.

And, no.....this is NOT me in the photo, but a girl can dream, can't she?

This morning, over coffee, I tried to think about what I've been doing that's so different.

Why am I so sore?

I hate to exercise.  I force myself to do it.  I do pilates, yoga,  lift weights, walk on my lunch break, take the stairs instead of the elevator at work.   I do fifty sit-ups every morning, cursing as I count.  Thankfully, no one but my cat P'aqu is here to observe my amusing routine.  He jumps right into the warm spot I leave behind in the bed and watches me as I flop around on the floor like a fish out of water . Sometimes I cheat and don't do all fifty. Then I remember the cat is watching. I get back on the floor and finish....out of guilt.

"Forty-eight @#*!, Forty-nine @#*!, Fifty @#*! @#*! "

I wish I loved to exercise.  I would love to be a work-out junkie.  I would be tight and taught and not have to spend time browsing through catalogs for those MuMu-style beach cover-ups.

Sadly,  I haven't added anything to my normal, dreadful routine, so why are my abs so sore?

I remembered feeling the same pain last week, too. Then it dawned on me. The baby! My little two year old niece Gabriella was over this past Monday and she was here the same time last week, as well.  And the Monday before that.

Gabriella is a bundle of energy.   If I could bottle some of that energy and sell it, I would be a multi-millionaire. She tears our house apart, touching everything, dragging pots, pans, bottles and boxes from cabinets and closets. She chases the cat and dog until they collapse in corner, completely exhausted.  It take an hour to clean up the mess she leaves behind each time she comes to visit. But she loves her Auntie Cyndi (that's me).  She calls me " Ti-Ti."  I run with her through the house like a lunatic. She screams and squeals with delight.  I drag out my yoga mat, lay on my back, hold her up over my head, and she pretends to fly.  I extend my legs upward, balance her on my feet, and drop and catch her over and over.  I hold her upside down and carry her through the house. This goes on for hours. She loves it. She can't get enough. No one else in the family has the stamina to play with her this way.  I am forty-nine years old and by some miracle, I do have the strength and energy.  I must admit, I am worn-out when she leaves.  My sister called me this Tuesday morning and said, " What did you do to my granddaughter? It's 9am and she's still sleeping!"  Evidently, little Gabriella was worn-out, too.

Ahhh.....this is why my abs hurt!

I am lifting a forty pound child over my head and tossing her around like a rag-doll.  Which got me thinking......if I did that every single day, I would be so fit with very little effort.  I laugh so hard when I play with my niece and enjoy each precious moment.  What can be better than that? And I am getting quite a work-out.  I have the sore abs to prove it. 

 You know you have to exercise.  It's the only way to stay fit and maintain muscle.  But perhaps you can mix it up a little.  Lifting weights? YUCK.  Fifty sit-ups every morning? BORING!  Maybe it doesn't always have to be such torture.  Perhaps adding some fun activities to your normal routine would make it more exciting? Chasing the kids around the house, playing basketball, bike riding, roller skating, hiking, dancing, a night of great sex? Hmmmmm.....all exercise, but FUN exercise.

Don't forget to play, people! Enjoy your life. Get out there and move. Have fun.  Forget about yourself and just be crazy. Your body will reap the benefits and your heart and soul will, too.

And this is my Daily Cyn.........

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lessons in the Dirt............

When I was little, I would gather together with all my girlfriends and play "House".  This was the 1960's, so we all aspired to be just like our mothers-good wives and caretakers.   The thought of having a career outside the home when we were older never crossed our minds.  We copied what we saw every day--women changing diapers, shopping, cleaning, and cooking.  Cooking was the most fascinating of all.  That was when a woman was allowed to be creative.  So, armed with a collection of discarded Polly-O Ricotta containers and old tins, we would make mud cakes and pies from dirt in the yard. Then we would feed them to my brother.

My brother was a year younger than me and always tagging along.  All the other boys in the neighborhood were out and about playing baseball, football or some other kind of sport.  My brother Joe was never really the "sports-type" so he didn't get along with the boys.  They would run off and leave him behind.  The girls didn't really want him either, he was after-all, a boy.  If he wanted to be part of our club, he had to do whatever we said.  Desperate to be included, my beautiful brother willingly obeyed and allowed us to feed him spoonful after spoonful of dirt. 

Each evening when we came inside, my mom would wash us up for dinner.  She would ask Joe the same question every single day. "Son, have you been eating dirt?"  My brother would swear up and down he did not and Mom would let it go. He didn't realize those dried clumps of grit and sand collecting in the corners of his mouth were a dead give-away  Of course I wasn't about to say a word about it.  I would get a whipping for sure if I let on that I was feeding my brother dirt. 

This went on for quite some time and my mom never pushed the issue.  Then one evening it all changed. It was a Wednesday and we were having spaghetti (every good Italian housewife served spaghetti on Wednesday).  Mom lovingly placed huge plates of pasta and meatballs on the table for me and my dad.  

My brother was served a big bowl of dirt.

Tears streamed down my brother's face as he stared at the meal set before him. "Where's my spaghetti?" he cried.
"Well, " Mom replied. " Since you enjoy eating dirt outside all day, I thought you would like to have it for dinner tonight!'

Dear friends, I remember this day as if it happened yesterday. It was painful. It was awful.  The tears and humiliation were truly heartbreaking as my brother and I sat there and sobbed before our parents.  

Joe cried because his secret was out.  I cried because I was such a mean and heartless sister. After much begging, pleading and promising to never again eat dirt, eventually my brother got his big dish of spaghetti.  I got a spanking.

After that day, my brother never ate dirt again. And I refused to allow anyone to try and feed it to him.

