…ignite your spark…

Sometimes I wait for the seasons to change, or perhaps a holiday, or some special event to provoke change and growth in my life. But, here it is, middle of July and I am ready. I recently read “Crazy Sexy Diet” by Kris Carr and had a life changing experience. She is absolutely amazing. Her book provides so much valuable (and hilarious) information on how to completely change your lifestyle and diet.

I had been feeling sluggish and some what down. My diet was decent, but not excellent.  Then… Kris Carr’s book floated into my life. I completed her 21-Day Detox Cleanse (holy moly) and have continued eating properly per her diet. This is NOT some fad diet (not naming any names here), but it is a WAY OF LIVING! So, if you are ready to clean up your insides… I challenge you!









hoping for the best

One of my sweet roommates went to the ER the other night with a temperature of 104. Holy moly. I immediately loaded myself up with Vitamin C, Wellness Resistance Formula, and began boiling a brew to kill nasty bacteria (boiling garlic, onion, cayenne, lemon, oregano, and honey – you will NOT smell good). I luckily have not been eating much meat (animal products do not help when you’re ill), and I have been eating lots of green veggies (which do help you). But, alas, last night I had a temperature of 99. I continued to drink my “brew”, take vitamin C, and lots of water. As of now, I am feverless (fingers crossed, please). Although I have a normal temperature, I am choosing to rest all day and fill my body with fluids and nutrients. While laying in bed I watched two extremely inspirational films. The trailers are attached below, and both are available on Netflix.

Prevention is key. Americans are so used to treating the PROBLEM, not the cause. Take care of yourself before something even arises. Good luck this cold and flu season! Stay well!




nicotine free

I have to open this by admitting, I was once a smoker. I loved cigarettes. Deep down, part of me still loves them. Not the actual cigarette, or the smell, or the taste… maybe I miss the comradery? The excuse of taking a break to smoke? The actual ritual?

 So, why did I quit? I had of course heard health risks for years. Some how knowing the facts were not enough. Finally, I realized that my mental, physical, and spiritual health had to be in balance in order to be fully and wholly “well.” Smoking was the one factor that was preventing me from truly taking care of myself.

 I did not take medication. I did not wean myself off of cigarettes. I just stopped. However, I did have a wonderful support group of friends that had already quit smoking, or were in the process. If I wanted to smoke, I simply called a friend, read some motivating literature, or wrote down why I did not need/want to smoke. Today, I am completely nicotine free. The smoke and tar are not the only detrimental elements of a cigarette – the nicotine is extremely poisonous as well.

 Some problems with nicotine:

“Nicotine initially causes a rapid release of adrenaline, the “fight-or-flight” hormone. If you’ve ever jumped in fright at a scary movie or rushed around the office trying to finish a project by your deadline, you may be familiar with adrenaline’s effects:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Rapid, shallow breathing

Adrenaline also tells your body to dump some of its glucose stores into your blood. This makes sense if you remind yourself that the “fight-or-flight” response is meant to help you either defend yourself from a hungry predator or hightail it out of a dangerous situation — running or brawling both require plenty of energy to fuel your muscles.

Nicotine itself may also block the release of the hormone insulin. Insulin tells your cells to take up excess glucose from your blood. This means that nicotine makes people somewhat hyperglycemic, having more sugar than usual in their blood. Some people think that nicotine also curbs their appetite so that they eat less. This hyperglycemia could be one explanation why: Their bodies and brain may see the excess sugar and down-regulate the hormones and other signals that are perceived as hunger.”

The above is from: http://science.howstuffworks.com/nicotine3.htm



10 Tips for Quitting Smoking

Post written by Leo Babauta.

“I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary of quitting smoking. Well, of finally quitting … like most smokers, I had tried to quit many times and failed. But this quit stuck, and I’d like to share the top 10 things that made this quit successful when the others failed.”

1. Commit Thyself Fully. In the quits that failed, I was only half into it. I told myself I wanted to quit, but I always felt in the back of my mind that I’d fail. I didn’t write anything down, I didn’t tell everybody (maybe my wife, but just her). This time, I wrote it down. I wrote down a plan. I blogged about it. I made a vow to my daughter. I told family and friends I was quitting. I went online and joined a quit forum. I had rewards. Many of these will be in the following tips, but the point is that I fully committed, and there was no turning back. I didn’t make it easy for myself to fail.