You might think this is cruel and unusual punishment but there was a method to our mother's madness.  Certainly she did not want my brother eating dirt.  All those germs and bugs and God knows what! But there was a deeper lesson here.  She wanted to heal something inside of each of us. 

My brother's need and desire to be part of a group caused him to suffer humilation and lower his standards.  He subjected himself to abuse. He allowed himself to be pushed around by his big sister and her friends and eat dirt.  He didn't want to eat dirt.  He just wanted to be accepted.

My lesson was a bit different.  I also wanted to be part of the group but it ran deeper than that. Not only was I willing to stand by and watch my brother subject himself to such stupidity, I was the one who actually fed it to him. I was the older one and he trusted me.  Whatever I said, he would do because he wanted my love and my friendship.

People will feed us what allow them to feed us.  We also allow others to be abused by standing there and letting it happen. This is how a victim is born.

 No group, organization, friendship or love is worth sacrificing what you think is right or good.  If it tastes awful, it is awful and it is harmful.  Perhaps not physically harmful, but certainly damaging to your spirit. Never allow anyone to spoon feed you something you don't want to eat.

If my mother had not done what she did, and my brother continued to allow us to feed him dirt, he might have become a man with no mind of his own and constantly abused by others. He is not like that now at all. He is strong and kind and thinks for himself.  As for me, I could have grown into an unkind, uncaring, abusive woman, standing by and allowing others to be hurt, at my own hand or at the hands of others. Thankfully, that is not who I am.

Don't eat dirt. Don't allow anyone to feed it to you, don't feed it to others, and don't stand by and watch someone feed it to another person.

And this is my Daily Cyn.........

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


We all exist in some kind of cocoon. We wrap ourselves tightly within it and hide.  Why wouldn't we? It's warm, and cozy, secure and familiar.  We have no idea who we really are and because we are afraid of the pain involved in emerging from our little cocoon, we remain shut in and closed off from everything that exists beyond our familiar little shelter.

In our cocoon, we have a clouded vision and version of the world beyond.  All sight and sound is distorted because we are trapped inside a filter.  We cannot see or hear clearly. So.... we remain, wrapped up in our insecurities and our fears. We cannot see how beautiful we are.  We still think we are caterpillars with no real purpose other than creeping and crawling upon the earth. 

 If we continue to stay in that place we will eventually die.  We will become so trapped that we will lose all hope, dry up and wither away.  We long for something beyond our little world but are too afraid to emerge and take a peek outside. And so we stay-- trapped, confined, stunted. We have no idea that we have wings because there is no room to spread them.

Gather the strength and the courage to break forth from the protective shell.  Everything we need, we already have.  Break free and leave it all behind.  We are gorgeous butterflies--ready, willing and able to fly.  The world is waiting to see our beauty...........

And this is my Daily Cyn.......

Monday, March 28, 2011

10 Ways to Save at the Supermarket | Eat This, Not That

I am all for saving money, especially in this economy! Here are ten ways to save at the Supermarket!!

10 Ways to Save at the Supermarket Eat This, Not That

And this is my Daily Cyn......

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Industry-Wide Use of Meat Glue Sticks Together Scraps of Meat To Sell You Prime Cuts

Those Prime cuts of beef you pay big money for might be nothing more than scraps of meat held together with meat glue! YUCK! Does this bother anybody? It SHOULD! If you eat meat, be aware of who and where you buy from. Eat locally. If you want to avoid this all together, stop eating meat. Become a vegetarian or a vegan! I can help you with that. Email me or message me for more info... Here's the article/video about the Meat Glue.... Industry-Wide Use of Meat Glue Sticks Together Scraps of Meat To Sell You Prime Cuts And this is my Daily Cyn......

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I Am So Stressed Out!!

"Oh, my God, I am so stressed out!"

How many times a day do you hear this? How many times do you hear yourself say this?

It seems everywhere you turn, people are under stress.  You're under stress. You can't escape it.  And it's no wonder. You work a full time job, you cook, you shop, deal with traffic, raise children, worry over money, argue with your mate.

You run here, you run there, you don't have time to slow down. Life is a continuous rollercoaster ride. And it's no amusement park!

Somebody stop the ride....Please!

What exactly is stress? Stress is what you feel when you have to handle more than you are used to. When you are stressed, your body responds as though you are in danger. It makes hormones that speed up your heart, make you breathe faster, and give you a burst of energy.

This is called the fight-or-flight stress response.

Some stress is normal and even useful. Stress can help if you need to work hard or react quickly. For example, it can help you win a race or finish an important job on time. But if stress happens too often or lasts too long, it can have bad effects. You begin having headaches and unexplained aches and pains.  You sleep too much or not enough, you're exhausted all the time, you lose your appetite or eat everything in sight. Your weight begins to flucuate, you experience chest pain, and every cold or flu that comes down the pike--you catch!

You make a doctor's appointment and endure a battery of tests.  Your doctor finds absolutely nothing wrong with you.  You want to choke him when he says that all your symptoms are related to stress and how you need to avoid it!

No sh*t, Sherlock!!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there really is no way to avoid stress.  It's a fact of life.  As long as there are outside influences, jobs, traffic, bills, and people to deal with daily, you are going to have stress.  The only way to completely avoid it is to quit your job, forsake your family and friends, give away all your belongings, and live on a mountain-top  far away from everyone and everything.

Cynthia! You're not helping!! You're making me feel even more stressed out!
Don't panic just yet, dear friends.  There are some ways to make stress feel a bit less stressful. 

 And, no!  It's NOT this, although I know we've all done this at one time or another!

 There are simple tricks of the trade to keep you from repeatedly banging your head against walls, cracking under pressure and losing your mind.  You already know what they are but I am going to remind you.....

At least eight hours, 7 nights a week.  You need to shut down. Sleep is essential. Your body and your mind must be completely at rest in order heal and restore.  Most of us are sleep deprived.  So now, not only are you stressed, you are tired.  Am I joking? Who has time to sleep? You must make time. Force yourself to get into bed at the same time every night. If you have trouble falling asleep, create peace in your bedroom.  Turn off the TV and leave the cell phone in another room.  Play some relaxing music to help you unwind.  Buy the nicest pillows, sheets and cozy comforters you can possibly afford.  Your bedroom should be a haven--a quiet, comfortable, clutter and stress-free, inviting place of rest.

Daily exercise is the best stress reliever.  It releases all those endorphins you need to feel good.  If your budget allows, join a gym.  Try kickboxing, yoga, a dance class.  Install a punching bag in your basement and punch and kick away.  Take a walk, have sex, lift weights, work out at home to an aerobics DVD. No need to exercise for hours a day. Who has time for that? But you can certainly spare 15-20 minutes a day to get your blood flowing and your body moving.

Eat well......
Now you know I was going to talk about food. Nourish your body with good, healthy food--lean protein, lots of fruit and fresh veggies.  Avoid white flour, white sugar carbs. Say no to bagels, donuts, cookies, cake, and fast food.  They might taste good but those kinds of foods are going to make you feel worse in the long run. Don't turn to food for comfort. You will become depressed, bloated and aggravated because your clothes don't fit.  That causes even more stress!
Don't fall for this!!
Feed your soul......
Pray, meditate, go to church, listen to music, and read articles and books that inspire you.  Take time everyday to still your mind and nourish your soul with something good.  The world is filled with nothing but bad news.  Turn off the TV and the radio. A constant diet of bad, upsetting, hopeless news makes you even more stressed   I am not suggesting you pull the covers over your head and ignore what is happening in the world.  We need to be aware and conscious of what is going on around us. Read the paper or listen to the news once a day, and then take a few moments to send your prayers, love, and healing energy out into the universe.  Worrying and stressing over current events will not change a thing.  You can donate funds to worthy causes or volunteer your time if you wish. In fact, I recommend you do.  Prayers and good thoughts are meaningless without some kind of action.  But stop stressing over it.  You will make yourself sick.

Everyone needs a confidant.  A partner, a best friend, a parent--someone you can share anything with and not hold back.  Make sure you have at least one person you can talk to on a regular basis. Find a non-judgmental source of help, advice and ideas.  Someone you can trust. Talking about it makes your burden seem lighter.  If you can't find someone to talk to, go see a therapist. I talk to a therapist once a week.  I have fears and concerns about my father as I watch him battling cancer right now.  Combine that with all the other stress I have in my life and I would go mad if I couldn't talk about it.  I don't want to upset my family and friends right now with my personal issues, so I dump it all on a professional.  It makes me feel better and less guilty for actually feeling the way I do.

When was the last time you had some good, clean fun?  Remember how you couldn't wait to get outside and play as a child?  School work, chores, and all your troubles were soon forgotten the moment you hopped on your bike, joined in a baseball game with friends, or just sat in your room and played with your favorite toys or games. Play--the great escape! Take up a hobby, go bike riding, join a ball team, go out dancing, bowling, hiking! Go outside and play!

Most importantly, don't stress out over stress!  
The worst thing you can do is keep reminding yourself how stressed you are. The more you talk about it, the more you believe it, and the more stressed you become.  Practice loving, patient, encouraging self-talk and stop the negative chatter. Your mind will believe anything you tell it and your spirit will interpret it as truth.  Keep reminding yourself  that you are strong and capable.  This is how you find inner peace and the strength to weather any kind of stressful storm.

And this is my Daily Cyn....... 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Birthday Indulgences

I just celebrated my birthday. Actually, I celebrated an entire birthday weekend with family and a few close friends- a night out at my favorite restaurant in the city, family dinners, lots of pasta and too much cake. I had an amazing time.  It was much different from any other birthday, but it was truly wonderful.

When I turned forty (nine years ago) I started a ritual.  I was suddenly single after being married for nineteen years. I had a new career, new friends, a new life. I was so broken after my divorce that I did not want to get involved in any kind of relationship with a man. I dated occasionally, but would never allow it to go beyond a few dates or any real feelings or commitment.  However, when my birthday rolled around, I missed that extra attention from a partner so I decided that every year I would buy myself a gift in honor of my special day.  

The first gift I bought myself was an 18K gold necklace. It was thick and gorgeous and expensive.  I wore it twice and recently traded it in for cash at a friend's gold party.  I never wear gold---I wear silver-- so I have no idea what possessed me to buy it in the first place. 

As the years rolled by, I continued to buy myself birthday gifts.

When I turned forty-one, I found a silver butterfly ring in a little gypsy shop on Hollywood Blvd. in Los Angeles.  That was my gift to myself that year. I wear it on my left ring finger (where my wedding band used to be) and I have never taken it off. The ring represents freedom and my metamorphosis. It serves as a reminder to keep growing, keep learning, and to keep changing.

As I became older and more successful in my career in the mortgage industry (READ:  more money), my lifestyle and my habits became more extravagant and more expensive.  So did the gifts I bought myself each year.

The first year I began working in NYC, I treated myself to a Cartier tank watch on my birthday.  I wore it once.  I still have it but it was so expensive, I am afraid to wear it.  It sits in my jewelry box.  Every once in awhile, I take it out and admire it.