2. Make a Plan. You can’t just up and say, “I’m gonna quit today.” You have to prepare yourself. Plan it out. Have a system of rewards, a support system, a person to call if you’re in trouble. Write down what you’ll do when you get an urge. Print it out. Post it up on your wall, at home and at work. If you wait until you get the urge to figure out what you’re going to do, you’ve already lost. You have to be ready when those urges come.

3. Know Your Motivation. When the urge comes, your mind will rationalize. “What’s the harm?” And you’ll forget why you’re doing this. Know why you’re doing this BEFORE that urge comes. Is it for your kids? For your wife? For you health? So you can run? Because the girl you like doesn’t like smokers? Have a very good reason or reasons for quitting. List them out. Print them out. Put it on a wall. And remind yourself of those reasons every day, every urge.

4. Not One Puff, Ever (N.O.P.E.). The mind is a tricky thing. It will tell you that one cigarette won’t hurt. And it’s hard to argue with that logic, especially when you’re in the middle of an urge. And those urges are super hard to argue with. Don’t give in. Tell yourself, before the urges come, that you will not smoke a single puff, ever again. Because the truth is, that one puff WILL hurt. One puff leads to a second, and a third, and soon you’re not quitting, you’re smoking. Don’t fool yourself. A single puff will almost always lead to a recession. DO NOT TAKE A SINGLE PUFF!

5. Join a Forum. One of the things that helped the most in this quit was an online forum for quitters (quitsmoking.about.com) … you don’t feel so alone when you’re miserable. Misery loves company, after all. Go online, introduce yourself, get to know the others who are going through the exact same thing, post about your crappy experience, and read about others who are even worse than you. Best rule: Post Before You Smoke. If you set this rule and stick to it, you will make it through your urge. Others will talk you through it. And they’ll celebrate with you when you make it through your first day, day 2, 3, and 4, week 1 and beyond. It’s great fun.

6. Reward Yourself. Set up a plan for your rewards. Definitely reward yourself after the first day, and the second, and the third. You can do the fourth if you want, but definitely after Week 1 and Week2. And month 1, and month 2. And 6 months and a year. Make them good rewards, that you’ll look forward to: CDs, books, DVDs, T-shirts, shoes, a massage, a bike, a dinner out at your favorite restaurant, a hotel stay … whatever you can afford. Even better: take whatever you would have spent on smoking each day, and put it in a jar. This is your Rewards Jar. Go crazy! Celebrate your every success! You deserve it.

7. Delay. If you have an urge, wait. Do the following things: take 10 deep breaths. Drink water. Eat a snack (at first it was candy and gum, then I switched to healthier stuff like carrots and frozen grapes and pretzels). Call your support person. Post on your smoking cessation forum. Exercise. DO WHATEVER IT TAKES, BUT DELAY, DELAY, DELAY. You will make it through it, and the urge will go away. When it does, celebrate! Take it one urge at a time, and you can do it.

8. Replace Negative Habits with Positive Ones. What do you do when you’re stressed? If you currently react to stress with a cigarette, you’ll need to find something else to do. Deep breathing, self massage of my neck and shoulders, and exercise have worked wonders for me. Other habits, such as what you do first thing in the morning, or what you do in the car, or wherever you usually smoke, should be replaced with better, more positive ones. Running has been my best positive habit, altho I have a few others that replaced smoking.

9. Make it Through Hell Week, then Heck Week, and You’re Golden. The hardest part of quitting is the first two days. If you can get past that, you’ve passed the nicotine withdrawal stage, and the rest is mostly mental. But all of the first week is hell. Which is why it’s called Hell Week. After that, it begins to get easier. Second week is Heck Week, and is still difficult, but not nearly as hellish as the first. After that, it was smooth sailing for me. I just had to deal with an occasional strong urge, but the rest of the urges were light, and I felt confident I could make it through anything.

10. If You Fall, Get Up. And Learn From Your Mistakes. Yes, we all fail. That does not mean we are failures, or that we can never succeed. If you fall, it’s not the end of the world. Get up, brush yourself off, and try again. I failed numerous times before succeeding. But you know what? Each of those failures taught me something. Well, sometimes I repeated the same mistakes several times, but eventually I learned. Figure out what your obstacles to success are, and plan to overcome them in your next quit. And don’t wait a few months until your next quit. Give yourself a few days to plan and prepare, commit fully to it, and go for it!