Then there was my first real Louis Vuitton tote bag and matching wallet. The wallet and all of its contents were stolen at a bar one night.  I never replaced it. I still have the tote bag... somewhere in my closet.

On my 44th birthday, I bought myself a diamond ring from the jewelery store down the block from my office.  Every morning on my way to Starbucks, I stopped to admire that ring in the window. It was gorgeous-- delicate and unique with a butterfly made entirely of diamonds.  I had to have it so on my birthday I marched into the store and bought it.  I wore it a few times, but it catches on everything I wear. Now it keeps the Cartier company in my jewelry box.

When I turned 45,  I wanted to do something completely different.  I got my first tattoo-- a Japanese symbol for sorrow.  Why sorrow? I am not a sad person-at least not on the outside.  Several years ago, I suffered from terrible depression.  I cried all the time.  For years.  Eventually, I separated myself from all those things that were making me so sad and depressed and I don't cry anymore.  But deep inside, there is still a sadness I cannot explain. It only comes out when I have too much to drink.  I sob uncontrollably and don't know why.  One day I will discover what it is that still makes me so sad, I will heal it, and add a small little butterfly emerging from my tattoo.

When I turned 47, I decided it was time to buy my own home. I found an adorable little place and was all set to put down a deposit on my birthday. Then I got myself into a bit of trouble and the money I had set aside for the house was spent on something else. I will never forgive myself for that. STUPID STUPID STUPID! Two years later, I am still living in an apartment.

Over the years there have been so many changes.  Gone is my career in the mortgage world and the huge salary that went along with it.  I am comfortable and all my bills are paid.  I still have a little extra to do some fun things. I am not starving by any means. There have also been some other major changes in my life and how I live it. When my birthday rolled around this year, I wanted to do something a little extreme--make a statement to declare my independence and evolution. I decided to pierce my nose....a little diamond chip right on the side. I have always wanted to do that.

Parading around with a nose ring would break my father's heart.  He detests that kind of stuff and still hasn't quite forgiven me for my tattoo. Yes, I know I am my own person and I shouldn't live to please others.  In fact, I tell other people that all the time.  But if your beloved father was battling colorectal cancer and having chemo and radiation treatments every day, would you want to add more stress and heartache to his life?  I decided against the nose piercing....for now.

My gift to myself this year:  two books from  $29.95--including shipping.  They just arrived and I am more excited over these books than any other gift I've ever purchased for myself.

If I tried to explain the ways my life has changed, it would take pages and pages to share. I will spare you the details.  I will tell you this: not only did I buy myself birthday gifts each year, I celebrated in big ways.  Not just one day, or a weekend, but the entire month of March was one big party.  I am sad to say, I really don't remember anything that happened during those months. If I add it all up, that's nine whole months of my life I can't recall.  In fact, there isn't much I remember about the past nine years. I was too busy trying to fill the empty void of my life with something that turned out to be quite destructive in the long run.

I stepped off the crazy, wild,  roller coaster of a life sometime ago.  Looking back, I see that got off that ride just in time.  If I hadn't, I would not be able to endure what is happening in my life and with my family right now.  I would be useless and selfish and not want to deal with any of it.  I would be looking to escape and numb the pain and the fear.  It's harder to face it all head-on, but in the midst of pain and suffering are precious moments I never want to forget.  I want to remember every minute of time I get to spend with my father and my family.  I really don't know what the future holds or if my dad will make it through this, but regardless of the outcome, I want to be fully present for each and every moment.  I don't want to look back with regret years from now because I was someplace else when my father (or anyone else I love) breathes his last breath.

So, I have my books this year.  I look forward to lighting my candles, pouring a cup of hot tea, snuggling up beside my little cat,  and reading them. Yes...this is quite boring compared to how I used to live my life but  I am here, I am present, I am safe.  My form of escape now is a good book every once in awhile.  I am perfectly content.  Happier than I have ever been.  Peaceful.  And the best part, I will remember every single moment.

And this is my Daily Cyn............

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Birthday Reflections.............

I just celebrated my 49th Birthday.  Birthdays are always a time of reflection for me. I am just that kind of person.....a deep thinker. 

Forty-nine years! That's a long time to be alive. I have been walking this earth one year shy of half-a-century! That's mind-boggling!  I don't feel that old and don't think I look that old. I have always taken good care of myself.  There are a few tell-tale signs. I need to either hold books and papers an arms length away or wear glasses for reading.  I have laugh-lines and a few crinkles around my eyes but no major wrinkles--at least nothing a little concealer and good foundation can't hide. I have no aches or pains, I can touch my toes and run up a flight of stairs.  I can still dance the night away and put in a full eight hours the next day.   I sleep like a baby every night and only need one cup of coffee to jump-start my mornings.  I don't have heart trouble, blood pressure issues, high cholesterol, arthritis, or back problems.  Everything works and still works well. 

I am thankful for my health and another year.of life  It's been a good life and a successful life so far.  It hasn't always been a happy life but I have tried to make the best of every situation.  I've also wasted alot of my life.  I've procrastinated, made foolish choices, stupid mistakes, put myself in harm's way, run from God, avoided family, friends, and rejected wise counsel.  I haven't loved enough, given enough, lived enough, learned enough, shared enough, forgiven enough.

I think the worst thing in the world is regret....that constant whining and complaining over how we could have been something or done something more with our lives. I call it "the shoulda-woulda-coulda-syndrome." And if we suffer from this syndrome, we play the blame game. We blame it on our environment, our parents, our husbands, our children, our bank accounts, our lack of education. It's easier to find fault with everyone and everything else than to face the harsh reality that we have nothing or no one to blame but ourselves. If we want something bad enough,  the whole universe comes together to make it happen for us.  We just have to do it and stop wasting time whining, complaining, and blaming.

I don't want to waste another moment. I want to live life to the fullest and enjoy everything it has to offer.  I want to evolve, grow, learn and fulfill the purpose God planned for me.  I want to use all the gifts I have been given.  I want to share and love and help make the world a better place. I want every single person I ever come in contact with to feel important, loved, and appreciated. I never want to take anything or anyone for granted.

Forty-nine years......

The best is yet to come. For me and for you.  Get it done. Don't put it off.  Sing your song, dance your dance, tell your story, get on with your life and accomplish your hopes, your dreams, your goals. Don't waste another moment.  Give yourself permission and the freedom to live your life.  I certainly plan to keep on living mine!

And this is my Daily Cyn.......

Sunday, March 20, 2011


If you are not being showered with rain to help you grow....
If there is no room to spread, blossom and bloom...... 
If there is no freedom to spread your fragrance beyond the place where you are planted.....
You are in the wrong garden......

And this is my Daily Cyn.............

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fat Craving!!!

This morning I woke up craving fat! This doesn't happen to me very often.  I exist on a diet of vegetarian protein (soy, beans, nuts,etc), whole grains, and lots of fresh fruits and veggies.  I don't eat meat, butter, dairy products, and hardly ever have sweets.  But every once in awhile, that fat craving kicks in and I have to have it! I want something rich and creamy and satisfying.  When I feel like that I can't ignore it and I won't be happy until I submit to the desire. 

Chances are if I actually had these cream puffs in my house, I would have eaten a few with a cup of coffee for breakfast! I never keep food like this at home.  If a guest brings fatty foods or a sweet dessert over, I will have a sample and either send them home with it or promptly toss it into the trash the moment they walk out my door.

Do you think that is cruel and insensitive?

I don't think so.  I don't need food like this calling out to me from the fridge on days when I actually do have a fat craving.  None of us do.

Luckily, I keep other things on hand all the time--A Fat Craving Emergency Stash!

Almond butter spread on nice crisp apple slices usually does the trick.  Almond butter is perfect. It's rich and creamy and has that nice, thick "fatty" consistency I need.  And, yes, when I do not have the patience to actually get out a knife, cut an apple and spread the butter, I will just stick a spoon right into the jar of this guilty pleasure.  It's so good-- until you try it--you have no idea! Unfortunately during one such "fat attack" I dropped the jar and it shattered to pieces. I haven't had time to replenish my supply.

So....this morning I ate the next best thing...........

Avocados: lucious, green and packed with nutrients and good fat.  I sliced one up, sprinkled it with sea salt and consumed the whole thing.  It was rich, it was satisfying and immediately, the fat craving was gone. 


This all might sound totally crazy to you.  But honestly, I don't want to have to worry about this:

I am forty-nine years old. I am in menopause.  Every fattening, unhealthy, food I do eat has a tendency to go right to the places I don't want it to go- my belly, my hips, my thighs, my butt.  Not to mention the fact that when I do eat very fatty foods or sweets--I feel awful!  I am bloated, lethargic, and moody.

Not good!

Here's the thing about fat...........

Fat is stored in your body to burn as fuel later.  What this means is you don't do this......

Or some other kind of exercise daily......

You will start packing on the pounds.  You must burn more than you actually eat.  Use it to lose it! So if you are eating too much fat and not burning it off-- well....this is how you wake up one morning and realize--OMG! I'm FAT!!!

I hate exercise. I force myself to do it.  I don't want to do any more than I have to.  I wish I was different but I am not.  I want to stay thin and healthy and avoid looking like this....

......So I am very careful about the food I eat and make sure it is something my body can actually use!

Today is my day! I am spending it with my favorite guy.  We will be shopping in the city for my birthday and end our evening at my favorite restaurant in Little Italy.  We will be doing lots of other words.....exercise! 

And because I feel so good about eating my avocado this morning and all the "exercise" I will get today......

I can enjoy a nice piece of birthday cake later!

And this is my Daily Cyn............

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Sweetness of Spring

Buried beneath the harshness of winter is the promise of the sweetness of spring.............

Such is the winter of our lives.  There is always hope.  There is always growth.  Do not fear the lean times, the darkness, the cold, or the quiet.  Something is always at work beneath the frozen, lifeless ground--growing, spreading, gathering strength.  It is waiting for the appointed time to spring forth in all its splendor. 

And this is my Daily Cyn.............

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Confess!! I Eat Fast Food!!

Lately, I feel like a bit of a Grinch.  It's as if I have nothing better to do than sit around and think of ways to take away the one pleasure we have in life- FOOD!

I mean, come on! We are busy, we are hungry, we are stressed.  Who wants to come home after working all day and cook a meal? Who has time to shop, chop vegetables, or make homemade macaroni and cheese when it's so much easier to empty a packet of cheese powder into cooked pasta, stir and serve? And fast food--I have reallly blown the lid of that, haven't I?  All I do is point out everything that's wrong with it. There is nothing as convenient or satisfying as dinner-in-a-bag.  Why can't I just leave it alone, for goodness sake?

I am just as busy as you are.  My life is hectic.  I have a home, a family, a job, responsibilities. Right now my life is CRAZY!

That being said--I have a confession to make. 

I eat fast food.  I am addicted to it.  I love it. I cannot get enough of it.  It makes me feel good and it is such a guilty pleasure!   

Here are some of my favorite fast food indulgences.....

Fast Food! I can't live with out it! It's quick, easy, transportable, satisfying and delicious. cooking required!

The best thing about my favorite fast foods? They make me feel like this......

Instead of this.........