BONUS TIP #11: THINK POSITIVE. This is the most important tip of all. I saved it for last. If you have a positive, can-do attitude, as corny as it may sound, you will succeed. Trust me. It works. Tell yourself that you can do it, and you will. Tell yourself that you can’t do it, and you definitely won’t. When things get rough, think positive! You CAN make it through the urge. You CAN make it through Hell Week. And you can. I did. So have millions of others. We are no better than you. (In my case, worse.)


I hope any smokers that read this can find some inspiration. Remember, take care of mind, body, and soul!

much love,



happy trails

Every year I (claire), claim to hate New Year’s Resolutions. Yet, I make them, do them for a week, and then they are forgotten. This year I have changed that idea to New Year’s Intentions. 

“Intention” is definitely a less scary word to me than a resolution. It takes a bit of that pressure off. So, in the year of 2012, I have the intention of taking care of myself. Pretty broad – but can include mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. I will be consciously aware of my emotions, if I feel well, and if I feel connected to something bigger than myself, whatever that may be. 

Also, I have a history of searching for a geographical cure. Meaning, if anything goes wrong, I am out of here. I move, I go out of town, etc. I always think I have to drive somewhere amazing to have a good time. In 2012, I will be exploring Alabama. What does this beautiful state have to offer? If you’re interested, please post your favorite hikes or outdoor adventure. This week, I went back to basics and hiked out at Ruffner Mountain. I will continue to post my trails. So, let’s see what ol’ Bama can do….

Happy Trails,



take action!

Around the Holidays, some of us go backwards with our diet and exercise. Take the time to make a plan! When will you exercise? When will you eat? Get a calendar! For the Mac users, iCal is so helpful. It only takes 21 days to form a new habit. So, let’s start before 2012!

Want to eat all the good party food? Try the Rule of One. Eat ONE of each appetizer, etc. at a party you attend. You aren’t splurging, but you are getting all of the yummy food. Don’t kill yourself with calorie counting. The internet is full of ways to measure exactly what your body needs to stay healthy. Awareness is key. Be aware of what is going into your body.

Being good to your body does not have to wait until a New Year’s Resolution. Start today.

While you’re at it… take a look…


it’s the holiday season

I have made a thirty day commitment to myself. On a daily basis I meditate, journal, and exercise before starting to my work, cleaning my house, or any other everyday activities. Even before I check Facebook 🙂

I realized, it is time that I get a turn in the priority line in my own life. I will be honest, it has been difficult, yet very rewarding. I never knew how hard it was to just do good for myself. For instance, one day there were dishes in my sink. It almost sent me over the edge to meditate and journal while my house was dirty. But, I did it. In fact, I left them all day. And, guess what? The world moved on.

The Holidays are a time of family and friends, giving and receiving, and hopefully, lots of love. So, I challenge you to take care of yourself this Holiday season.


!!!!! lets boogie !!!!!

Hi friends. Here are some of my favorite tunes…..

Widespread Panic

Panic will be in Tuscaloosa this Friday!!! (october 30th) @ the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. Yonder Mountain String Band will be joining them….will for sure be a good time so try and find that extra ticket somewhere and look out for me!!!

Yonder Mountain String Band

Friday night is looking good! I can’t wait 🙂

Sound Tribe Sector 9

STS9 will be playing at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater October 13th. Mark your calendars, you don’t want to miss it!

Umphrey’s Mcgee

They will be in Tuscaloosa October 27th at The Bama Theatre. And then going straight to Atlanta to play at The Tabernacle on October 28 & 29. Be sure to check out their tour dates on http://www.umphreys.com if you are liking what you are hearing.


One of our favorite bands. This is just a song that will put a smile on your face! The video is from their very first official Phish festival! Not necessarily my favorite song done by Phish, but I was driving down to school today and it made me happy 🙂

Hope everyone has a beautiful Tuesday!! Much love , C & M

what a nice day :)

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.  ~Winston Churchill

Today was lovely. After finishing up some of my daily tasks, I took some time to go be with my horse and my dogs. I can always get a mirror image of my day by looking at my horse. If I am calm, she is calm. If I am scared, she is scared. If I am happy, she is happy. It is an amazing bond between horses and humans. Whenever I approach any horse, I take a deep breath and think about my emotions in the moment. Today I was happy, confident, and peaceful. My horse, Guinness, immediately responded to my positive energy. She was focused on me, and acted quite relaxed. So, I after some time grooming, we went for a ride in the woods with my pups, Arlo and Scarlet, close behind. I was so joyful for that entire ride. It was me, the woods, and my animals. Such a great day. Just wanted to share 🙂

I hope everyone gets to experience days full of serenity.

much love,


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