Now that I finally got this off my chest, I feel so much better!!

And this is my Daily Cyn............

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Good Mood Food

I fell asleep while watching TV last night and woke up to a happy little song.  It was a commercial for Arby's Angus Three Cheese and Bacon Toasted Sub.  It depicted happy people, happy kids, happy parents, and even happy attorneys singing about Good Mood Food.

"Arbys! It's Good Mood Food!"

Now doesn't that sound nice?

Arby's Restaurant Group Inc. on Feb. 27 started a new marketing and advertising campaign -- “Arby’s. It’s Good Mood Food.”  The campaign “highlights Arby’s good, wholesome, tasty food that puts people in a good mood and is the latest step in Arby’s strategy to grow sales and profits,” the Atlanta-based fast-food chain said.

Wow!  Is Arby's concerned with the growing obesity epidemic in America? Diabetes? Heart Disease?

Arby’s revenue fell 9 percent to $1 billion in 2010 but produced a 2.9 percent increase in company-operated same-store sales in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Enter The Good Mood Food Campaign and all those fun commercials with happy, healthy people.

“This campaign is focused on our target audience, Balance Seekers, who want and need to eat fast food because of their busy lifestyles, but do not want to feel guilty about eating it. They’re telling us that Arby’s has something over other fast food restaurants... a balance of higher quality, more wholesome food that they can feel good about eating. We like to think that stopping by Arby’s makes their day a little brighter.”
-Steve Davis, Arby’s chief marketing officer.

People who eat at Arby's believe they are being served higher quality, wholesome food? Really?

Arby's wants to give us more high quality, wholesome, good mood food we can feel good about eating, so they are giving us this:

The Angus Three Cheese and Bacon Toasted Sub Sandwich. 660 calories, 33g of fat (13g saturated), 0.5g trans fat, 1810mg sodium, 2g fiber, 3g sugar, 47g protein.


Also new to the menu are thick Steakhouse Onion Rings, and a Market Fresh Chopped Side Salad with two types of lettuce, Cheddar cheese and tomato. The salad is priced at $1.99 or can be substituted for fries in a combo meal at no additional charge.

The salad is a nice gesture...... go to Arbys.  You order their new Angus sandwich combo meal.  You can get a salad to go with it instead of the fries for no additional charge. Hmmmm. French fries or salad? Hold on a minute! Steakhouse Onion Rings? Oh my goodness! You have to try those so you get the fries and a side order of the rings, too. Maybe a token salad for just a $1.99, as well.  You can eat it for lunch tomorrow. And, don't forget the Diet Coke!

But wait! There's more.....

Arby’s also has a new dessert, Outside-In Cinnamon Bites. Flaky doughnut holes filled with melted cinnamon cream cheese inspired by a combination of beignets and cinnamon rolls. They’re priced at $1 for three.

Oh, what the heck.  Toss a few orders of those in the bag, too. They're only a dollar!

There's also  the new Jamocha Oreo Shake, which will be offered for a limited time this summer. It has a swirl of Oreo cookie sauce and is topped with crumbled chocolate cookies.

Come on!! How can anyone say no to that?

It's a hot summer day, and you're sitting in traffic after work.  You pull into Arbys to pick up dinner for the family because it's too damn hot to cook. You order yourself a refreshing Jamocha Oreo Shake and suck it down on the ride home. Later, you and the kids sit down in front of TV in your nice, cool air conditioned living room and enjoy your high quality, wholesome Arby's dinner.

I know you are smart, people.  I don't need to go into detail about all the artery-clogging fat, calories, additives, preservatives and unhealthy, artificial ingredients in this food.  You already know. I know you do! Somewhere deep down inside you are well aware that this is anything but high quality, wholesome, good mood food that you can feel good about eating! In fact, if you consume this type of food a few times a week, I guarantee you will be in an awful mood.

Do you feel tired, bloated, depressed, sluggish, angry all the time and you don't know why?


I know I sound like a broken record but when I think of good mood food, it looks like this.....

rice with kale and butternut squash

or this....................

and this........

Veggie burger on a whole grain roll

and occasionally (so you don't think I am a complete stick-in-the-mud) even this....

Bloody Mary w/fresh tomato juice & veggies

Advertising addictive, unhealthy sandwiches, fries and desserts as wholesome, healthy, good mood food is an insult to my intelligence. It should be an insult to yours, as well.

Go ahead and eat Arby's if you want. I am not saying you can't have it.  Just don't fall for the hype. Call it like it is. And try to pay attention to how you feel after you eat. Are you in a good mood? I'll bet you will be feeling pretty lousy.

If you would like to know more about REAL good mood food, feel free to comment here or email me at:  I would be happy to share with you!

And this is my Daily Cyn.......

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to Help Japan

Japanese Cherry Blossoms
'I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink'...Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?...'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.' Matthew 25:35, 37, 40

Not to get all religious here, but I always loved this scripture.  We are God's hands extended.  Every time we give, offer assistance, provide warmth, clothing, food, or shelter to another, it is our gift to God.  We are helping God to do His work.  We are all brothers and sisters regardless of distance, color, race, spiritual beliefs or political views and differences. We are all connected. When one hurts, we all hurt.

Prayers are necessary but meaningless without some kind of action.  As I send my thoughts, love, and my prayers to the people of Japan I cannot help but wonder how I can actually help. I found this article and wish to share it with you. 

This is how our country is offering assistance to the devastated people of Japan. There are also suggestions and links so you can personally contribute and help. Please read and share with others.

How to Help Japan

And this is my Daily Cyn............

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Greater Hunger......

A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and Thou, beside me.....

Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat . . .We must find each other. -Mother Teresa

And this is my Daily Cyn......

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Define Yourself.......

‎"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself." - Harvey S. Firestone

 There are some people who live an entire life-time and never know who they really are or what they really want.  On their death bed, they realize they lived for everyone else or according to someone else's expectations and definitions and never did one thing for themselves. At that moment, they might plead for more time--just a few more years to do things differently. Sadly, at that point.... it's too late. Life is a gift. There are no second chances. Death is final and sad but the greatest tragedy of all is a life that has been wasted.

I know what it's like to waste life and be a victim of demands that were that were dictated to me by others.  I was exactly who everyone told me I should be. I had no voice.  I simply regurgitated what was told to me by others.  I had no vision, no real concept of truth or love, no understanding of who God was to me personally, and absolutely no idea how to truly express myself.  I denied my own goals, hopes, dreams and opinions because I feared rejection. If you are weak and have no idea who you are and what you want and lack the confidence and strength to fight for what you want, it shows. This is how we become victims. Someone else more powerful will come along and run your life for you.  And, believe me, they will run it into the ground, take everything from you, and then move on to the next victim. 

For years I allowed others to dictate my life to me. I was a prisoner- held captive by people who thought they knew best and by my own fears and feelings of inadequacy. I was easy prey because I never fought for myself.  I lied to myself and told myself I was content. Word of advice--you cannot continue to do this for very long. The lies we tell ourselves will begin to manifest as the body, mind and spirit cries out for freedom of expression! I became sick, depressed and racked with pain from fibromyalgia.  I had every female reproductive problem in the book- ovarian cysts, endometriosis, fibroid tumors, infertility, a flipped uterus, a miscarriage. I suffered from panic attacks regularly over which I had no control. At least three or four times a year I was rushed to the hospital with intense chest pain or dangerously high blood pressure.  The doctors could find no reason for the chest pain. I wasn't having a heart attack. My blood pressure would spike for no reason and then return to normal. There was nothing physically wrong with me!   Oh but there was! I was dying...from the inside out.  The light within was slowly burning out.  I had no hope. I asked God to let me die. Instead, He led me on a path of self discovery. I sought out truth for myself.  I dared to question things. I read and researched and studied. I tried things that were forbidden, foreign and frightening.  I faced the fear and did it anyway.  I endured rejection and abandonment and walked a lonely path for a long time. It wasn't easy and it took years, but eventually I took my life back. I changed everything- the way I ate, the way I looked, how I thought, the ways I loved and didn't love, how and where I worked, the ways I worshipped, and what I believed.  As a result, I experienced an inner healing and all those ailments from which I suffered miraculously disappeared.

Am I there yet? Not quite. I am a work in progress. We all are. I am different now, however. Don't you dare tell me I can't do something. I will show you how it's done! I have opinions, ideas and thoughts that matter and I express them.  They are much different than those of the people I love. I don't care what others think. They might be disappointed but at least I think for myself now.  I resist anyone who tries to exercise control over me.  I fight back. I have to. My life is too valuable to let someone else run it for me. I refuse to accept any one's definition of who or what I should be. I am responsible for my own failures, mistakes, success and accomplishments. I cannot bear the thought of breathing my last breath with regret or no sense of who I am.  When I stand face to face with God, I cannot blame others for not using every single gift and precious moment He gave me. That's no excuse.  EVER!

Why am I telling you this? I never want anyone to experience what I did.  I want everyone to live an extraordinary life- a life you enjoy- filled with love, fulfilled hopes, dreams and goals. Take a look at your own life.  Are you sick, racked with pain, angry, depressed, hopeless? Your body, soul and spirit might be crying out for something more. Pay attention! Take your life back but please don't misunderstand me. There are certain absolutes. As you search for yourself,  never reject your responsibilities or the people who truly love and care for you. If you are not sure who truly loves and cares for you--you will find out when you begin to change. Those who love you will remain close and encourage you. Those who don't will fight you and do everything in their power to discourage you and hold you back. They might even become forceful and abusive**.  Remain strong and eventually they will leave. That's don't need them.  Make this your mantra as you go through life:

 "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind!"

And this is my Daily Cyn.......... 

** Never remain in a relationship with anyone who is mentally, emotionally, or physically abusive.  If this is the case, pack your bags and leave immediately.  If you need help in recognizing the signs of abuse or assistance of any kind, please visit this website:   Domestic Abuse Help Guide and Hot-line

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Being Vegan is Not Just a Diet!

Being Vegan is not just a diet.  It's not only about avoiding meat and animal products. Veganism is a life-style.

To be Vegan is to be ethically, morally, and spiritually responsible and compassionate.  It is a revolt against cruelty, harm, waste and greed.  It is love and respect for all creation--every man, woman and child, the animals, trees, plants and flowers, our earth, the waters that cover our earth, and the air we breath. 

Does this mean you must be Vegan to care about the world around you? Not necessarily.  This is how I choose to be.  This is how I show my love and compassion for the world and every living, breathing thing that inhabits it.

Take time to consider each person you meet, every decision you make, each meal you prepare and eat, each bottle of water you drink, the products you purchase, and every item you throw away. Are there ways you can be more responsible, respectful, loving, and caring? Becoming aware is the first step toward change.....

The most fundamental building block of any society is this: Do No Harm!

And this is my Daily Cyn......

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The End of the World?

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly."– Richard Bach

And this is my Daily Cyn...........

Monday, March 7, 2011

Success, Breaking Rules, and How To Behave......

"We don't need a 500 page manual on how to behave.  Just treat people the way you want to be treated." -Bill Crutchfield

I love real-life success stories and this morning I read an article about Bill Crutchfield, a man who started his own catalog ordering business.  He was a fork-lift operator, with a dream of launching a venture that would incorporate his latest hobby, restoring classic sports cars.  The dream was birthed from his own frustration of trying in vain to find a do-it-yourself stereo for an old Porsche 356 he was hoping to restore and sell for profit.  He started out as a one man operation from the basement of his mother's home, and eventually built an empire.

He created a catalog filled with photos he took himself and in faith, mailed them out.  He would leave his fork lifting job at 5:00PM, race down to the post office to pick up a few orders that were in his P.O. box, race home, pack them up, write a personal thank you letter, pack them in his car, and drive down to UPS to make sure they got out the same day.  To Crutchfield, personal, exceptional service was essential.

Despite all these personal touches, Crutchfield was $20,000 in debt within seven months.  Rather than liquidate his business and accept failure, he sent questionnaires to everyone who had ever requested a catalog from him, customers and non-customers alike. 

The feedback from that questionnaire, he believes, is what saved his company.  Customers didn't have a problem with Crutchfield's pricing.  The product selection was more than adequate.  They were simply intimidated with the prospect of installing their own car stereo systems. 

With that in mind, Crutchfield got to work on producing a more polished and user-friendly catalog that included an easy-to-follow article on car-stereo installation techniques, helpful photographs, and a few customer testimonials from the survey. The following month, sales rose to $22,000. 

That survey, Crutchfield says, taught him the importance of listening and responding to clients. It was that simple, and it worked. 

With annual sales of about $250 million and 500 employees, Crutchfield has been in business for over 37 years and has never had to lay off one employee. The company has a five-star rating from YELP and is the only online retailer to win the Circle of Excellence for 11 consecutive years from BizRate.  Not bad for a young man who started a business from his mom's basement with nothing more than a thousand dollars and a dream. Companies like Crutchfield's are folding and dying daily, but his business remains strong, profitable and completely debt free. It appears that Crutchfield is breaking all the rules....except one.

When I was a small girl my father taught me about rules.  He said there was only one rule I needed to follow in life.  He called it the Golden Rule.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". 

Obviously, Bill Crutchfield was taught the same rule and applied it to his life and his business. It is the secret of his success.

Life is full of rules. They keep us safe, secure, and from making devastating mistakes that could cost us everything.  However, we will never get anywhere if we don't ignore, disregard, or break some of those rules.  That sounds nice but which ones are supposed to be broken?

 The rules are different for each of us so I really don't know.  I do know there is one rule that should never, ever be broken.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.......
..... and  then you will know exactly which rules to break.

And this is my Daily Cyn......

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bringing Out the Best......

"When we seek out the best in others; we somehow bring out the best in ourselves"- William Arthur Ward

And this is my Daily Cyn.......

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Superfood Breakfast??

Yesterday I saw a commercial for Quaker Oatmeal Squares.  They claim that this cereal is a superfood! Hmmmm....

Of course my ears always perk up at info like that.  I quickly wrote it all down and this morning decided to do a bit of investigating to see just how SUPER it really is.

After all I am:

Cynthia detective.

We all grew up with Quaker products.   Moms have been serving them to their families forever.  They're wholesome, they're heathy. There's a Quaker on the box for God's sake. What better symbol of wholesome goodness is there?  But these oat squares....a superfood breakfast? If you believe the advertising hype, eating a big bowl of this cereal in the morning will make you healthy and help you to juggle all this.....

and then some.......

Never skip breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day.   I suppose having a bowl of Quaker Oat Squares is better than the alternative.....

And I would much rather see you eat something than to exist on just this.....

......which is what most people do because they are too busy and too concerned about losing weight to stop and eat any kind of breakfast.

When I think Super Foods, my mind kinda wanders to these....

and these.......

But that's me........

I took a look at the ingredients in a box of Quaker Oat Squares cereal just to be sure....


Hmmmmm..... What do you think now? 
Still not sure? Let me help you.......

First of all, sugar is the third ingredient in this box of "super food".  In fact, there are four different kinds of sugar in here: brown sugar, regular old sugar, malted barley extract and molasses!  That's a bit too much of the sweet stuff, in my humble opinion.  These seemingly harmless little sugar squares are highly addictive.  One bowl will never be enough.  You might be helping yourself to several servings in the morning because it tastes so good.  And snacking on it in the afternoon.  And at night while watching TV.  When you are caught with your hand in the box or  continuously shoving copious amounts of dry oat squares into your mouth, there's no need to explain or justify it..... It's a SUPERFOOD!

I won't even get into the rest of the ingredients added to this cereal.  I will leave that for you to investigate but I think the box it comes in might be healthier....

I am not knocking cereal. It's quick and with a bit of skim, soy, or almond milk and some fresh fruit, a bowl of cereal can be a nutritious breakfast.  If you happen to be a morning cereal lover, why not try this:

Take a look at the ingredients in this box:

Not bad. Not bad at all.....and trust me.....this cereal is delicious. I still wouldn't call it a Super Food, but it's definitely a much better choice, don't you think?
If you want to greet the morning joyfully and get a good start to your day, you need to eat breakfast.  There's is absolutely no other way.
If you are looking for something wholesome and nutritious and just happen to be addicted to that Quaker Oats Guy--here is a better breakfast choice:

The only ingredient in this canister is steel cut oats. THAT'S IT! It only takes a few minutes to boil water, add the oats and stir a few times.  You can let it cook as you are getting  ready for work. Or prepare it the night before and reheat in the morning. Stir in a few of my superfoods and you are good to go! 

You will be feeling pretty super all morning!

And this is my Daily Cyn..........